Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
March 7, 2007: Cincinnati Reds 1, New York Yankees 1
Bubba returned to Legends Field today, to face his former team for the first time. If you're torn between rooting for the Reds and the Yanks, the game had the ideal ending. It went 10 innings, and ended in a tie.
Bubba came in during the top of the eighth, subbing for Chris Denorfia. One out, none on. When his name was called, the crowd gave him a nice ovation. Many Yankees fans were cheering for him, yelling, "Bubba! C'mon, Bubba!" while he was batting.
Luis Vizcaino, acquired in the Randy Johnson trade, was on the mound for the Yanks. Though right-handed, he has a reputation for being tough on lefties - so much so, that many thought he would take Ron Villone's place in the pen. The reputation is apparently well-deserved; he struck Bubba out looking.
Bubba came to the plate again in the 10th inning. Sean Henn on the mound, one out, man on first. He hit it right back to the pitcher, grounding into a force-out. They got Hopper at 2B, but Bubba beat the DP and was safe on first. (Prompting Suzyn to comment that "He still has that speed.") The Yanks apparently remembered it, too; they held Bubba close. But Votto flew out, ending the inning.
So Bubba was 0 for 2 at the plate, but as you can tell from the score, no one else did that well, either.
He did have a spectacular catch in the 10th inning. Hot prospect Eric Duncan hit a sharp liner into left field. Bubba dived for it face-first, and made a great two-handed grab. Here's a video clip:
Bubba robs Eric Duncan (2 Mb, WMV)
He got some nice applause from what was left of the Yankee crowd.
It was sweet to see Derek Jeter and Crosby share a moment in center field 10 minutes before the 7:15 first pitch.
BUBBA'S BACK: Bubba Crosby returned to Legends Field for the first time since being designated for assignment by the Yankees in August, and received a warm ovation before striking out for the Reds as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. "I left the Yankees with my head up and quite a bit of memories," Crosby said.
A spark of Bubba: Former Yankees outfielder Bubba Crosby was looking the part of an expatriate when he met with reporters in the Reds' clubhouse at Legends Field on Wednesday. Crosby, who spent three seasons with the Yanks, had grown his hair down to just above shoulder-length and he wore signs of a scruffy beard.
Crosby, who was signed with Cincinnati as a free agent after the 2006 season, talked about his experience in New York and said it felt weird being back in Tampa as a visitor.
"It was emotional leaving, but I understood the situation and how things worked," said Crosby, who became expendable after the Yankees picked up Bobby Abreu in a midseason trade with the Phillies. "It was tough, because I wasn't able to say goodbye to all the guys the way I wanted to. Obviously, I would have wanted the opportunity to compete for a spot this year, but I got my shot to play for the Yankees, which I'm proud of."
Crosby said he called Don Mattingly during the offseason to thank him for helping him during his three years with the club. Crosby also said he spent some time with Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon after the season ended.
"It was an amazing time, and I'll always cherish the chance to play in the playoffs and have the opportunity to go to the World Series," said Crosby, who went 0-for-2 in Wednesday's game. "It was an exciting time, and I'll appreciate being a part of it."
Bubba Changes His Tune
Bubba Crosby, who had some mixed words for the Yankees early in the spring, had nothing but glowing things to say about the Bombers when we went over to see him before the game.
“What will stand out for me is that I got a chance to play three of those five games (in the 2005 ALDS), and getting so close in 2004, being on that team when Boston beat us and being so close to getting to the World Series," he said.
Crosby, who bolted the clubhouse in Baltimore without speaking to his teammates or reporters when he was designated for assignment last Aug. 4, said he was simply not prepared emotionally for what had happened to him.
“I was a little emotional, because I had been with these guys for three years,” Crosby said. “I understood the situation, how things worked. It’s a numbers game, but I wasn’t emotionally prepared to tell all those guys goodbye. I just needed to get out of there.”
I always liked Bubba. It was nice to see him. And, of course, he had long hair and a scruffy beard. The former Yankees just can’t resist it.
Former Yankee Bubba Crosby was back as a visitor with the Reds, and looked back fondly on his years in New York. "The fact that a guy like me got to play three years with a team like that, that's an achievement," Crosby said.
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