All my rowdy friends are coming over tonight, but I’ll just listen to Beethoven…
The Miami Marlins make a big splash to create perhaps the best Marlins squad since 2003 in signing Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle, and Jose Reyes. The Los Angeles Angels rock the largest Hispanic community in the United States by nabbing #1 Baseball Superstar Albert Pujols. Oh yeah, they also picked up former Ranger ace C.J. Wilson along the way. Even the Boston Red Sox, in a season of chaos with the prolonged managerial search, managed to do SOMETHING with the acquisition of former Yankees reliever Mark Melancon from the Houston Astros for shortstop Jed Lowrie and minor league pitcher Kyle Weiland. Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, nothing…
I know, how do you improve upon a 97-win team? Baseball is a game of constantly trying to improve. A little here, a little there…a big splash here, a big splash there. This off-season the Yankees haven’t fallen into any of those categories. They haven’t even moved to re-sign outfielder Andruw Jones or third baseman Eric Chavez which, in my mind, are important cogs for the 2012 team.
The team with the most money is…
Tonight’s wait is to hear whether the Toronto Blue Jays or the Texas Rangers have won the bidding for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. In the days of George Steinbrenner, the Yankees would have been the highest bidder and there would have been no speculation about who placed the highest bid (through a few “unnamed sources” within the Yankees organization). I am not saying that it is prudent to spend $50 million plus just to have the right to talk to Darvish, nor do I feel the Yankees made a bad decision by not going after him harder. But this is definitely a different Yankees ownership and one that is not particularly fond of footing the bill for the other owners through luxury tax payments. It’s too bad the Yankees have so much wrapped up in Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. A-Rod, in particular, is not the player he once was and no longer worthy of his behemoth contract. I’ll give Jeter the benefit of the doubt since he did finish 2011 strongly.
If the Yankees are gauging what they need to do by the Boston Red Sox or the Tampa Bay Rays, they’re severely underestimating the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees had trouble with that team last year, and the 2012 Jays will only be stronger (with or without Darvish).
If you’re not winning, you’re losing…
This has been a tough sports year for me. The Yankees felt like a team with shortcomings entering October and it revealed itself in the play-offs against the Detroit Tigers. They are still essentially the same team, minus a few players. There’s nothing to lead me to believe that the World Series is in their immediate future. Meanwhile, my pro football team, the Minnesota Vikings, continues their march to become the worst team in professional football (only one game separates them from the Indianapolis Colts and the right to draft future NFL superstar QB Andrew Luck). I am sure that even Peyton Manning is a Vikings fan these days. It really stinks when you hope your team loses so that they can place higher in the draft.
I am not a Minnesota Twins fan, but I do live within view of Target Field so it’s been tough watching local favorites Michael Cuddyer (Rockies) and Jason Kubel (D-Backs) sign elsewhere.
Clearly, I am someone that needs a ‘pick me up’ in sports. I want to see a player acquisition that I am excited about. Someone that brings energy, drive and commitment to the team, and helps them reach just a little bit further…
I will say that the Yankees should not trade Jesus Montero regardless of whether it could bring Gio Gonzalez to the Bronx. I’d love to see Gio in pinstripes, but I think that Montero has a chance to be a special talent. You just don’t let guys like him get away, even if it means no acquisitions this off-season.
Is that too much to ask? Sometimes I wish Hank Steinbrenner’s impulsiveness would prevail over Hal Steinbrenner’s calculated intellect. Fiscal responsibility, with a dash of insanity. C’mon, we were “raised” by George Steinbrenner. Weren’t you too, Hal?…
At least somebody is doing something…
Recently, I changed my NBA allegiance from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New York Knicks. I’ve been thinking about this move for several years, but adding Carmelo Anthony to Amare Stoudemire was the clincher. The latest news has the Knicks signing Baron Davis. As a former Bay Area resident, I was saddened when Davis left the Golden State Warriors to join the Los Angeles Clippers. He was perhaps the most popular basketball player in the area. I have a great deal of respect for him, and it’s tremendous that he and I have come together on the same team. I know Baron is hurt so his Knicks debut will be delayed, but I really like the off-season moves the Knicks have made. I’d be foolish to think that they are suddenly a NBA finals team, but they are definitely getting better.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, just crickets…
Robert Frost once said he could sum up everything he has learned about life in three words. “It goes on”…
It was one of those days for the great Mariano Rivera and the Yankees on Sunday. The Yankees had controlled the majority of the game after a Randy Winn triple in the bottom of the 2nd inning had given them an early 2-1 lead.
Sergio Mitre did everything asked of him as he went 5 innings and only gave up 4 hits and 1 run. David Robertson, who has been struggling, came on in relief of Mitre and was effective for two innings.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
So, the Yankees had the perfect formula for victory (Chamberlain + Rivera), right? Wrong. Joba allowed the first batter to reach base during the top of the 8th inning when Denard Span singled. Following a fielder’s choice which left Orlando Hudson at first, Joe Mauer walked. Joba struck out the next batter (Justin Morneau), and it looked as though he might escape the inning without any further damage. Unfortunately, an infield single by Michael Cuddyer loaded the bases and ended Joba’s afternoon. Manager Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for a four-out save. Mo quickly fell behind the first batter he faced (Jim Thome) and eventually walked him to bring in a run (closing the Yankees lead to 3-2). Mo was unable to shut the door as the next hitter, Jason Kubel, smashed a grand slam to right to give the Twins the lead, 6-3.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
The Yankees tried to rally in the bottom of the 9th and had the first two men on base. But Twins closer Jon Rauch struck out Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira to end the game.
This was a very disappointing loss. The Yankees have had great success against the Twins at Yankee Stadium and had won the first two games of this series. A win today would have put a psychological knife into the Twins or the very least would have given them doubts about their ability to win at the Stadium in October. For the Twins, it was a huge win and it lifted the monkey off their backs. Prior to the game, former Twins great Bert Blyleven labeled it as a “must win”
So, the weekend ends on a down note for the Yankees as they await the arrival of their fiercest rival, the Boston Red Sox, for a two-game series in the Bronx starting on Monday.
Of course, Yankees-Red Sox can only mean one thing. It’s time for another wager between me and my friend Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser must write a blog about the opposing team’s first World Series victory. If the teams split the series, the winner will be the team with the highest run total. The Red Sox did lose today to Johnny Damon and the Detroit Tigers so neither the Yanks or Sox carry any momentum into the latest series.
The Yankees received some bad news when it was announced that DH Nick Johnson may need wrist surgery. They’ll first try a cortisone shot, but if it doesn’t work, surgery will be the next option which would most likely shelf Johnson until August. This is exactly what Yankee fans had feared when Johnson signed with the Yanks during the off-season as Johnny Damon’s replacement. GM Brian Cashman says that Johnson’s injury potential was taken into consideration, however, it doesn’t appear that there is a solid Plan B in place. I like the lineup with Posada at DH and Francisco Cervelli at catcher, however, that may or may not be a good long term solution. I’d prefer more of a sure thing (trade for Johnny Damon?), but unfortunately, the trade market will not be open until July (or June at the earliest).
It was a particularly tough sports day for me today as the San Jose Sharks lost 2-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference Finals. I am sure that if I need to hear some positive sports news, Julia will be more than happy to tell me all about the Boston Celtics’ Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals… L
San Jose Mercury News
The day did have a great start for me before the games began. I participated in the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco. The run started near the Bay by Embarcadero and headed west (up the Hayes Street Hill and through Golden Gate Park) to the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco Chronicle
In San Francisco, you have to be prepared to see just about anything…and I did! Many runners (and walkers) chose to wear costumes while some opted for nothing at all. I took the more conservative and traditional route myself. I do not know the total headcount but the run was very slow at the beginning and going up the Hayes Street Hill due to the sheer volume of people.
San Francisco Chronicle
Personally. I accomplished my modest goal of running the race inside of an hour. It was a fun and very enjoyable day…well, at least until the 8th inning at Yankee Stadium!