Tagged: Manny Ramirez

What, Exactly, Is a “Performance Bonus?”

Along with the news that Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are reuniting to join the Rays comes word that Damon will be paid a $750,000 performance bonus. I’m not even going to attempt to make a bad joke about performance.

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(Okay, I just did. Sorry about that.) Anyhow, I’m wondering how the Rays will determine whether or not Johnny earns his $750,000 in 2011. Will the bonus be based on the number of tickets sold throughout the course of the season or the number of bodies that actually show up at the Trop? If so, how would they attribute the totals to Damon, as opposed to any other player? Or maybe it has to do with how many Damon jerseys they move? How many bobble head dolls? I don’t mean to be deliberately obtuse. I just don’t get it. Can someone explain?

As for the Angels’ acquisition of Vernon Wells, I’m glad he’s out of the AL East. He may be a streaky player for whom Anaheim overpaid, but he always seemed to do damage against the Yankees and I’m not sorry to see him go west.

Meanwhile, we head into another weekend without answers for our rotation. I remain mystified by this. Yes, Yankee fans are spoiled, used to having our pick of the best guys available, blah blah blah. So what. We’ve long moved past the years when Andy Hawkins and Dave LaPoint were our aces. We deserve better. Right, Hal? Look at me. I’m talking to you.


Has-Beens Or Possible Contributors?

That’s what I’m wondering after reading that the Yankees have added Andruw Jones to their list of possible right-handed hitters to play this year’s version of Marcus Thames.
My first thought was why didn’t we just re-sign Thames? Because he can’t field the ball in the outfield? Neither can the other names that have been bandied about: Manny Ramirez and Vlad Guerrero. Would any of these guys settle for a role on the bench? And even if they would and their price tags weren’t too high, would I want them?
What I want, for the 150th time, is a starting pitcher whose name is Andy Pettitte, plus another guy whose name is Felix Hernandez. Is that too much to ask? Here’s what I’m offering Brian Cashman if he can make just one of those options happen:
* The chocolate cake I baked for my friend Rhonda’s Thanksgiving.
* The chicken and barley stew I cooked for Michael the other night.
* The bottle of Syrah that was served at the New Year’s Eve party I went to.
OK, clearly those aren’t that enticing. I need to step it up. How about:
* My Porsche Boxster S. It’s old but it’s still a beauty.
* My book collection. Romantic novels might not be Cash’s thing, but so what.
* My TVs. Sure he already has some, but who doesn’t need more TVs?
* My husband. Yes, I’d miss Michael, but sacrifices are what being a fan is all about.

Who Can You Trust?

Let’s say you’re Joe Girardi. It’s the seventh inning of Saturday’s game against the A’s. Andy Pettitte has been pitching an absolute gem, and the Yankees are ahead 1-0. Pettitte’s only at 79 pitches but suddenly he’s in a jam.
Hairston: doubles.
Nomar: walks.
Cust: pops up.
You’ve got the rested and reliable Aceves warmed up and ready to go. Do you pull Pettitte?
Or do you let him keep pitching?
You take a walk out to the mound and ask your starter if he’s OK. Obviously, he says, “I’m fine, skipper. Let me get out of this inning.”
So you leave him in.
And then this happens.
Davis: singles, scoring Hairston. Score tied 1-1.
Crosby: bunt singles, loading the bases.
You walk back out to the mound, knowing the media and the fans are already second-guessing you, and you pull Pettitte. You give the ball to Ace and cross your fingers.
And then this happens.
Ellis: pops up. Huge sigh of relief.
Powell: singles, scoring two. A-s up 3-1.
Kennedy: singles, scoring one. A’s up 4-1.
Cabrera: doubles, scoring two. A’s up 6-1.
You walk back to the mound and pull Aceves, who recently told the media his name should be pronounced AcAYves, not AcEVes.
Dave Robertson retires the next batter. This being the scrappy, clutchy, comeback-y 2009 Yankees, the offense rallies, thanks to homers by Jeter and Tex, and keeps hope alive for a ninth straight win.
It is not to be. The Yankees lose 6-4 and the streak is over.
Oh, well. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. But I do wonder what I would have done if I’d been Girardi.
On a happier note, I had a great time last night at Dodger Stadium. The first thing I did was put on a Dodgers jersey so I’d fit right in.
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Well? Why not? When Obama goes to a foreign country, doesn’t he don the local garb?
The second thing I did was gorge on all the incredible food offered at the restaurant for those with seats in the Dugout Club. Michael and I snagged a table and went to work. At one point, I actually looked up from my plate and at the next table was Dodgers legend Don Newcombe. What a nice guy! As he was getting up, he stopped by to shake our hands. He may be in his ’80s, but he’s still a big, strong, handsome dude!
I was too young to remember Newcombe’s specific accomplishments, so as soon as I got home I looked up his bio. Get this. He’s the only player in major league history to win the Rookie of the Year, the MVP and the Cy Young Award. Plus, he was the first black pitcher to start a World Series game and the first black pitcher to win 20 games. I was in the company of greatness.
Once in our Dugout Club seats, which are directly behind home plate, we talked to some diehard Dodger fans, including this guy.
He had autographs of players past and present all over his jersey.
Then there was Larry King, who holds dual citizenship as both a Yankee fan and a Dodger fan.
I saw Torre, naturally, but never caught a glimpse of Mattingly. Bummer. And yes, Manny was very much a part of the experience. The crowd goes wild when he appears in the on-deck circle, let alone at the plate. Note the unusual “stat” on the scoreboard. (“Manny is the first Dodger to hit a grand slam on his own Bobblehead night.”)
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was a gorgeous night in L.A. People did the wave over and over again, and beach balls were bouncing around the stands. Everybody was having fun, and life was good. The only sour note came from the Marlins. They won the game. The nerve.

Was Manny Juicing In 2003?


I know. This is off-topic for the Yankees’ opening day in Baltimore. But I couldn’t exactly look away when I spotted the post on “WasWatching.”
According to a story in the LA Times, Jose Canseco gave a talk at USC over the weekend. He was asked about A-Rod and other players whom he’d accused of steroids use – claims that turned out to be fact. He discussed the list of 104 major leaguers who tested positive in 2003.
“What about Manny?” someone asked.
“His name is most likely, 90%, on the list,” said Canseco.
The reporter went in search of Manny for a reaction and found him at his locker. When told of Canseco’s remarks, he laughed and said, “I got no comment, nothing to say about that. I don’t even know the guy.”
So here’s my question. Is Jose Canseco a pathetic loser who goes around slandering players? Or is he a pathetic loser who goes around spreading the truth?
My opinion? He’s a little of both. It’s a sure bet the other names on that infamous list will trickle out over the course of the season, but I’m at the point right now where I don’t want to find out who’s on it.
I’m sick of the whole subject.
woman.sickinbed.jpgI don’t want to listen.
I’d rather stick my head in the sand.
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So maybe Canseco will shut up just long enough for me to enjoy some baseball.
On the other hand, if I really don’t care about who’s on the list, why did I just write this post?
I guess it’s because no matter how I’d like to pretend the story doesn’t exist, it’s out there….lurking.

“I Was Out Of Whack All Day”


That’s what A.J. told the media after giving up seven runs, six earned, over four-plus innings against the Pirates. The Yankees went on to win 9-8, but Burnett said his mechanics were off.
My mechanics were off too, since it’s Sunday, but I didn’t fall apart.
(Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Here’s my point. I understand that pitchers sometimes feel out of whack, but isn’t there anything that can be done to get them back in whack? During the game? Isn’t that what pitching coaches are for? To trot out to the mound and say, “Your shoulder is flying open” or “You need to slow it down” or “I heard there’s a great buffet at the Hyatt tonight?” Why can’t pitchers get back in whack while they’re pitching?
Here’s some video of A.J. warming up before a spring training game last year. I couldn’t throw a ball 90 mph to save my life, so I’m no expert. But does it look that hard to stay in whack?
All I know is that I was feeling out of whack earlier today. But then I read that the Yankees have decided to crown Brett Gardner as the starting center fielder. The news reminded me of another Yankees outfielder who once wore a crown, and suddenly I was right back in whack.
Joe Girardi explained: “Melky played very well, but we’re just going to go with Gardy.” 
Gardy. Isn’t that the nickname for this guy?
Is baseball ready for two Gardys? I am. Nothing against Melky, but I love watching Gardy run the bases. If he can hit with any consistency, the Yankees will have a huge weapon.
As for Melky, I guess he’ll be dealt or kept on as an extra outfielder/bench player/defensive replacement in late innings. I already said my mental goodbye to him when I thought he was being shipped to Milwaukee for Mike Cameron, so I’m good with whatever happens, unlike this woman.
On a happier note, Xavier Nady is French. Why does that make me happy? Because it means he’ll understand it when I say, “Je t’aime.”
Here’s an excerpt from the NJ.com interview in which he explains his heritage. (Hat tip to Sliding Home.)
You’re Xavier Nady VI, your son is Xavier Nady VII. Is there a story behind your name and how it has been passed down through the years?

“I’m French, so St. Francis Xavier. That’s how the name started. In the mid-1800s, the first Xavier came over from France and settled in over here in, I think, the Midwest. Since then, I think we’ve been very fortunate to keep the name alive, to keep it going. Hopefully No. 7 will have an opportunity one day to pass it on.”


Sounds like the X-Man is following in the tradition of Manny Ramirez, who has two sons named Manny Ramirez, and of George Foreman, who has five sons named George Foreman.

But wait! Bringing this post full circle, it turns out that Melky Cabrera has a son named Melky Cabrera and A.J. Burnett has a son named A.J. Burnett.

Clearly, professional athletes don’t have much imagination.

Clearance Sale! Everything Must Go!

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With only two weeks until spring training, I took myself out for a little retail therapy. No, not for shoes and handbags. Please. I’m talking about free agents. They’re on sale! They’ve been marked down! They’re at low, low prices and they come with home delivery at no extra charge!
Not one to pass up a bargain, I marched over to the Free Agent Store and spent a few hours browsing the racks. Would I find anyone for the Yankees in my capacity as their personal shopper? Anyone who might look good in pinstripes?
I breezed past the Pitchers Department, since the Yanks are well stocked with arms for the season, and zeroed in on the Position Players.
Did I have any interest in buying Adam Dunn?
No, not really. Lots to like, but I already have enough sluggers who can’t field. Besides, I’m not sure I could embrace a player whose nickname is “Big Donkey.”
Orlando Hudson?
Again, I already have a second baseman so what would be the point? It would be like buying two shower curtains even though I only have one shower.
Orlando Cabrera?
Talk about a surplus. The Yankees have two Gold Glove shortstops, even though one of them plays third base. No sense splurging on another one.
Ken Griffey Jr?
I overheard the saleslady say he’s being shipped to the Seattle store.
Frank Thomas?
Not a chance. The Big Hurt nearly ran me over with his Bentley when I was in Toronto for the book. All I wanted was five minutes. Sheesh.
Garret Anderson?
Damaged goods. I’m still having flashbacks of his pink eye during the ’07 ALDS. For all I know, he could bring that conjunctivitis to the Bronx with him.
I didn’t even bother looking at Manny (too expensive and hard to maintain) and I-Rod (been there, done that). I did experience a pang of regret as I lingered over Abreu. How could the Yankees not want to bring back El Comeduce, which is Spanish for “the candy eater?” I was tempted to buy him anyway and let the Yankees return him, but the Free Agent Store had a no-returns policy.
I was feeling a little down as I strolled through the aisles, wondering if there were any bargains worth getting excited about, when I came upon Ty Wigginton.
“Wiggy.” Hmm. The Yankees already have a third baseman, obviously, but what about a utility man? Would Cody Ransom be filling that need? Or was there an opening for someone else?
I leaned closer to examine the merchandise. According to Ty’s tags, he actually delivered his own baby when his wife went into labor unexpectedly. They were at home and he called 911 and the dispatcher talked him through the procedure, which he pulled off in a bedroom closet! He even tied the baby’s umbilical cord with his shoelaces! Now if that isn’t resourceful, I don’t know what is. Imagine what he could do for the Yanks in a pinch.
“I’ll take him,” I told the saleslady. “Wrap him up and deliver him to Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, 10451.”
“Would you like a gift card?” she asked.
“Oh, just scribble something on his forehead,” I said. “How about: ‘For Joe Girardi, a little insurance. Best wishes, She-Fan.'”

Smackdown in Santa Barbara: How I Survived My Brush With Insane Dodgers Fans


The afternoon started so innocently, so tranquilly. It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm day in Santa Barbara – sunny skies and 80-degree temps. (Sorry to those in cold climates, but this is why I moved here.) 
I was taking my five-mile walk along Shoreline Park. The idea was to get a little exercise, a little fresh air, a little relief from working at the computer.
I was wearing my Yankees cap as usual – the one with the rhinestones.
And I was listening to my iPod.
“Poker Face” is not a memorable song, but it starts the adrenaline pumping.
I was proceeding at a nice clip, feeling pretty good about life, when I came upon them.
O.K., so they weren’t carrying weapons. They looked scary just the same. And they blocked my path so I couldn’t simply power-walk past them.
“Hey, what’s with the Yankees hat,” said the biggest one. It was not a question.
“I’m a Yankee fan,” I said, restraining myself from adding, “You have a problem with that?” I’m not stupid. I was outnumbered, plus they were huge and I only weigh 100 pounds.
“Yankees suck,” said another guy.
“Yeah, they suck,” said the first one, getting in my face for emphasis.
At first, I figured they must be Red Sox fans, since we hear the chant from them all the time. But these guys didn’t bring up ’04 – the usual refrain – so I was confused.
“Fine,” I said, determined not to be intimidated. “Which team doesn’t suck?”
“Dodgers,” the leader said. “We’re Dodgers fans. Like you’re supposed to be.”
I squelched a laugh. “Why am I supposed to be?”
“Because you live here. You’re supposed to root for the home team.”
“I grew up in New York,” I said. “The Yankees are my home team.”
“But they suck,” said a third guy. None of them had much of a vocabulary.
“Maybe you’ve forgotten, but the Yankees have won quite a few championships. Twenty-six, to be exact.”
“So? The Dodgers won the NL West last year.”
“Right.” This was silly. “Who’s your favorite player?” In the spirit of the upcoming Inauguration, I reached across the aisle and tried to be friendly.
“Manny,” said the leader.
Did I dare break the news that Manny was no longer a Dodger – at least not presently?
“He’s a free agent,” I said. “He could wind up with the Giants for all you know.”
“I like Nomar,” said another one.
These weren’t Dodgers fans. They were clueless Dodgers fans. 
“He’s on the verge of announcing his retirement,” I said. “The Dodgers haven’t re-signed him.”
“Russell Martin’s on the team,” said the leader.
“He’s a good catcher,” I acknowledged.
He’s a good catcher,” one of them mocked me in a high sing-song voice. “Too bad the Yankees suck.”
That was one “suck” too many. I lost my patience and let them all have it.
women-kickboxing.jpg“Who sucks now?” I shouted after the last one was splayed on the ground, on top of the others, bloodied and gasping for air. “Get. Off. My. Beach.”
(Yes, the ending is total fantasy. The real ending is that I neutralized them by boring them to death with great moments in Yankees history. Eventually, they moved on to harass somebody else and I continued my walk.)

This Really Happened (Warning: Not for the Squeamish)

While the rest of the country has been getting blitzed by snow and ice and frigid temps, we’ve been spared here in Santa Barbara. But it’s been unseasonably cold – in the 30s at night. Brrr.

My husband Michael and I decided to make a big, steaming hot pot of chili for a chilly night. Perfect, right?
A roaring fire…
some red wine…
a little shredded cheddar on the chili…
and we were all set. The meal was so delicious that we didn’t even talk. We just stuffed our faces and every few minutes went, “Wow, this is good.”
When we were finished, Michael turned on ESPN and I started to put the leftover chili away in those Tupperware bowls.
I was placing one of the bowls on the shelf in the refrigerator when I heard someone on ESPN say, “The Nationals may have upped their offer to Mark Teixeira in an attempt to land the free agent first baseman before Christmas.”
O.K. I was clearly stunned by this news and what happened next was all my fault. Still, I blame Tupperware for not having tighter lids.
Yes, the bowl slipped out of my hands, bounced onto the hardwood floor and splattered chili everywhere – onto the walls, onto the furniture, even into the air conditioning ducts.
Picture this…
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covering every surface imaginable.
If it weren’t for the kidney beans, you would have thought it was a bloody crime scene.
Next came the accusations, the recriminations, the “It’s your fault”s.
“If you hadn’t gotten all distracted by the Teixeira thing, we wouldn’t have to spend the next four hours cleaning this up!” said Michael.
“It’s the Nationals that caused it, not me!” I countered.
I suggested we call in the professionals. I mean, the white walls were now stained a revolting orange-y red. There wasn’t enough Fantastik on the planet to spray it off.
But my ever frugal husband said we had to to handle this on our own.
Which, of course, meant that I had to handle it on my own.
I didn’t know which part of the evening upset me more – the Teixeira news, the mess, or the fact that my leftover chili was no longer on the menu for tomorrow night. Although Michael did suggest that I save it off the floor. The barbarian.
It was nearly midnight when I’d finished cleaning. As I passed out from sheer exhaustion, I remember wondering, Is Mark Teixeira worth this?

Obsessing About Manny

Even on the day that Cee Cee arrived in the Bronx to inspect his new workplace…

all I could think about was him
Everywhere I looked, Yankees bloggers were going completely bloggy over the possibility that the Manster might become a Bomber. Some were pro. Some were con. Some said Hank and Hal were pro. Some said Cashman and Girardi were con. Which reports were accurate? Which were pure speculation? It got to the point where my brain just exploded.
I’ve been all over the blogosphere letting it be known that I was firmly in the “con” camp. Manny, I acknowledged, was a gifted hitter who would, indeed, come cheaper than Teixeira, but the Yankees didn’t need a troublemaker, a malingerer, a guy who shoved traveling secretaries. Besides, we had enough aging outfielders to fill a hotel ballroom with DH-es.
I’d convinced myself that I knew what I was talking about…..until I had a conversation with my brother-in-law, the rabid Red Sox fan.
Geoff lives in Concord, NH. (“Live free or die!”) He was the photo editor at both the Concord Monitor and the Boston Globe, and now has a very successful photography business. But this is the thing about Geoff: He loves Manny. He misses Manny. He’s sure the Red Sox would have won the ’08 World Series if they’d kept Manny. And – here’s the biggie – he thinks the Yankees would be lucky to get Manny.
She-Fan: So what do you love about Manny?
Geoff: He’s one of the best right-handed hitters that’s ever played the game. Nobody works harder.
She-Fan: Excuse me?
Geoff: It’s true. You ask any manager, any player. Ask Joe Torre and Don Mattingly. No one works harder than Manny.
She-Fan (trying not to choke): What about his defense?
Geoff: It’s gotten better every year. He wasn’t a liability, that’s for sure. People underestimate him because he’s very young emotionally.
She-Fan: Are you saying he’s, um, developmentally challenged?
Geoff: No. He just plays like a kid. He has that kind of enthusiasm.
She-Fan: He didn’t sound very enthusiastic when he was sniping at the Red Sox.
Geoff: I think what he said was true. Whenever they want to get rid of someone, they vilify them. They did the same thing with Nomar and Pedro. They even did it with Mo Vaughn. There are two sides to every story.
She-Fan: They didn’t make up the fact that he got into a little tiff with Youkilis.
Geoff: Youkilis is an *******. He comes into the dugout after he makes an out and starts cursing and acting crazy. Manny just told him to cut it out.
She-Fan: And the traveling secretary? Didn’t Manny take the poor guy down?
Geoff (laughs): Nobody’s perfect.
She-Fan: So you give him a pass for that?
Geoff: No. But look at how much he brought to the Red Sox. Big Papi would never have been the hitter he’s been without Manny.
She-Fan: Do you have a favorite Manny moment?
Geoff: When he went inside the Green Monster to go to the bathroom during a game.
She-Fan: I can’t imagine him pulling that stuff with the Yankees. No way.
Geoff: Can you imagine him batting behind Alex Rodriguez? Do you have any idea how many strikes A-Rod will see? Can you live with the two of them hitting 50 home runs a year? Do the names Mantle and Maris ring a bell? Are you at all interested in a few more World Championships for the Yankees?
He had me there.
She-Fan: Let me ask you one more question, and I want you to take all the time you need to answer it. What will you do if Manny does sign with the Yankees?
Geoff (without missing a beat): I’ll become a Yankee fan.
Needless to say, I was stunned. Stunned! 
Here’s a shot of Geoff and me at Fenway in ’07 when I was there for my book.


Doesn’t he look happy? Could this lifelong Red Sox fan really switch sides? Does Manny Ramirez truly have the power to convert someone to another religion?
Apparently so.

How Much Power Does Scott Boras Really Have?

As I sit and wait for some free agent to sign somewhere….tick tock, tick tock….I can’t help but be reminded that one man controls the destiny of almost every coveted player except CC and AJ. (Maybe he doesn’t handle clients who go by initials only.) He is The One who will oversee the futures of the following…..
not to mention Jason Varitek, Garret Anderson (or did he retire), Ivan Rodriguez (he should retire) and Julian Tavarez (he should be locked away in a padded cell). The One of whom I speak is, of course, this man.
You can tell he’s Scott Boras by how hard he’s plotting and planning. The question is: Is his power limited to the fates of baseball players? Or does it extend far, far beyond the realm of sports?
Like can he negotiate a bailout for these three?


Can he reunite these men at Madison Square Garden, including the dead ones?
Can he take away all the calories in this and turn it into a health food?
Can he make this man funny again?
Can he cause it to rain in drought-stricken California?
Can he cure diseases and enable us to live forever?
If he can do all that, he can surely do this.
Yes, if you are really so powerful, Scottie, you can make this happen simply by handing over your FAs to us for a pittance. It would be a gesture of good will after what you put us through with A-Rod last year, and it would make you a god in New York.
Unfortunately, it would make you the opposite everywhere else.
Your choice, Scott. Use your power wisely.