Tagged: Kei Igawa
Fine. Keep Torturing Me, Yankees.
It was bad enough to have to read that the Yankees are considering Freddy Garcia and Jeff Francis and even Bartolo Colon for the rotation. But now I’m supposed to add Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Bonderman to the list, according to LoHud? My reaction is the same as it’s been this entire off-season: to hold my ears and go, “Lalalalalalalalalala.”
I was a good fan when we got Javy Vazquez last year. I pretended like it was a smart move. I said all the right things and cheered him on and acted pained when it was implied that he didn’t have what it took to pitch in New York.
Before that, I put on a brave face when we picked up Sidney Ponson. “He’ll get his act together once he’s in pinstripes,” I said out loud.
I even rooted for Kei Igawa.
But enough is enough. I don’t want any of the starters mentioned in the first paragraph of this post – all of whom qualify as other teams’ stale leftovers.
I don’t want reclamation projects, either. I want pitchers with talent. Yeah, talent. Any kind of talent. Maybe this guy’s available?
Oscars More Interesting Than Yanks-Twins
And that’s saying something, because last year’s Oscar show was a crushing bore. But I liked Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as co-hosts.
And since I’d seen most of the nominated films and performances (the exceptions being “Avatar” and “District 9”), I had a rooting interest. For example, I was cheering when Mo’ Nique won Best Supporting Actress for “Precious.”
Sandra Bullock has always been a favorite of mine, so – despite Meryl Streep’s amazing turn as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” – I was glad she walked off with the Best Actress Oscar for “The Blind Side.”
Jeff Bridges was great in “Crazy Heart” and was a lock to win Best Actor. When he did, I know everybody in Santa Barbara was happy since he’s been a local here for many years and is a very likable, down-to-earth guy.
And finally, a word about Best Director/Best Picture winner Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker.”
Would the movie have been my choice to take home the Oscar? No. (I was in the “Precious” camp.) But how cool is it that Bigelow is the first female Best Director ever? I’m officially anointing her a She-Director.
OK, I admit I also watch the show to see what everybody’s wearing. If A-Rod really is dating Cameron Diaz, his eyes must have bugged out of his head when he saw her in this dress.
As for today’s Yankees-Twins game in Fort Myers, let’s just say losing 11-0 is never fun for me, spring training or no spring training. I get that Igawa still has work to do if he wants to pitch in the bigs. And Gaudin sure didn’t impress anyone. Mitre, on the other hand, has inserted himself into the discussion about who will be the #5 starter. If he keeps putting up scoreless innings, he could bump Hughes and Joba. What I’m wondering, though, is where are the Yankees’ bats? Going into the second week of camp, I wouldn’t mind seeing the offense start to heat up. I mean, can’t we beat somebody 11-0? I do love blowouts, just not when we’re on the wrong end of them.
10 Quick Thoughts About The All-Star Game
1) The American League won again. (Duh)
2) Obama looked cool in his White Sox jacket but threw like a girl, complete with an overbite.
3) The Fox camera crew forgot to show us where the throw landed, so we were forced to guess.
4) No celebrity is more ubiquitous than Sheryl Crow. (Yes, I know she’s from Missouri.)
5) Roy Halladay gave up three runs and has a higher ERA than Kei Igawa, confirming that an even-up trade is not out of the question.
6) Tim Lincecum’s hair is distracting.
7) He earned my eternal wrath by hitting Jeter with a pitch.
8) Carl Crawford can play for my team any day.
9) Curtis Granderson talks as fast as he runs.
10) Since the first run of the night was scored by Jeter, it was only fitting that the last out was notched by Mo.
After the festivities were over, it dawned on me that there are no Yankees games until Friday. That’s two whole days/nights during which I’ll have too much time on my hands. Never a good thing.
The Yankees, The New Stadium, The Great Fans
I missed the game yesterday, since I was flying cross-country, but I’m glad I did. I mean, really. The Nationals? Losing the series? Getting shutdown by a rookie pitcher who had never won a major league game before? I say to the Yankees:
STOP THE MADNESS!
For starters, give A-Rod a day off or three. The Yankees said, while he was rehabbing from the hip surgery: “We’ll probably play him sporadically, use him as DH every now and then, and rest him.” Hello? He hasn’t had a day off since the day he came back. As soon as Jeter’s ankle is OK, use Pena at third for awhile, would you please?
If Gardner has a concussion, even a mild one, don’t send him out there for any reason. And why no MRI?
Do something about Joba. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he’s still growing/learning/adjusting. But clearly, he’s struggling more often than not. Fix it!
Bring up Kei Igawa. No, that’s not a typo. You paid for him. He’s tearing it up in Scranton. Make him a long man in the pen and let him get major league hitters out.
That’s it for the moment. On to more pleasant things.
There I am outside Stan’s Bar in the Bronx just before my signing on Wednesday. I’m wearing my Mariano Rivera jersey, of course.
The first person I saw was the lovely and talented MLBlogger Vanessa of “Flair for the Dramatic.” I turned the She-Fan Cam on her immediately. Note the subway noise – a little Bronx flavor.
Once inside the bar, the folks at Stan’s, who were fantastic, let Barnes & Noble set up their table and get the books all stacked and ready. It was quiet there at 3:30, but it wasn’t long before the joint was jumping.
Here’s a pic of me with Vanessa, Serena (“Traveling Baseball Babes”) and Bernadette (“This Fan’s Life” and “Lady at the Bat”).
Also stopping by and snagging a copy of the book were the daughter and sister of “Generation Third” Yankees blogger Chris.
Then along came a she-fan named Samantha who wanted to buy the book AND be interviewed by the She-Fan Cam. I was happy to step outside and oblige. (Note: more subway noise.)
It was fun to meet the bloggers and commenters whose names I’ve been seeing for so long, including “Cheshirecat.”
Not everyone wanted to buy the book. Here’s a guy who gave it a look, then said, “My wife hates baseball. She’d never read this.” LOL.
At six o’clock, it was on to the new Stadium! I admit it was an emotional experience to pass the old place and see that the demolition has begun. Sob. But the new place beckoned.
And I just couldn’t resist having Michael take a picture of me with “Jeter” in front of the team store.
Now, it was time to go inside for the first time and watch the Yanks take on the Nationals. I have to say that the Great Hall took my breath away. It was that impressive with all the photos of Yankees legends – a cathedral indeed.
I gave myself the tour and, although the stadium still has that “new car” smell with everything looking sparkling clean and polished, I thought it was beautiful. Plenty of time for the dents and dings that give a ballpark its character.
Michael and I scoped out the food choices, of which there are many, and decided to eat near our section, 323, up in the Terrace. We wandered over to a place called the Jim Beam Lounge and were told we needed a special ticket to get in. Huh?
“You have to be in section 323,” said the guy standing guard.
Obviously, we happened to land in the right section and got in to the restaurant. But still. Why limit people’s access?
There was a full bar and the Food Network concession. Michael ordered a truly delicious burger and fries – no greasy little patty on a crummy bun – and I had a really good grilled chicken sandwich with goat cheese and a spicy tomato sauce. I stopped at the bar and got a glass of red wine (yes, I know I’m a wuss, but I hate beer) and we put everything on a tray and started to walk to our seats…..until we were stopped by the guy at the door.
“You can’t take wine to your seats,” he said.
“Um, people can drink a million beers but I can’t bring this thimble full of wine?” I asked.
I don’t know if it was a city ordinance or just a Yankees thing, but it was annoying.
Our seats, on the other hand, were a joy – behind home plate to the third base side. And they were the cushy, padded ones just like they have down on the field level for the swells! I felt like I was sitting in a Barcalounger, and I made a discovery: It’s really nice to sit in comfortable seats!
Mostly, what struck me was that the field was gorgeous. Seriously. After all the negative things I’ve heard, I couldn’t get over what a great job the Yankees did in replicating and even improving on the old place. That huge, hi-def screen alone is worth the trip.
We had a surprise visit from Alex of the MLBlog “River Avenue” who showed up with the balls he’d managed to snag before the game.
The game itself was pretty discouraging, since the Yankees didn’t do anything to generate much crowd excitement. My friend Patty from the New York Times joined us, and I asked her if she thought the Yanks would make a comeback, among other things.
Patty was wrong and, although Gardner was at third with one out in the ninth and A-Rod was on first, Cano grounded into a double play to end the game. If A-Rod had only stolen second…
Oh, well. It was a great trip and I enjoyed being in the Bronx again. I’m hoping to come back later this summer and go to more games at the new Stadium. (I think I’ll stop calling it that; it’s the Stadium, period.) Yes, it’s pricey and there are adjustments to be made. But what an amazing place to watch baseball. I highly recommend it.
Watching The Yankees = Watching A Horror Movie
For three straight days I was tortured by the Red Sox and their merriment. Tonight, in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica, I was tortured by Justin Verlander and his 99-mph fastball. Watching my team lately has taken on the feel of this.
Every horror movie has a few likable, heroic characters, and tonight’s game was no different. Cano kept hitting (why wasn’t he batting cleanup?). CC gave the pen a night off (loved the fourth when he K-ed Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen; he could have gotten a “W” if he’d had a little run support). And Pena continued to show why he’s a better utility infielder than both Ransom and Berroa (duh).
And then there were the scary villains….
* Justin Verlander and his high cheese.
* Placido Domingo Polanco and his oddly shaped head.
* Magglio Ordonez and his oddly shaped hair.
* Jorge Posada and his tendency to ground into rally-killing double plays.
It’s true that the Yankees didn’t arrive in Detroit until the wee hours of the morning and were probably as tired as they looked. But isn’t that what this is for?
Getting back to “Carrie,” I was thinking how empowering it would be to have her gift of telekinesis – to make things happen just by thinking about them.
Here are a few ways I would use my power to help the Yankees…
* I would heal A-Rod, Nady, Bruney and the newly banged up Damon.
* I would fix Wang’s mechanics and, if necessary, his mind.
* I would turn Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher into better hitters. (Swish is spiraling back down to earth. I can feel it.)
* I would command Jose Veras not to walk anybody. Ditto: Marte.
* I would put ten pounds on Edwar Ramirez, as well as give him another pitch besides the change-up.
* I would make Jeter five years younger.
* I would leave Mo exactly the way he is.
* I would trade Kei Igawa for Roy Halladay straight up.
* I would insure that the Yankees win their 27th championship this year.
* I would haunt anybody who tried to thwart me.
Wang Lets Them Hang
This is how big the ball probably looked to Red Sox batters in their 8-4 win over the Yankees.
Clearly, the Wanger is still searching for his sinker. He was leaving the balls up in the zone and getting whacked.
Not that Wakefield had pinpoint control. His catcher was dancing around trying to keep up with the knuckler, and I kept thinking the guy needed a glove the size and shape of this chair.
I have no idea why the Yankees left just about every position player back in Tampa, but I’d like to think Mark Teixeira wouldn’t have bungled those two chances in the first inning the way Juan Miranda did.
Still, there was good news for the Yanks. Brett Tomko and Kei Igawa were actually effective! Yet again! No Bombkos for Tomko and not a single run this spring for Igawa, whom I affectionally refer to as the Iguana.
I lost interest in the later innings (it didn’t feel like a typical Yankees-Red Sox game except when fans chanted the old familiar “Yankees suck”); it became a contest between Pawtucket and Trenton and I had no idea who anybody was. Still, some random thoughts.
* Terry Francona was very tan.
* John Rodriguez, the Yankees’ default DH, was no J-Rod.
* Mike Lowell was in great shape, which gave me hope that players with torn labrums can come back strong.
* Brett Gardner was hallucinating that he was a slugger.
He was up with the bases loaded in the third and struck out with a big, stupid, looping swing instead of just slapping or poking the ball the way he’s supposed to.
* Shelley Duncan’s days as a Yankee are numbered.
* Infielder Ramiro Pena continues to impress me with his smooth hands.
* Except for the fact that they’re Red Sox announcers, I like the Red Sox announcers.
They always sound as if they’re having a good time. What’s more, they’re very fair and even-handed, and I appreciate that.
* It’s entirely possible that I’m falling in love with Xavier Nady.
The Cash Man Speaks (And Listens, Apparently)
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.”