It’s true: Happiness does breed complacency. The busy season at work is breathing down my neck, but truthfully I haven’t been writing about the Yankees because I’ve been so satisfied watching them lately. (Let me be clear that this has nothing to do with being fair-weather, but more to do with the fact that I’m at my best when I’m complaining. Just asked my husband. He thinks it’s the greatest show on earth when I get up in arms about something.)
But, recently, with the Yankees, it’s been a big ‘ole love fest. Until last night.
I didn’t mind that they lost the last game in Seattle. It’s crappy luck when three pitchers all don’t have it on the same day. But last night was some lazy-*** ****. Things I did not like:
- Managing to leave every man on base who got into scoring position.
- Getting the feeling you get with a number-9 hitter every time A-Rod came up.
- The atrocious double play A-Rod hit into with the bases loaded and maddeningly weak hacks by others
- The swinging-at-the-first-pitch fest that had me tucked into bed at 12:15 a.m. I’ve never seen a Yankees game end that fast.
(BTW – Derek Jeter is always exempt from these critiques in my world, mostly because he just keeps hitting the ball no matter what goes on.)
There are nights when you think your team ran into a buzzsaw. And then there are nights when your pitcher balks in a run and your offense looks like they’d rather be playing cards in the clubhouse. At least they didn’t have to tax the bullpen. It looked like it might happen in the fourth, but A.J. miraculously recovered his cool. The offense? Not so much.
Still, the Oakland A’s are no buzzsaw. We have the Angels and apparently the Rangers for that. So, pretty please, boys can we get the mojo back tonight? I know you’ll be okay in the long run but it’s best not to let the lazy become ingrained.
Not to be outdone, Swisher went yard about a minute later. Take that, haters! And by haters, I mean my husband. (Btw, the Swisher battle in my house is becoming epic: Tim simply refers to him as “the S-word.”
So, I was enjoying the romp (and some mint chocolate chip ice cream) when the channel switched to Bravo of its own accord. Damn you, DVR. Because Weeds and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List were both taping, I couldn’t watch the rest of the game! There’s got to be a way to fix that you can’t tape two shows and watch a third at the same time, right? I mean, besides making us buy actual Tivo?
When I turned back I saw that Swisher had jacked another one, and that Johnny Damon had hit his 200th career homer.
It has taken me a while to warm up to Johnny Damon, and not just because he came from the Red Sox. I know he’s still crazypants on the inside, but he seems to have matured a bit with the Yankees, if only in a relative kind of way. (Also, he dreams about A.J.)
So, congrats all around! Hopefully the Trop and Scotty Kazmir continue to be good to the Yanks tonight.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
What the hell was that, A.J. Burnett?
And why the hell did every Yankee forget how to hit virtually overnight? More specifically, why was Robbie Cano the only one who looked remotely interested in playing this game?
And what the hell is this?
This pretty much sums up Red Sox fans, right here. Only in their freakin’ Bud Light-addled minds would it be ok for someone to hold up a sign like this about A-Rod while Papi struggles to hit over .200 (because of his lack of…what, exactly?) and the two World Series they won were on the back of Manny “Manboobs” Ramirez. Seriously? You’re actually going to try to take the moral high ground? For christsakes. Hundreds of colleges and universities in the area and the locals still manage to be a bunch of morons.
Memorial Day has become such a relaxing day for me, as it’s the day that marks the end of a frantic time at work. But, it’s also a day of reflection, because my husband and I both have family members who have served in the Marines, the Air Force, the Army, the Coast Guard, and – I think – the Navy. I am grateful for their sacrifice and for all the sacrifices made by the men and women who are currently serving and their families.
As always, baseball (and other spring sports like soccer and NASCAR) are closely linked with this day. They are part of our national identity and the everyday lives of many who serve. I always think of how many MLB players were in the Armed Forces during World War II and the Korean conflict, including Warren Spahn, Bob Feller, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams. This ESPN feature makes the point that sports can also be a balm for people affected by war. Of course, I am my mother’s daughter, so it made me cry.
In the scheme of things, then, the Yankee game today was a nice diversion and a reminder of how lucky we are. Players like Swish and Damon are involved with charities that help veterans, and the Yankees have welcomed servicemen and women to games this past week in commemoration of Fleet Week. Today they played the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, and the pre-game included this:
In any case, Phil Hughes was in fine form. We all know he can be great at his job, so it’s very exciting when he does just that. I like confident, kick-*** Phil:
I did not, however, like those caps they made them wear. Did it have to be fire-engine red? I kept doing double-takes whenever I saw one of them in the field. It was so incongruous with the Yankee uniform.
I had some trepidation about this game for two reasons: Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler. But, happily, Phil kept the entire Texas line-up at bay, and the Yankee bats teed off on the Rangers’ pitchers. Watching that could not have been a good time for Rangers Team President Nolan Ryan.
In particular, A-Rod had it goin’ on all day long. I’m not always Alex’s biggest fan, but you’ve got to love a guy who has learned how to thrive on the boos he gets, to the tune of 5-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.
This is why chicks dig the long ball:
The crack of the bat, when you know for sure that it’s gone, is one of the coolest sounds ever. Tonight, Mark Teixeira went yard twice, one from either side of the plate. A-Rod also hit a bomb. It was nice to see the two of them jumping on some pitches.
The defense was great behind Pettitte tonight. I am lovin’ Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli. And Texy gets the gold star because in addition to his two jacks, he also made a couple of great plays at first.
And, although, he gave me a minor heart attack at the end, I love that Phil Coke got the save. I’ve actually been pulling for him – out of all the bullpen guys in there – because I think he can be really good behind Bruney and Mo. He’s definitely a work in progress. It was nice to see him strike out Justin Morneau in convincing fashion in the eighth.
Last year, nobody could get it going at the same time as anybody else. This year, it’s so much fun watching different players contribute in bunches. I’m looking forward to seeing them play in person in July.
PS: If you have some time on your hands, check out the clip of CC, Swish, and Bruney fishing from Yankees on Deck on YES. Bruney is the Trout Master, apparently. Swish, like my husband and Joey on Friends, just wants to sit around eating sandwiches.
At the very moment the Minnesota Twins indicated they were going to walk Robinson Cano to get to Melky Cabrera last night I said to myself, and my television, “why?”
Nothing against Robbie, but he’s been in a slump recently, and Melky has been hitting the ball solidly even when he’s making outs. Plus Melky’s a switch hitter. What’s the strategy there? I’m sure someone who has way more strategery than me could tell me, but at that point in time it seemed like a bad idea.
And it turns out it was a bad idea.
I’ve noticed this year, more than ever before, that people are relying on old assumptions and outdated information when it comes to the Yankees–both on and off the field–instead of actually doing the quick homework it would take to find something out about the actual skills and character of this team.
Brett Gardner has speed? Who knew?
There’s more young talent coming up every day? We thought the average age of prospects in Trenton and Scranton was approximately 75.
This team has heart? Oh, we didn’t notice because we focus obsessively on A-Rod 24/7.
So things started looking up this weekend. Good times. Ok, Saturday wasn’t a good time. But Friday and Sunday went well. Of course, Friday and Sunday were the days I couldn’t watch the games! I did appreciate the update on A-Rod’s home run from the emcee at the awards reception my husband and I attended. Especially because he was a native of Boston and a former sportscaster. Nice.
Let’s not even talk about Saturday and my ever-fluctuating fan relationship with Phil Hughes. We know the talent is there. We know he can mix his pitches well. But I don’t understand why he can’t seem to minimize damage. It seems like all his bad innings come with five or more runs. However frustrating Joba’s first inning thing is, at least he regroups and tries to institute some damage control.
Which brings us to Sunday and Joba. I spent the day with Mama Reality Check and other assorted family members…
…which means I didn’t see Aubrey Huff do his little crybaby thing. I know, my words don’t mean much because I’m biased. I love everything about the way Joba goes about his job (except, maybe his first-inning phobia). But competition is about winning. And these guys do whatever they can to win. So, when they’re on the losing end, we’re supposed to believe the winning player or team should care about the loser’s feelings? How messed up is that? I never liked Manny admiring his home runs; but if people in the opposing dugout were actually being honest with themselves, they were admiring a lot of those bombs themselves.
And so it follows that Huff mocking Joba is a kind of, well, wimpy (especially since the O’s lost the game). It’s like telling everyone that you can’t handle the emotional distress inflicted by Joba’s fist pump. I also like how Joba’s response was, “It’s not the last time I’m going to face him.” Umm…what exactly is going to happen the next time you face him, Joba? Because I want to be in front of the television for that.
Also, who could stay mad at the nutty professor here: My husband also said something interesting about the whole first-inning thing the other day. He said that was always the way with Tom Glavine when he was younger. If you got to him in the first inning, you might have a chance to win. If he survived the first inning, forget it. Not sure how he overcame that, but I’m sure Joba will figure it out as he goes along. To me, it’s all about limiting walks. I don’t care if you give up a home run in the first inning – I care when there are two other guys on base at the time.
(Screen grab from YESnetwork.com)
Because of various forces (rain, Celtics, Extra Innings blacking out Saturday’s game) I took some time away from my beloved boys in pinstripes. Seems like CC Sabathia had the same idea.
But seriously folks, I was distressed by the injuries piling up, including the beaning Swisher took off his elbow. (Watch your back, Jered Weaver.)
I have also been distressed about the impending A-Rod book and what it’s release will mean. And by that I don’t mean how it will affect him or the team, but the way in which the book’s release will be covered by a bunch of (almost completely) male sportswriters and baseball people.
It started right on time, Friday, when Michael Wilbon decided to call Selena Roberts’ choice to write the book “low-rent.” I’m sorry – when the guys at the SF Chronicle were digging into Barry Bonds’ life with his mistress and taxes and whatnot, I don’t think I heard the term “low-rent.” I must have missed it, but I also didn’t hear anyone say anything about Tom Verducci’s motives when he helped Torre focus on the negative in his recent book.
And Joe Girardi, although he has to protect his players, was positively bambiesque yesterday when he talked about players’ kids having to hear or read about their parent’s mistakes because some writer thought it was a good story. Especially with someone sitting on his bench who happens to have daughters but still thought it was a good idea to talk about cheating on their mother in a book he wrote.
Women’s motives are always questioned in sports. And even worse than that is the idea that, in the sports world, men can use gender alone to discredit someone when they don’t like what they’re saying or writing. I know that men would like nothing better than to have all women kicked out of the Sports Treehouse. After all, this is supposed to be some sort of male sanctuary or something.
Here, then, is the solution for A-Rod. Sue the publishing company for libel. If Big Bad Selena Roberts is being mean to poor, fragile little Alex, then he should seek some legal recourse. Of course, that won’t happen because everyone knows that the best defense against libel is for the statements to be true. And I’m willing to bet they are.