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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Quite a Koo

During yesterday's Mets-Yankees interleague game some Korean lefty relief pitcher named Koo doubled off Randy Johnson.

It was a notable event because just a moment before he hit the shot to deep center field, Fox broadcasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were talking about how much of a mismatch the lefty batting Koo, who as a reliever rarely bats, was going against the dominant lefty pitcher Johnson. "This has to be the biggest give-up at-bat of the season," said McCarver, right before Koo socked a drive to the Shea Stadium crowd's astonished delight.

Then Buck and McCarver went on to talk about how iffy the situation was with the Mets trying to bunt an inexperienced base runner over to third. As it turned out, Koo not only made it to third but came all the way home when no Yankee covered the plate (it looked like he was tagged out, but the run counted). Again, good call by the booth.

And on top of that, Koo struck out the three batters he faced, not a bad inning of work. Today in the subway series, Pedro Martinez will have to bat against the Yankees, and it will be interesting if his years of coming inside on New York batters with the Red Sox leads to some retaliation by Carl Pavano, who will be taking the hill in pinstripes.

The other interesting story coming out of interleague rivalry weekend is the LA vs. "LA" dynamic coming out the Angels-Dodgers series. As seen on SportsCenter, Dodgers fans are wearing "Los Angeles Dodgers of Los Angeles" t-shirts to the games. Hey, whatever motivates you to beat the other guys. The Angels say the name change is woring out well, despite the ridicule they've received (See linked article).

Koo's unlikely performance was my favorite sporting moment of the Saturday, beating out the horse in the Preakness nearly falling down. After the race the broadcasters discussed how embarrassed Afleet Alex must have been after finishing so poorly at the Kentucky Derbyb. Do horses feel shame about such things, really?

Another fun moment last night came when Lamon Brewster knocked out Andrew Golota in 53 seconds in a Golota-friendly arena in Chicago. All those guys decked out with the Polish flags must have felt like idiots.

Today we get the start of the NBA's Western Conference Finals in what should be an outstanding series, San Antonio versus Phoenix. No one has much of an idea how this will turn out since the teams are so different. I will say that if the season series is any indication, the games will be high scoring, aka the Suns' pace, but that San Antonio has proven it can win at such a pace. The only game of the three I saw was a thrilling Spurs victory in the Valley of the Sun January 21. For that reason, I believe the key to the series is whether the Spurs players can knock down the open shots and muster the offensive firepower necessary to outscore the Suns. I think they can and will win in six games.

I will similarly take Detroit in six in the East since I think those games will be lower-scoring, which favors the Pistons, and because of the Shaq health questions. Spurs-Pistons will then be a dreadfully dull Finals.