Posts Tagged ‘Yankees’

3/27/13: Springtime For Astros: The Last Days

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Brandon Barnes hit another homer and made a great catch and gunned out a fast runner at home. Ah luuuvvv Brandon Barnes. Drafted in the 6th round of the 05 draft – guess Purpura got a few of em right – not once on any sort of prospect list, top 10 list, all star list. And here he is. And if things go well, pretty soon he’ll be the starting CF instead of the PH/DR.

Watched the replay of yesterday’s tie game (mlbtv – YES network). Hadn’t really carefully watched CC since he threw for the Brewers those glorious days back in 08 – things just might have gone a lot better for them instead of being reduced to having re-signing Yuni Betancourt (can’t hit, can’t run, can’t field and is, by all accounts, NOT a good clubhouse guy).

CC didn’t have his no-hit on, that’s fer sher. Walked Altuve, caught him stealing. Their catcher, Chris Stewart, is the first guy I’ve seen behind their plate in years who didn’t have spaghetti for an arm. Then he gave up 3 straight doubles, all on breakers that didn’t, and an RBI single. They’ve got Texan Vernon Wells in left – the Angels were grinning ear to ear and so were the Yankees because apparently, because of how accounting works, them paying him 8 mill a year is counted AGAINST their salary cap. Don’t ask me to explain THAT one. They’ve got ICHIRO!! in right and his legs and arm look every bit of their 39 years. Brett Gardner, in center is a Brandon Barnes clone (hehhehheh).

So the Stros were up 3-0 after the top of the first. Carlos Pena, by the way, was in the lineup. I can’t believe that Bo Don’t Knoe that Carlos Pena hasn’t been able to hit leftys in 3 years. But whatever.

Watched Jeff Ace Peacock closely. For 4 innings, except for a hit by pitch, he got 1,2,3 out. Then, with the last out of the 4th, he had a dead easy groundball hit right to Ronny Cedeno, who bobbled it. Might as well have been Tyler Greene. He then gave up a single to lefty Travis Hafner (Cleveland’s former DH who has spent the last 3 or something years on the DL) right through the shift, which WAS extreme, but Wells popped out to shallow center. He was throwing a 91 MPH FB, which he spotted pretty well, a low 80s breaker, which was working, and a very nice curve, which worked sporadically.

Brandon hit a homer over the LF fence in the 4th.

Astros 4 Yanks 0

By the way, have I mentioned yet that the DH sucks? I really miss seeing what they are gonna do when it’s time for the pitcher to hit. Yes, I like watching pitchers hit because it is one of the biggest youneverknows in baseball.

5th inning – Pena draws a walk – one of the 2 things he can do against leftys, besides swing wildly. With Jason Maxwell up, Carlos Pena gets caught stealing and no I am not kidding – seriously WFT is Carlos Pena doing stealing? He’s a guy having trouble going from first to third on a single to right. We have 4 leadfoots on this team – him, Carter, Fernando Martinez and Brett Wallace. They should NOT be stealing bases.

Peacock has thrown 51 pitches by the end of the 4th. He had a 9:4 first pitch strike to ball ratio (until the E6) and he’s having a bit more trouble locating (from what I could see with the crappy camera angle, the ump was very fair, and the YES guys thought so too). Peacock got most of his outs with flyouts – Maxwell did some running as did Barnes in right (he’s in right because Maxwell is the Designated Center Fielder in spite of the fact that Barnes is far better). Carter, fortunately, did not have to move much and there was no opportunity to check out his arm.

Anyway, Peacock gave up a walk to Eduardo Nunez (substituting for His Jeteriness), who promptly stole second when Cedeno dropped the ball on the swipe tag. Roll eyes.

6th – got to watch Mo Rivera, the greatest Yankee who ever played. Or is that His Jeteriness? I forget. Where was I? Oh yeah – looked great – the usual shattered bats, weakass grounders and a Barnes easy floyout.

Now Wesley Wright – that’s another story – he continued his really lousy spring. In the 6th, everyone except Barnes and Corporan were pulled and in went Singleton at first, Crowe in left (already assigned to the minors), Michael Burgess (minors) in right with Brandon moving to CF, Marwin st short and Brandon Laird at 3rd.

Started of bad because Singleton is a born DH – neither he nor Wesley handled the first dead easy groundout and there was an E1 to start. Followed by a double to Youkilis off the LF wall, then another single by Hafner right through the shoft again, and a terrible overthrow error by Burgess allowing him to go to second – 1 runs already in. No outs, men on second and third. In comes Chuckie Fick, already assigned to AAA, to pour gas on the fire. Gets a K, walk, groundout, single to left, but Trevor Crowe guns down Juan Rivera trying to score. Tie game, 4 all.

Astros didn’t manage to score against David Robertson, RHP, their 8th inning guy (I think) or Joba and his moustache (here and I thought the Yankee players weren’t allowed to have any face hair) or leftys Boone Logan and Valdo Nuno.

Josh Fields looked very good – he doesn’t throw hard, must have a VERY deceptive delivery, although it’s hard for me to see why. single, groundout to third – on which Brandon Laird makes a FANTASTIC play, Cano out on a wicked curve, Youk swings at something.

Rhiner Cruz, who I think has made the team, pitches – double to Hafner, then a failed bunt to Ben Francisco (yeh, the name IS familiar – one of the dungheap pickups last year who got 90 PA before being released), then a WP advancing Hafner to third, then a flyout to center and Brandon Barnes and his arm gun down Hafner at the plate with an absolutely PERFECT throw.

Jose Valdez, pitching the 9th, gets a HBP, swinging K to some minor leaguer, then a 6-4-3 to some minor leaguer.

10th inning – Fernando Martinez, DH in place of Pena, reaches on a dead easy E4. Nolan Fontana, one of The Pimped Ones at A ball, pinch runs and goes to second on a balk. Burgess singles, Fontana, who is very fast, goes to third, Burgess ALERTLY to second on the throw. Burgess is fast, too (is reminding me of Jason Bourgeois). OK, men on second and third, no outs.

Then, we have big time rookie effup. Corporan hits an infield grounder right to the SS and Fontana, running on contact with NO outs, not making sure the ball gets through, breaks for hom and is a dead easy out at home. VERY bad, unless he was specifically instructed to break for home on contact, which is a stupid instruction. Especially bad because Laird flew out to center, and it woulda been a sac-fly and the game winner. And if THAT hadn’t done it, Brandon Barnes flyout to the Wall in right shre woulda have. Instead, it’s still tied.

Andrew Robinson (WHO??) RHP, who is actually our 12th round pick in the 2010 draft, pitches the last inning, getting 1,2,3 out with a single. The batters were all minor leaguers, like him, but still, very good.

Will be VERY interesting to see what becomes of the infield situation, especially with Brandon Laird, who, because of options, is starting the year at AAA. Trouble is that only Marwin and Cedeno can actually PLAY short. But Astros should count their blessings – they snapped up Cedeno before the Brewers, who re-signed Yuni Betancourt. Wonder if Luhnow would have even considered him.

Youneverknow…

10/16/12: Saint Louis Is Saint Lousy And The Tigers Win Game 3 ALCS

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I can’t bring myself to root for Chris Carpenter. It’s something that can’t be done, so I was surprised and delighted that he didn’t manage to last 4 innings last night and got his ass kicked thoroughly by Matt Holliday – who couldn’t field or throw or run worth spit.

I was – like, whatever – on the slide that knocked out Scutaro. Yeah, he started the slide a leeeetle late, yeah, he’s  a clod on the basepaths, yeah, his arm kind of hooked Scutaro. But at least Holliday actually went OVER the ****ing bag and I see runners ALL THE TIME who don’t bother to even stay in the basepath or go anywheres NEAR the bag.

Whoever thought that Ryan Vogelsong would turn out to be the Giants’ ace?

And what in the name of GAWD has happened to Hunter Pence? It’s like he’s regressed waaaayyy worse than his worst times during his second year. I thought he’d finally turned himself into a waayy above average ballplayer, but here in his walk year, he looks like a 5th OF at best. He’s only hit ONE ball with authority this entire postseason and that was an out – heck – in the last week of the season too, pretty much. He looks terrrible on the basepaths and he’s breaking wrong on a lot of the fly balls, in spite of making one really great catch in the first series.

The thing that really is unbelieveable to me is the anti-Cards sentiment floating around. The Cards are NOT “the new Yankees” in any way, shape or form. They didn’t do an Arod contract with Uncle – they let him walk. They don’t sign up all the mega free agents. They sign top notch guys like Jeff Suppan and Braden Looper and Kyle Lohse. They trade for Jake Westbrook. I don’t see any highly sought after FA signing big contracts. They signed Lance Berkman – thought to be fat (he wasn’t) and washed up (he wasn’t) and Furcal. I mean, not exactly top tier FA.

So this is HARDLY Yankees. And it’s not exactly like Yankees take a chance on some washed up guy like Berkman or Weaver. Or Chris Carpenter, for that matter. And being angry because Dave Duncan or the Cards hitting coaches and/or minor league instructors make chicken soup out of chicken poop is certainly NOT Yankees.

I understand TLR hate (trust me on THAT one) but he’s gone. What I’m hearing is stuff like – well, it’s nottttttt fairrrrrrrr that they sign all these borderline whozat guys and for some strange unknown reason, they do great (remember the carcass of Jeff Weaver?) and they have almost no failures. And besides, they won the WS in 06 when they slipped in as WC with 83 wins and last year they only got in as WC because the Braves did a RedSox in September so that’s not fairrrrrr neither.

OKAYYYYYY

So where is all the – well, how TERRIBLE is it that the 105 win 2004 Cards lost to the wild card RedSox? So where is all the – how TERRIBLE is it that the 97 win 2002 Cards lost to the wild card Giants? Where is all the – how TERRIBLE is it that the 100 win 2005 Cards lost to the 89 win WC Astros?

I know about the purists hating the WC, especially if the WC has a lower Win total than some other team. Or if a division winner wins 83 games. But it’s like this – if there are going to be 30 teams, and you only want the top team in each league playing just like BITGOD when there were 8 teams/league, MLB is gonna lose a TON of money/fans because 24 teams will be out of it from May on. This isn’t BITGOD. There are tons of sports/sports channels and wonderful gripping Reality Programs like HoneyBooboo and Kartrashians competing for eyeballs and going back to the Old System ain’t gonna cut it.

Now me, I hate interleague and would prefer a balanced schedule, so that there is SOME kind of fairness, but that has nothing to do with Wild Cards. And getting lucky in a Short Series. Or having a hot streak because this is baseball and streaks happen.

But, this sudden Cards Hate thingy might could be fun – see how long I would continue life as I know it if I told my Mama that she is now a “New Yankees” fan…

Truth is, I think most fans are peeved because they wanted to see the Nationals. Sounds a lot like the Braves hate when I was a kid. The – but they’re in it EVERY year and they have the best pitchers always so it’s notttt fairrrrrrrrrr.

So tonight, I went and watched some DH ball. No Jeter, natch, because of the broke ankle, and ARod benched AGAIN. It is to laugh, all the folks who wanted to see him playing SS again. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? He hasn’t played there for 9 YEARS and he’s 37 and isn’t exactly a great 3rd baseman and I would bet he’d make Jeter look good. This is NOT like giving Craig Biggio an inning at catcher for his last game in the majors, you know.

Most notable – the ump AGAIN gave Verlander a gigantic strike zone, especially on the outside corner. Is this a conspiracy or something? This is a great deal of help because the Yankees are an old and patient team who take lots of pitches and tonight, Verlander threw a LOT of pitches way out of the zone – and even they got called balls. He got 15 pitches I count that were balls that were called strikes and no pitches that were strikes that got called balls. If I was a Yankees fan, I would be VERY unhappy. Of course, I would also be unhappy that the hitters basically did like nothing with pitches that WERE in the zone.

Tigers hitters looked like Astros out there, leaving men on base at an unbelieveable rate. They were lucky to win at all. They won on a Miggy Cabrera double to right center (record 16 game hitting streak, by the way – ended with a 5-4-3 next AB) that Curtis  Granderson misjudged – bad jump, slow to get there. It looed as if the Delmon Young homer would be enough, but Edward Nunez, who, unlike the guy he replaced, dived AND GOT THE BALL, homered off an obviously tired Verlander in the 9th after fouling off like 9 pitches.

Was not surprised that Leyland left Verlander in to finish up, seeing as how Valverde has been pitching batting practice and Leyland thought that Verlander could get Nunez out. He got lefty Brett Gardner out after EIGHT pitches. And the guy hadn’t had an AB since Oct 3 – and before that, Oct 1 and before that, mid-April. Lefty Phil Coke came in and managed to get the next 2 outs.

You talk about a crappy, badly played ballgame.

BUT

any game that is a Yankees loss is actually a good ballgame, right?

Looks like it’s gonna be a Red Cat year, all right.

Ex-Stro Jose Valverde Kicks Yankees Out Of 2011 Playoffs

Friday, October 7th, 2011

As usual last night, I was ridiculously busy with kidz -

life tip: anyone who thinks that babies and toddlers take lots of time ain’t seen NOTHIN compared to when kids start school. I mean, needing time and attention and, uh, persuasion (ahem) to do stuff like everything they don’t WANNA do. Which is a lot more than not just wanting to take a nap or eat anything without gravy on it. This is not including the time it takes to take them places and get em back, neither.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

So last night was ALDS Game 5 of Tigers vs Yecchies. Because of the rainout on Game 1, neither team could use its ace to starat. Sort of like what happened to (only) the Astros in 2005 because Brad Lidge, unlike Valverde, wasn’t NAILS in NLCS Game 5. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Both teams threw very VERY good pitchers out there – Doug Fister (what a, um, difficult – ahem – name for a boy to have, hunh? My young teenage cousins – males, of course – get all Beavis/Butthead over the name – huh huh huh) vs Ivan Nova. Media was all Up Set about it because they wanted to hand in their already written stories about Verlander vs Sabathia Round 2 and they had to “settle” for having to talk about 2 young pitchers who aren’t STAHS!!! or paid much.

I absolutely hate it when the Yankees win. By the way - I know there are real Yankees fans, meaning the folks who grew up in NYC/NY/NJ whose family had been fans, or the kids were fans since they grew up watching the team. You rooted for the Yanks in like 89/90/91 when they were basically the Astros 89/90/91 with a richer, crazier owner, you are the real thing. I respect that – I do. And those folks are not who I talk about when I talk about hating Yankees fans/Yankees Organization in general. Yankees Entourage “fans” to me are kind of like the party girls/groupies who go to where the rich people hang to try to, uh, party (ahem) with the STAHS!!! – including guys they couldn’t differentiate from dried paint if they weren’t rich/famous. But they want a piece (hahahaha) of that pie (and yes, males are just as guilty of, uh, sucking up – ahem – to money/fame people).

Anyway, I turned on the game (while trying to get kidz to do stuff like homework and pick up their stuff ) it’s at the New Hideous – If You Ask How Much Tickets Cost To See Like A Royals Game, You Are Poor Trash – Stadium. Little Boys – well, actually, not exactly little no mo, suddenly remember that they are HUGE baseball fans and really REALLY wanna watch with Mami. Seriously, these are kids who would watch golf, or soccer, or paint dry if it got them out of having to submit to massive Gitmo-type torture perpetrated by their Mean Mami consisting of making them get their clothes out of the drier and put them away where they belong (drawers/closets – not floor, bed, counters, table, etc) than finishing homework.

Number 2 son announces – hey, no Suck-Stros, hahaha. Number 1 son says – hey, the Yankees, yeah!!! I hit the off button, looked at kids with THAT Look, told them, the other team is the Detroit Tigers and any person in this house not rooting for the Tigers can just go right NOW and do homework. Yankees are better, announces Number One Son, as he sulks his way back to the homework table (where I can keep an eye on kids and watch the game without missing a beat); Number 2 Son isn’t quick to be so mouthy – says, are there any Astros? Yeah, I told him – Jose Valverde, the closer with the gut who did all that dancing and fist shoving on the mound if he closed the game out. Number 2 son picks up the cue, pretends he remembers. ANYthing is better than spelling lists and vocabulary tests.

Meanwhile, the game – Ivan Nova, who is actually a product of the Yankees farm system who wasn’t given/thrown away because he had ANY difficulty in any game EVER (see, for example, Ian Kennedy) and a rookie who had an outstanding year, given the team he pitches for and the enormous burden of expectation of perfection, is pitching. He gets (ex-Yankee) Austin Jackson swinging on 4 pitches, then 31 year old utility guy Don Kelly (never heard of him before, but then again, I seldom watch DH-tainted pretending to be Real Baseball type games) takes an impossible strike, then hammers the next one, a hanging curve, over the RF wall. Hardly a moon shot, but hey, it’s a good sign all right. Very next pitch is a nice high FB and Delmon Young (more on him in a sec) hammers it to the upper deck in left.

7 pitches, 2-0 Tigers.

WOW, says #2 son. Number 1 son has already run over from his homework (any excuse will do, I told you) and number 3 son even comes over to check it out. Is he an Astro asks #3.

Nope, I told him. He was a big shot and he KNEW it – first guy picked the year you were born (03). He was 18, thought his excrement had no odor (translation for G-rating) and had additude all though the minors, and was kept there an extra year so as he might could learn to not act like a complete, uh, jerk. He came up when you were 3, hit pretty well, and the next year, in spite of not hitting or fielding well for a left fielder (91 OPS+) was second in the ROY voting. But he was 21, acting like 13, wasn’t a real too particular good fielder and he mouthed off too much to coaches trying to help him, so his whining ass got traded to Minnesota for a decent pitcher, Matt Garza. Minnesota had plenty of pitchers, they thought – although it really is true that you can’t really never have too much pitching, and they wanted an outfield bat. But Delmon was not even average for his first 2 years, then had his first good year hitting last year. And when he didn’t do well this year, and his team didn’t do well because their 2 best hitters were out sick almost all year, he got traded to Detroit for a couple of minor leaguers. Sort of a kick in the pants, you feelin me here?

Like Hunter Pence to the Phillies, only Hunter was a GOOD ballplayer and Delmon was not (the kids liked Hunter, and like most Astros fans, were ANGRY when Pence and Bourn were given away – I mean traded).

Anyway, Delmon did OK after the trade, so maybe he had grown up enough to understand that this was his Last Chance to behave.

Said calmly, not pointedly – just kind of offhand so as they could pretend they didn’t really hear even though they sure nuff did

After the inning was over, I shut the TV off – told the kidz they HAD to do homework first, Which was true, but a whole lot of me was afraid that Fister would go all Brett Myers in his half of the inning. I mean, with the baseball (hahaha). Yes, I love puns.

Went back to sneak a peek at the top of the 3rd, saw the score was still 2-0 and was really surprised to see Phil Hughes pitching. Checked out Gameday quickly, and Nova gave up a double, a groundout to second, a groundout to third and a 3-2 K – 10 pitches. I figured he must have been hurt, although the announcers didn’t say (and I try to keep the mute on as much as possible because I’ve been too spoiled by Brownie and JD to descend to the level of what passes for network announcers) but I considered it a very good omen. Not that I want someone to be injured, but that maybe guys who weren’t relievers would not do well relieving. No Scott Proctering though.

Fister lasted through 5 – had runners on in every inning but the second, included bases loaded 1 out in the 4th – but got the next 2 outs to strand em all. Gave up only a solo homer to Cano, now the best hitter on the Yankees, Jeter Worshippers notwithstanding.

Phil Hughes pitched 2 innings, then “ace” CC Sabathia came in to pitch the 5th with the score 2-1. He gave up a double to Jackson, the leadoff guy, got 2 swinging Ks, then, to my utter shock, he was told to IBB Miguel Cabrera to pitch to Victor Martinez. I mean, it was like watching Millsie-poo. WHY??? WHY!!!!! would your ace – your ACE, who is not tired, be instructed to intentionally walk a batter in his FIRST inning of work with 2 outs, man on second??? Cabrera is a great hitter, but Martinez isn’t exactly Mendoza. It’s one thing to IBB Cabrera to face a really tough lefty hitter, but another good righty? Your ACE??? Could it be deciding based on small sample size matchups of 5 fer 26 vs 9 fer 16? I think that throwing pitches out of the strike zone on purpose when the pitcher is going to be facing a GOOD hitter isn’t the smartest, and sure enough, Victor Martinez hits a single to center, scoring the run – Jackson was almost to third before the ball landed and no one could have thrown him out. Los Tigres 3 – 1.

Turned the TV off, made the kids go to bed – skool tomorrow, bus comes early, and it’s not the Astros.

Don Kelly, you know, the nobody utility guy who hit the first homer int he 1st, was switched to right, and in the 8th, he caught His Jeteriness’ long fly ball to the warning track. “Captain Clutch” and His Intangibles didn’t show up tonight – in fact, the Greatest Yankee EVAH!!!, well, except for The Great Mariano and His 600 saves- and yes, I am certainly including Ruth, Gehrig and Mantle who played Back Then when nobody realized that closer are far more important to the team that any guy who plays every day, had a .572 OPS for the 5 game series, 5 singles, 1 walk, a double, 2 RBIs – both in Game 4 with the 10-1 score, 1 stolen base and a grand total of 6 runs scored.

Anyway, Valverde comes in to close out the 3-2 game in the 9th as Husband and I sit to rootrootroot for the Ex-Stro and he mows down the heart of the Yankee lineup – Granderson, Cano and Alex Rodriguez, who hasn’t played a full year’s game since 07, and it’s 6 more years of 32 mill a year, too. And I keep yelling about the Clank deal…

So the Two Pimped Teams (yeah, I know the RedSux got eliminated on the last day of the season) are already out of it and all the network guys are screaming in agony. You spend all your airtime pimping pretty much only The Two Teams That Matter and after they are gone, mainstream fans are like – well, if the other series go to gave 7, we’ll tune in, maybe, to watch the Game 7 between the iforgetwhos. I mean, I know youse Network guys mention some other teams now and then so there must be some others and guess they hafta play SOMEone.

So Husband looks at me – says – you look like the cat who got into the cream (more on that later) and you know that Detroit got a BIG payroll, too. I said – yeah, but they play in like the 3rd most economically depressed city in the country – you talk about a bad market, and their owner spends money and puts a good team on the field. And somehow, they pack the place. So you gotta tip your cap.

I know all yall gonna ask if I’m gonna root for the Nolan Ryans vs the Tigers and I’m gonna tell you that I don’t care, really. Me, I’m pulling for the NL team and deciding which one (before tonight’s game) is tough. I would dearly love to see Lance get a Ring, but that means rooting for Uncle and TLR (shudder). I would dearly love to see Pence and Oswalt get a Ring – yeah, Roy is just about done for, but still, after all those years of ace-hood here, I’d still like it – in spite of having to root for The Big Money Team NL version. I’m kind of torn about the Brewers – I LUUUUVVVV Da Prince when he’s not facing us, but then again, I’d rather they or the Dbax move to the AL instead of us, and if one of em win a WS, gonna be tougher to have any leg to stand on, especially as the Astros now look like Pirates after 92 version 2.0…

The cat. Gotta tell all yall bout that (especially remembering Phat Stuff Dog and his incredible effect on the Astros run to the finish line 6 weeks before the end of the 04 season…)

I don’t like cats, never did, but my not like was seriously re-enforced bout the time I was 10 and was over at a friend’s and their cat jumped out from under a table as I was walking by and bit me on the ankle. I screamed so loud you coulda heard me in Pasadena and of course, I had to take icky medicine and get a shot. Since then, I get shut of cats. But the day before yesterday, I was sitting outside at a table with a couple of gf and suddenly, like out of nowhere, this cat materialized out of thin air (it’s what they do) and jumped up on the table.

He was a biggish tom, looked like a Siamese, only instead of light brown fur with dark brown ears and tail, I swear to God he had red, yes, red edges to his ears and tail (must have had some ancestor who is a ginger cat or something). We’d finished eating, so there wasn’t much of anything left except a few scraps of bread and fries, and in spite of the fact that he’s pretty scrawny, no collar or tag, he ignored the food, picked his way across the table, sat down in front of me and started with all this miaowing, caterwauling. I never heard a cat make so much noise, but I guess it’s the Siamese Cat way of life.

He’s sitting right in front of me, staring at me, and for some reason, instead of, I don’t know, just getting up before I got jumped on or scratched or whatever, I said, right to him, and don’t ask me why I was talking to a cat like he’s a Dog, because I don’t know why - I said, “I don’t like cats so GO AWAY!!!!”. But he didn’t move, just started up with a few miaows. So I glared at the cat and said – like, what, are you a Yankees fan or something? And he gave me one of those cat hisses showing his teeth, got up, jumped down and stalked away. It was to laugh.

So I took that as a good sign for the Tigers, you know what I’m sayin.

And in case you’re curious bout what happened to that cat, well, after we got up to go, I noticed him over with one of my gf at her car, him all rubbing up against her ankles, and all caterwaulin – never shut up for a second, and yeah, the little loudmouth SOB got hisself picked up and taken home.

Guess El Tigre knows how to play…

Tommy Manzella, RBI Man, Drives In 2 To Prevent Pettitte From Shutting Out Astros

Friday, June 11th, 2010

When the ballgame started, I was sitting in a vee-hickel being driven by someone who has XM radio and she turned on the Astros game. TheYankees announcers are actually incredibly worse than Milo and the Clounzz. Seriously. No, I mean it. John (the guy) is a maroon who forgets what he is saying in the middle of a sentence and talks as if everything done by any Yankee is a MIRACULOUS STUPENDOUS TREMENDOUS act – I can’t even begin to repeat the way he describes – all excited – Jeter The Perfect hitting a routine grounder to Keppinger. And the female repeats almost everything he says, word for word in an accent that is like drawing nails across a chalkboard.

She says something incredibly stupid about how the National Leaguer Pitchers don’t realize that they can’t nibble the corners and expect These Yankees to chase the ball (I checked gameday when I got home and in the first inning, not ONE pitch called a ball was ANYWHERES close to the strike zone.) What a maroon. What an imbezzel.

You’d think that with the Yankees’ $$$ they could afford announcers of Vin Scully quality. OK, there is NO ONE who is as good as Vin Scully, let’s be honest here. But there are guys like Alan Ashby who are zillion times better than those 2. It is amazing that anyone ever listens to their radio broadcasts at all.

Anyhow, the Stros were behind by 3 runs after the end of the first on a double, 2 walks and 2 singles.

Pettitte gave up a 10 pitch walk to Pence (who is looking better every game – no swinging at pitches out of the zone) then a single to Feliz (who didn’t groundout to third, for once) and then a 2 RBI single to Tommy, who looks to be heating up.

He also hit a long fly ball to deep center and led off the 8th with a single against Joba. Q, pinch hitting for Cash, hit a ball for a perfect 4-6-3, except that Captain Jeter, the greatest ballplayer who EVAH lived and is the most perfect human being, too, since Jesus Himself, dropped the ball and both runners were safe. Bourn sac-bunted, Kepp hit a sac-fly to score Tommy, then Lance got called out on a checked swing that was most DEFINITELY checked.

Bullstuff call #1. And Bullstuff call #2 was strike 3 to Pence vs The Mariano, which was unarguably NOT in the strike zone.

shrug

It’s the Yankees home park and that is how things go there.

shrug

I guess Andy really DIDN’T want to retire after the 06 season. He just won his 200th game with the Yanks.

Tomorrow, it’s Wandy vs Javier Vasquez

Last year, Javy threw 7 innings giving up 4 BB, 3 H, no runs. But he hadn’t faced the Astros since 7/06 (he got killt in that game – 9 ER) and so seeing as how only Berkman is left from that team, I don’t think that reporting the rest of his stats is particularly accurate.

With the Yanks this year, he’s been good (last 2 games vs the Orioles and Jays) and lousy (vs everyone else) so who knows HOW he will do tomorrow…

The Yankees Pick Up An Elite Pitcher For Almost Nothing And The Astros DO Nothing

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

For reasons unclear to me, many mainstream baseball writers refer to the 1950s as the “golden Age” of baseball, that is, when the New York Yankees won the WS or agt least were IN the WS every year. The only thing that is “gold” that I can see is the “gold” that went into the pockets of the men who owned the team. It’s no wonder that attendence fell precipitously in the AL. Why watch when the outcome is pre-determined?

In spite of luxury tax and revenue sharing, the Yankees are re-creating the 50s. With income streams from their own network and fancy new taxpayer funded stadium, they purchase the best players and use the rest of the teams to trade for great players who are paid more than they want to pay. So teams are easily and happily trading their good and sometimes CHEAP players (see Curtis Granderson) to the Yankees to avoid paying their salary, and in return for very little.

The Yankees just acquired Javier Vazquez from the Braves for Melky Cabrera, an average hitting and fielding centerfielder and 2 prospects who are most CERTAINLY not ready for prime time. They are picking up Vazquez’ 11.5 mill contract for Melky’s (approximately 3-4 mill one, perhaps paying that too, who knows) and giving up essentially nothing except a pitcher who throws hard but not accurately and some guy serveral years away from the majors.

I have always been opposed to salary caps, because I see it as a prime way for owners to cheat players out of money while increasing their own profits, but the Yankees easily affording to pay each one of their players an average salary of 9 million, as opposed to the next highest team’s average of 6 million, has gotten to the point in which there is essentially no reason for any other team to even bother to spend money. We have all turned into the 1950s Athletics.

I know that the networks all want the Yankees in the series every single year, but if you have the same team with all the money, winning every single year, eventually, people will lose interest in such a rigged game, just as they did the LAST time that no one stood a chance against the Yankees.

Now it is true that some of the teams with highER payrolls, such as the Mets and Cubs, have spent that money foolishly, but they still lack the extra 50-80 million to make things even with the Yankees. I know that many fans WANT the owners to make up the difference of 50-100 mill a year out of their OWN pockets, and make no profit, but let’s be real, no owner has spent HIS OWN MONEY on a baseball team since the early days of Ted Turner, and no owner is going to do that again. Bud Selig has made SURE of that.

I’m sure that for now, the player’s Union is fine with the status quo because the elite players will be earning zillions and the grunts, at leasts 400K (which is a lot more than most of them would earn if they had to actually earn real college degrees and, you know, like, WORK.) I don’t know how to deal with this problem, as eventually baseball games are going to be the equivalent of boxing matches between a 220 lb heavyweight champion and a arthritic old lady. In other words, there will be NO contest whatsoever, and unless you happen to be a Yankees fan, or someone who just happens to enjoy unequal contests, fans are going to stop being fans.

Well, not people who play fantasy baseball, but that is really not an interest in actual baseball GAMES, but an interest on playing games with 5 particular stats generated by each player. NOT teams.

And naturally, just like the steroids problem, MLB and ESPN and the players union will let things slide until such a time that there is some sort of serious problem, such as an owner who WANTS to win and won’t just shut up and take the dive and his 20-30 mill profit, and raises a serious stink. Even offers to make the team’s books public!!!

I can’t imagine even thinking of being a Jays/Rays/Orioles fan and knowing that the only way that my team has a chance to win is if every player on my team has a career year, the umps make a lot of bad calls that just happen to go our way, and that so many of the Yankee players go on the DL that even they can’t acquire enough replacements to succeed. (Being a Red Sox fan would be fine because we would get the WC anyway and in a short series, anything can happen.)

I have absolutely NO idea how a truly equal salary cap and floor could be generated other than by MLB itself, which would require each team to completely open its books to display ALL revenue streams up to and including its ticket resale companies, add all streams and divide by 30. But owners of popular franchises would object, especially those who make even more money than Forbes thinks they do. But I think the first owners to really start to scream are the owners of the next 5 highest payroll clubs, who are still outgunned by all the Yankee money, and aren’t ready to take a dive alone with the contented low payroll clubs.

sigh

I suppose a lot of people are just going to tell me that I am only upset because I don’t root for the Yankees, but a team with an inept GM and an owner whose foolishness has driven the franchise into a hole of the sort that will take years to emerge from (unless the owner decided to spend a very large amount of his OWN money, which is NOT going to happen.) The 40 man roster is already filled, as Ed Wade felt the absolute NEED to grab Jason Michaels, seeing as how he had 29 other teams eagerly bidding for his services, to complete the 40 man.

He can’t pick up waiver wire guys, can’t add any last minute Bobby Abreus, can’t do much of anything at all. In fact, he has done absolutely ZERO to IMPROVE this team, and frankly, I don’t believe that Lindstrom + Lyons will even equal Valverde + Hawkins, let alone improve on them. And on no planet, will Pedro Feliz be better than Blum plus Keppinger. Sure he can invite all SORTS of guys to Spring Training, but really, how many of them would have any chance of making the team at all, let alone make any sort of REAL contribution?

He CAN’T trade Lee (who again, has said ON THE RECORD that he will refuse all trades) and even if he could, I seriously doubt that Drayton would agree to eat a huge amount of yearly salary to obtain young players; he CAN’T trade Berkman, who doesn’t want to be traded in this last year of his contract; unless Roy demands a trade, no dice there either, as Drayton doesn’t want to trade Roy. He has essentially NO farm, he has NO trade chips, except Pence, who apparently, he is either unwilling to trade or what he would receive in return wasn’t worth it; he could, of course, trade Wandy, our only good pitcher, but either there is no market or Drayton won’t agree or Wade is afraid that the Astros will lose 100 games without a good pitcher (and unfortunately, Roy is on the downside of his career and Wandy is not.) He won’t/can’t release Kaz Matsui and use, trade for or purchase a better hitting second baseman.

The only way out of the hole is for Drayton to forfeit this year’s profits, spend some of his OWN money, and pick up some unwanted contracts like Javier Vazquez. Oh wait, too late.

sigh

Merry Christmas, everyone. And also Happy Hanaukah and also Happy Kwanzaa and also, to all a cheerful Holiday Season – I guess that cheer is only good for Yankees fans, but I digress…

6/14/09: Ex-Stro Fernando Nieve Beats Ex-Stro Andy Pettitte

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Fernando was called up by the Mets today to face the Yecchies at their new homerdome and he gave up 2 ER in 6.2 IP. Yes, my friends, that is 4 hits – 1 homer that barely made it over the shallow fence, and 2 walks vs The Mighty Yankees.

Andy Candy didn’t do near as well, giving up 12 H, 1 homer, 1 walk and 5 runs in 5 IP.

heh heh heh

Good for Fernando. Maybe he just needed a, um, different pitching coach.

****

BREAKING NEWS

The guys on BBTN actually gave Nando his props and broke down his game.

Awesome.

6/14/08: Wandy Rodriguez vs Mike Mussina

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

And now we have some fill-in MLB reporter named Krystin Oliphant, who says, in print, that the Minute-Maid crowd of 43K had come to see the other team. Take a long walk off a short pier, girlfriend.

And we’re supposed to be impressed that the opposing team’s former mayor of their city, a serial adulterer who actually brought his mistress to live in the governors’ mansion when he was still married – throws out the first pitch.

And I can sum up last night’s game – Shawn Chacon finally manages to keep runners from scoring – 3 hits, 1 solo homer, 4 BB, lasts 6.1 innings, gives up only 1 run, and Doug Brocail, of all people, gives up the game losing homer to Mr. Got 3 Gold Gloves even though he has the range of Kent and can’t even throw to first without jumping. Oh yeah, and I guess I should include THREE caught stealings including Berkman getting picked off second and Wiggy stealing second with 1 out in the 9th with the Astros trailing.

Yeah, I know that Wiggy has managed to steal a few bases, but he is NOT a good runner and that was NOT the time or place to try something so boneheaded.

sigh

Tonight it is Mike Mussina, RHP vs Wandy Rodriguez, LHP

The Astros ballclub has only faced Mussina once before, and only Lance Berkman remains on the team. Mussina has spent his entire career in the AL. He was drafted out of Stanford in the first round by the Orioles in 1990, was called up the next year for 12 starts and has been a top pitcher ever since. He’s never won a Cy Young, 20 games in a year†or even an ERA title, and career, he’s 259-148: 3.70 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .254 BAA. He had a lousy year last year – 5.15 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .311 BAA, but has bounced back this year, interestingly enough, the last year of his contract.

Let’s take a look at how Astros hitters do against Mussina:
Tejada: 20/51 with 3 doubles, 4 HR, 5 BB, 4 K; .392/.448/.686/1.135
Erstad: 10/40 with 2 doubles, 3 BB, 6 K
Carlos: 9/33 with 4 doubles, 1 HR, 0 BB, 6 K
Loretta: 5/21
Ausmus: 9/18 with 3 doubles and a BB (DAMM that was a long time ago…)
Wigginton: 5/16
Matsui: 2/12 with 1 HR
Blum: 2/6
Berkman: 1/2
This year, he’s 9-4 over 14 G with 75.1 IP – 41 R/32 ER, 10 HR, 11 BB, 42 K; 3.82 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, .277 BAA

His lineup is heavy with leftys, so I hope Wandy kicks some butt.
This year, Wandy is 2-2 in 7 GS over 40 IP: 18 R/9 ER (AHEM!!!) 3 HR, 11 BB, 35 K: 1.99 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .226 BAA
The only hitter who has seen Wandy is Chad Moeller and he’s 1/8.

GO WANDY!!!!!
I’ll be wearing my custom made (by Husband and kidsss) Wandy Astros t-shirt!!!

6/13/08: In Which Drayton McLane Makes A Lot More Money – Part 1

Friday, June 13th, 2008

I know that a whole lot of people have no patience with old(er) folks who tell stories bout The Good Old Days. Especially some baseball fans who, when they hear old fogie ballplayer talk about how somehow, he just couldn’t hit pitcher X, can’t WAIT to run to retrosheet and look up every PA, then announce, with endless contempt, how old fogie is a moron because his stats say he hit 108 OPS+ and only struck out twice in 52 PA.

So I’m going to try to be careful talkin bout the Good Old Days. I grew up with the TV on MTV (back when they used to play videos – yes they DID TOO) and Sports Center. I sure don’t remember that in the 80s and 90s, there was all this hyperfocus on the Mets/Yankees/Red Sox and Cubs, almost to the exclusion of other teams. Seems to me that around 5 or 6 years ago, the networks decided that they would make the most money if they really hyped and over hyped those 4 teams, creating kabillions of bandwagon fans, who would then demand more coverage of those 4 teams. The networks hope that those 4 teams will be the playoff teams, but unfortunately, some of the other teams won’t stick to the script and besides, SOMEbody gots to be the Washington Generals.

But things have gotten so out of hand that teams are now hyping visits from those 4 teams as main reasons to watch their team, and charge extra for the supposed “privilege.”

And here we go with AL team #1 – the former team of Clemens and Ensberg, the current team of Pettitte (who won’t be playing this weekend.) So as for me, I refuse to hype this and am down with Richard Justice, who, by the way, is a native Texan. Check out his morning’s blog entry.

As usual, he got a lot of shtt from commenters, some of who would get disgusted/upset if he said – wow it is hot out today. But I think he’s absolutely right about how too many northeasterners look at Texans.

When the Astros were in the WS, I received a lot of emails, and I received a couple from some guys in Chicago who thought, REALLY thought, that every Texan is exactly like George Bush in every way. Seriously. As I said, do you not realize that a very good chunk of out population is not rich, or even white? Did not have any effect on the stereotype.

When my mother went to another state to go to college, she heard plenty of comments along the lines of
1 -whoa, I didn’t know there were Black people in Texas
2- so, how do you like living on a ranch, is your mother the maid
3 – I didn’t know Black people had oil wells…

Not said to be mean or cruel, mind, just ignorant because of too many movies about cowboys, Indians, stagecoaches and cows and awl wells, all starring white people, even as the Injuns.
Some things never change… And sometimes they don’t change because it isn’t in the best interest of the TV networks’ profits…

So here are this weekend’s matchups – note the lack of excitement:
click here to look at the batting stats of the visiting team, who we haven’t played since we no-hit them in 03.

Friday: Joba Chamberlain vs Shawn Chacon
Joba is the guy who is getting endless amount of pub over whether or not he should be starting or pitching just the 8th inning if/when his team is ahead. Lots and lots of people, mostly reporters, really REALLY think a setup guy is more valuable than a starter. Even a good starter. Even a great starter. Anyway, the team restricted his innings because he’s young (he’ll be 23 in Sept) and they are hoping to preserve his arm so they can use him for 6 FULL years. Which seriously irritates some old fogeys who actually believe that in The Good Old Days every single pitcher threw over 300 innings every year for 20 years and well over 100 pitches every single start which was every 3rd to 4th day. Plus relief. After walking 10 miles to the ballpark. Uphill. In the snow. Both ways. AND THEY LIKED IT THAT WAY!!!! Git offn my lawn!!!

wait – where was I?
oh yeah

Joba appeared in 20 games over 23.2 innings between April 1 and the end of May. He was put into the rotation in June, and lasted 2.1 innings in his first start and 4.1 innings in his second. He was pulled with men on base, at approximately the number of his designated pitch count for that game. I’m sure he is expected to throw more pitches this game, but certainly not over 100. So far, he has a 2.67 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a .200 BAA.

Shawn Chacon has had 13 starts, 8 QS, and has gotten creamed in his last 2 games – he got pulled after his 4 run 1st inning against Milwaukee (after he threw a tantrum on the mound) and he gave up 7 ER in 5 IP against the Cards. Dude better get his stuff together, cuz he’s starting to look like Woody Williams 2007 – and that ain’t good. His line: 4.96/1.48/.273. Chacon has faced most of the batters on the opposition a couple of times, but only Bobby Abreu has more than 10 AB and he’s 4/13 with a triple (???!!!) and a homer.

2/2/08: Morgan Ensberg Joins Jason Lane In NY

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Well, we-all badly wanted them the heck off our team last year and Ed Wade sent them to the Padres for something or other. This year, the Yankees have picked up both of them and signed them to minor league contracts. Mo sure isn’t gonna push A-Rod off third, but he and Jason are going to compete for playing time at first. No question, Mo is a better overall player and if his shoulder has healed and he has worked at getting his swing back, he’s going to be a formidable addition to a formidable lineup.

Morgan will receive 1.25 mill if he makes the 25 man and he can receive another 2.25 mill in performance incentives. I wish the guy the best of luck – from everything I’ve read and heard, he’s a good and decent man.

Amazing to think that just a couple years back, we thought that Mo would be an anchor in the lineup for years to come. Here’s Richard Justice’s column on Mo written just a few short years ago.

July 6, 2005, 3:15PM
Ensberg’s role as leader takes shape
By RICHARD JUSTICE
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Morgan Ensberg didn’t want to make it easy for them to kill him. He wanted them to know they were about to shoot a living, breathing human being.

Not that he figured it would make a difference. He’d prepared himself to die that night. He’d said a final prayer. He recites it without an ounce of emotion.

I don’t like that you’re putting me through this. I don’t know why you’re putting me through this. I would think you can do something else. But if this is your will, if this is what you want, then let’s go. Bring it.

He and five minor-league teammates had been tied up by two gun-toting men that spring night five years ago at a nondescript hotel near the Astros’ spring complex in Kissimmee, Fla.

Life-changing experience
As the men ransacked the rooms looking for valuables, Ensberg and the others lay on beds and floors with blankets covering their heads.

“They were going to shoot us,” Ensberg said.
That’s when he began inching out from under the blanket. He wanted the men to see the top of his head.

He wanted them to understand what they were going to do.
“I wanted them to know they weren’t shooting blankets,” he said.

The night abruptly ended when a player in an adjoining room freed himself and phoned 911. One of the robbers escaped. The other was shot during a struggle with police.

Ensberg knows that nothing that happens to him, nothing he ever does, might impact him more dramatically than those two hours.
“I think about it every single day,” Ensberg said. “I had a gun at the back of my head. That’s not something you forget.”

He was changed in ways he’s still trying to understand. He’s less trustful of people. He’s more protective of his family. He’s extra careful about things such as home security.
“It really stinks to be this way,” he said.

Unique perspective
That night has provided a backdrop for everything that has happened since. That night is one reason Ensberg doesn’t throw his helmet or slam his bat into walls. That night is why he has a perspective most others don’t have.

“Baseball,” he said, “is nothing compared to something like that.”

He has been the National League’s best third baseman this season. But unless he replaces an injured player or the Dodgers’ Cesar Izturis went on the disabled list Tuesday, and there are already two other shortstops so Ensberg won’t be a member of the NL All-Star team next week in Detroit.

When reporters have come to him looking for even a touch of anger, they’ve been disappointed. He has heaped praise on NL starter Scott Rolen and said he’s happy to be considered for the team.
“I wasn’t blindsided by the selection process,” he said. “I know the rules.”
The rules are simple. Fans picked Rolen to start the game at third base. Players and managers picked Aramis Ramirez to be his backup.
Besides, it’s not that simple. This season has been so satisfying in so many ways more important than one All-Star Game. This season Ensberg finally has proved himself.

A long road

He said it wasn’t until early May that he finally felt comfortable that he belonged in the big leagues.
His road has been a long one. He’s one of those guys who has always paid an extra price, who has always been forced to prove he belonged.
“I’ve always been counted out,” Ensberg said. “I’ve always had people believe I didn’t belong. I think that has made me work maybe a little harder.”

He was better known as a basketball star at Redondo Union High School in the Los Angeles suburbs.
“To this day, I have friends who think I’m a better basketball player,” he said. “Well, I may have changed some minds this season.”

He didn’t get a single Division I scholarship offer in baseball or basketball. The Seattle Mariners did see a flash of potential. They took him in the 61st round but didn’t offer a contract.

Ensberg walked on at Southern California and eventually earned a scholarship. When he was draft eligible as a junior, all 30 teams passed.
The Astros did take a ninth-round flier on him after his senior season (1998). That’s not usually where future All-Stars are selected. Even Ensberg wasn’t all that confident.
“I gave myself four years, and then I was going to go get a job,” he said.

He started his fifth pro season in the big leagues. After 49 games, he was sent back to the minors. He was back for good in 2003, when he hit 25 home runs and pretty much convinced the Astros they had filled the position for good.

Then came last season.
Ensberg hit .192 in April. He went 203 at-bats without a home run and finished with 10.

Not one for alibis
What he refused to tell anyone is that he played with a bonfire in his right elbow. Until this spring when he told manager Phil Garner, he offered no alibis, accepted the criticism without complaint, and did the best he could with what he had.

“That shows me something,” Garner said. “That shows you he’s pretty tough. Even last year when he was hurt, he got some big hits down the stretch for us. When (Lance) Berkman and (Jeff) Kent were pitched around, he drove in some huge runs.”

Ensberg has been the Astros’ most valuable offensive player this season. With no Carlos Beltran or Kent, with Jeff Bagwell injured and Berkman missing the opening month, the Astros have been desperate for power.
They’re still the lowest-scoring offense in the National League, but without Ensberg’s 22 home runs and 60 RBIs, they’d be buried.
“We’d be in last place,” Garner said.

They’re 25-12 since a 15-30 start and have crept into position to make their sixth postseason trip in nine years.
As the mantle of leadership and production has shifted to the younger players, as they’ve become more comfortable by the day, the Astros are being transformed behind a new generation of players.
Ensberg is at the center of this new generation. He seems comfortable with the added responsibility.

People assume that leadership comes with speeches or tantrums. Leadership typically is by example.

The perfect response

Ensberg showed that kind of leadership last weekend in Cincinnati. When Reds pitcher Luke Hudson decked him with a pitch to his head, Ensberg got up, dusted himself off and hit the next pitch out of the park.
“That tells you he’s not afraid,” Garner said. “And he reacted like (Craig) Biggio and Bagwell would. He tossed the bat down and rounded the bases.”

The Astros intend to make Ensberg one of the faces of the franchise. He’s a Christian, a teetotaler who is unashamed to speak of prayer and faith.

When he was going so badly last season, he admitted he was waking at night with panic attacks.
“I finally did the only thing I could do,” he said. “I prayed.”
He’s articulate, unfailingly polite and pretty much a role model for what every professional athlete should be.

Attitude of gratitude

Last season a guy with the Rockets asked me what Ensberg was like. I shrugged and told him he was fine.
“I got him tickets to a game last week,” he said. “Most guys act like they’re doing you a favor by taking the tickets. Morgan sent me a handwritten note thanking me for them.”

Some have interpreted a soft personality as being a soft player. He’s not.
“What you’re seeing now is what I think is normal for him,” Astros hitting coach Gary Gaetti said. “He has the kind of power you’ve seen this year. Sometimes it doesn’t come through until you start believing it. Morgan believes.”
He’s making all of us believe. No All-Star Game is going to change that.

Hard to believe Mo fell so far so fast. Which is why I always say about baseball is that the one thing you know is that youneverknow…

10/9/06: Why I Love Wandy Rodriguez And Hate The Yankees

Monday, October 9th, 2006

After I wrote my column last week wondering who to root for, I got several emails wondering why I have anything about Derek Jeter and the Yankees, seeing as how they aren’t even in the NL.

Well, I guess it would be for the same reason that Wandy Rodriguez is my favorite Astro, even though he is, well, not a very good major league ballplayer. But you see, he sure doesn’t have “the good face” and he’s too small and too skinny, but there he is anyhow and a person who succeeds in spite of being told he can’t or he shouldn’t is someone I really gotta root for.

I think that Americans both root root root for the Underdog AND hop on winners’ bandwagons with equal fervor.

If us Americans didn’t love Underdogs, there wouldn’t be all the endless remakes of the Bad News Bears (different titles, different faces, same story.) Of course, in the movies, the Underdogs always win. And of course, in the movies, the Underdog has a fighting chance – you never see 100 pound crippled old ladies in a wheelchair boxing a 250 lb professional male boxer. And baseball, of course, is the perfect game for the Underdog because in a short series, even 7 games, anything can happen and there are PLENTY of times when the best team on paper didn’t win.

And us Americans love to hop on winners’ bandwagons too. Who hasn’t noticed that gross ugly guys try to succeed as musicians because even thought they are the same gross ugly dorks they always were, suddenly a WHOLE lot of females think they are hot BECAUSE they are musicians? These days you hear all about the zillions of Yankee fans, and how they’ve always had millions of fanatical fans, and their tooth and claw rivalry with the Red Sox about which everybody in the entire northeast USA has chosen a side to fight and cry for. Funny thing, I disremember any of that kind of talk on ESPN when I was a kid, and now, seems they don’t actually realize there are baseball teams besides NY and Boston.

Now my mama went to a Yankees-Red Sox game in the Yankee Stadium in 1992 and she said there weren’t even 20,000 people there. Then again, those teams were simply terrible that year and I guess a whole lot of all those “fans” had something else to care about. In fact, in spite of having the largest market by FAR, the Yankees were in the bottom half of the AL in attendance. In 1994, they were in first place when Bud Seligula decided to end the season, and they were STILL in the middle of the pack in attendance – AND, it didn’t begin to really rise until they had won their second WS in 3 years, in 1998, and even then they were 3rd behind Cleveland and Baltimore.

It is really a fantasy that the early winning NY teams were all a bunch of homegrown guys, raised by Showalter and tuned to perfection by Joe Torre. Truth was that only 7 of all 25 position players (who played for the Yanks that year) and 5 of 24 pitchers were actually produced from the Yankee farm system – the rest were obtained by trades of ML players and FA signings.

But somehow, it didn’t SEEM as if George was just going out and buying every top FA on the market every year, so even though 4 of 5 starting pitchers were all top notch FA, somehow they didn’t seem like hired mercenaries, even though, of course, they were. As for the starting lineup, only 2 of 9 were homegrown Yankees – Jeter and Bernie. But somehow those Yankee teams got the reputation of being “gritty” instead of being “greedy” – probably because Baltimore and Cleveland still had higher payrolls and higher attendance.

Sometime around 1999, maybe 2000, when David Wells was swapped for Roger Clemens and it seemed they were trading any decent young up and coming player for vets and a few too many fans AND George started talking about the WS trophy as if it was the Yankees’ divine right, I started seriously rooting against them.

Of course, that was about the time when a WHOLE lot of people started hopping on the bandwagon – some people LIKE the idea that their team has some sort of divine right to a trophy.

And the Yanks FINALLY got their comeuppance from another (almost) all mercenary team – the 2001 Diamondbacks, who managed to defeat, for the first time in 4 years, The Mariano with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th, Game 7.

Pride goeth before a fall. The Yanks had to walk back into ther locker with the plastic all up and nothing to celebrate. And that was the beginning of the end.

And with Bud Selig screaming and el-cheapo greedy uncaring owners like McClatchy and Glass and Ms. Selig screaming bout “unfairness” and taking plenty of money out of George’s coffers, the Boss decided that the solution to losing would be to go get more and more and more expensive FA and All-Stars and BUY that trophy. The regular season doesn’t matter – it’s only marking time until the REAL season begins. Sorta like how guys hafta take you on a date and buy you flowers and dinner and flatter you and listen to you blahblahblah on and on and say uhhunh and mmmmm yeah baby yeah because it’s just marking time until the REAL thing starts – you give it up.

When George and some Yankee fans say who cares about the 6 months of the season, pitchers great years, hitters great years, it just shows contempt for all the hard work and accomplishments of the players and the team for 6 months. Like it or not, Billy Beane WAS right – the playoffs ARE a crapshoot. Heck, even the sorry ass Royals have swept the Yanks in 3 games.

But you know, maybe I don’t really need to hate the Yankees any more. Yeah, they stick their noses in the air, act like their poopoo has no odor, act like they are the best team money can buy and they are entitled to that trophy. You see, ballplayers talk seriously about “respecting the game”, about “playing the game the way it should be played” and “chemistry.” Seems to me that the Yankees as a group are not any sort of team at all, just a group of prima donnas who are all about their own stats – and I mean hitting stats. Watching them “field” is painful – there isn’t one guy on that team who looks to me like even a league average NL fielder. Actually, it seems all they are good at is walking and hitting homers, and this supposedly perfect lineup looks helpless against any unintimidated pitcher who doesn’t either throw junk or nibble. Their pitching is execrable, to be nice about it. They simply do not appear to play together as a team. Even Captain Perfect Jeter the Star isn’t able to get his teammates to play as a team.

smile

Guess The Boss and the Yankees kinda reminds me of that old story about the fisherman’s wife

But as for me, the sorry ass Yankees aren’t the underdog quiiiite yet. And how I LIKE all the knowitall “experts” being dead wrong about the outcomes of 3 of 4 of these series. Me, I’m rooting for either that dratted Pest or maybe even Brandon Inge to be the next Brian Doyle 1978 WS or Mickey Hatcher 1988 WS all over again. Or even Barry Lamar Himself 2002 postseason. Because, you see, it IS baseball and youneverknow…