Tagged: Cody Ransom

Yanks-O’s: I Have Five Words For Girardi

“The Yankees were sloppy, Joe.”
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CC looked bad right from the start, couldn’t get out of the fifth, and had zero strikeouts. I know, I know. He has a history of crappy Aprils, is a second-half pitcher, blah blah. I’m sure he’ll be fine. I just really wanted him to strut his stuff in his regular season debut. Instead, I was disappointed.
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Other Sloppy Joes?
* Cody Ransom making an error-that-was-ruled-a-hit.
* Nady getting caught off third and killing a rally.
* Bruney doing an excellent impression of the erratic reliever he was two years ago.
* Marte having a curious meltdown ever since he took off his Pirates uniform.
* Tex going 0-for-4 with a walk and not sticking it to the O’s fans who reacted as if they were bitterly spurned lovers. 
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The game wasn’t a complete disaster by any means. Gardner made a strong throw from center. Tex made a great pickup on a low throw by Jeter. Posada and Matsui went deep. Swisher smacked a double coming off the bench. And Albaladejo shut down the Orioles for an inning-plus.
But here’s the part that saved the day for me: I watched a few innings with a person who put the game in perspective.
As some of you know, I volunteer at my local hospital every Monday.
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During my four-hour shift, I walk around the hospital and visit patients, providing a shoulder to lean on in difficult times or simply spreading a little good cheer.
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But today was Opening Day and, as I wrote in that New York Times piece on Sunday, I really do try to arrange my schedule around the Yankees. Couldn’t I skip my shift just this once and stay home to watch the game?
No. My conscience wouldn’t let me. I put on my uniform, went to the hospital and did my thing. At about 1:30 PT, I walked into the room of a patient who happened to have ESPN on; he was watching Yanks-O’s! I was so excited!
I reminded myself I was there to focus on him, however. He was a young man with serious medical problems, but he was able to talk.
“So you follow sports?” I asked at some point.
“Yeah, I grew up in the Bay Area and I’m an A’s fan,” he said. He also told me his brother played high school baseball with CC Sabathia. He added that he hated the Yankees.
Suddenly, the Yanks scored and I must have let out a shriek. I apologized, but he laughed and asked if I wanted to stay and watch the game with him.
Before I knew it, I was sitting down in the chair next to his bed and yelling at the TV just like I do at home. He thought it was funny that I was so “into it.”
I didn’t cure him. I didn’t take away his pain. I didn’t even refill his water pitcher the way I was supposed to. But when his doctors arrived (my cue to split), he thanked me for being there and said he hoped the Yankees would have a good season.
“Hey, I thought you hated them,” I teased.
“I guess they’re not that bad,” he said with a smile.

She-Fan in NY Times: “Are YOU A Crazy Fan Too?”

As I started counting the hours (literally) to the Yankees’ season opener tomorrow, it occurred to me that my “crazy” fandom might be just that: crazy. Are all diehard fans certifiably nuts?
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I thought I’d better check. After all, I’d been eating chicken two nights in a row to keep the Yankees’ winning streak going, even though the streak only applied to spring training games and even though it’s turkey burgers that are my usual lucky food.
I contacted a shrink in LA and asked the question: Is it healthy to root for a baseball team?
The result of my musings can be found in today’s New York Times sports section. Have a look and then tell me: Has anyone ever called you crazy for rooting – hard – for your team?
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CHEERING SECTION

A Thin Line Between Psychosis and Fandom

Published: April 4, 2009

The Yankees kick off their 2009 season on Monday against theOrioles in Baltimore, so I fished my lucky Property of Yankees T-shirt out of the dresser drawer, positioned the green chair in the living room for maximum TV viewing and cleared my calendar of social obligations that might conflict with important games. (Yes, all the games are important, but if I were forced to skip Yankees-Royals I could manage it. And sure, there is TiVo, but I prefer to watch games as they happen.)

Keep up with the latest news on The Times’s baseball blog.

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M.L.B.

Yankees

Mets

“What are you doing?” my husband said when he overheard me on the phone, wriggling out of an important business meeting scheduled for April 16.

“That’s opening day at the new Stadium,” I said. “I’ll be watching the game.”

“You’re nuts,” he said. “You do realize that, right?”

I was taken aback, of course, but chuckled good-naturedly and conceded that all die-hard fans are a bit nutty.

“I thought you were going to approach this season differently,” he said. “Without the craziness.”

I suppose he was referring to my superstition of eating nothing but turkey burgers as long as the Yankees are on a winning streak; about my tendency to grind my teeth at night if they lose more than two games in a row; about my insistence on defending Alex Rodriguez from his detractors, including my 92-year-old mother. Surely, there is nothing crazy about any of that.

Or is there? I had always considered myself passionate as opposed to possessed, but maybe my fandom had crossed over into an actual mental disorder. And maybe I was not alone.

I contacted Margery Shelton, a therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, and asked her if it is unhealthy to root for a baseball team.

“It depends on how it plays out in your life,” she said. “It can be a positive thing that gives you a sense of community, which is something many Americans are seeking in this day and age.”

Absolutely. I am a member of the Yankees Universe. My heart swells every time I chant the roll call along with the Bleacher Creatures.

“On the other hand, it can be a negative thing if you allow your self-esteem to be tied to a team’s successes and failures,” Shelton said.

Oh. I had to admit that I feel brilliant when the Yankees succeed and worthless when they do not.

“So you’re saying that being a fan might indicate some kind of psychosis?” I said.

“Not in and of itself,” she replied. “But if you’re using baseball as an escape — the way some people use drinking — then it could be a problem.”

I swallowed hard. My husband often describes me as a Yankeeholic.

“Let me cut to the chase,” I said. “Are there warning signs — red flags that I and other fans should look out for?”

“Yes,” she said. “Are you neglecting your work?”

Duh. Day games are on at 10 a.m. here in California. There is no way to get any work done.

“Are you neglecting your family?”

O.K., so I skipped my second cousin’s bar mitzvah because the Yankees were holding a news conference to introduce Mark Teixeira and it was being shown live on ESPN.

“Are you neglecting your diet and hygiene?”

My face flamed. I often forget to brush my teeth when games go into extra innings.

“Bottom line?” Shelton said. “If you’re neglecting all of the most fundamental areas of your life because of your team, it’s a problem.”

I gulped. “What should I do? Quit them cold turkey?”

“Not necessarily,” she said. “First, find other enjoyable ways to fill your time.”

“I suppose I could take up golf,” I said. “Or gardening.” Yeah, right.

“The important thing is to get your life back into balance,” she said. “If you can do that on your own? Great. If not? You should see a professional.”

My thoughts wandered to Monday’s game against the O’s. Will C. C. be shelled in his Yankees debut? Will Cody Ransom commit three errors? Will Jorge fail to throw out a single base runner?

“Jane?”

“Sorry,” I said. “Do you have any time next week?”

Jane Heller is the author of “Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees.”

Yankees-Cubs: Trying Out The New Digs

The game tonight was like a dress rehearsal.

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The full cast was there.
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So was the stage manager. 
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And, of course, the theater was ushering in paying customers.
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How did it go?
Without a hitch, despite occasional raindrops. The Yankees held back the Cubs 7-4, and a supporting player became a star. Yes, Cody Ransom, the understudy for A-Rod, belted a three-run homer off the left field foul pole and was instantly dubbed “C-Ran” by the adoring crowd.
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Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t he look a little like Clay Aiken?
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Anyhow, there were a number of “firsts” during the inaugural performance at the new Stadium, even though the game itself didn’t count. Here are some that stood out for me.
* First Yankees hit: Derek Jeter (leadoff double).
* First Yankees unproductive at-bat: Mark Teixeira (stuck out swinging with Jeter on third).
* First Yankees homer: Robinson Cano (two-run jack in the second).
* First Yankees display of superhuman speed (Brett Gardner’s double).
* First bullpen by committee to hold the opposition scoreless (Mo, Veras, Ramirez, Albaledejo).
* First Yankees player-photographer: Johnny Damon (took pictures of himself in the dugout).
* First mention of Michael Kay’s large head (Paul O’Neill during the YES intro).
* First semi-joke (Michael Kay: “Having the old Stadium right there is like getting re-married and having your ex-wife living across the street”).
* First camera shot of empty field boxes due to economic downturn (two minutes into the broadcast).
* First shout out to attending celebrity (Paul Simon with unidentified companion).
* First use of new kitchen appliance (I roasted a chicken in my brand new oven).
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I’m looking forward to another dress rehearsal against the Cubs tomorrow. Luckily, I have leftover chicken. If the Yankees win again, I’ll be eating it every day until they lose.

Brian Cashman Is Such A Kidder

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According to widely published reports, Yankees GM Brian Cashman won’t be acquiring an established third baseman to fill in for A-Rod while he’s rehabbing his hip. No signing a free agent. No sending another team prospects in a trade. Nada.
“I’m not optimistic about doing anything,” he said. “Our answer is here in camp.”
Yeah, right. Because the Yankees never go out and get a high-profile player. Tell that to Bubba Crosby, our supposed center fielder until we ended up with Johnny Damon. Or to Enrique Wilson, our supposed third baseman until we ended up with A-Rod. Or to Nick Swisher, our supposed first baseman until we ended up with Mark Teixeira. Sure, we’ll put Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa out there on Opening Day at our brand new stadium. Hahahahahahaha.

I asked a couple of other Yankee She-Fans if they found Cashman’s remarks as hilarious as I did. Here are their reactions.
O.K., so the Yankees will cast a wide net for a guy to play third. But who will it be?
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I know, I know. I’m reaching. It’ll probably be him.
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But how will I ever be able to spell Grudzielanek whenever I do a post about him? It’s always something, isn’t it?
At least Joba pitched well tonight and so did Phil Coke, and the Baby Bombers went on an offensive tear, beating the Reds 7-1.

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.)
 

Day Two In Tampa (With Videos)

Another gorgeous day here in Yankeeville. No humidity. No bugs. Not even a stray alligator.

I met such great people at my signing at Barnes & Noble, including the one and only Rays Renegade, ladies and gentlemen! He’s my BFF for showing up.
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He had to dash off to watch the Rays, but I’m very grateful that he took the time to support his fellow MLBlogger. If anyone else gets the chance to meet him, seize it. He’s a sweetheart.
We had lots of other interesting visitors – from the woman who wanted a signed book for her son’s school auction to the boy who roots for the Tampa Bay Lightning but bought a book for his baseball-loving mother.
And then we had this Yankee-fan-family from Binghampton, New York, who’d flown down to Tampa the night before.
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And this enthusiastic she-fan who was one of the first in line…
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And the mother and daughter who were both named Laura…
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And this hardcore Yankee-ite from Woodstock, New York.
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Her name is Eileen and I met her the day before at the ballpark. Here’s the video from that first chat. As you can see, she has only love for her Yanks, one in particular.
Toward the end of the signing, along came a Yankee fan/Tampa local, formerly from New York.
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I had to pull out the Flip Video camera to record her Jeter story.
Before leaving the bookstore, I chatted up Nan, the community relations director at B&N.
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It turned out that she had her own intel about The Captain.
She escorted me over to the store’s “endcap” where my book was, indeed, creating a Jeter sandwich.
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My last interview at the store was with the woman at the B&N Cafe who has actually serviced served Jeter.
O.K. Now onto baseball. Friday’s game was the first night game of the season at Steinbrenner Field and there was much more electricity than the day before.
And with good reason: CC was in the house.
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I know. He’s the size of a pinhead in that photo, but he was in total command during his two innings and was a pleasure to watch.
Other game notes….Angel Berroa has lobster claws for hands….Cody Ransom is more than competent at third base as A-Rod’s apparent replacement, although I wonder where A-Rod’s 150 RBIs will come from….Aceves bounced back nicely from his last outing…Shelley Duncan needs to stay in the minors forever (terrible play in right field)….Brett Gardner made a fabulous catch in center and my infatuation with him continues….Ramiro Pena, the kid playing shortstop while Jeter’s away, is impressive….Nick Swisher is growing on me; he threw lots of baseballs to the fans….Yankee fans in Tampa booed Sheffield just like they do in the Bronx….and, best of all, the Yanks beat the Tigers.
Oh. Indulge me one final fan encounter. Seated behind me was a woman wearing a zillion Yankee pins on her jacket. If the Yanks were the Army, she’d be a general. Take a look.
After the game, we were treated to a dazzling display of fireworks. The Steins know how to throw a party.
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The Yankees Have Only Played Five Games, But…

…Jorge Posada is swinging a steaming, smoldering, stinging, hot-as-a-jalapeno-pepper bat.

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He homered and doubled against the Rays yesterday and singled twice against the Twins today. That gives him four hits already.
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No, my finger didn’t spazz out on the “Image Here” key. I was just trying to prove my point. The man’s finally got it going after sitting out most of last season with a shoulder made of spaghetti, and I’m flippin’ happy about it.
Still, what I’m about to say pains me.
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It’s possible – just possible – that he won’t be able to catch effectively until much later in the season. Which means he won’t be in the lineup because we already have a DH.
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I love Matsui, I do. He’s been a veritable RBI machine for the Yankees over the years. But he has two bad knees. He can’t play the outfield except in an emergency (war, plague, pestilence). He’s clogging up the DH spot.
To put it another way, Jorge needs to be our DH for as long as it takes his shoulder to heal, and Godzilla needs to join Cody Ransom on the bench. Or (God, forgive me) be traded.
Well, there is another option. The American League could decide to allow us two DHs instead of one, the second DH existing solely for catchers with shoulder injuries. Thus, Matsui would be the Regular DH and Posada would be the Catcher DH, enabling Molina to crouch behind the plate but never have to step up to it.
The point? The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000, as our enemies are quick to point out, so we’re done fooling around. We need Jorge’s steaming, smoldering, stinging, hot-as-a-jalapeno-pepper bat in the lineup no matter what, DH or no DH.
Programming note: Tomorrow is my book party here in Santa Barbara.
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I won’t be able to watch Saturday’s rematch of Yankees-Twins, because I’ll be signing books and guzzling samples from the “She-Fan Beer Tasting.” So if anything exciting happens, call the Hollister Brewing Company and ask for me. Pix of the party in tomorrow night’s post.
Update: Posada “tweaked” his shoulder while stretching in the on-deck circle yesterday and was scratched from today’s lineup. It’s my fault. I wrote about him in this post. It was a curse, like the SI cover is a curse. I’m sorry. From now on, I will not praise Yankees players for fear of causing them harm.

When Real Life and Baseball Overlap

Normally I’d be thrilled at the prospect of playing three against the Mariners, but we’re stuck with Ponson on the mound for Saturday’s game and Abreu’s got a bad wrist. Plus, tonight’s finale against the Rays was downright depressing. The Yanks couldn’t manage any offense against Kazmir, despite all the walks, and Rasner was an abomination. Loved the late rally in the ninth – is Cody Ransom for real? – but it was a couple of runs short. Bummer.

To put things in perspective though, the mother of one of my best friends died this morning. I was overcome with sadness for my pal and touched by her profound sense of loss. Sometimes, I really need to be reminded that baseball is just a game and that life is fragile.