All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Saturday, October 07, 2006


October 6, 2006: Detroit 6, N.Y. Yankees 0

One-time Yankee Kenny Rogers pitched the game of his life last night. It was unbelievable. As a Yankee fan, I found it extremely aggravating...but as a baseball fan, I had to admire his performance. It was just amazing. After the game, he said he never wanted a game as much as this one...and it showed.

Unlike many other Yankee fans, I did not think Detroit would be a pushover. Still, I was not expecting our Murderers' Row lineup to be shut out by Kenny Rogers, of all people.

The press is still blaming A-Rod, with articles like "A-Rod Flops Again, This Time in Cleanup Spot." Er...what about the rest of the lineup? Posada was the only one who had more than one hit last night. Damon, Abreu, Giambi, and Bernie were all hitless, too.

Speaking of Abreu...he had a terrible night. Mr. OBP didn't get on base much (though he did get one walk). He also let a ball drop in a couple of feet in front of him in RF, that let a run score. Bubba would have gotten that one. He may have had to dive for it, but he'd have gotten it. But Abreu won't dive. I could see that during the regular season. It's a long season, and he doesn't want to risk injury. In the post-season, though...what is he saving it for?

I find Abreu frustrating, because he clearly has a lot of talent. I don't think he deserved the Gold Glove he won, but he's a decent fielder and has good speed. But he's rather lacking in hustle. Shies away from walls, lets balls drop in in front of him, doesn't want to play CF. Can't expect a star like Abreu to crash into walls like Bubba Crosby, you say? But Johnny Damon, who's just as big a star, if not bigger, crashes into walls and dives for balls with the best of them. He's also said he's willing to move to any position that would help the team...even playing first base one night.

Sigh. I am not writing the Yankees off. They can win today, and tomorrow. They are good enough, and they are due to get some hits.

But Detroit has exposed the Yankees' weakness. They are a one-dimensional team...that isn't big on teamwork.

This isn't the team of kids and castoffs that scratched and clawed their way through the season with so much heart. They're back to being a collection of all-stars, rather than a team.

Paul O'Neill noted last night that when the Yankees fall behind, they start to get anxious at the plate. No one trusts the guy behind him to get the job done, so everyone starts swinging for the fences.

Remember the beginning of the season, before Sheff and Matsui went down? It was almost a joke, the way the Yanks couldn't win a game unless they scored at least nine runs. If it was close or low-scoring, they lost. We seem to be reverting to that pattern, which is unfortunate. You need to be able to win some pitchers' duels in the post-season.

Joe Torre always says that pitching and defense wins championships. But the teams he assembles are always heavy on the big bats, and light on the pitching and defense he says are so important. Like Albert Einstein said, "Insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Watching Detroit play the Yankees, I'm reminded of the 1960 World Series. The Yankees had a killer lineup that year, too. If they just counted up all the runs, the Yanks would have won easily.

But it was the Pirates that ended up winning the World Series. They got blown out in some games (3-16, 0-10, 0-12), but won the close, low-scoring games. In the end, they prevailed, with a walkoff homer by Bill Mazeroski - still the only Game 7 walkoff homer in World Series history. Pittsburgh could not score nearly as many runs as the Yankees, but they had a more versatile game. Pitching, defense, speed, small ball, long ball...that's what it takes to be a champion. That's what we used to have, in the dynasty years.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:49 AM


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