Greetings from Ocean City, New Jersey, 106 miles from home, and 140 miles from Yankee Stadium. It's just hot enough to be nice, and not hot enough to be too hot. And, while the town is full of Phillies fans, that's okay: We both hate the Mets.
The Yankees took 2 out of 3 from the Colorado Rockies this weekend. The Friday night game featured a home run by ex-Yankee Jason Giambi, the 423rd of his career; and another by Troy Tulowitzki, the Rockie shortstop who says he wears Number 2 in tribute to Derek Jeter. The Rockies won it, 4-2.
WP: Ubaldo Jimenez (3-7). Save: Huston Street (24), the former Oakland Athletics closer whose father, James Street, was the quarterback of the University of Texas' 1970 National Champion football team. (Squawker Lisa, take note!) LP: A.J. Burnett (7-6), who was, mostly, "Good A.J.," but just didn't get the support.
The Saturday game was another story. CC Sabathia (10-4) was on the mound and fantastic, becoming the first pitcher to reach 10 wins this season. (Roy Halladay became the second yesterday.) CC says, however, that what matters is not the individual achievement but the team title, and, of course, he's right. (See under "Yankee, True.")
Aaron Cook (0-3) was the losing pitcher in an 8-3 Yankee win, partly due to a home run by Mark Teixeira.
Then came yesterday. For the first time that I can remember (if I remember correctly), Old-Timers' Day was not on a Saturday. It was a Sunday, and the usual greats were there, including Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Reggie Jackson, plus their fellow Monument Parker Ron Guidry.
New to Old-Timers' Day -- at least, as "official" Old-Timers, were former manager Joe Torre, former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella (both of whom have been managing elsewhere), former center fielder Bernie Williams (who got the biggest ovation of the day except for the long, drawn-out huzzahs for Torre, and then doubled in the Old-Timers' Game), and former first baseman Tino Martinez, who took a pitch that David Cone set up for him, and hit a home run. There have been a few homers hit in Old-Timers' Games at Yankee Stadium, although I think this is the first one in the new Stadium.
Also noteworthy is that Joe Pepitone, the Yankee first baseman of the 1960s, still refuses to admit that he's bald, but he finally admits that he's gray: Unwilling to shave a now-white goatee (which Yankee management, even before George Steinbrenner, wouldn't have let him get away with), his toupee is now gray.
And in the real game, the current Yanks did the Old-Timers proud: Ivan Nova was fine for 5 innings, but got into trouble in the 6th. Hitting 2 homers for the Rockies was Ty Wiggington, who drove the Yankees nuts in Interleague games when he played for the Mets.
But the Yankees came from behind, and won, 6-4. This was due in large part to homers by Jorge Posada, the 269th of his career; Nick Swisher, the 171st of his career; and Teixeira, the 298th of his career. Wow, with all the attention on Derek Jeter for 3,000 hits and Mariano Rivera for the all-time saves record, we didn't notice that Teix was approaching a milestone, too -- although hardly at the same level.
WP: Boone... whoa, it was Boone Logan? (2-2) Maybe he's getting straightened out after all -- and if the Daily News article yesterday was right, it was due to advice by... Alex Rodriguez? You'd think the only thing he knows about pitching is how to hit it. SV: Rivera (20). LP: Matt Belisle (5-3).
The Yankees now have a day off, as their former opponents from the American League Eastern Division, now in the National League Central, the Milwaukee Brewers, come to town for a 3-gamer starting tomorrow night at The Stadium. Then it's off to aptly-named Flushing for 3 against the Mets.
Sadly, gas masks are not permitted as part of a regulation baseball uniform.
Oh yeah, the Yankees are back in first place, leading the Boston Red Sox by half a game, one game in the All-Important Loss Column.
The Yankees were in first place when Old-Timers' Day began, and still in first place when it ended. Now THAT seems like Old Times.
Jeter hits 2994 6
Rivera saves 579 23
A-Rod homers 626 137
A-Rod hits 2752 248
Magic Number 85