Rockies + Bullpenwinkle

The Closer Carousel never stops; the only true accomplishment is knowing when it’s going to start spinning dangerously like the merry-go-round at the end of Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train,” and if the carny is going to get to the shut-off valve in time or if the entire bullpen is going to get launched in the general direction of the cotton candy machine.

As remarked here earlier it’s obvious the Nationals are in the most turmoil at the moment, but one wonders if that situation might not straighten itself out quickly and be replaced by the chaos bubbling to the surface in Colorado. Manny Corpas has pitched himself out of the top job, out of the set-up job, and probably out of the majors. Huston Street has lost the job, won it anew, but hardly gotten a firm handle on the reins. Taylor Buchholz is clearly not near a return from injury (he was just shifted to the 60-Day DL). You’re left wondering if Jason Grilli will actually wind up closing. He has the classic ’80s-’90s biography page: onetime top prospect who never quite made it as a starter and drifted around.
Of course Washington is already there, but, and this is nothing more than a hunch, that Content loud of Joe Beimel, Julian Tavarez, Kip Wells, Garrett Mock, and Joel Hanrahan will resolve itself, probably later than sooner, with Hanrahan back in the job. Again, it’s just a hunch.

Terry Francona said he loved the new Yankee Stadium, but as a creature of habit, he was more than a little thrown by the disruption of his rituals from years of coming to the old one. “No better place to win on the road, no worse one to lose,” he told me from behind the desk of the visiting manager’s office, a space about four times larger than the one in the old house. The Sox were most floored by the pre-game press briefing, which exceeds what baseball used to do for the World Series: a large, carpeted, well lit room with about 140 chairs, a podium for a moderator to call on reporters for questions, two wireless microphone wranglers, and a camera platform in the back filled with equipment. 
It did look a little like Tito was addressing a sales workshop.
As to the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry, now accelerated, future shock kind of way by all the intra-divisional play, he noted that “it seemed like that series in our place was a long time ago.” His charges then went out and contradicted him, waiting out a 2:20 rain delay, scratching Phil Hughes for a run in each of the first four innings, getting the benefit of Joe Girardi inexplicably benching Hideki Matsui when he’s been hitting lefties well, and outlasting two Teixeira home runs to take the first ever Sox-Yanks game in the new park.
Francona is, in fact, such a creature of habit that the charts and data taped to the dugout wall around him? He likes to print them out, and tape them up, himself.

It went by too fast to get an image, but when the Yankees asked their nightly trivia question, they pulled an ironic doozy. The contestant was asked to identify the oldest pitcher to win 20 for the first time. Among the choices were Mike Mussina (the correct answer), ’50s Yankees ace Vic Raschi, and Fritz Peterson, the pitcher who achieved the all-time lowest career ERA inside the original Yankee Stadium.
Except the video didn’t show Peterson, it showed his teammate Mike Kekich. And any vintage Yankee fan, or baseball expert, or student of the weird culture of the ’70s was instantly flashed back to 1973 when Peterson and Kekich exchanged more than just identities on a scoreboard. They traded wives, and families, in an infamous event that was shocking even then.
And 36 years later Kekich was mistaken for Peterson.
The real punchline to the Peterson/Kekich “trade” was not the latter’s banishment to Cleveland that summer, but the fact that while the ex-Mrs. Kekich actually married Peterson, Mrs. Peterson soon left Kekich, leaving him awaiting a Wife To Be Named Later.



    It looks like Franklin will be the Cardinals closer. They lost to the Phillies 1 to 6 but I don’t care because Ankiel appears to be okay after slamming face first into the outfield wall.


    Mention of the the Peterson/Kekich “trade” recalls the 1978 trade between the Indians and Red Sox, whereby Rick Wise and three others were traded from Boston to Cleveland for Dennis Eckersley and one other player. The Eck had requested the trade because the Indians’ center fielder, Rick Manning, was having an affair with the Eck’s wife. Manning had stayed behind from a long road trip to heal from a cracked vertebra in his back and well, you know, one thing led to another…Manning eventually married the former Mrs. Eck. And Eck won 20 games that year. So that was good.


    “…a Wife To Be Named Later.”? HA! Too funny…The gathering of the baseball wives at the game had to be interesting. And, yes, I’m thinking of the scene in NAKED GUN where all the wives are sitting together knitting like in a little sewing circle at the game. ;D

    One of my favorite closers of all time HAS to be the Cardinals’ Bruce Suter – especially after he gave up those 2 extra – inning home runs to “my boy” Ryne Sandberg in June (or maybe it was July) of 1984! I will never forget that.

    • Jenny

      the 2004 red sox maybe are in there.. I don’t think the Whitesox should be there thuogh. They just had stupidly hot pitchers in the playoffs. I would throw the 2001 DBACKS in there.. Johnson and Schilling in their prime.


    I see that the Royals beat the White Sox yesterday and, if memory serves me correctly (which it often does’nt), the Royals came in fourth in the AL Central last year. Are we looking at a resurgence? I thought of this while reading a posting on another website dissing the Dodgers and saying how they were looking forward to their favorite team playing them because it would be an easy win. Someone may be in for a rude awakening.

  5. historymike

    The best line I ever heard about a ballplayer’s, uh, habits, was when Steve Garvey had, if I recall, children with two different girlfriends. Jim Murray’s line was that Garvey waited until after he retired to start acting like a baseball player.

    I recall Bowie Kuhn being “appalled” and apparently regretful that he could do nothing about Peterson and Kekich. Since he did nothing about anything else, why not that, too?


    And somewhere Dick Young is fuming about this (probably literally, considering where he may be), and is trying to find some way to blame Jim Bouton for this as well.

  7. meyerlansky

    Hello Keith,
    Thank you for all the good work. Plus I joined mlb to watch all the games, finally!, and you have a blog…cool…

    I can relate to francona’s feeling of unease in new, but supposed to be, familiar surroundings.

    Even in your enemies house there is comfort in the sameness when faced with a challenge.

    I have faced this when, while staging large demonstrations the BLM or USFS has moved us.

    You wouldn’t think it would matter to pro’s like us. But it does..

    Like the Red Sox we overcame as well as there is no more strife, peace and goodwill have broken out…oh yeah, back to work…see yah!…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s