Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
I Can See Cleary Now...the Rain Has Gone
2008-06-22 16:33
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

After being wowed by the Reds' arms all weekend, the Yankees needed a hundred dollar bill performance on Sunday from their veteran, Andy Pettitte.  And that's exactly what they got.  Pettitte was able to get himself out of a couple of dicey-looking jams, in the fourth and the sixth.  With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, Pettitte fanned the pesky Joey Votto and then Jay Bruce to end the inning.  It was an overcast day, but the sun peaked-out just as Pettitte delivered the 3-2 pitch past Bruce. 

Two innings later, the sky was dark and the wind was whirling around the Stadium.  The wind was so violent, kicking up the infield dirt, Brandon Phillips had to step-out of the box several times before he could hit.  With runners on the corners and just one out, Pettitte got Paul Janish to pop a bunt up in the air, caught easily by Jorge Posada.  Pettitte stood on the mound, straight and tall, his pants rippling against the strong wind.  It brought to mind James Agee's description of Buster Keaton: "mulish imperturbability under the wildest of circumstances."  Pettitte struck Votto out.

Jason Giambi's mustache looked noticably darker than it did a day earlier.  When he was at the plate, it looked as if he was wearing one of those fake Groucho disguises.  Whatever he did, it worked, as Giambi collected three hits and a couple of RBI.  He also stole a base in the second inning.  He ran on a full count pitch to Posada, who took it for strike three.  When Giambi was on second, he looked toward the Yankee dugout and gave his boys a little shoulder shimmy shimmy ya

Kyle Farnsworth served up a solo shot to Junior Griffey in the eighth.  It was career dinger #601 for Griffey.  Mariano Rivera was called to record a four-out save after Farnsworth left the game with an injury to his finger.  Mo worked around two dinky singles to start the ninth, didn't allow a run, and earned his 21st save of the season (in as many chances) as the Yankees salvaged the final game of the homestand, 4-1


2008-06-22 17:20:40
1.   Knuckles
Hells yeah. That was a nice win after two hard luck losses.

Has the weather been nuts this spring or what? Was at the Nats game last night and spent 3 innings watching a storm roll right at (then past) us.

Now, it's 8pm in VA and outside looks like you're viewing it through amber colored sunglasses- like a sepia toned photo, only brighter. We are about to be on the business end of a deluge- par for the course these days.

Just had to give up my only Yanks tix of the season due to work scheduling, and now scrambling to figure out when I'm gonna get to the Bronx one last time...bummer.

2008-06-22 17:26:14
2.   cult of basebaal
man, what i wouldn't give to be rained on right now ... 4th straight day over 100 out here in LA
2008-06-22 17:32:08
3.   Chyll Will
I think Giambi's mustache is likely given to self-parody, such is dark humor.

I didn't mind the Griffey shot; in fact I saw it coming. His swing is still sweet as ever, if less productive. Fortunately it wasn't a game-changer, as his hits normally were back in the day. Didn't his first at-bat at the stadium also result in a homer? (indulge me folks, I don't have access to paid reference sites that would tell me...)

2008-06-22 17:39:56
4.   monkeypants
3 Nope, first game at NYY was 1-4 with no HR. His second game, however, was 2-4 with 2 HR!
2008-06-22 18:01:42
5.   monkeypants
3 Cheering Griffey is an odd case. I always liked him, and he does have that sweet swing and eye-popping numbers...all with no reputation for chemical enhancement. I also don't have a fundamental problem with cheering an opposing player, especially in this "lifetime appreciation" context.

On the other hand, Griffey has such personal animus toward the Yankees organization, holding a grudge from almost 30 years ago. I'm not sure he cares or appreciates the gesture.

Anyway, what do you think: does he hang it up this year or try to angle for some trade to an AL team to DH?

2008-06-22 18:49:23
6.   Jeb
Postscript #2:

I spent my Sunday at La Guardia (courtesy of my wife who lacks a concept of time and the MTA - her co-conspirator). Anyway I ran into Brian Bruney and he signed the baseball that Edwar tossed to me from the pen yesterday after the game. Pretty F'n cool coincidence! Along with a good photo and ticket its going to look great in a shadow box.

Oh, and then I saw the Yanks win from that fox bar, which appears to be a mets-front, at Laguardia. It was nice to see reds fans actually lose while watching their team.
Anyway, greetings from gate B23 at Atlanta Airport (I feel like Pete Abraham writing that).

2008-06-22 19:01:26
7.   Chyll Will
5 I think that if he can't get something with Cincinnati in a year or two (with the notion that they would be serious contenders within that time) he retires, with no regrets. As for his grudge, I don't blame him for that. The organization is notable as much for its contradictions as it's rich history, traditions and charity. I can't dismiss Griffey's charge and his animosity when we've seen or read about such petty behind-the-scenes behavior repeated throughout the team's history. That he used this animosity as fuel for greater play (as opposed to dedicating himself to destroying people's personal lives, for example) is not something to celebrate, but to appreciate that he channelled his hurt constructively and it made him a better player than he already was.

He's not the first certified HOF player to hate the Yankees. That's between him and the organization. He's never said he hates the fans or New York in general. If anything, I'd argue he's had the most fun when he's played here. We'll see at the All Star Game...

2008-06-22 19:08:09
8.   Chyll Will
6 Want another coinky-dink? I just saw a FOX News report about airport delays at LaGuardia, and they interviewed Golden Era rap duo Nice-N-Smooth as they were waiting to board their plane for a gig in Atlanta... fun! (though not for them, obviously...) Who knew they were still performing? Sweet!
2008-06-22 19:11:04
9.   Bruce Markusen
I'm not that disappointed in seeing the Yankees win only one against the Reds. Cincinnati has underachieved all season and has been due for a breakout. And the Reds have some good young starters who can legitimately shut down bigtime offenses.

In regards to Griffey, I've been ready to change my mind about him and consider him a positive force for baseball, but there he goes again with that ridiculous grudge against the Yankees. This is just so silly and petulant on so many counts.

*Billy Martin didn't like kids in the clubhouse. Griffey wasn't the only child to be given the heave-ho by Billy the Kid.

*Billy Martin is now deceased. Therefore, he no longer works for the Yankees. Joe Girardi and the current Yankee players have little or no connection to Billy Martin.

*How many years ago did this incident occur? Twenty or more years? Is this the worst thing that has ever happened to Junior in his life? If so, he has led a charmed existence.

Enough already. Yeesh.

P.S. to Griffey. The Yankees don't want you. You're too old, too brittle, and bat left-handed, which is something that the Yankees have in spades. Just shut up and accept a trade to Tampa.

2008-06-22 20:18:27
10.   JL25and3
I've always loved watching the guy play ball, period. What do I care if he has a grudge against the Yankee organization? Why would that make the slightest difference to me?

If he said he had a grudge against me, that might be different. But against the Yankees? I couldn't care less.

2008-06-22 20:33:38
11.   monkeypants
10 Well, I root for the Yankees, so I don't feel the need to shower any extra love or attention on a player who makes public his animus for the team I support. But that's just me.
2008-06-22 20:35:34
12.   dianagramr
Perhaps Keith and Clyde can get Jason in their next "Just for Men" commercial, to rhyme about how dark his 'stache has gotten!
2008-06-22 21:10:55
13.   Raf
Billy Martin didn't like kids in the clubhouse. Griffey wasn't the only child to be given the heave-ho by Billy the Kid.

But he's the only one who could do anything about it. :)

Anyway, as a Yankees fan, I've seen enough silly and petulant behavior on the part of the Yankees organization, that I can give Griffey a pass.

2008-06-22 21:17:21
14.   Chyll Will
11 Who said anything about extra love? Griffey reminds me of George Brett, another great player who also got pleasure in torching the Yanks, if for different reasons. We're probably the only team that Griffey has this type of issue with (and he's likely not alone in that); sorry, it does not tarnish his record. If he doesn't get over it, that's his choice. Like JL says, it's no skin off my nose.

Besides, the original point you made was that Griffey probably didn't appreciate the standing O the fans at the stadium gave him. So what? We boo our own players out the the Grand Concourse if they have an extended slump, so I wouldn't take it seriously either. Let him stew in his own juices, we should not be concerned about his apparent grudge, we should count the four rings we have since he's been playing against us and plan on the next, but giving credit where it's due is not wrong. We'll be doing the same when Manny retires, and maybe even Big Papi... if players on our team were gracious enough to say something kind about someone as certifiably disliked as Schilling, Griffey couldn't be that hard to look beyond either. I root for my team, but I appreciate his achievements, especially since they're naturally attained.

2008-06-22 21:18:16
15.   Chyll Will
13 Second...
2008-06-22 21:24:03
16.   monkeypants
I don't know--my father used to own a business and did not allow kids to run around the business because it was (in his opinion) unprofessional. That included the employees' kids and us (my father's children).

I can give Griffey a pass for being pissed off when he was 11 years old, and maybe even when he was 19 or 20. But man, the individual's responsible are dead (Martin) or infirm (Steinbrenner). To continue to hold a grudge strikes me as a bit childish. I mean really, I remember my fifth grade teacher being mean to me when I was 11. I got over it long ago, and bear no grudge against her or the school.

2008-06-22 21:28:35
17.   monkeypants
14 "Besides, the original point you made was that Griffey probably didn't appreciate the standing O the fans at the stadium gave him. So what?"

That's an interesting perspective. So for you, signs of appreciation (or contempt) are more for those making the gesture then for the alleged audience.

2008-06-22 22:23:41
18.   Chyll Will
17 Since you asked (nicely), I find that more in the case of contempt than appreciation. Both can be rooted in honest feelings, but usually from my experience, displays of contempt are often rooted in issues with self. That is to say, if I find someone showing me contempt, not hard to encounter in the Bronx, then I choose to ignore them rather than engage them in open discussion, being as that we are not likely to have further interaction than passing each other on the street. In Griffey's case, he's only made an issue of his contempt for the Yankees when asked about it, he's not actively campaigning about his long-ago issues. I'm willing to guess that to him it's media contrivances to sell papers during an otherwise moderately interesting-at-best series. It is to me.

Expanding on the point I just made, I draw conclusions about situations and circumstances individually when practical; I meet people regularly during the course of work and decide based on my priority (fulfilling my job) whether this encounter is pleasant, indifferent or negative. I don't anticipate anyone appreciating my function, but if they do I acknowledge it. I'm not incapable of holding a grudge, but for me you have to do something egregiously bad to get to that point.

From most accounts, Griffey is not a jerk or immature, but if you choose to believe he is based on the fact that he dislikes the Yankees in general, you have your reasons independent of mine, but not better.

2008-06-22 22:50:51
19.   Chyll Will
16 With all respect, I think you left out something that changes the context of his issue. It's not that he had a problem with being a child and being banned from the clubhouse, but he, his brother and his father all felt they were singled out, which would make anyone angry under the circumstances. If I were singled out in front of other privileged individuals, insulted and told I was not allowed to do what everyone else was doing, I would be highly upset and yes, I would remember that for a long time, even past the original transgressor.

The Yanks would have absolutely no regrets about that whole affair if Griffey were not a superstar player. If it had been a policy that was instituted and enforced throughout time, that would be one thing, but the reaction was from how capriciously the edict was applied. As a past victim of such treatment, I can say that it's not so selfish to be angry about it for quite some time (in general, I choose not to as I cannot afford grudges.)

Then the question is, what does he deprive you of personally that makes you feel it's an issue?

Aside from that, there is the chance that the whole story with how Griffey Sr. was treated in that time has not been as diligently reported as Junior's stated enmity for the organization. Do we know anything else about it? If he chose not to say, that's his own business, and I imagine we wouldn't like it anymore than he if we did know. But it's a editorial-driven issue, not a fan one.

2008-06-22 23:21:03
20.   monkeypants
19 "Then the question is, what does he deprive you of personally that makes you feel it's an issue?"

A good question. Look, rooting for a team is at its core irrational: there is no inherent reason to pull for this or that team because we are from the same city or state, or because we "like" a player on the team, or because we like the team colors or mascot, or because for reasons we can't recall as a child we took a liking to a team. But that's what we do.

I root for the Yankees. That doesn't mean that the team can do no wrong, but I do feel a certain irrational allegiance to the organization. Yes, the organization, since I continue to root for the team regardless of the players on it--indeed, once former favorites left the team (like Reggie), I rooted against them. I immerse myself in the team history and lore. I consider myself a "fan" of DiMaggio and Gehrig even though I never saw them.

So, when a player like Griffey holds a grudge that transcends the personal (Martin) to the organizational, then indeed it bothers me (to the degree that such things actually bother me, which is not that much on the grand scheme). I respect what Griffey has done on the field, and his career is one of the greats. Someday I hope to see his plaque in the HOF. But at the same time, if I were in attendance at the Stadium--in my capacity as a fan of the Yankees, past and present, the organization -- I would feel little incentive to cheer him or give him a standing ovation.

2008-06-23 01:25:38
21.   Chyll Will
That's very fair and well reasoned, and I respect that. Don't ask why I'm up at 4 in the morning; finding out about George Carlin passing yesterday inspired very serious consideration.
2008-06-23 02:46:16
22.   tommyl
6 That's pretty cool. Nothing like that happened for me when I was at JFK last week. Clearly what the Yankees need to win is for a Banterite to be stuck at the airport. Who's next?

14 Mmmmm....stew.

2008-06-23 04:23:58
23.   Raf
20 I would feel little incentive to cheer him or give him a standing ovation.

Fair enough, as a Yankees fan. As a baseball fan, I'd give Griffey a standing ovation, much as I did with Brett, Yount, Molitor, Murray, Ripken, etc, etc, etc.

2008-06-23 06:26:52
24.   Rob Middletown CT
Have you guys seen this Hardball Times article on Phil Hughes?

2008-06-23 06:32:12
25.   OldYanksFan
I don't know Griffey well enough to know if he is immature or not, an asshole or not. I do know he is a great player, with 600 HRs, who would have had an even greater career if not for injuries (as a Mantle lover, I appreciate that fact).

I'm glad NY gave him a standing O.
It was the classy thing to do.
I'm sorry Junior couldn't (or didn't show it) appreciate it more.

I don't believe there was racism behind the 'Billy Martin' incident... but one never knows. Whatever the situation, Griffey feels the way he does. As fans, it's really not our job to judge him as a person (with what very little knowledge we have), only to appreciate him as a player.

2008-06-23 07:01:13
26.   Raf
25 Given that Baylor's kid was mentioned as one of the kids that were playing in the hallway that day, I don't believe the racism angle either.

I just think the whole thing boils down to Billy supposedly trying to show up Griffey Sr by singling out his boys.

2008-06-23 07:52:27
27.   monkeypants
26 Or that Griffey Jr. and his brother were in fact the rowdiest of the kids and deserved (more or less) to be singled out. Whatever the case, it is a very silly thing from a very long time ago. For a grown man to continue to be angry over what amounts to being scolded as a kid, I have serious doubts about his maturity 25 .

Whatever. The series is over and Griffey now can cherish his fondest memory of the experience:

"My favorite Yankee Stadium memory?" the Reds slugger said last night. "It's leaving Yankee Stadium." (

Hell of a player, though.

2008-06-23 08:49:52
28.   Raf
27 It could be more than that; in an article that was posted here last week, it was mentioned that Sr. & Billy were on the outs for whatever reason.

Whatever, Griffey isn't the first person to hold a grudge against the Yankee organization, nor will he be the last. Look how long it took Yogi to come back.

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