Yes, you’d have to say that Tommy Hanson is making the Braves’ decision on Tommy Glavine look pretty nifty. Glavine goes, Hanson takes his place. Hanson wins three times, and just doesn’t win—he beats the mighty New York Yankees in the deal.
No, he wasn’t that sharp. He had to pitch out of trouble in four of the six innings he was in the game, but what I liked most about him was his mound demeanor. He never showed worry, or fret or fear. He got the ball, got the call from McCann and made his pitch. Very businesslike. Very red-headed. His expression was, “Don’t mess with me.”
But the highlight of the pitching night in my opinion came when the game was turned over to the bullpen. When Peter Moylan faced first Derek Jeter, then later Alex Rodriguez. First, he gets the Yankees’ dream machine, Jeter, to hit into a double play that takes Hanson off the hook. Then, he gets Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira—you remember him—and now it’s Rodriguez. Here is the Australian pharmaceutical salesman facing the richest player in the major leagues, a $440,000 sidearm righthander against a $25-million (or so) infielder, whose batting average is a sickening .2l3. Moylan gets him on a grounder to second.
Inning over. Hanson’s lead safe.
Been a long time since I’ve seen a baseball game that excited my glands like that one. While out of those clots of Yankees in the stands came the plaintiff appeal, “Go Yankees! Go Jeter!” Go anybody but never go A-Rod. Nor go Tex. I’ve never seen Teixeira most dormant with a bat in hand. Flyout. Walk. Groundout. Flyout. Oh-for-three. Limp return for $180-million (spread over eight seasons, I should add.)
Meanwhile, at first base the player the Braves got in return was one-for-three. Casey Kotchman will be no Tex in the long run, but for a night it was looking good. Good feeling, and it bears repeating the richest feeling of all came when Moylan faced Rodriguez, and A-Rod went down. Somehow, for one night at least, that “NY” on the chest lost its charm.