Sunday Night Baseball, Red Sox versus Yanks, with the New York Nine going for the unlikely series sweep at Fenway, as well as their 9th straight win overall since the All-Star Break. And what better way to kick off the game than having the remaining members of the Cowsills singing the National Anthem. I always think Cowsills when I think baseball and jingoistic military jingles.
Friday night Joba Chamberlain was masterful in taming the Sox, holding them scoreless in his 7 innings with an incredible array of hard stuff and wicked curves. This was the 2,000th regular season game between the two rivals, and a Chamberlain heater thrown near the head of Kevin Youkilis ensured that this rivalry is likely to thrive for at least another 2,000.
Tarp is on the field, according to Suzyn Waldman, so there will be a rain delay of some length before the game begins. That's what is so dumb about Sunday night baseball. But then again it allows us to catch up.
Yesterday Yanks won going away, 10-3, behind solid pitching by Andy Pettitte and continued hot hitting by Robinson Cano. Two new Yankees, courtesy of the big trade with the Pirates, played their first game: OF Xavier Nady and P Damaso Marte, who came to New York for pitchers Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, Jeff Karstens and OF Jose Tabata.
My immediate reaction when the trade was announced during the broadcast Friday night was great trade for the Yankees, bad trade for baseball. The rich get richer. Now, will I still root for the Yankees? Of course, because modern sports makes hypocrites of us all. Also, keep in mind, that teams make seemingly lopsided trades like this all the time, and then the prospects turn out to be real good, as in recent deals made by the Florida Marlins and Minnesota Twins. Time will out.
Ironically, Marte was a Yankee signing originally, but was traded early in his career for the immortal Enrique Wilson. But when you have an unlimited payroll, you can just get him back later, and that horrible deal is erased. It's good to be Brian Cashman, as good as your last deal that is.
WFAN's Mike Francesa spent a good deal of time Friday afternoon hoping the Yankees would make a trade with Pittsburgh that would bring back the Pirates' lone all-star, Nate McLouth. Francesa carried on with a fervency bordering on the homoerotic before crossing right over into cringe-inducing physical idolatry: "I love him. He's got bronze hair that flops around under his helmet. He's got a good look to him. I like him. I'll give you a lot for him. I love him. I love him. Boy, I love him." Now, Francesa is probably still a big Yankees fan, but let's just say it's never gonna be the same without young Nate, ahem, arousing Mike on a daily basis. He'll have to get by with his "handy" Tom Brady scrapbook for another year.
Rangers' Josh Hamilton already over the 100 RBI mark, with 103 as of 7/26. That's a mind-boggling 25 more RBI than the runner-up in the AL, Chicago's Carlos Quentin, who has 78. In the NL, only 10 RBI separate the top two slots.) Hamilton's got a shot, but only that, to make a run at Hack Wilson's all-time mark of 190, which may never be broken in our lifetimes, which covers a lot of years. Hopefully.
Mets P Johan Santana finally pitched a complete game today in a win versus Cards, which has become a big topic here on the sports talk circuit, his inability to finish what he started. In fact, I saw an interesting stat the other day, or was it the day before that? In any case, it came to my attention that Toronto's terrific Roy Halladay had 7 complete games already this season, while Santana had only 6 for his career (7 after today)! The kind of baseball statistic you can only shake your head at, which I did with a certain insouciance for which I have lately become known. I usually like Keith Hernandez as a broadcaster. He has a relaxed air about him, and of course can offer insights only ex-players can provide. But he continues to take subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle digs at ex-manager Willie Randolph. Today he couldn't resist saying, "They've got fight and spirit now. Another beautiful crowd to see Jerry Manuel's Mets. I'd pay to them this team now." Enough, Keith. Try to stay classy, because your broadcast partner, Gary Cohen, is a spiteful hack and a shameless homer who wouldn't know the meaning of the word class. Well, Suzyn and John Sterling are back on the air, so baseball can't be far behind, nor can the agonizingly repetitive schtick Sterling uses to get through a broadcast. When he isn't blowing calls left and right, going into premature home run calls, or forcing in lame nicknames for Yankee batters after a big hit, he's supremely annoying in more subtle ways. But we're stuck with him for the foreseeable future, so we might as well the most out of him as an object of derision. It's the least we can do here.
Tonight's pitching matchup features Sid "The Squid" Ponson against perhaps Boston's best hurler the last month, Jon "The Molester" Lester. Obviously this would seem to favor the Sox, but Yanks got a little mojo going now, maybe a lot of mojo. Getting this game would be gravy, and who among us doesn't like gravy.