Tagged: A's

Eat Pray Yankees

Dinner, a movie and baseball. Not a bad triple header for me tonight. Started off at a cute Italian place called Lucia in New Milford, CT, where the spaghetti bolognese looked very much like the meal Julia Roberts kept having in “Eat Pray Love.”
Next came the movie itself. I didn’t love it (the book was way better), but the shots of pasta, pizza and Javier Bardem were enough to keep me interested.
I made it out of the theater and back to the house just in time for the last three innings. Very happy we won, naturally, but so relieved that AJ pitched well. Eight strikeouts! Only two walks! Does this mean September is his month? Or was tonight an anomaly? I guess we’ll find out when he makes his next start. Meanwhile, the bullpen continued to roll and Mo was his athletic self, snaring that grounder and making a perfect throw to first. Jorge didn’t need to get tossed, but at least we had Moeller as backup.
Personally, I love when JoPo loses it. No, not in that situation – it was dumb – but I do get a kick out of his fiery personality.

Things Are Looking Up

Well, they were never really looking down. I mean the Yankees have been in first place for awhile now, but after tonight’s win they’re all alone at the top. Plus, most of the players’ ailing body parts are better.
Berkman’s ankle: Healed.
A-Rod’s calf: Probably fine.
Pettitte’s groin: Getting there.
Aceves’s back: Sounds okay.
Johnson’s wrist: Never mind.
Anyhow, Tex, Swisher, Posada stayed hot at the plate, and Granderson joined the party. Jeter? Am I the only one who thinks he’s not having a good time this season? He’s making the plays at short as gracefully as ever, but he’s missing that spark and I’m wondering if there’s something going on in his personal life. Or maybe he just needs a prescription for this.
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As for Huuuughes, he got the “W,” thanks to his teammates’ offensive barrage, but it pains me to see him walk batters and pile up a lot of pitches. Doesn’t he remember that nibbling gets people in trouble?

You Know Things Are Going Well When…

1) The Captain gets sick…
…and his last minute replacement knocks in two runs with a single.
2)  Tex, The April Slumper, goes deep for the first time this season. Talk about getting rid of that monkey on his back.
3) Rangers manager Ron Washington compares Brett Gardner to this guy.
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4) Pettitte and Mo pitch like it’s 1996.
5) Nick Johnson doesn’t so much as put his bat on the ball (he either strikes out or walks), but the Yankees still manage to sweep the Rangers.
Will life always be this charmed for Yankee fans? Of course not. The trip to California could be treacherous for our boys. And no, I’m not referring to earthquakes, wildfires or mudslides. I’m not even thinking about Coco Crisp, now with the A’s, even though he could walk right up to Javy Vazquez on Tuesday and pull one of these.
I’m talking about…Actually, I don’t even know who’s on the A’s anymore so I’m not sure which players to be afraid of. I do know that Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez have donned the A’s uniform and will be getting their World Series rings this week. 
I wonder if Edwar is eating. I really hope he hasn’t lost any more weight.

Hitting The Road

If I had told people that the Yankees would go 9-1 on their homestand, I would have gotten reactions like this.

And even this.
That Swisher. Such a goofball. But even he probably wouldn’t have predicted such a great run after the All-Star break.
Mitre was mediocre in Sunday’s game, but “mediocre” might be just fine for the time being. He throws strikes. He induces ground balls. He doesn’t look panicked out there. He’ll do as the fifth starter until he proves he’s not worthy.
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The bullpen is looking better and better, especially with Bruney gaining in confidence and effectiveness. I’m a little worried about Coke though. I shake my head every time somebody says, “He’s been amazing, except that he gives up home runs.”
The last time I checked, giving up home runs wasn’t a good thing. Hughes continues to impress, and Mo is just, well, Mo. He could probably throw that cutter in his sleep.
Tex keeps rolling. Cody Ransom has been more-than-decent as A-Rod’s fill-in. And Melky will have to step up while Gardner’s thumb heals.
I admit I was thrown when I heard about Brett the Jet’s injury. How will we compensate for his speed on the bases? Could we get this guy to un-retire?
Cano finally got a big hit with men in scoring position. And Jeter seems to get more acrobatic with age. I mean, could you do this?
What I’m saying is that I think we’re ready for the ten-day road trip, which begins at the cowbell palace known as The Trop.
Sure, there will be challenges in Tampa. Big ones, not the least of which is this.
Tough place to catch fly balls. What’s more, there are Rays that always cause the Yankees headaches: Upton, Crawford, Longoria, Pena. I’m hoping AJ can handle them all when he opens the series and flashes them that stare.
The Bombers have hit the road as I’m typing this. Actually, they must be in Florida by now.
If I were addressing them at their hotel, I’d say: “Win every game on the trip.”
“She-Fan, you’re cracked,” Jeter would say. “We can’t win every game.”
“Well, you can win ninety-nine percent of them,” I’d counter. “You just did it.”
Everybody would realize I was right. And Joba would let out a victory roar.

Who Can You Trust?

Let’s say you’re Joe Girardi. It’s the seventh inning of Saturday’s game against the A’s. Andy Pettitte has been pitching an absolute gem, and the Yankees are ahead 1-0. Pettitte’s only at 79 pitches but suddenly he’s in a jam.
Hairston: doubles.
Nomar: walks.
Cust: pops up.
You’ve got the rested and reliable Aceves warmed up and ready to go. Do you pull Pettitte?
Or do you let him keep pitching?
You take a walk out to the mound and ask your starter if he’s OK. Obviously, he says, “I’m fine, skipper. Let me get out of this inning.”
So you leave him in.
And then this happens.
Davis: singles, scoring Hairston. Score tied 1-1.
Crosby: bunt singles, loading the bases.
You walk back out to the mound, knowing the media and the fans are already second-guessing you, and you pull Pettitte. You give the ball to Ace and cross your fingers.
And then this happens.
Ellis: pops up. Huge sigh of relief.
Powell: singles, scoring two. A-s up 3-1.
Kennedy: singles, scoring one. A’s up 4-1.
Cabrera: doubles, scoring two. A’s up 6-1.
You walk back to the mound and pull Aceves, who recently told the media his name should be pronounced AcAYves, not AcEVes.
Dave Robertson retires the next batter. This being the scrappy, clutchy, comeback-y 2009 Yankees, the offense rallies, thanks to homers by Jeter and Tex, and keeps hope alive for a ninth straight win.
It is not to be. The Yankees lose 6-4 and the streak is over.
Oh, well. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. But I do wonder what I would have done if I’d been Girardi.
On a happier note, I had a great time last night at Dodger Stadium. The first thing I did was put on a Dodgers jersey so I’d fit right in.
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Well? Why not? When Obama goes to a foreign country, doesn’t he don the local garb?
The second thing I did was gorge on all the incredible food offered at the restaurant for those with seats in the Dugout Club. Michael and I snagged a table and went to work. At one point, I actually looked up from my plate and at the next table was Dodgers legend Don Newcombe. What a nice guy! As he was getting up, he stopped by to shake our hands. He may be in his ’80s, but he’s still a big, strong, handsome dude!
I was too young to remember Newcombe’s specific accomplishments, so as soon as I got home I looked up his bio. Get this. He’s the only player in major league history to win the Rookie of the Year, the MVP and the Cy Young Award. Plus, he was the first black pitcher to start a World Series game and the first black pitcher to win 20 games. I was in the company of greatness.
Once in our Dugout Club seats, which are directly behind home plate, we talked to some diehard Dodger fans, including this guy.
He had autographs of players past and present all over his jersey.
Then there was Larry King, who holds dual citizenship as both a Yankee fan and a Dodger fan.
I saw Torre, naturally, but never caught a glimpse of Mattingly. Bummer. And yes, Manny was very much a part of the experience. The crowd goes wild when he appears in the on-deck circle, let alone at the plate. Note the unusual “stat” on the scoreboard. (“Manny is the first Dodger to hit a grand slam on his own Bobblehead night.”)
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was a gorgeous night in L.A. People did the wave over and over again, and beach balls were bouncing around the stands. Everybody was having fun, and life was good. The only sour note came from the Marlins. They won the game. The nerve.

Melky Cabrera Stars In Epic Remake Of “Atonement”


In December, he was nearly traded to the Brewers for Mike Cameron. In March, he lost the center field job to Brett Gardner. And on April 16th, Opening Day at the Yankees’ Home Run Palace, he was stuck on the bench, a lonely soul relegated to the shadows. Why? Because he couldn’t hit, took odd routes to the ball, and refused to stop sliding head-first.
Today, after striking out with the bases loaded in the seventh, Miguel (aka “Melky”) Cabrera finally atoned for his sins.
In the bottom of the 14th inning of a nearly five-hour contest against the A’s, he hit his second homer of the game – a walkoff that resulted in the Yankees’ 9-7 victory.
Yes, he was joyful, as were his teammates.
And, long after the game was over, the celebrations continued around the world.
She-Fans sang his praises.
He-Fans chanted his name.
And one Yankee fan toasted him a few times too many.
Melky’s heroics did not obscure the fact that CC had a miserable outing, giving back every lead the offense handed him. (“Everything was off,” he told reporters. Swell.) And what was up with Damon’s misplay of Giambi’s little flare? With Posada not covering home for Jeter’s throw? With Suzuki morphing into a Yankee killer?
Who cares. The bullpen was spectacular, especially Veras. Matsui’s got the pop back in his bat. Cano and Tex have been playing like Gold Glovers. And the Yankees won both games of the rain-abbreviated series. 
Let the celebrating continue.

Swish Meets the New York Media, Sort Of

Just who is Nick Swisher anyway? In this picture he looks like a country singer minus the cowboy hat. The longer I stare at him the more I expect to hear Kenny Chesney wailing about his two-minute marriage to Renee Zellwegger.
If I seem a little mournful myself, it’s because I am. Did the Yankees really need yet another first baseman (hyphen) outfielder in the manner of Morgan Ensberg and Shelley Duncan? Haven’t we had enough players with hyphens? And that doesn’t even include Posada, our first baseman (hyphen) catcher, or Giambi, our previous first baseman (hyphen) designated hitter. Which is why I still want him.
Meanwhile, Nick did a long-distance conference call with the beat writers today, and my first impression after listening to the audio posted on Peter Abraham’s blog was: He uses the word “man” a lot. As in: “It’s an honor to put on the pinstripes, man.” And: “Every little kid in America dreams of playing for the New York Yankees, man.”
Memo to you, man: We’ve heard this kind of thing before.
My favorite part of the conference call wasn’t when he said, “Mr. Cashman seems like a wonderful gentleman,” even though it was hilarious the way it made Cash seem 100 years old. And it wasn’t when he said, “It meant the world to me that A-Rod called to welcome me to the team,” despite the fact that I choked up. It was when, after one of the writers mentioned how he had bounced between four different positions last year, Pete Abraham asked, “Is first base your best position, Nick?” And Nick said – I kid you not – “Defensively, yes, although I really haven’t had an opportunity to play there much.”
Excuse me? We signed you to play first base and you haven’t played there much? 
As I indicated, I still want him.
Oh, well. Since Nick is now a Yank, I suppose I should take a closer look.
The son of former catcher Steve Swisher, he was raised in the boring-sounding town of Parkersburg, West Virginia by his grandmother, Betty.
He wasn’t the most famous native of Parkersburg.
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Patsy Ramsey was.
He went to Ohio State, excelled in baseball and got signed by the A’s where he fit right in with his long hair and Giambi-ish personality.
He even copied Giambi’s batting stance.
Known for his easygoing style and dedication to charities, he did engage in the occasional brawl.
swisherducksfight101.jpgActually, he kind of ducked that punch from Rangers’ pitcher Vicente Padilla, and the incident got him so unhinged he had to be restrained.
His next gig, with the White Sox, didn’t go so well.
He only batted .219 last year. (No, that’s not a typo.)
He did an interview with Chicago Magazine in which he admitted to being a bit of a party boy. He said, “Having fun and laughing works best for me.” If he’d only known that having fun and laughing is just not the Yankees Way.
He went on to say, “My style is a little bit rocker.” Did he mean this kind of rocker?
Or this kind?
He has a pretty girlfriend – a model he met when he played in the Cape Cod League.
And, according to Joe Girardi, he’ll be “a positive presence inside the clubhouse.”
Maybe he will be, and I’m just being an alarmist. He’s probably a great guy who will make zero errors at first, hit 40 homers and knock in 150 RBIs. I’ll support him 100% because I’m a Yankee fan and it’s my job to support my players. “Let’s go Swish-er!” Clap clap clap clap clap clap.
And yet… I still want him.