Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
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Is It Over Yet?
2008-04-16 22:53
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Chien-Ming Wang had his first bad start of the year last night, and Clay Buchholz had the first bad start of his major league career. Ross Ohlendorf and Julian Tavarez didn't help out much in relief. LaTroy Hawkins (wearing number 22), Billy Traber (who got David Ortiz to pop up on one pitch), and Brian Bruney managed to lock things down for the home team starting in the sixth. As for the visitors, after a couple of decent innings from David Aardsma, Mike Timlin opened the spigot again in the eighth. The result was a nine-inning game that lasted four hours and eight minutes and saw 42 men reach base and 341 pitches thrown. After all of that, the Yankees emerged with a 15-9 win that put them two games over .500 for the first time on the season and evened their season series with the Sox.

As Kevin Youkilis popped out to shallow left to end the top of the eighth, I rolled over on my remote, accidentally hitting the pause button on my DVR and freezing a long shot of Hideki Matsui in the large, empty pasture staring up at the darkness, waiting for a ball that wouldn't come down. That pretty much sums up my feelings on last night's game. I'll take the win. I just wish I didn't have to watch it.

Comments (58)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-17 00:26:30
1.   Yu-Hsing Chen
I fell asleep watching this one too... everything after the 4th is a blur to me as the Yankees score a couple of touch downs.

it's good to see the bats come alive (and apparently the ghost of insert famous Yankee deceased possessing Chad Moller after they possed Jose Molina ) but these games remind me of why sometimes these Yankee / Sox game... umm.. sux

2008-04-17 00:28:45
2.   tommyl
Posted this in the last thread, but right before this came up.

Just got in from the game. Man, that was a long one. In the second inning my friend predicted it would be 15-10, not too far off.

I second the observation about Girardi and the BP. Amazing that in a game we won, that was often close and that had the starter pulled in the 5th inning we only used 4 relievers, and one of those for one pitch and none of them were Mo. Impressive BP management.

Oh, last observation, a lot of fights at the stadium tonight. One, below us down the 3rd base line that I never caught what was going on, but an army of police and security personnel were running all over.

Worst part, when a "fan" and his friends moved down next to us in the 8th inning. The entire time he was there, he never once looked at the field, just kept taking pictures of his friends giving people the finger and talking. He was still talking when Bruney had 2 strikes on Manny. I'm sitting there seething, thinking, "You know, there are a lot of people that wish they could see this in person, and you aren't even watching the game." I'm sure he and his pals were some of the people chanting for Paul O'Neill the other night. Class acts, all the way.

2008-04-17 03:09:42
3.   unmoderated
i also fell asleep. there was a quiet hum to this game, so i decided to close my eyes (just for a minute! chad moeller is up, he wont get a hit)...
2008-04-17 05:15:00
4.   Rob Middletown CT
Brutal game to watch. Especially watching Wang, who was clearly out of whack. Sinker not sinking (instead sliding waaaay right half the time, resulting in numerous 3-0 counts) = bad news. It was nice that they got to Buccholz, though.

Ohlendorf continues to not impress me. I know the theory is that he should be good because of his stuff, but it seems like every time I see him, he stinks.

2008-04-17 05:28:28
5.   rufuswashere
Seems that Gammons is one of the only commentators who's very high on Ohlendorf -- but I wonder sometimes whether he's confusing him with someone else. He was considered kind of a second-rate prospect by many sources -- which is why AZ let him go.
2008-04-17 05:36:57
6.   Sliced Bread
It would behoove Pope Benedict to not trip on his lines at his Yankee Stadium mass, lest the fans deride him with "John Paul II" chants.

2 re: fight night at the Stadium. I haven't been to a Red Sox tilt in a couple years, mostly because I want to avoid that scene. I was recently in my neighborhood pub, waiting for a couple orders of wings to go, and got into a Yanks-Sox discussion with another patron wearing a Yanks cap. He told me he took his teenage son, and a friend to a Yanks-Sox game at the Stadium two summers ago. His son's friend was a big kid, about 6'3", and liked to throw his weight around. This guy at the bar tells me his son's big friend turned out to be no fan of the Red Sox or Yankees, but was the type of idiot who thought it would be fun to put on a Red Sox cap and go around the Stadium looking for fights, provoking Yanks fans, stepping up to anyone who would engage him a quick punch-up.
The guy at the bar obviously thought his son's friend was a major asshole, and eventually convinced his boy to cut ties with the goon.
Anyway, this confirmed my sneaking suspicion that Yanks-Sox tilts had become a mosh-pit fightclub of sorts, and that the Stadium, on these nights, would be crawling with "fans" whose only reason for being there was to hit, and be hit by somebody. Weird deal.

2008-04-17 05:41:18
7.   OldYanksFan
Zito continues his downward spiral. Another great Cashman non-trade. I guess if we can pass on Santana, we can pass on CC. Maybe the 'era' of building through FAs is over. The expense for quality is huge and with pitching, you never know what you are getting.

Continuing to build the farm system is definitely to way to go. A few reliable hired guns, like Tex, might be nice, but I'd like to keep it to a minimum.

Was I wrong, or did Matsui look like he was running through quicksand last night? I hope he hits because he is almost as one-dimensional as Jason without as much upside. And did you see Matsui in the OF last night? He looks a little like the star player on the Special Olympics baseball team. The guy has gone downhill fast. And we already knew JD was not good for 4 years.

While Matsui and JD compliment each other (1 hits, 1 runs and fields) they seem redundant. Gardner may not be MLB quality, but I think in 2009 AJax comes up. Abreu looks like he should be resigned if it can be for 2 years or less.

So it seems 1 of Matsui/JD should be traded. The Rays are looking for an OFer. The Giants might give us something for Mats. I dunno. I just can't see keeping both these guys through 2009.

2008-04-17 05:51:54
8.   Alex Belth
I was at the Stadium last night, with my friend Johnny Red Sox. I've known John since 96 and we generally hit at least one game a season, usually a Yankee-Red Sox affair. I swear, in all honesty, I turned to him in the fifth inning and said, "I don't care who wins, just so long as this game could pick up the damn pace."

Fans got so lulled that they only seemed to entertain themselves with watching--or participating in--fights, throwing beer, chanting, heckling.

Maybe it's me. I realize the ballpark is supposed to be a place where people get drunk and are vulgar, but when you hear nasty chants coming out of a 7-year old, it's just bugged. This little kid behind me was more excited about the fights and yelling "Red Sox suck, go home" than he was in the game.

Depressing.

I cheer at the games, but am generally reserved--at least compared with how I can get at home. But somewhere in that mess of the middle innings, a Yankee pitcher--I'm forgetting who it was--walked a guy on four pitches, and, unable to control myself, I yelled at the top of my lungs:

"THROW....A...STRIKE!!!!"

Lol

2008-04-17 05:53:03
9.   mehmattski
5 In 17.3 major league innings, Ross Ohlendorf has struck out 19 and walked 7. That's not second rate. He needs some more experience coming in with men on base, but I feel he can easily replace Joba by midseason.
2008-04-17 05:55:40
10.   tommyl
8 Yeah, I also don't like the more recent trend of yelling, "Red Sox suck" and "Manny sucks." I'm not a big fan of either obviously, but can't we just root for our team to kick their butts? Or at worst, boo when they take the field. I don't mind booing a bad call, or a play in the field, but lately the attacks have gotten more personal and I feel like half the time people aren't even paying attention to the game. I wish they knew what a privilege it was to be at the Stadium. Ok, rant over.
2008-04-17 06:11:40
11.   monkeypants
10 et al

It's the other side of the "European Soccer Atmosphere" that we always here is so exciting and lively. And indeed it is, but it also comes with lot of ritualized chanting and songs between different rooting sections meant specifically to antagonize. It can be cute and funny, but it also has the potential to be very ugly.

2008-04-17 06:20:34
12.   williamnyy23
I am in the minority on this one, but I don't mind longer games, no matter how ugly. It means more baseball! Ultimately, however, I'll take whatever ends in a Yankee win.

2 Such crowds are common at Red Sox or Mets games, which does take away the enjoyment of attending those games.

8 It would NEVER happen, but I really wish sports stadiums would ban beer. That would give the louts no reason to attend a game, and allow people who actually care about the game to attend.

11 The only time I heard fans engage in ritual chant at a Yankees game was ironically against the Mets at Shea. I happened to be sitting in an overwhelmingly Yankee fan section and they had come up with a few very vulgar poems about Mike Piazza.

2008-04-17 06:21:13
13.   rbj
What a slugfest. I was flipping channels all night. I think it was Kimberly Jones interviewing one of the players after the game about the pitching and how it was LaTroy Hawkins who restored some sanity. The player agreed that Hawk was real important last night. So stuff that in your piehole, boo birds.

7 The YES crew mentioned last night that Matsui's knee wasn't 100% That could be why he's been looking even worse in the field this year.

CC may still be a good investment, looks like his price tag is going to get marked down.

2008-04-17 06:21:31
14.   williamnyy23
By the way, the Yankees now rank second in the AL in OPS+. What a difference a day makes.
2008-04-17 06:24:35
15.   williamnyy23
7 You are being too hard on Matsui. The man was never a good OF'er, nor a speedster. What he can do, however, is hit. And, if he stays healthy, he will continue to hit. I don't think either the Damon or Matsui contract have been too bad considering the market, but definitely expect Matsui to still be a productive in year 4.
2008-04-17 06:27:01
16.   Rob Middletown CT
I'd be fine with banning beer at baseball games. I love beer, but I'm not gonna pay $8 for a beer so I can stand in line for half an hour to take a piss. I go to see the game. Not that I'll be going this year anyway, mind you.
2008-04-17 06:32:52
17.   williamnyy23
16 That's part of my point. I am not a Puritan, but it's gotten to the point where beer has become an end instead of a means. I just don't see how a rational person would pay those prices, which means the people gulping down the $8 beers already have questionable intentions.
2008-04-17 06:38:53
18.   tommyl
17 Yesterday was the first night I've had a beer at the game in a long time. I only did it, because a friend I'd invited along insisted on buying me one as a thanks for the ticket.

As for the heckling, nothing compares to when I was seven years old and used to yell "Raghetti Spaghetti" at Rags while he was warming up in the pen. That was the height of wit ;).

2008-04-17 06:41:45
19.   JL25and3
7 I think everyone except Sabean knew that the Zito signing was a terrible one. It's not at all comparable to the Santana deal, and probably not to CC either (depending on how this year goes).
2008-04-17 06:49:43
20.   Rob Middletown CT
We all knew that Damon for 4 years was questionable. I always figured we'd get 2 good years, one meh year and one bad year leading to benching him.

So far we got a very good year, a meh year, and what is shaping up to be another meh year (but is too early to say).

2008-04-17 06:51:34
21.   Rob Middletown CT
Regarding Sabathia... you had to figure that after throwing ~250 innings last year there would be some aftereffects. The question is: is he hurt? If not, he's still the guy I want (and hopefully at a small discount due to his struggles this season).
2008-04-17 07:03:44
22.   Schteeve
1) I'm with William, I love these long marathons where it seems like anything could happen.

2) I hope people realize that Hawkins has actually been pretty good this year. First of all, he throws strikes like crazy. Second, aside from the 6 run fiasco in Kennedy's first start, he's been really good. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 5 appearances including last night.

3) I think it's way too early to conclude that Ohlendorf is bad.

2008-04-17 07:09:33
23.   JL25and3
My feeling about this sort of game: C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas le baseball.
2008-04-17 07:10:26
24.   mehmattski
22 Agreed on all points. I felt cheated out of baseball back when they were playing the Rays and the games were over in like two hours. The 7 PM games are the perfect end to a day... come home, eat some dinner, then settle into the evening watching the game (and Bantering). Since I don't go usually to bed until midnight, if the game is over at nine, I feel lost.

On the other hand, maybe it would have been better to have more afternoon games the first week of the season. The team clearly struggled in the cold weather. Someone else suggested the Yankees move spring training to Greenland so that NY in early April feels warm. I like it.

2008-04-17 07:13:59
25.   wsporter
I don't know, anytime we beat Bahston the next days coffee seems to taste better, the sun shine seems a little warmer and the morning work out is a little easier. Bad game, great result. I'll take it.
2008-04-17 07:14:52
26.   williamnyy23
22 Also, in the 6 run fiasco, Matsui flat out misplayed a ball that would have ended the inning. It was scored a hit, so all of the subsequent runs were earned.
2008-04-17 07:30:02
27.   joe in boston
25 agreed.

I'm happy with a win. Let's see how Beckett looks tonight. Hope we can get to him early.

Hey, on a related note to this banter today - I'm planning on taking my family to a game at the Stadium this summer: 5 1/2 year old boy and 3 1/2 year old boy - (and wife obviously). I don't want any drama/etc from the crowd. Haven't been down myself in 3 years - any advice ?

2008-04-17 07:31:00
28.   JL25and3
I thought last night's game was plenty of fun, and while there was plenty of sloppiness, there were at least some moments of fine baseball. For instance, the top of the 8th - when the game was still very much in doubt - had a great at-bat by Manny followed by an equally great K of Youkilis.
2008-04-17 07:32:11
29.   williamnyy23
27 Go to a day game!
2008-04-17 07:36:48
30.   JL25and3
I meant to add: I'm also a 'uge fan of low-scoring pitcher's duels. Pettitte-Smoltz '96 (the second one) was one of my favorite games ever. As it got to the late innings, the game was riding on every single pitch. Last night's game could never have that kind of tension, because it almost didn't matter if one team was ahead or behind by a few runs.
2008-04-17 07:37:09
31.   horace-clarke-era
6 Sliced B ... that's very funny. And I confess I add it to Alex's comment and tommy's about drunken fans and I stick to my guns on Hawkins and #21 and empowerment, in quotes or out. This was about the guys with too much beer, not about a grassroots 90's dynasty fan movement showing the love to Paulie. And O'Neill didn't show his passionate Yankeedom or love of the uniform, he showed a lack of perspective in a big way. And he fueled this one.

Haven't heard anyone answer my question: can you see anyone CHOOSING #21 going forward now? Has the number been effectively retired by a six pack of shouters?

JL's got it: magnificent because we won, but little to do with baseball. Not sure how brilliant we can claim Girardi's bullpen management to be. He left Mo down with a six run lead, he used his situational lefty to get a slumping slugger and went righty to get a redhot MannyChild.

Some might say Torre has lowered our standards for 'brilliant' but ...

And where 's the love HERE on the Retire Horace's Number Campaign? (Jorge could get away with switching to #21 couldn't he?)

2008-04-17 07:39:10
32.   horace-clarke-era
30 JL, outa me head!

"Pettitte-Smoltz '96 (the second one) was one of my favorite games ever. "

Absolutely. Better than the homer in the rain same series. Andy throwing to 3rd on the bunt is one of my talismanic moments. Riding on every single THROW not just pitch!

2008-04-17 07:39:43
33.   monkeypants
27 Please tell me you have your tix already...
2008-04-17 07:40:13
34.   JL25and3
27 , 29 And don't go to a Red Sox game.

I go to a lot of Saturday afternoon games, and they always have a lot of families, a lot of kids. There will be kids there 3+ years younger than your youngest.

2008-04-17 07:41:47
35.   pistolpete
I was actually repeating the title of the post to myself but for a different reason - I was only flipping over during breaks in the Rangers/Devils game, and was shocked to see it was only the 6th inning by the time an entire hockey game had been played. I went straight to the DVR and caught up on the latest "Breaking Bad" & last week's "Simpsons" before flipping back and Kim Jones was talking to #22.

I think I'm swearing off these games entirely, lol.

2008-04-17 07:48:38
36.   joe in boston
33 34 no tix yet. Have a couple connections that I'm working on .... also trying to sort out travel plans. I was figuring out a Sat game would work best. thanks guys. We're heading to Tampa next week to visit family - going to the Trop to see the Sox (don't worry, we will ALL have our Yankee gear on !)
2008-04-17 07:50:41
37.   joe in boston
35 haven't found many people in my world who watch "Breaking Bad" - what a show !!!
2008-04-17 07:57:37
38.   JL25and3
36 You can probably get tickets on Stubhub, but expect to pay plenty.
2008-04-17 08:03:00
39.   williamnyy23
31 Not interested in reviving this debate, but to answer your question, yes, I can see someone choosing #21 again, but it would have to be a player with much more stature than Hawkins.
2008-04-17 08:21:27
40.   pistolpete
37 Cranston deserves an Emmy.

But am I wrong to be completely annoyed by the kid who plays the son?

2008-04-17 08:29:12
41.   joe in boston
40 Agreed.

What a disturbing but great show. I have somehow warmed up to the kid. Bad choice of words, I know. I think that's the way he ended up. (Bizarre). My theory is - it that show was on HBO(like the Sopranos) ... it would be a huge hit.

2008-04-17 08:32:34
42.   soxfan17881
Painful game. Simply painful.
2008-04-17 08:36:46
43.   51cq24
31 i could see a joba type taking it.

36 honestly, i don't really see the point of wearing yankee gear to a sox-rays game. this ties into what i was going to say in response to earlier posts. it's not just red sox games that tend to get violent. often if a fan just shows up to another game with a red sox hat, drunken yankee fans can't help but jeer. personally i think it's crazy, people should be able to wear whatever they want, but why provoke? i've come to expect drunken idiots at the games. it's one of the main reasons i don't particularly enjoy going to games anymore. it's one thing for people to be distracted by a fight. it's another for people to stand up in front of you, blocking the field, because they're so interested in seeing a fight. i hate it. the other reasons i hate going are the bathroom situation (too crowded, full of cigarette smoke), the absurd prices ($4.50 for a poland spring bottle), and the fact that you can see pitches better on tv. that's not to say that i'd refuse tickets to a game, but it's not a priority.

2008-04-17 08:40:43
44.   joe in boston
43 interesting take. I'm not trying to fuel any fire ... and perhaps (with 2 little kids with us) should rethink this. I typically wear Yankee stuff most of the time anyway. Just being a fan - nothing serious. The last thing I need on vacation is my kids getting crap from Sox fans ! So maybe you're right !
2008-04-17 08:45:48
45.   Bob B
Long night last night. My son and I left at 10:45 with a 11-9 lead and still didn't get home until almost midnight so I listened to Sterling and Waldman. THey were talking about how Manny has killed the Yankees since 2006 (something like a .440 BA-unreal type number) BUt when the Yankees had his number there were a number of pitchers not afraid to pitch him inside.Certainly the Redsox pitch DJ and Arod inside and hit them regularly.......without Directly saying throw inside and hit Manny just remember the time Clemons pitched him inside after the Zimmer-Pedro game.... he struck out on two pitches 2 feet out of the strike zone. That or walk him everytime he gets up
2008-04-17 09:12:27
46.   horace-clarke-era
45 Not sure ... two of Manny's hits were on low and well inside pitches. If you mean high and tight and make him bail and get anxious:

'Where have you gone Don Drysdale, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you...'

Different era, pretty much.

2008-04-17 09:17:15
47.   Adrian
43 I went to the Sox home opener wearing my Yankees cap. I was screamed at, threatened with death by some drunk fans, but all in all people left me alone (except for some weird looks). It's not like the rivalry is a secret. I went in knowing that I'd take some shit from Sox fans. You may not like it, but that's the way it is. Sox fans get the same treatment in NYC.

Stupid people + beer + rivalry = idiocy.

2008-04-17 09:39:01
48.   JL25and3
46 Bruney threw up and in to Manny, and he took the next pitch to left for a single
2008-04-17 10:20:14
49.   pistolpete
46 I don't think Manny's bright enough to get 'anxious'...
2008-04-17 10:26:26
50.   jalexei
It's been a while since I saw a Yanks game at Fenway (home opener '05, in fact) but before work, family, and scoring tickets all got a little nuts, my wife and I would make it a priority to get to at least one game each time the Yankees were in town. It was a point of pride that I always had my cap on (and my wife her lucky Paulie #21 T-shirt) though given I'm (while pretty timid) a rather stout fellow, the screaming and pelting with peanuts never escalated beyond something we couldn't laugh at.

I'd have to say to Adrian though, if I were at Fenway for a non-Yankee opponent and saw someone in an NY cap, I'd be giving you a weird look too (before I bought you a beer) - I mean, why bring that on yourself when the opponent isn't worth it? To each his own....

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-17 11:01:35
51.   glennrwordman
I really love going to games: The feeling you get emerging from the entry-way when you catch the first glimpse of the field...you just can't get that watching at home. I still remember the first time I went to a "live" game (Shea, not YS, sadly).

But...the level of simple ~inattentiveness~ at games has gotten a lot worse, especially since the advent of cell phones. There's something about watching a game with at least a section of people really paying attention to what's going on. Unfortunately, group-think tends to trend in the direction of idiocy and narcissism: "Look at me! I'm a moron just trying to impress some other moron." I don't wanna sound all school-marmy, but rudeness via obliviousness to one's surrounding is really a problem. (True in other places than ballparks, but...lemme ESCAPE those other places!)

I wish that people would not feel compelled to try and make themselves the "attraction," but I'm probably Quixote-ing here.

Cell phones and beer: prohibited at glennrwordman Park.

2008-04-17 11:57:07
52.   51cq24
they could just replace beer with wine and everyone would be happy
2008-04-17 12:13:38
53.   pistolpete
52 Please, there's enough 'whine' over at Fenway as it is...
2008-04-17 12:35:38
54.   rbj
53 That's quite cheesy.

Just saw a report that Isiah is going to be out as the Knicks' coach. I guess Dolan got those pictures back somehow.

2008-04-17 12:42:06
55.   JL25and3
51 "There's something about watching a game with at least a section of people really paying attention to what's going on."

That's why I had a great time on my one visit to Fenway - three years ago, the game where Schilling came off the DL as a reliever and ARod beat him with a 9th-inning homer. I sat in the center-field bleachers, wearing no Yankee regalia but making no effort to hide my loyalties. My companion and I were the only Yankee fans in our section, but we didn't have any trouble at all. Almost immediately we were all just baseball fans, watching a game and talking about baseball.

Beautiful day, splendid view of that splendid grandstand, an ARod HR off Schilling - and a section full of knowledgable, attentive fans. I loved it.

2008-04-17 12:43:20
56.   JL25and3
54 So soon? I mean, I wouldn't want them to make some rash, impulsive decision on this...
2008-04-17 13:02:28
57.   Max
50 The thing to remember (re Yankee fans at Fenway for non-Yankee games) is that there are a lot of New York transplants in the New England and Boston area...so Red Sox fans (the more civil ones anyway) tend to grudgingly accept the presence of the "enemy" in the same way they accept the presence of wayward family members. A lot of people here tend to know someone at work, or a friend of a friend, or some such other person who is a Yankee fan.

Several of the local bookstores have a decent number of books on the Yankees in their sports sections (though the recent Red Sox success has impacted that somewhat).

So the presence of Yankee gear isn't the automatic incitement to riot it might be somewhere else involving two rivals. However, if a particular Yankee fan at Fenway is loud and obnoxious, they'll get unwanted attention...just as a loud obnoxious RS fan at Yankee Stadium would.

Personally, it's the frat-boy boors from the local schools wearing "Jeter swallows" and "A-Rod blows" shirts that turn me off...it's a unique experience sitting next to a sweaty 19 year old with no deodorant and an unwashed "Jeter swallows" shirt, I'll have you know.

2008-04-17 15:42:34
58.   moismycopilot
27 If you're OK with being in the upper deck, there are two alcohol-free sections up in the Tier (13 and 14). My parents prefer those seats because they can be more sedate than the sections where you can buy/bring beer. When I'm going on my own dime, I'm in the bleachers, which are also alcohol free, but might be too intense for small children.

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