- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Antarctica's Finest

Tom Glavine and Jamie Moyer had never faced each other despite having 85 years, 543 wins and 7518.2 innings pitched between them. Seems incredible, but it isn't really — Moyer came up with the Cubs but only overlapped Glavine for a year and change before relocating to the AL, where he stayed until late last year. (Of course, as Jayson Stark will surely note, Glavine and Moyer are now scheduled to oppose each other in their next starts. Isn't that always the way baseball works?)
You get older, you admire different things. Brains over brawl. Guile over flash. Finesse over bull-in-the-china-shop. Tonight seemed like it would be a pitching clinic and a celebration of all of the above: Two smart old lefties who changes speeds, outthink hitters and would die on the mound before giving in.
Instead, it was kind of a mess, with the cold playing havoc with location and rhythm, leaving two smart old lefties trying to MacGyver their way out of a corner. Glavine looked like a dead man walking early, wreathed in his own breath when he wasn't scattering it with uncharacteristic shows of anger; according to the man himself, he realized he was rushing and managed to slow things down. (Can you blame him for wanting to hurry up and get the hell back in the dugout on a night better suited for yeti?) Moyer almost managed to make a win out of duct tape and toilet-paper rolls and Jimmy Rollins home runs, but was undone by his defense, his teammates' slumbering bats and the buzzsaw that is Jose Reyes 2.0.
So in the end, what you got was a study in perseverance. Which, in a way, was a lot cooler. Anyone can ooh and ahh about 96 on the black and 12-to-6 curves. An old guy finding a way to win [1] and another old guy keeping his team in the game on a night neither would describe themselves as anywhere close to masterful? That's to be appreciated on a different level, but it ought to be appreciated nonetheless.
As for Jimmy Rollins, I tip my cap. I was proud of the Opening Day crowd for giving him both barrels (as I was proud of tonight's sparse crowd of diehards for applauding Lastings Milledge's last AB for a while), but he recovered from an enormous public humiliation to play two pretty fine games in enemy territory. By now it's well-known that the Mets and Phillies are neighbors who've barely noticed each other over 40-odd years. But it shouldn't be that way. There should be rivalry and respect and rancor between these franchises and cities and fan bases, and Rollins may have finally helped it into being. I mean, why not Philadelphia? They took Chicago and St. Louis away from us, leaving us with Atlanta. But Atlanta's too far away and their fans don't show up for playoff games. Where's the fun in that?
Of course, if Rollins continues to be the only one who comes ready to play, there won't be much point.