(If you're looking for a "Dancing With the Stars" recap, it's below this one.)
The gnats at Jacobs Field on Friday had people from NPR to Sporting News Radio looking at it as divine retribution against the Yankees. Which tells you something about the way the Yankees are viewed in most parts of the world.
But hey, one guy's plague is another's opportunity, as I explain after the jump ...
This is from a piece I've written to run in the Beacon Journal sometime in the next couple of days:
All right, Indians fans, which plague do we use next?
The biblical descent of flying creatures on Friday certainly made the Yankees cringe. But the Indians are not done, so let's not put away our Old Testaments yet.
There are 10 plagues of Egypt, and Friday's bugs could actually count as three -- gnats, flies and locusts. The Yankees certainly made it sound as if they had encountered some triple-threat disaster.
As Ryan Garko said, "The other guys were acting like bullets were flying at them."
Hey, they're from the Bronx. Bullets would be routine.
Of the remaining plagues, one -- the death of the first-born -- is too harsh no matter how much you love the Indians. But that still leaves six other possibilities.
Water to Blood. Suppose that the ballpark beer suddenly went blood-red. Not exactly appetizing. Take away liquid courage, and the opposing fans will have less reason to cheer -- especially in Jacobs Field. Of course, Indians' fans may not imbibe either, but they're hardy stock. They can actually get excited by what's happening on the field.
And, to make it worse, throw in the plague of frogs -- with them chanting "Bud"-"Weis"-"Er," just to remind the brew-deprived what they're missing.
Thunder and Hail. This being Northeast Ohio, rotten weather is always a possibility. Those of us still repairing hail damage from summer's storm wouldn't at all mind seeing players from out of town get a pelting. See how much they cry about that.
Darkness. The Yankees were apparently not the only team dealing with some divine intervention during the playoffs. Consider this Associated Press description of the third Rockies-Phillies game: "A cold front hit the stadium just moments before the Rockies took the field, dropping the temperature 15 degrees into the lower 60s, with gusty winds stirring dust and trash around the stadium. The eerie level went up another notch one pitch into the second inning, when the lights went out and cameras started flashing around the stadium."
That was in the Rockies' park. And you know who won that series. So how about some creepy atmosphere in the Jake? Hail optional.
Boils. And you can guess where we'd love to see those appear. No sitting in the dugout, thank you very much.
Diseased Livestock. Now, why does that make me think of Jason Giambi?
That's the end of that piece. But let me also address some of the folks who have called about my Sunday column on TBS and Indians-Yankees. Several readers thought it was a review of coverage, and said I failed to comment enough on the announcers' seeming bias toward the Yankees.
In my piece, I did throw in one Chip Caray line from Friday that was badly pro-Yankee (and wrong), but the piece was not meant to be a review of coverage. Instead, the assignment as given was to explain how a telecast worked -- the meetings, the preparation, the hand signals, the adjustments to the unexpected. So that's what I concentrated on.
Still, while the telecasts included some props for the Indians, there were times it skewed Yankee. The third game, which took place after my piece ran, seemed especially pro-pinstripes; my Indians-loving bride was snarling through quite a bit of the early coverage that night. That could be the subject of another piece down the road. It wasn't the aim of the Sunday column.
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