In the absence of actual Yankees news and to provide a distraction from the tedious speculation about Jeter’s new contract, I’m hosting the annual She-Fan Video Awards early this year and you’re going to vote for the winners. Why wait until December when there are so many worthy candidates right now? In fact, when I pulled out the She-Fan Cam and sorted through all the vids from 2010, I realized I had to create separate categories for the award, just like the Oscars and Golden Globes do, instead of narrowing the field down to five nominees total.
So the first category is She-Fan Video Award/ MLBloggie, which means that the nominees either write their own blog on this site or comment on mine. Got it? Good. Here, then, are the nominees. Their fate is in your hands…
#1) Sue of the MLBlog “Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts.” Yes, she’s a Phillies fan, but consider these mitigating factors. In the video, which I shot during a spring training game at Bright House Field in Clearwater, she makes fun of her own players (Utley, Werth) and expresses her desire for a Yankees-Phillies World Series. It didn’t happen for either of our teams, obviously, but at least she wanted another crack at us. Take a look.
2) Harold, the Yankee fan father of Friend of the Blog Barbara. He took the time to drive up the Florida coast to hear me speak at a library, so for that alone he deserves consideration. And let’s not forget he’s been a Yankee fan longer than almost anybody who reads this blog. Sure, he was pessimistic about the Yanks’ chances to repeat in 2010, but let’s face it – he was right.
3) Emma of the MLBlog “Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World.” She’s a Dodger fan (duh), but she went out of her way to escort me around Dodger Stadium in June when the Yanks played there. She walked me up to the level where Peggy was sitting and waited while I left a note, and then she marched me up to the top level to find Jane, her fellow nominee in this category. Plus, she sang “Happy Birthday” to Jeter in the video.
4) Jane, the Yankee fan who leaves comments here as “ladyjane.” I had met her at Yankee Stadium a while ago, but this year she flew out to LA to see the Yanks play the Dodgers. She was the one who told me it was Jeter’s birthday. She goes to tons of games in the Bronx. She’s passionate about our boys. And – wait for it – Mo once handed her a baseball, which means she practically touched a god.
There you have it- four nominees, each with his/her own connection to this blog. Cast your vote for the 2010 She-Fan Award/MLBloggie by leaving a comment here and a winner will be crowned or, rather, fanned.
Next up: The Nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette.
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!
Yup. Congratulations to Emma of “Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World” for taking home the golden fan!
The competition was getting tight there at the end. Harold jumped out to an early lead, then Emma started racking up the votes, and then Harold had a late surge. But in the end you guys picked Emma from among four excellent nominees – no easy task since Harold, Ladyjane and Sue were great in their videos too. Thanks to all for participating and making this off-season a little less ho-hum for me. The next category will follow shortly.
Meanwhile, I’m putting in my two cents about another gold award: the Gold Glove. Fingers crossed for Tex, Jeter and Cano. Gardner’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
So much for the Good A.J. showing up tonight. I don’t know if he pitched badly because of the belabored-to-death “short rest issue” or if he would have pitched badly if he’d been rested for six months. I also don’t know if Chad Gaudin would have done any better, although I doubt it. What I do know is that the Phillies were up 5-1 in the third when Girardi told A.J. to take his stuff and go away.
Robertson did a nice job in relief, as did Aceves. (Great catch by Gardner at the wall on Werth’s fly ball.) But Coke? I won’t even make a Pepsi joke. There was nothing funny about the homers he surrendered to put the Phillies up 8-2 by the time Hughes arrived in the seventh. OK, I can’t resist.
Maybe no pitcher on the planet can keep Utley from hitting homers. He’s put on a brilliant show during this series, and whoever can get him out deserves a medal.
But how about walking him? Or moving him off the plate? Just a suggestion. The Yankees actually made a ball game of it tonight against Cliff Lee. Down 8-2, they mounted a comeback in the eighth when Damon singled and Tex and A-Rod doubled, chasing Lee. Cano’s sac fly tacked on another run. Could they tie it up in the ninth? I had hope after Posada doubled and Matsui singled. Up came Jeter, the Captain, the guy you want at the plate with the World Series on the line. And what did he do?
Double play, right. Yes, another run scored for 8-6, but now we had two outs. Damon pulled off another single – go, Johnny, go! – but Tex struck out to end it. I have one question for Marky Mark: Where are you hiding your fearsome bat?
And so the Phillies live another day. Well, two days. The series goes back to the Bronx for Game 6 on Wednesday night. My friend Judy is always happy when the Yanks are home. She lives in Florida now, but her dad was a ticket taker at the Stadium when she was a kid.
And Brendan, who comments frequently on this blog, met up with someone who vowed to help the Yanks put the Phillies away. Jesus, it turns out, is a Yankee fan.
Yes, they’re the defending champions. Yes, they have an excellent team. Yes, Ryan Howard is big. But there are ways to deflate their confidence.
In other words, they can be beaten and they must be beaten. While it’s true that my tarot card reader already declared in the pages of The New York Times that the Yankees would win the 2009 World Series, I figured I’d better do a little scouting as backup. Here’s what I’ve unearthed about certain players in the Phillies lineup. (Full disclosure: I went to grad school at the University of Pennsylvania, lived in downtown Philly and loved it. But there’s no conflicting loyalty going on. None. I swear.)
#1) Jimmy Rollins
Last year he led all NL shortstops in fielding percentage (.988) and he finished the season with 295 career stolen bases – the most by any Philly in the modern era.
So he’s fast and he can play short. What’s more, he’s a switch-hitter who’s had three postseason leadoff homers. But here’s the good news: he only batted .250 this season. And another thing: he’s single. Tip to Yankees: Put some good looking women near the Phillies dugout and try to distract him.
#2) Shane Victorino
Another switch-hitter, the “Flyin’ Hawaiian,” as he’s affectionately known in Philly because he hails from Wailuka, Hawaii, is batting .361 in the postseason. And how about this little tidbit to tie my Yankee fan stomach in a knot: He hit the first grand slam in Phillies playoff history in Game 2 of the NLDS last year against – guess who – CC Sabathia. Scary, right?
But he only hit 10 homers all year with 62 RBIs. Not scary. And his bio lists his favorite hobbies as fishing and diving. Tip to Yankees: Pitch him low and outside and make him fish and dive.
#3) Chase Utley
Chase Cameron Utley had 31 homers this season, and he’s batting .303 in the postseason. He can steal a base and he’s patient at the plate. (Last year he became the third player in NLCS history to walk four times in a game.) His other claim to fame in ’08 was that he led the NL in HBP; the guy was plunked 27 times!
But he made two errors in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Tip to Yankees: Pitch him away, away, away. He can’t get hit by a pitch if the ball is outside. And hope he makes more errors at second.
#4) Ryan Howard
OK, so he has 45 home runs and 141 RBIs this season. And he already has a couple of dingers in the postseason, not to mention 14 RBIs. He’s a beast with the happy-go-lucky personality of a puppy.
But he’s struck out over 190 times in ’09. That’s a lot. Tip to Yankees: Forget about the intentional walks and just let him swing and miss.
#5) Jayson Werth
The right fielder has 41 homers this season. And he has quite the pedigree. His grandfather, Dick “Ducky” Schofield, played in the majors for 19 years. His uncle, Dick Schofield, played for 14 years. And his mother, Kim Schofield Werth, competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump.
But despite all that athleticism in the family, he only batted .268 this year. Tip to Yankees: Don’t sweat it. He’s good but not that good.
#6) Raul Ibanez
He’ll be DH-ing for the games at Yankee Stadium, and although he’s 37 years old he can still hit – 34 homers in the regular season and another one in the postseason. He was a Yankee killer when he was with the Mariners.
But nobody remembers him from his three years with Kansas City. Tip to Yankees: Pitch to him the way you did when he was a Royal.
#7) Pedro Feliz
The Dominican born former Giant had the second best fielding percentage among NL third basemen in ’08. Oh, and he drove in the winning run in the seventh inning of the Phillies’ World Series clincher against the Rays.
But he had back surgery in November. Tip to Yankees: Bunt the ball in his general direction and make him bend over.
#8) Carlos Ruiz
The Phillies catcher made his major league debut in 2006. His biggest hit to date was his walk-off infield single in the bottom of the ninth in Game 3 of last year’s World Series against the Rays. He’s from Panama, the land of Mo, so he must be good.
But he only threw out 14 of 79 potential base stealers in ’08 for 17.7 %. Tip to Yankees: Run! Run! Run!
#9) Ben Francisco
I don’t know anything about him except he’ll probably be playing left field instead of Ibanez. Oh, and he was with the Indians in ’07 and ’08.
Like Rollins, he’s single. Tip to Yankees: Try the distraction tactic as discussed in #1.
#10. Cliff Lee
The Phillies’ Game 1 starter is the reigning Cy Young Award winner. And his full name is the intimidating Clifton Phifer Lee. In 2002 he was named the Hog Nation Minor League Player of the Year.
Tip to Yankees: You can beat the Hog Nation Minor League Player of the Year, can’t you?