Baseball Diaries

The major league baseball playoffs began yesterday, but here in Los Angeles, today is the big day, as the Dodgers bring their streaky, drama-queen team to New York for their first game this afternoon at 1 p.m. LA time.

Major League Baseball has invited several playoff participants to keep blogs. The Dodgers’ Game 1 pitcher Derek Lowe is one of them. Here he describes how he spent part of his day off yesterday in NY:

Today started about as far from baseball as possible. A few of us left the hotel and went to Ground Zero. I hadn’t been there in three years. We walked around and thought a lot about what it means. I went over to Station 10, the fire station that’s located right across the street from where the towers fell.


A couple of the firemen recognized me and yelled my name. They called us over, and we spent maybe an hour with them. They showed us around the station and we talked. I didn’t want to get into too much detail, but I was curious and they told us about what it was like on Sept. 11. They were the first responders, being right there across the street. It kind of puts our job in perspective. A bad day for us really isn’t like a bad day, compared to what those guys go through.

I put Lowe first, because he’s our guy, but the best playoff blog by far is the Oakland A’s Barry Zito, who beat the Twins in their game 1 yesterday. Zito is going to be a free agent after this postseason. Based on his talent alone, I hope the Dodgers sign him. But his writing ability is a plus for a city that likes a good story:

You know that Kevin Costner movie, “Love of the Game”? You know when he talked about, ‘Quieting the mechanism?’ I don’t know how I did it, but I quieted this crowd in my head today. Last time I pitched in the playoffs here, I’d look in for the signs, and Ramon Hernandez’s fingers looked like they were shaking from sound waves bouncing around. But today my focus was so sharp, and it was like I just turned the volume down in my head. It was just me and Jason, pitch and catch. That, more than anything, was the key for me today. It’s not easy to block out 55,000 people, but I — we — did it somehow. Just an awesome day.

I might not be blogging so much this month. I could tell you it’s because I’ve got some new work, and that would be true. I could tell you it’s because of developments in my legal case, and that would be true also. But the fact is, I’m always kind of distracted in October. I would give up all the holidays and my birthday if I had to, but I always want to be watching postseason baseball in October. It’s especially exciting if you’ve got your team in the mix, but even if you don’t — do-or-die baseball elevates this great game into truly compelling entertainment. Myths and legends are created during these weeks. It’s important to pay attention — it just is.


4 thoughts on “Baseball Diaries

  1. Well, I watched today’s game. Brad Penny really disappointed me, especially after Garciaparra’s clutch hit to tie the game. I like the Mets, though, should they go on further in the playoffs. New York was the last team Willie Mays played for before his retirement, which coincided with my childhood infatuation with baseball, before I was in junior high school. My dad and I used to watch some of the old World Series’, with the great teams of the day, like the Oakland A’s of Rollie Fingers and Catfish Hunter, and the Cinncinati Reds of Johnny Bench and Dave Concepcion. Plus, I can’t remember if they made the World Series or not, but I enjoyed the Pittsburgh Pirates of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, and the Baltimore Orioles of Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson. There are more baseball memories up in my aging noggin, but they’ll have to be coaxed loose on another evening. Keep up the blogging, man!

  2. By now, if you’re a Dodger fan, you know that in Game 1 they managed to have two runners thrown out at home plate on the same play!

    I heard a clip of Vin Scully’s call, in which he compared this absurd blunder to the old Brooklyn Dodgers — generations ago known more for their futility, bad luck and “bonehead plays.” Yep.

  3. Yes, I saw the double outs at home plate. It was unbelievable. The Dodgers were coming back though, and had a chance late in the game. I watched tonight’s game too, and L.A. just didn’t have the juice. Perhaps things will pick up when they play back home. I’m an Angel fan first and foremost, but it’s nice when the Dodgers make the post-season.

  4. On behalf of Giants’ fans, here’s to the Dodgers: sad, tear-stained, heading emptily dizzily into the dark, cold baseball winter. Came up short. Just couldn’t muster the baseball to make it an unforgettable season. No tiger in the tank.

    And I dunno about batting Nomar there with the bases loaded. Lightning, as in Kirk Gibson, doesn’t often strike twice!

    Note that the Giants have a head start on you guys in examining the free agent pile!

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