Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

Twins/Angels Game 1, Cards/Giants Game 1

From: Steve Perry
To: Brad Zellar
Subject: Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

The night didn't do our fantasies of a Twins/Cardinals rematch any favors. Worse than that, they were dull games. But painful as the night may have been, friend, you in your aerie at the Metrodome pressbox did not have to endure the pontifications of Tim McCarver on Fox. Have you noticed the way he carefully belabors everything he says, as if his drooling listeners would not be quite up to understanding him otherwise? It's a terrible era for baseball announcers--I like Skip Caray et al. with the Braves, and that's about it--but McCarver is the guy I least want to hear speaking through my television.

Not that I could bear to watch much of that Cardinals game anyway. It started ugly and got worse. Matt Morris was shelled early, and assuming they don't come back tonight--they're down 9-5 as I write--they'll go with Woody Williams tomorrow night. I love Woody Williams; he's a fucking bulldog. But he's been on and off the disabled list for months with a nagging rib cage muscle pull, and if someone looks at him wrong tomorrow it'll be aggravated again. Which is to say, the Cardinals need a few breaks but quick or they could be down 2-0. (Can you imagine staring into the abyss of an Anaheim-San Francisco World Series? A West Coast matchup without even the cachet of the Bay rivalry? Honey, where's the Sleep button on this remote?)

Before I go, let's talk for a minute about your poster boy Boo Radke. Yesterday I tossed out a comparison of Radke and the old Cardinals starter Bob Forsch. He came to mind because he was a similar kind of finesse pitcher, the sort for whom timing and location are everything--guys who don't have much margin for error in any given start, in other words.

Forsch was strictly off the top of my head, though, so today I looked up their career numbers to see if there was anything to it. Radke's got a better strikeout/walk ratio than Forsch, who couldn't strike out Stephen Hawking, but they're scary close where it counts most: Radke's career WHIP (walks + hits/innings pitched) ratio is 1.29; Forsch's career number was 1.27. (Yeah, there should be some adjustment for their respective eras, but they'd still be close.)

I admit I don't know Radke as well as you, but I knew Bob Forsch and plenty of others like the both of them. And I can tell you this: Radke was never going to be Greg Maddux. He's like dozens of other guys through the years who learned to pitch smart because it was the only way they were going to get jobs and keep them.

Why am I ragging on Brad Radke? I'm not. I think he's a 1 or 2 starter on a bad team and a 3 or 4 starter on a good one--under normal circumstances. But what we're seeing is anything but normal. To see him step up this way and lead his team in October is a thing of real drama and beauty.

Matter of fact, I think I'm savoring the Twins' success *more* than some Twins' fans I know, because it seems so unlikely to me. Seeing Radke, seeing Joe Mays's gutsy start--I just think this is a much more unlikely spectacle than most Twins fans even realize. After all, they're calling this a "team of destiny," and what does that phrase really mean? Teams of destiny are the ones that catch all the breaks, and cash in on them.

It's always delicious to see underdogs biting people and getting into things they shouldn't. Especially this team, especially now after the winter of contraction--I'm sure there are a lot of people around the country rooting for the Twins strictly on the grounds of sticking one up Bud's ass.

It seems fitting to close with the world's funniest joke, as determined by the surveys of an English social scientist. (This was reported in The Guardian last week.)

A couple of guys are out hunting and there's an accident--hunter one blows a hole in his friend hunter two. Hunter one pulls out his cell phone and calls 911. He babbles to the operator that he's just killed his best friend, and what's he supposed to do now?

"Just calm down," the 911 operator tells him. "Are you sure your friend is dead? Before you get hysterical, let's first make sure your friend is dead." The line goes silent for a moment and there's a gunshot. Hunter one comes back on the line.

"Okay," he says, "now what?"

From: Brad Zellar
To: Steve Perry
Subject: re: Sweetheart, Get Me Rewrite

I'll more than agree with you about McCarver. The sound of that smug jackass's voice sends me lunging for the mute button faster than you can say Van Lingle Mungo. The guy's supposed to be like a wine connoisseur and a Civil War historian and all sorts of other bogus stuff in keeping with his persona as a courtly creep, but I still say he's just a plain creep and a blowhard. I'm pretty sure I despise him more than you do, no matter how much you despise him. I can't believe that ornery bastard Bob Gibson never killed him when they were teammates in St. Louis.

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