"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Then It's Back Where You Started, Here We Go Round Again

Photo courtesy of the NY Yankees

The Yankees got their shiny new rings today, and they were just as subtle and understated as you might expect. But if the swelling music and the giant hunks of ice were not exactly humble, the ring ceremony itself still managed to be lovely – because of the presence of Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra, the glee of the crowd, and the obvious joy on the players’ faces as they jogged out to collect – and a perfect prelude to a 7-5 win.

The highlight was the reception for Hideki Matsui, now the Los Angeles Godzilla of Anaheim, who was given a ring, a huge ovation from the fans, and hugs on the field from all his teammates. I can hardly wait for the inevitable squawking about the horrors of fraternizing with the “enemy.” This may be the most amicable player-team divorce I can recall, and it was nice to see the uber-professional Matsui reap the benefits of that. Even the many Yankee-haters of my acquaintance find it hard to work up any bile for the guy.

(Less fuss was made over current Padre Jerry Hairston Jr’s presence, but I like that he flew all night to be in the Bronx for this moment – without even asking permission, because he was afraid someone might say no. It’s always nice to get a sense that the players care as much or more than the fans; it helps us feel less silly).

As for the game itself, it was about as low-stress as Yankees-Angels games ever are. Is there any Major League player we know better, at this point, than Andy Pettitte? How many times over the last few years have I tried to find a new way to describe a start like this? He got himself into trouble and then he got out of it; he was not dominant or overwhelming, but he was enough. Pettitte’s demeanor and persona do not seem to fit the word “crafty” (more like “aw shucks”), but he has gradually turned into one of those lefties; I wouldn’t necessarily say he strikes me as a deep thinker, but he knows what the hell — “the heck”, he might say — he’s doing. Today’s final line was six innings pitched and no runs allowed, despite five hits and three walks, aided by six strikeouts.

The offense was provided by Nick Johnson and Derek Jeter, who hit solo homers early on, and the Yankees tacked on gradually via a slew of infield singles, walks, and doubles, which never quite coalesced into a huge inning but came out to the same thing in the end. It was a good homecoming for Johnson, who came through in several key moments (and managed not to lose any limbs), as did Cano, an ultra-patient Swisher, and the usual suspects – Jeter, Posada, and of course Mariano Rivera, who saved Chan Ho Park and David Robertson from themselves with his usual easy flair.

So far, so good.

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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1 The Hawk   ~  Apr 13, 2010 6:34 pm

Love Matsui, loved the love for Matsui.

When I stopped paying attention, the Yanks were up 5. I see then the final was 7-5 and I'm like "please don't be a Joba meltdown". At least it wasn't that.

2 rbj   ~  Apr 13, 2010 6:34 pm

Glad I wasn't around for the top of the ninth. I'd have screamed -- which isn't recommended in a library.

3 RIYank   ~  Apr 13, 2010 6:38 pm

Yeah, I missed the ulcer-inducing part of the game, too (not for anything I preferred to be doing, unfortunately).

But, thanks be to Mo.

And love me some Robbie Cano, oh yeah.

4 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Apr 13, 2010 7:18 pm

Watching the recast now. Good Jesus, why must everything be so schmalzy?
The fanfares, the godawful gushing from Sterling and Kay...


Just let the moment speak for itself. Let the fans generate the excitement.

5 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Apr 13, 2010 7:20 pm

Awww! The sight of the team embracing Matsui is worth the price of admission. That's authentic.

It makes me tingle all over.

I love the Los Angeles Godzilla of Amazon. No, of Anaheim. Whatever.

Fare thee well, Hideki!

6 Dimelo   ~  Apr 13, 2010 7:54 pm

I wasn't watching the game, f'ing work gets in the way, but I was able to listen to Sterling. I did see highlights of the ring ceremony, I'm glad the Yankees treated him so nicely. It was really classy of the team and fans, but that's the least we could have done for Matsui - he was a stand-up guy.

7 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 13, 2010 7:54 pm

I love Matsui and the Matsuifest today, soup to nuts, I liked the whole thing. And I really liked watching him join the rest of the hitters in baseball having to face Mo. Night sweetheart.

8 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 9:11 pm

i still haven't seen the matsui love; hopefully i can find it on soon.
the still on lohud was so nice. the look on everyone's face was really endearing - you can't fake that shit - they seemed to really be happy for matsui which is really nice to see.

emma do you volunteer to write-up andy's starts?
you seem to do a lot of them - and you always manage to make each battlecat special unique :}

9 Eddie Lee Whitson KO   ~  Apr 13, 2010 9:43 pm

[0] Nice pull on the Kinks quote, Emma!

10 thelarmis   ~  Apr 13, 2010 10:04 pm

[8] lemme know what you find, and where! i had an all day affair to play, so i missed the whole shebang. sounds like it was quite a wunnerful day at the Stadium.


11 ms october   ~  Apr 13, 2010 10:11 pm
12 RIYank   ~  Apr 13, 2010 10:20 pm

Aw, cute.

Also here on the mlb video page, the Yanks get their rings (highlights)...

13 thelarmis   ~  Apr 13, 2010 10:38 pm

[11] you rock, thanking you! : )

[12] ah, what the hell, you rock, too! ; )

14 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:16 pm

[11] ooh thanks!!! I was just looking for that.

15 thelarmis   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:24 pm

i guess the "Ho" in C. Park's name is short for "Homer"...

16 thelarmis   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:28 pm

[11] gave me the chills!

not the Van Hagar in the background, the whole Matsui and World Champion bit. just thought i'd make that clear... ; )

17 seamus   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:33 pm

[16] stop denying the truth. Van Hagar got you going good!

18 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:34 pm

I just saw a picture of the Kirby Puckett statue outside of Target Field. Its short, fat and screaming. It looks like the troll from under a bridge and it will give me nightmares for a long time.

19 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:46 pm

As awful as Kay, Ma&Pa Sterling, the Van Hagar and the general schmaltziness was..still nothing better than seeing Yogi & Whitey there to give out the rings! And the Matsui bit was awesome..we love you 松井さん!

20 thelarmis   ~  Apr 13, 2010 11:56 pm

[17] i have no problem admitting that i actually like Van Hagar a good bit! 5150, OU812 & F.U.C.K. were all great albums! : )

21 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 14, 2010 12:03 am

[20] Ewwwwww....we need very intensive jazz talk to preserve our Banter friendship..those album titles alone are just...

22 thelarmis   ~  Apr 14, 2010 12:05 am

[21] BIG smile over here! : )

(btw, the full title of the last one is "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". lead track is "Poundcake"!)

well, i did play an all-afternoon jazz gig today...

i'm sure Japan is mightily abuzz w/ matsui's day today. and rightfully so!

23 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 14, 2010 12:22 am

[22] Looking foerward to the Matsui coverage tonight on the sports program!

Just had on Grant Green's "Alive" again, with the insanely awsome Idris Muhammad on drums, too funky..

24 thelarmis   ~  Apr 14, 2010 12:24 am

[23] i got that big blue note photography book today. there's a lot of text in there too. i'll have to read it this weekend. cool picture of "Leo Morris" in there. yeah man, he's funky as all get out!

25 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 14, 2010 12:31 am

[23] Ugh, how many more spelling mistakes can I provide?

Nice, that's on my list after getting an apartment bug enough for a coffee table...

So, how long till Jerry Manuel gets fired?

26 Raf   ~  Apr 14, 2010 2:05 am

I liked that Hairston preferred to beg for forgiveness than ask permission :)

Park didn't pitch that bad, Roberston started off ok (infield hit, bunt single) but the wheels came off quickly; Wood hit one off the wall, and Abreu went deep.

27 Hank Waddles   ~  Apr 14, 2010 2:58 am

Emma, you've got it exactly right. It's great to see how important the ring is to these guys. Even though they won the World Series six months ago, they were all still absolutely giddy to get their rings this morning. It was cool that Hairston flew out, but what I'll remember is the look of childlike disbelief when Girardi put the ring box into his hands. And Matsui? As crazy as it might sound, I shed actual tears when the team ran up and mobbed him. It makes no sense at all that they should ignore him just because he's suddenly on the other side. He was a great teammate who rose to the occasion countless times even before he won game six last year, and it's refreshing that these Yankees were able to acknowledge that. Old-timers might've cringed, but it was a beautiful moment.

And one more thing. Did you notice when Matsui returned to the Angels dugout and the whole team gathered round to gawk at the ring like grade school kids during Show and Tell? The ring is the thing, man. The ring is the thing.

28 FreddySez   ~  Apr 14, 2010 7:18 am

I've honestly never heard a lot of "fraternizing with the enemy" squawking in connection with the Yankees, and in my (self-editing?) memory, one signature trait of Yankee fans is that they always treat returning ex-Yankees warmly.

And not to beat a horse, but: There's a team up I-95 whose fans do not model that trait.

The only fraternizing complaint I remember came not from a fan, but from a player - Chad Curtis calling Jeter out for palling with A-Rod during a fight. Kinda had a point, but should have kept it in the clubhouse.

29 Paul   ~  Apr 14, 2010 7:20 am

I'm really digging Pettitte. I hope he doesn't retire early. Somehow I think he's actually been underrated in his career. I look at Glavine and think "Andy isn't as good as him?". I hope someone here can do a better job, but:

APettitte - 230 - 135, .630 WPCT, 3.89 ERA, 116 ERA+, 1.361 WHIP, 2.33 K:BB
Glavine - 305 - 203, .600 WPCT, 3.54 ERA, 118 ERA+, 1.314 WHIP, 1.74 K:BB

Of course, Glavine has two CYs (and four other top 3's), while Andy has only finished in the top 3 once. But Glavine never pitched in the AL, while Andy has pitched in the AL East for 13 years. And it helps Andy that he has 5 rings to Glavine's 1.

Andy will have trouble getting to 300 (Glavine was at 251 at the same point), but with this offense and league average performances from him it's doable. I just don't see him sticking around long enough given the yearly off-season gnashing. It's too bad but hopefully if he finishes close to 250 wins he'll get a place in Cooperstown.

30 Paul   ~  Apr 14, 2010 7:24 am

BTW Watching in real time I loved the affection for Matsui. I wonder if Cashman had known that Damon wouldn't sign whether he would have brought Matsui back. I understand why they prioritized Damon - because he could kinda play the field - but in the end and for the price I'd rather have Matsui than Stick. Obviously things work in their own time but rather than thinking of LF/DH as the same slot, I wonder what would have happened had they kept them separate as they ended up.

31 Shaun P.   ~  Apr 14, 2010 8:49 am

Matsui's a class act all the way, and I didn't realize how much I missed him until I saw him getting his ring. The red looks strange on him, but c'est la vie.

A good good day all around yesterday - just wish I hadn't been so busy with work that I missed the sidebar note that the game was on MLBN, so I could have DVR'd it . . . I will get Thursday's game at least!

32 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 14, 2010 10:51 am

OK .... I got a bit weepy at the Matsui group hug.

The last time I cried at a baseball scene ..... Old-Timers Day with the Murcer remembrance, and his jersey hanging in the dugout.

Funny what this silly little game can do to a person.

33 Raf   ~  Apr 14, 2010 11:54 am

And not to beat a horse, but: There’s a team up I-95 whose fans do not model that trait.

IIRC Clemens, Pedro, Nomar were greeted warmly the first time they returned on visiting teams.

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