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Yankees v. Angels / Giants v. Pirates / Mets v. Phillies / A’s v. Mariners

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From Guest Blogger Daryl:

YANKEES WIN HOME OPENER, SHUTOUT the Los Angeles Angels  5-0

Yankees win 110th Home Opener in franchise history, and the 4th  home opener in the short history of the new YANKEES STADIUM.
This was the 3rd time The Angels faced the YANKEES in their (YANKEES) HOME OPENER, and 2 yrs to the day from the last occasion. Prior to that, it was 1968.

Jorge Posada threw out the ceremonial 1st pitch.  He was welcomed back by everyone and greeted and hugged all of his former teammates.

YANKEE MUSEUM unveiled a new exhibit in honor of the opener. The exhibit, called “Babe Ruth & Lou Gehrig, baseball’s hardest hitting teammates,”  will include game-used memorabilia spanning from the 1st game @YANKEE STADIUM in 1923-the bat used by Babe Ruth for his Opening Day home run- to Gehrig‘s final season in ’39.

YANKEES gave up a leadoff single in the top of the 1st inning.  W/1 out & a runner @1st base, the runner stole 2nd base w/1 out.  Pujols flied out for the 2nd out,runner held @2nd base.  A strikeout ended the inning, stranding the runner.  Angels 0. YANKEES coming up.

A-Rod singled w/2 out in the bottom of the 1st inning.  A-Rod stole 2nd base, still 2 out. Cano walked, A-Rod to 2nd, still 2 out.  Teixera walked, bases loaded.  Swisher hit a bases-clearing double.  Ibanez flied out.  YANKEES 3 / Angels 0.

YANKEES gave up a leadoff walk in the top of the 2nd inning. W/1 out & a runner @1st, a double play ended the inning.  YANKEES 3 Angels  0.

Russell Martin led off the bottom of the 2nd inning w/a single.  He went to 2nd on a wild pitch and stole 3rd on a pitch that got away.  Gardner walked, runners@1st & 3rd w/0 out.  Gardner caught off the bag for the 1st out.  w/2 out & Martin @ 3rd.   Granderson struckout to end the inning,stranding Martin.  YANKEES 3 Angels 0.

YANKEES gave up an infield single w/2 out in the top of the 3rd inning.  A flyout ended the inning, stranding the runner.  YANKEES 3 Angels 0.

A-Rod hit a leadoff solo home run(#630 of his career) in the bottom of the 3rd inning.  W/1 out, Texiera flied out for the 2nd out.  Swisher struckout to end the inning.  YANKEES 4 Angels 0.

YANKEES gave up a leadoff single in the top of the 4th inning.  W/1 out a dole play ended the inning.  YANKEES 4 Angels 0.

YANKEES went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 4th inning.  YANKEES 4 Angels 0

YANKEES gave up a walk w/1 out in the top of the 5th inning.  W/2 out, runner holding@1st, a. single to center put runners@1st&2nd w/2 out.  A groundout ended the inning,stranding the runners.  YANKEES 4 Angels 0.

Granderson hit a solo home run w/1 out in the bottom of the 5th inning.  A-Rod followed w/a single..  cano grounded into a force, A-rod out @2nd, Cano safe@1st.  Texera flied out to end the inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

Angels went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 6th inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

YANKEES went down 1-2-3 In the bottom of the 6th inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

Angels went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

Jeter doubled w1 out in the bottom of the 7th inning. He was stranded.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

Angels went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 8th inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

YANKEES got a single from Swisher w/2 out in the bottom of the 8th inning.  Ibanez grounded out to end the inning.  YANKEES 5 Angels 0.

YANKEES gave up a leadoff walk in the top of the 9th inning.

Angels went down in the 9th inning.

Yankee Pitchers:

Hiroki Kuroda Coming in off a rough start in which he surrendered 6runs on 8 hits in 5 & 2/3 innings.  Pitching 8+ shutout innings today.  He picked up his 1st win.

David Robertson
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Angels Pitchers:

Ervin Santana.  Coming in off a rough start is no stranger to facing PINSTRIPES; coming off a loss to the ROYALS in which he gave up 6 runs in 5 & 2/3 innings.  He has a career record against the YANKEES of 5/5 coming into today.  He pitched 6 innings today, giving up 5 runs on 6 hits.  He walked 3 batters & struckout 5. He picked up his 2nd loss.

Jason Isringhausen pitched the 7th inning.

David Carpenter pitched the 8th inning.
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GIANTS SHUTOUT PIRATES 5-0 IN HOME OPENER!!!
There was a huge pre-game ceremony prior to the game, announcing teams & coaching staffs.

Tony Lindsay sang the National Anthem.  There was the traditional flyover following the anthem.

They took a look back @the 1962 team.  Alvin Dark, manager of the 1962 team, and introduced the players, and each was escorted to the field by a current player.  Krukow then made a speech about that team.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st inning.  Pirates 0 GIANTS coming up.

Angel Pagan singled and scored on a double by Buster Posey.  Aubrey Huff singled to drive in Buster Posey.  Huff out @2nd trying to stretch a single into a double.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 2nd inning.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Nate Scherholtz singled to leadoff the bottom of the 2nd inning.  He was caught trying to steal 2nd.  the GIANTS did not score.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3  in the top of the 3rd inning.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

MELKY Cabrera walked w/2 out in the bottom of the 3rd inning.  He was stranded.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 4th inning.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Buster Posey walked to leadoff the bottom of the 4th inning.  He was stranded.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 5th inning.GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Giants went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 5th inning.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Giants gave up a single to the opposing pitcher w/2 out in the top of the 6th inning after retiring 17 batters in a row.  The last out of the inning was made, stranding the runner.  GIANTS 2 Pirates 0.

Pablo Sandoval led off the bottom of the 6th inning w/a double.  W/2 out & Pablo on 2nd, Huff was walked. Scherholtz hit a double to drive in a run. W/runners @2nd & 3rd, & 2 out, a groundout ended the inning. GIANTS 3 Pirates 0

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th inning.  GIANTS 3 Pirates 0.

GIANTS went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning. GIANTS 3 Pirates 0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 8th inning.  GIANTS 3 Pirates 0.

Melky singled to lead off the bottom of the 8th inning.  He stole 2nd w/1 out.  W/2 out, a wild pitch moved Melky to 3rd.  A 2-run home run by Huff made it 5-0.

Pirates went down 1-2-3 in the 9th inning.  GIANTS WIN

Pitchers:

Matt Cain pitched a complete game (9 innings); he allowed 1 hit,0 walks and struckout 11 batters to pick up his 1st win.
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James McDonald pitched 5 2/3+ innings; he picked up his 1st loss of the season.

Tony Watson
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METS beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5 to 2.

Ruben Tejada led off the game w/a double.  Daniel Murphy followed w/a double, Tejada scored.  w/1 out and Murphy @2nd, Ike Davis grounded out for the 2nd out, Murphy to 3rd.  A 2- run home run by Jason Bay.  Mets 3 Phillies coming up.

Mets gave up a double in the bottom of the 1st inning.  The runner was stranded.  METS 3 Phillies 0.

METS got a single in the top of the 2nd inning but did nothing.  METS 3 Phillies 0.

Phillies had some bad base running in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  METS 3 Phillies 0.

METS went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 3rd inning.  METS 3 Phillies 0.

METS gave up a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd inning followed by a single to the pitcher.  W/1 out &  1 on, a strikeout was the 2nd out.  Wild pitch moved the runner to 2nd w/2 out.  A strikeout ended the inning.  METS 3 Phillies 1.

METS went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 4th inning.  METS 3 Phillies 1.

METS gave up a walk w/1 out in the bottom of the 4th inning.  A double play ended the inning.  METS 3 Phillies 1.

Scott Hairston Jr hit a leadoff solo home run in the top of the 5th inning.  METS 4 Phillies 1,

METS gave up another single to Cliff Lee, this coming w/2 out in the bottom of the 5th inning.  Another single put runners @1st & 3rd w/2 out. A flyout ended the inning, stranding the runners.  METS 4 Phillies 1.

METS went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 6th inning.  METS 4 Phillies 1

METS gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the 6th inning.  W/1 out & 1 on, a single put runners @1st base & 3rd base w/1 out. A strikeout was the 2nd out, runners hold.  A popout ended the inning, stranding the runners.  METS 4 Phillies 1.

METS went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th inning.  METS 4 Phillies 1.

METS gave up a leadoff single to shallow centerfield in the bottom of the 7th inning.  A double play erased that.  w/2 out & nobody on, a groundout ended the inning.  METS 4 Phillies 1.

METS got a single w/1 out in the top of the 8th inning.  Ruben Tejada grounded into a double play.  METS 4 Phillies 1.

Phillies went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 8th inning.  METS 4 Phillies 1.
Bay hit a ground ball, the ball was picked up and thrown home for the force-out. Lucas Duda hit a sacrifice fly, Justin Turner scored.  METS 5 Phillies 1

METS gave up a double w/1 out in the 9th inning.  W/2 out, a double drove in the run making it 5 to 2. A strikeout ended the inning and the game.  METS 5 Phillies 2

Pitchers:
R.A. Dickey, who did not pitch in the Phillies park last season and has not won there in 2 career starts, pitched 7 innings. He allowed 1 run on 9 hits.  He walked a batter and struckout 7 batters.  He picked up his 2nd win,he is undefeated. Dickey is the only pitcher in MLB who uses the knuckleball.
Bobby Parnell pitched 1 inning
Frank Francisco pitched the 9th inning
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Cliff Lee pitched splendidly in his 2012 debut but got a no-decision.
Kyle Kendrick
Joe Savery
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OAKLAND A’s  SHUTOUT  Seattle Mariners 4-0

SEATTLE MARINERS HOME OPENER SPOILED, these two teams having already played one another 4x (2x In Tokyo & 2x at A’s Opener)
Pennington doubled to score Barton in the top of the 3rd inning.  A ‘s lead 1-0

Crisp singled to score Pennington in the top of the 3rd inning.  A’s lead 2-0.

Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly to score Reddick in the top of the 8th inning.  A’s Lead 3-0.

Mariners had 2 on, bringing the potential tying run to the plate w/0 any outs in the bottom of the 8th inning.  A double play put a runner @3rd base w/2 out.  A groundout ended the inning, stranding the runner.  A’s Lead 3-0.

Jemille Weeks hit a solo home run w/2 out in the top of the 9th inning.  A’s Lead 4-0.

Mariners went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning.  A’s win 4-0

Pitchers:

Bartolo Colon pitched  7 innings.  He allowed 0 runs on 3 hits, walked 1 batter and struckout 5 .  He won his 2nd game.  He is 2 & 1.
Ryan Cook came in in the 8th inning
Grant Balfour came in in the 9th inning
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Felix Hernandez pitched 7 innings.  He gave up 2 runs on 7 hits.  He walked 3 batters and struck out 6 .  He lost his 1st game.  He is 1 & 1.
Lucas Luetge threw 2 pitches &  gave up a run on a hit
Tom Wilhelmsen
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Daryl Hochheiser 
Let’s Go Mets

New York Baseball

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A sweep. In their first 3-game series of the 2012 season, the New York Yankees got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays. A most disheartening sight for Yours Truly.

It would have been disheartening for me anyway, even if the Bronx Boys won, as I was constantly aware of a certain player gone missing, a certain catcher, my favorite, Jorge Posada. This is no joke. I wonder if the players feel his absence as keenly as I do. They must. I mean, he’s Jeters best friend. I’m so upset I feel like their losses were punishment from the baseball gods for what they did to my guy.

I blame Joe Girardi. He treated Posada like crap; he wanted him to go. And I don’t think he necessarily had to go. He was still a good hitter. He could have caught for them in a pinch, or maybe just done it once in a while.

I don’t have to wonder how Jorge is feeling this weekend; after all, the guy caught for the Yankees for 17 years. He didn’t even try to get a contract with another team, had no desire to do so.He said he wanted to retire as a Yankee. But he really didn’t want to retire at all. They pretty much forced him out.

And so I’m not sure how this season will go for the Yankees or for me. I don’t know how much I’m going to enjoy watching them if they continue to

play badly and lose, or if I’ll be able to eventually forget about Jorge’s absence. And I hate watching Joe Girardi, who I’ve come to despise, making his asinine decisions, especially with regard to pitchers.

Oddly enough, the Mets swept the Braves in their opening series. Like a.a. milne, Winnie the Pooh creator, said, When one gets better, the other gets wuss.

Yankees v. Mets Spring Training

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Following is a play-by-play of two Spring Training games between the Mets and Yankees, by Guest Blogger Daryl Hochheiser. This is kind of a test run–if readers like it, he’ll do more–so if you do, let us know with a comment or a click of the “Like” box. 

On Tues. 4/3/12:

YANKEES LOSE IN WALK OFF FASHION To The  METS 7-6

YANKEES gave up 3 runs on 5 hits in the bottom of the 1st inning.  YANKEES Trail 3-0.

YANKEES got their 1st hit (Single) in the top of 2nd inning (Nunez)  He was out trying to steal.  A strikeout ended the inning.  YANKEES Trail 3-0.

YANKEES gave up  1 run on 1 hit in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  YANKEES Trail. 4-0.

YANKEES finally scored when Swisher led off the top of the 4th inning w/a solo home run. YANKEES Trail 5-1.

YANKEES gave up a leadoff single to David Wright in the bottom of the 4th inning.  W/1 out, he was out trying to steal.  A strikeout ended the inning.  YANKEES Trail 5-1

YANKEES got a couple of hits in the top of the 5th inning, but did not score.  YANKEES Trail 5-1.

YANKEES gave up a single w/2 out in the bottom of the 5th inning.  A lineout ended the inning.  YANKEES Trail 5-1.

Gustavo Molina Led off the top of the 6th inning w/a double and went to 3rd on a single by Chavez.  Dewayne Wise hit by pitch to load the bases.  a sacrifice fly by mike baxter drove in a run.  A single by Doug Bernier Drove in the tying run and another the METS to make a pitching change.  1pitch retired the side.  YANKEES Lead 6-5.

YANKEES Gave Up The Tying Run In the bottom of the 6th inning.  YANKEES 6 METS 6.

YANKEES Got a single in the top of the 7th inning, runner stranded@2nd base.  YANKEES 6 METS 6.

YANKEES Gave up a leadoff single in the Bottom of the 8th inning to Fracisco Pena.  W/runners@1st&2nd, Mike Baxter grounded into a Double play.  a flyout ended the inning.  YANKEES 6 METS 6.

Gustavo Molina singled w/1 out in the top of the 9th inning, and was removed for a pinch runner.  YANKEES did not score. YANKEES 6 METS 6.

YANKEES gave up a solo home run to Ike Davis w/1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning.  YANKEES 6 METS 7.

YANKEE Pitchers:

Ivan Nova lasted 2 2/3 innings, giving up 5 runs, 8 hits.  He walked 2 batters and struckout 3 batters.

David Phelps

D.J. Mitchell

Pat Vendite

Branden Pinder

Mark Montgomery was the loser
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METS Pitchers:

Mike  Pelfrey pitched 4 innings

Jon Niese

Jeff Stevens

Tim Byrdak

Justin Hampson was the winner

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On Wed. 4/4/12

YANKEES Beat The METS 8-3

YANKEES  WIN #18 THIS SPRING TRAINING AND  FINISH THIS SPRING W/18  WINS & 12 LOSSES.

METS FINISH  THIS SPRING TRAIINING  w/9 WINS & 20 LOSSES.

METS had bases loaded w/2 out in the top of the 1st inning.  Lucas Duda struckout to end the threat.  METS 0 YANKEES coming up.

YANKEES got a 2-out single in the bottom of the 1st inning.  A-Rod singled, putting runners@the corners.  They did not score.  METS 0. YANKEES 0.

YANKEES went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 2nd inning.  METS 0 YANKEES 0.

METS got a single from Daniel Murphy w/1 out in the top of the 3rd inning.  David Wright walked to put runners@1st base&2nd base w/1 out.  Ike Davis hit a 3-run home run.  W/2 out Lucas Duda flied out to end the inning.  METS 3 YANKEES 0.

YANKEES got a leadoff single by Brett Gardner in the bottom of the 3rd inning.  A steal of 2nd base followed. A ground ball to 3rd that went thru, scored a run and put a runner (Jeter) on base w/0 out  Granderson walked putting runners@1st base & 2nd base w/1 out .  A-Rod grounded out to drive in a run and move a runner 3rd base w/2 out.  A strikeout ended the inning.  METS 3 YANKEES 1

METS went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 4th inning. METS 3 YANKEES 1

YANKEES went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 4th inning.  METS 3 YANKEES 1

METS got a baserunner w/2 out in the top of the 5 inning.  A walk put runners@1st base and 2nd base w2 out.  A strikeout ended the inning.  METS 3 YANKEES 1.

YANKEES Russell  Martin flied out to start the bottom of the 5th inning.  A groundout followed for the 2nd out.  An infield single followed.  a strikeout ended the inning.  METS 3 YANKEES 1.

METS Got a leadoff single in the top of the 6th inning.  The runner was stranded.  METS 3 YANKEES 1.

YANKEES had a base runner w/1 out in the bottom of the 6th inning.  Runner moved to 2nd w/2 out.  Eduardo Sosa grounded out.  METS 3 YANKEES 1

METS got leadoff double in the top of the 7th inning.  w/Andres Tores batting, a wild pitch advanced the runner to 3rd. Andres Torres walked to put runners@the corners.  A strikout followed.  a strike out followed that.  Richard Lucas struckout to end the inning,stranding the runners.  METS 3 YANKEES 1.

YANKEES Tied the Game w/a 2-run home run by Francisco Cervelli  in the bottom of the 7th inning.  This game is tied 3-3.

METS got a leadoff single in the top of the 8th inning.  Another single put runners@1st base and 2nd base.  A fielders choice put a runner@1st but got out the base runners.  The 3rd out came to end the inning.  This Game Is Tied 3-3.

YANKEES got a 1-out base runner w/a walk in the bottom of the 8th inning.  a single put runners@the corners w/1 out. Eduardo Sosa hit an infield single(should have been a double play) to drive in a run and put runners@1st base and 2nd base. YANKEES Loaded the bases,still only 1 out.  Another base hit drone in 2 runs and put runners@1st base and 2nd base w/1 out.  A single drove in another run.  An infield hit drove in a run and put runner@1st and 2nd w/2 out.  A ground out finally ended the inning.  YANKEES 8   METS 3

METS got a2-out double in the bottom of the 9thinning.  A flyout ended the inning and the game. YANKEES win 8-3.

YANKEE Pitchers:

Freddy Garcia started for the YANKEES and pitched 4&2/3+  innings.

Clay Ropoda replaced Freddy Garcia

Andy Pettitte started the 6th inning in place of Freddy Garcia

David Robertson replaced Andy

Cory Wade was the winning pitcher
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METS Pitchers:

Dillon Gee Started For the METS and pitched 5 innings.

Mark Cohoon

Eric Beaulac

Angel Cuan was the losing pitcher

John Church

Adios Jorge

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Jorge Posada

Image via Wikipedia

Jorge Posada has never spent a summer with his children. That’s what he’s most looking forward to now that he’s retired from baseball.  Like everything else Posada said today at his press conference, the guy’s sincerity is never in doubt. Mental images of Jorge splashing about in the ocean with his kids fill my head as I write this.

It was a sad sad day for Yankee fans, some of whom were on hand for the press conference organized by the Yankees. The “Bleacher Creatures” who do roll call at the start of every game and other season ticket-holders were not only present, but featured in a video farewell. Thurman Munson’s widow, Diana, spoke, saying she was lucky she “loved two Yankee catchers in my life.” Also present were the Steinbrenners, Derek Jeter, and Mariano Rivera.

It wasn’t only about baseball, either: from Wisconsin came Lisa Niederer and her son Brett, who has craniosynostosis, a condition shared by Jorge Jr. for which the Posadas started a Foundation. Niederer  said she found out about the group while watching the 2002 All-Star Game, when Jorge Jr. came out on the field with his father, and the announcers told his story. “It was the first time,” said Niederer, “I didn’t feel alone.” She now works with the foundation mentoring other parents of children with the condition. She called Posada “a hero, not just for what he did as a Yankee but what he’s done for craniosynostosis families.”

But the biggest tear-jerker of the day was Jorge himself, who choked up every time he referred to his Yankee “brothers” and the Yankee “brotherhood.” In response to the question of whether he’d play for another team — several have come calling — Posada said, choking on his words, “I can’t put on another uniform. I don’t have it in me.”

Posada caught for the Yankees for 17 years. At an early age he decided he wanted to play in the major leagues, and never doubted for a moment that he would. The only deviation from his plan was the catching part: the first time they decided to try him in that position, he said, “It wasn’t a pretty sight.” But gradually he came to love the challenge, and developed an identity so strongly tied to catching that last season, when told he’d be Designated Hitter and do no catching, it was “really tough…. I had to fight for my job.”

We all saw how Jorge suffered last season, some of us outraged by the way he was treated. So it was a surprise, to me at least, that retirement seems to be his own choice. At least, that’s how it looks—and like I said, it’s impossible to doubt anything he says.

My friend Nan, also a Yankee fanatic, is hoping Joe Torre, who just bought the Dodgers, will hire Jorge as a coach. I don’t see it happening, though; he’d have to wear a different uniform.

One time, during a baseball conversation with a few people in a bar, a guy I didn’t know pegged me as a typical “girl” who followed baseball just to ogle cute guys in tight uniforms. “Who’s your favorite player? he asked with a sneer, “Derek Jeter?” I retorted, with pride, “Jorge Posada!”  Nobody can accuse me of liking Jorge for his looks : they’re nothing to write home about. But as Diana Munson put it, he has “The IT factor,” something inexplicable but there. I’m gonna miss ya like crazy, Jorge. Adios and vaya con dios. 

Is Baseball Losing Its Heart?

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Miguel Tejada. © Rubenstein, photographer Mart...

Image via Wikipedia

(Photo: Miguel Tejada)

This season baseball fans have been witness to a sad spectacle as Jorge Posada, Yankee catcher for over 15 years and undoubtedly in his final year as a pro, was first thrown out of the catchers’ position and then taken out of the lineup indefinitely. Fortunately, the fans went crazy supporting Posada with standing ovations and signs professing their love, so he’s occasionally allowed up at bat now. But it’s been disheartening to see a long-time loyal team player be roughed up and unappreciated.

Last week the SF Giants dumped Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for lackluster season performances. Being older veterans of the game, chances are they’re not going anywhere else. Tejada is an icon of major league baseball, a kid who rose from abject poverty in the Dominican Republic to become a great shortstop beloved by teammates and fans alike. His story is so emblematic of the DR kids who eat, sleep, and breathe baseball in hopes of making it in America one day as a player that several children’s stories and bio’s have been written about him. For his rags-to-riches story to end like this is sad. Sad and shameful.

Baseball is known for swimming in sentimental swill over everything from the American flag to the retirement of an announcer. While it can sometimes be a bit much, we’ve come to expect regularly scheduled sobfests on the diamond; I for one usually find myself caught up in whatever event is being milked for all it’s worth. Given this propensity for emotion, it seems strange and cruel that someone like Miguel Tejada should go out on such an ignominious ending. And despite an extensive search I could find no sports writers expressing regret or sadness about it; almost everyone is cheering the Giants for “finally” making the decision to “get rid of dead weight.”

Could baseball be losing its heart as it continues down the path of greed and wins at any cost? Is it going to become a game where the bottom line is produce or get lost? Of course, it already is; but will it get even more heartless? After all, this is the sport with “Ya Gotta Have Heart” as one of its most famous anthems. The sport in which most teams host an annual old-timer’s game, during which guys who played 30 or more years ago toddle onto the field to weakly throw a pitch and get wildly applauded. This is the sport that honors its human resources.

Let’s hope Posada, Tejada, and Rowand get more of a farewell than they’ve been shown so far, and that baseball starts wearing its heart on its sleeve again.

Ya Gotta Have Heart

You’ve gotta have heart
All you really need is heart

When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win
That’s when the grin should start.

You’ve gotta have hope
Mustn’t sit around and mope
Nothin’s half as bad as it may appear
Wait’ll next year and hope.

When your luck is battin’ zero
Get your chin up off the floor
Mister you can be a hero
You can open any door,
there’s nothin’ to it but to do it

You’ve gotta have heart
Miles ‘n miles n’ miles of heart
Oh, it’s fine to be a genius of course
But keep that old horse
Before the cart
First you’ve gotta have heart

“Heart,” from Damn Yankees

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The Man Behind the Plate

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After months of struggling to play through shoulder pain, Yankee catcher Jorge Posada finally conceded, after Saturday’s game against Oakland, that he couldn’t go on like this. Dr. David Altchek confirmed that Posada needs surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He’ll most likely have the operation soon—if he waits until November, he’ll miss most or all of next season: the surgery he needs requires six months of rehab.

This just about breaks my heart, not so much for what it means to the Yankees, though that’s considerable; as blogger Peter Abraham says, “they can make do with Molina’s terrible production.” God knows they’ve already been making do without Hideki Matsui, who was out-hitting everyone at the start of the season, and who’s been out several weeks. Matsui’s been told he needs knee surgery, but is trying to delay it, and may return soon.

Nor am I heartbroken just because I won’t get to see my favorite player for the remainder of the season, though that’s a real bummer. No, my heartache comes from empathy: more than any other player, Jorge suffers when he can’t fulfill his obligation to the team. He expressed those feelings when he went on the DL this season, for the first time in his career. This is surely tearing him up inside.

Tyler Kepner, who blogs about the Yankees for the New York Times, says Posada’s ordeal “has been evident enough just by watching his throws this season. Watching him in the clubhouse has been revealing, too. Some days, he has been short with reporters, curtly insisting that he is a catcher,
period. That was Posada’s pride talking, I think – catchers, more than players at any other position, find much of their identity in the position they play.” He also notes that “Posada is one of few players who speaks from genuine emotion, unafraid to let people know how he is really feeling.”

What he’s feeling is frustration, from months of not performing at his usual high level. Posada just signed a contract for $39.3 million over three years as starting catcher. (Or maybe it’s $52.4 for four years; I’ve found conflicting reports.) Jewish mother that I am, I’m now starting to worry that surgery might leave him less capable than before—I’ll have to look for information about catchers’ abilities following shoulder surgery. Anyone?

Meanwhile, I’m off to get some kind of Get Well card for Jorge–even though he never responded to the witty and wonderful birthday card I made for him two years ago. It must be love.

Laura Posada and their kids. Jorge Jr. (L) has had
several surgical procedures for a neurological condition.

Jason Giambi: Role Model

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Let me begin by saying that I’m not one of those people who think athletes have an obligation to serve as role models of morality for the kids who worship them. That’s one of the reasons usually named in the litany against athletes whose behavior deviates in any way from the straight-and-narrow. I see no reason why someone who can swing a bat from here to Kingdom Come has to live up to fans’ ideals of righteous living; those who demand such a thing, in my opinion, have a lot of chutzpah. It just so happens, though, that Jason Giambi, simply by living through his own trials and tribulations, has unwittingly become a role model–or at least a good case against steroid use.


Giambi is one of the few baseball players to admit having taken steroids. Since he’s been honest about it, we can believe it when he says he’s stopped taking them. The irony is, Giambi was sick as a dog when he was on drugs, and his performance suffered dismally. Last season and the year before he had some wretched physical ailments, and he looked like a zombie. Now that he’s stopped taking drugs and has begun the healing process, he’s playing better, at the age of 37, than he has in years. Not exactly a walking ad for steroid use.

Then there’s the matter of the golden thong: without so much as a blush, Giambi recently admitted to wearing a gold lamé thong whenever he’s struggling out of a slump. Not only that–he’s shared his thong with other Yankees, who swear the thing works. I realize that some people might not think this is great role model behavior–but kudos to Giambi for being without shame about a minor touch of kink. Between that, the bristly moustache and a few lost pounds, Giambi’s exuding sensuality, a sure sign of robust health. Put simply–the guy is HOT .

Yankee manager Joe Girardi points to Giambi’s health as the main reason he’s been grand-slamming and tearing up the field lately. “He’s been healthy, he’s been strong, he’s running well, he’s been playing good defense,” Girardi said. “It’s good to see guys come back when they’ve had some injury-plagued seasons — to come back, rebound and do the things that you’re used to seeing them do.”

So here’s to you, Jason Giambi: You went down the dark path and came back a better player, possibly a better person. You did it for yourself, not for anyone else–but don’t think it’s gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

_______________________________

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