200 Miles From the Citi

June 21, 2010 5:40 AM

A Few Bad Pitches


It's been a while since you've heard from me.

Had some visitors in from out of town, plus my wife took over for Father's Day, so I have a few things that I haven't addressed that I want to touch on.

(And since my wife and the visitors from out of town represent the majority of my readership, I figured it wouldn't be the worst thing to take a few days off.)

But all of the topics I want to address revolve around the same theme - one pitch. So here, in three parts, A Few Bad Pitches:

1)  Johan Santana versus Mark Teixeira:  The Mets' road successes and winning streak came to a screeching halt this weekend in the Bronx.  On Sunday, the Mets' fortunes turned on one pitch - a third inning offering that Mark Teixeira turned on and hit out of the park for a grand slam, accounting for the only runs of the ballgame.

The YES broadcasters had talked early in the game about how Johan Santana knew he couldn't make mistakes going against CC Sabathia Sunday afternoon.  Santana didn't pitch poorly, to be quite honest (different from Mike Pelfrey, who did not have a great outing on Saturday against the Yankees), and he was not hit hard in the at-bats leading to the bases loaded-homer with no one out.  But he made one costly mistake to Teixeira that resulted in the Mets losing to the Yankees and preventing them from taking the season series from the other New York team.

2)  The Boston Red Sox versus Major League Baseball:  The 2012 All Star Game was awarded to Kansas City this week.  Apparently Bud Selig had promised the Royals that if they made renovations to their ballpark he would reward them with an All Star Game at some point.  They did, so he did.  And I'm reading that the Boston Red Sox people are upset because they wanted that All Star Game in the year in which Fenway Park was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

I think the Red Sox made a bad pitch.  After all, they just had the game 11 years ago.  It was a fantastic event at Fenway Park, and the park looks different now than it did in 1999...but wait your turn.  Bud Selig mentioned that in the 1990s he practically had to beg teams to host the All Star Game...and now he has teams lined up for the game.  (Among them are the Mets and Yankees, and I'll make the same argument against the game going back to the Yankees, who hosted two years ago, when the Mets haven't had it in 40 or so years.)

The argument against Kansas City is that the Royals are a losing team, and they don't draw very well attendance-wise.  So why reward that?  Sounds to me like that's just the reason this city should host an All Star Game.  What better way to recapture a generation of fans that have never seen winning baseball than to bring them the game's best?  Not to mention the fact that the Royals play in one of the most beautiful ballparks in the majors - which was made even more beautiful by the renovations.

So if indeed the Red Sox are upset by Selig's decision...just relax.  Your turn will come up again.  I, for one, can't wait to see Kauffman Stadium featured in 2012.

3)  What's happening on the soccer pitch?  OK, maybe this one's a stretch...but I always like throwing out the term 'soccer pitch'.  I'm enjoying the World Cup, but what in the world goes on with soccer?  I mentioned recently that I'm not sure I get the arbitrariness of extra time, but then there's this ghost foul call that cost the United States an important goal.  The ref doesn't have to give a reason on the field?  Come on.  And the French team walked out on its practice Sunday?  Talk about drama.  Maybe it's not so much the sport as the spectacle that makes this such a popular sport around the world.  I'll deal with it for a little while longer if the U.S. manages to make it out of the first round.

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