Poetry in Motion

April 13th, 2014 by

Ichiro's catch red sox

There were a lot of heroes in tonight’s ESPN Yankees-Red Sox contest; Nova and Beltran come immediately to mind, with Shawn Kelley right up there. But for me, Ichiro’s spectacular catch was a game saver. Plus it was beautiful to watch, so I present it for repeat viewing. Bravo.

Very sweet to take three of four from the Sox, especially since it’s usually the reverse at this time of year. But not as sweet was the latest parade of injured players. I mean it’s just sick how they’re all going down as if they’ve never run the bases before. I get Jeter and his quad. He’s almost 40. And Roberts’s sore back doesn’t surprise me, given his history of being Nick Johnson in disguise. But Cervelli? Seriously? And then Solarte? And then McCann? Luckily, the latter two stayed in the game, but we can’t keep putting Beltran at first. And who’s our backup catcher now? CC? Crazy.

Oh well. I’ll savor the victory and worry about the injuries tomorrow. It’s an off day. I hope none of the players trips over their Starbucks.

 

 

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Boston Marches into Yankeeville

April 10th, 2014 by
Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Photo: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports

Fresh from the championship Red Sox’s visit to the White House and Ortiz’s controversial selfie with the President (the White House wasn’t happy with the plug for Samsung, a company for which Ortiz is a spokesman), the team comes to the Bronx for four games beginning tonight.

I would have much preferred the series to kick off after a Yankees win against the Orioles last night, but that game ended in an “L,” thanks to the bullpen. So frustrating. Tanaka served up the three-run shot, the Yankees battled back (Beltran finally hit a homer, yay), only to have the O’s break the tie and go on to win – again. Baltimore has a great-hitting lineup even with a couple of their good bats on the DL, and there’s a reason Tyler Kepner in the NYT picked them as the team to beat in the AL East.

But in the meantime, we’ve got the Sox to deal with and they’re brimming with confidence. Let’s hope the boys are up to it with better clutch hitting and relief pitching and less sloppy defensive play.

 

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A Blowout. How Embarrassing.

April 8th, 2014 by

BigHair

Not a good day for Yankees pitchers, I guess. Nova, seriously? I hope we don’t see too many of these laughers this season, at least not with the Yanks on the losing end.

But how about the torrid hitting of Solarte?! Yikes. I know he’ll cool down eventually, but what a ride in the meantime.

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Yankees Home Opener: Random Thoughts

April 7th, 2014 by

Derek-Jeter-rehab-@-Trenton-325

While I loved the pre-game bit with Andy and Mo throwing out the first pitches to Jorge and Jeter and while it was exciting to get the win against the O’s and while I was impressed with Kuroda’s outing and while it was great that Jeter had that almost-homer in his first at-bat (that’s a lot of “whiles”), what stood out for me was Jeter’s ability to run the bases like a rookie. I’m serious. His ankle looked as good as new, and that was heartening. A healthy Jeter for his final season is exactly what we all want to see.

There were other positives, but I was truly bummed by the D-Rob news. He’s on the DL already? After two seconds on the mound? I guess I should be glad he and Teixeira only have “grade 1 strains” but still. This is starting to feel like deja vu all over again, as Yogi would say. Sometimes I think these guys are made of glass.

I see the Yanks traded Nunez to Minny for a left handed pitcher. With the season Solarte’s having so far, it looks like a smart move keeping him and dealing Scissorhands, bless his heart. Ellsbury continues to hit and Soriano’s come around, so I’m not as worried about the bats as I was last week. When Beltran and McCann get going, the lineup should be fierce.

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Highs and Lows So Far

April 5th, 2014 by

Highs+and+Lows2

The weekend’s not over, but I had to weigh in after Friday and Saturday’s games.

The highs? Clearly Tanaka and Pineda. When Melky (grrr, Melky) hit that hot shot off Tanaka right away I had one thought: Igawa redux. But I absolutely loved his demeanor on the mound. He said afterwards that he was nervous, but even so he was able to settle down and pitch really well. I love the kid already. As for Pineda, what a lovely surprise. He hadn’t been on the mound in a long time and yet he was great. I only wish he’d stayed in the game. On the offensive side, I’m happy with what I’m seeing from Ellsbury. He’s giving us hits as well as speed. Not the strongest arm I’ve ever seen in the outfield, but I’ll take the rest of him.

Now the lows. Obviously, I begin with Teixeira. Sheesh. Seriously, Mark? We get you back for five minutes and you’re gone again? We’ll know more about the hamstring strain after his MRI, but we don’t have an adequate replacement. I miss Eric Chavez at times like this and he wasn’t even a first baseman. I hope Cashman’s working the phones, because Kelly Johnson and Dean Anna aren’t making my heart sing. I’d also like some offense from the rest of the lineup. Hello, Beltran. Hello, Soriano. Hello, McCann. You guys are supposed to be our heavy hitters so do your thing. I like the speed this team has but I like home runs even more.

It’s early, but having two starters like Tanaka and Pineda is very, very positive.

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Solarte!

April 4th, 2014 by
Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America

Photo: Elsa/Getty Images North America

I listened to parts of this one on my At Bat app in the car and was smiling each time the new guy got another hit, even the one that dropped in front of the Astros on the mound (a Castillo moment, kind of). Whatever magic he’s got I just hope it keeps up.

Nova had an odd game, pitching in and out of trouble a lot, but that seems to be his thing and he did limit any big innings. Nice job by Robertson for the save. I still miss Mo (huge shoes to fill), but I’m glad we have D-Rob.

And the Yankees won. Whew. Good to have that first one.

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Uh-Oh. Where Are The Bats?

April 2nd, 2014 by

It’s always sort of spooky when the season starts with losses. No, two in a row isn’t a trip to the Twilight Zone, but it’s weird that we have all these big stars and they look anemic at the plate. Soriano, in particular, seems to have a hole in his bat.

On a positive note, Kuroda stuck around way longer than I expected and the boys showed some speed on the bases. And Jeter got a nice tip of the cap from the Astros before the game. Supposedly he had dinner with Clemens the previous night, and I can’t figure out why he’d want that guy in his life, let alone have him for a buddy. Yuck.

 

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Well, That Went Well – Not

April 1st, 2014 by
Photo: nytimes.com

Photo: nytimes.com

The last thing I wanted to see in tonight’s first inning was Jeter getting drilled. Not that it won’t happen periodically throughout the season. He does lean in and pitchers pitch in, so it’s not unusual for his hand/wrist/arm to be vulnerable. I just figured it wouldn’t be in the season opener in Houston. But there were other reasons to hide my eyes.

CC’s early innings were ugly. The defense went awry behind him. Nobody looked good at the plate, except (surprisingly) Teixeira. By contrast, Houston – this was the Astros we were playing, right? – looked like World Series champions and it was a little like David kicking Goliath around. But that’s baseball. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day. I kept thinking….maybe this game is an April Fool’s joke or maybe the Yankees are still in spring training mode. And then I reminded myself it’s a loooong season and they won’t win every game.

Earlier in the day came the news that the Yanks had DFA-ed Nunez. Startling, considering how much they’d relied on him the past couple of years. It was shocking enough that he didn’t make the cut for opening day, but to literally cut him loose? I didn’t see that one coming and I’m sure he didn’t either. But they did give him chances to claim the shortstop job and he never did. I hope he makes it elsewhere.

On to the next….and the next. Let’s go Yankees.

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Inching Closer to Opening Day

March 25th, 2014 by

behind home plate

I’m excited about this 2014 team and I didn’t expect to be. All reports indicate that our starting rotation (CC, Kuroda, Nova, Tanaka and now Pineda) should be pretty damn good. The pen will be stocked with more-than-decent relievers, although I can’t wrap my head around Robertson as the closer. Ellsbury’s always going to be a question mark, injury wise, but he sounds healthy enough for Opening Day. Will Jeter and Tex ever get their bats going? Sure, eventually. And I’m hoping for nice offense from McCann and Cervelli (never would have guessed he’d have such a good spring). I have no idea what’ll happen with Brian Roberts at second base and wish we’d gotten a bona fide power hitter at third, but it’s still a team worthy of competing in the AL East, and I can’t wait for the season to start for real.

Meanwhile, if anybody’s looking for reading material while we count down, I was alerted to a new novel called The Perfect Game.

The Perfect Game cover

courtesy of Amazon

Its author, Stephen Paul, describes it as a supernatural thriller, but the reason I’m bringing it up here is that the plot….Well, here’s the setup straight from Paul:

“In a dark Manhattan alley, a young woman suddenly collapses from a brain hemorrhage. The statistics say it’s rare to have happened to someone so young and healthy, yet all signs point to natural causes. But when Kyle Vine, the man she was supposed to meet that night, learns she wasn’t the only victim, he knows there’s something more going on and soon discovers a mysterious link to the sudden success of a journeyman pitcher for the New York Yankees.

As the lethal brain bleeds continue to strike, Kyle and the woman’s eccentric uncle work together to unravel a mystery unlike any the world has ever seen in order to stop a ruthless killer from striking again.

The Perfect Game is a fast-paced gripping ride that will continue to keep readers on the edge of their seats while trying to figure out who’s behind the deadly episodes, how they’re doing it and, perhaps most shocking of all, why.”

See that? The story has a Yankees hook. I’m bogged down with a tight deadline for a book of my own, so I can’t read this one right now. Let me know how it is and if the Yankee is the murderer. (We did have a murderer’s row once upon a time……)

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RIP, Carmen

March 7th, 2014 by
Photo: NORMAN Y. LONO/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Photo: NORMAN Y. LONO/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Really sorry to read in the Daily News about the death of Yogi’s wife, Carmen, the love of his life. The obit below says it all.

Yogi Berra’s wife of 65 years, Carmen, dead at 85 following complications from recent stroke

Carmen Berra, the beloved wife of Yankee legend Yogi Berra, died Thursday night in the Crane’s Mill Assisted Living Facility in West Caldwell, N.J., near the couple’s longtime home in Montclair.

The couple, whose love affair was legendary, had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Jan. 26; Carmen Berra’s death was the result of complications of a stroke she suffered earlier this year.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Montclair.

Born Carmen Short in Missouri in 1928, Carmen Berra married Yogi on Jan. 26, 1949, when he was a 23-year-old catcher with the Yankees. They went on to raise three sons, Larry, Tim and Dale, and have 11 grandchildren. Dale Berra played for the Pirates and Yankees and Tim played for the then- Baltimore Colts.

“She died peacefully — she went the way she would have wanted to,” larry Berra told The News Friday. “We’re grateful that she and dad were able to spend some good time together (Thursday). I’m not just saying this because she was my mom, but she was one of the great women of all time.”

Yogi and Carmen Berra met in St. Louis in the late 1940s, when he was a minor leaguer just back from World War II and she was a waitress at Biggies, a St. Louis restaurant.

Carmen served Yogi lunch and he asked her name and whether she was married. Their first date was a hockey game in St. Louis. Berra proposed marriage by placing a ring on the table in front of Carmen while they dined at his family’s home.

In recent years, Carmen Berra was instrumental in the operation of the Yogi Berra Museum on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, N.J. On display there are some of the romantic letters Yogi sent to his wife from the various cities he traveled to playing ball. She worked closely with the museum’s donors and helped organize fund-raising events.

Carmen Berra was known not only for her beauty but for her quick wit and charming personality.

In an interview with Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden, Carmen Berra related how her husband once sent her an anniversary card signed, “Yogi Berra.” She said she was glad he signed it that way because it eliminated any confusion about all the other Yogis she knew.

“On behalf of the entire New York Yankees organization, we offer our deepest condolences to the Berra family,” Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “Having known Yogi and Carmen for so long, it is almost impossible to imagine two people who complemented each other better than they did. We will always remember Carmen’s smile and sense of humor, and her kindness and generosity will be deeply missed by all who knew her.”

In the recently closed Broadway play “Bronx Bombers,” Peter Scolari and Tracy Shayne, who were married in 2013, starred as Yogi and Carmen.

A casting call for an understudy for the part of Carmen summed her up this way: “Character ages to 80s, petite, strong-willed, elegant, beautiful, Yogi’s wife of 30-60 years and the epitome of all that a Yankee wife should be. She exudes confidence without ever seeming pompous, and exemplifies the good citizen without ever appearing plain. She is dynamic, energetic, embodies sex appeal; men are attracted to her and women are drawn to her. A fashion maven, she has an instinct for saying, doing and wearing the right things at all the right times. All respect and admire her. Always in control. Must be 5’5” and below.”

 

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