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One More Night?

We interrupt another day of madness with some relief in a minor note. A baseball game means nothing in the big picture but as a momentary diversion it will do. The Dodgers will try to find someway to get to the Great Verlander, or at least survive him and beat up on the bullpen, as they try to force a seventh and deciding game. If they do manage to win it wouldn’t it be fitting if Justin Turner—the Great Pumpkin—played hero?

My money goes on Verlander and the visiting ’Stros to close them out but here’s hoping it goes the distance.

Never mind the craziness:

Let’s Go Base-ball!

Picture by Bags

Say it Ain’t So

According to reports, the Yankees have decided not to bring Joe Girardi back as manager next year. I am sad to see him go but also think it’s a fine time for a new blood as well. With a team this talented maybe it will be a Buck Showalter-to-Joe Torre kind of transition for the new guy. Whoever they pick, I hope he has a feel for the players, a good sense of humor, and stamina. Seems like a dream gig to me, for the right guy.

In the meanwhile, here’s to Joe G, an upstanding Yankee player and a damn good Yankee manager, better than most in my eyes. Sure he was a tight-ass and sometimes overly stern or proud but I never begrudged him for that, too much. Maybe he was a phony in a righteous kind of way, I don’t know. He worked hard, cared a lot, and he could be funny. And was also a big softy, too—remember how emotional he got during Alex Rodriguez’s departure?

He survived a Fred Merkle-level blunder this October that could have regrettably stained an otherwise stellar career. He won a Whirled Serious title, he more than successfully followed-up the toughest act in show business, Joe Torre, and then ushered the team through the decline of the Jeter, Mariano, A Rod, Texieira years, to the future, which is now.

Curious to hear more as it comes out. I’m sure it’s a tough call for him. He was a good company man. He represented the Yankees well. And that’s not nothing.

What He Said

Hank says Believe and that is good to hear because I have been sulking around since the middle of last night’s game. The Wife and I went out for a hike in nature today and it was lovely to see all the photosynthesis and all but didn’t really help. I still felt the knot in my stomach, and kept imagining all the ways things will fall apart tonight.

But Hank says Believe. And lucky for us—win or lose—I know the Yankee players Believe.

So never mind the gloom:

LET’S GO YANK-EEES!

Take it to the Bridge

Yanks one win away from a date with the Dodgers in the Whirled Serious. Man, would that be sweet or what?

Lot of work to do before they get there.

We’ll be here—as always—root-root-rootin’ out boys on.

Never mind those Houston Astros:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

 

Strictly Business

The Yanks wrapped up a successful 3-game stretch at home by beating the Astros 5-0. They are one game away from the Whirled Serious as the proceedings return to Houston.

Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven scoreless innings. He got some luck. The Astros, pressing, missed a few pitches—mistakes that they could only foul off, fly balls that they just got under—and the Yanks banked their good fortune. They finally got Dallas Keuchel to make a few mistakes and the Bombers got key hits from Judge, Bird, Didi, and Sanchez (who later provided the icing on the gravy with a resounding solo home run).

We’re past the pinch-me stage. One win away from the Serious raises the expectations. Still, it will not be easy.

But how proud are you of these guys, or what?

Thumbs Down Emoji

When my cousin texted on Monday asking if I wanted to go to Game 4 with him and his wife it didn’t take long to respond—Yes! They live in Houston, season ticket holders for the Texans, and are the kind of dedicated sports fans who love rooting their teams on but don’t lose sleep when they lose. They wore Astros hats and orange jackets last night while I sported a crumbling El Duque Yankee T-shirt over a long sleeve shirt just so I wasn’t associated too closely with the enemy.

Scorecard in my lap.

Funny how games are always harder to follow when you are there. There was that strange sequence of events with Aaron Judge in the fourth—and later, was that fan interference on his double, and if so what did that mean? We didn’t have TV screens near us so it was all unclear. All we could tell was that there was some low comedy—a ground ball slowly rolling up the third baseline, sure to stay fair, that kicked foul at just the last minute and was snatched by Todd Frazier, and a pair of bumbling errors by Starlin Castro. Later on, of course, Chase Headley slipped on a banana peel rounding first and turned excitement into peril into relief when he recovered and reached second safely with a deft tag.

The Astros struck first with a bases clearing double after the Yanks had loaded them on a couple of walks and an error. They added another on Castro’s second Benny Hill move. And so my cousins were feeling good, their boys up 4-0.

Now, I am not an In-Your-Face kind of rooter. Not unless provoked I suppose. So it wasn’t as if there was any trash talking going on. But a rowdy Yankee crowd was quieted. It was the simmering quiet of angry New Yorkers.

And while we saw some other Astros fans they were not a noisy bunch.

Once Aaron Judge hit a moonshot to start the seventh, the crowd woke up, and you can say it didn’t relent until after the final out, well past the moment when the Yanks scored six unanswered runs to win the game and even the series. (Final Score: Yanks 6, Astros 4.)

All I know is that it was loud. The Stadium didn’t shake the way Yankee Stadium II did—where the thrill was mixed with terror—but it was impressive. I didn’t let out one yell, I stayed calm—jumping and clapping on the inside—didn’t want to be rude to my cousins. Instead I took great satisfaction looking out over the Stadium and seeing everyone stand and waves their arms and yell and scream. My cousins left with two outs in the 9th but I stayed and after the last out put my fist out to fans passing by, enjoying the hard thump of hearty congratulations.

I stayed and listened to Sinatra and everyone sing to Sinatra on repeat. I sung a little myself.

So many big at bats, but was most thrilled for Gary Sanchez and Judge for coming through in the heat of the moment.

Today gives that sombitch Keuchel who just owns the Yanks. He’s got a beatin’ coming to him one of these days. Hopefully, that time is now. Those Astros are bound to up jump the boogie and score a bunch of runs sometime soon, too. Let’s hope that ain’t today.

Never mind the shadows:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Up Jump the Boogie

What do you need to know about a 2-1 playoff loss other than it was a kick in the cubes? Second straight 2-1 game, this time, a walk-off, with none other than Jose Altuve—who else?—scoring the winning run. Justin Verlander did his teammate Keuchel one better and stuck it up the Yankees’ ass for 9 innings. During Game 1, I winced the few times the Yankees’ missed their pitch but in Game 2 Verlander just flat threw it past guys all day long—Didi, Judge, Sanchez. The pitches were in the zone, fat part of the plate, but they just had too much zip and the Yankees could not catch up. His breaking stuff just as good and Verlander wasn’t going to take his first L in Houston on this night: 9 innings, 5 hits, a walk, and 13 strikeouts.

Frustrating, no doubt. A play here, a play there, but it was not to be.

And so the Yanks return home and turn to old reliable C.C. Sabathia once again. I keep expecting him to pitch his age and just get ripped, and perhaps the Astros offense will go off on him, but we certainly won’t be surprised if C.C. pitches well either. He sure could use some help from the bats.

Never mind the stakes:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

It’s Not a Series Until the Home Team Loses a Game

Here’s hoping that’s today. Like to see our boys get off the mat and score a mess o runs—Mr. Judge, Mr. Sanchez, we’re looking to you.

Never mind the orange:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

ALCS Game One

Masahiro on the hill against the dread Dallas Keuchel down in Houston tonight. Matt Holliday gets the nod at DH.

Dude, Yanks in the ALCS. How cool is this?

Never mind the beefsteak:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Ladies and Gentleman, Boys and Girls, Dying Time’s Here

Luis Severino wasn’t brilliant but he was damn good and you know the rest as the Yanks tied up the series a few nights ago with a 7-3 win. The new new Yankee Stadium is said to have none of the claustrophobic atmosphere of Yankee Stadium II but for two nights it was loud, baby. Great job by the rattle-your-jewelry playoff swells as well as the hardcore regulars in attendance.

Tonight gives all the marbles out in Cleveland. While I expect the Indians to win it is hard to count our boys out. Let’s hope the give ‘em Hell.

Never mind the waiting:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Luis Severino Returns

…And the Sox are the first to fall, losing by a run to the Astros in the rain this afternoon.

Hot fuggin’ damn.

Little Luis has had some time to think it over now, huh? He gets the nod against Trevor Bauer, who, I am sorry, can’t be great 2 times in a row, can he, hah? Expect Severino to pitch well—for awhile anyway. And also expect the offense to score couple few runs.

Just want the Yanks to be a tough out. Don’t make it easy on ‘em.

Never mind the load:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Masahiro, We Turn Our Lonely Eyes to You

Yanks with their backs against the wall. Been such a fun season, shame to see it end so quickly.

Never mind the nightmare flashbacks:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Nuts



You can put this up there on the mantle piece with the Sandy Alomar game and the fuggin’ midges, too. The Yankees beat the crap out of Corey Kluber, staked the bullpen to an 8-3 lead, and then watched it all fall apart as they went on to lose in 13, 9-8. At the center of it all was Joe Girardi’s boner not to challenge a hit batter in the 7th. What clearly looked to us at home like a foul tip—which would have resulted in a third strike and the end of the inning, Yanks up by five—went unchallenged even though Gary Sanchez immediately signaled for review. After the game, Joe wasn’t ready to accept blame square in the face and that’s his business; rightly or wrongly this gets hung on him now and will be remembered bitterly by Yankee fans for as long as we remember.

There were heroes—Sanchez, and Aaron Hicks, who had a 3-run bomb, Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances with fine work out of the pen—and there were goats—looking at you, kid Torreyes—but this one will be remembered as one that famously got away.

Nuts.

 

Gainin’ on Ya

Yanks turn to old reliable C.C. Sabathia tonight. Boy, you can see this going south on him quickly, looking old and feeble, the Indians beating the snot out of him. Revenge. Old wounds. All that old salt shit. But you can also see him keeping out boys in it as they try to survive Kluber and somehow find a way to steal this goddamn game.

Biggest one of the year.

Never mind the shadows (or the odds):

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Here We Goski—ALCS: Game One

So, the Yanks get one out from Luis Severino and still win going away, 8-4, to advance to the ALCS against the Indians.

It was a swell night, by you already know that.

First up today gives Chris Sale vs. Justin Verlander as the Red Sox play against the Astros in Houston. Yanks go tonight at 7:30.

With Kluber looming tomorrow, this is the game you figure the Yanks need to steal in order to have a shot in the series. Yanks will go with Sonny Gray (C.C. in Game 2, followed by Tanaka and Severino).

Never mind the gravy—11 wins gets the big prize:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

One Night Only

The Yanks host the Twins tonight in the do-or-die wildcard game at the Stadium.

Beautiful day in the Bronx, sunny, warm, no humidity. Will get a little cool tonight, just about ideal.

The more than capable Ervin Santana goes against our dude, Luis Severino. This match-up has bothered me for weeks, karma-wise. I think back on John Bonnes and Aaron Gleeman and Batgirl—and all those faithful Twins fans—and can’t help but see the upset clearly. At the same time, the Yanks are the favorite on paper and plus I love this team and feel good about their chances.

Aw, Hell, we know it could go either way. Point is, we’ll be there, root-root-rootin’ our boys on every step of the way.

Never mind the pressure:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

(P.S. As a reminder, I know we’re a modest bunch in the comments section these days, but if that spikes tonight, please remember to be civil. You can vent if you’re frustrated and you can curse—just don’t curse at each other, put one another down, or generally act like a putz. Thanks—A.B.)

 

It’s a Family Affair

Would you believe these Yanks? Now, that was a fun season. Let’s hope there is more to come and not some bitch-slap of a one-and-done tomorrow night against the Twins, who have Karma on their side, many times as they’ve taken it on the chin agains the Yanks.

Never mind that just yet. It’s been a memorable summer. Maybe more to come.

In the meantime: Thanks, Yanks!

[Photo Credit: Paul J. Bereswill]

A Good Place to Be

Yanks won again last night (again with the 6-1)—Sox did too and they are this close to clinching the division.

Tonight is beautiful in the Bronx, not cold but the humidity is gone and it is cool. A hint of what is to come next Tuesday night when the Yanks, in all likelihood, host the Twins at the Stadium.

Stay healthy, keep chugging away, fellas.

Never mind the future:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Round the Outside (Round the Outside)

Nice 6-1 win last night, eh? Loved it—looking at you Mr. Montgomery. Chris Sale stumbled, Sox lost. Doesn’t mean they are collapsing but it was pleasant all the same.

More tonight.

Never mind this humidity:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

50 is a Beautiful Thing

Monday was a goldbricker’s delight for Yankee fans. Matt B, a longtime Banterite, actually offered me a ticket, but I couldn’t make it, dammit. Anyhow, as you already know, it was a dream afternoon as our man Aaron Judge hit a couple more dingers—49 and 50!—tying and then passing Big Mac for the rookie home run record.

Happy?

Three game series vs. the Rays starts tonight. Final stretch. Let’s pad those stats and stay healthy and get ready for the do-or-die game against the Twinkies.

Never mind the Indian Summer:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

[Photo Credit: Adam Hunger/Getty Images]

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