Results tagged ‘ A.J. Burnett ’

From The Vault – My First Ever “Confessions” Post

Before I move over to the new digs at my web site (url to come Friday night), I thought I’d go
back to my first post at MLBlogs. It was from August of 2008 and it
looked like this.

In May of 2007, when the Yankees were in last place, I
couldn’t take it. All the losing was killing me, keeping me up at
night, making me snap at complete strangers, giving me a really bad
headache. One night, after a humiliating interleague loss against the
Mets, I stormed into my office and wrote an article about divorcing the
Yankees. The grounds? Mental cruelty. I didn’t have a blog then, so I
vented to the New York Times, which published my article. (You can read
it here.) As a result of that article I landed a book deal for a
nonfiction account of what it really means to be a fan. It’s called
“Confessions of a She-Fan” and it’ll be out in February.

Now that I’ve finished it, I’ve been feeling desperate to be in a
community of Yankee fans – people to commiserate with and celebrate
with. Writing books is a solitary business. You basically sit in a room
all day by yourself, wondering why in the world you didn’t pick another
line of work, waiting for your publisher to call with news about
something (your manuscript, your cover, your sales). I’m hoping that
blogging will fill the void and distract me from checking my hourly
ranking on amazon and the occasional snarky review.

Yes, it’s late in the season, but today’s game was a revelation.
I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to beat a team not named the
Mariners or Orioles. I’ve been second-guessing Girardi all year – from
not starting Kennedy because it might rain, only to use him in
relief…to resting Damon when we desperately needed his hot bat…to
giving non-answers to questions about players injuries. But he looked
like a genius today, juggling the bullpen and sending Giambi up to pinch
hit. Taking the finale against the Red Sox wasn’t as satisfying as
sweeping them would have been, but it was sweet nevertheless.

Do the Yankees have a prayer of making the postseason? I gave up
on them last year and vowed I wouldn’t do it again. But it’s looking
bleak. Seriously. A.J. Burnett and Roy Halladay loom this weekend. My
heart tells me the Yanks can pull off a miracle comeback, but my husband
says I’ve been drinking the Kool Aid.


My heart was wrong, as it turned out. The Yankees didn’t make the
playoffs in ’08. Funny how I was so worried about A.J. Burnett as a Blue
Jay; now I’m worried about him for a whole different reason. And it’s
weird reading about Ian Kennedy; it’s almost as if he never existed.

Will the 2011 Yankees be non-contenders like the 2008 Yankees or will
they have the playoff magic of the 2009 championship team? Obviously,
I’m hoping for the latter.

As for blogging, I’ll be doing it win or lose. I blogged during the
wildfires here in California. I blogged while Michael was in the
hospital having surgery. I blogged when I should have been writing a
book. There’s no reason to think I’ll stop now.

‘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?

Breaking News: Lee Will Sign But With A New Demand

Leave it to Suzyn Waldman to go down to Arkansas and get an exclusive with Cliff Lee. I thought he was a laid-back, aw-shucks type, but apparently he’s really full of himself. Take a look. 

Fun in Arkansas With Cashman and Mr./ Mrs. Lee

As everyone knows by now, Brian Cashman flew down to Arkansas for a visit with Cliff Lee and his wife Kristen. Presumably, his goal was to express the Yankees’ keen interest in signing Lee as well as answer any questions the couple might have about life in New York – and, of course, to allay Mrs. L’s fears about boorish Yankee fans. But how did the meeting go? Nobody’s coming out with details, so I decided I needed to flesh things out for myself. Here’s how I think it went down today…
* Cashman drove up to Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s big new house, rang the doorbell and was greeted by the entire Lee clan, Southern hospitality being what it is.
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* He arrived bearing gifts – some toys for the kids with a slight subliminal message.
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* Mrs. Lee sent the children off to play with their presents and invited Cash to sit down for lunch. She had decided to use her favorite caterer.
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* Despite the fact that Cash watches his diet and almost never eats fried foods (especially chicken skin), he threw back a few legs and thighs while he described the joys of playing for the New York Yankees. He talked about the franchise’s history and tradition. He ticked off the names of all its legendary stars. He made a speech about how Yankee fans were the best ever, but he was interrupted by Mrs. Lee and the conversation detoured.
Kristen: “They spit at me and threw beer and shouted mean things. It hurt my heart.”
Cash: “I’m so sorry about that. But there are always a few bad apples at every ballpark.”
Cliff: “Mr. Cashman is right, honey. You know what happens when guys get all liquored up.”
Kristen: “They pass out, that’s what. These people didn’t pass out.”
Cash: “I can guarantee you, Kristen, that the same scenario would never happen if your husband came to pitch for us. You’d be treated like royalty.”
Kristen: “I don’t know about that. I talked to Karen Burnett the other day and she said the fans boo her whenever A.J. has a bad game.”
Cash (laughs): “Your husband will never have a bad game, so no worries.”
Cliff: “Nice of you to say, Mr. Cashman.”
Cash: “Brian.”
Cliff: “Brian. But sometimes it’s just not my day and I stink up the joint. What then?”
Cash: “Cliff, the fans will love you. I’m so certain of it that I’ll put a ‘boo clause’ in your contract. You’ll get an additional $50,000 for every game involving fans booing you or your wife. Fair?”
Cliff: “Extremely.” (Turns to his wife) “What do you say, honey?”
Kristen: “Very fair. But Brian, I have to be sure we’ll be happy with the Yankees. You understand.”
Cash: “I do. And I promise you that if you join the Yankee family you’ll never regret it. Look at me. I’ve been in the organization since I was a kid. The Steinbrenners are the best owners in baseball.”
Kristen: “Nolan Ryan said he was the best owner. He was here yesterday.”
Cash: “Did he make an offer?”
Cliff: “No. We just went hunting. Do you hunt, Brian?”
Cash (panicking): “Um, I play tennis. There isn’t much hunting in Connecticut, although we do have a lot of deer.”
Kristen: “Nolan said we should stay in Texas.”
Cash: “We’ve got better shopping up in New York. Ask Leigh Teixeira.”
Kristen: “I’ve never met her but Amber Sabathia says she’s super sweet.”
Cash: “They’ll take you to Saks and Neiman’s and Bloomie’s. You ladies will have a blast together.”
Kristen (bolting up from the table): “Designer shoes and dresses and everything! I want Cliffy to be a Yankee! Where do we sign?”
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And that was that. Mission accomplished. I think.

The Nominees For The 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette (WINNER UPDATE)

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I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Twitter last year. I figured the last thing I needed was yet another social networking site, having already jumped into the Facebook experience as well as interacted with other baseball fans on this blog. But something surprising happened after my first few tweets: I fell in love with Twitter. I enjoy the immediacy of it, the brevity, the ability to read what everybody’s talking about all over the world, the rush of learning breaking news before it appears elsewhere, and, of course, the chance to connect with a whole new cast of Yankee fans. 
Thanks to Twitter, I got to meet face to face with several of those fans, some of whom were gracious enough to submit to the She-Fan Cam. I present their videos to you now and ask you to take a look at these four terrific women and vote for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Here they are…
(Drum roll)
1) Amanda (Twitter name @amandarykoff). Back in January, she was visiting her newborn nephew in Santa Barbara and stopped by my house for a “tweetup” – my very first. She discussed football in the video – a subject that would normally make my eyes glaze over – but she was so entertaining and enthusiastic about it that I wasn’t bored in the slightest. She really knows what she’s talking about, doesn’t she?
2) Stephanie (Twitter name @stephsamps). I was in Tampa for spring training in March, and she and I had arranged a tweetup at Steinbrenner Field. It was an unseasonably cold night in Florida and I was shivering and ready to bolt. She, on the other hand, was happily telling me all about her sightings of players whom she gets to see often since she lives there. There’s no question she loves her Yankees.
3) Denise (Twitter name @SunnySoCal). She and I had been tweeting about how we wanted to meet up at a Yankees-Dodgers game in LA in June. So she drove up from San Diego and I drove down from Santa Barbara and we sat together and had a blast, even though the Yankees lost. (A.J. had one of his meltdowns.) To say that she has a crush on A-Rod is an understatement, but she showed remarkable restraint in the video.
4) Gayle (Twitter name @gcf123). She’s a season tickets holder at the Stadium – lucky girl – so it was no fluke that she was there the September day I was at the game and we finally got to meet. How she manages the country’s top musical artists and travels around the country with them and yet still finds time for her Yanks is a testament to her fandom. She made some very accurate predictions in the video, btw.
So there you have it – the nominees for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Can you pick a winner, people? Even those of you who aren’t Yankee fans? Yes, of course you can. And this time only ONE VOTE per customer. None of this, “But I like two of them.” Just one!
Next up will be the big showdown for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Best Yankee Fan Video Period. Get ready for a very tough field.
UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER! ACTUALLY, WE HAVE THREE WINNERS!

After a day of voting, we had a three-way tie between Denise (@SunnySoCal), Amanda (@amandarykoff) and Gayle (@gcf123) for the 2010 She-Fan Video Award/Twitterette. Golden fans go out to each of them!
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You liked all four nominees, naturally, but in the end this race was almost too close to call. So congratulations to Denise, Amanda and Gayle and thanks to Stephanie too. You were all such great interview subjects. You guys rock.

Oh, My

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I know my job here is to try to cheer everybody up after a loss and I’ll do my best, but let’s be honest: tonight was a major league bummer. And the bummer-ness can be summed up with two photos. This one:
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And this one:
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When I saw Tex grab his hammy in the fifth, I went numb. I think I even stopped breathing (sort of). You just never want to see an injury to one of your best players. Not anytime, but especially not when you’re fighting for a chance to get to the World Series. And while I haven’t heard the results of the MRI, I can’t imagine they’ll bring good news for him or the team. 
Onto the photo of AJ after he gave up the homer to Molina in the sixth. How did things go so horribly wrong? The Good AJ had shown up after all, and I was so relieved to see him pitching well with the crowd cheering his every strike. But – and cover your eyes if you don’t like me second guessing our manager – I wouldn’t have let him go back out for the sixth. He hadn’t pitched in forever and five innings of two-run ball would have allowed him to feel somewhat vindicated, to have 50,000 people on his side and, most importantly, to notch the win. Instead, Grady Little Joe Girardi pushed it and the result was awful.
And speaking of awful, what happened to Boone Logan all of a sudden? (I won’t even get into Joba or Mitre.)
All this agony might have been avoided if the hitters had done their job. They kept letting the Rangers’ pitchers off the ropes, and it was frustrating to watch.
So we lost. And now it’s up to CC to save us tomorrow – and for me to end this post on some happy notes.
* The pizza wasn’t lucky but it was delicious.
* There was more thunder and lightning here but my power didn’t go out.
* A Red Sox fan called me bad names on Twitter and I took the high road by not calling him bad names back.
* Patrick Wilson, the actor who sang “God Bless America,” is very handsome. (I loved him in the movie “Little Children.”)
* There’s a very good chance we’ll win Game 5.
Good night.

Now We Know: We’re Going To Arlington

But where, exactly, IS Arlington? Yes, I’m aware that it’s in Texas, but where? I figured I’d better check since our boys will be flying there.
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OK, so it’s not in the Panhandle. And it’s not near the Mexican border. It’s not even in the vicinity of Austin or Houston or El Paso. It’s kind of close to Texarkana, which is an actual place not a country-and-western song, and is, therefore, practically in Arkansas, home of Cliff Lee, as well as A.J. and Moseley. What’s it like in Arlington? According to Wikipedia…
Arlington is a city in Tarrant CountyTexas within the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, the seventh-largest city in Texas and the 49th largest city in the United States.[3]


OK, so it’s not that small, and our Yankees will find plenty of places where they can amuse themselves.
Located approximately 12 miles (19 km) east of downtown Fort Worth and 20 miles (32 km) west of downtown Dallas, Arlington is home to the Texas Rangers’ Ballpark in ArlingtonCowboys Stadium, the International Bowling Campus (which houses the United States Bowling CongressInternational Bowling Museum and the International Bowling Hall of Fame), the headquarters for American Mensa, and the theme parks Six Flags Over Texas (the original Six Flags).
Cool. They can go bowling if they need to get away from it all, not to mention hop on a roller coaster.
According to the American Lung Association, Dallas has the 12th highest air pollution among U.S. cities. Much of the air pollution in Dallas and the surrounding area comes from a hazardous materials incineration plant in the small town of Midlothian and from concrete installations in neighbouring Ellis County.


Uh-oh. So they won’t be able to breathe. And the last thing CC needs before he makes his start on Friday night is to be exposed to hazardous materials. He’ll have enough trouble staying away from the BBQ joints. But the real hazard, as far as I’m concerned, is Lee and we don’t have to worry about him for awhile. I was hoping we’d play the Rays and we’re not. So we’ll have to get used to the following:
* Relentless close-ups of Nolan Ryan.
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* Vlad Guerrero swinging at balls on the ground, in the air, off the top of his head.
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* Replays of Josh Hamilton winning the Home Run Derby.
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* Neftali Feliz’s “cheddar,” as David Wells and Dennis Eckersley dubbed his fastball.
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The Rangers are an excellent team and I congratulate them for winning their series. But just like the highly anticipated new FOX show “Lone Star,” they should prepare to be cancelled after just a few episodes.
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P.S. Now that our opponent is known, it’s a good time to enter the Crumbs cupcakes contest or amend your predictions. Click here for details. The deadline for entering is Thursday at midnight, PT.

Why You Can Throw Out The Regular Season

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Not to discount everything that happened before the playoffs started, but I was thinking about all the Yankees “truisms” – comments the media kept pounding into our heads that turned out not to be true in the ALDS. For example:
* The Yanks have trouble beating lefties.
* It’s harder to win on the road.
* Jeter’s not hitting.
* Mo is showing his age.
* Hughes doesn’t win at home.
* Andy’s rusty.
* Berkman’s power days are over.
* The Twins are hungry while the Yankees are fading.
When I look over that list, I have to laugh. What happened to all the conventional wisdom?
* The Yankees beat Lefty Liriano and Lefty Duensing.
* They won two games at Target Field.
* Jeter had four hits in the series.
* Mo notched two saves.
* Hughes won at home in convincing fashion.
* Andy gave up two runs in seven innings.
* Berkman homered and doubled.
* The Twins may have been hungry but the Yanks were hungrier.
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I wonder what the pundits will say when the ALCS gets going. There will be story lines galore – the TBS guys have all that time in the booth to fill – and I can anticipate some already.
* Posada can’t throw out runners.
* Posada can’t catch A.J.
* Posada is too old.
No, everything won’t be about Jorge, but we’ll be hearing about him for sure. You can also cue the “Girardi could be managing the Cubs next year if the Yankees don’t win it all” blather. And: “Cano is having a fine year but Josh Hamilton is the MVP.” Oh, and brace yourself for the Payroll Conversation; it’s a given. All that being said, I cannot wait until Friday night. If this week is a taste of what life will be like once baseball is over, I don’t want any.
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P.S. A quick reminder about the Crumbs Yankees Cupcakes Contest. We’ll know our opponent by the end of the day tomorrow, so be sure to answer all the contest questions, make your predictions, and enter to win six scrumptious cupcakes. Click here for details.

Who Wants Cupcakes?

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Actually, I should have said, “Who doesn’t want cupcakes?” Yankees cupcakes, that is. Courtesy of the talented folks at Crumbs Bake Shop.
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To celebrate the Bombers and their march into the ALCS, Crumbs has created a brand new Yankees cupcake that will go on sale Monday in all 13 of their New York locations. It features vanilla cake, vanilla cream cheese frosting, and Yankees blue and white sprinkles with the NYY logo on top. Is it to die for or what?
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If you live in NYC, you can walk into a Crumbs store and buy the cupcakes OR you can enter this blog’s exclusive contest and win a gift certificate for a signature size six-pack of these delicious treats. Yes, I said six of them! There will only be one winner and the gift certificate will be valid until 12/31/10. What do you have to do to win? Be the first commenter with the correct answers to the all of the following six questions:
1) Which team will win the ALCS?
2) How many games will the ALCS go?
3) Who will be the ALCS MVP?
4) Will a manager or player get ejected during the ALCS?
5) How many appearances will Mo make?
6) Will the Good A.J. show up?
I know, I know. We have no idea whether our rivals will be the Rays or the Rangers. Not until Tuesday. That’s why you can either wait to enter the contest until after that series is decided OR enter now OR change your mind after your first try and enter more than once. Just keep in mind that the lucky winner will be the first person (by their time stamp) who leaves the comment with the correct answer to all six questions. All entries must be left here by Thursday night, the eve of Game 1, by midnight Pacific Time, and the winner will be crowned and cupcaked once the series is over. Got it? I’ll post a reminder each day until we close the contest on Thursday, but in the meantime may the best prognosticator win!
UPDATE/ CLARIFICATION:
#1 I see from some of the comments that I neglected to mention: CRUMBS SHIPS! If you win, you’ll be getting a gift certificate for the six cupcakes and Crumbs will send them to you wherever you are. My bad for not explaining that. This is not just a New York contest. 

#2) The A.J. question means: Will the Good A.J. show up to pitch, not just to throw pie in someone’s face!

Thanks.

Yanks Lose Nightcap In Embarrassing Fashion

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I was blacked out by Fox for today’s first game, so I listened to it on my phone while I ran around doing errands. I was so excited when we won that I nearly drove off the road. If we win the second game, I thought, we’ll be in great shape to take the division.
Nice dream.
I couldn’t watch Game 2 live because I was at the performance of my friend John Lengfelder’s new movie. (It’s called “Blind Date” and it was interactive in the sense that the audience gets to vote on what happens in the actual story; go to http://www.BlindDateInteractive.com if you’re interested.) But I saw the replay. I wish I hadn’t. Four errors? The Yankees committed four errors? I realize that Berkman is no Tex and Cervelli is no Posada, but AJ standing there staring at the first base ump while the run scored? Hello? I understand why he was surprised by the “safe” call, but where was his head as A-Rod yelled at him to pay attention to the runner. When the camera panned over to Girardi in that fourth inning, you could see Joe hang his head in disgust. I did the same thing.
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We had a great chance to control our own destiny in the final weekend of the regular season. Instead, we’re stuck hoping the Rays lose. Not a good way to end a very long journey into night.
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