Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Catching Up After Chi-Town

Sorry the delay in posts...I was totally wiped out Sunday night when I got back from Chicago (more on that later) and my cable/internet went on the fritz Monday night so I'm way behind.

After a very competitive series against the Chi-Sox last week (one of the best this season), the Bombers suffered their predictable let down to the feisty, but inferior Angels. Unit and company were able to salvage a split in the four game set with a 7-2 win over the Halos last night.

What is it with the Yankees and the Angels? I understand 2002, that team had a relentless lineup that mirrored the Yankees, an adequate rotation and a killer bullpen. I can understand why that team gave us fits.

But this team is a shell of that old team. Yes, Vlad is better than anyone on that 2002 team. But he doesn't have any protection because Anderson and Salmon are shot, Troy Glaus is a Blue Jay and while Juan Rivera has turned into a nice player, he doesn't exactly put the fear of god in anyone. When Orlando Cabrera is hitting in the three spot, you've got problems. Their once solid defense is one of the worst AL right now so it's not as if we're looking at the '69 O's infield gobbling up RBIs.

But this team continues to gives us the epilepsy as Jerome from Manhattan would say. Why? Starting pitching is part of it. Despite losing Colon for the season, their rotation is actually better this year thanks to the rookies Saunders and Weaver. The Yankees are 5-7 vs rookies this annoying trend that's continued over the last few years.

I like Scoscia as a manager, but I seriously doubt that he's the difference-maker when the talent gap is as big as it is now. Is it psychological on both ends? That's probably as big a factor as any. They are in the Yankees heads and they know it. Thank god they're four games out and their black magic doesn't seem to work on the rest of the league.

I suppose we should be happy with a split all things considered. However, with Boston floundering against any team with a pulse, this is a prime opportunity for the Bombers to put some distance between them and the infidels. Too many crazy things can happen in this upcoming five game set so I would feel more comfortable with a few more wins in hand before we head to Castle Grayskull. Hopefully the Tiggers can help us out. Because of course, Tiggers are wonderful things....

Thankfully, this week has started off a lot better than last week. As great as the ChiSox series was for the casual baseball fan who likes pennant races....It sucked for the average Yankee fan. To add insult to injury, I was present last Thursday night in Chicago. When I had the misfortune of waiting through an hour-long rain-delay only to watch A-Rod and Melky help Moose to a early 4-0 hole. We make Vasquez throw a million pitches but only manage scratch out two runs. It seemed like the bases were loaded every friggin inning, yet we let the stiff escape. Melky hits a two run bomb off of Sox wunderkind Brandon McCarthy to make it 5-4...but we get no closer despite a couple of hits off of Bobby Jenks in the ninth.

My punkass friend Willie aka General Zod was with me for the first few innings until suburban life summoned him back to his prozac-filled existence (He couldn't miss the last train to West Bubblefuck). He moved to Chicago about a year ago and all he does is whine about how much he misses the New York Sports scene and the Yankees in particular. So you'd think that since this is the first Yankees game he's attended in over a year that he would plan ahead and find a way get hom in case the game went late? As a Yankee fan, he should know that the games usually go long, right?

Hell, no...this weasel left because his "wife had the car to take their son to karate." and he had no other way to get back to the sticks. Weak, very weak. If I ever get like that if I ever have kids. Shoot me. Just walk up to me and shoot me. The baseball gods will thank you.

No worries, because despite their tough reputation, the South Siders were a pretty civil lot. Unlike their cousins on the Northside who are basically there to drink and hit on girls, these folks actually were paying attention to the game. They were a little overwhelmed by all the Yankees fans there who were matching them cheer for cheer, but for the most part they held their own.

They seemed to be more animated during the Yankee series than they were for Detroit series. The fans were much louder for that last Yankee game than they were for the two Tiger games I saw on Friday and Saturday. Part of it was because the Yankee fans were much less bashful about rooting for their squad. There were a decent number of Tiger fans in the crowd, but even before the games, they were pretty quiet. After it was over, you would have thought they were mimes. ChiSox fans and their team represented their city well last weekend.

Too bad I can't say the same for their stadium or the silly gimmicks.

I can see why US Cellular Field gets a bad rap from folks around baseball. It was the first of the new wave of ballparks built in the 90's and unfortunately, it pales in comparison to vitually all of its younger counterparts. There's nothing overtly wrong with it, except for the fact that there's nothing that would want to make you go there if you weren't a ChiSox fan.

It seems bigger than it really is, in part because while many of the new parts built their fields below ground level to give the park a more intimate feel...Cellular is as straight as an arrow. As a result, not only is there less seating than the new parks, it feels like you're further away from the action.

But I could live with the experience if the park was the only problem. Apparently noone's told the Reinsdorf and company that they're the champs. Because they continue with silly gimmicks that you would expect out of the New York-Penn league much less a major league franchise.

The fireworks after every home run or win, the silly rally song from 1959 after every run scored. The Elvis night's enough to want to make you vomit. What happened to good old fashioned cheering?

I don't know if Chicago is still a Cubs town, but I'll say this, as long as Wrigley's still standing, they'll always make more money than the South Siders. Tourists go just to see the park, to hang out and drink at the bars in Wrigleyville. When you're on the South Side, you go to the game and you go home. That's it. It's like Shea in Central time.

Real Chicago baseball fans might be White Sox fans, but they better hope the Tribune folks never get a clue and decide to bring home a consistent winner, because if they do, The White Sox might as well move to Gary because it will be over. The White Sox will be forced to get a new stadium or move. Wrigley Field is a cash-cow that no amount of fireworks or flying Elvises can match.

A-Rod must not like Moose. The way he's committing errors during his starts he must still be pissed about the way Mike threw him under the bus a few weeks ago. Thankfully, it didn't cost us the game like the last couple of times. But jeez, can you two bitches hug it out before you head to Fenway please?

A couple of points about tonight's game.

The Orioles really, really suck.

Bedard is a pretty good pitcher on a really sucky team.

LaTroy Hawkins has just been inducted into the Yankeebitch Hall Of Fame. I smile whenever I see him, Arthur Rhodes, BK Kim or Armando Benitez come into a game. They must have PHD's in Jeter Salad Tossing.

Combine that, with the fact that Tiggers are very wonderful things. I can leave town with a clear conscience.

More when I get back....


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