Neighborhood legend places Javier’s age near 65. He could be younger and is probably older, but 65 is in the ballpark.
“It’s as close as any of you are gonna get,” he tells the group. “I’m the same age Satchel (Paige) always was.”
He limps and has a cannonball gut, but his pitching motion is still nearly perfect. “You shoulda seen me back on the Island (Puerto Rico),” Javier brags. “No one could touch me.”
He came set with a crumpled soda can in his right hand. After checking an imaginary runner on first he fired a fastball the clanged off a Grand Concourse trash can.
“Who are you kidding,” the group howled.
“I don’t kid about baseball,” Javier shot. “Baseball is serious business because every pitch can mean the game.”
That was certainly the case yesterday as Cleveland was set up for big innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth.
Andy Pettitte picked off Jhonny Peralta with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh and was able to escape with giving up only one run.
“I would say that was the game,” Pettitte said in the morning newspapers, “but then the eighth inning was the game. The ninth inning was the game, too.”
“Every pitch,” Javier repeated. “They can all mean the game.”