Sports Nut

Watching the Series From My Hospital Room


I’ve watched World Series games from Yankee Stadium, in the Bay Area right after the earthquake, and on a patio in front of a motel across the street from the OK Corral in Tombstone, Ariz. A couple nights ago I watched one with Yogi Berra at his museum. This is the first one I’ve ever seen from a hospital room.

Well, actually, I didn’t really see much of it. You’ll pretty much have to fill me in on what happened. Three years ago you wrote a fantastic book on your father’s battle with Alzheimer’s, Hard To Forget. (I read it when we were told my father had Alzheimer’s.) I thought about it tonight as I contemplated a book on my own battle with sleep apnea. World Series time is not a good one for this condition to recur. You spend most of your days in a malaise trying to work and your nights in a waking nightmare trying to sleep.

But I wasn’t thinking of that as I went back to the sleep clinic tonight. All I was thinking was, How am I going to take any damn notes in a hospital? I saw about 10 minutes of the game, and I heard only one bit of commentary. As I finally got up to my room, the orderlies were all hunched around the television in the patient lounge watching the game, and Ruben Sierra was at bat. I watched the Marlins pitcher—I never caught his name—throw him four straight fastballs, which struck me as rather odd since all big sluggers like Sierra go up there wishing for the fastball.

I’ve knocked Tim McCarver quite a bit over the years, but I have to admit, when he’s good, he’s very, very good. His comment was—and I think this is verbatim—”There’s no better time for a change-up than right this minute.” My thoughts exactly. The Marlin pitcher—probably Ugie Urbina, now that I think of it—threw him a fastball, Sierra laced it into right, and the game was tied.

I snuck back, I think about half an hour later, to see Aaron Boone fan with bases loaded and one out in a situation where mere contact with the ball could have produced the winning run. He not only struck out, he fouled off Balls 2, 3, 4, and 5—which also would have produced the winning run—before doing so. What a difference a week makes.

I just got a good two-hour sleep and woke up about half an hour ago. My nurse informed me that Florida won the game on a home run by, she thought, Alex Gonzalez. I’m guessing it was off Jeff Weaver, as he had been put in the inning before. If there is any controversy about Torre’s using Weaver instead of, say, Mariano Rivera, please let me know. I’d especially like to know what McCarver and Joe Buck thought on television. Myself, I take Joe Torre’s use of Weaver as a kind of concession, by which I mean he was saying that it was more important to have a combination of Wells and Rivera for tomorrow night than to squander Rivera in a tied game on Florida’s home field.

Yesterday, while they were doing tests, I was able to go through pages of notes, listen to tapes, etc., but now they’ve got me strapped to about two dozen wires with a mask attached to a breathing apparatus that scarcely allows me a full view of my laptop. I can’t find much online that gives me any sense of how the game actually felt, except that Clemens apparently gutted it out after a rocky first inning. So far, I would have to agree with King Kaufman in and Allen St. John in the Village Voice, who have both remarked (in fact, they’re the only two I’ve seen so far who have remarked) that good as the Series has been overall, it seems to lack any truly signature moments. That, of course, makes the games seem dull to some people.

What’s your take? It’s now 3:45 a.m. ET, which is either the earliest or latest I’ve ever filed. Now I’m going to try to doze back off. Do me a favor: Bring me up to speed on everything. Does it look like Chad Pennington is going to start for the Jets this week?