Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gotta Go To Mo's

I'm too clever for my own damned good.

I've given my enemies way too much mileage with the Clit-Boy remark. I almost killed Metstradamus because he's run it into the ground after one friggin' day. Between that and the heckler who was drowning out the announcers during tonight's broadcast, I was this close to having pull out the shovels and the lye and get a car to head upstate.

Thankfully, Giambi homer in the 11th and Mo's amazing three inning 25 pitch performance calmed enough to keep my demons at bay.

It shouldn't have come to all that considering we had a 6-1 lead. But a win is a win. One of the things that I would like this team to learn is how to tack on runs after they get an early lead. This is second time in three days that the Yankees have built an early lead in a game only to see it squandered away. Yeah, your pitchers should be able to pitch with a lead. But sometimes they're gonna be off their games. The weakness of most teams is their middle relief. If you can pounce of them after knocking out their starters, very few teams will have the stomach for 10 run comeback. And you don't need your closer to pitch three innings to insure a win.

How does this game affect us for the next two? Moose is going to play a big part as to how. If he can go deep into the game and give the bullpen a blow, it helps us not just for this series, but our weekend at Camden Yards and our showdown with Boston at the Stadium. We don't need nine but seven plus would definitely help matters. I'm not worried about Mo as much as I am Proctor and Farnsworth. I'm seeing them way too much.

The Yankees have been crushing southpaws but Nate Robertson has been Detroit's best pitcher recently. I doubt tomorrow will be an 11-6 affair.

Good win tonight. But how costly it was remains to be seen.

It doesn't take much to excite Mets fans. My arch enemy is so giddy about their minor league jewel being called up and the fact that big head girl is a Mets fan....he decides to write two posts about. Yay.

He's killing me with the Wally Pipp/Xavier Nady references though. Here's a team that has yet to produce one HOF position player in 45 years of existence, and now they're comparing this Rick James lookalike to Lou Gehrig. Then again, if you believe Mike Lupica, Reyes and Wright are already better than Jeter and A-Rod so I guess I'd better keep my mouth shut.

Here's my prediction for young Lastings (I love my people, but these parents kill me with these names). He's up here for a cup of coffee, shows a couple of flashes....then the Mets trade him for Kenny Rogers and a box of hammers for the playoff run. Milledge has a great career in Texas before he's caught with 15 kilos of cocaine and underaged midget strippers in a Chuckie Cheese bathroom...Rogers walks Melky Cabrera with the bases loaded for the winning run in 2006 World Series.

I know, Omar's a pretty smart customer...but I can dream can't I?

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Madness

In honor of our country's war-dead, I'm wearing my NY Knicks number 8 Latrell Sprewell jersey. Because his likes will not be seen in this town ever again.

A very eventful weekend for yours truly. It started with a very wet night at the Stadium Friday. Seeing Jeter's 2000th and 2001st hit was pretty cool (Derek got a chuckle on second base when they played the movie theme to 2001 after the second hit), but the hour long rain delay put a damper (pun intended) on things. I hate leaving games early, so against my better judgement, I stuck around through the friggin' monsoon and watched the Bombers fall a run short in their rally.

I had great company as Imperial Vixens K-Bisch and Erica stuck around as well. But I paid the price the next morning as I had to get up early to get my rental car and head not to one, but two weddings.

Anyone who knows me knows that I hate weddings. But when one of your oldest friends and one of your best Yankee buddies (neither of whom know each other) decide to tie the knot on the same day, you have to find a way to be there. Even if one is near Garden City, Long Island and the other is near Poughkeepsie.

Who needs sleep? Sleep is for pussies!!

Well call me Clit-boy, because I was wiped out come Sunday night. Dead to the world.

Needless to say, I missed both weekend games so I have nothing useful to say about either. From what I've read, it seems like A-Rod's starting to get into a groove and Wang pitched ok on Saturday. And Proctor hit a wall on Sunday but Farnsworth and Mo bailed him out on Sunday. I would liked a sweep, but as long as we're continuing to win series, I'm cool.

Let me ask you this folks. Does it make you gay if you're thoroughly enjoying Kelly Clarkson in the car on the way home from a road trip? And is the guy (a married man)who burned the CD for you gay as well?

If the answer is yes...then I might have to change my name to Darthy Cakes.

If you see me posting about Jeter's ass and how I now love Pink Yankee hats because it brings out the color in my eyes.....shoot me. Don't say anything. Just the gun in my mouth and pull the trigger. The world will be a better place without me.

Everyone keeps saying the Tigers series is a litmus test for the Yankees. Huh? Yes, they have the best record in the majors right now. But when they play in a division where one other team is over .500 and includes the Royals...well call me a cynic, but I'm not ready to declare them world-beaters yet. I knew they had talent and that they would be a better team with Jim Leyland at the helm. But it remains to be seen if they're really among the league elite.

So for obvious reasons, it was important for Unit to pitch well today. Bonderman is their ace. You beat him in the opening game, it sends a message to them and the rest of the league.

Message sent....thank you for calling, Goodbye.

Obviously, one good start doesn't make a season. But it is something you can build on. What I loved about Johnson was his use of his fastball. He was throwing inside and out, using his cut fastball as a changeup. He was pitching, not throwing. He mixed in his slider on occasion, but he didn't fall in love with it. He realized that his best pitch is his fastball and used that to work in everything else. He also was backing guys off the plate which is something we haven't seen in awhile.

He can't hit 98-99 anymore consistently. But he can still hit 94-96 on regular basis. And if you hit your spots and locate well, that's more than enough to get guys out. He's finally realizing that he doesn't have strike out 12 to win anymore. When Sandy Koufax's curve wasn't working, he went with the fastball and still won games with it. This is a different era obviously, but it's tough to hit a 96 mph heater with movementin 2006 as it was in 1966.

The fact that he did this against the "best team in baseball" in their home park was a bonus. The Yankees have to start playing their game. If they play how they're capable, the opponent is irrelevant. The outcome will be the same.

Darthy Cakes needs sleep.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kyle Fits Papi With A Golden Sombrero

How sweet it is to be able to write that.

When I read Ortiz's line last year, I was shocked to see that he struck out 100 times. Shocked, because it seemed like none of them were against the Yankees.

To fit him with a nice, tight collar has been long overdue. That breaking ball buckled his knees in the same way he's been buckling Yankee pitchers and fans the last two years. I could have done without the walks and the swinging bunt hit by Pena. But he managed to rebound with strikeouts of Youkilis and Papi. Pena's brainfart at third didn't hurt matters either.

Note to Proctor and Johnson; watch what Mo did versus Manny in the ninth inning. He backed him up with the first or second pitch of the at bat before he could get dug in and comfortable in the at bat. You don't throw a friggin meatball down the middle and hope that he doesn't crush it (they did, and he did). He ended up flying out harmlessly to right, in part I think, because Mo brushed him back twice and never let him get comfortable in the batter's box.

I think Proctor will learn this. But this is something Johnson used to do all the time. He never let you get comfortable at the plate. This concerns me more than any alleged loss of stuff. He still has enough stuff to get top notch guys out as his matchups vs Ortiz showed. But if he has no confidence, than that's worse than having arm problems. He did just enough to get through five and get the win and there were some good things to take from his start. But he's got a long way to before we can call him the ace of this staff again.

He may not be the ideal player of what some think a Yankee corner outfielder should be, but I'm liking what I see out of Melky Cabrera. He has a good eye and finds a way to get on base. He also has a cannon of an arm. He's going to make his share of mistakes, particularly in the field. But the more he plays, the better he'll get. It gives Cashman and company a chance to see if he has a future here, or if we can package him to get another bat or arm at the trade deadline.

We took two out of three from the infidels with far from our best team on the field. With KC next, this is an opportunity to string together some wins and start a nice win streak.

Finally....some good news....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Drama...Thy Name Is Middle Relief

I don't care if they get thrown out of the game....if Manny's not flat on his ass for admiring yet another home run he's hit off a Yankee pitcher....I'm going flip.

I'm tired of watching him crush ball into the ionosphere, knocking satellites out of the sky....pissing off DirecTV customers as a result....and then twirling around to first base like he's friggin Julie Andrews on the mountain in Sound Of Music.

"The Hills are Alive...With The Sound Of Dingers!!!"

I don't want to hear about how he's harmless and doesn't mean any harm. How he's not malicious. He may not be malicious, but his swing is the moral equivalent of Michael Corleone's look when he's hugging Fredo at his mother's wake. This guy is an assasin at the plate. Arguably the best right-handed hitter of his generation. But I hate all the deference this asshole get because he's not an asshole like Albert Belle or Barry Bonds. If they did that there would be a national outcry about it. And I don't want to hear all this man-child foolishness. He's a 34 year old man with a wife and child. He's knows exactly what he's doing when he's shuffling to first like Steppin Fetchit. And if he doesn't...well someone needs to show him. How's a 97 mph fastball at your ear work for you as a visual aid?

Someone needs to give him an MP3 of Sweet Chin Music. I'm not saying he should get beaned like Clemens did Piazza. But he's far more deserving of it than Mike ever was. All Piazza ever did to Rocket was wear him out whenever he faced him. He never showed him up. Ramirez does that almost everytime he cranks one out. And noone ever backs him off the plate. It has to stop.

I'm willing to give Proctor and Farnsworth a pass this time. The walks drove me nuts more than Manny's homer did. Mo nailed it down with minimal damage so I'm willing to let it go this time. With the way Johnson's been pitching lately, they're probably going to be called into service tonight. Johnson versus Clement has 10-7 written all over it.

That was a huge home run that 6-4-3...I mean, A-Rod hit last night. The difference maker. But he needs to be more consistent in RISP situations. Getting Sheff back will probably relax him a little, but he can't use Gary as a crutch. What happens if he throws another temper tantrum? A-Rod has to find a way and stay consistent at the plate.

Torre was right in pulling out Wright as a precaution. You can't trust these guys to tell you the truth. Particularly when they've been injured in the past and are itching to get back on the field. He looked great last night, but better to pull him out early and get his groin treated and hand it over to the bullpen. Then let him stay in for a couple of frames, he gets bombed and his injury gets worse. It's May not September. No time to throw caution out with the red-headed step children.

More later.....

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Catching Up

I made a conscious choice not to listen to Friday's game on the way back from Cooperstown. When I saw the pitching matchup, Johnson vs Gonzalez, I realize that a bad omen was in the air. Until I arrived in the city, the only idea I had of the carnage to come was when I was changing CD's and I heard John Sterling say 5-3 Yanks bottom of the second. Ugh. Not good.

I arrived in the seventh, just in time to see Heilman and Proctor duel. The one good thing to come out of all this is seeing the emergence of Scott. He was amazing on Friday and Saturday. This is not a fluke, this kid is the real deal. Torre's faith in him was warranted. Now as long as his arm doesn't fall off, like Gordon, Sturtze and Karsay's, we'll have a keeper.

I'm still wondering why Torre insisted on Mo walking Delgado to get to Wright. I know Delgado is the slugger with the proven track record, but giving this kid the opportunity to become friggin folk hero was not wanted. If Delgado beats us, fine. It doesn't have the same symbolic significance as the Mets poster boy becoming the hero. To the team or the fans. The team and its fans can say otherwise, but they'd be lying.

The Big Unit has become the Big Pussy. His confidence is shot and I have no idea how he'll get it back. And if he continues to stink it up, we're in big trouble. But I'll tell you this, for once I agree with Mike Francesa. I would rather chalk this season up as loss than resign Roger Clemens at $4 million a month. First off, that mercenary is older than Johnson. And secondly, AL lineups are far more difficult to navigate than NL lineups. Say goodbye to the sub-one ERAs. And he hasn't been in a game situation since March. Who's to say when the mercenary will round out into game shape? Let some other teams spend their fans hard earned money on this guy. I'd rather see what Cashman can come up with than shell out money for another baby-boomer pitcher.

I really hope Jorge had back spasms Friday. Because if his walking out has anything to do with Unit....well, I'm going to leave that one alone. Hopefully, Torre will work it out, if it does....

I couldn't have gotten a better birthday present though...than being present for Country Time Wagner's total collapse in the ninth on Saturday. Going into the inning, all I wanted the Yanks to do was make a little noise against Billy Boy and make the Mets fan in attendance a little tight-lipped. "I just want you guys a little tense as you get on the 7 train. Just a little nervous." Little did I know that I'd get more than that. Wow. Mets fans, who usually chant "Yankees Suck!" when they beat the Cardinals, much less the Yankees...were eerily silent going home. It didn't matter what happened on Sunday. The Met fan knew they had a chance to sweep the Yankees. To cause utter chaos in the empire among the fans and the brass. And Wagner couldn't seal the deal.

Blame Willie all you want for bringing him in and not taking him out sooner. It's the job of a big-time closer to shut the door on the opposition in that situation. By letting the Yankees come back on Saturday (with the bottom of the lineup mind you), it didn't matter what he did on Sunday. He showed a chink in his armor.

You can say that Mo did the same thing on Friday. But he has an established track record in big games. Wagner doesn't. He has never won anywhere and he's going to have to prove to Mets fans and NYC in general, that he's an championship closer.

As for Sunday...well, I think A-Rod's new nickname is going to be 6-4-3. An MVP has to perform better than this. He's had some great stretches here, but I can't remember one stretch where he's carried the team for an extended amount of time in the way Bernie, Giambi, Sheff or Matsui have in the past. This is the time the team needs him most and he rarely seems to get a big hit. The Schilling homer a couple of weeks ago, but there hasn't been much since. He's had his opportunities and with this team, he'll continue to have his chances. But this 6-4-3 shit has to stop now.

Monday made me want to vomit. I like Wang. But he's going to be of no use to us if he can't pitch well against Boston. With more relentless and disciplined lineups, he has to learn how pitch out of trouble. The AB's Ortiz and Manny had to spark their comeback were sickening. He's a sinkerballer with nasty stuff, but he has to come up bigger than this.

Big Baby Sheff is coming back tonight allegedly. I guess he's seen the boys suffer enough so he wants to come in as the conquering hero. I never want to see the Yanks lose to the Sux. But I would to love see him fall flat on his face.

If Wright had Pavano's body, he'd be an ace. He's a battler. As it stands now, I just hope he can keep us in the game against Wakefield.

More later....

Darth Marc's Pilgrimmage To Baseball Mecca

Before I start...I just wanted this on the record. I hate those Fox News promos on YES. I really, really hate them.

My baseball emperor called me into his office for a pow-wow. He said that it was time.

Time for what, I said.

"To show the baseball gods that you are a worthy servant. It's time for you to visit the place where it all started."

That's when he told me that it was time to head to Cooperstown. To Baseball's version of Mecca. The Hall Of Fame Museum.

I've been asked by some folks as to why I've never made the pilgrimmage or Hajj upstate. Good question. I've been asking myself that same thing. Both of my parents are big sports fan but not huge baseball fans. My mother was a huge Brooklyn Dodgers fan as a child but once they left for the left coast, she ceased to care about a specific team. My father took me my first Yankee games as child, but he was more of basketball fan having played against Curly Neal of Harlem Globetrotters fame in college. So while I was introduced to the game as a child by my Sith Lord parents, it was up to me to continue the interest on my own.

So I decided that I had run out of excuses as to why I've never made the Diamond Hajj. I've been to Fenway, Wrigley(twice), Jacobs Field, Camden Yards and Dodger Stadium....but I've never visited the birthplace of my first love? Pathetic. I have no excuses.

I started my trek to Mecca on Thursday afternoon. I would have left earlier, but I lost my battle with 10 White Castle cheeseburgers the night before. After paying my penance, I was on my way. I had the Yankees-Rangers game on the radio until about the seventh inning just as I crossed the Tappan Zee. That's when Wright started to unravel and eventually got the hook. I decided to turn the game off. I didn't want any negative feelings to poison my trip to paradise. I eventually got to the hotel around 6:30. It took a little more than five hours because I got lost, but you can do it four from the city, traffic allowing. I got some grub and crashed in the hotel so I was fresh for Friday.

As you can glimpse from the pictures here, the museum lived up expectations. Through the displays and exhibitions, you get a clear visual history of the game from it's beginnings in the the 1830's to today. They don't gloss over anything. If you have a sense of history for the game, it definitely expands on that. If you don't, then you realize how nothing happens in a vaccumn. You realize this team's style of play begat that one and this pitcher begat that one and so on. You realize that while there isn't one way to play the game, some ways work better than others.

I love the fact that they take head-on the problem the game had with the issue of race. It also ties in what was going on in the country at the time to give the customer a fuller view of what was going at the time. People tend to forget that ballplayers are people too. Subject to the same prejudices that affect everyone else. You realize why the progressives in the game went the route they went to integrate the game. You also realize that it wasn't done out of pure altruism, but it shows what happens when good business sense has a sense of justice. We all benefit.

This is a trip that every baseball fan should make in their lifetime. I can't think of a better way to spend your entertainment dollar than the trip to this Upstate New York Village. If for no other reason than the ride up is a beautiful one. You want a perfect drivetime soundtrack moment? Driving in the Catskills at Dusk....with Led Zeppelin's Rain Song on the stereo. Don't think I need to say much else.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Loving The Ground Balls

A two and a half hour groundball fest. I have no idea if Wang can't keep this up. But if he can, he could be the first front-line starter the Yankees have had out of their minors since Dandy Andy.

Everything was down, down, down. And the great thing about his performance was that even he had men on base, he just kept dealing. Didn't get frazzled, just kept dealing ground balls and trusting his defense to make plays. Even after Cano kept spacing out, Wang continued to focused on the batter and throw nasty sinkers. Even with he gave up that two run shot in the eighth, he just focused on the next batter. I'm loving the way this kid is developing.

As I've said before, if we continue to pitch well, we have more than enough offense to hold the fort until Sheffield gets back. And it might hasten his return. If he sees the team doing well, it might sink through to his thick skull that he's costing himself a lot of money by sitting out. I'm not saying he's faking it, I'm just saying his pain tolerance might heighten just a bit.

No more late night White Castle runs. Ugh.

I'm off to Cooperstown. Will have a full report when I get back.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Are You There, God? It's Me, Buck...

Because the Yankees just used my pitching staff like Margaret's tampon.

With Kevin Millwood deciding to pitch like the old Kevin Millwood, I wasn't sure if my boast that the Yankees had enough it's clear that the Yankees had to start scoring some runs for me to maintain my sterling Imperial reputation.

It wasn't looking good early. I stopped by Blondies for a drink and see the Yankees down 10-2. I started to divorcing myself emotionally from this game to keep from losing it.

Then the Yankees start grind away at the lead. I start thinking if Small and the bullpen can put some zeroes on the board, we have a chance.

By the time Jorge hits that home run to win it, I'm spent. I'm done.

Here's hoping Wang can keep the line going.

I don't care how this comes off.....American Idol should never be played in Sports Bars. EVER.

Last night, I walk into Blondies and see that two tv's have that horrible show on...and the sound is up!

What people see in this train wreck, I'll never know. And on top of that, all the contestants suck!

Well, suck is a little strong. They're all adequate. But I wouldn't give any of them a recording contract.

I almost smashed one of the tvs when the Anderson Cooper lookalike, Taylor, started singing Ray Charles and Joe Cocker standards.

The girl is hot but her version of "Over The Rainbow" won't make anyone forget Patti Labelle or Judy Garland's.

Ok I'm done....I feel my manliness being stripped away as I talk about this.

Go Yankees.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I Admit It...I'm The Jinx....

I owe an apology to Members of The Empire and Devils Haters everywhere.

I am the cause of your/our current misfortune.

I'm the reason the Hurricanes couldn't finish off the Devils on Saturday. And I'm the reason the Yanks and Randy Johnson couldn't sweep the A's today.

Blame me.

A friend from work asked me Thursday afternoon if I could score playoff tickets to see his hometown Canes sweep the Devils on their home ice. As if on cue, another friend sends me an email asking if I know anyone who wants to buy his two tickets for Devils/Canes Saturday. For face value.

I was on the hook. I then remembered the last two times I reared my imperial dome into the swamp for a Devils playoff game, they won handily. Including a win against these same Hurricanes in 2002. Fluke, I say to myself.

After a 5-1 Devils win that was over in the first 10 minutes of the game, I'm still trying convince myself of just that thing.

I missed the last two Yankee wins due to a birthday dinner for a friend and the Devils game(Another reason to hate the Devils, they had no scores of any other sports games posted during their game. I had to call my office and text a friend to find out the Yankees won 4-3). So I made it a point to watch Sunday's game to see if Unit could keep line moving. They were winning with solid pitching, defense and timely hitting...the three keys that I mentioned earlier in the week. I was anxious to see if Johnson was off the estrogen pills and decided pitch like the Unit of old.

Maybe he didn't get memo until the second inning because the three-spot the anemic A's put up in the first inning (without Chavez or Thomas)isn't exactly gonna put shiver into American League lineups.

Seriously, after the first inning, he didn't look bad. He was starting to get some of his edge back (I loved the confrontation he got into with the ump after he dared grant the batter time. Jorge had to separate the two). I'm thinking that might be a good thing. I kind of liken Johnson's slow start to Clemens' when he came to the Bronx. It took Clemens about a season and a half to comfortable and become the mean, surly ace on the mound that we traded Wells for. It wasn't until he hit Piazza in the head that you saw the real Clemens. I think Unit is in the same sort of rutt.

Wow...the Baseball Gods have a peculiar sense of humor. Johnson's next start is on Friday at Shea...against Pedro!!! about kismet.

Today's loss had more to do with Dan Haren and his nasty splitter than Johnson. You're gonna run into a buzzsaw sometimes. His stuff was filthy today. I still feel good about the team's performance this weekend. Taking two out of three from the A's was a good way to rebound from the loss in the Sox series. Now Texas comes in for a four game set. With the way Wright pitched Saturday, if we can get Johnson right on Friday, there's a good chance for the Yanks to string a nice winning streak together.

That's of course, if I can stay away from the stadium until I get my powers checked. I've got an appointment with my therapist Darth Melfi to get me straight.

Yeah, right....

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Back To The Future

Remember the 80's? I'm in a 80'S Strato-League right now and it's amazing all these sub-four ERA's and players with 50 plus stolen bases. It was the time where parity ruled. Where you had a different World Series winner every year (5-5 split between leagues). It was a time where almost every team thought they had a chance to win it all.

It was a time before expansion, steroids diluted the game. The league was the perfect size. Not to big to dilute the pitching and not too small that you had dynasties.

Fundamentals were king. You pitched well and played solid defense. On offense, a runner got on base, he tried to steal a base. Or you tried to move him over via hit and run or sacrifice. No waiting for the three run homer. You were on offense so you initiated the action.

Nice to see the Yankees go back to the future last night.

Wang was amazing last night. Ground ball after ground ball. I wonder if it had something to with the wet conditions from earlier and maybe the air was a little heavier. Who cares. I just hope he can keep it up. A-Rod and Bernie with homers to provide the difference. Very nice. This is how A-Rod can show Yankee fans what he's made of. If he can help carry the team while Sheff and Matsui are gone, it will do a lot to get them off his back and to quiet the boo-birds.

This could be a blessing in disguise for the Yankees these injuries. I've always wanted to see the team run more and hit and run. To generate runs at times now, they'll have to do just those things.

Pavano's a little closer to coming back to the team as he had another good outing in the minors. Funny how we'll have a surplus of starting pitchers as our offense is without one of its stars. The Baseball Gods have a strange sense of humor.

John Harper in the Daily News today wrote a column defending Sheffield. For the record, I have no problem with Sheff not wanting to take a cortisone shot. The long term health concerns for him outweigh the short-term issues with the team's offense. I just hate the way he came off. It was veiled threat that was totally unnecessary. I'm in agreement with Francessa for once. This is my team, but Sheff will never be my guy.

I'm glad Cashman is looking internal solutions to the team's problems. But the one person who I wouldn't be adverse to trading for if he were available would be Torii Hunter. Put him in center and your defense up the middle becomes a huge strength. He's not Andruw Jones, but he also gives you a guy who can hit 20 plus homers and steal 20 plus bases. He's also a great clubhouse guy. If you can get him for a reasonable price, it's a deal that would make the team better for the forseeable future.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Darth Marc's Baseball As America Tour

This is what happens when I have a slow week. I plan road trips. And since I'm all about baseball this summer, guess what the theme is?

Next week: Going to Cooperstown on Thursday and Friday. Believe it or not, I've never been to Baseball Mecca. To say that I'm excited my first Diamond Hajj is an understatement.

Next Saturday: Going back to Witch Mountain to watch the Yankees play the Mets on my B-day. This was actually on the schedule for a while. I probably bitched earlier about having to buy a Mets six-pack for this game. The brokers ate up a bunch of seats and the Mets included the Yankees series into their damn packages. Probably to keep Yankees fans from buying up half the seats. I guess they figure that if you want it bad enough, you'll be willing to buy five other games you couldn't care less about. So I did what a lot of Yankees fans probably did. I bought the package, Kept the games I wanted, and gave or sold the rest to some infidel friends.

June 3rd: My annual pilgrimmage to Camden Yards. This year, I decided to make a group of it. I've got a great group scheduled to roll down with me for the Yankees game with the O's. After a decade, I still love that park. It's a must-see for anyone who calls themself a baseball fan. Way too nice for that team and that horrible owner Peter Angelos. Hopefully the new Yankee Stadium will be as impressive.

June 5-8: Sandwiching a trip to St Louis between Yanks-Sox at the Stadium. Monday, Going to the first of four game set against the Rebellion. Then I'm flying out to the Lou Tuesday morning for my first visit to the Gateway to the West. Never got a chance to see old Busch Stadium so I'm looking forward to seeing the new park. I've got tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday's games against the Reds from Cin-City. I've gotten the chance to cross paths a few times with Cardinals fans and they've always struck me as a loyal, knowledgeable fanbase. It's probably the second largest base of baseball fans to the Yankees. People tend to forget that thanks to KMOX Radio, that the Deep South, a good portion of the MidWest and West was Cardinals country until West Coast expansion. Even now, the World Series possibility that Network programmers salivate over the most is Yankees-Cardinals because you're guaranteed to get at least half the country watching. I'm coming back Thursday morning to catch the finale of the Yanks-Sox game that night. Fun times.

June 17th: Saw that the Yanks are making their first trip to DC in more 35 years so I'm making a little trek down there for the day to see them play the Nats. Being an NY Giants fan, it makes skin to walk into RFK stadium. But having baseball back in the Nation's capitol is a good thing for the game. So I have to make a presence in DC.

To be honest, I was more worried last year when we lost Moose and Wang for stints than I am about Matsui for the season. If we pitch well, there's enough offensive firepower to win games. If our pitching stinks, then it's all moot.

Without Sheffield and Matsui, here's the probable lineups for the Yankees...

Rookies & Role Players at 8 and 9

This lineup should still be able to score at five or six runs a game and win two thirds of their games if they can pitch. As the Orioles in 60's and 70s' and Oakland and Atlanta most recently have shown us, if you can pitch, you always have a chance to win. And there's no reason this team can't win with the arms they have now along with the ones who are coming off the DL.

I had to turn off Mike and Chris earlier when they were talking about the Yankees picking up a big bat to fill Matsui's void. Why? You don't need an all-star at every position to win. Our problems have been with pitching, defensive breakdowns and situational hitting. You don't need a 30 homer, 100 RBI bat to help you with those things. And you don't need to give up your top prospects for those things either. Better to stay the course and focus on those three things than add another expensive bat to the mix.

If we don't make the playoffs, it won't be because we lost Godzilla. Trust me. I love his bat and his attitude but this game is all about pitching and defense. We do those two things well, everything else will fall into place.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Time To Man Up

You hear a lot about the cold, corporate attitude of the Yankee locker room. I didn't hear that in the post-game. I heard teammates who were more disappointed for their teammate Matsui than their own situation. That his streak and possibly his season is over. But hopefully, that disappointment is limited to Godzilla and the loss last night rather than the season as a whole.

'Cause it's time to MAN UP.

It's time for Jeter to show why he's the captain.

It's time for A-Rod and Giambi to show why they're MVPs.

It's time for the Randy Johnson to become an ace. We can't afford this lost in wilderness garbage he's been spinning.

It's time for Sheff to stop being a bitch and get back on the field.

It's time for the Yankees to start playing like the Yankees.

There's more than enough talent here to win the division. Now we get to see what these kids can do. And how this team reacts to adversity.

Time to Man Up, fellas.

Why Couldn't I Have Been At That Game?

We all know Schilling and Varitek hate A-Rod's guts as much as anyone in the league. So it had to be sweet for Alex to crush that shot off of those two jackasses.

It bothered Schilling so much that he walked Matsui and gave up the icer to Jorgie to make it 6-3.

Giggled my ass off.

Another chink in the armor of that tin-plated phony Schilling. You know he'll rebound, but anytime we can beat him is always a good thing.

I hate him more than I ever hated Pedro. At least, when you faced him, you knew you were facing greatness and you had to respect that. This guy isn't going to sniff any parts of Cooperstown. He's a big-game pitcher, but it's going to be hard to justify voting him in.

Chacon vs Wakefield in a little while....more later.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Classic Example Of A Date Rape

Thank god, it was only one game.

Would it be a grotesque understatement if I said that that was the worst Yankee game that I ever witnessed in person?

I came up with an interesting dating analogy to last night's game. It was sort like a big first date or prom date with a girl you're really hot for. You're nervous and excited about the meeting. The butterflies in your stomach are wearing brass knuckles.

You arrived at the party spot. You go to get them a drink or talk to a friend. When you get back, you horrified by what you see....

Some guy is breaking off your date something proper.


At that moment, you feel like Little Bill played by William H Macy in Boogie Nights. You're watching it, but there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

To add insult to injury, she asks you to close the door when you leave so they finish in private.

That's how Yankee fans felt watching last night's game. Like someone was nailing their significant other and smiling while you were watching.

A couple of points:

I don't want to hear about how A-Rod is a Gold-Glove caliber third basemen anymore from the YES pundits. Gold Glovers don't botch routine plays in big games. They raise the level of their defense. Brooks Robinson and Greg Nettles made playoff games and pennant races their personal showcases. Here's what A-Rod is...he's a solid third baseman who will occasionally make a nice play. That's it. He's not a Gold Glover. He's not Scott Rolen, Eric Chavez or even Joe Crede. To tell the truth, he's not even a Gold Glove shortstop. It's not uncommon for the voters to give a superior offense player at a specific position a Gold Glove for being adequate defensively. Bernie Williams and most recently Derek Jeter have won Gold Gloves for being decent defenders who were great hitters. It gives the award a higher profile when you give it to a star as oppose to a player who is only average with the bat. Some players like Bill Mazeroski, Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel are exceptions to the rule. But if it's close, you know the guy with the bat is going to win.

Randy Johnson is not the ace of the Yankee staff. Moose is. He's been the stopper, not Randy. Aces don't walk the number nine hitter who's hitting .200. Johnson has been awful the last three starts. They didn't do a thing to hurt him. He couldn't hit the plate if they allowed him to walk the ball to Jorgie. Those two need to get on the same page. Quick.

This had nothing to do with the loss, but the umpiring was awful. Just awful. The umpire changed strike zones at least three times that game. Beckett was okay, but when the other team can't field or throw the ball and you're spotted a lead, most good pitchers are going to make it work for them. They had him on the ropes early. Then Unit and A-Rod worked their elfen magic and turned the tide for the Sox. Then the zone got a little wider as the game a little colder. That call on Bernie to give him golden sombrero was a joke. I can see why Delmon Young threw his bat at an ump.

Don't even get me started on Melky. That's a whole other blog entry.

I left a game early for the first time in years. One can only hope Moose can pick us up. This Sox is not that good that they should be pounding them like this.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Tuesday Night At The Death Star

I'm often asked why I don't work in sports. You need only read this back cover of the Daily News to see why. It would one thing, if the back page was an accurate portrayal of what Johnson had said. But read the article and tell me if it is or not.

This is why you can only take what you read in the tabloids with a grain of salt. As if the Red Sox series needs anymore drama. There's enough to write about in this rivalry without having to manufacture news.

I love how both teams try play this down but they have their top starters going in the series. Coincidence? I doubt it.

It's Beckett versus Johnson tonight. Both have pitched horribly recently that I expect to step up tonight. I doubt we're going to see a 10-7, 12-1 game tonight.It's amazing how evenly matched these teams are. I like the length of the Yankees rotation and bullpen. But when they're on, Schilling and Beckett might be the best one-two combination in the league. They can put your lights out quick. I wouldn't want to face them in a short series.

I have no idea how all this plays out. The Sox beat up on O's who have been awful lately, but before that, lost series to Tampa, Toronto and Cleveland. They beat the Yankees 7-3 in the first game of that two game series, but the second game was rained out. The Yankees have won eight of their last 10 games, but still, it's impossible to know who has the advantage in this series.

I think top to bottom, the Yankees are slightly better even with the crybaby Sheffield out of the lineup. And they've been playing a little better than Boston. But it's impossible to handicap this series.

Obviously I want to crush the infidels just on GP. But it would be great to beat them without Sheff just to prove a point to that jackass. Most infidels fear Sheff more than A-Rod or anyone else. Beat them without Gary, you send a message to Boston and Sheff. I bet Gary's wrist heals up real quick then....

Escape From Witch Mountain

Before I it just me, or how fucked up is it that Ted Kennedy has a dog named Splash?

I'm gettting old.

Normally going to hell...I mean Shea.... two days in the row doesn't faze me one bit. For all their bluster, Mets fans are a pretty tame lot and despite the stadium being an's not a bad place to watch a ball game.

But 14 innings, five hours and two seventh innings stretches extended my powers of observation to their limits.

A great game if you were a Mets fan. Horrible for anyone else. My friend Erica aka "Go Dawgs!" accompanied me to the game. A lifelong Braves fan, she decided to the game in a white Atlanta hat and a white Atlanta jersey. She couldn't have stood out anymore than if she announced that she was carrying Andruw Jones' baby. Noone bothered her thanks to yours truly (Mets fans aren't crazy)but I finally got her to toughen up a little bit concerning going into an opposing parks to root for your teams. If you want to cheer for your team, then cheer!! Don't let these people intimidate you. As long as you're not obnoxious about it, do your thing.

The second game on Saturday was cool as I went with my friend KC Teresa who had been bugging me to go to a ballgame for the better part of a year. Unfortunately, this was the only game that fit into her busy schedule, so I was forced to take the infidel (she's a Royals fan in case you didn't figure it out)to Witch Mountain and go to my second Mets game in 12 hours. I probably didn't help my cause by staying out until 3am after watching that 14 inning debacle. After sneezing up a storm due to the toxins the infidels were trying to poison me with at Shea, I should gone home and spent 10 hours in a hyperbaric chamber.

Nope, I go back to Shea on four hours sleep. It's no wonder I was wasted the rest of the weekend.

A couple of observations from my time on Witch Mountain:

The Mets have a very good ball club. And for the first time since the Braves entered the NL East, a much better team than Atlanta. Barring a monumental collapse by the scions of Shea or someone giving Pedro a Columbian Necktie, it would be a victory for the Braves to finish within 10 games of New York. Outside of second base and centerfield, the Mets are visibly better at every position(Chipper and Wright is a close one at third, but I have to give Wright the edge because Jones can't stay healthy). Their starting pitching, even with Zambrano's elbow exploding on Saturday, is better and their bullpen is one of the strongest in the majors. This team should win this weak division by no less than seven games. Noone in the NL East has the pitching to keep this lineup in check.

I owe an apology to Metstradamus. He kept telling me the Zambrano for Kazmir trade was the worst trade in the history of the franchise. He kept telling me that they could have held out and got a front-line starter like Zito, Mulder, Hudson or the like if they were going to trade their best pitching prospect away. Not a number five starter with elbow problems and a penchant for walking 100 batter a year. After seeing Zambrano's elbow explode Saturday afternoon(the blood splattered in my face in the left field mezz), Metstra, I apologize. You were right, I was wrong. It's easily one of the worst trades of the 30 years and the worst trade in the history of the Mets. The irony of it all, is hearing all the Mets fans calling WFAN in a panic on Monday. After their first taste of Lima Time on Sunday (a game that wasn't all his fault btw. Angel Hernandez is an awful umpire) they want to trade all their top prospects for Willis or any top line starter Omar can find. Thankfully, Minaya refuses to push the panic button and says that he plans on staying the course. And he's right. There's no reason to go nuts after 30 games. They'll be fine.

Anyone who says that there are no real Braves fans out there has never met Erica. This poor kid earned her stripes last Friday. She was living and dying with every pitch, making insightful comments and asking questions only someone paying attention could ask. While every Mets fan would probably say she deserved to suffer like that for infinity....and it bogles the mind as to why she would like the Yankees after they did Sherman's March twice on her beloved Turner Field. She is definitely a real fan.

And she's gonna have to be watching that team. That team is the definition of mediocrity. Outside of Smoltz, their starting pitching is awful (I think Hudson is shot personally). And their bullpen is even worse. It would be Bobby Cox's best managing job is he can get 80 plus wins out of this team. With Andruw Jones is his contract year and Chipper on the decline, it might be the beginning of the end for this team. They've got a great farm system and a great management team so I don't expect them to be bad for long. But this run could be over if Schuerholz can't pull another McGriff or Farnsworth out of his hat.

I laughed out loud when they flashed on the jumbotron that Edgar Renteria was born in 1975. If he's 30, than I'm 10. Rent-a-Wreck has to be pushing 40. I wouldn't surprised if someone has pictures of him and Julio Franco in some Latin Baseball camp getting instruction from Roberto Clemente in 1968. He's horrible. People talk about Jeter being overrated. All he's ever done is win, hit .300 with 200 hits every year. I've heard NL fans crow about Renteria for 10 years. How he's one of the best shortstops in the game. But outside of that big hit in the 1997 World Series and a couple of gold gloves, what exactly has he done? And those days are over. He's finished.

But enough infidel talk. Let's talk about the empire.

I was dying a slow death on Friday watching the out of town scoreboard. Seeing the Yankees give an 8-1 away was enough to make me swallow my own tongue. Thankfully Mo came in and reestablished order.

Considering the Rangers were one of the hottest teams in baseball, the way the Yankee pitching cooled them off was pretty impressive. I'd like to see Wang go seven and wish Sturtze would get his shit together, but otherwise, I'm pleased with what I saw over the weekend. Four straight quality starts from the rotation. Proctor is finally trusting his stuff. The two pitches he used to strike out Texeira on consecutive days (a fastball on the outside corner to get him looking on Saturday and a breaking ball to get him on Sunday) were nasty. Just filthy. If he continue to pitching like this and Dotel comes back to form, this has the makings of the best bullpen we've had here in a very long time.

Speaking of Sturtze, he's pitching for his future right now. He's the odd man out with Dotel and Pavano coming back in a month or so. They're probably going to keep Small and Wright as the emergency starters and long men. Villone and Myers, the southpaws are pitching well. Proctor's pitching well and Mo and Farnsworth are givens. The rotation will probably be Johnson, Moose, Wang, Chacon and Pavano with Torre fiddling with the bottom three somewhat. I can't see Torre carrying 13 pitchers with a veteran team that needs rest. You see what's happening with Sheffield. And you know Matsui and Giambi are going to need a blow at DH from time to time. So unless something dramatically changes, it's buh-bye Sturtzie.

I really wish Sheffield would shut up. I can understand that he's upset about not getting his option from 2007 picked up. I can also understand why the Yankees would be reluctant to pick up a $13 million on a player who will 38 on opening day 2007. But does he really think what he said is going to help matters? If he had said that I can't play right now and I'll do what I can to get back on the field as soon as possible, everyone would have given him the benefit of the doubt considering he's played banged up the last two years.

But that temper tantrum just cost him a ton of money. Even if he does come back and have a big year, do you think it's a given that the Yankees will pick up that option? With Andruw Jones and others on the market? And do you think there will be a line around the corner to sign a slugger pushing 40? Look how long it took for Beltran, Guererro and Tejada, three players in their primes to sign deals. Does he really think that with his shady past and surly reputation that he's going to do better than whatever the Yanks will offer?

If I were Cashman, I would offer a boatload of money to Andruw Jones next season. Move Damon to left and Matsui to right. That solves all my problems right there. I maintain my offensive firepower and get better up the middle defensively. Plus I get a player entering his prime instead of one on his last legs. Good riddance to all that attitude. And with the Braves on a decline, it might work.

I'm done defending Gary. Even if he comes back, has a great year and we win it all, I still want him GONE!!!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A-Rod Wright On Track

Sorry....but with a name like Wright, there are a million cheesy ways that I can go...and I plan on exploring every one of them.

Is this the spark that gets Wright and Rodriguez going? I have no idea. But it was nice to see that they could both still rise to the occasion.

I'm still trying to figure out how you give up a two-out two run homer to the ninth place hitter on the Devil Rays. But hey, I'll take what I can get for now. Wright has pitched reasonably well in last two appearance. Justifying Torre's mystifying insistence on pushing back the starts of one of last year's saviors (Chacon) in favor of Jaret.

In the long run, getting Wright right only strengthens the staff as a whole. With Pavano and Dotel scheduled to join us in the next month and a half, it means that the bullpen and starting corps will be a little crowded. But we'll have more depth there than we've had in a long time.

So as much as I like Chacon and still have doubts about Wright, I'm going to hold my tongue and trust St. Joe. Anything that gets us back in the playoffs and the World Series, is cool with me.

As for A-Rod, for me to write that "he needed this" would be like saying Moussaoui has a minor image problem. Both would be huge understatements.

All these poll that say that A-Rod is overrated and that he hits most of his homers when the game is out of reach is silly. A-Rod has been on playoff teams and has hit plenty of game-winning hits for every team he's played for. So the idea that he's never come through in the clutch is silly. But after the last two playoff series, he's gonna hear all the choke artist references the infidels can come up with. Even members of the empire are getting impatient.

Is this the start clue...but since I have writer's block, I'm going to stop now....

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Rebellion Strikes First

Great night for my fantasy teams. A horrible night for me and the rest of the empire.

Torre once again tempts the fates and loses. I understand he wanted to see what Small has. But when he barely got out of the seventh, that should have been an obvious sign that he was on his last legs. A more obvious one should have been him walking Alex Cora, the ninth place hitter, in the eighth. Small did not deserve that loss. He should have been pulled as soon as he walked him. He had no business starting the eighth inning.

We can talk about Myers giving up that bomb versus Ortiz. As my blog friend Kigomanager wrote earlier, he was brought in for one get out tough lefties like Big Papi. My point is it shouldn't have even come to that. Had Torre given Small the hook and started the frame with Proctor, Sturtze or god forbid...Farnsworth! This could have ended differently. Papi is a great hitter and sometimes he's going hit whoever you have against him. Myers included.

My point is that you have make sure it never comes to that. I know Torre wants to protect Farnsworth from overuse to avoid what happened with Gordon. But this is what you brought him here throw 100 mile cheese past the Sox. This might sound like sacrilege, but Torre's use of the bullpen has really been dubious over the last month.

Not to let Wang off the hook. He needs to settle down and pitch. This guy didn't walk anyone last year and now it's like watching Al(Full Count)Leiter pitch.

Speaking of Al, another great night behind the mic. Breaking down Small's changeup to how runners pick up signs and location of pitches. Good stuff.

Kruk on Baseball Tonight made the point that Cano should have dived for the ball to keep it out of the outfield. Maybe, but he practically accused of trying to hotdog with his tone. I would liked to have seen his fat ass get to the ball. I'm not going to thrown Robbie over the bow over that. People love Kruk because "he tells it like it is." But too often people who are "blunt and plainspoken" are that way because they aren't bright enough to see shades of grey or are capable of layered, thoughtful analysis. Cano got flatfooted and tried to make a play going the other way. I don't how many guys would have made that play. If he had made the play, he would have been blowing him for a week.

I know it's only May and I'm not jumping off the cliff. But I'd rather get blown out 17-1 than lose games like this.

Invasion Of Infidel Mountain

Nice way for the Yanks to go into the Fenway series, beating Toronto over the weekend. Almost didn't happen the way that umpire was squeezing Moose.

I could rant about how the umpiring in the majors hasn't been the same since the Mass resignations/firings as few years ago that cost some of the best in the game their jobs. Many of the new bunch are not only mediocre, they're more combative. They'll throw you out if you look at them the wrong way. Feisty and stupid. Not a good combination.

I feel pretty good about the pitching going into this two game series vs the Sox. The Blue Jays are just a bad matchup for Johnson and I loved what I saw from Moose. Chacon and Wang are starting find their form as well. The bullpen is as good as its been from top to bottom in years. Mo is Mo and Farnsworth's stuff is nasty. Myers has been great against lefties and Sturtze is starting to turn the corner despite Friday night. I can't wait to get Dotel in here.

The teams are pretty evenly matched right now. I would give us slight edge if we weren't so inconsistent at the plate. A-Rod's not even getting the garbage time RBI's. With Sheff out, he needs to get right for them to really achieve their potential at the plate. Giambi's looking like he wants to add another MVP to his mantle. That's if Jeter doesn't beat him.

More later...including my adventures on Draft Day.