Sometimes those people lucky enough to hold one of the most sought-after jobs in the sports media world just don’t have a clue.
Case in point: It was the early going during one of last week’s Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. The game began at 11 a.m. as part of Patriot’s Day tradition, coinciding with the running of the Boston Marathon. Andy Pettitte was pitching for the Yankees, and not looking not at all sharp. He allowed two runs in the first inning, gritting his way through a bases-loaded jam.
Charley Steiner, half of the Yankees radio team, murmured something to this effect: “Well, you know, this game began at 11 o’clock in the morning, and baseball is such a nocturnal game, that Pettitte is usually not even awake at this time, let alone pitching.”
Please. This is utterly ridiculous, on several fronts.
To suggest that a professional athlete making several million dollars a year would not be ready for a game simply because it is early in the morning is not unheard of nowadays. But anybody who was familiar with Pettitte’s past pitching performances knew this couldn’t be the case.
He is a workhorse who is always prepared to do what is asked of him. Furthermore, weren’t the Red Sox in the same boat? Since this was the fourth game of the series, the Yankees were already in Boston, and nothing would have stopped them from getting to bed at a reasonable time the previous night. Why wasn’t Derek Lowe, the Boston pitcher affected by this? The early hour didn’t seem to be stopping the Boston batters.
Also, it is ludicrous that this is the best explanation Steiner could muster. Pettitte, just six weeks ago, was in serious jeopardy of missing the beginning of the season because of an elbow injury. He had been lambasted in his previous start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Surely, the thought that maybe all was not well with his elbow had to enter his mind.
But, no, he was droning on and on about the early start of the game, and when Derek Jeter made an error on a routine ground ball, Steiner used this as even further evidence of his theory. The Yankees — supposedly built around pitching and defense — had already committed the most errors in the American League, including a sizeable contribution from Jeter.
Pettitte would leave the game after three innings with soreness in his elbow, the same elbow that had bothered him in spring training, and will be lucky to only miss his next one or two scheduled starts. John Sterling, the bombastic other half of the Yankees’ “Bronx Babblers” announcing team, didn’t say a word to contradict Steiner. He must have been getting a cup of coffee to keep awake at such an early hour.
But to steal a page out of Bill O’Reilly’s book, this is not the most ridiculous item of the week — or, in this case, last week. No, that occurred at a New Haven Ravens game, where I happen to be the public address announcer. While leaving the stadium the other night, a man who appeared to be in his 40s paid a Ravens player $20 to remove his socks and give them to him. The man also had a video camera, so he could record the player removing his socks. Talk about a wacko.