May 2010

Today’s Game Made Me Laugh!

What is it with managers walking Tex to pitch to A-Rod with the bases loaded? Raise your hand if you knew he would hit that grand slam. 
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Yeah, me too. He gets that look in his eyes when he steps to the plate in those situations and the ball is just bound to leave the park. Still, even knowing it would happen, I cracked up when he smacked that thing to center field and blew the game open.
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(Yes, the laughing lady is back.)
And what a pleasure to see everybody else hitting too. I’d have preferred Gardner not getting picked off twice and I wasn’t crazy about the Cleveland pitcher plunking Jeter and A-Rod, especially since the Captain now has a sore hammy where he was hit. And I wish Girardi wouldn’t use Park for two innings, as he seems to do better for one. But how about Dandy Andy? Again? He pitched the Indians into a coma.
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Just one damper for me in this one, and it was C.B. Bucknor’s horrendous call of the so-called neighborhood play. Cano clearly had his foot on the bag – not even close – and Bucknor was standing right there. Ultimately, the call didn’t matter, but it was so blatantly wrong that it irked me. And I remember he’s blown calls on other occasions involving Cano.
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But whatever. The Yankees won the game and another series, and all is right with the world, baseball wise. 
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Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend.
 

That’s More Like It

Good starting pitching + timely hitting + a Hall of Fame closer = Victory.
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What a job by A.J. today. Throwing to Chad Moeller for the first time, he was his usual wild self – hitting a batter here, a batter there – but he was mostly terrific and pitched into the eighth, which was huge. No middle relief necessary. Of course, I was momentarily panicked when Moeller’s hand got stepped on. I mean, seriously. Even our backup backup catcher gets injured?
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I didn’t love that the Yankees’ bats looked as if they were being put to sleep by Justin Masterson, a guy who was about to shipped to another planet because he’s been so awful as a starter. I guess he’ll be hanging around Cleveland a little longer, since we turned him into Cy Young for awhile there. But once the offense got going, it got going. Tex is back! Sure, we’ve said that before, but his three-run shot was no cheapie. And Jeter was a hit machine. Kudos to Cano, Swisher and Miranda too. A-Rod had an 0-fer day, and I wonder if he wasn’t a little snake bit after hitting Huff in the head yesterday.
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And Mo….Could we talk about that play to end the game? The guy jumps over the broken bat, then fields the ball with ease – after having struck out the first two batters – then acts like it’s no big deal. Amazing.
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Was That An Unraveling Or What?

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I was watching the game at home until I had to leave for an appointment. The score was 10-4. “No problem,” I said to myself. “This one’s in the bag.” STUPID ME! Apparently, the bag was crumpled.
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Never mind that CC wasn’t his sharpest and coughed up the first lead. We had offense – lots and lots of offense. Swisher is proving what a perfect #2 hitter he is, and Cano continues to amaze. And A-Rod….Well, it was horrible to watch his liner hit Huff in the head. I’m so relieved to know the guy is OK. Sheesh. Scary. Anyhow, I left my house thinking I’d be celebrating back-to-back wins this weekend – only to get in my car and turn on John and Suzyn…and be forced to listen to the Yankees’ complete and utter meltdown.
The horror:
* Dave Robertson doesn’t get it done and leaves with back pain.
* Mitre walks a batter and Joe removes him.
* Marte retires his one batter and Joe comes back out to remove him too.
* Joba can’t retire anybody, because he’s absolutely, positively terrible.
* Chad gives up yet another run. Great pickup, so far.
My question is: Do we have a bullpen or not? It was supposed to be a strength coming out of spring training, but now it’s in shambles. Losing 13-11 to the Cleveland Indians is an embarrassment, but it’s not the problem. The state of the bullpen is.
On a more upbeat note, want to win tickets to the August 7th Yankees-Red Sox game? Of course you do. So check out this link to one of my fave blogs, Respect Jeter’s Gangster. They’re running a raffle with the Children’s Health Fund. If you donate to the fun and say you were referred by the RSJ blog, you’ll automatically be entered in the raffle. What are you waiting for? It’s Yankees-Red Sox and a good cause too.
Here’s to a better Yankees day tomorrow.
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Cleaning Up

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That’s what Cano did tonight, batting in the #4 spot, and it paid off for the Yankees big time. I LOVE that he stepped up and filled A-Rod’s shoes.
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And how about the game’s other heroes, including Swisher and Granderson (welcome back!). And then, of course, there was Phil Huuuuuughes, who handled the Indians with ease and – even during those innings when the game was close – made me feel as if this one would be a no-doubter. The defense was great too (hello, Tex), and Mitre did a nice job to nail it down. To sum this one up, I’ll quote Dorothy.
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“There’s no place like home.”
Hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday weekend, and GO YANKS!

Well, There Were A Few Positive Notes…

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The Yankees did win the series against the Twins. That’s something. And they announced that Granderson will be back with the team tomorrow. That’s a good thing. And hey, Tex actually had some hits. But there was a big time sour note during tonight’s loss in the finale.
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Javy. Was his outing against the Mets a fluke? Did his injured finger have anything to do with the way he got roughed up? Or was he just “not able to locate,” as they say? Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty. Neither was the return of Gaudin. And my carping about the Yankees’ inability to score with runners in scoring position is making me sound like a broken record.
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But maybe – just maybe – the addition of Granderson will put a charge into the team. That and some home cooking.
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Taking Two From Minny

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I listened to the resumption of last night’s game while I was in my car this afternoon. Jeter’s solo shot was all the scoring the Yankees managed, which worried me, and I almost drove into a tree when I heard Mauer’s liner make contact with Dave Robertson’s butt.
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But the Yanks got the win and nobody ended up on the DL, and I made it home just in time for the second game – and for the news that we’ll be welcoming back our old friend Chad Go-Dan.
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Actually, I’ve been wondering what Cashman had up his sleeve regarding the bullpen. Gaudin’s not a bad alternative to the ailing Aceves and he didn’t cost anything. And it’s not as if we needed him to start tonight – not with Pettitte pitching like a Cy Young candidate.
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How good was Andy. Seriously. It would have been tragic if he hadn’t gotten the win after leaving the game in the ninth with the Yanks clinging to a 3-2 lead, courtesy of timely hits by Baby Bombers Russo, Gardner and Cisco, plus Swisher’s monster shot. But Mo came in and saved the game for him – despite all the hand-wringing by the ESPN duo. Memo to you, Sutcliffe: Mo is not too old or too injured or too whatever. He’s just fine, got it? I cannot stand listening to that guy. Is he really the best that sports broadcasting has to offer? I understand the desire on the part of the networks to hire former players in the booth, but Sutcliffe? He’s the reason this was invented.
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Tonight Was All About The Squirrel

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You know things aren’t going well when it takes a runaway rodent to get me into a game. But the Yankees seemed listless once again during their rain-halted five innings of play, stranding base runners and not giving A.J. any breathing room. With the score tied at 0-0 in the fourth, a squirrel scurried onto Target Field, which, unlike the Metrodome, will probably see all sorts of wildlife. 
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While the crowd at the ballpark chanted “Let’s go squirrel,” I found myself wondering if the Yankees could sign the little fella to play left field and maybe bat third. He was fast, agile and didn’t seem the least bit intimidated by the big stage. I don’t have video of him, but I dug up footage of his cousin in Cleveland. Take a look.
Maybe tomorrow there will be actual hits and runs to cheer about. But right now I’m bummed about Aceves having a setback. A bulging disc doesn’t sound like something you get over in a week. If the cortisone shot didn’t work, what now? We need him. Or can the squirrel pitch too?
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Oh, I’ve been meaning to post the pic sent to me by Friend of the Blog John, who was at Yankee Stadium when “Jane Heller” walked onto the field before the game to present Jeter with a very large check for his Turn 2 Foundation. Here’s the pic. Man, am I generous with my money.
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Off-Day Entertainment

I’m watching Rays-Red Sox right now – God forbid I should actually take a real day off from baseball – but since the Yankees aren’t playing and there’s nothing particularly Yankee-ish to write about, I thought I’d post a couple of videos that were sent to me by Scott from the baseball comedy troupe, “Nine More Outs.” Some of you may have already seen their vids as they’ve been posted elsewhere, but they’re fun – the perfect antidote to obsessing about Tex’s batting average. These guys pose as fans of other teams and….Well, just take a look.
Here’s their first “Stadium Shmadium” adventure, which took them to Blue Jays country.
Their most recent excursion was to Piratesville.
Where should they go next? Any suggestions?

I know, I know. It’s only May. So what?

I still don’t like losing – May or no May. In fact, this is practically my anniversary of the article I wrote in the New York Times announcing I was divorcing the Yankees after they lost a series to the Mets.
CHEERING SECTION

To Love and to Cherish for All Eternity, or Not

Published: May 27, 2007

I am no stranger to divorce. I am a two-time loser, having severed my unions with both the man I married when I was too young to know better and the man I wed when I was too work-obsessed to pay attention.

But I honestly thought I was over that particular brand of heartbreak — the accusations, the recriminations, the tears, the lonely nights, the division of property. I was determined not to put myself through another breakup, and yet I do not see any other way out. My current relationship has unraveled.

I gave it everything I have. I am sick and tired of the “I trieds” and the “What do you expect me to dos?” I’ve been begging for answers and all I have gotten are platitudes. Enough is enough.

And so I am divorcing the New York Yankees — all 25 men on the active roster, in addition to the manager, the coaches and the general manager. Oh, and the trainer, too. And, of course, the owner and all his baseball people.

The grounds for the divorce will be mental cruelty. I mean, I made a commitment to these guys, emotional and financial, and they betrayed and humiliated me by allowing the Red Sox — the Red Sox! — to run away with the division. When I think how I defended the Yankees to their legions of detractors, it hurts. It really hurts.

I was so loyal, so trusting, so willing to shell out $165 so I could buy Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings package and watch all the games from my house in California. And yet look at how they treated me. I will tell you how they treated me — as if I were a Kansas City Royals fan.

Yeah, I know. There have been injuries. A sore back. A cracked fingernail. A bone spur. A hammy. Please. I am not stupid. If a guy does not want to show up for me, he should simply say so and stop making excuses.

And yeah, there have been disruptions in routine. But again. A rainout is no reason to act all out of sorts and say, “I guess I just didn’t have good stuff.”

When, exactly, did I fall out of love with the Yankees? (To clarify: I will always love them, but I am no longer in love with them. There is too much anger, too much baggage between us now.)

Maybe it was when Cashman started spending a fortune to acquire pitchers who suddenly could not pitch, at least not in pinstripes. Vázquez. Loaiza. Contreras. Weaver. Wright. Pavano. Every time one of these guys would take the mound (or consult a surgeon), my heart would crack a little more. I kept wanting to slap Cashman, to make him feel the pain I was feeling, to strike back against what I perceived to be his abusive behavior toward me.

And do not get me started on how he breached my faith by overpaying for Clemens, a man who forced me to care about him only to leave me for Houston. It is still too raw.

Or maybe the love died when Zimmer quit and Torre had to make managerial decisions on his own. There were all those nights when Joe would call for Tanyon Sturtze in relief — so many nights that he turned that poor guy’s arm into a pretzel, the way he is doing now with Scott Proctor. There were also the nights when he would pull Mussina or Wang or whichever starter was actually pitching brilliantly and efficiently in favor of a reliever who would blow the game. (See Sturtze.)

And then there was his flip-flopping: “I won’t use Mo in the eighth”; “I have to use Mo in the eighth.” Those mixed messages can really get to a person in love. We all need to know where we stand, don’t we?

But my passion — that mad, crazy, dizzying feeling — really petered out as a result of the team’s collective offensive slump. (No, this is not about you, Jeter, although I have not forgiven you for not sticking up for A-Rod last year; and Jorge, you are not to blame, given your smoldering-hot bat.)

When I first fell in love with the Yankees, players knew how to bunt. They knew how to get runners over and get ‘em in. They knew how to make productive outs. And — here is the biggie — they knew how to hit consistently and in the clutch.

Watching the current lineup flail at the ball was what finally made me decide to take action. I will pack up my Yankees T-shirts and caps and anything else I own with the interlocking N and Y and donate them to charity. I will stop checking the scores hourly. I will no longer dream about what might have been.

The truth is, I have already started to look elsewhere for satisfaction and companionship, which is how you really know a relationship is over. I have been watching the Devil Rayslately, and let me tell you: They do for me what the Yankees could not. They entertain me. They make me laugh. They put me in a good mood. They run and hit and they are young and cute. They do not win often, but they are fun!

Do you know how refreshing that is? How liberating? I am feeling frisky and free and unburdened now that I am with the Rays. (That is our little pet name.) It is not quite love. Not yet. But I am open to it.

As for the Yankees, if they suddenly start winning and somehow become not only the American League champions this season but the World Series champions, I will take that as a sign that they want me back and I will give them serious consideration. But as of right now, we are over. I am not that into them anymore.

Jane Heller is the author of 13 novels. The latest is “Some Nerve.” She lives in Sant
a Barbara, Calif., but grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y., worshiping at the cathedral in the Bronx.

The article led to my She-Fan book, which led to this blog. Fortunately, I came to my senses and got back together with the Yankees for better or worse. Still, watching tonight’s game made me remember the “worse.” Poor Yanks. They looked like this.
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Sure, they teased us with yet another late-inning comeback, but it was too little too late and the series was lost. Santana was great and CC was horrible and the offense continues not to be clutch. I really expected Girardi to shuffle the lineup, just to shake things up, but no. So here’s what I think needs to happen to get the boys back on track.
1) AJ should shove a whipped cream towel in every player’s face, just to remind them what come-from-behind wins feel like.
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2) Their traveling secretary should arrange for oxygen masks to be available during the entire charter flight to Minny.
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3) On the plane they should be forced to watch nothing but this.
Any other ideas? Besides hiring a faith healer to work on everybody who’s injured?
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Tonight’s Loss To The Mets In A Nutshell

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* The Yankees left 13 men on base and were 3-for-14 with RISP.

* Mark Teixeira is killing us with the bat, although he’s still a genius with the glove.

* Jeter isn’t a very impressive leadoff guy right now.

* Randy Winn is about as good a left fielder as I am.

* Kevin Russo, a call-up from Triple A, is our hottest hitter.

* Phil Hughes wasn’t sharp, but three runs shouldn’t have been insurmountable.

* Chan Ho Park isn’t getting people out.

* I miss Damon and Matsui.

* I sound like a yapping dog, but I can’t help it.

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