Tagged: Tropicana Field

Hitting The Road

If I had told people that the Yankees would go 9-1 on their homestand, I would have gotten reactions like this.

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And even this.
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That Swisher. Such a goofball. But even he probably wouldn’t have predicted such a great run after the All-Star break.
Mitre was mediocre in Sunday’s game, but “mediocre” might be just fine for the time being. He throws strikes. He induces ground balls. He doesn’t look panicked out there. He’ll do as the fifth starter until he proves he’s not worthy.
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The bullpen is looking better and better, especially with Bruney gaining in confidence and effectiveness. I’m a little worried about Coke though. I shake my head every time somebody says, “He’s been amazing, except that he gives up home runs.”
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The last time I checked, giving up home runs wasn’t a good thing. Hughes continues to impress, and Mo is just, well, Mo. He could probably throw that cutter in his sleep.
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Tex keeps rolling. Cody Ransom has been more-than-decent as A-Rod’s fill-in. And Melky will have to step up while Gardner’s thumb heals.
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I admit I was thrown when I heard about Brett the Jet’s injury. How will we compensate for his speed on the bases? Could we get this guy to un-retire?
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Cano finally got a big hit with men in scoring position. And Jeter seems to get more acrobatic with age. I mean, could you do this?
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What I’m saying is that I think we’re ready for the ten-day road trip, which begins at the cowbell palace known as The Trop.
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Sure, there will be challenges in Tampa. Big ones, not the least of which is this.
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Tough place to catch fly balls. What’s more, there are Rays that always cause the Yankees headaches: Upton, Crawford, Longoria, Pena. I’m hoping AJ can handle them all when he opens the series and flashes them that stare.
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The Bombers have hit the road as I’m typing this. Actually, they must be in Florida by now.
If I were addressing them at their hotel, I’d say: “Win every game on the trip.”
“She-Fan, you’re cracked,” Jeter would say. “We can’t win every game.”
“Well, you can win ninety-nine percent of them,” I’d counter. “You just did it.”
Everybody would realize I was right. And Joba would let out a victory roar.
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The Yankees Need A Long Man

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It’s not that I think Brett Bombko is such a catch. But why wasn’t he put on the Yankees’ roster? He could have eaten innings and performed the kind of public service that would have avoided over-using the pen in tonight’s 15-5 drubbing by the Rays.
Instead, the game took on a circus atmosphere right from the start.
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Poor Wang.
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The way he was getting pounded, batter after batter, reminded me of…Well, just watch and you’ll see what I mean.
After he departed in the second inning, Albaladejo, Edwar and Coke did their best imitations of circus acts too.
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Not that it was just the pitchers who looked clownish. 
Cody Ransom lost a ball while staring up into Tropicana Field’s dome, apparently entranced by its unique beauty.
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Cano and Pena (Ramiro, not Carlos) put on a show of their own following a Navarro pop up
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in the manner of these two.
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And for the grand finale, Nick Swisher entertained the crowd by pretending to be a pitcher
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in much the same way that a mime entertains the crowd by pretending he can’t speak.
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Swisher was a great sport and actually held the Rays scoreless – the feat of the night – but if I wanted to watch a circus I would have gone to see Cirque de Soleil.
Were there any bright spots for the Yankees during this humiliating exercise? No. Well, except that A-Rod was back with the team, and I brightened every time the camera found him in the dugout. I’m sure Ransom is a lovely human being, but I want the guy who hits 50 homers in the lineup.
As for the Rays, they did everything right tonight. But the player I’m intent on kidnapping in order to prevent him from having his way with my guys is him.
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Upton is maddeningly good. He hits for power. He bunts for base hits. He steals bases. And he makes over-the-shoulder – yes, circus – catches. If he doesn’t show up for Tuesday’s game, it’s because he’s being held in a secure location.
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Call Me An A-Fraud Apologist But…

…he carried the Yankees on his back in 2007.
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There he was, rounding the bases after hitting home run #500. I was sitting behind home plate that afternoon. Everybody at the Stadium went crazy. The Yankees spilled out onto the field and bear-hugged their teammate. It was a celebratory moment in an otherwise discouraging season; the Yanks spent time in the cellar during the first half, only to rally in the second half to make it into the playoffs as the wild card.
One of the main reasons they did make it through was A-Rod and his 54 homers and 156 RBIs. He was on fire in ’07. He hit in the clutch. He did everything that was asked of him on defense. He earned that MVP award. He fizzled against Cleveland in the ALDS, but so did everyone else. Jeter. Jorge. Jason. I didn’t think it was possible to hit into so many double plays, but that’s what they did. Wang’s two dismal performances didn’t help.
I love Joe Torre. I always will. I miss his leadership and can’t wait to read his book. I just feel the need to stick up for A-Rod, who might have saved Joe’s job early in the season with all those homers.
Is he a philandering phony?
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Check.
Does he have a tendency to do bush-league things?
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Check.
And check.
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(Who can forget his “Mine!” or “I got it!” in Toronto?)
Does he love to look at himself?
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Check.
Is he jealous of Jeter’s popularity with the fans?
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Check.
Does he seek attention even as he claims not to want it?
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Check. Here’s an item in today’s NY Post to prove it.
He is not a model citizen. We know that. But in 2007 he led my team to its 12th consecutive postseason, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Here’s a clip from the champagne party after the Yanks clinched at the Trop. Interesting that A-Rod gives Torre a shout out.


Rays of Light

Wouldn’t you know it? With 24 games left and tonight’s contest at the Trop not meaning much, especially with the Red Sox thumping the O’s, the Yankees finally resembled the team they were supposed to be. Moose pitched a gem, A-Rod hit a homer, Joba threw well out of the pen, and the Yanks won. What’s more, we were the ones that played crisply and cleanly while it was the Rays that looked sloppy, both in the field and on the bases (Upton’s spectacular catch aside). So ironic. Tampa Bay has the best record in the majors and the Yankees are on life support, and yet tonight was like a blast from the past: We were our old swaggering selves and they were the lovable losers.

Last year when I was researching “Confessions of a She-Fan,” I followed the Yankees to every city and every game after the All-Star break, including the games at the Trop. I have great memories of that place. Not because it’s a beautiful ballpark (it’s like an oversized gym) and not because of the delicious food (although they’ve got an Outback concession that was actually pretty good). It was because Matt Silverman, the Rays’ president, was a charming host, treating me to VIP seats for the entire series.¬†
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But mostly, the reason I’ll always have a fondness for Tropicana Field is that the Yankees clinched the wild card there last September. After the miserable first half of the season, we rebounded in one of the most amazing comebacks in baseball history and made it to the playoffs.
What a scene it was that night in ’07. The photographers covered their equipment in plastic so the cameras wouldn’t get doused with champagne during the clinch party. While the players celebrated, I sat in my plush seat clapping until my hands were raw. I was so happy.
Well, now here we are a year later. No clinch party but a victory tonight. I have no choice but to settle for that.