Today’s report that Zack Greinke has changed agents (he’s now with Jeter’s guy, Casey Close) and asked the Royals to trade him got me wondering. Maybe he’s not totally wrong for the Yankees. Yes, I know he has the team on his no-way list, but maybe he’s changed his mind along with his agent. And yes, he’s suffered from social anxiety disorder, but maybe he’s over it to the point where the bright lights of the Bronx wouldn’t turn him to sand.
There are really good therapists in New York (except in August when they all go on vacation). Plus, Curtis Granderson is into nutrition, if he’s into that, and Amber Sabathia is into finding new players houses in her neighborhood, if he’s into that, and Nick Swisher is into telling jokes and playing loud music, if he’s into that. Fun fun fun! My feeling is if Greinke is tough enough to pitch in front of large crowds (and pitch well), then he’s tough enough to pitch in front of large crowds anywhere. Bottom line? I wouldn’t rule him out. Not at all.
Today was movie day and I hoped I’d emerge from the theater, power my iPhone back up and find out there was Cliff Lee news. No such luck. But the movie I saw was worth talking about. It was “Biutiful,” the new film from the director of “Babel” and “21 Grams.” Starring Javier Bardem and set on the seamy side of Barcelona, it’s the story of a man who learns he’s dying and tries to put his life in order – especially when it comes to his two young children. No, it’s not an upbeat film by any means, but Bardem is sensational – the best performance he’s given yet, which is saying something if you saw him in “The Sea Inside” – and it touches on many complex issues, from immigration to parenting. Here’s the trailer.
After the movie, there was a Q&A with Bardem. Of course I raised my hand.
“Was it physically challenging to play a man who was dying?” I asked.
“I didn’t play a man who was dying,” he said. “I played a man who was in denial about dying.”
O-kay. Later, I spoke to him one-on-one at a private reception, and he was so charming, not to mention gorgeous. He talked about his wife, Penelope Cruz, and the baby they’re about to have. Very personable guy.
Speaking of romance, Nick Swisher is marrying his girlfriend, Joanna Garcia, at the Breakers in Palm Beach this weekend. (Maybe they’ve already done the deed as I’m writing this.)
No word yet on the names of Yankees attending, but the point is that Cliff Lee could have been one of them if he had decided to become a Yankee already!
Doesn’t he realize what great teammates he’d have? He already knows and likes CC and AJ. And who wouldn’t want to be on the same team as Jeter and Mo? And Swisher? Now come on. Tonight’s Countdown video is of Swish at an award dinner in his honor and I posted it because of the last part, where he talks about Joanna. So sweet. Cliffy, you’d be missing out by not joining these guys. I hope you get that.
Leave it to Suzyn Waldman to go down to Arkansas and get an exclusive with Cliff Lee. I thought he was a laid-back, aw-shucks type, but apparently he’s really full of himself. Take a look.
How much better do I feel knowing the Yankees are on a plane to Dallas instead of cleaning out their lockers in the Bronx? This much better.
I wasn’t ready for our season to be over and neither, apparently, were the Yankees. CC didn’t have his dominant stuff, but if there’s a pitcher (besides Andy Pettitte) who can grind through an outing and still retire very good hitters in very big situations, it’s our ace. Huge applause for him.
The bats came alive against Wilson, who helped by not having the kind of control he had the last time out. The homers by Cano, Swisher and Granderson were awesome, but so were singles that kept the line moving. Speaking of Grandy, I’m thinking maybe we should give the prize of the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes to Kevin Long for turning his season completely around. What do you think? OK, never mind. Maybe Barbara or Melissa will knit/sew him a nice scarf instead.
There was still an issue with RISP, but I’m not going there. Not when I’m this happy. So let’s talk about Wood. When he spun around and picked off Andrus at second, I gave him a standing ovation.
And Mo. Well. It was just good to see him after what seemed like an eternity. Of course, there was another moment of panic when Fat Elvis went down trying to catch that foul ball. I swear I thought we were seeing The Curse of the First Basemen. But once I figured out that he was OK, I watched the replays of his banana peel slip and slide and (I admit it) I laughed.
I hope he’ll get plenty of treatment for his neck/back and feel 100% on Friday night. I’m just so excited that there will even BE a Friday night. Yes, we’ll have to deal with the Rangers’ white towel-waving home crowd and yet another elimination game, but at least we’ll have a shot at tying up the series and forcing a Game 7. In other words, it’s not over until she sings.
What a job by Andy and Lance, the former teammates.
All I kept hearing from the TBS guys was: “Will Andy be the Playoff Andy or the Injured Andy?” It was making me crazy, but then everything they said made me crazy. The point is, Andy was the same amazing pitcher he’s always been – making the pitches he needed to make, giving us innings, setting the tone. You could just tell that the players felt confident behind him. And I felt confident after his shaky first inning; apparently, he and Dave Eiland went into the clubhouse between innings and looked at video. Whatever flaw they spotted was clearly corrected because he was great from then on. And how about Fat Elvis? Talk about rising to the occasion. Those were some big hits he delivered tonight. But then just about everybody seemed to contribute in some way. Swisher made a nice catch in right. Grandy continued his hot hitting. Posada had an awesome at bat and drew a leadoff walk, then scored. Gardner is the fastest living organism.
Are we still leaving runners on base? Unfortunately. Is A-Rod striking out more in this series than he did last year? So far. But you can’t have everything. Kerry Wood pitched a swell eighth and Mo took care of the ninth. The Yankees are poised to return to the Bronx and finish off the Twins, but that’ll mean passing the baton to Huuuughes.
I’d like to say we’ll sweep, but I’m way too superstitious – and cautious. The Twins are a good team and they’re not going to just roll over.
I sure wish I could be at the Stadium on Saturday, but I know some of you will be there and that’s comforting. I’ll be at the wedding of my friend’s daughter, and I’ve been freaking out that I’ll miss part of the game. But today I got the good news that they’ll probably cut the cake by 5 o’clock PT, so I’ll be home in time for the first pitch! Here’s to a fast cake cutting!
And speaking of cake, I just might have a really, really, really (that’s three “really’s”) cool contest coming up involving dessert. So stay tuned.
I could talk about the game (it was a relaxing one thanks to big hits by Cano, Grandy, Gardy, Jorge, Swish), but this post will honor Carsten Charles Sabathia for achieving his personal best 20 victories in a season.
I saw Chad Gaudin ask the ump for the ball to give to CC, but I think our ace deserves more than a baseball. Here are some other commemorative ideas:
* 20 steaks for dinner tonight.
* 20 glasses of champagne.
* 20 massages by someone other than Stevie Donahue or Gene Monahan.
* 20 bottles of Jeter’s cologne.
* 20 rides in A-Rod’s Maybach.
* 20 appearances on Letterman.
* 20 copies of a Yankees-related book, signed and personalized by its author.
When Cashman first traded for Nick Swisher, my reaction was: “WHY?” He was batting like .211, was supposed to be our first baseman and sometime outfielder and was not particularly proficient at either position, and he had the look and demeanor of a non-Yankee.
I figured I’d get tired of his clownish act and, in spite of the fact that I wouldn’t miss Wilson Betemit, I kept questioning Cashman’s wisdom in making the trade. But then we got Tex, so Swisher wouldn’t be playing first base after all and giving me nightmares of Giambi. And then he kept having impressive at bats, working counts, hitting with power. And when he pitched that game at the Trop and seemed to take such joy from being able to help out the pen, I could see what a good teammate he was.
When he came to spring training this year in such great shape, determined to boost his average and be more serious about his work, I was doubly impressed. It’s not everyday that a player actually tries to grow and change, and Swisher has done that. As we anticipate the series in Baltimore this weekend, it’s Swisher who hits so well at Camden Yards, Swisher whose bat I want in the lineup in the #2 spot, Swisher who gives us a credible right fielder, Swisher whose injury needs to heal – and fast. (I’m really hoping the cortisone shot did its thing).
As I said at the top, I never expected to like him as much as I do – or count on him for the Yankees’ success. But it happened. I’m in his corner. I have his back.
Or is this all about how much I don’t like Austin Kearns?
But I’m talking about it anyway.
It’s official: I now hate the Rangers.
If I were a Yankee I’d go out there today and beat them into submission.
On the other hand, I hate that the Yankees left a billion runners on base the last two nights.
I hate that Brett Gardner’s hurt, that he’s been playing hurt, that he’s looked awful.
I hate that Swisher’s hurt, that he’s been playing hurt, that his numbers are down.
I hate that Jeter’s been playing like he’s hurt but is just “in a funk.”
I hate that A-Rod’s big hit in the eighth was wasted.
I hate when any Yankee grounds into a double play.
I hate that we’re stuck with Austin Kearns.
I hate that the arms of our relievers are probably as effective as wet noodles.
I hate that we lost and Tampa won – again.
I hate that Roger Federer lost the U.S. Open semis yesterday.
I hate that it’s raining on my last day in CT.
I hate that I have to fly back to CA tomorrow where there are hardly any Yankee fans.
But most of all, I hate that Mo blew the save. The very idea gives me nightmares.
Today’s game nearly drove me nuts.
I was up after the Yankees went up over the O’s 1-0.
I was down after Wieters hit that homer because Nova had pitched so well.
I was up after we had a rally going in the 7th and it looked like we’d come back.
I was down after Cervelli swung at the first pitch and killed the rally.
I was up after watching Joba take the mound in the 9th and throw the ball like he used to.
I was down after wondering why Girardi didn’t use Posada in place of Cervelli back in the 7th.
I was up – way, way up – after A-Rod led off the 9th with a solid single and Swish smacked a walkoff. In fact, I danced around the room and yelled “Yaaaay” like an idiot.
And then I was down after reading that Posada might have a concussion.
And then I was up again after reading that he didn’t have one and was day to day.
The point is that I now need a vacation from my vacation because I don’t feel very rested at all.
Or fowl. Whichever. The point is that the Yankees’ loss to the Jays today had no impact on the standings. Yes, it would have been lovely to go up a game on Tampa and Boston, but we’ll have to settle for a wash.
Would I feel better if Huuuughes hadn’t served up those homers? Yeah. Would I like Jonathan Abs more if he didn’t hit the first batter he faced? Sure. But with Cano getting a day off and Swisher hurt, it wasn’t exactly our strongest lineup in years. And let’s face it: we’d all love to love Lance Berkman but he’s making it tough. As my editor said on Friday when we went to the game: “Berkman is too schlubby to be a Yankee.”
I’m rooting for Berkman, I really am. But more production would be very welcome. Oh, one more thing. Did everyone see that play Tex made? I know, I know. He makes them all the time, but today he grabbed that liner and then doubled the runner up, and I actually gasped. The guy is just a phenomenal first baseman.