Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Striking Out the Side on the North Side

The O's, minus Payton, sport Sherrill victory cap after nervous ninth

by Matthew Taylor

"He's unbelievable," Roberts said. "I've never seen anything like it. Our saying is, 'Never in doubt, Georgie, never in doubt.' But gosh, I'm starting to doubt. He's killing me out there, he's killing all of us. But shoot, it's fun. I don't think he ever doubts himself, and that's all that matters."

The look on Brian Roberts' face said it all. Grinning widely, his hat flipped up Sherrill victory-cap style as he slapped hands with his victorious teammates, Roberts took on the demeanor of a giddy Little Leaguer as he mouthed the word that best described Tuesday's nerve-rattling finish: "Wow."

Roberts is having fun. The O's are having fun. And the fans are having fun. Of course, a game that once featured a 7-1 Birds lead could've been even more enjoyable had George Sherrill not flirted with disaster once more.

Dempsey's Army
summed it up best last week in a great posting about Sherrill's ulcer-inducing tendencies and where they rank in comparison to O's closers. The post references Don Stanhouse as a comparison point. Tom Davis and, fittingly, Rick Dempsey likewise focused on Stanhouse during MASN's "O's Extra" following the game. And Roch makes the reference this morning. So it's unanimous. (Roch also mentions Jay Payton not flipping his cap after the game. Payton similarly refused to do so last week, pushing the bill back down after Roberts flipped it up.)

You can say this much for Sherrill: he has a flair for the dramatic. Three straight strikeouts, including flailing swings from Kosuke Fukudome as the thundering crowd chanted the rookie right fielder's last name. All this after loading the bases? Wow, indeed.


[Image source: AP. Click photo for original.]

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***Update - Roch Kubatko later provided an explanation for Payton's unwillingness to flip the bill of his hat:

If George Sherrill collects another save tonight, don't touch Jay Payton's cap. He's not flipping the bill. But he's also not being a malcontent.

Payton says he doesn't want to ruin a good thing by joining the party late and perhaps jinxing Sherrill the next time he takes the mound. Payton finds the ritual quite amusing. He just enjoys being a spectator instead of a participant.

Also, Payton and Sherrill apparently perform their own ritual after saves that we haven't noticed. Payton won't reveal it. Has anyone seen it?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

tv and internet gone; had to listen to WGN in a parking lot before it was over. Clearly, 3-pack Stanhouse comes to mind. Great save though. Cubs fans out here are mad. Will Burres keep the ball in the park?
bill

Matthew Taylor said...

It could be a high-scoring affair this evening at Wrigley. Tonight might be the better night to have technology problems. Hope I'm wrong. Thanks for the comment, Bill.