I’d rather be lucky than goodPublished 9:25am Thursday, August 12, 2010
Jon Laging, Talking Sportsdreamed
Vernon Louis “Lefty” Gomez was a New York Yankee pitcher. The Yankees are known for position players. Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle and while their pitching has been very good with people like Herb Pennock, Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing, they did not receive the recognition the sluggers did.
However, “Lefty” Gomez, their ace pitcher of the ’30s was very good and held several records, including winning six World Series games without a loss. Gomez was not only a fine pitcher, he was a carefree soul on a somber team after Babe Ruth left. Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and manager Joe McCarthy were not “life of the party” types.
Gomez received a lot of criticism, but given the free soul that he was, he didn’t let it affect him or his actions. He offered a lot of quotes to his team and the public. “The secret of my success is a clean life and a fast outfield. I’m throwing as hard as I ever did, but the ball is just not getting there as fast.” Perhaps the best example of Gomez’s free spirit was when he stopped a World Series game to watch a plane fly overhead.
But I think his most famous quote with more than a little truth in it is: “I’d rather be lucky than good.” Lefty Gomez continued to enjoy life and lived to the fine age of 80. A good man.
Our Minnesota Twins know exactly what Gomez meant after they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field after losing the first two games. The Twins were leading by six runs when the Rays came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Rays scored six runs, four by a grand slam home run. It looked like the Twins had given up a game they needed badly. Then they staged a mini-rally in the top of the ninth putting runners on first and third with two out. Jason Kubel came to bat and hit a towering infield pop up. Twins fans all over the nation felt the game was all but lost. But wait, the ball hit a catwalk at indoor Tropicana Field and fell out of reach of the infielders. A live ball according to the ground rules and the Twins scored a run. Michael Cuddyer then drove in another run and our guys won 8-6. “I’d rather be lucky than good.”
It looks good for the rest of the season. For if the baseball gods are willing to go that far out of their way to help out, certainly fate is on the Twins’ side. One was concerned about the baseball gods after Jim Thome’s home run was ruled a double by the umpires, but I think we can chalk that up to human error. The baseball gods had nothing to do with it.
Now if the gods are going to smile down on the Twins, I have some other requests. Wave a magic wand over Justin Morneau and make his concussion go away. You know, Justin may recover and go on to finish the year very strongly (his body may have gotten some additional rest). Bless J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson with good health the rest of the year, and as long as you’re helping them, throw in Alexi Casilla also. And let’s not forget Joe Mauer. Help Minnesota lefty Glen Perkins regain the form he showed at the beginning of last year when he next pitches for the Twins. Thank Jon Rauch for the very good closer job he did the first half of the year.
Manager Ron Gardenhire has looked really frazzled at times and it would be nice if he could be given the use of the old AA prayer: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change. Courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
With all this how can the Twins lose?