Yankees vs. Angels: Sec 201, Row 2, Seat 7

A Day I’ll Never Forget

I finally made it back out to Yankee Stadium! I saw my first game this year last Thursday, August 11. It was the rubber game of the series against the Angels. The Halos won the first, the Yanks won the second. I knew it was going to be a good game, and and all-around good day. But I didn’t think it’d be THIS good.

Some of you might know that aside from my blog here at MLBlogs, I write for the FanVsFan Network at my site Pinstripe Partisan. I love that site for a number of reasons, one of the main reasons being that the people who work there are amazing. One of the leaders of the site himself is a Yankees fan and a native New Yorker, and he was generous enough to give me not one, but TWO free tickets to this Yankees game. So not only did I have the time of my life, but I was able to experience the day with my older brother, who had not yet been to the new Yankee Stadium.

But he didn’t just give me tickets. He gave me tickets, that for me, were perfect. When I found out where they were, I couldn’t wait to go.

My brother and I took the train down to the Stadium. Bobby is just as much of a Yanks fan as I am, and he was dying to see the new Stadium. When he first caught a glimpse of it as we were walking towards it, he was in awe – so much that he called home and told my Mom: “Ahh, Mommy! It’s so beautiful, you have no idea…” While on the phone, he turned to me and demanded that I take a picture.

We got the the Stadium 2 hours before the game was scheduled to start. Our plan was to go to our seats as soon as possible and watch batting practice and possibly get autographs. When we got to our section, Bobby reminded me:

“Virginia, please don’t embarrass me.”

Why so concerned?

Our seats were two rows behind the Yankee bullpen. And it was a day game. After a night game. Which meant that some players would be resting. Which meant that some backups would be playing.

WHICH MEANT THAT I HAD A CHANCE TO BE TWO ROWS AWAY FROM FRANCISCO CERVELLI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can see now why he was worried about me.

The first Yankees we saw up-close-and-personal from our perch atop the bullpen wall was Freddy Garcia. He was getting some throwing in. Then Mike Harkey, the coolest bullpen coach ever, entered, and my brother and I (then the only people at the wall) yelled out, “Hi Hark!” AND HE WAVED!!! I thought my day was made. Oh, but there was more to come.

I was watching the hitters take BP, waiting for Cervelli to be done so he could come into the bullpen. BP was long, so my brother and I left for awhile to look around the Stadium, whose beauty was mesmerizing. When we got back to our seats, the wait wasn’t very long. Bobby pointed to a sexy looking man approaching from the dugout. I started to freak out.

“Virginia, you’re doing it.” he warned.

I managed to not explode. I let Francisco Cervelli approach. I captured his warm-up routine with about 50 pictures. Here are some personal favorites:

Before I knew it, he entered the bullpen. I was wearing my “Cervelli 29″ shirt I bought last year at the Stadium. It was crowded at the bullpen wall now, but I figured, “It’s now or never.” And I was the only one in the ballpark that I knew of wearing his shirt. I was his ultimate fan. All these other idiots asking for his autograph didn’t really care about him. I didn’t want to harass him like the rest of them.

When he got close enough, I just yelled out, “Hey Francisco!!!! I’m wearing your shirt!”

Now I don’t know if he heard me, or if he saw the shirt when I turned around to show him. All I know, is that he waved at me, and I almost died. I’m lucky that I didn’t fall into the bullpen and die. I really am.

FRANCISCO CERVELLI WAVED TO ME. Holy Jesus. My life was then complete.

So he did more warm-ups, then when he exited the ‘pen, he waved again at us! Such a sweetie.

Oh yeah, then the GAME started. That was fun.

Bartolo Colon pitched a good game for the Yankees. I thought I was going to see Nova, but he pitched the night before. So when I heard it was Colon, I was happy. He was our first choice for a starter to see live!

The game was quiet at first, with no teams scoring through the first 4 innings. In the 5th, the Angels jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an Alberto Callaspo 2-run homer. That upset the sellout crowd, but they soon began to cheer when the fan who caught the ball threw it back.

In the bottom of the 6th, my cutie Curtis Granderson decided to give us something to smile about for real. After a Derek Jeter single, my GrandyMan homered to tie the game at 2! Then the next time the Yanks were on offense, big things happened, thanks to Mr. Robbie Cano. The bases were loaded after an Angel error, and Cano made them pay.

GRAND SLAM! Seeing that live was amazing. The ball jumped off Cano’s bat like I’ve seen no other. It got out of the park in a hurry, and Yankees fans went crazy. 6-2 lead!

*Note: Francisco Cervelli walked in that inning, and for some reason, Girardi called for Russell Martin to pinch run for him? I didn’t know why he did that. My Grandma said it was because a female fan was harassing Cervelli, and he couldn’t take it….wasn’t me!

Cory Wade made things messy in the 9th, so Mariano Rivera had to come in. Always a pleasure seeing him make his way to the mound.

We were all aware of Mo’s mishaps on the mound that week. We didn’t want to witness another one. And when Russell Branyan pinch hit, we were a little nervous. With 2 men on, Branyan homered…yikes. All of a sudden it was 6-5. I thought maybe that was all Mariano would allow.

Thank God I was right. We couldn’t afford to stick around for more innings – we had a train to catch! Luckily, Mo settled down and finished up the game. YANKEES WIN 6-5!

My brother didn’t want to leave. Once we got home, he said, “We need to go back.” He then proceeded into his room, and began looking up more Yankees tickets. I hope we can go again before college starts!

It was a day I’ll never forget, that’s for sure. How often can a girl say that her crush waved to her at close distance, and she didn’t die? I’m proud.

It was an amazing early 18th birthday present for me. My real birthday is tomorrow. I’ll enjoy my last day as a kid today.

Thanks again to Michael H. for that amazing day! You’re the best.

GO YANKEES!

That Concludes Sox Week

This past week, the Yankees played a 4-game series against the White Sox followed by a 3-game set against the Red Sox. It was a long week on the road, and I’m just happy my boys are coming back to the Bronx.

The Yankees swept the 4 games in Chicago. I almost hate to say it, but during those games, I really felt bad for the White Sox. They looked miserable, lost, and just didn’t play good baseball. Oh well…those are the kinds of games the Yankees have to win, and they did.

The Yankees went into the Red Sox series tied for first place…it was as if August 5th was Opening Day again. It was such a refreshing feeling. That series started out nicely, but didn’t end the way I’d hoped for.

The first game of that series was intense…Colon vs. Lester. The Yanks had to play catch-up after quickly falling behind 2-0. In the 5th, Eduardo Nunez led off with a walk, Derek Jeter singled, and Granderson drove in a run with a single to cut the deficit in half. After Mark Teixeira’s walk, Cano grounded into a double play, which tied the game at 2. With 2 out, I wasn’t sure if the Yankees would be able to go ahead, but Nick Swisher delivered with a double down the third base line, and the Yankees had a 3-2 lead.

It became a battle of the bullpens after that, and the Yankee bullpen proved victorious. Boone Logan especially – he looked like the Logan of 2009 again. Cory Wade, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera nailed it down for the Yanks.

I was ecstatic that the Yankees had sole possession of first place. I figured they maybe had the confidence they needed to keep on winning – they beat Jon Lester in Fenway Park, which is no easy task. I did a little boasting and bragging on facebook after Game 1, not really caring what I was saying. I was experiencing some leftover euphoria hours after the game’s ending.

So maybe I look stupid, but I don’t really care. The Yankees lost the next two games and are now a game behind the Red Sox. Of course the games the lost were on FOX and ESPN, places where the announcers fawn over the Red Sox as much as Chris Matthews fawns over Obama. “Oh, Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, the top 3 guys for the AL MVP…oh, they’re sooo good…better than anyone the Yankees have…OHH MY LEG!”

Ermm okay.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver made me not want to watch the Saturday game. I missed most of it anyways because I was out, and I’m glad I did. CC didn’t pitch well and I’m sure they kept on mentioning how he hasn’t been the same pitcher against the Red Sox and how he sucks, and maybe how he’s not worth the jumbo contract because he can’t beat the Sox, blah blah blah…

So on to the finale, and the two teams were tied for first once again.

The pitching matchup of Freddy Garcia and Josh Beckett initially had me a little nervous. I was aware of their numbers.

Freddy Garcia really battled last night for my Yanks. He’s such a pitcher. Over 5 innings, Garcia allowed just 1 run (and it was a cheapie, he had some baaaad breaks in the 2nd inning when that run was allowed) and 5 hits, but threw 96 pitches. Beckett was throwing well, and I wasn’t sure if the Yanks would be able to get to him.

Two rather-unexpected heroes emerged for the Yanks last night. Eduardo Nunez and his quick stroke of the bad hammered a high fastball into the seats above the monster to tie the game at 1. My Grandma couldn’t believe it, “Ohhh, the young guy did it! And I wanted A-Rod to come back, Virginia…”

The second guy, I don’t know why, but something told me he’d do it. When Brett Gardner came to the plate in the 7th and his stats appeared on the screen, I thought, “Ahh, he’s having a nice year just like I expected…4 homers? When was the last time he hit one…due perhaps?”

Oh yeah.

Gardner did homer, and the Yankees had their first lead of the night. 2-1. It was such a long, slooowww paced game, me and my Grandma wanted to go to bed, but we wanted to watch.

The Yankee bullpen did its job and handed the ball to Mariano. Again, something just told me he wasn’t going to do it…I had a bad feeling. When I saw who the first guy up was – Marco Scutaro – I just knew. He was already 3-3 on the night, and I remember a few years back when he was with the A’s, he hit a walkoff homer off Mo. So when he led off the inning with a double, I can’t say I didn’t see that coming. Mo eventually blew the save, and right there I knew the momentum had permanently shifted for the game. The Red Sox have a “knack” for winning at home…let’s just say I’m not the only one who thinks they steal signs, but whatever.

When I saw PHIL HUGHES was coming in for the Yankees to pitch the next inning, I called it a night. I knew what he was going to do…so I just went to bed and accepted it before it even happened.

I know from an outsider’s perspective, it looks like the same old thing: The Red Sox are owning the Yankees. But I just don’t see that. All three games were well-played. And last night’s loss was tough. I truly believe that if that game was played in Yankee Stadium, the Yankees wouldn’t have lost. The Yankees are still better position-by-position, they have way better pitching, they just had a bad break. It’s Fenway. That happens there.

Maybe it’s better for the Yanks to say out of first for now. They’ve played well all year being the underdogs. But I’m confident that next time these teams meet, things will be different.

Still love ya, Yanks. I always will!

Enjoy the off-day!

GO YANKEES!

Deadline Over And Done With!

A weekend series against the Orioles was a series I thought the Yankees had to win. It’s the kind of thing where you know your team is better, and they have to beat up on the bad teams. I’m always bad at predicting things, so I didn’t know what to think coming into this weekend. The doubleheader I thought would be tough, and the trade deadline I thought would be a distraction. I didn’t know if the Yanks would make any moves. I HATE the trade deadline, and I’m glad it’s over and done with.

Oh, and I’m glad the Yanks took 3 of 4 from the O’s.

After they lost the first game of the series, I was kind of annoyed. But they bounced back to win the next 3, winning the 4-game set the hard way.

After winning the 1st game of the doubleheader on Saturday by the score of 8-3, my Grandma said to me, “Ooh I hope they saved some runs for tonight’s game.”

Uhh…hahaha.

No worries, Grammy!

Let’s just say the Yankees got off to a historic start in Game 2:

Top of the first, 1 out. Curtis Granderson singles.

Looked harmless enough.

Mark Teixeira walks, Cano drives in a run with a single. 1-0 Yanks.

Okay.

Swisher knocked in a run via an Orioles error. 2-0.

Then things get a little crazy.

Andruw Jones RBI double, 3-0. Russell Martin RBI single, 4-0. Eduardo Nunez RBI single, 5-0. Then Brett Gardner got an infield single to load the bases.

Derek Jeter drove in 2 with a double, 7-0. This is when I started to feel a little bad. But it didn’t end there.

Mark Teixeira doubled in 2 runs, 9-0. Robinson Cano singled in one, 10-0. And Nick Swisher hit a 2-run bomb, making it 12-0.

12-0!!! In the first inning! That was the most runs the Yankees EVER scored in the first. Wow.

The Yankees went on to win that one 17-3. Although the offense was a huge pleasure, my favorite part of this game was seeing Ivan Nova again. I was beyond annoyed when they sent him down to make room for the stinky Phil Hughes. I mean, isn’t the idea to have the best players on the team? Nova was better than Hughes then, and he still is.

I was worried that the Yankees would do something stupid at the trade deadline. So while many may think that Yankees fans are upset about the inactivity at the deadline, I for one am extremely satisfied with this decision. So other contending teams made moves…so what? Overall, I’m very happy with the state of the Yankees. When I heard about the Ubaldo Jimenez rumors, I was scratching my head. The Rockies wanted prospects Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jesus Montero, and my Ivan Nova? And the Yankees were considering doing that? No offense, but Ubaldo Jimenez just is not worth the entire Yankees farm system. I know you can’t give up nothing and expect something, but I really think that deal would’ve been ridiculous. And the Nova thing drew the line. Why trade for Jimenez when Nova is doing an amazing job? He, I think, can and has helped this team more than Jimenez ever could.

My brother told me this, so I don’t know if it’s true, but he heard that the Yankees and Rockies negotiations went sour after the Yanks replaced one of the guys the Rockies wanted with Phil Hughes. LOL. I don’t blame the Rockies – I’d be insulted by that, too. But then I heard from the YES Network that the Yankees didn’t want to make the deal after the Rockies refused to give Jimenez a physical. So whatever. Good luck to the Indians with him. I’d rather stick with my guys.

Speaking of my guys, I’m sure most people are aware of my unbridled admiration for Francisco Cervelli He’s a cutie. Well in today’s series finale, I witnessed a Francisco-First.

HE PLAYED SECOND BASE TODAYYYY!!!!!!!!

Ahh, yes. If only it wasn’t under these circumstances: Derek Jeter was hit in the hand (right middle finger, precisely), and eventually came out of the game. Eric Chavez (another sexy beast…probably the hottest Yankee) was playing 3rd, and Nunez was playing 2nd because Cano was the DH. So when Jeet eventually left the game, the defense was messy…so Nunez moved to short, and, instead of losing the DH in the 4th inning my moving Cano, they put my CERVELLI at 2nd base! I was going crazy. He actually fielded a grounder in the 6th and didn’t mess up! In fact, he looked pretty darn smooth over there, going for the lead runner instead of the sure out at first. He pivoted nicely and fired a strike to shortstop to get the out. Ahh, Cervelli…such a cutie.

Now that the trade deadline is over, I can breathe I sigh of relief. -SIGH- I don’t have to worry about my cuties leaving me for a player that I don’t even want. I love my boys, and it’s not easy for me to let go of any of them.

Even if the no-deals at the deadline mean we don’t win…I’m okay with that. Why jeopardize the bright future? It’s not like Ubaldo Jimenez is going to guarantee a championship anyways. I’m happy with this team we have now, and no matter what happens this year, I know Yankees fans have a lot to smile about.

GO YANKEES!  I LOVE YOU GUYS!

RIP Hideki Irabu

I’m sure most people know the news by now: former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead, an apparent suicide by hanging. I hadn’t heard anything about it, but a friend asked me “Where’s your Irabu piece?” and I had no idea what he was talking about. So I googled him, and I discovered the shocking news.

It’s funny: I vaguely remember watching baseball in 1998 and 1999, I was like 5 or 6 then, yet I don’t have any memory whatsoever of Hideki Irabu. Even so, this is a tragedy that really saddens me. No one wants to hear these kinds of stories. And even though I didn’t have a special connection with Irabu and never saw him play, Irabu was once a Yankee and will always be part of the Yankees family – which is my family too – so this news is very upsetting.

RIP, Hideki.

In his Yankees days, Irabu never lived up to the great expectations people had of him. Even so, he was a pretty influential guy, helping to break the ice for other Japanese players.

I feel like most Japanese players that come to America are a little disappointing. Dice-K was a big waste of money, Akinori Iwamura and Kaz Matsui were never that great, and let’s not forget Kei Igawa of the New York Yankees Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. When the Red Sox signed Dice-K, the Yankees got Igawa. As much of a disappointment as Dice-K was, Igawa was 10 times worse. He could never do it in the Bigs for the Yanks. But even though he sucked, I just couldn’t hate him. He seemed like a really nice guy, and I always laughed at how he’d always be running around Yankee stadium. My family and I joked that if he didn’t make it as a pitcher, the Yanks could use him as a pinch runner!

The best Japanese players I’ve had the honor of watching are definitely Ichiro Suzuki, whose rookie card is one of my most prized cards, and Hideki Matsui, who won the 2009 World Series for my guys. These guys were legit superstars. They were even better that I expected. I think maybe I’ve held all Japanese players to standards that were just too high – Ichiro is one of the best players to have EVER played baseball in the Majors, in my mind he’s a no-doubt first ballot HOF – so is it really fair to expect all Japanese players to be like Ichiro?

It’s always exciting to hear about international signings. Even if the players don’t always live up to expectations, it’s still fun. Baseball has come such a long way, and it is truly a global game now. I hope its popularity continues to grow around the world. It’s such a wonderful game, why should it only be America’s pastime?

With the trade deadline ticking closer, I’m wondering what, if anything, my Yanks will do. I heard rumors involving Hiroki Kuroda…we’ll see what happens!

GO YANKEES!

I Should Make Lineups More Often!

So remember when I was complaining about the Yankees offense without A-Rod? It was really bad, they couldn’t hit, and I was frustrated, so I proposed my own lineup.

I’m convinced that someone from the Yankees is secretly reading my blog or stalking my facebook or something, because they’re listening to me about stuff!

In my last blog post, I said the Yankees should do something different to shake up the lineup, maybe to spark the offense and get something going. I strongly suggested that the top 3 should look like this:

#1 Brett Gardner

#2 Derek Jeter

#3 Curtis Granderson

I then said for Cano to be cleanup and Teix 5th, but last night the Yankees had Teix 4th and Cano 5th. It still worked out, so that was okay.

I wanted Swish 6th and Posada 7th, which the Yankees did. And because Martin had the night off, it was Nunez in the 8 hole with my sweet Cervelli batting 9th. It was pretty close to what I wanted, but I was just thrilled that they “listened” to me with the 1-2-3 spots.

Some people liked my lineup idea. Some people criticized my lineup, saying the Yanks would never do it. Well they did it, it was MARVELOUS, and they’re doing it again today, and I don’t blame them.

SCORING 17 RUNS IS SUCCESS. DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS.

The Yankees were down 2-0 early because Phil Hughes still sucks, but I quickly forgot about Hughes’s suckiness once the Yankees bats came alive. They scored 5 runs in the 2nd, in which my 1-2-3 guys Gardy, Jeet, and Grandy knocked in 4 of the 5 runs.

The offense continued to explode in bunches. Nick Swisher’s 3-run homer made it 8-2, and later on Mark Teixeira hit a GRAND SLAM which made it 14-2. Clearly, rearranging the batting order did not mess with anyone’s rhythm last night.

Even though it looked like a blowout, I was not entirely confident that the Yanks would win, knowing that Phil Hughes was on the mound. I’m kind of frustrated with him. The Yankees should’ve included Hughes in the package for Roy Halladay way back when they had the chance. Now he’s losing value fast!

Hughes, despite having heavy run support, was not able to get through the 5 innings and earn himself a win. He didn’t deserve to get the win anyways. 7 runs in 4.1 innings is not win-worthy, and I don’t blame Girardi for taking him out. Once Hughes was out of the picture, I felt the game was locked up.

The bullpen did a pretty good job last night holding the game where it was. In the end, it was a 17-7 victory for my Yanks. I cannot explain how comforting it was. And I love having bragging rights. The offense had been struggling mightily, and once they adapted my lineup idea, the offense came alive.

I seriously should suggest things more often.

So Yankees, my birthday is in August, maybe you guys should send me some tickets? After all, I helped you win last night!

Worth a try, haha…

GO YANKS!!!

Damn That Dome

 

This is why baseball should be played outside:

 

Damn that Dome.

That’s not why the Yankees lost, but it sure didn’t help them win! That 7th inning was utterly disgusting. First an infield single, then a real single…then Colon was out. Then the lazy fly ball to center…my poor Curtis. It must be such a lonely feeling when your out there under the ball, then all of a sudden it’s gone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. When I saw Curtis’s hands flail as he desperately tried to find the ball again, I knew the tone was set for the rest of the game. That ball indeed dropped. Boone Logan then had a chance to exit the inning, but he botched what should have been a 1-2-3 double play. Nope. Right off the glove! And all runners were safe. Then my Curtis had a chance to redeem himself, and made a nice diving play in center. But by leaving his feet, he allowed the Rays runner to score on a sac fly. He tried making up for leaving his feet, but his throw sailed wildly wide of the plate. That slim 1 run lead the Yankees enjoyed became a 1-run deficit before my eyes. And they lost it by 1 run.

Now I know it’s unfair to blame the dome, so I’m not really “blaming” the dome, I’m just expressing my disgust in the fact that there is a dome. And I’m not just hating on the dome because the GrandyMan lost the ball. When I saw the Yankees’s schedule for after the All-Star break and saw they’d be on the road in Toronto and Tampa Bay, I said, “Jeez, the two most boring, head-achy, and ugly stadiums in a row.”

Not to mention, ballparks where my cute centerfielder loses the ball which ultimately leads to a loss! Just get rid of them! Or move those teams. No one ever goes to Blue Jays games or Rays games unless they play the Yankees, anyway.

I said I wouldn’t do that, I apologize. Perhaps I’m avoiding the real problem here.

Over the All-Star break, my Grandma’s favorite player, and our cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez underwent surgery to repair his impaired knee. Since his absence, the Yankees are 3-3, and their offense just isn’t the same…they don’t have that extra “oomph” they have when A-Rod is in the lineup. I didn’t really worry too much when I heard he was having the surgery. I remembered how the Yankees went 14-4 without their Captain, Derek Jeter. I didn’t think they would struggle even more without A-Rod.

I think, since the offense is stinking up a storm, maybe Joe Girardi should implement some lineup tweaks? Since he hasn’t done anything yet? Everyone’s been talking about how hot Brett Gardner has been, so why is he batting 9th? I say, but your best guys up top, so the heart of the order is actually good, so maybe a rally can actually happen instead of having a stinky guy come up with runners in scoring position and just kill everything. I don’t see what the big deal about shaking up the lineup will be – I mean are they doing well the way they are now? All that talk about rhythm, protection, it just bugs me. I mean these guys are Major League hitters. Stop being so sensitive. Hit the damn ball, that’s what you’re getting paid for.

I say just try something different, something like this:

#1 Brett Gardner

#2 Derek Jeter

#3 Curtis Granderson

#4 Robinson Cano

#5 Mark Teixeira

#6 Nick Swisher

#7 Jorge Posada

#8 Russell Martin

#9 Eduardo Nunez

And YES, I know Granderson and Cano are back-to-back lefties, but I don’t think it matters at all. Both Grandy and Cano are not neutralized by lefties. They both still hit very well against them with Cano at an insane clip .342 against lefties. Gardner at the top, why not? So he struggled up there in the beginning of the year – he struggled in GENERAL at the beginning of the year. The team needs a spark, and Gardner can provide it. I mean he can’t be any worse than Jeter up there. And he has stolen I think 12 bases in a row now? Oh, and he leads in stolen bases with 29. So this way when he leads off with a single, he can steal 2nd and not worry about Jeter grounding into a double play.

I doubt they’re going to do anything to spark the offense, but I would give it a try. Just like Billy Martin did. Pull the names out of a hat, and that’d be the lineup order! DO SOMETHING!

Maybe then, it won’t matter what kind of ridiculous excuse for a stadium they’d play in. Even if a ball is lost here or there, they’d still be able to HIT!

Oh well, one more game in this place, then back home to that beautiful ballpark in the Bronx.

GO YANKS!

ROBBIE CANO! DONTCHYA KNOW!!!

Ha..haha…hahaha. Oh yeah, I said it.

The Home Run Derby is always an event that I look forward to, but it’s even more fun when one of my guys is in it. The competitors this year were very imposing, and I felt that in that list of powerful players, my Cano was a little overshadowed.

Perhaps that worked to his advantage.

I feel like everyone who was asked “Who is going to win it this year?” answered, “Ohh Adrian Gonzalez.” They all jumped on the “He’s the greatest player ever” bandwagon.

Hahaha.

Naturally, I picked Cano from the beginning.

I didn’t know how he was going to perform. I remember how he wanted to participate in the Derby last year, but was hurt. This year, he was ready. But it always makes me nervous watching my guy perform in something that I bet on, because his performance is out of my control. I’m like a nervous mother watching her boy: all she can do is watch and hope.

After I saw him hit his first home run, I relaxed. I then knew he would get it.

I just think it was so fitting that it came down to Gonzalez and Cano. Yankees against Red Sox. My brothers and I were annoyed that throughout Cano’s rounds, the announcers didn’t really talk about Cano. They didn’t sit there oohing at his every move like they did with Gonzalez. They talked about his Dad being in great shape and not smiling, and they talked about some stupid kid on the field making a diving catch on one of Cano’s outs. They didn’t marvel at Cano. But that’s okay. Being the underdog was the way to go. And by the end, he had the crowd on his side.

After Adrian Gonzalez hit 11 HR in the final round, everyone was set to crown him the winner. “Oh, A-Gon made it awfully tough for Cano!”

Haha yeah think again.

Cano’s swing was so effortless all throughout the night. He just got better and better. And when he hit that final homer, the 12th, I was ecstatic.

He stood there in perfect balance after his swing, his perfect swing, then raised his arms, and his teammates Russell Martin, Curtis Granderson, and David Robertson who has supported him all night, raised him up. His Daddy smiled (aww).

It was just so perfect, I can’t even describe how happy I was when he won. Let’s just say I’m still smiling.

So the underdog Robinson Cano wins over the anointed-champion Adrian Gonzalez. Maybe this is a sign of things to come for the 2nd half: the underdog Yankees will prevail over the anointed-champion Red Sox.

Most definitely. It’s gonna be a fun 2nd half.

Until then, enjoy the All-Star game everyone!

GO YANKEES/AL!!!

C”Cy” Gets A Pie

Hefty-Lefty Spectacular in Series Finale Win

After the historic day yesterday, I didn’t think life could get any better for a Yankees fan. Heading into today’s game with the series tied 1-1 with one game rained out, and looking ahead to the All-Star Break tomorrow, I figured it would be pretty nice to win today. And with our big ace on the hill, I knew we had a good chance at a W.

I remember the last time CC pitched, the Yankees had an offensive explosion and scored 9 runs. Then Michael Kay brought up the fact that CC was a guy who received some of the most run support in the league. I remembered that coming into today’s game.

I love how Michael Kay jinxes everything!

It was more like an offensive outage today, but hey, I’m fine with that. We won! And it’s all thanks to CC.

No runs? No problem. CC didn’t need too many – in fact 1 was enough. That 1 run was courtesy of sloppy defense from the Rays BJ Upton and James Shields. With Cano on first, Upton tried to throw him out after catching Posada’s fly ball. He threw it into the dugout, awarding 2 bases to Cano. In an attempt to pickoff Cano at third, Shields threw the ball crazy, allowing Cano to score. Tough luck. I guess he deserved, though. Shields is the leading guy for pickoffs, maybe he got too full of himself. Whatever. That 1 run was all CC needed. He CRUISED along today.

CC Sabathia threw a complete game 4-hit shutout and struckout 9 Rays along the way. He made it look so easy, throwing just 113 pitches. And that last fastball was clocked at 98 mph. PURE GAS. CC was pumped, and rightfully so. He threw a helluva ballgame.

Obviously the team was just as pleased in the Hefty-Lefty as I was. During his on-the-field interview, CC was pied by the always-stealth A.J. Burnett. I did not expect that! It wasn’t a walkoff win, but it was just as exciting. There’s nothing like watching the best pitcher own a division rival.

I didn’t think things could get better for a Yankees fan like myself, but they DID. There’s more aside from this win worth celebrating. I campaigned for and made a huge fuss about my boys, David Robertson and CC Sabathia, because I didn’t understand why they were not All-Stars. Their numbers were far superior to any other competitor, yet they were snubbed. Well apparently, someone heard my voice (or they just grew a brain), and Robertson and Sabathia have rightfully been named to the AL All-Star team.

So as if they didn’t already, my Yankees completely dominate the AL All-Star roster, though some guys will not be participating. But that’s okay – they still get the little All-Star icon next to 2011 on the backs of their baseball cards.

The Yankee representatives in the All-Star game are Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin, Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, and David Robertson.

Since the All-Star game is to honor the best, and the Yankees are the best team, so naturally they are well-represented. I’m proud of my boys.

Great game today, my sweet chocolate chip Hefty-Lefty C”Cy” Sabathia! Congrats on your 13-4 record, 2.72 ERA, and All-Star first half.  You’ve been worth every penny so far!

Rest up, Yanks, and have fun in Arizona to those that are attending!

CONGRATS, JEET!!!

HE DID IT!

It was only a matter of time until it happened. But even so, I cheered as if I didn’t expect it. Everyone tried to predict when and how it would happen. After the rain out last night, I was disappointed. But I awoke this morning to the sight of sunlight peeking through my blinds, and I knew it was going to be a good day, and that there would indeed be baseball. And where there was baseball, there was a chance at history. And today it came, and I saw it.

Coming off of a season with a career low in batting average, it was important for Derek Jeter to bounce back in 2011. Although voted in as the All-Star shortstop, Jeter’s numbers did not reflect that. But now those numbers don’t seem very important at all. The number that matters to everyone now is 3,000.

What a day for Derek Jeter. He recorded hits 2,999, 3,000, 3,001, 3,002, and 3,003. But he didn’t just get the hits. Just as we are all accustomed to, Jeter did his thing in dramatic fashion.

http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=16783041&c_id=nyy

Could it have been written out any better? Jeter himself said that if someone came to him with that script, he would never buy it. It was a storybook swing. This kind of thing can only happen in Yankee Stadium, to a Yankee – and what a perfect Yankee Jeter is.

I’m so happy I was able to see the moment when it happened. Watching Jeter genuinely smile with an emotional rush of rapture and relief, seeing the teammates greet him at home plate, hearing the unbridled cheers from the loyal Yankee fans, everything. It was amazing.

Derek, congratulations on this incredible milestone. The only Yankee to reach 3,000. The 28th player to. The 2nd to do so with a home run. And if that wasn’t enough, you go 5-for-5 and get the game winning hit? It’s a Yankees Classic for sure.

Seeing Jeter genuinely relieved, and considering how well he swung the stick today, I really think he’s going to turn his season around. He can just focus on the game again, and on the team instead of on his milestone.

Anyone who agrees with me that Jeter still has a lot left in the tank, please vote for me in my debate. I want to show everyone how many people still believe in Derek: http://fanvsfan.com/claims/derek-jeter-is-dying-out

While everyone else is focusing on that 3,000, Jeter is focusing on 28. Not 28 as in 28th to reach the milestone – 28 as in World Series Championship. There’s a lot of baseball still left to play. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to watching Derek Jeter shine even more.

WE LOVE YA, JEET!

GO YANKEES!!!

First-Half Heroes

As I predicted, the Yankees did win the series in Citi against the Mets, though the final game left a bad taste in my mouth. Last night’s opener against the Indians was hard to swallow as well. So instead of recapping those select games, I want to look at the first half of the season in general, shouting out to the ones who are mostly responsible for where the Yankees are now.

These are the top 5 guys who I’ve singled out as the First-Half Heroes, and it was very hard to pick just 5 of them:

#5 Bartolo Colon

I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll just say it again: when I heard the Yankees signed Colon, I was extremely doubtful. I thought he was just some big fat has-been who would get injured right away, or would just flat-out suck. Bartolo Colon has truly been a blessing for the Yankees. He is 6-3 with a sparkling 2.88 ERA. He did spend a short stint on the DL with an injured hammy, but as promised, he didn’t need to stay on the DL longer. He made it back as fast as he could, and it didn’t even seem like he missed a beat at all. His first start off the DL, Saturday against the Mets, was as good a game as he’s pitched all year long: 6 innings of shutout baseball, and just 80 pitches. I’m hoping Colon can continue to carry the Yankees in the next half.

#4 Freddy Garcia

Like Colon, I was a little unsure when the Yankees signed Freddy Garcia. I was aware that this 35 year old righty was not the same pitcher he once was, and that his fastball rarely even touched 90 mph anymore. But whatever he’s been doing, it’s been working this year. Garcia reminds me of a Mike Mussina type – a guy who figures out how to win even though he’s not the same pitcher he once was. A guy who keeps hitters off balance, and a guy who is truly intelligent on the mound. A pitcher, not a thrower. Garcia’s numbers are amazing: so far, he is 7-6 with a very solid 3.13 ERA. My Mom and I always joke about him. It seems like he pitches EVERY DAY. But that’s okay, because more often than not, the Yankees win when he’s on the mound.

#3 Eduardo Nunez

Yes, Eduardo Nunez – even though he has made 9 errors. The Yankees didn’t go 14-4 without Derek Jeter for no reason. Eduardo Nunez did an amazing job filling in. So even though he made 9 errors, they didn’t really cost the team THAT much. Look how good they were without Derek! Nunez, though still progressing, really impressed me with the bat. The kid swings that stick pretty well. He’s hitting .278 with 3 HR and 14 RBI on the season. I’ve seen him successfully bunt for hits on more than one occasion, I’ve seen him steal bases (he has 10 on the season), and he’s shown me why the Yankees thought so highly of him. He looks like he belongs, and I hope I still a lot of him in the second half, only under better circumstances.

#2 Curtis Granderson

Ask anyone around here, I said it over the offseason: I expected HUGE things out of Curtis Granderson this season. I said I expected 40 HR. Looks like he’ll get there. Curtis Granderson has been a savior for the Yankees this season. When the other big bats went dry, Granderson stepped up. It’s so hard to put him as #2 on this list, considering how good he has been. He is an all-around strong baseball player. Currently, he is hitting .274 with 23 HR and 59 RBI. He has stolen 15 bases, and has made countless great plays in the outfield, where he uses his speed to his advantage. I am proud to have Curtis on the All-Star team this year, and even more proud that he is on the Yankees. Not only is he amazing on the field, but he is a real Yankee off the field as well. Granderson is such a genuinely kind, charitable man. He is the epitome of what it means to wear the Yankee pinstripes, on and off the field, and the Yankees surely would not be where they are this season if it weren’t for Granderson.

#1 David Robertson

David Robertson just might be God. Or maybe Houdini. I can’t go on enough about what he has meant for this team. Throughout the entire season, the Yankee bullpen has lost key, KEY components. They’ve had to dig very deep to fill in the holes created by injuries to try and build a new bridge to Mariano. But the one guy who they could always count on was David Robertson. No matter what the inning, 6th, 7th, 8th, no matter what the “impossible” jam, Robertson would come in and get the team out of it, making the opposing hitters look silly. His stats are mind-blowing: a 1.05 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and the highest K/9 innings ratio at 14.4 K/9. It’s insane how good he is. But what’s even more INSANE is how David Robertson is NOT an All-Star. I mean is there anyone BETTER than him? In my opinion, David Robertson is the Yankee that is the most deserving of the All-Star honor. And he’s not going. And that really bothers me.

It bothered me enough to create a debate. I doubt anyone’s going to take on this challenge, I mean there’s just no way they can debate me on this…there is no OTHER SIDE! He deserves to be there!!!

http://fanvsfan.com/claims/david-robertson-should-be-an-all-star

Oh well. Robertson, you are an All-Star in my book. Congrats to you and all the other Yankees that made my Yankees First-Half Heroes list. Best of luck in the next half.

GO YANKEES!

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