One day, I’ll understand how Cliff Lee has managed to start the season 6-0 with an ERA of 0.81. I’ll one day understand how opposing hitters have managed just 25 hits off Lee in 44.1 innings. I know the walks are key; he has issued only two this year. But his stuff just doesn’t scream out untouchable success.
Tonight, I watched from the third deck as Cliff Lee put on something of a strike-throwing clinic. He threw 103 pitches, 76 of them for strikes, and the Yanks found themselves in few three-ball counts tonight. What he did, though, was to keep the Yankeess off balance by changing speeds. None of his stuff is overpowering; his pitches range from about 79 to 92 miles per hour. But he pounded the zone and kept the Yankees hitters guessing.
Or at least, I think that’s what he did. Part of me thinks that the Yanks probably should have crushed Cliff Lee. But the unstoppable force that is Cliff Lee just keeps rolling along. On a night like tonight, you just have to tip your cap to Lee and hope that the Yanks end their 14-inning scoreless drought early in this afternoon’s game.
Now, instead of dwelling further on this loss, let me regale you with a tale from the stadium tonight. Every night, after the second inning or so, a lucky fan gets to answer a fairly easy Yankee trivia question on the DiamondVision screen. It’s long been my family’s theory that the people with the giant cards and the announcer do everything in their power to make sure the contestant gets the answer right. For example, on Ron Guidry Day, Ron Guidry was probably the answer to the trivia question. Other times, the announcer will go, “Is it A, Beeeeeeeeeeeee, C or D?” drawing out the B to the point of absurdity.
Tonight’s trivia question: Who threw the last Yankee perfect game? Was it: A. David Wells; B. David Cone; C. Don Larsen; or D. Jim Abbott? The scoreboard announcer then noted that, as a hint, the answer was in the stadium, and then they flashed on David Cone sitting in the YES broadcast booth.
The contestant picked the card for A. Not only would any fan know that David Cone’s perfect game in 1999 was more recent than Wells’ 1998 effort, but anyone with half a brain could have made the visual connection between David Cone in the broadcast booth and the picture of David Cone on the scoreboard.
When the contestant go it wrong — and it takes some skill to actually get the answer wrong — the scoreboard announcer seemed a little shocked. He amusingly urged the guy to get glasses and thanked him for playing. As the crowd booed the clueless for getting the answer wrong, I laughed at the absurdity of it all. It was one funny moment during an otherwise dreary performance by the Yankee offense.