By Steve Buffum
Bill: Welcome to another beautiful evening in New York City from the shrine that is the New Yankee Stadium. Here at TBS, we strive to bring you the best in baseball entertainment, and nothing says “Best” quite like our obsequious fawning.
Ted: You mean, “Being allowed to share a bit of spacetime continuum with the splendor that is the New York Yankees,” right, Bill?
Bill: Right you are, Ted. Here at TBS, we recognize the greatest media market, er, city in the world, the only city that stands out in the entire continent of North America, except maybe Los Angeles, which is pretty good.
Ted: And Boston, I don’t think you can leave Boston out of that calculus, Bill.
Bill: How truthily true that is, Ted. Boston is second-rate, but at least it is not Minnesota, which is theoretically a state of some sort.
Ted: Possibly a Canadian province.
Bill: We’ll get our crack research staff to look into that. In the meantime, let’s take you to the action on the field, where C.C. Sabathia is trying to overcome the stigma of years past, failing in each of his previous post-season appearances to be a New York Yankee.
Ted: That’s not entirely his fault, of course.
Bill: No, he was drafted by one of those Midwestern teams and toiled in obscurity. Thankfully for us, and more importantly for him, he was rescued and is here with us tonight, where he can shine on the biggest stage of them all, a virtual Taj Mahal of baseball stadiums, but nicer.
Ted: Hard to get a good hot dog at the Taj Mahal.
Bill: Especially one made with beef.
Ted: Now, it should be pointed out that Sabathia wasn’t entirely obscure in his previous stop. He did, in fact, win the Cy Young Award in 2007.
Bill: Did he do it for the New York Yankees?
Ted: He did not, Bill.
Bill: Then it hardly matters, does it? In any event, Sabathia gives up a gift double to Denard Span, then … strikes out Joe Mauer! He struck out Joe Mauer! I hope this puts an end to all of that “Mauer for MVP” nonsense the bloggers in their mothers’ basements have been spouting recently. To be the MVP, you have to come up big on the biggest big stage, with biggie bigness and big biggity big.
Ted: Like Derek Jeter, who has singled to open the bottom of the first on the very first pitch he saw. What a big hit!
Bill: Or even Mark Teixeira, who has now advanced Jeter to second base with a productive out. There’s nothing more productive than an MVP candidate first baseman who is producing those productive outs, is there, Ted?
Ted: Well, it’s certainly more productive than Alex Rodriguez, who flies out to end the inning. Rodriguez is probably the worst post-season player of his generation, and also pan-fries puppies in his spare time.
Bill: It is a shame to saddle a player as clutch and as much of a winner as Derek Jeter with such an anchor as Alex Rodriguez there, Ted. To the third we go, where Minnesota has somehow managed to score two runs off Sabathia. Is this is Cleveland past coming back to haunt him?
Ted: I think any time spent in Cleveland is going to haunt you there, Bill. Cleveland is a city of some sort, I think.
Bill: We’ll check with our crack research staff and get back to you there, Ted. So the Yankees come to the plate and … DEREK JETER! TWO-RUN HOMER BY DEREK JETER!
Ted: Wow, Bill, that was clutch.
Bill: That wasn’t just clutch, Ted, that was possibly the most-important homer since Kirk Gibson’s off Dennis Eckersley!
Ted: Again, the Cleveland past: it haunts us all.
Bill: What can you say about Derek Jeter that hasn’t been said before? Nothing, that’s what! So we will say them all again! Jeter! Derek! Bigness! Jeterrific!
Ted: And Alex Rodriguez makes another out.
Bill: Fie on you, Alex Rodriguez! You are garbage!
Ted: A jackanape.
Bill: A rube!
Ted: Has he played in Cleveland?
Bill: He played in some meaningless western cities, it hardly matters. The Twins go down in order, and one thing you notice, Ted, is how involved the Yankees are in this game. They never stop analyzing the pitcher, talking with each other and passing on tips on how to attack Denny Briansong.
Ted: I think his name is Brian there, Bill.
Bill: Brian Briansong, then. That’s a very unfortunate name there, Ted. What are they thinking out there in Minnesota?
Ted: Probably how much they want to move to New York, although, as it turns out, Brian is from Kansas, not Minnesota.
Bill: I don’t understand your point there, Ted. Isn’t Minnesota part of Kansas?
Ted: No, Canada.
Bill: It all looks the same from thirty thousand feet, Ted. Anyway, Swisher doubles home a run, that gives the Yankees a 3-2 lead. The Twins go meekly in the 5th, and … Oh, my! Derek Jeter draws an absolutely HEROIC walk there, Ted!
Ted: That kind of patience is almost UNHEARD of, Bill, except for six other hitters in the New York lineup. And look at that heads-up baserunning, moving up from first to second on a ground ball. That’s the kind of hyper-attentive veteran leadership this man gives his team. Without Derek Jeter, baseball itself would be impossible.
Bill: I can barely see the shortstop, Ted, because of the beatific halo glowing around Jeter … and Alex Rodriguez drives him home with a single! It’s official, Ted: Alex Rodriguez has turned his entire career around!
Ted: Now we can start to talk of Rodriguez as one of the better players in the A.L. East, Bill. I think the monkey is officially off his back. Puppies everywhere are feeling safer tonight!
Bill: Yes, Alex Rodriguez is now possibly a pretty good player, thanks to Derek Jeter’s heads-up baserunning to cross home plate there instead of veering off at the last minute. Oh, and Hideki Matsui hit a homer.
Bill: He’s a Yankee, Ted. Everyone knows who Matsui is: he plays for New York.
Ted: Yes, of course, I was still reviewing the Jeter run.
Bill: Boy, Briansong has really put on a lot of weight this inning, Ted.
Ted: No, no, that’s a different guy. They changed pitchers.
Bill: Why bother? Resistance is futile.
Ted: Well, so are the Twins, Bill. Although I have to say, Nick Punto really plays the game the right way, and Ron Gardenhire has one of the gruffest playoff beards I’ve seen.
Bill: Well, it’s hockey country there, Ted. Maybe he thinks it’s the Stanley Cup.
Ted: The what?
Bill: Never mind. And Nick Swisher makes an ASTONISHING catch there of Span’s routine fly ball with two men on, that is really just the kind of focused, fundamental play that people don’t give the Yankees enough credit for making.
Ted: Is it possible to give the Yankees enough credit, Bill?
Bill: It is not. So Phil Hughes comes in and … IT’S STRIKE THREE! STRIKE THREE! He got him swinging! He is the greatest relief pitcher not named Mariano Rivera since Mariano Rivera!
Ted: Wait, does that even make sense?
Bill: No, it does not! And Jeter walks again! Jeter is simply on another planet tonight, Ted!
Ted: But one that plays baseball the way it ought to be played, Bill.
Bill: Right you are, Ted! And Jeter … is NOT thrown out at third on the productive double-play grounder by Teixeira there, Ted! What a play! What a man! Nay, not a man, a veritable GOD.
Ted: And he scores on Rodriguez’ single. You know, I’m thinking that with a few more years of Jeter’s benevolent stewardship, this Rodriguez fellow might be considered in the same breath as other pretty good coattail riders, like Joe Rudi or Mike Lowell.
Bill: We’ll have to wait and see. After a single to Mauer, HUGHES GETS ANOTHER STRIKEOUT! What a pitcher, Ted! We’re going to see Phil Coke now.
Ted: And he gets the batter with one pitch. Looks like he’s gassed, Joe, better take him out.
Bill: Thankfully, Joe Girardi is watching the same game we are, and thank goodness he is, because Yankee Stadium in New York City is really the only place to be tonight. If you’re not here, you’re pretty much a worthless schmoe.
Ted: Unless they’re watching us: it’s the next best thing to being here.
Bill: Well, that goes without saying, but really, they ought to be here.
Ted: Tickets cost four hundred thousand dollars apiece.
Bill: Gracious, that seems like a bargain for being part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience, Ted. Until Friday, at which point, there will be another experience.
Ted: That will also be once-in-a-lifetime, I can feel it.
Bill: It’s true, and then Game three will be played in Kansas.
Bill: Right. Anyway, Joba Chamberlain … two pitches later … another gassed reliever, Ted.
Ted: Joe Girardi is really using his staff masterfully tonight. And he brings in Mariano Rivera.
Bill: Who is godlike.
Ted: That goes without saying.
Bill: Although still not quite Derek Jeter.
Ted: Well, who is?
Bill: He did give up a couple baserunners there, Ted.
Ted: Yes, but when it really mattered, when the clutchy clutchness was biggie big clutchy bigness, and the chips are down, and you see what you’re made of, if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, although why would you, because you’re already here, New York, New York, God Bless America, the ghosts of Yankee Magic, monkeys monkeys monkeys monkeys monkeys, off the back for good, third out, game over, Yankees win, thuhhhhhhhhh Yankees win!
Bill: You can’t say that. It’s trademarked.
Ted: I got carried away there, Bill.
Bill: Understandable. Derek Jeter!
Ted: Clearly the MVP.
Bill: Right you are, Ted. Until Friday, remember: TBS.
Ted: Very funny.
Bill: And Derek Jeter!