Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Under the Weather (You Be Illin')
2008-04-04 18:31
by Alex Belth

The rain held out on Friday night but Joe Girardi missed the fourth game of the season anyhow with the flu. On the YES broadcast, Michael Kay reported that Girardi was at the Stadium, suffering in his office. Then Ian Kennedy went out and pitched something like the way his manager must be feeling. It sure wasn't pretty. Kennedy had no grasp of the strike zone, threw seventy pitches, and allowed six runs off four hits and four walks in two-and-one-thirds innings.

His counterpart, Andy Sonnanstine, retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into trouble in the third--everything he threw was up--when the Yankees bashed six hits, kicked off by a cheap-o right field homer by Godzilla, and followed by three shots off the outfield wall (Molina, Jeter, Giambi). When Alex Rodriguez scored from first base on Giambi's double, he had a wide, guileless grin on his face as he crossed the plate. It was a small, isolated moment, one that made Rodriguez look like a little boy. (It was easy to take pleasure in his enjoyment, something that is not always the case with Rodriguez.)

The Bombers scored four runs in the rally and then Sonnanstine went back to the junkyard, pitching six innings in all and retiring the last ten batters he faced. The Yanks got some handy work from the pen in the young law firm of Albaladejo, Ohlendorf and Traber, keeping the game close, at 6-4. Then LaTroy Hawkins was beat about the neck and face by Cliff Floyd and his pals. Pass the Robitussin, son. The crowd booed Hawkins and chanted "Paul O'Neill," chiding the poor guy for having the nerve to wear O'Neill's former number (Hawkins, who according to Pete Abraham, is an all-around swell guy in the locker room, is wearing 21 as a tribute to Roberto Clemente). When Hawkins was mercifully removed, Cooter Farnswacker replaced him and quickly served up a three-run moon shot to Carlos Pena.

13-4 was the final. Nothing a warm bowl of Jewish Penicillin and a good of sleep can't fix.

2008-04-04 19:37:39
1.   tommyl
Oh man, that matzah ball soup looks soooo good. My throat is sore from lecturing all day, wish I had one.
2008-04-04 19:46:38
2.   Alex Belth
I know, man. I haven't tried that Saveur recipe but that magazine is pretty good--a little snooty but also functional and sincere too. And since it is still cold here in NYC, with rain likely tomorrow, I had chicken soup on the brain.
2008-04-04 19:57:40
3.   Zack
Man, shame on Yankees fans for doing that to Hawkins. Its one thing to boo him or disagree with his mere presence on the team, but chanting "Paul O'Neill" is downright shameful. Get over it fans, O'Neill doesn't deserve to have his # retired, let alone given any special treatment. This irrational worship of every single Yankee from the 1996-2001 era is really starting to get to me...
2008-04-04 20:09:48
4.   Cliff Corcoran
Man, the contrast between the performance of the big money relievers vs. the minimum wage guys was stark, huh? Damn shame, too, that game had comeback written all over it until Hawk and Eagle Eyes got a hold of it.

I concur that the fans' treatment of Hawkins was shameful. I can concur with Pete Abe that Hawkins is a good guy. I don't mind them booing his performance, but he O'Neill chant was just uncool and it was clear that it added a nasty venom to the booing.

From my perspective, Cabrera's suspension (which was reduced to two games and started tonight) contributed to the loss as Damon likely gets the ball to deep left that tipped off Matsui's glove and really started the bleeding for Hawkins. Also there was a shot in the right center gap that Damon fell short of that Melky might have gotten to.

2008-04-04 20:11:53
5.   Mattpat11
I have to say, Hawkins is far less detestable that Farnsworth. I can't stand seeing him give up hit after hit, but I feel bad during the post game interviews.
2008-04-04 20:18:34
6.   tommyl
2 Nothing will ever beat my mom's. If it wasn't the weekend of my sister's wedding shower I'd ask her to make me a batch and freeze it. Oh well.

3 The chanting of O'Neill is detestable to me. It would be one thing if Hawkins chose the number to showboat, but the fact that he chose it in tribute to Roberto Clemente, I just feel awful for the guy. Look, he might stink, and I have no problem booing his performance (small sample size warning) but by all accounts he seems like a really great guy. Sometimes when I'm at the stadium and some idiot yells something like that, or, "Boston sucks!" I want to tell them to shut up. Stupid bandwagon fans.

2008-04-04 20:36:27
7.   Cleveland Steamer
What was/were Hawkins' number(s) on his previous team(S)??
2008-04-04 20:41:03
8.   Mattpat11
6 I don't really believe the narrative that after a month of the Morgan Ensberg mini controversy that Hawkins didn't know whose number it was, but if the Yankees make it available, he has every right to wear it.
2008-04-04 20:42:25
9.   Mattpat11
7 32. Howard's number.
2008-04-04 20:45:12
10.   Cleveland Steamer
O'Neil is such a big baby.

He was a hellva player, but he's not going into the HOF.

Yet he seems upset that his number wasn't retired.

It's been 7 years already, get over it, Paulie.

2008-04-04 20:58:34
11.   Shaun P
7 According to this page, Hawkins has always worn #32:

For some reason, I thought he wore 21 with the Rockies last year, but I could be mistaken. I think the boo-birds ought to leave him alone.

Off topic - some very good friends and I are planning a trip to the Stadium in May, likely the May 8th afternoon game vs the Indians. Its a celebration of sorts, and so we might splurge. From what folks have posted before, seats right behind home plate seem to be the way to go. My question is, view-wise, are either of these worth it for the price:

Main Box MVP 206 Row H - $183/ticket
Field Championship 6 Row F - $350/ticket

Or are we better off up in Tier Box MVP 603 Row E at $130/ticket?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

2008-04-04 21:17:29
12.   Zack
11 Hell, if you are really up for ponying up, the Field Championship seats are freaking awesome. But thats a lot lot lot of $. The Main Box would be darn good seats, certainly more than half as goo ds the Field Championships. The Tier Box seats are also great and will give you the best view of the whole stadium. If you are going strictly for value, go for the Tier Box, for the middle road, go Main, and for the "on the field" feeling, go for the Main Box.

But you can't go wrong with any of those and none are certainly cheap!

2008-04-04 21:36:20
13.   weeping for brunnhilde
3 I take your point, Zack, and I certainly don't think Hawkins should be scapegoated like that, but what's wrong with Yankee fans loving Paul O'Neill or any other Yankee they have fond memories of?

Why do you dismiss what I think of as deep affection as irrational worship?

2008-04-04 21:40:01
14.   joejoejoe
You know it was a bad game when a picture of soup is the best in the recap.
2008-04-04 21:43:53
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
3 Or maybe you mean it's irrational inasmuch as it's expressed in irrational ways, as with Hawkins. That I understand.

But if by "irrational worship" you mean that O'Neill or anyone else just doesn't deserve such affection, that's what I can't agree with you on.

He may not "deserve" to have his number retired, but what's wrong with fans having special feelings for him or any other player, regardless?

2008-04-04 22:21:56
16.   Zack
13 15 Mostly that it provokes irrational responses, such as the chants tonight, the Joe Torre can do no wrong reactions, the Scott Brosius was a better 3B than A-Rod reactions, the Bernie should play forever reactions etc...I love Paulie, but I know what he was as a baseball player.
2008-04-05 00:03:46
17.   Rich
No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of fans. They used to boo the best player in the game (or top three anyway).

Hawkins isn't keeping the ball down, maybe because he's squeezing it too tightly.

I doubt that he will have much time to right himself.

2008-04-05 04:26:20
18.   tommyl
17 Well, he had one bad outing. I think Girardi will have less patience than Torre, but I don't think it'll be that little. It will be interesting to see how long he keeps going to some of the guys who aren't getting the job done. That said, for all his talk about his faith in Krazy Kyle, he's basically only brought him in in games they are losing by quite a few runs.
2008-04-05 05:06:42
19.   JL25and3
4 That game didn't look like a comeback to me. The offense woke up for one inning, but that was it.
2008-04-05 05:11:27
20.   OldYanksFan
To find some silver lining, the score was much worse then the actual pitching. Kennedy was not really hit hard. There was Pena's cannon shot off The Wacker, but 13 usually means a slugfest... and it really wasn't. 2 big innings combined with walks, bloops and soft ground balls.

I wished JG let IPK finish out the inning. Maybe go for 1 more. I didn't want to give up the game, but having IPK get out of it and maybe one more decent inning (the 2nd inning was beautiful) would have left him feeling better. His next performance is more important then this one.... once 6 runs were in.

Wow... it's game four, we have a 2-2 record, and already the 'Bitter Banterers' are in peak voice. Good thing we aren't Detroit fans.

I love this team. At least Farns had 3 Ks in 1.1 IPs. I expect LaTroy will be league average, and like Viz, have good streaks and bad streaks.

However, even since he took LF again after his wrist injury, Matsui is a different guy. Now (with Bad knees?) he's worthless in the OF. Last night has made me really appreciate how much (average?) Melky adds to this team.

I would aggressively shops Mats (I think he will waive his NTC for a decent team, say LA). It's gut feeling more then SSS (small sample size), but I think JD is done. His bat no lomger has any whip to it, but at least he can run and still catch the ball. When you consider his speed, OBP and defense, I wonder if Gardner might not be much of a downgrade. AT least with a kid who gets paid nothing, you have lower expectations.

At this point, it's hard to take the failures of older, expensive players... ie: Matsui and JD, with a sdie order of Farns. I wonder if they will be replaced sometime this year.

2008-04-05 05:42:13
21.   JL25and3
20 The hits off Kennedy may not have been rockets, but he pitched poorly.

Btw, I agree with 10 . I was really surprised and disappointed to hear O'Neill's comments.

2008-04-05 06:33:28
22.   rbj
Well, one good thing about Hawkins coughing up the big matzo ball last night was that I got to watch Battlestar Galactica without having to flip back and forth.

Yankees at 1 pm today, and Mudhens tonight -- first game of the season in person. Woo hoo, doubleheader!

2008-04-05 07:12:42
23.   monkeypants
20 "I would aggressively shops Mats (I think he will waive his NTC for a decent team, say LA). It's gut feeling more then SSS (small sample size), but I think JD is done."

I might even agree with you on this. Both were aging players signed to 4-year deals. Everyone pretty much figured that they would be productive at the start and not so much at the end. The gamble was whether the team would get two or three good years; those gambles don't look like they are paying off so far.

2008-04-05 08:04:35
24.   Raf
10 ,21 To be honest, I thought that O'Neill's number would be retired as well. We all know how highly O'Neill was regarded among the fans (apparently ownership too, wearing the "warrior" label), and remembering back to game 5 of the '01 series I thought it was a lock that he would have his number retired...

Having said that, and seeing as how long it took for Gator's number to be retired, as well as the fact that Willie's number isn't retired, I can see the other side of the issue.

At any rate, that was a poor showing by the fans last night. They probably don't even know who Clemente was :)

2008-04-05 08:15:12
25.   monkeypants
24 Once Reggie's number was retired, any sense of limits were lost (IMO). Sure, retire O'Neill's number, and Bernie's and Jeter's and Posada's, and Andy's, and Tino's, and Alex's, and probably Winfield's and Rickey's for good measure.
2008-04-05 08:28:28
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
21 What did Paulie say?
2008-04-05 08:31:24
27.   weeping for brunnhilde
24 25 I still cringe a little to see number 31 in action.
2008-04-05 08:33:41
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
25 Well, with Rickey and Tino you'd kill two birds with one stone, so that could work.


2008-04-05 08:38:38
29.   monkeypants
28 You caught that, huh? :)
2008-04-05 08:46:53
30.   Raf
27 I don't. Not when you take into consideration the dynamic between the two. Even the reconciliation between Winnie & Stein seemed one of convenience as it was assumed that Winnie was going into the HoF as a Yankee.
2008-04-05 09:20:24
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
30 I'm just talking about the fact that the number 31 still evokes a flood of childhood memories.

It's a Proust thing, I guess is my point. On a deep level, its not about who "deserves" to have their number retired, but more about whether any given fan can get used to dissociating a given number from a given player.

In the case of number 31, I literally can't see it without thinking of Winfield.

We're using different kinds of criteria.

2008-04-05 11:22:17
32.   Raf
31 I see what you mean. Before O'Neill, I associated #21 with Dan Pasqua
2008-04-05 14:16:28
33.   Cleveland Steamer
But was Winfield a real Yankee? Not in my opinion. He was a merc. And the proof, he went in as a Padre, and he hasn't been to the house in ages.
2008-04-05 14:17:28
34.   Cleveland Steamer
30 But was Winfield a real Yankee? Not in my opinion. He was a merc. And the proof, he went in as a Padre, and he hasn't been to the house in ages.
2008-04-06 06:45:47
35.   Raf
Define "real yankee."

When I became a fan in the 80's, Winfield as 31 was all I knew, like 24 was Rickey, 23 was Donnie & 19 was Rags.

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