Is the thrill gone for Mr. Spitty, Mr. Hustle, Boggsie and the Yankees?
It certainly looked that way last night as Gaylord Perry, Pete Rose, and Wade Boggs made auspicious entrances and exits last night in the Devil Ray's 14-2 pasting of the New York Yankees, who dropped to 11-17 and are just one game out of last place in the American League East standings.
Just one day after being signed as the newest members of the Yankees in GM Brian Cashman's macabre attempt to resurrect the his slumping team, all look ready to be steady contributors - to the MLB Disabled and Suspended Lists.
Perry, threw only 4 pitches before being ejected from the game for suspicion of doctoring the baseball.
Throwing his first major league pitch in 22 years, Perry faced Carl Crawford at the start of the 5th inning. The 68 year old Perry started off throwing rust, not heat. Ball 1 was a fastball, striking the base of the mound and rolling four feet towards 3rd base. Ball 2 was a failed curve ball, and it seemed to slip from Perry's hand, popping straight up in the air, landing momentarily on the bill of his cap, finally coming to rest back in his glove. Ball 3, another fastball, was blissfully straight - a 20mph heater that clocked a surprised Jason Giambi (playing first base) on his right right knee cap.
After shaking off 17 signs from his catcher Jorge Posada, Perry unleashed Ball 4, an outside breaking ball that traveled an estimated 94 mph, caroming off the back stop and shooting back through the infield towards centerfielder Hideki Matsui. Matsui chased it down but was unable to glove the ball as it was coated in a glossy, greasy substance that was so slippery that despite a 15 minute game delay to retrieve the ball by virtually all players on the field including gold glover Derek Jeter, the ball was simply rolled into the Yankee's dugout. Even now, twelve hours after game end, attempts to pick up the ball with hands, prongs, pitchforks, and even vacuum cleaners have proven equally ineffective. Baseball officials, local physicists, and HazMat experts have roped off the area and are using a special telescope to view the ball from above in hopes of determining the substance's chemical composition.
Perry, who is eligible to play until an official hearing is conducted, has categorically denied all wrongdoing and intends to fight the charges to the end. "Yes I am old and yes I have cheated before, but today I am not a crook," stated Perry, gesturing with his best peace sign/fork ball hand pose. "The Yankees are paying me a lot of money to pitch, and I will give them my all." When confronted with the video footage of the suspect ball, as well as a snapshot of Perry's 4th pitch that shows what seems to be a small bottle of Canola Oil poking out of his jock, Perry smirked "I take swigs of Canola to keep my cholesterol down. As for the ball, who knows? I figure the high gloss on the ball can only help the batter see the ball. Go talk to the %*$#*@ baseball makers about quality control!"
When asked about what he thought Bud Selig would think of the matter, Perry calmly replied "Bud's a nerd. Plus he uses Canola as his hair gel so he shouldn't talk. And in case you are wondering, yes, he can kiss my jock."
Compared to Perry's 15 minutes of fame, Boggsie and Rose had decidedly shorter stints, entering the game one minute after the other, and exiting together just two minutes later. Alex Rodriguez led off the top of the 9th with a triple. Pulling his hamstring coming into 3rd, skipper Joe Torre replaced him with pinch runner Rose. Torre decided to pinch hit Boggs for the struggling Jason Giambi. On the first pitch from closer Danys Baez, Rose broke for home. Not expecting Rose to be barreling down the baseline, Boggs stayed put in the batter's box and was close-lined by the Rose Midnight Express. Devil Ray's catcher Toby Hall narrowly avoided the collision.. Both Rose and Boggs were taken on stretchers to a local hospital - the official condition of each player has not been released.
Secretly interviewed by one of the Swills' crack staff poorly disguised as an orderly, Rose, laid up in a hospital bed, was in typical form, showing the determination and attitude that has not diminished one iota since his playing days. "I always have and I always will play the game one way and that's head on, balls out, and if I have to knock somebody's head off and balls out to do it, so be it."
Boggs, in a separate room in ICU, was blissfully unconscious with what looked to be a dislocated shoulder, broken ribs, and a reattached head. No news related to the condition of his balls was available at press time.