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Yankees Come Back BIG

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Wa-hoo! A-Rod and Company made a big comeback yesterday, beating the Seattle Mariners 8-1 in what was, until the 8th inning, a shutout and a perfect no-hitter by pitcher Chien Mang Wang. When it was over, Chien had earned his first win of the season in a brilliant performance, giving up just one run on two hits, striking out four batters and walking none. True to baseball’s superstitious tradition, Wang was given plenty of personal space in the dugout: nobody talked to or sat anywhere near him, while he remained calm and cool throughout. I cannot fathom going through the agony Chien must have endured, first trying not to mess up, and then ruing whichever pitch broke the streak–and in front of thousands of people (millions counting television). Times like these I say the guys really earn their salaries.

A-Rod scored a run, Jeter had two batted in, and Jason Giambi had one base hit and walked twice. Continuing baseball’s many superstitions, I’m going to keep quiet this time about the possible significance of this game as a turning point; maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Sshhhh!

While I’m on the subject of my beloved Bronx Bombers: yesterday I looked up Jorge Posada’s stats as well as personal information. This guy is even more awesome than I suspected, as a catcher, a hitter, and a man.

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Posada received the Bart Giamatti Award in 2007, which is given annually to an individual in the baseball community who exemplifies the compassion demonstrated by Giamatti, a former Baseball Commissioner. Posada also received the 2004 Good Guy Award from the New York Press Photographers Association, the 2001 You Gotta’ Have Heart Award from the New York Chapter of the BBWAA, and the 2001 Thurman Munson Award for his philanthropic work in New York. This recognition comes in part from Posada’s initiation in 2000 of a Foundation to support families of children who suffer from Craniosynostis.

In 2000 Posada’s son was born with craniosynostis, a condition that causes the bones of the skull to fuse together before the brain has stopped growing. Jorge Posada IV has had three major surgeries; in fact, he was recovering from one of them during the 9/11 attacks.

“I saw the attacks on TV and couldn’t believe what was going on,” Posada said at the time. “The first thing I asked (the staff) was how to unhook my son in case I needed to move him. I was expecting chaos, but they didn’t bring anyone in. They told me my son would be fine.”

Anyone who’s had a child with a serious medical condition knows the hell Posada and his family have surely gone through. I hope little Jorge, who should be about nine by now, is doing well. His Daddy’s work keeps on getting better and better.

By now Posada is well established as one of baseball’s most talented and durable catchers, hitting .277 with 23HR and 93RBI last season. He has hit at least 20 home runs and driven in at least 80 runs in six of the last seven seasons. His 894 games started as catcher over the last seven seasons are the most by any AL catcher and second most in the Majors (behind only Jason Kendall‘s 989). Last year he had 197 career home runs, ranking 12th place on the Yankees’ all-time list. He threw out 38-of-102 base stealers last season. This year Posada made his eighth straight Opening-Day start as catcher, the most consecutive starts by a Yankee catcher on Opening Day since Thurman Munson made ten from 1970 to 1979.

I’ve long admired Posada for everything he does; after learning all this, I’m declaring him my favorite player.

Meanwhile, in other baseball news:

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The GIANTS beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-4. Barry Bonds hit his 10th home run of the season. He now has 744 home runs for his career, and is eleven runs away from breaking Hank Aaron‘s record. Noah Lowry pitched 6 and 2/3 innings, giving up one run on 5 hits. He walked one batter and struck out eight to win his fourth game of the season. Ryan Klesko had two hits in three at bats and two runs batted in. Omar Vizquel had three hits in four at bats.

The METS beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2. Jorge Soosa won his first game of the season. Shawn Green had a two-run home run and he also scored a run. Paul Lo Duca had a single and two runs batted in.

The Oakland A’s lost to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2. Jay Marshall gave up two hits and a run in the bottom of the 12th inning to lose his 2nd game of the season.

Next week the Mets come to San Francisco to play the Giants. See ya at the game?

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