girardi – corporate boy or fool?

never in my life have i heard something so absurd as to BENCH a healthy, future hall of fame catcher to please an overpaid, underachieving pitcher who, in my opinion, has been truly disappointing this season.  with all of the hype surrounding the free agent signings of cc, aj, and tex, i for one, expected more of burnett than 13 wins.  he hardly looked like a dominating, number two starter much of the last half of the season and in fact, i was often reminded of randy johnson when aj was on the mound this year. 

whatever perceived problems aj has with posada, he should be professional enough to put them aside for the good of the team.  this isn’t the regular season anymore, it’s the playoffs.  each game is potentially do or die and girardi had opted to show the world he’s more worried about hurting aj’s feelings than bringing home another title for yankees fans. 

consider this…not only has girardi removed posada’s powerful bat from the lineup, by stroking aj’s ego a little and naming him the number two starter, he also put him in place to start a would be game five.  lets think about this…aj has been anything BUT consistent the second half of the season and probably makes most fans need a xanex every time he takes the mound, but should the yankees play do or die game five…instead of old faithful battery mates of pettitte and posada, the future of the team will lie in burnett and molina’s hands?  am i the only one with a SERIOUS problem with this scenario?

girardi should stop worrying about stroking burnett’s ego and put his BEST nine players on the field every game, and as long as jorge posada is healthy, he has more than EARNED the right to be behind the plate for every game in the post-season.  i’m not completely dogging molina, he is an outstanding defensive catcher, but he is not jorge posada. 

as for aj…i hope his final regular seasons stats are not an indication of the pitcher who takes mound in games two and five of the alds.  i know i will be holding my breath to see whether it is the dominating pitcher with nasty stuff as he showed in his last season with the jays, or we get the 09 version…too many walks and wild pitches, and absolutely no intimidation factor at all.  if this experiment of putting posada on the bench fails and the yankees lose any game with burnett and molina, expect heads to roll in yankee land.  or not, after all, girardi is exactly that yankees brass likes…a corporate boy who will do everything he is told by his bosses.  probably the exact reason he was hired for the managerial position over donnie baseball to begin with. 

 

records waiting to be broken

sunday’s back to back homeruns by johnny damon and mark teixeira marked the sixth time this season that the pair have accomplished such a feat.  this put them in sole possession of the all-time yankees record, and has tied them with the major league record.  that gives them fifty games left in the regular season to set the major league record for back to back homeruns by teammates.  go get ‘em guys!!!!

insomnia causes one to do odd things in the middle of the night.  for example, last night, i began looking up other yankees records and milestones and found a few that i thought were interesting.

andy pettitte – the reliable lefty currently holds third place in all time yankees history in stikeouts.  he needs 102 k’s to pass ron guidry for sole possession of second place, leaving only the chairman of the board as the only pitcher to have more strikeouts in his yankee career.  additionally, andy needs three wins to suprass lefty gomez in wins, which will put him in third place in yankees history behind only red ruffing and whitey ford.  that’s impressive company no matter how you look at it.  i never did understand why the organization was foolish enough to let andy leave after the disappointing 03 world series loss to the fish, but now i’m certain that whoever said “let him go” was a complete and total idiot.  pettitte currently stands at 224 wins for his career and considering he has always been a workhorse for the yankees, it’s not unimaginable for him to have easily attained the 236 to pass ford had he remained in pinstripes.  pettitte would also have undoubtedly become the yankees all time strikeouts leader, ford had 1956 and andy has 2105 and counting. 

yankees don’t start giving him some offense, he may still be stuck at 224 wins come september….

jorge posada – the future hall of fame catcher has assmbled a rather impressive resume as he continues to climb the ladder on the record books.  posada needs 87 hits to move into past frankie corsetti for 18th on the all time yankees hits list.  135 hits will move him into 13th all time, passing greats such as munson, meusel, pipp, and rizzuto.  posada also needs 16 homeruns to pass nettles for 7th place in yankees history, which trials only bernie williams, yogi berra, joe dimaggio, lou gehrig, mickely mantle, and babe ruth.  pretty damn good company to keep for easily the most underrated and undervalued player on the roster. 

derek jeter – yeah, i know, he’s gonna own damn near every record before its all said and done, but here a few notable achievements for his hall of fame resume – jeter needs 50 rbi’s to move past donnie baseball and into ninth place in yankees history.  after the solo shot tonight against the blue jays, jeet needs four homeruns to also passing mattingly on that list, moving him into the top ten in yet another hitting category.  jeter continues to assault mattingly, needing twelve doubles to move into sole possession of third place in yankees history, and nineteen to surpass bernie williams, which leaves only lou gehrig @ 534 to have more doubles in their yankee career.  additionally, jeter continues to pursue the iron horse’s total hits and his 3-5 performance tonight puts him just 45 behind.  by my conservative estimate, that puts jeet on pace to become the  yankees all time hits leader in september…possibly around the time of the final series against the sox @ yankee stadium…although a hot streak may bring it much sooner.

finally, mariano rivera – obviously the most dominating closer in baseball history is the yankees all time leader in games played, saves, and ERA, but there are a few other milestones he has a shot at achieving in the near future…  rivera needs 28 strikeouts to pass roger clemens and move into tenth place all time in yankees history.  also, if he hits just two more batters, he will pass both el duque and moose for sole possession of 12th place.  if rivera hits eight more batters in his career, he will move into 5th all time passing allie reynolds, roger clemens, bob shawkey, andy pettitte, david cone, bob turley, and mel stottelmeyer.  hey, i know!  hard to find milestones that rivera has a legitimate shot at and doesn’t already own!  ;) 

there it is, my four favorite yankees milestone tracker!  ;) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

boston massacre, august 2009 edition

andy pettitte.  i can’t remember a must win game that he hasn’t come through big time for his team.  its really frustrating to see the bats unable to get him the wins he has so rightfully earned and deserved this season…especially game four of the sweep against the sox where he pitched seven strong innings.  from the first pitch, andy was dealing and the sox closest threat was with two outs and bases loaded in the fourth where pettite got varitek to line to damon in left.  after that, he was in an absolute zone. 

and what the hell was with putting in coke instead of hughes with a 1-0 lead in the eighth???  even if  he just comes in to face the lead off lefty of the inning, he shoulda been yanked as soon as smurf boy (aka pedroria) reached base.  yankees pull off a win in spite of girardi being a complete and total idiot.  hope andy’s contract isn’t based on winable games instead of wins or he’ll be lucky to make half of his incentives thanks to bonehead girardi.  he makes a lot of pitching changes and decisions that make me wonder if he’s not secretly on the sox payroll sometimes…

something i failed to acknowledge earlier this weekend was jorge posada’s game on thursday.  i usually notice the little things, but i failed to see that prior to the game, posada had put the number 15 on his catcher’s mask, opposite the nike swoosh mark.  although it was not the anniversary, it was the first yankee home game since the 30th anniversary of munson’s death and posada said he was thinking of him and wanted to honor him.  his reward was one triple short of the cycle in a yankees blowout in a must win game. 

i was a little too young to remember munson, but have always found his legacy an important one.  i’ve seen the murcer/munson tribute game on yankees classics a couple of times, seen his yankeeography, and read all of the articles, including an excellent one on yesnetwork.com written by a former yankees batboy during munson’s tenure, that EVERYONE should read.

five days in august by ray negron

http://www.yesnetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090727&content_id=6087874&oid=36019&vkey=4&print=true

 

munson was the first yankee captain since lou gehrig, who also died tragically young (kinda makes you wonder about a curse there for a minute…)  but was the only truly shocking death in yankees history.  my apologizies for not including cory lidle, but he wasn’t the captain and beloved catcher for the yankees.  that being said, imagine losing a player such as posada, jeter, mariano, or pettitte to a major tragedy like that!  imagine the heartache that millions of children would feel from such a tragic loss, i know my own twelve year old and many, many of the kids he’s played with the past seven years would be devastated.  well, maybe not my kid, because he’s grown accustomed to loss and tragedy in his short life with the loss of many who were close to him, but he would be upset.  my son, born 1997, has only known these players his entire life, has copied them in his own little league career and found success so far.  my son is a righty pitcher, who loves to come in and close during a tight spot under pressure.  he learned to pitch by the two of us sitting and watching yankees games…pettitte, mussina, rivera, and clemens.  if you watch him pitch, you will see a little of each of them.  in recent pictures of him batting, i noticed his stance in the box while waiting on a pitch is exactly like jeter, although he has his own routine for getting into the box.  growing up without a father, as so many boys unfortunately do, those are the guys he looks up to.  they are his role models and surrogate father’s of sorts.  i promise you, he would be more upset about any of those men dying suddenly than his own biological father, who he only remembers meeting once.  he also met tommy john a couple weeks ago, so… 

at any rate, munson’s loss was profound and the very fact that his locker was left intact and empty for the remainder of the life of the old yankee stadium is a poignent reminder.  it now resides at a museum at the new yankee stadium, or so i’m told…haven’t seen it myself yet, lol, so i can’t guarantee it’s a fact.  posada’s tribute by simply wearing 15 on his catchers mask during the opening game of what became the august 2009 edition of the boston massacre, was very touching and admirable to say the least.  another reason to love posada.  that said, he sure didn’t remind me of munson when he inexplicably didn’t slide at the plate early in the game.  mlb channel was showing the brutal collisions at home between the teams and poor jorge…  he more than made up for it with the big homer in the fourth inning 8 run rally to put the sox down for good.  you just felt it as soon as he hit it, and the sox showed it from that moment until ellsbury grounded to tex to end the game sunday, the sox were done. 

the sweep and more respectable 4-8 record against their nearest competitior for the al east pennant puts the yankees up 6.5 with roughly fifty games left.  yankees have won their last seven against ace pitchers such as buehrle (congrats on the perfect game), halladay, beckett, lester, oh yeah, and don’t forget the bronx bombers may have ended the brilliant career of john smoltz ~~~ lets hope not!  i’m not a braves fan, but i respect the career of a man who has done it all.  he should get with mussina on how to reinvent oneself in the al east and make a push to get on a team for the postseason and earn a title.  speaking of moose…

mitre on the mound against toronto tomorrow.  wouldn’t you feel much better if we had mike mussina on the mound tomorrow, joba on tuesday, and aj on wednesday against the blue jays?  only in my perfect world, lol 

and finally…

ESPN.  the play by play guy, john miller, has to be the single most annoying person on the planet.  he’s the reason i hate watching games on espn because they always send him.  for those of you who watch the yes network on a regular basis, you are probably nodding your head right now.  the guy is a total idiot for one.  hasn’t a clue what’s he’s talking about and just babbles on ad nauseum until i’m forced to mute him or change the channel.  tonight, during potentially critical at bats during yankees-red sox during the pennant race and espn missed entire at bats because they were talking to a former player and showing highlights of his career and return to cuba.  i had no idea what was going on in the game at all during that time. 

i took a big sigh of relief tonight, having watched every inning of this four game series and seeing incredible pitching by burnett, sabathia, and pettitte.  (and everyone who pitched the 15 inning marathon – my favorite game of all four)  great hitting all weekend by everyone and a big congrats to damon and tex for establishing a new record for most back to back homeruns by yankees teammates in a season.  wonder what the mlb record is???  all in all, what i will always remember was the touching tribute by the current yankees backstop for the fallen yankees captain and catcher, thurman munson.  this combined with his solid and reliable play both with a bat and behind the plate for the last decade, his ability to come through in the cluch time and time again have made me start to believe that posada should be named co-captain of the team.  

********crickets chiping***********

is everyone still breathing?? 

don’t get me wrong, i LOVE jeter and respect the way he handles himself both on the field and off, but last season proved how valuable posada is to the team’s success.  he is as much the heart and soul of the yankees for the past decade plus as jeter is and definitely deserves to be acknowledged for his leadership.  is there a yankee fan on the planet that doesn’t believe posada woulda beat pedro to a pulp if he’d thrown at him during the 03 alcs?  posada has also consistently and wisely handled a merry-go-round of pitchers through his tenure, including catching a perfect game for boomer wells in 1998, and has enjoyed post season play in each of his seasons in the majors until the fatal 2008 season. 

jorge is currently sporting a healthy .412 average against the red sox in 09, with a .512 on base percentage and .647 slugging in the nine games he’s appeared in.  by comparison, arod’s stats against the sox in 09 ~ .179 average, .324 obp and .429 slugging in seven games.  to keep up the comparison to the current captain, jeter is batting .246 with a .295 obp and .316 slugging in twelve games…in his defense, he hit the ball hard all weekend, just seemed to always be right at someone or they made a great play like ellsbury in centerfield robbing him of a sure double, maybe more. 

yankees next see the sox in fenway on august 21st…i’m hoping that american league east lead is in double digits by then!!  oh, and more importantly, that the yankees learn how to give pettitte a lead so he can notch those much deserved wins to his brilliant career in pinstripes.  i was blown away by his strong finish sunday night in spite of his pitch count, age, and the competition.  a friend was watching with us and got nervous when he loaded the bases.  my son and i just shook our heads, andy loves pressure on the big stage.  he should get a million dollar bonus for that game alone!! 

 

 

a blowout, a pitchers duel, and a 4.5 game lead ~ and steroids

wow, the first two games of this august edition of yankees vs. red sox have had a lil something for everyone.  thursday night, the yankees pounded out 13 runs against smoltz/sox en route to a fairly easy win.  friday night, 14 and 2/3 innings of 0-0 baseball in an incredible pitchers duel between a.j. burnett and beckett and the bullpens.

~bottom of the first, youkillus misplays the ball in left, damon on second with one out…

i watched the thursday game on mlbtv instead of my usual YES feed because former yankees broadcaster and pitching legend with a career that spanned from 1959 to 1983 was going to be calling the game.  i always loved to listen to “kitty” when he worked the YES booth, typically paired with a combination of ken singleton, bobby murcer, and michael kay.  kaat now also blogs on yesnetwork.com and has recently returned to broadcasting after a brief retirement during his wife’s illness and death.  i love kaat’s no BS approach to the game…he doesn’t play politics, he just voices his opinion and considering his credentials as a player and broadcaster, i believe he’s more than entitled to them. 

one in particular caught my attention thursday night, as jim kaat and his fellow broadcaster (sorry, i don’t remember his name) were talking about the recent additions to the list of stars tainted by steroids.  after testing positive earlier this season and serving a suspension, manny and his former yankee killer buddy, david ortiz were recently confirmed to be on the list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003, along with a-rod.  his explanation at his press conference at yankee stadium today was that he wasn’t careful about the over the counter products he took.  believable? 

i have to say that it doesn’t surprise me.  makes me worry about the products that are available over the counter that my own son may be tempted to try in the near future….

~bottom of the third, tex hits rbi single with two on and two out. 

bonds, mcguire, sosa, palmeiro, giambi, sheffield, clemens, pettitte, arod, manny, papi…those names alone, not counting the rest in the mitchell report or on that list from 2003, are proof positive that the game endured a period that has forever tainted the record books.  for those that have come out and admitted their mistakes, i applaud you.  i usually don’t have a lot of nice things to say about a-rod, but at least he faced the music and genuinely seems to be putting it behind him.  papi today admitted he was careless and seems to be hoping to do the same. 

during the game the other night, kaat called for all of the names to be released so this would all be over with once and for all.  i couldn’t agree more…not only would we finally know the other 100 plus names that have tarnished the sport, it would also clear the names of the other thousand players who were doing it the right way…or at least smart enough not to get caught.  arod, papi, and manny shouldn’t have to be hung out to dry all alone when everyone knows there are more.  for the good of the game, those names should be released.  unfortunately, everyone seems to be hiding behind the non-disclosure agreement made between the league and player’s union.  that was made prior to the mitchell report, prior to barry bonds breaking hank aaron’s homerun record, prior to clemens fight to clear his name, to a-roid and the circus that brought… 

fans are the only reason there IS a major league baseball.  without us spending money to attend games, watch them on satallite, cable, and the internet, and buying their merchandise, there would be no million dollar contracts, luxury tax, or two hundred million dollar payrolls.  we, the fans, deserve to know the truth on who’s numbers are tainted and who’s numbers are legitimate.  a lot of records have fallen in recent years or stand to fall in the near future.  those former players deserve to know the truth as well.  records no one thought would ever fall – most notably aaron’s homeruns and maris’ 61 in 1961 – have only been broken by players linked to using performance enhancing drugs.  i have watched the movie 61, which depicted maris’ difficult struggle against his teammate and the ghosts of yankees past to achieve a record no one wanted him to break.  he EARNED that record with blood, sweat, tears and in spite of death threats and hate male.  aaron…can you imagine the things people said to him as he closed in on babe ruth’s record?  interestingly, aaron has also called for all of the names to be released…

okay, i’m off my soapbox now.

game two of the four game series…i was literally on the edge of my seat for five and a half hours of beautifully pitched baseball.  i know a lot of people love to see the homeruns and the high scoring games, and i love those games too, but now that i’m the mom of an aspiring pitcher, i always appreciate a pitcher’s duel, perfect game, no hitters…whatever the case may be as long as it adds up to a quality performance by a pitcher.  15 innings of 0-0 major league baseball in itself is nearly unheard of, but between the yankees and red sox?  incredible!  there wasn’t a player in either star studded lineup that didn’t have a chance to end it at one point or another, but the pitchers made the pitches when they had to and the defense made the plays (most notably the sox right fielder who robbed hinske of his first pie in the face).  it was five and a half hours of bliss to this baseball purist. 

cc was perfect through 4 and fox announcers felt the need to point it out and talk about how it’s silly to be superstitious…cc got youkillus out and walked papi…no hitter anyone???  i generally detest the fox broadcast, but they did do something today that i think other networks need to follow.  the homeplate umpire is wearing a mic and we were able to hear him and a-rod argue about whether a pitch hit him or was foul.  i also like their mid-game interviews with the managers.  YES should follow their lead on these two items, otherwise, i’d much rather be listening to singleton, kay, and o’neill. 

i recently read that mike mussina said he is content throwing little league bp for his kids and doesn’t regret his decision to walk away after a 20 win season and just thirty shy of the magical 300 win plateau.  that sucks.  sure would be nice to hear that moose had been working out and was contemplating a comeback.  there was always a certain level of comfort from seeing 35 standing on the mound every fifth night and rarely did he disappoint.  perhaps smoltz should take a page from mussina’s book and reinvent himself for one last dance or walk away, satisified with his baseball legacy.

 

 

tommy john and bob shirley bring smiles to little league players in oklahoma

little league players from age five to fourteen played baseball in the grueling 100+ degree heat during “the show” world series in del city, oklahoma on saturday.  at the end of the fifth day of competition…no one seemed to care about wins, losses or anything else…just a lot of smiles as they got autographs from former big league pitchers, tommy john and bob shirley, which was kind of ironic considering both retired LONG before any of the players were born.

my son cole, 12, got so nervous when they arrived that he thought he was going to be sick!  he handed me the ball he wanted to have signed and said, “i can’t do it mom, what do i say?”  i told him they were normal people just like us.  i suggested he tell him his name and his dream.  my son’s team was playing as the red sox (which he has complained about every day of the week long tournament) and four of them were together at the front of the line.  tommy john immediately gave them a hard time for wearing red sox uniforms and they immediately made sure he understood it was the coaches fault for that!  very cute!!!

when it was his turn, cole stepped up in front of tommy john and told him, “my name is cole and i AM going to pitch for the yankees one day.”  mr. john smiled and said, “that’s an excellent aspiration to have.”  he signed his yankees baseball for him as well as a small photo provided by the ballpark before cole moved on to mr. shirley.

i, however, was having an interesting conversation with tommy john.  having just written a paper for school on tommy john surgery becoming more and more common for young baseball players, i asked what he thought was the cause of his injury.  over use as a kid?  throwing dangerous pitches too early?  he said he believed it was switching from a little league regulation field to a pro regulation field when he was thirteen.  when we finished, mr. john was even kind enough to pose for a photo with cole. 

i can only imagine how many appearances such as this that these two men make, but i can’t help but wonder if they have any idea the impact they are making on today’s little leaguers.  i was thoroughly impressed by how gracious and down to earth mr. john was and would have LOVED to ask him a million more questions, but didn’t want to monopolize his time.  (while i didn’t get a chance to talk to him, i’m sure mr. shirley was the same…especially since he is an oklahoma native.)

i can’t speak for all of the little leaguers that were there today, but i can tell you that cole has been on cloud nine ever since.  in the car, he was calling and texting his cousins and friends to tell them about meeting mr. john and mr. shirley.  at home, he promptly rearranged his yankees memorbilia to showcase his autographed ball and pictures front and center and has asked for an 8×10’s of the pics of him and tommy john together.  he will never forget today and the kindess he was shown by these two former yankees…a story that will inevitably be passed down for generations to come.  he may have never seen either pitch, but just to meet two men who not only pitched in the big leagues, but for the yankees…well, that was one dream come true for my twelve year old pitcher with dreams of following in their footsteps.

my heartfelt thanks to both tommy john and bob shirley for being so gracious and accomodating with their time…in spite of the 100+ degree heat!  i hope they know that they both touched the life of a child, which will never be forgotten. 

how ironic would it be if cole did make it to the yankees and was able to show mr. john the ball and pictures?  i’ll be sure to let you know WHEN it happens!  ;)   

 

jeter & posada rant

so i was away for a few days and missed a few games and stories.  got all caught up today and was very stunned to see that not only are fans still questioning posada’s capabilities behind the plate, but now jeter’s choice of words the other night when asked if he was okay to play.  a fan on my favorite yankees blog (kim jones blog on yesnetwork.com) wrote: 

“”That’s on him, man. I told him I could play. That’s all his decision. … I’m good to go.” That’s on him? What the heck is that?. You’r sick. Sit down and shut up.”

another followed with:

“I agree. Hey Jeter….captain or not, don’t try to make your manager look like he’s making the wrong decision. I know you’re a gamer, but that comment was uncalled for. Man up….sit on the bench and sthu. Besides….the team seems to be playing pretty well without you, in case you haven’t noticed.”

first any reporter who asks derek jeter about illness or injury should already know what he’s going to say.  “i’m fine.”  it’s the same answer he’s given a hundred times to respect to whether he can play or not.  joe torre called him a nuisance when he was on the bench because he always wanted to be on the field.  jeter considers torre a second father and said the same thing then he was at the helm of the yankees as he did the other night.  it wasn’t a personal attack on girardi nor was it an issue with his ego.  he simply stated that he could play, but it was the manager’s decision.  to attack him for being disappointed in not playing is ridiculous by any standards, but particularly disappointing considering jeter’s contributions during his career.

other “faithful” yankees fans have continued to criticized posada’s contribution to the team.  (although one did recant his prior statement following posada’s three run blast saturday evening) but the fact it’s still a discussion is rather annoying to me.  did anyone happen to notice that the first time posada went down with a serious injury, the yankees failed to make the playoffs?  did anyone notice how much his bat was missed in the lineup and his presence as a proven, very capable starting catcher?  true, posada doesn’t have twenty year old legs like cervelli and he doesn’t have the molina catching pedigree (lets face it, the brothers are a bit of a phenomonon), but he has STILL managed to put together a hall of fame worthy career by any catcher’s standards.  cervelli is a nice breath of youthful energy and exuberance (and hopefully the catcher of the future), but when the game is on the line, i would always want posada behind the plate and his bat in the lineup versus any other alternative the yankees could provide.  anyone who disagrees needs to seriously have their head examined!    

  

yankees v. marlins – father’s day musings

i am officially spoiled to yankees announcers.  some genius at MLB decided that oklahoma city is part of the rangers territory, although you will very rarely see a texas rangers cap in this state.  dallas cowboys yes, but that’s about it.  sooner fans hate texas that much, lol.  due to this, anytime the yankees play the rangers my YES Network feed is blacked out and i’m forced to either listen to the rangers announcers or watch the game on the mlb game mix channel , which has eight total screens, making it difficult to really see what’s going on.  then on saturdays, we’re nearly always blacked out as fox rarely shows the yankees game unless it’s a big rivalry like the sox or mets.  i was able to watch one in fox espanol one saturday afternoon.  let me tell you, for someone who can barely order a meal at my favorite mexican restaurant, it was interesting to say the least.  some words don’t translate into spanish, so i always picked those up, and the word they use for strikeout, i figured that one out quick.  otherwise i was pretty clueless.  i particularly liked the enthusiasm and the word for strikeout, lol.  need to find out how to spell it.  the comradarie amoung the YES announcers and their vast experience and knowledge of the game makes for a much more entertaining game.  sometimes you don’t appreciate it until you’re forced to listen in spanish or by other broadcast teams. 

 

~bottom of the second and cc is taken out…hmmm, this can’t be a good sign.  he was getting hit around a lil, but it was still a 1 run game. 

 

so as i’ve said before, one of the things i love about the yankees organization is how they keep players part of the family.  they become coaches, special assisstants, and announcers for the team broadcast.  one of the best known stories was actually told yesterday.  yankee great bobby murcer was nearing the end of his career and the team was itching to call up a kid from the minor leagues, don mattingly.  steinbrenner offered murcer a job in the booth if he would retire to make room for mattingly.  he gave him a half hour to decide.  the next day, murcer retired and mattingly joined the team. (the anniversary of this move was saturday)  you all know the rest: mattingly goes to become donnie baseball and captain of the team through the championship drought years and murcer became even more beloved by yankees fans of all generations for his work on the radio and eventually on YES.  having murcer in the booth for a game was like having an old friend there.  his battle with cancer ended last summer and the entire yankee nation mourned.  i remember when i turned on the tv to see the game that night and heard the news and my eyes immediately filled with tears.  at that moment, i FELT like i had lost an old friend, even though i had never met him in my life.  murcer is still greatly missed.  his memory lives on in yankees classics, both as a player and announcer.  “yankee for life” was the title of his book…very appropriate.  i still need to pick up a copy of it.   

~~top of the third, jeter running well.  they keep talking about his left ankle, but he just stole third without a throw so not sure what the fuss is about.  he’s in the game, he’s fine.  move on.  walk by swisher.  nice hit by tex.  tie game.  runners at second and third with two down and arod up.  holy ****, he got a great hit!  maybe he did just need a little rest.  kind of surprised the yankees let him go so long without a day off anyway.  seems kinda silly given the expectations placed upon the team this season and arod himself every time he walks to the plate.  i’ve never seen a yankee booed more in yankee stadium.  randy johnson and kevin brown heard it a lot, but arod gets it all the time.  see, i can give him a little credit when its due.  yankees up 3-1, nice hit by the juicer.   

~~~top of the fourth…  they just announced cc was removed from the game with left bicep tightness.  it could have been worse, but very frustrating after two outstanding outings by pettitte (did you see the double?) and aj (had the only yankees hit through six innings).  hopefully it’s nothing. great three innings of relief by aceves. 

~~~~bottom of the sixth…  enough of tomko already!  not only let the fish tie it up in the fifth on a long two run shot, he gave up another solo shot in the sixth.  they are the florida fish, not the red sox.  can’t leave the ball in the middle of the plate.

am i the only one that’s noticed that joe torre is looking much more relaxed these days?  even with the manny drama, he still looks better than he did in what turned out to be his final couple of seasons leading the yankees.  i recently watched a yankees classic from the 96 world series and then saw one from the end of his tenure…wow, did that man age!  i’m not dogging joe torre, i think letting him go off to dodger land was an idiotic move, i’m just saying stress kills.  i wish him nothing but the best of luck with the dodgers and look forward to the first meeting…perhaps in october?  that would be nice.

ugh, i caught up with real time.  i hate that.  commercials are what is wrong with the game.  i know they help pay the bills, but there’s a lot of them.  probably the only thing i can find wrong with yes is that they play the same commericals over and over.  i’m even sick of the derek jeter ford commerical now.  i try to get a good hour behind on every game so i can fast forward through the commericals.  dvr may be the greatest invention ever…as long as it works!  ;)

~~~~~bottom of the seventh…  ugh…now is where i would like to fast foward.  fish up by three runs on a double and e7 on melky’s wild throw.  red sox already won today on a walkoff, yankees cannot afford to lose this game and series.  jeter, swishy and tex up in the eighth.  nice.  another jeter ford commercial…i might have to keep a tally on the commericals they play the most.  they desperately need to change some of them. 

~lots of drama in the top of the eighth.  apparantly the fish don’t know how to play national league rules baseball.  illegal substitution of some kind according to the booth.  ten minute delay.  unfortunately, yankees didn’t do anything and went down in order.  that leaves it to arod, cano, and posada in the ninth.

~~great play by jeter and tex in the bottom of the eighth.  i never get tired of seeing jeter make that play in the hole.  and an excellent stretch by tex to get the runner.  i think he has aleady proven his worth to the yankees simply by his defense.  the homeruns and rbi’s are nice too, lol, but he’s filled a hole that has been a glaring mess since tino was replaced by giambi.  yankees shoulda kept tino.  tex reminds me of him though.  ironic that he started playing better after tino was brought up to new york to talk to him? 

~~~two out single by posada.  all the talk recently about his alleged liability had me annoyed, but i think he is easily the most undervalued player on the squad.  as a former catcher, i can tell you catching is a thankless job.  you get beat to hell back there by balls in the dirt, overswings and thrown bats, foul balls…it never ends.  melky singles, posada to third, tying run comes to the plate.  gardner rips a two run triple, tying run is on third and damon pinch hitting.  jeter is on deck.  great comeback by the yankees!  damon walks, to bring the captain to the plate!  what a rally by the bombers!!!  

two tough losses last night and tonight.  if it was the heat, its not going to get any better in atlanta.  they gotta get the bats going.  if i was a general manager, i’d start scouring my minor leagues for a tall, young pitchers if the yankees were on my schedule.  they can’t seem to figure them out this year.  the kid on friday only got hit hard because he left them in the middle of the plate there the first few innings, but he settled down after that.  crazy that they’ve dropped two series in a row against two national league teams that aren’t all that great. 

oh well, like i tell my son, gotta shake it off and look forward.  still a lot of baseball left to play.  three in atlanta and a weekend series against the mets in the replacement shea stadium.  sorry, don’t know what it’s .com name is yet.     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

june 17 yankees vs. nationals

bottom of the third….  flaherty made a good point.  the football giants are in the new yankee stadium tonight as part of a team bonding effort.  the yankees played pool…  girardi needs to one up them now. 

is it me or is there an unusual number of bats breaking these days?  i know they talked about it a few years ago, but this season i’ve seen more than ever before…particulary by johnny damon, but all of the yankees.

top of the fourth…  wang looks good so far.  52 pitches, 34 strikes isn’t bad.  i understand why they said this start was important, but i think to put him on the spot and say, “you have to produce” is a bit much.  i want to win as much as the next person, but i’ve had a foot injury before and it took me a long time to feel a hundred percent and i’m not exactly a professional athlete, lol.  add in the fact that he wasn’t able to pitch for months…yeah, this should have been expected.  even giving up the solo shot to dunn, wang has still looked great tonight through four.

seeing jeter on the bench is just weird, even if it’s only for a day or two. 

speaking of jeter, brings up his replacement for the night, pena.  this is as solid a backup infielder as i’ve seen in a while.  he shows great range at short and plays third better than a-rod, although that doesn’t take a lot.  one of my pet peeves about a-rod…you hardly ever see him get dirty to make a play and i’ve seen countless opportunities through the years.  also, he seems to have zero range since returning from surgery.  i cringe every time one is hit toward him in a crucial part of the game.  i don’t when pena is over there…he reminds me of brosius, always seems to make the play. 

of couse i say that and he misses posada’s throw at second, lol.  sorry pena, didn’t mean to jinx ya. 

yankees need to hit the damn ball.  wang gave up three (two earned) and is probably done after five.  that’s a quality start.  he’s definitely looking like the wang of old.  now just needs to keep building up the arm strength. 

bottom of the fifth…  i guess cano listened to me, lol.  had barely finished typing that last comment when he hit at homerun.  another shattered bat.  crazy.  bat went as far as the ball did.  does anyone keep that stat?  perhaps they should.

is it me or do all young pitchers visiting yankee stadium seem to have big games?  another trend i’ve noticed.  the nationals pitcher tonight, lannan has been lights out tonight.  even the ball cano hit was low in the zone.  caught the middle of the plate, but still, it was below the knees.  other than that, he’s been pretty damn impressive. 

nice play by tex in the top of the seventh.  too bad they couldn’t turn two to get out of the inning.  oh well, hughes struck out zimmerman looking lol.  no harm, no foul. 

the stadium is giving arod hell.  good, he deserves it. 

bottom of the ninth…  3-1 game.  beautiful hit by damon to right.  3-2 nats.  thought swisher might have got a hold of one for a moment to tie it up.  one out.  base hit for tex.  arod up.  uh-oh.  nice night for lannan, thought he was going to cruise to a complete game.  i understand the move for a reliver, but arod hasn’t done **** all night and has a propensity for double plays, pop-up, and strikeouts in the big spot.  good move putting in gardner to run for tex, lol.  at least gives the yankees a chance to avoid the dp.  come on, pitch to him already…gardner is stealing, count on it.  lol, pitched out and still couldn’t catch him.  wow. 

mlb should have a baserunning and stealing contest to see who is the fastest in the league.  gardner can move, he’s certainly in the top five in the league.  wow, now he stole third.  that certainly makes arods chances of not screwing up the comeback much better!  arod walks to bring cano to the plate, still one out, runners on first and third.  sets up the double play and lets face it, arod doesn’t exactly run hard or try to break it up.  there’s another of my rants about arod…since his return from the injury, he has yet to make any attempt to break up a double play.  always turns toward right field.  if sheffield’s old *** can do it, arod can too.  they should pinch run with berrora, isn’t he still on the bench?

great at bat for cano no matter how it turns out.  2-2 count with the tying run at third, he’s battling.  groundball double play…tough loss. 

wang looked good through five.  yankees should have given him some offense and won that game.  they seemed flat all night at the plate with the exception of cano and damon solo homeruns.  joba tomorrow.  his turn to prove he belongs in the rotation! 

 

 

big papi thoughts…

every time the yankees have played the red sox this season, all i’ve heard leading into the weekend is david ortiz’s awful numbers.  some people say he’s through, no longer one of the leagues most feared clutch hitter he once was.  some say it’s the manny effect, even though he seemed to hit just fine last year without manny.  whatever it is, he even fell from grace at the top of the red sox lineup.  how is it then that papi looks just like the papi of old whenever he faces the yankees?  

for those not keeping score, through 8 games, papi is 9 or 28  or .321 against the yankees, with 2hr, 4dbls, and 8 rbi’s.  the leaves him 34-183 (.186) with two homeruns, ten doubles, and 17 rbi’s in his other 49 games.  

do the yankees not know how to pitch him?  is the pitching staff just not executing their pitches?  or does papi save all of his energy simply to annoy yankee fans with his clutch hitting in the most storied rivalry in all of sports?  whatever it is, i say the yankees walk him anytime there’s an empty base.  just stop dealing with him altogether.  if the yankees don’t figure out how to shut down papi before august, it’s going to be a very long off-season.

worse, if this trend continues, look forward to seeing david ortiz on the boston bench until he qualifies for social security…

       

 

“the warrior” conquors the booth, next stop monument park?

one of my favorite yankees of all time will always be paul o’neill.  yeah, he was definitely one of the most tempermental players to take the field, but he was the warrior.  who could forget how he bravely took the field just hours after losing his father?  the great play at the beginning of coney’s perfect game that didn’t seem so important in the top of the first, but wound up being the play of the game?  the line drive base hits, always hustling and running the bases well to the day he retired.  paul o’neill played the game the way it should be played.  he left everything out on the field and fans, myself included, loved him for that.  most of all, i will never forget the entire stadium chanting his name during the ninth inning of game five in the 2001 world series.  i was watching from my living room in oklahoma city, tears in streaming down my face and goosebumps raised as i watched.  it was a moving tribute by all those in attendance to show the adoration so many fans had for paulie.  wish i’d been there to have joined in. 

since retirement, o’neill has been an occasional announcer for the yes network, but this year, he has been in the booth a lot more often than years past.  i always enjoyed his work, but he really seems a lot more comfortable and relaxed this year, which had made for very enjoyable broadcasts.  in the preseason games held at yankee stadium, o’neill, michael kay, and david cone had me in stitches as they ribbed one another and argued from the standpoint of pitcher versus batter.  anytime i know he’s broadcasting, it puts me in a good mood knowing that win or lose, i’m going to be entertained if for no other reason than o’neill and kay giving each other hell.  i’m not saying o’neill is going to be as great a broadcaster as kay, ken singleton, bobby murcer, or jim kaat, but he could definitely get there one day and it’s really showing this year.  

anyone else noticed that no one else has worn number 21 since 2001?  coincidence?  i think the new stadium should be cristened with a new retired number and who better than paul o’neill.  help bring the old ghosts across the street to the new house by adding a yankee legend to his rightful place.  paul o’neill may not have been the greatest player on the field day in and day out, but he was and is revered as one of the greatest yankees of all time.  its definitely time for a paul o’neill day at the house that he and the others from the most recent era of championships helped to build.   

 

reasons to like the yankees   

  1. they keep retired players in the organization, often for life, with coaching or broadcasting positions.  they almost never turn their backs on one of their own…excluding roger clemens but that’s a whole other blong lol
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