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Posts tagged ‘Detroit Tigers’

My 2015 Yankee Stadium Adventure

This weekend was incredible. Not only was I in New York City (something went from in the universe; I swear I’m meant to live there) but I got to see two games at Yankee Stadium – one great, and one kind of terrible.

My travel companion was Michelle, an old friend/neighbor from Ohio. She drove the 5 hours from Ohio to Maryland on Friday, and Saturday morning we made the 4 hour trip to NYC. I had traffic in all the places in I didn’t expect – like getting onto the freeway near my house, and later crossing into NJ – and no traffic where I expected it – like going through the Lincoln Tunnel or across Manhattan on 42nd Street.

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   Here we are approaching the Lincoln Tunnel

Because Saturday’s game was Old Timer’s Day, fans were encouraged to be in their seats by 4pm. Since we arrived at our Midtown hotel just before 4pm, we were obviously a little late to the game. Amazingly, we didn’t miss a whole lot.

First, I have to mention my appreciation for the owner of Pinstripe Collectibles across from the stadium. I went in to ask about a jersey, and rather than sell me a an adult jersey for $100+, the owner convinced me to buy a child’s size for only $55. At 5’6” (let’s just say average weight) I’m not a petite woman, but the jersey still fits. And with a $40 Visa git card I saved from Christmas, my child size Rodriguez jersey was $15.

Saturday June 20: Tigers 3, Yankees 14
W: Nathan Eovaldi L: Alfredo Simon S: Bryan Mitchell

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      Hey there, Yankee Stadium…and rain.

The weather was the worst part of this Detroit ass-kicking. For most of the game, there was a fine misty rain, although never enough to delay the game. Concession stands probably ran out of napkins from fans wiping off their seats, and I can’t remember another June game when I wore a hoodie.

Old Timer’s Day: It’s always cool to see former players and members of the Yankees family back at the stadium, and this was the second year I was fortunate enough to be there. The most memorable, without a doubt, was Mel Stottlemyre. As if the surprise of honoring him with a plaque in Monument Park wasn’t enough, his speech really tugged at the heartstrings. To see a man, who’s battling cancer, stand there and say “If I never make it to another Old Timer’s Day” and reference coaching in Heaven… I’m not sure who the entire stadium wasn’t crying their eyes out because I almost did.

Yankees Museum: Somehow, I missed this gem last year. If you haven’t seen it yet – go. It’s free with your ticket and well worth the time. As luck would have it, the Yankees brought the plaques for both Stottlemyre and Willie Randolph (also honored) into the museum. Michelle and I were able to see the actual plaques right in front of us before they were hung in Monument Park.

As for the game, Nathan Eovaldi could not have had a worse night than he did his previous start in Miami when he gave up 8 runs on 36 pitches and couldn’t make it through the first inning. Saturday night he walked off the field to applause after allowing 6 hits and 2 runs in 6 innings pitched, walking just one and striking out 4. I think Yankee fans let out a collective sigh of relief after bracing for the worst.

In the bottom of the 2nd, Didi Gregorius hit a beautiful homerun, his 2nd in as many days and 4th of the year, over the right field wall. There were a few questionable defensive plays between Saturday and Sunday, but I think he’s settling in. He had another deep hit to center later in the game that looked like it would fall in for a hit, but incredible fielding by Anthony Gose shattered that dream.

Yankee fans know and appreciate him, but Brett Gardner should really get more recognition across MLB. He is a tremendous outfielder, and an outfield that with him and Jacoby Ellsbury is almost drool-worthy. Saturday’s Yankee outfield consisted of Chris Young, Gardner, and Carlos Beltran. Obviously, Gardy is the defensive strength of the three, and he proved that by robbing hard hitting Yoenis Cespedes and J.D. Martinez of hits.

Speaking of Yoenis Cespedes, the dude is built like a beast. I’ve never seen him in person before, but even from the bleachers it’s obvious the guy is 5’10” and 210lbs of solid muscle.

And on the subject of outfielders, Carlos Beltran is a source of constant frustration for me when it comes to his defense. Last year, I screamed the F word at Kelly Johnson because of his ineptitude at third, and I nearly did the same seeing Beltran attempt to field in right. He won a few points with me by hitting two homeruns in the game, and just for good measure he hit one from each side of the plate.

The Yankees have called up about a million players from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and one in particular for Saturday was Bryan Mitchell. I’m not really sure what it is about him, but I like him. It could be just because he was up last year and familiar, but whatever the reason it’s good to see one of the kids come up and perform well as he did in 3 innings of solid work (4 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts, and no walks).

The best part of the game (at least for me) was Alex Rodriguez’s monster night at the plate. I arrived one day after his 3,000th career hit, but saw his next two hits Saturday night. His 3,001st hit looked a lot like the 3,000th – except that it was a 3-run homerun (career number 668) to left field instead of a solo shot to right as it was the night before. (Ironically, this happened right after I said “I’ve never seen Alex hit a homerun in a game before.”) In his 3 at bats he totaled 2 hits, 2 runs, and 5 RBI. Considering that a year ago I didn’t know if I would ever see Alex Rodriguez play another baseball game – for any team – this was as great of a performance as I could have asked for.

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It’s just rain… You all didn’t have to leave...

Sunday June 21: Tigers 12, Yankees 4

W: Anibal Sanchez L: Masahiro Tanaka

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We’re back! And we’re 3 strong today!

Sunday Michelle and I were joined by another old friend, Sadie (now living in Queens) and the game was almost the complete opposite of Saturday in every possible way. The good guys didn’t win but it was hot and the sun was shining! Of the bleachers are in direct sunlight, which we anticipated – but we didn’t expect our sunscreen to be confiscated by Yankee Stadium security. And you just can’t do that to pale people!!

This is the second year in a row I’ve went to a Sunday game with Masahiro Tanaka pitching, and both years the Yankees have lost – badly. Victor Martinez hit one homerun and J.D. Martinez hit two homeruns off Tanaka (3 total in the game), while several other hits and 2 walks combined for a total 7 runs credited to Tanaka. Oof!

When Tanaka finally got the hook, he was relieved by Danny Burawa, who made his major league debut. From our seats, we can see when a pitcher is throwing in the bullpen, but we can’t see who. Sunday, we could hear the ball crashing into the catcher’s glove after each pitch – leading me to wonder who in the bullpen can possibly throw that hard? Enter Burawa, who consistently threw pitches faster than 95mph. He did not have a great MLB debut giving up 3 hits and 4 runs, but what a first impression with that speed!

In the 3rd inning I witnessed a miracle when Mark Teixeira beat the shift (!) for a single. Not to be outdone in miracles, Stephen Drew hit not one but TWO homeruns in the game. The second one came right as I said to my friends “Stephen Drew will not be on this team next year.” Impressive timing.

Honorable mention goes to Alex Rodriguez, because he’s my favorite. In a fairly weak offensive game for the Yankees, Rodriguez had just one hit, bringing his career total after this series to 3,003. I mention this because a Twitter friend (and fellow member of Team A-Rod) reminded me that even if I missed hit 3,000, every hit from this point on is historic – and that’s absolutely true. He’s still playing, and he’s playing well. Who knows when this journey will end for him, but we keep counting each hit and marking every milestone until the day he’s done. And when that time comes, we can look back and fully appreciate what he’s accomplished in his career.

One more quick note: during the 7th inning stretch Yankee Stadium witnessed an on-screen proposal. Luckily, she said yes! I would hate to see how much it cost to propose in such a dramatic way (but how cool!!), and if she had said no… Yikes.

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People even leave on sunny days? What is this??

Now I enter a stretch of almost a month before I attend another MLB game unless something happens between now and then. For now, I’ll count down the days until the end of July when I see the Braves play the Orioles in Baltimore, and I’m sure there will be plenty of baseball news between now and then.

One Offseason Move…

Spring training is just days away. We’re on the verge of a whole new year of baseball with amazing potential, and we’re starting to get a glimpse of what each team will look like for the 2015 season.

No team is exactly the same from year to year. Even with a returning core of players, there will inevitably be trades, free agency, or retirements that change the makeup of the team. Change is part of life, and baseball life is no exception. Maybe one of the downfalls of being a female fan is becoming too attached to one favorite player, or a player on one specific team. Still, life goes on and we adapt to the change.

Earlier this winter I wrote about my off season thoughts. Most of the moves I’ve seen for my favorite teams have been disappointing. Some of my favorite players left for other teams – but at the same time, my favorite teams have acquired a few new players I am excited to see. Again, adapt to the changes.

But there’s one move I’m still not comfortable with, and that’s Shane Greene going to Detroit. Is he the best pitcher MLB ever saw? Absolutely not – and he’s not even the best pitchers the Yankees have ever had. But from the very first time I saw him pitch, I liked him.

I’ve mentioned before that I was lucky enough to be in Cleveland on July 7, Green’s first start after being called up the majors. He remained in the Yankees rotation for the remainder of the 2014 season, finishing the season with a 5-4 record and 3.78 ERA. Those aren’t jaw-dropping stats, but for a 25-year-old rookie, who had previously lost a pitching scholarship and transferred to a community college when after had to undergo Tommy John surgery, it was respectable. And enough to catch the attention of the Detroit Tigers.

Like with any rookie, things weren’t always perfect. There were innings where the pitching simply fell apart. There was a game he seemed to forget how to field anything. But for the most part, the kid walked out to pitchers mound, took a deep breath, focused – and got to work.

(Losing Greene doesn’t mean I’m not excited for the acquisition of Didi Gregorius, who came to the Yankees in the same three-team trade. Considering the moves two separate events, I would have loved to somehow get the young shortstop and keep the young pitcher.)

For all the injuries and uncertainties for the 2014 Yankees, pitching became the team’s strength. Going into 2015, pitching is much less secure – primarily due to injuries. Having Greene in the rotation wouldn’t necessarily solidify the team, but as a fan I would feel more confident than I do going into the upcoming season.

While it may suck to see him with another team, I hope Shane Greene continues to grow and develop into a solid pitcher. My fear is he does exactly that, and the Yankees are left kicking themselves for letting him go. He likely doesn’t have a Hall of Fame career ahead of him, but you never know. Regardless of where his career takes him, I can honestly see him being a productive pitcher for the Tigers, and any other teams he may pitch for.

Good luck Shane Greene – it was a great to witness the start of your career.

Off Season Thoughts

Baseball friends…it’s already December and the off season is in full swing. The Winter Meetings have passed and there have been big roster moves. The countdown to spring training and Opening Day have gotten a little closer and we can start to set our expectations for the 2015 season.

Personally, December has been a difficult month for me and many people close to me for many reasons – which is why I haven’t written anything in more than two weeks. While dealing with these difficulties, I’ve of course followed baseball news and have some thoughts on the off season so far. Some of these topics could be an entire post themselves, but here are the highlights –

Corey Kluber wins the A.L. Cy Young Award

Cleveland is my hometown, and I couldn’t be more excited about this. Throughout the season, a friend and I often discussed the possibility of Kluber winning and both thought that if it didn’t happen this year, it never would. No, we don’t have psychic abilities and have no idea how his career will progress from here, but it was a gut feeling for both of us. Unfortunately, I do not see the Indians being a big threat in 2015 – but I do believe they will be a decent team. Kluber winning the Cy Young is great for team morale, and great for the city of Cleveland. (I’m over Lebron’s “coming home” – it’s time to get excited about Kluber/the Indians.)

Nelson Cruz signs with the Seattle Mariners

There’s a lot I could say about this, and not much of it is good. It’s not that I have anything against the Mariners, or free agency, or even any of the details of the deal (4 years, $57 million). It does piss the Orioles fan in me off that he didn’t seem to give much consideration to staying in Baltimore after they were seemingly the only team who would sign him after his PED suspension.

Nick Markakis signs with the Atlanta Braves

This move hurts – it’s like your best friend is moving away. I’m not sure there was any other guy on the team more well liked and respected than Markakis. Since he was drafted by the Orioles, he’s been a solid part of the team and, along with his wife, has been very involved with the community. He seems like an all around nice guy. I fully expected him to retire as an Oriole and see him at team celebrations in the future beside Cal Ripken. Going to Atlanta means going home for him, but he will truly be missed in Maryland. Fans have already said they were putting their Markakis shirts away – for now – but that his name would always be popular in Baltimore. To me, that shows just how well this guy is liked here.

New York Yankees trade Shane Greene to the Detroit Tigers

I’m not sure what it was about the kid, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Greene pitch this year! Obviously, the Tigers also really liked him, and I definitely understand his trade value. Aside from a few rough patches (which I attribute to age and inexperience in the major league), he was a pretty solid pitcher for the Yankees. I saw a lot of potential in him and expected him to continue to develop into a strong pitcher – and still do, although he’ll be doing so for another team.

David Robertson signs with the Chicago White Sox

At the top of my off season wish list was for the Yankees to resign Robertson. (I wrote about how that should have actually happened months ago.) Of all days, it was my birthday when I woke up to see the report that Robertson signed with the White Sox – of all teams in Major League Baseball. (There are two MLB teams I hate – the Red Sox, and the White Sox.) The only thing that made me hate this deal more was hearing reports that the Yankees met with Robertson/his representative(s) only to tell him they would not be making him an offer. I’m not saying he’s the best pitcher in the world, and I’m not even sure he’s worth the money he will be making ($46 million for 4 years), but he was a product of the Yankees farm system and learned from the greatest closer ever. While I love Brett Gardner, it’s a little disappointing to think he’s the only veteran homegrown Yankee.

Chase Headley signs with the New York Yankees

This deal makes a lot of sense. Headley may not be the most outstanding third baseman in history, but he was very reliable after being traded from the Padres. Something very important he brings to the team that no stat can reflect is his enthusiasm – which most of the team seemed to seriously lack last year. He seems like a great guy to have in the clubhouse and was one of the first players to celebrate any victory last season. With Francisco Cervelli gone, the team needs someone who will get excited and fire up other teammates.
What I dislike about this deal is the intense focus on what it means for Alex Rodriguez. While I am one of the biggest Rodriguez fans ever, Headley’s return really isn’t about him (and so far he’s said nothing – so he isn’t making it about himself). Of course this is a topic that would eventually be discussed. Instead of overshadowing Headley’s return with speculation about Rodriguez’s future, just let Headley have his day. The Rodriguez story will inevitably come up again, but for now it should be about Chase Headley, his return, and what he will bring to the team.

There’s still plenty of off season left, but just remember – spring training is getting a little closer each day!