Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Could This Night Be Any More Perfect???

Super Nova passes his last test for proving he's worthy of being a postseason starter the Yankees can count on, C-Grand continues to look like he's breaking out of his slump at the perfect time, the team gets a shutout win over some of their nearest competition for the playoffs, and the Sawx blow yet ANOTHER game thanks to Daniel Bahhd and Jawnathan Papelbawn blowing the lead in the 8th inning against the Fighting Buck Showalters.

By this time tomorrow the postseason berth can be official.  I fucking love it.

P.S.- Erik Bedard looked pretty good on the hill starting for Bahhston too.

A.J. Burnett's Command Is Keyser Soze

7 strikeouts in the first 3 innings, 4 of them swinging.  No runs allowed, no walks, just a bunch of dinky infield hits.  A.J. Burnett was looking good.

Follow that up with 6 hits, 1 walk, and 4 earned runs allowed over his next 10 batters faced in the 4th and 5th innings and a ND after failing to retire a batter in the 5th inning.  Night and fucking day.  And somehow A.J. has managed to exceed last year's terrible numbers.  That's his power.

The greatest trick A.J. Burnett ever pulled was convincing the world that his command didn't exist.  And like that,

... poof.  It's gone.

Greatness Defined

(The G.O.A.T.  Courtesy of EPA)

I touched on it briefly yesterday after he recorded out number 3 to officially set the MLB all-time saves record, but Mariano Rivera and the record he set yesterday deserves more than just one short paragraph, so we'll kick off today's AB4AR schedule with some more praise for the man, the myth, the legend.

Like I said yesterday, there are all kinds of numbers and milestones in baseball that really don't mean anything.  For example, ESPN devoted air time last week to mentioning Tim Wakefield's 200th career win and Johnny Damon's 400th career stolen base.  No disrespect to either of those guys, but those aren't really records and they really don't mean shit in the grand scheme of things.  They're nice numbers that were achieved through longevity more than baseball excellence, and while that does merit some recognition, it doesn't merit as much as Mo's record because Mo's is a combination of both longevity and excellence.

After already being anointed as the greatest at his position in the history of the game, Mo reached a statistical level that supports that greatness yesterday.  His record allows him to sit atop the closer mountain and look down upon all his peers, not be lumped in with a group of other players, no matter how small and exclusive the group is.  Sure, A-Rod can say it's great to be a part of the 600-HR Club and likewise Jeter with the 3,000-Hit Club, but those are still clubs and neither of those guys is at the top.  Mo's "club" is far more exclusive, just 2 members, and he's the #1 member after yesterday.  Overrated or not as a statistic, there is something to be said for the greatest closer of all time also having the most saves of all time.  Having that record associated with Mo actually gives more importance to the record rather than it being the other way around.

Beyond just the record itself, though, it's the way he reached it that truly separates Mo from the rest of his competition and from the rest of the record breakers in Major League history.  After being dominant for the entirety of his career leading up to this season, and at an age where most other players are long retired, Mo is not only still playing, but still playing at the highest level.  His cutter might not sit mid-90s like it used to, but he has adapted to that fact and his drop-off in production has been negligible as he's aged, that is if you even consider his numbers over the last few seasons to be a drop off.  He is 41 years old and still the undisputed gold standard when it comes to measuring modern closers.