"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: aj burnet

Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown

I’m a pretty calm baseball watcher these days. That’s what happens when you cover the team for a while, or when you’ star to mentally write up the action while it’s still happening, or take notes… you just get more detached. I’m not in the locker room anymore so I don’t have to smother my inner fan with a pillow, but my inner fan has long since taken to self-censorship. I am usually pretty even-keeled about the Yankees these days.

But not always.

I’m all twitchy about tonight’s game, more than I have been in a long time — years — and I don’t know why. The Yankees won the World Series just last year; if they don’t make it this year I’m okay with that. For whatever reason, though, this game is getting to me. I’m having friends over tonight, to watch with me; I don’t want to be alone with A.J. Burnett.

Longtime readers will recall that I have a Bernie Williams bobblehead doll — my only Yankee bobblehead — which, during big games, I often move around my studio apartment until I find a “lucky spot.” Laugh all you want, but would the Yankees have won the World Series last year if the Bernie bobblehead hadn’t been nestled under my bed (after the freezer lost its luckiness)? I guess we’ll never know. Anyway, I haven’t bothered with the Bernie bobblehead pretty much all year, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be shifting around quite a bit tonight.

Here we go… hold onto something.

I Want to Know For Sure

AJ Burnett, the Yankees’ lasted version of Nuke LaLoosh, must pitch well if the Yanks are going to repeat as Whirled Champs. The crazy part is, he’s capable of going on a run. He goes tonight in Baltimore. Mark Feinsand reports the latest from pitching coach Dave Eiland:

“I think his confidence and conviction in his pitches is a lot better,” Eiland said. “When he believes in every pitch he throws and trusts that good stuff he has, he’s successful. When he tries to throw a strike, that’s when he gets in trouble, because he backs off a bit. Just trust it and go get ’em.”

Burnett should have that confidence against the Orioles, having pitched to a 2.48 ERA while going 2-2 in four starts against Baltimore this season, including one of his best games of 2010, an eight-inning shutout performance at Camden Yards back on April 29.

“A.J. needs to see the glove and throw right through it,” Eiland said. “Believe in it. Think, ‘I’m better than you and this pitch is going to beat you.’ As long as A.J. is healthy, he has a chance to dominate somebody every time he walks out of that dugout.”

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