Beautiful day here in Chicago. A surprising number of Yankees fans were dodging raindrops on Michigan Avenue yesterday. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise us.
Melky Cabrera: What is it about Melky that he seems to come up with a big hit just when the Yankees need one? Like his three-run homer off Buehrle in the second inning.
Jerry Hairston Jr.: Girardi loves his versatility. Girardi also loves Ransom. It’s hard to see the need for both.
Ozzie Guillen: We didn’t have to bleep him at all for pregame today. That might be a first. He is fun. He also promised a quick game today. Um, maybe not.
Jake Peavy: If his new team’s preferred timetable is correct, he’ll face the Red Sox and Yankees on a road trip that begins Aug. 24. Ozzie hopes Peavy, who threw in the bullpen today, could make his debut even before then.
Al Leiter and the Rev. Jesse Jackson: What do these gentlemen have in common? Both paid dinner tabs last night in one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants. Leiter left a 20 percent tip, picking up the sizable tab for a table of four. Thanks, Al. (Full disclosure: Kay picked up the bar tab and also left a 20 percent tip. Thanks, Michael.) Restaurant sources indicated the Rev. Jackson went the 8 percent route, leaving $31 on a tab of just over $28 dollars.
CC Sabathia and Mark Buerhle: Halfway through and there are 20 hits and 11 runs on the board. And Tony Pena, not the bench coach, has relieved Buerhle. That’s baseball, as they say.
Flaherty’s first words to us today were these: “You have to update the blog.”
The man knows whereof he speaks.
Hello from Arlington, where little, tiny, light brown bugs are taking over the universe! But it’s not raining and there is no threat of rain, so no one’s complaining.
Speaking of not complaining: Guess who checked in via email? Polly! Wearing her perfectly pink do-rag, she visited us at Yankee Stadium last Wednesday and captivated the clubhouse. (Polly wrote that she was “VERY nervous.” We don’t believe her. LOL) She also wrote, “Words can’t even begin to express what the day meant to me. It was one surprise after another! … It was all just incredible! I don’t think I have ever smiled that much. I think Nick Swisher had a lot to do with that! His attitude and love for life is contagious!” Polly rocks! One reason we got along so well was because we both love exclamation points! Stay in touch, Polly. And keep fighting.
The return of Posada, (temporary) departure of Melky: Melky is day-to-day with a bruised right shoulder and is headed back to New York to see team doctor Chris Ahmad. If Ahmad believes Melky can be back within a week, Girardi says the Yankees can live with that. If not, Melky might be DL-bound and the Yanks would need to call up an outfielder. (And they might have to do something with Berroa one of these days.) Meanwhile, Posada will rejoin the team Friday, after catching five innings in Tampa today. But don’t expect Cervelli to go anywhere. At least not yet. The pitchers love him, which could create some interesting dynamics. Stay tuned.
Joba, Joba, Joba: Joba is a big kid who was fooling around in the clubhouse with a little laser that A.J. bought him at a gas station here. Seriously, a gas station. He got a kick — a big kick — out of pointing a red dot at unsuspecting teammates. Joba’s big personality extends to the mound, as we all know, but he just seems more natural in the 8th-inning than in the starting rotation. At least that’s our view. It would seem an athlete who can dominate at a position helps a team more than an athlete whose results are, so far, a mixed bag in another role. Obviously there are two sides to this, and both can make relevant points. But there are plenty of voices in the clubhouse who agree with us, but it’s a silent chorus. At the moment. (If Bruney’s flexor mass strain in his elbow leads to a long — or painful — absence, you might start to hear the chatter.)
Food fight: The press dining at Rangers Ballpark features chicken and pork tonight, along with a salad bar and (very) soft-serve ice cream. The zucchini was tasty. M&Ms made the ice cream better. And something tells us there will be a lot of food consumed on the team charter bound for Cleveland later tonight. On days like these, the will power wanes when the Twix bars are getting passed around. Sigh.
Coke and a slider? Coke was still disgusted with himself today for throwing a slider to Chris Davis last night. The ball wound up in the seats. “I threw a slider to a guy with slider bat speed,” were Coke’s words. “Right in his barrel.” We asked Coke if it reminded him of the slider Morneau deposited among Yankee Stadium fans. “No, that was a hanging slider,” Coke said. “I thanked Morneau for hitting that pitch – because that’s what it deserved.”
“Yeah, I said thanks during BP the next day,” Coke said. “He just smiled and pointed at me.”
In his next outing Coke got Morneau to strike out on a series of fastballs away.”Tino Martinez told me to do that,” Coke said. “We were talking during BP and he said lefties at Yankee Stadium hate fastballs down and away because there’s nothing they can do with them.”
That Tino is full of advice.
“I like talking to him,” Coke said. “He knows the game, and he knows how the stadium plays.”
Since he mentioned Tino: We’re still accepting a FEW more questions for the Tino Q&A. He’ll answer him during the Tampa series of the next homestand and we’ll post them. Like we did with O’Neill.
Get ready to chat!
The only thing any of us really need to know: The first live chat is less than 24 hours away! We’ll get it started at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow and hope you can be there. Internet guru Kevin Sullivan will walk us through the first one. Thank goodness. Feel free to watch our pregame show and participate in the chat simultaneously ðŸ™‚
It’s so cold here. Fifty degrees feels like 40.
Interesting that Girardi didn’t rule out two possibilities during pregame: That Alex could return during the upcoming homestand and that Joba could — could — return to the bullpen at some point this season. Girardi could have said “no” to either question. He did not. Hmmm. You have to think Hughes will play an instrumental role in the latter.
I asked Jim Leyland to estimate the impact of putting Alex into this Yankees lineup. “Tremendous,” he said.
Speaking of Hughes: He is (still) just 22 and appears to have bounced back beautifully from a disappointing 2008. Between 3:30-6:30 p.m., he did some running, chatted easily with reporters, signed autographs, interacted with fans and smiled. Smiled a lot. I always feel good for players who face adversity, don’t sulk, pick themselves up and have great attitudes. Put Cano in that category, too.
Guess the Posada hamstring really was of “no concern.” He’s behind the plate.
Melky’s in center again. Girardi essentially said he has no regular center fielder at this point. He prefers to think of it as four guys to play three outfield positions. When Damon or Swisher needs a day, Melky and Gardner both will be out there. Girardi has had a conversation with Gardner, telling him to maintain his confidence and stay ready.
Gardner seemed to enjoy a pre-batting practice card game with Bruney and a couple of others.
The Tigers have had decent attendance so far, which is great to see in this economy, particularly in Detroit. It was strange, even disconcerting, Monday to read dueling headlines in the Detroit Free Press: More layoffs by the car manufacturers while the Lions give Matthew Stafford $41 million in guaranteed money. Stafford faces an incredible task — and that doesn’t include just quarterbacking the woeful Lions. He’ll have to show he identifies with the community here.
Credit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch with a fantastic gesture, having installed the logos of Chrysler, General Motors and Ford above the Comerica Park scoreboard. “The Detroit Tigers support our automakers,” reads the sign below. Ilitch is providing the advertising for free, despite offers from other sponsors to pay up to $2 million for that prime real estate. That’s a tremendous move by the owner of the Tigers. Maybe Ilitch should counsel Stafford.
This is kinda embarrassing, but I’ll share: So, Damon introduces me to a guy named Chris in the clubhouse around 4 o’clock or so. We said hello. He looked slightly familiar, but I didn’t really think twice, other than to make a mental note that it was somewhat unusual for a player to have a random guest in the clubhouse before a game. Then Cone tells me it’s Chris Chelios of the Red Wings. Oops! Bad, bad job by me. It’s a good thing — make that great thing — YES doesn’t do hockey.
Hi there! Unlike this trip, this blog post is going to be short.
Lots going on today. Bad news for Xavier Nady, who is a good guy. His eyes watered as he talked about the initial diagnosis on his right elbow being “not great” and as he said he spent the morning making some difficult calls to family members and friends. He expects a final diagnosis tomorrow, when he will go on the DL, and is worried that he’ll need a second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He initially had the procedure in September 2001 and said he was ready for the start of A ball the following spring.
This is why you don’t automatically trade an outfielder just because you have one too many.
Interesting approach with Chien-Ming Wang today. He threw his bullpen with Joe Girardi and Dave Eiland among the onlookers. Then he went to the pitcher’s mound and faced live batting practice, with Cody Ransom and Melky Cabrera taking swings. The goal is to have Wang translate his good bullpen sessions to the game, something he clearly hasn’t done through two starts. Wang said the issue has been balance-related, with his legs getting ahead of his arm.
We’ll see how it works Saturday, I guess.
Today’s lunch/dinner update: Kay and Cone ate in the press dining room – somewhat of an upset, to the betting public – as did I, though later. The buffet included meatballs, chicken parm, veggies and stuffed shells. Flaherty skipped ballpark food; he had a sandwich at the hotel.
The Yankees head home after the game and every single person in the traveling party is ecstatic about that. There are a million cowbells here at the Trop – today’s giveaway – so it’ll be a loud sendoff if the Rays get going.
Nice to see everyone wearing No. 42. CC Sabathia said one of the reasons he didn’t fly ahead of the team in anticipation of his start tomorrow is because he wanted to take part in Jackie Robinson Day.
I asked Mariano Rivera about the home opener being tomorrow. His response: “I love it.”
I will never do a weather forecast again. I will never do a weather forecast again. I will never …
So, today’s pregame show was going along swimmingly, plenty of sunshine and fun times with Bob. I happened to mention the clear skies and emphasized HOW WRONG the “ominous forecast” was. Oops!
As soon as I finish my little report, I turn around. Tarp still on the field. Uh-oh. Black clouds rolling in. Shoot. Rain. Serious rain. Oh, no!
Nice job by me.
Luckily, we seem headed for an on-time start. I’ll say no more.
The press dining in Baltimore is one of my faves, especially when they have crab cakes. They usually go one per plate. I always ask for two.
But, today, the main dish was Boog’s Pit Beef sandwich. Ate it like a savage. Unfortunately, dining at the stadium becomes a fact of life when the season starts. Most options don’t measure up to Boog’s. Most, I just skip.
Kay, apparently, doesn’t share my affection for Boog’s. He just returned to the booth with a bacon hamburger and fries. Lots of bacon. I told him that was a bloggable offense.
Elaborate pre-game festivities going on. Teixeira really, really got booed. With venom. He seemed to enjoy it.
By the way, I checked with Cano about his locker situation — that he and Melky, his best friend, are on opposite sides of the clubhouse at Yankee Stadium. I asked if he and Melky were fighting; Robbie laughed.
I asked if they get mad — and stay mad — at each other, like girls do. He smiled, shook his head and said, “No!”
Turns out, it’s just a coincidence. Those were the only lockers open, so they are half a clubhouse apart. Robbie says they’ll live with it.
Mixed reception for Joe Biden on the first-pitch scenario.
See you for the postgame!
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?