I hope everybody has been enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend. I’ve been enjoying mine. Well, except for the cold, hard reality that The Captain and The Yankees remain in negotiations hell. The fact that they haven’t made a deal and seem to be in a bona fide standoff is upsetting to me. It haunts my sleep. It creates low-level anxiety. It causes me to snap at my husband for no apparent reason.
(Oddly, I’m not worried about Mo’s situation. The Yankees need him and will pay him, and that deal will happen.) Anyhow, I’ve decided that I’m going to post a different Jeter video every night on this blog until the announcement comes down that he’s safely back in the fold – no matter how long it takes. So here’s Video #1. I’d like Cashman and the Steinbrenners to watch it and then try to tell Casey Close with a straight face that his client is just another ballplayer.
On the eve of the All Star break, I thought it was the perfect time to assess the state of the Yankees Universe and discuss what needs to be done to insure a successful second half. Here goes…
“With the best record in baseball, the Yankees are already on a pace to win it all – again.”
“Our starting rotation is strong, Cliff Lee or no Cliff Lee.”
“The Captain is perking up at the plate. He just has to stop swinging at first pitches.”
“Swisher is a better #2 than Nick Johnson ever would have been.”
“Tex is finally heating up – for real – and his defense has been outstanding.”
“A-Rod keeps knocking in runs. And HR #600 will quickly lead to #601, #602, #603, etc.”
“Is there really anything Robinson Cano can’t do this season?”
“Having Posada healthy means that Cervelli can go back to being a good backup.”
“Granderson has been somewhat disappointing so far at the plate. More productivity would go a long way toward making people stop wishing AJax would suddenly re-appear.”
“Marcus Thames isn’t useless after all. It turns out he’s a decent DH/pinch hitter.”
“Brett Gardner is the most exciting Yankee in years. He has to keep getting on base though.”
“Mo is Mo – a precious asset never to be taken for granted.”
“Dave Robertson has pitched better lately, but more consistency would be helpful.”
“Chan Ho Park is OK for one inning maybe – but that is all.”
“Damaso Marte doesn’t scare me as much as he did early in the season.”
“Joba….Well, if Joe keeps running him out there in the 8th I’ll need a defibrillator. He must be fixed or I won’t make it through the rest of the season.”
“Chad Gaudin is not Alfredo Aceves. Alfredo Aceves is no longer Alfredo Aceves. Therefore, we need a better long man.”
“We need another reliable arm out of the pen, period – someone not named Jonathan Albaladejo.”
“We need a bat off the bench. I love Ramiro Pena and Colin Curtis, but are they the players I want to see pinch hitting in a big game? Nah.”
“We need better communication between the Yankees and the media when it comes to player injuries. No more ‘Yes, he’s hurt. No, he’s not hurt.’ Just tell us.”
“It’s not necessary to have the grounds crew dance to ‘YMCA’ anymore. It really isn’t.”
“Where’s Hank Steinbrenner? And why isn’t he firing off Steinbrennerisms this year?”
“Why can’t YES re-hire David Cone and phase out John ‘the Snooze’ Flaherty?”
“We need to keep Dave Eiland from ever leaving the team again.”
“And finally, there should be more Yankees merchandise for she-fans – from Yankees lipstick to Yankees nail polish (the same color Jorge wears) and especially Yankees hair products. I mean, who wouldn’t want pinstriped hair?”
That concludes my address. God Bless America and God Bless the New York Yankees.
The third and final game in the Yankees’ series against the Dodgers was one of the most exciting contests of the season, in my opinion. Gone was the nonstop chatter about Torre leaving New York and A-Rod not talking to him and blah-blah-blah past history. Well, ESPN couldn’t resist bringing up “the soap opera,” as they called it, but once the game turned into a nail-biter, it was all baseball. After stinking up the early innings – how many bunts could Pettitte not handle? – the offense and relief pitching got serious. Robertson and Marte did their jobs (Joba, not so much) so that A-Rod could pop one into the seats and put the Yanks on the board. We were down 6-3 in the ninth when Torre brought in Broxton.
Yeah, he’s large, but he’s not Mo. A parade of hits greeted him, including a huge at bat by Chad Huffman. I know, I wasn’t thrilled to have Huffman up in that situation either. He’s just a kid we got off San Diego’s scrap heap.
But he came through big time to pull us to 6-5. Clap Clap Clap, Chad. I take back what I said about you on Twitter.
My boy Colin Curtis was up next, and his ground out after about 1,000 pitches (I exaggerate, but he really worked that at bat, didn’t he?) sent Granderson scurrying home (thank you, Loney, for not making the play at home). Wow. All tied up. My stomach was in one big knot.
Why was I so nervous? I mean, Mo was on the hill. What drama could possibly take place? Especially when the normally placid Garret Anderson was batting.
Oh. G.A. didn’t like Chris Guccione’s strike zone and got tossed. Torre came out to have his say, and he and the Guccione went at it – for like ever. Was Joe really that upset or was it a bit of gamesmanship to disrupt Mo’s rhythm? No matter. Mo took care of business. On to the 10th and George Sherrill.
Maybe his beard distracted him, or maybe Robinson Cano is just that good. All I know is that Cano’s homer put the Yanks up 8-6, capping an improbable six-run rally. Mo was a hammer again in the 10th – and again the Dodger hitters weren’t happy. This time Russell Martin slammed down his bat in anger, nearly hitting Posada with it, and there was more arguing with Guccione.
I’ve watched Mo fan batters over the years. I get the frustration. But the Yankees won fair and square to finish off a very entertaining series. Bravo.
And I doubt I’m the only one. If you stayed up to watch the finale of Yanks-Diamondbacks, you’re with me. What a crazy game. It started off with Dontrelle Willis walking SEVEN batters and yet the Yankees kept screwing up scoring opportunities with lousy at bats and base-running blunders. Cano, who’s been genius for us, had an off night at the plate (for him), and Jeter and Posada (pinch hitting) were frustrating. Vazquez wasn’t as sharp as he’s been, and Marte? Please. How can you call yourself a reliever when you come in and walk two, balk and throw a wild pitch? How? That’s the opposite of relief, Damaso.
The happy news is that the Yankees, who’d been trailing, tied the score on a hit by – yes, indeed, Colin Curtis – and, after Marte stank it up, a sac fly by A-Rod pulled them even again. And then it was on to extra innings! (Sorry for you, east coasters.)
A solo shot by Granderson gave us the lead in the 10th – nice night for him, btw – and with Mo coming in for a second inning of work I figured we were golden. Not so fast! Mo actually loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the 10th! I nearly died.
But then – instead of giving everybody nightmarish flashbacks to 2001 – he pulled out a miracle, retiring the side as if it were no big deal. The Yankees won the game and the series – and gained ground on the Rays and Red Sox. I’ll sleep well, I think, once I calm down.
I was watching the game at home until I had to leave for an appointment. The score was 10-4. “No problem,” I said to myself. “This one’s in the bag.” STUPID ME! Apparently, the bag was crumpled.
Never mind that CC wasn’t his sharpest and coughed up the first lead. We had offense – lots and lots of offense. Swisher is proving what a perfect #2 hitter he is, and Cano continues to amaze. And A-Rod….Well, it was horrible to watch his liner hit Huff in the head. I’m so relieved to know the guy is OK. Sheesh. Scary. Anyhow, I left my house thinking I’d be celebrating back-to-back wins this weekend – only to get in my car and turn on John and Suzyn…and be forced to listen to the Yankees’ complete and utter meltdown.
* Dave Robertson doesn’t get it done and leaves with back pain.
* Mitre walks a batter and Joe removes him.
* Marte retires his one batter and Joe comes back out to remove him too.
* Joba can’t retire anybody, because he’s absolutely, positively terrible.
* Chad gives up yet another run. Great pickup, so far.
My question is: Do we have a bullpen or not? It was supposed to be a strength coming out of spring training, but now it’s in shambles. Losing 13-11 to the Cleveland Indians is an embarrassment, but it’s not the problem. The state of the bullpen is.
On a more upbeat note, want to win tickets to the August 7th Yankees-Red Sox game? Of course you do. So check out this link to one of my fave blogs, Respect Jeter’s Gangster. They’re running a raffle with the Children’s Health Fund. If you donate to the fun and say you were referred by the RSJ blog, you’ll automatically be entered in the raffle. What are you waiting for? It’s Yankees-Red Sox and a good cause too.
Here’s to a better Yankees day tomorrow.
It’s my birthday tomorrow (Sunday, May 2nd), so I’ll be taking the day off from blogging, tweeting and watching/listening to the finale against the White Sox. While I’m out celebrating, here’s what I’d like to happen on your end.
* Heal Curtis Granderson’s groin. (Chan Ho Park’s hammy too.)
* Insist that Kevin Long fix Nick Johnson’s swing.
* Make Dave Eiland figure out what’s wrong with Robertson, Marte and, yes, Vazquez. (More on him in a sec.)
* Give Sergio Mitre a raise.
* Let A-Rod know that no one will mind if he passes Frank Robinson on the home run list.
* Remind Cano that April streaks are nice, but it’s good to hit in May too.
* Congratulate Swisher for busting out of his Yankee Stadium slump.
* If you must call up Melancon, tell him not to plunk anybody.
* Instead of using Thames/Winn in left, how about calling up Jon Weber or Colin Curtis.
* Tell Javy I didn’t boo him today. Well, not out loud. Sure, I want him to pitch better, but it’s not as if he’s screwing up on purpose. So tell him I support him…for now.
* Please win on my birthday. You hardly ever do, but try.
Love and xxoo, She-Fan
P.S. I got birthday flowers from Mike Fierman, Friend of the Blog and all-around great guy. Take a look!
P.P.S. I also got a cake from Melissa!!!
As I’ve made clear on this blog many times, I’ve always thought this Yankee was God.
In fact, whenever he saves a game, as he did in tonight’s 6-4 win over the White Sox, I usually picture him this way.
But now along comes Ozzie Guillen, who spoke after the game in glowing terms of the Yankees captain, according to this MLB article. He said of Jeter:
“He is God.”
And Ozzie isn’t wrong. Jeet did have four RBIs, including a homer and a triple, and broke his tie with Junior Griffey for the most hits among active players. Not too shabby. But is he God and not Mo? Here’s more of what Ozzie said about Derek:
“The guy always has good-looking women around him too. I mean, God bless him.”
Now wait a second. How can Jeter be God if God is blessing him? I’m very confused. But here’s what I’m perfectly clear about — tonight’s win was a beautiful thing. Andy didn’t have it, but he didn’t fall apart either, and Aceves, Marte, Joba and Mo did the rest. Winning teams are all about somebody stepping up when needed. Tonight, we had several somebodys…and at least two Gods.
Such a busy day for me before the Yankees even got to the East Room.
Just kidding. I don’t have a purple cardigan sweater with buttons like that, although I do have a pinstriped shirt (well, a pinstriped jersey). Anyhow, I know the Yanks have been to the White House several times, but it never gets old. I was teary eyed throughout the whole ceremony this afternoon. How could I not be when the event provided moments like this, where the President got to shake the hand of God?
* Where was Hank Steinbrenner?
* Why was Phil Hughes the only one wearing a gray suit?
* Who were all those people chanting “Hip Hip Jorge?”
* Why were Marte, Cano and Cervelli chewing gum?
* How many times did Obama mention the White Sox?/Don’t we already know he’s their #1 fan?/Did he burn the Yankees jersey right after everybody left?
* Did A-Rod feel uncomfortable meeting Obama, after the Prez called the revelations about his PED use “depressing” last February?
* Why did John Sterling get to stand right smack in the middle of the players?
* Couldn’t Biden have been allowed to say something nice about the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees?
* If the Yankees win again this year will they let bloggers go to the White House next year?
* How jealous am I of this kid?
It was time for an intervention. Yes, it’s still early in the season, but I didn’t like what I saw today from Vazquez in the Yankees’ loss to the Angels. (I didn’t like what I saw from Marte either, but that’s another story. At least we got a look at Mitre and have confirmation that he does, in fact, exist. As for the Yankees’ offense? It took the day off.)
Vazquez doesn’t seem to have any confidence in his stuff, so I figured I’d better get to him before the team left the west coast. Here’s our conversation. As you can see, he’s very troubled. But I believe we rooted out the problem.
He was absolutely spectacular today in the Yanks’ 7-1 win over the Angels. I mean, eight innings with eight K’s and zero walks? So what if he’s showing a few gray hairs. OK, more than a few. Maybe someone will get him a box of this.
All I know is that he pitched like an ageless wonder and it couldn’t have come at a better time, given the Yankees’ modest two-game losing streak and the prospect of facing the same Pineiro who stymied our offense recently. The good news there was that it wasn’t the same Pineiro. This version got hit early and often.
Everybody (almost) contributed offensively, with Cano, Swisher and Cervelli deserving special mention. And then there was Brett Gardner, batting second in place of the injured Nick Johnson. (I was snarky on Twitter; I said Johnson hurt his back because he finally swung at a pitch. Bad me.) Gardner was a revelation, not only playing his running game but spanking the ball. Would it be a stretch to hope he develops into the kind of #2 hitter some of us have been missing?
Well? He’s got more speed. He has a better arm in left field. And he slaps hits around, like Damon does. He doesn’t have Damon’s power, but maybe that’ll come. In the meantime, he was fun to watch today. Doesn’t he kind of look like Damon here?
Also worth a mention was Marte. Nice job, Maso or whatever nickname Girardi has given you. Up next? Vazquez. I’d really like the Yankees to win this series, which means that Javy will have to hold up his end. Or, if he falters, it’s possible we could see Mitre…unless he really has gone missing.