Monday, May 16, 2011

Sorry Seems to Be the Harshest Word

The Yankees have gone beyond "slump" to "mess," on the field and off. At this rate, the Mets may sue them for copyright infringement.

I'll have more to say about the Jorge Posada situation in my next post, but it's telling that the Daily News and the Murdoch Post had the same back page headlines this morning: SORRY, SORRY NIGHT.

A play on Vincent van Gogh's painting Starry Night and Don McLean's tribute song "Vincent." Sure beats the front-page headlines they had the other day when it was revealed that the Navy SEALs found X-rated movies in the Abbottabad compound: The Daily News had "OSAMA PORN LADEN," and the Post had "OSAMA BIN WANKIN'!" I realize Rupert Murdoch is Australian/British, but I never expected to see the word "wank" in the headline of an American newspaper. Especially in tabloid letters, 3 inches high. Sort of like what bin Laden had when he watched those videos!

That I'd rather discuss that story tells you just how bad the Yankee situation is right now.

*

The less said about Saturday night's debacle, the better. Although I have to admit, I love the word "debacle."

Super Punk himself, Josh Beckett (3-1), pitched 6 shutout innings. I used to hate that guy solely because of that shutout he pitched for the Florida Marlins in what turned out to be the last World Series game ever played in the old Yankee Stadium (October 25, 2003). Then he signed with the Red Sox and got a bunch of features done about him, and we Yankee Fans made the rather interesting discovery that there was a better reason to hate him. His personality.

In contrast, CC Sabathia (3-3) has a great personality -- which, ironically, is what you say to someone when you're trying to fix them up with a fat person (or a homely one). But CC didn't have it on Saturday. The Yankees left 10 men on base and went down to (here's another word I like, though the context here is bad) an ignominious defeat, 6-0.

*

Last night, the Yankees fell behind 1-0, but by the 3rd inning were up 4-1 thanks to home runs by Andruw Jones (2nd) and Curtis Granderson (13th, though no longer leading the league thanks to a recent burst by Toronto's Jose Bautista). But Freddy Garcia (2-3) allowed 3 runs in the 3rd, and yet another home run by the fucking cheater David Ortiz in the 5th (seriously, why haven't the Yankees plunked this son of a bitch by now?), and the Yankees never caught up. Jon Lester (5-1) wasn't great but got the job done for Boston through 6.

Both teams scored in the 7th (the Sox on another homer by "Fack Youk" himself, Kevin Youkilis), but the Yanks should've gotten more against Daniel Bard, the Sox' answer to Kyle Farnsworth: Who cares whether it's a strike or not, look how fast it goes! They should not have swung the bat against him once, let him walk everybody until Terry Francona pulled him. Instead, they swung at some pitches, and hit grounders. The Sox got another one in the 8th, and the Yanks went down meekly as the insipid Jonathan Papelbon got his 7th save.

The highlight of the night -- or lowlight, depending on how you look at it -- was in the 8th, when Joe Girardi swallowed his pride and sent Posada up to pinch-hit. A huge ovation when up from the crowd. He'll never get another one like that in his life, and that's not a reflection on his character: Assuming he gets invited back to Old-Timers' Days, or gets his Number 20 retired and a Plaque for Monument Park, the ovations he gets on those days won't equal this one. Jorge did the smart thing, letting Bard walk him, but he ended up getting stranged.

*

The Yankees have now lost their last 5 straight, 11 of their last 15, and are only 2 games over .500, 2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, though just 1 in the loss column. And they start a 2-game series against the Rays in St. Petersburg tonight. The Red Sox, after one of the worst starts in recent memory, are up to .500, just 3 games back. So are the Toronto Blue Jays. The Baltimore Orioles are bringing up the rear, but not by much: All 5 AL East teams are within 3 1/2 games.

I'm not the manager of the Yankees, but if I were, I'd use this lineup, at least until Jeter, A-Rod and Swisher break out of their slumps:

1. Gardner LF
2. Granderson CF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Cano 2B
5. Rodriguez 3B
6. Martin C
7. Jeter SS
8. Swisher RF
9. Jones DH

Granted, Gardner's not exactly hitting, either. But the next step is to start benching guys, in addition to Posada. And do the Yankees really have alternatives to TWO outfielders who aren't hitting? The lineup may have to look like this:

1. Granderson CF
2. Teixeira 1B
3. Cano 2B
4. Rodriguez SS
5. Martin 3B (He can play the position)
6. Jesus Montero DH (called up from Scranton)
7. Cervelli C
8. Jordan Parraz RF (called up from Scranton)
9. Gardner LF (Scranton's LF, Chris Dickerson, is no improvement)

I know, it seems ridiculous to put a guy who is 2nd in the majors in home runs as the leadoff man, but who else in this is a leadoff man? Maybe Parraz.

And would Girardi have the guts to drop Jeter down -- or even out -- of the lineup? We saw how Cal Ripken cowed a few Oriole managers into submission to keep his streak going. Would Jeter do that? At this point, we can no longer put it past him.

Maybe Minka Kelly needs to go. After all, he started the 1998 season with a nasty slump, went on the road, away from his girlfriend of the time, Mariah Carey, started hitting, and dumped her. A year later, during one of her breakups with whatever Sean Combs was calling himself at the time (he's the Anaheim Angels of rappers), Jennifer Lopez was reported by the Daily News to be "canoodling" with Jeter at a nightclub, and then the Yankees went on the road, and Jeter went on a tear, and the next thing you heard from J-Lo was that she and Puffy were back together.

Frankly, I don't know what to do. But going on the road to face a 1st-place team is probably not what the doctor ordered.

Who knows. Stay tuned.

Jeter 2965 35
Rivera 572 29
A-Rod 619 144

*

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 5, this coming Saturday night, at the Houston Dynamo, 8:30 PM Central Time. I can't believe they lost to Chivas USA last night. And Arsenal lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, getting booed off the pitch by their own fans in their last home game. Talk about a bad way to end the season.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 22, starting Tuesday, June 7, at Yankee Stadium II. Just 3 weeks.

Days until the Red Bulls play another "derby": 26, on Saturday, June 11, against the team that should be considered their biggest rivals, the New England Revolution, at Red Bull Arena. Under 4 weeks. The next play the team that is usually considered their biggest rivals, D.C. United, on Saturday, July 9, at Red Bull Arena. And they next play their closest rivals, the Philadelphia Union, on Thursday night, October 20, at Red Bull Arena.

Days until Derek Jeter collects his 3,000th career hit: 41 (estimated to come on June 26 -- his 37th birthday). Just 6 weeks -- unless this slump continues.

Days until the next North London Derby: As yet unknown. The 2011-12 Premier League season begins on August 13, so it can't be any earlier than that. The schedule -- sorry, forgot to speak English there, the fixture list -- is usually released in the 2nd week in June.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 108, on Thursday, September 1, home to North Carolina Central.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 114, on Friday night, September 9, and the opponent and location are TBD.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: As yet unknown. The next season's schedule hasn't been released yet, save for the season-openers at the neutral but hockey-loving site of Helsinki, Finland, games that will include the Rangers. That will be on October 7. Figure the Devils' season opener will be the next day, which is 177 days from now. Figure they'll probably play a local rival, either the Rangers, the Islanders, or the Flyers soon thereafter, maybe a week after, so, tentatively, I'm going to say the number of days is: 152.

Days until the Rutgers-Army football game at Yankee Stadium: 180. Under 6 months.

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 292.

Days until the last Nets game in New Jersey: 342 (estimated, as the 3rd Sunday in April 2012 is the 22nd). Less than 1 year, unless new owner Mikhail Prokhorov decides he'll stay in the Prudential Center, the great new arena he's already got.

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 438 (July 27).

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 749 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 871 (estimated).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 993 (tentatively scheduled for February 2, 2014, although it could end up being moved back a week or 2).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,491 (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: 1,605 (estimated).

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