The only person feeling worse than Joba Chamberlain tonight:
This was not only a bad loss, it was the sort of game you hate to lose, with the hitters getting Pettitte off the hook for a bad pitch (and goodbye what's-his-name, the beneficiary of the two worst pitches Lefty has thrown all season); with Matsui ripping the cover off the ball; with Cano at least contributing with his glove; with Jason Giambi, for sweet mercy's sake, even lending a hand, busting down the line faster than he had in his life (though slower than your nephew in a Little League game) to break up a double play and allow the first Yankee run.
Throw in a serviceable catching from Molina (with a from-the-knees throw-out that I don't know Posada could pull off) and a sudden renaissance of Kardiac Kyle as a seventh-inning set-up man (one bloop, not much else), and the game seemed a boat race, with Joba and Mo set to go in the eighth and ninth.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us comfort ourselves. The question is not whether a late-innings stopper will get slapped around. Of course he will. (Well, except for Mo in '96, setting up Wetteland: Mo, cheated out of not only the Cy Young, but the MVP. Another story.) Sparky Lyle won the Cy Young as the Yankee closer in '77, and he lost five games. Goose Gossage came in as closer the following year, lost on Opening Day, lost 10 games by the All-Star break, lost the All-Star Game itself, lost one game in Toronto and simply curled up in a ball in front of his locker and cried. And? And then, came home with a 2.01 ERA, and in the bottom of the ninth of The Greatest Game Ever Played, said to himself, "Well, the worst thing that can happen is I'll be hiking in the Rockies tomorrow," then popped up Yaz to win the pennant.
And don't forget the Sainted Mo, the Hammer of God. Elevated to closer in '97, Rivera blew three saves out of the chute, game up that homer to Sandy Alomar in the playoffs . . . then didn't blow another post-season save until . . . no, we're not going to revisit Arizona today.
Anyway. Joba. Walk, bunt, walk. Two on, one out. Up comes (speaking of Diamondbacks) David Delucci, a lefty aiming for the porch. I thought, "Umm, he can turn on an inside fastball. Joba, you may want to . . ."
Joba threw an inside fastball. I pointed at the TV screen. Delucci's homer landed precisely where I pointed.
Ah well. The kid will be all right.
As to Hillary.
The Democratic primaries have, since, February 22nd, been Sunday at the Master's for me.
The week of the Wisconsin primary, I received an invitation to Barack Obama's February 22nd rally at the Toyota Center in Houston. I declined, and lived to regret it, as the evening stood as Obama's best evening for two-and-a-half months--in short, until tonight.
Politics is like sports for me: with no horse in the race, I root for the event. Unless the Yankees or Astros or involved (or at least affected, as in a pennant race), I root for extra innings. In the Master's, unless Mikelsson is in the hunt, I root, if anything, for the course. The more humiliation the better.
I've spent ten weeks rooting for the course with the Dems. But I think it's over.