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.
It was reported today that CMW is going to the Nationals. Good for him and good for them. I was hoping the Yankees would take a chance and see if he could recapture his magic on the mound, but it wasn’t to be. And don’t get me started on Damon. If he ends up taking what the Yanks would have paid him – or less – I’ll be really mad. Anyhow, I wish Wang well (try saying that three times fast), and I would like to give him a proper sendoff. So I made a video of the two of us figure skating. Did you know he was Olympic caliber? If not, wait till you see his double lutz. As for me, I enjoyed being twirled around but kept worrying that my wig would fall off. At least Tanya Harding didn’t break my kneecaps.
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Baseball has already crowned the Rookies of the Year, the Cy Youngs, the MVPs, the Gold Gloves, the Silver Sluggers, the SI Sportsman of the Year (congratulations, Jeet) and, of course, the World Champions (congratulations, Yankees).
In other words, lots of hardware has already been handed out.
With the Winter Meetings scheduled to begin next week and nothing much happening in the meantime, it’s my pleasure to present the 2009 She-Fan Awards, which recognize excellence in the field of contributing to the success of the New York Yankees. Yes, that’s a mouthful, so let me put it another way. The award goes to a person or persons who helped the Yankees win this year.
No, it doesn’t go to a player. Or the manager. Or the general manager. It’s intended to spotlight those who are more obscure and who don’t generally receive the attention they deserve. And in case you’re wondering, the award itself is solid gold, has been custom-designed by my superb craftsmen here in Santa Barbara and, in keeping with the fan theme, looks like this.
Now, without further ado, the awards….
***** Best Surgeon *****
And the nominees are:
– Dr. Marc Phillipon (A-Rod’s hip surgeon)
– Dr. David Altchek (Posada’s shoulder surgeon, as well as Mo’s shoulder surgeon)
– Dr. James Andrews (Chien-Ming Wang’s shoulder surgeon, as well as consultant to many Yankees, including Dave Robertson)
– Dr. Lewis Yocum (Xavier Nady’s elbow surgeon)
And the winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Surgeon is…Dr. Marc Phillipon.
It was a tight race right down to the wire. Dr. Altchek performed surgeries on not one but two valuable Yankees shoulders and certainly merited attention. That said, A-Rod’s hip surgery was more delicate and it allowed the Yankees third baseman and clean-up hitter to return to the team in May, sparing us another minute of Cody Ransom, providing protection for Tex in the lineup and treating us to that heart-stirring walk-off homer in the 15th inning against Boston. Congratulations, Dr. Phillipon. Enjoy your award.
Coming next: the 2009 She-Fan Award for….you’ll have to wait and see.
Remember the good times?
Chien-Ming came up from our very own farm system – a rookie phenom from Taiwan and a Yankee to the core. So what if he couldn’t speak English and never left his hotel room? The kid could pitch. He had that amazing sinker.
In his quiet way he went about his business, achieved back-to-back 19-win seasons, became the ace of the staff. It was such a pleasure to watch him induce ground ball after ground ball.
There was just one not-so-tiny problem: he was terrible in the 2007 postseason. He had two starts in the ALDS against the Indians and lost both of them, giving up a total of 12 runs over five-plus innings for an ERA of 19.06 (gag). Was that the beginning of Wang’s “lost period” when we’d catch him staring off into space while sitting in the dugout?
Was his postseason funk the result of mechanical problems? Did anybody bother to look under his hood?
He rebounded beautifully in 2008, becoming the first pitcher to win six games that year. But then came the fateful interleague game against the Astros. Since the Yanks were playing in Houston, Wang was running the bases when this happened.
Big trouble. The foot injury ended his season and seemed to have carried over into ’09. He was never “right.” Was it his hip or his head? All I know is his stint on the DL led to Hughes’ stint in the bullpen. While we certainly could have used another 19-game winner in the rotation along with CC, it was a revelation to see Huuuuughes emerge as the bridge to Mo.
Wang struggled when he returned. Then more trouble: season-ending shoulder surgery. According to some reports, he could be back on the mound this spring. But will he have the velocity he used to? Will he be able to throw the sinker and come up with other effective pitches? Will he be any good? Or will the Yankees get him healthy, showcase him, hope there’s interest from other teams and wave goodbye?
I don’t know, but what a boost for him and for the Yankees if he could rediscover his magic and be a reliable starter again. I’d take a healthy Wang over Lackey any day.
Well, that’s what Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham called it on his blog. Taking nothing away from the excellent performance by Scott Kazmir, tonight’s game at the Trop was a sloppy one by the Yankees, who fell 6-2 to the Rays and looked as if they’d been out partying last night.
Good pitching and defense? Not in evidence. CC struggled through five-plus and only intermittently had command of his pitches. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great second-half guy? He seemed pretty lost out there.
Both Jeter and A-Rod made throwing errors, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Matsui got picked off of first base, and I can’t remember the last time that happened either. And Swisher? I’m sorry, but he’s just not the player I want in right field everyday. Sure, he comes up with the occasional brilliant catch, but most of the time he’s – how can I put this delicately – cringe worthy.
Would Eric Hinske be that much worse? Would Shelley Duncan? Would this kid?
I’m missing Bobby Abreu right now, wall phobia and all. Are you hearing me, Cashman?
I was delighted that Girardi finally allowed Mark Melancon to appear in public; it was starting to feel as if he’d contracted swine flu like Vincente Padilla and been shuttled off to an undisclosed location.
Speaking of maladies, what awful news about Wang. Shoulder surgery tomorrow? Out for the rest of this season and possibly next? Talk about a blow.
And what about Aceves, the guy we’ve been counting on in the pen and maybe in the rotation too? Now he tells the Yankees he has shoulder pain? How long has that been going on? I understand the whole spiel about athletes playing through injuries, blah blah, but did he think that keeping his “arm fatigue” quiet would make it go away? The strategy didn’t exactly work for Bruney.
OK. I’ll take a deep breath here.
Much better. It’s just that things have been going so well for the Yankees that I was hoping everybody would stay healthy and we wouldn’t have any big surprises and…
Would you listen to me? I’m acting all sky-is-falling, and it’s ridiculous. Baseball is nothing if not full of surprises. And with the trade deadline creeping up, there are bound to be more of them.
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.
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.
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?
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.
A-Rod has been very clutchy lately and came through again tonight with a two-RBI single.
(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.
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.
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…
It’s silly. It’s juvenile. And I hope it never ends – the whole routine of come-from-behind walkoffs that result in an A.J. Burnett-instigated dose of whipped cream for the hero.
Today’s recipient? Jorge Posada, whose single in the bottom of the 12th drove in A-Rod with the winning run in the Yankees’ 6-5 victory over the Jays.
But first, the classy tribute to Lou Gehrig and to Michael Goldsmith, the ALS sufferer who called MLB to action on the disease.
Talk about a highlight of the 2009 Inaugural Yankee Stadium Season. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by the pre-game ceremony.
Then came the game itself. Wang was having his best start of the season. But it was clear that Halladay didn’t have his “A” stuff. Not with homers to Matsui, Posada and Damon. I think it was Damon’s shot in particular – the one-hander into “Damon’s Deck” in short right field – that really got Doc all pissy and red faced.
The July 4th crowd, which had sounded pretty enthusiastic, fell to a hush after Wang gave up a two-run dinger to Lind in the sixth. And then suddenly….out came Girardi and Steve Donahue. The next thing we knew, Wanger was headed for the MRI tube.
I figured it was his Lisfranc again. Or maybe some other body part I’d never heard of. But no. He’s got a “shoulder strain with bursitis,” is going on the DL and will miss at least a month. I mean, seriously? What are we supposed to do about our rotation? Make a trade? Or bring up a kid?
Robertson was shaky in relief, giving up another run, as was Bruney. But Coke threw two great innings (with help from Gardner’s slide on Overbay’s fly ball). And Mo and Bombko kept us in the game until Jorge broke the 5-5 tie with one swing of the bat.
Of course, there was also the issue of Cano. The guy came up with runners on base time after time, and did nothing. He’s really starting to stink.
After reveling in the Yankees’ victory, I headed to the beach for a walk, my trusty She-Fan Cam in my pocket. There were a zillion people camped out to see the fireworks display later, and I checked the various groups to see if there were any baseball fans among them.
Sure enough, there were a couple of Dodgers fans.
The first one was with her family, having their annual July 4th Dodgers barbecue.
The second one was playing catch with a friend.
Very cool customer, that Andrew.
I was walking away, feeling no Yankee love in Santa Barbara, when I happened upon a guy wearing a Yankees cap backwards. He was partying with his friends, but I went over anyway.
Why I said “Ithaca!” in that high squeaky voice is beyond me. But even more embarrassing was when I mistakenly agreed that Jorge had hit the walkoff single in the 13th inning instead of the 12th. I’m not very good in math, but that was ridiculous.
Here’s hoping the Yanks find a couple of fresh arms to pitch tomorrow.