I left Tampa yesterday, just ahead of Super Bowl insanity. Back in chilly Brooklyn this morning, I was delighted to find, tucked on page three of the New York Times sports section, a column by veteran scribe George Vecsey with the title "Baseball Provides Warmth in Winter". In it, Vecsey recounts his recent conversation with former Phillies pitchers Robin Roberts and Larry Christenson. Roberts, a Hall of Famer who pitched in the Majors from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s had this observation:
Roberts thinks everybody overthinks pitching today. Teams get a youngster with a live arm, and they mess with his delivery and they mess with his mind, producing the insecure six-inning nibblers we see most days.To this I say, "Amen", and add a "Hallelujah!" to Vecsey's succeeding paragraph:
Serene smiles came over the two right-handers as they recalled their own home runs, back when both leagues played the authentic version of baseball, before the ghastly designated-hitter rule. There were giants in those days. Roberts knew, right off the top of his head, that Wes Ferrell leads the pitchers' list with 38 homers (one as a pinch hitter), followed by Bob Lemon with 37, Warren Spahn with 35, Red Ruffing with 34, Earl Wilson with 33 and Don Drysdale with 29.Oh, yes. That game tomorrow. As a Pennsylvania native, I want the Steelers to win. But something in my bones says it's the Cardinals' day, and that the Kurt Warner Canonization Campaign will get a big boost from a widely witnessed miracle.