In today’s MLB.com story about new Tigers closer Jose Valverde, he boasted that he could save 74 games this season and said of himself, “I’m the best on the mound.”
Clearly, he’s a guy who gets fired up, if this photo from his Diamondbacks days is any indication. So maybe he meant, “That’s what I tell myself when I go out to pitch, just to psyche myself up.” You know, like for self-motivation. And he wouldn’t be the first closer with a flair for the dramatic.
But when you start bragging about how good you are and how many games you’ll save, aren’t you going a little too far in the cocky department and setting yourself up to fail? I’m just wondering because Mo is so totally different from the above brand of closers.
Sure, he trots in to the high-energy “Enter Sandman,” but if he had chosen his own entrance music it would probably have been…no music at all. He knows he’s good, but he never beats anybody over the head with it. In fact, he shrugs off all the compliments and accolades and simply goes out there and does his job. Which is why Valverde’s comment got my attention. I read it and thought, Mo would never say that. I know. I know. I deify him every chance I get. I’m a broken record.
But he’s such an anomaly in the world of closers who thump their chests to show us how much heart they have. Please. We know you have heart or you wouldn’t have made it to the big leagues. Lots of players guarantee victories and shoot their mouths off. It’s part of sports these days. But Mo? He just collects saves – and World Series trophies. No words necessary.
With today’s news that Bruney was traded to the Nationals for a draft pick (please let whoever it is be good), I thought we should give the former Yankee a nice send-off.
He came to us after having been DFA-ed by the Diamondbacks and left by the side of the road somewhere in Arizona.
After a stint in the minors, he arrived in the majors looking downright flabby.
A reliever who was used in several situations, he was impressive but inconsistent and I, for one, got tired of hearing about his “good stuff” because he always seemed to walk the leadoff batter. He decided to go on a diet in the off-season and showed up in Tampa 20 pounds lighter.
He pitched well – so well that he was supposed to be Mo’s 8th inning set-up guy. But then tragedy struck: the same dreaded lisfranc injury that had robbed us of poor Wang.
He avoided surgery and returned to the team, but he was never the same. He tried shaving his head. He tried changing the number on his uniform. He tried biofeedback, acupuncture and psychic intervention. He even tried visiting a faith healer.
(See him standing off to the right, behind the guy in white?) Despite his best efforts, he was relegated to the role of mop-up man.
Frustrated and unhappy, he lashed out at K-Rod after the Mets closer gave one of his “performances” on the mound.
“A tired act” is what Bru called K-Rod’s celebration, verbalizing what most Yankee fans were already thinking. The remark came back to bite Bru the next day while the two teams were warming up on the field.
K-Rod took exception but no punches were thrown, and Bruney eventually apologized.
And now Brian Bruney is gone. Yes, he has become a Nat.
I wish him the best of luck with his new team and urge him to remember the great times he had as a Yankee whenever he gets sad. I mean, he did win the World Series. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
…walked Mo with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth tonight to put the Yankees up by two runs and hand Mo his first RBI ever.
And then Mo finished off the Mets in their half inning for the Yankees’ 4-2 victory, the series sweep and his milestone 500th career save.
After he notched the final out, there was no fist pumping, no theatrics, just his customary classy, humble demeanor. His teammates gathered around to congratulate him, and I sat in my living room sobbing like a sentimental fool.
Mo is my favorite Yankee, and I was touched by the outpouring of affection for him.
So while an actual ball game did take place at Citi Field – Wang got his first win of the year, the bats struck early against Livan Hernandez, Cano was horrible in the clutch, Hughes was impressive in relief, the Mets looked absolutely hapless – this one was about Mo.
And we go around the horn.
From the Daily News…
Mariano Rivera earns 500th save as Yankees sweep Mets
From the New York Times…
Milestone for Rivera and Sweep for Yanks
I hope he’s celebrating with some champagne. He said on ESPN tonight that he doesn’t even drink coffee, but maybe he’s having a little toast with his pals. Here’s one from me, Mo:
“Thanks for all those saves (and even the non-saves). Don’t ever retire. We need you. Here’s to your continued good health.”
So weird. The Yankees couldn’t do a thing against Nieve, who probably doesn’t even bother to dream about the Cy Young Award, and yet they absolutely destroyed Santana, whose Cy Young dreams have long become a reality.
Johan didn’t make it out of the fourth during the Yanks’ 15-0 thrashing of the Mets, and gave up a career high nine earned runs.
The Mets’ relievers didn’t have much either, as Jeter, Damon, Matsui, Melky and Cervelli (love this guy) just kept piling on.
But the star of the day was AJ.
Except for a lapse in the third (two walks, bases loaded with nobody out – yikes), he threw seven sparkling innings of shutout ball and looked more like the guy who tortured us as a Blue Jay.
Aside from his throwing error, the Yanks were crisp on defense too. I loved watching Sheffield try to take Jeter out on that double play. (Nice try, Gary, except that you’re old in baseball years.)
In the seventh, Pena was in as Jeter’s replacement at short and flashed leather.
Robertson and Hughes did a great job in relief and spared me from having to watch Veras, Coke or Aceves create a hair-raising experience.
And then there was the Bruney/K-Rod pre-game fracas. Bruney was stupid to open his mouth in the first place about K-Rod’s celebrations on the mound. K-Rod was stupid to confront Bruney during batting practice today and allow the exchange to be caught on camera. Just shut up and pitch, people!
I’m in New York, so I got to watch the game with my family – all Yankee fans. It was a nice capper to the weekend in Westchester before I head into the city for the rest of my trip.
My 92-year-old mother thinks I act like a crazy person when I watch baseball, but she let me turn the She-Fan Cam on her during our visit. Here she is. Does she look 92? I don’t think so, either.
Just a reminder about my signing on Wednesday at Stan’s Bar!
So sad, those Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – beaten 11 straight times by the Red Sox in postseason games. Weren’t they supposed to be the best team in baseball? I think not!
First, I must give a public lashing to
Yes, you, Mr. Hunter. After you were nailed at first in that close play, you stomped up and down like a petulant child and jammed your knee. Your crime didn’t rise to the level of Kevin Brown punching a wall, but it was dumb. Your error in center didn’t help your cause.
Next, I must pass judgement on
Yes, you, Mr. Kendrick. You not only struck out swinging with bases loaded (have you ever heard of taking a pitch?), but you’ve left 11 men on base in this series. Bad, Howie. Bad.
Now, I must take to task the one and only
Yes, you, Mr. K-Rod. You can yell and scream and point to the sky all you want, but the fact remains that you were ineffective tonight. I’d worry about that big contract if I were you.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out
Yes, you, Angels fans. Your thundersticks are ridiculous. Have you noticed that Yankee fans manage perfectly well by cheering for our team using our own hands? It’s called clapping.
And finally, I must single out the most shameful of all
Yes, you, Mr. Rally Monkey. Enough said.
P.S. There IS one person who did distinguish himself tonight
Yes, you, Mr. Teixeira. You went 3-for-3 with a sac fly, and I want you on the Yankees in ’09. A lot.