What with the badassery coming out of the pen and the longer devil-may-care locks, and the aggressiveness right out of the gate, you may just be my new imaginary baseball boyfriend.
And then you say things like this: “I don’t want them getting on base for free. I want them to earn it,” and my heart goes all aflutter. You’ve cranked it up to a whole new level of awesomeness, and I am seriously digging it.
First of all – who in the world does not love this man?
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.
- 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.
2nd Inning: Dear Ozzie Guillen, Thanks for being such an asshat and helping to usher in the Nick Swisher era in New York. Love (only in this instance), Kristin
Wild pitch, Andy Pettitte. I can’t blame that on Kate Hudson. Here comes the out-of-control circus inning.
RBI single by Tampa Bay’s hobbling catcher; David Cone is calling it “quick damage.” How about a quick rebound for Andy and the guys in the field?
Nope. Tie game. Aww, hamburgers.
Michael Kay, ladies and gentlemen, lecturing BJ Upton about having dip or chew in his mouth in the outfield. My personal thought is that it’s a disgusting habit, but there’s no reason to pick on one guy – especially when several of the Yankees have that permanent bottom-lip or cheek bump during games.
5th inning: Andy Pettitte looks confused as to what is happening here. You need some outs, big guy.
Ask and you shall receive. Double play. Nice play by Jeter. I would prefer it if Michael Kay didn’t call it a “dance step,” though. Might as well call him “twinkle toes.”
Ha! Kay just brought the hammer down on Swish for the dip thing. Cone was awesome, saying, “Wow, you’re the tobacco police!” I don’t know about telling grown men they can’t do something that’s perfectly legal. If MLB ever tried to outlaw it, I picture Josh Beckett saying something like, “You can pry my dip from my cold, dead hand.”
6th inning: Quick work by Pettitte. This is what makes pitching interesting for me. What made the light-hitting Gabe Kapler so dangerous at that moment, but you can strike out Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena twice each?
Johnny Damon! Nice work, there, Caveman. Gotta take those hanging curveballs and deposit them in the seats where they belong.
7th inning: Please welcome to the stage The Phil Hughes Bullpen Experience. I’m one of those people who thinks it doesn’t help him at all to get sent back down to Scranton. He’s a pro pitcher right now…as evidenced by that masterful inning right there.
Melky, see, what you’re supposed to do there is prolong the inning so my husband can get more and more annoyed at close-ups of Swisher on base. You just had to cut my amusement short, didn’t you?
8th inning: My question is why? Why take Phil Hughes out for Phil Coke? Why is Michael Kay so corny? Why is my husband so threatened by men in pinstripes? Why is Phil Coke walking people on four pitches?
Derek Jeter jacks a homerun. My husband says, “That’s an out in Fenway.” Man, is that annoying.
9th inning: Mo time. Long tirade from hubby on Mo’s age. Mo, apparently, is 75 years old. He hides it well. Oh, how I love when they swing at the high fastball. Game over.
The other night, after a coma-inducing rain delay, Joba Chamberlain was only able to go four innings. I believe he left with the game tied 3-3. Perfect spot for Chien-Ming Wang to come in and get some work, no? No. Instead we got Aceves, who has been good but had pitched a wholly unnecessary inning in the previous game. Things did not end well.
Pete Abraham covered this the other day, questioning why the Yankees would leave a pitcher they once considered an “ace” twisting in the wind. So, last night, when they brought Wang into an 8-2 game, I threw my hands (and the remote) into the air as if to say, WTF?
He did well, considering he was handed a mop. No runs, no hits, two strikeouts, and he threw 18 of his 26 pitches for strikes. Does anyone else feel that he would not be in bullpen limbo if he was more of a squeaky wheel, so to speak?
Forget the Joba debate being ridiculous, this is idiotic. If he’s shown in rehab, minor league stints, and bullpen sessions that he’s much stronger now, why not put him back in the rotation. I don’t think that Phil Hughes deserves to go back to Scranton, but I certainly think that Wang, with his seniority and his overall success, should be given preference. I love Phil, I really do. But I want to know why it’s okay for Wang to sit in the pen and it’s not okay for Phil. Someone, please explain.
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.
After a night of sushi and beer with the girls, I was thrilled to find out about the back-to-back-to-back home run action that went on in the Bronx. If there is anything better than watching BFFs Robbie and Melky do well at the same time, I’d like to know what it is.
I was also stoked about Phil Hughes’ nine strikeouts. I would like him to be a little more economical, but we must be patient. Rarely does everything come together all at once for a 22-year-old kid, even when people insist on calling him a phenom.
But predictably, none of this was of interest to my husband. As soon as I got in the door, he told me about Papi hitting his first home run of the season, and then he asked his new favorite making-fun-of-me question: “So, did Swisher help any old ladies across the street today?”
Look, I’m a pretty jaded gal when it comes to sports figures. I prefer to make up nice things about them in my head to combat the avalanche of jackassery that goes on. So, when I see one of them doing nice things and actually being a bit genuine from time to time, it’s a shock to the system. This usually results in a geeky fangirl mega-crush (which, let’s face it, is pretty common in the Yankee Universe right now, and previously in Oakland and Chicago).
My point is simply that there is a reason why people are talking about him (and by people I mean me). This just adds to the love fest.
That woman is seriously courageous, and I don’t doubt that her presence at the game was an inspiration, as trite as that sounds. Most of the time, athletes have a distorted perception of what’s important, but this is not one of those times.
In a related thought, is there any way we can start a grassroots movement to get Swisher off the dip? I understand this would be akin to prying me away from Diet Coke, but it just seems at odds a bit with all the work he does for people with cancer.
This was a banner weekend for the Yankees. Ok, maybe not completely storybook. I mean, you don’t want to keep getting yourself in the position of having to win by walk-off. But the qualities I want to see in a team that’s in it for the long haul are there.
Even when some people are having critical lapses in judgment…
…there is an aggressiveness that wasn’t there last year. I’m seeing sacrifice bunts and nice defensive plays. I’m seeing better things from the bullpen (which I’m superstitiously scared to even type). And for some reason, we’re seeing a lot more of the guys’ tongues:
Even Phil, Joba and A.J. kept their mental composure and did their best to limit any damage.