Results tagged ‘ Brett Favre ’

Everything Will Be OK…

Silence is Golden…


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Courtesy:  

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/5167719

Okay, it has been incredibly quiet around the Yankees Universe since they acquired pitcher Javier Vazquez late last year.  But all things considered, I think that GM Brian Cashman has the team exactly where he wants them.  There is much discussion about left field, but really, a platoon of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann is not necessarily a bad thing.  Or perhaps Colin Curtis makes major strides in training camp.  Regardless, the Yankees are in good shape regardless of what happens in left.  In fact, it was just last April when the Yankees broke camp with Gardner as their starting center fielder.  They now have a centerfielder who can match Johnny Damon’s lost production, so why not take a chance on Gardner in left?  If he could improve his on-base percentage, he would be a terror on the base paths.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Growing up, it always seemed as though owner George Steinbrenner would purposely leak stories about the Yankees to the tabloids just to keep the team in the news.  It has been a new world order since Hal Steinbrenner took over the team, but that doesn’t mean the younger Steinbrenner is any less motivated to win than his father.  He just wants to avoid those foolish long-term contracts that can haunt a team for years.  If greater efficiency ensures the sustainability of the team’s success in recent years, I am all for it.  The late 80′s were not a fun time to be a Yankees fan.

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I am not saying that I wouldn’t be excited if the Yankees and Johnny Damon somehow came to an agreement for 2010, but at this point, I am not counting on it.  I am prepared for the team to move forward with its current cast of players.  I know that if a need develops, they’ll pursue a solution that makes sense for the team. 

 

But I respect Hal Steinbrenner, and I am pleased that he is in charge of the Yankees.  He has shown support for his manager and general manager, and he is willing to open the purse strings when it makes sense for the team.  I remember sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium during the 1980′s when fans used to yell negative comments about George Steinbrenner.  Somehow, I don’t think that will happen with Hal.  He is not going to run a frivolous organization, but it will be efficient, streamlined, and a winner.  Works for me…

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On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship with a 34-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys.  The Vikings will face the Saints in New Orleans next weekend.

 

Favre finally prevailed against the Cowboys after compiling a 0-3 record against them in the play-offs while a member of the Green Bay Packers. 

 


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For me, it was vindication, in part, for the disappointing loss in the Hail Mary game of December 1975.


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The Vikings have a tough match-up against the Saints, particularly considering that it is an away game.  The Vikings have been invincible at home, but on the road, they’ve met mixed results.  In facing the Saints, they’ll see a familiar player in former Viking safety Darren Sharper.  Sharper and Favre were teammates in Green Bay, but now Sharper stands in Favre’s way for a trip to the Super Bowl.

 

After the game against the Cowboys, a friend sent me the following “prayer”.  I don’t know who wrote it but it is excellent:

 

Our Favre-ther who art in Mississippi, hallowed be thy name.  Thy bowl will come, it will win, in Miami as it is in the Dome.  Give us this Sunday, our weekly win.  Give us touchdown passes, but do not let others pass against us.  Lead us not into frustration but deliver us to the Super Bowl.  For thyne is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and the glory of the Purple People Eaters now and forever…

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

 

Good luck to the guys in purple, but seriously, I am ready for some baseball…

Jeter is honored in Tickertape parade held in honor of New York Yankees' World Series win in New York

UPI

P.S.  Contrary to what Julia may think, ‘Yankees Suck’ did not win Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat through a write-in campaign!  ;)

Scott

Time for a new Most Eligible Bachelor…

If the reports are true, Derek Jeter will be breaking the hearts of women and girls across the country…

 

 


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According to Newsday and the New York Post, Derek Jeter will marry Minka Kelly on November 5th…right after the end of the World Series.

 

 

 

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The reception will likely be held at Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island.

 

 

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It is hard to believe that DJ has finally decided to settle down, but I think he’s made a wise choice with Minka.  From afar, they seem like a very happy couple.  Let’s hope that 2010, all the way around, is DJ’s best yet!

 

 

(l. to r.) Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter from the 2009 World Series Champion Yankees stop by to talk to Dave on the 'Late Show with David Letterman.'

 

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New York Post

 

Much is being made of the alleged wedding date which ends a day or two after the last possible game for the World Series.  I think Derek will be fine with a night’s rest after he helps the Yankees win their 28th World Championship.  But, of course, my friend Julia will argue that DJ will have several weeks, if not more, to rest up for the wedding following the end of the Yankees’ season.  Well, I guess that’s why they play the games.

 

 

 

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Congrats to Derek and Minka!…if the rumored wedding is true…

 

 

 

 

 

Speculation continues to churn out more names for left field.  I like the one that would put Rick Ankiel and Rocco Baldelli in a platoon.  I do not want to see the team sign an aging veteran like Brian Giles or Jermaine Dye.  But the longer Johnny Damon goes unsigned, the more I get renewed hope that he’ll settle for less and return to the Bronx.  Clearly, his return is the best case scenario.

 

 

 

Al Bello/Getty Images

 

 

The Dallas Cowboys are headed to Minnesota in the divisional play-offs next week.  For me, it is chance for revenge of 1975′s Hail Mary Pass by Roger Staubach as the Cowboys ousted the Vikings from the play-offs.  The 1975 Vikings were a great team, much like the 1998 version, and both of those teams suffered bitter, disappointing losses to end their respective seasons.  Brett Favre has a great deal of experience facing the Cowboys in the play-offs.  Too often, the games were played at Texas Stadium and Favre ended up on the losing end.  However, this time, the game is at home so Favre has a chance for vindication.  After years of watching the Cowboys end his season, he can finally return the favor.  Let’s hope that a trip to the NFC Championship is in store for the Vikings.

 

 

Reuters

 

 

The Cowboys entered December trying to find post-Thanksgiving success…something that has eluded the team in recent years.  This year, the Cowboys were able to turn it up a notch when the temperatures dropped.  They definitely have momentum on their side following two lop-sided wins over their bitter division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.  Many experts had predicted that the eventual NFC champion would come from the winner of the Cowboys-Eagles game.  I hope that’s not the case…

 

 

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Hey Julia, only 84 more days until you experience the Red Sox first defeat! ;)

 

 


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First Departure from 2009 Championship Team…

Let the trading and signings begin!…

 

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The Yankees embarked on their 2010 off-season journey by dealing reliever Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named (most likely the Nats’ first round pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft).  Bruney has been a vital cog in the Yankees bullpen for the past few years, although there have been a few interruptions caused by injury.  I am not sure what I think about this one.  I have to believe that Brian Cashman has a motive for making the move.  It’s been said that Cash feels that Bruney’s role can be replaced by lower cost options, however, I liked the thought of having Bruney as a safety net for the bridge to Mariano Rivera should Phil Hughes make a successful transition to the starting rotation next season.  Or perhaps Cash has more grandiose plans that would keep Hughes as the Yanks’ primary setup man.  Regardless, Bruney will be missed, and I wish him the best of luck in the Nation’s Capitol.

 

Michael Strobel/US Presswire

Okay, you could say that Bruney is not the first player to depart given the number of players who are free agents.  However, none have signed with other clubs yet so Bruney is the first major departure from the 2009 Champions.

 

It was also announced that pitcher Andy Pettitte has decided to return in 2010.  Unlike last season, Andy was very quick to make the decision to return.  Of course, the team and Pettitte now have to agree on compensation so this could still be dragged out over the course of the next few weeks.  I am glad to see Andy’s return as that would be preferable over a gamble that someone like Randy Wolf could have a successful transition to the Bronx.  When he’s done, Andy will stand tall among the franchise’s best left-handed pitchers.  He may not reach the club’s win record for a southpaw, but he’ll be in the neighborhood.  If only he hadn’t left for the Houston Astros for three years…

 

 

So, the Los Angeles Angels are kicking the tires of Boston Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay.  If they allow Vladimir Guerrero to depart, it would make sense that the Angels pursue someone of Bay’s caliber.  If that happens, I’d have to believe that the Red Sox will become the odds-on favorite to land Matt Holliday as Bay’s replacement.

 

 

I just completed a very busy week, and it’s great to be home.  Last Sunday, I attended a Kelly Clarkson concert in San Jose.

 

 

 

I departed the next day for business meetings in New Jersey.  After the meetings, a number of my co-workers and I traveled to New York to see Rock of Ages on Broadway.  It was a terrific show, and the star, former American Idol finalist Constanine Maroulis, was phenomenal.

 

Rock of Ages' Constantine Maroulis on Groupies and Performing for Drinking Audiences

Getty Images 

 

From New York, I headed to Phoenix where I spent the weekend.  I went to Sunday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.  The game was a disaster, as the Vikings fell to the Cardinals, 30-17.  However, the stadium was impressive.  Hopefully, Favre and Company will rebound for a strong finish to the season.  Everyone’s allowed a clunker or two, right?

 

Minnesota Vikings (4) Brett Favre and Arizona Cardinals (13) Kurt Warner after the Cardinals defeated the Vikings. The Cardinals won 30-17.

Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic

 

Arriving back in San Jose, all the nearby mountains were snow-capped, which is a very rare sight in Silicon Valley.  It was a beautiful sight, and it was so good to be home!

 


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20 is the new 17…

When does age not matter?

 

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I guess it is when the Yankees sign a “prospect” who was suspended for claiming he was only 17 years old when he was actually 20.  Eladio Moronta, a Dominican outfield prospect, was suspended earlier this year for the age discrepancy, but was reinstated on September 28th.  He is 6’1″, 183 lbs, and has been compared to Raul Mondesi.

 

 

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It is not clear how Moronta fits into the Yankees system, particularly with Austin Jackson nearly major league ready.  But for a prospect who could have commanded a signing bonus in the millions, he was signed for only $570,000.  I could live rather comfortably on $570K, but for the Yankees, that’s a drop in the bucket.  Let’s hope the signing works out…

 

 

I have to admit that I am becoming a believer in Brett Favre.  I was very skeptical when he finally signed with Minnesota Vikings after a season of ‘is he retired?  Is he not?’.  I was ready to turn over the QB reins to Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels.  Of course, had that happened, there is absolutely no way that the Vikings would have been 9-1, with a 3-game lead on the Green Bay Packers.

 

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Prior to Sunday, there was much talk about how that was the point in the season where Favre begin his fade with the New York Jets in 2008.  So what did Brett do on Sunday?  He threw for 4 TD passes and completed a career-high 88 percent of his passes as the Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 35-9.  So, I guess in the Vikings case, age does not matter.

 

 

The Boston Red Sox named DeMarlo Hale as their new bench coach, replacing Brad Mills who was named as manager for the Houston Astros.  As much as I hate to admit it, it was a good move.  The Red Sox promoted AAA Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson who will become the new first base coach.  Last year’s first base coach, Tim Bogar, moves to third, replacing Hale.  I have always admired Red Sox manager Terry Francona despite my dislike for anything-Red Sox.  He showed once again that he is a master tactician.  I think the Red Sox are building a great second or third place team for 2010!  ;)

 

Boston Red Sox's David Ortiz, right, talks to third base coach DeMarlo Hale during the ninth inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox on Friday, Aug. 24, 2007, in Chicago. The Red Sox won 10-1.

AP

I kind of like the talk about the Yankees pursuing Florida ace Josh Johnson.  I’d prefer that to signing free agent John Lackey, even if we have to give up quality talent in return.  I think Josh as part of the trio with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett would be the perfect formula for a 28th world championship.  Admittedly, it wouldn’t hurt to have Matt Holliday or Jason Bay in left field!  J

 

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Congrats to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols and Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer for their respective MVP awards.  They were both the obvious choices and I see a trip to Cooperstown, NY for both players.  Why does Derek Jeter always lose to the Twins?  At least the Yankees, as a team, don’t share the same problem.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the Yankees won the World Series because of Jeter.  He meant more to the team than Mauer would have.  That doesn’t mean that I think Jeter should have beaten Mauer for MVP (I don’t), but for the Yankees, Jeter was the MVP.

 

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Okay, when do the free signings start?…

 

Advantage, Yankees!…

Wow, what a Sports weekend!…

 

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It started with a thrilling college football game on Saturday as the University of Iowa Hawkeyes overcame the Indiana Hoosiers, 42-24.  The Hawks had trailed at one point, 21-7.  However, due to some great defensive plays by the Iowa defense and the play of QB Ricky Stanzi, the Hawkeyes improved their record to 9-0.  Iowa Is currently 4th in the BCS Standings, and this has been the greatest Hawkeye season of my life. 

 

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Saturday night, the Yankees gained the advantage in the World Series with an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.  In the early stages of the game, it appeared that it would be short night for Andy Pettitte.  I saw two games in the 2001 World Series in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and one included Game 6 which saw Pettitte get blasted in a 15-2 defeat.  I had concerns that I was seeing a repeat performance, however, Andy showed that he has learned a few things since then and he held firm with the ‘bend but don’t break’ mantra.

 

 

 

I thought Andy’s game-tying single in the 5th was the key hit of the game.  Andy definitely showed that the three years spent in Houston was well worth the time as he was able to gain experience hitting at the major league level. 

 

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I was surprised that the Yankees were able to get to Cole Hamels.  Hamels was last year’s MVP, and I had expected a performance commensurate with the Game 1 start of Cliff Lee.  Fortunately, the Yankees were able to capture the victory as well as the momentum in the Series.  They had lost home field advantage while at Yankee Stadium with the Game 1 loss.  However, they’ve ensured that for Philly to have a chance, the series would have to return to Yankee Stadium.  So much for Jimmy Rollins prediction that the Phillies would win this one in five games…

 

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Sunday, saw Brett Favre make his first return to Lambeau Field as a visitor.  Favre looked tremendous as he threw for four touchdowns.  It looked like it would be a rout early, however, Aaron Rodgers brought the Green Bay Packers back to within a score.  However, the Vikings pulled away at the end to win the game, 38-26.  Favre won both games against the Packers this year, and that is a rare feat for the Vikings.  It gives them a commanding lead in the NFC North with a 7-1 record.

 

Jeffrey Phelps/AP

 

Speaking of commanding leads, the Yankees grabbed the Series by the throat with a 7-4 victory on Sunday night.  On short rest, CC Sabathia did very well, but he was long gone by the time the game was decided.  CC had the lead when he departed, but a game-tying home run by Pedro Feliz off Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the 8th inning left a no-decision for Sabathia.

 

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At that point, it appeared that the Phillies had the series advantage.  If they could pull out a win tonight and Cliff Lee on the mound tomorrow, they could have potentially gone ahead 3-2 before the series headed back to New York.  But it was not meant to be as the Yankees rallied for three runs in the 9th.  Johnny Damon showed why he is such a catalyst for the Yankee offense.  After a two-out single in the 9th, he stole second and seeing that there was no one covering third, he outraced Pedro Feliz to advance two bags.  The play was critical as it forced Phillies closer Brad Lidge to alter his pitch selection and it gave Alex Rodriguez a chance to line a go-ahead single to score Damon.

 

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With Mark Teixeira on base along with Rodriguez (Tex had been hit by a pitch after Damon had stolen third), Jorge Posada lined a single to score both runners and give the Yankees a three run cushion heading into the bottom of the 9th.  Posada was thrown out attempting to stretch the single to a double, but it didn’t matter.  The three runs were enough for Mariano Rivera, and he closed out the game with 3 up and 3 down to pick up his 39th career post-season save.

 

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There is one more game in Philadelphia as A.J. Burnett, the Game 2 hero, faces Cliff Lee, the master of Game 1.  While it would be nice to close out the series in Philly, I have a feeling that this one is headed back for the Bronx.  Regardless of what happens, to win two out of three in Philly was a tremendous feat by the Yankees.  The Phillies are definitely a championship club and they’ve proven that last year was no fluke…not like the 2004 and 2007 World Series Champs!  Sorry Julia, I had to throw one in there for you!

 

 

So, I had a great weekend.  How about you?…

 

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Farewell to the Metrodome…

 

 

 

The play of the game was courtesy of Derek Jeter…

 

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

 

The Yankees emerged victorious, winning the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, three games to none.  Thanks to a 4-1 victory tonight, the Yankees will head home for a Friday meeting against the Los Angeles Angels and old friends Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera.

 

Elise Amendola/AP

 

 

I really didn’t want to see Carl Pavano pitch the game of his life against his former teammates.  He had the strikeouts (9), but in the end, he was done in by 7th inning home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada.

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

 

The Yankees added a couple of insurance runs in the 9th inning, but in my mind, the play of the game was courtesy of Derek Jeter with an assist by Jorge Posada.  In the 8th, Nick Punto led off with a double.  The next batter, Denard Span, hit the ball to Derek Jeter after a hop.  Seeing that he had no play at first, Derek fired the ball to Jorge Posada when he saw that Punto was running past third despite the stop sign.  Posada quickly made a perfect throw to third baseman Alex Rodriguez to erase Punto who was diving back to third.  So, instead of runners on the corners with no outs, the Twins only had a runner at first with one out.  The Yankees escaped the inning without allowing any runs, and the Twins’ last threat of the 2009 season was eliminated.

 

 

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Mariano Rivera recorded the final four outs to save the game, and propel the Yankees into the American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. 

 

Jim Mone/AP

 

 

The game represented the final baseball game held at the Metrodome.  The Twins will move to their new ballpark, Target Field, next season.  The Vikings are now the sole tenant of the Metrodome (at least until they find a new stadium).

 

 

Charlie Niebergall/AP

 

 

 

Alex Rodriguez has eliminated any doubt that he is not a post-season performer, and Jorge Posada has proved once again that he is a man to be counted on when it counts.  It was a great victory for the Yanks, and a nice sweep to give them a few days off before they face their nemesis in the Bronx.

 

 


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It’s hard to believe that 3 of 4 play-off series were decided by sweeps.  I am surprised that the powerful Philadelphia Phillies are the only team that is engaged in a difficult battle.  They are clearly more talented than the Colorado Rockies, but they are tied in the NLDS with the Rockies, but leading 4-3 in the early stages of the very cold game tonight..

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David Zalubowski/AP

 

 

 

Congratulations to Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers for advancing to the National League Championship Series.  I have to admit that it was a little bittersweet watching Donnie Baseball wrapping his arms around Dodgers players in celebration of their series sweep over the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

 

Tom Gannam/AP

 

 

It was tough to watch the Boston Red Sox exit the 2009 play-offs.  I was really hoping for a final Yankees-Red Sox showdown.  I thought the Red Sox were going to win today’s game, and didn’t really think that the Angels would rally against closer Jonathan Papelbon.  Had the Sox won today, they would have re-captured some momentum in the series, and they’d have a good chance to even things up in Game 4.  Alas, it was not meant to be as Bobby Abreu and Vladimir Guerrero came up with key hits in the 9th to score a total of 3 runs to overtake Boston, 7-6.  Still, I thought the Red Sox had a chance in the bottom of the 9th but they just couldn’t get it going.

 

 

Elise Amendola/AP

 

 

I have enjoyed my season-long wagers with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  Early in the season, it was all-Red Sox.  Julia was living a charmed life.  Then, the Yankees picked up a win on August 6th and they haven’t looked back.  It has been a fun and exciting year for the Yankees and Red Sox.  “The Rivalry” is great for baseball, and I think I learned to better understand Red Sox fans with my battles against Julia.  They are passionate, and they care about their team.  They are supportive through the end, and they walk away with their heads held high.  They know, not just hope, that they will be back next year…stronger and hungrier than ever before.  Congratulations Julia to you and your team on a fine season!  Of course, that doesn’t mean I won’t be anxious to see photos of you wearing your pink Yankees cap and Lou Gehrig t-shirt holding a sign proclaiming that the Yankees ARE BETTER!  Life is good!

 

 

 

As for my favorite football team, the Minnesota Vikings were victorious against the St. Louis Rams, 38-10.  I was a bit worried that the Vikings would have a letdown after the emotions of facing the Green Bay Packers last week, but then again, they were only facing the Rams. That team has certainly fallen on hard times.

 

 

Jeff Roberson/AP 

 

 

Percy Harvin is quickly becoming my favorite player.  He caught four passes for 66 yards, but no TD’s.  Another personal favorite is DE Jared Allen.  A week after his repeated “hugs” of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Allen recovered two fumbles and returned one 52 yards for a touchdown.  I gotta admit that I enjoyed Allen’s quote after the game.  “We think we’re a good football team”, Allen said.  “The worst we can finish now is 5-11″.  I like his perspective as he isn’t taking anything for granted.

 

 

Michael Conroy/AP

 

 

Brett Favre is 1-0 as a 40-year-old QB.  I have to admit that I was surprised when I heard that this was Favre’s first 5-0 start.  Congrats to Brett and the Vikings on a great game!

 

 

Tom Gannam/AP

 

 

This is my 200th blog since joining MLB.com.  Very appropriate!  MLB.com Bloggers, one and all, are the best!

 

 

 

–Scott

Late Inning Magic Resides at 161st and River…

Merry Teix-mas!…

 

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

 

 

As the saying goes, “All’s well that ends well”!  Friday night certainly proved the point as the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in Game 2 of the ALDS.

 

The game featured a pitching duel between A.J. Burnett and Nick Blackburn.  It was scoreless until the 6th inning.  The Twins broke out first in the top of the frame on a run-scoring triple by Brendan Harris.

 

 

Julie Jacobson/AP

 

The Yankees countered in the bottom of the inning when Alex Rodriguez singled to score Derek Jeter from second.

 

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

At that point, the Yankees went to the pen.  Joba Chamberlain retired the first two batters in the top of the 7th, but surrendered a single to Joe Mauer.  He was relieved by Phil Coke who struck out Jason Kubel to end the inning.

 

After a ’3-up, 3-down’ bottom of the 7th, Phil Hughes was on the mound to start the 8th.  Like Chamberlain, he retired the first two batters but then got into trouble.  After walking Carlos Gomez, Brendan Harris singled to move Gomez to third.  Nick Punto followed with a single that scored Gomez, and Hughes headed for the showers at Joe Girardi’s “suggestion”.

 

 

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Mariano Rivera entered the game but he promptly gave up a single to Denard Span that scored Harris.  Mo struck out the next batter, Orlando Cabrera, to end the inning but the damage had been done as the Twins had taken a 3-1 lead.

 

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

The Yankees were retired easily in the 8th, and Mo had no difficulty with the Twins in the top of the 9th despite a Michael Cuddyer single.  So, the stage was set for the bottom of the 9th inning.  Enter Twins closer Joe Nathan…

 

 

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Mark Teixeira was up first and he lined a solid single to right.  That brought the much criticized post-season “underperformer” to the plate.  A-Rod silenced his critics by coming up big.  His home run off Nathan tied the game, and the Yanks were back in business.

 

 

Julie Jacobson/AP

 

Nathan retired the next 3 batters so the game moved to extra innings.  The Twins had a chance in the top of the 10th against Alfredo Aceves but they left runners stranded at the corners.

 

The Yankees followed with what I thought was going to be the victorious moment.  After Melky Cabrera grounded out, Jorge Posada singled.  Of course, that brought Mr. “Make It Happen” (Brett Gardner) into the game as a pinch runner.  When you talk about certainties in life, Brett getting his jersey dirty when he is on the base paths is a given.  As expected, he stole second with a huge burst of speed.  An errant pick off throw by Nathan sent Gardner to third although he did stumble to make it close.  So, with just one out, the speedy Gardner stood at third.  It wouldn’t take much to bring him home.  With Gardner on third, the Twins opted to intentionally walk Derek Jeter.  Nathan was relieved by Jose Mijares.  The stage was set for Johnny Damon to be the hero.  If he couldn’t get the job done, Mark Teixeira was on deck.  Much to my chagrin, Damon hit a smash right at Orlando Cabrera.  Brett Gardner had already broken for home, so the Twins were able to easily record the double play to end the threat.

 

 

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The next inning would prove to be very memorable.  Joe Mauer opened with a double to left off Damaso Marte except there was a small problem.  The umpire (Phil Cuzzi) ruled the ball foul, however, replays clearly showed that the ball landed a foot inside of the foul line. 

 

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Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

 

 

Nevertheless, Joe Mauer was still able to reach base with a single.  But his placement at first instead of second would prove to be very significant.  Jason Kubel singled to move Mauer to second (he should have been on third if the double had stood).  David Robertson, boyish face and all, entered the game in relief of Marte but gave up a single to Michael Cuddyer which loaded the bases.  Had Mauer been on third, the Twins would have taken a 4-3 lead.  Robertson proved to be a magician with the next 3 batters.  Delmon Young lined out.  Carlos Gomez hit a fielder’s choice to Mark Teixeira who threw Mauer out at home.  Brendan Harris, with several key hits earlier in the game, came up with a chance to save the day for the Twins.  But his weak fly ball was caught by Nick Swisher and the Twins had failed to score despite loading the bases with no outs.

 

 

Julie Jacobson/AP

 

With Jose Mijares still pitching for the Twins, Mark Teixeira came to the plate.  As great as Teixeira has been this year, it is hard to believe that he didn’t have any walk-off hits during the course of the season…well, at least until Friday night.  He connected on what appeared to be an extremely hard liner but the ball never dropped until it reached the left field stands.  After the game, Teixeira called the ball a “wall scraper”.  Whatever it was, it gave the Yankees the 4-3 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

 

 

Julie Jacobson/AP

 

Have a pie, Mr. Teixeira!  You deserve it…

 

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

I have to admit that I do empathize with Twins fans.  During football season, the majority of those fans share my passion for all things purple and gold.  We cheer together when Adrian Peterson breaks a long run for a TD, Percy Harvin makes a key catch, Brett Favre zips a pass for a game winning touchdown or Jared Allen getting up from sacking yet another quarterback.  The Twins had every opportunity to win Game 2, but the ghosts of Yankee Stadium ensured that it didn’t happen.

 

 

Mark Teixeira Yankees Twins

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger 

 

 

The series now moves to Minnesota for Game 3 at the Metrodome on Sunday.  Andy Pettitte and the Yankees will face former teammate Carl Pavano.  I remember the comparisons of Pavano to Pettitte when he joined the Yankees, as they are both similar physically.  But clearly Pavano does not have Pettitte’s heart.  The Yanks have a chance to close out the series and it wouldn’t get any better than a victory against the former American Idle.

 

 

 

 

A funny thing happened last night watching the Angels-Red Sox game.  I have been giving Julia (of Julia’s Rants) a hard time and repeatedly telling her “Go Angels!”.  But truth be told, I really do not like the Angels.  I have never cared for the team.  It’s not to say that I have found new love for the Red Sox, but I found myself cheering for Boston and rooting for a late inning comeback.  It was not meant to be as the Angels emerged with a 4-1 victory against Josh Beckett and the Red Sox to take a 2-0 advantage in the series.  I will pull for the Red Sox when the series resumes in Boston.  I really want to see the Red Sox and Yankees in the American League Championship Series.  I have no desire to see a team that couldn’t win 90 games in the World Series, so I wouldn’t pull for the Twins if they are able to successfully overcome the Yankees in the ALDS.  My dislike for the Angels would prevent me from cheering for them, so the only two choices in my mind are Yankees and Red Sox.  As a member of the AL Eastern Division, the Red Sox would be my second choice for AL representatives in the World Series if the Yankees cannot be there.  I hope that doesn’t happen, believe me, as I am hoping to see the 27th World Championship for the Yankees…and nothing would be better than beating the Red Sox to advance.  So, Julia, I’ll say this for you, Go Red Sox! (statement expires at the conclusion of the Angels-Red Sox series).

 

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Mark J. Terrill/AP

 

Speaking of the Minnesota Vikings, I’d like to say Happy Birthday to quarterback Brett Favre!  The graybeard is now 40 years old.  For your birthday, we’d like to give you a Super Bowl Championship!  J

 

 

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Courtesy Star Tribune

The Real Season Begins…

 

Thus, endeth the regular season…

 

Reinhold Matay/AP

 

The Yankees emerged as the 2009 American League Eastern Division Champions with a 102-59 mark, finishing 8 games ahead of the not-so-beloved Boston Red Sox.  Of course, now the real season begins…if the Yankees can ever figure out who they are going to play!  Seriously, their opponent will be determined on Tuesday when the Detroit Tigers take on the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

 

 

 

The Twins are hoping that the good vibes from Brett Favre’s victorious first game against the Green Bay Packers carries over until Tuesday.  If not, it will be the Twins’ final game in the Metrodome as they prepare to move to a new park next season.  The Vikings, by the way, defeated the Packers 30-23 behind the arm of Favre and the sacks of jared Allen…

Tom Olmscheid/AP

Morry Gash/AP

I really do not have a preference of which team to face in the AL Divisional Series.  Justin Verlander concerns me, but it’s not like the Twins don’t have their own “terrorists”.  I wouldn’t really want to face Joe Mauer with the game on the line.  Admittedly, I do not know a great deal about either team, but the Yankees are prepared to face whomever makes the journey to the Bronx on Wednesday.

 

 

Sunday, Alex Rodriguez continued to amaze me on his journey back from early season hip surgery.  He went into Sunday’s action needing 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s to reach 30 homers and 100 ribbies for the 13th consecutive year.  13 proved to be the magic number as lightning struck in the 6th inning when A-Rod homered twice, and drove in 7 runs to set a new AL mark for a single inning.  Move over, Big Papi!

 

Reinhold Matay/AP

 

Hopefully, Sunday’s game will launch A-Rod into a very productive post-season…

 

Reinhold Matay/AP

Also coming up huge Sunday was Joba Chamberlain in his 2009 bullpen debut in the 7th inning.  He went one inning, and gave up no hits or runs, striking out one.  The late inning trio of Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera looks like a good one for October success.

 

 

Today was the day that my friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants) paid off her debt to “society”.  She was the unfortunate loser of a recent Yankees-Red Sox series, and she served her penance wearing a Lou Gehrig Yankees t-shirt and a pink Yankees hat in the city of Boston.  Check out her site for the full report.  Congrats Julia, you did an amazing job!  You are just so good at losing!  ;)  Seriously, it was a tremendous job…as usual!

 

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Courtesy Julia’s Rants

For our next wager, I propose it will be determined by a) which team (Yankees or Red Sox) goes the deepest in the play-offs, or b) the winner of the AL Championship Series if both the Yankees and Red Sox advance.  In the unlikely event both the Yankees and Red Sox lose their ALDS series, the wager becomes null and void and we begin plotting our revenge for 2010.

 

 

 

We will determine what’s at stake during the next few days so please stay tuned…

 

Yeah Julia, I’m ready!  How about you?

 

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Courtesy Julia’s Rants

 

Well, time to settle in for Tigers-Twins…let’s go Yankees!

–Scott

Nothing Really Matters…until the ALDS…

 

I don’t like this week…

 

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Since the Yankees clinched the AL East and best league record, they haven’t had anything to play for.

 

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The Yanks presently have 102 wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up as the season total.  With the Yankees relegated to spring training-like intensity, their possible first round opponents are engaged in a ‘knock down, drag out’ battle to the end.  The Tigers have the edge, but tonight the Tigers are losing and the Twins are winning so the 2 game lead may be reduced to 1.  This race will most likely go to the wire, so the winner of the AL Central will come into the AL Division Series at a very high intensity level.

 

Carlos Guillen#9 (L) Curtis Granderson#28 (C) and Josh Anderson #13 of the Detroit Tigers celebrate their come from behind win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 12-10, at Angel Stadium on April 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Carlos Guillen;Curtis Granderson;Josh Anderson

Kevork Djansevian/Getty Images

Jim Mone/AP

 

Hopefully, the Yanks will be able to kick start their own intensity level when the ALDS begins.  Otherwise, they could get off to a sluggish start.

 

 

Well, so much for a 20 win season for CC Sabathia.  Pitching tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, CC lasted just 2 2/3 innings.  He gave up 8 hits and 9 runs (4 of the runs were unearned due to a rare Mark Teixeira error).  It is my hope that the ALDS will feature the August-September version of Sabathia.  But of course, my good friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants) was very quick to note:  “It’s October – I see that CC is getting into playoff form…”.

 

Chris O’Meara/AP 

 

I know that CC has a career 7.92 ERA in postseason play, but he does have a chance for redemption.  A win in Game 1 of the ALDS would be a great start…

 

CC Sabathia shuts down Red Sox with nine strikeouts in 7-2/3 innings as Yankees win, 5-0.

McGrath/Getty Images

 

Back when Clint Hurdle was fired as manager of the Colorado Rockies, who would have guessed that the Rockies would enter the final weekend with a chance to overtake the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Entering tonight’s game between the two teams, the Dodgers hold a slim 2 game lead.  The Dodgers are assured of a playoff spot, but they’ve definitely struggled the second half.  At this point, I’d have to say that I like the St. Louis Cardinals as the eventual National League Champion.  I have always wanted to see a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, so hopefully this is the year.  My first baseball game (in person) featured the Los Angeles Dodgers in St. Louis against the Cardinals, so a Cards-Yanks series is definitely a sentimental choice for me.

 

The Green Bay Packers travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Monday, so the hype should definitely be building over the next couple of days.  Of course, this won’t be anything like the game in November when the Vikings travel to Lambeau Field, but it will still be strange watching Favre work against the Packers.  Nevertheless, I still think Favre looks strange in purple…

 

 

Next Round, please…

 

First Objective…Complete!…

 

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

 

The Yankees claimed the 2009 American League Eastern Division Championship with a 4-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday.  The win also assured the Yanks of the best record in the AL, which will allow them to choose their play-off format to maximize the use of a 3-man rotation.

 

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

 

The win was the Yankees 100th of the season.  This was so improbable at the start of the season when Alex Rodriguez was sidelined for six weeks due to hip surgery, the Boston Red Sox were invincible against the Yanks in winning their first 8 meetings, and the bullpen was in a complete state of flux.

 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

Fast forward to September 27th and the Yankees were spilling champagne all over the Yankee Stadium clubhouse floor.  What a great way to christen the new Stadium!

 

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

Sorry, Big Papi, no champagne for you in New York!

 

 

Joe Girardi gets my vote for AL Manager of the Year.  The only other possible consideration, in my mind, is Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire if the Twins can overtake the Detroit Tigers in the final days of the season.

 

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

 

The Red Sox may be focused on playing in October but for a day, the Yankees could relax and enjoy knowing they are the division champs and can now look forward to the next level…the ALDS against the Tigers or Twins.

 

Credit:  AP 

 

I would have excused the Yankees for a loss to the Kansas City Royals on Monday night, but the Hangover Guys continued their winning ways with an 8-2 victory and 101st win.

 

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

 

It was a fantastic sports weekend for me.  Born and raised in an Iowa farming community, I have been a lifelong fan of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.  Growing up, 3-8 seasons under coach Bob Commings were the norm.  But then Texan Hayden Fry came to Iowa City and the uniforms were updated to their current Steelers-like design.  Even Herky the Hawk received a facelift.  Hayden instilled a winning pride at the school.  This year, the Hawkeyes started the season by barely overcoming the University of Northern Iowa, but followed it with two victories, including a win against bitter in-state rival Iowa State Cyclones.  Unranked, they went to State College, PA on Saturday night, and emerged with a 21-10 win over the 5th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.  Very exciting!

 

Credit:  Matthew Holst/Press-Citizen

 

But clearly Sunday was the day.  Besides the Yankees’ division championship, the highlight reel featured Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  With 2 seconds left, Brett Favre fired a 32-yard TD pass into the end zone which was hauled in by Greg Lewis.  The Vikings prevailed 27-24.  After watching Favre turn excitement into bitterness for so many years, it was nice to experience a reversal of fortune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit:  Pioneer Press 

 

This just might be a good sports year for me…  J

 

 

 

Correction:  As Greg of Red Sox Ramblings astutely pointed out, I misidentified Jason Varitek in my last blog.  Varitek wears #33, not #37.  I had crossed his age with his uniform number.  My apologies to the RSN.  But guess what, Tek’s still old!  ;)

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