Let's talk about something important. Put. That coffee. Down. Coffee's for closers only. You think I'm fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I'm here from downtown. I'm here from New York. And I'm here on a mission of mercy. Your name's Lidge? You call yourself a closer, you son of a bitch?
You've got 2 outs. Your teammates worked hard to score 2 runs to tie the game, busted their asses to tie it. You can't get 3 outs to protect the tie you're given, you can't close shit. You ARE shit. Hit the bricks pal, and beat it 'cause you are going OUT.
There's a runner on third so the slider is weak? Fucking slider is weak. You're weak. Mariano's been in this business 15 years...
You can't play in the man's game, you can't close them - go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life: Get them to swing at the pitches you're throwing. You hear me you fucking faggot? A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING. They're sitting out there waiting to give you their outs. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it? What's the problem, pal?
You see these rings? You see these 4 rings?
You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy? I don't give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here - close! You think this is pressure? You think this is pressure, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the pressure you get when your team actually has the lead? You don't like it, leave. I can go out there tonight with the pitches you've got and get myself 3 outs. Tonight! In ten pitches! Can you? Can YOU? You wanna go out in the 9th tonight and close, CLOSE. It's yours. If not, you're gonna be cleaning my spikes.
And to answer you question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Charlie Manuel asked me to. He asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your fucking ass because a loser is a loser.
Hmmm, wonder who gets the Glenngary leads. Good luck tonight, Brad. I'm sure you won't choke on it again if given the chance, lose the World Series for your team, and disgrace the name "Brad" for the rest of us out there who are representing the name well. This is the face of determination right here...
Joe Flacco was efficient, Ray Rice was good enough, and the Baltimore D was dominant in knocking the Broncos from the ranks of the unbeaten. But hey, at least Josh McDaniels still has more career wins than Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, and Charlie Weis combined.
Philadelphia 40 NY Giants 17
Consider the panic button pushed in New York as Eli and company have taken shitting the bed to a whole new level. Donovan McNabb put on a show, racking up almost all of his yards and 3 TD passes in the first half. Eli has made his yearly transition back to a noodle-armed 8-year-old girl earlier than usual this season, which doesn't bode for well for the G-Men as the rest of the division seems to be hitting their stride. (Washington doesn't count; they aren't a professional team in my book)
Miami 30 NY Jets 25
Finally a game the Jets can't blame on Mark Sanchez. The dirty one was pretty good yesterday, but not good enough to overcome the Ted Ginn Return Extravaganza. Here's the breakdown of Miami's point scoring: Offense 9, Defense 7, Special Teams 14. When you only give up 104 total yards and still lose, that's cause for concern.
Indianapolis 18 San Francisco 14
Peyton Manning had 347 yards but no touchdowns and Joe Addai tossed a beautiful TD pass to Reggie Wayne, finishing the game with a perfect QB rating and sparking a debate over who should be starting at QB next week for Indy. After another monster day (12-147-1TD), can we all just agree Reggie Wayne is the best receiver in the NFL? Larry Fitz has Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston next to him; Wayne has Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie. I mean, no offense to them but they are Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie.
St. Louis 17 Detroit 10
Steven Jackson's 149 yards and 1 TD were enough to get the Rams and Steve Spagnuoulo their first win of the season, breaking a 17-game losing streak in the process. While one streak ended, the Lions looked good in their attempt to get a new losing streak going. They may not be committed to winning, but you can't say Detroit isn't committed to being consistent.
Dallas 38 Seattle 17
Somebody needs to find out who Tony Romo is banging now because lately he's been nothing like the mistake-prone, choke-in-the-clutch d-bag that we know and love and it's killing my joke potential. Miles Austin slacked a bit this week, racking up only 61 yards and 1 TD (yawn), and with Roy Williams coming out of the witness protection program this week to catch a TD pass, the 'Boys are suddenly stacked at WR.
Chicago 30 Cleveland 7
Jay Cutler was OK yesterday, but when your opponent is the Browns, OK is usually way more than enough to win. Matt Forte had 2 TDs and Cleveland committed what, for them, is a respectable 5 turnovers. Sooner or later we're going to have to organize one of those offseason QB competitions with Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn, Jamarcus Russell, and Jake Delhomme to see just who the worst QB in the league is. Tell me you wouldn't watch that; dudes bouncing passes off of tires, underthrowing stationary targets, it would be the highest of high comedy.
Houston 31 Buffalo 10
Despite losing Owen Daniels for the season with an ACL injury and having Andre Johnson shut down with just 6 catches for 63 yards, the Texans still romped over the Bills and ended the Ryan Fitzpatrick winning streak. Ryan Moats came off the bench to have 126 yards and 3 TDs after Steve Slaton was benched so the training staff could find a cure for his fumbleitis. If that strategy keeps working like it did yesterday, they might just want to let Slaton go out and cough the ball up early so they can sub in with Moats.
San Diego 24 Oakland 16
Hey, a LaDainian Tomlinson sighting!!! Wow, it's even more unbelievable in person. Somehow LT stumbled his way into 2 TDs yesterday, tricking all of his fantasy owners into keeping him for another couple of weeks as A Whale's Vagina took care of business against the fighting Jamarcuses. Asked how he felt about the team's loss coupled with the OTL story about his violent past towards women at the postgame press conference, Tom Cable promptly beat the shit out of Andrea Kramer.
Tennessee 30 Jacksonville 13
Vince Young played surprisingly well in his return yesterday against the Jags, taking care of the ball, completing some big passes, and never once threatening to kill himself. Of course when your RB is Chris Johnson, that makes life a lot easier. Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew engaged in a RB version of "My Dick is Bigger Than Your Dick" all day as Jones' 177 yards and 2 long TDs (79 and 80 yards) on 8 carries were bested by Johnson's 24 carries, 228 yards, and 2 TDs (52 and 89 yards).
Minnesota 38 Green Bay 26
I have run out of sarcastic things to say about Brett Favre. The guy has played out of his mind for the first half of this season and yesterday put an end to any speculation that the Packers can hang with the Vikings by tossing 4 more TDs. Of course that doesn't change the fact that he's a turncoat, prima donna, bitter, old, pill-popping bastard sonofabitch, but hey, what can you do. The Packers have no o-line and no D and to quote Ron Jaworski, "That just won't get it done in the National Football League."
Carolina 34 Arizona 21
In a game that proves that stats and rankings mean absolutely nothing in the NFL, the Panthers racked up 271 yards and 2TDs on the ground against the NFL's leading rush D on way to a big upset win. Kurt Warner, in an effort to show Jake Delhomme that he's not alone out there as a pathetic turnover machine, graciously committed 6 turnovers in the loss.
New Orleans 39 Atlanta 26
Call me skeptical, but I just don't think the Falcons' young D has what it takes to bottle up Brees and Friends. They'll keep it close early, but once New Orleans pulls away and Atlanta has to start throwing more as they play from behind, expect a few picks from Matty Ice that will put the game out of reach.
* Did anybody else's jaw hit the coffee table last night when Tim McCarver praised the Yankees and Joe Girardi for using the 3-man, short rest rotation for the remainder of the series. At this point I had assumed it was written into all of FOX's commentator contracts that they couldn't say anything good about the Yankees before 10PM.
* Tim must have realized his mistake because he quickly jumped back into formation on the Phillies cheerleading squad when he said that, in his view, there was no way Joe Blanton hitting A-Rod in the top of the 1st was intentional. I don't know where Tim's getting his views from, seeing as how he caught some of the most notorious headhunters in baseball history, but when a guy gets plunked 3 times in 10 innings, that's about as intentional as it gets. Shame on the umps too for not recognizing the pattern and giving CC a chance to drill Utley or Howard before issuing the warning.
* Both pitchers seemed like they were starting to settle in after the 3rd inning, but neither was on top of their game. Blanton was living on questionable strike calls by Mike Everett and CC could never quite find the consistent command of his fastball that he's used all postseason to get ahead in the count.
* I know it's a bang-bang play at the plate in the bottom of the 4th, but when you're in perfect position and looking right at the plate, there's no reason to blow the call on Ryan Howard missing the plate on his collision with Jorge. It was obvious, it was clear as day, and Mike Everett had a front row seat for it. On the replays you could tell he was unsure of whether or not Howard touched the plate, as he didn't make the "safe" sign until a good 2-3 seconds after Jorge dropped the ball. He knew what the right call was, but once he realized the Yankees weren't going to tag the plate, he took the easy way out and made the safe call. Disgraceful.
* Slick Back Utley tried to be too cool for school in the top of the 5th and it cost his team a couple of runs. He had plenty of time to transfer to ball and make an underhand flip or even a short toss to Jimmy Rollins at 2nd to get Swisher. Maybe that means the Phils don't turn 2, but the lead runner is always most important and Utley tried to make the flashy play to keep the chance at 2 and instead they didn't even get one. I know you've got the hair gel, chief, but you ain't the Fonz, and you certainly ain't Robinson Cano so just stick to the fundamentals.
* Nice read by Melky on Damon's bloop single after the Jeter hit in the 5th. He came halfway off, like your supposed to, and once he realized the ball was going to drop he was thinking homeplate all the way. Maybe a better throw gets him, but with a good slide he's probably in either way. When you're ahead in the game, you can take chances like that and that one turned out well for the Yanks.
* I don't know about you, but I was losing my shit after Teix and A-Horse popped up with 2 on and 1 out to kill the 5th-inning rally. A couple more runs there and you can start shoveling dirt on the Phillies; as it turned out, they could have used those 2 extra runs in the later innings to secure the win and you expect your $50 million heart of the order to something more than pop up to left in that situation.
* The bottom of the 5th summed up CC's night and his performance so far in the World Series: he didn’t have his best stuff, he got himself into trouble allowing the first 2 runners on, but then he bore down and made some big pitches when he needed them to get the 3-4-5 hitters out and keep it a 2-run lead. No way Wang, Clemens, Randy Johnson, Javy Vazquez, or even Chad Gaudin gets out of that situation unscathed.
* Who had the better "FUCK!!" picked up by the FOX homeplate mic, CC after failing to get the bunt down in the top of the 5th or Howard after popping up to left in the bottom? I say CC, hands down. His was more forceful, angry, and much louder and clearer into the mic; Howard sounded downtrodden and defeated with his and there was no heart behind it. The Yankees even swear better than the Phillies.
* It's official: Chase Utley owns CC Sabathia. I know that sounds bad, seeing as how Utley is an uppity-looking white man and CC is a big, strong black guy, but it's the truth, He OWNS him! CC pitched him pretty well the second time around last night, but in the 7th he threw a bad pitch (slider) in an even worse location (hung right over the middle) with 2 strikes and Utley abused it. I wonder what Utley will do in the offseason to torment CC since he won't have CC's off-speed pitches to pound. Maybe some ding-ding-ditch? Little flaming bag of poo on the doorstep?
* I know it's picking at some really small nits, considering the Yanks are a game away from winning it all, but there have been a lot of Yankee batters watching a lot of strike 3's go right down the middle in this series. Yes, I'm talking to you, A-Rod, Teixeira, Posada, and Nick Swisher. I don't know why the decision was made to be taking so much with 2 strikes or if they're all just guessing wrong, but shit! There's been at least a handful of 2-strike fastballs down Broadway that should have been souvenirs, not strike 3.
* He was looking like he was all the way back to form last night, but then Joba decided to stop pitching and start thinking and he screwed himself. He was throwing straight gas, consistently in the 95-96MPH range and nobody on the Phils had shown any ability to put it in play and then he decides to get cute on Pedro Feliz with a 1-2 count, throws 2 shit sliders to make the count full and then had to groove a fastball when Feliz knew it was coming. As many times as he called time to go talk to CC last night, Jorge should have sprinted out to the mound to put Joba in his place as soon as he started shaking off the fastball in that situation.
* He's gone back and forth from earning himself a new 2-year deal to not even getting an offer, but I think it's safe to say Johnny ensured himself a contract for next season with his call back to his KC Royal days on the steal on 2nd and 3rd in the top of the 9th last night. It was a great hustle play and a head's up play all in one, and without the pop-up slide into 2nd, he probably has no chance to make it to 3rd, which is what set up the rest of the inning.
* You can argue whether or not Lidge should have kept throwing the slider all day if you want (and I personally think it's pathetic that the Phillies would decide to go away from his best pitch for fear that he throws a wild pitch), but the fact of the matter is A-Rod was looking fastball all the way and got one right down the middle on his game-winning RBI double. With the wheels falling off the Lidge cart, somebody should have been out there talking to him, and telling him to stick with the slider. Unless you hit him with it, A-Rod is going to make contact on a fastball and that's exactly what he did with Lidge's.
* Another vintage Mo outing in the 9th: 8 pitches, 2 broken bats, 3 outs, start spreading the news. Hopefully Brad Lidge was taking notes.
* If Game 4 of the ALCS was CC Version 2.0, then last night was CC Version 0.2. It was basically a rerun on his Game 1 performance: high pitch count early, untimely walks, never being able to locate the fastball consistently, and pitching from behind in the count more than you'd like to see. But he still gave the Yankees 6+ and left with the lead, and there's something to be said for that. When your ace comes out with his B- or C-game and you still get a win, you'll take it.
* Sure it's Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but Charlie Manuel should have thrown Cliff Lee last night. If your only excuse is that he's never done it before, then that’s just not good enough. Nobody has ever done it before the first time they do it, and yet we've seen plenty of guys step up on short rest and throw gems. If Manuel was worried about him being tired then he shouldn't have let him throw a 122-pitch complete game in Game 1. The bottom line is your team was playing a must-win game and you left your best pitcher on the bench in favor of your number 4 starter. And if you aren't going to start him, at least bring the fucking guy in in the 9th inning. Anything would have been better than Lidge.
* the 9th inning last night was a microcosm of the Yankees entire season; timely hitting when they needed it and shutdown bullpen work at the most crucial moment. CC wasn't great, Joba made a bad pitch, and up until the 9th the offense had only mustered 5 hits, 4 coming from Jeter and Damon, and yet they still managed to put together 3 runs with 2 outs in the 9th inning to get the lead back and hand it over to the most sure thing in the world next to death. Now it's clearly not about bad calls, bad decisions, or anything else. It’s about the Yankees being the better team, plain and simple.