Results tagged ‘ Oakland ’

Welcome to California!…

 

The Yankees are in town and I’m writing this blog…

 

 

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Yes, I am missing out on the first game of the Yankees series in Oakland against the A’s.  Well, I don’t exactly live in Oakland but I am only a BART trip away.  I will be at the game tomorrow night when Phil Hughes pitches.  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.  This morning started out with nothing but rain.  It didn’t look promising, but it has been clear most of the afternoon so we’ll soon find out if Javier Vazquez has finally brought his A game with him.  Good luck to Javy and company as the Yanks look to get the West Coast road trip started on a positive note. 

 

 

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Don’t look now but who was that?  Like a blur, and despite the Yankees fourth series win in four tries, the team now finds themselves chasing the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East Standings.  The Rays beat Boston to complete a four game sweep on Monday, which put the idle Yankees ½ game back.  Tampa definitely has the pitching to sustain their perch, so this is going to be a dogfight throughout the summer.  I am sure that, sooner or later, the Boston Red Sox will decide to join the party too.

 

 

Rays Red Sox Baseball

Michael Dwyer/AP

 

Prior to tonight’s game, former Yankees and current A’s Chad Gaudin and Edwar Ramirez received their World Series rings.  I had definitely hoped that the Yankees could have found a way to keep Gaudin, but I am sure that he’s glad to be back with a club where he can grow his standard goatee or whatever you call that growth on his chin.

 

 

Yankees Athletics Baseball

 

So, the Yankees have a detour on their way to Baltimore following the conclusion of the weekend series in Anaheim.   They are scheduled to stop by the White House on Monday to see President Barack Obama on a scheduled off day.  The next day, they’ll begin a series against the young and talented Baltimore Orioles.  It should be an exciting time for the World Champions.  Hopefully, they will have just finished a successful California adventure!

 

 

 

 

I am not sure what I think about the schedule for this year’s NFL Draft.  In years past, it was always fun to get up early Saturday morning and watch the first 10 picks.  The rest of the day, I’d listen to the draft on the car radio or other medium.  On Sunday, I’d usually check in to see some of the later names selected.  This year will be very strange with the first round being held Thursday night.  Since it starts while I am still at work, I probably won’t get home until around the 5th or 6th selection.  Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday night, and the draft concludes on Saturday.  I will hold judgment until after the draft, but I am a bit skeptical.  We’ll see.

 

My team, the Minnesota Vikings, will open the NFL Season on Thursday, September 9th against the New Orleans Saints in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game.  Hey Brett (assuming you return), run, don’t throw! 

 

 

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Mark Humphrey/AP 

 

It was sad to hear the passing of the Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor.  He was found dead in a hotel room in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Initial speculation is that the death was the result of natural causes.  At 48 years of age, this is quite unexpected.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Keli’s wife, Lori, and their four children. 

 

 

DENVER - OCTOBER 15:  Team President of the Colorado Rockies, Keli McGregor celebrates in the locker room after the Rockies 6-4 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Coors Field on October 15, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.

Getty Images

Lock and Load, Welcome to Fenway…

 

The showdown resumes…

 

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The Yankees begin a three game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night.   After losing the first 8 games of the season series to the Red Sox, the Yankees rebounded during the last four game set to sweep the series from the Red Sox.  So, here we are on August 20th, and the Yankees hold a 6 ½ game lead over the Red Sox.  At the All-Star Break, I said that the Yankees just needed to win four more games than the Red Sox.  They have done that and then some, but the key is to hold the lead.  This weekend’s series can go a long ways toward deciding the eventual 2009 AL East Champion.

 

 

 

For the latest series, I have once again made a wager bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  I so enjoyed finally emerging victorious during the last series, and I have to admit that Julia impressed me with her “payment” for the loss.  She wrote a fantastic Top 11 about positive Yankee statements, and her photos with the Yankees flag attached to her SUV were exactly as required under the terms and conditions of our bet.  For the latest series, we have decided to retain the Top 11 post (once again the credit goes to Jimmy Curran for the idea) but for the second part, we have opted to spending a day wearing the opposing team’s ballcap.  I do recognize that Julia is at a disadvantage since it would be more painful to wear a Yankees cap in Boston than it would be wearing a Red Sox cap in the San Francisco Bay Area.  So, I will toss in an extra.  If the Yankees lose the series, I will wear the pink Red Sox hat for a day following a day of wearing the traditional Red Sox cap.  Not that I intend to lose, but I recognize that Julia needs a handicap.  So, Julia, my friend, game on!

 

 

The latest road trip, so far, has been successful for the Yanks.  They took 3 of 4 from the Mariners in Seattle, and 2 of 3 from the A’s in Oakland.  I attended the second game in Oakland, and had a few observations.  I knew that CC Sabathia was a big guy, but seeing him close-up as he warmed up prior to the game, I’d have to say that the dude is absolutely huge.

 


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After seeing a few games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, it was somewhat of a disappointment to go to Oakland Coliseum.  My wife and I took BART up to the stadium, and my first thought was that the “drive up” appeal of the stadium was sorely lacking compared to AT&T Park.  As you approach the stadium, you quickly realize that you are in Raiders territory.  I hate to knock a stadium, but after a year that has seen my attendance at AT&T Park, the new Yankees Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I’d have to say that Oakland Coliseum is a major letdown.  I am optimistic that the A’s relocate to San Jose, so we’ll see.  They definitely need a new home.  Back to the game, I was disappointed when CC gave up a home run to catcher Kurt Suzuki after throwing a brushback pitch.  But the disappointment was short lived as the scoreboard announced that my section and row had won a free pizza from Roundtable Pizza as a result of the home run.  Hey, c’mon, it’s pizza!  The game remained tight until the sixth inning when the Yanks finally broke through with 5 runs, and eventually won 7-2.  The crowd was very pro-Yankees as the chants of “Let’s Go Yankees!” drowned out the cries of “Let’s Go Oakland!”. 

 

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There were many Derek Jeter jerseys in attendance.  I like DJ and I know that he’s headed for Cooperstown, but I’ve never fully understood the attraction that DJ has on fans.  Personally, I prefer watching the home run guys, like Mark Teixeira.  It’s not that I wouldn’t want Jeter on my team (I do), but I don’t see the power he has over women.  I heard one older woman Red Sox fan (not Julia, she’s not old!) once say, “I hate Derek Jeter, but he’s so cute”.  I don’t get it. 

 

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My wife took this photo with her cell phone and posted it on Facebook.  It was amazing how many people thought this was an actual photo from the stadium.  It does look kind of real though…

 

 

So, with Boston’s win over Toronto tonight, the Yankees arrive at Fenway Park with a 6 ½ game lead.  Regardless of what happens, they’ll leave Boston in first place.  But will the Red Sox be close enough that Julia can return to her “obnoxious” ways (j/k), or will the Yankees put further distance between them and the boys from Beantown.  This is ‘to be determined’ but I can assure you that I do not intend to wear a pink hat!

 

 

The San Diego Padres have apparently accepted cash from the Yankees for pitcher Chad Gaudin in lieu of the player to be named later.  Considering that the cost was only $100K, I suppose that meant GM Brian Cashman just had to reach into petty cash to settle the account.  Rumor has it that the Accounting Department doesn’t know how to write any checks with 6 figures or less.  LOL!

 

 

So, the St. Louis Cardinals are counting on John Smoltz to help them stave off the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central?  Yikes!  Good luck with that.  Then again, the Yankees are going with the two-headed monster of Mitre/Gaudin so I guess I have no room to talk…

 

 

Yes, it’s off topic but how can I resist making comment about new Vikings QB Brett Favre.  As you may (or may not) know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan.  I have been one all my life, and it has been a roller coaster ride.  I resigned as a Vikings fan when they made Bob Lee the starting QB following Sir Francis Tarkenton’s retirement.  But I came back around with Tommy Kramer.

 

  

The Dallas Cowboys were always my second favorite team, so I followed them in those in-between years.  But fast forward to present day, the QB position has always been very important to me.  I had been a big fan of Dante Culpepper’s and it was disappointing when his Vikings career ended because of the knee injury and a difference in philosophy with coach Brad Childress.  It has been frustrating to see ex-Vikings go elsewhere and thrive, like Rich Gannon  previously in Oakland, Shaun Hill in San Francisco or even Tyler Thigpen who started a few games for the Chiefs last season.  I was never a fan of Tavaris Jackson, and I was somewhat skeptical of Sage Rosenfels.  The only connection I have with Rosenfels is that we are both native Iowans, like Kurt Warner.  I like John David Booty, but I do wonder if he’ll ever achieve professional success.  So, I am begrudgingly warming up to the idea that Brett Favre is now the Vikings starting QB.

 

Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre

Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune 

 

The 2009 Vikings have the most talent of any Vikings team that I’ve seen since at least 1998.  All the pieces to the puzzle are in place for a great year…except QB, until now.  Perhaps Favre comes out and repeats his performance with the New York Jets last year (great start, but fizzle down the end), but conversely, there is a chance that he could replicate his final season with the Green Bay Packers.  So, based on that, I do feel that I have to give him a chance.  If anything, it has to be a great learning experience for Jackson, Rosenfels and Booty to be around Favre.  Granted, one of those guys will probably be holding a clipboard for a different team when the regular season starts, but there is value in Favre’s presence among the other QB’s.  Maybe Favre should have considered ‘Just For Men’ but then again, if memory serves correctly, Kenny Stabler had grey hair in defeating the Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl.  Not one of my fondest memories…

Receiver Fred Biletnikoff, left, and quarterback Ken Stab... AP File 1977

 

Nevertheless, I’ll give #4 a chance.  I am not ready to mail in my fan membership.  But, hey, my expectations are only ‘Super Bowl or Bust’…

 

Hey Julia, we’re coming for you!  Get ready for that Yankees cap!  J

Maybe I Should Go Away More Often…

 

A great day for a birthday…

 

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Today is my birthday, and it couldn’t have had a happier ending than a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss.  All week, a certain blogger from Boston kept telling me that I couldn’t have a Red Sox loss for my birthday since she would be in attendance at Fenway Park.  Hey Julia, how did that work out for ya?  ;)

 

John Smoltz leaves the mound after...

AP

 

This is my first blog in a week so I don’t really plan to delve into breakdowns of the games that have been played since my last blog.  I recently took a job with a new company that allowed me to return home to Silicon Valley, California.  I had been in Wilmington, Delaware for the past year.  For the past week, I packed my belongings and drove across the country (3,000 miles in 3 ½ days).  Since the focus of the week was the move, I did not take my laptop with me and as a result, I have been silent on this blog for a week.

 

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In seven days while I’ve been gone, the Yankees lost only one game.   The Oakland A’s snapped the Yankees’ winning streak on Saturday, when Alfred Aceves failed to bail out Andy Pettitte.  It was the end of the Yankees eight game winning streak, as well as an eight game streak against the A’s dating back to 2008 (they had taken the first four games of the series this year).

 

Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger 

 

Beating up the Tigers, Twins, and A’s has allowed the Yankees to extend their lead in the AL East to 2 ½ games over the Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees do have a challenging schedule for the remainder of the season, and it won’t get any easier with a 9-game road trip that begins in St. Petersburg, Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.  The Rays are currently in third place, 6 ½ games back.

 

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Jason Behnken/Tampa Bay Tribune 

 

I have been pleasantly surprised about the Yankees’ success so far in the second half of the season.  Admittedly, I was down after the Yankees had been swept by the Los Angeles Angels to close out the first half.  Prior to that series, the Yankees had tied Boston for the AL East lead.  While the Yanks were getting swept, Boston was doing their own sweeping so the first half closed with a three game Boston lead.  But as quickly as the Yanks went from a first place tie to three games back, they surged back to overtake Boston with only one loss since the All-Star Game.  I suspect that the lead will change hands a few more times before this is all said and done, but it is nice to see the Yankees reach 60 wins faster than any other AL team at this point in the season.

 

Christopher Pasatieri/US Presswire 

The news regarding Chien-Ming Wang has not been good.  He will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday.  Wang had a second MRI last week, according to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, and it revealed a possible rotator cuff tear.  If it is not a scar from Wang’s prior surgery in 2000, and has rotator cuff surgery, he will be lost for most, if not all, of next season.

 

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

I do not think that Sergio Mitre is the answer in the rotation, and apparently neither do the Yankees.  According to Jenifer Logosch at MLB.com, the Yankees had scouts in attendance to watch Ian Snell pitch.  Snell struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season, going 2-8 in 15 starts, with 5.36 ERA.  He was demoted to AAA Indianapolis and has pitched lights out.  In four starts for Indy, Snell has pitched 26 1/3 innings with a 0.34 ERA and 34 strikeouts.  Snell apparently has no interest in rejoining the Pirates, and feels that he was made a scapegoat for their early season problems.  I am not sure if Snell is the answer or if his AAA success can equate to Major League success after past difficulties, but, for the right price, he is probably worth trying.  I’d rather go there before taking a chance with Kei Igawa.  I read that the Seattle Mariners wanted both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for Jarrod Washburn, so there’s no way that deal is happening unless the Mariners drop their asking price.  The Yankees won’t be contenders for either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, so they’ll continue to rummage through the bargain bins over the next couple of days as they continue to seek possible replacements for Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation.

 

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

Speaking of Brett Gardner, he landed on the DL after suffering a fractured thumb in the first inning of Saturday’s game.  Of course, in that game, he had a run-scoring triple and played excellent defensively AFTER the thumb injury.  He is a huge loss for the team, but hopefully he’ll be out no more than three weeks or so.  I hope that Melky Cabrera maintains a high level of play during Gardner’s absence, and doesn’t lose any motivation or ambition without Gardner competing with him every day.  Hopefully, Gardner’s recovery will be as speedy as he is on the base paths…

 

Frank Franklin II/AP

 

Boston has a chance to make up ground on the Yankees during the upcoming 9-game road trip, but I have to admit that I am very shocked that John Smoltz is 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA.  I liked Boston’s pick up of Adam LaRoche (well, not as a Yankees fan, but looking at the trade objectively and knowing what it means for the Red Sox).  Of course, with Theo Epstein, you know that the next few days will be very interesting as Boston continues to seek upgrades.

 

A look back at Theo Epstein's first season with the Red Sox -- 2003

 

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 

I am sure that most people have become familiar with Batting Stance Guy but I wasn’t.  I saw him on David Letterman this week and he was hilarious (his impression of Kevin Youkilis is priceless).  You can check him out at www.battingstanceguy.com.  His posts can also be found on YouTube.  Here is his impression of the 2009 Yankees:

 

 

As much as I will miss the close proximity to Yankee Stadium, I am looking forward to my first visit to AT&T Park this year when I attend next Sunday’s match-up between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies.  After a year in Phillies country, I am excited about the opportunity to watch Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, J-Ro, and the other Phillies without being surrounded by those “calm and quiet” Philadelphia fans!  Seriously, there aren’t many things better than watching baseball near the Bay…

 

 

Have a great week!

–Scott

 

He’s The Man…

Finally!

The third baseman that I now refer to as the “Thin Toad”¹ was finally benched.  Ramiro Pena replaced Cody Ransom at third base when the Yankees faced the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

¹During a spring training game in the late 90′s, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner labeled pitcher Hideki Irabu as a ‘fat puss-filled toad’ when Irabu failed to cover first base on a routine ground ball.

Other lineup changes included a day off for left fielder Johnny Damon.  Damon has been enduring a personal issue involving his mother, and has been weakened both mentally and physically.  Also going to the bench is DH Hideki Matsui, who has struggled out of the gate with a .125 batting average.

 

Catcher Jorge Posada moved to DH, while catching duties were handled by Jose Molina.  Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup at first base, while Nick Swisher moved to left field.

The moves left Swisher batting clean-up.  Whoa!  An ace reliever one night, and Babe Ruth the next!…

Swisher responded with his fourth home run of the young season.

Reuters

Meanwhile, what can I say about Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett?  He’s the stopper.  He’s the ace.  He’s the man…

 

The Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2.  It had been a pitcher’s duel until Derek Jeter’s three-run homer blew the game open in the 9th.  But the night belonged to the Man…

THE ULTIMATE WORKOUT

I have continued to follow the career of Jason Giambi, and will be a big fan of his so long as the Oakland A’s aren’t playing the New York Yankees.  ESPN.com has profiled Giambi’s workout regiment, and it is a must-read for anyone looking to lose a few pounds!

If you are looking to fit into that bikini or swimsuit, you might want to try the G-Workout!  Well, maybe not.  Too funny!

 

Goodnight, All!

–Scott

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