World Series game two preview


Sailors from the amphibious transport dock New York visited Yankee Stadium on Sept. 11. The Navy will return, in the form of the Naval Academy color guard, for Thursday night's World Series game two. // Navy

A team of Naval Academy midshipmen will be presenting the colors at tonight’s game two of the World Series in New York, in which the New York Yankees, down a game, will try to equalize the series against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. Inspired by the service and patriotism of those midshipmen, After Action decided to take a look at the series so far and offers this preview of tonight’s game.

We asked Military Times Senior Sportswriter Mike Hoffman what he thought of tonight’s pitching match-up, between Yankees starter A.J. Burnett and the Phillies’ Pedro “I throw at him” Martinez, a long-standing nemesis of the Bronx Bombers.

Hoffman: Well, we have a consistent under-achiever facing off with a man that befriended a midget and looks much like a cat. Also, you gotta wonder if [former Yankees bench coach]Don Zimmer is in the house. What does security do if ol’ Zim storms out of the stands and rushes the mound? Do they tackle the old man or grab him by the head and throw him to the ground, a la Pedro?

(Zimmer burst from the Yankees dugout and charged Martinez — then a Red Sock — in game three of the 2003 American League Championship Series, whereupon Martinez grasped Zimmer’s head like a pound of hamburger and threw him to the turf.)

A2: Good question — is Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard trained in grappling or the deadly arts? They’ve got to protect Pedro somehow.

Hoffman: Don’t underestimate Pedro. He’s got a cat’s quickness.

A2: What about the Yankees’ bats; can they come back alive after being smothered as they were in game one?

Hoffman: Well, after all that talk about A-Roid A-Rod [Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodrieguez] being the new Mr. October, he went back into his usual October shell. You have to wonder if his good luck charm, the lovely and beautiful Kate Hudson, is not pulling her weight. The captain [Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter] was certainly alive last night, but [first baseman Mark Teixeira]Tex and A-Rod have to get on track in this must-win game for the Yanks.

A2: Was she [Hudson] even there last night? In that rain one would definitely be concerned about her dissolving and sluicing into the New York storm water system

Hoffman: I believe there were multiple sightings.

A2: Many of the Yankees in this series are names we recognize from their (in)famous Dynasty of the late 1990s– Jeter, [catcher Jorge]Posada, [pitcher Andy]Pettite and closer Mariano Rivera — but the Phillies are the defending champs and looking to establish their own dynasty. How do you think that factors into the dynamic of this series?

Hoffman: Pettite. Will he ever stop pitching? The day Petite stops pitching is officially the first day I feel old. As long as he can still tap into the juice — strike that, “fountain of youth” — I can also still feel young.

A2: What are some of the “x factors” and “unexpecteds” we should be watching for tonight when these two teams meet again?

Hoffman: First, let’s reiterate the point that this is a must-win for the Yankees. They can not go to Philadelphia and expect to win on Halloween night. Do you know how many Greenman costumes will be in the stadium?

A2: Plus, the effects of the ghosts of Philadelphia’s revolutionary heritage are well known on important sporting events. My understanding is that the spirit of Ben Franklin has been known to ride through visiting teams’ locker rooms with a broadsword, cutting off players’ heads, as when he decapitated Vikings great Fran Tarkenton in 1975 in a game against the Eagles.

Hoffman: Also, everyone’s favorite cover band, Mr. Greenegenes, will be playing in the parking lot before the game. And how about a shout out to [Phillies second baseman] Chase Utley? Can he keep up this tear? Utley hit two solo home runs Wednesday night.

A2: Something tells me if [Yankees pitcher] C.C. Sebathia didn’t have a voodoo doll of him before this series, he and the rest of the Yankees pitching staff have one now — one their coaches will start jabbing regularly.

Hoffman: Indeed.


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