Right around the time The Slappers were winning their 2nd Championship this summer PC Magazine took note of the software program we have all grown to love. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The Gary Hairys’ mood entering Game 2 of the 2009 World Series can probably best be described as resigned indifference. Resigned to the fact that they seemed destined to have their collective heart smashed into pieces until the end of time by the Slappers. Even Manager Ockey was struggling with feelings that the fates were inescapably conspiring against his squad. Ironically, perhaps the feeling that they were destined to lose allowed the Hairys to play with a looseness that allowed them to win. Here’s how it went down –
Another cool August day in Wrigley was the scene for Game 2. Chicago native and die-hard Hairy fan Eddie Vedder led his band Pearl Jam through the National Anthem and then segued into a verse of the classic track “Alive” in an effort to rally his beloved team. It must have worked. The starters were the always reliable Carl Pavano for the Hairys and Slapper young gun Rich Harden. Neither starter seemed to have their best stuff in this contest. Series MVP Sean Casey tried to get things started for the Hairys with a 1 out single, but was stranded – the same fate befell Hairy-killer Carlos Guillen who was left on first after drawing a walk. Action started to heat up in the 2nd as the Hairys drew 1st blood with a brilliant string of play with 2 outs. JD Drew started the damage with a single to right and then, after swiping 2nd, advanced to 3rd on a Javy Lopez infield hit. Mark Grudzilanek then drove Drew home with another single, followed by another infield single by speedster Juan Pierre to load the bases. Sean Casey then worked a walk to bring in a 2nd run, 2-0 Hairys. The Slappers struck right back, however. Vlad singled to start the inning and then was thankfully gunned down trying to steal second on a pitch-out because no sooner had that happened than Eric Chavez drove a Pavano change-up over the right-field wall for the Slappers’ 1st run, 2-1 Hairys.
The pitchers settled a bit, with Harden striking out the side in the 3rd. He was soon lifted, however, as a Javy single and Juan Pierre single were enough for Utley, as Sean Casey was coming to the plate. Ricky Bottalico was brought in and Casey worked him for a walk to load the bases before Tejada ended the inning in a killer GDP. In the top of the 5th, the Hairys struck again – Rolen singled then tried to take 3rd on a JD Drew single. The Gator must have been a little excited because he chucked his throw to third somewhere into Indiana allowing Rolen to come around and score. AGAIN, the Slappers struck right back in the bottom of the inning – Guillen the Hairy-Hater with a double and then Larry Walker with a 2-run job off Pavano. Seriously, what is with Larry Walker being a rhinoceros-sized turd in the regular season only to turn into absolute filthiness in the post-season? At this point, you could almost hear Hairy Nation deflating – another lead lost to the Slappers…it was now only a matter of time til they did what they always do – take the lead from you like a greasy 6th-grader takes lunch money from a 2nd-grader. Things looked even worse as in the bottom of the 6th, Vlad led off with a single, stole 2nd, reached 3rd on a Helton single and then watched as Pavano walked Chavez to load the bases. Well, here we go again, thought Hairy fans everywhere. But then, a funny thing happened. In what this reporter considers the turning point of the series, Manager Ockey made a brilliant move. With Pavano gassed, throwing 110 pitches in only 5 innings and the bullpen still reeling from yesterday’s debacle, Ockey brough in 5th starter Jake Peavy for some long relief work. So, enter Peavy with no outs and the bases loaded – worst case scenario, the Slappers break it wide open and Peavy rots, saving the bullpen. Best case scenario, Peavy escapes with only a couple runs allowed. What actually happened? Ockey brought the infield in and Peavy got Mark Loretta to ground into the unconventional 5-2-3 double play! Peavy then walked pinch-hitter Adam Dunn to lead the bases again before K’ing Berkman to end the inning and send the Hairy dugout into a frenzy. Peavy induced another GDP in the 7th to decapitate another Slapper threat and challenged his offense to respond. Which they did in the 8th, deciding once and for all that they would be damned if they were going to let the Slappers do them like that again. With the lefty Gonzalez now pitching, Ockey brought in Menechino for Grudz – base hit. He brought in Beltran for Pierre despite a 35 point drop in AVG – 2 run bomb. Utley scrambled to bring in relief, but it was ON at this point. Armando “Gas Can” Benitez who did what he does best – double by Seany, 2 run bomb by Tejada, 7-3 Hairys. Peavy pitched a perfect 8th and then Utley brought in Flash Gordon in the 9th. The only thing fast about him tonight, however, was the speed with which his ERA launched into the stratosphere as the Hairys beat him like a rented mule – Drew walk, 2 run yakker by Javy. Menechino single, Beltran walk, another double by Seany, 10-3. Tejada sac fly, Bonds double, Rolen single, Ortiz walk, Drew walk and it was 13-3 before you could say “Game Over”. Gordon took his ERA of 54.00 and had to be helped off the field. Peavy finished the game with a hitless 9th and that was it. 21 hits, 13 runs and Hairy Nation, which a mere few innings earlier had been fluttering to the ground like a wilted balloon was now rocketing back to Yankee Stadium with a split series and some newly-renewed confidence…
With the leaves changing, temperatures dropping and real-life pennant races coming down to the wire, it’s time to reflect on the post-season that REALLY matters – Davis League 2009. In an effort to waste time at work and shamelessly milk every last drop out of my World Series victory, I plan to revist this epic event in a series of articles over the next few days for the benefit of those fans who weren’t able to witness the history-making, logic-defying Hairy victory in person. You won’t miss a thing – every clutch Sean Casey hit, every Bonds bomb, every point/couterpoint pinch-hitter/relief-pitcher chess move. It will all be covered with the depth and historical perspective that the first World Series Title in Hairyville deserves. So, with that introduction, let’s re-visit Game 1.
It was a clear but brisk summer day at Wrigley on August 24 with a stiff wind coming in from left field. The National Anthem was performed by Kanye West who prefaced his rendition with an unscripted “George Bush doesn’t care about Slappers” comment. And with that, the stage was set for a pitchers duel – Santana vs. Clemens. Does it get any better than that? Series MVP Sean Casey was the first baserunner for the Hairys after working a walk out of Santana. That was quickly wasted, however, by Miguel Tejada’s GDP (the first of 3 for the Hairys) which ended the Hairy 1st. The Slappers came out slapping in their half, taking advantage of the Hairys’ first-Series jitters. A Guillen single and Helton walk set the table for post-season monster Larry Walker to get his 1st RBI of the series on a single that scored Guillen. Clemens responded by K’ing the gator and then after walking Vlad to load the bases, K’d Chavez to end the threat. Both pitchers then got locked in and didn’t allow any runs for the next 4 innings. The Hairys shot themselves in the foot with 2 more GDP’s, but thankfully Clemens kept the Slappers under control through 6.
In the top of the 6th, the Hairys started a 2-out rally with who else but Sean Casey – a single to left was followed by a Tejada walk and then back-to-back singles by Bonds and Rolen, scoring Casey and Tejada and giving the Hairys the lead. Clemens gave way to BJ Ryan in the 7th who pitched a perfect inning. In the top of the 8th, Bonds took a Juan Rincon fastball down the right-field line for a 3-1 Hairy lead. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect 8th with 2 K’s. Rincon/Gonzalez struck out the side in the top of the 9th, so we went to the bottom of the 9th with the Hairys up 3-1. Asked how he felt going into the bottom of the 9th, Manger Ockey said “Not great – we’d been there several times before – the Slappers always find a way to win.” And so it was on this day as well – Ockey made the regrettable decision of bringing in lefty Ron Mahay for some favorable match-ups to end the game. Utley deftly countered that move by bringing in lefty-killer Eli Marrero. Marrero promptly responded with a double and then, before you could say “Mahay-is-tough-in-a-jam-my-@$$” Carlos Guillen yanked a pitch onto Waveland Ave. to tie the ballgame. Todd Helton walked and that was it for Mahay – Ockey yanked him with extreme prejudice and sent Joe Nathan into a situation that everyone already knew the outcome to. Sure enough, Walker walk, Gator sac-fly, Vlad single, ballgame. Another come from behind Slapper victory. Broken and demoralized, the Hairys limped into Game 2…
Believe it. Full report to follow – I can hardly see straight let alone type a coherent summary. Much respect to Bri and the Slappers – it was a hard-fought series for the ages.
Is there really no world series. The great day of PTP must have taken the gas and wind out of the pompous and never quiet BS of Utley. Personally, I like his attitude but I think he knows he is going to lose in the post season and that is why he is hiding. Oakey is too busy getting beer and a movie. Maybe he and his wife should spend more time making love balls and playing ptp so we can get the show on the road. By the way, you can play PTP at home, eat ice cream, pizza, and drink (root)beer without ever leaving the comfort of your bed and your wife can catch up on the OC. This fan says what the hell. Obviously this league is smooth down there. We need Brass Balls. Come out and play boys