• April 29th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 29th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Long day today. I live about 55 miles from the Stadium. So, I left the house at ten this morning to meet my friend John in Fort Lee (NJ) before the game – so that we could drive over together. Once the game was over, and I dropped John off (back at his car), and then drove home, it was seven in the evening (when I walked in the door). Seems like a lot of time – nine hours of your day – to carve out for a 9-inning baseball game. Welcome to the new world of trying to go to a Yankees game by car. It doesn’t seem that bad when they win…but, when they lose, it doesn’t seem right to have burned your whole day for that cause.

    Oh, and for the record, the uncivilized and cutthroat manner in which Yankees fans treat each other, exiting parking garages around the Stadium, and while accessing roads to leave the Bronx, is disgusting. Seeing what I saw today, trying to get home from the game, made me embarrassed to know that these were my fellow members of the Yankees Fan Nation. Rude and obnoxious behavior. No wonder why some like to give Yankees fans a bad name.

    Speaking of giving Yankees fans a bad name…and I know that I’ve mentioned this before…what’s up with allowing Red Sox fans to take over Yankee Stadium? I know that I’ve mentioned this in the past…but, there’s more and more Red Sox fans showing up at the Stadium for these games than ever before. When Crisp hit his triple today and then again when Cora homered, the ovations from Sox fans in my section where extremely loud. Later in the game, I went to visit a friend on the field level – and mentioned this about the Sox fans. They told me: “Look around here. I’ve got five of them right behind me, two to the right, and three more in front of me to the left. And, they’re screaming like crazy at everything.”

    Why are Yankees fans letting Red Sox fans buy so many tickets to these games at the Stadium?

    Lastly, to the game. What can I say? If the Yankees pitching situation was not bad enough, now the hitting has gone south as well. Today was a Chinese Homer from Rico Bergman and a Han Solo from Jeter. Dat’s it. Damon, Abreu, Matsui – and to an extent Cano – are ice cold.

    On the bright-side, it’s close to being at rock-bottom for the Yankees. And, I’m beginning to think that they have to hit rock-bottom for changes to start happening and for improvements to follow.

    I’m just glad that Brian Cashman fessed up to what I said yesterday:

    Cashman couldn’t say whether Torre’s job is in jeopardy but understood that any losing streak by the Yankees provokes speculation.

    “That’s the nature of the beast. There’s no doubt. We’ve hit a rough spot and when you hit a rough spot, especially here, it’s rougher and louder,” he said. “I take full responsibility for this start, just because that’s my job. This is the team I put together. And so if people are looking for blame, I say blame me.”

    Part of any effective solution is finding the core of the problem. The above self-identification is a start.

    April 28th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 28th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Is there any truth to the rumor that, when poor Jeff Karstens cracked his fibula today, Carl Pavano said “Damn, that should have been me out there! Good-bye ‘The Summer of Carl!'”?

    Karstens switched his uniform number from 17 to 58 before this start. Number 17 got him pounded in Beantown. Number 58 got him the D.L. Maybe it’s time to go back to #17? It seems like that number was better for his health.

    I have to confess…I only saw the first inning of this game…and then heard the top of the 9th on the car radio. (The 4 pm start didn’t match up well with our plans for an early dinner out today with family.)

    I did see Igawa get out of the first. Sounds like he did a great job today, overall. Six innings…when the team really needed it…4.04 pitchers per batter…15.5 pitches per inning…that’s all good stuff. But, when I see that he threw 42% of his pitches for balls…I have to wonder. Did the Sox help out Igawa in some way today? Sure, 58% of pitches for strikes is not terrible…but, it’s not what you usually expect to see on six shutout innings.

    In any event, today was a big win for the Yankees…especially when you factor in what happened on the first pitch of the game. This could have been a 7-pitcher game for New York…when they could least afford it. So, no matter how he did it, you have to give the game ball to Igawa.

    Let’s hope this is a step in the right direction for him – and the team.

    April 27th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 27th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    If you’re a Yankees fan, and you’ve been paying close attention to the team this season so far, and you’ve just watched this entire game tonight from start to finish, the only way this exact moment in Yankeeland could feel any uglier for you would be if Joe Torre just appeared before you wearing nothing but tassel pasties and a thong.

    If there was any bright-side to this evening, it was at the very end of the game, watching the Yankees leave their dugout and heading into the clubhouse…except one person who remained seated on the bench…looking somewhat shocked…Rico Bergman. Once the dugout was clear, Rico stood up, took his bat, and passed it over the roof of the dugout to a fan. I take that as a signal that Mientkiewicz knows his days on this team are soon to be over.

    If this is true, sure, it’s just like tossing a deck chair off the sinking Titanic, and, tossing Rico is not going to make the Yankees pitchers any better…but, right now, Yankees fans need to feel good about something – and we’ll take whatever we can get now.

    Anyone up for “Project M-11,” aka “Adios Rico”? Com’on Yankees, throw us dogs a bone, huh? It’s not like we’re looking for Cashman or Torre on a platter. This request is small. It’s very small…but, it’s something. And, again, at this stage, seeing the Yankees do anything well/smart/good/positive would be a pleasant sight for sore eyes.

    Do it now before Karsten’s start tomorrow. After that one, we may need something bigger, if not granted this one now.

    April 26th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on April 26th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    Man, it seems like it’s been forever since that big comeback win against the Indians. Talk about a long week.

    When you factor in his age, and the way he was rushed to the big leagues, and the fact that it was his big league cherry today, I thought Phil Hughes was impressive tonight.

    That said, this evening, while watching Hughes, I still see “Andy Benes.”

    The key is watching Hughes against proven batters like Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas and then again versus batters like Jason Smith and Adam Lind. Sure, Phil gets the “B” batters out. But, what happened when he faced “A” batters?

    Bottom line, I saw Hughes tonight as having excellent stuff – but it’s not electric stuff. When Roger Clemens and Doc Gooden were babies, they had electric stuff. I did not see that from Hughes this evening. Case in point: A.J. Burnett, after throwing 100 pitches, was still hitting 96 MPH on the gun tonight. Phil Hughes, after 80-something pitches was just touching 90 MPH on the gun.

    Of course, this was just one night – and it was Hughes first major league start. Things can change in time…and maybe that electric stuff shows in later starts? But, for now, again, I see “Andy Benes” when I watch Phil Hughes pitch. That’s not the worst thing in the world for Hughes. But, it’s probably not in line with the hype and subsequent expectations that are around the kid now.

    Moving on to the bigger picture, tonight’s loss puts a ton of pressure on Andy Pettitte tomorrow. With Karstens pitching on Saturday – and, thank goodness that Igawa has been yanked from the rotation – a loss on Friday could mean that the Yankees are looking at an 8-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s game…along with being 7 1/2 games back of Boston on the morning of Wang’s start on Sunday.

    The Yankees need a win on Friday. I know it’s only April – and it’s hard to say a game in April is a “must win.” But, if ever there was a “must win” game in April…tomorrow is it for the Yankees.

    April 24th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on April 24th, 2007 · Comments (14)

    So, last place, huh?

    Personally, I like Mike Myers. I’ve heard him interviewed a few times on X-M Radio. He seems like a stand-up guy. I’ve also heard that he’s someone who is interested in the history of the game. So, there, we’re kindred spirits (of sorts). Reports say that Myers is great in the clubhouse. And, I like the fact that he was willing to work with Ron Guidry, and adapt to pitching from both sides of the rubber, so that he could pitch an inning (or two) in blow-out games (without getting pounded by right-handed batters).

    But, the fact of the matter is that Mike Myers’ role on this team is to get lefty batters out in big spots. And, because that’s his main role, he needs to be lock-down solid in those situations…meaning getting the job done 90-95% of the time (against lefties). And, to have value, he must never allow a homerun to a left-handed batter.

    If Mike Myers can’t do the above, then he should not be on this team. Again, I like the man. Therefore, this is not easy to say. But, it’s true. When your lefty-specialist is not special, he’s got no value.

    On the bright-side, if there was one today, Worm Killer Wang looked good – and he pitched into the 7th inning. I know for some teams that may not seem like much…but, hey, we’re talking about the last place New York Yankees here. You take whatever you can get.

    April 23rd @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Kei Igawa. The Yankees needed him to provide innings tonight. He gave them four-and-a-third. To quote a line from “The Natural” –

    Another brilliant find from our scouting system. Geniuses.

    It’s time to start thinking about sending the “Skinny Pussy Iguana” down to Scranton. I would even consider doing it to make room for Worm Killer Wang tomorrow.

    April 22nd @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 22nd, 2007 · Comments (19)

    When the score in this game was tied at four, at the end of five innings, I liked the Yankees chances in the contest. But, New York made the mistake of giving Boston’s Mike Lowell a pitch down-and-in, for the second time, and Lowell did what he does with that ball at Fenway…he hit it over the wall (and it cost the Yankees the game). Still, even with that mistake, it took a great play by the Sox’ Pedroia in the 8th inning to save the game for Boston today…as without his diving grab to end that frame, the two teams would still be playing (and I would not be writing this now).

    On the bright side, watching this game, I finally figured out who Colter Bean reminds me of…and it’s not Dave “The Blade” Rajsich.

    I feel for Chase Wright…becoming the first left-handed pitcher in the history of the game to allow four taters in a row…and only the second pitcher ever to do it (joining Paul Foytack). Hopefully, it does not leave a mark on the kid.

    Speaking of pitchers…the Sox’ Matsuzaka has some tools, no question. But, I was not overly impressed by him tonight…and it’s not because he allowed 6 runs this evening. What was it? Wil Nieves ripping the cover off the ball the first two times he faced Dice-K (albeit for outs). If you’re that great, there’s no way Wil Nieves should ever touch you.

    Getting back to the Yankees, they need three games in a row where their starter goes seven innings…and fast. Proctor has only missed five games this year. Pettitte has come out of the bullpen twice already. The entire pen is about to be burnt for the season and it’s not even May yet. If Igawa is ever going to go deep in a game, tomorrow is the time to do it – even if it means keeping him in there if it kills his ERA. It’s reached that point…where some starter has to take one on the chin, if needed, to help save the pen.

    April 21st @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 21st, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Karstens was not up for the task today. To be honest, the Yankees probably rushed him back too soon. I’m not ready to fold on him yet – because of this game.

    Actually, think of it this way: Karstens was pretty much throwing BP speed and location. The Yankees did not have Posada, Matsui or Damon in the line-up. And, yet, Boston only beat New York by two runs in this game. Further, the Yankees had the winning run at the plate in the 7th (Giambi) and the tying run up at the plate in the 9th (Abreu).

    Give me just two of three from the group of Posada, Matsui and Damon. And, let Mussina or Wang start this game instead of Karstens. You think the outcome would be the same?

    It feels like the Red Sox whipped the Yankees fannies today. But, what the Red Sox really did was that they barely beat a Yankees team that was playing at 60% strength.

    Boston will probably win again tomorrow – and sweep the series. But, if this three game set tells me anything, it tells me that the Yankees should be fine against Boston this season…when New York has a chance to get their tank full again.

    The race doesn’t always go to the swift, but, sometimes to those who keep running. As long as the Yankees can hang close until everyone is back in the line-up, they should be fine.

    And, yes, this is really me and not someone just pretending to be me. And, no, I’m not smoking anything funny nor have I had one drink too many today.

    April 20th @ The Red Sox

    Posted by on April 20th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    Somebody, somewhere, wanted me to have a bad day, today. Well, they won – but, it took three strikes to get to me. Here’s the story:

    At my new job, they have a deal in the Spring and Summer where you can leave work at 1:30 pm on Fridays, if you’re willing to put some extra time on Monday through Thursday. Well, this was a week for me where things were blowing up, left and right, and I was really looking forward to getting the week over at one-thirty today.

    Not so fast. Another issue came up today that kept me in the office until 4 pm – and ruined some plans that I had with the family this afternoon.

    Strike one.

    Then, on the commute home, I had another problem. The 45-mile drive usually takes about 75 minutes – when there are no issues.

    Not so fast. There was an over-turned truck on 287/440 that backed up traffic – very badly. By the time I managed to find a way home, it took me three hours and fifteen minutes make the drive. There’s nothing worse than spending three plus hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic to drive 45 miles, at the end of a long week at work.

    Strike two.

    Next, there was this game tonight. Where do I start?

    Not so fast. First, let’s go back to last February. According to news reports at that time, Joe Torre said “that he plans to limit Rivera to the ninth inning this season.”

    Boy, that lasted a long time, huh? Mr. Green Tea brings in Mo, in the 8th inning of this contest, and again this season, Rivera kills some nice work by Pettitte. The Yankees lose. The Red Sox win. And, it’s a stunner.

    Strike three.

    In this Yankees game, Torre was one thing tonight. And, Rivera was another. There will be lots of talk about both of them. (The whole Kevin Thompson/Josh Phelps thing in the 9th with Torre was maddening.)

    However, there was another play in this loss that I have to question – and I wonder if any others will key on it? With the score 6-4, in favor the Yankees, during the bottom of the 8th, with one out and Boston runners on first and second and Coco Crisp at the plate, why was Rico Bergman playing so far off the line? Late in the game, with the score close, are not the guys on the corners supposed to be positioned right on the line to prevent an extra base hit? As it was, Crisp hit a grounder between Rico and the line that went for a triple and tied the score. That’s a bad play, in my book – especially by a guy who is supposed to provide defense.

    It was just a shame to waste what should have been a win tonight – and a great game, again, from A-Rod (and Pettitte). With the pitching match-ups the next two days, it could be a long series for the Yankees.

    Well, at the least, I don’t have to go to work for the next two days – or sit in killer traffic tie-ups for hours upon hours. Of course, if we find out tomorrow that Posada has a broken left thumb or something, I’ll probably wish I was stuck at work and/or traffic instead of hearing that news.

    For now, it’s time to say good-night, and good riddance, to a long and pain-in-the-ass kind of day. I’ll dust myself off in the morning and get back in the box. Maybe the Yankees can do the same?

    April 19th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on April 19th, 2007 · Comments (15)

    I swear, I started writing this entry during the bottom of the 9th today, after Phelps’ HR with 2-outs….and it started like this:

    El Diario Vizcaino,” he, he not so good today, amigo.

    But, on the flip side, it was not as if the Yankees bats were exactly “En fuego!” either today. One Han Solo by Giambi, another late by “The ESB” – with an Abreu RBI-single on top. Dat’s it.

    Now, the seven-and-seven Yanks head to Beantown for three at the Fens. I’ll be happy with one win this weekend – and thrilled if they can get two….

    Then, Posada singled. And, Damon walked. That was followed by singles from Jeter and Abreu…leading to…Alex Rodriguez.

    Oh, my, god, what a finish!

    I said it four days ago, and, I’ll say it again. Alex Rodriguez has turned into Roy Hobbs. It’s incredible. What a story this has become…it’s hard for me to even type this, as my hands are shaking. Really, they’re shaking.

    What a moment. I’m pretty speechless at this point. If I can get my composure, I’ll add more to this in the comments section later. I gotta go find someone to high-five now and get this out of my system.

    April 18th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on April 18th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    What’s not to be excited about now?

    A-Rod homers – again. Last season, Albert Pujols set the “April HR” record with 14. (The A.L. record for April taters is 13 – by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997.) Alex has a shot at coming close to those marks.

    Igawa did a good job. I think that DP in the third saved his bacon tonight. (It would have been interesting if the umps had ruled that he threw his glove at that ball and awarded the batter three bases – which is the rule when a fielder throws his glove at a batted ball.)

    Giambi now has 8 hits in his last 5 games – a sign that he’s starting to heat up.

    Torre used the right guys to close out a 9-2 win: Henn and Britton.

    Really, the only bummer at the close of business today is this…even with the Yankees playing great the last two days, their record is only 7-6 on the season to date.

    Those one-run losses on April 5th, 13th and 15th have not helped. If the Yankees were 10-3 now, they would be in first place with a two-game lead on the Red Sox. Oh, well, a nice game from Rasner tomorrow will help take some of the sting away from this one little, less than exciting, fact.

    April 17th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on April 17th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    A nice “bend, but, don’t break” performance from Chase Wright. I think I saw a little Ed Figueroa mixed with some Kenny Rogers in Wright, tonight. And, I mean all the good things that Figgy and Rogers provided.

    So, what will Chase Wright be? Kevin Mmahat or Ted Lilly? Ed Yarnall or Andy Pettitte? Randy Keisler or Doug Drabek? Sam Militello or Dave Righetti? For one night, who cares? He helped the team win today – when they really needed help. That’s all that really matters now.

    Sign of how old I am: I was probably more pumped this evening watching Wright’s dad in the stands, reacting to his son, than I was just watching Wright pitch.

    In the radio pre-game, Suzyn Waldman was asking Sean Henn about Wright – since they’ve known each other for eight years or so and have the same agent. Henn said that he was probably more nervous than Wright today – since Wright was sleeping on a couch in the clubhouse at the same time Henn was being questioned by Waldman.

    I would bet that no one was more nervous than Wright’s father tonight. It was sweet to see his dream come true this evening along with Chase’s dream.

    Lastly, this guy the Yankees have playing third this season – he looks really good. Anyone know anything about him?

    April 15th @ The A’s

    Posted by on April 15th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Well, it wasn’t a special day for every #42 today.

    I have to confess that, when I saw Marco Scutaro come up as the potential winning run in the 9th, I started to get a bad feeling about this game. Scutaro has a history in these spots. But, once the count got to 0-2, and given there were two outs, I started feeling a little better about the Yankees chances. And, then, boom, it happened.

    You can tag this one on Mo. But, you also have to give Jeter something too. If he can catch a ground ball, maybe the A’s don’t plate two runs in the first inning? And, give Rico Bergman something too – for that baserunning mistake in the 6th – becoming the third out of the inning at the plate when A-Rod is up with runners at first and third. (Yes, he got a good break. And, yes, A-Rod was waving him on. And, yes, Kendall got a good bounce. But, like the YES booth said, you only go in that spot if you know you can do it standing up.)

    I feel for Pettitte today. He gave the team exactly what was needed. He should have gotten a win today.

    In what may be even bigger news today, Mussina and Pavano go on the Disabled List. I think Mussina will be back before Pavano – just a hunch. And, who will come up to take Pavano’s turn on Tuesday?

    It’s not Phil Hughes. And, it’s not Tyler Clippard or Ross Ohlendorf. Heck, it’s not even Matt DeSalvo or Steven Jackson. It’s going to be Chase Wright – who has pitched just two games above A-ball in his entire life (to date).

    The Cleveland Indians (who the Yankees will play next) presently lead the league in OBA (.367). This is not exactly a sweet situation to throw Chase Wright into – worse when you factor in the forecasted weather conditions for next Tuesday.

    Wright might surprise on Tuesday. But, then again, the Yankees next game could just be another one of what’s turning out to be a string of bad games this April.

    April 14th @ The A’s

    Posted by on April 15th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Credit the entire bullpen for this win – all seven of them. Actually, Derek Jeter should be sending the entire pen, and Jason Giambi, flowers for pulling this game out. Imagine, if the Yankees lost this game…it would then have been possible to say that Derek Jeter’s failure on defense had cost the Yankees two of their first ten games this season. No lie, right? It almost happened.

    There’s something about the A’s starter, Joe Blanton, that bothers me. I think it’s the way that he stuffs himself into his uniform. He sort of reminds me of Larry Joe Campbell pretending to be a baseball player. (By the way, According to Jim, which is a show that I never, ever, would have stopped to watch, has really caught my attention in syndication. It’s quite funny. To me, it’s The Odd Couple syndication success story all over again.) Anyway, since Blanton bothers me, I’m glad that the Yankees did not lose to him.

    Speaking of bad blood, is something developing between the A’s and Yankees? From the AP:

    Bruney said he watched the highlight of Oakland rookie Travis Buck slamming his helmet in celebration after scoring the winning run in the 11th inning Friday night and took extra pleasure in ending this game by striking Buck out.

    “To see a guy slam his helmet in front of you after the game was over last night makes it a little extra special to finish it off against him,” Bruney said. “I thought that was a little disrespectful last night. Our guys win with class.”

    Buck said he meant no disrespect.

    “Over here we like to have fun,” he said. “If that was showing him up, that was not the intent at all. I was really excited for us to pull out a win against a tremendous team.”

    I dunno? Was Buck’s reaction all that different than A-Rod’s when he hit the walk-off grand-slam homer last Saturday?

    Speaking of A-Rod, man, when he hits them, he really hits them – this year. It looks like Roy Hobbs in The Natural. Short swing and the ball flies off his bat – and then goes a country mile. His swing really does seem to be shorter and quicker this year. When he’s making contact, it’s like a man playing against boys. It really does seem like he should be in a higher league. That’s a story that I would like to see someone do – comparing Alex’s swing, from last year to now, identifying the changes, and then asking him how/why that happened. Is it something Kevin Long did? If so, the man is a genius, already, to me.

    April 13th @ The A’s

    Posted by on April 14th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Pavano came up hurting before the game.
    Kei Igawa was so-so during the game.
    Rico Bergman didn’t have the best of days.
    Kyle Farnsworth didn’t exactly shine either.

    Chalk this one up to Cashman’s ability to select Free Agents – or it being Friday the 13th.

    April 11th @ The Twins

    Posted by on April 11th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    Diogenes Ramon Ortiz y Ortiz?

    Yeah, Ramon Ortiz. Must be something about guys named Ortiz that the Yankees just can’t figure out.

    You know, it was just about a year ago that I suggested “Everyday Scottie Proctor” to the world. Only seems fitting today that I suggest that we start using “El Diario Vizcaino” for Luis Vizcaino too.

    Now, Mussina has a hammy too (like Wang and Godzilla)? Jeff Mangold must be having a great last laugh.

    The Yankees are catching a nice break with an off-day tomorrow. So, not all of today’s news is bad, I suppose.

    April 10th @ The Twins

    Posted by on April 10th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    This is as good a time as any to check out:

    Joe Torre’s 2007 Daily “To Do” List:

    1. Drink green tea.
    2. Watch A-Rod homer.
    3. Tell Mattingly that it was a scratch, not a pick.
    4. Get Scott Proctor into the game.
    5. Stroll to the pitcher’s mound during the game as if I was a 90-year old, with bad knees, walking up-hill, against strong winds, trying to hail a cab.
    6. Get Luis Vizcaino into the game.
    7. Start working on my hair so that I can look like Michael Jeter’s Mr. Noodle in the post-game press conference.
    8. Look at Kim Jones when she asks me a question as if she were a four-year old who has just told me the same “Knock, knock” joke for the thirtieth time during a fifteen minute period.

    To paraphrase Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the Torre.”

    April 9th @ The Twins

    Posted by on April 9th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    So, what, is A-Rod going to hit 130 homeruns this season?

    Never mind. The big story tonight was Pavano. He gave the Yankees exactly what they needed in this game – seven solid innings on 79 pitches. Of course, thanks to Sidney Ponson, there was not a lot of pressure for Carl in this contest – as he had a 5-run cushion by the time he faced his 4th batter of the evening. Still, you have to be impressed when someone like Pavano actually does what he’s supposed to do when presented with an opportunity.

    What will be interesting to see, in regard to Pavano, is how he does now – going forward, both home and away.

    In 2005, his last season, Pavano had an ERA of 2.89 on the road and 6.89 in the Bronx. This season, albeit just after 2 starts, Pavano has an ERA of 2.57 on the road and 8.31 in the Bronx. Is a pattern forming here? We should know more, for sure, soon.

    April 8th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on April 8th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Who would have thought that, by the fifth game of the season, the state of the Yankees pitching staff would be in such disarray that Andy Pettitte would have come into a game as a relief pitcher?

    If Pavano gets knocked out early tomorrow, it’s only going to get worse.

    Maybe it would make some sense to put Rasner on the D.L. today, along with the move for Matsui, to get another fresh arm up – even if it’s just for mop-up duty – before the series in Minny, ya think?

    April 7th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on April 7th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    You missed the greatest game…ever!

    We took our kids, ages three and five, to go see “Elmo’s Coloring Book” (at the State Theatre) today. We left the house at half-past-noon for the two o’clock show. The kids had a great time – so, we did as well. By the time the show was over, and we got back to our car and were on the road, it was sometime between three-thirty and four. At that point, I turned on the radio to catch a score in the Yankees game. It was 7-6, O’s, in the 8th, with Damon up, when I switched to the game. I had no idea what had happened, at all, up to that point. The minute I heard that the Yanks were losing, I thought to myself “I can’t witness another loss” and I put on some music for the kids.

    We stopped on the way home to get some dinner out. It was around six-thirty when we finally got home. By now, my hay fever was starting to really catch up to me and I was starting to get severely cranky from fatigue and that feeling of sinus pressure and burning eyes. Still, life goes on. We started to unpack the kids stuff from our trip today and I called my folks to confirm our plans for the holiday tomorrow.

    When I got my dad on the phone, he asked “Did you catch any of the game?” I told him that I just walked in, and, other than knowing for a second that they were losing late, I had not seen or heard anything. Then, he told me: “Well, they played like crap. Forget Igawa. They should send him back on the first boat back to Japan. But, Giambi hit a three-run homer in the eighth to make the score 7-6…and then A-Rod hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to win it, 10-7!”

    As soon as he said that, it felt like that scene from “Fever Pitch” where the lead character is told by his friend on the phone: You missed the greatest game…ever!

    Of course, that punch-to-the-gut feeling for me was probably just a product of having a long day out, driving in traffic, and my hay-fever-induced short-fuse. But, even though we had a great time with the kids today, I was (kind of) kicking myself at that moment for being completely outside of this game. I know, it’s stupid – because, yes, it was a very good comeback win, but, really, I’ve seen bigger comebacks in person (and many others like this one on television). And, in reality, this was not the “greatest game ever” that I missed.

    In any event, I’m thrilled that the Yankees won this game. And, it’s a relief to see A-Rod deliver the big blow in a spot that’s as clutch as can be – – that’s awesome. Two months ago, I said that Alex was always clutch, in late and close spots, except for last season. It’s nice to see that perhaps this season will not be a repeat of last year for him. Of course, last May, it looked like A-Rod was going to put together back-to-back MVP seasons for the Yankees. This is why I’m going to wait a bit, now, before saying (for sure) that this homer is the one that takes the 2006 “pressing” monkey off Alex’s back.

    Here’s hoping that A-Rod has a bunch more moments this season like the one he had today. The way the Yankees starters have looked so far, he may have lots of chances to make this happen. And, dad’s going to need a bigger boat.

    April 6th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on April 6th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    [Randy Jackson voice] “Hmmmmmmm. Aw right, aw right, yo, check it out. I dunno dog. Me for, I dunno. It was, well, it was kinda weird. Yeah, it was just really strange, for me. I’m just keepin’ it real, dog. Yo, it was weird.” [/RJV]

    This game left me feeling like a confused Randy Jackson. It was not a good night in Yankeeland. Mussina struggled. The Yankees left 10 runners on base. Jeter got banged up. In the end, New York still just lost by two runs. This should sting, right? But, it (the outcome) doesn’t hurt as much as it seems like it should – to this fan. Maybe it’s because last night’s game was so bad that this contest, albeit still a loss, feels like it’s an improvement (of sorts)?

    I know, it seems bizarre to say that. But, yo, dog, I’m just keepin’ it real.

    Big game for Igawa tomorrow – with Ranser facing Bedard on Sunday. If Igawa pitches like Pavano, Pettitte and Mussina, did before him, there’s a good chance that the Yankees may be looking at a 1-4 start to this season. On the bright side, it could be worse. Johan Santana is scheduled to pitch on Sunday for the Twins. So, the Yankees will just miss facing him on Monday – when New York might just need a win in the worst way.

    April 5th vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on April 5th, 2007 · Comments (14)

    A: The rear view of an adult male baboon with external hemorrhoids.

    Q: What is almost as ugly as the way the Yankees, as a team, played in this game.

    April 2nd vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on April 2nd, 2007 · Comments (16)

    For the second year in a row, I find myself in the unhappy position of being at work the day of the Yankees home opener. Last year, I did luck into finding out that the cafeteria in my building had the YES network. But, as I started a new job four months ago, I no longer have that option today. And, since I work in what seems like the middle of nowhere, the chance of me getting to a TV for a little spell today is zilch.

    Oh, the pain of needing a fix after a long drought…

    I am taping the game at home – to watch it later this evening. And, I do have a plan for this afternoon.

    If all goes according to script, I will be having a one-man picnic during my lunch “break” this afternoon – in my car, listening to some of the Yankees game on the radio. (Oh, what a junkie will stoop to for a fix.) Afterwards, I’ll try and check MLB’s Gameday as meetings and work allow in the office.

    As I did last year, I’ll try and make the best of it by providing some close to real-time commentary here – as time allows. Stay tuned.

    Update, 1:42 pm ET: Project – A13 is not going to be happy. A-Rod was booed “at 1:15” in the first game of the season, as per Suzyn Waldman on the radio, when he over-ran Ty Wigginton’s pop fly for an error. And, A-Rod was booed again in the bottom of the first – when he K’ed with runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. For the record, he whiffed on a full-count that played out like this (according to the radio account): Ball, Called Strike, Ball, Called Strike on a change right down the middle, Ball, Swing & Miss. Good thing Giambi picked him up with a clutch 2-out single to drive in two.

    Update, 2:13 pm ET: I was just looking at Jason Giambi’s picture on Gameday. Is it just me, or, does the Giambino have a “Crazy puppy dog staring at a biscuit” look on this face?


    Update, 2:50 pm ET: I missed the 4th and the top of the 5th – until seeing the recap now. Yikes. Pavano ended up throwing 59% of his pitches for strikes. That’s not terrible. Looks like the defense let him down a bit. The Yanks still have 5 more turns at bat. Just behind by two, this game is far from over.

    Update, 2:56 pm ET: Why is Johnny Damon coming out of this game?

    Update, 3:20 pm ET: Gameday says Damon hurt his leg. The boss is not going to be happy.

    Update, 3:22 pm ET: Jeter just made up for for his error – nice hit to tie the score at five.

    Update, 3:35 pm ET: Sweet five pitch 7th for Vizcaino.

    Update, 3:41 pm ET: Big steal by A-Rod. And, a big RBI by Giambi. Up by a run, with six outs to go, I like the Yankees chances in this one.

    Update, 3:50 pm ET: Barring a big score in the 8th for New York, it’s almost Mo-time. And, three outs to the “W.”

    Update, 4:01 pm ET: Abreu & A-Rod just iced it. The only thing left is the call on who pitches the 9th. Betcha it’s still Rivera.

    Update, 4:08 pm ET: Yeah, I know that Mo is still pitching in the 9th as I write this, but, I’m already giving the game ball for this one to Giambi – with an honorable mention to the entire Yankees pen.

    Update, 4:12 pm ET: Way to cap it Mo. Three up, three whiffs. Whew. Do we really have to do this 161 more times?

    Update, 4:26 pm ET: Did the sun really come out today just as the Yankees won this game, or, did I just notice now that the clouds are gone?

    Last update, 5:08 pm EST: Based on this picture – which was taken during the playing of the national anthem just before the game today, and the amount of empty seats therein, I’m guessing that it was a nightmare for many fans to get into the park today, with the construction, etc. Oh, it’s going to be fun getting to games this year.