Have a peek at this excerpt if you haven’t seen the whole thing already.
Here are my take-aways:
1) Cashman: Did he gain some weight this off-season? Or was it just those pancakes he ate at the breakfast yesterday? Also, I loved how he called Soriano “Rafi” and Mo “Mr. Mariano Rivera.”
2) Girardi: “Now we have two closers.” Works for me, Joe. It’s not my money.
3) Soriano needed a translator? Or maybe Boras was just afraid his client would blurt out, “Hey, Cash, I know you didn’t want me here but everybody else did so stuff it.”
4) I really liked Soriano’s suit. No undertaker look for him in that taupe or whatever color it was.
5) I don’t want to be done with these press conferences. There needs to be another one before spring training – and I’m not talking about Pettitte, despite reports today that he’s been “throwing” just in case he decides to join the party. I’m talking about an as-yet-to-be-named starter who will put on the pinstripes for the first time. The Tigers DFA-ed Armando Galarraga. He pitched a perfect game, for God’s sake, and he’s only 29. Could he really be that bad?
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.
And not just because every fan would worship at his feet. He needs to be a Yankee because he’d get to star in better commercials. I mean nothing against the Mariners but he’d be able to endorse cars like Jeter or suits like Mo. He wouldn’t have to participate in ads like this, although he does seem very sweet.
The only thing I can’t figure out is why does the commercial feature the Rockies? Is Interleague play that big a deal in Seattle?
Since we’re all feeling a little impatient/perplexed/downright angry about the Yankees’ off-season thus far, I figured I’d lighten the mood with a bulletin: It’s almost spring training, which means it’s almost Opening Day. I know, I know. I’m not the only one with a calendar, but I just might be one of the only ones with a preview of the new Yankee Stadium E-Guide, which is the fantastic creation of Kurt Smith as part of his BallparkE-Guides series.
Each e-guide is a detailed, PDF-formatted booklet that takes us through our favorite parks in a way that teams’ official programs and web sites don’t. For example, at Yankee Stadium you can’t get back into the ballpark once you leave, right? Wrong. Thanks to a tip in the Yankee Stadium E-Guide, I learned that if you enter via the Hard Rock Cafe and have your ticket punched there, you can come and go as often as you want. The E-Guide has insider info about buying tickets, paying less for tickets, figuring out what and where the best food is, not to mention getting to the Bronx without stress. It’s all here and it’s only five bucks, downloadable from Kurt’s site. I’ll definitely consult the Yankee Stadium E-Guide before my next visit to the Stadium.
Speaking of which, I predict that the Yanks will, indeed, end up signing Rafael Soriano.
Why? Because there’s precedent for bringing in a proven closer as our setup guy. Does the name Tom Gordon ring a bell? He worked out pretty well setting up for Mo even though he’d been a closer for the Red Sox. Despite Cashman’s comments about staying “in-house” for the eighth inning and trying to avoid an expensive LaTroy Hawkins/Kyle Farnsworth-type flop, Soriano is no Hawkins/Farnsworth. He’d fit the bill just fine.
I hope everybody has been enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend. I’ve been enjoying mine. Well, except for the cold, hard reality that The Captain and The Yankees remain in negotiations hell. The fact that they haven’t made a deal and seem to be in a bona fide standoff is upsetting to me. It haunts my sleep. It creates low-level anxiety. It causes me to snap at my husband for no apparent reason.
(Oddly, I’m not worried about Mo’s situation. The Yankees need him and will pay him, and that deal will happen.) Anyhow, I’ve decided that I’m going to post a different Jeter video every night on this blog until the announcement comes down that he’s safely back in the fold – no matter how long it takes. So here’s Video #1. I’d like Cashman and the Steinbrenners to watch it and then try to tell Casey Close with a straight face that his client is just another ballplayer.
I know it’s only Monday night, but I’m thinking ahead to all the shopping people will be doing and wondering if the Yankees will be among the busy customers. With news that Mo’s camp has finally emerged to state their intentions, maybe he and the Yanks will make a deal. And maybe the Jeter thing will be resolved. And maybe Cliff Lee will have eaten so much turkey that he’ll be in a triptophan fog and will sign with us without realizing it.
Aside from those three, here’s what I’d like to pick up on Black Friday: a treadmill. I’ve been thinking about getting one for a long time and maybe Friday’s the day to score a sale. Someone on Twitter told me that ProForm is the brand to look for, but if anyone else knows about the machines please shout. I don’t have much room, so I need one that folds up.
Tonight I was the guest on a local TV show called “Literary Gumbo.”
It’s a half-hour of chat about writing and publishing, and the host is Fred Klein, who spent many years at Bantam Books as head of marketing. The producer played the intro music and Fred did his welcome thing to the camera, and then the two of us started talking….and talking. He was supposed to be watching this digital timer next to his chair so he’d know when to wrap up, but somebody forgot to set it before the taping started and we kept going. I can’t wait to see the interview because it’s got to have the most abrupt ending in the history of television. Some authors aren’t fond of having to answer questions on camera, but I’m the opposite. When you’ve been sitting home alone in front of the computer all day writing, it feels like recess to go out and talk about your work to someone who’s actually interested. What a concept! Besides, Fred spent the last 10 minutes asking me about “Confessions of a She-Fan.” What could be more fun?
Today I went to a screening of Disney’s new animated film based on the Rapunzel fairy tale. What an adorable movie. Not only has the story of the girl with the long hair been updated and re-imagined, but the quality of the animation is just mind boggling. The characters and their expressions are so life like and there’s plenty of action, plus the whole thing has a lot of heart. I teared up at one point and Michael said, “It’s a cartoon! Snap out of it!”
Afterwards, the two directors came for a Q&A and explained the process of making the film. It was fascinating to hear how they collaborated with 500 animators, as well as took suggestions from some of the employees at Disney. For example, to find the right look for the hero, they asked a bunch of women to bring photos of their favorite hunky actors and they ended up using a composite of features. They also asked women about their relationships with their mothers so they could get the dialogue between Rapunzel and her wicked mother just right. But I really perked up when one of them was describing what it’s like to do a movie at Disney. He said, “Disney is like the Yankees.”
Huh? I sat up straighter in my chair.
“Mostly, the Yankees are really successful,” he went on. “They have their down years, but they always come back strong.”
Even in Hollywood, the pinstripes are a force to be reckoned with. I left the theater smiling.
I’ll be smiling even more when the MVP in the AL is announced on Tuesday and the winner is Cano. Other things that will make me happy?
* A deal with Jeter.
* A deal with Mo.
* A deal with Cliff Lee.
Somehow, lost in all the chatter about what Jeter wants and what Jeter will get, hardly anybody is talking about signing Mo. Yes, Hal or Cashman or both have “reached out” to his agent, but let’s focus, people: The Yankees are not the Yankees without Mariano Rivera.
You can talk about Jeter’s iconic status 24/7, but there wouldn’t be all those championships without Mo, plain and simple. And, unlike Jeter, he did not have a “down” year. He had his usual bumps during the season, but he was mostly as lights out as ever and the one constant in the pen.
How many years should he get on the new contract? As many as he wants. He’s not the type of player who will hang on too long and embarrass himself. No worries about having to move him around the infield or DH him, as with Jeter. He’ll just go out and save games until he can’t do it anymore, and I trust him to know when his time is up.
How much money should he get? As much as he wants. If the Yankees so much as try to nickel and dime him, I’ll get very angry. And I won’t be the only one.
In the absence of actual Yankees news and to provide a distraction from the tedious speculation about Jeter’s new contract, I’m hosting the annual She-Fan Video Awards early this year and you’re going to vote for the winners. Why wait until December when there are so many worthy candidates right now? In fact, when I pulled out the She-Fan Cam and sorted through all the vids from 2010, I realized I had to create separate categories for the award, just like the Oscars and Golden Globes do, instead of narrowing the field down to five nominees total.
So the first category is She-Fan Video Award/ MLBloggie, which means that the nominees either write their own blog on this site or comment on mine. Got it? Good. Here, then, are the nominees. Their fate is in your hands…
#1) Sue of the MLBlog “Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts.” Yes, she’s a Phillies fan, but consider these mitigating factors. In the video, which I shot during a spring training game at Bright House Field in Clearwater, she makes fun of her own players (Utley, Werth) and expresses her desire for a Yankees-Phillies World Series. It didn’t happen for either of our teams, obviously, but at least she wanted another crack at us. Take a look.
2) Harold, the Yankee fan father of Friend of the Blog Barbara. He took the time to drive up the Florida coast to hear me speak at a library, so for that alone he deserves consideration. And let’s not forget he’s been a Yankee fan longer than almost anybody who reads this blog. Sure, he was pessimistic about the Yanks’ chances to repeat in 2010, but let’s face it – he was right.
3) Emma of the MLBlog “Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World.” She’s a Dodger fan (duh), but she went out of her way to escort me around Dodger Stadium in June when the Yanks played there. She walked me up to the level where Peggy was sitting and waited while I left a note, and then she marched me up to the top level to find Jane, her fellow nominee in this category. Plus, she sang “Happy Birthday” to Jeter in the video.
4) Jane, the Yankee fan who leaves comments here as “ladyjane.” I had met her at Yankee Stadium a while ago, but this year she flew out to LA to see the Yanks play the Dodgers. She was the one who told me it was Jeter’s birthday. She goes to tons of games in the Bronx. She’s passionate about our boys. And – wait for it – Mo once handed her a baseball, which means she practically touched a god.
There you have it- four nominees, each with his/her own connection to this blog. Cast your vote for the 2010 She-Fan Award/MLBloggie by leaving a comment here and a winner will be crowned or, rather, fanned.
Next up: The Nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette.
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!
Yup. Congratulations to Emma of “Crzblue’s Dodger Blue World” for taking home the golden fan!
The competition was getting tight there at the end. Harold jumped out to an early lead, then Emma started racking up the votes, and then Harold had a late surge. But in the end you guys picked Emma from among four excellent nominees – no easy task since Harold, Ladyjane and Sue were great in their videos too. Thanks to all for participating and making this off-season a little less ho-hum for me. The next category will follow shortly.
Meanwhile, I’m putting in my two cents about another gold award: the Gold Glove. Fingers crossed for Tex, Jeter and Cano. Gardner’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened.
I listened to Mike Francesca’s interview with Hal today, and was struck by how much more self-assured the Yankees’ big cheese sounded. He wasn’t full of his father’s bluster by any means, but he was no longer the reluctant boss. When Francesca brought up Jeter and Mo and whether signing them was a foregone conclusion, Hal made the expected noises about how much he wanted to bring them back, how they should always remain Yankees, blah blah. But he also said – twice – “but we’re running a business here.”
My heart kind of dropped when he used those words. I’m not naive enough to think there’s no budget and I realize that Jeter and Mo, while icons, aren’t young. But I got the feeling that Hal isn’t planning to write any blank checks or offer long-term contracts. In fact, I started to panic. What if the Yankees can’t come to terms with their two legends? Is that humanly possible?
Putting Mo aside for now (we need a closer and there’s no one better), I came up with five value-added ways to keep Jeter around when he can’t play shortstop or swing a bat. I pulled these from a blog post I wrote in February ’09 and they’re still options as far as I’m concerned.