Tagged: Brian Bruney

Goodbye, Old Friends

Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.

Goodbye, Brian Anthony Bruney

With today’s news that Bruney was traded to the Nationals for a draft pick (please let whoever it is be good), I thought we should give the former Yankee a nice send-off.
He came to us after having been DFA-ed by the Diamondbacks and left by the side of the road somewhere in Arizona.
Car eaten by dogs.jpg
After a stint in the minors, he arrived in the majors looking downright flabby.
A reliever who was used in several situations, he was impressive but inconsistent and I, for one, got tired of hearing about his “good stuff” because he always seemed to walk the leadoff batter. He decided to go on a diet in the off-season and showed up in Tampa 20 pounds lighter.
He pitched well – so well that he was supposed to be Mo’s 8th inning set-up guy. But then tragedy struck: the same dreaded lisfranc injury that had robbed us of poor Wang.
He avoided surgery and returned to the team, but he was never the same. He tried shaving his head. He tried changing the number on his uniform. He tried biofeedback, acupuncture and psychic intervention. He even tried visiting a faith healer.
(See him standing off to the right, behind the guy in white?) Despite his best efforts, he was relegated to the role of mop-up man.
Frustrated and unhappy, he lashed out at K-Rod after the Mets closer gave one of his “performances” on the mound.
“A tired act” is what Bru called K-Rod’s celebration, verbalizing what most Yankee fans were already thinking. The remark came back to bite Bru the next day while the two teams were warming up on the field.
K-Rod took exception but no punches were thrown, and Bruney eventually apologized.
And now Brian Bruney is gone. Yes, he has become a Nat.
I wish him the best of luck with his new team and urge him to remember the great times he had as a Yankee whenever he gets sad. I mean, he did win the World Series. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

It Was Meaningless….Or So Everybody Told Me

If I had a dollar for every time somebody on Twitter (or my husband) said, “Tonight’s game is meaningless,” I’d be a rich woman.
No matter what happened during the bloated, slow-as-molasses marathon, I was reminded over and over that the game didn’t count, that the series in Tampa wasn’t important, that the Yankees were just marking time, getting everybody some work and settling on their final roster moves.
We lost 13-4 to the Rays? No problem. It was meaningless!
CC couldn’t go three innings, let alone win his 20th game of the season? Who cares?
Tex was hit by a David Price pitch that sailed near his head? So what?
The Yankees only managed two hits off Price? Yawn!
Not one of the six Yankees pitchers could shut down the Rays except Bruney? Not even Hughes? HAHAHA!
OK, you get the point. I’d like to be one of those people who shrugs off losses, but I’ve never managed it; I’d prefer that the Yankees win every game. Since that’s not possible, I kept my goals for tonight very realistic.
* I wanted #20 for CC.
* I wanted the offense to kick it up a notch.
* I wanted the pen to stay dominant.
* I wanted the regulars to avoid any conceivable injury.
My goals were not met. Well, Tex is fine; he said the ball only grazed his hand and that he was more shaken up than injured. That’s a relief, obviously. But after he got hit, I wished I could put the Yankees in a protective bubble until next week.
I also wished I could cheer CC up. He hadn’t lost a game since July and was due for a stinker. I’m sure he’ll be great when he takes the hill at Yankee Stadium for Game 1, but he did make my stomach hurt tonight.
I wished he and the other pitchers could refrain from doing their best imitation of a batting practice machine.
There were a few reasons to smile. BJ Upton hit for the cycle – the first player in Rays history to accomplish the feat. Congrats to him. And Juan Miranda hit the longest damn homer I’ve seen in a while – the first of his major league career. Otherwise, the game was meaningless. Yeah, sure it was.
P.S. Since Pete Abe’s departure from the LoHud blog, the Daily News’ Blogging the Bombers blog by the always dependable Mark Feinsand has stepped up its Yankees coverage. Mark not only knows the questions to ask but asks them. Check him out

Partying in the Bronx

It was such a happy day. Yes, there was a one-hour rain delay. But the Yankees swept the Sox with a 4-2 victory, notched their 100th win of the season and clinched their 16th division title. And it was all because:
* Pettitte was solid for six innings.
* Bruney was as effective as he’s been all year.
* Mo recorded his 44th save.
* Cano got his 200th hit.
* Melky homered to put the Yanks on the board.
* Tex started the offense going with a single in the sixth.
* A-Rod fouled off what seemed like a dozen pitches before singling – and ending Bryd’s day.
* Matsui battled Saito, then singled home Tex and A-Rod to put the Yanks up 3-2.
* Tex homered off Bard in the eighth for insurance.
There were some nifty defensive plays too, but bottom line? The Yankees were down early and came back late – yet another display of how this 2009 team rolls, even when the conditions are less than ideal.
Winning the division and getting back into the playoffs feels great, especially after having missed out on the fun last year. I realize that “there’s still a lot of work to do,” as Jeter said. But I’m savoring the moment with some other Yankee she-fans.
I thought I owed it to the Yankees to speak to them personally. It was the least I could do to show my appreciation. So no lectures this time, only gratitude and congratulations.
I realized after I finished my chat that I forgot to mention Dave Eiland. Wang too. CMW? Can you read English? Wherever you are, I hope you’re doing well and I expect to see you back with the Yankees in 2010. OK, if you can’t read English, here’s what I said:
无论哪里您是,我希望you’ 再做的井和我在2010年期望看您与美国人。

Owned in Anaheim

There’s something about this place. Something sinister, unsavory, possibly even toxic. 
Yes, the Angels are a very good ball club, but the Yankees just beat them in the Bronx. So there must be a reason why Figgy, Vladie and company bring us to our knees every time we play them in Anaheim.
In tonight’s 5-2 loss, Pettitte was solid in his first outing since complaining of shoulder fatigue, but Girardi seemed to throw in the towel when he brought Bruney in for the seventh.
The offense didn’t do much, except for solo shots by A-Rod and Matsui. Jeter and Posada came ready to play, but the others?
Damon: 0-for-4
Tex: 0-for-4
Swisher: 0-for-4
Cano: 0-for-4.
You can’t win games when your bats are missing in action.
That said, things always go wrong for the Yankees in Anaheim. So what’s the cause? Seriously. WHAT IS IT? Here are a few theories.
#1) The Yankees are allergic to the grass at Angel Stadium.
#2) The Angels’ chef poisons the food in the visitor’s clubhouse whenever the Yanks come to town. Phil Coke was diagnosed with “acute gastritis” today and was confined to his hotel room, so it could happen to any of them.
#3) There are too many hot blondes in the O.C., making it difficult for the Yankees to concentrate on the games. (The Angels are used to the distraction.)
#4) There is entirely too much red, both in the stands and on the field. It makes the Yankees go temporarily blind.

#5) Mike Scoscia hires an old gypsy guy to cast a spell on the Yankees. (All things are possible when you’re only a freeway ride away from Hollywood.)
Are any of the above the root of the problem? I don’t know, but if the Yankees don’t pull off a win tomorrow night, I’ll be asking MLB to launch an investigation.

Message to the Yankees: “Please Forgive Me!”

I had you all wrong tonight, Yankees. After the fireworks with Jorge and Carlson and the suspensions and contusions, I had expected you to come out swinging against the Blue Jays.

But instead of looking like sluggers, you spent seven innings looking like slugs.
Seriously. You could only manage four hits against Tallet and a trio of Jays relievers, and Toronto was ahead 3-2 and then 4-2. I was restless and frustrated and – yes – bored.
I called you names. I accused you of mailing it in. I said you were coasting on your nice cushy lead and not playing with sufficient intensity. And worst of all, I kept watching the clock, as if the game couldn’t be finished soon enough.
Sure, I was impressed by Chad Gaudin’s performance. Three runs over five-plus innings with only one walk? Plenty good enough for a #5 starter. Marte and Coke did their jobs, too, although I can’t say the same for Bruney, who needs to be voted off the island.
The point is that I doubted you. I thought you’d blow the game, fly to Seattle and spend your off day feeling like losers.
But along came Huuuuuughes to keep the game at 4-2. And then Matsui stepped to the plate in the bottom of the inning with A-Rod aboard and – bam!
Tie score. I snapped back to attention, reminding myself that the 2009 Yankees had the most walkoff victories in the majors. Mo did his thing in the ninth and the question became: would you pull off yet another miracle? Could you? Was it possible? And if so, who would be the hero? The ending revealed itself soon enough.
Gardner singled, stole second, took third on Jeter’s grounder….and then scored on Cervelli’s hit.

You poured out of the dugout to congratulate Cisco.
And before long, he was getting pie.
Or was I the one who deserved the pie in the face for not trusting your ability to come back? Yes. I have sinned against you, Yankees, and I hope you’ll forgive me. I will not make the same mistake again. Well, I’ll try not to.

The Yankees Sometimes Make Me Cry

No, not because they lose a lot, although I did shed plenty of tears when they got bounced from the playoffs in ’07. I’m talking about the times when they make me so happy I just can’t contain myself. Like tonight, for instance.
Niemann, the Rays’ starter, was fantastic, shutting the Yankees offense down until the eighth. Jeter had three hits and tied Gehrig‘s record (more on that in a sec), but the score remained at 2-0 for what seemed like an eternity. Then, as they have on so many occasions this season, the Yanks came roaring back.
A tag team of relievers followed Niemann and here’s what happened:
A-Rod: single
Matsui: single
Swisher: fielder’s choice/error
Posada: pinch-hit three-run jack.
Bruney and Coke retired the Rays in the ninth, and the Yankees notched a 4-2 come-from-behind victory for a four-game sweep – the kind of win that Yankee fans have come to expect from this team. Just overwhelming.
Sure, I could have cried about Joba and his rocky first inning.
But he settled down after Jeter went to the mound and gave him some sort of a pep talk-tongue lashing combo. And how could I not be impressed with Aceves and the three innings he pitched? No crying there.
But then came The Moment. In the seventh, Jeter stepped to the plate after having bunted for a base hit and doubled, and banged one of his patented, Jeterian, inside out singles to right for hit #2721 – tying Gehrig for the most hits in Yankees history. When he doffed his cap, acknowledging the fans, his teammates, his parents and the classy Rays bench who applauded from the top step of the dugout, I couldn’t take it.
And so, of course, I cried like a big stupid drama queen.
I’m well aware that the world is filled with Yankees haters, but I honestly wish everyone, regardless of their partisanship, could have the privilege of watching Jeter play, day in and day out. His is a career worth savoring.
In fact, I stopped crying long enough to record a special video message for him. I hope he’ll respond soon, so I can start planning….Well, you’ll see.

Swisher Gets a Pie and I Get a Movie Deal!

Yes, the subjects are unrelated, but I’m killing two birds with one stone in this post.


First, the Yankees. Their thrilling 3-2 victory over the Rays was yet another example of the 2009 team’s “comeback-y-ness.” I mean, Nick Swisher hitting a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth – his second dinger of the night? This from a guy who couldn’t buy a home run in the Bronx? Crazy but true.
And Chad Gaudin going toe-to-toe with David Price in a pitcher’s duel for six innings? Also crazy but true.
Gaudin was great and made me eat crow because I kept saying how bad he is.
With the Yanks up 2-0, he ran out of gas in the seventh, allowing a homer to Longoria. I kept wishing Girardi hadn’t brought him back out for the inning, but he found himself in a jam, and it took Marte, Bruney and Coke to get him off the hook.
Then came Huuuuuuughes in the eighth. Mr. I-Haven’t-Given-Up-a-Run-in-12-Outings surrenders a home run to Bartlett to tie things up at 2-2? Yet again, crazy but true.
Which brings us to the ninth. Mo did what he does best: shut down the opposition. And then Swisher did his thing – from the other side of the plate this time. Having so many switch hitters on the team is a such an advantage. 
The other news I wanted to share is that 20th Century Fox has bought the movie rights to my 2005 novel “An Ex to Grind,” a romantic comedy about a high-powered Manhattan financial planner who has to pay alimony to her slacker ex-husband, a former wide receiver for the NY Giants. Fed up, she hatches a devious plan to get her ex out of her life for good – only to decide she wants him back. 
You can read about the novel here and watch me talking about the story here. To be produced by Laura Bickford, who produced such films as “Traffic,” “Che” and the recent “Duplicity”…
and Julie Yorn, who produced “Bride Wars” co-starring A-Rod’s squeeze Kate Hudson…
the movie already has two stars “attached,” which means that if they approve the script they’ll sign on for the film. Playing my heroine would be Cameron Diaz.
And in the part of the ex? Benecio Del Toro.
A funny note on all this. Apparently, Benecio wasn’t comfortable playing a pro football player because he’s not a big guy, so he asked the producers, “Would it be OK with the author if we made the ex-husband a baseball player instead?” A baseball player? Uh, yeah. I think so.
I’ve had eight books optioned for films over the years, and none of them ever made it to the screen. But I have a really good feeling about this one. And if it does happen? I hope everybody will go see it!

Yankees Win – Even With Pathetic Pitching

Chad Chad Chad. You’re bad bad bad.
Hey, I’m sure he’s a nice person. He certainly seems like a sport, going from long reliever to spot starter and back again without complaint. But here’s the problem: he isn’t very good. Three runs over three-plus innings (with three walks) against the sorry looking Blue Jays? After he’d been staked to a five-run lead? Excuse me, but that just doesn’t cut it.
Luckily, the Yankees offense is insane. There isn’t a weak link in the lineup (well, unless Molina is catching), and the bats took charge again in tonight’s 10-5 win over the Jays. How insane are we talking about? 
insane insanity plea straight jacket crazy nuts.jpg
How about the fact that the 2009 Yankees just tied a MLB record: seven players hit at least 20 homers in one season. Here’s the list:
I’d say their noble feat deserves a hand.
As Posada mentioned in his post-game interview, the ’09 lineup is stocked with switch hitters, making it extra challenging to pitch to. I have to admit, however, that I’m a little worried about the state of the pen.
Marte has been a pleasant surprise since coming off the DL. And Robertson has proven that he can strike guys out in tricky situations. But Aceves? He can look fist-pumping good one minute…
…and tongue lashing-worthy the next.
And then there’s Bruney. He lost all that weight so he’d pitch better, but maybe he should have stayed fat?
Tomorrow Joba will take his turn in the rotation, and it’ll probably last six minutes, like his previous start. Who will bail him out this time? Thank goodness the Yankees called up the boys from the farm.
We’ll need them – and the mighty bats – against Halladay.

Walkoff #12 Beats White Sox, and I Disturb the Peace

I really should buy myself one of these T-shirts. They come in navy blue and white, which would be ideal for a Yankee fan, and they tell the story of the feisty 2009 team. Just when you think they’re cooked, fried, roasted, done, they mount a miraculous comeback and win the game in walkoff style. Tonight’s 5-2 victory over the White Sox was a perfect example. I mean, Cano? Hello? The guy who’s been struggling with runners in scoring position? He was the hero?
Yeah, he was, after he hit a three-run homer in the tenth. Naturally, he received the Reddi–Wip treatment.
It was all so exciting it made me want to shoot some of the stuff at myself.
It also made me erupt in a ridiculously loud scream that scared my neighbors to death.
But Cano wasn’t the only hero. It takes a whole team to win games. CC was superb, shutting out the White Sox through six. He got into trouble in the seventh, letting the Sox tie it up at 2-2, but it could have been much worse if not for a great throw home by Swisher. Yes, Swisher. Does anybody know what’s up with Wilson Betemit these days?
I didn’t think so.
A-Rod made a couple of impressive defensive plays too, and the relief pitching was about as good as it gets. Phil Hughes emerged from the remote cave where Girardi has been holding him captive.
He struck out the side in the eighth. I have no idea why he wasn’t brought back out for the ninth with the score still knotted at 2-2, but Mo was perfecto. That made the tenth a hairy proposition.
I wasn’t thrilled to see Bruney on the mound, but he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Up stepped Cano in the bottom of the frame after Matsui and Swisher had walked, and that was that.
I don’t know what the Yankees will do for an encore on Saturday, weather permitting, but I bet it’ll be worth watching.