"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

The Sounds of Spring: Boo Boids in the Bronx (Let the Season Begin!)

Before I got off the subway in the Bronx tonight, I checked the MLB app on my phone and was pleased to see the score: Yanks 4, Twins 0. Mark Teixeira with another dinger, again of the three run variety. Andruw Jones with a solo shot–Hey, Now.

I ran for the bus on 231st Street and put on the John Sterling radio call once I got on board. Ol’ Silver Throat usually annoys me but tonight I was comforted by the sound of his voice. In the early innings of an April game, with the Yanks ahead and C.C. Sabathia on the mound, Sterling was unhurried, almost sedate and entirely pleasant.

Now, if you stand too close to the back door of a New York City bus an automated voice comes over the loud speaker and says, “Please step away from the rear door.” A man wearing earplugs was too close to the door and the message repeated. This didn’t bother him any on the count of the earplugs. I focused on Sterling’s patter when I heard a vendor in the distance on the radio broadcast. A thick Bronx accent barked, “Hot dogs…hot dogs…hot dogs.” You know the tone–imploring and insistent.

So the music in my ears went from electronic to authentic: “Please step away from the rear door,” “Hot Dogs,” Please Step away from the rear door,” “Hot Dogs.” The rhythm made me happy and I remembered an old Simpsons episode: “Dental plan,” Lisa needs braces,” Dental plan,” “Lisa needs braces.”

I got home and watched the rest of the game. Sabathia was visibly frustrated with himself but he sailed through the Twins lineup anyhow, retiring the last 17 batters he faced.

So it was a mild surprise to see Rafael Soriano come out to pitch the eighth and disconcerting when he walked two of the first three men he faced (and the comments section here at the Banter lit up like a suicide hotline in Detroit). Denard Span slapped a single to left and the bases were loaded. But Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a slender guy, struck out on three pitches, and waved his hand at the umpire. Enter Joe Mauer, and restlessness at the Stadium. Soriano walked him on five pitches and his night was over.

David Robertson came in to pitch to Delmon Young, fell behind 3-1, got strike two, and then jammed a high fastball on the inside part of the plate. Young fought it off and blooped a fly ball to right. He didn’t hit it well but it landed in front of a sliding Nick Swisher. A gift from the Gods, perfectly placed, good for a bases clearing double and a tied game. Goodbye “W” for Sabathia, hello Boo Birds.

Matt Capps retired the Yanks in order in the bottom of the eighth and Mariano Rivera came in the game–too little, too late?–in the ninth. Rivera allowed a bloop single to Jason Kubel, who is 5 for 8 lifetime against Rivera. The Twins did not sacrifice him to second and Danny Valencia whiffed. Justin Morneau grounded into a force and Matt Tolbert struck out. But extra innings beckoned as Capps silenced the Yanks again in the bottom of the ninth.

Now, restlessness turned into pacing, muttering and flat-out cursing. News that the Red Sox lost again–they are 0-4 to start the season–wasn’t enough to change the foul mood I no doubt shared with many Yankee fans. A blown lead, second-guessing the manager, and a sense of gloom as Boone Logan replaced Rivera. Now, the season can begin!

Do I need to go on? Okay, Span walked and moved to third on a single by Nishioka. Infield in for for Mauer who broke his bat and singled home the go-ahead run. And karma being what it is, that was that. Joe Nathan closed the Yanks out and the Twins finally got off the schneid.

Final Score: Twins 5, Yanks 4.

Hard feelings and a tough loss. Ah, it feels like the season has finally started.


1 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:27 pm

Just pound Pavano into mulch tomorrow.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:37 pm

Yeah but that shithead always seems to do...okay against the Yanks. But now the blood is angried up a little something, ain't it?

3 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:46 pm

Games like this happen. I'll be far more annoyed if they don't hit Pavano tomorrow.

And if the clock struck 12 on Logan, i hope we're not going to pretend he's still useful all year.

4 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:47 pm

Man, that's one of my favorite Simpson's episodes ... it contains the "Big Book of British Smiles" scene in the dentist's office.

5 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:47 pm

[3] Of course not, we've got Feliciano, dontchaknow???

6 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:51 pm

All winter long I pine for the feelings baseball brings, but I never dwell on this one and the first time each season brings me up short: this dammit dammit dammit I-don't-want-to-see-a-newspaper dammit fuck dammit feeling that will, oddly, make me more productive at work tomorrow.

7 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:55 pm

[5] Girardi has been practically drooling at the prospect of being able to overmanage a bullpen with two lefties for years now. We saw him at his worst in the 2009 ALCS, and I have no reason to believe he won't be like that again when Feliciano gets back.

8 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 5, 2011 10:59 pm

[7] They don't call him Coffee Joe because of his choice in post-game beverages ...

9 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 5, 2011 11:18 pm

The Star Ledger just tweeted this:

Soriano nowhere to be found in clubhouse after game.

Good to see Soriano getting off on the right foot ...

10 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 5, 2011 11:27 pm



Once Logan came in I finally gave into the girl's exhortations to put on a dvd of The Wire, figured there was nothing to lose at that point

11 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 5, 2011 11:29 pm

In happier news, you really couldn't ask for a better like from CC at this point. 13 IP, 13 K, 8 H 3 ER

12 RagingTartabull   ~  Apr 5, 2011 11:44 pm

hey a walkoff hit for Melky in the 12th in KC!

13 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Apr 6, 2011 12:20 am

Very tasty okonomiyaki lunch has taken the edge off my Joey Joe Joe anger..but they can't afford to waste another great CC performance..

14 cult of basebaal   ~  Apr 6, 2011 2:42 am

Oh man, evidently, Joey Joe Joe stated in the post-game presser that his "plan" was to use Robertson in the 9th, in case Soriano had gotten through the 8th inning.

That's right, his "plan" was to warm a pitcher up one inning, sit him down the next inning and then warm him up again for the next inning.


And, just so everyone's keeping track, in the grand Girardi-scheme-of-things, Robertson's a 7th AND 9th inning guy, but Soriano's only an 8th inning guy.

15 RIYank   ~  Apr 6, 2011 6:59 am

[3] "Games like this happen" is fine, if we're talking about Soriano. Yes, non-Mo relief pitchers occasionally screw up badly. But if we're talking about the manager, then games like this don't happen; they are committed.

Anyway, I'm not really upset anymore. (I was pretty furious last night.) And [11] very true. Uh oh. Mattpat as Calm Voice of Reason? I don't think I'm ready for this.

16 monkeypants   ~  Apr 6, 2011 7:07 am

[15] See last night's game thread, comment # 152.

17 The Hawk   ~  Apr 6, 2011 7:34 am

I still don't see the problem with bringing Soriano in, as pertains to the result anyway. When I saw him on the mound I might have thought it a little odd, but I didn't think "Good lord there goes the game!"

18 Alex Belth   ~  Apr 6, 2011 8:39 am

Yes, I was taken aback at Mattpat's calm, though he did throw in that if the Yanks don't beat up on Pavano tonight, he'll be his usual apoplectic self.

19 RIYank   ~  Apr 6, 2011 9:07 am

[17] Right. I don't think anyone said it was a terrible decision to bring in Soriano. The problem was in how Girardi reacted when Soriano was very wild.
As I said last night (twice), the really big mistake was in leaving Soriano in to pitch to Mauer when the one pitcher in the world who has the best chance of getting Mauer out is in the bullpen. That was the most tense, fraught moment of the game. An out would mean the Yankees go to the ninth with (at least) a four run lead, at which point anybody could pitch. Boone Logan, anybody. It was a much more important moment in the game than any other. And Girardi couldn't call for Rivera, because he's stuck in his idiotic system.

But I'm no longer upset. Really.

20 rbj   ~  Apr 6, 2011 9:31 am

Got hoe around 8:30 last night, saw the Yankees up 4-0 with CC upset even though he'd set down 13 in a row at that point. Figured I could flip around the dial with the game in hand. Got a bad feeling when Soriano entered the game, nothing based on logic, just that the Yankees have been dominating Minnesota, and bringing your 8th inning guy in in a situation that didn't quite call for it was like taunting karma, aren't there guys who haven't pitched yet, send them in.

I just knew the Banter was going to be up in arms over Girardi overmanaging. Yeah, take CC out, but do you need to get into the JoSoMo package?

Waste of an excellent start.

21 The Hawk   ~  Apr 6, 2011 11:25 am

[29] Maybe I misinterpreted but I could swear the game thread had a lot of intense questioning of even bring Soriano in. Which no one would do if he pitched a one two three inning, or at least it wouldn't be a very big deal.

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