One thing I've learned about myself since I've been writing about baseball is that I don't have a lot of patience. I like to think that I do, but I don't. It's easy to be impatient. The Internet provides almost instant information. How can you be calm, and forgiving in the world of Gameday and Instant Messaging? What's unnatural about this is that baseball is a game that requires patience. For players and fans alike.
It's easy to see why young ballplayers lack patience. They hit a snag, start to struggle and they can lose their confidence. In yesterday's game at the stadium, many of the Devil Rays players looked as if they had a bus to catch. They made careless errors and had horrible at-bats. It's as if they want the season to end last week. On the other hand, veteran players know how to weather difficult times, mentally and emotionally.
Take Bernie Williams, for example. Williams is clearly in the twilight of his career. He doesn't hit for average anymore and doesn't have much power either. But he scored his 100th run of the season yesterday because he still has enough patience to work walks and get on base. Not bad for an old man on his way out, huh? Of course, it helps to play with an impressive offensive team. Look at Mike Piazza. His numbers would look respectable too if he were on a good team.
Anyhow, I know that I appreciate Bernie's accomplishment. I also stand duly impressed with Greg Maddux winning his 15th game yesterday. He's now won at least 15 games in 17 straight years. At the begining of the year, I did a rountable preview for the Yankees season and one of the questions was weather or not Mike Mussina would finally win twenty games this season. One thing many of the writers said was that he'd win 15 falling out of bed. Which got me to thinking just how difficult it is to win 15 games on a year-in, year-out basis. Or course, you have to stay healthy, be lucky, and have a good offense, but still, it's not so easy as Mussina has found out in 2004. Maddux is the man.
The Yankees clinced a playoff spot for the 10th consecutive season yesterday with their 7-3 win over the Rays at the stadium. It was a soporific, late-afternoon affair. Again, Tampa looked as if it would have rather been somewhere else. The Red Sox rallied, but fell short against the Orioles last night. The Yanks head to Boston leading the east by four-and-a-half games.