Saturday, August 20, 2005

Another Maalox Moment

The award given each year to the most outstanding relief pitcher in the major leagues is called the “Rolaids Fireman of the Year Award.” Fireman, because in baseball vernacular, a pitcher comes out of the bullpen to “put out the fire”; Rolaids, because they are the corporate sponsor and are associated with easing stomach pain, a familiar sensation to any baseball player or fan hoping and playing for those last three outs.

Jason Isringhausen should win his own award: Master of the Maalox Moment. Don’t get me wrong; I come to praise Izzy, not bury him. He’s got a proven track record as a closer. He’s second in the National League with 32 saves, after today’s bout of gastric distress. He throws a nasty cut fastball and a wicked curve.

But more times than not, he puts himself as much in a situation to lose the game as well as save it. Today he let the first two Giants he faced get on, then he got a pop out and a strike out before letting Mike Matheny (who couldn’t hit the dirt if he tripped when he played for us) single to load the bases with recent Cardinal-killer Moises Alou coming up as a pinch-hitter.

Okay, bases loaded, two outs, tying run on second, go-ahead run on first. Win or lose? Win today—Alou flew out to Taguchi in right field. But why did our closer put himself into this situation in the first place? Sure, he got the save, but not before fans throughout Cardinal Nation are reaching for Maalox, Tums, Mylanta, Rolaids, Jack Daniel’s, Oxycontin, or anything else to stop the pain.

I hope Izzy strikes out the last batter in the Cardinals’ fourth and decisive World Series victory this year, you know I do. But making it interesting doesn’t interest me. I wish Izzy could be like Bruce Sutter was in the ’80s, like Mariano Rivera was in the late ’90s, like Eric Gagne and Billy Wagner and Brad Lidge are now. When those relievers come into a game, it’s over. It’s just over. No one’s getting a hit. No one’s getting walked. Chalk up another “W” in the left-hand column.

Nope, we have Izzy. Izzy gonna get him out, or Izzy gonna load the bases? Pass the Maalox, would you?


TUCK! said...

Okay, here's the key to Izzy, as told to me.

My brother in law pitched in college. He has some talent. He and I play catch, and I feel like I'm that little kid in the Charmin commercial (you know the one).

My father in law likes to tell the story of the Big Game In Highschool (you know, playoffs, or winner gets in, or somesuch. Doesn't matter). My brother in law is pitching, and his Best Friend is catching. They're winning the game, going away. It's the top of their half of the inning, no one on, nobody out. Catcher runs out to pitcher, they have words and a laugh. And my brother in law proceeds to walk the bases loaded on the next 12 pitches.

On purpose.

He then proceeds to strike out the rest of the inning, in order, on the next 10 pitches (he missed one, as the story goes).

Just to make things interesting for himself, and to prove he can.

The way I figure, Izzy has some friendly wagers going with his buddies. Just to make things interesting for himself, and to prove he can...

Sandman said...

Even if it's not true for Izzy, THAT'S a GREAT story!

TUCK! said...

Thanks. I had to dig deep (since you didn't seem to like my "Hoop Sock Hop Chi" gag)...