Monday, April 14, 2008

Not Quite a Lost Weekend, But Bad Enough

The Yanks won the first game at Fenway, and the last two were both winnable. But in both of those, Joe Girardi saw men on base, but one base open, and Manny Ramirez at bat, and pitched to Manny both times, rather than walking him intentionally, resulting in a double on Saturday afternoon and a single on Sunday night, totaling three RBIs, leading to turning a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit and a 3-1 dropoff into 7-1.

At this rate, I'm gonna have to call him George W. Girardi.

Don't blame Mike Mussina and Phil Hughes: If the manager had let them walk Ramirez and prevent Manny from Being Manny, and pitched to Kevin Youkilis, it could have been very different. Sure, Youk could've gotten RBI hits, too, but it's not as likely as Manny doing it. Girardi lost these games.

With a little help from A-Rod turning back into the A-Rod of 2005 and '06, leaving a bunch of ducks on the pond. This is not why George Steinbrenner pays you the big bucks, Alex!

Come to think of it, hardly anybody is hitting!

I'm not ready to hang the manager. Let the Flushing Heathen call a good man with substandard players "Witless Willie" and call for his head. I'll give Girardi a chance to get us out of this.

On the other hand, the Yank pitchers are pitching inside to Manny. It's not intimidating him at all -- maybe Manny's too dumb to grasp the concept of intimidation -- but it might be sending a message to those schmucks.

And David Ortiz is batting .071, and wasn't even put in the lineup for the Sunday game! Have we finally solved Big Papi?

Or maybe... maybe he was taking steroids and finally stopped. Can that be it? Of course it can. Would Bud Selig and his pals in Red Sox management ever admit it if it was true? Is the Pope Hasidic?

(UPDATE: We found out on July 30, 2009 that both Papi and Manny failed steroid tests in 2003. Neither were disciplined for it, although Manny was essentially run out of baseball for failing a later test.)


This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Heidi Bowl, when NBC turned away from the last minute of an AFL game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders, with the Jets leading 32-29 at the Oakland Coliseum, because it was 7:00 Eastern Time and they'd been promoting a TV-movie version of Heidi as a big family-entertainment package, and they didn't want to disappoint the kids. Then the Raiders scored a touchdown, and the Jets fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Raiders scored another touchdown to win, 43-32.

And the NBC switchboard nearly blew up with angry callers who missed all that action.  Those two teams would meet again in the AFL Championship Game at Shea Stadium, and the Jets won, 27-23, on their way to winning Super Bowl III.

Something similar happened with Saturday's rain-delayed Yanks-Sox game. The Yanks were down to their last out, and it was Robinson Cano, who hasn't hit a lick yet this season, so Fox could be pretty sure Cano wouldn't do anything, and they had a contract to show an event of the Non-Athletic Spectacle Centered Around Rednecks, and they'd already asked the NASCAR officials to delay the start of the race a little bit, and they had, and Fox did go on to apologize for cutting away.

I don't care what kind of contract Fox had with NASCAR: You do not ever turn your cameras off the last minute of an event to switch to the first minute of an event. You especially do not switch from the National Pastime and the greatest rivalry in all of sports to go to a bunch of guys driving around in circles surrounded by 200,000 people getting drunk and hoping for a crash.

To paraphrase George Carlin (a Yankee Fan), Auto racing is not a sport. It's driving. It's turning left. You might as well call driving to work a sport. You might as well call riding the subway a sport. At least on the subway, you have the chance to... I won't use Carlin's words... tackle somebody.

(Note: This was before I decided it was okay to use profanity in my blog.)

Derek Jeter might be coming back, but Jorge Posada is still hurt, backup catcher Jose Molina (one of the few Yankees who is hitting so far) is hurt, and we've lost Joba Chamberlain due to his father's illness -- apparently very serious, so it could be for a while.

The Yankees are 6-7. In last place. On the other hand, they're only a game and a half out. And they're still in better shape than the Mets, who aren't hitting, aren't fielding well, are missing Pedro Martinez for who-knows-how-long, and do not have anything resembling a reliable bullpen.


The Devils looked horrible again Friday night, in Game 2 in Newark. And the referees didn't help. But in Game 3 at the Garden, they fought hard -- figuratively and literally -- and John Madden won it in overtime.

The Devils trail 2 games to 1, and are still alive. Win Wednesday night, and they're back in business.

But I'm not holding my breath. You need more than one good game in a row to win in the Playoffs. A lot more.

Between the Bronx Bombers and the Newark...

I gotta come up with a new name for the former Meadowlands Marauders. The Prudential Center is on Newark's Broad Street, but the name "Broad Street Bullies" is taken.

(UPDATE: I eventually went with "Mulberry Street Marauders.")

Uncle Mike is not happy. I mean, less so than usual.

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