Opening Day: How The Yankees Put The “Bull” In Bullpen

The day started off well, with gorgeous weather to christen the gorgeous stadium. 

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George was in attendance and Yogi threw out the first pitch and there were reps selling the “USA Today Yankee Stadium Tribute,” the publication that was kind enough to run an ad for my book.
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I tuned in to the MLB Network’s coverage of the festivities, as opposed to YES’s, and was instantly hooked by the broadcast pairing of Costas (he makes even trivial stuff sound momentous) and Kaat (I love his folksy stories and been-there insights). And I really enjoyed Gillette’s commercial co-starring Jeter (it kicks off their free-razor promotion).
Then came the game.
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I could tell right away that CC was laboring, but so was Lee. I figured it was anyone’s ball game – particularly since both lineups kept wasting scoring opportunities.
I was wrong. It wasn’t anybody’s ball game. It belonged to the Indians.
After CC was lifted and Edwar and Coke escaped trouble, Girardi went to Jose Veras to pitch the seventh with the score tied at 1-1.
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The second he appeared on the screen, my husband Michael and I said simultaneously: “Leadoff walk.” Why? Because that’s Veras’ specialty in close contests. I stood right in front of the TV and screamed, “JOSE: DO NOT WALK DEROSA!”

Did he listen? No. Before I knew it, he gave up the walk and two doubles, and the score was 3-1. Boos rang out at the Stadium as he departed. Boos rang out at my house, too, and I was so mad that I threw this at the wall.
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(It was empty, and I didn’t throw it very hard.)
Next up was Marte, who is supposed to be a lefty specialist – aka a situational reliever used only in specific match-ups. 
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He promptly hit Choo, botched Francisco’s bunt, gave up a single to Shoppach and walked Crowe, forcing in a run for 5-1.
Sizemore stepped in with the bases still loaded, and Michael and I said in unison: “Grand slam.” Why? Because it was obvious that Marte had nothing. I stood in front of the TV again and yelled: “DO NOT GROOVE ONE, DAMASO!”

Did he listen? Of course not. As I watched Sizemore round the bases, I wondered why Girardi was just standing there on the dugout steps, looking grim.
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Why wasn’t he giving Marte the hook? Come to think of it, why didn’t he give Veras the hook after he walked DeRosa? Why was he watching passively as the Yankees’ home opener was going up in these?
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Astonishingly, Marte remained on the mound. When Martinez came to the plate, Michael and I said at the same time: “Home run.” Why? Because that’s what happens when you throw batting practice to a major league hitter! I stood in front of the TV and yelled: “DO NOT SERVE UP ANOTHER BOMB, MARTE!”

Did he listen? Yeah, right. With the score now 10-1, the Stadium crowd chanted: “We want Swisher!”
Bottom line? The Yankees lost to the Indians 10-2, thanks to a crappy bullpen and what seemed like 1,000 men left in scoring position. I was fuming, to put it mildly.
I took a late afternoon walk and brought the She-Fan Cam along. Given my mood, it was only fitting that the person I interviewed was not a fan at all.
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30 comments

  1. mlbtribefan

    Tough one for you today but what I always hate is the backlash that may result from your Yanks. I think someone mentioned on our local broadcast that the Yanks did not take batting practice for the opener. Uh oh, tomorrow may be a hard one to watch for me, again!
    Aaron
    http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

  2. Jane Heller

    Sometimes the Yankees do come back with a revenge, Aaron. Beware. I’m thinking of kidnapping Sizemore. 🙂

    It was an ugly night for the Yanks, Shelley, but I’m so glad for you that the Nats won. I know you’ve been so frustrated by all the losses. Maybe the tide will turn now.

  3. levelboss

    last Monday the Yankees lost badly to Tampa Bay and then went on to win the next two at Tropicana Field.. so i think the Yankees can still get the next three
    btw, i looked at the schedule with Cleveland and on Sunday i saw Pavano’s name for a start; my immediate reaction was, “Oh no! Pavano’s gonna start!” then i thought, “Wait! He’s not with the Yankees any more. Burnett’s gonna start for the Yankees!” 🙂

  4. Erin Kathleen

    If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees weren’t the only ones whose bullpen ruined an otherwise glorious pitchers’ duel. I’m starting to agree with Deborah, baseball sucks. At least right now, anyway. And I certainly wouldn’t object if you wanted to kidnap Grady Sizemore :)-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

  5. Jane Heller

    All I can say about the Pavano start on Sunday, Levelboss, is that if he pitches well and wins the game, I’ll…..I don’t know what.

    Deborah may be missing the agony of defeat, Erin, but she’s also missing the thrill of victory (and the beer and popcorn). Sorry about the Twins’ loss due to bullpen ineptitude. It’s so maddening. As for kidnapping Grady, I’ll wait to see how he does tomorrow.

  6. mikeeff

    that interview with her made my night. i love the way you manipulated her. especially the part when you asked about when the cubs were winning. she does look good for some one old enough to root back in 1908. if only her friends back in chicago coulod hear her not know the difference between the 2 teams. she’s be less popular than mr’s O’leary and her cow. great stuff.

    awful loss for SO many reasons….

    we’ll get ’em tomorrow

    M

    http://www.michaelfierman.net/_/Blog/Blog.html

  7. scofid

    It’s a new day and I am hopeful that Joba Chamberlain brings a happy rendition of Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York to the new Stadium. I have my tickets for a game during the Angels series in early May, so I am looking forward to checking out the new Stadium. I know you’ve been down on Marte for awhile. I had tried to remain optimistic but I am losing faith. Veras just plain scares me right now. We need starters who can go 8, and then just turn it over to Mo! 😉

    Scott
    http://fotr.mlblogs.com

  8. juliasrants

    Jane – as I told Scott – I had the game yesterday checked off as a “W” for the Yankees. I did not expect them to lose during the home opener of the New Yankees Stadium. It was painful to watch – and I’m a Red Sox fan – I can’t even imagine how hard it was on Yankees fans.

    Julia
    http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

  9. Lissi

    I’m gonna go ahead and say Deborah was at Wrigley. Just sounds like Wrigley.
    Sorry the Yankees lost like that. I really am. It should have been a good game. I was glad for Yankees fans and you when Posada hit the first home run. It was a good game up until the bullpen came in. Look at this way ours did its best to match your bullpen’s performance.
    Melissa
    http://clemsongirlbaseball.mlblogs.com

  10. dschaub@gpo.gov

    “Take me out to the ballgame
    I’m not part of a crowd
    Buy me some lobster and chardonnay
    Don’t ask How Much, or you cannot pay
    For it’s root, root, root for the Pinstripes
    If they don’t win, they’re to blame
    For it’s one – two – three hundred bucks
    At the New Ball Game!!”

    Now, having gotten THAT out of my system, let’s hope the Bombers have too. In my brief and humble athletic career as weekend warrior, I played lots better and MUCH more focused after getting em-bare-assed, so to speak. And can it be TRUE that we get to face Carl F. Pavano this weekend? Really?!? Ohboyohboyohboy. BTW, I beg to differ about the Non-fan’s experience…if you ever went to the OLD Comiskey Park on the South Side, the popcorn was served in little cardboard megaphones and there wasn’t any difference in taste between the two…and it got COLD on nights when the wind whipped thru those arches…brrr

  11. Jane Heller

    Deborah was a good sport, Mike. She has absolutely no interest in baseball, but agreed to let me bait her anyway.

    Scott, I’m so excited for you that you have tix in May. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the place. And maybe you’ll bring the Yanks luck. Yes, I’ve been down on Marte because he dazzled when he pitched against us during that interleague series with the Pirates in ’07. Just nasty stuff. And now? Nada.

    It was painful, Julia. All losses are, but it wasn’t the way we all wanted to inaugurate the new Stadium for sure.

    Glad you had a laugh, Steve!

    My publisher designed the ad, Ken, and I like it a lot. Now let’s see if it sells any books.

    We have some really good possibilities in Triple A, Jeff. Mark Melancon is our next great hope, and I think we’ll see him in the Bronx before too long.

    Congrats on the win for your guys, Melissa. Grady must have made you smile with that slam!

    It’s a reflex, Kaybee. I yell at the TV as if somebody might actually hear me and it’s ridiculous!

    Wow. Those lyrics are great, Dave. I’d like to put you in front of the She-Fan Cam singing them.

    It was nice to see Posada get that HR, Russ. I’m just sorry it pretty much ended there.

  12. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Why, thank you, Ms. J. Now let’s hope they can turn things around…already off to a not-so-hot start, I see…forget the chardonnay, I’m gonna look for some Ballantine soon if they don’t start cashing in those ducks on the pond…and BTW, if you’re in town in late August, I’m gonna be out there in SoCal at a guv’mint conference…maybe you & me & Michael & whoever can hook up, with the trusty ol’ She-Cam!!

  13. raysrenegade

    I was talking to Joba about the Opening and he was so excited to be tossing the ball on Friday.
    I never would have thought with the recent struggles of the Indians they would have an uprising like that yesterday.
    I do have to say that Yankee Manager Joe Giardi needs to either trade for, or bring up someone to be a long reliever for your team.
    If he doesn’t it might be the nail in his coffin. I am still a bit at odds over seeing Nick Swisher on the pitcher’s mound and being the best reliver of the day in a recent Rays/Yankee game.

    Rays Renegade

    http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

  14. Jane Heller

    Dave, the not-so-hot start just turned around, thanks to back-to-back jacks by Damon and Tex. Keep me posted on your late Aug trip to CA!

    I would love to have eavesdropped on your chat with Joba, Renegade. Aside from a homer to DeRosa today, he’s looking pretty good so far.

  15. heartruss

    Jane, the new stadium is beautiful. Sorry about the loss. The Dodgers started out slow last year and did lose the opening day game. It always puts a damper on everyones spirits. So far they have won 5 straight and is tied for first place. I always like to say it’s early and everyone pounds me for saying it.
    http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

  16. Jane Heller

    That gives me hope, Russ. Thanks for the pep talk. We just beat the Indians a few minutes ago, so I’m feeling better already.

  17. pagevalnat

    Here’s something to contemplate, Jane:
    I watched this game yesterday up to when Cleveland took a 1-0 lead, and took a nap…FIGURING the Bombers would probably mount a comeback.
    Oops.
    Next thing I know, I flip the game back on…and Cleveland’s leading 9-1. NOW I’m like, “Whaa….???”
    Next time, don’t scream at the TV. Just whip out a .357 Magnum, and shoot the damned thing!!! (I’m KIDDING…I think. LMAO) On second thought, best not give you any ideas…lol
    I’m STILL trying to figure how Shelley’s gonna reconcile her loyalty (-ties) when the Nats and Yanks play in June. No offense, but…DO NOT go over to the dark side, Shelley!!! Your loyalty is to me AND the Nats!!! LMAO
    Gary
    Nasty Nats Live Here (and Everywhere)
    http://go-nasty-nats.mlblogs.com
    http://twitter.com/gonastynats

  18. Jane Heller

    Yay is right, Russ. Or should I be calling you Cat, btw?

    I don’t know how Shelley will choose sides when the Yankees and Nats play, Gary, but it’s bound to be fun to have your two favorite teams play each other in a series. At least I know which one I’ll be rooting for.

  19. chaley777

    I feel bad for Deborah… she doesn’t even know what she’s missing! Whoever took her to that first (only?!?) game when she was young did her a disservice. I have to believe if she’d been told how real fans are excited, passionate, knowledgeable and often LOUD she would have been prepared for it and enjoyed the game.
    Poor poor Deborah :o(

  20. Jane Heller

    I agree, Girlfan. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. That first game she went to as a kid must have traumatized her for life. One of these days I’ll drag her to a game and show her how much fun being a baseball fan can be.

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