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I just received a heartbreaking email from an employee of the Yankees' Trenton Thunder boys regarding a case of domestic violence that left his sister-in-law killed at the hands of her husband.

The man who emailed me is now currently raising his nephew, and is throwing himself into one of the worthiest causes I can think of, which is the raising money for shelters for abused women. ( )

The Domestic Violence Project is sponsoring an auction of a number of Yankee memorabilia items. 100% of the proceeds will go towards shelters. (Here is the link for the auction.)

Any of these would make amazing Christmas gifts, and you'd be helping the millions of women around the country who suffer the kind of horrible fates that his man's sister-in-law did. On a personal note, there are few things in the world that disgust me more than a man hitting a woman. I send out my deepest condolences to our fellow Yankee fan, and hope that you will support his cause.

There was a study done on caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients, in which the results demonstrated that 72% expressed relief when the suffering patient eventually passed away.

It's a sad but true fact, and one that's difficult to accept or even admit. But in the world of brutal honesty (and clinical evidence), it is indeed a truth.

Do I feel relief over the end of the season? Maybe relief isn't the right word. I don't know what is, but I do feel a certain degree of tension lifted. It's no secret that the 2010 Yankees were at best a paled version of their 2009 selves, whether it was the number of comeback wins or team chemistry or winning streaks. Something was palpably missing.

It was the something that propelled them into the Championship last year and kept them at bay this year.

And watching them play in the last month of the season and into the playoffs (or not watching them on account of work, roar), you could see it wasn't there. And I felt this unavoidable sense that if the Yanks made it this year, it would be luck. Which isn't to downplay their talents, but they weren't the best team.

They were hanging on the coattails of their individual strengths, and not riding the combined momentum of a synergistic squad. Last year they were unstoppable. This year they were mortal.

It was tough watching them hand over the playoffs, seeing them vulnerable. You want to think of the Yankees as inpenetrable forces that will always rise above basic talents of opposing teams. And seeing them fumbling for life was like seeing an older sibling cry. They're supposed to be stoic, and immoveable. Not susceptible to cracks.

It was even tougher realizing that an entire season of baseball had slipped away from me. That I was lucky to watch even a couple of games every month, missing game after game to the demands of the office. And now of course things are slowing down to a manageable pace, and I'll get home by 7 tonight for the first time in maybe 6 months, only to discover that the MNF conflict is no longer a conflict. That the NY Giants will be the sole recipients of my attention.

Maybe that's another reason why I can't be too miserable on Day 3 of the offseason. Because I never was able to cement that emotional connection to the team. I only saw them in bits and pieces this season, and now I'm realizing that my perception of them wasn't just due to a somewhat limited exposure to them, but they were, in fact, only playing in bits and pieces.

Their game was disjointed. And at times inexplicable in its flow. I can only think of one time when I blamed a season on a managerial presence, and that was the 2008-2009 Giants fizzle. The defensive manuveuring was a sickly departure from form, and Sheridan took a team that was only slightly different in composition, and made them go from 2008 Champs to 2009 Slops.

I don't think what Girardi did, or didn't do as the case may be, was too much different than that. He took the same team of brilliant supernovas, and stripped them of their charisma. He took a vibrant palette of paints and watered it down to be a matted soup of beiges.

No one knew their role in the bullpen because it changed every day. No one knew who was the ribbie generator because the powerbats were shuffled around without any real acknowledgement of who was playing up to his potential. And instead of this resulting in a unified common goal, it resulted in a shaky understanding of the player expectations.

And there were, of course, players who never met their expectations. AJ. Jeter. And even Arod to some extent. The players who exceeded? Grandy, GGBG, Robbie. And everyone else played just enough, never really more than that.

Now it's another cold offseason until the games begin again. You can be sure that offseason will be marked with blockbuster moves--Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford...who else? Who else can the Yanks add to their muted 2010 roster that bring them back to superiority?

Some may say that 2009 was a freak anamoly, that 2010 was a true example of how the Yankees system functions. But it's not. It was obvious this year that something was missing from the Yankees. And to me, it's just as obvious that 2010--not '09--will be the anamoly in the years to come.

A dynasty is on the horizon.

Now we just have to wait through the offseason to start working on it.

Friend of the blog Will C. has taken the reign here, guestblogging for CYC while I get my bearings about the demise of a season... MANY thanks, Will. Where the Yanks failed in clutch, you certainly made up for. More on my own thoughts to come in the next few hours... I need a little more than 24 hours to regroup on this. Sigh. Thanks again, Will....

* * * * * * * * *

Like most die-hard Yankee fans, the wound is still fresh and the bitterness of no fall classic in the Bronx has not yet transferred into acceptance. While all Yankee seasons that do not end in a championship are disappointing, I found this season particularly frustrating based upon a series of poor decisions which were made throughout the ALCS. As a fan, the only thing more frustrating than poor hitting, pitching and fielding is poor managerial decision making. Here are a few decisions that stand out:

Not starting Andy Petitte Game 2:
Andy Pettite has 19 career postseason wins, a Major League Baseball record. He is arguably one of the best big game pitchers in the history of the most successful franchise in sports. As Yankee fans, we love Phil Hughes. He is young with a great future ahead of him. However, his postseason resume consists of two wins and a 5.86 ERA.

Phil Hughes is not Andy Pettite – not yet at least. The time to play match-ups is from April through September. Not October. The sight of Andy Pettite, THE WINNINGEST PITCHER IN POSTSEASON HISTORY, scratching his head in the dugout as the fate of the 2010 Yankees was left to a 24 year old kid was gut wrenching. Hughes’ ERA exceeded 4.00 in his last eight starts of the season and was not hot.

Yes, he looked good in April and May, but let’s not let a few early starts in Arlington be the reason he is getting two starts in the ALCS and not Pettite. Above all else, the Yankees finally returned to their winning ways against Minnesota, where Hughes looked great in the game 3 home start.

The formula worked with CC and Pettite on the road and Hughes at home. We had an incredible come from behind win against Texas in Game 1, and at that point all the momentum, and then we alter that recipe based on statistics. What statistics? Did anyone check out Pettite’s postseason statistics?

These are only numbers that should truly matter. Also, if you are in the camp of a lefty pitching at Yankee Stadium to shut down Hamilton and the other left handers, you were thrilled for 2/3 of an inning until Josh went deep in the top of the first inning and all but ended the game with an unhittable Cliff Lee on the mound. And a great start from Pettite in Game 3 – wasted.

He makes that start in Game 2, Yankees are likely up 2-0, have won five postseason games in a row, and well on our way to 28.

Walk Murphy, Pitch to Molina:
Scenario: Yankees up 3-2, top of the 6th 2 outs. A.J. looking normal for the first time in months. What to do, what to do? Here’s a brilliant idea let’s walk David Murphy (who?) to face a historic Yankee killer. Joe, for a manager who essentially manages the game from a computer or a match-up chart, did you think to look at Bengie Molina’s career postseason numbers vs. the Yankees?

Here are some figures from the 2005 ALDS when Molina last faced the Yankees: 444 AVG, 3 HR, 5 RBI’s, 17 TB. Not too shabby. I don’t care what the book says or what the recent figures may dictate, be wary of Yankee killers. Ortiz, Guerrero, MOLINA – they are scary – certainly don’t walk David Murphy to face a Yankee killer.

Maybe Josh Hamilton but not David Murphy. Murphy, in the 2010 ALDS, his FIRST career postseason series, was a solid 1 for 7, a 143 AVG with 0 RBI’s. Please can someone tell me what numbers support an IBB to face a Yankee postseason killer?

Don’t give me the righty on righty nonsense. Take Burnett out of the game and bring in Boone Logan, your lefty specialist, to face Murphy. The 3 run homerun is not on you A.J. but incompetent mismanagement. Logan retires Murphy, Kerry Wood and Mariano lurking in the pen, I like those chances. Yankees win 7-2 on Wednesday afternoon, go back to Texas with a 3-2 lead and the whole psyche of the team is vastly different.

Bring in Robertson with the season on the line:
Scenario: Rangers 3-1, runner on second, two outs. This is the save situation, not only for the game but the season. Give up a homerun and the season is all but over – the chance of another multi-run late inning rally is not impossible but highly improbable.

What does Joe do, bring in Robertson who relinquishes that back breaking homerun. Season over with CC, Wood and Rivera sitting in the pen waiting to be used next year, I can only guess. I never understand when play-off elimination games are managed like regular season games or play-off games where there is a next game.

There is no tomorrow if Robertson gives up a homerun there so why not win or lose with the best on the mound. Bring in the best, being CC or Wood for two innings and then Mariano for an inning or two. Keep the game at a manageable 3-1 deficit and every runner that reaches base will provide an opportunity to tie the game with one swing.

For a team with the homerun capabilities of the Yankees this is not too great an obstacle to overcome. Further, the 2010 Yankees have not had the best at-bats in big holes (of course there are exceptions). Everyone from ARod to Cano and Swisher starts trying to win the game with one swing, instead of working the count, reaching base and moving the line along with singles and doubles.

Robertson, like Hughes, is a great young pitcher and this is not a personal attack on him. Let’s not forget his bases loaded, no out, Houdini act against the Halos in the ALCS last year. But I’m sure he would agree, that he is not CC and has not had the recent relief success of Kerry Wood, and thus, did not provide the highest percentage option to keep the game at 3-1.

The Bats Were Not Hot:
This is more of a commentary than a decision, but certainly influenced by the above three decisions. I understand the bats weren’t sizzling, and have heard this from many Yankee fans, and here is the story. Bats are seldom hot in the playoffs. Cano and Hamilton this year, ARod last year – yes there are exceptions – but for the most part good hitters are cold in the postseason.

Why? Because good pitching trumps good hitting any day of the week and the postseason consists of predominantly good pitching. Hitting is also a very psychological and momentum based process. We were hot coming into the series, with a 3 game sweep of the Twinkies, and had an electrifying, red hot 5 run 8th inning in Arlington Game 1.

Getting back to point 1 of this summary, pitch your second ace, Andy Pettite in game 2, and keep the momentum flowing. Bats respond to good pitching not early deficits. I will concede that the clutch hits were not there in bundles as they were in 2009, and the Yankees certainly saved a pretty penny on walk-off whip cream canisters in 2010, but poor management decisions can inhibit offensive output.

In October, put your best product on the field for a seven game series. CC, Andy, Phil, A.J., CC, Andy and Phil. That is the best Yankee product, and had this been the rotation, I would most likely not be writing this.

I like Joe Girardi as a person and while I am grateful to him for winning a 27th championship in the new house, I have trouble looking past a few of his recent decisions - most notably - the Pettite fiasco.

I have been watching Andy Petitte dominate postseason play for 15 years and he has earned the right to have two starts in the first six games of a seven game series over a non-proven Phil Hughes. I fear that with the core unit of Rivera, Jeter, Posada and Pettite showing some age, this season was an opportunity lost. Not too say I will not enjoy some rebuilding years and watching the next generation come into form.

I grew up in the Donny baseball era, with zero play-off appearances and nothing but history to lean upon. I still loved the Yankees and cherish my childhood memories at the stadium, as sparse as the crowd may have been.

As a true fan, it is not always about winning but, when you are in a position to win, make the right decisions.

Oh well, we will be back.

God bless the Yankees.

* * * * * * * * * *

My own analysis on its way, as soon as I can think about it without getting upset.


Amanda's awesome.


There's no feeling quite like going into a possible elimination game. None. Before the game, me and my sis were outside our office building, both in our Yankee tshirts and hats, looking indelibly nervous.

And, looking at her, I almost felt like I was looking at someone I may never see again. Like this could be the last time we have this pre-game pep talk. Like we were two arctic explorers braving the tundra and who knew we could die in battle with penguins or something.

Yep, so that's where I'm at.

But we're alive.

Amazingly. Despite being insanely nauseated by the whole prospect of potentially being knocked out the race, part of me felt a small modicum of calm. It was CC. Round Boy. He'd come through. If he couldn't do it, then we were doomed anyway. Even though we were 3-1, it felt like it was a 3-0 pitch for us. We knew what to do.

But now it's 3-1 (in this pitch metaphor thing) which is a little bit tougher, pressure and strategy-wise. I mean, yes the strategy is win, but whenever I played softball, 3-1 counts unnerved me. Because when the ball comes down, it's the toughest call to make, swing or hold.

You hold off on a non-perfect pitch and you're in a 3-2 hole and the entire power has shifted. You swing and miss and you second guess yourself about whether that was a ball that could've brought you to 1st.

And now the Yankees are in this somewhat equally uncomfortable spot of having to win 2 games on the road to get to the World Series.

Last night for the first time since the ALDS, I got to watch the game. I left work at 6. I refused to do anything after 4 but agreed to stay in office and be available "in an emergency."

I was home before 9.

It was amazing. And for the first time since the ALDS, the Yankees looked like themselves.

They took a 5-0 lead which I'm sure eased the fears of everyone at Yankee Stadium drastically. But, as Sterling the spoil sport pointed out, how many insurance runs are ever really enough against Texas? 3? 4? 5? 6? 9? 11? (I'm serious, he went through all these options.)

Without the bat of Tex in the lineup, the Yanks put Berkman at 1st who had an Austin Kearns moment when he slipped and completely bit it, sliding into the wall in the process.

Tex somewhere was shaking his head and telling his wife he was fine to play. "I'M FINE HONEY. FINE. MY TEAM NEEDS ME I GOTTA GO!!!" Kinda like the ending of Saw I...

So the Yanks are all secretly nervous but confident in public, spouting out things like "We got them RIGHT where we want 'em!" (Swish: "We're right we need to be." Um, ok.)

The Rangers are psyched to be going back home because I'm sure they're all pretty confident they're going to go to the World Series with Cliff Lee. I don't know about that. I mean, as Girardi said, "We came into this series on a 4 game win streak." So, yeah, wining 2 in a row on the road sounds impossible right now, but it's certainly doable.

Good grief, Big Puma.

The Yanks were still a LITTLE shaky in parts of their game. Fatso, while coming up huge (hehe) still gave up 11 hits and was uncharacteristically wild (I blame AJ even though I still inexplicably love him).

The bats were 2 for 11 with RISP, with 7 LOB. Hmm. Not BAD, I guess, percentage-wise. But number-wise? (Which is kind of funny since I've been spending most of my long hours here trying to demonstrate the opposite, that a small number can be significant when it's consequence is examined as a ratio.)

Grandy was 3 for 4, and I think announcers may be contractually obligated to remind us that he didn't know how to his lefties, but now he's getting better thanks to batting coach Kevin Long. It's like when you're watching Dateline or 48 hours or something, and after every commercial break, the voice over spends a good 3 minutes bringing you up to speed on everything that occured so far in the show.

(Destinos style! Raquel: "Bueno. Que paso.")

Jeter was kind of bad yesterday, but then he had an AB where he fouled off approximately 92 pitches before getting a walk, which I love--and so do announcers--because it gives everyone an opportunity to discuss Jeter's won't-quit attitude, as well as the impact of drawing pitches. (In case there's any confusion, to be clear, the "pitcher almost always ends up losing that battle." Where's Al Leiter's on-air pitching clinics when you need 'em?)

Texas threw in a couple of runs, but it was like they were playing with a certain nonchalance. (As evidenced by the complete lunacy of errors that somehow only amounted to ONE error, in the first inning, which allowed 3 runs to score on one hit, and even allowed Posada in all his sluggish glory to break for home and do so safely, in a situation where he'd be out by at least 44 miles.)

The Rangers were playing like they want to clinch at home.

But this is the Yankees we're talking about.

There's a reason everyone hates us.

Because unless you're a fan of this legendary franchise, then the Yankees are the ones that break your hearts and ruin your dreams.

The Yankees are the ones that pour hydrochloric acid on momentum.

The Yankees are the ones that bring you to brink of triumph...

...the Yankees are the ones who proceed to claim that triumph as their own.

If we win Game 6, we're winning the series.

Why do you walk someone with 2 outs?


Teixeira is out.

The Yanks need to win the next 4 3 in a row, 2 on the road.

And I missed most of last night's game on account of work.

And will miss today's game, as well.

So, for God's sake Yankees, please force a Game 7. Otherwise I will have missed the entire postseason because of my job.

Few things are more depressing a sentiment.

I'm not in a good state right now.

Cmon, Fatso. Help us out here. The Yanks need you. I need you.

8-0? I missed this entire game. The Entire. Game.


By the time I left work it was over.

Maybe the Rangers were trying their hardest to extend the game for me by making it a 29384-run 9th inning?

I can't talk about it. I'm going to get upset all over again. One more night of being held hostage at my office and I may disintegrate.

Please, Yankees. Please win tonight.

(Have faith in the Yanks. Have faith in the Yanks. Have faith in the Yanks....)

Sometimes you go to a game and you sit next to the Most Annoying Person in the World. Sort of like this guy.

That's kind of how watching the game yesterday was like.

Not because I was at the stadium (obviously) or because I was sitting near an annoying fan. But the FEELING was the same. Frustration, aggravation, discomfort, anger, and an impenetrable sense of disconnect.

Everything is staccato and cold and harsh and disjointed.

You're never in a rhythm or in a zone.

It's like trying to talk to someone at bar. "Talking to a strange woman in a bar is like trying to sustain a Ping-Pong ball in midair by leaning your head back and blowing; if you stop to breathe, the ball falls." -Marshall Boswell, "The Trouble with Girls"

So the Yanks lose their first postseason game of 2010, as Phil Hughes pitches like he wasn't a 19 game winner, and instead was some random farm pick up that pitched a handful of solid games and someone found his way onto the playoff roster.

The Rangers took a 5-0 lead again, by the 3rd inning, and I'm thinking to myself "How come THIS is the 5-0 game I'm watching, I wish I had to work on Saturday instead of Friday night."

The Yanks had approximately 9 million times to score and to put themselves back in the game, but every time something bad happened. Like Lance Berkman singling in the 1st run, and then weirdly forgetting he's about as graceful as my hamster and hence shouldn't be trying to stretch singles into doubles when we're down by 4, with 2 outs.

The Yankees were 1-11 with RISP.


They DID do a good job of working counts and taking pitches (182 for the day), but I'm slightly afraid that they'll try this whole Money Ball approach tomorrow, against a pitcher who's walked roughly 7 guys in his entire career or something.

The big bats the Yanks are so famous for only came out once, in the shape of Robinson Cano, who soloed in the 7th to make it 7-2.

The bright spots of the game? Joba and D-Rob pitched outstanding. Also, whoever Nancy from Buffalo is, she sent in a phenomenal question to some fan poll: "How would the Yankees lineup do against Mariano Rivera?"

BRILLIANT. What an insightful question! I have no idea what the answer was, I think me and my buddies were too excited about the originality of the question.

I have a good feeling about this series. The Yankees looked sluggish yesterday, like they were hungover from the rally on Friday. I think there's a misconception that big wins like that lead to a continuing stream of momentum that carries into the subsequent game. HOWEVAH, it's the Aaron Boone-syndrome.

After Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, the Yankees proceeded to completely blow the World Series. Which once again goes into my theory that I don't need dramatic wins. I just need wins period. And tomorrow, when the Yankees face Cliff Lee, their game plan should be guileless.

Hit the ball. Don't work the count, just tee off on this cocky asshole.

We're back in the Bronx. And nothing would make me happier than booing Lee off the mound before he can even get to the 6th inning.

"It's time to toss things, like our reason, and our will; it's time to break our necks for home." -Anne Dillard

I hate how I'm about to reference this movie, especially because I know this isn't the first time I've done it, but there's really no better way to explain what I felt last night.

In Fever Pitch, when Jimmy Fallon misses a Red Sox Yankee game for the first time in his life, and at first he's okay with it because they're losing 8-0 or something. Then the Sox end up coming back and beating the Yankees 9-8 with an 9-run 2-out rally in the bottom of the 9th or something. And he turns on the tv and every single person in Boston is screaming and celebrating in the streets saying how it was the best game in the history of life.

Last night, I was at work.

"Yeah, we'll definitely be done by 7:30."

"Ok, because, um, you know the game starts at 8, and..."

"I know, I know."

"Ok, cool."

At 8:20, I was still working, and I get back to my desk, John Sterling had been prattling for a good 15 minutes in my empty office, and then I hear the raucous celebrating that didn't sound too good, considering the Yanks weren't the home team.

"And the Rangers take a 3-0 lead in the first, what a shot by Josh Hamilton!"

I don't know if anyone else had to listen to the CBS broadcast of the game, but John Sterling sounded like he had gotten possessed by the hater demons of the world. Seriously. I think I would have rather listened to Joe Morgan announce the game. It was bad enough hearing the score, it was infinitely aggravated by the fact that Sterling was practically giddy, giggling, etc.

"And this is really bad, I mean things couldn't get much worse for the Yankees right now. CC is just flat out AWFUL tonight, and the Yankees are really just LUCKY they got out of that inning with only 3 runs. Because I mean if they hope to have ANY shot at this game, they have to pull CC and figure out SOMETHING because right now, I gotta say it doesn't look like this game is ever gonna get better, just worse."

Sweet Christ, John.

I was devastated. I turned off the radio and continued working with the GameCast playing on my computer. I could have watched on but when the Yankees are losing, I find it a little more palatable to see the score on the sterile stat listings of a computer, rather than have it exacerbated by 10s of thousands of screaming fans.

I can count on 1 hand the number of times I've been that upset at work that I felt like crying, and last night was #2 all time.

I was trapped there. It's easy for people to say, "OMG just LEAVE! I can't believe you WORKED on a playoff game!" as if I wanted to do that. As if there was a choice involved and I decided to do the productive, responsible thing.

To make matters worse, Strange--usually my go to buddy for support in Yankee-induced anxiety--was texting me "I'm not gonna lie, this game is absolutely brutal."

But then it happened.

A text that changed the face of the night.

"I'm sitting in the bathroom with a corona."

It was from my sister.

And I knew what that meant.

Whenever I watch games with her, as soon as it starts to be a critical point in the game, everyone in my family exiles my sister to the bathroom. A superstition which I'm sure she just LOVES.

"I'm sitting in the bathroom with a corona."

She was sitting in the bathroom...

..And would she do that if she was still watching a 5-0 game??

I peaked at the score.


The Yankees were doing it.

They were chipping away at the lead. I immediately looked away.

(It would have been really, really depressing if "I'm sitting in the bathroom with a corona" just meant something like "It's too cold in your living room, so I'm just hanging out in bathroom alphabetizing your toothpastes.")

Then I couldn't take it anymore, I had to watch. I was too nervous to turn on the game and find out it was over, but I was even more nervous to turn on the game and find out it was over.

With no outs, the Yankees tied the game in the 8th.

And then took the lead.

Then won.

And I missed all but 15 minutes of it.

I went out last night, and NYC was havoc. All my buddies were screaming when they saw me, "HOW FUCKING AMAZING WAS THAT??!?! YANKEES !!!! HOLY SHIT!!! AHHHH!!"


I wanted so badly to be able to share in their recounts of their emotional rollercoaster, but I could just be a captive audience.

But they did it.


It was like they were waiting for alllll the haters to get comfortable in the whole "HAHHAHAHA you guys are a joke, you're gonna get SWEPT!" mentalities...and then decided to swoop in, all "Go kick rocks, small fry. We're not going anywhere."

My buddy Super Rob may have said it best when he said, "I think I'm in love with being a Yankee fan."

You know what? I gotta say that as profoundly exhilirating as that game was, it was just as invigorating to be among Yankee fans who watched the whole game. Because I gotta be honest, when the Yanks are getting embarrassed, it's not like I give up on them, but watching it is hard to stomach. I'll mute the tv, or I'll change the channel for 5 minutes and then really quickly flip back hoping the score hasn't ballooned out of control out of our favor.

It's hard to watch loved ones tailspin like that.

But it's like the line in the Godfather,

You can never divorce yourself from a game. You want to walk away from it and try to not let it bother you, but it's like when I lose something insignificant in my apartment and I go crazy trying to find it, and I'll say, "Ok forget it, do you really need your purple sharpie to do the crossword? Move on, use a ballpoint."
And I'll try to just be all cool and breezy and forget about it.
But 2 seconds later I'm back in the fray tearing apart my place looking for the purple sharpie.
You can never be far from the Yankees.
Just like the Yankees can never be far from a victory.
Despite the horror of my evening, when I went to bed last night after celebrating with the guys, I realized that it was, indeed, the quintessence of this blog's namesake.
It is so great to be young and a Yankee [fan].
4 down...


I hate to be a typical Yankee fan here, but that seemed too easy.

Of course, I didn't think it'd be this painless when I was watching Game 1 on Wednesday, when the Yanks were losing 3-0 and all we could think about was how terribly they'd played in September, how amazing the Twins had done in the last stretch.

But, cmon. We're the Yankees. They're the Twins.

The history against them is record-breaking. Literally. I don't think any one team has ever so severely owned another team in history.

Oh, well, except for the Sox, of course. Barring that one little 2004 mishap.

Oh, speaking of mishap...does anyone else nothing something wrong here:
Wishful thinking, ESPN?

I know you hate the Yankees and all, but let's try to adhere to some semblance of journalistic integrity, yeah?

So the Twinkies get ushered into the postseason thanks to the 7-inning shut out brilliance of Phil Hughes.

My buddy Hannon pointed out that he thinks there's some kind of conspiracy movement among the umps to purposely call atrociously inaccurate games, in an effort to force the need for instant replay.

You know how I feel about this. Not favorably. At all.

It's so dumb. Instead of having umps who are good at their jobs, they'd rather blame the errors on human nature and insist on some kind of "flawless" technological solution. If I wasn't good at my job, they'd hire someone better than me. They wouldn't chalk up my mistakes to "hey, happens to everyone!"

Instant replay is basically the equivalent of inplementing mandatory "spell checks" on all manuscripts. Because THAT'S always foolproof, right?

Blech, anyways.

I saw a stat on the tv last night which was 100% astounding. Minnesota didn't get back to back hits THE ENTIRE SERIES???

Is this even possible???

After leading the major leagues during the regular season with a .285 average with runners in scoring position, the Twins couldn't get a single clutch hit in the playoffs. With runners in scoring position, they went an almost impossibly bad 0 for 14 before Denard Span's too-little, too-late single in the eighth off Kerry Wood.

This is kind of like when my ex told me he'd rather go 18-0 and then lose the Super Bowl, then 14-5, and then win the Super Bowl.

I'm sure I can find millions and millions of Giants fans who would beg to differ, but whatever. The point is that I'd rather suck for the last month of the season, choke away the division lead, settle for the Wild Card, and then blaze through the hottest team of the league with ease in a matter of 3 days.

The Yanks took an early 1-0 lead when Posada drove in Cano after his leadoff triple. It was then I wondered if the whole game was gonna be this easy. I'm sorry, I'm know it's a bitchy thing to say, but it's true.

Tex drove in Swish in the 3rd. Timms hit a moon shot 2-run homer in the 4th, followed by GGBG's sac fly that brought in Grandy. And later on in the 7th, Swish chipped in a solo bomb.

6-0 after 7 innings. And then the Yanks did that thing where the most effective reliever of the year comes in and someone manages to completely implode in the postseason, much like Hughes did last year, and much like Kerry Wood did this game.

Valencia doubled.

Span singled.

O-Hud singled (brought in Span).

Mauer walked.

Ok, enough of Wood. D-Rob and Boone came in to close out the 8th with no more than 1 run's worth of damage.

And Mo...well, we know what Mo did. Because he's Mo.

So there are like a million different stats about absurd the Yanks' domination of the Twins have been, but here's my personal favorite stat of the day:

The Yankees get their 13th postseason series sweep, more than twice as many as the teams with the next-most (Reds, Braves, each with 6).

That's just ridiculous. Is there a greater testament to how otherwordly the Yankees are?

You know what else I like? How all of a sudden, the sports writers of the world are recanting their "PHILLIES EASY PICK FOR 2010 CHAMPS!" claims.

Now all of a sudden I'm seeing a lot more, "Why the Yankees Can Repeat" type of articles.


After the game, my buddy Hannon also pointed out that I seemed pretty subdued for someone whose name is "Crazy Yankee Chick."

"You seem happy, but...not like psychotically excited."

He's right. I am happy. But this is only 3 down.

There's 8 to go.

And as my dad used to always say... It's a long way to Tippararie (sp?)

But at least we didn't use up that much gas on the first leg of the trip. Thanks, Twinks!

There's a saying I learned while I was a Theater major in college: "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it"--a principle known as "Chekhov's Gun."

And that's what I thought of tonight when Lance Berkman and all his newfound pinstriped glory, drove in the go-ahead run in the 5th with a long bomb, and then a tie-breaking ribbie double in the 7th.

I admittedly HAD wondered when exactly this whole Lance Berkman acquisition thing was going to come into play. But I guess I should never doubt the Yankees, who evidently are honoring Chekhov's mandates.

Never put an OF on the playoff roster if you're not planning on seeing some important run production from him later on.

It also made me think of the game broadcast from a few months ago (or actually, it could have been a few days ago, I have zero concept of time anymore), when I think it was Sterling who said, "So pretty much 2 out of the 3 guys the Yanks got at the trade deadline, are paying off huge dividends."

He then rattled off Kearns and Wood's stats, while notably making no mention of Lance Berkman and all his DL'ed glory.

But that's all immaterial now, much like everything else that happens prior to October 6.

People get all fired up about March Madness because of all the Cindarella teams and all the upsets, etc (society likes to think it's their humanistic pathos that drives them into the arms of the underdogs, but for my money, I'd say there's actually no greater example of the pervading schaudenfraude that keeps sports fans from cheering on the favorite).

But anyways, so people love the NCAA, but really there's just as much chance as an upset in the MLB playoffs, just given the wild variability that exists as a function of pitching matchups.

And what a pitching matchup it was tonight.

I don't mean in the legitimate sense of the word, a la 14-K performance from The SF Freak. Or the historic no-no from Doc. (PS not to be a contrarian or anything, but technically Halladay's no-hitter wasn't history-making. A perfect game already precedes him. He can be history-CONTRIBUTING. But he didn't MAKE history. Which isn't to say it's anything short of mind-blowingly impressive. Just not mind-blowingly novel. Just saying. You know I'm nothing if not literal to a fault.)

So, yeah, game 2 of the ALDS did not feature any semblance of a history matchup, but it did feature one of the biggest losers ever to taint the Yankees' roster vs one of the biggest heroes and monuments to class ever to grace the Yankees' franchise.

It's hysterical to me that Minnesota, in all their good-natured and guileless fandom, actually embraces Carl Pavano. In fact, those present at Target Field were all wearing stick-on mustaches. (And, as TBoss astutely pointed out, everyone there was somehow managing to wear roughly 10,000 different iterations of Twins' jerseys. How are there that many versions? It was like the most diversity the midwest has ever seen.)

Now might be a good time to make some mustache delineations.

I won't go into too may subtleties. Let's just boil it down to a couple for the sake of this post:

Nick Johnson (ie Don Mattingly, Tom Selleck, most firemen)
Gary Sheffield (ie Patrick Ewing, most 1940s jazz musicians)
Mike Ditka (ie Joel Quenneville, most Down-To-Business control freaks who had a family that they're secretly very devoted to)
Rollie Fingers (ie, Clay Zavada, most men tying damsels in distress to a train track)
Carl Pavano (ie Mark Spitz, Prefontaine, most pedophiles and serial rapists)

So it's one thing if you wanna emulate the look of a fireman or seasoned sax guru.

But Minnesota is celebrating the hallmark feature of every registered sex offender.

So weird.

Anyways, moving on from THAT...

The Yankees won. 5-2.

Once again, the Twins took the lead early with a sac fly from rookie Valencia. Arod tied it up 2 innings later with a sac fly of his own, and then Sir Lancelot homered to take the lead.

Orlando Hudson followed suit to tie the game, and Target Field had renewed life in them.

(Seriously, Target was the only corporation they could get to sponsor this? Target Field could not sound any less like a sports arena, and any more like a military base, if it tried.)

HOWEVAH, this renewed life was short-lived, as the wild and krazy kooks that are umpiring the game, let Berkman break the game open again.

And boy was Gardenhire PISSED!

So pissed that he got all crafty and staged a prolonged mound visit just to orchestrate home plate ump Wendelstedt to come up to him.

Very clever, Minny.

Upon seeing him, he let loose on the whole bizarro strike zone thing, prompting his swift ejection.

Ok, YES, you're right in the sense that the balls and strikes are really more ill defined than a freshman girl's relationship with upper class men sorority girls during the first semester of college.

HOWEVAH...get over it.

It is what it is. I hate using that expression, but seriously. We all have to deal with it, and sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it goes the other team's way. At this point the only thing you can do is try to capitalize on baserunners.

Which you haven't been doing. At all.

I mean, in fairness (sort of) you only had 3 runners in scoring position all night, none of which you drove in.

On the other hand, NY was 4-10 with RISP. 3 doubles. A homerun. The perfect combination of run manufacturing and long ball.

Pettitte brings out the best in us maybe.

And what is there to say about Mo?

1-2-3. See ya, Twins.

Enjoy your travel day. But in the words of Iowa Jeff, "Don't unpack. It's gonna be a short stay here."

Seriously. I think I may hate the postseason.

This was GAME ONE, and I was ready to hurl myself into oncoming traffic. I can't breathe, think, function. I can barely even watch the game. I feel like hell today on account of the fact I spend half the game outside for superstitious purposes, and it was a balmy 50 degrees out.

"I don't like when there's pitching changes" I said through chattering teeth to my sister.

"I know, Kris. I know."

Last year I stood outside every time the Yanks batted, and this habit was extremely well-known and respected among my 84th street compatriots. I all but got tossed out as soon as the middle of the inning commercial break was over.

This year, Russo pointed out, "So, um, maybe you gotta do it backwards this year. Because it's not working."

Last night was, if nothing else, a completely hedonistic casserole of illusory corollaries. And by that I mean that there was nothing that could be said or done without it somehow being perceived as a direct impact on the game.


Laur: "It's my foot! Holy shit it's insane! Every time you rub my foot the Yanks do something right!"

CYC: ((quite possibly the most ludicrous of the evening)) "We are not going uptown to watch the game until my fish swims through the hole in the CD."

Yeah, so despite the fact me and Laur were finished with work well before 6, we didn't leave the office until after 8:00.

She's waiting for me to shut my computer down, etc when she makes the mistake of commenting, "I don't know what you and Gerry are talking about, I've never seen that fish swim through the CD in his tank."

"Ok watch, he'll do it. It will be good luck for the Yankees."

There it is. 8 words that can change the course of an evening in an instant.

"It will be good luck for the Yankees."

Over 2 hours later, we were still staring at the tank in my office. We googled "training betta fish" and we trying talking to it, using both positive reinforcement and outright degradation. ("No one likes you now. You know that, right?")

Nothing worked until me and Laur were about to toss in the towel and just head uptown before we missed any more of the game. "Let's give him one more chance. Then we'll go."

"Ok. But if he doesn't do it now, and the Yankees end up losing, I swear to God I'm flushing him down the toilet tomorrow."

Bam. Fish through hole.

Game on.

And what a game it was. When the Twinks took an early 3-0 lead, I had basically been reduced to little more than a demented pre-historic life form. I was mumbling to myself how the Yanks last year were down in game 1, and how this is nothing, how it doesn't matter that they were losing 3-0. That the 3 runs the Twinks had scored were immaterial because if we can't score 1 run we can't win the game anyway.

The mood was grim.

And we had reached a low point I believe when the passed ball (Posada. Really. You gotta stop those things, geez.) allowed Hudson to score and induced Gardenshire to act like a wacky wavy inflatable arm flailing tube man.

Fatso was less than sharp. I mean, I didn't a NO-NO from him, for God's sake. But I sort of expected a little more than cheap runs. Cuddyer's 2-run shot was legit, but a passed ball? And--worse--walking a rookie to force in a run and tie up the game? Hmm. I love you Tubbo. So much. So we'll let this one go, ok?

Especially because I felt kind of bad for him when they showed him retreating to the dug out and slamming shit. Usually that annoys me, seeing a pitcher do that after a bad outing. Because it's like, "Hey leave the wall alone, he's not the one who effed up." Plus, you know, the whole Kevin Brown thing...

BUT when CC did it, it was like a parent seeing her daughter, a normally straight A student, get a D on her report card and then start flagellating herself or something. It's like, ok ok relax. You messed up. You can't be perfect always. We'll still love you.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
-Shakespeare on CC's bad outing

But then things started to change for us in the 6th.

Cano drove in Tex.

Posada drove in Cano.

And then a lonnnng shot that almost looked like a fly ball from Grandy, ended up being a triple (I have ZERO depth perception), and just like that the Yankees were up.

And that's how it's done Minnesota.

Remember us?


You may remember the slugging stylings of Mark Teixeira from last year's ALDS, when he ended an extra innings heart attack with a walk off line drive ding in the 11th.

You also might remember David Robertson, who escaped a bases loaded no-out jam last year...and then similarly struck out Thome to do the same this year.

And Mariano Rivera, who is our closer, is just too good to be on the same field as pretty much any human life form.

I remember you guys getting ripped off by a fair ball that was ruled foul last year.

And now this year, you got a chance to tie up the game after Greg Golson made what should have been a game-ending lunging catch...that was ruled a single.

You never capitalized.

But I'd say we're even now, no?

All tied up.

Well, except for the series.

The Yankees prevail.

Remember that, Minny. Never forget who's boss.

See ya in a few hours. Pettitte vs Pavano.

Oh my God. Just read that sentence again. Pettitte vs Pavano.

It's like MLB's answer to Highlight's "Goofus and Gallant"!

Tonight the Yanks will make Pavano wish he had never returned from his 1,120,550 year long DL stint.


How the hell did we get here?? Seriously. I feel like I've been mired in some weird time continuum where yesterday it was the spring and now all of a sudden we're hours away from starting the first game of the playoffs??

And yet at the same time, I feel like the last 5 months of my life have last 7 years.

(My mom: "Well. That's because you worked about 7 years worth of work in that time. You need a social life, Kristen." Thanks.)

The last time I was at a Yankee game was Saturday, April 17.

I'm not kidding.

It was only 3 years ago that I went to about 30-40 games a year. Now I've been to one.


And now the playoffs are upon me.

I took off work yesterday to prepare myself for the most agonizing and soul-trying time of my life.

I stocked up on the necessary provisions.

I slept all day.

I tried to calm myself down.

But c'mon. We all know that there's nothing that can ever prepare us for what we're about to get ourselves into.

We can only hope that the Yankees are more ready for it than we are.

Tonight, they will be.

Round Boy takes the mound against Liriano, as the Yankees try to recreate the 2000 postseason, in the sense that they'll look to put all the September trouble behind them, while they take on a team that has been close to perfect in the final stretch.

And if I hear one more, "Oh what are you worried about?? It's the TWINS. The Yankees ALWAYS beat the Twins," I'm gonna start my puke-fest prematurely.

Listen, no one should start getting a little too comfortable. The thing is that at some point, the Twins are gonna beat us. Just like the Angels were bound to beat the Red Sux at some point..speaking of, has anyone seen the Red Sux? When is their game today?


So once again, the "Big Market" Goliath takes on the "Small Market" Tiny Tim. God, I hate that story line. SO MUCH.

Pooooor Twinkies. They're so starved for love and nourishment.

They make a lot of funny decisions though.

Like intentionally walking Tex to get to Arod.

Or, building a stadium in the Minnesota tundra with no roof.


So basically we have to neutralize Mauer and Cuddyer. But mostly we have to hit. If Fatso can do what he's been doing all year, the game falls on the shoulders of our offense.

And I have a feeling they're going to give the new digs a crash course in what it's like to face the masters of the postseason.

So, Twins fans: it would probably behoove you to stock up on some Pepto too.

You're gonna be sick after what we do to your team.


So I’m hearing a lot of “Yeah, we don’t want to face Cliff Lee anyway!” but truth be told, I REALLY wanted the division. I wanted to show we weren’t gonna settle for anything. Also, I hate the Wild Card as a rule. Also, I WANTED HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE.

A lot.

But, you know what. We got the Wild Card, and we’re gonna embrace it, and we’re gonna embarrass the Twinkies in their new digs.

And the Red Sox, despite beating us up this weekend by virtue of the sheer endurance of it all, are going home. They’re doing nothing. See ya.

On Saturday Game #1, the Fox booth notes, “So this isn’t exactly what these 2 teams had in mind at the beginning of the season.” (What the “two teams had in mind” or what the Fox tv programmers had in mind?)

“Well the Yankees don’t really mind, but the Sox were kind of hoping for some dramatic head to head winner-take-all kind of weekend. But instead, they’re just going home.”

Yup. Just go home. You heard ‘em, Boston. Tell your story walking, as my dad would say.

After the game delay was drawn out for almost 4 hours on Friday night, it finally gets rescheduled for 9 on Saturday, which is so ridiculous for so many reasons. First of all, who in God’s name thought the game was actually going to end within a 4 hour time frame?

My sister was over on Saturday (I know, something new and different) and in the 9th inning I said, “Oh wow, it’s the 9th inning and it’s tied, and I didn’t even realize.”

“That’s because every Yankee fan knows the game never ends in the 9th. It’s like we’re conditioned to know the game is going well beyond the normal time constraints. Hey, FREE BASEBALL!”

“Yeah…but I mean, this is just game 1…we got another one tonight, and then tomorrow at 1:00.”

“Oh God, you’re right. There’s still like another 15 innings left of baseball today alone.”


And that’s how it went.

We won game Game 1 in the 10th. We lost game two in similar fashion. I mean, 6 errors between the 2 teams? As my sis noted in text: “I guess they’re all pretty sleepy snoozer!”

Well, that. And also, our bullpen is contractually obligated to ensure the games go as long as humanly possible. So although the Yanks were up 6-4 and it looked pretty promising…nothing about the game ever made me feel like we had a good chance to take the W.

But I mean, cmon. Our pen was depleted. We had to be uber-conservative in who we pitched, and that amounted to runs being walked in, and scores getting tied up. I guess you can’t be too upset about it, even though the Rays won 7-0.

But Sunday’s game? Kind of disgusted me. (Until I found out the Rays ended up winning in 12.) I was watching when the Rays were losing 2-0, and I’m thinking, “This absolutely wouldn’t bother me if they Ray would just win.” But they were losing. They were rolling over and dying, and the Yanks were letting them take the division title anyway.

But the Rays ended up winning. So even if the Yanks won, it would’ve been for naught anyway. (Speaking of Rays, since they knew they were gonna win the division the second the Yanks lost, why did they go through all the trouble of winning the 12-inning marathon game with the Royals of all people. See that’s the point when you throw your David Carrs into the game. Surprised you and all your intellect didn’t know that, Maddon.

Even though they squeezed out a win today, the Rays rolled over and died this past week. (Sort of um like the Yanks did. I guess.)

And the Yanks never capitalized.

Today they gave up leads, as they are want to do, and ended up spending the last regular season game losing 8-4 to the Red Sux at Fenway.

“Who the hell is pitching for the Yanks?” I asked my buddy.

“Doba Moseley.”

FANTASTIC work. Doba? Brilliant. Pure gold. Nice work there, 88. Nice f’n work.

So here’s where we netted out after this weekend.


And on Wednesday it begins. Get ready, Minnesota.

The Champs are rolling into town.

28 is 11 wins away now.

Let’s get it started.

So I just realized that when I was on my 5-day hiatus on account of a death in the family, when I returned, I misnumbered the game. Tuesday August 10 was actually game 112, not 113. And hence EVERY game number since then has been off.


Speaking of things being off...

The Yankees.

I'm at a bar after work, and asking the bartender to change to the YES network, since the game is listed as a 7:07 start time, as per usual in Canadian world of the Great American Pasttime.

But it's not on. And I can't figure out what the hell the press conference with the 2 managers is about, on account of the lack of captioning.

"Maybe the J's just forfeited and this is the post game?" my sis theorized.

I checked my phone: "Delayed."

"Delayed? Due to what? Inclement dome conditions? I don't get it."

I actually didn't figure out what the hell was going on until the game was underway and a camera shot of the J's dugout displayed a row of players with mustaches.

"AHH! What the hell? Why do they all look like that?"

Someone enlightens me, and no offense, but couldn't you guys gone with a commemorative patch or something? Painted mustaches seem kind of cheesy.

My sis and I start talking about the whole ceremony-before-games thing, and we both agreed that it must suuuuuuck to be the visiting team in that kind of a situation. I have like a newfound sympathy and mild empathy for non-Yankee teams, really.

I mean, think about it. Every other game marks some kind of record or commemorative fanfare, whether it's Yogi Berra Day, Lou Gehrig Day, Steinbrenner Day Part 1, Steinbrenner Day Part 2, Jeter breaking the hit record, Arod breaking a homerun record, etc.

And then it's like, if you win you're the bad guys who rained on the parade of poor innocent fans who just want to win one for the gipper. If you lose, well, you got to deal with not only the basic pitfalls of a defeat, but also the exagerrated exclaims of celebration from the home team's stadium, brassly inflated on account of the circumstances.

So, yeah, the Yankees lost this one. I don't think it was because of the ceremony so much as it is because they are playing like they're categorically opposed to showing up against an AL East team.

To be clear, this does not bode well for us come October 6.

Forget about home field advantage, I'm just worried about getting through the game without some kind of implosion.

Speaking of implosion, Javy Vasquez...well, the bloom has fallen from the rose. The rose that wasn't even very fresh to begin with. It was basically like one of those browning roses you get at a bodega in some bizarro color that would suggest the plant was simply marinating in a vat of food coloring prior to being shoved in a communal vase.

He did nail ONE thing though:

"I had nothing," Vazquez said. "I didn't feel like my pitches were sharp at all."

Yup, all of those things are right. You had nothing. And you are very much correct in your assessment of how your pitches were feeling. Who cares your pitching sucks, you're remarkably intuitive for someone who couldn't find the strike zone if it followed him around like a Stage 5 Clinger.

Cito Gaston said this about the game: "What a way to go out."

And I'd like to echo that sentiment. About the Yanks. What a way to go out. They've lost 6 of the last 8, and failed to take the division lead tonight when TB lost to the O's. How did the Yankees win 94 games this year? Seriously. The way they're playing now, it's hard to remember at point they were collecting all these W's.

One bright spot was Arod's homer which means he now has 13 years of 30 dings and 100 ribbies.

Remember how long it took him to knock down his 600th?

The interminable wait?

Well, that's kinda how I feel now. Only instead of waiting for someone to hit a record breaking 600th longball, I'm waiting for a team to play like they're somewhat cognizant of the fact they're gonna be in the postseason in less than a week.

As grim as it sounds, the facts are: lately the Yankees lose more than they win.

All the usual suspects were out in full force terrorizing the Yanks. Hill had 4 ribbies, Snider and Buck took Javy deep in both the 1st and 2nd inning.

But you know, all things considered, the score makes it look worse than it is. I say that a lot, but I feel like I mostly say it about the J's. This is because they go deep like they're batting tennis balls coming out of a pitching machine. That kills us. Take away those sprinkled bombs, and you got an even matchup of head-to-head manufactured runs.

And the Yanks DID have 11 hits and only 2 Ks.

So what's the problem here? Yesterday I didn't know what the problem was because there was too much to choose from.

Tonight I don't know what the problem is because a.) it's after 5am and b.) I'm just too delirious and confused to wrap my head around this and c.) who the hell am I to determine what their problem is? What I know about baseball managerial evaluations you could fit in a thimble and have room left over for what I know about the Oakland A's farm system.

As always, it's a matter of faith.

Faith that this outing will relegate Javy to an early off-season with a playoff roster cut.

Faith that Hughes AJ and Pettitte rise like phoenixes from ashes to pitch the games of their lives in the coming weeks.

Faith that Girardi will lead his team into a 28th title.

Faith that the Yankees will prevail.

Let's take down Boston this weekend. Leave em reeling. They're never know what hit em (if they're even watching baseball anymore).

And we'll use them as leverage to rebound into the playoffs.

Life's a bitch, sometimes, Beantown. Let's go Yankees. 3 up 3 down.

Because there's not a whole lot of better ways to generate momentum than a sweep in Boston.

(PS Boston didn't get into the playoffs. It bears repeating.)

"the fat man got the job done!" -Kevin, 6:10am


Thanks to's league-leading 21st win of the season, the Yankees clinched a playoff berth last night, along with Tampa and the Reds.

Notably absent from any playoff clinching activity were the Boston Red Sox, who lost last night and who will not be in the playoffs. The Yankees will be. The Red Sox are done. To recap: the Yankees will enjoy more baseball after this weekend.

The Red Sox will be doing whatever the hell there is to do in Boston when they're not wrestling with the inherent paradox of being "Fenway Faithfuls" that don't actually believe in their team.

So here we go. Now the question arises of: do we rest people and accept the wild card...or go all out and try to nab the division?

I say the latter. Definitely. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

You can't put a price on the benefit of homefield advantage. (Insert payroll/Yankees/$ comment here...)

Cmon, all we gotta do is sweep the Sox, really, who hopefully will roll over and die for us, since we're all such good chums. Or if that doesn't work, then maybe they'll roll over and die because they're such scrubs. Either or. Doesn't matter to me.

Round Boy's 21st win was the most wins from a Yankee since Andy in 96 and Guidry's 22 in '85. So, that's where we're at when it comes to CC. Moving on to the other starters...well, the bottom line is that the postseason rides on the shoulders of Andy Pettitte.

I know, I'm exaggerating a bit, but we need him so badly. It's beyond critical.

Regarding last night? Well, my favorite part was the winning. And seeing the awkward grown up hugging of the managers/coaches.

And what initially looked like totally-cas-no-big-deal-tempered-excitement from the old guard et al, but then realizing it was just totally-classy-guileless-thrill from the team, and understanding that they were just trying not to gloat on someone else's field.


Honestly, I like to think of myself as a generally ethical, do-the-right-thing kind of person, but it would still be hard for me to reign in my joy. The Yankees can because they're the Yankees. They're the face of baseball.

"The essence of the Yankees is that they win. From in front or from behind, they win. And that's why the history of the New York Yankees is virtually the history of baseball." -Dave Anderson, NYT

The Yankees scoring wasn't as impressive as its defense last night, but they scored more runs than the bad guys, so that's all that matters in my book. GGBG tripled and how he didn't get an inside the park homer is confusing still, considering the fact the Rogers Center is about the size of Spain.

No Yankee bombs in this game, they opted for a weird iteration of "small ball" that involved all 6 runs being scored without an actual hit. It was either a fielder's choice groundout, run walked in, or sac flys. Interesting. I'll take it, whatever.

And so on October 6, it begins. The most exhilirating time of the year. The most thrilling, the most maddening, the most heartbreaking, and the most soul-trying. I swear to God, I'm not kidding when I say this: last year, every single day the Yankees played a game in the postseason, I threw up before the game started. Before I even had so much of a sip of alcohol.

It was nerves. November 5 was the first day in over a month I wasn't in knots.

And now it will start all over again in exactly one week.

I can't wait.

This is gonna be quick.

You know why I think I'm not going crazy with panic and worry?

Because of a principle that is supported by a study done at Columbia, about jam tasting. (Humor me.)

In this first field experiment, consumers shopping at an upscale grocery store encountered a tasting booth which displayed either a limited (6), or an extensive (24) selection of different flavors of jam. The two dependent measures of customers' motivation were their initial attraction to the tasting booth and their subsequent purchasing behavior.

So basically they showed all these shoppers jams. When there were less choices of jam, they bought one. When there were a million choices, no one bought any.

This is relevant because...

I can't decide what I'm most worried about:
  • Offense (Why does every game seem to spend a good hour and half with a big zero in our runs column?)
  • Starters (I think the deadline has officially past for "How Long Can We Wait For _____ To Win Our Confidence?")
  • Overall ability to overcome adversity (Not only do I not have the characteristic 2009 faith that we can overcome a 10-run deficit in the 9th inning with 2 outs, but I don't even have a garden variety confidence in holding onto multi-run leads. I know, I know. But sadly, it's kind of how I feel right now.)

HOWEVAH, I do feel one thing stronger than everything else.

And that is that I trust them.

It's the Yankees.

I'll leave with this before stepping out to watch tonight's game, where we undoubtedly clinch the playoff berth. (Except...change every "Duck" to "Yankees.")

Alright so after getting emotionally crushed Friday and Saturday, I banked on them not getting swept and hence just doing a series recap. I didn't have it in me to recount the phenomenal comeback that fell short...and then the mini-comeback that fell really short.

I left the bar I was watching it at on Friday, when the score hit 10-1, and made my way back to the office to get my stuff before making my way back uptown. By the time I had reached work, it was 10-5. I figured I'd stay and listen to the game for an inning or two.

Then it's 10-6.

9th inning rolls around, and a couple more dings put us within 2.

A man in scoring position, and an MVP candidate at the plate. It was storybook.

Only it ended up being not one of those cliched storybooks where you can guess the ending. It was one of those surprise endings where the hero doesn't actually get the girl. Like in "500 Days of Summer" or something.

Then Saturday? Ugh.

The thing was, is that Lester and Beckett are both pitchers that the seemed to have figured out. In recent memory, neither of them posed a problem. But the other thing was that there's always the chance that they return to form. Like on Saturday night, me and my sis were playing this team in beirut.

The male member of the team, who is typically an ace, was playing horribly, and the female member was inprobably carrying the team. When it was getting down to the final cups, I started to get nervous every time she shot.

"Relax," my sis says. "She only hits one out of every 3 times."

And she was right. Weirdly, she was exactly right. And that's kind of how it is with the Boston starters.

Unfortunately, both Lester and Beckett's infrequent overpowering of the Yanks came on consecutive days.

The AL East is very weird right now. All the teams that are pretty much out of contention (for all intents and purposes) are putting up fights. Annoyingly. Like the O's. (Although, that isn't so much annoying as it is cute. Like the Little Giants taking down Ed Harris' pee wee football team.)
Nova was knocked out early, and I think we can all agree now that he's good for what he is but he isn't all that. (I got that line from "Sister Act." Yup.) Actually he's good for about 5 innings usually, but let's not subscribe to any inflated delusions of him being our mysterious X-factor in the playoffs.

Lester had a no-no going for 6 innings, and seriously, people really are getting jacked up about no hitter bids earlier and earlier every season. By 2012, I'm gonna see across the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, "SCORE ALERT: Joe Blanton perfect through 2...stay tuned."

I honestly think that after Dallas Braden did his whole Faustian 27 up-27 down thing, the sports world just assumes that anything's possible and that no-no's are being handed out as free gifts for signing up for a Mastercard or something.

But alas Super Mario breaks up the no hitter, mercifully. I don't want to give Sux fans anything to grab onto in desperation when they're escorted into the bleak off-season while the Yanks are still gunning. And you KNOW they'd be like, "WHATEVER, you may be in the postseason, but Lester OWNS your sorry asses!"

Actually, what am I saying. They're going to latch onto some other ridiculous argument. Oh yeah. I know. The Giants. Is it psychotic that I'm getting preemptively infuriated at this, at the imaginary Sux fans who are giving me grief about the Gmen to console themselves about their baseball team?

Arod and Grandy both went yard, and I'm really liking how the big bats are taking it upon themselves to score. Like "Eff this noise. This manufacturing runs thing aint really taking. Let's go all Kobe Bryant and just try to win the games ourselves." I know, I know. It's better to manufacture runs. But I like the fact that when we need the runs, the long ball is still firmly entrenched in our lineup's capabilities.

Currently, 15 out of the last 18 runs the Yanks have scored have been driven by homeruns.

What I DON'T like? Is giving up. (Obviously. I mean, who does? Except for my mom, maybe, who told me on my first day of cross-country preseason: "Ok, if you get tired, STOP. Don't keep running or anything. Just...stop.") And this quote from Arod sounds suspect:

"We need somebody to go out and shut the door on the other team. When you're
down five or six runs, it's hard to play with an edge."

Well, yeah, maybe with THAT defeatist attitude it is! That mentality worries me, Alex. And quite frankly, doesn't really seem to be the case since you guys managed to come back from a 10-1 deficit the night prior, and spent pretty much all of last year covered in shaving cream pies.
And who exactly is this "somebody" he's talking about? I can't imagine the bullpen being too thrilled about the fact Arod's all "Man, it's too bad we don't have any reliable middle relief!"

Oh, well. Whatever, I don't like most of the middle relievers anyway, what do I care.

Ah, and there's Game 3.

First of all, let me say that I was utterly shocked by the ESPN booth tonight. SHOCKED. I have NEVER heard them announce a game this impartially. I mean, of course they weren't impartial at all, but for them it was impartial. Like if a boyfriend gives a girl a bag of Rolos for Valentine's Day or something, when he's normally a cheap, unromantic bastard, and then the chick can say, "Aww, well for HIM, that's so so so adorable!"

But yeah, Morgan and Miller were getting all fired up for the Yanks whenever something legitimately exciting happened. I swear, I was so unsettled by this whole thing. What's your game? What's your ANGLE? Something's up.

Yeah I'm on to you guys. Nice try.

My youngest sis was at the game. Her first Yankee-Boston game. I was so proud. Phil Hughes got the ball instead of Moseley. Why was this even up for debate? I'm confused. Why is Moseley a starter? Or on the roster? All he does is stay under the radar. Seriously. He's like he somehow made being irrelevant a marketable asset.

Hughes gives up 1 run and 3 hits in a little over 6 innings, while Matsuzaka whiffed 7 in 8 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits.

The following are things I don't understand about Dice-K:

  • The fact $53 million was shelled out just to talk to him
  • The existence of a gyroball that was allll the rage and then never discussed again
  • The rampant toting of his ability to go soooo far into the game and consistently eat up innings without getting tired
  • The fact I feel like he comes and goes in and out of the Sux roster/rotation like he's a freelancer or something
  • The fact I feel like he indiscriminately spends weeks at a time on the DL for fatigue
  • His suspicious "inability" to speak English

The Sux take a 1-0 lead when V-Mart drives in Bill Hall in the 3rd. Now might be a good time to bring up the fact I recognize about 2 people on the Sux roster these days. Kalish? Andersen? Patterson? I'm so confused.

I said to Laur at one point, "This game is flyyiiiinnng. At the rate it's going, it'll be done by 10."

Talk about your all time "spoke too soon" moments. I felt like I should have had some kind of sitcom "irony" sound effect ring in the background.

Arod gives the Yanks the lead with a 2-run shot to right that bounced off some fan's hands, and boy is he pissed about that. He is KICKING himself and also, it's on camera, so how embarrassed is he tomorrow when he's at the K-cup machine making some Columbian Roast and his coworkers start filing in to give him unmitigated hell?

Ah well. Oh and btw, Arod's hit something like .600 for the series, with 4 homeruns.

Also, my sister and I decided that if a clinical study was done on the effect of his absence from the room during Arod AB's was compared in a placebo-controlled trial, the results would demonstrated statistical significance.

So much so that when he was batting and I heard her flush the toilet and start to re-enter the living room, I nearly jumped off the couch trying to get her to go back inside.



But then the bad guys took the lead. Because Mariano Rivera blew the save.

It's ok, Mo.

God, he looked SO SAD on the mound. Like he was going to cry. I felt so bad.

Fortunately, Papelbon sucks, and he's the #1 guy I want to see on the mound if a comeback is needed.

Ah, what a difference a year makes, eh? Remember when he was the "next Mo"? Idiots.


"It was tough considering the fact that I was not only pitching against
their lineup, I was also pitching against the ump," Papelbon said. "When you do
that against this lineup, you are never going to be successful."

Are you kidding me?? Yeah THAT'S why you lost. Blame it on the ump. How old are you? Six? As my dad would say, "Go wait in the car.'

As I would say, "You're beneath us."

As my sis said, "Ha! See? Now YOUR closer blew the save too. So leave Mo alone."

Yeah, he had a rough night. He let baserunners go nuts. 3 SBs against him. Even the ESPN idiots noted, "This is not very AL East-like baseball. Aggressive base running? Creating runs? Hmpf."

So the Boston schmuck lets the Yanks tie up the game, and I start to remember how I thought the game was gonna be over by 10, and then remembered how the teams are contractually obligated to meet the 15 hour quota for every Greatest Rivalry in Sports series.

And hence we go into extras.

Pretty soon the bases are loaded, in part due to V-Mart tripping while trying to field GGBG's bunt. In a very predictable and very pathetic display of theatrics, he starts blaming the errant throw on an ambiguous injury. Maybe his ankle? No one knows for sure. When that didn't work, he tried saying GGBG was running in fair territory.

No dice, losers.

The game is in the hands of a guy who doesn't even look at the plate when he's pitching. He's closing his eyes and looking downward.

So it came as no surprise when he walked in the winning run. Juan Miranda's easy patience at the plate brought in GGBG and then Yanks awkwardly celebrate with wild abandon. I say "awkward" because, well, it's a walk-off WALK. I say "wild abandon" because, well, it was a HUGE win, and this fact was not lost on anyone.

(BTW, where was the pie? Did I just change channels too quickly? Because I didn't see any.)

Miranda got the Chevy Player of the Game, but I thought it should have been Golson, for tricking Francona into intentionally walking Jeter. That was very important, Greg. Well done.

It seemed fitting that the walk-off walk clinched at least a tie for the Wild Card. You know? Like, yes it's awesome to nearly guarantee a playoff spot, but how much more anticlimatic is a "tie for the Wild Card"? It's the same deal as a walk-off walk. Exhilirating. But with a glass ceiling.

So, the Yanks basically just have to win 1 game to clinch the playoffs for real. HOWEVAH, this is irrelevant because we all know the Yanks are winning the division.

It's the YANKEES. It's almost OCTOBER.

It's their thing.

Have faith in the Yankees.

They know what they're doing.

Cheers to a crazy momentum-generating week of wins that culminate in a soul-crushing sweep of the Sux at Fenway next weekend.

What better way is there to roll into the postseason than at the expense of the pathetic also-rans from New England?

The answer is very few.


So I'm thinking that the whole thing with the Rays is more annoying than we suspect. I mean, I hate it as much as anyone when Kay goes into his whole "you know, this is like a playoff preview!" rants, as if he's presenting us with brand new information that only a season sports journalist could possibly be intuitive to.

But, eh, he's right. The Rays have a cake schedule ahead of them, the Yanks have a long road ahead. We're only up a half game, and the Rays are 10-8 against us in the season. So I suppose we should consider the fact that there's the possibility we don't end up winning the division, that we end up having to settle for the WILD CARD, in which case no one is gonna be happy at all.

As a rule, I hate the Wild Card. Even when the Yanks were the first team to be the Wild Card. I think it's a completely communist rule. A team that doesn't have the best record gets to be in the playoffs, WITHOUT ANY DISADVANTAGE. Even though they didn't get the job done enough to win the division, they still end the playoffs on a level playing field.

My sis always says that the wild card usually has the edge because they have nothing to lose, they're playing with house money, and that typically amounts to more momentum that carries them further in the playoffs.

As for me, I'm saying that I don't even want to entertain this ludicrous practice, because the Yankees are still gonna win the division. You may have won the battle, Rays, but we're gonna win the war.

Last night, the Yanks threw another one away. I don't get Fatso sometimes. I don't understand how he can throw near-no-no's some days and other days just be fat. I guess that's the way every pitcher is, but I guess I just think the Mound on the Mound transcends basic athletic make-up.

Joe Maddon continued to annoyed the f outta me, and his brilllllliiiiaaannntt intellect gave us this quote, when he was asked about his upcoming season finish that features games against the toughest of the tough (Seattle, KC, and Baltimore):

"I know on paper it looks good, but from my perspective I don't take anybody for granted," Maddon said. "We just have to keep playing the kind of game we played the last two nights. I've been an anti-assumptionist for the last few years -- I don't want to start right now."

Oh, is that right? You've been an "anti-assumptionist" for the last few years? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? You suck.

The Yanks took an early 2-0 lead with a bomb from Timms. TB got on the board with a ribbie from Zobrist in the 3rd, the Yanks stretched it to a 3-1 lead when Swish drove in Golson.

Then the 6th inning happened.

And, well, things sort of fell apart pretty quickly.

Let's just skip all the hits that were going on, and the granular shit that happened, but suffice to say all of a sudden it's 3-3 and the bases are loaded with only 1 out.

Girardi pulled when he walked a run in, on a 4th ball that was infuriatingly masquerading as a strike. (I mean this when I say that I never see CC argue balls and strikes. Really. Not like a "And you NEVER see Jeter argue calls!" way, where the sentiment is uttered so many times that it's lost validity a long time ago.)

The they bring in Joba, and he doesn't know what the f he's doing, so he lets in a couple of runs before Javy comes in.

"He's gonna be a great reliever for us in the playoffs," my buddy notes.

But Javy looks confused too, and starts pitching like a loony tune. If it wasn't hitting the batter, it was certainly hitting the bat, which isn't an objective that any good pitcher should really aim for. (If Javy was even aiming at all. Tough to say really.)

"He's gonna kill us in the playoffs."

"I thought you just said he was gonna be great."

"I changed my mind. He's gonna suck. Can't I change my mind? Well, I just did."

So, there's that.

You know what though? The score really makes the loss look a lot worse than it actually was. David Price was by no means unhittable. Not at all. His line score was pretty close to that of Fatty.

Price: 8H, 4BB, 7K, 1HR
CC: 10H, 3BB, 6K, 0HR

The only place that their numbers differed was the tiny detail of runs scored. 3 vs 7. Sooo, ok fine Price gets the edge there.

Once again, the games were handed over to the bullpens, and am I wrong, but wasn't the Yank pen like the best in the game pretty recently? It's so weird, because I don't remember a time in recent years where I was EVER happy about seeing the game handed over to the pen. Even last year, when they were great. I don't know, I'm just like conditioned to assume the bullpen ruins everything.

(Barring one obvious exception, of course.)

The Rays stole our game plan of being patient at the plate and saw nearly 200 pitches over the course of the game.

Both teams stranded 9 runners, and the Rays were .384 with RISP to the Yanks .428. See? Not too different.

The score is lopsided but the teams are not.

The Yanks are better.

And maybe I'm just rationalizing things here, but I'm almost happy we have the tougher schedule.

Because that's how the champions are filtered from the simply great teams.

The Yanks will rise to the occasion. The Rays? Will just be a casualty.


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