Blogger Template by Blogcrowds .

First, in optimistic news, I'd like to wish my wonderful parents a Happy Anniversary! It's actually because of today, June 29, that my whole obsession with the #29 has been derived. The first 29 in a series of important ones.

Today was not one of the better 29's.

The Yanks didn't have it in them, and while I'm certainly not condoning losing, I'm going to get as close as I can get to that by saying that, well, I get it. I got back from research today, and I hit a wall. Literally, actually. At one point I was sitting on the floor of my office, back propped up against the wall, delirious, trying to figure out how to clean the trackerball on my Blackberry.

A brief respite after a long week.

It was good to be inert for a moment, but it wasn't--by design--productive.

Similarly, it's good to have the Yanks back. As I'm sure they're happy their West Coast week has ended, and they're back in the welcoming arms of the Bronx. But I guess they're still jetlagging? Though...shouldn't Seattle be complaining of the same problem?

Semantics. The Yanks weren't with it today. They looked languished beyond the telling of it. Like a Sunday beer league softball team whose normal 4pm start time got moved to 10am.

And if you didn't watch the game, you just need to look at the last column of the box score for evidence of this.

Cliff Lee iced us today. When this happens it's on par when someone like Beckett or Schilling or Pedro does it. I'm thinking, but no other arrogant pricks come to mind when I think of pitches I least like losing to. Maybe Papelbon, but that intimidation ship has long sailed.

Yeah, he's good (Lee, not Pap Schmear). In his 3rd complete game, the Yankees helped him out a lot, while the Ms' offense uncharacteristically came to life against an equally uncharacteristic showing from Hughes.

To be sure, Lee does absolutely NOTHING to alter my contemptuous view of him: "Yeah, I like pitching here," Lee said. "I've always enjoyed pitching here."

Luckily, Swish perhaps did a little chipping away at that ugly ego of Lee's, by smacking 2 solo long balls against him. "The sun shines on a dog some days, " Swish noted, and even though he's most likely talking about himself here, I kind of like to think he leaves it ambiguous, identifying Lee as the dog. This, in fact, would be awesome.

I'm also kind of tired of everyone lionizing Lee. He's good, but I think Halladay is infinitely better. Given excessive exposure to this guy, I think the Yanks would batter him around like a ball of string. So much so that I'll go so far to say that come the 2nd weekend in July, the Yanks will chase him out of the game before he even makes it to the 5th.

HOWEVAH, I will concede that the most impressive feat of Lee's isn't his completely unnecessarily long outings, but rather, the fact that today was the 1st walk he's given up in over a month. I don't even pitch, and I think I've given up more walks than that in the last week. In 95 IP, he's only walked 5 people. That's just ridiculous.

And I think it's half because he's got more control than the carnival nerves o' steel guy...and half because of this perfectly mastered aloof aggression that has batters swinging away, caught off guard, and ultimately very uncomfortable at the plate. Comfortable players wait for their pitches. Uncomfortable ones leave the batter's box thinking, "WHY the hell did I just swing at that??" Many tv-viewers are also thinking/screaming the same thing.

Put it this way: the Yanks saw 115 pitches today. Their average is probably around 135 per 9 innings (I'm guessing). Their offense wasn't horrendous. 8 hits, scattered throughout the lineup. The usual suspects all chipping in, but the guys just couldn't seem to get anything going until the 9th. Unlike Sunday, they didn't have the rally in them.

So on one end of the spectrum, you got Lee throwing 115 pitches, and on the other you got Hughes learning what it means to be the latest Yankee Pitch Count Limit guinea pig. I don't fully understand the reasoning behind either avenue.

And yeah I think this is more impressive than the fact he "kept his cool on the subway." Apparently, the D train missed the Yankee Stadium stop and Lee handled it like a pro. Seriously? That's your barometer for pressure cooker situations? Wow. By that logic, 5 million people qualify for clutch-player-of-the-game every single morning.

Next time I get stuck on an underground train with no cell phone service and no AC while shoulder to shoulder with the city's murderer's row of loony tunes...I'll consider myself a true hero and brave testament to stoicism, for enduring the trials and tribulations of unexpected subway schedule glitches.


"I'm not afraid to take the subway," Lee said.


Ha. Trust me, Cliff, keep this bullshit tough guy machismo up, and you'll be afraid to take the subway.

On Wednesday we got King Felix up against Javy Vazquez. Normally this is the type of matchup that would unnerve me. But Javy's got more of a spark in him than I sometimes give him credit for. And Felix may scare other lineups, but he's got nothing we haven't already seen a million times before. Fastballs and sliders. And changeups.

If we can limit his control, then we got ourselves a game. See you then....

Oh, and Javy pitches a 1-hitter.

RED LETTER DAY. Mark it on your calendars. The day the Baltimore Orioles crawled out of the #14 spot in the AL Power Rankings. Let’s put it this way. In Central Park softball beer leagues, sometimes there’s a pitcher who has walked in about 2934 runs.

Then he throws a sort of strike, questionable at best, but compared to his litany of “pitches” that cleared the backstop, this one was not bad. So the ump calls it a strike. Maybe it’s not deserved, but come on, give the guy a break.

Similarly, do the O’s really warrant relinquishing their notorious spot? Maybe not. But they’ve won their last 4 and have actually played .500 ball in the last 10 weeks, a first for this scrappy little no-armed club. Sorry, Tribe. I don’t make the rules. Can’t fight City Hall, you know?

The Yanks slip from the #1 spot only because I can’t in good conscience claim that anyone other than the Southsiders were the hottest team in the league. (I have my moments of objectivitiy. Not many, but they exist.)

Here it comes. Enjoy the novelty, B-more. Relish your day in the sun.

14. Tribe (12)
You should be ashamed of yourselves. It’s like when the kid in “Searching for Bobby Fischer” lost in the first round to some Also-Ran no-name. In 7 moves. You let the O’s take you down. How can you live with yourselves? And what's worse, even your farm system is out of control. 3 minor leaguers got felony charges filed against them, after leaving a guy in Ohio with rib and lung injuries in a bar fight. Which is more hurt than any of the pro-level Indians have inflicted on pretty much anyone lately...


13. Royals (9)
The Royals may very well be the weirdest team in baseball right now. They CONSISTENTLY have the best BA and hitting every week. Yet…nada. To add insult to injury to bizarreness, Guillen’s hitting streak has reached 21. Honestly, the way this season is going, I wouldn’t be surprised if Guillen reached 73 or something. Couldn’t be much more improbable than the 4 no-no’s, right?


12. O’s (14)

Out of the frying pan…and into the #13 spot. Don’t look at it as unlucky. And even if it is, you know you’ll be back at the bottom next week anyway, so it’s only temporary. PS, you guys are the only team whose 1B, none of them, have hit a HR yet. How is that even possible? Seriously.


11. J’s (8)
Sweet Christ, what happened to you guys? .307 OBP? Embarrassing. You guys were hot, but as I’ve said more than once, riding the coattails of past-their-prime bats (cough…Vernon Wells, Jose Bautista..cough) is going nowhere good. TRUST ME. I’ve seen it happen for like 8 straight years with the Yankees. Shawn Marcum is your Adam Banks, though. I like him. He’s good stuff, and manages to hold lefties to .169.


10. A’s (11)
Maybe 5 is the magic number this year…the Yankees are 6-23 when their opponents score 5 or more runs. The A’s are…wait for it…23-1 when they score at least 5 runs. Incredible. For the team that pioneered the Money Ball movement, I think this should be their next big viral marketing.

Focus your ENTIRE game on scoring 5 runs. Screw pitching, defense, etc. 5 runs. That’s all any Oaklander should think about. (Oh, and Arod. Sorry, forgot I had to consider Dallas Braden’s all consuming trains of thought.) But, speaking of pitching, I’m liking the output from Neo-Gio. 80Ks in 16 starts? Not bad, kid.


9. [Devil] Rays (10)

And the slumping continues. I can see this getting worse too. The wheels are coming off. Carl Crawford hurt himself making a throw on Wednesday. He’s day to day, and you know you’re not going anywhere without Superman in the lineup. There’s tension in the ranks, the players are fighting (and not with other teams.

Longorio and Upton got into a face-in-face standoff in the dugout, when Longorio accused BJ of not putting in enough effort in the field.) Oh yeah, and they’ve just suffered their 2nd no-hit of the season. How much does that suck? Shut down not once but twice in the span of 3 months. How do you come back from that? I don’t think you do.


8. Tiggers (5)

Not your best week boys. While Miguel Cabrera continues to put up completely ridiculous numbers (332 BA, 20 HR, 64 ribbies), the rest of the lineup isn’t really pulling its weight. I suppose now would be as good a time as any to broach the subject of why in God’s name does Miguel Cabrera have a nickname? Particularly given the volumes of similar sounding names in the league..

And this isn’t the only way the Tiggers are getting slighted. After the notorious 28-out perfecto, yet another ump has admitted the err of his ways, when he conceded that the called 3rd strike on Damon with the bases loaded…was actually a ball. A ball that would’ve tied the game. What the hell is wrong with these umps? Hasn’t Detroit suffered enough?


7.M’s (13)
Well, you’ve really moved up considerably Seattle. Good for you. 7-3 in the last 10 is pretty good. I just want to point out that you’re playing the Yankees this week, so don’t get too comfortable…especially since we have an ax to grind with a certain former Phillies pitcher who was a little too cocky last October.

But hey, we’re the ones who should be scared, right? Seattle just re-acquired Russell Branyan, who’s about 1000 years old and essentially the purest definition of “on the decline.” You know an offense is getting desperate when this is their solution to one of the most abysmal line-ups baseball has ever seen this century.


6. Twinkies (7)

You’re getting a gift being seeded this high. You really should be hovering past the double-digit range, but since I like you guys, and I still see the effort, I’m gonna help you out. I’m gonna do so DESPITE what I’m about to say: Carl Pavano has been excellent. VOMIT.

He’s won his last 2 starts on undeniably brilliant outings, and what’s worse, he won going up against Halladay and Santana. WHICH MEANS, that Carl “If I made a dime for every day I was on the DL for the Yanks…oh wait, that’s actually what I literally made” Pavano is the first major leaguer in more than 20 years to earn consecutive complete-game victories, both on the road, over past Cy Young Award winners.

You’re on your own next week, Minny. Ship up or shape out.


5. World Series Champions (1)

It really does pain me to do this. But the Power Rankings may be the only time all week I actually try to divorce myself from unapologetic bias. They struggled against the NL, plain and simple. I mean, they still dominate, they’re the Yankees, and the HUGE comeback win against Torre’s Dodgers was less of a win, more of a statement. “Yeah, remember us? Step off, league. We’re back.”

It’s like I said on facebook, which ignited fiery debate from an old high school friend who, if memory serves, would sooner die than acquiesce a point or principle. “Interleague games are like hanging out with ugly chicks. If a really hot girl goes out with frumpy friends, she risks having her entire stock compromised—she looks less good.

But if an average looking girl goes out with frumpy friends, she ends up looking like a million bucks by comparison.” The Yanks don’t look good when they go out with their ugly friends. Teams like the Mariners do. Also, ASG break is coming up…and Yankee fans know what that means…2nd half of the season…(evil laugh)


4. Angels (6)

God, Anaheim. Can you be any more irrelevant? Either own the division or not. All you ever do is threaten to steal the lead from Texas, with varying degrees of effort. Their ERA is pretty bad (4.44) but they strike out a lot of batters. They’re middle of the road in most batting categories, which says one thing and one thing only to anyone who’s ever managed a fantasy team, or anyone who’s ever managed a brain cell: The Angels need to trade. Otherwise, they can say goodbye to the hope of every being a contender.


3. BoSox (4)
For Boston fans, this is bittersweet. Congratulations, boys. #3! Besting the Yankees! Super! Then there’s this, an email I got from the Likable Boston Fan Brigade (pop: 4)… “Sox are fucked. Pedroia fractured is foot. Buchholz went down yesterday. Add Ellsbury, Beckett, Hermida, Lowell. Bad luck. I'm not sure how they'll do it without Pedroia, and he was just starting to go on a tear. Fuck. Lester and Lincecum today. Should be fun to watch.”

(Btw, check out this guy’s blog, trust me he gives New England fans a good name, which is about as easy as sustaining interest in the World Cup now that the US is out.)


2. Rangers (2)
I like this team a lot. They’re so so good, yet only seem to play with any urgency once the other scrubs in their division start giving them a run for their money. They’ve won 20 of their last 25, with a sweet 11-game streak amidst all this. Hamilton is playing like a beast, as evidenced by the 468-foot rocket he hit Sunday—the 2nd longest ever at their stadium. In June, he’s banked 47 hits, which puts him 1 shy of breaking the all-time franchise record, which also succeeded in raising his .281 average to .346.


1. Southsiders (3)

If you thought Josh Hamilton’s bid for Most Improved was impressive, it’s nothing compared to what the ChiSox have done. I can’t believe that a month ago this club was already (understandably) writing off their season. It just goes to show you the whole “it ain’t over til it’s over” maxim actually holds some truth to it. (Sort of like the other day when I saw Cervelli make it to first on a dropped 3rd strike. I never see that happen!)

The rotation is dealing like whoa (cough…Gavin Floyd..cough). They’re 15-2 in the last 17, and find themselves a mere 1.5 games behind in the division. Certainly the next month will confirm whether the Sox have the potential to execute the finest turnaround in recent MLB history (or even not-so-recent MLB history)…or if it’s fleeting luck. After a meh series against the Royals, they’ll have to contend with the Angels and Rangers.

THEN we’ll see. But for now, enjoy the top, Chi-Town. Well earned. Well earned and hella weird. No offense.

I swear to God, the last week in terms of baseball viewing has been nothing short of headspinning. AND IT’S FINALLY OVER. My concept of time has been mega distorted. After spending the weekend in the office, I made my way to DC for market research.

By the time me and my coworker made it to the Hyatt, the Yanks were in a 3-run deficit. My poor coworker is starving but understands my need for the game and graciously picks a table in hotel bar that’s angled towards the TV. Thanks, Mel…

I felt like Satan, but Mel cheerfully watched the game with me and told me she was trying to get into baseball, and I explained that with a 5-run hole, when the Yanks have yet to even score 1 run, is not very promising.

I tried to write off the game, to use their struggle as a reason to pull my attention away from the tv. How easy would that have been? Just to think, “Ok, it’s a lost cause. Let’s move on. Let’s pay attention to other things that are going on in life. Like other people. And work. And life in general.”

But is there a Yankee fan alive that can ever honestly say or do that? You can’t. You just can’t. Because you’ve been watching them play for too long to ever think it’s over before the last out is recorded.

After dinner, me and Mel went to our room, and I fell asleep to the post game. It was 5-2 when I turned on the tv and told my coworker I’d shut off the tv when the game ended. We had a 6:30am wake up call to look forward to, and 12 hours of market research to follow.

I could’ve just called it a night then, got a good night’s sleep, and not risk staying up late only to get confirmation that the Yanks couldn’t make up those elusive runs in the remaining innings.

Maybe it was 6-0 I would have? I don’t know. I don’t think so. But when Arod put us on the board with his 2-run ding that scored Tex, there was a chance. Even after Furcal’s retaliating homerun in the 8th that made the hole just that much more annoying to climb out of.
4 runs down. 3 outs to go.

Tex strikes out to start the top of the 9th. 2 outs to get 4 runs. After the Yankees had barely been able to even remotely ignite the bats the entire game. It’s weird because when you look at the numbers it didn’t seem to add up. The Yanks were 3-7 with RISP, and stranded 5. But the logged 11 hits on the day. And could only manage 2 runs in 8 innings, only because of a long ball.

Where did all the baserunners go?

So there was the charge. 4 runs to score, with only 2 outs to do it.

You can blame Broxton for completely choking on this non-save situation. 9 batters, and 48 pitches when he just needed 2 outs to go home and get some sleep. But after whiffing Tex, he put the next 5 guys on, and you knew what was happening. Like clockwork.

Any time a team brings in a closer in a non-save situation, the Yanks’ pride gets miffed and they punish the condescension and arrogance.

Which they did. Cano doubled Arod home. Huffman (??) singled in Cano and Posada. Colin Curtis who I’m starting to develop a crush on drove in Granderson, and also demonstrated exactly why we picked up Grandy in the first place (although to be honest, I think Damon’s baserunning skills were just as, if not more so, astute.) And all of a sudden, the game is tied.

6-6.

I’ll go bulleted list style for the rest, for the sake of brevity and for the sake of the fact I gotta go back to market research soon…

  • Cano’s game winning homerun to right was mind boggling. An opposite field bomb that I swear to God I was convinced was a lazy fly ball that wouldn’t even make it to the warning track. I was literally stunned when I saw it clean the fence. Stunned. In conclusion, Cano is not a real human being. He’s some kind of Roy Hobbes mystical being. (That WAS my conclusion, anyway, until I saw him celebrating it up in the dugout like a 12-year old who just defeated a piƱata.)

  • For all Torre’s mumblings about “this is a team that can hurt you from top to bottom, etc etc” the damage didn’t just come from our big bats (though, most of it did). But let’s not dismiss the work of Huffman and Curtis when the game was on the line. Your team just isn’t that good, Torre. And our team is.

    For all the talk about how this was a showdown between Arod and Torre, I think the REAL slap in the face and demonstration of the dialectic here was when Girardi brought in Mo with the game tied 6-6, to pitch the bottom of the 9th and 10th. This was the anti-Torre move, in spades.

    One of the most aggravating things about Joe T. was his insistence on summoning Farnsworth or someone akin to Farnsworth when it wasn’t technically a save situation. And 9 out of 10 times, we’d never see that save situation he was saving Mo for…because when you bring in Kyle Farnsworth in the bottom of the 9th, the 10th inning is an impossibility.

    WELL F’N PLAYED, JOE G. WELL PLAYED.


  • The Dodgers have become the latest NL team to support my contention that they’re all huge babies. Seriously. Did you see how much stomping of the feet and screaming and whining there was on the Dodgers’ end? 3 players had to be ejected during the course of the series. Garret Anderson being ejected might have been my favorite though.

    He didn’t get called out on strikes. There was one debatable strike call, but he followed it up by putting the ball in play, albeit a line-out to left-center. But when the ball’s been caught, Anderson storms back to the dugout and blames the whole thing on the strike that shouldn’t have been a strike.

    Right. Because the game would have been drastically different if only that one strike call was made. Like you weren’t immensely lucky to even make contact with the ball, when you’re batting .167 against Mo in your lifetime.


  • Russell Martin gets ejected shortly thereafter for the same bullshit. Torre comes out and is trying to calm everyone down, and more than ever, he looked just like a dad. Putting his arm around Martin and walking him back to the dugout.

  • As much as I have beef with Torre because of his book, I have to say that when he was wearing pinstripes, he was fiercely loyal to his boys. Too bad Steinbrenner made him feel like he had carte blanche to put a match and gasoline to this commitment.

  • Magnanimous in victory, Arod continues to curry my favor: Torre and Rodriguez finally met up, greeting each other with a hug behind the batting cage. "I wanted to be a gentleman and do the right thing," A-Rod said. "It was important to not let things linger."

  • Our bullpen was decent, the only run coming off Joba but eh, we won who cares about that run. I DO care about the awesome display by Marte in zipping one over WoManny’s head. Well done Damaso. (Anagram: “Drama At Some.”)

  • Our starting pitcher, however, less that stellar. Actually his pitching was really horrendous, it was eclipsed by his inability to field a bunt. The Dodgers bunted 3 times in a row, Andy made throwing errors on 2 of those, letting the first 2 runs of the game in. But, hey, alls well that ends well, yeah?

See ya, Torre. You may have won something (I’m not sure what) with The Yankee Years…but it’s obvious who ultimately comes out on top. And I don’t just mean with this series.

If nothing else…we don’t have to deal with Manny Ramirez.

Seriously, I think that is on par with the fate of Sisyphus.

See you Tuesday night, when the West Coast comes east, and we face off against…dun dun dun (scary music)…Cliff Lee.

Psh. Cliff who?

When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class and one of the assignments was to write about a scene or place or event that evoked pure bliss and comfort and contentment. Then we had to take the same exact scene or place or event and rewrite it so that it achieved the opposite effect, evoking extreme discomfort and negativity.


That's kind of like how I felt yesterday.

After working past midnight on Friday night, I rolled out of bed Saturday and dragged my ass to work at 10am, finally retreating back uptown at 8:30.

It was a long and unpleasant Saturday, all things considered, and while I've never been a fan of the whole "getting a drink to unwind" thing (one drink never helps me unwind, and multiple drinks place me in a different sphere of drinking objectives), I figured my favorite bar would be pretty empty in the early evening lull, and I could relax watching the Yankee game with my favorite bartender.

That would have been vignette of "a happy place."

Unfortunately, the reality was my happy place was twisted into some cruel alternate universe realm where it was the opposite of relaxing.

Too many loud drunk people presumably left over from the soccer game, not enough quiet. Extremely humid. It was terrifying. My sanctuary from stress and burdens was rife with both of those things.

Oh yeah. And the 3-0 lead? Ceased to be.

And my favorite bartender who help the less than envious pressure of making me forget about my long work day? Eclipsed by the presence of my least favorite one. The one who doesn't watch baseball, yet makes a point of rooting against whoever the majority is rooting for. The one who firmly anchors himself in front of me whenever the Yankees struggle and wishes for nothing more than to witness me being upset.

Heaven became Hell.

The lead became a deficit.

Good AJ became Bad AJ.

And like the end of Primal Fear, when Ed Norton tells Richard Gere that, in fact, he wasn't pretending to be Roy, but that he was pretending to be Aaron, it's starting to look like there never was a Good AJ that lapsed into Bad AJ. But rather, it's Bad AJ that has anomalies of Good AJ.

Depressing beyond the telling of it.

And yet, I'm not mad at him for some bizarro reason. I don't know why. I really like him a lot. I just don't know. I feel like a parent who refuses to see the bad in their children, who believes that despite everything, they're inherently good and can change. I don't think it's denial. I think it's faith.

"There's no such thing as false hope. There is only hope." -West Wing


A.J. Burnett's struggles on the mound continued with his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander (6-7) gave up six runs and six hits in three-plus innings, walked six and struck out five. He's 0-5 with an 11.35 ERA in his past five starts.

"My command got away from me in the third. I had it early. I had unbelievable stuff. I had velocity, I had movement and I had a good hook," he said. "What it comes down to right now is the fact that I have to relax a little bit and have some fun out there. But it's hard to do right now."


Well, I'm glad the slump hasn't done anything to his confidence! He's a weighted inflatable clown that bounces back up whenever you punch it. I love those things. I hate clowns. Love weighted inflatable things.

He's had some family problems, his grandmother passed away, which I would imagine would be something impossible to place out of your mind no matter what you're doing. Girardi agrees and is sticking with him. Good call. 0-5 record, 11.35 ERA be damned. He'll get back. I know it.

All our runs came from the 2 hired guns, Arod and Tex. Which is something good to come out of the game. Tex gave us the 3-0 lead with his bomb in the first. Arod made it 4-2 with his fielder's choice grounder in the 3rd. The beginning of the game looked really, really promising.

My favorite part was how everyone was running out balls to first. (Except AJ but he gets a pass. He laid down a perfect bunt and then basically may as well have crabwalked to first. But hey, he needs to be safe. We don't want that magical 11.35 ERA arm getting compromised...)

Tonight's game is on ESPN. God help me. I'll be on a train to DC for the first part of it, but I guess since it's a national broadcast that means I'll actually get to watch it, but I doubt it. I have to wake up at 6 for more all-day market research, so all in all, the west coast week has not been very conducive to my game-watching. Or work-doing.

I'll leave with these thoughts:

1.) I watched some of the game at the bar, and the sound was off, so if anyone can explain to me why there was a random kid running out of the stands with a beach ball, fill me in.

2.) The Yanks are 6-22 when their opponents score 5 or more. Typically this would indicate bull pen problems. But I think it's more complicated than that...

3.) We're winning tonight. I know it. A good win, too. A morale-building one. A streak-starting one. It's not hope. It's certainty.

In terms of the game, James Loney drove in about 1000 runs last night in the 9-4 loss.

I understand why players have to be media savvy. I understand why they have to be smart when they deal with the constant scrutiny. It's like any job. Machiavellian principles reign supreme. "Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know who you are."


The art of networking and schmoozing is the cornerstone of success now. Which I always hated. So does my dad. He was a college professor before he owned the cemetery, and he NEVER graded on attendance or class participation. Because he could spot bullshit from the other side of the globe, and he was much more appreciative of the legitimately smart people in the class. The quiet ones who did the work, knew what they were doing, aced the exams.

And he didn't think that these genuinely intelligent people should have their talent diluted by virtue of students who would come in and blather on for 2 hours. He was grading the outcome, not the effort, and THAT, he thought, is what should be rewarded.

Similarly, Arod is the best baseball player in the game. He's in a different league. When all is said and done, he may very well be the best that ever played. And yet he has to suffer the slings and arrows of social outcry and criticism because he's a mess when it comes to deal with public relations.

Screw them, Arod.

And last night, he did.

He didn't join in the lovefest with Torre before the game. And I respect that. Torre COMPLETELY threw him under the bus with his Yankee Years, and now you expect him to be like, "Oh no big. It's cool. Torre's a great guy. He got screwed."

No.

Arod shouldn't have to swallow his pride just for the sake of making nice. Has Torre ever apologized for this? No. In fact, all he's done is play the innocent, hands up in defense, martyr act like, "I don't know what I did!"

Really, Joe? REALLY?

I'm not saying you're a complete demon, you did a lot of good with the Yanks. But to pick on someone who's perennially the subject of attacks and debate, just because you know that'll appease the target audience, well that's just weeshpy. I don't know if that's a real word, but my dad uses it all the time, and it's appropriate.

So kudos to our clean up batter, for showing what he can do when he's not in the 8-spot, and when he's batting where he belongs. His bomb to left put the Yanks on the board, tying the game after Womanny's RBI single in the first.

Posada plated Arod later in the game to give the Yanks all the run support they'd need.

Another superstar badass of the night= Fatso.

Sabathia (9-3) allowed four hits and one run, struck out seven and walked three. The defense helped him out, turning double plays in the third and fifth innings.

He took off the kid gloves, so to speak, retaliating when Padilla hit Cano in the 4th.

And there's the thing with interleague play. You wanna be a scrub and plunk our best bat? Well then be prepared to put yourself in the line of fire when the tables are turned.

Tubbo didn't waste the opportunity, and promptly drilled Padilla. And the best part was, after the game, there were no vague dismissals about it. Tubbo was pretty overt, pointing at him, staring him down. GOOD. FOR. YOU.





Padilla spared CC in his own AB, and you could sort of tell CC was a little uneasy. The blimp normally LOVES to bat, and at this go around, he was barely even taking his stance. He struck out looking and didn't seemed too surprised or disappointed.

I was in and out of consciousness for the game, and I actually didn't even get home from work til around midnight, so I had to listen to most of it on the radio, watched some of it on the big screen in the office conference room, and finished off my night half awake on the couch. I chugged Pepsi with aggressive determination, since I was just DYING to see the next storied encounter in this series rife with controversy.

WoMANNY vs MARIANO.

Last I remember this matchup, the former was pulling a Beltran and used whatever Krazy Glue embedded his bat to his shoulder during Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. 3 pitches. No swings. 3 strikes. ManRam leaves Boston. Good riddance.

Not a whole lot different this time around. It was indeed well worth it to fight my urges to sleep. Mo struck out the side in the 9th, game over, Yanks win. Other AL East teams lose. Our lead extends to 3, and the Dodgers continue to flail all over the place.

Take that and rewind it back. That's how we roll, LA.

Next time you want to publish a tell all, Joe, remember to mention that.

This game had all the earmarks of exhausting from the get go. Perhaps the day on a whole did, too. After another long work day, me and my sis go to McDonald's and nervously discuss the ramifications of a small child being present there.

As we walked over, she said, "I honestly don't know what I'll do if there's a screaming kid running around in there." To us, that is the one thing that can push us over the edge when we're teetering on madness. And when we walked in to discover an almost empty McDonald's with no line, we were thrilled.

We place our order. Then a woman who made CC look svelte lards her way over and pitches your basic shit fit, something about how much they charged her for her soda. And she was demanding 78 cents back. She wanted to talk to the manager, etc.

While this was happening, a line develops and Laur and I stand off to the side patiently waiting for our food. The cantankerous blimp has upped her complaint to demanding 1.99 back. Then it was 2.58...

Laur: "Essentially at this point that woman is demanding the manager pay her for eating here."
CYC: "Where is our food?"

The entire crowd of diners had long been served, and as we watched the manager do his best to placate the brontosaurus, it became apparent that he had offered up our food, either as part of a plea bargain to get her out of there, or because her demands had been elevated to include not only cash refunds, but also the burgers and nuggets and fries of other patrons.

I'm not kidding.

A half hour later, we're mainlining our food. Laur decides to go up and get a snack wrap for the road. Except our seemingly simple order is compromised by a couple coming in trying to pay for a coffee with a $100 bill. The manager's called back into the fray. Lengthy discussions ensue. The snack wrap never materializes.

So basically we didn't get our food in the first place because some woman was insisting McDonald's pay her. We didn't get our food for a second time because some woman was insisting McDonald's accept her exorbitant tender.

It was quite a battle for something that should have been relatively painless.

NOT UNLIKE TONIGHT'S GAME.

The first inning alone lasted about as long as a college graduation ceremony, so it seemed appropriate when Kay introduces the Text Poll of the Game.

Was this some kind of portentious challenge? Like, "For those of you who said no, well then you may want to find alternate tv options, because this game ain't what you're looking for."

Back and forth went the score, and it felt like every time I looked up the bases were loaded. In fact, there were 19 walks in the game which is just utterly ridiculous.

Almost ridiculous as the fact my computer screen can't even accomodate all the Yankees used in this game. I have to scroll down to get the whole list.

17 different Yanks. 195 pitches. And just 1 extra inning. Why did this game feel so much arduous than it actually was?

And, ok, I know it went into extras and all, but 195 pitches is a lot. The Yanks were barely moving the bat at all, which was obviously the way to go seeing as the Arizona pitchers were walking people so much, it looked like me playing Nintendo Baseball Stars and deliberately hitting the "Lovely Ladies" team with pitches just so I could see them do their pixelated crying.

1-0
1-2
2-2
2-4
3-4
4-4
4-5
5-5
6-5

Nip and tuck all night, and the heros of the game were Arod (of course, of course) who never actually really got a hit, but still managed to have 2 huge ribbies, the tying ones in the 3rd and 9th. For some reason, after walking him all night, Zona decided to pitch to Arod in the final regular frame, despite the fact Cano had been a complete disaster with RISP for the entire day.

Arod's sac fly tied the game at 5, and you know AJ Hinch is thinking to himself, "WHAT! You can't win! Ya intentionally walk the guy, the next guy's gonna take you deep. You pitch to him, you're still in trouble. YOU try making decisions when faced with this lineup."

Another big ribbie came off the bat of Colin Curtis, who is adorable and I love him. He hit a rocket to first that knocked LaRoche off his feet and scored the tying run in the 6th.

There were a lot of hits to go around tonight, GGBG and Grandy with the lion's share of em. Posada struck out in a huge spot to end the inning, and I'm guessing that's doing nothing to mollify his clearly growing bitterness this season. I love Posada, but the guy's acting a little snippy lately. You know what it's like though?

Like Mighty Ducks 3, when veteran goalie Goldberg is replaced as starter by the new chick Julie the Cat. And Julie's quick and awesome, and Goldberg's really bitter about it. But then he comes in the final game and scores the winning goal as a defenseman. So, similarly, I think while Posada feels slighted now, his big Hero Glory Moment of 2010 is yet to come.

In terms of tonight's pitching...eh. The only truly remarkable thing was Joba's heat. I was literally astounded. 2 nights in a row of throwing 98 mph fastballs. Where the hell did this come from? Seriously. Keep it up, round boy. Whatever you're doing/eating, keep it up.

The other remarkable thing was the fact Mariano Rivera got himself into a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 10th with no outs. After Grandy's go head solo shot in the top of the inning, I really thought the game was just about neatly wrapped up for us. I mean, Mo was coming in. Game's good as over, yeah?

Yeah, it's Arizona though. And this situation was nothing new for Mo. Yech. Ugh.

The stakes weren't quite as high as a WS game 7, though. And he managed to somehow get out of the inning with a W, instead of the worst loss of his life. So, that was good.

Speaking of blown saves...there's this.

So that's the realllly abbreviated version of the game. Of course, there are many key cogs missing from this recap. But it's 4am, and I haven't slept for more than 3 hours in weeks. I'm hitting a wall and there's only so much Pepsi I can drink before my teeth fall out.

On a final note, I gotta say that the NL--from what I've seen--is really tempermental. Between the Dbacks and the Stros, the players all seem as a whole very irritable. Bat breaking on pop-ups, etc. You guys need to all pump the brakes.

I mean, it's kind of like when chicks get pissed when their favorite celebrity-to-obsess-over-and-drool-upon gets engaged. Did you REALLY think success was a possibility?

Off day tomorrow, then Dodgers this weekend. Cue the media hype. Torre-Yankees reunion is gonna be on par with the Pistons-Pacers post-Malice @ the Palace reunion on Christmas Day.

Maybe YES will even make a cool graphic for it to denote the significance!

Great win tonight, Yanks. You made us all remember that above all else, we are who we are. And for the Yankees, that means a team that rallies. Well played, NY. Well played.

I felt bad for Andy. Michael Kay noted that Andy was stuck on that mound for over 100 pitches, and not just any mound, but the one he stood on in the worst moment of his 16 year career.


Ouch.

As much as the sight of Arizona makes any Yankee fan's skin crawl, last night was oddly reaffirming. It made me think that maybe the Yanks are indeed just as good as they were last year. Maybe they don't need walkoffs and dramatics and crazy antics that punctuated all of 2009. Maybe they're quietly just playing the game the way they do.

And it's working.

My buddy Will texted me at the onset of the game: "Don't think I'm going to d's to watch game either. But Arod's coming around. Your sister will be happy." (At first I thought this meant he was coming around to the bar and was about to gently inform Will that not only was Arod in Arizona, but I think he was actually batting at the time.

Clearly, I'm having trouble following logic and basic communication.

Will went on: "Nice homer in his 1st AB and he hit the ball very solid last night. He will get there."

I think he's right. I think I was too hard on him when I said, "I'm not seeing dramatic improvement. Arod should be hitting like Cano right now."

See, at first I was thinking that these 1 for 4 days for people like Tex and Arod were kinda frustrating. Because how long can we expect GGBG and Super Mario and Colin Curtis* to provide run support? I think I've said this before, but it's like watching "I (Almost) Got Away With It." These criminals manage to keep sidestepping incarceration but the law ALWAYS ultimately catches up to them. Is reality going to eventually settle on our surprisingly hot bats?

The Yanks took a 2-0 lead early with Arod's ding, but it was soon matched by a 2-run shot from the Dbacks' pitcher. (Do NL teams get embarrassed by stuff like this? It's like that idiotic game show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" only it's "Are you more productive than a pitcher?")

2-2 game that broke open to 3-2 in the 3rd with yet another ribbie frrom Arod. A 3-2 game is uncomfortable when you're the visiting team, particularly when walkoffs in this particular venue have left deep and lasting scars on you.

Fortunately the notorious Dback Pen stepped in and holy crap are they terrible. I don't think I can ever in good conscience rip on our own relievers, or possibly anyone else's for that matter, again.

I mean, for starters, the "Look Back" clip they showed when Esmerling Vasquez took the mound, is just pure gold. A walkoff balk against the Dodgers.

(The lead-in to this was kind of hilarious since it involved Kay querying, "So, you've heard of a walkoff, right?" To which Singleton replies with unbridled confusion, "Um yes?")

Esmerling=Ranked #4 in the 2007 edition of "The Everything Baby Name Book for Wizards, Gypsies, and Other Mystical Spirits."

He gives up 5 runs without recording an out. No magic there.

After Colin Curtis ropes a 2-run double to make the score 9-2, the bleeding stops for Arizona and they shuffle into the bottom of the 8th to face Joba. I bet there was a considerable amount of Dback (and possibly even Yank fans) who were thinking, "I'll show you my shitty bullpen you show me yours."

But Joba, who btw has gained approximately 23,103 pounds in the last 7 months, struck out 2 and held them to 2 runs. It was only D-Rob who faltered slightly, giving up 2 hits and a run in the 9th. No worries. Easy win.

In other news, there were a ton of Ks in this one: 19 between the 2 teams, and if that doesn't tell you why the NL is easier, I don't know what's up. Pettitte had another strong outing, 7 of those Ks were from him, and he even banked a base hit. He's actually a pretty good batter. Not one of those terribly awkward pitcher-batters who looks like a 6 year old playing in middle-aged man beer league.

The hits were spread out, which is good, including Cano's 100th hit in his 247th AB. (Only 3 Yankees have done that in fewer ABs: Winfield, O'Neill, and Jeter.)

All in all, a pretty good game. And if nothing else, it made me think that the Yanks are still as formidable as ever. I don't doubt their talent, but I guess a part of me honestly was missing the fire that was so evident last year. But after last night, I'm starting to think that maybe it's still there, just a bit more harnessed. Like, if last year they were the embodiment of Nick Swisher, this year they're Mariano Rivera. If that makes sense.

But I WILL say that I cannot WAIT to get the hell outta Dodge aka the west aka Arizona. I'm feeling sympathy pains of homesickness.

Let's win this series tonight! Payback time. Small payback, but still. It's only the beginning..


*My favorite moment of the game. Of course. The proud family members. The adorably fruitless efforts of Colin to stifle his smiling and excitement. The big to-do on the field about retrieving the game ball for posterity purposes. Such an amazingly beautiful element of the game that prevails even in the face of any other insidious threat.


My mom has a love-hate relationship with the first day of summer. On the one hand, SUMMER! On the other hand, she looks at it the same way I look at going away on vacation. The second the plane lands in your destination, every second puts you that much closer to it being over. Like, "How far can a dog run in a forest? Halfway."

I know, it's not the sunniest of outlooks. But it's pragmatic. The first day of summer means the days are getting shorter, weirdly.

But today? Today is the longest day of the year. And it 100% felt like it, too.

It was one of those days where you start referring to things that happened earlier as "a few days ago" because that's how long ago the morning felt. I was in Teaneck NJ at 7am for market research and 16 hours later I was finally standing in front of my apartment building again.

As I walked in lugging my laptap and 18,231 pages of notes, the doorman looks at me and shakes his head. "Can you believe AJ tonight?"

"WHAT?! It's only 10:20! The game just started 10 minutes ago!"

In the 6 second ride in the elevator, I frantically opened the game up on my phone, unable to just wait until I walked into the door. It was like the blackberry screen couldn't refresh fast enough. I felt like I was watching that movie "Untraceable" where people's demises are a function of how many hits a website gets.

I collapse onto my couch, throw on YES, and sure enough, AJ had decided not to keep anyone in suspense over which AJ was going to take the mound tonight.

The DBacks' Score in the 1st Inning



So that was a fun way to end my brutally long work day.

3 homeruns in a span of roughly 3 seconds. Bullets have left guns slower.

4-0.
5-0.

Soon thereafter, 6-0.


Upton, LaRoche (who I'm sure I didn't start today seeing as he honest to God must wait until the coast is clear to go yard), and Reynolds (whose K numbers are nothing short of astronomical) all took our hurler deep.

And just in case I accidentally started LaRoche, Miguel Montero picked up the aggravating fantasy team assault slack. (When the hell did this guy get off the DL? Is he still on my team? I'm capping out my fantasy teams at 2 next year, I'm losing my mind with 3.)

The catcher who may or may not be on my team went 3-4 with a double and 2 ribbies. Upton, who actually is another one who may be on my team but it may be his brother, posted even more ridiculous stats on the day: 3-3 with a walk, 4 ribbies, 2 HRs, and 4 runs. Good grief.

And now for the numbers on the other side of this:

Burnett (6-6) gave up seven runs and nine hits in four innings with no strikeouts and two walks. He has allowed 23 runs, including nine homers, in 20 innings in losing his last four starts. The 33-year-old right-hander failed to make it past four innings for the second straight start and is 2-6 after opening the season a career-best 4-0.


The Yanks' bats weren't actually too bad. Despite the AP reporting that Grandy went 4-for-4, I don't think this really happened. I actually am almost quite positive it didn't happen, unless it was like on some mysterious hidden track like on a CD. Or in a warp zone.

HOWEVAH, GGBG did go 4-for-4, and scored half the Yanks' total runs. And to the lineup's credit, they only struck out twice all game. It really wasn't too horrendous an offensive showing, and I do hate myself a little for saying 4 runs isn't that bad, because I feel like I'm not holding the Yanks to the standards they should be held to, but then again, who the hell am I to cast judgement?

But all in all, I wasn't miffed at the bats. Not completely, anyway. What I am a little miffed at is the way the Yanks used to eat deficits like this for breakfast. This year, they seem to be kind of like, "Ok, well we'll see, maybe we can overcome this, but we're not guaranteeing anything." Whereas last year, it was more like, "GIVE ME COMEBACK OR GIVE ME DEATH! THEY'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE! HI HO PINSTRIPES! AWAYYYYY!"

Yeah, I'm not really seeing this do or die attitude? Is it me? Or is it unreasonable to expect the otherworldly intensity that punctuated nearly all of last season? I honestly can't tell.

The Yanks starting chipping away at the score a little bit in the 6th. 7-1 became 7-3, and you wanted to feel the rally.

Chan Ho Park comes in, and I swear he is like a can of Raid on a colony of ants of Hope.

And boom goes the dynamite. 3-run shot from Upton seeled our fate. In fairness, the Yanks only banked another lone run in the 9th off Swish's sac fly, so there were no "And that Park HR is now really looming large" comments to be had.

Just a bunch of crankiness to be had.

A very long day, to be sure. West Coast Week. These are the times that try men's souls. Except replace "soul" with "urge to sleep."

We'll get 'em Tuesday. No big! We're still half a game up on the Rays, and just to be safe, I'll start LaRoche and whatever other monuments of inconsistency I have on my fantasy teams. Nothing muffles an "on-the-bubble" fantasy bench player quite like arbitrarily starting them.

C'mon Yankees. A few select lines from Andrew Marvell verse...(kinda)

Had we but world enough, and time,
This languish, Yanks, were no crime.
But at my back I always hear
Tampa/Boston's winged chariot hurrying near;
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our power, up into one ball;
And tear our basepaths with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

Let's make 'em run.

(I just realized how much Dbacks sounds like Dbags. That sucks for Arizona fans.)

Is interleague play over yet?

And did the Yankees steal the #1 spot from the Rays? Or did the Rays just hand it over? It’s hard to say, exactly. Or maybe it’s easy to say but I’m not sure I’m ready to just dismiss the Yanks’ newfound sole possession of the throne just yet.

The fact of the matter is, the Yanks went on their longest losing streak of the year this past week (3), and there are 2 ways to look at this: 1.) That when losing 3 games engenders talk of “panic buttons” you’re a pretty ridiculous team, or 2.) the 3-game skid almost neatly coincided with the Yanks crawling into 1st, so can the ascent really be attributed to their level of play so much as their competitor’s lack thereof?

Whatever, the Yanks take the #1 spot in the Power Rankings for the 2nd week in a row. Deal with it, haters.


14.) O’s
(14)

GET A GRIP.


13.) Mariners (13)

Ok, their pitching is superb. It’s pathetic that a team that boasts Cliff Lee and King Felix is 2nd to last in the AL Rankings. Just to put it in perspective, they swept one of the best offensive teams in the NL this week (the division-leading Reds), but not only that, held them to 3 runs all weekend. Unfortunately, the M’s also have the league’s lowest number of hits (103) when the league average is 127 (including the clumsy NL), and also “boast” the league’s most abysmal SLG at .345. Maybe it’s time to rethink the whole “best offense is a good defense” philosophy, yeah?


12.) Tribe
(9)

And there’s teams with less than solid pitching. The Tribe is making the LA Blue’s pitching look like a Hall of Fame ballot. David Huff has become the John Maine of the staff, basically wasting his start every 5 days and walking enough batters per game to make anything else he does irrelevant.


11.) A’s (11)

Well, I guess this should put the question to bed once and for all, (if it hasn’t been already), how long the A’s were going to maintain their early season momentum. It’s safe to say they’re fizzled to say the least, and I don’t want to say the words Dallas Braden, but I actually kinda do. So….Dallas Braden. Ha. Way to gorge on all the team’s sparkly adrenaline and waste it all on an Arod vendetta. The A’s are 5-13 in June and show zero signs of getting their collective act together. Sadly, (for them, but like I give a crap), they were just a game or 2 out of first just mere days ago…


10.) [Devil] Rays (6)

Speaking of teams that have been squandering their fiery invincibility and burning a hole in their momentum faster than they can stomach…there’s Tampa Bay. Unlike some other struggling teams, I think this one will get their ducks in a row a lot more seamlessly than others, but I don’t think they have the experience to fully execute a turnaround without some casualties along the way. And yet, we’ll also see an ASG that’s almost guaranteed to be bogged down with Rays’ stars. Go figure.


9.) Kansas City (10)

Uhh, I don’t really know what to do with them, but suffice to say that they’re extremely lucky a handful of other squads are more egregiously struggling than them. The only reason the Royals are as high up as they are is because they’ve managed to keep their pitfalls a little more subdued. They have the opposite of Seattle’s problem. Although the retain the #2 spot in BA column, they’re blazing the cellar in the pitching columns. I think enough’s been made of Zack Greinke’s fall from glory, so I won’t belabor the point...


8.) J’s (12)

Wow, wasn’t it only a few weeks ago that this was THE TEAM TO BEAT in the AL East? I can’t say I’m surprised. You’re not going to go very far when your batting order backs up its league-leading SLG with a league-failing BA. Also, how long did everyone really expect Vernon Wells to leverage this bizarre age regression wave he’s been riding?


7.) Twinkies (7)

Here’s another problem team. I swear, if you combined the devil-may-care power of the J’s with the meticulous temperament of the Twinks, the BlueTwins would be undefeated. But unlike the J’s, the Twinks are in a big better position to buy the hell out of the trading market. They’ve always had an exorbitant amount of cash from their stingy owner, but with the inaugural year of the new stadium underway, they have some extra cash to burn, and their infield should be priority #1 right now. We’ll see how they handle the trade deadline, and then I’ll see how meh they still are.


6.) Halos (2)

It’s a pity, kind of. I mean, this team was on pure fire a few weeks ago, and then it was like they fell into the same breed of luck that Simon from “As Good As It Gets” stumbled into. Nothing can go right for them it seems. They lose a new player to the DL practically every other day. Izsturis, Aybar, and Morales have all dropped like flies, and the Halos just aren’t made of enough stern stuff to overcome that kind of blow to their chemistry. I expect them to drop about 4 places next week.


5.) Tiggers
(5)

They officially look like every single one of my fantasy teams. Frustratingly in the middle of the road in every category, which makes it so hard to remedy since no one play is doing badly. Which makes it impossible to even discern where the problem lies at all. Is it their pitching? 4.08 ERA. Not too bad. Batting? .274. Pretty good. No one knows! But trust me when I say unless this team makes some sizable moves, they’re doomed to the same fate as almost every one of my fantasy teams. UNLESS they mangle their way into the playoffs, in which case, all bets are off.


4.) BoSox (4)

When I went home for father’s day, my dad reminded me how good Boston was, and I can’t figure out whether he actually thinks they’re the team to beat, or if he’s just trying to get a rise out of me. Could be either, really. The Sux offense swept Manny’s new(ish) team right out of Fenway. They’re in 3rd in the division by only a hair, having won the last 6 and basically are breathing down the Rays’ necks. Plus, now that the Celtics are done, everyone is back in prime Sux form. Hey Boston? Be more annoying.


3.) ChiSox (8)

Ok, I can’t lionize them TOO much, since their big hot streak has done little more than to bring them up to baseline, but hey every game counts. And if they wanna escape a waste of a season, this is the way to do it. The Southsiders are currently 9-1 in their last day and are currently hanging on a 6-game roll.

They’re also still 5.5 back in the division, to say nothing of the fact they really have no position hitter or pitching to speak of. But I call ‘em like I see ‘em, and this past week, they’re been mowing down their opposition. And this includes the newly Strasberg-enhanced Nats!


2.) Texas (3)



They’re good. They don’t have holes in their game. At all. The only thing they have to worry about is the same thing that plagues the #1 spot: getting their freaking asses out of their heads and remembering how f’n awesome they are. To be honest, their lineup is the only one quite as terrifying as that of the Yankees.


1.) World Series Champions (1)

Here’s the thing. The Yanks’ stole this one from the Rays by virtue of beating up on scrubs like the Stros. I don’t care. I’ll take any win any way it comes. But for the record, I’ll be THRILLED when we’re out of interleague play, out of the ASG break, and into the 2nd half of the season. But as for now, here’s where our champs are at: CC, Andy, Javy, and Hughes have one amazing start after the next.

AJ has been a bit shaky, but hey it comes with the territory of AJ being AJ. Our bats have been lifeless, yet somehow oddly effective despite the notable absence of Arod. It’s a little bit weird how the Yanks have managed to fall into the charmed #1 spot but with a discernible lack of the go-for-the-jugular-ness of last year. Maybe this year they’re just going for the mandible.

Just remember, Yanks. Never settle. Never, ever, settle.

WELCOME TO THE TOP, BOYS!

The New York Yankees are now in sole possession of the #1 best record in all of baseball. To be honest with you Diane, I'm not surprised.

Although, I AM a little surprised by the Rays' willingness to just hand over the lead. I mean, the Yanks are coming off the heels of a bit of a losing skid. You'd think TB would have used that time to pick up some ground, but with every game we lost, TB thankfully followed suit.

Except for today.

Which means the Yanks are reigning once again. HUZZAH!

Yeah, this is exactly the type of game I love. The embodiment of everything good about baseball and the summer and the weekend.

I left for the beach with my mom, sisters, and cousin and the score was at 0-0. Ahh, a nice little pitchers duel. Sweeet. I can't deal with crazy HR derbies when I'm trying to relax. It's like with every bat crack, I get a little bit more of a squeeze on my brain.

No sooner had I walked off the porch then Cousin Kate shouts, "It's 4-0 now! I think Tex hit a grand slam!"

(He did.)

It was a good father's day for Yankee fans.

My dad got a big kick out the video of me playing the piano because he liked the Mo interrupting part. I ate basically my entire weight and then some in spare ribs, ice cream, and Italian cookies. And I slept for a good 3 hours on the beach. Thank you paternal Italian skin for doing your part in fending off sunburn.

And thank you Fatty Sabathia for managing to inexplicably manhandle the best pitchers in baseball twice in one week, after somewhat struggling for most of the month prior.


"I think it's global warming," Girardi said to laughter after Sabathia shut down the Mets with four-hit ball over eight innings in his rematch with Santana.


I get a big kick out of when the Yankees demonstrate shades of dry humor. Like when Jeter jokingly asked Girardi, "So what do you think, Joe? Time to push the panic button?"

Or today, when Swisher randomly laid down a bunt in the 3rd--despite the fact the guy is practically incapable of properly executing this basic task. But this time it was perfect, and actually effected a collision between Santana and the Mutts' 2B. (Well, I don't know if this was by any merit of the bunt so much as it was the Mutts' clear penchant for bonehead plays.)

Swish's response?

"Element of surprise. Sneak attack."


My sis and I both noted there seemed to be a bevy of salamis lately, and my sister astutely noted, "That's good!"

I guess I must have looked at her with an expression of "thank you for spelling that out for me, captain obvious" since she explained, "Noo I mean good in the sense that the lineup, the batting order...it's all making sense and coming together. It's working the way it's supposed to."

Ahhh. Ok, good point!

Others weren't as impressed with Tex's 2nd HR in as many games:

"In this ballpark, it's a home run. In our ballpark, it's a different story," Jerry Manuel said.


Ok, groucho. Stop being such a baby.

Speaking of baby, I'm going to be a HUGE one this week. I mean, more immature than I normally am I guess would be a more accurate assessment. You know why? Because it's west coast week.

Yes, I know there's a lot of benefits to the 10pm start times. I happen to LOVE the fact that once 80% of the other games are done, I still have my own game to look forward to. It's kind of like when I was little(r) and me and my sis would be at McDonalds and eating Chicken McNuggets. I would always hide one of mine so when Lauren was all done with hers, I could still relish my last Chicken McNugget. She hated this. With good cause, I suppose. WTF was/is wrong with me??

HOWEVAH, I do NOT like being inordinately tired ALL f'n week. Tomorrow I gotta be at market research in Teaneck NJ at 7am til 9pm. I'll get back just in time for the D-Back game, but something tells me I'll be less than fired up after having spent 14 hours behind a double sided mirror watching doctors wax analytical.

Plus, well, it's the D-Backs. In the silver-lining world, I will say that I am happy about this week in the sense that, as far as west coast weeks go, it could be a LOT worse. As it is, we got a series against the worst team in the NL West, and then a MEGA DEATH MATCH MEDIA HYPE DRAMAPALOOZA against the Dodgers.

Good grief, I may have to take off from work to find the time to properly cover the magnitude of story lines that will undoubtedly be punctuating this series.

Stay tuned....!


HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

For the last few years, I’ve paid homage to my idol and hero through the written (typed, semantics) word. This year, I tried something different. My dad’s favorite song is this Italian number called “Come Back to Sorrento.”

I think he loves it because it reminds him of his dad. So here’s me playing on the piano for him. Also, since I’m technologically inept, it took me about 5 tries before I figured out how to get the webcam working and all. I’m sure my neighbors were thrilled about hearing the same song banged on on the piano 5 times in succession.

So after the final take, I was like, “OK this is great!” And then I watched it in its entirety and saw a little snafu at the end…



Anyways, happy father’s day, Dad!

And just to keep with the theme of the written/typed word, here’s a list of the Top 9 things I’ve learned from my dad over the course of 29 years:

9. Dorritos are for communists.

8. Don’t ask questions in the morning.

7. Always face the entrance when seated in a restaurant. (Which, as my sister was saying yesterday, unfortunately amounts to all 5 of us trying to sit on one side of the table, making us all look nuts.)

6. Never pick up the phone until it rings at least twice.

5. There’s nothing that is ever as bad as stepping in dog shit.

4. Never swing at the first pitch.

3. Family comes first, above all else.

2. Don’t ever, ever root for the Mets, the Nets, the Jets, or the Islanders.

1. Do the right thing.

A few months ago, my sister had bought me one of those Blackberry phone covers (a pinstriped one) and no sooner had I finished opening it than Dad had grabbed it out of my hands and announced, “Here let me do it for you. I know how to do it.”

As if my Dad had some kind of special phone-fitting training that would make him more capable of snapping on a phone cover onto a phone than the rest of us.

It’s soon pretty obvious that the cover is not going to fit on the phone, but Dad is undeterred.

“No, you guys are doing it wrong. Look, let me just do it, please, ok? Dad knows what he’s doing,” he said. So we all watched as his rotated the phone in every possible angle, tried dismantling the phone, tried dismantling the cover, offered up theories about how it’s a giant conspiracy rip off theory, and then ultimately decreed the final word: “Nope. Doesn’t fit. Need a new cover.”

Which is exactly why we all love Dad. He just always seems to know a little bit about everything.
Thank you for all the guidance over the years, Dad! The constant stream of completely illogical advice as well as the legitimately profound ones…have been the crux of my makeup over the years. I shudder to think what kind of person I’d have grown up to become had the Mets or Dorritos had played any kind of prominent role.

I LOVE YOU!

That's better.

"Yo I'm 3-0 this year...WHAT! 28 is the new 21!" -Bday boy Kevin

A little bit of more number fun! Haven't done this in a while. On Game 68, the Mutts had 6 hits to the Yanks' 8.

Frequent MVP Kevin turns 28 today, and brings the Yanks luck at the stadium. Good work, Kev.

I love games like this, specifically games where I doze off on couch when they're losing and wake up just in time to see them right the ship.

Reyes was starting to piss off our young hero Phil Hughes, taking the superkid deep not once but twice. The first time gives the Mutts a 1-0 lead, but Tex managed to leverage his slumpitude into a tying ribbie when he grounded into a fielder's choice, plating GGBG in the bottom of the 1st. Woohoo, tied game!

But not for long. Sad emoticon.

Reyes homered again, and I remember recalling the one scene in Nightmare on Elm Street (the new one) that I actually half tittered at:



3-1. Good grief.

Ok, also, please for a second just imagine Hughes as Freddy Krueger because it’s downright hilarious. And then imagine Jose Reyes as the little plucky teenager he’s about to fliet, and, well, it’s just things like this that both make me inappropriately guffaw and also add mounting evidence to my parents’ concerns about my adult life.

Tex remedied the problem once again, this time with a legitimate hit, to say the least. This is right about the time I woke up. I don’t know how my sub-conscience is capable of waking up JUST before the Yankees get back in the game, but is pathetically inept when it comes to waking me up JUST before I’m supposed to be in work. I’d actually prefer it if these capabilities switched, because I’m not crazy about the fact I need to stick a megaphone next to my ipod in the morning just to ensure I wake up, and believe me when I say that waking up to what literally sounds like MSG, is not ideal.

HOWEVAH, it was nice to be able to see the game tied up. It was NOT nice of me to have a split second when I thought YES was showing a clip of an old game when Tex went deep. How sad is that? My gut reaction was not, “WOOOHOOO you’re on your mark, Teixeira!” but rather, “what is this? I’m confused.”

I’m THRILLED he got this, though, because his hits as of late have all been pretty solid shots that just happen to be snagged. And I heard somewhere that when a player is slumping, hitting the ball well but not getting on base, actually makes them feel worse, because it’s like, “oh COME on! How many fucking outfielders ARE there? Dammit, I can’t BUY myself a hit.” You know, the whole detrimental trap of thinking, “Great, just one more thing…”

But this time, it carried. Tex sailed one into the RF stands, taking advantage of the short porch and scoring GGBG once again. Tied game. Once again.

Then I deliriously at 2 slices of pizza that were lying out in the kitchen and an ice cream sandwich and fell into a food coma. What the hell is wrong with me?

And, I’m not kidding, yet again, I manage to wake up right before the game takes shape again! The only thing I can think that’s comparable to this completely useless skill is when I used to take the train into the city before I had moved there. And the last train back home to my parents’ place left at 1:20. And so I'd pass out on the train to Tarrytown, and somehow ALWAYS manage to wake up right before my stop, hence avoiding waking up in New Haven or something.

Small favors, etc.

Again, I wish if I was going to have some subconscious superpower, it'd be something a little more useful, but eh I'll take it.

I wake up to see Grandy go yard, and I just really like this guy, which means he is now the 2nd guy of the season I've had premature aggressively negative thoughts about only to have me completely admit the err of ways. Before the season started, I was NOT happy about this acquisition and cited all the relevant stats re: his BA against lefties etc. I'm man enough (CYC enough?) to admit when I'm wrong.

That was just the beginning. I had no idea what "wrong" even meant until Strasberg came into the picture. OKAY OKAY I GET IT. You're A PITCHING GOD. (Prior to his MLB start, I didn't exactly downplay him, but I did say I wasn't going to buy into the hype until the guy actually took the mound in a professional setting. Because after all, I argued, Cody Ransom was considered the best player in HIS college, too. The big leagues is a different story.)

But...I guess not. The guy struck out another 14 million last night.

Grandy hits a HR, Sterling makes some Grandyman screaming bit which I don't hear since I'm watching on YES but can only imagine, and the Yanks take a 5-3 lead.

The pitching was good from the A-team end (from ESPN):

The win ended the Yankees' three-game skid and tied Hughes with another budding star, Tampa Bay's David Price, who is 10-2, for the AL lead in wins.

Hughes allowed five hits and three walks in seven innings. He struck out four and threw a wild pitch.

Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless eighth, rebounding from a poor performance against the Phillies on Thursday night in which he gave up three runs without getting an out.

Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 17 chances.


Thankfully, the Rays helped us out a bit in the last few days, matching all of our losses and helping us avoid the 2nd place spot again.

Speaking of rankings, the Sux are like 1 game back. Can we try to act like a ferocious beast and not give games away anymore. In the words of my ex who just resumed watching baseball in the wake of the Celtics disaster: "I have barely paid attention to baseball. Had no idea Austin Kearns was in CLE. Tho I feel even if I was paying attention, I may not have known that. I seriously even thought the sox were 8.5 out."

My response? "Only 2 out. The reds are 1st in div. Toronto has lowest BA in league, most HRs. Vernon Wells exists. Ubaldo is Walter Johnson. Mets on 7win streak. NOTHING makes sense.

But today things made sense. The Mutts fell to the Yanks. Tomorrow the Yanks will win, take the series, and the division lead, because Tampa Bay is going to lose. And the Yanks will be in first in the entire league, and everything will once again be right in the world.

Count it!

And for the record, if I were the Yanks, I'd consider today the symbolic equivalent of a fire being lit under their collective asses. You're only 1 game ahead of the Sux, tied with the Rays, and things are getting serious.

It's time to start doing everything right.

I can't believe that really happened.

Did the Yankees really just get shut out by the Mutts? In the Bronx? Really?

This is the 3rd loss in a row. I feel like this may be the biggest losing streak they've been on all season. I don't like it. How do O's fans deal with this kind of thing?

And, again, there's the Mutts. I can't believe we lost to the Mutts. 4-0.

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

And here's the thing: even the last win they had against the Phils, their offense was hurting a bit til the end. Or look at it this way: In the month of June, 10 of the games had the Yanks only scoring 5 or fewer runs.

I don't really know who to assign the lion's share of blame on, so I'm going to go with my gut on this one: Paul O'Neill.

Ok, not really, but since I'm on the subject of Paul O'Neill, it should be noted that me and my sister were more than a little convinced our boy was 100% hammered in the booth last night.

He was slurring his words, repeating himself, making weirdly obvious statements: "Now watch this curve ball. What it does is have mooooovement. That means it goes from one side of the plate to the other. Moovement."

At one point I even said, "Um Kay and Paul are in inching dangerously into Jon Miller/Joe Morgan status of 'I refuse to make any game commentary that may assist the viewer in following along.'"

When Paul O'Neill said, "Before we talk about the game anymore, I wanna mention that my nephew just got drafted by the Yankees in the 42nd round," Lauren conceded I might be right, as we recalled the countless incidents of Morgan interrupting game commentary to give shout out to his daughter's gymnastics team.

It seemed everyone was acting a little nutso last night. Maybe I was just tired, but I don't think so. I'm pretty sure that I would have found stuff like this odd, no matter what:

Cano appealing to his bat? "Cmon, buddy. What's the matter? You doing ok? We need to talk."

What a weirdo.

Another weirdo: Cervelli. One of my favorite moments of the game (not that there were many of them, but whatever) was when he threw out Pagan stealing second WITHOUT EVER STANDING UP. Perfect, perfect throw from his knees. Amazing.

Maybe that's why Jorge's been kind of cranky lately. I don't know, he just seems very cantankerous as of late.

I suppose it doesn't help your temperament when you're getting called out on strikes on a 3-1 count.

Get your head in the game, blue. Seriously, you're getting enough gruff for not making the right balls/strikes call, do you really want to help out your critics by completing blanking on the pitch count?

So the Yankees lose, their bats were completely lifeless yesterday. It's funny--sort of-- because during the game Kay and O'Neill were talking about Ike Davis, and whether he resembles his dad, Ron Davis. Except I misheard them and thought Paul was saying, "Yeah I don't really see the life in them." (or "I don't really see Ike in him.") But I immediately started getting on the defensive: "WHAT THE HELL, PAUL? They have PLENTY of life in them. Give them a break! So they're down by a few runs, relax, they'll come back."

However, by game's end, I started to think Paul had it right the first time in my head.

With bases loaded and 1 out, down by 4, Jeter comes to bat against K-Rod. Did anyone think there WASNT going to be a grand slam here? Seriously. I mean, cmon, it's exactly 5 years TO THE DAY of the last and only grand slam Jeter has hit in his life. June 18, 2005 against the cubbies. Now on June 18, 2010 the situation comes up again.

And instead of whiffed on 3 pitches.

Oh.

Swish popped out to end the game. The Mets win their 9th in a row, the Yanks lose their 3rd in a row. The Mets celebrate as if they just won the World Cup. And no words are minced on how obsessed the B-team is with defeating the NY A-Team.

"It's amazing," Feliciano said. "To beat the Yankees, that's big for us."


Alright, good on you, Queens. Just don't forget who you really are.

Don't forget who's boss here....

"You may be a one eyed jack around here, but I've seen the other side of your face."


I don't know what exactly happened here.

I'm blowdrying my hair, getting ready for Kevin's birthday, watching the game, and it's 0-0 for the first few innings, and I'm thinking, "Well this is pleasant. I like pitcher's duels."

Then it's 1-0 and it's less pleasant but there's also that tiny iota of devious excitement when the Yanks fall a little behind and you think, "Well you can't dramatic rallies and walkoffs without getting behind first!"

I change the channel for like HALF a second to check on the Lakers game, and it was like the baseball gods were punishing me for "honoring false idols" ie entertaining the notion that basketball is something worth diverting attention to.

It's 3-0, thanks a Shane Victorino homerun, and I'm wasn't there another game that started out similarly? Oh yeah. Wednesday's game. I seriously can't keep track of days anymore. I got out of a cab on Tuesday and told the driver to "have a good weekend!" This morning I actually told the driver to "have a great night!"

And just like Wednesday, Cano basically huffs and puffs, and is like, "Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? Good grief." His ribbie single puts the Yanks on the board, and it's 3-1.

From there, things get confusing. Sometime while I was executing the laundry list of OCD tasks that prolong every departure from my apartment, the Yankees gave up about 298 runs.

Wait, not the Yankees. JOBA.


That was from my mom. No body copy. Just a subject line that said it all. I love when my mom emails me "late." It's like her version of texting, which I really wish my parents would get into. There's so many times when I think of something I want to tell them really quickly, like the other day when I wanted to tell my dad, "Cano just hit another homerun." This is the type of content perfect for texting, and instead I called the Pet Cemetery, pressed 4 for the crematory, spoke to the reception, "This is his daughter," was transferred, and all to say, "Um, yeah, no it's not important. I just wanted to say Cano is good."

Speaking of good and people who aren't good, Joba.

The pits.

Final score was 7-1 because he gave up 3 runs on 2 hits. Marte also let one in, by virtue of his Steve Dalkowski-esque work. (To be sure, I'm referring to his wild pitch that basically broke the backstop.)

But as much as Joba annoys the hell out of me, and as quick as I usually am to throw him under the bus, I DO have to say that the fact he hemorrhaged runs as soon as he took the mound, is more or less immaterial. Whether the score was 7-1 or 2-1 or 100-1, the Yankees lose because they couldn't get any runners in. Actually, let me revise that. They couldn't even put the runners on base to bring them in.

Kendrick's change-up predictably stifled then. I don't understand. Do the Yankees just take this attitude of "Ok, we're good at everything else. We're one of the best hitting, fielding, and pitching teams in the league. But we suck with pitchers we're not familiar with. Let's just chalk that one up to our one Achilles heel. No one's perfect."

Kinda like how I refuse to see Shawshank Redemption. I don't know why. I know it's the "best movie in the history of life."

(Or as Alan says, "It's so good I wish I pay $500 to get my brain cleaned from the memory of seeing it, so I could see it again for the first time.")


I just don't want to see it. I don't care if it betters my life. It's my issue of irrational stubbornness. And I guess that's what the "unfamiliar pitchers" problem is for the Yankees.

Pettitte was pretty good, except for that pitch to Victorino that Andy MORE than sufficiently beat himself up over. The Yanks were 1-4 with RISP. Sad. They only got 4 hits the whole game, yet managed to leave 5 runners stranded. I don't even know how this is possible.

They also weren't exactly sitting on pitches. The Yanks took 131 on the day....the Phillies--170.

So there's that. Amid all this, the Lakers won the NBA finals for the 2nd year in a row. I don't watch a whole lot of basketball, but from what I've seen, it was the weirdest Game 7 ever. I couldn't see it really on account of there by only 1 TV in the downstairs of the bar (luckily the lion's share of my buddies are over 6 ft, so I was like a little kid tugging at their sleeves every 2 seconds, "Strange, um, yeah could you tell me the score?... ok what about now, Strange? What's the score now? How much time is left?"

But the Lakers rallied from being behind 11, and also rallied without the aid of their series MVP. I was reading about it today, and a lot was written on how Gasol should have been MVP since Kobe's only good game was in a loss. That kills me, because it's a classic lose-lose. When Kobe goes crazy and has 40 point games, everyone lambasts him for being a diva egomaniac. When he spreads the ball around and takes a backseat, then everyone's like, Ooh where was Kobe tonight? Only 12 points? He's overrated!

It's sort of like what my coworker Gerry said about 3B yesterday, which was absolutely brilliant:


It is impossible to look bad at third base. Every play is either amazing or a great effort. Right.
If they catch a screaming Gashouse Gorillas liner, they either make a diving acrobatic,
Graig Nettles stab, block it with their body, or, are lucky enough have it hit right where
their mitt was resting when the rocket took off.
If they miss, its like, OOOHHH that was a hot shot! What a great try!
Everything hit to third is dangerous, unless its a slow roller, then its like,
"oh man he barehanded it, what a play" (or what a great try)
They get more credit than they deserve, and they take it
They cut in front of the SS, they don't run down the LF line for popups, they leave that to 'lesser' players.
Which translates to 'I will take THIS one..nice...or Uhhhm that looks to difficult...you take that one".

And yet, I still find the fact a soccer game can end in a tie--as it did this morning between USA and Slovenia--a more insidious element than all of this combined.

Now I wait for tonight, where Javy goes against some decent Japanese pitcher whose name I can't remember. God, we need to sweep them. My head hurts too much right now to mentally handle a loss to the Mutts.

Cheers! and Happy Friday!!!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home