Tagged: Twins

Well, There Were A Few Positive Notes…

musical-notes-animated.gif
The Yankees did win the series against the Twins. That’s something. And they announced that Granderson will be back with the team tomorrow. That’s a good thing. And hey, Tex actually had some hits. But there was a big time sour note during tonight’s loss in the finale.
note.gif
Javy. Was his outing against the Mets a fluke? Did his injured finger have anything to do with the way he got roughed up? Or was he just “not able to locate,” as they say? Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty. Neither was the return of Gaudin. And my carping about the Yankees’ inability to score with runners in scoring position is making me sound like a broken record.
broken-record.jpg
But maybe – just maybe – the addition of Granderson will put a charge into the team. That and some home cooking.
Cooking.JPG.jpeg

Taking Two From Minny

MinnieMouse26.gif
I listened to the resumption of last night’s game while I was in my car this afternoon. Jeter’s solo shot was all the scoring the Yankees managed, which worried me, and I almost drove into a tree when I heard Mauer’s liner make contact with Dave Robertson’s butt.
sore.butt.gif
But the Yanks got the win and nobody ended up on the DL, and I made it home just in time for the second game – and for the news that we’ll be welcoming back our old friend Chad Go-Dan.
chad.jays.jpg
Actually, I’ve been wondering what Cashman had up his sleeve regarding the bullpen. Gaudin’s not a bad alternative to the ailing Aceves and he didn’t cost anything. And it’s not as if we needed him to start tonight – not with Pettitte pitching like a Cy Young candidate.
andy-pettitte-8d03ea9ac1b9dce1_large.jpg
How good was Andy. Seriously. It would have been tragic if he hadn’t gotten the win after leaving the game in the ninth with the Yanks clinging to a 3-2 lead, courtesy of timely hits by Baby Bombers Russo, Gardner and Cisco, plus Swisher’s monster shot. But Mo came in and saved the game for him – despite all the hand-wringing by the ESPN duo. Memo to you, Sutcliffe: Mo is not too old or too injured or too whatever. He’s just fine, got it? I cannot stand listening to that guy. Is he really the best that sports broadcasting has to offer? I understand the desire on the part of the networks to hire former players in the booth, but Sutcliffe? He’s the reason this was invented.
mute_button_fig.jpg

Tonight Was All About The Squirrel

squirrel2.jpg
You know things aren’t going well when it takes a runaway rodent to get me into a game. But the Yankees seemed listless once again during their rain-halted five innings of play, stranding base runners and not giving A.J. any breathing room. With the score tied at 0-0 in the fourth, a squirrel scurried onto Target Field, which, unlike the Metrodome, will probably see all sorts of wildlife. 
mooseDM2003_468x440.jpg
While the crowd at the ballpark chanted “Let’s go squirrel,” I found myself wondering if the Yankees could sign the little fella to play left field and maybe bat third. He was fast, agile and didn’t seem the least bit intimidated by the big stage. I don’t have video of him, but I dug up footage of his cousin in Cleveland. Take a look.
Maybe tomorrow there will be actual hits and runs to cheer about. But right now I’m bummed about Aceves having a setback. A bulging disc doesn’t sound like something you get over in a week. If the cortisone shot didn’t work, what now? We need him. Or can the squirrel pitch too?
squirrel.stands.JPG.jpeg
Oh, I’ve been meaning to post the pic sent to me by Friend of the Blog John, who was at Yankee Stadium when “Jane Heller” walked onto the field before the game to present Jeter with a very large check for his Turn 2 Foundation. Here’s the pic. Man, am I generous with my money.
other.jane2.JPG

I’m Still In Shock

InShock.jpg
No, I’m not talking about the fact that the Twins finally beat the Yankees in the Bronx. Minny’s luck was bound to change, and we ended up winning another series in any case. Plus, we got very good starting pitching from Mitre as well as a couple of innings from Robertson. I’m speaking, of course, of Mo. Was I having a nightmare or did he actually blow a save? Yeah, yeah. Joba started the mess and Tex misplayed that ball off his glove, but did Mo really and truly walk in a run and give up a granny?
grandma-d-1942.gif
I mean, the very idea goes against everything I know to be true. Like the sun rises every day in the East…
sunrise.jpg
…And it sets every day in the West.
sunset-from-bay.jpg
The traffic on the 405 Freeway is horrendous during the morning rush hour…
LATraffic.jpg
…And it’s just as horrendous during the evening rush hour.
LA traffic.pm.jpg
“Sex and the City 2” opens on May 27th…
sex-and-the-city-2.jpg
… And I will be at my local theater for the first showing.
ladie.theater.jpg
These are things I know to be true – just like I know that Mo saves Yankee games. Only today he didn’t, because it turns out he’s human after all. Sort of.
mariano_reacts.jpg

Ron Gardenhire Must Hate Playing The Yankees

gardenhire-signs-extension-to-manage-twins.jpg
Who can blame him? Wasn’t today, like, the Yankees’ 12th consecutive win against the Twins? And doesn’t it seem as if every move Gardenhire makes backfires on him?
backfire.jpg
Anyhow, what a brilliant performance by Pettitte, who would have had a shutout if not for Boone Logan. (Can’t wait till Chan Ho is back with the team tomorrow.) And how about the defense behind Andy. Just stellar. As for the offense, it was good to see Jeter hit the ball like we know he can, and those shots by Tex and Posada are probably still traveling.
moon.jpg
Glad to see Swisher in the lineup, even if he wasn’t 100%. He’s still a better option than Randy Winn. Will the Yankees sweep tomorrow? Not too optimistic with Mitre on the mound, but when it comes to the Twins anything is possible. We learned that lesson in last year’s ALDS.
New+York+Yankees+v+Minnesota+Twins+Game+3+TeanCzcKhNGl.jpg

A-Rod = Clutch

a-rod.granny.jpg
Just a tip for Ron Gardenhire: Don’t walk the bases loaded to pitch to A-Rod. I mean, didn’t he hurt the Twins enough in the ALDS last year? Sheesh. Talk about not learning your lesson. If I were a Minny fan, he’d have a lot of ‘spaining to do.
gardenhire.jpg
Other highlights:
* Brett Gardner’s homer. He can run AND hit for power?
* Francisco Cervelli’s triple. He can catch AND run the bases?
* A.J. Burnett’s six-plus innings. He can look good WITHOUT having his best stuff?
* Derek Jeter’s hit. He can shoot one off the pitcher’s leg AND get a double out of it?
* Joba’s eighth inning. He can strike out the side AND get the win?
* Mo’s ninth inning. He can be 40 years old AND pitch like he’s 30?
Okay, that’s the good news – that the Yankees opened the homestand with a sweet 8-4 victory, that A-Rod passed Frank Robinson on the home run list and that we continued our dominance over the Twins. The bad news? Yet another casualty. When I posted a few weeks ago that the Yanks were dropping like flies, I had no idea the situation would keep getting worse. But now Swisher? If he goes on the DL, I can’t be trusted to watch Randy Winn and Marcus Thames patrol the outfield. I really can’t.
And now for those who haven’t read this story, take a look. We love baseball or we wouldn’t be wasting time on my blog, but this kid loves baseball in a way that should inspire all of us.

You Go, Twins!

Those Minnesota Twins are funny the way they surprise you.  For years everybody griped about how cheap they were; how they wouldn’t pay their star players to stick around. Not anymore. Joe Mauer is sitting pretty right now.
joe-mauer-004.jpg
His eight-year, $184 million contract extension is downright Yankee-ish. I’m glad the Twins decided to pony up for a guy who’s not only a batting champ and MVP but a superior defensive catcher – not to mention a hometown boy. Throwing him into the free agent market would have looked something like this.
shark02.jpg
Can you imagine the feeding frenzy that would have taken place if he’d become a FA? I’m still recovering from the endless speculation about Halladay before he finally landed with the Phillies. As for the Yankees’ own contracts-to-be-dealt-with, I don’t really care if the front office waits until after the season to negotiate with Jeter and Mo. Those two will be Yankees for their entire careers. They just will be. Neither wants to go anywhere else. Neither has Scott Boras for an agent. Neither is losing sleep over how to pay their electric bill. Jeter took the subject off the table at his first session with the media at spring training, and Mo is busy looking stunning in those Canali ads.
canali.jpg
So I don’t worry about our two homegrown Yankees. If Joe Mauer gets to stay with the Twins, the Yanks won’t be parting with the faces of their franchise….Not unless they want me to deal with.
vampire.woman.jpg

Oscars More Interesting Than Yanks-Twins

And that’s saying something, because last year’s Oscar show was a crushing bore. But I liked Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin as co-hosts.
martin.baldwin.jpg
And since I’d seen most of the nominated films and performances (the exceptions being “Avatar” and “District 9”), I had a rooting interest. For example, I was cheering when Mo’ Nique won Best Supporting Actress for “Precious.”
mo:nique.jpg
Sandra Bullock has always been a favorite of mine, so – despite Meryl Streep’s amazing turn as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” – I was glad she walked off with the Best Actress Oscar for “The Blind Side.”
sandra.jpg
Jeff Bridges was great in “Crazy Heart” and was a lock to win Best Actor. When he did, I know everybody in Santa Barbara was happy since he’s been a local here for many years and is a very likable, down-to-earth guy.
bridges.oscar.jpg
And finally, a word about Best Director/Best Picture winner Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker.”
bigelow.oscar.jpg
Would the movie have been my choice to take home the Oscar? No. (I was in the “Precious” camp.) But how cool is it that Bigelow is the first female Best Director ever? I’m officially anointing her a She-Director.
OK, I admit I also watch the show to see what everybody’s wearing. If A-Rod really is dating Cameron Diaz, his eyes must have bugged out of his head when he saw her in this dress.
cameron.dress.jpg
As for today’s Yankees-Twins game in Fort Myers, let’s just say losing 11-0 is never fun for me, spring training or no spring training. I get that Igawa still has work to do if he wants to pitch in the bigs. And Gaudin sure didn’t impress anyone. Mitre, on the other hand, has inserted himself into the discussion about who will be the #5 starter. If he keeps putting up scoreless innings, he could bump Hughes and Joba. What I’m wondering, though, is where are the Yankees’ bats? Going into the second week of camp, I wouldn’t mind seeing the offense start to heat up. I mean, can’t we beat somebody 11-0? I do love blowouts, just not when we’re on the wrong end of them.
explosion.jpg

Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 4

Gold.Fan 010.jpg
With She-Fan Awards already handed out to Dr. Marc Phillipon (Best Surgeon), Brad Lidge (Best Postseason Enemy) and Junichi Tazawa (Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy), it’s time to spotlight another deserving individual who, by virtue of being unlucky, unfocused or just-plain unskilled, aided and abetted the Yankees in their quest for Championship #27.
yanks.win.27.jpg
And so we turn our attention to the umpires who made a difference in the 2009 postseason. There were several whose calls were controversial and/or downright terrible. Some of the calls went against the Yankees, but it’s the ones that helped our cause that will be singled out for the solid gold fan tonight, along with the men responsible for them.
umpiring crew.jpg
Now, without further ado, here are the nominees for the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Umpire. We thank them all for being in the service of the Yankees.
Phil Cuzzi, Left Field Umpire, Game 2 ALDS Versus Twins –

cuzzi2.jpg
In the top of the 11th inning, with the Yanks and Twins tied and Marte on the mound, Mauer sliced one down the left field line and watched it bounce into the seats. Cuzzi called the ball foul, but replays showed it should have been a ground rule double. Mauer ended up singling but never scored, despite the two hits that followed. Had he doubled, he surely would have scored. (Great inning by Robertson to get out of the bases-loaded no-outs jam.) The Yankees went on to win the game 4-3.
Jerry Layne, Second Base Umpire, Game 2 ALCS Versus Angels – 
layne.jpg
It was in the bottom of the 10th inning of what was to be the longest ALCS game in history that Layne showed us his stuff. Jorge grounded into a routine double play, but Layne ruled that Aybar, who had received the throw at second from Izturis, never touched the bag before sending the relay on to first. Consequently, Melky was safe at second and the so-called “Neighborhood Play,” which we’ve seen called a million times, was suddenly a figment of our imagination. The Yanks won the game 4-3 and went up by two games to none in the series.
–  Dale Scott, Second Base Umpire, Game 3 ALCS Versus Angels – 
scott.jpg
With Kazmir on the mound in the top of the fourth and Jeter at the plate, Swisher led off second and got picked off – or did he? Kazmir’s throw to second and Aybar’s tag appear to nail Swishalicious according to the replays, but Scott called the runner safe. The Yankees blew the Angels away that night by the score of 10-1, and I was in Anaheim fending off the thunderstix. A great time was had by me.
Tim McClelland, Third Base Umpire, Game 3 ALCS Versus Angels – 
mcclelland.jpg
In the fifth inning of the above game, with the Yankees already up 5-0 and Posada on third and Cano on second, Swisher hit a Darren Oliver pitch on the ground for a fielder’s choice. Posada broke for home and got caught in a rundown. Napoli chased him back to third base, but – oopsie! – Cano was already there! Napoli tagged both Cano and Posada, but McClelland, who was standing right on top of the play, called Cano safe. The Yankees didn’t score, but it was a bad night for McClelland, who had mistakenly (“in his heart”) called Swisher out in the previous inning for tagging up too early.
Fieldin Culbreth, Home Plate Umpire, Game 5 ALCS Versus Angels – 
culbreth.jpg
Fieldin should win the award just for his name alone. But here goes. The Yankees were down 4-0 in the seventh with one on and one out. Posada had a great at bat against Lackey, working the count full. Lackey’s next pitch was low and inside, and Posada trotted to first base with a walk, thanks to Culbreth’s tight strike zone. Big John was incensed at the ump, and Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher had to come out to the mound for a mental health chat. It didn’t work; Lackey walked Jeter, and Darren Oliver allowed the next three runners to score. The Yanks lost the game anyway 7-6, but Culbreth gave us his best shot.
Brian Gorman, First Base Umpire, Game 2 World Series Versus Phillies
gorman.jpg
Mo was pitching in the eighth (since he was his own set-up man by this time), and the Phillies had a rally going – until Gorman said Utley didn’t beat Jeter’s relay to first on a ground ball. Replays were inconclusive, but Charlie Manuel thought his player was robbed. “I’m not saying nothing about the umpiring,” he told the media after the game. “I’m just saying that he was safe.” If Gorman hadn’t ruled in our favor, the Phillies would have had runners at the corners with two outs. The Yankees won the game 3-1.
Brian Gorman, Home Plate Umpire, Game 3 World Series Versus Phillies
gorman.jpg
Yes, it’s Gorman
again. But this time he was minding his own business at home plate when A-Rod launched one to right field that hit the TV camera positioned there. Gorman signaled “double,” but Girardi protested and the umpires huddled together in some back room to watch the replay. When they returned to the field, Gorman waved A-Rod home. The call wasn’t just historic (the first use of instant replay in a World Series); it sparked the Yankees’ comeback off Hamels and we went on to win 8-5. The irony of the whole thing was that the ball hit one of the TV cameras whose purpose was to make the call.
Those are your nominees. And now, the envelope please.
env.jpg
The winner of the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Postseason Umpire is
***** Phil Cuzzi *****
cuzzi2.jpg
Yes, Tim McClelland’s bonehead move calling Cano safe deemed him a worthy runner-up for the award, but the Yankees had that game well in hand and the call didn’t affect the outcome. All it did was make everybody look like bit players in an Abbott and Costello routine.
Cuzzi’s call, on the other hand, was a game changer. The Twins very likely would have taken the lead and evened the series. Still not convinced? Here’s the evidence.
melky_cabrera--300x300.jpg
Congratulations, Mr. Cuzzi!
Oh, wait. Apparently, Mr. Cuzzi is vacationing in Tampa at the Steinbrenner compound. Accepting the award on his behalf is his optometrist.
eye.center.jpeg
Enjoy your award, Mr. Cuzzi.
Gold.Fan 010.jpg

Presenting The 2009 She-Fan Awards, Part 3

Gold.Fan 010.jpg
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.
burnett-pie-face-mirandajpg-5f91d29aa4837d43_medium.jpg
And the nominees for Best Regular Season Walk-Off Enemy are…
Brian Fuentes, Los Angeles Angels
fuentes.jpg
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
nathan.jpg
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
lidge.jpg
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
castillo.jpg
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
camp.jpg
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
tazawa.jpg
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
farnsworth.jpg
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.
env.jpg
And the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Regular Season Walk-off Enemy goes to…
***** Junichi Tazawa *****
tazawa.jpg
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.
papelbon.jpg
“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.”
Gold.Fan 010.jpg