Sunday, September 28, 2014

And Now, the End Is Near, and So He'll Face the Final Curtain

In a few minutes, for the last time, Derek Jeter will play for the New York Yankees.

Then, the 2014 regular season will end, and the postseason will begin, without the Yankees.

I hate when that happens.

*

On Friday night, the Yankees began the last series of Jeter's career, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway. Jeter did not play. Chris Capuano, the former Red Sock, started for the Yankees. Sounds like a setup for a Boston victory, don't you think?

You could think, but you'd be wrong: Capuano pitched his best game in a Yankee uniform, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing 1 run, unearned, on 4 hits and no walks, striking out 5.

The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning, but an RBI single by Francisco Cervelli and a throwing error on a John Ryan Murphy grounder gave the Yanks the lead in the top of the 3rd. Zelous Wheeler hit a sacrifice fly in the 6th to get another run home.

Shawn Kelley relieved Capuano in the 7th, and allowed a home run to rookie Rusnie Castillo, making the game rather precarious, especially in Fenway. But Adam Warren and David Robertson shut the Sox down the rest of the way.

Yankees 3, Red Sox 2. WP: Capuano (3-4). SV: Robertson (39). LP: Steven Wright (0-1) -- not to be confused with the comedian Steven Wright, who's from Cambridge, Massachusetts, across the Charles River from Boston, and a big Red Sox fan: "I bought some batteries, but they weren't included. So I had to buy them again."

*

Yesterday, Jeter did play, as the designated hitter. He said he wouldn't play shortstop in this final series. He went 1-for-2, before leaving for a pinch-hitter.

The game was lost early. Masahiro Tanaka, making his 2nd start since coming off the Disabled List, allowed a run in the 1st, and then fell apart in the 2nd, allowing 4 hits and 2 walks before Joe Girardi took him out. Preston Claiborne was no better. When the bleeding finally stopped, 8 runs had been scored in the inning.

After that, it was just a matter of playing the game out, and seeing what happened. Red Sox 10, Yankees 4. WP: Joe Kelly (4-2). LP: Tanaka (13-5).

*

Today is the regular season finale. Presuming he plays, it will be Derek Jeter's last game. Yesterday, most Red Sox fans cheered him. Some booed. It remains to be seen if there's a ceremony before the game. Most teams have had one, offered gifts and contributions to his Turn 2 Foundation.

Michael Pineda is set to start for the Yankees, Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox.

*

Yesterday's North London Derby was not fun. Arsenal should have beaten Tottenham about 4-0. Instead, it was a 1-1 draw, and I don't want to talk about it.

This will show you the difference between the clubs: The Tottenham fans celebrated it like they'd won the League -- like they'd know -- while the Arsenal fans were furious at not getting a win.

Rutgers got a win yesterday, beating Tulane 31-6 at home. That's nice, how about beating a Big Ten team? They had the chance against Penn State, but blew it. Now, the real schedule begins. They're going to be yelling for their mothers.

Europe won the Ryder Cup. I'm not distressed, since I don't like golf.

Mike Lupica wrote a column in today's Daily News, stating that, because he's quarterbacked 2 World Championship teams, Eli Manning of the Giants is now the face of New York sports. He's right. Who else could it be? No other Yankee. No Met, not even David Wright. No Jet. No Knick. No Net. Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers? Don't make me laugh. After Eli, the closest any Tri-State Area athlete comes is Patrik Elias of the Devils -- especially since Martin Brodeur is, officially, no longer signed with the Devils (or any other team).

It is odd, though: When was the last time you saw a quarterback take a handoff?


*

Minutes until Derek Jeter's last regular-season game: Just a few. Then again, considering it's against the Sox, especially at Fenway, the game could last for hours.

Hours until the Red Bulls play again: 7, tonight at 8:30 PM, away to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": Unknown, as the last one for this season has been played. The Red Bulls are now likely to make the Playoffs, as are D.C. United and the New England Revolution, while the Philadelphia Union also have a shot, so another derby this season is possible.

Days until Arsenal play again: 3, this Wednesday, 2:45 in the afternoon our time, home to Istanbul, Turkey club Galatasaray, in the Champions League.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 4, this Thursday night, home to Edison. It is being played on a Thursday night because Friday night is the beginning of Yom Kippur. Yesterday, EB lost to 40-13 to North Brunswick, the one team we beat last year (and that, barely, only 14-12 at home). In 2 games, we've given up 88 points and scored only 13. It's going to be a long season.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 6, this Saturday at 7:00 PM, home to Big Ten titans Michigan. At least Michigan is also struggling at this point, but it's Michigan, so who's kidding who?

Days until the Devils play again: 11. They open on Thursday, October 9, away to the Philadelphia Flyers. Under 2 weeks. They once again get screwed by Commissioner Gary Bettman and his schedulemakers, this time having to play 4 road games before their home opener, on Saturday, October 18, at 7:00 PM, vs. the San Jose Sharks.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: See the previous answer. The first game against The Scum is Tuesday night, October 21, at the Prudential Center. The first game against the Islanders is Saturday night, November 29, at the Nassau Coliseum. The Devils' last trip to Uniondale, before the Isles move to Brooklyn, is Monday night, December 15.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 12, on Friday, October 10, at 7:00 PM, a friendly, home to Ecuador, at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut. Under a month. The following Tuesday, they will play another Latin American team, Honduras, in a friendly at Florida Atlantic University's stadium in Boca Raton, Florida. There will be one more match in the calendar year, another friendly, against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin (built on the site of their former home, Lansdowne Road), on Tuesday afternoon (evening, local time), November 18.

Days until the next East Brunswick vs. Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 60, on Thursday morning, November 27, at 10:00 AM. Only 2 months.

Days until New York City FC make their Major League Soccer debut: Unknown, but a new MLS season usually begins on the 2nd Saturday in March, which would be March 14, 2015. That's 167 days. A little under 6 months. Whether it will be a home game, and thus at the new Yankee Stadium, is yet to be determined.

Days until the next North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham: 132, on Saturday, February 7, 2015, at White Hart Lane -- unless the teams are paired in the FA Cup before then, as they were in the 3rd Round last season. A little over 4 months.

Days until Alex Rodriguez is eligible to play for the Yankees again: 185 -- presuming, that is, that 2015's Opening Day is on April 1, and wouldn't it just work out that way, that A-Rod is again allowed to play a regular-season game for the Yankees on April Fool's Day? Anyway, that's a little over 6 months.

Days until the New York Islanders' last game at the Nassau Coliseum: 195, on April 11, 2015, at 7:00 PM, against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 209, on Friday, April 10, 2015, at 7:00 PM, at the new Yankee Stadium.

Days until the Islanders' first home game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn: Unknown, but an NHL regular season usually begins on the 1st Friday in October, which would be October 2, 2015. That's 370 days. That's just over 1 year. Or, to put it another way, "370 Sleeps Till Brooklyn." Until then, even with their 4 straight long-ago Stanley Cups, they're just a Small Club In Hempstead.

Days until Euro 2016 begins in France: 622, on Friday, June 10. Under 21 months.

Days until the next Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 679, on Friday, August 5, 2016. A little over 22 months.

Days until the next World Cup begins in Russia: 1,352, on Friday June 8, 2018. Under 4 years.

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