Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Waiting

The scheduled off day today makes yesterday's loss a little bit tougher to swallow. The first game only seems important because it's the only one we have at the moment. Right now it's 100% of the season, after tomorrow, it will only be 50%, then 33%, 25% and so forth.

It's easy to read the symbolism into everything that went wrong yesterday and project it out towards the entire season.
The Yankees are fucked! Sabathia is a choker! Teix can't handle the pressure! Jeter can't get it done when it counts! Swisher over Nady! Send Phil Coke back to the minors!
The reality is that with each passing game, chances are, each of those things is going to be exposed for the small sample size, impulsive overreaction that it is. Unfortunately, right off the bat, we have to wait an entire extra day.

It's only about 47 1/2 hours from the end of yesterday's game until the beginning of tomorrow's, that's not what it feels like. It's as if you planned for months to go on vacation, and you finally get on the plane. But you take your seat, it's in the middle, you're sandwiched between two fat guys, the food sucks, the in-flight movie is Beverly Hills Chihuahua (don't fly Delta), and then you get stuck in a holding pattern over Aruba.

I think I speak for much of my generation when I say patience is not our strong suit. Maybe it's not just younger people, but those of us who live by RSS and Twitter feeds, and are beholden to the 24 hour news cycle. The internet has gotten so fast that it provides instant gratification with each click. We can fast forward on our DVRs and "Mark All As Read". All of that immediacy makes it difficult to see the forest through the trees.

The baseball season is a long haul, and we all know that. But after a long winter of pining for the MLB regular season, it's tough to forget about the only meaningful game we've seen in over 7 months. But a short time's a long time, when your mind just won't let it go. As Yankee fans, I think we are just anxious to put all of last season and the playoff failures of the preceding four behind us (2003 wasn't a failure).

At least Tom Petty understands:

The waiting is the hardest part,
Every day you see one more card,
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart,
The waiting is the hardest part.

It's Only One Game, Now Excuse Me While I Blow It Out Of Proportion

Hat Guy is at it again. Someone must have told him that FJM shut down their operation and he's taunting them into starting it back up again. I don't care if this is unoriginal. Ken Tremendous is rolling over in his digital grave right now, and I must do something about it. It would be a bigger sin to let this article sit there on NBC Sports without pointing out how factually incorrect and schizophrenic it is. Celizic is simultaneously telling everyone to relax because it's only one game, and totally, wildly, insanely overreacting to that game.

"Leash Just Got Shorter For Girardi, Yanks"

Yes... 1/162nd shorter. 0.0617% shorter.

It’s a good thing for the Yankees that you don’t draw broad conclusions from one game, because if you did, the conclusion would be expressed in two words: they stink.

It's a good thing the first part of that sentence doesn't say you can't do something, only to have the second half of the sentence do that exact thing.

Most of the time when a team loses, they are going to look like "they stink". If a team wins 90 games in a season, they are going to look good in probably 90 of them (most wins, but some close losses) and look bad in the other 72 (most of their losses and a few sloppy wins). No matter how good a team is, they aren't going to impress you in every game they appear in. That's baseball.

The offense rallied to cut the Baltimore lead to 6-5, but when Derek Jeter, who had three hits in the game, had a chance to tie it, he failed. And then when expensive free-agent acquisition Teixeira had a chance to put the team ahead, he, too, failed.

I can see knocking Teixeira for having a bad day at the plate after the Baltimore fans put the focus on him by booing him mercilessly, but Jeter? He went 3 for 5 and left one guy on-base. Reading this column, you would think that the first three hits counted towards Spring Training. A message from Mike Celizic to Derek Jeter: If you can't hit in the clutch, don't bother hitting at all.

You wouldn’t expect to find panic in the clubhouse after one loss with 161 left to play, and you didn’t. Girardi was calm. The players were calm. It’s a powerful team and they just need to play Yankee baseball.

So why are you writing this article again?

This is all good, but the fact remains that the Yankees didn’t just lose.
They played a bad baseball game. That’s not supposed to on Opening Day.

YES IT IS!!!! This is exactly when it is supposed to happen. It's the first fucking day of the season. Everyone is still rusty. Teixeira is a notoriously slow starter. Sabathia had a 7.76 ERA in April last year.

What had to be mystifying to Yankee fans was watching Sabathia’s pitch count mount into mid-season levels without getting any relief. Even when it was obvious Sabathia had nothing left (How could he? He had nothing to begin with.), Girardi left him in the game as his pitch count climbed to 96.

Count me among the unmystified. 96 pitches is not "mid-season levels" for CC Sabathia, you hysterical moron. You know how many times he threw fewer than 96 pitches last year? Fucking TWO (April 11th & 16th), and he gave up nine earned runs in both of them.

Too much may be made of pitch counts in today’s game.

Sort of like what you are doing right now?

But when your ace pitcher is struggling in the season’s first game and it’s so cold he has to hold a heating pad to his stomach — Sabathia’s favorite organ — between innings, it seems senseless to let him throw that many pitches.

If Sabathia is like any other guy I know, his favorite organ is a little further South. And it's 96 pitches. I've never heard anyone complain about a starter throwing fewer than 100 pitches before. Senseless is letting him take the hill in the ninth inning when his pitch count was already 111 and the Brewers were up by 7 runs.

Sabathia is not in mid-season form. Why give him a mid-season pitch count? It just seems a risky thing to do in a game that the Yankees were already out of.

Except they weren't out of it, were they, Mike? Take a look at the box score. Yes, they were down 6 to 1, but if you hadn't rushed to your computer to start writing this retarded column, you might have noticed that they Yankees pulled to within one run in the 7th. You mentioned it above. Remember? It was when you were crushing Jeter and Teixeira for being unclutchiferous.

But it’s early; just one game and one questionable pitching decision by the manager.

Questionable if you wear a fedora and refuse to look up Sabathia's pitch counts on Baseball-Reference.com.

If the Yankees win on Wednesday and keep winning, it will all be forgotten. If they don’t, by the time the team opens their new park, there will be calls in the tabloids for Congressional investigations.

What sort of Congressional investigations they would be calling for? That doesn't even begin to make sense or be funny.

Somewhat ironic that he uses "tabloids" derisively here. This is the epitome of knee-jerk, tabloid "journalism", except it's not even well written enough to appear in the Post or Daily News.

Last year was a free one for Girardi and the Yanks. This year isn’t. It’s just one game and one loss, but the pressure is already on.

It's just one column which constantly contradicts itself, but Mike Celizic still has no idea what he's talking about. The pressure was on when they signed Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira. It didn't come from losing the first game of the season.


Keep them coming, Mike. I'll be here waiting.