April 2009

A foul, is a foul, is a foul

Driving into work today I heard this ridiculous argument on sports talk radio…it took everything in my power to not pick up the phone and go on a Shearn soap box 20-minute rant without a breath.

Here was the stupidity: “You can’t call a foul with .2 seconds left when it will impact the outcome of the game.” Hmm…interesting…so the same foul you call at 10:48 left in the first quarter, can’t be a foul when the game is on the line? So you can basically play rough house with under 10 seconds to go? You can basically pick up a player driving down the lane, throw them off the ropes into a suplex and nothing should be called.

Did you hear that?! That’s the asinine alert going off! Fouls are the problem in the NBA. It’s why college basketball is so much more watchable than the pro game. You have a flow in college. The play is up and down. Sure, there are fouls called in college games, but for the most part the officials let them play.

The NBA on the other hand, is up the floor foul, down the floor foul, up the floor foul, down the floor foul. Don’t breathe on Kobe or LeBron either. If your breath is kickin’ like Bruce Lee, and you breathe in Kobe or LeBron’s general direction, its a foul. You may even get a technical. It’s kind of like when the army jeep hits the Pinto in the movie, “Top Secret.” It barely taps the back bumper and makes a little “ting” noise, and the Pinto explodes. For those of you too young to remember a Pinto, it was a Ford model that was said to blow up in rear end collisions.

ANYWAY! My point is if it’s a foul with 9:37 left in the second quarter, then it should jolly well be a foul with five seconds left in the fourth quarter or double overtime.

Phil Hughes Huge, Wade Redden Small

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the time of new beginnings, it was the beginning of a season of tee times.

Tuesday April 28, 2009 was the best of times and the worst of times for Chris Shearn.

Tonight I saw the best of Phil Hughes, back from the Minors and dealing like he was trained at the best blackjack table in Vegas. He was like the Tigers roach motel. Detroit hitters came up, and immediately sat down. The ones that did reach base were left stranded like the Skipper and Gilligan. I would have given a Lost reference, but I don’t watch it, so I had to go way back.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale a tale of a faithful trip. That started from Scranton/Wilkes Barre, aboard the Yanks Triple-A ship.

Yes a stretch, but its almost 11 o’clock and I’m getting a little loopy. What a performance by Hughes. Six innings, two hits, no runs, two walks and six strikeouts. A scoreless game until the seventh inning, when the Bombers put up a 10-spot highlighted by a grand slam off the bat of Jose Molina. Another solid inning out of Mark Melancon…can you say Melancon/Chamberlain/Rivera to close games? Sorry Joba, if Phil continues to pitch like this, and Wang comes off the DL and returns to form, you should be headed back to your strength – the pen – which in this case is mightier than the start.

Now I know none of you probably care about hockey, but I do so I am going to rant a little bit. Should the Rangers even have been in a Game 7 with the likes of the Washington Capitals…NO! Should the Rangers been in a tight game seven with the Washington Capitals…NO! Were they though? YES!

Rangers fans, how many games has Wade Redden come up small in this year? Plenty! So should it come as a huge shock that Redden skated on the back of his heels when Sergei Federov was winding up to take the game-winning slap shot past Henrik Lundqvist?

Not only did Redden not take the body. Not only did Redden not attempt a poke check. Redden acted as a screen on his own goaltender who stood on his head the entire game and deserved better than to have an awful worthless defenseman get in the way of the Rangers headed to the second round. There I said it. Now maybe I can sleep a little better tonight. The Yankees win helps, but Redden is on my list. If I were the Rangers organization, as he was shaking hands, his uniform would have been taken off and he would have been cut right there on the spot. He is garbage. Not just ordinary garbage, he’s garbage that’s been sitting in a landfill for months, that smells worse than anything you have ever smelled in your life.

Okay, I’m done. I am going to take a couple of Gaviscon and call it a night. No Sports Sprint tomorrow, but I will see you for BP tomorrow night at 6 p.m. ET on YES!

Remember Newman on Seinfeld and how he loathed Keith Hernandez…I looooooooathe you Wade Redden.

I’ll take the Yankees and Forrest Gump for $1000, Alex

The answer is, “The quote from the movie that most represents the 2009 Yankees so far.” Ooh, ooh, I know this! What is, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Mama always said it about life, and now I am saying it about these Yankees.

From the lineup, to the bullpen, to the starters, I don’t know if I’m getting butter cream, peanut butter, or coconut filling. I hate coconut filling by the way. And, lately, the Yankees are giving me plenty of coconut.

The losing streak is now at four. Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL with a hip flexor issue, (hip flexor issue in this case means he’s out of options, couldn’t send him down to Triple A) and has an ERA over 34. CC Sabathia was supposed to come in here and be a shut-down ace, injecting CC’s of 0’s and K’s into opposing lineups. Still waiting for that to happen. Yes, I’m aware of what he did last year with the Indians and the Brewers. He was 12-0 over 18 starts last June 10th through September 10th. But, CC, “What have you done for me lately? Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, yeah.” Janet Jackson Disease (JJD) is very catchy and I think I am coming down with it. Everyone is worried about Swine Flu now, but JJD is what I am worried about catching.

Sabathia pitched well enough to win last night, but either Justin Verlander miraculously remembered how to pitch, or the Yankees forgot how to hit.

A.J. Burnett has been OK, but, in his last start, the Yankees had a 6-0 lead on Josh Beckett, and they couldn’t hold on. Unfortunately, that’s what sticks in your head. Big time symptom of JJD. You’re only as good as your last start or your last at-bat.

Joba Chamberlain’s days as a starter should be numbered. I’m Maverick here and I am calling the ball — especially if Phil Hughes can make an instant impact. Hughes has been lights out at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (three wins, 19.1 IP, 1.86 ERA 19K, 3 BB), and tonight he gets the start against the Tigers.

I may be getting ahead of myself with Mark Melancon, but with Brian Bruney being on the shelf, the bridge to Mariano would be a lot sturdier if it went Melancon, Chamberlain, Rivera.  John Flaherty told me in Flash Forward this week that the Yankees were forced to bring Melancon up a little early, but to be put in at Fenway Park in front of a national television audience, and to do what he was able to do was impressive. (You can catch the entire Flash Forward in the video section of YESnetwork.com.)

As far as the hitting goes, Robinson Cano has really been the only consistent plate performer. The Yankees second baseman is the only one hitting over .300. Nick Swisher has cooled off, and Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira are both hitting .220. There is some good news, though.  Alex Rodriguez took live batting practice down in Tampa today, and you will see the video on Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m. ET on YES.

I know its “still early” in this 2009 season, but when does it start to get late? Yogi Berra said it the best, “It gets late awfully early around here.” He was commenting on the adverse sun conditions in left field at the old stadium. His quote, however, will stand the test of time to the spreading disease that is Janet Jackson. Nineteen games in, I’m already suffering from the symptoms. However, I promise … no, I guarantee … no wardrobe malfunctions will occur on the set.  

Saturday hangover

youkilis250_042509.jpg

Is it me or do all Yankee fans feel like they were on a Patron Silver bender last night and are suffering from the worst headache you could think of this morning?

Pick a team. Any team. Except the Red Sox. Arguably the best closer in the history of baseball gave up a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He’s human. It happens. However, the way the Yankees lost last night is just a hard pill to swallow. If it was any other team, it would be a tough loss, but it would easier to deal with today.

The Yankees are probably the only team that makes me lose sleep. I will lay in bed after a loss like that and try to figure out a way they could have and should have won. Tossing and turning, turning and tossing, tossing and turning all night.

Eventually I will get to sleep and dream about the end of the game, and the dream will be so vivid, so real, that I wake up thinking that my dream was the ACTUAL outcome of the game. Obsessed much? Who me? Yes, yes, I am. I can’t help it. It’s the way I’ve always been, much to my wife’s chagrin.

It’s how I am in every aspect of my life. I hate to lose and I hate when my team loses.  Speaking of how I am in my life, I hate making mistakes. I’ll be the first one to admit it. I am by no means perfect. Another glaring example of me and my foot in mouth disease happened last night on “Yankees Batting Practice Today.” I incorrectly stated that Johnny Damon would be the only lefty to face Jon Lester. Well, unless Robinson Cano learned how to hit right handed in the Yankees off day, I was sadly mistaken. That is also the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. I want to do the best job possible for the fans watching these shows. I want to get you ready for your night of Yankee baseball. When I do something like that it’s inexcusable, and I apologize. Apparently I don’t know how to dress either (see the Blob).

I admit I am not GQ. Never have been. Never will be. That’s not my thing, obviously. I like being a little different. I like being a little colorful. My outfit may have been a little out there when I did my Time Out during the Mike Francesa show, but Blob, have you seen Craig Sager?

Last night my fandom took a BIG hit. The Rangers got blanked down in D.C., and the Yankees, well, we know what happened. Thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach, but, today is a new day, right!?

Oh yeah, wait a minute. It’s a new day without Brian Bruney and Cody Ransom, and the Yankees have to face Josh Beckett. Maybe I’ll go back to sleep and dream the outcome.  At least I can fool myself into thinking they got a win. Wake me up tomorrow before Sunday Night Baseball. Oh wait, I can’t go to sleep. I have to see who the Giants take in the draft.    

New stadium nickname contest

Hey everyone! We here at YESNetwork.com would like to start a little contest to see who can come up with the best nickname for the new Yankee Stadium. The winner will walk away … drum roll please … with a choice of a blue or white YES Network Sports Sprint T-shirt that you could sport at the beach or cut the sleeves off and wear it at the gym. We don’t mind … it will be your shirt.

After evaluating the submissions left in the Off the Wall comment box, here are the best nominees. Place your vote now:

Which nickname do you like best for the new Yankee Stadium?(answers)

Cathedral to Coliseum

yankstad4.jpgThe House that Ruth Built. The Cathedral. The Home Office for Baseball. 161st St. and River Ave.  The gracious, grand old ballpark the Yankees used to call home still stands, for now, in the gigantic shadow of the Yankees future, the new Yankee Stadium.

We will miss the old ballpark. We’ll miss the mystique, aura and ghosts that came along with the place across the street.

One thing we won’t miss are the memories. Those we carry with us for the test of time. Those will stay in our thoughts to carry on to our future generations. Our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and grandkids will all be the beneficiaries of our picture painting of those great times at what was simply called, “The Stadium.”

It is time to turn the page, though. It is time to move across the street and make new memories.  It’s time for Opening Day 2009 at the new Yankee Stadium. Whether you are here in the ballpark today, taking all of the festivities in at home on TV, or listening to John and Suzyn on WCBS 880AM, we are all a part of this historic day. Raise your glasses and toast the old place one last time, and then look across the street and embrace the future.

The Outlaw – Allan James Burnett

SOLID START
A.J. Burnett was absolutely lights out picking up Chien-Ming Wang once again. Burnett had a 2-0 lead and a no-hitter into the seventh. Then gave up his first hit, the shutout and the lead, all in the Rays’ half of the seventh.

He didn’t crumble after he gave up two runs. Joe Girardi didn’t even get anyone up in the bullpen. Burnett got out of the jam and the Yankees rewarded their starter with a run in their half of the eighth to go back out in front, 3-2. Burnett then worked a perfect eighth inning and his night was over. Eight innings, three hits, two runs, one walk, and nine strike outs. He is now 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. 

Ladies and gentleman, children of all ages, so far in Yankeeland 2009, I give you your cure for Janet Jackson Disease: Mr. A.J. Burnett.

OFFENSE
Brett Gardner exploded Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., (3-for-5, 2 2B, RBI). I’d like to reiterate my comfort level from my Homegrown Gardner blog from March 30:

“Gardner will be the Opening Day center fielder for Joe Girardi and the Yankees, and even though some “experts” aren’t comfortable with him being there, I am in a lazy boy with the fridge and a case of beer, and comfortable.”

Do they still make the recliners with the refrigerators? 

The top two guys in the lineup, Derek Jeter and Gardner, went 6-for-10 with four RBIs.  How about Swish at the dish? Nick Swisher was in the four hole and went 2-4 with a solo home run, his fourth of the year. Oh by the way, Swish is hitting .458. He thought it was heady to be hitting in the three hole with Mark Teixeira out of the lineup. I wonder how he felt hitting clean up? I’ll ask him Thursday when I am at the new Yankee Stadium for Opening Day.

Sleep well Yankee fans. See you for the Sprint at 1p.m. ET, then for Yankees Batting Practice today at 3 p.m. 

THE I(RS)des of April are upon you

Observations on Tax Day Eve 2009

I Saw the Sein
Page 2 New York Post – Mike Vaccaro’s column on Citi Field – Jerry Seinfeld named his son after a pie? Really? Shepherd? Why do they call Ovaltine? The jar is round, why don’t they call it Roundtine! Gold Jerry! Gold! By the way HUGE Seinfeld fan…had an idea for an episode actually…everyone gets on the computer dating scene…George and Jerry wind up with clunkers…yet Kramer and Elaine are taking things slow with there cyber significant others…and at the end of the show they show up to meet their matches and its each other…Hey Elaine what are you doing here? I’m here to meet my date, what are you doing here? Hoochie MAMA!

DND
Two former members of the Knicks Do Nothing Dynasty (or simply the DND) are back in the news. Stephon Marbury is off to the playoffs with the Celtics and his former coach, Isiah Thomas, accepting an offer to coach Florida International University.

Marbury, talking about his new teammates said, “I want the same feeling (of winning a championship). When you win a championship, it’s like a drug. You’re on a high. I want some of that high.” See the Bruce Beck interview on You Tube…you would think he won a championship…tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Good luck Zeke, maybe you can welcome FIU to the NIT.

Swisher the Pitcher?
Nick Swisher has played the outfield, he’s played first base, and now he could add reliever to his Yankees resume. Considering how its been so far for the bullpen, Swisher and his 0.00 ERA may be called upon again soon.

Biblical Stadium
A fan came up with the best nickname for the new Citi Field, “The House of David.” I like it and David Wright was the first Met to go deep at their new digs. Mike Pelfrey allowed the first ever home run to Jody Gerut to lead off the game.

By the way does Carlos Beltran have to become Kelly Leak from The Bad News Bears and chase down all the fly balls in the Mets outfield?

First Pitch Blues
On another Mets note…do you think the organization will let the battery tandem of Seaver and Piazza throw out another first or last pitch? They closed Shea last season with a loss that knocked the Mets out of the playoffs…and this season Citi Field opened with a loss.

Wang Way
The average age of the Yankees 25-man roster is 29.88. Chien Ming Wang’s ERA currently comes in right under that at 28.93.

Yo Ho Doh
Mad Props to President Obama for authorizing the hit on the Somali pirates by our Navy SEALS…The three pirates were taken out by three snipers, on three simultaneous shots, freeing their captive Captain Richard Phillips. A job well done.

A Fond Farewell
And a so long goes out to two members of the baseball community who passed away yesterday. Harry Kalas and Mark Fidrych. Check out Jim Kaat’s remembrances in Kaat’s Korner.

Adenhart was all heart

adenhart_250_041009.jpgHow can you not be? When you are 22 years old, already had Tommy John surgery, and spent four years in the Minor Leagues out of high school?

Nick Adenhart made his Major League Debut last year against the A’s, lasting just two innings, walking five and giving up five runs, it was definitely a start he wouldn’t want to remember. His last start against the A’s, the one right before he died, was one Angels fans and his teammates won’t soon forget. He scattered seven hits over six innings, didn’t allow a run, walked three and struck out five.

Adenhart was taken too soon by a suspected drunk driver. When will people learn not to get behind the wheel of a car after they have consumed alcohol? The driver, 22-year-old Andrew Thomas Gallo, was driving with a suspended license because of a previous drunken driving conviction. He’s being charged with three counts of murder, three counts of vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run and felony driving under the influence of alcohol. He is being held without bail.

While he sits in a jail cell, still breathing for some reason, three families are devastated. Adenhart died in surgery; 25-year-old Henry Nigel Pearson, and 20-year-old Courtney Frances Stewart were pronounced dead at the scene.

If you are out with your friends and you’ve had one too many, call a cab, call a friend, call your parents, an uncle or aunt, just don’t get behind the wheel. We aren’t invincible. If this tragedy doesn’t open your eyes, I don’t know what will.

Janet Jackson Disease

No, the title has nothing to do with bras opening up without warning. It’s what I have been calling sports in the New York area since I was in high school. Janet Jackson disease is quite simply, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?” We all suffer from it, we can’t help it, and the only cure for this dreaded disease is winning.  

So, Yankee fans waking up today with the sniffles and a mild case of JJD, let me give you this advice…IT’S ONLY ONE GAME!

Peter Parker’s uncle Ben said it a long time ago, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It translates to the Yankees year in year out: with big contracts come big expectations. I get that, but what you have to get is these guys are human and baseball is a cyclical game.

Let me throw some numbers at you to prove my point. Last season, CC Sabathia started the year 1-5 with the Indians. Then in a stretch from June 10 until September 10 with Cleveland and Milwaukee, he went 12-0 in 18 starts. Even in the no-decisions he pitched well enough to win.  

Mark Teixeira went 0-for-4 and left five runners on base.  It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. Big Tex is going to be the most popular Yankee since Paul O’Neill or Bernie Williams.

To help with the healing process Yankee fans, I give you this refrain from Daniel Powter’s song, “Bad Day”
 
Because you had a bad day
You’re taking one down
You sing a sad song just to turn it around
You say you don’t know
You tell me don’t lie
You work at a smile and you go for a ride
You had a bad day
The camera don’t lie
You’re coming back down and you really don’t mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Read that 10 times, take a couple of Ibuprofen and tune in to Yankees Batting Practice Today, tomorrow night at 6 right here on YES. We’ll get through this ONE loss together.