All Things Bubba

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

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Crosstown Doubleheader: Game 1

Bright House Field, spring training home of the Phillies

I had originally planned to return home on Wednesday, but then I realized that the Yankees played the Phillies Wednesday afternoon, while the Reds played the Jays Wednesday night. The Phillies and Jays stadiums are very close together (though an hour away from Sarasota), so I could go to both games. A "crosstown doubleheader" was irresistible, so I waited until I was sure it wouldn't be rained out, then made arrangements to stay another day.

I froze my butt off at games the previous two days, but Wednesday was brutally hot. It would have been a good day to sit in the Club Seats, but with the Yankees playing, I pretty much had to take what I could get. I ended up in a box seat, just on the first base side of home plate. I'd rather have been a little further up and a little further out. And it would have been nice to be in the shade. Still, it was a good seat. I paid $40 for it. The list price was $25. I heard from the people sitting next to me that they sold the ticket to the scalper for $20. They didn't know he was a scalper and were pretty angry at how much he charged me. (He actually asked me for $60, and I talked him down.)

On other side of me were some college-age guys who puzzled me at first, because they had thick southern drawls that didn't sound like the Philadelphia or NY accents of most of the people there. Turns out they were a community college baseball team that had played a couple of exhibition games against the Phillies. They won, and their coach had given them the day off as a reward. Which they spent at the ballpark.

Jeter was out of the lineup, causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth among female fans of all ages. A lady who came down from Queens and looked old enough to be a grandmother was heartbroken; she said her dream was to get Jeter's autograph.

Going for the Yankees was Chien-Ming Wang.

I hadn't been keeping track of the Yankees' rotation, so this was a pleasant surprise. Wang is probably my favorite Yankee, now that Bubba's no longer in the Bronx.

Unfortunately, he really struggled, giving up six hits, four runs, and two walks in five innings. Not sure what the problem was, but the sinker didn't seem to be sinking like it usually does. Or maybe he just didn't throw it. He said later that he was trying to work on his secondary pitches. (He didn't get a lot of help from the defense, either.)

They were playing without a DH, so Wang had to bat. He almost got on base via a bunt.

Starting for the Phillies was everyone's favorite wife-beater, Brett Myers.

He's been moved from the pen to the rotation, and pitched like an ace in this game. Ugh. He's one guy I have a hard time rooting for, no matter what laundry he's wearing.

Ross Ohlendorf came in to relieve Wang and did pretty well, pitching one inning and striking out two, giving up only one hit, and no runs or walks.

Posada and Ohlendorf confer on the mound:

Jason Lane, wearing Bubba's #19, was 0 for 2 with a walk in left field.

I got a lot of photos of Posada, since I was sitting near home plate. He was 1 for 2 at the plate.

Slugger Ryan Howard was 1 for 4.

Joba Chamberlain came in after Ohlendorf. He kind of struggled, too, getting the hook after only two outs.

Giambi played 1B. He was 0 for 3, but not too bad with the glove.

Morgan Ensberg was subbed in at 1B and was 0 for 1.

Brian Bruney pitched 2/3 of an inning, striking out one and giving up two hits.

Nick Green, wearing Andy Phillips' #12, pinch-hit for Bruney in the 9th inning. He came to the plate with the bases loaded, no outs.

I like the guy, but he may be the worst major league hitter I've ever seen. He just looks so awkward at the plate.

It was a pretty disappointing performance. He was in the catbird seat. Bases loaded, no outs. Wait for your pitch. Instead, he went down on three pitches. Three really bad pitches, that were waaaay outside the strike zone. Green swung and missed at all three. I couldn't believe it.

Green signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, but had a clause that allowed him to opt out if the Yankees didn't name him to the big league roster by the end of March. Apparently, he didn't exercise the option; he didn't make the team, but has reported to Scranton. I suppose he could always exercise it later.

Robinson Cano had a fine day at the plate, going 2 for 4.

Bobby Abreu was 0 for 2...with 2 walks.

Wilson Betemit started at SS and went 0 for 3.

Jose Molina took over for Posada in the late innings, and was 0 for 1.

A-Rod had a pretty bad day. He was 0 for 3, with a GIDP and an error.

The Phillies fans sitting around me spent a lot of time trying to take photos of A-Rod against the hot dog ad on the left field fence. "Which one's the bigger hot dog, har-har."

Johnny Damon was a late scratch; he had the flu. I guess they were just giving Melky the day off.

This ended up being the only Yankees game I saw on my Florida trip. You really have to buy early to get tickets for Yankees games, and I thought I was going to be watching the Mariners in Arizona. (Sigh.) Yes, I could have gotten tickets from scalpers, but it would have been wicked expensive. (My timing was also pretty poor. The week I was in Florida, the Yankees had a lot of home games. It's harder to get tickets at Legends Field. And the Reds had a lot of away games, meaning I spent a lot more time driving than I'd hoped.)

The final score: Phillies 4, Yankees 0. It wasn't a great game, with no Jeter and the Yankees blanked. The fans around me complained that the lineup is suspect this year, and the pitching is worse. I had a good time, though. Bright House Field is a very nice ballpark to watch a game in. Yes, the Yanks lost. But I'm glad I got to see them. And take photos.

I do wish I'd gotten a chance to take a picture of Jeter, though. My coworkers were teasing me the whole week before I left, asking me if I was going to marry Jeter while I was down there. I told them that if I didn't come back, they'd know what happened. ;-) Would have been nice to at least get a photo.

As soon as this game ended, I headed over the Knology Park to watch the Reds play the Jays. That was probably my favorite game of the trip. More on it later.

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posted by BubbaFan, 5:08 PM


Great photos!! Wang and Posada are my favorite yankees after Jeter and Matsui. Posada seems to be pretty popular where I live - probably because he went to a nearby community college. I've talked to some people who went to school with him and they all said he was such a nice guy :-)
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, April 06, 2008 12:25 PM  
I like Posada, too. I think he's really overlooked, among all the other stars on the Bronx. A switch-hitting catcher, who's not only not a deadweight in the lineup, but actually really good...he's a special talent. But usually overshadowed by Jeter, A-Rod, Mo, etc.
commented by Blogger BubbaFan, April 06, 2008 9:19 PM  

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