Tagged: Ramblings

It’s ok

It’s OK, really! I am not happy, don’t get me wrong. I wanted to be done with the ALDS on Friday! And we SHOULD have swept them. But, like I said, it’s OK. Verlander was the one pitcher I thought could slow down the bats, and he did. Aside from Johnny Damon, he ruled the Yanks. Well, Matsui got 3 hits, which gave us one of the runs. A-Rod missed a big opportunity to redeem himself with the bases loaded and 2 outs. But Verlander should get more credit for the K, then A-Rod should be condemned for it. The Yanks threw away opportunities throughout the game. Including the last up, Johnny Damon, with Melky pinch running off Matsui’s last hit on 1st.

Has anyone ever heard the best defense against great hitting is great pitching? Well that’s what happened today. Verlander is the man today, and deserves all the credit. The Yanks had a great inning (the 4th) and 8 poor innings of offense.

Mike Mussina pitched OK, I can’t say he was bad at all. Normally, 4 runs would be just fine when you consider the Yanks average nearly 7 runs a game. Which brings me to Brian Bruney. His inning may well have been the brightest spot of the afternoon for Yankee fans, at least after the 4th inning. Struck out the 1st two batters, and fielded the 3rd batters shot to throw him out at 1st. 1-2-3, nice and fast and efficient. He looked great!

OK, so on to Motor City for the Big Unit Friday Night. I still don’t know how I feel about him pitching Friday. OK, that’s not true. I’d rather he did NOT pitch Friday. I think we can do better without him! If he pitches, we will probably need 8 or 9 runs to win… I hope I am completely wrong. I hope his back is better, and he is the Randy of…. well the Randy that is GOOD would be fine. He doesn’t have to throw a shutout, but he can’t be giving up homers like hot dog vendors.

So the series is tied at 1. Nothing is surprising in this ALDS so far, for any of the teams. The Yanks were the only home team that didn’t lose Tuesday! We must move on, we are champions. We will move on, and we will conquer, of this I have no doubt. But I still did not want to lose today!!! This is too good of a team to have the offense shutdown. Did I mention Verlander deserves some credit here? I think we lucked out not having him in game 1, since he probably won’t be available for game 5 if needed.

We face Kenny Rogers on Friday. Too bad he wasn’t pitching in the boogie down, we know how that works for him! But lets face it, he has 17 wins this season, and a nice ERA @ 3.84. On paper he looks better than most of our staff. He’s got more wins than Moose, and certainly a better ERA than the big unit. If stats do make predictions, this should end with the Yanks winning 7-4. Again, lets pray for The good unit to show up.

Till next time,

Spags

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View from M15 ALDS Game 1

Wow. This is embarrassing! Almost TWO MONTHS since I have posted anything at all! This was not my intention when I signed up for this blog at all. I have been so busy I have not had time for anything. I watch what games I can, when I can, usually after they are over via mlb.tv. But with the new baby, the other baby, and working tons of overtime, I just haven’t been able to get on here and type. So I apologize to all the people who follow my blog; both of you!

I have been following all along the last two months of course. What a September to remember! I won’t bore you with a retake. But let me summarize with this: JETER=MVP.

I decided I needed to commit more time to Baseball, and my sanity, so I splurged and bought a ticket to the ALDS Game 1 Yesterday. Got the ticket from stubhub for about $145 for a really decent seat! I went alone, something I have never done before, so I could really concentrate on the game. I really had a good time overall, the fans around me were really nice. My seat was on the main level by 1st at the back wall, so I had nobody behind me except the elevated section, which allowed me to stand as much as I wanted. Plus I had an end seat. I really would not mind these seats all the time! Section M15 Row E Seat 23. The guy next to me was an ex Yankee employee who shared some stories, but I am not a small guy, and he was even bigger. I was really glad I had the ability to stand because it was QUITE cramped trying to sit.

Here is what my view was like:
Pict1661_sm_4 

The game did not disappoint, nor surprise. My call before the start was 9-3 Yanks, not far off the 8-4 final. Abreu, Giambi and Jeter shined the brightest, but everyone did well. Wang did not have his “best stuff” it seemed, but he sure got the job done. It seemed like he left a few pitches a little too high. The home plate ump must have been on valium. It seemed to take him forever to make a strike call, especially when it was a 3rd strike. And this seemed to get worse through the game. When A-Rod struck out, I’m not sure anyone realized what had even happened! Then he couldn’t see anything but balls when Farnsworth came out. Like 7 balls called in a row! When he finally called strike three again, it was another long delay, but he finally gave Kyle the K.

The stand out was of course, El Capitan,  Derek Jeter. FIVE FOR FIVE!!! The fifth coming in the form of a solo Homer into the black bleachers. Unreal, seriously. Abreu? How’s about 4 RBIs. 2 more came from Giambi, 1 each from Jeets and Shef. The lefties did great against the mediocre Nate Robertson, who wasn’t so mediocre against lefties most of the year. In fact he was lights-out against them in 2006, until he faced the YANKEES in OCTOBER. He only gave up two homers to lefties in 2006, one of them was to Giambi last night! In fact he has only given up 35 TOTAL HITS against lefties, including what he gave up last night. I understand why they gave him the first start, but it just didn’t work out. I really like the guy though, so I almost feel bad for him.

Shef at 1st? Awesome! He had a nice stretch, and really surprised me with how well he played. With Shef back in the lineup….. well look at it this way, our weakest hitter in the lineup now is possibly Jorge Posada, which is really saying something. I’d want Jorge up in the clutch over most players in the league! I have said it before, but it bears repeating. The opposing pitcher has nobody to pitch around, nobody to walk, NO BREAKS in the lineup from 1 through 9!

Look at the lineup from Tuesday night:

  1. Johnny Damon
  2. Derek Jeter
  3. Bobby Abreu
  4. Gary Sheffield
  5. Jason Giambi
  6. Alex Rodriguez
  7. Hideki Matsui
  8. Jorge Posada
  9. Robinson Cano

Our number NINE was 3rd in the AL in BA! How many #9s hit .340??? Is there ANY batter there that a pitcher would feel good about facing? That lineup may ALL end up in Cooperstown. This IS the MURDERS ROW of the new Millennium.

Well this may be a fairly lame post, but it is the best I can do with the time I have to do this today. Hopefully I can get a little better for the next 10 October wins the Yanks will have, before achieving #27.

Until next time!

Spags

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3 up and 3 down

As in, The Yanks are 3 games up in 1st place, or the Red Sox are three games down. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The Yanks are lucky the Red Sox got swept, while the White Sox had their way with them. It’s not like there were any blowout games. All three of the Games in the windy city could have gone either way.

I had written a long post on the rubber game that somehow got lost during the publishing process. This really upset me. I had put a lot of time in it. Mostly it was about Randy Johnson. But now I have had more time to think about it. I don’t know WHAT to do with this guy! Good thing it isn’t up to me, huh? I think it just comes down to age. Sometimes he’s got it, and sometimes he don’t. When he does, he is awesome, when he doesn’t, it’s REALLY bad. So what will Joe do come September or in the playoffs??? He should not be #1, I have said that before. Moose, then Wang, then Johnson. That should work OK for September. But come playoffs, I just don’t know if we want him in AT ALL! OK, here come all the "With that salary?", "He’s a post-season veteran!", "It’s Randy #*@*^ Johnson!" replies. Yeah, I know that. I supported the Johnson trade when it happened to, hoping we would get "the old Randy", not the OLD Randy. We can’t afford to give away games in playoffs. But Randy may be a great PEN pitcher for the playoffs! "huh?" Yeah, I said it. Why not? **** lets face it; the guy has a real temper. He might get so pissed off that he comes out and shells every batter he faces. Warning to camera men: keep cameras out of Randy’s face during this time period.

Someone please play catch with A-Rod.

Kudos to the new guys! Abreu finally got a homer, and has been a great addition to the team thus far. So has Wilson! Lidle has still only had the one start, we will see how he does tonight against the Angels. Good Luck Corey!

Robbie Cano: WELCOME BACK! You wouldn’t know he was ever injured from his swing. Since his return, he has gone 5 for 9, and his defense has been good to great. Had to love that over-the-shoulder Jeter/Mantle style basket catch.

It was a big relief (could that be Randy’s new name?) to see Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi both back in the game. I was worried we were going to lose one or both of them for a few games, glad they were mild injuries.

That’s all for now. What do you expet before 5 AM? 🙂

Spags

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We are watching history in the making

Pict1402_1 The history of World Championship #27! We are watching it right now. I’m not the kind of guy who claims every year that this is our year again. But I really believe it this year.

Steady pitching will be the key! First off, the rotation should not be starting with Johnson anymore. The Yanks REAL ace is Moose! Johnson is not even a #2 at this point. Rotation should be Mussina, Wang, Johnson, Lidle, Wright, with the later two swapable. Lidle looked GREAT 1st time out, but still a question mark. Wright has done real well his last two outings. Not hit by any balls OR bats, but still only giving 6 innings. With the pen the way it’s been, 6 is OK, as long as we are in the game. That’s all our pitchers need to do though, is keep us in the game. They don’t need to throw shutouts, although you won’t hear anyone complain when it happens. The bats will pervail more times than not. Game 2 of the recent Baltimore series was the exception more than the rule, that’s a fluke. All year the Yanks have bounced back WELL when shut down offensively. In fact whenever they get shut down, I almost feel bad for the team they play next game.

Lidle was, in my humble opinion, a much bigger acqusition than most people seem to say. He was a footnote on the Abreu trade deal. Wilson was almost a footnote to his own trade, barely mentioned. These trades were huge, hats off to Cash again. But we needed that #5 pitcher so bad. Our combined #5 (Chacon, Ponson, etc) up until Lidle on a scale of 1-10 were a 10, 10 being their ERA! If Lidle brings an ERA down the stretch of what seems a very doable 4.5, the bats should win most of the games.

I can’t say enough lately about the pen! Primarily Scott Proctor, but Farnsworth deserves his due for sure. That Mariano Rivera guy seems to be working out well too. Not sure why Joe isn’t using Mike Myers more. Sure he is only a LOOGY, but use him that way! Plus he was great in all the Austin Powers movies. I think we will see him more down the stretch though. We will see how Joe manages the pen when playing Boston in all those key games coming up. I don’t see Joe pulling Proctor or Farnsworth when big papi comes up, but Myers could make for a good transition from one to the other, if the timing is right.

So why this year? Well the stars are aligned right now! Boston got the big injury hit now. NOT as bad as the Yanks had, but bad. All year long, we have been on Bostons heels. That was WITH all our big injuries. Think about it. We did what we did with Matsui, Sheffield, and Cano out, not to mention Pavano, Dotel, etc. Boston was at 100% strength that whole time! Now the tables have turned a little, and we gained ground, passed, and are currently holding. Boston picked up Javy Lopez to help with the hurt captain. BTW, I don’t wish injuries on ANYONE, but if it had to happen to a Sawk, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Varitek. OK, so Boston was healthy, we weren’t. We got some new blood, and that made us better now. The young blood had stepped up NICELY during our injured time, especially Melky and Cairo (now He’s hurt!). But we STILL don’t have Matsui, Shef, and Cano!!! Give us back our other 3 all-star players in September, and I believe we are TRULY unstopable this year. Throw Dotel into the mix, and maybe even Pavano, on a 40 man roster, and we have a fearsome pitching rotation, and pen. The defense has not been a real problem at all.

The bats? Fahgitaboudit! The only team that is close, as usual, is Boston. But really only the top of their order. We will have it all the way through! The Yanks were in 2nd place in total runs scored most of the year WITH ALL THE INJURIES! We will no doubt rise to 1st, and stay there. We will have hitting, power, baserunning, stealing, everything!

The lineup could look like this:
Damon
Jeter
Abreu
Giambi
A-Rod
Matsui
Cano
Shef
Posada

That’s like having TWO SETS of "top of the lineup" lineups! Numbers 5-8 could be the top 4 on ANY team, and do well. The opposing pitchers will have NO easy outs, no "breaks". Who you gonna walk to get to? Everyone is protected, and it doesn’t really matter WHAT order you put these guys in. Although i am very curious to see how Joe does that. I would assume it will depend more on the other teams pitcher than anything else. Nobody in baseball will have a batting lineup like this! Have they ever? This will be the new Murders Row! I can’t wait. My Birthday is September 1st, my gift will be the lineup mentioned above. Happy Birthday to me!

Just watch, and enjoy the rest of the year, ’cause we will be looking back on this as (another) historical year.

LETS GO YANKS!

Spags

Tommy John Enters the World

Tj600_1

OK, I’m exhausted, but excited, so I had to post this real fast before I go to bed.

TOMMY JOHN has entered the world tonight. Obviously I don’t mean the old Yanks pitcher here. Thomas John Spagnolo.

My Wife gave birth on August 4th at 9:37 PM. TJ weighed in at 8 Lbs. 7 Ozs @ 20". Mom and Baby are doing great. What can I say, I’m a proud Papa, again. So I had to brag a little.

Way to go Yanks! Five in a row, and 1 game up in first! Can’t comment on the game, only saw the score. Nice outing Yesterday too, boy am I falling behind! I was real glad about what I heard of Lidle’s 1st outing, and Mr. Wilson sounds like he is fitting in fine. love the new trades so far!

Spags

August 2nd, 1979

It was a hot day the way I remember it. Not as hot maybe as it is today, but it was hot. I was at my friends house, hanging out with a few other friends. I was 15 years old. The Yankees had one of the best teams they ever put together, and they meant more to me than almost anything in my life at that time. They were a VERY special group to me. I had baseballs at home with ALL their signatures on them. Some singles, some with the whole team, some with 5 or 6 of the players, scribed with sayings like "to a chip off the old blockhead – your Dads kinda ugly, but your alright" #15 – Thurman Munson.

My Father was a drunk. He isn’t any more, he has been sober for years now. But most children of alcoholics look back at horror stories of their parents. I had my share of them too, but my Father was a HAPPY DRUNK, and very well liked. He hung out in a bar called "The Orangeburg Pub" back then, quite often. So did the players after games! So he brought me a few times. Sometimes we would stop on the way home from a game. The first time, I was BLOWN AWAY. I walked in, and there are all of my idols, sitting around having beers, waving ME and my FATHER over. Thurman Munson. Catfish Hunter. Sparky Lyle. etc….

I don’t have any of the balls I got signed over the years, or any of the programs or shirts or my old glove with all the sigs. My house burned down in the early 80s, and all that stuff with it. I don’t remember what the last day was that I went with my Dad to The Orangeburg Pub, or what day was his last trip. But I know neither one of us ever went again after August 2nd, 1979.

Back to that hot day with my friends, we were just hangin out, not doing much. It was too hot to play ball, we were probably just talking about girls, or how much disco ******, or how our sideburns were coming in. Or maybe we were talking about the racial tension that seemed to be back in NY the worse I had seen since the first year they did bussing. I don’t really know what we were talking about. I do know we had the radio on, but not what song had just finished. It was Probably Pink Floyd: Another brick in the wall Part 2. That song was on pretty much around the clock then. I can’t even recall exactly what the guy on the radio said, but it didn’t much matter how he said it. The message was very clear.

282munson_cover
Thurman Munson had crashed in his plane on landing, and was killed. Thurman Munson was dead! Our Yankee Captain! The best player I knew of in my generation. Dead! This can’t be! Gotta be some sick joke WPLJ was playing on us! Turn on a news or sports channel! We switched over to AM, it didn’t take much scanning on the dial to find someone else talking about it. We just stood there looking at the radio, or the ground. There were no Mets fans among us, and certainly no fans of any other teams. Every one of us in that group had lived in the Bronx (although at that point we all lived in Westchester). We bled Pinstripes. It was different back then, too. We all played baseball growing up, watched it whenever we could, and went to games all the time. We all went with our parents, and we went on our own when we could get a few bucks together for a bleacher ticket. I think it was like $1.50 back then. $5.00 would get us TO the game, into the game, a soda, and home.

We lived and breathed baseball. Not on video games, we actually played the real game. Along with stickball, stoopball, run the bases, wiffle ball, and half ball. If it was anything LIKE baseball, we played it. Kids today, I am sad to say, are different. My own Son knows the players from playing on Playstation. Not from watching the games, having baseball cards, or going to games.

15_1
So when I say we were DEEPLY affected by this, I mean it. My Son could never understand this. He’d be upset, or shocked if it happened to a current player, but it wouldn’t do what it did to us, or at least, to me. When my Father came home, he had tears in his eyes when he saw me. That was the second time I ever saw my Father cry. The first time was when his Father died. I was upset with my friends, we were all upset. We got depressed talking about it, and decided to all go home. But when I saw my Father, thats when the  tears flowed. We weren’t real close any more, to be honest. But this was a tragedy, and Family Tragedies always bring Family back together, at least for a little while. It was like a dream, but it was real, too real. This was a great man! I know "cmon, he was a ball player". NOT TO ME. And ask any Yankee that played with him if he was "just a ball player". Take a look at the video here that Guidry did, talking about Thurm on the anniversary of his death.

Thurman Munsons last words: "Are you guys okay?". The following is from a story in the Daily News, published July 4, 2004 read the whole story HERE. It’s worth reading!

He was also a hero in the last moments of his
life, says Jerry Anderson, who survived the crash and believes he owes
his life to Munson’s poise and tenacity.

 

"He flew that plane right to the ground," Anderson says. "He never gave
up. The same attitude that he took to the plate in the ninth inning of
a 3-3 game is what saved my life."

I wish I could express my feelings better with words. I wish I was a better writer, at least for this one story. I go to Yankee Games still to this day, almost always wearing a #15 jersey. I have other players jerseys, but they don’t mean anything more than just a Yankee Shirt. Just like wearing a Giants Jersey, no big deal, I am just showing my favorite teams. NOT when I put on a #15 Jersey though. That’s a tribute to the man, not the team. Thurman probably would have resented that.

Cap, you will never be forgotten, just like it says on your plaque in Memorial Park.

Sign a petition to put Thurman Munson in the hall of fame!

Visit the official Thurman Munson Site, ThurmanMunson.Com.

Or visit a blog named for getting the cap into the HOF.

Spags

Chase’s Chase

Utley Subtitle: Uterley Amazing!

I have to comment on this now. As a baseball fan in general, you gotta love this guy. Chase Utley hit in his 33rd consecutive game tonight! This is truly outstanding. If his streak ended right now, he could be really proud to add that to his already all-star year. That number ties him for 17th place in all-time hitting streaks. But that doesn’t really tell you how great this is. In the 2000’s, only ONE other guy has had a longer streak. In 2002, Luis Castillo did it for 35 games with The Marlins, which placed him in a tie for 10th, with a guy named Ty Cobb, way back in 1917. Cobb also had a 40 game streak in 1911. in 2003 Albert Pujols went for 30 games, making Chase only the third player in this century to go 30 games or more.

Only 6 players EVER went past 40 games, with number two, Willie Keeler with 44 for Baltimore back in 1897. Of course, the gauntlet was set by The Yankee Clipper, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio with 56 in 1941. Some people say that is the one record in baseball that will never be broken. I disagree, to the extent that I don’t think it is IMPOSSIBLE. I do think it is highly unlikely. And I don’t feel that way for the fact he was a Yankee. It’s just an AMAZING FEAT. The only record in baseball I say is IMPOSSIBLE to beat is complete games pitched, by of course Cy(clone) Young with 749 COMPLETE GAMES. For a Pitcher to BEAT that, he would have to Start in 30 games a year, for 25 years, and complete ALL THOSE GAMES. I just don’t see that being possible, ever. Oh yeah, Cy (Denton True Young) also had 511 WINS. I think that record is pretty safe too. but I am getting way off subject here. This is why I failed English all the time.

But nobody is chasing 13th place, or 10th. A NICE number to make would be 40, I mean, to be one of only 7 players EVER to do it for 40 games straight would be phenomenal! But nobody is chasing (the tie for) 6th place either. Anyone who is on a hitting streak has one number in mind.
57.
57 is the magic number Chase is Chasing, and everyone else in the Majors who gets up into the high 20s. They start thinking about it at 27 games or so. The writers start talking about it big time at around the same point. By the point Chase is at, Fans everywhere are watching, waiting, every game, to see if he keeps it alive. Every at-bat at every next game is a nail biter for the batter and his Family, and his team, and his fans. And for the Pitcher who is dealing! He wants to be the one to END his roll. But unless the batter in question is hitting against YOUR team, you are rooting against the Pitcher. Even if he IS going against YOUR team, something deep inside is saying, well, let him get a hit, just not something that wins the game!

This is what every player dreams of from little league on up. Chase is now living that dream, feeling that rush, dealing with that pressure. I for one, wish him all the luck in the world. I’d like to see him get to 57! Not because I wanna see Joe’s record broken. That would actually upset me in many ways too. BUT, to SEE it done, in MY lifetime (My father wasn’t even born yet when DiMaggio did it) would be AWESOME. It would be worth that Yankee record going to another club. Besides, everyone knows Jeter, or maybe even Cano, will eventually make the 60 mark. 🙂

Good Luck Chase, and anyone else who comes close!

Other MLB Honerable Mention today: Tiger Carlos Guillen hit for the cycle tonight!

Spags