Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.
It was reported today that CMW is going to the Nationals. Good for him and good for them. I was hoping the Yankees would take a chance and see if he could recapture his magic on the mound, but it wasn’t to be. And don’t get me started on Damon. If he ends up taking what the Yanks would have paid him – or less – I’ll be really mad. Anyhow, I wish Wang well (try saying that three times fast), and I would like to give him a proper sendoff. So I made a video of the two of us figure skating. Did you know he was Olympic caliber? If not, wait till you see his double lutz. As for me, I enjoyed being twirled around but kept worrying that my wig would fall off. At least Tanya Harding didn’t break my kneecaps.
I missed the game yesterday, since I was flying cross-country, but I’m glad I did. I mean, really. The Nationals? Losing the series? Getting shutdown by a rookie pitcher who had never won a major league game before? I say to the Yankees:
STOP THE MADNESS!
For starters, give A-Rod a day off or three. The Yankees said, while he was rehabbing from the hip surgery: “We’ll probably play him sporadically, use him as DH every now and then, and rest him.” Hello? He hasn’t had a day off since the day he came back. As soon as Jeter’s ankle is OK, use Pena at third for awhile, would you please?
If Gardner has a concussion, even a mild one, don’t send him out there for any reason. And why no MRI?
Do something about Joba. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he’s still growing/learning/adjusting. But clearly, he’s struggling more often than not. Fix it!
Bring up Kei Igawa. No, that’s not a typo. You paid for him. He’s tearing it up in Scranton. Make him a long man in the pen and let him get major league hitters out.
That’s it for the moment. On to more pleasant things.
There I am outside Stan’s Bar in the Bronx just before my signing on Wednesday. I’m wearing my Mariano Rivera jersey, of course.
The first person I saw was the lovely and talented MLBlogger Vanessa of “Flair for the Dramatic.” I turned the She-Fan Cam on her immediately. Note the subway noise – a little Bronx flavor.
Once inside the bar, the folks at Stan’s, who were fantastic, let Barnes & Noble set up their table and get the books all stacked and ready. It was quiet there at 3:30, but it wasn’t long before the joint was jumping.
Also stopping by and snagging a copy of the book were the daughter and sister of “Generation Third” Yankees blogger Chris.
Then along came a she-fan named Samantha who wanted to buy the book AND be interviewed by the She-Fan Cam. I was happy to step outside and oblige. (Note: more subway noise.)
It was fun to meet the bloggers and commenters whose names I’ve been seeing for so long, including “Cheshirecat.”
Not everyone wanted to buy the book. Here’s a guy who gave it a look, then said, “My wife hates baseball. She’d never read this.” LOL.
At six o’clock, it was on to the new Stadium! I admit it was an emotional experience to pass the old place and see that the demolition has begun. Sob. But the new place beckoned.
And I just couldn’t resist having Michael take a picture of me with “Jeter” in front of the team store.
Now, it was time to go inside for the first time and watch the Yanks take on the Nationals. I have to say that the Great Hall took my breath away. It was that impressive with all the photos of Yankees legends – a cathedral indeed.
I gave myself the tour and, although the stadium still has that “new car” smell with everything looking sparkling clean and polished, I thought it was beautiful. Plenty of time for the dents and dings that give a ballpark its character.
Michael and I scoped out the food choices, of which there are many, and decided to eat near our section, 323, up in the Terrace. We wandered over to a place called the Jim Beam Lounge and were told we needed a special ticket to get in. Huh?
“You have to be in section 323,” said the guy standing guard.
Obviously, we happened to land in the right section and got in to the restaurant. But still. Why limit people’s access?
There was a full bar and the Food Network concession. Michael ordered a truly delicious burger and fries – no greasy little patty on a crummy bun – and I had a really good grilled chicken sandwich with goat cheese and a spicy tomato sauce. I stopped at the bar and got a glass of red wine (yes, I know I’m a wuss, but I hate beer) and we put everything on a tray and started to walk to our seats…..until we were stopped by the guy at the door.
“You can’t take wine to your seats,” he said.
“Um, people can drink a million beers but I can’t bring this thimble full of wine?” I asked.
I don’t know if it was a city ordinance or just a Yankees thing, but it was annoying.
Our seats, on the other hand, were a joy – behind home plate to the third base side. And they were the cushy, padded ones just like they have down on the field level for the swells! I felt like I was sitting in a Barcalounger, and I made a discovery: It’s really nice to sit in comfortable seats!
Mostly, what struck me was that the field was gorgeous. Seriously. After all the negative things I’ve heard, I couldn’t get over what a great job the Yankees did in replicating and even improving on the old place. That huge, hi-def screen alone is worth the trip.
We had a surprise visit from Alex of the MLBlog “River Avenue” who showed up with the balls he’d managed to snag before the game.
The game itself was pretty discouraging, since the Yankees didn’t do anything to generate much crowd excitement. My friend Patty from the New York Times joined us, and I asked her if she thought the Yanks would make a comeback, among other things.
Patty was wrong and, although Gardner was at third with one out in the ninth and A-Rod was on first, Cano grounded into a double play to end the game. If A-Rod had only stolen second…
Oh, well. It was a great trip and I enjoyed being in the Bronx again. I’m hoping to come back later this summer and go to more games at the new Stadium. (I think I’ll stop calling it that; it’s the Stadium, period.) Yes, it’s pricey and there are adjustments to be made. But what an amazing place to watch baseball. I highly recommend it.
I’m beat from a long day in the city, my signing and the Yanks-Nats game, so I’ll be brief and write a longer post tomorrow before my flight back to California – complete with my impressions of the new stadium, the game itself, etc.
In the meantime, how cool to have so many fellow bloggers and readers show up both at Stan’s and at my seat at the game. It was a thrill to put the faces with the names I’ve been seeing for so long. I know how busy people are, so I was very flattered and grateful they made time to come and say hi.
Oh, well. I guess it’s better than sweltering in the heat.
This morning, I headed downtown from my hotel to SoHo, where I spent two very enjoyable hours being interviewed for Barbara Kopple’s ESPN documentary on the Yankees. A two-time Oscar winner, Barbara couldn’t have been more welcoming, and it was a pleasure to meet her. My husband Michael took a photo of me with her.
It was her very capable and enthusiastic associate, David Cassidy, who conducted the interview. He’s a diehard Yankee fan, so there was lots to talk about.
I have no idea if I said anything useful, but I guess I’ll find out after the documentary airs next year.
Then, it was back uptown to the studio where they tape YES’s “Yankees Magazine.” I had a lot of fun answering questions posed by George Pisanti, who’s been producing the show for several years. I’ll post my air date as soon as I have it.
Later, it was off to dinner with this guy….
…Alphonso, the infamous pessimist who makes special appearances on the Yankees blog, “It Is High.”
I had told him I wanted to watch the Yankees-Nats game, so he thoughtfully chose a restaurant with a TV tuned to the game – only to tell me over and over again why the Yankees would lose.
“No, they won’t,” I said, as the Yanks went up 2-0.
“Yes, they will,” he said, as the Nats went up 3-2.
OMG, I thought. Anderson Hernandez, the guy who never hits homers, according to my scouting report, smacked a three-run shot off CC!
“See how they can’t score any runs off this nobody pitcher named Martis?” said Alphonso, as he polished off his second Manhattan. “And look at A-Rod. Another terrible game for him. They’re a third place team, I’m telling you.”
“They are not,” I said, giving him a nudge in the ribs as Tex tied the score with a double.
“They’ll find a way to lose, and it’ll be an embarrassment,” he said, popping an oyster into his mouth and risking some dreaded food poisoning.
“Oh yeah?” I said just as Cano smacked a double off Ron Villone in the seventh, driving in the go-ahead run.
“But Joe’s bringing Bruney in for the eighth,” he said. “He’s not ready for this. It’s his first day off the DL.”
Bruney was more than ready. So was Mo. And then there were the dazzling defensive plays by Pena and Cano, who went 4-for-4. Except for Jeter coming out with ankle stiffness, it was a nice, neat 5-3 victory for the Yankees.
“But they should have beaten the Nationals 50-0,” said Alphonso.
“A win is a win!” I maintained, my frustration boiling over.
I hate to admit it, but I couldn’t contain myself a minute longer and threw my piece of salmon fillet in his face. He retaliated by dumping his entire serving of cherrystone clams on my head. What should have been a friendly dinner between bloggers disintegrated into pure chaos at the restaurant, which, by the way is called Docks and serves excellent seafood.
On the eve of the Yankees’ opening game of the series against the Washington Nationals, here’s an exclusive She-Fan scouting report on the Nats, which are not to be confused with the Gnats.
I have no clue which of the following players will actually be in the lineup, but I am not treating this series cavalierly. So what if the Nats are in the NL cellar? Any team can beat any other team on any given day. Yes, that’s a lot of “any’s,” but you know what I mean.
* Willie Harris (3B/LF)
A versatile player who had tours of duty with the White Sox, Red Sox, O’s and Braves, he is known to do back flips on the field, in the manner of Ozzie Smith. Tip to Yankees: Do not try to imitate him or you’ll end up on the DL.
* Nick Johnson (1B)
I always liked Nick when he was with the Yankees, but he couldn’t stay healthy. In ’06 alone, he fractured his right femur and injured his right tendon sheath (whatever that is). He’s batting .315 this season and has grown some jowls. Tip to Yankees: Do not say anything snarky about Larry Bowa, who happens to be his uncle.
* Ryan Zimmerman (3B/DH)
Who could forget his 30-game hitting streak earlier this season? It was the only thing Nats fans had to cheer about. Tip to Yankees: Do not throw one down the middle to this guy.
* Adam Dunn (1B/LF)
He sort of looks like Mike Schmidt in this picture, doesn’t he? A former Red and Diamondback, he has 67 strikeouts this year. Tip to Yankees: Go ahead and throw one down the middle to this guy.
* Elijah Dukes (CF)
He went to the same Tampa high school as Gary Sheffield and Dwight Gooden, and was a Devil Ray before joining the Nats. According to his bio, he is “double jointed.” Does that explain his three trips to the DL last year? Tip to Yankees: Try to tie him up at the plate and maybe he’ll contort into a pretzel.
* Corey Patterson (CF/RF)
He was with the Cubs, O’s and Reds, but more importantly his father, Don, was a defensive back with the Detroit Lions and NY Giants. Tip to Yankees: If he comes in hard at second to break up a double play, let him.
* Alberto Gonzalez (SS)
Remember Gonzo? He was our Ramiro Pena of a few years ago – a good defensive utility infielder who only had one error while with the Yanks. Now he’s learned how to hit too, apparently, with a .319 average. Tip to Yankees: Don’t be so quick to get rid of players like him.
* Josh Bard (C)
He was an Indian,
a Red Sock and a Padre, but his biggest claim to fame was leading Cherry Creek (CO) High School to back-to-back state titles. Tip to Yankees: Don’t sweat it.
* Cristian Guzman (SS)
Uh-oh. He’s good. A Dominican switch-hitter, he was the first National to hit for the cycle and he’s batting .322. He used to be with the Twins and I think he hurt us back then. Tip to Yankees: Pretend he’s, like, Orlando Cabrera, or somebody else who always kills us.
* Anderson Hernandez (2B)
He doesn’t have any homers yet this season. Not one. That could change at the Jetstream Palace, of course, but I don’t see it. Among the accomplishments listed in his bio is the fact that he has five sisters. I have four sisters. Does that make me a good ballplayer? Tip to Yankees: Don’t walk him, hit him or balk him; it’s not necessary.
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 CANNOTRAIN!
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.
OMG! Jeter will be wearing another uniform when he faces the Yankees!
Honestly, I’ll live. I’m sure the game will be exciting and I’ll watch the tournament with interest. But tonight? I’m thinking about Angel Berroa.
It’s been six long years since he won the Rookie of the Year award with the Royals.
Who would have guessed the Yankees would invite him to spring training to compete for the utility infielder’s job – and that he’d hit a double and a homer in today’s game against the Astros?
Angel, you may remember, ran afoul with MLB in 2002 when he was embroiled in “Age-Gate,” the scandal involving several Latin American players who claimed to be younger than they really were.
Will he win a roster spot with the Yanks? Does it matter how old he is if he can hit the ball and field his position? Do I care if he has an AARP card or uses Botox or covers his gray like the guys in the Just For Men Haircolor commercial?
Another Yankee who was cagey about his age was this guy.
If a pitcher can contort his body into a pretzel like El Duque did and still manage to get batters out, he can be on my team any day.
Less amusing is the case of Esmailyn Gonzalez, the 19-year-old Dominican who scored a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals in 2008.
Esmailyn’s real name turned out to be the far less melodious Carlos Alvarez David Lugo, and he was 23, not 19. The Nats were conned; this kid wasn’t who he said he was.
Still, far be it from me to judge someone who’s trying to climb the corporate ladder by shaving a few years off the resume. It happens every day.
What will really blow my mind is when a female ballplayer from the Dominican comes over here insisting she’s a guy and gets a big contract.
I mean, could you swear this person is a man or a woman? I defy you.
Seriously. Ramon? Or Rosa? You decide. But I’m seeing a faint mustache.
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?