ESPN announced their lineup of Sunday night games the other day, and their second one of the season – the April 10th contest – will be Yankees/Red Sox at Fenway. I realize it’s still January but seeing that actual games will be played on actual dates makes the start of the 2011 campaign seem more real, doesn’t it? Like it’s really happening? It does to me.
Of course, while certain aspects of Yankees-Red Sox will seem like old times (the “Yankee suck” chants, the lusty boos for A-Rod and Tex, the presence of familiar villains like Pedroia and Youkilis), it’ll be interesting to see how newcomers Crawford and Gonzalez play into The Rivalry. And it’ll be weird not to have Joe Morgan and Jon Miller to kick around anymore.
The good news is that spring really is around the corner, despite this photo that Friend of the Blog John (aka ooaooa) sent me of his picturesque, snow-covered backyard. Gotta love his taste in barns.
Another day, another swipe at Jeter and his agent by the Yankees (or should I say by a so-called Yankees source). This time, the message was for Jeter and Casey Close to “drink the reality potion,” according to ESPN. Alrighty then. Are we on a school playground? Is this how grownup business people talk? Why so rude? It’s a negotiation, not a personal grudge match. I understand that the Yankees don’t want to pay Jeter more than they think he’s worth, but why the sniping? For tonight’s Countdown Video until we can declare “Mission Accomplished,” I picked an interview Jeter did with Jeremy Schaap in ’99. Most of it is Jeter’s usual “I always had a dream to play for the New York Yankees” stuff. It’s Schaap’s last question and Jeter’s prescient answer that are worth the price of admission.
He can’t see himself ever wearing anything other than Yankee pinstripes, but he gets that “this is a business. They could trade me tomorrow.”
Maybe he was the only one who could have predicted this current standoff, knowing the organization and the game as well as he does. We’ll see. In the meantime, how about Nolan Ryan “reaching out” to Pettitte? As if Andy would ever play for the Rangers. Good try, cowboy.
P.S. I actually forgot it was Mo’s birthday. Shame on me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MO!
P.P.S. Very sad to hear about the passing of former Yankee Gil McDougald. RIP, Gil.
Yes, we ended up with a split. And there was nothing pretty or sweet about it. How many times have we watched CC disintegrate? Hardly ever, that’s how many times. And yet he looked vulnerable through the fifth inning and positively horrendous in the sixth – like a great big parade float that was punctured and fell to the ground.
Still, I give him a pass. He’s been terrific, so he’s entitled to a bad game even if it did cost him the Cy Young award. And David Price is a really, really good pitcher. Still, how to explain the Yankees inability to score with the bases loaded – more than once? That was more troubling to me, as was Joba’s ineffectiveness and the fact that Vazquez couldn’t find home plate if he had a shovel.
Did he hit three batters in a row or did I dream it? Never mind. I know the answer. If he had plans for the postseason, he can probably forget about them and schedule a nice, long vacation for himself. Will the Yankees win the division now that they’re basically tied with the Rays again? Tampa has some comfy match ups, while we’re stuck with the Red Sox and Blue Jays. I have no idea what will happen from here on – none. Maybe I should consult the tarot card reader I spoke to last year, but I’ve been afraid to. What if she tells me something I don’t want to hear? Couldn’t handle it.
Changing the subject, did everybody see the ESPN Steinbrenner documentary directed by two-time Oscar winner Barbara Kopple? I missed its premiere on Tuesday night, but watched it after the game tonight. As some may remember, I flew to New York last year to be interviewed for the doc.
I met Barbara too, and it turned out we both grew up in Scarsdale loving the Yankees.
Here’s the bad news: I ended up on the cutting room floor of the doc. I found out a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t in it and wasn’t surprised. Barbara shot a ton of film, interviewed hundreds of people and only had an hour of air time. The focus turned out to be the transition from the old Stadium and George’s running the team to the new Stadium and Hal’s ascendance, and I don’t think I said anything particularly interesting about any of that. I really enjoyed the film, especially the interview with Hal. Here’s a clip. It requires sitting through Pujols hawking Dove soap, but it’s worth a look.
Getting back to the present, I’m nervous about the Red Sox series this weekend. Not because it’s the Red Sox but because we just need to win games right now. Need to win games. Right now. Please.
Tonight’s game was all kinds of crazy. The Yankees were down 1-0 when I had to leave the house for dinner with friends. I listened to the game on my phone during the drive over to their place, and it sounded like Lee was in total control. Vazquez, on the other hand, was pitching with a “dead arm” and it showed.
(Just curious. If you continue to pitch with a dead arm, doesn’t the arm get deader?)
By the time I arrived at the dinner party, the Yanks were down 6-1 and I turned my focus to the amazing meal our hostess had put together. She’s a professional chef who used to have her own cooking show in LA, so invitations from her are not taken lightly. Still, I had the nerve to ask, just as we were sitting down to eat, “Would anyone mind if I turned on the TV in the living room? The Yankees are on ESPN.” Being a good friend as well as an accommodating hostess, she said, “Sure. Go ahead,” but kind of rolled her eyes.
Dinner was amazing. So, apparently, were the Yankees. I heard Rick Sutcliffe say something like, “and Cliff Lee is out of the game.” I dropped my knife and fork and went running into the living room to see what was going on – and let out a scream when I saw that the Yanks were climbing back into the game.
That was it for dinner. I stood in front of the TV and watched the rest of the way. My God, what drama! It was exciting and heart attack-y and everything in between. When Mo gave up that triple to start the ninth, I nearly passed out. But he held on, and so did I. There was just one tiny problem: I had abandoned my friends. Will I ever be invited back? I really hope so.
He can root for the boys all he wants, but after that travesty on ESPN tonight I have no interest in his career. Was “The Decision” really necessary? Like millions of other suckers, I watched and waited and wondered why James couldn’t have just told the media which team he’d picked instead of creating such a cringe-worthy spectacle. But enough of that.
Congrats to Nick Swisher!!!! Melissa, our Friend of the Blog, said she voted for him 700 times. Can anyone top that? I’m so happy for him and proud of the fans who sent him to Anaheim.
Sweet win for the Yanks tonight – that’s six in a row. It was quite the pitcher’s duel at Safeco with Andy showing what a warrior he is, going eight innings with nine K’s. Amazing. The score was tied at 1-1 for what seemed like an eternity; our offense kept stranding runners and making me nuts. But with Jeter and Swisher on base in the ninth, up stepped A-Rod. Base hit. Two runs scored. Is the guy clutch or what? I was wary when Mo took the mound, given all the talk about his ailments, but he looked fine to me. After the game, Jack Curry interviewed A-Rod and reminded him that 16 years ago on this day he played his first game as a Mariner. Asked for his reaction, A-Rod said, “A lot’s happened since then.” I’ll say.
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.
I listened to the resumption of last night’s game while I was in my car this afternoon. Jeter’s solo shot was all the scoring the Yankees managed, which worried me, and I almost drove into a tree when I heard Mauer’s liner make contact with Dave Robertson’s butt.
But the Yanks got the win and nobody ended up on the DL, and I made it home just in time for the second game – and for the news that we’ll be welcoming back our old friend Chad Go-Dan.
Actually, I’ve been wondering what Cashman had up his sleeve regarding the bullpen. Gaudin’s not a bad alternative to the ailing Aceves and he didn’t cost anything. And it’s not as if we needed him to start tonight – not with Pettitte pitching like a Cy Young candidate.
How good was Andy. Seriously. It would have been tragic if he hadn’t gotten the win after leaving the game in the ninth with the Yanks clinging to a 3-2 lead, courtesy of timely hits by Baby Bombers Russo, Gardner and Cisco, plus Swisher’s monster shot. But Mo came in and saved the game for him – despite all the hand-wringing by the ESPN duo. Memo to you, Sutcliffe: Mo is not too old or too injured or too whatever. He’s just fine, got it? I cannot stand listening to that guy. Is he really the best that sports broadcasting has to offer? I understand the desire on the part of the networks to hire former players in the booth, but Sutcliffe? He’s the reason this was invented.