February 2010

Van..coo..ooo..ver

Oh, sorry. I’m still singing that song from the closing ceremonies tonight. I kept thinking there was probably a less repetitive way to have those white snowboarders salute their host city, but I quibble. The truth is I really enjoyed the evening, starting with NBC’s round up show, which was sort of a Cliffs Notes of the Olympics.
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I loved seeing the highlights of Bode, Shaun, Evan, Apolo and Lindsey doing their thing – full-blown cultural icons now. And a big hat tip to Sid the Kid (amazing hockey game), Joannie Rochette and Kim Yu-Na. I still need to be convinced that ice dancing is a sport and I could live without one more commercial for Jerry Seinfeld’s “Marriage Ref,” but all in all it was a great event with so many memorable moments. Just one question about this.
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When the athletes walk around holding little cameras, video or otherwise, what do they hope to get? How can their images not be blurry, tiny, not worth the trouble? Oh, and who knew William Shatner was Canadian?
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So now that the Super Bowl is over and the Olympics are over and the Oscars will be over a week from tonight (the equivalent of the Super Bowl for me), there will be Yankees baseball. In less than two weeks I’ll be in Florida getting my first look at Grandy and the other newbies, not to mention the returning crew. Girardi hasn’t announced the starting pitchers for the games I’ll be going to but it doesn’t matter. Just being there will be a thrill. Before I get to Tampa, I’m speaking at the Blake Library in Stuart (on the east coast of Florida) on Saturday, March 13th. The event is called Baseball @ the Blake, and I’ll be there to talk about the She-Fan book along with Lew Paper, the author of “Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made It Happen.” Here’s the blurb from the Blake’s online bulletin.

2:30pm Jane Hell er, Confessi ons of a She-Fan

Popular and prolific author Jane Heller

will discuss her first nonfiction book,

Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course

of True Love with the New York

Yankees, a chick-lit look at baseball, love

and marriage. In search of answers and

hoping to inject some excitement into her

marriage, she literally followed the Bronx

Bombers with her husband through the rest of

their challenging 2007 season. Books will be available for

sale and signing following her talk.

If anyone’s in the area on the 13th, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello. I’m supposed to speak for 30 minutes. Any suggested talking points?
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After the library gig, it’ll be on to Tampa and spring training. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say farewell (unless nobody picks him up) to Edwar Ramirez, who was DFA-ed to make room for Chan Ho Park. Edwar was….Well, let’s just say he had a good change-up. Best of luck to you, Edwar, and may you put some meat on those bones.
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And The Yankees’ Opening Day Pitcher Is….

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I know, I know. It’s only the Opening Day of the spring training schedule and pitchers will be limited to 30 pitches or so, but I didn’t expect to see Gaudin’s name fronting the rotation. By the way, does anyone else think his pitching face looks like a much younger version of this?
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The big matchup will be coming the next day, March 4th, when CC will face off against Halladay and the Phillies in Clearwater. Now that’s one I’ll be watching, even if their appearances only last 15 minutes. My guess is Joe was saving CC for just this game. No, it doesn’t count. But it’s an exhibition between World Series contenders and the atmosphere will be charged.
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Just a time out from baseball to say, “Is the world coming to an end or what?” First, Haiti. Now, Chile. What a sad state of affairs these earthquakes have wrought, only mitigated by the fact that Hawaii (and California) were spared the affects of a tsunami. But wow, it looks like complete devastation in Chile with aftershocks still coming. On top of record snowfalls in this country, it all makes me shake my head and feel grateful I have a roof over my head.

What Will Tuesday’s Team Building Activity Be?

According to LoHud, Joe Girardi is planning something for the Yankees’ off day on Tuesday. Last year, he roped everybody into playing pool together and it was said to promote a spirit of bonding and togetherness.
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(Mo won, naturally.)
So what will this year’s activity be? Here are five suggestions for Joe.
1) Skydiving.
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OK, maybe not. Could be dangerous, especially for CC, whose parachute might snap and send him hurtling to the ground. Not a good way to start the season.
2) Trapeze.


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Talk about a way to build trust. On the other hand, I’m just not sure I trust Jorge to catch A.J. Not until they’ve worked together a few more times.
3) Body Surfing.
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I know it’s been a little chilly in Florida lately, but it’s not the North Pole (or even New York). Girardi could have everybody grab a board and hang ten. Whoever rides the most waves without getting water up his nose wins.
4) Cooking.
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What better way to establish closeness and camaraderie than to have the players prepare a gourmet meal together – sort of an Iron Chef competition. Girardi and the coaches could be the judges, and whoever pleases their palate would become the Yankees Iron Chef.
5) Watch Avatar.
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It’s the safest, injury-free choice of all the activities. All the players would have to do is sit through the movie together wearing 3D glasses and act riveted. Whoever doesn’t fall asleep wins.
I’ll be looking forward to hearing which option Girardi picks. Any guesses?

Time Out for Women’s Figure Skating

I know there’s spring training stuff to talk about, but I was more interested in the women’s free skate program tonight. First of all, can I say how much I love the “kiss and cry area?”
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I guess baseball’s version would be the dugout.
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The other thing I adore about figure skating is the terminology. I don’t really understand the difference between a triple Lutz 
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and a triple salchow…
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but they both look extremely difficult, and this would be me if I even attempted one.
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And how about when Scott Hamilton sets up the suspense during a skater’s routine? “She’s about to try a triple Lutz triple toe loop combination, but she hasn’t been able to skate it cleanly all week. Can she do it here? Can she?”
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I know his expertise is in figure skating, but I wouldn’t mind if the YES Network had hired him to fill Cone’s spot.
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Back to the skating itself, Yu-Na Kim was perfection and deserved the gold. Congrats to her.
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I wonder if she’d consider playing left field for the Yankees?

Asking For Trouble

In yesterday’s post, our friend of the blog, cheshirecat, expressed concern – or maybe just a bit of curiosity – about the fact that the Yankees have opened spring training camp without a single controversy. Indeed, the news from Tampa has been all business, plus a little good-natured discussion of Swisher’s new haircut.
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There’s been none of this type stuff, in other words.
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Why the Yankees didn’t sign Damon or where Nick Johnson will bat in the lineup don’t qualify as “controversies.” A-Rod’s no longer married, so nobody really cares who he goes out with. The subject of Jeter’s contract was put to rest when he told the media, “I’m not talking about it for the rest of the season.” And A.J. and Jorge are said to be finding harmony on the mound and behind the plate, respectively. So what gives? Nobody’s done anything stupid yet. The tabloids have nothing provocative to write about. There are no longer any Steinbrennerian smackdowns that send everybody into a hissy. Yes, we’re only in February, but it’s all so eerily….unYankeelike.
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Which is why I’m posing the question: What will be the first controversy of 2010? A few suggestions.
* A Failed Drug Test.


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Anyone who’d be dumb enough to be taking a banned substance at this point deserves whatever punishment they get. I can’t see it happening on this Yankees team, but…
* An A-Rod Something.


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Supposedly, he’s all about the team now and isn’t interested in self-promotion. After the way he played last year, especially in the postseason, I really think the nutty photo shoots are a thing of the past.
* A Brawl at Fenway During the Season Opener, With Suspensions.


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Chances are that Varitek will not be catching, but there’s always a chance that somebody will brush somebody back or mutter a few choice words, and tempers will flare. Nobody’s all that worried about suspensions this early in the year, although injuries would be a huge reason to be a pacifist.
* A Slow Start for Tex.


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We should be ready for it. We saw what happened last year. Tex was a slow-starter with the bat and he more than compensated with his glove. And then he went on an offensive tear. No biggie.
* A Slow Start for the Team/Girardi Gets Canned.
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I know this won’t happen. I just do.
* Granderson, Solid Citizen and Presidential Nutrition Spokesperson, Will Be Revealed to Have a Secret Addiction to These.
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OK, I’m out of ideas. Anybody else want to take a crack at this? Or are we looking at a 100% controversy-free season?
Nah.

If This Isn’t a Beautiful Sight, I Don’t Know What Is

(Courtesy of Bronx Bombers Beat blog)


Yankees 2010 Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

The Yankees have a total of 18 spring training games slated to be broadcast on TV.  MLB Network has not officially released their spring training broadcast schedule yet, but I did some digging around on the site on their day-to-day TV schedule and found the games that they are broadcasting.

The games in bold are games that are being played earlier that day and being broadcast later that night by MLB Network.  The teams that are underlined are teams that are playing with a split squad for that game.

Wed, Mar 3rd 1:00 p.m.                   Pittsburgh @ NY Yankees                        MLB Network/ YES

Thu, Mar 4th 7:00 p.m.                  NY Yankees @ Philadelphia                   MLB Network

Fri, Mar 5th 1:00 p.m.                      Tampa Bay @ NY Yankees                       MLB Network/ YES

Sat, Mar 6th 1:00 p.m.                     Toronto @ NY Yankees                             MLB Network

Mon, Mar 8th 1:00 p.m.                    Philadelphia @NY Yankees                       YES

Tues, Mar 9th 1:00 p.m.                   Pittsburgh @ NY Yankees                         YES

Thu, Mar 11th 7:00 p.m.                   Atlanta @ NY Yankees                              MLB Network/ YES

Fri, Mar 12th 1:00 p.m.                     NY Yankees @ Washington                      MLB Network

Sun, Mar 14th 9:00 p.m.                 NY Yankees @ Pittsburgh                       MLB Network

Thu, Mar 18th 7:00 p.m.                   Tampa Bay @ NY Yankees                       MLB Network/ YES

Fri, Mar 19th 1:00 p.m.                     Detroit @ NY Yankees                              YES

Fri, Mar 19th 7:00 p.m.                     NY Yankees @ Tampa Bay                       MLB Network

Sun, Mar 21st 1:00 p.m.                   Detroit @ NY Yankees                              YES

Mon, Mar 22nd 1:00 p.m.                  NY Yankees @ Philadelphia                       ESPN/ YES

Sun, Mar 28th 1:00 p.m.                   NY Yankees @ Detroit                         &
nbsp;     YES

Tue, Mar 30th 7:00 p.m.                   Toronto @ NY Yankees                              YES

Wed, Mar 31st 1:00 p.m.                  Minnesota @ NY Yankees                         ESPN/ YES

Fri, Apr 2nd 1:00 p.m.                       Baltimore @ NY Yankees                          ESPN/ YES

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Think about it! March 3rd, the first televised game on this schedule, is in ONE WEEK! I feel like someone who’s been stuck in the desert without water and suddenly stumbles on this.

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It’s a good thing I’ll be in Florida for Yanks-Astros on the 16th and Yanks-Phillies on the 17th. Neither game is being televised, apparently, but it’ll be even better to see them in person. And speaking of television, I’m sure everyone’s read that Aaron Boone has retired and joined the ESPN crew. Yankee fans hold Boone in high esteem, so I wish him luck in his new endeavor. In honor of Boone….
I would have posted actual footage of the home run, but FOX continues to disable it on YouTube. Isn’t it time for them to let fans be able to share the memory? I mean, come on.

Five Things You Always Wanted To Know About Chan Ho Park

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I was surprised by the news that Cashman had signed Chan Ho Park. Sure, he pitched well against the Yankees in the World Series, but I just never figured – OK, I guess this is about the old axiom: you can never have enough arms. Now we have another one. Is Park up there in pitcher years? Yeah, but at least he’s not 40. Has he been with a lot of teams? You bet (Dodgers twice, as well as the Rangers, Padres, Mets, Astros and Phillies), but that’s not as many as LaTroy Hawkins. Will he turn out to be this year’s Brett Tomko – a guy who’s here today and gone tomorrow? Maybe, but Tomko actually pitched pretty well. So many questions…..
So here are some answers – five things I learned about Park that I didn’t know only eight hours ago. Ready?
1) He was the first South Korean to play in the majors.
2) He’s the only pitcher in baseball history to allow two grand slams in the same inning to the same player (Fernando Tatis of the Cardinals in 1999).

3) He gave up record-breaking home runs #71 and 72 to Barry Bonds in 2001.

4) He sued a former Dodger teammate, Chad Kreuter, for not repaying a loan of $460,000.

5) He’s married to the daughter of Japan’s 76th richest man. (No wonder Kreuter came to him for a loan.)


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Will he bump Mitre or Gaudin or even Aceves out of the long man role in the bullpen? Or will one of them get traded? I have no idea, but if I were the Yankees I wouldn’t let Alfredo fall by the wayside.
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Two grand slams in the same inning to the same guy? Did anybody give any thought to taking Park out in that game or maybe walking Tatis? Sheesh.

Is Cockiness Really Necessary?

In today’s MLB.com story about new Tigers closer Jose Valverde, he boasted that he could save 74 games this season and said of himself, “I’m the best on the mound.” 
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Clearly, he’s a guy who gets fired up, if this photo from his Diamondbacks days is any indication. So maybe he meant, “That’s what I tell myself when I go out to pitch, just to psyche myself up.”  You know, like for self-motivation. And he wouldn’t be the first closer with a flair for the dramatic.

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But when you start bragging about how good you are and how many games you’ll save, aren’t you going a little too far in the cocky department and setting yourself up to fail? I’m just wondering because Mo is so totally different from the above brand of closers.
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Sure, he trots in to the high-energy “Enter Sandman,” but if he had chosen his own entrance music it would probably have been…no music at all. He knows he’s good, but he never beats anybody over the head with it. In fact, he shrugs off all the compliments and accolades and simply goes out there and does his job. Which is why Valverde’s comment got my attention. I read it and thought, Mo would never say that. I know. I know. I deify him every chance I get. I’m a broken record.
 
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But he’s such an anomaly in the world of closers who thump their chests to show us how much heart they have. Please. We know you have heart or you wouldn’t have made it to the big leagues. Lots of players guarantee victories and shoot their mouths off. It’s part of sports these days. But Mo? He just collects saves – and World Series trophies. No words necessary.
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Goodbye, Old Friends

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Now that our long national nightmare is over and Johnny Damon has made a deal with the Tigers, it seems appropriate to bid him – and other former members of the 2009 Yankees – a formal farewell. Let’s start with Damon himself.
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From now on (or at least for the 2010 season), his uniform will have one of these on it.
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Judging by the one-year, $8 million the Tigers are said to be paying him, he should have stayed with the Yankees. The weather’s better in New York and so are the restaurants. But farewell, Johnny. Good luck to you.
Jose Molina won’t be wearing the pinstripes either.
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Instead, his uni will have a little birdie on it.
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He wasn’t much of a hitter, but I sure liked his catching and I know the Yankees pitchers did too. Goodbye, Jose. Have fun in Toronto, eh?
Melky has already been photographed in his Braves uniform and it’s not all that’s changed about his appearance. He’s grown a beard, if you can call it that. (Hat tip: LoHud)
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Oh, Melk Man. You weren’t the greatest outfielder we ever had, but I’ll miss all those walk-offs. What I won’t miss is your habit of sliding into first. May the Tomahawk Chop be with you.
Hideki Matsui in an Angels uniform was jarring at first.
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But didn’t I just read that his knees are hurting already? Not a good sign. I send him greetings and best wishes. I hope he gets more of a kick out of the rally monkey than I do.
And finally, I must bid a final adieu to Brian Bruney and C-M Wang. Here’s one last look in their Yankees garb…
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…because the next time we see them they’ll be sporting this.
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Oh. I just realized I forgot Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. Out of sight, out of mind. Baseball is a cruel business.

Maybe I Should Have a Yankees YouTube Show Like Him?

On second thought, maybe not. I don’t have a leopard bedspread, and you probably need one to have your own Yankees YouTube show.
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By the way, I don’t remember Javier Vazquez ever being a Met. Maybe he was kidding? I do agree with him about Vazquez giving us innings.
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But he says of the starting rotation, “The Yankees got a lot of old arms.” We do? Pettitte’s up there, but CC and AJ aren’t and Joba and Hughes really aren’t. Hopefully, I’d be more accurate on my show than he is on his. I also wish I had a New Yawk accent like he does. It would make me sound more authentically Yankee fan-ish. And in his intro, he has photos of himself with lots of star athletes. I only have this one.
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For now, I’ll let him “report” from his bedroom while I stick to this blog. But we’ll see what the future holds. Maybe one of these days, I’ll have a SheFanVideos Channel on YouTube. Oh, wait. I already have it.
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