• June 15th vs. The Pirates

    Posted by on June 15th, 2005 · Comments (11)

    I would have pinch-hit Russ Johnson for Giambi in the 8th tonight. That just goes to show what I know!

    This was a very big win this evening. We’re talking Yankees Classics material. Just on the level of game excitement for a standalone Yankees contest, it deserves to go into the YES Network rotation.

    However, there are other factors as to why this victory is very meaningful. Right on the surface, it’s an important win because it allows the Yankees to keep pace with everyone else in the AL East – as they all won tonight. Secondly, it takes the O’fer-trailing-after-eight-this-season monkey off the Yankees backs. Also, the game-winning homer has to be seen as a positive for Giambi.

    That’s three things that most people will think about when they weigh this win. But, for me, the reason why this “W” is so important is because of what an “L,” instead of the win, would have meant tonight.

    If the Yankees had lost this game, it would have been painful – perhaps one of the most stinging losses of the season to date, considering how close the game was, etc.

    It would have been one of those losses that keeps you up at night and results in you still being in a pissy mood the next morning – and for most of that day. And, in my mind, had the Yankees lost this game, it would have made tomorrow’s game “Must Win.” And, that status would not be just because of another possible game lost in the standings – although that’s still a bad thing. It would have been “Must Win” because, as a team, the Yankees could not afford to lose two of three to the Pirates after playing like living fecal matter in the 12-game road trip before this series. It also would have been “Must Win” because New York has it’s ace going for them – one Mr. Randy Johnson.

    But, now, even if the Yankees lose on Thursday – and, that’s still possible (as the Bucs’ Perez is very tough) – New York would have still won this series. And, that’s what the Yankees need to do now: Win every series. And, that’s why this was a big win.

    This game also could be the one that becomes the win that everyone points to later as the point that turned the season around. While it’s way too early to hang that label on this game, I did find what Torre had to say about the game in the YES post-game coverage to be interesting:

    “If this game doesn’t pick us up, I don’t know what game will.”

    This is worth noting going forward. If the Yankees do turn it around now, then this is the game to point at (in terms of being a positive trigger). But, on the flip side, based on Joe’s words, if New York does go out now and loses something like 5 of their next 8, then maybe it is time to start thinking about next year – because not even a game like tonight can turn around this team.

    The next two weeks will tell us all we need to know about this team – and, this is now possible as a result of the win tonight which sets up the upcoming games to be a good proving ground.

    Tonight, indeed, was a really useful win.

    Comments on June 15th vs. The Pirates

    1. Cameraman
      June 16th, 2005 | 2:03 am

      Did you really just say that a tenth inning homer from the the the likes of Jason Giambi against the likes of Pittsbugh is an instant classic? The only thing I think is classic is the fact that we are all so excited about actually beating the Pirates to creep closer to a .500 record. For some reason I can’t even wrap my mind around my last statement. It’s becoming harder and harder to be excited about the chances of this team being what I (and everyone in the world) thought it could be, and having to win in extra innings against one of the worst teams in the whole league is the reason. Also, did anyone hear what is going on with Brown? Like Giambi, I could really care less about him, but right now is not the time to lose another pitcher from this rotation. What is going to happen if he’s out? How close is Wright to return?

    2. Jason O.
      June 16th, 2005 | 9:22 am

      Cameraman, were you sedated last night? That game was thrilling. However, like you, I’m afraid that Brown will head-butt Stottlemyre when he comes out to the mound or something similarly wacky.

      And as much as Giambi dug his own hole, if he can dig his way out of it, then he deserves respect. Tino should get more playing time.

    3. Phil
      June 16th, 2005 | 9:54 am

      I said it last week I’ll say it again….Giambi is turning it around.

      For the first time since the opening series against the Red Sox- I actually found myself standing up in front of the TV in the bottom of the 8th 9th and 10th innings.

      And did everyone see the love after that HR- you can’t tell me that his teammates are pulling for him to succeed…and to me- that is another great sign.

      Even Posada looked like Posada circa 2000….

      Steve- you forgot to mention the “break” we got on Shef’s double Play in the 9th…..but the fact that he hustled down the line is another example that there is a fire under their asses…and when you play hard (and bribe the umps)- things go your way.

      Now- back to reality…we beat the Pirates and we are .500….nothing to go crazy about….but this has to be the game that turns it around…doesn’t it?

      And I should point out we now have a better record than the Mets.

    4. Jen
      June 16th, 2005 | 3:27 pm

      Cameraman, did you also discount Coney’s perfect game because it was against the lowly Expos?

      It comments like yours that give the rest of us the reputation of being “privileged fans” who can’t enjoy themselves unless the Yankees are 10 games up by the All-Star break.

      Yes, the Yankees are not playing up to their pre-season expectations. And we’re all pissed, saddened, whatever. But I’ve accepted that reality because there ain’t shit I can do about it. (as Mickey said, ain’t no sense worrying…) All I can do now is enjoy watching this team pull itself up out of this funk and play up to it’s potential. And I’m going to enjoy every win along the way, no matter who it’s against or how it happens.

    5. June 16th, 2005 | 3:49 pm

      FWIW, I too, for all my whining about Torre and Giambi this season, to date, will be the first one to want to throw a parade when Giambi HRs in Game 7 of the 2005 WS to win Torre his 5th ring.

      Does that make me a front-runner, or something like that? I guess some would say yes. But, I guess my point would be: As bad as they’ve been, it doesn’t mean that I won’t cheer when things start going good.

      If I didn’t, who would I be hurting – them, or me?

    6. Cameraman
      June 16th, 2005 | 6:10 pm

      Yeah, I totally agree. Just angry I guess. I despise Giambi so much it just bothers me. It bothers me to have to justify the money spent, the lack of performance, and most of all, lack of heart I see with this team. Most of all, the only clear way I can see this team getting better is to make moves for pitching next month, and we all know what that means. It means we are most def going to lose Cano or Wang, or both. Cashman’s last stab to the heart of Yankee futures before being sent packing. Why does he get the pass so much on this site? I normally don’t post, but cant you people see the trend? He inherited a team he won with, and since then has done nothing that has actually worked out. I guess you could point to Sheffield or Hideki, but the failures far outweigh the positives.
      What bothers me alot as well is the lack of support he has given to the younger players. When we look north, it’s easy to see that Boston has spent the money and time to carefully shape players like Kevin Youkilis, Hanley Ramirez, and Abe Alvarez. Boston has so many cards to play with right now, it’s painful to see. Baseball tonight said that the Red Sox could replace four to five players on their current roster with players from the minors and not miss a step. Doesnt this bother anyone but me? What this means is this – we have been outsmarted by Theo Epstein and John Henry, and I blame it all on Brian Cashman and his stupid moves. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess, but it angers me just the same. If we were to go into a three game set with Baltimore, Boston, Twins, Chicago, or the Angels of Whereever, I have no reason to believe we would not be on the losing end of all of them. It’s a bad situation for Yankee fans, and I’m sorry for speaking the truth.

    7. Cameraman
      June 16th, 2005 | 6:13 pm

      Edit – winning end of any of them, I meant to say

    8. Jen
      June 16th, 2005 | 11:19 pm

      I guess the one argument I have in defense of Cashman is how many of the bad moves were his doing alone and how many were actually made by George and/or Tampa? Just because he’s the GM doesn’t mean he always has the final decision in this organization.

    9. Phil
      June 17th, 2005 | 12:43 am

      Cameraman- many people share your views and I won’t dispute them….I guess I am just a bit more optimistic and think this team can win…at the very least- they have kept me entertained and in a sick way- it has been fun watching them suffer and waiting for the moment they spring back to life.

      But consider this- since you brought up comparisons to the Red Sox….as poorly as we have played,and as little heart they have shown, and as terrible Giambi has been, etc etc etc….how many games behind Boston are we?

      Regardless- what I want to know, from anyone, is if you had the opportunity to change 5 things back to 2001- what would you have done differently than Cashman…and you can’t use the 20/20 hindsight argument- like saying we shouldn’t have signed Giambi coming off of 2 MVP years…what 5 moves would you have done differently at that time?

      Just curious because we always hear that we trade our youth, we trade our youth…but what players should we have kept? Nick Johnson (always injured)? Soriano (and NOT get A-Rod)? Brad Halsey?

      Interested to see the posts…..

    10. Cameraman
      June 17th, 2005 | 1:28 am

      Five things I would or would not have done that Cash either did or did not do:

      I would have waited for another team to actually establish a market for Giambi before signing him. The A’s were nowhere near getting him back, and there were no other suitors, so why give him that much money? Especially if I were to know he was on the juice at the time of the contract. The same can be said for Sheff. No other team was in the hunt, and he was locked up with a lack of market establishment. And no, you won’t see my support for a guy who plays defense like that on an HOF ballot. Also, I can’t even talk about Kevin Brown. I was not a fan of Jeff Weaver, but paying that kind of money to a aging pitcher, again out of the NL west where all the pitchers are throwing in a offensive dumpster, with a terrible back and history of the DL? Maybe you like watching him getting used for Manny Ramirez batting practice, I don’t.
      I would have never in a million years let Pettite walk.
      I would have not done the Contreras deal for so many years. The money was not a big deal, but the length was. I would have forced him to establish himself, and if that meant he went to Boston so be it. Wouldn’t it be better if they had the shit on their face now because of it?
      I would have never given Johnson the two year extension. It would be one thing if the guy was always a Yankee, but he wasnt, and in two years hes going to be another Kevin Brown sucking the life out of our team.
      I would have never let Soriano go, in case you are not paying attention, hes having an MVP season in Texas. And, Soriano does not come with the baggage of A-Rod, not to mention the fifty thousand boos every time he doesn’t come through the way a 25 million dollar man should.
      Also, I understand Boston is only four games up or whatever, but heres my reasoning for that:\
      They seem to play .400 baseball every year when teams go into the other league, and this is where we always pull away from them. And, if I can remember they just came into the Bronx and put up football scores on us for three games. Truthfully, they beat the hell out of Randy Johnson on night number one, but we were saved by Sheff. Then on night number two and three forget it. I only say this becasue at the time we were on a huge winning streak, and on top of the world, and then we got our asses spanked. Do you feel things would be differently now? I dont. That team scares me now, and they scare me in the future, and it’s an embarrassment we are going to have to spend another lump of money for us to not be scared by it. I just heard the FAN that Boston is said to be talking to Chicago about Prior. Anyone else scared of that? If that happens all bets are off. They turned around Matt Clement (hes 7-1, and basically kicked our ass the other day), and I would not bet agains it happening again if they get Mark Prior. What scares me is that they have the cards to do it, and we definitely can’t do anyting to stop it. I always thought there was something wrong with the cubs staff anyhow – how many years in a row can a team have two of the best young pitchers in baseball and Zambrano to boot- and not make it with a winning season? We all better hope that doesnt happen. We’d be looking at Schilling, Prior, Clement, Arroryo, and either Wakefeild, Boomer, or Miller. If that happens, what are we gonna do besides watch them celebrate again?

    11. Phil
      June 17th, 2005 | 10:22 am

      Fair enough…not to keep this going but your earlier post was about youth, and how we gave it all away….

      Sheffield was second in the MVP voting last season

      A-Rod- is a better player than Soriano and in case you haven’t noticed- he is having an MVP year in New York….I can deal with the boos, and apparently so has he this season- and if I recall- we got A-Rod at a tremendous bargain.

      Randy Johnson was supposed to be done every year for the last three years…so far he’s proven that wrong

      Pettite- yeah- at the time it was crazy to let him go…but he has not been the same since he left…I would actually argue Leiber over Pettite.

      Again- what youth did we give up in vain?

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