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.
I’m bored with all of that. If I have to read one more article about the brilliance we can expect from the Texas Rangers tomorrow night, I’ll scream.
There’s only one way to judge the opposition’s capabilities and that’s by listening to their hitters’ walk-up music. Seriously. Take a second so you can hear what the Rangers picked to pump them up.
OK, let’s start with Elvis Andrus’ pick: “Say Aah.” That song wouldn’t motivate anybody to get a hit. It would send me right to the doctor for a checkup.
Michael Young’s choice of “Sabotage” would be appropriate – if he wanted to strike out with the bases loaded.
I find it hard to believe that Ian Kinsler steps in to Ram Jam’s “Black Betty.” I mean hasn’t he heard that the song is used at Yankee Stadium when we’re about to send a pitcher to the showers?
I don’t know what to say about Nelson Cruz’s “Prrrum” except the word sounds an awful lot like “broom.”
Josh Hamilton’s music is about Jesus, which must be inspirational for him. And the translation of Vladdie’s “Traigo Fuego” is “I bring fire,” which is cool. And I guess Justin Smoak’s “Backwoods” works in a “Deliverance” sort of way.
(Note: As my friend Drew at the My Pinstripes blog pointed out, Smoak is with the Mariners now. I kept him in there because I liked the “Deliverance” reference. Couldn’t help myself.)
Well, there you have it – my assessment of the Rangers and their tunes. Yeah, I’m nervous about this series. I’ve been itching for it to start and now my stomach is in a knot. The good news is that CC – our ace, our rock, our horse, our whatever-you-want-to-call-him – will be on the mound. Oh, and there’s the fact that we’re the New York Yankees, the reigning World Champions. No small thing.
P.S. Only a few more hours to weigh in on the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes contest. If you haven’t done it yet, do it right here!
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 anything about the Rangers, except that they’re the surprise first-place team in the AL West and their fans will boo A-Rod and Tex.
Oh, and that Josh Hamilton hit all those homers in the Derby at Yankee Stadium last year but didn’t win it.
What about the rest of the position players? The Yankees face them today and I felt the need to be more prepared. So here’s what I’ve learned.
1) Ian Kinsler.
He’s their leadoff guy and has 12 homers and 33 RBIs. But only one walk? Sounds like a free-swinger to me. Tip to Hughes: throw him stuff out of the zone.
2) Michael Young.
He went to college at Cal-Santa Barbara? I didn’t even know there was a Cal-Santa Barbara and I live here. Hm. But his favorite player growing up was Mattingly and he’s the ambassador for Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, so he must be a good guy.
3) John Hamilton.
Mr. Home Run Derby only has six dingers so far this season, so he must be due. Tip to Hughes: don’t groove any.
4) Nelson Cruz.
A former basketball player in the Dominican, he can probably leap for balls in the outfield. Tip to Yankees: hit hard liners into the gap, not in the air.
5) Marlon Byrd.
Not much to say here, except that one of his hobbies is weightlifting and that his favorite TV show growing up was “The Cosby Show.” Tip to Yankees: don’t let him lift you and mention Phylicia Rashad.
6) Chris Davis.
He was selected by the Yankees out of high school in the 2004 draft – but didn’t sign. The nerve. So far this season, he has SIXTY-FOUR STRIKEOUTS. Tip to Hughes: be aggressive in the zone and go right at him.
7) Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Not only does he have the longest last name in the majors, but he was born on my birthday. That means he’s a Taurus and is very stubborn. Tip to Yankees: don’t argue with him.
8) Elvis Andrus.
I wonder how many times his teammates have said, after a game, “Elvis has left the building.” The Venezuelan-born rookie shortstop has an older brother named Erold in the Rays organization. But the real point of interest is that his favorite player growing up was Derek Jeter. Tip to Jeter: Talk to him and he’ll be so star-struck he’ll screw up.
I’ll leave the pitching for another post. This should at least lay some groundwork for a successful series.
Yes, he’s back and he’s feisty and he wants to finish what he started.
There weren’t many specifics that came out of his press conference today. I think the only player he mentioned by name was Kei Igawa when he admitted that “missteps have been made” (speaking in the passive tense and sounding oddly like George Bush). He said he’s since changed the scouting in Japan. Good move.
He was asked if he has nightmares about not signing Santana. He answered that he has no regrets about his decision to keep our “assets.” O-kay then, but what about my nightmares?
He said the starting pitching needs to be addressed, but cautioned fans not to “have high expectations for certain guys.” So I’m not supposed to hope we get Sabathia? Burnett? Somebody with a pulse? Bummer.
He was asked about that so-called “advisory board” Hank Steinbrenner was threatening to convene. He kind of laughed and said that while his advisory board consists of his people in baseball operations, along with Hal and Hank, he’s open to suggestions from everyone. Everyone!
Here’s his semi-direct quote on that subject:
“If there’s a caller on the radio while I’m driving home and that person says something interesting, I might think, Hey that’s not a bad idea.”
Wow! So our GM listens to us. Maybe he’s reading our blogs too. And just maybe he’ll pick up on our ideas and implement them, and we can look onto the field next season and say with pride: “I was responsible for bringing him to the New York Yankees.”