March 2009

Two and a Half Men…

As if Alex Rodriguez hasn’t done enough to fill the tabloids this year, now comes word that he shops at the same place as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. 

Of course, I couldn’t help but think of Charlie Sheen. 

On TV, Charlie plays a morally corrupt bachelor with too much money…kind of like A-Rod. 

He drinks excessively, and doesn’t worry about the impact on others when he opens his mouth.  He’s the last person you’d want to depend upon if you needed help.  He likes expensive clothes, albeit bowling shirts, but they are still expensive…again like A-Rod.  He’s compulsive, a womanizer, and has yet to act his age.

The similarities between A-Rod and Charlie Sheen a/k/a Charlie Harper are uncanny…

Daniel Padilla/iPhoto

Gustavo Cabellero/Getty Images

My only question…

If Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are two men, what does that make A-Rod?

Gene J. Puskar/AP

One difference between A-Rod and Charlie…Charlie’s funny…

ALFRED MANUAL MARTIN, JR

The other day, Jane Heller questioned my choice of Billy Martin as my all-time favorite manager.  Billy was someone you couldn’t live with, but couldn’t live without.  His fiery, combative style always eroded ownership confidence very quickly.  But the guy was simply a winner.  He loved the Yankees with a very strong passion, and he was his own man.  Every time he was re-hired as a Yankees manager was a great day for me…every time he was fired was very sad.  I always wondered what the start of the 1990′s would have been like had Billy returned for a sixth time. 

To most people on MLBlogs, Billy Martin was a long ago figure.  Perhaps many do not even know who he was.  But I did, and I will always remember him… 

Posted on YouTube by NESNMAN

 

YANKEES WIN STREAK OVER

I am definitely on the bandwagon of those who feel Rays pitcher David Price is destined for greatness.  I have been all along, but today only reinforced why the guy has so much promise.  Four scoreless innings, three hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

 

The Yankees lost the game, 5-0, ending their 9-game winning streak.

The Yankees also re-acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Chicago White Sox, but he most likely falls behind Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Cash in the catching pecking order.  With Cervelli most likely going back to AA Trenton, Stewart just fills catching depth at AAA Scranton.

FAVORITE TEAMS

There was great feedback regarding how everyone chose their favorite teams.  Every story was very interesting, and I appreciated the ones that gave insight into all four major sports. 

I am all over the board.  I have been a fan of the New York Yankees and Minnesota Vikings since childhood.  I grew up in Iowa, and Fran Tarkenton was my favorite QB, so following the Vikings was easy.  Years ago, I was listening to The Musers (George Dunham and Craig Miller) on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas and they said if your state didn’t have a professional team, you were in a “free agent” state.  So, I guess I took free agency by its most literal sense given that my favorite teams are scattered across the country. 

In basketball, I am a fan of the Phoenix Suns.  I lived in Phoenix for eight years, and my two children still reside there.  I can’t say there is any one player that attracted me to the team.  I liked the ownership, which was headed by Jerry Colangelo at the time, and it was easy to follow the team.  I attended a number of games while in Phoenix, and today I am a big fan of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.

 

In hockey, I am a fan of the San Jose Sharks (as you may have noticed on this blog from time to time).  Although I am presently living and working on the East Coast, San Jose is home.  I have meant to extend my thanks to Julia for her Boston Bruins being so gracious as to send Joe Thornton to the Sharks a couple of years ago.  Thanks Julia!  ;)  When I get home, you can be assured that I’ll be hanging out at the Shark Tank.

Have a great week, everyone!  J

P.S.  This is my 61st blog, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t dedicate this one to Roger Maris…

 

 

Why Did You Become A Fan of…

The question has been asked on multiple blogs, but it is always very relevant and quite interesting…

Why did you become a fan of your favorite baseball team?

Often, it’s simply geography or a family’s passion that is passed from generation to generation.  But other times, there are deeper, individual reasons for why we follow certain teams. 

I have always been quick to say that I became a Yankees fan on December 31, 1974.  That’s the day Oakland A’s free-agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter signed a 5-year, $3.75 million contract with the Yankees.

 

Walter Iooss Jr/SI

The early 70′s were a great time to be an A’s fan, and I was on the bandwagon like all my friends.  But I was starting to get older and had gained a better awareness and understanding of baseball.  After some careful thought, I decided to follow Hunter to New York in terms of my loyalty and support.  I was immediately captivated by the personalities on the Yankees roster, and Billy Martin was quickly my all-time favorite manager.  Thurman Munson became my idol, and I can still remember the magic and excitement when Chris Chambliss hit the game winning home run in the 1976 ALCS against the Kansas City Royals (I remember watching his foot placement in the batter’s box and feeling that something huge was about to happen).

 

New York Daily News

I remember my mom was getting tired of me telling her that Reggie Jackson had hit another home run in the 1977 World Series, and sadly, I remember exactly where I was on August 2, 1979.

 

Yet, when I think about why I was attracted to the Yankees, it really happened much earlier.  When I was about 7 or 8, I read a book about Lou Gehrig. 

At the time, I was just starting to become aware of Major League baseball.  I was drawn to the history and aura of the game.  I “discovered” pro football first, but baseball quickly passed football as my true love.  Today, Lou Gehrig is my personal all-time hero, and hence, the source of the name for my blog.

“I’m not a headline guy.  I know that as long as I was following Babe Ruth to the plate I could have stood on my head and no one would have known the difference.”

–Lou Gehrig

There are multiple meanings in this quote for me personally.  Not only does it pay homage to the great class and character of Lou Gehrig, but it also recognizes that I am among greatness at MLBlogs with so many outstanding writers.

I have always been drawn to the history of the Yankees, so I think the book about Gehrig set the stage for my conversion from an A’s fan to a Yankees fan a few years later. 

A very moving article to read is the “This Morning with Shirley Povich” column that appeared in the Washington Post on July 5, 1939.  The Washington Senators played a double-header against the Yankees on July 4th, and Gehrig gave his immortal farewell speech between games.

Yankees manager Joe McCarthy made the following statement at the mike that day while openly crying:  “Lou, what else can I say except that it was a sad day in the life of everybody who knew you when you came to my hotel room that day in Detroit and told me you were quitting as a ball player because you felt yourself a hindrance to the team. My God, man, you were never that.”

I think that quote alone can sum up why I feel that Lou Gehrig was such a special person…

The Senators won the first game, 3-2, but the Yankees came back to win the second game, 11-1, after Gehrig’s farewell.

This is an excellent tribute to Lou… 

 

Who would have known it would set me on a collision course against Julia of Julia’s Rants? ;) 

Now, the Yankees win…

A week ago, the Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox and lost 8-4.  Thanks to the loss, I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend immersed in the Red Sox Nation as I wrote three blogs about Red Sox players (the penalty for losing to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  The Yankees have not lost since that game.  What’s up with that?  Guys, where were you when I needed you?

Next time I need you, please be ready!  Hint:  It involves Fenway Park!

So, when you see the Bat Signal, be ready to play! 

You know the phrase ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’?  It DOES NOT apply here! 

“Sure, winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing.”

– UCLA Football Coach Red Sanders, 1955

April 24th through April 26th.  I expect three victories..nothing more, but absolutely nothing less!  Do you want me to lose to this woman again?  C’mon, please help out a desperate Yankee fan!

Hey, Elizabeth and Bob, your votes don’t count!  ;)

Today, the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins, 4-2.  I will start by offering my apologies to Erin of Plunking Gomez.  The outcome may have been different had Joe Mauer played or if Jose Mijares didn’t, as Erin suggested. 

But it was great to see Mark Teixeria’s first spring homer and a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes.  Also, it was great to see Robinson Cano back in pinstripes. 

For Erin’s benefit, I offer a photo of who she thinks would have been the star only if…

 

POTENTIAL VIKINGS QUARTERBACKS

There is actually a subject that Erin and I agree upon…the Vikings are the greatest (well, NFL-speaking of course)!

I am listening to Kelly Clarkson as I type this so forgive me if I am momentarily distracted.  Uh-oh, Julia may have figured out my Achilles heel…

Now, about the Vikings and their QB quandary… 

Naturally, I remain hopeful that the team will be frontrunners for the services of Jay Cutler should the Broncos decide to trade him.  Listening to the continued comments regarding the rift between Cutler and Head Coach Josh McDaniels, I don’t see how this is going to end happily for Denver.  Even owner Pat Bowlen said that unhappy players shouldn’t stay despite his stated preference to retain Cutler.

My Life Would Suck Without You is such a great song…

Sorry, I was distracted again…

I saw an article that indicated the Vikings should pursue Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young or Cardinals QB Matt Leinart.  I absolutely do not want Vince Young.  There is no scenario that I’d prefer him over Sage Rosenfels (or even Tavaris Jackson, for that matter).  Matt Leinart, who thus far, has failed to fulfill expectations, might be a different story.  I do think that one of these years, Matt is going to “get it”.  I could see him having a Rich Gannon-like career.  But don’t we already have one over-hyped USC quarterback on the roster (John David Booty)?  My preference remains Cutler since I can’t have Matt Cassel…

Kelly Clarkson has 7 dogs?  Wow. 

 

Well, I would be willing to take Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, but of course, the Vikings do not have the Number 1 pick in the upcoming draft or anything remotely close.  So, I guess the Vikings will be shopping at Nordy’s Rack for their QB hopes…

 

Have a great weekend, everyone!  J

Introducing the New Yankees Manager…

The She-Fan, Jane Heller, asked a great question with her blog yesterday… 

 

What about you? Do you think you could manage a team? And if so, what sort of manager would you be?”

 

Of course, my philosophy to life probably most closely resembles former Yankees manager Joe Torre.  At work, I have always tried to emulate the same managerial style and try to stay consistently calm and level-headed in the face of chaos.  

 

But, with that being said, as a major league manager, all bets are off!  A new ME would emerge!  Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes Scott aka Billy Martin…AGAIN!

 

 

 

These Billy Martin quotes would become my bible:

 

“I really love the togetherness in baseball. That’s a real true love.”

 

Barry Chin/Globe Staff Photo

 

“Most people miss the great part mental outlook plays in this game.”

 

 

 

“There’s nothing greater in the world than when somebody on the team does something good, and everybody gathers around to pat him on the back.”

 

 

 

“What I miss when I’m away is the pride in baseball. Especially the pride of being on a team that wins.”

 

 

 

“I’m getting smarter, I finally punched something that couldn’t sue me.”

 

 

 

 

“I may not have been the best Yankee to put on the pinstripes, but I am the proudest.”

 


Mgr.JPG

 

 

Scott, you’re fired!

 

 

“Oh, no, not again!”

 

 

 

OMG, I am so sorry for A-Rod in more ways than one…

My apologies to anyone that I might have offended with yesterday’s blog!  I think I was so stunned that A-Rod would actually participate in that type of pictorial that I wasn’t thinking.  He is so incredibly self-absorbed.  I am shocked that he actually ever looked away from the mirror to find time to get married.  I bet his daughters are jealous of the mirrors in the house. 

I also thought that A-Rod left his wife because of Madonna, but I now see that it was strictly because of his love and affection for Alex.

Meanwhile, Derek Jeter continues to use words that are foreign to A-Rod…like “we” and “team”…

AP

JULIA’S GARBAGE CAN

Not that I’d want to be caught rummaging through Julia’s (of Julia’s Rants) trash, but if I were GM Brian Cashman, I’d be all over catcher Josh Bard.  Bard was released by the Red Sox today, which apparently gives George Kottaras the backup catching job behind Jason Varitek.  From what I understand, Kottaras was out of options plus he is more adept at catching knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.

Bard, 30, had a productive spring in Sox camp, going 6-for-14, with one home run and 5 RBI. 

 

Oakland also released their back up catcher and Bard’s former San Diego teammate, Rob Bowen, to give the job to a younger player, Landon Powell, so there’s certainly a few catching options to consider.

MY PRAYERS TO AARON BOONE

I was stunned to hear Aaron Boone’s announcement that he was leaving the Houston Astros to have open heart surgery and will obviously miss the season. 

From what I understand, it is a congenital heart defect that Aaron has known about since college, but doctors determined after a routine physical that non-emergency surgery was necessary.  This most likely means the end of Aaron’s 12-year major league career.

He wasn’t a Yankee for very long, but it was a memorable stay…

AP

Good luck, Aaron…we wish you a successful and speedy recovery!

OTHER NEWS

After the talk of whether Joba Chamberlain should start or relieve had started to die down, The New York Post ran a story this morning that the Yankees’ back up plan at closer if something were to happen to Mariano Rivera would be to move Joba to the role.  Man, the debate will never end…

Speaking of Mo, three up and three down with two strikeouts on Tuesday night.  All is good, i.e., keep Joba in the starting rotation!

AP

Chien-Ming Wang got the win in today’s exhibition game against the Houston Astros.  He pitched five innings, giving up three hits and one run.  He had two strikeouts.

AP 

A.J. Burnett will face his old team, the Toronto Blue Jays, on Thursday.

A.J. Burnett Keeps Getting Better While Blue Jays Fans Prepare To Say Bye Bye Birdie

It was a great come-from-behind win over Puerto Rico by Team USA last night, but the euphoria was tempered with news that Kevin Youklis will miss the remainder of the WBC due to a sore ankle.  He’s going to have a MRI, but hopefully it isn’t too serious.  Good luck to Team USA as they move on!

Rhona Wise/EPA

 

Happy St Patrick’s Day to All!…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all MLB.com Bloggers and Readers!

 

Simply reading The New York Post can assist any Yankees blogger with the hot topics of the day.  A scan of today’s paper yields the following observations:

·         A-Rod is truly in love with himself

·         Robinson Cano knows he was an idiot for hiding his injury

·        Joba Chamberlain is struggling to get his fastball back to its normal speed

·         Hideki Matsui would be a very expensive bench ornament

Yikes!  It was more fun researching Boston Red Sox players!  Not really, but the drama never ends in the Yankees Universe…

 

JANE HELLER WILL BE BUYING DETAILS MAGAZINE

This is just an assumption on my part, but after seeing some of the seductive, brooding photos on Details.com, the She-Fan is probably making a mad dash for Barnes & Noble as we speak! 

 

Photo by Steven Klein

 

The She-Fan may have had greater influence on A-Rod than meets the eye, given that the name of the Details article is ‘Confessions of a Damned Yankee’. 

I don’t know for sure, but I’m just saying…  ;)

 

JOBA’S DRIVING IN THE SLOW LANE

During yesterday’s win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Joba Chamberlain’s fastball was clocked about 5 mph slower than his normal speeds of 97-98 mph. 

The article in the New York Post was quick to note that it’s still early in spring training and that Joba’s fastball was “flat” yesterday.  My only concern is the shoulder tendonitis that benched Joba toward the end of last season.  He did not have surgery, but instead opted to go the rehab route.

Getty Images 

My belief is that the ‘early in spring training’ is the most likely cause, but this does bear watching in the coming months. 

 

“POTENTIAL VIKINGS QB”

I know that I am probably the only one who is interested in Jay Cutler as the next QB of the Minnesota Vikings.  Erin of Plunking Gomez has already said that she wouldn’t get excited about it until they actually called the press conference to announce the acquisition.  Still, I can’t help but notice that the Twin Cities’ Pioneer Press is referring to the Denver quarterback as ‘Potential Vikings QB’ Jay Cutler.  So, at least I am not alone in my thinking as a Vikings fan.  Of course, Trent Dilfer later burst my bubble on ESPN by saying that while Cutler would be a great PR move, he wasn’t so sure it would help football-wise.

I am sure this topic’s getting much airplay on the Minneapolis-St. Paul sports radio stations.

*             *            *

Have a safe and enjoyable St. Patrick’s Night!  J

 

 

 

Escape from the Red Sox Nation!…

Freedom!

 

Julia (of Julia’s Rants) has graciously reduced my sentence by one blog!  Yeah, I am free!  Well, I guess I will be after this blog!  ;)

 

 

For my last Red Sox blog, I thought long and hard about what player I wanted to write about.  I thought about David Ortiz since I think the man is personally responsible for the end of the Curse of the Bambino.  He gave Manny Ramirez huge protection in the line up, and he instilled a ‘don’t quit’ attitude in the Red Sox clubhouse.  For the life of me, I still don’t understand why the Minnesota Twins released Big Papi…or why Brian Cashman didn’t react quicker. 

 

Cataffo/New York Daily News

 

I also thought about manager Terry Francona.  For years, Red Sox managers were always guys that you loved to hate.  Even though he later occupied the Yankees bench along side Joe Torre, I couldn’t stand Don Zimmer when he was the manager of the Red Sox.  With Tito, the Red Sox finally had a manager who commands respect.  I am hopeful that Joe Girardi will one day be the man that Tito is today.

 

 

Ultimately, I decided to go with the Man of the Hour.  Fresh off the newly signed contract, Jon Lester seems to be the most appropriate current Boston player for my final Red Sox blog. 

 

 

So, here goes my final blog as a temporary but involuntary member of the Red Sox Nation…

 

 

Odd One Out?

 

 

Future 20-Game Winner

 

I first became aware of Jonathan Tyler Lester in 2006.  I had started to hear about the latest Red Sox pitching phenom early that year (he made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 at Fenway Park).

 

 

In his first game, Jon pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 4 walks.  He also had 4 strikeouts.  He received a no-decision, but the Red Sox lost the game to the Texas Rangers, 7-4.

 

Over the next couple of months, Jon pitched very well.  He had racked up 7-2 record, with 4.76 ERA in 81 1/3 innings by late summer.  But on August 27, 2006, he was scratched from a start in Oakland against the A’s.  The reason listed was a sore back, and there were concerns it was related to an auto accident that had occurred earlier that month.  He was placed on the DL, and sent back to Boston for further tests.  On August 31st, it was reported that Jon had enlarged lymph nodes.  A few days later, the doctors confirmed that he had a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma. 

 

In December of that year, after a sixth round of chemotherapy, the doctors reported no evidence of visible cancer cells and declared that Jon was in remission.  It will be a five year process before Jon can be declared cancer free, but it has been all good so far. 

 

Jon was born in Tacoma, WA on January 7, 1984.  He graduated from Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma.  He was named the Gatorade State Player of the Year for Washington in 2000.  He had the opportunity to go to college on a scholarship, but opted to sign with the Boston Red Sox after being selected in the second round of the 2002 draft (57th selection overall).

 

Following the cancer treatments of 2006, Jon’s velocity had returned by mid to late 2007.  He returned to the majors in the summer and finished the year with a 4-0 mark, 4.57 ERA and 50 strikeouts.

 

In October, Jon started and won the deciding Game 4 of the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver.  He pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball, and only gave up 3 hits and 3 walks, and had 3 strikeouts.

 

Bill Greene/Boston Globe

 

As Jon moved to 2008, he had gained 25 pounds from the year before (almost all muscle) and looked to be in great physical condition. 

 

On May 19th, with the temperature only 56 degrees, Jon and the Red Sox faced the Kansas City Royals, and he promptly threw a no-hitter.  With 130 total pitches, to go with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks, Jon threw first pitch strikes to 20 of the 29 batters he faced.  The game was highlighted by a diving catch of a sinking liner in the 4th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury.

 

AP

 

In July, Jon made his debut at Yankee Stadium.  Unwilling to yield to the mystique and aura of the Stadium, he threw a complete game five-hit shutout.

 

AP

 

Jon finished the successful 2008 campaign with a 16-6 record, 3.21 ERA, and had 152 strikeouts.  He became the first Boston southpaw since Babe Ruth (1916) and Lefty Grove (1937) with as many as 15 wins, 30 starts, 200 innings, 150 strikeouts, and sub 3.50 ERA in a single season. 

 

Yesterday, the Red Sox and Jon finalized the much anticipated 5 year contract for $30 million.  The contract includes a club option for 2014.  “Everyone is excited about it,” 2B Dustin Pedroia said.  “You want to play for a long time with those guys you came up with.  Jon is going to keep getting better and better.  I’m sure by Year 5 of that deal he’s going to be an even better pitcher than he is right now.”

 

That doesn’t bode well for AL East opponents, including my beloved Yankees.  It’s no wonder the Red Sox held Jon out of trade discussions involving the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Josh Beckett, and Johan Santana over the years.

 

I wish #31 the very best…well except when he makes the trip to the Bronx or the Bombers travel to Fenway.  Jon is a champion competitor, a true ace, who plays the game the way it should be played.  He deserves our respect, but clearly the pleasure of watching him pitch is all ours…

 

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

SO LONG RON SILVER…THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

 

Granted, it’s not sports-related; however, I would like to acknowledge the passing of actor Ron Silver who died Sunday at the age of 62.  He had been fighting esophageal cancer for the past couple of years. 

 

 

Through the years, Ron has been involved in so many television and film roles dating back to The Mac Davis Show in the early 70′s. More recently, he had a recurring role on “The West Wing” as a slick strategist for the president. 

 

He was a very good actor, he commanded your attention when he was on screen, and he’ll be sorely missed…

 

AND FINALLY, YANKEES NEWS…

 

Ah, let’s talk about the Yankees!  I love it!  Yankees, Yankees, Yankees…24/7 from here on out!  Yeah!

 

  • The Yankees routed the Philadelphia Phillies today, 12-0.  Nick Swisher played first base, and had 3 RBI.  Joba Chamberlain pitched three shutout innings of two-hit ball.  He also had 3 strikeouts.  Kei Igawa continues to pitch well, but I’d definitely take the ‘sell high’ approach with him (even if it means paying part of his contract to unload him).
  • LP Zach Kroenke, 25, who was chosen by the Florida Marlins in December’s Rule 5 Draft, was returned to the Yankees on Monday.  He has been assigned to AA Trenton.  Sorry, Zach, but I am glad you had a miserable time in the Florida training camp.  Welcome back…
  • Both 2B Robinson Cano and P Damaso Marte received good news from the results of their respective MRI’s.  Cano has bursitis of the right shoulder, and Mare has inflammation of the left shoulder.  So, both should be back in action before long…
  • Good luck to former Yankees C Pudge Rodriguez who has signed a one-year deal with the Houston Astros.
  • In a non-Yankees note of interest to most likely only me, Denver Broncos QB Jay Cutler had a very acrimonious meeting with new head coach Josh McDaniels over the weekend, and has demanded to be traded.  The Vikings deny interest, but the Minnesota papers seem to follow every step of the action between Cutler and the Broncos with great detail.  I personally think Jay would look pretty good in purple and gold…

 

It is great to be back in Yankeeville!  Hopefully, my guys won’t let me down next month when the Great Showdown II with Julia of Julia’s Rants takes place (the weekend series between the Yankees and Red Sox on April 24th through 26th).  

 

With all sincerity, I do want to thank Julia for the incredible sportsmanship and good humor that she displayed during our first showdown.  I know, without a doubt, that it would have been no different had she lost.  We are very privileged to have her as one of our leading bloggers, and she continues to work harder than anyone I know at making MLB Blogs an incredible experience for everyone. 

 

But with that, I will still say…Go Yankees!  J

 

 

Hostage in the Red Sox Nation…

I can’t explain it.  Something has taken control of this blog, and I am powerless to stop it… 

 

 

As you know, I was annihilated by Julia of Julia’s Rants on Friday night, and I am continuing to serve my penance.  Only two more blogs until I am free!  Maybe she’ll let me off early for good behavior!

 

Hmmm…

 

 


Julia.jpg 

 

Maybe not…

 

Well, let’s begin Part 2 of the 4 part series. 

 

I was fortunate to have selected Julia’s favorite player when she was growing up for my first post-loss blog.  I don’t know if I will be as lucky with the second choice, however, this player was very memorable to me growing up in the 70′s.  I promise to get ‘more current’ in my last two blogs, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the player who had arguably one of the greatest games and seasons ever. 

 

In 1975, Fredric Michael Lynn burst onto the Major League scene and had…

 

A SUMMER TO REMEMBER

 

In perhaps one of the greatest single player accomplishments in major league history, Fred Lynn hit 3 home runs, 10 RBI, and had 16 total bases on June 18, 1975.

 

Boston Globe File Photo

 

The Red Sox were in Detroit facing the Tigers.  It was the third game of a three-game series.  Boston had already taken the first two games thanks to the heroics of Juan Beniquez, who had hit a triple to start the winning rally in the first game and homered to win the second game. 

 

For whatever reason, Fred had trouble sleeping on the morning of the 18th.  Maybe he had an intuition of things to come, as he was about to embark on a legendary day.  He got up early and walked the streets of downtown Detroit.  He headed to Tiger Stadium early for some extra batting practice, but no one could have expected what happened next.

 

 

 

In the first inning, the Red Sox were up 1-0, with Yaz on second when Fred came to bat.  Joe Coleman was on the mound for the Tigers.  Fred subsequently smashed an upper deck home run in right to give the Sox a 3-0 lead.

 

The next inning, with Yaz again on base along with shortstop Rick Burleson, Fred destroyed a Coleman pitch that hit the roof of the upper deck in left center.  The Sox led 7-1.

 

In the third inning, with Lerrin LaGrow pitching, he hit a triple (just missing another home run by three feet).  Two more runs scored to give the Sox an 11-1 lead.

 

In his only failed at-bat, Fred lined out to second base in the fifth.

 

Thanks to his hustle, he beat out an infield single in the sixth inning.

 

Finally, in the ninth inning, facing pitcher Tom Walker, he crushed another upper deck home run in right again to score three runs.

 

By the end of the game, which was won by the Sox, 15-1, Lynn had raised his batting average by 15 points. 

 

June 18, 1975 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan

 

Boston

AB

R

H

RBI

Detroit

AB

R

H

RBI

Beniquez lf

5

1

1

1

LeFlore cf

4

0

2

0

Burleson ss

3

3

2

0

Sutherland 2b

2

1

1

0

Griffin 2b

2

1

1

0

Knox 2b

2

0

0

0

Yastrzemski 1b

3

3

3

2

Meyer lf

4

0

1

1

Cooper 1b

3

1

1

0

Horton dh

4

0

1

0

Lynn cf

6

4

5

10

Oglivie pr,dh

0

0

0

0

Rice dh

4

1

2

0

Roberts rf

4

0

0

0

Evans ph, dh

2

0

0

0

Pierce 1b

4

0

0

0

Carbo rf

3

0

0

0

Rodriguez 3b

4

0

1

0

Miller rf

3

0

1

0

Wockenfuss c

2

0

0

0

Petrocelli 3b

3

1

3

1

Veryzer ss

3

0

0

0

Heise pr, 3b

1

0

0

0

Coleman p

0

0

0

0

Doyle 2b, ss

4

0

0

0

LaGrow p

0

0

0

0

Blackwell c

4

0

1

0

Reynolds p

0

0

0

0

Tiant p

0

0

0

0

Walker p

0

0

0

0

Cleveland p

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

Moret p

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

Segui p

0

0

0

0

 

 

 

 

 

TOTALS

46

15

20

14

 

33

1

6

1

 

Boston Red Sox                                   4     3     5        0     0     0        0     0     3     -     15       20       0

Detroit Tigers                                        1      0     0       0      0     0        0     0     0    -       1          6       2

 

Boston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Tiant W (9-6)

6.0

3

1

1

1

4

Cleveland

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

Moret

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

Segui

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTALS

9.0

6

1

1

1

4

 

Detroit

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Coleman L (3-10)

2.0

9

7

7

0

1

LaGrow

0.2

2

3

3

2

0

Reynolds

4.1

4

2

1

2

3

Walker

2.0

5

3

3

1

1

TOTALS

9.0

20

15

14

5

5

           

E-Veryzer 2 (10).  DP-Detroit 2.  PB-Wockenfuss (2).  2B-Boston Yastrzemski (11,off Coleman); Rice (12,off Coleman).  3B-Boston Burleson (1,off Coleman); Lynn (2,off Reynolds), Detroit Sutherland (3,off Tiant).  HR-Boston Lynn 3 (14,1st inning off Coleman 1 on, 1 out,2nd inning off Coleman 2 on, 2 out,9th inning off Walker 2 on, 1 out).  SB-Rice (3,3rd base off Coleman/Wockenfuss).  WP-Cleveland (6), Coleman (6).  U-HP-Jerry Neudecker, 1B-Art Frantz, 2B-Nick Bremigan, 3B-Jim McKean.  T-2:26.  A-13,029.

For the year, Fred Lynn hit .331 and led the AL in runs and doubles.  The left-handed centerfielder also hit 21 home runs and 105 RBI, with 103 runs scored.  He became the first player to win Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in the same season.

Fred’s greatest season occurred in 1979.  He hit 39 HR, 122 RBI, with 116 runs scored, 42 doubles, 82 walks, and .333 batting average.

His ‘all-out’ style of play robbed him of a Hall of Fame career.  For all his strengths, his weakness was an inability to know when to hold back.  Nagging injuries robbed him of a Yaz-like career, but he still managed to play 17 seasons.  Other teams included the California Angels, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and San Diego Padres.

For his career, he played 1,969 games; hit 306 HR; 1,111 RBI; and .283 batting average.

He was voted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2002.

Fred Lynn was as talented as any player who has ever played this game…

In a trivia note, he roomed together with the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame wide receiver Lynn Swann when both were on the USC football team.

 

THE WBC AND OTHER STUFF…

 

It was miserable to watch Team USA play Puerto Rico on Saturday night as they were clobbered 11-1.

 

The game would have continued but they invoked the mercy rule in the 7th inning to put Team USA out of its misery…

 

 

My favorite player, Derek Jeter Kevin Youklis, went 0-for-3.

 

Team USA will play The Netherlands next in a game that could send DJ Youk home.

 

The WBC is also showing its negative impact with the injury suffered by Robinson Cano Dustin Pedroia.  The potential for injury is certainly the primary risk with the WBC, plus the competition forces the players to push it harder than they normally would at this point in spring training.  Hopefully, Cano Pedroia will be okay and back in camp in a few days.

 

In an unrelated note, A.J. Burnett Jon Lester pitched a very impressive four innings in exhibition play on Saturday.   He did not allow any runs, and is looking very solid as the season approaches.  He is certainly pitching like he deserves the contract he got is getting.

 

Also, Alex Rodriguez Mike Lowell seems to be progressing very well from the torn labrum surgery.

 

Julia, perhaps you can invoke the mercy rule on me? 

 


sad_puppy_72ppi.jpg 

By the way, the Crow stew was very tasty.  I am looking forward to dessert…

 

 

To be continued… 

The Agony of Defeat…

It was all looking good until Yankees first baseman Juan Miranda botched a potential double-play throw in the second inning, which subsequently allowed six unearned runs to score. 

At the time, the Yankees-Red Sox game was tied at 1-1 due to a home run by Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell earlier in the inning. 

Ask me how much I wish Mark Teixeira had been in the line-up last night. 

Nevertheless, a bet is a bet and Julia of Julia’s Rants was the victor!  So, here is the first part of a four-part series about Boston Red Sox players (past and present).

THE GREAT TED WILLIAMS

Ted Williams was a great baseball player.

The End.

Whew!  That was easy.  Just three more of these and I’ll be finished!  Life is good…

You mean that’s not quite good enough?  Bummer.  Well, here goes…

Before I get started, I need to check on my lunch…

Crow and Mushroom Stew

3 crows
1 Tbsp lard/shortening
1 pint stock or gravy
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup mushrooms
salt and pepper
cayenne pepper

Clean and cut crows into small portions and let them cook a short time in the lard/shortening in a saucepan, being careful not to brown them.  Next, add to the contents of the pan, the stock or gravy, and salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.  Simmer 1 hour, or until tender, add mushrooms, simmer 10 minutes more and then stir in cream.  Arrange the mushrooms around the crows on a hot platter.

Yum, I can’t wait…

Okay, before I get started, who should I write about?  Let me see.  I could write about George Herman Ruth.  He was a Red Sox once, right?  He contributed significantly to the Red Sox World Championships of 1916 and 1918.  

 

Oh, there was something about Harry Frazee financing the play ‘No, No Nanette’ in 1923 and he needed some cash, so I guess that won’t work.

Hmmm…

I could write about David Wells or perhaps David Cone…

J.P. Moczulski/Reuters

Charles Krupa/AP

I know a thing or two about those guys…

Somehow, I don’t think Julia is going to let me get away that easy.

In the spirit of fair play, since this blog is temporarily on loan to the Red Sox Nation, I think I will go with Carl Yastrzemski for the first blog… 

 

THE PERFECT PLAYER

In 1967, Carl Yastrzemski won the American League MVP in a near unanimous vote (missing by a single vote).  He won the Triple Crown (.326, 44, 121).  He also led the AL in runs, 112; hits, 189; total bases, 360; runs produced, 189; OBP, .421; and SA, .622.

1967 was a remarkable year for Yaz but where did he come from?

Carl Michael Yastrzemski was born in Southhamption, Long Island on August 22, 1939.  He grew up in Bridgehampton, Long Island, as the son of a potato farmer.  After high school, Yaz went to Notre Dame on a baseball and basketball scholarship, but was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1958 during his first year of college.

At age 21, he joined the Red Sox in 1961.  He inherited left field, a spot that had been occupied by the legendary Ted Williams for the previous two decades. 

AP 

Yaz hit for average almost from the start, winning the 1963 batting title with .321 average.  He also led the AL with doubles and walks that year.  The power was slower to develop.  For his first six years, his season high for home runs was 20 in 1965.  Surely, the shadow of Williams and the surrounding cast of losing players had an impact on Yaz, but the tide was about to turn.

After a losing season in 1966, Dick Williams was hired as the Red Sox manager.  The experts expected another losing season in Boston.  In fact, the Las Vegas oddsmakers had the Red Sox at 100-1. 

With Yaz leading the way, the Red Sox were entrenched in perhaps the wildest pennant race in AL history.  Four teams (including Minnesota, Detroit, and Chicago) battled it out throughout the summer, separated by only a few games.

Game after game, Yaz consistently came up with the key hit or catch, or baserunning play, to help Boston win.  He was on fire during the stretch run, and batted .523 over the final 12 games of the season.  In the season’s final two games against Minnesota, with the Red Sox trailing the Twins by one game, Yaz went 7-for-8 with 5 runs batted in as the Red Sox won both games to win the pennant in the season known as the “Impossible Dream”.

The Red Sox subsequently lost the World Series in seven games to the St. Louis Cardinals.  But 1967 will always be known as “The Year of the Yaz”.

During his 23-year career, Yaz finished with:

·         7 Gold Gloves

·         3,419 hits

·         1,844 RBI

·         452 Home Runs

·         3,308 Games Played

Yaz was the first Boston player I was aware of growing up.  He wore a Red Sox uniform for his entire major league career, and his number, 8, was retired upon his selection for the Hall of Fame.  I didn’t see the early years, but from my perspective, Yaz played the game the right way and he set a standard that is difficult for many to achieve (not just the game of baseball, but the game of life as well). 

 “And if I have my choice between a pennant and a triple crown, I’ll take the pennant every time.”

– Carl Yastrzemski

 

 

YANKEES MEMBERSHIP

 

I received this notice regarding my Yankees Fan Membership from the She-Fan, Jane Heller, this morning…

 

 

 

 

Maybe she’ll renew my membership next month if I can defeat Julia in the April 24th to 26th series between the Yankees and Red Sox…

 

;( 

 

I wonder if lunch is ready…

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Showdown, Part I…

And so it begins…

 

 

Sound the sirens!  Rally the troops!  The Battle Cry has been called. 

 

File:Paul revere ride.gif

 

“The Yankees are coming!  The Yankees are coming!”

 

It’s the third-ranked Powerhouse on MLB Blogs against the tiny, unknown, and unranked opponent…

 

It’s the Whiskey Girl versus the Cabernet Guy…

 

Yes, it’s the war between the two most bitter rivals in all of baseball…

 

 

Chien-Ming Wang versus Tim Wakefield in THE game of spring training that will prove who has first bragging rights!

 

Torrie/Daily News

Will I emerge victorious and make Jane Heller proud or will I be forced to eat crow?…

Hopefully, the Yanks win, and I anxiously await the pro-Yankees blog by Miss Julia in her Saturday Roundup…

 

 

Or, gulp, I have to begin thinking about what to write for tomorrow’s blog…

 

…while in Boston…

 


Julia.jpg
 


 


Happy Friday the 13th!  It should be a day to remember…


 

Go Yankees!  :)

 

 

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