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May 23, 2012
Andy P.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a borough by NYC,
There lived a pitcher who you may know,
By the name of Andy P.
And this pitcher he lived with no other thought,
Than to play for the team the Yankees.

He wrote Annabel Lee.
He was a child and I was a child,
In this borough by NYC,
But he pitched with a fire that was hard to ignore,
The Yankees and Andy P.
With a spark that the bitter AL contenders,
Coveted our Andy P.
And this was the reason that long ago,
In this borough by NYC,
The Houston Astros stole him from us,
Our beautiful Andy P.
So that his southern kinsmen came,
And bore him away from me.
To shut him up in a NL club,
Far from the borough by NYC.
His name is Andy P.
The agents, not half so happy with Yankees,
Went envying his pulchritude,
Yes! That was the reason (as all fans know,
In this borough by NYC),
That the Houston Astros came out of the south,
Wheeling and dealing our Andy P.
But our bond, it was stronger by far than the bond,
Of one on Houston's team,
Of one with Clemens' team.
And neither the roots in Texas's earth,
Or the pull of free agent trade,
Could ever dissever our boy from the Bronx,
Our beautiful Andy P.
For Frank never sings, without reminding us of rings,
Of the beautiful Andy P.
And his dynasty days, are coming back into play,
Our beautiful Andy P.
All his postseason nights, he continues to fight,
Our starter--Yanks' starter--an ace and our light.
In the home by NYC,
In the stadium near NYC...

May 22, 2012
In the movie License to Drive, Corey Haim goes on all sorts of crazy adventures when he doesn't even have a license, and all to win over Heather Graham. What could possibly go wrong. Except everything goes wrong and he brings home his grandfather's car all but totaled.

The movie concludes with Corey Haim getting a reprieve from his parents' enraged discplinary dolings, because his mom goes into labor and he has to drive her to hospital. Except the car is so smashed up that the only gear that works is reverse.

That's how I feel about the Yankees win on Tuesday. First I'm thinking, Wahoo! The Yanks look great! Off-season is over!

Then everything goes to hell, and my date with Heather Graham aka baseball keeps getting more and more soured by every new pitfall. So you think, man we can't catch a break. Then it hits a head last night and we're bracing ourselves for the worst, but end up with a win tonight.

Except...nothing is ever f'n easy. 3-2. Barrrrreeely scraped that one out and only because Tex went from not knowing where 1st base was on Monday, to doing some kind of Geena Davis-esque move on Tuesday, to save a run and thus save the game.

Good work, Tex. Good job, Hughes.

Hughes won again. Which is great, but I hate the fact that we need Hughes to be a strong pitcher. I'd prefer to have him nicely pigeonholed as the wild card if it meant we had an auto-W on CC and Andy and Fill in the Blank Starter/Kuroda days.

I'm happy for Hughes because when you think about it, he had a HUGE hole to climb out of (in his career, not the game). He used to be great, then bad. And instead of going the Justin Chamberlain route of staying bad, it looks like his taking shit seriously. Justin never did that. (Who takes himselves out of commission by virtue of overaggressive trampoline jumping?)

Hughes did give up a homerun to put the Yanks in an 0-2 deficit. I just read a stat that said Hughes has given up what amounts to an average of a homerun per every 4 innings he pitches. Considering that he's surrendered a bomb in every single one of his 9 starts this year, I'm thinking maybe it's like the same kind of thing as not swinging at the first pitch?

I always take a pitch, ALWAYS, and it doesn't really behoove me to do so in softball. So a perfect meatball will come down and I'm 0-1, and then the next couple of pitches I see will be all over the place. Anyways, my point is, good or bad, it gives me consistency at the plate and I like order. Maybe Hughes like to take a ding for the same reason.

Jeter, Cano, and Grandy came through as usual. And the Yanks improved from 0-13 with RISP to 2-7. 

Res es vultus sursum!

So they won by the skin of their teeth. But they climbed out of last place and are playing over .500 (on a side note, has anyone else noticed that the NL Central LEADER is playing .558?)

Maybe it wasn't a huge offensive showing, but I hope these murmurings about someone's head rolling fizzle out. I love Kevin Long, and the Yanks have the MLB right where they want 'em. Just wait. I was going to say something about it always being darkest before dawn, etc etc. But I don't know if I've found that to be true. It gets lighter out before dawn is upon us. I would know.

May 21, 2012

"Sometimes when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated." -Lamartine

I know this will come as a shock to a lot of you, but I'm pretty superstitious. I hide it well with my completely rational facade. Nope. So when the Yankees are playing like this, it never really occurs to me to attribute it to anything related to performance pitfalls, but rather, it's clearly a function of some cosmic misalignment.

(Similarly, I'm realllly struggling with MR and Hug these days, as we continue to try to identify the perfect permuation of game day interaction, that brings about a Ranger win. And we need to identify it soon, as the series is now tied at 2-2, after an absolutely painful 4-1 game last night.)

The Rangers game was painful. The Yankees game was terrifying.

Something's missing.
I think my horrified paralysis set in when, with a runner on 3rd and 1 out in the 6th, Falu grounds to Tex, who fields it about 2 feet from the bag. Without ever stepping on 1st he looks to hold the runner at 3rd, allowing Falu to reach. The inning ended without Gordon ever scoring from 3rd, but to me that misplay embodied the Yankees' performance as of late: confusing, cloudy, careless, delirious.

They're in a daze. Not slumping so much as they're playing like the Coyotes in Varsity Blues, after they go out all night at the strip club. But at least the Coyotes seemed to care they were struggling. The Yankees look lost. They're not throwing bats in disgust and cursing under their breaths. They're sighing and shaking their heads.

It's LWM.

Life Without Mo.

When Mo went down, I criticized all the non-Yankee fans who were acting like they all stood a chance now. I shot back that they see Mo once or twice a month, and it's a fraction of their lineup, AND he only comes in when they're losing anyway.

But now I'm thinking differently. Mo was more than a closer. Maybe he was the linchpin of their stability. He is, after all, the very quintessence of reliability. The control in an experiment. The immovable constant.

And when that's dismantled, things come undone. The center cannot hold.

(Melodrama. Ugh. I hate myself.)

HOWEVAH, here's what I was thinking about last night:

And this.

And this.

And after a few hours of thinking of this superstitious mishmosh, I even arrived at this episode of Fraggle Rock where one of the Fraggles loses his lucky hat and is no longer brave. Yeah, it was a long, weird night of introspection.

So, if Fraggle Rock et al have taught us anything, it's that whenever people lose the source of their power and suffer a streak of bad luck or ineptitude, it always works out for the best in the end. The hero deprived of his or her luck rises like a phoenix from the ashes and everyone learns an important lesson about self-reliance.

Bottom line: the Yankees are killing us right now. (And we're about the only things they're killing.) And maybe it's the absence of Mo that's propelling them into a tailspin. But they're the Yankees. And even without a beret/feather/spirit stick/lady in white/muppet hat, they'll end up on top.

The pitching is uninspired, the hitting is futile, the fielding is soft. All we can do is have faith in the Yankees. And hope Mo gives them some kind of inspiring speech about how they need to do it for the fat lady in Bayonne. (Which is what my dad always tells me. As usual, it makes no sense. And as usual, it makes perfect sense to me.)

"You don't need the Wolf to win!"

If the Beacon Town Beavers can win without Teen Wolf, if the Ducks can win without Adam Banks, if the Coyotes can win without Lance Harbor, if the Ladybugs can win without dressing up a guy as a girl, then the Yankees will find a way to win without Mo.

That, or we're gonna have to go all Mr. Miyagi, hand-clapping panacea-style on his ACL.

May 18-20, 2012
At least the Rangers won.

It was a rough weekend in NY, for no other reason than the allergy to wining that the Yankees seemed to have developed as of late. They dropped 2 of 3 to the Reds, and even though my sister says, "The Reds are good, though!" I think the Reds are one of those teams that everyone always picks as their preseason sleeper pick to win the WS, just because of the randomness of it.

I mean, even if the Yankees were stripped down to only rookies, and they were barely expected to win a handful of games all season, they STILL would never in a million years be considered a sleeper pick. The Red, on the other hand, are like the go-to prediction.

Regardless, I don't care how good they are. The Yankees need to start winning more games. I know that everyone keeps saying, "Oh, the Yankees always do this, they lose a million games in the first half of the season and then when the All-Star break comes around, etc etc..."

It doesn't make me any less aggravated. I don't know why. Usually I'm the one trying to talk people off the proverbial ledge when it comes to the Yankees struggling. But this year? Either I've grown more impatient (which isn't possible) or the Yankees' poor showing is discernibly different than the Yankees' poor showing in years past.

I can't put my finger on why, though.

I will say that Andy looks as good as ever. Great news for him, since now the horrrrrible game he pitched on Mother's Day, that was punctuated by all of 2 bad pitches, has been forgotten. Now he's just Andy Pettitte, the guy who gave us a win when others couldn't.

So... that was good.

After that game, I kind of saw the weekend going differently.

Instead, I shift my attention to the Yankee game after the Rangers manage to hold off the Devils, and it's a 6-2 game. Then 6-3. Then Cincy is warming up their relievers, and I said to my sister, "you know what's gonna happen? They're going to do that Yankee thing of making the game really close in the 9th inning, and thus screwing over my fantasy team when Sean Marshall gives up 8 hits or something."

Which is what happened, and this prediction was probably more of a certainty than anything else at that moment in time. Of course, in the back of my head, I saw the Yanks having a dramatic come-back walk-off. It would've been a good day for it, too.

Out of everything that happened in the game, the part that sticks out most in my head is Grandy coming up to bat with 2 outs and the tying run is 90 feet away, on third. And the count becomes 3-0.

I was more than a litle suprised to see him get the green light to swing.

Yes, Grandy has been a beast at the plate. But it was a baaaad pitch to swing at. I can understand it if there's a meatball going right the middle. And you can all but PROMISE that you'll clock it.

But it wasn't that. It was a bad pitch,. And it would've loaded the bases and given the Yanks another opportunity to get the tying run in. Who's giving him these instructions? Girardi? Or is the onus on the batters? I can't imagine that it's an individual's own choice to do something like that. So wtf? What's going on in the head of our manager?

And as for Sunday's game...well, that was just real disappointing. On many levels. Mostly on account of the fact that our lack of closer is disgustingly palpable. (PS that chapman guy. Why is he the setup man? He's the best reliever I've seen in baseballl.(other than you know who) in a long time. Apparently he holds the MLB record for fastest pitch at 105 mph. He's also some kind of a 13 inning streak of retiring the batters in order.

When you're consistently throwing 100 mph, that makes sense. That's probably pretty hard to hit. (Pause.) I get a bunch of texts from Hug, who's at the game, and he makes the frighteningly true observation that "it was the first time all year soriano came into a game with anyone on base and he's our effing closer. And he gave up a 2-run double."

He's not really bringing any added value to the Yankees. Seriously. He should be a lot better than this.

It's just wacko world in the Yankees' clubhouse these days. Sort of like this:

There's this ridiculous nonsense about Soriano's friend texting him, which makes the Yankees sound like 6th graders. There's the fact Tex for some reason can't stop coughing. Everyone is on the DL. Lard walked 5 BATTERS, the most he's walked in 2 years. (Didn't he have 4 in his last outing? So 9 batters in 2 games. Insane.)

I don't know what to make of everything. I just know that the AL East basement is now housing the Socks and the Yankees. And I hate any situation where I have to use the Yankees in the same breath as Boston.

May 16-17, 2012
May 17 isn't supposed to go like this. Not for the Yankees.

In 2 separate conversations with 4L-ers, I realized the Yankees don't look like themselves. On a day where they ALWAYS look like the greatest quintessence of themselves.

#1. Strange

The chain of conversation:

players that make me think I'm reading the Onion whenever I see their names on account of having just assumed they'd have gone the way of the dinosaurs by now-->Jason Giambi-->how much nicer it is to watch plays at first base when you know Tex is there and not the manic scooping/glacier moving Giambi-->Strange's sister however has nothing but love for Giambi-->she was present when he hit a grand slame walk off-->May 17th, 2002-->May 17th, 2012-->the contrast is blinding.

#2. Ohyob

Earlier that night, I get off the subway with Ohyob, and I start checking my phone to see what happened in Rangers game while we were underground. And I'm grumbling because the Rangers were already down 1-0, and then see that the Yankees were down 8-0. The Rangers eventually took a 2-1 lead, only to let the Devils score twice on them to win the game.

And normally I'd say that that kind of deflation is worse than an all-out ass-kicking. Like, 99.9% of the time I'd say that, actually. But not last night. Last night I would have loved it if the Yankees scored 7 runs in the 9th, falling 1 run short. I mean, I wouldn't have LOVED it loved it. But if my options are that, and what actually happened, then yes I would have preferred if not loved it.

I relay the scores to Ohyob whose interest in sports is analagous to my interest in politics/current events. There are some facets of it I like, (like the NYPD blotter section of the Post), but generally the only time I'll read the paper is when I'm in a doctor's waiting room and the only other periodicals are The Oprah Magazine and Redbook.

Which is neither here nor there, really, but the point is my sports-agnostic buddy turns to me and says, "So exactly how bad are the Yankees this year?"

And it wasn't the first time he's asked me that.

Last Wednesday, we're watching the Yanks lose to the Devil Rays, in a horrifying 4-1 stomach punch that involved a blown save by D-Rob. And Ohyob who is making an objection observation given what he knows and has seen this year, asks me that same question that posed last night.

The first time I wrote it off, tried to just act like that was just preposterous etc etc. There was a whole bar full of sad Yankee-Ranger-Knick fans, so it was easy to deflect the attention away from baseball.

But when he asked again last night, I wasn't as dismissive of his query. I mean, I didn't say they were bad. But I didn't say it wasn't an unreasonable question.

I don't even know why I'm thinking like that. It's not like me. I almost always write losses off as anomalies, because that's what makes the Yankees the Yankees: losses have always been anomalies for them. Throughout their franchise's history.

So why can't I do it now? Why am shifting my weight from leg to leg mumbling non-committal non-answers, like a girl whose just been asked "What's the deal with you and Boy?" And she knows there is no "deal," so she's all "I don't know, it's weird."

It IS weird. The Yankees have scored a whopping 2 runs in the last 2 days.

Shockingly, it was Grandy in both games that got the run. He's becoming like the Kobe of the Yanks, in the "Even if I rock out every single game, I can't win always win it myself" sense. Not in the snarling, sore-loser sense.

Then there's Tex, whose persistent cough apparently is accompanied by neurological symptoms of candor:

"We should have scored a few runs early, that was the problem...Offenses are going to go through that...The guys don't look like they're having a lot of fun. But they're doing their work and they're preparing and it'll change."

No, they don't look like they're having fun. But they don't look like they're doing their work either. Or not well, anyway. And what are they preparing for? The Rapture? A formal invitation to the win column? It sounds so cryptic and ominous. "They're preparing and it'll change." I swear that line has gotta be in the Children of the Corn script or something.

Also, the problem was that you didn't score runs period. Not that you didn't score EARLY. Furthermore, technically if you had just gotten that one run, you would've been fine if the opposing team hadn't treated our starter like a meatball-popping rookie.

And just like that, Phil's quietly improving favor has dramatically dropped. Like the little Hand Strength meter on Zynga Poker. It'll zip to the top when you're dealt a pair of queens. And then the first 3 cards drop on the table and all of sudden you're not the coolest kid on the block anymore. And the meter falls right back down. It's annoying.

So is his lacking of breaking ball. C'mon, guy! Your fast ball is very hittable now, so what exactly do you find when you reach back and trace the outline of the seams? What pitch is in your bag that will get the job done?

I mean, in fairness it was only 2 runs. But that's 50%. (I did that math in my head. No TI-82, what what.) And 7 hits is a lot. Wade followed suit, let up a 2-run ding, just like Hughes. Bautista then Arenciba. Bautista is not real. He's like Bowser on Mario Kart. A beast in certain situations but overall slow to get there. Mario Kart with a game genie though, because I'm pretty convinced he's a "juicer." I don't say that about players ever, unless they're on Boston.

The Yankees are in 4th place. Jeter, being Jeter, reminds us not to panic because no one's popping champagne in May and similarly no one should be hanging their heads.

Thank you for boiling things down for us, Captain. You're right, though. I just want to see some urgency. But I have the feeling we're just gonna be hearing a lot of "marathon, not a sprint" soundbytes if the Yankees don't get their heads in the game.

Playing the Reds this weekend. I have no idea why. This is going to be a good weekend. I'm not jinxing it. I'm asserting it.

They need a walkoff. But if not a walkoff, a regular win is just as great and fantastic.

Id imperfectum manet dum confectum erit.


May 15, 2012

First of all, THIS:

Words fail me. Much in the way Mo's ACL failed him. And much in the way that the Yanks failed to win.

Segue into game recap:

I think I drove my point home yesterday about why and how much I hate losing to the O's. So I don't think we need to beat a dead horse. In terms of other things that were driven home, the Yankees didn't pitch in much to that end.

And Chen the ROOKIE FROM TAIWAN pitched excellently outside of the boilerplate Grandy homerun. Oh yeah, that's another point that has been driven home to insane excess. The fact Chen is from Taiwan. I remember this being a huge issue the last time he pitched against us.

Fatso was not his usual self on the mound. He walked about 28 batters. But it's like the dog years kind of thing. 28 batters in Tubbo Terms. So that's 4. No one was happy about this, but good grief, even for someone who hates losing to the O's as much as I do, I think by and large we may be blowing this out of proportion.

I attribute this to the juxtaposition of Fatso's girth with the rookie from Taiwan's Taiwanness. The dialectic is overwhelming and we're responing accordingly? I don't know, but let's put things in perspective.

As soon as figure out how to do so, I'll be sure to seamlessly weave that in, ideally dovetailing it with an appropriate youtube clip.

It would appear that every time to Yankees lose in a particularly aggravating manner (like almost being shut out by the rookie from Taiwan), the universe raises the stakes by throwing another player into the DL chasm.

D-Rob's on the 15 day DL, which probably isn't that big a deal but, once again, it's the aggregate total of "argh what next!" moments. I hate thinking like that though. It's better to look at everything as an isolated incident, with zero relation to anything else that has happened.

D-Rob's on the 15 day DL, which probably isn't that big a deal but, once again, it's the aggregate total of "argh what next!" moments. I hate thinking like that though. It's better to look at everything as an isolated incident, with zero relation to anything else that has happened.

(That doesn't apply to when you're assessing whether someone's lying to you. That also doesn't apply when you're watching a playoff game. In both cases, every single thing that has happened has significance.)

Which is why Lauren has to spend most of the playoffs sitting in the bathroom.

And why I spent most of 2009 standing outside the bar window watching the games.

There's very little to say about the Yanks' offense on this game. Aside from the Cano double which allowed Grandy's short-porch ding to cut the lead in half, the Yanks were just going down like fainting goats.

It should also be noted that in a move mildly reminiscent of Jeffrey Maier, an unidentified fan in a Yankee jacket may or may not have interfered with Xavery's fielding of Grandy's homerun.

On the one hand, I'm thinking that he's a Yankee fan and hence I should automatically side with him.

On the other hand, who brings gloves to games?? I don't care if you have homerun territory seats. That is all the more reason to NOT bring a glove. Additionally, Xavery very much had a shot at catching that. And, God, who KNOWS what things would be like right now if zealous NYY fan had shown better judgement. We'll never know.

We can hazard guesses though, and do you think that maybe there's a part of key decision makers' minds that use Steve Bartman as the rubric for evaluating the level of interference? It's kind of like getting your eyes checked out. And when you look at the sideways Es, they're blurry as hell and awful.

Then for about 7 hours, you go through this ordeal that borders of stress-inducing, of picking between identical lens. And part of me loses sight (seriously no pun intended) of the fact I'm trying to pick out the most appropriate lenses, and instead I start trying to pick the "right" one. Like they're trick questions, and first I'll choose the stronger one.

And the next one, I'll say, "no that's better." But I worry that they're actually the same strength and the eye doctor is thinking, "Great, another blind idiot who reads too much WebMD."

SIMILARLY,  I don't give a crap what prescription strength they land on, because I know how blurry it get me, and I know how anything short of that blurriness is almost splitting hairs and hence you separate things into "Inference as Bad as Bartman" and "Everything Else."

Everything (not everything) Else about the game:

JJ Hardy continued to be suspiciously good, and by that I mean I know the second I try to bring on him onto 1/CYCp3para2col9, he'll pull a Carlos Pena or something. He's actually like a microcosm of the entire O's team, really. I can't really tell if this is legit or just a whimsical trip that they're making, into the land of contention.

Jones was having a ball out there. Homerun (11th of year. Accurate stat!) and then in the end of the game, when the Yankees were thinking they could maybe pull it off, he ran around the bases a la Benny the Jet.

Where's our base stealing game at, by the way? GGBG is DLing it, but if the Yankees are going to treat getting on base like it's the fine china that only comes out for special occasions, then maybe they shouldn't let any grass grow under their feet, yeah?

Anyways, on a scale of movie sound effects, this game was probably something along the lines of this.

When it reaches this, then we can escalate our panic.

Until then, time to focus on beating the Canadians!

May 14, 2012
So there are some people I hate losing to in beirut more than others. I mean, there are the Boston equivalents of opponents, which actually usually are, in fact, Boston fans. But that's a given. I'm talking about the people who really haven't done much to warrant my rabid aversion to defeat, but they still do. I hate losing to girls who aren't very good at beirut but are very good at irritating me. Because it makes me judge myself. And sometimes they play a fantastic game and we didn't stand a chance, but still I think that we shouldn't have lost.

And that's how I feel when the Yankees play the O's. I actually like the O's, as I've said before, on account of what they did to the Socks. But I can't help but get a little perturbed when they hand the Yanks an L. They're in 1st place which kind of invalidates a lot of assessments/predictions that can be made right now. You can't draw conclusions from a study that is such a clear departure from previous trials.

Whatever, the Yankees won. And I'm glad they did, because I'm literally (not really, but as close to literally as you can get without actually being literal) counting the minutes until ESPN starts being all "Sooo, Showalter. What's up with that? Under his leadership, Baltimore will 100% win the AL East. If the Red Sox weren't in the AL East, anyway. Because they're still the best. And the Yankees are screwed because they have no pitching. They don't!"

The O's aren't bad, but aside from the Twinkies, who really is? It's like the opposite of football, in the sense that last year, it was easier to identify the really bad football teams than call out the juggernauts because no one was really lights out. In baseball, there's a lot of teams playing better than I thought they would. I know, I know, this is mathematically impossible, you can't have a bunch of good teams. I'm just saying, I feel like I'm saying "Wow, ___ is doing work this year, huh!" more than I'm saying, "___is just pathetic!"

Which is nice, right? In a humane way, it's nice. Not as much in a whycan'talltheteamsexcepttheyankeessuck way.

Once again, I was involved in the cat-watching-a-ping-pong ball eye roving between 2 tvs, NYR and NYY. Both won, wahoo! (Along the lines of the beirut opponents analogy, the Devils are like playing the roided up freaks who came from their touch softball game who somehow have been holding the table all night and are not being quiet about it.)

Ivan Nova, who has been a member of team 1/CYCp3col2para29 for all of 2 days, did not do as well as I had hoped. (I also benched Bryce Harper, speaking of roided of freaks, who went yard for the first time today, which was probably the only thing he could have done to make up for hitting himself in the head with a bat after going 0 for 5. Slow your roll, small fry. If you're gonna get stitches every time you put up donuts, you're gonna look like Edward Scissorhands by the time you're old enough to rent your own car.)

Ivan Nova is hurt, he sprained his ankle and now he's going to be treated to a lesson from YES about pitchers who field balls. Eventually the pitchers are going to be throwing from behind the batting practice shield, I'm sure of it. Quarterbacks all buck wear a red flag saying, "I'm precious and porcelain!" I wouldn't be surprised if baseball followed suit (even if it's in a "ok, no salaray cap but yes to the egregious protection of starting aces" kind of way.)

There was a lot of productivity from both sides. I mean, when Girardi and Buck are going over game tapes, which I like to think all teams do, there's going to be a lot of "this was good, this was good," like when I was listlessly hanging out in the green room as a theater major and people would come off stage all out of breath saying, "Yeah, that felt good, that felt good."

Cano is loaded for bear now that he's broke his slump, and he went 2 for 5 and I think he's probably going to just keep swinging harder and harder and harder until he's reached Sheffielf territory. Nick Swisher is swinging, hitting, and generally executing at bats better than anyone on the team. I'm blown away. Even Alex "I really shouldn't be batting clean-up" Rodriguez threw in a bunch of hits today.

The last of which was so indicative of the fact he is a BASE HITTER. Why is he batting 4th? Is this a contract thing? Because is that who Girardi really wants up if we're down by 1 and need a bomb? I'm not saying anything at all about clutchness, to be clear. I'm talking about who's your power hitter. I want Cano up.

 Someone named Xavier Avery got his first major league hit, and really? No one calls him Xavery? I'm assuming that's why his parents named him that. It's like naming me Polly. You can't ignore what's going on there, but Buck does, and says "X had a good night."

Jeter made a huge production of congratulating Xavery, because Jeter always does the right thing. I don't even mean that in a mocking way. Seriously. I like it when players recognize that kind of thing.

Tex hit a great shot to break the game open for NY, and good grief, you'd think he'd be all "I'M BACK BABY!" or if not, then some subdued version of that. But he's a mess. He's coughing up a lung all over the place. And even after he makes this very key shot and everyone's asking him if this makes him feel better about his 3 for 9,100 hitting slump, he says, "I want to say yes. But truth be told...yeah not so much."

Ha. Points for honesty, Tex. I like it just because I'm sure every reporter ever started was about as stupefied as Mike Myers after Kanye's ill-advised candor.

The pitching was ok. Phelps got a win, he's going to be this year's 2006 Aaron Small I bet. Soriano got the save, and I feel like we should be getting more out of him than we do, but I'll take it. Seeing as D-Rob is slightly hurt, we may need to put more faith in Soriano. (D-Rob could have lost 7 of his fingers in a food processor accident and the party line would still be "I don't think it's too bad." Yankee Universe would officially do a cannonball into ALARMING LACK OF CLOSERS PANIC. Points for potential lack of honesty, D-Rob.)

Granderson hit a homerun, as he is want to do. Z-Pack #2 and #3 got on base, as they are want to do. And the run production from JJ "I'll keep you guessing all season about my fantasy value" Hardy wasn't enough for the O's. The Yanks win their 5th at Camden. Yet are 1.5 behind them.

It's ok because if a team has to be in first other than the Yankees, I'm ok with it being Baltimore. Even though I don't like to lose to them, girls always return my phone when I invariably leave it in the bathroom. Which I always do.

May 12 and 13, 2012 (Happy Mother's Day!)

 Saturday's game was great in the sense that it was about 80 degrees out and the perfect definition of a day game delight. UNFORTUNATELY, I didn't get to see it live. We'll get 'em next time, Strange. In addition to the Yankees winning, Hughes' performance, at long last, did not bring to mind images of African animal fights that involve rhinos and giraffes and cougars bounding around and tearing shit up while also getting shit torn out of them, leaving nothing but a far-reaching plane of half-dead carcasses and matted pelts.

Yeah, Hughes won! Alright! Ibanez homered again. And it's becoming easier to keep track of the Z-pack now that Nunez has been exiled thanks to his ridiculously bad fielding. The other great thing about this day game delight was that it was one of those games that you could fall asleep to in the 3rd or 4th inning and wake up drooling on your cat's head, lazily and happily discovering that that Yanks are very well in control of the game and life is good.

Sunday's game wasn't as great. And Andy Pettitte looked okay. But I think the world, save the announcers, was expecting a 2009 playoff performance at the very least. Maybe a no hitter, even. Actually, I think Andy was thinking the same thing. Because he seemed to be getting a little too tilted over minor pecadillos, like walking a batter. This was up until he started having bigger fish to fry than men on base, ie having men clear the bases with bombs. Then the talk of "Andy's got a no no through 3!" changed to less enthused chatter.

Kay and Cone were pretty brutal. I get the feeling they may or may not be a bit skeptical about this entire thing. And not because of today, but I think even going into today, they had their doubts about whether Andy should be doing this.

"I mean, even if he has a good outing today, you could probably just chalk it up to the adrenaline, you know? Can he REALLY sustain any kind of reliability throughout the season?"

That was basically the gist of what the two backseat cynics were prattling about. Though, to be fair, I can't say I really disagree with them. I love Andy, but truth be told, as it always should be, I get worried about the possibility that this return from retirement may be a little too self-indulgent to yield the kind of clubhouse benefits that the Yankees are looking for.

Also, I just looked up where the word "gist" comes from, and it's pretty interesting.

So Andy gives up a bomb to Smoak in the 4th, the first hit for the Mariners, and it's 2-0. Which isn't so bad. Especially when R-Mart walks to "drive" in Tex and it's a 2-1 game. No big deal.

Except Andy gives up another bomb a few innings later and it's 4-1. Wells' ding brings in Ackley and blech. The lovefest for Andy is a little more subdued now.

Fortunately, Seattle's pen is determined to allow us in the game, provided we lay off bad pitches. That's it. "Just work the count, and we'll take care of they rest," is basically what they would be saying if they were in some kind of Dr. Faustus supernatural world. But the Yanks don't take the deal, either because they think it's a scam or because they think they're due for a dramatic walk off homerun type of afternoon, and walking in runs just isn't the kind of scoring approach they'd like to engage in today.

I mean, they have their Mothers to think about. Yankee moms are watching this game, and it's lame to walk, right? Walking in runs was the only way the Yanks scored today. They were realllly close to breaking the game open. Well, by breaking the game open, I mean they were really close to getting withing spitting distance of a win.

Instead, the following happened:

Tex struck out on the worst pitch thrown of the game, ending the inning with bases loaded.

Four relievers were used in the 8th. And that's what Tex swung at. I blame the pressure from mothers to swing away.

The game was still winnable, though, as it usually is. Then there was this mess of a play in the 9th involving an infield single to the Color Swatch reliever. Runs scored. 6-2 game. As usual.

Weirdly, this was the first game of the series that the Mariners got a hit with RISP.

It sucked to lose but the Yankees are all like, "Oh the game? Whatever. Andy's back! We weren't even really concentrating on the game. Were you guys actually playing seriously? Oh my God, you were! Ahhh, that's so cute! We were just like goofing around because the MAIN THING is that Andy Pettitte is back. Duh."

I'm making that up. Sort of. It's not tooo much of a departure from Swisher's take on the day. Swisher, by the way, was safe at 3rd when he tried to stretch a double into a triple, on account of the terribly ungraceful play by Wells in LF. I really think he misplayed that ball SO ugly and laughably, that it inspired Swisher to just party it up on the base path. He was safe. But he shouldn't have been there. It was the difference between a runner on 3rd with no out, down by 4. Versus 1 out, empty bases.

But whatever, honeyswisher don't care!

"I thought it was so awesome. I was so excited. I know we lost today and that's what a lot of people are going to focus on -- I could really care less about that. We got our boy back."

Okay, Swish. I could really care less? That makes no sense. COULDN'T. You COULDN'T care less. If you could care less, then what's that even saying? And also, don't ever EVER say you don't care about losing.

The Yankees don't have a dramatic walkoff win for their moms, they fizzle out in the 9th, making the final score 6-2, once again. Except this time, the Yanks are on the losing end of it. I looked (casually) for any information on how many times their has been the same score for all games of a series. I can't imagine it being too rare. Or too common. So I don't even know why I'm curious about it. But I am.

What I'm MOST curious about is Furbush. Not so much curious about how he hasn't tossed his hat in the "changing your last name for the hell of it" ring that so many pro athletes are getting into these days. But more curious about his tatted up arm situation. I seem to remember good old psycho AJ having to cover up his ink, per the MLB rule book about it being distracting or something. Thank you, Justin Miller.

Girardi is such a rule stickler, I'm surprised he didn't try to "play under protest." Or maybe he just figured that the pink bats and pink shoes were distracting enough, that the tatted up arms weren't really going to hurt the batters any more than the hot pink sticks on their shoulders. (pause?)

Sorry to cut this short but it's time to eat cake and drink tea with Mom, who is the best and I love her. So to take a page from Swisher's book, "Who cares about the loss? I get to hang with my best friend!"

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

May 11, 2012
My dad's nickname is the King, and he isn't interested in sharing it with anyone. Seriously. He feels as strongly about this as he does about the fact he was the FIRST person in the world to EVER say the expression "taking care of business."

Aside from the fact no one is allowed to use the nickname "The King" other than my dad, I'm wondering who these nickname-coining-copywriters are, that they are either recycling old monikers despite often high levels of brand equity OR they're using the First Initial Hyphen First 3 Letters of Last Name formula. Let's push the envelope. Nothing's ever gonna rival Gretzky's nickname. Like, ever. There is, however, some position at my sister's company called "Worldwide Controller."

Anyways, so to further bolstetr my argument against Felix Hernandez being called King--along with the rest of the pro athletes who were very exciting to hear about and talk about when they first entered the scene--titleless Felix gives up hits all over the place.

It's always kind of fascinating to watch this happen. I get that a pitcher can't throw a no-no every day, but how do players go from completely etherizing the batters with pitch after pitch of shimmying bullets...and then the next day the pitcher can just be "uncomfortable" and not know what to tell his arm to do.

This, by the by, is a pretty entertaining interview of Serf Felix. It reminds me of how game announcers are always prodding their co-hosts/former player, with inane questions like, "Hey Keith, you played for the Mets. As a player, how did you feel about rain delays?" So, yeah, this interview is like that, only it looks like the poor interviewer had to repeatedly run the questions through a Flesch Kincaid test, getting them to the point of questions like: "Strikeouts. Good or bad?"

Ah, well. Nice work, David Laurila. Enjoyed it a lot.

I also enjoyed the 11 hits and 4 runs in a little over 6 innings. And the Yankees were doing an exceptional job at knowing when to hold em, knowing when to fold em, in terms of pitch selection. He's one of those pitchers that you can't really rely on poor control (like AJ. Or anyone from Boston's rotation.) But he's one of those pitchers whose control isn't in the ball's movement so much as it is in the type of pitch itself.

When his non-fastball pitches aren't getting it done, he's goes to dance with the girl who brung him to the show in the first place. Although a few years ago, the girl was a solid 96-98 mph, now she's got a little more junk in the trunk, generally slowing to 90, 91.

Which is very hittable. It's just a matter of not biting the non-fastball bait.

Out of all the "elite" pitchers, I think Yu Darvish and Serf Felix are probably your best bets for trying to jack up their pitch counts. I know, I'm alone on this one. I know they're great pitchers. But I also know they're hittable in a way that Halladay and Lee are not as much. You try that shit on Cliff Lee and he'll destroy you every time with control that's just as maddening as his movement.

But whenever you have a fastball pitcher who's shoehorning in other pitches, you're gonna see the wheels fall off eventually. It's like reading multiple books at the same long as you stay focused, you'll be learning 3 times more than the person just plodding through one book.

But if you lose your place and if your eyes start to glaze over during a bulky paragraph that an inconsiderate editor never thought to break up into more digestable chunks...then you're in trouble and you have to work twice as hard to finding where you left your control, and all the while making sure you don't start mixing up pitches.

Everyone on the Yankees got a hit, except for R-Mart. As far as SAT-style analogies go:

R-Mart : Offense :: Nunez : Defense

Nunez got sent down. That's sad. I think I would've waited a little longer after his error-laden game, I think. I got taken out of the game once in the middle of an inning. I was so angry and embarrassed.

That was the only time that ever happened. I mean, I had gotten pulled a bunch of times, but only after the inning was over. It sucks walking back to the bench in front of everyone. It's like having to sit on the stoop at recess. The consequences of your bad behavior are being put on display for the world to see.

I'm being too dramatic. Nunez, whatever. Don't come back til you do some crow hop drills, etc.

But the REAL hero of the game was Derek Jeter. Of course. I don't think that's true at all, for the record, but the argument has been made that his 18 hour long at -bit where he fouled off something like a dozen pitches, was the play that broke the game wide open.

Meh. It's hard to assign momentum to a situation that, by design, is the opposite of momentum. It's tempered patience. I'd have to say Ibanez really was the star, on account of the whole go-ahead 3 run ding over the right field wall.

I also give a lot of credit to Kuroda for not losing his composure after a lead-off homerun from Ackley, (which landed like 3 feet from my sister's lap. She didn't catch it though because she ducked and ran for cover. Pollinas have no depth perception.)

Cano, 4 for 4 on the day, drove in the 1st run to tie up the game. Seattle scores again when ex-Yank Montero goes deep. Then Ibanez comes and does something great.. to put the Yanks in the lead for good.

(If you read Thursday's game's recap, you'll see I mentioned that Ibanez is a weirdo who mysteriously floats in and out of the roster, showing up to hit celebrity shots, when we need 'em most.)

Andruw Jones homered too, but by then I think everyone had relaxed a little bit by that point. Maybe that's why everyone was trying to make a big deal about the fact it was the first pinch hitter on the Yankees to go yard since 2010.

I am, for what it's worth, in the "there's no such thing as a meaningless game or a meaningless run" school of thought. They're all important. Which means a Great Job, Andruw! would be appropriate.

You know who else did a great job? The bullpen, who patched together another sterling performance.  Color Swatch, Wade, Logan, and D-Rob. The motley crew of arms that lack the bells and whistles but get the job done. They're like New York's way of being like, "Ugh, fine FINE, is everyone happy now? Look! We incorporated Money Ball stuff. Because it's 'topical.' Ahhh so crazy!"

Wade, Phelps, and Color Swatch's combined salary is about 1.5 million. Combined. I like it. I want them to being like the guys in Stand By Me. Different but bound by their shared love of cherry flavored Pez.

It's almost 6am. And today's gonna be a big day. (I really would love it if it could become accepted and correct practice to use "tomorrow" when referring to the day that is in place AFTER you've already gone to sleep.

"Today" should mean the 24 hour-period that occurs before you retire for the evening. Then you wouldn't have to do that whole "well, technically.." thing, when you say "See you tomorrow!" after midnight.

I'm going to go to bed now, because I have it on good authority that a lot of this post is toeing the line between sleepy rambling.,..and straight up sleep talking.

So, good night/morning, and I'll see you tomorrow/today for Yankee (and Ranger) magic time.

May 10, 2012 (Happy birthday, Keith!)
The following are items that make me proud, happy, excited, and fulfilled in a way that only can be done by those particular things in life that above all else make you think, "Worth every penny!":

  • My computer privacy screen
  • Movers
  • Polarized lens sunglasses

Fatty is worth every damn penny that was spent on him because of games like last night. Because of games like the 2009 playoffs. Because he makes sure that the Yanks never have to slump for longer than a few days.

He went up against David Price and I'm pretty sure that he will retain "up-and-coming rookie" status approximately forever. Seriously, wasn't he a promising young star like 5 years ago? At what point is he just going to have to settle for being David Price, the Pretty Great Pitcher in the Majors?

The Yanks won in a very neatly packaged game, good solid shots from our offense and a long, 10K outing from the Round Mound. Grandy and Cano went yard, and Chris Steward (who is a catcher) drove in a ribbie along with A-Jones.

Good book.

I watch every single Yankee game, and still I cannot figure out for the life of me the difference between Nunez and Chavez. And why is Ibanez like Jordan Catalano in My So Called Life, who only seems to mysteriously just miraculously appear?

Why is this so difficult for me? I now understand why my parents, for the past 26 years, have never called me or my sisters the right name on the first try. They always manage to go through the 2 wrong ones first before they land on the right one. I sort of get it now. Chavez-Nunez-Ibanez.

Z-1 of Z-Pak fame was back in the swing of things. Literally he was only back when it came to the swing of things, because in terms of the fielding of things, he wasn't looking so hot. He wasn't the one who got whiplash, right?

That is a legitimate question. Because he certainly fields like it. He misplayed a ball again, which is now becoming something like a Windows Macro autocorrect as soon as I write "Nunez" it immediately switches it to "Nunez misplayed a ball in the outfield."

Maybe it'll be like a Melky situation though. I remember seeing Melky play the outfield for the first time ever when Laur and I went to Old-Timers Day years ago.

He was a mess.

Like he played right field very much the way you expect the chick to play right field in a softball game. The one who doesn't know what hand her mitt goes on and who "tries" to catch every fly ball by sticking her glove up in a basket fashion...while moving aside and out of reach of the ball.

But then Melky became a defensive god. there hope for Nunez? I don't think so. I wouldn't be surprised if you start seeing outlines of soap bars emblazoned over his bodice sometime within the next week.

In all seriousness though, autocorrect gets more and more aggressive every year, and not in a good way. It used to be like T9 predictive text would just be there to support you, and it wouldn't try to upstage you by changing words like "train" to "mesosophocles."

Now it's ridiculous. Even when I try to erase an autocorrect, it continues to stubbornly insist upon it. And the #1 most aggravating example of this is changing "Mo" to "Month." Between Mo my cat and Mo my baseball hero, there's a fair amount of mobile exchange on "Mo" which means there's a boatload of texts like "Going out to get food for Month. Call you when I'm done." Or "I'm so f'n tired of people saying Month is done."

Anyways, Nunez screwed up in the outfield in addition to making a throw that was so bad you'd have thought Knoblauch had taken it upon himself to do a "celebrity toss," a la beirut style.

But that was defense. At the plate, he singled a couple of times, walked, and then stole a bunch of bases.Maybe not a bunch, but 2, so..semantics. He's an odd one to figure out, that Z-man.

Or, as Girardi so aptly applied what I can only assume are teachings from a Learning Annex class on PR, Nunez had a "tough night." Even better, he noted that the Yankees may have to reassess how they use Nunez on defense. Hilarious. He's like the kid in the office who gets hired to change the Poland Spring bottle, by he keeps knocking it over.

So instead of being like, You're not good at what we hired you for, so why do we have to bend over backwards to find a more useful skill set? they're like, "Um let's reevaluate how he's used in a water cooler capacity, yeah?"

Yeah, Girardi is like turning into David Cone in a "I'm forgetting what level of appropriate I'm supposed to be speaking to" kind of way. He makes the astute observation last tnight that "CC seems to be the big guy latesly."

What does this even mean? He's been fat since ever. And good for just as long. What rock has Joe been living under?

Actually, the funniest part of the game was the collection of Devil Rays who acted like they were auditioning for bit parts as "Temper-tantrum-throwing-guy-#1." Fatso whiffed a bajillion (10) batters, but the greatest performance came from Carlos Pena who flung his bat like it was a javelin. I guess he figured if he couldn't put some distance on the ball, that the bat was the next best thing.

Why, by the way, is Pena of all people getting incensed over a strikeout when basically he has carved out a very special niche for himself as the new Richie Sexson?

If your mom's life depended on it, would you bet that a) Carlos Pena averages at least 1.5 Ks a game in the span of 5 games... or that b.) he doesn't. He's got 21 career K's against Tubbo (batting .136), and he acts like just because he got the better of him on opening day, that now he's justified in getting all sorts of cranky when he reverts to form.

Carlos Pena is the worst fantasy player ever. Ever. I don't care what he does for the rest of his career, he has terrorized millions of fantasy teams for years, and for that he deserves our utmost ire, and when appropriate, our utmost ridicule.

So far the Yankees have only lost one game of the six I predicted they'd win. But they also have 3 left (one of which I'll be attending with Strange, score!) so, as the often unreasonably giddy Yes announcers would say, "the Yankees have 'em RIGHT where they want 'em!"

They do. It's true. We're playing the same team that picked up Oliver Perez. On purpose.

May 8 and 9, 2012

More bad news from ESPN
Alright, so the Yankees won on Tuesday, and that was great, I followed the game on the radio while my dentist tried to kill me. Maybe he didn't try to kill me, but I figured out why people hate going so much. It's not because of the pain, because even though that's pretty bad, it's nothing compared to the feeling of being strapped down (which you're not at all, but I'm dramatic), while someone hovers over you with a bunch of sharp objects, casting judgement on your flossing lifestyle.

I have my phone in one hand playing the game (technology!) and this rubber suction thing over my nose which allegedly was feeding me laughing gas, but I kept asking, "what is this supposed to feel like?" And they kept saying, "You don't feel like you're floating? You don't feel a buzz?"

"No, I'm not even numb, either." Somehow I got shafted in the anesthesia gene department, and no matter how much novacaine you put in me, it won't ever numb me.

So finally I ask them to take off the rubber thing because I'm convinced this whole laughing gas thing is the world's biggest scam/Emperor's new clothes. And so the dentist goes to up the intake or something and says, "Oh! You know why you didn't feel anything? The tank was empty!"

Yeah, that would explain it.

The tank was empty. The Yanks won on Tuesday, but as far as last night goes, the tank was indeed empty across the boards.

We took a page from Philly's book and executed a hat trick of losses. (Of course, today my Metsies friends are quick to remind me that no, it was not a bad night altogether in NY sports, because the Mets swept Philly. I don't know whether to be happy for the Mets or sad because of how pathetic it is that NY is getting its sports kicks from a team that has all but patented the 3 men converging in the outfield over a can of corn play.)

My first priority last night was the Ranger game. Who played horribly, and are now playing what should be a very stress-free, cas game in the Garden on Saturday night. Yeah, that won't be a giant ball of anuerysm or anything. They'll win though. I feel like it was set up that way. I mean, it's kind of like when I had a Pfizer badge that swiped me into the building whenever I had a client meeting. I went 3 months without having to see the client and then when I finally went back there, the badge was demagnetized. MSG is on the verge of demagnetizing itself, because it's starting to feel like it exists for no reason other than to house dejection at the hands of the NYK.

(Oh yeah, the Knicks lost, but this is no surprise to anyone in the entire world. At least they didn't get swept. My interest in the Knicks is so non-existent that even a general sports fan like myself couldn't muster up even the slightest modicum of bandwagon investment in their playoff run.)

So the Rangers lose and that sucked. Then I guess the Knicks lost at some point, and I think it was probably around the time they took the court because more so than any other team, (including the Jets and Mets), the Knicks are fatally allergic to success. Maybe that's for the best. The Jets and Mets will really convince their fans it's for real this time. The Knicks on the other hand seem to always be reminding the world to not get toooo excited because they still fulling intend on playing like Leonardo DiCaprio on LSD in the Basketball Diaries.

Then, like one of those weird sea organisms that look like 1-eyed worms, all the eyes in the bar shifted abruptly to the tv with the Yankee game. And last we had all checked, it was 1-0. Now it was 1-1. Great. Fantastic.

But D-Rob was in, and what could possibly go wrong, right?? I mean, it's not like D-Rob EVER gives up runs. He's the new Mo! Pshh, we were all worried for nothing. It sucks Mo is gone, but we can handle it, our pen is super sweet!

Yeah, except as my buddy Hug noted with text message despondance: "LWM is f'n terrible."

(I got a little anxious when I had no idea who LWM is. I start to question my entire sports knowledge and get panicky that not only do I not know as much as I think I do, but that this is evident to the world and my admission of not knowing who LWM is expose me as a complete fraud.)

Luckily, I sidestepped that landmine when he clarified, "Life Without Mo."

Then Matt Joyce takes him deep and it's 4-1 and he sprains his ankle in the process and calls it the best and worst feeling in the world in the span of a second. Ok, let's slow your roll, Joyce. You can't talk about the worst feeling in the world over a sprained ankle.

Comparatively, you got off easy considering Mo's medical state. The Cloud of Gloom and Evil and Baseball Plagues struck Boston yesterday, with the untimely death of Carl Beane. Terrible tragedy, so a sprained ankle dovetailed with a long ball isn't the WORST feeling, Joyce.

Yeah, LWM is starting to sink in. And oh, Mo has a blood clot. Great. Fantastic. I still think he's coming back. I mean, if he had to get amputated like our poor cat Grey (R.I.P.) I still think he'd be back. Which means Hug is going to owe me a big NYC night on the town. We're going to Sizzla!

Hopefully. Not hopefully about the Sizzla, but about the Mo.

It was just a mess last night. The Yanks hemorrhaged runs in the last inning of the game and couldn't get them back. The look broken. O'Brien came out to watch the disaster, and I will say as soon as he walked in the Rangers scored. But then the dominos came crashing down in succession, and he asked "So how bad are the Yankees this year?"

Who knows? ARE they bad? It's impossible to make any kind of legitimate assessment of baseball standings right now because you have all these factors skewing the data. The Mets holding court. The O's leading the AL East. All these young players living up to their hype. Nothing makes sense.

There needs to be some kind of a control in this evaluation, and there isn't. Not a one.

Except, of course, for Jeter. He was the lone run, driven in by Cano. The Yanks left 8 men on base. What the hell is going on when, in a 9-hit game, you can only bring home 1 runner?

Most of the team got hits, except for Tex, Grandy, and Wise. That's ok, I think.

And I'm not worried about D-Rob. I think he's actually being way too hard on himself, which you may remember is kind of what I like when a pitcher blows the game. Beat yourself up. So he did. And he's forgiven.

"It's the worst feeling in the world. You watch when Mo does it, he comes back the next day and he's the same guy. He goes right back out there, takes the mound and does his thing. I'm going to have to do that tomorrow...Eventually, I'm not going to be able to get out of all my messes that I create. It was really tough, just a sad way to end the game. You're not always going to be perfect out there. I had a good stretch. It just stinks when you do give up the runs."

And when you go back to when Mo replaced the Yankees closer in '97, you'll find that even the great Mariano blew the first handful of save opportunities he had.

D-Rob is bank, his faltering isn't what makes me think LWM is f'n terrible. It's the general sense of emptiness that's evident even across a broadcast. Even when they're winning games, even when they're keeping it close, and playing baseball-without-incident. You can just tell. Something's off in the clubhouse. They're a bunch of misshapen beads strung together by an old woman in a senior citizen's home. Delicate and reticent and disjointed.

They still make a full necklace, but it's awkward and sad to think about how it came to be.

However, in all things, it is better to hope than despair. This, too, shall pass. And hopefully without any more casualties, player or standings-wise.

Come on, Yankees. We're counting on you like you've always counted on Mo.

Iam est vicis pro maiestas.

May 4 through May 6
It's hard to write about baseball when everything is so upside down. And by everything, I mean that I still haven't fully gotten past the Mo thing. Has anyone, really? I went out last night and saw the lion's share of my friends, all at the same place to celebrate the end of a different era: Kevin's last night working at Dorrian's.

A 7-year span hallmarked by highs and lows, all culiminating in last night, and the first thing anyone said to me when I saw him was, "I guess we should probably talk about Mo."

What is there to say really? It was a crazy weekend, and I don't think it was a coincidence that Kevin's last night at D's fell on the same day as a full moon. Not just any full moon, but the "fullest" in the history.

(PS, this is a little too similar to the idea of playing 100% vs 110%. By definition, doesn't "full" mean "at greatest possible capacity"? Then how can there be something that means more than that? It would suggest that all the other "full moons" weren't, in fact, full at all, but rather, close to being full. Again, why is this not confusing to any of the moon-naming-people? Their whole livelihood is based on moon stuff, and they still can't get this right? Like a snapper screwing up the snap.)

So the really full moon was out last night, and so were all the crazies. The Yankees lost terribly to the Royals--good grief--as the Rangers fell by one goal to the Caps, bringing the series to an even 2-2, and while some horse called "I'll Have Another" wins the Derby.

(Conversation last night: Me: "So was the derby winner the favorite or what. I didn't bet or even watch it this year." Ball: "Yeah, I've heard his name being thrown out a lot, so I'm guessing it was kind of the favorite." Me: "I thought the winning horse's name was I'll Have Another." Ball: "Yeah." Me: "If you're just basing this on how many times you've heard the phrase "I'll have another," then it's very possible he's not the favorite.")

The Knicks won I think, but honestly if I was a Knicks fan (or even a basketball fan), I don't know how much more of this I could take. To be invested in this series means that you have to hope for the Knicks to win 3 games in a row, after barely eeking out their first win in ELEVEN YEARS. By 2 points. Against a team that's infinitely better than them.

I guess stranger things have happened. Not a lot, but I guess technically stranger things have happened.

As for the Yankees, well they're just getting by. Not in a scraping together wins kind of a way, but in  a taking it one day at a time, kind of way. I think all future planning has gone out the window, in response to the "Mo Thing." You can't plan for everything. And when something like this happens, it makes you think you can't plan for ANYTHING.

In my junior year of college, my roommate had gone out and met a dude at a bar ("the" bar, as it were, since there was only 1 bar in my college town). And she liked him a lot, and he gave her his number and said to call.

I swear to God, I don't know how guys do this all the time, because when the tables were turned and the onus was on the chick to call the dude, we're paralyzed.

So all the roommates assembled in the living room and made an elaborate algorithm to map out the conversation. What to do if he says this, what to do if the conversation goes this way, etc. It was detailed and perfect, and she was all ready to make the call:

"Hi, is Matt there?...Oh, um, I don't know, actually...Bye."

We looked at her baffled. She explained:

"Whoever picked up said, 'Which Matt?' There are 2 Matts that live in that household."

Granted, she could've fielded the unexpected query a little differently than just hanging up, but the point is that we think we can plan for everything, and no matter what, without fail, the one thing we DIDN'T plan for, is what will happen. And you can try to plan for the Thing You Didn't Plan For, but you can't, because by design, it's unplanned for, obviously.

So the Yankees are playing like they've come to this conclusion.

After losing 3 straight, they came back on Friday and bested the Royals 6-2. Thank God. I watched this game with my company softball team, until I realized that it was indeed a 2-2 game and that if the Yanks end up falling to KC, I wasn't sure I wanted my coworkers seeing the fallout from this, in terms of my reaction. Better to safely make my way home.

(That last sentence, by the way, is a sentiment that the Yanks seem to be demonstrating somewhat of an aversion to, lately.)

The runners in scoring position thing. That's not too stellar. It's irritating and frustrating beyond the telling of it when I come back from the bathroom or something, expecting to see the game busted open--how could it not, with a runner on third and only 1 out??--and instead we're well into the 2nd half of the inning.

Fortunately the Yankees patched together 4 runs in the later innings and got the W, making my wildly superstitious self sure of the fact that I can no longer watch games with my softball team. Or rather, that I can only do EXACTLY what I did on Friday which was take in the first half of the game with them, then bolt. I'm a lot of fun in a social capacity.

Kuroda loses the game on Saturday, and KC manager acts like this was the watershed moment for his team. Ned Yost's name, for the record, is one of those names that looks less like a proper noun and more like a scrabble rack. He's all super excited about the BLOWOUT 5 runs the Royals put up against the Yanks on Saturday:

"We're getting back to playing our style of baseball now. We had that little rough patch and we're starting to swing the bats a little better now."

The Royals have a "style of baseball"? That "little rough patch"? I'm very curious to know what this little rough patch that he speaks of entails. At first blush, it would appear he's referring to the last decade, and if that's the case, then awesome. If he's talking about the season, then still kind of awesome, because I'm struggling to figure out what kind of "rough patch" of any scope, could be mollified by a 5-1 win.

Whatever it was, I think it was neutralized by the 10-4 loss KC suffered today when Cano's grand slam powered the Yanks to break even in the series.

Also, does this headline not make sense to anyone else?

Subject: Cano's grand slam. Objec: Yankees' rout. Where my verb at?
That's not really important though, not as important as the fact that Hughes got a win, Arod also went deep (3-run shot), and Nick Swisher returns in one of those PHEW-he-doesnt-need-a-big-swing-of-DL-recovery-time moments, to blast a solo shot. I'm more than a little impressed by Swish this season. Married life becomes him, apparently.

Girardi was really excited to see this kind of production from the middle of the order, for some reason. It's like being really excited to learn that your nanny didn't kidnap your baby. Grandy and Ibanez chipped in some ribbies, because apparently they're like ATMs for ribbies. They can't always give you enough, but they're generally good to help out when you're in a pinch.

The Royals were moderately useless against Hughes, who managed to go his SECOND game all season where he kept it up under 4 runs. Geez, Phil. Pull it together. Billy Butler, Humberto Quintero, Alex Gordon, and Jarrod Dyson all got some run-scoring hits for KC, but not enough (obviously.) All those names sound like classmates of Ramona Quimby, age 8, except for Humberto who for some reason hasn't marketed his own breed of tango music.

Apparently, there ARE different ways to tango, as O'Brien and I learned when this was the first search result for googling "tango."

So, it was a good day for the Yankees but mainly because they won, and not because they're turning the corner of their rough patch. I think I'd like to see a little more than an offensive blow-out against Hochevar before I make some kind of Ned Yost-esque assessment.

But hey, they won. Which is what they are supposed to do. And they hit the ball well. And they were 4-11 with RISP.

And you know what IS something I can take from this? The similarities to 2009. If we do everything exactly like it was done 3 years ago, then everything will be fine.

It's just hard to keep a straight head when the Orioles are in first place. Must be the fullest mooon BS.

It's also hard to keep a straight face when the Socks lose the O's in 17 innings to give 1B Chris Davis the win.

I mean, at least the Yanks aren't going hitless against position players. Geez, Socks.

Monday's an off day, then it's 6 games at home (TB and Seattle). I think they'll win all 6.

May 3, 2012

The Day the Muscles Died.

At 7:36pm last night, the texts started coming in.

In droves.

I didn't know what was going on, but I could feel my phone going into conniption fits, seizuring violently in my bag, and I knew it wasn't good. The odds of everyone trying to contact me at once because there was an APB that Kris Pollina had just won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, were not very high.

On the other hand, the odds that something terrible happened, were galactically probable.

Mariano Rivera the cat weirdly reenacts the
moment when disaster struck.
I didn't want to look at my phone. Did my apartment crumble to ground? Work? A viral video of me on the internet?


"I got some bad news for you. Well, bad depending on who you ask." That was from Ollie, and it was the first thing I saw.

Then the next one I looked at: "Rivera blew out his knee."

They just kept getting worse as more information came out.

"ACL tear."

"ACL tear and meniscus tear."

"ACL tear and meniscus tear and out for the season."

"ACL tear and meniscus tear and out for the season and possible career ender."

It was like that camp game you play when rain cancels instructional swim and other outdoor activities and you're forced to sit in the lodge and go around in a circle saying, "I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing..."

How could this happen?? Shagging fly balls. One of the finest specimens of athletic prowess in the game and that's how it neutralized him.

"This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper." -T.S. Eliot

This is how the world ends. Not with a retirement, but with an ACL tear.

I don't really think, however, that we've seen the last of Mariano Rivera. There is not a Link-with-wooden-sword's chance in a labyrinth that Mo is ending his legendary career like this.

I mean, part of me is a tiny bit concerned that it may be like the end of "A League of Their Own" when Geena Davis' character just kind of checks out and loses the game for them because she's already mentally halfway back to canoodling with her back-from-war husband.

No sword. No chance.
What if Mo is like, "I've had a great run, but this is a sign from God. I'm done. I have a family that I want to be with, and there's no reason to force the issue."


One time I was trying to sleep (weird, I know) but I couldn't because there was some chick on 83rd street keeping me awake. Five flights up and I could still hear her bawling to some dude about how this wasn't the end, how she loved him, and she needed him, and please let's make it work because she knows that they're meant for each other! This went on for about 2 hours before angrier heads prevailed and a chorus of shutthefuckup's started pouring down from the buildings. (Or, as one irritated dude put it, "Go get some ice cream and get over it, cow!")

Anyways, now I know how that chick felt.

I'm wearing my Mo jersey today. It's horrible. Every Yankee fan in NY is walking around in a daze today, there's a lot of hands being put on shoulders, coupled with sympathetic head shakings, and punctuated with the "I..I..there are no words. I can't talk about it."

Anyways, do we really need to recap the game here? Let's put things in perspective. The Yankees have much bigger fish to fry than the fact they've just dropped 3 straight to the worst teams in the world.

They have bigger fish to fry than the fact they are roughly 1 for 239 with RISP.

Than the fact their clutch hitting is as formidable as a French poodle.

Than the fact every day a new injury falls upon them.

Bigger fish than their pitching staff that mirrors a reality show where one person gets the boot every week.

Bigger fish than their vague yet discernible deflation and discouragement.

Mariano Rivera, the best closer in baseball, is down for the count. Predictably, there are those fans who are rejoicing (as if THAT was why your team sucks, because once a month a fraction of your lineup has to face him). They're not rejoicing because this gives them the chance to finally ascend in the standings. They're rejoicing because the Yankees are hurt.

"Only cowards insult injured majesty." -Aesop

They'll get through this. I don't know how, but at this point, our only recourse is to think of that singular line in the Old Man and the Sea. The only thing I got out of that book, really. (Sad, but true.)

Mo would've wanted it that way.

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