Baseball has changed a lot over the years. With immediate reviews and sometimes reversal of umpire decisions accuracy is improved but something is lost. The great umpires and the good ones are put in one pot, all vulnerable to having their calls reversed. Lost is the heated exchanges between umpires, managers and players and discovery of who are the really great umpires. Other things have happened like the science of improving speed and power. Money made that inevitable. The baseball players in their builds, techniques and mannerism resemble something from a clone factory.
Then along comes the second game of the playoffs between Houston and the Yankees. It all came clear in the ninth inning with the score tied one to one. Pitching for the Houston Astros, Verlander. Why is that special. He started the game and he was still in there like three decades ago when the pitcher who started the game was likely to be in the game in the ninth. The new way is to replace pitchers, usually three or four, each one in there to throw as hard as he can for as long as he can. Gone with the new way is the pitcher matching wits with batters three or four times a game, the craftier and better man prevailing. Verlander brought back memories of all those pitchers who started the game and walked off the mound, winner or loser after the end of the game.
Verlander prevailed and we have the bottom of the ninth. For the Yankees, a specialist, to pitch one inning, and overpower batters is on the mound. He is approximately six and one half feet tall and throws pitches 100 miles and hour. To the plate to face him , a five and one half foot batter, perhaps one hundred pounds less than his enemy. First pitch, maybe 100 miles and hour and the little guy raps a single into center field. The little guy dances off first and takes off with the best player on the field hits a ball into right field. The right fielder fields it perfectly but the little guy keeps right on running. Millions watch as the little guy roars around third and heads for the plate, the relay throw likely to beat him to the plate. The throw was fumbled by the catcher and the little guy slides past on his belly, touch the plate as he goes by, and jumps up to celebrate.
It’s why I love game and its memories.