Tagged: Oakland A's

My Chat With Amber

A few minutes ago, the Yankees lost to Brett Bombko and the just-out-of-high-school Oakland A’s. The score was 3-0.
I sort of couldn’t believe it. I mean, the Yanks haven’t been shut out since June. I guess this is why it’s good to have a lead in August – so your offense can flail at the ball. (I’m talking to you, A-Rod, since you popped out after Tex doubled in the first and then you grounded into a double play with bases loaded in the third. Pee-euewwwAnd Jorge, Mr. Birthday Boy, your strikeouts didn’t thrill me, either.) 
A.J. pitched really well but got no run support, obviously. My sympathies, guy. You have my permission to throw pie at all your teammates.
The Yankees are entitled to lose a few, sure, but I’d be lying if I said I was fine with it. One loss? Ha ha ha. Two in a row? Mild panic. What will Tuesday night bring? I didn’t want to take any chances. I heard the wives and girlfriends of the players were traveling with the team, so I made a last-minute date with Amber Sabathia to discuss her husband’s start against the A’s. Here’s our conversation. I did what I could. Now let’s see if she holds up her end of the deal.

“You Can’t Win Them All”

That’s what my husband Michael told me after the Yankees were thumped by the Mariners 10-3 in Sunday’s series finale.

“We can’t win them all?” I said with a straight face. “It was starting to feel as if we’d never lose.”
“The Yankees took three of four and are in first place by seven-and-a-half games,” he said. “You just have to laugh this one off.”
“You’re right,” I conceded. “I was being greedy and demanding and totally unrealistic. I’ll laugh this one off like you said.”
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Joba’s five inning performance, during which he gave up four runs, walked three and pitched like a nibbler instead of an aggressor?
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Not a problem at all! I’ll laugh it off!
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Aceves’ ugly relief appearance that lasted only 1+ innings and yielded another four runs?
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No biggie! I’ll laugh it off!
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Chad Gaudin’s fat pitch to Johjima for a homer?
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So what if he’s scheduled to make his first start on Wednesday and is Cashman’s idea of a good acquisition! I’ll laugh it off!
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Oh, and those fly balls that were either bobbled or not caught by Hairston and Damon?
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Who cares? It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon at Safeco Field! Nick Swisher had another homer! Life is good! I’ll laugh it off!
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The truth is, the Yankees have been playing like champions lately and I don’t begrudge them a bad day. The Mariners pitchers were excellent and Ichiro is a hitting machine. Speaking of which, congratulations are in order. Jeter passed “Little Luis” Aparicio to become Major League Baseball’s all-time leader in hits for shortstops.
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I’m not laughing at that. I’m applauding.
Monday features an interesting pitching match-up as the Yankees move on to face Oakland: A.J. Burnett versus former-Yankee-with-an-ax-to-grind Brett Bombko. On paper, we win this one easily. But paper is just that.
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Come ready to play, Yankees. 

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

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Due to Thursday night’s long rain delay, I missed the game. I had to leave for the first session of the evening writing workshops I’m teaching with a writer buddy. (We’re “The Muse Madams” and you can read about us here.) So while I was sitting in a room with 12 aspiring writers and critiquing their work, I was dying to find out what was going on in the Bronx. Talk about having my head in two places.
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When I got home, I ran inside and asked my husband who won. He was watching highlights of Mark Buerhle’s perfect game, which had been so exciting earlier in the day.
“The Yankees,” he said with a big smile. “Their seventh straight.”
“Tell me!” I said.
Michael, who keeps score just like I do, went through an inning-by-inning recap of the Yanks’ 6-3 victory over the A’s. No, it wasn’t the same as actually seeing the game, but his storytelling was pretty damn good. If he’d been in my writer’s workshop, I would have given him an “A.”
The main plot points, as he explained them, were:
* CC overcame a shaky first few innings and gave up three runs over seven.
* Hinske, playing right tonight, hit an RBI single to put the Yanks up 4-3.
* Tex had a homer and three RBIs.
* Posada knocked in two runs.
* And Hughes pitched both the eighth and ninth, so Mo could have the night off, and was perfect, earning his first major league save.
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Of course this team will stumble over the next few months. They’ve already stumbled. But they are so much better than last year’s model in every way. Yes, it’s upsetting that Wang seems lost for the season; I don’t know how the Yankees will replace him in the rotation over the long haul or what they’ll end up doing about Joba’s innings limit. And yes, it would be nice to get a healthy Marte back in the pen, plus an effective Bruney. But these Yankees aren’t going away. They just aren’t.
It’s late here on the west coast, so I’m packing it in for the night. Tomorrow afternoon is my trip down to Dodger Stadium. I’m looking forward to it, but I’ll be glued to my iPhone until the Yankees game is over. Once again, I’ll have my head in two places.
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I Wish The Yankees Could Play The A’s Every Night

Wait. Let me amend that. I wish they could play the game they played tonight over and over for an entire season.

Not that their 5-3 win against Oakland was especially dramatic. It wasn’t a pitcher’s duel. There were no bean balls. Nobody hit a walk-off anything. Well, Brett Gardner did make a sensational catch on Giambi’s deep drive to center in the first inning.
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But mostly, it was just a solid effort – from Pettitte’s seven innings to Mo’s efficient ninth (tying the career combo of Welch and Eckersley); from Damon’s homer in his 2000th game to Gardner’s two RBIs and stolen base; from Matsui’s offensive awakening to Cano’s continued consistency. Lots to like about this one – except that my Extra Innings Package forced me to watch the A’s Comcast feed and I was subjected to the two most boring broadcasters on earth.
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Somehow, I knew the Yankees would win this game, the way you can sense when it’s about to rain. There was a certain smell in the air even before the first pitch.
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O.K., maybe it was the smell of the lavender bushes outside my house, not the Yankees’ victory. It’s extremely hot here in Santa Barbara right now – record breaking – and all the windows are open. What I’m saying is that I felt confident that my team would get the “W,” and it was a different experience than screaming at the TV and doing this.
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I was sort of amazed that I could stay calm for an entire game, even when the A’s scored a run off Bruney in the eighth to pull within two. No yelling. No hysteria. No jumping up and down and acting like a psycho.
“Do you think I’m finally maturing when it comes to the Yankees?” I asked my husband Michael, who has the unique ability to watch games and not raise his voice.
“No,” he said without looking up. “I think it’s because of the heat.”
Oh.
I checked the weather forecast for tomorrow in anticipation of CC’s start. It’s supposed to be ten degrees cooler here. I guess that means I’ll be back to my old psycho self.
(Daily Flip Video Contest Reminder: Deadline is May 15th.)

What Kind Of A Fan Are You? Enter The Contest!

If you’ve been a frequent visitor to this blog, you’ve seen my occasional “She-Fan Cam” videos – clips of fans that I record on my always handy and totally addictive Flip Video camcorder.

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If you’re new here, let me give you an example.
Now it’s your turn to focus the Cam on someone, because one of you is about to win a Flip Video camcorder.
Here’s the deal.
I want a photo of your Favorite Fan Moment – a picture of you at your diehard fan best. Maybe you’ll be in the stands at whichever ballpark you call home. Or maybe you’ll be sitting in front of the TV in full team regalia. Or maybe you’ll be scoring an autograph from a player. Your call. The point is to show you being a fan and loving it.
All you have to do is leave a comment letting me know you’d like to participate. And I’ll respond and let you know where and how to send the photo.
I’ll look over all the pics and choose my top five. Then I’ll post the five and you’ll vote for the Favorite Fan Moment.
The winner will receive a Flip Video Cam directly from Pure Digital. You won’t believe how easy to use this gadget is. For starters, it’s tiny – smaller than a cell phone and light enough to tuck in your pocket (perfect for slipping past surly security people at your local stadium). You just point it in the direction of your subject, hit the red “record” button, and you’re good to go.
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I kept cutting off people’s heads the first day I got mine, but it’s really a no-brainer, even for technically challenged me.
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When you’ve finished recording, you plug the Cam into your computer, download your videos and have fun. You can email them to friends or upload them on YouTube or make movies complete with music and credits. So many options.
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I know. I sound like some cheesy infomercial right now. But seriously. I’ve had such a great time with my Cam that I wanted others to have the same experience. So I asked the people at Flip Video if they’d be up for giving one away to a deserving fan, and they agreed!
And no, this contest isn’t just for Yankee fans. It’s for anybody and everybody who’s passionate about baseball. Is that you? Then get to work!
Speaking of the Yankees, I was relieved (understatement) that they bounced back from Saturday’s debacle and beat the Indians 7-3. AJ didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the Yanks in it, as did the relief corps of Albaladejo, Bruney and Mo. There were some really nice defensive plays by Ransom and Tex (I’m still pinching myself that we have a guy who makes Mattingly-like grabs at first base), in addition to Posada’s homer and Ransom’s double (many thanks to Choo for that one).
Now we take on the A’s for three games. It’ll be weird seeing Giambi back with Oakland. I wonder if he’ll be wearing his thong.

Goodbye To You Too, Jason

While I’m in the mood to bid farewells, I hereby give Jason Giambi a personal sendoff.

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He had lobster claws for hands at first base and couldn’t throw to second to save his life, but he provided some real power with his bat. And he was a great guy in the clubhouse.
One of the Yankees beat writers told me that Jason is fond of picking up strangers and taking them out for a night on the town. “He signs autographs for fans and buys them drinks,” said the writer. “And then he puts his arm around everybody and says, ‘Hey, I’ve got a limo downstairs. Where would you like to go?’ He treats the fans exactly the way you’d want a major league ballplayer to treat you.”
So, yeah. He did steroids. But he apologized and fought his way back, and now he’s with the A’s again.
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He can grow the ‘stache and wear his golden thong, and he can let his hair get as long and greasy as he wants.
He wasn’t Mickey Mantle. He wasn’t even the Jason Giambi who won an MVP with the A’s. But he was a Yankee for seven years, which is long enough to care.
So to Jason I say: “Party on, dude!”
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(hat tip: New Stadium Insider)
Oh, the memories….