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.
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.