Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shawn Green

I was excited when Shawn Green came to the Mets. Even though I am not a Mets fan, I thought it would be fun to have a Jewish player on a New York baseball team. I was also proud of his decision not to play on Yom Kippur in L.A.. But I was dissappointed that he decided to play on Rosh Hashana. After all the Mets have already clinched so there is no pennant race and the games mean nothing. In New York it would be even more acceptable because we are home to the largest Jewish community in the U.S.. Furthermore, he will not have to miss any time for Yom Kippur because it comes right after the last regular season game and before the playoffs start.

Shawn was very excited to come to New York and get involved in the Jewish life here. He recognizes his role as a Jewish ballplayer even though he is not really observent at all. Do you think he should have played on Rosh Hashana in NY?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Magic Number 0

It’s official. The New York Yankees have just clinched their 9th straight AL East division title. This title was wrapped up after the Yankees swept the five game series in Boston, but it was just a matter of finalizing the inevitable (there were some technicalities to dispose of first). Boston came through one last time for the Yankees and their fans as they lost to the Twins, enabling New York to clinch despite losing a close game 3-2 to Toronto. When Roy Halliday made an early exit last night I thought we might manage to pull off a win even though half of the regulars were missing from the lineup. Although they came up just short last night, the other two rookies left impressions after pitching well and sticking it out for the win.

This year was a special celebration. This season the Yankees blew out the division and did not back into the title. There was no race to the wire, but to clinch was just as gratifying. They fought hard, battled many injuries, worked through pitching problems, gave the fans a scare or two, and overcame deficits. There were times when it looked like this was just not there year as the injuries heaped up and as their game deteriorated. But, looking back over the course of the season they are arguably the best team going into the playoffs; not the hottest just the best. This celebration was different. It was more emotional and there was a giddiness due in part to the many “kids” on this younger and fresher Yankee team. The clincher last night certainly lifted my sagging spirits. (And even though they clinched in Toronto there were Yankee fans making themselves seen and heard throughout the ballpark. There were fans waving Yankee flags behind the dugout and others holding signs.)

Torre did a great job of managing this team. He rolled with the punches and found a way to win. Cashman, too, did a spectacular job of bringing people to the team out of nowhere. Bruney was an amazing find to bolster a tired bullpen. As for Abreu, he is the perfect fit, helped get the Yankees over the last hump, and will be an important contributor the rest of the time he is here. The only problem I have with Torre is that he once again mismanaged the bullpen and tired out key guys like Proctor and Villone. Mo absence has not helped matters and he did not have many good options in the bullpen much of the season, but you can only hope the bullpen will not fall apart from exhaustion.

I will not even begin to discuss the SI cover article on A-Rod now. Definitely interesting to hear about, but I have no patience to analyze it at the moment. Too much to say.

One of the Yankee radio broadcasters, Suzyn Waldman, is taking off because of the “Jewish holliday” (Rosh Hashanah). Nice to see. Tino Martinez will be joining John Sterling in her place. He is one of my all time Yankee favorites and I am not happy that I am missing it. Maybe this will become a more regular occurrence because after seven years I am beginning to tire of John Sterling and I never thought I would say that. I miss Michael Kay in the booth. He was so much more entertaining to listen to. Although I still listen to his espn show.

Mo is just rarin’ to go. Joe said to him, “We did it without you, but no more.” Reenter Sandman.

Finally, I would like to officially congratulate all the Mets fans out there who read my blog. I know there are quite a few of you. Good luck in the playoffs and maybe we'll meet again down the road. The best team in the AL vs the best team in the NL. New York vs New York. It could happen.

This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Back Again

Sorry for my infrequent posts. My internet was broken for another week and a half. This time my Dad was the culprit. He pulled out a wire and did not tell anyone. I had a whole post on A-Rod’s breakout week, but that is old news already. So this is going to be my first sports post in a while. Last night's game (Yanks won 12-4) raised a lot of questions even while answering others.

Matsui made his long awaited return from the DL last night. Despite being out since May 11, he went 4 for 4 as a DH. The rust did not show at all last night, but the Tampa Bay does not have top quality pitching. It was great to hear the standing ovations for him every time he came to the plate. Supposedly the Japaneese are having a "holiday" in honor of his return. (Because Matsui has now taken over as DH, Bernie will unfortunately lose almost all his playing time.)

Sheff is still MIA, but he took batting practice yesterday and should be back soon. But where would he play? Rightfield is taken, centerfield is taken, leftfield is taken, and DH is taken for now. One option being discussed is maybe having Sheff play first instead of Giambi. While Giambi is not a good defensive first baseman and tends to pull things while playing, would Sheff be an upgrade?

Another question that I do not know the answer to is what will happen to the chemistry of the time with the return of Sui and Sheff who were gone most of the year. The Yankees became a great team without them and are cruising along right now. As of now I would almost like to see the team as is in the playoffs (they deserve it), but if Sui and Sheff produce that is not going to happen.

Moos pitched a great game last night. It was only his second start after coming off the DL. He did not look good in his first start, but this time he pitched like the old Moos. Through 6 and 1/3 innings Moos gave up only 5 hits (2 were bloops), no walks, and pitched economically. If he continues pitching like that then the starting rotation will do fine in the playoffs. Moos, Johnson, and Wang can be dominant. Even Wright's last two starts have been great. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Jeter is still one of the top contenders for MVP and he is only 4 percentage points behind Mauer for the batting title (with almost 100 at-bats more). But before last night game he also had a 21 game hit streak going. A hit streak that Jeter plays down and Torre forgot about. Last night Jeter had 3 walks and was also hit by a pitch. Since the Yankees had a 12-0 lead, Torre took him out in the 7th for a pintch hitter. Torre felt so bad that he forgot and went over and apologized. Many thought that the streak had ended at 21, but it turns out that since he did not have an official at-bat the streak is still alive. Jeter also has 92 RBI and will most definitely reach 100. As a number 2 hitter that is a great stat and should help his bid for MVP.

Abreu was outstanding last night when he knocked in 7 runs. In the first inning alone he had 6 RBIs (supposedly the record is 9 for most RBIs in one inning) as the team scored 9 runs. He has been more than anyone could have asked for. Oh, and Cairo made his return from the DL too when he came in for Cano in the 7th. Finally, Cano has quietly been having a great sophmore year. His batting average is .335, but he doesn't have enough at-bats yet to qualify for the batting title, although he should accumulate enough before the season ends.

Fun times!