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One Man Wrecking Crew: Rodriguez has First and Last Word
2007-04-07 15:28
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

It was another sluggish day for the Yankees' starting pitching and their fielding. Hideki Matsui left the game with a tight hamstring (early reports indicate that he'll be okay). Kei Igawa became the first Yankee starter this season to make it through the fifth inning. Unfortunately, he didn't make it to the sixth, allowing seven runs, all of them earned, off of eight hits and three walks. A forgettable debut, indeed.

Alex Rodriguez's two-run dinger in the first got the Yankees on the board; he doubled in the fourth and scored on Jorge Posada's RBI single (one of those line drives to right at the Stadium that narrowly missed being a homer), then walked and scored on Jason Giambi's three-run bomb in the eighth. But would any of that matter to the uncompromisingly tough New York fans if Rodriguez failed in the ninth? Trailing by just one run, Rodriguez came to the plate with two men out and the bases juiced. He took a ball from Chris Ray and then swung through two fastballs.

Emily and I always hold our breath when Rodriguez comes up late in the game in big spots. I don't know if there is any Yankee player since Reggie that I root for in exactly the same way. I feel like I'm a kid again as far as he's concerned. My heart pumps faster when he's up, and I'm almost physically pained when he fails. I guess I respond to Rodriguez's neediness. As with Reggie, I feel like he really needs me.

I sat on the floor and prayed with Emily. "Just get a single, bro, nice and easy." Instead, Rodriguez launched Ray's 1-2 pitch into the black seats in center field for a grand slam home run. Sweet Georgia Brown. Final Score: Yanks 10, O's 7. I jumped up and down and yelled and hugged Emily, who will officially be my wife in less than two weeks. Rodriguez had a huge smile on his face as he circled the bases. His teammates mobbed him and when they all returned to the dugout, Derek Jeter pushed Rodriguez back-up the steps for a curtain call.

According to our pal, Pete:

Alex Rodriguez is one of three players in history with three walk-off slams. The others are Vern Stephens of the old St. Louis Browns and Cy Williams of Philadelphia. Nobody has done it since 1950.

There was more general lousiness from the Yanks today, but Rodriguez was the star, from soup-to-nuts (Em says tomorrow's headlines should be directed at Rodriguez's detractors: "F*** All of You," or "Shut Your Pie-Hole"). And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing.

Comments
2007-04-07 16:15:07
1.   yankz
I know exactly what you mean. I was shaking with nerves when Arod was up, something that never happens to me when Jeter or Abreu or Giambi is batting.
2007-04-07 16:15:31
2.   seamus
so happy for arod. been watching video of that as much as I can. the picture in the ny times is just great. that grin is great. i'm needy so i can relate to arod. i think that helps me enjoy when he succeeds.
2007-04-07 16:21:36
3.   jdasilva
There was such a calmness from A-Rod that hasn't been there much in his Yankee days.
Such perceptions do matter with him, it seems, since he's the only one who can negate his talent.

Good to see, especially on a day that was gloomy throughout.

2007-04-07 16:31:10
4.   dianagramr
We need to have Emily cloned, and sent to work in every newspaper in the tri-state area.
2007-04-07 17:08:51
5.   Count Zero
Amen brother...to every word of that. I don't think I've ever rooted for a player as hard as I root for A-Rod.

That was sweeeeeeeet!

2007-04-07 17:48:55
6.   Sliced Bread
Oh man, Alex, I love the image of you and your bride-to-be praying on the floor for A-Rod. Heh. That's fantastic.

Less than two weeks your prayers will be answered again when you become husband and wife. Enjoy the countdown.

I'm so happy for A-Rod. Been smiling all evening thinking how blissed out he must feel. Way to go, bro! Please don't let those fickle fuggers in the seats drive you out of town.

2007-04-07 17:54:25
7.   arodfan4ever
I actually cried when he started getting better!! I'm sooooo happy for him all of this crap he'd been through is finally paying off!!
2007-04-07 17:58:22
8.   arodfan4ever
If I didn't think he would get out of that thing last year then I would have said the hell with him but theres no way I could.
2007-04-07 17:59:52
9.   joejoejoe
I would be cool if A-Rod started calling home runs 'pie' like Reggie called them 'taters'.
2007-04-07 18:00:45
10.   yankz
9 People would be on him for being cocky. "Easy as pie, eh?"
2007-04-07 18:03:10
11.   Zack
What a great game to be at. And my family and I were all doing the same thing, like, "oh God, why does this have to be Arod in this situation, when he is the only reason we are even IN this game," and then from that to going nuts....

ANyone read the AP story, amazing that they can still find trash to talk about Arod...

2007-04-07 18:03:24
12.   vockins
Allow me to paraphrase an old Nike ad tagline - it's gotta be the socks.
2007-04-07 18:22:43
13.   BklynBmr
If I won the four letter network in a card game, the editorial director position is Emily's for the asking. You ain't too bad either, Alex, you could name your gig, too ;-)

You nailed it on A-Rod's ABs. He's the only Yankee I root for at the plate for reasons other than the game situation. I'd love to see him carry the team until the rotation gets right, and even enjoy himself for a change.

On the AP, they are haters akin to the Boston Barmaids of Bristol, so no surprise when cheap shots like that appear.

Texas up on the Sawx 4-2, but it's early. Them holding on would be a nice capper to a memorable game at the Stadium today.

2007-04-07 18:49:26
14.   C2Coke
I actually feel sorry that I missed it. Good for Arod! I am watching it right now.

I miss Wang badly, however, with his hamstring problem, can't say I am not relieved he's in the much warmer state.

2007-04-07 19:26:12
15.   yankz
I can't get over how freaking storybook it was. 2 outs, and THREE guys had to reach base for Arod to bat. Magic.
2007-04-07 19:33:05
16.   OldYanksFan
I'm surprised to see a post so shortly after the game. Something special must have happened.

I believe we are are touched and thrilled about today's events, but honestly 7: There's no crying in baseball.

I happen to know the author of that AP article. Met him at a fancy dinner. When his wife asked him if he thought she looked good in her new dress, he said "You'ld look great hun... if it wasn't for your fat ass. And try not to pee your panties again like you did last October".

2007-04-07 19:33:52
17.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Ahhh, A-Rod. Keep the socks; they're working.

I broke my left pinkie finger playing racquetball the other night, and, when he hit that ball, I clapped my hands together. Not a great idea, but it was worth it.

2007-04-07 19:36:00
18.   seamus
ah. so nice to see that boston's bullpen isn't disappointing...
2007-04-07 20:21:19
19.   regfairfield
Steve Finley had a walk off slam for the Dodgers in 2004.
2007-04-07 20:38:48
20.   Max Nomad
yea, i feel like i remember finley's slam. And Dunn had one last year off Wickman down by THREE with 2-out and a full count. But A-Rod's done it 3 times. My hero.
2007-04-07 21:49:39
21.   jkay
Bernie Williams jammed with the Allman Brothers Band Saturday night at the Beacon.
2007-04-07 21:54:57
22.   BklynBmr
Due to being outFOXed on EI today, I had to break down and tune in to BBTN for today's A-bombs. Anyone catch the 'Hip, hip, Jorge!' self promo ES#N commerical? Either the rat b@stards at the network or their ad agency tools must monitor Banter game threads.
2007-04-07 21:58:41
23.   BklynBmr
21 Wow! Any audio or footage of that available to your knowledge?
2007-04-07 22:00:49
24.   yankz
Bklyn, next time, just get the clips off yankees.com, it's what I do.
2007-04-07 22:15:07
25.   jkay
23 I have not seen anything so far.

Check youtube or

http://www.allmanbrothersband.com/index.php

Something will show up.

2007-04-07 22:20:08
26.   BklynBmr
24 Thanks, yankz. I was so excited today, I forgot about that! I'll be hittin' that a few more times tonight ;-)
2007-04-07 22:20:14
27.   OldYanksFan
It's getting late and I'm still buzzing on ARods HR. Unable to sleep, I'm thinking about long HRs, and the King of the Longball.

"Forget Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, even Ruth. Mickey Mantle is the king of the longball. In 1953 he hit a HR at Griffith Stadium in Washington which was measured at 565 feet.
In 1960 he hit a blast over the right field roof in Tiger Stadium that was measured at an astounding 643 feet! But the one Yankee fans remember was the one he hit against the A's in Yankee Stadium in 1963. The ball soared like a missile directed towards the heavens and was still on an upward projectory when it struck the upper deck facade. It hit so hard that it ricoched back onto the field. One computer projection estimated the ball would have traveled an unimaginable 734 feet! No one hit a longer ball than Mickey Mantle.

I've read a number of accounts of 'The Shot'. Some say it hit the Facade, but I've heard it said it hit the light stanchion above. Some say after it hit, that it bounced back, on the fly, almost to the infield, some 200'. Many years ado, I saw a grainy, black and white photo of the Shot, but I can't find it on the net.

Try this. I do this every visit (which are very rare these days) I go to the stadium. Look at home plate, then look to the top of the facade in RF. Look at home plate, look at the top of the facade. Imagine a ball traveling that distance, on a line, still traveling upward when it hits. Humanly possible? Seems hard to believe.

But Yogi saw it, and Kubek and many others. Kubek calls it a line drive.

"On two legs, Mickey Mantle would have been the greatest ballplayer who ever lived." - Nellie Fox

"If that guy were healthy, he'd hit eighty home runs." - Carl Yastrzemski

When Detroit great Al Kaline was taunted by a youngster who said, "You're not half as good as Mickey Mantle," he replied, "Son, nobody is half as good as Mickey Mantle."

Some quotes from the Mic, a humble man.
"Hitting the ball was easy. Running around the bases was the tough part."

"After I hit a home run I had a habit of running the bases with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases."

"Somebody once asked me if I ever went up to the plate trying to hit a home run. I said, 'Sure, every time.'

"Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."

"You don't realize how easy this game is until you get up in that broadcasting booth."

"Sorry Mickey, but because of the way you lived on Earth, you can't come in. But, before you leave, would you autograph these baseballs for me." - Mantle quoting St. Peter at the Pearly Gates from a dream he said he had.

/rant

2007-04-07 23:23:07
28.   joejoejoe
I heard somewhere (ESPN?) that Matsui may be out a week. Who do the Yanks call up from AAA as a sub OF? Is it Bronson Sardinha or one of the Kevins? It's not smart to have Miguel Cairo as the only backup SS, 2B, 3B, and 5th OF. With one guy out but not on the DL (Matsui) you are two injury dings away from being short a position player. With a team full of thirtysomethings one stinging HBP and a turned ankle in a game is not out of the question.

Who goes down? Who comes up?

2007-04-08 05:00:47
29.   Sliced Bread
A-Rod gets a back-page (holiday appropriate) "A-Men!" from the NY Post and NY Daily News. Newsday surprisingly out-tabloids the rags with "Mr. April!"

28 Probably Thompson goes up, but no idea who goes to Scranton. I'd send Myers but Joe won't. Not an easy call for Joe since he needs relievers aplenty based on how poorly the starters performed first time through the rotation.

2007-04-08 06:02:21
30.   OldYanksFan
There are not many choices who to send down. Maybe our 5th starter after today?
2007-04-08 07:34:46
31.   Max Nomad
He could send down Rasner, and just use the offdays to skip the 5th starter.
2007-04-08 07:35:30
32.   Max Nomad
Rasner will be out for 4 days anyway, after today.

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