Sunday, May 6, 2007

Damn Yankees

Rolling Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley 2007
I know, I know. Two posts in one day but here it is Sunday night and I'm getting ready to watch "The Sopranos" when what do I see on SportsCenter but that Roger Clemens is returning to the Yankees, this for his third Last Hurrah in four seasons. The Yankees, one game below .500 and five and a half behind the rival Red Sox who currently sits atop the AL East, need pitching badly and paid dearly for a pitcher both teams coveted, even if the relatively pitching solid Sox wanted him just to keep the Yankees from having him.

Clemons, who will turn 45 in August, will get paid $48 million to pitch a little more than half a season in a deal that will allow him to return home to Houson on days he's not pitching -- something the Bombers weren't willing to provide last season. Oh what a difference a year makes.

The Yankees' pitching corps has been thinning it seems almost weekly. Three starters have been out at various points with hamstring injuries and troubled and oft-injured free agent acquisition Carl Pavano may not pitch again this season. Pavano was the Yankees' opening day starter. Last week, the prized prospect Phil Hughes hurt his hamstring in the midst of pitching a no-hitter in Texas. He left the game, the Yankees lost the no hit bid and Hughes ended up on the disabled list. Suddenly, the Yankees desperation was palpable.

The Rocket says he's in shape and will be ready in the next two to three weeks depending on how soon he can get his arm into game shape. I never thought the Bombers would finish the season in last place or even with a losing record and adding Clemons looks like a great move. But the Yanks are relying a lot on veteran guys who have a lot of mileage on them. Meanwhile, while Boston's lineup isn't nearly as scary as New York's, it's damn good and they've got a guy waiting in the wings too in Jon Lester, a promising young pitcher who is recovering from a bout with Cancer.

I've been around this rivalry long enough to know you can't bet on the Red Sox and you certainly can't count out the Yankees but I've got a feeling Boston's pitching is going to be the difference, even though Roger won't be finishing his career where it started.

While we're on the subject of baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers are sitting atop the baseball world at the moment. Their 21-10 record is the best in the majors. Not bad for a team that's been so bad over the last two decades that usually the only thing in question each game is who will win the sausage race.

I think the Brewers are mostly for real. They have a lot of hitting talent, youth and they have a solid pitching staff. And 21 wins in 31 games is awesome but they've been beating up on some pretty bad to mediocre teams (mostly in their own underwhelming division) like the Pirates, the Cubs early in the season when they were stinking up the joint, St. Louis and the woeful Houston Astros.

They should be able to pad those 21 wins in their upcoming series against the Washington Nationals but then they have three straight series against quality opponents. First it's off to New York to play S.O.L.'s beloved Mets (who at 19-10 are tied for the third best record in the majors) then four at the surging Phillies before hosting an interleague series against the Twins. Then they have to go out west to face the presently first-place Dodgers, the emerging Padres and back home to face the Atlanta Braves (tied with the Mets for first in the NL East).

We'll check back with the Brew Crew at the end of May to see how they handle what is a brutal stretch to their schedule. It will be a good indication whether they're contenders or pretenders.

By A Nose

Steve Nash is a freaking man. There is no justice if he doesn't win his third MVP Award after seeing his gutty performance today against the Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Down the stretch in a close game, Nash accidentally butted heads with Spurs guard Tony Parker, sending Parker to the floor. Nash kept his feet and even reached down to see if Parker was okay. Nash thought the blood he saw on his uniform was from Parker. Little did he know it was from a big, ugly gash on his own nose.

Nash tried to continue but the trainers couldn't get the blood to stop and he had to sit helplessly on the bench while his teammates couldn't stop the Spurs, giving up their precious home court advantage.

Part of the problem is that the NBA doesn't make the sideline rules about blood -- OSHA does.
Back when Magic was diagnosed with HIV, the league instituted a whole bunch of rules that trainers have to follow. Most important is they can't let blood get on anything - uniforms, the floor, etc. It's not just league rules, it's league rules governed by OSHA. One of the things trainers have to do before treating any player with any amount of bleeding is put on those rubber gloves, which doesn't make it that easy to treat open wounds.

Nash needed six stitches to close the wound but do not for a moment think this kid will not be out there again for Game 2 on Tuesday night. I'm the Spurs, I gotta be thinking what else can we do? San Antonio had to play a perfect game and they still could have easily lost it and might have if not for an unfortunate head butt.

No comments: