October 2010

Rangers-Giants Game 3: A Win for the Antlers

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Thanks to my Twitter pal @SunnySoCal for the screen grab. And because the people in the photo made me laugh, I have to bring back the laughing lady.
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The Rangers’ pitching was terrific. I don’t know how a guy like Colby Lewis turns up after a stint in Japan and throws the ball like a Cy Young award winner, but that’s what he’s done in the postseason. And Feliz is just plain sick, pumping nothing but gas.
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On the Giants’ side, Sanchez is obviously a talented pitcher, but he really has to learn to stop walking batters. He had even more walks this year than AJ.and that’s saying something. And then there’s Pat Burrell, who can’t buy a hit. Cody Ross, however, is a player I’d never heard of before this postseason, and he continues to make his presence felt. I like unlikely heroes like him (that’s three “likes” in one sentence) and I hope the Giants can win the whole thing. But truthfully? I still miss the Yankees and I have to blink a few times when I watch these games to make sure they’re not out there.
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With Girardi Signed…

I thought it would be nice to take another look at his Dove commercial.
He does seem like a good guy. But is he a good manager? I think so, despite his questionable moves during the postseason. Or, to put it another way, I can’t think of another manager I’d rather have in his place. His players seem to respect and trust him. He handles the media now better than he used to. And he’ll mature each year he’s in the job, right? I mean look how much he’s evolved already.
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P.S. Get well, CC! We need that knee to support your 290-pound (wink wink) bod!

Rangers-Giants Game 2: The Laughing Lady Is Back!

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The Rangers were supposed to be the offensive powerhouse and the Giants were the weak hitting team?
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Cliff Lee was supposed to be the shut-it-down ace and Matt Cain hasn’t given up a run in the postseason?
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Neftali Feliz was supposed to be the Rangers’ most potent weapon out of the pen but Ron Washington went to two guys who couldn’t find the strike zone in a must-win game with his team only down by two runs?
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The Rangers supposedly beat the Yankees because they were younger and fitter but senior citizens/playoff veterans Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe were tonight’s Giants stars?

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There are supposed to be drunken, loud, insulting baseball fans at every stadium and yet the crowd in SF was so happy cheering for their team that I didn’t hear a single “Rangers suck” chant?
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Yeah, I know. Maybe fans reserve that special display of affection for the Yankees. But still. It was a pleasure to see such a lighthearted group, dressed in their silly costumes and waving their silly rags and having a great time. Lucky them.
Will the Rangers rally at home? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. Lots can happen over a seven-game series. It just seems as if the Giants have the magic this year.
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Rangers-Giants Game 1: Easing Into Life Without The Yankees

It was weird at first. I turned on the game because some baseball is better than no baseball. Well, and because I’ve jumped on the Giants’ bandwagon for this series, as I’ve said. But there were reminders of the Yankees everywhere, and I found myself grief-stricken all over again. 
* Seeing Dave “Rags” Righetti made me remember his no-hitter. Why can’t he be our new pitching coach?
* Seeing Roberto Kelly made me remember when he was traded for Paul O’Neill. Why wasn’t I watching Paulie on the YES Network instead of Joe Buck on Fox?
* Seeing Tony Bennett sing “God Bless America” reminded me of Frank Sinatra singing “New York, New York.” Why wasn’t this game at the Stadium instead of AT&T Park?
* Seeing Cliff Lee walk a guy, hit a guy and give up seven runs made me wonder if Brian Cashman will offer him less money now. Maybe we can get a discount for damaged goods?
* Seeing Vlad Guerrero fumble around in right field gave me fond memories of Marcus Thames. Will the Yankees bring Thames back?
* Seeing Tim Lincecum settle down after a tricky first few innings made me think of how CC does that. Did the big man’s bum knee affect his postseason performance?
* Seeing Josh Hamilton made me wonder why the media insists on comparing him to Mickey Mantle. Doesn’t it take a few years to become a legend?
* Seeing Elvis Andrus made me think of how Derek Jeter was his idol growing up. Will the Yankees and Jeter come to terms on a new contract quickly or will it be more complicated?
I could go on, but how about the game itself? Raise your hand if you predicted that the team that manhandled us would get manhandled. Baseball is a cool sport, even when your guys aren’t playing it.

“It’s Hard Not To Take It Personal”

I wasn’t at Yankee Stadium for the ALCS. I didn’t hear fans taunting family members of the Texas Rangers. And I certainly don’t know Cliff Lee’s wife Kristen. But according to USA Today via the LoHud blog, the fact that she’s miffed at Yankee fans could play a role in her husband’s decision whether to re-up with the Rangers this winter or wind up in the Bronx, among other possibilities. Here’s the pertinent excerpt:

Perhaps the Rangers’ greatest sales pitch simply was having Kristen sit in the visiting family section at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs. She says there were ugly taunts. Obscenities. Cups of beer thrown. Even fans spitting from the section above.

“The fans did not do good things in my heart,” Kristen says.

“When people are staring at you, and saying horrible things, it’s hard not to take it personal.”

It’s more than likely that Kristen Lee did hear and see some “horrible things.” But was she on hand in Arlington when Rangers fans were chanting “Yankees suck” every six seconds? Did she never watch her husband pitch in opposing ballparks when he was with the Indians, Phillies or Mariners? While there’s no excusing bad behavior, it happens everywhere. I would think that by now the wife of a professional ballplayer as well traveled as Lee would have seen and heard it all, not to mention grown a thicker skin.

If she genuinely wants her husband to stay in Texas because she loves it there, because it’s close to the couple’s home in Arkansas, because it’s the best environment for her family, because the Rangers organization ponies up the biggest contract in the history of baseball, then by all means they should stay in Texas. But if she’s going around ragging on Yankee fans, I’m afraid I’ll have to take it personal. I just will.



Top Ten Reasons Why Dave Eiland Was Fired

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Cashman said Eiland’s dismissal had nothing to do with the Yankees’ pitching performances in the playoffs, so that’s not it. And he refused to say whether it was related to the mysterious “personal leave of absence” that kept Eiland away from the team for nearly a month. So we’re left to speculate on our own, and in my case that’s a dangerous thing. Herewith some theories…
#10 He had a secret Twitter account under the name @Joba_Rules_Are_Stupid.
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#9  He repeatedly told Mo that the Panamian skirt steak at Mo’s New York Grill was tough and overcooked.
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#8  During Game 6 of the ALCS, he picked up the phone in the dugout and called 1-800-FLOWERS.
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#7  He refused to wear a jacket and tie on the flight back from Texas.
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#6  He acted huffy because the Yankees wouldn’t let him sing “God Bless America” during the season – even though Haley Swindal got to do it.
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#5  He had T-shirts printed up that said, “Javy Vazquez belongs in the National League.”
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#4  He teased Jonathan Albaladejo that he looked like Lurch in the Addams Family.
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#3  He deliberately miscounted the number of innings Phil Hughes pitched this year. Oops.
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#2  He invited Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens to the same cocktail party.
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And #1 (Drum roll) He was the one who gave A.J. the black eye.
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The Second Day After…

I went to another movie screening. Yesterday’s film was a very good distraction and helped me forget that THE YANKEES AREN’T GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES, so I was looking forward to this morning’s offering. It was “The King’s Speech,” which is coming out in December and will – I guarantee it – be nominated for Best Picture come Academy Awards time. It’s hard to imagine Colin Firth not giving a great performance and he doesn’t disappoint in the role of King George VI, a man with a horrible stammer who nevertheless had to reassure a country at war.

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Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter are terrific too, and the director told us after the screening how meticulously he researched the story to insure its authenticity. Two thumbs up from me. Tomorrow night I’ll be seeing Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter.” And then it will be on to Wednesday night and Game 1 of Rangers-Giants. I’ve decided to jump on the Giants’ orange-and-black bandwagon.
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The Dodgers are sort of my “second” team after the Yankees, because of Mattingly, and I know it’s heresy for Dodger fans to root for the hated Giants. But Michael’s brother and cousins live in SF and I live in California, and it’s hard not to be caught up in the excitement of castoffs like Cody Ross making it all the way to the big event. That said, someone needs to explain to me why Brian Wilson and other members of the bullpen have those dyed black beards.
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It must be some solidarity thing? Like: “Let’s all do this and see if it’s lucky for us?” And I get why Sandoval is called “Panda,” but isn’t that what everybody called this guy?
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I guess you can have more than one “Panda” in baseball. What you can’t have more than one of is “Mo, “Jeet,” “Tex,” “A-Rod”….Uh-oh. I’m feeling sad again. Better go watch a movie or something. How is everyone else doing? Do we need a group hug?

The Day After….

Luckily, I didn’t have to sit around moping about the Yankees and what might have been. I had a full plate of previously scheduled activities, thanks to my membership in the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Cinema Society. This morning’s screening was “127 Hours,” the forthcoming film from Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle. Opening next month, it’s based on the book by Aron Ralston.
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You know. The guy who was trapped by a boulder while hiking in Utah and had to amputate his own arm? Not a very uplifting story, you’re thinking, but think again. Boyle has taken Ralston’s harrowing experience and, while preserving the suspense and drama of the ordeal, actually manages to find humor in it and force you to come away feeling that life is worth living! Here’s the trailer. 
James Franco gives a performance that’s sure to get him nominated for an Oscar. So unless you have a wicked case of claustrophobia watching people in tight spaces or can’t deal with one very graphic scene (you can always hide your eyes during it), I highly recommend the movie.
Afterwards, there was a reception for Danny Boyle. So I spent the afternoon mingling, eating tasty hors d’oeuvres and trying to forget that my team would not be playing Game 7 tonight.
I was doing fine until someone tapped me on the shoulder and said, “So much for your Yankees. May they rest in peace.” 
I whirled around and said, “They’re not DEAD. They just lost.”
I must have put some serious attitude on my response because the person moved away very quickly and started talking to another guest. Obviously, I need to do a better job of getting a life than I thought. 
Tonight is a friend’s birthday dinner. I had told her I couldn’t come, thinking there would be a Game 7, but now I’ll be in attendance. I will try to smile a lot and not snap at anybody. I really will.

The Party’s Over

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It was fun while it lasted. No, it was more than fun. It was fabulous. Sure I’m disappointed with tonight’s outcome and I spent the last six outs of the game reaching for the tissues, but how can I be upset about a team that made it to Game 6 of the ALCS? I feel lucky that our season lasted as long as it did when other fans had to watch their guys go home. The truth is, the Yankees were out-pitched and out-hit by those plucky Rangers throughout the series and didn’t play championship caliber baseball when it counted. (There’s no point in my doing a postmortem here; we all saw what happened.) It’ll be interesting to see how Texas fares against either the Phillies or Giants, but they’ll be tough to beat if they stay as hot and focused as they were against us and the Rays. As for the Crumbs Yankees cupcakes contest…
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You all predicted that the Yankees would win the series, so there was no clear victor – at first. Since I was bound and determined to give away some cupcakes, I went back and looked at the questions and counted who had the majority of them right. Here they were:
Q: Which team will win the ALCS? (Not applicable)
Q: In how many games? (Not applicable)
Q: Who will be the series MVP? (Not applicable)
Q: Will there be any ejections? (Applicable)
Q: How many appearances will Mo make? (Applicable)
Q: Will the Good A.J. show up? (Applicable)
Only one of you guessed the last three questions correctly. (While the sort-of-Good-A.J. showed up for five innings, the Bad A.J. got the loss.) The winner is…cheshirecat! I hope the sweets will ease the pain of tonight’s loss, just a little.
I congratulate the Rangers for a job well done, but most of all I applaud my Yankees for bringing me so much pleasure all year long. 
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I miss them already. (Uh-oh. Here come the tears again. I’d better sign off.)

Mood Swings Before Game 6

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I woke up this morning feeling so happy and relieved that the Yankees had escaped death. Well, not death death, but you know what I mean. I went about my day with a smile, an extra spring in my step, not even getting upset when I received yet another junk fax from some company selling a trip to Cabo San Lucas. I ran into a Dodger fan friend who congratulated me on the Game 5 win.
“Your guys sent the series back to Texas. Great job,” she said.
“I know,” I said, beaming with pride. “They really fought back under extreme pressure.”
“Of course,” she added, “they’re still facing elimination tomorrow night.”
And that’s when my mood took a dive. It wasn’t that she told me something I didn’t already know. It was just that I didn’t want to hear it. I was content to remain in my bubble.
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I went home and started watching the Phillies and Giants, thinking of all the reasons I don’t want our season to end and how Phil Hughes has to pitch the game of his young life.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked me as I sat there in the fetal position.
“I’m worried about tomorrow night,” I said. 
“But it’s still tonight,” he reminded me. “You’ve got 24 hours to get nervous.”
“True,” I acknowledged, “but -”
“You think the players are obsessing about tomorrow night?” he cut me off. 
“No, they’re probably out having a good time with strippers and stuff.”
“There you go. If they’re not concerned about it, why should you be?”
I hate when he’s right. Still, I felt better reminding myself that the guys who will actually be playing the Rangers aren’t as nuts as I am. I jumped up and started making dinner, vowing to enjoy this night and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.
Speaking of dinner (we’re having roast chicken), I want to alert everybody that Cooperstown Cookie Company is having a terrific promotion – a $100 spending spree giveaway that requires only that you fill out a brief survey. So take two seconds and enter on their site. You could be eating lots and lots of yummy cookies.
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