Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ouch.

This playoff race is all about who blinks first, and if the Yanks had to blink, last night was the night to do it. Actually, it’s not the team as a whole that blinked but the bullpen squeezing their eyes shut. I still can’t quite comprehend that score – how can they lose so badly with 9 runs? (Answer: pitching.) I believe I mentioned a few entries ago that it would be nice if there was a place for Al Leiter on the team – and that place should involve a comfy chair and a pair of pom-poms. It should absolutely NOT involve any kind of ball or mound! Sorry Al, but damn.

When Gary Sheffield hit that grand slam, I really thought they had it – I was sure they had it. That’s the kind of game they usually win.

I admit that I had to turn the game off, it just got too depressing. With every game a must win, to lose one so badly is disheartening. I was thinking about those ALCS and World Series losses where Derek Jeter is one of the last people in the dugout, watching the other team celebrating – how the hell does he do that? I understand that to really appreciate and enjoy success, you have to know failure too, but watching the other team celebrate would be one of the very last things I wanted to do.

Anyway, whatever that was, hopefully they got it out of their system. Cleveland and Boston lost too, so the Yanks essentially got a do-over, and another miracle. Back to the pennant race boys.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sprinting to the finish...


Well, I had planned to be listening to the ballgame tonight, but the weather had different ideas. The Boston/Toronto game has already been called, and they have to make it up in a double header tomorrow. I’m glad the Yankees aren’t going to have to do that…I guess one of the potential solutions to a rainout was to make up the games after the Boston/Yankees series this weekend…NO THANK YOU. Talk about anticlimactic. I bet half of the Orioles wouldn’t even bother showing up.

The Toronto series was fine – I’m glad the Yanks faced them first, then Baltimore. Toronto still seems to be playing serious ball, and Baltimore looked like they could give a damn up in Yankee Stadium. I’m really glad Boston has four games with them, and even more glad that Toronto is to them like Tampa Bay is to the Yankees.

But everybody knows it’s going to come down to this weekend – how could it not? I know baseball isn’t fixed, but it couldn’t be scripted any better than this.

Yesterday was so sad, saying maybe-goodbye to Bernie. I hope not. I hope he’s still there in some capacity with them next year. I love watching Jeter, Posada, Bernie and Tino goofing off in the dugout, they make it look like they’re having fun playing.

I watched the profile of Derek Jeter on 60 Minutes last night. God, how nice is he? Just a decent human being, and I don’t know how anybody stays a decent human being after being that famous for that many years. His parents and my parents have very similar parenting styles—the contracts made me laugh. My contracts growing up were more like handshake deals, but they were very much in play.

What a long way Jeter has come from that game two weeks into his first minor league season that maybe no more balls would be hit to him.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Shhhhhhhh..

Oh…….my……..God. Don’t look now. Be very quiet. Nooooo sudden movements.

The Yankees ………are……….in………FIIIIIIIIIIIRST PLAAAAAAAAAAAACE!

It didn’t really hit me until out of force of habit, I went to look at the Wild Card standings and the Yankees WEREN’T THERE! Oh, I know, anything can happen – God knows, if there’s one thing that Yankee fans have learned over the past year, anything can happen. But I’m finding myself tempted to cancel plans so I can listen to games. I’m overjoyed that I can check scores on my cell phone. I switched cable/internet companies on Saturday, and was insistent that everything be up and running perfectly before the game came on or I wasn’t going to switch until November.

I would love to be smug about bumping the Red Sox, but I’m not quite sure about gloating rights just yet. The way the Indians are playing, the Wild Card may not be an option – the Red Sox, motivated by the fact that they’re in as much danger as the Yankees to not go to the playoffs at all are quite capable of pulling it together and beating out the Yankees. It has done a fine job of shutting down every Red Sox fan I know, however. David Wells said what everybody knew – the Yankees were on the mat, and the Red Sox had the perfect opportunity to crush them, but they didn’t manage to do it, and now they have to deal with the Yankees to get to the post-season.

The series with Baltimore has been kind of ugly. I like Brian Roberts, and watching his arm get pulled apart was really kind of horrifying. Poor Bubba, great walk-off home run one night, rip your former roommate’s arm off the next night.

What’s up with Jeter? Striking out in the clutch, throwing wide? *gasp* Jeter screwing up is like finding out there’s no Santa Claus all over again. It seems like every time he starts doing that stuff he’s hurt, maybe his arm? Perish the thought, no wonder he’s not telling anyone.

Oh my God, Tino just let a ball go through his legs, what the hell is going on here? Now it’s like I found out there’s no Easter Bunny all over again. I am really glad that they aren’t planning on using Mariano, because if he were to blow a save? It would be that moment where I realized that there might not be a God all over again.

That’s pretty funny. Moose has been pitching great, but because of sloppy defense there are runners on. For some reason though, guys are warming up in the bullpen. I didn’t realize there was a bull pen for infielders….

Wait a minute ---- Suzann Waldman SINGS? Will wonders never cease. Suddenly I’m thinking of Ethyl Merman and I don’t know why.

Ooo! Jorgie is having a hell of a game – 2 home runs! A rally! Let’s hope it’s a huge rally and Mariano can nap uninterrupted. I’m going to go listen to the game.

OMG, the Yankees are in first place!

Freddy has nothing on this…

I had a nightmare last night that the Red Sox were playing the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees had some sort of emergency and didn’t get out of the clubhouse in time for the start of the game, and the Red Sox were allowed to run around the bases scoring runs due to defensive indifference. I was really glad to wake up. My Yankees hat desperately needs to be washed, but now I’m superstitious about it and won’t wash it until this season is resolved, one way or another. I’m halfway expecting my hair to start falling out in clumps and to have waking hallucinations of Matsui striking out repeatedly in the clutch.

But how cool?! I really can’t wait to see what’s going to happen, but at the same time, sometime in mid-November I’m going to be totally Jonesing for more baseball…

Almost game time! And it’s on tv!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Rats....

Oooo, bummer. That was really disappointing. I really thought they might turn that around until the very last out. They’ve won so many close games over the past couple of weeks that they had to lose one at some point, but they lost ground in the Wild Card and only maintained in the East, when they could have gained ground. Rollercoaster on a downward dip…

Today’s game was especially disappointing after yesterday’s game how many phenomenal defensive plays can you cram into two innings? I was really sorry it wasn’t on tv – I was left watching highlights on a little 3 inch window on Yankees.com.

What is the deal with Jaret Wright? That poor guy can’t get a break. He’s going to have to start pitching games from behind that little fence that they use in batting practice and the home run derby. He needs a mask and pads more than the catcher.

If they only miss the playoffs by a game, I will lose my mind. It’s one thing to be like 5 games back, but one game….

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A win is a win is a win...

Last night’s game kind of sucked. I mean, they won, which was great, and Alex and Robbie were all over the home runs, which was great, but…

Randy got thrown out for running his mouth. The announcers made it sound like he wasn’t warned before being thrown out, and that umpires need to e more understanding of emotional players in a playoff race. As it turns out, he was warned, Flaherty admitted, “Once the umpire pulls off his mask, you need to back off.” Which Randy obviously didn’t do.

I’m all about personal responsibility here – if you’re working under the assumption that people will be more understanding of your childish and selfish behavior because you’re under stress, you’re asking for trouble. The Yankees needed him to pitch 7 innings and pitch them well, and he didn’t do either of those things. In a way, it did everyone a favor throwing him out. A homerun and hit batsman in the first inning with 50 pitches halfway through the second inning? Not exactly the makings of a magnificent start. He’ll apologize, but so what?

Alex got hit again… there is some talk that his arm may be broken, but he was going to wait until the morning to see how it felt. Who takes care of these guys? There’s this newfangled invention called the X-ray, you know, real science fiction stuff, lets you see right through to the bone to see if it’s broken. I halfway expect to hear that they bled him and made a goat sacrifice to the gods.

The Yankees bullpen, up to the point where they get to Gordon and Rivera, is a disaster. They gave up so many runs I went numb and had difficulty concentrating. An opposing team with any kind of patience would be able to make a real game for themselves once the Yanks get into their bullpen.

And the damn Red Sox, battling with Oakland in the rain until late in the night win the thing on a hit batsman. I thought Proctor walking in the winning run an extra inning game was bad, imagine being the pitcher who plunks in the winning run—how do you even apologize to your teammates for that? “Yooooops!”

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Blow outs are good

Last night was fantastic – after such a close game with the Red Sox , it was nice to kick back, relax, and listen to the Bombers beat the living hell out of the Devil Rays. There seemed to be a little bit of therapy involved with that.

Tonight is a little bit more typical – they’re tied at 4 at the moment. Chien-Ming Wang isn’t pitching as well as he was before he got hurt, which makes you wonder if he is still hurting.

I tell you what, I know the pitching has been the major issue this season, but as I write this, Matsui is standing on second with no outs. If somebody doesn’t bring him across home plate safely, I will lose my mind. OO! Posada moves him to third with a sac fly to move Matsui to third! There’s hope!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

YES!!!!! YAAAAAAAAHOOOOOO!


YES! YES! YAAAAHOOO! YES! Theeeeeeeeee! Yankees! WIIIIIIIIIIIN!

Oh my God that was the GAME, I cannot believe they won that game! A SHUTOUT against BOSTON! A one-run win! Ohmigod! No wait I have to run another lap around the house, I’m too hyped up….

That was just amazing. Randy, all is forgiven. You do not, in fact, suck. You keep pitching like that and Curt Schilling might not have to adopt you.

Whew, I am totally dizzy. I don’t think I remembered to breathe the entire 8th and 9th inning. I’m kind of glad they don’t play tomorrow, I could use the break.

My Red Sox loving buddy just called me to needle me about the upcoming series with Tampa Bay. Every Red Sox fan I know was sounding somewhat disconsolate last week when the Yanks dropped the series against TB. “It’s no good winning the playoffs if you don’t have to beat the Yanks to get there. It’s like you didn’t really win.” Well hold the phone, because this season is still kicking!

I checked out AROD.com. *Sigh* You know, I love the guy. I love what he does, and I think a lot of people talk a lot of trash about him that he doesn’t deserve. (Nothing like being fiercely talented, filthy rich, and ridiculously good looking to bring the claws out.) But this website. Mmm. I. am. FABULOUS.” He couldn’t wait until November after he’d done something like, oh, I don’t know, help his team win a World Series? And I know all the copy has to be ghostwritten, but at some point he has to read and approve it right? How do you go through all that sycophantic blithering and say “yes, that is absolutely true, I am, in fact the nearest thing to God on this planet. Go forth and publish, spread the word!” I know he’s got the chops to warrant the praise, but just once I would like to see a very talented athlete jus’ hush up and play. (Oh, wait….that would be Derek Jeter.) I watched the “Pinch Hit and Run” segment with Jennie Finch -- I thought it was funny that he wasn’t even going to try hitting her pitching (btw…ouch. Why is her arm still in its socket?) God forbid, ARod being struck out by a guuuuurlll, that wouldn’t do at all.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Cardiac stress test in pinstripes....

Back to work, which means very little time for baseball, and even less time to write about it – depressing. I’m a little jealous of anybody who gets paid to sit in a ballpark and watch baseball – how cool would that be?

Every cliché about those Yanks – “rollercoaster ride”, “upanddown”, “streaky”, whatever, I can’t look away, the suspense has me reaching for my inhaler every key play.

The Oakland series was fantastic – rebounding after a 12-0 loss to take the series? Yes! They’re going to the playoffs! Major props to Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon for making that series happen. I thought it was funny when Chavez made a dig at Small, categorizing him as an inferior pitcher. Small’s response? “Oh, he’s right. My stuff’s not all that good.” Er…where’s your ego dude? Aren’t you supposed to be issued a major swollen head with your professional athlete uniform?

How weird is it to see Mark Bellhorn in a Yankees uniform? (Slammin’ kneesocks, bay-bee. I will never develop an appreciation for that look.) He looks much better cleaned up, finally rid of that greasy mullet mess that used to creep out from under his cap. I always expected some creature to peep out of that thatch every time the cameras were on him (“Boo!”) There are some things that Steinbrenner does that I do approve of, and insisting that his players practice good basic hygiene and fundamental dressing skills is one of them. Bellhorn looks a little crazed at the moment – that has to be like free-falling. One day you’re a Red Sock, literally the next day you’re flying across the country to play for your former team’s arch rivals.

Ah, but then, in walks Tampa freakin’ Bay, and losing the series to the Yankees new daddy, the *&%$ DEVIL RAYS. The mood fluctuates in the other direction No! They won’t make it to the playoffs! I’m with ARod on this one, I was just glad to see them get out of town. I can’t believe that they have to play them again next week. I would rather they had to fly all over the country playing the top team in each division than having to play Tampa Bay.

I just watched the end of today’s game against the Sox, and the Yanks got smacked around pretty good. Fucking Schilling. He’s one of those players that I don’t care for, regardless of the uniform he happens to be sporting, and one of my all time favorite moments of this season will always be the two run homer ARod hit off of him to spoil his comeback in July. (“I’m sorry, weren’t you talking some kind of shit about me?” *CRACK*) I was pretty hopeful about this game – last night’s game was awesome. Aaron Small! He appears to have no ego, but having a guy like David Ortiz strike out and look over at him like “Who IS this guy?” has to feel really good.

I was laughing out loud at Jeter mugging at David Wells – only Jeter could be pulling faces one second, then smacking a single the next. That guy could concentrate in the middle of a tornado. They looked like they were having fun, and playing really decent ball while they were at it. Hey, it’s not every day a team like the Red Sox hand over four errors (“SPIKE!”) and I’m just glad the Yankees took advantage.

One major issue…Everybody knows when a runner is heading for home, they have to mow the catcher down to get there – fair play to Varitek for knocking Posada on his ass, and much credit to Posada for risking the injuries to block the run. Johnny Damon did something similar in May, but when the play was over, he went back over and offered his arm to Posada to help him up and patted his back after making sure he was ok. No such class from Varitek – apparently some people can’t maintain a competitive edge without acting like a jerk.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Three little letters...

L…….O……B!!!!

And right after that “ERA”. God, what is it with this team? As soon as they get any kind of momentum going something happens to one of their pitchers and they freeze up. LOB for last night? TWENTY-ONE. (Which might also be Al Leiter’s ERA at the end of the first inning. Poor Al. I don’t think he’ll be coming back after that one.) How do you get TWENTY-ONE guys on and bring NOT ONE of them across home plate? I mean, I know it’s really hard when two of your pitchers give up 10 runs in two innings, but this is the YANKEES. Look at the people in that line-up! Not ONE run?!

I checked Gameday before I went to bed to see how things were kicking off. I was stunned when Leiter threw Strike One, and then immediately followed it with Strike Two. (Whoa.) I thought this was a sign of good things to come and shut my computer down happy. About two hours later something woke me up (come to think of it, it may have been the screaming death spiral of Leiter’s career) and I turned on the radio to check the score. (I am such an addict – I am totally strung out on baseball this year.) The Yankees were down 11, and almost the whole starting line up was off the field in the fifth inning. (John Flaherty playing 1st base????!!!!) Apparently Torre sent everybody home to think about what they’d done. Dear God.

And Mike Mussina may be out for the remainder of the season. The Yankees are to pitchers as Spinal Tap were to drummers – honestly, I’ll bet if you check the mound there would be green slime. There was a totally unsubstantiated rumor flying around that the Yankee organization was looking into signing Sidney Ponson… apparently “Yankee Pride” is no longer a factor.

Oh and Kevin Brown is apparently done for the season, and probably as a Yankee. Finally, some good news. What can Brown do for you? Sign with another team. Preferably the Red Sox.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Ah, come on, guys...


Man that loss yesterday really got to me. That felt exactly like the game against the Royals on Saturday, except they never exploded in the ninth. I was happy because the game was on at a reasonable time, but then they just seemed really “meah” – Wright got hit and they fell apart. What is it with the Yankees and leaving guys on base? Christ it drives me nuts. The New York Post was really grim about the loss Tuesday, but this was worse. Three out of four in this series would have been respectable, but splitting the series was not. God last spring when they were dreadful they pounded the Mariners. Really, really bumming.

What a week -- Mussina pitched badly, but they won. Chacon got his first shellacking as a Yankee – let’s see how he recovers from that. I wondered how long they could continue coming from behind and I got my answer. On the bright side, in walks Randy Johnson. THAT Randy Johnson. Go get ‘em Randy! Although I have to say, all the bellowing and chest pounding is a leetle beet scary. Waaaaaay too big a guy for that. He said, “There are a lot of people around here who couldn’t handle that from me every five days.” Er, yeah, ya think? Lurch springs to life. But it was fun listening to him school the “19-year-old pitching phenom” Felix Hernandez. (Absolutely everything that I read about Hernandez referred to him as the “19-year-old pitching phenom” like it was his title. “His royal highness”, “Secretary of State” --- “19-year-old pitching Phenom”) I love the fact that Johnson made a really big deal out of Robbie Cano too. “Without him, maybe we don’t win this game.”

And on the bright side for the Yankees, the A’s have lost like three key players to the DL – very lucky break, now let’s see if they make the most of it. Any handicap will do, thank you. That and the talk of Chien Ming Wang coming off the DL…maybe maybe maybe.

Because you know who they have to face next week. Mmm hmm. Oh yeah, BIIIIIG series, a constant thorn in the Yankee side. Yeah, you guessed it.

TAMPA BAY.

What, you were thinking Boston?