Quick Hits from a Busy Weekend

  • Normally, I think I’m being more sensitive to the Yankees than people who are fans of other teams. That’s just natural, right? But yesterday my husband, who provides the barometer for my crazy fandom, said to me, “Why is it that Posada just doesn’t call a good game for Chamberlain?” Now, I don’t dislike Jorge. But, I think some people mesh better with others, especially in the pitcher-catcher relationship. So, it might not be all Jorge, but for some reason these two just do not agree with/understand one another.
  • Seriously? Ian Kinsler has to rely on the final fan vote to get into the All-Star Game? To that I say, in 90s Clueless fashion, whatevah!
  • Dare I say it? I kind of like the idea of keeping Phil Hughes in the pen.  Aside from his success there, I like the confidence he’s gaining in that role. He’s also sporting the rock-star shades and the longer hair. Good times all around.

More to come…

Delayed Reaction

First of all – who in the world does not love this man?

Mo_smile.jpg I know I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating that Mo is an impressive figure both on and off the field. He seemed confused by the fact that the Yankees would have him throw out the first pitch to last night’s game. Nobody else was confused – they all wanted to give him the standing ovation he deserves.

But I think I sort of had a delayed reaction to the 500th save and all the hoopla surrounding it. I actually got choked up last night with save no. 501. And not because I’m crazy or anything, but because I thought about watching this team in light of the way my grandfathers watched the team and my mother and father watched the team. They all had those players of mythical status that they could say they were lucky enough to watch play: Joe D., Mantle, Yogi, & Maris (my mom’s fave). Of the veterans on the current team, Jeter and Mo fill those spots for me.

I know things are different now. Players’ lives are de-mystified to the point where we have to separate liking the player from the person. But I’m glad I’ve had the chance to root for two old-school type players like them. I always wonder if my kids (should I have any!) will have the same kind of fan experience.

All right, enough sentimental girly stuff. On to a few tidbits that others have mentioned today, but I need to second:

  •   Brian Bruney shaved the catapillar on his upper lip but it didn’t help him any. Also, he apparently went to the Ian Kennedy School of Quote-Giving.
  • Joe Girardi, what goes on in that crazy little head of yours? Phil Hughes is throwing heat, getting outs. Why not bring him out for the next inning? Why, for the love of god!
  • Related to the item above: Phil Hughes has moved into second place on my baseball boyfriends list, knocking Joba down to fourth.
  • As Pete Abraham noted today, somebody’s got to get the fight back into Joba. Get on that, Dave Eiland. I would hate to have to drop him another couple of spots on my totally ridiculous list.Griffey.jpg
  • Ken Griffey Jr. had a sad look on his face last night. He’s not hitting well, but even worse, he looks like the reality might be setting in that he’s not the player he used to be. I feel for Junior. He lost so much time with injuries, and now his age has become a factor. On the upside, he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the first person mentioned whenever someone asks who has/had the sweetest swing in baseball. Plus – great smile.
  • Oh, Nick Markakis, you make me love you more each day.  Although I don’t know what that country at-bat music is all about.

Simply the Best

Mo-Jete.jpg Last night, it was sweet to watch Mariano Rivera record his 500th save (and his first-ever RBI).  Today, people have written all about Rivera’s legacy and what the numbers mean and all that other stuff.

For me, as a fan, it comes down to one thing: He has been as close as there ever was to a sure thing.

There are so many facets to a MLB win: hitting, starting pitching, relief pitching, defense, base running, fan interference…

But being the closer always seemed to be the position in which you have to have immense courage and a zen-like nature to excel. There’s not much worse that losing a game on one pitch that came out of your hand.

Mo almost never seemed phased by the responsibility of being that guy. Even after blowing a save to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, he seemed able to put it in its proper perspective. He was disappointed, obviously, but many lesser closers and lesser men would have let something like that destroy them.

Over the past few years, Mo may not have looked as sharp as he did in the prime of his career, but I still thought he could make things better. Young guys out in the pen? Let Mo teach them all his secrets. Wang having a crisis of confidence? Mo should have a talk with him. Set-up men nervous about facing certain hitters? Have Mo tell them his philosophy: Even in batting practice, when the guys know what’s coming, they don’t hit it well all the time. So, just throw your very best stuff in there and don’t be afraid of the contact.

I know people are wringing their hands over what happens when Mo retires, and I worry about that too. But if anyone in the ownership still has half a brain left, they’ll have him hired as a coach immediately after his farewell tour as a player. He’s still got a lot more he can share with this team.

Jumbled Mess of Yankee and Non-Yankee Thoughts

Last night’s game was a marathon for no reason whatsoever. On several levels, it hurt my brain. And then the whole Michael Jackson thing added to the confusion. It’s so weird to see multiple generations have such vastly different memories of a performer.

So, all I can really muster this morning is a few random thoughts:

  • Happy Birthday, Derek Sanderson Jeter.  Even though you have reached the golden milestone of 35 two months and ten days before I will, I get annoyed out of solidarity when people talk about your age. You look just as good to me now as you did in ’96. I wish I could say the same for myself.Jeter-dugout.jpg
  • I don’t know why, but I can’t get all jazzed up about A-Rod tying Reggie Jackson in the home run department.  Part of it is that I could never get jazzed up about Reggie. I know I should be able to, and I know A-Rod passing him (and the other guys on the list) will be a big deal. But Reggie never really seemed like a particularly fun guy and, as you know, I’m forever ambivalent toward A-Rod.
  • Is it wrong that I am simultaneously sad about Xavier Nady’s setback and somewhat relieved that it could possibly cut down on the chances that Swisher would be traded?
  • In Non-Yankee News, it was reported yesterday that Cubs catcher Geovany Soto tested positive for pot during the World Baseball Classic. The following paragraph appeared in a blog post written by Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com:

“In all seriousness, though, this news is embarrassing for everyone
involved, most notably Soto. The Cubs’ catcher is hitting just .228 on
the year and looks like a shell of the player that was the NL Rookie of
the Year last season. He doesn’t look nearly as powerful, or as fit, as
he did when he clubbed 23 homers and 86 RBIs in 2008. In short, he’s
been a disappointment, and now with this news being public plenty of
fans will wonder if all the adulation got to his head.”

Everybody who thinks this was the first time Soto ever smoked pot, raise your hands. No one? Good. Because my feeling is that it wasn’t. Now, everybody who thinks all this hand wringing over pot use is ridiculous in light of what was happening with drugs in the 70s, 80s and 90s? Aren’t we all pretty sure that the entire Mets roster was high as a kite throughout that time. Sure the adulation may have gone to his head, and maybe he thought he didn’t have to work so hard anymore, but I would question blaming that all on the pot because you’re assuming he wasn’t doing it the whole time he was coming up through the ranks.

Victorino-Utley.jpg

  • Speaking of MLB players you might want to smoke pot with, when we were at Citizens Bank park for the Phillies game, my husband and I got a kick out of noting the batting music of each player. Shane Victorino was rockin’ the Bob Marley, forever endearing himself to me. (Disclaimer: this is not to say that I’m speculating about Victorino smoking pot. I have no idea what he does with his spare time. I’m just commenting on the mellow vibe Bob inspires.)  Tim decided that he would like to be pals with Chase Utley based on his choice of Led Zeppelin, specifically Kashmir. Good to know. I told him that now he can’t turn around and make fun of Utley if I say something about him being an aesthetically pleasing ballplayer in addition to being a very good one.

Sometimes All You Need is a Little Push

Okay. I know. I was the pessimistic one yesterday. And I think the frustration had reached a boiling point for many in the Yankee Orbit. Then, we were treated to this:

Girardi_argue.jpgThe drama! The intensity! The incredibly terrible call by this here ump! I believe that a manager getting thrown out can fire up his/her team. But in this case, I think it was actually the bad call on Gardner getting “picked off” first. It wasn’t even close. Something that maddening is bound to push a frustrated group right over the edge whether the manager gets thrown out or not. And it did. In a good way.

Francisco Cervelli, who does have a way of making good things happen (although I am emphatically not in the group calling for Posada to be put out to pasture), hit his first major league home run, and nobody in the dugout even bothered with the pretense of giving him the silent treatment.

(Speaking of Cervelli, I can’t get a handle on his accent. I know he is from Venezuela and that he played in the WBC for Italy. Is he of Italian descent? His accent kind of had that feel to it in the postgame interview with Kim Jones.)

The home run opened the flood gates for a string of hits and runs to preserve a win for Joba, who pitched very well. But the best moment was yet to come:

Mo-hitting.jpgMo’s got a bat! Look out. He actually hit the ball pretty hard to center field, although it was caught by Nate McLouth. Of course, CC Sabathia’s reaction was priceless. As soon as the ball came off the bat he started jumping up and down like a mad man. It was kind of an awesome moment. That’s the kind of enjoyment I look forward to seeing from my boys. I hope we get to see lots more of it in the near future.

Why Didn’t I Stay on Vacation?

Ugh.jpgLast night, when my husband came in from work, I said: “I really wouldn’t care if they blew up this whole team and started over from scratch.”

Now, I was having a moment of extreme annoyance, and that’s not really how I feel. But I can’t help thinking that the All-Star break cannot come fast enough. Last night’s game against Atlanta was incredibly frustrating. But more than that, it was a situation in which I sat on my couch and thought about all the other things I could be doing just then. And then I decided that I was going to do all those other things for a few days instead of vegging out in front of this train wreck every night.

A-Rod3.jpgYou see, when I was on vacation, it was so nice. We went to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Citizens Bank Park in Philly. The whole time, I was inspired (and a little envious) at the way these people saw the games as entertainment.  There wasn’t a stressed-out vibe as soon as you walked in the park, like at Fenway or Yankee Stadium. I started thinking, wouldn’t it be great to live in a city where the games don’t really matter? (Note: I realize that Philly fans are just as crazy as we are, but they are enjoying life right now and giving their team a pass because of that World Series thing.)

I also didn’t have access to the Internet, so I couldn’t read all the hand-wringing and whatnot (you know, like I’m doing right now). It was actually quite liberating.

Unfortunately, I am now back to this:
 
232x308.jpg I think I need the All-Star break as much as they do.

Maintaining Radio Silence for a Bit

I don’t really have much to say today. And I won’t have much to say for the next week or so. I’m going on vacation and will have limited access to the interwebs.  Which is probably a good thing at this point.

That doesn’t mean I’ll be on vacation from baseball, though. My hubby and I are going to Baltimore to see the Orioles play the Blue Jays, and then we are going up to Philly to see the Phillies vs. the Mets. I’m pretty psyched to relax and root for a team I really don’t care all that much about.

Specifically, I’m excited to see Camden Yards. I’m also looking forward to seeing Nick Markakis, live and in person. And, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be?

Markakis2.jpgBut, really, I can’t wait to watch the Phillies. Why is that? I don’t know. I mean, I love Ryan Howard. But besides that, I just think they are a team I could get behind if I had to root for someone else (the Twins and the Cardinals also appeal to me).  My husband, in that awesome way that he has, is determined to get his picture taken with the Phillie Phanatic. We’ll have to make that happen.

So, until I return with tales of non-Yankee baseball adventure, I will just say that I am touched by the support Chien-Ming Wang is receiving from his teammates.

I hope Mariano has his planned chat with him and that Wang regains some of his lost confidence. I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to say bad things about someone who seems like such a nice guy.

***UPDATE***: Wow. I don’t even know what tickets I bought. That’s how addled my brain is. The Orioles are actually playing the Mets and the Phillies are playing the Jays. This is why I need vacation. Desperately.