Well, this is definitely the way you gear up for a big series...by showing your ass to the Orioles, 12-2. The Orioles aren't a good team, but the Yanks managed to lose two out of three to them, and not avoid the sweep by too much, either. I caught a few minutes of the game at lunch, when the score was 2-1 Yanks. After that, the Mets fans in the joint turned all the TVs in the joint on to the Flushing Crew, which unbeknownst to me was a merciful thing to do. Jaret Wright didn't get out of the fourth inning, allowing five runs in three plus. Ron Villone, Joe Torre's new favorite toy, didn't do too well, either.
In the sixth inning...remember when I said to look out for how Dotel feels today? The good news is that he felt well enough to pitch. The bad news is that regardless of how he felt, he probably shouldn't have been pitching anyway. Again, he couldn't complete the inning, this time he allowed three runs on three hits and an error. Oh, joy.
I've said it before, but you can't trust any of the Yanks injured personnel--not Dotel, now off the DL, not Carl Pavano, with his four scoreless innings in the Florida State League, not Matsui or Sheffield--to contribute this year. You just can't be sure that any of them are healthy enough to contribute. Dotel's last two appearances should count as rehab--just he spent the time rehabbing at the Major League level, with the Yanks holding a 3 game division lead.
That's no time to ask a pitcher to see if he's got what it takes to get out Major League hitters.
Some notes I'm red-faced to have missed yesterday, which were brought to my attention by Brother T:
Bruno Kirby passed away this week, of leukemia. For some people, remembering Bruno Kirby will have something to do with the City Slickers movies, which were not even the best Billy Crystal vehicle he got to participate in. Kirby was awesome in When Harry Met Sally (one of the world's most tolerable chick flicks) and he had the role of a young Clemenza in Godfather Part II, possibly the best movie, ever. He was a wonderful character actor, and now gone from the world much too young. Our condolences go out to his family.
Yesterday, the Yankees broke ground on their new Stadium. It was a black-armband day in the deMause household, not quite disastrous, but mildly maudlin, for me. While spending taxpayer dollars on a facility for the wealthiest team in baseball sounds...silly, I'm pretty cynical on the expenditure of taxpayer dollars. We see the dollars that go into this Stadium--sometimes "dollars" that go into it by benefit of not being collected as taxes--as a zero sum game, taking directly away from education or some other vital services. I tend to think that the powers that be are willing to scrape up some cash for extravagances like these--Stadia, buildings that can bear their names, etc.--that they wouldn't be able to generate to do anything so mundane as put music programs back in schools, hire a few more cops, and whatnot. Somehow, that keeps me from getting out of my mind upset about this.
Still, even though I'm not contemplating acts of rebellion against the state over this, I am somewhat bummed. The 1970's refurb of Yankee Stadium has been my baseball home for my entire life. It's a special place, which is something I remember every single time I step into the ballpark. It's beautiful, it has history, and it still works well enough to draw the biggest crowd of fans in the majors. I know it has flaws, and things which could be modernized, etc., but I don't believe that a new Yankee Stadium will do much for the two areas where I'd most rather see improvement: the New Yankee Stadium won't be cheaper or less corporate, and it won't be a more intimate ballpark, where the fans are closer to the action. So all we're talking about is bells and whistles, maybe a touch better food or slightly more comfortable seats. Not much to get excited about.