Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Everyone But....

That should be the headline tomorrow as seven Yankees hit home runs (Matsui twice) while A-Rod flailed away. The lightbulbs at the Stadium were blinding every time he got an at-bat. But the sixth home run, people were dissolving in good-natured laughter. I'd like to think A-Rod was joking with his teams or getting teased by them during all this (maybe it would relax him), but the only glimpse I saw of him on a monitor in the dugout after someone else's home run showed him all business. Did anyone see it on TV who can speak to the atmosphere among the players? And what the heck was the home plate umpire freaking out over? I thought he was gonna toss the entire Whie Sox team and not just one manager. 53,000+ fans on a Tuesday continued the Yankees' recent run of making every game feel like a playoff. And (here's my obligatory dig), trust A-Rod to turn even a positive milestone like his 500th home run into angst and drama. I tried to get people to chant "Relax A-Rod" but it didn't catch on.

Gagne to Red Sox

Paps and Gagne finishing out games...that's almost as good as Wetteland and Mo back in the glory days. Anyone else scared?

Damn I hope Joba Chamberlain is ready for the big time.

Scott Proctor should sue Joe Torre for lost earnings after the way he abused him the last couple of years. I'm surprised he can even throw a baseball at this point.

Tonight: Yankees Vs Sox

Mussina and Contreras. A-Rod going for #500 (only the 22nd player in history to do so). And we might have an extra ticket. Any takers?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Major Fun From Minor Leagues

Thanks to Nannette, a bunch of us headed to Brooklyn to see the Coney Island Cyclones. If you haven't been, it's really a jewel of a ballpark. The lights have a large neon colored circle surrounding them that's somehow fun and elegant, the stadium holds about 9000 but seems intimate and most of the seats have a view of the ocean past the outfield and the boardwalk. The Cyclones -- a farm team for the Mets -- were playing the Vermont Monsters but of course the game didn't really matter. You just soaked up the night, got a close look at the young arms hanging out in the bullpen, wondered why a national league team would be using the DH (don't they want their pitchers to get some batting in?) and of course drinking beer -- a luxury Yankee fans don't get in the bleachers.

It was, of all things, a pitching duel and went into extra innnings before a truly bizarre finale. A player on the opposing team got hit in the head and fell face down on the ground, writhing in pain and kicking his legs in the air every once in a while. Everything came to a halt and then the fireworks began while the poor kid was still on the field. (Every game ends with fireworks.) They were pretty elaborate cause Brooklyn doesn't need to wait till the Fourth of July to have a little fun. But the wind was blowing in and soon the entire ballpark was wreathed in fog. It looked like a battlefield and the only way we know the ballplayer was carried off by paramedics was the applause that drifted over to us. Finally, the game began again and the Cyclones lost 1-0 in the 10th.

But all was not lost. We ended with a dog at Nathan's Famous, which made it just about perfect. But someone should explain to Nathan's about the innovations in fast food since 1920 or whenever they opened. Each person taking an order went and got each and every item themselves, adding ages and ages to the time it takes to fill each order. (For God's sake, have one person taking orders, another getting the food and another getting drinks.) Still, it was a good dog and the only way to end the day at Coney Island. It may be traitorous to say so, but I find minor league ball is always more fun and more in the spirit of baseball the way I want it to be than the majors or even the Yankees. Remind me to head to the Staten Island Yankees before their season is over.

A-Rod's Dirty Deeds Not Juiced, Just Juicy

Okay, so Jose Canseco saved some dirt for his second book. He may be a schmuck, but much of what he claimed has been substantiated by others via testimony, grand jury leaks, etc. Joe Torre dismissed Canseco's claim to have dirt on A-Rod. No one knows what that dirt might be, but know we know what Johnny Damon THINKS Canseco would be revealing:
"I just hope he thinks about not ruining someone's life, marriage, or whatever he plans on doing," Damon said. "If that's what Jose Canseco wants to be remembered for, so be it.

"To me, Alex is a great teammate who will always respect the game, play the game right and work hard. He loves the game, so hopefully nothing that can ruin a family or something comes out. ... Hopefully (Canseco will) think twice about it."
"Ruining a family" probably rules out steroids -- thank God. I couldn't bear yet another Yankee being a juiced up cheater. So A-Rod's idioic behavior where he paraded a girlfriend in front of photographers when taking her back to his room (instead of going to another hotel or at least using a side entrance) wasn't the first time he behaved like a fool. Maybe his wife's t-shirt wasn't directed at the Yankees after all....

Do I care? No. But since we're dealing with A-Rod's fragile ego, every distraction is a concern.

Minor League update

Minor league stats mean nothing to me, unless they are (1) in reference to a Yankee prospect and (2) overwhelmingly positive. In that vein, here are the stats for two of our top pitching prospects as they've risen through the ranks this season:

Ian Kennedy
AAA: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 IP, 2 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 0.67 WHIP
AA: 5-1, 2.59 ERA, 48 IP, 27 H, 57 K, 17 BB, 0.90 WHIP
A: 6-1, 1.29 ERA, 63 IP, 39 H, 72 K, 22 BB, 0.97 WHIP

Joba Chamberlain
AAA: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 IP, 4 H, 10 K, 1 BB, 1.00 WHIP
AA: 4-2, 3.43 ERA, 39 IP, 32 H, 64 K, 15 BB, 1.19 WHIP
A: 4-0, 2.03 ERA, 40 IP, 25 H, 51 K, 11 BB, 0.90 WHIP

Wang, Hughes, Kennedy, Chamberlain, & Karstens sounds like a pretty good rotation to me -- with Sanchez (obtained for Sheff) being groomed as a successor to Mo and other quality arms (Betances, Clippard, Ohlendorf, Ramirez) to provide some depth. I just hope that Cashman is around to see the end results of his long term focus.

Joba the Hut ready to devour Farnsworth's innings

Looks like top prospect Joba Chamberlain is moving to the bullpen in AAA for the week, presumably with an eye on getting him prepared for where he'll be most needed down the stretch for the Yanks. If only he could replace Farnsworth, Proctor, and Bruney all by himself.


Anyone else looking forward to 7 strong innings out of Phil Hughes on Saturday, following by a scoreless 8th from Joba, and then Mariano sealing the deal?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Section 39 has the most bleacher experience

Do you know what ads I hate the most? The ones that are authoritative and vague at the same time. Pepsi was voted to have the most cola taste. What the hell does that even mean? More cola taste than generic, store-brand cola? Than Royal Crown or Coke? Than a cup of muddy water? It drives me crazy and yet somehow I can't stop thinking about the "fact" that Diet Dr. Pepper tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper.

So, since it seems impossible to not have these ridiculous slogans seared onto your sub-conscience, I thought we should invent some for the Yankees. Did you know that the Yankees are more baseball than any other team? And the new Yankee Stadium will be more like the current and old Yankee Stadium? And, of course, going to a Yankee game has more of the Yankee experience than watching at home. I know that's why I'm a season ticket holder.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Isn't it ironic...

...that Michael Kay, he of the Fordham journalism degree and multiple broadcasting awards, still somehow finds a way to misuse the word "ironic" so often? Apparently he inferred the meaning of this often misunderstood word from Alanis Morrisette's song in the 90's. Incidentally, this is also when he came up with his home run catch-phrase "See Ya!" as in, "See ya -- wouldn't want to be ya!" which stopped being cool in about 1996. Apparently (true story that he told once on the air) he was on a date and upon leaving that's what the girl said to him. Seriously...

I think one of the features of this blog should be a sidebar where we take note of all the stupid things he says in the course of a game.

Oh and one more thing -- the N and the Y are NOT INTERLOCKING!!!

I've been waiting a long time to get that off my chest in a forum such as this...thanks Michael.

Cut A-Rod some slack

The guy is the best all around baseball player in the world. He's carried the team offensively for months at a time and he's been playing Gold Glove defense at a premier position. His baserunning is underrated as well. So why do Yankee fans continue to complain? Do we really care about his salary? Compared to guys like Giambi, Mussina, Clemens, Farnsworth, Damon, Igawa, Abreu, etc. he's an absolute BARGAIN! Hell -- he'd still be a bargain at $30mm or $35mm a year if it meant the difference between making the playoffs and finishing five games out. So while I still believe that team needs to be built around home grown talent like Jeter, Mo, Jorge, Cano, Melky, Phillips, and Hughes -- lets not discount the idea that they also need a guy like A-Rod to carry the load. And besides -- the guy wants to win so badly -- I wish everyone on the Yankees cared as much as he does. So I say after the season we go to A-Rod and tell him if he doesn't opt out we'll tack on 4 years at $30mm a year at the end of his current deal. That'd be something like 6 years, $175mm (??) and if he turns that down he's crazy.

Viva la A-Rod!

Our First Base Problems Are Over

With Giambi and Miencheozhsdijar on the DL for the better part of the season, we've had the proverbial "revolving door" at first. Cairo filled in admirably before also getting injured, Andy Phillips, while "beautiful", is not an every day firstbaseman, and it was fun seeing Shelley Duncan get off to a quick start in the bigs. What we really need is some stability at first and finally the Yanks have done something about it. Last week, the Yanks signed one of my personal favorites to a minor league contract and first base should be locked up for years to come by Erubiel Durazo. I can't help but be excited about the Yanks getting a player with a 1.074 career minor league OPS and the Yank's global brand will only be enhanced by fielding a Mexican player within our little baseball melting pot. It may take until September for Durazo to put on his pinstripes, but that will truly be a glorious day!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tonight: Yankees Vs Kansas City

With Igawa (6.67 ERA) and De La Rosa (5.61 ERA) on the mound, I assume we'll be looking at another hitter's fest. (Not to mention #500 possibly for A-Rod.) Any predictions on the total runs scored? And comment here as the game takes place.

How do I edit my profile?

I think the title speaks for itself.

A-Rod Is About To Hit #500

Do we care? We've seen A-Rod at what amounts to his worst. And clearly now we're seeing A-Rod at his best. (Is that 100+ RBI I see in July?) What now? If A-Rod opts out, do we re-sign him and shoulder the entire burden of his salary? (Right now we pay about $16 mil; in a new contract, A-Rod will get $30 mil for 6 or so years and the team that signs him will have to pay it all.) Do we say goodbye? Or are we secretly hoping he'll just stand pat and we can keep his bat in the lineup and just deal with the drama for what amounts to a bargain price? My vote is to say goodbye: A-Rod will be much happier elsewhere...and so will we.

What Do We Believe In?

We’re Yankee fans who’ve sat in the bleachers for years. We’ve got season tickets in Section 39 dating back to 2000 -- the first year season tickets were sold there.

We believe the following:

1. The Yankees are the greatest baseball team -- indeed, the greatest sports team -- in history. No one will ever catch up to them.
2. The bleachers are the best seats in the house, even without beer sales.
3. We believe in “small ball.” Home runs don’t impress us. Personal stats don’t impress us. ERAs and batting averages and streaks don’t impress us. Wins impress us. Nothing else. Nothing else matters.
4. A walk is as good as a hit.
5. A triple can be more exciting than a home run.
6. Derek Jeter believes everything we believe.
7. A great team doesn’t need the biggest payroll, but players who come to New York demand their cut of the most lucrative franchise around.
8. The dynasty of the late 90s was built on a classic small ball mix of superstars, veterans, position players and hungry young players.
9. We don’t want or need a superstar at every position. In fact, that is a terrible way to build a team.
10. The Yankees succeeded in the late 90s only because George Steinbrenner was banned from baseball for illegal activities. Without his interference, without his absurd love for buying overpriced, over the hill veterans, Gene Michael and Buck Showalter and the rest of the team were able to create a classic group of guys like Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera and of course Derek Jeter. If Steinbrenner had been in charge and not forced to stay out of day to day affairs, that Yankees dynasty never would have existed.
11. The Yankees have been ignoring the lessons of the late 90s for years. They’ve been buying aging, overpriced, over the hill veterans like Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina, cheaters like Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, blockbuster flops like Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa and superstars like Alex Rodriguez. What they need are business-like, no-fuss heroes like Matsui and hungry talent like Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano and position players like Andy Phillips to mix with superstars like Jeter and Posada.
12. As George Steinbrenner continues to loosen his hold on power, the Yankees will have their first opportunity this century to build another dynasty, another winning team that can compete for years rather than simply lumber into the postseason a la the Atlanta Braves.
13. Joe Torre is a very good manager.
14. We can criticize the Yankees. But if you’re not a fan, don’t say a word against them.
15. We cheer for our players; we don’t boo them.
16. With our payroll and our legacy, we expect to get to the post-season every time. But expecting to win the World Series every year would be idiotic. Whether we win or lose in the first round, the second round or the Series, all we expect is top-notch, well-played competitive games. No one can ask for more than a great matchup and memorable games, regardless of the victor. Of course, you can have all of that AND win the World Series, too, can’t you?
17. Derek Jeter is a god.
18. Fans should sit in their assigned seats, rather than trying to snag a better view and annoying the heck out of us.
19. There’s no call for constant, vulgar abusive language when kids are around...but the occasional heartfelt curse is the right of every fan.
20. If we were running the Yankees, you’d have nothing to complain about.

What Is Five O'Clock Lightning?

In the Thirties, baseball games were played in the afternoon. The Yankee lineup was so fierce-some, even if they were behind people knew a rally wasn’t far off. Those rallies often took place in the 8th or 9th inning, just when people in nearby factories were getting off work and the 5 o’clock whistle would blow. In other words, 5 p.m. arrived and so did the singles and doubles and walks and stolen bases and home runs that invariably added up to another Yankee victory. The whistle blew and while that meant everybody else was getting off of work, it meant the Yankees were just getting started. In short, five o’clock lighting.

Who Are The Five O'Clock Lightning Bloggers?

Name: Michael Giltz

Favorite Current Yankees: Derek Jeter, Andy Phillips, Hideki Matsui, Mariano Rivera

Favorite Classic Yankees: Bernie Williams, Don Mattingly, Joe Girardi, Paul O’Neill, David Wells, Shane Spencer (I'm only including those I saw play)

Favorite Yankee Moment:
the perfect game by David Wells; my first three World Series games when I went to Atlanta and watched the Yankees sweep

My Other Website: http://popsurfing.blogspot.com/


Name: Peter McClain

Favorite Current Yankees: Hideki Matsui, Derek Jeter, Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera

Favorite Classic Yankees: Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, Scott Brosius, Jimmy Key, David Cone, Doug Glanville

Favorite Yankee Moment: The Brosius Home Run, calling the Aaron Boone Home Run, the Armando Benitez brawl, Donnie's first Playoff game


Name: Bruce Greenspan

Favorite Current Yankees:

Favorite Classic Yankees:

Favorite Yankee Moment:


Name: Jason Page

Favorite Current Yankees:

Favorite Classic Yankees:

Favorite Yankee Moment:


Name: Nannette Simmons

Favorite Current Yankees: Derek Jeter (aka "Pumpkin") and Joe Torre

Favorite Classic Yankees: Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill

Favorite Yankee Moment: When Hideki Matsui hit a Grand Slam on his first at-bat on Opening Day against the Twins


Name: Joe Verrillo

Favorite Current Yankees: Mariano Rivera, Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Phil Hughes

Favorite Classic Yankees: Don Mattingly, Roberto Kelly, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams

Favorite Yankee Moment: Aaron Boone's home run, Jeter diving into the stands vs. the Red Sux, Mattingly's HR streak, Clemens/Piazza bat throw (my first WS game)


Name: Tom Wood

Favorite Current Yankees:

Favorite Classic Yankees:

Favorite Yankee Moment: