Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Need A TV

I don't remember the last Yankee game I've seen in its entirety. I think it gores back to the Boston series. You remember? The one where we won all 5 games and basically put the BoSox on life support? Ringing any bells? Thought so. Between the late games, work, and scheduling conflicts, I've got only bits and pieces and have listened to some on the radio. I've got today's game on the radio, but I'd much rather be in front of the TV watching the Bombers.
How awesome is Chien-Ming Wang? Holy freholy Batman. He is without a doubt the ace of the staff. If the Yankees need a definite win, he's the guy I want on the mound. He should definitely get some consideration for the Cy Young Award. If he can pull of 20 wins and lower his ERA a little bit, he's got a shot.
Are you getting the feeling that Derek Jeter is going to win the MVP? I am. It seems like every time the Yankees need a big hit, Jeter comes through. Last night's game-tying double was a perfect example. It tied the score and set up a Yankee rally. We've been seeing this pretty consistently from our Captain. With David Ortiz's unfortunate health issue, the MVP race might turn into a race between Jeter and Jermaine Dye. Even if Ortiz were playing daily, I'd have to think Jeter is still would get some serious consideration. There is a lot of talk on national radio that Jeter might already have it in the bag. He'd get my vote.
Last night's loss to the Tigers was a little tough to watch, but it wasn't a bad loss in my opinion. I only caught the last 3 innings. It was tough to watch Proctor struggle. It seemed like he was so close with the full-counts, but he just couldn't seal the deal, and Craig Monroe made him pay for it. I understand why Mo wasn't used, but as soon as Proctor walked batter #2, I would have made the switch and brought in Mo to try and get 1 batter. Torre at times, seems okay with not doing everything to win each and every game. Proctor has now blown 7 saves. Count 'em, 7. That's a lot. I am still not 100% sold on Proctor. He's given up runs in 4 of his last 5 outings, and he's prone to giving up the longball, which we've seen him do several times this year. If this is what life without Mariano is going to be like, yikes! But as I said, it wasn't a bad loss. The Yankee offense didn't do anything all game and had the score held at 3-2, the Yankees would have won with 3 hits. 3 hits from that lineup is horrible. It was a game the Tigers definitely should have easily won. I was impressed with Wright's outing. He finally got an out in the 7th inning. I hope he can do more of that.
The lead in the East seems to be growing very rapidly. Between the BoSox injuries and the fact that they're not really all that good when healthy, the race is pretty much over. I had a few reservations when the lead was 6.5, but after watching them falter on the west coast, I feel a lot better about the Yankees taking the East for the 9th straight year. 9 games up in the loss column with 30 to play is going to be a tough deficit to overcome. I don't even think the Sox have a shot at the wild card they are that bad. I think i saw a stat that the Sox were the worst team in MLB in the month of August. Sorry, but I can't help but giggle. I've been saying all year that I didn't think they were very good. It's looking like they might finish in 3rd. And I'm sorry, but I don't buy that Manny has an injury. As soon as the Sox lost 5 to the Yankees, Manny basically went on vacation. The Sox have no heart, in my opinion.
The Yanks stranded 3 in the bottom of the first and are now down a run. Not a great way to start. Let's go Yankees!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Not So Big Papi

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. I didn't see much of the west coast trip and didn't really have much to say. The late games kill me and I like to sleep so I usually only see about the first third of a game. But you have to like that we're 7 games up.
Everyone that follows baseball should know by know that David Ortiz is having tests done for an irregular heartbeat. Did you know that an irregular heartbeat is a side effect of steroid use? Go ahead, look it up, you'll see that it's true.
I just thought I'd point out that connection. Am I the only one who made that connection? I'm not saying he juiced, just pointing out that this certainly lends to the theory that he did. Maybe Big Papi had a little help becoming Big Papi? Hmmm. Now I wonder?

Friday, August 25, 2006

When Will It End?

Am I the only one out there that can't stand watching Jaret Wright pitch? 6 hits through 2 innings. Typical Jaret Wright. What's crazy is that his ERA is lower than Randy Johnson's. At least it was as this game isn't over yet. I can't believe that. Wright, in his 21 starts, has never pitched more than 6 innings, with many lasting less than 6 innings.
I really hope the Yankees find a way to squeeze him out of the rotation. He's had his moments, but his inability to pitch deep into the ball game doesn't help out anyone. The Yanks bullpen is already overused, but luckily, they weren't used a great deal in the Seattle series. The key components of the Yankee bullpen have had a few days off, and that might come in handy against the Angels. The Yankees aren't exactly trucking out their best pitchers this series. Wright, Lidle, and Karstens are going against the one team that consistently has the Yankees' number. I'd like to say I'm optimistic, but I'm getting that feeling that the 5.5 game lead might dwindle a little bit the next few days. It's another part of the schedule where ground can be gained. Thankfully, there will be parts where the Yankees can get it back, so all wouldn't be lost if they totally tanked against the Halos.
The offense is going to have to pick these guys up all weekend. It's looking like they'll need to tonight with Wright on the hill. I have confidence that they'll put up some runs. Lackey, Santana and Saunders aren't exactly pushovers, so it may not come early and often. The arms need to keep it close.
Go Yankees!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Some Fun Facts

I just heard this on XM and I had to pass it along. It's something that I failed to realize but it tells volumes about the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox are currently 69-56. They had a record of 16-2 during interleague play. If you take away interleague play and look at the Sox record against just the AL, the core of their opponents, the Sox are 53-54. The Sox are less than .500 against the AL. If you remove their 11-1 record against Baltimore, the Sox are 42-53 against the rest of the league. The Sox currently have the 6th highest winning percentage in the AL. If you remove interleague play, they drop to the 9th best team in the AL, ahead of Baltimore, Tampa, Cleveland, KC and Seattle. Does that put into perspective how bad the Sox are? Wow. I have to laugh. Incidentally, the team with the best record in the AL if you remove interleague play is, you guessed it, the New York Yankees.
If you look at head-to-head records against the AL, the Sox have a winning record against Baltimore (11-1), the White Sox (2-1), Seattle (4-3), Tampa (9-8) and Texas (5-4). The White Sox and the Rangers are above .500 on the season. The only teams that have a winning record against the Yankees are the Angels (3-4), the Twins (1-2) and the A's (3-6). Those 3 teams are all above .500. The Sox have games left with Chicago, Tampa, and Seattle. It's possible that they'll drop that they end up with losing records against those teams.
Against AL teams above .500, the Sox are 23-35. That's less than .400. Add in the NL and they improve slightly to 26-35, a winning percentage of .426. Against AL teams above .500, the Yankees are 39-27 (.591). Add in the NL, and they move to 42-30 (.583). Add those totals up and you'll see that the Yankees have played 72 games against teams better than .500. The Sox? Only 61. The Yankees have played 11 more games against tougher opponents than the Red Sox. Eleven! The Sox have 37 games left, 23 of which are against teams above .500. The Yanks have 38 games left, with 19 being against teams above .500. The home stretch favors the Yankees. But in the end, the Yanks will have played 7 games more than the Sox against teams over .500. 6 of which were split between the Angels and the Mets. That's a lot when you think about it. So not only will the Yankees have a better record than the Sox at year's end, but they'll have played the tougher schedule.
Man, if the Sox want to make the post-season, they are going to have to go on an incredible run and play better than they have all year. Let's face it, they aren't that good. I would go as far as saying they're average and definitely not as good as their record. But the games aren't played on paper, and their record is their record.
Shhh, do you hear that? No? I hear it. I heard it yesterday but it's a little louder today. Can't place the tune? It's taps. You know? The trumpet song they play in the military to honor the dead. Hear it now? Well, if you can't, it's going to get louder and louder with each passing day. If you listen close, you should be able to pick it up.

What Will It Take?

Greetings from cloud nine. I'm still hanging out up here after the Sox beatdown I'll be coming down soon. Not because I'm expecting a Yankee loss, but because it's time to move on and focus on the next series against Seattle, losers of 11 straight. Now, I fully expect the Yankees to lose to the M's. It might even be tonight. There's no reasoning behind that other than it always seems like a team snaps its losing streak against the team I like. Remember the streak the Royals snapped earlier this season? It was against the Yankees.
In the comment section of my last thread, Levelboss was wondering how many wins it would take to knock Boston out of it, or better put, how well would the Red Sox have to play to get back into it. Now, I've never been a fan of this type of speculation because there is no way of accurately predicting how well a team will do. You can only assume, so will do that. Since the Yankees win the division in the event of a tie, we'll figure on what is needed for the Sox to win the division.

  1. If the Yankees play .600 ball over the next 38 games, they'll win 23 games and go 23-15. The Sox would have to play .810 ball and go 30-7 over their last 37. The Yankees are currently playing at a .610 clip, so this scenario could very well play out in terms of an expected Yankee win total. The question is can the Sox play .810? I think we all know the answer to that.
  2. If the Yankees play .500 over the next 38 games, they'll go 19-19. The Sox would have to go 26-11, a winning percentage of .703. The Sox are currently a .556 team. They'd have to play out of their shoes and the Yanks would have to be average for this to happen. As a comparison, the best team in baseball, the Tigers, are currently playing .640 ball.
  3. Let's say that the Sox play at a .600 clip, which is very possible. They'd end up with another 22 wins, and go 22-15. To catch the Yanks, the Yanks would have to go 15-23, or play at a .395 clip. That too is unlikely.
  4. Let's assume the Sox win .556 percent of their remaining games. That's a record of 21-16. The Yankees would have to go 14-24 for the Sox to catch them. That's a winning percentage of .368. Considering that the Royals are the only team in MLB to have a winning percentage worse than that at .362, the Yankees would basically have to be the worst team in baseball over the last quarter of the season for the Sox to catch them, assuming of course that the Sox play to their current winning percentage. I think it's a pretty safe bet that the Yankees will be better than .368. So the Sox would have to step it up and play a lot better than they are now. A lot better.

So what does all that mean? Not much. But it does add a little perspective to well, or how poor, each has to play for a reversal of fortune. It's pretty impossible to assume anything when it comes to baseball. We all know the unlikeliest of events can play out. For example, sweeping 5 straight in Fenway or losing 4 straight in the ALCS when you are up 3-0. The impossible is possible, and when it comes to Boston and New York, you can't rule out anything.
The only number that has any bearing on things right now is the "magic number." For those unfamiliar with the calculation, you take the number of the team's remaining games, add 1, and then subtract the number of games they're ahead in the loss column. For the Yankees that calculates to a magic number of 32 (38+1-7). That number goes down by 1 every time the Yankees win and/or the Red Sox lose. 32 combinations of Yankee wins and Sox losses, and the Yankees will be the AL East champion 9 times running.
Peace, love, and pinstripes.
edited to add on 8/23: I corrected some of the figures as I miscaculated the remaining games. SO the numbers are up-to-date. I also added some additional text.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Here Come The Yankees

It was just a few days ago when the Baltimore Orioles kicked some Yankee butt in our own house. At the time, I offered up a silver lining. For those that don't remember or didn't read it, here's what I wrote:
After the Yankees get their butts handed to them, they bounce back and go on a nice run. Take a look:

  • The Yanks get beat by the Indians 19-1. The Yankees then go on to win 9 of their next 10 games.
  • The Yankees get beat by Toronto 13-5. The Yankees go on to win 4 in a row, and 10 of their next 12, one of which is a 19-6 loss to Tampa Bay.
  • The Yankees get beat by Tampa Bay 19-6. The Yankees go on to win 6 of their next 7.

It looks like this has happened again, and it couldn't have come at a better time or against a better team. Henceforth, we will call this the "slingshot." Thanks to Levelboss for the term. We're at 5 games and counting on the recent slingshot. If you had told me before this series that the Yankees were going to sweep the Red Sox in Fenway, I would have said you were nuts. Most people were figuring that one team would win 3 games. But the best possible thing that could have happened to Yankees, happened. They swept a 5 game series against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. That statement deserves to be repeated. They swept a 5 game series against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. The Yankees went 7-2 this year at Fenway. The Yankees have already clinched the season series against the Sox. The Yankees went Mola Ram on the Nation. If you don't know what that means go watch "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." You couldn't have asked for a better series. Big props to Cory Lidle for stepping up his game today. Am I the only one that thinks it's funny that the Sox couldn't beat the Yankee JV team? No Damon. No Giambi. No Posada. Man that's gotta hurt. I'm reminded of a quote and I think it's quite appropriate:
"How do you like them apples?" - Will Hunting
For your listening pleasure, I've changed the song on my little music player. So make sure your speakers are on. It won't disappoint.
More later. I'm still on cloud 9.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Get Out The...

HAMMERS!! The nails in the coffin are ready to be hammered.
I bet you thought I was going to say brooms. Maybe tomorrow.
Peace, love, and PINSTRIPES!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Cause Ya Had A Bad Day

It's hard to believe that the start of game 3 of the Sox/Yankees series isn't far away. It seemed like only hours ago that game 2 ended. Oh wait. It did. Man that was a lot of baseball. The longest 9 inning game ever to be played. Wow. From a Yankee fan standpoint, that day could not have gone any better, with the exception of Farnsworth getting hit by that line drive. If you're a Sox fan, you've probably been listening to Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" non-stop since last night. The Yanks took both games of the doubleheader, and that's huge. It guarantees that regardless of how these 3 games go, we leave Boston with the division lead. We're in a much better position to win this series, which would mean we could split the final series at home and still win the season series with Boston. If you ask me for my honest opinion, I have to think that the momentum from yesterday is going to carry over to today's game and the rest of the series and we should be able to take at least 1 of the remaining 3.
I know it was only 2 games and they took place on 1 day, but as I mentioned a few days ago, when the Yankees get their butts handed to them they bounce back and go on a run. The "slingshot" effect if you will (thanks Level). The offense certainly didn't show any signs of slumping yesterday. 26 runs. 34 hits. What's surprising to em is that they only went yard twice, both by Damon. Of all those runs, and all those hits, only 4 were scored on the longball. The hit brigade was in full force. Bad timing if you're a Red Sox fan.
And I have to apologize to the missing "Mad Dog." He called Derek Jeter as the AL MVP pretty early in the season. At the time, I didn't think DJ had a shot with all of the talent in the AL. I'm starting to come around to the fact the Jeter is going to get some serious consideration for MVP, especially if the Yankees win the East and the Sox miss the playoffs. How huge was his 2-out, bases clearing double in the 7th inning last night? Captain Clutch baby. He may have only gone 1 for 6 in the nightcap, but he saved the 1 for the right time. You have to credit a lot of the Yankee lineup for coming through in 2 out situations. Yesterday was a great day offensively for the Yankees, especially if your last name is Cabrera or Abreu. What the heck are they going to do with Melky when Matsui comes back?
Wang was again awesome. He's quickly becoming the ace of this staff. You have to love Cashman for not trading him, or Cano, or Melky, for that matter. He was able to pitch his way out of trouble quite a bit yesterday. The Sox were all about the extra base hits, but Wang didn't let many of them find there way home. I wonder if he'll get any Cy Young consideration. He should get a vote or two if he stays on his current course.
The only negative things about yesterday was the pitching in game 2. I don't know one Yankee fan that thought Ponson was going to give the Yankees more than 3 innings. Personally, I was writing off last night's game before it even started. I figured Ponson was going to pitch and get shelled, and then we'd see reliever after reliever come trucking out and get hit as well. It was going to be one of those games where you couldn't get anyone out. And for a while, it looked like that was going to happen. But the Yankee pen nutted up and held the Sox scoreless for the final four innings, not counting Ortiz's solo shot off Mo. I can see why Villone had a rough go at it as he's pitched quite a bit lately. But Proctor, Myers, Farnsworth and Mo pretty much did what they get paid to do, shut down the opponent. Even this Brian Bruney cat looked alright, save the walks. I like how when Mike Myers was on the bump, the YES team showed how he positions himself on the mound when he's facing righties and lefties. The lefty specialist can now get out the righties too. Way to go Gator for having him try that. I don't think Mel would have. The bullpen turned in a solid performance and allowed the Yankee bats to take care of business. If only the Sox could say the same about their pen. Their staff is in shambles. These next few games will be interesting if starters from either side don't go deep into the games.
The only other dark cloud in yesterday's DH were the errors. When A-Rod committed number 22 in the 9th last night, I about died. I could just see the Sox rallying after that and Alex costing us another win. But Mo was on the hill, and getting 5 runs off of Mo isn't an easy thing to do. Then I felt better. But the errors are someday going to come back and bite us in the rumps. Not a good fielding day.
Well, we're about a half-hour from today's game. Man how the time flies. Johnson v. Beckett. Two guys that are very inconsistent. Should be a fun one. But it'll likely be a pitching duel. I can see that happening. So the game starts at 1:20, so it should be over by around 5-5:30. Let's go Yankees.
Peace, love and pinstripes.

A Prediction

I don't really need to go into detail on how great the Yankee win was today. We all saw the game. We all know what happened. We all saw another a**-whooping. We all saw the Yankees stretch their lead in the AL East. We all saw Josh Beckett walk everybody and their brother. We all saw the Yankees put up another dozen or so runs for the 3rd straight game. We all saw Johnny Damon hit another 3 doubles and continue to have a great series. We all saw Josh Beckett give up his league-leading 32nd HR. We all saw Randy Johnson no-hit Boston in every inning but 1. There's no need to get into all of that. What I do want to do is make a prediction. And here it is:
Within the coming days, there will be big news coming out of the city of Boston. And I'm talking BIG. Earth-shattering if you will. And no, it won't be that the Big Dig is finally finished. It's much bigger than that. It's something that the world has been waiting for and so desperately needs. What's the big news going to be? What's my prediction? What is going to be unleashed on the world and take the "Nation" by storm? Well.......
In the coming days, someone is going to come up with another silly and strange saying to rally the Red Sox and the Fenway Faithful. You know, something reminiscent of "Cowboy Up" or "we're just idiots." That's what's been missing from the Sox all year. That's the reason why they aren't playing well. It's not their horrible pitching staff. It's not that Coco Crisp can't hold a candle to Johnny Damon. It's not that Theo slept through the trade deadline. It's that they don't have a silly motto.
The creative minds out there in Beantown need to get on this. Come on already. The world is waiting. Mark my words. It's coming.
Peace, love and pinstripes. Go Yankees.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Never Ending Game

Just curious if I'm the only one that can't get into the Yanks/Sox game? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it's the bottom of the 5th and we're almost at the 3 hour mark. Most games would be ending about now and we've just passed the halfway mark.
The game has been full of action, but it just doesn't feel like an exciting game, to me anyway. It's currently 10-7 Sox at the end of 5. There's plenty of time for a Yankee comeback. This game is far from over. At this pace, we're looking at around 1am.

Karma Is A Funny Thing

I'm listening to the Yanks/Sox game at work. It's the Red Sox feed on XM. A-Rod is up and the Sox announcer says: "Do you think A-Rod can see the message that's on the scoreboard? It says that Alex Rodriguez leads all 3b with 21 errors." Or it went something like that. Now if that isn't a nice little dig at A-Rod's expense, I don't know what is. Now I don't know if he saw that, but I do know he saw Abreu cross the plate on his RBI single.
The score is currently 8-3 Yankees in the middle of the 7th. How does that look on the scoreboard?
Edited to add @ 4:12- The Sox announcer says in the top of the 8th that the stadium is pretty quiet with the Sox down by 5. The only thing you can hear on the radio is a "Let's Go Yankees" chant. I found that funny.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Silver Lining

It's the middle of the 7th and the Yanks are down 12-2 to the Orioles. It's just one of those games when nothing goes your way. But there is a silver lining. After the Yankees get their butts handed to them, they bounce back and go on a nice run. Take a look:

  • The Yanks get beat by the Indians 19-1. The Yankees then go on to win 9 of their next 10 games.
  • The Yankees get beat by Toronto 13-5. The Yankees go on to win 4 in a row, and 10 of their next 12, one of which is a 19-6 loss to Tampa Bay.
  • The Yankees get beat by Tampa Bay 19-6. The Yankees go on to win 6 of their next 7.

That's encouraging and if history rings true, the Yanks could do pretty well this weekend in Boston. Barring a comeback of epic proportions, the Yanks will head to Beantown with a 2 game lead over the BoSox. The likeliest of outcomes is that Boston takes 3 of 5, and the Yanks leave Boston with a 1 game lead. The Yanks do have the potential to take at least 3 from Boston, as their pitching staff has a lot of question marks as well. It is going to be one wild weekend.
Peace, love and pinstripes.

Thanks Jaret

I just wanted to send Jaret Wright a thank you on behalf of Yankee fans everywhere. I think I speak for everyone when I say:
Thank you Jaret for walking 4 batters. Thank you for giving up 5 runs on 2 hits. Thank you Jaret for only pitching 3 innings. Your performance today guarantees that the Yankee bullpen will likely be pretty tired for the upcoming series against the Red Sox. Your efforts are much appreciated. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Yanks Make A Big Move

Well, they sort of a make a big move. Octavio Dotel has been activated off the DL. That's huge. Think of it this way: it's like a big trade that you didn't give anything up for. For all intents and purposes the Yankees acquired Dotel for Jose Veras. The Yankees just added a huge arm to their bullpen and it's mid-August. This smells and feels like a blockbuster, even though it's not. Dotel hasn't played for the Yanks all year, so it's like he wasn't even a member of the squad. Am I making sense? Do you smell what J-Boogie is cooking? What team wouldn't love to add an arm of Dotel's caliber to their roster in the heat of a pennant race? This is big. Just be healthy. Knock on wood.
Oh yeah, the Yanks have 2 more of these deals in the pipeline: Matsui and Sheffiled aren't far behind. These are huge shots in the arm. The big question is going to be: who gets sent to C-bus? Oh wait, it's almost September 1st. Nobody has to go. Depth baby. Depth.
Go Yanks.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

And Just Like That....

That didn't take long did it? The Yankees made up the 2 games they dropped to the Sox in the standings last week. This just goes to show that I know what I'm talking about. You can't freak out about a "slide" because the schedule is built for these things to happen. When you match up with a good team and your rival doesn't, you're bound to lose a few in the standings. If you don't know what I'm talking about, re-read my post from 2 days ago. The Red Sox know all to well how this goes having dropped two straight to the Tigers, while the Yanks play the lowly Orioles. No offense O's fans.
Memo to those Yankee fans that were giving up on the Yankees 2-3 days ago and thought the sky was falling: you're not true Yankee fans. Your membership has been revoked. The Yankees are percentage points away from having the second best record in all of baseball. You don't play through 120 or so games and have the second-best record in the game, if you're not a good team. Why did you lose your faith?
TiVo alert: tomorrow @ 10am on YES is the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Yankee Stadium.
To quote Ice Cube, "Today was a good day."
Peace, love and pinstripes!

So Long Angles

Like I thought, we split the home series with Anaheim. I hope you took the time to read my last post. You'll know why there is no reason to abandon the good ship Yankee. The set-up of the schedule is built to have some good runs, and then some times where you go .500 and drop a series or two. That's just how it goes. If you really want to get a nice perspective on the MLB schedule you should check out a post over at Bleeding Pinstripes. Geoff over at BPS raises a lot of good points and has some interesting questions about the MLB schedule. It's a good read, everyone should check it out. One interesting tidbit: the Yankees play the Angels 10 times and the Mariners 6. The Red Sox play the Mariners 10 times and the Angels 6. Now take into account the Yankees played the Mets 6 times to the Red Sox 3 games against the Braves. Someone tell me how that's fair to these teams? Like Geoff said, the Yankees not only have a better record than the Sox, they've traveled a tougher road to get there. Well said. You can't dispute that. You have to remember that MLB is a business. Businesses are set-up to make as much money as possible. One way that MLB can maximize its profits is to play with the schedule so that potential playoff/division races aren't decided in early July. Think about it. It makes sense.
As for yesterday's series finale with the Angels, it was a pretty good game from a Yankee standpoint. The offense was firing on all cylinders, cranking out 16 hits, with everyone chipping in. The Captain sets the tone with a 2-run big fly to get things started. Jorge snapped out of his slump with 3 hits. His jack of Brendan Donnelly was nice to see. Micheal Kay mentioned before the game started that people say that if John Lackey is fidgety before the game, he hasn't done as well. He was fidgety and he didn't do as well. I'm paraphrasing what Kay said as I can't remember it word for word but it's interesting how observant people are.
A-Rod came through with the game-winning sac-fly, missing the grand salami but a few feet. How huge would that have been for A-Rod? A-Rod's average has risen 10 percentage points, and his OPS has risen 31 percentage points over his last 7 games. He's 11 for his last 25 (.440) with 3 jacks and 7 RBI. It looks like he's turning the corner and becoming "A-Rod" again. August has been his best month numbers-wise of his career. Things are looking up for A-Rod. On a similar note, Giambi has increased his average 10 points and his OPS 24 over the last 7 games. He's 9 for his last 23 (.391) w/3 longballs and 8 RBI of his own. The middle of the lineup is beginning to crush. And why do people think the end is near?
Even Randy Johnson looked pretty good. He is going to be one of the keys to the Yankees success over the next month-and-a-half. His last 2 outings are what we need to see.
Was it me or was Kyle Farnsworth hitting 100-plus on every pitch? In the words of Phil Rizzutto: "Holy Cow!" Now I'm sure the MPH was inflated as most ballpark radar guns are bumped up a few, allegedly. But still, holy cow! Every pitch. 100. 101. 100. 101. Stick with the heat Kyle. Stick with the heat. Stop trying to get cute with the slider and just throw the gas. It gets the job done.
So the Halos are gone and the O's come to town. This is the part of the schedule where we might gain a game before heading to Boston this weekend. The Sox have the Tigers in town. The best road team versus the best home team. The road team won round one. No reason to think they can't win round two. Tonight's matchup of Schilling v. Bonderman should be pretty exciting. It might be tough for Curt to pick up his league leading 15th win. If Moose and the Yanks can get to Erik Bedard, which is no easy task as Bedard has good stuff, then Moose might take another step closer to his first 20-win season. I think he's got another 7 wins in him. Let's hope that the tandem of A-Rod/Giambi keep mashing and that Moose can tame Yankee-killer Miguel Tejada. It should be a good series.
Go Yanks!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Everything Is Going To Be Alright

With the recent swoon against the Halos, it seems a lot of people are ready to call the end to the Yankees run. Unless your name is Kasey Anderson, I don't get why you'd think that? First off, everybody needs to go read Mark Feisand's latest post. Second off, everyone needs to remember that this is baseball. It's a 162 game schedule. You have to expect the stretches where one team will play some tough teams, and other teams will have a little easier go at it. The Yankees are currently playing the Angels. They Angels are the one team that has a winning record against the Yankees in the Joe Torre era. I haven't looked at updated win-loss records this year, so things could have changed, but the Angels have always been the Yankees Achilles heel. At last check, the Sox have only lost once to the Orioles this year. You'd be foolish to think that the Red Sox weren't going to pick up a game or two at this part of the schedule.
If you're a Yankee fan, I'm sure you remember earlier in the season when they were 3-5 games back. And then they made a run and there was a period of time where the Yanks and Sox went back and forth, leapfrogging each other for the top spot. And then what happened? The Yanks fell back 3-5 games. And then they clawed their way back and the two teams danced again. Then the Yanks fell back again, and again they made their way back, but this time, the Yanks took the 3 game lead. Anybody see a pattern here? As teams make their way through the schedule, where 1 team plays a good team and the other plays a bad team, this is going to happen. After the Angles, the Yanks host the Orioles, while the Red Sox host the Tigers. This benefits the Yankees. After the Yanks/Sox have their face-to-face meeting, both teams head out west. The Yanks play Seattle, and the Sox play Anaheim. Advantage = Yankees. Then they flip-flop. Advantage = Boston. Do you see my point? I think it's clear. If you're jumping off the ship because of the last 3 games, do us all a favor and stay off the ship.
Also, the Yanks may only hold a 1-game lead, but they both share the same win total. The Red Sox have played 2 more games than Yankees, both of which they lost. When the Yankees make those games up they can stretch that lead by another full game by winning both. Win 1 and you still have a 1-game lead. The ball right now is in the Yankee court. And it's not like the Red Sox are crushing teams. They could have very easily been swept by Cleveland. They split the series and the 2 games they won were on 9th inning walkoffs. They lost 3 of 4 to the D-Rays and the one game they won was on an 8th inning run. Then there was the 3 game laugher in KC. We all know what happened there. And their last series against the O's. The Sox easily took game 1, needed extra innings to win game 2 and won on an error, and barely held on to win game 3. They gave up 18 runs to the Orioles in the 3 games. How is that impressive?
Let's not forget Yankee fans the following names: Matsui, Sheffield, Dotel. Those 3 could join the team very soon. The lineup is going to be more potent than it was to start the year, and the bridge to Rivera will be strengthened with Dotel. The team will only get better.
It's just a bad part of the schedule. It's going to equal itself out in the end and the Yanks will come out on top because they are the better team. The Yanks just played the defending World Series champs and the one team that always beats them, while the Sox played the Royals and the Orioles. You're an idiot if you thought the Sox wouldn't make up ground.
Peace , love and pinstripes.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Hate Announcers

You have to love announcers. To open up today's Yankee game, Michael Kay talks about how great Chien-Ming Wang is at keeping the ball in the park. He mentions that he's never given up more than 1 HR in a start. He also mentions that Wan's first inning ERA is second only to Roy Halladay. He says this and the wife and I look at each other, and we both knock on our wooden coffee table. Chone Figging then leads off the game with an HR and there are 2 on with 1 out. So much for trying to cancel the jinx Kay slapped on Wang.
Announcers, when will they learn?
edited to add @ 1:20- 3 runs are in, 2 are on, and 1 is out.
edited to add @ 1:22- bases loaded, 1 out. Angels have 6 hits.
edited to add @ 1:24- the pitcher's best friend bails out Wang. 3 ER.
Thanks a lot Michael.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Royal Embarrasment


Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The Return Of The Mack

It's been about a week or so since my last post. The trip back from St. Louis went fine, but when I got back home I had to deal with the fact that my home PC was dead and my only option to access the Internet is at work. Now normally I don't mind sneaking online at work. But when you return from vacation, it normally takes about 2 days to catch yourself back up to where you were before you left. I'm not quite to that point yet, which really irritates me because I really detest working. It's just not something I'm cut out for. Too bad I can't get paid to blog all day. I'm actually at work now, killing time before my Wednesday night softball game. The good news is that I've replaced my home PC and I'll return to blogging regularly, as well as getting back to commenting on the regular blogs I comment on, as well as some new ones I was perusing. On to the Yankees....
I am very encouraged as to the Yankees place in baseball right now. It's crazy when you realize that the Yankees are the second best team in baseball right now in terms of winning percentage. And they aren't even running on all cylinders. Cano was missing for over a month. Sheffield and Matsui have missed almost the entire year. Can you imagine where'd they'd be if those guys were healthy? They'd probably have a record similar to, if not better than, the Tigers. The Yanks have a series record of 17-3-1 in their last 21 series. Over their last 15 series they are 12-2-1. And they've won their last 4. If I did my math right, they are 24-8-3 for the year. That's impressive. That equals October baseball.
The Yanks have been playing great baseball as of late. It wasn't long ago that they were hovering about 4 games back of Boston. I had a post a while back about how the Yanks would catch and pass Boston in the standings, and right now it's playing out like I thought. Things right now look good if you're a Yankee fan. knock on wood.
The acquisition of Bobby Abreu is looking great right now. He may not be hitting for power, but with a .414 average, I won't complain. Cano comes off the DL and racks up 3 hits. Jeter is in a "mini-slump" if you can even call it that, as he's 4 for his last 22. I'm still waiting for A-Rod to just get buckwild on everybody. August is supposed to be his best playing month of his career. 9 for 28 to start the month isn't bad. I just want to see some more extra base hits from him.
Boston is struggling right now. The loss of Varitek is huge to that franchise. Flashback to their Sunday loss in Tampa Bay. Timlin, Papelbon, and Tavarez each give up bombs and the Sox drop the game to the D-Rays. Is this possibly because the Sox backups aren't the best at calling games? I think Greg Maddux had an issue with Javy Lopez as a catcher when they were in Atlanta if I'm not mistaken. Someone correct me if I'm thinking of someone else. Varitek was a leader on that team and he is remarkable when it comes to handling pitchers. I don't think we're going to see that kind of value from Lopez. Regardless of who is behind the plate right now, the Sox aren't playing well right now. There's still plenty of time for them to turn things around, but the Yanks don't show any signs of slowing. It's going to be an interesting 2 months. It's funny how around this time of year to start to root for 1 team 1 day, and root against them the next depending on what suits your team's needs. Hopefully, the point doesn't come where I have to root for the Red Sox. When the White Sox visit Boston in September, I'm curious to see what the standings look like and who I'll want to win those games.
I hope to get up some pictures of our trip in the next day or so. I'll also update my autograph ball collection. Randy is on the hill tonight. I hope the real Randy shows up. Unless the real Randy is the new Randy and that means that I want the old Randy to show up. Go Yankees!!
Peace, love and pinstripes.

Friday, August 4, 2006

New York, New york

Here's a song for everyone. Sing it to the tune of "New York, New York."
"Start spreading the news. We're back in first place. We're going to run away with it. New York, New York. I want to wake up in the city that's in first place. To find we're kings of the hill, A #1, top of the heap, second to none. Boston's singing the blues. They're in second again. They should be very used to it. You'll never win."
I hope I didn't jinx it. Go Yankees!
Peace, love, and pinstripes.

Cooperstown: Part 3

So, now it's Sunday morning. I'm up again at 5:45am, ready to hit the golf course in hopes of getting some autographs. I've probably slept about 9 hours since Thursday night. i haven't showered or shaved since Thursday AM, and I'm looking pretty haggard, though I have finally changed my undies and I've worn new clothes daily. I've spent 3 nights in the car and I've definitely overused the body-spray and deodorant. Thankfully, I'm not the only one going through this.
I got up to the spot at the golf course around 6am. today was the day that just the HOFers were golfing, no family and friends. The crowd was a little lighter today as well, as most feel it's not as worth it since it's a little more rushed then the previous day. The HOFers play in twosomes and they need to move things along so they can get all set for the inductions that afternoon. Today, they started at 8am, which meant one less hour standing in the dead sun.
To make a long story short, it went much like Saturday. But I did do a little better with the autographs. At the spot I got signed balls from Al Kaline, Bill Mazeroski, and Carlton Fisk. If anyone remembers my last Cooperstown post, the way to Fisk's heart is by bribing him with a stoagie. I positioned myself next to a guy with one and was lucky enough to get a signature. Unfortunately for me, i was again out of position to get Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith. I was 0-4 on Boggs and 0-3 on Ozzie for the weekend. Maybe next year.
After the last pairing went through my hole, I decided to call it a weekend. i went to my car and began to make the drive home. As I was leaving, I noticed that people were still waiting at another spot on the course. I thought I'd double back and try my luck at whoever it might be. So I made a u-turn, parked the car, and made my way to the new spot. As I was walking there, Whitey Ford and Yogi were coming across the street. There are 2 holes on one side of the street and the other 16 are on the other. I was originally on the side with 2 holes, which is where they were just coming from. They stopped their carts, Whitey was first, Yogi was second. Whitey pulled through back on the course, but yogi stopped to sign for the 3 people that were standing there. Yogi doesn't like to sign unless he can sign for everyone which is why he never signs when it's crowded. I was only about 20 yards from Yogi so I could easily have gotten there to get his autograph. i was digging a ball out of my bag and I dropped it. I began rolling toward his cart and it kicked off the tire. By the time I grabbed it and got around to the side the people were on, he finished and drove away. Had i not dropped the ball, I would have gotten it. Butterfingers. It's not all bad though, as I already have a Yogi autograph.
I walked down to the spot where the crowd was and noticed that Rollie Fingers and Gary Carter were on the green. Gary sank his put and said to Rollie that since they were done with their round he was going to sign for the fans. So I got a Gary Carter autograph as well. After that, there was really no point in sticking around.
I would have stayed for the inductions, but I was pretty beat. I wanted to get back to Buffalo and get some good rest, because we were leaving for Boston that next morning. Next year, I'll probably stick around to see Cal and Tony make their speeches.
If I can remember, I walked away with signed balls from: Willie Mays, Bobby Doerr, George Kell, Ralph Kiner, Billy Williams, Don Sutton, Al Kaline, Bill Mazeroski, Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, George Brett, Robin Roberts, Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan, Monte Irvin, Ryne Sandberg, Rob Dibble and Buck Martinez. Not a bad haul. I'm up to 34 of the 61 living HOFers.
They estimated that about 15,000 people were in Cooperstown that weekend. Next year, when Ripken and Gwynn get inducted (and maybe McGwire but hopefully not), they are estimating 75,000. I'll be one of 'em. And I'll probably do it in the same manner as I did this weekend. It was a blast.
Here's to next year........

Our Visit To Busch Stadium

Just got back form tonight's Cardinals/Brewers game at the beautiful new Busch Stadium. And so ends another fun-filled stadium trip. I wish this one could have been longer. But it was fun nonetheless. Unfortunately tomorrow, I have a 12 hour drive back home to Buffalo. It'll be good to be home, but I am dreading having to go back to work. Stupid job.
Today started much like yesterday. As we were driving to St. Louis, we stopped along the way at a mall that had another scrapbook store, which was again named "Archiver's." This time however the final bill was a wee bit more. Yesterday, the wife spent about $40 on stuff, today it was just shy of $90. Who knew a stamp that says "Thinking Of You" would be so much. It was about $10. Whoever thought up this junk has to be living in the tallest of cotton. ******** out there, like my wife, eat that stuff up. But hey, at least she got a free tote bag. If you spent $50, you got a free bag. If anyone affiliated with "Archiver's" reads this blog, please do everything in your power to STAY OUT OF BUFFALO!! I'm begging you. After dropping a mortgage payment on scrapbooking junk, we headed into downtown St. Louis to check out the famous Arch. It was nice and all, but I didn't really see the attraction. It was cool to look at for about a minute, then I got bored with it. There was a 2 hour wait for the elevator ride up the arch, and time wasn't on our side. So we snapped a few pictures, and headed to Busch.
We walked around the stadium for a while and then went and got in line. As usual, we were the first ones. Anyone who wants to get the good autographs, needs to get there early. Unfortunately today, there were no autographs to be had. No one on the Cards signed. Pujols was really the only one I wanted. After the Cards BP, I went over to the Brewers dugout to try and get HOFer Robin Yount to sign, but he wasn't very receptive. He pretty much ignored me. I had another shot at an HOFer on the Cards side as Red Schoendienst was in the house, but he didn't sign for me either. But at least he waved.
The new Busch Stadium was very nice. I have never been to the old Busch Stadium so I can't really compare the two. But this was by far the best stadium on the trip. The other two being Kauffman Stadium and Fenway Park. Fenway would be nicer if they retro-fit to make it a little state-of-the-art, but therein lies its charm. Our seats in Busch were down the first base line in RF, about 28 rows up. My wife liked those seats the best of all the seats we sat in. I have to disagree. I thought it ranked third. And that's saying a lot considering our seats in Fenway were obstructed by foot traffic. But you could pretty much see everything from our seats, which was nice. A very small portion of the RF corner was out of view, but that was all. The fans in St. Louis were a little weird. I know it's a small sample, but it didn't seem like the people in our section wanted to watch the game. It was more of a social event. I hope that's not a fair representation of the Cards fan base. I took a lot of nice pictures and I hope to post the photo albums sometime before the weekend is over. My home PC is busted, so it may take an extra day or two.
The only negative aspect of our trip, besides that the baseball part of it is over, was the fact that no team we were rooting for one. The Tribe lost on Monday. The Royals lost last night. And the Cards lost tonight. The games were good though, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We've now been to 19 of the 30 MLB parks. There's a typelist on the left if you want to see the entire list. We started in 2004 so we've been pretty active in getting around to these games. Unfortunately, it's now going to get a little harder, as most, if not all of the remaining stadiums are more than a day away, except maybe Minnesota. I guess it's time to hop on a plane or two.
Good news is the Yanks won again. I was following along on my XM MyFi. I didn't have the headphones so all I could see was the score, the inning, and the number of outs. It was nerve-racking when nothing changed after a few minutes. But the Yanks are rolling. I heard on the way home that they designated Bubba Crosby for assignment. I'm not surprised by the move as there isn't really any room for him. Hopefully, someone comes a-calling and the Yanks can make a trade for something, anything really. I'm looking forward to getting home so I can actually see the Yanks play. It's been over a week and I'm going through withdrawal. At least tomorrow I can listen to the game on my drive home. Go Moose.
Take care. Go Yanks!

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Cooperstown: Part 1

I decided several weeks ago that I was going to go to Cooperstown on Induction Weekend to try and land some autographs. With 40 returning HOFers in one place, I figured I'd have a good shot. I have never been before on Induction Weekend so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I've read some things online, but you never really know what's going to happen until you experience it for yourself.
I made the 4 hour drive from Buffalo to Cooperstown Thursday afternoon. I rolled into the small little town about 7pm. I parked my car at the parking lot at Doubleday Field. There were plenty of spaces so it wasn't an issue. I wandered around Main St, looking at the store windows to see what public signings they'd be having that weekend. It was my plan to pay for the autographs of the older HOFers, kind of making sure that I got their autographs before I no longer could have the opportunity. After scoping things out, I decided to take a walk to do a little recon on the golf course, which as legend goes, is the best place to get the freebies. As I was walking I came across the hotel where the HOFers were staying, the Otesaga. There were about 10 fellow autograph hounds hanging out, just waiting for anyone to come out or go into the hotel. I had recognized a few guys from Fanfest in Pittsburgh and I struck up a conversation with them. Literally about 2 minutes after getting to the hotel, a guy comes walking up the street and everyone got excited. He made everyone line up in single file and if anyone got 2 autographs he was leaving. He signed for everyone and i ended up getting his signature on a ball. It wasn't on the sweet spot as I was later told he doesn't sign on it. Oh well. Regardless, it was a good start to the weekend. The HOFer that kicked it all off was none other than George Brett. He asked me if I was a Yankee fan (I was wearing some gear). When I told him I was he asked me how I was going to feel about the Mets beating us in the World Series. I replied, "Not so good, but since you're saying we're winning the pennant I'll take it." He chuckled. Anyway, no one else came by that night and I returned to my hotel at the Doubleday Field parking lot around 12am. The hotel of course being a 1998 Toyota Corolla. Yeah, I slept in the car all weekend. It took some getting used to, but it saved me a lot of cash as hotels in the area were upwards of $200 a night. F-that.
I woke up the next morning around 5:45. I didn't have a pillow so I ended up taking apart my headrest and using that. It wasn't that comfortable. I hung around the area listening to the XM Baseball morning show, which was broadcasting live from Doubleday Field. I was hoping they'd have a guest or two and that I could wangle a freebie from. The good thing was at 8:30am, Ozzie Smith was having a fundraiser at the field, where people can pay between $500-$750 to turn double plays with he, Ryne Sandberg, and George Brett. A lot of people came by expecting to get at least an Ozzie Smith autograph as from past experiences there, that's what he does. If you ask me, the people that plunked down the cash to do this are nuts. You pay all this money to get 3 20-minute lessons. 1 from each HOFer. At the completion of the 3 sessions, you take your position as ****, and then a 2b. They'd hit a ball to Sandberg, flip it to you at the bag and you'd throw it to Brett. They'd then hit a ball to Ozzie, he'd flip it to you at the bag, and you'd throw it to Brett. And that was it. It seemed a little much but I guess it was for a good cause. When that wrapped up everyone was expecting Ozzie to come over and sign along the first base side, as he's done in years past. Instead they left through the 3rd base side and ended up signing near a barrier in the parking lot. Everyone went running and I ended up missing both Smith and Sandberg. Brett was nowhere to be seen. So basically, I struck out at that event.
When that ended, I went over to Cooper Park, which is right behind the HOF and waited for the ceremony where they were dedicating a statue to the negro leaguers. The statue was nice. It was of Satchel Page. Very nice. I was there early enough that I'd be in a good position to get some signatures if anyone signed. i was lucky to get Nolan Ryan and Phil Niekro when I was there on Mother's Day weekend for the HOF game, so I was hoping to duplicate that success. At the start of the ceremony, there ended up being about a dozen or so HOFers in attendance. Most were saying that the Hall wouldn't allow them to sign so they couldn't. Now I'm sorry, you're an HOFer, you can do whatever you want. But regardless, at the conclusion of the ceremony, one-by-one the HOFers would leave on a shuttle. There only ended up being 2 that signed anything. The first being Phil Niekro, who I already had, and the second being George Kell, which I ended up getting. That was nice because I was planning on paying for Mr. Kell to sign because he was one of the older HOFers in town that weekend. It saved me $30. Thanks George!
After the last HOFer left, I went through town and ended up getting most of my autographs I was paying for. I ended up paying for Monte Irvin, Ralph Kiner, Robin Roberts, and the best autograph of the weekend, Yankee great Whitey Ford. Also, since XM was broadcasting live from Cooperstown all weekend, I also got an autograph from Rob Dibble. He was always one of my favorite pitchers back-in-the-day. He inscribed it with "90 WS Champs." That was pretty cool. After that, I really didn't have anything to do. It was pouring on and off so there wasn't much going on. I hung out at the player hotel for a while on the off chance someone would come by. I also made a few "drive-bys" of the golf course once the weather cleared up in case anyone went out for a round. No one did. I ended up retiring to my car for a "good" night's sleep around 12am again. This time the lot at Doubleday was closed, so I went and parked at the parking lot up near the golf course. It was where people would park if they wanted to ride the trolley into town. There were about 4 other cars there. I did wise up and I purchased a pillow of sorts. It was a huge plush Yankee pillow that looked like a baseball. The headrest was returned to its original location and would now only be used for its intended purpose. I slept on and off throughout the night. I was excited to go to the golf course because it was the day that most HOFers would golf. I had the alarm set for 5:30am because you need to get there early to get a good spot at one of the 3 prime locations. Some people go as far as camping out at the spots. I was fine in the car. In all I probably ended up with 4 hours of sleep before 5:30 rolled around. When I woke up, I quickly got ready, which was spraying on deodorant and using my finger as a toothbrush. I bought some travel size toothpaste and mouthwash from a CVS in town. At 99 cents, it was a bargain.
I was already near the part of the golf course I wanted to be at. So I made the quick 30 second drive to the spot and walked up to the spot. There were already about 10 people or so waiting. It was about 5:45am. The golfers didn't come around until 8:30am. I was in for quite the wait.
To be continued..........

Cooperstown: Part 2

So it's 5:30am Saturday morning. I'm feeling fresh despite another night's sleep in the passenger seat of my Toyota Corolla. I was a little tired, but the excitement of my first year hounding for autographs at the golf course totally out weighed any tiredness I was feeling. The ground was soaking wet and it was pretty slick. Where we'd be standing was on a slight incline, so it'd be easy to slip and fall. Lucky for me, I had my cleats in my trunk. I threw those bad boys on and had no problem in the traction department. There was already 10 or so people sitting in their lawn chairs at "the spot" when I arrived. They had the key spots staked out. Being a rookie, I didn't know that a chair would be so handy. 3 hours of standing couldn't be so bad, could it. As the hours passed, more people joined the party. Come 8:30, there were probably 40 people or so. They had moved the tee boxes forward so i actually ended up being in a good spot. We all had to stand behind this make-shift fence/barrier. It was just netting that was being held up by metal stakes. I didn't think it would hold when it came time for everyone to push forward if a guy signed. The sun was out and it was pointed directly at us. I figured this tournament was going to last 4 hours, so I had quite a while to stand in the direct sunlight. It's a good thing I brought a pocket-sized deodorant/body-spray thing-a-mah-jigger because I'd need it. Fast forward to 8:30.
There were about 13 groups on the course. Each group maybe had 2-3 HOFers on average. The only opportunity to get an autograph would be if the guy took the time to sign in between tee shots. One everyone teed off, he was gone. The first group included Dave Winfield. He signed, but I was out of position. I ended up being out of position by most of the guys. They would go to different points along the fence and I always seemed to be juts out of reach. I missed out on guys like Wade Boggs, Ozzie Smith, Ryne Sandberg, Al Kaline, Bill Mazeroski and others. I was lucky enough to get a signed ball from Billy Williams and later Don Sutton. Those were my 2 successes that morning. Here's a tip for anyone wanting a Carlton Fisk autograph: bribe him with a cigar. He'll sign everytime. He prefers "Romeo and Julieta's." They cost about $7. Not a bad price to pay for an HOFers autograph. If you're interested in getting Mike Schmidt's autograph for free, don't waste your time. He didn't acknowledge anyone and he even went as far to drive his cart in between the green and the tee box, as opposed to using the paved road. It kept him further away from everyone. I did have the opportunity to get other signatures, but i already had them and I didn't feel the need to duplicate. And some guys, just didn't sign. Yogi Berra, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, and Whitey Ford were a few. So I left with the 2 balls added to my collection. I left the course around noon-thirty, and made my way into town.
Parking was a lot harder on Saturday. I ended up paying $10 to park in a guy's driveway. It really was the best way to go. I went and knocked out my paid autographs for the day: Bobby Doerr and the legendary Willie Mays. I had heard the day before that Mays was signing in a blue Sharpie, which is a no-no in the world of a signed ball. I figured for $125, he should sign it how I want it signed. I asked the guy before I bought my ticket what he was signing with and they said a Sharpie. I asked if he'd sign in ball-point and they had to check with his manager. Ball point would be fine. Now I don't know how many of you have ever had the pleasure/displeasure of meeting Willie, but he doesn't have the best rep in the collector's world. He'll sign over other signatures. He'll smear his signature with his thumb. Things like that. So, I was a little nervous. When he was done signing the ball, he looked at it, and said he messed up the "Y" in Mays. He kind of did, but I left it alone as i didn't want him smearing the ball. He said the same thing to the guy before me. Did he do it on purpose? Probably, but who knows? After that, I went down to the XM booth and got Buck Martinez to sign my official WBC ball. He added the words "Team USA" which was cool. After that, I didn't really have anything to do. It was about 2:30.
The HOF has a "red-carpet" ceremony every Saturday of Induction Weekend. It's kind of like a Hollywood premiere. The players get announced and dropped off by trolley and there are throngs of people taking pictures and screaming their names. That was set to start at 7:00pm, with the HOFers arriving at 9pm. I had nothing else to do but wait. I positioned myself at the front of the Hall, and I was quickly joined by a few others who would wait it out as well. They were telling me stories of how this event had gone in the past and it sounding promising for signatures. I felt good. And then it rained, and it rained hard. The worst rain the area had ever experienced on Induction Weekend. I stood on the street under the umbrella i bought before I left for Cooperstown. That was a smart move. They made an announcement that if the rain stayed that the ceremony would go on, but they'd skip the introductions and the players would go right into the Hall. It rained until about 10 minutes to 9. The arrivals would be delayed 20 minutes and the ceremony would go off as normal. We were in business.
The trolleys came and dropped off the HOFers. The entire thing took about 15-20 minutes. As a guy was announced people would go nuts. There'd be name chants, and you'd basically yell anything you could to try and entice a guy to come over. The only one who signed on the way in was Wade Boggs. There were 3 places you could watch the arrivals from: both sides of the Hall and across the street. Boggs signed on each side. Unfortunately, I was about 3 feet to far over to get him to sign. He was actually kind of funny. He would put his hands to his ears a la Hulk Hogan and then would point to the side he was going to. When he finished, he would blow kissed to the crowd. He looked like he was feeling "pretty good." After they all went in, they would exit shortly thereafter. Anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. Whenever a guy came out, each side would chant his name. Lucky for me, i was on the louder side and it attracted more people. If memory serves me correctly, the following guys signed on their way out: Wade Boggs, Brooks Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, George Brett, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Joe Morgan, and I probably missed one or two. Everyone with the exception of Eckersley signed on my side. Of the signers, I only needed Boggs, Sandberg, Eckersley, and Morgan. I walked away with Sandberg and Morgan. Not bad considering. When all was said and done it was about midnight.
I went back to my car, the only one left in the driveway. I thought I'd take a quick drive into a neighboring town to try and find a cigar to bribe Carlton Fisk with at the golf course the next day. All I could find was the cheap stuff, so I didn't buy anything. I did get a root beer and a bag of beef jerky. It was delicious. I made my way back to the same lot I slept in the night before and turned in around 1am. The alarm was set for 5:45. I zonked right out once my head hit the Yankee pillow. I slept well. Then the alarm went off......
To be continued........

Kauffman Stadium

Just got back from tonight's Twins/Royals game at Kauffman Stadium. For those that don't know, the wife and I are on a mini-stadium tour. Prior to the beginning of this trip, we had taken in games at 16 MLB ballparks. This trip started in Boston on Monday, today was Kansas City, tomorrow, well later today, is the finale in St. Louis, and then it's back to Buffalo. The trip is done by car and it's pretty fun. I suggest that if you have the time to take a trip like this to do it. It's a baseball fan's dream.
We left for the stadium at about noon today, with a planned stop along the way at a scrapbook store called "Archiver's." The wife is into that stuff, I'm not. Our hotel is about a 2 hour drive to KC so we figured we had time. As we're driving along, my wife realizes that were going to pass through Independence, Missouri. She gets all excited and starts getting giddy. I ask her why all the excitement and she says that Independence is where the Oregon trail started. Imagine my excitement. Snore. Anyway, she's a third grade teacher and she covers the subject so we had to stop and try and find part of "the trail." We had a little time to kill, so we stopped. Now, the last thing I wanted on this trip was to have some educational value interjected into it. But, whatever causes me less headaches in the long run, I'm down with. Any married men out there will understand. So, we stopped. It was slightly interesting, but not really. We just looked at a grass field where the trail used to be. She enjoyed it and I guess that's what matters. After that little pit stop, it was on to the scrapbook store. Imagine my delight!
The good news is that next to the scrapbook store was a Borders Books And Music. I went in there to look around while she puttered around buying stamps and other scrapbook type stuff. While in Borders, I came across some DVDs of World Series films. I ended up getting a Yankee box set that covers the last 17 or so World Series they were in, or something like that. So, I couldn't really complain about the second pit stop, as I got something unexpected out of it. After that was done, it was on to Kauffman.
We got to Kauffman about 30 minutes or so before the gates opened. When the gates opened, we walked in. Now in most stadiums there is always a rush to get up to the front for BP. That was missing in KC. Perhaps it was the lack of people. Once inside the stadium, I wasn't really sure where the best place to go and try to get autographs was, so I went down the 3rd base line past the dugouts. Wrong choice. Anyone that did sign ended up doing it in the corner of the dugout where only about 3 people could fit in. When Joe Mauer started signing I made my way over to that corner and wiggled my way in so that I could stick my arm through and the ball would be easy to grab. I was there in plenty of time, but Joe stopped signing about 3 items before mine. I wasn't too bummed because I already have his auto on a ball. I was hoping to get him to sign my 2006 All-Star ball. Maybe another time. He was really the only who signed. i was hoping to get Liriano or Santana, but no such luck.
Our seats were pretty good. We were down the first base line past the dugout, about 3 rows back from the field. If anyone is familiar with Kauffman, it was section 126 row D. They weren't bad seats. You could see all the action and there really wasn't anyone in your way. Unfortunately, we were watching the Royals, and they were pretty bad, which I expected. The Twins were all over them from the start. They jumped out to an early lead and skated to an easy victory. Man the Royals are bad.
There was just over 12000 people in attendance and many of them were Twins fans. I don't know if it was the small crowd, or the stadium itself, but it felt very "minor league." The fountains were nice and all, but the stadium itself seemed very out-dated. It wasn't very fan friendly in my opinion. Maybe I've been spoiled by the likes of Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, but Kauffman didn't do it for me. We took a lot of pictures and I'll post those along with the rest of the trip's pictures when we return on Saturday/Sunday.
Tomorrow night, I mean tonight, we'll be at the new Busch Stadium for the Brewers/Cardinals. Expectations are high and I'm looking forward to "Albert Pujols T-shirt" night. I'll definitely be one of the first however many fans I need to be. The only sort-of bad part about tomorrow is we're going to another scrapbook store, another "Archiver's." Well, at least it's in a mall.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Kansas City He're We Come

The bags are packed, the car is loaded, and I'm ready to embark on the final leg of this year's stadium trip. Tomorrow we'll be visiting Kauffman Stadium for the Twins/Royals, and Friday we're taking in a game at the new Busch Stadium for Brewers/Cardinals. It's Albert Pujols t-shirt night. Rock on. I'll be blogging from the road as the hotel has a work center with an Internet connection. On a sad note, my home PC died yesterday. It was old and I'll miss it dearly. I hope I can salvage some stuff off the hard drive. That would be nice. But I can't complain. I'm going to see some baseball and the Yanks are back in first place. You gotta love it.
See ya in KC. GO YANKEES!!

Wednesday Ramblings

So I'm chillin' here at the business center of the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbia, Missouri. It was about a 13 hour drive door-to-door. After check-in, we went and got some grub at the Ruby Tuesday's right next door, then went for a dip in the hotel pool, and yes, I waited my 30 minutes. While waiting, I watched ESPNews over and over waiting for the Yanks and Red Sox games to go final. It looked like the Yanks were going to get a full game up on Boston when Fausto Carmona imploded with 2 outs in the 9th. 2 hit batters, a walk and the walkoff double to Loretta. Send the kid back to Buffalo already. 2 blown saves in 3 days and both were horrendous outings. I was expecting another Papi walkoff but it was one batter off. As I was driving here, listening to baseball talk on XM Radio, they brought up something that tied into my post from a few days ago about David Ortiz being clutch. I was wondering how often he came through compared to the amount of chances he had. Well, they answered my question, sort of. They threw out some research done by the guy who runs "The Joy of Sox." He has an entry that throws out a lot of Papi walkoff stats which basically show that he does come up big in clutch situations. Now, I never said he wasn't clutch. I was curious if it was more a perception because the opportunity to "be clutch" comes up often. Thanks to that blog for answering my questions. What timing. Here is what he found:
Since the end of the 2004 regular season, Ortiz has come to the plate in a walk-off situations 19 times -- and reached base 16 times. He is 11-for-14 (.786), with 7 HR and 20 RBI. Pretty impressive I must say. The guy is good.
The Yankee game went as expected with Wang again dominating at home. ESPN flashed a stat that he's 9-0 in his last 10 home starts. The guy has been remarkable all season long. The offense today also was pretty on. A-Rod seems to be turning it up. Jeter is making a run at the batting title. And Bobby Abreu chipped in with his 1st 2 hits as a Yankee. The lineup pounded out 14 hits, with Cairo being the only one who missed out on getting a base hit. Not bad. Surprisingly, Ron Villone couldn't preserve the shutout. Either way, all signs are pointing to another division title. Cano, Matsui, Sheffield, and Dotel should be back soon. The Red Sox had ample opportunity to put some distance between them and the Yanks but failed to do so. You have to credit the Yankees and Joe Torre for keeping things together. Now it's the Yankees turn to try and distance themselves from the Sox. The Sox were hit hard today with the news that Varitek would miss 4-6 weeks. Ouch. He is probably the one guy you don't want out of the lineup if you're a Sox fan. He's the team captain for a reason, and he is probably the best catcher in the game when it comes to working with the pitching staff. It'll be interesting to see how the Sox starters perform without him behind the plate. Perhaps they'll struggle like they did in spring training before Varitek returned from the WBC. From a Sox perspective, it's too bad this didn't happen 3 days ago. It would have been much easier to acquire a catcher. Now you have to hope that as guy clears waivers if you're going to bring someone in. Depending on the caliber of the catcher, you know the Sox will get blocked. It'll be tough to overcome. The Yanks need to take advantage.
Tomorrow, the wife and I will be at the Royals/Twins game in KC. Everybody knock on wood for good weather. It would really stink to have driven all this way to have to come back and do it again at a later time. Luckily to this point, we haven't run into the issue. The forecast looks promising.
Hope you're all finding good ways to beat the heat. Take care.
Peace, love and pinstripes.