Who’s the AccuWeather guy on our pregame? Haven’t seen him. Maybe we should ask him why they always get forecasts wrong. Or why it feels like March in October.
Or maybe we should just leave the poor guy alone and worry about blogging.
(By the way, this is last night’s post being posted this morning. Not sure what happened with the exchange last night. Catch you later today.)
No Beantown blues: One of you asked how the media is treated in Boston. Like dogs! Just kidding. The reporters mostly get along. (Some of the NY writers don’t exactly love each other, but that has nothing to do with Boston.) The players seem to get along. (Everyone in baseball talks to Big Papi during batting practice and the Yankees players are no exception.) The fans sometimes yell vile/nasty things, but that’s life. Boston is no different than any other place. Generally speaking, fans — and especially some callers to sports talk radio — have more venom than players or members of the media do.
On the menu: So everyone wishes Kenny a very Happy Birthday! Kenny had a nice lunch with his wife, whose blog “Mrs. Singy: Married to Baseball” is also available for your perusal on this site.
Besides Kenny’s chocolate cake, which is being cut as we write, dinner in the press dining room dinner included grilled chicken, peas and mac and cheese. Pretty healthy, particularly the chicken. So Kay went with ice cream for dinner. Flaherty had chicken and pizza; we had chicken, peas and mac and cheese. (We ate separately; no one likes to wait until after my pregame pop to eat with me. Well, actually, O’Neill does sometimes.) The Boston press dining is making a comeback this series. Much better than when we were here in April, when it was uncharacteristically slumping.
Speaking of slumps: The Boston fans are giving a clinic in how to treat a struggling superstar. They cheered Ortiz for flying out to deep center. The ball went to the deepest part of the park, but Ortiz walked off the field with his head hung.
And with the fans — some of whom were standing — cheering him.
Can Wang get right? The Red Sox scouting report on Wang indicated that he isn’t the old Wang, neither in command nor in velocity. Turns out, it was right as, for the second night in a row, the Yankees starter went two and 2/3. Not exactly what Girardi was hoping for.
Gardner is in trouble. With Bruney.
The two are obsessed with the Tiger Woods videogame. They play against each other all time. To the winner goes custody of a Tiger figurine.
When Bruney triumphs, he paints Tiger’s cap, shirt and shoes red. When Gardner prevails, he paints the cap, shirt and shoes green.
Yesterday, Gardner jumped the shark. He painted the entire figurine green. And he put thought into it — he asked a clubbie in Texas to purchase bright green paint and a small paintbrush. Then, he temporarily hid the mini-Tiger from Bruney.
By this morning, Bruney had seen it.
“He painted it like a two year old,” Bruney seethed. “Why did he have to paint the whole thing green? I’m done.”
With the videogame?
“No, with Gardner and the figurine,” Bruney said. “Ask him why he did it.”
Gardner was busy with the Big Buck Hunter Pro arcade game — our apologies for getting the name of the game wrong yesterday — when we were in the clubhouse, so Gardner’s comment on this controversy will have to come postgame or tomorrow.
By the way, sources indicate that Farnsworth owns a Big Buck Hunter Pro and keeps it at his home in Georgia. That’s perfect.
Double time for Jeter: 14-game hitting streak for the Captain and he didn’t waste any time. Jinx this!
Menu musings: Kay just asked the runner to go the concession stand for a slice of pizza. He talked Flaherty into ordering one, too. (Yesterday Kay went with his other staple, chicken fingers and fries.) Kay bought. The slices are huge! Kay usually will eat only the cheese. Today, he’s eating the entire slice. “I feel like treating myself,” he explained.
We ate room-service oatmeal at the hotel for breakfast, so we declined the pizza offer and also will skip The Hal Lebovitz Press Dining Room today.
Yes, to answer your questions, we pay for meals at every ballpark. Tampa is $6. Yankee Stadium and Toronto are $11. Texas and Cleveland are $10. All receipts wind up on expense reports.
In the NFL, teams don’t charge the media for food on gamedays. At least we don’t think any of them do. In fact, some — the Steelers, for sure — allow reporters to eat in the cafeteria during the week, alongside Dan Rooney.
A.J. the tutor: A.J. takes great interest in his teammates and how they’re doing, especially the pitchers. He has developed a particular fondness for Wang, and the two were in the outfield just before noon, getting some throwing in on flat ground.
A.J. finished first and stayed to watch Wang throw. Then, he stepped behind Wang and offered what appeared to be mechanical suggestions. He and Wang were discussing Wang’s grip on the sinker.
We’ll ask A.J. for more details, probably tomorrow.
Melky to return: Girardi expects Melky to be in the lineup tomorrow, after missing four games with the bruised shoulder. It might be Damon who gets a day off; he’s been sore since colliding with the wall/fence in Texas.
Hello from the Trop. Good thing we’re under cover. It rained hard all day.
Tonight’s game is on My9, which usually means I don’t work. Today I’m at the Trop to finish up some interviews for a Jackie Robinson feature tomorrow — should be a good one; the pressure is on producer Jared Boshnack 🙂 — and to watch at least the beginning of what should be a great pitching matchup.
Just got back to the booth from the field. Flaherty bought dinner and made the independent decision to get me a grilled chicken sandwich. Nice move. He’s having the same thing. Kay and Cone are eating chicken tenders and fries.
Dave Eiland talked about Wang, saying he’s seen the same struggles and arm angle issues before — during the ’07 playoffs and during a brief period last year, before Wang got hurt.
Eiland said Wang looked strong in the bullpen, as late as 6:45 p.m. Monday. But, the stuff obviously didn’t translate into the game.
“He’s the one who has to do it,” Eiland said. “The player always has to do it.”
Eiland and Girardi met with Wang behind closed doors, probably talking about those things and also making sure Wang remains confident.
“It’s there; I’ve seen it,” Eiland said of Wang’s good stuff. “He just has to take it into a game. He’s going to get it. He’s going to get it because it’s there.”
All of that being said, the Yankees believed last night was a big start for Wang because they didn’t want his awful debut to carry over. That makes Wang’s next start really big, for his mechanics as well as his confidence.
Talked with Alex Rodriguez, who is at the game again tonight. He said he awoke with usual workout soreness but nothing that would be of any concern. He said Dr. Philipon was delighted to hear that. The rain changed Alex’s workout a bit, but not much, and he remains encouraged and upbeat. (His interest in the blog was minimal, though he did ask the name of it. He suggested I sign up Swisher for some sort of a role. Not an awful idea. Everyone wants a piece of Swisher these days.)
Hung out with Mariano for a while as the Rays took BP. Evan Longoria walked along the third base line and tipped his cap. Nice. Mariano appreciated that. It was funny to watch the Rays, especially Longoria, keep an eye on Mariano. He’s baseball royalty. Once Don Zimmer started motioning and yelling over, I knew I was done. Sure enough, Mariano went over to Zim, saying he loves him and had to say hello.
Gabe Kapler had an awesome response to being struck out by Swisher: He now has an answer when people ask him his most embarrassing moment. Also said he had no problem with Swisher’s wanting to keep the ball.
Joe Maddon marveled at that catch Upton made. (Who didn’t?) He said it was as technically perfect as it could have been. Maddon and Molina shared a nice moment during BP. There is much respect between the two, from their days with the Angels.
A long trip is a step closer to coming home. Kay says he’s already packed. Already a better start for the Yanks with Gardner getting a bloop hit.
The Trop is unbelievably loud tonight. More cowbells than the state of Iowa.
Pregame was interesting. Clearly Wang needs to do what he didn’t in his first start – keep the ball down. He’s been getting encouragement from A.J., who yesterday sent Wang an email in Chinese that read, “preparation for domination.”
A.J. uses a translation feature on his phone. He said Wang is teaching him Chinese, little by little. A.J. has been a really, really good teammate in his short time as a Yankee.
Alex arrived in the clubhouse at about 4 p.m. He looks happy, relaxed and thinner. He said he weighs the same, when I asked him. He also said being in Colorado has allowed him to take a “20-second timeout” from the circus that had been swirling around him. You could argue it was more like a full timeout.
Joe Maddon is one of the smartest, nicest men I’ve met in sports. He had a full offseason, following up the World Series by getting married and visiting the Bush White House in early January for one of those “baseball couples” dinners. He said it was awesome. (The marriage AND the White House.) Asked him about Longoria’s hot start and he said, “A sophomore jinx is the result of failure to make adjustments. He’s making adjustments.”
I like that kind of stuff.
Upton and Crawford will test Posada when they have the chance. They Rays have always believed they could run on Wang. And they think Kazmir, coming off a great spring, is already locked in.
Awesome day so far, sunshine, clear skies, fun atmosphere for the game.
Oh, that reminds me: It was my turn to buy dinner, and I took it. For a mere $46, Kay got chicken fingers, Flaherty and I had grilled chicken sandwiches, and Cone had a burger. Four orders of fries, thank you. And I channeled my background as a waitress to carry it all back to the booth at the same time.
Sadly, there won’t be blogging during the game. Logistically, it’s not practical tonight. We’ll catch up soon.
Mark Teixeira was a late scratch (around 5:15 p.m. local time) and expected to see the Royals doctor about his sore left wrist before the game. Kevin Long told me that Teixeira took only four swings right-handed before saying he couldn’t go. “Obviously, we don’t want him out of the lineup,” K-Long said when I asked his level of concern. We’ll have more from Girardi on postgame. (I love the “level of concern” question and know that I ask it all the time.)
Very, very generous offer from Kay, who bought dinner for the guys. He even made Patrick (one of our runners here in K.C.) find me to ask if I wanted anything.
What a gesture! I’m not always easy to find.
But, I had already eaten chicken and mashed potatoes (two scoops) in the press dining room, so I passed. Patrick reports that Kay gave him a “crisp, new $50” to pay for din-din. He also says that since Flaherty bought yesterday and Kay today, it must be Cone’s turn tomorrow. I like Patrick.
OK, so Kay and Flaherty each ordered a burger and fries. Both burgers plain. Kay must be rubbing off on Flaherty. Cone went with the Italian sausage with mustard. Crazy guy.
By the way, the Royals charge $10 for dinner but have no receipts to prove it. So, when I file my expense report with Bruce Williams, I will include this blog entry.
Wanted to catch part of the Red Sox-Angels game today but didn’t. Must have been a good game (Don’t know if you saw it, but the Angels did an outstanding job with the Nick Adenhart tribute Friday night. Thank you, MLB.tv.). In the clubhouse today the players were watching the Masters. Swisher says he’s a 13-handicap. It’s impossible to imagine Swisher on a golf course, exhibiting the requisite decorum.
“I’m calm when I golf,” Swisher insists. “Really, I am.”
So, now we know the two places the guy isn’t going 100 mph: At the plate and on the course.
Big day for autograph seekers here at the New K: Joba and Mariano signed for a while after BP. Gotta watch the game now. See you on the post!
Flaherty just bought lunch for the fellas. What a great teammate! Flaherty, Kay and Cone are each having a personal pan pizza from the concession stand. Actually, Cone isn’t eating his, not yet.
Today had “rain delay” written all over it, so the weather is a pleasant surprise.
Swisher is (still) shot out of a cannon. It’ll be interesting to see how Girardi finds enough at-bats to keep Swisher and Nady happy. Both want to play every day. Yes, it should help that Swisher is versatile.
CC said he really likes the recently-renovated Kauffman Stadium. He seemed genuinely impressed when he walked out of the dugout. He’s started 16 games here, tied with the Metrodome for most in his career of any road stadium, so he’s pretty familiar with the place. (He’s 8-5 with a 3.62.)
The standing room only area in right field is cool. You’re above or below the fountains and it has to be a pretty nice view.
A.J. Burnett ran the indoor stadium steps this morning. His work ethic has really impressed Girardi. I need to run some steps, or just run. Haven’t seen enough of the treadmill this week.
Game time is nearing. The field looks like halftime of a bowl game at the moment. It also looks like every seat is full.
Greetings from the New K. The folks here in Kansas City are extremely excited about the renovated Kauffman Stadium, which underwent $250 million in changes. Looks nice. Fountains still in the outfield. Scoreboard is enormous; that part of the renovation was finished last year and it’s awesome. Flat screen TVs all over the place. Party Deck looks ready to rock.
The weather kinda stinks, but we’re optimistic. The Royals are optimistic, too. I read today “the first-place Royals…” That’s good, good for baseball, I think, to have cities that haven’t recently had hope have it. And it’s still April.
I’m going to get to some of your specific comments at some point on this trip – and, yes, I know I KEEP WRITING THAT. But one note: I saw a comment the other day that was meant to be a compliment to me but also disparaged three other women in the business. Let’s not do that here, okay? I’m not going to preach about what you should think or write – I hate that, on blogs or anywhere – but I just don’t want this to be a place where we rip people, specifically other chicks in the biz, for no reason.
Let’s face it, you can hear or read negative crap a lot of other places. Heck, the other day one of my colleagues left the distinct impression on his radio show that he’d rather someone else do my job. (As Jennifer Aniston would say, Not cool. But we roll with it!)
Honestly, I really like most of the gals I meet while doing this job, I occasionally go out with them, I text with them and I don’t feel competitive with them. (And I love the word, “gals.”) So let’s stay (mostly) positive but still have (hopefully a lot of) fun. Good news of the morning: John Flaherty just gave me permission to blog about him! Coolio!