Osama bin Laden’s Death and Baseball

I want to give some background on how much I love New York. When I was a little kid, I was given a book. It’s about a foot and half long by about normal book height. It’s pages and pages of crystal clear colorful aerial photographs of New York City. The photographs were taken before 9/11. I remember leafing through that book and thinking “wowww” and falling even more in love with New York. I looked up to my Derek Jeter poster and knew why I was a Yankee fan. What a cool place. The book is called “Above New York” and I encourage readers to check it out here:

You can actually “look inside” at some of the breathtaking photographs.
I was 11 years old when the planes hit the towers. I was in 5th grade taking a reading test when the principal walked in a whispered the news to my teacher. I recall back to his face going white. He didn’t tell us until the end of the day, but when I went home, I already felt a sense of loss. I watched the footage and couldn’t tear my eyes from it. The tears flowed. The anger surged. I was just 11 but I felt it like I do now. I have a poster of the towers burning in my room with a flag and eagle in the back ground with the words “We will never forget” printed on the bottom. I won’t take it down. When I heard the news Osama bin Laden was dead, I was happy. I was relieved. The American in me surged. Some of my friends on Facebook posted that it was wrong to celebrate a death, no matter who it was. I disagree. The man made Americans decide whether to burn to death or jump out of a skyscraper while millions watched on TV.  Firefighters and police by the hundreds lost their lives (for those of you who don’t know, I’m future law enforcement so THAT runs deep). Children had parents torn from them. Parents, brothers, sisters, spouses…a void never to be filled even by his death. 
Also, my father served in the U.S. Air Force. When I was a first grader, he left for officer training in Alabama. A long ways away from the mid west. Then, he was in Oklahoma for a bit. Finally, the Air Force, knowing his family was in the area, sent him back to Offutt Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska. I grew up not being able to see one of my favorite people in the world very much with various deployments that lasted months. I cannot convey how hard this was, and how hard it must have been for him and for all of those serving away from their families. This continued until my sophomore year, when he got out and became an airline pilot. I have grown up in a military family, and I can never ever say enough about those who serve. I thank them for what they do every day of my life and try to thank every old man with a vet hat I come across. I will never forget what it means to be American. I think back to those on flight 93 who fought back in true American vigor. They weren’t going down on their fellow citizens. They wanted to go down in a field if at all, and so they did. I think to the first responders, fearless and courageous. I will never forget. I hope no one else does either.
So, if I root for the Yankees with a bit more pride today, if a tear comes to my eye when I hear Derek Jeter and Marino Rivera talking about how they felt around 9/11 and talking to victims’ families…it’s because of all of this. But most of all today, I root for America. I root for a place where I can root for whoever I want, whenever I want. 
God bless the U.S.A. and our military service men and women.

NFL Draft? There are more important things…

While everyone else puts the NFL Draft for a season that might not even happen under the microscope, this Yankee fan is nervous. When it comes to my baseball and my team, little more is important to me. My family, occasionally (haha) my boyfriend, sometimes eating, rarely sleeping. Some view this as a character flaw. I forgive them. I view it as a unique trait that very blatantly shows my loyalty. I have been a Yankee fan since I was 5. I was raised by a Braves fan and for awhile I was one (I still root for them), but I broke off when I saw the team from New York who kept beating up on the team I was taught was supposed to be the best. I had no concept of money then. I may be an Iowan, I may be a fan of the most hated team in baseball…but none of it has ever, and never will…bother me.

USA Today has my nervous attack headlined as this:
Yankees’ Phil Hughes to learn if he has rare disorder

Oh, awesome. My favorite player may have a “rare” disorder. Just wonderful. *grumbles* And at the ripe ol’ age of 20 friggin 4.

Frustrating is the perfect word for this series

We should have won yesterday. We should have won today. Our bullpen is giving games up. Not only that but we can’t continue to think we can just hit home runs and win games. Especially solo shots. I saw a lot of what I have been seeing lately: slumps. Base hit slumps. I feel bad for Nova because he pitched beautifully tonight but still lost. Just like A.J. lost last night. Not to mention the rest of the division is catching up. We can’t continue doing this and worst of all: at home. 

Here’s the batting final boxscore:
Jeter: 2-3, walk
Granderson: 0-3, K
Teixeira: 0-3, 2K, walk
A-Rod: 0-4, K
Cano: 1-4, RBI, HR
Swisher: 0-3, 3K
Chavez: 0-3,K 
Gardner: 1-3, HR, RBI, K
Molina: 0-3
TOTAL: 4-29, 2 runs, 4 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 10 strikeouts

You aren’t going to win games with those totals. 2 of those 4 hits were home runs, the other two were Jeter’s Come on guys, STEP UP.

Well…post-game notes are pretty short.

Phil Humber. 

Need I say more?
No Frank in New York tonight.
Additional update:
There’s a lot going on in the AL East right now. The teams that I’d rather see do well as a Yankee fan are slipping and the ones that always are a pain in our you know whats are making a comeback. Boston has clawed their way back to 10-11 somehow, undoubtedly due to a revival in their pitching. This is the kind of loss that hurts, but doesn’t hurt as much. Every loss hurts obviously, but the Yankees didn’t play badly tonight. They didn’t have a bad night at all really. A.J. pitched the way A.J. should have pitched and you can’t fault Curtis Granderson for diving for that ball which sent the first run that was scored to second instead of first. It doesn’t hurt because we were out-dueled by Humber. Plain and simple. Our hitting could be better, and if weren’t for the long balls we’d be screwed. We really would be. We need to start making clutch hits and our pitching (including our bullpen who seems to always let ’em slip) needs to be solid if we’re going to stand a chance this year. I know it’s April. I know we’re first. But I am NOT stupid. 
Every game counts. Teams have missed the playoffs by less than one game. Anyone who writes off a game as being “just one game in the season” really isn’t being logical. There are 162 of them. And every single last one counts.

Pre-Game Notes: White Sox @ Yankees (ESPN 7 ET)

I wasn’t able to watch the game yesterday as I was flying home from spending the Easter holiday with my family in Des Moines. For those of you who aren’t aware, my mom’s side of the family lives in the Des Moines area and my father lives in Omaha. My dad is an airline pilot so I’m able to fly back and forth via a stop in Minneapolis. It’s a two hour drive, I know. But flying is free and I love it. I love airports, too. Justin and I live about 5-10 minutes east of Omaha in Iowa. We’ll soon be moving to Cedar Falls, IA which is 2 hours north of Des Moines to attend the University of Northern Iowa. I attended UNI my freshman year but moved out here to be close to Justin and because I struggled my first year. I’m excited to be going back. My major is criminology and once I graduate, I’m going into law enforcement. 

Anyway, I was monitoring the game via ESPN texts and was relieved they pulled it off despite the bullpen’s sub-par performance and another blown save by Rivera (it is April though). 
Phil Hughes “shut down” after setbacks in pen throwing

Scheduled to make rehab start as early as Thursday if his session today went well, Phil Hughes is frustrated. The Yankees are frustrated. His dead arm issues aren’t seeming to go away and no one knows how to fix them, where they came from, or when they will get better. So the Yankees are going to rest him for a few days, run some tests, and re-evaluate.

My spin:
Ok, so Phil Hughes is my favorite pitcher. I won’t lie. Second is A.J. with the kind of demeanor he brings with him to the mound. But I like Phil Hughes. A lot. So I might be a bit bias, but…the Hughes saga has alerted me to a really annoying Yankee fan downfall: Not every fan, but a lot of us/them like to throw our players under the bus because of who we are. Whenever a player has an issue in pinstripes it is the END. OF. THE. WORLD. “Trade him!” “What a bum!” Really? I know we have a lot of money in the organization, but we can’t just trade away or buy out every issue we come across. We have to play through them. There is no loyalty, no fun, in player shuffling. At some point in every player’s career they are going to have an issue. When it happens to a Yankee, it seems like our fans don’t seem to understand this. 

Every fan should follow the loyalty road. Otherwise, what’s the point? 

I thought the HR derby wasn’t for a couple months?

Home runs:

R. Martin (2 of ’em)
A. Rod (1-grand slam)
J. Posada (1)
13 runs, 13 hits, bottom of the eighth inning. 
I think you can stick a fork in this one, folks. They’re chanting “Let’s Go Yankees!” IN BALTIMORE. Not only is that disheartening, but it’s also embarrassing. Girardi pulled A.Rod and Jeter and put in Chavez and Nunez, respectively. I’ll be interested to see how long they keep CC in. Probably as long as humanly possible. 
UPDATE: Russell Martin hit by pitch (super intentionally and looked about to charge, as did Joe in the dugout. Or at least ready to stare down the pitcher from the top step). Gardner homers. 15-3. The “Let’s Go Yankees” cheers are deafening now. 

Slow week.

Two off days and a delay. Slow slow week for me and baseball. The Toronto loss made it seem even longer. Now they play Baltimore, it’s the first inning and they’re up by 3. Long game?

Last night kept me up at night. No, really.

I kept waking up with the thought in my head: what a weird night, Mariano Rivera blows a save. Toss. Turn. How will I blog about this? Toss. Turn. 

Justin: Why are you moving so much? 
Well, 1. my back hurts and 2. the Yankees lost. In a very very un-Yankee like fashion.
The call him The Sandman. At Yankee Stadium when he comes out of the bullpen they play Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” How fitting. Why? He puts batters to sleep. Lights out pitching. Game-ending closer. There usually is little hope. There usually is little doubt. Usually. But despite 566 career saves at 41 years old. He’s only been a Yankee. He only ever will be in this fan’s mind. #42 will be retired, and why not? He’s the best at what he does. Superhuman? Very possible. But still human. I can’t tell you what happened last night. I can just tell you it was so rare that it did keep me up. It’s hard to stomach something that doesn’t sit right. Up is not down. Right is not left. And Mo doesn’t blow saves. Except on very weird occasions. Rarer than the blue moon.  
But can I complain? Can I really? I’ll blame on it everyone but him, because honestly….
How many times has The Sandman come through for us? 566 times at least. Not to mention he’s taught our pitchers for years. The cutter especially. So this loss, though weird, though hard to stomach, I won’t complain about. 

Bittersweet win, Yanks take series 2-1

Oh, the Rangers. There are plenty of teams in baseball who can’t ever be counted out. They’re the teams that play more aggressive small ball, aren’t phased by any player and any legacy, and just plain out play baseball. The great thing about baseball is that every year there seems to be a team who doesn’t seem to belong in the playoffs by everyone’s regular standards. As it stands now, the playoffs would be:

Tie for wild card: Royals/Rangers/Angels
Colorado (best overall record in the MLB right now)
Wild card: Marlins
The Indians? The Reds? The Marlins? The ROYALS? Those aren’t teams that cause you to think of the playoffs. Granted, it’s not even may yet. My point is, baseball is a great game. The Red Sox were supposed to be dominant. They really aren’t doing well at all. Minnesota should be doing better for the team they are. Things don’t seem to be as they should be with half of baseball. It’s all discombobulated. Or is it? Who is supposed to be a playoff team? No one can say that but the guys putting on jerseys every day. 
Now back to the Yankees and Rangers. I say it’s a bittersweet win for these reasons:
Bitter: Starting pitching, or pitchers in general.
Sweet: Offense. Home run start record. 
The bitter: I don’t know how we keep winning with the pitching we’re doing (A.J. and Mo aside) or rather, not doing. If CC didn’t keep getting double plays, we might have lost. The walks hurt. The bullpen job by Joba hurt. The pitching squad cannot keep putting the game up to the offense. 
The sweet: The offense. The Yankees last night scored 5 runs, 3 home runs contributed to the score. 27 home runs in the first 14 games is a franchise record. Shattering a record that stood since 1932. We can’t just hit home runs though and I would have liked to see the Yanks take some pitches last night instead of being just a tad trigger happy and popping out.
Conclusion: The Rangers are a dangerous team. They are aggressive. They can hit and they WILL profit on the other teams mistakes. Watch out. The Yankees were in my opinion, very lucky, to have taken that series. I don’t think they played better baseball than the Rangers. What makes it scary is that Texas doesn’t have Hamilton. They’re still just as lethal.
Other news: Justin and I have officially been together a year today. Patience wins on both ends of the situationšŸ™‚
My patience: Him playing endless hours of MY Xbox
His patience: Me watching endless hours of baseball

What better way to win?

I can’t say enough about tonight’s game.

We clawed back. We had run support. We had bullpen support.
Posada and that homerun just got my adrenaline going. Then the two hits and then very fittingly…
Nick Swisher bats in the walk off comeback. 
The Yankees now lead the AL East. And I am one happy camper tonight. I have my old stadium infield dirt. I have an extra innings comeback walk off win. What more could I ask for?