Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
SWEPT AWAY After the Yankees
2003-06-30 08:05
by Alex Belth


After the Yankees polished off the D-Rays with a 4-3 win Thursday afternoon (Giambi, and Mondi homered, Mussina picked up the win, and Mariano had an rough ninth inning, but notched the save), they returned home and took care of the Mets in convincing fashion, taking all four games over the weekend and sweeping the season series. But before they left Tampa, Lou Pinella threw a good tirade at one of the laziest players in the league, Ben Grieve, who struck out looking to end the game:

Grieve took a third strike from Yankees closer Mariano Rivera; Piniella was upset that Grieve didn't question the call by umpire Wally Bell. ''I asked [Grieve] if the ball was high, and he says, `I thought it was high,' '' Piniella said. ''I said, `Then why didn't you say something?' and he says, `It doesn't matter.' I said, `Well, what the hell do you mean it doesn't matter? It matters to me, and it matters to everybody else.' Rivera's a tough pitcher; I'm not expecting anything. [But] I'm expecting if you think the ball is high to tell the umpire it's high instead of walking off to the damn dugout. And then getting a response like that after we busted our [expletive] out there for nine innings trying to win a baseball game -- it does matter! It matters to me and it matters to a lot of damn people in this clubhouse. And when it matters to everybody, we'll start winning more [expletive] baseball games around here.'' Grieve insisted he never used those words. ''He keeps yelling at me and yelling at me, and I'm like, wait a minute, Lou,'' Grieve said. ''I'm saying [Bell] doesn't care. I'm not saying that I don't care. It's one thing if he's mad at me because I don't show emotion and I don't argue. But those words, `It doesn't matter,' make me look bad. And that's not what I said.'' Long before Piniella came to town, Grieve was criticized for being too laidback. ''I know exactly why he's mad,'' Grieve said. ''He was so frustrated about losing. And if he does think that I don't care, then he does have a right to yell. But I'm up in the cage during the game taking 200 swings. If I didn't care, I'd be in the dugout laughing or joking around or whatever. I'm able to care without showing emotion, which is something that obviously most people don't do.''

David Wells was less than sharp on Friday night, but he was able to hang on for the "w." He had several cursing fits which were worth the price of admission. The most memorable play of the night was when Jose Reyes slapped a ground ball to center field for a single and then turned on the jets and made it to second before Hideki Matsui could get the throw in (more bad words from Boomer). To be fair, Matusi didn't exactly pull a Reggie on the play, although Reyes did his best Mickey Rivers immitation.

I missed the first game of the Bronx-Queens double-header on Saturday, but was pleased to hear that Godziller hit a grand slam and drove in five runs. Clemens pounded the Mets and got the win. I was able to watch the major league debut of Brandon Claussen on Saturday night however, and was duly impressed. The kid needs to see a barber even worse than Matsui, but he was cool, and composed and pitched very well.

Giambi and Matsui put together several excellent at bats against Tom Glavine, taking the outside pitch the other way. It was a sight for sore eyes, especially with the likes of Raul Mondesi and Juan Rivera in the line-up (Soriano and Jeter lead off the game with homers to right). Later that night, I was thinking how much better the Yankees will be when Bernie and (knock on wood) Nick Johnson return. Even if Johnson isn't 100%, he is patient and isn't going to give away at-bats.

The Mets made a dramatic comeback against the Yankees bullpen, but fell just short, and lost 9-8. Giambi's solo homer proved to be the winning run. Joe Torre brought in Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning. With one out and the bases juiced, Raul Gonzalez hit a bases-clearing double but was caught off second base in no-man's land when the throw came back to the infield. Soriano chucked the ball to third, but the throw was low and Enrique Wilson made a beautiful pick to save an error---and perhaps a run---and then threw to second to get Gonzalez. End of threat. End of game.

Last night, Jeff Weaver made an early mistake to Jeromy Burnitz who hit a three-run bomb off of him in the first inning. But he didn't fall apart. Instead Al Leiter--who is having his worst year as a Met--was tagged in the third inning for three homers (Giambi, Matsui, Posada), and that was all the Bombers needed for a 5-3 victory and a season sweep of the Metropolitans.

Thank God it's over. The Yanks have won 15-17, and are now at the half-way point of their season (51-30). They play three games against the O's starting tonight, and then face the Bosox for the big holiday showdown this weekend.

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