Less than a week until the Yankees travel to 4 Yawkey Way…
My nemesis last year was Julia of Julia’s Rants. The season started so great for her as the Boston Red Sox took the first eight games of the season series against the Yankees. For a time, it seemed as though the Yankees would never get a win. But then along came August, and the tide turned. Led by hip-rejuvenated Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees captured all but one of the remaining games in the series enroute to their 27th World Championship.
There was hope that Julia and I could face one another in the ALCS but John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels had other ideas. Of course, after the season, Theo and the Red Sox decided that if you can’t beat him, sign him as they inked Lackey to a five-year deal to be their number 2 starter. I know that Josh Beckett is the ace of the staff, but if I were building a franchise, I’d pass on Beckett and Lackey and go with Jon Lester.
Barry Chin/Boston Globe
Still it was gratifying to beat Julia and to enjoy the success of a championship season (my seventh as a Yankees fan). Conversely, I am 0-for-lifetime as a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. If only Brett Favre had just tucked the ball and ran…
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Here we are ready for a new season, and the battle between Julia and I gets off to a very early start. I was listening to an interview with Boston beat writer Ian Browne and someone asked him if it was too early for Yankees-Red Sox. His response was that it could be January 19th and a foot of snow on the ground and it wouldn’t be too early. Precisely! Granted, it’s your final record that determines whether you’ll see October, but the Yankees measure themselves against the Red Sox. There is much more satisfaction in beating Boston than there is in beating, say, Kansas City. The wins are measured the same, but still a win against the Royals just doesn’t have the same meaning. I don’t want to offend my friends in Tampa because I know the Rays have the talent to win it all so this is not about disrespect. However, the rivalry between the Rays and Yankees just isn’t as deep and heated as it is against the Red Sox. There was a day that I despised the Baltimore Orioles like no other, so I am sure that the tide will eventually turn. However, right now, as it has been for most of the past decade, baseball doesn’t get any better than Yankees-Red Sox. As a Bay Area resident, I’ve been to Giants-Dodgers games, but they just don’t compare.
For our first wager, Julia and I have agreed to a book report assignment. The winner gets to send a book of his/her choice (I know, the winner pays…go figure). If the Yankees win, Julia gets to read and write a book report on the following book:
Don’t click…this was just a cut and paste from Amazon.com! The real thing will be making the trip to the Boston metro area to see my friend Julia! I chose this book because it had special meaning to me. 1947 was the year that my late father graduated from high school, and it was the dawn of the great Yankees dynasty of the early 50’s. If I could go back in time, 1927 would be my first choice so that I could watch the greatest Yankees team of all-time. But for a second choice, given all of the great Yankees clubs in the past, 1947 would be next. The team didn’t realize that it was on the verge of the greatest success in baseball history and it would have been fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of those early years.
Yeah Joe, you can smile a little larger! You’ll be getting over on that dude next to you! 🙂
If I lose (c’mon, Carsten Charles Sabathia, don’t let me down!), I will have to read one of Julia’s favorites:
I like Julia’s essays, so I am pulling for my favorite MLB Blogger! Go Julia! Lose to the Yankees and write that book report! As Rob Schneider would say, ‘C’mon, you CAN do it!’. 😉
Courtesy: Julia’s Rants
Congratulations to Ian Kennedy for being named to the starting rotation for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I was very frustrated at times with Kennedy and his attitude when he was with the Yankees, but I do hope that he finds success. It wasn’t that long ago when his name was mentioned in the same breath as Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. Also, hats off to the Detroit Tigers newly named starting center fielder Austin Jackson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing Curtis Granderson in center field for the Yankees. But I will also wonder ‘what could have been’ with Ajax. He made me a believer with the way he tattooed a home run a couple of years ago in spring training. Granted, he is not a home run hitter, but he has that “it” quality people talk about. Having Johnny Damon as your personal mentor is not a bad thing so long as Damon doesn’t wear that freakin’ 2004 ring! 😉
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger/US Presswire
I was also glad to see Chad Gaudin land with the local Oakland A’s. It is his second go-around with the A’s, and I think he’ll thrive in their bullpen. I am only a BART trip away from the A’s Stadium, so I am sure that I’ll be there a time or two to see how he progresses in his return.
Is this really the last season of 24? Wow, those were eight fast years! On the bright side, you know that they can’t kill off Jack Bauer. Not with the proposed movie deals in the works…
How could Jesse James cheat on Sandra Bullock? I don’t get it. She is perhaps one of the most beautiful and inspirational actresses of my lifetime.
I know, I’m getting way off topic. Sorry. I’ll close with saying that I am pulling for Crystal Bowersox on American Idol! Go Crystal! Keep up what you are doing. You are special!
It was a day to suspend the natural rivalry that exists between Yankees Fans and Red Sox Fans…
On a beautiful Sunday near Fenway Park, I met Julia of Julia’s Rants. She was a very gracious host, and gave me an insider’s tour of the area.
We took a long walk around Fenway Park, and I was able to envision what the area must look and smell like on game day…
We ducked into Game On!, a restaurant attached to Fenway Park, for lunch…
Julia had a BLT, while I went with the Tuna Salad Pita Sandwich. While we ate, I had very strange feeling that I’d heard the name of the restaurant before. During lunch, Julia gave me a gift for making the trip to Boston. I may not have known who the Boston mascot was before, but I do now!
After lunch, Julia took me to the finish line for the Boston Marathon, which is on Boylston Street at the Boston Public Library. As a long distance runner, I harbor grand illusions of actually one day qualifying for the Boston Marathon. So, it was inspiring to see where I could eventually be running if my legs would ever cooperate in my attempts to make the qualifying time required for entry.
From Boylston Street, we walked over to the Prudential Center and went up to the 50th Floor Observation Deck known as the Prudential Skywalk. Julia had a Red Sox jacket on and the young girl who took our tickets asked Julia if the Sox were playing tomorrow. When Julia responded that they were, the girl proceeded to do a cute little dance. Red Sox passion, you can’t help but admire it. The views from the Skywalk were breathtaking, and I was in awe of the countless historic buildings below.
After taking our time walking the perimeter of the Skywalk, we resumed our hike down Newbury Street. After seeing blocks and blocks of great shops, I couldn’t help but think that if Leigh Teixeira’s desire for Mark to sign with the Yankees was because of Manhattan shopping, she obviously has never been to Newbury Street.
We made our way to the Public Garden and Boston Common, walking through both parks. Boston Common reminded me of Central Park on a smaller scale, but without the thugs. It was a very nice day in Boston, and the general feeling of euphoria was shared by the hundreds of people in the parks.
After leaving Boston Common, we came across the highlight of my day. The original Cheers bar! The bar, formerly called the Bull & Finch Pub, was used for the exterior shots of the TV series Cheers. It is now called Cheers Beacon Hill and is located on Beacon Street. There was a strange sense of déjà vu as we traveled down the steps to the bar. I kept looking for Norm and Cliff but didn’t see them anywhere. Somehow, I was expecting everyone to yell ‘Scott!’ when I walked in but alas it didn’t happen…
We walked back to Fenway Park, where I said farewell to Julia. It was the end of a great day, and it certainly gave me a better understanding for why Julia is so passionate about her Red Sox. You can see how excited she gets when she talks about her team, and you realize how much she loves the game of baseball. I know very few people who enjoy the game as much as she does. When she says that the Red Sox are going to win it all, you realize she may be right.
Wait a minute! What am I saying? The Yankees are going to win it all!
I have to say that I had a fantastic time in Boston. It is a wonderful city, and if I had been born in the Boston area, there is no doubt that I’d be a Red Sox fan. I found the city to be very clean, and the people were very warm, friendly and inviting. Of course, they didn’t know my secret identity…
Hey Julia, Game On!
By the way, there’s one thing that I don’t understand about Red Sox fans. Why would anyone want to worship a pair of socks!
He’s (nearly) back! After initial reports had Alex Rodriguez’s return set for mid-May, there is now talk that he may be back by the end of the month. He is recovering very nicely, and says he is about 70% healthy. He’s apparently already begun taking batting practice, and will be traveling to Tampa in a week where the Yankees will be able to evaluate his progress.
My biggest concern would be for a premature return before he’s completely healed. Plus, I’ve kind of been enjoying the ‘distraction-free’ aura of Yankees camp for the past month. It’s been rather nice not hearing about ‘roids or A-Rod’s love life over the past few weeks…
OPENING DAY LINEUP
The Yankees opening day lineup in Baltimore against the Orioles will be:
1-Derek Jeter, ss
2-Johnny Damon, lf
3-Mark Teixeira, 1b
4-Hideki Matsui, dh
5-Jorge Posada, c
6-Robinson Cano, 2b
7-Xavier Nady, rf
8-Cody Ransom, 3b
9-Brett Gardner, cf
Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia
Here’s hoping the magic of the original Yankee Stadium finds its way across the street…
A week ago, the Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox and lost 8-4. Thanks to the loss, I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend immersed in the Red Sox Nation as I wrote three blogs about Red Sox players (the penalty for losing to Julia of Julia’s Rants). The Yankees have not lost since that game. What’s up with that? Guys, where were you when I needed you?
Next time I need you, please be ready! Hint: It involves Fenway Park!
So, when you see the Bat Signal, be ready to play!
You know the phrase ‘It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game’? It DOES NOT apply here!
“Sure, winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
— UCLA Football Coach Red Sanders, 1955
April 24th through April 26th. I expect three victories..nothing more, but absolutely nothing less! Do you want me to lose to this woman again? C’mon, please help out a desperate Yankee fan!
Hey, Elizabeth and Bob, your votes don’t count! 😉
Today, the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins, 4-2. I will start by offering my apologies to Erin of Plunking Gomez. The outcome may have been different had Joe Mauer played or if Jose Mijares didn’t, as Erin suggested.
But it was great to see Mark Teixeria’s first spring homer and a solid pitching performance by Phil Hughes. Also, it was great to see Robinson Cano back in pinstripes.
For Erin’s benefit, I offer a photo of who she thinks would have been the star only if…
POTENTIAL VIKINGS QUARTERBACKS
There is actually a subject that Erin and I agree upon…the Vikings are the greatest (well, NFL-speaking of course)!
I am listening to Kelly Clarkson as I type this so forgive me if I am momentarily distracted. Uh-oh, Julia may have figured out my Achilles heel…
Now, about the Vikings and their QB quandary…
Naturally, I remain hopeful that the team will be frontrunners for the services of Jay Cutler should the Broncos decide to trade him. Listening to the continued comments regarding the rift between Cutler and Head Coach Josh McDaniels, I don’t see how this is going to end happily for Denver. Even owner Pat Bowlen said that unhappy players shouldn’t stay despite his stated preference to retain Cutler.
My Life Would Suck Without You is such a great song…
Sorry, I was distracted again…
I saw an article that indicated the Vikings should pursue Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young or Cardinals QB Matt Leinart. I absolutely do not want Vince Young. There is no scenario that I’d prefer him over Sage Rosenfels (or even Tavaris Jackson, for that matter). Matt Leinart, who thus far, has failed to fulfill expectations, might be a different story. I do think that one of these years, Matt is going to “get it”. I could see him having a Rich Gannon-like career. But don’t we already have one over-hyped USC quarterback on the roster (John David Booty)? My preference remains Cutler since I can’t have Matt Cassel…
Kelly Clarkson has 7 dogs? Wow.
Well, I would be willing to take Georgia QB Matthew Stafford, but of course, the Vikings do not have the Number 1 pick in the upcoming draft or anything remotely close. So, I guess the Vikings will be shopping at Nordy’s Rack for their QB hopes…
Have a great weekend, everyone! J