Tagged: Peter Abraham

Sleepless in Seattle

Somehow, I was able to sneak aboard the Yankees’ private charter and take the team’s flight to Seattle.
Man, that plane is plush.
I was hoping to get a few words from each Yankee, but they all pretended they were asleep, just to avoid me.
I wanted to ask about their expectations for this road trip, how they felt about their magic number being 10, if they were worried about the state of the rotation or the bull pen, what they thought of Jorge’s suspension, etc. Oh, and I wondered if they’d miss Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham.
For non-Yankee fans, Peter’s LoHud blog has been the bible for many of us. It’s where and how we’ve gotten the most up-to-date info, as well as insider stuff. And Peter was the first beat writer I interviewed for my book – something I’ll always appreciate. But he’s changing jobs, moving to the Boston Globe to cover the Red Sox, crossing over into enemy territory.
I had to get at least one Yankee to weigh in on Pete’s departure. So as soon as the plane landed in Seattle, I threw myself at Jorge, figuring he had plenty of time on his hands. After elbowing me (a cheap shot, I thought) and then trying to pawn me off on Shelley Duncan, he finally agreed to meet me at my favorite cafeteria. Here’s our conversation.

Rest Does Wonders For A-Rod

It’s a miracle, really. A couple of weeks ago, A-Rod was lethargic, dragging, zombie-like. Then it dawned on the Yankees that he hadn’t had a day off since he came back from hip surgery. Cashman and Girardi put their heads together…
…and (light bulb going off here) decided to give their star third baseman a rest.
Al sat out a couple of games against the Marlins and – voila! – he stopped being a zombie.
Now he’s no longer flailing at pitches out of the zone and looking fragile on plays at third and, best of all, he’s hitting bombs again.
Tonight’s blast into Monument Park in the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and carried the Yanks to a 4-2 victory over Seattle – their seventh straight win.
It was a nice, quick dismissal of the Mariners – not like last night’s game, which moved along as slowly as this.
One reason was that the offense couldn’t get much done against Washburn, except for homers by Damon and Melky. The other reason is that Pettitte pitched a very good game of his own.
Through seven innings, Andy threw strikes, mixed his pitches well and completely shut down the sleeve-tugging, bat-pointing Ichiro.
Aceves and Coke did their jobs in relief, and Mo notched save # 502. I’ll never understand why a long man like Alfredo was brought in for one batter or why Hughes was warming and Bruney wasn’t. But the good news is that the bullpen is getting it done these days and I don’t find myself doing this whenever I see them coming.
The oddity of the game was Tex bobbling Valentien’s potential double play ball in the fourth. He wasn’t charged with an error, but the fact that he allowed a run to score was surprising. His defense has totally spoiled me, but I guess he’s entitled to a bobble once in awhile.
Eric Hinske had his first session with the media as a Yankee. I listened, courtesy of Pete Abe’s blog, and wasn’t surprised to hear him repeat the usual “I’m honored to be here” mantra. Actually, he sounded thrilled to be out of Pittsburgh, and who could blame him?
His acquisition wasn’t exactly the trade of the century, but the news was broadcast around the world. Witness this reporter’s breathless coverage and tell me Hinske isn’t a big deal.

Back in the real world (sort of), it seems my holiday weekend won’t be about Michael Jackson after all. The family’s spokesperson announced that it would be too expensive and complicated to motorcade MJ’s body to Santa Barbara and bury it at Neverland. What about all those truckloads of these that had been deposited outside the ranch for fans, along with the balloons and the flowers?
My hunch is that they’ll have an event at Neverland after the memorial. And if they do, I just might show up with the She-Fan Cam.


According to Peter Abraham, Nady’s elbow needs surgery and he will miss the entire season? Excuse me?


Are we really talking about Xavier the VI or VII or whatever number of Xaviers he is? The guy I didn’t want the Yankees to trade? The player who, with Swisher, gives us the best, most versatile roster we’ve had in years? That Xavier? The X-Man?

I know he had his elbowed repaired some time back, but all he did last night was throw the damn ball back to the infield after a Rays’ hit. It wasn’t as if he labored through nine innings or tried to clock someone during a brawl or even slept on it wrong.
And so I must ask….
Are these people made of glass?
The Yankees haven’t issued any announcements yet, but I’m completely unglued by this news….as you can see.
I do have a question though….Why does Xavier have to miss the whole season? Can’t he go to the same miracle worker in Colorado who just sewed up A-Rod’s hip? I hear Vail is lovely this time of year.

I’m Hungry

The Yankees sent out a press release today. No, it wasn’t about Jeter’s return to spring training camp or A-Rod’s rehab in Colorado or the Igwana’s demotion to Triple A. It was about the concessions and restaurants that will be available to patrons at the new Stadium.

Since it’s almost dinner time here in California, I couldn’t stop reading the info, courtesy of Peter Abraham, and decided that this post would be about food.

Here’s a sample of what the Yankees will be offering this season. (And no, I’m not making any of this up.)
#1) There will be a “fresh-to-order” window in the left-field concourse where fans can watch butchers preparing prime, dry-aged steaks. 
Will the steaks be sold raw? Will the Stadium have George Foreman grills in every section for a “do it yourself” meal? Will anyone be able to afford steak?
2) There will be something called the Bleachers Cafe in center field.
Will Bald Vinny have a corner table?
3) In addition to traditional favorites, the new Stadium will debut a “Latin Corner,” serving nachos and burritos.

Shouldn’t there be at least one mariachi band?
4) There will be healthy alternatives, including Melissa’s, a “farmers market, carrying fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Will the fans throw Melissa’s fresh tomatoes at the players and each other after one beer too many?
5) The Yankees will offer a complete menu of Kosher food, as well as the standard Hebrew National fare.
Perhaps they will sell Kosher hats to go with the food?
6) Even the kids will have their own food, as the Stadium will sell such “child friendly” products as Kozy Shack Pudding.

Oops. Wrong Shack.
7) To ensure that the local Bronx community doesn’t feel slighted by the many first-class dining experiences at the Stadium, the Yankees will donate “edible leftovers” to those in need.
Will they at least put the leftovers in Styrofoam containers?
8) And finally, they will sell Pepsi instead of Coke.

Does Pepsi taste better or did the Yankees just get a better deal on it?
There will certainly be variety at the new Stadium concessions and restaurants, but after writing this post I have a hankering for a plain old hot dog.
hotdog.jpgP.S. Just finished watching Japan/Korea in the WBC. Great game (I was rooting for Bum Ho Lee to be the hero – oh, well), but I couldn’t help wondering….What were the fans eating? Any of the above?

Contemplating Life Without Mo

mariano rivera.jpg

I love this man. He is my favorite Yankee. If he asked me to, I would shine his shoes, do his laundry, wash the dishes at his steakhouse in Westchester and then mop the floors until every last morsel of tenderloin, hash browns and creamed spinach was gone. I can’t stand Metallica, but when they play “Enter Sandman” at the Stadium, I break out into this insane chanting/clapping/laughing thing that makes me look like a total freak. I’m that worshipful.
But I’m not delusional. I realize that this season is Mariano Rivera’s 15th in pinstripes. He is 39, getting balder by the second and coming off shoulder surgery. And he’s only signed through 2010.
I shouldn’t have been surprised when the subject of his retirement was raised at spring training and yet it threw me – positively knocked me down.
“The end is coming, sooner or later,” he said, according to Peter Abraham. “Only God knows when it comes.”
The end is coming?

I took a breath after reading Mo’s statement and tried to envision what my Yankee fan life would be without him – and I couldn’t. No matter when he calls it quits, it’ll be end-of-days time. Nothing will be the same.
For instance…

I will completely lose my appetite.
I will not be able to sleep.
I will not dance to the song “What Is Love” by Haddaway or bop my head back and forth.
The sun will never shine. Not even once.
Electrical power outages will occur throughout the land.
Cars will inadvertently crash into each other and burst into flames.
Homes and businesses will close forever.
Children will cry, and nothing and no one will be able to stop them.
Even members of the animal kingdom will be overcome with sadness.
Mo’s last day as a Yankee wouldn’t be about losing one of the greatest closers in the history of the game. Well, O.K. It sort of would be. (Do we go out and get a Joe Nathan or do we stay in-house and groom Joba?) But mostly, it would mean the end of an era, and I’m just not ready to go there. Not for a long, long time.

Mark Teixeira’s Press Conference – Before It Happens


The newest Yankee won’t be introduced to the media until 1 p.m. Eastern, but I already know the drill.
A Yankees person, probably media relations director Jason Zillo, will present Mrs. Teixeira – Leigh – with a dozen long-stemmed roses. 
(She’s the brunette.)
Cashman will gush about Tex while looking oddly detached.
Hal will be present but not say a word.
Girardi will drape Tex in his new pinstriped jersey.
Tex will model the jersey and try not to be blinded by all the flashbulbs.
And now the Q&A. Here’s how I think it will go.
“Hey, Mark. Pete Abraham from the Journal News. How does it feel to be a Yankee?”
“Incredible. I’m still pinching myself. I grew up idolizing Don Mattingly, so I always wanted to play for the Yankees.”
“Hi, Mark. Tyler Kepner from the New York Times. You turned down a substantial offer from the Red Sox. Was there some bad feeling on your part from your dealings with them in the past?”
“Not at all. Not at all. They’re a great organization. I have nothing but respect for them and I’m looking forward to being part of the awesome rivalry.”
“Hey, Mark. Mark Feinsand from the Daily News. You’re from the DC/Baltimore area. Did you give serious thought to playing in front of a home crowd with either the O’s or the Nationals?”
“I did, but the Yankees are winners, with so much history and tradition. I want to help us win more championships.”
George King. New York Post. Talk about the pressure of playing in New York, Mark. The big contract. The new stadium. A crowd of 55,000 people booing you if you get off to a slow start. Any of that worry you?”
“I put more pressure on myself than anyone else could ever put on me. So no. I’m not worried. From what I’ve seen, Yankee fans are the best fans in baseball.”
George King with a follow up. A source told me you and Alex Rodriquez hate each other’s guts from your Texas Rangers days. True?”
“Um, I don’t know where that rumor came from. I have tremendous respect for Alex and the way he plays the game. I’m really looking forward to being his teammate.”
George King again. Another source told me you read books in your spare time. That’s kind of weird for a ballplayer.”
“I don’t read books. I hunt and fish and hit golf balls. No books.”
“Then what about this poster?”
George holds up the evidence for everyone to see.
There’s an audible gasp in the room. More flashbulbs. Mark is caught in his first lie as a Yankee.
“O.K. So I read one stupid book before it even came out. It was right after I signed with the Yankees. I wanted to find out what the fans here are really like.”
“Hello, Mark. John Sterling, the voice of the Yankees on WCBS. Was the book Jane Heller’s ‘Confessions of a She-Fan,’ by any chance? I heard I’m the hero of it.”
“Yeah, that’s it. You’re not the hero, but you have a bunch of scenes. Like that dinner where you let her try on your World Series rings. Oh, and when you said you never ever go to the bathroom during the games. LOL, John. Seriously.”
Jason Zillo steps to the podium. “Thanks, everybody. That’s all for today.”

It’s Off to Couples Counseling for CC and Me

Well, I’ve tried everything else, Carsten.

I’ve asked this man to talk to you.

And this man.
Even this man.
And I’ve made it perfectly clear that money will never be an issue between us.
Yet you still won’t make the commitment. I didn’t peg you for one of those men who’s all nice and sweet to your face and then fools around behind your back. I mean, really, CC. The Giants? The Dodgers? The Angels? You thought they’d care more about you than the Yankees? I understand your attachment to the Brewers. I do. It’s hard to let go of the past. But now it’s time to look ahead to the future. Our future. Together.
So I’ve made an appointment with the shrink who came highly recommended by Yankees doctor Stuart Hirshon.
We’ll sort through the reasons you keep pulling back and find a way to move forward. Here we go.
You’re concerned about this?
crime scene.jpg
Oh, CC. That’s just silly. The crime rate in New York is down, or at least it was the last time I checked. Besides, the Yanks have an army of security people. No worries.
You think there’s too much of this?
traffic jam web.jpg
I admit it can get nasty on the Deegan, and the tunnels are a nightmare. But the Yanks will arrange for a helicopter if that’s a roadblock, no pun intended.
The Steinbrenner boys? You’re anxious about working for them?
I’ll handle Hal. He’s very reasonable. And Hank stays down in Tampa and will be totally out of your hair.
Your hair? Oh, I see. Yes, unlike California, New York does get hot and humid in the summer. It’s definitely not good hair weather and without the proper conditioning it can be impossible to control.
But, again, the Yankees have people. Hair people. They can keep you looking great all season long.
Yes, CC. The Stadium will be loud, especially on the days the Red Sox come to town. But you’ll have these wonderfully supportive friends behind you.
They’re called the Bleacher Creatures and they’ll hold forth with a charming chant for you.
No need to fret over her influence, honey. She likes them young, yes, but in tip-top shape, no offense.
Well, of course the media is tough in New York. But I really think the whole “glare of the spotlight” thing is overblown. 
You’ll have zero problem dealing with this man.
His name is Peter Abraham. He blogs day and night, but he’s fair, CC.  They’re all fair. You play ball with them and they’ll play ball with you. (O.K. There are one or two I’d stay away from, but we’ll deal with them when the time comes.)
What about the broadcast people? You’ll have this man calling your games on the YES Network.
Michael Kay is a bit of a drama king, but I think you’ll hit it off just fine.
Yes, he has a colleague, Kim Jones, who does the interviews with the players.
She may look like she’s giving Jeter a case of hives, but her questions are harmless. Trust me.
Her counterpart on the radio is this woman.
Suzyn with a “z,” just like Liza Minelli. And, like Liza, she sings. You and she will have a blast humming show tunes.
And speaking of a blast, John Sterling is the radio voice of the Yankees. You’ll have nothing but fun with him during the season.
He’s very descriptive and invents nicknames for the players. Every time you throw a strikeout pitch, he’ll say something like: “It’s a C-Bomb! From CC!” Or maybe: “Ortiz takes a BATH courtesy of SaBATHia.” You’ll be chuckling all the way home after the games.
So? Are we on the same page now? Everything out on the table? No more hesitation?
Good. Sign the contract already, hon.

Making History


Yes, the GMs are still meeting in Dana Point, but Barack Hussein Obama became America’s 44th president tonight. Condolences to any McCain supporters out there, but I’m in a celebratory mood. I went to an election night party with great food, great wine and great people. We had the plasma going nonstop as each state’s votes were tabulated, only taking a break from CNN and MSNBC to watch Stewart/Colbert on their Comedy Central special.
Questions still to be answered:
* What will happen to Sarah Palin? Will she go back to Alaska or land a job at ESPN?
* Can we get Obama to throw out the first pitch at the opening of the new Yankee Stadium in April? And will he bounce it to home plate or make a really good throw to Jorge?
* Will the Yankees sign Mark Teixeira? Sorry, this has nothing to do with the election, but I’m obsessed. According to Peter Abraham, Cashman says he’s not interested in having a makeshift first baseman (for ex: Damon or Matsui moving to first). This is music to my ears. I want a real first baseman too. I want somebody with experience and expertise in that position. I want Teixeira. Please, Cash, make it happen. Sign Tex and we can keep him out of the clutches of the Angels and Red Sox. Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! (Well, the slogan worked for Obama.)

Trouble in Paradise

On his blog today, LoHud Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham wrote about the interview WFAN’s Mike Francesa did with SI’s John Heyman. The subject of the interview was….


We’ve heard rumblings about unrest in the clubhouse before now, but Peter describes how Girardi and his players, particularly the veterans, didn’t always see eye to eye – to the point where performance on the field might have suffered.
Yikes. The players are paid to do their jobs, whether they like the manager or not. On the other hand, managers are paid, in part, to motivate their players. What good will it do to sign Sabathia or Burnett if Jeter and Posada can’t stand Girardi? 
For those who aren’t familiar with Peter and his blog, he’s a no-nonsense source for what really goes on inside the Yankees’ inner sanctum. He’s not an alarmist. If he says there’s trouble, there’s trouble. But hopefully the situation is solvable. If not, we could be looking at Cashman begging Mattingly to put the pinstripes back on.

Listen to This!

Thanks to the link on Peter Abraham’s blog, I just heard Nils Lofgren’s “Yankee Stadium,” the song he wrote with his wife Amy. Both are Yankee fans and their song, with its E Street Band flavor, captures what we’re all feeling about the end of an era at the Stadium.

Uh-oh. I’m tearing up again. Gotta go buy a truckload of Kleenex boxes for this weekend.
You can get a free download of the song here. Enjoy. (Sniff, sob.)