The bat rack on Mother's Day. Bubba's (black) bat is at the bottom right.
May 14, 2006: Oakland 6, N.Y. Yankees 1
This morning at the grocery store checkout, I was asked to make a donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Apparently, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It reminded me of Mother's Day, when MLB players wore pink ribbons and armbands and used pink bats to raise awareness of - and money for - the fight against breast cancer.
Bernie Williams agreed to use a pink bat, but was very alarmed when it actually arrived. He wasn't expecting it to be that pink. He actually went into Torre's office to express his concern.
That pretty much summed up the reactions to the pink bats. It was for a worthy cause, but many seemed a bit uncomfortable with them. The game announcers commented about how times had changed; in the old days, players wouldn't be caught dead using pink bats. Many of the players only used the pink bats in batting practice, not in the actual game. (Though Bernie did use his.) Torre made a comment about Bubba Crosby not using a pink bat: "Maybe if your name is Bubba, you don't want a pink bat."
Actually, the real reason Bubba didn't use a pink bat was because more players than anticipated had requested the pink bats. The Louisville Slugger company couldn't make them fast enough. Some players didn't get theirs in time, and Bubba was one of them.
Bubba was apparently concerned that people would think he had refused to use a pink bat. Michael Kay had this to say when Bubba came to bat the first time:Now here's Bubba Crosby, and you'll see Bubba Crosby is using a black bat. He told our Kim Jones, "Please have Mike and Jim say that 'I love my mom, they just didn't give me a pink bat. I would have used it, but I didn't get a pink bat. So that's why I'm using a black bat.' And he also wanted us to say Happy Mother's Day to his mom, Tammy."
Of course, that meant every time he came to bat after that, my obnoxious friends said things like, "Look at that! Bubba's not using a pink bat! He doesn't love his Mom!"
Johnny Damon was DHing, so Bubba started in CF. He batted eighth, with Melky ninth. Randy Johnson was the starting pitcher. He was struggling, but Torre promised his problems had been fixed, and we'd see a new Randy Johnson.
He lied. It was the same inconsistent Randy Johnson we'd been seeing all season. The first inning went on forever - a bad sign. (When Randy has a bad first inning, it usually means his whole game will be bad.) The Big Unit saw eight batters and gave up three runs in that inning. I was half-expecting the Oakland batters to refuse to auction off their "lucky" pink bats for charity, the way they were hitting off Johnson.
Meanwhile, Haren was lights-out. He ended up with the complete game win. The only Yankees score came in the 2nd inning, when Posada homered. Bubba, in the hole, waiting to congratulate Posada.
Bubba's first at-bat was in the bottom of the 2nd. Cano had grounded out, Posada had homered, and Bernie had struck out, so he was up with two outs and none on.
He got ahead in the count 3-1, but Haren got eventually got him out looking. Bubba was pretty annoyed; he thought he had worked a walk and had started up the first base line already when the call was made.Bubba hands his lid to the batboy when he realizes the call was "Strike 3" instead of "Ball 4."
Bubba struck out again in the 5th inning. Posada grounded out, Bernie flied out, then Bubba struck out swinging on the fifth pitch he saw.
Bubba came up again, as leadoff hitter in the 8th. He squared to bunt the first pitch, but it was a ball. The second pitch was also a ball. He tried to bunt again on the third pitch, and ended up fouling it off. Finally, he smacked the fourth pitch back up the middle. Base hit to CF, that nearly hit Haren. Bubba at 1B
So Bubba was on first base with none out and the top of the order coming up. But no one could move him over, let alone bring him home. Melky struck out, Damon flied out. Jeter was up 3-0 at one point; I thought for sure he'd at least get a walk. On 3-1, Bubba tried to steal 2nd, but Jeter flied out, ending the inning.
It was that kind of game. It ended on a bizarre double play. Cano hit what looked like a line drive up the first base line. Swisher caught it on a hop. A-Rod, thinking it was caught in the air, jumped over Swisher to get back to first. Swisher tagged A-Rod and tagged the base: a one-man double-play.
It left everyone massively confused. Torre didn't understand why the game was over. The crowd didn't realize it was over until "New York, New York" started playing.
Some random game comments...
Melky showed both promise and inexperience in this game. In the top of the 8th, he gave up on fly ball that was just foul. Bubba would have gotten the out; Melky didn't even try. OTOH, Melky made a terrific throw in the same inning, which let Posada block the plate, prevent a run, and end the inning. (Yes, Jorgie actually blocked the plate.)
Michael Kay noted that Bubba was frequently used as a LIDR for Melky in LF - not because Melky's bad, but because Bubba's so good. And so fast.
A-Rod had his sixth error of the season, dropping a ball that hit him right in the glove.
Bubba's 1 for 3 for the day was pretty good, all things considered. He did better than most of his teammates against Haren.