Sunday, October 9th, 2005
10:56 pm - The Meek Shall Hit the Walk-Off Homer...  
The Astros knocked the Braves out of the playoffs when light-hitting rookie Chris Burke hit a home run with one out in the bottom of the eighteenth inning. It was the longest game, both innings-wise and time-wise, in baseball playoff history. Houston used all but two players on their roster. Roger Clemens, in his second relief appearance ever, pitched three excellent innings to get the win. He tried to win it literally, as well as statistically, when he took a home run cut as the first batter in the bottom of the eighteenth. It would've been a great moment, but he struck out instead. Fortunately, young Mr. Burke came to the plate next.

The previous longest playoff game was the final game of the NLCS in 1986 between the Mets and the Astros. One of the Astros in that game is now the Astros manager, Phil Garner. Clemens and Burke's heroics allowed Garner to dodge a huge second-guess bullet for his profligate use of his bullpen. He used eight pitchers. If Clemens had to leave the game, Garner's options for a replacement pitcher would've been Roy Oswalt, who pitched 7 innings just yesterday, Andy Pettitte, who was scheduled to start tomorrow, or one of his position players. By comparison, the Astros in the '86 game only used five pitchers, and the Mets just four. Bobby Cox of the Braves used a more reasonable six pitchers in today's game, and still even had a guy on the bench to pinch hit.

Anyway, the two teams I like least of all in baseball have both been ejected from the playoffs. The only way this game could've been sweeter is if it had happened in Atlanta with the Braves fans in mid-tomahawk chop as the ball left Burke's bat.

---
Sometimes you can get away with stuff. Once, while playing softball, I tagged a runner with my glove while holding the ball in my throwing hand. I wasn't consciously trying to cheat, but I was hurrying to complete a double play, and I grabbed the ball out of the glove to throw it without thinking that I hadn't gotten the first guy out yet. Still, I went with it, and the so did the umpire, who must have been blocked. Even the guy I tagged didn't argue... much.

The reason I bring it up is that Bengie Molina just tried to do something similar in the Yankees-Angels game. Molina was catching for the Angels, with Jorge Posada the runner at third for the Yanks. Derek Jeter hit a tricky hopper toward third baseman Chone Figgins, and Posada was off at the crack of the bat. The ball handcuffed Figgins, and he made a terrible throw to home, off line and in the dirt. Molina made a great play to scoop the throw out of the dirt, and then dove towards home, tagging Posada with his glove an instant before Posada's foot hit the plate. The problem was that the ball was in his throwing hand, and he didn't tag Posada with that hand until an instant after Jorge touched home. The reason it was funny to me was that when he was arguing with the umpire, Molina pointed at his glove as if to say that he'd gotten Posada with that. Unfortunately for Bengie, this time the ump wasn't blocked.

---
I finally got off my butt somewhat once the weekend started and I was no longer on vacation. Cleaned the bathroom yesterday, and did some shopping. The best score was a copy of the New Best Recipe, 1000 oversize pages of Cooks Illustrated recipes and notes that I picked up at Sam's Club for a mere $20. I also got a heavy duty stainless steel wire adjustable six-shelf unit there, 4' x 18" x 6' high, for $79. And it's even on casters so I can move it around if I need to. Today I assembled it, and started cleaning out and organizing the corner of my basement that is not the workshop or the laundry, which means it's where I pile every other piece of crap I own. The shelves will let me get stuff like the air conditioner up off the floor. Sadly, I've discovered that snapping my fingers and having the stuff organize itself, a la Mary Poppins, doesn't actually work, and I still have plenty of manual organizing to do. And there's also a ton of crap that has to go to either the dumpster or the Salvation Army. Anyone need a rowing machine? It seemed like a good idea at the time.
 
 
Current Mood: neutral
Current Music: Yankees fans chanting "Bernie Williams"
 
 
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Veejaneveejane on October 10th, 2005 - 03:19 am
What a game that was. I checked in at just the right time, in the 13th, and unlike AL East battles, each inning was pretty fast. Even though they went 4 innings longer than 2004 ALCS gm. 5, they were only one minute longer. (And thus, barely, hold the record for longest postseason game in both innings AND time.)

The funniest part of the Astros roster? The ESPN guys were pretty sure that Andy Pettitte had already flown out for Atlanta, to prep for starting game 5. So really, the team had only 24 people, and used them all save Roy Oswalt.
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DXMachinadxmachina on October 10th, 2005 - 03:30 am
I was down in the basement most of the afternoon, and came upstairs just in time to see your comment in Natter, so I turned it on. Thank you.

Yeah, I heard the thing about Pettitte, too. Garner said in the post game that they had a plan if Clemens couldn't go further, so if the game kept going we might very well have seen either Clemens or Oswalt at first base.
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Veejaneveejane on October 10th, 2005 - 03:50 am
Sort of makes you wonder -- how did the 33-innings game go that long? I mean, even if Backe hadn't crapped out after 4.1, even if he'd gone 7, that still leaves 11 innings for the bullpen to pick up. That's, what, that's 1+ innings each, and I've never met a bullpen in which I'd trust every member to go for a whole inning, much less two.

Clemens at first base is almost as funny an idea as Clemens playing shortstop. I was glad to see Ausmus trading off around the diamond, as if his several-inning sojourn at 1B was like a vacation from catching.
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DXMachinadxmachina on October 10th, 2005 - 04:13 am
Six pitchers for the Redwings, seven for the PawSox. One of the Rochester relievers went ten innings, and another went eight. Like I told Dylan, it was a different era. Pitchers went longer. Back in those days, there were no middle relief specialists. You had starters, usually a closer, rarely a setup guy, and everybody else, most of whom were starter wannabes. Especially in the minors. The last two guys on the PawSox pitchers list are Bruce Hurst and Bob Ojeda, who were both starters in the majors. So were Smithson and Umbarger.
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