Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Hit The Lights
2008-03-10 19:32
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yanks shut out the Reds 4-0 in their first night game of the spring, while Hideki Matsui picked up his first hits.


L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Bobby Abreu (RF)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
L - Hideki Matsui (DH)
R - Nick Green (2B)
L - Brett Gardner (LF)

Pitchers: Joba Chamberlain, Billy Traber, Mariano Rivera, Ian Kennedy, LaTroy Hawkins

Subs: Morgan Ensberg (1B), Chris Woodward (2B), Alberto Gonzalez (SS), Cody Ransom (3B), Chad Moeller (C), Jason Lane (RF), Justin Christian (CF), Colin Curtis (LF), Wilson Betemit (DH)

Opposition: The Reds' starters.

Big Hits: Doubles by Alex Rodriguez (2 for 3) and Colin Curtis (1 for 1). Hideki Matsui was 2 for 3 in his second game of the spring.

Who Pitched Well: Everyone, as the Yankees didn't allow a run nor an extra-base hit and walked just one man, but in order: Mariano Rivera stayed perfect in his second spring inning and has yet to allow a ball out of the infield. Ian Kennedy lasted four innings allowing just two singles and a walk while striking out two and retiring his last eight hitters in order. LaTroy Hawkins pitched around a single in the ninth, though he only got one out on the ground. Billy Traber faced three men, allowed a single, struck out one, and got the third to fly out. Joba Chamberlain was inefficient, lasting just 2 1/3 innings while throwing 49 pitches, and only struck out one, but he also allowed just two singles and walked none. He also threw more strikes as the game went on, throwing only 57 percent of 23 pitches for strikes in the first inning, but 73 percent of 26 pitches for strikes over his remaining inning and a third. Pete Abe reports that the lone strikeout came on an "unholy" curve ball to Edwin Encarnacion, but that it was the 14th pitch of that at-bat as Encarnacion kept fouling off sliders. More on Kennedy and Chamberlain, plus audio, from Pete Abe here.

Nice Plays: Chamberlain picked rookie Jay Bruce off first base.

Oopsies: A wild throw by Alex Rodriguez.

Ouchies: Rodriguez and Posada both played the field and picked up hits, though one wonders if that wild throw had something to do with the sore lat muscle the limited Rodriguez to DH duty over the weekend.

New Faces: In need of an extra backstop following Francisco Cervelli's injury, the Yankees have signed veteran Chad Moeller to a minor league deal. Moeller is a 33-year-old major league vet with a career .224/.284/.346 line. He split last year between the Reds and Dodgers, picking up just 56 at-bats along the way (while posting an OPS+ of 3, yes, three). He was available because he'd just been released by the Nationals, who had him in camp as an NRI. He's purely minor league filler, but will be the triple-A starter and thus the Yankees' third-string catcher. Chad Jennings called him this year's Raul Chavez. Bingo. Meanwhile, the Yankees are giving Billy Crystal one hell of a 60th birthday gift. Crystal will do his best not to get killed in Thursday's game. Frankly I'd be surprised if Joe Girardi isn't drawing blood from biting his tongue over this stunt.

Other: Andrew Brackman got pranked. Back when Brackman was in grade school, Mo was getting advice from Steve Howe.

2008-03-10 22:13:33
1.   Mattpat11
I still maintain that Crystal is a better signing than Fanrsworth
2008-03-10 22:40:43
2.   jalexei
Never mind Farnsworth, Pavano makes Crystal's signing feel like some sort of Lowe/Varitek for Heathlcliff Slocumb type-deal.

Just hope the stamina holds up through the stretch run, or at least the pre-game stretch.

2008-03-10 23:33:44
3.   Mattpat11
If the Crystal signing adds ten more hits to he contributed more than Pavano
2008-03-11 02:06:19
4.   Shaun P
3 I bet a game-worn Billy Crystal jersey/hat fetches more than that mysterious "game worn" Pavano jersey/hat that was auctioned a while back.

Not that its fair to judge a guy based on 2-3 PAs, but for anyone who saw the game - how did Jay Bruce look?

2008-03-11 02:38:43
5.   Yu-Hsing Chen
pranking Brackman seems almost as dangerous as pranking Farnsworth no ? ;)
2008-03-11 05:35:56
6.   Sliced Bread
Funny, Cliff, Girardi's reaction was the first thing I wondered about when I read Crystal was joining the team for a day.
If Billy thought Jack Pallance was humorlessly tough in City Slickers, he hasn't met Drill Sgt. Girardi.
Nothing against Crystal, but he should play with the Yankees like Girardi should host the Oscars -- as in, not.
2008-03-11 05:42:35
7.   Knuckles
I say Crystal rides the pine until he comes up with a good explanation for wearing a Mets cap in 'City Slickers.'
2008-03-11 05:50:52
8.   Sliced Bread
7 His character in Slickers was a bit of a pathetic schlub, so it's probably better that he didn't represent his true colors -- but I'd be interested to hear his explanation.
Then again, the Yanks were fairly pathetic themselves when that movie came out, so who knows what he was thinking?
2008-03-11 08:18:35
9.   Chyll Will
8 Ask and ye shall receive - I found this in NYYFans (Specialty Sites to your right) under commenter Liquid Sky ---

Does anyone know why Billy Crystal wore the Mets hat? Because both hats symbolize NY. FWIW, this is Crystal's explanation:

Crystal played a Yankee fan in When Harry Met Sally, but in City Slickers, he wore a Mets hat.

At the time, Crystal approached the Yankees to do Comic Relief Night at Yankee Stadium. Comic Relief was created by Crystal and fellow comedians Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg in an effort to raise money for America's homeless. The Yankees turned down the request, but the Mets did not. The Mets donated a large sum of money to Comic Relief and let the three comedians come out to Shea Stadium.

"We made a lot of money for the charity," said Crystal. "I said, 'You know what? I am going to wear this hat for them because they did this for a great cause.' And that's why I wore the Mets hat in that movie."

Other comments point out that the Yanks eventually hosted a Comic Relief night with Billy, Whoopi and Robin. unfortunately the link in the comment, which would be the "official" comment on the whole thing doesn't work. (removing my editorializing)

Personally, I don't care. It was a movie, not a document on Billy Crystal; I think if the article was true, he's got a lot of class. (removing more editorializing)

Interestingly, this came up in a thread about jack Nicholson refusing to wear a Red Sox cap in one of his movies. Whereas Ben Awfleck insisted on wearing one in one of his (removing editorializing) and I won't even get into Jimmy Fallon (removing expletives). I think as an actor, unless you want to reflect the character's regionalism for the sake of the story, leave your own at home, especially since you might offend the rest of the country and tank your movie in the process.

As for Billy Crystal, he doesn't need to apologize for charity or thanking someone who helped when his first choice wouldn't, and obviously the Yanks didn't take it personally, even if they did miss out on really good PR.

2008-03-11 08:21:06
10.   alsep73
The one problem with him wearing the Mets cap in the movie is that the script has the character as a Yankees fan. When they're all telling the story of their best day, his is getting to see Mickey Mantle hit one out at the Stadium.
2008-03-11 08:59:10
11.   Sliced Bread
9 cool, Chyll, thanks for that.
10 good pernt.
2008-03-11 09:05:56
12.   Chyll Will
10 That could be either bad script supervision or an unfortunate compromise between actor and director, not a comment on Crystal's fandom. At any rate, this is different than a political front runner vying for votes he'd never get, or taking advantage of a serendipitous moment for a film no one will see, he was thanking someone who helped a much larger cause. The Yanks dropped the ball, but both made up for it in many ways afterwards.

As I think about it, I think his fandom comes out in that moment anyway, since he's talked about that being a seminal moment in his real life. THAT may have been a compromise in the script he insisted on, maybe not. Perhaps he'll fully comment on it one day, but I accept it as a Comic Relief thank-you.

2008-03-11 09:38:30
13.   rbj
10 I think for anyone, getting to see The Mick hit one at Yankee Stadium beats anything that has happened at Shea.
2008-03-11 10:33:22
14.   Chyll Will
13 (well, watching Mookie Wilson's grounder dribble under Bill Buckner's glove in Game 6 was kinda cool, too >;)

There was something magical about that moment from when the ball bounced and Mookie dashed out the box to when Buckner let it skip underneath him that just sits in the mind as one of those unforgettable moments in baseball history, gotta give 'em that.

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