Today’s report that Zack Greinke has changed agents (he’s now with Jeter’s guy, Casey Close) and asked the Royals to trade him got me wondering. Maybe he’s not totally wrong for the Yankees. Yes, I know he has the team on his no-way list, but maybe he’s changed his mind along with his agent. And yes, he’s suffered from social anxiety disorder, but maybe he’s over it to the point where the bright lights of the Bronx wouldn’t turn him to sand.
There are really good therapists in New York (except in August when they all go on vacation). Plus, Curtis Granderson is into nutrition, if he’s into that, and Amber Sabathia is into finding new players houses in her neighborhood, if he’s into that, and Nick Swisher is into telling jokes and playing loud music, if he’s into that. Fun fun fun! My feeling is if Greinke is tough enough to pitch in front of large crowds (and pitch well), then he’s tough enough to pitch in front of large crowds anywhere. Bottom line? I wouldn’t rule him out. Not at all.
As everyone knows by now, Brian Cashman flew down to Arkansas for a visit with Cliff Lee and his wife Kristen. Presumably, his goal was to express the Yankees’ keen interest in signing Lee as well as answer any questions the couple might have about life in New York – and, of course, to allay Mrs. L’s fears about boorish Yankee fans. But how did the meeting go? Nobody’s coming out with details, so I decided I needed to flesh things out for myself. Here’s how I think it went down today…
* Cashman drove up to Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s big new house, rang the doorbell and was greeted by the entire Lee clan, Southern hospitality being what it is.
* He arrived bearing gifts – some toys for the kids with a slight subliminal message.
* Mrs. Lee sent the children off to play with their presents and invited Cash to sit down for lunch. She had decided to use her favorite caterer.
* Despite the fact that Cash watches his diet and almost never eats fried foods (especially chicken skin), he threw back a few legs and thighs while he described the joys of playing for the New York Yankees. He talked about the franchise’s history and tradition. He ticked off the names of all its legendary stars. He made a speech about how Yankee fans were the best ever, but he was interrupted by Mrs. Lee and the conversation detoured.
Kristen: “They spit at me and threw beer and shouted mean things. It hurt my heart.”
Cash: “I’m so sorry about that. But there are always a few bad apples at every ballpark.”
Cliff: “Mr. Cashman is right, honey. You know what happens when guys get all liquored up.”
Kristen: “They pass out, that’s what. These people didn’t pass out.”
Cash: “I can guarantee you, Kristen, that the same scenario would never happen if your husband came to pitch for us. You’d be treated like royalty.”
Kristen: “I don’t know about that. I talked to Karen Burnett the other day and she said the fans boo her whenever A.J. has a bad game.”
Cash (laughs): “Your husband will never have a bad game, so no worries.”
Cliff: “Nice of you to say, Mr. Cashman.”
Cliff: “Brian. But sometimes it’s just not my day and I stink up the joint. What then?”
Cash: “Cliff, the fans will love you. I’m so certain of it that I’ll put a ‘boo clause’ in your contract. You’ll get an additional $50,000 for every game involving fans booing you or your wife. Fair?”
Cliff: “Extremely.” (Turns to his wife) “What do you say, honey?”
Kristen: “Very fair. But Brian, I have to be sure we’ll be happy with the Yankees. You understand.”
Cash: “I do. And I promise you that if you join the Yankee family you’ll never regret it. Look at me. I’ve been in the organization since I was a kid. The Steinbrenners are the best owners in baseball.”
Kristen: “Nolan Ryan said he was the best owner. He was here yesterday.”
Cash: “Did he make an offer?”
Cliff: “No. We just went hunting. Do you hunt, Brian?”
Cash (panicking): “Um, I play tennis. There isn’t much hunting in Connecticut, although we do have a lot of deer.”
Kristen: “Nolan said we should stay in Texas.”
Cash: “We’ve got better shopping up in New York. Ask Leigh Teixeira.”
Kristen: “I’ve never met her but Amber Sabathia says she’s super sweet.”
Cash: “They’ll take you to Saks and Neiman’s and Bloomie’s. You ladies will have a blast together.”
Kristen (bolting up from the table): “Designer shoes and dresses and everything! I want Cliffy to be a Yankee! Where do we sign?”
And that was that. Mission accomplished. I think.
According to the Lohud Blog, the answer he gave is….”my wife’s cooking, maybe?”
Can you imagine Amber Sabathia’s food bills? Anyhow, CC is worth every pound because aces like him don’t come along every day. One hit? On a hot, steamy day in September? That’s just crazy good. And how about Granderson, who wasn’t even supposed to be in the lineup? One homer would have been a nice surprise, but two? Awesome. And how locked in is Posada at the moment? Which is another way of saying how lucky are the Yankees to have a 38-year-old catcher who is still one of the league’s best offensive players? I’m knocking on wood just thinking about it.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, I’m really hoping Earl will leave the Bronx alone and let me watch Ivan Nova and the boys beat the Blue Jays without getting soaked. I can’t wait to be back at the Stadium. (I’ll be in section 315, row 4, if anyone else is going and wants to say hi.) So tonight I’ll be doing an anti-rain dance. Help me out and do it with me. Please?
With way too much time on my hands this off-day, I let my mind drift. That’s what vacations are for, right? Anyhow, I started to imagine all the excellent things that could happen during Friday night’s series opener against the White Sox. Here are a few.
Since it’s Saturday night, which is traditionally known as “date night,” it’s time to turn our attention to the celebrity whose romantic interest in a Yankee helped both the player and the team win the championship this year. No, I’m not including Madonna, since she and A-Rod were over their little whatever-it-was before the season started. I’m not considering Joanna Garcia either; for starters, she’s not A-List enough, plus Nick Swisher isn’t the reason the Yankees won #27. What I’m saying is that this is a two-horse race.
And so, without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Celebrity Girlfriend.
– Minka Kelly, Girlfriend of Derek Jeter –
Minka followed on the heels of a long list of Jeter conquests, but she’s lasted longer than any of the others, which proves she has staying power. She was at the Captain’s side at the finale of the old Stadium, and she’s been rumored to be his fiancee. But can she pass the She-Fan Award test?
1) Did she wear Yankees gear proudly? Yes.
2) Did she show up at the games with her Yankee’s family members? Yes.
3) Did she exhibit genuine excitement and pride when her Yankee played well? Yes.
4) Did her Yankee have a great 2009 season? Yes indeed.
And now for our other nominee…
– Kate Hudson, Girlfriend of Alex Rodriguez –
Kate followed on the heels of Madonna, as previously mentioned, as well as assorted actress/models with whom A-Rod was photographed after his divorce from C-Rod. She was rumored to have moved in with Alex in New York, but is currently on the circuit promoting her new film “Nine.” Can she pass the She-Fan Award test?
1) Did she wear Yankees gear proudly? Not that I noticed.
But she sat next to someone who did – and she sat with Amber Sabathia and Michelle Damon, neither of whom wore Yankees gear either.
2) Did she show up at the games with her Yankee’s family members? No. But she showed up with her own family members.
3) Did she exhibit genuine excitement and pride when her Yankee played well? Yes.
4) Did her Yankee have a great 2009 season? Oh, yes.
The envelope please.
And the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Celebrity Girlfriend is…
***** Kate Hudson *****
Yes, Jeter made the bigger splash. (How often do you break Lou Gehrig’s record and become the first Yankee to be honored as SI’s Sportsman of the Year?) But how much did Minka have to do with that? Jeter would probably have hit .334 if he’d been dating Miss Piggy. Kate, on the other hand, went to Texas, Philly and other cities where the Yanks played. She hung out with the wives, was on the field for family day, brought her own family. And A-Rod thrived despite all the adversity early in the season. He certainly had his best post-season ever. And tell the truth: doesn’t Kate look like a lot more fun than Minka?
Congratulations, Kate. You and A-Rod may not last another month, but you helped us Yankee fans out this year and we’re grateful.
Oh, wait. Kate would like to accept her award with her mom by her side. Very sweet.
Enjoy, both of you!
It’s Halloween and it’s scary out there.
It’s especially scary if you’re the Yankees and you’re in Philadelphia looking at costumes like this.
But not everyone is dressed like a monster. I met up with Amber Sabathia, and – surprise! – we both had the same idea for Halloween. Take a look.
Back in California, I went in search of Bill, the guy who owns the Surf Dog concession at the beach. Last time he gave me a free hot dog, along with his thoughts about the Yankees. This time he presented me with my very own Surf Dog shirt. I do love swag, but what I love even more is a Yankee fan willing to let his freak flag fly, so to speak. Here’s Bill hoisting the pinstripes.
Since the Yankees didn’t fly home from Minny until today, I took the opportunity to spend a little quality time with CC’s wife Amber. She met me at our usual spot, a cafeteria near Newark Airport, and we chatted about the Yankees, her husband, my husband, and, of course, the upcoming ALCS. She hasn’t changed that much since I first spoke to her during the off-season when CC was still deciding whether to sign with the Yankees.
OK, yes she has. She’s changed a lot. Moving to New York has turned her into a different person.
But she’s still very entertaining company, and she didn’t hesitate to share, which is crucial when it comes to girlfriends. Here’s an excerpt from our afternoon together. It sounded to me as if CC, like any successful pitcher, has a plan for facing the Angels.
A few minutes ago, the Yankees lost to Brett Bombko and the just-out-of-high-school Oakland A’s. The score was 3-0.
I sort of couldn’t believe it. I mean, the Yanks haven’t been shut out since June. I guess this is why it’s good to have a lead in August – so your offense can flail at the ball. (I’m talking to you, A-Rod, since you popped out after Tex doubled in the first and then you grounded into a double play with bases loaded in the third. Pee-euewww. And Jorge, Mr. Birthday Boy, your strikeouts didn’t thrill me, either.)
A.J. pitched really well but got no run support, obviously. My sympathies, guy. You have my permission to throw pie at all your teammates.
The Yankees are entitled to lose a few, sure, but I’d be lying if I said I was fine with it. One loss? Ha ha ha. Two in a row? Mild panic. What will Tuesday night bring? I didn’t want to take any chances. I heard the wives and girlfriends of the players were traveling with the team, so I made a last-minute date with Amber Sabathia to discuss her husband’s start against the A’s. Here’s our conversation. I did what I could. Now let’s see if she holds up her end of the deal.
Last time, it was Amber Sabathia who was credited with nudging her husband toward the Yankees. This time, it was Leigh Teixeira.
According to Tex at the press conference: “She said, ‘I want you to be a Yankee,’ and it was a done deal.”
Wives make all the decisions in a marriage, let’s face it. Which leads me to wonder: Why isn’t Laura Pettitte telling her husband to be a Yankee? Is she too busy trying to get her singing career off the ground?
(You’re no Rhianna, honey. Tell Andy to come home to the Bronx or we’re moving on without both of you.)
Back to the press conference. Wasn’t I pretty much on the money with my “pre-cap,” as Kathy of Redbird Chatter dubbed my last post?
Just as I called it, there was Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo welcoming everybody. I couldn’t help notice his thicker hair. Did he get plugs in the off-season or has he been consulting Guiseppi Franco?
I was wrong about Hal not saying a word. He said six or seven words.
I was wrong about Randy Levine too; I didn’t expect him to be there, let alone look like he’d come straight from a tanning bed.
I was right about Cashman’s demeanor, the presentation of roses to Leigh Teixeira, Girardi slipping the pinstriped jersey on Tex. I was right that Tex would make worshipful remarks about the Yankees, Don Mattingly, the fans, etc. And I was right about the softball questions the media would lob at him. I was wrong about George King. Where the heck was he?
Tex seemed genuinely excited to be a Yankee. He did. Yes, he’s getting paid a fortune but he would have been paid a fortune no matter where he went.
There’s just one thing: He’s kind of dorky. Take a look.
I bet he has Barry Manilow on his iPod. I bet he watches the Discovery Channel. I bet he collects stamps. I bet he puts a slice of Velveta on everything. I bet he wears pajamas.
Still, dorky or not, I like him so far. And I’ll like him even more when he goes 4-for-4 on Opening Day.
So I wasn’t wrong. Amber Sabathia, who attended the press conference at which her husband and his new sidekick, A.J. Burnett, were introduced to the media at Yankee Stadium, admitted that she had reservations about raising her family in the New York area.
Pictured with Karen Burnett and little Serena Girardi, A-Sab explained that it was She-Fan – on this very blog! – who convinced her otherwise.
“She-Fan said, ‘You’re going to love the suburbs,” A-Sab revealed to Sam Borden of The Journal News. “She told me the schools were good and the pediatricians were good and the supermarkets were good. And then she said the magic words: ‘They have a Saks Fifth Avenue.'” A-Sab giggled to Sam. “I’m a Saks girl.”
Takes one to know one. I spotted the princess in her the first time I saw the copper gown.
When she and I had spoken on the phone a couple of weeks ago, I described the Saks on Fifth Avenue and 49th Street in excruciating, department-by-department detail. “The shoe department is so big it has its own zip code.”
People will claim it was the $161 million the Yankees agreed to pay Cee Cee that sealed the deal, but it was the line about Saks that did it.
Right after the press conference, A-Sab called and asked if I wanted to go shopping. “I’m dying to see the store,” she said, practically panting. “I need to buy something special. A-Rod invited us to dinner with him and Madonna.”
So off we went on her first trip to Saks. She wanted special? I would show her special. That’s the good news.
The bad news was that since she had unlimited funds and nothing but time, I was stuck spending three hours in the women’s designer department watching her try on clothes.
First there was this Dolce & Gabbana leopard number.
I told her it might bring out the cattiness in Madonna and she should think about something less competitive.
Next she looked at this black Versace gown with the fitted satin top.
I said it was more appropriate for a charity gala. She’s a little naive when it comes to this stuff.
She squealed over this ruffled silk Carolina Herrera dress.
“Teal isn’t your color,” I said, struggling to keep my eyes open.
“What about this one?” she said hopefully. “Cee Cee likes me in orange.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Buy it and let’s go.” I was miffed that I wasn’t invited to dinner with A-Rod and Madonna, not to mention that I had better things to do than be her babysitter.
I was getting up to leave when she tapped me on the shoulder. “Wait, She-Fan,” she said with a mischievous smile.
That’s when the saleslady brought out this chiffon Vera Wang.
“Amber, it’s beautiful,” I said, my heart thumping.
“It’s yours. Just a little thank you.”
I could have refused the gift. I could have gotten all huffy and said I didn’t take tips. I could have pretended I could afford my own Vera Wang dress. But I didn’t do any of those things.
“I’ll take it,” I told the saleslady. “Could you ship it to California?”
A-Sab and I high-fived. We were BFFs for sure.