Results tagged ‘ Toronto ’

Not your Daddy’s Yankees…

 

All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight, but I’ll just listen to Beethoven…

The Miami Marlins make a big splash to create perhaps the best Marlins squad since 2003 in signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes.  The Los Angeles Angels rock the largest Hispanic community in the United States by nabbing #1 Baseball Superstar Albert Pujols.  Oh yeah, they also picked up former Ranger ace C.J. Wilson along the way.  Even the Boston Red Sox, in a season of chaos with the prolonged managerial search, managed to do SOMETHING with the acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Kyle Weiland.  Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, nothing…

I know, how do you improve upon a 97-win team?  Baseball is a game of constantly trying to improve.  A little here, a little there…a big splash here, a big splash there.  This off-season the Yankees haven’t fallen into any of those categories.  They haven’t even moved to re-sign outfielder Andruw Jones or third baseman Eric Chavez which, in my mind, are important cogs for the 2012 team.

The team with the most money is…

Tonight’s wait is to hear whether the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers have won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish.  In the days of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees would have been the highest bidder and there would have been no speculation about who placed the highest bid (through a few “unnamed sources” within the Yankees organization).  I am not saying that it is prudent to spend $50 million plus just to have the right to talk to Darvish, nor do I feel the Yankees made a bad decision by not going after him harder.  But this is definitely a different Yankees ownership and one that is not particularly fond of footing the bill for the other owners through luxury tax payments.  It’s too bad the Yankees have so much wrapped up in Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.  A-Rod, in particular, is not the player he once was and no longer worthy of his behemoth contract.  I’ll give Jeter the benefit of the doubt since he did finish 2011 strongly.

If the Yankees are gauging what they need to do by the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re severely underestimating the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Yankees had trouble with that team last year, and the 2012 Jays will only be stronger (with or without Darvish).

If you’re not winning, you’re losing…

This has been a tough sports year for me.  The Yankees felt like a team with shortcomings entering October and it revealed itself in the play-offs against the Detroit Tigers.  They are still essentially the same team, minus a few players.  There’s nothing to lead me to believe that the World Series is in their immediate future.  Meanwhile, my pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, continues their march to become the worst team in professional football (only one game separates them from the Indianapolis Colts and the right to draft future NFL superstar QB Andrew Luck).  I am sure that even Peyton Manning is a Vikings fan these days.  It really stinks when you hope your team loses so that they can place higher in the draft.

I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do live within view of Target Field so it’s been tough watching local favorites Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) and Jason Kubel (D-Backs) sign elsewhere.

Clearly, I am someone that needs a ‘pick me up’ in sports.  I want to see a player acquisition that I am excited about.  Someone that brings energy, drive and commitment to the team, and helps them reach just a little bit further…

I will say that the Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero regardless of whether it could bring Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx.  I’d love to see Gio in pinstripes, but I think that Montero has a chance to be a special talent.  You just don’t let guys like him get away, even if it means no acquisitions this off-season.

Is that too much to ask?  Sometimes I wish Hank Steinbrenner’s impulsiveness would prevail over Hal Steinbrenner’s calculated intellect.  Fiscal responsibility, with a dash of insanity.  C’mon, we were “raised” by George Steinbrenner.  Weren’t you too, Hal?…

At least somebody is doing something…

Recently, I changed my NBA allegiance from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New York Knicks.  I’ve been thinking about this move for several years, but adding Carmelo Anthony to Amare Stoudemire was the clincher.  The latest news has the Knicks signing Baron Davis.  As a former Bay Area resident, I was saddened when Davis left the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Clippers.  He was perhaps the most popular basketball player in the area.  I have a great deal of respect for him, and it’s tremendous that he and I have come together on the same team.  I know Baron is hurt so his Knicks debut will be delayed, but I really like the off-season moves the Knicks have made.  I’d be foolish to think that they are suddenly a NBA finals team, but they are definitely getting better.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, just crickets…

 

–Scott

Time to kick it up a notch…

Baseball’s not a slow game but the off-season is…

It’s Thanksgiving, and the Yankees’ big moves this week were to sign journeyman utility infielder Jayson Nix and last year’s Andy Pettitte stand-in, Freddy Garcia.  While I recognize that the Yankees needed to bring Garcia back, I hope that it does not deter them in their search for a legitimate #2 or #3 starter to go behind CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.  I have not seen any updates on how potential talks are going with backup third baseman Eric Chavez, but hopefully, he’ll return to New York for one more season.  At this point, I view Nix as spring training fodder that will be discarded by the time the team heads for the Bronx.

In recent weeks, I’ve heard the Yankees linked to potential trades for Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves and Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland A’s.  My preference of the two is Gonzalez because of Jurrjens’ history of knee trouble.  Gonzalez, ironically, has been involved in separate trades involving current Yankees players during his career (Nick Swisher, when he was traded from the A’s to the White Sox, and Freddy Garcia, when he was traded from the White Sox to the Phillies).

I am anxious for the Baseball Winter Meetings so that free agent and trade activity will begin to heat up.  So far, the early winner of the Hot Stove League has to be the Philadelphia Phillies for no other reason than they’ve been aggressive while other teams have been idle.  Jonathan Papelbon was a good choice for closer, especially when you have as much invested in the rotation as the Phillies do.  Ryan Madson did a good job last year, but it’s really anybody’s guess if he would have enjoyed the same level of success this year since he simply does not have the history to support it…yet.  I am not quite sure how Jim Thome fits in, but as a pinch-hitter off the bench, there’s certainly worse bats you could have.

The Texas Rangers also did a good job in picking up former Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan, even if it does come with significant risk.  As long as they have a solid Plan B in place, Nathan could be a very pleasant surprise if he shows that he can still pitch at a very high level.

Who will be the Astros’ DH?…

It will probably be strange for the Houston Astros next season as they make their farewell from the National League.  Andy Pettitte is probably wishing that this had happened during his playing days so that he could have been ensured of playing at home every season.  I think Brad Mills is a good manager but it will be interesting to see if he is retained by new owner Jim Crane when the Astros enter the AL West in 2013.  He certainly deserves the opportunity, but you have to wonder if he’ll be given sufficient time to succeed.

Happy north of the border or wishing that Yawkey Way was a daily routine…

It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox would love John Farrell as their manager, but the Toronto Blue Jays were obviously unwilling to allow that to happen.  Nevertheless, I wonder how Farrell feels.  Is he happy and delighted to be in Toronto, or does he have an unfulfilled desire for the Sox?  Speaking of the Sox, I just don’t see how Bobby Valentine and the city of Boston are a good fit.  I don’t dispute that he’s a good manager, but eventually he wears out his welcome and the pressure of Boston is greater than Arlington, Texas or even Flushing Meadows, New York.  I don’t really know anything about Torey Lovullo’s managing background and Gene Lamont seems like an uninspired choice so I can’t say who I think would be a great fit for the job.  Admittedly, I am a fan of former manager Terry Francona, so it does seem that whoever takes his place is going to an inferior choice.  If it were my decision, I’d probably go with someone who has strong ties to the organization already, like bench coach DeMarlo Hale.  But Boston’s late season collapse effectively removed any September participants from consideration and perhaps wrongfully so.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the next few weeks.

My first year in Minnesota coincides with the Vikings’ worst year in their 50 year history…

With the Minnesota Vikings standing at 2-8 heading into this weekend’s play, the baseball off-season has already seemed so incredibly long and it hasn’t even really started yet…

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

 

–Scott

 

How About Leaving A.J. in Toronto?…


After losing 2 of 3 to the Boston Red Sox and
ensuring the mail delivery of a Red Sox cap to my home (ugh!), the Yankees went
to Toronto with a chance to clinch a play-off spot.  What happened?  A.J. Burnett started, so the rest is
self-explanatory.  Instead of smelling
blood and delivering a season high performance, A.J. did what he often does
this season, he stuck his head in the sand. 



 


The situation was a perfect set-up.  Going back into his former home stadium to
face his former teammates with a golden opportunity to right the earlier wrong’s
of the season and propel his current mates into baseball’s promised land.  Instead, A.J. was long gone by the end of the
third inning as he put the team in a hole they could not climb out of.  The pitching line was horrific…2 ½ innings, 7
hits and 7 runs.  For $82.5 million, we
got this and a 5.33 ERA in 2010. 



 


Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox won so the RSN
continues its belief that the Red Sox can win all their remaining games, while
the Yankees get swept in Toronto and Boston. 
Burnett could have ended all of that tonight…



 


It sucks that at this stage of the season, I have
to root for the Chicago White Sox.  The
Yankees need to re-group, think about what Tony Dungy said the other day, and
come out to play like a play-off contender on Tuesday night.  Win to get in, don’t back in…



 


I was saddened to hear the passing of former
Oakland Raiders great George Blanda.  I
remember first becoming aware of him as an aging kicker for the Raiders when I
was a kid.  I also remember being shocked
when I learned that he had been a quarterback earlier in his career.  His 26-year career contained several careers
within a career.   Anyone who grew up in
the 70’s will always remember #16 trotting onto the field to line up for a
game-winning kick regardless of whether or not you were a Raiders fan (I wasn’t
but I certainly had great respect for Blanda). 



 


On the bright side, the Minnesota Vikings did
finally win on Sunday…



Vikings running back Adrian Peterson ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns Sunday against the Lions.   (AP)

AP


–Scott


Adrian Peterson rushed for 160 yards against the Lions on Sunday, including a career-best 80-yard run in the third quarter.Adrian Peterson rushed for 160 yards against the Lions on Sunday, including a career-best 80-yard run in the third quarter.

Have Arm, Will Travel…

 

Say what you will, it was a win…

 

 

0824granderson.JPG

Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

 

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

 

 

Seattle Times

 

Sports can be so brutal at times…

 

–Scott

 

The Yankee Roller Coaster…

 

So, where do we go from here?…



 


The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately.  They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again. 
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy.  In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0. 
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.

 

As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game). 
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s.  Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season. 

 

Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2.  The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason.  With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.

 

Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound.  To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk.  He struck out 3.  Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level. 



Yankees rookie pitcher Ivan Nova clears the benches in Toronto with a sixth-inning pitch that is thrown around the head of Jose Buatista, who belts his 39th and 40th homers of the season.

Gunn/AP

 

It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves.  Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother.  At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category.  It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date.  As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role.  It would be nice to have him back in the
organization.



 


As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left.  I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.

 


 


With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear. 
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge.  If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys. 


Tampa Bay Rays Authentic Evan Longoria BP Jersey - MLB.com Shop

 

–Scott



 

It Is High, It is Far, It is GONE!…



Finally!…


 


It seemed like an eternity, but Alex Rodriguez
finally did it.  With a huge weight
lifted off the Yankees Universe, A-Rod went deep early today against the
Toronto Blue Jays to bring his career home run total to 600.  So, hats off to Alex for his huge
accomplishment…


 


I saw one of his comments that when he thinks “small”,
he usually comes up “big”.  Obviously,
when he thinks big, the results were microscopic so I am just glad to get this
one behind us.  The rest of the team
seemed to lower themselves to the level of A-Rod’s slump in losing three
straight games prior to today.  The home
run, a two-run blast, gave the Yankees the runs they would need to win in the
5-1 victory. 



alex-rodriguez-new-york-yankees-600th-home-run-804.jpg.JPG

Aristide Economopoulos/The Star Ledger

 


It was a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes
who previously couldn’t get away with a single bad pitch.  He fared much better today, so hopefully, the
results will help propel Hughes to the form he held earlier in the season. 



David Pokress/MCT

 

Also, congratulations to Joba Chamberlain for
another solid outing (a scoreless 7th inning).  And what can you say about Mariano
Rivera
?  In a non-save situation, he
lowered his season ERA to 0.91.  I can’t
say that I was fortunate to see very many Yankee legends, but you can put Mo
into that category.  With a storied
franchise that has won 27 World Series Championships, he has been the franchise’s
best at his position and one of the all-time greats.  When he retires, his number will be retired
because of Jackie Robinson, however, it is certainty that it will be a dual
retirement to include Mo. 



 


Chan Ho Park is now an ex-Yankee as he was claimed
on waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.  It’s
unfortunate that Park couldn’t re-capture the form he displayed with the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I wish him the best in Pittsburgh.



 


The Yankees are off on Thursday, and await their
bitter rival, the Boston Red Sox, on Friday. 
It is a four game set that will feature Javier Vazquez, CC Sabathia,
A.J. Burnett, and Dustin Moseley. 
Moseley against Josh Beckett on Sunday looks like a mismatch, but stranger
things have happened.  It should be a
good series.  Boston needs to take 3 of 4
or sweep the series, otherwise, they’ll have a long road to October.  For the series, my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants
) and I are engaging in yet another wager. 
This time, the loser has to wear the opposing team’s cap in photos to be
posted on both blogs.  I say that at
least five (5) photos must be posted, so I’ll see if Julia accepts that offer
or wants to up the ante.  I have also
taken it a step further to say that I’ll have photos of me in a Boston cap AND
t-shirt should the Yankees lose (which, of course, I do not expect them to
do).  If the teams split the series, the
team with the most total runs for the series will be the winner. 



 


After ESPN ran continual stories about the career
of Brett Favre, now comes word that perhaps he really isn’t ready to
retire.  I wish the media would just
delete the name ‘Brett Favre’ from their database until the Minnesota Vikings
make an official announcement either way. 
I really don’t want to go through another round of ‘will he, won’t he’…



AP

 

Bring on the Red Sox!…


–Scott


A Man’s Got To Believe In Something; I Believe I’ll Have Another Drink…


Conceding first place…


 


To be in first place, you have to play like you
want to be champions.  Unfortunately, the
Yankees have played like anything but since their weekend acquisitions of
Austin Kearns, Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood. 
I thought the moves were meant to upgrade the roster.  Instead, the life of the team has been
sapped.



 


Of course, at the forefront, is the enigma known as
Alex Rodriguez.  For a guy who is
supposed to eventually assault Barry Bonds’ all-time home run record, he has
made trying to get a single home run so incredibly painful to watch.  The paparazzi are constantly following A-Rod
in anticipation of the 600th home run, but it has proved to be a
long and winding road.   



 


Tonight, the Toronto Blue Jays pummeled the
Yankees, 8-2.  The Yanks took an early
2-0 lead on a Mark Teixeira home run in the first, but then, the bats went
silent.  A-Rod posted another 0-fer,
going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.



Alex Rodriguez, after strikeout, 8/3/10 (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger


 

I am not sure what it is going to take to snap the
team out of its current funk, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the easiest schedule
for the remainder of the season and now sole possession of first place.  With arguably the best pitching rotation in
baseball, they won’t be losing too many games so the Yanks chances for winning
the division definitely took a turn for the worst with this past weekend’s
series loss to the Rays. 



Jason Bartlett leaps over a sliding Minnesota Twins Michael Cuddyer as Bartlett throws to first to turn a game-ending double play Monday night.

Dirk Shadd/St. Petersburg Times

 


There are reports that Brett Favre is finally
calling it a career, which leaves the Minnesota Vikings with Tavaris Jackson
and Sage Rosenfels at QB.  Suddenly, a
potential NFC Championship rematch between the Vikings and the New Orleans
Saints doesn’t look so likely.  With
Favre out of the picture, I’d have to say the Green Bay Packers, with Aaron
Rodgers, are the best of the NFC North. 
If there is anything gained by Favre’s decision (if true), it is that
his off-season indecisiveness will no longer impact the team’s plans.  I hope that T-Jack learned under Favre last
season, but I can’t say that I am overly optimistic.



MINNESOTA VIKINGS - Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte (not pictured) were a tandem act in 2008. The Vikings added Sage Rosenfels and are pursuing Brett Favre because questions linger regarding Jackson's ability to take over.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

 


This is definitely a ‘glass is half empty’
post.  I guess I had better close it out
while I am behind…



 

–Scott

Does A.J. Still Play For Toronto?…


And then they were tied…



Tied.JPG

 


I realize that there is nothing that can be done
about it, but I am tired of A.J. Burnett. 
I’ve always admired the arm, but the head leaves so much to be desired.  It seems as though he has to be coddled by
pitching coach Dave Eiland, and of course, A.J. fell off the map when Eiland
took a temporary leave of absence earlier this season.  Tonight, he imploded during a 7-run 5th
inning for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Against
his old teammates, A.J. let Toronto runs get to his head and he absolutely
crumbled on the mound.  I am disappointed
that Joe Girardi stayed with him as long as he did because it was clear that
Burnett had lost control of the game.  It
bothers me that the Yankees are relying on two pitchers (Burnett and Javier
Vazquez) that have to be mentally “right” to pitch effectively.  With Phil Hughes subject to an innings limit
and Andy Pettitte currently on the DL,  the only sure thing in the Yankees rotation is
CC Sabathia. 



Sabo/NY Daily News

 


The awful Burnett performance was too much for the
Yankees to overcome as they fell to the Blue Jays, 8-6, despite an attempt to
rally and Nick Swisher’s two home runs. 
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-2, to move
into a first place tie with the Yankees. 



Joe Girardi taking the ball from A.J. Burnett (Farrell)

Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger

 

I was glad to see Lance Berkman pick up his first
RBI on a run-scoring single.  He has
admitted that it will take some time to adjust to the Bronx, and it is clear
that his heart is still in Houston. 
However, I think he’ll be okay after he learns his way around.  Based on the things I’ve heard and read about
Berkman, you can’t meet too many nicer guys in the baseball so I am sure that
the city and the team will be very accommodating for him.  Yeah, even New York City can be nice at
times.



New Yankees designated hitter and first baseman Lance Berkman is excited to be back in an intense pennant race, something he missed over the last three seasons in Houston with the Astros.

Ted Mace/NY Daily News

 


Alex Rodriguez? 
0-for-5.  Can we send him down to
Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre?  Okay, I
am just kidding, but geesh, this is getting very old.  Hey A-Rod, please feel free to mix in a homer
with all those K’s…

 


AROD.JPG

Getty Images

 

August 2nd is always a tough date on the
calendar.  It is the anniversary of
Thurman Munson’s untimely death in a 1979 plane crash.  Thurman was my favorite player at the time,
and I had been concerned about losing him to free agency to the Cleveland Indians
at the time.  In retrospect, I would have
preferred to see Thurman in a Tribe uniform rather than the fate that awaited
him.  I knew how much Thurman’s family
meant to him, and of course, that’s why he took airplane lessons to begin
with.  Baseball has never been quite the
same to me since Thurman passed. 


So, Thurman, it’s been 31 years and you’re still
missed…



MUNSON.JPG

Courtesy of The Star Ledger



–Scott


A Day Filled with Fireworks!…

Welcome back, Marcus Thames!…

 

 

thames_mills_yanks.jpg

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Despite a brief time away (trip to the DL), Marcus Thames made the most of his return to the team with a pinch-hit run-scoring single to drive in the winning run in the Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.  Nothing like July 4th and a day at Yankee Stadium to celebrate Thames return with a little pie…

 

 

Yanks beat Blue Jays, 7-6, on Marcus Thames RBI single

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

 

 

The Yankees had taken the early lead in the game, but the continued struggles of Phil Hughes allowed the Jays to go ahead in the top of the 5th.  The Yankees tied the score in the bottom of the 6th with a two-run inside-the-park home run by speedy Brett Gardner. 

 

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the 7th, but like recent games, the bullpen was not up to the task.  However, this time, the game tying run was not scored against Damaso Marte or Joba Chamberlain, but against Mariano Rivera in the 9th.   With go-ahead run on third, Alex Gonzalez grounded into a force out to end the threat.  The Yankees failed to score in the bottom of the frame, so it was off to extra innings.

 

Like the inning before, the Blue Jays had their chances in the 10th.  With David Robertson starting the inning in relief of Rivera, he allowed the first two hitters to reach base (a single and a walk).  The next batter, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play on a bunt attempt, which pushed the go-ahead run to third.  Robertson intentionally issued a free pass to Lyle Overbay, who had homered earlier in the game, before getting former Yankee Jose Molina to strike out. 

 

So, it was off to the bottom of the 10th.  As usual, Robinson Cano was involved in the action as he walked to lead things off.  He was sacrificed to second on a bunt by Francisco Cervelli.  Curtis Granderson struck out, but Brett Gardner reached base on a two-out walk.  Up to the plate came Marcus Thames, who had just been re-activated from the DL.  Thames worked the count full before slashing a hit to center to score Cano with the winning run.  Welcome back, Marcus, you’ve been missed! 

 

 

Uli Seit/The New York Times

 

 

It was an exciting day for the Yankees, particularly since the Boston Red Sox were losing to the Baltimore Orioles.  It would have been nicer for Hughes and Mo to post more memorable appearances on the day they were selected to the All-Star team, but of course, being an All-Star is not about one game.   

 

When American League manager Joe Girardi takes the field at the All-Star Game in Anaheim on July 13th , he’ll have plenty of familiar faces joining him (and Hughes and Rivera as previously mentioned) as MLB announced the following Yankees had made the All-Star team:

 

Derek Jeter

Robinson Cano

Alex Rodriguez

CC Sabathia

Phil Hughes

Mariano Rivera

 

 


Congrats.JPG

 

Jeter and Cano are starters, Jeter’s 11th All-Star appearance and Cano’s second.  Rodriguez was tabbed as a reserve by Girardi primarily since A-Rod is third in the AL with RBI’s at 62 (behind fellow All-Stars Vladimir Guerrero and Miguel Cabrera). 

 

The Yankees have a chance for a 7th All-Star with Nick Swisher in the running for the Final Vote.  Special voting is open until Thursday at 4 pm Eastern.  Swish faces steep competition from Kevin Youkilis (Boston), Delmon Young (Minnesota), Michael Young (Texas), and Paul Konerko (Chicago). 

 

Congratulations to all of the AL and NL All-Stars! 

 

Well, alas, it is once again time for the “forced” spotlight on a Boston Red Sox player (thanks to my wager loss to Julia of Julia’s Rants).  Before, I embark on yet another painful journey, I do have to say that I am quite amazed at what the Red Sox have been able to do (within striking distance of the AL East lead) with a disabled list that looks like an All-Star team:

 

Disabled List

NO.

NAME

POS

BAT

THW

AGE

HT

WT

BIRTH PLACE

SALARY

19

Josh Beckett DL

SP

R

R

30

6-5

220

Spring, TX

$12,100,000

17

Manny Delcarmen DL

RP

R

R

28

6-2

205

Boston, MA

$905,000

2

Jacoby Ellsbury DL

LF

L

L

26

6-1

185

Madras, OR

$496,500

32

Jeremy Hermida DL

LF

L

R

26

6-3

200

Atlanta, GA

$3,345,000

25

Mike Lowell DL

DH

R

R

36

6-3

210

San Juan, Puerto Rico

$12,500,000

41

Victor Martinez DL

C

B

R

31

6-2

210

Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

$7,700,000

15

Dustin Pedroia DL

2B

R

R

26

5-9

180

Woodland, CA

$3,750,000

33

Jason Varitek DL

C

B

R

38

6-2

230

Rochester, MI

$3,000,000

 

 

I also read today that All-Star Clay Buchholz is most likely headed for the DL.  I may not be a fan of the Red Sox but I am not a fan of these injuries.  Hopefully, these guys will return to health in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m sure the Red Sox will keep knocking on the door. 

 

For the latest installment, I will go with one of the so-called replacement players who has done a good job helping to fill in for the loss of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (and Mike Cameron when he was out)….

 

 

#54        Darnell McDonald

 

 

Courtesy of The Boston Herald

 

 

I can remember when Darnell and his older brother, Donzell, were highly touted youths with the Orioles and Yankees, respectively.  Neither materialized with their respective teams, and I had long forgotten the McDonald brothers when Darnell’s contract was purchased from AAA Pawtucket in April when Ellsbury went to the DL.  He had been signed as a minor league free agent in January.  Julia was very quick to inform me when McDonald homered in his first at bat with the Red Sox.  He has done a capable job since he joined the Red Sox (5 home runs, 20 RBI’s, and .260 batting average).   

 

Darnell played high school baseball with Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colorado.  He was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles in 1997.  He would stay in the minors for the duration of his Orioles career, enjoying only a brief call up in 2003.  His stops between Baltimore and Boston included the Minnesota Twins and the Cincinnati Reds.  He hit his first major league home run on August 30, 2009 against Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

 

At 31 years of age, Darnell is enjoying the greatest stretch of his professional career.  He showed that he was a wise off-season acquisition by GM Theo Epstein who is notorious for the low cost, high upside approach to free agency.  He has believed in the dream since his days as one of the best high school players in the nation, and it is finally happening for him in Boston. 

 

So, whatever happened to brother and former Yankee Donzell?   He currently plays for Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League. 

 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 

–Scott

 

 

No Time for Sleepless in Seattle…

A well deserved day off while the Yankees head to Seattle…

 

 

Speaking of Seattle, I am always appreciative of the fact that Tom Paciorek no longer plays baseball.  For my generation, he was the original Yankee killer.  I know that there were many before him and many since, however, he was the first player that I personally witnessed as a single-handed destruction force against anything pinstripe-related.

 

paciorektom81d.jpg image by worldwideed

 

It was an interesting week.  Monday saw the Yankees defeat their nemesis, the Los Angeles Angels, in a makeup of the May 3rd rainout.

 

Bill Kostroun/AP 

 

Tuesday was a mess.  A brawl left Jorge Posada and Shelley Duncan with three-game suspensions.  Posada, who had taken exception to an earlier pitch, threw an elbow at Jays pitcher Jesse Carlson, while scoring on a double by Brett Gardner.  There were several bench clearing moments, and the latter occurred following the elbow by Posada.  Hitting coach Kevin Long and pitcher Edwar Ramirez were also fined for their involvement in the fracas.  Any way you slice it, it was an ugly representation of baseball.  The Yankees dropped the game, 10-4.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

Wednesday, the teams were more amenable to each other.  The Yankees fell behind the Jays early and trailed 4-2 in the 7th inning.  I had started to become concerned that the Yanks were on the verge of their second consecutive loss, but Hideki Matsui allayed my fears with a two-run homer in the 8th to tie the game.  At that point, I had confidence that the team would mount yet another walk-off win.  I was not denied, although I was a bit surprised by the source.  I will first start by saying I love watching Brett Gardner work the base paths.  Following a lead-off single in the 9th inning, he stole second.  Derek Jeter grounded out to short, but it advanced Gardner, the winning run, to 3rd.  That brought catcher Francisco Cervelli to the plate.  His single to left scored Gardner, and the Yankees had a new recipient for the pie of the day…

 

Yankees tangle in positive way thanks to Francisco Cervelli.

Ron Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

This morning, I was looking at the AL East standings, and was surprised to see that the Red Sox were only 5 games behind the Yanks in the loss column.  Boston has been playing very well lately as evidenced by the 7-game winning streak.  Julia is quick to note that this team reminds her of the 2004 and 2007 World Championship clubs, and the way they’ve been playing, I do not necessarily disagree.  Nevertheless, I have confidence in my guys and their ‘no-quit’ determination.   Given that the Texas Rangers have performed the baseball equivalent of hara-kiri, there is no much mystery left regarding whether the Yankees and Red Sox will make the play-offs.  The only question is who will take the AL East crown, and right now, the Yankees have the advantage.  The Yankees continue their quest for the best record in the AL, but they cannot lose sight of the team in their rearview mirror.  I learned long ago not to underestimate the Red Sox.

 

 

 

The Red Sox did see the end of their 7-game winning streak tonight, as they were clipped by the Angels, 4-3.  The Yankees magic number has been reduced to 10, although the Angels were able to pick up a ½ game on the Yanks.

 

Charles Krupa/AP 

The Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees were unable to defend their International League crown.  They were swept in the finals tonight by the Durham Bulls with a 3-2 loss in the third and final game.  The Yankees did pick up championships in two other minor leagues.  Class A Tampa won the Florida State League, while the Staten Island Yankees won the New York/Penn League.  I’m thinking “three’s company”, so let’s go big league Yanks!

In a somewhat shocking announcement, Peter Abraham of the Yankees LoHud Yankees Blog announced that he will be moving to Boston to work for the Boston Globe.  His blog has long been one of my personal favorites, and I will miss his Yankees insight.  I am sure that he’ll provide Red Sox fans with the same robust and reliable information that we Yankee fans have been accustomed to, not to mention the quick wit.   Pete Abe made a comment that some will call him a traitor, but I will not.  He is a class act, and his decision was made for family reasons, which is a very admirable trait.  I would like to thank him for his work over the years, and I wish him the very best in Boston.  Of course, he’ll miss out on writing about the 2009 World Series Champions…

 

 

My fantasy football team faces a huge dilemma this weekend.  My starting QB is Tom Brady, while my defense is the Jets D.  So, I have one player working against another since the Patriots face the Jets this weekend.  Who do I pull for?  Yikes!  As an 0-1 team (thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson’s ankle), I have to hope that best case scenario plays out.

 

 

 

I will close with a photo of my pride and joy.  She has been the master of self portraits since she was very small, and has developed a great sense of humor (despite her dad)…

 

 

–Scott

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.