Sunday, September 19, 2010

Alex Atones, CC Hangs 20

Friday night, down to their last out, 2 runs down and 2 men on, Alex Rodriguez -- funny, he doesn't look Jewish -- hit a home run of atonement to give the Yankees a 4-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

I've heard of relief pitching -- of course, Mariano Rivera got the save for David Robertson who won in relief of A.J. Burnett, who didn't pitch all that badly -- but this was relief hitting.

Saturday night, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson hit home runs in the Inner Harbor bandbox, and CC Sabathia was dealing, notching his 20th win of the season, the first time he's done that in his fine career (which should tell you less about him and more about pitching in general since 1990 or so), and the Yankees won, 11-3.

The Tampa Bay Rays, the luckiest team in baseball, also won last night, as the Whatever They're Calling Themselves This Season Angels of Anaheim threw away a 3-2 lead in the 9th and a 3-3 tie in the 10th. For shame, Halos.

The Yankees' Magic Number to clinch a Playoff berth is now 7; to win the American League East, 15.

Andy Pettitte returns from the Disabled List today. But both A-Rod and Mark Texieira are being rested. This sounds like it could be a 2-1 or 3-2 loss, unless Cano hits another one out. At that ballpark? Sure he can. He's the Most Valuable Player in the AL this season. There is no other viable candidate.

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The Yankees' Triple-A and Double-A farm teams were both eliminated from the Playoffs last night. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees lost to the former top Yankee farm team, the Columbus Clippers. And the Trenton Thunder, who won the Eastern League Pennant in 2007 and 2008, lost to the Altoona Curve.

Like the Thunder, the Curve are geographically close to their parent club, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course, none of the Curve's good players will become stars with the Pirates. The Pirates will trade them away when their chances of demanding high salaries goes up, and Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell will continue to weep from heaven.

(I'd say they'll turn over in their graves, but, alas, when Clemente's plane went down, neither it nor his body was ever found. There is no grave for him. Just memories of a man who was a star in life as well as in baseball.)

Joe Torre has officially retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, effective the end of the regular season, October 3, 2 weeks from now. Just as officially, their new manager will be Don Mattingly. He will continue to be in uniform for them, which means the Curse of Donnie Baseball is still in effect for them.

The Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles, won 16 Pennants in a 48-year stretch from 1941 to 1988 -- and just missed 5 others. They haven't won another since. That's right, they haven't won a Pennant since the Reagan Administration. Hiring Donnie Regular Season Baseball as their manager doesn't help.

I guess they didn't notice that, from 1996 to 2003, Joe Torre won 6 Pennants in 8 years, then hired Don Mattingly as his coach, and in the 7 seasons afterward, made the Playoffs 6 times but won no Pennants.

Not that this punishes Walter O'Malley any. That's been decided.

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Nice fake field goal to win the game in overtime for Michigan State over Notre Dame. Welcome to the "major leagues," Brian Kelly.

It's a disgrace that Ohio State was playing Ohio University (43-0), and an even bigger one that Oregon was playing Portland State (69-0). To a lesser extent, South Carolina should not have been playing in-State school Furman, although Furman did put up a little bit of fight. But the only good thing about these games is that the battered teams made a lot of money for their schools.

That, and it enabled Warner Wolf, the legendary sportscaster for New York's Channels 7 and 2, to say, in mockery of gamblers who care more about point spreads than results, "And if you had Portland State and 68 points... you lost!"

Rutgers had the week off, and will host North Carolina next Saturday. Carolina looked bad in losing at home to Georgia Tech yesterday. Georgia Tech is usually a good team, but this shows that the Tar Heels can be beaten. This will be a much better test for the Scarlet Knights than anybody they've faced so far.

East Brunswick High School had to move its game with Edison from 4,300-seat Jay Doyle Field to its adjacent practice field when the rain shorted out a transformer and zapped the lights. Fortunately, the practice field also has FieldTurf, a scoreboard and lights.

I guess it never occurred to anyone to postpone the game due to, you know, unsafe conditions. I know the NFL plays games in the rain, but we're not talking about adults here, men who can negotiate contracts that include massive insurance policies in the event their careers are ended by injury. We're talking about 14, 15, 16, 17-year-old kids who could be maimed for life, and would have little chance against the powerful lawyers of a board of education.

E.B. won the game, 20-12, coming back from 6-0 and 12-6 deficits. They've scored 6 touchdowns in their first 2 games, and running back Jared Lynch has scored all of them. But it shouldn't have been played that night.

Arsenal played like crap yesterday, but that's no excuse for them getting robbed. If I feel like it, I'll go into detail in another post.

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Days until the next North London Derby: 2, this Wednesday, at White Hart Lane, as Arsenal and Tottenham were drawn together in the Carling Cup, England's secondary cup tournament, formerly known as the League Cup. The next Premier League clash between the teams is 61 days away, on Saturday, November 20, at New Highbury.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 5, this Friday, at Yankee Stadium II.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 5, Friday night, at J.P. Stevens of Edison.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 6, Saturday afternoon, home to North Carolina.

Days until the Devils play hockey again: 19, on Friday, October 8, at home at the Prudential Center in Newark, against the Dallas Stars. Under 3 weeks.

Days until Rutgers and Army play the first college football game at the new Meadowlands Stadium: 27. Under 4 weeks.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: 35, on Sunday, October 24, at Madison Square Garden against The Scum. Then the Rags come to the Prudential on Friday, November 5. 5 weeks. The first game of the season against the Islanders is on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving, at the Nassau Coliseum, followed the next day by the first game of the season against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers, at The Rock.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 66. A little over 9 weeks.

Days until Derek Jeter collects his 3,000th career hit: 242 (estimated).

Days until the Rutgers-Army football game at Yankee Stadium: 418.

Days until the last Nets game in New Jersey: 573 (estimated).

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 676.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 759 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 1,029 (estimated).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 1,228.

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,692 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,716 (estimated).

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