Here’s the danger of a Saturday day game on a glorious afternoon: Our announcers — Kay, Leiter and O’Neill — sit and chat between innings about their evening plans and dinner reservations. (Just to clarify, O’Neill isn’t going to Chili’s tonight. In case you wondered.) And then the game flirts with four hours and everyone’s mood is deflated.
Talk about a jinx.
Polly Tompkins: We have a feature on Polly — the Yankees honorary bat girl in May as part of MLB’s campaign to raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer — that will air during tomorrow’s pregame. It’s a good one. Swisher already asked for a copy on DVD.
Andy Pettitte: Where were you on June 7, 1995? Andy got his first career win that day, against the A’s. So far, he looks like he’s turning back the clock today. Especially with a couple of nifty defensive plays of his own.
Michael Kay: He just said something else about a fast game. Leiter yelled at him.
The Yankees HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) comes to an end tonight, and it’s been quite a week. Last night in particular, after the nearly three-hour rain delay, many players stayed into the wee hours with the kids and young adults from Camp Sundown. And they had a blast, with several saying they stayed much later than they’d intended because they were having so much fun.
One blessing of the long rain delay: the Camp Sundown folks were scheduled to arrive in the second or third inning. Because of the delay, they were able to see the entire game.
Aceves and AJ made music, playing acoustic guitar and singing and, sources say, Cashman joined in the vocals. The on-field carnival was a tremendous success. As the entire week has been.
Mark Teixeira: He’s tied for the AL lead in home runs after launching a(nother) rocket to the second deck in right field last night, on a 3-0 pitch. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that pitchers had gone 3-0 on Teixeira in 16 previous plate appearances this season. He’d walked each time, five intentionally. In other words, no other pitcher dared as Vin Mazzaro did, serving up a pitch over the middle of the plate.
Chien-Ming Wang: He might pay a visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday as he continues to seek the best course of treatment for his right shoulder strain. Wang calls the past year “very frustrating” and fears he won’t pitch again this season. Girardi says the Yankees have to proceed as if Wang won’t be back this season.
Paul O’Neill: He’s joining Kay and Leiter for the balance of the A’s series. He is lucky to have missed last night’s game; O’Neill and two-hour, 43-minute rain delays don’t mix. “That wouldn’t have been real good,” O’Neill said. During the break every half inning, Kay and Leiter sit and sometimes talk, laugh or make fun of each other. O’Neill walks around. He just came back with a hot tea and cookie from the dining room.
What a beautiful night! Clear skies (so far) and an on-time start. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Our last chat prior to the All-Star break will be 12:45 p.m. Monday, just before the Yankees conclude their four-game set with the Blue Jays. All day games. Hope you can make it.
As far as the last chat goes — we got a lot of repetitive questions. So we answered them. In the future, if we don’t have enough of a variety of queries, we’ll end the chat so as not to offend with repetition. And we enjoy answering some lighter questions. Apologies to those of you bothered by them.
Hughes was the guest for our Innerview for “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi” and was asked your questions. He seemed to have fun with it. Thanks for the questions you submitted. As far as Tino goes, we haven’t seen him. We’ll keep your questions until we do.
Paul O’Neill: He had quite a meeting in the visiting clubhouse manager’s office yesterday. He was talking with Yogi when Ichiro walked in. Then Griffey Jr. joined the conversation. What a quartet. What did they talk about? “Ichiro wanted an autograph from Yogi, which was cool because he appreciates the history of the game,” Paul said. “Then Ichiro and I talked for about five minutes.” They discussed the game and their mutually preferred sneakers, Asics. As for Griffey, he just wanted to say hello. “A really nice guy,” O’Neill said.
Eric Hinske: He’s here, wearing No. 14 and says he’s “excited and honored” to be a Yankee. He said he talked to the Yankees during the offseason about signing but thought he would have a better chance to play in Pittsburgh. When he wasn’t getting at-bats with the Pirates, Hinske credited GM Neal Huntington for trading him. Hinske considers himself an “AL East journeyman,” having played for the Blue Jays, Red Sox and Rays. He says he’s ready for whatever role the Yankees ask of him — outfield, infield, third base, first base, whatever.
Ramiro Pena: He handled being optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as well as a youngster can. He smiled, said he was happy and knows he needs to play every day. The Yankees want him to play some outfield, and he’ll start in center then move to the corners. He envisions playing two days a week in the outfield and the others at second base and shortstop. He’s never played outfield before, having only shagged some balls in recent BP in case the Yankees needed him in a pinch. Pena is popular with veterans; they’ll see him again in September, if not before.
Michael Kay: So, on his radio show today, Kay felt the need to announce (truthfully) that we — the two of us — are not dating and never have dated. Uh, thanks, Michael. But what in the world prompted this? Seems his radio show receives text questions from listeners and four of them – four! – asked about some rumor that we were a couple. So Michael cleared it up for all to hear. And now he’s very, very proud of himself.
Woody Freiman: The YES exec (VP, Production and Programming) bought dinner tonight — Lobel’s steak sandwiches. They were very popular among the announcers. Thank you, Woody! Full disclosure: There are still two pizzas in the booth and assorted pasta dishes that have gone unclaimed.
Strange 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.
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.
Has anyone in the history of blogging been more neglectful? We have to fix that!
Since we last worked a full day at the stadium – May 24 – a lot has changed. Well, one thing has changed, but it’s big. They added a soft-serve ice cream machine to the press dining room. Sources say O’Neill really enjoyed it; he went with the chocolate-vanilla swirl, no toppings. Every day.
Paging Tino Martinez: Okay, so this is the series where we plan to ask Tino your questions. Your questions are great. But we can’t find Tino! He’s expected here Tuesday for the draft; hopefully he’ll come in a day or two early. If not, we’ll get your answers the next time we see him.
Hughes in the pen: Hughes says he’s ready to do whatever the Yankees ask, and he’s available out of the pen from now until the foreseeable future. If Wang is right for a couple of starts, Hughes could return to AAA as a starter, to keep his arm strength so he’s ready should the Yankees need a starter at some point.
Courage for Life: You might remember an Innerview we did late last June with John Challis, an 18-year-old from the Pittsburgh area who died of cancer Aug. 19. He remains an inspiration through the foundation he started not long before he died. Courage for Life Foundation grants wishes of high school athletes who have life-threatening illnesses; for more info check the Web site.
John’s parents and sister, Lexie, were here today. Girardi greeted them, as did Alex; Mr. Challis still marvels at the flower arrangement Alex sent to the funeral home. And Joe Maddon has a T-shirt that bears one of his slogans, the proceeds from which go to John’s foundation.
A short story: Alex called John a couple of weeks before his death and they chatted for a bit. Then John said, “Well, I have to go. One of my friends just got here.” Mr. Challis laughed in relaying those words. (How many teenagers cut short a call from Alex Rodriguez?) “That was John,” he said. “He treated everybody the same.”
Hitting the Mark: Girardi, on Teixeira, who had an awful April and a marvelous May, which is continuing into June: “His demeanor’s been the same the whole way throughout. That’s one of the things that’s impressed me.”
Bruney ball: Bruney will throw another bullpen tomorrow, one that will simulate a two-inning stint. He will throw 15 pitches, sit down and throw 15 more. After Bruney and the Yankees gauge how he feels Monday, they will know his next step. For now, both parties are taking a cautious approach. Bruney, on the DL for the second time with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow, won’t commit to a timeframe for his return. “I tried that the last time and probably rushed myself,” he says. “I’m just going to go whenever (I’m ready).”
Price is right: Rays teammate James Shields says of David Price, “He definitely has ‘it.’ He has that good arrogance that I think all baseball players have to have to succeed.” Price’s pregame demeanor on the day he pitches is somewhat like CC’s. Both lefties will say hello to reporters, chat with teammates and generally appear to remain pretty relaxed.
REX! Jets coach Rex Ryan is here today. We called him “intimidating” on the pregame. He’s actually very friendly and easy to talk to. We probably should have described him as “not easily intimidated.” Whatever. The important thing is, Rex has committed to appearing on “This Week in Football” this fall on YES. Which puts him ahead of the Mangini pace already.
Pass the popcorn: We were lucky enough to be invited by the Giants to their practice facility Thursday for a screening of “The Taking of Pelham 123,” due in theaters June 12. (Giants co-owner Steve Tisch is producer.) It rocks! Denzel and Travolta are terrific. So is the new facility. The Giants did a really nice job with it; it’s bigger on the inside than it appears from the outside. And it definitely trumps that practice bubble they’ve been using for years. (John Mara appreciated that assessment when we shared it with him.)
The theater where the movie was shown will be used for film study. There are no cup holders attached to the seats. And the movie started five minutes early. No kidding.
The weight room is as enormous as you would expect. Rumor has it, coach Tom Coughlin is doing personal two-a-days. His first workout ends by 6 a.m. and he goes back for another in the afternoon.
Good news for Giants fans: Brandon Jacobs was the first player we saw and he appears leaner than ever. He says he’s lost eight pounds. He looks like he could play a game today. And run over a bunch of people. The Giants are delighted with him.
Speaking of food…: Following Kay’s lead, we ate a burger today but, unlike him, we added a bun and tomato. Kay also had bacon, grapes and watermelon. Something tells me soft-serve ice cream is in the near future.
Still paging Tino Martinez. Please pick up the white courtesy phone.
Read the below chat transcript to find out which Yankee loves American Idol, what Kimberly Jones does during her time off, her thoughts on the empty seats at Yankee Stadium and much more.
&amp;amp;lt;a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php?option=com_mobile&amp;amp;amp;task=viewaltcast&amp;amp;amp;altcast_code=34fe8c2d59″ &amp;amp;gt;May 6 Kimberly Jones Chat&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;
Something you should know: Our chats are, apparently, unique. I’ve talked to several blogger friends about their chats. They have moderators who select their questions. Unless something dramatically changes, we won’t be doing that. I select the questions. It’s pretty much a random process, but I select them. And, no doubt, I have to get better at doing it; it’s a fast and furious pace. But it’s just you and me separated only by cyberspace. I like it that way.
And remember to submit your questions for Paul O’Neill. I’ll be selecting the 15 (or so) most interesting/intriguing/amusing ones and we’ll have his answers during the Twins series.
ONeill just said that all he needs to do a game is a credential and a bowl of ice cream. Which is not exactly true. Because he just ate dinner. (And, yes, it was late and he wasn’t happy about it, but he didn’t break utensils or anything.)
So O’Neill had a seafood salad, a slab of salmon and a pizza. A large pizza, but he shares. (Thanks, Paul.) And he just brought back two pints of ice cream, including a Turkey Hill NYY flavor, Pinstripe Brownie Blast. He’s also having vanilla bean.
Flaherty packed his own dinner — probably something unbelievably healthy — and Kay had grilled chicken, a burger (no bun) and watermelon. And he just ate the cheese off a piece of pizza.
Hey, I’m just reporting what I see.
Talked for a while today with the guys who are on the DL but are around — Bruney, Ransom and Nady. Bruney played catch from 60-75 feet, didn’t throw hard and made about 35 throws. It’s the first time he’s thrown since the elbow injury. It’s a step in the right direction.
Nady said he should be able to swing a bat in a week-and-a-half. I asked his level of frustration on a scale of one to 10. He said nine. But he said for him to say 10, he’d be really, really bad –“like jumping out of my skin.”
Ransom said he originally felt discomfort in his quad sometime in March. He described it as “a knot” but figured he could play through it. “I’m stubborn,” he said. Ransom later learned through the MRI that it was actually a series of small tears. Those tears converged, if you will, last Friday night in Boston when he slid and became a larger, though not complete, tear.
Ransom is on the 60-day DL, so he has time to rehab, but he did take some swings in the cage for the first time today. He said he’s feeling better but is really frustrated by the injury “because I haven’t been injured since I hurt my back in 1999 and by the way I played. It wasn’t the results I wanted.”
They’re all good guys, and I told them that the readers of my blog wish them well. They seemed to appreciate that. Or maybe they were just humoring me. No, I think they appreciated it.
On second thought, maybe someone else should have held the umbrella for me during pregame.
It’ll be interesting to watch Pettitte if/when a runner reaches third base tonight. He got SO tired of hearing about that Ellsbury steal of home. He and Eiland talked about it, and Eiland was clear that the steal was 100 percent Pettitte’s fault. He also said it should — and would — never happen again. I mentioned Figgins. Eiland said Pettitte “better be” paying close attention if he reaches third.
“Andy told me he peeked at the runner,” meaning Ellsbury, Eiland said. “You cannot peek. You have to make eye contact. You have to make that runner realize that you know what he’s thinking.”
Or, with Abreu on third, Pettitte could pick off Hunter at first. That works.