Tagged: Ian Kennedy

From The Vault – My First Ever “Confessions” Post

Before I move over to the new digs at my web site (url to come Friday night), I thought I’d go
back to my first post at MLBlogs. It was from August of 2008 and it
looked like this.

In May of 2007, when the Yankees were in last place, I
couldn’t take it. All the losing was killing me, keeping me up at
night, making me snap at complete strangers, giving me a really bad
headache. One night, after a humiliating interleague loss against the
Mets, I stormed into my office and wrote an article about divorcing the
Yankees. The grounds? Mental cruelty. I didn’t have a blog then, so I
vented to the New York Times, which published my article. (You can read
it here.) As a result of that article I landed a book deal for a
nonfiction account of what it really means to be a fan. It’s called
“Confessions of a She-Fan” and it’ll be out in February.

Now that I’ve finished it, I’ve been feeling desperate to be in a
community of Yankee fans – people to commiserate with and celebrate
with. Writing books is a solitary business. You basically sit in a room
all day by yourself, wondering why in the world you didn’t pick another
line of work, waiting for your publisher to call with news about
something (your manuscript, your cover, your sales). I’m hoping that
blogging will fill the void and distract me from checking my hourly
ranking on amazon and the occasional snarky review.

Yes, it’s late in the season, but today’s game was a revelation.
I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to beat a team not named the
Mariners or Orioles. I’ve been second-guessing Girardi all year – from
not starting Kennedy because it might rain, only to use him in
relief…to resting Damon when we desperately needed his hot bat…to
giving non-answers to questions about players injuries. But he looked
like a genius today, juggling the bullpen and sending Giambi up to pinch
hit. Taking the finale against the Red Sox wasn’t as satisfying as
sweeping them would have been, but it was sweet nevertheless.

Do the Yankees have a prayer of making the postseason? I gave up
on them last year and vowed I wouldn’t do it again. But it’s looking
bleak. Seriously. A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay loom this weekend. My
heart tells me the Yanks can pull off a miracle comeback, but my husband
says I’ve been drinking the Kool Aid.

My heart was wrong, as it turned out. The Yankees didn’t make the
playoffs in ’08. Funny how I was so worried about A.J. Burnett as a Blue
Jay; now I’m worried about him for a whole different reason. And it’s
weird reading about Ian Kennedy; it’s almost as if he never existed.

Will the 2011 Yankees be non-contenders like the 2008 Yankees or will
they have the playoff magic of the 2009 championship team? Obviously,
I’m hoping for the latter.

As for blogging, I’ll be doing it win or lose. I blogged during the
wildfires here in California. I blogged while Michael was in the
hospital having surgery. I blogged when I should have been writing a
book. There’s no reason to think I’ll stop now.

Goodbye, Old Friends

Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.

Who Would You Rather Keep? Hughes Or Joba?

Once upon a time in Yankeeville, in a place called Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, there were three starting pitchers designated for greatness: Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes. (Just pretend Shelley isn’t in the picture.)
Now Kennedy has been shipped off to Arizona to become a Diamondback.
That leaves two surviving members of the trio. Cashman says pitching is still a priority, even after luring Pettitte back for another year. Does he mean he’ll be forking over serious dollars for Lackey? Is he planning to cobble together a staff from among Joba, Hughes, Gaudin, Aceves, Mitre and the traveling secretary? Or will he shock us by trading for Halladay in an effort to give us another ace and reunite Doc with AJ?
If Halladay is an option, it surely will mean having to bid farewell to either Hughes or Joba. As much as I adore Doc, am I ready to part with either H or J? I’m having some sleepless nights over this one.
Joba’s ups and downs have been well documented, so I won’t bore anyone with the Rules, the flashes of brilliance, the decreased velocity, the fact that he wants to be a starter but seems better suited to the bullpen. Does he get another crack at the rotation? And if he falters, how long will his rope be?
Hughes looked tremendous out of the pen prior to the playoffs, and setting up successfully for Mo had to boost his confidence. But I always saw him as a starter. 
OK, the truth is I don’t want to part with either of these kids. Let them both start, relieve, who cares. Keeping them affords the Yankees lots of flexibility. So I’m going to completely reverse myself and advocate that we forget Halladay and sign Lackey, who won’t cost us players and will make our pitching staff stronger. I know, I know. I said I couldn’t stand Lackey and his tantrums. 
John Lackey.jpg
But maybe his supporters are right, and he’s just a “fierce competitor.” And maybe Girardi will take him aside and school him in the Yankees Way of doing things.
Anyhow, I want Joba and Hughes to hang around. I want Lackey instead of Halladay since we wouldn’t have to give up Joba/Hughes. And I want Gaudin/Mitre only as a last, very remote resort.
That’s where I stand at 8:08 p.m. Pacific Time. I could change my mind within the next ten minutes.
Ten Minutes.jpg

I’ve Always Loved Granderson And I’ll Love Him More in Pinstripes

How do I feel about today’s trade? I think the Yankees will survive without Phil Coke. Ian Kennedy? I bet he thrives in the National League. The one that really hurts is Ajax; allowing a top prospect to leave the franchise is always a bitter pill to swallow.
On the other hand, look at the guy we’re getting. Curtis Granderson is not small potatoes!
He’s an excellent defender and will bang the ball into the short porch in right (formerly called Damon’s Deck, soon-to-be known as Granderson’s Garage, Granderson’s Garden, Granderson’s Gazebo, take your pick).
You don’t believe he can play center field? Watch this.
And here’s a little dinger he hit against the Phillies into their short porch.
And the Yankees are getting a guy who’s not only comfortable with the media but who grew up eating breakfast with his parents. Isn’t that sweet? (Try to block out the annoying woman. If I were Granderson I would have put duct tape over her mouth.)
He even takes time out to show his healthy bod in national magazines.
And another thing….In 2007 he was an ESPN analyst during the Yankees-Indians ALDS series. Having played in Detroit, he knew all about midges and would have told Gene Monahan to stop using that bug spray on everybody. Grrrr.
Oh, and he was nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work. His Grand Kids Foundation promotes education in inner cities.
Did you happen to catch the number on the back of his uniform? That’s right. It’s 28.
(Hat tip to the LoHud blog for the pic.) I wonder if he’ll keep it or let Girardi wear it. Either way, it’s a good omen.

Another Hair Raiser in Anaheim

Well, one thing is for sure: last night’s victory over the Angels wasn’t a fluke. The Yankees came back and beat them again today 3-2. It was yet another game featuring a near heart attack by me.
The Yanks took the lead in the fourth – Cano singled with runners in scoring position! Shocking! – and the burning question throughout the rest of the game was would they hold onto the lead or do a disappearing act?
AJ had dominating stuff – 11 strikeouts – but found himself in a jam in the sixth, allowing the Angels to score a couple of runs. Marte got Figgins to fly out and ended the threat, which was major, but he needed Coke to help him shut down the Angels in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Yankees offense had been lulled to sleep, and no insurance runs were forthcoming. Maybe that was because Girardi went with the “B” lineup today?
All I know is that with Huuuughes and Aceves unavailable and Bruney and Edwar undesirable, the job of pitching the eighth inning was left to…..Ian Kennedy?
The same kid who couldn’t win a game last season?
lookalike ian.JPG.jpeg
Talk about a pressure situation for Kennedy, who is fresh off surgery to repair an aneurysm. I wouldn’t have blamed him for being rusty, nervous, crappy or all of the above. But, aside from hitting Kendrick and walking Matthews and Figgins (OK, so he was rusty, etc.), he came back to dispose of Aybar and pitched a scoreless inning. I was sooo relieved. Sweaty too.
Mo appeared for the ninth and took care of business. The Yankees fly back to New York, having beaten a team they needed to beat. Yes, some of the players got battered on this trip – Posada and his toe, Swisher and his leg, Hairston and his wrist – but Pettitte seemed healthy, AJ looked back on track and Gaudin didn’t make me hide under the bed.
Will the Yanks be able to clinch the division title during the Red Sox series this weekend? That would be so sweet I can taste it.

The Yankees Have Only Played Five Games, But…

…Jorge Posada is swinging a steaming, smoldering, stinging, hot-as-a-jalapeno-pepper bat.


He homered and doubled against the Rays yesterday and singled twice against the Twins today. That gives him four hits already.
No, my finger didn’t spazz out on the “Image Here” key. I was just trying to prove my point. The man’s finally got it going after sitting out most of last season with a shoulder made of spaghetti, and I’m flippin’ happy about it.
Still, what I’m about to say pains me.
It’s possible – just possible – that he won’t be able to catch effectively until much later in the season. Which means he won’t be in the lineup because we already have a DH.
I love Matsui, I do. He’s been a veritable RBI machine for the Yankees over the years. But he has two bad knees. He can’t play the outfield except in an emergency (war, plague, pestilence). He’s clogging up the DH spot.
To put it another way, Jorge needs to be our DH for as long as it takes his shoulder to heal, and Godzilla needs to join Cody Ransom on the bench. Or (God, forgive me) be traded.
Well, there is another option. The American League could decide to allow us two DHs instead of one, the second DH existing solely for catchers with shoulder injuries. Thus, Matsui would be the Regular DH and Posada would be the Catcher DH, enabling Molina to crouch behind the plate but never have to step up to it.
The point? The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000, as our enemies are quick to point out, so we’re done fooling around. We need Jorge’s steaming, smoldering, stinging, hot-as-a-jalapeno-pepper bat in the lineup no matter what, DH or no DH.
Programming note: Tomorrow is my book party here in Santa Barbara.
I won’t be able to watch Saturday’s rematch of Yankees-Twins, because I’ll be signing books and guzzling samples from the “She-Fan Beer Tasting.” So if anything exciting happens, call the Hollister Brewing Company and ask for me. Pix of the party in tomorrow night’s post.
Update: Posada “tweaked” his shoulder while stretching in the on-deck circle yesterday and was scratched from today’s lineup. It’s my fault. I wrote about him in this post. It was a curse, like the SI cover is a curse. I’m sorry. From now on, I will not praise Yankees players for fear of causing them harm.

What Else Did The Yankees Do On Their Day Off?

In an effort to promote team unity and build off-the-field relationships, Joe Girardi gave the players a reprieve from Monday’s workout and, instead, had them board the buses for a trip to a local billiards parlor.

Mo won both Eight-Ball tournaments (or should I say he closed them out). Reactions from various Yankees included:
“Joe came up with a great idea to get us together as a team. We all have been rallying around each other, having a good time. It’s a day I’ll never forget.” – Johnny Damon
“The most fun I’ve ever had in spring training in my whole career. There were probably 16-18 pool tables, there were some card tables, we had darts, we had guys playing dominos, and we had lunch. Everyone was just having a good time.” – Mark Teixeira
Sounds like a fine time to me. But what did the Yankees do after billiards, cards, darts, dominos and lunch? Go home? No one was talking, so She-Fan dug deeper and got the story.
Nothing says loving better than a little badminton, apparently. Here’s Ian Kennedy sending the shuttlecock over the net to Phil Hughes, who had been miffed at Kennedy for not acting despairing enough after losses.


Next came some Yankee on Yankee bowling. Nick Swisher goes for the strike to the delight of Xavier Nady, his nemesis in the competition for the right field job. 
At Busch Gardens, all the guys rode The Scorpion together and were so terrified they couldn’t help but hold A-Rod’s hands. Really nice strategy by Girardi.
After working up a sweat, the Yankees hit the water. Shelley Duncan made quite a splash, causing his teammates to howl with laughter.
Jorge Posada tested his shoulder during the kayaking activity. Everybody cheered when he pronounced himself 85% ready for Opening Day.
People were feeling so loosey-goosey that before boarding the buses they broke out into a spontaneous dance number in the tradition of “Thriller.” From left to right: Damon, Coke, Joba, Cano, Teixeira.
The sun was setting as the buses dropped everybody off at the last stop, a scenic campground. Girardi and his coaches instructed the players to build a fire.
Everybody gathered around, sang “Friends, Friends, Friends. We will always be….” and then toasted marshmallows and made these.
The boys vowed to be there for each other forever and ever, especially with a man on third and nobody out.

An Open Letter To “Yankee Faithful” – Stand By Your Man!

This article in today’s Daily News really bothered me. The Yankee fans that were interviewed expressed their wish that Joe Torre could manage the ’09 Yankees; they don’t think Joe Girardi is up to the task.

Memo to them: The torch has been passed.
two joes.jpg
Torre had a great run and I was terribly sad to see him go, as I made clear in The New York Times. But he’s gone. He’s with the Dodgers. Cashman and Company picked Girardi over Mattingly (and Pena), and he’s the one who’s been sitting in the manager’s office for a year now. In other words, it’s time to rally around him.
Did his rookie year go smoothly? No. Were there “issues” right from Day 1? Sure. A few examples:
* Ian Kennedy was supposed to make a start, but it was raining. So Girardi ended up using him in relief. A head-scratcher.
* Girardi seemed to shuffle the lineup almost daily. At first I thought he was being creative. Then I decided he was being disruptive. Players like to show up for a game not having to wonder about their status from day to day. This year he needs to establish a plan and stick to it, barring injuries.
* Speaking of player injuries, Girardi had a very tough time explaining their various ailments to the beat writers, as if he’d be giving away state secrets. His evasiveness came to a head at the end of the season with the mystery surrounding Mo’s shoulder. A testy press conference ensued.
* Cano wasn’t getting it done, and Girardi waited until September to bench him. Hard to fathom.
* Girardi used Wilson Betemit in situations where even I would have been a better option. Seriously. And he had an odd attachment to Kyle Farnsworth, even though the rest of us hid our eyes whenever Farnsy came in to relieve.
* Girardi banned candy and junk food from the clubhouse, and there were rumors that the veteran players thought he was too uptight.
All that said, the man wants to win badly and he’s got a lot of heart.
He’s not cool and collected like Torre. He doesn’t sit on the bench sipping green tea. He doesn’t even sit – he stands constantly, clenching his jaw and looking like he’s living and dying with every pitch. Nothing laid back about this Joe.
Sometimes he loses it completely.
But don’t we want our manager to be passionate? Fiery? A risk-taker?
I laugh at those who say, “Girardi would have to be an idiot not to be able to manage the team the Yankees are handing him.”
Really? If the job were so easy, why did Jim Leyland have such a tough time in Detroit last year? He’s arguably one of the best managers in the game. Certainly one of the most experienced.
With all the talk of Girardi’s “short leash” should the Yankees get off to a slow start, I’m standing by my man. He wasn’t necessarily my pick to replace Torre; I vacillated between him and Mattingly. He doesn’t have a provocative bestseller on the shelves. Nobody calls him the “Sinatra of Baseball.” He doesn’t hang out with Billy Crystal. But he’s my manager, for better or worse, in sickness and in health. 
What I’m saying is that I plan on us staying together – for the sake of the kids.

Will The Yankees Be Pedro’s (Sugar) Daddy?

YankeesDaddy.gifI know it sounds crazy, but this time I’m not the only one musing about a former Red Sox player joining the Bombers. Several Yankees blogs have thrown out the possibility – remote though it may be – of Pedro Martinez putting on the pinstripes. River Ave. Blues has a thread right here.

At first, I thought, Pedro? A Yankee? After all the times he plunked Jeter and got into it with Posada (remember the head-pointing incident?) and ended up wrestling with Zim?
post.jpgClemens was despised by most Yankees when he was an opposing pitcher and yet he ended up a hero in the clubhouse. So maybe Pedro could mend fences.
But the Pedro who dominated with the Red Sox
is not the Pedro who was injury-riddled and innings-stingy with the Mets.
At 37 years old, he’s coming off a bad year. Who knows how much he’s got left in the tank at this point?
And yet, doesn’t that description sound eerily similar to the guy the Yankees have tried to sign for $10 million?
Would it really be so outrageous to throw a one-year deal at Martinez and see what he could give us? The Marlins aren’t interested in him. Neither, it appears, is anyone else. His agent is also Mo’s agent. Maybe…
Wait. Am I nuts? We need a pitcher who can eat innings, not fade after four and blow out the bullpen. We should hand the #5 spot in the rotation to
or even
On the other hand, wouldn’t having a veteran presence in the rotation be a good thing, in case the kids can’t get it done? And isn’t Pedro, a future Hall of Famer, a better option than we had last year with Sir Sidney?
Or not.
Either way, I’m not losing sleep over it. Instead, I’ll lose sleep over this.