Tagged: Mo

Congratulations, Joe

Go ahead and bask in the glow of success with the Dodgers. You earned it. No resentment from me. I’m happy for you and your team. Of course, I wish it could be the Yankees that are joining you in the second round (do you even miss us at all, Joe?), but good job sweeping the Cubs. I bet you’ll get a lot of nice phone calls from Jeter, Pettitte, Jorge, and Mo. I wouldn’t count on one from Hankenstein though.


Girardi’s Press Conference Today – Let’s Discuss

Just listened to the audio, courtesy of Peter Abraham’s blog, and Joe sounded as if his team hadn’t been bumped from the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. Sure, he used the word “disappointed” a couple of times, but the guy is nothing if not upbeat. Either he was born that way or he’s on Prozac.

A few of his answers stood out for me.
* He said he has a better understanding now of what makes individual players tick. (Gee, I would hope so after spending all those months with them.)
* He said there will be a conscious effort to avoid the slow start the Yankees got off to, both this year and last. (He didn’t say what that effort would involve, and I, for one, would have liked specifics.)
* He said the Yankees plan to upgrade the rotation so there will be more experienced pitchers on the staff, either by diving into the free agent market or through trades. One of the writers asked if the Yankees were still the “in” place for free agents. Girardi’s answer? “Sure, it is.” (Again, the man is upbeat.)
* He said he thinks Pettitte will return but doesn’t know about Mussina. (Am I the only one who wonders if the Yankees SHOULD bring Andy back?)
* He said he expects Posada, Matsui, Wang, and Mo to recover fully from their surgeries/injuries and be at full capacity when next season starts. (I think it’s the Prozac. Nobody is that cheerful about the future without at least a little medication.)
There were no juicy tidbits – Girardi didn’t venture a guess about what Cashman will decide and he didn’t commit to whether Joba will start or relieve, etc.
So, it looks like we’ll end the 2008 season the same way we ended 2007 – with plenty of uncertainty. Which means there will be lots of stuff to blog about.  

Three Rosin Bags and You’re Out!

Am I crazy or was Papelbon being a diva in today’s game? Sure, it was raining but how many times can you wipe yourself off with a rosin bag, dig your spikes into a muddy mound and wander around looking like you’d rather be cleaning toilets than pitching? Was it the weather that was bugging him? The non-save situation? The desire to be resting up for the postseason? I kept waiting for the home plate umpire to go out there and make him speed things along – isn’t that their job these days? – but no. Pap needed three rosin bags before it was over. Don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

O.K. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest I’ll turn to the important news of the game, which, of course, was Mussina’s 20th win. Lots of clapping here. I was stuck with the NESN feed and didn’t get to see any post-game interviews, but Moose must be a very happy camper. Good job by Coke, Bruney and Mo to keep things under control, as opposed to Joba, who threw like his head was already back in Nebraska.
While I wait for the nightcap to start (how can this be the end of our season – yikes), I feel compelled to ask: Why would the Mets hold their stadium farewell after their game? I realize that they were playing for their survival today and probably didn’t want any distractions, but how could they not factor in the possibility that they might lose and that they’re “celebration” of Shea might be just a tad DEPRESSING?
Well, who I am to cast stones? My team was eliminated ages ago, or so it seems.
So now what? How do I fill the time? Pick a team that’s in the playoffs and watch their games? Throw myself into election coverage? Start a neighborhood watch and go around making citizen’s arrests?
Wait! I just remembered! Not all regular seasons are coming to an end. Tonight is the season premiere of “Desperate Housewives.” I do have something to live for.

Did I Really Just Watch the Yankees for 11 Straight Hours?

Yes. That’s exactly what I did today. Well, I took a break to eat and blog and send emails. I also did the laundry. But my Yankees marathon started at 10 a.m. here in California with ESPN Classic’s airing of Game 5 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks. I switched over to ESPN for all the pre-game interviews, clips and commentary about the Stadium, then to ESPN2 for the pre-game ceremonies, then back to ESPN for the game and post-game. If the Yankees hadn’t beaten the Orioles after all the hoopla, I think I would have smashed my TV. But all is well. We won. I’m exhausted, but in a good way.

Favorite moment of the pre-game coverage:
* Peter Gammons having to praise the Yankees when he usually has something negative to say about them. Ditto: Steve Phillips.
Favorite moments of the pre-game ceremony:
* The return of Bernie.
* The appearances of the wives and/or children of Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, and Elston Howard.
* The actors who played the dearly departed Yankees. I thought I would hate this part, but I found myself oddly moved by it, as if the men who were supposed to be Ruth and Gehrig and the others were kindly spirits touching down at the Stadium one last time.
* Willie Randolph sliding into second.
* Whitey Ford and Don Larson grabbing dirt from the pitcher’s mound.
* The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers for O’Neill, Brosius and Tino.
* The first pitch thrown by Ruth’s daughter to Posada.
Least favorite moment of the pre-game ceremony:
* The crowd booing A-Rod as he trotted to third base. Talk about a bummer in the midst of so much good will. Really bush league.
Favorite moments of the game:
* Jeter being in the lineup despite his injured left wrist.
* Damon’s HR to give the Yankees the lead and put a halt to the team’s futility against pitchers they haven’t faced.
* Molina’s HR. Obviously. Who would have picked him as the last guy to hit one out at the Stadium?
* David Cone and David Wells sitting together in the stands. 
* Whitey and Yogi joining Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the booth.
* Pettitte gutting it out, even though he didn’t have much.
* The bullpen doing its job – again.
* Gardner proving that his speed is a lethal weapon.
* Mo. Enough said. He’s a deity for sure.
Favorite moments after the game:
* The crowd not leaving. 
* The players hugging each other on the field and having their pictures taken together as if they’d just won their 27th World Series.
* Jeter’s speech thanking the fans and making a plug for the new Stadium.
* The whole team’s lap around the Stadium.
* Frank Sinatra. I don’t really like “New York, New York.” I especially don’t like it when it’s played over and over again. Tonight, though, it was beautiful music.
* The realization that the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching.
I think that covers it or did I miss something?

I’ve Missed You, Jorge

How cool is it to have Posada back in the mix. I almost forgot what a presence he is because he’s been gone for so long. He may not be playing yet but he’s talking. He told Michael Kay that Joba should be a reliever, not a starter, and ignited The Great Debate all over again. I happen to agree with him by the way (Mo won’t be our closer forever and we need a good setup man in the meantime, like Mo was for Wetteland), but I’m sure I’m in the minority among Yankee fans.

Back to JoPo. I love his fire. Who can forget his dugout fight with El Duque? He tells it like it is and could have been kicking Cano’s butt all these months. Like Jeter, Pettitte and Mo, he’s never missed a postseason and must be mighty bummed about the Yankees sitting out this one. I remember in the off season when he was deciding between returning to the Yanks and signing with the Mets. He was asked about the state of the Yankees’ pitching. He didn’t say a word about Hughes or Kennedy. What he said was: “We need to go out and get SANTANA.” He’s a catcher, for God’s sake. He knew the kids weren’t ready for prime time. If only the organization had listened to him.
Not much to say about the Yankees’ win over the White Sox tonight except that I’m really liking Aceves and Coke.

Where would the Yankees be without Mo?

A five-out save following a four-out save yesterday. Every time I watch Mo I try to imagine what my Yankee fan-life would be without him – and I can’t. He never changes. Same stoic demeanor. Same compact delivery. Same unhittable cutter. Sure, he’s human. But compared to every other closer out there he’s Superman. And, from what I’ve heard, he’s a unique person too. While I was on the road following the Yankees last season for my book, I kept hearing story after story about how he reached out to help people – not only other players but members of the media. I only hope that an 8th inning set-up guy finally emerges (Bruney? Uh-uh. Veras? Nah. Marte? Not happening. Edwar? Nope. Joba? I wish, but that’s a whole different post), that he turns out to be what Mo was in the John Wetteland era, and that he morphs into our closer when Mo’s done. We’re gonna need somebody and Mariano Rivera will be impossible to replace.

Just a word about Pavano. Did anyone expect him to pitch six shutout innings and beat Burnett? Did I hallucinate tonight’s win? Even though the Red Sox are thumping the White Sox as I write this and our destiny is no longer in our hands, it felt like there was energy at that stadium. At least we’re not going down without a fight.