A rainout?! On March 3? For the first telecast taking place outside work hours? That hurt. All rainouts before the last week of April are cruel, but when it's the second day of the exhibition season and New York resembles the surface of Pluto, that's twisting the knife something fierce. I sulked, bi-doop bi-doop bi-dooped my way through a little TiVo, then went out and got drunk.
The scribes' player du jour is Philip Humber, now being cast for the role of Guy Who Should Go North According to Insane Fans Calling WFAN. Granted, a cursory inspection of young Mr. Humber reveals plenty to ooh and ahh about: big dude whose fastball hits 97, 12-to-6 curve, change-up, splitter. And his fanning Miguel Cairo on a 3-2 hook before having an inning of pro ball under his belt was pretty impressive, even if no one really saw it but a few guys in blue, orange, black and white and some egrets. I'm most impressed that he managed to hit 42 guys at Rice — not because I'm bloodthirsty, but because these days aluminum bats make most college and high-school pitchers positively allergic to pitching inside. One less thing to learn climbing the ladder.
Then there's that old mystic chords of memory thing that you and I are suckers for. The other day Humber asked Pedro for a little tutorial on the circle change, which Pedro was apparently happy to offer. Pedro's circle change, as we've heard many times by now, was taught to him by Guy Conti, who in turn learned it from Johnny Podres, who earned our spiritual ancestors' eternal gratitude by using it to ruin the Yankees in 1955.
Closer to home, Humber's coach at Rice was Wayne Graham, collector of 33 at-bats (three of them hits) with the '64 Mets. .091, but still one of ours, darn it. I can hear the Ken Burns music now.