The first fan letter I ever wrote to a ballplayer was to Jason Giambi during his first spring training with the Yankees. I don't really know why---perhaps I was still smarting from the Game 7 loss in Arizona---but I felt compelled to welcome the big lug to New York. I ended up sending him a 7 page letter, warning him about the boos that would greet him, and the highs and lows New York would have to offer.
Several months later I heard Giambi naively tell one of the newspapers, "You know, fans actually lose sleep in New York when we lose." No kidding, brother.
Well, count last night's 3-2, extra-inning loss as one of those nights. Coupled with the fact that the Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Jays in Toronto to move two games out of first place, there was a lot of tossing and turning in the BX last night. The Yankees didn't blow a seven run lead, but it was a game they clearly should have won.
Roger Clemens labored through seven innings, but only gave up two runs. The Yankees offense, which has been slumping for the last week (with the exception of their six-run outburst for Boomer), was asleep at the wheel again. Robin Ventura and Raul Mondesi are in terrible slumps. Mondesi didn't start last night, and went kvetching to the press about it. Hey, Mondesi doesn't want to return to the Yanks next year? Who says we want him here in the first place? Try knocking in 100 runs once, just once, and maybe you would feel wanted, papi.
While Jeter is starting to hit well, Alfonso Soriano inexplicably was picked off twice, killing potential rallies.
When Sterling Hitchcock came on in relief to start the top of the tenth, I knew the game would soon be over. Furious, I got on the phone to my friend Javier, and starting bitching and moaning. "Well, who would you rather see in this spot?" he asked.
That shut me up quickly. "Jeff Nelson!" was all I could muster.
The strangest play of the night came early in the game when Milton Bradley---who went hitless in the series---shoulder blocked Jason Giambi on a lazy play at first. So this is the redass special we've been hearing about. But late in the game Bradley reached first and appeared to clear the air.
The Yanks now head to Toronto, where the Jays will be waiting to break out a can of whup ass after getting swept by Boston. Meanwhile the Sox coast into the Motor City to play the Tigers.