How much better do I feel knowing the Yankees are on a plane to Dallas instead of cleaning out their lockers in the Bronx? This much better.
I wasn’t ready for our season to be over and neither, apparently, were the Yankees. CC didn’t have his dominant stuff, but if there’s a pitcher (besides Andy Pettitte) who can grind through an outing and still retire very good hitters in very big situations, it’s our ace. Huge applause for him.
The bats came alive against Wilson, who helped by not having the kind of control he had the last time out. The homers by Cano, Swisher and Granderson were awesome, but so were singles that kept the line moving. Speaking of Grandy, I’m thinking maybe we should give the prize of the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes to Kevin Long for turning his season completely around. What do you think? OK, never mind. Maybe Barbara or Melissa will knit/sew him a nice scarf instead.
There was still an issue with RISP, but I’m not going there. Not when I’m this happy. So let’s talk about Wood. When he spun around and picked off Andrus at second, I gave him a standing ovation.
And Mo. Well. It was just good to see him after what seemed like an eternity. Of course, there was another moment of panic when Fat Elvis went down trying to catch that foul ball. I swear I thought we were seeing The Curse of the First Basemen. But once I figured out that he was OK, I watched the replays of his banana peel slip and slide and (I admit it) I laughed.
I hope he’ll get plenty of treatment for his neck/back and feel 100% on Friday night. I’m just so excited that there will even BE a Friday night. Yes, we’ll have to deal with the Rangers’ white towel-waving home crowd and yet another elimination game, but at least we’ll have a shot at tying up the series and forcing a Game 7. In other words, it’s not over until she sings.
Tonight’s series opener felt like it might be yet another seesaw battle between the two teams, but Curtis Granderson (or Grandis Curtison, as I called him in a moment of excitement) delivered the knockout punch with his second homer of the game. Whatever he and Kevin Long did to his swing worked, and his improved offense couldn’t have come at a better time. With Tex clearly ailing and flailing, Grandy is key to the Yanks’ success. Jeter looked a lot better at the plate too, and Cervelli seemed rejuvenated.
Ivan Nova continued to impress – until he kind of fell apart again. I guess he just runs out of gas.
Was I about to stick my hand into the TV and slap Logan and Gaudin when they couldn’t throw strikes? Uh-huh. But it all ended happily, if shakily, after Mo closed it out. As for Garza, maybe he should take Pedro Martinez’s line and call the Yankees his daddy. It was nice not to have to play scoreboard baseball during the game. The Yanks kept the Rays in the rearview mirror for another day. Whew.
And now a few words about the pre-game activities. Am I the only one who got choked up? What a ceremony, as only the Yankees can do ceremonies.
Watching the entire Steinbrenner family come out onto the field, including Mrs. Steinbrenner whom I’d never seen before, was touching, as was the procession of players past and present (Roy White is such a class act) who followed them to Monument Park, and the return of Torre and Mattingly who both got rousing receptions. After The Boss’ monument was unveiled, I was mesmerized by the sight of Mo crouched all by himself staring at it, as if he really was saying goodbye for the last time. Sob!
And how about Steinbrenner’s granddaughter and her rendition of “God Bless America?” I wasn’t expecting much, figuring she got the gig because of nepotism, but she was awesome. Bring her back, please! And speaking of anthems, how spooky was Frank Sinatra, Jr.? He not only sounded like his father but has aged the same way (well, maybe a little more jowly).
Anyhow, I’m sure it was a great night to be in the Bronx. I’m grateful I was able to see it all on TV way out here in the boonies of California. Speaking of which, I’ll be on a writers panel at the local Borders store in Goleta tomorrow night if anyone’s in the ‘hood. Stop by and say hi.
OK, I have a few more. Words, I mean. Hernandez was so dominant in striking out 11 batters that I almost turned off the TV after the sixth inning. Why bother watching? A.J. wasn’t a lot of laughs. Neither was A-Rod, who appeared for a split second before re-injuring his calf. And I’m tired of watching Cervelli not hit. Can’t Kevin Long work some magic on him? Oh, never mind. I know I’m supposed to just tip my cap to Hernandez and call him the Yankees’ daddy.
I took a day off from baseball and it turns out the Yankees took one too?????
Yeah, I know. They actually showed up at Kauffman Stadium, but apparently AJ was the only one with a pulse.
I mean, the guy pitched a gem and nobody hit? Against a pitcher who, granted, was a new face, but so what? Yesterday Kevin Long was a genius and today the bats were silent? I always say that any team can beat any other team on any given day, but the Yankees need to win series, not split them.
I plan to watch tomorrow night’s game against Detroit, so I’d really appreciate it if we beat the Tigers, like, 20-2.
But despite the heat in Kansas City, the big man didn’t seem to lose velocity or command. Why Girardi didn’t let him finish out the ninth for the complete game beats me, but D-Rob recovered from a shaky start to get the save – and save my sanity. I’d been coasting along, thinking the Yanks were well on their way to victory and didn’t expect any late drama. Silly me, especially after the last couple of sweaty nights in Texas.
Whatever Kevin Long did to tweak Granderson’s swing clearly worked. And Swisher, Jeter and Austin Kearns – yes, Austin Kearns – had their hitting shoes on.
Speaking of shoes, I have more packing to do for my Jet Blue flight to JFK early tomorrow morning, so I’ll cut this short and say I hope I don’t run into any cursing flight attendants.
I won’t be posting an entry after Friday night’s game, but feel free to chime in about anything exciting that happens and I’ll respond to comments on Saturday. Take care, everybody!
Scared you, didn’t I. Sorry, but in my continuing effort to explore the nature of Tex’s two-month-plus hitting slump, I delved into the world of astrology to check out his horoscope for June. Turns out he was born on April 11th, which makes him an Aries.
According to Susan Miller of Astrology Zone, Tex is in for quite an interesting month – and, possibly, so are Yankee fans. Here’s what she has to say about Aries…
“You are now in the process of a huge life change. Most of the emphasis in the coming weeks will be your evolving career status and, by early July, your home.”
See? This is where I started to get nervous. Is Tex leaving New York or just buying a new house in the Tri-State area?
“Expect a tough eclipse on June 26th. It appears that your future will entail working in a very new arena.”
Uh-oh. A new arena, as in stadium? So maybe he is getting traded? Who’s got the money to pick up his salary? Nah, can’t be.
“The eclipse will highlight your career, so something is about to happen with a VIP or your standing in the company or industry – a shift you are not expecting.”
Yikes. Is Cashman getting fired? Girardi? Kevin Long?
“You may be promoted, downsized or moved to a new department. You won’t see this coming. You may even need to move to a new house by July.”
Moved to a new department? Like his slump will get so bad they’ll make him the traveling secretary? I don’t know what to make of all this, except for this final piece of Tex’s June horoscope…
“Sometimes an eclipse will affect health, so you may have to take steps to protect your bones and teeth.”
Okay. Teeth I can live with. Maybe Tex just needs to get braces like Girardi. Whew.
I turned off the TV with the Yankees-Jays score knotted at 2-2 and Pettitte making way for Joba. I had guests coming for lunch. They were only staying for a couple of hours, so I figured I’d watch the rest of the game after they left – the replay of the game. Wrong. It was still going. We were in the 14th. How exciting, I thought. Wrong again. The second Gaudin gave up that walk I knew we were getting burned.
What a waste of a performance by Pettitte. I mean, how many more 10-strikeout games is he supposed to pitch in his career? And Swisher. Wow. I never thought I’d say this about him but: Great defense! On the other hand, what to make of Tex. I understand a bad week, a bad month, even a bad two months. But he looked so awful, going 0-for-6 with 5 ks, that I almost want to see him benched. Sure, he plays a spectacular first base. But he’s killing the lineup. I beg you, Kevin Long. FIX HIM ALREADY.