The Pirates are not exactly an east coast team, not on the Atlantic coast anyway. They’re somewhere in the mountains, not that it really matters, but for whatever reason, most media mob scenes swarm the coasts, New York and Boston in the East and San Francisco and Los Angeles in the West. Maybe the reception is bad where it’s hilly? But a camera crew could wear hiking boots, no? And with wires crisscrossing all across North America, anywhere can be the capital, no? Even Casper, Wyoming which just so happens to be the birthplace of three former major leaguers, one of whom tossed a perfect game – Tom Browning. The other two are Dan Spillner and Mike Devereaux.
Maybe Oakland and Pittsburgh are related? Both the A’s and Pirates enjoy great regular season records, this year an exception for the A’s, but typically come playoff time, they bow out early. Granted, Jake Arrieta is Pedro Martinez circa 1999-2000, against the Pirates. I enjoyed Joe Maddon’s attitude leading up to their wild card game. They could have sat Arrieta down and not started him against the Pirates a few weeks ago just in case the teams faced each other in the playoffs. Little League teams do that…so I guess hitters don’t discover a secret grip or motion, glitch in the pitcher and sock it to ’em. But Arrieta could shutout the Pirates blindfolded, so what does Clint Hurdle do? He inserts Sean Rodriguez into the starting lineup. I guess because Sean hit 12 doubles in 224 regular season at bats? But he was playing first base? I’m not a stereotyper, but Freddie Patek was small and played second base. Jose Altuve too.
Having said that, I’ve come to expect first baseman to be long and tall and usually left-handed. Short hair is not requirement, but any hair dipping shoulder length, I think of shortstop and wonder if hair sometimes gets in the way of an acrobat play? Inevitably, I then dream of U.L. Washington’s afro which had some symmetry or planet like sensibility where as Zane Smth’s hair was everywhere, but then again it worked wonders for Randy Johnson who really did resemble an Eagle. Anyway, U.L. Washington and the toothpick he wore while picking balls in the hole at short…well I like thinking about that from time to time. Makes me feel better.
But where was I? Oh yeh, the camera during the Pirates-Cubs game panned around first base or maybe I was imagining this? But all I could see was long black hair and it wasn’t Michael Morse and there was no smile and first baseman are supposed to be nice like a congenial host serving tea in the Bedouin desert. Sean Casey nice. I hear he was the nicest guy on planet earth and he was tall and played first base for the Reds, but this guy on the TV looked small and wasn’t smiling, but was wearing a first baseman’s mitt. I was confused. Something amok in Allegheny County?
As it turned out, I was wrong. Rodriguez is 6 feet tall. Maybe his socks were jacked up to his knees and that evoked an illusion? Were his socks jacked up that high? I don’t remember, but I do remember what he did to the Gatorade coolers in the Pirates dugout and I have to admit. It was cool. He sent out a right left flurry that looked a hell of a lot like Sugar Ray Leonard.
Francisco Cervelli wears his socks up high. He’s the Pirates catcher and before that he was the Yankees catcher. Is he riding Russel Martin’s shadow. Next year on the Blue Jays?
The Canadian commentary between innings comes from retired catcher Gregg Zaun. I don’t know if he lives in Canada or just works here? But he sits in the booth for every Blue Jays game and he understood why Rodriguez not only beat up the coolers, but attempted to knock out Jake Arrieta in the bench clearing brawl. I think he was aiming for Arrieta when he launched a paunch in a hockey goon sort of way? Rodriguez never batted in the game. He was replaced before he had a chance so Zaunn says he had a right to be pissed off. OK.
Anyway, Jake Arrieta looked like a pumped up Schwarzenegger after the game picking up teammates and hugging them and not really looking the least bit tired and this after tossing a complete game, 4 hit shutout. He beaned a couple of batters and so the Pirates beaned him and hence the soft core brawl. Rodriguez got ejected and Arrieta said that the Pirates hitting him was justified after the game. That kind of accountability struck me as rare or maybe it’s like an obese cashier at a hamburger joint preaching that beauty is only skin deep.