For those of us who grew up listening to Phil Rizzuto during the lean years (be it the days of Horace Clarke or Stump Merrill) it seemed oddly fitting that the Yankees got their clocks cleaned last night, allowing Michael Kay and Ken Singleton to reminisce about Scooter uninhibited by compelling game action. In the seventh inning, with the Yankees already trailing by the eventual final of 12-0, Kay shared the fact that the Yankee booth had received a memorial box of cannolis from one of Scooter's favorites, Artuso Pastry in the Bronx. That set Kay and Singleton off on remembrances of Scooter during which they talked straight through a pitching change with hardly a mention of the on-field action until Kay caught himself as the reliever warmed up:
". . . he was such a student of Yankee history and he knew exactly what was going on . . . and, by the way, this, I feel like Phil, the Orioles just changed pitchers, they brought in Paul Shuey . . . but, he was such a student of Yankee history . . ."
And so forth. In general, YES did a great job honoring Rizzuto, compiling several clip packages, including a hilarious collection of his famous on-air antics supplemented by additional clips scattered throughout the broadcast. They even replaced the commercial break in the middle of the first inning with an excellent montage of Rizzuto's playing career. It's one thing to pay lip service, but by skipping that break and the break that would have come during Shuey's warmup pitches, YES showed that they were willing to put Rizzuto's memory in front of the bottom line for a night, which, in this day and age, may be the classiest move of all.
As for the game, spot-starter Jeff Karstens got rocked and bounced after throwing 74 pitches and allowing five runs in just three innings, four of them scoring on a third-inning grand slam by Aubrey Huff. Jim Brower was just as bad in his two-plus innings of work. He let two runs in on his own, then left the bases loaded with no outs for Ron Villone, who finished the job by allowing all three of Browers' bequeathed runners to score and adding a solo homer by Kevin Millar in the following frame. With the pen otherwise empty, Kyle Farnsworth and Luis Vizcaino turned in 1-2-3 frames to finish things off. The Yankee offense, which had scored seven or more runs in ten straight home games prior to last night, one short of the franchise record, managed just two hits off Daniel Cabrera and none off of his two relievers, Shuey and Rob Bell, but walked nine times only to strand all 11 runners without so much as a double play or caught stealing. Only one Yankee got as far as third base all night. If ever there was a night to leave early to beat the traffic.