My Mercy Flight To Cleveland

No, the Yankees aren’t going to win every game for the rest of the season, but I thought I’d better get myself on a plane after their 5-4 walkoff loss to the Indians and talk to them before Monday night’s series finale. The game is on ESPN, and I don’t want them embarrassing me in front of the entire country.
My sources told me the players would be having dinner at The Chophouse and Brewery, a steak place in Cleveland’s trendy Warehouse District.
So I took a cab from the airport and went straight there. I found them in a private room. They were, without exception, eating this.
I introduced myself to the group, and explained that while I didn’t want to interrupt their good time, I felt it necessary to address them, fan to team. They were very polite and invited me to join them. CC was kind enough to order me a steak after I admitted that all I’d eaten on my flight was this.
trail mix.jpg
“What’s on your mind, She-Fan?” asked Jeter as he was scarfing down onion rings.
“You were safe on that bang-bang play in the sixth inning today,” I said. “I know the calls even out over the course of the season, but if the ump had gotten this one right, you’d have scored on Tex’s homer.”
“Did I hear my name?” asked Teixeira from the other end of the table. He was eating his steak with his hands, not a care in the world.
“Congratulations on your thirteen-game hitting streak,” I said. “Longest of your career, right?”
“You got it,” he said, then patted A-Rod on the back, causing him to choke momentarily on his carrot, which he had ordered without salt or butter. “Since this guy came back to us, I’m on fire.”
I met A-Rod’s eyes. He seemed a little down. “You’re not a hundred-percent, are you?” I said.
“No, She-Fan,” he said. “My lateral movement just isn’t there. My surgeon told me not to put too much pressure on myself, but I feel like I cost us the game today. I couldn’t make a play on Peralta’s hit.”
“It was Coke who gave up the leadoff walk to Crowe,” I pointed out.
With that, I moved over to where all the relievers were sitting and delivered a stern lecture about throwing strikes and challenging hitters, instead of nibbling and falling behind in counts. I think Jose Veras cursed at me in Spanish, but Mo couldn’t have been nicer. He asked me how long I’d been a Yankee fan. When I said I was coming to see them play the Nationals on June 17th, he offered me free tickets. “I already bought some on StubHub, but thanks,” I said. What a sweetheart.
I spent some time with Matsui and his translator. I told him I was very concerned about his knees and wondered if they were the cause of his weak hacks at the plate.
“I’m not ready to retire,” he said testily. “And I’m not going to the Giants in a trade.”
“Fine,” I said. “Then stop pulling off the ball. You looked awful today.”
I got up from my chair and walked to the center of the room. “Listen, I didn’t come here to criticize. I just want to say thanks for a great month of May. You guys really got it together and I’m proud of you.”
“Woohoo! We rock! We roll! We have the most fun of any ballplayers!” exclaimed Nick Swisher. He did a little dance in his seat and then high-fived Johnny Damon.
“Tomorrow’s game against the Indians marks a brand new month,” I continued. “I want you to keep up your winning ways. That means effective starting pitching.” I cast a long, piercing look at Joba, tomorrow’s starter. “It means hitting with men in scoring position.” I wagged a finger at Jorge, who struck out and hit into a double play today. “And no misplays in center field.” I shrugged at Gardner, who was still grumbling about that ball that sailed over his head for a double.
“It goes both ways, She-Fan,” said Jeter. “We need you to do something for us.”
“Name it,” I said. “Anything.”
“Don’t move.”
“Don’t -“
Before I could speak, AJ came running out from the restaurant’s kitchen and slammed a banana cream pie in my face.
My trip was so worth it.


  1. levelboss

    there were TWO nice things that came out of today’s loss..
    1) the Yankees have tied the mlb record for most number of consecutive errorless games (17).. if there are no errors tomorrow night, then the Yankees would be alone with the record
    2) Wang looked great – 3 scoreless innings in only 42 pitches (14 pitches per inning) of which 28 were for strikes with 4 groundouts and only one flyout.. and 3 K’s! his sinker had enough drop that he actually was striking out batters with it; coupled with the 2 inning scoreless effort against the Rangers, IMHO i think Wang is ready to come back to the rotation!

  2. Jane Heller

    Levelboss, it’s very exciting that they’re playing error-less baseball. I worried that Gardner’s misplay would be an error, but since he didn’t touch the ball it was all good. I agree about Wang. In his first inning, the sinker was incredible, and he seemed to get more confidence from there. I was annoyed that Girardi didn’t let him finish the game, but maybe it was best that he leave on a high note.

    Thanks, Megan. Let’s definitely go together on the next “road trip.” We can play good cop/bad cop. One of us will give them a tongue lashing. The other can tell them how great they are.

  3. tingler

    hey jane.

    I’m just a yankee fan just came by to say hi, been a reader of yours for a while.

    Something I still didn’t figured out. Is all this conversation with the Yankee players for real or just fiction.

    If it is for real, it will be sooo cool.

    if it’s not, still I loved it sooo much….

    thanks for all the great posts!

  4. raysrenegade

    Ahhhhhhhhh, I wonder why they did not go eat at Chris Symon’s restaurant Lola’s while they were in town.
    He is the Iron Chef, and past host of “Dinner Impossible”, season two and a pretty clever chef.
    He could have made a dessert that even a guy like Brett Gardner would enjoy with a smile.
    It would have been dinner with a sideshow of wild and exotic foods and tastes that would have amazed the palates.
    But when in CC’s old burg, you eat where he eats.
    To bad he did not invite LeBron, he might need a few friends right now.
    Great post. I love the imagery of you sitting there with banana cream pie dripping off your blond locks.

    Rays Renegade

  5. juliasrants

    It is surprising that the Yankees haven’t done more to close up the holes that they have on the team. While A-Rod has certainly done well since he has come back, as we have seen with Mike Lowell – it takes a while to recover from hip surgery and all the movement is not going to be there for a while. And I’m with Rays – they should have been eating at Chris Symon’s restaurant!



    Oh, Ms. Jane, you are TOO funny…thanx again for taking the sting out of a loss that was gleefully announced to me, coupled with “and the Red Sox won!,” by my spouse…well, things tend to even out…it is so GREAT to hear & see all of the national analysts rave over the Yankee Defense, starring Tex, He Who Remade The Infield…I will not dare say what could happen tonite, being way too superstitious — hated not to beat Carl F.’s butt, but life isn’t fair — think of what an awful sports day/nite it was in Cleve. on Saturday, and we have friends there who I know are in pain. No mo’ pity for the “Laked City,” howevah — let’s sneak outa town with 1 more midge-defying W…!

  7. PAUL

    It’d be interesting to see how many people reading these postings are taken in and believe your brilliantly constructed fictional accounts.
    If I were any self-respecting Yankee fan, I wouldn’t be flying to Cleveland to rally the troops; I’d want a nice, long chat with Carl Pavano to see if he’s got a twin brother, because the guy yesterday and the guy who looked like he wanted to go to the beach instead of pitch during his lucrative, four-year term with the Yankees are NOT the same guy.

  8. Jane Heller

    Hey, Tingler. Thanks for stopping by. My little rendezvous with the Yankees in this post is pure fiction, but it happened in my head. LOL.

    You know more about ballplayers than I do, Renegade, but in my experience they don’t eat anything “exotic.” Every time I saw Mike Mussina in Cleveland, for example, he was digging into a burger. I figured a steak place was a safe bet.

    What holes, Julia? If you mean third base, we have Ramiro Pena, who’s terrific.

    “The mistake by the Lake?” I’m sure they love that, Russ! I really enjoyed my time in Cleveland and went to a restaurant in the Warehouse District called the Blue Point Grille. It was one of the best meals ever.

    Absolutely, Dave. We must get out of town with a win tonight to atone for not beating Pavano. I just wish ESPN wasn’t doing the game, since it’ll mean the players won’t get back to NY until the wee hours.

    Paul, if Pavano has a twin brother, he’s probably in some state penitentiary. Thievery must run in the family.

    I hope so too, Kaybee.


    I will buy him New luggage if he needs it ! Please , everyone , say it with me, ” SEND COKE PACKING “. He even blamed the umpire on that walk of his. Hey Phil, who do you blame for all the other ” GREAT ” outings you have had. GRRRREAT blog today Heller ! You Rock as Usual.

  10. cheshirecat9

    This post cracked me up! I can imagine the whole thing.
    Any chance you will be doing a book signing when you come to town this month?

  11. Jane Heller

    I had really high hopes for Coke, Brendan, especially after Marte went down. But blaming the ump for that walk was just dumb.

    I am He-Man’s sister, Jeff. He’s coming over for dinner tonight and bringing his He-Man children.

  12. cheshirecat9

    Ahhh… many beers have been consumed at Stan’s! On our third date my girlfriend and I went to a Yankees game and met up at Stan’s beforehand, (yup, I’m a real classly date!). Hopefully if you do do the signing I will be able to get up there in enough time after work. Keep us updated.

  13. Jane Heller

    Megan, I don’t have any plans to be in Philly. I wish I did. I went to U of PA and would love to see the campus (and my old apt) again. But this is just a quick trip to NY to see my mom and do promo for the book. I’ll go check out your blog to see the link!

    Will do, Cheshirecat. I should know something tomorrow.

    Dillon, you’re right. I’d take a pie in the face from AJ too. Preferably chocolate.

    Thanks, Joe. Glad you survived.:)

    I haven’t seen Jeter get a pie yet, Jenn, but he’s due. Maybe during the upcoming home stand.

  14. joejoe146

    Being a Braves fan, it is hard to read a Yankee fans blog, which I will only read yours, because no one is more entertaining in a blog than you, no wonder you are in the top 100. And congratulations on another successful blog.

  15. Jane Heller

    I’m going to get you to like the Yankees, Joe, even though you’re a Braves fan. You’ll see.

  16. joejoe146

    If they would stop buying championships, I would like them. But, that will never happen, since Steinbrenner will probably never sell, I will forever always hate the Yankees.

  17. raysrenegade

    Jane you got me.
    I would expect to see them at the huge line at Sokolowski’s University Inn eating a 5 lb bratwurst, or the grilled rainbow trout.
    Hearty food was always the first priority when we went out to eat back when I was playing in the 80’s.
    But with the salaries hitting almost $500,000 for a rookie, I was hoping they might experiment a few times on the road. Ummmmm, with food that is.
    Always a pleasure to read your accounts……….always.

    Rays Renegade

  18. Jane Heller

    I think you’re right on, Holly. His timing is off – it’s still spring training for him in a way – and he needs to relax and not press. Maybe a day off wouldn’t hurt either.

    Renegade, you would think they’d be a little more adventurous with food, given their money, but I don’t think their palates will ever get more sophisticated than a burger and fries. And you’re sweet to say such nice things. Aw, shucks.

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