Tagged: Stephen King

This Time, The Yanks Win The Battle Of The  Pens

Actually, Russell Crowe looks enough like Joba to play him in the movie version of tonight’s Yankees-Red Sox contest. But who needs a movie when we were treated to the real thing – yet another roller coaster battle that had me yelling at the TV. (It’s a good thing this isn’t a podcast, because I’m really hoarse.)
Lester looked unhittable early, just like Beckett did on Sunday night, but he headed for the showers after going five innings and giving up four runs. A.J. had a nearly identical line (five innings, four runs/three earned), but he only gave up one walk – a nice stat for him – and had five K’s. He wasn’t The Horrible A.J. and he wasn’t The Amazing A.J., so I guess I’d call him The Better-Than-Satisfactory A.J.
I know he frustrates people, but I always look forward to watching him pitch. He’s got tremendous stuff and he’s unpredictable – you never quite know when or if he’ll unravel.
But let’s talk about the bullpen.
Aceves: Tremendous.
Robertson: Shaky, but Joe had a quick hook.
Marte: Bizarre lollipop pickoff move, but he did his job with Ortiz.
Joba: Looked almost like the 2007 Joba, complete with the old fist pump.
Mo: Do I even need to say he got his first save of the season?
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The picture wasn’t all rosy for the Yankees, by any means. They stranded 10 runners and were 3-for-14 with RISP. They had chances to break the game open and didn’t (hence, my yelling at the TV), and were sloppy on defense, committing three errors and allowing that ball to drop between Jeter and Thames, whom I’m calling this year’s Angel Berroa. Still, there were many “Yay!” moments:
Swisher: Two doubles? I like it. Must be his svelte new bod.
Cano: Talk about a great start to the season — he even walked!
Johnson: The guy drove in the game-winning run by using his much heralded eyes!
A-Rod: Delivered in the clutch, picking up where he left off last year.
Granderson: Got a hit off the lefty Lester (shock and awe).
So the Yankees won their first game of 2010, which was a relief. And let’s face it: It’s really, really sweet to beat the Red Sox at Fenway. I love when that place goes all quiet and the fans seem, well, preoccupied.
P.S. Here’s my nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookies contest. If you haven’t entered, click here.

Watching The Yankees = Watching A Horror Movie

For three straight days I was tortured by the Red Sox and their merriment. Tonight, in the Yankees’ 4-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica, I was tortured by Justin Verlander and his 99-mph fastball. Watching my team lately has taken on the feel of this.
Every horror movie has a few likable, heroic characters, and tonight’s game was no different. Cano kept hitting (why wasn’t he batting cleanup?). CC gave the pen a night off (loved the fourth when he K-ed Ordonez, Cabrera and Guillen; he could have gotten a “W” if he’d had a little run support). And Pena continued to show why he’s a better utility infielder than both Ransom and Berroa (duh).
And then there were the scary villains….
* Justin Verlander and his high cheese.
* Placido Domingo Polanco and his oddly shaped head.
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* Magglio Ordonez and his oddly shaped hair.
* Jorge Posada and his tendency to ground into rally-killing double plays.
It’s true that the Yankees didn’t arrive in Detroit until the wee hours of the morning and were probably as tired as they looked. But isn’t that what this is for?
Getting back to “Carrie,” I was thinking how empowering it would be to have her gift of telekinesis – to make things happen just by thinking about them.
Here are a few ways I would use my power to help the Yankees…
* I would heal A-Rod, Nady, Bruney and the newly banged up Damon.
* I would fix Wang’s mechanics and, if necessary, his mind.
* I would turn Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and Nick Swisher into better hitters. (Swish is spiraling back down to earth. I can feel it.)
* I would command Jose Veras not to walk anybody. Ditto: Marte.
* I would put ten pounds on Edwar Ramirez, as well as give him another pitch besides the change-up.
* I would make Jeter five years younger.
* I would leave Mo exactly the way he is.
* I would trade Kei Igawa for Roy Halladay straight up.
* I would insure that the Yankees win their 27th championship this year.
* I would haunt anybody who tried to thwart me.

Jason Varitek in Pinstripes?


O.K. Don’t kill me, anybody. He’ll probably sign with the Red Sox within the next six seconds. I’m just saying that he’s still out there and maybe he’s getting a little antsy.
And let’s face it. There’s a history of Boston players crossing over into enemy territory, most of whom felt unappreciated and/or underpaid.
There was, of course, Babe Ruth. He crossed over and became, well, The Babe.
Sparky Lyle crossed over and won three straight AL pennants and two World Series and was the first reliever to win the Cy Young award.
Wade Boggs crossed over and had four straight .300+ seasons, earned two Gold Gloves and helped the Yankees win their first World Series in 18 years.
Roger Clemens crossed over after taking a detour through Toronto. He won two World Series and notched his 300th win and 4,000th strikeout as a Yankee. (Go ahead. Put an asterisk next to him if you must.)
Flash Gordon crossed over. He was a terrific set-up man for Mo and led the AL in holds in ’04 with 36.
The list wouldn’t be complete without Johnny Damon, who swore he’d never leave Boston but took the extra year the Yanks offered (and the extra millions). He batted .303 last season and was one of the most consistent hitters on an underachieving team.
Back to Varitek. Why in the world would he sign with the Yankees and why in the world would the Yankees want him?
1) Scott Boras. The guy lives for this stuff.
2) Jorge Posada. What if he can’t throw?
3) Jose Molina. What if he can’t catch every day?
4) Chad Moeller. Gone.
5) Ivan Rodriguez. Gone.
6) Francisco Cervelli. A prospect from Triple A.
7) Kevin Cash. Another crossover, but a lowly one on the order of Mike Myers, Alan Embree and Mark “the strikeout king” Bellhorn.
Are there obstacles to a deal? Absolutely. Varitek hates #13.
But they’d work it out. That’s what being a big leaguer is all about.
There’s also the money. Do the Yankees have any left? I’m not their accountant, but probably.
And there’s the issue of Varitek’s batting average; it hovered near the Mendoza line last season. But it just beat out Nick Swisher’s and the Yankees took him. We take lots of players who look like they’re ready for the glue factory. Sometimes they revive. Sometimes they don’t. Nothing is for sure in this game, not even Jason Varitek’s next address.

Why Can’t Baseball Be More Like the Book Business?

Except that the book business is bracing for its worst holiday season ever. Retailers are slashing orders and publishers are laying people off and new manuscripts are harder to sell than condos in Reno. Lots of panic in the biz right now.

panic.jpgThat said, there’s one aspect of the publishing industry that’s way more efficient than the Hot Stove season, where we’re forced to sit around waiting to see which free agents will deign to play for which team for how many millions of dollars.
It’s called an auction.
auction_gavel.jpgSeriously. Let’s say Mark Teixeira wrote a novel about – I don’t know – being a vampire, and every editor in New York was eager to acquire it for his or her company.
Mark’s agent, Scott Boras, would set a date for the auction. On that day, editors would submit bids for the book to Scott, who would sift through them, pick the highest bidder and the best marketing plan, and notify the winner. And that would be that. Tex and his vampire novel would have a home. No waiting around. No blogging about why it’s taking so long. Just a done deal.
Authors aren’t that different from ballplayers (not counting the lack of athletic ability and affordable health insurance). There are some, like John Grisham, who’ve stayed with the same publishing house for their entire career. In fact, Grisham is the Derek Jeter of authors.
There are others, like Jackie Collins, who finish up contracts, become free agents, and jump from publisher to publisher, making her the LaTroy Hawkins of novelists.
There are still others, such as the Red Sox-loving scribe Stephen King, who have special bonuses in their contracts (more money for each week a book is #1 on the NY Times bestseller list). Doesn’t that remind you of A-Rod and his “historic event bonuses?”
My agent’s name is Ellen Levine. She’s a big cheese at Trident Media Group, and she conducts auctions all the time. You could call her the Scott Boras of publishing, because she’s been known to make editors cry.
Ellen held an auction for me after I became a free agent. It was the most stressful day of my life. I sat by the phone saying out loud to no one, “What if nobody comes to my auction and we don’t get a single bid?” I thought about other careers I could pursue if we didn’t have any takers. Like maybe this.
Or this.
Or even this.
Luckily, I had a taker, so I didn’t need to become a dental hygienist, a bullfighter or a clown. If I had to compare myself to a Yankee, I’m probably the Robinson Cano of authors. I can make the stylish play from time to time and hit with power when the mood strikes. But I’m lazy. I fool around too much. I could very easily be shipped off to Kansas City for Zack Greinke.

Rays-Red Sox Game 4: Not Good! Not Good! Not Good!

Aw, I’m just having a little fun with “Sweet Caroline.” It’s a lame song and even these junior members of Red Sox Nation can’t bring themselves to finish it.

The boy looks like he could be Papelbon’s spawn, doesn’t he?
Anyhow, the Red Sox were beaten badly by the Rays – again. Some of the Fenway “faithful” left the ballpark early, and Stephen King was definitely reading a book during the game (I saw him, Greg). Not that I blame them. It’s painful when your team can’t pitch or hit.
Great work by Sonnanstine. And how about Crawford going 5-for-5?
Can the Red Sox come back? Of course. Yankee fans know that all too well. But the Rays don’t seem like they’re feeling any pressure, not since that first game at the Trop. The only person who may be choking is this guy….
He won the New York pizza eating contest, downing 45 slices in 10 minutes, talk about a champion.

Big Floppy? Dustin Who?

Thanks to tonight’s 12-inning nail biter at Fenway, the Angels live another day. I didn’t expect it, did you? Not after the Angels only scratched out one run in the first. Not after Hunter and Kendrick let that blooper drop between them. Not after K-Rod loaded the bases. Such drama. But Napoli was stellar at the plate and Weaver, not one of the most intimidating pitchers around, somehow managed to shut the Sox down.

But then maybe it’s not so hard to shut them down. Not when two of their best hitters have been (well, there’s no kind way to say it) useless. I’m not talking about Lowell, poor guy. He looks like he should just check himself into the hospital already and let a surgeon sew him back together like the scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.” No, I’m talking about this man. 
Big Papi was a big floppy tonight, not counting those walks. Come to think of it, he just hasn’t been the hulking presence that used to strike fear in the hearts of Yankee fans everywhere. Is it his wrist that’s bothering him? Is it not having Manny behind him in the lineup? Is it – oh, no! – that his skills are declining? 
And what about this guy, the one who’s supposed to be the AL MVP?
Dusty hasn’t had a hit in this series. Imagine that. Maybe baseball is a tough game after all, even for scrappy little guys with lots and lots of cockiness confidence.
Clearly, these two need to start hitting if the Sox plan on getting to the WS and winning it.
In the meantime, I hope this series ends soon so I don’t have to listen to Buck Martinez’s fingernail-on-a-blackboard voice or watch every time the camera at Fenway finds this man.
Stephen King is a diehard Sox fan. We all know that. But he’s also a lifelong Yankees hater, and that is a cardinal sin. Recently, my publisher suggested we send him an advance copy of “Confessions of a She-Fan,” thinking he might read my book and give us a blurb for the cover. It wasn’t a totally ridiculous idea. Years ago, I was King’s publicist on his novel “Carrie” and we had what I remember as a brief but cordial relationship. So what happens after we sent him my book? We got an email from his editors saying, “Stephen King is too rabid a Red Sox fan to be able to stomach even a funny book praising the Yanks.” Fine. Whatever. Just know that I hold grudges.