Posts Tagged ‘A-Rod’

Looking Up

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Look-up1

After this weekend’s sweep of the Rays, who are admittedly not the Rays of old and don’t look to be contenders for anyplace but the AL East cellar, I’m thinking the Yankees might be in better shape. Tanaka’s performance the other night was stellar and, unless A-Rod is using some new, undetected form of enhancement, he’s hitting like a guy who could actually help the team. Other contributions have been heartening too (McCann et al), but the real standout for me has been Miller. If he keeps getting those saves, I could become a believer.

As for the Didi Experiment, oh my. Nobody expected him to hit, but field? Yeah. He was supposed to be a defensive upgrade over Jeter and faster. Unfortunately he’s made errors, both mental and literal, and his baserunning has been head scratching. But I’m chalking it up to nerves. He has huge shoes to fill, plus he’s new to the league, new to New York, new to the major leagues. There’s a learning curve and I hope he comes around before the boo birds make things worse.

This Detroit series should be interesting. They’re good. Really good. But at the moment I’m more focused on unpacking the 100s of cartons that are sitting at the new house waiting for attention as well as the NY Rangers who play Game 3 of the playoffs tonight. Onward.

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The Bronx Bombers?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

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When Stephen Drew comes up with a pinch hit grand slam, it’s either a dream or a full moon. Or maybe he’s finally getting hot or if not “hot” then a little warmer. In any case, it was a pleasant surprise to see him go deep against the Orioles in Game 1 of the Yankees’ first series of the season at Camden Yards.

The awakening of the offense against the Sox over the weekend was fun too. I’ve been overwhelmed trying to get acclimated to my new house in CT in advance of the arrival of the moving truck with all my worldly belongings on it. (I feel like Diane Keaton’s character in “Baby Boom.” Remember how she bought the house in Vermont and everything went expensively wrong?) But having the games on TV in the background has been a nice escape.

It’s too early to have an opinion about Tanaka and CC in terms of their ability to pitch with injuries, but for now Pineda is looking good for the most part. The defense will tighten up, I’m sure. And A-Rod? He’s been a model citizen and the Yankees’ best hitter. I wish I could say he’s changed. I don’t have a clue. For all I know he could be ingesting some new form of enhancement. For all I know his body could break down in a month. For all I know he and the Yankees could go to court over his milestone bonuses. It doesn’t really matter to me at this point. I just want the team to stay competitive and healthy. (As I write this, Gardner is having his wrist X-rayed after getting hit by a pitch.)

Well, let me amend that. I just want the team to stay competitive and healthy and entertaining. A Janer is my favorite kind of win, of course, but tonight’s tense battle against the O’s is the kind of game that’ll keep me coming back for more.

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The Injury Bug Is Back

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

infirmary

As the season is about to get underway, the Yankees have called in reinforcements already, acquiring a utility infielder from the Astros named Petit (not to be confused with Pettitte). Why did they need this guy? Because Didi, our new shortstop, is hurt and Ryan, his backup, is hurt and Pirela, the second baseman is hurt. That’s a lot of  “hurt” for April 2nd.

And I’m not counting Tex’s strained whatever and Ellsbury’s strained whatever, since they’re both said to be okay now. Maybe.

And of course I’m not counting the rehabbed knee of CC and the tenuous arm of Tanaka. Sigh.

On the bright side, it’s a long season and hope springs eternal, and the other teams in our division have problems of their own. And you know what else? It’s easier to approach the season with lowered expectations. At least it is for me. I’m not counting on Yankees 2015 to win a championship. I’m not even counting on them to make the playoffs. I’m hoping they’ll play good, solid, competitive baseball and leave the rest to the Baseball Gods. Or the Steinbrenners. Same thing. I’m also hoping A-Rod will not get hit by opposing pitchers. What I wouldn’t mind is if goes on a tear, popping A-bomb after A-Bomb. He can also lose the humble persona (I’ll do anything Joe wants me to do, I’m just here to play the game I love, I just want to help the team, etc.) and do something wild and crazy, like start dating – I don’t know – Gwyneth Paltrow. We need some off-the-field excitement if you ask me, just a whiff of naughtiness, and if anybody can deliver that, it’s the A-man.

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Shaking off the Rust

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Rust.rost

It’s been months since I even thought about writing a post for this blog. The holidays came and went and we were into a new year, and suddenly it was spring training. But other than A-Rod’s early arrival and various rumblings about his behavior and performance, it’s been about Tanaka’s healthy arm (knock on wood), CC’s extra weight (he says he feels better that way), Teixeira’s gluten free diet (he says he feels better that way) and Capuano’s early injury (calling Cole Hamels), and it’s been pretty lackluster. Yes, there will be numbers retired this season. Yes, we have new young players. Yes, we have Headley and Drew back. But I can’t get excited about any of it.

Maybe it’s because Jeter and Mo are gone. Maybe it’s because we didn’t make a splash during the off-season (the Cuban kid went to the Red Sox, of course, and Cashman meant it when he said we weren’t in the running for Scherzer or Shields). I’m genuinely hoping Michael Pineda has a terrific year and there’s a shot that he will. What I’m less sure about is the run production. The Yankees may emulate the Royals, but they’re not the Royals. They’ll have speed at the top of the lineup, but they’re the Bronx Bombers, pure and simple, and if they don’t do any Bronx Bombing this year, I’m not going to be very interested.

And then there’s the fact that I’m moving. I’ll be moving on Opening Day actually, which isn’t great planning on my part, so I’ll be distracted. But once I’m settled, I’ll get the YES network for real now that I’ll be on the East Coast, so if the Yankees are worth watching I’ll be able to watch. And I’ll be able to go to games at the Stadium.

I guess what I’m saying is I hope there will be stuff to write about. Until then, I’ll just go back to packing.

 

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Banished. Barred. Banned.

Sunday, January 12th, 2014
Photo: Keith Allison

Photo: Keith Allison

No matter how you phrase it, the arbitrator handed down his decision yesterday and A-Rod is done for 2014. There’s a lot of speculation about what will happen in subsequent years – does he stage a comeback in 2015 at age 39, do the Yankees cut him loose and eat the remainder of his contract, does another team take a chance on him, etc. – but for the immediate future the Yankees are without their third baseman.

I wasn’t surprised the suspension was upheld, though cut down to 162 games. And I wasn’t surprised that A-Rod and his legal team intend to fight it or even that he’s pledged to show up at spring training next month no matter what anybody says. But here’s the thing about that. If he respects his teammates as much as he claims, if he respects his manager as much as he claims, if he respects the game as much as he claims, why show up in Tampa and create a circus? Why make Girardi answer daily questions about him when there’s a season to kick off? What’s he going to do on the bench: be a mentor, a cheerleader, a signer of autographs? Someone on Twitter suggested he should buy season tickets at Yankee Stadium and sit right behind the dugout if he wants in so badly. But at this point, the best thing he could do for his teammates and for the sport is to focus on fighting the fight, if that’s his choice, and staying in shape.

And speaking of those teammates, they really do need a good third baseman. I don’t have faith in Nunez over the course of the season and the other guys Cashman has picked up are utility players and don’t have much in the offensive department. But at least there’s some closure and the Yanks know for sure that there’s a need.

Mostly, I feel sad about all this. Alex Rodriguez started his baseball life as a young man with everything to gain. So much talent. So much promise. So much desire. Squandered.

And then there’s MLB. They don’t exactly come out looking clean either.

Yesterday wasn’t a good day for either side, if you ask me.

P.S.  Programming note. “60 Minutes” will have a segment with Scott Pelley interviewing the infamous Bosch, who will, apparently, provide “evidence.” I’ll be switching back and forth between this and the much more fun Golden Globes.

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Practically Flat Lining Their Way Out

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

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I was hoping Kuroda and the Yankees would pull themselves together for these last few games, just for the hell of it, but they’re going out with a whimper, apparently. Ugh. A shutout. And bad pitching on top of it.

I’m trying to decide which team I’ll root for in the playoffs, if I even bother to watch. I’ll probably throw my support to my local Dodgers, since Donnie Baseball is the manager and most of my friends here are Dodgers fans, although I think their little swimming escapade in Arizona was pretty bush. My sentimental favorite is the Pirates because, well, nobody expected them to get in. I just don’t know how far they’ll go. There’s no one in the AL I’m willing to root for.

I’m also looking ahead to A-Rod’s war with MLB, especially after today’s NYT article about the world series of legal teams going at it. No telling what the result of that will be, but the headlines are sure to be juicy.

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Breaking Records

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Genrig Dimaggio

I’d be a hypocrite if I said I wasn’t happy about A-Rod’s grand slam tonight. It gave the Yankees a win in the series opener against the Giants and kept them from a very long winter – temporarily.

But I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t conflicted about the grand slam moving him ahead of true Yankees legends. His record is tainted. We don’t know when he was using what banned substances or how they did or didn’t contribute to his ability to bang out homers. I’m sure Randy Levine isn’t thrilled to have to write those bonus checks for each of his milestones.

But he’s playing hurt and hasn’t been hitting (or running), and it must have been pure upper body strength that sent tonight’s big homer out of the Stadium.

CC, too, hung in there. I didn’t see the whole game, but I could tell he was grinding even against the weak-hitting Giants.

I was impressed by Nunez’s defense at third (yes, I’m actually praising Eduardo Scissorhands). Clearly, he’s capable and has a good arm. He just needs to….I don’t know……be more consistent?

Pettitte’s retirement announcement was a bittersweet reminder that it really is the end of an era. I keep wondering where our next starting pitchers will come from, but that’s a discussion for another time.

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Bad Body Language

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

This pic was from a loss to the Tigers in the postseason, but it typifies the helplessness and haplessness of the Yankees right now. How frustrating it must have been to get a great outing from Pettitte (another great outing, by the way) against a last place division rival and not be able to score any runs – especially when the scoreboard screamed, “Take advantage of the teams that lost tonight!”

Sad, but inevitable. Soriano, who has provided such an offensive spark, told the beat writers that he can’t generate any power because of his thumb and if it weren’t September he wouldn’t be playing. Ditto A-Rod, who seems not to have any body parts that don’t hurt. And on and on it goes.

I was taking my afternoon walk at the beginning of the game and listening to John and Suzyn on my At Bat app. In the top of the first, A-Rod hit one deep and Sterling went into his home run call, only to say, “Oh. Sorry. It was caught.” Made me furious. What an egregious mistake to give fans hope early on. He’s been doing that all year but this time it really got to me.

Maybe it’s all getting to me. It’s definitely getting to the Yankees, judging by that body language.

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Yanks Win, But Three More Men Down

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

upside down

It was a stirring come-from-behind win in Game 2 of this crucial series against the Orioles, and I wish I could write about that instead of the fact that:

  • Austin Romine got hit in the helmet, looked dazed and confused and was said by Girardi to “probably have a concussion.”
  • Ivan Nova, arguably our best pitcher, was pulled early after complaining of tightening triceps, something that’s bothered him for awhile.
  • A-Rod, the game’s hitting star, left the game with tightening in his left hamstring.

Great, right? Such a shame because we actually crept closer to the Rays for the second Wild Card spot tonight.

Mo was brilliant getting the save after pitching in both the eighth and ninth – again. With so many other relievers hurt or unavailable or ineffective, it’s ironic that he’s the last one standing. Sounds like we’ll have Robertson back tomorrow though.

Still, thanks to clutch hitting and good (except for one inning) starting pitching in this one, the fat lady hasn’t sung and it isn’t quite over for the boys. If only they were all healthy. Sigh.

 

 

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Mad Joe: My Hero

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

madjoe

The Yankees beat the Red Sox 9-6 tonight to take the series, but the big story, of course, was Ryan Dempster’s plunking (after a few tries) of A-Rod in the first inning, the ump issuing a warning to both teams without ejecting Dempster and Joe’s fury and subsequent tossing. Is there a person on the planet, other than John Farrell, who thought that was fair? By the end of the game, four Yankees would get hit by pitches versus zero Sox. I would have hated to see CC retaliate and be forced to leave the game, despite his erratic performance, and ultimately the payback came in the form of A-Rod’s homer, Gardner’s triple and the “W.” Still, just another weird chapter in the rivalry. What Dempster did by anointing himself sheriff was to create Yankees solidarity behind A-Rod and fire up the enemy. Not a good move.

Girardi was still mad in his press conference. “You don’t take the law into your own hands. You’re gonna skip the judicial system? That’s ‘My Cousin Vinny.'” I guess Joe’s a movie fan.

It was all crazy, but then drama is what this season is now about.

Not insignificant was the injury to Nunez. How bad is his hamstring strain? Who knows, but it can’t be positive. Cano seemed to be okay after getting hit in the foot, but we’ll see.

If Dave Robertson is our closer in the future, I’ll have to take meds for high blood pressure. He does keep things interesting.

CC? I’ve given up wondering what’s wrong with him. I’ve gotten used to watching with my hands over my eyes when he pitches.

Very glad there’s a day off now. This one took a lot out of me.

Programming note: Joe Tacopina will be on the “Today” show tomorrow morning. Now that should be entertaining.

 

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