"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Cold Yanks Fall Flat

During the early innings of the game last night, I caught up with an old college buddy. As we chatted on the phone, I became aware that his three-year-old was making a racket in the background–the same irritating noise over and again. When I asked my friend if his kid was okay he said, “He’s fine, he just wants attention.”

I was reminded of the child’s insistent noise-making in the eighth inning of the game. The Yankees were down 6-2, their offense listless again. On the YES broadcast, Michael Kay wondered if the team’s brutal schedule–they have had just one day off in April–had something to do with their flat performance. It was brick cold at the Stadium and the fans who remained were the die-hards. As Kay and Al Leiter spoke, I became aware of a loud clanging, a stick knocking on a cowbell out in the bleachers most likely. The banging did not stop all inning as a small group of fans tried to rally the team into action and to keep themselves warm and awake. It felt like the old days, when the Stadium wasn’t always packed and small groups of fans felt compelled to announce their presence with authority.

Denny Bautista, a string bean of a relief pitcher for the Tigers with a propensity for wildness was doing his best to help the Yankees out. He walked the bases full and then hit Derek Jeter to force in a run. Jim Leyland looked as if he was ready to strangulate Bautista. The skinny pitcher, who has enormous teeth, thick, full lips, and a weak chin, had completely unraveled. He looked like a schlimiel as he trudged off the mound, his shirt untucked, but like a cat who has just accidentally fallen off the kitchen counter, he tried to maintain a sense of arrogance, making him look even more foolish.

Bobby Abreu grounded out weakly to third to end the inning. The Bombers managed to plate another run in the ninth but then Todd Jones, aggresive and throwing strikes, got his three outs and that was the game. Robinson Cano, who homered–a line drive shot into the right field seats–in his first at bat, whiffed on three pitches to end the game (the last pitch was over his head), in an undisciplined at bat that has become all too common this year. The Yanks left 13 men on base and deserved to lose the game.

Final score. Tigers 6, Yanks 4.

There was more bad news. Phil Hughes pitched poorly and was booed off the mound in the fourth inning. Our old pal Sheff ripped a curveball for a two-run dinger. He is now 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA and the talk is whether or not he should be demoted to Triple A. Alex Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day DL and while there is no definitive news on Jorge Posada, word is that he might not need surgery after all. The best news on the field last night was another solid relief outing from Ross Olendorf. Off-the-field, the best news came when it was announced that Joba Chamberlain’s father returned home from the hospital last week.

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