Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Yes, there IS precedent!


For me, the high point of last night's game had to be when Bob "Happy Talk" Costas looked into the stands to see a rather grizzled, grim-faced Yankees fan doing the "rock-a-bye baby" with a "Chuckie" doll. 

Even Bob didn't seem to know what to say to an image that bizarre. For me, it was one of those moments that made me inutterably proud to be a New Yorker. 

Yes, Cleveland Guardians of Traffic: maybe we ARE that crazy!

All of which will mean...bupkus when we get down to Houston, the City of the Swamp. Right?

I mean, this Yankees team is running on fumes. Hicks is now out for the season—again—our doughty bullpen corps is starting to develop the sort of thousand-yard stares seen on World War I doughboys after a month in the trenches, and we're down to starting Jameson Taillon against Justin Verlander, he of the 1.74 ERA and the bodacious wife, a man with a 4-1 record against our boys in the playoffs.

Hey, it could work.

All I'm saying is that there is precedent.

October 2, 1978. Bucky Dent Day. After finally dispatching a stubborn Red Sox team, did a jubilant Yankees squad board Amtrak's Downeaster Alexa for a raucous joyride back to the city, capped by tumultuous reception at...Grand...Central...Station!?

No, they did not. They took a plane to Kansas City, for an ALCS game the very next night. Even back in the day, television had to be served.

It looked pretty grim. The Royals, like Roger Stone's first political hero, were tanned, rested, and ready—or at least as tanned as anyone ever gets in Kansas City. 

If they were not quite as good as the Royals teams that the Yanks had barely put down over the last two years, they had still won 6 of 11 against the Bombers, including 6 of the last 8 they had played. Starting for Kansas City would be the team's ace, Dennis Leonard, coming off his second straight, 20-win season.

Leonard was 2-2 versus the Bronx team in 1978, but his last two starts, in July, had been dominating, complete-game wins. (He pitched 20 complete games that season—and did not even finish first in the AL in that category.)

It looked as though your New York Yankees, battered, exhausted after their long rundown of the Red Sox, had little chance. 

Our wonderful second baseman, Willie Randolph, was out with a bad muscle pull. We were alternating Chicken Stanley and rookie Brian Doyle at second. Other guys on our aging team had been plagued by injuries all year—Thurman, Mick the Quick, Catfish Hunter.

And for pitchers? Well, we were down to a Dartmouth man, rookie Jim Beattie, who had gone all of 6-9 

on the season.

Beattie had been called up after massive injuries to the pitching staff earlier in the year. After a rough start, he had started to come around, going 4-2 in September, including an outstanding game during the Boston Massacre, and had not surrendered a home run all month.

But even he would be going on just three days rest. And in 2 starts against KC he had been hit hard, failing to get past the 4th inning.

Everyone expected the Yanks to more-or-less roll over in the series opener, and try to salvage a split in Kansas City when Ed Figueroa started in Game Two.

And indeed, it was a walkover. By the Yankees, not KC.

This time, it was Leonard who was gone after 4 innings. The Yanks pounded out 16 hits against him and three relievers. Everybody in the lineup had at least one hit. Brian Doyle singled in a key run. Reggie wrapped things up with a three-run homer in the eighth.

Jim Beattie only went 5 1/3, but allowed just 1 run. When he got into trouble, Manager Bob Lemon gave him a quick hook for Ken Clay, a perpetually promising prospect who had been abandoned in the back of the bullpen for most of the season, but who came on to finish out the game for the save. 

(Yes, this was so long ago that it was before the advent of color photography. Or barbers.)

In the end it was NYY 7, KC 1. The Royals had managed only two hits.  

Kansas City came back to smoke Figueroa the next night, but the Yanks won a couple more nailbiters in the Stadium. 

They went on to take the Dodgers—another team they were supposed to be too exhausted to beat—in the World Series. Brian Doyle batted .438. Beattie pitched his first-ever, complete game in Game Five, winning 12-2.  

The team that's revved up and ready to go, coming off a big win and headed into a game they are thought to have absolutely no chance in...well, that's not likely to be your New York Yankees tonight in Swamptown. 

But hey, did you ever think you'd see Yankees fans rocking a Chuckle doll? As a great man once said, there's no predicting baseball!



AboveAverage said...

he only said it ONCE?

Stang said...

Added to the ALCS roster: Oswald Peraza, Frankie Montas, Greg Weissert.

Subtracted: Marwin Gonzalez, Aaron Hicks, Lucas Luetge.

DickAllen said...

Well, those roster changes are certainly good news: more like addition by subtraction.

Publius said...

Wandy's the only lefty in the bullpen. And he's the cliser now. Luetge wasn't much but he was a lefty. Alvarez pounds lefties and righties alike, but Tucker's a lot worse against lefties. Hope the nerds know what they're doing.

The Hammer of God said...

What's happened to Lou Trivino? Anybody know? Is he hurt?

The Hammer of God said...

Yanks blew two games against Cleveland, but still won a best of five. That's pretty rare.

It's high time that the Yankees beat these cheatin' ASS-stros. (BTW, they're probably still cheating.) Cheating or not, by hook or by crook, Yanks better win this time and get it done!

Game 1, without rest or sleep but coming off the high of surviving the Cleveland series, I think the Yanks can ride that momentum, unless the Verlasshole throws his usual one hit shutout against us. According to players, it's actually the second game of a series where the tired road team can go ka-put. Which appears to be in line with what happened in '78.

AboveAverage said...

carpenter starts at DH with Stanton in LF

HoraceClarke66 said...

Interesting! And probably disastrous. But whatta we got to lose?

HoraceClarke66 said...

I thought Montas needs TJ or something. Is Cashman now reanimating people in a secret lab? If so, I want him to bring back Whitey Ford.

Joe of AZ said...

Interesting lineup..... We'll see

HoraceClarke66 said...

And Weissert should not be used for anything but make-up.

Joe of AZ said...

Surely luetge was better thru the year the weissert but alas....the nerds know best

ranger_lp said...

I'm thinking Luetge is injured and can't help the club presently...

AboveAverage said...

I was reminded just seconds ago that Yogi Berra was once a bench coach for the Astros.

Perhaps somewhere hidden deep within the sub-levels of Minute Maid Park is Yogi's legendary long-lost cooler stocked with his personal stash of vintage Yoohoo, (which as we all know was a contractual stipulation in all of Berra's management and coaching contracts).

With a shelf life only rivaled by Twinkees, chugging back a few bottles or cans of vintage luke warm Yoohoo could supply all the vital energy our worn down players need to get over the hump and thrash the Astros in four straight!

ZacharyA said...

It's Scott Effross who needed TJS, not Frankie Montas.

Montas just had a bum shoulder.

DickAllen said...

It seems DJ is done for the year