JUST WHAT THE OWNER ORDERED
Jay Jaffe, The Futility Infielder, invited me to the game last night, and we had a great time as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 11-3. Jay and I were at the last game the Yanks had won at the home—a few weeks back against Aaron Sele and the World Champs. Hey, there is nothing like a streak, even if it is a figment of our grandiosity.
The Yankees got a solid performance from Andy Pettitte, who survived a couple of long foul balls in the middle innings (Shea Hillenbrand, Big Manny), and pitched 7 2/3 innings of effective ball against the Red Sox. The Yankee bats also came alive, led by Robin Zeile and Todd Ventura. Derek Jeter lead off the game with a home run, and Jason Giambi added three hits. What was encouraging about Giambi’s performance is that he drove two doubles to left field.
George was in the house and he continued to talk. He’s in full military-football mode now, as the Yankee brass will meet over the next two days to address the state of the team. Who will be fired? The easy mark is hitting coach Rick Down, who has been canned by George before. Who will be traded? Who will be shook up? (George wants his boy Contreras to replace Jeff Weaver in the rotation.) Joe Torre is taking it all in stride:
“But I’m never a good loser,” Torre said. “I never have been. I don’t yell at my wife, because all she’d do is yell back. I’m still lousy at it, after all these years. But at the same time, I feel a responsibility not to go overboard. Because if I lose it and start making wholesale changes, that sends the wrong message to the only people I’m concerned about – the people out there in that clubhouse.”
Two days ago, Joe Torre said that somebody was eventually going to take a beating at the hands of his slumbering offense. Welcome to the Major Leagues, Matt White. Making his big league debut, White entered the game in the 8th and allowed six runs on four hits in 2/3rds of an inning.
Nomar Garciaparra’s hitting streak was halted at 26 games.
There were some great duels between Sox and Yankee fans in the upper deck during the game. “Let’s Go Red Sox,” “1918.” As we were leaving I heard one Sox fan offer, “Who’s in first place?” I told Jay, “Who ain’t won shit?” I usually bristle at the nasty chants, but when you are at the game, they somehow seem more playful than mean-spirited (still, I get can’t with chanting that anybody sucks).
Oh, not for nothing but Godzilla Matsui gets points for selecting “Get Back,” and “Day Tripper” as he theme music.
I want to thank all the readers who sent in e-mails regarding my “two-guys-in-a-bar” bitch session with Allen Barra. A lot of readers felt that we went overboard in bashing the Yanks. You mean we sounded rash, and panicked? Say it ain’t so. New Yorkers acting a tad histrionic? Get outta here. I don’t think the Yankees were as good as they showed early, or as bad as they’ve played recently. They haven’t faced Baltimore yet, and their schedule gets easier in the second half of the season so they should be alright. But the doubts will continue until the Yankees make the playoffs and play well in the post-season. That’s just the nature of the beast.
I try to be as even-handed as possible living in a manic city, following a self-important team, which is covered by a carnivorous press. If I succumb to the Sturm und Drang of the Yankees, well then I guess I’m no different from your average New York Yankee fan. And there is nothing more I’d ever want to be.