"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Wham, Bam, the Monster Jam

Well, so far, the Yankees suck less. Or the Cubs suck more. However you want to put it. I was at the game last night with Alex Ciepley and my brother Ben. We sat in the front row of the upper deck, about twenty seats to the right of the right field foul pole. I had never been anywhere near that spot before so it the view was interesting. The sun was in our face for the first couple of innings, and after that, we saw some striking cloud formations in the distance. It was supposed to rain, but it never did. It was cool and breezy, really a perfect spring night at the ballpark.

There were lots of Cub fans at the Stadium and they made lots of noise during the middle innings. They didn’t antagonize the home crowd, they were just happy to cheer and get loud for their guys. We saw only a few fights, including what looked like something nasty about ten rows behind home plate in the seventh inning, but otherwise, everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. There was a couple sitting behind us who came all the way from Illinois. The woman went to high school with Joe Girardi, even typed his senior thesis. Girardi’s parents actually introduced the couple, who left, without saying goodbye in the eighth inning.

That’s when Ciepley told me that it’s a myth that folks from the midwest are friendly. He said mostly they are anti-social and weird.

There was a pretty funny heckler sitting to our left. The kind of guy who shouted random insults at the Yankees at random times. He loved giving Sheffield the business for no apparent reason. He told us, with great delight, about how when he sat downstairs, they used to give Mondesi all sorts of abuse. (Speaking of Sheff, my brother noted that he looks like he’s dogging it some lately. His name is popping up in phatom rumors. What gives? Anyone noticed anything off about him? And why would the Yanks want to trade him of all people?)

Carlos Zambrano wasn’t on his A-game, though Carl Pavano did everything he could to let him off the hook. (Zambrano is a gorilla. He reminds me of a combination of Rich Garces and Juaquin Andujar. You can see he’s often dominant.) Eventually, Hideki Matsui came through with two huge hits off of Chicago’s bullpen, as the Yankees came-from-behind to take the first game of the series, 9-6. Derek Lee had his usual two hits. Bernie Williams added two of his own, and Alex Rodriguez had three.

Ciepley will be at the game again the afternoon (then he’s got a birthday bash tonight downtown with some of his pals). As for me, Emily and I are headed up to the country to do some strawberry pickin. Who knows, maybe we’ll–I’ll–get ambitious and make some jaw when it is all said and done. Anyhow, should prove to be a fruity day, no matter how you slice it.

Go Yanks!

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1 Tom   ~  Jun 18, 2005 8:54 am

1.  I don't mind the spelling of "Illionis" provided it isn't pronounced "Illinoise." Nothing sends me into a rage faster.

And, I don't think people from the Midwest are particularly unfriendly, but, as a life-long Chicagoan, I can definitely say that people from Chicago aren't friendly at all. I think it's climate related.

2 Simone   ~  Jun 18, 2005 1:19 pm

2.  Everytime I find out that Womack is hitting 2nd, I feel like a blood vessel in my eye to explode, but fortunately it never does.

Ciepley is right. People from the Midwest are not friendly. With few exceptions, they have that small town backwards thinking going on. I think people in the Southwest are the friendliest people, I've ever encountered.

3 Zack   ~  Jun 18, 2005 1:38 pm

3.  They might not be friendly, but at least they aren't aggressively belligerent like our neighbors to the north...I'd rather have my stadium filled with Cubbies than sawx. I always have liked having a large contingent from the opposition at the stadium, adds spice to the game, and its one of the nice things about such a huge stadium.

4 Simone   ~  Jun 18, 2005 1:41 pm

4.  Alex, I think that your brother is right about Sheffield dogging it in the field. Sheffield's reputation is well earned. Once he figured the Yankees weren't competitive, I think that he stopped trying hard. I remember reading that in the meeting after the sloppy Cardinals game, Joe called him out specifically (along with Cano) for his laziness in the field so I wouldn't be surprised Joe told Cashman that he wants Sheffield and his bad attitude gone.

5 Simone   ~  Jun 18, 2005 2:16 pm

5.  Congratulations to Derek Jeter on his first grand slam! No more Michael Kay graphic! I can't stop smiling. These are the moments that make me realize that I really am more attached to the Yankee players who came up through the farm system than the other guys.

6 cinthree   ~  Jun 18, 2005 2:57 pm

6.  Why is Sturtze pitching in the 9th? Did Wang get hurt or visibly tired?

7 singledd   ~  Jun 18, 2005 3:18 pm

7.  Listen up.......
I figured out how to deal with Woe-is-me-mack in the lineup... especially when he's batting 2nd.

Have Jetes hit 2 HRs. Maybe even a Grand Slam. WIMM doesn't have to worry about RBIs, bunting or anything else!

I hope Sheff isn't dogging it, as we are not out of it (yet). He is important to the team, and we must keep our offense as good as possible.

8 brockdc   ~  Jun 18, 2005 4:27 pm

8.  Brace yourself, everyone: Kevin Brown's just been placed on the DL. As much as I despise this man, he has been a serviceable #4 lately.

However, apropos of Brown and Sheff, if you don't want guys with bad attitudes on your team, don't acquire them in the first place (Steinbrenner). It sounds insanely oversimplistic, but Brown has always been a first-class j-off since forever. As for Sheff, how rare is it that a truly great player is passed around so much in the prime of his career? It's pretty rare and largely due to his awful attitude and ability to burn bridges like few others.

With that said, Sheffield is the least of this team's problems, and trading him makes no sense (if anything, we NEED another outfielder). He can rake, and is still one of the best hitters in the game, regardless of his psychological baggage. It's also doubtful that we could get full value for him.

9 jdasilva   ~  Jun 19, 2005 1:07 am

9.  Kevin Brown didn't make sense because he had had one fully healthy season, really, in about 5 seasons. Plus, the Dodgers were screwed with $30 mil to pay him, and all the Yanks did was liberate them.
Sheff, whatever his reputation, should get some slack for this: He was a jerk in Milwaukee, for sure. He was also very young and without much guidance. He left Florida because they dismantled their team. While he probably didn't make too many friends in LA, that was an organization that was screwing things up left and right at the time. As for the Braves, I heard good things about him as a teammate, if I recall.
He could be dogging it. However, I don't see how getting rid of him would do anything. And I don't think it's necessary. Bernie has daydreamed at times for 14 years, and no one's said to get rid of him for that. It's player production that's keeping him sitting a lot and Sheff out there playing.

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