Results tagged ‘ Ken Griffey Jr ’

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx!…

 

Chavez Ravine to the Bronx reminds me of Tommy John for some reason…

Welcome to New York, Hiro!  It was a terrific debut at Yankee Stadium for #2 starter Hiroki Kuroda, as he shut down the Los Angeles Angels, 5-0 in the team’s 2012 home opener.  The Angels, historically, play the Yankees very well in New York, so Kuroda’s performance was significantly more impressive than if it had come against a team like the Minnesota Twins.  Obviously, the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher is not going to pitch like this every time out, but I do feel more confident in the #2 slot in the rotation than I did when it was held by A.J. Burnett.

The game also marked the 630th home run by Alex Rodriguez, which tied him with his former teammate, Ken Griffey, Jr.  The script couldn’t have been written any better for a marvelous day in New York.

A proud day for a Yankees legend and his father…

It was also a very classy move to have Jorge Posada throw out the first pitch, which is the good karma that set the stage for the wonderful day.  I am sure that it was a thrill for Jorge to throw the pitch to his father.  I lost my own father as a child, but who doesn’t love the scene in Field of Dreams when Kevin Costner plays catch with his father.  It has to be an absolute thrill, and I am sure that it was for Jorge as his father was able to take the field at Yankee Stadium.  I had heard the Yankees wanted Mariano Rivera to catch Posada’s throw, but Jorge wanted his dad.  You certainly cannot find fault in his decision.  Mariano’s day will come.  Both players have reservations for Monument Park.

DL-R-Us…

I was sorry to see the injury suffered by Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.  The word is that he’ll be out 6-8 weeks with the shoulder injury he suffered during Boston’s home opening day win over the Tampa Bay Rays.  Boston may be a fierce rival, but I take so satisfaction in seeing the loss of one of their better players.  To be the best, you have to beat the best which means that I want Boston and Tampa to have their best players on the field.  The Red Sox probably have more dollars committed to guys on the DL than the team payrolls for a number of teams in major league baseball, with the likes of John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey, and Bobby Jenks currently disabled.

Hopefully, Ellsbury will make a smooth and speedy recovery, and will be back on the field soon.

The team name on Damon’s jersey should come with Velcro…

I know it’s a paycheck but it seems like Johnny Damon will have played with every team in the AL by the time he’s finished.  He’s been with so many teams, I honestly can’t say what team he should be remembered for.  Maybe Boston because of the Caveman look and helping them secure their first World Series win in a century, maybe the Royals because that’s where he got his start, who knows.  I can’t look at him and say that ‘he’s forever a Yankee’ because his time was too brief and now it’s too watered down with other teams.  Damon as a Cleveland Indian just seems strange.  If Cleveland is out by July, I am sure that Damon will be moved to a contender, adding yet another team.  Or Damon doesn’t get enough at-bats and opts out of his Cleveland deal, and heads elsewhere.  Regardless, he just seems like a rent-a-player at this point.  Maybe MLB should incorporate 10-day contracts like the NBA…

Purple People are better…

I am looking forward to the upcoming NFL Draft.  The Minnesota Vikings, with the third selection and the top two picks already pre-determined, have some tough choices to make.  I’ve been in favor of OT Matt Kalil, but an argument can be made for WR Justin Blackmon or CB Morris Claiborne.  I thought it was interesting when Colts owner Jim Irsay made comments that teams interested in QB Ryan Tannehill should talk to the Vikings about their #3 pick.  I have not followed the story closely enough to understand his motivation, but I’d prefer to see the Vikings hang on to the pick (despite the opportunity to add more picks) given the strength of the talent available.  I am sure the Miami Dolphins are drooling over the idea of nabbing Tannehill so I guess it would depend upon how desperate they are to make a move.  Unless the Vikings are overwhelmed, I want to see Kalil, Blackmon or Claiborne wearing purple at a mini-camp coming soon.

Actually, it’s hard to believe that we are already starting to talk about football again.  It seems like the season just ended.  But then again, it’s hard to believe that the 2012 MLB Season is well underway.  It should be a fun sports year for all…

–Scott

 

Is Generallissimo Francisco Franco still dead?…

 

Isn’t this kind of like pulling my finger- and toe-nails?…

One thing I’ve learned with these extended A.J. Burnett trade talks, patience is not my middle name and it’s not one of my virtues!  While the Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero came very fast and furiously, the potential Burnett trade has been dragging for an eternity.  There’s no question the Yankees have identified the Pittsburgh Pirates as the prime target.  It’s been reported that the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels were willing to make a trade that would have brought the return of Bobby Abreu to the Bronx, but it was nixed by A.J. as the Angels were one of the ten teams on his no-trade list.  This actually blows my mind to think that he’d turn down the Angels, arguably one of the best teams in the major leagues with Jered Weaver and Albert Pujols, but he’d be willing to go to Pittsburgh.  To me, and maybe I am off-base, baseball is about winning and championships.  Nothing against the Pirates, but the Angels, as currently built, will see deep October sooner than the men from the Steel City.

Granted, Burnett would be the #2 starter on the Pirates staff and no better than #5 on the Angels.  But, c’mon, how much pressure can there be pitching behind Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana?  With Burnett in a low-risk situation, the Angels would have an absolutely ridiculous starting rotation and one that would clearly put the Philadelphia Phillies in an inferior position as baseball’s best rotation.  But Mrs. Burnett apparently has issues with flying, so the perfect situation for Burnett won’t happen.

What will it take to consummate the deal with the Pirates?  I’ve read the Yankees have proposed a sliding scale…the more money the Pirates take in salary, the less the Yankees will seek in terms of prospects.  I do think that Burnett could excel in Pittsburgh.  There’s pressure but it is certainly nothing like playing in New York.  A.J.’s problems tend to be mental as there is no questioning the value of his great arm.  I think A.J. can relax and trust his stuff better in a lower-pressured situation.

For the Yankees, I think the #5 slot is Phil Hughes’ to lose regardless of the contract the Yanks gave to Freddy Garcia.  Garcia will be the long man and spot starter.  That leaves no room for Burnett, and of course, that would only bring a bad attitude if he reports to camp with the Yankees.  So, hopefully, GM Brian Cashman can put the distractions of his poor sleeping partner decisions to rest long enough to hammer out the deal with the Pirates within the next 24-48 hours.  With the recent promotions of Assistant GM Jean Afterman to SVP and Angels GM Candidate #2 Billy Eppler to Assistant GM, maybe the second string is working this one.  I don’t care if George Steinbrenner’s widow, Joan, is working this one, let’s just get it done…

Sorry, A.J., I love your arm, but I haven’t wanted to see a player leave New York this bad since Ed Whitson was a Yankee.

Welcome to New York…err, Tampa!..

I really enjoyed reading some of the early reports about new pitcher Michael Pineda.  He reported to camp early and talked about how excited he was to be a Yankee.  He gave glowing reports of his interactions with Robinson Cano, and it is easy to see that he’ll mesh very nicely with “King of the Hill” CC Sabathia.  Passion and intensity are two qualities that I’ve always respected, and Pineda seems to have “it”.

If Ken Griffey, Jr and Gary Matthews, Jr can do it, so can Donnie Baseball, Jr…

I realize that minor league OF prospect Preston Mattingly is getting a bit long in tooth after two failed tries with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians, but he is still only 24 years old.  I know that he’s getting “old” for a prospect, but it would be a wonderful story for Mattingly to seize the opportunity with the Yankees and prove that he can be the talent that he was once projected to be with the Dodgers.  So far, I’ve liked what he has had to say.  He certainly has his father’s positive attitude and realistic perspective, even if he isn’t the player his father was.  I’d like nothing more than to see Preston eventually earn a spot on the Yankees roster.  I am biased because his father was my favorite player and is the reason that the Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite NL team.  Let’s hope that good things happen for a deserving son of a great legend…

Scratching nails on a chalkboard…

It rubs me wrong every time the Yankees sign a former Boston Red Sox player.  Well, I might be okay if the Yankees picked up Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia.  But otherwise, I really have no desire to see former Red Sox players pull on the pinstripes.  Conversely, it is even harder to watch former Yankees sign with the Red Sox.  When the Yankees cut ties with Alfredo Aceves due to his injury history, my immediate thought was a potentially huge mistake.  At that point, I was hoping someone like the San Diego Padres would sign Aceves, but unfortunately, the Red Sox swooped in and captured Aceves.  He went on to have a brilliant season with the Sox in the bullpen, and is a valued member of their pitching staff heading into 2012.  So, it pained me today when I saw that the Red Sox had signed former Yankee pitcher Ross Ohlendorf.  I realize that Ohlendorf had a miserable 2011 season with the Pirates, but I’ve always liked the guy who the Yanks acquired when they dealt Randy Johnson back to the Arizona Diamondbacks a few years ago.  I am really hoping that Ohlendorf doesn’t become the next Tim Wakefield for the Sox.

Clearly our loss…

Baseball-speaking, today was a very sad day.  I had heard that Gary Carter was battling cancer, but it was still hard to hear the news that he had passed.  I think back to when I first became aware of baseball and a Yankees fan.  It was in the mid-1970’s.  In those early years, I was focused primarily on the Yankees.  I was aware of other teams and players, but I can’t say that I know too much about them.  Thurman Munson was the catcher and he quickly became my favorite player.  I could never fully appreciate the greatness of Johnny Bench because of my admiration for Thurman.  Same holds true for Carlton Fisk, who I always saw as a Red Sock even after his trade to the Chicago White Sox.  My world changed on August 2, 1979, and it caused me to step back and look at the bigger picture.  Only then did I begin to truly appreciate the value of great players on other teams.  At that point, the catcher of the Montreal Expos quickly rose to the surface, for me, as one of the premier players at his position.  There was something very clutch and special about Gary Carter.  He went on to drive the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986, and proved that he was the catcher of my era.  I am glad that he saw his entry into the Hall of Fame and there’s no question that he packed more into 57 years than I’ll ever experience regardless of how old I live to be.  A good man, a proud father, a legendary baseball player.  Gary, we will never forget you.

Maybe Phil Jackson would like to have one more shot…

I had fun on Saturday night when the New York Knicks came to Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Timberwolves.  As a Knicks fan (my first year!), I was excited to see what Lin-mania was all about.  He was a little off that night, but at the end, it was Jeremy Lin’s basket that proved to be the game-winner.  The T-Wolves, or the Muskies as they were referred to that night in tribute to a former Minneapolis basketball team from the 60’s or 70’s, had led the game from the start.  The Knicks had caught the T-Wolves a couple of times, but then Minnesota seemed to drop a few consecutive buckets to pull ahead again.  But at the end, Lin was not to be denied, and “Lin-sanity” continues.  It’s funny because I bought the tickets to the game hoping to see Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, and neither player dressed for the game.  But all things considered, Lin was the perfect substitute.

Yes, it was exciting to see the opening of Fantasy Baseball…

It’s fun to see the return of fantasy baseball.  I’ve already set a few teams with ESPN and I think my first draft is this weekend.  I am looking forward to when they open the live drafting functionality.  I like fantasy baseball if for no other reason than it helps you know and understand players on other teams than just your favorite team.  If Jon Lester heads my starting rotation or if Jacoby Ellsbury is roving my outfield, I am okay with that.  Granted, when Lester and Ellsbury come to Yankee Stadium, I’ll be pulling for L’s and O-fer’s but when Lester shuts down the Rays or Ellsbury slams a homer to beat the O’s, there might  be a smile on my face.

Baseball, let’s get started…

–Scott

GM Cashman has total control, except when he doesn’t…

I said ‘NO’, oh, by the way, here’s a $30 million contract for you…

There is still not much to write about in the Yankees Universe.  There’s a report that Managing GM Hal Steinbrenner has talked with super agent Scott Boras about pitcher Edwin Jackson, but other than that, not much to talk about.  Given that Steinbrenner orchestrated the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano last season (much to the disagreement of GM Brian Cashman), it would be interesting to hear what Cash has to say about Jackson.  Universally, any team would be happy to sign Jackson on a short term, but a longer term deal is perceived as problematic.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  The Yankees need a solid #2 or #3 pitcher in addition to the current roster, but it is not worth the price of paying Jesus Montero and/or Manuel Baneulos.

Personally, I would not be opposed to Jackson in the rotation as I feel that pitching coach Larry Rothschild would be a very strong influence on the pitcher.  He certainly has the potential of being better than anything in the rotation outside of CC Sabathia.

It’s a given that the Yankees need to do something.  I think standing pat is the wrong approach.  It would most likely ensure a second or third place finish behind the Boston Red Sox and/or Tampa Bay Rays.  They need to improve the rotation.  There are too many question marks attached to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will be another year older.  The Yankees need a pitcher other than Sabathia that is completely capable of shutting down the opposition.  Jackson can be that guy.  I don’t like the idea of “saving your bullets” for another off-season in terms of projected free agents.  In 2013, A-Rod and Jeter will be another year older and further from their prime.  Why couldn’t have George Steinbrenner instilled this win at all costs mentality in his sons?  Okay, fiscal responsibility is a good idea, but the Yankees need to ensure that they can withstand improved Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays squads.

Preston Baseball?…

I like the Yankees’ signing of former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly.  Granted, Donnie Baseball is one of my all-time heroes.  But I’d like to see what the Yankee coaches and instructors can do with the former first round pick.  He certainly has the pedigree to succeed.  But time will tell if he can be Ken Griffey, Jr… or Pete Rose, Jr.  His current path leans toward the latter, but he is only 24 years old.  This goes into the category of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.  For Preston’s sake, I hope that he succeeds in the organization that his father starred.

It was only $35.5 million…

I really feel bad for former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson.  Once rumored to be close to a 4-year, $44 million contract with the Phillies, he signs with the Cincinnati Reds for a one year contract at $8.5 million.  He’ll close for a fraction of the money that the Yankees pay 7th inning guy Rafael Soriano.  The hope, obviously, is that liquidity will return to the closer market during the next off-season so that Madson can capture a lucrative long-term deal.  I don’t know what went wrong with his negotiations with the Phillies and what led to their acquisition of former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, but he’ll long wonder what could have been.

We’ll give you over $50 million, but we’d really prefer to keep his salary at a couple mil…

For as much as the Texas Rangers bid for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I will be very surprised if they fail to come to contract terms with Darvish returning to Japan.  But at this point in the negotiations, you have to wonder if that’s not the likely outcome.  It would be interesting to see Darvish on the open market after next season.  I wonder if that would change the Yankees interest level…

Wanted:  Snow…

It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp next month.  I’ve been in Minnesota all winter long hoping for snow…and being sadly disappointed.  At least the opening of baseball camps gives me something to be excited.  I am looking forward to the debut of the 2012 Yankees!  Bring it on!…

–Scott

 

The Machine is Moving Again!…

 

When the season started, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes were 4th and 5th in the starting rotation.  It’s the 2nd of June, and both pitchers stand with 7-1 marks.  Given the struggles that Javier Vazquez has experienced and to a lesser degree, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes are the primary reasons the Yankees are in the thick of the AL East chase.  With Vazquez starting to pitch much better and knowing that Burnett and Sabathia will come around, the pitching potential for the remainder of the year is very bright. 

 

Today’s game was an all-around team effort as most of the starters played a role in scoring.  Mark Teixeira was 0-for-5 but it was a success to have him on the field given the ball he took off the foot yesterday causing him to exit that game prematurely.  Hughes went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits while striking out 7 in the 9-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.  Chad Gaudin pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief. 

 

The game also marked the return of Jorge Posada who was penciled in at DH.  Posada was 1-for-3 with a run scored. 

 

The hitting star of the game was, of course, Robinson Cano.  Robby went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s.   He also hit his 12th home run of the season in the 7th inning.  He is batting .373 for the season and has been superb batting 5th behind Alex Rodriguez in the batting order. 

 

Both Boston and Tampa won again tonight?  Bummer! 

 

In a statement of the obvious, Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers threw the third perfect game of the season even if the record books won’t show it.  Unfortunately, first base umpire Jim Joyce blew a call in the 9th inning when he ruled Cleveland’s Jason Donald safe at first even though Miguel Cabrera’s toss to Galarraga beat Donald to the bag.  Galarraga settled for the one-hitter, but it was the perfect game with the imperfect umpire.  “I just cost that kid a perfect game,” the ump said after the game. “I thought he beat the throw.  I was convinced he beat the throw, until I saw the replay.”

 

I was saddened to see Ken Griffey, Jr.’s decision to retire today.    Until he left Seattle for Cincinnati, Junior was on track to have a historic career.  Injuries took their toll on Griffey during the Cincinnati years and he was never the same.  He departs with 630 career home runs, but he would have been in the land of Ruth, Aaron and Bonds had he stayed healthy.  I wish Junior the very best in his post-playing career.  Thanks for the memories! 

 

Well, it is once again time for another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  We had hoped for a Stanley Cup Final involving her Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks.  However, both teams fell victim to the number 4 in their respective conference finals.  The Sharks were swept 4 games to none by the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Bruins blew a 3 games to none lead on the Philadelphia Flyers.  Nevertheless, our respective NBA teams have made it to the finals so it gives us the opportunity to place another bet.  Besides Julia needs a team other than the Red Sox if she ever hopes to win a wager again!  ;)  Seriously, if the Boston Celtics win the championship, I will be the not-so-proud recipient of a Celtic championship t-shirt and of course proof will have to appear on my blog.   If the Los Angeles Lakers win, Julia will be seen wearing a purple and gold championship Lakers t-shirt.  For me, this is about revenge given the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics two years ago.  Kobe Bryant has had a tremendous career, but he needs a championship victory over Boston to add to his legacy.  So, here’s hoping that Kobe and the gang are victorious in their championship drive!  Let’s go Lakers! 

 

–Scott

A Little A-Rod Goes A Long Ways…

 

A “Half Day Off” works…

 

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger

 

With the installation of Alex Rodriguez at DH last night, Joe Girardi coined the term “half day off” when describing A-Rod’s temporary switch from third.  The result?  Very good, as evidenced by the towering two-run homer to dead center in the 6th to cap the scoring in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The homer came after Ken Griffey, Jr. had tied the score at 2 in the top half of the inning with his 621st career home run.  Griffey has now hit home runs in 44 stadiums, and trails only Sammy Sosa (by one stadium).

 

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

A-Rod’s home run was the 566th of his career, and he trails Rafael Palmeiro by 3 for 10th place on the All-Time HR List.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau (per The New York Times), the last time a game featured home runs by two players with at least 550 career home runs was May 8, 1971.  On that date, the Atlanta Braves defeated the San Francisco Giants, 5-2, at Candlestick Park.  The Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays, hit one out in the 6th to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.  Hank Aaron responded with a three-run shot in the 8th as the Braves scored 5 runs to take the game.

 

Hank Aaron and Willie Mays dominated their eras. (Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery / Getty Images)

Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images 

 

A-Rod has been re-energized since the forced days off last weekend.  In his last 7 games, he is batting .435 (10-for-23), with 4 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, and 10 walks.  It is a huge contrast to the lethargic A-Rod we had seen in the weeks prior to the time off. 

“There’s no question I feel more energetic,” A-Rod said. “The swing only comes if you feel you have fuel in the tank.”

 

To the delight of Yankee Stadium fans, Alex Rodriguez rounds third after his two-run, six-inning broke a 2-2 tie and proved to be the difference in the Yanks' 4-2 win over the Mariners on Wednesday. (JIM McISSAC / Getty Images)

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Andy Pettitte, who struggled in earlier home starts at the new Stadium, was very effective, and picked up his 8th win of the season.  With Andy, you are never quite sure what you are going to get, but he managed to overcome the loss of two leads and persevered to get the win.  It seems as though he has finally learned how to pitch in the new Stadium.  His numbers at home had been significantly worse than his road stats.  He recognizes that the hits and homers will happen, but his job is to limit the damage and keep his team in the game.  It’s a skill that Andy is very good at…

 

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Johnny Damon had started the scoring with a home run of his own during the 3rd inning.

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

Melky Cabrera also added a solo shot in the 5th, which stood upon completion of a video replay by the officials. 

 

Barton Silverman/The New York Times  

The Yankees have now won seven games in a row, and remain 2 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox.  While the Yanks didn’t gain any ground on the Red Sox, they did pick up a game on the hard charging Tampa Bay Rays.  The Rays’ seven-game winning streak was snapped in a 5-0 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

 

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press 

In a down note, it has been determined, as expected, that Xavier Nady does need reconstructive elbow surgery.  Everyone is saying positive words of encouragement, but it will be a long, uphill battle for Nady.  This will be Nady’s second Tommy John surgery.  It will be performed next Wednesday, and the recovery time is generally 10-12 months.  Our hearts go out to Nady.  He’s been the consummate team guy and I hope he’ll be playing on the ball field again soon.

 

 

Tony Gutierrez/AP 

Griffey’s a Brave, no wait, a Mariner!…

RETURN OF THE ANCIENT MARINER

 

‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!

Why look’st thou so?  With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

 

   From Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

The Ancient Mariner has returned!  Ken Griffey Jr., 39, decided to sign with his original team after deliberating between the sentimental choice versus playing close to home with the Atlanta Braves.  Some news accounts earlier in the week were erroneously reporting that Griffey had chosen the Braves.

 

I was surprised.  I had expected Griffey to stay close to home, but obviously the lure of the sentimental return proved to be too great in the end.  On one hand, it is a nice story to see his return to Seattle.  The fans are excited, and he has the chance to end his career wearing the same uniform he started with.  But on the other hand, he is a shell of what he used to be.

 

As a Cincinnati Red in a June 2007 series at Safeco Field against the Mariners, Griffey did say, “I think I owe it to the people of Seattle, and myself, to retire as a Mariner“. 

 

Apparently, it was Griffey’s teenage daughter who helped seal the deal.  Taryn Griffey plays for an AAU basketball team that’s based in the Atlanta area, but according to agent Brian Goldberg, “She told him, ‘Dad, I really think you should go back to the Mariners and not have any regrets about how you finished,” Goldberg said.  “That kind of put it over the top.”

 

Griffey, with 611 career home runs, will play left field and DH for the Mariners. 

 

Despite signing free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami and trading for pitcher Javier Vazquez, this has been a disappointing off-season for the Atlanta Braves.  In addition to losing out on Griffey, they failed in their attempts to sign or acquire Mike Hampton, A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal, and Jake Peavy.  It also sounds like the Braves will look to fill their outfield needs internally, rather than pursue a trade for someone like Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.

 

I’ll admit that it’s nice to see Griffey back in Seattle, but hopefully, we won’t be seeing any repeat headlines like this…

 

 

 

NEW OLD VISITORS

 

The Yankees had two visitors in camp today.  Bernie Williams was invited to practice at the major league facility by manager Joe Girardi as he prepares for the World Baseball Classic.  “Obviously he’s retired as a Yankee, but, you know, once you’re a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee,” Girardi said.  Hmmm, I wonder if Mike Lowell knows that he is still a Yankee?  ;)  The other visitor was owner George Steinbrenner, who is rarely seen in public these days.  The frail 78-year-old owner was taken from the parking lot to Steinbrenner Field by golf cart, using a wheelchair to get to his office.

 

 

 


 

 

LET THE BATTLES BEGIN…

 

Nice to see that the Great Yankees-Red Sox War resume battle this week with the opposing points of view regarding a salary cap in Major League Baseball.  Red Sox Owner John Henry called for a salary cap, and President Larry Lucchino criticized the Yankees’ spending on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira.  Yankees Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, never at a loss for words, fired back with “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package.”  Say what you will about Hank, but he’s right.  The Yankees pay a heavy price for their spending habits as evidenced by the high luxury taxes and revenue sharing they pay each year for exceeding the salary thresholds; money that is funneled to other teams.  According to AP, the team paid about $110 million last season. 

 

VERY OFFENSIVE

 

It’s exciting to see the Phoenix Suns return to their “offensive” ways.  In the two games since Terry Porter was dismissed as coach, the Suns have scored a total of 282 points.  Of course, the opponent in both games was the Los Angeles Clippers.  But it’s exciting to see the team return to its fast-paced strategy.  It doesn’t mean it will result in a championship, but it is fun to watch.  I felt Terry Porter was a mistake when he was named to replace Mike D’Antoni since he was coming from a defensive-minded team like the Pistons.  I know what much of the appeal to the Suns was, but they need to stick with the strengths.  This is a great opportunity for interim coach Alvin Gentry.

 

 Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images

 

TIGER’S IN THE HOUSE

 

Tiger Woods has announced on his website that he’ll make his 2009 PGA Tour debut at the 2009 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, AZ February 23rd through March 1st.  Tiger is the defending champ, and also won the event in 2003 and 2004.  It will be exciting to see the new dad back in action!

 

 Tiger Woods

Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Here’s A-Rod!…

The A-Rod Drama Continues…

Tuesday, Alex Rodriguez will face the media as he reports to Tampa to take his physical.   Joe Girardi, and inner-core Yankees like Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter plan to be there for support.  But the support does feel somewhat disingenuous, as some Yankees have privately conveyed that they have no choice but to support A-Rod as teammates.  I agree with the need to support your fellow teammates, but not to the point that you compromise your own integrity.  As kids, we were told if you had something bad to say, don’t say anything at all.  If Pettitte, Posada or Jeter do not, in their hearts, support A-Rod, then I feel that they should not be present at the press conference. 

ARod

Paul Sancya AP

When Pettitte faced the media during camp last year, you heard many statements about how much everyone cared about Andy.  The same tone is not present in the comments about A-Rod. 

Reading that Alex had called SI reporter Selena Roberts to apologize for comments he made during his ESPN interview, it is ironic that he’s had to apologize for his apology.  If the ESPN interview was controlled, it will be interesting to see how A-Rod reacts to a blitz of questions by multiple reporters.  There is no doubt that every response will be dissected, and any irregularities will be singled out and over-analyzed in subsequent news articles throughout the week.

The sad part is that the A-Rod drama will continue into the season despite everyone’s desire to move forward.  Selena Roberts’ book, “A-Rod:  The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez”, will be released two days prior to the opening game for the new Yankee Stadium.  So, at a time we should be celebrating the opening pitch by, most likely, CC Sabathia, we’ll still be talking about A-Rod. 

I don’t think anyone truly believes that Alex left his PEDs in Texas when he made the trip to New York in 2004.  But it is imperative that Alex fully responds to each question with total honesty…and he’d better apologize to not only Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks, but to the Steinbrenner family as well.  Meanwhile, there will be millions of Yankees fans watching and analyzing the comments made, and wondering if A-Rod is truly worthy of our support…

The return of Oil Can Boyd?

I found it humorous that Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, 49, is seeking a return to Major League Baseball.  Sorry, there was only one Satchel Paige.  In his final season with the Texas Rangers in 1991, Boyd was 2-7 with a 6.09 ERA.  He started 12 games, and pitched 88.7 innings.  The subject of Boyd made me curious who he was pitching with that year.  The 1991 Ranger pitching staff was led by Kevin Brown, and followed by Nolan Ryan, Jose Guzman, and Bobby Witt.   The catcher?  19-year-old Pudge Rodriguez…

 Maybe they should create a true “senior’s” league where Boyd and others, like Rickey Henderson, David Wells, and Juan Samuel can continue to live the dream…

Sorry, that would be very painful to watch.

The Lisfranc Injury

I have to admit that before Chien-Ming Wang was hurt last June in Houston, I did not know what the Lisfranc joint was.   The Lisfranc joint was named for Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin (d. 1847), a French surgeon and gynecologist.   According to eMedicine (http://emedicine.medscape.com), the Lisfranc joint, which represents the articulation between the midfoot and forefoot, is composed of the 5 tarsometatarsal (TMT) joints.  The Lisfranc ligament is attached to the lateral margin of the medial cuneiform and medial and plantar surface of the second metatarsal (MT) base.  This is the only ligamentous support between first and second ray at midfoot level.  In a note of irony, the doctor who had a part of the foot named after him, was also a pioneer in the removal of the rectum.  It helps me to better understand the relationship in the phrase, ‘A kick in the…’  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Wang seems to be progressing very nicely in recent weeks.  While the injury took longer than expected to heal (Wang felt pain as recently as November), there are no signs that he is favoring his right foot.  When he reported to Tampa, there was some tightness but that’s subsided.  The Yankees have limited Wang’s cardio activity to avoid running.  He has preferred the stationary bike to the elliptical trainer.   Hopefully, Wang will be ready to go when the Yankees break camp.

Griffey the Brave or Griffey the Mariner

It sounds like it is decision time for Ken Griffey, Jr.  By all reports, Griffey has replaced Nick Swisher as the key target for their outfield.  The Braves are limited financially (a total compensation package would be no more than $2.5 million), but they offer Griffey the chance to play close to home.  His daughter plays AAU Basketball in Georgia, and his son is starting high school football in Florida.  The Braves training camp is also only 20 minutes from Griffey’s Orlando home.  The Mariners, meanwhile, train in Arizona. 

This decision really comes down to family versus playing time.  I think the Mariners offer more playing time since Griffey could DH against primarily right-handed hitting when not playing the field.  With the Braves, he would be limited to a left-field platoon. 

Most players would go where they have the greatest chance to play, but I think Griffey will opt for family and sign with the Braves.

It would have been fun to see Griffey in Seattle again, but he has always placed family first and I don’t expect that to change now.

The Ostrich Farm

Randy Johnson was discussing the difference between training camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants.  Both teams train in Arizona, but the D-Backs camp is in Tucson, versus Scottsdale for the Giants.  I laughed when I saw this quote, because anyone who has lived in Arizona uses the same benchmark to determine how much longer it is to Tucson when driving down from Phoenix:  “Not that I had a problem going to Tucson,” he said.  “I always knew when I got to that ostrich farm; I had 45 minutes to go”.  Unfortunately, there’s not much else in between Phoenix and Tucson except a lot of Saguaro Cacti…

Randy is now able to walk from his home in Paradise Valley to Scottsdale Stadium (home of the Giants), so the ostrich farm will be reserved for those away games in Tucson.

Picacho Peak, in the photo background, is a great hike, by the way…

Got an extra $25,000?

My favorite place to get dessert in New York City is Serendipity 3, which is on 60th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Manhattan. 

 

My wife wrote this review after a visit:  “My husband and I were visiting NY and had to make a visit to this place because we’d heard about the fabulous desserts and because “Serendipity” is one of his favorite movies.  The frrrozen hot chocolate does not disappoint and was definitely worth the 1.5 hour wait!!  We also had dinner here because we were hungry.  The food was just ok and kind of pricey, but the dessert made up for it.   I wouldn’t come back here for a meal next time, just dessert.  We bought some of the powdered mix to make frrrozen hot chocolate at home.  It’s actually not a bad instant mix and tasted good…but of course, it’s much better to have the real drink in person.  I found out later that they take reservations so if you don’t want to deal with the long wait, call ahead.”

Serendipity 3 offers the world’s most expensive chocolate sundae (which was introduced in 2007) for the low, low sum of only $25,000.  The “Frrozen Haute Chocolate” is made from 28 types of cocoa, 14 of which are the rarest in the world.  It is sprinkled with edible 23-karat gold and served in a goblet lined with edible gold.  It is topped with whipped cream and a side of LaMadeline au Truffle from Knipschildt Chocolatier (sells for $2,600 a pound).   It is accompanied by an 18-karat gold, diamond encrusted spoon and 18-karat gold bracelet.

Photo

Photo by Chip East/Reuters

Yikes, I think I’ll just have the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate for $8.50, please…

 

 

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