Day 3 of “Operation Jeter Countdown”
Another day, another swipe at Jeter and his agent by the Yankees (or should I say by a so-called Yankees source). This time, the message was for Jeter and Casey Close to “drink the reality potion,” according to ESPN. Alrighty then. Are we on a school playground? Is this how grownup business people talk? Why so rude? It’s a negotiation, not a personal grudge match. I understand that the Yankees don’t want to pay Jeter more than they think he’s worth, but why the sniping? For tonight’s Countdown Video until we can declare “Mission Accomplished,” I picked an interview Jeter did with Jeremy Schaap in ’99. Most of it is Jeter’s usual “I always had a dream to play for the New York Yankees” stuff. It’s Schaap’s last question and Jeter’s prescient answer that are worth the price of admission.
He can’t see himself ever wearing anything other than Yankee pinstripes, but he gets that “this is a business. They could trade me tomorrow.”
Maybe he was the only one who could have predicted this current standoff, knowing the organization and the game as well as he does. We’ll see. In the meantime, how about Nolan Ryan “reaching out” to Pettitte? As if Andy would ever play for the Rangers. Good try, cowboy.
P.S. I actually forgot it was Mo’s birthday. Shame on me! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MO!
P.P.S. Very sad to hear about the passing of former Yankee Gil McDougald. RIP, Gil.
If the Yankees Can’t Get Cliff Lee, Then…
Who? I mean it’s possible that Lee will sign somewhere else, it really is. So if not him, then who else? That’s what everybody seems to be asking today so I’ll join the discussion – only I warn you: I won’t make any sense. Why should reality get in the way of a good blog post? The truth is, Lee isn’t the best non-Yankees pitcher in baseball; he’s just the best free agent non-Yankees pitcher in baseball. Which means that we have to look at those who aren’t free agents and would, therefore, require a miraculous, impossible-to-pull-off trade. Here are those I covet, regardless of availability or practicality.
1) The Freak
So what if he just won a World Series for the Giants? Maybe he’s tired of the West Coast, not to mention the color orange.
Yeah, he’s got some mileage on him, but I’ve made no secret of my affection for him and maybe he misses the American League East.
3) King Felix
It’s true that his team hasn’t been a contender and he’s looked out of sorts on occasion, but he’s only 24 – plenty of time for him to mature into the game’s best pitcher.
4) The Zackster
He’s already said he won’t come to New York, but that doesn’t mean he means it. And maybe CC and Amber will find him an historic old house in rural New Jersey with a barn and horses and it’ll feel just like Kansas, as in Missouri.
That’s what Girardi would call Justin Verlander if he migrated to the Bronx. Sure, he’s the ace of the Tigers’ staff, but wouldn’t it be less pressure to be a #2 pitcher?
Those are my top five choices in case Cliff Lee doesn’t work out. Did I miss somebody? (This is why I don’t play fantasy baseball. I always miss somebody.)
Congratulations To The Giants and Their Fans
Is there anyone (besides Rangers fans and probably most of the Dodgers’ fan base) who didn’t find things to like about the 2010 Giants? They played like champions and became champions, just the way it should be. They made me enjoy this World Series, despite the lack of guys wearing pinstripes. Their pitching was spectacular. Their defense was strong. They had the perfect mix of rookies and veterans. (Why didn’t we pick up Aubrey Huff?) And would anyone have predicted that they’d outhit Texas? Just a great, great job in winning it all tonight. A special congrats to my brother-in-law Mark, who has rooted for his Giants for a very long time.
(Sorry about the postage stamp, Mark, but it’s all I could find. You need more pix on your Facebook page.)
What to say about Cliff Lee? For most of the game it looked like he and Lincecum would continue to put zeroes on the board. I kept wondering which team would blink first. But Lee was vulnerable yet again. Maybe his price will plummet?
And, finally, I guess I have to comment on the unfortunate person who happens to be the Rangers’ CEO. His team was fighting for its life in the World Series today and yet he went on his local ESPN radio station and picked on…. Yankee fans? According to Mr. Greenberg, we’re “violent” and “apathetic” as well as “an embarrassment.” Nice. At some point during the day, MLB scolded him and he apologized to Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine, dubbing us “passionate” instead. He’s entitled to his opinion, of course. But I’m sick and tired of being dumped on. It was amusing when Joe West called the Yankees and Red Sox “pathetic and embarrassing” because our games last too long for his taste. And it was startling that Kristen Lee called out Yankee fans for their boorish behavior during the ALCS in the Bronx. But enough now. Leave us and our team alone or you’ll have me to deal with. I’m not violent or apathetic, but I can dole out some choice words if pushed.
Rangers-Giants Game 4: Orange Is The New Black
Orange was everywhere today, given the confluence of the Giants and Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of orange. I don’t wear it. It’s not my color. In fact, I said to Michael before we sat down to watch the game tonight, “If I see another pumpkin, I’ll go mental.” Just as the words were out of my mouth, into my inbox landed an email from Friend of the Blog Audrey, along with this photo.
I quickly changed my mind and said, “Now that’s a pumpkin I could love.” Thanks, Audrey. Great carving job and even better accessorizing.
Speaking of carving up, that’s what young Madison Bumgarner (with a name like that he has to be good) did to the Rangers’ vaunted offense. Vlad Guerrero played the role of Pat Burrell tonight, looking especially awful at the plate. But “Bum” was tough on everybody. And he’s only a kid! It must be so satisfying for the Giants organization to see their prized prospect meet expectations. And now the World Series could be all over tomorrow – if, by some chance, Cliff Lee has two bad outings in a row.
Meanwhile, Bud Selig has been talking about expanding the playoffs by adding two more wild card teams. How does everyone feel about that? Here’s how I feel about it: NO THANKS.
“Oh, come on,” you’re saying. “It would give teams like the Royals and the Pirates a chance to compete for a championship.”
No, it wouldn’t. It would simply prolong the baseball season – something I wouldn’t mind under other circumstances – by diluting the talent pool. And I’m not just griping because the Yankees get into the playoffs so often; I’d feel the same way even if they didn’t. I wasn’t in favor of the wild card concept in the first place, just as I wasn’t crazy about the DH. But I came around to the idea that the best teams in each division would play each other with a “wild card” team rounding out the math. Adding two more teams does what, exactly? Push the games into December? Give more fans in more cities a chance to buy more tickets and more merchandise? Boost the TV ratings?
The whole notion is making me tired. I’m off to sleep. Let me know what you think.
Rangers-Giants Game 3: A Win for the Antlers
Thanks to my Twitter pal @SunnySoCal for the screen grab. And because the people in the photo made me laugh, I have to bring back the laughing lady.
The Rangers’ pitching was terrific. I don’t know how a guy like Colby Lewis turns up after a stint in Japan and throws the ball like a Cy Young award winner, but that’s what he’s done in the postseason. And Feliz is just plain sick, pumping nothing but gas.
On the Giants’ side, Sanchez is obviously a talented pitcher, but he really has to learn to stop walking batters. He had even more walks this year than AJ.and that’s saying something. And then there’s Pat Burrell, who can’t buy a hit. Cody Ross, however, is a player I’d never heard of before this postseason, and he continues to make his presence felt. I like unlikely heroes like him (that’s three “likes” in one sentence) and I hope the Giants can win the whole thing. But truthfully? I still miss the Yankees and I have to blink a few times when I watch these games to make sure they’re not out there.
Rangers-Giants Game 2: The Laughing Lady Is Back!
The Rangers were supposed to be the offensive powerhouse and the Giants were the weak hitting team?
Cliff Lee was supposed to be the shut-it-down ace and Matt Cain hasn’t given up a run in the postseason?
Neftali Feliz was supposed to be the Rangers’ most potent weapon out of the pen but Ron Washington went to two guys who couldn’t find the strike zone in a must-win game with his team only down by two runs?
The Rangers supposedly beat the Yankees because they were younger and fitter but senior citizens/playoff veterans Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe were tonight’s Giants stars?
There are supposed to be drunken, loud, insulting baseball fans at every stadium and yet the crowd in SF was so happy cheering for their team that I didn’t hear a single “Rangers suck” chant?
Yeah, I know. Maybe fans reserve that special display of affection for the Yankees. But still. It was a pleasure to see such a lighthearted group, dressed in their silly costumes and waving their silly rags and having a great time. Lucky them.
Will the Rangers rally at home? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. Lots can happen over a seven-game series. It just seems as if the Giants have the magic this year.
Rangers-Giants Game 1: Easing Into Life Without The Yankees
It was weird at first. I turned on the game because some baseball is better than no baseball. Well, and because I’ve jumped on the Giants’ bandwagon for this series, as I’ve said. But there were reminders of the Yankees everywhere, and I found myself grief-stricken all over again.
* Seeing Dave “Rags” Righetti made me remember his no-hitter. Why can’t he be our new pitching coach?
* Seeing Roberto Kelly made me remember when he was traded for Paul O’Neill. Why wasn’t I watching Paulie on the YES Network instead of Joe Buck on Fox?
* Seeing Tony Bennett sing “God Bless America” reminded me of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Why wasn’t this game at the Stadium instead of AT&T Park?
* Seeing Cliff Lee walk a guy, hit a guy and give up seven runs made me wonder if Brian Cashman will offer him less money now. Maybe we can get a discount for damaged goods?
* Seeing Vlad Guerrero fumble around in right field gave me fond memories of Marcus Thames. Will the Yankees bring Thames back?
* Seeing Tim Lincecum settle down after a tricky first few innings made me think of how CC does that. Did the big man’s bum knee affect his postseason performance?
* Seeing Josh Hamilton made me wonder why the media insists on comparing him to Mickey Mantle. Doesn’t it take a few years to become a legend?
* Seeing Elvis Andrus made me think of how Derek Jeter was his idol growing up. Will the Yankees and Jeter come to terms on a new contract quickly or will it be more complicated?
I could go on, but how about the game itself? Raise your hand if you predicted that the team that manhandled us would get manhandled. Baseball is a cool sport, even when your guys aren’t playing it.
“It’s Hard Not To Take It Personal”
I wasn’t at Yankee Stadium for the ALCS. I didn’t hear fans taunting family members of the Texas Rangers. And I certainly don’t know Cliff Lee’s wife Kristen. But according to USA Today via the LoHud blog, the fact that she’s miffed at Yankee fans could play a role in her husband’s decision whether to re-up with the Rangers this winter or wind up in the Bronx, among other possibilities. Here’s the pertinent excerpt:
Perhaps the Rangers’ greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above.
“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” Kristen says.
“When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”
It’s more than likely that Kristen Lee did hear and see some “horrible things.” But was she on hand in Arlington when Rangers fans were chanting “Yankees suck” every six seconds? Did she never watch her husband pitch in opposing ballparks when he was with the Indians, Phillies or Mariners? While there’s no excusing bad behavior, it happens everywhere. I would think that by now the wife of a professional ballplayer as well traveled as Lee would have seen and heard it all, not to mention grown a thicker skin.
If she genuinely wants her husband to stay in Texas because she loves it there, because it’s close to the couple’s home in Arkansas, because it’s the best environment for her family, because the Rangers organization ponies up the biggest contract in the history of baseball, then by all means they should stay in Texas. But if she’s going around ragging on Yankee fans, I’m afraid I’ll have to take it personal. I just will.
The Party’s Over
It was fun while it lasted. No, it was more than fun. It was fabulous. Sure I’m disappointed with tonight’s outcome and I spent the last six outs of the game reaching for the tissues, but how can I be upset about a team that made it to Game 6 of the ALCS? I feel lucky that our season lasted as long as it did when other fans had to watch their guys go home. The truth is, the Yankees were out-pitched and out-hit by those plucky Rangers throughout the series and didn’t play championship caliber baseball when it counted. (There’s no point in my doing a postmortem here; we all saw what happened.) It’ll be interesting to see how Texas fares against either the Phillies or Giants, but they’ll be tough to beat if they stay as hot and focused as they were against us and the Rays. As for the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes contest…
You all predicted that the Yankees would win the series, so there was no clear victor – at first. Since I was bound and determined to give away some cupcakes, I went back and looked at the questions and counted who had the majority of them right. Here they were:
Q: Which team will win the ALCS? (Not applicable)
Q: In how many games? (Not applicable)
Q: Who will be the series MVP? (Not applicable)
Q: Will there be any ejections? (Applicable)
Q: How many appearances will Mo make? (Applicable)
Q: Will the Good A.J. show up? (Applicable)
Only one of you guessed the last three questions correctly. (While the sort-of-Good-A.J. showed up for five innings, the Bad A.J. got the loss.) The winner is…cheshirecat! I hope the sweets will ease the pain of tonight’s loss, just a little.
I congratulate the Rangers for a job well done, but most of all I applaud my Yankees for bringing me so much pleasure all year long.
I miss them already. (Uh-oh. Here come the tears again. I’d better sign off.)
Mood Swings Before Game 6
I woke up this morning feeling so happy and relieved that the Yankees had escaped death. Well, not death death, but you know what I mean. I went about my day with a smile, an extra spring in my step, not even getting upset when I received yet another junk fax from some company selling a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I ran into a Dodger fan friend who congratulated me on the Game 5 win.
“Your guys sent the series back to Texas. Great job,” she said.
“I know,” I said, beaming with pride. “They really fought back under extreme pressure.”
“Of course,” she added, “they’re still facing elimination tomorrow night.”
And that’s when my mood took a dive. It wasn’t that she told me something I didn’t already know. It was just that I didn’t want to hear it. I was content to remain in my bubble.
I went home and started watching the Phillies and Giants, thinking of all the reasons I don’t want our season to end and how Phil Hughes has to pitch the game of his young life.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked me as I sat there in the fetal position.
“I’m worried about tomorrow night,” I said.
“But it’s still tonight,” he reminded me. “You’ve got 24 hours to get nervous.”
“True,” I acknowledged, “but -“
“You think the players are obsessing about tomorrow night?” he cut me off.
“No, they’re probably out having a good time with strippers and stuff.”
“There you go. If they’re not concerned about it, why should you be?”
I hate when he’s right. Still, I felt better reminding myself that the guys who will actually be playing the Rangers aren’t as nuts as I am. I jumped up and started making dinner, vowing to enjoy this night and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
Speaking of dinner (we’re having roast chicken), I want to alert everybody that Cooperstown Cookie Company is having a terrific promotion – a $100 spending spree giveaway that requires only that you fill out a brief survey. So take two seconds and enter on their site. You could be eating lots and lots of yummy cookies.