Getting The Monkey Off My Back

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On July 11th, I went to see the Yankees play the Angels in Anaheim. The Bombers lost, naturally. But while I was there I walked up to a souvenirs concession, picked up a darling little rally monkey toy and proceeded to choke it. I hoped it would be an omen.
Fast forward to tonight when the Yanks finally beat the Angels 6-5 in what can only be described as a roller coaster ride.
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The Yankees grabbed a four-run lead in the third on two-run homers by A-Rod and Posada and tacked on another run on Matsui’s solo shot in the fifth. So far, so good. But Gaudin, who had pitched well for four innings, ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth, gave up a couple of runs and found himself in the dugout.
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He was replaced by Alfredo A-Save-Us, who didn’t save us. Instead, he coughed up two more runs, pulling the Angels to 5-4. The situation could have been much worse, but A-Rod made a great play on Guerrero’s grounder to end the threat.
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I figured all would be well when Huuuuuughes took the mound in the eighth, but he was victimized by errors by Cano and Posada and a curious non-throw by Gardner, all of which resulted in the Angels tying the score at 5-5. I was so nervous I thought I might throw up.
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Would this game be yet another descent into misery and frustration?
Would the Yankees be thwarted in their latest attempt to beat the Angels in Anaheim?
Or would they display the “comeback-y-ness” they’ve shown all season long?
In the top of the ninth, the Yankees out-Angeled the Angels. Sure, they used the long ball to score the first five runs. But here’s what happened next:
Gardner: singled and stole second.
Jeter: walked.
Damon: sac bunted. (Yeah, I was surprised too.)
Tex: intentionally walked. (Yeah, I was really surprised. You walk him to pitch to A-Rod?)
A-Rod: sac flied, scoring Gardner with the go-ahead run.
Yankees led 6-5.
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Into the game came Mo to secure the save. And that’s what he did. Game over. Angels vanquished at their house of horrors. Rally Monkey fired.
Oh, and by the way? The Yankees were the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff berth. I love clinches.
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AJ will wrap things up tomorrow, and the Yanks have a chance to take two of three. My brain is ready for another contest, but I’m not sure my heart can handle it.
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25 Comments

I am already having visions of Gardner doing that in the late innings of every postseason game. His speed is deadly and I guarantee it will win AT LEAST ONE, IF NOT TWO GAMES for the Yankees throughout the entire playoffs. The kid is a weapon and Girardi knows how to use him. Then you can talk about the great catch he made coming in hard.

Joe
http://joekotsovos.mlblogs.com/

Jane,
It was definitely a rollercoaster but all in all, it was a great game. You’re absolutely right…the Yankees beat the Angels at their own game in the top of the 9th. I admit I was laughing my butt off watching Damon trying to get that bunt down. My guys do it perfectly on their first attempt. I’m just not used to watching any Yankee (let alone Damon) bunt. Yes, I was worried when Tex was walked. Oliver just couldn’t keep the ball down so A-Rod was the hero instead of being verbally harassed by the Yankee fans in attendance.
I’m ready for an ALCS match-up. Let’s make it happen!
Lori
http://luckylori.mlblogs.com

PS – Oh, and mystery solved…when in Rome? Play like the Romans!! ;-)
Lori

These late night games are killing me. I went to bed right after the two errors (totally unacceptable) put an Angel on third with one out. I was just exhausted and had to get up for work. I never expected to awaken to a win. That was wonderful.

While I enjoy being able to watch some normal tv (i.e., Dancing With The Stars, How I Met Your Mother, etc.) I truly hate going to bed without knowing whether or not the Yankees won. Today is an afternoon game and they are off on Thursday so things will be back to normal now.

Jane, I hope you are promising that the monkey is now gone and will not harm us again this year…in ANY park. GO YANKEES!!!

The Yankees are playing well this year for sure. The Dodgers could be the next to clinch a spot in the playoffs if they’re lucky tonight. It’s funny that it looks like it will be Angels and Red Sox in the playoffs again. Detroit seems to be huffing and puffing it’s way to the ALDS so the Yankees will probably have the upper hand there for sure.

Whew! They pulled it off. And won using all types of play. And Gaudin pitched well – who da thunk he’d have better outings than Joba?
Diane, there is a trick to keeping up with the Yanks during late games. I have a radio and a nifty device called a speaker pillow. It plugs in to the headphones jack. It goes under your pillow and you can listen to the game. I find baseball relaxing and I drift off to sleep. When something exciting happens, John Sterling usually yells, or the crowd makes noise and I wake up!
Last night I was sleeping until 2 AM or so, when I heard the end of the post game and found out the Yanks won and Boston lost. What nice news to fall back asleep to!
Melissa

After last night’s game I feel like I’m the poster child for Tums. Great googly moogely! I wonder if the win had anything to do with our begging. I also wonder if it had anything to do with my posting of the “reverse rally monkey” pic on Twitter. After last night, the Yanks are 2-0 against Anaheim when said picture is posted AND I didn’t even take off the rally bra. Coincidence? I think not (Ok, perhaps. But whatever makes me sleep better;-)).
Megan

Late night west coast games – usually the sleep switch on my TV takes care of it for me. Like Melissa, I drift off and if something exciting happens the sounds wake me up. Last night, though, I wasn’t drifting off at all. Major insomnia caused by major tension. Jane, I think we both need the EMT’s on speed dial. To top it off, just as Mo was coming in, my cable service went out! Plan B- radio – was implemented. Fortunately, the cable came back on in time for me to see that amazing strike-em-out-throw-em-out DP. I’d love to see a big W today, and go into the weekend with a magic number of 5 (or less, if KC can pull out another one over the Sox).

Hello Jane,
So glad you were finally able to see a win by our Yanks at that godforsaken stadium, Gaudin started great and then it all went bad for him and Aceves, Gardner is a key player, hope Joe keeps playing him, the Yankee commentators said Joba just has to pitch better, or he may not be in the post season, ” ya think” I was hoping CC could start every game, he is a work horse……..Too late to bring Mussina out of retirement I guess……..I am trying to be positive, I am working on that glass half empty thing………jane

Jane — YOU DID IT! You kidnapped that @#$%&?! monkey; howja do it? Didja dress up as “Anaheim Angela,” sneak into the Big A, and fool the fools? Is Angela still alive and well and locked in your basement? Are they serving fried monkey meat at the local “Asian delicacies” establishment in Santa Barbara? No matter. Even our blind squirrels find that Victory Nut now and then. Can’t imagine two of three, but then consider who’s posting this…right now, I’ll settle for well-pitched games, and a hot hitter or two, and see what happens…I’d wanna send a bouquet to the Royals, but as we’ll be seeing Mr. Zack & company all too soon, maybe we should let those flowers wilt just a bit…

The Cardinals are right behind in the clinch category! Jane, I once threw up something like you show in that picture there but it wasn’t because of baseball… it was during a youthful experiment with fungi. Y’follow? It cracks me up that the Angels are the team that has the Yankees’ number. Better them than the Red Sox though, eh?
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

That was a nifty little escape. You’d better hope that the Red Sox take care of business with the Angels again. It could get mess in a Yankees-Angels ALCS.
http://princeofny.blogspot.com/

It was 1:45 am when John Sterlings famous “ball game over, Yankees win” broke the quite of a cool Connecticut night. I know you must be hoping for another trip west for the Yanks for the playoffs. Sorry to say I hope the Red Sox beat California in the playoffs so I don’t have to be up till that ungodly hour again this year. We will be at Friday’s Sox game. Look for us in Left Field in home run territory. We will wave.

Joe, I am so with you about Gardner. He was made for the postseason. The minute he got on base, I knew we were in business. What an asset his speed is.

A-Rod harassed by Yankee fans at Angel Stadium, Lori? He’s hit more home runs at that ballpark than any other place where he hasn’t played as a member of a team! But yes, I’m all ready to meet up in the ALCS. Just one problem: both our teams have to get through the ALDS and I’m taking it one game and one series at a time!

It must have been such a pleasant surprise to wake up and find out the Yankees won, Diane. I’m lucky being here on the west coast for these games. I got to see through that error filled inning, pull out all my hair and then watch the happy ending. What a night! I wish I could promise that the monkey is gone, but we just have to hope it doesn’t rear its head today.

Aducker, I don’t know what to make of the AL Central. I still think the Twins have a shot at winning it, but the Tigers have looked shaky down the stretch. Still, facing Verlander is no pleasant prospect. There’s no easy route to the finish line, that’s for sure.

I was very impressed with Gaudin initially, Melissa. He ran out of gas too early. Either that, or it just took the Angels a second time through the lineup to figure him out. I love your idea of the speaker pillow! What a great little device. The trouble is, if I heard John Sterling yell, “Thuuuuuuu Yankees win,” I’d never go back to sleep.

Megan, I believe it was a combo of our efforts that got the job done last night. Your posting of the reverse rally monkey pic was, indeed, the deciding factor, but the rally bra was key when Huuuughes came in to pitch AND our begging and praying was very effective. (I think it was my “Our Father…” that put us over the top.) Good work!

OMG, ladyjane. If my cable had gone out at that crucial moment, I would have had a breakdown for sure! Poor you! Glad it came back on for the DP. Talk about relief. Whew. I’d love to see a win today. I just hope the Yanks are all jazzed up instead of exhausted like the fans. :)

Ah, trying to be positive, Jane. I share that goal. But at least we know we’re in the postseason. That’s something, right? Our season will continue after the series in Tampa next week. So while I’m not breaking out the champagne just yet, I’m feeling pretty good about things. Which means I don’t want to think about Joba!!!!

The Royals have been playing good baseball, Dave. Some picked them to win the AL Central this year. While they certainly failed in that department, they’re vastly improved. As for us, I’d sure like to take this series in Anaheim and not just settle for the one win. I’ll be watching in a few hours.

Yes, the Cardinals will be clinching any second now, Jeff. I’m shielding my eyes, thinking of all that red celebrating on the field. Ouuwww. Can you imagine if they played the Angels? People would go blind for sure.

It was a nifty little escape, Paul. I don’t really care which team the Yankees play next or in the ALCS. I honestly believe any team can beat any other team if one of them gets hot in these short series. The phrase “stunned in the first round” haunts my dreams.

I will definitely look for you at Friday night’s game when I’m watching the tube, John. I hope you catch a ball (hit by a Yankee, of course). I’d love to go to a playoff game in Anaheim, just because it would be less travel time for me, but I’ll be thrilled if the Yanks are in the ALCS, no matter which team they play, because it’ll bring them one step closer to #27.

Jane!
Congrats on gettin that monkey off your back. Those Cardinals can get carried away with the red also. When I went to Roger Dean Stadium during Spring Training a few years back, Sweet Lou Johnson, who I bumped into outside the stadium told me “wait until you see all the red here.” The game was sold out and I told him my friend and I were content to wait outside for our other friends that had tickets but Sweet Lou got us in. He sure is a sweet person, always with a smile on his face at the stadium. He turned 75 yesterday.
.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

Thanks, Emma. Lots of red at those stadiums! You and I prefer blue, don’t we?

You guys got the Rally Monkey fired? Good work, I hate that thing. Well, I kind of feel sorry for it, too. I am pretty sure the poor thing would rather be doing whatever it is that monkeys do than dancing around like an idiot when the Angels are losing. Maybe the Yankees should add “animal-rights activists” to their resumes? ;)-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.blogspot.com

I couldn’t figure out why Scioscia didn’t do what Scioscia does.. .except that he maybe felt outsmarted by Girardi in the top half. Dunno… but, didn’t work! Happy Post Season Jane!

Buz – http://buzblog.mlblogs.com/

Congrats on clinching!! That must be sooo exciting!! OK, breathe. You’re in!
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

I feel sorry for the monkey too, Erin. I wrote in my book that someone should alert the animal rights activists! But it’s probably living it up in a hotel suite in Orange County.

Thanks, Kaybee. It’s great to be back after missing the playoffs last year. We are in!

There were some puzzling moves on both sides in that game, Buz. But happily for me, it turned out OK. I’m thrilled that the Yanks will be extending their season – and mine!

No more monkey!! Sweet life!! Ahhh, all is right in Yankees Universe at this very moment (minus the injuries). Playoffs are in our future. We beat the Angels, at home, and won the series. We’re heading back home to face Boston with an awesome momentum behind us. Only 5 more wins to get the division. TPPT™ is really workin’ out for us! =D

- Lisa
http://perennialpinstriper.mlblogs.com/

Sweet life indeed, Lisa! I’m still weak from these last two games, both so tense. Today’s was another one where we were hanging on for dear life, but Mo got it done! Yes, we’re battered (I hope Posada and the others will be OK), but we’re ready for battle. I was very relieved to see AJ pitch so well today.

Jane,
That ESPN video of the Rally Monkey getting the axe is still one of my favorite ESPN commericals.
Not that I think lower level primates are all bad, some that work for the Rays do quite wll in the ticket offices.
But seriously, there is something about that stadium that takes you out of the game.
Not sure why, but it just drains the life force from your team unitl they just can’t wait to get out of there.
Maybe it is that line-up card that looks more like a Latin-based Murder’s Row sometimes. O rmybe it is thefact that team takes what you give them and makes you pay……dearly for your mistakes.
I am thinking the “Rays” on the jerseys might also have some clocks ticking on them and might also be getting unemployment plankton by April.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

I love that commercial too, Renegade. I think you’re right about the Angels ability to capitalize on every mistake. They’re great at that. Fortunately, the Yankees got away with a few on Tuesday and played even better on Wednesday. Plus, the Angels made a couple of mistakes of their own and the Yanks were able to capitalize – a nice turn of events. So you think there are Rays that are about to be sent packing? Uh-oh.

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