Not exactly what I expected.
I have to say, that after the high hopes and dashed dreams of the division and league championship series, I was only mildly convinced by baseball pundits that in this series, at long last, we had a battle worthy of "The Fall Classic".
The Yankees, I reasoned, were too big, too bad, too good to be denied. We made silly mistakes that we don't normally make, and because of those mistakes we turned three close games into three lost games. The Angels looked fantastic almost all season, and fought back, but just seemed petrified by the "cold" weather of New York City (40 degrees? Spare me!). The Phillies were from a league that both we and the Angels whooped this year, the Phillies could probably be rusty, and I could hear Joe Buck mentally crafting his panegyrics in honor of Derek Jeter's chin, Alex Rodriguez's eyes, and CC Sabathia's waist. (In my mind Joe Buck has Tiger Beat posters of all the Yankees inside his locker at Fox Studios.) What chance could the Phillies have against the Yankees AND Rupert Murdoch's golden boy?
Turns out a pretty damn good one.
And why? They field well, they hit well, they run well. We do those things too, we just don't do them against the Yankees...and why is that? Because we play scared, and they play confident. There is no better example of that than Cliff Lee's basket catch, a play which might live on in infamy (or might be seen as total overconfidence depending on the next few games). We tried to do everything so incredibly perfect that everyone would suddenly fall in love with us. The Phillies just went out and did it.
At least...they did last night...the rest of the series can be another issue entirely, and as a baseball fan I hope that it is. I hope the Yankees make a contest of it...and then lose. But, in case there is a Yankees fan on our site, I want to make one thing clear.
The reason I have a problem with the Yankees is the ideology of the team, the corp
orate philosophy, if you will. That's a phrase that makes no sense in the midwest where the game is meant to be played, enjoyed, suffered and savored: not to be used as a business to be won. What's more, when you win you should be proud, but not cruel to your opponents. As my mother said: "it's not that we lose...it's that they don't seem to acknowledge that we had a right to be on the same field. No one talks about how we 'gave 'em a good game', they just act like winning was something they were entitled to."
To that end, I am happy to point out a kind, decent, thoughtful set of Yankees fans over at "It's About the Money (stupid)"--which looks like a decent bunch of fans rather than blowhards, faithful devotees rather than furious militants, defenders of an economic philosophy rather than a imperialistic ideal. To wit: this post from Jason Rosenberg which critiques the kind of behavior that drives non-Yankee fans crazy.
Of course, if the Phillies stay the course, than this image from the New York Post may begin what is already formulating in my mind as possibly the best Baseball/horror schlock movie of all time.
Tonight, Pedro Martinez goes to the hill, which is awesome because when I was 7 years old, I saw Pedro Martinez play for the Great Falls Dodgers, my home town team. Weirdest of all...Pedro apparently still has a soft spot for Great Falls...Let's go PEDRO!