Outfield Defense – Again!

OK, I might have to completely revise my assessment of the Yankees. In the Bronx last night, in one of the ten best baseball games I’ve ever attended, the New York club tied it on Rodriguez’s homer, benefitted from a horrible call in rightfield, staved off bases loaded and none out on Robertson’s pitching, and got the winning run on Teixeira’s parabola off the top of the left field wall.

But they won it because Nick Swisher proved me a liar with a beautifully executed play on an inattentive Carlos Gomez in the fourth inning, and because of how A.J. Burnett pitched in the litmus test for his post-season reliability. As Delmon Young busted it for home on Matt Tolbert’s single, Gomez over-ran second, Swisher threw a dart behind him, and he was retired before Young could cross the plate with what would have been the game’s first run. Burnett walked five and hit two – but wriggled out by giving up only three hits and stranding eight of the runners. My 11-year old nephew, attending the first post-game season of his life, stated with confidence after Burnett got one of his six strikeouts, “that was some slider!”
So the Yankee outfield defense already exceeded expectations in terms of plays back to the infield or the plate, and Burnett probably did the same. Meanwhile the Twins’ chances are not only bad enough, but what is wrong with Joe Nathan?
Saturday I would expect the Cardinals to avoid elimination (and perhaps as my pal Joe Magrane suggests, rally to beat the Dodgers behind the second starts of Carpenter and Wainwright) and the Rockies and Phillies continue to move to their inevitable fifth game back in Philadelphia.
I’ll go into this in a future post but it appears the Hall of Fame agrees with me, that film is from the A’s-Yankees doubleheader of September 9, 1928, with more than 85,000 in attendance (and probably filmed more for that reason, than for the presence of Ruth).
Some additional notes: I got it wrong, the Yankees began to wear numbers not in 1931 but 1929, thus 1928 is also the latest the film could be. And MLB Productions got it wrong, that is 
not Lou Gehrig following Ruth to the plate, but the lankier, righthanded hitting Bob Meusel. And even the Hal was wrong. Photo ID whiz Tom Shieber was also inspired to look at a panoramic photo that has always been marked “1928 World Series” that, like the Ruth film, showed no holiday or Series ceremonial bunting hanging anywhere in the ballpark. As of now they have re-marked it to date to the A’s-Yanks doubleheader – Shieber also notes that the socks of the visiting players in their picture don’t look like those worn by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1928, but like the A’s.
Socks. And you think I’m nuts.
The Times may be doing more on this little bit of historical sleuthing. In the interim, everybody wanted to correct an impression that MLB Productions was “stumped” by the film – it was more that they were looking to open up the archaeology dig to fans.

Yes, it’s true. Bill O’Reilly and I in the same place at the same time, in the Yankee suites restaurant, and then three rows and seven seats apart. No one was injured, and everybody had a good time.
And to everybody who’s asked about my Dad – thank you, and he thanks you. Got in several hours with him before the Mental Vacation in the Bronx, and several late tonight. They keep throwing him spitballs and curves and he fouls them off as adroitly as Richie Ashburn in his prime. His main issues have all but been resolved, it’s now just a sequence of complications. But he keeps fouling them away and hanging in there. 


  1. OokerDookers

    That bad call was Phil Cuzzi in left field. Joe Nathan has always been terrible in the Bronx: see 2004 ALDS, ’09 regular season series. And he has blown an enormous amount of saves this year to compare with his Twins tenure.
    But let’s not beat around the bush. It wasn’t Swisher’s pick that won that game, it was the 3 RBI night from an admitted steroid user. I look forward to the asterisk on this ALDS to go alongside the one from ’04 (again game 2, again A-Rod).
    Sorry Keith, I love ya, but I’ve seen you weigh in on Manny this year, and PEDs in baseball in general, so why no comment from any Yankees fans….. ever….. that what transpired tonight has at least a slight taint to it? This is the single most overlooked or simply outright ignored part of the entire era — not the single season records, or career records, or the Hall considerations, not the lucrative contracts signed by hulking homer hitters to the detriment of workhorses and those on the cusp of the show — it is the impact of the singular player on a single game; a single game that extends one team’s season and essentially ends another’s. Who would the Angels have really played in ’02 if the Giants didn’t have Barry? Who would the White Sox have played in ’05 if the Astros didn’t have Clemens? Would the BoSox curse have really ended in ’04? Would this ALDS be Yanks up 2-0 or would it be tied 1-1?

    And does it surprise me that the Yankees will send an hGH user out for game 3? And if the Yanks sweep with a strong performance by Pettite? What then? Where does it end?

  2. unpaka27@yahoo.com

    So…Billo emerged from under his dark, damp rock to attend a baseball game. Did he use a laptop to post an online petition to get the Twins fired from the AL, and replaced with Phil Donahue? ROTFL!

    Regarding the Babe Ruth film, it looks as if you did a darned good job of pinpointing the game and the date. Next time you go up to Cooperstown, you’ll have to bring along a deerstalker cap and a magnifying glass!

    Cute story about your nephew, BTW. Glad to hear that your dad is recovering well. I hope he continues to fend off those complications, and makes a full recovery.

  3. unpaka27@yahoo.com

    PS – How come you didn’t mention that Billo got booed when he appeared on the big screen? I’d have paid for a ticket just to hear THAT!

  4. spam.throwaway@gmail.com

    I gotta disagree with you, Keith. They won the game when they were able to blow 200 million on their roster, versus 76 million the Twins got this year. Just imagine if the Twins had been able to keep all the talent that they’ve groomed over the years… I mean, they wouldn’t even have to go out and poach ’em, like NY does. A guy like Torii Hunter who’s shining for the Angels right now.

    I’m actually starting to lose faith in baseball. It’s taken me a long time. I’ve coughed up hundreds of dollars to MLB.com to be able to watch baseball abroad and I’ve followed the box scores and read the articles with delight: but I cannot tell you how sick I am of big money teams gobbling up talent from small market teams and of the repetitive nature of defeat that we as fans of a small market team must suffer through. In my adult life with the exception of once, every time the Twins have gone to the playoffs they get crushed by a ‘roided, over-paid Yankees team. How is this good for baseball? How is this good for ratings?

    Smartest thing football ever did was introduce a salary cap.

  5. christenhittie@yahoo.com

    Good morning!
    Sooo….caught the 9th and 10th innings last night. Ugh! I love you, Keith, but I am a die-hard Yankees hater!! (Living close to Baltimore, you can understand. Attended the 2131 game- 6 days before my son was born.)

    I am so happy your nephew enjoyed the game. My oldest daughter keeps score at each game we attend, so I know the joy of watching the game come alive in the eyes of a new generation.

    Good stuff on Bill-O. They actually boo-ed him? Heh, not surprised, but I, too would have have paid big bucks to have experienced that precious moment in time.

    Re: your dad, Keith. It usually is the complications of the disease process that hinders recovery, so hang in there! Have him use his incentive spirometer as much as possible and push him to keep up the therapies. The human body is so amazing with its ability to heal!!! For yourself, more mental health days in the Bronx are prescribed. Prayers to you and yours…C

  6. ron@stamant.org

    The blown call was horrible, made worse since the umpire was in proper position to make the correct call.
    It would have been interesting to see how the inning played out differently. You’d have think the Twins would have bunted Mauer to third.
    Still bases loaded and no outs, the Twins should have scored.

    One of the best calls from the booth though was (I think) by Chip Carey. When the Yanks got the second out on the grounder to Tex, Carey said that it always seems when a team gets bases loaded and nobody out and can’t score, that the home team always seems to win in the bottom of the inning…and sure enough…

  7. jmiller@marforth.com

    Last nights game terrible. How does umpiring get so bad. The Twins were robbed. The left field umpire should be sent home John Miller Pittsburgh,Pa

  8. jbianco@bgwarchitects.com

    I am not sure when the “again” refers to. But I would like to add kudos to Mr. Swisher for also saving a run in Wednesday’s game too. He caught a fly ball for the second out, I don’t remember who was on, and then threw a rocket to the plate to prevent a sacrifice run coming in from third.

    It was a night to remember for my whole family – my wife’s first game ever., and Swish gave us a fist pump when we cheered him for the play. Wow, let’s go Yankees!

  9. tribegal

    KO: your comments about your dad’s (metaphoric) fouling off pitches reminded me of Roger Angell’s great observation — “Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.” Prayers and good thoughts to both you and him.

    Also: it’s so kind & thoughtful of you to take your nephew to games, and share your knowledge & love of the game with him. I hope he knows that’s he’s one of the luckiest kids in the world! (Of course, it helps, too, when the team you love is a perennial champion. *Sigh.*)

  10. historymike

    Glad your dad is hanging in there. We’re rooting for him.

    With the Phillies in the playoffs and the reference to His Whiteness, as he was known to Harry the K, Kalas’s favorite story about Ashburn as a hitter was when another player told him he had spousal issues and where she was sitting, and in batting practice Ashburn kept fouling balls near her. I think he got within two seats!

    That said, my favorite is that Ashburn was a moaner, and Jocko Conlan, the Hall of Fame umpire, had had enough. He told Ashburn, “You call the next pitch.” Jocko said it was six inches outside and Ashburn said, “Strike.” Jocko called a strike and said, “Richie, I gave you the only chance any hitter has ever had to call pitches, and you blew it. I won’t have you lousing up my profession.”

  11. olympictrees@aol.com

    Glad to hear your dad is still fighting! Thank you very much for the update. Best of luck to both of you, and glad you were able to get a Mental Vacation Day. I think we all need those from time to time.

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