Roger Angell Newsbeat
Friday, November 06, 2015
None of this works, of course, because now it’s the Knicks, for the love of God, and Thanksgiving-recipe thoughts, and no more baseball. No more Gary Keith and Ron in the next room, not even Michael Kay’s mild little “There’s a strike,” to the sunlit-afternoon accompaniment of a lawnmower up the street; and so on now into winter.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
With four divisional playoff games on view yesterday between twelve-thirty in the afternoon and one this morning, a surviving witness of forty-one innings and three hundred and four at-bats (three hundred and twenty-nine batters, counting walks and sacrifices; or one thousand two hundred and fifty-four pitches) can offer only blurry, overlapping notes as summary…..best game of the day, a corker, with deGrom and the celebrated Dodger lefty and double Cy Young holder Clayton Kershaw striking out batters in thickening clusters, and the game teetering on a 1–0 Mets lead after Daniel Murphy’s third-inning homer. Little gardens of K’s accumulated horizontally or vertically on my scorecard, which took on the landscaped air of a pitching duel.
95 years old and he stays up till 1 to watch all 4 games
Wednesday, October 07, 2015
This is the fourth year of the double-wild-card system, and, for the losing players and fans alike, these harsh sudden endings impose a quietus upon the pleasures and recollections of a season, and cast the winning pitchers as executioners. Nothing will be done about this—the arrangement is there to disguise too many teams competing for too few slots in October—but the gimmick makes for harsh feelings not common to the pastime. I unhappily recall an undue coolness or amused hauteur in my own brief description of the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner shutting down the Pirates, 8–0, in last year’s National League wild-card event, before a silenced and horrified home crowd of Pittsburgh loyalists.
The hangman this time was the Astros’ twenty-seven-year-old lefty starter Dallas Keuchel, who had yet to give up a run to the pinstripes this year, over two games and sixteen innings. He throws cutters and sliders to the outermost corners, and is otherwise notable for the clinging marmoset or shoeshine buffer attached to his lower chin. The Houston coaches had noticed that the Yankees’ starter, Masahiro Tanaka, likes to set up his excellent split-finger stuff with something faster and higher beforehand, which accounts for the home runs struck by Colby Rasmus in the second inning and by Carlos Gomez in the fourth, each on the first pitch of the inning.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
It was 11–2 Yankees in the end, by which time I was snug in bed with the lights out, reviewing the debacle. There in the dark, I suddenly found myself thinking of Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain,” a bygone, not-always-read-all-the-way-through classic that offers many heavyweight causeries among weakened but gallant TB patients and attending staff in a mountain sanatorium. Action, as I recall (I was seventeen when I first read the book), is outweighed by long-winded—no: short-winded—cogitation and repeated lackadays. And my dozing notion was reinforced when I remembered that two very young Mets starters, Jacob Degrom and Noah Syndergaard, are to be given some days off in the next couple of weeks, to keep them strong for the post-season. I see the three—Harvey is in there, too—swathed in steamer rugs and lying outdoors in a row on reclining deck chairs, in the clean, high Alpine air, while well-paid attendants bring them bouillon and biscuits, and a frail, wistfully hopeful dialogue springs up among them and flows lengthily along while they wonder what’s happening in the real world, a place of news and action, many miles below, and what their chances are of surviving until next week or even—kaff, kaff—all the way till November.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Drew Storen, the Nats’ closer until his demotion to setup guy when, in a midsummer deal, the club picked up the fabled ex-Red Sox, ex-Phillies Jonathan Papelbon, was the main perpetrator and victim of the above-cited Biblical largesse. He presented a red beard and an aura of near-clinical anxiety. Matt Williams, his manager, brought him back again last night, no doubt as a statement of trust, to face Cespedes, who hit the go-ahead (and winning, it turned out) two-run homer on Storen’s second pitch. Storen, one understands, will remember all this for the rest of his life. So will I.
Papelbon (with that irritating Tik-Tok of Oz stare-in and arm-drop now copied by ten thousand kid pitchers) lost the middle game on a pinch-hit home run by Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Manager Williams made all the available moves but never the right one. Everything Mets skipper Terry Collins tried seemed to work out, including his decision to keep the rookie outfielder Michael Conforto in left in the eighth on Wednesday night, where he made a skidding, breathless late grab to save the day and the joy. Has Collins used up the Mets’ seasonal quota of magic with such prodigality?
Hmm. Only Mets fans ask questions like this.
for his generous support.
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