Feels good to write those words again. It's been a dog's age. And the Yanks are just a hair's breadth, mere percentage points, from being the best team in the entire American League. That honor can be had tonight, as AJ pitches against the current league-leading Texas Rangers at the Stadium. For my part, I have the cable guy coming to set things up at my new apartment anytime between 2pm and 6pm tonight (which means he'll be there around 9, whiskey on his breath, claiming his ex-wife broke into his bungalow and stole most of his basic cable tools when he went to Atlantic City last weekend). It'll be my first game at the new digs, and the first chance to alienate roommates and neighbors with melodramatic, infantile behavior. Should be a blast.
I followed the action on ESPN gamecast while I unpacked last night, and it turns out I missed an excellent game. The Yanks have now won 15 of their last 19, and two of the losses came because we missed big opportunities in the late innings. Granted, a few of the wins have been of the come-from-behind variety, but the point is that we haven't been resolutely defeated more than twice in three weeks. We keep putting ourselves in position to win, and most of the time we close the deal.
So, since I've been focusing on other sports for some time, a few musings on the Yankee renaissance...
*The Bombers just set a major league record with 18 straight error-free games. That's three weeks with nobody screwing up in the field. I can't even look at an attractive girl without tripping over the nearest fire hydrant, so to me that's pretty impressive.
*Just when Chien-Ming Wang was back and thriving, and I thought I discerned some sense in the clamor for Joba's return to the bullpen, the Nuclear Nebraskan comes out and throws eight strong innings against the Indians to show us exactly why he has to stay. Of course, it complicates matters; we have six starters, and if Wang continues to look good, you can't afford to have him out of the rotation much longer. The emerging reality here is that young Phil Hughes will probably find his way back to Scranton, and it's a shame because in 2009 he's occasionally inhabited the redoubtable reputation bestowed on him by scouts and other baseball diviners.
*I feel as though I'm starting to understand Joe Girardi more by the day. He possesses that coveted quality that most Yankee fans, including myself, lack: patience. Of course, it's a fine line between patience and complacence, which is why his critics carried some weight before the latest winning streak. And there's no denying he's made some bad calls along the way, cost us maybe two or three games and jeopardized a few others, but it's difficult not to admire his seemingly unshakable faith in the players.
Recently, when asked for a comment about the impending six-pitcher muddle, his paraphrased response was "we're going to give it a few days...sometimes these things work out on their own." Sounds like a microcosm of his greater managerial philosophy, doesn't it? Hey, if it works, it works. I'm not saying I still wouldn't like a bit more activity, a bit more passion, but that's probably why they don't let reactionary idiots like me run baseball teams. It's hard to disparage a winning streak like this. So here's a picture of him in a car.
*In this post, on May 19th, I predicted that Mark Teixeira would be batting .270 by the end of June. At the time, he was at .235 and rising. Two weeks later, with June in its infancy, he's hitting .282. The dude is so hot that Joba tried to give him the flame decals from his Honda. The dude is so hot that A-Rod stands in front of the mirror most mornings whispering "does Mark Teixeira like me?" The dude is so hot that a limping street-dealer with a leather jacket and a filthy eyepatch is trying to sell him for fifteen dollars in Chinatown. The dude is hot.
*THE RETURN OF THE MIDGES!!! In the eighth inning, the infamous little insect fuckers who ruined our playoff hopes in 2007 (yes, I believe that) returned to attack their favorite target:
At this point, it's pretty clear that Cleveland is releasing them on purpose. But if I'd just watched my city's best team go down in flames to a squad from DisneyLand, and 'witnessed' Lebron acting like a petulant baby, I'd probably do something crazy too.
*I might live blog tonight's game. AJ is pitching, and I've already managed to jinx two of his no-hitters in previous live blogs, so why not go for the trifecta?
*Some interesting tennis today. Soderling, the upstart son of a bitch who beat my favorite athlete in the last round, faces Davydenko, the indefatigable Russian who can't seem to put it together in a major. Then Andy Murray faces Chilean Fernando Gonzalez in what looks like his best chance yet to win a major. I know I spent last Friday's post bathing Federer and Nadal in showers of praise, but if there's one guy with potential to join them in the upper-upper echelons, it's Murray. He's got serious talent, and might be player who finally ends the amusing tradition of British people not winning at Wimbledon.