October 2008

I Can’t Help Myself

I try not to concern myself with the personal lives of Yankees, but who am I kidding? I’m obsessed with all things Yankees. So naturally, as I was skimming the day’s news, my eyes landed on Page Six of the New York Post and I was riveted. A “copter quickie” for A-Rod and Madonna? And then a visit to Jerry Seinfeld’s house? Isn’t Jerry a Mets fan?

Fun in the Sun for the Cash Man

Kicking off on Monday is the first big event of the Hot Stove season – the gathering of general managers in Dana Point, California. To give everybody a taste of what Brian Cashman and others will be treated to when they’re not sequestered in some conference room, here’s a look at the Orange County coastal town of about 36,000 residents.

With 7 miles of Pacific Ocean, Dana Point is home to a spectacular harbor providing slips and mooring for over 2500 boats.
Maybe Cash will take a spin on a yacht. Surely Scott Boras must have one.
Or maybe he’ll throw caution to the wind and go parasailing.
Or he could troll for a couple of big fish for the Yankees (like Sabathia/Teixeira).
He could always play 18 holes, since golf is a great way to do business and have some laughs.
And, while he doesn’t strike me as the adventurous type, he could check out the legendary surf break called Killer Dana. Hang ten, C-Money!
My house is only about three hours away, so I guess I could invite him over for dinner one night. But how do I know if he’d like my cooking? What if I make steaks and he turns out to be a vegan? Too much trouble. Let him stay down there in Dana Point with the other GMs and, hopefully, make a few excellent deals for the Yankees.

Rays-Phillies Game 5: Phinally Over

In what can only be described as an anticlimax (unless you’re a Phillies fan), the boys from Philadelphia took down the Cinderfellas from Tampa Bay to win this thing and put an official end to the ’08 baseball season. Congratulations, Phillies, and kudos to the National League for letting the world know you’re not that bad.

Just a few random thoughts before I say goodnight.
Don’t Lidge and Ruiz look like they’re doing a commercial for match.com?
Do they not sense that Ryan Howard is about to jump on top of them and crush them?
When Maddon put Fernando Perez in to run, shouldn’t Perez have stolen second AND third before we even blinked? The guy is fast.
But mostly I’d like to ask a question: What is the purpose of mascots? (Don’t get me started on white rally towels. I respectfully request that Major League Baseball ban them.) Plenty of teams have furry creatures that roam the ballparks. There’s the Philly Phanatic.
There’s Raymond, who stomps around Tropicana Field.
There’s Ace, the cheerleader of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Even the Red Sox, who pride themselves on being purists, have Wally.
wally.jpgSo are the Yankees missing something? Do we need a mascot too? Or do we already have one that gets the fans excited about the game?
Yep, we do. And his name is Der-ek Jet-er. Clap clap clap clap clap.

Another Day, Another DUI

According to Fox Sports, former Yankees pitcher Luis Vizcaino was arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa yesterday. Luckily, the Rays weren’t in town or he could have had a fender bender with, say, Carl Crawford. Things happen for a reason, right? Maybe it’s good that the World Series is stalled up in Philly.

Viz, who spent last season with the Rockies, really should have watched this video before getting into his car stinking of booze. He would have learned that even when you say you’re not drunk, you’re drunk.

Rays-Phillies Game 5: Singing in the Rain

It sure was pouring in Philadelphia tonight. Did you see the rain? The soaked grass? The puddles in the infield? Or were you, like the umpiring crew, pretending it was a perfect evening for Baseball’s Fall Classic?

Seriously. Was that how we want a potential clinching game to go? Why didn’t they stop things earlier? Instead, we were stuck with a sloppy play by Rollins, some questionable walks by Kazmir and at least one manager looking awfully grumpy.
Maybe Joe was still stewing over that dark spot on Blanton’s cap. Or maybe he was wondering why Crawford didn’t run out that ball in the first inning.
Still, he had to be relieved that Pena and Longoria finally got hits and that Upton slid home with the tying run. Whew, huh? Now the Rays are done with Hamels and will face the Phillies tomorrow night feeling a little better about their chances. Or will they play tomorrow night, given the forecast for more rain?
Poor Phillies fans, thinking the Series was a done deal. Speaking of which, did anyone see Chris Matthews rant about his team on “Hardball” tonight?
“If the Yankees or Red Sox were in the World Series, I’d call my friends who are fans of those teams and wish them luck,” he said. “Did any of them call me and wish my Phillies luck? Nobody. Not one call.” Man, was he a whiner. Wish I had the video.
In the meantime, here’s a little Gene Kelly “Singing in the Rain” remix to keep us feeling nice and soggy until tomorrow night – or whenever they finish Game 5.

Rays-Phillies Game 4: Baseball Sure Is Unpredictable

After tonight’s thrashing of the Rays by the Phils, my head feels like a giant puzzle.


Seriously, what to make of the fact that in a blog post two days ago I offered Ryan Howard several ways for busting out of his slump. I guess one of them worked, because look at him.
He’s dancing with joy over having smacked two homers and driven in five runs. This guy couldn’t buy a hit and now he’s a slugger again. Strange, yes?
And then there’s the case of
Joe Blanton – a mediocre pitcher who, for no apparent reason, chose tonight to impersonate Cy Young. He even went deep! How do you figure?
There were plenty of other oddities:
* the normally capable Iwamura making two errors
* the much-heralded Rays relievers serving up bombs
* the sizzling hot bats of Longoria and Pena turning to icecubes.
Oh, and how about the National Anthem?
Did Patti Labelle TRY to sound like a cat in heat?
It was such a strange game, from start to finish, and just goes to prove that those of us who predicted Tampa Bay would win the World Series might be dead wrong. I mean, Hamels vs. Kazmir tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park? Could spell The End for the Cinderfellas.
But the strangest part of all? When Fox’s Ken Rosenthal brought us breaking news from Mrs. Jamie Moyer.
According to Karen Moyer, Jamie pitched last night’s game despite a bout of stomach flu. “He was sweating so badly I had to keep changing the sheets and pillowcases on the bed,” she confided to Ken, who then passed this crucial tidbit on to us, along with other details of Moyer’s unfortunate symptoms.
Memo to Fox: There IS such a thing as too much information.

Thoughts on Tim McGraw’s Tribute to His Dad

I was just reading about how Tim McGraw sprinkled his father’s ashes on the mound last night before the game. I’m sure there were some in the Phillies organization who weren’t wild about it (most teams, including the Yankees, have a policy against this sort of thing), but I’m sure Tug himself would have had a laugh about it.
When I was a young, inexperienced publicist for New American Library in the mid-70s, we published Tug’s first book, Screwball, and it was my job to schedule interviews for him and escort him around the city. Since I was a crazed baseball fan AND had a big, stupid crush on him (even though he wasn’t a Yankee), it was a huge thrill to work with him. And what a cool guy he was – always smiling, always upbeat, always with a twinkle in his eye. Sometimes famous people aren’t easy to deal with, but Tug McGraw was a pleasure. Polite. Gracious. And lots of fun. Just my two cents.

Rays-Phillies Game 3: Did the Wheels Come Off Or What?

What a ridiculous ninth inning if you’re the Rays. For six-plus innings your offense is stymied by geezer Jamie Moyer, who shows his age by sticking his tongue out at you.

Then you get back into the game when your very own cartoon character, B.J. Upton, steals two bases and ties the score.
All the momentum is on your side going into the bottom of the ninth, and yet what do you do? You sit there stunned as
Howell hits someone named Eric Bruntlett. Then you hide your eyes as
Balfour hurls a wild pitch and
Navarro makes a crazy throw way wide of second.
Then Maddon says, “Walk the bases loaded with nobody out”
so that the Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz can hit a squibber to third that Longoria spazzes out on, scoring Bruntlett and leading to this.
Yes, you lost a tough one in Philly, Cinderella boys. Let’s see if you can pull yourselves together tomorrow night. Sleep well.

Movie Break

Went to see “Changeling” after reading reviews suggesting Angelina Jolie was a shoo-in for the Best Actress Oscar. She’s great, but those lips. Seriously.

They take up the whole lower third of her face, and it’s just wrong.
As for the movie, if you like dark, depressing stories about corrupt cops, serial killers and looney bins, this one’s for you. Personally, I found it talky and boring.
Here’s the trailer.

Paging Garza’s Sports Psychologist

Jack Curry of the NY Times has an interesting article today about Garza’s evolution from loose cannon who got into a shoving match with Dioner Navarro to formidable postseason pitcher who plays nice with his teammates. Chalk up his success to his work with a sports psychologist.

My question is: Who is the sports psychologist and how can the Yankees put him on the payroll?
Certainly, he/she could be helpful with…
Our most complicated Yankee, A-Rod could have sessions involving his fear of hitting in the clutch.
The shrink could also work with…
The Yankee most needing a motivational push, Cano could benefit from a few hours on the couch.
And then there’s…
JoPo has had anger issues in the past. (Who can forget the dugout fight with El Duque?)
Wang (shyness), Joba (the drinking/driving thing) and others would be great patients too.
Could we get this shrink on the phone before next season?