What a treat to watch Madison Bumgarner.
He did not need the third victory in the Series; saving the championship was quite spectacular enough. Whatever convoluted process the official scorers went through, they got it right by eventually giving the victory to Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched well and was the reliever of record when the Giants went ahead. No sentimental decisions necessary.
I covered Bob Gibson and Randy Johnson when they pitched in October, on little rest. I could see up close how exhausted they were. Bumgarner seemed to have more left. It's nice being 25.
Gibson extended himself at the end of the 1964 season -- no playoff rounds then -- but look what he did: eight straight complete games, then an eight-inning victory, an eight-inning loss and a four-inning relief victory over the terrorizing little Mets on the final day, to win the pennant.
I can still see him on the stairs in the old Busch Stadium clubhouse. When somebody asked how his arm felt, he shouted: "Horseshit!"
Somebody asked Johnny Keane, the manager, why he had stuck with Gibson from the day he became manager through the turgid final week of the season.
Keane replied: "I had a commitment to his heart."
It remains one of the most beautiful things I ever heard a manager say about a player.
Then Gibson beat the Yankees in the Series. These days, baseball burns its best pitchers with all these post-season series. Bumgarner just kept going. There is a moral in there somewhere, about allowing great pitchers to pitch. For now, what a privilege to watch him pitch.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.