NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees lowered spending on players by $12 million this year, cutting payroll by $5 million and slashing their major league-leading luxury tax by more than $7 million.
Slashing luxury tax? Cutting payroll? Does this make us the Pirates?
Who are these newfangled Yankees anyway? I want my bloated, free-spending, free-agent-signing, they-give-me-great-players-for-Christmas team back.
Speaking of bloated, I had the best dinner tonight – and it’s all because of my Twitter Yankee fan friend Peter/aka @agostinelli. (He has a great food blog, btw. Check it out.) Anyhow, I was tweeting today about wishing for a recipe for what I knew would be a cold, rainy night here in not-sunny-California, and he sent me straight to a Beef Bourgignon. The pic below doesn’t do it justice, but it was delicious. I really love Twitter.
I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Twitter last year. I figured the last thing I needed was yet another social networking site, having already jumped into the Facebook experience as well as interacted with other baseball fans on this blog. But something surprising happened after my first few tweets: I fell in love with Twitter. I enjoy the immediacy of it, the brevity, the ability to read what everybody’s talking about all over the world, the rush of learning breaking news before it appears elsewhere, and, of course, the chance to connect with a whole new cast of Yankee fans.
Thanks to Twitter, I got to meet face to face with several of those fans, some of whom were gracious enough to submit to the She-Fan Cam. I present their videos to you now and ask you to take a look at these four terrific women and vote for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Here they are…
1) Amanda (Twitter name @amandarykoff). Back in January, she was visiting her newborn nephew in Santa Barbara and stopped by my house for a “tweetup” – my very first. She discussed football in the video – a subject that would normally make my eyes glaze over – but she was so entertaining and enthusiastic about it that I wasn’t bored in the slightest. She really knows what she’s talking about, doesn’t she?
2) Stephanie (Twitter name @stephsamps). I was in Tampa for spring training in March, and she and I had arranged a tweetup at Steinbrenner Field. It was an unseasonably cold night in Florida and I was shivering and ready to bolt. She, on the other hand, was happily telling me all about her sightings of players whom she gets to see often since she lives there. There’s no question she loves her Yankees.
3) Denise (Twitter name @SunnySoCal). She and I had been tweeting about how we wanted to meet up at a Yankees-Dodgers game in LA in June. So she drove up from San Diego and I drove down from Santa Barbara and we sat together and had a blast, even though the Yankees lost. (A.J. had one of his meltdowns.) To say that she has a crush on A-Rod is an understatement, but she showed remarkable restraint in the video.
4) Gayle (Twitter name @gcf123). She’s a season tickets holder at the Stadium – lucky girl – so it was no fluke that she was there the September day I was at the game and we finally got to meet. How she manages the country’s top musical artists and travels around the country with them and yet still finds time for her Yanks is a testament to her fandom. She made some very accurate predictions in the video, btw.
So there you have it – the nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Can you pick a winner, people? Even those of you who aren’t Yankee fans? Yes, of course you can. And this time only ONE VOTE per customer. None of this, “But I like two of them.” Just one!
Next up will be the big showdown for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period. Get ready for a very tough field.
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER! ACTUALLY, WE HAVE THREE WINNERS!
After a day of voting, we had a three-way tie between Denise (@SunnySoCal), Amanda (@amandarykoff) and Gayle (@gcf123) for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Golden fans go out to each of them!
You liked all four nominees, naturally, but in the end this race was almost too close to call. So congratulations to Denise, Amanda and Gayle and thanks to Stephanie too. You were all such great interview subjects. You guys rock.
Cashman said Eiland’s dismissal had nothing to do with the Yankees’ pitching performances in the playoffs, so that’s not it. And he refused to say whether it was related to the mysterious “personal leave of absence” that kept Eiland away from the team for nearly a month. So we’re left to speculate on our own, and in my case that’s a dangerous thing. Herewith some theories…
#10 He had a secret Twitter account under the name @Joba_Rules_Are_Stupid.
#9 He repeatedly told Mo that the Panamian skirt steak at Mo’s New York Grill was tough and overcooked.
#8 During Game 6 of the ALCS, he picked up the phone in the dugout and called 1-800-FLOWERS.
#7 He refused to wear a jacket and tie on the flight back from Texas.
#6 He acted huffy because the Yankees wouldn’t let him sing “God Bless America” during the season – even though Haley Swindal got to do it.
#5 He had T-shirts printed up that said, “Javy Vazquez belongs in the National League.”
#4 He teased Jonathan Albaladejo that he looked like Lurch in the Addams Family.
#3 He deliberately miscounted the number of innings Phil Hughes pitched this year. Oops.
#2 He invited Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens to the same cocktail party.
And #1 (Drum roll) He was the one who gave A.J. the black eye.
What a time to hit your first home run in the majors….You’re sitting on the bench, not planning to get in the game today against the Angels, when Brett Gardner is tossed by the home plate ump for arguing balls and strikes in the middle of his at bat. Suddenly, you’re a pinch hitter. You walk to the plate, with two base runners aboard, and BAM! You smack one into the seats off Scot Shields, putting the Yanks up 10-6 and sealing the win and a series split. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I loved the offense in general in this one. Jeter, Swisher, Tex, Cano and Miranda really stepped up, which was nice for Vazquez, since he doesn’t usually get much run support. And congrats to him for becoming one of only three active pitchers who’ve beaten all 30 teams.
I do wish my stomach didn’t get tied up in knots when I see Joba coming in. He gave up a run and just isn’t lights out. Is not. It wasn’t a terrible outing for him, obviously, but as someone said on Twitter during the game, “He gives me the heebie jeebies.” I don’t want heebie jeebies.
Update: Just read that former Yankees manager Ralph Houk died. I’m actually old enough to remember when he managed the Bombers in the ’60s after taking over for Casey Stengel. RIP, Ralph.
When I found out that A.J. would be pitching on Saturday, I went to Dodger Stadium fearing the worst but hoping for the best. Tex staked us to that nice lead in the first, and I said out loud, “This is gonna be fun!” Wrong. Well, the game itself wasn’t fun. It’s natural to focus on A.J.’s dreadful pitching – please come back, Dave Eiland, wherever you are! – but the offense was pretty lame too, except for that early burst. And when will Girardi accept the fact that Chan Ho Park is perfectly fine for one inning but cannot pitch two? It’s obvious. I know we’re short Aceves and Mitre, but surely somebody else – Gaudin? – was available. Even Cervelli had a lousy day behind the plate. But onto more pleasurable things…
Michael and I had a great time at the ballpark, game or no game. Yes, we were disappointed to arrive at Dodger Stadium two hours early – only to be told we couldn’t get onto the field for BP because we didn’t have field box tickets. But our seats in the Loge, just to the third base side of home plate, were excellent, and we had no trouble meeting up with our friend Denise, aka @SunnySoCal on Twitter. To say she’s an A-Rod fan is wildly understating her affection for our third baseman.
Btw, the A-Rod/Twilight reference is courtesy of his appearance at the LA premiere of the movie the other night.
How did Michael get those delicious Dodger dogs, you might ask? Not at the concession stand. We had our own personal caterer — fellow MLBlogger and Dodger fan extraordinaire Cat of Cat Loves the Dodgers. She was too shy to let me put her on the She-Fan Cam, so here’s her own blog pic.
She came over to our seats and handed us boxes of food from the baseline club, where she always sits and has access to incredible eats. She brought us the hot dogs, some pasta salad, some Tri-Tip, grilled veggies, you name it. How sweet was that? Oh, and she also got us a parking pass for the “preferred lot” so we wouldn’t have to walk a long distance to the stadium. A big thank you to her.
Next came my thwarted cell phone conversations with Peggy, our good Friend of the Blog. We were trying to meet up before the game but it was impossible to hear each other. And she found out – much as we had earlier with BP – that she wasn’t allowed to come down to the Loge section because her ticket was one level above. Aaaargh. But then who showed up to help? Emma of Crz Blue’s Dodger Blue World.
I explained the situation, and Emma offered to be my escort and take me to Peggy! So I left Michael and Denise and went up with Emma to Peggy’s section – only to have Peggy not be there! Aaargh again! Apparently, she had gone to get something to eat. So Emmy cleverly grabbed a Dodger flyer and, after I wrote Peggy a note, tied it to the arm of her empty seat so she would know I was there.
“I have another friend, ladyjane, sitting in the Top Deck,” I told Emma. “Any way you could take me up to see her?”
Not a problem for Emma, who seems to know every nook and cranny of the place. Anyhow, up we went and found ladyjane, who jumped out of her seat to come and talk to us atop Dodger Stadium. Here she is with Emma on the Cam. Nice view of the city in the background, but I apologize in advance for my voice. I sound bizarrely excited, and remind myself of Suzyn Waldman doing her “Roger Clemens is back with the Yankees” thing. (Cringing.)
It was great to see ladyjane, but I never did get to see Peggy, which was a bummer. We were like two ships passing in the night. A big thank you to Emma for taking the time to help out.
Somewhere around the fifth inning, while we were drowning our sorrows in some tasty beer, Denise and I got a tweet from some Twitter Yankee friends, @amandarykoff and @Stefmara, and joined them for a tweet-up.
The amazing thing for me is without having met such great fans I would have been sulking about the Yankees loss. Instead, I spent the long drive back to Santa Barbara thinking how lucky I am that baseball has brought so many wonderful new people into my life.
I know. It’s only one day…in June. But first place is first place, and given all the injuries on this team it’s pretty satisfying for the Yankees to be where they are right now. What a game today, right? It had a little of everything – superb pitching by CC, a granny by Tex for his second homer in two days, a bunt by Swisher, an amazing catch by Gardner, a near-ejection by Posada (loved how Girardi had to clap his hand over JoPo’s mouth), another save by Mo, etc etc. What does it all mean as the Yanks head west?
It means that with the Rays, Red Sox and Jays all playing well, we’re in for a real dogfight.
(I decided to show kissing instead of fighting, but you get the idea.)
If A-Rod’s hip is OK and Tex gets hot and stays hot and Aceves comes back to help us out of the pen, I think we’ll be just fine. In the meantime, we’ve got Gardner. Seriously, I knew he was fast (duh) and could slap the ball around Damon style, but I never figured him to be this good. He’s hitting .312, for God’s sake. It seems as if he’s always on base and scoring a run. What a bargain he’s turned out to be.
Right now I’m in countdown mode. It’s only six days until I’ll be at Dodger Stadium watching the Yankees in person. Michael and I will be sitting with Twitter buddy @SunnySoCal, and lots of other friendly faces will be there too, including this blog’s Yankee she-fans, Peggy and Ladyjane, and our Dodger counterparts, Cat and Emma. And, of course, it’ll be a reunion for the players with Torre and Mattingly. I’ve gotten used to seeing Joe in Dodger blue, but not Donnie. Never Donnie.
I feel like such a wuss. Let me get that out of the way right now. Why? Because I came to Tampa specifically to see the Yankees and yet I didn’t even stay until the end of Tuesday night’s game. I was just too damn cold.
The temps weren’t so bad when we got to Steinbrenner Field at 5 o’clock for the 7:05 start. In fact, I stood next to the Yankees dugout for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for the players to show their faces, and didn’t even feel the chill. I pulled out the She-Fan Cam and went about the business of interviewing she-fans who were also hanging around for some Yankees love. Here are my first two victims.
Still trolling, I came upon another pair of fans. Alyssa and Amanda were down from Staten Island to see the boys. Do they think the Yankees will repeat? Take a look.
Unfortunately, the Yankees never came out to take their turn in the batting cage, so Michael and I headed to our seats to watch the game. AJ didn’t have it and was pulled after two+ innings. Maybe he shouldn’t be working so hard on the changeup and just stick to his fastball? Mo got into his first game of the spring, and I was sooo excited to see him (and to hear “Enter Sandman”). But it was Hughes who really impressed on the mound. I know Aceves has been terrific, but I’m guessing Huuuughes will be our #5 guy. And then, of course, there were the boys: Jeter, A-Rod, Swish, Jorge, Cano, Gardner, Tex (sweet home run), plus newcomers Johnson and Granderson, neither of whom got a hit but, as I was reminded on Twitter, it’s only spring training.
I think it was in the second or third inning when the temps started to plummet. I mean, I suddenly became aware that it was really cold – maybe it was when I saw a woman wearing a Yankees blue Santa suit? – and that I wasn’t dressed for winter. But I forgot my frostbitten fingers when I was joined by Stephanie (@stephsamps on Twitter) for our first tweet-up. She sure loves her Yankees. Here she is.
So even though Michael and I left the game after the sixth inning and felt like jerks doing it, there are times when the body just says, “Enough.” Last night was one of those times.
Today, it’s on to Clearwater to face the Phillies. There’s a 50% chance of rain and, of course, it’s cold again. But I’ll try to stick it out. I really will.
Today’s 12-7 loss to the Rays featured a rough outing by Joba – two triples, a double and two walks – but he’s getting over the flu and, according to Girardi, “was throwing up for a couple of days.” (I know. Thanks for sharing.) The point is, he wasn’t 100% and will probably do a better job next time out. The larger question, given that he and Hughes are battling for the 5th starter spot along with Mitre, Gaudin and Aceves, is does he belong in the bullpen? I mean, seriously belong there? I’ve been on the fence when it comes to this never-ending debate, but not anymore. Mo has weighed in on the subject. Thanks to @gcf123 on Twitter who tipped us off during the game that Mike Francesca was interviewing Mariano on WFAN, I went to the Fan’s web site and heard the following exchange, or a reasonable facsimile:
Francesca: “Where do you think Joba belongs? In the rotation or in the bullpen?”
Mo: “If I’m the owner, I put him in the bullpen. If I’m the manager, I make him the 8th inning guy.”
So there it is. The Great One has spoken. End of discussion.
On an entirely different subject, Marc Carig at the Star-Ledger/NJ.com (@Ledger_Yankees) tweeted about the Red Sox’s new ad. Take a look.
As a Yankee fan, am I offended by the ad? Not at all. I think it’s funny. What surprises me is that The Nation seems to be so focused on the rivalry that they planned a campaign around it. Don’t they have players to tout? Other teams to worry about? Hopes for winning another championship? Or how about some inspiring words from Curt Schilling?
Before the holiday weekend was over, I figured it was my solemn duty to pay a visit to Bill Connell and let him know he won the 2009 She-Fan Award for Best Yankee Fan Video – as voted on by readers of this blog.
It was a beautiful afternoon here in Santa Barbara, so he had a long line of customers for his hot dogs. But he managed not only to give my husband a complimentary “jumbo jumbo dog,” but to let me shoot his acceptance speech and get his thoughts about the 2010 Yankees. Here he is – unplugged and unhinged.
As you can see, Bill got a nice haul of Yankees merchandise for Christmas. I wonder if his prediction about Vazquez will be as accurate as his prediction of the Yankees winning the World Series in six games. After I turned off the tape, he invited me to go with him to the Santa Anita race track next week. Do I dare? Something tells me the experience wouldn’t be dull.
But wait…there’s more. Just as I was closing out the holiday weekend, I had a visit from Amanda Rykoff, a California born/New York based Yankee fan and sports junkie whose blog is definitely worth checking out. I “met” Amanda on Twitter during baseball season. When she said she was coming to Santa Barbara to see her two-month-old nephew, I asked her to stop by and say hi. We had a great time sitting outside on my deck, talking about life and the Yankees. I was skeptical about Twitter when everybody kept telling me to sign up last year, but thanks to people like Amanda I’m a believer. Here she is waxing poetic about football and the Yanks via the She-Fan Cam.
The New Year is off to an excellent start!
Only they’re not these guys.
And they’re actually the T&R Boys.
But you get the idea. As in the Mantle and Maris era, Tex and A-Rod are a 3-4 duo that’s producing clutch hits in huge situations. That was certainly the case in tonight’s 4-3 victory over the Twins in 11 innings. Oh, what a game. It was such an emotional ride that I was sure I’d end up in a hospital bed suffering from sheer exhaustion.
Where to begin? The game was like a thriller with three distinctly different acts.
Act 1: The No-Hitter
For the first four-plus innings, the Yankees couldn’t get a hit off Nick Blackburn. Nothing. I kept saying to my husband, “They picked one horrible time to have their bats go cold.”
AJ was holding his own, throwing scoreless inning after scoreless inning, although he walked five and battled his tendency to be a wild man.
After the Twins scored a run in the top of the sixth, the Yankees came back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Jeter doubled and A-Rod knocked him in with a single. Suddenly, it was 1-1 – a whole new ball game.
Act 2: The Relievers
Joba and Coke took care of the Twins in the seventh. But in the eighth, Hughes wasn’t as dominant as he’s been and Mo didn’t pick him up.
With the Twins ahead 3-1, Mo came back out for a relatively easy ninth, thanks to Swisher’s great catch of Young’s fly ball. In the bottom of the ninth, I was crouched on the floor and muttering to myself, “Somebody do something so we won’t lose this thing! Please!”
That’s when the T&R Boys came to my rescue. Tex led off with a single and A-Rod hit a bomb to tie the score at 3-3 – another whole new ball game.
Act 3: Extra Innings
When Joe Nathan took the mound for the bottom of the 10th, I figured we were cooked. But Posada (no, he wasn’t off sulking in the clubhouse) singled. Gardner pinch ran for him, stole second and went to third on Nathan’s throwing error. Did he score the winning run? Nooo. He got doubled up on Damon’s liner. I was so frustrated I started yelling at my husband for no good reason.
Marte took the ball in the top of the 11th and gave up singles to the two batters he faced. (Nice one, Damaso.) With only two guys left in the pen (I think), Girardi sent Robertson out to pitch. After allowing a leadoff single to load the bases, he managed to retire Young, Gomez and Harris and end the threat. My heart was pounding.
As Tex stepped in to lead off the bottom of the 11th, I said on Twitter, “Please, Tex, put me out of my misery.” What happened? This.
And then this.
The Yankees won in walk-off style yet again, and I made up with my husband.