Tuesday, June 24, 2008

48 Years Later

Why has it taken 11 years of interleague play before we get the rematch of the most exciting World Series Game Seven ever? Sure, the 2001 edition of the Fall Classic (D-Backs over Yankees in seven) had its drama more evenly spread throughout the series than the 1960 Series, but has there ever been a more exhilarating single game in the history of baseball? I think not.

That debate aside, it should be great fun tonight as the third-place Bronx Bombers (behind Boston and Tampa Bay in the AL East) pay their first visit to Pittsburgh in nearly 48 trips around the sun. To put it in a different perspective, the Yanks and Pirates have never played on anything but real grass in a baseball-only venue. Maybe it's for the best that the most hated team in baseball never took the field at Three Rivers Stadium; considering the old-timey feel of this matchup, it just wouldn't seem right if this game had been played on Astroturf.

The Post-Gazette's Dejan Kovacevic covers the ugly recent history between the two teams: three-game sets at Yankee Stadium in 2005 and last summer. If I recall correctly, Roger Clemens started what history will mericfully record as his last comeback against Our Buccos last year, leading to three months of an oft-replayed ESPN highlight of Ryan Doumit striking out against the now-grounded Rocket.

On such a momentus occasion as Yankees at Pirates, I will commemorate the moment with another liveblog. The Ohio Valley's own Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski (who else?) will toss the first pitch before two of the oldest franchises in baseball square off. Happily, both clubs will be wearing uniforms essentially identical to the kits they sported in 1960. Maybe someone besides Nyjer Morgan will wear stirrups to celebrate.

News from Penguinland...Good and Bad
It's a moment all Pens fans feared from the horn ending Game Six of the Cup Final.

No, not Marian Hossa skipping town. (Although that's looking more and more likely.) Not 'Burgh-native Ryan Malone testing the unrestricted waters of his pending free agency. Not even Brooks Orpik taking the Free Candy Van elsewhere.

Gary Roberts is done as a Penguin. If you're looking for more besides the usually dour recap from the scintillating Dave Molinari, check out Seth Rorabaugh from the PG's Empty Netters blog, the highly-esteemed James Mirtle or the always spot-on Pensblog.

All I have to say is I'm keeping my "WWGRD" bumper sticker for needed inspiration.

Also, Evgeni Malkin says (OK, his agent says) that he is willing to accept "less than market value" in order to help GM Ray Shero keep the current group as together as possible in a salary cap league. Of course, for a burgeoning luminary like Gino, "less than market value" will turn out to be juuust underneath the gracious ceiling set by Sir Sidney Crosby at $8.7 million per year.

Sid's willingness himself to limit his earnings somewhat is looking larger and larger as the months pass. Sure, Malkin will probably sign for $8.699 million/year, but when the captain sets the example first, it's going to awfully hard for any Penguin present or future to argue that he's worth more. Luckily for all of us, Gino values wearing the black and Vegas gold more than becoming the world's richest hockey player back in Mother Russia.

Eight days until the free agency fun begins. It should be interesting at the least.

See you tonight for Yanks-Bucs live from the Polish Prodigy mansion in Charleston! Until then, whet your appetite with (sadly) the best YouTube I could find of Maz's transcendant bottom-of-the-ninth blast.

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