All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Late Show

Bubba on first base, looking into the dugout for a sign

July 18, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, Seattle 4

This was the kind of night of which legends are made. In a game that lasted past midnight due a two-hour rain delay and extra innings, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium came through, as they so often do.

Down 2-4 in the ninth, things looked bleak for the Bombers. But Andy Phillips hit a double to left. Melky Cabrera struck out, and Joe pulled Nick Green from the lineup and substituted Aaron Guiel. Many questioned this. Despite his abysmal batting average, Nick has hit well since he became a Yankee, and was 3 for 3 for the night. But it worked out; Guiel hit a single, bringing Andy home and making it 3-4.

At this point, Bubba came in as a pinch-runner for Guiel. It was starting to rain. The ball was wet and slick; it slipped out of Putz's hand and got past the catcher. Wild pitch. Bubba took off for second base and made it easily. Then Posada hit a single to right, and Bubba went to third.

Jorgie's single was controversial. Because of the rain, second baseman Jose Lopez slipped on the grass and struggled to get a good grip on the ball. Replay showed that his throw did beat Posada to the bag, but he was called safe. The Mariner's manager Mike Hargrove was ejected for arguing the call.

When the game resumed, Johnny Damon hit a sac fly, scoring Bubba. The Yankees had tied it up!

A-Rod was up next, but it then really started pouring. The thunder and lightning was so spectacular you could hear the crowd gasping in awe. (I'm surprised they didn't suspend the game and send the spectators to shelter. Even NFL games, which play through any weather, do not play if there's lightning.)

The umpires really tried to finish the game, but the rain was so bad they called it in the middle of A-Rod's at bat. Tarp went on, and we got two hours of Yankeeography. When the game resumed, A-Rod struck out. Free baseball!

This was a problem. With Bubba in for Nick Green, there were now too many outfielders and not enough infielders. Joe told Bubba he was staying in to play CF. Surprised and concerned, Bubba went to Johnny Damon and asked him if he was okay. And that was how Johnny Damon found out he was playing 1B.

Damon had been learning 1B since his Red Sox days. Boston was worried that similar situations would arise for them, and Damon playing 1B would be the solution. Giambi, wanting to reassure Joe, told him that Damon had played 1B when they were in Oakland together. It wasn't true; Damon had last played 1B when he was 13 years old, in Little League. But when Joe asked him if he'd played 1B before, Damon said "Yes," and didn't specify when.

It worked out all right, despite a really bad pickoff attempt by Scott Proctor. Jorge Posada got hit on the finger by a foul tip, and to give him time to recover, they called for a throw to 1B. But Scott airmailed it, and Damon had to leap up and over for it. If he was an inch shorter, it would have gotten past him. He looked into the dugout and yelled, "What the hell are you doing?" prompting Jeter, Torre, etc., to laugh.

Despite that hairy moment, Damon was solid at 1B, and said he really enjoyed playing there.

The game finally ended with a walkoff homer by Melky Cabrera. Bubba was on deck, and he knew it was gone right away. He flipped his bat in celebration, and waiting by the plate applauding. (I was reminded of his walkoff homer last year, and I bet he was, too.) The Yan-KEES win! One of the sweetest victories I've ever witnessed.

And look! Mother Theresa came to the game!

Oops, no, it's just Derek Jeter with a towel over his head.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:45 PM


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