Results tagged ‘ Marcus Thames ’

So Let Me Get This Straight About Andruw Jones

The Yankees signed him instead of re-signing Marcus Thames because, unlike Thames, Jones can play every position in the outfield?
Okay, I get that he’s lost weight since his unfortunate stint with the Dodgers, but how confident will any of us be to see him out there? I wish him the best and hope he gets a hit every time he’s called upon. I just hope kids like Colin Curtis are ready to fill in if necessary.
Speaking of kids, Friend of the Blog Wendy alerted me to this story on the MLB web site about a terrific kid, an avid Brewers/Prince Fielder fan, who lost his life to a drunk driver. His family is trying to raise money to build a state-of-the-art field in Wisconsin in his honor, and you can help. Take a look – and grab a box of Kleenex while you’re at it.

Has-Beens Or Possible Contributors?

That’s what I’m wondering after reading that the Yankees have added Andruw Jones to their list of possible right-handed hitters to play this year’s version of Marcus Thames.
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My first thought was why didn’t we just re-sign Thames? Because he can’t field the ball in the outfield? Neither can the other names that have been bandied about: Manny Ramirez and Vlad Guerrero. Would any of these guys settle for a role on the bench? And even if they would and their price tags weren’t too high, would I want them?
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What I want, for the 150th time, is a starting pitcher whose name is Andy Pettitte, plus another guy whose name is Felix Hernandez. Is that too much to ask? Here’s what I’m offering Brian Cashman if he can make just one of those options happen:
* The chocolate cake I baked for my friend Rhonda’s Thanksgiving.
* The chicken and barley stew I cooked for Michael the other night.
* The bottle of Syrah that was served at the New Year’s Eve party I went to.
OK, clearly those aren’t that enticing. I need to step it up. How about:
* My Porsche Boxster S. It’s old but it’s still a beauty.
* My book collection. Romantic novels might not be Cash’s thing, but so what.
* My TVs. Sure he already has some, but who doesn’t need more TVs?
* My husband. Yes, I’d miss Michael, but sacrifices are what being a fan is all about.

Yanks-Rangers Game 1: Picking Up Our Horse

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OMG, what an amazing ride. And there are people in the world who don’t watch baseball? I mean seriously. Raise your hand if you saw or listened to the game and didn’t think it was exciting, no matter which team you root for. Not possible.
CC was awful and who would have expected it. I had dismissed all the talk about the extra rest – nine days worth – but he looked rusty. If you had told me he’d only last four innings I would have laughed, but there it was. Still, his play at home in the first was fantastic. For a big guy he got down fast. I bet the earth moved when he hit the ground.
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When Joba came in with the Rangers ahead 5-0, I figured we were in mop up mode. But after he held Texas scoreless and then Moseley pitched brilliantly and Cano went deep, I couldn’t help thinking maybe C.J. Wilson would be pulled and we’d break the door down.
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And that’s what happened. As improbable as it seemed, the Yanks silenced the white towel-waving crowd in Arlington after Gardner’s head first slide into first base triggered a barrage of hits. Could we put our hands together for him, Jeter, Swisher, Tex, A-Rod, Cano and Thames?
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With the Yankees now up 6-5 (and me in absolute delirium), Wood couldn’t find the strike zone and nearly made me stick my hand through the TV and wring his neck. But all I can say is THANK YOU, IAN KINSLER! I guess your deer antlers didn’t have magic powers tonight.
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How about that rundown? LOVED Jeter’s little fake throw that preceded the tag. Was that pickoff the straw that broke the Rangers’ back? Probably. But Michael Young’s strikeout against Mo was pretty devastating. You could tell by the change in mood of George W. Bush and Nolan Ryan.

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 (Hat tip to Friend of the Blog Michael Fierman)
Anyhow, the Yankees gave us fans a miraculous victory that I’ll be reliving in my head all night. I can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon when the game will be on at 1 o’clock here. For once I won’t be blacked out by Fox.
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Yanks-Twins Game 3: Let The Party Begin!

Since the players seemed very well protected from the sting of champagne tonight, I figured I’d follow suit and don my rain slicker, shower cap and goggles. Why suffer? 
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Despite their sputtering en route to the playoffs, the Yankees showed why they’re the reigning World Champs, sweeping away a good-but-not-good-enough Twins team. I was so proud of them. But special mention has to go to Huuuuuughes, who stepped onto the mound and delivered a spectacular performance. It’s very heartening to see a young player reward a team’s faith in him that way. There was a time when I would have considered shipping him off to get a Santana or Halladay, but clearly I was a fool. (See above photo for further proof of that.) I also doubted that Marcus Thames would make a contribution earlier in the season, and he, too, proved me wrong. (I would make a really lousy G.M.) Anyhow, what I loved about this entire series was that our “core four” guys were as superb as ever and the newer guys did a great job too. Joe managed each game as if we were talking about Game 7 of the World Series, and while I winced every time he called for Mo, I can’t argue with wanting to get this round won and done – the first time the Yanks have moved into round two as the wild card team. I’m just glad I made it home from my friend’s daughter’s wedding this afternoon in time for the first pitch. The cake was pretty, wasn’t it? You can’t see the inside, but the center layer was chocolate heaven. 
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On the subject of cake, I’ll announce a cake-related contest in Monday’s post and will simply say now that one lucky winner will be eating sweet. In the meantime, most of you have “met” my mother from all the She-Fan Cam videos I’ve done with her. Now, you’ll find out how she became a Yankee fan. A piece I wrote about her is running in Sunday’s New York Times sports section (it’s on their web site tonight). Enjoy.
CHEERING SECTION

Twice Widowed and Now Smitten With Men in Pinstripes



Baseball is full of heartwarming “Field of Dreams”-y stories about fathers and sons playing catch in the backyard, going to their first ballgame together and building a closer relationship over hot dogs.

Bob Eckstein

Bats

Keep up with the latest news on The Times’s baseball blog.

Major League Baseball

Yankees

Mets

My mother, on the other hand, wasn’t big on playing catch (“It’ll
ruin my manicure”), didn’t take me to a single ballgame (“Go with your nice friends, dear”) or eat hot dogs (“God only knows what’s really in them”).

In those days, she wasn’t a fan of theYankees or any other team. Widowed, newly remarried and the mother of six, she was focused on raising our blended family in Scarsdale, N.Y., and commuting into Manhattan to teach Greek and Latin at Hunter College. The only time she ever talked to me about baseball was to scold me for thumbtacking Mickey Mantle posters to my bedroom wall and poking holes in the avocado green paint.

She grew up in the Bronx with a father who adored the Yanks, so she could hardly escape the names Babe Ruth,Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, but the sport itself held no appeal for her. To wit, she was cleaning out her closet one afternoon during my college vacation and came upon what looked like a yellowed, tattered menu.

“You might as well have this,” she said, handing it to me. “It’s got Babe Ruth’s autograph on it, so maybe it’s worth something.”

I was stunned and said, “How in the world did you get his autograph?”

She shrugged, nonchalant about a bona fide treasure, and said: “He was at the next table when your dad and I were out for dinner. I walked over with the menu and asked him to sign it.”

As I got older, my Yankees fandom became a genuine mania, and Mom, now widowed for the second time, would stare at me as I’d watch games and rail at whichever batter left a runner in scoring position, saying, “You’re very entertaining, dear, but why do you raise your blood pressure with this nonsense?”

I decided it was time to explain the basics of baseball to her — just the way so many fathers have explained the sport to their sons. I went through the list of Yankees players on the roster that year and gave them each a back story. I described the difference between a slider and a splitter and pantomimed various pitchers’ windups. And, of course, I ticked off the many, many reasons why Yankees fans hate the Red Sox.

Mom absorbed my lecture, then asked lots of questions, including: “Who decided there should be four balls allowed but only three strikes?” “Does the D.H. get paid less money since all he does is hit?” “Why do the players spit so much?”

I didn’t have all the answers, but I was glad she was interested enough to care. When we had finally exhausted the subject, she nodded and said: “To think I’ve been wasting my evenings watching ‘Law & Order.’ I’ll give baseball a try.” Have I mentioned that she was in her 80s when this conversation occurred?

From then on, she started watching the Yankees every night, settling in with the YES Network, familiarizing herself with the players and coaches, learning the rhythms of the game, staying awake until the final outs. She realized what good company the Yanks were; she was no longer alone or lonely. In other words, she became a fan — late in life, yes, but no less hard core.

She developed an attachment to Bernie Williams and was bereft when he wasn’t re-signed. She regarded Melky Cabrera as her wayward son and called him “my Melky.” She became positively giddy whenever Mariano Rivera trotted in from the bullpen to “Enter Sandman,” although I’m sure she thought Metallica was a type of jewelry sold on QVC.

Now, at 93, she is as addicted to the Yankees as I am. Her memory isn’t what it used to be; she forgets the players’ names or mangles them. Cano can be “Canoe.” Jorge is often “Hor-gay.” And C. C. is — well, she doesn’t remember the Sabathia part unless prompted.

Still, every time I fly in from California for a visit, we eat dinner on tray tables in front of the TV so we can watch the games without missing a pitch. We bond over baseball in a way we never bonded over shopping, cooking or other girly pleasures — a mother and daughter debating the pros and cons of batting Jeter in the leadoff spot.

Here’s the catch. I may have turned Mom on to the team I love, but she ended up being the truer, more steadfast fan. She doesn’t scream at the TV, doesn’t panic when the Yankees are losing, doesn’t second-guess Joe Girardi‘s every move, doesn’t even freak out when Austin Kearns whiffs with the bases loaded. She’s unwavering in her cheering, without all the hysteria I bring to every game.

“How come you never get angry at them?” I asked during my most recent trip east.

“Because they’re the Yankees,” she said with conviction. “They always try to come through and do their best. You of all people should know that, dear.”

“Yes,” I said, chastened. “I should.”

As I watched my team compete against the Twins in an American League division series last week, I tried to come through and do my best — to emulate the fandom my very wise mother taught me.

Jane Heller is the author of “Confessions of a She-Fan: The Course of True Love with the New York Yankees.”

Doing What Championship Teams Do: Stepping Up

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No, that’s not Marcus Thames in the pic, but it might as well be. No A-Rod? No problem. Thames and his power bat have kept the Yankees in business down the stretch, and no one is more surprised than I am. I just didn’t think he would be such an important pickup for us, but clearly I was wrong. And no Pettitte? No problem there either. Well, OK, there’s been a big problem but somehow the Yanks have managed to solve it. Vazquez and Moseley were both pretty lousy today, but the bullpen did its job and shut down the Blue Jays. Of course, having Bautista F-bomb himself out of the lineup helped the cause, but mostly it was that incredible DP by Cano to Teixeira that turned the game around. I’m convinced that if Tex hadn’t gone into baseball, he could have done this.
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So the streak is now at eight games with twenty-six games left. That’s right. 26. Where did the season go? How could we possibly be at Labor Day weekend already? And, most importantly, can the Yankees pull away from the Rays and take sole possession of first place – for good?

 New York 86 50 .632 - - - 8-2 W8 48-22 38-28
 Tampa Bay 83 51 .619 2.0 26 - 7-3 W2 43-26 40-25

Vazquez As Mop Up Man

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He was good and Moseley was not, so why not use him in a game with a big lead? He was effective and held the A’s in check to get the win. Should he be put back in the rotation? I don’t know. I still don’t trust him. The person I do trust lately is Thames. My God, the guy has turned into a bona fide slugger.
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Swisher and Tex had hot bats too, and while Jeter continues to look schlubby at the plate his defense sparkled tonight.
But I need to change the subject. Sure, it’s great that we won the series opener, but could we talk about the weather for a sec? I’m going to the game on Friday – my first trip to the Stadium this year. Nova will be pitching and I have nice seats, and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s just one hitch.
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Earl. Category 4. Possible landfall on the East Coast on Friday. Will it land in the Bronx? Please no.

A Wild One But I’ll Take It

Sure, I would have preferred that CC had his best stuff tonight. I would have liked it if the bullpen hadn’t turned the game into an adventure, too. But the bats were flying in the Windy City.
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How cool was it to see Nunez hit his first major league homer and then knock in four RBIs total? And Thames continues to batter lefties and Swisher loves showing off for his old team/manager and Posada keeps on proving he’s still the best offensive catcher around. What a turnaround from last night’s fiasco. Naturally, there had to be another injury though. Tex’s thumb? I mean, come on. It better be just a busted nail or something.
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Anyhow, this was a huge win to keep us tied with the Rays, and it’ll be up to young Ivan Nova to reassure me that our starting rotation isn’t completely messed up.
Speaking of young, I spent the afternoon at my mother’s where “family day” included my little great-nephew Evan. He marched in wearing his Yankees backpack and proceeded to entertain everybody with his antics. Only when I asked him to talk about the Yanks on the She-Fan Cam did he get a little shy…like for a second.

So Much For That Game, Eh?

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OK, so it was Vernon Wells’ turn to have a big night for the Blue Jays. Fine. Marcus Thames had one for the Yankees. The problem was Huuuughes. He just couldn’t put hitters away. With two strikes they kept fouling off his pitches and driving up his pitch count and necessitating way too many mound conferences with Posada. What a frustrating game, particularly since the Rays lost and we could have gained ground.
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The larger issue is our rotation. Who’s in it? Seriously. With Huuuughes nearing his innings limit (whatever the mystery number is) and Vazquez having been banished to the pen and Andy getting his groin healed and not due back until mid-September at the earliest, are we really prepared to move forward with CC, AJ, Moseley and Nova? Is it too late to get him?
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Oh, wait. He’s not in Canada anymore. And, fortunately, neither are the Yankees.

Yankees Mash

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I love it when we score a lot of runs. I love it even more when it’s against the Blue Jays, who have become one of my least favorite teams. And I especially love it when we get good starting pitching as we did tonight with Moseley. What an onslaught by JoPo, Tex, Grandy, Thames, etc etc. I just hope Swisher will be OK. That foul ball off his leg hurt me almost as much as it must have hurt him.
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Before the game I went roaming around in New Milford, CT, in search of Yankee fans (or at least somebody who would talk about the Yankees). My first stop was the Big Y Supermarket to get the scoop (pun intended) on Turkey Hill Yankees ice cream versus Hood Red Sox ice cream. Take a look.
Next came a trip to the Big Y Pharmacy, where I spotted a Yankees cap on a shelf – right next to a Red Sox cap. What was that about? I figured I should ask.
I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can bother more unsuspecting people on my summer vacation.

Never Mind What I Said Yesterday

Today’s game reminded me why baseball can be so frustrating. Way too many if only’s. Way too many missed opportunities. Way too many of these.
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Huuuughes was great after a shaky start, but Lester was better. Still, the Yankees were in it until the bitter end and could have/should have launched a come-from-behind victory.
In the “if only” category:
Marcus Thames’ ball that almost went over the wall for a homer.
Austin Kearns’ screamer that went foul.
Gardner’s failure to steal after being inserted as a pinch runner for A-Rod.
In the “missed opportunities” category:
Granderson’s K with bases loaded.
Swisher’s three Ks.
Berkman’s pop-up as a pinch hitter. (Back came the boos.)
An overall 0-for-9 with RISP.
In the just-plain “suckitude” category:
Posada’s throws to second base. Can he please not catch three games in a row?
Was there good news today? Sure. The pitching was stellar, even if Joba did get slider happy in the ninth. And Swisher and Kearns made terrific catches. But mostly, I turned off the TV and felt like cleaning the house, just to blow off steam.
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Speaking of blowing off steam, did everyone read about the Jet Blue flight attendant who flipped out at JFK?
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I’m flying Jet Blue into Kennedy on Friday night for the start of my vacation back east. If that guy had been on my flight, I would have whipped out the She-Fan Cam, gotten him on video and posted it here. But not to worry. I’ll be bringing the Cam with me, just in case.
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