Results tagged ‘ Sharks ’

It’s Just Another Manic Monday…

 

 

  

 

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

 

 


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

 

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

 

 

Sergio Mitre pitched one-run ball through five innings.

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

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

 

 

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

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

 

Jason Kubel Twins grand slam Mariano Rivera Yankees

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

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

 

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

 

 

Star Tribune

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 


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

 

 

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

Brandon Wade/AP

 

 

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

 

San Jose Mercury News

 

 

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

 

 

 


Bay to Breakers Intro.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle 

 

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

 

 

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Bay Breakers 2.JPGSan Francisco Chronicle

 

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

 

–Scott

 

 

 

Motor City Misery…

 

The string comes unwound…

 

 

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

 

 

Sancya/AP

 

 

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

 

 

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

Burleson/AP

 

 

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

 

 

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

Burleson/AP

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

And The Winner Is…Me!…

 

Another wager, another victory!…

 

 

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Yet again, my friend, Julia of Julia’s Rants, came up on the short end of our latest wager.  After starting last year 0-8 against Boston, I was starting to wonder if the Yankees would ever beat the Red Sox.  Since then, the Yankees have dominated the series.  Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game, the Yankees will have captured another series.  Since the beginning of the season, the Yankees have only lost one series (versus the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim).

 

Saturday, in a nationally televised game, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 14-3.  The game featured three home runs by first baseman Mark Teixeira (although I temper that somewhat by the fact that the last home run was off outfielder Jonathan Van Every who was brought in to save the arms in the pen).

 

 

Mark Teixeira home run congratulations Yankees Red Sox

Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA

 

 

CC Sabathia missed picking up the win by one out.  While facing Victor Martinez, who could have been the third out of the inning, the game was interrupted by a rain delay that ended the night for CC.  When the game resumed, Alfredo Aceves was on the mound and it was he who picked up the win. 

 

 

New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia drills Boston's Dustin Pedroia in the backside, sending the Red Sox a message on Saturday.

Sipkin/Daily News

 

The game marked several historic achievements.  Teixeira is the first Yankee since Lou Gehrig in 1927 to hit at least three home runs in one game against the Red Sox.  Also, catcher Francisco Cervelli, filling in for Jorge Posada, had 5 RBI’s, something that hasn’t been done by a Yankees catcher since the days of Yogi Berra.

 

 

 

 

Today, history was made in Oakland when pitcher Dallas Braden threw the first perfect game in A’s history since Jim “Catfish” Hunter did it in 1968.  Given that I credit Catfish Hunter for being a Yankees fan (I rooted for the A’s as a child until Hunter signed with the Yankees as a free agent in 1974), it was rather bittersweet to see his A’s record matched by, of all people, Dallas Braden.  Braden, president of the Anti A-Rod Club or so it seems, nearly walked the final batter as he worked a 3-1 count but a ground-out upheld the gem.  The victory was especially sweet since it came against the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays.  It was rather ironic that Braden would help the man he bitterly opposes.  For the record, I was on Braden’s side of his beef with A-Rod, but Braden does need to let it go (as he made further comments about it this week).  Nevertheless, congratulations to Braden for a very fine performance. 

 

 

Athletics Dallas Braden grandmother perfect game

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

 

The San Jose Sharks finally overcame their nemesis and advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 2-1 Game 5 victory against the Detroit Red Wings.  First or second round failures have become commonplace for the Sharks in recent years so hopefully the team has shaken its demons and is a collision course with the Stanley Cup.  The team now awaits the winner of the Chicago Blackhawks-Vancouver Canucks series (Chicago leads 3 games to 2).

 

 

Josie Lepe/Mercury News

 

 

Back to the Yankees, they weren’t so fortunate in Boston tonight as Jon Lester was on his game and A.J. Burnett wasn’t.  A.J. gave up 9 runs in 4 1/3 innings (8 earned), meanwhile, Lester went 7 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 7. 

 

 

The Red Sox needed a strong start from Jon Lester to stop the bleeding.

Bill Greene/Globe Staff

 

 

So, congratulations to Julia for her victories today (the Celtics also won), and she was right, the Red Sox avoided the sweep.  But still the wager victory is mine and the series win goes to the Yankees, so until we meet again Julia!  By the way, don’t you have some shopping to do?….

The Battle of Beantown, Part II…

 

Bring out the broom…

 

 


 
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The Baltimore Orioles have proven to be very challenging for the Yankees in recent years.  The Orioles are one of the AL’s young and improving teams, and they’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the not-so-distant future.  Despite the slow start, the Orioles came into the Bronx fresh off a weekend sweep of the Boston Red Sox.  But pitching prevailed as the Yankees completed a three game sweep before heading to Boston for their own weekend series against the Red Sox. 

 

 

Nick Johnson homers in the second as the New York Yankees jump out to a 6-1 lead and hold off the Orioles for a 7-5 win on Wednesday.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

I’d love to think that…if the Orioles can sweep the Red Sox and the Yankees can sweep the Orioles, then surely the Yankees can…  Oh well, one can dream!  It should be a fun series at Fenway Park.

 

 

 

 

After the Yankees picked up wins in the first two games against Baltimore behind the pitching of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, I was somewhat concerned that the Yankees would be caught looking ahead to the weekend on “getaway day”.  Thanks to homers by Nicks Johnson and Swisher, Andy Pettitte was staked to an early 6-1 lead but he departed in the 5th inning due to a stiff elbow.  An MRI later revealed mild inflammation in his left elbow, and he is expected to miss his next start.  With Mariano Rivera still out and Joba Chamberlain unavailable after two consecutive nights of work, the game was left in the hands of the bullpen.  Baltimore mounted a rally against the relief corps, but the Yankees held on for the 7-5 win.  Alfredo Aceves picked up the save. 

 

 

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Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT 

 

The Yankees have definitely dealt with their share of injuries lately.  Fortunately, only one player was hurt enough for placement on the DL (Curtis Granderson; strained groin).  The others, like Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, have simply taken a few days off.  The Yankees will most likely skip Pettitte’s next start as a precautionary measure, but hopefully, Posada and Rivera will be ready for action on Friday night. 

 

 

 

 

With the Yankees headed for Boston, it can only mean one thing…for me, anyway.  It’s time for my latest battle against Julia of Julia’s Rants!  This time, we’ve decided to make the loser go on a journey to find an inexpensive piece of memorabilia about the ‘other’ team.  It can’t be something that is current and easy to find.  Part of the loser’s obligation will be to document their journey by photographs in the quest.  The loser will have until the end of Memorial Day Weekend to complete their adventure.  It should be a very fun time for Julia as she explores Boston for Yankees paraphernalia!  Hey Julia, Game On!  J

 

 


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Speaking of the Red Sox, they did the classy thing and had Nomar Garciaparra Day today at Fenway Park against the Los Angeles Angels.  Despite the 2004 trade and Nomar’s subsequent stays in Chicago, Los Angeles and Oakland, he remains a fan favorite in Boston and the city was allowed to express their love and respect for a great former Red Sox player.  A very nice touch by the Red Sox organization…

 

 

Nomar addresses the media

Boston Globe Staff

 

 

I’d also like to pay respects to the late great Ernie Harwell.  The long-time Detroit Tigers announcer lost his battle with cancer at age 92.  I may not have been a Tigers fan, but I was…correction, I am…an Ernie Harwell fan.  For a wonderful tribute to one of the game’s greatest, you don’t have to go any further than Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press.  His column entitled ‘Ernie Harwell:  Gone now, but not forgotten’ is a must-read.

 

 


Ernie.JPGDaniel Mears/The Detroit News

 

 

So, Julia‘s Boston Bruins and my San Jose Sharks are both a game away for their respective conference finals.  Both teams hold commanding 3 games to none leads in their current series, the Sharks against the Detroit Red Wings and the Bruins against the Philadelphia Flyers.  A Stanley Cup is not a certainty by any stretch as both teams still have to a) win their current series, and b) win the conference finals.  But here’s at least one person hoping for a match-up against the great Ranter from Massachusetts!  Hey Julia, Games on! 

 

 

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (44), winger Dany Heatley (15) and center Joe Thornton (19) surround center Patrick Marleau, not seen, behind Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski (28) after Marleau's overtime goal in a second-round NHL playoff hockey game in Detroit, Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Carlos Osorio/AP

Glass Half Full to Glass Half Empty…

 

Thud!…

 

 


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The Yankees played a hard fought series in Boston, and escaped with two out of three despite their “pathetic and embarrassing”¹ play.  They had a day off and traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida to face their other primary AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays. 

 

Tampa Bay Rays Franchise Fitted Baseball Cap

 

With Javier Vazquez on the mound, it looked as though the Yankees would stack up very nicely against David Price and the championship-contending Rays.  Staked to an early 2-0 lead, Vazquez promptly gave it up in the bottom half of the 4th inning.  Former Yankee Carlos Pena tied the score with a two-run homer, and Jason Bartlett had a two-run double in the 5 run inning.  Another former Yankee, Dioner Navarro, hit the single that put the Rays in the lead.  Those would be the only runs that Price would need enroute to the Rays’ third victory of the season.

 

 

Photo

AP 

 

Marcus Thames made his second start of the season in left (in place of starter Brett Gardner), and Mark Teixeira continued his traditional ice cold start.  After four games, he is 0-for-16 which matches the worst hitless start of his career.  Let’s hope that he ends the streak on Saturday.

 

 


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The weekend games will pit CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett as the rotation begins its second go-around this young season.  I am expecting a much stronger start from Sabathia than we saw in Boston, and the same with Burnett.  They’ll face Wade Davis and James Shields, respectively.

 

 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost too as the Kansas City Royals rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 8th to win 4-3.  It was a great start by the ageless and reliable Tim Wakefield, but once again, the bullpen was the Achilles heel for the Red Sox.

 

 

Red Sox Royals Baseball.jpg

AP

 

¹I found Umpire Joe West’s comments about the Yankees and Red Sox as “pathetic and embarrassing” to be, well, pathetic and embarrassing.  His frustration was over the slow play of the opening series between the two teams.  In my opinion, West should voice any concerns he has internally within his own organization and not air the negative comments publicly.  I am biased and if I were a San Francisco Giants fan, I’d vehemently disagree, but there’s nothing like baseball’s best rivalry, the Yankees and the Red Sox.  I am a Minnesota Vikings fan, and I dislike the Green Bay Packers.  I am a San Jose Sharks fan and I dislike the Anaheim Ducks.  I am a Los Angeles Lakers fan and I dislike the Boston Celtics.  But there is simply nothing like Yankees-Red Sox.  Right Julia?

 

 

Keith Srakocic/AP

 

Speaking of the Vikings, the wait for Brett Favre continues.  It is a given that Favre won’t make any decisions that would actually require him to show up for training camp, so this is going to be long and drawn out once again.  It’s frustrating because it is very hard for me to get excited about either Tavaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels at quarterback.  It’s rumored that the Vikings are taking a look at Tim Tebow.  However, he is a major project and many think he’ll never succeed at the pro level.  On the plus side, his former teammate Percy Harvin is on the Vikings and it would ease Tebow’s transition.  We’ll see how this plays out.  I definitely agree that the Vikings need to be thinking about the quarterback of the future regardless of what Favre may do.  I’d love for the Vikings to pick Jimmy Clausen in the NFL Draft, but he’ll be long gone by the time the Vikings select unless they can move up.

 

 

Jimmy Clausen

Joe Raymond/AP

 

Both the Sharks and the Lakers are set to play in their respective sports’ play-offs.  I am hopeful that this is the year for Joe Thornton and company.  For the Lakers, it’s ‘here we go again’ with Andrew Bynum unavailable until the play-offs due to injury.  Unfortunately, that’s an all too familiar song, but hopefully he’ll be ready to play once the play-offs do start.  If both teams could play and beat Boston, I’d be a very happy man.  Of course, that would mean championship series for both, but hey, so long as WE win, what does it matter?  ;)

 

 

 

 

The Yankees quietly picked up former San Diego Padres outfielder Chad Huffman on waivers and assigned him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.  Huffman was placed on waivers to make room for Matt Stairs (hasn’t he played for like every major league club?).  I didn’t think much of the move when I first saw it, but later I saw comments about how frustrated fans were and how they saw the fingerprints of Kevin Towers all over this one.  Towers, the former Padres GM, is now a special consultant for the Yankees.  It would appear that the Padres had hoped Huffman would clear waivers for a minor league assignment but were, perhaps, thwarted by their former general manager.  I saw these comments about Huffman by Padres assistant Paul DePodesta and it makes me a little jazzed about the pickup (and not so disappointed that the Yankees had to return Rule 5 pickup Jamie Hoffmann to the Dodgers): 

“We lost the player. And, he’s a pretty good one. Chad was a 2nd round pick in 2006 out of TCU and has been a successful minor league hitter throughout his pro career, posting an OPS over .800 in each season. While crushing lefties early in his career, Chad had his most successful year yet against RHP during his first season in AAA in 2009. He always controlled the strike zone and also hit for some power–a combination we like. We think he’ll be a good Major League hitter.

“This wasn’t an easy decision, as we feel good about our 40-man roster at this point. We talked about a number of different guys and worked through various scenarios–who had the best chance to clear waivers, what depth did we have, what depth did we anticipate needing during the year, etc.

“We hate to lose good players. Additionally, we hate to lose good people, and Chad is a tremendous clubhouse guy. Getting beyond the selfish aspect, we’re excited for Chad. We truly wish him the best with the Yankees and will be rooting for him to make it to New York and contribute to the big league team.”

Works for me…  J

 

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P.S.  I am headed to Arizona for the week on business so I might not have any blog updates until after I return on Saturday, April 17th.  Let’s hope the Yankees get on a roll by that time! 

 

–Scott

 

 

Two and a Half Men…

As if Alex Rodriguez hasn’t done enough to fill the tabloids this year, now comes word that he shops at the same place as former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. 

Of course, I couldn’t help but think of Charlie Sheen. 

On TV, Charlie plays a morally corrupt bachelor with too much money…kind of like A-Rod. 

He drinks excessively, and doesn’t worry about the impact on others when he opens his mouth.  He’s the last person you’d want to depend upon if you needed help.  He likes expensive clothes, albeit bowling shirts, but they are still expensive…again like A-Rod.  He’s compulsive, a womanizer, and has yet to act his age.

The similarities between A-Rod and Charlie Sheen a/k/a Charlie Harper are uncanny…

Daniel Padilla/iPhoto

Gustavo Cabellero/Getty Images

My only question…

If Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira are two men, what does that make A-Rod?

Gene J. Puskar/AP

One difference between A-Rod and Charlie…Charlie’s funny…

ALFRED MANUAL MARTIN, JR

The other day, Jane Heller questioned my choice of Billy Martin as my all-time favorite manager.  Billy was someone you couldn’t live with, but couldn’t live without.  His fiery, combative style always eroded ownership confidence very quickly.  But the guy was simply a winner.  He loved the Yankees with a very strong passion, and he was his own man.  Every time he was re-hired as a Yankees manager was a great day for me…every time he was fired was very sad.  I always wondered what the start of the 1990′s would have been like had Billy returned for a sixth time. 

To most people on MLBlogs, Billy Martin was a long ago figure.  Perhaps many do not even know who he was.  But I did, and I will always remember him… 

Posted on YouTube by NESNMAN

 

YANKEES WIN STREAK OVER

I am definitely on the bandwagon of those who feel Rays pitcher David Price is destined for greatness.  I have been all along, but today only reinforced why the guy has so much promise.  Four scoreless innings, three hits, two walks and four strikeouts.

 

The Yankees lost the game, 5-0, ending their 9-game winning streak.

The Yankees also re-acquired catcher Chris Stewart from the Chicago White Sox, but he most likely falls behind Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Cash in the catching pecking order.  With Cervelli most likely going back to AA Trenton, Stewart just fills catching depth at AAA Scranton.

FAVORITE TEAMS

There was great feedback regarding how everyone chose their favorite teams.  Every story was very interesting, and I appreciated the ones that gave insight into all four major sports. 

I am all over the board.  I have been a fan of the New York Yankees and Minnesota Vikings since childhood.  I grew up in Iowa, and Fran Tarkenton was my favorite QB, so following the Vikings was easy.  Years ago, I was listening to The Musers (George Dunham and Craig Miller) on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas and they said if your state didn’t have a professional team, you were in a “free agent” state.  So, I guess I took free agency by its most literal sense given that my favorite teams are scattered across the country. 

In basketball, I am a fan of the Phoenix Suns.  I lived in Phoenix for eight years, and my two children still reside there.  I can’t say there is any one player that attracted me to the team.  I liked the ownership, which was headed by Jerry Colangelo at the time, and it was easy to follow the team.  I attended a number of games while in Phoenix, and today I am a big fan of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.

 

In hockey, I am a fan of the San Jose Sharks (as you may have noticed on this blog from time to time).  Although I am presently living and working on the East Coast, San Jose is home.  I have meant to extend my thanks to Julia for her Boston Bruins being so gracious as to send Joe Thornton to the Sharks a couple of years ago.  Thanks Julia!  ;)  When I get home, you can be assured that I’ll be hanging out at the Shark Tank.

Have a great week, everyone!  J

P.S.  This is my 61st blog, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t dedicate this one to Roger Maris…

 

 

Not Tonight, I Want to Watch the WBC…

The WBC is quite interesting after all…

 

I have to admit that I am starting to get caught up with the World Baseball Classic.  At first, I dismissed it as a ploy by the Commissioner and viewed it as something that would prevent certain players from getting quality spring training time with their respective teams.  Granted, a Derek Jeter doesn’t have to worry that someone’s going to steal his job while he is away, but how about someone like Carlos Marmol?  Carlos should be the Cubs’ closer this year since Kerry Wood signed with Cleveland in the off-season.  However, the Cubs did acquire the Florida Marlins closer Kevin Gregg in the off-season.  I have not been following the Cubs that closely, so I don’t know if Marmol has already been given the closer’s role by Manager Lou Piniella or if he is in competition with Gregg.  But regardless, time away from Cubs camp can’t be beneficial. 

 

Jerry Lai/AP

 

On the same token, Kevin Cash is fighting for a Yankees roster spot as the third catcher.  Meanwhile, Francisco Cervelli has been with the WBC’s Team Italy.  Granted, Italy has been eliminated and Cervelli is on his way to Tampa to join up with the Yanks.  But still, the time away most likely was more beneficial for Cash than it was Cervelli.

 

Sorry, I digressed…

 

I am very surprised to see the Netherlands’ victory over the Dominican Republic.  On the bright side, it means that Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte will be on their way back to camp.  But I still have to believe that the DR was the better team.  Well, I guess on “any given Tuesday”, everyone has a chance.  That’s why the play the games, right? 

 

Two things did stand out to me about the Netherlands-DR game.   

 

First, Ubaldo Jimenez is a freak.  Ten strikeouts in four innings.  Two hits, no runs, no walks, and 43 of 65 pitches were for strikes.  It’s a tremendous line score, and is obviously a tournament record.  I’ve known that Jimenez was good, I just didn’t realize that he was this good.  The Rockies are very fortunate to have him.

 

 

Secondly, Pedro Martinez pitched very well and certainly deserves another opportunity.  The Mets are on record saying they have no interest in re-signing Pedro, but you’d think someone would take the chance.  I mean, c’mon, if you have the chance to go with Carl “The American Idle” Pavano or Pedro Martinez (albeit the antique version), you tell me you’re going to go with the guy most likely to hit the DL first?  I’d think a team that is capable of contending, like the Indians, would take a chance on Pedro as their fifth starter.  In the Netherlands-DR game, Pedro pitched very well (three innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, and two strikeouts).

 

The WBC games have been very entertaining, and I am looking forward to the second round.  Plus, Jimmy Curran has my interest piqued about Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish…

 

 

Steroids, the topic that won’t go away

 

Alex Rodriguez should be thankful for the torn labrum.  The injury and the subsequent surgery have caused people to focus on things other than his admitted steroids use.  So, the surgery definitely has had some positive impact despite the negative of keeping A-Rod out of action for 6-9 weeks.

 

Meanwhile, the negative reports for Roger Clemens keep coming in.  Now, Brian McNamee is saying that he injected Clemens with drugs in the Jacuzzi at Yankee Stadium.  At this point, I fully believe that McNamee is telling the truth.  From my perspective, what Clemens has done is far worse than anything A-Rod did.  

 

 

Okay, maybe that’s not Clemens, but it could be!  ;)

 

I used to feel that Clemens would be a shoo-in for first ballot Hall of Fame.  Now, I don’t believe he should ever get in (not even posthumously).  

 

Aside from Barry Bonds, Yankees who have taken steroids seem to get triple the press magnification than players from other teams.  I realize that New York City is THE major market, but I’d have to believe that steroids found their way into other locker rooms and no team was immune.  

 

Examples should be made of the so-called liars like Clemens and Bonds.  I will always have more respect for those who step forward and admit their indiscretions and crimes than I will for those who continue to deny their guilt.  

 

Yankees Happenings

 

CC Sabathia didn’t last long today as he gave up 5 runs on 6 hits, and didn’t make it out of the second inning in the Yankees 7-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers.  One of the hits was a home run by former Yankee Gary Sheffield.  Ouch! 

 

Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain pitched much more effectively than he did his previous outing in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.   He allowed one run on three hits, striking out three and walking none, in two innings of work. 

 

Sounds like GM Brian Cashman is content to start the season with Cody Ransom as the starting third baseman.  “I’m not optimistic about doing anything,” Cashman said.  “I’m not going to be proactive in trying to do something.  If something presents itself that makes sense, which is not realistic, then maybe it will be somebody different.  I think our answer is here in camp.”  Of course, you never know if that is talk to downplay any sense of desperation on the Yankees’ part or if Cashman is truly intending to stand pat.  My guess is that there isn’t anything that makes sense and it’s not worth parting with a blue-chip prospect at this point.  Now, if Ransom gets off to a very slow start…

 

Alex Rodriguez left a voice mail message for Manager Joe Girardi on Tuesday night that said, “I’m doing well.”  I am hopeful that it means the recovery will be closer to six weeks than nine weeks!  

 

It’s not Yankees news, but for everything negative about Manny Ramirez, there is no question that he is in a league of his own when it comes to hitting.  I noticed these comments by Donnie Baseball, the Dodgers hitting coach.  “By 8 [a.m.], he’s in the cage.  He’ll only take 30 to 35 balls, but he’s almost perfect with them.  He does it slow.  He doesn’t rush.  He’s not firing ball after ball.  He takes his time with each swing.  It’s like each swing is a whole at-bat.  He thinks about what he wants to do and then he thinks about what he just did.  Every swing he takes with a purpose.  And he doesn’t talk much when he’s hitting.  But if he doesn’t like one, he’ll ask what you think he did.”  I don’t condone how Manny treated the Boston fans or the organization, or how he quit on his teammates, but I respect his ability to hit.  That was the only reason that I wanted the Yankees to sign him.  

 

The Sharks Win, The Sharks Win, TTTHHEEE SHHHAARRRKKKS WIN!

 

Okay, they blew a three-goal lead but the San Jose Sharks finally won last night, beating the Minnesota Wild, 5-4, in overtime.  Wins have been hard to come by for the Sharks in recent weeks, so I’ll take any victory that I can. 

 

 

“We won finally and that’s a real good thing,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan.  “But I’m disappointed in the way we carry ourselves.  I’d like to see some guys step up and swing the bat.  I want to see guys take the challenge on a little bit more.” 

 

It was the Sharks first victory in five games.

 

I am hopeful that the victory will reignite some momentum for the Sharks as they continue the drive for the post-season.

Yanks-BoSox, Let The War Begin…

Game On!

Julia of Julia’s Rants has challenged me to a duel!

The New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox for a three game series at Fenway Park in Boston beginning Friday, April 24, 2009.  If the Yankees take the series, Julia has to change her website banner to show the Yankees logo.  Conversely, if the BoSox take the series, I will have to sport the dreaded Red Sox emblem on this site. 

But, let the record show that Julia has the unfair advantage of home field!  But it is her birthday weekend, so I suppose some concessions must be made…

I am wondering what Julia’s site will look like…

 

 

Julia’s Rants

My feelings about the Boston Red Sox New York Yankees, baseball, sports and life in general. 

Sweet!  :)

 

 

This bet actually reminds me of an ongoing bet that I have had with a friend in Tampa named Kelly.  Kelly has been a devout Devil Rays, excuse me, Rays fan for many years. 

She was a season ticket holder for Rays games when getting a root canal was preferable to going to Tropicana Field.  She likes to get her season tickets in the upper balcony, and there were often times that you would need binoculars just to see the person sitting next to you. 

 

For several years, the bet has been about bragging rights. 

For each series played during the season, the winner has bragging rights until the next series is played. Whichever team takes the season series has bragging rights throughout the off-season, and the other person is powerless to retaliate. 

When the bet was first made, I had the advantage of the high and mighty Yankees against the lowly, pathetic then Devil Rays.  Of course, tables were turned on me last season, and I had to reluctantly take what I had been giving for so many years.  Fortunately for me, the Yankees went out and spent $423.5 million in the off-season, so hopefully, I’ll be able to return to my “perch” again this year! 

Actually, Kelly let me know that I had a thing or two to learn about “bragging” as she showed me how it is really done! 

It’s going to be a very exciting summer in the American League East…

 

Manny Is Officially From Another Planet

Manny Ramirez has turned down the Dodgers for the fourth time.  I thought the latest offer was very generous given the current state of the economy.  Plus, it isn’t exactly like there are teams beating down the door to sign Manny. 

A quick scan of the Los Angeles Times’ Business section shows the following headlines:

  • GM posts $9.6-billion quarterly loss
  • Source:  U.S. on verge of deal to boost its stake in Citigroup
  • Student loan companies’ shares plunge on Obama proposal
  • U.S. banks post collective $26.2-billion quarterly loss
  • Weak healthcare stocks drag market lower
  • The sun sets on the Rocky Mountain News
  • 667K new jobless claims; continuing claims top 5M
  • AIG could be broken up
  • Economy still going south

I feel that Manny is proving to be very selfish, and we are seeing the true player that exposed himself in Boston.  It is a very unfortunate situation, and the Los Angeles Dodgers deserve better.

On a side note, that is sad news about the closure of the Rocky Mountain News, which became Denver’s first newspaper on April 23, 1859.

 

Other Tidbits for a Friday…

Admittedly I do not follow the PGA very closely, but who is Tim Clark and how did he beat Tiger Woods?…

The Minnesota Vikings should be announcing later today that they have acquired QB Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans.  I am not sure how I feel about the acquisition.  Granted, I do not think that Tavaris Jackson is the answer, and Gus Frerotte is getting too old.  I really like Matt Cassel, but when the New England Patriots placed the franchise tag on him, it removed him as a possibility as the cost to acquire him would be so great.  Picking up someone like Jeff Garcia or even Michael Vick is equally unappealing.  There just doesn’t seem to be any viable answers out there, so perhaps Rosenfels is the best option available.  The cost to acquire Rosenfels is reasonable (fourth round draft pick, and contract extension of three years for $9 million).  Like Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, Rosenfels hails from Iowa.  He was born in Maquoketa, IA, and played college football at Iowa State.  Given that I also grew up in a small Iowa town, I can relate to Sage and Kurt (well, except for the part about the million dollar contracts…and okay, the superior physical conditioning…and, I know, the heighth of the players…).  Hopefully, Sage can have some of the success that Kurt has experienced.  His stock was very high after the 2007 season, but the bloom lost much of its luster this past season when he went 2-3 filling in for injured QB Matt Schaub. 

The Phoenix Suns, minus star Amare Stoudemire, have now suffered blowout losses to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers within the past week.  The Suns were also without Steve Nash in the loss to the Lakers, but this has been a very disappointing season.  The Suns, if they make the play-offs, look like they’ll suffer another first round exit…

On the bright side, the San Jose Sharks beat the Ottawa Senators last night, 2-1.  The Sharks were powered by two power-play goals by Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau, which were scored 1:18 apart in the second period.  The Sharks, 42-9-9, lead the Western Conference by 5 points over the Detroit Red Wings.

Have a great weekend everybody!

 

 

 

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