Tagged: Baltimore Orioles

Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 5

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For the fifth installment of the 2009 She-Fan Awards, which recognize a person, persons or event that helped the Yankees become World Champs for the 27th time, we turn to Joe Girardi and his anger management issues. In other words, we’re taking a closer look at the four instances in which he was ejected during the ’09 season. Did his fiery temper spark the Yankees to greater glory? Were his on-the-field tirades a good strategy? Did getting angry raise his blood pressure and put his health in jeopardy?
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I have no clue about the last question, except that I remember reading something about angry people and heart attacks. In any case, here are the nominees for the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Girardi Ejection…
May 4th Versus the Red Sox
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The Yankees had lost the first three games of the season to Boston, and the pressure was on to beat the Sox. Phil Hughes, replacing Wang in the rotation, was facing Jon Lester and only lasted four innings. Girardi thought Hughes was being squeezed by home plate umpire Jerry Meals, but Joe’s big problem with Meals came later. Trailing the Red Sox in the fifth inning, the Yanks had Jeter up. Meals called him out on a questionable strike three, and the Captain was not amused. He hung around and gave Meals a few choice words – very un-Jeter-like. Girardi came rushing out to protect his player and was tossed almost immediately. What happened next? With Berroa on first, Damon homered on Lester’s first pitch. Then Tex homered on Lester’s next pitch. So Girardi’s ejection did spark a rally. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and the Yanks fell again to the Sox 6-4.
June 24th Versus the Braves – 
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The Yankees had been playing like chumps, not champs, having lost three in a row and five of their last six. There had been a players-only meeting the night before with Jeter and Tex telling the team, “We’re better than we’re showing.” The situation was so dire that Cashman made a surprise visit to Atlanta to let everybody know it was time to stop stinking it up. But the June 24th game got off to a miserable start. The offense was stymied by Braves rookies Kenshin Kawakami and Kris Medien, who were perfect through five. Then Gardner walked to lead off the sixth (so much for perfection), and the Yanks had a pulse – until first base umpire Bill Welke ruled that Gardner had been picked off. Replays showed Welke had blown the call, and Girardi came storming out of the dugout to argue. His ejection sparked a barrage of runs, beginning with Cervelli’s first major league homer. The Bombers beat the Braves 8-4 and Joba notched his first win of the season.
July 6th Versus the Blue Jays – 
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It was the final home game before the All-Star Break and the final game in a four-game series against the Jays (the Yanks had already won the first three). Pettitte was facing Ricky Romero and looking for the sweep, but things got off to a rocky start. In the very first inning, Jeter led off with a walk, went to second on a balk and tried to steal third. Catcher Rod Barajas’s throw beat Jeet, but replays showed he avoided Scott Rolen’s tag. When third base ump Marty Foster called Jeter out, the Captain expressed his displeasure. “I was told I was out because the ball beat me and he didn’t have to tag me,” Jeter later told the media. “I was unaware they had changed the rules.” Meanwhile, Girardi came out to argue on his player’s behalf and was tossed. The Yankees overcame Pettitte’s ineffectiveness with five late runs, but they were not enough and Toronto won 7-6.
September 13th Versus the Orioles – 
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The Yanks were playing the Orioles, but it was another battle between Girardi and Marty Foster, who was the home plate umpire this time around. In the fourth, A-Rod was up with bases loaded and struck out looking to end the inning. He did not think the pitch was a strike and argued with Foster to no avail, obviously. After the O’s batted in the top of the fifth – and some not-so-complimentary words from the bench by A-Rod and Girardi, Foster ejected both of them. Joe charged out of the dugout, as mad as anyone had ever seen him. He threw down his cap and mimicked Foster, who had waved his arms in the air when signaling the ejections. Eventually, the skipper was restrained by crew chief Wally Bell. As for the Yanks, they had an eight-run eighth inning and blew away Baltimore 13-3.
The envelope please.
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The winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Girardi Ejection is…
***** June 24th Versus the Braves *****
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All the Girardi ejections were entertaining and even inspiring the way they woke up the occasionally slumbering offense, but it was when Joe got tossed in Atlanta that the team really turned it up a notch. They had just lost their series against both the Nationals and the Marlins, and had fallen to the Braves in the opener of their three-game set. They were sputtering – not horribly, but enough to cause concern. After
Girardi’s ejection, they beat the Braves twice and went on to a brilliant second half of the season. Enough said, although I did enjoy the meltdown on September 13th.
Congratulations, Mr. Girardi, for losing your temper in such a productive way.
Oh, wait. Mr. Girardi is in Oslow, Norway, lobbying for the next Nobel Peace Prize. Accepting the gold fan on his behalf are Yankees hangers-on and co-stars of the movie “Anger Management,” Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler.
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Enjoy your award, gentlemen.
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CC Is A Grinder

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No, I didn’t mean that kind, although he did look hungry during the Yankees’ 13-3 route of the Orioles.
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What I loved about his outing was that while he didn’t have his dominating stuff, he never unraveled. Instead, he hung around through seven innings, allowing only three runs (one of them not his fault). What a luxury to have a guy like him fronting the staff, and congrats to him on his AL-leading 17th “W.”
The game itself was very eventful for a blowout. We had Damon’s brain cramp in the fourth, resulting in the not-CC’s-fault run. (“You mean that ball I caught and was about to throw into the stands wasn’t the third out and there’s a player scampering home while I’m out here having fun?”)
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There was the called third strike on A-Rod in the bottom of the frame. He wasn’t happy with the ump and expressed his displeasure in the next inning – and got tossed. Girardi charged out of the dugout and was as mad as I’ve ever seen him, resulting in his departure too.
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That’s when I knew the Yanks would break the game open; they always win when Joe throws a hissy. Thanks to Matsui’s five RBIs and Melky’s four (plus another three-hit game for Jeter), their run total just kept mounting. Good job, boys.
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Now onto Monday night’s make up game against the (throat closes up here) Angels. Joba will take the mound against Jered Weaver – two kids with oddly spelled first names and a tendency to show emotion.
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The Yankees have had well documented challenges beating the Angels, particularly in Anaheim. Sure, the Angels are a good team, but they completely befuddle the Yanks and it’s just plain weird. I think I’ve gotten to the bottom of it, however. The problem lies with the oddly spelled first names I mentioned above. How can the Yanks beat players whose names they can’t spell? In addition to Jered, there’s Maicer
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Kendry
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Chone
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Erick
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Torii
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And, of course, Vladimir.
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Why couldn’t the Angels have someone named Bob on the team? Oh, wait. They do.
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Never mind.

The Mysterious Disappearance of A.J. Burnett

I thought I knew A.J. Burnett. I really did. He came to the Yankees and pitched like he was born to wear the pinstripes, and I trusted him.

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Then, ever so surreptitiously, the good A.J. vanished into thin air, only to be replaced by an impostor.
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The plot thickened tonight after the game in Baltimore. The Yankees may have beaten the O’s 9-6, thanks to five homers and excellent relief pitching, but the impostor stunk up the joint, yielding six runs on 11 hits over five plus innings, then skipped out. Suddenly, it dawned on me: Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi were of no help. It was up to me to solve the mystery of the disappearing A.J. So I hired a private investigator.
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His name was Steve and he was a man of few words. He said he’d bring the good A.J. back and I believed him. He began his investigation by interviewing the players. He started with Posada.
“Did A.J. say anything to you?” Steve asked JoPo after Yankees media relations director Jason Zillo granted him access to the clubhouse. “Did he seem unduly upset?”
“I’m probably the wrong one to talk to,” said Jorge. “In the second inning, I stood there at home plate, not even realizing it was ball four. The umpire had to tell me to walk to first base.” He shrugged, embarrassed. “And in the fifth, I headed for the dugout on strike two. Jeter made fun of me. I was totally screwed up tonight, except that I hit a couple of dingers.”
Steve moved on to Swisher. “You’re a friendly guy – the type who notices what’s going on with people. Did you pick up anything unusual about A.J.? Something that would indicate his state of mind?”
“He yelled at himself after Pie went deep in the first,” said Swish, as he was getting congratulations for his latest homer at Camden Yards. “Some coach on the Orioles thought he was yelling at Pie and went ballistic. Are you telling me that it wasn’t the real A.J. who teed up that fat pitch?”
“Buddy, I’m the one asking the questions,” Steve barked and headed toward Hinske.
“I’m pretty new to the Yankees,” said Eric. “I don’t know anything about anybody.”
Steve took a long drag on his cigarette, then threw the butt on the floor and crushed it with the heel of his white shoe. “Hey, Cano,” he said.
Robbie danced over and high-fived the private eye. “Yeah, man. You lookin’ for A.J.? He took off.”
“I get that,” Steve said with a scowl. “Did he tell you when he’d be back?”
Cano laughed. “Si. October. Playoff time. He come back and do real good then. But right now?” He laughed again and blew a big pink bubble in Steve’s face. “His twin brother Gomer is pitching instead of him.”
HIS TWIN BROTHER?” Steve and I said at the same time. There was nothing in the Yankees media guide suggesting that A.J. Burnett had a twin brother named Gomer. And yet Cano knew the truth. Probably Melky knew it too.
“Well, that explains it,” I said. “Case closed.”
“Glad it worked out. Sounds like the Yankees will be just fine in the postseason.”
“I’m really relieved. Thanks. How can I ever show my gratitude?”
“I know you’re married, She-Fan, but…”

Andy Talks About His Near Perfecto

It was a great night to be watching the Yankees take on the Orioles at Camden Yards. Andy Pettitte was sensational.
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For all I know, he would have pitched a perfect game if not for a Bill Buckner-esque move by Jerry Hairston, Jr., who looked so sheepish afterwards, poor guy.
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Meanwhile, the offense was rolling yet again, Mo collected another save, and life continued to be good for the Yanks, who are six-and-a-half up in the division with a month to go.
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I caught up with Pettitte outside his hotel in downtown Baltimore after the game and asked how it felt to pitch so well. Here’s what he had to say.

Breaking News: Sergio Isn’t Halladay

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In the first inning, I started worrying. Sergio looked so hittable, giving up a run on a double, a single and a wild pitch before I even settled into my favorite TV-watching chair.
“Oh, great,” I said to my husband Michael. “This guy is another Darrell Rasner. The score will be 10-0 before you know it.”
“You’re such a pessimist,” he said. “He got out of the inning without much damage. He’s not bad at all.”
Then came the third inning. With the score tied 1-1, Sergio not only served up a single to Roberts but made a throwing error trying to pick him off. Suddenly, it was 2-1 Baltimore.
“See?” I said. “He stinks.”
“He does not,” said Michael, after Sergio struck out Markakis and Scott.
We had our third and final debate about Sergio in the sixth inning, after the Orioles scored two more.
“He just lays ’em in there,” I muttered.
“One of those runs wasn’t his fault,” said Michael. “Damon should have been charged with an error.”
In came Aceves, Sergio’s night was over, and he ended up notching his first win since ’07 as the Yanks went on to beat the O’s 6-4. The truth is, he didn’t stink. I was much too hard on him.
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He pitched quickly, was around the strike zone (only walking one), and kept the Yankees in the game. Will he be a serviceable fifth starter going forward? As far as I’m concerned, the jury’s still out.
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But I’ll keep an open mind. What choice do I have, since it’s clear that Wang won’t be pitching in the foreseeable future and hasn’t been the same since this happened?
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Meanwhile, could we talk about how the Yankees got their six runs? They only had six hits. The O’s starter, Rich Hill, was very gracious and walked five in his short appearance. I had the Baltimore TV feed, and it was pretty funny how Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne went on and on about how bad Hill was. Talk about ripping your own guy.
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A-Rod has been very clutchy lately and came through again tonight with a two-RBI single.
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(Quick aside: Who does the Yankees’ laundry and how do they get the dirt stains out?)
Cano, who took a single away from Roberts in the seventh with a great play, silenced those critics who said he wasn’t clutchy (me, for instance) by homering with Swisher aboard.
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Mo earned save #509, and the win put the Yanks back in first place in the division. They’ve played well since the break and deserve to be there. I’m feeling on top of the world right now. 
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I’m also very excited that I’ll be going to see the Dodgers on Friday night. Yes, the Dodgers. Thanks to Cat of the Cat Loves the Dodgers blog, I got an invite to sit in the Dugout Club that she often writes about. I’ll be able to see what Joe and Donnie and Bowa have been up to since they left the Yankees. Josh Ravich, the Dodgers’ director of media relations, has rolled out the red carpet for me. It’ll be a revelation to watch a game without having a nervous breakdown, which is the beauty of having a “second favorite team.”
To put me in the mood for Friday…