Tagged: Brian Fuentes

Welcome to the Pinstripes, Russell Martin!

Today Martin was officially introduced to the New York media. Therefore, it’s only fitting that I give him a rousing She-Fan welcome.
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As someone who lives in SoCal, I have to say I’m excited about his signing, having several Dodger fan friends who’ve raved to me about him. While it’s true that he had a miserable couple of years, he was an All-Star – a guy the fans loved for both his hitting and his catching abilities. So I have to think he’ll have a bounce back season with the Yanks. To celebrate his signing, here are the many faces of Russell Martin, New Yankee.
#1) The Feisty, I-Don’t-Mind-Starting-A-Fight Russell Martin
#2) The French-speaking, I-love-talking-to-fans Russell Martin
#3) The laughing, I-joke-around-in-the-dugout-unlike-Posada Russell Martin
 
#4) The power-hitting, walk-offs-are-my-specialty Russell Martin
I think I could really get to like this guy.
On the other hand, I do not want us to sign either Freddy Garcia or Brian Fuentes. So please, Cashman. Just stop it. Now. I’m serious.

Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 3

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Last night I announced the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Enemy – the opposing player who best helped the Yankees win the ALDS, ALCS or World Series. Congratulations again to Brad Lidge.
Tonight’s award goes to the opposing player who contributed mightily to this year’s most exciting phenomenon: the walk-off victory. The Yankees had 15 walk-offs during the regular season, some more significant than others but all a great source of pleasure for Yankee fans – and for A.J. Burnett.
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And the nominees for Best Regular Season Walk-Off Enemy are…
Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
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Yes, Fuentes was one of last night’s nominees, but he merits another look in this category. On May 1st, he allowed a bases-loaded walk-off single by Posada in the ninth, and the Yanks beat the Angels 10-9 after having been down by five runs in the game. A big win against a big rival.
Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
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Another return nominee, Nathan was on the mound on May 15th, which, by the way, marked A-Rod’s debut at the new Stadium as well as the game in which Brett Gardner had an inside-the-park home run. In the ninth, Gardner tripled off Nathan, Tex singled, A-Rod walked, Cano was walked intentionally, and – with the bases loaded – Melky blooped a two-out single to win the game 5-4. The Yanks went on to sweep the Twins with three consecutive walk-offs.
Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
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Yet another return nominee, Lidge pitched the ninth on May 23rd. The Yanks were down by two runs, but the Phillies closer walked Damon, gave up a game-tying homer to A-Rod, allowed a single to Cano, who stole second, and served up a walk-off single to Melky. A foreshadowing of things to come.
Luis Castillo, New York Mets
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We all know what happened on June 12th, but here’s the recap. The Yanks were down by a run in the ninth when K-Rod came in to close it out for the Mets. Jeter singled, stole second and K-Rod intentionally walked Tex to pitch to a struggling A-Rod, who popped up to Castillo for the third out. Inexplicably, L-Cas dropped the ball, and Tex and A-Rod scored the winning runs. The best part was watching K-Rod celebrate – prematurely.
Shawn Camp, Toronto Blue Jays
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July 4th was George Steinbrenner’s birthday and the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. So it was only fitting that Roy Halladay did not get the win on this day. Instead, he left the game in a funk after Damon’s two-run shot tied the score in the seventh. It wasn’t until the 12th that Posada singled in the winning run off Camp, who is a double She-Fan Award nominee for the walk-off single he gave up to Cano on August 12th.
Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox
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Who can forget the August 7th game that lasted 15 innings and five-and-a-half hours? It was Burnett against Beckett, two former Marlins, and the score was 0-0 when A-Rod stepped in against the rookie Red Sox pitcher and belted one into the seats with Jeter aboard for a 2-0 walk-off. The win expanded the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to four-and-a-half games.
Kyle Farnsworth, Kansas City Royals
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No, the game on September 29th against the Royals hardly mattered in terms of the pennant race. But seeing old friend Farnsy was a treat nonetheless. With the September call-ups in the lineup, Cervelli got the Yankees’ ninth-inning rally going with a ground ball that deflected off Farnsworth for a single. Cisco moved to third on Hinske’s single and scored on Cano’s sac fly. Up to the plate stepped another call-up, Juan Miranda, whose grounder off Farnsy’s leg scored Hinske. The Yanks won 4-3 and all was right with the world.
The envelope please.
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And the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy goes to…
***** Junichi Tazawa *****
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The sentimental favorite would have been Castillo, of course. But an interleague series against the hapless Mets that didn’t really count for a lot except in entertainment value? Conversely, the 15-inning game against the Red Sox was huge. They had beaten us eight straight times coming into the series, and first place in the division was on the line. Once A-Rod hit that shot off of Tazawa, they had to settle for a Wild Card berth. Congratulations to Mr. Tazawa. Oh, wait. Mr. Tazawa is out of the country and can’t be here to accept his award. Accepting it for him is his teammate.
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“Oh, wow,” said Mr. Papelbon. “The She-Fan Award is really heavy.”
“That’s because it’s solid gold,” I said. “Maybe you’ll win one next year.”
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Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 2

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Last night, I handed out the symbolic gold fan to the recipient of the first She-Fan Award, which recognizes a person or persons who contributed to the Yankees winning their 27th World Championship. Yankees players and coaches are ineligible, but beyond that? Anything goes. Congratulations once again to Dr. Marc Phillipon, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Surgeon.
And now, I’d like to move on to the award for the member of an opposing playoff team who most helped the Yankees take home the championship trophy. This award spotlights a player from the Twins, Angels or Phillies who, through bad luck, nerves, a flu bug or just plain ineptitude, gave the Yanks an opportunity to win a playoff baseball game.
The nominees for Best Enemy are…
Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins

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Nathan came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the ALDS and served up a tying homer to A-Rod to send the game into extras.
Jose Mijares, Minnesota Twins
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Mijares surrendered the walk-off homer to Tex in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the ALDS. The Yankees ended up winning that one 4-3 and took a 2-0 lead in the series.
John Lackey, Los Angeles Angels
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In Game 1 of the ALCS, Big John walked Melky twice. The second time he threw the ball away for an error on a botched pickoff move at first.
Chone Figgins and Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels

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Yes, it was cold at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the ALCS, and Aybar was wearing an Elmer Fudd cap with ear flaps. But he and Figgy let Matsui’s bloop “single” drop between them to put the Yanks up 2-0 in the game.
Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels

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In Game 2 of the ALCS, the Angels’ closer gave up a homer to A-Rod in the bottom of the 11th inning to tie the score at 3-3 and turn the game into an epic battle.
Maicer Izturis, Los Angeles Angels
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The above game ended in pie for the Yankees in the bottom of the 13th when Melky grounded to Izturis, who threw wildly to first and allowed Hairston to score the winning run from second base. The game took 5 hours and 10 minutes and was an instant classic.
–  Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Angels
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The lefty not only surrendered four runs in four innings in his start in Game 4 of the ALCS, but while relieving in the eighth inning of Game 6 he committed a throwing error on Melky’s attempted sacrifice, allowing Cano to score and put the Yanks up 4-2.
Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
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Lidge came in to relieve in the ninth inning of Game 4 with the score tied at 4-4. He lost a nine-pitch at bat when Damon singled and famously stole second and third. He hit Tex with a pitch, and allowed a double to A-Rod and a single to Posada. (No, he wasn’t as sharp as last year.) The Yanks held on to win 7-4.
Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

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Howard struck out 13 times in the series. Enough said.
Pedro Martinez, Philadelphia Phillies

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Pedro not only gave up a homer to Matsui in Game 2 of the World Series, but he served up another one to Godzilla in Game 6, as well as a two-RBI single. Matsui was definitely Pedro’s daddy.
(Note: I’m not including base-running blunders by Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez, Bobby Abreu, etc. I had to stop somewhere.)
So now, without further ado, the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Enemy goes to….

***** Brad Lidge *****

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While Pedro Martinez was certainly the sentimental favorite and the duo of Figgins/Aybar sent a message that the Angels were mistake-prone, it was Lidge’s meltdown that allowed the Yanks to take a 3-1 World Series lead on the road and enabled them to close out the series at home in Game 6. Congratulations, Mr. Lidge. Enjoy your award.
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P.S. Just wanted to pay my respects to Yankees legend Tommy Henrich. He passed away today at the age of 96. Rest in peace, “old reliable.”