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Archive for September, 2009

Banned Wagon

If you are like me, you too may not have heard of “Banned Books Week,” which happens to be this week (Sep 26 – Oct 3).  While I don’t claim to know much about it, I am jumping on the band wagon and joining those thousands who do by standing firmly against mass, ignorant censorship and firmly in favor of intellectual freedom.

Banned Books WeekEven though I do, however, believe that every parent should have the right and responsibility of choosing what their own family reads and watches, I don’t believe they should be allowed to choose for everyone else, which in essence is what banning does.

As I continue to learn about Banned Books Week, I am shocked at what books are restricted from schools and libraries such as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,” which happen to be on a banned-books list for some states.  Putting the proverbial head in the sand does not stimulate intelligence.

For a more eloquent argument, please see Homophones, Nazi Cows, and Other Banned Books Dangers.

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Easy As Pie

Sheesh!  I can’t keep up with this team.  Trailing the Royals 3-2, and with many of the regulars out of the game, the Yankee “reserves” staged a rally in the bottom-of-the-ninth inning to win 4-3 Tuesday night.  After getting the game-winning hit literally off Kyle Farnsworth (the ball hit off Farnsworth’s leg and rolled into foul territory on the first-base side allowing Erik Hinske to score from third) Miranda rounded first and the crowd and viewers at home waited in excited anticipation for what has become a staple of the new Yankee Stadium: walk-off pie in the face by A.J. Burnett.

Nisk Swisher celebrates after getting pie in face from A.J. Burnett (background)This is the 15th walk-off win for the Yanks this season, most in the majors, which means it is the 15th pie in the face by a Yankee player.  None was more celebrated by Nick Swisher (pictured) but each has come with a stealthy Burnett sneaking up behind them and slamming them in the face with shaving cream in a towel.  Other walk-off notables include A-Rod, Posada, Cano, and Cabrera.  Sadly, Derek Jeter has not joined the list of walk-off hits, but then again the Captain may condemn such antics.  However, I’d really like to see how he reacts, especially if it were to come in the postseason.

Below is a complete list of the Yankees walk-off wins:

  Date   Batter   Result   Opponent   Pitcher   Score
1. 4/22/2009   Melky Cabrera   2-R HR   A’s   Giese   9-7 (14)
2. 5/1/2009   Jorge Posada   2-R 1B   Angels   Fuentes   10-9
3. 5/15/2009   Melky Cabrera   2-R 1B   Twins   Nathan   5-4
4. 5/16/2009   Alex Rodriguez   2-R HR   Twins   Breslow   6-4 (11)
5. 5/17/2009   Johnny Damon   HR   Twins   Crain   3-2 (10)
6. 5/23/2009   Melky Cabrera   1B   Phillies   Lidge   5-4
7. 6/12/2009   Alex Rodriguez   E4   Mets   Rodriguez   9-8
8. 7/4/2009   Jorge Posada   1B   Blue Jays   Camp   6-5 (12)
9. 7/20/2009   Hideki Matsui   HR   Orioles   Johnson   2-1
10. 8/7/2009   Alex Rodriguez   2-R HR   Red Sox   Tazawa   2-0 (15)
11. 8/12/2009   Robinson Cano   1B   Blue Jays   Camp   4-3 (11)
12. 8/28/2009   Robinson Cano   3-R HR   White Sox   Williams   5-2 (10)
13. 9/8/2009   Nick Swisher   HR   Rays   Wheeler   3-2
14. 9/16/2009   Francisco Cervelli   1B   Blue Jays   Frasor   5-4
15. 9/29/2009   Juan Miranda   1B   Royals   Farnsworth   4-3

Other notes from this game: Burnett looked great, pitching into the seventh inning and giving up just one earned run and one unearned run on three hits, three walks, and eight strikeouts, while throwing 108 pitches.  Coke had a miserable seventh inning after he relieved Burnett, committing one throwing error and another mental error when, with one out, he threw to first on the groundout from Mitch Maier instead of throwing home to nab the speedy Alex Gordon who scored on the play from third.  Michael Kay was incredulous at such a stupid error, which gave the Royals a 3-1 lead at the time.  David Robertson pitched for the first time since going on the DL with an elbow issue.  He looked pretty good and struck out one and walked one while throwing 19 pitches in just 2/3 of an inning.  The Yankee offense struggled against Anthony Lerew who is not a very good pitcher but had pretty good stuff tonight.  You wonder if the lack of offensive productivity came because most of the regulars rested yesterday or if Lerew was just shutting them down.

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Dynamic Duo

Dynamic Duo

With a clean single up the middle in the bottom of the seventh inning, Derek Jeter got his 200th hit of the season as a shortstop (he played a couple games as a DH) and he and Robinson Cano are now the only shortstop/second base combo to each have 200 or more hits in a season.

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Working Hard For the Money

Monopoly MoneyWhile watching the Kansas City Royal’s version of the New York Yankees play last night against the Kansas City Royal’s version of the Kansas City Royals, I did a quick payroll comparison of last night’s Yankees’ starters versus the projected starters for the playoffs (give or take $1 million).  All I have to say is thank the Almighty for George M. Steinbrenner because this must be how Royals fans feel every night.

 

Sep 28, 2009 (vs. Royals)   Playoff Projection
CF Brett Gardner $414,000   SS Derek Jeter $21,600,000
LF Melky Cabrera $1,400,000   LF Johnny Damon* $13,000,000
2B Robinson Cano $6,000,000   1B Mark Teixeira* $20,625,000
DH Jorge Posada $13,100,000   3B Alex Rodriguez* $33,000,000
3B Eric Hinske* $1,500,000   DH Hideki Matsui $13,000,000
RF Shelley Duncan $414,000   C Jorge Posada $13,100,000
1B Juan Miranda $414,000   2B Robinson Cano $6,000,000
C Francisco Cervelli $400,000   RF Nick Swisher* $5,400,000
SS Ramiro Pena $400,000   LF Melky Cabrera $1,400,000
             
SP Chad Gaudin* $1,775,000   SP CC Sabathia* $15,285,714
RP Damaso Marte* $3,750,000   RP Phil Hughes $407,650
RP Alfredo Aceves $406,750   RP Mariano Rivera $15,000,000
             
  Totals $29,973,750       $157,818,364
             
  *Player did not come up through the Yankees farm system  

[By the way, A-Rod earns in one at-bat what I earn in one year]

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This Poem…Sucks

HaikuAs I was trying to go to sleep last night, my brain wouldn’t shut off.  Here is the genius that are my late-night brain ramblings:

I like poetry
But I do not like Haiku
because it’s not hard

Or this version:

I like poetry
But I do not like Haiku
because I always get confused how many syllables are in the last line

If interested, you can learn more about haiku here.

[A subject was finally introduced at The Daily Poetry Club to post this.  See it here.]

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Someone Has a Case of the MondaysIf I haven’t mentioned it before, I like my weekends, and, consequently, I dislike Mondays.  However, I would never say that I actually have a “case of the Mondays.”

After the terrific Yankees sweep of the Red Sox over the weekend, I was feeling pretty good going to work this morning.  As I entered the office, I didn’t anticipate anyone would want to talk about it, because in my office someone either doesn’t like baseball or hates the Yankees.  There are no other options. 

Those in my office who do talk with me about baseball usually do it on a main-stream-media level (which means they don’t know anything about the teams or players other than the main-stream biases they hear such as A-Rod chokes in the clutch, the Yankees haven’t won it all in October since 2000 even though they’ve had the highest payroll for years, baseball wasn’t invented until October of 2004, etc, (basically the annoying type who only cheer when things go bad for the Yanks).

Because most people in my office don’t know much about baseball, they ask a lot of questions like a reporter.  I have observed four types of “reporter personalities:”

  1. Those who ask engaging questions and are interested in what you say
  2. Those who ask questions but aren’t really interested in what you say
  3. Those who ask annoying questions just so they can share their opinion with you
  4. And those who say things like “What a game” and expect you to then carry the conversation

I’m sure I fall into one of the four categories at various times.  And if I’m ever annoying, I apologize.

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z-New York Yankees

Party time: Yanks kings of AL East

2009 AL East Champions

With a 4-2 come-from-behind win, the New York Yankees clinched the AL East division, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, a three-game sweep of the Red Sox, and their 100th win of the season.  It’s amazing that after starting the season 0-8 against the Sox, the Yanks won 9 of the final 10 games to split the season series and put a good taste in the mouths of Yankees fans as the team now gears up for the playoffs, which begin in two weeks.

Incredibly, Paul Byrd seemingly stifled the Bombers over 5 2/3 innings while giving up only one run and scattering seven hits .  However, he left in the bottom of the sixth with two men on who were his responsibility and Takashi Saito promptly gave up a go-ahead two-RBI single to Hideki Matsui that put Byrd on the hook for the loss and Andy Pettitte the winning pitcher of record.

Like they’ve done all year, the Yankees never seemed to be out of it and never faltered despite the lack of success against Byrd.  Pettitte too fought for the win despite a shaky couple of innings to begin the game.  But at one point Andy retired 10 batters in a row after allowing nine of the first 14 batters of the game to reach base on three walks and six hits.  It also didn’t hurt that Andy induced Red Sox batters to hit into two double plays, one when the bases were loaded with no one out.

Like Derek Jeter said after the game, the regular-season success of this team has been built on the starting pitching.  And without naming anyone specifically, the Captain has firmly rested the playoff hopes on the pitching staff.  It’s no secret that the team’s circular lineup can match up with anyone, but if they are to win their 27th championship, it will most assuredly be on the backs of Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, and Chamberlain.

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