Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Few New Years' Resolutions

I, Rebecca, hereby resolve for the year 2009:

1) To watch every Yankee game I am able, and not to turn the game off, even if it is a loss--even if it is a blowout loss.

2) To update this blog at least once a day and not twice a month, even if I don't have much to write about.

3) To make my way to the new Stadium at least once (and preferably more than that)

4) To do all of this and still (somehow) complete my MA thesis.

5) Voy a estudiar màs español porque tengo que tomar un examen.

6) To attempt to see another major league baseball park besides Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium/CitiField and Fenway Park.

Have a happy and healthy new year, and please stay safe!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Everything's Bigger with Tex

ESPN's Buster Olney and Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman are now reporting that the Yankees and Mark Teixiera have agreed to an 8-year, $170 million deal.

This, on the heels of announcing that prices to an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs to open the New Stadium will be slashed to 1923--yes, you read that right--1923 prices, is enough to make your head spin.

Among the questions to be asked now are:

1) Is Teixiera really worth that deal?
2) Have the Yankees reverted back to a 1980s buy-everything-in-sight model? You know, the one that didn't work?
3) What do you do with recently acquired 1B/OF Nick Swisher?
4) How many countries have smaller GDPs than the Yankees' corner fielders?

Anyway, uh, I guess you can all consider it baseball's Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Festivus present...

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Jay comes to the Yankees

ESPN is currently reporting that a 5 year, $82.5 million deal has been agreed to in principle between AJ Burnett and the Yankees.

If we ignore the fact that right now the Yankees seem to be printing their own money, this is a move that has to be approached with a lot of caution.

Burnett can be great, and you'd be hard pressed to find a Yankee or Yankee fan not excited at the prospect of not having to actually face Burnett, but the lengthy injury history is a major red flag. We're talking the Yankees are Marie Antoinette and Burnett is the storming of the Bastille--so what if I've been watching the History Channel?

It almost has a here we go again feel to it, but the good news is that because the Yankees signed Sabathia, they will (hopefully) not have to rely on Burnett as their ace.

Conventional wisdom states that you don't sign free agents coming from your division rival because there's probably a real good reason if they're letting one of their stars go to your team--at least in Burnett's case, the caveat is well known.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

C. C. You in the Spring!

Holy crap it's been a little while since I've posted, hasn't it?

Well, when you're spending eight hours a day in the library researching medieval Nottingham...yeah, yeah...anyway...

According to multiple sources--Peter Abraham, ESPN.Com, and the NY Post, C.C. Sabathia is all but set to sign his Yankee papers.

No doubt, primal yelps of joy are sounding throughout all of YankeeLand, as he is by far the best pitcher on the market.

That said, a word of caution--one great free agent signing does not a team make, and there is word that he is looking for an opt out clause in the contract.

It's like getting that shiny brand new ipod for Christmas--it could be amazing, but if you don't care for it properly, bad things can happen.

Anyway. The important thing is that there's a new guy in pinstripes in the spring--and it's the one (most of us) all wanted.


In other Winter Meetings news, Francisco Rodriguez has signed a three year contract with the Mets. It's a good deal--K-Rod wants the money, the Mets need some semblance of a bullpen, even if one closer does not a good bullpen make.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanks for the Memories, Moose!

Unless you've been living under a rock (like me) these past few weeks, you've probably known--or at least guessed--that Mike Mussina was on his way to retirement.

It is now official.

The signing of Mike Mussina is perhaps one of the best free agent signings that the Yankees have ever made, at least with a pitcher.

In his seven years on the team, he had one sub-par season in 2007, but, besides that, was magnificent--270 career wins while pitching in the AL East during the "steroid era" is no easy feat, and while Moose may not have the rings, he's certainly won our admiration.

I've had the good luck to see Moose pitch in person a few times--nearly all of them wins. While, in one sense, it's sad knowing that I won't get to see him pitch again, except maybe at Old Timer's Day, it's also comforting to know that he retired on the heels of one of his best seasons, a season in which, if not for the shenanigans of some dudes named Cliff Lee and Francisco Rodriguez, he would have been considered a serious Cy Young contender.

I don't know about you, but I plan on booking my tickets to Cooperstown in 2013 early.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Something About a Small Sample Size

So I haven't posted much of late because grad school keeps whooping my behind, and, well, there's not a whole lot that medieval history and baseball do seem to have in common.

However, the other day, my professor did bring up a very interesting point:

In medieval history, statistics are often based on a small sample size (or what we baseball peoples would consider a small sample size), simply because it is the only sample available.

For example, during the Black Death of 1348-1350, the mortality rtes are got at by looking at monastic records, because they're the only such records that we can trust. The problem, obviously, is that monasteries are not representative of the population as a whole, especially given their living conditions and the proximity they would likely have had near plague victims.

It would be similar to looking at A-Rod's stats while facing pitchers like Santana and Sabathia, to the exclusion of all other pitchers.

Small sample size is the bane to stats geeks everywhere. How do you define a small sample size? When do you cross the line from small sample size to this is what a player really is? As with anything to do with statistics, sample sizes can be melded to fit whatever purpose a writer, blogger or analyst has in mind.

Yet in history--medieval history, especially--there is no choice but to use the small sample.

It will drive you crazy if you think about it too much (I know from experience), but it's still an interesting juxtaposition. In baseball, half the time we take only the stats we need to make our point...and in medieval history, we only wish there were more available.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yankees Sell Rights to Rasner

The Yankees have sold the rights to pitcher Darrell Rasner to Japan.

Last season, Rasner was called up when Phil Hughes went down and surprised mostly everyone when his spot start ended up with him staying in the rotation for almost the entire season.

A borderline major-league American League pitcher, if one goes by the numbers, Rasner would have likely found employment in the National League easily, but maybe the money is simply better in Japan.

Anyway, the Yankees would do best gathering as much cash as they can, as they apparently need about $150 million to land CC Sabathia...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The Yankees have acquired Nick Swisher and a pitcher, Kanekoa Texeira from the White Sox in exchange for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nuñez.


1) Swisher might not be a great player, but we got him cheap.

2) The funny thing is that the pitcher we acquired in the deal is named....Texeira. So we can't complain about not getting Texeira, even if it's not the one we originally wanted.

3) I have no idea if this means we aren't going after that *other* Teixeira, but hey, you never know. At the very least it seems to say that Cashman and co., are serious about tightening up that roster...and possibly making more room for CC.

4) What the hell were the White Sox thinking/smoking? They got Betemit! Okay, so just because of that, he's going to win the AL MVP next year...

Anyway, I need 35 sources on women and work and late medieval Nottingham. Oh, this is going to be so much fun...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Your Chance to Do Some Good

In the spirit of giving and hope and change and all of that---

Tom Kackley, the equipment manager for the Trenton Thunder, is running an auction to benefit the Domestic Violence project.

You can find the auction here

I won a Phil Hughes hat last year...and I have to say, it felt like the best money I spent all year.

Domestic violence is a horrible thing, I shouldn't need to tell you, so any chance to contribute to its end is one we should take.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Winner of the Contest

The winner of the Ludicrous Trade Proposal Contest is....


With his entry:

Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano


My precious time back that i spent watching them start games for the Yankees :(

So Alex, if you would as so kind as to email me at, I shall arrange for delivery of your very, very mysterious prize!


So apparently there's this offseason going on...grad school keeps whooping my ass so I am vaguely familiar with the fact that the Yankees declined Giambi's and Pavano's option and Abreu filed for free agency and Pettitte wants to come back and pitch and nothing official from the Mussina camp, and I think I got everything?


Anyway, if there's any serious breaking news, I'll have a post. Maybe. Perhaps a week or two after it breaks...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Well, it's not like you've got a baseball game to go to...

This Tuesday, please, please, please remember to vote.

I won't use this blog to advertise any particular candidate, but I will say that there is nothing more dangerous to a country than apathy.

Vote Dem, vote GOP, vote Ind, I don't care--just vote.

You that's what Shelley Duncan wants you to do.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Ludicrous Trade Proposal Contest Entries

Please vote, in a comment or via email @ , as to which entry you think would make for the craziest, wackiest, the omg-what-was-he-smoking-and-where-can-I-get-some trade this off-season!

1) "The entire Mets bullpen (Wagner included) just for the rights for Omar to haggle with the "all-magnificent" K-Rod on what will be his 2009 salary price."

2) "Yanks "package" Darrell Rasner, Chris Britton, Wilson Betemit and Justin Christian, wrap it in a pretty box and ship to San Francisco for Tim Lincicum and Aaron Rowand.

The Giants would get FOUR (!) GUYS, how could they turn that down? If they insisted, Yanks add Shelley Duncan or Chase Wright..."

3) "Madonna for Anna Benson?"

4) "Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano


My precious time back that i spent watching them start games for the Yankees :("

Voting will remain open until...oh why not...12.01 AM November 5th!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Philly Phantastic

Congratulations to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies, Champions of Baseball.

Funny to think that last year all this fuss was made about them being the first franchise to lose 10.000 games.

Nice to see them win.

It was easily one of the odder World Series deciding games, with the whole suspension thing, but you know what it means?

It means that every Philadelphia schoolchild got to stay up late to see their team win the World Series. And, as Yankee fans, we all know what those first memories of a World Championship celebration can do.

The Countdown to the day CC Sabathia files for Free Agency has begun.

The entries for the Ludicrous Trade Proposal Contest will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Selig Doctrine

For those interested in the history and historiography of baseball, the Washington Post has called last night's decision the Selig Doctrine: No World Series will end with a game played less than nine innings.

While last night's game should never have been started, baseball did right to suspend it when it did, as opposed to calling the game short while the Phillies had a 2-1 lead, and thus cheating the Rays out of their possible final three innings of baseball.

It shouldn't strike any of us as a new concept; I don't think you could find a baseball fan that would not have been aghast at the idea of a rain-shortened World Series game, but now that it's official, hey maybe Bud will have something to add to his legacy other than the steroids scandal!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some More Notes on the World Series

I have got to update this thing more often, my apologies.

Anyway, due to various personal reason I haven't been able to watch the World Series as well or as closely as I'd like, but from what I have seen:

  • It's obvious that at the end of Game Three, Evan Longoria wasn't trying to throw it to Home Plate, he was simply trying to throw it to the fifth infielder
  • Where did the power go from the Tampa bats? Maybe I've just been missing it because I haven't been watching so closely, but it felt like Tampa slugged their way to the World Series, and now they're dying a whimpery death.
  • After Ryan Howard was busy making Alex Rodriguez look clutch, he's now exploded, proving that good things come to those who are not named Alex Rodriguez.
  • The umpiring has not exactly been great.

So now Philadelphia needs just one more win to bring their city their first major sports title since...well, their first major title in my lifetime.

However, given that it's been a really sort of strange baseball year, don't count the Series over just yet...although the sooner it is, the sooner we can fire up the Hot Stove...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Contest Reminder

Just a reminder to get your entries in to the LUDICROUS TRADE PROPOSAL CONTEST, which will close after the last out of the World Series.

We've got some great entries so far, so keep them coming!


Sarah Palin is apparently a curse--she dropped the puck at a Flyers game and it took last night for the Flyers to garner their first win (stupid Devils, you disappoint me!) and then last night, she dropped a puck at the St. Louis Blues game, where goalie Manny Legace promptly tripped over the carpet and injured her hip.

Are we sure we really want her touching those nuclear codes?

I kid, I kid.

Just make sure you vote. It's only 10 days from now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Phighting Their Way to a Game One Win

It was a close thing.

In a game that was without a doubt the epitome of a pitcher's duel, the Phillies used a solid starting performance from Cole Hamels as well as a key caught stealing to pull out a 3-2 Game One win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

In doing so, they've stolen the home field advantage for themselves and now can rest a little easier going into Game Two.

Some points:

  • Ryan Howard has got to get his act together. It's one thing not to hit and quite another for the other team to walk Chase Utley to get to him. In the AL park the slump can be obscured by the DH, but the moment they get to Philadelphia, the Rays will have a phield field day with the Phillies if there are two automatic outs in the line up...
  • While I'm all for mixing and matching pitchers when the situation warrants, I didn't quite get Maddon's almost Spring Training-like approach to the ninth inning. Granted, in the World Series, everyone is available...but I don't know...I think more than anything Maddon illustrated the lack of a solid back end of the bullpen for the Rays
  • That caught stealing looms huge now, but Hamels was really, really close to a balk. The city of Philadelphia should be thanking the umpires for that ones.
  • Since the strike in 1994, a National League team has won the World Series in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003 and 2006--five times in thirteen tries. Of those five wins, only once (the Cardinals in 2006) did the National League team win it in fewer then six games. Conversley, of the eight years an American League team won, only twice did the AL team need more than five games to win the series (the Yankees in 1996 and the Angels in 2002). This might mean nothing, but I found the quirk interesting.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2008 World Series Preview

Think back to April 1, and all the baseball predictions you read.

Could you honestly tell me that you found somewhere that predicted the 2008 World Series would be the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies?


Don't worry, me either.

Still, this is what the end of October holds for us baseball fans, and despite the historical legacies of both teams, this series looks like it'll be a good one.

Both teams are scrappy, feisty--getting the hits and the pitches when they need to, but making you bite your nails the rest of the time. Both teams have an unquestionable hunger--Philadelphia hasn't won a major sports championship since the early 1980s (and the times they've come close, outside of baseball, defeat seems to come at the hands of Tampa, who knew?), and Tampa, to some, still has to prove that the Rays are for real.

So, what to look for? Who will win?

Let's start with pitching.

Philadelphia has an unquestionable ace in Cole Hamels, but outside of that, in Myers, Blanton and Moyer, you're looking at pitchers that can be very...well...hittable. There's no question the pitching staff can get it done, or else they wouldn't be here, but they'll make you sweat for it. In terms of the bullpen, Brad Lidge has a ridiculous saves streak going, but like the rest of the pitching staff, he'll make you sweat before getting the final out.

Tampa's "ace", Scott Kazmir, has not emerged as the number one starter for the Rays in the postseason. Instead, James Shields has emerged as their "big game" starter, and it was Matt Garza that pitched a gem in Game Seven of the ALCS. As for the Rays' bullpen...well, you remember Game Five well enough, right? Tampa has David Price. They shouldn't be shy about using him.

As for hitting...

Philadelphia's hitters have, on the whole, been around longer than Tampa's and are thus more veteran, although this doesn't necesarily imply better. Chase Utley, Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard can all hit the ball a mile, but none of them are averse to striking out--especially not Howard. In the NLCS, Shane Victorino emerged as a somewhat unlikely hero, it will be interesting to see if the "Flyin' Hawaiian" can keep the juices flowing in the World Series.

Tampa's gotten to the point it his on the back and long fly balls of BJ Upton and Evan Longoria. Okay, so the others have helped as well, but the amount of home runs that have come off the bat of those two this month is insane, and, I believe, record-setting. Against Philadelphia pitching, with the exception of Cole Hamels, you have to imagine that this could be a powder (power?) keg type of situation.

So, while I will be rooting for the Phillies--I've got at least three friends who are admitted Phillies fans--my prediction, like everyone else's so far, will be the Rays in six.

In which case, we'd better start preparing for the apocalypse.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tampa Bay Rays: 2008 American League Champions (no, it's not 1 April)

(With apologies to Joel Sherman)

Joe Maddon almost made the same mistake Buck Showalter made in 1995.

Just in the nick of time, as though defusing a bomb right before the counter reached 00:01, Maddon remembered the lesson that he was supposed to have learned last week, and now the Tampa Bay Rays are headed to the World Series.

In 1995, Showalter, you will remember, hadn't realized the talent he had in Mariano Rivera, so when the ALDS was on the line in Game Five, he didn't use Rivera.

In 2008, Maddon almost made the same mistake with David Price.

It took a bases loaded situation in the eighth inning for Maddon to finally realize that Dan Wheeler, JP Howell and Chad Bradford could not get it done, but, as the Rays fans are probably thinking, at least he came to his senses.

Now, the Tampa Bay Rays are headed to their franchise's first World Series.

The ALCS, of course, should have never gotten to a game seven. Had Maddon used Price at perhaps any time in the eighth or ninth inning of game five, the Rays would have likely clinched in Boston.

However, the Rays were lucky--game five was not an elimination game and afforded them a very important lesson: 27 outs in a baseball game and you have to play all of them. There's no clock to run out.

Now, going into the World Series, the Rays know what it's like to choke, and to face elimination, and more importantly, how important to get over it and put it in the past.

Congratulations to them, though Boston shouldn't lose heart--they gritted through it and gave baseball a game five that will enter the pantheon of all-time greats.

There will be a Rays-Phillies Series Preview up sometime before Game One.

Remember, get your entries in for the Monumental Trade Proposal Contest!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Memorabilia Auction falls Short of Expectations

For all of you that think that the Yankees won't be affected by the economy, take a gander at this article from ESPN about a failed Stadium memorabilia auction, including the last home run ball.

Among the main points of the article

  • More than 400 items had been up for option
  • A collection of 15 World Series and American League championship rings belonging to a former Yankees' owner fell over a quarter of a million dollars short of expectations
  • A Mickey Mantle car expected to fetch at least $50,ooo sold for only $34,000.
So while I imagine anyone reading this blog probably doesn't have a spare $350,000 to spend on a ring collection, it's not the point.

Does the auction immediately impact the Yankees? No, it doesn't...but it does illustrate that the problem with the economy isn't just in the big banks on Wall Street.

The Grand Trade Proposal Contest

It's that time of year now, where all the ridiculous trade proposals come flying out the wazoo. Melky Cabrera for Albert Pujols. Julio Lugo for Tim Lincecum. So on and so forth.

YOUR TASK, should you choose to accept, and you should because the off season can get boring otherwise, is to come up with the most ludicrous trade proposal you can imagine...but, since that in itself is fairly easy, I'll throw in a few of the following parameters:

1) Players involved must be current, active players
2) Players must have seen at least AA action in 2008
3) Any deals that include prospects MUST include at least one play who saw Major League service time in 2008
4) Teams can't trade within their own division, or with cross-town rivals (no Yankees/Mets, no Sox/Cubs, no Dodgers/Angels, no Giants/Athletics)
5) Players must not have full NTC clauses. If a player has a partial NTC clause, he may only be traded to a team that is listed as exempt from his NTC clause.
6) Propose as many trades as you like, but each player can only be traded once.


Entries will be judged via a supersecret methodology, in the form of some sort of poll open to the general voting public, because we all need to practice our voting skills!


The winner shall recieve some form of inexpensive Yankee memorabilia. Should the number of entries exceed five, the second place person will recieve a prize, and should there be more than ten entries, third place will recieve a prize as well.


The Deadline for Submissions shall be the Last Out of the World Series, so get your entries in now because we don't know for sure how many games the World Series is going to go!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Can You Believe What We Just Saw?

All right, before I write this post proper, I need to stress that I'm writing this as a baseball fan, not as a Yankee fan. Don't worry, I hate the Red Sox as much as ever.


Part of the reason baseball has the magic it does is because on any given day,anything can happen.

Unlike the other major sports, in baseball, there's no clock to run out.

In football or basketball, you can build an insurmountable lead and then play easy the rest of the way--if you're up, in basketball, by 30 points with two minutes to spare, you're pretty much set.

In baseball, it doesn't quite work that way.

The young Tampa Rays learned it the hard way tonight, building a sizable lead and then treating it as though it was a guaranteed win.

As for the game itself, however, regardless of what happens in the rest of the series, this will easily go down as a classic LCS game.

Last year's postseason was generally void of excitement; this year's has had some incredible games, and now, it looks like, one incredible series.

It's been a while since we've had a classic Postseason game, a game that reminds you why October is so important, but tonight we had one.

Tampa still has a three games to two series lead over Boston, but if Yankees' fans learned anything from 2004, it's that one game can change the feeling of an entire series. If tonight wasn't that type of game, I'm not sure what is...

On the bright side, it looks like Joe Maddon did well switching Kazmir and Shields, and now has his ace on the mound for Game Six.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Andy Pettitte

Yesterday, while watching ESPN whilst I was still without internet, I caught the ticker on the bottom:

Buster Olney Reports that Andy Pettitte wants to pitch for the Yankees in 2009.

This in itself was not a surprising revelation; Pettitte has more or less been dropping hints since the beginning of the season.

The big question, of course, is whether or not the Yankees should let Andy do it, and there are arguments to be made for each side of the issue.

The most glaring issue is that 2008 was not a good season for Pettitte.

He finished 14-14, and only got the last win because Joe Girardi took him out after the fifth inning. At one point in August and September, he had gone 1-7 in his last eight--a far cry from the second-half dominance normally ascribed to him.

His 4.54 ERA was the second highest of his career (1999 4.70), though his other numbers, such as strikeouts and walks were in line with his career averages.

The question at the crux is why 2008 was a poor year.

There are many different explanations on offer; the one that I find easiest to believe is that he was pitching hurt through most of August, when the Yankees didn't really have another option to fill his starts.

If this is the case then, there is an optimistic and pessimistic view--the optimistic view being that a healthy Andy will be back to his 2007 form and a sound investment; the pessimistic view would be that at 36, 37 years old, his body probably won't heal as quickly and that he's battled elbow problems in the past.

The other, separate issue to consider is what Mike Mussina will do--and signs seem to point to him retiring (though we've certainly been wrong about things like that before).

If Mussina retires, the case for re-signing Pettitte is that much stronger: a veteran pitcher who will make most, if not every start, and at the very least give you innings and probably win at least ten starts as well.

Resigning Pettitte is a very tough call, especially when it's uncertain if the Yankees will sign CC Sabathia or another high level free agent starter. If it was up to me, I'd wait to see which, if any, FA pitcher the Yankees sign before committing, but I realize that a) Pettitte probably doesn't want to wait that long, and b) it really wouldn't be right to make him wait that long, anyway.

Either way, it's an issue the Yankees have to ponder, and sooner rather than later.

My gut tells me Andy will be back for one last go-around, but whether or not that will be a good decision remains to be seen.

Pheelin' Phillie Phantastic

Congratulations are due to the Philadelphia Phillies for winning the National League title.

While you can argue all you want on the merits of Joe Torre, the reason the Phillies won is simple enough:

Better starting pitching and the ability to clutch--yes, I still believe clutch exists.

The ALCS has yet to conclude, but one more win from Tampa and we'll be looking at something no one predicted in April--A Rays/ Phillies World Series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bobby Meacham Fired

Bobby Meacham has been fired.

This move was not unexpected, though what is perhaps most interesting is to see how Girardi deals with the loss of one of his hand-picked coaches, the other being bullpen coach Mike Harkey.

Much of the in-house criticism leveled against Joe Girardi had to do with his over reliance on Meacham and Harkey to the exclusion of his other coaches; perhaps part of the thinking is that removing Meacham from the fray will force Girardi to better utilize his other coaches.

That, or Meacham simply was that bad as a third base coach.

No replacement has been announced of yet.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Musings with a Broken Keyboard

So I have a confession to make.

Earlier today, during halftime of the Jets/Bengals game, I caught the ninth inning of game five of the 2001 World Series on TV.

For various reasons, it was the first time I'd actually seen the top of the ninth inning--and the chanting of Paul O'Neill's name.

The moment gives me chills, of course, but this was the first time I'd heard it without any embellishments, any retrospective announcing or music, and I realized that while there's a lot of the 2001 World Series that I remember, there's a lot that, at the time, I simply didn't understand.

I'd only started following the Yankees in 1996--when I was 10--and thus the significance of the dynasty teams was largely lost on me. The Yankees were good, I knew, and I'd thought it wasa right that we were in the World Series nearly every year.

I kind of took it all for granted. I know better now, of course, but that's not the point.

The point is, when Brosius hit his home run in the ninth inning of Game Five, I knew it was incredible, but I didn't realize how incredible.

When you consider that the entire thing happened only about six weeks removed from 9/11, it takes on an altogether added importance.

More than winning, New York needed the Yankees to play those few games in October and November. Play the game well, and you'd prove to the world that you cannot bring New York down.

The Yankees, in true Yankee fashion, just happened to make sure that those games were unforgettable.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I tripped over my computer's battery wire.

Computer went splat.


(Updates may be spotty until the problem is solved...)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Things You Learn on the Way to Temple

Driving to Temple tonight, my father and I drive through a neighborhood where he spent much of his childhood.

He points out the homes of cousins and aunts, and tells me about how he'd go to the corner candy store as a kid to buy candy and magazines. He remembers all of the landmarks as though his childhood was yesterday, and he makes the neighborhood of the 1950s and 1960s come alive for me.

We pass by a field.

It's called Larry Doby field, and Dad asks me if I know who Larry Doby was. I tell him that of course I know, that he broke the color barrier in the American League, played for Cleveland and only recently passed away.

Dad says that his father met Larry Doby. Talked to him.

I tell him that I am impressed.

Yeah, Dad says, in the early 1950s...perhaps 1951...his father wanted to sell his house in Paterson, NJ, and one day Larry Doby came to look.

Dad doesn't know if he came close to buying the house, but before breaking in with the Indians, Doby did play Negro League ball for Newark and made his home in Paterson, NJ--where both of my parents were born and where my father's family made their home before moving to Fair Lawn.

You learn something new every day, don't you?

Joba see, Joba do

Joba pitch!

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, right, takes a swing in the batting cage during the POWERade Sports Fantasy Camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Monday, Oct. 6, 2008. Chamberlain was one of several former and current professional athletes participating in the camp with winners of a nationwide POWERade sweepstakes.

Joba hit!

New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, throws batting practice to participants during the POWERade Sports Fantasy Camp in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Monday, Oct. 6, 2008.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

ALCS and NLCS Snapshot Previews

2008 ALCS


Pros: They've been here before, in 2004 and more recently, last year. John Lester looks like a true ace, and any one of their bats is capable of a clutch hit. And then there's that whole Fenway Park think.

Cons: Outside of Lester, their rotation is not unbeatable and their bullpen is not unhittable. The lack of a substantial bridge to Papelbon could be their downfall. And then there's that whole they-don't-have-home-field thing.


Pros: Young, but proving that the playoffs are no obstacle. They have home field--and they've been great at Tropicana Field. Evan Longoria and BJ Upton are playing like this is their tenth time in the postseason.

Cons: Inexperienced. Trouble winning on the road. Starting pitching is good, but not unbeatable.

Prediction Rays in Six

2008 NLCS


Pros: Scrappy, gritty team that never counts itself out. Lots of mashers. Have Jaime Moyer and know how to use him. Same with Cole Hamels.

Cons: Brad Lidge in a tight game that matters. Brett Myers. Not many guys that know how to pitch to Manny.


Pros: Manny Ramirez, Joe Torre. Oh, and that starting pitching staff--Billingsley, Lowe, etc.

Cons: When's the last time they had to play in cold weather? And Joe Torre is managing their Bullpen. And, if you believe in these things, there's the Curse of Don Mattingly.

Prediction: Dodgers in Five

Monday, October 6, 2008

2009 Draft (or, Procrastination is Fun!)

Baseball America has published a projected 2009 draft order:

Protected First-Round Picks
1. Nationals (59-102)
2. Mariners (61-101)
3. Padres (63-99)
4. Pirates (67-95)
5. Orioles (68-93)
6. Giants (72-90)
7. Braves (72-90)
8. Reds (74-88)
9. Tigers (74-88)
10. Nationals (compensation for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Aaron Crow)
11. Rockies (74-88)
12. Royals (75-87)
13. Athletics (75-86)
14. Rangers (79-83)
15. Indians (81-81)
16. Diamondbacks (82-80)
Unprotected First-Round Picks
17. Dodgers (84-78)
18. Marlins (84-77)
19. Cardinals (86-76)
20. Blue Jays (86-76)
21. Astros (86-75)
22. Mariners (compensaton for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Joshua Fields)
23. Twins (88-75)
24. White Sox (89-74)
25. Mets (89-73)
26. Yankees (89-73)
27. Brewers (90-72)
28. Phillies (92-70)
29. Red Sox (95-67)
30. Rays (97-65)
31. Yankees (compensation for failure to sign 2008 first-rounder Gerrit Cole)
32. Cubs (97-64)
33. Angels (100-62)

Multiple sources have stated that the 2009 draft class is a thin draft class, so this, combined with the late first round selections, seems to make it that much more imperative that the Yankees go hard after one of CC Sabathia/AJ Burnett/Mark Teixiera/your big free agent signing here.

Many are considering the 2008 draft a failure as the Yankees' first round pick Gerrit Cole failed to sign, but it's important to remember that Cole wasn't the only guy the Yankees drafted, and sometimes it's the unheralded picks that end up becoming the most effective.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Random Baseball Trivia I Don't Expect to Find

How amazing is this game?

I was in Vermont over the weekend to attend a cousin's wedding--hence the lack of updates.

I had never before been to Vermont, and for a city kid, the fall colors are striking. Everywhere you look it seems like a suitable place for a photograph. There are yellows and oranges and reds in New York this time of year, sure, but it doesn't compare. The colors in Vermont are brighter, fuller, more though someone has used a paint brush to accent each and every tree leaf.

I had never before been somewhere where the local news on the radio advises citizens that the year's firewood is too green for use, and that if there is anyone with spare firewood, to please donate it.

So I was there with the family, downstairs in the hotel/motel bar, drinking and catching up with people I see at weddings and bar mitzvahs but not really anywhere else, and eventually we start talking about baseball.

I'm not sure how the conversation arises, but it does, and someone--maybe me, I don't remember--mentions something about the Rays and the White Sox playing, so the hotel clerk/bartender, who sports a Rollie Fingers-like mustache, turns the TV on and mentions that he prefers the Red Sox.

So, of course, I start talking, and he starts talking. The rest of the gathered family moves upstairs, but I remain there for just that extra minute because I can't refuse a baseball conversation--even if it involves the Red Sox.

The man, whose name I don't know, imparts a nugget of knowledge--an answer to a trivia question, perhaps--something inconsequential to probably everyone else in the motel except for him and me. Him, because it involves his family, and me, because, well, I live for such things.

He says that his grandfather, the first name I can't remember, but the surname being Pope, played for the Yankees.

He was a pitcher in the days before relief pitching--a utility pitcher, they were called.

You won't find him in any of the books, and baseball-reference has nothing on him, because back then, in the days between the end of World War I and the beginning of Yankee Stadium (the Original), they didn't keep stats for relievers.

It's not surprising that baseball can reach rural Vermont--in fact, I'd expect it. This is, after all, not unlike the town of Cooperstown.

Still, baseball is timeless here.

The man's grandfather retired and set up a butcher's shop, or so I am told, and if not for the memories, he is lost to the world.

I'm not sure if I'm struck more by the power of the game or the power of the memory, but it's a moment I won't forget.

I can't.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Addicted to Coke

Something I found interesting:

Joba Chamberlain, September/October 2007

12.2 Innings Pitched
7 hits
2 runs
1 earned run
17 Strike outs
2 Walks
0.71 ERA

Phil Coke, September 2008

14.7 Innings Pitched
8 hits
1 run
1 earned run
14 strike outs
2 walks
0.61 ERA

(statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference)

There are a few reasons that it's hard to compare Phil Coke to Joba...right?

I was going to say that first there's an age difference, but Coke is only two years older than Joba. I understand that a 25 year old player should be at a different stage developmentally than a 23 year old. Joba's the Yankees #1 prospect of 2008 according to the Baseball America handbook while Coke isn't even in the index--and he's not in Baseball Prospectus 2008 either.

Two years, however, is just two years. Phil Coke isn't a 33 year old journeyman; he's a young pitcher. Perhaps a late bloomer, maybe, but if he continues to pitch as well as he did in September, he has more of his career ahead of him, rather than less.

The expectations on Joba are, of course, much different than those on Coke. Joba's expected to anchor a rotation in the future. Coke is...well, not.

If you get past that, for a second, think about the different situations in which the two broke in at the major league level.

When Joba broke in, it was after blazing through four levels of the minors in one season, and in the middle of a pennant race in which the Yankees still had realistic hope of not just winning the Wild Card but also winning the division.

When Phil Coke broke in, the Yankees had been realistically eliminated from the division and more or less eliminated from the Wild Card as well. the pressure, and indeed, the expectations on him were completley different

Coke has, of course, opened many eyes--and if the Yankees have noticed, so has everyone else.

You're not supposed to judge players based on September performances, but, alas, for Coke, that's all we have to go on.

This is what you like to see, as a baseball fan--the unheralded player, one that might even be a prospect, opening eyes and drawing much interest. Now there are questions as to whether Coke should be a starter, and depending on whether or not the Yankees land a big Free Agent starter, Coke might find himself talked about in February and March as being a part of the rotation.

Is Coke better than Joba?

Over the long run, probably not--Joba has better 'pure stuff', but every time you try to think of a reason that Joba and Coke don't compare, you find either that they do, or that there's a plausible excuse as to why not.

Joba has pitched in pressure situations.

Coke's never seen October, but he pitched quite effectively in the Final Game, which more or less had the same amount of must-win pressure (even if the season at that point had been lost, that one game was, of course, a must-win).

Joba's strike out numbers are much higher, but then, so are his innings, and when you take a look at comparative innings, the numbers are similar.

Joba can throw it 100. Coke finished the season at 96.

Joba's family life makes for a great story. Coke...well, nearly getting cut from the team in Spring Training is a story in its own right.

Joba has a cool name. You can make drug puns with Coke's.

It's very possible that next season Coke comes back to earth and ends up as a solid, if not spectacular left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen--and thus a very valuable commodity.

Yet there still remains the possibility--funny, ironic, whatever--that Coke ends up finding himself of more value to the 2009 Yankees than Ian Kennedy or Phil Hughes.

How many of us still remember he was almost dealt in the Nady/Marte deal? Were the Yankees, perhaps, on to something when they decided not to trade him? Did Pittsburgh miss something in preferring Karstens and McCutcheon? Time will tell.

We will be watching him with great interest.

October Happens

So this is what it feel likes: October in New York with no baseball.

It's not as though there aren't other sports in this town.

The Giants are undefeated; the Bretts Jets are competitive and Opening Night for the hockey season is almost here.

There's plenty to talk about that's not baseball.

So what do we talk about?


It doesn't hit me, how much baseball means to this city, until we don't have it.

It's a different feeling than an unsavory first round exit. At least, in that case, you can soften the blows with the knowledge that at least your team was good enough to make it to October. Anything--even midges--can happen in a five game series.

Miss the playoffs, and it's another story. There is a feeling of inadequacy--even with 89 wins, which would be good enough for a playoff berth in two other divisions and one win shy of a wild card spot in the National League, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

How does this City survive without baseball?

It obviously does; it's done so many times before and, unfortunately, will do so again, but it still baffles the mind.

This is, after all, a place that lives for baseball.

What other city can boast of having, at one time, three different teams? Even more, three different, quality teams all with pennant hopes?

What other city can have Johan Santana making the tabloid back pages in the week before the City's most popular football team plays in the Super Bowl, a David to an undefeated New England Goliath?

It still doesn't feel like the off-season for me.

I guess, technically, it isn't, because it's the postseason, but I don't think I'm alone among Yankee fans in saying that any time without Yankee baseball is the off-season.

It's still warm enough outside for me to wear a t-shirt and sandals, and too warm to imagine the trees bare or a few inches of snow on the ground.

It's October, but it feels more like the All Star break--a couple of days off before we pick it up again, a couple of days before we can right the wrongs and disappointments of the first half.

The idea that it's still four months until Spring Training and six until Opening Day is anathema. It's also the reality.

We can get by with the MLB postseason and Fall Ball and Winter Ball, but it will only soften the blow, not eliminate the sting.

October happens, but without New York baseball, it doesn't feel real.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fearless Playoff Predictions, 2008

Brief LDS previews--I'll do LCS previews at the appropriate times.


Angels over Red Sox

To me it comes down to pitching--the Angels have the better rotation and the better bullpen. I can see this series going five games, because October is funny like that, but the Angels are a better constructed team, and unlike last year, they're not nearly as banged up.

Rays over White Sox.

While Bobby Jenks is the best pitcher in either bullpen, I think Tampa as a whole has a better team. The Sox barely scraped into the playoffs; they have momentum on their side, but let's see how that momentum carries away from the South Side.


Phillies over Brewers

I like the Brewers well enough, and Ryan Braun is amazing, but outside of CC, what starters do they have? As much as the Brew Crew might want to, they can't pitch CC every day. The Phillies do have to worry, though, about putting Brad Lidge out there in a close game in the ninth--Albert Pujols still has a resonance.

Cubs over Dodgers

The Cubs are easily the best team in the National League. Whether or not this translates to postseason glory is yet to be seen, but if the Cubs can figure out how to pitch to Manny, they'll walk all over the Dodgers

The Ca$hman (sung to a tune of an old song...)

Newsday is reporting that Brian Cashman will return with a three year deal.

Ed Price of the Ledger also reporting the same.

Grading the 2008 Yankees

I do eventually want to be a teacher, so, uh, I guess I better get my practice in? I know this is more or less completely arbitrary, so feel free to offer your own suggestions in a comment.

List is in alphabetical order by position.


Alfredo Aceves--Only question is why he wasn't called in to replace Rasner or Ponson sooner. Did everything the Yankees could have asked from him and more, being the only pitcher to beat the Angels in Anaheim since Andy Pettitte in 2007. A

Chris Britton--Cursed to ride the Scranton shuttle all season, he perhaps took his frustration out with lousy pitching when he did, in fact, pitch. C-

Brian Bruney--After an awful year last year, came into this year with a new look and a new attitude and was cruising until a foot injury made him miss most of the season. Worked hard to come back, and in his relief appearances since his return, was dominating. B+

Joba Chamberlain--Would have been that much more effective if his position as a starter or reliever had been firmly decided from the beginning. Still, he's the only one of the "big three" to immediately live up to excpectations. Month missed with a shoulder injury killed the Yankees postseason hopes and his injury history, which let the Yankees take him in the draft, could become a concern. B+

Phil Coke--After nearly getting cut in Spring Training, roared back to become this year's version of Joba. All he did was allow one run in 14.2 innings, and all this after nearly being traded to Pittsburgh. Guess the Yankees are glad that the Pirates chose the other option. A

Dan Giese--Was at his greatest value while Joba was transitioning from reliever to starter, piggy-backing on Joba's starts, pitching effectively, and sometimes even picking up the win. Pitched well in two of his three starts, but a lack of offense in one and a bad bullpen in the other doomed him. B.

Phil Hughes--Lost most of the season, again, to injury. Looked awful in the beginning of the season, but better after the injury return. Problem is, Yankees are counting on him to be effective all year, and not just a September surprise. Has had only one healthy year in 2006, and despite his age, his injuries have to be cause for concern. B-

Damaso Marte--Came over in the Nady deal from Pittsburgh and many thought he would be the jewel of the heist. Pitched poorly when used for entire innings and battled an arm injury without most people knowing, but became more effective when used just for match ups. B-

Mike Mussina--Whatever the Yankees expected out of him in April, a 20-9 record at the end of the season and position as the team's ace probably wasn't it. Struggled in April, made adjustments and took off. The Yankees don't finish above .500 without his efforts. A+

Carl Pavano--Things would have to have gone really bad for Pavano to pitch, and, alas, they did. Pavano, however, was not awful when he did pitch. Still, it's impossible to grade a guy objectively when his attendance record is so poor. Inc.

Andy Pettitte--Did what most of the fans wanted and came back, but struggled. Likely tried to pitch through an arm injury and ended up with a 1-7 mark through August and had to battle just to finish 14-14. He did, however, make every start, and if he can do a Mussina and figure out how to pitch when his cutter isn't working, the Yankees would do well to sign him next year--especially if Mussina retires. C+

Sidney Ponson--His last go around in pinstripes did not go so well, so, understandably, there was an audible gasp of "Oh good lord" when the Yankees re-signed him after Wang's injury. However, the Yankees did end up 9-6 in his starts, and one of those losses occurred after he pitched the Yankees to a 0-0 tie with the Angels in the ninth. He was lucky more than good, but the 2008 Yankees will take that. C+

Edwar Ramirez--Settled into a role for a while as a sixth inning man and was effective as such, but struggled in the eighth inning, especially when coming on while runners were on base. Wicked change up, but when the hitters guess right, some fan will get a free souvenir. B-

Darrell Rasner--Alas, he of the AAAA doom! Unhittable in AAA ball, he earned a call up back in May and pitched effectively for his first few starts. Got burned by a bad offense in a couple other starts, but by and large the other MLB teams simply figured him out, and while one can't knock him for trying, if he remains with the Yankees he's likely better suited for long relief than a starting position. Would be a good candidate to include in a package deal to an NL team, where he could likely continue to start at the ML level. C

Mariano Rivera--Bone spurs? What Bone Spurs? The 38-year-old closer had arguably his best season ever, putting up gaudy stats that would have him, and not Francisco Rodriguez, in Cy Young contention if not for one Indian (see: Lee, Cliff). Certainly got his due pitching the ninth inning of the All Star game and the Final Game, but you can tell he's crushed by not pitching in October. Struggled in tie games. Something about closers and non-save situations. It's his only blemish--otherwise he saved 38 of 39 save opportunities and, in his first year of his new contract, more than lived up to the billing--which is more than can be said for certain other re-signed 2007 free agents. A

David Robertson--For a while, came up and threw nothing but strikes. However, seemed to come undone after a couple of bad appearances. Could be an effective reliever next year if he figures how to get back to the 'throw strikes only' approach. B-

Humberto Sanchez--Not enough appearances to judge. In danger of being supplanted by Mark Melancon--but the increased competition should encourage all the relievers to be better. Inc

Jose Veras--Effective for most of the year but seemed to tire at the end of it. Occasionally prone to the long ball--not quite Farnsworth-esque, but prone enough that he's better suited to be the 7th inning guy than, say, the 8th inning in a tie game. Very violent delivery could potentially be an injury concern. B-


Chad Moeller--Third string back up at the beginning of the year, he proved to be an effective back up for Jose Molina, working especially well with Darrell Rasner. A decent arm behind the plate and not an automatic out while at bat, the Yankees would do well to re-sign him as long as Jorge Posada's shoulder is not 100% B

Jose Molina--There was no way to replicate Posada's bat as a hitter or what he brings to the clubhouse in terms of being a vocal leader, so it's unfair to judge Molina on this basis alone. Molina is one of the best defensive backstops in the game, and proved it, while also working exceptionally well with Mike Mussina and the rest of the pitching staff. Hands down the best trade the Yankees made in 2007. B

Jorge Posada--Missed nearly the entire season with a shoulder injury and wasn't right when he wasn't playing. He can't be blamed for getting hurt, it happens, but his delay in surgery, while trying to rehab the shoulder, meant that the Yankees wavered on trying to acquire a catcher to spell Molina and were ultimately left with an ineffective Pudge Rodriguez. C

Ivan Rodriguez--You can't blame the Yankees for trying. Catching a full season for Jose Molina was likely an injury waiting to happen. However, the trade failed in a number of ways. Pudge was almost as ineffective at the plate as Jose Molina (in fact, Molina's walk rate was probably higher), and ended up not being a starter, but more of a platoon partner with Molina. The cost of the trade was superficially only Kyle Farnsworth, but the bullpen seemed to collapse after Farnsworth was gone and it took another month--which the Yankees could ill afford--to figure out how to restructure it. Pudge is going to Cooperstown, but it won't be because of his pinstripe tenure. D


Wilson Betemit--Was an effective pinch hitter from the left side, and happened to prevent a Seattle starter, Morrow, from pitching a no hitter in his first major league start, but other than that, prone to strike out and not very good defensively. The occasional pop from his bat was a luxury the depleted Yankees could not afford. C

Robinson Canò--Probably the biggest disappointment of the year. Expected to contend for a batting title, he got off to a horrendous start, and with the exception of the week right after the All Star break, didn't recover from it until his benching in September. The question "what if he'd be benched back in May" will taunt the Yankees all the way until 2009...and possibly beyond. C-

Jason Giambi--No one expected him to play the entire year at first base without getting hurt, but except for a couple games in April, that's exactly what he did. Has the bizarre position of having most of his home runs either tying the game or giving the Yankees the lead, while, at the same time, having a horrible BA with runners in scoring position. The mustache carried him for a couple months, but the Yankees couldn't afford to bat him fifth all year--though they did, anyway. C+

Derek Jeter--Picked it up at the end, but for most of the year was having his worst offensive season of his career. How much of this was because of playing through an injury is unknown to all except him, but next year will be telling--if his numbers improve, no worries, but if they're similar, it might be time to recognize that more of Derek's playing time is in the past than is in the future. The speech he gave after the Final Game will go down in Yankees lore--certainly not Gehrig's, but in a year he eclipsed Gehrig's hit total at the Stadium, the Iron Horse would have been proud.B-

Cody Ransom--Not a young prospect, but certainly played like one, doing his best Shane Spencer impression at first. Settled down to a more regular stat line, one commiserate with being a bench player, but had a two home-run game at Boston at the end. Adequate defensively--at the very least, better than Betemit. Should get a long look in Spring Training. B

Alex Rodriguez--Coming off of what would be a career year for anyone else (but, because this is A-Rod, 2007 was likely just a really good year for him), there was almost no way for him to live up to expectations this year. An injury to his quad in April and his first DL stint likely reminded some why signing players to 10-year contracts is generally a bad idea (though I would guess there are a few number of Americans that currently envy his job security), and, once again, problems to come through in the clutch along with back page headlines re: Madonna, made this a season he probably wants to forget. B-


Bobby Abreu--As in 2007, got off to a slow start, but still recovered enough to hit .300 and drive in 100 runs. The problem was, in 2008, the Yankees needed him to be productive in the early goings. Though he doesn't make a lot of errors in the field, he has trouble getting to the ball and a case of wall-o-phobia, making him more of a liability than an asset in the field. The Yankees would not do horribly to bring him back for one year as a DH and perhaps a back up outfielder, but Abreu likely wants a multi-year deal, which a team that wants to get younger can't afford. B-

Melky Cabrera--If G-d is kind, 2008 will be Melky's rock bottom. He looked like he was going to have a breakout season in April, but regressed so totally that he ended up getting sent to the minors. Also had an embarrassing moment at one game I was at, where he tried to acknowledge the "Roll Call" and ended up misplaying the ball. Am rooting for him to recover in 2009, but now that the Yankees have gotten an extended look at Brett Gardner, he may find himself relegated to trade bait. D

Johnny Damon--One of the few that walks the walk. Not the most talented player on the Yankees, but he plays his heart out, and while he's not got much of an arm, he can still hit. His 6-6 game against the Royals will likely be considered one of the best Yankee wins of 2008. His greatest value, however, is as a clubhouse leader, and his work with the Wounded Warrior Project is something that needs more attention. B+

Brett Gardner--When he came up the first time, he was an adequate fielder with a weak bat that found a way to get to Jonathan Papelbon. The second time around, he looked as good in the field as Melky Cabrera on a good day and was much better at the plate, using his speed to stretch singles into doubles. Has no power of yet, but if he walks more and strikes out less, will make a great lead off hitter once Damon leaves. Would do well to teach the rest of the Yankees how to hit Roy Halladay. B

Xavier Nady--Came over in the big blockbuster deal of the year. Struggled at the plate in the beginning, but given an 11-day-old son at the moment of the trade and adjusting to a new league, it's no wonder he took off once he got his bearings. Came back to earth towards the end, but he will likely make a more than adequate right field replacement if Abreu leaves. By some accounts, he strikes out too much, but on the whole, in 2008, he gave the Yankees just what they needed--a solid, right-handed bat. B+

Designated Hitter

Hideki Matsui--Tried to come back from knee surgery only to find he needed surgery on his other knee. The Yankees could ill-afford the loss of his bat on top of that of Jorge Posada, and if the right deal is proposed, might find himself traded to the West Coast in the offseason. C

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Things Must Pass

That's it, then.

The end of Yankees baseball 2008.

Right now seems a far cry from when the season started, from those days in February and March when we were all psyched for what looked like the start of an unforgettable season.

The Yankees were supposed to be an offensive powerhouse supplemented by a core of young pitchers, with some veteran guidance and a firm resolve not to get off to the same, slow start as nearly derailed the team in 2007.

Alas, the thing about sports--nothing ever plays according to the script.

Players get hurt. Sometimes they miss a couple games, sometimes the entire season. Sometime they're borderline major leaguers, sometimes they're the stars of your team.

Players under perform. Sometimes coaches can discover the reasons why; sometimes they can't.

Other teams improve. Sometimes they're in the other league; sometimes they're in your own division.

Some teams recover, some don't, but if there's one thing baseball tells us, it's that time can be measured in eternity, or in thousandths of a second.

The memories of Yankee Stadium will last forever. The fleeting moment where one mistake pitch is the difference between a win and a loss is never gotten back.

No matter what we might think, going forward, we won't forget 2008.

Whether it's because it's the first time since 1994 we won't see baseball in October or because it's the year we paid tribute to Yankee Stadium, that's up to you. I, being my delusional, optimistic self will choose the latter--but I don't blame you if you choose the former.

Of course, the end of 2008 also means looking forward to 2009, and so we shall.

We will look forward to what will likely be one of the most eventful, if not entertaining, off-seasons in recent Yankees history. Among the issues that need addressing:

a) Will Brian Cashman come back?

a1) If not, who replaces him?
a2) If so, for how long? With any conditions?

b) Do we go after CC Sabathia?

b1) What are we willing to spend to get him--not just in terms of cash, but in terms of time?
b2) If CC is uninterested, do we look at AJ Burnett? Ben Sheets?

C) Who plays first base?

c1) What do we offer Teixiera?
c2) Do we re-sign Giambi or Abreu as a DH?
c3) What if Posada doesn't heal well and can't catch?

The list goes on. The fact is, the Yankees in 2009 might look very different than 2008.

With a new Stadium, a new team might seem fitting, but no Yankee team can forget the past.

Joba Chamberlain will be there in 2009, and so will Derek Jeter.
Phil Hughes will (likely) be there in 2009, and so will Mariano Rivera.

I will be there, and, I hope, so will you.

The Quest for 27 in 2009 starts now.

Can We Get Our Moose Bars Now?

Back in April, the majority of us said that Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy would do battle for the fifth spot in the Yankees rotation.

Oh, how wrong we were!

In 2008, nothing went according to plan, so, it's perhaps fitting that it's in a year after he pitched himself off of the rotation that Mike Mussina pitches himself to 20 wins and almost certainly Comeback Player of the Year contention.

Like someone who's college application lacks only a decent SAT score, Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame resumè lacked only a season with 20 wins. He'd had 19 and 18 and 17, and it seemed, at this time, with three wins to go and only three starts left, that Mussina would fail short yet again.

Fate, however, while not on the general side of the Yankees this season, was on Mussina's side these past two weeks.

Mussina was great against the White Sox in what might be his last start at Yankee Stadium, and last week in Toronto battled getting hit in the elbow to stay in long enough to qualify for the win.

Today, Mussina's great enemy was not the Red Sox, but instead the weather, which had canceled yesterday's game and threatened to derail today's first. After a rain delay of about an hour, however, the game went forward, and Mussina was stellar, needing just 73 pitches to get through six innings.

Though the Yankees bullpen made it a little hairy, it's important to remember that the Yankees actually have a bullpen, unlike these dudes and they were able to keep the lead intact.

Now, the greatest thing for Moose is that if he decides to retire, he gets to do it, on a personal level, on the heels of one of his best career years, and quite possibly the year that punches his ticket to Cooperstown.


In other news, congratulations to the following teams on their postseason berths:

Boston Red Sox
LA Angels
Tampa Bay Rays

Philadelphia Phillies
Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers
Los Angeles Dodgers

And congratulations to one of the Twins/White Sox, who just don't want summer to end.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MLB SATs, Year 2008

2008 MLB SATs

Instructions: Please mark the answer that best fits the question. No points will be lost for wrong answers or missed answers, so if you are not sure, make an educated guess.

You have twenty minutes for each section.



1. An MLB regulation, non-extra inning game consists of:

A: Nine innings
B: Nine innings, except in the case of inclement weather, in which a game may be called over any time after four and a half innings if the home team is ahead or five innings if the home team trails
C: However many innings it takes for the Mets bullpen to implode
D: However many innings can be played before Carl Pavano leaves with an injury

2. The strike zone is:

A: An imaginary box that stretches from the knees to the chest of the batter and is as wide as home plate.
B: A designated area in front of each stadium where MLB players protested in 1994.
C: Whatever Angel Hernandez says it is.
D: Ryan Howard's happy place.

3. What happens if a batter is hit by a pitch?

A: The batter is awarded first base
B: Both benches clear and meet on the field.
C: If the batter is Kevin Youkilis and the pitcher is Joba Chamberlain, a formal complaint with the MLB is filed and a six game suspension issued to Chamberlain.
D: A batter of equal caliber on the other team is hit in his next at bat.

4. A _____ happens when two outs are made on one play

A: Two-out play
B: Double play
C: Stupid Baserunner
D: Derek Jeter was batting, wasn't he?

5. Which of the following is explicitly banned by baseball and may cause a lifetime ban from the sport?

A: Amphetamines
B: Pine Tar
C: Scott Kazmir's choice of music in the Mets clubhouse
D: Gambling



1. Jeffery Maier : Baltimore Orioles :: ______ : Chicago Cubs

A: Billy goats
B: Black cats
C: Steve Bartman
D: Mark Prior

2. What is the general rule of thumb if your starting pitcher is pitching a no hitter?

A: You don't talk to or otherwise associate with said pitcher.
B: You don't mention the words "no hitter"
C: You try to make sure your starter doesn't have to sit too long while your team is batting
D: You put Michael Kay on mute.

3. Why did the Tampa Rays win the 2008 AL East?

A: Because of an infusion of young talent in Crawford, Upton, Longoria and Garza.
B: Because the Red Sox and Yankees could not overcome injuries to their important players.
C: Because they won the games that they had to win.
D: Because they got rid of the "devil" in their name.

4. What was "the Curse of the Bambino?"

A: After Babe Ruth was traded to the Yankees, he cursed Boston and they didn't win a World Series for eighty five years.
B: Some baby in the North End gave the evil eye to Fenway Park.
C: Bill Buckner's scapegoat.
D: A myth: Boston just plain sucked for 85 years.

5. Rookie hazing is:

A: A tradition, usually occurring on a team's last road trip, in which the rookies are made to dress in ridiculous costumes so everyone can point and laugh.
B: Something that's as much a part of baseball as peanuts and cracker jacks.
C: A reason for even fans of the most inept teams to smile.
D: Something likely to get you suspended or expelled if done at the high school level.


1: What is the main difference between Mariano Rivera and Francisco Rodriguez?

A: One is going to the postseason while the other is not
B: One broke Bobby Thigpen's save record while the other did not
C: One was the focus of many a Sportscenter segment and the other was not.
D: One has four World Series rings, a World Series MVP, an ALCS MVP, saved 38 of 39 opportunities to a tune of a 1.43 ERA and 0.67 WHIP and got to pitch the ninth inning of the All Star game and final inning of the Final Game, and the other did not.

2: Which of the following events have some people fuming:

A: The Cubs and Astros played a make up game in Milwaukee after Hurricane Ike made Houston inaccessible, and Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter in a game that was technically a Houston home game even though the stands were filled with Cubs fans.

B: Willie Randolph was fired in the middle of the night in Anaheim, California, after winning the game.

C: Josh Hamilton didn't officially win the Home Run Derby.

D: The Dodgers making the postseason with 83 wins while at least one team with 88 wins will be left out.

E: The Mets bullpen is allowed to exist, at all.

3: Which of the following has not happened (yet) in 2008?

A: The Mariners became the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose 100 games
B: The record for strikeouts in a season broken at 201 (Mark Reynolds)
C: A member of the Boston Red Sox pitches a no hitter
D: Despite being in contention for both the Wild Card and the NL East, the Mets miss the playoffs.

4: How many innings did the All Star game last?

A: 9
B: 12
C: 15
D: I don't know, I went to sleep


Pick one of the following and answer. Points are awarded based on the coherence of your argument and not the style of your writing.

1. Please explain, in detail, the significance of Yankee Stadium. Make sure to refer to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson, Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter. Why is it the most important sports venue in the US? What is the significance of its closing?

2. Should a team such as the Texas Rangers or Washington Nationals, in need of pitching, be allowed to sign Carl Pavano? Why or why not?

3. Please define and elaborate on the definition of 'excess celebration' and 'fist pump'. When should it be allowed and when should it be banned? Should who is performing the action be an issue?


Please submit your answer sheets to the Commissioner's Office for scoring.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh no, Mo!

From LoHud Yankees:

But Mariano Rivera is getting a second opinion on his shoulder today and every indication is that he will need surgery to repair bone spurs. It’s minor surgery, a scope. But no surgery is minor when you’re talking about a 38-year-old pitcher and shoulder issues are almost always more complicated than elbow injuries.

This is, of course, disheartening, even after the disappointment of this season.

Mariano Rivera is arguably the only Yankee that lived up to his contract signing of last off-season, not only equaling his career marks, but in some situations, exceeding them.

In some sense it's good this happened now, as opposed to in the middle of the season or in a year the Yankees needed him for October, but it doesn't change that well, because it's Mo, there's no spin you can put on it to make it seem routine, even if it is a fairly 'routine' procedure.

So here's hoping that if it does come to surgery that it goes well and he'll be ready come February/March 2009.

As to Joe Girardi vs. the Media, I have two thoughts:

1) Girardi should be more forthcoming to the media, even if it is just to say 'please don't come to me regarding injuries" and

2) After listening to the press conference the media did kind of exaggerate just how much Girardi blew up--can't imagine if it was Ozzie Guillen or Lou Pinella in the clubhouse...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Letter to Hal Steinbrenner

On the advice of one SJ44, famed poster from The Yankees LoHud Blog, I have handwritten the following letter to Hal Steinbrenner.

I realize the letter is likely to go unread or otherwise be ignored and acknowledge the baseball-is-a-business mantra and all it refers to, and that they are unlikely to care about the ramblings of a 22 year old graduate student, but, hey, I got to procrastinate.

For those that are not paleological experts:

To Hal Steinbrenner:

I was born in 1986, about two months before Phil Hughes. I am too young to remember the Yankees before Derek Jeter—in fact, the very first game I watched on tv was the Jeffrey Maier game during the 1996 ALCS. So for me, this October is unfamiliar territory. I’m not used to not having playoff baseball!

I have, however, made peace with that—after all, the cool thing about baseball is that you can play it again in the spring. That’s not my concern.

What does concern me, however, is what I—and not just me, but those of my age—are supposed to do about going to games at the New Yankee Stadium.

See, most of us are in or just out of college. Some, like me, are masochists slaving away in graduate school, but most are still just trying to find a job. It’s a tough situation—the economy is bad—when I talked to my father about it, he says that it’s never been this bad in his lifetime, and he was born in 1950. My father wouldn’t exaggerate—he graduated from Wharton and predicted what would happen back in March. My older brother works for a major investment bank and for a while we have bee paying a lot of attention to the situation. So my friends and I are aware that it’s a no-win situation.

Many of us would like to be able to attend Yankee games, as perhaps one way in which we can enjoy an evening after a rough, fruitless ay of job searching or to reconnect with some of our best childhood memories.

The problem is, on the whole, with the current prices for the new Stadium, we can’t afford anything more than bleacher or tier seats. As for season tickets, the only way for us to do that would be splitting a partial plan in the bleachers.

It might not, right now, seem like a big deal that a bunch of college kids can’t afford baseball tickets, but the fact is, in a few years, we will be the ones that you will target to buy season tickets to renew for decades to come. If we can’t afford tickets now, how are we supposed to be convinced that we’ll be able to afford decent seats in a few years—when more of us will have not just ourselves but our families to support?

I understand the need for corporate sponsorship and thus corporate boxes. That alone is not the problem—the problem is that it comes at the expense of possibly alienating the fan base that already has a hard time still trying to recover from the wounds of 2004 and now the wounds of 2008.

We want to support the Yankees. We’ve been paying so much attention to Scranton and Trenton that almost any Yankee fan my age can tell you about Austin Jackson, Jesus Montero and Mark Melancon. We want to be there in late 2009, 2010 and 2011 when they (hopefully) make it to the MLB level club. We want to be able to tell our children that we were there to witness the founding of the next Yankee dynasty, tht we got to see it close up, where we could see Jorge Posada wave to his kids in between innings, where we could see Joba Chamberlain wipe the sweat from his brow before striking out Dustin Pedroia, where we could see the marks in the grass from where Robinson Canò made a diving stop to keep a Carl Crawford line drive from going into right field an allowing Tampa to tie the game, where we could see Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit and Mariano Rivera become the all time saves leader.

We want to be able to return home to our blogs, where we can post photos from the game we went to and share the experience with those of us who, in California or Texas, can’t be there as well.

We don’t want it to cost the same as a vacation to Disneyland.

In the short term, I’m sure there won’t be any issue selling tickets to the new Stadium and I realize that baseball is first and foremost a business, so I realize the likelihood that many of us will still be paying a small fortune for decent seats for a long time to come.

However, baseball is a sport built on the possibility of hope, and so, I will hope.

Thanks for not trading Hughes,

Rebecca G

25 September 2008

To a Wyoming Senator that Caught the Last Home Run at Yankee Stadium

[I actually tried sending this email to the email address listed on the state senator's, as the folks at River Ave Blues have encouraged, but I got this message in response:

I'm sorry to have to inform you that the message returned
below could not be delivered to one or more destinations.

: Permanent Failure: Mailbox would exceed maximum allowed storage

Maybe I'll try sending it again in a few weeks. After the election.]


How's Wyoming? I've never been. My brothers both have, though, and they agree--it's a beautiful place and a haven for outdoor sports. That's not something you often get in New Jersey or in the Bronx so I guess I'll have to make my way out there some time. I've been killing to go kayaking, real kayaking, for ages.

I hope you liked your trip to New York. It's a great city, isn't it?

You should have been here for the Super Bowl last year, the entire city, even Jets fans, banding together to support the Giants, who were beyond lucky to win that game. It's the City's first professional sports championship since 9/11--the Devils won the Stanley Cup in 2003, yes, but they belong to New Jersey.

I'm sure as a sports fan you can get an idea of what Yankee Stadium means to the City. It's not just a place where they play baseball, it's part of the psyche, the consciousness, the being of the City. It identifies us, unites us, and is a place we can go to to live out some of our happiest memories.

Living in the Bronx has been a major culture shock to a girl from suburban New Jersey, but it is a vibrant community and now that I'm here, I absolutely love it. Like your state, it's a place that works its own magic. I'd love to take you to an Arthur Ave restaurant or let you sit in on my medieval history classes at Fordham University.

I can't put into words how much the Yankees mean to a place that for so long has been synonymous with urban decay.

So, while I congratulate you on catching the Jose Molina home run ball, I have to ask, nicely, if you would consider returning it.

You caught the ball, I'm sure you've taken pictures of yourself with the ball, you've seen it, you've touched it...most Yankee fans, myself included, have never caught so much as a foul ball and you caught something historic.

I can't speak for the Yankees, but I'm sure they'd be more than willing to send you all sorts of autographed memorabilia for that baseball or maybe get you tickets to a game at the new place, or pretty much, whatever you want.

But that ball deserves a place to rest not in a safe deposit box but in the New Yankee Stadium, reminding the fans that may have momentarily forgotten of their team's heritage, tradition, pride and importance both in the local community and in the larger context of the American sports world.

You will already be known as the guy to catch the last home run at Yankee Stadium and for that reason might find your name in the history and record books. You shouldn't need a baseball to prove it.

I hope the autumns in Wyoming are as pleasant as they are here, where we are approaching peak foliage--it's not Vermont, but it's ours. As is Yankee Stadium.


A Yankee Fan

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Vidi Video

It's long, I ramble and I sound much more depressed than I actually am, but kudos to you if you sit through it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Won and Done (Postgame notes 23 September 08)

For one day, Yankee fans could dream the impossible dream and a sweet dream it was.

Tonight, it became official through a Boston win over Cleveland--the Yankees will not make the postseason for the first time since 1995.

The reasons are many and varied and will be gotten to in due course.

Yeah, it hurts. I won't lie about that.

However, for now, there are still reasons to watch. There are still reasons to take pride in being a Yankee fan.

First, there's the fact that Mike Mussina now has 19 wins, which means that he officially has a chance at 20 wins. He's got to win his next start, in Boston, and this is hoping his arm hasn't swelled too much after getting hit by a pitch in the arm tonight.

Mussina looked excellent in the early innings, and was able to tough it out through five--all he needed to qualify for the win.

It's completely ironic that Mussina is the one and only pitcher on the Yankees that might get to twenty wins when you consider where he was in September last year--having pitched himself out of the rotation, and it is also wonderful.

Mussina has pitched too long and too well to not get a chance for 20 on Sunday.

Secondly, the Yankees are doing a great job of finishing strong. They were eliminated not because they lost, but because Boston won.

Think about the other teams that were supposed to contend this year and fell short--the Tigers, the Indians, the Mariners, all in contention as of 1 September 2007. The Yankees were the only ones to make it this far, and that's with the injuries to Wang, Posada, Matsui, Joba et al, and Hughes and Kennedy combining for 0 wins. Never mind the regression of Canò and Cabrera and the un-clutchness of Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees have won six straight and right now actually look like a good baseball team. It's too late, of course, but it's easier to go into the winter on a positive.

More coming later, in the form of video.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Dead Yet

The Yankees will have another few hours in contention as the Cleveland Indians hung on to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3.

It would take a miracle on a legendary scale or a collapse worse than the 07 Mets or 64 Phillies on the part of Boston, but it is some comfort to know that the Yankees weren't eliminated on a night they weren't playing.

Meanwhile, the Mets are doing their best to repeat 2007, and the Jets don't seem to understand the concept of what to do with a football once they have it.

The Morning After

From the moment I woke up this morning, my only thought has been, "it's gone".

Last night was a celebration and a tribute. Bittersweet, for sure, but it was about everything good that the Stadium was.

Today, however, there's an emptiness.

Reggie Jackson said it well--it feels like losing a friend.

I shouldn't care so much about a building...and yet...this was the stage of my childhood dreams.

I still have to go to class and, for the moment, feign an interest in the economic expansion of England in the 12th and 13th centuries, but today, my thoughts are elsewhere.

The Yankees won't stop playing. Next year they'll open a park that looks like (and is priced like) a palace, and I'll be write there, blogging and rooting for them all the way.

It won't be the same, however.

It will never be the same.

It's Not a Question but a Lesson Learned in Time

What we saw tonight is something that will stay with us forever.

At another time, at another date, there will be more to say.

For now, all that I can say is--

Thank You Yankee Stadium.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Final Game--A LiveBlog

The day many of us thought would never get here is actually here. Today is, barring direct intervention from the baseball G-ds, the final game at Yankee Stadium.

I've decided to do a LiveBlog, which I will update throughout the day. Please feel free to comment with your Stadium memories or anything else you feel appropriate.

11.15 AM: Overslept again. I guess that's expected when you go to sleep at 3 AM. I'm really glad the Jets aren't playing today--it means I can devote the entire day to the Yankees. I didn't do football picks this week, because I can't think about football right now.

YES plans on airing Game 4 of the 2001 World Series as a "Yankees Classic" at one. I plan on watching that over ESPN, because I don't want the nostalgia shoved down my throat. Even though I end up watching ESPN anyway...

11.39 AM: Something else that has come to mind--

For so many fans, baseball was important simply because it was a way to bond with a parent--a father, especially.

There's some truth in that for me, but not in the sense that it is for most people.

See, Dad (and Mom) are not big sports fans. It's not that they have any intense hatred of spots, it's just something that doesn't interest them, like say Desperate Housewives doesn't interest me.

Still, before my brother, Dan, and I were old enough to take the train to New York by ourselves, Dad would get us tickets and go with us. Not because he wanted to, but because he knew that we wanted to go. Sometimes our older brother or our cousin would come too, but often, Dan and I were allowed to invite a friend. There would be four tickets, so with one spare, Dan and I would alternate who got to ask a friend to go, and we'd cross sports--basketball, hockey and baseball.

And every time I'm a little upset at Dad, I think of that.

I think of how he never complained, only rarely made us leave early (if it was a night game and we had school the next day), was willing to sit through two hours of traffic each way, how he even took us to Monument Park even though Dan, my brother, was still a little too young to understand what it meant.

And while I may never bond with my father over WHIP, park-adjusted ERA and OBP, I realize that what he did for myself and my brothers means so much more than any of the other stuff ever could.

1.13 PM: Just found this on ebay.

If I was still an undergrad, I would totally skip class to do this, and pay that much for the privilege, but the PhD students in my program have been kind enough to warn me not to skip my class tomorrow under any circumstances except imminent certain death.

I hope whoever does go is able to appreciate it.

1.31 PM Someone was kind enough to point out that Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS is currently playing on ESPN classic.

That may be the single greatest game that I've ever watched on TV. five, at least.

2.21 PM This is the best tribute video I have seen yet:

3.37 PM Just found out you can purchase classic baseball games on iTunes. The one I really really want, however, Game five of the 2001 World Series isn't available. However, I did get Well's perfect game, the Aaron Boone game and game six of the 1996 World Series.

3.58 PM I'm watching the replay of Game Four of the 2001 World Series. John Sterling makes a comment after Tino's home run that "If the Yankees win the World Series, the home run will go down as one of the most dramatic..."

Well, Mr. Sterling, the Yankees didn't win the World Series, but ask nearly any Yankee fan old enough to remember that game, and they will tell you it's one of the most dramatic moments of Yankee history. Especially when taken in consideration with what happened the next game. Not that you would have known that at the time.

5.00 PM Watching ESPN pan through the crowd, you can see people in tears. It's strangely comforting to know that I'm not the only one that is feeling emotion...even if I still have to wonder if it's appropriate. I mean, it's just a building.

And yet, it's so much more than that.

5.42 PM Apparently, according to ESPN, Reggie Jackson is going to watch the game from the right field bleachers. That is just plain awesome.

6.03 PM The Marquee outside the Stadium says "Thanks for the Memories". Indeed.

I don't have too many, but I wouldn't trade the ones I have for anything.

6.28 PM One of my friends, currently in New Hampshire and an acknowledged Red Sox fan, texted me to ask me if I was at the game tonight. I told her that I wasn't and asked why she wanted to know. She said that on the news there, they said that they were letting people walk on the field and she thought I would have thought that was cool (which I do).

In the heart of Red Sox nation today, they are paying tribute to the Yankees.

6.42 PM Mariano Rivera has said that he believes the biggest ovation will be for Bernie Williams. So glad he is back tonight--and yes, he probably will get the biggest ovation.

7.10 PM I'm flipping between YES and ESPN. Two comments--1) The hand prints on the wall are an amazing touch by the fans. 2) Bernie Williams in uniform. Chills.

7.12 PM Bob Sheppard, forever.

7.16 PM The original pennant and the retro uniforms...for a history student like me, this is gold.

7.21 PM Right now, there are cathedral bells going off down the street from me. It's chilling and apropos.

7.24 PM And the Jeter chants being. Methinks it's not the last time we will here such. He's a cult figure inside this ballpark.

7.29 For some reason, like Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius always gives me chills. All because of October. Game Five of 2001 still overwhelms me.

7.39 PM Willie Randolph, a true Yankee. Indeed.

7.45 PM Yogi Berra was my childhood idol. Still is. That man IS America.

7.52 PM It's right now, as they're going through all of the Yankee greats, that I realize *just* how spoiled I've been, to be a Yankee fan. And while I didn't get to see anything before 1996, that that I have seen is just as magical and just as meaningful.

8.04 PM Welcome home, Bernie Williams. We have missed you.

8.07 PM Man, I wonder what Damon and Jeter and Abreu, etc feel, knowing that they're the line up on the very last day. I can't fathom

8.14 PM I had thought Yogi was throwing out the first pitch, but, somehow, Julia Ruth Stevens doing it feels more appropriate.

8.22 PM Congratulations Derek!

8.30 PM I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me. I refuse to let Joe Morgan bother me.

8.36 PM ESPN paying tribute to the Bleacher Creature's Roll Call. Well done. Hope the Creatures make it worthwhile.

8.40 PM: Top of the first down, one hit, two flyouts and a grounder.

8.51 PM: That last strikeout was 2,000 for Andy Pettitte's career. It's not been his best year, but congratulations to hi on reaching that mark. Meanwhile Adam Jones missed a home run by centimeters.

9.05 PM: A base hit for the Yankees would be nice. They are, however, facing a pitcher they've never seen before, which tends to be kryptonite for them, and then there's the matter of the home plate umpire, but I'll shut up about that.

9.15 PM: Yogi and Whitey in the booth is a nice touch, and it's great to listen to them. Meanwhile, Andy continues to struggle on the mound.

9.24 PM: Hideki Matsui and Jose Molina with the Yankees' first two hits of the night. This has every feel of an October game.

9.27 PM: Johnny Damon with a three run home run. Jeter nearly made it back-to-back. I can't imagine what it's like to be that guy in the stands, who may have just caught the last home run ever to be hit at Yankee Stadium. The game, however, is still young, so who knows what will happen.

9.37 PM: The Yankees looked much better in the bottom of that inning. As with the Yankees of old, the spark started at the bottom of the line up.

9.47 PM: Oh, Andy. Bobby Abreu did well to make that throw close.

9.55 PM: Jose Molina has three home runs all year. He's not quite what you consider an offensive threat. And yet, as of right now, he's the last person to hit a home run in Yankee Stadium.

10.03 PM: Andy Pettitte has a 1-2-3 inning right when he needs it.

10.13 PM: The double play ens what had looked like a promising inning. No word on who's pulled the lever yet, or if it's been pulled.

10.15 PM Brent Nycz, from The Bronx Block just called me to tell me who pulled the lever:

Michael Kay.

Yeah. That's right.

They could have had Yogi, Larsen, Cone, Wells, O'Neill, Tino, Brosius, Moose, Bernie...

and it's Michael Kay.

No offense to Michael Kay, but that was a moment that should have gone to one of the Yankee greats.

10.18--Nice ovation and crowd chanting for Andy, but between the interviews with Cone and Wells, and the commercials courtesy of ESPN, you'd never know it.

For all of YES's faults, they would not have cut away from that.

10.33 PM Big moment for Phil Coke. Cannot possible imagine the butterflies going through his stomach. At least, if he ever makes it to October, he'll have a vague idea of what it's like.

10.34 PM Someone's gonna have to send me to rehab. I'm hooked on Coke.

10.47 PM Derek Jeter at the plate with the bases loaded. For the love of all that's Holy, get a hit!

10.48 PM Have I mentioned an intense dislike of Angel Hernandez?

10.53 PM ESPN keeps cutting away from the moments that are the most chilling. If they cut away from Mo's entrance, I may have to embark on a lifelong ESPN boycott.

10.58 PM It wouldn't be appropriate for anyone other than Ronan Tynan to be singing right now.

11.03 PM ESPN now has Michael Kay doing some of the play by play. Sometimes there are no words.

11.12 PM: There's one reason the Jason Giambi pop up dropped--well, you can argue all you want about it being miscommunication on the part of the Orioles--but really, is there any question the baseball g-ds are at work?

11.20 PM: A sacrifice that scores a run? From this team? Proof positive that this is not about the 2008 Yankees but about something so much more than that.

11.28 PM: Joba with five quick outs. Right now the Yankees are set up--Derek Jeter could have the final hit at Yankee Stadium.

We'll see what happens.

11.33 PM: Well, no hit, but Jeter could very well be the last Yankee at bat at the Stadium.

Meanwhile, ESPN didn't cut away from Mo's entrance. They at least got that right.

11.43 PM Mo with a Mo inning. The crowd chanting his name gave me chills. You would have thought it was the end of the World Series with the noise of everyone there. Classy move by Girardi to take Jeter out for the ovation.

Buy your Jose Molina memorabilia now...before everyone realizes that he was the last guy to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium.

11.47 PM They gave Jeter the mike. Excellent.

11.48 PM Jeter and the Yankees just paid tribute to the fans. Class if there ever was.