Tagged: Marlins

Day 2 of “Operation Jeter Countdown”

As promised, there will be a Jeter-related video for each post until the Captain and the Yankees have officially made a deal – no matter how long it takes. (I mean, seriously. Was I supposed to write a post about how Javy Vazquez is going to the Marlins? Didn’t think so.) Tonight’s Jeter video takes us back to simpler times. Way back. So far back that he and A-Rod were close friends for real. My reaction when I watched it was, “Awwwww. Look how young they both were.” Not that I want Cashman to dwell on Jeter’s age. Instead, I want him to see that his shortstop was proud to be a New York Yankee and wasn’t afraid to tweak his buddy about it. (Love A-Rod’s line about how Jeter is “hip hop.”)

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.”)
MANNY scoreboardcopy.jpg
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.


The Yankees are falling on their faces, as evidenced by today’s 6-5 loss to the Marlins, yesterday’s 2-1 defeat, and lackluster efforts against the Nationals and Mets. And while I’m not panicking – they’ve been in much worse shape than this – I’m not at all amused. Why? Take today, for instance.
#1. CC had to leave in the second inning with tendinitis in his biceps.
#2. The Yankees’ bats looked like they were made of this. (Picture of Swiss cheese.)

#3. After Aceves pitched brilliantly in relief of CC, Bombko lived up to his nickname.
#4. Melky tried to throw out Hanley Ramirez at home, but the ball traveled into another state entirely.
#5. Joe Girardi cleverly caught the Marlins asleep at the wheel, pointed out their lineup blunder to the umps, got De Aza thrown out of the game and then watched Jeter, Swisher and Teixeira go down in order. He played the game under protest.
#6. A-Rod hit a single that scored two runs, but otherwise appeared as fatigued as the day before. I’ve decided it’s Kate Hudson’s fault and I want her to go back to one of her previous boyfriends.



#7. That ninth-inning rally against the Marlins’ closer that began with singles by Posada and Melky, resulted in two runs thanks to Gardner’s gapper, and continued with the walk to Damon ended with Jeter’s annoying habit of first-pitch swinging. THE GUY JUST WALKED DAMON! TAKE A PITCH, DEREK!


Maybe the Yankees will have better luck against the Braves, but somebody needs to step up.

Miami Vice

Maybe if those two had pinch hit for Posada and Cano in the ninth, the Yankees would have come back to beat the Marlins. Anybody would have been better than Jorge, who popped up with Tex on first, and Cano, who grounded into a double play (which he also did in the ninth against the Nationals on Wednesday).
Instead, the Yanks went down 2-1. It was a pitcher’s duel between the Marlins’ hard-throwing young giant, who was actually good as opposed to lucky,
and AJ, who was very good but very unlucky.
Not only were his teammates’ bats silent, but his three outfielders had adventurous interactions with fly balls due, supposedly, to Land Shark Stadium’s bright lights.
Swisher caught Coghlan’s line drive in the first but was clearly blinded.
In the fourth, Melky let Ramirez’s ball drop in front of him for a single, which made him look awfully clumsy.
And Damon was charged with an error after failing to catch Cantu’s liner in the sixth, turning a routine out into an interesting slide.
The game did have its positives:
Posada nailed Ramirez and Bonifacio trying to steal second.
AJ went six-plus, striking out eight.
Coke and Hughes threw perfect innings in relief.
I’m really beginning to appreciate Phil Hughes in the pen. He seems much freer, less of a nibbler, as a reliever. What an asset he could be down the stretch.
I’m not sure why A-Rod was pinch-hitting in the eighth. I thought he was resting, which means not picking up a bat or going in to play third base. Is it really that hard to follow doctor’s orders?
And what was up with those cowbells the Marlins handed out to fans at the game? Aren’t they a Rays thing?
The funniest line of the game came from YES’s Paul O’Neill: “I love sports. They’re so much better than reading a book because you never know what’s going to happen.”
I love sports myself, Paulie, but memo to you: books have surprising plot twists too. Have you ever heard of Ludlum? Grisham? Jane Heller?

The Yankees Must Be Reading My Blog

Yesterday, I suggested – strongly – that A-Rod be given a day off or two, and – lo and behold – he sat out the opener of the series against the Marlins.
He’ll probably be on the bench for Saturday’s game too. It’s about time he got time off. I had my tonsils out when I was in second grade, and I didn’t go to gym class right after the surgery.
While A-Rod was taking the night off, the Yankees were beating the Marlins the way they should have beaten the Nationals. The 5-1 victory could have been 10-1, given all the runners left on base, but I won’t quibble. We got a very good bounce-back outing from Pettitte.
He went seven innings, gave up a measly three hits and walked nobody. Was he really, really excellent or were the Marlins really, really bad? It was probably both. I mean, we were playing “the fish,” for God’s sake.
I know Hanley Ramirez is supposed to be so terrific, but did you see that ball hit to his right that he couldn’t grab? Angel Berroa, tonight’s surprising replacement for A-Rod, made a better play on Paulino’s grounder in the seventh. Of course, he also popped up with bases loaded. Grrrr.
Jeter was in the lineup and, despite a nice offensive night, he was clearly hampered by the stiff ankle. I guess that’s why Girardi didn’t use Pena at third, in case Derek had to come out during the game. He was definitely limping.
In addition to the effective job by Pettitte, the Yanks got another strong eighth-inning outing from Bruney. Is he the one who will finally grab the slot most recently held by this guy?
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And before him, this guy?
I’d like to see some stability in the pen, but the jury’s still out on Brew. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m not into his ‘stache. Nobody can do ‘staches like Giambino.
So what if he had to use a little bit of this now and then?
Bottom line? It was a positive game for the Yanks. I hope they’re enjoying the Miami nightlife, but not too much.
They need to sweep here. Are you reading this, Yankees? I said: SWEEP.

The Yankees Won The Season That Didn’t Count!


Yes, they won the 2009 Grapefruit League. Which is another way of saying they won the state of Florida. 
Which is another way of saying they won more spring training games than any other team on the circuit. I realize it’s not the World Series, but it’s better than this.
Stooges- Eye Poke.jpg
Presumably, the players are feeling good about themselves as they head home to face the Cubs for two more games that don’t count. Will they win those too? Who cares. I just want the “real” season to start.
Which team will take home the hardware this year? Everybody’s got a prediction, and the answers vary depending on whom you ask. Of course, I pick the Yankees. I’m a complete homer. I can’t be trusted to think impartially. I don’t pretend to be fair. But I honestly believe the Yanks have the talent to get it done. I mean, seriously. Look at this starting rotation.
Is it better than Beckett/Lester/Matsuzaka/Wakefield/Penny/Smoltz?
Or Kazmir/Shields/Garza/Sonnanstine/Price?
Only time will tell, but it’s a helluva lot better than last year’s model.
Are there question marks? Sure. But every team has them. Every team.
What isn’t a question mark for the Yankees this year is a first baseman who can not only hit with consistency and power but who can catch the ball. Huge upgrade right there.
Other non-question marks? I like Jeter leading off, with Damon batting second. I think Gardy will drive opposing pitchers nuts on the bases. I figure Nady will have a productive contract year. I’m glad we have a bench, which was nonexistent in ’08. I expect Mo to be Mo.
But don’t take my word for it. Hear what Michael, my husband, had to say. I turned the She-Fan Cam on him earlier while we were walking on the beach. He was a reluctant interviewee, threatening to throw the Cam into the ocean if I didn’t leave him alone, but I talked him down.
It’s settled. The only other times in life that Michael was ever wrong were:
2001 – He predicted the Yankees would beat the Diamondbacks.
2003 – He predicted the Yankees would bury the Marlins.
2004 – He predicted the Yankees would sweep the Red Sox.
2007-  He predicted the Yankees would overcome the Indians and their indigenous insects.
O.K., so his track record isn’t perfect. Never mind. The Yankees will win the World Series. Again.

A.J. Stands for “A Jokester,” It Turns Out

Sure, the Yankees invested $82.5 million in a pitcher who’s spent a good deal of time on the disabled list. But we also landed a guy who throws dirty, filthy, nasty, vile, vulgar, obscene, maggoty (help me, I’m running out of adjectives) stuff.
What’s more, he’ll be joining a rotation that will consist of


and either
(Who says we aren’t willing to go younger?)
The New York Yankees. Nothing but All-Stars. Please don’t hate us because we’re bountiful. We realize that money can’t buy a championship, trust me. It’s just that it makes things more entertaining during the off-season.
Back to A.J., our new prize. Did I mention that he threw a no-hitter against the Padres when he was a Marlin? That he led the NL in shutouts (5) in ’02? That he led the AL in strikeouts (231) last year? That he’s 5-0 lifetime against the Red Sox?
Well, here’s something you might not have known: A.J. Burnett is a jokester. He enjoys playing pranks on his teammates, as shown here with Doc Halladay.
So we’re not only getting a pitcher with dirty, filthy, nasty (blah blah) stuff. We’re getting a guy who’ll liven things up at the new Yankee Stadium.
Here’s a look at A.J.’s past antics. He’ll be worth every penny if he throws a pie at or dumps water on Joe Girardi.

What Does the “A.J.” Stand For? Raise Your Hand.

I’m talking about A.J. Burnett, obviously.
Did you read the MLB story today that said: “Every American League East team except Tampa Bay, plus the Braves and Phillies, is considering making an offer for Burnett?”
Yikes. Sounds like the A.J. Sweepstakes are on, and whoever signs him will also get one of these.
So who will get him? And what do we really know about him, other than that he has filthy stuff? Jays fans are familiar with him, naturally, as are Marlins fans. But we who worship the pinstripes may be a bit hazy on his background.
For instance, what does “A.J.” stand for? “Alex Jeter?” Nope. His full name is Allan James Burnett, and he’s from North Little Rock, Arkansas.
His early career was with the aforementioned Marlins, for whom he threw a no-hitter in 2001. Lots of celebrating that night. Good, good times. (Never mind that he walked nine in the game.)
But then came 2003, when A.J. heard the worst three words a pitcher can hear: Tommy John Surgery.
He recovered, but was shut down in 2004 with an elbow injury. Shades of Carl Pavano?
In September of 2005, he suffered yet another injury – to his mind.
He flipped out after a bad game and ranted to a room full of reporters: “I’m sick of it, man! It’s depressing around here!” The next day he was instructed by the Marlins’ management to pack his bags and move on.
He landed with the Jays, where his 2006 season began with another injury. A piece of scar tissue – remnants from his Tommy John surgery – broke off inside his pitching arm.
He was on the disabled list again that year with arm soreness. Two more stints on the DL followed in ’07. And in ’08 he was out b/c he tore off his fingernail after getting it caught in a closing car door. I hate when that happens. He should have just grabbed some of this.
Life got a whole lot better for A.J. as 2008 went along. He ended up having a great season and bonded completely and forever with the Jays’ true ace.

I bet Halliday will be sad to see him go if the Jays don’t re-sign him. Here’s what Doc will miss about A.J.:
That Aztec tattoo on his right leg…..
That snarling look on the mound….
Which is eerily reminiscent of this man…..
And the blaring sounds of his favorite group, System of a Down.
If it’s the Yankees who win the A.J. Sweepstakes (and the toaster), I wonder how they’ll deal with his heavy metal proclivity. As far as I know, only “Enter Sandman” is allowed at the Stadium.
The outcome of the sweepstakes is unclear as of this writing. All that’s certain is that Mr. Burnett and his family are taking it easy down in Miramar, Florida, secure in the knowledge that they’re about to get way richer.