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Big Sydney: Yanks crying Bronx tears

October 09, 1998

Of all the great movie lines in all the films in all of history, the one containing the least amount of truth was uttered by Tom Hanks in that classic baseball/chick flick, "A League of Their Own."

All together now ...

"There's no crying in baseball."

Yeah, surrre.

Maybe back in the '40s, when the Rockford Peaches were in bloom, the only tears shed at a ballpark fell when Babe Ruth made his final, poignant appearance at Yankee Stadium just weeks before dying of cancer.

Lately, though, the House That Ruth Built has become less of a baseball shrine and more of a whine cellar.

Usually, it's visiting teams playing the Crying Game. Usually, it's the Orioles. Like two years ago, when 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier made the most famous postseason grab involving the Yanks since Sandy Amoros ran down Yogi Berra's slicing liner in the '55 Series. Boo-hoo, cried Baltimoreans (and just about everyone outside the Bronx). We wuz robbed. Wahhhh!

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Then there was the critical game just before this year's All-Star break, in which a phantom out call broke up a ninth-inning Oriole rally in a game the Yanks eventually won. Without that blatant thievery by the men in blue, the O's might have finished only 33 games behind New York, rather than 35.

Visiting teams are one thing. But if you're going to live and work in New Yawk, Ed Whitson once told me, you learn to take adversity or you geddoudatown.

This means you, Chuck Knoblauch-head.

That's why the defining moment of this baseball season might not be Big Mac's 62nd or Big Mac's 70th, or even the end of Cal's streak, but the sorry sight of poor Knoblauch pointing at Cleveland's Travis Fryman and complaining to ump John Shulock while the baseball (and perhaps the Yanks' world title hopes) dribbled harmlessly behind him as Enrique Wilson toodled around the bases with what proved to be the deciding run in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday.

It was eerily similar to the climax of the movie, "Major League." Playoff game, Cleveland vs. New York, bottom of the ninth, score tied. Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) of the Indians points to the bleachers a la Ruth, then drops a surprise bunt as Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) breaks from second base. Jake beats the throw to first, and while the Yankee first baseman (Pete Vuckovich) pauses to jaw at the ump, Hayes keeps running and scores the game-winner with a head-first slide.

Too weird.

Fryman didn't leave the stadium with Rene Russo, did he?

Back to reality. The ump should have called interference on Fryman, but didn't. Umps never, ever, ever, ever make that call, regardless of what the rules say. Besides, Fryman would have beat Tino Martinez's throw, even if Tino had aimed outside the bag toward Knoblauch's glove instead of through Fryman's spine.

Yo, Chuck, all you had to do was shut up and pick up the ball. Cleveland might not have scored, and the game might still be going on.

And don't you love George Steinbrenner calling for an investigation by the commissioner? Hey, George, take away Maier's glove save in '96 and Reggie Jackson's hip check on Bill Russell's relay throw to break up an L.A. double play back in '77, and you might have only one world championship ring instead of three.

And you wondered why I like football better than baseball.

There's NO crying in football.

Well, unless you're Kerry Collins, but that's another story.

On with the predictions (last week: 21-5, .808; season: 95-31, .754):

HIGH SCHOOLS




Tonight's games

Middletown 40, North Hagerstown 7 - Hubs looking at a long Knight.

Urbana 55, Frederick 0 - Urbana bans another foe from scoring.

Liberty 24, Thomas Johnson 22 - History is twisted as Liberty eludes the Patriots.

Boonsboro 21, Catoctin 14 - "Catoctin" is an anagram for "No Tic Tac." Maybe the Cougars prefer Mentos.

Hancock 25, St. James 19 - Hancock could end up with more wins this year than the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Williamsport 24, Smithsburg 15 - Wildcats scratch out another intracounty win.

Walkersville 22, Brunswick 21 - Railroaders may need another week to get on track after Middletown loss.

Franklin 20, Berkeley Springs 18 - But Shumaker has the Indians playing football again.

Musselman 34, Jefferson 21 - No worms on these Applemen.

Allegany 27, Martinsburg 20 - Now that Greenway Avenue Stadium has artificial turf, is it tougher for the Campers to bury their tent stakes?

Palmyra 29, James Buchanan 19 - My pal, Myra, says to pick against J.B.

Greencastle 28, Hershey 21 - Hershey comes again, she's my best friend's girl.

Cedar Cliff 32, Waynesboro 20 - I went to Cedar Cliff once. What a ripoff. Ten bucks just to look at a big wooden sculpture of John Ratzenberger.

Chambersburg 38, Gettysburg 8 - Think the Trojans can lose this one? Gettyoutatown.

Saturday's games

Francis Scott Key 19, South Hagerstown 14 - Rebels have trouble finding the delete Key.

Fort Hill 31, Hedgesville 14 - Sentinels get a little Panhandle payback.

Sidwell Friends 33, Mercersburg Academy 29 - Syd has many well friends. He has many more sick friends.

COLLEGES




Shepherd 41, Concord 29 - Shepherd offense streaks through Concord at supersonic speed. And vice versa.

Shippensburg 47, East Stroudsburg 13 - The outlook is mostly cloudy for E. Stroudy.

Frostburg State 44, Greensboro 10 - Greensboro's team is known as the Pride, which cometh before a fall.

Clemson 24, Maryland 16 - Death Valley is a lot less fearful this year, but the Terps might not realize it.

Air Force 39, Navy 30 - Mids are vulnerable to air attacks.

Penn State 30, Minnesota 20 - Nittanies manage to avoid stepping in Gopher holes.

West Virginia 53, Temple 19 - Mountaineers enjoy an open date. They don't play anybody next week, either.

PROS




Ravens 24, Oilers 20 - Jermaine warfare is becoming a potent weapon for Ravens.

Redskins 5, Eagles 3 - Time for Ray to hit the Rhodes and for Norv to Turner his job over to someone else.

Steelers 31, Bengals 21 - Riverfront Stadium is now known as Cinergy Field. Cinergy sounds like something they warn you about in Sunday school.

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