Derby Day is in the rearview mirror, the apartment remains standing, it didn't rain, the guests seemed reasonably entertained, and Steinbrenner's horse lost. (Though the bipeds he owns are looking a little better, darn it all). Which isn't to say that my blog silence reflected an information blackout: The Pedro 'N' Carlos Show was on as Derby Day wound down last night, with yours truly pausing for an update whenever hosting duties and drunken errands took me by the set. Weirdly, the first two times I stopped long enough to watch an actual bit of the game, Beltran promptly hit home runs. (Later, Emily hollered at me to get my ass upstairs because Carlos was back at the plate. I was late and she was PO'ed at me because he settled for a bunt single.) My weird timing had the effect of minimizing awareness of how perilous Saturday's game actually was — heck, everything I saw seemed to be going just fine.
Today, of course, I got to watch the whole thing. And it was my 36th birthday. So what did Tom Glavine give me for a present? An ordinary performance , shot through with bad luck. Thanks, Tommy! Sad that this was actually a step up for the Manchurian Brave. As I watched bloopers fall in and bleeders trickle through, I worked myself into a mildly hungover fury (in other words, muttery pique) imagining just how Glavine would subtly distance himself from the whole thing. As indeed he did: “I don't know that I have given up that many bloopers and broken bats and whatever else in one game in my career, but that's kind of the way things go when things aren't going your way personally.” Sounds reasonable and properly philosophical, but still has a faint bad smell, a whiff of excuse-making and an instinctual attempt to suggest that Tom Glavine isn't really an actor in this whole drama, but some poor bystander caught up in the chaos when things got messy.
In other words, it's the kind of thing he always seems to say.
“He's a solid hitter, but I don't think you expect him to hit two homers and have all the RBI he has. He's not a guy you look at and equate a lot of power with.” (That was his first start — he's talking about Joe Randa. Subtext: Joe Randa got lucky. Woe is me.)
“Well, there's a couple plays that were tough plays to make. That's the way it goes. It's not like those plays today were easy plays, but they're the kind of plays, obviously, if you make them, they're spectacular plays and they go a long way towards me being more comfortable and more confident out there, and maybe the outcome of the game is different.” (That was after A.J. Burnett and the Marlins mauled us, and it's probably the ultimate Glavine quote: Sounds diplomatic, but shot through with alibis at every turn. Subtext: If Matsui wasn't such a frickin' butcher, I would have been great and we would have won. Woe is me.)
I'm sure I could find more, but I'm too tired to get more pissed about it. Anyway, it's a representative sample: bloodless, aloof, subtly uninvolved. Yep, that's our boy. Sorry we're the spots of tarnish on your Cooperstown plaque, Glav.
As for the non-Glavine portion of the game, poor Chris Woodward had a hell of a day. With his shortstop instincts firing from the wrong side of the diamond, he was like a guy trying to play while looking in a mirror. Victor Diaz looked a bit baffled at being on the opposite side of the outfield as well, and David Wright seemed slow-legged on those fatal plays to his left in the ninth.
Oh, and Spivey sure looked out to me. I'd carp about that more, but you know what? They had 17 hits. Seventeen! When the other guys score 17 hits, seeing a backup infielder on the mound isn't out of the question. And anytime you walk off the field after giving up 17 hits, you don't get to bitch that you got jobbed.