Tagged: YES Network

Five Ways To Rehabilitate Joba

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Joba lasted his usual three innings in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Mariners, and they weren’t pretty: seven earned runs on six hits, including a three-run dinger to Griffey. The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense, either; only Tex had a pulse. The bright spot was Mitre, who threw five scoreless innings in relief.
So what’s the real reason Joba has baffled everybody with his ineffectiveness this year? Could it be that he never pitched a full season in Triple A? That he shouldn’t have been moved from the pen to the rotation? That the Joba Rules messed with his mind? That he’s injured and not telling anyone?
All of the above are plausible answers, but I’ve come up with some other possibilities that, if implemented, could salvage his season. Here we go.
#1) Joba Should Take Back His Birth Name.
As everyone knows by now, his little niece couldn’t pronounce his real name, Justin, and the nickname “Joba” stuck. But pitchers named Justin do extremely well in baseball, as in this guy. Change it back.
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#2) The Yankees should put Harlan Chamberlain, Joba’s father, on the payroll.
Joba went home to Nebraska during the All-Star break and pitched great when he first returned to the team. Whatever Harlan said or did worked miracles. Make Harlan an “advisor” and let him coach his son. He’d be better than Dave Eiland.
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#3) Joba Should Hang Out With Roger Clemens.
No, really. When Clemens was with the Yankees in ’07, he mentored Joba and preached throwing strikes, being aggressive, attacking the zone. Whether the Rocket also taught him about Icy Hot liniment treatments I couldn’t tell you, but what harm could they do?
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#4) The YES Network should produce a “Yankeeography” about Joba.
I realize that Yankeeographies are reserved for players who’ve been been with the team awhile, not to mention excelled as Yankees, but it would give Joba confidence to know that the organization still believes in him, despite his suckitude.
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#5) Joba should come over to my house while he’s in SoCal.
He won’t be pitching in the Angels series. He’ll have plenty of time on his hands. He should get in his rental car, drive up to Santa Barbara and let me explain the facts of life to him over a nice home-cooked meal. And then I’ll pop in the DVD of “Bull Durham” and make him watch the scene between Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) that goes like this.
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Crash: “You’ve got a gift. When you were a baby, the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You’ve got a Hall of Fame arm, but you’re pissing it away.”
Nuke: “I ain’t pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already. I got a 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt.”
Crash: “You don’t need a quadraphonic Blaupunkt. What you need is a curveball. In the show, everybody can hit a fastball.”
Nuke: “Well, how would you know? You’ve been in the majors?”
Crash: “Yeah, I’ve been in the majors. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You never handle your luggage in the show. Somebody else carries your bags. You get white balls for batting practice. The ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains.”
Nuke: “They’re really hot, huh?”
Crash: “Yeah, and so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the show – exploding sliders. You could be one of those guys.”
I hope Joba takes me up on my offer. There are lessons to be learned from baseball movies, whether you’re a pitcher named Nuke LaLoosh or Joba Chamberlain.
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She-Fan Exclusive: Scouting Report On Mariners

Fresh off the sweep of the Mets, the Yankees face another injury-riddled team.

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I’m such an ancient mariner that I still remember when they were called the Pilots, talk about a lame logo.
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Without Beltre at third, Chavez in left and Betancourt at short, their whole left side is hurting.
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Even so, they could be dangerous. We should take nothing for granted and absolutely not come out looking like flu victims.
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OK. Here we go. They’ll be changing their lineup around, but these are the main characters.
1) Ichiro Suzuki.
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Obviously, he’s a great outfielder as well as a hitting machine. I think he’s got an 11-game streak right now. And his current average is a sick .372. But that routine he does at the plate – the sleeve tugging, the bat pointing, the whole drama – is really annoying. Tip to Yankees: The pitchers should step off the rubber and stall in order to screw up his timing.
2) Russell Branyan.

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He’s played for the Indians, the Reds, the Brewers, the Padres, the (Devil) Rays, the Phillies, and the Cardinals – almost as many teams as LaTroy Hawkins. Now, he’s the Mariners’ first baseman and he’s batting .303 with 19 homers. He’s also struck out 73 times. Tip to Yankees: Throw him nothing but high cheddar.
3) Jose Lopez.
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A happy-looking Venezuelan who covers second or third base, he tied a Major League record last year with three sac flies in one game. Tip to Yankees: Try to get him to hit the ball on the ground.
4) Ronny Cedeno.

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Another Venezuela native and former Cub, he’s taken over the shortstop role in Betancourt’s absence. Although he had his first career grand slam in ’08, he’s batting .133. Tip to Yankees: Don’t walk him.
5) Kenji Johjima.
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The Mariners’ catcher, Kenji (I love saying his name out loud for some reason) has a museum in his honor in his hometown of Sasebo, Japan, despite only having a .269 career batting average. Tip to Yankees: Show him respect by spinning him off the plate now and then.


6) Franklin Gutierrez.

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Yet another Venezuelan, he played for the Indians before becoming the Mariners’ center fielder. In 2008, he swung at the first pitch only 11.8% of the time, the fifth lowest in the AL. Tip to Yankees: Throw him first pitch strikes.
7) Wladimir Balentien.

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No, I didn’t misspell this outfielder’s first name. It starts with a “W” but is pronounced “Vladimir.” He’s from the island of Curacao and played for the Netherlands in the WBC, and now he’s filling in for the ailing Endy Chavez and hitting .230. Tip to Yankees: He’s no Vladie, as in Guerrero.


8) Chris Woodward.

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He was originally signed by the Blue Jays and did time with the Mets, and is one of those guys who’s played every position except catcher. A few years ago, he was the first Toronto shortstop to hit three homers in a game. Tip to Yankees: Keep the ball down and away.


9) Ken Griffey Jr.

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First of all, am I the only one who didn’t know his real first name is George? And I still don’t get why he has a thing against the Yanks; that story about his father isn’t the stuff of post traumatic stress syndrome. He’s hitting a paltry .218 as the DH, and yet he’s “Junior” and he’s HOF bound. Tip to Yankees: Let him crank one out in a game if we’re leading by a lot.


I’d make a prediction for this series, but I’m too superstitious.
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P.S. Programming note: The segment I taped for the YES Network’s “Yankees Magazine” about my book will start airing this Wednesday, July 1. I think the show is broadcast twice a day for a week – at 11:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET – so my friends in New York need to tell me if they see it. I don’t get YES out here in California except for the actual Yankees games, so I asked the producer to send me a copy of the show. Maybe I can upload it and post it at some point.

My Upcoming Trip To Yankeeville

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Since tonight’s Yankees-Rays game was rained out, I decided to muse about my trip to New York (I leave Thursday). I’m getting jazzed about all the cool things I’ll be doing in the Apple. 
Well, there’s one thing I’m not looking forward to.
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As anyone who’s read my book may remember, I’m not wild about flying. If there’s turbulence I tend to guzzle too much plane wine and end up like this.
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With any luck, my cross-country flight will be smooth and uneventful, and I’ll arrive at JFK on Thursday night with all my faculties.
On Friday, I’ll be doing my weekly segment on “The Natural,” the New Jersey-based radio show where I joust with host Greg Marotta about the Yankees. (He thinks Joba should be in the pen. I don’t. Not anymore.) 
But the rest of the weekend will be family time. I haven’t seen my mother in a while, so it’ll be great to visit with her in Westchester.
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(No, that isn’t my mother. I just felt the need to put a nice lady up there. Hopefully, my actual mother will be wearing the Jeter jersey I bought her. She has lots of opinions about the Yanks and should be good She-Fan Cam material.)
After resting up at Mom’s, it’ll be on to the city for some serious media scrutiny about my book.
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Are you ready for this? Barbara Kopple, who won two Oscars for her documentaries, is interviewing me for the doc she’s shooting about the Yankees. It’s scheduled to air in the fall on ESPN. For all I know, I’ll end up on the proverbial cutting room floor, but it was exciting to be contacted and I’m looking forward to meeting Barbara.
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No clue what she’ll want to talk about for two hours, but I guess I’ll find out. I did love her two Oscar winners:
“Harlan County, U.S.A.” about the coal miner’s strike in Kentucky…
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and “Shut Up & Sing” about the Dixie Chicks’ crusade for freedom of speech.
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A little later that afternoon, I’ll head to the YES Network’s production studio to tape a segment  for “Yankees Magazine,” the weekly show hosted by Bob Lorenz.
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I’ll be sure not to mention that I regularly rip Michael Kay on this blog (gently).
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Wednesday will be the best day of all: my first trip to the new stadium for the Yankees-Nationals game. I can’t wait to see the Yanks in action. I’m also dying to sample all the food everyone’s been talking about. Watching this MLB video about the Food Network concession made me really hungry, although I could do without the fried pickle. 
I’ll be sitting with my husband and my friend Patty from the New York Times. We’ll be up in the nosebleeds (section 323) but behind home plate. If anybody’s going to the game on the 17th, please stop by and say hi.
Also….this is still to be confirmed, fingers crossed….I’ll be having a signing for my book before the game, from 4:30-6, right outside the one-and-only Stan’s Sports Bar across the street from the Stadium!
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Stan’s is an institution in Yankeeville. Its owner, Louis Dene, who happens to live part time in Santa Barbara, has managed to keep the place hopping for years. If you’ve been there, you know that it’s wall-to-wall Yankee fans.
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I’m hoping we’ll be able to sell books right in the middle of all the craziness, with the help of Denise, the community relations manager at the Bay Plaza Barnes & Noble in the Bronx.
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The main thing for that night is…IT CANNOT RAIN! 
I think I’ll start my anti-rain dance right now. 
Whew. I’m a little dizzy and those feathers made me sneeze, but it was worth it if it keeps the rain away.

So Let Me Get This Straight

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AJ Burnett got a six-game suspension for not hitting Nelson Cruz in Wednesday night’s Yankees-Rangers game, and Vincente Padilla got a fine for hitting Mark Teixeira twice? Does that sound reasonable to anyone? Oh, the mysteries of baseball.
Here’s another one that made my brain explode.
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It’s 2009. We can launch rockets into space, but we can’t figure out how to keep the YES Network on the air during Yankees games? I was watching Thursday’s series finale on YES. It was the top of the ninth with Mo on the mound to preserve the Yankees’ 8-6 lead. Young had doubled past Melky, who took an extremely odd route to the ball, and Blalock singled. So the Rangers had two men on with one out and the dangerous Nelson Cruz stepping up to the plate. I gripped the arms of my chair, fearing the worst, and then –
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Right. My TV went blank at the crucial moment. I started screaming: “How could you do this to me?” Then I remembered that my Extra Innings package was also offering the Rangers feed. I changed channels just in time to see Cruz strike out – and to hear my favorite broadcaster, Josh Lewin, say about Murphy, the next batter: “Let’s see if he can hit one into the seats.” Murphy popped up to end the game.
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Then there was this head scratcher.
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Wang retired the first six batters and looked like his old sinker-ball-throwing self. Then, in the third inning, Davis – yes, the guy who strikes out in his sleep – smacked a ground-rule double. Next came a wild pitch, a walk, a few singles, a few more doubles, and Cruz’s homer. Suddenly, it was 5-1 Texas and the Wanger headed for the dugout.
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After the game, Girardi announced that he would make his next start….on Tuesday at Fenway. Um, what? I’m all for letting CMW work out the kinks, but not when we’re trying to hang onto first place in the division. What will it do for his confidence if the Red Sox make this out of him?
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Yet another puzzler occurred in the fifth: Aceves walked his leadoff batter. Why, Alfredo? Why? Do they not teach the Do-Not-Walk-The-Leadoff-Batter Rule at Yankees School?
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But enough with the questions and complaints. It’s time to celebrate the Yankees’ latest stirring, come-from-behind victory. What a great fifth inning.
Cervelli: singled.
Pena: singled.
Damon: walked.
Swisher: walked (terrific at bat).
Tex: doubled home three runs.
A-Rod: went the other way for a change and singled in the go-ahead run.
Swisher was a happy boy crossing home plate in that inning and deservedly so.
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Things got tense in the sixth after Kinsler’s foul-pole homer off Aceves. But Melky was a late-inning magician once again.
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I used to think the word “clutch” meant a type of woman’s handbag.
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Well, it still does. But it also means this.
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And I was OK with trading the Melkman? My bad.
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Yankees-Cubs Part 2: Either The Yankees Are Great Or The Cubs Stink

We won the Grapefruit League. We won Florida. And now we’ve won the Dress Rehearsal, mauling the Cubs 10-1 in a quaint, old-fashioned, Bronx Bombers-style display of brute force.

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Sure, it was windy and the balls were flying out. But they weren’t flying out for the Cubs, were they?
Up stepped Jeter: three-run shot.
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Up stepped Teixeira: solo blast, followed by a three-run jack. (So much for his slow start.)
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Up stepped Shelley: one-run dinger.
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Not that the pitching wasn’t impressive. Pettitte labored but escaped damage. AJ was brilliant over four scoreless innings. And Bruney and Coke looked downright nasty.
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There were things that bothered me.
* MLB.TV’s feed kept “stuttering,” which forced me to lower the quality of the video.
* YES showed clips of the perfect games by Wells/Cone over and over. I love a memorable Yankees moment as much as the next fan, but how about a breather?
* I don’t need to see any more images of people roaming around “the great hall” looking dazed and confused.
* If there are so many empty seats at the Stadium, why not lower the prices or give them away to aspiring she-fans?
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On the plus side…
* I was grateful that MLB.TV broadcast the game at all, since my Extra Innings cable package doesn’t kick in until tomorrow.
* I enjoy watching Brett Gardner play small ball, but I almost forgot how much I like big ball.
* I admit I derive a certain satisfaction when the opposition makes errors. So I laughed when that routine pop-up dropped between the Cubs players. I did. Forgive me.
* I roared when Michael Kay asked Paul O’Neill if he ever got under the covers with his wife on cold nights in Cincinnati and showed her his Yankeeography.
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Since the Yankees won again, I’ll be eating chicken for dinner again. And again – until the Yankees lose or I grow feathers. Whichever comes first.

Andy Pettitte: “The Yankees Should Show Me More Love”

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As Yankees bloggers reported hours and hours ago (I’m such a slug), Andy Pettitte has let it be known that he’s angry at how his negotiations with the Yanks have gone. Ken Davidoff of Newsday spoke to “people familiar with his thinking.” What people? His agent? His wife? His minister? I hate unnamed sources, but bottom line: Andy’s pissed.
At the top of his list of grievances, according to People Familiar With His Thinking, is the following.
“He believes the Yankees should display more appreciation for all that he has done for them.”
That’s what he wants? More appreciation? No problem!
I called Brian Cashman. He tore himself away from a pending trade that would send Nick Swisher to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay, and we hammered out a multi-faceted plan of attack. Here’s what Andy will get from the Yankees in the way of appreciation.
#1. The traditional reward for a job well done.
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#2. Mementos from the old Yankee Stadium. Not just anybody gets these. Not for free, anyway.
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#3.  A simple but heartfelt appreciation in skywriting over Andy’s house.
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#4. A private, at-home concert by Yankees tenor Ronan Tynan, who will sing “God Bless America” as many times as Andy wants him too – without taking a breath.
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#5. A private, at-home concert by Madonna. The idea is to show Andy that anything A-Rod has, he can have too.
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#6. A singing telegram to say, “The Yankees love you.”
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#7. The guy comes with a box of these. Screw Joe Girardi’s rule about sweets.
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#8. A deluxe order of prime beef. Very handy when those People Familiar with His Thinking drop by for dinner unexpectedly.
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#9. The chance to bump Paul O’Neill and be Michael Kay’s color commentator on YES.
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#10. A year’s supply of the good stuff. Enough said.
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Now, it’s possible that Pettitte won’t be swayed by any of this, and that “appreciation” is just a euphemism for “money.” If so, he’ll be joining the players featured in my two previous posts as ex-Yankees and I’ll be forced to write the words “Goodbye, Andy.”

It’s Off to Couples Counseling for CC and Me

Well, I’ve tried everything else, Carsten.

I’ve asked this man to talk to you.

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And this man.
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Even this man.
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And I’ve made it perfectly clear that money will never be an issue between us.
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Yet you still won’t make the commitment. I didn’t peg you for one of those men who’s all nice and sweet to your face and then fools around behind your back. I mean, really, CC. The Giants? The Dodgers? The Angels? You thought they’d care more about you than the Yankees? I understand your attachment to the Brewers. I do. It’s hard to let go of the past. But now it’s time to look ahead to the future. Our future. Together.
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So I’ve made an appointment with the shrink who came highly recommended by Yankees doctor Stuart Hirshon.
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We’ll sort through the reasons you keep pulling back and find a way to move forward. Here we go.
You’re concerned about this?
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Oh, CC. That’s just silly. The crime rate in New York is down, or at least it was the last time I checked. Besides, the Yanks have an army of security people. No worries.
You think there’s too much of this?
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I admit it can get nasty on the Deegan, and the tunnels are a nightmare. But the Yanks will arrange for a helicopter if that’s a roadblock, no pun intended.
The Steinbrenner boys? You’re anxious about working for them?
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I’ll handle Hal. He’s very reasonable. And Hank stays down in Tampa and will be totally out of your hair.
Your hair? Oh, I see. Yes, unlike California, New York does get hot and humid in the summer. It’s definitely not good hair weather and without the proper conditioning it can be impossible to control.
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But, again, the Yankees have people. Hair people. They can keep you looking great all season long.
Yes, CC. The Stadium will be loud, especially on the days the Red Sox come to town. But you’ll have these wonderfully supportive friends behind you.
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They’re called the Bleacher Creatures and they’ll hold forth with a charming chant for you.
No need to fret over her influence, honey. She likes them young, yes, but in tip-top shape, no offense.
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Well, of course the media is tough in New York. But I really think the whole “glare of the spotlight” thing is overblown. 
You’ll have zero problem dealing with this man.
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His name is Peter Abraham. He blogs day and night, but he’s fair, CC.  They’re all fair. You play ball with them and they’ll play ball with you. (O.K. There are one or two I’d stay away from, but we’ll deal with them when the time comes.)
What about the broadcast people? You’ll have this man calling your games on the YES Network.
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Michael Kay is a bit of a drama king, but I think you’ll hit it off just fine.
Yes, he has a colleague, Kim Jones, who does the interviews with the players.
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She may look like she’s giving Jeter a case of hives, but her questions are harmless. Trust me.
Her counterpart on the radio is this woman.
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Suzyn with a “z,” just like Liza Minelli. And, like Liza, she sings. You and she will have a blast humming show tunes.
And speaking of a blast, John Sterling is the radio voice of the Yankees. You’ll have nothing but fun with him during the season.
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He’s very descriptive and invents nicknames for the players. Every time you throw a strikeout pitch, he’ll say something like: “It’s a C-Bomb! From CC!” Or maybe: “Ortiz takes a BATH courtesy of SaBATHia.” You’ll be chuckling all the way home after the games.
So? Are we on the same page now? Everything out on the table? No more hesitation?
Good. Sign the contract already, hon.