I don’t usually fall for men with “body art.”
And normally it takes me a while to form meaningful attachments.
But AJ Burnett has come to the Yankees’ rescue twice in a row, and that’s exactly the kind of behavior that wins my trust and affection.
Here’s how he did it against the Rays and their cowbell-clanging supporters.
* He threw six innings of no-hit ball, completely handcuffing the previously elusive Upton.
* He hit Zobrist on the foot in the second inning. But he protested that the ball hit the ground first and the umpire bought it, thanks to his great sales job.
* He buzzed one up and in to Longoria in the bottom of the fourth after Matt Garza had buzzed one up and in to Swisher in the top of the frame, displaying a keen sense of fair play.
* He wore a perpetual snarl/lip curl, and I almost expected him to point his glove at the Rays and yell: “Get. Off. My. Lawn.”
* After he gave up his first hit to Crawford in the seventh, followed by singles to Longoria and Pena, he could have lost his focus. Instead, he came back out in the eighth and retired all three men he faced.
* He was the guiding force behind the Yankees’ 7-2 victory over the Rays, out-dueling Garza and his fluttering glove trick.
Of course, there were other heroes….
Swisher for continuing to swing a hot bat….Gardner for smacking back-to-back doubles….Molina for picking off Pena (Carlos)….Girardi for replacing Ransom with Pena (Ramiro)…Jeter for homering to put the game away….Bruney for nailing down the “W”….Tex for playing with a sore wrist, although I hope that broken-bat foul didn’t make it worse.
Speaking of “sore,” Nady’s got an elbow problem? What’s up with that? I guess we’ll find out after he spends part of Wednesday in here.
P.S. Starting Friday, I’ll be a regular weekly guest on the sports talk radio show “The Natural.” Hosted by Greg Marotta, the show is broadcast live from 4-5 p.m. Eastern Time on WVNJ-AM 1160 throughout Northern New Jersey, Westchester, Rockland and parts of Manhattan, Long Island and Connecticut, as well as via streaming audio on their web site.
“‘The Natural’ goes after out-of-the-box guests,” said Greg of his daily show. “Larry Lucchino….Mickey Rourke…..and now Jane Heller.”
I never expected to be in the same sentence as either Larry Lucchino or Mickey Rourke. But wonders never cease and talking about the Yankees never gets old.
I’m not talking about pitching. Apparently, Sabathia was taken down by a case of stomach flu and couldn’t complete his workout.
(Here’s an AP photo of Nick Swisher doing his best imitation of CC driving the porcelain bus.)
I sincerely hope the bug isn’t contagious, because the very last thing the Yankees need right now is a clubhouse full of upchuckers.
On to a more pleasant subject: the Academy Awards.
I’m excited about tomorrow night’s show (I’ll be live blogging), even though it’ll probably last for hours and people will make boring speeches and Hugh Jackman isn’t my idea of an A-list host – plus I’m still miffed that Clint Eastwood/Gran Torino and Bruce Springsteen/The Wrestler weren’t nominated. On Oscars eve, here are my predictions.
The nominees are:
Brad Pitt (Benjamin Button)
Richard Jenkins (The Visitor)
Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon)
Sean Penn (Milk)
Who should win: Sean Penn
Who will win: Mickey Rourke
(Sean has already been nominated five times and won once, so I pick Mickey to take the prize. Hollywood loves a comeback story, and he’s sure to say something odd and endearing up at the podium.)
Meryl Streep (Doubt)
Melissa Leo (Frozen River)
Kate Winslet (The Reader)
Angelina Jolie (Changeling)
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
Who should win: Melissa Leo
Who will win: Kate Winslet
(Kate is the new Meryl and it’s her year. As amazing as Melissa Leo was, nobody saw Frozen River; she’s lucky to have been nominated.)
Who should win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire
(I started to get Slumdog Fatigue a few weeks ago when the movie won all the run-up awards, but I still think it’ll bring home the gold.)
The only remaining question is….Which of these should I wear?
I really like the gown in the bottom row, second from the right, but who am I kidding. I’ll end up wearing this.
Remember when Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio played doomed lovers in “Titanic?”
They’re at it again, this time as a doomed married couple in “Revolutionary Road.”
The movie, which opens in limited release on December 26th and has been nominated for four Golden Globes (best director, best picture, best actress and actor), is based on a very grim novel by Richard Yates about the miseries of married life in the suburbs in the ’50s.
Also in the movie is Kathy Bates as a real estate agent
and Michael Shannon (from “When the Devil Knows You’re Dead”) as her psychotic son.
Director Sam Mendes, Kate Winslet’s real-life husband, directed “American Beauty” a few years ago and there are similarities. Both films are about couples who feel trapped in their marriages – and scream at each other a lot. The difference is that “American Beauty” had moments of levity. “Revolutionary Road” is serious business throughout. The actors are all great (Kate as the frustrated housewife; Leo as the man in the grey flannel suit), but I walked out of the theater going, “Did I really need to see this?”
Side note. The movie was shot in Darien, CT, home of Brian Cashman. Can’t help inserting a Yankees reference somewhere.
Another side note. Michael Shannon did a Q&A with us after the screening. He was asked what his next project is, and he said, “I’m doing a movie with Mickey Rourke.” I guess Mickey wasn’t kidding when he told us yesterday that he was making a comeback.
Did I enjoy “Revolutionary Road?”
Let me put it in baseball terms. You’re a Yankee fan. You’re watching a Yankees-Red Sox game at Fenway. It’s a tense contest. No score. You’re appreciating the effort from both sides, but you’re squirming in your seat, wishing it would be over. Bottom of the ninth. David Ortiz hits a walk-off homer.
The movie was well done, but no. I didn’t enjoy it.
Here’s the trailer. Even the music is depressing. I’ll be glad to get back to blogging about baseball tomorrow.
Remember Mickey Rourke, the actor in ’80s movies like “Diner,” “Rumble Fish” and “The Pope of Greenwich Village?” He was always the gritty, tough guy and used to look like this.
Then came a lot of bad movies, an arrest for spousal abuse and a DUI. I wouldn’t be much of a blogger if I didn’t post a mug shot or two.
Mickey left acting, tried his luck at boxing and essentially fell off the planet – until now. He’s back with a vengeance, starring in “The Wrestler,” which opens in limited release on December 17th. I went to a screening today and all I can say is: Go see this movie! It’s R-rated and not for the squeamish (I hid my eyes during the really gory parts), but it’s amazing.
Mickey plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a washed-up pro wrestler who tries to get his life together, even as he can’t give up the thrill of the show. Check out The Ram’s hair.
Marisa Tomei is great as the stripper with the heart of gold (lots of pole dancing, guys), and Evan Rachel Wood is very touching as The Ram’s estranged daughter. I can’t recommend the movie highly enough, but beware: It’s not “Rocky” and you won’t leave the theater feeling uplifted. You may leave humming the theme song though. Bruce Springsteen wrote the music that plays over the closing credits.
After the screening, there was a reception for the director and the cast members. I talked to Marisa Tomei, who was very chatty.
No, I didn’t ask her if she was a Yankee fan. I was more interested in how she could dance around naked in front of a zillion cameramen. She told me she downed a few shots of tequila before they shot the scene. Not a bad plan, I guess.
I also talked to 21-year-old Evan Rachel Wood, who is rumored to be dating 52-year-old Mickey Rourke following her breakup with Marilyn Manson. Seriously. Who dates Marilyn Manson? Who dates Mickey Rourke?
Yep, that’s what Mickey looked like at the party today – sunglasses, jewelry, lots of “repair work” on his face. I asked him if he did all his own stunts for the movie and he said he did, winding up in the hospital a few times. He also had to gain 35 pounds of muscle for the role. He claimed he did it by working out at the gym, but there’s a scene where he injects steroids right into his gluteous maximus. Maybe The Giambino taught him how to do it.
Today’s screening was part of the lead-up to the Santa Barbara Film Festival at the end of next month. I volunteered to participate in the trailer that will be shown before each film during the festival. I was asked to name my favorite movie genre, favorite movie in that genre and favorite line from the movie. My answers? No surprise. Favorite genre? Baseball movies. Favorite baseball movie? “Pride of the Yankees.” Favorite line from the movie? Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech, naturally.
Here I am on the set trying to deliver the line. I was nervous and kept screwing it up. If only I’d had a couple of shots of tequila.
Here’s the trailer for “The Wrestler.” Check it out.