Moyer wishing for W-I-N

  • KIRBY ARNOLD / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, October 14, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By KIRBY ARNOLD

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – His fastball, curve and changeup are finished until next year, but Jamie Moyer still left his imprint on the pitcher’s mound Saturday, if only symbolically.

Moyer, out for the season with a knee injury, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to injured catcher Tom Lampkin as the Mariners honored two of the players who helped them reach the postseason.

With his stride hindered by a splint, Moyer walked stiff-legged to the mound and used his finger to scratch the letters W-I-N in the dirt, then made his throw to Lampkin.

It’s not the way Moyer wanted to take the mound Saturday.

He had been scheduled to start Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

“My first pitch was supposed to be strike one,” he said early Saturday afternoon, sitting in the Mariners’ dugout in a T-shirt and shorts. Two hours later, Moyer could do little more than make a ceremonial toss and accept the adulation of the fans.

On Moyer’s last throw while pitching a simulated game last Saturday, Mariners catcher Chris Widger hit a hard one-hopper that fractured Moyer’s left kneecap. His season ended on the spot.

“It’s so hard to sit here and watch,” Moyer said. “I don’t care what situation it is, you don’t want to be hurt. It’s a very helpless feeling.”

And never is the feeling worse than the postseason.

“This is what all the dreams are about,” Moyer said. “It really is hard to sit here day after day and just wonder what would have been. Maybe I couldn’t have made a great difference, but you have to approach it that your presence has got to help.”

Moyer had the knee X-rayed on Friday and said the fracture still is obvious, although doctors are pleased with his progress.

“I woke up this morning with no discomfort and no pain,” he said. “A lot of the swelling is down and now I know I have a kneecap.”

While Moyer says it’s not easy to think “what if,” he has no doubt that throwing the simulated game was the right thing to do. He hadn’t pitched in more than a week and, with the likelihood he wouldn’t pitch until Game 4 against the Yankees, Moyer agreed that he needed a session against live hitting.

“I could walk across the street and get hit by a car. I could trip going down the steps,” he said. “If I had to do it all over again today, I’d do it the same way. Some people would say you’re stupid for saying that. But … being in this profession and doing what we do, you don’t go out worrying about what could happen. You go out and you do what you think is right. If I had been pitching behind a screen, I wouldn’t have gotten out of it what I got out of it. And then if you don’t pitch well, people wonder about your preparation.”

So now, while relegated to being a cheerleader, Moyer has been touched by the crowd’s response to him. He drew one of the loudest ovations on Friday when the players were introduced.

Moyer absorbed it, and he lingered on the first-base line a while after his teammates headed to the dugout.

“You never know how many times you’re going to get to this point,” he said. “After everybody walked away from the line, I tried to stop and think and look around and see how exciting it is and how special it is. I really appreciate the support that we’ve gotten. It’s really uplifting.”

Moyer knows if the muscles in his leg put too much stress on his kneecap, it could split in two. Still, he wondered, wouldn’t it be nice if he could be patched back together if the Mariners make it to the World Series?

“I was kidding Larry (Pedegana, the team medical director) that we could come up with some surgical procedure where we could inject Super Glue in there,” Moyer said.

When the Yankees’ David Justice hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, he increased his career ALCS RBI total to 20, tying him with Reggie Jackson for second place on the all-time list. Justice needs just one more RBI to tie Steve Garvey.

Justice’s 47 career postseason RBI trail Jackson by only one for the all-time lead.

Justice has 12 postseason home runs, tying him for sixth all-time. Jackson and Mickey Mantle share that lead with 18.

The six hits Saturday by the Mariners and Yankees tied the ALCS record for least amount of hits by both teams in a game. Oakland and Baltimore had six hits twice in their 1974 series, and Detroit and Kansas City combined for six in 1984.

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