Who's the Boss?
I'm Alyssa Milano. There are many, many reasons that it is great to be me, but one of the primary reasons why was on display last night in Yankee Stadium. Two of the most promising young pitchers in the American League, and two of my former paramours, Oakland's Barry Zito and New York's Carl Pavano, engaged in a pitching duel for my affections. Lest you think I'm only interested in Barry's ability to play Yardbirds songs on the guitar or Carl's uncanny knack for finding and landing big-game fish in even the roughest of seas, let me lay out the baseball case for both of these suitors.
First, Barry. Oh Barry, when you won the Cy Young Award in 2002, I thought that you had secured my devotion for all eternity. You were on the vanguard of the Moneyball revolution, possessor of perhaps the most devastating curveball in the bigs, and had by all indications established yourself as the Greg Maddux of your generation. But then, in 2004, you had to go and break my heart. The entire league had figured you out, it seemed, and for me, the evaporation of the mystery meant that the thrill was gone. Sure, you did better in the second half, and I love a strong finisher as much as the next girl, but there was just no there there anymore. Coming into last night, things weren't looking much better. Four losses? An ERA bigger than my shoe size? Sorry Barry, but that just won't keep a girl warm at night.
Now, Carl, I thought I had learned all the harsh lessons in store for a girl who loves pitching when I fell for Barry, and I moved on to you feeling savvy and assured. Unlike Barry, you had a dreamy 2004 season, going 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA --139Ks and 49 walks. Tasty. All that over an impressive 222.1 innings. But that big workload led me to have my doubts about how you would perform this year -- stamina is an issue, Carl, and they love to overwork their heroes in South Florida. Ask Livan Hernandez, or better yet, Ricky Williams. Plus, you were in a contract year, and we all know how a guy likes to pull out the stops when he senses that a big payoff is at hand. Alas, it seems my hunch about your flash-in-the-pan status might have been correct. Being a silly mama's boy, you just had to do what your parents told you and go sign a contract with Boring Corporate Baseball Inc., where the pressure is on, the boss breathes down your neck, and the burnout rate is high. Lo and behold, you're now sporting a .500 record -- right in line with your career mark -- and an ERA over four. Silly, silly Carl. Moving to the Bronx has even threatened your bone structure! Get out of the way of those line-drives, dumbass!
Last night, neither of you did much to convince me that you have changed your ways and wish to return to the roster of Alyssa's All Stars. Barry, you were superb until late into the game, but the jig was finally up late. Thank god you had a guy named Kiko to plug the leaks! Your line: 7.1 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 5K, 104 pitches. Not bad. Carl, free passes were your undoing: 7IP, 7H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K, 2HR, 101 pitches. Memo to Carl: three is not your lucky number.
I'm sure you can see how neither of those lines can give a girl interested in top-flight starting pitching much to get excited about. But here's a line that strums my heartstrings: 8IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 8K, 1HR, 112 pitches. Who's that you ask? Why it's my new beau:
I HEART YOU BRANDON!