First things first . . .
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BANTER MAN HIMSELF . . . OUR OWN ALEX BELTH!
Today’s news is powered by this “literal music video”:
- Fielding all right (uh huh):
New York has grown quite used to seeing a zero in the “E” column each night, completing its 17th consecutive errorless game on Sunday to tie a Major League record. . . .
The Yankees have not committed an error since Ramiro Pena booted a ground ball while playing shortstop on May 13 in Toronto. Since then, New York has handled 617 total chances in 156 1/3 innings of play, recording 469 putouts and completing 148 assists with 12 double plays. The team fielding percentage: a sparkling 1.000.
- Tex draws raves from A-Rod and a pep talk from Tino:
“Mark’s phenomenal,” Rodriguez said after Saturday’s 10-5 victory over the Indians. “To me, Mark is a combination of Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neill. He just brings so much to this team, so much to this clubhouse. His makeup is one that’s very impressive.”. . .
“He (Tino Martinez) told me just to be yourself, have fun,” Teixeira said. “Tino is just a great guy and was a great player. We hit it off right away. He knows the kind of player I am, and I think he just wanted me to get back to being me.”
It may have been coincidence, or directly attributable to Alex Rodriguez’s return to the lineup earlier in the month. Whatever the reason, Teixeira put a 4-for-4, four-RBI game on the Twins the next day and has hit .413 (26-for-63) with eight home runs and 21 RBIs in his 15 games entering play Sunday since Martinez’s pep talk.
- Homer-happy new stadium stats:
Through 23 games at the new park, the Yankees’ 45 homers led the majors in home runs hit at home. Texas was second at 38 through Thursday. The Yankees are averaging 1.96 home runs per game at home and are on pace to hit 158 for the season. That would be good enough to break a pair of records.
In 2000, Toronto hit 134 home runs at home (an average of 1.65 per game) to set the American League record. The 1996 Colorado Rockies set the major league record with 149 home runs (an average of 1.84 a game).
But Yankees pitchers are learning that the home run barrage is a two-way street. They have given up 42 home runs at home, which also led the league through Thursday. Philadelphia and Arizona were second with 38. The staff is on pace to give up 148 home runs, which would break the A.L. record of 132, which is held by the 1964 Kansas City Athletics. That team went 57-105 and finished last.
[My take: The wind currents in the stadium are juiced.]
- Joba a no-go for bullpen duty (from John Perrotto):
The Yankees couldn’t move right-hander Joba Chamberlain from the rotation back to the bullpen if they wanted to at this time, because shoulder problems make it too difficult for him to warm up quickly.
[My take: But isn’t he supposed to be OVER those shoulder problems? I mean, it would explain his tough first innings in his starts, but isn’t he healthy? So, he’s a starter cause he can’t get loose in a hurry (even if he did so prior to his problems in ’08)?]
- Purchasing the items they voided in is prohibited:
One of the most sought-after items in the auction of old Yankee Stadium items aren’t even for sale: Bathroom urinals.
They may have reeked – and even repulsed – but some fans say they are willing to spend big to own what most would think are must-not-have memorabila.
“People always ask for the bathroom stuff, like the urinals,” said Brandon Steiner, CEO of Steiner Sports, the exclusive distributor of old Yankee Stadium memorabilia. “There were some strange requests.”
Alas, the Baseball Cathedral’s cans are not for sale, Steiner said. Pretty much everything else inside the old ballpark is, though.
An auction at the end of July will let fans own the dugout phone, the clubhouse carpet, even the foul poles. About 3,000 participants have registered.
- On this date in 1925, Lou Gehrig pinch-hit for Pee Wee Wanninger, beginning his streak of playing in 2,130 consecutive games. The next day, first baseman Wally Pipp showed up with a headache, and Gehrig took over.
- On this date in 2001, at Yankee Stadium, Cleveland defeated New York in a game called after the top of the sixth because of rain with Cleveland ahead, 7 – 2. In a rarity, Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia earned a win despite pitching only four innings. Relief pitcher Ricardo Rincón got the save retiring the side in the fifth inning. The baseball rules state that in a five-inning game, a starter need not go the full five to earn a victory. Baseball historian David W. Smith noted that there are just five other cases since 1978 to match the Sabathia feat.