Giving Into The Hype

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #3 – 4/7/10  Yankees @ Red Sox

So, we came out of the first series of the season victorious. That’s always a great feeling. I’ve become so accustomed to losing in April that winning a series gets me excited. Losing a series in April, however, doesn’t bother me. Again, I’m used to it.

It’s great to win any series at Fenway Park, even at the beginning of the season when it doesn’t really matter as much. I’m not going to claim the division based on this first series (I’m claiming it based on the fact that our roster rocks), but I did like what I saw yesterday.

Dandy Andy

Andy Pettitte was absolutely amazing. He continues to prove that he lives for these games. We’ve been hearing the phrase “This could be Pettitte’s final year” for the past three years. If it is, he’s off to a good start. 
There were doubts about Andy going into this game, because he didn’t have as many starts during spring training as our other pitchers. However, this is Andy Pettitte we’re talking about. He’s been doing his thing for long enough to know his abilities. He doesn’t need as many spring training starts anymore, it’s safe to say he’s got his mechanics all worked out. Spring training starts would have been better, but he doesn’t need them as much as others. He felt ready for this big start, the Yankees felt he was ready, and fans had all the faith in th
e world.
Andy Pettitte didn’t let us down. He had an amazing start.
Pettitte doesn’t crumble under pressure. While this is only the first series of a very long season, the reactions of Yankees fans after losing on Opening Night show the importance of a Yankees-Red Sox series. If there’s any pitcher who truly knows the significance of a game at Fenway Park, it’s Andy Pettitte. Lord knows he’s been pitching these games for long enough. 
Throughout the course of the season, this game won’t mean much statistically (especially since he didn’t get a decision), but a good performance at Fenway is still a good performance at Fenway. To the fans, and even the players, it means a lot. The Red Sox are our toughest opponents in the AL East, so why wouldn’t we want to get a win against them whenever we can? 
Andy stepped up and gave us that win. Sure, technically, the win wasn’t given to him, but his performance is the main reason we won. He even gave us a little fist pump to seal the deal.

The Grandyman Can

There has been a lot of speculation about the origin of that phrase. John Sterling started saying it, but I’ve heard quite a few people, including myself, say it before it was broadcast on WCBS radio. I most certainly did not come up with it. I would love to take credit, but alas, I stole it off of someone else. Whoever came up with it is a genius. I love it. The Grandyman Can.
The Grandyman can certainly show Jonathan Papelbon why no lead or tie is safe when he’s facing the Yankees. That’s what he did yesterday with that solo home run off of the Red Sox closer. What a way for Curtis Granderson to introduce himself to the Yankees fanbase. First, a home run in his first regular season at-bat as a Yankee, and then the series-winning home run in the 9th inning. We scored one more run after that, but the solo shot was the decider.
I can’t think of a better way for a new hitter to introduce himself and say “I am a Yankee”. After that performance, Grandyman, you most certainly are. 
Everybody Loves Jeter
Kevin Youkilis was hit by a wild pitch from Andy Pettitte. Personally, I think he’s asking for it with that stance of his. Forget about the comic nature of his batting stance for a second; the location of his body in relation to the plate just screams “hit me”. He crowds the plate, and when you crowd the plate, you’re going to get hit. At least he didn’t complain about it or charge the mound this time. Although, I would have liked to see him do that with Andy pitching.
Later on in the game, Derek Jeter got hit by a pitch. Jeter also crowds the plate in his at-bats, but there’s nothing comic about his stance. After being hit, our Captain jogged to first base. As he was about to tag, Kevin Youkilis said something jokingly, and Jeter good-naturedly shoved him away. Youkilis and Jeter continued to joke around and seemingly poke fun at each other for a short while. 
I enjoyed seeing that, even though I really can’t stomach Youkilis. To me, it showed that everybody loves Jeter. Leaving the rivalry and animosity between the Yankees and Red Sox aside, every single player in Boston respects Derek Jeter. If it were A-Rod that got hit, I imagine Youkilis would have either stayed quiet, or said something ill-natured. Either way he wouldn’t have joked around with him. Why? Because Alex Rodriguez isn’t Derek Jeter. Time has shown us that Alex Rodriguez just isn’t as respected by his opponents. Some would say that A-Rod brings the hate on himself, and to a certain extent, I tend to agree. Derek Jeter, however, is a player who has never carried himself with anything but class and, as a result, is respected by all of Major League Baseball. No matter how big the game is, or how fierce the rivalry may be, no one who truly loves baseball hates Derek Jeter.
Jeter demands respect with his actions, on the field and off. This was shown by Youkilis laughing and joking around with him in a tight situation, a situation in which having Jeter on base could pose a threat. Why? Because everybody loves Derek Jeter. Sure, the fans at Fenway may boo him, but even in an organization that is known for blasting the players of other teams, you will not find a single member of the Red Sox organization who doesn’t think highly of Derek Jeter. 
The lightheartedness of the exchange between Youkilis and Jeter is further testament to Derek Jeter’s likability in the sport. It is further proof that Jeter will always be The Perfect Yankee. The only other Yankee who is currently respected by all of baseball is Mariano Rivera. Jeter and Mo get respect and love because they have always carried themselves with dignity. Day after day, and game after game, this is proven to be true. Yesterday was yet another example of everybody loving Derek Jeter.
Hero Of The Night

In my opinion, Chan Ho Park was the hero of the game.
Chapeau bas to Joe Girardi for sitting on his hands and leaving Park in there for three innings, facing both lefty and righty hitters. For once, Girardi put the stat-book down, and went with his gut feeling. Chan Ho looked great in his first inning of work, so the skipper’s instinct was to leave him in there. I love that. It’s that very instinct that separates good managers from great ones.
I am often Joe Girardi’s biggest critic. I don’t particularly enjoy seeing the way he manages the bullpen at times, and I don’t agree with his decision to leave Boone Logan, a second bullpen lefty, off of the roster. However, when Girardi gets it right, I have to tip my hat to him. 
Yesterday, he got it right. Boy, did he get it right. It took big cojones to leave Park in there, especially for a third inning. I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t have had the guts to leave Chan Ho in there for the ninth. I had faith in Park, but even I was nervous about him pitching in the ninth inning.
Girardi, however, had the guts to do it, and got it right. Yankees fans are happy that he left Park on the mound for three innings. Although, I’m sure if Chan Ho had given up a walk-off run, even after pitching two perfect innings, the reactions would have been completely different. 
Chan Ho Park didn’t give up a walkoff run, though, or any runs for that matter. He absolutely shined during his amazing three innings of relief work. In fact, he only gave up one hit, and no walks. He faced the entire Red Sox starting lineup, the second-toughest lineup in our division, and they couldn’t touch him. 
Coming back on the mound, after his shaky inning in Sunday’s game, couldn’t have been easy for Park. A lot of pressure comes with putting on a Yankees uniform, and the regular season stage doesn’t get much bigger than a Yankees-Red Sox series. Chan Ho shaking off a bad performance in the series opener, and pitching beautifully through three innings in the closer, shows that he has “the goods”, both mentally and physically. 
Chan Ho Park pitched wonderfully. He silenced the doubts, and showed us his upside. We now know for certain what Park is capable of, from here on out it’s up to him to keep showing us his domination.
There’s something I wasn’t aware of until ESPN broadcasters mentioned it. Chan Ho Park is the first Korean player in Yankees history. Isn’t that crazy? We’ve had players from all over the world throughout our history, but Park is the very first Korean. I enjoyed hearing that little piece of information, because it shows that baseball is becoming a more global sport every year.
Had the game been played at Yankee Stadium, Chan Ho Park would have surely received a standing ovation from the crowd after yesterday’s performance. He most certainly deserved it, and I stood up and applauded him, in my living room.
Giving Into The Hype

I know that, statistically, this series doesn’t mean much. The Red Sox beat us 8 times in a row at the beginning of last season, and it didn’t mean anything in the end. It’s only the first series of the season, and all it means is that we’re off to a good start. It doesn’t mean that we’ve won our division, it doesn’t mean that we’re going to win every series this year, and it doesn’t mean that we’ll finish the season ahead of the Red Sox. The first series of the season is just that; the first series.
That’s what my head told me, but my heart begged to differ. 
Didn’t this first series against Boston feel completely different from last year’s opening series against Baltimore? Maybe I am getting too into the overhyped rivalry between us and the Red Sox but, my God, starting off the season winning at Fenway really feels good. I feels damn good. Especially after the Red Sox pulled out all the stops on Opening Night.
Like I said, winning any series at Fenway Park is a big deal, be it in April or September. Not only is there a “rivalry” between the two teams, but the Red Sox are the Yankees’ main competition in the AL East. The Rays are pretty good, but I don’t see them finishing above the Red Sox, not this year. So, winning the series against Boston is one less difficult series we’ll have to worry about. Not to mention it’s always fun to see Red Sox fans upset.
During yesterday’s game, I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time, nervously following every pitch. My heart stopped approximately 438,725,268 times during the ten innings. Yes, it’s only April and, yes, losing this series wouldn’t have meant much, but every Yankees-Red Sox matchup has the feel of October for me. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m buying into the media hype. Who knows? All I know is that I was watching yesterday’s game with the nerves I normally have in the postseason. At one point (I believe it was while Park was pitching in the ninth) I had my hands over my eyes, and I was peeking through my fingers.
I love the intensity. I love the emotion. I love the feeling of living and dying with every pitch. I absolutely love it. Only baseball can make me feel this way. I missed this all winter, and opening the season facing the Red Sox threw me right into the deep end of the intensity.
I absolutely loved every moment.
Welcome back, baseball. Don’t you ever leave me again.

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  1. osfan2009

    The Ho did pitch well last night. He the Ho. And is it bad that I found that whole part about Youk and Jeter poking at each other just a tad bit dirty?

  2. landarzt

    ‘The Grandyman Can’

    It’s a great line, and it was especially funy to hear John Sterling belting it out tunelessly… but I’m going to carry on saying ‘Curtis Granderson hit it into the standerson!’ even though I seem to be the only person inhe entire Yankee fan base who thinks it’s funny.

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