For the second day in a row, a Jays outfielder lost a ball in the sun and the Yankees benefitted in a big way. The official scorer ruled that Gardner’s shot to center that deflected off Wise’s glove was an inside-the-park homer, which didn’t make sense but was fine with me. What really cheered me was that we tied the score at 5-5 on a day when Huuuughes didn’t have it. Whew.
I had a feeling we’d win this one, despite the roller-coaster nature of it. Even after three Yankees were thrown out at the plate, even after Mo blew the save (I hate typing those words), even after Dave Robertson gave up a hit and two walks, I sensed victory. What I didn’t expect was that the hero would be Marcus Thames, literally fresh off the DL.
The Yankees haven’t had a lot of walkoffs this season, but Thames has seen his share of shaving cream. Don’t you love the pleasure A.J. seems to take in smearing his victims?
What I don’t love is that Posada got hurt again. I don’t remember a season when so many players either fouled a ball off their feet/legs or catchers got nailed in the hand/fingers. All I can say is get well soon, Jorge, because we already DFA-ed Chad Moeller.
P.S. Here are a couple of photos from today’s game, sent to me by Friend of the Blog John, also known as ooaooa. First up is John, his wife, his cousin and Michael Kay. Second one is a shot of the championship trophies that were on display in honor of Steinbrenner’s birthday. If anyone else is at a game and wants to contribute pics, by all means send them along.
According to various reports, including today’s blog post on “It Is High,” David Cone is having issues with the YES Network and may not be back to provide commentary in the booth this year. I am not happy. I loved Coney as a player and I grew to love him as a broadcaster. He was smart, funny, unpredictable, occasionally goofy, extremely prepared and way more interesting to listen to than Ken Singleton and John Flaherty, both of whom are sweet and knowledgeable but have the effect of Ambien.
Supposedly, Coney’s replacement would be Tino Martinez. Now don’t anyone get all huffy about what I’m going to say. Tino is a Yankee god and always will be, but have you heard him in the booth? I remember when he had a brief stint on ESPN or FOX (can’t remember which). He had the personality of this.
Just to compare and contrast the styles of the two former players, here they are being interviewed at Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation dinner in ’08. Granted, Coney’s clip is longer, but maybe that’s because he didn’t spout cliches.
Here’s Coney (notice John Sterling in the background)….
If I were a YES executive, I’d be looking for an ex-Yankee who can share his own experiences but knows when to shut up and whose personality meshes well with Michael Kay (good luck with that). In short, I’d hire….
Any ideas? Shelley Duncan’s out, since he just signed with the Indians. Congratulations, Shelley! Try not to break anybody’s arm!
Since tonight’s Yankees-Rays game was rained out, I decided to muse about my trip to New York (I leave Thursday). I’m getting jazzed about all the cool things I’ll be doing in the Apple.
Well, there’s one thing I’m not looking forward to.
As anyone who’s read my book may remember, I’m not wild about flying. If there’s turbulence I tend to guzzle too much plane wine and end up like this.
With any luck, my cross-country flight will be smooth and uneventful, and I’ll arrive at JFK on Thursday night with all my faculties.
On Friday, I’ll be doing my weekly segment on “The Natural,” the New Jersey-based radio show where I joust with host Greg Marotta about the Yankees. (He thinks Joba should be in the pen. I don’t. Not anymore.)
But the rest of the weekend will be family time. I haven’t seen my mother in a while, so it’ll be great to visit with her in Westchester.
(No, that isn’t my mother. I just felt the need to put a nice lady up there. Hopefully, my actual mother will be wearing the Jeter jersey I bought her. She has lots of opinions about the Yanks and should be good She-Fan Cam material.)
After resting up at Mom’s, it’ll be on to the city for some serious media scrutiny about my book.
Are you ready for this? Barbara Kopple, who won two Oscars for her documentaries, is interviewing me for the doc she’s shooting about the Yankees. It’s scheduled to air in the fall on ESPN. For all I know, I’ll end up on the proverbial cutting room floor, but it was exciting to be contacted and I’m looking forward to meeting Barbara.
No clue what she’ll want to talk about for two hours, but I guess I’ll find out. I did love her two Oscar winners:
“Harlan County, U.S.A.” about the coal miner’s strike in Kentucky…
and “Shut Up & Sing” about the Dixie Chicks’ crusade for freedom of speech.
A little later that afternoon, I’ll head to the YES Network’s production studio to tape a segment for “Yankees Magazine,” the weekly show hosted by Bob Lorenz.
I’ll be sure not to mention that I regularly rip Michael Kay on this blog (gently).
Wednesday will be the best day of all: my first trip to the new stadium for the Yankees-Nationals game. I can’t wait to see the Yanks in action. I’m also dying to sample all the food everyone’s been talking about. Watching this MLB video about the Food Network concession made me really hungry, although I could do without the fried pickle.
I’ll be sitting with my husband and my friend Patty from the New York Times. We’ll be up in the nosebleeds (section 323) but behind home plate. If anybody’s going to the game on the 17th, please stop by and say hi.
Also….this is still to be confirmed, fingers crossed….I’ll be having a signing for my book before the game, from 4:30-6, right outside the one-and-only Stan’s Sports Bar across the street from the Stadium!
Stan’s is an institution in Yankeeville. Its owner, Louis Dene, who happens to live part time in Santa Barbara, has managed to keep the place hopping for years. If you’ve been there, you know that it’s wall-to-wall Yankee fans.
I’m hoping we’ll be able to sell books right in the middle of all the craziness, with the help of Denise, the community relations manager at the Bay Plaza Barnes & Noble in the Bronx.
The main thing for that night is…IT CANNOT RAIN!
I think I’ll start my anti-rain dance right now.
Whew. I’m a little dizzy and those feathers made me sneeze, but it was worth it if it keeps the rain away.
At least it felt that way. To me.
Andy Pettitte slogged through five innings, walking six during the Yankees’ anemic 4-2 loss. It was as if he’d never held a baseball before.
The Yankees offense didn’t do much, either. Every time they looked as if they might pull themselves out of the muck, they sank deeper.
Posada belted a solo shot after getting belted in the kidney by the bat of Marlon Byrd. (It was an accident, but still. It pained me to watch the replays.) Otherwise, the game was an exercise in futility, especially for A-Rod.
In the third:
In the sixth:
Damon reached on an error.
A-Rod? Struck out swinging.
In the eighth:
A-Rod? K-ed again.
Not that Jeter was much better. He went 0-for-4 and ended his hitting streak at 16, talk about looking as soggy as the 12-minute rain delay. In fact, there were entirely too many ground ball outs in what was supposed to be The Home Run Palace. Where was the much-heralded jet stream?
Clearly, the Yanks missed Tex in the lineup. It turns out that he injured his ankle Tuesday night while performing his death-defying take-out slide.
He’s day to day, so I hope he’ll be back in the #3 spot tomorrow for the series finale. With Wang making his first start in ages, we’ll need some serious scoring. We’ll also need Aceves as a backup, since Bombko pitched three very impressive innings tonight.
I’ve made fun of the Rangers’ announcers, so I must give equal time to Kay and O’Neill, tonight’s YES team. When Kay wasn’t going on about his large head, he was engaging O’Neill in idiotic conversations. Like the one about which Yankees wear mouth guards.
“Pettitte wears one now,” said Kay. “It’s the kind that prevents grinding during a game.”
“My wife wears one too,” said O’Neill. “She sleeps with it.”
And how about when they were talking about the respective talents of Cano and Kinsler.
O’Neill: “There are a lot of good second basemens in the league.”
I know. Paulie was a great ballplayer and I adore him. So what if his grammar needs work? Nobody’s perfect.
He was dominant in tonight’s 10-5 win over the Indians, but indulge me a sec.
Before I start pontificating about the game, I absolutely must rave about the movie I saw this morning. My film festival group showed a screening of Disney/Pixar’s animated feature “Up,” which opened around the country yesterday. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, male or female, romantic or cynic. It’s just plain great – a funny, heartwarming story about living life to the fullest. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Here’s the trailer, which doesn’t do it justice.
Back to the game. I wasn’t sure how CC would react to pitching in front of the Cleveland fans, but he didn’t display any nerves at all. In fact, the only drama in the first inning was when Victor Martinez fouled a ball off his knee and stayed down on the ground for an eternity.
I admired his desire to play hurt, but come on! He was holding up the game!
Basically, this contest boiled down to the following formula:
great starting pitching + flawless defense + solid offense = win.
The Yankees had it all going on. CC lost a bit of focus with a 7-0 lead in the fifth, but for the most part he cruised.
Tex and A-Rod, in particular, made some great plays behind him, and the offense seemed very relaxed, as if they knew they wouldn’t have to play catch-up.
Jorge – tater!
Swisher – tater!
Jeter – 2 RBI single!
Cano – ditto!
And all seven runs came off of Carmona, who’d been tough on the Yankees in the past. We tacked on three more against a reliever named Ohka, not to be confused with Okra.
Everybody contributed in some way. A-Rod isn’t running well, but his arm is one of these.
Matsui can’t run well either, but he had a couple of doubles.
And Gardner runs really well, of course, and scored after taking a simple walk.
Robertson shut down the Indians in the eighth, but in came Veras for the ninth. The Yanks were up 10-3, but I couldn’t stand to watch.
I did hear Michael Kay say this: “If they could straighten out Veras, it would really stabilize the bullpen.”
Right. And pigs can fly.
What did Veras do this time?
Served up a solo shot to Choo.
Hit DeRosa in the arm.
Allowed a double to Francisco.
I’m sure he’s a very nice person and will perform admirably for some other team. But enough. It’s time for the Yanks to send him packing.
But I quibble. The important thing is that the Yanks won again, extended their errorless streak to 16 games and are still in first place for another 24 hours. Life is good.
We won the Grapefruit League. We won Florida. And now we’ve won the Dress Rehearsal, mauling the Cubs 10-1 in a quaint, old-fashioned, Bronx Bombers-style display of brute force.
Sure, it was windy and the balls were flying out. But they weren’t flying out for the Cubs, were they?
Up stepped Jeter: three-run shot.
Up stepped Teixeira: solo blast, followed by a three-run jack. (So much for his slow start.)
Up stepped Shelley: one-run dinger.
Not that the pitching wasn’t impressive. Pettitte labored but escaped damage. AJ was brilliant over four scoreless innings. And Bruney and Coke looked downright nasty.
There were things that bothered me.
* MLB.TV’s feed kept “stuttering,” which forced me to lower the quality of the video.
* YES showed clips of the perfect games by Wells/Cone over and over. I love a memorable Yankees moment as much as the next fan, but how about a breather?
* I don’t need to see any more images of people roaming around “the great hall” looking dazed and confused.
* If there are so many empty seats at the Stadium, why not lower the prices or give them away to aspiring she-fans?
On the plus side…
* I was grateful that MLB.TV broadcast the game at all, since my Extra Innings cable package doesn’t kick in until tomorrow.
* I enjoy watching Brett Gardner play small ball, but I almost forgot how much I like big ball.
* I admit I derive a certain satisfaction when the opposition makes errors. So I laughed when that routine pop-up dropped between the Cubs players. I did. Forgive me.
* I roared when Michael Kay asked Paul O’Neill if he ever got under the covers with his wife on cold nights in Cincinnati and showed her his Yankeeography.
Since the Yankees won again, I’ll be eating chicken for dinner again. And again – until the Yankees lose or I grow feathers. Whichever comes first.
The game tonight was like a dress rehearsal.
The full cast was there.
So was the stage manager.
And, of course, the theater was ushering in paying customers.
How did it go?
Without a hitch, despite occasional raindrops. The Yankees held back the Cubs 7-4, and a supporting player became a star. Yes, Cody Ransom, the understudy for A-Rod, belted a three-run homer off the left field foul pole and was instantly dubbed “C-Ran” by the adoring crowd.
Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t he look a little like Clay Aiken?
Anyhow, there were a number of “firsts” during the inaugural performance at the new Stadium, even though the game itself didn’t count. Here are some that stood out for me.
* First Yankees hit: Derek Jeter (leadoff double).
* First Yankees unproductive at-bat: Mark Teixeira (stuck out swinging with Jeter on third).
* First Yankees homer: Robinson Cano (two-run jack in the second).
* First Yankees display of superhuman speed (Brett Gardner’s double).
* First bullpen by committee to hold the opposition scoreless (Mo, Veras, Ramirez, Albaledejo).
* First Yankees player-photographer: Johnny Damon (took pictures of himself in the dugout).
* First mention of Michael Kay’s large head (Paul O’Neill during the YES intro).
* First semi-joke (Michael Kay: “Having the old Stadium right there is like getting re-married and having your ex-wife living across the street”).
* First camera shot of empty field boxes due to economic downturn (two minutes into the broadcast).
* First shout out to attending celebrity (Paul Simon with unidentified companion).
* First use of new kitchen appliance (I roasted a chicken in my brand new oven).
I’m looking forward to another dress rehearsal against the Cubs tomorrow. Luckily, I have leftover chicken. If the Yankees win again, I’ll be eating it every day until they lose.
So there I was this afternoon, working at my computer, when an email arrived from Bernadette, my Yankee fan buddy and the author of the MLBlog, This Fan’s Life.
“Michael Kay just spent five minutes talking about you and your book!” she wrote. “He was really upset that you said he had an ‘extremely large head.’ He went on and on about it. He even read part of the book on the air – the scene where you meet him and Al Leiter at the Toronto Airport. He said he was hurt because you said Al Leiter was handsome and he just had a large head.”
Was she kidding? Were my eyes deceiving me? Would Michael Kay, the play-by-play announcer for the YES Network and the host of his own show on ESPN Radio, actually get his knickers in a twist over my description of his head size and my comment that Leiter was cute?
I called Bern and asked her to repeat what she’d heard. “Yes,” she said. “It really happened!”
Joe Torre spoke to a huge media contingent about his book. Kobe Bryant scored a record 61 points against the Knicks. Manny rejected the Dodgers’ latest contract offer. And Michael Kay was talking about this?
Hey, I’m not complaining. Any publicity is good publicity, right? It’s just that I didn’t mean to insult Kay. I was merely being accurate. Judge for yourself.
Al Leiter’s head….
versus Michael Kay’s head.
But the truth is, I wasn’t looking so hot myself that night in Toronto. No makeup. Bad hair. And wine breath. I hate to fly so I tanked up before takeoff and drank more atrocious plane wine during the flight.
So Michael Kay wasn’t the only one with head issues by the time he and I met at baggage claim. Mine was pounding.
I’m hoping he’ll have me on the show so I can apologize for hurting his feelings. He does have nice teeth. I plan on telling him that.
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.”
So much speculation surrounding the future of Mark Teixeira. The Red Sox have said they’re out, but are they? The Angels, Nationals and Orioles have said they’re in, but are they? The Yankees have said they aren’t even making an offer, but are they? Teixeira himself has said he’ll make his decision by Christmas, but will he?
WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON? I’M SICK OF WAITING, PEOPLE!
Since the media has been useless in ferreting out the truth, I consulted someone who’d be able to divine it: astrologer Susan Miller. I went on her web site, astrologyzone.com, and read Teixeira’s horoscope for December. Talk about an eye-opener.
Tex was born on April 11th, which makes him an Aries – the Ram.
Here are the highlights of Susan’s forecast….
“Santa’s most vital gift for you will be to bring the most outstanding career news you’ve ever heard at holiday time – or ever!”
Most outstanding career news ever? That suggests Tex will get the $195 million he’s seeking.
“A major promotion or job switch to a powerful, exciting new position should arrive just after the new moon December 27.”
Job switch? That indicates the Angels won’t be Tex’s destination, since he’s already been their first baseman. So long, Halos.
“Starting in late December you will have Jupiter, Mercury, Pluto, Mars, the sun, and the new moon crowded in your solar tenth house of professional prestige and promotion, the part of your chart that brings all sorts of acclaim to your reputation.”
Prestige? No offense, but that takes care of the Nationals and Orioles. Bye bye, you two.
And then there’s the acclaim to your reputation bit. Which team has had more acclaim: Red Sox or Yankees? I know, I know. The Red Sox have won the World Series twice in four years and the Yankees haven’t won it since 2000. But over the course of history, the Yanks have won it 26 times. That’s a whole lot of acclaim. See ya, Boston.
Which doesn’t mean the Yankees will give Tex the contract terms he’s asking for. Eight years? That would put him in pinstripes until 2016, and the Yanks are unlikely to agree to such a long-term deal. But let’s see what Susan Miller has to say.
“Having six heavenly bodies crowded into that lofty part of your chart will be a huge competitive advantage and is so exceptional that you’ll not have the same kind of cosmic help again until 2019.“
Holy smokes. The Yankees will tie Tex up for ELEVEN years.
I wasn’t expecting that.
Do I want Mark Teixeira? Of course.
But do I want him until he can hardly get through an interview with Michael Kay?
No. I don’t. Be careful what you wish for.