Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
I Haven't Got Time for the Rain
2006-05-15 05:25
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Although it was overcast for most of the weekend--with more rain due throughout the week, we've been able to steer clear of the wet weather that cancelled two of the three games in Boston (and shortened another). Saturday turned out to be sunny and breezy, as the Yankees edged the A's 4-3, on the strength of home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Taynon Sturtze appeared and was awful and is now on the disabled list. (Hey, at least he's been replaced by Scott Erickson!) Kyle Farnsworth wasn't brilliant, but he was better, and he worked around a critical error by Jeter to save the game by a run.

Randy Johnson's pitching woes are still here. While he showed signs of improvement on a pink and gray Mother's Day in the Bronx, Freddie Sez it is clear that Johnson is in the process of working through a career crisis of sorts. A first-ballot Hall of Famer, a dominating force like Johnson just doesn't transform into Frank Tanana overnight. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:

"A lot of it is probably mechanical," [pitching coach, Ron] Guidry said, before pointing to his head. "Some of it is probably still up here."

..."It's absolutely frustrating to not be pitching the way I'm accustomed to pitching," said Johnson, who has 268 career victories. "But I've been through a lot in my career, and that's why I appreciate everything I've done in my career.

"If everything were easy, it would be easy. Right now is frustrating because I'm not pitching the way I'd like to or even close, and I realize that. Nobody has to tell me that."

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Oakland's starter, Danny Haren, was terrific, throwing a complete game. Final score: A's 6, Yanks 1. The Yanks start the week tied with the Red Sox in first place with the well-rested Rangers team coming into town for a four-game series.

2006-05-15 05:47:46
1.   mikeplugh
The Unit (minus the Big at this moment) wasn't good, but at least we can probably rest easy knowing that he would have had to have been darn near perfect to have won that game anyway. Haren is a real talent, and the Yanks couldn't get to him.

I believe he'll get it back before too long. That is, he'll get back to being 75% of Randy Johnson again. That's all we're going to get, but it should be good enough to win 15-17 games if he can right the ship next time out. No telling how long it will take though. Fingers crossed.

2006-05-15 05:48:37
2.   mikeplugh
I was thinking, by the way, of the title "I Wanna Go the Rain" as a tribute to Keith Sweat, but that would be embarrassing.
2006-05-15 06:00:22
3.   unpopster
y'know...every now and then you come across those obscure, "puff" pieces in the local paper like the one in the Times about "Freddie Sez" and you can't help but light up with a grin a mile wide.

"Freddie Sez" is a Yankee Stadium icon. He is part clown/part inspiration. I love it when he comes over to my section and I'm sure I'm one of hundreds of thousands who feel the same way.

I would NEVER stop a celebrity on the street to take a photo with them, but I sure do want a photo with Freddie. hmmm, what does that say?

Thanks NY Times and Manny Fernandez -- now THAT was a great story to start your day to.

2006-05-15 06:25:52
4.   Dan M
Frankly, I find Freddie to be really annoying. That's all Yankee Stadium needs - more unnecessary noise. Although, if I had my way, I'd get rid of the blaring sound system well before I got rid of Freddie.
2006-05-15 07:20:16
5.   Cliff Corcoran
I could swear I've seen footage of a Reggie-Jacksone-era playoff or World Series game and spied Freddy and his sign in the stands, but according to that article he's only been doing it since 1988. Huh. I'm happy to say I've hit that pan several times.
2006-05-15 07:24:28
6.   Emy
"I would NEVER stop a celebrity on the street to take a photo with them, but I sure do want a photo with Freddie. hmmm, what does that say?"

I'm with you, unpopster. We love it when Freddie makes his way through our section.

Last week my wife jokingly asked me how he was able to slip past security with this big black bag that he carries around. I told her that everyone knows Freddie and I was sure they made an exception for him. I guess I didn't realize how well known he was by everyone inside the Yankee organization though.

Great write up.

2006-05-15 07:36:08
7.   jkay
Freddy also appears at Manhattan College basketball games and has a website,
2006-05-15 08:10:46
8.   its430
I can remember being a little annoyed by Freddy and his clanging pot while sitting in the stands. But, now that I'm out of market it's always reassuring to hear it in the background off of the mlbtv feeds.
2006-05-15 09:34:57
9.   brockdc
This might've been a dream I had...

...but does anyone else recall, back in the late-nineties (during rallies), when, as Freddy banged on his pan, the crowd would yell/sing "HO-OH!" in unison?

The fans don't do that anymore. Why not?

2006-05-15 09:56:53
10.   Shawn Clap
That wasn't Freddy getting the crowd worked up. That was Ali (pronounced Ollie) in the right field bleachers.

He would wait until the Yanks needed a rally and then do his banging (metal pipe on the metal guard-rail) and then the bleachers would do the "ho-oh" and it would end with:
"(opponent's name) suck
Mets suck
Box Seats suck
Everybody sucks

Ali died in 1995, right before the playoffs and the run, but he his (alleged) grandson took over with the pipe. Don't think anyone does it now.

There's a large coffee table book from the early 90s called "Baseball in America" there's a picture of Ali in there.

2006-05-15 10:00:24
11.   rbj
Sorry, I just find the sound to be annoying. It was real refreshing when I went to Wrigley, and they didn't have a blaring sound system. To me, baseball doesn't need all the extra sounds. Especially when it is constant.

I'm not too bummed out about yesterday's loss. We're still tied for first and went 7-3 over the last ten games, which realistically is all you can ask for. Plus Boston's schedule is now screwed up a bit.

2006-05-15 10:18:46
12.   Cliff Corcoran
10 Close, Shawn. It's not a pipe, it's a cowbell, and it does still go on, though the guy who does it now only attends sporadically. The routine is a call and response rhythm followed the "HO-O-O-O-OH" chant and:

Yankee Baseball
Mets Suck
(Opponents) Suck
(Opponent's right fielder) Sucks
Box Seats Suck
Everybody Sucks

No more "ho"s after that.

There's a book on the bleacher creatures by Filip Bondy that I just stumbled upon a week or so ago. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but just skimming through I've come across several familiar faces and names from my Sunday sojourns to section 37.

2006-05-15 10:34:13
13.   Jen
Ali died on May 8, 1996. The Yankees paid tribute to him on May 14, the night of Doc's no-hitter. If you watch the replay of the game you can see some signs in the stands for him. There's also a bronze plaque that the Yankees put on his seat in Sec 39.

Since there was no game last Monday, the Creatures paid tribute to Ali on Tuesday night. They chanted his name after roll call, causing much confusion to the people out there who have no idea who he was.

2006-05-15 10:37:49
14.   Dan M
Didn't the Creatures also sing a dirty song that started "[opponent's rightfielder] is a horse's ass..."? I'll always remember them singing it to Shane Mack.

I noticed yesterday that there is almost constant noise at the Stadium. Even before the game starts, you can't even hear the person sitting next to you. It definite takes away something from the experience.

2006-05-15 10:56:15
15.   Cliff Corcoran
14 Yup, they still sing that one.
2006-05-15 10:59:34
16.   Jen
14 Yeah, they still sing the horse's ass song to the rightfielder. They also get on Vernon Wells when the Jays are in town. But he's a good sport about it and will tip his cap. At this point I think he looks forward to it.

I agree with the annoying noise comments. I also don't like being instructed the video screens to "make some noise". At least they haven't resorted to handing out thunder sticks and rally towels.

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