Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

The difficult life of Yankee decision-makers…

 

The Ace of Scranton/Wilkes Barre…

I kept hoping that the Yankees would be able to find a way to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation, but inevitably, the team made the only decision it could by sending him down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  I agree that it is in Nova’s best interests to keep him on rotation, and not stunt his development by moving him to the pen.

I find it highly unlikely that either Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia will make it through the remainder of the season without any health issues.  So, almost assuredly, Nova will be back and he’ll prove why he is a long-term option for the starting rotation.

 

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Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

Larry knows best…

Nothing against former pitching coach Dave Eiland, but his replacement, Larry Rothschild, has certainly shown why he was a great hire in the off-season.  The Yankees struck gold with both Colon and Garcia when they were hopeful that they’d be able to get something out of at least one of the pitchers.  I thought the Colon signing was a joke, and didn’t really begin to take the former Cy Young Award winner seriously until after the regular season began.

 

New York Yankees pitching coach LArry Rothschild speaks

Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday

 

Rothschild has also overseen the return of A.J. Burnett as a viable force in the rotation, which, after last season, was no small task.

In the bullpen, the Yankees have overcome the loss of set up man Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain with the superb play of David Robertson.  Robertson has shown that he is not only a great bridge to Mariano Rivera, but is perhaps a very viable alternative as Mo’s eventual replacement.  GM Brian Cashman was right to be against the Soriano signing, and now the Yanks will have Soriano for two more years since there’s no way that he’ll opt out of his lucrative contract.  It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation when Soriano returns.

As great as Larry Rothschild is, there are still going to be those moments when all goes wrong like today’s loss to the New York Mets.  Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the 9th, and the Yanks subsequently lost in 10 innings.  But the nice thing about the Yankees bullpen is that they have a very short memory, and I’m sure that they’ll be back in stellar form tomorrow.

Congratulations, you’re an All-Star!  As your reward, here is a ticket to the face of the Sun…

Congratulations to the players that will represent the Yankees during next week’s All-Star Game in Phoenix.  Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will be in the starting lineup, while Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin were also added to the squad.  Count me as one of those who hope that a spot opens for David Robertson.  The All-Star Yankees will need to get used to the heat as it has been blistering hot in the Valley of the Sun.  Yesterday, the official high was 117 degrees in Chandler, AZ, however, I saw temperature readings over 120 degrees.  It may be a dry heat, but it’s just plain hot.  Fortunately, Chase Field will be covered and the indoor temps should be very mild.

 

 

Nearing the end of the first half…

I am quite please with the way the Yankees have played the first half of the season.  I still feel that the Boston Red Sox have the superior team on paper, but the Yankees have held their own and currently lead the Sox by 1 ½ games.  I don’t think the Yanks can stay ahead of the Sox without any changes to the roster, but the team has definitely gotten more out of less.

 

Have fun!…

Have a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone!

 

 

–Scott

 

Moving Forward…

With the franchise’s 9,500th win (dating back to the New York Highlanders in 2003), the Yankees moved into sole possession of first place…

 

 

The two central figures in today’s win against the New York Mets were CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. 

 

 

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Sabathia has struggled at times this season, and held a 7-3 record heading into today’s action.  Teixeira had a very cold April, started to warm up in May before lapsing back into a deep freeze in June.  But today, they did what it took to win.  CC pitched 8 scoreless innings, giving up only 4 hits with 2 walks and 6 strikeouts.  The Mets couldn’t stop him but a 20 minute rain delay finally did as Mo Rivera finished the game in a non-save situation after the delay ended. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Teixeira came up huge in the third inning with a grand slam that provided the former Highlanders with the only runs they would need.  Credit Brett Gardner, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for excellent play and hustle in loading the bases on three singles, only one of which made it out of the infield.  It was very enjoyable to hear John Sterling’s trademark “Tex Message!” call. 

 

 

Mets at Yankees, June 20th, 2010

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 

Despite losing Friday night’s game, the Yankees came back to win on both Saturday and Sunday to capture the series and end the season series in a split. 

 

I was surprised to see Roy Halladay lose again.  This time to Carl Pavano and the Minnesota Twins.  Like his record against the Yankees, Halladay sported an excellent mark against the Twins.  But it was not meant to be today against the Twins as he fell 4-1.  I am not saying that Cliff Lee is a better pitcher than Halladay, but so far, the regular season performances in Phillies uniforms is tilted in Lee’s favor.  Of course, it’s not all Doc’s fault given his 2.43 ERA which implies that he has not had run support given his 8-6 record. 

 

I guess Joe Torre did not have a joyful return to Fenway Park, and neither did Manny Ramirez as the Boston Red Sox swept the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.  The AL East couldn’t be tighter with both the Tampa Bay Rays and Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees.  The Toronto Blue Jays continue to lurk in the shadows, just 5 ½ games back although they did lose today.

 

The Yankees now head to Phoenix to play the Arizona Diamondbacks.  I don’t have great memories of the Yankees in Phoenix, but fortunately Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are no longer on the mound and Luis Gonzalez is not in the outfield.  The D-Backs have a good team and former Yankee Ian Kennedy has done well in the rotation.  Nevertheless, I will be hoping for redemption anyway.  Besides, we have a one game lead to protect!

 

I was bummed after the 2010 NFL Draft when the Minnesota Vikings did not draft a quarterback.  They did select Joe Webb of the University of Alabama-Birmingham, however, the immediate talk was that Webb would be shifted to wide receiver.  During the recent mini-camps, Webb, with his 11 inch hands and athleticism, showed that he can be a quarterback of the future.  So, at least for now, the move to wide receiver has been postponed.  The Vikings will take a long look at Webb as a QB in training camp.

 

 

Andy King/AP

 

I hope it was a great Father’s Day for all the baseball-loving Dads!

 

–Scott

Time To Break The Ice…

 

On Tuesday, the Yankees were on top of the world
after defeating Doc Halladay and the Phillies…



Roy Halladay Yankees Phillies reax home run

Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger


 

Since then, all they have managed to do is to lose
the series to the Phillies and allow the New York Mets to win their 8th
game in a row.  I am not quite sure how
you can from clubbing one of the best pitchers in baseball today to a total
inability to score runs.  Good pitching
beat good hitting, I know.   But still,
the Yankees have had their opportunities but the clutch hit just hasn’t come.

 

Hats off to Javier Vazquez’s performance on Friday
night despite the loss to the Mets.  He
went 7 innings and only gave up 3 hits and 1 run.  For the past month, he has been the team’s
most consistent pitcher.  Too bad the
bats weren’t there to support him.  I was
one of many who were booing Javy early in the season, but like they say, we
wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care.  This is
the Javy that we had expected to see, and hopefully, this will be the Javy that
will take us to October.



New York Yankees pitchers like Javier Vazquez (r.) recently are taking losses due to a lack of run support from Alex Rodriguez (b.) and the rest of the Bombers lineup.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Last night’s bullpen was disappointing.  Chan Ho Park and Boone Logan allowed the Mets
to increase their lead from 1-0 to 4-0. 
The Yankees still had their chances which included bringing the tying
run to the plate in the bottom of the 9th.  Granted, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher failed
to bring home any runs, but if the gap had been closer, it is possible that the
players would not have been trying so hard and could have made something
happen. 

 

Despite the losses, the Yankees remain tied atop
the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays who have encountered their own rough
patch.  The only team winning these days
is the Boston Red Sox who have crept to within one game of the lead (two in the
loss column). 

 

Today will be the battle of 9-1 pitchers as Phil
Hughes will face the Mets’ Mike Pelfrey. 
Pelfrey is 1-0 in this match-up so far this season so hopefully Phil
will be able to exact revenge.  It would
be great for him to reach 10 wins today.


 

Phil Hughes

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger



Another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and yet
another win!  We had bet on the NBA
Finals…Los Angeles Lakers versus Boston Celtics.  My state against hers.  Julia was so confident throughout the
series.  She was sure the Celtics were
going to win the championship in six games. 
She kept ranting that the Celtics would capture their 18th
NBA championship.  She insisted that the
Lakers would not win and that Kobe Bryant would not be the MVP.  Hey, Julia, how did that work out for
ya?  ;)



After title time comes decision time for Lakers

LA Times

 

As a result of the loss, Julia is now obligated to
post photos of herself on her blog wearing the newest addition to her collection…a
Lakers championship locker room t-shirt. 
The t-shirt was ordered through the Lakers website while the locker room
celebration was underway.  I knew that
Julia would be very anxious to get her new shirt.  She wouldn’t want to miss out on the
celebration of the LA Lakers as the 2010 NBA Champions!  Enjoy Julia!  I look forward to the Lakers post on your blog!  :)


Title

P.S.  The Lakers now have 16 NBA Championships.  Isn’t that just one less than the Celtics?  Well, that’s what we have next year for!  Go Lakers!  


–Scott

Wanted: Slumpbuster!…

 

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox are winning, and the Yankees, um, not so much…

 

 


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The proverbial “bump in the road” has occurred which derailed the great start to the season.  Of course, the Yankees are just a winning streak away from corrective action.  However, the recent days have not been fun.

 

 

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Jeff Zelevansky/NY Post

 

After defeating the New York Mets on Friday night behind the brilliant, but injury-shortened, effort of Javier Vazquez, the Yankees and Phil Hughes lost on Saturday night, 5-3.  Hughes has mirrored the team play…great start followed by recent lackluster performances. 

 

 

Starting pitcher Phil Hughes

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Tonight, the Yankees trail the Mets 6-0 in the top of the 7th inning.  There is still lots of time for the Yankees to rally.  But this team is definitely missing the “spark” right now.  I am not sure who’ll provide that spark, but perhaps the impending return of centerfielder Curtis Granderson will help.  While I enjoy the energy and excitement that Francisco Cervelli provides, a starting lineup that includes Cervelli, Juan Miranda, and Randy Winn/Marcus Thames/Kevin Russo definitely does not stir memories of Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera. 

 

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

 

Starting pitching, once a strength, is now suspect.  There was a time when the only slug in the rotation was Vazquez, and now he’s the only shining star.  CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have all left pitching lines that they just as soon forget.  How quickly things have changed.  I recognize that this mini-slump is temporary, but so far, the Rays have not showed they are susceptible to these types of slowdowns.  Therefore, it is imperative for the Yankees to break out of this slump soon.  Otherwise, they’ll soon find themselves looking at the backs of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox. 

 

 

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

As much as I hate to do it, I have to give a tip of the cap to the Boston Red Sox.  Not only did they beat the Philadelphia Phillies today with Tim Wakefield, they beat Roy Halladay.  It was an impressive win by Julia‘s guys…

 

 

 

 

 

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Well, the Fat Lady did sing today.  The Chicago Blackhawks swept the San Jose Sharks in the NHL Western Conference Finals.  Another disappointing finish for Joe Thornton and Company.  Good luck to the Blackhawks as they move on to the Stanley Cup Finals to face either the Montreal Canadiens or the Philadelphia Flyers.  I am left to wonder what could have been.  But then again, that’s a frequent feeling when you are a fan of the Sharks and the Minnesota Vikings…  L

 

 

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All Better!…

 

It was a dream…

 

 


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Yes, that’s it!  Wednesday and Thursday did not happen.  The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t come into the Bronx and spank for the Yankees for two days.  They didn’t race to their 30th win of the season and show a superior starting rotation , did they? 

 

 

Tampa's James Shields allows three earned runs in 7-1/3 innings against the New York Yankees.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

 

Maybe if I go back to bed, when I get up it will be Wednesday morning, the Yankees can re-do those two forgettable days.  Seriously, the Rays didn’t just beat the Yanks, they stomped them.  The final scores are deceiving (10-6 and 8-6) only because the Yankees made it close in the final inning of each game. 

 

The games told me that the Rays need to do something about their bullpen, but otherwise, they are a complete team.  Given the injury trouble the Yanks have encountered, it’s tough to compete with the Rays when you are playing at about 80% strength.  That’s not an excuse though because the Yankees starting pitching was just, well, bad.

 

 

Rays celebrate Yankees

Kevin R. Wexler/The Record

 

Hopefully, the Yankees can re-group and play more competitive baseball the next time they face the Rays.  This has been a tough stretch but it was bound to happen with the adversity the team has faced (injuries, playing every day, added pressure on schedule caused by rainout in Detroit and subsequent double-header, etc.).

 

In both games, the Yankees did try to launch 9th inning rallies, scoring 4 runs in the first game and 2 runs in the 2nd.  It was not quite enough, but at least the team showed fight until the end. 

 

 

 

Tonight, the Yankees were in Flushing Meadow to face the New York Mets at CitiField.  After facing the Rays and Red Sox, it is probably a welcome relief to see the Mets who have struggled this year. 

 

It was a great night for Javier Vazquez until a hand injury ended his night.  With, by far, his best performance of the season (6 innings of one hit, no run ball and 6 strikeouts), Javy picked up his third win of the season.  He was at home in a National League ballpark.  The argument is that he is a better NL pitcher than AL, and on this night, he proved it.  Hopefully, the hand injury is not serious, and this start catapults Vazquez back to respectability with Yankees fans.  I know that he can pitch so much better than what he has regardless of the stadium location, so if he can right himself mentally, he’ll be okay and will provide the lift the rotation needs. 

 

 

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Kevin P. Coughlin/McClatchy

 

 

In addition to Javy, the star of the game was a name not many people know,  Kevin Russo.  The infielder was recently called up from the minors, and his double in the 7th inning scored Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli.

 

 

 

 

 

I was a bit concerned when Joe Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the 7th, but he did his job.  Joba, who I blamed for the losses to the Twins on Sunday and Red Sox on Tuesday, was very effective.  He went 1 2/3 innings and had three timely strike outs.  Now, Mariano Rivera is a different story.  He continues to struggle.  The shut-out was lost when Jason Bay and Ike Davis hit back-to-back doubles.  But he settled down to get David Wright on a ground out to end the game.  The Yankees won, 2-1.

 

The night was further enhanced by Boston and Tampa losses.  The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Red Sox, 5-1, while the Houston Astros defeated the Rays, 2-1. 

 

 

 

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Steven M. Falk/Philly.com

 

Speaking of the Red Sox, the Yankees have signed minor league utility player Jeff Natale who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005.  The 27-year-old heads for Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  It was also interesting to see three former Yankee relievers in the transactions column within the past day.  Chad Gaudin was released by the Oakland A’s, who also outrighted Edwar Ramirez to AAA Sacramento, while the Washington Nationals placed Brian Bruney on waivers (which he has cleared).  From World Series ring to what have you done for me lately…hopefully, the guys will re-surface in the bigs in the not-so-distant future.

 

 

Michael Stobe/US Presswire

 

It’s almost over for my San Jose Sharks.  They lost tonight in overtime to fall down 3 games to none to the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Western Conference Finals.  I think I hear the fat lady warming up her vocal cords…  L

 

Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News

 

 

 

So, Brett Favre has told the Southern Mississippi baseball team that he’ll return to the Minnesota Vikings if they make the College World Series.  Also, it was reported today that Brett had surgery on his left ankle and could be ready to play by training camp.  I’ve suspected all along that he’ll be back.  The team has been too nonchalant and these latest reports are signs that Brett intends to play.  It still remains to be seen, but it is looking like we’ll see an encore performance by #4 in purple and gold.  I am sure Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels are thrilled…

 

 

Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune

 

 

Hey Javy, nice job!  J

 

Yankee pitcher Javier Vazquez allows just one hit over six innings, while rookie Keven Russo (below) collects his two RBI on his first big-league hit Friday.

Simmons/NY Daily News

The End of A Championship Year…

To all the great MLBloggers & Readers…

 

 


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I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!  I hope that 2010 is our best year yet…one and all!  It’s hard to believe that 2009 has come and gone, and it was quite a year.  However, I am anxious and excited for the possibilities of 2010.  Who knows if the Yankees will repeat or if the Phillies will recapture the crown thanks to Doc Halliday or if the Mariners move into the upper echelon with the brilliant moves to acquire Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins or if the dreaded Red Sox ride John Lackey and company to another championship.  Regardless of what happens, it will be a very fun and exciting year for all of us.  Who knows, maybe next year is this year…

 

 


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Not much sports news to talk about but I’ll try…

 

 

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I think that Jason Bay’s  decision to join the Mets was foolish on his part.  He had a great thing in Boston, and the park was very conducive to his offensive style.  It’s unlikely that he’ll hit 36 home runs playing half of his games at CitiField.  Given his weaknesses defensively and the poor second half that he experienced in Boston, the high expectations in Queens will be very difficult to meet.  Bay could very easily become the player the fans love to hate.  In an era where most of us are simply thankful for a paycheck, Jason will rue the day that he disregarded the very generous offer extended by the Red Sox.  From the Red Sox’ perspective, I don’t blame them for moving on.  The idea of moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left is intriguing given his offensive prowess (so long as he doesn’t move to San Diego in a potential trade for Adrian Gonzalez).  Not that I want the best-case scenario to work out for the Red Sox, but it may have happened when they decided to move on without Bay.  Meanwhile, it probably won’t be long before GM Omar Minaya is fighting for his job because of moves like Bay and other albatross contracts he has hung on the Mets.

 

 

 

Reuters

 

I was not closely following the situation with Texas Tech University and head coach Mike Leach, but at first, I thought that Craig James was just using his position as an ESPN college analyst to blow a situation with his son out of proportion.  However, after getting a better understanding of the facts, there is nothing that would justify locking a kid in a shed.  Regardless of the reasons and aside from the fact that Leach had been very disrespectful to the university prior to the incident, I felt his firing today was justified.  The sad part is that it is the university which will pay the highest price.  Leach will land on his feet with another school because he has proven that he can win.  The Red Raiders, meanwhile, will have to re-establish credibility with potential recruits and find a new coach who can continue the positive advancements made by Leach.  Any way you slice it, it’s a bad situation and a black mark on Big 12 football…

 

 

 

 

AP

 

 

I am a very disenchanted Vikings fan right now.  I have been a fan of the team all my life.  After enjoying several near misses with Fran Tarkenton at the helm, the team has suffered years of championship deprivation.  1998 looked like THE year, however, the season ended in disappointment with the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the play-offs (a game that the Vikings could have won with better play-calling).  I almost gave up as a Vikings fan after Fran Tarkenton retired and the Vikings named Bob Lee the starting QB.  I know other fans who quit after 1998.  I have to admit that I am nearing the fork in the road once again.  I have never been a fan of head coach Brad Childress and now the team is in a funk that I am not so sure they can recover from.  Sure, 8 Vikings made the Pro Bowl.  However, it means absolutely nothing if the Vikings lose the first play-off game.  Several weeks ago, they were assured of a first round bye and had momentum on their side.  Now, it’s possible that they could lose the first round bye to the Dallas Cowboys.  There are many experts that say the two best teams in the NFC right now are the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles.  It would be hard for me to argue against it.

 

 

 

 

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images 

 

 

I recognized football before baseball when I was a kid, so for the first couple of seasons, I was a bigger Vikings fan than I was a Yankees fan.  Of course, that turned rather quickly and I was a baseball fan first by 1975 even though the Yankees had endured many losing seasons under the ownership of CBS.  George Steinbrenner was still a young and inexperienced owner, but I liked the guys on the team.  Catfish Hunter was my idol and Thurman Munson quickly became my favorite Yankee.  Nevertheless, I continued to follow the Vikings but it has never been the same since former owner Max Winter departed the organization.  I like and respect owner Zygi Wilf, however, I think he is making a mistake by staying the course with Brad Childress.  The 2009 team has so much potential, however, it won’t be realized because of Childress.  Put a good coach like Bill Cowher in charge of the team and the Vikings would be challenging the Saints for the best record in the NFC.

 

 

 

Puskar/AP 

 

 

The Vikings can turn things around on Sunday with a solid win against Wilf’s former favorite team, the New York Giants.  However, I am not so optimistic about the team’s chances.  Somehow, I see another lackluster performance with several key Adrian Peterson fumbles.  I hope that I am wrong…

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

 

Well, this does it for me in 2009.  I am glad to be among such great MLBloggers and I look forward to a fantastic new year for each and every one of us! 

 

 

 

Enter the Sandman…

 

Exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never never land…

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

When the words of the famed Metallica song, “Enter Sandman”, reverberate throughout Yankee Stadium, it means only one thing.  It’s the entrance of Mariano Rivera for yet another save opportunity.  On Sunday night, against the New York Mets, Mo reached a milestone with his 500th career save.  He became only the second man to reach 500 saves, behind leader Trevor Hoffman.

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

Mo also picked up his first career RBI on a bases-loaded walk from Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, bringing home Melky Cabrera for an insurance run in the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Mets.  The Yankees swept the weekend series against the Mets, and won the season series, taking 5 of 6 games.

 

Jason Szenes/The New York Times

 

At the end of the game, there were no fist pumps, no wild displays of emotion.  Mo, in his usual business-like approach, calmly watched Robinson Cano fire Alex Cora’s ground out to Mark Teixeira to end the game.  Tex handed Mo the game ball and gave him a big hug.  The rest of the team came and did the same.  It was a very touching scene, and I have to admit that I got chills watching the moment.  I have said it will be a very difficult day when Mo decides to hang up his glove, but I am very appreciative for moments like this as we move toward the sunset of an absolutely fantastic career.

 

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, left, looks on as second baseman Robinson Cano embraces closer Mariano Rivera after Rivera closed out his 500th career save in the Yankees 4-2 victory over the Mets at Citi Field last night. Kathy Willens/The Associated Press

Kathy Willens/AP

 

As usual, Mo is quicker to credit his teammates than he is to take praise alone. 

“But don’t get me wrong, this is definitely special, being the second guy who does that in the history of baseball; it’s kind of special, but I’m a team player. My team fought hard today to give me that opportunity to be there. I tried to do my job. Really, all the 500 saves belong to my teammates.”

“I’m proud of what I have done with the team. I’m proud of my teammates. I’m proud of everything we have accomplished. Every time I have the chance to wear this uniform, I’m proud.”

Mo, we’re even prouder of you…

 

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Congrats on #500…and #1! 


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The game started with a double by Derek Jeter.  Nick Swisher followed with a fielder’s choice to first, but first baseman David Murphy opted to throw to third to stop an advancing Jeter.  But a double pump caused too much of a delay so Murphy’s throw third arrived late, and it allowed Swisher to reach first uncontested.  Mark Teixeira promptly hit a double to score both Jeter and Swisher.  Tex advanced to third on a fielder’s choice hit by Robinson Cano, and scored on a sac fly by Jorge Posada.  Quickly, the Yankees had raced to a 3-0 lead and those were all the runs they would need.

 

Yankees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Post

 

Chien-Ming Wang was unable to match the pitching performances of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the first two games of the series, but it was still enough to pick up his first win of the year, and his first in 379 days.  The Mets did mount a mini-rally in the 4th on a run-scoring double by Fernando Martinez and a RBI single by Luis Castillo.  But pitcher Livan Hernandez grounded out to end the threat. 

For the game, Wang went 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and two runs.  He walked three batters and struck out three. His ERA remains in double-digits (10.06), but another quality start will bring it down to single digits after the horrendous start to the season.

 

Keivom/NY Daily News 

 

Phil Hughes continued his successful transition to the bullpen.  In his last five outings, he’s pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings.  That’s a far cry of the early season disasters involving Jose Veras and Damaso Marte.  Hughes has played a huge role in re-shaping the bullpen into a quality unit.  Granted, it still doesn’t match the stellar Red Sox bullpen, but at least it’s improving.

I realize that the Subway Series would have had a different look had Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado et al been healthy.  But wins are wins, and I’ll take them.  My friend Julia seems to enjoy “distance” but we are quietly gaining ground on her beloved Red Sox.  Hey Julia, I’ll use one you used on me once upon a time…even if the deficit is 3 ½ games heading into Tuesday’s action…

 

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Other News…

Xavier Nady definitely facing an uphill battle in his attempt to come back from his right elbow injury.  He previously underwent Tommy John surgery in 2001, so another surgery will be the second of its kind.  I read that the success rate for a second surgery is only about 20%.  Nady will miss the rest of 2009 and most likely all of 2010 (typical recovery time is 12-14 months).  However, it is possible that he may never return and that would truly be unfortunate.

 

Kim Klement/US Presswire 

 

Speaking of injuries, I want to put the rivalry with the Red Sox aside and wish Mike Lowell the very best.  He had fluid drained from his ailing right hip and received an injection to relieve inflammation in the joint.  It will take a few days to determine if Lowell will be able to play now or if he’ll need to be placed on the DL for a return later this summer.  I truly hope that the best case scenario works out for Mike, and that he is back on the field sooner rather than later.  I want to beat Boston, but I want to beat Boston with their best on the field.  Mike is a huge part of why the Red Sox have been so successful, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.

 

 

 

Finally, today was the funeral for Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas (of Aplington-Parkersburg).  A 24-year old former player has been charged with the murder of Thomas, who coached the likes of Aaron Kampman, Brad Meester, Jared DeVries, and Casey Wiegmann during his 37-year coaching career.  Thomas was the NFL’s High School Coach of the Year in 2005, and won two state titles.  I grew up playing Iowa high school football, and it is shocking that something like this could happen in the Hawkeye State.  My high school coach, Pearl Smith, never won a state championship (not for the lack of trying, I can assure you), but he was a winner in my eyes.  It’s been many years since I’ve seen him, but he had a huge impact on my life and the lessons he taught stick with me to this day.  So, I am deeply saddened to see the loss of Ed Thomas and what it means to everyone whose life he touched during his long and very successful coaching career.

–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. 

 

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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…

 

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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

 

Clean Sweep by the AL East…

 

Feelin’ way too damn good…

 


 
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It may be the name of a great song by Nickelback, but it also describes the feeling watching last night’s 9-1 rain-delayed win over the New York Mets by the Yankees.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

Any concerns about the tendonitis in CC Sabathia’s biceps were put to rest early.  Perfect through four innings, Sabathia showed why he deserved the ridiculously excessive contract in the off-season.  Outside of the leadoff home run to former Yank Gary Sheffield to open the fifth inning, he shut down the Mets on 3 hits over seven innings with 8 strikeouts.  He was consistently throwing 95 mph, and did not walk any batters.  He even contributed to his own cause with a RBI single in the second inning.  With the win, CC improved to 7-4.  Brett Tomko pitched effectively for the final two innings in relief.

 

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

Speaking of the second inning, it was a very ugly one for the Mets.  Three errors allowed the Yankees jump out to a 4-0 lead and with CC dealing, the game was essentially over.

 

Simmons/New York Daily News 

 

Admittedly, I do not follow the Mets and if I had a preference in the NL East, it would probably be the Philadelphia Phillies.  So, I haven’t been keeping up with the Mets this year.  Derek Jeter had a bad cough, and was given the night off (which was also his 35th birthday).  I was a bit concerned with the insertion of Ramiro Pena into the starting lineup, particularly considering that Francisco Cervelli was playing in place of Jorge Posada (worried about the loss of potential offense).  But then I browsed the Mets’ order and was surprised to see names like Alex Cora, Nick Evans (who?), Omir Santos, and Ryan Church playing center field.  I knew that the Mets had been hurt by injuries, but I didn’t realize the decimation was this bad.

 

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Alex Rodriguez homered again to officially signal that the slump is over.  Kate Hudson was even in attendance, but fortunately she wasn’t wearing a pink A-Rod shirt like certain other celebrity girlfriends…

 

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The home run by A-Rod, in the 8th inning, was the 564th of his career, which allowed him to pass Reginald Martinez Jackson.  Reggie was in attendance to watch as he fell to 12th place on the All-Time HR List.  Next up for A-Rod is Rafael Palmeiro in tenth place with 569 HR’s.  I know that A-Rod is an admitted PED user, but it will still be nice to see Palmeiro bounced out of the top 10.  A-Rod should also pass Harmon Killebrew at 573 home runs later this summer.  Mark McGwire’s 583 will be more difficult to reach this year, particularly with A-Rod’s limited mobility.

Team PED All-Stars…

Reuters 

 

Brett Gardner has re-surfaced as a force in center.  He is batting .387 over the past 27 games.  Batting lead-off in place of Jeter, he had 5 hits, with 3 runs scored.  He was a double short of hitting for the cycle, but raised his batting average to .303 with the great performance.  When Gardner is hitting, he’s scary with his speed.  He is making it very difficult for Joe Girardi to keep him out of the lineup. 

 

 

Melky Cabrera will benefit from Xavier Nady’s misfortune (lost for the season), and will continue to platoon with Nick Swisher in right (barring any deadline trades by the Yankees). 

The world looks so much better when the Yankees are winning.  Right, Julia? ;)

 

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Despite the win by the Yanks, there was no change in the AL East standings.  It was a rare night that saw the AL East sweep the NL East, 5 games to none.

Yankees 9, Mets 1

Red Sox 4, Braves 1

Blue Jays 6, Phillies 1

Rays 7, Marlins 3

Orioles 11, Nationals 1

 

Of course, I am wondering why the Rays’ pitching staff was so inept compared to the others.  LOL!  It was definitely a good night for the AL East, which is why I am truly feelin’ so damn good!  And, oh yeah, I am going home to California!  Woohoo!

 

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Other News…

Speaking of Xavier Nady, he’s told friends that he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and will need surgery.  He’s headed to California (like me!) for further medical evaluation, but he’s done for the year.  Given that he is a free agent at the end of the year, his time with the Yankees may be over. Personally, I hope not.  I’d like to see the team work out a new deal.  However, given that there is doubt Nady will be able to play in 2010, the chances of returning to the Yankees are probably not good.  Nady has been a good player and I hope we have not seen the last of him in pinstripes.

 

Chris Faytock/The Star Ledger

 

Per Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, Mariano Rivera will be on ESPN’s Sunday Conversation.  Mo was asked about performance enhancing drugs, and he replied, “The reason why I’m laughing is because I don’t even drink coffee. And if I don’t drink coffee, I would never put in my mind or think to put that in my body. If the talent that God has given me is not enough, well, I’ll have to quit. When I leave this game I know deep in my mind, deep in my heart that I was clean.”

 

John Munson/The Star Ledger

 

I remember being somewhat disappointed when John Wetteland left, breaking up the deadly late inning combo of Rivera-Wetteland.  Little did I know that it was the dawn of greatness, the creation of a new Yankees legend.  It will be a sad day when #42 is no longer in the bullpen, but it won’t take very long for it to make its way to Monument Park…and Cooperstown.  Mo can stand next to Jackie Robinson and be proud.

 

AP

 

No updates on Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings, but I am taking much abuse from my friends…

 


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–Scott 

When A Loss Becomes A Win…

 

A walk-off “Gift”…

 

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With the Yankees trailing the Mets 8-7 in the bottom of the 9th and Francisco Rodriguez on the mound, Brett Gardner started the inning with a pop-out.  Derek Jeter came up next and hit a solid single up the middle.  Johnny Damon worked the count full, but struck out swinging on a splitter from K-Rod.  Mark Teixeira came to the plate and K-Rod was determined to give him nothing to hit.  His first three pitches to Tex missed the strike zone, so manager Charlie Manuel decided not to take any chances and gave Tex a free pass.  Alex Rodriguez was up next…A-Rod versus K-Rod.

 

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The setting was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback.  The YES Network’s Michael Kay indicated that any win by the Yankees would be a walk-off win (statement of the obvious?), and they have had six walk-off wins so far this year.  The stars seemed to be aligned for A-Rod to be the hero.  Like with Tex, K-Rod threw the first three pitches outside of the strike zone and A-Rod didn’t bite.  The fourth pitch came in for a called strike.  With a 3-1 hitter’s count, A-Rod got under the next pitch and lifted a pop fly to short right field.  Second baseman Luis Castillo charged under the ball and it appeared to land in his glove.  A-Rod slammed his bat into the ground, and started to gently run to first base.  The feeling of defeat sunk in, and I was thinking that the Yankees had just lost their fourth consecutive game.  But miraculously, the ball hit Castillo’s glove and bounced out. 

 

Noah K. Murray/New York Daily News 

 

Castillo slid to the ground so he wasn’t able to get up immediately to retrieve the ball.  When he did get up, he threw the ball to the cutoff man, shortstop Alex Cora.  Derek Jeter had already scored the tying run, but third base coach Rob Thomson had sent Teixeira home.  Cora fired the ball to catcher Omir Santos, but it was too late…Tex had already scored the winning run…

 

DON'T MESS WITH TEX: Mark Teixeira celebrates, surrounded by his Yankees teammates, after scoring the winning run after Mets second baseman dropped a potential game-ending pop-up by Alex Rodriguez in the ninth inning, giving the Bombers a 9-8 win in Game 1 of the Subway Series at Yankee Stadium.

UPI (Courtesy New York Post)

 

Whoa, talk about high drama!  After the game, A-Rod was being interviewed and Kimberly Jones mentioned that Francisco Rodriguez hadn’t blown a save this season.  A-Rod responded, “He still hasn’t”.  True, but I’ll take it…

Richard Perry/The New York Times

 

The Yankees should have given the pie in the face to Castillo…

 

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The Yankees had started the scoring with a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the bottom of the second inning.  I was a bit frustrated the next inning when Joba Chamberlain loaded the bases with two walks and a hit batter.  Carlos Beltran drew a walk to bring home a run.  After David Wright struck out, Ryan Church was hit by a pitch to bring home Alex Cora.  So, with no hits in the 3rd, the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead over the Yanks.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Yankees regained the lead, 3-2, with a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira.  Joba Chamberlain was pulled after four innings.  Although he only gave up one hit and two runs, he walked 5 and had two hit by pitches.  So, to start the 5th inning, Manager Joe Girardi brought in Brett Tomko.  My first reaction, of course, was “Ugh!”.  Unfortunately, as they say, always trust your first instinct.  Carlos Beltran doubled and subsequently stole third.  David Wright walked.  Ryan Church doubled to score Beltran and Wright.  The Mets had the lead, 4-3.  Former Yankee Gary Sheffield came up and promptly hit a two-run homer, his 505th, to increase the Mets’ lead to 6-3.  Isn’t there a minor league team somewhere (anywhere but Scranton/Wilkes Barre!) that could use Tomko?  He needs to go wherever it is that Julia wants Julio Lugo to go…or where Mets fans want Luis Castillo to go…

 

 

In the bottom of the 5th, Derek Jeter cut the deficit to 6-4 with a solo home run.  In the 6th, with Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada at first and second, thanks to a single and walk, the birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, slammed a three-run homer to allow the Yanks to recapture the lead, 7-6.  Happy 35th Birthday to Godzilla!

 

Marc Carig/The Star Ledger

 

The Mets tied the score, 7-7, in the 7th on a double play grounder by Fernando Tatis with men on the corners. 

Phil Coke retired the first two Mets in the top of the 8th, but then, in a surprising move, Joe Girardi brought Mariano Rivera into the game to face Carlos Beltran.  In recent years, Mo has pretty much become a one inning relief specialist.  It started in the latter years of the Joe Torre era as a way to keep Mo healthy.  I suppose Joe didn’t want to take any chances with the dangerous Beltran at the plate and preferred to see Mo get four outs as opposed to three.  Unfortunately, the move backfired.  Beltran drew a walk, and the next batter, David Wright doubled to center field, scoring Beltran.  The Mets had taken an 8-7 lead.  It was three up and three down against Mo in the 9th, and the stage was set for the dramatic comeback win…

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees blog had a great story after the game.  Joba’s three-year old son, Karder, was in the clubhouse  and he interrupted the reporters talking to Joba by asking, “Daddy, you didn’t throw strikes!”.  Joba responded, “He knows me.  Pretty scary, huh?”  That’s funny stuff!  Of course, it’s easier to laugh about it when your team escapes with a 9-8 win rather than an 8-7 loss.

 

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger

 

This game was yet another example for why Mark Teixeira ranks as one of the greatest free agent signings in Yankees history.  It remains to be seen if he has the post-season success of, say, Reggie Jackson, but so far, he’s earned every bit of his huge contract.

 

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

 

The Yankees remain two games behind the Boston Red Sox.  The Red Sox defeated the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in extra innings, 5-2.  I had warned Julia about late inning heroics by the Phillies’ Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.  Howard came through with a game-tying 9th inning home run, but the Phillies couldn’t muster any magic in extra innings against the Red Sox bullpen.

 

Sox overcome Phillies in 13

AP 

 

So, the Yankees remain one of baseball’s best teams, so long as they aren’t at Fenway Park or playing the Red Sox…

 

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DC Comics

 

OTHER “OFF TOPIC” STUFF…

Everyone doubted the Pittsburgh Penguins’ chances and until Game 7, the team with home ice had won every game in the Stanley Cup Finals.  So, with Game 7 in Detroit, it appeared that the odds were stacked in the Red Wings’ favor.  The Pens took a 2-0 lead after two periods, but you knew that the third period would be a ‘free for all’.  The Red Wings played at a kinetic pace.  You could definitely tell that there was a sense of urgency in their game, and they did appear to be the superior team on the ice for that period.  They were able to score a goal to close the gap.  The game hung in the balance down to the final seconds.  Even with 6 seconds or so, you knew that the Red Wings were capable of scoring the tying goal. 

Fortunately, it was not meant to be and the Penguins were the Stanley Cup Champions!  It was a great game, a great series, and a great win by a deserving team.  Granted, it would have been better (at least for me) had the San Jose Sharks won the Stanley Cup, or perhaps even Julia‘s Boston Bruins, but short of that, the Penguins are a worthy champion!

 

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette 

 

Now, hopefully, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy awaits the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night…

 


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The Brett Favre “fiasco” continues.  The Vikings apparently have sent a coach and their head trainer to Mississippi to track the health of QB Brett Favre.  No word on which coach made the trip, but offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has prior history with Favre during their time in Green Bay together.  I really think this issue needs closure soon.  Otherwise, it risks becoming a huge distraction for the team.  The 2009 Vikings have a great deal of potential.  I like many of the young guys, and I am excited about what Percy Harvin will mean to the offense if properly utilized.  Guys like center John Sullivan and safety Tyrell Johnson will step up and fill the voids caused by the departures of veterans Matt Birk and Darren Sharper.  Regardless of what Favre decides to do, the Vikings will be in contention this year.  I am not ready to anoint them Super Bowl contenders, but they have the potential for great things.  At this point, I am ready to let Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels fight it out, and let Favre starting counting his days for entry into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.  But, of course, if he does sign with the Vikes, so be it…

 

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Have a great weekend!

GO YANKEES!

–Scott

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