Can A Team Be “Destined to Win the World Series?”
I just finished watching MLB Network’s broadcast of the famous Game 7 of the 1960 Yankees-Pirates World Series. What fun it was, despite the fact that the Yankees lost on Bill Mazeroski’s homer and Mickey Mantle was said to shed tears in the clubhouse after the game.
The Mick cried because he thought the Yankees were the better team and should have won. Maybe so, but the Pirates were the ones that got it done and were hailed as a “team of destiny.”
Which got me wondering….are some teams destined to win, no matter how much offensive power or quality pitching they do or don’t have? Nobody predicted the Giants would win it all this year, for example, and yet they did. Were they a “team of destiny,” like the ’60 Pirates? I was a New York kid in 1960 and one of my sisters, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, was dating a Pittsburgh boy. Needless to say, he was ecstatic when his Pirates won and all I heard from him was Maz this and Maz that. We know what happened to the Pirates in recent years and it isn’t pretty. But back then, they had a magical season. As we move through this winter and continue to debate trades and free agent signings and which team looks the best on paper, it occurred to me that we don’t know anything about the 2011 season. We really don’t. Lurking out there among all the teams in all the divisions is a team of destiny – a team that will overcome injuries, stage thrilling comebacks, beat the odds. Which team will it be?
Who knows. That’s why we watch the games.
The Nominees For The 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period Are…(WINNER UPDATE!)
This is the big finale – the showdown between such powerhouse video stars as Bill “Surf Dog” Connell and my own mother, the Grande Dame of She-Fans, along with a couple of surprise contenders. Who will win the golden fan in this major category?
You’ll be the judge and it won’t be easy. Without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period…
1) Rachel, the Yankee Fan Nurse. In January, my husband Michael was a patient at Cottage Hospital here in Santa Barbara. I was understandably nervous when he was first admitted to his room, but when his nurse came in to take his history and I asked her if she was a baseball fan (I have no idea why I even brought up the subject, given the setting) AND out popped the fact that she and her husband were Yankee fans….Well, she became my new favorite person. She provided some much needed cheer and for that she deserves consideration this year.
2) Mom, the 93-year-old-soon-to-be-94-year-old Yankee fan. When I spent a month back east this summer, the trip afforded me lots of time with my mother, who was a runner up to Surf Dog Bill for last year’s She-Fan Video Award. This time the interview was so long that I had to split it into two parts. In Part 1, she discussed her affection for Mo (she uttered the memorable “Mo’s spit is different from A-Rod’s” line). In Part 2, shown here, she has a few words for readers of this blog.
3) Jane, the HOPE Week Yankee Fan. See what I mean about tough competition? I’m throwing Jane Lang and her lovable guide dog into the mix. Jane, as most Yankee fans know, was celebrated at the Stadium this summer. Although blind, she takes the train to the Bronx from NJ so she can “watch” her boys. When she was honored by Girardi and the players, she reached up and touched their faces, just as she did with mine after our interview – “to get a sense of you” is how she put it. How can Jane Lang not be a nominee?
4) Bill, the “Surf Dog” Yankee fan. Who can forget the guy with the hot dog stand here in Carpinteria, California? He singlehandedly turns even casual beach goers into diehards with his animated (OK, rabid) fandom. His cart sports a Yankees flag. He carries a Yankees wallet in his pocket. And he’ll talk about the Yankees to anybody who’ll listen – and I mean anybody. The 2009 champ, will he hold onto the golden fan? I interviewed him last month as the Yanks were still fighting for the division title. His predictions for them were a bit off, but they were spot on for the Giants!
So there you have it – four nominees that need your votes. (One vote to a customer.) Go ahead and pick a winner! You can do it!
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!
Yikes. It wasn’t even close this time. My mother won in a landslide and poor Surf Dog didn’t get a single vote. Nurse Rachel, on the other hand, was a better-than-expected contender and, of course, a couple of you championed Jane Lang. I can’t wait to tell Mom the good news. Thanks, everybody. I know it’ll make her day when I explain that she is now the holder of the golden fan.
If the Yankees Can’t Get Cliff Lee, Then…
Who? I mean it’s possible that Lee will sign somewhere else, it really is. So if not him, then who else? That’s what everybody seems to be asking today so I’ll join the discussion – only I warn you: I won’t make any sense. Why should reality get in the way of a good blog post? The truth is, Lee isn’t the best non-Yankees pitcher in baseball; he’s just the best free agent non-Yankees pitcher in baseball. Which means that we have to look at those who aren’t free agents and would, therefore, require a miraculous, impossible-to-pull-off trade. Here are those I covet, regardless of availability or practicality.
1) The Freak
So what if he just won a World Series for the Giants? Maybe he’s tired of the West Coast, not to mention the color orange.
Yeah, he’s got some mileage on him, but I’ve made no secret of my affection for him and maybe he misses the American League East.
3) King Felix
It’s true that his team hasn’t been a contender and he’s looked out of sorts on occasion, but he’s only 24 – plenty of time for him to mature into the game’s best pitcher.
4) The Zackster
He’s already said he won’t come to New York, but that doesn’t mean he means it. And maybe CC and Amber will find him an historic old house in rural New Jersey with a barn and horses and it’ll feel just like Kansas, as in Missouri.
That’s what Girardi would call Justin Verlander if he migrated to the Bronx. Sure, he’s the ace of the Tigers’ staff, but wouldn’t it be less pressure to be a #2 pitcher?
Those are my top five choices in case Cliff Lee doesn’t work out. Did I miss somebody? (This is why I don’t play fantasy baseball. I always miss somebody.)
Congratulations To The Giants and Their Fans
Is there anyone (besides Rangers fans and probably most of the Dodgers’ fan base) who didn’t find things to like about the 2010 Giants? They played like champions and became champions, just the way it should be. They made me enjoy this World Series, despite the lack of guys wearing pinstripes. Their pitching was spectacular. Their defense was strong. They had the perfect mix of rookies and veterans. (Why didn’t we pick up Aubrey Huff?) And would anyone have predicted that they’d outhit Texas? Just a great, great job in winning it all tonight. A special congrats to my brother-in-law Mark, who has rooted for his Giants for a very long time.
(Sorry about the postage stamp, Mark, but it’s all I could find. You need more pix on your Facebook page.)
What to say about Cliff Lee? For most of the game it looked like he and Lincecum would continue to put zeroes on the board. I kept wondering which team would blink first. But Lee was vulnerable yet again. Maybe his price will plummet?
And, finally, I guess I have to comment on the unfortunate person who happens to be the Rangers’ CEO. His team was fighting for its life in the World Series today and yet he went on his local ESPN radio station and picked on…. Yankee fans? According to Mr. Greenberg, we’re “violent” and “apathetic” as well as “an embarrassment.” Nice. At some point during the day, MLB scolded him and he apologized to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine, dubbing us “passionate” instead. He’s entitled to his opinion, of course. But I’m sick and tired of being dumped on. It was amusing when Joe West called the Yankees and Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because our games last too long for his taste. And it was startling that Kristen Lee called out Yankee fans for their boorish behavior during the ALCS in the Bronx. But enough now. Leave us and our team alone or you’ll have me to deal with. I’m not violent or apathetic, but I can dole out some choice words if pushed.
Rangers-Giants Game 4: Orange Is The New Black
Orange was everywhere today, given the confluence of the Giants and Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of orange. I don’t wear it. It’s not my color. In fact, I said to Michael before we sat down to watch the game tonight, “If I see another pumpkin, I’ll go mental.” Just as the words were out of my mouth, into my inbox landed an email from Friend of the Blog Audrey, along with this photo.
I quickly changed my mind and said, “Now that’s a pumpkin I could love.” Thanks, Audrey. Great carving job and even better accessorizing.
Speaking of carving up, that’s what young Madison Bumgarner (with a name like that he has to be good) did to the Rangers’ vaunted offense. Vlad Guerrero played the role of Pat Burrell tonight, looking especially awful at the plate. But “Bum” was tough on everybody. And he’s only a kid! It must be so satisfying for the Giants organization to see their prized prospect meet expectations. And now the World Series could be all over tomorrow – if, by some chance, Cliff Lee has two bad outings in a row.
Meanwhile, Bud Selig has been talking about expanding the playoffs by adding two more wild card teams. How does everyone feel about that? Here’s how I feel about it: NO THANKS.
“Oh, come on,” you’re saying. “It would give teams like the Royals and the Pirates a chance to compete for a championship.”
No, it wouldn’t. It would simply prolong the baseball season – something I wouldn’t mind under other circumstances – by diluting the talent pool. And I’m not just griping because the Yankees get into the playoffs so often; I’d feel the same way even if they didn’t. I wasn’t in favor of the wild card concept in the first place, just as I wasn’t crazy about the DH. But I came around to the idea that the best teams in each division would play each other with a “wild card” team rounding out the math. Adding two more teams does what, exactly? Push the games into December? Give more fans in more cities a chance to buy more tickets and more merchandise? Boost the TV ratings?
The whole notion is making me tired. I’m off to sleep. Let me know what you think.
Rangers-Giants Game 3: A Win for the Antlers
Thanks to my Twitter pal @SunnySoCal for the screen grab. And because the people in the photo made me laugh, I have to bring back the laughing lady.
The Rangers’ pitching was terrific. I don’t know how a guy like Colby Lewis turns up after a stint in Japan and throws the ball like a Cy Young award winner, but that’s what he’s done in the postseason. And Feliz is just plain sick, pumping nothing but gas.
On the Giants’ side, Sanchez is obviously a talented pitcher, but he really has to learn to stop walking batters. He had even more walks this year than AJ.and that’s saying something. And then there’s Pat Burrell, who can’t buy a hit. Cody Ross, however, is a player I’d never heard of before this postseason, and he continues to make his presence felt. I like unlikely heroes like him (that’s three “likes” in one sentence) and I hope the Giants can win the whole thing. But truthfully? I still miss the Yankees and I have to blink a few times when I watch these games to make sure they’re not out there.
Rangers-Giants Game 2: The Laughing Lady Is Back!
The Rangers were supposed to be the offensive powerhouse and the Giants were the weak hitting team?
Cliff Lee was supposed to be the shut-it-down ace and Matt Cain hasn’t given up a run in the postseason?
Neftali Feliz was supposed to be the Rangers’ most potent weapon out of the pen but Ron Washington went to two guys who couldn’t find the strike zone in a must-win game with his team only down by two runs?
The Rangers supposedly beat the Yankees because they were younger and fitter but senior citizens/playoff veterans Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe were tonight’s Giants stars?
There are supposed to be drunken, loud, insulting baseball fans at every stadium and yet the crowd in SF was so happy cheering for their team that I didn’t hear a single “Rangers suck” chant?
Yeah, I know. Maybe fans reserve that special display of affection for the Yankees. But still. It was a pleasure to see such a lighthearted group, dressed in their silly costumes and waving their silly rags and having a great time. Lucky them.
Will the Rangers rally at home? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. Lots can happen over a seven-game series. It just seems as if the Giants have the magic this year.
Rangers-Giants Game 1: Easing Into Life Without The Yankees
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.
The Second Day After…
I went to another movie screening. Yesterday’s film was a very good distraction and helped me forget that THE YANKEES AREN’T GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES, so I was looking forward to this morning’s offering. It was “The King’s Speech,” which is coming out in December and will – I guarantee it – be nominated for Best Picture come Academy Awards time. It’s hard to imagine Colin Firth not giving a great performance and he doesn’t disappoint in the role of King George VI, a man with a horrible stammer who nevertheless had to reassure a country at war.
Here’s the trailer.
Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific too, and the director told us after the screening how meticulously he researched the story to insure its authenticity. Two thumbs up from me. Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.” And then it will be on to Wednesday night and Game 1 of Rangers-Giants. I’ve decided to jump on the Giants’ orange-and-black bandwagon.
The Dodgers are sort of my “second” team after the Yankees, because of Mattingly, and I know it’s heresy for Dodger fans to root for the hated Giants. But Michael’s brother and cousins live in SF and I live in California, and it’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement of castoffs like Cody Ross making it all the way to the big event. That said, someone needs to explain to me why Brian Wilson and other members of the bullpen have those dyed black beards.
It must be some solidarity thing? Like: “Let’s all do this and see if it’s lucky for us?” And I get why Sandoval is called “Panda,” but isn’t that what everybody called this guy?
I guess you can have more than one “Panda” in baseball. What you can’t have more than one of is “Mo, “Jeet,” “Tex,” “A-Rod”….Uh-oh. I’m feeling sad again. Better go watch a movie or something. How is everyone else doing? Do we need a group hug?
Mood Swings Before Game 6
I woke up this morning feeling so happy and relieved that the Yankees had escaped death. Well, not death death, but you know what I mean. I went about my day with a smile, an extra spring in my step, not even getting upset when I received yet another junk fax from some company selling a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I ran into a Dodger fan friend who congratulated me on the Game 5 win.
“Your guys sent the series back to Texas. Great job,” she said.
“I know,” I said, beaming with pride. “They really fought back under extreme pressure.”
“Of course,” she added, “they’re still facing elimination tomorrow night.”
And that’s when my mood took a dive. It wasn’t that she told me something I didn’t already know. It was just that I didn’t want to hear it. I was content to remain in my bubble.
I went home and started watching the Phillies and Giants, thinking of all the reasons I don’t want our season to end and how Phil Hughes has to pitch the game of his young life.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked me as I sat there in the fetal position.
“I’m worried about tomorrow night,” I said.
“But it’s still tonight,” he reminded me. “You’ve got 24 hours to get nervous.”
“True,” I acknowledged, “but -“
“You think the players are obsessing about tomorrow night?” he cut me off.
“No, they’re probably out having a good time with strippers and stuff.”
“There you go. If they’re not concerned about it, why should you be?”
I hate when he’s right. Still, I felt better reminding myself that the guys who will actually be playing the Rangers aren’t as nuts as I am. I jumped up and started making dinner, vowing to enjoy this night and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
Speaking of dinner (we’re having roast chicken), I want to alert everybody that Cooperstown Cookie Company is having a terrific promotion – a $100 spending spree giveaway that requires only that you fill out a brief survey. So take two seconds and enter on their site. You could be eating lots and lots of yummy cookies.