Tagged: Chien-Ming Wang

So Let Me Get This Straight

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AJ Burnett got a six-game suspension for not hitting Nelson Cruz in Wednesday night’s Yankees-Rangers game, and Vincente Padilla got a fine for hitting Mark Teixeira twice? Does that sound reasonable to anyone? Oh, the mysteries of baseball.
Here’s another one that made my brain explode.
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It’s 2009. We can launch rockets into space, but we can’t figure out how to keep the YES Network on the air during Yankees games? I was watching Thursday’s series finale on YES. It was the top of the ninth with Mo on the mound to preserve the Yankees’ 8-6 lead. Young had doubled past Melky, who took an extremely odd route to the ball, and Blalock singled. So the Rangers had two men on with one out and the dangerous Nelson Cruz stepping up to the plate. I gripped the arms of my chair, fearing the worst, and then –
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Right. My TV went blank at the crucial moment. I started screaming: “How could you do this to me?” Then I remembered that my Extra Innings package was also offering the Rangers feed. I changed channels just in time to see Cruz strike out – and to hear my favorite broadcaster, Josh Lewin, say about Murphy, the next batter: “Let’s see if he can hit one into the seats.” Murphy popped up to end the game.
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Then there was this head scratcher.
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Wang retired the first six batters and looked like his old sinker-ball-throwing self. Then, in the third inning, Davis – yes, the guy who strikes out in his sleep – smacked a ground-rule double. Next came a wild pitch, a walk, a few singles, a few more doubles, and Cruz’s homer. Suddenly, it was 5-1 Texas and the Wanger headed for the dugout.
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After the game, Girardi announced that he would make his next start….on Tuesday at Fenway. Um, what? I’m all for letting CMW work out the kinks, but not when we’re trying to hang onto first place in the division. What will it do for his confidence if the Red Sox make this out of him?
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Yet another puzzler occurred in the fifth: Aceves walked his leadoff batter. Why, Alfredo? Why? Do they not teach the Do-Not-Walk-The-Leadoff-Batter Rule at Yankees School?
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But enough with the questions and complaints. It’s time to celebrate the Yankees’ latest stirring, come-from-behind victory. What a great fifth inning.
Cervelli: singled.
Pena: singled.
Damon: walked.
Swisher: walked (terrific at bat).
Tex: doubled home three runs.
A-Rod: went the other way for a change and singled in the go-ahead run.
Swisher was a happy boy crossing home plate in that inning and deservedly so.
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Things got tense in the sixth after Kinsler’s foul-pole homer off Aceves. But Melky was a late-inning magician once again.
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I used to think the word “clutch” meant a type of woman’s handbag.
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Well, it still does. But it also means this.
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And I was OK with trading the Melkman? My bad.
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Yankees Mired In Quicksand Against Rangers

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At least it felt that way. To me.
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Andy Pettitte slogged through five innings, walking six during the Yankees’ anemic 4-2 loss. It was as if he’d never held a baseball before.
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The Yankees offense didn’t do much, either. Every time they looked as if they might pull themselves out of the muck, they sank deeper.
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Posada belted a solo shot after getting belted in the kidney by the bat of Marlon Byrd. (It was an accident, but still. It pained me to watch the replays.) Otherwise, the game was an exercise in futility, especially for A-Rod.
In the third:
Gardner walked.
Swisher walked.
Damon walked.
A-Rod? GIDP.
In the sixth:
Damon reached on an error.
A-Rod? Struck out swinging.
In the eighth:
Swisher singled.
A-Rod? K-ed again.
Not that Jeter was much better. He went 0-for-4 and ended his hitting streak at 16, talk about looking as soggy as the 12-minute rain delay. In fact, there were entirely too many ground ball outs in what was supposed to be The Home Run Palace. Where was the much-heralded jet stream?
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Clearly, the Yanks missed Tex in the lineup. It turns out that he injured his ankle Tuesday night while performing his death-defying take-out slide.
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He’s day to day, so I hope he’ll be back in the #3 spot tomorrow for the series finale. With Wang making his first start in ages, we’ll need some serious scoring. We’ll also need Aceves as a backup, since Bombko pitched three very impressive innings tonight.
I’ve made fun of the Rangers’ announcers, so I must give equal time to Kay and O’Neill, tonight’s YES team. When Kay wasn’t going on about his large head, he was engaging O’Neill in idiotic conversations. Like the one about which Yankees wear mouth guards.
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“Pettitte wears one now,” said Kay. “It’s the kind that prevents grinding during a game.”
“My wife wears one too,” said O’Neill. “She sleeps with it.”
Fascinating stuff.
And how about when they were talking about the respective talents of Cano and Kinsler.
O’Neill: “There are a lot of good second basemens in the league.”
I know. Paulie was a great ballplayer and I adore him. So what if his grammar needs work? Nobody’s perfect.

Another Ridiculous Day But With A Happy Ending

It feels as if I’m at war with the entire service industry. Yesterday, I battled Delta, American Express and Apple. Today, it was this place.

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Since I finally got my plane tickets for my New York trip, I figured the next item on my agenda was securing seats at Yankee Stadium. I bought tickets on StubHub.com, but when the site wouldn’t let me download them – and told me I hadn’t even made a purchase – I called their 800 number. It took them ONE HOUR to fix the problem and allow me to print out my tix. Come on, people! You’re making me crazy!
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The good news is I’ll be going to see the Yanks on Wednesday, June 17th – my first time at the new Stadium. They’re playing the Nationals, not exactly the team of my dreams, but who knows? It could be a great game. If anybody is planning to be there that night, please leave a comment. It would be fun to meet up.
Now, onto tonight’s 9-2 win over the Rangers, which not only gave us the series win but also put us into a tie for first with the Red Sox – and represented our 14th straight game without an error.
My highlights:
Tex going yard in the first inning.
Jeter getting on base five times.
Cash lining a double and a single AND throwing out Andrus.
Matsui knocking two out of the park.
Gardner bunting for a single and scoring.
Damon making two great running catches.
Robertson throwing strikes.
Wang finally making an appearance – and looking like Wang.
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And, of course, there was the brilliant outing by AJ. He wasn’t economical. He only lasted six innings. But he struck out seven and held the mighty Rangers offense to three measly hits. Good job, guy.
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My lowlights:
Veras serving up Kinsler’s two-run shot. ENOUGH ALREADY!
Swisher being our only option in right field.
Berroa “pinch running” with the speed of this.
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Luckily, I got the Rangers’ feed again tonight, which meant more merriment from their two crack broadcasters, Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve.
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They really make a game fun. Here’s a sample.
Josh, before the first pitch by Holland, the Rangers’ rookie starter: “Not to put any pressure on Holland, but it’s 79 degrees with low humidity.”
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Tom, assessing the Rangers so far this season: “The batters haven’t walked that often. And they have 376 strikeouts – the most in the major leagues. And the pitchers have the fewest strikeouts in the majors. It doesn’t matter.”
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Josh, referring to Saltalamacchia: “They traded Mark Teixeira for a bunch of green bananas, and Salty was the first to ripen.”
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Tom, after being told that AJ did not lead the majors in strikeouts last year as he’d thought: “I appreciate the correction. I don’t like to misinformation people.”
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Josh, after Matsui’s second homer: “Let’s change the subject. How much time have you spent in Japan, Tom?”
Tom: “I’ve never been to Japan, Josh.”
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Tom, after Cano
tacked on a homer in the ninth: “Cano is a pretty good hitter.”
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And my absolute favorite, after the game was over…
Josh: “The Yankees have an off-day in Cleveland tomorrow.”
Tom: “The Rangers have an off-day in Cleveland in August.”
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I’ll miss those two smooth talkers.

She-Fan Exclusive: Yankees Send Struggling Wang To Shrink

As a result of yet another miserable outing after which Chien-Ming Wang was declared physically sound, the Yankees made swift arrangements to help Wang with his emotional issues.
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He is said to suffer from a psychiatric disorder known as the “Cannot Pitch To Save My Life Syndrome,” and the Yankees front office flew in the one therapist they trusted to deal with it.
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She-Fan was provided exclusive access to Wang’s session with Dr. Phil. There was, of course, a language barrier as Wang understands English but doesn’t speak it, so I will translate the highlights.
Dr. Phil: Are you depressed right now?
Wang您被压下现在?
(Very. I let Yankee fans down. I let myself down.)
Dr. Phil: Do you know why you couldn’t perform today?
Wang是。 我在土墩太多认为。
(Yes. I was thinking too much on the mound.)
Dr. Phil: About what?
Wang我认为CC和AJ由他们的最初去,但是大家告诉我Wanger。 它损我的感觉。
(I was thinking that CC and AJ go by their initials, but everybody calls me Wanger. It hurts my feelings.)
Dr. Phil: Anything else?
Wang是。 迷认为尼克Swisher比我是一个更好的投手。 他们爱他。
(Yes. The fans think Nick Swisher is a better pitcher than I am. They love him.)
Dr. Phil: You sound angry. Is there more?
WangIt’ 也s关于乔Girardi和布赖恩Cashman。 为什么didn’ t他们在花册上把象Brett Tomko的一个长的人放? 我会感觉保护,照料。 反而,他们投掷了那个可怜的孩子, Claggett,对狼。
(It’s also about Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman. Why didn’t they put a long man like Brett Tomko on the roster? I would have felt protected, taken care of. Instead, they threw that poor kid, Claggett, to the wolves.)
Dr. Phil: Keep going.
Wang在美国人的进攻。 他们don’ t击中了与在计分的位置的赛跑者。 并且, Cody赎金isn’ t标尺在第三。 我恐惧有在我之后的好防御。
(The offense on the Yankees. They don’t hit with runners in scoring position. Also, Cody Ransom isn’t A-Rod over at third. I fear not having good defense behind me.)
Dr. Phil: Pena was playing third today, but who’s counting. It’s time you released all this hostility, Chien-Ming. Would you scream for me? Just let it all out?
WangO.K. 如果您认为它将帮助。 这里去。 Ahhhhhh!  
(O.K. If you think it will help. Here goes. Ahhhhhh!)
Dr. Phil: Excellent. We’re done here. The next time you pitch you’ll throw a complete game shut-out. Maybe even a no-no.
Wang谢谢非常,菲尔医生。 我欠多少您会议的?
(Thank you so much, Doctor Phil. How much do I owe you for the session?)
Dr. Phil: Not a thing. The Yankees gave me one of their empty luxury boxes as payment, plus free dinners at the steakhouse. We’re all set.
According to the press release I just received from the Yankees, Chien-Ming Wang has now been cured. No need for further concern.


The Yankees Need A Long Man

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It’s not that I think Brett Bombko is such a catch. But why wasn’t he put on the Yankees’ roster? He could have eaten innings and performed the kind of public service that would have avoided over-using the pen in tonight’s 15-5 drubbing by the Rays.
Instead, the game took on a circus atmosphere right from the start.
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Poor Wang.
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The way he was getting pounded, batter after batter, reminded me of…Well, just watch and you’ll see what I mean.
After he departed in the second inning, Albaladejo, Edwar and Coke did their best imitations of circus acts too.
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Not that it was just the pitchers who looked clownish. 
Cody Ransom lost a ball while staring up into Tropicana Field’s dome, apparently entranced by its unique beauty.
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Cano and Pena (Ramiro, not Carlos) put on a show of their own following a Navarro pop up
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in the manner of these two.
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And for the grand finale, Nick Swisher entertained the crowd by pretending to be a pitcher
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in much the same way that a mime entertains the crowd by pretending he can’t speak.
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Swisher was a great sport and actually held the Rays scoreless – the feat of the night – but if I wanted to watch a circus I would have gone to see Cirque de Soleil.
Were there any bright spots for the Yankees during this humiliating exercise? No. Well, except that A-Rod was back with the team, and I brightened every time the camera found him in the dugout. I’m sure Ransom is a lovely human being, but I want the guy who hits 50 homers in the lineup.
As for the Rays, they did everything right tonight. But the player I’m intent on kidnapping in order to prevent him from having his way with my guys is him.
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Upton is maddeningly good. He hits for power. He bunts for base hits. He steals bases. And he makes over-the-shoulder – yes, circus – catches. If he doesn’t show up for Tuesday’s game, it’s because he’s being held in a secure location.
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Yanks-O’s Game 2: I’m Kidnapping Nick Markakis

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He looks fairly harmless, doesn’t he? Well, he’s not. He’s a human wrecking ball….a one-man demolition derby….a Yankee killer.
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Seriously. I don’t think the Yanks have ever gotten him out. Not ever.
But he’s not the reason the Bombers were beaten by the Birds 7-5. For the second consecutive game, our starting pitching reminded me of this.
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Wang left his sinker up in the zone and, therefore, it never did this.
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It didn’t help that Tex had a tight sphincter again, popping up with a runner on base in the first, third and fifth before ripping an RBI double in the ninth.
“I don’t see any panic here,” Johnny Damon told the media after the game.
Was he not aware of what was going on at my house?
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Actually, I avoided a meltdown by joining the party over at Flair for the Dramatic, where Vanessa hosted a “Cover It Live” thingie. I ended up laughing with other similarly afflicted Yankee fans and commenting my little fingers off.
Have teams lost their first two games of the season and won the World Series? Yep.
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And I’m not saying there weren’t positives.
* The relievers – Edwar, Jessica Alba, Veras – held the O’s scoreless.
* Jeter hit his first homer of the season and is off to a fast start.
* Jorge threw out his first runner following his surgery.
* Cano looks like the 2007 model.
* Swisher can really work a count.
* Gardner was speedy on that catch of Roberts’ bullet in the sixth.
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But Wang wasn’t the pre-Lisfranc-injury Wang.
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Instead, he looked like the Wang who allowed himself to be photographed here.
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I know he’ll be fine. Really I do. But now it’s up to AJ to get us a “w” and avoid this.
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I Hate To Jinx Anything But…

Wow. The Yankees have been looking good. Last night, CC and Mo put on a show against the Reds. Today, Bombko shut down the Braves for a few innings. The truth is, the Yanks have been winning games and playing good baseball, and I’m feeling unusually optimistic (for me) going into the season. But again, I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’d better do this.

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When I think back to the beginning of spring training, there were so many question marks.
Would Jorge’s shoulder turn into shredded wheat? 
Would Mo be carted off to the assisted living facility?
Would Matsui’s knees buckle the first time he DH-ed?
Would Wang’s foot fall off?
Would Jeter survive his stint in the WBC?
Would CC and AJ become best friends?
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And there were other matters to be resolved.
Which Cano would show up: the ’07 model or the one from ’08?
Would Cashman let Melky and Gardner compete for center field or bring in a veteran like Mike Cameron or Andruw Jones?
Would Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady come to blows over the right field job?
Would Tex get off to one of his supposedly slow starts?
Would Brian Bruney gain back all the weight he lost and go from this…
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to this?
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So far, all the questions have been answered in an extremely positive way (well, the Gardner/Melky situation hasn’t been totally resolved), and there have been pleasant surprises (Ramiro Pena). Yes, everything is FINE in Yankeeland – a miracle! But again, I don’t want to jinx anything, so I’d better get some of these and hang them from my rearview mirror.
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Uh-oh. I just read a recap of today’s action. Jeter left the game with a bruised knuckle on his pinky finger. How in the world did he let that happen?
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And Ramiro Pena, the slick rookie shortstop I’ve been so giddy about, made a fielding error.
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What’s more, Wang gave up two homers in a minor league game. Did his foot fall off after all? His whole leg too?
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It’s my fault. I jinxed the Yankees with all my happy vibes in this post. I need to make things right. I’d better go out and get a Kabalah string and wear it around my wrist.
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Oh, wait. A-Rod wears one, and things haven’t gone very well for him lately.
Maybe it’s time to give up my superstitions….if only I could.

Wang Lets Them Hang

This is how big the ball probably looked to Red Sox batters in their 8-4 win over the Yankees.

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Clearly, the Wanger is still searching for his sinker. He was leaving the balls up in the zone and getting whacked.
Not that Wakefield had pinpoint control. His catcher was dancing around trying to keep up with the knuckler, and I kept thinking the guy needed a glove the size and shape of this chair.
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I have no idea why the Yankees left just about every position player back in Tampa, but I’d like to think Mark Teixeira wouldn’t have bungled those two chances in the first inning the way Juan Miranda did.
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Still, there was good news for the Yanks. Brett Tomko and Kei Igawa were actually effective! Yet again! No Bombkos for Tomko and not a single run this spring for Igawa, whom I affectionally refer to as the Iguana.
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I lost interest in the later innings (it didn’t feel like a typical Yankees-Red Sox game except when fans chanted the old familiar “Yankees suck”); it became a contest between Pawtucket and Trenton and I had no idea who anybody was. Still, some random thoughts.
* Terry Francona was very tan.
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* John Rodriguez, the Yankees’ default DH, was no J-Rod.
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* Mike Lowell was in great shape, which gave me hope that players with torn labrums can come back strong.
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* Brett Gardner was hallucinating that he was a slugger.
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He was up with the bases loaded in the third and struck out with a big, stupid, looping swing instead of just slapping or poking the ball the way he’s supposed to.
* Shelley Duncan’s days as a Yankee are numbered.
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* Infielder Ramiro Pena continues to impress me with his smooth hands.
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* Except for the fact that they’re Red Sox announcers, I like the Red Sox announcers.
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They always sound as if they’re having a good time. What’s more, they’re very fair and even-handed, and I appreciate that.
* It’s entirely possible that I’m falling in love with Xavier Nady.
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Day Three In Tampa (With The She-Fan Cam)

Saturday was a day game after a night game. Good thing I didn’t have to play shortstop or even DH. I was really dragging. When I spotted the Marriott’s bellman on my way to the ballpark, I was tempted to ask him if he knew where I could score some boli. Instead, I bonded with him after he complimented me on my garb (Mo T-shirt/Yankees visor).

There was a packed house at Steinbrenner field for Yankees/Braves, and the weather couldn’t have been more cooperative.
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Even George was present and accounted for, as was Reggie Jackson.
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I got a stiff neck looking up at his box every few minutes, waiting to see if Hal would appear. Only Hank did. You can’t have everything.
On my way to buy bottled water, I ran into a Red Sox fan and felt compelled to ask why he was attending a Yankees game.
And as I walked by the woman in charge of the Customer Service booth, another urge to whip out the She-Fan Cam overtook me.
See how much we can learn through baseball? If we want a happy, 50-year-marriage, it can be ours – if our spouse is never around.
The game got underway and Wang looked sharp (well, except for the non-sinker stinker he threw to Kotchman that put the Braves on the board). He covered first and managed to avoid another Lisfranc injury, and there was a collective sigh of relief.
Hideki was the DH and seemed to be stroking the ball well.
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But the Yankees offense was anemic. I mean, come on. Men on first and third with no outs and nobody scores? I hate that.
Wang was pulled for Brett Tomko, who promptly served up a Bombko. Phil Coke gave one up too.
Rather than sit in my seat behind home plate and stew about the 3-1 score, I worked off my frustration by roaming the stadium. I encountered a couple of hardcores from New York.
(I really do want that robe. Memo to self: Go shopping on the MLB web site.) He also mentioned that he was getting married soon and that he was not only planning to wear the Mantle robe at the wedding but to stick the Yankees N-Y logo on the back of his fiancee’s gown. Excellent idea. 
I was returning to my seat when I spotted a she-fan in training. I don’t care what team you root for; her smile will melt your heart.
(Full disclosure: Her slightly older brother is a Red Sox fan, and they got into a fight after I shut off the She-Fan Cam. He didn’t punch her, but he pinched her really hard.)
Random game notes….I continue to be impressed by Ramiro Pena, who played second while Ransom took over shortstop duties and Justin Leone played third. I’d never heard of Pena before, but the kid is slick with the glove. Damon looked sluggish on an attempted steal. Get those legs in shape, Johnny. Opinions about A-Rod’s hip echoed throughout the game – from the guy who said A-Rod should play with a torn labrum for an entire season to the woman who insisted that surgery should be performed immediately to the kid who wanted the Yankees to trade for Adrian Beltre.
As we were exiting the stadium after the 3-1 loss, I chatted up one of the Yankees security officers. Her ears were pierced in places I didn’t know you could pierce an ear, and her tongue had a silvery thing embedded in it.
Later, Michael and I had dinner with John Sterling, the radio voice of the Yankees, at a swanky restaurant overlooking Old Tampa Bay. He’s a regular there and was given the royal treatment – as well as the “15% Yankees discount.” I figured it would be gauche to bring the She-Fan Cam, but I wish I had.
Looking forward to another great day on Sunday. The Yankees will be in Lakeland playing the Tigers, so we’ll be driving to St. Pete for some sightseeing and a drink with bestselling author Peter Golenbock. (I will definitely bring the She-Fan Cam to that.)
 

P.S. Videos Added

O.K. Laugh at me. I know I’m a loser when it comes to the videos below. But it was my first day with this camera! Cut me some slack! I get better, you’ll see!

In the meantime, here are clips of the Navy guy from the previous post, as well as the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creature (head cut off for most of it) and the infamously pessimistic Alphonso from “It Is High,” whose identity had to be hidden for security reasons (hence the darkness).
Here’s the Navy guy.
And the Bleacher Creature.
And Alphonso (after two Manhattans).