How Did I Miss This?
If it weren’t for Diane, good friend of the blog, and her comment here yesterday about Lady Gaga, I would never have connected the singer to the Yankees. After Diane said her daughter heard Gaga mention Mo in an interview, I felt compelled to track down the evidence. Here it is.
I’m fine with her liking Mo. I’m fine with her being a Yankee fan. But please somebody keep her away from A-Rod. She’s just a little too much like that other pop singer he hung out with. Notice how both enjoy dressing as brides?
While I’m on the subject of A-Rod, I really hope he has a controversy-free spring training, followed by a controversy-free season, followed by a controversy-free playoffs and World Series. He was a huge difference maker last year when he came off the DL. I expect nothing less from the 2010 version. But he has to stay focused, stay healthy and stay a team player. In other words, I’d rather see him hugging Mo than Gaga.
Yankees 2009: A Remarkably Soap-Opera Free Season
With the off-day and no Yankees baseball to watch, I had more time to read the stories about the supposed incompatibility between A.J. and Posada. When I was finished, I had the following thought: If this is the biggest Yankees controversy, it’s been an awfully quiet summer at the Bronx Zoo.
Seriously. This is the season that began with A-Rod’s “affair of the heart” with Madonna…
…his acrimonious split with C-Rod…
…his admission of steroids use…
…and his unexpected trip to the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Colorado for hip surgery.
Oh, and there was Joba’s DUI and his mother’s arrest on drug possession.
I expected tabloid headlines to dog the team for months. Instead, A-Rod is focusing on baseball (albeit with another celebrity girlfriend), Joba has come to terms with the Joba Rules and the players are behaving like model citizens, supporting HOPE week and other charitable activities, hanging out together at sporting events and concerts, even appearing on “Letterman.” (I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Teixeira with Dave tonight. Good luck, Tex! Break a leg! No, don’t!)
There haven’t been any dugout brawls or players whining to the media about not being in the lineup or rotation (not counting Brett Bombko) or threats from Hal or Hank about firing Girardi. Speaking of whom…
…at least some of the tranquility this season has to be credited to him. Yes, there’s a good mix of guys who genuinely seem to like each other. And winning helps promote unity in the clubhouse. But he’s the one who got the best out of Melky and Gardner when they were competing for the CF job, believed in Swisher when I certainly didn’t, switched Hughes over to the bull pen, and came up with the idea to bat Jeter in the #1 spot and move Damon to #2. That’s worked out pretty well for both guys, hasn’t it?
Not that everything is perfect, by any means. I’m always second-guessing Girardi’s pitching decisions, just like I used to question Torre’s, and I’m not wild about the way player injuries are handled. (Remember Wang, anyone?) But this team is in first place, and everybody’s having fun. No more pitchers who can’t control their temper (Kevin Brown)…
…or can’t deal with the media (Randy Johnson)…
…or don’t want to pitch in New York (Carl Pavano).
Way to be, 2009 Yankees. Way to be.
Like Death And Taxes, This Yankees Loss Was Inevitable
I wish I were one of those people who wears hats.
If I’d had one on, I would have tipped it. What else can do you when Harry Halladay pitches a complete game against your team, limiting them to five hits and one puny run?
Harry was masterful in the Jays’ 5-1 victory over the Yanks. Our guy matched him in the early going, but after AJ’s fourth-inning problems it was clear that this was Harry’s night. He located his fast ball with precision, combined it with a devastating slider and/or cutter, and made the Yankees look as if they’d been tasered.
Scott Rolen, who wasn’t even in my scouting report yesterday, provided the offensive muscle for the Jays.
Damon continued to put the ball in play. He’s practically the only healthy player the Yankees have left, and I’m beginning to wonder if we have an adequate supply of these.
It’s not bad enough that Wang, Posada, Molina and Bruney are on the DL? Now Jeter has a strained oblique and Matsui has a tight hammy and Coke has a stiff back. And that’s not counting A-Rod, who would have handled Rolen’s grounder in the second inning if he’d been even 75%. Despite his RBI single in the seventh, Al looked “washed out,” as my mother describes people who look slightly sick.
AJ had a tough evening. Apparently, the Jays fans are mad at him not only for signing with the Yanks but for doing this last year in response to their booing of him.
Oh, well. At least they didn’t throw things onto the turf at the Rogers Centre and disrupt the game. However, I was forced to watch the Jays’ feed, instead of the YES broadcast, and the camera kept showing us a man whose sign read: “AJ, you look fat in stripes.” Speaking of the Toronto announcers, every single time Halladay retired the side, they said: “Just what the Doc ordered.” They were so corny that by the ninth inning I was afraid I would do this.
But all credit to Roy/Doc/Harry. He was nasty. In a good way. If you’re a fan of these.
Call Me An A-Fraud Apologist But…
…he carried the Yankees on his back in 2007.
There he was, rounding the bases after hitting home run #500. I was sitting behind home plate that afternoon. Everybody at the Stadium went crazy. The Yankees spilled out onto the field and bear-hugged their teammate. It was a celebratory moment in an otherwise discouraging season; the Yanks spent time in the cellar during the first half, only to rally in the second half to make it into the playoffs as the wild card.
One of the main reasons they did make it through was A-Rod and his 54 homers and 156 RBIs. He was on fire in ’07. He hit in the clutch. He did everything that was asked of him on defense. He earned that MVP award. He fizzled against Cleveland in the ALDS, but so did everyone else. Jeter. Jorge. Jason. I didn’t think it was possible to hit into so many double plays, but that’s what they did. Wang’s two dismal performances didn’t help.
I love Joe Torre. I always will. I miss his leadership and can’t wait to read his book. I just feel the need to stick up for A-Rod, who might have saved Joe’s job early in the season with all those homers.
Is he a philandering phony?
Does he have a tendency to do bush-league things?
(Who can forget his “Mine!” or “I got it!” in Toronto?)
Does he love to look at himself?
Is he jealous of Jeter’s popularity with the fans?
Does he seek attention even as he claims not to want it?
Check. Here’s an item in today’s NY Post to prove it.
He is not a model citizen. We know that. But in 2007 he led my team to its 12th consecutive postseason, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Here’s a clip from the champagne party after the Yanks clinched at the Trop. Interesting that A-Rod gives Torre a shout out.
Andy Pettitte: “The Yankees Should Show Me More Love”
As Yankees bloggers reported hours and hours ago (I’m such a slug), Andy Pettitte has let it be known that he’s angry at how his negotiations with the Yanks have gone. Ken Davidoff of Newsday spoke to “people familiar with his thinking.” What people? His agent? His wife? His minister? I hate unnamed sources, but bottom line: Andy’s pissed.
At the top of his list of grievances, according to People Familiar With His Thinking, is the following.
“He believes the Yankees should display more appreciation for all that he has done for them.”
That’s what he wants? More appreciation? No problem!
I called Brian Cashman. He tore himself away from a pending trade that would send Nick Swisher to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, and we hammered out a multi-faceted plan of attack. Here’s what Andy will get from the Yankees in the way of appreciation.
#1. The traditional reward for a job well done.
#2. Mementos from the old Yankee Stadium. Not just anybody gets these. Not for free, anyway.
#3. A simple but heartfelt appreciation in skywriting over Andy’s house.
#4. A private, at-home concert by Yankees tenor Ronan Tynan, who will sing “God Bless America” as many times as Andy wants him too – without taking a breath.
#5. A private, at-home concert by Madonna. The idea is to show Andy that anything A-Rod has, he can have too.
#6. A singing telegram to say, “The Yankees love you.”
#7. The guy comes with a box of these. Screw Joe Girardi’s rule about sweets.
#8. A deluxe order of prime beef. Very handy when those People Familiar with His Thinking drop by for dinner unexpectedly.
#9. The chance to bump Paul O’Neill and be Michael Kay’s color commentator on YES.
#10. A year’s supply of the good stuff. Enough said.
Now, it’s possible that Pettitte won’t be swayed by any of this, and that “appreciation” is just a euphemism for “money.” If so, he’ll be joining the players featured in my two previous posts as ex-Yankees and I’ll be forced to write the words “Goodbye, Andy.”
If You’re Sick of A-Rod and Madonna, Don’t Read This
Seriously. Why am I posting about these two when I should be addressing loftier matters – like whether Mark Teixeira should bat third or fourth in the Yankees lineup?
I’m disgusted with myself, especially since I made a New Year’s resolution not to care about the personal lives of the Pinstriped Ones. Still, I can’t help wondering if new playmates are derailing the couple known as Arodonna.
A-Rod is now said to be interested in someone named Melissa Britos, who is described by the media as a “bridal model.” Here she is being bridal.
Here she is being “Hey, Alex. I had a great time last night. Did you?”
Has A-Rod lost interest in Madonna or is he just playing the field, pun intended?
As for Madonna, she’s rumored to have found herself a model too. He’s Brazilian and his name is Jesus – only fitting since she spends part of her concert on a cross.
Here he is being model-ish.
Here they are being “We’re at this party together but we’re keeping our distance for the paparazzi.”
(Can you spot Jesus in the back looking a little deer-in-the-headlights? And who’s that bald guy on the right wearing lipstick? He reminds me of one of the Munsters.)
O.K. I’m done with the gossip and innuendo. Yech. I’m ashamed that I wrote such an inane, thoroughly insignificant post.
Tomorrow I’ll blog about something truly meaningful: the Yankees’ annual hazing ritual.
Is it bad for baseball? Should prized rookies be forced to dress like characters from “The Wizard of Oz?” Will MLB get involved?
I know. I wish there was actual news, too. Somebody please sign Manny already.
It’s Off to Couples Counseling for CC and Me
Well, I’ve tried everything else, Carsten.
I’ve asked this man to talk to you.
And this man.
Even this man.
And I’ve made it perfectly clear that money will never be an issue between us.
Yet you still won’t make the commitment. I didn’t peg you for one of those men who’s all nice and sweet to your face and then fools around behind your back. I mean, really, CC. The Giants? The Dodgers? The Angels? You thought they’d care more about you than the Yankees? I understand your attachment to the Brewers. I do. It’s hard to let go of the past. But now it’s time to look ahead to the future. Our future. Together.
So I’ve made an appointment with the shrink who came highly recommended by Yankees doctor Stuart Hirshon.
We’ll sort through the reasons you keep pulling back and find a way to move forward. Here we go.
You’re concerned about this?
Oh, CC. That’s just silly. The crime rate in New York is down, or at least it was the last time I checked. Besides, the Yanks have an army of security people. No worries.
You think there’s too much of this?
I admit it can get nasty on the Deegan, and the tunnels are a nightmare. But the Yanks will arrange for a helicopter if that’s a roadblock, no pun intended.
The Steinbrenner boys? You’re anxious about working for them?
I’ll handle Hal. He’s very reasonable. And Hank stays down in Tampa and will be totally out of your hair.
Your hair? Oh, I see. Yes, unlike California, New York does get hot and humid in the summer. It’s definitely not good hair weather and without the proper conditioning it can be impossible to control.
But, again, the Yankees have people. Hair people. They can keep you looking great all season long.
Yes, CC. The Stadium will be loud, especially on the days the Red Sox come to town. But you’ll have these wonderfully supportive friends behind you.
They’re called the Bleacher Creatures and they’ll hold forth with a charming chant for you.
No need to fret over her influence, honey. She likes them young, yes, but in tip-top shape, no offense.
Well, of course the media is tough in New York. But I really think the whole “glare of the spotlight” thing is overblown.
You’ll have zero problem dealing with this man.
His name is Peter Abraham. He blogs day and night, but he’s fair, CC. They’re all fair. You play ball with them and they’ll play ball with you. (O.K. There are one or two I’d stay away from, but we’ll deal with them when the time comes.)
What about the broadcast people? You’ll have this man calling your games on the YES Network.
Michael Kay is a bit of a drama king, but I think you’ll hit it off just fine.
Yes, he has a colleague, Kim Jones, who does the interviews with the players.
She may look like she’s giving Jeter a case of hives, but her questions are harmless. Trust me.
Her counterpart on the radio is this woman.
Suzyn with a “z,” just like Liza Minelli. And, like Liza, she sings. You and she will have a blast humming show tunes.
And speaking of a blast, John Sterling is the radio voice of the Yankees. You’ll have nothing but fun with him during the season.
He’s very descriptive and invents nicknames for the players. Every time you throw a strikeout pitch, he’ll say something like: “It’s a C-Bomb! From CC!” Or maybe: “Ortiz takes a BATH courtesy of SaBATHia.” You’ll be chuckling all the way home after the games.
So? Are we on the same page now? Everything out on the table? No more hesitation?
Good. Sign the contract already, hon.
In Defense of A-Rod and Madonna’s Love
The Mysterious Case of the Fractured Fibula
Let’s face it. I was a bandwagon Dodgers fan during the playoffs. The Yankees were out of it, so I rooted for Joe and Donnie’s team. When the Dodgers didn’t make it to the Series, that was it for my interest in them….until today. I was cruising around the MLB blogosphere and came upon the item by Prince of New York about this man.
Yep, pitcher Chad Billingsley was in the news. According to media reports, Chad slipped on the ice outside his Reading, Pennsylvania home on Friday.
He was diagnosed with a “spiral fracture of the fibula in the left leg” and underwent surgery on Saturday. His doctor had to put a plate in the leg.
(It may or may not have been the same pattern as my grandmother’s Wedgewood.) Poor Chad will be in a cast for two weeks.
Supposedly, he’ll be ready to throw by spring training, but I ask you: Do they take us for fools? Do they expect us to believe that he really broke his leg falling on the ice outside his house? Do they assume we’ve forgotten all about this man?
Nomar (or should I say Ramon) Garciaparra showed up at the Red Sox spring training camp in 2001 with a very strange wrist injury – a “split tendon” that kept him out of the lineup for a long, long time. How did it happen? Was it a delayed reaction to being hit by a pitch two years before, as Nomar theorized? Or did he injure the wrist in a suspicious manner that would have violated his contract?
Since ballplayers aren’t always the most truthful individuals, She-Fan decided to investigate the Chad Billingsley case. Did he break his leg while engaging in some forbidden activity?
For starters, the “ice” part of the story doesn’t hold up. He claims he lives in Reading, PA, right?
Yeah, well I checked Reading’s weather for November 21st, the day in question, and here’s what I found out.
No snow. No ice. No precipitation of any kind, only sunshine. I’m not saying it’s been warm there. I’m just saying.
What’s more, he’s a professional athlete who’s much too coordinated to slip and fall like some lame cartoon character.
So here’s what I’m thinking: Chad’s assertion that he went down on the ice is merely a cover, intended to keep the Dodgers from voiding his contract. Perhaps he was secretly doing this.
(Well, sometimes things get out of hand.)
Or he was afraid to tell the Dodgers that he was making his reality show debut on this.
So many possibilities. If I were a Dodgers fan I would demand that Billingsley tell the truth. He should follow the example of a certain Yankee.
Aaron Boone hit that homer off Wakefield and was an instant hero. Then, in the off-season, he did this.
A no-no. He tore a ligament in his knee, and the rest is history. But if Aaron hadn’t manned up and come forward, the Yankees wouldn’t have cut him loose and ended up with this guy.
And his gal.
Life as a Yankee fan would have been very different indeed.
Where Are You, Cashman, And Why Haven’t You Called?
I’m worried about the Yankees’ GM. I am. Just look at him.
He’s such an anxious type, always on the verge of a nervous collapse. He’s been quiet, very quiet since Dana Point. Yes, it’s early in the off-season and it’s not as if free agents are being signed left and right, but what about some trades? Must we Yankees fans sit patiently (not in my nature at all) while Matt Holliday is shipped to the A’s for Huston Street and two others and even the Marlins and Nationals are exchanging body parts?
So I have to ask: What are you doing, Cash? Where are you hiding? What’s on your mind? Who are you hanging with?
I suppose it’s possible you’re in meetings with Jean Afterman, your assistant GM.
Or you could be in secret confabs with these two.
(Is it just me or do they look like they came from different fathers?)
Maybe you’re trying to escape from baseball altogether, given how stressful it must be in the Yankees’ front office. Your wife says you grind your teeth so hard at night that it scares her.
May I suggest that you purchase one of these? They’re supposed to do the trick.
I guess you could be holed up in your quaint, affluent town of Darien, Connecticut.
People say you enjoy a good game of pickup basketball, so maybe you’re doing that.
You’re also rumored to have a fondness for Australian red wine, so maybe you’re alone in your house guzzling.
Or, since you’re a good Catholic, maybe you’re in church praying that a miraculous trade will materialize.
Or maybe you’re concerned about A-Rod gallivanting around with Madonna, following her to concerts instead of working out obsessively at the gym.
And so you decided to confront her directly about leaving your highest paid star alone – and you did it first thing in the morning, before she put on any makeup.
Now that I really think about it, I bet your silence has to do with a certain road trip you’re on. You rented an RV, shut off the BlackBerry and set off on a journey.
Let others make trades. You’re driving straight to CC’s house, parking the camper right on his front lawn and waiting him out. I like it, Cash. Very proactive. You have my complete and total support.