Tagged: Tampa Bay Rays

Break’s Over

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No more home run derbies, all star games and barbecues with the family. It’s time for the Yankees to get back to work in the Bronx. Yes, the weekend will be emotional with the tributes to Steinbrenner and Sheppard, but the Rays won’t be playing the role of sympathetic friend; they’ll be looking to bring us to our knees.
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We must dominate the invaders from Tampa Bay, and who better to do that than CC. He has to neutralize Longoria, Crawford and company and send a message to our division rival that we are not handing over the American League East any time soon.
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That means:
* keeping the Rays from stealing.
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* not letting any of them make web gem-type catches.
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* saying something that will get Upton mad.
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* smashing Joe Maddon’s glasses.
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What else…Oh, yeah, we need to score a lot of runs so that nobody in our bullpen can screw things up.
Go Yankees.

Anyone Have A Cardiologist On Call?

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I know. That thing looks gross, but the point I was trying to make is that my heart can’t take these Yankees-Red Sox games. Must they always be so, well, heart-stopping? First, there was that collision between Pettitte and Ellsbury at first, with Andy taking a tumble.
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(Oops. Wrong sport.)
Then Andy gave up an RBI single to Lil’ Mami, and the Sox went ahead 1-0. Both starters were effective through six, but – as with the previous two games in the series – neither would last long enough to get a decision. With Boston bringing in Schoeneweis (did I put too many “e’s” in there?), Posada, the king of doubles, doubled. In came Bard, up came Swisher and home came JoPo, who also took a tumble.
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(Sorry. Still wrong sport.)
Suddenly, we had a tie game in the seventh and my nerves really kicked in. I mean, 1-1 at Fenway? Anything could happen, right? When they brought in Papelbon for the ninth and tenth and he gave everybody The Stare…
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…I thought the Yankees were in big trouble, but no! Granderson, that tower of power who’s making himself a hero already, took JP deep for 2-1. But with such a slim lead, I hardly allowed myself a breath. “Insurance,” I kept saying to the TV. “We need insurance.” 
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(Am I the only one who can’t stand those Progressive commercials? Especially when the actors start yelling at each other?)
Anyhow, I asked for insurance and the Yankees obliged. After walks to Gardner and Jeter, Papelbon headed for the dugout. His replacement, a guy named Atchison who looks like a high school science teacher, walked the ever-walkable Johnson to load the bases. A dribbler by Tex was enough to score Gardner, and Mo took the mound with a 3-1 lead – and held it. Which gives me yet another excuse to flash his pic.
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Kudos to Chan Ho Park for his three scoreless innings of relief, although those warning track fly balls in the ninth almost sent me to the hospital.
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Oh, and Pettitte popped one on Youkilis’ helmet and Lackey nailed Jeter on the arm, and the ump issued a warning. But it was all very Aren’t-we-grownups, so no harm done.
I’m glad the Yanks are off tomorrow. They usually have a letdown after playing the Red Sox, and I want them hungry when they face the Rays.
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P.S. Here’s your nightly reminder about the Cooperstown Cookies contest. The deadline for entries is April 11th at midnight, PST.

Yanks Lose to Rays 5-3…..Oh, Never Mind

I have nothing. The game was a bore. The players got their work in. That’s about it.
*Pettitte threw 95 pitches without melting.
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* Hairston survived getting hit by a pitch – twice.
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* Aceves made a throwing error but pitched well, as did Gaudin. Damon broke his hitting slump. Gardner and Guzman showed off their speed. Blah blah blah. My husband nodded off.
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The excitement was in the AL Central, and I kept switching back and forth to check on those games. Will the Yanks play the Twins or Tigers? Tigers or Twins? It was enough to make my head spin.
The Yankees’ goal this weekend has been to give the players their at bats and make sure they don’t get hurt. But what about the fans? Isn’t it our job to stay healthy for the playoffs too? Well, I screwed up in that department. I was making dinner and opening a bottle of wine when I cut my hand. Now what? Do I keep the injury to myself and try to play hurt? Do I tell Girardi and get treatment over the next few days? Will I be left off the playoff roster?
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Since Gene Monahan was in Tampa tending to the Yankees, I turned to my husband for help. He bandaged me up and told me to try holding a ball and going on Twitter at the same time.
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(Yes, that’s Mickey Mantle’s signature on the ball. Or so I was told when I bought it.)
I was in pain, but I’m hoping I’ll be OK for next week. I have to be. There’s too much at stake to miss even a single pitch.
Off topic, for those who enjoy good movies, I heartily recommend a film I saw earlier in the day as part of the screening group I belong to. It’s called “An Education,” and it’s getting lots of Oscar buzz already. Scheduled for release later this month, it’s a coming of age story about a young woman in ’60s Britain who falls for a much older man. It was written by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “About a Boy”) and has a cast of terrific actors, including newcomer Carey Mulligan, who’s amazing in the starring role. Here’s the trailer.
I’m watching Dodgers-Rockies right now. It’s 0-0 in the sixth. Contreras is pitching for the Rockies and Manny is up. Uh-oh. He just struck out looking.
Update: Dodgers win! 

The Yankees Sometimes Make Me Cry

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No, not because they lose a lot, although I did shed plenty of tears when they got bounced from the playoffs in ’07. I’m talking about the times when they make me so happy I just can’t contain myself. Like tonight, for instance.
Niemann, the Rays’ starter, was fantastic, shutting the Yankees offense down until the eighth. Jeter had three hits and tied Gehrig‘s record (more on that in a sec), but the score remained at 2-0 for what seemed like an eternity. Then, as they have on so many occasions this season, the Yanks came roaring back.
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A tag team of relievers followed Niemann and here’s what happened:
A-Rod: single
Matsui: single
Swisher: fielder’s choice/error
Posada: pinch-hit three-run jack.
Bruney and Coke retired the Rays in the ninth, and the Yankees notched a 4-2 come-from-behind victory for a four-game sweep – the kind of win that Yankee fans have come to expect from this team. Just overwhelming.
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Sure, I could have cried about Joba and his rocky first inning.
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But he settled down after Jeter went to the mound and gave him some sort of a pep talk-tongue lashing combo. And how could I not be impressed with Aceves and the three innings he pitched? No crying there.
But then came The Moment. In the seventh, Jeter stepped to the plate after having bunted for a base hit and doubled, and banged one of his patented, Jeterian, inside out singles to right for hit #2721 – tying Gehrig for the most hits in Yankees history. When he doffed his cap, acknowledging the fans, his teammates, his parents and the classy Rays bench who applauded from the top step of the dugout, I couldn’t take it.
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And so, of course, I cried like a big stupid drama queen.
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I’m well aware that the world is filled with Yankees haters, but I honestly wish everyone, regardless of their partisanship, could have the privilege of watching Jeter play, day in and day out. His is a career worth savoring.
In fact, I stopped crying long enough to record a special video message for him. I hope he’ll respond soon, so I can start planning….Well, you’ll see.

Swisher Gets a Pie and I Get a Movie Deal!

Yes, the subjects are unrelated, but I’m killing two birds with one stone in this post.

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First, the Yankees. Their thrilling 3-2 victory over the Rays was yet another example of the 2009 team’s “comeback-y-ness.” I mean, Nick Swisher hitting a walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth – his second dinger of the night? This from a guy who couldn’t buy a home run in the Bronx? Crazy but true.
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And Chad Gaudin going toe-to-toe with David Price in a pitcher’s duel for six innings? Also crazy but true.
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Gaudin was great and made me eat crow because I kept saying how bad he is.
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With the Yanks up 2-0, he ran out of gas in the seventh, allowing a homer to Longoria. I kept wishing Girardi hadn’t brought him back out for the inning, but he found himself in a jam, and it took Marte, Bruney and Coke to get him off the hook.
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Then came Huuuuuuughes in the eighth. Mr. I-Haven’t-Given-Up-a-Run-in-12-Outings surrenders a home run to Bartlett to tie things up at 2-2? Yet again, crazy but true.
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Which brings us to the ninth. Mo did what he does best: shut down the opposition. And then Swisher did his thing – from the other side of the plate this time. Having so many switch hitters on the team is a such an advantage. 
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The other news I wanted to share is that 20th Century Fox has bought the movie rights to my 2005 novel “An Ex to Grind,” a romantic comedy about a high-powered Manhattan financial planner who has to pay alimony to her slacker ex-husband, a former wide receiver for the NY Giants. Fed up, she hatches a devious plan to get her ex out of her life for good – only to decide she wants him back. 
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You can read about the novel here and watch me talking about the story here. To be produced by Laura Bickford, who produced such films as “Traffic,” “Che” and the recent “Duplicity”…
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and Julie Yorn, who produced “Bride Wars” co-starring A-Rod’s squeeze Kate Hudson…
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the movie already has two stars “attached,” which means that if they approve the script they’ll sign on for the film. Playing my heroine would be Cameron Diaz.
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And in the part of the ex? Benecio Del Toro.
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A funny note on all this. Apparently, Benecio wasn’t comfortable playing a pro football player because he’s not a big guy, so he asked the producers, “Would it be OK with the author if we made the ex-husband a baseball player instead?” A baseball player? Uh, yeah. I think so.
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I’ve had eight books optioned for films over the years, and none of them ever made it to the screen. But I have a really good feeling about this one. And if it does happen? I hope everybody will go see it!

Yankees Take Labor Day Twin Bill

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The Yanks won both games of the Labor Day doubleheader against the Rays, which was impressive considering how they had spazzed out on Sunday in Toronto. Back at home in the Bronx, they looked – dare I say it? – invincible, almost like comic book heroes.
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The first game was a pitcher’s duel: CC versus Garza. The score was knotted at 1-1 until the eighth when the Yankees played small ball. (Yes, they can do other things besides go deep.) They took walks! They got singles! (A-Rod had three.) They hit sac flies! By the end of the inning they led 4-1. And that’s where it stayed, thanks to another brilliant performance by Huuuuuughes, who notched the “W,” and Mo, who got the save. Speaking of Mo, it was great to have him back. I hope his groin is feeling fine now. It certainly looked fine, although I’m not exactly a groin expert.
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CC was superb yet again, pitching one-run ball over seven innings with 10 Ks – the Yankees’ true ace, despite the no-decision. Brett Gardner, fresh off the DL, made a great diving catch in the fifth, and Posada threw out Crawford trying to steal in the eighth. What a difference good defense makes. There was one sour note, however.
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Carlos Pena broke two fingers as he tried to check his swing on a ball that came inside in the first inning.
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He’ll be out for the remainder of the season. He’s a good guy and a good player, so I’m sorry for him and his fans.
Game Two of the twin bill featured a terrific bounce back outing by A.J. and it was a huge relief, given how he’s been knocked around lately.
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After allowing a run in the first, he settled right down and threw six scoreless innings. By the time he departed, the offense had blown the game open. Tex went wild, hitting two bombs:
a three-run homer in the third, to make it 5-1 Yanks….
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and a solo shot in the sixth for 8-1.
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The offense piled on, and the final score was 11-1. Oh, there was another sour note.
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Jeter, the man of the hour as he tries to break Lou Gehrig‘s record, didn’t get a hit all day/night. He went 0-for-8. He didn’t seem to mind though. When the Yankees win, he wins.
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Did I spend every waking minute in front of the TV watching baseball this Labor Day holiday? Almost. I did take a break between games and went over to a friend’s pool, where there was entertainment of a different sort. My husband Michael, who was on his high school and college swimming teams back in a previous century, tried to climb into one of those floating pool chairs – and couldn’t. Poor guy. Little did he know I had the She-Fan Cam with me.

And the AL Rookie of the Year Goes to…

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Actually, they don’t announce the awards until tomorrow so I’m jumping the gun. But the odds are that the AL statuette will go to…Evan Michael Longoria. If I’m wrong and it’s Ellsbury or Joba or somebody, I’ll hang my head in shame. But why else would Erin Andrews be interviewing Evan if he’s not the winner?
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I’m sticking with him. As a tribute, here’s my special presentation of “E: The True Longoria Story.”
It all begins on October 7th, 1985, the date of Evan’s birth. He’s a Libra, meaning his symbol is a scale of justice.
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Libras are very balanced people, good diplomats. Gandhi, for instance, was a Libra. So if there’s ever a bench-clearing brawl, watch for Evan to be right there in the middle brokering a peace agreement.
He grew up in the city of Downey, California, southeast of L.A. What is there to say about Downey, you ask? For starters, it boasts the very first one of these on the planet earth.
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And the very oldest surviving one of these.
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Talk about historical significance in the realm of fast food restaurants! Not only that, Downey is the former home of
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That’s right. The Carpenters. It’s also the current home of
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Yep, Weird Al Yankovic. Bet you’ve been wondering where he’s been keeping himself.
Like other superstar athletes before him, Evan Longoria went Catholic when it came to schooling.
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At St. John Bosco (not to be confused with the Bosco chocolate syrup I overdosed on as a child), Evan played baseball and was guided in his moral principles by the Salesians, a religious order founded by this man.
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He earned a scholarship to Long Beach State, where he majored in criminology (those scales of justice again) and played baseball. He was a shortstop in high school but moved to third base because the Dirtbags (their name, not mine) already had a shortstop.
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While Troy Tulowitzki eventually ended up with the Rockies, Evan landed with the Rays, never dreaming how much fun he would have in Tampa Bay.
His last name caught the attention of actress Eva Longoria, naturally, and to wish him luck she sent him this.
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Yes, a bottle of Cristal, the world’s most expensive champagne. To return the favor, the young and clueless Evan sent Eva this.
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Oh, well. He’s still learning. And Eva wasn’t turned off by his cheesy gesture. In fact, she offered him a cameo on her show.
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Speaking of wives, Evan isn’t married and doesn’t have a girlfriend, although he was spotted at a USF football game with this woman.
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Her name is Jaime Hanna and she’s a Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader who also works as a dental hygienist.
So. Life is pretty awesome right now for Evan Michael Longoria. Congratulations to him on winning the AL Rookie of the Year….Unless, of course, I wake up tomorrow morning and find out he didn’t win it after all.