Friday, April 29, 2011

Baltimore Roadtrip

I was up bright and early last Saturday morning. Well, not bright, more like cloudy and early. It was 7:40am on my day off when I awoke to a text from a friend of mine that said "I'm in the Bronx. First one to reply gets shotgun." I replied "I'll be ready in 6 minutes." It was time to get on the road because the Yankees were playing in Baltimore and my friends and I had tickets.

After Russ picked up Grumer, Jay and myself, we got on to 95 south. We drove through Jersey as fast as possible and only stopped once. It's just too hard to pass a Cracker Barrel without stopping. Once breakfast was resting safely in our stomachs and we were insulted enough by Philly fans, we were back in the car headed to Delaware.

Delaware went quickly and without even noticing, we were in Maryland. Soon we were ignoring Grumer's question of what a tunnel was and we were in the tunnel headed right into Baltimore. Once we exited the tunnel there it was. Just beyond M&T Stadium (the home of the Baltimore Ravens) was the beautiful Camden Yards.

After we were all done snapping pictures, it was time to find parking. We drove a few blocks and accidently parked in a hospital parking lot. We paid $7.00 for parking instead of $25.00 so I recommend making the same mistake. After we were parked in what seemed like the center of the earth because we went down so far to find a spot that wasn't reserved for physicians, we all got game ready and left whatever articles of clothing weren't needed in the car. We then realized we had arrived 6 hours prior to game time. WONDERFUL!

We walked to the stadium and directly across from Camden is a row of fun looking bars. And since it was dark and rainy we did what any man would do if they had 6 hours to kill before a sporting event. We drank.

We walked in to a bar called Pickles Pub and had a seat at their lesser crowded bar. We then made friends with the bar tender and began our fun. Slowly the place began to get crowded and to our surprise, the Yankee fans were strong in numbers. There were no angry words spoke between us and any O's fans. At one point it was recommended that we try Baltimore wings and I have to say, if you are in the area and are a lover of chicken wings, do try them.

After about 4 hours in the bar, we ventured outside. We were very surprised to see that the clouds had vanished and the sun was shining bright. Our next step was to enjoy a delicious Maryland crab cake because let's be honest, if youbare in Maryland and you don't try a crab cake, you are doing yourself a great injustice.

Once the crab cakes were done, it was time to venture inside. Upon seeing the field, you realize that Camden Yards is one of the most beautiful stadiums you will ever see. There is no easy way to describe why but everything about it just screams Baseball.

Our seats were outstanding. Right center field bleachers in the front row. There were a decent amount of Yankee fans so we weren't alone although I wasn't really worried, at this point we had established that Orioles fans are very nice people. They are not obnoxious Yankee haters (well not outwardly anyway). They are passionate and knowledgeable.

The game as a whole was a laugher although Adam Jones did what he could to spoil C.C.'s unstopable approach and make a game of it for a little while. Jones teed off on a pitch and drove it out in right field making it a 6-3 game. However, C.C. would go on to complete 8 innings and the Yankees would win 15-3 while hitting 5 homers (2 by Russell Martin).

Even while the Yankees were destroying the Orioles, the fans never really got on our case. It wasn't until the game was over sand we were outside that some O's fans decided to get tough. For the most part, we just laughed off remarks about how the Yankees "suck."

We walked the few blocks to our car and it was straight to New York for Easter dinner.

As a whole, the trip was certainly memorable and one I hope to take again someday.

WEEK IN REVIEW: The Yanks came home to a 4 game set against the White Sox. The Sox were able to take the first two games of the series by stifling the Yankee bats. The first game was lost 2-0. Rafael Soriano gave up the 2nd run in the ninth. The next night, the Yanks had a 2-1 lead going into the 8th, and again Soriano was not able to get the job done. This time, Soriano gave up a go ahead homer to Paul Konerko. I'm sick of hearing "it's only April" in regards to Soriano. The man is being paid a lot of money to get outs in every month, and if the Yankees end up losing the division by one game, you better believe I'll remember this.

The following night, the Yanks rode Bartolo Colon to a 3-1 victory. Colon threw a brilliant 8 innings just giving up 1 run. Mariano came in for the save.

C.C. Sabathia continued the recent string of strong outings with a 7 inning performance on Thursday night. The Yanks were being no hit through 4 innings despite taking a two run lead on 4 walks and a sacrifice fly. In th fifth, Gardner led off with a monster homerun to break up the no-no. The Yankees continued to collectively hit for the cycle in 4 consecutive at bats. The team batted around before recording an out. The game ended 12-3.

Tonight did not go so well. The pitching was painful, and the Yanks were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The final score was 5-3.

Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup tonight after a night off due to a sore shoulder.

Phil Hughes may have a season ending circulatory issue and will be seeing a specialist on Monday.

Finally, the Yankees have welcomed back their back up catcher, Francisco Cervelli.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Friday, April 22, 2011

On a Tear

First, let me start by apologizing for my recent absense. It certainly has been a little while since my last article. Last time I wrote an article, the Yankees were not in first place. Today, they have a 2.5 game lead over the A.L. East while Boston is still sitting in the basement of the division.

Are there still non-believers out there? Our Yanks are 10-6 and are the only team currently in the division with a winning record. The team is off to a rather powerful start. Offensively matching or even surpassing numbers from the 1927 Yankees aka Murders Row.

The team is winning. But if you know this team like I do, you know what its like when they are really clicking. They have not put it into that high gear yet, this team is poised to do a lot of damage, maybe more than I even realized.

One thing I am ready to say "I told you so" about is the acquisition of catcher Russell Martin. It is still early in the year and there is still a lot of baseball left to play but Martin has caught all but 1 game for this team and he has done it with fire and intensity. Not only has Martin been a solid addition on defense, he has been clutch with the bat. He is making a lot of people happy in the front office. Brian Cashman even went as far as saying that Martin was "Munson-like." Quite the compliment. Don't be shocked if the Yankees look to resign Martin at the end of the season if he continues to produce on a desired level.

If Martin is solid through July, it might even be wise to talk extension and trade star prospect Jesus Montero. But that's a post for another day.

That's all for now but check back this weekend for updates on my trip to Baltimore to see our Yanks take on the O's.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Away We Go

It was a nice opening home stand for the Yankees overall.  After 6 games played, the team is coming away with 2 series wins and a 4-2 record.  The team seems to be gelling nicely and all aspects that were a concern seem to be working well.  Russell Martin is proving that he has what it takes to handle the pitching staff and also hitting the ball well.  Jeter's new stride-less swing has gone from the talk of the town to eliminated as a whole.  A.J. Burnett is 2-0 and Posada, Teixeira, and A-Rod are all locked in. Yup, all in all things are looking good in New York.  

In Boston, on the other hand, there has yet to be a single pitch thrown in the historic and timeless Fenway Park. The Red Sox have started their season on the road and it has not been a friendly road trip. The trip started in Texas and the pitching gave up 26 runs.  From Texas, the team travelled to Cleveland where they were out-scored 12-5 and lost the last game 1-0 due to a base running blunder in the 9th inning.  All said and done, the Red Sox come home with an 0-6 record.  Something the team hasn't in over 60 years.

This weekend, it's time to get serious.  The Yankees have an opportunity to put the Red Sox in an 0-9 hole and make early asses out of all the skeptics that called them underdogs.  It is interesting to see all the  analysts who picked the Red Sox to run away with the east, now suddenly saying that the team is "not as good as advertised." 

The truth is, as a Yankee fan, I get serious joy out of seeing this atrocious start.  However, it is just 6 games people.  There are 156 more of these things to play.  Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox are a great team and they will eventually click.  But since we are telling the truth, the Yankees are a much better team than advertised.  This weekend's series doesn't mean all that much in the great scheme of things but it can help put things in perspective.  This division is going to be tough and it will likely not be decided until the end of the season.  

The Red Sox will be coming into this series desperate for a win but the Yanks will be coming into every series looking to prove something.  Yet another reason to be excited about Baseball.  Let's Go Yankees!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Grand Entrance

Opening Day in the Bronx proved to be an excellent start to the year.  C.C. didn't seem to have his best stuff but he still found a way to limit the Tigers to 3 runs while the Yankee bats came to life to take the lead twice.  Russell Martin started the offense for the Bombers by getting a lead off single in the thrid inning.  After a walk to Jeter, Martin stole third base.  While the stolen base was very impressive and certainly got the crowd going, it was ultimately unnecessary because of Mark Teixeira's 3 run blast to the second deck in right field.  The home run put the Yankees on top 3-1.

Sabathia would later give up 2 more runs but it would be Curtis Granderson who would break that tie with a solo bomb to the second deck in right field.  Granderson capped off an outstanding day by making an outstanding running catch in the 9th for the second out.  He also made a very impressive diving play in the first inning.  Granderson played an outstanding game against his former team and proved that he was in fact healthy enough to start the season in center field.

The Yanks went on to score 2 more runs and a very impressive 7th, 8th and 9th inning combo locked down a 6-3 win.  Joba, Soriano and Mariano combined for 3 perfect innings.  That late inning combo is hopefully a sign of things to come. 

Mo is in the hunt for the all time saves record and as he gets closer, I will be counting down until he achieves his goal.

42 more saves until the record is his.