The Yankees’ fantasy football draft took place last night at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore. There was nearly perfect attendance as some players picked their teams and others watched, and all enjoyed the show put on by league commissioner Eric Hinske.
Hinske, apparently, had a comment for nearly every draft pick — mostly indicating to his competitors that they had just made a terrible selection. He also watched the clock. Owners had two minutes to make their picks; those who duplicated a pick already made — because they were immersed in research instead of paying attention — were fined $100. There were five of those miscues.
Hughes had the first overall pick, selecting Adrian Peterson. Bruney, last year’s runner-up, went with Maurice Jones-Drew. And Hinske picked DeAngelo Williams third. Last year’s winner, K-Long, selected a bunch of his hometown Cardinals, beginning with Larry Fitzgerald eighth overall.
A few people have asked about Jeter’s involvement. He was a late addition to the league, asking to join Hinske’s team. Hinske was prepared to go it alone but accepted the Captain’s offer.
“He just wants to be on the winning team,” Hinske said.
The players are having a lot of fun with this, and some spent a long time in research before the draft. We’ll have plenty on the draft and the fantasy league in the coming days.
Hideki Matsui: He indicated today after hitting in the cage that his knees feel “great.” (No translator needed.) The Yankees training/medical staff has done a great job managing his knees this season and draining his knee on a couple of occasions. Tonight, he plays in his seventh consecutive game. If he doesn’t get a day of in Baltimore tomorrow or Wednesday, he’ll surely get one in the four-game set on the Toronto turf.
Alfredo Aceves: He won his ninth game yesterday and today he took a liner off his left — left — biceps during BP. Aceves stayed on the field for the entire batting practice. In the meantime, a bruise had formed. He said he was fine.
Phil Hughes: He’s going to love seeing this: Peterson just scored on a 75-yard run on the first play from scrimmage against the Texans.
Michael Kay: He has a heaping spoonful — emphasis on heaping — of peanut butter on a plastic plate in front of him. That Atkins diet has to be a ton of fun, doesn’t it?
This is a series the Yankees want to win and the Rays have to win. As for tonight’s pitching matchup, this says a lot: A.J. hasn’t lost since June 20; James Shields hasn’t won since June 20.
Shields was the Rays opening day starter. He’s 6-6 with nine no-decisions. He closed the first half with one win in his last six starts.
A.J. has been, in a word, dominant. Since that disaster in Boston on June 9, he’s gone 5-1 in seven starts and allowed a total of 10 earned runs.
We’re not always into numbers telling the whole story, but the performance of these two has gone a long way in the respective seasons of their teams.
A.J. also has made a habit out of getting out of self-induced jams, whether it’s a couple of walks or what he just did in the first inning – after his throwing error allowed Crawford to go from first to third with one out, he struck out Longoria and got Zobrist to fly out. (Even if Swisher made it a bit of an adventure.)
Hideki Matsui: Wonder what they’d call that slide in Japan. It was almost a belly flop in reverse. Like a butt flop. At the very least, it’s something his teammates will make fun of. Of course, they’ll also appreciate that he busted it from first to score on the Posada double.
The Rays: According to Elias, Tampa Bay’s .524 combined winning percentage of the teams remaining on its schedule is second-highest, behind the Jays. It’s going to be almost impossible for the Rays to duplicate last season’s magic. They do have 36 of their remaining 63 games at home, including tonight’s.
Michael Kay: He went with chicken fingers and fries from the concession stand for dinner. Kenny ate in the dining room. We had some fries, added onto Kay’s order. Somehow there are peaches, bananas and cherries in the booth, which is much healthier than the usual fare. Where are the Snickers?
CC and CC: We’ll be there Wednesday for “Catching up with Carl Crawford,” when Sabathia joins him for an event to encourage more African-American youth to play baseball. Both CCs are excited about it. We’ll have coverage on the BP and pregame shows.
Update (9:42 p.m.): Another thing about A.J.-Shields: A.J. entered the game with a 3.74 ERA. Shields’ was 3.70. Shields, for whom run support obviously has been an issue, lost two games in April despite giving up three or fewer runs. But more recently, Shields hasn’t been as stingy. In his last four starts, including tonight, Shields has given up 17 runs. A.J. has given up 16 earned runs in his last 11 starts.
It really does come down to pitching (and defense), doesn’t it? The Yankees are getting big pitching performances and the Rays aren’t. That’s the difference between these teams.
In response to one of your comments, we talked to Aceves and Girardi about the reliever’s role. Girardi says, yes, he would be interested in using Aceves — and Coke when he’s healthy again — for two-inning appearances. If those two continue to pitch well, it would be an obvious help in building the bridge to Mariano.
Aceves, however, told us he couldn’t do that every time out. Two consecutive games of two innings of work would likely be his limit. Then, he said, he’d need at least a day off. Even today, Aceves said, his shoulder is a bit sore – just normal soreness – after pitching two scoreless innings last night.
So it’s something that’s possible at times, just not every time. Good question.
It’s getaway day, which means everyone is hoping beyond hope for a quick game. It’s also “Ladies Night Out” here at Rogers Centre. Yee-hah!
As we write this, Leiter is rolling his chair over his jacket. Repeatedly. Now he realizes it and is staring down at the blue jacket, which is rather dusty. Especially one of the sleeves. The inning just ended, and Leiter is worrying about having to wear the jacket on postgame and looking dirty. This is the stuff from the booth you don’t see.
Last night’s game went three hours, nine minutes. None of the Blue Jays previous five games lasted longer than 2:34. For whatever that’s worth.
Leiter just asked if we’re writing about him. Yes. We’re also wondering what happened to the Mike and Ike’s.
Swisher’s haircut is creating waves in the clubhouse. It looks a bit like someone took lawnmower blades to his head. Actually, he went to A.J.’s stylist in Toronto – which is another story unto itself. Anyway, in the near future, we will have a Swisher InnerView on “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” and you’ll get an up-close-and-personal look at his hair. We’ll try to give you a heads up. That should be entertaining.
So Jeter’s back, as is Matsui. Bruney should return within a week. Coke could be available tomorrow. Nady plans to swing a bat in the cage tomorrow. Girardi says it’s too early to forecast a return date for either Posada or Molina; Posada is in Tampa, but not yet playing games, and Molina remains in New York.
That’s today’s injury update, brought to you by Benadryl. Or whatever allergy medication we’re taking today.
Leiter just said he didn’t buy more Mike and Ike’s. He also said he read the blog – really, he read it! – and was amused that Mike and Ike’s are so popular. Keep reading, Al. And bring those Mike and Ike’s next time. ðŸ™‚
Tomorrow will be Alex’s first game at Yankee Stadium. Something tells us he’ll be very happy to see the home fans after some of the treatment he’s received here and in Baltimore. Sources say the Toronto fans – particularly on Tuesday — have been as unruly as any the Yankees have seen in a while. They were throwing coins into the Yankees bullpen and yelling all kinds of vulgarities. And we thought Canadians were a gentle sort.
Sunny afternoon here in KC. Waiting for room service lunch. Thought I’d give you a shout.
Meant to mention that I watched “Yes Man” on flight Thursday night. Laughed out loud several times, which is a good barometer of whether I like a movie or not. Jim Carrey actually reminds me of Bob Lorenz. Very naturally funny guys.
Am probably late to this party, but I love, love, love Duffy’s CD. Listened to it on the plane. And have to download it to my iPod. (Duffy was the name of my first dog. I used to crawl on him. I don’t remember him but have seen pictures.)
A couple of answers to some very, very important questions that have been posted here:
Yes, Vanessa, YES announcers do share a fascination with food. And Matsui speaks some English to his teammates but I mostly hear Japanese. I do think he understands almost all English.
Newygiant wants to know if I wear makeup on TV. The answer: Heck, yes!!
And, yes, mlb2008, I do enjoy interviewing Jeter.
That’s it. The chicken sandwich and two Diet Cokes have arrived. Went with fruit cup instead of fries, which is a terribly difficult decision for me.
So I told Kevin Sullivan, our persistent internet guru, that I will become a blogger when Penn State wins a national championship in basketball.
The Nittany Lions won the NIT on Thursday night — Joe Paterno, Franco Harris and 35 busloads of students turned the Garden into a PSU party — so let the blogging begin!
All right, how exactly do you DO this?
Peter Abraham of the Journal News is the king of this stuff; his lohud.com blog is a completely natural and entertaining extension of his reporting/writing/opining. Neil Best of Newsday is obsessed with the millions of page views Watchdog receives. And Bob Lorenz is funny like he’s always funny.
Where does that leave us? Feeling like a fat guy in a little coat. Or a tad uncomfortable. We’ll get over it.
Thank God it’s baseball season
Which also makes this the perfect time to launch a blog. Really, just perfect. Phil Hughes suggested I take over his blog instead of starting my own. I think he’s lost some enthusiasm for blogging. I also think he’s still 22 years old and probably has a lot of other things to do.
Oh, yeah, the new Stadium
Were you there? We did the whole shebang, pregame, game and postgame Friday night. It felt oddly like the last night at the old Yankee Stadium. But different. If that makes sense.
It seemed fitting that Derek Jeter got the first Yankees’ hit. Perhaps it’s telling that Robinson Cano cracked the first home run. Arguably, it’s an omen that the Hideki Matsui and Cody Ransom homers each hit a foul pole. At the least, it was definitely illustrative that Nick Swisher inserted himself into a Johnny Damon postgame interview. And it was revealing that CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett knew they wouldn’t throw a pitch but stuck around until the last rainy out.
The clubhouse is oval-shaped. The starting rotation is together – Joba likes hanging with the veterans. I found it kind of interesting that best buddies Cano and Melky Cabrera are across the room from each other; I’ll have to ask Robbie about that. Jonathan Albaladejo and Swisher are on either side of the main entrance; Swisher is louder. Jeter and Jorge Posada are at the opposite end of the room, on either side of a hallway that presumably leads to the training room, shower area, coaches’ rooms and other as-yet-unknown destinations. The clubhouse is spacious, has impressive amenities (mounted laptop computers, electrical outlets and shelves for personal items/photos at each locker) and is very clean. AAA would give it five stars.
Just heard on TV
A nitwit who shall go unnamed saying Tom Coughlin has to “win over” the locker room after the Giants’ release of Plaxico Burress. Same guy then says something about Jerry Reese having to prove himself as a GM who can replace the wide receiver.
Ugh. That clichéd nonsense gave us a headache, which means it’s time to end this blog. Not the whole blog. Just, you know, say good-bye. For now.
How DO you end blog posts, anyway?