Saturday, May 7, 2011

Curtis Granderson: You Like This

Last night, I did something I've never done before. I "Facebook Liked" a Yankee who has not yet helped the team win a World Series, or even a Pennant.

I'll give you all a minute to get the smelling salts for Subway Squawker Lisa. Hee hee.

Anyway, the player in question is Curtis Granderson. He homered in the 1st inning last night, to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead over the Texas Strangers before the Strangers could even come to bat.

That's what I like to see. As the man who built the first Yankee Dynasty, Colonel Jacob Ruppert would say, my idea of a perfect game is as follows: "It's when the Yankees score eight runs in the first inning, and then slowly pull away."

(Obviously, that's not the same definition that Don Larsen, David Wells and David Cone have, but I'm sure they'd welcome the offensive support.)

Anyway, I haven't been on Facebook all that long (and I'm there under my real name, which I've debated whether or not to mention here, rather than as "Uncle Mike"), so I never had the chance to "Like," and then regret "Liking," such former Yankees as Gary Sheffield, Jason Giambi, Randy Johnson and Aaron Boone. Okay, I wouldn't regret "Liking" Aaron Boone, even if he did only get 2 important hits (and the 2nd one was in a World Series we ended up losing anyway).

The Yankees scored again in the 3rd, and then in the 7th, Granderson hit another one. That makes 10 on the season, to lead the American League and to share the major league lead with Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and 2 former Yankees, Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs and Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Grandy Man has 10 (and almost got an 11th in the 8th, but it was just foul, close enough to get John Sterling worked into a "And there it goes! But it goes foul!"), and it was only May 6.

(Which, by the way, was the 80th birthday of Willie Mays. Happy Birthday to the Say Hey Kid. A big man in baseball, but still gets called a kid for the boyish enthusiasm he brought to the game, and for the way he still makes us all feel like kids, even those of us not old enough to remember him as an active player.)

Ivan Nova (3-2) pitched his best major league game yet, taking a shutout into the bottom of the 8th, before Texas tallied. Rafael Soriano got out of the 8th, and then Mariano Rivera did the Mariano Rivera job in the bottom of the 9th, for his 12th save (571st of his career). Yankees 4, Rangers 1. (Matt Harrison was the losing pitcher, 3-4.)

Derek Jeter went 1-for-4, putting him at 2,954 career hits. Alex Rodriguez also went 1-for-4, keeping him at 618 home runs, but his career hit total is now 2,697, which ain't exactly chopped liver. Even Baltimore chopped liver.

Game 2 of the series is tonight, 8:05 Eastern Time. Bartolo Colon goes for the Pinstripes, Matt Harrison for the Strangers.

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I saw a map the other day, showing the various parts of the U.S. divided into 30 areas in which each team holds sway. The Mets' region included North Jersey. I'm a bit offended by that.

If New England is "Red Sox Nation," does that make the St. Louis Cardinals' sphere of influence "Musialstan"?

I don't like golf, but let me say a kind word for Severiano Ballesteros Sota, better known as Seve Ballesteros. The native of Cantabria in northern Spain won the British Open 3 times and the Master twice between 1979 and 1988, and won the Ryder Cup with the European team 4 times as a player and once as non-playing Captain. He suffered from complications of a brain tumor for 3 years, and died today at age 4.

Today is St. Totteringham's Day, the day when it is assured that Arsenal will finish ahead of its North London rival, Tottenham Hotspur, in Premier League play. Spurs (not to be confused with the San Antonio basketball team -- they deserve respect and their fans are not dirty bastards) could only manage a draw against Blackpool today, meaning the most points they can finish with in Premiership play is 65. Arsenal already have 67. Now, coming off their first appearance in the Champions League since 1962 (when it was still called the European Cup), they may not qualify for European play at all for next season.

Arsenal visit Stoke City tomorrow, their first visit since Stoke's Ryan Shawcross broke the leg of Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey, putting him out of action for a year. Stoke's next game will be next Saturday, in the FA Cup Final at the new Wembley Stadium, against Manchester City. I hope they get shredded in both games.

Elsewhere in soccer, tonight, the New York Red Bulls visit the Los Angeles Galaxy. I hope Thierry Henry and company smash David Beckham, Landon Donovan and all the rest.

Actually, Beckham nearly smashed himself yesterday. He was trying to avoid a stalled car on Interstate 405, the San Diego Freeway, outside of Los Angeles, but couldn't quite do it, and clipped the car. His son, Brooklyn, was in the car with him. His wife, formerly known as Victoria Adams and Posh Spice, was not in the car. No one was hurt.

I'm glad he's okay, but I hope he gets his feelings hurt by the Red Bulls tonight. Game time is 11:00, Eastern Time.

Animal Kingdom, ridden by John Velazquez, just won the Kentucky Derby. Great run in "The Run For the Roses," a.k.a. "The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports."

Churchill Downs is almost ruined with those skyboxes, nearly blocking out those iconic twin spires. Nevertheless, the venerable old track in Louisville hosted its biggest crowd ever today, 164,858.

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Jeter 2954 46
Rivera 571 30
A-Rod 618 145
Magic Number 130 (to eliminate Rays, 126 for Scum, O's and Jays)

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