For the first time in a long time, it looks like the Yanks are going to have a serious fight at the end of the season as they try to make the playoffs. The playoffs have come easily for so long it’s hard to recall what this kind of thing even feels like. I hope we can enjoy the excitement (and a positive outcome).
In a terrific piece on yesterday’s game and the probable departure of Kyle Farnsworth (to Detroit), Tyler Kepner reports that flamethrowing uberprospect Joba Chamberlain has been shifted to the AAA bullpen in advance of a likely callup to the big club in the next week. Philip Hughes and Ian Kennedy were also dominant in their last AAA starts. Chamberlain is still projeted as a starter (so his use in the pen would equate to what the Twins did with Francisco Liriano), and Kennedy is not likely to be a factor until next year, at the earliest. Still it’s hard not to be feeling awfully positive about the addition of these two plus Philip Hughes to a Yankee rotation that already features Chien Ming Wang in the coming years.
Finally, we’d be remiss on this day not to issue a congratulations to Tony Gwynn (a career .338 hitter!) and Cal Ripken on their induction into the HOF. I didn’t see a great deal of Tony Gwynn live, as he played on the opposite coast, but followed the career of Ripken closely, both in the Bronx and during my four years in college in Baltimore, when I lived just a few blocks from Memorial Stadium, then home to the O’s. When I arrived in that city, in 1987, the Orioles were historically bad. In my dorm room, I listened to the wonderful voice of Jon Miller as the birds lost 21 in a row. Cal’s streak wasn’t much of a factor back then—there were already those wondering if he should take a rest and save himself, given the futility of the team. Over the years, it grew in the background, until, post-strike, it became the largest thing in the game. After it was over, he seemed a man on the decline, but then, in 2001, a decade after my graduation, there he was winning the All-Star MVP. His shadow still looms over the O’s, and maybe that’s not such a good thing. But Yankee fans can be grateful for the example of an oversized shortstop with offensive skills and a pristine image. We’ve got one of those, and soon enough, he’ll be in Cooperstown too.