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Yanks Finally Beat Sox in Soporific Slugfest


Boxing metaphors are easy to come by when the Yanks play the Sox and I had boxing on the brain today for a couple of reasons: the writer Budd Schulberg died, and Muhammad Ali was honored before the game at Yankee Stadium.

My grandfather the head of public relations at the Anti-Defamantion League from 1946-71 (the year I was born), and helped prepare Schulberg’s statement before HUAC during the communist witch hunt after World War II–he also helped the actor John Garfield with his statement.

I remember seeing a worn copy of Schulberg’s The Disenchanted on my grandfather’s bookshelf; I think my aunt has his signed copy of Waterfront, the book that was the basis of On The Waterfront. Schulberg’s most enduring work is What Makes Sammy Run? a cynical novel about show biz.


Over at  The Sweet Science, George Kimball remembers Schulberg:

He straddled the worlds of literature and pugilism throughout his life, but unlike some of his more boastful contemporaries he was not a dilettante when it came to either. He sparred regularly with Mushy Callahan well beyond middle age. The night of the Frazier-Ali fight of the century Budd started to the arena in Muhammad Ali’s limousine, and then when the traffic got heavy, got out and walked to Madison Square Garden with Ali. A year before Jose Torres died, Budd and Betsy flew to Puerto Rico and spent several days with Jose and Ramona at their home in Ponce. Art Aragon was the best man at his wedding. And when push came to shove, he put on the gloves with both Ernest Hemingway and Norman Mailer and kicked both of their asses, though not, as some would now claim, on the same night.

And from an interview with Schulberg earlier this year in The Independent:

No writer has ever been closer to Muhammad Ali. Schulberg travelled in Ali’s car on the way to fights, sat in his dressing-room even after defeats, and was at the epicentre of some of the bizarre social situations the Louisville fighter liked to engineer. He was at the Hotel Concord in upstate New York when Ali was training for his third fight against Ken Norton. Schulberg was with his third wife, the actress Geraldine Brooks. “Ali,” Schulberg recalls, “asked Geraldine for an acting lesson. She improvised a scene in which he’d be provoked into anger.” After two unconvincing attempts, “She whispered in his ear, with utter conviction: ‘I hate to tell you this, but everybody here except you appears to know that your wife is having an affair with one of your sparring partners.’ I watched Ali’s eyes. Rage.”

Then, he recalls, Ali had another idea. “‘Let’s go to the middle of the hotel lobby. You turn on me and, in a loud voice, call me ‘nigger’.” Once in the foyer, crowded with Ali’s entourage, “Gerry dropped it on him. ‘You know what you are? You’re just a goddamn lying nigger.’ Schulberg recalls how Ali waited, restraining his advancing minders at the very last minute; a characteristic sense of timing that allowed his white guests, if only for a moment, to experience the emotions generated by the prospect of imminent lynching, yet live to tell the story.

The stars were out at the Stadium to see Ali and the Yanks: Bruce Willis, Paul Simon, Kate Hudson, and Hall of Famer, Eddie Murray. Ali was wearing a powder blue shirt and dark sunglasses; he slumped forward, a hulking man, surrounded by young, fit athletes and middle-aged executives. The moon was yellow and almost full. The stands were packed (49,005, the biggest crowd all year) as this was the most talked-about game to date in the new park.

Joba Chamerlain got into trouble in the first and in the second but worked his way out of it, but he got touched for two cheapie Yankee Stadium dingers in the third and fourth (Dustin Pedrioa and Casey Kochman).

In the bottom of the second, the Yanks put runners on first and second with one out when Nick Swisher singled to center. Jorge Posada, a notoriously bad base-runner, rounded third and headed for home. Elsbury’s throw wasn’t great; Dustin Pedrioa cut it off and fired to the plate. Posada cruised in standing up. He didn’t think the ball was coming home. Melky Cabrera, the on-deck hitter stood next to the plate, and waved his hand meakly for Posada to get down. Posada did not and was thrown out as he bumbed into Victor Martinez. It was an embarrassing moment, made worse still when Cabrera lined out softly to second.

The next inning, Jeter flew out deep to center to lead off. Elsbury made a nice catch and knocked into the wall. Then Damon homered, another cheap shot, and Mark Teixeira hit a bomb to the area formerly known as Death Valley in the old place, good for a double. Alex Rodriguez hacked at the first pitch he saw, a breaking ball, and skied another fly ball, this one in the park, to Kevin Youkilis in left. Hideki Matsui whiffed to end it but the crowd was rowdy, the swings were good, the ball jumping, and John Smoltz looked cooked.

Posada doubled to start the fourth and scored without a throw on Robinson Cano’s single to center. Swisher walked on four pitches and Melky Cabrea kicked in the door wavin’ the fo-fo with a three run dinger to right–this one had some life to it. The Yanks scored another run before Posada crushed a three-run bomb to straight-away center against reliever Billy Traber and the base-running gaffe was forgiven. The half-inning took more than thirty minutes (eight hits and eight runs) and the game wasn’t halfway over.

Once again, this was going to be a long night. Chamerlain and a host of Yankee relievers made sure of it. Chamberlain walked the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and then gave up an RBI single to Mike Lowell. He struck out Kochman and Nick Green, who replaced Lowrie at short, to end the inning and yelled. This time, he was undoubtedly screaming at himself. That was it for him and he left with a career-high seven walks.

The Red Sox would draw a dozen base on balls in all (the Yanks had six)–each of the five Yankee pitchers walking at least one. Mark Melancon drilled Pedrioa in the eighth and the Yankee announcers said, “Why don’t you just let sleeping dogs lie?” Why would Melancon drill him on purpose? Hard to say but he also threw one over Pedrioa’s head earlier in the at-bat.

David Ortiz got booed loudly in his first at bat; after that, the crowd went easy on him. And he floundered, looking weak going 0-5.

Three-hundred-and-seventy-five pitches, just under four hours. Final Score: Yanks 13, Red Sox 6.  


And so the Yanks got a big win against the Red Sox though the game itself was agonizing to watch. I can’t imagine how upset Red Sox fans were. For Yankee fans, it is almost hard to enjoy simply because the pitching was so brutal. (“Why does it feel like the Yankees are losing 11-4?” e-mailed a friend at one point.) Almost.

It was ugly alright, but who are we to complain? They won the game, and we’ll take it.


1 Statler   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:10 pm

In the land of the blind, the man with the longest arms is king.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:12 pm

All's well that ends well!

3 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:16 pm

The Yankees have a chance to cripple the Red Sox this series. They need to step on the neck.

4 Statler   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:17 pm

Also, I hate to say this, but I think Traber deserves a medal of some sort.

Here's a guy who was basically told to throw himself on a grenade. He would be perforated by searing hot shards of metal. He would not be thanked. Indeed, he would be buried in an unmarked grave, his funeral attended only by the rest of the Red Sox bullpen, who would feel for him the sort of nebulous gratitude one feels for a man who brings you your morning paper, or sweeps your steps.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:27 pm

4) Beautifully said.

6 seamus   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:27 pm

[4] his agent should be pissed.

7 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:28 pm

According to Pete Abe:

UPDATE, 9:42 p.m.: Crowd is announced at 49,005. That’s a record. Second sellout of the season,

It's a small thing, bt I want to know how 49,000 is a sellout for a stadium that allegedly holds 52,000+. Last year there were several games with attendance in excess of 55,000 (a couple over 56,000). Are we to understand that the Yankees have effectively knocked 6000+ seats from the capacity?


Otherwise, nice to finally beat those dastardly Sox. Now, let's work on winning this series!!

8 seamus   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:33 pm

[7] well, people need not showup for a game to sellout is what I recall. It means tickets were bought. Maybe i'm wrong but I think that is why the discrepancy.

9 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:42 pm

[8] Nope, because the 49,000 refers to paid attendance. In fact, all MLB attendance figures refer to paid attendance, not how many actually walked through the gates. So, it i possible that there were fewer than 49,000 at the game.

10 seamus   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:49 pm

[9] apparently the difference is comp seats. So tickets sold plus tickets given away for a variety of reasons = sellout.

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:49 pm

[9] At this point would you believe any information released by the Yankee organization? They are the (insert your preferred "fair & balanced" news network here depending on your political beliefs) of teams at this point...but who cares, we pounded the Sox and had a great start to the series!

12 seamus   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:51 pm
13 Rich   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:54 pm

Step one.

14 monkeypants   ~  Aug 6, 2009 11:58 pm

[10][12] That's funny--they can't sell all the seats, so they give away a bunch, and voila--sell out!!

[11] No I don't belive them at all, but it does burn my toast whenever I m reminded of how the "big ballpark in the Bronx" is that much smaller, and thus the seats are that much more expensive (partly) as a result.

You are right--it is glorious to pound the Sox.

In addition, I am going out on a limb and predict that Gaudin will better than Mitre. If the Yankees can take 3 of 4 (2 of the next 3), they may be able to bury this division.

15 monkeypants   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:01 am

More from Pete Abe

“He gets his fastball up to 94, he has a good slider, he’s stretched out and can give us innings,” Cashman said. “This gives Joe (Girardi) more choices.”

Cashman said Sergio Mitre will stay in the rotation. But Gaudin is clearly here to offer an alternative.

Can Girardi be trusted with more alternatives? How poorly must you pitch not to be in the rotation?

I'm not upset or angry...just curious really.

16 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:07 am

[15] I ask this everytime we watch one of the Yankees pet projects stay in the rotation for no discernible reason.

17 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:07 am

Nice to see the boys with their hittin shoes on, even if Joba looked crap. My only beef with tonite was the relentless over-management from Girardi. Pulling Robertson ~ was that really necessary? Maybe he's still in a daze over his beloved Cody gettin DFA'd. Skip worries me, could easily see him vapor lock in a late Sept/Oct. game.

Anywho, Boston sucks. Great to see Eddie Murray and Ken Singleton together. 2 smooth dudes. O'Neill was in great form.

18 monkeypants   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:13 am

[16] More seriously, I am curious about how they are going to work the Gaudin move. First of all, he needs to be added to the 40-man roster...so someone has to get DFA'd, or the PTBNL must be on the 40-man.

Second, if he were going into the rotation, then obviously Mitre would be demoted or released. But if he is going into teh pen AND Mitre stays in the rotation, then who will be demoted. Claggett for sure, but that still leaves 13 pitchers on the roster.

So, finally, does this mean that the team will carry 13 pitchers for the foreseeable future? If so, will they actually all see playing time? Or will Melancon be demoted (or Bruney)?

I've got this bad feeling that the answer is 13 man staff, Claggett and Melancon demoted...and then my mind will be boggled once more.

19 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:13 am

Do Cody Ransom and Billy Traber ever get another taste of the majors?

20 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:15 am

[19] September

21 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:19 am

[18] None of it will matter in a week or so, because as someone noted last night, at this rate we can't be far from Lima Time

22 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:28 am

[21] That was me! I will be ecstatic if I get to witness Lima Time in NYS..imagine the meetings between Sgt. Joe G and Jose Lima?!?!

23 Rich   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:32 am

According to Kepner, Gaudin will "start off in the bullpen."

24 monkeypants   ~  Aug 7, 2009 12:34 am

[23] Yes, I saw that. The 'pen is where "alternatives" to bad 5th starters go...never to return to the rotation again.

25 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 7, 2009 1:58 am
26 thelarmis   ~  Aug 7, 2009 2:55 am

i LOVE this:

Jorge Posada played with a No. 15 decal on his mask in honor of Thurman Munson, whose funeral was 30 years ago today. “Just something I wanted to do,” he said. “He means a lot to me.”

Posada is reading Marty Appel’s new book on Munson.

27 monkeypants   ~  Aug 7, 2009 3:11 am

[25] Sadly, I agree with him...only inasmuch as there really is very little empirical evidence that pitch limits and innings limits (except in the extremes) protect young arms. It makes intuitive sense, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence, but that's it.

He also raises a good point--not very elegantly--about weighing the value of the team winning potentially it all now versus investing in possible long term success for the player (and team).

This being said, he's a bit off his rocker. And in any case, the Yankees may render the discussion "mute" if they move out to a bigger lead and can thus afford to skip a few of his starts.

28 The Mick536   ~  Aug 7, 2009 8:37 am

Bud was a scumbag and should rot in hell for testifying against his friends. His colleagues went to jail because he had no balls. That guy and those like him live on the lowest level that life allows. We are talking words here, are we not. "Have you no shame, Senator McCarthy?"

29 Paul   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:07 am

[25] No surprise there - another ignorant broadcaster who doesn't do his research but then wants you to do his job for him.

Hey Timmy - try this newfangled device called "Google" spelled G-o-o-g-l-e. All you have to do is type in "Verducci effect" and you find an answer.

30 Bama Yankee   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:20 am

[25] To quote Bob Gibson: Timmy, "the only thing you know about pitching is you can't hit it."

31 Shaun P.   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:21 am

[29] There are some who call out the "Verducci effect" for, well, not being true or accurate.

monkeypants, you probably saw this by now, but the Yanks can easily make room on the 40-man roster for Gaudin by simply shifting Wang or Nady to the 60-day DL. My guess is you're right, Claggett and Melancon go down, though I'd much rather see Bruney go. But I believe he's out of options . . .

32 Paul   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:42 am

[31] Ah, yes, the best way to counter data is through innuendo and anecdote. No wonder why broadcasters are so ignorant - that's what they specialize in.

33 ms october   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:47 am

the best thing about going to saturday's game - not having to put up with timmy or buck!

getting po's bat going would be huge.
it's hard to remember it now - but melky's hr was a big time hit.

i am just curious if the yankee pitchers walked anyone else after i went to bed around midnight?

34 Paul   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:51 am

What was killing me was the putzy Sox NESN guy repeating the number of walks "Yankee pitching" had given. Of course, he'd say 8 and forget to mention that 7 were from Joba. Then he'd say 9 and the same etc.

Their broadcast is unbearable without Remy.

35 DALELAMA   ~  Aug 7, 2009 9:53 am

Has anybody else ever noticed that Posada's IQ must be around 95. As a Yank fan for years no other player's consistent brain farts have driven me crazier. Last night's two examples, not sliding and not throwing out the runner on the wild pitchl third strike. I think his low IQ has been a mjor reason we haven't won the WS in years, along of course with AChokes complete inability to deliver in the clutch. Thank God Posada can flat out hit. Also can anybody tell me how they got the guy from San Diego via trade after July 31st ? Did he clear waivers ?

36 The Hawk   ~  Aug 7, 2009 10:13 am

[35] He cleared waivers.

I though Posada's IQ was 90 ; )

37 Ben   ~  Aug 7, 2009 10:20 am

[35] Yeah. I always wondered about a guy who pissed on his hands to toughen them up, rather than just dipping them in vinegar. Oh well. He doesn't run the bases well and has a tick against blocking the plate. But he's still the man.

38 The Hawk   ~  Aug 7, 2009 10:57 am

Posada has been involved in two of the major WTF base running moments this season. Last night takes the cake though. Even my Mets fan friend was appalled.

39 Sliced Bread   ~  Aug 7, 2009 11:07 am

I sat a couple rows from the top of the Stadium last night, pretty much straight up from 1b. Partially due to the altitude of our seats, we were flying high all night up there.

Definitely a playoff atmosphere around the neighborhood before the game. Yanks and Sox fans exchanging taunts and insults over buckets of Dominican beers at Stadium Pizza. I hadn't been to the bar row on River Ave. since last season. I don't know why I had the impression it had turned into a ghost town, but it's still a raging scene. Roy White was signing autographs outside one of the bars, Stan's I think. He looks great.

The Ali ceremony was a little sad, but it was still something to see him in person, even if it was through binoculars.

Standout moments were obvious: Ortiz's first at-bat, Melky's blast, Po's failure to slide.

Melk's homer had the place going crazy, but the Ortiz moment was definitley the Stadium's emotional high of the night (or low depending on your perspective). Everybody's jacked up as the game starts. Then, Papi steps up. The Red Sox fans around me (including a row of 5 behind me all wearing their team colors) tried to cheer him on, but recognizing the futility of pissing into the Stadium wind they turned embarrassed, one even looked to me like he might cry while we Yanks fans gave it to Papi. A few of Sox fans (including guy in Papelbon jersey, with Jeter jersey wearing girlfriend) hissed back about the obvious hypocrisy of jeering a confirmed cheater. The kid behind him in the Rodriguez jersey (player's name included) didn't want to hear about it. But all the Sox fans around me pretty much just grumbled, knowing this was rightfully coming to their guy.

I wasn't surprised that the Papi bashing subsided with each of his at-bats. It seemed everybody got what they wanted to say about him off their chests in the first inning. Only the hardcore haters stayed on him until the bitter end.

Oy, what a bitter end. Thought that game might never end. In the car by 11:30, in the driveway shortly after 12:30. Excellent night at the ballpark.

40 The Hawk   ~  Aug 7, 2009 11:11 am

[39] Great description of the anti-Papi vibe.

And I can't imagine actually being at the game. It was difficult to watch knowing my apartment was just a few blocks away; actually being there would have been stressful.

Let's face it: great win - shit game.

41 Yankster   ~  Aug 7, 2009 11:45 am

[35] Damon seems competitive with Posada in the under IQ race. No offense to Damon, of course. Last night when Suzyn interviewed him, he kept calling Teixera, texera. I mean they are teammates right? They bat back to back. He can learn his name, can't he? Seriously.

Damon often blows my mind when he's interviewed. He frequently has strategy opinions that are so old-school gritty he's a shoe-in to be a manager. His ideas about Joba in the bullpen last year were especially insightful: He should stay out there because it just feels good that he's there.

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