AJ Burnett, My Hero

I don’t usually fall for men with “body art.”
And normally it takes me a while to form meaningful attachments.
But AJ Burnett has come to the Yankees’ rescue twice in a row, and that’s exactly the kind of behavior that wins my trust and affection.
Here’s how he did it against the Rays and their cowbell-clanging supporters.
* He threw six innings of no-hit ball, completely handcuffing the previously elusive Upton.
Officer handcuffing camper.jpg
* He hit Zobrist on the foot in the second inning. But he protested that the ball hit the ground first and the umpire bought it, thanks to his great sales job.
* He buzzed one up and in to Longoria in the bottom of the fourth after Matt Garza had buzzed one up and in to Swisher in the top of the frame, displaying a keen sense of fair play.
* He wore a perpetual snarl/lip curl, and I almost expected him to point his glove at the Rays and yell: “Get. Off. My. Lawn.”
* After he gave up his first hit to Crawford in the seventh, followed by singles to Longoria and Pena, he could have lost his focus. Instead, he came back out in the eighth and retired all three men he faced.
* He was the guiding force behind the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Rays, out-dueling Garza and his fluttering glove trick.
Of course, there were other heroes….
Swisher for continuing to swing a hot bat….Gardner for smacking back-to-back doubles….Molina for picking off Pena (Carlos)….Girardi for replacing Ransom with Pena (Ramiro)…Jeter for homering to put the game away….Bruney for nailing down the “W”….Tex for playing with a sore wrist, although I hope that broken-bat foul didn’t make it worse.
Speaking of “sore,” Nady’s got an elbow problem? What’s up with that? I guess we’ll find out after he spends part of Wednesday in here.
P.S. Starting Friday, I’ll be a regular weekly guest on the sports talk radio show “The Natural.” Hosted by Greg Marotta, the show is broadcast live from 4-5 p.m. Eastern Time on WVNJ-AM 1160 throughout Northern New Jersey, Westchester, Rockland and parts of Manhattan, Long Island and Connecticut, as well as via streaming audio on their web site.

“‘The Natural’ goes after out-of-the-box guests,” said Greg of his daily show. “Larry Lucchino….Mickey Rourke…..and now Jane Heller.”

I never expected to be in the same sentence as either Larry Lucchino or Mickey Rourke. But wonders never cease and talking about the Yankees never gets old.


  1. levelboss

    AJ rocked tonight – no-hitter through six innings and going a full 8 innings with 9K’s!!!! now dats what i’m talkin’ about, Willis!!!

    and the Yankees didn’t even need Swisher to pitch tonight.. excellent game

  2. scofid

    I enjoy the sense of confidence one gets when A.J. Burnett takes the mound. If he keeps playing like this, he’ll definitely get Steinbrenner’s “Warrior” tag. It’ll hurt to lose Nady but at least it keeps Swisher in the lineup. Hopefully, Girardi will keep playing Ramiro Pena for awhile to see what he can do do. Congrats, and good luck with the radio spot!


  3. cheshirecat9

    AJ was the person I was least excited about signing, but he has prove me wrong! This game was exactly what we needed. Or at least what I needed, losing three in a row would have been depressing. Swisher continues to be our MVP. It is unbelievable that we traded Wilson Beitimen for him (does anyone know how Wilson is doing at the White Sox?) COngrats on the radio spot Jane. From romance novels to talk sports radio. What a journey!

  4. latinyankeerebel

    I know what you mean about the ink… LOL… but when I saw Bruney up close… wow! BUt right now my heart belongs to Swisher and Burnett…. those men are saving me from an early death. Even Jeter is waking up lately… let’s just hope they keep on winning… I made a stupid bet with one of my colleagues, who’s a Boston fan… if by All Star break the Yanks are doing better than Boston, we go to a Yankees game and he will be fully dressed as a Yankees fan and support the team openly… if Boston is doing better, then, it would be me fully dressed as a Boston fan, and, *gulp*, support them….I think my brain will fuse, or my skin will melt wearing a boston tshirt… dunno…
    We’re supposed to go to games vs the O’s, but since we don;t know if we’ll still be here by the end of the season, we might be going either to Yankee Stadium or Fenway… and I would need to pay for my ticketi n Fenway… not fair!

  5. jessica@herraysbaseball.com

    Hey Jane, you’ve been talking about players you’d like to kidnap and I agree on Markakis, but I would like to add AJ Burnett to my list. No way I’ll part with BJ Upton though!

  6. redstatebluestate

    Jane, I would’ve gone with the mugshot of Vince, but that’s just me. AJ is great while his arm is still connected to his torso. Wait til about August then let’s see how much you love him 😉 Congrats on the Top Spot. You’re a tough blog to crack these days 🙂

  7. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Great Stuff, Miz Jane! Nice to see AJ lookin’ so sharp…and even though I don’t trust him to endure, let’s take what we can get for as long as it lasts…always nice to hang an “L” on the Rays on the same nite that the Bosox drop one…! Speaking of Same Sox…hey Latinyankeerebel…IF the worst thing happens, AND you have to wear Boston garb, AND you go to a Red Sox-Orioles game, let us know and I’ll be there in Yankee gear to provide some counterpoint! Oh, and lest I forget, how AWESOME that you’ll be on real AM American Radio every week, Ms. J!! Give us some hints when you know what day, and your faithful will Tune Inn…

  8. Jane Heller

    Excellent game on all counts, Levelboss – pitching, defense, base running and timely hitting. No complaints.

    I agree that Nady’s injury will give Swisher more playing time, Scott, but do we really want Melky (or Shelley?) filling in as the extra outfielder? Maybe Nady’s elbow is just….sore? Please?

    Uh-oh. I didn’t know Lowry was having problems, Julia. That MRI tube is entirely too busy. And thanks for letting me know about the rankings. I’ll check your blog to find out the latest.

    It sure has been an interesting journey, Cheshirecat. I was pretty high on AJ when he was signed, because of the way he always stymied the Yankees when he was with the Jays. And now he’s proving that when healthy he can compete with anyone. Let’s hope he stays that way.

    That’s a tough bet you made, Latinyankeerebel. Either way, I’m sure you’ll have fun with it.

    Hey, Jessica. If I were you, I’d kidnap AJ after last night. But let’s see what today brings. There could be another kidnap victim from either side….

    Paul, I was vaguely aware that the ShamWow guy got arrested for something. Ah, stardom.

    I’ll worry about August in August, Jeff. One day at a time! “A tough blog to crack.” Is that like “a tough nut to crack?” I’ve heard that before. 🙂

    Dave, I’m on this Friday at 4:20 p.m. Eastern. Tune in! That would be great if you went to a game at Camden Yards and met up with Latinyankeerebel. Hope it happens.

  9. latinyankeerebel

    dschaub, I’ll definitely need some Yankee support IF the worst happens… well, even if the worst doesn’t happen it would be cool to have more Yankee fans bugging my colleague… LOL..

    Jane, I think the second smirnoff ice I drank made the trick so that i would accept such a bet…. Ah! thebad things that occur when you drink at baseball game.. LOL

  10. Jane Heller

    Yeah, that second drink will do it every time, Latinyankeerebel. Don’t drink and make bets!

    Great win, Mike. Now if Pettitte pitches like he did the other day we’ll be in good shape.

  11. Jane Heller

    He does look like he’s doing a Clint imitation in that pic, V. Good grab.

    Never fear what you say on this blog, Jeff. It won’t be used against you (well, there’s always a chance).

  12. Jane Heller

    Farnsy didn’t throw at hitters on purpose, Erin. Well, not always. It was mostly that he had no idea where the ball was going.

    Thanks, Russ. I hope you’ll listen in!

  13. the boomer and the chick

    Give it a month and your feelings towards AJ will change. In a month AJ will be on the DL and reappear next season. As Jays fans we saw it happen too often…

  14. Jane Heller

    I hear you, boomer/chick, but I’m staying hopeful on AJ. The Yankees have too many other injuries to deal with right now. I can’t let myself think about another.

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