Part One: Before the game at dinner in the Food Court after my first set of rounds
“Baseball? It’s just a game – as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes. It’s a sport, business – and sometimes even religion.” Ernie Harwell, “The Game for All America,” 1955
How Will Andy Pettitte Pitch on 3 Days Rest?
I am a member of the Church of Baseball, Harbor Park Parish. So I guess baseball is like a religion to me. It is one of the few things that I can count on that will relax and excite me at the same time that ball parks are among the few places that I can go to find a measure of peace. To quote Sharon Olds “Baseball is reassuring. It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up.” Baseball has much in common with the Christian faith it has a cycle and rhythm much like the liturgical year, it has its sacraments, law and grace and even its own Communion of Saints as Richard Gilman said: “Baseball is a game dominated by vital ghosts; it’s a fraternity, like no other we have of the active and the no longer so, the living and the dead.” It is a sport that venerates respects and remembers its greats, and holds them to higher standards than just their performance on the field. It is a game that unlike other sports, those who transgress even if they are some of the best ballplayers who ever lived are banned from the game, in a sense excommunicated. Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe Jackson and the players involved in the “Black Sox” scandal after the 1919 World Series stand in witness to that fact. Many of those proven to have taken steroids or suspected of doing so are being shunned by many of baseball’s greats.
Old Dog: Padro Martinez, Can He Come up Big?
The crescendo of the baseball season amid its ebb and flow is the World Series. Players who excel in the Series are venerated by their team’s fans and sometimes the rest of the baseball world. This year the Series has seen some incredible baseball and some great drama as each game is played and the story, the legend and even the myth is renewed. Men like Reggie Jackson have become known as “Mr. October” for their exploits in the series and almost every year there is a player, great or small who does something that leads to greatness or sometimes disgrace.
Andy Pettitte went to the pitchers mound at the new Yankee Stadium and delivered the first pitch of game six of the 2009 World Series. In the Philadelphia Phillies dugout another old dog, Pedro Martinez wrapped in his warm up jacket waited even as Jimmy Rollins stepped into the batters box. It is a drama with another twist, for the first time in World Series history both starting pitchers will be over 37 years old, in other words for their sport old men. Yes there have been older players but you don’t see many, especially starting pitchers. Tonight we see two men who are in different stages of the tail end of their careers. Pettitte may have a few more years left in him, but Martinez began the year not even on a team and was a late season acquisition by the Phillies.
The question for tonight’s game is if Pettitte, pitching on 3 days rest will be able to deliver a solid outing and if Pedro will have as good of stuff as he had against the Dodgers in the NLCS. The Yankees know Pedro well and if he is the slightest bit off they could make short work of him. If Pettitte is off the Phillies hitting machine may crank it up a notch.
Since I as a Giants, Orioles and Athletics fan have no dog in this fight I did a careful analysis of the numbers and I predicted that the Yankees will win the series in six. I said that the Yankees and Phillies would split in New York. I also said that the Yankees would take games three and four in Philly and that Cliff Lee would win game 5, so far so good. Based on my analysis I have predicted that Andy Pettitte will get the win to close the series but give the Phillies a chance of getting the win and forcing game seven. This time I think that the Yankees hit Pedro hard and that will be the difference. (to see my complete analysis and prediction follow this link: https://padresteve.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/padre-steve%e2%80%99s-world-series-prediction-and-book-and-bible-burning-update/
If the Game is Close Expect Mariano Rivera to Come in During the 8th Inning
I think that Pettitte will do well enough to get the ball to Mariano Rivera in the 8th inning. Rivera will then have a six out save. I think on the hitting side of the house that Derek Jeter will continue to hit well, that Johnny Damon will hit and that Alex Rodriguez will have clutch hits. The addition of the bats of Jorge Posada who came in halfway through game five and Hideki Matsui who showed up in a pinch hitting role in that game will give the back half of the Yankees lineup some extra power which was not present in game five. For the Phillies I think that Chase Utley and Jayson Wirth have a good game and one or the other may take a Yankee pitcher yard. In the end I do not think that it will be enough, I think that the Yankees win their 27th World Series tonight. The only thing to do is sit back and watch, and if by some chance I am wrong about the outcome of this game, know that I am neither the Prophet nor the Son of the Prophet and since I am merely a miscreant Priest and not the Pope I am certainly not infallible.