December 2010

Happy Karaoke New Year!

As I mentioned in last night’s post, I’m going to a New Year’s Eve party where there will be a karaoke machine and guests are supposed to, you know, sing. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t have subjected myself to the humiliation, but here’s how this all unfolded.
My friend John: “We’re having a New Year’s Eve party this year and we’d love it if you’d come.”
Me: “I’m so there.”
My friend John: “It’ll be cool. You’ll get to meet my daughter and her fiance since they’re in town.”
Me: “I’ll really look forward to that. What can I bring?”
My friend John: “A bottle of wine, if you want. Or maybe something dessert-y and sweet.”
Me: “Will do.”
My friend John: “Oh, and bring your voice.”
Me: “Excuse me?”
My friend John: “We’re having a karaoke machine. Everybody’s gotta sing. It’ll be the perfect way to bring in the New Year.”
I smiled and nodded. And then I thought….Jane, you hate karaoke! Too late. I was trapped, having already said I was going. I’m sure it’ll be fun once I get into it, but I’m really hoping I don’t remind everyone of her…..
Oh, well. Maybe I’ll bring the She-Fan Cam and catch somebody else sounding awful, and if so I’ll be sure to post the video right here. 
Wherever you’re going for New Year’s and whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a great time. Here’s to a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous 2011! (GO YANKEES!)
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A Moment To Remember….

As we tick off the final hours of 2010, I went back over my blog posts from this year and decided to pick the one that made me happiest. Well, maybe not THE happiest but very happy nonetheless. It was the post about the Yankees clinching a playoff spot. They had limped their way to the finish line but made it into the postseason, and I celebrated as if they’d won the World Series. I want to hold onto that memory as I brace myself for 2011, although the picture below really does make me look like Alice Cooper.

There Was Only One Thing To Do After This One

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Celebrate. Uh-huh. 
Getting into the postseason is no small feat, and, like the Yankees, I decided not to let the occasion go by with merely a “Yay.” After watching the players douse each other in the visitors clubhouse at the Rogers Centre (I don’t get the post-game show here, so I had to wait for the party clips on the YES web site), Michael covered the shower wall with plastic so it would look “authentic” (a Hefty garbage bag like last year), escorted me inside, dumped champagne on my head and handed me the rest of the bottle. It wasn’t the good stuff and tasted like stale beer, but the sentiment was there even if I did end up looking like Alice Cooper. Woohoo, Yankeeeeeeees!
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CC was The Man. He gave the team innings. He gave them effectiveness. He gave them the confidence to score runs. (Loved all the sac flies.) He gave them a true ace. And Mo. Well. Of course he wrapped it up. I know the division title is still up for grabs, but just knowing for sure that we’ll be watching October baseball is a thrill that never gets old. I thought back to 2007 when I was following the Yanks around the country for the She-Fan book. We were in Tampa, at the Trop, when they clinched their Wild Card berth and the Post’s Charles Wenzelberg promised he’d bring me back a champagne cork from the party. True to his word, he brought me the cork when we were in Cleveland for the ALDS. I still have it.
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I keep it with my jewelry. To me, having a memento from a Yankees celebration is more valuable than diamonds or pearls.

Is This The Most Depressing Post Or What?

From today’s LoHud Blog….

“So what should the Yankees do about this rotation problem if Andy Pettitte indeed retires? There’s a lack of depth since the top prospects like Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos almost assuredly need more minor-league time. Can the offense compensate? And why would Larry Rothschild be able to make A.J. Burnett consistent when Dave Eiland couldn’t? Questions, questions.

Even if Pettitte does come back, they still need depth in case of potential injuries. But CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Pettitte, Burnett and Ivan Nova could be wild-card worthy, not that there aren’t questions about most of the group.    

If Pettitte doesn’t come back and Sergio Mitre is next in line, they have to make a move. The thing is, the alternatives, possibly Joe Blanton, Freddy Garcia or Jeff Francis, aren’t particularly appealing, either, at least to me. How about to you? The Phillies could move Blanton after investing so much in Cliff Lee. Both Garcia and Francis have had shoulder problems in the past. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.”


I’ve decided there’s only one thing to do when contemplating the Yankees’ rotation issues and their possible solutions: bring back Laughing Lady.


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Sergio Mitre will be starting a crucial game against a division rival?
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AJ will continue to have third-inning meltdowns, despite our new pitching coach?
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We sign Freddy Garcia and his arm falls off during his first appearance in the Bronx?
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It’s all fine. Why? Because it’s the season to laugh and make merry and look forward to the new year. That’s what I’m planning to do. I’m off to LA tomorrow to spend a couple of days with friends. If Cashman decides to make a move while I’m busy enjoying myself, can somebody please find me and let me know? Thanks. :)

‘Twas An Apple Christmas

And I’m not talking about this kind.
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I live in a Mac household and Santa usually brings me some assortment of accessories for my MacBook Pro, my iPhone or my iPod. Like the nifty dock below that allows me to play music through my stereo speakers.
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I went to our local Apple store this afternoon to add to my loot and the place was mobbed. People weren’t just exchanging gifts either; the line for getting new stuff trailed all the way around the store. But instead of total chaos, there was customer service help everywhere you turned – bright-eyed men and women wearing red shirts and earpieces who not only wanted to answer questions but actually knew the answers. This is all my long-winded way of saying I think Steve Jobs is a genius who could probably make me buy anything he’s selling.
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What does this have to do with baseball? Stay with me.
I have no idea if Jobs is a fan of sports in general or baseball in particular, but I can’t help wondering what a guy with his intelligence, marketing savvy and bank account would do with a major league team. I’ll tell you what he wouldn’t do if he owned the Yankees; he wouldn’t start the season with a rotation of CC, AJ, Hughes, Nova and Mitre. Nope. He’d engineer some sort of big signing – keeping his plan secret and then announcing the deal at a news conference that would whip the media into a frenzy. “Yankees Rotation Version 2011″ is what he’d call it and then he’d list all the reasons why it represented a much improved formula.
I’m not saying the Yankees won’t still go out and get a pitcher before the season starts or that we’re not okay with the arms we already have (Mitre excluded). Maybe our new pitching coach will have a sensational session with AJ this week or whenever they’re meeting up. Maybe Pettitte will decide to come back for another year. And maybe Ivan Nova is the next King Felix.
A girl can hope. That’s what the holiday season is all about, isn’t it?

Merry Yankees Christmas To All

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In case anybody’s out there reading instead of celebrating, I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I won’t be posting this weekend unless something earth-shattering happens (Cashman could still give us a starting pitcher by Saturday morning if he really, really wanted to; he did rappel down a tall building, after all), but most likely I’ll pick things up again on Monday. Cheers!
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The Rain Stopped And I Headed For The Movies

Finally, a break in the downpours. I actually had to blink when I looked out my window and saw that it wasn’t raining – and that, in fact, the sun was trying to come out. Sun. Yes, sun. After days and days of cabin fever, I bolted for the multiplex having read the great reviews for “True Grit” this morning. The movie didn’t disappoint. Here’s the trailer.
I love westerns and I love most of the Coen brothers’ movies, so this was a match made in heaven. I don’t remember the original with John Wayne and am glad I don’t. The Coen brothers’ version is faithful to the novel, complete with the book’s dialogue, and the cinematography is as gorgeous as a painting. Jeff Bridges is his usual great self and the young girl who plays Mattie is terrific. But it’s Matt Damon whose performance knocked me over; he’s a Texas Ranger (no, not the baseball kind) who takes himself very seriously. He makes the character both funny and compelling. 
Is the report of the Yankees’ interest in Johnny Damon funny or compelling – or both? I did a post here the other day about the return of Vizcaino. I didn’t much like that idea and I have no particular enthusiasm for a possible second act in pinstripes for Damon. Sure, I enjoyed having him the first time around and was sorry to see him sign with Detroit. And if he’s willing to be a bench player (which I doubt), I’d be happy to have him come up with men on base and slap a homer into Damon’s Deck. But can he pitch? Because that’s what we need: a starting pitcher.



Am I The Only Yankee Fan Who Finds This Alarming?

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees lowered spending on players by $12 million this year, cutting payroll by $5 million and slashing their major league-leading luxury tax by more than $7 million.

Slashing luxury tax? Cutting payroll? Does this make us the Pirates?


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Who are these newfangled Yankees anyway? I want my bloated, free-spending, free-agent-signing, they-give-me-great-players-for-Christmas team back.
Speaking of bloated, I had the best dinner tonight – and it’s all because of my Twitter Yankee fan friend Peter/aka @agostinelli. (He has a great food blog, btw. Check it out.) Anyhow, I was tweeting today about wishing for a recipe for what I knew would be a cold, rainy night here in not-sunny-California, and he sent me straight to a Beef Bourgignon. The pic below doesn’t do it justice, but it was delicious. I really love Twitter.
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Look What Brian Cashman Sent Me!

Really thoughtful of the Yankees’ GM to put me on his holiday cards list this year – a card featuring our starting rotation for 2011. And what surprises his card contained! Who knew, for example, that Phil Hughes had “lead singer” in him even with CC around or that AJ was such a wild man (well, we kind of knew that). Also, what a clever way of letting me know that Pettitte has decided to pitch another year for us. But the biggest surprise of all was seeing Felix Hernandez in the band. I had a hunch we wouldn’t be stuck with Mitre filling out the rotation or even Nova; Cash had much more lofty ambitions and I’m very grateful for that. Rock on, Yankees.

Wait A Second. WHAT?

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It’s all right here. And I’m still trying to figure out if I’m hallucinating. Didn’t we just learn something from the Javier Vazquez Experiment? That when a pitcher fails to perform for you once there’s a better-than-average chance he’ll fail to perform for you a second time? I don’t understand all this bringing back of people, even when it’s only a minor league deal. Viz’s absence didn’t make my heart grow fonder, not at all. I’m sure he’s a very nice person, but after a promising debut with the Yankees he disappointed time and time again with his wildness. (I still cringe with the memory of his leadoff walks in crucial situations.) I’m just bewildered by this one, but what’s scariest about it is that Carl Pavano is still on the loose. Cashman wouldn’t even consider bringing him back a second time, would he?
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Help!

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OK, this weather thing is starting to annoy me. (For those in other parts of the world, California is getting hammered by what forecasters are calling “the rain of the decade.”) We have a creak running through the base of our road and after only two days of this stuff it’s risen so high I can’t drive my car through it. And we’re supposed to get more rain for another seven days straight. Luckily, our hillside has a back way out that’s supposed to be used in emergencies (like wildfires) but it’s a very narrow, steep, windy road that scares the you-know-what out of me. If my electricity doesn’t go out, it’ll be a miracle. In the meantime, Michael and I are auguring in and planning to watch a couple of movies on demand. If they’re boring, we’ll pop in the DVD of the Yankees winning the World Series last year. That’s always a cheerer-upper.
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