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.
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.)
You could argue that she is, given that all the Yankees had to do to take over first place was sit there in the visitors’ clubhouse at Fenway playing video games, while the Rays lost to the Royals. Nicely done, Mother Nature.
On the other hand, Saturday is going to be a bear. Will the regulars play in both games? Unlikely. Especially not the vets. So this series suddenly has a higher degree of difficulty and we could be looking at the Wild Card for real. Unless…the Rays are defeated by the Royals yet again. Is it possible? I didn’t think they’d lose tonight, but they did and we have this man to thank.
Checking in from New York after watching the Yankees homer their way to victory tonight. What a great game. Pitcher’s duels are exciting, but there’s nothing like a bunch of taters – especially loooong ones – to get me cheering. Before the game, I sat my 93-year-old mother down for another She-Fan Cam chat, which I split into two parts. Note that her comments about A-Rod in Part 1 changed after he went deep four times. LOL.
But despite the heat in Kansas City, the big man didn’t seem to lose velocity or command. Why Girardi didn’t let him finish out the ninth for the complete game beats me, but D-Rob recovered from a shaky start to get the save – and save my sanity. I’d been coasting along, thinking the Yanks were well on their way to victory and didn’t expect any late drama. Silly me, especially after the last couple of sweaty nights in Texas.
Whatever Kevin Long did to tweak Granderson’s swing clearly worked. And Swisher, Jeter and Austin Kearns – yes, Austin Kearns – had their hitting shoes on.
Speaking of shoes, I have more packing to do for my Jet Blue flight to JFK early tomorrow morning, so I’ll cut this short and say I hope I don’t run into any cursing flight attendants.
I won’t be posting an entry after Friday night’s game, but feel free to chime in about anything exciting that happens and I’ll respond to comments on Saturday. Take care, everybody!
1) A-Rod didn’t get drilled as badly as I feared.
That said, his eighth inning at bat with the bases loaded sure didn’t go the way Yankee fans hoped it would. I mean, a grand slam for your 600th after a two-hour-plus rain delay? Now that would have been amazing. But at least he’s OK. Or so we’re told.
2) Congrats to Cano for hit #1000.
He’s not even 30. Think how many hits are in his future if he stays healthy and continues to work hard. Somewhere, Melky is either happy or really, really jealous.
3) What’s up with Huuuughes and all the homers he’s giving up in the Bronx?
Maybe he should go back to wearing those glasses? Sure, the Stadium has a short porch, but two dingers to Posednik? Really?
4) Nice to see the bats working for Jeter, Tex and especially Granderson.
Wouldn’t it be great if he finished up the season with offense like he demonstrated today? I want so much for him to succeed in pinstripes.
5) Joba. Oy.
It’s kind of ironic that he and Alex Gordon were both college phenoms in Nebraska. Both were rushed to the majors. And both have kind of flopped with their respective teams. Today they were on the field together, and neither was distinguishing himself. I felt sorry for them.
6) The Yankees didn’t get Dan Haren.
It doesn’t sound like we were even close to making that trade, but I got swept up in the rumors just the same. Such a gullible fool. I vow NEVER to believe what I read until a deal is done. (OK, I say that every time, but this time I mean it!) At least Haren won’t have to change colors, seeing as he can wear red as an Angel. But what about me? Last night I posted a video about how much I wanted him in pinstripes on YouTube. Such a fool to jump the gun, as I said. Oh well. Never again. Never!
Update: Well, I see my video was blocked by YouTube during the night while I was sleeping, blissfully unaware that the gremlins were at work. Interesting. Was it copyright infringement to use my own voice in the narration? Or iMovie’s sound effects? Ah, must be those photos of Haren because, after all, they shouldn’t be subject to “fair use,” because that would be, like, fair. And yes, I’m mad. Excerpts of my books get plastered all over the internet and I don’t say a word. I’m flattered, actually. I would think photographers would be flattered too, but then I’m a gullible fool, as I’ve already said. Bleh. Anyhow, sorry for the big blank in this post.
Actually, it’s Brett Gardner who has it and was, therefore, unavailable today. Reports say he went to the hospital to have his gut checked. I sure hope everything is OK because this lineup missed him – and Swisher. But the real problem was Mitre. I know it was his first start coming off the DL, but isn’t he supposed to be a sinker ball pitcher? Did anyone see a ball that sunk? The only bright spot in the game was Moseley. Well, and Tex’s two homers. Otherwise, the Yankees looked wilted from the heat, including Mr. #599.
I really hope Cashman will step up his talks with the Diamondbacks about Dan Haren. Wouldn’t he look good in pinstripes?
Yeah, he’d have to get a haircut and lose the beard, but he’s kind of adorable. And more importantly, he strikes guys out.
Oh, before I forget, have people heard about the new sports site for fans, uberfan.com? It’s this really cool site where you can keep track of the games you watched and the corresponding stats for how your team did on those days. Check out their press release about it, and you’ll get the drift. It’s perfect for us superstitious fans. You’ll see.
It wasn’t raining here in Santa Barbara, but I sang while it rained in the Bronx. Why?
* Because the Yanks jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Royals in the first.
* Because A.J. threw five shutout innings before the storm blew in.
* Because Cano is so damn good this year with runners on base.
* Because Jorge knocked in his 1,000th career RBI.
* Because A-Rod, while unable to hit #600, helped the team anyway.
* Because Colin Curtis got the start in right field.
* Because we won the game and only had to use Chad and Alby in relief.
* Because Swisher claims he hurt his Achilles while he slept, and there has to be more to that story.
* Because when we play the Royals there’s always a chance that I’ll see Farnsy again.
Q: How often does CC get pounded with singles?
A: Hardly ever.
Q: How many times has Jeter hit an inside-the-parker?
A: Only once before.
Q: Did I expect to see Wilson Betemit be a candidate for “Player of the Game?”
A: Not in my lifetime.
Q: Did Posada make two bonehead throws tonight?
Q: Did Dave Robertson perform another Houdini act?
A: He did.
Q: Did Joba load the bases and give fans another heart attack?
A: He did.
Q: Did the Yankees score 10 runs for the second day in a row?
A: They did.
Q: Did A-Rod inch closer to #600?
A: He did.
Q: Did the umpires make some bizarre calls?
A: What else is new.
I could go on, but the main thing is the Yankees won the series opener against the Royals. And speaking of the umpiring, did anyone see clips from the O’s-Twins game? The hapless O’s got a raw deal on a call at first, and Ty Wigginton went so nuts his manager had to choke him.
And could someone explain how Carl Pavano and his porn star mustache have 12 wins? And is there any way the Yankees could ask for their money back?
Last night I announced the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Enemy – the opposing player who best helped the Yankees win the ALDS, ALCS or World Series. Congratulations again to Brad Lidge.
Tonight’s award goes to the opposing player who contributed mightily to this year’s most exciting phenomenon: the walk-off victory. The Yankees had 15 walk-offs during the regular season, some more significant than others but all a great source of pleasure for Yankee fans – and for A.J. Burnett.
And the nominees for Best Regular Season Walk-Off Enemy are…
– Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
Yes, Fuentes was one of last night’s nominees, but he merits another look in this category. On May 1st, he allowed a bases-loaded walk-off single by Posada in the ninth, and the Yanks beat the Angels 10-9 after having been down by five runs in the game. A big win against a big rival.
– Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Another return nominee, Nathan was on the mound on May 15th, which, by the way, marked A-Rod’s debut at the new Stadium as well as the game in which Brett Gardner had an inside-the-park home run. In the ninth, Gardner tripled off Nathan, Tex singled, A-Rod walked, Cano was walked intentionally, and – with the bases loaded – Melky blooped a two-out single to win the game 5-4. The Yanks went on to sweep the Twins with three consecutive walk-offs.
– Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies
Yet another return nominee, Lidge pitched the ninth on May 23rd. The Yanks were down by two runs, but the Phillies closer walked Damon, gave up a game-tying homer to A-Rod, allowed a single to Cano, who stole second, and served up a walk-off single to Melky. A foreshadowing of things to come.
– Luis Castillo, New York Mets
We all know what happened on June 12th, but here’s the recap. The Yanks were down by a run in the ninth when K-Rod came in to close it out for the Mets. Jeter singled, stole second and K-Rod intentionally walked Tex to pitch to a struggling A-Rod, who popped up to Castillo for the third out. Inexplicably, L-Cas dropped the ball, and Tex and A-Rod scored the winning runs. The best part was watching K-Rod celebrate – prematurely.
– Shawn Camp, Toronto Blue Jays
July 4th was George Steinbrenner’s birthday and the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech. So it was only fitting that Roy Halladay did not get the win on this day. Instead, he left the game in a funk after Damon’s two-run shot tied the score in the seventh. It wasn’t until the 12th that Posada singled in the winning run off Camp, who is a double She-Fan Award nominee for the walk-off single he gave up to Cano on August 12th.
– Junichi Tazawa, Boston Red Sox
Who can forget the August 7th game that lasted 15 innings and five-and-a-half hours? It was Burnett against Beckett, two former Marlins, and the score was 0-0 when A-Rod stepped in against the rookie Red Sox pitcher and belted one into the seats with Jeter aboard for a 2-0 walk-off. The win expanded the Yankees’ lead in the AL East to four-and-a-half games.
– Kyle Farnsworth, Kansas City Royals
No, the game on September 29th against the Royals hardly mattered in terms of the pennant race. But seeing old friend Farnsy was a treat nonetheless. With the September call-ups in the lineup, Cervelli got the Yankees’ ninth-inning rally going with a ground ball that deflected off Farnsworth for a single. Cisco moved to third on Hinske’s single and scored on Cano’s sac fly. Up to the plate stepped another call-up, Juan Miranda, whose grounder off Farnsy’s leg scored Hinske. The Yanks won 4-3 and all was right with the world.
The envelope please.
And the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy goes to…
***** Junichi Tazawa *****
The sentimental favorite would have been Castillo, of course. But an interleague series against the hapless Mets that didn’t really count for a lot except in entertainment value? Conversely, the 15-inning game against the Red Sox was huge. They had beaten us eight straight times coming into the series, and first place in the division was on the line. Once A-Rod hit that shot off of Tazawa, they had to settle for a Wild Card berth. Congratulations to Mr. Tazawa. Oh, wait. Mr. Tazawa is out of the country and can’t be here to accept his award. Accepting it for him is his teammate.
“Oh, wow,” said Mr. Papelbon. “The She-Fan Award is really heavy.”
“That’s because it’s solid gold,” I said. “Maybe you’ll win one next year.”