June 2009

LIVE chat tonight with Kimberly Jones

Check back here at 6:30 when the chat room opens for Kimberly Jones. She will be joining us after her Pregame duties on YES (approximately 6:45).

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&task=viewaltcast&altcast_code=e74a40514f” >Kimberly Jones Live Chat</a>

Live chat Tuesday!

A quick reminder: We’re chatting at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) from the Stadium (here’s the link). Oh yeah! Bring your questions and get there early. (Actually, we won’t be early, given those pregame responsibilities. But we’ll be there.)

Hopefully Mr. 500 Saves and One RBI will have time for an “Innerview” tomorrow. Figures Mariano would take care of the whole shebang on ESPN on a Sunday night.

See you tomorrow, and hope you enjoyed the off day.

Pitchers head out for a fun run

pettitte_250.jpgThis afternoon, Dave Robertson and Andy Pettitte were running the concourse of Citi Field. The concourse.

“It’s fun, something different,” Robertson said. “We kind of got lost a couple of times.”

Tomko and A.J. are the ringleaders among concourse runners. Joba also has joined. Tomko has been running concourses since 1999 when Reds teammate Juan Guzman got him hooked. Some Yankees began to join him during last weekend’s Florida series. Hey, it beats running circles around the field.

“It can be like Groundhog Day during a season,” Tomko said. “This breaks up the workouts; it goes quicker.”

They run in packs of four sometimes. In a 20-minute run, each guy takes the lead for five minutes. He might break up the run with sit-ups or jumping jacks.

“Right in the middle of the concourse,” Tomko said.

“It’s a lot more fun than running,” Joba said. “I mean, it is running, but you can do a lot more things.”

Joba enjoyed checking out Citi Field, which he describes as “nice, very nice.” Said Tomko: “Extremely nice. It has a lot of character.”

As for Robertson and Pettitte, they made it back to the clubhouse after an unplanned detour.

“We were up by the Caesar’s Club (on the fifth of six floors), then almost ran into the press box,” Robertson said. “We weren’t sure where we were, but we figured we should get out of there.”

Nick Swisher:
As we were talking to Robertson, Swisher couldn’t help but interject. “Are you asking him why he threw McCann two backdoor cutters?” asked Swisher, wearing a Cheshire Cat grin. “That’s what I want to know.” (Brian McCann of the Braves hit two home runs against Robertson.) Robertson laughed: “Well, the first one was supposed to be a fastball in – and wasn’t. And the second one was supposed to be a fastball away – and wasn’t.” Swisher was highly amused. Robertson’s a good sport. “He hit two bombs off me,” Robertson said. “But I had a pretty good string going of not giving up home runs.” In 16.1 innings, those are the only two jacks Robertson has given up.

Derek Jeter:
He’s got to be really sick to miss back-to-back games with the cough/illness that’s going around the clubhouse.

“George!” That’s how Keith Hernandez greets Cone whenever he comes into the YES booth during the Subway Series. We asked Cone why. When Cone was traded by the Royals to the Mets, he often talked about George Brett. So much so, that Hernandez decided to call him George. And probably a few other things. Honestly, as we told Cone, it’s a much more innocent story than we’d anticipated.

Subway Series:
Enjoy tomorrow night’s game, the final interleague contest of the regular season. We’ll be watching.

Goodbye to the King of Pop

mj_250.jpgCan you believe Michael Jackson is dead? When he was a kid, Joba had a poster of Chipper Jones on the wall of his bedroom. We had a poster of Michael Jackson. Just startling news. Right up until gametime, CNN was playing on the TVs in the press room here at Turner Field. Everyone’s talking about it. Probably everywhere.

Speaking of Joba, he was delighted to meet Chipper before the game. The two talked for 15 minutes. Chipper was gracious, giving Joba some tips based on the considerable amount of video he watched before facing Joba last night. Chipper probably had some worthwhile advice; he had two hits. Anyway, Joba was almost awestruck talking about Chipper after BP. That’s cool. And a reminder that Joba is so young, at 23. And that Chipper, at 37, is old. By baseball standards. (By the way, Joba wanted to thank media relations guru Jason Zillo for setting up the meeting with Chipper. So we’ll help him out with that.)

Derek Jeter: There were signs wishing Jeter a happy birthday a day early; he turns 35 tomorrow. One woman held this sign: “I’m on my honeymoon. Come see me, Derek.” Someday we’re going to have to ask Jeter if he notices this stuff. How could he not?

Alex Rodriguez: He said before the game that the past two days are the best he’s felt at the plate. Then he crushes a first-inning solo home run to center. And now an RBI-single to center.

Chicken parmesan: It’s a favorite of Kay’s, and they’re serving it tonight in the press dining room. He gave positive reviews. We second that. And the Edy’s soft-serve for dessert didn’t hurt. We ate dinner with Sweeny and Pete Abraham. They, too, have fond memories of MJ from when they were kids.

Yanks stay positive despite slide

You readers rock! We’re all set with questions from you for Phil Hughes who will do the “Innerview” for the “Batting Practice Show presented by Audi” during the Seattle series. Probably Tuesday. If you submit a question now (in the comments), it’ll have to be a good one to make the cut. Thanks! Hughes says he’s looking forward to it. And we believe him.

Tuesday is also our next chat, at 6:45 p.m. from the Stadium. It’ll be a busy day. Selfish promo: Along with Adam the Bull, we’re filling in from 6-10 a.m. next week on WFAN for Boomer & Carton. We have big shoes to fill!

All aboard! We learned late this afternoon that the Yankees held a team meeting after last night’s 4-0 loss. Coaches and players were present. Jeter and Teixeira were the only ones to talk. Their messages were about staying positive, knowing they are better than what they’ve shown and HAVING to play better. Pretty basic stuff for a team that’s 4-9 over its last 13 games. Girardi likes this sort of thing; he wants his players to voice their opinions. A.J. is serving his five-game suspension, so he wasn’t in the clubhouse. If he had been, the smart money is that he also would have spoken up.

Johnny Damon: He’s not close to 100 percent with that left calf problem but knows the team needs him. He’s used to playing hurt.

Chien-Ming Wang: Since last night’s game was on My9, we didn’t talk to Wang until today. He smiled a bit and said he was mostly pleased with his outing. He’s starting to get that confident look back. He and Mariano chatted about some things today. Don’t know the details, but that’s a good friend for Wang to have.

Chipper Jones: Talked to him for today’s “Innerview.” Add him to the list of WBC alums in love with Jeter. He went on and on about the Captain, joining Pedroia, Rollins and DeRosa, who did so in previous “Innerviews.” Chipper’s a fun guy, even if Mets fans don’t think so. Said he received his two seats from Shea Stadium today! What timing!

Joba Chamberlain: He was hitting balls into the left field seats in BP and wanted to make sure we took note of that. Check. We told him we wanted to see it during the game. He didn’t make any promises. He did, however, just hit a liner off Kawakami’s neck. It appears the pitcher is OK; he walked off under his power but he’s out of the game. By the way, on the scoreboard here, it gives an “Upper Deck Scouting Report” for players. Joba’s read, in part, “upper 90s FB.” Joba likes Atlanta, where nobody complains about his velocity.

Cody Ransom: Nice to see him back. He is a really good guy who didn’t play nearly as well as he’d hoped in April. Now he gets another chance in a role off the bench. Berroa was designated for assignment, much to Pete Abraham’s dismay.

Nate McLouth: The Braves CF has made two impressive catches – one was terrific – and it’s only the third inning. He said he feels energized by playing in a bigger market and on a more competitive team than the Pirates. He also marvels at the Bay-McLouth-Nady outfield that Pittsburgh had – and still could have. All three are nice guys and they keep in touch with each other, mostly via texts.

Michael Kay: He sent Peter the Runner to the concession stands for a slice of pizza. It was so good, he sent Peter for another. Then we sent Peter for one. Peter is a regular at the pizza stand. “Did you blog about the pizza?” Kay just asked between innings. Now we did.

No shortage of Yankees fans in South Florida

jeterblog_062109.jpgThree-and-a-half hours before game time, it’s hotter than ever here at Land Shark Stadium — a name that takes some getting used to, huh? — where temps are well into the 90s and humidity seems ungodly high as well. (It’s sunny, though, and there’s no tarp on the field.) Jeter says it’s supposed to be hotter in Atlanta. Most of the players seem to be staying in Florida, or somewhere else, for the off day and then will join the team in Atlanta.

Leaving South Florida will mean leaving some of the zaniest and loudest Yankees fans alive. Last night the bus ride out of the stadium was almost scary. Even police escorts can’t solve bumper-to-bumper traffic. And then there were the fans. They lined the area where the bus parked. They screamed. They yelled. And yelled. And yelled some more.

One young lady screamed Jeter’s name repeatedly. At a decibel level that would deafen dogs. She was absolutely relentless. Jeter did sign a bunch of autographs, which was brave of him; not sure if one was hers.

There are Yankees fans everywhere we go. South Florida wins the prize for most the most feverish. Maybe it’s the heat.

Bedard bound for the trade market?

Watching the U.S. Open, it’s amazing to see the rain continuing in the New York area. Those golfers must hate it. Of course, they have a lot of company.

The weather in South Florida has been unbelievably perfect. If you like 90 degrees with some humidity. Really, no one has complained, but the Yankees are making sure to drink plenty of water, and Girardi says he regularly checks with players to make sure they feel OK.

Pettitte mentioned last night that he struggled a bit in the heat, though his numbers didn’t show it. The best evidence was when he knelt at second base after hitting the RBI double. CC likes the heat, so he’ll probably pitch a complete game tomorrow.

Alex Rodriguez: As expected, he’s sitting for the second game in a row. Unlike yesterday, he did take BP in the cage and he did some agility work in the outfield before the game. He could pinch hit. Which would debunk some of the wild theories circulating thanks to the local media here, who suggest more sinister reasons for his absence. Listen, everything isn’t always as it appears, but if you’ve seen Alex play lately, you’d agree he needed a break. Even if the break, unfortunately, came in his hometown.

Father’s Day: Our feature on the Molina family, including all three brothers, airs tomorrow before the game. They’re still coping with the loss of their papi last October. Again, we know this is self-serving, but it’s worth watching.

bedard_250.jpgErik Bedard: He’ll be available in the trade market, assuming his shoulder comes along and he returns in a couple weeks. (He might pitch for the Mariners when they’re at Yankee Stadium.) The trade that took him to Seattle seems to be one of those deals that doesn’t take years to evaluate. The O’s got their center fielder for now and the future in Adam Jones, who’s having a breakout season, and a closer in George Sherrill, who might or might not be trade bait. Even if they’d just received Jones in return, it would have been well worth it.

Kenny Singleton: Kenny bought dinner for the guys – pizza for Kay, hot dog for himself and pizza and ice cream for O’Neill. O’Neill also ate a full meal in the press dining room, which featured lobster ravioli. Tomorrow, it’s O’Neill’s turn to buy since Kay paid yesterday. We had the lobster rav. Didn’t like it, but ate it. That’s so pathetic. We might get in on the O’Neill order tomorrow.

Dolphin Stadium: It sounds like the locals have turned out in greater voice tonight. Perhaps they didn’t like the way Yankees fans took over the stadium last night. Or perhaps they’re awaiting the salsa band and fireworks show that follows the game. A bunch of us are thinking about sticking around.

Running on empty

 
arod250_061909.jpgStrange to see Alex in a polo shirt and pants in the clubhouse, as all of his teammates scurried about in uniform, preparing for BP. Alex won’t start tonight or tomorrow because he is fatigued or, as he said, “running on empty.”

It’s mind-boggling that Alex had played in all 38 games, just three as DH, since returning May 8. And that pace has taken a toll, or so it seems. He is 8 for 55 in June, in an 0-for-15 skid and hitting .212 with nine home runs and 26 RBI. (In 2007, the MVP season Alex repeatedly has said he wants to copy in terms of his approach to the game, he had 26 RBI and 10 home runs after just 14 games.)

Alex suggested that yesterday’s marathon, which included a five-and-a-half-hour rain delay, played into his reaching the tipping point in terms of fatigue. “Yesterday was an absolute nightmare for me,” he said, describing a nearly 13-hour workday that began with 9 a.m. work with Kevin Long.

Oddly, Alex said he told Girardi on Thursday night that he needed a break. But, he was in the original lineup today, until he met with Girardi and was joined via phone by Cashman. Then it was determined that Alex will miss two days. The Yankees also have a day off Monday. It’ll be interesting to see what effect this respite has when Alex returns.

Angel Berroa: He just crushed a double, his first hit since April 28. We’ll leave the jokes to Abraham.

Nick Swisher: We asked him how he spent the rain delay. For a long time he worked on the collage in his locker. (Yes, he said we may photograph it and show it to you — but not until it is a finished product.) Then he ate. (The YES booth was a food orgy. Disgusting.) Then he watched some TV. Then he slept — in uniform in case the rain suddenly ceased. It was a long day.

Derek Jeter: Should he be running on that gimpy left ankle? He’d say yes, of course.

Paul O’Neill: He’s back from Paris where, he says, “they don’t eat.” You can imagine how he felt about that. Well, he just sent Matthew — not Matt — to the Edy’s concession stand for ice cream. Two vanilla cups. One for him. One for me. He is so nice! We didn’t even want the ice cream. But you just don’t say no to ice cream from Paul O’Neill.

Dolphin Stadium: It has been renamed Land Shark Stadium. But every piece of permanent signage still reads Dolphin Stadium. Anyway, it looks like rain (again), but they’re playing Meatloaf over the P.A. We love Meatloaf. He was at a game a couple of years ago in Toronto (we think) and we became a public embarrassment swooning over him. It wasn’t restraining-order stuff, but it was a little much.

Rainy day woman…again

rain_300.jpgA trivia question:

What does Kay eat during a rain delay?

A.   Peanut M&Ms
B.   Fruit Loops
C.   Watermelon
D.  Nathan’s French Fries
E.   All of the above

The answer is E. That’s what happens when a rain delay stretches to nearly four hours, and counting, for a scheduled 1 p.m. start.

You might wonder how we’re spending the day. It probably would be more interesting to know how the players spent the day, but we can’t ask them that for a while. Probably a long while.

We did have a chance to confirm with Internet Guru Kevin Sullivan that our next chat will be Tuesday, June 30. We’ll provide a million reminders before then.

Hopefully, Wang enjoyed his first appearance on the YES postgame show last night. He was great, considering he says he’s not comfortable on camera, and very happy about the birth of Justin Jesse, his 7-pound, 12-ounce son. He stood at his locker amid congratulatory balloons, and he was holding a piece of paper with the baby’s footprints.

And now he gets to make another start – Tuesday at Atlanta. Life is good for Wang.

Kay is yelling at us, for no apparent reason.

“Kim,” he said, as he brushed his hair, “are you losing steam?”

Honestly, the answer is yes. There is no Red Bull in the press dining room.

“You better pick it up,” Kay said. “You’re not even blogging today.”

Actually, we are.

“Why did you just brush your hair?”

“Because I thought it needed it,” he replied.

This is riveting stuff, isn’t it?

Anyway, there has been an inordinate amount of food consumed by people in the YES booth. Except Flaherty, who has consumed blueberries, grilled chicken and almonds, all of which he brought from home. He was smart to pack.

For some reason, there are now cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberries, M&Ms, cookies, Cracker Jacks, Twizzlers and Fruit Loops all within arm’s reach. It’s insane.

It seems like hours and hours ago – weeks, really – that we were in the clubhouse this morning. Swisher was updating the collage of teammates’ pictures that adorns a wall of his locker. By now, he’s probably covered several walls. And several lockers.

What do starting pitchers do on days like this? We’ll have to ask Joba.

We’ve looked through a couple of newspapers that are strewn across the booth. Shocking news on Billy Joel and his wife. Thought they were for keeps.

This has become mind-numbing. It seems like they should have been able to play five innings by now. No wonder Girardi says he’s looking forward to the weather in Florida.

Giants in the house!

Umenyiora-6-17-250.jpgThe NY Giants are in the house! Tom Coughlin, soon headed to Iraq with a couple of other NFL coaches to visit our troops, brought his team on a field trip to Yankee Stadium following today’s two mandatory minicamp practices. “Team bonding,” Coughlin said with a smile. His players were smiling because the mandatory minicamp ends tomorrow morning. Which means it’s time for summer vacation!

The players said they hadn’t eaten since 10:30 am. No wonder they practically ran from Monument Park to the Legends Suite where a feast awaited them.

Osi, who looks terrific, said he went through both practices and was tired but felt great. Although some football players, most notably Trent Edwards of the Bills when we were in Toronto, can look good taking BP, Shaun O’Hara said there’s no way he could hit a major-league fastball. And Justin Tuck is a big Giants fan who brought his father to the old Stadium last year and was happy to be at the new Stadium for the second time.

And we met the newest Penn Stater to join the Giants – Maurice Evans of Brooklyn. We always root for Nittany Lions.

Eli just left the booth after talking with Kay and Flaherty during the third inning. Eli said Peyton just happened to be in the area and came to the game. It’s funny watching the Manning brothers talk; Eli still looks like the younger brother but he doesn’t seem like the little brother anymore. If you know what we mean.

Xavier Nady: He’s frustrated as heck to still be on the DL but plans to play the outfield for four innings Friday in an extended spring game. Before BP, Nady was taking ground balls in right from Robby Thomson and throwing to second – where the manager was manning the bag. “Maybe there was a little more intensity (than Tuesday’s workout) with Girardi out there,” Nady said, smiling.

Jose Molina: We’ll air a feature on Sunday’s pregame about the Molina family coping with their loss of its patriarch, Benjamin Molina, on Sunday’s pregame. This might seem self-serving, but it’s worth a look.

Derek Jeter: Knowing Jeter, he’ll be back tomorrow. But if he can’t play, Girardi knows he has to have Jeter back by Friday, giving the inflexibility in other spots on the roster as the Yankees head to interleague play in National League parks.

Pete Abraham: He says we’ll do another chat soon. And he says we’ll spice it up a bit. To which we say: Bring.It.On.

Your turn: We STILL cannot find Tino. But how does this sound? Let’s do an “Innerview” for Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” with YOUR questions. First, we have to decide on the subject. So, in the comment section, let us know who you’d like to “innerview” and what your question would be. The player mentioned most often will be asked to join us to answer YOUR questions. Do you like that idea?

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