Taking a journey from the press box and using the narrative style that puts him up with Dave Shenin as my favorite baseball beat writers, Tyler Kepner of The Times mamanged to work not one but two of my favorite things into a lede this week.
Their seats are in the front row of Section 616, in the upper deck behind home plate at Yankee Stadium, a convenient spot for paying homage to the Yankees’ starting pitcher. Gary DeSpirito and his son, Anthony, from Hawthorne, N.J., attend eight games a year in those seats, and most of the time the pitcher is Mike Mussina.
Before their last game, the DeSpiritos searched Google for a picture of a moose and printed a bunch to tape to the awning in front of them after each strikeout. But Mussina pitched badly, as he often has this season. The father and son hung just two moose that night.
“He lost that game,” Anthony said, “so we’re trying something different.”
This time, they brought 10 copies of an image of Bullwinkle, the cartoon moose. At the end of each inning from the third through the seventh, Mussina put them to work. Spotting his fastball and curve with uncanny precision, Mussina struck out seven over seven and two-thirds innings, leading the Yankees to a 7-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Read the rest. Should the Yankees make the playoffs this year, my box of Mussina cards is ready in the closet, waiting to cover my coffee table (completely) on nights when Mike hits the hill. The Mussina T-shirt and stuffed Bullwinkle are nearby. I like the DeSpiritos.