Even though I’ve lived in California for a long time, I still subscribe to New York magazine. Can’t help myself. I love their articles, and the recent one in which Will Leitch asked a panel of experts (including Al Leiter) whom they thought qualified as New York’s Greatest Athlete Ever was one of my faves. Among the candidates:
It’s a really interesting article and I urge people to read it if they haven’t already – and then weigh in. A case was certainly made for Jeter, Gehrig and Ruth but Mays had one very loyal supporter. If they had asked me, I’d have said “Mariano Rivera,” but I’m not objective when it comes to him.
Turning to present day events, it appears that Rafael Soriano will be officially introduced by the Yankees tomorrow. I’ve read so much about his temperament; how he refused to pitch more than one inning for the Rays and had hissy fits about this or that. We don’t need divas on this team, so if he pulls any crap I have no doubt that the aforementioned Mo will take him aside and gently but firmly explain the facts of life in Yankeeville.
Here’s the headline that generated my laughter today.
It was from a blog on NESN that was brought to my attention by Paul Lebowitz’s blog earlier. Now don’t get me wrong; the Red Sox made terrific deals to upgrade their team this off-season, and my Red Sox fan friends (yes, I do have a few) are rightfully delirious with their shiny new acquisitions, just as we were when CC, AJ and Tex landed in our laps. But “the greatest team in major league history?”
That’s just plain hilarious. For starters, I wouldn’t be caught dead writing a headline like that, given how superstitious I am. (Talk about a jinx.) For another thing, isn’t it a little nutty to make such a grandiose prediction this early, particularly after 2010 when the Red Sox were supposed to be locked and loaded and instead ended up sending everybody to the DL? And finally, the author of this masterpiece decided to compare the 2011 Red Sox with the 1927 Yankees?
There’s a reason the ’27 Yanks were called “Murderers’ Row.” (And it wasn’t because they had a bunch of murderers on the team, which reminds me: Did everyone read about O’s pitcher Simon? Allegedly, he shot and killed a guy in the Dominican over the weekend and wounded another. I hate when that happens.) Babe Ruth hit 60 homers that year and Gehrig 47, and the others in the lineup were no slouches either. The team dominated, absolutely dominated. So my question is this…Will the 2011 Red Sox dominate in the same way? Can any team dominate in the same way, given the competition these days? And who would comprise Boston’s Murderers’ Row? Crawford and Gonzalez are really good but are they Ruth and Gehrig? Are Pedroia and Youkilis? No doubt they’ll all score a ton of runs, but I’m just not ready to anoint them as the “greatest team in major league history.” That’s like saying the chicken and barley stew I made last night was the “greatest comfort food in culinary history.” I mean, it was excellent, if I do say so myself, but….Well, you get my drift.
BREAKING NEWS: It looks like after a day of media reports that the two sides were far apart in their contract negotiations, Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter have met and decided to make a deal. I’m very relieved, to say the least.
The Yankees didn’t play tonight, so I was completely lost. I know, I know. I could have done something constructive with my free time. Like write, read a book, or learn more about the health care debate. Instead, I pined for the pinstriped ones – especially for Friday night’s game and the probability that Jeter would break Gehrig’s record. It was pathetic.
At some point I realized that if I was this bummed out by one night off from baseball, I’d be a basket case when the season was finally over. And that’s when it dawned on me.
Why can’t they play all year long?
Seriously, what would be so bad about keeping the season going? Nothing. That’s what. Well, not counting possible injuries caused by over-exertion. But that’s why there are trainers and team doctors and James Andrews.
Anyhow, I sat down at the computer and wrote a message to Bug Selig, telling him that I’d really appreciate it if the sport didn’t take the winter off. OK, it’s not a message to Bud. It’s a love letter to the Yankees. And I was basically wasting hours at the keyboard that I’ll never ever have back.
I could kick myself – or my husband for letting me use his iMovie software.
So indulge me. I’ll get better at these videos, I swear. Yes, this one will bore you to tears, but I’m just a beginner. And if I don’t figure it out, I’ll take piano lessons or start knitting or, God forbid, become interested in football.
The Yanks won both games of the Labor Day doubleheader against the Rays, which was impressive considering how they had spazzed out on Sunday in Toronto. Back at home in the Bronx, they looked – dare I say it? – invincible, almost like comic book heroes.
The first game was a pitcher’s duel: CC versus Garza. The score was knotted at 1-1 until the eighth when the Yankees played small ball. (Yes, they can do other things besides go deep.) They took walks! They got singles! (A-Rod had three.) They hit sac flies! By the end of the inning they led 4-1. And that’s where it stayed, thanks to another brilliant performance by Huuuuuughes, who notched the “W,” and Mo, who got the save. Speaking of Mo, it was great to have him back. I hope his groin is feeling fine now. It certainly looked fine, although I’m not exactly a groin expert.
CC was superb yet again, pitching one-run ball over seven innings with 10 Ks – the Yankees’ true ace, despite the no-decision. Brett Gardner, fresh off the DL, made a great diving catch in the fifth, and Posada threw out Crawford trying to steal in the eighth. What a difference good defense makes. There was one sour note, however.
Carlos Pena broke two fingers as he tried to check his swing on a ball that came inside in the first inning.
He’ll be out for the remainder of the season. He’s a good guy and a good player, so I’m sorry for him and his fans.
Game Two of the twin bill featured a terrific bounce back outing by A.J. and it was a huge relief, given how he’s been knocked around lately.
After allowing a run in the first, he settled right down and threw six scoreless innings. By the time he departed, the offense had blown the game open. Tex went wild, hitting two bombs:
a three-run homer in the third, to make it 5-1 Yanks….
and a solo shot in the sixth for 8-1.
The offense piled on, and the final score was 11-1. Oh, there was another sour note.
Jeter, the man of the hour as he tries to break Lou Gehrig‘s record, didn’t get a hit all day/night. He went 0-for-8. He didn’t seem to mind though. When the Yankees win, he wins.
Did I spend every waking minute in front of the TV watching baseball this Labor Day holiday? Almost. I did take a break between games and went over to a friend’s pool, where there was entertainment of a different sort. My husband Michael, who was on his high school and college swimming teams back in a previous century, tried to climb into one of those floating pool chairs – and couldn’t. Poor guy. Little did he know I had the She-Fan Cam with me.
This Just In….
The results of a groundbreaking study of randomly selected baseball fans strongly indicates that the 2009 Home Run Derby not only relieved the symptoms of insomnia but promoted a deep and restful sleep.
Scientists cited several reasons for the Derby’s unexpectedly soporific effect on humans:
1) the lackluster performances by the participants as compared to the 2008 contest.
2) the seemingly endless multi-rounds format.
3) the “back, back, back” from ESPN’s Chris Berman.
4) the realization that the event was basically batting practice with a lot more media.
That said, the group conducting the study was quick to praise the Derby’s winner, Prince Fielder, and issued congratulations to him, his team and his family.
The group further stated that the 2009 Home Run Derby was equal to, if not better than, the following remedies for sleeplessness:
watching grass grow
watching paint dry
Upon learning of the group’s findings, Major League Baseball immediately contacted She-Fan seeking ways the Derby could keep people awake during future events. I was flattered to be consulted about such a weighty matter, and offered a few suggestions.
“First, guarantee the viewing public that a Bronx Bomber is participating,” I said. “Yankee fans will be eager to see him succeed; Yankee haters will be on the edge of their seats hoping he’ll fail. If he’s a polarizing Yankee, so much the better.”
“Second, make the contest more challenging by blindfolding the hitters.”
“Third, encourage the hitters to take the rivalry seriously in order for a brawl to ensue.”
“And finally, consider bringing back home runs hitters from the Great Beyond. A Derby that pits Ruth, Gehrig and Foxx against each other would be incredibly entertaining for those of us who never got to see them play.”
Bud Selig seemed intrigued by my ideas and said he would give them serious thought. He also asked me to stand by in case the All-Star Game turned out to be equally dull as dishwater. Then he pressed his palms together and prayed that the National League would win in extra innings.
It’s silly. It’s juvenile. And I hope it never ends – the whole routine of come-from-behind walkoffs that result in an A.J. Burnett-instigated dose of whipped cream for the hero.
Today’s recipient? Jorge Posada, whose single in the bottom of the 12th drove in A-Rod with the winning run in the Yankees’ 6-5 victory over the Jays.
But first, the classy tribute to Lou Gehrig and to Michael Goldsmith, the ALS sufferer who called MLB to action on the disease.
Talk about a highlight of the 2009 Inaugural Yankee Stadium Season. You’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by the pre-game ceremony.
Then came the game itself. Wang was having his best start of the season. But it was clear that Halladay didn’t have his “A” stuff. Not with homers to Matsui, Posada and Damon. I think it was Damon’s shot in particular – the one-hander into “Damon’s Deck” in short right field – that really got Doc all pissy and red faced.
The July 4th crowd, which had sounded pretty enthusiastic, fell to a hush after Wang gave up a two-run dinger to Lind in the sixth. And then suddenly….out came Girardi and Steve Donahue. The next thing we knew, Wanger was headed for the MRI tube.
I figured it was his Lisfranc again. Or maybe some other body part I’d never heard of. But no. He’s got a “shoulder strain with bursitis,” is going on the DL and will miss at least a month. I mean, seriously? What are we supposed to do about our rotation? Make a trade? Or bring up a kid?
Robertson was shaky in relief, giving up another run, as was Bruney. But Coke threw two great innings (with help from Gardner’s slide on Overbay’s fly ball). And Mo and Bombko kept us in the game until Jorge broke the 5-5 tie with one swing of the bat.
Of course, there was also the issue of Cano. The guy came up with runners on base time after time, and did nothing. He’s really starting to stink.
After reveling in the Yankees’ victory, I headed to the beach for a walk, my trusty She-Fan Cam in my pocket. There were a zillion people camped out to see the fireworks display later, and I checked the various groups to see if there were any baseball fans among them.
Sure enough, there were a couple of Dodgers fans.
The first one was with her family, having their annual July 4th Dodgers barbecue.
The second one was playing catch with a friend.
Very cool customer, that Andrew.
I was walking away, feeling no Yankee love in Santa Barbara, when I happened upon a guy wearing a Yankees cap backwards. He was partying with his friends, but I went over anyway.
Why I said “Ithaca!” in that high squeaky voice is beyond me. But even more embarrassing was when I mistakenly agreed that Jorge had hit the walkoff single in the 13th inning instead of the 12th. I’m not very good in math, but that was ridiculous.
Here’s hoping the Yanks find a couple of fresh arms to pitch tomorrow.