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.


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