As of this writing, the Yankees plan to announce their decision tomorrow (Thursday) – probably while I’m still asleep here in California. I’m sticking with my earlier prediction that their pick will be Huuuughes, but the point of this blog post is: I don’t care anymore! Just do it, Yankees, and get it over with!
The #5 starter drama has had about as much suspense as whether Granderson or Gardner will open the season in center field. I’m not saying I don’t care care. Of course I do. The Yankees are my team, and I want what’s best for them. I’m just expressing the fact that I’m not losing sleep over it, because it doesn’t rise to the level of sleeplessness.
When I was a kid, there were contest results worth staying up for. As silly as it sounds now, I used to love to watch the Miss America Pageant and try to guess who’d win.
And presidential elections had tons of drama.
When it came to baseball, I, like the rest of the country, was riveted by whether Mantle or Maris would break Babe Ruth’s home run record.
But Hughes versus Joba (or Aceves or Mitre)? Phffffff. Of more interest to me was that Javier Vazquez pitched six strong innings tonight…that Mo looked great in relief…that A-Rod was in an offensive groove and that Tex, Cano and Granderson made nifty plays in the field (Cervelli too). For the first time since spring training started, I had the feeling I was watching a team that’s ready to begin the season. I know I’m ready.
Only they’re not these guys.
And they’re actually the T&R Boys.
But you get the idea. As in the Mantle and Maris era, Tex and A-Rod are a 3-4 duo that’s producing clutch hits in huge situations. That was certainly the case in tonight’s 4-3 victory over the Twins in 11 innings. Oh, what a game. It was such an emotional ride that I was sure I’d end up in a hospital bed suffering from sheer exhaustion.
Where to begin? The game was like a thriller with three distinctly different acts.
Act 1: The No-Hitter
For the first four-plus innings, the Yankees couldn’t get a hit off Nick Blackburn. Nothing. I kept saying to my husband, “They picked one horrible time to have their bats go cold.”
AJ was holding his own, throwing scoreless inning after scoreless inning, although he walked five and battled his tendency to be a wild man.
After the Twins scored a run in the top of the sixth, the Yankees came back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Jeter doubled and A-Rod knocked him in with a single. Suddenly, it was 1-1 – a whole new ball game.
Act 2: The Relievers
Joba and Coke took care of the Twins in the seventh. But in the eighth, Hughes wasn’t as dominant as he’s been and Mo didn’t pick him up.
With the Twins ahead 3-1, Mo came back out for a relatively easy ninth, thanks to Swisher’s great catch of Young’s fly ball. In the bottom of the ninth, I was crouched on the floor and muttering to myself, “Somebody do something so we won’t lose this thing! Please!”
That’s when the T&R Boys came to my rescue. Tex led off with a single and A-Rod hit a bomb to tie the score at 3-3 – another whole new ball game.
Act 3: Extra Innings
When Joe Nathan took the mound for the bottom of the 10th, I figured we were cooked. But Posada (no, he wasn’t off sulking in the clubhouse) singled. Gardner pinch ran for him, stole second and went to third on Nathan’s throwing error. Did he score the winning run? Nooo. He got doubled up on Damon’s liner. I was so frustrated I started yelling at my husband for no good reason.
Marte took the ball in the top of the 11th and gave up singles to the two batters he faced. (Nice one, Damaso.) With only two guys left in the pen (I think), Girardi sent Robertson out to pitch. After allowing a leadoff single to load the bases, he managed to retire Young, Gomez and Harris and end the threat. My heart was pounding.
As Tex stepped in to lead off the bottom of the 11th, I said on Twitter, “Please, Tex, put me out of my misery.” What happened? This.
And then this.
The Yankees won in walk-off style yet again, and I made up with my husband.
What a game.
The Twins are formidable with their M&M Boys.
Whenever the Yankees play them and they hit bomb after bomb no matter who’s pitching, I can’t help but be reminded of these two.
But the Yanks are hot right now and no amount of Morneau/Mauer firepower is enough. Coming off last night’s stunning walkoff win, today’s 6-4 walkoff in the 11th was equally satisfying. I’m still jazzed, and it’s hours after the final pitch.
Highlights for me…
– Joba’s new pre-game warmup seemed to do the trick, and he made it through the first inning without damage this time. He went six, gave up two runs and struck out six. He’s looking sharper with each outing. Yeeehaaaaaaaah!
– Tex came out of the gate like a man on a mission, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Was there really any doubt that he would thrive in pinstripes?
– Veras and Edwar, the twin devils, walked their leadoff batters and made me nuts as usual, but Aceves was lights out. And Mo was Mo, which was the same as this.
– A-Rod, who had looked off-balance all day, popped one into the seats for his first hit at the new stadium and his first walkoff of the year.
Yes, I know there are Yankee fans who will boo him even when he does hit in the clutch. Not me. He admitted he took steroids. If it’s proven that he’s guilty of other baseball crimes, I’ll cross that proverbial bridge when I come it. In the meantime, I was ecstatic when he brought the game home for my team.
Take a look/listen. Sorry for the quality of the video, but this is what I get for shooting the action off my MacBook Pro. Just pretend you have Vasoline in your eyes and it’ll look normal.
Even on the day that Cee Cee arrived in the Bronx to inspect his new workplace…
all I could think about was him.
Everywhere I looked, Yankees bloggers were going completely bloggy over the possibility that the Manster might become a Bomber. Some were pro. Some were con. Some said Hank and Hal were pro. Some said Cashman and Girardi were con. Which reports were accurate? Which were pure speculation? It got to the point where my brain just exploded.
I’ve been all over the blogosphere letting it be known that I was firmly in the “con” camp. Manny, I acknowledged, was a gifted hitter who would, indeed, come cheaper than Teixeira, but the Yankees didn’t need a troublemaker, a malingerer, a guy who shoved traveling secretaries. Besides, we had enough aging outfielders to fill a hotel ballroom with DH-es.
I’d convinced myself that I knew what I was talking about…..until I had a conversation with my brother-in-law, the rabid Red Sox fan.
Geoff lives in Concord, NH. (“Live free or die!”) He was the photo editor at both the Concord Monitor and the Boston Globe, and now has a very successful photography business. But this is the thing about Geoff: He loves Manny. He misses Manny. He’s sure the Red Sox would have won the ’08 World Series if they’d kept Manny. And – here’s the biggie – he thinks the Yankees would be lucky to get Manny.
She-Fan: So what do you love about Manny?
Geoff: He’s one of the best right-handed hitters that’s ever played the game. Nobody works harder.
She-Fan: Excuse me?
Geoff: It’s true. You ask any manager, any player. Ask Joe Torre and Don Mattingly. No one works harder than Manny.
She-Fan (trying not to choke): What about his defense?
Geoff: It’s gotten better every year. He wasn’t a liability, that’s for sure. People underestimate him because he’s very young emotionally.
She-Fan: Are you saying he’s, um, developmentally challenged?
Geoff: No. He just plays like a kid. He has that kind of enthusiasm.
She-Fan: He didn’t sound very enthusiastic when he was sniping at the Red Sox.
Geoff: I think what he said was true. Whenever they want to get rid of someone, they vilify them. They did the same thing with Nomar and Pedro. They even did it with Mo Vaughn. There are two sides to every story.
She-Fan: They didn’t make up the fact that he got into a little tiff with Youkilis.
Geoff: Youkilis is an *******. He comes into the dugout after he makes an out and starts cursing and acting crazy. Manny just told him to cut it out.
She-Fan: And the traveling secretary? Didn’t Manny take the poor guy down?
Geoff (laughs): Nobody’s perfect.
She-Fan: So you give him a pass for that?
Geoff: No. But look at how much he brought to the Red Sox. Big Papi would never have been the hitter he’s been without Manny.
She-Fan: Do you have a favorite Manny moment?
Geoff: When he went inside the Green Monster to go to the bathroom during a game.
She-Fan: I can’t imagine him pulling that stuff with the Yankees. No way.
Geoff: Can you imagine him batting behind Alex Rodriguez? Do you have any idea how many strikes A-Rod will see? Can you live with the two of them hitting 50 home runs a year? Do the names Mantle and Maris ring a bell? Are you at all interested in a few more World Championships for the Yankees?
He had me there.
She-Fan: Let me ask you one more question, and I want you to take all the time you need to answer it. What will you do if Manny does sign with the Yankees?
Geoff (without missing a beat): I’ll become a Yankee fan.
Needless to say, I was stunned. Stunned!
Here’s a shot of Geoff and me at Fenway in ’07 when I was there for my book.
Doesn’t he look happy? Could this lifelong Red Sox fan really switch sides? Does Manny Ramirez truly have the power to convert someone to another religion?