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?
What a busy baseball day for a lazy Sunday in December, right? There I was, sitting in a screening for a movie called “Barney’s Version,” completely unaware that Jayson Werth had signed a monster contract with the Nationals and that Adrian Gonzalez had backed out of his deal with the Red Sox.
Before I move off “Barney’s Version,” I have to recommend it to everyone. It’s based on the highly acclaimed novel by Canadian writer Mordecai Richler and it’s just great. Paul Giamatti plays the hard-drinking, cigar-smoking, politically incorrect son of a cop (Dustin Hoffman) who falls in love with a woman – at his own wedding. The movie tells the story of his life and is both funny and touching. It opens in January. Here’s the trailer.
Back to baseball. I don’t even know what to say about the Werth deal except that Carl Crawford must be dancing in the streets. And if the Red Sox aren’t able to put the Gonzo deal back together, it’ll be like their near-miss with Tex. But mostly, it’s time to focus on Lee. With the GMs gathered in Orlando, will Cashman finally make his agent an offer that’ll blow the Rangers and all other suitors out of the water? Taking no chances, I thought we needed to start the Operation Cliff Lee Countdown right away, posting a video either of him or about him each night until he’s wearing pinstripes.
(Hat tip to the Village Voice for the odd Photo Shopping)
So without further ado, let’s go to the videotape. It worked for Jeter.
Yes, this video is long. Sorry about that. But here’s why I picked it: It gives us a taste of what Lee’s press conference at Yankee Stadium will be like when Cashman, Girardi and Hal introduce him to the New York media. Well, with one big difference – there’ll be a lot more reporters and photographers in the Bronx. (From the look of this Mariners presser, there were maybe 10 media people there.) I had to laugh when he was asked what kind of a contract he’s expecting and he said, “10 years for $200 billion.” Yes, he did say billion. But he’s such a kidder, that Cliffy. Did everybody catch the cool attitude when the reporter (don’t they use recording devices in Seattle or just pads and pencils?) asked him to talk about hitting Sammy Sosa in the head in Texas. Lee shrugged and said, “What can I say? I hit Sammy Sosa in the head.” And then there’s the interview the same reporter did with Cliffy’s wife – about their dog. I think he’ll be much happier with the Yankees. Don’t you?
Update: Looks like I spoke too soon on the Red Sox-Gonzo deal. Apparently, all is well now and there is joy in Beantown.
Who? I mean it’s possible that Lee will sign somewhere else, it really is. So if not him, then who else? That’s what everybody seems to be asking today so I’ll join the discussion – only I warn you: I won’t make any sense. Why should reality get in the way of a good blog post? The truth is, Lee isn’t the best non-Yankees pitcher in baseball; he’s just the best free agent non-Yankees pitcher in baseball. Which means that we have to look at those who aren’t free agents and would, therefore, require a miraculous, impossible-to-pull-off trade. Here are those I covet, regardless of availability or practicality.
1) The Freak
So what if he just won a World Series for the Giants? Maybe he’s tired of the West Coast, not to mention the color orange.
Yeah, he’s got some mileage on him, but I’ve made no secret of my affection for him and maybe he misses the American League East.
3) King Felix
It’s true that his team hasn’t been a contender and he’s looked out of sorts on occasion, but he’s only 24 – plenty of time for him to mature into the game’s best pitcher.
4) The Zackster
He’s already said he won’t come to New York, but that doesn’t mean he means it. And maybe CC and Amber will find him an historic old house in rural New Jersey with a barn and horses and it’ll feel just like Kansas, as in Missouri.
That’s what Girardi would call Justin Verlander if he migrated to the Bronx. Sure, he’s the ace of the Tigers’ staff, but wouldn’t it be less pressure to be a #2 pitcher?
Those are my top five choices in case Cliff Lee doesn’t work out. Did I miss somebody? (This is why I don’t play fantasy baseball. I always miss somebody.)
Let the campaign begin.
There was a time not too long ago (last season, as a matter of fact) when I would hide my eyes whenever Cano came up with men on base. He disappointed me a lot in those situations. Now? Not so much. His six RBIs today in the Yankees’ 10-0 thrashing of the Mariners were a snapshot of his 2010. He’s become the player everyone hoped he’d become. Why is this his year? My Top Five Reasons:
#1) Melky was shipped out of town.
#2) Hitting in the five spot behind A-Rod (or at cleanup in place of A-Rod) is a nice gig.
#3) He got a taste of winning a World Championship and liked it.
#4) He has his own bobblehead doll now.
#5) He’s just really, really good.
And to think..a few years ago I was among the chorus of fans who contemplated trading him. I should be ashamed, and I am.
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.
Why are you frowning in your official Yankees photo?
Why have you taken the 8th inning role you were handed and done nothing with it?
Why did you ruin Javy Vazquez’s fantastic performance against the Mariners tonight?
Why couldn’t you hold a one-run lead?
Why did you give King Felix the opportunity to celebrate on the mound?
Why did you make me so mad I almost broke my non-3D TV?
While it’s true that the offense was anemic, except for Nick Swisher’s lonely little homer, that the home plate umpire made a couple of atrocious calls, and that the Yankees can’t win every game they play, I’m pinning this loss directly on you. Thanks.
When I woke up this morning and read that the Yankees were thisclose to signing Lee, I jumped out of my chair and started cheering. The news was so unexpected. I never thought we were in the Cliff Lee hunt – at least not now. As the day went on, I walked around with a little spring in my step, knowing that instead of facing Lee tonight in Seattle, he would be pitching for us any day. He even called his friend CC and talked to him about where to live in New Jersey once he was in pinstripes.
But oh well. The Mariners spurned the Yankees’ offer and sent Lee to Texas. If he doesn’t wilt in the Arlington heat, maybe we’ll have another shot at him in December.
Meanwhile, the Yankees continued to roll here on the west coast (I’m really trying to take good care of them). Phil Huuuuuughes was excellent over seven innings, and the offense gave him nice run support thanks to A-Rod’s sac fly, a triple by Cano and two homers by Tex (one from each side), Chan Ho Park made things interesting in the ninth, but got it done. The Yanks have now won seven straight. Would there have been a “W” if we’d faced Cliff Lee? Who knows. Who cares. Not me. Not anymore. I’m over him.
He can root for the boys all he wants, but after that travesty on ESPN tonight I have no interest in his career. Was “The Decision” really necessary? Like millions of other suckers, I watched and waited and wondered why James couldn’t have just told the media which team he’d picked instead of creating such a cringe-worthy spectacle. But enough of that.
Congrats to Nick Swisher!!!! Melissa, our Friend of the Blog, said she voted for him 700 times. Can anyone top that? I’m so happy for him and proud of the fans who sent him to Anaheim.
Sweet win for the Yanks tonight – that’s six in a row. It was quite the pitcher’s duel at Safeco with Andy showing what a warrior he is, going eight innings with nine K’s. Amazing. The score was tied at 1-1 for what seemed like an eternity; our offense kept stranding runners and making me nuts. But with Jeter and Swisher on base in the ninth, up stepped A-Rod. Base hit. Two runs scored. Is the guy clutch or what? I was wary when Mo took the mound, given all the talk about his ailments, but he looked fine to me. After the game, Jack Curry interviewed A-Rod and reminded him that 16 years ago on this day he played his first game as a Mariner. Asked for his reaction, A-Rod said, “A lot’s happened since then.” I’ll say.
* Really good starting pitching by Javy Vazquez
* Excellent defense by A-Rod and the two Curtises (Grandy and Colin)
* Timely hits by Swisher, Grandy and Cervelli, plus a homer by Tex
* Back-to-back one-two-three innings by Joba and Mo
Mix the above ingredients together and you get a delicious win by the Yanks over Ben Sheets and the A’s – the perfect way to start the road trip.
A few random thoughts…Congrats to Andy Pettitte for making the All Star team following the injury to Buchholz. He was next on the list of players voted on by other players, so clap clap clap for him….Since Alfredo Aceves is clearly not coming back to the team any time soon, thanks to his latest setback, can Cashman please go out and get us another arm for the pen?…The Brett Gardner leadoff experiment tonight wasn’t wildly successful. He was 0-for-4. Small sample size, I know, but I like him in the #9 spot where there’s less pressure to get on base. He’s been doing a tremendous job there all season, so why not leave him there?…What’s the matter with Dallas Braden? Seriously, how can anyone be mad that the A’s have been selling “Get Off My Mound” T-shirts? Lighten up, guy….And did the Twins really offer the Mariners a couple of prospects for Cliff Lee? If so, does this mean he won’t be a Yankee next year?
The Mariners had their aces for the first two games in this series. Today we had ours out there for the finale. CC didn’t pitch a completo (who needs that – we have Mo), but he went eight innings and looked dominant for most of them. Not sure where Posada’s head was during that passed ball.
But A-Rod picked his teammates up with the homer. What a difference between the un-clutchy Al and the Al who’s emerged in the last year to come up in big situations and either tie the game or put the team ahead. Whatever it was that turned things around for him, I hope it continues. Nice win, boys.