Tagged: Jim Leyland

Which Team Would I Rather Play?

Well, I won’t be playing, obviously, but you know what I mean. I’ve been thinking about the Twins-versus-Tigers question and it’s a really tough call.
First, I start thinking I’d rather play the Twins because the Yankees have such a winning record against them. But then I start thinking maybe they’re due to beat us. And then I start picturing us having to show up at the Metrodome with the noise and the white dish towels and the hideous green shag carpeting.
Verdict? I’d rather play the Tigers. They’ve been slumping and it’s doubtful Verlander would be available to pitch Game 1. Their roster doesn’t include Joe Mauer or Joe Nathan, which is a plus. And they play in Comerica Park, which is a nice normal stadium. Oh, and Miguel Cabrera might not have his head in the series.
On the other hand, the Tigers eliminated us in ’06. They do have Verlander, as well as Jackson and Porcello. They also have Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Aubrey Huff and Placido Domingo.
And to manage the team, they have that crafty, craggy, curmudgeonly Jim Leyland.
Maybe I’d rather play the Twins after all. Their nickname makes them sound so benign and sweet and easy to digest, doesn’t it?
I don’t even think the Tigers have a cute little nickname. It’s not the Baby Tigers. And it certainly isn’t this.
So maybe I do want to play the Twinkies. Except that there might be a lot of confusion in the broadcast booth, since we have a Gardy….
…and they have a Gardy.
Also, the Twins have Cuddyer, Span and that Yankees killer Orlando Cabrera. Scary. And they have the powerful Jason Kugel too.
But facing Carl Pavano would be a treat. Yes, he’s pitched well for the Twins but how cool would it be to have him back at Yankee Stadium with all the fans to greet him?
So I guess my choice is the Twins. But they’ve been on such a roll lately.
No, it’s the Tigers. But they could get a huge confidence boost if they win Tuesday’s playoff.
Twins. Tigers. Twins. Tigers.
OK, I don’t care! Either team is fine! This whole exercise is exhausting!

The Yankees Win…Thanks To My Magic Pen!

I’m not saying that Phil Hughes didn’t play a major role in the Yanks’ 11-0 victory over Detroit. He was fantastic – throwing strikes, moving the ball around, pitching with authority instead of nibbling.
Molina’s grand slam didn’t hurt either, along with some impressive flashing of leather by Pena.
But I firmly believe that it was the cheesy pen I swiped from the Marriott Westshore in Tampa that caused the Tigers to spazz out in the seventh inning and hand the Yankees the win.
Look at the evidence.
Normally, I use another pen to keep score. When it ran out of ink at the end of the sixth, I grabbed the Marriott pen, which I didn’t even remember I had, and started recording each at-bat with it. The result?
Pure hell for Detroit.
Jim Leyland called on his relievers and was not amused when they couldn’t get it done. Doesn’t he look like he was having fun? I, on the other hand, was highly entertained watching someone else’s bullpen implode for a change.
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Just as I was noting Ryan Perry’s ineptitude, Posada flied to left and the Tigers’ Josh Anderson misplayed the ball for an error, opening up the floodgates.
The Yankees piled on with some nice station-to-station hitting, culminating in Molina’s second career granny.
Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless inning, giving me hope for the future and providing the Tigers’ announcers with yet another name to butcher.
No, they’re not the worst I’ve ever heard, but they’re pretty lame. They blamed the near collision between Granderson and Ordonez on “loud crowd noise.” (Comerica was hardly a full house.) And when the camera found a drunken fan holding up a towel, one of them said, “Look! He’s waving his Rally ShamWow!”
Too bad I live up in the hills and am stuck with the Extra Innings package on cable; the only way I’d get YES for away games is if I had a dish on my roof.
But back to the magic pen. Obviously, it’s responsible for snapping the Yankees’ losing streak, and I will use it to score Wednesday night’s game. The Tigers will, of course, be toast.

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.
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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.