Results tagged ‘ Johnny Damon ’

Somehow I knew it would end like this…

 

Sad but realistic…

Well, the Yankees lost a series that they could have and should have won.  I can’t say that I am as disappointed as I’ve been in past years during play-off failures as I recognized the team had its fatal weaknesses that would be exposed the deeper it got in the play-offs.  Clearly, starting pitching has been a problem.  CC Sabathia has been great, but he hasn’t been Justin Verlander- or Roy Halladay-great.  He is still the ace and legitimately so, but the weaknesses in the rotation behind him put more pressure on CC to be perfect.  That’s a tough for anyone.  Even if the Yankees had gotten past the Detroit Tigers, I am not so sure that they would have fared well against the Texas Rangers.

When the season began, I felt that on paper the Boston Red Sox had a superior team.  My picks for the World Series were the Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies.  I was wrong on both counts, but I felt that the Yankees weak rotation would put too much pressure on the hitters.  When the big bats go cold, there just haven’t been the consistent key hits off the bench.  There have been a few here and there, but nothing like the critical and timely hits that Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui used to deliver.  I was concerned that this would be the final fatal blow for the Yankees chances in 2011, and that’s exactly what happened.

At the trading deadline, I had hoped the team would at least make an attempt to acquire a clutch hitter if they weren’t able to find any pitching depth.  They stood pat and did nothing.  I agree that it was the right decision if the moves would have cost talent like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances or Jesus Montero, but other teams found ways to spend a little to acquire a lot like the Tigers with their pickup of pitcher Doug Fister.

The priority move – sign Cash…

Although the 2011 season was a “failure” as per owner Hal Steinbrenner, I clearly hope the team decides to bring back GM Brian Cashman.  No one understands the Yankees or the city of New York better than Cash, and he’s still the right man for the job.  With so much to do in the off-season, the Yankees need to move quickly to sign Cash.  With CC likely to opt out of his contract, the Yankees will need to be equally as quick to renegotiate a replacement contract so that they can turn to ways to improve the team as opposed to sustaining the current depth of talent.  I would hate to see the Yankees lose other opportunities because they are too focused with the Cashman and Sabathia negotiations.  Last off-season, it appeared that the team was only capable of dealing with one issue at a time.  When they were chasing Cliff Lee, it seemed as though that’s all they did.  They let other matters sit, including the topic of Andy Pettitte, until Lee surprised everyone and returned to Philadelphia.  I am not quite sure why the organization is incapable of multi-tasking, but they do need to ‘divide and conquer’ if they intend to be the dominant force in 2012.

Looking forward to Jorge Posada Day…

Jorge Posada played very well in September and October, and he’s been a fantastic Yankee, but the time has come for him to go.  I hope that he decides to put the bat down and simply walks away.  I’d really hate to see him try to play again in 2012, which most likely would be with a different team.  His legacy is secured in Yankees history, and he’ll always be treated as royalty by the organization.  He was the greatest catcher since Thurman Munson, and he’ll certainly be remembered in the same room with Munson, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, and Elston Howard.

The “Opt-Out” I wish would happen…

How great would it be if Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract?  Sadly, that’s not going to happen and the Yankees are stuck with the guy who is trying to be the next Jose Veras rather than the next Mariano Rivera…

Bay Area Losses…

Northern California has certainly suffered great losses this week with the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and now legendary Raiders owner Al Davis.   Davis is one of the guys that you just thought would live forever.  I am not a Raiders fan, but he revolutionized the game and was one of its most colorful characters.  I admired his strength and resolve, and it’s unfortunate that his final Raider seasons were filled with losses.  The game certainly won’t be the same without Davis…

–Scott

 

Seriously?…


As if the off-season hasn’t been difficult enough regarding the Yankees’ starting rotation, now comes word that the Yankees have signed soon-to-be 38 year old pitcher Bartolo Colon.  Sorry, but in my opinion, this signing has no upside.  Colon hasn’t pitched since 2009 and he has not started at least 20 games since his Cy Young Year with Chicago in 2005.  When he pitched for the Boston Red Sox, he just struck me as old and out of shape.  I just don’t see a comeback season in Colon.  I know that he’s probably just fodder for spring training as the Yankees look to see if they can find some nuggets in the scrap heap.  

My favorite quote about Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez signing with Tampa Bay was that the Rays are now the early favorite for the 2004 World Series.  I guess that means the Yankees view Colon and his 18 2004 wins as a potential obstacle for Damon and Ramirez.  Maybe Major League Baseball needs a Senior Tour like the PGA.  Oh, nevermind, that’s what we are going to see in the MLB next season…

The Yankees have apparently offered Andy Pettitte $12 million to return for a final season.  I know that Andy is still in Texas deciding his future (how long does it really take?) but it is definitely a reality check when a baseball player can view $12 million like I do with 12 dollars. I am ready for Andy to make his decision…either way.  I know the Yankees are allegedly not waiting for his decision, but this needs to end.  

I liked Brian Cashman’s comment this week that the Boston Red Sox have the better team but the Yankees have the better bullpen.  He definitely wants the world to know that he was against the Rafael Soriano signing.  I was listening to MLB Radio this morning and the hosts were speculating that Cash sounded like a guy who was trying to talk his way out of a job.  Frankly, I’d have to agree.  When George Steinbrenner was alive, I remember hearing how much the organization admired Jim Bowden.  In light of his failure with the Washington Nationals a few years ago, I wonder if he is still a favorite son.  Whether it is Bowden or someone else, it appears the team might be ready for a new general manager and Cash ready for new ownership when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

If the Yankees finish third or fourth, they may be looking for more than just a new general manager.

–Scott

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!…


Understandably, the signing was met with mixed reaction by Yankees fans, but personally, I liked the move to sign Andruw Jones as the team’s fourth outfielder.



98486113, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated
Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Marcus Thames came up with a few clutch hits last season but it was fearful to watch him play the outfield.  With Jones, the Yankees have someone that can spell all three outfield positions and can be counted on to provide adequate defense.  With the bat, when hitting in his spots, he can still perform as evidenced by his 19 home runs with the Chicago White Sox last season.  

I realize that Andruw is a shell of the superstar that he used to be despite being only 33, however, he is still young enough to turn it around for a few seasons if he can make a commitment to conditioning and the other factors that make older players like Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter successful.  I know, he’ll never hit 51 home runs again or even 30 or 40, but so long as he can hit a few clutch shots, I’ll be satisfied.  The Yankees are only paying him $2 million for one year…a far cry from the $18 million per season the Los Angeles Dodgers were paying him only a couple of seasons ago.  

The sad part of the season is that it meant the Yankees would not be pursuing Johnny Damon.  Jones had the advantage of being the better defensive player (at this stage of their respective careers) and that ensured him of the Yankees primary focus.  Damon, meanwhile, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays where he’ll see greater playing time than he would have with the Yankees.  Aside from all the love and positive statements that Johnny will be professing about Tampa and the Rays, I wish him all the best.  


Johnny Damon Tigers Alex Rodriguez Derek Jeter Yankees
John Dunn/Newsday/MCT

Speaking of the Rays, they also signed Manny Ramirez as their DH.  I was a bit surprised by that move considering that the Rays have been so selective about bringing on quality, team-first guys.  Perhaps they feel that Damon will be able to keep Manny in check.  Or perhaps it really was just a move to help drive up attendance.  Either way, it is going to be hard to take the Rays as seriously as I have in the past.  It could be a long season in Florida or maybe the joke’s on us.  Time will tell…

Chicago White Sox DH Manny Ramirez talks with former Boston Red Sox teammate David Ortiz Saturday at Fenway Park.
Townson/AP

Back to the Yankees, they’ve made all the necessary moves…except the final one or two pieces…namely the #4 and #5 spots in the starting rotation.  When I heard that the Detroit Tigers had designated pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment after signing free agent pitcher Brad Penny, I was a bit skeptical and leery of Armando.  However, after additional thought, he might be someone the Yankees should pursue.  So long as they don’t have to relinquish any top shelf talent, the gamble would be worth the risk.  He might blossom under the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  He is the type of pitcher that I’ve wanted the Yankees to acquire.  Someone who hasn’t quite fulfilled his promise or potential but who is still young enough to have that breakout season.  Maybe Armando is that guy…


Umpire Jim Joyce, pitcher Armando Galarraga, wire
Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/MCT

If the Rafael Soriano signing was Hal Steinbrenner’s idea, hats off to him.  It was a bold move and I have been concerned that Hal, as an educated bean counter, would not make those seemingly crazy moves to improve the team.  I should qualify that by saying that I do not want to see another Ed Whitson or Steve Kemp signing, but you want an owner who sometimes sets aside rationale and conservative thought to go with a gut instinct.  When I first heard that the Yankees had signed Soriano, my immediate thought was that Hank Steinbrenner was behind the move.  Perhaps it was and he sold his brother on the idea, but if it was Hal’s idea, that’s even better.  As a fan, I do not view GM Brian Cashman any less than I did before.  Ownership always has the right to have the final say and of course it’s their money.  Brian does what is right for the organization.  The Steinbrenner family is responsible for ensuring a marketable and performing asset for the YES Network and their Yankee Stadium season ticket holders.  




–Scott

Have Arm, Will Travel…

 

Say what you will, it was a win…

 

 

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Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire

 

A night after losing 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game that probably could have been won if a clutch hitter like Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui or Jerry Hairston, Jr. were on the roster, the Yankees returned to their winning ways with a 11-5 victory over the Jays.  It was another solid fill-in performance by Dustin Moseley.  He was only responsible for 2 of the runs, as the remainder were charged against Chad Gaudin.  Moseley has definitely stepped up in a big way during the absence of Andy Pettitte.  After fretting what life would be like with Sergio Mitre after Andy went on the DL, manager Joe Girardi quickly reversed course and went with Moseley, a decision that has proven to be very fruitful.  Moseley is not the front-end starter you want in the play-offs, but for a team trying to battle its way to the AL East Championship, he has been exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

After losing to the Jays last night, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Mention has to go to Rays closer Rafael Soriano who threw a 9-pitch 9th inning that resulted in 3 strikeouts.  It was quite an impressive feat.  Why did the Atlanta Braves let Soriano get away again?…

 

Johnny Damon has apparently invoked his no-trade clause to stay in Detroit after being claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox.  All things considered, I am glad that Johnny opted to leave his Yankees legacy intact.  Damon was clearly one of the primary players responsible for the fall of the Curse of the Bambino as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, however, he was later able to cut the cords with the Red Sox after failed contract negotiations (or lack thereof) to sign with the Yankees where he ultimately won another championship.  Had he returned to Boston, he would have tarnished his Yankees legacy and turned the Yankees Universe against him.  David Cone was one of my favorite Yankees, but I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for going to Boston.  I would have hated to see Johnny return to Boston.  When I broached the possibility to my Red Sox friends, I received responses like “ugh!”, “ick!”, and “no!”.  While Jason Varitek and David Ortiz may have welcomed Johnny back, I am not sure that he would have been embraced by the RSN.  Perhaps he would have, but did the Red Sox claim Damon because they truly wanted him or did they do it to block the Rays?  As an aging player, I could have understood the player’s desire to play meaningful September games.  However, for Johnny, there was so much at stake personally.  He was a good Yankee, and hopefully, he’ll let that legacy stand on its own merits.  No reason to ruin it by going back to Beantown.  If the Yankees had just waited out Damon’s demands and brought him back to the Bronx, none of this would have been necessary.  Who knows where he’ll play in 2011, but for now, I remain proud of Damon for standing by his principles and commitment.

 

 

Johnny Damon Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees stands during the national anthem before taking on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angels Stadium on August 21, 2007 in Anaheim, California.

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

 

In an off-topic comment, I was dismayed to hear that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice will miss at least half of the season following hip surgery.  Given that the injury was suffered during the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints, I am not quite sure why Rice waited until now to have surgery.  He was the first true threat since the Vikings traded Randy Moss, so Brett Favre is definitely facing a challenge in what should be his final season.  This morning, there were reports the Vikings were close to signing former Packers wide receiver Javon Walker who clashed with Favre at times during their days in Green Bay.  With Percy Harvin’s on-going bouts with migraines, the best receiver at this point is probably Bernard Berrian which does not bode well for the Vikings and Favre. 

 

 

Seattle Times

 

Sports can be so brutal at times…

 

–Scott

 

Yet Another No-Name Pitcher…


I guess that A-Rod should have held one of those
homers in reserve for Sunday…



Good Bad Ugly.JPG

 


The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense against
Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City Royals as the former number
one Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick but still a no-name 29-year-old journeyman  earned his first major league victory in beating the Yankees
1-0.  



Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger



On the other side was loser A.J.
Burnett, who was magnificent if you throw out the first inning. 



Yanks blanked by Bullington, Royals, 1-0

John Rieger/US Presswire

 


On Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez homered three
times (the first time he has accomplished the feat since 2005).  However, the last homer merely padded the
score as the Yankees coasted to the 8-3 win. 
It’s too bad that he couldn’t have waited until Sunday to homer.  Any offense at all would have probably won
the game.  But like Derek Jeter said, the
way Bullington was pitching, there was no way they were going to beat him. 

 

The Yankees have been very pedestrian thus far in
August.  They are 6-8, and have been
underperforming in every series.  They
have the occasional outbursts like Saturday night, but they have not been able
to sustain any success.  If the Tampa Bay
Rays didn’t encounter their own struggles, they most likely would be in first
place today.  As it is, they are just one
game behind the Yankees after another solid performance by Jeremy Hellickson, a
native Iowan like myself.  If the Yankees
don’t kick it into gear soon, they’ll be left to fight for Wild Card
scraps.  The team is certainly capable of
getting on a roll and reeling off 10 straight victories, so the sooner the
better.

 

I was afraid that today was going to feature a
sluggish Yankee performance.  I was
reading the LoHud Yankees blog before the game, and they posted a report that
it was a lazy Sunday morning in the clubhouse with absolutely nothing going on.  To me, that translated to a lack of energy
and the team was just ready to board the plane to return home.  Unfortunately, it showed up in how they
played today against the Royals.  Nothing
against Bullington, he pitched a great game, but then again, he had a receptive
audience… 
L



 


Now, the Yankees head home to face former teammates
Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson, and the Detroit Tigers.  If they play like they played in Kansas City,
the results won’t be favorable.



Johnny Damon Detroit Tigers

AP

 

I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (obviously),
however, I am glad to see that Dustin Pedroia will return to second base for
the Sox on Tuesday night.  He will also
be celebrating his 27th birthday, so birthday wishes are in order
for the Sox warrior.  I certainly do not
want to see the Sox get on a roll, but it will be good to see Pedey back at
second for “those” guys.



David Ortiz (left) and Dustin Pedroia (right) celebrated Pedroia's first inning homer.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 


Somewhere my friend Julia is on vacation and loving
every minute of today’s Yankees loss…





 Enjoy Pedey’s birthday, Julia…


–Scott


It’s Just Another Manic Monday…

 

 

  

 

Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he has learned about life in three words.  “It goes on”…

 

 


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It was one of those days for the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday.  The Yankees had controlled the majority of the game after a Randy Winn triple in the bottom of the 2nd inning had given them an early 2-1 lead.

 

Sergio Mitre did everything asked of him as he went 5 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 1 run.  David Robertson, who has been struggling, came on in relief of Mitre and was effective for two innings.

 

 

Sergio Mitre pitched one-run ball through five innings.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

So, the Yankees had the perfect formula for victory (Chamberlain + Rivera), right?  Wrong.  Joba allowed the first batter to reach base during the top of the 8th inning when Denard Span singled.  Following a fielder’s choice which left Orlando Hudson at first, Joe Mauer walked.  Joba struck out the next batter (Justin Morneau), and it looked as though he might escape the inning without any further damage.  Unfortunately, an infield single by Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases and ended Joba’s afternoon.  Manager Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save.  Mo quickly fell behind the first batter he faced (Jim Thome) and eventually walked him to bring in a run (closing the Yankees lead to 3-2).  Mo was unable to shut the door as the next hitter, Jason Kubel, smashed a grand slam to right to give the Twins the lead, 6-3.

 

 

Mariano Rivera shows his frustration after giving up an 8th inning game-winning grand slam to the Twins' Jason Kubel.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

 

Jason Kubel Twins grand slam Mariano Rivera Yankees

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

The Yankees tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th and had the first two men on base.  But Twins closer Jon Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to end the game.

 

This was a very disappointing loss.  The Yankees have had great success against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and had won the first two games of this series.  A win today would have put a psychological knife into the Twins or the very least would have given them doubts about their ability to win at the Stadium in October.  For the Twins, it was a huge win and it lifted the monkey off their backs.  Prior to the game, former Twins great Bert Blyleven labeled it as a “must win”

 

 

Star Tribune

 

So, the weekend ends on a down note for the Yankees as they await the arrival of their fiercest rival, the Boston Red Sox, for a two-game series in the Bronx starting on Monday.

 

 

 

 

Of course, Yankees-Red Sox can only mean one thing.  It’s time for another wager between me and my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants.  For the latest wager, the loser must write a blog about the opposing team’s first World Series victory.  If the teams split the series, the winner will be the team with the highest run total.  The Red Sox did lose today to Johnny Damon and the Detroit Tigers so neither the Yanks or Sox carry any momentum into the latest series.

 

 


No Momentum.JPG 

 

 

The Yankees received some bad news when it was announced that DH Nick Johnson may need wrist surgery.  They’ll first try a cortisone shot, but if it doesn’t work, surgery will be the next option which would most likely shelf Johnson until August.  This is exactly what Yankee fans had feared when Johnson signed with the Yanks during the off-season as Johnny Damon’s replacement.  GM Brian Cashman says that Johnson’s injury potential was taken into consideration, however, it doesn’t appear that there is a solid Plan B in place.  I like the lineup with Posada at DH and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, however, that may or may not be a good long term solution.  I’d prefer more of a sure thing (trade for Johnny Damon?), but unfortunately, the trade market will not be open until July (or June at the earliest).

 

 

Tigers designated hitter Johnny Damon steals second as Rangers second baseman Joaquin Arias applies the late tag during the fourth inning of the Tigers' 8-4 win Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Brandon Wade/AP

 

 

It was a particularly tough sports day for me today as the San Jose Sharks lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals.  I am sure that if I need to hear some positive sports news, Julia will be more than happy to tell me all about the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals…  L

 

San Jose Mercury News

 

 

The day did have a great start for me before the games began.  I participated in the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco.  The run started near the Bay by Embarcadero and headed west (up the Hayes Street Hill and through Golden Gate Park) to the Pacific Ocean. 

 

 

 


Bay to Breakers Intro.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle 

 

In San Francisco, you have to be prepared to see just about anything…and I did!  Many runners (and walkers) chose to wear costumes while some opted for nothing at all.  I took the more conservative and traditional route myself.  I do not know the total headcount but the run was very slow at the beginning and going up the Hayes Street Hill due to the sheer volume of people. 

 

 

Bay to Breakers 1.JPG

 

 

Hayes Street Hill.JPG

 

 

Bay Breakers 2.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle

 

Personally.  I accomplished my modest goal of running the race inside of an hour.  It was a fun and very enjoyable day…well, at least until the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium!

 

–Scott

 

 

 

Motor City Misery…

 

The string comes unwound…

 

 

Unwound.JPG

 

The Yankees had been successful in every season series this year except for their trip to Anaheim, CA, but the string of success came to a resounding thud in Detroit.  The Tigers were victorious in winning 3 of 4 games against the Yankees.

 

 

Sancya/AP

 

 

The Tigers took a close game on Monday, 5-4, when a late Yankees rally fell short.  Tuesday was rained out, so the team played two the next day.  Despite a strong performance by Javier Vazquez (his best of the season, by far), the Yanks fell 2-0 in the first game.  They rebounded in the nightcap behind a very strong performance by Phil Hughes, which is rapidly becoming “the norm” for #65.  The game was close most of the way until the Yankees scored 6 runs in the 9th to win, 8-0. 

 

 

New York Yankees starter Phil Hughes collects eight strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings.

Burleson/AP

 

 

In the getaway game, the Yanks were shut out for the second time in three games, 6-0.  The game was highlighted by a disappointing outing by CC Sabathia.

 

 

CC Sabathia surrenders six runs on nine hits as the Tigers blast the Bombers 6-0 and become just the second team to win a series from the Yankees.

Burleson/AP

 

Tonight, the Yankees are back in the Bronx for a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. 

 

As it stands right now, I am concerned about the team.  Andy Pettitte pitches on Saturday and there is uncertainty regarding his health.  He has missed a start due to elbow stiffness and it would not be realistic to expect his high level of performance in April to continue. 

 

The rainout in Detroit, forcing Javier Vazquez to pitch on Wednesday, has pushed Javy’s next start back a day so Sergio Mitre will start Sunday against the Twins.

 

My biggest concern is the ongoing health challenges the team has faced.  For awhile, it seemed as though every win was accompanied by an injury.  I know the Yankees spare no expense, but at times, I do wonder about the team’s strength and conditioning program.   It is a completely unsubstantiated remark, but the constant little injuries do make you wonder what the cause might be. 

 

Curtis Granderson is eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but he has yet to begin running again.  He is scheduled to do some light running this weekend, and has been vigorously working out.  However, if he hasn’t started running, it does not appear he’ll be back immediately.  Nothing against Marcus Thames, Randy Winn or Greg Golson, but I’d prefer to see those guys coming off the bench…not starting in the outfield.

 

Other Yankees have been dinged up…Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, et al.  Chan Ho Park and Alfredo Aceves are on the DL with Granderson, although Park is expected back soon.

 

A trip to October always includes a bit of luck so hopefully the Yanks will be able to overcome these string of injuries without losing too much ground to the Tampa Bay Rays…or let the dreaded Boston Red Sox catch up.

 

 

 

On the bright side (for me), the San Jose Sharks will soon begin the Western Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks for the right to advance to the Stanley Cup.  I had hoped for a Stanley Cup collision against my friend, Julia, but unfortunately, her Boston Bruins let a 3 games to none lead slip away.  That also included a 3-0 lead in Game 7.  So close Julia, “but so far away”.  Sorry, my friend.  At least we still have hope in the NBA play-offs as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are in their respective conference finals.  So, we’ll have to hope for Lakers-Celtics in the finals, with a Sharks-Bruins match-up just a dream for future years.

 

 

 

Mr. Personality…

 

The Bully has spoken…

 

 

WFAN

 

 

 

As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine.  I agree with Levine’s words:  “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years.  Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend.  Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams). 

 

 


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I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully.  I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine.  Or maybe this truly is the real Levine.  Either way, I am not a fan of his…

 

 


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After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:

 

Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)

2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s

 

Said Johnny Damon after the game: "We battled. We never quit. I'm very happy with what I saw today."   (JOHN SLEEZER/McClatchy-Tribune)

John Sleezer/McClatchy-Tribune

 

Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)

2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s

 

Article Tab : hideki-angels-run-home

Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register

 

The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!

 

At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves.  Well, he did score a run.  Ugh!

 

 

AP

 

The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston.  The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey.  Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!

 

 

 

 

In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base.  With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4,  Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run.  Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.

 

Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst.  I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time.  I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.

 

 

 

 

It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him.  I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan.  Beckett and Lackey?  Not so much…

 

 

Jorge Posada #20, Derek Jeter #2, Nick Swisher #33 and Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate the win over the Boston Red Sox on April 6, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Yankee defeated the Red Sox 6-4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Elsa/Getty Images

Ex-Yankee Paranoia…

  

Unfortunately, Johnny Damon hasn’t forgotten how to beat the Yankees…

 

 

Tigers' Johnny Damon drives in a run with a second-inning single off New York Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin on Saturday, March 13.  The Tigers won, 6-2.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

In Damon’s first appearance against his ex-mates, he hit an RBI single and a solo home run to power the Tigers to victory, 6-2, in Lakeland, Florida.  Hopefully, this doesn’t become a regular occurrence in Yankees-Tigers matchups.  Two of the hopefuls for the fifth spot in the starting rotation were the victims of Damon’s abuse.  Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre each gave up three earned runs in three and four innings of work, respectively.  Austin Jackson even got in on the action with some great defensive plays. 

 

 

A beautiful day for baseball at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Fla., as the Detroit Tigers hosted the New York Yankees on Saturday March 13.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

On the bright side, the Yankees also played the Baltimore Orioles in Tampa and won 5-3 behind the heroics of Jorge Posada.  Javier Vazquez was the starter and winner, but Alfredo Aceves continued to impress.  So, if Phil Hughes has competition for the starting rotation, I’d have to say that Aceves is the top contender at this point.  I am convinced that Joba Chamberlain is headed to the pen, and either Mitre or Gaudin (or both) will find themselves pitching elsewhere. 

 

New York Yankees pitcher Chad Gaudin throws against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning.

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

Kei Igawa, perhaps the Yankees most disappointing free-agent signing in recent memory outside of anyone named Carl, saw his latest attempt to make the Yankees flame out.  He was one of nine players cut and re-assigned to minor league camp.  The other notable name, but not unexpected, was pitcher Andrew Brackman.   The odds have definitely been against Brackman but I hope he can persevere and pitch in the big leagues one day. 

 

 

Nick Latham/Getty Images

 

As a Minnesota Vikings fan, this has been a disappointing off-season so far.  Of course, there’s the inevitable ‘will he or won’t he’ retirement talk about Brett Favre.  If Favre does retire, it’s hard to get excited about the team’s offense being helmed by either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels.  We’ve already seen a great running back depart when Chester Taylor signed with the rival Chicago Bears.  The team wined and dined free agent LaDainian Tomlinson, but he left Minnesota for New York with no agreement.  Nothing against Minneapolis, but it’s hard to compete with the city of New York.  There’s no telling where LT will eventually land, but he would be a nice backup for Adrian Peterson.  So far, the Vikings biggest acquisition has been the free agent signing of long kicker Rhys Lloyd.  Hopefully, the Vikings will be able to make the necessary moves to ensure that their current championship quality window does not close without any hardware.  

 

 

LaDainian Tomlinson -

Peter Read Miller/SI

 

This has been an interesting year on American Idol.  I have seen most of my early favorites depart, so I’ve had to find new ones to back.  At this point, I am a fan of Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze.  I am surprised at some of those who advanced to the Top 12 and some who didn’t, but the show should start heating up in the coming weeks.

 

 

mtv.com

 

 

 

I am headed down to Burbank to see The Tonight Show with Jay Leno this week.  The scheduled guests are Terry Bradshaw and Kara DioGuardi. The musical guest is Ziggy Marley.  It should be a fun and energetic show to watch.  I am looking forward to it.  I was able to see The Late Show with David Letterman last year, so it will be fun to see how it compares to Leno.  Of course, from my perspective, I can’t wait until Conan O’Brien is back on the air…

 

 


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The Title Defense Begins…

 

Now that CC is getting warmed up, Spring Training is officially underway…

 

 

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Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

So far, Camp has been very quiet for Team World Champions.  Of course, that figures to change when position players report next week.  But it has been great to see the guys arriving in Tampa as they begin defense of their World Series championship.

 

 

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Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

 

I always enjoy hearing about the players who re-committed themselves during the off-season, and arrive in camp in better shape than ever.  This year’s “Biggest Losers” are reliever Jonathan Albaladejo and right fielder Nick Swisher.  Both reported significantly lighter than we lost saw them in October.  I have been a bit concerned that Swisher will have difficulty matching last season’s success, but hopefully, the weight loss will help him build upon the success and we’ll continue to see the A’s version of Swisher and not the White Sox version.

 

 

After having his swing exposed during the postseason, Nick Swisher devotes offseason to rediscovering his hitting stroke.

Sipkin/News 

 

 

It’s evident the players have a great deal of respect for Andy Pettitte.  Andy could have had the perfect ending to a great career by riding off to the sunset after last year’s championship, but he decided that he is not ready to hang up the glove yet.  Obviously, I was disappointed when Andy admitted steroid use, however, throughout his career and including the time of the admission, Andy has handled himself with nothing but class and dignity.  CC Sabathia credited Pettitte for helping his transition, and I am sure that he’ll have a similar influence on Javier Vazquez as he re-adjusts to life with the Yankees.  I would have preferred if Andy had never left to play in Houston for three years, but conversely, the time away definitely gave Andy a different perspective and he clearly values his Yankees legacy now more than ever before. 

 

 

Andy Pettitte's outstanding season last year would have been a storybook ending. But, the New York Yankees ace isn't ready to hang up the glove just yet.

Antonelli/News

 

I saw the comment by Hideki Matsui on the Angels MLB.com website that although he feels physically strong, his knees aren’t 100%.  As tough as it was to see Godzilla leave, I think the Yankees made the right decision.  While I recognize that he may have a great 2010 season, sooner or later he’ll begin breaking down and missing more time.  Besides, there’s not much more that he could have done for a Yankees farewell than being named the World Series MVP. 

 

 

Yankees World Series MVP Hideki Matsui will wave goodbye to Big Apple.

Keivom/News

 

 

Speaking of ex-Yankees, Johnny Damon is now officially a member.  He signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Tigers for $8 million.  Damon will definitely be the poster child for negotiating failures, at least for the short term.  With better strategy, he could have secured a longer term deal for more money from the Yankees, but Damon and agent Scott Boras overvalued the market.  Of course, the Yankees quickly moved on.  I do not find fault with the Yankees approach because had they waited, they risked getting nothing.  As it stands, the Yankees offense should be fine with Nick Johnson, Randy Winn and Marcus Thames on-board.  I am still puzzled by the Tigers since they moved Curtis Granderson because of money, and he would have made less this year than Damon will cost them.  I guess Damon is an $8 million insurance policy as a hedge to see if Austin Jackson is capable of making the leap to the major leagues. 

 

 

Johnny Damon (AP)

AP

 

Another former Yankee, Chien-Ming Wang, signed with the Washington Nationals.  I am surprised that he went with the Nats.  Nothing against them, but I really expected to see Wang go with Joe Torre and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  They have a clear need for a fifth starter, and if healthy, Wang could have potentially filled the void.  Whatever happens, I wish Wang the best of luck…and health.  I hope he has learned to run the bases now that he’ll be hitting in the National League. 

 

 

Chien Ming-Wang

Scott Miller/Reuters

 

Now that Jose Molina is in Toronto, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi is going to make sure that Jorge Posada and A.J. Burnett work as a team this spring.  Hopefully, they’ll be able to build a good rapport.  If not, I hope that Francisco Cervelli is up to the challenge of being A.J.’s personal caddy.

 

 

AP

 

 

The Yankees will definitely encounter more than a few former players (and manager) during the upcoming season. 

 

 

Torre

LA Times

 

Hopefully, the “pies” will belong to the current Yankees and not the former crowd.  It should be a fun season, and I am looking forward to the renewed battle with Julia.  I was hoping that we’d have a few “warm-ups” during the Spring, but the Yankees and Red Sox are not scheduled to face each other until Opening Day.  Oh well, I am looking forward to starting the season 1-0.  Right, Julia?  ;)

 

 

Nick Swisher pie Yankees

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

This is off-topic, but now that American Idol has reduced the field to 24, my early favorite is Janell Wheeler…

 

 

 

 

But then again, Ashley Rodriguez does have a great voice…

 

 

 

 

 It should be a great Season 9 on American Idol!  Music and Yankees baseball…sounds like it will be a great summer to me!  If Julia doesn’t agree, this video says it all…

 

 

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