Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
The Clippers are supposed to play a doubleheader tonight, but the weather doesn't look good. Ernesto is strengthening again, and may reach hurricane status once more. It's bringing torrential rains, and Durham is just about at ground zero.
UPDATE: It's official. The doubleheader has been cancelled, and the games will not be made up.
The Yankees announced the "first round" of September callups this afternoon. They are Darrell Rasner, who will be Sunday's starting pitcher, catcher Wil Nieves, and reliever T.J. Beam. No Bubba...yet, anyway. I believe the Yanks have until midnight to add him to the roster if they want to call him up.
Rasner and Beam are on the 40-man roster. Nieves is not. No word on how they are going to clear roster space for him.
August 30, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 2, Detroit 0
A rainout Tuesday night forced a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday. They won the first game - Wang's 16th win of the season. The young sinkerballer from Taiwan has become the Yanks' ace.
The Yanks had 10 hits, but only two runs to show for it. One of them was a homerun by Craig Wilson. I was very happy for him. He's been in a bit of a slump, and Yankees fans are not very forgiving.
As A-Rod knows all too well. He had another awful game at the plate. At least he's playing okay on defense.
The game was sold out - over 50,000 tickets - but fewer than 20,000 actually showed up. It was the emptiest sold out game I've ever seen.
August 30, 2006: Detroit 5, N.Y. Yankees 3
The second game of the doubleheader was a heartbreaker. Joe didn't want to use Mo in both games, and Farnsworth was having back problems. So Scott Proctor was asked to hold a one-run lead in the 9th.
He couldn't do it. He walked two batters, and then, with one out left, gave up a homerun to Craig Monroe. With one swing of the bat, it went from 3-2 Yanks to 5-3 Tigers. The Yanks went down in order in the bottom of the 9th, and that was that. Tigers win.
Bernie started in RF in this game. Yeek. He went 0 for 3, and was replaced in the 8th inning by Abreu.
Aaron Guiel came in to pinch-hit for Wilson, and stayed to play 1B. He was sent flying by Sean Casey, in what looked more like an NFL play than a MLB one. But he held onto the ball and got the out. Pretty impressive.
August 31, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Detroit 4
A day game after a day-night doubleheader - the schedule has been cruel to the Yanks this month. I really wish the new stadium had a retractable roof. I think a team that never had any rainouts (at least at home) would have a definite advantage.
Randy gave up three homers, but got enough run support for the win. He went deep, too; he was pulled after giving up a walk and a homer in the ninth. Mo came in and got the last three outs. It was surprisingly close. For awhile there, I was afraid it would end like last night's game, but Mo came through.
A-Rod had a great day, thank heaven. No "K-Rod" today. He went 3 for 4 with a double, a homer, two runs scored, two RBI, and a stolen base. Here's hoping he's turned the corner.
Bernie played CF and went 2 for 4. His defense didn't hurt the team...mainly because the Tigers scored all their runs off homers.
August 29, 2006: Columbus Clippers 3, Charlotte Knights 4
Steven White gave up four runs in the first inning. That would be all the Knights would score, but it was enough. The Clippers made it close, but couldn't quite climb out of the hole White dug for them.
The Clippers are still in North Carolina, scheduled to play the Durham Bulls tonight at 7:00pm. The lineup has been posted, and Bubba is leading off and playing CF, as usual. But I wouldn't be surprised if the game is rained out. Ernesto is no longer a hurricane, but it's still packing a lot of rain. And it's headed straight for the Tarheel State.
If the game is played, you can follow the action online here, and/or listen to free Gameday audio here.
UPDATE: Yup, game was rained out. There will be a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 6:00pm ET. Though the weather's not looking good for tomorrow night, either.
August 29, 2006: Columbus Clippers 8, Charlotte Knights 4
Darrell Rasner was briefly called up by the Yankees earlier this season. He injured his shoulder during a practice session. It was thought to be a minor injury that wouldn't really need a DL stint, but turned out to be worse than they thought. The Yanks weren't even sure he'd be back this season.
But he is back. He was activated August 25, and assigned to Columbus. He made his first start last night. He did okay, all things considered. Perhaps the Yanks will call him up in September.
The Clippers fell behind 2-4 by the 4th, but slowly chipped their way back, tying it in the 8th. In the 9th, they broke out the bats in a big way, scoring four runs, which proved to be three runs more than they needed to secure the win.
Bubba flied out in his first at bat, but that would be the last time they kept him off the bases. He was hit by pitches twice, both times on the right foot. And they almost plunked him again in his 4th at bat. (The scouting report on Bubba must say to pitch him inside.) He got out of the way in time, and eventually ended up getting his only hit of the night, a sharp line drive to right.
He came to bat again in the 9th, leading off. They did not pinch-hit for him this time, even though there was a lefty on the mound. He worked a walk. He was sacrificed to 2B, and got to 3B on a groundout. A single by Wil Nieves brought him home - the go-ahead and game-winning run.
Bubba's line for the night: 1 for 2 with a run, a walk, and two HBPs.
His Columbus numbers thus far:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.265 .359 .441 .800
August 27, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 11, L.A. Angels 8
I gotta hand it to those pesky Angels. They never give up. Even down 4-11, they played to win...and almost pulled it out yet again. Joe Torre was forced to empty the bullpen to preserve the victory. (Jeff Karstens' first in the big leagues.)
I really hope the Angels don't make the playoffs, because I don't want to see them again. They're our nemesis. Though part of me wants Bubba to get another chance at them, most of me would be very happy to see the last of them.
Bernie had an amazing day, at least at the plate: 4 for 5 with a double and a homer, with 2 runs scored and 6 RBI. Wow. Too bad it didn't happen in Yankee Stadium. The fans would have gone absolutely crazy.
He was pretty awful in left field, but today, at least, his bat did make up for his glove.
As for why he was in left field...Melky is having dental problems. He's in a lot of pain, and they were planning to bench him today and possibly Tuesday, too. He needs a root canal. But Joe ended up putting him in as a LIDR. (Gee, Joe. Wouldn't it be nice to have a backup outfielder who's actually a defensive upgrade??)
Johnny Damon was also sick today. Not sure what the problem is, but he was dragging, and later admitted that he was afraid he was going to throw up during the game.
Only a few days until rosters expand. Will Bubba be a September call up? They certainly need a backup outfielder and pinch-runner. OTOH, there are a lot of other considerations when it comes to the 40-man roster. Kevin Thompson might have the inside track, just because he's already on it. I hope they go with Bubba, though. He's better on defense and a better baserunner. And he's earned it, dammit.
August 26, 2006: L.A. Angels 12, N.Y. Yankees 7
I don't know what it is about the Angels. We just don't match up well against them.
A-Rod is getting a lot of abuse these days, for his incredible string of strikeouts. But really, the offense wasn't to blame for this. Seven runs should be enough to win.
But it wasn't. Not against the Angels, and not when our pitchers were giving away runs like AOL used to give out CDs.
Though I have to hand it to young Bruney. He's got balls. After Jeter got plunked, Bruney threw behind a couple of Angels, nearly inciting a brawl. Both benches were warned, but no one was ejected.
Jeter was hilarious. Bruney admitted he was "protecting" his teammates. But when Jeter was asked about it, he said innocently, "The ball got away from him, didn't it?" LOL!
August 26, 2006: Indianapolis Indians 9, Columbus Clippers 5
The Clippers were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with this loss. Not that anyone really thought they had a chance, anyway.
Bad night for the Clippers, but a pretty good night for Bubba. He scored the Clippers' first two runs. He had some nice plays on defense, too, including a leaping grab in the third.
Leading off in the first, he did a great job working the count, finally getting on with a single to left. As usual, he drove them to distraction once on base. Despite their best efforts to hold him on, he stole 2B. Again. And he cashed in the stolen base when Sardinha hit a single, scoring from 2B.
Leading off in the 3rd, he drew a walk. He scored again after a ground rule double and an error.
With two outs in the 4th, Bubba battled, got the count full, then hit a single to left. Once again, he stole second. He's now 7 for 7 in stolen bases for the Clippers. Alas, he was stranded when Mitch Jones flied out.
The Tribe finally succeeded in keeping Bubba off the bases in the 6th, when he popped out to 3rd.
In the bottom of the 9th, Cosme pinch-hit for Bubba. That seemed a little odd. Bubba was 2 for 3, with 2 runs scored, a walk, and two stolen bases. Perhaps it was a lefty-righty matchup thing. The pitcher was a lefty, and Cosme's a righty. Still, the Clippers were down 3-9, with only three outs left in the game. It was pretty much over.
I wonder if he's hurt? After sliding in to 2B on his second steal, he came up holding his knee. He stayed in the game and continued to play CF, though.
FWIW, Bubba is not in the lineup today. Perhaps they're just resting him, it being a day game after a night game. CF is a lot of ground to cover, and they've got a lot of outfielders. Still...I gotta wonder.
The Indianapolis radio announcers think Bubba will be a September callup. They said they weren't expecting him to be with Columbus for much longer. I hope so...for the Yankees' sake as well as Bubba's.
August 25, 2006: Columbus Clippers 8, Indianapolis Indians 2
Gee, who is this kid Pavano? He looks pretty good!
Rehabbing Carl Pavano led the Clippers to victory over division-leading Indianapolis. Or the former division-leading Indianapolis, anyway. Thanks to the loss, they fell out of first place.
Bubba went 1 for 5 with a run, a double, and 2 RBI. He also hit a couple of balls pretty hard, and was robbed by sparkling defense.
From the Columbus Dispatch:
The Clippers were powered by the first three batters in the lineup. Bubba Crosby, Andy Cannizaro and Mitch Jones had five of the 11 hits and each had two RBI, including Jones’ two-run homer — his 19 th — in the fifth. Crosby doubled in two runs in a five-run second.
August 25, 2006: L.A. Angels 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Another heartbreaker of a loss. Dotel gave up a walkoff sac fly in the bottom of the 9th. Torre should have put Mo in. He hasn't pitched for four days, so overuse isn't an issue.
This means, setting aside the five-game aberration in Boston, we are 7 for 17 since Bubba got DFA'd. A .411 team.
I really don't understand it. We'd won something like 9 out of 11 series before that. Since then, we've won two out of six. One out of five if you discount the Boston series. You'd think adding Abreu, Lidle, and Wilson would improve the team, but somehow, it hasn't.
Definitely missed Bubba in this game. The Yankees have no pinch-runner now. Joe tried putting in Nick Green for Posada in the 9th, but it was a disaster. I don't know if Nick missed a signal or what, but he tried to steal second while Craig Wilson was trying to bunt, and was out by a mile. He's not only slow, he's a bad baserunner. Sigh.
August 25, 2006: Louisville Bats 8, Columbus Clippers 5
Well, Bubba went 0 for 4 last night...but it wasn't as bad as that raw stat indicates. He got on base in the 3rd when he was hit by a pitch. In the 5th, he reached on an error. He promptly stole second base, getting such an "incredibly good" jump the Bats didn't have a chance. (He's now 5 for 5 in stolen bases.) A Sardinha sac fly let Bubba take 3rd (the throw went to 2B), but he was stranded when Nieves grounded out.
In the sixth, Bubba came up with two outs and men on 2B and 3B. Alas, he couldn't bring them home, striking out swinging.
He sort of made up for it 8th. He came to bat with one out, bases loaded. He grounded out, but the man on 3B scored. So it was a "productive out."
There were some nice moments on defense, too. In the top of the 4th, Ray Olmedo hit a deep fly to center, causing the announcers to get all excited...but Bubba chased it down.
The Clippers play the division-leading Indianapolis Indians tonight at 7:25pm. Bubba is playing CF and batting leadoff. And Carl Pavano is pitching! Follow the game online here, or listen to free Gameday audio here.
August 23, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 9, Seattle 2
August 24, 2006: Seattle 4, N.Y. Yankees 2
Well, after losing the first game against the pesky Mariners, the Yanks split the next two. I'm really starting to think that the sweep of Boston means the Red Sox are really bad, not that that Yankees are that good.
Take out that Red Sox series, and the Yankees are a below-.500 team since Bubba was DFA'd. Not that I think those two things are necessarily related; call it a convenient marker. They were on a roll. Then they weren't any more.
For the most part, the offense has been great. Heck, even Nick Green is hitting. The bullpen has been pretty good; our bullpen is the reason we beat Boston, IMO. But starting pitching is spotty, and the defense isn't what it used to be.
Reason for concern. Pitching and defense are going to be even more important in the post-season.
August 23, 2006: Columbus Clippers 5, Louisville Bats 4
Columbus Clippers fans bring cowbells to the stadium. (This may be why "Neon" Deion Sanders once called Columbus a "cowtown.") I have no idea why cowbells, of all things, but cowbells it is. They ring them whenever the Clippers get a home run. Bubba gave them reason to ring their bells last night.
I had a good feeling about last night's game, not least because there was a righty on the mound. Bubba flied out in his first at bat, but it was a deep flyout, hit with some pop.
When Bubba came up for his second at bat in the bottom of the third, the Louisville radio announcer started talking about a former Bats intern named Val. She's apparently a big fan of Bubba's. "A Bubba Crosby groupie," he put it. When he saw Bubba's name in the lineup, he called her up to tell her (she's with the D-Rays now). She got very excited, and asked him to get an autographed ball for her. He refused, saying journalists weren't supposed to do that. She was not pleased. (Ah, well. The Yanks have a four-game series in Tampa left on the schedule. If Bubba's called up in September, she might get a chance to ask for her own autograph.)
With two outs and Kevin Thompson on 1B via a walk, Bubba took ball one, then fouled off the second pitch. The third pitch he smacked over the right field wall - a "screaming liner" the fielders had no chance at. Two-run homer for Bubba Crosby!
Here's an audio file of the Bats announcers calling Bubba's homer.
He had some nice moments on defense, as well. In the 6th, with two on and no outs, he jumped on a line drive single, preventing the runners from scoring and preserving the Clippers lead. The announcers were very impressed with his speed. His throw in was offline, but the Bats respected his wheels and his arm enough not to send the runners.
The Bats did pull ahead in the top of the 7th (TJ Beam did not have a great night). The Clippers tied it the bottom of the 7th; it stayed that way through the ninth. Free baseball!
The Bats did not score in the top of the 10th. In the bottom of the 10th, Kevin Thompson flied out. Bubba came up next, and hit a line drive to right. A single by T-Long moved him to 2B. Mitch Jones popped out; Bubba was almost doubled off. Bronson Sardinha then hit line drive to right. Bubba scored from second, just beating the throw. Clippers win!
The Columbus Dispatch described it this way:
Bubba Crosby scored from second base on Bronson Sardinha’s single. Crosby slid across home plate just ahead of Dane Sardinha’s tag after a valiant but futile throw by right fielder Chris Denorfia.
August 22, 2006: Seattle 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Well, the Yanks fell back to earth with a thud yesterday. I can't say I'm surprised. I was pretty much expecting it, after the grueling but thrilling weekend. It's natural for them to be a bit flat after that.
Still, the game seemed winnable. Joe rather bizarrely burned Mike Myers to finish IBBing someone. I guess he wanted the runner to be on Myers' tab, rather than on Karstens'. Okay, it's a nice thought. Karstens is a rookie callup, and who knows if he'll ever get a chance to pitch in the big leagues again? But couldn't he find anyone other than Myers to throw those pitches? One of the starting pitchers, maybe? Sal Fasano? It's not like they'd actually have to pitch.
They ended up blowing the kid's win anyway. A walkoff homer went over Abreu and into the seats.
He didn't shy away from the wall as visibly as he has before, but he didn't really play it well, either. He seemed distracted. I couldn't help thinking that Bubba might have gotten that one. He'd have sped to the wall, waited for the ball, then leaped for it.
Ah, well. Extra innings would have killed me, it being on the West Coast and all.
August 22, 2006: Toledo Mudhens 10, Columbus Clippers 5
This game started out promisingly, with the Clippers scoring a quick three runs in the first, thanks to a Toledo error. But Columbus couldn't hold the lead. Aaron Small, last year's Cinderella, has turned back into a pumpkin. He gave up eight hits, three walks, and seven earned runs, dooming the Clippers.
The umpire had a pitcher's strike zone, which didn't go over well with the batters. Bubba was clearly annoyed at the high strikes that were called, but didn't say anything. Some of his teammates were not so circumspect. In the sixth inning, the catcher, the third baseman, and the manager were all ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Bubba went 1 for 4. Leading off in the bottom of the 8th, he hit a single, then stole second base. (He seems to be stealing at will against the Mudhens.) A T-Long groundout moved him to 3B, but he ended up stranded. (They're ready for the Yankees. Call 'em up!)
It was a good night on defense for Bubba. He made a running catch of a ball deep in the gap that really impressed the Toledo radio broadcaster.
The Clippers play the Louisville Bats tonight at 7:05pm. Bubba is playing RF and batting in the two-hole. Follow the game online here, or listen to free Gameday audio here.
August 21, 2006: Columbus Clippers 3, Toledo Mudhens 2
The Mudhens had playoff hopes, but the Clippers are doing a good job of spoiling them. Kris Wilson started last night, and was terrific.
Bubba's struggles against lefties continued. (He hardly ever got to bat against lefties when he was with the Yanks, so perhaps he's out of practice.) He went 0 for 3 last night, though he did get a walk. He also got on base via a fielder's choice, beating out the double play with his blazing speed. He then stole second base, but was stranded when Mitch Jones and T-Long flew out and struck out respectively.
It was interesting, how perturbed the pitcher became when Bubba got on base later via a walk. He made repeated pickoff attempts, trying to keep Bubba close. Having been burned by Bubba's speed before, he didn't want to get caught again. He ended up walking the batter and giving our boy 2B anyway. Unfortunately, T-Long grounded into a doubleplay, again stranding Bubba.
The Clippers play the Mudhens again tonight, at 7:05pm. Bubba is playing CF and batting third. Follow the game online here, or listen to a free radio broadcast here.
August 21, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 2, Boston 1
Unreal. I expected a 3-2 split at best. But the Yankees actually swept the five-game series. Utterly mind-blowing. I never imagined anything like this.
The much-maligned Nick Green got to be the hero today. He screwed up an easy popup in the 6th, colliding with Robby Cano, and fans were screaming for his blood. Nick can't hit to save his life; he's on the roster for his defense. An error like that seemed, well, indefensible.
But lo, and behold, the next time he came to bat, leading off in the 8th, he hit a double off the Green Monster. He'd looked pretty awful in his two previous at bats, and in any other park it would probably have been a fly out. Never mind. He got a hit off Boomer Wells, and was standing on 2B.
Melky bunted him over the 3B. Foulke was brought in to relieve Wells. A wild pitch let Green score. Foulke then struck out Jeter and Abreu. Nick's run was the last one scored, and turned out to be the game-winner. Nick the Stick!
Yankees fans are naturally ecstatic. I am, too, but I can't help but remember that until the Boston series, we'd been basically a .500 team since Bubba got sent down. We lost series to the White Sox - and the Orioles.
But the Red Sox were even worse. They'd lost 9 of 15 in August, including being swept by the lowly Royals. Could it be that the Red Sox are just really awful, rather than the Yankees being good?
Guess we'll find out, as the Yanks play Seattle, the Angels, Detroit, and Minnesota in the coming days.
August 20, 2006: Columbus Clippers 5, Toledo Mudhens 2
Colter Bean, usually a reliever, started last night for the Clippers. With that, he set a record for the number of games played by a Columbus player that goes back over a hundred years. Probably not a record he really wanted. But he did a fine job after yesterday's debacle.
Bubba didn't have a great night at the plate. He went 0 for 4, with one strikeout. He did draw one walk. Well, I did say yesterday that he should walk more. I should be careful what I wish for.
The Clippers play the Mudhens again tonight. Bubba is DHing tonight, again batting in the three-hole. Follow the game online here. You can also listen to a free radio broadcast here.
The lineup has been posted, and Bubba is again playing CF, batting in the three-hole. You can follow the game online here.
I finally gave in and bought a MiLB.TV subscription, so I'll be able to watch this one online.
(Though the Clippers Web site says Bubba is wearing #19 and playing RF, he is actually wearing #27, as you can see from the screen cap. And he usually plays CF, not RF.)
August 19, 2006: Toledo Mudhens 20, Columbus Clippers 2
Well, the poor Columbus Clippers must know how the Boston Red Sox feel this morning. What a bloodbath. Toledo's been a roll lately, and Columbus is feeling the loss of the pitchers called up to New York this week.
It started out poorly, with De Paula giving up five runs in the first inning. It only got worse after that. In the end, the De Paula gave up 10 earned runs, and Mendoza, Butto, and Cosme combined to give up ten more.
Yes, I said "Cosme." He is listed as a third baseman on the roster, and so far as I know has never pitched before. (And likely never will again - he gave up a grand slam, and now has an ERA of 36.0.) Guess the Clippers were really hard up for pitchers, since the Yanks have called up so many.
They should have let Bubba pitch. He was a pitcher in high school. We could see if he still remembers how to throw that curveball Chuck Knoblauch's dad taught him. Or if Gator succeeded in teaching him to throw a splitter.
OTOH, maybe it was better they didn't. Poor Bubba was run ragged in centerfield last night. He got eleven balls to chase down over eight innings. He had a decent night at the plate, though, going 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and no strikeouts.
His Columbus numbers so far:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.289 .341 .500 .841
August 19, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 13, Boston 5
I confess, I am amazed (but very pleased) that we are now 3-0 in this five-game series. I thought we'd split 2-3 or 3-2. Now 4-1, or even 5-0, is looking possible. Red Sox Nation is reeling.
"Upper-Deck Beck" only gave up one homer (to Bernie, of all people), but he gave up plenty of other runs. What killed him and the other Sox pitchers was all the walks they gave out. Thirteen in all.
YES gave Bernie the "Defensive Play of the Game." He made a nice sliding catch...but he looked like he was running through concrete to get there. A few years ago, he'd have made that catch without sliding. I think I'd have given it to Melky instead; he made a nice diving catch in LF. A little scary, though; his glove caught on the grass slightly. Ever since Matsui, that kind of catch makes me nervous.
Bubba would've made both those catches standing up. Heck, he'd probably make them look so easy they wouldn't make the highlight reels.
Tomorrow, Boston's ace is on the mound: Curt "Bloody Sock" Schilling. Will he be the one to slow the Yankee juggernaut? Or will it be "Curt Shelling" who show up? I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, because even if we lose the final two games, we win the series.
Aaron Guiel didn't get any sleep last night. He got called at 2:00am, and had to go down to the Clippers locker room to pack his stuff, get to the airport, return his rental car, etc. He still hadn't slept by game time. But they put him in anyway, as a LIDR for Bobby Abreu in the bottom of the 9th. (Joe apparently doesn't trust Guiel in CF, even with an 8-run lead.)
Speaking of Guiel...Steve at WasWatching is puzzled at the choice of Guiel over Bubba. He wonders if Bubba burned his bridges with the Yankees, when he got so upset at being DFA'd.
Clippers play tonight at 7:00pm. If they have any pitchers left, anyway. Bubba is playing CF again, and batting in the three-hole. Follow the game online here.
August 18, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 14, Boston 11
Well, not really the longest game ever. It was, however, the longest nine-inning game. And it felt like it. It dragged on so long that Al Leiter apologized for his "eleven starts last year." He said he never realized how tedious it was to watch a slow game; it's different when you're the pitcher.
It was a wild game. The Yanks jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then the Sox took the lead, then the Yanks took the lead back. It didn't seem quite safe until the very last out was recorded. Big Papi had his trademark 9th inning homer (against Mo, no less), but it wasn't enough. The Yan-kees win!
The Aruban Ace, Sidney Ponson, had a horrible night. He is being DFA'd today. Brian Bruney was sent back to Columbus as well. (He was brought up only for the weekend, and is being exchanged for a fresh arm.)
Aaron Guiel and Jeff Karstens were called up from Columbus, and caught a 7am flight to Boston this morning. I was surprised that they called up Guiel. While I agree they need a backup OFer who is not the Ghost of Bernie Williams, I was expecting them to stick with pitchers, at least for the weekend. Maybe it's finally dawned on them how very thin their bench is these days.
Of course, I was hoping it would be Bubba instead of Guiel. Bubba did not have a great night in Columbus last night. He went 0 for 4 - the only guy in the lineup who didn't get a hit. There's always one; I guess yesterday was his turn. Or maybe he was pressing; I'm sure he was hearing the callup rumors even more than we fans were.
They probably brought up Guiel for the same reason they signed him in the first place: his occasional power as a lefty batter. And he's been playing 1B at Columbus as well as outfield, which may appeal to a team that just lost Andy Phillips and wasn't sure if Giambi would be healthy enough to play today. Guiel also still has options, so they can send him back down again without exposing him to waivers, if necessary. And he was still on the 40-man roster, while Bubba was not.
But Bubba has good things to offer, too. He's been hitting well in Columbus - better than Guiel, though admittedly the sample size is small. He's got the range for CF, which Guiel doesn't. He's got a lot more speed, and could be the pinch-runner they lack.
I can't help wondering if maybe they'd have picked Bubba instead of Guiel if Bubba had had a better night at the plate last night. Probably not...but still. Would have made my weekend if Bubba had rejoined the team today.
August 18, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 12, Boston 4
This game didn't start well. Wang doesn't pitch well at Fenway, and he seemed to be struggling today. While Boston's throwaway pitcher, Jason Johnson, was pitching like a Cy Young winner. (Why do no-name pitchers always manage to come up big against us?)
But Wang hung in there, working in and out of trouble. Very stressful to watch, but in the end, Johnson cracked first. The Sox had to go to their pen, and the Yanks started kicking butt.
The game was closer than the score indicates. Boston had their chances. They left something like 15 men on base. They had a lot of ducks on the pond, but couldn't bring them home. We like to gripe about the Yankees' LOB numbers, but Boston is worse.
Torre put Nick Green in as a pinch-runner for Giambi again. Just to rest Giambi; the game was a total blowout by then. At that point, it occurred to me that we have almost no bench now. Only Nick Green for an infielder, and Bernie Williams for an outfielder. And Bernie really shouldn't be used as an outfielder. Sigh. I suppose pitching is more important, but jeez, we could sure use a Bubba Crosby on the roster this weekend.
Bubba starts in CF tonight for Clippers. He's batting in the leadoff position (his natural spot, IMO). The game begins at 7:25pm. Follow the game online here.
August 10, 2006: Baltimore Orioles 12, N.Y. Yankees 2
The Birds! Auggghhhhhhhhhh!
A truly nightmarish game. I guess I should have known, when leadoff hitter Brian Roberts (Bubba's friend and former roommate) led off with a homer. Roberts is a good player, but he is not a home run hitter. He averages something like 4 homers a year. So this was not a good sign.
Still, when Johnny Damon hit a leadoff homer of his own, and Robby Cano hit one in the 2nd, it seemed the Yanks would prevail.
But it was not to be. Wright imploded on the mound. He left the game early (even for him!), after only three innings. Torre then burned the bullpen, rather than going with longman Ponson (who is the tentative starter for tomorrow).
Dotel and Myers, who came in in relief, didn't help. The game seemed out of reach early, and truly was by the 6th, with the Yanks down 12-2. The scrubs went in in the 7th - Torre waving the white flag.
It was a downright goofy game. Abreu got an error in RF. Bobbled a single or made a bad throw; it wasn't clear, because they didn't actually show him fielding the ball. A-Rod and Jeter collided in the infield, botching an easy popup. Initially, A-Rod got the error; it was later switched to Jeter. (Jim Kaat speculated that Jeter asked them to change it.) And Andy Phillips hurt himself in his final at-bat.
That last is particularly interesting. Torre said it's a rib cage injury, from swinging the bat. Andy did seem to be really hurt, but boy, is the timing convenient. Many were expecting Andy to be DFA'd before the weekend, to make room for another pitcher. Andy is the least-used player on the roster, and the obvious candidate to be cut.
But if he goes on the DL, the Yanks can call up another player without DFA'ing Andy. Who? Well, for the weekend, it's likely to be a pitcher. Playing five games in four days with the bullpen already spent, another arm would be useful. Karstens or Beam, maybe.
But after this weekend, 13 pitchers would probably be overkill, even by Joe's standards. They're likely to send down a pitcher and replace him with a position player. Who? Aaron Guiel, who is playing 1B in Columbus? Or maybe they'd sign recently DFA'd Jose Vizcaino. A former Yankee, he was rumored to be a possible replacement for Nick Green. Perhaps he'd replace Andy instead.
Or dare I hope...Bubba? Joe has surely missed his best defensive OFer and speediest pinch-runner. Bubba's really the best CFer in the entire Yankees system. And Cairo, the other pinch-runner, is on the DL.
Bubba is not in the lineup for Columbus tonight. Dunno if it means anything. Probably not, except they have more OFers than they know what to do with in Columbus.
Aaron Small is starting, so I guess they aren't planning to call him up.
August 16, 2006: Columbus Clippers 3, Richmond Braves 1
Kris Wilson pitched a complete game last night, giving up only one run.
Bubba got things started early. Playing CF and batting in the two-hole, he hit a triple in his first at bat, then came home on a groundout by Aaron Guiel. Would have been an RBI triple, except Kevin Thompson got picked off 1B while Bubba was batting. KT is very speedy, but not a terribly good baserunner.
Bubba didn't have much success at the plate after that (lining out, then striking out swinging and looking). Still, can't really complain about a triple and a run scored.
Bubba is now leading the Clippers in slugging:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.310 .375 .552 .927
August 16, 2006: Baltimore 3, N.Y. Yankees 2
Cory Lidle had a rough first start, giving up a run in each of the first three innings. He was lucky it wasn't more. He settled down after that, but it was too late. He'd put the Yanks in a hole they were unable to climb out of.
The game never felt out of reach. Indeed, I was sure the Yanks would beat up the Baltimore bullpen as soon as Loewen was pulled. Alas, it didn't happen. The much-maligned Orioles bullpen shut the Yankees down.
Many groaned when they saw the lineup. Joe decided to start Bernie in CF, prompting some fans to call for DFAing Andy Phillips and bringing Bubba up again. And as expected, the Orioles ran on Bernie without even looking up.
OTOH, Bernie did hit a double - moving him past Don Mattingly on the Yankees career list. Only Lou Gehrig is ahead of him now. He eventually scored, so I guess I'd call him a wash for the night. He did get a nice ovation from the crowd. They love Bernie, no matter what he does.
Some wanted Melky to start in CF instead of Bernie, but he badly misplayed a ball in LF, which caused some to reconsider. Melky didn't get an error, but he probably should have. OTOH, it seems to be the walls that confuse him, and there are fewer of them in CF. Still, I guess I can understand Joe not wanting to move him. The kid is just a rookie.
Octavio Dotel made his first appearance. It was short - three batters - but encouraging. He wasn't exactly lights-out, but all things considered, it was a decent performance.
Joe ended up using Nick Green as a pinch-runner for Giambi. Oy. Nick is not fast. He's courageous, though, sliding in hard and breaking up the DP.
Definitely a night when Bubba was sorely missed. It's pretty sad that we don't have a real backup CFer or pinch-runner any more.
August 15, 2006:
Columbus Clippers 8, Richmond Braves 2
Columbus Clippers 2, Richmond Braves 1
Great night for the Clippers and for Bubba. He ended up #3 on the YankeesProspects.com "Top Performances at the Plate" list today!
In the first game, he drew first blood, bringing in the first run with a line drive up the middle. In the end, Bubba was 2 for 4 with a double, two RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base.
Bubba scored the last and winning run in the second game, which was much closer. He singled, stole 2B, then came home on an error by the third baseman.
Bubba's numbers for Columbus thus far:
AVG OBP SLG OPS
.320 .393 .520 .913
August 15, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Baltimore 3
This one unfolded pretty much as expected. The Orioles have decent hitters and starting pitchers. Their weakness is their bullpen. So they just had to wait Bedard out, then beat up on the middle relief. Which they did.
We saw the best and worst of Bobby Abreu in this game. His strong arm (or the threat of it) kept many a runner at bay. On the other hand, he really is awful playing near the wall. I certainly don't expect a superstar veteran like him to crash into walls like Bubba. But it's more than that. He's not just hesitant near the wall, he looks terrified of it. He approaches the wall the way someone who is afraid of heights approaches the edge of a cliff. He really has a wall phobia.
Sigh. We could use a good LIDR, y'know?
August 14, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 7, L.A. Angels 2
Torre shook up the lineup, moving Giambi into the cleanup spot and A-Rod to fifth. He also swapped Cano and Posada.
Posada apparently took that as a challenge, because he broke out of a long slump in a big way, going 3 for 4 with a home run.
Randy Johnson also stepped up in a big way. He went seven innings, which no Yankee starter has done since Wang did it two weeks ago. The bullpen needed that.
Jason Giambi has 999 career runs, and I guess he's getting a bit anxious. He ran through Bowa's stop sign at 3B. Big mistake. The notoriously slow Giambi was thrown out at home plate by about 20 feet. I don't know what he was thinking. Who does he think he is, Bubba Crosby?
But hey, we won. No harm, no foul. And it's nice to get the split, at least. We just don't match up well with the Angels, so I'm not too disappointed.
The Clippers play a doubleheader tonight at home. Bubba starts in both games.
The Clippers web site is a little screwed up tonight, but the lineup for the first game can be found here. Bubba is starting in CF and batting 2nd.
Follow the first game online here.
The lineup for the second game is here. Bubba is playing LF and batting leadoff.
Follow the second game online here.
August 14, 2006: Columbus Clippers 3, Norfolk Tides 2
They had to go ten innings to do it, but the Clippers pulled out the victory. Our old pal Aaron Guiel hit the winning RBI, scoring Kevin Thompson. "Bat Boy" Beam got the win.
Bubba played CF and batted 7th. He went 1 for 4 with a double. Not bad, kid!
The Clippers play again tomorrow night at 6:15pm.
August 13, 2006: L.A. Angels 5, N.Y. Yankees 3
Another loss to the pesky Halos. They are our nemesis, I swear. We just don't match up well with them.
I thought Wang would be sharp today. He didn't have a great outing last time, but I figured he'd bounce back. Especially for a game at home, where he usually plays well. But he struggled from the beginning, and though he settled down after the first inning, he had already dug the Yanks a hole they couldn't climb out of. And having let them bat around in the 1st, his pitch count was too high for him to go deep. Torre had to go the bullpen in the 5th, which was disappointing. The bullpen is being run ragged.
I wonder if the long season is catching up to Wang. They are careful with innings pitched in the minors. His first season in the majors was last year, and he missed a large chunk of it with a shoulder injury. He's never pitched so many innings in a season as he has this year.
To be fair, the five runs Tiger gave up were hardly an insurmountable lead. But the Yanks just couldn't get anything going (until the bottom of the ninth, when A-Rod and Giambi provided back-to-back homers - too little, too late).
More than one fan commented today that the Yanks have been in a tailspin since Bubba was DFA'd. Since that black day, we are 4-5. Under .500, with two out of three series lost, when we'd been winning almost all of them.
I miss our gritty, scrappy lineup. They may have been kids and castoffs, but they mostly won. Maybe the Yanks are just pressing, but they seem to have reverted to their old homer-hacking ways:
Today: 3 runs, all on homers
8/12: 5 runs, all on homers
8/11: 4 runs, 1 on a homer
8/10: 4 runs, all on homers
August 12, 2005: Columbus Clippers 7, Richmond Braves 1
The Clippers have struggled this year (not least because the Yankees kept calling up their players). Richmond's record is even worse than Columbus's, though, and the Clippers rolled tonight.
Bubba had a very respectable night at the plate. He grounded out at his first at bat. But his next time up, he drew a walk. He hit singles the next two times. The bottom line: 2 for 3, with a walk and an RBI. His batting average rose 100 points over the course of the game, and is now .286. Small sample size, obviously. Still, it was fun to watch his average go from the lowest in the lineup to the highest, in just one night. Go, Bubba!
AVG SLG OBP OPS
.286 .500 .412 .912
August 12, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, L.A. Angels 2
Hallelujah. Those pesky Angels went down today. Though it was really more a meltdown on the mound for them than anything we did. Escobar had one really bad inning, giving up five runs on two homers (one by Cano, one by Damon). That was the second inning, and he ended up going six, so it really was a fluke more than anything. He served up meatballs for one inning, and that was enough.
Tomorrow it's Wang on the mound. He's always better at home, so I'm optimistic about our chances of winning this series. Even against the Halos, our nemesis. The only team to have a winning record against us in the Torre era.
And we need it, because the rumors of the Red Sox demise have been greatly exaggerated. They came from behind to pull out an OT win against the Orioles today, so they're still two games back.
The Clippers play the Richmond Braves again tonight, at 7pm. Bubba is in the lineup. He is playing RF and batting 7th tonight. You follow the game online here.
August 11, 2006: L.A. Angels 7, N.Y. Yankees 4
I don't know what it is about the Halos, but they have our number. Heck, they not only have our number, they have our home address, date of birth, pet's name, mother's maiden name, and favorite color.
Cory Lidle didn't pitch very well, but it turns out he had an excuse. He had a stomach virus, and was pulled early. Torre, who has admitted that he overuses the pitchers he trusts and must start relying on everyone during this tough stretch, put in Sydney Ponson. Ponson didn't really do anything to garner trust, but he was no worse than Lidle.
Veras, who came in after Ponson, saw only one batter. Vlad hit a homer off him, and that was it. Quick hook for the rook. I know I'm not the only fan who was thinking, "For this we gave up Bubba Crosby?"
Torre ended up going to his new favorite workhorse, Ron Villone. I have a feeling Veras might be headed back to Columbus soon. Kris Wilson pitched well last night, and Torre seems to trust him more than Veras. The only reason it was Veras instead of Wilson was that Wilson had just been sent down, and couldn't be called up again so soon.
Speaking of Columbus...the Clippers won last night. Bubba had an okay night at the plate. Struck out looking, struck out swinging twice, then got two walks.
Glad to see those walks. Bubba used to be known as a batter with a good eye and patience at the plate, but he hasn't been walking much this year. Probably because he knew if he didn't hit, he'd lose his job.
August 10, 2006: Chicago White Sox 5, N.Y. Yankees 4
Another "turn the page" game. Just sloppy all around. Errors for both A-Rod and Melky Cabrera that put the Yanks in a hole early. Moose battled, but wasn't at his best. The Yanks seem back to their old ways of scoring only on home runs. Sigh. I miss our gritty, scrappy team that could manufacture runs.
Once again, we could have used Bubba in the late innings. Pinch-hitting for Wilson (why?), Bernie hit a single. Some fans were wondering why Joe didn't put in a pinch-runner for him. Then they remembered - we don't have one. Nick Green is a slowpoke. Cairo's on the DL. And one of the fastest guys in baseball, Bubba Crosby, is with the Clippers.
On the bright side, the Red Sox also lost, meaning we don't lose ground in the division race. I'd laugh at the Bosox for being swept by the lowly Kansas City Royals, except the same thing happened to the Yanks last year. And we ended up taking the division.
I miss you. Especially when it's late and close, and there's no pinch-runner or LIDR on the bench to help out.
The Best of Bubba
August 9, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 7, Chicago White Sox 6
Borrowed the title from Peter Abraham, but it was a question on many a fan's lips last night. Was sending down Bubba and keeping Andy Phillips really the smart thing to do?
Even Steven Goldman, who is not exactly a Bubba fan, thinks Bubba is more useful than Andy Phillips:
Bubba Crosby got cut this week despite having more of a defined role (pinch-runner, defensive replacement) than does Phillips. Despite the Yankees insistences on Phillips' continued presence with the club, this is something we should expect to change.
Bubba cleared waivers and has been assigned to the Columbus Clippers.
Fans of Bubba Crosby, rejoice. He cleared waivers and was outrighted to Class AAA Columbus. If the Yankees want to bring him back in September, they would have to add him to the 40-man roster.
August 8, 2006: Chicago White Sox 6, N.Y. Yankees 5
Well, I was kind of expecting this. We swept the White Sox last time, and I figured they would be up for some payback this time.
Wang did not have his best stuff, but I'm pleased with his ability to keep the Yanks in the game even when his best pitch isn't working. This was something he couldn't do last year.
Mo blew the save by giving up a homer - for the second time this year. No, I'm not worried that he's losing it. These things happen, especially against a good team like the White Sox.
Could Bubba have made a difference in this game? Maybe. The winning hit was to CF, and Iguchi scored from second on Damon's weak throw. Bubba has more range than Damon, and a much better arm. (There was a game in spring training this year where Bubba made a very impressive throw from CF in to home plate.) He might have caught that ball, and/or they might have held Iguchi at 3B with Bubba in CF. The White Sox respect Bubba's arm, judging from the way they played in the last series.
I also think he could have caught the popup A-Rod didn't, if he'd been playing LF. (Not that it matters, since Joe hasn't used defensive replacements for Melky for awhile now, but still.) Melky almost got there, and Bubba has more range than Melky. Plus, there was that game last year where a ball fell in a similar area, and Bubba and Jeter both got there. At the same time, unfortunately. Still, you had to admire his hustle.
On the bright side, the much-maligned Kansas City Royals beat Boston, so the Yanks did not lose anything in the standings.
Today's Bubba flashback: this article from the March 10, 2004, New York Times. Bubba's first spring training with the Yanks.
Solid Minor Leaguer Wants The Big Guys to Take Note
TAMPA, Fla., March 9 - Bubba Crosby just wants to be noticed. It could be for anything and it could be by anyone. Perhaps it will be for a smart at-bat or a stolen base. Maybe it will be by the Yankees or by scouts from another team. His desire never wavers. Someone, somewhere, please look at me.
Crosby is a 27-year-old outfielder with tired eyes and a hopeful voice. He has one major league hit and the daunting task of trying to sneak onto a $180 million roster that has virtually been set. There do not seem to be any openings for a minor league lifer, and there are seldom positions on the produce-every-minute Yankees for a player like Bubba Crosby.
Life might be different if Crosby were on the Milwaukee Brewers, a team with a meager payroll and no expectations for the postseason, a team that is more designed to search for a possible talent wearing No. 62.
Crosby tries not to dwell on the dreary odds, but they are impossible to ignore.
''You're human,'' Crosby said. ''It's hard not to go through this lineup in your head and wonder if there's an opportunity for you. It doesn't get you anywhere. All it can do is discourage you.''
Sometimes there are encouraging moments for Crosby, specks of light at the end of the long tunnel to the majors. When the Yankees said Monday that right fielder Gary Sheffield might be out two to three months with a thumb injury, General Manager Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Torre mentioned Crosby as insurance in the outfield. Apparently, someone had noticed.
Cashman called Crosby ''a throwback and grinding type.'' Torre said Crosby intrigued him because of his versatility, his speed and his ability to make contact. The praise was nice, but Crosby is competing with Darren Bragg, a veteran of 869 major league games, and Torre also plans to audition the first basemen Travis Lee and Tony Clark and the infielder Homer Bush in the outfield. Torre acknowledged that Crosby was the sort of useful reserve who could help the Yankees if Sheffield or Bernie Williams (appendectomy) were unavailable for the opener or could help them win games in September, when rosters expand to 40 players from 25. So, the compliment had a catch.
''He's got a nice little game,'' Torre said. ''He puts the ball in play. He can play all three outfield positions. He brings a dimension we don't have.''
Crosby, a 1998 first-round draft pick whom the Yankees obtained from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Robin Ventura trade last July, learned on Tuesday that Sheffield would try to continue playing and avoid surgery. Although Sheffield's successful return is not guaranteed, whatever hope Crosby saw in the crowded outfield equation faded.
''There's a lot of stuff that goes on around here,'' Crosby said. ''You can't let yourself think about it or get you upset. You can't control it.''
Crosby, who played in nine games for the Dodgers last season, has a solid minor league résumé. He was hitting .362 with 12 homers at Class AAA Las Vegas when the Yankees acquired him, then hit .309 at Class AAA Columbus. A career .285 minor league hitter, Crosby has an approach at the plate reminiscent of Chuck Knoblauch's. He is a leadoff type batter, patient and pesky. Knoblauch and Crosby graduated from Bellaire High School in Texas, and Ray Knoblauch, Chuck's father, coached both of them there.
Though Knoblauch implored Crosby to relax and ignore the intimidating roster numbers when they had dinner in January, Crosby was nervous when he discovered he was playing center field and batting leadoff against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez followed Crosby in the lineup.
After a few minutes, Crosby scolded himself and reminded himself that the Yankees played the game the same way as the Dodgers and Rice University, his alma mater. Crosby calmed down, smacked a single in five at-bats and made a nice catch. There were even a handful of ''Come on, Bubba'' shouts.
''You get your head together about how this is the game you've played all your life,'' Crosby said. ''I've only had a month in the big leagues, so some of this is all new to me.''
Crosby sent his father, Steve, an e-mail message saying he did not know anything about his status with the Yankees. No one has said anything to Crosby, and it is unlikely anyone will until he is told to return to Columbus or he completes a shocking story and makes the Yankees.
''I sent him back an e-mail and told him to watch out for Goliath,'' Steve Crosby said. ''It's a fear factor. You prepare the best you can. You can't let other things scare you or it's going to impact your performance.''
Bubba is David. Anything that interferes with his making it to the major leagues -- which sometimes seems like everything -- is Goliath. So Steve reminded his son that the reason David succeeded against Goliath was because he did not let Goliath's size advantage overwhelm him. David was confident.
Bubba, as David, is confident in his abilities, but realistic, too. He is competing for a reserve outfield position that may not even exist unless there are injuries. And if there is suddenly an opening, Crosby has the least experience among the contenders. Furthermore, the Yankees could always make a trade to fill a vacancy.
''When I see that he's around Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, sometimes you wonder, 'Does he have the talent?' '' Steve Crosby said. ''Then I see the Yankees playing the Phillies and I say, 'Gee whiz, he's better than him and him.' I think he's a major league player.''
But someone with more influence than Bubba Crosby's father needs to believe that he belongs in the majors. Crosby knows that. That is why he keeps trying to be noticed, for anything and by anyone.
CBS Sports' Bubba Crosby Page offers this advice for fantasy players:
He’s obviously lost any chance he had of earning playing time with the Yankees, but this could be a good thing for his long-term Fantasy value. If he ends up getting at-bats for a different team, he could have a little value in extremely larger leagues. That said, go ahead and drop him if you need the roster space.
So the Yanks have 8 players (the Amateur Free Agents + Drafted Yankees) who came up through the system. Scott Proctor and Bubba Crosby were mid-Minor League career development projects as well. So of the 31 players here, 11 of them could be considered partially or fully home grown. That’s not too bad.
August 6, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 6, Baltimore 1
Jaret Wright looked laborious, as usual, but pitched well enough for the win. The Yanks hit four homers off the hapless Lopez, which would be more than enough.
It was a hard game for a Bubba fan to watch, though. Bernie started in CF, going 0 for 4 and allowing at least one single to become an easy double. (Even Paul O'Neill commented on it.) You couldn't help thinking Bubba would have done better.
Andy Phillips came in as a pinch-runner for Giambi, and had a horrible day. He got caught stealing when he should have been safe by a mile, because of a very poor slide. Then he earned his sixth error of the season, with a bad throw to Proctor at 1B. (One more, and he'll have caught up with Giambi.) On top of that, he flied out on his only at bat.
I know I wasn't the only fan thinking, "For this we DFA'd Bubba Crosby?" At least Bubba is solid on defense and a decent baserunner. I really think Andy will be of limited use now that we have Craig Wilson.
Then there were the casual fans who didn't know Bubba was no longer with the team. They wondered why Bernie was playing CF instead of Bubba, or expected Bubba to come in as a defensive replacement. When they asked, "Where's Bubba?" I had to tell them that he was likely home in Texas. Maybe standing in line at the Breakfast Klub for some Wings & Waffles...
August 5, 2006: Baltimore 5, N.Y. Yankees 0
The Yanks have been flatter than stale beer the last two games, causing some fans to wonder if they are all in mourning for the plucky Bubba. They were lucky to come away with a win Friday, and completely out of it the entire game Saturday. As "Flash" Flaherty put it, it's not unusual for the Yankees to struggle against a rookie pitcher. It is unusual for them to be one-hit by a kid throwing only fastballs.
To make things worse, Miguel Cairo pulled his hamstring running out a grounder yesterday. He is headed for the DL when Cano rejoins the team Tuesday.
I know what some of you are thinking. If it had happened a couple of days earlier, Bubba might still be on the roster. Perhaps, but it would have been a very brief reprieve, until Cano returned. It's Nick Green who has been saved by this injury. Indeed, many see the injury to Cairo as proof Joe's decision was correct.
Still, some fans are not convinced, like this poster at Bronx Banter. "Stormer Sports" says:
Today illustrated why Joe/Cash cut Bubba. He feared Cairo going down and being left without a viable backup. I just wish he could have waited a few days, as we now have Cano coming back and have no backup CF'er, and no, Melky is not going to cut it in center. That is without mentioning that Bubba risked life and limb out there for us, he was a fan favorite, and the team is not be appreciably better with Green/Phillips (with Green being downright horrible) over Bubba. We now have 3 1st basemen (4 if Sheff comes back--awfully redundant at the easiest position on the field to play) and no backup CF'er. We don't need Phillips to PH as Giambi should be playing more games at 1st anyway against righties, leaving Wilson to PH. With Cairo down, we now have no Pinch Runner either. If it made baseball sense, I would have been for it, but it didn't.
I'm still shellshocked about Bubba being cut, and can't seem to stop posting about it. Sorry if I'm repeating myself. I was half-expecting it, but it all seems so sudden. I guess I was expecting him to get one last game to say goodbye, at least. How weird, that they flew him to Baltimore, let him put on his uniform, then gave him the kiss-off before the game. I guess that reflects how hard the decision was to make, but still. No wonder he was blindsided.
Waldman said last night that the Marlins might claim Bubba off waivers. She said they tried to trade for him during spring training, but were turned down. Girardi always liked Bubba, and thinks he can be an everyday player. And the Marlins need a CFer. They've been using infielder Alfredo Amezaga in the outfield, along with other assorted warm bodies.
Might be best for Bubba's career if he's claimed. Even if he's called up again in September, there's no room on the Yankees roster for him next year. And the Marlins would give him a shot to play every day. He's said that's what he wants.
However, if I had to bet, I'd put my money on Bubba clearing waivers. If the Yanks really want to keep him, I don't think Girardi would rock the boat. The wait is ten days, I think. If no one puts in a claim, he'll go to Columbus, play there for three weeks, then return to the Yankees when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Maybe he'll find his stroke with the Clippers. He's better than his 2006 numbers.
I'll be keeping my antennae up for news on Bubba's situation, and will post anything I find out.
And now I'd like express my appreciation for what Bubba's given us for the past three seasons. From the beginning, Yankee fans fell in love with his pluck. When he first came up in 2004, he was the youngest player on a rather old team. Indeed, he was the first rookie to make the team out of spring training in the Torre era.
Everyone loves an underdog, even Yankee fans. And he really did beat the odds, just cracking the Yankee roster. He must have felt doomed when he was traded to the Yankees. The Yanks had the reputation then of never bringing up their farm talent. Bubba's chances were seen as so dim that Baseball Prospectus didn't even include him. But he had a spectacular spring training, hitting .357 / .386 / .690 / 1.076.
He made the roster, and started out with quite a splash, homering in his first at bat. In his next game, he homered again and made some spectacular circus catches in CF (getting Moose his elusive 200th win). Bubba got a curtain call the first game he started as a Yankee. Fans were chanting his name and cheering wildly any time a ball went near him, even if it was the most routine can of corn imaginable. As Alex Bealth of Bronx Banter put it, a folk hero is born in the Bronx.
As some disgruntled Dodgers fans pointed out, Yankee fans then were simply not used to rookies. Bubba was a breath of fresh air - a scrappy kid so happy just to be wearing pinstripes, on a team full of jaded superstars always grousing about their contracts. He played his heart out every game. He added a real spark to the team, and it was a joy to see.
Since then, we've had more rookies on the team, many more successful. But who knows? Maybe Bubba helped open the door.
As promising as his first season was, his second was better. From this article at YES:
Meanwhile, Bubba Crosby made the most of his first extended run of playing time in the majors. Not only was he an effective outfielder, mostly in place of Bernie Williams in center, but Crosby hit .321 in September during the thick of a pennant race. During that time, Bubba hit his only home run of the year — a game-winning solo blast into the right field bleachers against the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 19. Boston won on that same night, so take away that victory and the Yankees would have failed to win their eighth straight division title by a half game.
August 4, 2006: N.Y. Yankees 5, Baltimore 4
This game was surprisingly close. I can just imagine what people would have been saying if we played a game like this before the Abreu trade. "We need a big bat!" "We'll never make the post-season with this pathetic lineup!" "We've got no offense!"
Hah. No matter how many bats we get, it's pitching that counts, and Randy Johnson really didn't have it last night. Luckily, the Yanks pulled it out. Thanks to the bottom of the order and a late Posada home run.
Bizarrely, Bernie was used as a pinch-hitter for Cairo last night. Even though Cairo's numbers with RISP are much better than Bernie's. (Bernie popped out.) We really could use a lefty pinch-hitter. It's too bad Bubba never found his stroke after getting off the DL.
Abreu has a reputation for shying away from walls, and sure enough, last night he let a ball drop in that Bubba would have caught. I have a feeling we're going to miss our only LIDR outfielder.
Lots of articles about Bubba today:
Crosby Out Of A Job
Once mulled as starter in center, Crosby is cut
Yankees' Crosby is odd man out
Oh Bubba! Veras is in
Bubba's bubble bursts
Move proves a bummer for Bubba
Bombers Say Bye To Bubba
Poor Bubba. He really took it hard. I can't really blame him for not wanting to talk to the media at such a horrible moment in his life, but obviously, some in press were unhappy about it. Piranhas.
Well, it appears poor Bubba was blindsided by this. Torre said it was very hard on them both. Joe feels like Bubba's one of his own kids; he said this is the part of the job he hates the most.
Bubba didn't take it well. He was crushed. He changed from his uniform into street clothes, packed his stuff, and left without saying goodbye to his teammates. A horde of press followed him, but he wouldn't speak to them. He just said, "Write what you want." (As Steve notes, you can't really blame him for being upset.)
Torre said if Bubba clears waivers and accepts an assignment to Columbus, he will be called up again in September.
YES has an article here about the decision to cut Bubba.
Designating Crosby was a "very tough" decision, Torre said. Crosby, who made the team's Opening Day roster, made 19 starts with the Yankees this season. He got 87 at-bats, hitting .207 with a homer and six RBIs.
"He becomes a luxury item," Torre said. "He can pinch-run for you; you put him out in center field."
The Yankees acquired Crosby in 2003 through a trade with the Dodgers. He split time in 2004 and '05 between Columbus and New York. Crosby did not talk to reporters before Friday's game.
"It's a one-way conversation. There's not a lot I can talk to him about," said Torre, who expressed that the need for another pitcher was a necessity that outweighed keeping Crosby. "Obviously, he had nothing to do with the decision as far as his lack of ability or anything. You couldn't use him."
WFAN reports that Bubba has been designated for assignment. Pitcher Jose Veras has been called up from Columbus.
I assume this means the news isn't good on Kyle Farnsworth. He tried to catch a ball barehanded yesterday, and hurt his hand. They said it wasn't serious, but since they called up another pitcher today, it must be worse than they thought.
I'm kind of surprised it wasn't Andy Phillips instead of Bubba. Now that we have Craig Wilson, we really don't need Andy. While we do need Bubba, as a backup CFer for the oft-injured Damon, and as a pinch-runner. I guess Joe still thinks Bernie can play CF.
If Bubba clear waivers, he'll likely end up in Columbus again. If so, he could be called up in September, when the rosters expand.
If he's claimed off waivers, well, that might be the best thing for him. It's clear the Yankees will never give him the chance he deserves. And with so many outfielders on the roster now, I don't see any room for him next year, once Matsui and maybe Sheff are healthy.
Joe Girardi likes Bubba, and has said he thinks Bubba can be an everyday player. Maybe the Marlins will claim Bubba, and give him the shot the Yanks never did.
If Bubba leaves the NY area, I won't be able to follow his career as closely as I've been doing, but rest assured, I will do my best. I'll always be a loyal fan, no matter where he ends up. (But please, let it not be the Red Sox.)