• A-Rod’s Remarkable 2009 Post-Season

    Posted by on December 18th, 2010 · Comments (24)

    I’ve written in the past about the singular greatness of Alex Rodriguez’ 2009 post-season.

    And, if my narrative on that was not enough. How about some stats that support just how great it was? Click here to see how A-Rod was a machine during that run. And, click here to see how clutch he was during that post-season.

    Bottom line, there is an extremely strong case to be made that A-Rod’s 2009 post-season was one of the best overall offensive performances by a single player on a team who won a World Championship in the last 30 years of baseball history – if not the best “such season” ever.

    Sure, we all know about Barry Bonds’ 2002 post-season – but, the Giants didn’t win it all that year.  And, David Ortiz was super for the Red Sox post-season of 2004.  But, he didn’t do it day-in and day-out, consistently, for Boston in that run like Rodriquez did for the Yankees in ’09.  Another player to consider would be Troy Glaus in 2002.   He was a monster who carried the Angels that post-season to their ring – but,  he was not quite at the level of A-Rod in ’09.  (It is interesting that Bonds, Ortiz, Glaus and A-Rod are in the team picture here – since they all have been linked to PED-usage in the past.)

    Seeing all this, what would you say?  Was Alex Rodriguez’ 2009 the best overall post-season by a player on a World Series winner ever?  If not, how about over the last 30 years?  And, if not, why?

    2009 World Series Trophy Heading To Fordham Tomorrow

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Birge

    Fans living in the Bronx won’t have to travel far on Saturday to get a glimpse of the World Series trophy, which, of course, is in the possession of the New York Yankees.

    The trophy will be making a short trip, as the Yankees will be bringing it to Fordham’s Rose Hill campus, which is only a few miles from where the trophy resides now – Yankee Stadium.

    Fans can view and take photographs of the hardware, which will be on display in Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The trophy’s visit to Fordham is in conjunction with the Rams’ basketball game against Temple, which begins Saturday at 1 p.m. Yankees announcer Michael Kay in a 1982 graduate of Fordham.

    After Fordham, the trophy will appear at Simmons College, a private women’s undergraduate college in Boston, Massachusetts. Suzyn Waldman graduated from there some time, a long time ago…

    [And, yes, I’m kidding – about the appearance part, not about where Waldman went to school.]

    A-Rod – What A Difference 300 Days Can Make

    Posted by on December 6th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Yup, just 300 days ago, Alex Rodriguez was hiding and partying in the Bahamas. And, now, he’s celebrating and partying in the Dominican Republic. Maybe the Vengaboys should do a song about A-Rod? Via the Daily News

    Just over a month after winning his first World Series ring – when he buried both his postseason demons of the past and the tumultuous beginning of his 2009 season – Alex Rodriguez is still speechless when it comes to reflecting on life as a champion.

    “It’s still hard to put into words what we accomplished as a team. We just believe in Joe’s (Girardi) message, which is team, team, team. I’m still enjoying it,” A-Rod told the Daily News Saturday night.

    Dropping by to support his good friend David Ortiz at the Red Sox slugger’s charity golf weekend, Rodriguez made a brief but memorable appearance at the Cap Cana resort. It was the latest stop of Rodriguez’s unofficial World Series champion tour. Friday night he partied with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and teammate Robinson Cano in the resort town of La Romana, celebrating Jay-Z’s birthday. Last week Rodriguez was in London with main squeeze Kate Hudson as she did press for the premiere of the movie “Nine.” Last month, he was courtside for a Lakers game.

    Yes, it’s good to be the king, even if Rodriguez is still keeping his cards close to the vest and his comments brief. Asked if he plays over in his mind any particular World Series memories, Rodriguez replayed an answer that was common this season, when he avoided headlines and controversy following a rough spring training.

    “Nothing personal. To me it’s just the great team spirit,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone basically checked their ego at the door and was concerned about one thing, that’s winning games. The World Series, the championship (series) and the division series was really how we played all year as a unit.”

    Rodriguez certainly looked the picture of contentment Saturday night, arriving in a golf cart and taking dress-casual to a whole new level. A-Rod sported shorts, a baseball cap and a Cap Cana polo shirt while most of the other guests were dressed in semi-formal attire for the dinner that raised money for Ortiz’s charity that supports needy Dominican and American children with heart problems.

    “A-Rod, since day one, he told me, ‘I’ll be there, Papi. I’ve got to support you. I love the cause. I’ll be there.’ He always wants to help the most he can,” Ortiz said. But no sooner had Rodriguez arrived, doled out embraces to current and past athletes and slipped Ortiz a check, he was slipping out the entrance into a white SUV.

    David Ortiz? A-Rod? I wonder if Angel Presinal was serving drinks at this party?

    The Lucky Lefty

    Posted by on December 1st, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Playing around with Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Season Finder, I asked it to show me LHP who have pitched at least 10 games in a season for the Steinbrenner Yankees and who, to put it simply, really stunk in that season in question. Here are the results of that query:

    It’s pretty interesting to see Graeme Lloyd in 1996 and Damaso Marte in 2009 on this list – considering what big parts they played for the Yankees in the World Series those years.

    I mean reallyDamaso Marte. Who thought, based on the way he pitched this season, that he would have been so “key” for the Yankees in their quest for a ring this post-season? And, if they did think it, what were they sniffing?

    2009 World Series Film DVD

    Posted by on November 24th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    2009 World Series DVD The 2009 World Series Film DVD was released today.

    I had a chance to check it out this evening and, having now viewed this one, highly recommend it.

    This DVD is full of game footage and behind-the-scenes stuff, including interviews, that makes it a wonderful visual chronicle of this year’s World Series.

    The 2009 World Series Film DVD opens up with a 16-minute section that details the Yankees season as well as their ALDS and the ALCS. And, this includes highlights of the many walk-off wins the Yankees had in 2009. This is followed by a 4-minute segment highlighting the Phillies season and road to the World Series. The remainder of the DVD brings you through the World Series – game by game. And, in the closing, you also get some brief highlights from the parade held for the Yankees, after winning, down the “Canyon of Heroes.”

    The 2009 World Series Film DVD also contains “Bonus Features” which are highlights of just about every big hit, homer and play for the Yankees during this post-season – including the Damon “double-steal” in Game 4 of the World Series. What I liked most about these “Bonus Features” was the option where you get to see multiple shots and angles of the Yankees players celebrating after the last out of the World Series.

    My only disappointments in the DVD were that, in the section reviewing the Yankees season (from Spring Training on) there was no mention of A-Rod’s PED issue – and only coverage on his hip operation (and comeback from that); and, in the “Bonus Features” section, all those clips are real-time game stuff with field noises – and there’s no added commentary. (Then again, considering how some feel about FOX and/or John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, maybe others would consider this to be a plus?)

    But, on the whole, I consider the 2009 World Series Film DVD a “must have” for all Yankees fans and a “smart have” for baseball fans in general (to add to their baseball DVD collection). After all, the first World Series in the new Yankee Stadium only happens once – and it’s now captured in video, and nicely done, with this DVD.

    Quick Work Wrapping Up #27

    Posted by on November 20th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    This is just the coolest thing ever…

    Via Robert Caplin…a time-lapse compilation of over 5,000 images taken from dozens of locations inside and outside of Yankees Stadium during Game 6 of the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies.

    World Series Time-Lapse by Robert Caplin from Robert Caplin on Vimeo.

    Mr. T Happy For Yanks, General Joe, & A-Rod

    Posted by on November 14th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via the Daily News

    Joe Torre could almost hear the banter in the dugout. Watching on television as the Yankees played in their first World Series since he left, the four-time champion Yankees manager knew exactly what Derek Jeter was saying as the camera zoomed in on him after Hideki Matsui hit a home run in Game 6.

    “Every time they’d bring a lefthander in, Derek Jeter would say in the dugout, ‘Don’t bring a lefthander for Matsui, don’t do that’ and invariably Matsui would hit a double or a home run,” Torre said. “When the camera went to Jeter in the dugout after Matsui hit a homer, it was like I could hear him saying ‘I told ya so.'”

    After 12 years and four World Series titles with the Yankees, the current Dodgers manager said watching from afar as the Yankees won the World Series was “surreal.” Even after the way he left, insulted by what he felt was a lowball contract offer, Torre could not help but be happy for the Yankees. Friday night, before his Safe at Home Foundation charity event at Chelsea Piers, Torre he said he was particularly happy for his successor Joe Girardi, as well as a player he was not always close with, controversial third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

    “He got the monkey off his back,” Torre said of Rodriguez, who never played well in the postseason under Torre. “I am happy for him.”

    Torre said that he was glad that Girardi had rallied after a tough first year as Yankees manager. “Coming after my 12 years and after all the success we had, that was not an easy thing for Joe Girardi,” Torre said. “He never backed away from it. He’s a quality individual.”

    Funny, no mention from Torre over the fact this was the first World Championship won by the Yankees without having Don Zimmer as bench coach since 1978.

    Yanks Parade Photos From The Inside Out

    Posted by on November 7th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    My buddy, Chris the Super Yankees fan, was in one of the trucks during the Yankees parade yesterday. And, he was willing to share some pitcures from that incredible event. (Thanks Chris!) Here they are:


    ’09 Yanks 10th Best Yanks Champs Ever?

    Posted by on November 6th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    David Schoenfield thinks that the 2009 Yankees were the 10th best Yankees champoinship team ever. And, Dayn Perry agrees with that slotting.

    Where would you place the 2009 Yankees, all-time, compared to all other Bronx Bomber ring teams?

    So, What Was It Like To Be There For Game Six?

    Posted by on November 5th, 2009 · Comments (14)

    Many Yankees fans happen to know someone who was at Game Six of the 2009 World Series. In fact, maybe it was themselves? But, many others don’t know someone who was there – and perhaps have missed out on a chance to get a first-hand account of what it was like to be there.

    While I did not get to attend the game, I do know someone who was there – Keith Uklist – and here’s his story of what it was like to be there on that magic night.

    My thanks to Keith for his willingness to put this into words and for allowing me to share it with you all. It’s a great read.

    Being a lifetime Yankee fan, my expectations were as high as my anxiety level as I headed out of work in Downtown Manhattan to meet my friend and head up to the Bronx for Game Six. We left extra early because we wanted to get to the Stadium and have a pre-game dinner at the Stadium’s upscale steakhouse NYY Steak.

    The subway ride was typical New York…crowded 4 train the whole way but mostly normal commuters…not a lot of fans at 4 p.m. We arrived around 4:45 to find a moderate crowd waiting for the gates to open.

    NYY Steak is usually a first-come-first-served facility but apparently for the World Series it becomes reservation only. My friend and I tried to finagle our way in past security only to be turned away and told to go through the now open Gate 6. At least I got to meet Kurt Russell who was completely decked out in Yankee garb…very cool.

    By the time we got up to the restaurant there was already a wait-list of about 10 people to get one of the five bar tables that are left open for walk-ins. Need less to say, and despite the hostess’ prediction of a 45 minute wait, it did not look good. The bar itself was already packed and four deep as we decided to try to wait it out. After an excruciating 90 minute wait, I was finally able to convince the bar table waitress that it would be worth her while to get us a table by promising to spend an ungodly amount of money accompanied by a tremendous tip. We had a table within 10 minutes…

    Even in the restaurant the scene was electric…visiting dignitaries as Paul O’Neill (really nice guy) and Entourage’s Jeremy Piven (not so nice) added to the eclectic mix of Wall Streeters and construction workers. People of all walks were showing up in droves to unite in solidarity at an outrageously steep price (both for dinner and seats).
    Dinner was fantastic…both for the food and the company…but enough about that.

    We arrived at our seats to find one occupied (of course) but the gentleman vacated without incident. As the pitches started flying from Andy Pettitte’s battle-proven hand the tension was reaching a fever-pitch. Started off well enough with Rollins grounding out to Jeter…but when Victorino got on with an infield single the crowd was noticeably hushed. Not for long…Utley’s infield shot to Cano led to a tremendous double play that sent the entire stadium into a frenzy.

    I have to admit that around this point I had turned to my friend to comment on next year’s prospects, espousing that I believed that the Yankees could not keep both Damon and Matsui, and based on the post-season play so far that I would have to go with Damon and they should let Matty get away. Uh, ok…let’s see how that plays out…

    I’ll skip the play-by play for the rest of the first…Jeter, Damon and Tex sat down pretty quickly and it looked like Pedro could possibly cash those checks his ego had written.

    With the exception of a walk and advance on a wild pitch, Pettitte retired the side and Pedro took the mound. A-Rod walks…and Matsui steps up and slams one to right…2 RBIs. The stadium EXPLODES! Do you think he heard what I said last inning? If that’s his response, you can thank me later.

    Godzilla attacks Philly!High fives all around…hugs and kissing babies…unbelievable how much Yankee fans can appreciate each other…especially at moments like this. Everyone is in ecstasy…Matsui chants are reverberating through the stands…Godzilla fills the big screen. Takes a little while for everyone to calm down and by that point Posada strikes out, Cano lines out and Swisher flies out…2-0 Yanks. Good start.

    Pettitte’s back and allows Ruiz to score on a sac fly by Rollins…here we go again…but hope springs eternal. 2-1 Yanks.

    Pedro…Gardner strikes out…Jeter singles, Damon walks, Tex hit by pitch…A –Rod takes the plate and…strikes out looking! What?!?! Fans get a little incredulous…fickle-much?

    Here comes Matsui again…singles to center and both Jeter and Damon score…

    Massive eruption from the stands! The bleachers are literally writhing! It looks like a Chinese New Year’s dragon…undulating with exuberance…waves of bliss visibly emanating like heat off of a desert highway.

    Posada flies out to left…great…4-1 Yanks.

    Damon pulls a calf muscle (Really? Seriously?) and Hairston takes his place in left.

    Utley strikes out, Howard lines out , Werth walks and moves to second on a passed ball by Posada (can you tell I’m not a fan?). Ibanez walks and Feliz grounds out to third. Pettitte is doing a great job for an old guy and the crowd is showing their appreciation. Chants of An-dy Pett-itte are loud enough for people watching in Brooklyn can hear them.

    Cano, Swisher, Gardner…sit back down but by this point the fans can smell victory…and no one is sitting down.

    Top of the 5th…Francisco strikes out…Ruiz walks and Rollins hit into another outstanding double play. Can you say road kill?

    Pedro leaves, apparently the paternity suit has been decided…Durbin comes in to pitch and Jeter abruptly sends the ball to center field for a double. Hairston lays down a beautiful bunt that sends the Yanks captain to third and up steps Teixeira who singles bringing Jeter home. A-Rod walks, again, moving Tex to center and Durbin is gone, replaced by Happ. Hideki takes the box and slams a double to center scoring both Tex and Rodriguez. Gotta love the Phils’ bullpen, always good for a few add-on runs.

    Posada and Cano strike out swinging…seriously…can I step in and play for either one of them?

    7-1 Yanks…no one is quiet and no one is sitting down….I would be surprised in the city of Philadelphia has not spontaneously combusted by now from the massive amounts of psychic energy being generated by Bomber fans in the Bronx. Can someone call Geno’s or Tony Luke’s and see if the ceiling has collapsed?

    But fear not Fanatics…we do like to keep things interesting. Pettitte, still pitching a fantastic game, forces Victorino to ground out to short. Utley walks and is brought in by a crushing left-field, first-pitch homer by Howard. Whoops! A pitcher’s mound conference commences and everyone thinks Andy is done but Skip shows faith and it pays off with a next batter strike out. Werth sits down and the crowd is showing massive amounts of love for Andy. Even after Ibanez doubles to right…the crowd is cradling the veteran hurler in their ample bosom. As he walks off, with a tip of his hat, and is replaced by Joba Chamberlain, the fans give him a standing ovation and extra-long chorus of An-dy Pett-itte…

    Joba closes out the top of the inning and we move on…

    A few more pitching changes for Philly (six in all, I think???) and Marte replaces Joba in the seventh. No more runs come in for either side but that in no way diminishes the electricity in the air and the jubilation in all of our hearts. The Stadium is still rocking and no one is leaving (except for the four guys sitting in front of us…are you kidding me???).

    When the familiar strains of Enter Sandman hit the air in the top of the eighth with two outs left…the atmosphere explodes! I read today that the three astronauts on the International Space Station all turned to each other at the same time and exclaimed (“Did you hear that? Rivera must be taking the mound!”)

    Mo finished the inning with a Werth strike-out and Feliz pop-up to Posada.

    Uneventful bottom of the inning did not quell the excitement in the least and by the time Matt Stairs wobbles up to the plate (nice of him to take a break from the pro-bowling tour to join us…I mean, seriously I’ve seen golfers in better shape than this guy! He’s a pro-athlete?!?) you cannot hear yourself think. Although it wouldn’t matter…everyone was thinking the same thing anyway…three more outs to go!

    Stairs lines out…Ruiz walks…Rollins flies out and Ruiz takes second…Victorino steps up and fights hard to stay alive…so many foul tips…it was hilarious to watch everyone try to catch the last pitch of the season on their cameras…having to delete the previous shot after each swing. Finally Vic grounds out to Cano and the Bronx is burning once again. As the players rush the mound the fans begin hugging and high-fives…

    The crew immediately starts to build the podium for the trophy presentation off of second base and the Yanks, led by a flag-waving Chamberlain round the warning track high-fiving fans and rejoicing with each other. The first of a seemingly endless string of Sinatra’s New York, New York begins to play and it is literally impossible not to sing along (for the first 6 times anyway). The trophy is presented to Hank Steinbrenner…and then comes Girardi, Pettitte and a few more players to thank the fans. Very classy. The MVP was presented to Matsui and through his translator he expresses his love and admiration for his teammates and the fans and is understandably a bit cryptic in his response to queries about his future with the organization. The fans show him a tremendous amount of love and support. Walking out of the stadium for the last time this season was surreal…a surging crowd of crazed fans all showing love for each other as much as for their team. Dancing in the streets, cheap $10 knock-off t-shirts and half-naked guys with bloated beer-bellies…high-fives all around. Gotta love New York.

    It continues all the way back down to Times Square…walking to port Authority to get the car getting random high-fives, cat-calls and back-slaps from people on each corner.

    And so the season ends and the celebration begins…next stop the parade. Luckily I can watch from my office on the 2nd floor in our building on Broadway.

    One thing I do have to say is that I was summarily impressed with the amount of respect shown by Yankee fans throughout the game, and entire series for that matter.

    Not once during the entire day did I hear any disparaging comments made to any of the Phillies’ fan in attendance. I truly believe that Yankee fans are the epitome of class. We love our team and show support without needing to denigrate anyone else. The fans and players were gracious and magnanimous in victory just as we would have been in defeat and I am proud to count myself as one of their number.

    World Series DVD: ETA November 24, 2009

    Posted by on November 5th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    One of the best things about watching your team win the World Series is enjoying the OFFICIAL DVD & BLU-RAY™ that MLB releases after the post-season.

    Here’s what I know, so far, about this year’s edition:

    Major League Baseball Productions and Shout! Factory are bringing baseball fans the ultimate insider’s look at the New York Yankees’ quest to win this year’s World Series title during the thrilling 6-game victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. The official 2009 World Series Film: Yankees vs. Phillies, available nationwide on DVD on November 24, 2009, and on Blu-ray™ in high definition on December 15, 2009, gives fans the opportunity to re-live the long awaited record 27th World Series title in Yankees history and the team’s first in nearly a decade.

    The collectible 2009 World Series Film provides extensive coverage of this year’s Fall Classic and will be sold at the official team store of the New York Yankees, online at MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, and at retailers nationwide. The collectible DVD has the suggested retail price of $19.99 and the Blu-ray™ is priced at $29.99.

    Through Major League Baseball Productions’ unparalleled access to the entire World Series experience, the official “2009 World Series Film” is loaded with adrenaline-filled feature-length program presentation, incisive bonus features, and pristine hi-def video and audio on Blu-ray™ with 5.1 surround sound on DVD, as well as highlights from the American League Championship Series, National League Championship Series, American League Division Series, National League Division Series, the official World Series and extensive bonus content.

    19 days and counting! Once I have seen it, I’ll share a review.

    Went To Mo’s & Saw It All Went

    Posted by on November 5th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    So, I had a very busy day at work today – since I was on vacation for the first three days of the week. No chance to get out during the day, at all. Further, I had a work-related function after work – which did not end until about 9:30 pm ET.

    Much to my surprise, when I finally got near home, I saw that my local Modell’s was still open. So, I parked and jumped out of the car…and saw that they were closing in 45 minutes at 11 pm. Oh, joy – figuring I caught a break…but…no

    They had nothing left in the store. Zip. Zero. Nada. All the World Championship gear was gone except for maybe six hats and a handful of T-Shirts in sizes like XXXL.

    Wow. That was fast.

    They said that they’d be getting more in…and, I hope so, because, sans a few size 5 and 7 T-shirts that I was able to get for my kids, right now, I got…shutout. Goose-egg. White-washed. Oh, how, sad…

    Then again, at least I was able to get something for the kids.

    The Scene Oustide The Stadium Last Night

    Posted by on November 5th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    While I did say that I was going to lay off the keyboard for a bit and enjoy the win for a while, my buddy Chris just sent me some pictures from last night – that I thought you might enjoy as well. So, “I’m back!” albeit for just a quick one.

    Chris was hanging out at Stan’s and outside the Stadium last night during the game. (Now, that’s a Yankees fan! I say this because he doesn’t live anywhere near the Stadium and had to hike to get there – just to hang out at a bar near the ballpark on the night of the big game.) Here are the pictures…


    November 4th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on November 4th, 2009 · Comments (76)

    God, it feels like I’ve been waiting 29 days to exhale.

    And…man…it feels great to breathe again!

    I’m so happy to see two of my favorite Yankees, Andy Pettitte and Hideki Matsui, have big contributions towards this wonderful win. And, if this has to be Godzilla’s last game as a member of the Yankees, there’s no better high note to exit on…

    The 2009 New York Yankees are the World Champions of Major League Baseball!


    Hey, give the Philadelphia Phillies some credit. They were the defending champs. They made it back to the World Series this year. And, they pushed it to Game Six before checking out. In the end, they will lament Game Four. But, on the whole, the Phillies did not embarrass themselves in this Fall Classic.

    And, now, I’m just going to shut up and allow “the sound of the crowd” to tell the story.

    Yankeeland, the comments section of this entry is all yours to enjoy. Go for it, rejoice, and, when you’re done, celebrate a little more. There’s no such as having too much fun – as long as it’s in good taste – after your team has just won a World Championship.

    I’m going to take the next 48 hours, or so, off in order to kick back, let this all permeate, and smile a whole helluva lot in the process.

    But, before I go, here’s Frank. Play him loud. Play him often. For, in Yankeeland, there’s no better soundtrack to get a ring party started right…

    Cano & Teixeira In The Choker Crosshairs?

    Posted by on November 4th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via Ed Price

    Hideki Matsui couldn’t be a big part of the Yankees offense the past three World Series games because there was no DH for the games in Philadelphia.

    As for Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira, what’s their excuse?

    Actually, Teixeira was glad to offer up an excuse.

    “Unfortunately, during these playoffs, it’s been tough to get into a rhythm,” Teixeira (hitting .172 in the postseason) said Tuesday before the Yankees worked out. “When you’re in a rhythm during the season, you’re going to fail seven out of 10 times. When you’re not in a rhythm, you’re going to fail a lot more than that. And unfortunately for me, that’s kind of been the case right now.”

    Oh, so it’s all those off days in the postseason schedule. Even though the Yankees played five of the past six days.

    Funny, Derek Jeter, Jayson Werth and Chase Utley don’t seem bothered.

    “I’m not going to make any excuses, because everyone’s got to deal with it,” Teixeira went on, before returning to his excuse. “But it hasn’t been easy. It definitely hasn’t been easy.

    “You have more time so you watch more tape, you take more batting practice. Maybe that works against you, I don’t know. Maybe during the season when you’re a little tired, when you just kind of just go out there and play the game because you’ve played 20 games in a row, your natural ability just takes over.”

    So, of course, Teixeira was the first one in the indoor batting cage Tuesday and, according to hitting coach Kevin Long, took even more swings than he has lately.

    And then, there’s that darn postseason schedule again.

    “I don’t make excuses, I’m not going to make excuses, because everyone has to deal with it,” Teixeira said. “But being a switch-hitter, being a guy that kind of lives off hot streaks, lives off rhythm, it doesn’t help.

    “Over a 162-game schedule, the approach that I’ve had my entire career has always worked. When you play a game here, a day off, two games, day off, four days off — sometimes that approach doesn’t work.”

    Cano has definitely been chasing, and he admitted it.

    “I feel I was a little off,” he said. “I was trying to hit everything way out front, not waiting. I feel much better right now.”

    Cano did hit the ball hard a couple of times in Game 5, including a single to center.

    Of course, the message from Yankees fans, now, to Tex and Cano is…just do it.

    Blame Girardi Or Cashman?

    Posted by on November 4th, 2009 · Comments (17)

    Via Wallace Matthews

    Because if the Yankees don’t win Wednesday night with Andy Pettitte, 37 years old and just three days removed from a start in which he said he “felt terrible” and if they then don’t win on Thursday, with CC Sabathia being asked to pitch on short rest for the third time in two weeks, the questions will only have begun.

    And when they do, it won’t only be sportswriters asking them.

    The Yankees may still survive Girardi’s Gambit, his reckless decision to try to win four World Series games with only three starting pitchers. Then, and only then, will Girardi truly be able to eliminate “that question.”

    If they don’t, he will be answering “that question” and a lot more for a long time, the rest of the winter at least, and maybe for the rest of his managerial career.

    For better or worse, Girardi’s Gambit will forever be remembered as the defining moment of the 2009 World Series, the decision that either brought the Yankees their 27th World Championship, or ensured their third straight World Series failure.

    And if the Phillies go on to rally behind Pedro Martinez on Wednesday night and whatever they cobble together for Game 7, it will be remembered as more than that.

    It will have been the turning point.

    There was some desperation in Girardi’s decision, to be sure.

    Between the season-ending injury to Chien-Ming Wang, the failure of Joba Chamberlain to develop as a starter despite all the Yankees’ carefully laid plans, the inability of anyone else Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, Phil Hughes to decisively grab the fourth starter role and the trading deadline paralysis of GM Brian Cashman, who apparently decided the Yankees could get by on what they had, Girardi was left with pretty much no other choice.

    There was also some hubris, an arrogant assumption not exactly alien to this franchise that somehow they did not have to conduct business the way mere mortals did let the Phillies take a chance starting a Joe Blanton in the World Series, the New York Yankees don’t mess around with guys like that and that their players were not subject to the normal frailties inherent to the human body.

    After coddling their pitchers all season long, carefully monitoring pitch counts, rest days and throw days, the Yankees have now decided that pitching on three days’ rest is no different from pitching on four days’ rest, a laughable assertion coming from the organization that devised the Joba Rules.

    Plus, throw in a healthy dollop of stubbornness. The more Girardi has been asked about his decision, the deeper he seems to entrench himself in the process of proving himself right.

    And now, the only way he can do that is by winning the World Series, something that seemed like a sure thing on Sunday but a very iffy thing now.

    Some very interesting questions, at least for me, come out of this whole issue:

    • Is it Joe Girardi’s fault for riding three starting pitchers this post-season, or, is it Brian Cashman’s fault for not giving Girardi a 4th starting pitcher that he can trust?
    • Is it Girardi’s fault that Chad Gaudin sat since season end and therefore was not an option to start Gave Five of this World Series, or, is it Cashman’s fault for acquiring a starting pitcher, Gaudin, so questionable, that Girardi had no choice but to not have him work during this post-season?
    • And, of course, is it Girardi’s fault that Chamberlain and Hughes were handled they way they were, and therefore were not reliable starting pitcher options this whole year, both regular- and post-season, or, is it Cashman’s fault for not having a better option at backing them up besides Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin?

    Sure, the injury to Chien-Ming Wang was the reason all this came up – and neither Girardi or Cashman can be blamed for that. However, things happen, and, then, it’s up to the team to have a “Plan B” to address that situation. And, the Yankees “Plan B” to replace Wang was Hughes, Mitre, Gaudin, etc. – and none of those worked out in the starting rotation.

    And, that “Plan B” failure has now carried over to the post-season – forcing Girardi to go with only three starting pitchers.

    When this is said and done, if the Yankees lose, many will want to pin this on Joe Girardi. But, is that correct? Or, should Cashman get his share of the blame here too?

    Fueling Pedro

    Posted by on November 4th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via the Post – five days ago:

    And now it turns out Pedro Martinez not only has rabbit ears, admonishing a first-row fan last night at one point for using foul language around his daughter, but also remembers more than elephants.

    As we learned at Wednesday’s press conference, the self-described “most influential player” at Yankee Stadium has, in his old age, become almost as adept at holding runners as holding a grudge.

    “One of your colleagues [once] had me in the papers with red horns and a tail, a sign of the devil,” said Martinez. “I’m a Christian man, I don’t like those things.

    “Those are things that sometimes influence people to believe you are a bad person, like an ogre.”

    Well, Petey, the Post didn’t give you horns in today’s edition, but….


    You know…maybe this is just the nervous Yankees fan in me…but…maybe it’s not a great idea to give Martinez some extra motivation today? Yeah…sure…I know…he should be motivated enough considering the situation with this game…and he probably is…I just don’t think it’s a great idea to give him any more motivation…

    Pettitte Only Good For 85 Pitches In Game Six?

    Posted by on November 3rd, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Some Yanks insiders have concern over the team’s “sort rest” plan in this World Series. Via Jon Heyman with a h/t to WW reader “ken” –

    Longtime Yankees postseason star Andy Pettitte told several teammates he had absolutely “nothing” after hanging in six innings to win Game 3, and now he is being entrusted to summon something better with only three days’ rest in Game 6 Wednesday. Pettitte is the all-time winner in postseason play with 17 victories, but if a younger A.J. Burnett lost so much in the three days from Game 2 to 5, there is wonder even within the Yankees clubhouse about how this will all work out.

    Pettitte won more respect from teammates for hanging tough in a game where he not only didn’t have his best stuff but by his own private accounts to longtime friends actually had zero. Zip. Nada.

    Three Yankees teammates recounted how Pettitte told the team he took “nothing” (his word of choice) out to the mound for Game 3. But even beyond his self assessment, the plan for short rest for the Yankees’ three vaunted starting pitchers was always seen as by far the most worrisome in the case of Pettitte, who at 37 is five years Burnett’s senior. Plus, Pettitte is 5-7 lifetime on three days’ rest (compared to Burnett’s 4-0 mark going into his Game 5 disaster), and Pettitte hasn’t done it once since he was a youngster of 34.

    “Andy will be ready to go. He’s a competitor,” Cashman said after Burnett’s Game 5 debacle, when Girardi was still officially leaving the door slightly ajar to turn elsewhere. “All these guys wanted to take the ball. Andy’s looking forward to it.”

    That’s somewhat reassuring. Yet, one person in the Yankee hierarchy said, “The only thing that worries me (about Games 6 and 7) is that both (Pettitte and Game 7 starter CC Sabathia) are going on three days’ rest.” So even within the inner circle of the storied franchise, there is still a smidgen of unrest about the lack of rest.

    Here’s the thing with Andy Pettitte – look at this pitch counts since 9/21/09:

    9/21: 91 pitches
    9/27: 97 pitches
    10/3: 95 pitches
    10/11: 81 pitches
    10/19: 95 pitches
    10/25: 99 pitches
    10/31: 104 pitches

    So, if Pettitte is only good for, on average, 95 pitches when throwing on normal or extended rest, how many pitches will be be good for on three-days rest? Say, maybe, 85 pitches? Is that going to be enough for the Yankees in Game Six? Time will tell…

    October 6, 1947: Last Time Yanks Won World Series Game 7 In Yankee Stadium

    Posted by on November 3rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Demand is up for Yankees World Series tickets. Via Neil Best

    The Yankees have won the World Series at home only three times in the past half century – and never, of course, at the new Yankee Stadium.

    So it is no surprise that fans eager to witness history have been driving up the price of tickets to Game 6 since it became clear the Phillies would win Monday and force the teams to return to the Bronx.

    Until Monday, the average sales price for Game 6 on StubHub.com was $814. The average for tickets sold yesterday was $1,044 as of late morning.

    Other sites saw comparable price rises. The game was on its way to beating Game 2 as the highest-grossing event in StubHub history.

    Might prices fall as game time approaches Wednesday night? Not necessarily. That did happen for Game 1, on a misty night. For Game 2, prices rose on game day.

    Just imagine if there’s a Game Seven. The last time the Yankees played a Game Seven in the World Series at home? October 10, 1957. Needless to say, that was not a good day.

    The last time the Yankees played a Game Seven in the World Series at home where New York won the game? October 6, 1947. Yeah, nineteen-forty-seven.

    Whoooa, that was a looooong time agooooo….eh?

    Philadelphia More Of A Zoo Than The Bronx?

    Posted by on November 3rd, 2009 · Comments (3)


    Yup, where’s the craziest place for a Yankees fan to go following Game Five of the 2009 World Series? Well, if the Philadelphia Zoo isn’t the top answer, it’s got to be in the team picture.

    And, that’s where my family was today. By the way, it’s a very nice zoo. This was our second time there – and first time since we’ve had kids.

    I saw many, many, people there with Phillies gear on today. Really, I would say that 25% of the people attending – at least the ones I saw – had something Phillies related on today…like a cap, or a shirt, etc.

    I wonder if the Bronx Zoo had a ton of people visiting today wearing Yankees gear? Then again, Philly is a one-baseball-team town…so, basically, if you live in the area, you’re rooting for the Phillies.

    This whole thing got me to thinking about something Ozzie Guillen said, on the FOX pre-game, before Game Three of this World Series. The Chisox skipper said that, during Game Two, in New York, he snuck down to one of the Yankees gift shops during the 3rd inning to get some stuff for his kids – thinking that was a great time to get in there, with the game going on, and quickly get out. But, much to his surprise, he said the store was packed and he thought he was in a “shopping mall.”

    Think about that…and then think about how loud the Phillies fans were in Games Three, Four and Five of this World Series at Citizens Bank Park. Seems like the Philadelphia Zoo, in their new park, has a louder (and more “into it”) crowd than the Bronz Zoo, in their new park.

    Then again, there is a theory that Game One of the World Series is the “corporate crowd.” And, for this Series, it was cold for Game Two (in New York). And, that’s why the Stadium was somewhat quiet…at least Mike Francesa suggested this theory…and I’m sure he’s not alone in having it.

    It will be interesting to see the Yankee Stadium crowd, and their intensity, etc., for Game Six tomorrow. Hey, it’s going to be cold. But, it was cold for many an October game in the old place and it rocked. So, really, that’s no excuse. Time will tell…

    November 2nd @ The Phillies

    Posted by on November 2nd, 2009 · Comments (22)

    Damn. Soooooo close. But, not even the Yankees Comeback Kids of 2009 could pull this one out…

    Well, Commander Cashman & General Joe elected to go with “Choice One” when it came to starting pitching assignments for this Series, which I said, a week ago, was “crazy – because you’re asking everyone to pitch on 3-days rest at some point. ” And, now we’re heading to Game Six.

    And, between now and then, the second-guessing will be aplenty

    A.J. Burnett, on three-days rest, pitching on the road, was terrible for the Yankees in this one. Cliff Lee, pitching on full-rest, kept the Yankees under enough control to for his team to be on the winning side of the ledger.

    Next stop: Pettitte and Pedro in Game Six.

    And, by the way, Andy Pettitte will also be pitching on three-days rest – something he hasn’t done in the regular or post-season since 2006.

    If the Yankees somehow manage to screw up Game Six, then they’ll turn to CC Sabathia for Game Seven – pitching on three-days rest for the second time in a row this World Series. Is that going to the well too many times? Well, let’s hope not…because Pettitte will not be available for Game Seven. And, do you want Burnett backing up CC, with A.J. having just two-days rest, in a Game Seven situation? That means it will be Gaudin, Aceves, Coke and Robertson following Sabathia if he gets an early hook in Game Seven.

    No pressure Andy…really…no pressure…

    We won’t even bring up your history in Game Six situations

    A.J. Burnett Spits Bit In Game Five

    Posted by on November 2nd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Bitter Beer Face Burnett now joins some bad company…

    Player         Date       Series G Opp GmReslt App,Dec    IP   H  R ER  BB SO HR
    Kevin Brown    2004-10-20 ALCS   7 BOS  L  3-10 GS-2  ,L   1.1  4  5  5  2  1  1
    Andy Pettitte  2001-11-03 WS     6 @ARI L  2-15 GS-3  ,L   2    7  6  6  2  1  0
    Roger Clemens  1999-10-16 ALCS   3 @BOS L  1-13 GS-3  ,L   2    6  5  5  2  2  1
    Kenny Rogers   1996-10-23 WS     4 @ATL W  8-6  GS-3       2    5  5  5  2  0  1
    Bobo Newsom    1947-10-02 WS     3 @BRO L  8-9  GS-2  ,L   1.2  5  5  5  2  0  0
    Bump Hadley    1937-10-09 WS     4 @NYG L  3-7  GS-2  ,L   1.1  6  5  5  0  0  0

    The Last Time Home Team Won W.S. Game 5 After Being Down 3-1 And Having Lost Game 4

    Posted by on November 2nd, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Title here says it all. And, according to my quick scan, the last time this happened was Game 5 of the 1995 World Series.

    And, the last time a team lost Game 5 of a World Series, at home, after losing Game 4 and being down three games to one, was the 2000 World Series. And, in case you forgot, the Yankees won that one in five games. 😉

    November 1st @ The Phillies

    Posted by on November 2nd, 2009 · Comments (16)

    Many will want to talk about A-Rod driving in the tie-breaking run during the 9th inning of this game. And, he deserves credit for getting that hit. But, to me, without question, the hero of this one is Johnny Damon. First, Damon had big hits in the 1st and 5th innings. But, more importantly, that At Bat of his in the 9th inning and what followed was just incredible.

    Yanks and Phils tied, top of the 9th, no one on, with two outs, and Damon comes to the plate. Phil Coke and Phil Hughes are warming up in the bullpen. I’m already thinking about writing this one up as a terrible loss for the Yankees – maybe a loss that costs them the entire series in the long run. Within three pitches, Damon finds himself in the hole with a 1-2 count. He fouls off the next pitch. Then, he takes two balls. Now, it’s a full count. Next, Damon spoils a pitch foul. And, then he does it again. Finally, Damon singles to left field and the Yankees have a runner on first albeit with two outs.

    After that clutch, thrilling, and winning At Bat, Johnny Damon steals second base and then, on the same play, he steals third base because the Phillies have the shift on (for Mark Teixiera, batting) and Brad Lidge forgets to cover third base.

    And, that set it up – after Teixiera was hit by a pitch – for A-Rod’s hit.

    Johnny Damon’s effort in the top of the 9th inning of this game should go down in World Series history…because it was so important to the Yankees winning this game.

    I’ll have more on this game at a later time – because I feel that Damon deserves the spotlight, alone, in this game entry.

    Sure, there’s other things to discuss from this one – such as pitchers throwing at A-Rod and the gutty effort by CC Sabathia in this game. And, yeah, there’s the Joba-thing. But, again, for now, this one’s for you Johnny Damon. And, you’ve earned it.

    As far as the Yankees…hey, you’re up three games to one now in this series. Do us all in Yankeeland a favor, and, GET IT DONE ON MONDAY.

    Yes, it’s going to be hard – facing Cliff Lee on full rest and throwing A.J. Burnett, on short-rest, and on the road. But, just find a way to get it done, in Game Five, and DO NOT LET THE PHILLIES BACK INTO THIS THING. They’re down, and, please, let’s keep them there and finish this off, now, quickly…OK?

    First Lady Ranks Over The Mayor Of Yankeeland?

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via the Village Voice with a H/T to BBTF

    According to the Post, America’s Former Mayor was bumped from his favorite seats near the dugout in Yankee Stadium on the first night of the World Series to get him, and wife Judi, away from Michelle Obama. A source blames “the White House.”

    To add insult to injury, Mrs. Obama ended up not using the seats because of the rain.

    The Post, which says that Giuliani has a history of not having much of a sense of humor about this kind of thing, noted that the Yankees won when he was back in his favorite seat for the next game. His favorite seat is apparently the one where the cameras can catch him talking to players.

    While this act was not as “spit in the wind” as when the Boston Red Sox front office sold the traditional seats on Duffy’s Cliff held for the Royal Rooters before Game 7 of the 1912 World Series to the general public, the Yankees are stupid to mess with anything that could bring back luck to them…especially during the World Series.

    Shoot, let Michelle Obama sit next to Kate Hudson next time…she’ll get more camera coverage there, anyway.

    Burnett To Start Game 5 On 3-Days Rest

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Via the AP

    A.J. Burnett will start Game 5 of the World Series for the New York Yankees on three days’ rest Monday night.

    Yankees manager Joe Girardi chose the Game 2 winner over Chad Gaudin and could start Andy Pettitte on short rest in Game 6 if the Series returns to New York. Burnett beat Pedro Martinez in Game 2 and is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts on short rest.

    Game 2 winner Cliff Lee pitches Game 5 for the defending champion Phillies. He has a 0.54 ERA on four postseason starts. New York is seeking its first title since 2000 and leads the Series 2-1.

    According to STATS, no team has won the Series using just three postseason starters since the 1991 Minnesota Twins.

    It’s an interesting approach, for sure, using Sabathia on three-days rest today, Burnett on three-days rest tomorrow, and, if needed, perhaps Pettitte on three-days rest in Game Six. Talk about a 1987 flashback…going the three-days rest route from Game Four until the end…

    Let’s hope it doesn’t backfire in the Yankees face…which is always possible.

    Yanks Open Up Stadium For Game 4 Tonight

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via the Yankees

    The New York Yankees announced today that they will open the Yankee Stadium Field Level and Great Hall to the public to watch the broadcast of the World Series Game 4 from Philadelphia on Sunday, November 1. (The opening will be dependent on weather conditions in Philadelphia permitting the game to be played.)
    Turnstiles between Gates 4 and 6 will open at 7:00 p.m. for the 8:20 p.m. game. Fans can watch the Game in the Great Hall or in the opened sections of the Field Level.

    “When we opened the Stadium for Game 3 in the ALCS, the response was positive and the energy from our fans was truly infectious. They really enjoyed coming together to watch the game,” said Hal Steinbrenner, Yankees Managing General Partner. “Once we reached the World Series, we felt that it was the perfect time to open the Stadium again. We remain grateful for the support of the best fans in baseball.”

    Food and concession stands will be open and available to fans. NYY Steak and Hard Rock Café will also be open.

    Last time the Yanks did this, it was bad luck for them – although they had a decent turnout. Wonder how this one will be different than last time…considering the time of the game for today…

    Phils Banking On Blanton

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Bob Ford of the Philly Inquirer

    So, it is Joe Blanton to save the season tonight.

    That’s the way it works now, after Cole Hamels disassembled in the middle innings against the Yankees last night. That is the rotation the Phillies have devised, and that is the savior you get.

    The Phillies could lose tonight and still come back to win the World Series. It won’t be over. Not technically. But depending on how you feel about being set up with Pedro Martinez and Hamels in Yankee Stadium for potential starts in Game 6 and Game 7, it will be very close to being over.

    Blanton has been a willing, predictable starter for the Phillies this season. He took the ball for 31 starts, usually went six innings, and gave up three runs and then went to the bench to hope for the best. He gave up 30 home runs, which was the fourth-highest total allowed in either league. Tonight, he takes that out against a team that hit 244 homers this season.

    Mix it all together and ask if that’s going to be enough to beat the Yankees and avoid a perilous spot in which the Phils have to win three straight to earn a repeat championship. You can only hope.

    Blanton’s confidence should be all right, for what that’s worth. Manuel decided not to pitch Cliff Lee on short rest in tonight’s game, which would have also made Lee available – also on short rest – for a Game 7.

    “Blanton’s definitely been one of our most consistent pitchers this year,” Manuel said. “He’s a guy that when he goes out there, he has to have command of his pitches, and he’ll use all his pitches and he can make adjustments.”

    Since the beginning of September, Blanton has made seven starts, six in the regular season and one in the postseason. He has a 5.22 earned run average in those starts, mostly within that elusive rhythm of the season. Tonight, he pitches on 12 days of rest. When he gave up four runs in six innings against the Dodgers, he had gone 16 days between starts.

    “It was just one bad inning in that game,” Blanton said. “That’s kind of the way the game goes sometimes. I could throw exactly the same way against the same team the next time and it might be seven innings, one run.”

    Yes, it might, and tonight would be a good spot for that next time to come around. Not that much is riding on Joe Blanton tonight, after all. Just the World Series.

    Can the Phillies win this game today? Hey, stranger things have happened. But, clearly, the odds are in the Yankees favor in this one.

    October 31st @ The Phillies

    Posted by on November 1st, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Jo-Mar-Hu-Mo to close? Yup, apparently so…

    As much as I hate to get Sterling-ish here, baseball really is a funny game. Through the first few innings of this game, it looked like Andy Pettitte was going to struggle and Cole Hamels was going to cruise. And, then, boom, the tables were turned – and Pettitte had the better night.

    And, it was “night” – as the first pitch of this game was at 9:17 pm ET, the first pitch of the 3rd inning was 10:13 pm ET, the first pitch of the 6th inning was 11:18 pm ET and the last pitch of the game was at 12:42 am ET. Doubtful many of the kiddies got to see this one…

    But, for those who were viewing, nice to see A-Rod and Swishalicious have some big bits. But, the hits by Pettitte, Posada and Matsui to drive in runs, in this one, were just as sweet.

    This win sincerely helps the Yankees out in this series…in a big way. Now, they only need to win 2 of their next 4 games – whereas Philly needs to now take 3 out of 4 from New York. And, this win by New York turns Game Four into a “must win” game for the Phillies – with Joe Blanton starting for them against CC Sabathia. If the Phillies now also lose Game Four, then they’ll be looking at a situation where one more loss means the series is over for them…and they would have to then win three in a row to get a ring.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    Have to say, based on what we’ve seen so far in this series, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park is much louder than that at the new Yankees Stadium.

    Good job by the umpires in this one – using the replay to get the call correct on A-Rod’s homer.

    Speaking of A-Rod, he’s not been all that great in the field this World Series, has he? In Game Two, Matt Stairs got a “hit” on a ball that A-Rod should have caught. In this game, Jimmy Rollins led off the contest with a “hit” that A-Rod should have caught. And, later in this game, in the bottom of the 4th inning, A-Rod made a bad throw that did go as an error.

    Phil Hughes this World Series, to date: 4 batters faced and three runs allowed. And, I believe that his ERA is 81.00. Yup, no typo there…eighty-one point oh-oh.

    And, for the record, you bet, I was sweating bullets watching Joba, Marte, and Hughes pitch in this game – although Chamberlain and Marte did pretty good, to say the least.

    Big Game Tonight?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Sam Borden

    People often talk about Game 3 as the swing game in a World Series and there’s some truth to it: The team winning Game 3 has gone on to win in 35 of 53 World Series that were tied at 1, including each of the last two and nine of the last 10. The lone exception? You probably already know it. The Yankees won Game 3 of the 2003 World Series but then lost three straight to the Marlins to lose the Series.

    Well, it’s not “must win.” But, for sure, tonight is a “nice to win” game.

    At this point, thinking about this World Series, I think it’s almost a lock to go six games – and maybe seven.

    Why? Simple: The next three games are in Philly, sure. But, I don’t see the Yankees losing three in a row there. Actually, forgetting where the games are played, due to the fact that both of these teams are so talented, I don’t see either one, ever, beating the other one three times in a row.

    O.K., maybe, just maybe, it could happen – but, what are the odds?

    So, over the next three, I see one team winning one game and losing two. And, that would bring us to Game Six.

    For that game, I figure it will be A.J. Burnett locking up with Pedro Martinez again. Now, won’t that be an interesting match up when one team cannot afford to lose? Because of that, I would imagine that both the Yankees and Phillies would prefer to be up, three games to two, heading into Game Six. (Heck, what team doesn’t want to be up, at any time, in a series?)

    In any event, if you also believe that, over the next three games, one team will win one game and lose two, then it’s somewhat key to win today – as that gives you house money, to some extent, over the two games to follow.

    Hmmm…maybe tonight is not “must win.” But, then again, maybe it’s more than just “nice to win”? Perhaps, this all said, it’s “a key win” – which ties back to Sam’s point here.

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