We are on a hot streak and we are not looking back. Here comes the Yankees!!! =)

This past week of baseball has been just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees. 7 wins in a row? You couldnt tell me this would be our team just erhmm…2 weeks ago. Not like i never had faith in our team (never that), i was just getting disheartened, just like the rest of the fans about our ability to make it all come together and win baseball games.

But now, we are clicking on all cylinders, and i couldnt be more excited. I feel like this is going to be the most exciting season i will get to experience in my lifetime. I picked up the NY Post yesterday, and off course, there is a reference to the ’78 Yankees.

I’ve read that story a million times by now, but yet every time i read it, it just seems brand new. For one, the names on that roster alone makes you want to tip your hat… how one team managed to have so many greats still leaves me in awe. Googe Goosage, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Mickey Rivers, Lou Pinella, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, and off course, Bucky Dent. Wow. This team was 14 games behind the Sox on August 17, 1978 and in fourth place in the AL East. I’m sure pretty much everyone had conceeded the season by then. Only the truly faithful, or some might have said, truly delusional, would have envisioned such a surge. There was no luxury of the wild card then, nothing to fall back on. Division win or bust. And the Yanks knew this. It was like something clicked inside of them, and they never looked back. And just like that, they began to play phenomenal baseball, and Boston started to crumble. It came down to the final day, all the suspense you wanted, it was all there. And we all know what happened that day ;-), Bucky F**king Dent, 5-4 ball game, and the rest is history.

Here we are, June 13th, and we have managed to pull within 9.5 games behind our most heated rivals. Just 2 weeks ago, we are 14.5 games back. And then you tell me not to echo the sentiments of 1978? You must be out of your FOX News, Red Sox riding mind, Mr Kevin Hench ;-).

And you know what? Right now, i’m not even worried about the Sox. As opposed to 1978, we now have something called the Wild Card. Off course, i’d love us to win the division straight up, but i am not focused on that right now. Right now, we are only 5.5 games behind in the Wild Card. And since we’ve reached our goal of playing .500 baseball with our win over the D-Backs last night (by the way d/amn YES for showing re-runs of 2001 WS. Like as if i needed to be tortured or something!), we now have the wild card race to fight for. One mountain at a time, we can overcome this deficit. After we place ourselves in strong contention in the wild card, we cna then begin to worry about catching the Sox. One game at a time.

Since i havent posted in about a week, here’s my condensed analysis of the past week of Yankees baseball.

– I’ll start with Roger Clemens. I’m sorry that i had to laugh about how much the YES brass was hyping him up after the game . Well, since he made almost $1M for that start, they have to convince themselves it was worth that kind of money, right? 6 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, a 4.50 ERA. Uhmm…how is that an exceptional start?  Yes, by MLB standards, that is a quality start, but if we needed just quality starts, then why not pitch Andy Pettitte everyday (he has 6 quality starts so far). Or even Chien Ming Wang (who also has 6 quality starts to date)

I know its unfair to expect Roger to come out there and pitch a shutout every time just like its unfair for people to expect Alex Rodriguez to hit one out the park every at-bat, but darn it, for all the hype surrounding his return, and the almost $1M per start paycheck, i kinda expect fire to blow out his nose and a meteroid shower to descend upon us everytime he takes the mound . I dont expect just a quality start. Cause lets call it as it is: his start was just OK. It wasnt by any stretch of the imagination as amazing and exciting as the YES team were hyping it up to be (all but Michael Kay who called it like it is). I watched his entire start and it lacked so much energy. I was bored. I was like, OMG, all this hype and i’m sitting here almost dozing off. lol. Plus whats up with him not fielding the ball? Was i the only one who noticed him ducking away from a ball that was hit to him in i think the 5th inning? Any other pitcher and that would have been a line drive out. But Roger ducked and didnt field. That annoyed me.

LOL, does it seem like i am coming down on Roger? I’m really not though. I guess i’m just tired of the hype. Dont get me wrong, when Roger was signed, i was excited because at that time, our pitching was SHOT! But i’ve never been a really huge Roger Clemens fan. Off course, i tip my hat to the man, 7 Cy Youngs?…thats an amazing feat!! He won his first Cy Young when i was only 3 yrs old!! I am in awe of him as one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game. But yet, i am not a fan of the whole circus that surrounds him today. I’m not really a fan of the special treatment he receives, especially this off the wall "family plan" he has with the Yankees. The clause dictates that he not be required to go on road trips in which he is not scheduled to pitch and it also allows him to leave the team between starts to be with his family. I kind of think that BS and quite unfair. Lots of MLB’ers have families. He’s not a two head monster here. If you’re gonna make that arrangement for him, make it for the others too. I refuse to believe Roger’s kids need daddy more than Andy Pettitte’s kids need daddy.

Anyway, enough about Roger. Lets talk about someone else, someone like Bobby Abreu, who has finally snapped out of his funk and is now playing like the Bobby we signed him to play like. In 11 games this month, Bobby is batting .488 (20-for-41) with nine extra-base hits, 12 RBI and 10 walks. I couldnt be happier about this. Bobby is a very integral part of our lineup and if he’s not playing right, it rubs off the rest of the lineup. At one point during the season, he seemed like a guaranteed out. Even i, who usually has lots of patience with players, was starting to research possible trades that would make sense. If Bobby keeps up this pace, there is no reason not to expect that even with our horrid start, this team can win 100 games this season. Hey, we are 31-31 right now. Theres exactly 100 games left to play. I dont think its far fetched to expect that we can go 69 – 31. If Bobby’s swinging like Bobby, and A-Rod is swinging like A-Rod and Jeet and Posada‘s bats are still scorching hot, and Robbie continues to get those extra base hits…then why not?

But off course, i cant expect 7 wins in a row to be a constant thing. We all know good hitting only supplements good pitching. Offense sells games, but defense (pitching) wins games. Our pitching is still a bit of a source for concern. Although not like it was this time last month when i was certain they’d give me a heart attack.

I was very happy with Moose‘s last outing. I’ve been posting on Mark Feinsand’s blog and everyone was already chucking up the game as a loss even before Moose threw one pitch. I rallied for some faith in him and even made a bet that Moose would suprise all and win his start. They all said i lost the bet cause he came out with a no-decision, but point was, he won us that game by pitching brilliantly! If Moose can pitch like that consistently, there’s no reason to expect we wont win ball games from here on out.

The bullpen is picking up to. I, like everyone, panicked when Mo just wasnt 100% at the start of the season. But right now, he’s 5 for his last 5 save opportunities.

Kyle Farnsworth still gives me goosebumps, cause i just never know which way it’d go with him. Scott Proctor is almost the same way. And i dont know if i really have much faith in Vizcaino.

But lately, they’ve been saving games, maybe because our offense has been giving them enough runs to work with (its like our offense smartened up to the bullpen, lol. Earlier in the season, they’d score 5 runs and sit and watch our horrid middle relief give it all back…now, they know they need to score more than usual as insurance, ha ha).

Whatever it was that Joe Torre told his team on that day in Toronto, it’s working, cause right now, everything seems to be clicking for the Yankees, and we arent looking back. Its going to be an exciting season, and i cant wait to watch how it all unfolds!!!

Let’s Go Yankeees!!!!!!!!

++++

Since school is now officially over, and i am now officially free of textbooks, but i am still in a reading mode having only done that practically all my life, i have been thinking of books i should add to my summer reading list. I love buying books. I am a frequent at Borders and Barnes & Nobles. I have a huge (non-textbook) library. I have books on basically everything. Ok, maybe not everything; i dont have any books on Sumo Wrestling . But when you talk about books on wars, english lit, cars, fiction, politics, love, DYIs, etc, i have them. But one category that’s not as prevalent are sports books. Mostly because i get all my sports knowledge via television. Almost everything i know about any sport, i learned it by watching it on TV: Sportscenter, YES, individual sports stations, sports analysis, etc.

I consider myself still a student of baseball. I wasnt fortunate enough to be born into a baseball family (lol), but the sport has become such a big part of me over the years, that i’ve basically had to grab the bull by the horn by myself and seek my own enlightenment. There was a time in 2003/2004 or so that i ONLY watched YES. Every program the channel had to offer, i was glued to it. I particularly liked when they would show Yankees encores and Yankeeography. I had/have pretty good knowledge of all present Yankees, but not so much the great/classic ones. I think my quest to officially brush up on my Yankee history began in around 2000 when i first declared that Mickey Mantle was going to be my favorite Yankee player ever. It was by coincidence. I had heard his name here and there, but never fully researched him. I just knew i liked him cause he wore number 7, and i like athletes that wear number 7 (is it coincidence that many great players wear/wore number 7? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Mickey Mantle, John Elway, Jose Reyes, Ben Roethlisberger, etc). 7 is my birthdate and the number i’ve worn throughout my entire sports career (be it varsity soccer & basketball in high school, or club/intermural soccer in college).

The first time i really took a strong interest to Mickey Mantle was after watching my favorite movie, A Bronx Tale, for the 5 millionth time, i decided to look further into this great player Calogero talked about.

And thats when my love affair with The Mick began, and today, i could tell you everything there is to know about Mickey Mantle. I know his stats like i know my student id numbers (ok, maybe i dont know how many career extra base hits he has off head…lol). I could tell you what he died from, when he died and where he was buried. I could tell you where he grew up, which high school he went, and what his favorite food was. Its safe to say, i have a healthy Mickey Mantle obsession.

I have a huge 20 x 16 poster of the legend on my wall at work.

When there’s a happy hour to be had and we are close to the Central Park region, i always suggest Mickey Mantle’s (OMG, this place is the place to go for anyone who loves Mickey Mantle!).

But yet, i know there’s more to Yankee legends than Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig (all who i consider my faves). So i watch Yankeeography to find out more. I know i will forever be a student because there’s just so much history in this ball club. I dont think i’ll ever get to a point where i will be like, "ok, i’ve had enough Yankee knowledge".

I have a couple of Yankees related books here and there, but i really want to add some more significant ones to my repertoire.

Someone suggested these two books;

&

I’m going to head to Borders sometime during the day today to check them out and most likely by them. But if anyone can suggest to me any other ones i should check out for some good Yankee and overall baseball knowledge, it’d be greatly appreciated!!

Ok, i gotta jet now! Blog more later! Deuces!

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