Saturday, October 06, 2007

Indians over Yankees: Lord of the Flies Edition

In 25 years or so of watching baseball, I think this is the most bizarre thing I've ever seen:

The pictures are from the MLB site here.

They were a group of bugs clearly partial to the hometown Indians, as they began to appear during Doug Mientkiewicz's at-bat in the top of the eighth and arrived in full force when Joba Chamberlain took the mound in the bottom of the frame...

Blake's words provide the essence for this latest chapter of "When annoying bugs attack." The Indians went about business as if nothing out of the ordinary was taking place, pretty much how they have adeptly handled the first two games of this playoff encounter.

New York, meanwhile, temporarily became a bit unglued. Players were sprayed down with Off before the inning, with shortstop Derek Jeter swatting at the nuisances using his glove, and third baseman Alex Rodriguez using his hat to move them away.

Chamberlain looked as if he was conducting some sort of entomology experiment with the 20 or so bugs perched on his neck. They provided more than just a physical distraction, though, as the hard-throwing right-hander, rushing fastballs to the plate at 98 mph, threw two wild pitches to bring home Grady Sizemore with the game-tying run.

According to crew chief Bruce Froemming, who spoke to a pool reporter after the game, stopping action because of the bugs never was under consideration. It certainly wasn't necessary in the collective minds of the Indians players...

A reporter for Friday's broadcast on TBS identified the bugs as Canadian Soldiers, but apparently they were smaller. Since these bugs weren't looking for food, and probably had come from nearby Lake Erie in search of moisture, the bug spray actually had very little effect on getting rid of the pests. According to the Associated Press, in a game taking place against the Angels at Jacobs Field in September 2004, play was stopped several times after players complained of swallowing the bugs while running the bases. The situation played out very similar on Friday, with the bugs ending up in players' mouths, eyes, noses...

The Indians have a commanding lead because they weren't affected the way the Yankees were. Still... just bizarre.

Oh well -- back to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. With Clemens and (God-willing) Chien Ming Wang going in games three and four against Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd respectively, the Yankees still have a chance.

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