Tagged: Shelley Duncan
Maybe it’s the Blue Jays who should be called the Bombers, since they were the ones doing the bombing tonight. Every time I turned around, Wells or Bautista or one of those guys was hitting the ball out. Clearly, Moseley isn’t CC and Wood isn’t Mo. And Mitre? Why even bother. Just DFA him already and call up one of the kids.
Offense is still AWOL. Third loss in a row. No longer in first place. What’s a Yankee fan to do? I’ll tell you what this Yankee fan did: watched the clip of the Red Sox and Indians going at it tonight.
Josh Beckett looks really, really mad at Shelley Duncan, doesn’t he? All I can say is that their game must have been way more entertaining than ours.
“I don’t need a left-handed bat for the outfield.”
That’s what Cashman said today, according to LoHud. And while it’s all well and good for the Yankees GM to say that HE doesn’t need a left-handed bat for the outfield, what about us fans?
Has he stopped to ask us what WE need? I said I was OK with Brett Gardner in left and I am. But the team would be stronger with Johnny Damon on the roster. So what’s the big deal? Just sign the guy and get it over with, so we can see him popping out of the dugout and knocking the ball into Damon’s Deck?
Free agents are dropping like flies. Even Eric Hinske has a new team. Did we really spend every last dime on Nick Johnson? Is there nothing left in the vault for Damon? Can’t Hal and Hank chip in a few million from their trust funds?
If all the Yankees needed was a right-handed bat off the bench to play the outfield, why not hold onto Shelley Duncan? Oh, well. We did hold onto Sergio Mitre and his 6.79 ERA. Now that’s a relief.
Cashman also said he’s not looking for bullpen help. Really? Because these two inspire so much confidence?
I know I sound cranky in this post, but I’m feeling cranky right now. I want Damon to remain a Yankee. Not forever. Not for a gazillion dollars. Just figure it out, Cashman. Johnny’s already got his favorite restaurants in New York, even if he can’t pronounce their names. Don’t mess with this, Cash.
Coney Versus Tino
According to various reports, including today’s blog post on “It Is High,” David Cone is having issues with the YES Network and may not be back to provide commentary in the booth this year. I am not happy. I loved Coney as a player and I grew to love him as a broadcaster. He was smart, funny, unpredictable, occasionally goofy, extremely prepared and way more interesting to listen to than Ken Singleton and John Flaherty, both of whom are sweet and knowledgeable but have the effect of Ambien.
Supposedly, Coney’s replacement would be Tino Martinez. Now don’t anyone get all huffy about what I’m going to say. Tino is a Yankee god and always will be, but have you heard him in the booth? I remember when he had a brief stint on ESPN or FOX (can’t remember which). He had the personality of this.
Just to compare and contrast the styles of the two former players, here they are being interviewed at Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation dinner in ’08. Granted, Coney’s clip is longer, but maybe that’s because he didn’t spout cliches.
Here’s Coney (notice John Sterling in the background)….
If I were a YES executive, I’d be looking for an ex-Yankee who can share his own experiences but knows when to shut up and whose personality meshes well with Michael Kay (good luck with that). In short, I’d hire….
Any ideas? Shelley Duncan’s out, since he just signed with the Indians. Congratulations, Shelley! Try not to break anybody’s arm!
How Many Outfielders Does It Take To Screw In A Light Bulb?
Or, to put it another way, how many outfielders will make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster? Now that we’ve added Jamie Hoffmann, the Rule V Draft Pick who was half of the Bruney-to-Nationals deal, we have five – count ’em, FIVE – viable outfielders. And that doesn’t include Damon, who could still sign, plus one or two Hinske/Hairston utility types yet to be on our radar. Sounds like a game of musical chairs to me.
While it’s true that you can never have too many options, given possible injuries (hello, Xavier Nady) and mediocrity (that would be you, Shelley Duncan), the Yankees have some decisions to make and one of these guys is bound to get left out. Let’s look at the outfield as it stands tonight….
* Curtis “Grandy” Granderson *
He looks awfully snappy in his newly Photo Shopped cap and uniform, doesn’t he? Obviously, he’s not going anywhere. I hope he patrols center field for a long, productive time.
* Melky “The Melkman” Cabrera *
I assume Melky will move to left field with the acquisition of Grandy. He has a better-than-average arm and hits in the clutch. Is he the greatest player to wear the pinstripes? No, but I love saying the name “Melky” and having non-baseball friends go, “What?”
* Nick “Swishalicious” Swisher *
The presumed right fielder who started his Yankees life as our presumed first baseman before Tex came along and Nady went down, Swish has a decent arm, gets on base (except when he strikes out in key situations) and lightens up the clubhouse. He can also turn a routine fly ball into an adventure, and performs needless somersaults.
* Brett “Gardy” Gardner *
Gardy, not to be confused with Grandy, runs like crazy, as we all know, and covers a lot of ground in center. His arm won’t blow anyone away. But if he gets on base, his speed causes the opposition to spazz out. The word “if” is key here. He doesn’t get on base often enough.
* Jamie “Hoffy” Hoffmann *
The new kid looks a lot like the old kid (Shelley). Apparently, Hoffy played a lot of hockey and was even drafted by the NHL. According to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Cashman said of Hoffman: “He’s got a hockey mentality – a very athletic and hard-nosed outfielder.” I guess that means he’ll be good in brawls?
There they are – five candidates for three spots – with the possible addition of Damon. So who gets traded? Anybody? Hoffy could do time in Scranton. And The Melkman and Swishalicious could handle the corners. But where does that leave Gardy? There’s no one more fun to watch on the base paths.
And who could forget the story of how he went to NY-Presbyterian Hospital to read books to sick kids as part of Project Sunshine? He was given a “lucky” bracelet by a girl awaiting a heart transplant, remember? She said, “Maybe this will make you hit a home run.”
And then he played in the game later – only because Damon was ejected – and promptly hit an inside-the-park homer….and the girl suddenly received a heart from a donor. Talk about “meant to be.”
I know this will seem like I’m just echoing my post from last night about Joba/Hughes, but can’t we keep every single one of them? Right now all I want to do is hoard players. Isn’t that only natural in winter?
Baby Bombers Rock!
For the Yankees’ opener against the Royals, Girardi rested the vets and played the kids. I figured we’d get clobbered. Wrong. We did the clobbering. Well, the kids did.
How? With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth, Ramiro Pena smacked his first major league homer. It was hilarious when, as per custom, he walked into the dugout and all the vets turned their backs and gave him the silent treatment.
When the score was knotted at 2-2 in the sixth, it was Shelley who came through with an RBI single to put the Baby Bombers up 3-2. I guess he can hit major league pitching after all.
Then we moved into the seventh inning, and the kids broke the game wide open. How?
Pena: singled in Cervelli.
Cano: hit a grand salami.
It was Robbie’s second career grand slam and it shut me up about his inability to hit with runners in scoring position. It was also his 25th homer and set a new Yankees record for players with 25 or more dingers in a season (there are five).
The Yankees won the game 8-2, and it wasn’t all about offense, obviously. Chad Gaudin went six-plus and held the Royals to only four hits. I admit I wasn’t thrilled about him at first, but his last few outings have been more than decent and I think he could help the Yanks in the playoffs as a long reliever or emergency starter.
Marte got Alex Gordon to foul out (wasn’t Gordon supposed to be The Next Great Thing?) and Aceves was perfect the rest of the way. And so the Baby Bombers picked right up where the guys who just won the division left off. Nice job, kids. You deserve a treat!
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.
“A Rare Train-Wreck Game”
Well, that’s what Yankees beat writer Peter Abraham called it on his blog. Taking nothing away from the excellent performance by Scott Kazmir, tonight’s game at the Trop was a sloppy one by the Yankees, who fell 6-2 to the Rays and looked as if they’d been out partying last night.
Good pitching and defense? Not in evidence. CC struggled through five-plus and only intermittently had command of his pitches. Wasn’t he supposed to be a great second-half guy? He seemed pretty lost out there.
Both Jeter and A-Rod made throwing errors, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Matsui got picked off of first base, and I can’t remember the last time that happened either. And Swisher? I’m sorry, but he’s just not the player I want in right field everyday. Sure, he comes up with the occasional brilliant catch, but most of the time he’s – how can I put this delicately – cringe worthy.
Would Eric Hinske be that much worse? Would Shelley Duncan? Would this kid?
I’m missing Bobby Abreu right now, wall phobia and all. Are you hearing me, Cashman?
I was delighted that Girardi finally allowed Mark Melancon to appear in public; it was starting to feel as if he’d contracted swine flu like Vincente Padilla and been shuttled off to an undisclosed location.
Speaking of maladies, what awful news about Wang. Shoulder surgery tomorrow? Out for the rest of this season and possibly next? Talk about a blow.
And what about Aceves, the guy we’ve been counting on in the pen and maybe in the rotation too? Now he tells the Yankees he has shoulder pain? How long has that been going on? I understand the whole spiel about athletes playing through injuries, blah blah, but did he think that keeping his “arm fatigue” quiet would make it go away? The strategy didn’t exactly work for Bruney.
OK. I’ll take a deep breath here.
Much better. It’s just that things have been going so well for the Yankees that I was hoping everybody would stay healthy and we wouldn’t have any big surprises and…
Would you listen to me? I’m acting all sky-is-falling, and it’s ridiculous. Baseball is nothing if not full of surprises. And with the trade deadline creeping up, there are bound to be more of them.
Yankees-Cubs Part 2: Either The Yankees Are Great Or The Cubs Stink
We won the Grapefruit League. We won Florida. And now we’ve won the Dress Rehearsal, mauling the Cubs 10-1 in a quaint, old-fashioned, Bronx Bombers-style display of brute force.
Sure, it was windy and the balls were flying out. But they weren’t flying out for the Cubs, were they?
Up stepped Jeter: three-run shot.
Up stepped Teixeira: solo blast, followed by a three-run jack. (So much for his slow start.)
Up stepped Shelley: one-run dinger.
Not that the pitching wasn’t impressive. Pettitte labored but escaped damage. AJ was brilliant over four scoreless innings. And Bruney and Coke looked downright nasty.
There were things that bothered me.
* MLB.TV’s feed kept “stuttering,” which forced me to lower the quality of the video.
* YES showed clips of the perfect games by Wells/Cone over and over. I love a memorable Yankees moment as much as the next fan, but how about a breather?
* I don’t need to see any more images of people roaming around “the great hall” looking dazed and confused.
* If there are so many empty seats at the Stadium, why not lower the prices or give them away to aspiring she-fans?
On the plus side…
* I was grateful that MLB.TV broadcast the game at all, since my Extra Innings cable package doesn’t kick in until tomorrow.
* I enjoy watching Brett Gardner play small ball, but I almost forgot how much I like big ball.
* I admit I derive a certain satisfaction when the opposition makes errors. So I laughed when that routine pop-up dropped between the Cubs players. I did. Forgive me.
* I roared when Michael Kay asked Paul O’Neill if he ever got under the covers with his wife on cold nights in Cincinnati and showed her his Yankeeography.
Since the Yankees won again, I’ll be eating chicken for dinner again. And again – until the Yankees lose or I grow feathers. Whichever comes first.
Day Three In Tampa (With The She-Fan Cam)
Saturday was a day game after a night game. Good thing I didn’t have to play shortstop or even DH. I was really dragging. When I spotted the Marriott’s bellman on my way to the ballpark, I was tempted to ask him if he knew where I could score some boli. Instead, I bonded with him after he complimented me on my garb (Mo T-shirt/Yankees visor).
There was a packed house at Steinbrenner field for Yankees/Braves, and the weather couldn’t have been more cooperative.
Even George was present and accounted for, as was Reggie Jackson.
I got a stiff neck looking up at his box every few minutes, waiting to see if Hal would appear. Only Hank did. You can’t have everything.
On my way to buy bottled water, I ran into a Red Sox fan and felt compelled to ask why he was attending a Yankees game.
And as I walked by the woman in charge of the Customer Service booth, another urge to whip out the She-Fan Cam overtook me.
See how much we can learn through baseball? If we want a happy, 50-year-marriage, it can be ours – if our spouse is never around.
The game got underway and Wang looked sharp (well, except for the non-sinker stinker he threw to Kotchman that put the Braves on the board). He covered first and managed to avoid another Lisfranc injury, and there was a collective sigh of relief.
Hideki was the DH and seemed to be stroking the ball well.
But the Yankees offense was anemic. I mean, come on. Men on first and third with no outs and nobody scores? I hate that.
Wang was pulled for Brett Tomko, who promptly served up a Bombko. Phil Coke gave one up too.
Rather than sit in my seat behind home plate and stew about the 3-1 score, I worked off my frustration by roaming the stadium. I encountered a couple of hardcores from New York.
(I really do want that robe. Memo to self: Go shopping on the MLB web site.) He also mentioned that he was getting married soon and that he was not only planning to wear the Mantle robe at the wedding but to stick the Yankees N-Y logo on the back of his fiancee’s gown. Excellent idea.
I was returning to my seat when I spotted a she-fan in training. I don’t care what team you root for; her smile will melt your heart.
(Full disclosure: Her slightly older brother is a Red Sox fan, and they got into a fight after I shut off the She-Fan Cam. He didn’t punch her, but he pinched her really hard.)
Random game notes….I continue to be impressed by Ramiro Pena, who played second while Ransom took over shortstop duties and Justin Leone played third. I’d never heard of Pena before, but the kid is slick with the glove. Damon looked sluggish on an attempted steal. Get those legs in shape, Johnny. Opinions about A-Rod’s hip echoed throughout the game – from the guy who said A-Rod should play with a torn labrum for an entire season to the woman who insisted that surgery should be performed immediately to the kid who wanted the Yankees to trade for Adrian Beltre.
As we were exiting the stadium after the 3-1 loss, I chatted up one of the Yankees security officers. Her ears were pierced in places I didn’t know you could pierce an ear, and her tongue had a silvery thing embedded in it.
Later, Michael and I had dinner with John Sterling, the radio voice of the Yankees, at a swanky restaurant overlooking Old Tampa Bay. He’s a regular there and was given the royal treatment – as well as the “15% Yankees discount.” I figured it would be gauche to bring the She-Fan Cam, but I wish I had.
Looking forward to another great day on Sunday. The Yankees will be in Lakeland playing the Tigers, so we’ll be driving to St. Pete for some sightseeing and a drink with bestselling author Peter Golenbock. (I will definitely bring the She-Fan Cam to that.)
Day Two In Tampa (With Videos)
Another gorgeous day here in Yankeeville. No humidity. No bugs. Not even a stray alligator.
I met such great people at my signing at Barnes & Noble, including the one and only Rays Renegade, ladies and gentlemen! He’s my BFF for showing up.
He had to dash off to watch the Rays, but I’m very grateful that he took the time to support his fellow MLBlogger. If anyone else gets the chance to meet him, seize it. He’s a sweetheart.
We had lots of other interesting visitors – from the woman who wanted a signed book for her son’s school auction to the boy who roots for the Tampa Bay Lightning but bought a book for his baseball-loving mother.
And then we had this Yankee-fan-family from Binghampton, New York, who’d flown down to Tampa the night before.
And this enthusiastic she-fan who was one of the first in line…
And the mother and daughter who were both named Laura…
And this hardcore Yankee-ite from Woodstock, New York.
Her name is Eileen and I met her the day before at the ballpark. Here’s the video from that first chat. As you can see, she has only love for her Yanks, one in particular.
Toward the end of the signing, along came a Yankee fan/Tampa local, formerly from New York.
I had to pull out the Flip Video camera to record her Jeter story.
Before leaving the bookstore, I chatted up Nan, the community relations director at B&N.
It turned out that she had her own intel about The Captain.
She escorted me over to the store’s “endcap” where my book was, indeed, creating a Jeter sandwich.
My last interview at the store was with the woman at the B&N Cafe who has actually serviced served Jeter.
O.K. Now onto baseball. Friday’s game was the first night game of the season at Steinbrenner Field and there was much more electricity than the day before.
And with good reason: CC was in the house.
I know. He’s the size of a pinhead in that photo, but he was in total command during his two innings and was a pleasure to watch.
Other game notes….Angel Berroa has lobster claws for hands….Cody Ransom is more than competent at third base as A-Rod’s apparent replacement, although I wonder where A-Rod’s 150 RBIs will come from….Aceves bounced back nicely from his last outing…Shelley Duncan needs to stay in the minors forever (terrible play in right field)….Brett Gardner made a fabulous catch in center and my infatuation with him continues….Ramiro Pena, the kid playing shortstop while Jeter’s away, is impressive….Nick Swisher is growing on me; he threw lots of baseballs to the fans….Yankee fans in Tampa booed Sheffield just like they do in the Bronx….and, best of all, the Yanks beat the Tigers.
Oh. Indulge me one final fan encounter. Seated behind me was a woman wearing a zillion Yankee pins on her jacket. If the Yanks were the Army, she’d be a general. Take a look.
After the game, we were treated to a dazzling display of fireworks. The Steins know how to throw a party.