"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Julian Tavarez Puts His Best Pimp Foot Forward

I was generously offered an unexpected ticket to the game tonight, and was at the Stadium, along with a very quiet sell-out crowd, for the Yankees’ truly disappointing 7-3 loss to Boston. Even the obligatory upper-deck fights seemed half-hearted. Mike Mussina had absolutely nothing in the first inning, and the Yanks were lucky to get out of it with only 3 runs scoring (all on a Manny Ramirez home run). But with the way this team’s played much of the season, three runs seemed like an insurmountable hurdle… and, well, it was. Per the New York Times,

“I can’t keep pitching like this,” said Mussina, who has a 6.52 earned run average. “It’s depressing, frustrating and disappointing, and not what we need right now. I can’t stand it.”

Ouch. Mussina actually settled down and pitched much better, aside from a Mike Lowell solo homer to left, but unraveled again in the seventh, and two more runs scored. A third was charged to Moose when Mike Myers was unable to retire David Ortiz. Jose Vizcaino and Ron Villone then stunned everyone present by allowing no further damage, but although the Yankees put up a fight against the atypically wild Okajima – loading the bases — they just couldn’t get the big or even medium-sized hit. Their only runs came on a wild pitch and two fielder’s choices. (I couldn’t see it from my vantage point at the time, but that last run, in the eighth, only scored because Alex Rodriguez threw an elbow while sliding into second, giving Posada just enough time to beat the double play throw as Jeter scored.)

I cannot begin to understand the hold Julian Tavarez has over the Yankees this year. He gave up only three hits, and few well-hit balls of any kind, though his ERA against all other teams is well over five. Does anybody have a plausible explanation for this? I’ve got nothing. And if the Yankees end up missing out on the playoffs by two games, I’m going to be irate.

Random note: one of Derek Jeter’s at-bat songs is now “I’m a Flirt” by R. Kelly (no idea if this was the original or the remix, sorry). I know Captain Intangibles is hitting like crazy, but I just can’t let this one go without mockery. Sample lyrics:

“I’m a I’m a I’m a I’m a flirt
Soon as I see her walk up in the club I’m a flirt
Winkin eyes at me when I roll up on dem dubs I’m a flirt
Sometimes when I’m wit my chick on the low I’m a flirt
And when she’s wit her man lookin at me damn right I’m a flirt
So homie dont bring your girl to me to meet cause I’m a flirt
And baby dont bring your girlfriend to eat cause I’m a flirt
(It better be real tight you know what I’m talkin bout)
Please believe it unless your game is tight and you trust herrrrr
(You bring your girl around me you better put your best pimp foot foward)
Then don’t bring her round me cause I’m a flirt.”

Um. Yeah, Derek, we know, we read all about it in Page Six. Jeez. So, boys, you’ve been warned, but no worries — I imagine you fellas always put your best pimp foot forward.

Anyway, my fascination with at-bat songs is always inversely correlated to the quality of the game. This was a night to focus on the music. Let’s hope tomorrow I forget all about the fact that Jose Vizcaino enters to “Limelight,” by Rush.

Alex here. In case you missed the back-cover of the News (which features a photograph of Jason Giambi with the headline, “Flunked!”), according to T.J. Quinn, Jason Giambi failed a test for greenies at some point over the past year. Looks like things are about to get rough all over for the Yankee slugger.

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