Tag:Derek Jeter
Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:44 am
 

Back outdoors, same result

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Teixeira slugged a bad Jesse Crain seventh-inning slider deep into the Minnesota night, high over the right-field fence, and the Target Field crowd went silent.

Just as you imagine the Metropolitan Stadium crowd did on Oct. 5, 1970, when pinch-hitter Rick Renick grounded to short to force Rich Reese at second in the ninth, allowing the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the Twins out of the ALCS.

The last time they played an outdoor playoff game in the Twin Cities.

The to-be-continued part following Renick's grounder, when the October outdoor baseball chapter of Twins' history resumed, picked back up with Twins starter Francisco Liriano fanning Derek Jeter to start Game 1 of the Twins-Yankees latest Divisional Series tussle here.

It was a gorgeous fall night, 63 degrees at game-time, shirt-sleeves weather for much of the evening.

But much like that old Metropolitan Stadium crowd from 1970, these Twins fans went home disappointed, too.

Of course, they've seen it before against the relentless Yankee machine.

"We play nine innings," New York shortstop Derek Jeter said of another comeback, this one after the Yanks trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning. "It's what you have to do. Whether you're ahead of behind, it's what you have to do."

Likes: Watching Roy Halladay was electric even from several hundred miles away. ... Perfect autumn day in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Temperature around 70, gold leaves, textbook fall weather. ... Great noon-time run on a path along the Mississippi River. ... Former pitcher Jack Morris on the field before the game telling stories. ... Derek Jeter eating at Murray's home of the "Silver Butter Knife Steak" on Tuesday night, the eve of Game 1.

Dislikes: No expanded instant replay for these playoffs. Delmon Young's two-out single in the ninth should have been an out -- television replays showed that Greg Golson, inserted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi as a defensive sub for Nick Swisher in the ninth inning, made a diving catch on Young's sinking liner. Umpires wrongly awarded Young a single which, in a 6-4 game, could have been problematical. But Jim Thome popped up the next pitch to third and the game was over. Had Thome deposited a game-tying, two-run homer against the Yankees, you wouldn't have heard the end of this debate for weeks. And being that it came against the Yankees, I guarantee expanded instant replay would have been put in place well ahead of next season's playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"From Mankato up to Brainerd
"From Burnsville to Bemidji
"Now we're playing outdoor baseball
"And that's the way it should be"

-- The Baseball Project with Craig Finn, Don't Call Them Twinkies

Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:40 am
 

Back outdoors, same result

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Teixeira slugged a bad Jesse Crain seventh-inning slider deep into the Minnesota night, high over the right-field fence, and the Target Field crowd went silent.

Just as you imagine the Metropolitan Stadium crowd did on Oct. 5, 1970, when pinch-hitter Rick Renick grounded to short to force Rich Reese at second in the ninth, allowing the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the Twins out of the ALCS.

The last time they played an outdoor playoff game in the Twin Cities.

The to-be-continued part following Renick's grounder, when the outdoor baseball chapter of Twins' postseason history resumed, returned with Twins starter Francisco Liriano fanning Derek Jeter to start Game 1 of the Twins-Yankees latest Divisional Series tussle here.

It was a gorgeous fall night, 63 degrees at game-time, shirt-sleeves weather for much of the evening.

But much like that old Metropolitan Stadium crowd from 1970, these Twins fans went home disappointed, too, following a 6-4 loss.

Of course, they've seen it before against the relentless Yankee machine.

"We play nine innings," New York shortstop Derek Jeter said of another comeback, this one after the Yanks trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning. "It's what you have to do. Whether you're ahead of behind, it's what you have to do."

Likes: Watching Roy Halladay was electric even from several hundred miles away. ... Perfect autumn day in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Temperature around 70, gold leaves, textbook fall weather. ... Great noon-time run on a path along the Mississippi River. ... Former pitcher Jack Morris on the field before the game telling stories. ... Derek Jeter eating at Murray's home of the "Silver Butter Knife Steak" on Tuesday night, the eve of Game 1. ... The Flatliner burger at Ike's -- Angus beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions and a fried egg. The trick is to keep the egg yolk runny, so when you bite into it, it oozes out onto the hamburger. You'd be surprised. Delicious.

Dislikes: No expanded instant replay for these playoffs. Delmon Young's two-out single in the ninth should have been an out -- television replays showed that Greg Golson, inserted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi as a defensive sub for Nick Swisher in the ninth inning, made a diving catch on Young's sinking liner. Umpires wrongly awarded Young a single which, in a 6-4 game, could have been problematical. But Jim Thome popped up the next pitch to third and the game was over. Had Thome deposited a game-tying, two-run homer against the Yankees, you wouldn't have heard the end of this debate for weeks. And being that it came against the Yankees, I guarantee expanded instant replay would have been put in place well ahead of next season's playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"From Mankato up to Brainerd
"From Burnsville to Bemidji
"Now we're playing outdoor baseball
"And that's the way it should be"

-- The Baseball Project with Craig Finn, Don't Call Them Twinkies

Posted on: September 23, 2010 5:26 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2010 5:28 pm
 

New Arizona blueprint: Less whiffs, better pen

New Arizona general manager Kevin Towers does not look at the Diamondbacks' situation as a major rebuild. And if things go the way he would like them to, among the first results you'll see is a team with an improved bullpen and, after a record-setting performance (non-performance?) this year, hitters who strike out much less.

The Diamondbacks all season have had the worst pen in the majors. But on Towers' first day as club GM Wednesday -- and with him in the stands -- the Diamondbacks set a new major-league single-season record for strikeouts.

The record breaker was Stephen Drew's whiff against Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa for 1,400 -- surpassing the 2001 Milwaukee Brewers' mark of 1,399. The Diamondbacks finished the game at 1,400.

"Power numbers come with strikeouts, but I think it's a little excessive," Towers was saying in the hours before the game. "I haven't had a lot of time to spend with [hitting coach] Jack Howell, but I do believe we can cut down on the strikeouts.

"Recognizing pitches better, knowing your hot zone. Guys might be pressing. There isn't a ton of experience, and sometimes guys press and change their swings.

"We'll come up with a plan for each and every guy, and hopefully cut down on strikeouts."

Three Diamondbacks currently reside in the top 10 among NL strikeout leaders: Mark Reynolds (first, 204), Adam LaRoche (fifth, 159) and Justin Upton (eighth, 152).

Five D-backs reside in the top 14 among NL strikeout leaders: The aforementioned trio plus Chris Young (tied for 12th, 136) and Kelly Johnson (14th, 135).

It's a trend that has become more alarming with each passing year: While this year's club already has set a record for most strikeouts, the 2009 D-backs ranks 10th all-time (1,298 strikeouts) and the '08 club ranks 11th all-time (1,287).

As for the bullpen, the Diamondbacks' is historically bad. Not only is the 5.76 bullpen ERA the worst in the majors, the numbers are among the worst of any bullpen over the past 50 years.

Among his priorities, Towers lists "improving the bullpen, improving the bench and improving the starting pitching depth." He praised key position players already in place, naming catcher Miguel Montero, shortstop Stephen Drew, center fielder Chris Young and second baseman Kelly Johnson among the assets.

That all of those players play up the middle, where all good clubs must be strong, is heartening to Towers.

Among the starting pitchers, Towers singles out for praise Ian Kennedy, Joey Enright and Daniel Hudson.

Towers historically built stellar bullpens during his 14 years in San Diego, and though he noted part of that was because he had closer Trevor Hoffman for 12 years and Heath Bell for two, that will be the goal in Arizona. Towers mentions delving into the free agent market, the international free agent market, looking at minor-league six-year free agents, every avenue available.

"I don't think this is a situation where we'll have to wait a couple of years," Towers said. "My hope is to be next year's Padres."

Likes: Lots of people think the Dodgers have packed it in given their uninspired play (and given James Loney telling the Los Angeles Times this week that at times this year other teams have played harder than the Dodgers), but you can't accuse manager Joe Torre of quitting. He's shuffled his rotation to make sure Clayton Kershaw gets a start against the Rockies next week. The Giants, Padres and even Braves surely appreciate that. ... Atlanta's Matt Diaz tripping the fan who was running around the field like an idiot in Philadelphia the other night. ... This blog on Derek Jeter from the YES Network's Jack Curry. ... San Francisco traveling to Colorado this weekend, and there's nothing like a hot rivalry stoked by conspiracy theories. ... This obituary on Leonard Skinner, an old Florida high school phys ed teacher -- and the namesake for band Lynyrd Skynyrd. ... And if you've ever used the term "so-and-so has jumped the shark", you owe it to yourself to read this first-person account from the man who, yes, wrote the Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumped the shark.

Dislikes: Love Tina Fey. Love Steve Carrell. Date Night? Do not love it. In fact, did not even like it. Disliked it so much I yanked it out of my DVD player halfway through the other night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Pretty women out walkin' with gorillas down my street
"From my window I'm starin' while my coffee goes cold
"Look over there
"Where?
"There!
"There's a lady that I used to know
"She's married now or engaged or somethin', so I'm told"

-- Joe Jackson, Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Posted on: July 12, 2010 9:41 pm
 

On Derek Jeter, Bob Sheppard and summer

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Here's hoping that when Derek Jeter becomes a free agent this winter, the Yankees re-sign him to a 20-year deal.

OK, so that's a tad unrealistic, given that Jeter already is 36.

But the way things stand now, the longer Jeter hangs around, the longer we'll hear the voice of the late, legendary public address announcer Bob Sheppard.

Jeter requested that Sheppard record the introduction to his at-bat a few years ago when Sheppard's health began to decline. And today, at every home Yankees' game, it is the tape of Sheppard's voice ("Now batting ... number 2 ... Derek ... Jetah ... number 2") that introduces Jeter.

"Bob Sheppard is as much a part of our organization as anyone," Jeter said Monday before the American League All-Star team worked out at Angel Stadium. "He's part of the whole experience of going to Yankee Stadium.

"He's someone, who when I went to see games when I was younger, the way he says your name ... when he says your name, you know you've made it."

I kidded Jeter about my idea that he signs a 20-year deal, or more to the point, that the Yankees should give him several extra years just so we could continue to listen to Sheppard introduce him. But Jeter wasn't having any of that.

"I talked about my contract the first day of spring training and then said I wasn't going to talk about it anymore," he said.

I know, I know. But still, it's a thought isn't it?

If the rest of our summers were filled with sunshine, ice cream and listening to Sheppard introduce Jeter, that would be a pretty good thing. Maybe even Red Sox fans would be on board with that.

Posted on: June 26, 2010 2:05 am
Edited on: June 26, 2010 2:12 am
 

Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez: The Sounds of Silence

LOS ANGELES -- The weekend's theme appears pretty well set after the Joe Torre-Alex Rodriguez Cold War continued on its icy path following the Yankees' 2-1 series-opening victory here Friday night.

Torre said he was "relieved" that the pre-game meet-and-greet with several of his Yankees friends was finished and that now he can move on to concentrating on baseball.

Except, he said before the game that he intended to shake A-Rod's hand as well during batting practice. And the two never got close enough to each other for that to happen.

And while he didn't seek A-Rod, the Yankees slugger was noticeably conspicuous in his failure to greet Torre as well.

"I don't look at that as disrespect," Torre said late Friday night. "I don't know what to say. I certainly don't want to dump on Alex that it was disrespect. He was over there stretching and I was talking to people. If we had come close enough. ..."

As far as Torre is concerned, he doesn't think there are any issues to solve with A-Rod.

"I'll say hello to him," Torre said. "I don't know what to iron out. I don't feel there's anything that keeps us from acknowledging each other.

"I'm comfortable with how my feelings are. If he chooses not to talk to me, it doesn't mean I'm not going to like him. I was around him a few years and I thought we got along well."

Down the hall and across the lobby, in the other clubhouse, Rodriguez downplayed what has had all the appearances of a tiff since Torre dropped him to eighth in the lineup in Game 4 of the 2006 playoffs against Detroit and then portrayed him in an unflattering light in Torre's 2009 book, The Yankee Years.

"I'm sure we'll get the opportunity to talk," Rodriguez said. "We're going to be here for three days. There's no rush.

"If he wants to talk, I'm more than willing."

Rodriguez pointed out that he wasn't around Torre as long as core players like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, but noted he learned several things during his time with Torre nonetheless.

"He was a good teacher of hitting," Rodriguez said. "One thing I use to this day, anytime I was struggling he'd say, 'I'm telling you the same thing I told Dale Murphy: Hit the ball into the right-field seats,'" Rodriguez said. "To this day, I can still hear his voice."

Posted on: June 6, 2010 8:45 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2010 8:52 pm
 

Hey newspapers, you better listen up

I love newspapers. Love 'em. Even in the Internet age, I couldn't imagine starting my day without breakfast, coffee and the newspaper.

But newspapers are making it harder and harder for me to love them. Because the people who run them are hell-bent on destroying them.

The latest example to slap me in the face came Saturday morning, when I brought the Los Angeles Times in from my driveway and there was absolutely no mention, zero, on the front page of John Wooden's death.

I couldn't believe it.

Among other things, newspapers serve as instant time capsules. There are certain days, for me at least, when I can't wait to get the morning paper. Mostly, these days come after a monumental news story occurs.

This was one of them.

I flipped back to the sports section, and there was a huge photo of Wooden and excellent (as usual) columns by T.J. Simers and Bill Plaschke. Back to the front page, in case I had missed something. No. Nada.

After several minutes, I found six boxes under the Simers and Plaschke columns -- known as "refers", in the biz -- indexing where the various stories in the package could be found. A story on Wooden's Pyramid of Success, for example, on page C-7. Well, the first box read "Obituary for an American Icon" on A-1.

Except, whoops.

No obituary. On John Wooden. In the Los Angeles Frickin' Times.

Obviously, there was some miscommunication in production and somebody didn't replace something that had been planned for the front page with a big Wooden spread.

How could this happen? Hmmm, I know! That's easy!

The corporate owners of the Times have laid off so many copy editors, production folks, writers, etc. over the past several years that the paper is a shell of what it once was. And egregious mistakes occur more and more frequently (though this is off-the-charts egregious. This might have been the worst newspaper screw-up I've ever seen).

Same story at nearly every other newspaper.

Three times so far this baseball season, the Padres' final score has not made it into my San Diego Union-Tribune (another paper that lands in my driveway each day). Again with the new corporate owners. They moved deadline up so far that even Padres games that ended around 11 p.m. weren't making it into the newspaper.

Now, the kicker: Each of those three times the Padres didn't make it into my local paper (I live in northern San Diego County), the final box score was in the Los Angeles Times.

Now how in the hell can the San Diego paper pull that? Has it got death wish?

Wait, don't answer that.

Obviously, it's gotten a lot of complaints because a week or so back there was a note from the sports editor detailing new deadlines and promising that every effort would be made to get the Padres' final in the paper.

So that's the state of newspapers today: By their actions, essentially broadcasting to their readers, hey, there's no need to subscribe to us. Because depending on circumstances, there is a very good chance we won't have what you care about in our slimmed-down paper.

I love newspapers. And I will continue subscribing until they turn out the lights on the very last one.

But, dammit, what's wrong with you people running them?

(Oh, and excuse me for veering off topic on this blog today. If you came here looking for baseball news, here's what I got: Wooden loved baseball, and he especially loved Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, Dodgers manager Joe Torre and Angels manager Mike Scoscia. There. There's the tie-in to baseball.).

Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:55 pm
 

Joe Torre remembers John Wooden

LOS ANGELES -- John Wooden wasn't quite gone yet when the subject turned to the Coach in the Dodgers' dugout pre-game here Friday. Manager Joe Torre immediately softened, and I could swear his eyes moistened just a bit.

Torre met the legendary UCLA coach several years ago, when he was managing the Yankees and Wooden was well enough to travel to Angel Stadium for the meeting. Torre fondly recalled that moment Friday, speaking of how he's carried a piece of Wooden -- like so many others -- in his own work.

"His philosophy, I've used many times in trying to get points across and make decisions," Torre said. "Him being a big baseball fan, I didn't know that."

They talked about it, though -- and about other things -- over a lunch that lasted, according to Torre, four or five hours.

"To me, it was a great time when you have the opportunity to share some time with him," said Torre, who always enjoyed how much Wooden respected Derek Jeter.

Torre said Wooden phoned "when I decided to change jobs", and spoke in near awe of moments when Wooden would phone him.

"One time I was driving around with my wife and the phone rang and it was him," Torre said. "It always startles me, because he's such an enormous person."

Between them, Wooden and Torre have won 14 titles: Wooden led UCLA to 10 NCAA basketball championships, and Torre managed the New York Yankees to four World Series victories.

Category: MLB
Posted on: November 25, 2009 1:56 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2009 2:29 pm
 

Thanksgiving

This long weekend, we give thanks. For all sorts of things. ...

 For turkey and dressing. Because after a 162-game season, man needs something other than hot dogs and beer.

 For loving (and understanding) family and friends. Because, really, you can only cuddle up to the Rally Monkey or your authentic Derek Jeter jersey for so long.

 For the Yankees' 27th World Series title. Because their long-suffering fans have been so patient and understanding during such a drastic drought.

 For wall-to-wall football on the big-screen TV during Thanksgiving weekend. Because as much fun as it is to watch football, it also reminds us of how much we're missing when the baseball season goes dark.

 For childhood memories at the holidays that continue to keep you warm all those decades later. Playing football with your brother in a soft snowfall in the vacant yard next door that seemed so big then and looks so small now. Watching the Lions lose again (yes, even back then) while mom -- every bit the artist in the Thanksgiving kitchen that Picasso was with a brush -- put the finishing touches on dinner. Nighttime dominoes and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream. No school, wide-open days and Christmas around the corner.

 For CC Sabathia. Because even the Yankees are likeable behind his smile.

 For Cy Young races as close as the NL this year with the Tim Lincecum-Chris Carpenter-Adam Wainwright finish. Because it is things like this that give us something to argue about all winter, which sure beats discussing your wife's plans for the kitchen remodel or your daughter's unlimited texting plan!

 For the game No. 163 that the Twins and Tigers gave us in October. We knew then that there was no way any other postseason game was going to match that one in terms of drama and emotion, and we were right. For anybody with a pulse, it was one of the great moments of the season. Or, as Orlando Cabrera called it, the "most unbelievable game I've ever played or seen."

 For the Angels' Torii Hunter, the Twins' Joe Mauer, free agent Jason Bay, Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, the Tigers' Curtis Granderson, the Brewers' Trevor Hoffman and the many other good people in the game who have given back to their community over and over again, reminding us why a big league club can be so valuable to a community.

 For the Web site The Sports Pickle, which keeps us howling at times throughout the year with "stories" like this one: MLB to Complete Long-Awaited 1994 Season.

 For crazy folks like the guy who voted Detroit's Miguel Cabrera first on his AL MVP ballot, the only one of 28 voters who didn't have Mauer first. Because it is mistakes like this that make us realize that when we do bone-headed things on our own, we're not alone. The only explanation I can think of is that Keizo Konishi of Kyodo News in Japan -- he's based in Seattle and covers the Mariners -- turned in his ballot before the final weekend of the season, when Cabrera pulled an all-nighter and police were summoned to his home to quell a domestic disturbance with the Tigers battling to hang onto their AL Central lead. Because given that stunt, Cabrera not only didn't deserve a first-place vote, he didn't deserve to be on the 10-deep ballot.

 For two years' worth of touring from Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band, whose odyssey just closed on Sunday night in Buffalo, N.Y., leaving many of us to ponder when we'll ever attend another concert that matches that level.

 For Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. Because we all need living museums.

 For the two wacky managers in Chicago, Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen. Because they're so passionate, and so entertaining.

 For Christmas being just around the corner. Because you know several cool surprises are just around the corner. And look, here's one now. You've got to check out this crazy Bob Dylan video from his new Christmas album. It'll put a smile on your face for the rest of the day, I promise.

 For good health, good cheer and good friends.

 To all who come around here regularly, whether to cheer or to boo, thanks. And a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Likes: A hearty shout-out to the Falcons of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, who clipped Constantine 23-17 in a Michigan state football semifinal on Saturday and will play for the state title on Friday against No. 1-ranked Montague at Detroit's Ford Field. Congratulations to the Falcons and old classmate and friend Coach Jack Giarmo, whose work with a proud program continues to be top-shelf. Go get 'em on Friday, fellas. Go green! Scouting report is here (from the good guys' perspective, of course).

Dislikes: Still looking for a reasonable last-minute airfare to get to Friday's title game. Still looking. ... Still looking. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Catholic Central hats off to thee
"To your colors true we will ever be
"Firm and strong, united are we
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah, rah, rah, rah
"Rah for the Falcon team"

-- Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High School fight song

Hey, the state title game is this week. We gotta go with this one.

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com