I’ve long believed that there’s a strange force in baseball, a deus ex machina, also known as the iRobot (movie) phenomenon, that gives baseball it’s random and anything-is-possible nature. Cash does not directly translate to wins, though it certainly helps, and a team that is clearly having trouble still wins occasionally.
Some call it “heart,” some call it “luck.” Some call it hubris on the part of the statistically superior team, letting their guard down for a moment and giving up a clutch hit that leads to a rally that leads to the go-ahead run, that leads to their embarrassing loss to a team that barely knows which end of the bat to hold onto.
Whatever it is, momentum is a force in baseball, and can be a force for good or for evil. The SD Padres, when they were contenders in the NL West long, long ago, won 10 in a row before giving up 7 in a row. Momentum also shifts, and it can be deadly. John Sanchez, the disturbingly named Giants barely-in-the-rotation wunderkind, threw a no-hitter after a season of consistent mediocrity.
Which brings us to the Giants, who have won four games in a row. They recently picked up two new hitters, one currently injured and the other, Ryan Garko, who’s gone 1-10 with his new team. Still, the Giants are winning, a welcome change since their post-All Star break slump, and I’d argue that the appearance of new players at least spices up the other Giants to do better.
But tonight is almost a throw-away game, pitting rookie Ryan Sadowski against Cliff Lee, the unknown pitcher who went 22-3 last year with a 2.54 ERA to win the AL Cy Young. Unless the Giants offense finds Lee’s number and comes alive tonight – pause for laughter – we’re going to need a Sanchez-like turnaround from Sadowski if the Giants want to keep their momentum. We’ll see how that turns out.
In much more satisfying news, especially to those few of us still defending Barry Bonds, David Ortiz gave the most awkward interview about the recent news that he and M*nny R*mirez both tested positive for steroids in 2003.
I don’t hate Ortiz, at least not as much as I hate M*nny, particularly in his new blue uniform, but he comes off like a total hypocrite in this ultra-righteous article from Yahoo. My favorite passage:
“I think you clean up the game by the testing,” Ortiz said [when he found out that A-Rod had tested positive]. “I test you, you test positive, you’re going to be out. Period. ”
“Bang” the guilty for a year, he said. And now he is the one who stands accused, a man who swore he’d never use steroids because he didn’t need to be a superhero to his children and thus would not jeopardize his health.
“He’s going to deal with this head-on,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
But usually in a head-on collision, especially with the truth, no one walks away unscathed. Not even a sports figure as beloved in Boston as Ortiz, once presented a plaque by Red Sox owner John W. Henry calling him the greatest clutch hitter in team history.
Also, just for giggles, this is about Manny:
He was suspended for 50 games after MLB officials discovered he had been prescribed human chorionic gonadotropin, a fertility drug for women that men can use to generate production of testosterone after they have stopped using steroids.
Anyway, enjoy the game, those of you who actually get to watch it.