Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 3

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Last night I announced the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Enemy – the opposing player who best helped the Yankees win the ALDS, ALCS or World Series. Congratulations again to Brad Lidge.
Tonight’s award goes to the opposing player who contributed mightily to this year’s most exciting phenomenon: the walk-off victory. The Yankees had 15 walk-offs during the regular season, some more significant than others but all a great source of pleasure for Yankee fans – and for A.J. Burnett.
And the nominees for Best Regular Season Walk-Off Enemy are…
Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, Fuentes was one of last night’s nominees, but he merits another look in this category. On May 1st, he allowed a bases-loaded walk-off single by Posada in the ninth, and the Yanks beat the Angels 10-9 after having been down by five runs in the game. A big win against a big rival.
Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Another return nominee, Nathan was on the mound on May 15th, which, by the way, marked A-Rod’s debut at the new Stadium as well as the game in which Brett Gardner had an inside-the-park home run. In the ninth, Gardner tripled off Nathan, Tex singled, A-Rod walked, Cano was walked intentionally, and – with the bases loaded – Melky blooped a two-out single to win the game 5-4. The Yanks went on to sweep the Twins with three consecutive walk-offs.
Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
Yet another return nominee, Lidge pitched the ninth on May 23rd. The Yanks were down by two runs, but the Phillies closer walked Damon, gave up a game-tying homer to A-Rod, allowed a single to Cano, who stole second, and served up a walk-off single to Melky. A foreshadowing of things to come.
Luis Castillo, New York Mets
We all know what happened on June 12th, but here’s the recap. The Yanks were down by a run in the ninth when K-Rod came in to close it out for the Mets. Jeter singled, stole second and K-Rod intentionally walked Tex to pitch to a struggling A-Rod, who popped up to Castillo for the third out. Inexplicably, L-Cas dropped the ball, and Tex and A-Rod scored the winning runs. The best part was watching K-Rod celebrate – prematurely.
Shawn Camp, Toronto Blue Jays
July 4th was George Steinbrenner’s birthday and the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. So it was only fitting that Roy Halladay did not get the win on this day. Instead, he left the game in a funk after Damon’s two-run shot tied the score in the seventh. It wasn’t until the 12th that Posada singled in the winning run off Camp, who is a double She-Fan Award nominee for the walk-off single he gave up to Cano on August 12th.
Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox
Who can forget the August 7th game that lasted 15 innings and five-and-a-half hours? It was Burnett against Beckett, two former Marlins, and the score was 0-0 when A-Rod stepped in against the rookie Red Sox pitcher and belted one into the seats with Jeter aboard for a 2-0 walk-off. The win expanded the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to four-and-a-half games.
Kyle Farnsworth, Kansas City Royals
No, the game on September 29th against the Royals hardly mattered in terms of the pennant race. But seeing old friend Farnsy was a treat nonetheless. With the September call-ups in the lineup, Cervelli got the Yankees’ ninth-inning rally going with a ground ball that deflected off Farnsworth for a single. Cisco moved to third on Hinske’s single and scored on Cano’s sac fly. Up to the plate stepped another call-up, Juan Miranda, whose grounder off Farnsy’s leg scored Hinske. The Yanks won 4-3 and all was right with the world.
The envelope please.
And the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy goes to…
***** Junichi Tazawa *****
The sentimental favorite would have been Castillo, of course. But an interleague series against the hapless Mets that didn’t really count for a lot except in entertainment value? Conversely, the 15-inning game against the Red Sox was huge. They had beaten us eight straight times coming into the series, and first place in the division was on the line. Once A-Rod hit that shot off of Tazawa, they had to settle for a Wild Card berth. Congratulations to Mr. Tazawa. Oh, wait. Mr. Tazawa is out of the country and can’t be here to accept his award. Accepting it for him is his teammate.
“Oh, wow,” said Mr. Papelbon. “The She-Fan Award is really heavy.”
“That’s because it’s solid gold,” I said. “Maybe you’ll win one next year.”
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  1. mikeeff

    i think night three of your awards is my favorite so far. I agree with you that tazawa deserves the prize considering the magnitude of the game. one of the classic games of the decade maybe? on the other hand f-worthless caused us so much pain that I got a heck of a lot of enjoyment finally getting some payback off him.

    I seriously suspect papelbon of mental illness.


    I was reading the papers online this morning. All depressing news. Even the sports stories didn’t help. The Fox interview with Jeter was even bad – he looked like he hated it. And Tiger. Sigh.

    As I clicked on the She-fan tab, I smiled inwardly, knowing I’d at least get a laugh from this. And I was right. Not only a laugh, but the uplifting thought of all those walk-offs. Great pick, Jane! Yup, ARod beating Boston was priceless. The season record had been so off balance and I wanted to crush them in the division.

    Thanks for brightening my morning!


  3. thefreak

    I’m starting to feel bad for Fuentes. This guy doesn’t make it to the world series. Now he gets nominated for everything the she fan throws and he just can’t win. Poor guy. If I were him, I’d just jump off a bridge already. But he’d probably screw that up too.

    Always a bridesmaid never a bride…….


  4. ladyjane303

    Great job! Hard to argue with your choice – it was the walk-off of all walks-offs in the regular season. So many worthy candidates – I hope that Luis Castillo was a close runner-up. Looking forward to what tomorrow’s awards bring…


    Hi Jane,
    I contacted my cousin who lives in Palm City, right near Stuart, for directions to the Martin County Library. She asked if it was the Blake Library. Is that the one?
    It should be an interesting off season with a lot of good people available and all the bloggers will have a lot to talk about.


    More tuff choices. Nathan (just for his name, and the Noo Yawk hot dog connection)…started the whole walk-off thing, or so it seemed…Castillo, just for the unbee-leeve-a-bility of it (waiting for Paul’s Pithy Comment; you can thay that with a lithp if you choothe)…but how DELICIOUS to have a Hosehead to receive it, and a proxy like PapSmear to pick it up (and drop it, hopefully on his foot)…then the great reminder, Thank You Jeff, of the GOOD part of the ’01 Series…I recall walking thru a dying-out CD store in DC a few years back…coulda bought a DVD of the 2001 Series, for ONE DOLLAR, and really thought about it…but this was after 2004, and it was all still too painful…haven’t regretted it until recently…WWJHD (What Would Jane Have Done)?

  7. Jane Heller

    Mike, I agree that it was one of the classic games of the decade. We had The Rivalry, two gunslinger starting pitchers who happened to be former teammates, a desperate need to reverse the 0-8 record against the RS, the scoreless 14+ innings and then boom: A-Rod. It was all too wonderful.

    Exactly, Rob. I wavered only slightly when it came to Castillo, just because it was such a surprising win but in the end it was a novelty, a fluke, and it didn’t mean much in the long term.

    A She-Fan Umpire Award could happen, rstorm. Stay tuned.

    I agree about the news, Melissa. My husband and I were watching CNN during dinner last night and I said, “I hope they talk about Tiger or the White House party crashers, just because I can’t stand the ‘real news’ right now.” So I’m glad we can at least look back on the Yankees and smile.

    It was weird when I sat down to write the post, Mike. Three of the nominees were returns from the previous night: Nathan, Fuentes and Lidge. It made me realize the following: We beat the best closers in the regular season and we beat them again in the postseason. Total domination.

    There were so many worthy candidates, ladyjane. I left out two Twins relievers, a reliever for the O’s, and another from the Rays, for example. I went with the ones that were memorable to me!

    Joe Nathan is such a good closer, but for some reason the Yankees do pretty well against him, Jeff. Weird. And no, I didn’t watch MLB Network last night, so I missed the ’01 doc. I had just gotten my World Series DVD in the mail, so we watched that. Talk about a happy ending.

    Yes, your cousin is right, Harold. The panel will be at the Blake Library. I think they’ll have a couple of authors of baseball books, along with a signing of the books, plus a few former players. Hope to see you there!

    I wouldn’t have bought the DVD, Dave. Not even for a dollar. Not when the 2001 WS ended the way it did. Ooooh, it’s too painful to talk about! Make it stop!


    Sorry ’bout that, She-Fan…yes, it’s kinda like picking a scab off a lingering wound…let’s not go there. Just keep humming “We Are The Champions,” or take another look at that new DVD…sometimes it works for me to review The Ones That Got Away once we finally get back on top, ’cause there’s an eventual happy ending, but that surely don’t work for everybody…it HAS been delightful seeing all the Yankee caps and shirts & jackets popping up all over town, where there weren’t many (or any) before…and the older & more beat-up-looking the hat, or shirt, or jacket…the more I like it!

  9. Jane Heller

    Yes, I’ll keep sticking my head in the sand over ’01 and especially ’04, Dave. When I watched the WS DVD last night and they played “We Are the Champions,” it sure worked for me. I’m all about happy endings, as readers of my novels know; the romantic couple always gets together by “The End.”

  10. Jonah

    Thanks for rating my Blue Jays a mention, Jane, even if it was in a negative light; I’m sure if Camp is reading this, he’d consider it an honour being nominated. And congratulations on your blog being #1 for the month of November!


  11. Jane Heller

    I don’t know what “type of stuff” you’re referring to, Paul, but the Mets were hapless. According to the dictionary, the word means “unfortunate” or “unlucky.”

    I think the Blue Jays had another reliever who gave up a walk-off, Jonah. Maybe it was Jason Frasor? But I had to give Shawn Camp a nod, since he was doubly helpful to the Yanks’ cause! Thanks for the heads up about the ranking.


    Hey Jane — Thanks for considering a She-Fan Umpire award. I think it’s an understatement to say that the officiating for all the playoffs was unusual and unforgettable. I’ve been reading your blog all season; your ideas show a great deal of creativity and your comments are priceless. The blog makes my day. Thanks!
    Rob Storm, A Yankee He-Fan in Texas

  13. Jane Heller

    Rob, you’re so right about the umpiring. I’ll be announcing the nominees for that award shortly. I’m really happy to hear you’ve been reading and enjoying the blog. It’s gratifying to know you’re out there in Texas having a good laugh!


    i particularly like this one since they all were such happy pie memories. the castillo one really stayed with me, beating fuentes was very sweet since laa (think the name the angels of angels) have had our number for well over a decade. now beating the red sox is always the sweetest for me. the best part for me was it was my birthday and they won twice that day. the walk off 13th innings was started the day before but ended the early am of my birthday and then they won that night too. so two wins over the sox on my birthday was beyond perfect and the best way to start my vacation. this blog is a fun way to end way too long a work day/week.


    Love the awards Jane! December is always such a crazy month (on top of the holiday stuff I have concerts and drama club auditions to contend with) and this blog offers so much relief from the stress of it all. This award in particular brought back so many sweet memories of awesome Yankee wins. I can’t wait to see what other awards are coming up!


  16. raysrenegade

    I can only imagine what the Top She Fan award will be in 2009?
    Could it go to the best face plant into a pie tin…………because we all know AJ Burnett would win the shaving cream pie stealth award.
    Or could it be for best show of emotion after a game winning hit/run…….which Nick Swisher might take to the house.
    But this has been a fantastic memory road trip for the pinstripe fans.
    This has to grow into a yearly post-Thanksgiving event. Can’t wait for the next award envelope……….and the celebrity presenters.

    Rays Renegade

  17. Jane Heller

    The Yankees beat the Red Sox twice on your birthday, Barbara? Talk about a bonanza! You must have been especially excited about the walk-off that won the award! Glad the long work week is coming to an end for you. Writers work seven days a week so I’ll be plugging away all weekend.

    December is a crazy month, wirishrose. It feels as if it’s going by really fast and that we’ll be in 2010 in a heartbeat. I had fun looking back at the walk-offs. They reminded me of just how special the season was.

    That game had “classic” written all over it, Babu. I remember how tense and exciting it was, not knowing which team would score first or how. But I sure did like the ending.

    Celebrity presenters for the awards, Renegade? Hmm. Now you really have me thinking about what the final award should be. The pressure is on! But I’d better get working on tonight’s edition and worry about the finale later. Thanks for the great ideas.

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