Tagged: Indians

Yankees Win Causes Wave Of Nostalgia

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The Yankees’ 3-1 victory over the Indians tonight, coupled with the Red Sox’s loss to Toronto, put the Bombers in sole possession of first place for the first time since 2006, according to Brian Hoch’s report on MLB.com. No, a half-game isn’t exactly a runaway lead, but I decided to take a ride in the way-back machine and see what was going on with the Yanks in ’06.

Torre was still the manager and Bernie was still on the roster, and A-Rod was still married to C-Rod as opposed to dating Kate Hudson.
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Jeter, Mo and other current Yankees were around, of course. But how about all the bit players, who eventually shuffled off into baseball oblivion? Like…
Bubba Crosby
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Sal Fasano
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Kevin Thompson
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Craig Wilson
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And a couple of pitchers who left their mark in very different ways…
Aaron Small
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Tanyon Sturtze
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Good, good times. But what’s heartening is that the 2009 Yankees are a better team than the 2006 model that won the division, and tonight’s victory over the Indians showed why.
Pettitte may be 37 with an apparently stiff back, and he put runners on base in every inning. But he held the Tribe scoreless for five-plus. Not bad for an end-of-the-rotation guy.
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Alfredo Aceves may not be the second coming of Ramiro Mendoza, but he’s been doing a decent imitation. So what if his idol is Dennis Rodman, the mascara-wearing cross-dresser? As long as he leaves the eye makeup at home and gets people out, he’s OK by me.
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Jeter has excelled in the leadoff spot, and credit goes to Girardi for flipping him with Damon in the lineup.
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Posada came off the DL tonight and promptly went 2-for-3. And Mo? He notched his 58th save for Pettitte, surpassing the duo of Welch and Eckersley. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: he’s a god among men.
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Sure, there are big problems with our bullpen and the issue of RISP must be addressed. Still, the 2006 team was stuck with Giambi at first instead of Tex, Wil Nieves as a backup catcher instead of Cervelli/Molina/Cash, and Randy Johnson and Jaret Wright on the mound instead of CC and AJ. This year’s herd is looking better and better.
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One final note: the bugs. They were back in Cleveland. No, not in plague-and-pestilence-size quantities; just in little clusters here and there. But what’s up with them? For all I know, they’ll spend the rest of tonight mating, and by tomorrow night Progressive Field will look like this. Please, no.
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She-Fan Exclusive: Scouting Report On Indians

While several Yankees were attending the Cavaliers-Magic game tonight, I painstakingly sorted through the Indians’ lineup to gather as much intel as I could in anticipation of our four-game series.
Obviously, we need to exact payback for the humiliating 22-4 drubbing in April. So let’s look at the lineup we could be facing (they change it around a lot) and try to find weaknesses. The Tribe just came off a sweep of the Rays, so they’re feeling hot hot hot. The Yankees need to cool them off.
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* Asdrubal Cabrera.
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Not to be confused with “a strudel,” the Venezuelan shortstop has seven stolen bases. He was suspended for three games in September ’08 for his role in a brawl with the Tigers. Tip to Yankees: if he charges the mound, duck.
* Grady Sizemore.
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The center fielder has been DH-ing, due to a sore elbow. He has an unsightly 49 strikeouts and is only batting .223. Still, he always seems to kill us. Tip to Yankees: don’t be lulled into a sense of security.
* Victor Martinez.
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Another Venezuelan, Victor Jesus Martinez has been a beast lately, with 36 RBIs and a .359 average. Like his countryman, he was suspended for that fight with the Tigers last year. Tip to Yankees: get him out but don’t get him mad.
* Shin-Soo Choo.
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The former Mariner was a star in his native Korea. And last year, his .386 average with RISP was fourth best in the AL. Tip to Yankees: don’t let him come up with RISP.
* Jhonny Peralta.
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Jhonny is a shortstop with a name that’s spelled funny. He’s a third baseman too. And he’s a man with a black smiley face on his chin. He’s also got 43 Ks. Tip to Yankees: pound the zone and take your chances.
* Ryan Garko.
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This guy is no dummy. He went to Stanford, for God’s sake! Not only does he admit to reading, but he promotes literacy. Tip to Yankees: find a position for him and put him in pinstripes.
* Trevor Crowe.
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Just called up from the minors, the rookie outfielder is batting .182. His father, David Crowe, played on the PGA Tour, and his cousin, Russell Crowe, is a famous movie star. (Just kidding about Russell.) Tip to Yankees: let him get a hit – only one – so he can tell his dad about it.
* Ben Francisco.
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Not much to say here, except that he grew up in California and played high school baseball with Garko. He’s batting .259 with 31 strikeouts. Tip to Yankees: don’t sweat it.
* Luis Valbuena.
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He’s the only Venezuelan on the team that wasn’t involved in that fight with the Tigers. Plus, he has zero homers. Tip to Yankees: plunk somebody else and pitch to him.
Speaking of the fight, here’s a look.
Typical baseball hissy with lots of standing around.
Here’s hoping there are no fights – and definitely no Lake Erie midges.
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What Kind Of A Fan Are You? Enter The Contest!

If you’ve been a frequent visitor to this blog, you’ve seen my occasional “She-Fan Cam” videos – clips of fans that I record on my always handy and totally addictive Flip Video camcorder.

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If you’re new here, let me give you an example.
Now it’s your turn to focus the Cam on someone, because one of you is about to win a Flip Video camcorder.
Here’s the deal.
I want a photo of your Favorite Fan Moment – a picture of you at your diehard fan best. Maybe you’ll be in the stands at whichever ballpark you call home. Or maybe you’ll be sitting in front of the TV in full team regalia. Or maybe you’ll be scoring an autograph from a player. Your call. The point is to show you being a fan and loving it.
All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know you’d like to participate. And I’ll respond and let you know where and how to send the photo.
I’ll look over all the pics and choose my top five. Then I’ll post the five and you’ll vote for the Favorite Fan Moment.
The winner will receive a Flip Video Cam directly from Pure Digital. You won’t believe how easy to use this gadget is. For starters, it’s tiny – smaller than a cell phone and light enough to tuck in your pocket (perfect for slipping past surly security people at your local stadium). You just point it in the direction of your subject, hit the red “record” button, and you’re good to go.
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I kept cutting off people’s heads the first day I got mine, but it’s really a no-brainer, even for technically challenged me.
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When you’ve finished recording, you plug the Cam into your computer, download your videos and have fun. You can email them to friends or upload them on YouTube or make movies complete with music and credits. So many options.
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I know. I sound like some cheesy infomercial right now. But seriously. I’ve had such a great time with my Cam that I wanted others to have the same experience. So I asked the people at Flip Video if they’d be up for giving one away to a deserving fan, and they agreed!
And no, this contest isn’t just for Yankee fans. It’s for anybody and everybody who’s passionate about baseball. Is that you? Then get to work!
Speaking of the Yankees, I was relieved (understatement) that they bounced back from Saturday’s debacle and beat the Indians 7-3. AJ didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the Yanks in it, as did the relief corps of Albaladejo, Bruney and Mo. There were some really nice defensive plays by Ransom and Tex (I’m still pinching myself that we have a guy who makes Mattingly-like grabs at first base), in addition to Posada’s homer and Ransom’s double (many thanks to Choo for that one).
Now we take on the A’s for three games. It’ll be weird seeing Giambi back with Oakland. I wonder if he’ll be wearing his thong.

The Yankees Play Big Ball While I Multi-Task

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Gardner stole a base and our bullpen atoned for yesterday’s debacle, but today’s 6-5 victory over the Indians was all about home runs. It seemed as if everybody except the hot dog vendors went deep.
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And driving in the winning run was, of course, the Captain.
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Wasn’t I just saying the other day that he was as clutch as ever?
Joba wasn’t sharp or efficient, but he wasn’t cringe-worthy in the way that Cody Ransom has become cringe-worthy. Whenever C-Ran steps to the plate I do this.
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And how about that strikeout by Matsui when he came in to pinch hit for Ransom? Talk about a weak hack. I wish he could get a set of these. 
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During the top of the ninth, with Mo on the mound trying to preserve the Yankees’ one-run lead and me sitting on the living room couch watching the game, my phone rang. It was the producer of “The Natural,” the New Jersey-based sports talk radio show on which I’ll be a guest each week. He was letting me know that I was about to go on the air.
A dilemma ensued.
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Do I shut off the TV and leave Mo and the Yankees dangling, so I can focus on my radio gig and be coherent when speaking to a live audience? Or do I continue to follow the game while somehow doing the interview? I really didn’t want to miss the conclusion of Yankees-Indians. I also didn’t want to sound totally distracted and idiotic when my host, Greg Marotta, asked me questions. (I figured it wouldn’t be cool to go, “Hey, Greg. Can you wait a second? Mo is in his windup.”)
Guess what I decided to do?
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Right. I watched the game with the TV on mute and did the phone interview at the same time. If Greg noticed, he didn’t say anything – not even when Mo notched that final strikeout of DeRosa and I blurted out, in the middle of a comment about AJ Burnett, “Oh, wow! The Yankees just won! Woohoo!”
Remarkably, as of this writing, I still have my gig.

Opening Day: How The Yankees Put The “Bull” In Bullpen

The day started off well, with gorgeous weather to christen the gorgeous stadium. 

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George was in attendance and Yogi threw out the first pitch and there were reps selling the “USA Today Yankee Stadium Tribute,” the publication that was kind enough to run an ad for my book.
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I tuned in to the MLB Network’s coverage of the festivities, as opposed to YES’s, and was instantly hooked by the broadcast pairing of Costas (he makes even trivial stuff sound momentous) and Kaat (I love his folksy stories and been-there insights). And I really enjoyed Gillette’s commercial co-starring Jeter (it kicks off their free-razor promotion).
Then came the game.
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I could tell right away that CC was laboring, but so was Lee. I figured it was anyone’s ball game – particularly since both lineups kept wasting scoring opportunities.
I was wrong. It wasn’t anybody’s ball game. It belonged to the Indians.
After CC was lifted and Edwar and Coke escaped trouble, Girardi went to Jose Veras to pitch the seventh with the score tied at 1-1.
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The second he appeared on the screen, my husband Michael and I said simultaneously: “Leadoff walk.” Why? Because that’s Veras’ specialty in close contests. I stood right in front of the TV and screamed, “JOSE: DO NOT WALK DEROSA!”

Did he listen? No. Before I knew it, he gave up the walk and two doubles, and the score was 3-1. Boos rang out at the Stadium as he departed. Boos rang out at my house, too, and I was so mad that I threw this at the wall.
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(It was empty, and I didn’t throw it very hard.)
Next up was Marte, who is supposed to be a lefty specialist – aka a situational reliever used only in specific match-ups. 
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He promptly hit Choo, botched Francisco’s bunt, gave up a single to Shoppach and walked Crowe, forcing in a run for 5-1.
Sizemore stepped in with the bases still loaded, and Michael and I said in unison: “Grand slam.” Why? Because it was obvious that Marte had nothing. I stood in front of the TV again and yelled: “DO NOT GROOVE ONE, DAMASO!”

Did he listen? Of course not. As I watched Sizemore round the bases, I wondered why Girardi was just standing there on the dugout steps, looking grim.
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Why wasn’t he giving Marte the hook? Come to think of it, why didn’t he give Veras the hook after he walked DeRosa? Why was he watching passively as the Yankees’ home opener was going up in these?
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Astonishingly, Marte remained on the mound. When Martinez came to the plate, Michael and I said at the same time: “Home run.” Why? Because that’s what happens when you throw batting practice to a major league hitter! I stood in front of the TV and yelled: “DO NOT SERVE UP ANOTHER BOMB, MARTE!”

Did he listen? Yeah, right. With the score now 10-1, the Stadium crowd chanted: “We want Swisher!”
Bottom line? The Yankees lost to the Indians 10-2, thanks to a crappy bullpen and what seemed like 1,000 men left in scoring position. I was fuming, to put it mildly.
I took a late afternoon walk and brought the She-Fan Cam along. Given my mood, it was only fitting that the person I interviewed was not a fan at all.

Just When I Wonder If Jeter’s Still Got It…

…he goes and has a game like today.

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No, he didn’t throw himself into the seats or anything nearly as dramatic. But he’s like the guy who works at my local pizza place…he always delivers.
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In the third inning of the Yankees’ 4-3 win over the Rays, he knew exactly where to be to make that 5-3-6 double play happen. He not only raced over to cover third but put a perfect tag on Kapler.
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It didn’t hurt that the Yankees finally have a first baseman who can make that throw over to third. (No disrespect to Giambi. He sure was fun.)
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Let’s see. What else did Jeter do today?
With the Yanks down 3-2 in the top of the eighth, he doubled and scored the tying run. Never mind about the pizza delivery guy. He’s more like my Fed Ex guy who shows up even if we’re having a mudslide.
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Oh, and in the top of the ninth with the score still knotted at three? Guess who singled home the go-ahead run?
Yep. Which makes me think Jeter is not like the pizza delivery guy or the guy from Fedex, but rather like my primary care physician, Dr. Jeffrey Hadsall (affectionately known around my house as J-Had).
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Like any good doctor, J-Had is in charge of making sure I don’t have a heart attack or stroke or otherwise keel over unexpectedly, and that’s exactly what Jeter does by making sure the Yankees don’t lose close games.
There were other Yankees who kept me from feeling sorry for myself about Xavier, whose elbow, it turns out, consists of this.
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Cano’s two-run jack put the Yanks on the board….Damon knocked in Jeter with a single….Bruney threw killer stuff to strike out Upton and Crawford….Ransom doubled and scored the winning run…And Mo performed his usual 1-2-3 magic, talk about saving my life over and over again.
Special mention goes to Andy Pettitte, who pitched efficiently and skillfully and reinforced what a stellar rotation the Yankees have. There have been bumps in the road so far, but I still think this team will win it all this fall.
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In the meantime, I’m so excited about tomorrow’s opener at the new Stadium that I’ll probably be up all night thinking about it. It’ll be on at 10 a.m. here in California, so I’m not even going to pretend to do any work. Tomorrow is all about the Yankees, their new home and the legendary players who’ll be there for the ceremonies. Oh, and beating the Indians would be nice too, so I don’t have to hear it from this guy.

The Yankees Won The Season That Didn’t Count!

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Yes, they won the 2009 Grapefruit League. Which is another way of saying they won the state of Florida. 
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Which is another way of saying they won more spring training games than any other team on the circuit. I realize it’s not the World Series, but it’s better than this.
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Presumably, the players are feeling good about themselves as they head home to face the Cubs for two more games that don’t count. Will they win those too? Who cares. I just want the “real” season to start.
Which team will take home the hardware this year? Everybody’s got a prediction, and the answers vary depending on whom you ask. Of course, I pick the Yankees. I’m a complete homer. I can’t be trusted to think impartially. I don’t pretend to be fair. But I honestly believe the Yanks have the talent to get it done. I mean, seriously. Look at this starting rotation.
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Is it better than Beckett/Lester/Matsuzaka/Wakefield/Penny/Smoltz?
Or Kazmir/Shields/Garza/Sonnanstine/Price?
Only time will tell, but it’s a helluva lot better than last year’s model.
Are there question marks? Sure. But every team has them. Every team.
What isn’t a question mark for the Yankees this year is a first baseman who can not only hit with consistency and power but who can catch the ball. Huge upgrade right there.
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Other non-question marks? I like Jeter leading off, with Damon batting second. I think Gardy will drive opposing pitchers nuts on the bases. I figure Nady will have a productive contract year. I’m glad we have a bench, which was nonexistent in ’08. I expect Mo to be Mo.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear what Michael, my husband, had to say. I turned the She-Fan Cam on him earlier while we were walking on the beach. He was a reluctant interviewee, threatening to throw the Cam into the ocean if I didn’t leave him alone, but I talked him down.
It’s settled. The only other times in life that Michael was ever wrong were:
2001 – He predicted the Yankees would beat the Diamondbacks.
2003 – He predicted the Yankees would bury the Marlins.
2004 – He predicted the Yankees would sweep the Red Sox.
2007-  He predicted the Yankees would overcome the Indians and their indigenous insects.
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O.K., so his track record isn’t perfect. Never mind. The Yankees will win the World Series. Again.
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Book Party/Beer Tasting/Great Time

What a turnout! What a blast! So many people came to my book signing to talk about baseball – fans of all shapes, ages and team allegiances – and Hollister Brewing Company treated everyone to delicious food, as well as their special microbrews.

The festivities kicked off with an appearance by actor Tab Hunter, who starred in the 1958 movie musical “Damn Yankees” and is, therefore, a Yankee by proxy.
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Tab told the crowd that a remake is in the works starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the Yankee and Jim Carrey as the Devil. He was so nice to take the time to hang out with me for a little while and get his copy of the book signed.
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(Hard to believe he’s nearly 80 years old, right? He’s still gorgeous. My party outfit, by the way, was a Cooperstown replica shirt with the number 23 on the back – my “dress up” Yankees jersey commemorating Donnie Baseball.)
Other local luminaries included legendary jazz composer/saxophonist Charles Lloyd (if you haven’t listened to his latest CD, “Rabo de Nube,” you should) and Gayle Lynds, bestselling author of Ludlum-type espionage thrillers.
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Also on hand was Bill Pintard, head coach of the Independent League Champion Santa Barbara Foresters. Bill was a scout in the Yankees organization for years but now scouts for the Angels.
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He told me he’d just come back from Cuba, where the Foresters played the Cuban National Team. I said, “Oh, I’d love to go to Cuba. Any chance I could tag along the next time the Foresters travel there?” He said, “Sure. Might be a good book in that.” No “might” about it. I’m so there.
A few people made short speeches, including me, and people listened politely (i.e. nobody threw the book at me).
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And then the signing and beer tasting got underway.
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I signed for a Phillies fan who was basking in the glow of the ’08 World Series.
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I signed for an Indians fan and his wife who bought copies of the book to send to family members in Cleveland.
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I signed for a group of she-fans who brought friends and stayed until the bitter end.
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I signed for my web master, the Red Sox fan, who drove over two hours with her boyfriend to show her support.
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(Here I am swiping her cap and then experiencing a sharp pain in my brain. We decided it’s impossible to be a Yankee fan and a Red Sox fan simultaneously.)
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And I signed for lots of Yankee fans who had wonderful stories to share. One of them came to buy a book for a friend in need.
“He lost his house in the wildfire,” the man explained, referring to the Tea Fire, which destroyed over 200 homes in November. “Worst of all, he lost all his Yankees memorabilia. I thought your book might cheer him up.”
That was the best moment of the party by far – the idea that my book would help a fire victim to start a new Yankees collection. A small thing, maybe. But it didn’t feel that way.

Sobfest At My House

The evening got off to a pleasant enough start, even though my husband Michael and I were watching TV in separate rooms.
I was in the bedroom, glued to the Australian Open final between Federer and Nadal. I was rooting for Federer, so I was sorry to see him lose in five sets. I was even sorrier when, during the presentation of the trophies, he broke down at the mic and couldn’t stop crying.
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Talk about the agony of defeat.
“You should have seen Federer,” I said as I walked into the living room, where Michael was glued to the Super Bowl post-game show. “He -“
I was about to describe Roger’s crying jag when I noticed that one of the Steelers, Hines Ward, was crying about beating the Cardinals.
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Talk about the thrill of victory.
Over dinner we discussed whether crying in sports was becoming more prevalent.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
“I do,” I said and launched into a list of prominent criers.
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“And remember when Edwar Ramirez had that meltdown after he got shelled?” I pretended to sob. “The Yankees practically had to MedEvac him out of there.”
“I don’t see the big deal. These guys are human beings, not robots. Human beings cry. Men cry. It doesn’t make us weak.”
“Who said it makes you weak?” Yikes. He was being awfully crabby, so I did my imitation of Mike Schmidt choking up at his retirement speech, hoping to coax a smile out of him.


“You’re making fun of him,” said Michael.
“I am not. I love Mike Schmidt. I had a crush on him before I even met you.”
“You had a crush on everybody before you met me.”
“Oh, really?” So he was, what, jealous? “You had a crush on Michelle Pfeiffer before you met me and I’m not getting all wigged out about it.”
“I’m not wigged out.” He took a gigantic bite of his burger and then started talking with his mouth full.
“I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
“Never mind.”
“Come on.”
“It was nothing.”
“I hate when men say ‘nothing.'”
“You hate when men cry too.”
“I do not! It makes me sad when anybody cries. In fact, the second I see somebody tearing up I get -“
“What?”
At that moment I flashed back to Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS against Cleveland, when the Yankees lost the series and were ushered out of the post-season; I had a meltdown of my own in the Upper Tier.
I put down my fork, my appetite gone, and succumbed to this. Losing never gets easier.
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