Results tagged ‘ David Ortiz ’

Addition by Subtraction…

 

Whew, it’s over…

On one hand, I do feel bad because there’s no denying the talent in A.J. Burnett’s arm, even if it has lost some of its zip over the past couple of seasons.  If he had the mental fortitude of his good buddy, Roy Halladay, there’s no telling what he could have done with his extraordinary gift.  But it was the mental lapses in difficult situations, magnified on the big stage in New York, that led the Yankees to make the only move they could have made.  So, it’s exit Stage Left, or I guess Stage Right in Burnett’s case, as he moves on to the Steel City.

I am hopeful that the new and less-pressurized environment will allow Burnett to pitch more like the guy he was in Toronto with the Blue Jays.  If that happens, it will be a win-win for both the Yankees and the Pirates.  Granted, the two “prospects” the Yankees acquired in the Burnett trade (pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones) are considered low-level, but the salary relief for the Yanks (Pirates absorbing $13 million of what’s left on Burnett’s remaining $33 contract) is a positive.  Even for the almighty Yankees.  If neither Moreno or Cayones ever develop into major league talent, it was still a good trade for the Yankees.  So, anything out of either of those players would be a bonus.

Of course, the haters will come out in full force if Phil Hughes fails to seize the opportunity and Freddy Garcia proves he overstayed his welcome by one year.  But even in that worst case scenario, I’d prefer to see the talented arms in the farm system get the audition.

The Yankees will apparently sign both third baseman Eric Chavez and outfielder Raul Ibanez once the Burnett trade is finalized.  Those are two good pieces for the 2012 squad.  I like the idea of an Ibanez-Andruw Jones tandem at DH, with occasional time for Alex Rodriguez.  Ibanez may not be the slugger he once was, but with 20 homers in Philly last year, he proved he can swing it on occasion.  For sentimental reasons, it would have been nice to see the return of either Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui, but Ibanez is clearly the better choice.

He did it the RIGHT way in more ways than one…

Pitcher Tim Wakefield has been a long-time nemesis as the member of the Yankees’ arch rival, but it was still sad to see him call it a career.  I know, it was time, and there’s always the chance the Red Sox call his number later in the season if they need help, but he leaves the game as a champion.  The city of Boston and the Red Sox organization are very privileged to have one of baseball’s most charitable and classiest individuals in the game as one of their own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both Wakefield and David Ortiz proved that anything can happen after they were both released by their previous organizations but flourished with the Red Sox in the major leagues.  It gives me hope for guys like Preston Mattingly and others.  Wakefield makes for an incredible role model, and hopefully, he’ll continue to be a fixture in baseball in some capacity.

The Los Angeles Vikings didn’t really sound very good any way…

Finally, the Minnesota Vikings have a tentative stadium deal.  Like the Burnett trade negotiations, this has been drawn out through eternity.  I know, there are still many hurdles to be cleared before actual construction begins, but at least it was the first positive move forward for the Vikings.  As a Vikings fan, there’s always been the fear in the back of one’s mind that the team would decide to move to greener pastures in Los Angeles (much like the Minneapolis Lakers did years ago).  The tentative stadium deal would keep the Vikings in Minneapolis, as opposed to a suburban area like Arden Hills.  Hopefully, this deal will get passed by the city and state, and will ensure that the Vikings are in Minnesota…and Minneapolis…for the long haul.

–Scott

Yes, it’s always fun beating Buck Showalter…


This weekend’s abbreviated
two-game series against the Baltimore Orioles was a positive despite the
postponement of one game that will cause its share of challenges later in the
year. 


Yankees ace CC Sabathia picks up his first win of the season as Russell Martin (below) crushes two home runs. Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Brett Gardner also homered.

Gail Burton/AP


Saturday featured a great performance
by CC Sabathia, along with a
plethora of hits and home runs for the Yanks, while Sunday saw the Yanks pull
out a game that they could have lost when Mariano
Rivera
blew his second straight save opportunity.  I am not concerned about Mo, as he has had
short stretches like this during the season in recent years. 

Sunday saw a great hitting
performance by the ‘written off for dead’ Derek
Jeter
, who went 4-for-6 with a run scored and a RBI to raise his batting
average to .257.  I agree that it’s too
soon to write Jeter’s obituary, just like it is too soon to start questioning
if Mo is losing it.  But still, I have
the right to ask.  Is it time for Jorge Posada to call it a career?  I know it’s still early, but a .153 batting
average is abysmal.  Let’s hope that he
turns it around like David Ortiz
always seems to do for the Red Sox…

Congratulations to Freddy Garcia for another six inning
shut-out!  Also, after wondering if the
Yankees made a huge mistake in unloading Ian
Kennedy
, Phil Coke and Austin Jackson to acquire Curtis Granderson for most of last
season, I am a fan of the Grandy Man!  He
hit his 7th home run of this young season, and could be on track for
30+.  He has definitely gained a comfort
zone in pinstripes.

Saturday’s hero, aside from
the great job by CC Sabathia, was
catcher Russell Martin.  We are not out of April and he already has
one more home run than last season, and needs just one more to tie his total for
2009.  Combined with good health, the
change of scenery has been very good for Martin.  I am looking forward to Francisco Cervelli‘s return so that he can start spelling Martin on
occasion, but I am glad that GM Brian
Cashman
had the foresight to sign Martin rather than go with the untested Jesus Montero.  Montero’s time will come but it was obvious
that his time is not now.  Martin has
been very instrumental in the Yankees’ strong start, especially when you
consider how sluggish the team has performed the last few Aprils.  I don’t want to criticize Posada, but I like
the way Martin has meshed with the pitching rotation.

I hope everyone had a very
Happy Easter today.  Easter time with the
family definitely brings back great memories…


–Scott

All Hail the Red Sox Nation…


The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.


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With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees.  So, here it goes…


Why the Boston Red Sox will win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League.  Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over.  Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season.  I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win.  Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back.  The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was. 

You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard.  They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves).  The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games. 

Adrian Gonzalez.  Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park.  He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.  
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run. 
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove. 

Disruption.  Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers. 
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games. 

The forgotten hitter.  For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it. 

The dead will rise.  It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level.  Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’.  There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer. 

The bench.  If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo.  Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory.  They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns.  Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald.  It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars.  I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers.  If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.

Terry Francona.  When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball.  The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season).  He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season. 
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished. 
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start.  In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’. 

Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry.  These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth
to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary.  I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years.  These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin). 

The RSN.  The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced.  I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other. 
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced.  Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade.  The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion.  I am not one of them, but I
respect them. 


Why the Yankees won’t win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing. 
He has his moments where he struggles. 
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound.  Win
or lose, you expect the team to win.  I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee.  After CC, there is nothing but question
marks.  A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good. 
It is how he finishes.  If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast. 
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern.  He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year.  At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead.  After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him?  Can he make the
necessary adjustments?  As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson
(or even Michael Pineda).  Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready.  I
remain fearful that it’s the latter.  I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation.  In the fifth spot, who
knows.  Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays.  Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva
None of the options instill
confidence.

The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba ChamberlainPedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today. 
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements. 
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age.  Will this be the year?

Aging lineup.  Mark Teixeira is already
31?  Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex.  He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox.  He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone. 
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come.  Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH.  He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team? 
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older.  Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you.  If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night. 
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball.  If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.

The bench.  Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee.  But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury. 
What if Derek Jeter is done?  Is
Nunez ready to take over at short?  I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen.  It
eventually happens to all superstars

Hank Steinbrenner.  Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret.  I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
 

The off-season.  As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult.  CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano.  If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover. 
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink.  Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
distraction.

Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September.  I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start.  This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated. 

Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom. 
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.

Julia, I’m out…

–Scott

 

A Vote For Cliff Lee…

 

The calendar is getting ready to turn the page to July so that means we’ll be on the home stretch for the trading deadline.  

 

 

 

 

Of course, there have been so many rumors about Seattle’s Cliff Lee and whether or not the Yankees will make a play.  If it meant raiding the farm system, then a deal for Lee doesn’t make sense.  He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, so as long as he doesn’t sign a pre-trade extension with another team, he should be there for the Yankees to pursue in the off-season. 

 

 

John Angelillo/UPI

 

Now, if they can put together a package now that makes sense without sacrificing the future, they should do it.  The Yankees could easily free up a spot in the rotation by trading Javier Vazquez to a National League club, and getting Lee would be a hedge against Andy Pettitte retiring in the off-season.  Right now, the Yankees really have only one shutdown ace…CC Sabathia.  A.J. Burnett has decided to become a batting practice pitcher, Andy is always going to give up runs although he’ll keep it close, and Phil Hughes is handicapped by the innings limit placed on him by the team so there are no other guarantees in the rotation.  A rotation led by the former Indians duo of Sabathia and Lee would be very formidable.  So, here’s hoping the team can find a way, although admittedly, another bat is probably the wiser route to take.

 

The Yankees have the lead in the American League but it is by the slimmest of margins.  Entering play tonight, they were just a game ahead of the injury-decimated Boston Red Sox and three games up on the Tampa Bay Rays.  The injuries have been tough, but I’d say that the Red Sox have had it worse yet they are playing the better baseball despite a lineup of players that you may not have heard of prior to the season.   I am not sure what the Yankees should do, but complacency is not the answer.

 

 


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Well, it’s time for the third installment of my lost wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  We bet on last Sunday’s Red Sox-Giants game, and I lost.  Being a Bay Area resident, I was pulling for the home team as if there was any question about which team a Yankee fan would pull for.  With the loss, I have to include a paragraph about every player on the Red Sox roster (as of the game day when the Giants lost). 

 

For my third player, I will go with the player who started the scoring for the Red Sox last Sunday with a deep smash to right…

 

 

#34   David Ortiz

 

 

 Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

Over the years, there have been players released that surprised me but probably none more than when the Minnesota Twins let Ortiz go.  I was not close to the situation so I do not know the exact reasons behind his release, but the move helped ensure the end of the Curse of the Bambino.

 

David Americo Ortiz Arias was born November 18, 1975 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  He was originally drafted by the Seattle Mariners, and after spending four years in their farm system, he was traded to the Twins for Dave Hollins.  Ortiz showed glimpses of his power in Minnesota, but injuries and inconsistency held him back, ultimately leading to his release.

 

 

 

 

He signed with the Red Sox on January 22, 2003, and the Red Sox Nation has never been the same.  One of the greatest free agent signings in Boston’s history (in any team’s history), Ortiz hit .301 in 2004 with 41 home runs and 139 RBI’s in helping lead the Red Sox to their first World Championship in 86 years.  Three years later, with 35 home runs and 117 RBI’s, Ortiz would be hoisting the championship trophy over his head once again. 

 

Ortiz has started the downward descent of his career that comes with age, but he’ll forever be interlinked into the fabric of Red Sox history. 

 

I personally won’t miss those walk-off home runs when his Boston career comes to an end…

 

–Scott

In A Swish of Time…

 

Give the man a pie…

 

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This game belonged to the Swish.  With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic.  When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi.  But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira.  Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield.  At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira.  But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today.  The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive.  Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s.  This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s.  But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality.  He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief.  Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6.  He walked 2 batters.  Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb.  The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts.  Ouch!  He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500.  They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight.  Yes, Julia, life is good…

Bill Kostroun/AP

 

And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…

 

The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson.  This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective.  In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief.  He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham.  Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing.  Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson.  Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.

 

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images   

 

I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296).   This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs.  But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN.  Congrats!

 

 

Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns.  The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension.  It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football.  The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…

 

Allen Frederickson/Reuters

–Scott

Red Sox Are Better…

 

I really do not believe the headline, but it’s time to settle the bet so let’s begin the temporary journey back to the Red Sox Nation…

 

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On June 9th through 11th, the Yankees played a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox.  Of course, they were once again swept by Boston, who are now 8-0 against the Bombers this season.  The scores of the latest series were 7-0, 6-5, and 4-3, respectively.  According to the rules of the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, the loser was to wear a t-shirt belonging to the opposing team.  If I had won the bet, Julia would be wearing a Mark Teixeira t-shirt.  I was originally slated for a Jason Bay t-shirt, but Julia, with my consent, opted for a t-shirt from the Life is Good series.  T-Shirts were included for both me and my Yankee bear, Lou.

My t-shirt simply made the following statement…

 

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Lou’s t-shirt issued the following proclamation…

 

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Lou and I got ready for the photos, but of course, you-know-who had to make an appearance and get in on the act…

 

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Wally thought it would be great if we could take a group pic…

 

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I had to take my punishment alone…

 

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However, Lou had made a new friend…

 

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Nevertheless, Lou could simply take no more, and convinced another Bear to wear his “shame”.  Of course, he lost the girl too…

 

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Meanwhile, Lou needed some time alone to overcome his embarrassment.

 

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So, the trip to the Red Sox Nation is over.  Julia, by my count, that’s 8 photos to match the Red Sox streak.  The debt is paid, and this blog can return to all-Yankees programming…

 

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Courtesy myspace.com/theyankeenation

 

Yankees Win Subway Series…

A.J. Burnett returned from his 5-game suspension on Saturday, and brought his “A” game with him.  He had a no-hitter going until the 6th inning, when Alex Cora opened with a single.  But that’s all the offense the Mets could muster against Burnett, as he finished with a 7-inning one-hitter, and a season high 10 strikeouts. 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

I knew that A.J. was going to be tough to beat after watching him strike out two of the first three batters he faced in a 3-up, 3-down first inning.  Burnett, 6-4, was removed after the conclusion of the 7th inning despite the fact that he was still cruising.  He had thrown 108 pitches, and was working under a team-imposed pitch limit of 115 pitches.  With a 5-run lead, I thought it was the right thing to do.  It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Cora hadn’t gotten that hit.  But I recognize that a healthy A.J. is better than a complete game performance.  Brian Bruney and David Robertson each pitched an inning of hitless relief to keep the one-hitter intact.  A terrific performance by A.J., with great support from the Pen.  Hopefully, this is a recipe that we’ll see again…soon and often!

 

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The New York Post

 

The Yankees only scored in two innings, the 3rd and 6th innings, but it was enough.  Aside from a RBI single by Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees scored the rest of their runs on homers (by Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada).

 

Tony Kurdzuk/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees have won this Subway Series by taking the first 2 games of the 3 game series, and have won their first season series against the Mets since 2003.  Yes, I think I kind of like the new Citi Field…

 

 

I had forgotten that the Mets losing pitcher, Tim Redding, had once pitched a game for the Yankees.  On July 15, 2005, he faced the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the results were disastrous.  He started but was only able to record three outs.  During those forgettable first two innings, he faced 11 batters, and allowed 6 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks.  The Red Sox went on to a 17-1 victory that day…

 

Brian Snyder/Reuters

 

Redding was designated for assignment the next day.

 

Other News…

The flu bug has been tearing through the Yankees clubhouse like the Red Sox playing at Yankee Stadium.  It hasn’t been pretty.  Derek Jeter has missed two games, although you could tell that he was frustrated to sit out Saturday’s game.  Girardi’s hand was forced when the medical staff advised him that Jeter should not play.  Also sitting out the game with the flu was Johnny Damon. 

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

Now comes word that Phil Hughes has been bit by the bug.  Perhaps there was some sort of virus on that David Ortiz jersey that they dug out of the Stadium…

 

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Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals!  They outfoxed all other major league clubs, including the Chicago Cubs, to acquire the Cleveland Indians’ super utility man Mark DeRosa.  He’s the guy that I felt would be perfect for the Yankees.  As hard as the Cubs tried to re-acquire him, I am still amazed that they ever traded him to begin with.  Losing him to the Cards must be salt in the wound. 

 

derosa

Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune

 

As the other contenders start to add talent in the coming days leading up to the trading deadline, I am hopeful that GM Brian Cashman is working overtime to convince the Steinbrenners to loosen the purse strings and allow the team to pursue additional depth.  DeRosa is lost, but there is still plenty of talent available for the right price.  Shelley Duncan is having a tremendous season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (21 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, .289 BA), but he unfortunately fills the same role as Nick Swisher so he most likely won’t be getting an opportunity with the big league club anytime soon.

 

 

 

With his next save, the great Mariano Rivera will reach 500 saves for his career.

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

The final game of the Subway Series pits Chien-Ming Wang against Livan Hernandez.  Although Chien-Ming has pitched better lately, he’s still seeking his first win of the season.  Hopefully, he’ll get that out of the way today but I’ll hold my breath anyway…

 

Hold Your Breath.JPG

 

I know that Julia has a preference for the number “5″, but I am hoping for “3″ to be the magic number at the conclusion this day’s games.  Best wishes to the Braves’ Tommy Hanson.  May he show the Red Sox what he showed the Yankees last week…

 

Courtesy www.onlineathens.com

Note:  Tommy Hanson proved me correct as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Red Sox, 2-1.  Hanson, despite the flu, was masterful and pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball.   

Go Yankees!

–Scott

 

A Very Unenjoyable Day…

 

It was ugly…

 

 

When you have a game where the Yankees give up a total of 9 runs, it is surprising that the pitchers included CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera.  But that’s what happened in a disappointing Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Rays that saw the Yanks fall, 9-7.

 

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

The Yankees had rallied from two runs down to tie the score at 5 in the 8th inning.  CC Sabathia pitched 8 innings, but a homer by Ben Zobrist in the 5th inning and a three-run shot in the 6th by Willy Aybar had allowed the Rays to take a 5-3 lead. 

In the Yankees’ 8th, Mark Teixeira greeted reliever Grant Balfour with a leadoff homer to pull the Yanks within one.  The Yanks added another run when Melky Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, scoring Jorge Posada.

The stage was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback and walk-off win, but it was not meant to be.

 

 

The usually reliable Mariano Rivera came out to open the 9th inning.  Ben Zobrist immediately hit a triple.  The next batter, Joe Dillon, singled to left single to score Zobrist with the go-ahead run.  The next two outs, a grounder and a fly out, advanced Dillon to third.  In a move that backfired and one that Rivera openly disagreed with, manager Joe Girardi called for Evan Longoria to be intentionally walked.  With Andy Sonnanstine running for Longoria, B.J. Upton followed with a single to score Dillon and advanced Sonnanstine to second.  In a rare occurrence, Rivera was pulled and Phil Coke was brought in to face Carl Crawford.  Crawford singled to left to score Sonnanstine, and Upton moved to third.  An error by Alex Rodriguez allowed Willy Aybar to reach first base, scoring Upton.  Crawford was thrown out attempting to steal third to finally end the horrific inning.

 

Jeff Zelevansky/AP

 

I do think it was inappropriate for Girardi to call for an intentional walk with Mo on the mound.  When you have your closer on the hill, I feel strongly that it should be an all or nothing proposition.  Mo wanted to pitch to Longoria, and he should have been allowed to.  Who knows, perhaps Longoria would have belted a homer, but we were never given the opportunity to find out.  Mo deserves better, and hopefully, he’ll be back to his usual stellar self before the current series concludes.

 

sportsgrumblings.com

 

The Yankees attempted to rally in the 9th.  Derek Jeter singled, and Johnny Damon doubled to put two runners in scoring position.  Mark Teixeira followed with a two-run double to bring the Yankees within two.  However, Tex was stranded at second as the next three Yankee batters were retired to end the game.  Former Yankee Randy Choate even picked up the save, his third of the season.

Tampa’s pitching phenom, David Price, pitched a good game.  In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on two hits (only one run was earned), walking 5 and striking out 3.

 

Photo 

AP

Alex Rodriguez hit his 561st career home run, leaving him two shy of Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list.

The Yankees remain winless at Yankee Stadium against their two key AL East Rivals, the Rays and the Boston Red Sox.  The Rays have won 3 games at the Stadium this year, and have a 4-2 mark overall for the season series.

I know that my friend, Kelly, is probably doing the Happy Dance in Tampa.  Thankfully, I haven’t heard from her yet but I know it’s coming if the games continue like this…

 

 

 

The loss, combined with the Red Sox win, dropped the Yankees out of first place.  They are now a ½ game behind Boston.  Boston beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 behind a tremendous pitching performance by Jon Lester.  I do have to tip my cap to Lester…he was masterful.  He had a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings.  He finished with a complete game, and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11.

 

Coming off his best start of the season, Lester looked even better against the Rangers. Lester fanned 11 on Saturday night, and has 23 strikeouts in his last two starts (he struck out a career-high 12 in his last start).

Globe Staff Photo/Barry Chin 

 

The game also included a David Ortiz home run, so I guess it was a perfect night for Julia

 

Matthew Healey/Boston Herald 

 

It was a tough day, but in the words of the Governor, I’ll be back!

 

 

Go Yankees!

 

–Scott

The Joba Rules Continue…

 

Add  it to the list…

The Huffington Post

 

1.    Joba does not like bees.

2.  Joba does not like state troopers when he’s been drinking.

3.    Joba does not like spring training.

4.  Joba does not like being mocked.

5.    Joba does not like the first inning.

 

and now,

 

6.    Joba does not like rain delays…

 

AP

Not much to talk about last night’s 7-3 loss to the Texas Rangers, which didn’t get started until after a rain delay of 2 hours and 24 minutes.  A rainout would have been more productive.  The Yankees missed a golden opportunity to move into a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox, who had lost to the Twins earlier in the evening.

LM Otero/AP

 

I have Rangers first baseman Chris Davis on my fantasy team (I know, I’m sorry too).  I have been actively seeking a better option, but nothing has presented itself.  Of course, all he needed was Yankee pitching as he struck for two home runs during last night’s game.  It’s amazing what the Yankee bullpen can do for one’s batting average…unfortunately.

 

 Chris Davis (left) returns to a happy Texas Rangers dugout after the first of his two home runs on Tuesday.

G.J. McCarthy/DMN 

 

The Yankees had tied the game at 3, but the Rangers pulled away in the 7th and 8th innings.  They did have a chance in the 7th inning but Nick Swisher hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded.  Swisher’s been a fun guy to have in the clubhouse, but he is rapidly becoming a roster liability. 

 

 

Phil Coke is starting to look very hittable (he gave up the second home run to Chris Davis in the 8th inning), but of course, that can be said of any member of the Yankee bullpen.

 

Reuters

In other Yankee notes, Melky Cabrera left in the first inning with a strained right shoulder after he crashed into the center field fence.  Initial tests were negative, but he’s out for 5-7 games.

 

LM Otero/AP

 

The Yankees recalled reliever David Robertson (sorry Edwar!) to replace Brian Bruney on the roster.

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images 

 

I am not sure what to make of the Chien-Ming Wang situation.  He seems to be rotting on the bench, and I don’t know why.  Any other starter would have been returned to the starting rotation when he was ready.  Wang was the #2 starter coming out of spring training, and was the recognized ace during his 19 win seasons of 2006 and 2007.  If he isn’t ready to start, he should have been left in the minor leagues for some additional rehab starts.  As an outsider looking in, the situation does seem to be somewhat disrespectful to Wang.  I know that Phil Hughes is pitching well, but he needs to wait his turn.

 

AP 

Sounds like Jorge Posada could be ready to return to the team by this weekend.  It will be nice to have his bat in the lineup again, even if he supplants Hideki Matsui at DH.

 

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

When a negative becomes a positive…

Whenever the Yankees lose, the first thing I do is check to see what the Boston Red Sox did.  C’mon Julia, you know you do the same thing when the Sox lose!  In an ideal situation, everyone in the AL East would lose.  But with the Toronto Blue Jays playing the Baltimore Orioles, somebody had to win.  So, in that scenario, best case would be for the cellar dweller to win.  That’s exactly what happened as everyone lost except the O’s.  Somehow, in May, those losses don’t hurt as much as they do when everyone else wins.

 

 

 

Best case scenario, of course, the Yankees win and everybody else loses.  I am cool with that…

 

 

The Yankees are now 26-20, one game behind the Red Sox.  The view from the rear is not quite as distant as one would lead you to believe…

 

 

He batted where?

The Red Sox lineup looked somewhat unusual last night during Boston’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

 

Boston Red Sox

Hitters

AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

J Ellsbury CF

5

2

2

0

0

0

2

.303

D Pedroia 2B

4

0

2

1

0

1

1

.341

J Drew RF

3

0

0

0

1

0

2

.263

K Youkilis 3B

4

0

1

0

0

3

3

.379

J Bay LF

4

0

0

0

0

2

3

.282

D Ortiz DH

3

0

1

0

1

1

0

.197

J Varitek C

4

0

1

0

0

1

3

.238

J Bailey 1B

4

0

0

0

0

1

4

.185

J Lugo SS

4

0

2

0

0

0

1

.271

Totals

35

2

9

1

2

9

 

When is the last time that David Ortiz batted as low as 6th in the order?  It was on May 11, 2004:

 

Boston Red Sox

Hitters

  AB

R

H

RBI

BB

SO

LOB

AVG

J Damon CF

5

0

0

0

0

0

1

.272

M Bellhorn 2B

3

0

1

0

1

0

0

.229

K Millar DH

4

0

0

0

0

1

2

.287

M Ramirez LF

3

0

0

0

1

1

1

.360

J Varitek C

2

0

0

0

1

1

1

.314

D Ortiz 1B

4

1

3

1

0

0

1

.269

   C Crespo PR-SS

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

.163

B Mueller 3B

4

1

2

1

0

0

3

.242

G Kapler RF

4

2

3

1

0

0

0

.247

P Reese SS

3

0

0

0

0

0

4

.247

   a-B Daubach PH

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.241

   b-D McCarty PH-1B

1

0

1

2

0

0

0

.233

Totals

33

5

10

5

3

3

13

 

Of course, Boston won that game (5-3 over CC Sabathia and the Cleveland Indians).  Julia might argue that 2004 was the year the Curse was eliminated, but could this be the beginning of the end for Ortiz?  Julia, you might have bigger problems than re-signing Jason Bay.  On the bright side (for Julia), it doesn’t appear that Julio Lugo is in tonight’s starting line-up.  However, now batting sixth…David Ortiz!

 

AP

A Step in the Right Direction…

They’re back!

 


Were Back.JPGDerek Jeter and Hideki “Godzilla” Matsui returned to the Yankees lineup on Thursday night…in a big way…

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Derek tied the game in the 7th inning with a RBI single, while Hideki hit a solo home run in the 8th for the deciding margin of victory.

CC Sabathia, of course, followed up his great performance in Baltimore (four hit shutout) with another very strong performance.  He only gave up 5 hits and 2 runs in 8 innings of work against the AL East leading Toronto Blue Jays.  It is so strange to see a Yankees starter going deep into games.  Of course, it’s a relief (no pun intended) to see Manager Joe Girardi avoid the wobbly arms in the pen, except for…

The Great Mariano Rivera.  Granted, he has had his share of struggles this season.  However, on Thursday night, it was vintage Mo.  Three men up…three men down, including a strikeout to end the game. 

The game also featured strong defensive play from the young guys like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli.  I have been reading that the league will “figure out” Cervelli once the scouting reports catch up with him, but for now, he’s been invaluable and I’ve enjoyed his play.  It was fun to see his excitement after the game as he spoke with the YES Network.  What a thrill!  You start the year in the minor leagues, playing for Double A/Trenton, and in May, you’re catching the likes of CC and Mo.  I know that catchers Austin Romine and Jesus Montero are working their way up the system for eventual starting roles for the Yankees, but right now, Cervelli has been “all that and a bag of chips”.  It’s refreshing to have his energy on the team.

12

“Right now, we can take a lot out of beating any team,” Jeter said. “We need to string together some wins and win some series. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction.”


thumbs up.JPGThe Yankees evened their record at 17-17, and now stand 4.5 games behind the Jays.  The Red Sox, of course, missed their opportunity to gain ground with a 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels.  I felt that the Red Sox were going to win it when they loaded the bases in the 12th inning, particularly when David Ortiz came to bat with two outs.  But Ortiz did not come through like we’ve seen in recent years.  He also struck out with the bases loaded in the 4th.  He was 0-for-7, and stranded a dozen men on base.  He’s gone 144 at-bats without a homer, and he told reporters after the game that ‘Papi stinks’.  I don’t take satisfaction in seeing Ortiz struggle.  I like playing the best, and I have always thought that Ortiz was a good guy.  He’s certainly someone that I would have enjoyed on my team.  Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll rebound soon and start hitting the clutch shots that we’ve become accustomed to.

 

AP

Speaking of Boston, my condolences go out to my friend, Julia.  The Boston Bruins were eliminated from the NHL play-offs by the Carolina Hurricanes last night in overtime, 3-2.  I had really felt that they had a shot at the Stanley Cup, and I am surprised that they’ve made their exit.  With the departure of the Ducks too, I guess I’ll be pulling for Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  There is no way that I’d ever root for anything related to Detroit (sorry, I am a Vikings fan so there’s no love for Detroit…or Green Bay or Chicago)….well, Kid Rock’s not so bad…

Kid Rock Picture

Dave Sandford/Getty Images North America

Poor Julia!  It was a 0-for-3 night as her Celtics also lost.  But at least she has one more chance with the NBA, as the Celtics will play the Orlando Magic in the decisive Game 7 on Sunday.  There will be better days, Julia! 

Nina Cat Kicks Dog

Well, except for a few nights in June…

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

 

 

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