There were five of them this afternoon (Crosby, Halsey, Navarro, Phillips, and Proctor), as the Yanks departed the Stadium for Beantown with a playoff birth in hand. Such rookie hazing is a tradition with the Bombers, and so is making it to the postseason, now for the 10th year in a row. Congratulations boys, though we know you have bigger things in mind: “It’s an accomplishment to make it to the playoffs, but it’s not our goal,” says Jeets. But first things first: time to send the Bosox to Heartbreak Hotel.
Thursday, September 23rd, 2004
Okay. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Derek does appear in Jenna Jameson’s new tome—on page 525, if you’re flipping through—but his innocence remains intact. The scene is New York’s China Club. The players: Jenna, Jenna’s friend Nikki, Derek, Joe Montana. Jenna is high on ex. Derek, allegedly, hits on Nikki and Jenna. “He bored me, so I went to talk to Joe Montana,” writes Jenna’s ghostwriter, Neil Strauss. When Joe puts his hand on her leg, Jenna realizes two things: “the first is that I should never be in public on Ecstacy and the other was that I should have stayed with Derek Jeter.”
Our guess: Derek was merely humoring the porn queen.
Is it too early to take our shot at the post-season awards? Seeing as we were willing to go out on a limb before the season and make our prognostications with 162 to go, it seems that with 10 left we ought to be able to do the same. Do we really place so much value in these last 10 games that an MVP or a Cy Young can be determined by just this last week? Or do we reserve the right to make our picks based on just that: how someone performs down the stretch? Are games more valuable now?
My vote, in keeping with my thoughts on assessing value, is to wait – one cannot judge until the full results are in, and that includes the results of the team as a whole.
What sayeth YF? Picks now, or apres finale?
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2004
I love him. Pedro’s an awesome guy….And he’s a fantastic human being.—Curt Schilling on WEEI
Curt: Activist judges my ass! Everyone thought I chose the Sox because I wanted to reverse the curse. Of course it was really you all along.
Pedro: You’re so sweet, Papi.
Curt: So have you chosen a best man?
Pedro: I think Manny. But maybe Ortiz (sighs). What about you, honey?
Curt: I was thinking Millar, but I don’t want to hurt Tek’s feelings. Wedding planning is sooo hard.
Pedro: Maybe we can make Tek and Manny groomsmen?
Curt: You always have the right answers, on and off the mound.
Pedro: One thing for sure: we have to make sure Johnny shaves. He’ll ruin the pictures!
Curt: And what are we going to do about Nomar and Mia?
Pedro: Let’s put them at table 37, next to Terry. And I guess we should have a Kosher table for Theo, Gabe, and Kevin.
Pedro: I love you, Curt.
Curt: And I love you, Pedro.
It seems an unlikely match. Him: discrete, modest, discerning taste, seems to prefer brunettes. Her: public sex queen, proud of it, likes her leopard skin, extremely blonde. Yet, somehow, we are told (in the editorial comments on Amazon.com ) that Derek Jeter’s name has made it into Jenna Jameson’s new book, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star.
We would love to investigate this matter ourselves, but if wife of YF were to find said book on our night table, there would be major trouble in the offing. So we ask of our readers: can someone out there (a bachelor, presumably) please review this fine work of literature and report back with the facts.
A prize awaits the first respondent in the comments section to clear matters up.
He’ll probably finish second to Johan Santana in the Cy Young voting, and deservedly so, but last night’s effort by Curt Schilling was one of the best of the year, league-wide, and it was one of those games where you wish the official scorer could award the win to anyone but the guy who got it. Foulke coughs up a 2 run homer in the 9th to wreck Schilling’s 14k, 2-hit shutout, and the Sox salvage it with 2 in the bottom of the ninth to give Keith the win, one he most certainly shouldn’t have gotten. Anyhow, brilliant and intimidating stuff from Schilling.
Tuesday, September 21st, 2004
Owing to the brouhaha stirred up by my wife, I thought it might be appropriate to let our eyes do the judging, instead of our mind’s eye. So, with a little bit of photoshop work (the sunglasses), I present the following picture. (Let it be said that, though the two men certainly aren’t twins, there’s something in Mrs. SF’s comment. And, it’s not like she compared the similarities of Vlad Guerrero and Lindsay Lohan…)
As per JCL, here’s a pic of them sans shades. You be the judge…
Monday, September 20th, 2004
Embarrassment. Utterly awful baseball by the Red Sox, for three days running. Just watch ESPN and you will all know to what I refer. Good thing they have a 6 game league in the wild card, so at least they have two weeks to get back in shape. Regardless, they are playing pathetic baseball, and deserve what they get. If that’s a slide that puts the Angels back in contention, so be it. If it’s a slide that rights itself in time to secure a playoff spot, it wouldn’t be surprising. One thing is true: if they play like this, they will win absolutely nothing.
Several things contribute:
1. Francona asleep at the wheel. Somnambulent managing, not having a pitcher ready to start the 5th inning in place of Wakefield. Is there a person alive watching the game who didn’t think Wakefield should have been on a short leash in the 5th? Apparently Francona – he lets Wakefield go 7 batters deep this inning, and yanks him down 8-2, way late.
2. Poor defense: “the rundown” (watch ESPN, it’ll be shown, trust me), just shameful. The Sox can’t execute a little league play on a gift mental error by Melvin Mora, walking towards the plate after a walk with men on 2nd and 3rd, thinking he’d been forced home. Inexcusable.
3. No hitting against an untested rookie: Matt Riley is the third rookie in as many weeks to baffle the Sox, who ought to be better against untested players.
Is this just the hotstreak backlash? Is this the norm, the pattern of the first 100 games? We’ll know soon enough, I guess, and if this keeps up there won’t be any games left to play. The truth will out.
Tim Wakefield simply does not deserve to be in the starting rotation right now. In fact, I dare say he probably doesn’t deserve to be on any hypothetical postseason roster, the way he’s pitching. He simply cannot be trusted on the mound, his stuff is that bad.
So Terry, please, do something. Take him out of the rotation, move him to the pen. Find someone to spot-start, and do something about this. It’s time.
It was a sad day, for those who took note of it, when Buster Olney gave up his position as the NYT’s lead Yankee beat writer to become a columnist, now at ESPN. Olney is lively and perspicacious in this new role, but as a beat writer he was unsurpassed, a throwback to the glory days of print journalism. (We understand the move from his perspective; the endless travel must become tiresome, and the paydays for talking heads are larger). His new book, Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, is at the top of our reading list.
Olney has us scratching our heads with his latest piece, however, in which he suggests The Boss should be immortalized in Cooperstown. “George Steinbrenner’s impact on the game is undeniable. For that, Steinbrenner should become one of the few executives inducted into Hall of Fame,” he writes. Olney is no Steinbrenner apologist: he makes clear that George’s impact has at times been pernicious, that he might reasonably be labelled a bully, a quitter, and a fool. But for Olney, these characteristics are trumped by Steinbrenner’s resurrection of the Yankees into baseball’s premier franchise, by his (often self-defeating) obsession with victory at any cost, and by the fact that the man himself has become something of a cultural icon.
So, does George deserve a spot in the Hall, or should he be happy with his inevitable placement in Monument Park (if he doesn’t tear it down)?
Cast your votes….
Sunday, September 19th, 2004
1. Pedro Martinez isn’t as good as he used to be.
2. The Yankees can still beat the Red Sox.
3. The Red Sox can beat the Yankees.
4. Mariano Rivera isn’t invincible.
5. It’s very difficult to win when your starter doesn’t make it out of the second inning.
6. Mike Mussina still deserves to be in the Majors.
7. That losing 11-1 and 14-4 is embarrassing now, but that these games are really no big deal come October.
8. The Yankees YES announcers are dumbasses, saying things like “Pedro Martinez is a better all-around pitcher than he was a few years ago”, then an inning later saying “Pedro doesn’t look the same as he used to”.
9. The Wild Card means a lot.
10. The Division doesn’t, despite the panic that set in here after Friday’s loss and despite the same panic that might set in up in Boston tonight.
Saturday, September 18th, 2004
It is raining now, hard, and the sense that this Yankee season, this Yankee Dynasty, is soon to be washed away is almost tangible.
The Red Sox look unstoppable, at least in the AL. Somehow, the Bombers managed to hold them off for most of the game last night, but as the 9th inning began, a sense of impending doom seemed to permeate the humid air. Mariano, the great Mariano, has a spell of relative ineffectiveness every year, but now it’s hard to say whether this is just one of those spots, or he really has lost a notch. He can no longer just blow hitters away. He dances at the corners of the zone, afraid to lay out a fat pitch. When was the last time he sawed off a bat? He has become human.
The Sox, meanwhile, have the look of the Angels of ’02 at the plate. They hit through the lineup, for power and average. Manny and Ortiz (and for the Yanks, Damon) threaten destruction with every at bat. The starting pitching is superior. The bullpen is solid. The bench is stacked. The defense is vastly improved. Counting on curses and history to stop this team is foolish. Perhaps only the Cardinals have the power.
We write this depressing note on what should be a banner day: Barry has hit no. 700. Bravo.