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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does Joe Borowski eat quiche? NY Times suggests "1 inning closers" often do...

NY Times' Harvey Araton looks at Joba Chamberlain, and muses about the post season. There's no guarantee the Yankees will be there at this date, but he wants to imagine it. The "quiche" part is near the end. "Good luck to Yankees opponents this fall, once the game gets to (Joba) Chamberlain, setting up for the still-formidable Mariano Rivera. And good grief to the plan to terminate
  • this tandem of contrasting personalities by inserting Chamberlain into the starting rotation next season rather than have him continue in his current role and groom him as the closer for when Rivera retires."
(I like the "tandem of contrasting personalities." Mr. Araton wants Joba to continue as a set-up man. Araton reminds us Goose Gossage likes setup guys who growl, gesticulate, whiz balls by players' heads, and wants them to be in the Hall of Fame. Joba Chamberlain has only been pitching a few weeks, but Gossage likes the picture as he related to Araton). sm
  • “I really don’t see how they can think about making him a starter after what we’ve seen,” Gossage said in a telephone interview. “You can find starters — I know they have other young kids — but how are you going to find another character like him? How are you going to replace him? Before he came up, those setup guys were killing them.”

(Araton) “Before he came up,” in measurement of years, given the roll call of failed relievers on various levels that

  • at the end of the most important days too often made Rivera’s a painful out or three longer."
  • Wow. "A PAINFUL OUT OR 3 LONGER." In a convoluted, low-key turn of phrase, a quiet acknowledgement that MARIANO RIVERA HAS OFTEN BEEN BOTH SET-UP MAN AND CLOSER--NOT JUST A 1-inning pitcher--- has slid into a NY Times article. However, Araton either doesn't pursue Gossage on this topic or Gossage wouldn't go there anyway). sm

(Araton) "From the New York state of mind, hasn’t this season already become the telling tale of the seventh and eighth innings? Even with Chamberlain pitching under restrictive house rules, witness the Yankees surging, the Red Sox faltering under the fatigue of Hideki Okajima and the failure of Eric Gagné, and the Mets’ desperation based on their inability to bridge the gap between their starters and Billy Wagner.
  • (Back to Gossage): “Someday, mark my words, one of these setup guys is going to make the Hall of Fame,” Gossage, himself a deserving outsider, said. “That’s how valuable they’ve become. In my opinion, the best setup guys now have a tougher job than the closers."

(Gossage has made this statement numerous times to the media. Even though he's now talking about a setup guy who's only been pitching a few weeks, why not trot it out again.) sm

  • (Gossage) "They pitch more innings, inherit more runners. And this kid, with the attitude and excitement he brings, man, it’s beautiful thing, nothing in baseball that’s like it.”
(Araton) "The 21-year-old with the fiery makeup and the fastball consistently pushing triple digits has the ability to make major league hitters flail at the well-spotted bender into the dirt. Break it down any which way; as Gossage said, hitters more often than not are succumbing to Chamberlain’s swagger.
  • (Gossage) “I saw him throw those two pitchers over Kevin Youkilis’s head when they played Boston,” he said. “I loved it.".....

.....“It was a great purpose pitch, only now they’re protecting these hitters every chance they get. It makes me sick. I went crazy when they tossed the kid that day. I screamed, ‘What the heck is this game coming to?’ ”

(Araton) He actually said this a bit more colorfully, unfiltered passion still at Gossage’s disposal so long after an eight-out save in Boston —

  • back when closers were no quiche-eating, one-inning wonders —....."
(An amusing line by the writer--but no 1 inning wonders were mentioned in the article. Maybe he was thinking of Joe Borowski or one of those types). sm

(Araton) "Of course, not all great relief pitchers must pose, or posture, or wear a menacing-looking mustache, as did Gossage. Rivera, an impassive, 170-pound fireballing incongruity, long ago put the lie to that.

  • But if Chamberlain has proved anything in his first six weeks in the major leagues and — incredibly — his first pro season, it is that he was born for the late-innings challenge. He has come out of nowhere, out of the Gossage mold, into the fire."
From NY Times column by Harvey Araton, "Gossage Reaches Back," 9/21/07
  • P.S. Time will tell.

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