Hot Stove Player of the Week: Hideki Matsui
It was Boston vs. New York all week long. On the field, the Yankees took care of business, winning their series with the Red Sox, which included a 20-8 stomping. Off the field, new Hall-of-Famer Jim Rice called out Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter for "setting a bad example for the young guys."
Sure, what he said makes sense about Manny and A-Rod. Is Manny a steroid-riddled clown? You bet. Is A-Rod a steroid-filled, marketing-obsessed automaton? Of course. But Jeter? Isn't he everything that's good and wholesome about baseball?
In fact, isn’t he everything that’s good about our country? Isn’t Rice then condemning all of American society?
I, for one, am not going to stand here and listen to Jim Rice bad mouth the United States of America. And in another NY/Boston war, the bashful, thoughtful duo of Crazy Jon Papelbon and Billy Wagner reenacted the Lincoln-Douglas debates this week.
New York got the last laugh, though, by foisting Wagner on the city of Boston. In preseason football, the Giants and Jets didn't fare so well. Mark Sanchez struggled against Baltimore's first-string defense (but was still named starting QB), and the Giants struggled after having only five days’ rest between games. Isn’t that against the Joba Rules?
Hideki Matsui: Godzilla earned his nickname this week, rampaging over the Red Sox like he was crushing Tokyo buildings. In Friday's massacre he blasted two dingers and drove in seven runs, and on Sunday he hit two more long balls.
For the week he had four home runs and 12 RBIs. What would happen if Charlie "King Kong" Keller, Dave "Kong" Kingman, and Matsui got together? Would they destroy the rest of baseball, terrorize other teams and send players fleeing for their lives? Or would they just quietly have a beer together? Probably the latter.
CC Sabathia: The ace of the Yankee staff outdueled Josh Beckett on Sunday Night Baseball, going 6.2 innings, letting up three runs, while striking out eight without walking anybody. The best part of the game, though, came when the sound briefly disappeared and I didn’t have to listen to the ESPN announcing crew.
The Yankee Lineup: We could just about list the whole Yankees lineup here, so we'll lump them all together.
Robinson Cano batted .333 with two homers and five ribbies, Mark Teixeira drove in seven runs, A-Rod batted close to .500, Jorge Posada only played in four games but hit two home runs and had eight RBI’s and Derek Jeter scored seven runs and drove in five.
Nelson Figueroa: He pitched one inning on Saturday, 2.1 innings on Sunday and started on Tuesday, going five innings. Pitching three out of four days, he went a total of 8.1 innings and only gave up three runs. That’s almost like the old days.
Tim Redding: And how about Redding? On Saturday, he threw five scoreless innings, while only allowing one hit. And yesterday he picked up the win by going 6.2 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. His ERA is now under 6.00!
Daniel Murphy: The Mets first baseman was a doubles machine this week. He batted .333 with seven two-baggers, and he had five RBI’s. He’s hit in 12 of his last 13 games.
Jeff Francoeur: The Mets right fielder is now pretty much the leader of the team (partly because he’s one of the few major leaguers left standing). He’s playing with torn ligaments in his left thumb, but that’s not slowing him down. He batted .345 with a homer and four RBI’s this week. He’s put up this stat line in his 42 games as a Met: .305/.331/.500.
Staten Island South Shore Little Leaguers: They beat Urbandale, Iowa, to reach the semi-finals, but the dream ended on Wednesday when they lost to San Antonio. Now that their run is over, most of the players will be joining the Mets for the last 30 or so games of the season.
1969 Mets: It was like one big Kiner's Korner on Saturday. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Nolan Ryan threw out the first pitch. Cleon Jones, Jerry Grote, and Koosman visisted the broadcast booth. Even obscure infielder Bobby Pfeil showed up. Somehow, I don't think there’ll be a 40th reunion spectacular for the 2009 Mets.
Schmuck of the Week
Fred Wilpon: He stated that Omar Minaya will be back next year. That's all you need to do to earn Schmuck of the Week honors. Though I don’t believe he used the words ‘general manager’ in his declaration. Hmm.
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