Tagged: Whitey Ford

The Old Guy Did Better Than The Young Guy

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Is 47 the new 24? It sure felt that way tonight against the Phillies. I mean, Jamie Moyer? Seriously? The guy gave up one hit and struck out six in six-plus innings. Hughes wasn’t terrible by any means, but what a show Moyer put on. He made me think the Yankees were hasty in allowing these two 47-year-olds to slip out of the rotation.
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For all I know, Whitey Ford could still pitch six innings of one-hit ball.
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So what if he’d have to stop after every batter and take a few deep breaths (okay, and some smelling salts). Don’t people say you can never have too many arms? Why not bring back every single member of the Gray Haired Brigade and see what they’ve got?
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What Mark Muhlanson Means To Me

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I know, I know. It’s spelled Melancon. Every now and then I can’t help myself and go all phonetics with ballplayer’s names. What can I say. The point is that I felt compelled to write about Melly (I bet that’s what Girardi calls him) with pitchers and catchers showing up in Tampa as I type this. There’s been so much talk about whether Hughes or Joba should be in the pen, not to mention what the Yankees will do without lefties Coke and Dunn. It dawned on me tonight that Melly’s season could be just as key. Let’s take a closer look.
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OK, so he doesn’t have much of a neck. Big deal. Neither did Walt “No Neck” Williams, who was an All-Star with the White Sox once upon a time.
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And he’s very fair, in hair and skin, but so was Shane Spencer.
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Oh, wait. That didn’t work out very well. Here’s a much better example.
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But appearances aside, if Melly has a breakout season in 2010, it would be huge for the Yanks. And it’s not impossible. He was outstanding in Scranton in 2009, throwing 11 scoreless innings over his first six appearances, striking out 17 and walking only 3. That’s insane. Then he struggled with his control when he got called up to the Bronx – an understatement. Who can forget May 5th in Boston when he walked all three batters he faced and was promptly sent packing?
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When he was brought back to the majors late in the season, Girardi was reluctant to use him in pressure situations and with good reason; he was still somewhat of a wild man. 
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And yet baseball scouts seem to like his stuff (I know, that’s what they said about Jose Veras too). I’m just saying he could play a pivotal role in the pen this year if he figures out how to throw inside without hitting people.
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My Imaginary Christmas Guest

There I was, spending Christmas with loved ones, thinking of all the things I was grateful for, feeling truly blessed, when a friend offered me some of this.

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I can’t stand eggnog, but I drank it just to be polite – all of it. And you know what? It wasn’t as bad as I thought. So I drank some more.
Suddenly, my legs got a bit wobbly and I developed a little buzz. And before I knew it, I was imagining objects that weren’t really there. Like the presents under the tree – they started moving, as if they were people.
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Which led me to wonder….What if one of them sprang to life – as a baseball player? What if I could have a Yankee drop in at my Christmas Day celebration? Which one would it be? In this eggnog-induced fantasy world of mine, it could be any living player from any era – someone I’d just die to pepper with questions. So who would it be? Who?
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Yes, of course, Yogi would be on my list. I would ask him to act out those Aflac commercials and tell me juicy stories about The Mick and encourage him to come up with funny, incomprehensible Yogisms.
On second thought, the Yankee who probably has the juiciest stories about The Mick (Billy Martin too) is Whitey.
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What a great Christmas guest he’d be. In addition to dishing up the Mantle anecdotes, he could talk about what it was like to be a pitcher back in the day. I know I’d be fascinated.
But is there anyone more enigmatic than Reggie?
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He was a big-time free agent long before the likes of Sabathia and Teixeira. I can easily see myself sitting him down and asking him if he really was the straw that stirred the drink and which current player stirs the drink now.
Having Paulie over at Christmas would be interesting.
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He’s a non-stop talker so there would never be a lull in the conversation. The only drawback would be his temper; I’d have to watch what I said or else he might kick the bowl of eggnog onto the floor, smashing it in a million pieces.
I wouldn’t be a Yankee fan with a pulse if I didn’t want Captain Jeter to stop by.
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I’d have a million questions for him. Like what did he really say when he called Sabathia to recruit him? Does it hurt his feelings when people say his skills as a shortstop have deteriorated? Does he have any intention of settling down with a wife and kids or will he be a swinging bachelor forever?
Speaking of bachelors, I suppose I could invite A-Rod over. Maybe I could ask Reggie to bring him since they’re pals.
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But do I want to hear about Madonna all afternoon? On Christmas? Not so much.
And that’s when it hit me – the Yankee I want for the holidays more than any other.
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I don’t speak Spanish, so we’d have to improvise. But the truth is, I love Mo the best. From everything I’ve read or heard, he’s the most thoughtful, kind, generous guy on the team – a truly outstanding person. There’s a scene in my book where someone close to the Yankees shares an amazing story about him. It’s a tear-jerker, no question, but it shows the measure of the man.
So it’s settled. Mo is my imaginary Christmas guest. Who’s yours? Oh, come on. You know you have a favorite player that you’d kill to have over. Tell me who it is. I promise not to laugh.
Before I sign off, I just want to say thanks to everyone for stopping by and reading my posts since I joined the MLBlogs community at the end of last season. I never expected to become so bloggy, and yet here I am, being bloggy right now.
 
Merry Christmas to one and all.

Did I Really Just Watch the Yankees for 11 Straight Hours?

Yes. That’s exactly what I did today. Well, I took a break to eat and blog and send emails. I also did the laundry. But my Yankees marathon started at 10 a.m. here in California with ESPN Classic’s airing of Game 5 of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks. I switched over to ESPN for all the pre-game interviews, clips and commentary about the Stadium, then to ESPN2 for the pre-game ceremonies, then back to ESPN for the game and post-game. If the Yankees hadn’t beaten the Orioles after all the hoopla, I think I would have smashed my TV. But all is well. We won. I’m exhausted, but in a good way.

Favorite moment of the pre-game coverage:
* Peter Gammons having to praise the Yankees when he usually has something negative to say about them. Ditto: Steve Phillips.
Favorite moments of the pre-game ceremony:
* The return of Bernie.
* The appearances of the wives and/or children of Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, and Elston Howard.
* The actors who played the dearly departed Yankees. I thought I would hate this part, but I found myself oddly moved by it, as if the men who were supposed to be Ruth and Gehrig and the others were kindly spirits touching down at the Stadium one last time.
* Willie Randolph sliding into second.
* Whitey Ford and Don Larson grabbing dirt from the pitcher’s mound.
* The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers for O’Neill, Brosius and Tino.
* The first pitch thrown by Ruth’s daughter to Posada.
Least favorite moment of the pre-game ceremony:
* The crowd booing A-Rod as he trotted to third base. Talk about a bummer in the midst of so much good will. Really bush league.
Favorite moments of the game:
* Jeter being in the lineup despite his injured left wrist.
* Damon’s HR to give the Yankees the lead and put a halt to the team’s futility against pitchers they haven’t faced.
* Molina’s HR. Obviously. Who would have picked him as the last guy to hit one out at the Stadium?
* David Cone and David Wells sitting together in the stands. 
* Whitey and Yogi joining Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the booth.
* Pettitte gutting it out, even though he didn’t have much.
* The bullpen doing its job – again.
* Gardner proving that his speed is a lethal weapon.
* Mo. Enough said. He’s a deity for sure.
Favorite moments after the game:
* The crowd not leaving. 
* The players hugging each other on the field and having their pictures taken together as if they’d just won their 27th World Series.
* Jeter’s speech thanking the fans and making a plug for the new Stadium.
* The whole team’s lap around the Stadium.
* Frank Sinatra. I don’t really like “New York, New York.” I especially don’t like it when it’s played over and over again. Tonight, though, it was beautiful music.
* The realization that the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching.
I think that covers it or did I miss something?