Have a peek at this excerpt if you haven’t seen the whole thing already.
Here are my take-aways:
1) Cashman: Did he gain some weight this off-season? Or was it just those pancakes he ate at the breakfast yesterday? Also, I loved how he called Soriano “Rafi” and Mo “Mr. Mariano Rivera.”
2) Girardi: “Now we have two closers.” Works for me, Joe. It’s not my money.
3) Soriano needed a translator? Or maybe Boras was just afraid his client would blurt out, “Hey, Cash, I know you didn’t want me here but everybody else did so stuff it.”
4) I really liked Soriano’s suit. No undertaker look for him in that taupe or whatever color it was.
5) I don’t want to be done with these press conferences. There needs to be another one before spring training – and I’m not talking about Pettitte, despite reports today that he’s been “throwing” just in case he decides to join the party. I’m talking about an as-yet-to-be-named starter who will put on the pinstripes for the first time. The Tigers DFA-ed Armando Galarraga. He pitched a perfect game, for God’s sake, and he’s only 29. Could he really be that bad?
Before we get to Cliffy, raise your hand if you watched the Jeter press conference today?
Here’s what jumped out at me about the presser, which I watched on the MLB Network at 11:30 California time.
#1. Jeter was the only one who came dressed for the occasion. Loved the suit, the shirt, the tie. Good job by Jeet on his wardrobe choices, but why did all the other guys have to look like schlubs?
#2. Jeter was emotional (for him) when he got up to speak – and not in a good way. You could tell how angry he was at the Yankees for making the negotiations public. He said as much, but there was also a chilliness to his words. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, but I’m glad he was honest about his feelings.
#3. Nobody on the dais but Girardi and Jeter spoke. Couldn’t Hal have said a few words on behalf of ownership? Seriously?
#4. Cashman kept glancing at his phone while Jeter was talking. I found it annoying. Granted, he’s in the middle of the winter meetings and Cliff Lee’s future is hanging in the balance, but still. Show a little respect, dude.
Speaking of Lee, supposedly there are a couple of teams actually willing to give him a 7 year deal (maybe or maybe not including those free-spending Nationals). Will the Yankees make him an offer already or must we gnaw on our fingernails for the foreseeable future?
Hopefully, my Operation Cliff Lee Countdown will speed things along. For tonight’s video, I picked a recap of Game 3 of the ALCS against the Rangers – a game we lost, obviously – during which Doug Mientkiewicz (if you’ve read my She-Fan book you know why I have a special affection for the former Yankees first baseman) waxes poetic about Lee. Take a look.
Here are some of Mientkiewicz’s quotes about Cliffy that especially caught my attention:
“He’s about to make a lot of money.”
“He’s dominated the best lineups in baseball and he’s making it look easy.”
“I don’t see how anybody can beat him.”
“He’s not afraid of contact.”
We need you, Cliffy. We do. Please don’t sign anywhere else. I’m asking you nicely.
What a busy baseball day for a lazy Sunday in December, right? There I was, sitting in a screening for a movie called “Barney’s Version,” completely unaware that Jayson Werth had signed a monster contract with the Nationals and that Adrian Gonzalez had backed out of his deal with the Red Sox.
Before I move off “Barney’s Version,” I have to recommend it to everyone. It’s based on the highly acclaimed novel by Canadian writer Mordecai Richler and it’s just great. Paul Giamatti plays the hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, politically incorrect son of a cop (Dustin Hoffman) who falls in love with a woman – at his own wedding. The movie tells the story of his life and is both funny and touching. It opens in January. Here’s the trailer.
Back to baseball. I don’t even know what to say about the Werth deal except that Carl Crawford must be dancing in the streets. And if the Red Sox aren’t able to put the Gonzo deal back together, it’ll be like their near-miss with Tex. But mostly, it’s time to focus on Lee. With the GMs gathered in Orlando, will Cashman finally make his agent an offer that’ll blow the Rangers and all other suitors out of the water? Taking no chances, I thought we needed to start the Operation Cliff Lee Countdown right away, posting a video either of him or about him each night until he’s wearing pinstripes.
(Hat tip to the Village Voice for the odd Photo Shopping)
So without further ado, let’s go to the videotape. It worked for Jeter.
Yes, this video is long. Sorry about that. But here’s why I picked it: It gives us a taste of what Lee’s press conference at Yankee Stadium will be like when Cashman, Girardi and Hal introduce him to the New York media. Well, with one big difference – there’ll be a lot more reporters and photographers in the Bronx. (From the look of this Mariners presser, there were maybe 10 media people there.) I had to laugh when he was asked what kind of a contract he’s expecting and he said, “10 years for $200 billion.” Yes, he did say billion. But he’s such a kidder, that Cliffy. Did everybody catch the cool attitude when the reporter (don’t they use recording devices in Seattle or just pads and pencils?) asked him to talk about hitting Sammy Sosa in the head in Texas. Lee shrugged and said, “What can I say? I hit Sammy Sosa in the head.” And then there’s the interview the same reporter did with Cliffy’s wife – about their dog. I think he’ll be much happier with the Yankees. Don’t you?
Update: Looks like I spoke too soon on the Red Sox-Gonzo deal. Apparently, all is well now and there is joy in Beantown.
I was on Twitter this afternoon and saw a tweet from ibrenne, a Yankee fan and sometime commenter here. She had retweeted a blog post from a man named Steve Curtin, who writes about customer service. We all remember the story about how Girardi stopped to help the victim of a car accident after the World Series last year, right? Well here’s one that happened during the ALCS, when the Yanks were in Texas, about how he watched a woman’s dog while she bought a cup of coffee! Take a look.
I thought it would be nice to take another look at his Dove commercial.
He does seem like a good guy. But is he a good manager? I think so, despite his questionable moves during the postseason. Or, to put it another way, I can’t think of another manager I’d rather have in his place. His players seem to respect and trust him. He handles the media now better than he used to. And he’ll mature each year he’s in the job, right? I mean look how much he’s evolved already.
P.S. Get well, CC! We need that knee to support your 290-pound (wink wink) bod!
I know my job here is to try to cheer everybody up after a loss and I’ll do my best, but let’s be honest: tonight was a major league bummer. And the bummer-ness can be summed up with two photos. This one:
And this one:
When I saw Tex grab his hammy in the fifth, I went numb. I think I even stopped breathing (sort of). You just never want to see an injury to one of your best players. Not anytime, but especially not when you’re fighting for a chance to get to the World Series. And while I haven’t heard the results of the MRI, I can’t imagine they’ll bring good news for him or the team.
Onto the photo of AJ after he gave up the homer to Molina in the sixth. How did things go so horribly wrong? The Good AJ had shown up after all, and I was so relieved to see him pitching well with the crowd cheering his every strike. But – and cover your eyes if you don’t like me second guessing our manager – I wouldn’t have let him go back out for the sixth. He hadn’t pitched in forever and five innings of two-run ball would have allowed him to feel somewhat vindicated, to have 50,000 people on his side and, most importantly, to notch the win. Instead,
Grady Little Joe Girardi pushed it and the result was awful.
And speaking of awful, what happened to Boone Logan all of a sudden? (I won’t even get into Joba or Mitre.)
All this agony might have been avoided if the hitters had done their job. They kept letting the Rangers’ pitchers off the ropes, and it was frustrating to watch.
So we lost. And now it’s up to CC to save us tomorrow – and for me to end this post on some happy notes.
* The pizza wasn’t lucky but it was delicious.
* There was more thunder and lightning here but my power didn’t go out.
* A Red Sox fan called me bad names on Twitter and I took the high road by not calling him bad names back.
* Patrick Wilson, the actor who sang “God Bless America,” is very handsome. (I loved him in the movie “Little Children.”)
* There’s a very good chance we’ll win Game 5.
No, Cliff Lee is not a god. He’s not even the best pitcher in the major leagues. But he owns the Yankees, and his performance tonight only highlighted the point. He made the hitters look like Little Leaguers (no offense to the kids below, who could probably have done a better job).
Was Lee really that good or did his whole aura mess with the Yankees’ heads? Probably both. He threw strikes and they couldn’t hit them. At all. It was a shame because Andy pitched great, minus the mistake to Hamilton. He was everything we could have hoped for and more, and he deserved better. What was Dave Robertson doing in the ninth giving up all those runs? Why wasn’t Mo in there with the score at 2-0 to hold the Rangers down and allow the Yanks to score in the bottom of the inning? I have no idea. I’m hoping the beat writers will ask Girardi and I’ll read about it in the morning. In the meantime, I’m retiring the “lucky” turkey burgers and planning a menu change for tomorrow night: last year’s good luck charm during the World Series.
I guess I should have figured things wouldn’t go well. We’ve been having uncharacteristically rotten weather here in SoCal with rain and fog day after day, but tonight was the capper: a rare thunderstorm with vicious lightning. We just don’t get that stuff here, so naturally the power went out in the house about six times during the game, leaving us in the dark.
The Yankees must have felt like they had a power outage too. They certainly looked like it. If I were Girardi, I’d have a team meeting before Game 4 and say the following in a really loud, authoritative voice:
“You’re the Yankees, the reigning World Champions of baseball. You’re playing in Yankee Stadium in front of 50,000 fans who paid big bucks to come and cheer for you. You need to remember who you are, how you played all year long, how much you want to move forward into the next round, and, above all, how the layoff between this series and the ALDS is not an excuse for mediocrity. Oh, and She-Fan will be clogging her arteries with cheesy, greasy, fatty plaque by having pizza on your behalf. The least you can do is win the game for her.”
Not to discount everything that happened before the playoffs started, but I was thinking about all the Yankees “truisms” – comments the media kept pounding into our heads that turned out not to be true in the ALDS. For example:
* The Yanks have trouble beating lefties.
* It’s harder to win on the road.
* Jeter’s not hitting.
* Mo is showing his age.
* Hughes doesn’t win at home.
* Andy’s rusty.
* Berkman’s power days are over.
* The Twins are hungry while the Yankees are fading.
When I look over that list, I have to laugh. What happened to all the conventional wisdom?
* The Yankees beat Lefty Liriano and Lefty Duensing.
* They won two games at Target Field.
* Jeter had four hits in the series.
* Mo notched two saves.
* Hughes won at home in convincing fashion.
* Andy gave up two runs in seven innings.
* Berkman homered and doubled.
* The Twins may have been hungry but the Yanks were hungrier.
I wonder what the pundits will say when the ALCS gets going. There will be story lines galore – the TBS guys have all that time in the booth to fill – and I can anticipate some already.
* Posada can’t throw out runners.
* Posada can’t catch A.J.
* Posada is too old.
No, everything won’t be about Jorge, but we’ll be hearing about him for sure. You can also cue the “Girardi could be managing the Cubs next year if the Yankees don’t win it all” blather. And: “Cano is having a fine year but Josh Hamilton is the MVP.” Oh, and brace yourself for the Payroll Conversation; it’s a given. All that being said, I cannot wait until Friday night. If this week is a taste of what life will be like once baseball is over, I don’t want any.
P.S. A quick reminder about the Crumbs Yankees Cupcakes Contest. We’ll know our opponent by the end of the day tomorrow, so be sure to answer all the contest questions, make your predictions, and enter to win six scrumptious cupcakes. Click here for details.
I don’t know if tonight was the last time we’ll see Vazquez in pinstripes, but I’d be willing to bet it is. It wasn’t his fault that he was a home run derby server-upper against the Blue Jays. That’s who he is. That’s what he does. That’s the way things started out for him this year and that’s the way they’ve ended up. No surprises. I wish him well in his return to the National League, where he will inevitably become a 20-game winner next season. Bye bye, Javy.
What I don’t understand is why Girardi used all the regulars in this game but didn’t let Andy pitch. I know, he wanted him “lined up” for the playoffs, but still. You either want to win the division or you don’t. And with the Rays losing to the O’s, tonight was one big wasted opportunity to climb back on top. But hey. At least A-Rod notched his 30th homer and 100th RBI yet again – no small feat for a guy who spent all that time on the DL and was supposed to have had a down year. Congrats, Alex. But please don’t cool off any time soon.
Not much else to say about the game except that I didn’t mind getting stuck with the Toronto feed on TV. The fans gave Cito Gaston a really nice sendoff, and he deserved it. I always liked him as a manager and I appreciated how gracious he was about having the Yankees at his going away party. So there were two farewells tonight. Bye bye, Cito.
When I saw this picture, I couldn’t help thinking of another character altogether.
But the image that sticks in my mind is the one of him walking off the mound after Joe pulled him tonight.
He’s kind of smirking, kind of scowling, kind of nutty – sort of like Tony Perkins in “Psycho.”
But then I lit on the shot from the “It Is High” blog, and that did it. I started cracking up, and tonight’s miserable game became just a bad joke. Their caption is entitled…”A.J. Brunette.”
He’s cute, isn’t he?
OK, enough about the photos and onto AJ’s “performance.” He had nothing. I mean nothing. The Jays can hit the ball, no question, but did every pitch have to be right in their happy zone? What the hell is wrong with Burnett? Is it just a confidence thing at this point? Because I thought he and Dave Eiland had worked it out, talked it out, hugged it out, whatever it is they do, and yet the result has been awful. I get why he needs to stay in the rotation; he did pitch well in the playoffs last year and Ivan Nova isn’t ready for prime time. But his 2010 has been abysmal, and it’s hard to understand why. Yes, I know. The Rays lost. So what? This isn’t about other teams. It’s about the fact that we need starters. Now. When I saw that Roy Halladay clinched tonight for the Phillies, I turned green with envy. He was the one I wanted all along. People said, “Oh, we don’t need him. We already have an ace.” True, but what would have been the problem with having two aces?
I’d better stop now before I explode.