Bryan Joiner

Why then I

Tag: phillies

Game Six Preview, Ridiculous MVP Talk

The end is nigh, folks. Tonight you get to hear two words not associated with the World Series since 2003: Game Six. That’s an egregious shame.

Pedro Martinez will take the hill against Andy Pettitte in the battle of guys who pitched in the 1999 ALCS. Other than that, there’s not much to talk about. We’re all familiar enough with these teams at this point. So I’m going to say something about the MVP.

Some people have posited that Chase Utley is in line to win the MVP even if the Phillies lose. This is an absolute joke. There’s absolutely no way this will happen. If fans are blinded enough by Yankee pinstripes to egregiously screw up one major award, and writers are always at risk of handing out bogus season-ending hardware, what makes anyone think that, in the champagne-soaked moments following a Yankee victory, anyone is going to go, “Hey, let’s go with the guy from Philadelphia!”?

Okay, someone might think so, but the Yankees always have a weapon: Mariano Rivera. If voters can’t decide who should get it, they can always give it to the Guy Who Will Never Win The Cy Young Award. Or, if Alex Rodriguez does anything in the clinching victory, they can give it to him as a validation of his “breakout” postseason. But wait, you might say—those aren’t the criteria for the award! It’s “value” in the World Series, and that’s all! The problem is that like the season-long MVP awards, “value” gets so tied up with team performance that most voters just take the easy way out and conflate them. If Barry Bonds couldn’t win the MVP for a losing team with a .471 batting average, .700 OBP and 1.294 slugging percentage, why would Utley? Because of his hair?

Even in the event of a Philly World Series victory, Utley may not be the choice. Any victory would go through Game Seven, and that means going through whatever’s left in Cliff Lee’s arm. If he played reliever for six shutout innings, the award would be his to lose. But it doesn’t matter either way—ultimately, the World Series MVP is pretty worthless anyway. How’s it working out for Cole Hamels?

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Herman Edwards Defends Joe Girardi

Yankees manager Joe Girardi had an unlikely defender Wednesday: former Jets and Chiefs coach Herman Edwards.

Girardi was second-guessed by several outlets for pitching A.J. Burnett on three days’ rest instead of using fourth starter Chad Gaudin on four weeks’ rest. New York Magazine’s Joe DeLessio writes:

With a 3–1 cushion, though, Gaudin versus Lee isn’t nearly as crazy. By starting Gaudin last night, the Yankees would probably be conceding the game, since you can’t realistically expect much from a guy who hasn’t started in over a month. (Lee wasn’t particularly sharp last night, though, so who knows?) But Girardi would have been making a trade-off: Greatly weaken their chances in Game 5, but strengthen the rotation down the line, especially for Game 6.

In such a scenario, A.J. Burnett could have pitched tomorrow on full rest, and Girardi would even have an option for a potential Game 7: Andy Pettitte on full rest, or Sabathia on short rest. As it stands now, Pettitte — who’s 37, by the way — will likely start on three days’ rest for the first time since doing so with Houston in 2006. Girardi could have weakened the team for just one game; now, he’s weakened them for the final three.

I was sitting next to Herm when I read this on my MacBook Air (I own several of them), and I passed it over so he could see it. He had been smiling, but now his face was scrunching, and he looked at me with that familiar, disgusted look:

Picture 1

“Bryan!” he said. “Didn’t I solve this problem a long time ago? Didn’t I say the one thing that matters in this situation?”

I stammered, trying to make some excuses for DeLessio, but he wasn’t having it.  He continued.

“Give up a World Series game?” he asked, incredulously. “You…” he started. “You play…” he started again, a little unsure. “You play to…” He fumbled for the words. He clearly couldn’t remember them, and was hoping I could help him out.

“Win the game?” I suggested.

“Exactly!” He said. “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!” Now he was getting aggravated. He looked at me again…

Picture 1

… and continued. “HELLO?” he asked. “YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!”

He was right. The thought that the Yankees should have given up a game in the World Series to “increase” their chances of winning other games is ludicrous. Remember when Bob Brenly pulled Curt Schilling in game four the 2001 World Series so that he could start a game seven, if necessary? The Diamondbacks lost that game—and there was a game seven—only because he pulled Schilling, who gave way to a man named Byung-Hyun Kim. Herm’s lesson is clear and unmistakable: you play to win the game. The real reason the Yankees lost, per Baseball Prospectus‘ Joe Sheehan: “A.J. Burnett didn’t allow six runs in two innings because the Yankees started him on three days’ rest. He allowed six runs in two innings because he’s A.J. Burnett, and he sometimes shows up with nothing, and the Phillies will kill you if you show up with nothing.”

That’s about as concise as you can say it, and I was going to show it to Herm until he tossed my MacBook Air across the room, scattering it into hundreds of little pieces. This is what happens when you take a man away from the game—unresolved tension. He immediately realized what he had done and looked at me, sheepishly, and offered to buy me a new one. “It’s okay,” I said, “I got a million of’em.”

The Phillies Live For Another 48 Hours

We now know the real difference between the Phillies and the Yankees: it’s in the bullpen. They’re both shaky… until the very end. When the Yankees have a lead in the ninth inning, they win. When the Phillies have a lead, they might win.

That, more than any reason, is why a Phillies team that is otherwise demonstrably better than last year’s may not win this year’s World Series. They’ve added Cliff Lee, Pedro Martinez, and Jayson Werth has made the jump from WWE lookalike to 38-home run smacking WWE lookalike; still, the Phillies have lost their edge. Last year, Brad Lidge was untouchable. This year, everyone in the bullpen is getting roughed up. Last night, Charlie Manuel went to Ryan Madsen—a player with such a sad early history that we named an award for futility after him in our fairytale baseball league—up three runs in the ninth inning. He let the first two guys on, and only a double play ball by Captain Clutch Jeter got him out of a giant mess. Johnny Damon singled, but Madsen got the suddenly slumping Mark Teixeira to end it. A-Rod never got a chance to gallop into history.

Now the series heads back to New York, with the Yankees in an interesting position. On the bright side, they get to face Pedro again, and it’s entirely possible that they launch a NASA-like program off his arm. On the negative side, they have Andy Pettitte starting a game six on three days’ rest, and Pettitte’s up-and-down postseason history seems overdue for a down (especially against this lineup). If they Phillies are somehow able to win game six, they’ll enter game seven in a situation they haven’t found themselves in all year: they’ll be without a solid starter, but the closer situation will be locked down. You have to figure that Cliff Lee will be pitching whenever the Phils need him… if we get that far.

After the Red Sox beat the Yankees in game five of the 2004 ALCS, the signs on the highway all read “Red Sox 5, Yankees 4,” knowing that both teams would pass underneath them on their way back to New York. Each win seemed to give the Sox strength. After last night’s win, there was no jubilation from the Phillies. They high-fived but for the most part did so with lips pursed, business-like. Maybe they’re not confident they can win two in a row, or maybe they’re not content to celebrate until the job’s done. They’ve got 48 hours to draw up a game plan, insofar as there is one besides “just win.” They came out swinging against A.J. Burnett last night, making sure that he couldn’t get ahead of them with the fastball to drop the curve on them. The teams will scout Martinez and Pettitte and reconvene at 7:57 tomorrow. It’ll all be over by this time on Friday, folks. Drink it up.

The World Series Is Over (Update)

Coachie has been all over this from the beginning, but it’s worth saying it now: the World Series is over. The next few days might bring great, plot-rich baseball, but the tension is gone. The story has been written. The Yankees are World Champions.

The half of you who hate the Yankees will say that I’m giving up too soon and the half that loves them will say I’m trying to pull some sort of voodoo “reverse jinx.” Sadly, both of these are wrong. I belived until right now that the Yankees could not win the World Series. I saw the strength of other teams, I saw the Yankees’ flaws, and I thought that given the remaning task and the obstacles in their way that there was a chance they could be derailed through injuries, slumps, and the bounces of the ball. Tonight that chance has been reduced to zero.

2004 may loom in the minds of many, but that’s a bad comparison. That year, the Red Sox had the feel of a team on a mission, and Yankee inevitability had been stretched to such absurd limits by Aaron Boone and their 3-0 series lead that the tension broke. Any baseball statistician will tell you that the chances of beating a very good team four times in a row is hard, but they will also say that it’s hard for them to beat you three times in a row if your team is good, and that if one team has beaten the crap out of a comparable team over any stretch of time it will eventually even out. It was just time for the Red Sox; I think that, now, it is time for the Yankees. Their teams have just been too good over the last nine years for their postseason failures to continue, especially now that they’ve got a team of this level two wins away.

If there’s any anecdotal measure by which to judge the series, it all works in the Yankees’ favor. As CF noted in his baseball preview, this Yankee team appears to be more cohesive than those of years past, and that the loose locker room has kept a group of the world’s best baseball players ready to do their jobs. The chances that this group cracks hard enough to lose three out of four games to a team that, frankly, they’re better than seems unlikely. Only a CC Sabathia meltdown of epic proportions could keep Philly’s hopes alive, by both evening up the series and casting a black cloud for the Yankees over a potential game seven with Sabathia on the hill.

But that too seems unlikely. Sabathia doesn’t seem to dominate great teams the way he dominates lesser ones, but he’s still a very good pitcher, and his October record is bound to adjust toward career norms at some point. For all the silly A-Rod/True Yankees business we’ve been exposed to this year, has anyone bestowed baseball’s greatest fake honor upon CC? And doesn’t it seem sort of inevitable?

The problem is not that I will believe it will happen, but that it doesn’t matter what happens later today. The Yankees are going to win the World Series now because they are the best baseball team on the planet and they only need to win two more games. A Phillies win would be one for history books, but only because of its sheer implausibility. Tonight, the World Series ended.

UPDATE: Scratch this. Choose life.

Game 2

Game 2 is in the books, and it’s a little gloomier outside this morning, and not just literally. The Yankees have tied the series, even if MLB poster child Derek Jeter made one of the all-time stupid mistakes last night and it was discussed less than Jay Z and Alicia Keys.

Jeter came to bat in the seventh inning with men on first and second and no outs. There were two strikes. He tried to bunt, he bunted foul, and he was called out. Derek Jeter hit .334 this year, and his lifetime batting average is sixth among active players. Even after his 3-for-5 game on Wednesday, the bunt attempt shows that the pressure of the World Series might be getting to him. Or, at least, that it affects him sometimes. He should talk to his buddy A-Rod (0-for-the-series) about it. Maybe a sleepover is in order.

Cheap shots aside, the story of last night wasn’t Pedro—who pitched pretty much in line with expectations—but A.J. Burnett, the angry-looking, unpredictable Yankee hurler. Burnett’s certainly got the stuff to dominate on any given night, but every pitch is like a coinflip: it either zips, unhittable, over the corner of the strike zone or careers away from it, often into the batter (Burnett was fourth in the league in hit batsmen this year, with 10. The leader? Joba, with 12). The story with watching Tim Wakefield, the Sox’ knuckleballer, is that things can fall apart in an instant, with no real warning signs: the knuckler is fickle. So is Burnett. Every inning, he looked dominant, but there was always that chance that he began to unravel. It never happened.

The Yankee bullpen managed to lock the game down, but not without some trouble. Characteristically, Mariano got the team out of danger, but uncharacteristically, he was also the one that put them there. It’s not unusual for closer to flirt with danger before sealing the deal, but it is unusual for this closer to do it. Whether that’s a harbinger of things to come or an aberration might determine who’s sizing their ring fingers in a couple weeks.

Back to Pedro. He pitched well, if laboriously, through the first few innings, displaying virtuoso skill with sub-master power (Imagine Picasso, too old to hold a brush, or Will Arnett playing the straight man). His changeup was a sight to behold during his prime, and now it’s really amazing: it’s one of the slowest pitches thrown by anyone in the entire league, and it’s brutally effective. Teixeira’s a terrible matchup for Pedro, however, and Tex made him pay. When he was finally pulled (in the seventh inning!) he walked off the field to chants of “Who’s Your Daddy?” and couldn’t help but break into a big smile. He’s Yankee Stadium’s ultimate heel, and he loves every second of it.

The series heads to Philly tomorrow with bizarro-Philadelphian Cole Hamels chucking against Andy Pettitte, whose pot-luck postseason history might be due to turn against him. Hamels, confounding on and off the field, has the ability to shut down the Yankees, but will he? If he does, the Phillies will be in a good spot. They’d get a crack at CC Sabathia on short rest in Game 4, and follow that up with the Unstoppable Cliff Lee® in game five going back up against Burnett… and those coin flips can’t keep coming up heads, can they?

Pedro

There are times when I write this blog that I should be working. Then there are times I really should be working. Then there are times like now, where I kind of should be working, but I’m riding the high of a Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Latte. The secret ingredient is sugar! Anyhow, you can only sort through so many work emails before it dawns on you that PEDRO MARTINEZ IS PITCHING IN THE WORLD SERIES TONIGHT.

Forget that it’s against the Yankees, if only for this paragraph. Pedro. Is pitching. In the World Series. Tonight.

Okay, now you can remember that it was the Yankees. And why this looks oh so very scary for Phans of the Phils.

I love Pedro. He was really, really, really good at baseball once. Actually, he was better than that. Now, he’s merely good. But the Yankees are a whole lot better than good. The last time the Yankees faced Pedro in the playoffs, he gave up two runs in one inning of work in a vanity appearance in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS. The holdovers from that team are Jeter, A-Rod, Matsui and Posada (on offense), and the Yankees will bring the firepower with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and, mostly absurdly, Johnny Damon.

Yes, Pedro the Phillie will pitch the Damon the Yankee in the bottom of the first inning. Egads.

The one thing Pedro has going for him is that he’s got absolutely nothing to lose. I think pretty much everyone expects him to fail tonight, with a 5-inning, 2-run performance serving as the best-case scenario. And really, against this lineup that wouldn’t be bad. He’s not the guy who struck out 17 Yankees any more. He’s not even the guy who signed with the Mets. He’s Jordan with the Wizards, coming out of exile to throw his remaining skills at the wall and see what sticks.

Last night, he gave a doozy of a press conference where he said:

I remember quotes in the paper, ‘Here comes the man that New York loves to hate.’ Man? None of you have probably ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what the man is about. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things, have written so many things.

There’s only one guy who can get away with saying that, and it’s Pedro. He knows he’ll still be the man when tonight’s game is over, win or lose. And that is the single biggest thing he has going for him.

Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee’s real name is Clifton, which is just fitting, somehow. It’s fitting that Clifton Phifer Lee pitched the best World Series game in six years, in the same spot as the last truly great one. In 2003, Josh Beckett put Yankees (and, to some degree, Red Sox) fans out of their misery with a nine strikeout, two-walk performance to give the Marlins the title. But for the fact that Lee pitched in Game 1, his game could be considered even better.

Beckett has always been the exemplar of rock-and-fire dominance when he’s on; he is the spiritual successor to fellow Texans Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, and Kerry Wood, whose superlative career only exists in the mind. Lee is something different. With the best control in baseball, he exerted totally casual dominance over the Yankees last night, making New Yankee Stadium his own and chasing any mystique and aura right out of the place. He could one lazy hit ball with complete nonchalance, not even looking at the glove as it plopped in, and snagged another one behind his back as it threaten to whiz past for what would have likely been another sequel-free Yankees hit. Even he had to laugh at that one.

The only time he wasn’t laughing or going about his business was the ninth inning, when shortstop Jimmy Rollins threw a ball into the stands, resulting in the Yankees’ only run. Lee was obviously miffed for a second, then went right back to chucking. Two pitches later, the camera panned back to Rollins, and now he was laughing, as if Lee was so dominant that the run he gifted them was its own sort of joke. It was that ridiculous to think the Yankees could score.

The Phillies had taken an early lead on a home run by Chase Utley that would have been an out in 29 of 30 professional baseball stadiums; lucky for him, he picked the right week to play in the Bronx. He followed that up with one that would have cleared the right-center field fences in all 30, and by the time Phil Hughes began the Yankees’ reliever death spiral in the eighth inning the result was never in doubt.

Still, it was a joy to watch. The Phillies had tried to acquire Blue Jays starting pitcher Roy Halladay before the trading deadline but had to “settle” for Lee, which is like “settling” for the second-best free steak dinner in the city. (Not that Lee was “free,” but for what they had to give up, close enough). Anyone who’s watched Halladay knows that he’s a grinder, a physical presence that wears down opponents. Lee just drops the hammer and goes. His delibery is the most consistent in the game today, and the results tell the story.

The best part about this, of course, is that it happened on the Yankees home turf. My only fear is that this Yankees squad draws strength from it. If they somehow lose to Pedro Martinez tonight—and if there’s any Lee hangover, or AJ Burnett pulls one of his Ricky Vaughn routines—they’d be down two games heading to Philadelphia. Normally, that would be good news, but this team has a decidedly 1996 feel about it: I think being against the wall is only going to make them stronger. There’s a long way to go in this series, even if the Phightin’s win tonight. It’s not my “I’ll believe the Yankees are dead when I see it” routine; it’s the “I’ll believe this team is dead when I see it.” There’s too much talent there to thinkt they couldn’t rip off four in a row against anyone. This is, however, a good start.

The Series of the Whole World

The World Series is not named after the world. It’s named after the long-defunct New York World newspaper. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t the New York Crab or something similarly ridiculous, because otherwise it would be hard for us to conflate the results of up to seven baseball games with ruling the Earth. But as a good friend of mine reminds me: don’t take points off the board. The World Series it is, and you can make of it what you want.

Already, I’ve seen one of my friends from Chicago say he tuned out baseball a month ago, implying that what we’re doing out here, one local and three express train stops from where I’m typing, is a fancy little East Coast party in which “real America” has no interest. Well, “real America” can bite my b***s. Your teams had a chance to make it, but your teams sucked. Plus, the writer in question roots for the Cubs. Which is its own problem.

This World Series may be East Coast-centric, but it has the chance to be the best since the 2002 series, which pitted NoCal (Giants) vs. SoCal (Angels) in a Bonds-fueled fight to the finish. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about West Coast Bias then, but that’s because almost nobody watched. Anyone skipping this year’s game has the potential to miss a Fall Classic that lives up to that capital C.

To put it simply, both these teams are bad-ass, and feature awesome and compelling baseball players. Even better, both teams deserve to be there. These have been the best teams over the course of the season, and they’ve pulled off the rarest of modern feats by turning April to September skill into October magic. These teams aren’t just happy to be here, nor did they expect to be. They went out there and kicked butt every day to get to this point.

In that sense, this Series has a distinctly retro feel, and not just because these teams are both more than 100 years old. This one harkens back to the days of AL winner vs. NL winner, stacked club vs. stacked club. Furthermore, you’ve got the historically best franchise against the defending champion, which makes for all sorts of compelling, if possibly silly, storylines. If Cliff Lee is nervous enough to be intimidated by the Yankee Stadium atmosphere, he’d probably have quit playing after A ball.

Lee is one of two midseason Philly acquisitions that pushes this series over the top. The other is Pedro Martinez. Lee and Pedro will start games 1 and 2 in Yankee Stadium. I’m a little worried about that second one. Here’s where nostalgia may work against the Phillies. The idea of Pedro pitching a World Series game in the Bronx is cool on the surface—but, like the Limericku, in practice it might be clunky. I see Mark Teixeira batting against Pedro and I can feel the fear in my stomach.

Alas, after that the pitching matchups turn in favor of the Phillies if pretty boy Cole Hamels can put it together. And if you thought this series was East Coast-centric now, wait until game four, which is scheduled to take place four hours after the Giants/Eagles game ends, across the parking lot. If there’s such thing as a New York/Philly rivalry, it is most usually most loudly demonstrated in Giants/Eagles. If you’re turned off by East Coast sports, this isn’t the day for you.

But you know what days will be? Games 5, 6, and possibly 7. At some point, this series is going to become good enough that any baseball fan won’t be able to afford to miss it. This is the real deal, and the type of World Series matchup we’ve waited for for almost a decade—a pairing worthy of the name.

Behold the World Series. Behold the Limericku.

We gather here tonight, on my couch, to observe the Festivus of the baseball season. The World Series begins in two days between the Yankees and the Phillies. With the talk of lawsuits and Met exasperation in the air, it’s time to break down this series, Bryan Joiner-style. That’s right: it’s time for the Limericku.

For those of you who don’t know about the Limericku, it’s a limerick with a haiku tucked into it. It’s the literary equivalent of a Morkie, the half-man, half-Yorkie dog like my brother owns: it doesn’t exist in nature, but we went and one-upped sh*t. William Shakespeare would be rolling over in his grave but only in sheer amazement.

Here are the haikus we’ll be using, written in a haste over some aged grape juice, following the traditional rules of haiku:

1

Yankees teem* in autumn

Against the halogen lights—

Crack toward victory

(* not a typo)

2

Philadelphia

Has owned its championship

For all the seasons

3

A new fall classic

Will end in less than two weeks

A title, bestowed

These are the building blocks. The foundations, if you will. (You will.) I have constructed Limericks around them, remembering that Limericks are meant to be flippant. Behold the Limerickii:

1

The Phillies think that they got’em

The Yankees teem in autumn

Against the halogen lights

Crack toward victory, they fight

And all the good players, they bought’em

2

The Mets fans moaned

‘Cuz Philadelphia has owned

Its championships for all

the seasons, from Fall

To Fall, the NL they’ve T-boned

3

With winter around the bend

A new fall classic will end

In less than two weeks

A title bestowed, a peak

For the team that next year will defend

Of course, if you removed the haikus from the limerickii you also get poems. And these poems also rule.

1

The Phillies think they got’em

They fight

And all the good players, they bought’em (Not entirely true, but not bad!)

2

The Mets fans moaned

From fall to fall

The NL they’ve T-boned (actually not that bad, if you consider the Mets a giant car wreck. Which they are.)

3

With winter around the bend

A peak for the team

That next year will defend (alright!)

I don’t know what else to tell you, except to remember where you were when the limericku was invented. You’ll be telling your kids. And remember that the World Series inspired it. I’m so happy that I invented a whole new way of communicating. If the Yankees win, I won’t be happy any more, but the Limericku will still exist. No matter what, we all win.

Do Yankees Fans Have Legal Rights?

One year ago last month I served as best man for my friend Mike’s wedding. He married Laura, despite the fact she is a Yankees fan. He is a Phillies fan. Today, this is a problem.

Facebook comments have already suggested that divorce proceedings are being discussed, and possessions are already being separated. The problem here is that Laura is a lawyer, and Mike is not. She has crafty advantages as they sort through their property. At particular issue is the dog, whose name is Brooklyn. They both want him.

Being on the side of things that are good, I decided to consult some other attorneys, who, also in the name of good, have volunteered to help Mr. Tepper, pro bono. Here is what I have learned.

• Being a Yankees fan is grounds for divorce in 49 of 50 states.

This is not altogether surprising. Anti-NYY sentiment dates back as far as the Magna Carta, and was written into the Declaraton of Independence (it’s the stuff in invisible ink, on the back). While marrying a Yankees fan is one of the freedoms permitted by our First Amendment, it wasn’t always clear that this was the case, and most states put some sort of Yankees divorce clause into their charters just to be sure. The only one that didn’t, interestingly enough, was Massachusetts. “If you marry one, it’s your own damn problem,” was written into the Commonweath of Massachusetts charter in 1629 after being devised on the Mayflower.

• The rights of Brooklyn shareholders

As a full-time resident of Brooklyn, it is within my legal rights in the State of New York to claim Brooklyn the Dog by eminent domain. Pennsylvania (as the couple is, it is important and overdue to note, based in Philadelphia) and New York have an extradition arrangement wherein if a judge were to approve my motion, the dog would have to be delivered to me within two (2) business days. The dog then becoming mine, I could give him to Mike and Mike alone, whereupon he could either withhold the dog until Mrs. Mike decided to renounce her Yankees fandom or moved more than 500 feet away, the standard distance applied by Pennsylvania law for those seeking to avoid Yankees fans.

• Superseding clauses

The kicker is that Laura actually has no rights to any possessions as a Yankees fan. While some declare the law to be “wildly unconstitutional” and upheld during only the “darkest hours on our Supreme Court,” McGonigle vs. McGonigle ruled that Yankees fans are inherently Treasonous against the American ideals of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and as such are not entitled to hold U.S. property. They simply live among us, like UFOs that have taken the shape of humans, and are not protected by the Constitution. It is only by marrying Mike—a living, loving, breathing human being—that she is entitled to protection under our laws. Notable is that President George W. Bush attempted to overturn this law in the final days of his second term, only to have his deep unpopularity torpedo it. His successor, elected on a populist platform, announced during his Inauguration address that he would uphold the current law, drawing a rousing cheer from the millions on the Washington Mall. In subsequent months, despite harsh criticisms on literally every other front, right-wing critics such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have applauded Mr. Obama’s leadership on this issue.

In short, we see nothing to indicate that Mike has anything to worry about, in a legal sense. In a baseball sense, this is a hell of a series, but the games will be fleeting (and hopefully, given the strength of both teams, great for everyone). He has chosen the path of life and liberty, and is legally protected into the far future.