It must be tough to continue to be one step ahead of the baseball watching public. But Pedro Martinez continues to do it. We first started to see it with his elaborate ruse to use "the toe" to escape the World Baseball Tournament.
Tonight was the ultimate candid camera moment...because Pedro won Wednesday night's game last Thursday. You read the quotes from Guillen just like I did:
"Pitching inside, that's part of the game. But throwing at people, that's different. And that's what he was doing. He's trying to intimidate people. And sooner or later, he's going to get hurt. I can guarantee you that."
I remember years ago when Shaquille O'Neal and the Orlando Magic were the latest new world order to try to stop Michael Jordan's Bulls in the late 90's. O'Neal frequently, as he still does, uses his size to intimidate opponents. And he did just that early during that 1996 playoff series as he was the first player since the Pistons Bad Boys who dared knock Jordan off his feet during a game. After Shaquille took the body to Jordan, he helped Jordan back to his feet. Jordan responded to Shaq's sportsmanship by whispering to his one of his Bulls teammates: "I got him". Sure enough, the Bulls swept the Magic out of the eastern conference finals.
Pedro, in knocking the easily affectable Guillen off of his fragile mental state last Thursday, set the stage for Wednesday night...a night when the world at large expected Battle Royale. Instead, we got Guillen grounding into a double play with the bases loaded to get Pedro out of a jam. Dare I say, it was an at-bat set up by Martinez's aggressiveness on Thursday. Pedro Martinez plays chess while Jose Guillen plays checkers.
He got him.
And in the expectations of the baseball viewing public at large, we were all playing checkers. Six days later, it's checkmate.
Concidentally, I received an e-mail today with a link to an article written about perspective. It was written by Bloomberg columnist Scott Soshnick, and it basically covered the fickle nature of sports fans. The article talks about Florida's stud forward Joakim Noah, and how three weeks before his incredible Final Four, nobody knew who he was. It also discusses Vince Young, and how one minute his the next Joe Montana, and one Wonderlic test later he's a few sandwiches short of a picnic. The end of the article covers fans fickle nature regarding Carlos Beltran and the overloaded expectations regarding David Wright. It's a must read, boys and girls.
Could our blackberry, internet driven world be part of the reason that everyone expected the next World War to break out at RFK Stadium tonight? Shows like Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption were hyping this matchup all week. A certain idiot blogger even depicted Jose Guillen as a boxer (although I do suspect some anger issues there).
What Soshnick is talking about is something I like to refer to as "The Gregg Jefferies Syndrome". To me, the whole thing started when Jefferies got so much hype that his rookie card had a list price of $100 while Gregg was still at Norfolk swinging bats in a swimming pool. Since then, the hype machine created by the explosion of media outlets has no boundaries, whether it's Brien Taylor (who bombed), LeBron James (who actually surpassed the ridiculous and disgraceful amount of media attention he received while still in high school), or even this season's San Jose Sharks, who in year's past would have had at least some opportunity to sneak up on some higher seeds in the first round of the playoffs. But with every prognosticators' zeal to find the next cinderella, everyone in the hockey world can't stop talking about the Sharks...so even as a 6 or 7 seed, there will be no sneaking up on anyone.
Hence, we got a lot of hype for which turned out to be a run of the mill Mets victory. And Pedro Martinez is laughing at all of us.
Oh my lord.
When you click on this link and watch this video, besides gagging at Sid Bream's lack of rhythm, you will laugh at MC Hammer's attempt to become relevant in the baseball world again as he abandons his hometown Oakland Athletics to shill for the Braves. "My team, my town, my Braves".
But if you think that Hammer-time as a Brave is the final bit of karma that breaks their division title streak once and for all, there's one more surprise for you.
This, my friends, is the last straw.
MC Hammer, and Jeff Torborg? I feel a circle of baseball life closing. A long, dark era coming to a fitting end.