“I Was Out Of Whack All Day”


That’s what A.J. told the media after giving up seven runs, six earned, over four-plus innings against the Pirates. The Yankees went on to win 9-8, but Burnett said his mechanics were off.
My mechanics were off too, since it’s Sunday, but I didn’t fall apart.
(Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Here’s my point. I understand that pitchers sometimes feel out of whack, but isn’t there anything that can be done to get them back in whack? During the game? Isn’t that what pitching coaches are for? To trot out to the mound and say, “Your shoulder is flying open” or “You need to slow it down” or “I heard there’s a great buffet at the Hyatt tonight?” Why can’t pitchers get back in whack while they’re pitching?
Here’s some video of A.J. warming up before a spring training game last year. I couldn’t throw a ball 90 mph to save my life, so I’m no expert. But does it look that hard to stay in whack?
All I know is that I was feeling out of whack earlier today. But then I read that the Yankees have decided to crown Brett Gardner as the starting center fielder. The news reminded me of another Yankees outfielder who once wore a crown, and suddenly I was right back in whack.
Joe Girardi explained: “Melky played very well, but we’re just going to go with Gardy.” 
Gardy. Isn’t that the nickname for this guy?
Is baseball ready for two Gardys? I am. Nothing against Melky, but I love watching Gardy run the bases. If he can hit with any consistency, the Yankees will have a huge weapon.
As for Melky, I guess he’ll be dealt or kept on as an extra outfielder/bench player/defensive replacement in late innings. I already said my mental goodbye to him when I thought he was being shipped to Milwaukee for Mike Cameron, so I’m good with whatever happens, unlike this woman.
On a happier note, Xavier Nady is French. Why does that make me happy? Because it means he’ll understand it when I say, “Je t’aime.”
Here’s an excerpt from the NJ.com interview in which he explains his heritage. (Hat tip to Sliding Home.)
You’re Xavier Nady VI, your son is Xavier Nady VII. Is there a story behind your name and how it has been passed down through the years?

“I’m French, so St. Francis Xavier. That’s how the name started. In the mid-1800s, the first Xavier came over from France and settled in over here in, I think, the Midwest. Since then, I think we’ve been very fortunate to keep the name alive, to keep it going. Hopefully No. 7 will have an opportunity one day to pass it on.”


Sounds like the X-Man is following in the tradition of Manny Ramirez, who has two sons named Manny Ramirez, and of George Foreman, who has five sons named George Foreman.

But wait! Bringing this post full circle, it turns out that Melky Cabrera has a son named Melky Cabrera and A.J. Burnett has a son named A.J. Burnett.

Clearly, professional athletes don’t have much imagination.


  1. Erin Kathleen

    Well, I’m pretty sure your Gardy would run the bases better than our Gardy 😉 And I think we should all be glad that ballplayers don’t have much imagination when it comes to naming their kids. Some people have too much imagination in that department. Like Penn Jillette, who named his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter. That poor little girl will probably grow up wishing her father wasn’t so creative with the baby names.-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

  2. Jane Heller

    I hadn’t heard the name Penn Jillette gave his daughter, Erin. Now that’s nuts. And I thought Apple, Gwyneth Paltrow’s name for her daughter, was bad.

  3. rrrt

    Maybe a good whack upside the head would get him back “in whack”. 😉 So Xavier’s son is #7? Wow, maybe he’ll be the lucky number seven. Hard to imagine that many Xaviers in one family. At least that name is not nearly as bad as Bob Geldof’s kid in the list above – Fifi Trixibelle??? What the h*ll was he thinking??? It sounds like a name for one of those tiny poodles Paris Hilton carries around in her purse!
    Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

  4. cheshirecat9

    Hi Jane – I just wanted to let you know I finished your book while I was on vacation in Costa Rica last week. I really enjoyed it! It brought me back to that season. I was at the game where Joba almost took off Youkil’s head and only paid $5 to see the game where Moose clobbered the Orioles 12 – 0.
    It is a bummer to be back in the office, but at least I have baseball to look forward to. These 2009 Yankees look like the best team we have had in a while. Hopefully their play will make up for the fact that the people in the front office are a bunch of ********. I can’t believe they wouldn’t let you buy an ad for your book! I have tickets to the exhibition game this Friday against the Cubs and am excited to see the new Stadium.
    How about George Foreman? He has like 8 sons and named them all George.

  5. Lissi

    Grady Sizemore is Grady Allen Sizemore III. I wonder if he’ll continue his name? Wouldn’t that get confusing for the wives though? I mean what do you call little Xavier Nady or littel AJ Burnett or little Melky Cabrera? On All My Children there are three Adams in a row and they go Adam, JR, and then little A but what about when little is like 10 and doesn’t want to be called little anymore? I would be incredibly confused all the time. Just imagine this: Mrs. Nady: “Xavier!” Xavier Nady VI: “What honey?” Mrs. Nady: “Not you! The other one!” I would go crazy. They must figure something out.

  6. ztaknek

    Anytime you show a picture of the Bambino is a welcome sight to me! The Babe and Brooksie are featured equally in my home office, though my ratio of Brooks’ autographs to Babes is infinity!
    Just be thankful we ddn’t name our kids any of these names:

    Kitty, Allie, Bob or Tom



  7. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Ah, A.J. He will be quite the challenge, n’est-ce pas? If he ain’t hurt, he’ll be pretty stinky sometimes, but c’est la vie…
    Ah, center field. Don’t know how I feel about Gardner vs. Melky. Haven’t seen The New Kid up close like you have, but I’m very hopeful, based on your accounts. “L’amour est bleu,” said Paul Mauriat, and our boys wear the Deepest Blue…
    Ah, Monsieur Xavier…cool and fascinating family histoire. Wonder what school his kid(s) will go to…that college in Cincinnati, peut-etre? Go Musketeers!! And thanx to you for the excuse to dust off my worthless knowledge of “la belle langue” again…

  8. Jane Heller

    I actually think Jermajesty is fun, Levelboss. But Fifi Trixibelle? OMG.

    I’m glad your son is carrying on the tradition, Julia. And may his son carry it on after him.

    I checked the box score, Russ, and it looks like both Posada and Molina were in there catching. You’d like to think they’d spot something and AJ could made adjustments, but I guess he was irretrievably out of whack!

    Fifi Trixibelle does sound like a name for a purse puppy, Sue. Good call.

    I almost stuck a “bada boom” after that joke, Jeff. Why do I care about Nady? #1) He’s our right fielder. #2) He was pretty good in limited action after coming over from the Pirates late last year. #3) He’s adorable.

    Glad you liked the book, Cheshirecat, and hope you had a great time in Costa Rica. I’ve never been there but everybody says it’s beautiful. You’re going to Friday’s game against the Cubs? I’m SO jealous.

    AJ has been great except for yesterday, Kaybee, so I’ll give him the occasional out-of-whack day.:)

    So Grady has a Grady too, Melissa? I think you’re right about the confusion that must go on at home. Maybe they just use numbers when they call out the names. Like: “Hey, 4! Go clean your room!”

    It’s an automatic MLBlogs censor, Cheshirecat. I didn’t touch it!

    You said it in the nutshell, Rob. AJ just needs to stay out of the Pavano MRI tube and all will be well.

    Or Cheshire, Ken!

    Nice French, Dave. I’ve forgotten almost everything I learned in Mrs. Painter’s French class in high school. Pathetic.

  9. heartbeatofthebronx

    As a pitcher for 20 years, i can say that it IS unbelievably hard to stay “in whack” regardless of how smooth and compact a pitcher’s mechanics may appear.

    It is no different than a golf swing, which seems to be 10 times as easy to perfect as a pitcher’s mechanics. Anyone who has tried to swing on the same plane over and over with a golf club knows it is the most frustrating thing in the world of sports. Mechanics are simply irritating to master, and require countless hours of work and dedication to maintain.

  10. raysrenegade

    I am wondering if they might be entertaining a trade for Melky. I know the Chicago White Sox are not entirely happy with their center field guys. It might be a time for him to change venues to reconstruct his career.
    I also heard the Joe Girardi is not even set on having a long reliever, that could mean that three guys could be on the bubble in the Bullpen too.
    That is the fun of this last week ,the tweaking and the element of change can send shock waves through the sport.
    I love this time of the year better than the trade deadline.

    Rays Renegade


  11. Lissi

    No Grady is one of those kids with the passed on names. He may have a Grady later but it would pretty scandalous if he had a Grady now. He doesn’t have a girlfriend which prompts my uncle to claim he is gay and bother me incessantly about it whenever he can.

  12. crazy19canuck

    And AJ has been out of “whack” for awhile…just ask any Jays fan. Wait until he gets hurt!
    Passing names on seems important to some people and not to others…to each their own. I went to school with someone who was a “VII”.

  13. scofid

    If you’re out of whack and you know you’re out of whack, why pitch? Why not pull a Pavano to get out of the pitching assignment that day? After the first few runs, he should have cried “uncle” to Joe Girardi. With my first son, we were supposed to give him my name as his middle name. But when the nurse asked me what the baby’s name was going to be, I couldn’t do it and called an audible without getting permission from the mother!


  14. mayz

    “Out of whack” in Spring Training can be translated as follows:

    “Look, it’s spring. These games mean nothing. I was out all night long partying and came straight from a bar to the ballpark. I’m still a bit drunk to be honest. I’ll focus next week when these games count.”


  15. letsgoyankees

    I know a family where everyone is Frank or Anthony. Except their Aunts whow wer, by coincidence (wait for it)-Pasqualle and Pasquallina.
    Yes, you read right. This is no joke. Odds of that must be nil.

  16. Jane Heller

    You make a good analogy to golf, Stephen. I once took a lesson and hit the ball so well. The next time out? Couldn’t hit it at all. So frustrating. I knew what I was supposed to do but couldn’t make it happen. Aaargh, mechanics.

    You’re right, Renegade. This is the time when the tweaking goes on. It’s fun to see who wins the jobs and who might be traded.

    Oops. I didn’t realize Grady was single, Melissa. Tell your uncle that not all cute single men are gay!

    Canuck, I can only hope you’re wrong and that AJ will stay healthy for awhile. When he’s on, he’s really on.

    What a good idea, Scott. AJ should have just called in sick! Funny story about your son’s name. You called an audible without permission! LOL.

    I thought of that, Jason. Like maybe AJ was just hungover and tried to make the best of it.

    Actually, Tom, Kyle Farnsworth’s son’s name is Stone and Doug Mientkiewicz’s son’s name is Steel. Not your everyday Joe’s.

    Pasqualle and Pasquallina. I like it, Letsgoyankees. Sounds like a terrific little pasta restaurant.

    Xavier is definitely not hate-worthy, Ellie, so I’m glad there’s at least one Yankee you can tolerate.

    He’s an injury risk, no question, King. But aren’t they all?

  17. redbirdchatter

    Too funny! Don’t you know when all the Xaviers were getting made fun of in school, they were saying, “There’s no way I’m giving my kid this name”? But, boom, once the doc says, “It’s a boy” they could not help themselves. Hope AJ gets his whack back and doesn’t get whacked so much.

  18. greg1969

    As far as “baby names” go, I think two of the classics are Frank Zappa’s kids: Dweezil and Moonbeam! (?!) Hmmm…

  19. Jane Heller

    Oh, yeah. I love those names, Greg. I have a friend named Starshine, so I guess I could get used to Moonbeam. But Dweezil? Nope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s