Friday, April 14, 2006

Sweeps are good...

So it’s a three-game sweep of Kansas City in Yankee Stadium. Without being arrogant, that’s as it should be. One of the announcers on ESPN commented, “These two teams shouldn’t even be in the same stadium together.” But last year the Yanks got swept by the Royals in Kansas, and no, damnit, I haven’t forgotten. Sports Illustrated made the argument that close games fill seats, but watching your team romp all over another team has it’s merits as well.

The game was on ESPN the other day, and I got home to catch the last bit of it. The announcers were saying that managing a team like the Royals or the Devil Rays is all about preaching winning baseball. With no 5-tool players, and a serious shortage of 3- and 4-tool players, you have to make the most out of opportunities – when luck turns against the dominant team, the less talented team has to be there to take advantage of it. Still that could be a pretty sizable mental roadblock to overcome – to lose game after game and still maintain enough energy and enthusiasm every day to SEE opportunities when they present themselves.

Gotta say, I much prefer Damon bashing in a three-run homer in pinstripes with no trace of red in the uniform. The Yankees may not have needed the bat, but wow, it sure as hell doesn’t hurt.

I am half-listening to the game while doing several other things – the problem with listening to the game in the other room is John Sterling. “It is HIGH!” -- I drop everything, tell whoever I’m on the phone with to wait a sec-- “It is FAR!” --- I run into the next room – “IT IS....caught at the baggie by Ford.”

The BAGGIE?!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Much better

I got wound up last night when Matsui hit that solo shot in the 9th inning, but it wasn’t meant to be. For once, I couldn’t blame Randy Johnson, either.

That was tasty today though – hoo, a perfect Yankee victory, a very relaxing, solid thumping. I can’t believe how much attention this past week’s losses have gotten. I guess the media have to do something to fill all that air, but to say “Well, it’s silly to ask ‘what’s wrong with the Yankees?’ this early in the season”, but then spend the next 15 minutes discussing what’s wrong with the Yankees seems a little contradictory.

I’m watching “Baseball Tonight” hoping to see some of the shots from the game, especially Mariano’s play at first base. John Sterling is usually pretty good at calling the web gems. “Oh what a play by Mo!”

And ARod. Incredible – even my Red Sox buddies have started grumbling about what a good ball player he is. To do so seems to cause them physical pain, so it must mean something. People seemed to be thinking that he was freaking out by taking a midnight batting practice last night – I don’t get it, what is the big deal? Don Mattingly pointed out that one of the worst things to have to do after a bad night on the field is to go back to an empty hotel room and try to sleep – nothing to distract you from it and nothing to do but go over and over every detail in your head. ARod seems like someone who could wander into overthinking-it territory, and if it takes an early am batting practice to reset himself, leave the lights on and leave him to it. It appears to have worked...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Well....Opening Day was good.

Ugh, I have a massive head cold, and the last time I looked out the window it was actually snowing. Not helping matters is the fact that I stayed up late all week to watch baseball (so much for strict limits on my baseball habits!), and the Yankees being on a first week skid. It’s one thing to stay up late to listen to your team win, quite another when you crawl into work the fan of a losing team. If that losing team happens to be the Yankees, there is no mercy. A lifelong Orioles fan walked up to me and said “just so you know, my Birds are over your Yankees in the standings.” “Oh. I’m sorry, is it September?” “No, but like I’d pass up any opportunity to gloat.”

So it’s Saturday and I’m too sick to go out. I’m wrapped up in as many layers of fleece as I could find that weren’t packed away for the summer, and I’m going to listen to the game, hoping that the Yankees turn this freighter around.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Baseball is back!

Oh YEAH baseball is back! I was losing my mind there, but the Yankees return. They really weren’t kidding when they said they were ready for the season to start.

I tried to fix my jones by watching WBC games and Grapefruit League games – it’s just not the same, people. WBC was an interesting diversion, but I found myself really missing regular season play. Many people said that the WBC was more for other countries besides the U.S., which would make sense, but didn’t change my “who are these people?” disorientation. Then I started to listen to Grapefruit League games, but there would be so many player changes that I would have a hard time figuring out what was going on. I know that the whole point of Spring Training is to work out the kinks and give absolutely everybody you might even consider for the starting squad a chance to play, but damn, when I’m watching a Yankees/Phillies game and I don’t recognize anyone, it gets a little confusing. (The ball went where? Who caught it? Wait, who’s at bat? And who’s running for him? What’s on third, that much I do know.)

And I know it’s only the first game of the season, and I know that injury hangs over this team like a very localized thunderstorm, and I didn’t miss the fact that the run Randy Johnson gave up was a home run, and that Damon apparently didn’t attend Kevin Millar’s Boys and Girls Club lesson on hitting the cut-off man ( a little early for Jeter to be talking to his glove and sporting that “will be talking to you about that later” look, eh?) .........BUT!!!! Oh the hits! And the drawn walks, and Hideki with the three-run homer, and ARod with the Opening Day grand slam --- oooo, yeah, that was good, that was especially good. I had forgotten how much fun it could be watching that line-up scare pitchers like Barry Zito (Barry Zito!!) off the mound. Woo hoo!

One question? Who plonks Posada? I don’t mean that as any kind of slam to his hitting. Posada is a guy who never does anything to anybody, and that poor man has taken more knocks over the past couple of weeks than a football player. I’m hoping he makes it all the way through April, never mind the rest of the season.

It sucked that the game was on so late. I kept telling myself “Ok, ten more minutes, then you have to turn it off.” And the Yankees score ANOTHER run! “Ok. Ten more minutes.” I am so wiped out today, so I am on strict orders – directly to bed, do not even THINK about turning the TV on to see how things start.

But already I’m thinking....How’s Mussina going to pitch? Will they have the big hits tonight? Hmmmm.....Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night and deciding that it’s worth it to pay extra on the phone bill to check the score on my cell phone browser. Yeeeeehp. Totally hooked.

Baseball’s back!