Saturday, October 10, 2009

Does Chip Caray Literally Need Glasses?

Richard Sandomir wondered if Caray's blatant miscues were a result of failing vision in his column dedicated to the broadcaster's inaccuracies on Thursday (emphasis mine):
But the sort of inattention that led to Caray’s call was evident again Wednesday when Nick Swisher came to bat in Game 1 of the Twins-Yankees division series. “A base — fly ball, I should say — out to center field,” he said. “That ball was hooking and nearly fell in front of Delmon Young.”

Perhaps Caray’s eyesight, not his baseball judgment, is undermining him. Yes, he caught himself in his error, but he larded on a fiction to suggest that Young had a difficult time with a ball that he effortlessly caught chest-high.
In the awkward portion of the broadcast after the 7th inning stretch but before the bottom half of the inning where Chip Caray and Ron Darling are given the floor to needlessly pontificate about the development of the game to that point, look what Chip was wearing:

And then, they were gone.

For a fleeting moment, Chip conspicuously donned a pair of librarian-style, end-of-the-nose reading glasses before casually removing them. Did ol' Chip read Sandomir's article and decide to deflect some criticism by conspicuously exposing his poor eyesight? Or worse, was it more calculated than that? I know I'm venturing on to a grassy knoll of sorts, but it's not like it was an obscure sports blog that was speculating that Caray's vision was responsible for his notable miscues.

Caray had to know that he was being ridiculed by the New York Times and perhaps he (or an advisor of his) was savvy enough to identify the out the Times had given him within their critique. Failing eyesight is a handicap that can be corrected. The inability to perform under pressure is a scarlet letter that has ruined countless careers in a myriad of industries and a harsh critique that professional wants to hear about themselves.

Maybe I'm way off-base here, but if you see Phil Cuzzi or C.B. Bucknor address the media wearing a pair of Rec Specs any time soon, just remember you heard it here first.

More Questions Answered

CC Sabathia and A-Rod quieted a whole bunch of speculation about their ability to perform in October on Wednesday night. Last night, more queries were posed and more responses were offered:

Q: How would A.J. Burnett do in his first postseason start?
A: Awfully damn good. Six innings, one run, six strikeouts, three hits and - the only blemish on his line - 5 walks. Burnett gave up at least one baserunner in every inning he pitched, but did a good job of digging down when it was necessary and limiting the damage.

Q: Did Joe Girardi make the right decision in starting Jose Molina over Jorge Posada?
A: For this game, it would seem he did. Molina played pretty much flawless defense behind the plate and Burnett's stellar performance would seem to have validated that. Molina only got one at bat and Jorge picked up one hit in his three trips to the plate, giving the Yankees a semblance of the best of both worlds. Hopefully this doesn't bond the two at the hip for the rest of the postseason but it certainly worked out the first time around.

Q: Is Mariano Rivera superhuman?
A: No, he was merely good last night. He surrendered only his 4th hit with two outs and runners in scoring position in 51 postseason ABs in the 8th inning, allowing the Yanks to fall behind 3-1. But he wasn't the one who put those runners on (that was Phil Hughes) and he recovered to pitch a scoreless top of the 9th.

Q: Was A-Rod performance on Wednesday just an anomaly? Is he still a choke artist who got lucky in one game?
A: Not so much. He tied the game with a two out RBI single in the 6th and did it again, far more heroically, with a 2 run homer off Joe Nathan in the 9th inning. That's just about as clutch as it gets.

Q: Did C.B. Bucknor make the worst call of the postseason so far?
A: No, that distinction would belong to Phil Cuzzi, who called a ground rule double into the left field corner in the top of the 11th by Joe Mauer foul despite the fact that he was staring directly at it and it landed a foot inside of the foul line. Mauer reached base with a single anyway, but a lead off double changes the complexion of the game completely. Just like I said this morning, thank God there's no instant replay in baseball.

Q: Can David Robertson get it done under pressure?
A: D-Rob was largely relegated to low leverage situations last year and until late in this season but he stacked his strikeout totals so high that his performance became impossible to ignore. After Damaso Marte gave up singles to the two lefties he was called up to face in the top of the 11th, Robertson made his first career postseason appearance. He got off to an inauspicious start, giving up a single to the first batter he faced thereby loading the bases with no one out. It looked bleak for the Yanks, but amazingly, Robertson retired the next three batters and kept the score tied heading into the bottom of the 11th.

Q: Did the Yanks blow their best chance to win the game when they failed to get Brett Gardner in from third base with one out in the bottom of the tenth?
A: Apparently not.

A: Well, if the A-Rod we are talking about is the one who has gotten better as the pressure has built this postseason, then yes. Because if Teix looked lost at the plate in Game 1, he certainly didn't as Game 2 wore on. He got on base in front of A-Rod in the 9th then ended the game in the 11th with a laser that just cleared the wall next to the left field foul pole.

Q: Was that the fucking best game you've seen in a hell of a long time?
A: Given that any dramatic postseason win is better than any win in the regular season and the Yanks have only won 4 games in the last 4 postseasons... YES. We're gonna be talking about that one for a long while.