I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi. It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi.
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York. Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.
From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager. Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team? Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years.
For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre. Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi. Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.
2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees. They have an albatross or two
to deal with. It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett). I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett. That’s bad.
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being. Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off? Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so). As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants. It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games. I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season. With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas. I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series.
I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often. You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees. Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers. Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago.
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots. While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre. So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball.
As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history. I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60′s and 70′s.
I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season. I will
try to make good this weekend.
Caffalo/NY Daily News
Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…
It seems weird that the Yankees season is over with
the World Series set to begin tonight.
When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, there was a cartoonist who worked
for The Des Moines Register that used to say it wasn’t an official World Series
unless the Yankees were in it. I have
always believed those words!
Seriously, it is interesting that we finally have a
World Series with two teams that do not have a history of World Series success. For the Texas Rangers, they’ve never been to
the World Series, and for the Giants, they’ve never won a World Series since
they moved to San Francisco although they have made a couple of trips. Given that I live in the Bay Area and the
Giants have generally been my preferred NL team over the years, I’ll be pulling
for them tonight as they embark on Game 1 against the Rangers.
There are no active Giants players with ties to the Yankees
organization, however, the Yankees do have a presence through the coaching
staff and back office. The two most
notable individuals are GM Brian Sabean who started in the
Yankees front office working for George Steinbrenner and pitching coach Dave Righetti. I always chuckle when I think of Rags as a
pitching coach. Please don’t get me
wrong. I think he’s a terrific coach and
he was a great player, however, when he was young…before he “made it” to the
big leagues for good, he used to struggle with his control. So, he was the guy who needed such intensive
coaching and now he is the master. I
lived in Dallas for 14 years and during many of those years, Rags was the
Yankees closer. So, I have so many
memories of Rags closing out games in Arlington, Texas. So, in many ways, he’ll be returning to an
area that he is well familiar with and has enjoyed success. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pass on that
success to Tim Lincecum and company.
Some of the other names in the Giants organization
who have past connections to the Yankees:
Roberto Kelly, First Base
I remember being upset when the Yankees traded
Kelly to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul O’Neill.
Ha! I think that trade worked out
well for the Yanks. Sorry Roberto…
Hensley Meulens, Batting Coach
I remember when “Bam Bam” was a much-hyped
youngster with so much promise. He never
achieved success with the Yanks and was eventually sold to a team in Japan.
Henry Cotto, Coordinator,
Cotto was a bench player for the Yankees during the
lean years (1985 to 1987). I think of
him more as a Chicago Cub although he only played one year for them
(1984). He had an undistinguished career
but he definitely could run.
Lee Smith, Coordinator,
Lee is obviously better known for his great years
with the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, but he was with the Yankees in
1993 toward the end of his career. He
was a late season pickup and did well during his short stint even though the
Yankees did not that year.
J.T. Snow, Special Assistant
Snow, the son of former Los Angeles Rams great Jack
Snow, was originally drafted by the Yankees.
But he was traded in the deal that brought Jim Abbott to New York. He had some productive years for the Angels
but he achieved his greatest success with the Giants.
Dick Tidrow, Vice President,
Tidrow is definitely one of the more notable
Yankees as he played a very prominent role in the Yankees bullpen during their
two championships in the late 70′s. As a
kid growing up, he and Sparky Lyle were the faces of the bullpen.
Fred Stanley, Director, Player
Another player from those World Championship clubs
of 1977 and 1978, “Chicken” backed up shortstop Bucky Dent and was a valued
reserve during those years.
Joe Lefebvre, Senior Adviser,
Drafted by the Yankees, he only played for the team
one year (1980) before moving on to the San Diego Padres and Philadelphia
Phillies. However, he did play a part in
helping the Yankees win the AL East Division that year. I remember 1980 as the year the Yankees won
103 games but lost to the Kansas City Royals in the play-offs resulting in the
firing of late manager Dick Howser (back when George had a very itchy trigger
finger when it came to managers).
This “prayer” was making its rounds on email
yesterday. I do not know who the author
ors, as we forgive those who home run against us. Lead us not into defeat, but help us beat the
Rangers…with the help of the Beard, the Buster and
the Dirty Dozen.
Here’s hoping the former Yankees enjoy a World
Series championship in 2010!
As for the Yankees, they are apparently negotiating
a new 3-year deal with manager Joe Girardi.
I am glad to see that they are working to resolve Girardi’s situation
quickly so they can focus on the critical needs of the team. GM Brian Cashman acted very swiftly in
announcing that pitching coach Dave Eiland would not return. I have no issues with the decision. The Yankees starting pitching underperformed
this year, and A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez were the biggest reasons
why. I also think that Phil Hughes was
capable of more than he showed down the stretch. I am not sure who’d be the best candidate to
replace Eiland. Hey, I’d love to see
Dave Righetti back in New York but unfortunately he’s not going anywhere. Hopefully, Cashman and Girardi will be very
selective about who they chose for the very important role.
I saw this morning that CC Sabathia will be having
minor knee surgery. While this procedure
does not sound serious, I hope it is not indicative of the start of future
problems associated with CC’s weight.
This does show how critical it is for the Yankees to secure another ace
for the staff. Like everyone else, I am
strongly in favor of signing free agent to be Cliff Lee, however, I am very
dismayed at the reports of the poor treatment his wife received from the
Yankees fans during the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.
That type of abuse is completely unacceptable and it is an embarrassment
to be associated with those types of Yankee “fans”. I use the term “fans” very loosely because
those idiots are very poor representation of “fans”.
Hopefully, this does not keep the Lee’s from
considering an offer to join the Yankees.
I know it will be a tough, uphill battle to sign Lee as it is, and they
certainly did not need ill-treatment by the fans to give Mrs. Lee a strong
reason for not wanting to come to New York.
I want the core Yankees to return (Derek Jeter,
Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte).
However, I do not feel that the Yankees should overpay to convince them
to stay. So, if it is time to sever
ties, I am prepared as I feel the money would be better served to help bring
younger, more talented (at this stage of their careers) to New York to help
pursue a championship in 2011. Of the
core, I think re-signing Mariano Rivera is the most vital. He is still performing at a top level,
although the Yankees would be well served to re-sign Kerry Wood if
possible. I don’t want Derek Jeter to
leave but at some point, he is going to start becoming a liability at
short. I’d rather see the team cut ties
before rather than after that happens. I
want Andy Pettitte to return, but I would not want to see high expectations
placed on him. Put him in the #4 or #5
spot in the rotation and be satisfied with the results if he decides to
return. I didn’t mention the last core
member, Jorge Posada, since he is still under contract. However, I am ready for a change at
catcher. Just like the Boston Red Sox
moved Jason Varitek to a reserve role, the Yankees should do the same with
Jorge. At 39, he is past his prime at
the catching position and now is the time for the highly heralded Jesus Montero
if he can show in spring training that he is ready for the job. If the Yankees do sign Cliff Lee, it would be
great to see Lee pitching to Montero since Montero would have been the cost of
a trade with Seattle to get Lee before they reneged and moved him to Texas.
As for the Hot Stove League rumors, I have to admit
that I am somewhat intrigued by the potential of bringing Jayson Werth to New
York to play right field. As much as I
like Nick Swisher, he is a streaky hitter and hasn’t shown the clutch bat in
October like Werth has. Of course, I
would love to have Carl Crawford in left, but I think right is a greater
need. I fully expect Brett Gardner to
continue to improve. Granted, he is no
Carl Crawford, but his speed is very disruptive on the bases and he showed a
much better ability to get on base this year.
Brian Cashman definitely has his work cut out for
him this off-season. It should be
Thus endeth the season…
http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos" target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.” />
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch. The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August. Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years. The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez. But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average. Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies.
A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year. I am not sure what happened. He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before.
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire. He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent.
I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL. At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy. If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him.
Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success. He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level. He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming.
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team. That’s
probably true. As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake. As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him. Those fears turned out
to be justified. A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back.
I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff. The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season.
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club. So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move. Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club. Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.
As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite.
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome.
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly. Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance. I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans. I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series. So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.
Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series. I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys. The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year. So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance.
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them. However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited. When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game.
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family.
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game. My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph. Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill. He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession. It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope.
However, the prospects do not look good at this point. The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks. Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction. As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm. I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year.
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too.
So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…
With their backs to the wall, the Yankees rebounded
on Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over Texas to bring the series to a 3-2
advantage for the Rangers.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
It can be argued that the Rangers played less than
their best to ensure clinching on their home turf, but the Yankees clearly
played with a purpose and showed the heart that has been missing for the last
The last time to overcome a 3 games to 1 deficit
was the Boston Red Sox in their World Series winning year of 2007. They also erased a 3-to-0 deficit in the 2004
ALCS against the Yankees enroute to their first championship since 1918. So, it can be done, but the Yankees face a
long road that would end with Cliff Lee staring them down from the mound
(assuming they can get past Colby Lewis on Friday night). CC Sabathia is done for the series, except
perhaps in a relief role.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
The Yankees will also be without Mark Teixeira who
has been lost for the duration of the play-offs due to a hamstring injury. The acquisition of Lance Berkman now looms
very large as he’ll be asked to cover first.
It will be good to get both his bat and that of Marcus Thames into the
lineup at the same time, but it will still be a step down from Teixeira. With Robinson Cano moving to the third spot
in the order, hopefully, he’ll continue his hot hitting and maybe give A-Rod a
Realistically, I do not think the Yankees will be
able to win two games in Texas. But, of
course, stranger things have happened.
The Yankees certainly have the talent and potential to succeed.
Win or lose, I am proud of today’s effort by the
Yankees. I am glad that they didn’t roll
over and let the Rangers celebrate on Yankee Stadium ground. Now, if the Rangers win, it’ll be on their
own turf, in front of their own fans. It
will be a long plane flight back to New York, but that’s better than watching
the visitors pouring champagne in your house.
Simmons/NY Daily News
Here’s hoping the Yankees can keep up the intensity
and continue playing with the same heart they showed today. A 3-game winning streak. Is that asking too much?…
Simmons/NY Daily News
I was surprised to see that the Chicago Cubs have
already named their manager, removing the interim tag from manager Mike
Quade. I really thought the Cubs would
try to woo Joe Girardi back to Chicago.
Or at the very least, they’d give Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg a shot. By hiring Quade, it kind of reminds me of how
the Yankees bypassed Don Mattingly to hire Joe Girardi when Joe Torre
left. Circumstances were different, but
the outcome will most likely be the same…the departure of the legend to another
team. I am proud of Mattingly and he’ll
always be one of my favorite Yankees, but it’s still tough watching him in a
Dodgers uniform. Don’t get me wrong, I
will be rooting for him to succeed but it will still sting that he doesn’t wear
the pinstripes anymore. On the same
token, it will be hard for Cubs fans to see Sandberg get an opportunity with
Speaking of Girardi, the Cubs decision virtually
guarantees that he’ll be back as Yankees manager (assuming the team and the
manager are able to come to terms on a new deal). So much for leverage…
I didn’t really expect the Yankees to go into Texas
and sweep the Rangers, so all things considered, I’ll take a split in the ALCS as the teams
make their way to the Bronx…
The Yankees took the first game in dramatic fashion
as they overcame a 5-0 deficit to win 6-5, thanks to a five run 8th
inning. It was a disappointing
performance by CC Sabathia at a time when you expect nothing but perfection
from your ace.
As bad as Sabathia was, Phil Hughes was worse in
Game 2 as the Yankees fell to the Rangers, 7-2.
The Rangers will now have Cliff Lee available in Games 3 and 7 if
necessary. It definitely gives the
Rangers an advantage, but if the Yankees can start pitching like they are
capable of, they can neutralize the advantage.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
As the San Francisco Giants showed in Game 1 of the NLCS, great pitching
can beat great pitching (Tim Lincecum over Roy Halladay). For Game 3, the Yankees need for Andy
Pettitte to keep the game close until they can get Cliff Lee out of the
Michael Macor/The Chronicle
If they lose, the Rangers are almost certain to
face CC Sabathia rather than A.J. Burnett in Game 4. Given the short outing in Game 1, it’s
possible that Sabathia may be a go for Game 4 regardless of what happens in
Game 3 against Lee. The Yankees will
want to posture the rotation for a potential Sabathia-Lee showdown in Game 7 if
the series goes that far. I know that
Joe Girardi is saying that Sabathia is still the scheduled Game 5 starter, but
I really think he’ll announce a change.
I know Andy is a big-game pitcher, but I’d rather have Sabathia in an ‘all
or nothing’ situation.
The Yankees also need to work on the bats. In yesterday’s loss, the Yankees squandered
multiple scoring opportunities as they left 12 men on base. They were 1-for-11 with men in scoring
position. That’s definitely not the way
to ensure a return trip to the World Series.
Time for Mystique and Aura to make an appearance at
Well, nearing the Eve of the American League Championship Series, it is time for me to settle a lost wager from September.
The Yankees played a three-game series in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox from September 24th through the 26th. I had made a bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and the loser would be forced to wear the opponent’s ballcap in photos posted on their blog. The Red Sox won the first two games of the series, 10-8 and 7-3, clinching the series win for Julia and the Sox before the Yanks prevailed in the final game, 4-3.
I still have one more wager to settle (the series loss to the Sox at the end of the season), but that’s for another day. Today is all about the Red Sox ballcap…
I used this past weekend as the focus for my photos. I went to Los Angeles to attend a wedding on Sunday, 10-10-10, but I took some time out to enjoy the scenery.
I first donned the Red Sox ballcap about 100 miles or so north of Los Angeles at Harris Ranch…
I didn’t intend to give these photos a depressing theme (maybe that was my inner-Yankee trying to wrestle control!) but I stopped by a local cemetery to pay my respects.
First up was the star of Get Smart, Don Adams…
A short walk away in a mausoleum, I found 20′s heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino…
Being in Los Angeles, you can never get too far away from a Rolls Royce…
Moving on, I came across beautiful 40′s actress Rita Hayworth…
And for a little musical interlude, Bing Crosby…
For the last grave, I saved it for the guy who used to scare the daylights out of me when I was a little kid watching those old Dracula movies, Bela Lugosi…
In an effort to liven up the theme of the photos, I traveled over to Hollywood…
Imagine my surprise at the celebrity I encountered walking down Hollywood Blvd…
But sadly, I also walked past the star of fallen musical icon John Lennon who had just celebrated a birthday…
It was a fun day, but interestingly enough, no one said a thing about my hat. I even walked by a Yankees fan who said nothing. I guess I probably should have waited a few weeks until I go to New York City to take my photos. I am sure that I could have gotten a reaction at that time!
Well, after settling this wager, it was time to call it a night. I’d call it a wager paid in full…
Congratulations on the series wins at the end of the season, Julia. The Red Sox showed heart until the very end. They may not have made the play-offs, but they still walked off the field with much respect and admiration. I look forward to resuming our wagers next season, but hopefully, next time, you’ll be the loser!
Time for a new ballcap…
Congratulations to the New York Yankees for their
ALDS series win over the Minnesota Twins!
Neil Miller/New York Post
I don’t know why the Yankees have enjoyed success
against the Twins. Perhaps it is why the
Toronto Blue Jays love playing the Yankees.
Some teams have other teams number and the Yankees certainly hold a psychological
edge over the Twins.
I’ve been reading many articles about which team
the Yankees would prefer facing in the American League Championship
Series. While I am still not convinced
that the Yankees have “it” this year to see them through a World Series that
most likely will feature a frontline rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and
Cole Hamels, the two potential AL contenders (Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers)
certainly have their own issues.
As for a potential ALCS opponent, I’d have to say
that I’d prefer to see the Tampa Bay Rays.
I don’t really want to see the Texas Rangers advance to the World Series
(not that I want to see the Rays go there either), but a series with the
Rangers would result in very bitter confrontations with Rangers ace Cliff
Lee. Win or lose, it could potentially
impact Cliff’s decision this offseason regarding where to sign (or
re-sign). CC Sabathia neutralizes the
advantage of David Price, and with the other starters rested, I like the team’s
chances against the other Rays starters.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for
their NLDS ouster of the Atlanta Braves and future Hall of Fame manager Bobby
Cox. It was a tough fought series, and I
give the Giants credit for much heart in this series. They thrived on stellar pitching and used
small ball to topple the Braves and send Cox away at the end of the long and
successful managerial career. It was odd
seeing the final out recorded by former Yankee Melky Cabrera, who had seemed to
thrive in walk-off situations in 2009.
With the tying and winning runs on base, Melky hit a grounder to third
to end the game. With the series win in
Game 4, the Giants saved scheduled Game 5 starter Tim Lincecum for a first
round NLCS match-up against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies. It should be a terrific pitchers’ duel…
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Well, with just one division series left to go, I
guess I’ll end with saying, ‘Go Rays!’…
I am pleasantly surprised at the Yankees’ success,
so far, against the Minnesota Twins…
I had been so disappointed with the team’s pathetic
September performance that saw them lose any chance of winning the AL
East. Within a matter of days or even
hours, they went from the possibility of the AL East Championship with home
field advantage to a road-traveling Wild Card team. It was hard to be excited about the start of
the play-offs with the team playing so poorly.
For the first two games of the ALDS series against the Twins, the
Yankees have risen to the challenge.
Granted, the Yankees have a history of success against the Twins, but I’d
be the first to say that past domination does not guarantee future domination. 2004 wasn’t that many years ago…
Vincent Laforet/The New York Times
While the Yankees have the series advantage and are
now headed for the Bronx to resume the series on Saturday night, the Twins are
far from out of it. If they can get
solid pitching and timely hitting in New York, they have a chance to take the
series back to Minnesota for the deciding Game 5. Outside of perhaps CC Sabathia, the Yankees simply
do not have a pitcher that is capable of putting up a Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee
type of performance. Even CC has his bad
days. But going into the play-offs, I
knew that the lesser guys would need to stand up and so far, Lance Berkman and
Curtis Granderson certainly have.
Sipken/NY Daily News
I am very surprised to see the AL East Champion
Tampa Bay Rays trailing their ALDS series to the Texas Rangers (down two games
to none). I realize that the Rays
struggled in September like the Yankees but I felt they were probably the best
team in the American League based primarily on their pitching staff. Like the Twins, the Rays can still get back
in the series but the Rangers have to like their chances.
There have been great pitching performances in the
National League with the no-hitter thrown by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy
Halladay and last night’s 14-strikeout, complete game shut-out thrown by San
Francisco’s Tim Lincecum in the Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Atlanta
Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
Regardless of what happens, the League Championship
Series in both leagues should be very exciting this year. I still think the Phillies will win it all,
but the Yankees certainly have as much talent as anyone to get on a roll.
Going off-topic but staying with the ‘Minnesota to New York’ theme, I was very pleasantly surprised to
see the return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings play the Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday night. I have retained my purple #84 jersey all
these years but never thought that I’d get a chance to wear it again. I knew that Randy had become quite vocal in
recent weeks about the lack of a contract extension and of course there was
last weekend’s blow-up with a coordinator.
Still, I did not expect the New England Patriots to trade Moss. The Vikings have clearly been missing Sidney
Rice who will be out until at least mid-season due to hip surgery. It will be interesting to see if chemistry
develops between Moss and QB Brett Favre.
It is going to be weird watching Moss catching passes from Favre after
all those years of playing against each other in the Packers-Vikings series.
At 1-2, the Vikings face a very challenging
October. After the game against the Jets, they will face the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and
New England Patriots to close out the month.
The team should definitely know where they stand by Halloween.
Interesting how the Yankees can lose their last
game and still end up in first place…
I went all week thinking that the Yankees were a
game and a half out of first place.
After a very disappointing September that found the Yankees trailing the
Tampa Bay Rays, I’ve been very pessimistic about the team’s chances in
October. I still am, but it would
definitely be better to go into the play-offs as the AL East Champion and
possibly holder of the league’s best record than it would be to go as the road
traveling Wild Card team.
I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that the
Yankees were only a ½ game back this morning.
I don’t know how I got 1 ½ games stuck in my head. The Rays were in Kansas City tonight to start
a four game series against the Royals and they had to face Zack Greinke. It’s been a disappointing season for Greinke
but he still rose to the challenge tonight as he defeated the Rays, 3-2. The loss dropped the Rays into a tie with the
Yankees with three games to play. If
both teams finish in a tie, the division goes to the Rays by virtue of the
better head-to-head record. So, the
Yankees really need to go into Boston seeking a sweep. I seriously doubt that the Rays will drop
more than one more game to the Royals.
The Yanks have not shown the killer instinct yet this month, but
hopefully, they’ll find it in Beantown.
In a statement of the obvious, I pin the blame on
the Yankees potential inability to win the division on pitcher A.J.
Burnett. At 10-15, he has been largely
ineffective most of the season. When he
is bad, he is really bad. Had he been
just 13-12 so far this season, the Yankees would hold a comfortable lead in the
East heading into the weekend. I know,
there are more reasons for why the Yankees are in this predicament than just
Burnett. But I am a fan so I can be
unreasonable and flawed in my thinking…
Theodorakis/NY Daily News
I am still very pessimistic about the team’s
chances in October. I simply do not feel
that a rotation of Sabathia-Pettitte-Hughes can provide the type of shutdown
performances that will be required. The
Rays will find ways to score runs and so will the Twins. If Josh Hamilton comes back strong, the
Rangers could make noise. To me, there’s
only one team playing like they are the World Series champion and that’s the
Philadelphia Phillies. I also give
credit to the San Francisco Giants who, unlike last year, rose to the challenge
this September and are on the verge of winning the NL West. Of course it helps to have Tim Lincecum at
the top of your rotation.
Thanks to the loss of my last wager with Julia of
Julia’s Rants, I am awaiting the arrival of a Boston Red Sox cap in the
mail. Upon receipt, I am obligated to
take photos wearing the hat along with a Red Sox t-shirt that I “acquired”
through a previous wager loss. I have a
business trip to Texas next week so I may be delayed, but a bet is a bet so the
photos will appear on the blog sometime soon L.
But until then…
For the last wager of the baseball season, Julia and
I have decided the loser should post photos holding signs. If the Red Sox win the 3 game series, I will
be forced to hold pro-Red Sox signs. If
the Yankees win, then Julia will be holding pro-Yankee signs.
It has been a fun season despite the
challenges. I’ve enjoyed the battles
with Julia and I was glad to see the Red Sox eliminated from the play-offs
before the final series. Boston has been
an incredibly resilient team despite the massive injuries they’ve
suffered. I have been very impressed
with the ‘never quit’ mentality and I am relieved that the Yankees won’t have
to face it in October.
In a final non-baseball note, I’d like to express
sadness at the loss of actor Tony Curtis.
He died yesterday of cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas home at age
85. He’ll be missed…