"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Alfonso Soriano

Whadda Ya Know?

A Go Figure Sunday ended on the good foot for the home team. Here’s what you need to know: Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano homered, Mariano gave up two dingers, blew his third save opportunity in a row (the first time that’s ever happened in his career), and Brett Gardner hit a game-ending shot into the middle deck of the right field seats.

Rodriguez’s home run led off the second inning. It was a long pop fly, really. He hit a high, outside fastball for a line drive single in his second at bat and didn’t see where the ball went so he stood there at the plate looking like a dope (remember he pulled the same was-that-a-foul-ball? move when he hit a homer once at Fenway Park).


Lil’ Sori hit a solo home run, the 2,000th hit of his career and while Andy Pettitte was mediocre again, the Yankee bullpen held things together–Shawn Kelly and Boone Logan were especially good. They had a 4-2 lead in eighth when David Robertson gave up a solo shot and then an infield hit. Rodriguez made a nice play moving to his right and threw to second to get the lead runner. Never mind that the ump botched the call.


Gardner did him one better when he tracked a deep fly ball by Torii Hunter, caught it, and slammed against the wall. He flipped the ball to Soriano who threw it to the infield and doubled off Austin Jackson, who stood on second base confused as to what happened (he must have seen Gardner flip the ball and assumed that he had not caught it).


A relief, then, to have Miguel Cabrera lead off the ninth. Against Mo, again.


And Mariano had two strikes on him. But then made a lousy pitch and as we know, Cabrera doesn’t miss those. Another homer.


One out later…


Mo threw another horseshit pitch, this one to Victor Martinez who launched it deep into the seats in right.



So another save blown. And Michael Kay almost hyperventilated telling us that it’d never happened before, three in a row.

But Jose Veras, ah, Jose Veras, pitched for the Tigers in the bottom of the inning. Hunter made a nice catch to rob Eduardo Nunez of an extra base hit, Vernon Wells got out in front of a breaking ball and hit a long foul before striking out, but then Gardner hit the second pitch he saw into the second deck.



Gatorade bath and all those hurt feelings made better.

Final Score: Yanks 5, Tigers 4.

Welcome Back to the Five and Dime, Lil’ Sori, Lil’ Sori


Reports have our old chum Alfonso Soriano traded to the Yankees. He has $24.5 million left of his contract through the end of next year; the Cubs will pick up $17 million.

I always liked watching him hit in a cartoonish way–skinny guy, heavy bat, slugg0, lots of strikeouts–oh, that slider low and away. Remember when he was in New York and people talked about his strong wrists and how he was like Hank Aaron? Well, he never developed past his bad habits and has been more like a svelte Dave Kingman but he should be an improvement over Vernon Wells. Sori could be vexing to watch but he was easy to like.

At the same time, I wish the Yanks would just become sellers and stop picking up veteran scraps, for what? To make a playoff run this year?

As some around here have said all season: Sell, Sell, Sell!

Observations From Cooperstown: Robertson, Pena, Fast Yankees, and Munson

When the Yankee bullpen struggled so badly during the first two months of the season, too many members of the mainstream media called for either Joba Chamberlain to be relieved of his starting duties or for Brian Cashman to pull off a trade that would reel in a veteran reliever. Well, those media members have grown silent over the last two months as the bullpen has achieved lofty status in the American League. Those writers and broadcasters turned out to be dead wrong in their assessments, largely for two reasons. First off, they forgot that the Yankees boasted one of the league’s most efficient bullpens just last year. And second, they didn’t stop to consider the depth of pitching in the organization, specifically the wealth of talent waiting at Triple-A in the form of Phil Hughes, Alfredo “Ace” Aceves, and David Robertson.

I had already counted myself as a believer in the talents of Hughes and Aceves, but I have to confess to knowing little about Robertson prior to 2009. Kudos should go to the Banter’s own Cliff Corcoran, who was one of the first analysts to sing the praises of Robertson. Cliff turned out to be absolutely right about the 24-year-old right-hander. With a consistent 93 to 94 mile-per-hour fastball and a terrific overhand curveball (reminiscent of Neil Allen in his hey day), Robertson has the stuff to be a reliable reliever for the foreseeable future. If he can improve his control sufficiently, he could be the much-celebrated eighth-inning bridge by 2010. For now, the Yankees have four different relievers (Robertson, Hughes, Aceves, and lefty Phil Coke) that they can feel good about in the seventh and eighth innings…

The Yankees have assembled one of their best benches in years, and it figures to get better whenever Brett “The Jet” Gardner returns from the broken hand that landed him on the disabled list. Gardner will not only give Melky Cabrera the competition that he seems to thrive on, but also one of the most explosive pinch-runners in the game. So here’s the question: whose roster spot will Gardner take? I’d vote for sinkerballing Sergio Mitre, who is still building arm strength after major surgery, but the Yankees have become as married to the 12-man pitching staff as they once were to left-handed hitting DHs. So that means that Ramiro Pena will become the odd man out once Brett the Jet returns. Pena has done well in spot duty this year, but he lacks the experience and versatility of Jerry Hairston, Jr., the power of Eric Hinske, and the ability to catch (the role filled by Jose Molina). When and if the Yankees send Pena down, they should give him as many at-bats as possible during the Triple-A postseason, with the idea of letting him compete for the utility role in 2010. Pena might not hit enough to play everyday at shortstop, but his glove, speed, and ability to work the count should merit consideration for a backup job…

Speaking of Gardner, I’m trying to figure out if he’s the fastest Yankee I’ve ever seen. Prior to Gardner’s arrival last year, I would have voted for Mickey Rivers, followed by Rickey Henderson and Alfonso Soriano. (Rickey was obviously the best basestealer of the three, but at his peak “Mick the Quick” was slightly faster.) Perhaps I’m missing someone else from the last 40 years, but I believe Gardner has to at least move into the top three of this list, bumping Soriano to honorable mention…

The staying power of the late Thurman Munson is eye-opening. Thirty years after his death, the story of the tragic Yankee captain remains a compelling and popular read. Marty Appel’s new book, Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain, has been the nation’s best-selling sports book for the last four weeks. That’s quite an achievement, considering that Munson is not a Hall of Famer and is generally not considered an all-time great. Furthermore, most Yankee fans 35 and under don’t remember seeing him play, except for the occasional replay of the Bucky Dent Game and the 1978 World Series. In an era when the Yankee dynasty of the 1996 to 2001 has overshadowed the accomplishments of the Bronx Zoo years, Thurman Munson’s story still manages to capture the sincere interest of so many lifelong Yankee fans.

Bruce Markusen, a resident of Cooperstown, writes “Cooperstown Confidential” for The Hardball Times.

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