It was weird at first. I turned on the game because some baseball is better than no baseball. Well, and because I’ve jumped on the Giants’ bandwagon for this series, as I’ve said. But there were reminders of the Yankees everywhere, and I found myself grief-stricken all over again.
* Seeing Dave “Rags” Righetti made me remember his no-hitter. Why can’t he be our new pitching coach?
* Seeing Roberto Kelly made me remember when he was traded for Paul O’Neill. Why wasn’t I watching Paulie on the YES Network instead of Joe Buck on Fox?
* Seeing Tony Bennett sing “God Bless America” reminded me of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Why wasn’t this game at the Stadium instead of AT&T Park?
* Seeing Cliff Lee walk a guy, hit a guy and give up seven runs made me wonder if Brian Cashman will offer him less money now. Maybe we can get a discount for damaged goods?
* Seeing Vlad Guerrero fumble around in right field gave me fond memories of Marcus Thames. Will the Yankees bring Thames back?
* Seeing Tim Lincecum settle down after a tricky first few innings made me think of how CC does that. Did the big man’s bum knee affect his postseason performance?
* Seeing Josh Hamilton made me wonder why the media insists on comparing him to Mickey Mantle. Doesn’t it take a few years to become a legend?
* Seeing Elvis Andrus made me think of how Derek Jeter was his idol growing up. Will the Yankees and Jeter come to terms on a new contract quickly or will it be more complicated?
I could go on, but how about the game itself? Raise your hand if you predicted that the team that manhandled us would get manhandled. Baseball is a cool sport, even when your guys aren’t playing it.
I’m bored with all of that. If I have to read one more article about the brilliance we can expect from the Texas Rangers tomorrow night, I’ll scream.
There’s only one way to judge the opposition’s capabilities and that’s by listening to their hitters’ walk-up music. Seriously. Take a second so you can hear what the Rangers picked to pump them up.
OK, let’s start with Elvis Andrus’ pick: “Say Aah.” That song wouldn’t motivate anybody to get a hit. It would send me right to the doctor for a checkup.
Michael Young’s choice of “Sabotage” would be appropriate – if he wanted to strike out with the bases loaded.
I find it hard to believe that Ian Kinsler steps in to Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” I mean hasn’t he heard that the song is used at Yankee Stadium when we’re about to send a pitcher to the showers?
I don’t know what to say about Nelson Cruz’s “Prrrum” except the word sounds an awful lot like “broom.”
Josh Hamilton’s music is about Jesus, which must be inspirational for him. And the translation of Vladdie’s “Traigo Fuego” is “I bring fire,” which is cool. And I guess Justin Smoak’s “Backwoods” works in a “Deliverance” sort of way.
(Note: As my friend Drew at the My Pinstripes blog pointed out, Smoak is with the Mariners now. I kept him in there because I liked the “Deliverance” reference. Couldn’t help myself.)
Well, there you have it – my assessment of the Rangers and their tunes. Yeah, I’m nervous about this series. I’ve been itching for it to start and now my stomach is in a knot. The good news is that CC – our ace, our rock, our horse, our whatever-you-want-to-call-him – will be on the mound. Oh, and there’s the fact that we’re the New York Yankees, the reigning World Champions. No small thing.
P.S. Only a few more hours to weigh in on the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes contest. If you haven’t done it yet, do it right here!
Baseball’s version of the Oscars gets underway Monday while I’ll be on a plane back to California. So in anticipation, I thought I’d add my totally biased, completely Yankees-centric two cents on who should win.
1) AL Rookie of the Year: Alfredo Aceves
I know, I know. The award will probably go to Elvis Andrus. But Aceves was 10-1 this season. That’s a lot of wins for a reliever, even a long reliever. Yes, Dave Robertson had the best strikeout to innings ratio (63 Ks in 43.2 IP), but I don’t think he qualifies until next year. So congrats, Alfredo. In your honor, every Yankee fan should have fettucini alfredo some time this week.
2) AL Cy Young Award: CC Sabathia
Sure, you can talk about Greinke, Verlander and King Felix, but CC won 19 games and threw 230 innings. What’s more, he struck out 197 batters and only walked 67. He was the guy who fronted the staff, plain and simple. He wasn’t just a horse; he was a giant horse.
P.S. Honorable mention goes to Mo. He may be “just” a closer, but his name has to figure into any discussion of the year’s best pitcher.
3) AL Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi
While it’s true that Mike Scoscia pulled his team through adversity, I’m picking the guy we love to bash – and not just because the Yankees won 103 games with him at the helm, impressive as that is. I give him props for slotting Jeter in the leadoff hole, for sending the players off to the pool hall during spring training, for manipulating the rotation after Wang got injured, for leaving Hughes in the pen and for resting CC, AJ and Andy enough that they were good to go the extra mile in the playoffs. Joe, you gave me heartburn on a regular basis, so I’ll celebrate your honor by downing some of this.
#4) AL MVP: Derek Jeter
A case could be made for Joe Mauer, obviously, but I honestly think Jeter could win this one. He had 212 hits, batted .334 and won a Gold Glove. If all that’s not valuable to a team, I don’t know what is. I love Tex as a candidate too. And A-Rod deserves to be mentioned because the Yankees’ season turned around after he came off the DL. But I’m tipping my cap to the Captain.
And now a round of applause for all the winner.
P.S. Since many of the comments dealt with Cooperstown today, I wanted to add the pics Cheshirecat sent me from his recent trip there. The first one is a plaque of The Mick. (Be still my heart.) The second is of Cheshirecat standing next to the Holy Cow cow! Enjoy!
No, I’m not talking about AJ Burnett versus Nelson Cruz. By the time AJ threw over Cruz’s head in the fifth, prompting the home plate umpire to warn both dugouts, the Yankees had a comfortable 9-3 lead over the Rangers.
I’m talking about Mark Teixeira versus this guy.
If Vincente Padilla is the Rangers’ idea of improved pitching, the Angels have nothing to worry about in the AL West.
When Padilla came in high and tight to Cano in the first inning, I figured it was just one of these.
But when he plunked Tex on the arm in the second, I started to pay attention – especially since he also pitched inside to Jeter and went up and in on A-Rod. I said to my husband, “This guy better not go all Daniel Cabrera on us,” referring to the former Orioles pitcher who made a career out of disabling various Yankees.
Then the fourth: Padilla hit Tex again, this time on the butt. Mark was not amused, and Girardi accompanied him to first base in an attempt to talk him down.
But Tex continued to seethe, his nostrils flaring.
When A-Rod grounded into a potential double play, Tex slid hard into second, lifting Andrus high into the air. (Elvis almost left the building.)
Jeter scored the go-ahead run, and it was his 1,500th, making him the fourth such active player and placing him in the company of Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle as the only Yankees to achieve the mark.
The rest was gravy.
Cano had a big RBI single. So did Posada. Matsui hit a three-run shot off Holland, Padilla’s replacement (the same guy he homered off in Texas last week). Posada added his own three-run dinger against Madrigal in the sixth, boosting the Yanks to 12-3.
AJ pitched well, even without his A-grade curve ball, and Bombko and Veras finished it up.
Did I cringe when Veras came in for the ninth? You bet, even with a nine-run lead. Michael Kay was yammering on yet again about what great stuff Jose has. “You don’t give up on a guy who throws 96 mph,” he said.
Um, did he forget about Kyle?
I digress. It was a very satisfying win for the Yanks, who now have the best record in the AL at 10 games over .500. The error-less streak is over, due to an errant throw by Posada, but I’ll take good pitching and timely hitting every time.