So yesterday I said that since I was FINALLY off from work, that I was going to watch the Yankee games in their entirety and relish every single last pitch like it was the last pitch I'd ever see.
I did indeed do this yesterday.
Oh, except for one pitch. Well, one AB really.
I'm not kidding.
I went to D's after work to see my friends that probably had assumed I'd been deposited in the East River months ago, and they all lambasted me for looking like the dead and half dozing off in my pasta and butter (ordered off the Kids Menu).
But I was out. I was watching the game, no matter in what capacity. In a social, recreational environment.
Then I had to go to the bathroom, and I turned to my friend Mike: "I gotta start walking to the bathroom now because I'm in heels, which adds about 15 minutes to my door to door travel time." (I'm exaggerating, but not by much, which you'd understand if you ever saw me walk in heels.)
Mike: "Ugh, Pena's up. Trouble."
CYC: "No way, this guy's a fantasy nightmare. He'll pop up."
Mike: "Or go deep."
Barely even entertained the idea that Mike would be right, because, hey this was MY day, my day of enjoying baseball again, of not worrying about anything.
I'm washing my hands and am about to return to my bar stool when I hear a collective groan and general noise of disappointment.
I hate that, you don't know what happened exactly, but you know it's bad and you really don't even want to see what exactly the bar-goers are moaning about, but you have to.
Mike wasn't right, neither was I. Pena just got on base with a fielder's choice grounder, but it was the AB immediately thereafter that screwed up.
Matt Joyce? Hmpf. Didn't see that coming.
Didn't see it going either. HEY-OH!
No 600th homerun for Arod, though Swisher went yard, giving the Yanks their only runs of the game. I can't believe we lost that one.
We had it.
Hughes pitched well, my sister doesn't trust him at all, thinks he's so inconsistent, but I disagree. I mean, yeah he's inconsistent, but not really that badly. 'Sides, I don't have any frustrated feelings left in me. Justin Chamberlain has stolen all of 'em already.
Although, to his credit (sort of), he didn't do anything wrong this game.
I still wish the Yankees would have traded him though. But noooo, we protect him with our life, like he's a freaking heir to the W.B. Mason fortune or something.
Wouldn't be surprised, he's getting fatter by the day.
In actual game stats:
Hughes and Wade Davis had virtually identical line scores.
Hughes: 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 BBs, 1 HR, 6 Ks
Davis: 7 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 BBs, 1 HR, 6 Ks
It happens. You win some, you lose some. But this is a big series, and it's end of July, and I still haven't seen that spark I saw last year. But then again, I haven't seen much of any of the games, so maybe it's just me.
I SAW MOST OF THIS GAME!!! AND BY MOST I MEAN I SAW FROM THE 6th INNING ON!!!
But I LISTENED to the parts I didn't see!
For the first time in WEEKS, work didn't inhibit me from my boys (neither the Yankee boys nor my buddies).
I listened to the first half of game, (and it's miracle my attention was captivated as long as it was.. Sterling and Waldman spent the entire time reiterating it was "like watching paint dry.") Apparently it wasn't much different on the YES broadcast. My buddy texted me: "Singleton just told me to stick around cuz the game's not over. It's 1-1 in the 3rd. Where was I gonna go??"
Geez it wasn't THAT boring. I mean, it's a 1-1 game in the 3rd, after Arod ties up Kearn's sac fly with his own fly of the sac persuasion.
Dum de dum de dum. After 2 hours of listening to the WCBS duo remind us repeatedly how molasses-like the game was (thanks, guys, your infectious enthusiasm was so appreciated in my dark office. Nope), I left to go uptown and meet up with Strange et al.
Ah, Strange. It's been too long since I made a Strange reference. And it was great because he was in his element, KATN-ing at the beirut table etc, and it was SO NICE to be in the land of the living, even if I was relegated to craning my neck to the tv while my buddies played pong.
Oh, and also..by the time I had gotten out of the cab from 42nd and 2nd to 76th and 2nd, the game was 9-1. Normal.
Rather than go through the run hemorrhaging, I'll just make it easy and post the scoring summary.
As has been the case for the last week or so, the whole focus of the game has more or less been on Arod and his pursuit for 600.
As one of my readers astutely noted, it IS becoming kind of sad how we're almost instinctively DISAPPOINTED when all the scrub comes up with is ribbie after ribbie, and not by virtue of the long ball.
So true. The guy has been plating runners faster than the scoreboard can keep up and the only things his ABs are boiling down to are "Argh, he whiffed!" or "Argh, he didn't go deep!"
Hey, Arod? It'll come. It's like marriage. Like how my mom is always telling me she wants grandkids etc and why aren't I dating anyone etc.
I'll know it when I see it.
It'll probably happen at some point, but until then, I'm not going to discount anything I do. It's not like 600 or marriage is the culmination of a career or a person. It's just one element of it, and it'll most likely happen eventually. But in the meantime, everyone needs to stop looking at anything that ISN'T that element, as an immaterial failure.
I don't care if either comes along, so long as the Yankees keep winning.
And last night they did, despite the most valiant efforts of Chan Ho Park.
He let up 3 runs in the 9th, which is pretty terrible, because cmon, we're not always gonna be up by 10 runs in the 9th.
So, that's that. The Yankees win and now are in TB for a HUGE series. And I'm off from work for the first time in weeks. My first day off in what feels like forever. I'm gonna relish every pitch as if it was my last.
And the recaps will once again retain some kind of level of analytic, coherent thought. As much as they ever have, anyway.
HAPPY FRIDAY, AND GO YANKEES!
"I think Arod might retire with 599." --OchoOcho
Is anyone else starting to find this even more frustrating than the pursuit of 500? I don't know, it's a tough call, I guess. With 500, it was especially noticeable because he had been popping off HRs 40 times a day, and then at 499 it's like he came to a cartoonish screeching halt, like he's Wile E Coyote chasing the Road Runner right til he gets to the edge of a cliff or something.
He hasn't been QUITE as productive as he was that year, but I guess I'm perhaps more frustrated because I didn't think Arod was vulnerable to that kind of pressure anymore. You know, that whole proving-he's-actually-invaluable-in-the-clutch thing kind of voided everything we ever thought we knew about the guy.
But here we are, pathetically getting instinctively somewhat disappointed when he knocks a double off the wall, and not a ding over it.
Also, here's the headline for the game recap on ESPN:
A-Rod stuck at 599 but hits back resurgent Burnett as Yanks roll
I had to reread that about 2934823 times before I could figure out what they were trying to say.
But once I could pick it apart...yeah, it's not false.
AJ= resurgent (I hope?)
Hits= a lot of them
Yanks roll= in spades
The longer Arod goes without hitting 600, the more personable he seems to get. He went 2 for 5 today, and when he hit a double in the 6th, his slide knocked the base right out of the ground (another cartoon moment for the superstar).
"I thought the milestone was doubles, so I took the base," Rodriguez said in explaining why he held the bag aloft.
Well played, Alex. Well played.
"This is the best infield evr. I challng ne1 to name a better 1. all have rocket arms. Greatgloves. hof [sic] bats."
(Ha, I love my friends. I always end up writing in weird text shorthand when I'm watching game, too, because I get too excited to write full words. Or real words, for that matter.)
Here's how our infield did tonight:
Tex: 2 for 4, 2 ribbies
Cano: 2 for 5, 1 ribbie, HR
Arod: 2 for 5, 1 ribbie
They are so so so good. And their defense is just the icing on the cake. Seriously, we don't even appreciate it as much as we should sometimes because, to wax cliche for a second, they make it look so easy. Their offense is mind-boggling and often dramatic, but their fielding doesn't get the sparkly accolades because for them, everything is a routine out.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle
And speaking of excellent...AJ BURNETT.
Our favorite loony tune (cartoon reference #3 for those of you counting) struck out 7 and gave up zero runs in his 3rd win out of his last 4 outings.
Fausto Carmona...not as strong, and definitely not as "charismatic."
Carmona was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits over 2 2/3 innings."You know what happened," the right-hander said. "I gave up a bunch of base hits."
Thanks, Fausto. You paint us quite the picture there.
Their younger pitchers, however, leveraged the whole "The first time I see the Yankees is also the last time I beat them" thing. Yanks can't hit off new pitchers. At all. I get that it's probably harder, but you'd think that adjustment etc was part of the job description.
And then on the opposite end of the spectrum is Justin Chamberlain, who's thrown so many freaking sliders that batters know him better than himself.
Sometimes when I'm playing beirut and miss the first shot, I judge myself. As Strange once said, "The day I can't hit a cup on a full rack is the day I quit playing." Awesome. SIMILARLY, I think Justin should be saying the same sort of thing to himself:
"8-0 lead. How could I possibly f this up?"
No lead is safe with him on the mound.
Braden Looper, you're off the hook. I've found a new awful reliever to drop my energies upon. ("Unless you're a Yankee fan, every single fanbase hates their closer/relievers." --Ollie)
Good point, Oillie.
And... I'm off to bed. That's right. MY BED. (Which ultimately is for the best since if I tried to stay awake any longer, I'd be making even less sense than I am now. I wore no socks to work today by accident. I need to get my freaking head back in the game.
Final game in the series agains the Tribe. Let's close it out.
And let's hope I soon remember which day is "Friday."
I have got to stop telling cab drivers to "have a good weekend" when it's only Tuesday morning.
Time is getting weird. Like, seriously weird. I took a cab to work yesterday, and when I was getting out, told the driver to "have a good weekend!"
There was this episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (yup, that's right, that's what I said) where people got sucked into this demon dimension, and time calibrations were different there, such that one day in normal, earthly reality was equivalent to like 25 years in the alter-universe. So, when someone would finally escape the demon realm, they'd be spit back onto earth, and even though they were only missing for a few days, they'd look like 100 years old.
So that's what I feel like.
I put the game on the radio at 7:30. I finished work at 9, went to get dinner, and when I looked up at the tv, players were leaving the field. This all seemed to occur in a span of 5 minutes.
I was relieved (sort of) to see that I'm NOT, in fact, going crazy (in the clinical sense of the word, anyway), and that I wasn't sucked in and out of alter-netherworlds. The game lasted 2 and a half hours.
Which was just enough time for the Indians to beat Fatso and the Yanks. What the hell. I take it back, maybe I was in an alter universe after all.
I'd like to go back to earth, I'm not fond a world where the Tribe is the hottest team in the AL Central, where Tubby lets up runs, and worse, gets zero run support.
It wasn't all anomaly city, though. The Yankees, AS ALWAYS, were scratching their heads all night against a new mound taker. Josh Tomlin gets his first MLB win, and it's against the Yanks. That's definitely making headlines in the Tomlin Holiday Newsletter.
But, dammit, it was aposed to be AROD'S day. It's his birthday! Cmon, I know it may be more of a chick thing, but birthdays are like hollowed, sacred ground. You can do no wrong, you're justified in your everything word/action/sin. Respect the berf. And for some reason, the gods of birth celebrating weren't smiling on #13 last night.
0-4, and his well-staged AB with 2 outs in the 9th, with 2 runners on, he was the tying run.
Even though me and my coworker were watching on a tv where the reception and clarity was so bad, I kept thinking we were watching some Yankee Classic from 1966, I could see the same problem I've been seeing in the last week from Arod.
All you had to do was look at his AB on Sunday, when he ended up getting HBP. He was not just swinging for the fences, but he was whipping the lumber around so aggressively that you couldn't help but call out the Reggie Jackson similarity in his usually very fluid extension.
But he's wrapping the bat around his body, ending up on one knee, contorted, and way off balance. And my dad told me a few months ago at the batting cages why I was hitting so many grounders. Apparently I was getting too anxious for the ball to come in, would crouch down more in determined anticipation, and then have to come back up for my swing, ultimately resulting in only swatting the top of the ball.
I don't know, it made sense to me, and it help immensely.
Too bad my dad can't do what he did at my softball games, which was unapologetically shout tips and advice in full articulation, from the bleachers, while the game was going on. What, I liked it. He didn't address any one except me, and I loved it because it meant he was watching the game, and, well, he sounded so authoritative on everything. It may have been a placebo effect, I got involuntarily more confident because I knew what to do.
But I digress, the point is that Arod needs someone to tell him what to do while he's in the batter's box. This is completely ridiculous, but hey, why not. You know Arod would love the extra face time with his Life Coach.
Speaking of mental toughness, or lack thereof, the Yanks had 2 errors in 1 inning (the 4th) which let 2 runs in. ("And you know, Suzyn, those run-costing errors in the 4th are now really started to loom large here...")
Eh, not really. The Yanks can't win if they're only plating 1 runner. Colin Curtis (smiley emotion) had the sole ribbie of the game in the 8th. 5 hits total in the game and NO WALKS. Man, what kind of world do we live in that the Yanks aren't being patient at the plate?
These aren't the post-ASG Yanks I know!
Let's see some pie on Wednesday (which I THINK is today?) (Update 11:11am: Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with me? Now I'm just throwing out PIE references gratuitously.) Our boys really need a big dramatic finish. They may be getting the job down, but sometimes, just sometimes, it seems like they're going through the motions.
Game 101. AJ vs Carmona. So for you bettors out there, I'd recommend NOT making any kind of wager on this one. You're not gonna find 2 more "I can't remember if I'm good or not?" pitchers.
It's probably the same money line whether you pick Burnett or Carmona...or final score of a Cointen Spinky Whompers vs Floing Boing Welfencloppers match.
- Lois: Peter, you been fiddling with that ham radio for seven weeks. Take a shower!
- Peter: I can barely get any reception on this stupid thing. So far the only station that comes in is some British guys reading news from places I'm not sure exist.
- British Guy: [on the ham radio] Today, in Kuzikistan, a peaceful demonstration turned to bloodshed as members of the Turzirly tribe flooded Kenpao Square in remembrance of the third anniversary of the Hormsburg Massacre. But finally, some good news out of neighboring Kanduzi, as locals there have reached an uneasy alliance with the bordering Trolika Bubsie Wubsie Dal. And now with sports, here's Framptal Tromwibbler
- Framptal Tromwibbler: From the world of sport, the Cointen Spinky Whompers flumped the Floing Boing Welfencloppers, 70-fluff to 40-flabe. At the tone, the time will be 26 railroad. [tone beeps]
- Peter: I'm not sure about any of that.
So my amazing sister (I've mentioned her before, yeah?) has stepped up to the plate and hit a homerun.
[THAT'S WHAT THE EXPRESSION SHOULD BE. STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE AND (fill in clutch achievement here)] Sigh. The war on figurative speech is futile. This guy knows how I feel.
Since today was what felt like the millionth consecutive day I couldn't listen to or watch the game in its entirety, I pulled myself out of the lineup, and Laur/Babe Dahlgren came through for me, as always.
(My dad, on the other hand, wasn't as accommodating during this hectic time of my life. Knowing that I'm in all likelihood mere moments away from seeing someone about a Section 8, he calls and says, "So I guess you heard about Arod's 600th, huh." WHAT?!! "Yeah he hit 600...IN BATTING PRACTICE.")
Yeah, not your best work, Dad.
Anyways, so here's Guest Blog Post #2 from today's Chevy Player of the Game.
Thanks, Laur. You're cool, and it makes me smile.
Part 1: Game notes
- People left the stadium when they’re team was down by 1 in the top of the 9th inning, after A-Rod’s at bat. Shameful.
- A-Rod got a nice solid single that bizarrely was called a double play. When Girardi goes out to argue with the ump that the ball CLEARLY bounced, and was therefore not CAUGHT nor eligible for double-play-making, he probably felt like this guy with the donkey
- Cano has been intentionally walked 11 times this season. That leads the league. Badass. It’s up there with:
- There are so many more important things that happened in this game, but it’s my post and I’ll do what I want with it.
Part 2: The Importance of Being Curtis
I love A-Rod more than the first day of summer and free bloody marys at Sunday brunch. There have been moments when I loved him more than my birthday and getting promoted.
I will love him if he never hits another HR or if he hits 6 thousand home runs.
But it isn’t easy to love A-Rod. It’s easy to love Curtis.
I know Kris has a mild obsession with one of the Curtis’s. Curtises. Curti. Hmpf.
Anyway, so Kris is obsessed with Colin Curtis.
He’s got that fresh-faced wonder that feels very pure and green. In his post-game interviews, he acts like he got to play with the Yankees by winning his local newspaper’s essay contest. And because of that, he responds to his success in real, uncut emotion.
"There's definitely things in life that still scare you," he said, "But when it comes to things like dealing with all the failure in baseball, it helps you get over it and just be thankful you're playing."
Stuff like that is why people are allllways saying it’s the young guys that keep the game fun to watch. Tot me, just as refreshing is someone who feels comfortable being a player, who shows up and knows what it means to wear pinstripes, who plays the game with grace.
And in fairness, that isn’t always A-Rod.
But from what I’ve seen, it is Curtis Granderson.
The fact that he’s shown up and delivered for the Yanks, like he did tonight by homering to score the winning run, is the first piece. To be fair, no amount of grace is going to win my heart if you haven’t gotten it done on the field in any meaningful way. So to start, Curtis contributes. What makes him so awesome to me though, is how he composes himself otherwise.
People looove Jeter because he’s such a great guy, he doesn’t run his mouth, he says the right thing. I’m not going to argue that. But to me, Jeter just doesn’t seem as gracious as Granderson. Maybe it’s because he’s been dealing with the NY press for this long. And don’t kill me, b/c I obviously recognize Jeter’s a ridiculously fantastic person and baseball player…but there are times when it can seems like he’s going through the motions.
Anyway. The point is, NY has had mixed emotions about Curtis Granderson. But in baseball, like in life, it’s important to be surrounded by people who are upright, earnest, and positive.
Cheers to you, Curtsies. Curti. Whatever.
Wow. I can't believe I'm home. I don't know what happened. It's really like I blacked out, and wasn't that much different than an actual alcohol-induced blackout. For the 2nd day in a row I woke up with my face up against the filing cabinet in my office. I looked at my phone, saw it was 8:30am, and got up and started working. And then all of sudden it's 10pm, and I'm going home.
My actual home. As in my apartment.
The whole weekend seemed to be interminable. It kept piling up, and I went from determined to just puzzled/deflated in the realization that it may never stop.
I was in and out of my buddy's office watching the game in bits and pieces on his computer, until the skies opened up and drenched the stadium in dark rain. I got this kind of quilted patchwork of game updates, sometimes from the radio on in my office, sometimes from stopping by buddy's office, sometimes from the BlueBerry, from texts from my friends, etc. It was all over the place.
Now I'm realizing that the game was like some kind of extension of my day.
It started out not so hot.
Podsednik's 2-run homer put KC up early, (and my God, how in God's name is this guy still relevant??) Grandy retaliated with a solo. (Doesn't it seem like at the first sign of even VAGUE and harmless murmurings questioning the validity of this acquistion, that Grandy steps up his game? I like it. He buys himself more time to change the doubters' perceptions.)
By the time the tarps were starting to get rolled out, the Yanks had taken a 6-3 lead, and the lineup was massacring the hapless Royals. God, their defense is HEINOUS. Seriously, just cringe-inducing to watch. (CYC: "Jesus. They look like the Mets." OchoOcho: "Um, let's not blow it out proportion..")
Sean O'Sullivan (didn't we JUST see this guy? In a different uniform..?) started out ok, for the first two innings, anyway, and I was starting to cultivate an irrational contempt for the guy. I think it was because he name sounds so harmless and likable. But he was looking like anything but.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and by that I mean, I hotter bats prevailed and saved me from adding yet another complete stranger to my growing list of people whose names inspire involuntary ire. 4 runs in the 3rd, and the hits were popping off faster than I could wrap my head around.
Then, like a Debbie Downer at a meeting who has to insert "Ok let's not get too excited about the productivity. It turns out that we're probably all gonna die anyway," the rain came. Hard. And I really didn't think this one was gonna resume. Wouldn't be the first time the Yanks would have to postpone the 2nd half of a KC game for a month.
2 and a half hours later, the email: "Game back on. Brett Gardner is too amazing for words."
When I wandered back into the
office sanctuary with the YES broadcast, I was dangerously close to hitting my breaking point. I think almost everything in life is a matter of mind over matter, and that makes nothing impossible. But of course, this isn't true, because as rosy as it sounds, it turns out that I can't lift a VW Cabrio to move it closer to the curb after I've done a shitty job parallel parking, and I can't log 5 hrs of sleep in 3 days without my mental acuity taking a big hit.
I stared at the computer monitor in dazed disbelief.
"I don't get it. The game's still on? It's almost 6:00...NOTHING IS ENDING TODAY, IT'S OFFICIAL."
But as I continued to watch, I was okay with this seeming endlessness. The 8th inning was ridiculous. There were throwing errors, rampant stealing, base hits, extra base its. My mind was spinning, in a good way.
"I feel like I'm playing Red Light, Green Light, or something. I look away from your computer for half a second, I look back and the runners have somehow all advanced."
I waited (I would say "I waited 'patiently' but the speed of the game really didn't call for even a modicum of patience) for Arod to get up. I think I would have officially lost it if I missed his 600th HR on account of a meeting or something.
Bases loaded, 2 outs, raining, long game. Another Roy Hobbes-esque stage set for the Great and Powerful Arod.
And he was SO swinging for it, I loved it.
"He looks like Reggie Jackson with that cut."
But Blake Wood weighed the options in his head. He could walk Arod and be a pussy and avoid being a historical footnote, at the expense of costing your team a run and costing yourself your pride. He could gulp, close his eyes, and roll the dice. Or he could try to do the one thing that seems to preserve his dignity yet curry the vitriol.
Which was drill Arod in the hand.
MY ASS he didn't mean to.
And of course, after my heart stopped for about 18 seconds, my first thought was how sickened I was going to be when I saw haters delighting in the sight of the legendary Arod eating dirt in the pursuit of 600, at an AB that couldn't have been ideal. Bases loaded and KC only down by a few runs? Cmon, THAT WAS THE AB.
He was SUPPOSED to be getting an easy strike, so as to avoid the forced in run. But nooooo. Blake Wood should die of ghorrhea and rot in hell. Would you like a cookie, son?
Cano brought in some more ribbies, including the 1000th of his career. Jeter was 3 for 4 (what confidence issues?) Tex is an animal these days, he went 2 for 4 today, and in the last week, his BA is .391, bringing his season OBP to .375. Not bad for a guy who walked arouned like Jon Favreau in "Swingers" for the first half of the season.
Phil Hughes got the
gift win, which makes our #5 starter's record 12-3. He let up 3 runs in a so-so outing, and was bailed out by the surprisingly effective and improving Boone Logan.
Then Justin Chamberlain came in, and then Chan Ho Park came in, and made me start to wonder what exactly they bring to the table other than filling the void Kyle Farnsworth left open in our bullpen.
The two of them seriously are more of a nightmare than the 2 kids in "Problem Child 2."
Between the 2 of them: 47 pitches, 3 walks, 3 hits, 3 runs.
But the Yanks pulled it off, because GGBG is amazing, because Grandy took KC deep twice, because Tex is more than making up for lost time, Jeter is done with the holy slumping thing (doesn't suit him, really), and because KC spent all their budget on the batting cages, and none of their budget on a fielding clinic.
Hey, I'll take it!
Now the Yanks heado out to the Tribe for a joy ride in Cleveland. The Indians have actually been doing quasi-well in the last week or so. 7-3? Not bad. Javy faces the famed Philly running back. Once again, I predict a great one from Javy. Maybe THAT's why Justin came in today.
To erase the possibility of using him in Javy's game.
I'm totally ok with that logic, to be clear.
Gnite. baseball fans! I'm out like Georg Brett before the game was appealed...
Ok, so here's the thing. I have ZERO idea of what went on today. I slept in the office, woke up on the floor with a metal file cabinet drawer 2 inches from my nose, quasi covered by a Yankees fleece blanket that I got for signing up for a credit card at the game that I only signed up for to get the blanket, and surrounded by piles of papers.
This isn't even a drunk story. I knew what I was doing. I can't wake up without my alarm, my alarm broke, and hence the only solution was to sleep in the office.
And I'm still here.
I heard about 45 seconds of the game, and everything else was based on a sporadic bbm from my sis "Hip hip Jorge!" or a game update email from Ocho Ocho:
gghghghghghgh!!! teixiera was SAFE but called out!!!
the YESMO proved it! SAFESAFESAFE!"
And that's all I got. Seriously. I had the radio on in my office, but I didn't even get to listen to it. It's a bad Saturday when you are longing for the cacaphonous stylings of Sterling and Waldman.
Mitre was terrible, and I'm actually pretty surprised I didn't get any texts from Kevin weighing on this. He's usually Mitre's biggest (only?) supporter. But I guess I can't that much stock in his allegiances since he also is an unapologetic advocate of Sidney Ponson.
Tex went deep 2x, Jorge once, and Arod none. You know what pisses me off? That I'm already hearing people invalidate the 600 record. He hasn't even hit his 600th HR, and people are ALREADY saying how it doesn't count.
"Whatever, YOU don't count." That's what I want to say to them.
That'll show 'em.
PS, Kyle Davies... you got LUCKY.
Or did you? You're back to irrelevance, buddy. Should have given up the ding and hung on the coattails of greatness...
So that's all I got tonight. I'm really sorry. I need a drink. And by drink, I mean a beirut game.
HOWEVAH, I'll be ok tomorrow night. I'm just saving myself for the big 6-0-0! Well, also, I'll presumably have listened to more than half an inning, and hence can actually write an informed recap. Right now my analysis is about as informed as Mad Libs.
See you tomorrow!
"I knew it was going to be a circus with A-Rod and the home run thing. I didn't come out and have a good first inning." -Brian Bannister
Ha. That's gotta suck. No one's there to see YOU. Until Arod hits that 600th, the opponent is 100% immaterial. Everything is. The whole game is just a stage for him, every at-bat is just another step closer to getting to Arod's at-bat.
Think about it. Every time he comes up, the pitcher gets tossed a special "600" ball. "Here you go, do your worst, but realize that with every pitch, you risk becoming the guy who gave up a landmark hit to one of the most controversial players of the game. What you do right now isn't important. It's what you don't do that is. Either you get him out or make him famous. And only the 2nd one means a damn thing."
To Bannister's "credit" sort of, he didn't let Arod take him deep, despite having a bit of history of it. On the 27th anniversary of the PINE TAR GAME, Bannister threw all his energies into just not being the guy who gave up the 600th. Mission accomplished.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the was the first and last thing he was successful at. In barely over 4 innings, he threw 85 pitches and gave up 4 runs on 6 hits. Conversely, our resident loose cannon showed admirable control, shutting out the Royals until the weirdass tornado watch became tangible inclement weather.
An hour and a half later, Gaudin was on the mound, (despite Burnett's pleas to go back out there) and the Royals were trailing by 4.
Cano's 3 run triple in the 1st came after BB loaded the bases (bad move). Posada plated him. "RBIs are special," he noted. Uh, yes. Yes, they are. I guess. (Who uses the word "special" like that?) THAT ribbie was special, because it was his 1000th. That makes sense. But saying ribbies are special is like saying Stolen bases are romantic.
Also, I love that AJ begged to go back out. It made me think of this game I went to in 2006 against the Mutts. A monsoon interrupted Mussina's 1-hitter game going on, and I was huddled with the rest of the left field bleachers for 53 minutes before the game resumed. (You don't realize how inordinately valuable it is to have alcohol in the bleachers now, until you think about games like that.)
Moose is pretty laid back and flexible, so the comparatively brief delay barely fazed him at all. Nope. He gets flustered if the game doesn't start on time, so bullets have left guns slower than Johnny OCD leaving that game.
AJ was on a mission. A redemption one. After slamming his fist into the lineup card (not slamming pies too hard, McCarver), he apologized to basically everyone in the free world to the point where you were beginning to think, "Wait, he's apologizing for the fist thing, right? That's all, right? Not the oil spill or middle eastern tumult?"
He got his win tonight, with 3Ks, 0BBs, 4 hits, and no runs. GOOD AJ! Controlled AJ! Not resembling a lit Roman Candle AJ!
The Royals only run came when Bettancourt drove in Betemit. More B names. It's annoying, KC. You gotta mix it up or you're gonna be like me when I insisted on making uber-specific themed mix CDs in college. Like "Moon Songs." I didn't even like half the songs on it, but if it had the word moon featurely prominently, it got the green light.
The Royals probably don't even like half the B-team, but they already had made the decision to focus their segmentation on that.
However, tomorrow's start is B-free. But he's also no stranger to homerun-giving-upping. Specifically, big homeruns.
Hm. A day game. 3 days before his birthday. Familiar pitcher. Home game...
It's gotta be tomorrow. If he doesn't do it tomorrow, then it'd be cool if he could do it either on his actual birthday, or on August 6 (against the Sox). Can you picture a better way to celebrate 600 than that?
Alright, I'm signing off for the night. The Natural-esque dramatics of the weather have ended, and it's time to go back to work.
My stupid ipod dock broke, and it is literally the only thing loud enough to wake me up in the morning. Without it, my only recourse is to pay someone to throw water on me in the morning, stay up all night to avoid not waking up, or sleep in the office because then it's impossible to be late for work.
Or do internet research on the loudest alarm clocks in existence and hope the 24hr CVS sells one.
My money's on me picking the most ill-advised option of the lot.
So I guess it's true what they say about the Royals. They're actually a decent hitting team. So in the last 2 days, the Yanks have gotten 29 hits. Same as their opponents.
15 yesterday. 14 today. 13 tomorrow?
Which would suggest, by no logic other than my weird fascination with number coincidences, that tomorrow is the day #13 has a big day.
OR, does he hit #600 on his 35th birthday, on July 27?
Or does he do it Saturday, on the anniversary of the infamous Pine Tar game against the Royals 27 years ago?
My bet is he does it tomorrow. My instincts want to say Saturday because I think he probably will do better without the thousands of camera flashes going off, but I don't think Arod is the same player he was when was chasing 500. He doesn't choke, doesn't buckle under the spotlight. He thrives on it. He knows NY loves him, knows NY is pulling for him.
And he's happy. Or it looks that way anyway. And isn't perception reality anyway?
So the Yanks pull off an offensive hemorrhage against the weirdly skilled, weirdly bad Kansas City Royals.
You know what this game reminded me of? Have you ever been to one of those castles or museums in Europe? Or even a cathedral? EVERYTHING is so...rich. So ornate. Nothing subtle, everything in excess. Indulgent. The handiwork of legendary artists who were the earliest OCD perfectionists.
That's what this game was like, in the same that everyone was excessive. Nothing subtle, nothing sparse. Ravenous and overwhelming. Just like European architecture, and just like CC Sabathia.
Tubby usually is actually the most economic arm on the team, for the obvious reasons of wanting to expedite the post-game meal. But today he the anti-CC. (Psh, guess that's what happens when you turn 30, you start getting into the mentality "Well, Ima die soon anyway, so may as well LIVE IT UP.)
Live it up= 11 hits, 9 Ks, 4 runs....and 120 PITCHES.
What the hell, Joe? I don't get you AT ALL. You treat Hughes like his arm is made of porcelain, you treat your other starters like they're Gumby.
I had a softball game, but watched the game on Encore, and I discovered that you really have to WATCH the Royals to make sense of their stats. The obvious observation upon seeing their batting line scores is to be impressed, then baffled. They're a f'n ridiculous hitting team. The best in the league actually.
But good God, how deceiving those numbers are.
Their defense is a step above a quasi-competitive beer league softball infield.
Their clumsy error or whatever it's called when someone runs head-on into a wall, resulted in Jeter's 2 career inside the park homerun.
A base-running moment of idiocy cost them at least a run, when GGBG made the 3rd out before Podsednik could make it home. I'm inclined to lambaste him for not running it out, but then I thought better of it when I realized that Scott Podsednik is approximately 78 years old, and hence I should just let him enjoy his jogs around the base paths.
(Fantasy Nostalgia: I remember drafting him about 6 years ago...to up my steal numbers.)
And then there's oddity #1,120 of the day. You see something like that and you're thinking, "Sweet Christ, KC. No wonder you guys can't capitalize on your hits, you're unmitigated nightmares on the bases." But no, that's not really true either.
KC had not 1, but TWO double steals tonight. To lay it out, the Royals had 14 hits, 11 off one of the league's more lethal pitchers, 5 walks, and successfully executed 2 double-steals...and in the same game, lost by 6 runs, and left 14 RUNNERS ON BASE. 14.
I don't know, it was hard watching this game. I feel like lately the Yanks have been winning games that aren't exactly going in the clip reel of defensive best practices. There was a balk, a wild pitch, an error, overthrows..it's like watching a bull in a china shop.
But...do we WANT to pull in the reigns? I mean, think about it. Last year, the Yanks were successful for a lot of reasons, but one of them was because they were playing with heart. They had personality, they had life in them.
In other news, I'm growing close to my wit's end in terms of hitting a homerun in softball this year. I told my dad last weekend that my new plan of attack is going to just swing the bat as hard as I can at every AB, and hope at one point the bat accidentally hits the ball.
"Uh. Wow, your teammates are gonna be thrilled about this strategy, Kris."
Is that how the Yanks are playing? Swinging as hard as they can (metaphorically) and hoping they find themselves on the winning side? I have no idea. I trust Girardi and I think there's a method to his madness.
Hell, the bullpen has been looking sharp as a tack since the ASG (knockonwoodknockonwoodknockonwood.)
Oh, there's Justin, of course. Who managed to load the bases in a desperate attempt to let the Royals know their hitting ebullience wouldn't be in vain. (This has zero to do with anything, but I just realized that KC is just brimming with B's. It's like they're a cartoon in "Highlights for Children" teaching about the principles of alliteration. Something to think about. Or completely ignore. Either way.)
Here's the best part about the game: the top of the line-up played like the top of the line-up. The first 4 batters were 10 for 20 (.500 I did that in my head, no kidding), with 8 ribbies. The way it should be. We don't need our 5 batter holding the slugging column in place (though he always does he part anyway), nor should we rely on the Penas and Mirandas and Cervellis of the team to propel the line-up into runs.
The Yankees functioned, offensively speaking, like a paragon of a productive batting order. Excellent work. I like neatness.
The Royals have 5 players on their team hitting over .300. Seriously. I've never seen such a good hitting team be so starkly conversely bad at everything else. They're like the Butterheads of the American League.
Also, it should be noted that Wilson Bettemit still exists, joining the All-Star Team of Players Who I Had Been Convinced Just Evaporated Upon No Longer Playing for the Yankees, Either Confirming my NYY-Centric Tunnelvision Or Supporting Said Players Lack of Relevancy in Life.
Bettemit's teammates on ASToPWIHBCJEUNLPftYECMNCTOSSPLoRiL include: Giambi, Bruney, Hawkins, Cody Ransom, Wang...
I swear, I still half expect to see, like, Ruben Sierra skip out to the outfield sometime.
Maybe I need to cut back on my work hours?
So that's the long and short of it. Yanks win their 2nd in a row and improve to 60-34 (.638). CC improves to 13-3. D-Rob looks great, Chan Ho didn't blow the game (BUT LOOK WHO DID, HAHAHAH GOD HE IS JUST SO F^@#ING BAD!!!!)
Ah, but the Sox managed to overcome the formidable M's in 13 innings. Who cares, Papelbon blew lead #89,128 of the year, and the Sox had 3 ERRORS.
Nevermind, I take back everything I said about the Yanks playing like wild hellions.
Compared to the guys 7 games back in the division, the Yanks play the game like they're managed by Sgt. Hartman.
See you tomorrow, when GOOD AJ faces off against Brian Bannister. More B names. Both pitchers are 7-8. AJ's gonna win though, because that's what NY does.
They best the B Teams.
That's what I sent to my coworker when I got out of a conference call and realized that sometime in the span of the 40 minute call, that the 6-0 game had turned into a 1-run game with about 1000 baserunners on, threatening to give me a heart attack.
The truth of the matter is, a brainstorm session wasn't even necessary because there's just one person to blame, and it's the same person it always is. Well, almost always is. There's a 50-50 chance.
Flip a coin. Heads it's Chan Ho Park. Tails it's Justin Chamberlain.
Tails came up today.
But the Yanks came up on top, so all's well that end's well, right?
Of course, the day-game-ness of it meant I didn't get to see anything actually unfold beyond the staccato viewing of a Blueberry refresh screen. Javy "looked" good (or seemed good, anyway, based on the fact he held the Halos to 0 runs through the first half of the game), but the kid started to melt literally and figuratively, in the 2nd half.
The runs started with an RBI single from Frandsen (who?) and then continued with more dings from Wilson and Matsui. (Yeah, he used to be a Yankee. Our WS MVP. Who we traded. As much as I'd LOVE to use this time to go on about how we never should have traded him, I'm ok with that move. I love Matsui, but I can see the rationale behind dealing him.)
The homeruns came in droves today, actually, with basically the entire world going yard. Not really, but whenever Juan Miranda takes someone deep, I have to assume that it was just on the heels of everyone else doing it, too.
And that wasn't even the biggest bomb of the day.
GGBG gets ejected from the game, leading me to think that homeplate umpire Emmel is basically the dean from "Old School."
Give me a break, dude. Tossing someone mid-AB? I remember once during a HS softball game, I was pitching and my coach pulled me mid-AB. I think that might have been the point me and my dad decided not to listen to anything she said ever again ever.
Which was hilarious, because I had the coach on the sidelines giving me signals, and my dad in the bleachers doing the same thing, and the coach's signals would become these frantic hand waving motions when she realized I wasn't even remotely paying attention to her.
Whatever, lady. My dad's smarter. FAMILY FIRST.
Anyways, just as it was a mistake to pull me mid-batter, it was a mistake for Emmel to thumb GGBG. (And I say mistake because YOU KNOW that guy hates the Yankees. There's no such thing as neutrality, unless you're talking about chemically charged ions.)
Colin Curtis steps up and crushes it into the right field stands for a 3-run homer.
A.) It's official, I have a huge crush on him and am making it my mission to "accidentally run into" him since we live in the same neighborhood.
B.) Here's the funniest part about the kid's first MLB homerun:
Curtis said a Yankees security official retrieved the souvenir ball from the fan who caught it -- in exchange for a ball signed by Jeter and A-Rod."I had to ask them for autographs after the game," Curtis said.
HA! The guy gets a curtain call then has to actually barter with a guy in the stands. Geez. Can't you just let the guy have his day in the sun? I'm not happy with that guy. NOT COOL, FAN. NOT COOL.
Let this be a lesson to you non-Yankee-proponents. Don't toss someone mid-bat, because whatever's behind door #2 is probably just as lethal if not more so. It's like not intentionally walking Tex to get to A-Rod. Out of the frying pan, into the f'n fire.
So back to the pitching. Javy through 80 pitches in 5 innings, which is pretty outstanding, especially considering 74% of them were strikes. He walked no one, and I think that's more valuable than it even suggests. COMMAND and CONTROL are exactly what the rotation needs. Excellent showing, Javy.
Piniero, not as great, and his 7-game win streak is snapped.
Justin Chamberlain...well, I just don't like him. And I know I made it sound like he blew the game or something in the beginning of this, or even that he was the one who squandered the lead. But look at what the rest of the bullpen did: THEIR JOB.
D-Rob, Boone Logan, and Mo all came in and kept the Angels from scoring. Justin came in and gave up 3 hits and a run on 20 pitches. He couldn't be any less trustworthy if he was in politics.
So there was the game. The Yanks split it with the Halos, Boston loses to the A's, and TB narrowly edges out the O's.
The standings: Yanks, TB (-2.5), Boston (-7), J's (-12), O's (INF).
Tomorrow we host the Royals, today Fatso celebrates his 30th birthday.
It was a good day to show the world the Yanks offense is fine (15 hits on the day. Our 8th batter is batting .300.)
And as for the "slumping" Jeter:3 H, 3 R.
Maybe that'll shut up the armchair psychologists probing Jeter's mental state.
How's his confidence looking NOW?
Weirdly, I missed the first 4 innings of this game on account of softball. And not just normal softball, but softball with the guys who work for the Mets. Sometimes I hate meeting cool Mets fans. It's like discovering something you never thought existed and were perfectly comfortable in your established belief set. It's like how angry my guy friends get when they find out about the physically artful process a girl goes through to get ready before she goes out.
So that was the good half of the night. The bad half came when I left Burger Joint after the game upon seeing the score on my "Blueberry." Not only was it 4-2..that part didn't bother me..but Hughes had let up 8 hits already, and the Yanks had only recorded 2.
And they couldn't even use the "Oooh well we suck in Anaheim, anyway" excuse because, well, for obvious reasons.
Also, the Angels are pretty terrible. Why do the Yanks ALWAYS do this? They beat up on the good teams, get teed off on against the scrubs. I don't understand it. And I feel like there are a LOT of bad teams in the AL this year. (Yeah, I gotta hand it to the NL, they look pretty good. Although, I can't get too fired up about them, because I still think the talent they're working with is questionable sometimes.)
It would ALMOST behoove the Yanks for the rest of the league to not be such offensive nightmares in general, because it's like the worse a team does against the rest of the world, the more than excel against NY. How delightful. As if we needed another sect of whiners doing backflips upon dismantling the oh so evil empire of NY.
You know, here's the thing:
"The envi0us man thinks that if a neighbor breaks his leg, he will be able to walk better himself." --Helmut Schoek
Anyways, so I watched the Encore presentation of the innings I missed, and it's probably better I didn't watch until the Yanks were losing, because there are few things worse that watching your team give up a lead. (Few things worse in sports, anyway. Stepping in dog shit is the worst overall.)
Swish homered to right to put the Yanks on the board at 1, and you know how everyone is always telling Obama he's allowed to stop campaigning now because he's pretty much locked up the Presidency? Well, no one tell Swish that, because I don't think he knows the All-Star game voting is over. (You're a sure thing..)
Posada's ground-out scored Tex and the Yanks are up by 2 before anyone had time to bat an eye. That's also about as quickly as it took for the Angels to tie it up in the following innings...and then blow open in the game in pretty much every inning thereafter.
Three 2-run homers hurt the score a lot. Izturis, Napoli, Matsui...the usual suspects.
This would be a good time to commence ranting about how the f*&! Izturis is a constant explosive beast against us. Seriously. WHO THE HELL IS THIS GUY AND WHY IS ALWAYS DRIVING US BATTY???
The Yankees are making bottom of the lineup guys fantasy giants. Maybe that's why everyone hates them so much. They're like me at a blackjack table.
Dealer shows a 2, and I ask for a hit on a 17.
What? I don't care what the rest of the table is doing, I want to get 21, screw the whole "messing up the deck/flow" thing.
Similarly, the Yanks are screwing with the whole natural order of fantasy. Izturis is not supposed to be having games where he goes 2 for 4 with 3 ribbies. But the Yanks made it possible. ROAR.
Speaking of roar, Girardi got kicked out of the game again. He spit out his gum in defiance as he stormed off the field. It always kills me the gestures that managers make to demonstrate their frustration, with the limited amount of legal recourse they have.
They can't punch shit or kick dirt on the umps. So they have to do the equivalent of a chick slamming the phone when she gets into a fight with her boyfriend..a move that gets increasingly less satisfying with every cell phone upgrade. How pissed is the girl who has to settle for brusquely tapping her end call button on the touch screen?
Tex was safe at first, he got called out. Whatever, I get what you're trying to do, Joe, but c'mon pick your battles. The Yanks hadn't scored since the 1st inning. They were barely getting on base at all. A little spark and fire under their asses is useful when they're in a 3-1 game and battling, but down by 4 in the 6th when they're showing zero life? It's a waste of a tantrum.
The Yanks bullpen was a murderer's row of "Seriously? They're still here?" arms. Abagljaskjs whatever his name is came in, gave up a run on 2 hits. Thanks for coming out. Chan Ho Park outdid him, as Chan Ho Park is want to do and gave up a bomb, but Gaudin topped them all and handed Anaheim their final 2 runs of the game.
All in all, an unmitigated pitching disaster.
The Cy Young candidate we could only scrape together 2 runs off of...Sean O'Sullivan. His first Major League win in 2010 in his first start. It took 85 pitches for him to retire 18 batters.
Apparently, the Yanks are not only making stars out of bats, but out of baby hurlers.
What else is there to really say about this? Hughes was terrible, the bats were bored, and the Angels were elated.
But Baltimore somehow scored 11 runs to beat TB (thanks!), and the As have taken down the Sox in the 10th.
So, if everyone loses then no one loses, right?
Tomorrow there's Javy vs Piniero. Something actually tells me this is going to be a pitcher's duel.
I don't know if this has more to do with the lack of offensive consistency from these teams, or the strength of the pitchers. Either way, the Yanks' got this one.
I don't usually combine posts, but the Yanks usually don't play double headers with their old timers, so I'm applying a little latitude to my self-imposed stringency. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Also, well, I had another weekend of battling wild fatigue. And this time I can't blame west coast games! Maybe I'm just plain old run down? Who knows. I just know that despite the fact I slept for about 6 straight hours at the beach yesterday, I still spent today about as sharp as a chewed up stick of Fruit Stripe gum.
So during those 6 hours on the beach, I was listening to the game but admittedly falling in and out of sleep. I know this because the guy on the beach chair nearby woke me up to remind me to flip. Which was hysterical because he wasn't waking me up to tell me to put sunblock on, but waking me up to tell me my tan is going to be uneven if I don't start being more strategic about my sleeping.
At this point I notice there's a bevy of messages about how AJ is bad.
I gotta give my friends credit, they all found very creative ways of relaying this message. My favorite being from Nate the NH Sox fan: "Burnett is a Red-Sox-caliber bum, in the vein of Manny Delcarmen."
I'm not really sure what happened here. I was too excited about the pics from the Old Timer's Game anyway, from "Anon."
Can we focus on that part? The Old Timer's Game part? The part that didn't make everyone angry and confused about whether we're supposed to champion AJ or not? Seriously, can he get ANY more f'n confusing? Bowno.
You have to admit that very few clubs are as categorically dedicated to honoring their legacy and history as the Yankees. WHICH IS NOT TO SAY OTHER TEAMS DON'T. But cmon, the Yankees are the Yankees. And I'm just saying that I love how they never forget that.
And my buddy Anon at the game...well, even though the Yanks lost, his interpretation of THAT GUY who invariably ends up sitting next to you (only when the Yankees lose, I've noticed) made me laugh out loud a lot. Honestly, I don't know if it's "every time this guy sits next to me the Yanks lose" or if it's "Every time the Yanks lose, this guy happens to be sitting next to me." I'm still ironing out the details, but for now, enjoy this very telegraphic documentation of this phenomenon.
Well played, Anon. Well f'n played.
The Yanks were laying the groundwork for what could have been a most unexpected and glorious comeback on this emotional afternoon, and while part of me was thinking, "Okay...okay...this makes sense. They're just getting ready to blow everyone's minds in front of their All Star vets."
I wonder if the Yanks sort of feel the same way I do when my dad would come to my softball games. Like a desperate need to have the game of my life in front of who I considered the greatest athlete to ever live. Of course dads love you no matter how you play, and Goose/Mattingly/Cone et al are just happy to be there, probably not happy to be considered old though, but whatever.
And I wonder if the Yanks were embarrassed to lose in front of them.
They shouldn't be.
Though they should be about letting Pena take 'em deep.
And about that time was when I started thinking the Yanks weren't going to make a comeback.
The chipping away at the deficit is par for the course, but usually so is derailing Tampa in the late innings.
So the Yanks lose 10-5, and it stinks.
Also sucks that AJ pulled a Kevin Brown and hurt his hands while slamming shit in frustration. Hey, we've all been there. But the difference, AJ, between me and you, is that I can kick a tv stand and break my toes because I don't have to play sports the next day and get paid for it.
But I still like him for some reason. Even though he originally lied about where he got the cuts he came clean. "I was embarrassed of the whole situation and that's why once I calmed down I realized that, I'm an honest person so I don't need to make up a lie to hide something."
He's a hot head and he was sheepish and I like him. I'm not giving up hope on him.
And he seemed to go wayyyy beyond the call of duty in terms of apologizing to everyone. He was waiting in Girardi's office after the game, apologized to his team on Sunday, expressed the utmost remorse. I don't know. It's like how when someone screws up, the impact of their screw up is in direct proportion to their desire to make amends for it.
If someone spills a giant cup of coffee on me in the subway and starts apologizing profusely, offering to pay for dry cleaning, etc, I'm going to be more concerned about assuring them it's not a big deal and not to worry about it.
If someone spills half a cup of water on me and then looks at me like I shouldn't have gotten in the way of their splashing cup in the first place, I'm going to be out for blood and convinced that my shirt will never be able to be worn again.
Anyways, so there's that. Also, poor Yogi Berra had his own problems to worry about. He was absent from OTG because he slipped and fell at home.
And then there's Sunday's game. Chan Ho Park listed as the WP is just bizarre beyond the telling of it.
But then again, so is the fact our bullpen was the brilliant high point of the game.
The lowpoint? ANDY GETTING HURT.
What's with all this pulled groin stuff? Out at least a month. Argghhh. Mitre comes in to take his place. I guess when you think about it, the Yankee DL must be a pretty nice facility (I'm imagining it's an actual place rather than an intangible position), since most of our DL participants have come back pretty strong.
Arod, Grandy, Thames... they've been ok. So HOPEFULLY, Pettitte will be ok. We'll lose him for a month, and then he'll come back stronger than ever. (As I was leaving the bar tonight, my buddy Will says, "Hm. Maybe we couldn't used Cliff Lee after all." Which cracked me up, since all us Yankee fans were saying, "Bah! Where would we even put him!")
After a horrendous softball outing, I caught the 2nd half of the game and was thoroughly encouraged by the bullpen support. Thank God. For the last 2 games, our starters have been pulled before the 3rd inning, which only further adds credence to the idea that maybe there should just be PITCHERS, no specialties. And those pitchers pitch 3 innings a game.
Less possibility to get hurt, and less need for 100 semi-effective relievers.
And if takes you more than 3 innings to get going, well then you're just not a very good pitcher to begin with.
"It was a great job by the bullpen, especially after yesterday. You couldn't pick a worse day for me to go down," Pettitte said.
That doesn't make ANY sense, Andy. You could pick a worse day, absolutely. Barring the fact you could've picked the deciding game of the World Series to go down, you could've picked a day when the bullpen was completely INeffective, hence mandating the need for a longer, stronger outing.
All things considered, you picked a fine day to go down, when the bullpen was doing great. I'd prefer if you didn't rely on them in the future, though, since no one else does.
Chan Ho Park pitched 1 and a third hitless innings, and Mo used 1 pitch to get out of the 9th. The offense teed off on little superstar David Price. Cano had a triple, Posada a double, and Arod hit his 598th ding. Here we go. The elusive last 2 hrs before a milestone.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that he'll get both of them in a day game.
And our next 3 series are against the worst pitching teams in the AL, outside of the O's.
So concludes a winning series against an important team to have a winning series against. The Sox lost today, cancelling out their win yesterday. I continue to loathe them, in other news.
A girl at the bar tonight contended that I "secretly probably want to be a Red Sox fan." Fortunately, Will interceded. "I don't think you know what you're saying..."
The Yanks are off Monday then face the Halos for a 2-game set. In the rest of the league...the Cubs terrorize Halladay, so things were confusing. Lester and Halladay with losses? Jenks? Maybe the 2nd half of the season isn't going to be the Narnia-like matrix of pitching brilliance that punctuated the 1st half.
I mean, Chan Ho got a win. Nothing makes sense anymore.
I certainly am.
Ah, what a nice way to get back into the swing of things. This week of no baseball was relaxing, though, I will admit. I remember last year when I had the ACL replacement, the original surgery was scheduled for April 9 at 6am. I went in, and they did all the pre-surgery stuff and my blood pressure was like unusually high.
It was moot because I had to end up rescheduling the surgery for the following week--OPENING DAY FOR WHICH I HAD TICKETS!--and the nurses said that basically it would behoove me to work on getting the BP down.
So for a week, I didn't watch any baseball. I ate only tuna on wheat and bananas and told my coworkers that I couldn't stay til all hours. And it worked. Like, in spades. It dropped like 30 points or whatever it's measured in. The bottom line is that a week without baseball, while seemingly aggravating and vapid, can actually be good for your health. That and bananas. Score one for the healthcare employee.
This game, however, was NOT good for my health, so basically any positive effect this stress-free week had on me was voided by the tension filled back and forth win against the Rays.
It was a long week at work, but I was able to get to my softball game last night (and I swear to God, I really thought I was gonna faint from heat stroke. It was like 6pm but felt like it was noon the way the sun was beating down. Gatorade was powerless against the 95 degree heat.)
And after that ended (in a tie, dammit) I headed downtown, sore/tired/in need of beer/in real need of hydration, to meet up with BronxBombersBeat fellow blogger/coffee break buddy emeritus Brian.
Who, incidentally, was equally agitated throughout the game.
So between the heat, the physical duress, the absence of food in our stomachs, the beer, and the stakes of a 3 game series against a team mere inches behind us in the standings...(oh, and also, the wacko music at the bar. "As I Lay Me Down To Sleep"? Really?)...things were touch and go.
The Rays have a scary line-up, I guess. I think they're getting a little like the Bengals though, in the sense that it looks better on paper than it actually is. Or better in theory. Because sometimes their hitting is awesome, but I'm just not seeing any chemistry in the team.
They tacked up 2 quickly with ribbies from Aybar and Longoria. Swish put us on with a run-scoring single, Longoria comes back to put up another ribbie during his GIDP, and the Yanks are losing 3-1.
Cano and Posada hit b2b dings (one a low rocket that left the field in a hurry, the latter a moon shot that reprieved Posada mercifully from any baserunning. He's either getting slower, or he's just looking slower since the rest of the team seems to be getting faster. Maybe both.)
Swish essentially sighs, "Man, guys, I have to make up all the handshakes, provide all the giggles, and now this? Do I have to do EVERYTHING around here? Well. I AM an All Star...6th inning error notwithstanding."
He nails a bomb, we take the lead. 4-3.
(OH! Speaking of errors...I don't think it's fair that the vicious attack of the broken bat should have been ruled an error on A-Rod! It was either the ball or his head, and I think our 3B did not make an error in judgement when he opted to save his head and not field the ball. Just saying.)
Fatso loads the bases in the 7th, but "escapes" giving up 1 run and the lead. And the resident "guy sitting next to you at the bar rooting for the same team as you who provides pleasant conversation about sports for a few hours and then after the game's over and part ways you realize neither of you had ever bothered with introductions" says "Well, 1 run with no outs and bases loaded? You can't really ask for more than that."
YES YOU CAN. YOU CAN ASK FOR ZERO RUNS. For the life of me, I will never understand when people say that. Kind of like when people say "I could care less." Sense: None.
4-4 and Mo comes in, and I'm loving Girardi every single time he does this bold Anti-Torre move. (Oh, also...D-Rob struck out the side. Bears mentioning because I think that bucked him right up. Kid needed that. Big time.)
When Mo came in, they cut to the beginning of the game part, the part I missed because of softball, and I swear I got chills when I saw him putting the flowers on homeplate. He is EVERYTHING that's good and right and classy about the game. He embodies integrity.
And he also picked off Upton, which Upton batty and sent him into a mini roid rage in the dugout. Well f'n played, Yanks.
2 more outs, no prob. Yanks head into the bottom of the 9th where the stage was getting set for a dramatic comeback for the Boss and for Sheppard. And the need was established to avoid the 10th inning at all costs, because lo and behold Justin Chamberlain was warming in the bullpen, boiling my blood.
But fortunately the Yanks dodged that bullet.
The hero? Same name that was thrown around all night.
God, they celebrated like they won the WS, it was awesome. Swish hamming it up, AJ aggressively (like, REALLY aggressively) smashing pie in the face, everyone hugging, everyone doing handshakes and throwing high fives and smiling and it was amazing.
They looked like a real family.
A family who was happy to have each other in the wake of the death of their father.
Take care, Boss.
The win was for you. A stressful one, a tense one, but ultimately a great one. I'm guessing maybe it was because the Yankees know how you love seeing some fireworks.
Sorry about the delay, the All-Star break gets me all out of whack. No (real) baseball for a week, a steroid-free homerun derby, and worst of all, having to watch other players align forces with my beloved Yankees. I mean, if clapping for a 9th inning base hit from Ortiz doesn’t throw you into a tailspin, I don’t know what’s up.
Of course, there was also the more pressing issues at hand of 2 Yankee hardships within days of each other: The Voice of God, Bob Sheppard…and the Boss, George Steinbrenner. Talk about sending the universe into upheaval. I think Yankee fans will still be coming to terms with what happened this week, for quite some time to come.
But alas, we push on. And so the rankings. I think this may be the first All Star break EVER that I’m actually thankful for. The weeks leading up to this one have been laden with west coast debacles, and another 10pm start would have put me into that thing I learned about in Nightmare on Elm Street.
Here we go…
14. M’s (12)
This week it wasn’t even close. Even if they were on a 15 game winning streak, I’ll still brusquely throw them in the cellar, on account of dealing Cliff Lee for basically a ham sandwich. There’s still half a season left to play, and they’re already throwing in the proverbial towel and handing off their best card to a contender in their division…for basically a 3 month rental. Shameful, Seattle. Really. Also, you’re 2-8 in the last 10.
13. Tribe (7)
They’re doing their best “Major League” impressions, and that’s about the only thing they’re succeeding at right now. Also, don’t expect them to play out the movie plot in its entirety. I’m not foreseeing a dramatic turnaround any time soon.
12. Halos (8)
You guys stink! What the hell is wrong with you? The Angels just finished a 1-6 roadtrip, and they weren’t much better at home prior to that. They’ve only won 2 games in the past 2 weeks (that’s 1 win per week, by my count!) and it’s the first time since 2006 they didn’t head into the All Star breaking with a commanding division lead.
Also, I love Torii Hunter, but cmon. You had a big chance to de-embarrass yourselves, being the only player from the host team, and struck out in a HUGE spot. Dare to be great moment, buddy.
11. O’s (13)
Holy crap, how’d they end up here? I mean, yeah they’re still a paltry 26 games back in the AL East, but the scrappy little birds just swept the Rangers in 4 games, and are riding that win streak on the coattails of Nick Markakis, who’s batting .357 in the last 6 games.
10. Royals (6)
Well, I guess on the plus side, they’ve graduated from “man, they’re bad” and are laying the groundwork for what I’m sure will ultimately be a crucial role as SPOILER. I’ve never seen a team master this position as well as Kansas City.
9. Rangers (9)
Good job stealing Cliff Lee right from under our noses. Didn’t see that one coming. And I gotta say, your team continues to impress me, it’s pretty f’n stacked. But then again…you just got swept by the O’s. I can’t understand losing 1 game to them, or splitting the series…but SWEPT? IN A 4 GAME SERIES? You’re like the team that gets too cocky in feel-good sports movies, and lets the scrubs stage a huge upset.
8. Twinkies (10)
Struggling big time. Limping around like a middle school infirmary ward. I love Minnesota, but I can’t defend them for much longer if they’re just going to ride this whole “Woe is me, nothing to do but watch our season crumble like a stale oatmeal cookie.” It’s time to make some changes, boys. You’ve lost 5 of the past 6 series.
7. A’s (5)
You know what’s sad? They’re 5-5 this month…and that’s the best any of the teams in their division have done. You know what’s also sad? Ryan Sweeney, who I think I picked like in the 17th round or something of my first draft, is the team’s offensive leader…with a .294.
Sadder? Remember back in the day when the A’s were awesome? And I’m not referring to the BASH BROTHERS days…I mean, like, back in April and May. (That was my favorite baseball card ever, with this one a close second).
6. J’s (14)
You guys really don’t deserve to be this high up. (I love how I always say shit like that, as if I have no control over where I rank these teams, and my typing is being guided by some higher power.) Also, why are Jeter and Swish getting tested for steroids, when Jose Bautista is CLEARLY on something? 24 MLB-leading HRs? The most he’s had in any season? YOU’RE SUSPECT.
5. BoSox (3)
All this team ever does is get injured and annoy the shit out of me. Two of the least marketable qualities in the game. Boston fans are all hopped up because oooooh Josh Beckett looked good in a Triple A start! CAN I REMIND EVERYONE HE’S LIKE A FETUS AND YET GETS INJURED AS IF HE’S A 67-YEAR OLD MAN WITH PORCELAIN FINGERS? Please.
And to say nothing of the fact Jacoby Ellsbury may as well be a Modern Day version of Godot. Oh yeah, and they got swept by Tampa. Which Boston fans somehow manage to make into an Anti-Yankee angle. (“TB is our REAL rival.”) Say what you will about Boston fans..actually, I’m not gonna finish that. Just say what you will about them. That’s all.
4. Tiggers (11)
You know this team is going to arbitrarily make it to the ALCS somehow. Seriously. They just remind me so, so much of the 2006 Tiggers. They just finished a sweep of the O’s, and took 2 of 3 from the Twins, and continue to plug along, but I feel like their success is never solid. It’s always seems like they’re not exactly winning, but just more like “not losing.”
3. [Devil] Rays (2)
You know who I adore? CARL CRAWFORD. It took a lot of work and sometimes drastic measures, but I finally landed him on my fantasy team, after my own flesh and blood sneakily stole him from his rightful home. He’s on a tear right, and so are the Rays. But here’s the thing. It sort of reminds me of when I bet on this Rays-Sox playoff game a few years ago.
I NEVER bet on baseball, but I decided it was the only way I could stomach watching a post-season without the Yanks. And so I bet on the prop with the highest money line, which happened to be the Rays winning by 5. In the 7th inning, the Rays were up 7-0, and if I won, I stood to win around 2Gs (on like a $40 bet). So I started rooting for the Sox to score a couple.
Then they did. And didn’t stop. And won 8-7. Similarly, I was rooting for the Rays to start winning so the Sox wouldn’t be breathing down our necks in the standings. And they did. And now we play them this weekend, and I’m hoping that I won’t regret assigning any kind of advocacy to TB’s success.
2. ChiSox (4)
Damn, Chicago. I’m astounded. Really. I mean, you guys were an unmitigated MESS for the first 2 months. Like the kind of mess where I wouldn’t find fault with fans giving up. THAT BAD. And now? What the hell? It’s amazing.
I don’t know how you’re getting it done, even. My sister’s best friend and perennial fantasy champion would term this club “the 2007 All Star Team.” Quentin, Rios, Peavy, Konerko, and Danks have been almost as good as you could ask for. The first guy on that list? About 1000 multi-homer games in the last week.
1. World Series Champions (1)
A rough week to say the least for my boys. But Tex has decided to stop hitting the snooze bar on his “Season Wake-Up” alarm. He’s got 4 dings and 12 ribbies in 11 games, and Cano is Cano. We lost out on Cliff Lee, and man is our pitching HURTING now.
We have the 2nd best in the league, next to Tampa, with opponents going only .241 against our rotation that looks like it’s only getting better. 3 of ‘em have at least 11 wins, Javy is sharp as hell, and AJ is calming down.
When you think about the fact this is a 2nd half of the season type of club, it’s terrifying to think of the damage they can potentially inflict on your teams. Well, not terrifying to me, but you know what I mean.
"Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing." --GMS, III
My mom once told me that a study revealed that a statistically significant percentage of people's deaths occur shortly after their birthdays.
I always liked this statistic, barring the morbidity of it. Because it just somehow reaffirmed the resiliency of human life.
How no matter how beaten down society may seem as a whole, no matter what straits gnaw at us, and no matter how persistent age is as it tightens its stranglehold on the light of breath....our innate will to survive transcends this.
George Steinbrenner, principle owner of the New York Yankees, certainly embodied this sentiment of elevating himself to be, indeed, larger than life.
He was the Boss. The father of the Yankee Dynasty. And now, a legend.
Only days after Bob Sheppard, the Voice of God, passed away, Steinbrenner died of a heart attack at the age of 80, at around 6:30am this morning. It was beyond poetic. The Voice of God almost summoning him to reunite in a greater afterlife.
While I was sad at the passing of Sheppard, I have to admit I was choked up today when I first received the email alert that Steinbrenner was gone. I don't know why. I'm not an emotional person. My youngest sister once told me she's afraid to cry in front of me for fear of me chastising her. My mom always jokes that she's afraid I'm not capable of grieving.
To be sure, I'm not grieving, per se. But it's...deflating. The end of an era, of course, but more than that, it's the end of a dynamic and personality that defined the Yankees and punctuated their existence.
Steinbrenner had clearly been ill for quite some time, and his ambiguous manifestations of dementia were chinks in an armor we all remembered as tougher than nails. So his roll in the Yankee family has swiftly slipped into oblivion in recent years, but his presence and what he meant to the club was never, and will never be, forgotten.
I remember a game I went to on September 11, 2005. I had won a contest and part of the prize was this enormous white stretch limo coming to pick me and my family up for the game. We were stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium, feeling and looking absolutely ridiculous in this car, and my dad lowered the window to get some air.
"Oh my God, that's George Steinbrenner!" we heard the people in neighboring cars say. My dad looks nothing like him, NOTHING, but I guess it was the limo, and the thing is, my dad is impressed by NO ONE. But he was beaming for the rest of the day, running with this case of mistaken identity, telling anyone who would listen that people thought he was Steinbrenner.
I always loved it, because it was the first time I'd ever heard my dad let someone get away with thinking he was someone else. Usually, he gets huffy and insists, "Listen, STEINBRENNER should hope someone mistakes HIM for ME." Nah, not this time though. Steinbrenner is something else. In every conceivable sense of the word.
He was nuts, of course. (Steinbrenner. Though, I guess, the same can be said for my dad.) But that's why we love him. Say what you will about the man, but George Steinbrenner was the quintessence of no-holds-barred unapologetic.
I LOVED that about him. It's a method of ruling that I liken to people like Trump or even Kobe. They're good at what they do. They're probably hell to work for, but they get what they want by running the ship the way they see fit. Fall in line, or face the consequences of unmitigated wrath. I respect that resolve.
And look where it got us.
In 37-plus seasons as owner, Steinbrenner led the Yankees to seven World Series championships, 11 American League pennants and 16 AL East titles.
Before the Boss? New York was 11 years removed from its last championship when Steinbrenner, then an obscure son of an Ohio shipbuilder, headed a group that bought the team from CBS Inc. on Jan. 3, 1973, for about $8.7 million net.
The Yanks are now worth around $1.6 billion, trailing only Man U ($1.8 bill) and the Cowboys ($1.65 bill) in sports franchises.
He saw what the Yankees could be, and he made it that way. He spared no expense, and it was HIS MONEY. All the millions he had? He spent on his project. He wanted to build an untouchable empire, an unbeatable dynasty. And he did. He didn't ask for donations from fans, or try to scrape up the money so he wouldn't have to put any of his own fortune towards his dream. He made it happen.
So when you say the Yankees buy their team, and when you criticize the Boss for his leadership madness, just remember that you all should be so lucky to have an owner who was that dedicated, that invested in his team's success.
Flags were lowered to half-staff at New York's City Hall and a marquee outside the stadium -- "the house that George built" -- honored "George M. Steinbrenner III, 1930-2010." Oh, that marquee. I can't think of it without remembering the time when Steinbrenner put it to use after the 22-0 drubbing 6 years ago.
I think what really got me battling a lump in my throat at the office today was when I clicked on a link from one of my fave FB groups, Red Sux Nation (which is actually Yankee-related, not wholly Red Sux hating, as the name would suggest), who posted this.
He's not just Steinbrenner the Yankee. He's Steinbrenner the father, friend, basketball player, husband, student, and a million other things. Seeing that, and seeing him in all those different lights...made it horrible to think about it.
I met him once, at Spring Training. He was sitting directly behind me and I finally worked up the courage to ask him to sign a ball. I gave him a picture of my bathroom, and I had written on it, "When can I paint over the 27? Thanks for everything!" Actually I didn't give HIM anything. I had to hand everything over to the bodyguard type sitting next time him. Like how you can't hand the dealer money at a casino table.
But he was friendly. He was stern and friendly. Like the teacher you always remember having the biggest impact on your academic career. The one who was the toughest but who was inherently a nice person who just wanted his students to try, who was smarter than all the other teachers, but the slackers never could see this.
They only saw the hardass. Mrs. Scanlon, Mrs. Helbeck, Sr. Diane, Doc Robinson...my best and toughest teachers. George M. Steinbrenner...the best and toughest owner.
Maybe the slacker fans of other teams don't appreciate him. But Yankee fans do. And we'll miss him.
From the Rest of the Baseball Universe:
"I'm sorry to hear about the Boss. Regardless of what Sox fans may think of him, he was passionate about his team, and that's to be admired. The rivalry wouldn't be the greatest in sports without him." -Nate Graziano
"There are no words...none that matter anyway. Only a terrible void." --Persiphone Hellecat
"'How the hell could you trade Jay Buhner?? He had over 30 home runs and 100 RBIs last year, a rocket for an arm ... you don't know what the hell you're doing!!' RIP George." --New York Sports Jerk (Super Rob)
"My heart goes out to the Steinbrenner family, the Yankees organization, and the millions of Yankees fans throughout the world. Thank you, George, for accomplishing your vision of building this phenomenal Yankee Empire. You can rest in peace knowing you are loved for bringing us so much joy and pleasure while you were here on earth. I know you will now be bringing that very same joy to your Yankee family in Heaven." --Lucy S.
"RIP George M. Steinbrenner III. The only person who could overshadow Bob Sheppard's death. Thank you for returning the Yankees to prominence. Friday will really depressing when we return home. Let's go Yankees! Win it all for the Boss and Bob." --Timmy R.
"The New York Yankees have lost Yankees this week I was very sad to read of the passing of the great George Steinbrenner...the man to whom we Yankees fans owe a huge debt of gratitude for putting together, year after year, the best team he possibly could for the best fans in the world. Mr. Steinbrenner, you will definitely be missed." -Marci C.
"When I attended opening day of the 2010 season at Yankee Stadium, I thought its importance was in seeing the team get the rings. Never did i think it would be the Boss's final appearance at the park. Life without George Steinbrenner is very hard to imagine. Who in NYC history has had a greater impact over the past 40 years?" -Theresa C.
"RIP Boss...Bob Sheppard will be announcing your entry through the pearly gates." -Joe K.
"In 2 days time Yankees fans and New Yorkers alike have lost their voice and their owner. George, you will be missed!" -KJ
"A fan couldn't ask for a better owner." -Grippo
"Long live the Boss!" -Keith C.