It even goes beyond retiring as a Yankee. Did you know that Ron Guidry was his idol growing up! Uh, huh! Wait ’til you hear this — in his first MLB start, his opposing pitcher WAS Guidry. Take a look at the symmetry — closing out his career with Guidry as pitching coach?!
And, wasn’t David (David Wells, for those of you whose needs I have rudely ignored) undefeated as a Dodger until this week, when he took care to take LA out of contention himself, in plenty of time to sneak onto our roster?
You know he’ll pitch wherever he’s needed — as a starter, out of the bullpen, whatever. He and Clem could combine for a game. Now that’s symmetry.
Let’s make nice. OK? Please? So little is going well, even in my baseball social life. This bone would make so many dogs happy.
Blue Jays 1 (57-49) @ Yankees 5 (62-41)
Nothing makes me remember that part of the world still makes sense like going to Yankee Stadium for a game. I’m on my way, will add later tonight. One plug for StubHub: Our Tier Reserved tickets accidentally were sold to someone else, and StubHub made good on their guarantee and replaced them at the same price — with Main Reserved MVP seats!
Floraine Kay and I agreed that this was an especially fun game to watch in person. Although homeruns are dramatic–and I will never turn one down–I am so glad that we have returned to the "small ball" style of play, which I find more strategically interesting and also more depenable than and the homerun style of game, in which we sit back and hope that someone expensive hits the ball out of the park. Frankly, I found that approach a bit demeaning to all our players during the year or two when we were acquiring sluggers with abandon. Runners gave up racing to base, fielding got sloppier (or was that my imaginaion?), etc. Anyway, now we have a lot of National League-style movement going-on on the basepaths, with swift basehits, double steals, and scoring. Nice. Even A-Rod and Giambi settled for basehits, and it was a good thing. A-Rod’s New York fans are determined to support him, even through strikeouts, and he got cheered in a big way when he connected for a single, and again when he stole second. Even when he was thrown out at home, the crowd was cool. The closest thing to a homerun by a Yankee was a roaring double by Miguel Cairo. Maybe he is strength training. He was fabulous. At bat, he got his own special Main Reserved MVP cheer. THAT was cool.
AJ Burnett seemed to burn out. Floraine thought the volume and intensity of the crowd might have worn him down toward the end of the 6th inning. Reliever Accardo kept us quiet for over an inning, but Tallet let in 1 more run. Jaret Wright let in only 1 run, in what would have been a bit of a pitching spectacle were it not for the tremendous infield assistance — especially the Jeter-Cairo-Giambi double plays. Outfield there were some big saves, too — one by Johnny Damon for Villone, one by Melky Cabrera, and a potentially damaging one in the 9th, for Farnsworth, by Bobby Abreu, with his bright orange glove, on his first day as a Yankee. Farnsworth closed out the 9th, once hitting 100mph. I had never seen that before. Wright pitched through the 5th allowing 1 run. Villone pitched the 6th and part of the 7th, Proctor finished the 7th and pitched the 8th, and Farnsworth got all 3 outs in the 9th. The relievers allowed no runs. What a cliche, relief.
OK, you A-Rod haters, remember where you were when the symbol of Yankee excess finally hit in the clutch and won a game, in dramatic fashion, at that. Starting June 28, 2006, you will have to find a different player to boo with such vehemence. I suspect most of you are Mets fans anyway. You just don’t know what to do with yourselves now that the Mets are doing so well, do you?
I mean no offense to fans of the Mets who genuinely feel for their team. In fact, I consider myself a fan of the Mets, and after a game at Shea, I frequently end up arguing with a "Met fan" on the 7 all the way back to Manhattan, defending the hometeam we just saw. Seems like the only team they hate more than their own is the Yankees.
I think there is a group of A-Rod haters from Shea. who comprise a sub-species of fan, an alleged "diehard Mets fan." As soon as Piazza went to the Padres and Beltran started hitting, they panicked, dove into the river, and started swimming uptown. By the time they got to The Bronx, poisoned by the chemicals and whateverelse they took in as they swam, A-Rod was too easy a shot to miss.
It’s not that the rest of us didn’t have anything to say about A-rod, by the way. I have revelled in the titles that Marc Marc has bestowed upon him, such as K-rod and E-rod. I am among the many who have chosen A-Rod’s 2-out at-bats to start for the concession stands. (We didn’t miss anything, did we, fellow comrades-in-line? Except those of us whose hubris tempted our attention away from the field on the 28th….) I shouldn’t be upset that he watched his winning homerun sail out of the park before running to first, right? He knew it was going. He needed to know. It won’t happen again. He’s no Soriano. Right?
If you must convince someone else or simply remind yourself that it is true, that A-rod won a Yankee game with a walk-off homerun, enjoy this video highlight from MLB.com, featuring Michael Kay’s famous "See ya!" to the homerun gone. Link: New York Yankees : Video : Yankees Top Plays Archive.
How did I miss this? It seemed that the Nationals had sewn up Esteban Loaiza for a few years, so I’d stopped checking his status on the Free Agent Tracker. Billy Beane must have come across some extra stuffing in his turkey, since he invited Loaiza home to Oakland for Thanksgiving on a $21 million one-way ticket through 2008.
How do I feel about this? Resigned to several more seasons of overpriced acquisitions and overzealous housecleaning by GM Brian Cashman, seasons that will be managed by the increasingly dyspeptic Joe Torre, both of whom were recently re-signed. (Did you ever reach for the remote to reset the color quality, only to realize that it was Joe’s complexion that had made your walls glow sallow during one of those endless close-ups? I wish him well, but if the directors are going to use his enigmatic Mona Lisa smile/grimace to lend visual pep to the deceptively static quality of a baseball game, they might as well send him to make-up and give him a SAG card. No one told him he had to emote. That was Mel’s job. By the way, has Mel separated himself yet? Last I heard, he was going to have a look at spring training after all, and would check-in on Ron Guidry. Odds are he won’t find it easy to stay away.)
You do know that Loaiza was in pinstripes for part of that archetypally painful season of 2004. Loaiza for Contreras. I couldn’t believe our luck. (No, we weren’t wrong about Contreras. Remember? George sent the yacht down to Cuba, rescued his family, and he finally won a game? While we were ahead, BOOM, GONE. It was brilliant. Besides, did you ever wonder if Contreras was El Duque’s revenge? His opinion was sought, long-distance.)
As I was saying, remember how Loaiza found his New York self, won his 100th game, helped us get to, and through, that archetypally painful postseason,…how on that last night l for once bolted out of work early, way out by the terminus of the #2 subway…how I met Loaiza’s cousin on the Franklin Avenue platform while waiting to transfer to the uptown #4 in time to catch a few innings at the Stadium. (Well, really at Stan’s, though his cousin did try to get Floraine and me a seat.) It all seemed so possible, and this time we wouldn’t let the Series get away. At last, finally, no, NO ONE would put Loaiza into the game, despite his stellar big-game performance out of the bullpen earlier that series. Oh, no, I won’t go there. Not now.
On the bright side, the Yankees play Oakland at home for 6 of the 9 scheduled games, on weekends, and I’ll finally get to see him play at the Stadium, even if it is in the wrong uniform (He does look better with his goatee, which he couldn’t sport as a Yankee) (Last year at Shea was fun, even if he did almost error himself out of a W. More about that night can be found here) Home Series 1: Friday May 12 at 7:05, Saturday May 13 at 1:05, and Sunday May 14 at 1:05. Home Series 2: Friday June 9 at 7:05, Saturday June 10 at 1:20 (note time), and Sunday June 11 at 1:05. We also play our season-opening series in Oakland for 3 nights starting Tuesday April 3 10:05. All times are ET.