I continue to spend much of my time at the local hospital, where my father is greatly improved but not yet out of the woods. As an older fellow with myriad health problems, my father is subject to a game of health dominoes: you take a severe blow to one system and all the others start breaking down. It’s like pulling at the bottom of a house of cards.
I’m there to keep him company, not watch baseball, but he’s sensitive to my work and my enthusiasms, and so he keeps offering. Unfortunately, the television in his room gets about 12 channels, none of them YES or the MLB network. He does get ESPN, but their attention to the only sport that matters has been intermittent as they’ve been dealing with the NFL draft, badminton, and other apparently pressing matters. Because I stupidly opted for a Windows smart-phone last time around, not an iPhone, I don’t have access to the MLB game-watching app. Of course, even if I had it, I would not be allowed to watch Yankees games on it.*
*Here’s a great game with which to teach your kids geography. You say a location—"Minsk, Balarus!" and your child shouts back, "It’s blacked out!"
"Elephant Butte, New Mexico!"
"It’s blacked out!"
"It’s blacked out!"
MLB blackouts: educational fun for the whole family and a boon for the manufacturers of blood pressure medication.
…I’m able to get textual play by play on my phone, so I followed the last two games by hitting "refresh" a lot and killing my battery. Naturally, these two games, practically the only two games I have not seen in something like 10 years, were contests of great import. Imagine sitting in a hospital and you see Phil Hughes’ line, it’s something like 7/0/0/0/1/9, and there’s no television for you to get to literally in a space of city blocks? You might weep. Imagine that you saw word of a triple play flashed and you weren’t watching? I rent my garments. Why couldn’t I have missed two interminable 12-5 games against the Orioles? The West Coast trip and its late starting times have been no help, as I’ve been able to negotiate an after-hours pass and stay around the hospital well past the end of visiting hours.
As long as my father is alive, I don’t really care. Still, it’s fun to complain.
Tonight, the Yankees start a series against an Angels team that found some oxygen after a rough start, albeit against the Blue Jays and Tigers. They miss ace Jered Weaver but have to face control artist Joel Pineiro again on Saturday. As we discovered last time around, he makes a difficult opponent for the Yankees’ wait-’em-out approach on offense because he just doesn’t miss. The rest of the Angels’ rotation is control-oriented as well, so as damaged as the club has been by the loss of Chone Figgins, John Lackey, et al, they may still represent a difficult opponent for the Yankees.
The Angels have lost catcher Jeff Mathis, the fellow who made the Yankees’ life so difficult in last year’s playoffs, to the disabled list. He had begun the season the way he left off the last, hitting as if he actually knew what he was doing. Now the Angels will be forced to play Mike Napoli, a far better hitter/worse receiver. Napoli hasn’t hit yet this year, but will with regular playing time. The effect on the pitching staff will probably be less than Mike Scioscia seems to think it will be, so maybe this is a net gain for his team.
For the Yankees: Mark Teixeira is a career .285/.394/.526 hitter at Angels Stadium, while Nick Johnson hasn’t hit there at all, although it has been about five years since he’s dropped by. Javier Vazquez has a career 1.32 ERA there, but in all of 13.2 innings. Just checking to see if the California sun will heal the sick. Funny how that’s on my mind.
More over the weekend as I get a chance to check in. As the old song goes, enjoy yourself—it’s later than you think!