Tagged: Bernie Williams

Will Granderson Be The Next Big Thing?

Now that the worst kept secret is out — that Curtis Granderson will be the Yankees’ starting center fielder, not Brett Gardner — I began to ponder his possible greatness. I always loved watching him play when he was with the Tigers and coveted him for the Yanks. Yes, I was concerned about his ability to hit lefties, but he’s come around recently and his work with Kevin Long may just be paying off. So the question is…will he become the next beloved Yankees center fielder, following in the tradition of these guys?
Tough acts to follow, no doubt about it, but Grandy seems like such a team player, doing whatever’s been asked of him and showing an eagerness to perform at a high level. I just have a sense that he’s going to be a fan favorite for a long time, which, of course, means he’ll be the subject of one of YES’s Yankeeographies. In the meantime, there’s this.
I hope he gets off to a great start on Sunday night at Fenway by lining one into the right field seats, plus making a leaping catch in center. But no pressure, Curtis! Honest!

I Drank The Kool-Aid

At first, I was upset about the Vazquez-Melky deal. (Yes, I know. We got Boone Logan too. I can’t wait for the crowd at the Stadium to go, “Boooooone,” if he should happen to strike out a batter.) I had nightmarish visions of Javy’s 2004 meltdown. I remembered how glad I was when we unloaded him. And, of course, I thought about the memorable moments Melky brought to the team. But then I read the comments here and on other blogs and realized maybe Cashman knew what he was doing.
The pros on trading for Javy:
* He strikes people out.
* He eats innings.
* He regressed in ’04 because he had arm trouble.
* He’ll be the #4 starter, not an ace, so expectations won’t be as high.
* He has a one-year deal.
The pros on trading away Melky:
* He’s a streaky hitter.
* He’s got a decent but not always accurate arm.
* He’s a below-average base runner.
* He was never going to be the next Bernie Williams.
So now that Cashman has taken two trips down memory lane, given the signings of Nick Johnson as well as Vazquez, I wondered who else he might be looking at from the old days. We don’t need another starter, but these guys are available for a return engagement if necessary:
Jeff Weaver.jpg
Oh, and Brad Halsey, another one of Vazquez’s former teammates, has been playing for the Long Island Ducks. He’d probably be willing to come back. Unfortunately, Esteban Loiaiza, Jon Lieber, Kevin Brown, Felix Heredia and Steve Karsay are off the radar.
What the Yankees really need, however, is a left fielder – now more than ever with the loss of Melky. Cashman told the beat writers today that he would continue to look for the missing piece but that it wouldn’t be “a big piece.” Was he ruling out expensive types like Holliday, Bay and Damon? If so, we might be taking another trip down memory lane.
Bubba Crosby, Tony Womack, Terrence Long and Kenny Lofton are all retired. So is Ruben Sierra. Bronson Sardinha is around. And Kevin Thompson would surely give up his stint with the Fort Worth Cats to return to the Bronx. But here’s the guy I’ve targeted for a comeback. 
Well? He never officially retired. He’d probably sign for whatever Cashman is willing to pay him. And he can play the outfield AND the National Anthem. Talk about a deal.

Eventually, Talk of Tiger Woods Turns to the  Yankees

So there I was on Saturday night, having dinner at Sly’s Restaurant in Carpinteria, eating the best meal in Santa Barbara County, maybe even in the entire state of California. (Yes, it’s that good. If you’re ever in the area, do yourself a favor and order a steak, some mashed potatoes, their famous hot fudge sundae, anything on the menu. Chef James Sly and his wife Annie will make the experience a memorable one, trust me.)
My husband and I were joined in our food and wine gluttony by literary agent Angela Rinaldi and Joseph Parent, the author of “Zen Golf,” “Zen Putting” and “Golf: The Art of the Mental Game.”
Joseph is a pro golfer’s pro who’s worked with champions like Vijay Singh and many others. The truth is, I couldn’t care less about golf. I never play it, never watch it, never read about it…..except that I’ve been glued to the Tiger Woods story. Why was he leaving his house at 2:30 in the morning? What made him drive onto a neighbor’s property? How come his wife supposedly came running out with a golf club and smashed the car window? Inquiring minds want to know what was going on with those two.
I tried to worm some information out of Joseph, but he was maddeningly discreet. I was about to give up on him as a dinner conversationalist when he said, “Oh, by the way, how about the Yankees?” I immediately reached into my handbag and whipped out the She-Fan Cam. (You never know when you’ll meet up with a Yankee fan, so it’s important to have it handy at all times.) I told Joseph to get ready for his close up and he put on his Mr. Magoo glasses and here’s our interview.

Yankees Win Causes Wave Of Nostalgia



The Yankees’ 3-1 victory over the Indians tonight, coupled with the Red Sox’s loss to Toronto, put the Bombers in sole possession of first place for the first time since 2006, according to Brian Hoch’s report on MLB.com. No, a half-game isn’t exactly a runaway lead, but I decided to take a ride in the way-back machine and see what was going on with the Yanks in ’06.

Torre was still the manager and Bernie was still on the roster, and A-Rod was still married to C-Rod as opposed to dating Kate Hudson.

Jeter, Mo and other current Yankees were around, of course. But how about all the bit players, who eventually shuffled off into baseball oblivion? Like…
Bubba Crosby
Sal Fasano
Kevin Thompson
Craig Wilson
And a couple of pitchers who left their mark in very different ways…
Aaron Small
Tanyon Sturtze
Good, good times. But what’s heartening is that the 2009 Yankees are a better team than the 2006 model that won the division, and tonight’s victory over the Indians showed why.
Pettitte may be 37 with an apparently stiff back, and he put runners on base in every inning. But he held the Tribe scoreless for five-plus. Not bad for an end-of-the-rotation guy.
Alfredo Aceves may not be the second coming of Ramiro Mendoza, but he’s been doing a decent imitation. So what if his idol is Dennis Rodman, the mascara-wearing cross-dresser? As long as he leaves the eye makeup at home and gets people out, he’s OK by me.
Jeter has excelled in the leadoff spot, and credit goes to Girardi for flipping him with Damon in the lineup.
Posada came off the DL tonight and promptly went 2-for-3. And Mo? He notched his 58th save for Pettitte, surpassing the duo of Welch and Eckersley. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he’s a god among men.
Sure, there are big problems with our bullpen and the issue of RISP must be addressed. Still, the 2006 team was stuck with Giambi at first instead of Tex, Wil Nieves as a backup catcher instead of Cervelli/Molina/Cash, and Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright on the mound instead of CC and AJ. This year’s herd is looking better and better.
One final note: the bugs. They were back in Cleveland. No, not in plague-and-pestilence-size quantities; just in little clusters here and there. But what’s up with them? For all I know, they’ll spend the rest of tonight mating, and by tomorrow night Progressive Field will look like this. Please, no.


Bernie Annoyed Jeter With His Guitar Playing

Bernie Williams has a new album coming out in a couple of weeks called “Moving Forward.”

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly to promote the album (hat tip: “Was Watching”), Bernie admitted that he used to annoy Derek Jeter with his guitar playing, especially on long plane trips. He would try to serenade the captain, but Jeter, who needed his beauty sleep, told him to “shut up.”
Bernie’s little anecdote was meant to be lighthearted and funny – at least I assume it was – but it got me thinking. How do ballplayers spend eight or nine straight months together and not get on each other’s nerves?
I decided to imagine myself in the Yankees clubhouse, on the charter flights, everywhere they spend time together, and try to guess who would get on my nerves. I love them all, of course, since they’re Yankees, but nobody’s perfect.
* Jeter. If he gave another interview in which he said, “Bottom line: We just have to win games,” I would nudge him in the ribs and say, “Just tell them what you really think already.”
* A-Rod. If I caught him looking in the mirror, pursing his glossy lips, I would break the mirror.
* Cano. I would be driven mad by his aversion to taking walks – and I don’t mean leisurely strolls.
* Joba. I would get annoyed by his nonstop talking.
* Matsui: I’d make him produce an actual photograph of his wife instead of that silly line drawing he showed the media.
* AJ: I would ask him to stop praising Halladay, since Doc was the pitcher I really wanted.
* Pettitte: I’m not over his long contract hold-out in the off-season, and at some point I would have to confront him about it.
* Damon. If he continued to wear his hair like a little boy who just got out of bed, I would be tempted to set fire to it.
Is there anyone on your favorite team who annoys you? Or are you going to read this post and pretend the answer is no? Come on. Tell the truth and nothing but the truth.
In other news, the Yankees beat the Phillies 10-2. I like the idea of Jeter batting lead off and Damon moving to the #2 slot. Why didn’t Girardi think of that last year? Maybe I need to add him to my list of annoying Yankees.
Of course, there is nothing Mariano Rivera could ever do to annoy me – not if he sang off-key or talked with his mouth full or told unfunny jokes. If he were a church, I would be a member of it.
And finally, courtesy of “The Voice of Yankees Universe,” here are the latest pix of the new Yankee Stadium. The place looks so clean I bet it has that new car smell.

Delirium In The Dentist’s Chair

At one o’clock sharp, I was stretched out in a recliner, wearing one of those white paper bibs around my neck and gazing around the examining room of Cami Elyse Ferris, D.D.S., whose business card reads: “Practice Limited to Endodontics.” She had been recommended by my regular dentist for today’s root canal.

(Old picture of her. She has short hair now.)

She assured me that everything would be fine, then pulled on the latex gloves and got down to business.
“Feel free to give me extra Novocaine,” I said as she approached me with a syringe the size of a baseball bat. “Actually, do you have any Primobolin?”
“Excuse me?”
I zoned out as the chemicals went in. While Dr. Ferris drilled for oil or whatever she was doing in my mouth, I listened to the Lite FM that dentists always inflict on patients and I let my mind drift. I was so relaxed I took a nap.
Then, out of nowhere, pain. 
“We’ve got a problem,” said Dr. Ferris, patting my shoulder after I literally levitated from the chair. “Most people have roots that go straight down.” She showed me a diagram.
“Yours don’t.” She shook her head in awe and wonder. “You’ve got a root that’s shaped like the letter ‘C.'”
She shook her head again, marveling at me. “I’ve only seen this phenomenon in Asian women.”
Great. So my mother had an affair and I wasn’t 100% Jewish American Princess after all?
“Don’t panic,” said my endodontist. “We’ll just have to work a little harder.”
The rest of the procedure was pure torture, but I distracted myself by thinking about the Yankees.
Before I’d left the house earlier, I’d read that Bernie Williams was working out with the team in preparation for the WBC. He hadn’t made Puerto Rico’s roster yet, but he was hopeful, even though he had reached the big 4-0.
I pictured Bernie from his golden days with the Yanks, hitting walk-off homers and sprinting in center field.
I also thought about how the Yankees didn’t offer him a contract at the end of ’06 and how he’d been focusing on his music ever since.
Today he was telling everyone that he still wanted to play, which made me think of 43-year-old Tom Glavine signing with the Braves and 43-year-old Tim Wakefield staying with the Red Sox and 46-year-old Jamie Moyer re-upping with the Phillies and the almost-40-year-old Ken Griffey Junior going back to the Mariners.
Has anyone else noticed that teams are signing 40somethings and 20somethings but not rushing to tie up 30somethings? That the market is more sluggish for those who are neither unripe rookies nor grizzled veterans but who fall squarely in between? Is there a dwindling middle class in baseball?
“We’re done,” said Dr. Ferris after I’d been in that chair for nearly three hours. “You were a real trooper.” She removed the rubber thingie that had been wedged between my teeth preventing me from talking.
“I think Bernie has a chance for a comeback!” were my first words as a free woman.
“Bernie who?” she said, then instructed the nurse to bring me some pain meds.
“Bernie Williams,” I said. “He was a Yankee. He could be a Yankee again. Well, he’ll always be a Yankee, because it’s the only organization he’s ever played for and once you put on the pinstripes you -“
“Take these,” said Dr. Ferris, handing me six capsules and a cup of water. “You’ll feel like yourself in a day or so.”
“I feel like myself now.” Clearly, she thought I was delirious.
Maybe I was, but it was a sweet delirium. As I staggered outside, my head buzzed with the memory of this.

Another Deserving Hall of Fame Inductee


The tennis world announced its Hall of Fame winners the other day, and Monica Seles was a no-brainer. I don’t know if anybody else on MLBlogs is into the sport, but I’m a big fan and former player and I enjoyed watching Seles over the years.
As everyone knows, she was riding high on the women’s tour, only to be stabbed in the back – literally – by a crazed fan of Steffi Graf.
She made an attempt at a comeback, then sort of faded away, never really retiring (shades of Bernie Williams). Now she’s looking good, wouldn’t you say?
While I’m on the subject of tennis, the Australian Open starts next week.
The story lines include:
Will Roger Federer be successful in his bid to tie Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles? I love the guy, so I hope he does it. Talk about talent. There’s isn’t a shot he can’t execute.
At the other end of the draw is Rafael Nadal, the tournament’s top seed. Very dangerous player.
I pick Federer to prevail on the fast surface in Melbourne. What’s amazing about these two is that they have a great rivalry and couldn’t be more opposite, and yet they like each other. What a concept. Not Yankees-Red Sox at all. Can you picture Youkilis and Joba posing together?
On the women’s side, we have the Williams sisters. Will they face each other?
Turns out they’re in the same half of the draw, so only one of them can win the hardware.
Standing in both their paths is the top-seeded Jelena Jankovic, who is nothing if not acrobatic on the court.
Missing in action this year is every guy’s poster girl, Maria Sharapova.
She’s been sidelined with – what else? – a shoulder injury. (See my last post about pitchers.)
I’ve been following tennis for a long time, as I said. It’s always fun to see new players make a name for themselves on the tour, but I can’t help missing this guy.
He’s great in the television booth, but those tirades on the court? He could really shake things up.
Here’s a little trip down memory lane.
First, we have the “Please Tell Me” video.
And now, the “Answer the question” incident.
And my all-time fave, “You cannot be serious.”

Peace, Johnny Mac.

A Pitcher Scorned

It happens all the time when it comes to romance. Love is found, love is lost and somebody ends up with a broken heart.


Is that the case with Andy Pettitte? Is his passionate affair with the Yankees over forever? Are they just not that into him anymore? He’s hurt and confused, and who can blame him?
Sure, he’s trying to explore new love with the Dodgers, but it’s an act, trust me. Right now he’s sitting in a BarcaLounger in the den of his ranch and he’s asking, “Why, y’all? How did it go wrong? Things used to be so good with us.”
And they were. Never mind the relationship with Clemens. There were other bonds.
He and Wang were tight, breaking through the language barrier with a language of their own.
He and Jeter needed no words either, whether in times of laughter or tears.
And then there was all the hugging with Jorge
and the cuddling with A-Rod.
Andy’s wife Laura tried to corral her husband’s attention, even showing up in leopard-print outfits on occasion.
But how do you compete with the blissful moments Andy shared with his pinstriped teammates? I mean, he not only played baseball with them. He played dress up with them.
“Why?” he cries out into the dead of the Texas night. “I was fixin’ to take your darn pay cut, but you haven’t called. Not a ‘Hello.’ Not a ‘We miss you.’ Nothin’.”
And so Andy Pettitte, the pitcher scorned, has reached out to Joe Torre for comfort. If the Yankees don’t re-sign the lefty, perhaps he’ll make a fresh start in Los Angeles. A new town. New faces. It could work.
But it will take an attachment to
and there are no guarantees that they’ll fill the void. After all, first love is the hardest to get over.
Just ask Bernie.
He’s still waiting for this to happen.

A Moment of Silence for the Yankees

Yes, there were four other teams playing today.

The Rays, who are doing their best imitation of actual sluggers, beat the Red Sox and John Lester. Is David Ortiz in a major slump or is his wrist bothering him or does he miss Manny?
Speaking of the Manster, the Dodgers lost a close one to the Phillies despite his sizzling hot bat. Their bullpen didn’t get it done and Ethier grounded into a rally-killing double play.
But it was the Yankees I was thinking about after Joe Buck pointed out that Manny’s single in the eighth was his 52nd postseason hit, tying him with our very own Bernie.
So while the Dodgers-Phillies game was winding up, I took a few minutes to reflect on the 2008 Yanks. And what I fixated on was this: Why didn’t they ever (well, hardly ever) bunt runners over? Seriously. I saw the Dodgers do it tonight with my very own eyes. It’s not brain surgery. And yet, other than the occasional attempts by Jeter, Damon and Gardner, this team was all about going for the home run when there were men on base, and the offense suffered because of it.
I hate to say this about my Yankees, but they were incredibly one-dimensional. I mean, can you picture this player bunting?
Or him?
Certainly not him?
I’m not even bringing up Posada and Molina, because we all know that catchers don’t bunt – unless, of course, they’re Russell Martin of the Dodgers who can run the bases too – a freak of nature!
My point here is that Cashman has to VARY the talents of next season’s team. We still need our bombers, sure. But we also need athletic, versatile players who can do more than swing for the fences. Sometimes laying down a bunt is a beautiful thing.

Did I Really Just Watch the Yankees for 11 Straight Hours?

Yes. That’s exactly what I did today. Well, I took a break to eat and blog and send emails. I also did the laundry. But my Yankees marathon started at 10 a.m. here in California with ESPN Classic’s airing of Game 5 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks. I switched over to ESPN for all the pre-game interviews, clips and commentary about the Stadium, then to ESPN2 for the pre-game ceremonies, then back to ESPN for the game and post-game. If the Yankees hadn’t beaten the Orioles after all the hoopla, I think I would have smashed my TV. But all is well. We won. I’m exhausted, but in a good way.

Favorite moment of the pre-game coverage:
* Peter Gammons having to praise the Yankees when he usually has something negative to say about them. Ditto: Steve Phillips.
Favorite moments of the pre-game ceremony:
* The return of Bernie.
* The appearances of the wives and/or children of Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, and Elston Howard.
* The actors who played the dearly departed Yankees. I thought I would hate this part, but I found myself oddly moved by it, as if the men who were supposed to be Ruth and Gehrig and the others were kindly spirits touching down at the Stadium one last time.
* Willie Randolph sliding into second.
* Whitey Ford and Don Larson grabbing dirt from the pitcher’s mound.
* The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers for O’Neill, Brosius and Tino.
* The first pitch thrown by Ruth’s daughter to Posada.
Least favorite moment of the pre-game ceremony:
* The crowd booing A-Rod as he trotted to third base. Talk about a bummer in the midst of so much good will. Really bush league.
Favorite moments of the game:
* Jeter being in the lineup despite his injured left wrist.
* Damon’s HR to give the Yankees the lead and put a halt to the team’s futility against pitchers they haven’t faced.
* Molina’s HR. Obviously. Who would have picked him as the last guy to hit one out at the Stadium?
* David Cone and David Wells sitting together in the stands. 
* Whitey and Yogi joining Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the booth.
* Pettitte gutting it out, even though he didn’t have much.
* The bullpen doing its job – again.
* Gardner proving that his speed is a lethal weapon.
* Mo. Enough said. He’s a deity for sure.
Favorite moments after the game:
* The crowd not leaving. 
* The players hugging each other on the field and having their pictures taken together as if they’d just won their 27th World Series.
* Jeter’s speech thanking the fans and making a plug for the new Stadium.
* The whole team’s lap around the Stadium.
* Frank Sinatra. I don’t really like “New York, New York.” I especially don’t like it when it’s played over and over again. Tonight, though, it was beautiful music.
* The realization that the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching.
I think that covers it or did I miss something?