I’ve heard it said many times that Andy Pettitte is a swell guy. A good family man they say. And a man of faith to boot! What’s not to like?! That answer in a moment…
Andy retired this week after nearly two decades of hurling. A baseball. The Bronx Bombers appear to be really concerned, as this news comes on the heels of their failure to lure coveted Clifford Lee to New York and their hated rivals stocking up on off-season prizes. It’s really a delight to behold the Yankees’ concern!
While Pettitte’s longevity is impressive, what he did while on the mound caused me and many of my baseball brethren a great deal of pain. His pitching prowess in crucial, close games of October of ’96 and ’99 assured that decade of internet booms would be remembered more for the Evil Empire than my beloved, pitching-rich Braves. And it was his irritatingly clutch performances throughout the 2000s against my other favorite club – the Minnesota Twins – that sealed the deal on three first round defeats at the hand of the evil Yankees.
Andy Pettitte wasn’t nearly the pitcher that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, or Johan Santana were (Santana is the only name there I anticipate being arguable). But somehow he become a far greater version of himself when he faced their (and my) teams in the playoffs. Although! I made an interesting discovery just now that bolsters a suspicion I’ve always had — Pettitte benefited in the extreme from the stacked Evil Empire offenses with which he was paired. Case in point – Pettittes’ career postseason ERA: 3.83. His career postseason wins? A major league record 19. Compare that with Greg Maddux’s career postseason ERA of 3.27 and 11 wins. Intriguing! It was an emotionally taxing tendency.
Andy’s bosom-buddy-ship with Roger Clemens (I like to calm him Codger Lemmons), one of the great hosers of baseball history, doesn’t help on the likability front. Granted, Pettitte is now the star witness in the government’s case against Clemens’ for “alleged” (hohoho) artificial enhancement. So there’s that. But how could you enjoy fellow-shipping with the dude who pulled stunts like this for years upon years?! Andy!
I’m grateful Andy will no longer be looming in October, and feel a great swell of hope that with his exit the curse of Twins’ playoff failure against the dreaded Yankees will finally be cloven in twain. Farewell, Andy! You were a cow to us, and I wish you’d left sooner… but, I’m sure that your mother loves you very much. And that’s important.