Saturday, August 13, 2016

Yanks Beat Rays. Goodbye and Good Riddance, Alex.

Oh yes: In the midst of all this hoopla over Alex Rodriguez playing his last major league game, and never disgracing the New York Yankees ever again -- at least, not as an active player -- there was a game.

A-Rod started the game, at Yankee Stadium II, as the designated hitter, and batted 3rd. CC Sabathia was the starting pitcher, and he gave up a home run to longtime Yankee Killer Evan "Don't Call Me Eva!" Longoria in the top of the 1st inning, giving the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 lead.

But in the bottom of the 1st, Brett Gardner led off by getting hit with a pitch. He is expected to miss a few days. Jacoby Ellsbury struck out, but A-Rod smacked a drive into the right-center power alley. It went for a double, and drove Gardner in. It was his 3,115th career hit, his 548th career double, and his 2,086th career RBI. (He finishes with a .295 lifetime batting average, a .380 on-base percentage, a .550 slugging percentage, a 140 OPS+, and 696 home runs.) More importantly, it tied the game.

Longoria struck again in the 3rd, singling home a run to make it 2-1 Tampa Bay. A-Rod led off the bottom of the 4th by grounding to deep short. As a younger player, he probably would have beaten that out. But he's 41 now.

Nevertheless, the Yankees did strike in the inning. After A-Rod's groundout, Mark Teixeira (also retiring, but at the end of the season) singled. Brian McCann struck out, but Didi Gregorius doubled. A younger Teix would surely have scored on that double. Starlin Castro singled them both home, and it was 3-2 Yankees.

The Rays tied it back up in the top of the 5th. In the bottom of the 5th, A-Rod struck out to end the inning. But in the 6th, Teix singled and, surprisingly, stole 2nd. After 2 outs, Castro crushed a home run to left field, his 13th dinger of the season. Aaron Hicks led off the 7th with a homer, his 5th of the year.

A-Rod ended the inning, and his career at the plate, by grounding to shortstop Matt Duffy, off Rays reliever Ryan Garton. His 1st major league at-bat? It was on July 8, 1994, for the Seattle Mariners, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, against pitcher Chris Nabholz, in the bottom of the 3rd inning (he was about to turn 19, and batted 9th), and grounded to 3rd baseman Scott Cooper. The Sox won, 4-3. The last pitcher the M's used in that game? Our old friend Rich "Goose" Gossage, in one of his last appearances. Garton was 4 years old at the time.

In the top of the 9th, manager Joe Girardi sent A-Rod out to 3rd base, thus forfeiting the DH position. After Dellin Betances opened the inning with a strikeout, Girardi took A-Rod out, and he got a standing ovation -- from fans who remember 2009, and have apparently forgiven 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, his 2 busts for performance-enhancing drugs, and all the other annoyances over his 13 years in Pinstripes.

Betances ended up striking out the side in the 9th, finishing a decent pitching performance by CC for 6, Tyler Clippard in the 7th, Adam Warren in the 8th and himself in the 9th. Yankees 6, Rays 3. WP: Sabathia (7-9). SV: Betances (4). LP: Chris Archer (6-16).

Anyway, this means that there are no more players who were on a major league roster before the last strike, of 1994-95; and it leaves Gardner as the only remaining Yankee who played a home game at the old Yankee Stadium -- unless you count the left-and-returned Clippard.

Both Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin will make their Yankee debuts in this afternoon's game.

Alex Rodriguez? He will never play for the New York Yankees again. Thank God. And the far-from-divine Brian Cashman.

Goodbye, Alex. Goodbye, and good riddance.

*

By the way, has anybody noticed that the Yankees now have a better record than the Mets? And are closer to 1st place than the Mets? And that the Mets are under .500?

The Yankees are 59-56, 3 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Eastern Division. The Mets are 57-58, 10 1/2 games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League Eastern Division.

True, the Mets are still closer to their League's 2nd Wild Card slot than the Yankees are, if only slightly: The Yanks are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, the Mets 3 games behind the Miami Marlins.

But now, while the Yankees aren't exactly doing great, they have picked up a bit -- even without Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. While the Mets are back where they belong: In 2nd place in New York, under .500.

And the idiot Flushing Heathen thought they had taken back New York. Did they hell!

*

Hours until the New York Red Bulls play again: 7, tonight at 7:00, home to the Montreal Impact.

Hours until The Arsenal play another competitive match: 25, tomorrow, at 11:00 AM U.S. Eastern Time, home to Liverpool.

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 8, against D.C. United, a week from tomorrow night, at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington. The next game against the New England Revolution is on Sunday night, August 28, at Red Bull Arena. The next game against the Philadelphia Union is on Saturday night, October 1, at Red Bull Arena. There are no further games this regular season against New York City FC, although Metro could face them in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 20, on Friday, September 2, in a CONCACAF Qualifying Match for the 2018 World Cup, away to St. Vincent & the Grenadines. A little under 3 weeks. They should win, especially since they took on the best that Latin America had to offer in the Copa America, and reached the Semifinals before being knocked out by Argentina. This will be followed 4 days later by another Qualifier, against Trinidad & Tobago, at EverBank Field, home of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.

Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 22, on Saturday, September 3, away to the University of Washington, in Seattle. A little over 3 weeks.

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 27, on Friday, September 9, away to Sayreville, a.k.a. Sewerville. Hell of a place to begin the season, even if the opposition wasn't good -- and, since 1990, they usually have been. Under 4 weeks.



Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series: 33 on Thursday, September 15, at 7:00 PM, at Fenway Park. A little over a month.

Days until the New Jersey Devils play again: 61, on Thursday night, October 13, away to the Florida Panthers in the Miami suburb of Sunrise. Just 2 months. The home opener is 5 days later, on Tuesday night, October 18, against the Anaheim Ducks.

Days until the 2016 Presidential election: 87, on Tuesday, November 8. That's 13 weeks. Make sure you are registered to vote, and then make sure you vote!

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving game: 103, on Thursday morning, November 24, at the purple shit pit on Route 9. A little over 3 months.

Days until the New Jersey Devils play another local rival: 120. Their 1st game this season with the New York Rangers will be on Sunday night, December 11, at Madison Square Garden. Their 1st game this season with the Philadelphia Flyers will be on Thursday night, December 22, at the Prudential Center. By a quirk in the schedule, the New York Islanders, a team they usually play several times a season, don't show up on the slate until Saturday night, February 18, 2017, at the Prudential Center.

Days until The Contract From Hell runs out, and the Yankees no longer have to pay Alex Rodriguez any money: 505, on December 31, 2017.


Days until the next Winter Olympics begins in Pyeongchang, Korea: 545, on February 9, 2018.

Days until the next World Cup kicks off in Russia: 670, on June 14, 2018. 22 months. The U.S. team will probably qualify for it, but with Jurgen Klinsmann as manager, particularly in competitive matches such as World Cup Qualifiers, rather than in friendlies, you never know.

Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 1,441, on July 24, 2020.

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