“On the road again – Just can’t wait to get on the road again … Goin’ places that I’ve never been … Seein’ things that I may never see again … I can’t wait to get on the road again”. … Willie Nelson
The past home stand by the New York Yankees was very eventful in many ways, but my week may have been even more eventful. I spent most of my time this past week, “on the road”, following the Lakeland Hornet’s [girl’s H.S. varsity softball team], as my niece, Brittany, who is the star starting pitcher on the team, and her teammates, played two very exciting extra inning playoff games.
I also attended other family and Church related activities this past week, as my travels took me back and forth throughout the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties, in New York; and, also, into New Jersey, for a High School graduation party, for my oldest niece, Christina.
Other than my most recent post, detailing the Yankees great, 4-1, victory over the Oakland A’s, on the “birthday blast” grand slam by Hideki Matsui, and the great pitching performance by Andy Pettitte – the last post I entered on my blog, was an account of Joba Chamberlain’s first major league start.
So, the following is a recap of the past week in the Yankees Universe; and, also, a recap of the many interesting activities that I experienced in my personal and family life, that made this past week a very exciting one, indeed…
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 – Shrub Oak, Putnam County, NY – On a night when the big sports stories in New York were: Joba Chamberlain’s first start for the Yankees; and, Pedro Martinez returning from the disabled list, to make his first start in two-months, for the New York Mets – the most exciting game of the day took place on a softball field, at Lakeland High School, in Shrub Oak, NY. It started out as a pitching duel [throughout the first five innings] between two great “fast-pitch” pitchers, my niece, Brittany, on the Lakeland Hornets, and, Niki, of the Hudson Sailors. But, the game took a way different turn in the top of the 6th, when Hudson scored first on a three-run homerun, to take a 3-0 lead. The Hornets tied the game, 3-3, with three runs in the bottom of the 7th, to send the game into extra innings. In the top of the 8th, Hudson had a couple of opportunties to once again take the lead, but two great fielding plays by Lakeland, that resulted in two runners being thrown out at third, put a dent in their rally. But, the Sailors still had a chance to score the go-ahead run, as they loaded the bases with two outs. This is when my niece, Brittany, shined, by striking-out the next batter on three pitches to hold the score at, 3-3. In the bottom of the 8th, Lakeland scored the dramatic game winning run, that capped this awesome comeback, 4-3, victory. The great pitching effort, and the outstanding fielding plays in the top of the 8th, were the main reasons for this very exciting playoff win.
Joba Chamberlain’s first start didn’t go as planned, as he lasted only 2 1/3 innings, throwing 62 pitches. But, Joba did leave the game with a 2-1 lead, and Giese pitched 3 2/3 good innings, in relief, after replacing Joba. But, the rest of the bullpen that night was terrible, which resulted in a, 9-3, Yankees loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees record fell to, 28-30, after this loss.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008 – Bronx, New York – Yankees 5, Blue Jays 1 … Mike Mussina (9-4) threw 103 pitches over 6 innings, giving up 5 hits, and one earned run, while walking one and stiking out six, to earn his 9th win of the year. The other big story was Derek Jeter getting his 2,416th career hit, passing Mickey Mantle to move into third place on the all-time Yankees hit list. Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are one and two on the list. Jeter continues his Hall-of Fame career by passing the great Mickey Mantle in total hits; and, now sets his sight on becoming the first Yankee to reach 3,000 hits.
Thursday, June 5, 2008 – Pearl River, Rockland County, NY – The Lakeland Hornets went onto the next playoff round, with a game against the Pearl River Pirates. Again, a very exciting extra inning game, in which the Pirates jumped out to an early,1-0, lead on a homerun in the bottom of the 2nd inning. The Hornets tied the game on an RBI double, by my niece, Brittany, in the top of the 6th inning. Also, a great diving catch by Lakeland’s centerfield, with a runner at third was a big play in the game. The centerfielder, after making the catch, quickly got up from the ground, and made a perfect throw to the plate, completing the double play, as the catcher placed the tag on the runner. The score remained tied, 1-1, going into the bottom of the 8th inning, when the Pirates loaded the bases with no outs. On a 3-2 pitch, Brittany walked the next batter, that scored the winning run for Pearl River, giving the Pirates a well deserved, 2-1 victory. The Lakeland team played two great games, and obviously were very upset after this heart-breaking playoff loss. The winning pitcher for Pearl River, pitched an awesome game, striking out 15 batters.
Side Note: It was the birthday of one of my brothers, Joey. So, we had dinner together, and talked about our niece’s very tough loss, of course. We had a very enjoyable time celebrating his birthday, but it would have been more enjoyable if my niece’s team would have won their playoff game. It was a great run, though, for the Lakeland Hornets. The team had a great year, and played excellent in both playoff games. My niece, Brittany, pitched two very good games in these playoffs, and, also, was awesome, pitching during the regular season. So, I congratulate, Brittany, and her team, the Lakeland Hornets, for their great 2008 softball season. Also, I offer congratulations and best wishes to the Pearl River Pirates, as they continue their great season, and playoff run, as they go on to play in the next round in the playoffs.
The Yankees had a great come-from-behind victory, on Jason Giambi’s pinch-hit, two-out, two-on, walk-off homerun, in the bottom of the 9th, that gave the Yankees a dramatic, 9-8, win against the Blue Jays. This win brought the Yankees back to the .500 mark, at 30-30. Also, Jorge Posada returned to action for the first time since April 26th. He was 1 for 3, during this afternoon game, and said he felt no pain in his shoulder. Chien-Ming Wang started the game for the Yankees, and did not pitch a good game, giving up 7 runs (6 unearned), in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Friday, June 6, 2008 – Bronx, New York – KC Royals 2, Yankees 1 … Darrell Rasner pitched a great game, throwing 118 pitches, over 8 innings. He gave up 9 hits, 2 earned runs, while striking out 4, and walking none. Very tough loss for the Yankees and Darrell Rasner, (3-3). The loss dropped the Yankees below .500 again, to: 30-31.
Saturday, June 7, 2008 – Westwood, Bergen County, NJ – I attended “A High School Graduation Party” for my oldest niece, Christina, at my brother Joey’s house. A beautiful event with many family members and friends attending. The constant buzz throughout the crowd that day was the back and forth game played by the Yankees and Royals at the Stadium. I didn’t get a chance to watch any of the game on T.V., but received updates throughout the day, at the party. First, I heard the Yankees were winning, 6-5, after 5 innings. Then, was disappointed to hear that the Royals jumped back to take the lead, 10-6, going into the bottom of the 7th. The next score I heard was that the Yankees tied it up, 10-10, in the bottom of the 8th. And, was very happy to hear the final outcome, from a friend [Don] on a cell phone call to him. At first I was shocked [like everyone else] to hear that Mariano Rivera gave up a homerun in the top of the 9th, to give the Royals a 11-10 lead. Then, great news, the Yankees won, 12-11, by scoring two runs in the bottom of the 9th, including a homerun by Jorge Posada. That was a very exciting win, which moved the Yankees back to .500 (31-31). Oh, and special mention must be made about the great game Johnny Damon had, going 6 for 6, to raise his average to .326. Consideration has to be given to a possible all-star selection by Damon on the AL team.
The other shocking buzz on Saturday, was the “big loss” by “Big Brown” in the Belmont. To see him run out of the money was a surprise to all. So, again, no Triple Crown winner in Horse Racing, in 2008. It’s been 30 years now since the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, in 1978.
Sunday, June 8, 2008 – Bronx, New York – After a long day on Saturday [I returned home at about 1:00 a.m.], I had three Church events [scheduled] to attend this Sunday. Starting with an early 7:00 a.m. Mass at my Parish Church, St. Clare’s; then a Holy Name Society, Communion Breakfast Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, in the “Little Italy” section of the Bronx, not too far from Fordham University, the College my niece, Christina, is going to attend, starting in the Fall of 2008; and, then, I returned back to my Church, St. Clare’s, for a special Mass in honor of St. Anthony, followed by a procession throughout the streets of the Parish, which ended back at the Church, for a family picnic in the Parish school yard. It was a very spiritual day, and also a fun day that was enjoyed by all. Also, for the record, it was probably the hottest day of the year with temperatures in the high 90’s.
Oh, yeah, there also was a Yankee game today. Joba Chamberlain started his second game, and pitched a lot better than his first start. Joba threw 78 pitches over 4 1/3 innings of work, giving up 5 hits, 3 runs (2 unearned), while walking one, and striking out five. The Yankees won the game, 6-3, and improved their season record to, 32-31.
Monday, June 9, 2008 – Bronx, New York – The final game of this home stand. Mike Mussina pitched a beautiful game, going a solid 8 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 earned runs, no walks, and striking-out three. But, when Mussina left the game after 8 innings, the score was still tied, 2-2. Mariano Rivera was called into pitch the 9th; and, another shocking event took place. Mariano Rivera gave up another homerun. Final score: Royals 3, Yankees 2. Very tough loss in a game that Mike Mussina pitched well enough to get his 10th win. But, it was not meant to be, on this day. The Yankees ended the home stand, at 32-32, for the season. The Bronx Bombers then went “on the road”, traveling to Oakland for the start of a three-game series against the A’s.
So, how was your week ???