"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Welcome Back: Yanks 10, Orioles 4

Camden Yards was a sight for sore eyes indeed. The Baltimore Orioles walked 13 Yankee batters last night, and Alex Rodriguez hit two home runs as the Bronx Bombers cruised to victory. Derek Jeter added a three-run shot, and after a choppy first inning, Mike Mussina retired the last twelve men he faced. The game could have been more of a blow-out if the Yankees didn’t waste several scoring opportunities in the middle innings. Brett Prinz walked the bases-loaded in the eighth inning forcing Tom Gordon to close the game out. Gary Sheffield sat out after receiving a cortisone shot in his left shoulder, where he is suffering from bursitis (he is day-to-day). In addition, it doesn’t look as if Kevin Brown will pitch against the Sox next week; a throwing session has been bumped back to Friday and Brown will probably have one rehab start before he rejoins the big league club.

The Red Sox pounded the Twins behind strong performances from Curt Schilling and Nomar Garciaparra to remain four-and-a-half behind New York. However, the results of last night’s games were a footnote to the breaking news that Jose Contreras’ wife and two children had defected from Cuba. Contreras flew to Florida last night where he was reunited with his family. In the photographs I’ve seen, Contreras looked calm and peaceful with his tired and confused baby-girl in his arms. His wife Miriam has dark skin, a round face, and an inviting smile. His eldest daughter looked directly into the cameras. I can only imagine how surreal the events of the past two days must have been for them.

This is warming news, and I’m happy for Contreras and the women in his life. Whether or not this will change his performance on the field, who is to say? It makes for a nice fantasy, though I don’t know how piece of mind and mental stability will speed-up Contreras’ plodding delivery. Still, before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s a nice story to soak in this morning.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver