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Only so much fooling around can be tolerated!

Alex Rodriguez continues to invoke ire from the western world.  His latest infraction:  attempting to pick up chicks via ball boy communication while he was benched during the ALCS.

Just to recap for anyone who needs a refresher, behavior for baseball players during games goes as follows:

don-mattingly-popcorn-kid

THIS IS OK
Mattingly: “It’s important for me to get as much grease on my hand as possible before I go out into the field.”

arod-on-bench

THIS IS NOT OK
A-Rod: “Hm, she’s hot. I wonder if she’ll sleep with me after the game? Only one way to find out… Ball Boy!”

Remember, 2 MVPs and 1 World Series title count for NOTHING when you’re benched for lack of production!  (Don Mattingly is beloved by Yankee fans because…  he gave us something to watch while the rest of the team stunk?  I guess…)  This should CLEARLY be the focus of the press as the Yankees face elimination in the ALCS.

CLEARLY!

Just to be clear:  not saying A-Rod’s focus should be on chicks, but the best player on the team (Robinson Cano) hasn’t had a hit since Game 2 of the ALDS.  Seems like a bigger story.

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Big Win, Bigger Monument

The Yankees unveiled the George M. Steinbrenner III monument before last night’s game against the Rays. It’s friggin HUGE. It’s bigger than all of the ‘holy trinity’ monuments of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig combined. If it was up to me, I probably would have made it the same size as the aforementioned monuments of these legendary players. While I do believe Mr. Steinbrenner is as important to the Yankees as Babe Ruth was, I don’t think he was more important. I do think Mr. Steinbrenner changed the game of baseball, but Babe Ruth saved the game after the 1919 ‘Black Sox’ scandal. In my thinking, the monument to Mr. Steinbrenner indirectly implies that he was bigger than Mr. Ruth, which I don’t agree with. On the other hand, you can argue that the Yankees have given Mr. Ruth his due with Babe Ruth Plaza, but I don’t think you can ever say enough about what Babe Ruth did for the game. In fact, I think the Yankees need to add a statue of Mr. Ruth to his plaza, post haste. I also would have preferred that the event was handled more like a celebration of Mr. Steinbrenne’s life rather than a funeral, but I guess it’s a bit too soon for that sort of sentiment, and how they would have accomplished that… well, I admit I don’t have any solid suggestions. I know it was mentioned a million times, but I was impressed to see Joe Torre and Don Mattingly there.That was a classy move on the part of all concerned.

Last night’s game was a bit too close, or rather, closer than it should have been. Ivan Nova, who I believe has a bright future ahead of him, again hit the wall despite a low pitch count and dominating performance, this time through five innings instead of six. I’m still not sure what the problem is: fatigue, pressure, total innings pitched this year, pitching from the stretch rather than the wind up, third time through the order… there is an issue here, but I think it’s fixable. Nova could end up being a valuable player on the Yankees for years to come – I think he’s that good. Boone Logan had a rare off night and didn’t retire anybody, although Mark Teixeira booted a dribbler up the line he probably should have come up with, but it was a tough play. I know it was only the sixth inning, but I was pretty surprised to see Chad Gaudin come into the game in a big spot and after a walk, get a big flyout. Logan or Gaudin walked a runner in… I forget which one did, and they both gave up a walk. I could check game day, but whatever. Kerry Wood has emerged as the setup man – his season has turned around in a major way since coming to the Yankees – I guess playing for a winner makes a big difference to some guys. With Wood in the fold, the Yankees bullpen is stacked and is going to be a huge plus in the playoffs. Mariano Rivera was just not getting the calls last night (he wasn’t the only one), and his velocity seemed down from yesterday, when he blew the save. But two hits, a walk and 1 run weren’t enough for the Rays to catch up to the Yankees offense.

Besides Jorge Posada sitting this one out, I think this is the first time the Yankees have fielded their full team as starters in over a week at least. (I’d guess Francisco Cervelli gets the start when Nova pitches because he’s caught him in the minors.) Curtis Granderson continues to reward my faith. Last night’s two run home run performance to the tune of five RBI was impressive to say the least – I can’t recall seeing anyone hit a homer off the foul poll quite that high. I think I’ve said enough about Kevin Long on more than one occasion, but that guy sure can fix players. It was also nice to see Nick Swisher go 2-2 with an RBI and 2 BB while playing the outfield. It looks like he’s as close to 100% as he’s going to get. A-Rod continues to come up with RBI (that was number 112 on the year) despite not hitting for average or power, but I’ll take it – Alex Rodriguez leads the team in RBI and missed what, almost an entire month? How is that possible? Bizarre, but he’s that good. Even though he’s not hitting the ball out of the park, he hits solid line drives, not squeakers, and he continues to do what matters – plate base runners.

Last night’s win puts the Yankees 1.5 games in front of the Rays with 3 more to play in this series. With the Yankees having their full compliment of players available at home, I think we can confidently hope for a better outcome than last week’s series in Tampa Bay.

Umpires, warnings and rules

Umpires and rules are all well and good, but sometimes… the umpires need to impose the rules while using their common sense. We’re not in court, no one’s life is at stake – a strict interpretation is not always necessary. Let’s just play ball.
Here goes: My understanding is that Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw hit San Francisco Giants Aaron Rowand and was ejected from the game because both benches had already been warned about bean balls. I hate it when the umpires warn the pitcher and both benches. I know they think they’re going all Minority Report on us, but I feel that they’re just taking away the inside of the plate from both teams for the rest of the game. I think this warning-then-bean-ball-ejection-system needs to be removed from the rules – I doesn’t work. Also, Joe Torre was suspended for 1 game for this. Which leads us to…
Don Mattingly managing in his place. He goes out for a mound visit with Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton before an Andres Torres at bat. After Mattingly left the pitcher’s mound and started back to the dugout – now this is really incredible – he turned around and advised first baseman James Loney at what depth he wanted him to play. Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows the rule; once you leave the mound, the visit is over and you have to go back to the dugout. Since Mattingly turned around again and spoke to the first baseman, this constitutes a double visit, and Broxton had to come out of the game.
I read about this on SI.com. They’re worried about the mound visit issue, which I do agree is ridiculous, but the circumstances that led to this instance is a way bigger problem and should never have happened in the first place.
This is the dumbest shiz-ight I’ve ever heard. How often do you see coaches and mangers yelling and gesturing from the dugout railing to position their fielders? Does it really matter if Mattingly stopped for a second and said one more thing to the first baseman that he could have legally told him from the dugout in just a few seconds? The umpire needs to exercise some common sense and tell Bochy that while he appreciates his fortunate turn of memory, he needs to relax and go sit down. Rules are all well and good, and you could say that my argument opens up a Pandora’s box of which rules to ignore and which rules to follow… but really, it doesn’t. So Mattingly advised Loney how to position himself. Big deal. Get over it. It’s just baseball, and this rule shouldn’t exist anyway. I think the umpire could have easily ignored Bochy on the grounds that Mattingly didn’t speak to the pitcher and the fact that, again, the bench positions fielders all the time, so what’s the difference if he did it on his way back to the dugout? No one plopped down their hard earned cash to see Broxton get removed from the game on a lame technicality.
This is dumb. This strict interpretation of Rule 8.06 (d) is totally unnecessary, just like the warnings about pitching inside. Both of these rules need to go.

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