Get Up Close and Personal With the Captain!

June 16th, 2014 by

How’s this for an off-day offer: spend a game day with Jeter!

Seriously!

It’s all part of his Turn 2 Foundation, and it’s one cool opportunity for Yankee fans, so listen up. The Turn 2 Foundation has announced a raffle – a ticket costs as little as $10 – to benefit the Foundation, and here’s what the lucky winner gets. Ready?

  • Private pre-game lunch for 4 with Jeter at one of his favorite NY restaurants
  • A ride with him to the ballpark
  • VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the Stadium courtesy of the Yankees
  • Pre-game batting practice status in front of the Yankee dugout
  • Autographing time with members of the team as they take the field
  • 4 seats in Jeter’s private suite

Additional information can be found here.

What a deal, right? And it’s all for a great cause. Who’s in?

woman raises hand

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The Yanks Head Home

June 15th, 2014 by
Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Actually, the above photo is not the Yankees’ charter. It’s the private plane Tanaka flew to New York a while back. Not too shabby, right?

What was shabby was Vidal Nuno’s performance, if it can be called that, in today’s finale against the A’s. Every pitcher has a bad game here and there, but I just don’t see this guy getting it done over the long haul, and nobody seems inclined to do anything about it.

Still, there were promising developments on this road trip. The offense came to life, albeit not today, with Jeter and Ellsbury making a potent combination. Gardner too. And despite the constant injuries Teixeira comes down with (wrist, hammy, rib/obligue/lat/whatever), he’s still capable of hitting when he’s in the lineup. Beltran too. And the bullpen has been mostly good lately. So it’s not as if this team can’t win ballgames. It’s that they don’t do it consistently. They need to go on a tear now that they’re back in the Bronx, because it’s the division rivals they’ll be facing. I wish Tanaka could pitch every game. I wish….Well, never mind. The point is I’d like to see the 2014 Yankees settle into their own ballpark with its inviting dimensions and knock the ball over that short porch in right field. Early and often.

 

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Not Sleepless in Seattle

June 13th, 2014 by

wakeuo

Well, that was refreshing – a series sweep against the Mariners that included another spectacular performance by Tanaka, some stress-free closes by Robertson, the resurgence of Jeter both at the plate and on the bases, the continuing brilliant play by Ellsbury and the emergence of Chase Whitley, who went deeper into a game last night and proved he can throw strikes and get guys out. Not bad at all. Even Soriano awoke from his slumber and hit a big double in last night’s game.

Of course I would have preferred that Ellsbury not feel tightness in his hip. Nobody seems too worried about it, but he’s felt it before and I hope it’s not a lingering issue. We need him in the lineup – oh, do we need him. He’s the guy that makes things happen, and while the Yankees offense isn’t exactly reminiscent of the Bronx Bombers, they actually scored six runs last night and he’s always in the mix when we’re talking about scoring runs.

Interesting that Cervelli’s about to return. I’d practically forgotten about him and his great spring. I was happy with Murphy and will be sorry to see him get sent down (or, please no, traded). But if Cervelli can be the spark plug we need, so much the better, I guess. And having Shawn Kelley back soon will give the relievers some rest. What we still need is a long man in the pen to replace Phelps and Nuno now that they’re starters.

On to Oakland, which won’t be easy, and then home to face the sizzling Blue Jays, which definitely won’t be easy.

Meanwhile, the NY Rangers have another elimination game tonight. My stomach’s in a knot already……….

 

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Fading, Fading……

June 8th, 2014 by

fading-away

That’s what the Yankees have been doing for the last ten games or so and that’s what I feel like when I either watch/listen to the games or check the box scores. Depressing.

The defense has been spotty, the pitching unreliable, albeit Kuroda was good today, and the offense practically nonexistent. Remember the days of “too many home runs?” That all seems like a hallucination right now. Thank God for playoff hockey, even though the Rangers are down two to the Kings.

And back in the baseball world, things were much more interesting between the Orioles and A’s than they were between the Yankees and Royals:

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/mlb-big-league-stew/manny-machado-ejected-after-bat-toss-incites-benches-clearing-altercation-213609066.html

The Mike Piazza/Roger Clemens bat throwing incident was minor compared to that little dust up!

 

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Zim and Other Losses

June 5th, 2014 by
Photo: Linda Cataffo/News

Photo: Linda Cataffo/News

Like everyone else who loves baseball, I was saddened by the death of Don Zimmer yesterday. He was one of baseball’s all-time characters and the game needs more like him but will probably not see them. In this age of entourages and PR people and agents who manage every aspect of a player’s life, the outsized personality of a guy like Zim isn’t likely to come along very often. Jeter said he found out Zimmer had died during last night’s game and it couldn’t have helped the already grim mood in the dugout. The Yankees have been losing – often in heartbreaking fashion – and the slide hasn’t been fun to watch.

I admit I’m more into the Stanley Cup playoffs right now, with my native New York Rangers facing my local LA Kings. Playoff hockey is about as exciting as it gets and I’ve got the fever.

Besides, the Yankees aren’t firing on all cylinders. The addition of Beltran in the lineup today might beef up the offense – if, and it’s a big if – his elbow is really OK. But how about the rest of them? Is Soriano just going through a bad slump? Or he is over and done? Is Tex’s wrist going to hold up? Will McCann ever start producing the power we were led to believe he came over with? And, forgive me for saying this, but Jeter hasn’t been very Jeter-ish.

And how about the pitching? Other than Tanaka (please let him win today) and Kuroda’s nice performance last night, what have we got? Whitley’s done well in his turns, but is that a fluke or will he have staying power? Nuno probably needs to go the way of Aceves as in Bye Bye. And honestly, I don’t know what to make of Phelps. The pen is overworked, so it’s hard to judge. Bettances was due for a bad inning or two, but he’s been phenomenal. Same with Warren. Robertson is still finding his way as the closer and hasn’t had all that many opportunities.

Every team in the division has problems except those crazy Blue Jays, who just keep on winning. (Never would have seen that coming.)

 

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Now That Hurt

June 1st, 2014 by

a_retro_cartoon_woman_slapping_a_man_in_the_face_royalty_free_clipart_picture_100603-003021-401053

Blown saves are never fun, but I’m glad I missed today’s. I was at a screening and checked the score before I had to turn off my phone. The Yanks were tied with the Twins and our new kid (Chase Whitley) was going toe to toe with our old kid (Phil Hughes). Imagine my surprise when I got out of the theater and saw the score. Ugh.

Yes, even Mo blew saves, but for Robertson to have a complete meltdown – to the point where our offense had no chance to come back – was painful. This was the Twins we were facing, and we lost the series. Very disappointing. Hughes and Nunez must have felt a special satisfaction doing well in the Bronx and good for them, seriously, but the mostly anemic lineup of ours without Beltran and Teixeira is proving tricky.

Maybe Beltran will actually contribute, but I have less hope for Tex, whose wrist is bound to be a chronic issue. The good news is Whitley and the continued effectiveness of Betances and Warren.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again……I miss home runs!

 

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Bruised, Battered But Still Kicking

May 29th, 2014 by

Jeter St Louis

Maybe the fans in St. Louis are the nicest people in America. Not only did they give Jeter an ovation practically every time he took a breath, but, according to Sterling and Waldman, they came over to Yankee fans dining at a local restaurant after a Yankees win and congratulated them with a “Nice game.” If only we saw that sort of behavior everywhere.

But I digress. What’s most amazing is that the Yankees are still standing and the road trip ended on a winning note. All this despite the absence of Beltran and Teixeira, despite the slump and benching last night of Solarte, despite the use of McCann at first base and despite the makeshift pitching staff. Yes, Tanaka notched his first loss in forever and the Yankees defense was sloppy at best, and the offense was forced to play “small ball” (I do miss the homers), but if it weren’t for Toronto’s miraculous run of wins the Yanks would be on or near the top of the heap.

Do I think the team can go patchwork into the rest of the season this way? Probably not. Guys need to come back healthy and holes need to be filled. But I was pretty impressed by this road trip. The boys did us proud in the Midwest. They deserve this day off.

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Heading into Memorial Day Weekend….

May 23rd, 2014 by
Courtesy: Chicago Postcard Museum

Courtesy: Chicago Postcard Museum

I really thought the Yankees’ fortunes might turn around after that stirring extra-innings win against the Cubs on Wednesday night, but last night’s smack down by the White Sox and Chris Sale was a bummer. Phelps did a credible job, but the Yankees can’t hit Sale, period.

Which brings me to the offense. I thought starting pitching would be the biggest problem, given all the injured starters. Now the hitters have caught the slump bug. Ellsbury had been so great as the season kicked off, but he’s looking grim these days. And – I’ve said this before – I’d like to see McCann start hitting up to his contract. But the real problem is Beltran: the lineup misses him in it. You take a power bat like him out of the equation, possibly for a few months, and it’s not so easy to fill his spot.

Still, the Yankees are only barely out of first place in the division as other teams have problems and liabilities too (except maybe the suddenly red-hot Blue Jays). And I remember they had a nightmarish trip to Chicago early last season, only to beat the Sox soundly later on. I just hope Kevin Long can spot flaws in guys’ swings and Joe can rally the troops and Jeter can inspire everybody to do their best.

It’ll be a busy weekend for me, so I’ll probably miss seeing the games, but I’ll be reading the wraps and keeping an eye out for news of the boys.

 

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Even When Tanaka’s Not Great He’s….

May 21st, 2014 by

superman_letters-300x300

Yeah, he gave up runs last night against the last-place Cubs, lost the game and his winning streak and showed he wasn’t perfect, but did anyone see those plays he made on defense????? He was a spectacular fielder, adept at knowing where to be and where to throw the ball and as agile as a cat, the way Mo used to be. Those back-to-back shovel-to-McCann throws to nail the runners at home plate were superb. I continue to be impressed.

As for the rest of the Yankees, what a sloppy, sloppy game and after a day off too. Let’s hope this Chicago trip isn’t the trip from Hell.

 

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“Fettucini Alfredo” Is Not Doing It For Me

May 18th, 2014 by
Photo: Reuters/John Gress

Photo: Reuters/John Gress

Let me just get that out of the way. He was good for awhile during his first stint with the Yankees and he wasn’t responsible entirely for the loss in Game 2 of today’s doubleheader against the Pirates, but there was a reason he was cut loose by the Red Sox. I don’t think we need him at this point.

As for the series this weekend, there were lots of high points. The offense in yesterday’s game was super fun; I’ve always loved homers so it was my kind of game. Phelps was so-so, but the bullpen blew me away yesterday and today, D-Rob in particular. He’s throwing strikes now – no more Houdini act – and giving us four-out saves the way Mo used to. I’m liking this newer, more mature version of him. A lot. And kudos to Warren and Betances, who formed a terrific bridge to Robertson.

As the Yanks take tomorrow off before the series at Wrigley, the big issue facing them isn’t the offense (although the Beltran thing is worrisome) or the relief pitching but the rotation. How in the world are we supposed to compete for real without CC (I hate to say it, but I honestly don’t think he’ll be back this year) and Nova? Pineda should be OK at some point and Phelps has his moments, but Nuno doesn’t inspire confidence. Get some arms, Cashman. Somehow.

 

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