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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Up Against The Wall

Saturday
October 8, 2005

Last night's Yankees/Angels game was a tough one to watch as a Yankees fan. With the Yankees up 7-6 in the sixth, Chone Figgins came to the plate with runners at first and third and two outs. He'd been hitting the ball very well, but had been experiencing very bad luck with his line drives going right at players (as opposed into open territory for base hits). In other words, he was due for a big play. That's the type of situation in MVP Baseball 2005 where I'd hit the L1 and L3 buttons (to intentionally hit the batter). Yes, that causes a walk to drive in a tying run with the next batter, but it also allows a force at any base. And it also avoids a base hit, which Figgins ended up delivering. I know it's easy to say these things in hindsight, but I was thinking that as I sat there on my couch, watching the game last night, as Figgins stood at the plate. Quite frustrating.

But the fact that the Yankees are even in the post-season with their rag-tag pitching staff is a miracle, and I daresay that Joe Torre deserves manager of the year consideration. He won't get it, not with the payroll his club has, but when you are depending on Aaron Small and Chien-Ming Wang to get quality wins... I mean, that sounds like a Devil Rays level of desperation. But somehow, Torre and the Yankees made it happen.

Meanwhile, here's an overdue HA HA to Indians fans everywhere for choking down the stretch when they had given their supporters reason to care. It wasn't as bad as the 1995 World Series loss to the Braves, and certain not as bad as the 1997, Game 7, extra inning loss to the Marlins, but hey, that gave me an excuse to bring those up again, which is always fine by me.

David Wells
David Wells throws a strong fastball, but he doesn't look like a prototypical athlete.

And Red Sox fans, pack it in for the winter. Finished, three and out. Doughboy David Wells and knuckleballer David Wells couldn't get the job done. It's not so easy without Pedro Martinez, now is it? Remember, the BoSox blew a 6 lead over the Yankees in the AL East. Had the Red Sox not won the World Series last year, this would be mentioned as one of the great collapses of all time. If it was the other way around, Bill Simmons would have written 30 columns about it. I'm a huge Simmons fan, but he is an admitted homer for Boston.

Even though I like the NFL more than MLB, there aren't any NFL teams that I outright despise like there are in baseball. I really can't stand the Red Sox or the Indians. If the Orioles are in there, I'll root against them, just for competitive reason with my bro Matt (who is an Orioles fan), but I don't hate them per se. In the NFL, I don't like the Dolphins (read the September 28, 2001 commentary entry on here for just one reason why), but I don't hate any particular team. Ditto for the NHL (though I root against Detroit, just as many root against the Yankees since they're almost always in the hunt) and the NBA (though it was touch-and-go there for awhile with the Lakers).

If you don't live in Tampa, you probably don't realize how excited people are around here for the return of the NHL, and in particular the Lightning. Considering that the NHL was off for the entirety of last season, and that it's struggling to re-establish itself and put over its new rules (like the elimination of ties!), Tampa Bay is a market where interest is high and excitement is strong. It helps when you've been the reigning champs for two years, I suppose...


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