Tagged: Edwar Ramirez


Oh, sorry. I’m still singing that song from the closing ceremonies tonight. I kept thinking there was probably a less repetitive way to have those white snowboarders salute their host city, but I quibble. The truth is I really enjoyed the evening, starting with NBC’s round up show, which was sort of a Cliffs Notes of the Olympics.
I loved seeing the highlights of Bode, Shaun, Evan, Apolo and Lindsey doing their thing – full-blown cultural icons now. And a big hat tip to Sid the Kid (amazing hockey game), Joannie Rochette and Kim Yu-Na. I still need to be convinced that ice dancing is a sport and I could live without one more commercial for Jerry Seinfeld’s “Marriage Ref,” but all in all it was a great event with so many memorable moments. Just one question about this.
When the athletes walk around holding little cameras, video or otherwise, what do they hope to get? How can their images not be blurry, tiny, not worth the trouble? Oh, and who knew William Shatner was Canadian?
So now that the Super Bowl is over and the Olympics are over and the Oscars will be over a week from tonight (the equivalent of the Super Bowl for me), there will be Yankees baseball. In less than two weeks I’ll be in Florida getting my first look at Grandy and the other newbies, not to mention the returning crew. Girardi hasn’t announced the starting pitchers for the games I’ll be going to but it doesn’t matter. Just being there will be a thrill. Before I get to Tampa, I’m speaking at the Blake Library in Stuart (on the east coast of Florida) on Saturday, March 13th. The event is called Baseball @ the Blake, and I’ll be there to talk about the She-Fan book along with Lew Paper, the author of “Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen.” Here’s the blurb from the Blake’s online bulletin.

2:30pm Jane Hell er, Confessi ons of a She-Fan

Popular and prolific author Jane Heller

will discuss her first nonfiction book,

Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course

of True Love with the New York

Yankees, a chick-lit look at baseball, love

and marriage. In search of answers and

hoping to inject some excitement into her

marriage, she literally followed the Bronx

Bombers with her husband through the rest of

their challenging 2007 season. Books will be available for

sale and signing following her talk.

If anyone’s in the area on the 13th, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello. I’m supposed to speak for 30 minutes. Any suggested talking points?
After the library gig, it’ll be on to Tampa and spring training. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say farewell (unless nobody picks him up) to Edwar Ramirez, who was DFA-ed to make room for Chan Ho Park. Edwar was….Well, let’s just say he had a good change-up. Best of luck to you, Edwar, and may you put some meat on those bones.

“I don’t need a left-handed bat for the outfield.”

That’s what Cashman said today, according to LoHud. And while it’s all well and good for the Yankees GM to say that HE doesn’t need a left-handed bat for the outfield, what about us fans?
Has he stopped to ask us what WE need? I said I was OK with Brett Gardner in left and I am. But the team would be stronger with Johnny Damon on the roster. So what’s the big deal? Just sign the guy and get it over with, so we can see him popping out of the dugout and knocking the ball into Damon’s Deck?
Free agents are dropping like flies. Even Eric Hinske has a new team. Did we really spend every last dime on Nick Johnson? Is there nothing left in the vault for Damon? Can’t Hal and Hank chip in a few million from their trust funds?
If all the Yankees needed was a right-handed bat off the bench to play the outfield, why not hold onto Shelley Duncan? Oh, well. We did hold onto Sergio Mitre and his 6.79 ERA. Now that’s a relief.
Cashman also said he’s not looking for bullpen help. Really? Because these two inspire so much confidence?
I know I sound cranky in this post, but I’m feeling cranky right now. I want Damon to remain a Yankee. Not forever. Not for a gazillion dollars. Just figure it out, Cashman. Johnny’s already got his favorite restaurants in New York, even if he can’t pronounce their names. Don’t mess with this, Cash.

A Tip Of The Cap

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I’ve made no secret of my appreciation for Roy Halladay’s gifts, not even during his recent slump. It was only natural that he’d have a letdown after all the hoopla at the All Star game surrounding a possible trade.
Toronto’s 6-0 win over the Yankees tonight belonged to him. It’s no mean feat to one-hit the best offensive club in the majors, and he made the Yanks look feeble at the plate, especially A-Rod, who came up with bases loaded and took a called third strike.
If Pena, subbing for Jeter at short, hadn’t doubled, Roy might have had a no-no. But that was it for the Yankees’ offense. So congratulations, Doc, for giving your team a lift. As for the Yanks….
Joba gave me a headache. A migraine.
I mean, what happened to him? He was pulled after three innings – the usual these days, given The Joba Rules – but he never seemed comfortable, never dominated like he used to. The defense behind him was nothing to jump up and down about, either.
Hinske’s a really good hitter off the bench, but in right field he gives me the shakes.
But this game was all about pitching. After Joba gave up three runs, two earned, it was time to call up the kids.
Melancon started out OK, then couldn’t find the plate. Mike Dunn, in his major league debut, really couldn’t find the plate. Edwar found too much of the plate resulting in Hill’s two-RBI double. And Albaladejo avoided damage in spite of getting hit in the face by a ball a few days ago and ending up with raccoon eyes.
To sum up, it was a night for Halladay to celebrate and for the Yankees to say, “So be it. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.” Yes, I’m actually OK with losing a game to a guy who deserved to win it. I must be mellowing. Yeah, right.

Check That….Seven In A Row Is Not A Freak Accident!

Two weeks ago, the Yankees were old and feeble and caving in under the weight of expectations. This week? They’re the hottest team in baseball, caving in to no one.
Tonight’s 9-1 win over the O’s started out as a nifty pitcher’s duel between Cee Cee and a rookie named Bergesen. A-Rod crushed a no-doubter in the first inning – his fourth homer in as many games. Yeah, he sure does look rusty.
But the score remained at 2-1 for, like, ever. Three up, three down. Side retired. Nobody doing much of anything. La la la. It was enough to make me yell at the TV: “GIVE POOR CEE CEE SOME INSURANCE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!”
And then Chris Ray relieved Bergesen. All hell broke loose for Baltimore.
Jeter doubled, Damon singled and Tex hit his fourth homer in four games, putting the Yanks up by eight and confirming yet again that he has emerged from his April slumber.
I was surprised that the quartet of Roberts/Jones/Markakis/Huff didn’t do their usual damage, but all credit goes to Cee Cee, who dominated and got his first home win in pinstripes.
I know we’ve established this, but is he large or what? In the seventh, Mora lined one right at him and he swatted at the ball as if it were this.
He seems to enjoy throwing to Cervelli, who continues to be a spark plug on the team. And I thought he was just some kid whose wrist got broken in that spring training collision with the Rays guy last year. Little did I know.
The bullpen gained one and lost one tonight. Edwar got sent down to Triple A. Sweet kid with a nice change-up, but I hope the door didn’t hit him on the way out. Bruney came off the DL and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. I’m not wild about his shaved head, but who am I to judge if he wants to look like this? Same with Phil Coke.
Bombko took care of the O’s in the ninth, and the Yankees’ seventh straight “W” was in the books.
I love these games. Just when I think I know the outcome, the boys surprise me. If there’s something more entertaining on television right now than watching them pull off their late-inning heroics, I don’t know what it is. I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow night.
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Six In A Row Is Not A Freak Accident!

The Yankees’ winning streak started in Toronto against the division-leading Blue Jays. It continued against the Twins, who not only boast the services of Mauer and Morneau but who could have won any of the four games in the series. And it occurred without Wang in the rotation and Posada behind the plate and anything remotely resembling a reliable bullpen.
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Is it luck? A fluke? Mystique and aura? Or is it because the 2009 Yankees are simply playing like many prognosticators predicted they would?
All I know is that this team, despite the makeshift lineups consisting of no-names like Cervelli, Pena and Cash, despite the mostly awful performances by Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez, despite the uncertainty of A-Rod’s health, is getting it done. There’s a different hero every day and a sense that everybody is gelling.
Take tonight’s 7-6 victory over the Twins. It wasn’t won in dramatic walkoff fashion, like the previous three games, but Pettitte, who wasn’t sharp, managed to get through six-plus for his fourth “W.” How?
* He had some sparkling defensive plays behind him, including a first-inning stretch by Tex..a second-inning shovel by Cano…a third-inning catch by Damon…and a fourth-inning throw by Cervelli to nab Punto stealing.
* He had powerful offense to pick him up, including two homers by Tex, who continues to heat up and prove why he will be the key to glory this fall.
* He had A-Rod back, not only smacking another one into the seats but providing protection for Tex in the lineup.
* He had Phil Coke to save the game for him, given Mo’s unavailability – Coke’s first save ever. It didn’t come easily. He walked Crede to lead off the ninth and allowed him to score on Cuddyer’s ground out, then walked Gomez, who is now Public Enemy #1 in the Bronx after his tiff with Tex. But he got Redmond to end the game and the sweep, and out came the broom.
The streak will end – I’m not completely naive – but I’m riding it as long as it’ll take me. Yee-hah!
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Two Walkoffs Are Better Than One

What a game.

The Twins are formidable with their M&M Boys.
Whenever the Yankees play them and they hit bomb after bomb no matter who’s pitching, I can’t help but be reminded of these two.
But the Yanks are hot right now and no amount of Morneau/Mauer firepower is enough. Coming off last night’s stunning walkoff win, today’s 6-4 walkoff in the 11th was equally satisfying. I’m still jazzed, and it’s hours after the final pitch.
Highlights for me…
– Joba’s new pre-game warmup seemed to do the trick, and he made it through the first inning without damage this time. He went six, gave up two runs and struck out six. He’s looking sharper with each outing. Yeeehaaaaaaaah!
– Tex came out of the gate like a man on a mission, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Was there really any doubt that he would thrive in pinstripes?
– Veras and Edwar, the twin devils, walked their leadoff batters and made me nuts as usual, but Aceves was lights out. And Mo was Mo, which was the same as this.
– A-Rod, who had looked off-balance all day, popped one into the seats for his first hit at the new stadium and his first walkoff of the year.
Yes, I know there are Yankee fans who will boo him even when he does hit in the clutch. Not me. He admitted he took steroids. If it’s proven that he’s guilty of other baseball crimes, I’ll cross that proverbial bridge when I come it. In the meantime, I was ecstatic when he brought the game home for my team.
Take a look/listen. Sorry for the quality of the video, but this is what I get for shooting the action off my MacBook Pro. Just pretend you have Vasoline in your eyes and it’ll look normal.

Who ARE These People Anyway?


The Yankees looked so robust, so enthusiastic, so good in spring training. They even looked good as recently as yesterday. And yet, after tonight’s 12-5 loss to the Orioles at Camden Yards, they reminded me of them.
For those too young to remember, there was a 1963 sci-fi movie called “Children of the Damned” about a group of highly talented youngsters who had no ability to control their destiny.
Seriously. Am I supposed to believe that Phil Hughes has any idea how to pitch at the major league level? Was his outing in Detroit a fluke? Is he hurt again? What. Is. Wrong.
I know. The Daily News didn’t capture Phil in a very flattering pose. But he gave up eight runs in less than two innings!
Not that he had much help. Swisher’s throw to the backstop was amusing, but I wasn’t interested in watching a comedy show. Tex couldn’t stab Markakis’ line drive. And Cano didn’t even bend over on Scott’s “single.”
Then came Edwar Ramirez, who gave up homers to Markakis and Montanez. When did he become the change-up-throwing version of this guy?
Whatever. The Yankees might very well have chipped away against Eaton, who was staked to a 9-0 lead and nevertheless walked the first three batters in the fourth and served up back-to-back homers to Damon and Tex in the fifth.
As an aside, doesn’t Dave Trembly…
…have a slight resemblance to him?
Back to the game. For some reason, Girardi waited until the eighth inning to use the Yankees’ new “long man.”
Bombko had a great spring and an equally great stint in Scranton. But he lived up to his nickname when he threw one right down the middle to Jones. I nearly lost it when Jim Palmer (I was forced to listen to MASN, the Orioles’ feed) suggested that Brett might be groomed as our eighth-inning setup man. Over my this.
Oh, well. Tomorrow’s another day, and this one worked out much better than I thought. I woke up to fog and humidity and light winds – perfect conditions for getting the wildfires under control. Even though 8,700 acres have burned since Tuesday and there’s only 30% containment, I didn’t have to evacuate. The warning for my area is still in effect as a precaution and I’m not unpacking just yet, but things are definitely looking up.
I went for a beach walk this afternoon and it felt so good to resume normal activities. There were fire trucks everywhere, which was a little disconcerting, but I waved at each one and gave the guys the thumbs-up and said thanks. God, they’ve worked hard. Here’s a photo from the Santa Barbara News-Press showing them catching a much-deserved nap.
Surveying the damage (80+ residences were destroyed) has to be extremely tough for them.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to evacuate and then come home to this.
For now I don’t have to. To say I feel fortunate is an understatement.

Yanks/Angels Game 2: Holy Cow!


Talk about a wild one. 
After that four-run first inning, it seemed as if the Yanks would send Jered I-Look-Like-A-Surfer-Dude Weaver to the showers early.
But he settled down and/or the Yankees took a nap, and despite the rainy conditions he and Pettitte both hung in. 
Then came the sixth, when manager Mike So-sha started pointing to his nose and his chin and his nose again – the secret signs he uses to get the Angels to play their famous brand of small ball.
Tiny ball of Lite 119.jpg
Suddenly, the Angels sprouted wings and flew around the bases, scoring two and knocking out Pettitte. Oh, Andy.
Not that Mark Melancholy did much better, serving up a triple to Gary Matthews, Jr. that put the Angels ahead 5-4. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he threw a wild pitch to Abreu and went slipping and sliding on the wet infield as he tried to tag Matthews at the plate.
I was surprised that nobody came out to calm the kid down – not Eiland or Girardi or even Posada – but maybe I was too busy cursing at the TV to notice.
Speaking of cursing, Veras entered the game in the seventh and I was not happy to see him. “DON’T WALK THE LEADOFF BATTER LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO!” I yelled. So, of course, that’s what he did. Total carnage followed, including a suicide squeeze.
Ramirez allowed more damage, and when the inning was finally over the Yankees were down 9-4. Two things became very clear.
One: Jose and Edwar were useless.
Two: The Magic Pen was in danger of being useless too.
And then a miracle in the eighth.
We got to their bullpen with hits from Cano, Gardner, Melky and Pena (and a walk by Posada) to bring us to 9-8. And after Albaladejo retired the side in order in the top of the ninth, we struck again.
After Tex walked and Matsui and Cano singled, Posada stepped in. I stood in front of the TV, my face THIS close to the screen, clutching the Magic Pen and hoping against all hope.
And then? Walkoff single and a 10-9 victory. 
There was sheer bedlam at my house as the neighbors joined the celebration.
After they left, it was time to say a special thank-you to the Magic Pen. I mean, seriously. Four straight wins since I fished it out of a drawer and started using it to keep score? No coincidence there. The pen is getting it done.
For starters, the pen and I toasted the Yankees’ success and shared a nice bottle of Syrah.
Then, because the pen had been dropping hints about wanting a car, I bought it one. And not just any one.
I even let the pen drive the Porsche.
To cap a fantastic night, I went clubbing with the pen and introduced it to several of Santa Barbara’s boldfaced names, including these two.
I was a little embarrassed when it gushed over them and acted all celebrity-crazy. But I was totally humiliated when it slobbered all over Michael Douglas and leaked ink all over his white shirt.
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I made the mistake of telling it that Douglas had won a Best Actor Academy Award for “Wall Street.” Before I could stop it, the pen actually grabbed the Oscar right out of his hands and stood next to it!
It was nearly 2 a.m. when I finally put the pen to bed and told it to get some sleep. 
“We have a day game against the Angels tomorrow,” I said. “I need you rested and ready to go.”
Come on, people. Enter! The more pix the better!

The Yankees Need A Long Man

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.
Poor Wang.
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.
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.
Cano and Pena (Ramiro, not Carlos) put on a show of their own following a Navarro pop up
in the manner of these two.
And for the grand finale, Nick Swisher entertained the crowd by pretending to be a pitcher
in much the same way that a mime entertains the crowd by pretending he can’t speak.
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.
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.

Yanks-O’s Game 2: I’m Kidnapping Nick Markakis


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.
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.
Wang left his sinker up in the zone and, therefore, it never did this.
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?
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.
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.
But Wang wasn’t the pre-Lisfranc-injury Wang.
Instead, he looked like the Wang who allowed himself to be photographed here.
I know he’ll be fine. Really I do. But now it’s up to AJ to get us a “w” and avoid this.