"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Boom Bap

“Payback is a pitch that lands in the bullpen.” — Yankee play-by-play man, Michael Kay


Before he signed with the Yankees I knew that Mark Teixeira was a very good player, even a great player, but I didn’t have much of a sense of him. He seemed professional and aware, unremarkable and sterile. My wife said he looked like a white Barry Bonds. That was his defining quality to me. Cliff ranted and raved all winter long that the Yankees needed to sign Teixeira or else the balance of power would remain in Boston for years to come and I had no reason not to believe him. Teixeira slumped in April but has otherwise been a marvel; a brilliant and exciting fielder, a wonderful hitter, and a spirited competitor. I didn’t figure on the competitor part–which we first glimpsed against Carlos Gomez a few weeks back–and didn’t know how much fun he would be to watch.

Teixeira had his signature moment as a Yankee on Tuesday night when he broke up a double play after being plunked in the rump by Vicente Padilla. It was the kind of play that inspires columnists and is later referred to by announcers as a “turning point.” It earned Teixiera a standing ovation and more importantly led to six extra runs as the Yankees pounded the Rangers, 12-3.

It was hard not to think back to 1998 when Armando Benetiz hit Tino Martinez square in the back. The brawl, the back-to-back Yankee home runs and the win. That was one of the most memorable and satisfying regular season games I’ve ever seen. I don’t know that this was as juicy (nobody threw a punch), or how good this Yankee team will be, but it sure  felt good. Damn good.


Padilla and AJ Burnett matched wits in a suck-a-thon shoot-out for the first few innings. The Yanks let Padilla off the hook once and then twice while Burnett was touched for a three-run dinger in the third. The next inning, with the score tied at three, the Yanks had runners at the corners with one out when Padilla drilled Teixeria in the ass. This after hitting Teixeira in the second inning.  Teixeira slammed his bat down and cried “Bullshit,” looking hard and angry at Padilla, a known red-ass who looks like a cheap, greasy bad guy from a Sergio Leone western. I don’t imagine they were the best of friends when they were teammates.

Alex Rodriguez, who grounded out with the bases loaded in the second, fell behind and then hit a ground ball to the second baseman, Ian Kinsler. Tailor-made. Teixeira charged to second and up-ended the shortstop, Elvis Andrus, causing the relay throw to be late. Rodriguez burned down the line and just beat the throw. Derek Jeter scored. Teixeira jogged off the field, his cherry-bursting, gritty, true Yankee moment. The cheers continued for Jeter, who scored the 1,500th run of his career.  Next Robinson Cano singled chasing Padilla. Jorge Posada greeted Derek Holland with a base hit to left and then Godzilla crushed a three-run bomb to right and Teixeira screamed “That’s what I’m talkin’ about” on the dugout steps.

High fives all around. Burnett chucked one at Nelson Cruz’s noggin the next inning and both benches were warned. Then Burnett settled down and didn’t allow another run. He went seven, walked one and struck out eight. The Yanks poured it on–Posada, who had three hits, crushed a moon shot that came close to reaching the upper deck in right field in the sixth. Jeter also had three hits. But it was Teixeira who was and is the story of the moment for the Bombers.

We’ve got ourselves a keeper.

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1 PJ   ~  Jun 2, 2009 10:50 pm

The "Portuguese Prince" does it again!

: )

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jun 2, 2009 10:55 pm

Missed the whole game, but going to be fun watching the archived game tonight. Is Godzilla back to wreak havoc on AL pitchers, running stone-faced around the bases after another line drive tater?? Lots of posts to catch up on the Banter as well, while craving a proper NYC slice!!

3 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:05 pm

Love it - this team is coming into form!!!

4 thelarmis   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:07 pm

i''ve been w/ Cliff on this the whole time. he was big news here at Ga. Tech when i first moved to Atlanta and i thoroughly enjoyed watching him here for the short time he was w/ the Braves. i'm impressed w/ the competitiveness too - i didn't know that about him - but everything else, i was well aware of. i'm soooo psyched we have him and have him for keeps!

[2] hey man, i got 27 Blue Note cd's today!!! : ) 21 were from that order i placed the other week. 6, i got at the a coupla stores, including that Freddie Hubbard Live in Europe 1969 that BN released today. at the moment, i've got 1 more on the way and 2 more that a buddy of mine is holding for me...

5 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:45 pm

[4] Awesome!! I can't wait to get the Freddie..will have to wait till the end of the month payday unfortunately!

GREAT game thread tonight all youse crazy people, I enjoyed skimming through all the comments.

6 seamus   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:49 pm

[4] 27? holy awesome! That must have set you back a bit. I'm depressed from logging in to emusic and finding out they are raising the cost and lowering the max number of downloads in order to bring in some major labels. i;d have rathered still get my indie music for a bargain in large volumes.

7 tommyl   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:51 pm

I'm hearing a rumor that Montero has been promoted to Trenton. Anyone else hearing this?

8 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:56 pm

[7] yes, it's been anticipated.

9 tommyl   ~  Jun 2, 2009 11:58 pm

[8] Wow, kid's moving fast. That would put him at AAA/late season callup next year?!

10 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 12:01 am

[6] yeah man, it sure did set me back. sometimes i find really amazing deals, so it all pretty much evens out in the end. the big box of 21, were all rare BN titles from the "classic period" and are Jap imports (standard jewel case). i'm a collector, so it's fun, as well as a necessity. there's still quite a few Blue Notes i need, but i'm pretty much at the point where all the titles i need, are rare, hard to find and costly. since i'm a professional musician, at least i can write it all off! : )

it's probably pathetic, but i don't even know how to download a song! plus, i like to have the real cd, replete w/ artwork, libretto, etc. i have a pretty light work week, so i'll be listening/reading all these discs for several days. fun stuff!

[7] cool on montero.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jun 3, 2009 12:08 am

[10] Man, I got my record-collecting Sam Spade friend here on the case for the Blue Mitchell you requested..stand by for news...

what you think of Art Taylor on drums? Heard him on live Dexter Gordon album, guy was swinging HARD!

12 OldYanksFan   ~  Jun 3, 2009 1:04 am

I haven't been here as regularly as usual, so maybe I missed it. Have we discussed this? http://tinyurl.com/r8n756 .... pretty stunning, if you ask me.

13 SteveAmerica   ~  Jun 3, 2009 2:00 am

What Tex said was..."FUCKING BULLSHIT! THROW THE BALL OVER THE PLATE!" He, Jeter, and Posada are really making for a fun season.

Also, I think AJ deserves props for keeping his composure after giving the bomb and locking it down from there on out. I know Cliff almost jumped out the window when the Yankees signed him, but money aside, I've been pretty happy with his performance so far this year. And I love it when he's on.

14 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 2:34 am

[12] i know i mentioned it awhile back when i saw it at nomaas. btw, nomaas is back up and runnin'!

15 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 2:38 am

[11] sorry for the delay in response, i had to go to my studio and practice for a coupla hours...

man, thank you soooo very much for continuing to check on that cd for me, that is above and beyond, and greatly appreciated!!!

Art Taylor (A.T.), was fantastic! yeah man, he swung hard! he was also terrific with brushes (check out Paul Chambers "Bass On Top" on BN) and rather adept at fast tempos, like his contemporary Louis Hayes. AT, had one solo record on BN and it's excellent. he was awesome and apparently a really great guy, too. he's got a book out called Notes and Tones, which is considered to be the MOST telling collection of musician-to-musician interviews, ever published. i really need to get it...

was the live Dexter CD called "The Squirrel"? if so, that record is burnin'!

16 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jun 3, 2009 3:25 am

[15] It WAS the Squirrel! recorded live in Copenhagen, early 60s.

Always happy to record-hunt, no problems.

17 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 3:28 am

"When we win games," Teixeira said, "I get fired up."

me likey!

18 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 3:30 am

[16] yeah man, the Squirrel kicks ass! i was really psyched when BN released that on CD in the 90's, for the first time. it was actually LATE 60's - June 19, 1967. : )

19 thelarmis   ~  Jun 3, 2009 3:32 am

[16] at some point this summer, i should put together a wish list of Jap BN titles and email it to you...

np = Jackie McLean 'One Step Beyond'. it's a serious record, man.

20 tomfodw   ~  Jun 3, 2009 7:56 am

I was at that game in '98 when Benitez hit Tino after Bernie's mammoth, monstrous home run. As soon as Tino got hit, I jumped out of my seat to scream that the ump had to toss Benitez - but before I even finished getting to my feet, the ump had already done so! What a great, fun game to be at, one of my all-time favorite memories of the (now old) Stadium. Going Friday, hope to start making new memories in the (new) Stadium.

21 seamus   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:12 am

[10] downloading music is very odd but I'm starting to grow accustomed to it. I was aways an album art kind of guy, loved to sit down, stick the vinyl on the turntable, turn the album cover over in my hands and listen. I miss those days something fierce but I can't beat the cost effectiveness of downloads so I've adjusted that much anyhow. But what I've noticed is where I used to listen to "albums", more and more frequently I never listen to an album as it was meant to be played anymore. It feels like a lost art.

22 The Hawk   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:22 am

I, too, am impressed and somewhat surprised by Teixeira's spirit on the field. He seemed so bland, I was sure he was gonna be another bore, or like A Rod, force the "just-one-of-the-guys, teammate-with-a-capital-'T'" issue. But he seems like the real deal.

23 RIYank   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:30 am

As I suspected (and mentioned last night), John Sterling called Matsui's home run an "A-Bomb". He then corrected himself, "Or it would have been if Alex had hit it." Just so lame on so many levels.
You can actually hear it on the mlb.com videos page -- the video called "Matsui's homer breaks the game open" has a Sterling sound track for some reason.

24 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:31 am

[12] Yikes. That's interesting, but ultimately what does it mean? We already know that most everyone involved in baseball was in denial about it's usage, and would continue to be so if not for some media and congressional panel-induced confessionals of sort. We've pretty much gone past the outrage threshold a while back, especially after Selena Robert's attempts to profit off of Alex's "sin" (I side with neither on that issue, but that's another story). I mean, what are we supposed to do? I suggested (sarcastically) a while back that baseball should just shut itself down for a year or two and sort out these issues if they were truly serious about "cleaning it up", but one would rightly argue that the business structure would collapse without games being played, no matter who is playing.

So, armed with this knowledge, do we continue to twiddle our thumbs and wait and hope that the steady users drop out from health/age issues, or do we tighten the screws on the guys that get caught and restructure the system to accentuate the new-found religion of drug abstinence (beyond where it already is, which is kinda strong given the media/image involvement)?

Really, it's interesting, but adds nothing but more reason to dislike pro baseball in general, and also contributes to the image of a collective cognizant dissonance about it's effects and what people here and around the world feel about it all; especially relative to records. I'm bushed; is there any reason to care how and why anymore?

25 rbj   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:32 am

I missed the thread last night, got in late after a great Aikido class (though 50 rolls at the end, ugh). Just caught the second Tex plunking, so what's the story with that? Are the Rangers that ticked off that Mark went for the big bucks? Or are they jealous he could get those big bucks?

[12] I did see the part about the RS players being told how to do steroids, but not the Rangers part. The names do fit in with Canseco's list. I think we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg on steroids (i.e., top 10%) A-Rod shouldn't be singled out for it.

26 RIYank   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:34 am

[7] tommyl, from the Trenton Thunder blog:

Can confirm that the plan is for Jesus Montero to be promoted to Double-A Trenton. With the team at the maximum of 24 players, apparently the delay in announcing the move is in making the final decision on what the corresponding move would be.

However, I’ve also been told that the plan could change, and that it could be possible for Montero to remain in Tampa.

Seems doubtful, though. If Montero is, in fact, in Trenton tomorrow, you can rest assured that this will be the place to be for all the info you need to know.

I think one reason for this move is that the organization wants both Montero and Austin Romine to get plenty of starts, so one of them had to move up from Tampa. For whatever reason, I guess it's like Easter in June...

27 PJ   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:35 am

[22] Man, he's Portuguese! Haven't you ever seen Emeril Live before? Nothing "bland" there! Lame? Perhaps sometimes, yes... Bland? Never!


: )

28 RIYank   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:39 am

[25] Suzyn Waldman reported that there's some "history" between Padilla in particular and Teixeira. She didn't have any info about why, but said that there was a plunking or two when Tex was on the Angels, too.
I think william pointed out that the first HBP last night could very well have been intentional -- first base was empty, and it's conceivable that, like the Indians, the Rangers would just as soon pitch to A-Rod with the bases loaded as to Teixeira with second and third. But the second plunk, if it was intentional, was just dumb. And it turned out worse for the Rangers than anyone could have anticipated.

29 Rich   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:41 am

[26] I think one reason for this move is that the organization wants both Montero and Austin Romine to get plenty of starts, so one of them had to move up from Tampa.

That is the reason that Newman has given.

30 PJ   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:45 am

[25] There is "history" between Tex and Padilla, and Padilla is a "plunkmeyer" in any event. He's one of those pitchers who would rather plunk you than walk you intentionally. I think they said Tex hit two HR off him the first two times he batted against him with the Angels. The next time up he got one that hit him in the head. Also during his time with Texas, Tex got plunked many times because Padilla would often throw at opponents.

Source: Teixeira during the postgame interview...

Likie Pedro, Padilla is a friggen coward, exploiting not hitting in the AL in the name of "pitching inside."

31 rbj   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:50 am

[28],[30] Thanks. Perhaps our pitchers could be a bit "wild", then maybe the Rangers will have a talking to with Padilla.

Never understood the whole "plunking someone for hitting homeruns off you" thing. You don't want someone to hit a homerun, don't give him a pitch to hit a homerun. Now, if someone's showing you up afterwards, say, standing there and admiring it, that's a somewhat different story.

32 RIYank   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:50 am

PJ [30], just checked LoHud. The two-hr game was when Teixeira was still with the Rangers and Padilla pitched for the Phillies. And yeah,

Teixeira said he urged Padilla to stop hitting opposing players several times during their time together as teammates. Padilla, according to Teixeira, ignored him.

"I used to get hit a lot because he was hitting other players," Teixeira said. "There's really no reason for it in baseball. If you can't get a guy out, don't hit him. If you don't want to pitch to a guy, put four fingers out and walk him. Unfortunately, when I was a teammate, there were times where he'd hit guys. The 3-4 hitters, those are the guys who'd get hit for retaliation and I got hit plenty of times."

33 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2009 8:54 am

[12] The story is old news and probably hasn't had legs because Merloni couldn' offer specifics.

[24] I am not sure why MLB has to clean itself up anymore than society as a whole? The testing program in place is pretty stringent and the tacit acceptance of PEDs has been replaced with condemnation. Why is more needed? Holding MLB up to standards much higher than not only other sports, but society in general is unfair and futile.

[28] I strongly suspect both HBPs were at least intended as a not unattractive worst case scenario. In the first AB, the balk opened up 1B, after which Padilla's approach seemed to suggest that he would absolutely bust Tex inside to the point of not caring whether he was plunked. In the second AB, I think Padilla made up his mind that he'd rather face Arod, who had two mediocre swings in his previous ABs.

34 Shaun P.   ~  Jun 3, 2009 9:01 am

[29] And of course, you move up the guy who's the more advanced hitter (though perhaps the less great defender behind the plate).

If Montero keeps advancing quickly as a hitter, the Yanks may have no need to worry about a DH - or what happens when Posada can't catch full-time anymore. Admittedly that's a big IF, but I could well see a DH/C timeshare of sorts between Posada and Montero (with Cervelli filling in the rest of the gaps) by mid to late 2010, or certainly 2011. And presuming Romine keeps coming on, the Yanks should be A-OK behind the plate.

Here is an intriguing thought. When Yogi couldn't catch fulltime anymore, he was moved to LF. The first time he played LF more than C was when he was 36 (though admittedly he had played the OF a little bit in each of the previous 5 seasons). For all the crazy position switches (coughtJetertoCFcough) that have been proposed to "solve" the Yanks' OF "woes" for 2010, why not try Posada out in LF? He doesn't have to play 140 games out there, but that would give the team another way to open time at DH as needed.

35 ChrisS   ~  Jun 3, 2009 9:08 am

to the point of not caring whether he was plunked.

That may be the most accurate description a guy that I'd take most offense to as a hitter on the same team. If Padilla doesn't care when he hits guys because he doesn't get hit as retaliation and, more importantly, doesn't care that his teammates take his lumps, it'd piss me off, too.

Yankees are tied for 3rd in the AL for HBP (Cleveland - 36!, Boston - 29, NYY - 19) and have, somewhat surprisingly, given out the most HBP (NYY - 32, Boston - 31, Tex - 26).

36 Will Weiss   ~  Jun 3, 2009 9:14 am

[0] Great post, Alex. I thought of that exact game and was going to write about it today. You beat me to it. This is the type of game, and that's the type of play, that can be a turning point to the season if they go on to win the division, playoffs, etc.

37 williamnyy23   ~  Jun 3, 2009 9:17 am

[34] Posada's lack of speed and mobility in the big YS left field would make Matsui look Elliot Maddux.

38 RCK   ~  Jun 3, 2009 10:39 am

[26] I guess it’s like Easter in June…

Hahaha! Very good one.

I've been saying for months how I couldn't wait until Montero was in Trenton so that I could go see him play, but I thought I'd have to wait until next season! Very excited that this is coming so much sooner than I expected.

39 RIYank   ~  Jun 3, 2009 12:32 pm

Oh, good, I'm glad someone was around to get that one, RCK.

I'll probably re-use it in another thread... ;-)

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