Well, nearing the Eve of the American League Championship Series, it is time for me to settle a lost wager from September.
The Yankees played a three-game series in the Bronx against the Boston Red Sox from September 24th through the 26th. I had made a bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants, and the loser would be forced to wear the opponent’s ballcap in photos posted on their blog. The Red Sox won the first two games of the series, 10-8 and 7-3, clinching the series win for Julia and the Sox before the Yanks prevailed in the final game, 4-3.
I still have one more wager to settle (the series loss to the Sox at the end of the season), but that’s for another day. Today is all about the Red Sox ballcap…
I used this past weekend as the focus for my photos. I went to Los Angeles to attend a wedding on Sunday, 10-10-10, but I took some time out to enjoy the scenery.
I first donned the Red Sox ballcap about 100 miles or so north of Los Angeles at Harris Ranch…
I didn’t intend to give these photos a depressing theme (maybe that was my inner-Yankee trying to wrestle control!) but I stopped by a local cemetery to pay my respects.
First up was the star of Get Smart, Don Adams…
A short walk away in a mausoleum, I found 20’s heartthrob, Rudolph Valentino…
Being in Los Angeles, you can never get too far away from a Rolls Royce…
Moving on, I came across beautiful 40’s actress Rita Hayworth…
And for a little musical interlude, Bing Crosby…
For the last grave, I saved it for the guy who used to scare the daylights out of me when I was a little kid watching those old Dracula movies, Bela Lugosi…
In an effort to liven up the theme of the photos, I traveled over to Hollywood…
Imagine my surprise at the celebrity I encountered walking down Hollywood Blvd…
But sadly, I also walked past the star of fallen musical icon John Lennon who had just celebrated a birthday…
It was a fun day, but interestingly enough, no one said a thing about my hat. I even walked by a Yankees fan who said nothing. I guess I probably should have waited a few weeks until I go to New York City to take my photos. I am sure that I could have gotten a reaction at that time!
Well, after settling this wager, it was time to call it a night. I’d call it a wager paid in full…
Congratulations on the series wins at the end of the season, Julia. The Red Sox showed heart until the very end. They may not have made the play-offs, but they still walked off the field with much respect and admiration. I look forward to resuming our wagers next season, but hopefully, next time, you’ll be the loser!
Time for a new ballcap…
Interesting how the Yankees can lose their last
game and still end up in first place…
I went all week thinking that the Yankees were a
game and a half out of first place.
After a very disappointing September that found the Yankees trailing the
Tampa Bay Rays, I’ve been very pessimistic about the team’s chances in
October. I still am, but it would
definitely be better to go into the play-offs as the AL East Champion and
possibly holder of the league’s best record than it would be to go as the road
traveling Wild Card team.
I was very pleasantly surprised to hear that the
Yankees were only a ½ game back this morning.
I don’t know how I got 1 ½ games stuck in my head. The Rays were in Kansas City tonight to start
a four game series against the Royals and they had to face Zack Greinke. It’s been a disappointing season for Greinke
but he still rose to the challenge tonight as he defeated the Rays, 3-2. The loss dropped the Rays into a tie with the
Yankees with three games to play. If
both teams finish in a tie, the division goes to the Rays by virtue of the
better head-to-head record. So, the
Yankees really need to go into Boston seeking a sweep. I seriously doubt that the Rays will drop
more than one more game to the Royals.
The Yanks have not shown the killer instinct yet this month, but
hopefully, they’ll find it in Beantown.
In a statement of the obvious, I pin the blame on
the Yankees potential inability to win the division on pitcher A.J.
Burnett. At 10-15, he has been largely
ineffective most of the season. When he
is bad, he is really bad. Had he been
just 13-12 so far this season, the Yankees would hold a comfortable lead in the
East heading into the weekend. I know,
there are more reasons for why the Yankees are in this predicament than just
Burnett. But I am a fan so I can be
unreasonable and flawed in my thinking…
Theodorakis/NY Daily News
I am still very pessimistic about the team’s
chances in October. I simply do not feel
that a rotation of Sabathia-Pettitte-Hughes can provide the type of shutdown
performances that will be required. The
Rays will find ways to score runs and so will the Twins. If Josh Hamilton comes back strong, the
Rangers could make noise. To me, there’s
only one team playing like they are the World Series champion and that’s the
Philadelphia Phillies. I also give
credit to the San Francisco Giants who, unlike last year, rose to the challenge
this September and are on the verge of winning the NL West. Of course it helps to have Tim Lincecum at
the top of your rotation.
Thanks to the loss of my last wager with Julia of
Julia’s Rants, I am awaiting the arrival of a Boston Red Sox cap in the
mail. Upon receipt, I am obligated to
take photos wearing the hat along with a Red Sox t-shirt that I “acquired”
through a previous wager loss. I have a
business trip to Texas next week so I may be delayed, but a bet is a bet so the
photos will appear on the blog sometime soon L.
But until then…
For the last wager of the baseball season, Julia and
I have decided the loser should post photos holding signs. If the Red Sox win the 3 game series, I will
be forced to hold pro-Red Sox signs. If
the Yankees win, then Julia will be holding pro-Yankee signs.
It has been a fun season despite the
challenges. I’ve enjoyed the battles
with Julia and I was glad to see the Red Sox eliminated from the play-offs
before the final series. Boston has been
an incredibly resilient team despite the massive injuries they’ve
suffered. I have been very impressed
with the ‘never quit’ mentality and I am relieved that the Yankees won’t have
to face it in October.
In a final non-baseball note, I’d like to express
sadness at the loss of actor Tony Curtis.
He died yesterday of cardiac arrest in his Las Vegas home at age
85. He’ll be missed…
The going gets tough, the Yankees decide to bail…
The Yankees should be able to clinch the Wild Card
slot at some point, but I’ve given up hope of taking the AL East unless things
change very quickly. The Tampa Bay Rays
have great momentum right now, and the Yankees don’t. So far this month (going into Saturday’s
game), the Yankees are 10-12. When you’re
racing for the pennant, that kind of record is not going to get it done
(obviously). The Yankees’ magic number
remains at 3. With a single win against
the Red Sox, they could reduce the number to 1 but at this point, the Red Sox
are playing like the superior team and they certainly have not given up
hope. After the end of the home stand
against Boston, the Yankees take to the road to play the Blue Jays and the Red
Sox (both challenging places to play).
This month, the Philadelphia Phillies have definitely
shown they are ‘in it to win it’. They’ve
clearly distanced themselves from the Atlanta Braves and they’ll head into the
play-offs as the hottest team in the National League. It’s been a great season for the Cincinnati
Reds, but I think the Phillies, even with their injuries, are the better
team. The trading deadline pick-up of
Roy Oswalt was huge and it gave the Phillies pitching superiority (even against
the likes of the San Francisco Giants who boast a very strong rotation). Speaking of the Giants, they’ve also been
playing good baseball and currently lead the NL West by a slim margin. I like the Giants as an underdog if they can
stay on top against the San Diego Padres, but I don’t think anyone is going to
beat the Phillies and they’ll head to the World Series for the third straight
Michael Bryant, Philly.com, Staff Photographer
Back to the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays and
the Minnesota Twins are playing the best baseball. As much as I would like to say “Rays suck!”
or “Twins suck!” or “Yankees are going to win it again!”, the truth is that the
AL Championship Series will most likely feature the Rays and the Twins. The Rangers are fading and of course so are
the Yankees. If the Yankees’ freefall
results in a miraculous achievement of the play-offs by the Boston Red Sox, it
will definitely rank as one of the greatest September flops in recent
In the NL, the Atlanta Braves and the Colorado
Rockies are fading, and the Padres aren’t far behind. For a time this season, I thought the Padres
were the team to beat, but now they’re fighting to make the play-offs.
John R. McCutchen/San Diego Union-Tribune
At this point, it is hard to visualize the 2010
World Series involving any teams other than the Tampa Bay Rays and the
Philadelphia Phillies (a repeat of the Phillies’ championship year in
2008). More than likely, the outcome
will be the same.
Congratulations to my friend, Julia (of Julia’s
Rants), for winning the latest wager between she and I. With today’s 7-2 victory, the Boston Red Sox
have ensured that they will take at least two of the three games in the Bronx
and they’ll go for a sweep on Sunday. I
guess the Yanks could have used those 6 home runs today instead of yesterday. The Yankees, now 10-13 for September,
continue to give the Red Sox hope that they can reach high enough to eclipse
the Yanks for the Wild Card slot. The
Sox are now just 5 ½ games behind the Yankees.
I guess there’s a Red Sox cap on its way to my home in CA… L
Noah K. Murray/The Star-Ledger
Maybe I think a motivational pep talk by Tony
Dungy. Then again, it didn’t seem to
help the Yankees. Let’s hope that next
weekend is more exciting than this weekend is turning out to be…
I guess that A-Rod should have held one of those
homers in reserve for Sunday…
The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense against
Bryan Bullington and the Kansas City Royals as the former number
one Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick but still a no-name 29-year-old journeyman earned his first major league victory in beating the Yankees
Bridget Wentworth/The Star Ledger
On the other side was loser A.J.
Burnett, who was magnificent if you throw out the first inning.
John Rieger/US Presswire
On Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez homered three
times (the first time he has accomplished the feat since 2005). However, the last homer merely padded the
score as the Yankees coasted to the 8-3 win.
It’s too bad that he couldn’t have waited until Sunday to homer. Any offense at all would have probably won
the game. But like Derek Jeter said, the
way Bullington was pitching, there was no way they were going to beat him.
The Yankees have been very pedestrian thus far in
August. They are 6-8, and have been
underperforming in every series. They
have the occasional outbursts like Saturday night, but they have not been able
to sustain any success. If the Tampa Bay
Rays didn’t encounter their own struggles, they most likely would be in first
place today. As it is, they are just one
game behind the Yankees after another solid performance by Jeremy Hellickson, a
native Iowan like myself. If the Yankees
don’t kick it into gear soon, they’ll be left to fight for Wild Card
scraps. The team is certainly capable of
getting on a roll and reeling off 10 straight victories, so the sooner the
I was afraid that today was going to feature a
sluggish Yankee performance. I was
reading the LoHud Yankees blog before the game, and they posted a report that
it was a lazy Sunday morning in the clubhouse with absolutely nothing going on. To me, that translated to a lack of energy
and the team was just ready to board the plane to return home. Unfortunately, it showed up in how they
played today against the Royals. Nothing
against Bullington, he pitched a great game, but then again, he had a receptive
Now, the Yankees head home to face former teammates
Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson, and the Detroit Tigers. If they play like they played in Kansas City,
the results won’t be favorable.
I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (obviously),
however, I am glad to see that Dustin Pedroia will return to second base for
the Sox on Tuesday night. He will also
be celebrating his 27th birthday, so birthday wishes are in order
for the Sox warrior. I certainly do not
want to see the Sox get on a roll, but it will be good to see Pedey back at
second for “those” guys.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
Somewhere my friend Julia is on vacation and loving
every minute of today’s Yankees loss…
Enjoy Pedey’s birthday, Julia…
If I won the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, why do I feel as though I lost?…
The Yankees and Red Sox tied their four game series at two games apiece, but the Yankees took the tie-breaker in total runs scored, 16-12. Therefore, it will be Julia who has to appear in at least 6 photos showing her in different locations wearing a pink Yankees cap.
But although I won, I certainly do not feel like a winner. The most important game, to me, is always the getaway game. The Red Sox leave town as winners, while the Yankees head for Texas wondering what could have been. They had the chance to put the Red Sox 8 games back, but as it is, the Red Sox leave exactly the way the arrived, 6 games behind.
People are constantly trying to bury the Red Sox but I’ve long known that the team simply does not have any quit in them. Now, they are starting to get their guys healthy, so they’ll be a force to be reckoned with during the stretch run.
The Yankees lost today, 2-1, against Jon Lester, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon. Lester had entered the game on a four-game skid, but he is too talented to stay down for long. He proved he was up to the challenge today, and bested Phil Hughes in the pitching duel.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Yankees had their chances in the late innings but couldn’t convert. Marcus Thames just missed a home run in the 7th inning when the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back for a double. Just another inch or two and it would have tied the game. Bard also gets kudos for getting out of a bases loaded jam.
Mark Teixeira continued his hot hitting with an 8th inning home run, but that’s all the offense the team could manage.
The Yankees now head to Texas to play the guy who was nearly a Yankee, Cliff Lee, and the Texas Rangers. A.J. Burnett, scratched from Sunday’s start because of his back, will pitching the opening game against the surging C.J. Wilson who has enjoyed success as a starter this season. It will be a big test for the Yankees, and they’ll need to play better than they have in recent days. Maybe being in Texas will be good for Lance Berkman and he’ll hit his first homers for the Yankees.
A day after breaking Babe Ruth’s team hits record, Derek Jeter tied Mel Ott for the all-time record by a New York player at 2,876. When DJ was a skinny 16-year-old shortstop coming out of Kalamazoo, MI, I certainly didn’t envision the day that he’d be standing with baseball’s immortals. Congratulatons to DJ for another great milestone, but I suspect we’ll be doing this quite often between now and the end of his career.
Tied after two games…
With a wager on the line against Julia of Julia’s Rants, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are tied after two games of a four games series. The Yankees won on Saturday behind a very solid and new proud papa CC Sabathia, 5-2. The win means the teams are tied at 1 game apiece and totat runs at 8. So, the wager is down to what happens in the next two games.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Saturday didn’t start very good when I heard news that Alex Rodriguez had been scratched due to an injury. When I heard that he had been hit during batting practice, my first thought was that I hoped it wasn’t struggling Lance Berkman who hit the ball that struck A-Rod in the ankle. Of course, and unfortunately, it was. I have been pulling for the former Astros star to show the New York fans what Houston knew about him and didn’t want to see his name attached to the loss of A-Rod. But I was pleased with the comments that Lance made which showed he was apologetic and still had a sense of humor at the same time. All Lance needs to do is get a significant hit against the Red Sox, and he’ll turn those boos to cheers. I am confident that he can do it…
A-Rod was taken for x-rays after the incident, but the results were negative so he is now in the dreaded ‘day to day’ category. He may not return until after the Boston series is over.
On the plus side, A-Rod’s replacement, Ramiro Pena, delivered 2 RBI’s in his absence.
Two days after the birth of Carter Charles Sabathia, his dad went 8 innings to pick up his 14th win of the season (to match Tampa’s David Price). Despite allowing Boston to take an early 2-0 lead, he settled in and only gave up 6 hits and no further runs the rest of the way. He struck out 4 batters but only one of them was not named David Ortiz. It was CC’s 150th career victory, so congratulations to CC for the birth of the latest CC as well as the milestone win!
Mariano Rivera pitched the 9th to pick up his 23rd save, while lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.89. Amazing, but then again, that’s just Mo…
With the win, the Yankees were able to increase their lead in the AL East to 1 ½ games over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays are finding out what the Yankees recently did…there’s a very good team north of the border. The Toronto Blue Jays pounded the Rays, 17-11, behind two home runs by rookie J.P. Arencibia, who was making his major league debut. The Jays hit a total of 8 home runs in the game. With as much trouble as the Yankees had with Rays pitching, the Jays clearly didn’t encounter the same difficulty.
Nathan Denette/Canadian Press
So, the Yankees are saying that Friday night’s pitcher and loser, Javier Vazquez, is dealing with a “dead arm”. So, of course, that begs the question, ‘is A.J. Burnett dealing with a dead brain?’. In his last start, against the Blue Jays on Monday, A.J. melted down during the 5th inning of the game as the Jays pounded out 7 hits off Burnett, including a monster home run by Edwin Encarnacion, to convert a 2-1 deficit to an 8-2 lead in a game the Yankees ultimately lost, 8-6. Let’s hope that he fares better on Sunday night against Josh Beckett and the Red Sox…
Sipken/NY Daily News
Hey Julia, Game On, my friend!…
On the bright side, the Yankees are still in first place…
Despite the loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, the Yankees remain in first place, ½ game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays who also lost (2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays). The team needs to relax, re-group and come back on Saturday with a vengeance.
In tonight’s 6-3 loss, the Red Sox scored three runs, thanks in large part to an error by Francisco Cervelli (he dropped a pop-up that he should have handled). Thanks to the extra out, the Red Sox were able to push across three runs before the last out of the inning. It turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit and with Clay Buchholz on the mound, the Yankees were never able to recover.
Saed Hindash/The Star Ledger
If there is one thing that stood out to me about Friday night’s game, it is the 12-pitch at-bat by Derek Jeter with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. He battled and battled hard before eventually drawing a walk. THAT exhibited the heart of a Lion. It went for naught when Nick Swisher flied out to end the game, but it was a tremendous at-bat by the Captain.
Somehow, the Yankees need to get Lance Berkman untracked. Lance went 0-for-4 and is now batting .105 since his arrival in the Bronx. Hopefully, he’ll have that defining moment with the Yankees and it will come sooner rather than later. He can play a huge part in the stretch run for the Yankees despite the overall down year for him.
It was good to hear that Andy Pettitte threw in the bullpen and is planning a late August return. He threw 35 to 40 pitches and felt good. He is planning to throw again on Sunday. That’s good news, and he’ll be a welcome sight for the rotation when he is able to return.
After Season 1 of Curtis Granderson (so far), I’d have to say that I would be a proponent for the Yankees to move Granderson in the off-season and pursue Tampa Bay free agent-to-be Carl Crawford and slide Brett Gardner back to center. Hopefully, Grandy can change opinions between now and the end of the season but he’s running out of time.
As for Derek Jeter, put me in the column that feels there is no way that the Yankees would let him leave. Using Cal Ripken as an example (or Carl Yastrzemski), it is great that those guys were able to go an entire career in one uniform. Watching the NFL’s Hall of Fame inductees, I still hate to think of Emmitt Smith, the Arizona Cardinal. It’s great that if you think of Troy Aikman or Michael Irvin, you can only associate them with one team. It’s bad enough when a great player puts on another uniform at the tail end of his career, but when they go to a bitter rival it’s worse. Case in point is long-time hockey star Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars who recently signed with the Detroit Red Wings. I realize that Detroit is home for Mike, but, still, the Red Wings are a bitter rival for the Stars. Mike has been one of my favorite players for so many years, yet for his final season, I won’t be a fan. I feel strongly that the Yankees will do whatever it takes to bring Jeter back for his final years. Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra are a few of the great franchise names and they wore only the pinstripes. DJ deserves the same…
Lance Berkman, an all-time great for the Houston Astros, won’t get the chance to wear an Astros uniform from beginning to end, but I’d hate to see him bounce around with several teams at the end of his career. I am pulling for him to hit well enough for the Yankees to re-negotiate his deal to ensure a return in 2011.
Now, if Cliff Lee wants to change uniforms this off-season and put on pinstripes, I am okay with that…
P.S. Hey Julia, tomorrow is a new day! Go Yankees!