Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yankee Content, Marfuggas, and a MYSTERY!

The Yanks started their biggest series of the year off right, surviving a strange one to beat the Rays 8-6. I know this kind of thing doesn't really matter, but our record against them on the year is now 7-8. I would very much like to finish at least even at 9-9. What does matter is the AL East, and the Yanks now hold a 1.5 game lead heading into the final two weeks. Some quick thoughts on the win:

-Granderson is the manderson, and I'll believe that 'til the day they take me from this earth. (Sorry, I'm investigating a theory that no matter how dumb or lame you sound at the beginning of a sentence, you can make it sound epic by ending with 'til the day they take me from this earth.) He's absolutely crushing the ball, and it makes me wish he'd consulted hitting coach Kevin Long much, much earlier. But I'll take it now, believe me.

-Ivan Nova continually looks awesome for 4-5 innings, and then has a huge unexpected meltdown. Last night's performance continued the trend when he blew a 4-run lead in the top half of the 6th. I guess that's the sign of a pitcher who's new to the bigs, but if he could keep it together for an inning or two more, he'd be pretty awesome.

-Joe Girardi, please do not summon the woeful Chad Gaudin to pitch in a crucial situation ever again. Ideally, you would never bring him in...ideally he'd be the bat boy, provided he could handle the role and not talk to the players during games. But please, please, please, never in a big situation. For his career, the guy's heard more sarcastic cheers for finally throwing a strike after several walks than for actual effective pitching. It's true; there's a sabermetric stat that proves it.

-Is Teixeira starting his late-season disappearing act? Last year he began to vanish as the playoffs approached, and had a fairly disastrous postseason. Last night he came up empty in a couple clutch situations, and now I'm terrified.

-At one point during the game, I commented to my girlfriend (who kept score for the entire game, she would like you to know) that I was maybe getting sick of Francisco Cervelli. For all his rah-rah attitude, he's not that great a defensive catcher, and he can't hit. Then he placed a grounder perfectly on a hit-and-run and took an extra base on a hit by Jeter, and his enthusiasm was infectious again. Sorry, Cisco. You do a lot with what you were given, and shame on me for forgetting.

-Nothing, and I mean nothing, is easy against Tampa. I thought we had them at 4-0 in the sixth. I thought we had them at 8-4. I thought we had them at 8-5 with Mariano entering to close. In every case, they tightened the gap. The game ended with the winning run at the plate, and I'll tell you this: I'm done expecting easy wins against this club. I fully expect to see them in the ALCS, provided we can get by Minnesota or Texas first, and it's going to be absolutely epic.

Okay, to finish today's post, I'm going to turn it over to our good friend Jill. She's the current Friday Pick-Six leader, a big-city lawyer, former Dukie, and loyal Yankee fan. Some of you may have read or noticed that AJ Burnett, resident Yankee low-life, came to work with a black eye last week. Jill had some thoughts, and wants you to help her solve the mystery...or at least come up with an outlandish theory that makes us all blush. Take 'er away, Jill...



As only SCSD can do, I think we need to solve a mystery, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys style, for an investigation known as: AJ Burnett and the Case of What the Fuck Happened to give him a Black Eye.

I mean, really! What the fuck happened to AJ Burnett and his eye? I am beyond curious. No one will talk about it, and quite frankly, it sounds super weird. AJ ambiguously stated:

I'm not going to comment on it, but I understand you guys have to ask . . . There are more important things going on right now with this team than my eye. It was a huge win for us . . . Let's talk about baseball. I understand you have to ask, but I'm not going to comment on it . . . It's something I had to deal with, I dealt with it, and I'll move on.

That's great and everything, AJ, but I can't "move on," even after last night's amazing come-from-behind win. I get it, he doesn't want to be a distraction. Very noble and whatnot (read: lame). He also commented that The Incident was unrelated to baseball. But what could possibly be so newsworthy and distracting that the Yankees would go totally Defcon 3 on this subject?

And why does AJ Burnett keep getting into weird, freaky accidents? Tellingly, this is not the first time. For example, The Daily News mused that "A.J. Burnett scraped up his pitching hand smacking a clubhouse door in July. Now, apparently someone or something has taken a swing back at him." I believed that whole AJ-got-his-ass-kicked-by-the-door hand excuse for quite some time; now, however, I have serious doubts. Let's take Exhibit B:

Yankees manager Joe Girardi declined comment on the black eye. It's the second straight start that Burnett appeared on the mound with bruises. He had a bruised right ear in his rain-shortened start at Texas last week, attributing that injury to an accident in his home workshop.

A "home workshop" mishap? Really? That is the best we could come up with, as a billionaire baseball team that employs geniuses? I am trying to think of any and all possibilities related to "home workshop" injuries. Sure, you can slice your finger, maybe even cut one off; you could even accidentally drill right through your wrist, I guess. Actually, here is a convenient (and strange) chart from the ominous-sounding Disaster Center about "home workshop" injuries. Considering the multitude of ways in which a man can harm himself, a "home workshop" mishap sounds plausible. I mean, 15.4% of male injuries are apparently related to "Hand Garden Tools," which empirically proves that all people who own a "home workshop" are stupid. So, perhaps AJ could have hurt himself in his workshop then?

This excuse fails to clear up a major issue. How the hell do you injure your ear in a "home workshop" accident? YOUR FUCKING EAR. It does not say he "cut" his ear, which is a much more likely workshop injury; it says it was "bruised." How did such a thing happen? Did the hand garden tools jump up to face level and attack? Did a dolly or cart, which an astounding 16% of men injure themselves on, roll into his head? [It should be noted that this line of inquiry ignores perplexing questions; mainly, what was AJ concocting in his workshop and why does he even have one? I can sort of see him at 4am, huddled over his lathe, crafting medieval weapons out of broken bat handles]. This mystery must go deeper than that. Take this gem from Wallace Matthews:

Whatever happened to him this week was not baseball-related -- both he and Girardi said so -- and was clearly of a sensitive enough nature that no one in the Yankees clubhouse would talk about it. Coming on the heels of last week's game in Texas, in which Burnett pitched with a bruised right ear courtesy, he said, of a workshop mishap, it lent a bizarre sidelight to an otherwise uplifting game.

If it was a home workshop injury, or something equally innocuous, what is with the radio silence? Wouldn't this be something to laugh about? In a matter of mere months, we have had: 1) hand injury from door attack; 2) bruised right ear from home workshop assault; and 3) mysterious shiner from no where. This does not add up and I want answers. A fight club? That would explain why he can't talk about it. Kinky sex fetish? That would justify his array of mild injuries and the embarrassing nature of the black eye. Brian Cashman threatening him to get his act together? He did join the team on this road trip. Abusive relationship with Dave Eiland? Roger Clemens used to have the trainer rub ointment on his, well, special places to fire him up, and maybe AJ likes to be slapped around a little before taking the mound.

Sigh, I don't know. But I want to. Badly. So get on this, Shane. Use your mad journalism skillz and Woodward and Bernstein this conspiracy up. I smell a Pulitzer.

(Thanks to Jill for this delightful investigation...personally, I like the kinky sex fetish theory and will be spreading it around as much as possible.

TRUTH: AJ Burnett pays overweight trailer-trash women to hit him in the face with wrenches.)

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