Showing posts with label Yankees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Yankees. Show all posts

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum Photos

I went to the Hideki Matsui Baseball Museum back in January, during a weekend excursion to Kanazawa with some friends. (They went off to seek some ninja shrine, and I went off into the middle of nowhere to seek some baseball shrine, essentially. This is just how things work, you know.)

Anyway, I had resized/selected/cropped a bunch of the pictures I took, and then my hard drive died. Fortunately, I backed them up to a flash drive, but the process of actually describing/thumbing/etc them got thrown to the backburner until I basically wrote a Perl script to manage photo albums for me (it should look the same as my Photothumb albums). Yay!

So, here's my pictures from the Matsui museum. There's over a hundred of them -- essentially a photo tour of the place, minus the stuff that said "no photos". Basically, did you ever wonder: what happens when a guy wins every baseball award in existence, several times over? Does he just throw all of his trophies and plaques and certificates and photos and such in a box in an attic? Does he make a special "I am awesome" trophy room?

Apparently, if he is Hideki Matsui, his family builds a museum and puts all of his awards in there, along with random other things like old gloves and baseballs and bats and photos and uniforms, so that all of his fans can come see the stuff rather than having it just sit in an attic somewhere. It's a rather impressive collection when you think about it, and it took me around an hour and a half to look through and read through and snap pictures of everything there.

The museum itself is technically in Nohmi-city, which is very close to Komatsu and the Ishikawa airport. From Kanazawa, I had to take the Hokuriku train down to Terai station, which cost about 400 yen and 30 minutes. The museum is a little more than 2 miles from the station; if you're lucky you'll catch one of the three buses a day that goes there and costs 100 yen. In my case, I got a taxi, which cost 1350 yen. Entrance fee to the museum is only 300 yen, though. I was lucky to have the right timing to catch the bus back to the station afterwards -- it takes around 25 minutes and goes through the Neagari area where Matsui grew up. If you ever really wanted an excuse to ride a bus around the middle of nowhere in Japan, this is a pretty good one (second only to Fighters Town Kamagaya, of course).

I'm not sure whether I'd recommend this trip for the casual baseball fan -- if you went from Tokyo or Osaka it'd probably take you several hours to get there (infact, you really can't do it as a day trip from Tokyo unless you fly), but if you're going to be anywhere near Ishikawa prefecture and you really like baseball, or really like Hideki Matsui, or really like the Yomiuri Giants, it's definitely worth going to.

I'm off to Meiji Jingu stadium for my first game of open-sen in a bit! Hooray!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Game Report: Mariners vs. Yankees - Wonderfully Washburn

(This is actually about Friday night's game -- May 11th -- but I have been so busy this weekend that it's been written in bits and pieces.)

I first want to make an announcement: if you're going to wear Japanese baseball shirts or caps around Seattle, could you please at least know SOMETHING about the game, or even about the team you're wearing the hat of? Or at least not give me funny looks when I ask you about it?

(Walking to Safeco Friday night I ran into a guy wearing a Tigers #39 Yano t-shirt, who literally didn't even know he's a catcher; I asked "Uhh... that's interesting, why Yano?" and he was like "Uhh... well, this was the only Hanshin Tigers shirt I could find when I was in Osaka, I don't even know who Yano is". Then, walking back uptown after the game I see a guy wearing a Yomiuri Giants cap at an intersection, so I'm like "Oh, you like the Giants? I'm sorry," and he says "well, it's the TOKYO Giants," and I'm like "I know, dude. They're as bad as the Yankees. I mean, what did you think of the Ogasawara signing over the winter?" and he looks at me completely blankly, and I'm like "It was as bad as Johnny Damon with the beard and all, y'know?" and I get the same blank look, and I just continue walking when the light changes. Sigh.)

Anyway, Yankees games always sort of suck for me. There's too many people around to get around during batting practice to take pictures, and then there's too many people to go get food quickly, and then there's too many people yelling at each other during the game. I know it's more exciting to be at a full stadium than a half-full stadium, but I'd rather be at a stadium full of 45,000 Mariners fans, rather than the normal 18,000 Mariners fans, another 16,000 Yankees fans, and then 11,000 people who were brought along by one group or another and are really just there for the beer.

pitcher? or catcher?
Who's the pitcher? Jorge Posada, or Darrell Rasner?

"Short" version: The Yankees were totally Washburninated. End of story. No, really. In eight innings, he struck out 6 batters, almost all swinging (save Melky Cabrera's called third strike to end the 2nd inning). There were many split bats and flying bats, and the Yankees were just plain off guard. Only a few balls were hit out of the infield, and almost all of them were pop flies to shallow center (or something resembling shallow center, ie, somewhere Ichiro could get to). Hell, the Yankees didn't get a runner past second base all night. That's pretty goddamn good. And after being Washburninated for 8 innings, they were Putz0red in the 9th for the shutout.

As for the Mariners, it wasn't like this was a landslide game or anything, but they did just fine. Ichiro doubled in the 3rd inning past a diving Phelps, and Raul Ibanez singled him in a little while later. Sexson singled as well, but Guillen grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. But that's okay, as Beltre led off the 4th inning by walking, and then Kenji Johjima took one of those right-in-that-perfect-spot-to-hit-a-home-run pitches and hit it over the leftfield scoreboard for a 371-foot Funk Blast, bringing the score to 3-0, where it would actually stay for the rest of the game; the Mariners stranded two runners in the 5th and then Scott Proctor shut them down on six straight flyballs in the 6th and 7th innings. High-socks Brian Bruney came out to pitch the 8th, and Guillen walked, and was replaced by Jason Ellison, who got caught stealing a little bit later. Beltre doubled, which was sad, because Ellison may have scored on that anyway if he hadn't tried to steal. Unfortunately Johjima lined out and Betancourt struck out to end the threat, but hey, that's okay, as the Mariners still won 3-0, and the score allowed Putz a save chance and all.

Jessica Mendoza and JJ Putz
JJ Putz: Man, you sure don't throw like a girl!
Jessica Mendoza: Thanks! Neither do you!

Jessica Mendoza, an outfielder for the women's national softball team which won a whole ton of stuff in 2006, threw out the ceremonial first pitch, which was pretty cool. I mean, it'd be even cooler if it was Jennie Finch, but that'd also run the risk of half the stadium pleading with her to join the Mariners rotation.

The Yankees booing squad was sort of wacky this year. Johnny Damon was booed a lot. Bobby Abreu was booed by me, and nobody else. Derek Jeter got some booing, and then the typical A-Rod booing happened, although this time it was also interspersed with people cracking up about it.

Robinson Cano is wearing #24 now, which bothers me, because I associate that number with Tino Martinez. I realize he probably switched to make room for Jolly Roger, but still.

Watching Yankees batting practice was kind of funny. Despite the fact that the stadium was crazy crowded, I still had a decent time running back and forth taking various pictures of players, such as Mientkiewicz and Pettitte, A-Rod, Matsui, Nieves, Wang and Rivera, and Professor Farnsworth.

I also saw former Mariners and Yankees relief pitcher Jeff Nelson wandering around on the field during batting practice. I guess he's got a pretty good excuse to come out for a game like this one!

I managed to still get a decent spot to watch Rasner warming up, but ended up mostly being fascinated by Jorge Posada instead, because Rasner is boring as hell to watch. No, really, I just didn't find anything interesting about him whatsoever. Posada, on the other hand, is expressive and flexible and was actually playing catch with another random Yankees staff guy rather than warming up with Rasner, which should have probably been a sign of something, though I'm not sure what.

(You know, the more I think about it, I've actually kind of been a Posada fan for a while. Since he's not as flashy and hyped as most of the other long-time Yankees, nor as flashy and hyped as his Red Sox counterpart Jason Varitek, I guess I just don't think about it that often. But he's a pretty good player and seems like a pretty good guy, too.)

Jorge Posada

Oh yeah, the guy who replaced Dominic Woody as the Mariners bullpen catcher, Brian Schweiger, finally has a real jersey, and is wearing Woody's old #87. Schweiger was drafted by the Mariners in the 2003 draft, same year as Adam Jones and Ryan Feierabend and Eric O'Flaherty and all. I suppose it's great for him that he's suiting up in a Mariners uniform several years before some of his draft classmates, and yet, at the same time, I'm sure this isn't what he had in mind originally.

Some Blake Lewis guy sang the national anthem. I was told that he is a famous local boy, but since I actually don't really watch any TV that doesn't involve baseball, I have no real idea who he is. He had a nice enough voice, I guess.

Not only was the stadium full of people, but I happened to have one of those Token Drunk Guys in the row in front of me. You know the type -- early-30sish, yuppie-looking, has no idea what's going on in the game and is pretty much just at the park to yell and drink beer. I don't think he shut up for the whole game. It started out innocently enough, and just kept going. "COME ON KENNY! AUNT JEMIMA! CMON!!" "YEAH RAUL, WHY DON'T YOU BUNT IT, COME ON JUST GET THE BAT ON THE BALL, GET ON BASE WHY DON'T YOU." "A-B! HEY YEAH A-B! YOOOOO ADRIAN!" and so on and so forth. Token Drunk Guy also tried to become friends with the whole section, so when the guy next to me got pizza, TDG's like "HEY BUDDY HEY NEIGHBOR, WHY DONTCHA SHARE SOME OF THAT PIZZA!" or when a ten-year-old kid in my row caught a foul ball, TDG made a big show of taking a picture of it, then asked if he could hold the ball and took a bunch of pictures of himself with it.

The Yankees Fan gag on the screen this time involved a dude in a Yankees jersey waving a Yankees flag up in the Lookout Landing area, and then he gets DEVOURED by Mega Moose. I suppose I prefer that to the actual Mega Moose bouncing around on the field.

I have to admit that with A-Rod kickin' the high socks and playing third base and being godly at the plate this year, plus that he was generally smiling and laughing the entire game, makes it really hard to dislike him for anything else he may or may not have done recently, such as wear a uniform top that says "New York" on it.

I'm betting the Japanese broadcasters had a ball with this game, since Ichiro got on base three times and stole two bases and scored a run, and Kenji Johjima hit the game's only home run. Hideki Matsui didn't do anything at the plate, but a lot of stuff was hit his way in the outfield, so he got a chance to at least show that he can throw a ball much better than Johnny Damon. And then the umpire at third base was none other than Bob Davidson, who was referred to as "aitsu", or "THAT guy", in the Japanese press for quite a while after he made that ridiculous reversed call against the Japanese WBC team. Though, it's been a year, maybe people have forgotten about that by now.

I'm glad Washburn kicked ass. I hope he continues to do so. Oddly, this was my 6th Mariners game of the year, and they're now 5-1 in games I've attended. I've seen two Felix starts, three Washburn starts, and one Baek start. Go figure.

I've been trying to write this game report all weekend when I have bits and pieces of time, and it's simply not happening, so I'm going to hit "publish" and just add to this as I think of things. I'm sorry it sucks. If you're at Tuesday's game, by the way, we're trying to get a bunch of the Lookout Landing regulars to sit together in the upper deck, section 320, so come say hi or sit with us if you're there. It should be interesting, but hey, Felix and crazy blog people, what could be better?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Book Review - Luckiest Man, by Jonathan Eig

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

I was given this book as a holiday present in 2005, and I put off reading it for two main reasons: one, I had read Ray Robinson's "Iron Horse" book relatively recently at the time, and two, reading about Lou Gehrig can be awfully depressing. But the Rattler Radio blog, which covers the Mariners minor league Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, has been putting up excerpts of "Luckiest Man" all winter, and so early last week I decided to start immersing myself in the world of Lou Gehrig for an hour a day while riding the bus to and from work.

Reading this book is a lot like watching the movie Titanic, only it doesn't suck. Titanic, in all fairness, was a beautifully crafted work, with gorgeous sets reconstructing the extravagant ship. The first two hours of the movie set up the plot and the romance amidst wonderful scenery. But everyone knows what happened to the Titanic -- and when the iceberg hits the ship, you know you're in for another hour of water water everywhere, lots of people dying, several times where it looks hopeful that they might survive, and a sad ending where the guy dies and the girl lives on. And to be honest, when I watched Titanic, I actually fastforwarded through most of the last hour -- I just didn't feel like watching it.

Well, the story of Lou Gehrig is similar, especially as told in this book. The amount of detail that Jonathan Eig has extracted from history is impeccable, painting Gehrig into a crisper image than has ever been done before. But everyone knows what happened to Lou Gehrig -- and sure enough, about two thirds of the way through the book, you hit the sentence "Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis struck Lou Gehrig in 1938." There's the iceberg. And then you know you're in for another three years of his life, watching him waste away, several times getting false hope from doctors with experimental cures, and eventually a sad ending where the guy dies and the girl lives on. And to be honest, I started reading a little bit quicker when I hit the iceberg in this too -- the amount of medical detail explained at times was just a little too intense to bear.

Despite the fact that the story of Lou Gehrig is a sad one, and that Lou Gehrig himself was said to be a boring guy in general, this book has a lot of humor injected into it, to make sure the tone is never too serious when it doesn't need to be. To some extent, there's just a lot of things that are somewhat ridiculous about that time period when viewed from the present. Alternately, Gehrig's dryness itself also manifests in wit. In addition, Lou played the straight man to the craziness of Babe Ruth for a while:
   When asked at a press conference how he planned to spend the winter, Ruth said, "I ain't doin' a thing, except you know what!"
   The reporters knew what, but they couldn't print it.
   Gehrig said, "I plan to play a lot of basketball."

Another strength of this book is the amount of detail paid to the supporting characters in the story. Eleanor Gehrig has written her own books, of course, and everyone knows about Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, but many of the other Bronx Bombers that played along Gehrig have mostly faded away into history. In this book, though, the people close to him live on in vivid detail, such as his best friend on the team, Bill Dickey:
   William Malcolm Dickey was four years younger than Gehrig. Born in Louisiana and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, he was one of seven children. He was a quietly elegant man, long-legged and strong. Yet his face was that of a boy, with ears that stuck out like handles on a jug, and a sweet, wide grin. He looked like a lazy old horse when he walked, as if each section of each limb required a separate call to action. For such a young and lean athlete, though, he was a terribly slow runner. Everything about him seemed to operate in slow motion, most of all his speech. He didn't talk much, but when he did, his smooth Southern drawl made even the most urgent plea sound calm.
   "I signaled for a fast ball and you threw me a curve," Dickey complained once to the pitcher Lefty Gomez, in his most furious tone.
   "How are your bird dogs?" Gomez replied.
   It was nearly impossible to feel threatened by Dickey. Even Gehrig approached without fear.

The visual descriptions of people and places stand on their own, but Eig even manages to capture sensory images of history in sound as well, both in the sounds of baseball and in the sounds of people. One standout example of this is in the growth of radio, which paralleled Gehrig's career. (It seems that Gehrig would have most likely been a case of "Video killed the radio star", had he played a decade or two later.) It had somehow never occurred to me that radio broadcasts of baseball games were not always as we think of them now, but were originally essentially oral box scores, with sparse announcement of plays and vast stretches of silence in between. It was during Gehrig's first year as a player that one man changed all that:
   The sportswriters used radio the same way they used their pencils and scorecards, to record all the necessary details and none of the atmosphere. They saved their creative flourishes for their newspaper readers.
   But in 1923, a former concert singer named Graham McNamee was hired to sit beside the sportswriters and liven up their broadcasts. McNamee had a deep, rich voice, and he loved to ramble. He didn't know much about baseball, but he had a terrific eye for detail, and he described what he saw in marvelous terms. When frustrated fans put their fists through their straw hats, when Gloria Swanson arrived at her seat wrapped in ermine, when John McGraw flashed all but invisible signals to his players, McNamee called it as he saw it. He was radio's first color commentator. "The crowd is ready, yowling, and howling," he said in one typically excited moment. "I never heard such a crowd in my life... Strike one!"
   McNamee gave baseball a common language. He took the game out of the ballpark and into homes and made it a part of the sound of American life, so much so that a New Yorker could walk down the street without missing a pitch as McNamee's voice boomed from window after window. In the process, he became a celebrity -- bigger perhaps than all but Ruth. When he dropped a Thermos full of coffee and stained his suit while on the air, the incident made news the next day. Naturally, the sportswriters were jealous, and they tried, in vain, to point out that the broadcaster often seemed to mistake right-handed hitters for left-handed hitters, couldn't keep track of which man was at bat, and put runners on the bases when there were none. "I don't know which game to write about," Ring Lardner wote after one World Series game, "the one I saw today or the one I heard Graham McNamee announce as I sat next to him at the Polo Grounds."

As you can see by these excerpts, the prose in this book is absolutely fantastic. Even the times of Gehrig's life that could become dull if presented in black-and-white, such as his yearly statistics, salary negotiations, and especially, details about some games and slumps and such -- much like McNamee's broadcasts, these are given color and detail that was not touched upon before. There's always a quote or an anecdote to bring to life anything from Lou's fishing expeditions to his playing stickball with kids in the neighborhood after he'd come home from the ballpark.

And of course, Eig managed to get copies of all of Gehrig's correspondence with the Mayo Clinic, which sheds a lot of light on exactly what his condition was like in various stages of ALS, and what treatments he tried, and who he tried them from. There were details of the house he and Eleanor lived in during the last years of his life, down to the number of steps it took to get to the front porch, to the first floor, and so on (it doesn't seem like much until you remember that Gehrig was basically losing the ability to walk). Some stories have also been set straight from the versions portrayed in The Pride of the Yankees, or in Eleanor's tales. The saddest part is probably how long it seems he held out hope that he would be cured.

Anyway, this book is a solid piece of work and well worth reading. It's even reasonable as a bus book, though I recommend reading the last chapter or two at home if you're prone to crying when the profound sadness of the entire situation really hits you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kei Igawa Linkage

Kei Igawa pulled off a stealth wedding, just like Theo Epstein! Woohoo! (This seems a lot more impressive to me due to the Japanese press, although I'm sure the Boston press is almost as bad. You can read Igawa's blog entry here.)

New Yankees pitcher Igawa gets married [Mainichi Shinbun]
Igawa said he announced his marriage only after he came to the United States because he wanted to avoid causing her and her acquaintances any trouble in Japan.

Funny article about how Matsuzaka and Igawa will adjust to pitching in America, with input from various "experts", anywhere from Robert Whiting to Trey Hillman to Jeremy Powell:

Dice-K or just plain Kei? [Asahi Herald]
"Igawa most definitely has major-league stuff for a left-hander and will fare better than most predict because he has a whole lot of heart. He is an extremely hard worker with great confidence in himself and will do anything to succeed in MLB, which is what it takes to be a winner in a place like New York.

I'm thinking 10-plus wins and a shorter haircut for his first season." -- Jeff Williams, Hanshin Tigers pitcher

Oh yeah, and he's already in Tampa and doing early training, getting adjusted to America. But I have to wonder exactly WHICH words Derek Jeter is teaching him?

Igawa Gets Early Start to Spring [New York Post]
"It's all a feel for him, getting to know the guys," Connors said. "Jeter has been already kidding him . . . teaching him a new word every day. He's going to be fine. It just takes the time to get adjusted."

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Foto

Okay, so these are mostly from batting practice time, but:

Photos: Mariners vs. Yankees, August 24, 2006

I had a really funny moment when I was like, "Who's that guy wearing 49? 49's retired for Ron Guidry!" and then realized... crap, that WAS Ron Guidry.

Getting pictures of Matsui was tough because there were ninety billion Japanese people standing around also pointing cameras, but I think I did a pretty good job.

No George Sherrill stalking picture today, sorry. I wanted to get the hell out of the bullpen before the national anthem, otherwise I'd never be in my seat for the first pitch.

It's really tough to take pictures of the Mariners pitchers through that damn fence, but it's easier to take pictures of opposing pitchers through the Bullpen Tavern wall holes. That's so dumb. It's hard to focus through the fence with a zoom. I'm working on it, but I didn't get that many good shots of Washburn today and it was just too crowded on the other side.

Ron Villone makes the best faces when he doesn't know a camera is pointed at him. So does Mariano Rivera.

I was really sad that Chris Snelling was in left field instead of right, because I couldn't take tons of pictures of him -- but, hey, it made the game better.

I really should cut this photo set down even more, but right now I'd rather sleep.

(and if you enjoyed these, check out my Oakland A's photos from a few weeks back!)

Game Report: Mariners vs. Yankees - I win!

So, I shot about 250 pictures tonight, and if I go through them before I write this entry, I'll never write this entry. I'm going to try to crop-resize-upload some before I go to sleep tonight, but we'll see.

Tonight's game featured these two lefty pitchers facing off against each other:

Cute vs. Ugly

Now, if you didn't watch the game, and I told you that one of these two guys pitched 6.1 innings, struck out 9, walked 2, and gave up 2 runs, which one would you think I was talking about?

Made you look!

Seriously, J-Rod the Washburninator was on fire. He had 7 K's after the first three innings, and picked up two more in the fourth and fifth. He did hit a few guys, and a couple of them got hits off him, but in general, Jarrod was dealing. It was pretty awesome. It probably didn't hurt that the lineup was LRLLSLSRR, with Jeter and Wilson being the only big lefty-mashers, but still. Aside from a Johnny Damon home run off Washburn's last pitch of the night, his 108th, and a run scored by Wilson, Damon, and Jeter all getting singles in the 3rd, that was all the Yankees really could do in terms of offense.

The only other inning in the entire night that more than 4 Yankees batters came to the plate was the 4th, where Posada was hit by a pitch, and Cano singled, and then the most awesome pickoff ever happened -- Cano was just plain sleeping, and Johjima nailed him with a throw at first. Wilson did walk and Green was hit by a pitch, but with the bases loaded, Johnny Damon hit a low line drive to left field, and CHRISTOPHER DOYLE SNELLING ran it down for the most awesome catch ever, which Ibanez totally would have never gotten. Good thing he and Beltre had the night off.

I got up and yelled, "WAY TO GO, DOYLE!", which got me a lot of funny looks from around me.

At this point, I need to digress in the recounting of the game and explain why this night was awesome and why I don't have very many game notes in general. People ask me why I bother going to games alone, and tonight is exactly why. Yeah, sometimes you get stuck by yourself the entire evening, but I seem to end up getting single seats next to some of the most interesting people on the planet.

The two guys sitting to my left were late-30sish, and they seemed pretty into baseball, and they thought it was pretty neat that I was keeping score and could answer questions about the recent roster moves, and really knew my baseball stuff, and they were impressed by my camera, and so on. One mentioned he was in town for the week from LA, and thought Safeco was a lot nicer than Dodger Stadium. Well, we get to talking about different stadiums and whatnot, and it comes out that I'm from Philly and grew up in Veterans Stadium, when one of the guys lets out this bomb:

"Oh, did you ever make it to a Scranton game? I played for the Red Barons way back in the day."

My jaw drops. "You WHAT?"

"I was a minor league player for the Phillies back in the early 90's."

I immediately stop paying attention to the game for the most part for most of the next half hour as this guy and his friend start recounting all these stories about the guys in the system back in the day; he was apparently reasonable friends with Mike Lieberthal and Mickey Morandini and just bunches of random players who I totally was in love with once upon a time. Heck, he was even Kevin Stocker's roomate! Through some weird coincidence of life, I've now met two of Kevin Stocker's former roomates (the other is former Blue Jays farmhand Brent Lutz, who roomed with Kevin at UW, and whom I worked with at Amazon), and still have never met Stocker himself. (I had the biggest crush on Stocker when I was like 16. Blame the 1993 World Series.)

At first, I wondered if he was kidding, even though it sounded way too bizarre to be making it up out of nowhere. I asked his name -- Ken Sirak -- and sure enough, I'd never heard of him. That's not surprising, because I barely followed the minor leagues at all until fairly recently. So when he and his friend Scott went off to get more beer a bit after that, I got out my web-enabled phone and Googled for him.

And here's his Baseball Cube page. He ended up quitting baseball after the 1993 season, because the Phillies wanted to trade him to the Reds, and he was a shortstop/utility guy and didn't really want to be blocked by Barry Larkin.

I probably spent a good half of the game just talking about the Phillies of my high school days with Ken, and then a good amount of time trading baseball trivia questions with Scott, and it was just a blast. Ken kept calling me "Baseball freak!" and Scott kept going on about how he'd never ever met a girl who knew as much random baseball trivia as he did, and meanwhile, I'm just trying to not totally act like a complete and random dork because I'm sitting next to someone who not only actually knows who Kevin Stocker is, but was his former roomate.

(I mentioned how Steve Carlton was one of my favorite players when I was a kid, too, and Ken started talking about when he and Carlton's son were both in single-A ball, and how bad he was. Man.)

So, yeah. There was a game.

Ichiro was amazing in center field. Snelling was amazing in left field. Bohn was not amazing in right, but he wasn't really hit anything that was difficult to get -- while I was initially disappointed that Snelling wouldn't be in RF, which meant I couldn't take ninety billion pictures of him during the game, it makes sense to put the stronger outfielder in left field with a lefty starter, as half the lineup will be batting righty and the other half might not be pulling the ball as hard as usual.

Seeing Mateo come out was not particularly heartening, but seeing Sherrill mow down Giambi/Posada/Cano in the next inning WAS particularly heartening.

All of the Mariners' scoring happened in the first and third innings. In the first, Ichiro led off with a double, and advanced on a Bloomquist sac fly, which isn't hard to do when he hits to center and Johnny Damon's throwing it in. Lopez singled him home after that.

In the third, Snelling led off with the nastiest double I've seen in a long time; the ball was barely fair and didn't roll foul until it was out near the left-field ball girl, which is just a pain to go get. He moved to third on an Ichiro grounder, and then Willie Bloomquist laid down the nastiest bunt I've seen in a long time; the ball pretty much rolled down the first-base down line and just plain stopped; a bunch of Yankees were just staring at it on the ground as Willie ran past first base. After that Lopez hit another RBI single, and then Sexson hit the ball way into the left-center gap and confused the heck out of Melky Cabrera for a double. This put the score at 4-2, which is where it'd stay until Damon's home run later on.

T.J. Bohn finally did something besides make an out today when he walked in the 7th inning! Woooo!

The ninth inning was probably the most perfect way you could possibly end a game like this, too. J.J.Putz comes out, and Melky Cabrera hit a hard grounder towards first, where Ben Broussard nearly bobbled the play but recovered it in time to throw to Putz covering the bag. One down. Bernie Williams pinch hits for Craig Wilson, and the crowd's getting louder, as he grounds up to second, where Lopez makes the throw. Everyone stands on their feet; the stadium is just rocking, with Mariners fans yelling, Yankees fans yelling...

...and Alex Rodriguez comes out to pinch-hit for Nick Green.

I didn't think the stadium could get louder, but it did, as all the Mariners fans who weren't yelling before got up and started booing. Cheers, yells, boos. Alex swings and misses the first pitch; he takes the second one for another strike. It's 0-2-2, and the next pitch is up a bit; the crowd boos louder. A-Rod fouls off the next one, and the next one nearly hits him in the head, and then... and then, he swings and misses the next offering. Strike three. Game over.

I'm not sure you could end a Mariners-Yankees game -- nay, series -- any better than that.

So on that note, I'm going to leave you with one last picture that I quickly cropped, and then I'm going to try to go through a whole bunch of these quickly. Because, dude, look who I saw running around in the outfield before the game?


To sum up: I own the Yankees. And meeting former Phillies minorleaguers is COOL.

Also, they had an announcement on the board that Mark Lowe will be at the Seattle branch of US Bank on Tuesday from 11am-noon -- it's at 1240 5th Avenue, which should actually be around the corner from where I work, so I'm going to try to stop by, if I can get more details before then.

Photo post is up!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Game Report: Mariners vs. Yankees - Swung on and Beltred!

About four months ago, I was talking to one of my college friends, a diehard Yankees fan. He was debating whether to accept a job in Seattle and move out here. Our conversation went something like this:

Him: I dunno, moving is such a pain in the neck...
Me: I have an extra ticket to a Yankees game in August, you know. If you move out here, it's yours.
Him: Hmm. Really?
Me: Yeah.
Him: I'm sold. See you in a few weeks.
Me: Wow, you're an easy bribe.

Anyway, tonight we went to the game. He wore his Tino Martinez jersey -- the kind with pinstripes -- and we sat there trash-talking each other and whatnot. We thought it was kind of cool that if the Yankees won, both teams would continue their current streaks, but if the Mariners won, it'd end both of them. We lamented Craig Wilson's new hair, or lack thereof, and I booed Bobby Abreu, and he cheered A-Rod, and we had a blast in general.

Oh, and the Mariners won.

Game Over!
Oh god! Not in the head! Not in the head!

As usual before a Yankees game, the Occidental Street approach to Safeco Field was full of scalpers and merchandise sellers. There was a tent selling actual Yankees shirts and jerseys, and of course there were these guys as well. I had my camera out early because I wanted to capture the lack of Jamie Moyer around the park -- and sure enough, they've already taken his banner down -- doesn't Ichiro look lonely? -- and they replaced his player wall photo on 1st Avenue with Yuniesky Betancourt's picture.

Today featured two starting pitchers who'd just been called up, and both were wearing #58, which is a somewhat crazy coincidence. The Yankees had Jeff Karstens, one of those rare guys who actually was drafted by the Yankees and bubbled up through their farm system, and apparently has been learning facial expressions from John Lackey. We had Cha Seung Baek, who's had a pretty great year in Tacoma, and is for now subbed into the rotation to fill the Moyer hole.

(Speaking of Moyer, he started at Wrigley today, for the first time in eighteen years -- "with his wife, children, parents, father-in-law Digger Phelps and his college roommate in tow, among others" -- and picked up the win, going 6 innings and giving up 3 runs in an eventual 6-3 victory.)

Anyway, tonight's game featured a whole lot of fun stuff:
  • 9 out of the 11 runs scored in this game by both sides were driven in by home runs. The Yankees had all five of their runs come in on a Bobby Abreu 3-run homer in the third inning and an Alex Rodriguez 2-run homer in the sixth. The Mariners had three runs come in on Beltre's first-inning and ninth-inning homers, and a fourth on a Richie Sexson blast in the third.

  • All of the home runs were pretty fun to watch. Adrian's first one sailed into the Mariners bullpen. Bobby's was to dead center, and Ichiro actually scaled the wall, but couldn't get it. Richie's was just huge, the sort of home run where you hear it come off the bat and don't even have to watch it land to know it's way out there. A-Rod's actually went into the BLEACHERS in left field, above the KOMO 1000 sign. And Beltre's walk-off one -- well, we weren't even positive it was a home run at first, since it looked like it might have bounced off the wall as a ground rule double or something -- but apparently it hit above the yellow line, and once that became evident, the stadium went mad.

  • Even better, Ronnie The Bear gave up that game-winning home run. It's nice to see him doing that for someone NOT us.

  • During the 6th inning, with a 2-0 count on Ben Broussard, Karstens threw a wild pitch, and they took him out of the game after that and put in Mike Myers. I didn't know you could switch batters mid-at-bat as well, but Eduardo Perez came in to finish off the at-bat, and instead, they just had Myers walk him. After throwing the two pitches to finish off that intentional walk, they pulled Myers for Jaret Wright. I was somewhat annoyed because I like watching Mike Myers pitch, and besides, pulling a guy after TWO INTENTIONAL BALL PITCHES is just plain DUMB.

  • Got to see T. J. Bohn's major league debut. Yeah, he pretty much just went up there to pinch-hit for Snelling and struck out, but that's still pretty cool that they used him at all. He also played an inning in the field.

  • Oh yeah, and DOYLE IS AWESOME but you all knew that already. Seriously, I was using my camera zoom as binoculars and watching him, and he's got such a lovely, wonderful, quick, compact swing. I'm so glad he was batting second. Heck, I'm so glad he was batting.

  • Sean Green got into a bit of a jam in the 7th. Bobby Abreu walked, and then Craig Wilson, god bless his soul, hit a grounder towards third. Beltre charged it, fell to his knees fielding it, and still fired a great throw to first base, but JUST missed getting it in time. Rather than pitching to A-Rod, they walked the bases loaded. We've seen this situation a billion times, where they do something like that for the double play, the force at any base, whichever, and then fail to get it, but this time, just like clockwork, Jorge Posada grounded to Lopez, and BAM. Inning over.

  • Great rundown in the 8th inning, as Sherrill kept almost picking Melky Cabrera off first. Finally, Cabrera runs, Sherrill throws to pick him off, and there's the rundown which ends the inning. Thanks, Yanks!

  • Speaking of Sherrill, if you live or work near Tacoma and read this before 11:30am on Wednesday, they had an announcement on the board saying "Meet George Sherrill"; apparently he'll be at a USBank in Tacoma from 11:30am-12:30pm, but unfortunately, I didn't write down the address. I think it said Pacific Ave, but I know there's more than one USBank on Pacific Ave.

  • Also speaking of Sherrill, for those of you following my "Deanna's not stalking George. Really." saga of pictures, here's today's. This was right after everyone except O'Flaherty had high-fived Baek on his way out of the bullpen to start the game, and I think Sherrill was lecturing the rookies, except instead, it looks like he's saying "You've been voted OFF this bullpen!"

  • The entire bench got into the game at one point or another. I'm not sure I've seen that in a long time, or at least not in a 9-inning game. It was sort of funny: Bloomquist pinch-ran for Perez, then Johjima pinch-hit for Rivera. Snelling was up with two guys on base, and I was excited about that, but with LEFTY-KILLER RON VILLONE up on the mound, they pinch-hit for Snelling. My initial reaction was "oh NO!", thinking he was going to get pinched by Morse or Bloomquist or something, but after a split second, I realized the only person left on the bench TO pinch-hit was Bohn, so my reaction turned to "oh COOL!"

  • I wore my USSM shirt and loudly cheered for Doyle, but alas, the only person who I ran into was Dylan and the rest of his clan, who were sitting a couple of rows behind us. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given that half the stadium was Yankees fans anyway, so why would they be familiar with USSM or Doylism?

  • There were these cute little kids sitting in front of us, and from talking to the parents a bit we found out they're Yankees fans, and so their kids were supposed to be Yankees fans too, but my Yankees-fan friend offloaded his Mariners rally towel on one of the kids, and from then on in during the game when the scoreboard said, "WAVE THOSE TOWELS!!!", at appropriate Mariners-cheering moments, this little kid would get up and cheer madly and wave the towel, much to the chagrin of his parents.

I feel there are not nearly enough pictures of Eric O'Flaherty out there yet. I took this one while watching bullpen warmups before the game:

Eric O'Flaherty
I may be young and left-handed, Mr. Hargrove,
but I can work my way out of a jam, thanks.

I'm suddenly totally falling asleep on my keyboard, which is understandable, so I'll either add to this when I think of stuff tomorrow, or just leave it at that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Postseason, Bronx Bomb Shelter Style

It was a dull Tuesday afternoon in the locker room of Yankees Stadium, the day after a grueling loss in game 5 of the ALDS. Various players were milling about, cleaning out their lockers. Some were still trying to get in some workout time in the weight room, and a few sat around chatting idly. Derek Jeter was sitting by his locker, staring at a piece of paper in his hand.

Mike Mussina walked up to him. "Answering some last-minute fan mail?"

Jeter looked up, as if in a daze. "No... I wouldn't call this fan mail, exactly. Here, read it, Moose."

Mussina picked up the letter and read it to himself. His eyes first lit up with bemusement, then briefly flared with anger, and then fell into a dull stare.
Dear DJ,

Since we're kinda in the same boat here, man, I figured I'd drop ya a note with my condolences. Look on the bright side... I can tell you there's a lot more that goes with being the leadoff man on a winning World Series team these days. For example, you know that those Queer Eye guys want to do another show for whoever wins this year? So they can raise money for the Little Leaguers down in Louisiana? You may think it's humiliating getting beaten by the Angels, but trust me when I tell you there's nothing more humiliating than getting groped by that Carson Kressley guy on national TV. Did you see those crazy-ass pinstripes he put Mirabelli in last year? Hoooooooly shit, man, you should consider yourself lucky.

By the way, Manny says hi too. He says you guys can be friends now that you both hit lots of homers in the postseason and still lost. He had a message for Alex too, but he kept dissolving into giggles before he could get it out. I think it was something like "MVP my .133-batting ass, Slappy!" At least, that's how Bronson Arroyo translated it.

I'll see ya out on the warpath again next year, bro. Keep it real.

Love, JD

P.S - My hairstylist says to tell Alex that she doesn't care what anyone says, he's still a hottie.
"So this is it, huh," Mussina said. "We're getting sympathy from Johnny Damon and the Red Sox."

"I dunno," replied Jeter. "He's got a point."

"What, that we're all a bunch of overpaid losers now?"

"No, I mean, did you see that episode of Queer Eye? We really did luck out, man. Do you really want to get your back waxed on national TV?"

They both paused for a minute, looked at each other, and flinched at the thought.

"I hope it's not the White Sox, then," mused Mussina.

"Why's that? 'Cause they beat the Red Sox?"

"No." He grimaced. "What's one of the few things that should hopefully never, ever, ever be seen on television ever again?"

Jeter thought for a minute. "Randy Johnson's face?"

Mussina shook his head. "Worse. Two words." He shuddered, as if it pained him to say it.

Jeter gave him a blank stare. "I give up."

"Duque Dance!"