Sunday, October 26, 2014

American League Championship

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Prior to leaving for the American League Championship, Ronald Reagan and his new driver, Richard Petty, pose for pictures with Petty’s wife Lynda.  Members of the press asked the tournament director his opinion on whether the ’83 White Sox could beat the ’85 Yankees.  The State of New York voted in favor of Reagan in the presidential elections of 1980 and 1984.  However, voters in New York City voted against the former California Governor both times.  Reagan took this as a personal snub and has showed open bias against both the Mets and Yankees throughout the tournament.  “There is no way a good old fashioned, conservative, mid-western team like the White Sox will lose to that bunch of liberals from New York City.  The 83 Chicago team even wears red, white and blue.  God bless America and God bless the Chicago White Sox!”

CHICAGO - In the White Sox broadcast booth, Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, may be in danger of losing his job.  WFLD-32 has expressed the possibility of replacing Don Drysdale’s side kick with another experienced television personality, rumored to be associated with Jim Henson Productions, Inc.  According to an unnamed source, the possible replacement shares many physical attributes with Harrelson, and the two even have similar on-air personalities.  “The two candidates are so similar, I’m not sure fans would realize a change had been made”, the source added.

Game one opened at Comiskey with LaMarr Hoyt (A-YZ) pitching for Chicago and Ron Guidry (B-YZ) going for New York.  The Sox busted out early.  Rudy Law walked and stole second base.  After a Fisk fly out, Paciorek moved Law over to third on a ground ball to first base.  Greg Luzinski, who has been on an experimental conditioning program preparing for the Yankee series, blasted an opposite field double putting the White Sox up 1-0.  Harold Baines followed with a double of his own scoring the Bull from second base as he showed off his blazing new speed, crossed the plate then continued running out of the park to find some Chicago deep dish and promptly broke his diet.  Ron Kittle made it three straight doubles as he drove a Louisiana Lightening pitch into the gap as Baines crossed the plate putting the home team up 3-0.  Baines did not go for pizza.

The Yankees got on the board in the top of the 2nd inning.  Don Mattingly walked and Dan Pasqua followed with an infield base hit.  Butch Wynegar drove a Hoyt pitch into the left center field gap scoring Mattingly.  However, the slow footed Pasqua was gunned down at the plate attempting to go first to home as Kittle’s throw from left field was relayed by Scott Fletcher to Fisk who blocked the plate, applied the tag and held the New York damage to only one run.

The Sox bats were locked and loaded.  In the bottom of the 2nd, Julio Cruz reached on a Meacham error, and with two outs, it looked as if the Yankees might escape any harm.  Fisk stepped in the box and blasted a home run off Guidry, ending the former Cy Young award winners night, as Yankee Boy went to his pen early for Joe Niekro.  The younger brother of New York’s Game 2 starter needed a mop and bucket more than a glove and a ball, because most of his night could only be described as mop up duty.  Niekro walked the first batter he faced, Tom Paciorek.  Luzinski, back from his pizza run,  crushed the first pitch he saw into the public shower in center field, creating even more of a mess for Niekro to mop up.

In the bottom of the 5th, the White Sox put the game away and showed no mercy to the visiting Yankees.  Vance Law blasted a home run with Baines and Kittle on base, as The Hawk yelled, “You can put it on the board! Yes! Yes!”.  Julio Cruz singled and stole second.  Rudy Law smashed a triple scoring Cruz.  Law was brought home when Fisk singled, but Pudge was thrown out at second base by Ken Griffey trying to stretch out a double. 

Both teams continued to swing hot sticks, and at the end of the night, Chicago had only out hit New York 14-11.  However, in the column that counted, the Sox were up 13-3 and the crowd stormed the field to celebrate.  Ron Guidry suffered the loss, which is becoming the norm for him and the Yankees.  In four Game 1 starts in the tournament, Gator is 0-4 with a 4.76 ERA.  Joe Niekro (and his mop) suffered through 6.1 innings, giving up 8 runs, all earned.  His tournament ERA ballooned to 7.71.  LaMarr Hoyt got sweet revenge against the team who traded him away years earlier for Bucky Dent, picking up the win, by going 8 innings, giving up 3 runs, all earned.

NEW YORK Phil Niekro (C-YW) took mound for New York against Rich Dotson (B-Y) and the White Sox.  The Sox blasted out early again as Rudy Law led off the game with a single and Carlton Fisk followed behind him with yet another home run.  Dave Winfield connected for the Yankees in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 2-1.

The White Sox kept their foot on the gas in the top of the 2nd inning as Scott Fletcher doubled and scored on a Carlton Fisk base hit.  Pudge, having been thrown out running the bases in Game 1, found high gear and motored home on a double by Tom Paciorek, putting the Sox up 4-1.  The Yankees answered back.  With 2 out and bases empty, Bobby Meacham, Mike Pagliarulo and Willie Randolph all singled to load the bases.  Rickey Henderson made it 4 straight singles driving a ball to right field scoring Meacham and Pags, and cutting the lead to 4-3.

The Yankees took their first lead of the series in the bottom of the 4th, when Don Mattingly blasted a 66-1 with Henderson and Meacham on base, putting New York ahead 6-4.  Fans in New York jumped to their feet and Yankee Boy had his first opportunity to celebrate in the series.

Things remained quiet until the bottom of the 8th when, again with 2 out and bases empty, the Yankees put together a rally.  Meacham walked and moved to third on a Pagliarulo base hit.  Willie Randolph cleared the bases with a double, giving New York an 8-4 lead.  While that felt comfortable for the fans in the Bronx, when the next batter (Rickey Henderson) blasted a home run, the 10-4 score made them down right cozy.  

Rich Bordi (B*-YZ) was called on to pitch the 9th  with the luxury of a 6 run lead.  With one out, unlikely home run power came from Julio Cruz to make the score 10-5.  Rudy Law doubled and Fisk walked.  Tom Paciorek flew out to Rickey in center field deep enough to move the speedy Law to third. Yankee Boy was getting tense along with the Yankee Stadium crowd.  He could feel the big lead getting away with the explosive White Sox swinging the bats.  He called to the bull pen, again, for Bob Shirley (B*-Z) to get the final and elusive out.  No luck. Greg Luzinski singled over second scoring Law and moving Fisk to third as the New York crowd moaned.  Reagan stood and cheered from his private box.  Speedy Lorenzo Gray was called on to run for Luzinski whose stomach hurt from his recent gorging at Chicago pizzerias.

The Boy was squirming, sweating and breathing hard.  He didn’t feel he could wait any longer.  With a save situation now present, he called on his lefty closer, Dave Righetti (B*-X) to face White Sox left handed slugger, Harold Baines.  The Yankee crowd cheered on Righetti.  They needed only one good dice roll.  Rags sets and fires.  Still no luck.  Baines greeted Rags with a hard base hit scoring Fisk and bringing the tying run to the plate in Ron Kittle.  Kit Cat's card has a 66-1, 11-1, 33-4, and with runners at first and second base, any of those PRN's would tie the game.  3 chances out of 36.  1 out of 12.  The Yankee fans were on the edge of their seats, and the Boy rocked hard in his chair.  Now, with one bad roll of the dice, this game could be tied.  Kittle dug in at the plate, waving the bat in anticipation of an 11, 33 or 66.  The crowd screamed, Reagan cheered, dad held his breath.  Rags got the sign from Wynegar and came set.  The Boy rolled.  The wind, the pitch, and Kittle hit a smash to Meacham at short who threw on to Mattingly ending the threat and the game as the Bronx crowd went wild!   

CHICAGO - The teams returned to Comiskey Park for the decisive Game 3.  Joe Cowley (C-Y) for New York would face the home town, Floyd Bannister (B-XZ).  With a clear pitching edge, and an offense that showed no signs of letting up, the South side fans packed the park and believed their team could finish the Yankees and put an end to the Boy's reign of terror.

In the top of the first, Don Mattingly walked and scored on a two out double by hot hitting Butch Wynegar.  Yankee Boy had moved Wynegar into the clean up spot for Game 2 based upon his clutch hitting in the tournament, and he remained there for Game 3.  Dan Pasqua connected on a deep home run that put the Yankees up 3-0 and silencing the White Sox crowd before the hometown team had batted.

The Sox fought back.  Fisk doubled and Tom Paciorek singled him home, cutting the lead to 3-1.  But the Yankees wouldn't let up.  Again, with two out and no one on base, Randolph singled over Scott Fletcher's head.  Rickey singled to right field, moving Randolph to third, and then stole second base, putting two runners in scoring position for Mattingly.  Donnie Baseball drove a ball off the center field fence scoring both Randolph and Henderson and pushing New York ahead, 5-1.

Ken Griffey knocked a solo homer in the top of the third.  Fisk doubled home Rudy Law in the bottom of the inning.  Dan Pasqua blasted his second home run of the night with a solo shot in the top of the 5th.  The teams swapped runs in the 6th.  Although the teams were trading shots like two heavy weight fighters, the Yankees' blows were landing harder and with more frequency.  Heading into the bottom of the 8th, the Yankee lead had grown to 8-3.

Vance Law smashed his second home run of the series in the bottom of the 8th, as the Sox stared down an 8-4 deficit.  In typical Yankee fashion, New York answered with a matching run in the top of the 9th, going up 9-4.  Joe Cowley had gone over his batters faced limit, and suffered a grade reduction.  But with a 5 run lead, Yankee Boy wanted his #3 starter to finish and earn the complete game.  Chicago took advantage of the fatigued starter as Julio Cruz singled and stole second base.  Cruz scored on a single from Rudy Law.  Cowely hit Fisk with a pitch to the displeasure of the Comiskey crowd.  Yankee Boy had seen enough and called for his closer, Dave Righetti.  Paciorek grounded out to Pagliarulo, but both runners moved into scoring position.  Luzinski hit a ground ball to Randolph who refused the play on Rudy Law at the plate and took the sure out at first.  Harold Baines singled home Fisk, cutting the lead to 9-7.  With Ron Kittle back up at the plate, Yogi Berra recalled it, "feels like deja vu all over again."  For the second game in row, Ron Kittle could tie the game with one dice roll.  This time with a runner on first base, it would take an 11-1 or 66-1 to reach the seats.  2 out of 36, one out of 18.  The crowd cheered on Kittle, Reagan closed his eyes in anticipation, dad sat in quiet dread.  Righetti came set.  The wind and the pitch and Kittle's 24-13 strike out looking gave the Yankees and their young APBA manager, their second straight American League Championship.

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