Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

It’s 613 miles to Detroit. We’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses…hit it!…

 

Are you mocking me?…

The final series of the season has begun and the Yankees find themselves a game up on the Baltimore Orioles with two games to go in the battle for AL East supremacy.  It’s been a dogfight since the O’s caught the Yankees earlier in the month, and the two teams have pretty much matched each other stride for stride since that time.  Sunday, when the Yankees were trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 5-1 after the O’s had won was the first time that I legitimately felt the Yankees could end the day in second place for the first time since early in the season.  Fortunately for me…and the Yankees, they fought back to emerge with a 9-6 victory.

A season of surprises…

After years of Yankees-Red Sox and most recently, Yankees-Red Sox-Rays, I never expected this to be the year that the Baltimore Orioles would emerge as the Yankees’ primary nemesis.  Still, the Tampa Bay Rays are the team that scares me the most.  With their pitching, they have the potential to go all the way if they make it.  Granted, it’s clearly an uphill battle for them, but they are perhaps the hottest team in baseball right now with 11 wins in 12 games.  Hopefully, the Oakland A’s will end the Rays’ quest but I’d like to see the Rays with an opportunity for at least one more night so they’ll play at the top of their game against the O’s again tomorrow night.  If the A’s win against the Texas Rangers tonight, then it’s over for the Rays.  I am thankful that the Rays’ run got started so late in the season.  If it had occurred earlier, there’s little doubt they’d be bumping shoulders with the Yankees and O’s.

While I am surprised about the successful O’s season, I am flabbergasted by the dismal failure of the Boston Red Sox.  This is a team that could have and should have won the AL East in 2011, but after tonight’s game, the team stands at 91 losses.  It is the highest loss total since 1965 when they lost 100 games.  There’s no threat of 100 losses, but this is clearly an inferior Red Sox team.  I think they’ll be much improved in 2013 but the team has much to do in order to re-tool the once championship squad.  In my opinion, Bobby Valentine has to go.  He has contributed to the dysfunction of the 2012 season and while the losses may not be his fault, he is not the right man for the job.  I do not necessarily think that John Farrell is, or that last year’s runner-up, Gene Lamont, should get the job.  If I were the Red Sox GM, I’d probably go with a guy who has a great deal of minor league managerial experience but has never gotten the opportunity at the major league level, Ryne Sandberg.  He’d be respected by the players and he has the ability to effectively communicate with the younger prospects.

I thought this would be the year the Toronto Blue Jays would take a step forward.  If I would have had to choose between the O’s and the Jays at the start of the season, I probably would have taken the Jays. But I felt they regressed this year.  Well, actually they did.  Who knows how this plays out for John Farrell.  It could be ownership is more willing to let him go to Boston, but of course, does Boston want him and is he truly the right fit?  This remains to be seen.  Nothing like some good old fashioned drama as we head toward the off-season.

As for the other races, I was disappointed to see the Chicago White Sox fade.  I felt they had their division, but the talent of the Detroit Tigers persevered and thrust the team into the lead with a few games left.  Out west, there’s no doubt the Texas Rangers were going to be the champion, but to put the A’s into the play-offs over the Los Angeles Angels was a surprise.  Oakland’s pursuit of Yoenis Cespedes doesn’t look so far fetched now.

In the National League, I never would have predicted a division championship for the Washington Nationals.  They earned and deserved it, but I didn’t foresee it.  The awful season the Philadelphia Phillies experienced was a surprise.  Hey, Cliff Lee, how does that decision to rebuke the Yankees feel now?  I know, one season does not a mega-million contract make, but hey, this is baseball and it’s all about ‘what have you done for me lately?’.  Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves for at least nailing the Wild Card slot.

The Cincinnati Reds were not a surprise, even playing in the same division as the St Louis Cardinals.  This was destined to be a challenging year for the Cards with a new manager and first baseman.  The Cardinals should still make the play-offs, but this division played out as expected.

The NL West is where I am perplexed.  Although I currently reside in the Bay Area, my NL team is the Los Angeles Dodgers.  This is primarily because of the manager (Don Mattingly).  But after the expensive acquisitions late in the season (Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Brandon League and others), I really thought the Dodgers would be well poised to surge to the division championship.  Of course, I fully underestimated the San Francisco Giants and their pitching staff.  Tim Lincecum may have had his struggles this year, but I’d still hate to face him in October with all the chips on the table.

Welcome to the 2012 World Series…

As for my prediction of World Series participants, I am going to go with the Cincinnati Reds versus the Texas Rangers.  The Reds, in my opinion, have a slight advantage over the Washington Nationals.  Of course, I’ve underestimated the San Francisco Giants all season long so why should I change now?  I know this is a Yankees blog and I should be ‘all in’ on another Yankees participation in the World Series.  But I am just not convinced the team has the clutch hitting to succeed.  Hey, I hope they prove me wrong, but I don’t really see anyone else emerging from the AL than the Rangers.  I do not like the Rangers but I recognize that their hunger for a World Series championship remains and they have the talent to succeed.  Best case scenario?  The Yankees go to the World Series to face the San Francisco Giants and see how their hitters perform against former closer Dave Righetti’s aces.

It seems like the season just started but now just two games separate us from the 2012 post-season.  The race to the World Series begins…

—Scott

 

Money for nothing and the chicks for free…well, maybe not…

 

Knock me down, dust me off, and get back up…

I never expected the Baltimore Orioles to catch the Yankees in the AL East in the month of September.  All season, I’ve been expecting the O’s to run out of gas and drop off the pace.  It was the Tampa Bay Rays that I was most fearful of.  At one time, the Yanks had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, but sluggish play in August and now September allowed the O’s to catch the division leaders.

Fortunately, a night later, the Yankees are back up by one game after defeating the Rays, 6-4, while the O’s lost to the Toronto Blue Jays by the same score.

I keep hearing the excuses of injuries but every team deals with its share of setbacks.  It is how the teams respond to adversity that defines the winners from the losers.  After the Yankees had defeated the Orioles in the second game of a recent three-game set (a game the O’s should have won), I thought the Yankees had turned back Baltimore’s threat.  But in the third game, the Yanks fell flat and the O’s walked away winning two of three.  That set the stage for this week’s tie as the Yankees continued to under-perform.

I knew that tonight’s game with the Rays was a “statement” game.  The Yankees needed to show who they are and what we can expect in the coming days and weeks.  It was a close game and less than stellar start for pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, but the Yankees got the all important “W” so that’s all that matters.  Now, they need to continue upon the momentum and kick this into a short (or long) winning streak.

I have been worried that the Yankees didn’t really add any reinforcements at the trading deadline.  Being forced to use Freddy Garcia in the starting rotation or over-exposing aging vets like Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez is not a good thing.  I had been hopeful that either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos would step up at some point this year after the season-ending loss of Michael Pineda in spring training, but injuries wiped out the talented duo.

I’d like to think the Yankees have the horses to win the World Series, but I do not.  I think they’ll persevere and win the AL East, but admittedly, I do not feel they’ll advance very deep in the play-offs.  Inferior pitching and the lack of timely hitting will again prove to be their Achilles Heel.  I am still convinced the Texas Rangers will once again represent the American League in the World Series.  Perhaps this is their year to finally win it.  I’d love it if the Yankees got hot and went on a roll that took them deep into October, but I just don’t see it happening.

Aaron Rodgers-Lite, is that too much to ask?…

As we move into the NFL season, it’s tough when your team (Minnesota Vikings) is picked to be on the fast track to a top pick in next year’s draft.  There is talent on the team so I don’t see anything close to 0-16, but Christian Ponder certainly needs to step up his game.  He has the intelligence and the ability to do it so time will tell.  It’s not going to hurt having T Matt Kalil watching his back.  Hopefully, the Vikings can regroup to the point that they are a championship caliber team by the time the new stadium opens.

Win a championship, lose to the Cowgirls…

Well, the NFL Season has opened and the Dallas Cowboys lead the rest of the league by one game.  Let the games begin!

–Scott

 

What happened to the Yankees’ Arms Surplus?…

 

Locked and not loaded?…

Worst case scenario seems to be playing out with news that Michael Pineda’s shoulder is cause for concern.  Everybody has wondered who would be the odd man out of the rotation, given the strong spring performances by Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes. There’s been talk of moving either of those two or Ivan Nova to the bullpen, but all things considered, that’s not an ideal spot for any of the three.  I was hopeful that Yankees could find some trade value in Garcia to move him and make room for the others, given that Andy Pettitte looms on the not-so-distant future.  Yesterday, there were indications that Michael Pineda needed to have a strong performance to nail down his much anticipated spot in the rotation.  I didn’t watch the game, but I checked the box score in later innings with the score tied 7-7 only to see that Pineda had given up 6 runs in the first two innings.  Not exactly a strong performance.  Then, this morning, there were reports about Pineda’s shoulder.  He’ll be going for a MRI, but this could get worse, much worse.

Hopefully, the problems with the shoulder are minor and Pineda can recuperate with some rest.

Even though the Yankees ultimately won the exhibition match-up with the Phillies, it was a very costly game with the possible injury to Pineda, as well as reliever Cesar Cabral (elbow).  Both injuries make Joe Girardi’s decisions for the starting rotation and second lefty in the pen much easier.  At this point, it would appear that the rotation will be CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia.  There could be some shuffling of the last three, dependent upon who’s ready when based on how they’re currently lined up with their respective pitching schedules.  If Cabral is out, it opens the door for Clay Rapada to take the second lefty role behind top lefty Boone Logan.

I prefer striking out the opposing team…

I didn’t fully understand the move with Russell Branyan.  He was released from his minor league deal, and then re-signed to a new minor league deal at a savings of $100,000 to the Yankees.  The money would seem inconsequential, so I wonder if there had been an opt-out clause or something else in the contract that would have been triggered causing the need for the re-negotiation.  It’s not exactly like I’m expecting much from Branyan at this point of his career.  It’s hard to get expected about high strikeout guys like Branyan, but of course, the Yankees added to the fodder with the signing of Jack Cust.  I do not see either as a viable alternative to what the Yankees already have.

Is bashing the Yankees the only way to be beloved in New England…

Enough about the recent tie between the Yankees and Red Sox recently.  I don’t blame Joe Girardi for his decision not to play extra innings in their game with the Red Sox, resulting in a tie.  After the game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine ripped the Yankees, saying that it cost a minor league pitcher, Clayton Mortensen, his opportunity to impress in an effort to make the team.  Subsequently, Mortensen has been making disparaging remarks about Girardi and the Yankees.  Seriously?  The guy’s career is going to be determined by one inning of pitching in a meaningless exhibition game?  Yeah, it was the Yankees, but guys don’t make major league rosters just because they play the Yankees well.  I think the other teams in the league have something to say about it.  If Valentine felt that Mortensen had a legitimate shot to make the roster, then he would create the opportunity in the spring schedule to showcase Mortensen.  His only opportunity to impress the Red Sox wasn’t that meaningless game with the Yankees.  For so much ink to be devoted to the unhappiness of Valentine and Mortensen is absolutely ridiculous.

There’s room in the Bronx for Maxwell…

I am hopeful the Yankees find room on the roster for outfielder Justin Maxwell.  Hopefully, with fourth outfielder Andruw Jones slated to share some DU time with Raul Ibanez, there will be the need to carry a fifth outfielder.  I like Maxwell’s athleticism in the outfield, and he is a good role player.

Have Bat, Will Travel…

Speaking of Ibanez, he is finally starting to hit, but I still can’t get his slow start with the Phillies last year out of mind.  I know that he had decent numbers by the end of the year, but I don’t like streaky players and at 40, Ibanez is not going to improve with age.  It’s too bad that Jorge Posada was not able to more fully embrace the DH role.  If he had, he probably would not have been put in the position of having to retire in the off-season.  But that’s water under the bridge, so I hope the Yankees find a suitable and consistent bat at DH as early in the season as possible.  If Ibanez surprises me, and is the guy, so be it.  Just be prepared to bring the bat every day, that’s all I ask.

Finally…

Good luck to Joba Chamberlain on his recovery.  I do hope that he is able to achieve his goal of pitching this season.  Who knows if he’ll ever be the pitcher we thought he would be, but we surely won’t know if he’s not pitching…

Well, the new baseball season is upon us.  Best of luck to everyone and their respective teams.  At this moment, we all have the chance for October glory.  Well, not really, but the standing don’t know any differently.  May the best team win!

–Scott

Did Santa skip Yankee Stadium this year?…

 

The Bear is sleeping…

With the Yankees in hibernation for the winter, there’s not much for us Yankee fans to talk about.  The latest speculation centers on catcher Jorge Posada and where he might end up.  Of the three teams mentioned (Rays, Phillies, and Orioles), I don’t see Jorge as a good fit.

In Tampa, he’d back up his former back up, Jose Molina.  I suppose that he could earn additional starting time by the virtue of his superior bat, but why tarnish a great Yankees legacy by playing for a key divisional rival.  Same goes for the Orioles.  I think there’s a strong chance for Jorge to get pushed aside in either organization for younger, cheaper talent.  Neither the O’s or the Rays would be beholden to Posada as he didn’t carve out a borderline Hall of Fame career in their uniforms.  As for the Phillies, it would probably be a good way for one last shot at the World Series, but the Phillies have emerged as a chief rival for the Yankees.  He wouldn’t start for the Phillies, and his pinch-hitting opportunities and DH duty in interleague play would be limited with Jim Thome on the roster.

I would still like to see Jorge go to the Miami Marlins as a best-case scenario if he decides to continue playing.  He lives in Miami, and the team is in the opposing league.  They are not a natural rival by geography, and he wouldn’t tarnish his Yankees legacy.  But as Nick Cafardo said in his Boston Globe column yesterday, “Hope Jorge Posada retires as a Yankee”.

Short-term rental looks better every day…

With the list of prospective pitchers dwindling, I am in favor of a short term signing (such as Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson).  The recent trades of Mat Latos to the Reds and Gio Gonzalez to the Nationals has shown that the price is sky high for young, talented pitchers.  Giving up Jesus Montero and Manuel Banuelos in any trade would be a mistake.  I am not sure if this is akin to 1995 when Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera may have been considered potential prospect trade bait, but still, I’d rather see what the future holds with Montero and Banuelos than without.  I think that either Oswalt or Jackson would be a better option than either Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia, and would allow the Yankees more time to work on a more equitable trade or seek potential help in the 2012 free agent market.

Strengthening your team with ex-Yankees…

I really do not want to see the Boston Red Sox weaken the Yankees’ bench by signing Andruw Jones.  The Yankees had a great fourth outfielder in 2011, and they need to make his return a priority.  This is an area that I’ve been greatly disappointed by the continued silence.  I really do not feel that Justin Maxwell, Chris Dickerson or Melky Mesa can fill Andruw’s shoes.

Just like the Los Angeles Angels crept up and became the star of the Winter Meetings (overtaking the Miami Marlins), I keep expecting the Red Sox, who have been very dormant this winter despite their acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon, to make a big splash to improve their 2012 team for new manager Bobby Valentine.  It could be the signing of Hiroki Kuroda (whom the Yankees are also interested in) or a trade for the Cubs’ Matt Garza, but if they do improve, it will be difficult for the Yankees to adjust.

The Winter of (Y)our Discontent…

I never thought I’d feel bad for the New York Mets, but it has to be tough for their fans to watch their team move into rebuilding mode when every other team in the division has gotten better.  The Mets would appear to have a stranglehold on fifth place in their division, with no competition.  There is no great joy in watching the Mets as a defeated organization.

Don’t wake the Beast…

It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report in less than two months.  Of course, I am in Minnesota and it’s sunny with an expected high today of nearly 50 degrees.  Nothing is what you expect, or I suppose you could say what it seems.  There’s a winter beast that will soon be awakened in Minnesota.  Does the same hold true for The Bronx?…

 

–Scott

Congratulations to the Champs…


Congratulations to Bruce Bochy and the World Champion San Francisco Giants!  It was an improbable series win (at least from the perspective at spring training).  It clearly showed the power of pitching and why the Yankees MUST throw $$$ at Cliff Lee…

Nevertheless, tonight belongs to the Giants.  They proved they are the champions of baseball and finally, the city of San Francisco has a baseball world championship to add to its long history of accomplishments.


Gutierrez/AP




Enjoy it…for now.  The Yankees will be back…

–Scott

The End of the Road…

 

Thus endeth the season…



The Yankees season is over after a bitter Game 6 loss where their offense fails to show up once again. The 6-1 drubbing ends their chance at a repeat title as the Rangers advance to their first World Series.</p>
<p><br><br>Follow our galleries on Twitter <a href="<a href=http://twitter.com/NYDNPhotos&quot; target="_blank">@NYDNPhotos</a>.” />

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch.  The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August.  Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years.  The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez.  But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching. 



... David Robertson, who let up the homer, can't do much once it's in the air.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average.  Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies. 

 

A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year.  I am not sure what happened.  He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before. 
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire.  He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent. 

 

I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL.  At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy.  If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him. 

 

Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success.  He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level.  He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming. 
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team.  That’s
probably true.  As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
year. 

 

The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake.  As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him.  Those fears turned out
to be justified.  A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back. 

 

I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff.  The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season. 
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club.  So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
signing Lee.



Texas' ace Cliff Lee throws two perfect innings to start the game.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 

Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move.  Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club.  Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.



 


As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite. 
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome. 
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly.  Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance.  I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans.  I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series.  So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.



Sisters Julia Erle and Melissa Erle watch Game 4 of the N... Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle

Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle

 


Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series.  I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys.  The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year.  So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance. 
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them.  However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited.  When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game. 
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family. 
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game.  My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph.  Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill.  He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession.  It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan. 



... and the fireworks light up the Arlington skyline.

Antonelli/NY Daily News

 


Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope. 
However, the prospects do not look good at this point.  The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks.  Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction.  As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm.  I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year. 
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too. 

 

So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…

 

–Scott


A September To Forget…


The going gets tough, the Yankees decide to bail…



 


The Yankees should be able to clinch the Wild Card
slot at some point, but I’ve given up hope of taking the AL East unless things
change very quickly.  The Tampa Bay Rays
have great momentum right now, and the Yankees don’t.  So far this month (going into Saturday’s
game), the Yankees are 10-12.  When you’re
racing for the pennant, that kind of record is not going to get it done
(obviously).  The Yankees’ magic number
remains at 3.  With a single win against
the Red Sox, they could reduce the number to 1 but at this point, the Red Sox
are playing like the superior team and they certainly have not given up
hope.  After the end of the home stand
against Boston, the Yankees take to the road to play the Blue Jays and the Red
Sox (both challenging places to play). 



 


This month, the Philadelphia Phillies have definitely
shown they are ‘in it to win it’.  They’ve
clearly distanced themselves from the Atlanta Braves and they’ll head into the
play-offs as the hottest team in the National League.  It’s been a great season for the Cincinnati
Reds, but I think the Phillies, even with their injuries, are the better
team.  The trading deadline pick-up of
Roy Oswalt was huge and it gave the Phillies pitching superiority (even against
the likes of the San Francisco Giants who boast a very strong rotation).  Speaking of the Giants, they’ve also been
playing good baseball and currently lead the NL West by a slim margin.  I like the Giants as an underdog if they can
stay on top against the San Diego Padres, but I don’t think anyone is going to
beat the Phillies and they’ll head to the World Series for the third straight
year.



Shane Victorino is congratulated by Placido Polanco after giving the Phillies an early lead with a leadoff home run. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Michael Bryant, Philly.com, Staff Photographer

 


Back to the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays and
the Minnesota Twins are playing the best baseball.  As much as I would like to say “Rays suck!”
or “Twins suck!” or “Yankees are going to win it again!”, the truth is that the
AL Championship Series will most likely feature the Rays and the Twins.  The Rangers are fading and of course so are
the Yankees.  If the Yankees’ freefall
results in a miraculous achievement of the play-offs by the Boston Red Sox, it
will definitely rank as one of the greatest September flops in recent
memory. 



RETURN FRIGHT: Javier Vazquez (above) was battered around in his return to the Yankees, allowing eight runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 9-3 loss last night at Tropicana Field. Reuters

Reuters

 


In the NL, the Atlanta Braves and the Colorado
Rockies are fading, and the Padres aren’t far behind.  For a time this season, I thought the Padres
were the team to beat, but now they’re fighting to make the play-offs. 



Miguel Tejada and first base coach Rick Renteria after Tejada's 2-rbi single in the 7th.

John R. McCutchen/San Diego Union-Tribune

 


At this point, it is hard to visualize the 2010
World Series involving any teams other than the Tampa Bay Rays and the
Philadelphia Phillies (a repeat of the Phillies’ championship year in
2008).  More than likely, the outcome
will be the same.



 


Congratulations to my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants
), for winning the latest wager between she and I.  With today’s 7-2 victory, the Boston Red Sox
have ensured that they will take at least two of the three games in the Bronx
and they’ll go for a sweep on Sunday.  I
guess the Yanks could have used those 6 home runs today instead of yesterday.  The Yankees, now 10-13 for September,
continue to give the Red Sox hope that they can reach high enough to eclipse
the Yanks for the Wild Card slot.  The
Sox are now just 5 ½ games behind the Yankees. 
I guess there’s a Red Sox cap on its way to my home in CA… 
L



0925berkman.JPG

Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger 



Maybe I think a motivational pep talk by Tony
Dungy.  Then again, it didn’t seem to
help the Yankees.  Let’s hope that next
weekend is more exciting than this weekend is turning out to be…





–Scott


Life is Better…When You Are a Yankees Fan…

 

Yankees fans are everywhere…

 

 

Even the Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre admittedly that he was pulling for the Yankees during the World Series.  Okay, maybe he has good reason, but you can find us Yankee fans in the most unlikely places.  Don’t look now, but the person standing next to you could be a Yankees fan!  ;)

 

 

Of course, in a championship year, that’s the problem.  Suddenly, everyone is a fan.  In the down years, not many people admitted they were Yankees fans.  I have stood by the team through thick and thin, but I recognize that the good times have outweighed the bad times.  As a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, I knew the heartbreak of championship losses (four Super Bowl losses in the Joe Kapp/Fran Tarkenton eras).  The Vikings have never won a championship and they haven’t been in the Super Bowl since that dreadful 32-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders on January 9, 1977.  I am still haunted by the visions of Brent McClanahan’s fumble, Willie Brown’s 75-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Chuck Foreman sitting on his helmet with a blank expression at the end of the game.

 

 

 

Anyway, I digress.  “Yankees fan” Joe Torre was in New York for his annual Safe at Home foundation benefit dinner, and he indicated he was pleased the Yankees won the World Series.  That was good to hear, particularly considering that he would have every reason to hold bitterness against the Steinbrenners and Yankee top brass for how the end of his managerial reign was handled.  Don’t worry Joe, we would have pulled for you had the situation been reversed.

 

 

 

It does sound like Joe wants to continue to manage beyond 2010.  He is still having fun, but I still think his wife will eventually help him realize that it’s time to step aside and turn over the team to Donnie Baseball.  So, I guess the question is how many World Series championships can Joe Girardi win before Joe Torre retires?  ;)

 

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John Munson/The Star Ledger 

 

I was sad to hear the situation in Texas with former Yankees closer John Wetteland.  The initial reports came out that he was hospitalized for depression and attempted suicide.  His employer, the Seattle Mariners (where he is bullpen coach), stated that the hospitalization was due an elevated heart rate.   Wettleland has since been released from the hospital but regardless of what happened, I hope that he gets the care and treatment that he needs. 

Watching Mariano Rivera set up Wettleland in 1996 was a thrill, and I remember being a bit unsure when the team made Rivera the closer following Wetteland’s free agent departure that winter.  Wetteland was a great Yankee, even if his stay was short.  He deserves much happiness and success, so I hope all goes well in his world.

 

 

Did you see that Derek Jeter has a cameo appearance on Will Ferrell’s next film, “The Other Guys” which also stars Mark Wahlberg?  I guess he’s starting to contemplate a career post-Yankees.  But of course, the Yankees have a few more championships to win before that happens!

 

 

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Hey Derek, stick with the day job!  ;)

 

–Scott

 

 

 

We are the Champions of the World!…

 

The 2009 World Champions!…

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

I knew that Andy, at his best would give up about 3 or 4 runs, and I had a feeling that this would come down to the bullpen. 

 

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On my FaceBook page, I started the day by posting this Bob Lemon quote:

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the two most important things in life are good friends and a good bullpen.”

Those words rang true as the game ultimately came down to the strength of the Yankees bullpen.  Damaso Marte did an outstanding job, but in the end, it was the legendary Mariano Rivera who delivered the 27th World Championship to New York.

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

Deservedly so, Hideki Matsui was named the Series MVP.  At this point, I simply cannot imagine a scenario where the Yankees allow the clutch bat of Matsui to walk in the off-season.  More than likely, this means the end of Johnny Damon’s Yankee career.  But I fully expect to see Godzilla in Tampa next spring.

 

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

 

It was sad that George Steinbrenner could not be in attendance, but perhaps this championship was for Hal Steinbrenner.  In 1923, the original Yankee Stadium opened with a World Championship.  In 2009, it’s a new stadium but the same result.  What a way to christen the new home of Aura and Mystique! 

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

Manager Joe Girardi earned the number on his back, and he can always wear it with pride.  He personally delivered it to the fans of New York, and it will be great to see the parade return to the Big Apple. 

 

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Is there anyone who doesn’t believe that Mariano Rivera will be a first ballot Hall of Famer?  It has been tough for closers to gain entry to Cooperstown, but the legend of Mo Rivera will be long remembered.  He is the greatest closer in Yankee history, and certainly one of the best ever in Major League baseball.

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

Going away from the Series, I have to say that I am glad the Yankees didn’t have to face Chase Utley more than they did.  The guy is a stud, and certainly one of the premier players in the game.  Cliff Lee also proved that he is truly an ace.  It’s not like he had anything to prove before the Series, but on the grandest stage of all, he showed that he is a champion.  There is no doubt that the Phillies will be back…

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images

 

A World Championship celebration in the Bronx…the way it was meant to be.  Life is good.

 

Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez score on Hideki Matsui's two-run double in the fifth as New York Yankees win their 27th championship.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

Hey Julia, I am ready for Opening Day 2010!  Bring on the Red Sox!  My friend, it is Game On!

 

 

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