Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thank God I'm A Yankee Fan

I've been rooting for the Mets the past five days because I always like Willie Randolph (who wasn't allowed to name any of his coaches, but one -- who was fired early on), and I've got friends who are fans and like I always say...there's no one I'd rather beat in the World Series than the New York Mets.

What a nightmare these past days have been, with the team collapsing after being in first place since May, 135 days in a row, to be exact. To add to my shock, the Phillies were celebrating as if they'd just landed on the moon and the announcers told me this was their first trip to the post-season since 1993. They hadn't been to the post-season in 14 years? I think I'd buy a gun and shoot someone (probaby myself) if the Yankees failed to even make it to the first round for 14 years in a row. I have to constantly remind myself about the dark days in the Seventies and Eighties (when Steinbrenner was in full bloom) and that this current run is exceptional in any case.

Finally, after the game was over I headed to the 7 train to go to Mass. I suddenly realized the car would probably be full of Met fans. And indeed it was, with one mournful face after another in the windows as it pulled into the station until the car in front of me stopped, revealing a Met boyfriend and girlfriend literally collapsed into each other's arms, hugging, their heads bowed in despair.

Thank God I'm a Yankee fan.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

No Mo Worries

As my friend Noam and then Michael Kay pointed out, we shouldn't read too much into Mariano Rivera loading the bases and giving up a base-clearing triple last night. He simply doesn't focus as well and perform as strongly when the game doesn't matter. Yes, we wanted to win, but we were already in the post-season. When Mo comes in with a massive lead just to get some work in or comes into a save situation like this where the game doesn't "matter," his focus often strays. I'd rather he closed it out, of course, but I won't panic or think this is the first sign of his decline. Though God knows he has to decline at some point: personally, I'm looking towards 2012. Does that seem reasonable?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bleacher Creatures Want To Know: Why Didn't Joba Close?

Great game yesterday, especially considering it was staffed more like a spring training game with major players getting much needed rest. Hughes gave us a peek of what we might see next year when he's rested and injury free -- seven terrific innings and only one run. That's much better than the 5 innings and three to four runs we've expected from him lately. And I love Torre, but "experience" doesn't matter when your body is breaking down. How can you start an ailing Clemens who isn't even physically capable of taking the mound and sit Hughes? Both Clemens and Mussina are crapshoots at this very late stage in their careers -- Hughes looks great and if it weren't for his back spasms, we'd be talking about Kennedy as well. Boy I can't wait to get to next season and see them all year long. Finally, Joba and Veras closed it out flawlessly. But why didn't Joba close? Doesn't Torre know he's the Mo of the future?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Yankees Clinch The Wild Card! The Yankees Clinch The Wild Card!

Perhaps that call won't live in sports history as terribly memorable or stirring. But we'll take it. Personally, I'm not excited or unexcited about who we face in the first round -- in a five game series, anything goes so I don't think it's easier to face Indians instead of Angels. You?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Section 39 Weighs In On NY Mag Weighing In On A-Rod

New York Magazine has a feature about A-Rod and whether he'll opt out next season. One interesting take is that the new Steinbrenner -- ie. new Yankee obsessed with paying big money for big names -- is president Randy Levine, who writer Will Leitch says doesn't get along with Cashman or Torre. It says Levine is responsible for the new Stadium, which means Levine is responsible for its idiotic monstrosity and lack of care for the fans which might rival the boondoggle that is the Arthur Ashe tennis stadium near Shea for sheer awfulness though we won't know for sure until it opens. The article also claims the Chicago Cubs dangled an offer that would ultimately lead to A-Rod owning a piece of the team, which apparently goes against MLB rules although I'm not certain if that includes retired players. The Cubs have denied it, though obviously the offer comes from the FUTURE owners of the Cubs, not the current team. Other things to take issue with:

1. Leitch says "the real reason they're headed to the post-season again is third baseman Alex Rodriguez." Uh, no. Pettite was never the real reason the Yankees made the post-season, Mo was never the "real" reason, Bernie Williams was never the real reason and even my beloved Jeter was never the real reason -- it was ALL those players as a team and more importantly the particular combination of all those players. If A-Rod isn't our third baseman, we don't have his massive numbers and Gold Glove level of play this season. Anyone who replaced him would be much inferior, of course, especially this year. But who would replace him? How would they spark the team? Andy Phillips can't "compare" to Jason Giambi but he and now Doug M. are a much better spark plug than Giambi and the other three people they plugged into at first. If we hadn't spent $18 mil on Clemens and simply brought Hughes and Kennedy up to the majors earlier (and the claimed reason we bought him was so we WOULDN'T have to bring them up) then I bet they at least double the games he won from 6 to at least 12. Straight numbers don't tell the story. That's an example of simply NOT signing a player making us stronger. You never know what happens when you add or remove a player, even one that contributes mightily. A-Rod "won" us six games? Well, Clemens lost us six games so get rid of both and we're right where we are right now. But not really because you never know.

2. Leitch characterizes the team imitating A-Rod's shoulder stretch at first after getting a hit as indicating underlying tension and lack of love. This is the exact opposite take as everyone else. A-Rod's public comments on it were so awkward, I noted them as his usual inability to be one of the guys, but in his own gawky way I believe -- like everyone else on the team and those covering it -- that A-Rod relished this teasing as good fun and a sign he was accepted, NOT a sign he was as usual unaccepted. I personally think it's a sign they're TRYING to accept him and make him feel comfortable, but wouldn't read too much into it. In order to argue the exact opposite of every indication, Leitch should have more to go on than his "black is white" stance.

3. Leitch reminds us A-Rod was willing to take a pay cut to go to Boston. That's pretty relative when you're talking about $250 million, and it was more of a nicety about how the deal was structured than any real sacrifice on his part. And it's not so much a sign of how eager he was to play for Boston as it was a sign of how bad he wanted to get out o a miserable situation in Texas.

4. Leitch says if A-Rod plays well and the Yankees win the World Series, he's a lock to return. I'd say the exact opposite. He will have accomplished everything in NYC that he wants and the desire to cash out one more time -- urged on by Scott Boras (and truly, I think less of any player who choose Boras as an agent) -- and get onto a team where he can be the leader and have no angst will make it much more likely he'll leave. If he doesn't play well in the post-season and they don't win, A-Rod will perhaps feel pushed by ego and the opinion of others to stay put so no one can claim he couldn't handle New York.

5. Leitch again places the weight on the fans, as if Yankee fans -- or any fans -- want to get rid of a player that produces day in and day out and carries themselves well and doesn't turn every game into a mini-drama that distracts from the game itself. Yep, it's the fans who are to blame, even though they cheer A-Rod every single time he comes to the plate for four years in a row now. Idiots afterwards booed him if he did poorly, of course. But ultimately it's the player's performance and how they respond to that performance in the media that influences how the fans treat them, not the other way around. Fans don't expect perfection. And they'll cheer a cheater like Giambi and a wonderfully egotistical moody bastard like Gary Sheffield if they perform.

6. Leitch says if the Yankees don't re-sign A-Rod you can look for a direct result: "the consequent near-guaranteed crumminess of next year's team" which he says would be a catastrophe that would topple the Torre-Cashman-Levine-Trost management dynasty. Bollocks. If A-Rod opts out and the Yankees choose not to resign him, they'll have $30 million to play with. If they don't resign Clemens (obviously) and Abreu or Damon or Matsui (god forbid) to free up the logjam in the outfield, you're looking at $60+ million to buy pitchers, an outfielder and a third baseman. That's a lot of money, even for the Yankees. And you DON'T need superstars. Even before signing a new pitcher, the Yankees will have Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Kenndy, Joba (assuming he's not the bridge to Rivera) and probably Mussina. Two of those rookies will come through, I believe, which means our strongest and youngest starting rotation in many years. Plus, Jeter, Posada, first base w Mientkiewicz/Phillips (Hey, I can dream), Cano and Melky turning into genuine stars, Matsui and/or Damon and/or Abreu in the outfield, you've got a great core for next year. How could that team -- which is what we are STARTING with before going for a good third baseman, new kid in the outfield, catcher to mentor under Posada, a pitcher, etc -- be calamitious? I can't WAIT to see the team next season, with or without A-Rod. If he doesn't opt out and they keep him, I won't be upset and I WON'T expect him to have the career year he did this year. I just hope he won't be a distraction. But you've got that core and you think the team will clearly suck because A-Rod's not in the lineup? You're crazy.

7. The analysts on YES got it all wrong tonight. They insisted that A-Rod has finally decided not to care what people think about him (he'll still be nice but not angst over what they say) and that's freed him up to have a great season and he's never been more relaxed. They've got it backwards. A-Rod has had a tremendous season and though he's gone into slumps for all of May and July, his numbers overall were so consistent and overwhelming he could never GET uptight. How could you tense up when having a season few players in history have ever come close to? The great season MADE him relaxed, not the other way around. When he comes back down to earth and has merely excellent numbers or god forbid goes into a real slump and starts piling up errors, A-Rod will get tense and angsty in a heartbeat. And of course it's adversity that is the real test of character, not the magical season when everything unfolds like a dream.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Section 39 2007 Regular Season Stats

Ok, add 'em up. How many games did you attend? Win-loss record? Highlights?

Me, I went to 44 home games at Yankee Stadium.

I went 29-15, a tremendous .659 winning percentage.

(I also went to two Mets games -- both wins (thanks Andy McClain) -- and a fun day at the Staten Island Yankees, who lost, but there were fireworks so it was okay.

I went on an eight game winning streak and never lost more than three in a row (and that only happened once).

My highlight was probably being doused with water for winning the subway race one too many times, getting the idea for the baby shower for our friend Kim in concessions, and setting a career high in number of games attended.

How about you?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Playoff Roster/Rotation/Lineup

I'm furiously knocking on wood right now, but I think we are allowed to at least consider the prospect that the Yanks will be playing in October. As such, I think they have some difficult decisions to make regarding the makeup of the roster.

Here is what I could see them doing:

Rotation: Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, Moose

Lineup: Damon (LF), Jeter (SS), Abreu (RF), ARod (3B), Matsui (DH), Posada (C), Giambi (1B), Cano (2B), Melky (CF)

Bench: Duncan, Mientciewicz, Molina, Betemit

That leaves 8 spots for the bullpen: (1) Mo, (2) Joba, (3) Farnsworth, (4) Vizcaino should all be set in stone.

Four spots remaining: (1) Ramirez, (2) Hughes, (3) Kennedy, (4) Henn/Villone/Bruney/Britton

At a minimum, one of either Hughes or Kennedy has to be on the roster as a long man. But do you take both considering neither of them has probably ever pitched in relief? Are you better off with someone like Henn, Villone, or Britton in this spot? Or even Ohlendorf? You could also leave Duncan off the roster to take another pitcher since they already have four outfielders, and its not like you would use Duncan to pinch hit for anyone in the starting lineup (and he's no Dave Roberts on the basepaths).

Now if it was up to me I'd consider starting one of the kids over Moose, but I doubt they'll do that. So if that's the case, should they consider moving one or both of them to the bullpen for the last week of the season to get them prepared for that role? Hughes has a ridiculously high ERA the first time through the order, so it seems as though he wouldn't be the best candidate. Moose on the other hand has proven that he can come out of the bullpen and throw well.

In case you want to get creative, here is the rest of the 40-Man Roster:

Pitchers: Clippard, DeSalvo, Igawa, Karstens, Veras (I like him better than Bruney), Wright Hitters: Gonzalez (SS), Sardinha (OF).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Actually, The Yankees Are ONE Game Back

The official tally says that as of Wednesday afternoon the Yankees are 2 1/2 games back of Boston. But of cours we only study the loss column at this stage, so most people would say the Yankees are just 2 games back. But in fact, the Yankees are only ONE game behind Boston. Quick, who can tell me why? (Hat tip to my brother David for this insight. he also gets props for being the first person to call dibs on my second seat for the final home game at Yankee 2008.)

Is It Possible?

Two and a half games back and four and a half ahead in the wild card. Nothing matters till we actually make it, but how sweet to watch Boston collapse. Even if they hold on, Boston will feel like they succeeded just by winning the division. My brother prefers the "stomp them into the ground and let them be demoralized about one of the biggest collapses in the regular season in baseball history" and that certainly has its appeal as well.

But talk to me -- what is the best scenario where we get to the post season but don't have to play the Angels in the first round?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hitting Batters, With MLB's Blessing

I hate pitchers that intentionally hit batters. I think it's the most cowardly act in sports and given what happened to Andy Phillips, the most dangerous -- you can put a player on the disabled list, end their season, end their career or even end their life even when they're hit unintentionally. To do it on purpose is vile. That's one big reason I've never liked Roger Clemens -- he's a headhunter. (I'll take Andy Pettitte any day.)

Baseball's latest attempt to deal with it is ludicrous. Wang unintentionally hit Youkilis, putting that player out of the game and day to day. (Why pitchers don't ALWAYS move forward and show concern and express empathy for players they unintentionally drill with a baseball is beyond me. It would decrease tension and be, oh, I don't know, decent of them.) No one thought it was intentional and so no warning was given. Then Beckett drilled Giambi on the elbow in "retaliation." Giambi, being a knucklehead, thought that was fine. "He's looking out for his guys," said Giambi. How? By attacking an opposing player over an accident? Even stupider, the umpire then warned both teams not to retaliate. Huh? That means Boston got a free pass to hit a player on purpose, with the blessing of MLB. Wang did NOT hit Youkilis on purpose. Beckett did. Any time an umpire believes a pitcher hit a batter on purpose, that pitcher should be ejected from the game. Period. Issuing a warning just means pitchers who follow the rules have the inside of the plate taken away from them. If the Yankees did retaliate, throw their pitcher out. Immediately. Giving a warning lets everyone have a free pass on drawing blood and takes away an edge good and fair pitchers deserve. 99 times out of a 100, everyone knows exactly when a pitcher has intentionally hit a batter. Whenever that occurs, throw them out immediately. No stupid warning after the horses have left the barn.

That's the belief of this section 39 bleacher creature, at least. Also, I'm glad everyone thought that pile-driving of Posada was "clean," but it didn't look like baseball to me. It looked like football. I have no recommendation of how to change it, but how did tagging the plate devolve into smashing into a guy like a behemoth to try and dislodge the ball. He didn't beat the throw or make the tag around the catcher. Why should he get points for being a giant that can crush the other guy? I'm just surprised no one has had their neck broken that way.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Heart Ian Kennedy

Tough loss, but boy did he pitch nicely. He and Hughes and Joba and Ross Ohlendorf -- waching them all inspires me with confidence. They all seem so poised (w the excitable exception of Joba) and mellow and confident. To heck with experience Torre, the bleacher creatures in Section 39 say sit Clemens and Mussina and use the kids -- keep the old men for long relief. Clemens is never coming back and if we're lucky, Mussina will be annoyed enough to leave.

By the way, I questioned using Joba for two innings on Wednesday. I know it was just 4-0, but the game seemed well in hand. Use Joba for one innning and then he's available for Friday and potentially Sunday in Boston. Using him for two games means he's only available for Saturday. I know, win the game that you've got rather than worrying about the future, but it didn't seem necessary to bring him back out. They shouldn't have for that game and they shouldn't have to give themselves flexibility in Boston.

Why Division Series Home Field Advantage is Overrated

Continuing from my thoughts on the Wild Card and how to fix the Playoffs, I thought I'd dissect the results of the Division Series since 2000. Of the 28, 5-game Division Series played since 2000, 16 have been won by the team without home field advantage. This is the exact opposite of what you would expect, but let's walk through each of the scenarios that the team without home field advantage faces in the Division Series.

The best case scenario is to win both away games and return home with two chances to finish off your opponent. That one is pretty straight forward.

The realistic expectation is to split the away games and return home with home field advantage. At this point, winning Game 3 is huge since then you have the chance to end the series at home in Game 4. If Game 3 is a loss, then you get to play a must-win game in front of your home crowd. Winning that game gives you the momentum heading into a decisive Game 5.

The worst case scenario is losing both away games. However, you then return home to play a must-win game in front of your fans. Winning Game 3 repeats the same scenario where you play in front of your fans in a must-win game. Forcing a Game 5 means that you have all the momentum in the series.

So, looking at it from that perspective it isn't a mystery why the home team has lost 57% of the Division Series these past 7 years - the format favors the team that starts on the road. This just goes to show how genius Cashman and the rest of the Yankees organization is by playing possum for the Division Pennant only to find themselves in a more powerful position by winning the Wild Card!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sports Reporters Are Putzes

Sports reporters are wimps -- always afraid to ask tough questions because it might piss off the people they have to face everyday. Then when that person is gone, they start dishing the dirt they were to afraid to report in the first place. Buck Showalter was (rightly) praised when he was at the Yankees, but after he left suddenly we were told this guy who barely got a bad notice during his reign (and why should he see the Yankees were turned into champion-quality team thanks to him and Gene Michaels) suddenly we're told the players HATED him and hated working with him and thought he interfered too much. Shane Spencer was a feel-good story but now we're told he partied his way out of New York. And now they timidly mention that the highest paid player on the team REFUSES to answer the phone cals and emails of St. Joe Torre, but they're too afraid to give this story the banner headlines and attention it demands. I'm sure we'll find out after Roger Clemens retires about what a pain in the neck he was. No guts from the reporters. Heck, they could cover the White House and fit right in.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Roger Clemens Is A Putz

I've never liked Clemens. He's a headhunter and he always had the aura of a hired gun who wanted to come into town, pick up a World Series ring and move on. He behaved unconscionably during negotiatons this season: even though Clemens knew no other team was interested in having him for half a season under his terms (not Texas or Boston), he still stuck it to the Yankees and squeezed out a few extra million and the diva-like demand that he doesn't need to bother showing up or travel with the team when he's not pitching. (He's been too embarrassed to use that clause in New York, unlike Houston.) That was a big break with Yankee tradition and a big mistake.

Now look at him. According to the NY Daily News, "Clemens, who didn't return calls or e-mails from Joe Torre over the weekend, spoke with Brian Cashman yesterday, telling the GM that his sore right elbow was feeling better."

Did you catch that? I noticed yesterday that Torre said he hadn't heard yet from Clemens and hoped/trusted that was good news. It struck me as bizarre then. And now, showing great restraint, the Daily News casually lets slip that Clemens couldn't even bother to return repeated phone calls and emails from Torre. Ultimately, he either called Cashman on his own or simply felt he couldn't avoid them when Cashman called. how insulting is that to the manager? I'm sure Torre would downplay it because that's his skill -- turning mountains into molehills and not letting personal behavior become a public distraction.

Clemens is a punk and I just hope this carpetbagger doesn't dare to wear a Yankee uniform when he gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. (And if his name pops up in the ever-expanding steroid scandal, don't be surprised. Clemens had four consecutive seasons where he couldn't win more than 11 games when -- suddenly -- at the age of 35 no less, he pitched 21-7 and the following year 20-6 with his '97 ERA his second best of all time. Remarkable!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rock and Hard Place

This story came out last week but I thought I'd mention it anyhow:,0,1698224.story

Yankees rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy, who was drafted in 2006 and started the year off in A ball, received clearance earlier this year from the Yankees to schedule his wedding for the first week of October (his fiance plays basketball at USC so they had to fit it in after baseball but before bball). Obviously at the time Kennedy was not in the plans for this year, but given his solid performances and Clemens' elbow, its conceivable that he could be the #3 or #4 starter in the playoffs (I'm furiously knocking on wood right now) behind Wang and Pettitte.

Having gone through the wedding process last year I would not wish this situation upon anyone. That being said, its hard to feel sorry for a kid that gets to wear the pinstripes. So what do you guys think? Does the "Young Man" take a fair share of ribbing in the clubhouse? What would you do if you were in the situation?

New Bleacher Creature: FOL breaks the story

Well, Michael is always saying how we need to break some serious news with our blog to garner national attention and so I will scoop everyone with the story of the newest Section 39 Bleacher Creature: TBA McClain.

That's right, Janet and I are expecting a second child in March. I just received an email from the Yankees yesterday expressing that Yankee Stadium is for more than just baseball games and that I can schedule a business meeting, birthday, wedding or other event there. So, negotiations are under way to schedule the birth of the newest Bleacher Creature in one of the Hall of Fame suites (there's just no way to sterilize the bleachers).

On a side note I think I completely missed on naming my little Joba by not considering how his name would look as just initials: J.M. McClain. Janet's doctor definitely has the best possible initial combination as he goes by F.C. Miller which makes his name look like a European football club. I'll lobby for that as a compromise if a Yankee Stadium birth is unaffordable.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Speaking of coin flips...

Should the Yanks finish in a tie for the Wild Card, they will host the tiebreaker regardless of the opponent:

How I Would Fix the Playoffs

Did you realize that in the last 7 seasons that 8 of the 14 World Series participants were Wild Card winners? And that 4 of those 7 World Series were won by a Wild Card team? Considering that the 2 Wild Card teams account for 25% of the Playoff teams it is astounding that the Wild Card has accounted for 57% of the World Series these past 7 years. It also goes to show just how smart the Yankees are to avoid winning the division and increasing their chances of winning it all!

There is nothing wrong with a Wild Card team winning the World Series; it keeps the Postseason fun and allows more teams to compete down the stretch. However, when a statistical minority begins to dominate the results, it's time to reconsider the format.

Before the Wild Card winning the division was of extreme importance - no Playoffs without winning the division pennant. Now, there have been times when both a Wild Card and division leader take it easy down the stretch, content to make the Playoffs in either position. Based on the results, it would seem that this format benefits the lesser teams and can make September less thrilling than it used to be. I would like to restore the significance to winning the division and the league while getting more teams involved in the Postseason chase. My suggestion is to add 2 more Wild Card teams.

Now, I'm sure you're saying that the Playoffs are too long already as Game 7 is scheduled for November 1st this year, but that isn't an issue. The Wild Card team with the better record, let's call that team Wild Card A, would host the team with the lesser record, Wild Card B, in a one game tie-breaker the day after the season ended. The winner of that game in each league would then fly to play the team with the best record in their league the following night regardless if that team is in the same division as the Wild Card winner.

What this plan would ensure is that no team would willingly accept the Wild Card since it comes with a precarious proposition to make the Playoffs the day after the season ends. It would also reward the team with the best record in each league as they would face a depleted, tired Wild Card winner in the first round. More teams would remain in contention of the Wild Card B spot each year and division races would regain some of their lost tension and interest. Plus, fans of baseball would get 2 sudden-death games on the Monday after the season ends when there are typically no games being played!

Think about the current AL standings if this plan were in place: the Yanks would be killing themselves trying to catch Boston and if it got close the Sox would be sweating it. The Mariners and Tigers would be fighting it out for Wild Card B with the Blue Jays right on their tails.

To me it seems like a logical move as it would bring in a lot more revenue for MLB, keep more fans captivated into October and bring back the importance of winning the division pennant.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Time to Make a Playoff Push

Tuesday was the day. The fat envelope from Yankee Stadium, Bronx NY 10451 arrived in the mail. It's always a happy and painful experience as the promise of Playoff tickets makes me giddy like an 11 year old, but shelling out $1200 makes me weep. It isn't so bad those years when the Yanks make the Series since you get good use out of those shiny, oversized tickets. But as we've experienced the last few years when the Yanks got dumped in the first round, letting George sit on over $1100 out of my bank account for the winter is just as painful as watching the Yanks lose. An equally bitter pill to swollow this year is the uncertainty of making the Playoffs and even if the Playoffs are attained it will most likely be as the Wild Card, but we still must pay for ALDS Game 5 and ALCS Game 7 tickets. The one bright spot in all this is that there appears to be no outrageous "handling charge" this year which means that we won't lose $66 per seat right off the top. I plan to wait until Wednesday's deadline before entering my credit card info, but I'd feel even better about it if the Yanks could sweep the Royals this weekend while the Tigers and M's struggle.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

So Long, Andy; So Long, Season?

The bleacher fans in section 39 (and especially me) offer our condolences to Ady Phillips, who is indeed the rookie that could a la Shane Spencer, right down to the little black cloud that follows him around. Andy did a great job last season and so did Melky. But the geniuses in the front office had Melky riding the bench this season and played FOUR other guys at first base before finally giving Andy the playing time he earned last season. Both of them have shined. (Melky much more, though he's having growing pains or just butting heads with Matsui and Abreu.) Andy's been a terrific glove and a much better bat than expected, with a .292 average and that magical "clutch" hitting that can't be codified in stats but exists nonetheless in the eyes of fans who watch teams play every day. And now Andy's wrist is broken and he's out for four to six weeks and probably for good. I had no confidence the Yankees would have planned to keep Andy at first base next season. Now it seems inconceivable since he won't have a chance to shine in the homestretch and possibly the post-season.

Is it silly of me to see the season going down the drain along with this journeyman first baseman? Symbolically, no. When Giambi is in the lineup, it's a much stupider, swing for the fences attitude that takes over. Andy personifies small ball. (He can't play swing for the fences, after all.) I hate seeing Giambi even DHing; I think the chemistry and attitude of the team is much better without him. Hopefuly Betemit and others will spell Giambi at first, who really is a roadblock when he gets on base.

And sure we swept the Red Sox. But when we SUCKED the series before that and lose two out of three to Tampa Bay, you are not looking at a team getting hot just in time for the post-season. Sure, we can still get there, but with two reliable starters (Wang and Pettitte), how good will we do once we get there?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ugly Weekend At The Stadium

That sweep against the Red Sox seems a hundred years ago. Losing two out of three to Tampa Bay is not acceptable, especially when our weak link -- the rookie Ian Kennedy -- came through so nicely. The only plus was a friendly family behind us who promised to call me for suggestions on where to eat dinner in the Village. (I'd already told them about my favorite barbeque at Daisy Mae's and favorite burger at the Shake Shack.) hey folks, I would have sent you to The Spotted Pig on 314 West 11th Street. Ah well.

And since it's been a while since A-Rod got under my skin, he managed to do it again with his comments as reported in the NYTImes after Ian Kennedy's great outing when A-Rod had four RBI on three hits. "Getting the young man a little cushion I felt was important," Rodriguez said. I know he means well, but am I the only one who finds that statement obnoxious and condescending? He's talking about a teammate, not a Little Leaguer who sat in the dugout for an inning. God bless him, but A-Rod can never strike the right note.