My cousin Scott---an avid Red Sox fan---works on the floor of the Exchange. He hooked me up with choice seats for the Yankee game last night: Section 4, Box 12, Row A! (Hey now.) The seats were just to the left of home plate, three rows back. It is a strange vantage point---you are slightly lower than the playing field---but remarkable all the same. (The phonies sitting around us were annoying---many of them didn't even bother watching the game---but I expected it to be clown town down there, so it was part of the fun.) You get a great look at the hitters, especially when they are on deck. Watching these guys, I was struck at just how big most of them are: Giambi is a moose. Matsui and Mondesi are stacked too: ass and thighs for days. Troy Glaus? Dag. The man is a truck. These guys are simply not Hondu, Boog Powell big, they are all ripped.
You know who surprised me the most? Soriano. The guy doesn't look as thin as he does on television. He's got legs for days. Man, the kid looks like a horse. Soriano has been compared to a young Sammy Sosa, and it has been suggested that he may eventually bulk up like Sosa. Quite frankly, he doesn't need to. He's plenty cut as it is. Watching him take his practice swings in the on-deck circle was the most memorable part of the evening. Soriano coils back and unleashes that quick, vicious swing, as if he had been designed by a video-game programmer or a comic book artist: it's like liquid excitement. It's so flashy, it doesn't seem real. It's like a self-conscious swing that a teenager would concoct looking at himself in the mirror, because it looked cool.
Soriano didn't just look good taking warm-up swings last night either. He opened the game with a homer, later added a triple, and had a couple of deep flyouts, which left the crowd gasping as well. Derek Jeter had three hits, Bernie had two, and the rest of the Yankee congo line was back as the Yankees pounded the Angels 10-4. (The Sox creamolished the Rangers in Boston, and the Yanks remain one game up.)
Jeff Weaver wasn't great, but he pitched well enough (perhaps he was thrown off by all the run support). I like Weaver, I like the fact that he's a red ass, but his delivery, the way he gathers himself, is odd. He just slings the ball up there. He's the inverse of Tim Hudson, or Mariano Rivera. We were treated to an appearance by Rivera in the ninth, and he was beautiful to watch. His motion is fluid and economical, and from where we were sitting, you could see just how much movement his pitches have. Mmmm.
All in all, it was a satisfying night, and we went home happy.
Steve Karsay had a set-back in his rehab yesterday, and The Daily News is reporting that he could be through for the year. Jose Contreras---who apparently came to the States without a four-seam fastball---is on his way back to the big club, just in time for the Boston series. If the pen gets rocked by the Sox, look for George to press the panic button and make a move for a reliever pronto.