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It's been a few days, and we're still in Spring Training. I'm getting impatient. It's like the winter went by at a normal, tolerable pace...and now the last few weeks before the season starts are moving like my mom in a furniture store.

I briefly tabled the preseason games in favor of the ever-popular March Madness tournament. However, at this point, my bracket basically is just a list of teams that lost. Along with hitting a homerun in a softball game, creating a perfect bracket is one of the things I want to do before I'm 30. Soo...1 year left.

And 1 season left. It basically means I have to hit a homerun during this softball season since. Along these lines, I've been more or less salivating in Paragon Sports for the past 2 days, checking in on an Easton softball bat more than once a day, like it's a sick relative with visiting hours.

Or, more aptly, like I'm Wayne stalking his guitar:

Except instead of being denied Stairway, I'm being denied practice swings.

Tomorrow though. Tomorrow may be the day I bite the bullet and purchase this thing of beauty. I'm really bordering on obsessed with it. And, like Oscar Wilde say, the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.

In other news:

  • I inadvertantly informed Verizon of my weekend goals today, when I accidentally replied to a text message telling me to pay my bill, with "I wanna wear a birthday hat all night."

  • The questions are spinning around the Yankee maelstrom: WHO WILL BE THE 5th STARTER? The fact that this is even a question really incenses me. Big time. It's like on par with the season of American Idol when Sanjaya managed to stick around for an offensive amount of time. Joba=Sanjaya. That's it. And Hughes is like Jennifer Hudson, some brilliant talent who somehow loses the popular vote and gets voted off the island. HOWEVAH, as far as losers go, she's done well for herself. Which just goes to show you: you can get by on smoke and mirrors and charm and politics for only so long. But sooner or later, all things will be equal, and substance trumps posture.

  • And I believe that this is that time for Hughes. He will be named the 5th starter. (For the record, I didn't like this idea, at all. But I've been following him during preseason, and he's doing everything that Joba never has: cultivating a pitching repetoire. Honing his variety. MATURING.)

  • That's the #1 difference between these two young relievers: poise and responsibility. Hughes took his lumps, went to the bullpen, and worked at it. Because outstanding. Now he wants in the rotation and he's doing everything he can to make that happen. He deserves it, and I predict he'll excel as a 5-guy. Think about it. Hughes as the last man in the rotation. Could be cinematic.

  • The Red Sux lost today. Papelbon has been looking like crap. Pedroia's day to day with a wrist injury. All their ducks are in a row for April 4!

  • Ichiro makes a catch reminiscent of Mays and while I'm the LAST person to ever downplay Spring Training, I gotta throw a "pump the breaks" on this one. PLENTY of better catches have been made than the one Ichiro made today. In regular season games.

  • I just realized that almost all of my friends who support a team that isn't the Yankees, all claim their respective franchise boasts the best rotation in the league. Hmm. I'm skeptical. And I'm biased. Obviously the Yankees are the best. Their alleged competition has been argued by:
1.) An Atlanta fan, who cites the triumverate of Hudson, Lowe (?????), Jurrjens (valid), and Hanson

2.) Numerous Phillies fans, who have every right to flap their arms and scream "Halladay" at me in a manner not unlike this, can slow their roll when it comes to Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton.

3.) Mets fans, who...just, no. No. Santana. Sigh.

4.) Red Sox fans, who are just echoing their tune from last year. I wish they would shut up. Seriously. Like, not in a faceitous, "oh go kick rocks" type of way. Like a literal desire to have all of them stop making any kind of sound. That said, Lester is gold, Beckett's aight, and everyone else is without.

5.) A Cardinal fan, who can't decide whether to lionize his starters or his lineup, knowing that both are vulnerable to severely and improbably disappointing him.
  • Regarding the Yankees, Granderson got contacts, continuing an ongoing tradition of our outfielders to have inexplicable vision ailments that seemed to escape their attention for 20 something years. Be careful, Curtis. Lay off the caffeine, it's hell for contact-wearers and wreaks havoc on eyesight.

  • Speaking of dodging health bullets, I almost went into cardiac arrest today while catching up on twitter, "tweet" from Mark Feinsand from 2 days ago.

  • That said, I'm clearly very behind on my news and blogging. All in good time. Come April 4, I'll be back like a hurricane, sleep be damned. But right now, I unfortunately must tend to the things that will likely fall by the wayside in about 11 days.

God, I can't wait.

Yesterday was my first day back at the office after being in the Utopia-like Florida for the last week.

Not exactly an easing-back-into-things kind of situation.

Maybe "cannonballing" isn't the right analogy, since that implies you jump right into it and there's a brief moment of ice-water pain, then it's enjoyable. As opposed to tiptoeing into the frigid pool.

I need an analogy that's like cannonballing into a pool of rubbing alcohol after playing Red Rover, Red Rover with Edward Scissorhands.

The good news is that I only have 2 more days left and then it's already the weekend again. Sadly, I'll probably go back to being pale by then. Sigh.

I was at work til 11:00 last night, which made my 6pm fantasy draft a little challenging.

The league has 20 teams, with 24-man rosters. I don't even know who the hell half the people on my team even are. I'm pretty sure some of them aren't even fully formed zygotes, but rather nascent embryos that the Nationals and O's have already drafted into their farm systems.

Yeah, so that's what I'm working with. You'll notice the presence of Oliver Perez on the team. This is due largely to a post I wrote on January 27, in which I got more ridiculous fantasy tips from the resident lunatic. To be fair, I am indebted to him, since he taught me how to make my fantasy team name in Yahoo take up 2 lines.

In Yankee news:


WHAT THE HELL??!?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS. This is so beyond anything that comes close to making sense. If ever in the history of the game there has been a player that is more exemplary of "The Prodigal Son"...well, nevermind, because there hasn't been, so I'm not even going to finish posing the tautology.

Basically, up until yesterday, Joba Chamberlain was posting a morbidly obese 27.00 ERA. To further underscore the disgusting-ness of this, consider that the next highest ERA is Chad Gaudin's 7.71 in 7 innings.

After that, here's the contestants in the addictive reality show of Elimin-Arm: (from

  • After Hughes pitched four innings of scoreless three-hit ball in the Yanks' 4-1 win against the Astros on Tuesday, he lowered his spring ERA to 2.08 through 8 2/3 spring frames.
  • Also in the mix, Aceves has been arguably the sharpest, with an 0.90 mark through 10 frames.
  • Mitre (3.00 ERA in nine innings) also remain under consideration.

Listen, Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Someone else once said, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day."

Why the f*&^ would you even toy with the idea of Joba existing outside of the pen, when everyone on God's green earth--from Diane Keaton to Ian Ziering to James Gandolfini--is a better starter than Joba Chamberlain?

Barring the common sense aspect of it, what do you think it's gonna do to the legit pitchers who are fighting their asses of for this 5th starter spot, if the useless collection of fat cells wearing #62 is awarded the role over them?

Career-wise, the advertising business can demand ungodly hours and unrelenting attention. And I'm ok with that. But what if one day, someone got promoted over me, who didn't share the same dedication? All it takes is one brilliant idea for an ad campaign to make someone a supernova in the agency industry. And when that happens, it doesn't matter what else (or how little) the employee contributed. It's the nature of the business, but no one can say it doesn't incense them if it should happen.

What does Joba have that is making everyone so desperate for him to be a starter? He's got 2 pitches, immaturity, inconsistency, and zero metabolism. In what galaxy are these traits considered the fundamental linchpins of a starting pitcher?

He makes me sick, to think of all those poor hurlers who don't get to start because Justin Chamberlain eats up all the innings and attention and love.

That's right. I'm back to calling him Justin. This means war.

In more optimistic news, a la players whose talent and effort is rewarded in kind:

According to the Star Ledger, NY Yankees' Brett Gardner pulling slightly ahead of pack in outfield competition:

So far, here’s the numbers for those in the mix:

*Gardner: 6-for-25 (.240/.345/.320), 1 RBI

*Thames: 3-for-21 (.143/.182/.143), 0 RBI

*Winn: 3-for-18 (.167/.211/.167), 0 RBI

Good, I like Brett. And I could never figure out why he was so discounted during the whole Damon-Granderson-Outfield rumor cesspool tidal wave.

Currently the Yankees are 6-8 (.429) in Spring Training, with the best record belonging to Tampa Bay (11-3). The Angels are sporting the worst AL record (3-9, .250), and--no surprise here--the Nats have the worst overall record (2-12, .143). But hey, it's just Spring Training. No big deal.

(Though someone should tell that to Cliff Lee, who got suspended for 5 games yesterday after intentionally beaning Dbacks catcher Chris Synder.

Lee is such an asshole. Not because he drilled someone, but because of the weeshpy (sp? word?) way he circumvented the issue afterwards. That's one of the things I love about AJ Burnett. He hits at someone. Hi admits it. He's an unapologetic sociopath.

Lee is just that guy who acts up in class and makes snide comments half under his breath all day, and then when he's under the hot lamp, he gets all shifty with his gazes and deflects blame, etc. Kind of like Phillip Seymour Hoffman at the end of Scent of a Woman. AJ=Chris O'Donnell. Lee=loser.)

HOWEVAH, when it comes to ridiculous spring training aggression, I'd have to give the award to Julian Tavarez on this one, who rivals even me with the "Seriously, do you not know this game means nothing?" delusions of grandeur.

In March 2000, Russ Davis on the Giants charged the mound because Tavarez struck him out and then did some minor celebration thing. Tavarez, who is nuts, raised the bar by reacting to the mound-charging with the totally normal move of a flying dropkick.

Six years later, Taverez got suspended for 10 days for "unsportsmanlike conduct." Joey Gathright was tagged out at the plate, and he started to protest that Tavarez was stepping on his forearm. Tavarez responded by decking Gathright in the face. Again, completely rational.

Anyways, that's all I got right now. I apologize for the lack of posts, I've been trying to catch up on things outside of baseball, and it's taking its toll on the blogging. I plan on having all ducks in a row by end of next week though, just in time for opening day. Just in time for the return to daily posts, previews, and analysis!

As for now, I'm heading out for my first softball practice of the season. What an amazing day outside. Not only am I stoked to be taking the field for the first time this year, but there's the added bonus that I love walking around the city with an aluminum bat.

(Technically, I guess not really taking the "field," per se. Apparently, we're practicing for the first time on pavement on 19th and 2nd. Right now, 2 of my coworkers are already there, 45 minutes early to "save the spots." Which makes me think we're playing in a parking lot, and they're lying down in car spaces. I'm fine with that.)

The only way I could have been more content with the world was if I was watching a Yankee game instead of a Marlins-Mets one. But barring this, it was one of those perfect afternoons because it centered on the fundamental elements of a utopian society: baseball, daytime drinking, 80 degree weather.

I really wouldn't have even cared if it was the non-roster invitees taking the field, but I lucked out and got to see Santana pitch 4 innings of 3-hit shutout ball, matched by equally effective Anibal Sanchez.

During all this lack of scoring, I was talking with Ollie (my friend, not the pitcher), and trying to find out if any of the bullpen that I was roughy 8 inches away from, was worth sacrificing my pride, dignity, and self-respect, to hand one of them a sharpie and a baseball.

According to Ollie: "#76..mejia. or #46...OP. that's it."

"Neither of them are here. I'll get Maine."

"Maine's a scrub. Don't waste the ball."

Maybe 10 minutes after this exchange, the score blows open from 0-0 to 5-0, courtesy Fredricksburg, VA native John Kevin Maine. Good knowledge, Ollie.

In the process of trying to discern who these bullpen people were, I'm pretty sure I gave Kelvim Escobar the impression I was stalking him. The #45 on his windbreaker looked a lot like a #46, and I thought I had finally tracked down the elusive Oliver Perez.

Oh, well.

I also saw about 12,123,010 pipsqueaks flocking to some guy in the pen for his Herbie Hancock.

"Who's #10?" I asked Ollie.

"No idea. Not on the 40-man.."

I had to look it up on when I got home, but just as I thought Escobar was Ollie (the pitcher, not my friend), I thought #18 was #10. I hate the fact that I was straining my eyesight on the Mets, and I hate even more that I couldn't even accurately read the numbers. Grr.

Turns out #18 is NY's latest answer to the Japanglicization of MLB. Ryota Igarashi. The Queens version of Kei Igawa, it would appear.


Igawa was one of 9 Yankee cuts. I know he hasn't been an issue for the Yanks, since he hasn't taken the field in roughly 13,887 years, but still. I am a lot more comfortable knowing that as the "Name that 5th Starter" game continues to play on and on and on...Kei's name will officially never enter that arena.

Igawa was 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA in 16 Major League games with the Yankees in2007 and '08. He spent all of last season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he owns a dubious franchise record with 29 victories.

Igawa had a 16.87 ERA in two Grapefruit League appearances this spring, allowing five runs on four hits in 2 2/3 innings while attempting to work as a reliever.

In other Yankee news:

Their 9th inning rally fell short today, in a 10-5 loss to the Pirates.

Nick Johnson hit his 3rd HR of Spring Training.

CC got knocked around. Meh.

Cano expected to be the 5th batter. (This kills me. Am I missing something, because all off-season I kept hearing, "who's gonna round out the order in the 5-spot?" And I kept saying, "Um, Cano, right?" And this is not to IN ANY WAY be a "Psh, I totally called that" dig...but rather to be a "I don't understand the question, who else would be the 5-guy?" query. Now I'm seeing on, under "News" no less, that Girardi may slot second baseman in the 5-spot daily. Can someone please tell me where the debate was in this? Or are the Yankees just want for things to furrow their brows over these days?)

Yesterday, the Yankees played the bottom of the 9th inning...despite the fact they were ahead at the end of the top of the 9th. Which is kind of like when me and Laur play pool and I predictably scratch on the break, so we decide to change the game from 8-ball to 4-ball, or something. I want to say that I'd love it if the Yankees did this one time in the regular season against the Sox or something. But upon further consideration, it seems a little too Belichik for my taste.

I know very few people get into Spring Training and all, but if you watch ANY game this spring, make it the one against the Astros on Tuesday, where the Yanks are putting out their lineup that is expected to be their Opening Day lineup.

In the same vein, for all you 'Spring Training is meaningless' disciples, it may not be a bad idea to realize that it's the middle of March. Opening Day is 3 weeks away. And the Yanks are 5-7. (.417). Last year, the Yanks had the best record in the Grapefruit League and the 2nd best record in the league (24-10, .721). I know these losses won't affect us come April 4. But you can't always wait til the 8th inning to decide to light a fire under your ass. Same goes for preseason...

In other meaningless battle news...

I've spent the last 2 days building Gecko Village, which is just a more challenging version really of catching fireflies and keeping them in a mason jar. Same concept. Just with geckos. And a tupperware container. And with 2 fat cats who claim to be expert gecko hunters but who really don't offer much in the way of predatory instincts.

If you thought part of me didn't consider bringing G.V. back to New York, as a souveneir for Crazy Yankee Hamster, you'd be wrong. I definitely googled, "live animals airport security."

And lastly, I went to an Art Show on the beach, and even though--as I mentioned--Boston fans swarm like annoying gnats around the stadiums, Yankee culture is still the dominant force. And now I have an artistic reminder of that:

The Red Coats Ain’t Coming.

Good thing I didn’t pour all my tax refund into Stubhub. One of the biggest reasons I came down to Florida this week was based on the Grapefruit League schedule in the greater Palm Beach area. So far, the Mets-Sux game was a quasi-rain-mess.

And today, the Cards-Sux game was cancelled altogether. In a stark departure from my normal code of conduct, I did the whole “cross that bridge when we come to it” thing when it came to locking up game tickets. Usually, I’m more of “build the bridge whether we need it or not and cover all potential avenues.” Aka I HATE going anywhere without tickets. But look at me being all breezy.

Donna got MVP of today by getting her boy on the Boston roster to hook us up with 4 tickets to today’s game. To steal a line from “American Psycho,” a wave washed over me in awesome relief. (To put things in perspective how hard it was to get tix for this game: Stubhub had 4 bleacher tix listed at $68 a piece. FOR A SPRING TRAINGING GAME. Bananas.)

But, alas, no dice. And me, Laur, and Donna retreated to some bar outside of Roger Dean Stadium called JJ Something or other, and where me and Laur were enveloped by an unrelenting stream of “YANKEE FANS?!?!? What are YOU doing here?” (OK, granted, we were wearing Yankee gear at a Cards-Sux game, but technically NO ONE was in their rightful city. All that red was certainly blinding.)

I was so thrown off by the rampant Sux presence, that I inadvertently mocked some poor kid who was just trying to make friendly “hey we’re rivals, haha” banter. He offers to Donna his bar stool, (“BUT ONLY HER SINCE SHE’S A BOSTON FAN AND YOU TWO ARE YANKEE FANS!”) then says something about buying a beer. And I laughed because I honestly thought he was trying to sound like an idiot. “Ohhh, I get it. BEE-UHH. Ha, because that’s how New England imbeciles say it?”

I swear to God, I was being dead serious, I really thought he was putting on his best Sully and Marty Boston bar accent. And geez, it wasn’t like I was making fun of Marlee Matlin or something.

We actually spent the afternoon talking to 2 tolerable Sox fans (actually, they were above par, 7.5s on a scale of 1-11, with the scale being recalibrated to take into account their non-Yankee-ness), who were (admittedly) funny and entertaining if you could look past their occasional “You gotta admit, A-Rod does suck…” lapses, which is the unshakeable vice of all Bostonians. Just keep that in mind if you’re ever tempted to overlook a Boston fan’s inherent Boston-ness. Because no matter how tolerable they are, they will ALWAYS, ALWAYS subject you to the “Well, you gotta admit” bullshit.

We went from public enemy #1 to thick as thieves with the Sux fans, in a brief turn of events that was akin to that scene in "Dude, Where’s My Car?" when Chester has to answer some question about how fast an ostrich runs or something, and he gets it right to free him and his buddy from whatever torture a bird poacher is likely to inflict upon them.

Right, hear this. I am going to ask you a question.
If you get it
right I will set you free.
If you get it wrong...
...well, you will be
spending a lot of time with the...
...ever popular Mark.

I can be very nice.

Alright, here it is:
What is the average running speed...
...of a full grown male african ostrich?

Pass. Pass to me. I know it.

Pass to Mark.

You can not pass!

Shut up. What do I have to do to shut you up? Do I have to hose you
down again?

Don't hose me. Maybe later.

Dude, we're dead.

Not so fast. The full grown male african ostrich or the latin
"struthio camelus" can go to an average size of sixty six inches...
...and weight anywhere from 225 to 350 pounds that can get up to....
...well an average speed of...
...27 miles per hour.

This is absolutely correct.

Animal Planet!

Well. I said brown.

Here, let me get you out of this stinky cage.

Similarly, I was instantly attacked with the “You’re not even a real fan! You probably just bought that hat this year!” accusation. Sigh. It’s a lose-lose. If I wear out my decrepit Yankee hat, I get railed for wearing a germ-habitat. If I wear a cleaner version, I get tagged with the “I-just-started-watching-the-Yankees-this-year-is-that-not-cool?” stigma.

And, as usual, I got the basic litmus test of Yankee fandom. He actually asked a fair question, as opposed to times when I’ve gotten “Who was the Patriots’ tight end in 1988?” (I’m not kidding. Someone actually asked me that once to disprove the theory I was a big Yankee fan. So I guess, in some circles, and in some schools of thought, I would not meet such fan criteria.)

Today, I got “Yeah, so if you’re such a big fan, who played SS before Jeter?”

Ah, there’s a name I haven’t much of since August 2.

Bingo. I’m in the clear. I passed. I felt like Sarah in “Labyrinth.”

So we toast over Red Stripes, and celebrate the ability of us rivals to coexist and get along. I also learned he’s sang the National Anthem at both Roger Dean Stadium and Fenway. Good story, he should have lead with that.

So that’s all I got on the day. I learned that Florida beers contain less alcohol than NY beers. I didn’t get arrested. I threatened to throw 2 kids in a wood chipper if they continued their “talk-loudly-in-the-vicinity-of-the-Yankee-fan-about-how-much-the-Yankees-suck” routine. I later told the “bee-uh” guy that I would cut out his spleen if he kept making stupid Yankee comments. And I spent $2 on that claw-grabbing-stuffed animal arcade game, but didn’t win.

All in all, I’d say I made the best of a rainout, and managed to hone the all-important Yankee defensive skills that are crucial come Opening Day.

Tomorrow, I may venture back to Roger Dean Stadium to check out the Cards-Astros, or on Sunday to see the Marlins-Mets…

(Most likely the latter, since I’m still dead set on getting my hands on an Oliver Perez autograph for my nutso buddy Ollie. I can’t believe I just actually publicly subscribed to that sentiment, I don’t know how much worse it can get than chasing down Oliver Perez.)

Mets vs Sux, Port Saint Lucie, March 11, 1:10
I don’t know how parents do it. I don’t know how they unrelentingly humor their children FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES. I’m almost 29. You’d think that I’d have reached the age where my parents should be able to say to me, Are you seriously going to subject me to this? Do I HAVE to?

But no.

When I woke up this morning at 9am, all stoked for the Mets/Sux game an hour away, for which I didn’t even possess tickets, the original plan was to have my sis accompany me. So I wake her up the same way I always do, which, in her defense, is probably the most jarring, terrifying, unpleasant experience in the realm of Sleep Interruptive Methods. And she entertains the idea for about 23 seconds of actually going with me. Then, “No, I’m not going.”


Coincidentally, it was right around then I hear my dad say, “Oh no. Tornado watches in effect in Port St. Lucie. Should we tell her she can’t go?”


My poor parents. It was like listening to the grandparents discuss Charlie (of the Chocolate Factory persuasion) when they learn the 5th golden ticket has already been found. “Should we tell him??”

A normal person would have said, “Well, seeing as it’s thunderstorming like what, it’s an hour drive, I don’t have tickets, and it’s a Spring Training game for 2 teams I don’t even like…I’ll just stay in and enjoy the therapeutic effects of Solarcaine all day.”

Instead, my mom jumped on the grenade (the grenade being the trip to Port St. Lucie). My sister will do almost anything if it involves drinking outside and hanging out with me and watching baseball, but inclement weather throws the trump card on all of that.

Me and my mom follow the tornado clouds to Traditions Field, and while we’re getting the off I-95, there’s a handful of ticket sellers. “Should we haggle?” my mom asked.

I’ve never haggled in my life. Ever. I get too awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to arguing money, and as such, I think the technical term for my kind would be “patsy.” I bought 2 “Berm” seats for $20 each ($10 more than face), but at least I had tickets in my hand! Berm, of course, is the general admission lawn area in the outfield. (I don’t know why they actually put seat numbers on the berm tix. Like I was going to start scouring the field for a plot of grass designated “128.”)

So here’s how the game went once me and my wonderfully amazing sport of a mom assumed our “seats”:

Pelfrey gave up 3 runs almost instantly in the 1st inning, but sort of settled down after that. I’m not sure anyone cares about this, but better safe than sorry, I guess.

My mom as we’re walking to stadium from parking lot: “Ok, let’s go over a couple of ground rules. DO NOT start a fight. Do not look at anyone funny, don’t yell anything at them, don’t pour beer on them, don’t put ketchup on them. Just DON’T. START. ANYTHING. Also, don’t get arrested.” Fair.

My mom the second we sit down: “My God, Ortiz still plays baseball? Even after last year? I mean, come on. He sucked! Someone actually thinks he’s going to rebound? PUH-LEEZE.” It should be noted that since both me and my mom have hearing impairments, whenever we hang out, it’s like watching a play-reading. Everything’s extra loud and annunciated. It should be also noted that the guy sitting in front of us was a 300lb Ortiz-wearing buffalo.

I pointed Ortiz out to my mom, and she shrieked in such disbelief, mixed with shades of contempt but also a little bit excitement for the scandalous implications the sight conjured up. “OH. MY. GOD. HOW HAS NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THIS???!! OH MY GOD, JUST LOOK AT HIM! You couldn’t lose that much weight if YOU HAD YOUR JAWS LOCKED AND WIRED SHUT.” Excellently put.

The rain started coming down around the 3rd or 4th inning. We couldn’t actually see the scoreboard. And it came down in buckets and buckets.

And I remember thinking that even though I was completely surrounded by Mets and Red Sux fans, even though I was all shoulder-to-shoulder with all of them, huddled under the limited awning space by the berm, and even though I was enduring the inimitable wet-jeans-misfortune, I was just so happy right then, just to be around baseball fans. Just to be among the lunatics who stick out a monsoon during a spring training game.

My mom during rain delay: “I always feel like when they put a game on a delay, they should also say FREE FOOD.” Good point. Compensate us for our dedication by throwing in some hotdogs on the house.

My mom after rain delay: “Do you think that if the Mets are terrible again this year, that they’ll just disband? I mean, really. We already have a NY team. What are they buying us?” THANK YOU, MOM. I SAID THE EXACT SAME THING. Maybe not as awesomely, innocuously, and guilelessly earnest. But well-played, Mom. Well played.

My mom on #81 for the Sux: "Who's that? He keeps looking over here. Maybe he likes you!" (Spoken like a true mother.) "Oh. Or maybe it's because you've been inexplicably staring at him menacingly for the last 15 minutes." (Spoken like a true mother of a baseball fan.)

An hour after we leave, 2 homeruns get deposited right where we were sitting. CURSES!

Ah, tomorrow’s a new day. Cardinals-Red Sux at 1:05 in Jupiter.

And finally, Super MVP of the Day goes to my mom, because there is no doubt in my mind that I would have, in fact, gotten arrested if I had gone by myself. All that rain and mud and chaos and Mutts and Sux fans...and no supervision...being left to my own devices in a "stadium" that I had no real plans to visit again...I would have been like Jack Nicholson in the original "Batman."

So here I am in Florida. At last. As I mentioned, Tuesday was a bit of a shitshow, and by the time I finally reached my destination nearly 24 hours after I had left my apartment in NY, I felt very much like like Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers, when he comes downstairs and his buddy John is all sorts of bright eyed and bushy tailed, while Jeremy is still recovering from the psychological and physical torment he endured the night prior.

“I’m gonna choose not to eat with you.”

I apologize for the lack of posts as of late. It’s been kind of looney tunes for the past week or so. A lot going on on all fronts. And a lot going on for the forseeable future. Any day now I’ll actually make it to Spring Training (“baseball camp”). Then when I come back, IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

And the following week? I finally get to see my long-distance bf once again. Despite the distance that’s been between us, despite the fact that maybe we’re not technically “together” per se right now—at the risk of sounding cheesy—he’ll be back and we can pick up where we left off.

What, that’s normal. Lent was tough.

I head to North Carolina (on purpose, not like this accidental shitshow in the Charlotte airport) 2nd week in April to see my absolute favorite person who isn’t family.

Third weekend in April, the 4 Best Friends That Anyone Ever Had regroup to take in the first Yankee weekend homestand.

As such, it’s going to be a challenge to get the recaps up, but the good thing about being so obsessively compulsive about getting them done, is that if I were ever kidnapped I feel like the presence of lack thereof, of recap posting would alert my family to the fact there was foul play involved. (I have been watching WAY too many episodes of 48 Hours: Hard Evidence.)

During my 10 hours in Charlotte, I wrote quite a bit about both my seething rage about my flight situation, and also a number of baseball things I saw in bits and pieces (or “snapples,” as my mom calls it). I finally got a USB flash drive yesterday (as well as a SPELLUNKING HEAD LIGHT! Dear Diary, Jackpot. Love, CYC) God, it’s so awesome, I can’t wait to wear it out. (I’m really building quite the armamentarium of devices to facilitate night-vision.)

A few things about Charlotte:

1.) For some reason, this airport has about 290,102,234 little golf carts but zero Wifi access. You got that? The whole airport’s got the flu!

2.) I’m heading over to wait for my connecting flight to Florida, and before I could even settle into a seat with my Nathan’s cheeseburger and start leisurely catching up on my Yankee blogging in the hours before boarding, Boston clowns start filing into Gate C11 like a bunch of locust descending upon the earth, and sounding just as cacophonous. “Flight 1141 to West Palm Beach will now be boarding at D1. Flight 2247 to Boston will board here.”

a. I don’t think I have to outline the completely irrational contempt I felt for this minor (at worst) inconvenience, solely because of the destination city behind it.

b. This provides further proof that Boston is just a horrible, horrible harbinger of suck. Nothing from that city will ever be even close to okay enough, to ever even hint at compensating for the rest of the douche-evils (pronounced doo-SHEE-vuls) that are perennially spawned from that town.

i. I have a perfect clip that I want to hyperlink to right now, but…up! There’s no internet service here. How is this even possible? It’s like on par with seeing someone with a Walkman. And this is coming from someone who raged against the dying of the mix tape/nondigital camera/VHS well past college graduation.

And now a few things about baseball:

1.) A-Rod is following his spring training rubric of becoming as mired in controversy as possible. I need more information on this story…but from what I’m read, I’m more than convinced he’s clean. (I know, shocking. Psychotic fan sides with Yankee based on little to know background knowledge on the subject.) HOWEVAH, I did follow with much pointed interest, the whole steroids mess that sprouted last year, and I devote more than a normal amount of interest and attention to the study of lie detection.

A-Rod doesn’t look or sound guilty here. I WILL say that the fact he diverted from the team doctor to go to his own is pretty shady. But I don’t know. Maybe it’s sort of like how this year I decided to do my taxes myself instead of having my dad the CPA do it. I paid the $50 TurboTax fee and probably got less of a refund when I could have just had my dad do it for free and do more creative and fruitful things with the numbers.

I have no good reason for this, beyond stupid ones. I wanted to do it myself. I wanted to have control over it. I wanted to take care of it more quickly. I didn’t want a third degree about what I was spending my money on. Maybe A-Rod didn’t want the team doctor to know he wasn’t doing all his required hip rehab exercises. I can relate to that. Those PT appointments can be a bitch.

2.) Joe Nathan has Mets written all over him. The last time he pitched a real game, he handed over the ALDS to the Yankees, in the last game in the Metrodome ever. Now he’s looking at potentially season-ending surgery.

3.) Aceves and Mitre are the only 2 Yankee pitchers who haven’t relinquished any runs so far. It’s interesting, because last year, in a random run-in with David Cone, he argued that Aceves should be their starter, not Hughes. (I agreed with that, but not on his contention that Joba is a starter.) Joba is getting worse and worse this spring training. And here’s the thing, I KNOW that this is spring training, I know there’s nothing to be gained from relying on your bread and butter pitches. It’s all practice, time to work out the kinks.

It’s like when I’m practicing the piano, and I’d much rather just play through a song I know cold, backwards and forwards, because, well, it just sounds better, it’s easier, and I know I’m not pissing off any of my neighbors. Conversely, if I want to really want to learn a song and learn it the right way, I gotta isolate the problem areas and just play them over and over and over til I get it. Phil Hughes gets this concept.

He’s a good teammate. He does what he’s told. He does it with his all. And now, when he throws a bad pitch or lets up a ding, it’s more than likely it’s off a changeup. I’m okay with that. Who cares if the neighbors aren’t impressed? Once you nail that big run of chords in the end of the Requiem for a Dream theme, they’ll forget about all the nights you kept them up banging out dissonant notes for hours.

4.) Nomar Garciaparra signs with the Red Sox for one day so he can finish his career in Boston. I’ll never understand people. Everyone is nuts.

On a final note, I will say that while stuck in the airport bar in Charlotte, I immediately started getting the trash-talking from the middle aged man next me.
“Oooh Yankees fan huh? Well I’m a Cubs fan and my brother’s a Braves fan.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Well, the NL is…well, you know. The NL.”
“EXCCCUUUSSSSE ME. Um, who won the world series last year? Yeah, how about that?”

To his credit, I was, left a bit speechless. How do you respond to that? If I say the Yankees, it’s almost as if I’m dunking on a 3-year old in a pick up basketball game. Southerners are sneaky indeed.

Coming up (in, like, 3 hours)… my pilgrimage to “Tradition Field”….

The things that transpired over the the 22 hours it took me to actually travel from NYC to Florida have all been documented in varying degrees of real-time mania, as writing was pretty much the only thing I could do during my tour de East Coast Airports.

It's funny, because I wrote sheeves of analysis on actual baseball, on A-Rod, Aceves, the Mets, the AL..and then, of course, more sheeves on my quickening descent into unslaked ire that was the direct result of having my flights rerouted and cancelled so many times, it was like watching a bride-to-be make wedding decisions. Hemming and hawing. Indecisive. Determining the only place to get the plates she wanted was 7o0 miles away. Nothing's intuitive. Nothing's quick.

The funny part is that all this work I did, it's all on my laptop. I'm on a desktop now, with tons of lovely internet access, but there's no wireless here. Which means that without a flash drive (which I didn't include on my list of "Things I'll Need When Watching Spring Training Games in FL"), I have no way of getting all this prose from laptop to desktop to blog.

And here's why that amuses me. Because it's basically the exact pain in the ass I endured yesterday. A million alternate solutions to getting CLOSER to Florida. But never actually putting me at my destination. The sublime unattainability of the metaphorical DIRECT CONNECTION.

Anyways, I'm out to go get a USB thing now and check out the Cardinals stadium on my way.

Be back later...


Clearly, a few months away from the game has neither tempered my supreme contempt for Joba, nor has it tempered Joba's supreme affinity for hemorrhaging runs.

Well, I could barely even really follow this one since it was looney tunes at work today. All I know is I started "watching" it [read: refreshing scoreboard] when it started, saw Hughes gave up a ding, immediately got defensive to the imaginary people in my head who were groaning and told them all to go kick rocks.

1-0 Tampa.

Then, work duties called. So did Cosi. And when I returned to my computer screen, it's 8-1. I was thinking, "This is cute. Just like old times. The Yankees getting slaughtered by the Devil Rays* inexplicably."

But if I thought THAT was like old times, it was even more Yankee-style when they started staging their big comeback in the 7th. (Actually, this isn't totally par for the course, as they usually commence scoring in the 8th.)

So when I see it's 8-1, and I don't know what to throw first, I look at the box score and see our boy Joba gave up 5 runs in like 14 seconds. I guess he didn't know what to throw first either.

Oh, wait. That's not true. Even though I didn't see a single second of actual game footage, I'd be willing to bet my nose that Mr. Joba Chamberlain threw about 710 sliders.

Which still sounds less disgusting than his stats on the day:

Chamberlain surrendered back-to-back RBI triples to Bartlett and Rodriguez in the third and was chased by a Ruggiano double in the fourth, allowing five runs on three hits with three walks and a strikeout. Chamberlain threw 33 pitches, 14 for strikes.


Cervelli was once again sharp. He turned a double into a triple, and later singled to score Cano and put the Yanks on the board.

I'm not wholly interested in David Price's line for the day, since I really just wanted to SEE him pitch. I will concede that spring training is more important in its working-out-the-kinks implications, and it's tough to assess what kind of progress this kid made when all I'm getting is a delayed box score. And not like a 5-second delay. It's more like a I-could-macrame-a-blanket-for-the-Astrodome-in-the-time-it-takes-for-the-game-to-refresh delay.

Whoever this Jeremy Hellickson kid is, is f'n awesome. He's the Tampa answer to D-Rob, and struck out Jeter, Teixeira, and got Granderson to ground out to the mound. And even more impressive, he got all this done while in some kind of hole, whether he was behind in the count 3-0 or facing batters with RISP. Nice work, kid.

Joba, why can't you be more like Hellickson? You really disappointed me.

Ahhh, wow, haven't done that borderline cruel Joba rant in a while. Felt ok. Still need a few more to get loose though.

And with that, I'm off to celebrate the creation of Tube City!

(Yeah, I made Tube City for my Crazy Yankee Hamster. I have a completely sound grip on normal social conduct.)

*I refuse to acknowledge the abolition of the "Devil" part of their name. For no good reason other than the fact I think it's funny they dropped it in the first place.


Joba. Hughes. 4 months went by without practically no bullpen vs starter murmurings. It was nice. It was nice to have a break from the vicious campaigning and arguing about this issue that will never, ever, in anyone's lifetime, ever be settled.

"What I've done is going to be puzzled over and studied and followed... forever." -Kevin Spacey, in Se7en

Here we go again.

Yesterday, when I felt that old familiar tension of a tied game, and when I almost weirdly enjoyed the stress and aggravation despite the loss, I understood why. Today, when I have to see the Pandora's box of the bullpen-reliever rhetoric, fly open and unleash its insidious powers, I can be assured that I will not feel the same "oh I remember this!" nostalgia that I did yesterday.

The line-ups for today:

Jason Bartlett SS
Sean Rodriguez LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Ben Zobrist 2B
B.J. Upton CF
Dioner Navarro C
Dan Johnson DH
Justin Ruggiano RF
Chris Richard 1B

Pitching: David Price LHP

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada DH
Marcus Thames LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Francisco Cervelli C

The Yankees are trotting out the big guns for Tampa, eh? In addition to Joba and Hughes, D-Rob is slated to take the mound (!!!) , along with Jeremy Bleich, Grant Duff, Dustin Moseley, Hector Noesi, and Kevin Whelan.

I really need to get David Price is pitching for Tampa and I've been fascinated with this guy since I saw him go up against the Sux in 2008. The kid's got good stuff, but it needs refining.

Oh, and Nick Johnson is out of the lineup again for a stiff lower back. I know yesterday I lambasted him for getting hurt already. Today, I'm a little more magnanimous. Maybe since it's Friday, but maybe because it just occurred to me how it's a little unfair, generally speaking, to throw people under the bus without giving them a fair shake. This, coming from me, is perhaps ridiculous since I decide within 45 seconds whether or not I'm on board with someone.

But it's the spring. It's like December for baseball fans. The season of giving.

Re: Joba, I already gave him many chances. I'm fresh out.

Well, crazy in the hallucinatory sense anyway.

ORIGINALLY the NY Times headline read this:

I have NO idea who Betty J. Sabatini is, but right now she's my exonerator, since she too caught this headline before it was changed to something weird about "Halladay is sparkly" or something.

Why do I care? I don't know, why do I care about any of the weird crap I waste my time substantiating.

Ok, well, now that that's taken care of, I can move on to more pressing matters. Like watching the new "Office" on DVR.

See, it works both ways. As ecstatic as I was yesterday with the metaphorical pie-off, that's how unreasonably bummed after the Yankees comeback rally fell short.

But in a way, it was almost comforting. (Yeah, you're not gonna hear me say that very often, if ever again, about a loss...) When the Yankees came back to tie the game when down to their last out, then took the lead, then lost it, then lost the game, I could feel my stomach jumping all over the place. My heart racing. My nerves starting to snap.


But it's not like we can help these things. And even though they lost, it was a nice feeling to get that holy-crap-it's-a-tie-game-and-we're-the-away-team frenzy once again. I won't, of course, relish this sensation AT ALL in about a month or two, but after being a paled version of my fanatic self for the last 4 months, it's nice to experience that rush once again. Even if it WAS a negative one.

Some game notes:

  • I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with the NY Times on this one. Although I suppose the argument could be made that's it a little pot-calling-the-kettle-black. But then again, as a blogger with "Crazy" in my moniker, I think I have a little more latitude when it comes to aggrandizing performances. The NY Times, however, just looks stupid doing this. (NOTE: Update 7:57pm....I JUST NOTICED THAT THEY CHANGED THE HEADLINE!! HAHAHAHAH. Originally it read, "Halladay outduels CC" or something like that. Ha. Ok, well I agree with the Halladay sparkling headline. Stupid NYT. I hate them.)

  • Both CC and Halladay were their usual brilliant selves. Halladay struck out 3 over 2 innings, 24 pitches, (21 strikes). No walks. And despite this, I still for the life of me can't figure out why they got rid of Cliff Lee. CC gave up 2 hits in 2 scoreless innings.

  • The bats all around were pretty muted. Cano got a hit in the 4th. Tumbleweed sailed across Bridgewater. OH, and Nick Johnson got scratched from the lineup btw, because the m'f-er is hurt already. Good grief.

  • Our Snoopy batting order can't be held TOO accountable for the quietude against supernova Doc, and conversely, credit should be doled out to David Winfree for tying the game with 2 outs, and Jose Gil for scoring Winfree, to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead. Good job, kids.

  • The Phillies lineup was equally bland, and had similar effects from their NON-ROSTER INVITEES, which is one of my favorite expressions since my college D-Hall days of seeing "Ice cream novelty" on the menu. Since I didn't actually watch the game, and merely went by ESPN's lackluster score-refresher, I'll let give you the quick and dirty of what actually happened:
With one out in the bottom of the ninth and his team trailing by a run, non-roster invite Paul Hoover doubled and advanced to third, scoring Quintin Berry just ahead of the throw from left field. Wilson Valdez won it two batters later with an infield single that ricocheted off pitcher Wilkins Arias, allowing pinch-runner Dewayne Wise to score from third with two outs.

(I once gave a one-day "how-to" lecture as part of Kaplan program, on memorizing things. And I said the best way to memorize anything is to associate everything with a sequence you know like the back of your hand. For me, that's baseball line-ups. And I bring this up because I read and reread that above paragraph about 7 times, and not a single player in there rings any bells, barring Dewayne Wise, of course. It's amazing how 5 seconds of that guy's life has made him a virtual household name among baseball enthusiasts.)
  • The Yankees used 8 pitchers, the Phillies used 5, but since Halladay and his 24-setting arm was in the game, maybe it counts as more than 5. Ex-Yank Contreras came into the game, and once again, my buddy K.J. locks it up nicely with this comment:
"Nice to face Contreras again. He's about 60 now, right? Honestly with the amount of quality young pitchers in the majors and knocking at the door, who in their right mind is thinking...hmmm, 47yr old Jaime Moyer for $7m or 2-3 prospects?"
  • Oh, Contreras. Actually, he and the rest of the relievers were all sorts of tight today. 10Ks among the lot of 'em. Melancon (Mellon-cone) was really the only Yank who whiffed anyone (2)...and "closer" Arias, but I'm not counting his 1 K since he blew the save.

(I should really think about developing my own Baseball-Reference site--a compendium of stats founded on fuzzy sets and subjectivity, with no clear rubric for applicability. I mean, what's more marketable than that?)

So the Phils handed us our first loss of the season, after we handed them the last loss of theirs. More symmetry from Spring Training, I love it. (Kind of.)

In other ST news, I just saw the final of the Mets game was 17-11. Nice comeback, Mutts! That's impressive. 17 runs, and you did it against a legitimate professional club.

(Why it irks me that the Sux won 15-0 yesterday against Northeastern U., I'm not sure. Maybe it's a little reminiscent of this. Or the more likely reason, which is that I hate everything the Sux do, and want to give myself a lobotomy every time the mere mention of Boston floats in my direction.)

Next up, Friday's game against TB. Annnd, the countdown to my Florida trip (Floriday) is on. At 1:54pm on Tuesday, I will be in the sunshine state. I'm so happy it's March.

Hey, I remember this team! I remember they beat us, nay, embarrassed us in Game 1 of the World Series. Then I remember winning Game 2 at home and nearly sweeping their arrogant asses when the series went to Philly.

I remember Cliff Lee acted like he was auditioning as Josh Beckett's character clone, and then I particularly remember our old pal Petey Martinez bravely venturing into Greatness' New Home to face our old vet Pettitte.

And then I remember Hideki knocking the cowskin off the ball over and over and over. And if memory serves, I remember the Yankees celebrating their championship, christening the new field in their new home.

Yeah, that was fun.

And now, we meet again, old foes. takes the mound for the Yanks, facing the off-season's hottest topic (pre-Damon): Doc Halladay. MEDIA HYPE!!! MY FAVORITE!! (As if I need any additional catalysts to propel me into illogical fits of excitement.)

I'd really like to see some loud, scary, graphics developed for this occasion. Get some WWF-type voice-over to bark the specs of the game:


This guy knows what I'm talking about.

Fatso, unfortunately, doesn't exactly share my enthusiasm:

Sabathia said that he didn't expect any added sizzle to the game, joking that he'd be in the dugout "eating seeds and goofing off" while Halladay works.

Eating seeds? Really, CC? I'm gonna go ahead and theorize that the only time you've ever dined on seeds was when you and your family were taking a road trip, you stopped for bagels, and after eating 6 and realizing you were still hungry but your wife wouldn't let you stop again until you reached Legoland, so you ate the sesame seeds off the dashboard.

So while CC's eating "seeds" in the dugout, looney tunes everywhere will be praying for a rivalry to emerge between him and Utley.

Reporters were even asking him if he "had a score to settle."

I would have donated my lungs to see CC respond with something like, "DO I HAVE A SCORE TO SETTLE?? DO I HAVE A SCORE TO SETTLE?? You're Goddamn right I do. This shit's for serious now. I ain't playing around. Homey better check himself before he wrecks himself today. If you see that mofo, you tell him, CC SAYS HI. He'll know what it means."

It should be interesting to see the B-listers fare against the terrifying I-have-more-kinds-of-pitches-than-a-15-year-old-girl-has-ringtones Halladay. No Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira on this trip. As of noon, the lineup looks like:

Gardner, CF
Johnson, DH
Posada, C
Cano, 2B
Swisher, RF
Winn, LF
Miranda, 1B
Pena, SS
Laird, 3B

Why does Randy Winn seem so so so out of place?

Well, I hope they all tee off on Halladay, so I can listen to everyone and their mother collectively roll their eyes and scoff at me, sputtering how this doesn't mean anything.

Yeah, whatever, you guys are just ants at a picnic and have been hanging out around too many New Englanders who have brainwashed you with their cultish tenets of "How to Avoid Ever Being Truly Content."

Can I please be left to the illusion that these games are super important? I'd like to reach a deal with the prosecution: I'll plead insanity, you bequeath leniency.

41 more minutes til EXHIBITION DEMOLITION! WOOHOO. I really think people are forgetting what the true meaning of the word "exhibition." As evidenced by the egregious absence of pie yesterday.

I was talking to Matt last night, and decided that if AJ didn't deem spring training pie-worthy, then he at least should employ some kind of smaller scale equivalent. Like throwing Starbursts at game-winners. Or shove a Fig Newton down their throats.

You know, just something to let us know the spirit of the walk-0ff is still revered.


And why were all my buddies baffled when I texted them:


(To be clear, that's 28 exclamation points. It's also the first Yankee-related text message I sent of the season. I'm going to save it, and when we win #28 this year, I'll look back on it fondly as the harbinger of awesome.)

So, the game started out a touch slow. And it was rifling some feathers over on Pinstripe Alley, where my right to apply such import to the game was called into question.

Here we go! I don't understand why no one will get on board with me with this whole "Spring Training=Excuse to Practice Honing Our Inane Yankee Fandom Before April 4" thing. From where I'm sitting, in all things, it's better to be excited than bored.

So when the Yankees beat the Soup Kitchen Pirates today with a walk-off 3-run homer from Colin Curtis, I was so stoked, I was amped. Because HOW F'N COOL IS IT THAT THE PIE-OFFS ARE ALREADY STARTING?!! I'VE BEEN WAITING 4 MONTHS FOR THIS.

(Ok, when I say it like that, 4 months doesn't seem like that long. But it felt longer.)

The Pittsburgh pitchers were looking, um, pretty sharp. (I guess old habits die hard. The Yanks have, on occasion, made Melba toast hurlers look like Lobster Thermador.) In the first 3 batters, he threw 11 pitches, (9 strikes), got all to ground out.

Then our old pal Ohlendorff, who sounds like a character Jason Biggs would play in a movie about the little guy who prevails, comes on to pitch scoreless 2nd. Brian Bass and DJ Carrasco, who sound like characters with letterman jackets that would harass Jason Bigs, posted 0's for the 3rd and 4th.

And if it was fitting the first game ended in a walk-off, it was equally fitting A-Rod got the first hit of the spring, a single in the 5th. Little Ramiro Pena homered to start the 6th, and just like that, the Yankees were back. And they were in no rush to shed themselves of the old "let's-just-see-if-we-can-get-by-without-an-offense-for-the-first-6-innings" routine. Those kooks.

As for our pitchers...

Gaudin threw 34 pitches, (23 strikes), letting up 1 hit over 2 scoreless innings. Mitre and Aceves were perfect, blanking all 12 batters they faced. The hiccups came from Jonathan Abaklsjuroasjkd who relinquished 3 runs in 3 batters. Then some guys I never heard of came into finish off the game, and didn't let up any more hits or runs. Roger Royce Ring and Jason Hirsh. I really should know them, though. They've been playing in the pro's for at least a year. Don't judge me.

30-year old Amaury Sanit got the win.

Cervelli was our first base-runner, after getting HBP. Jaime Hoffman and Brett Gardner played like they're also on board with my SPRING TRAINING COUNTS, I SWEAR campaign. Tumbling catches, et al. The whole 9.

Tomorrow, Round Boy faces the Phils. Remember us, guys?

The following things have be told to me at some point in my life:

1.) "Bleen is a number between 6 and 7." -My Dad (which resulted in me asking my 3rd grade teacher when we were going to learn about Bleen. May as well have asked to see the basement in the Alamo.)
2.) "Farrah Fawcett is the former Secretary of State." -my sister (I'm not sure if me repeating this was any more embarrassing than what I had originally thought, which was that she was Woody Allen's daughter.)
3.) "Junior was based on a true story." Actually no one told me this. I just thought it on my own.

Yeaaahhh. And most recently:

"Why would you write a preview without any pop culture references? That was the best part of your posts. I'm not even going to read this."
"Are you kidding? Because you said they're all over the place and bet me I couldn't."
"They are all over the place. I was obviously kidding about the other part. AND I TOLD YOU I WAS KIDDING."


Ahhh, well, at least I know I can do it if someone puts a gun to my head.

My wildly regressing maturity and ability to engage in adult discourse may be a telltale sign of the impending baseball season. (Take note, Pirates fan. THAT is the correct use of "impending.")



Pre-season is still season, in my head. So I'd like to abolish the "pre" prefix, to assert myself strongly in the belief that baseball starts at 1:05 tomorrow. Good God, it's about time.

Tomorrow, Chad Gaudin gets the ball against Paul Maholm, who may look back on this game as the most hyped and significant game of his career. Chad Gaudin, who mercifully has been identified as the Yankees' 5th starter (as opposed to the We-have-3-working-pitches-between-the-2-of-us-do-with-that-what-you-will pair of Joba and Hughes).

A few points about Gaudin:

1.) Because he is such a bizarro yet steady cog, and more importantly, because he is a Yankee, he avoids any of my contempt when it comes to athletes whose names are pronounced absolutely nothing like the way they are spelled. For some reason, Chone and Mueller draw my ire to irrational degrees, but Gaudin is totally acceptable.

2.) I absolutely LOVE the fact this random late season pickup boasted the stat of the Yankees winning every game he pitched. It makes zero sense. Actually, his 3.43 ERA on the Yanks was the 2nd best of his career, beat only by his 3.09 in 2006 while on Oakland. His 2-0 record with us is one of my favorite B-list stats of the year.

3.) I'm not sure how many innings our 5th starter will actually toss, since according to, "Sergio Mitre, Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Albaladejo, Wilkins Arias, Jason Hirsh, Royce Ring, Amaury Sanit and Zack Segovia have been instructed to be at the ready." The first 3 guys I know. The last 5 could be the finalists from last year's Scripps Spelling Bee for all I know. (THAT DOESN'T COUNT AS POP CULTURE REFERENCE.)

A few points about Paul Maholm:

1.) His page on is sponsored by something called "Pirates WFC Blog." Which used its sponsorship space to aver, "Maholm, Duke and Ohlendorf are the Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz of the 2010s. Prepare for the Pirates' impending World Series championship now by reading the Pirates WFC blog." THE PIRATES IMPENDING WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP.

Impending? As in "hovering threateningly"? As in "imminent"? It actually would sound just as weird to say "Yankees impending WS Championship" because, well, it's March. The only thinking impending is the need to recharge my computer's battery.

2.) Maholm hasn't had a winning season since 2005, when he went 3-1.

3.) His stats make him sound like he's a washed up middle-aged also-ran, a la Matt Herges. He's 27.

4.) In 2007, he ranked 2nd in the NL in shut-outs. One.

5.) In 2008, he made $424,500. In 2009, he made $2,500,000. Apparently going from 10-15 to 9-9 is grounds for a 589% raise in the NL. It makes me a little less bitter about the whole if-I-only-did-.300-of-my-job-I'd-get-fired thing. also tells us that Girardi "definitely" play Granderson in several games this spring. Well. I should hope so? Girardi is really coddling us these days. First, he assures us he is NOT going to go with a 3-man rotation in spring training. Then last night, throws out the rule book and takes the team out to an arcade. And now, he makes the bold statement that he absolutely is going to play his biggest off-season acquisition occasionally before the official games start.

It's spring training, I'm okay with being spoon-fed stuff. Soon enough, we'll all be in the Bronx, where the crowd, weather, atmosphere, and everything else, is a bit different than the sunny skies, affable crowds, and skee ball machines of Tampa.

Here we go. Tomorrow it starts. Technically, tomorrow's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates will not in any way affect how the Yankees season pans out, won't affect their standings or record.

But I've said it before, and I'll say it again.

Every game counts. Otherwise you wouldn't take the field.

Over the weekend, someone who shall remain nameless informed me that he has a hard time getting through my posts. Grrrrr.

But, ok, fine that's fair. He cited the completely ridiculous volume of analogies and references. Again, I suppose I can see some validity of this. THEN, he trots out this:

"Just try writing a column without a single pop culture reference. Just straight analysis."

My head almost exploded. Seriously.

Is this even possible? I don't know if it is. I feel like the guy in "The Twilight Zone" episode, where someone dares him $500,000 to stay quiet for a year.

On the last day of the year, after successfully staying mute, it's discovered the challenger can't even pay off his bet. And the challengee goes crazy and scribbles out a note: "I knew I would not be able to keep my part of the bargain, so one year ago I had the nerves to my vocal cords severed."

While my competitive stubborness rivals Marty McFly, it's safe to say I won't hack off any important vestiges. (Mostly because that wouldn't really help my cause.)

But can it be done? Do I dare? To pull a few lines from Eliot, "Do I dare disturb the universe?...Would it have been worth it after all, would it have been worth while, if one settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, and turning toward the window, should say, "That is not it. That is not what I meant. At all."

Before I embark on this perhaps pointless endeavor, I can only hope that my brief foray into stark analysis and unadorned reporting doesn't permanently exorcise all my pop culture muses. I don't know if baseball would even make sense to me if I couldn't find appropriate Family Guy clips to support it.

WAIT, actually, I know what this is like. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow gets addicted to using magic, so she has to go to witch rehab. And when she comes back, she goes all cold turkey on the magic-using, and can't focus on anything, thereby rendering even the simplest of tasks impossible.

(Ugh, I just counted, and in this intro alone, I used 4 irrelevant comparisons. &^%$@&)

Ok, I can do this.... I will write a Spring Training Preview when I get home and not use any weird references. And maybe unnamed person will have an easier time getting through my posts. (At least one of us will.)

AHHH, wait, one more for the road... To quote Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers:

Let me break it down for you so you understand. I'll hold your hand and walk you through it like a small child.

Yeah, that's what I gotta go do. Interesting. This reminds me of when I had to apply the Flesch-Kinkaid Readability Formula to everything I wrote, and it almost drove me certifiably insane.

I remember once I had to get this piece on asthma treatment down to a 3rd grade level, and unless I took out every word more than 1 syllable, it was literally impossible.

And strangely enough, there weren't any 1-syllable synonyms for "corticosteroid." So, no dice.

I guess, actually, this is the opposite of that. I have to take my crazy-person reading level and bring it up to that of a mentally sane person's.

"Here's a thought that ought to bring a smile to baseball fans. This was the last Sunday without a baseball game to watch until Nov. 7."

-my buddy K.J.

Excellently put, Hanna. Simply masterful.

So the Olympics are over, and barring half a hockey game I watched with Casey, I think I saw about a total of 18 seconds of it. Actually there was one night when I was slated to watch the Olympics with my buddy Matt, but it turned out the only event I like to watch is also the only event he doesn't like to watch. Soo..Olympics were replaced with rampant Family Guy quoting. A worthy exchange, in my opinion.

I do know that there was a really exciting hockey game last night, mostly because I have never seen such homogeny among FB statuses since November 4, 2008. I can't wrap my head around the Olympics, it's too close to baseball season, I need my faculties about me as I prepare to embark on the most maddening and head-spinning 7 months of the year.

But, as KJ astutely notes, this is the last weekend of nonbaseball. And what a weekend it was. Like last weekend, it featured a good 10 hours of beer pong playing. The snow on Friday lended itself to aggressive snowball undertakings (which actually was more of a spectator sport for me, since my arm is somewhere in between Johnny Damon and Chuck Knoblauch.)

AND, on Sunday, I GOT A HAMSTER.

Named Crazy Yankee Hamster.

"Crazy" for short.

(Which, by the way, has already caused problems. As me and my sister are heading across town to bring CYH to his new home, we're talking about being in the cab with Crazy, etc, and for some reason, the cab driver thinks we're talking about him. And starts yelling at us for being rude and calling him Crazy. And even orders us to get out of the cab, like, in the middle of Central Park. First of all, you're being a little overly sensitive and paranoid. Second of all, if we WERE talking about you, you're not making a great case for yourself not being crazy. If I got mad at every person who called me crazy, I'd be a giant angerball of apopletic rage.)

Mom: How was your weekend?
CYC: Good. I got a hamster.
Mom: Oh, great. You've lost your mind.
CYC: Thanks.
Mom: This doesn't count as giving me a grandchild, just so you know.

Mo hasn't formally met him yet, but I think he knows something's up since me and Laur were in my room for a good hour setting the little guy up. When we came out, we were just like, "um no big, we weren't doing anything in there, just folding laundry. Don't worry about it, Mo." (It was mildly amusing though when Mo goes straight for the giant empty "My First Hamster Cage" box, as if to say, "oh, um, so what's this then?")

In more relevant Yankee news...


Yankees vs Pirates, at Steinbrenner field, 1:05 3/3/10.
Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland finalized mapping out the first 11 games of the Grapefruit League slate, tabbing Chad Gaudin to throw the first pitch of Wednesday's exhibition opener against the Pirates at 1:05 p.m. ET, a game that will be broadcast on MLB.TV.
Fifth-starter hopefuls Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves will also pitch in the Yankees' first game of the spring, throwing approximately 35 pitches or two innings. That sets up ace CC Sabathia to match against the Phillies' Roy Halladay at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla., also available on MLB.TV.
Love it. Chad Gaudin throws the first pitch of Yankee baseball. The arbitrariness of it all is terrific. Isn't he still undefeated or something? WAHOOOOO!!!!

Then CC gets the ball against the Phillies on Thursday. Oh my God, I'm so happy my head might fall off. I can't believe it's finally back. This is amazing.


Life's good.

Oh, and I did start another painting. A much, much smaller scale. 9x12 oil painting of A-Rod touching the "I thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee" sign.

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