Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rockies 3, Yankees 1
2007-06-20 11:11
by Mark T.R. Donohue

Wow, a lot of thoughts and impressions from this one. Where to begin?

I think we need to start a smear campaign against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Let's start telling everybody horrible rumors, like they grind up the bones of lost kids at Chase Field then spread them on the infield to slow down ground balls for Brandon Webb starts. Or they soak Randy Johnson's elbow in pure heathen stem cells every evening. Why the sudden hatred for the Snakes? It simply hadn't occurred to me, I guess, probably due to my immense self-absorption, that the motivation for many of those in attendance at the Yankees series at Coors Field who would never normally go to a Rockies game wasn't love for the pinstripes but rather fear and loathing. Lots of Red Sox fans out at the ballpark last night, along with a smattering of Mets and Phillies people and a stray Baltimore diehard or two. Really, there isn't a team on the eastern seaboard or in the whole American League whose fans don't have good reason to deeply detest the Yankees. So why can't we try a new marketing strategy based on breeding enmity for a team that we play roughly 40 times a year instead of one we get a single series against every couple of seasons? I have friends who are Dodgers, Giants, and Padres fans, but I don't know anybody who roots for Arizona. And I suspect "sedona red" isn't a real color but only a preemptive feint to keep the people who designed the new Astros unis a couple of years ago from suing. Also the new patch on their uniform sleeves looks kind of naughty.

The trouble with being able to say, "Ha ha, Josh Fogg started for my team and beat the Yankees" is that in order for that to be true, Josh Fogg must be a starter for your team.

Look, I swear, I'm not using this whole scheduling quirk just to heap abuse on Derek Jeter. Promise. But it needs to be said: The major difference in the game yesterday was defense at Jeter's "position." The captain made a couple of those specialty Jeter plays where he flinches immediately when the ball is hit, stands absolutely still for a moment, then dives heedlessly in the general direction of where the ball passed several seconds ago. Jeter is awesome at this play. He is better at making it look like he almost got to balls he completely misread and missed than anybody else in the game today. Troy Tulowitzki, meanwhile, made two brilliant plays at shortstop. His stop of a Jorge Posada bullet in the top of the eighth saved the game for the Rockies. Then Alex Rodriguez made a sick play to his left (a shortstop-like play) in the bottom of the inning to prevent Yorvit Torrealba from tagging on an insurance run Colorado didn't end up needing. Listen, Jeter is what he is, and there's no denying that the dude can hit. He also pulls supermodel tail like few others in Major League Baseball. However, it bugs me, and it has for years, that he has a reputation as the ultimate team guy. Mr. Winning. Nothing else matters. This is simply not true. If Jeter only cared about winning and not his enormous, satellite-sized ego, he would accept that there are like four or five guys on the Yankees' roster who can play shortstop better than he and he would start trying out new gloves. But he doesn't. I still believe he should have won the MVP last year, but quit it with promoting his amazing commitment to winning, because it's horse poop. Thank you.

You know which Yankees player for whom I must admit some grudging respect? Hideki Matsui. Dude's a professional hitter. Leading off the ninth against Brian Fuentes, whom I doubt he'd ever seen before, Matsui first hit an absolute screamer into the second deck just inches to the unhappy side of the right-field foul pole. Then he pulverized a double over Willy Taveras's head to deep center. Ordinary left-handed hitters simply do not step in against Fuentes for the first time and nearly stroke multiple extra-base hits in a single at-bat. This was beautifully illustrated shortly after Matsui's double by Johnny Damon, who entered the game at first base (!) on a double-switch in the seventh and struck out on what seemed like two pitches.

2007-06-20 12:03:19
1.   LG Denver
You could not be more right about Jeter and his 'defense'. Spot On about Godzilla as well...I wish he wore purple pinstripes instead of navy blue ones. Incidentally, since you were in attendance, what would be your guess (percentage-wise) of the crowd loyalty at Coors Field last night?
2007-06-20 12:18:05
2.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I would say that the crowd was pretty evenly divided: One-third Yankees fans, one-third Rockies fans or Yankee haters, one-third non-baseball morons who were just there to be seen.

I forgot to mention it, but the New York Times didn't: Willy Taveras pulled one of his wrong-way centerfield specials on Posada's double in the second. But then he made a series of dazzling running catches in the seventh and eighth, and he stole second on a called pitchout in the third. Oh, Willy, if you only had a brain....

2007-06-20 12:38:38
3.   markp
Yankee fan here. Nice article (I probably say that because I so heartily agree.) By the way, you forgot to mention his weird habit of bunting early in scoreless games with a guy on first or second. It's such a cheap tactic: if he beats it out, it's a hit. If not, he isn't charged an AB. Either way he's making someone else do the heavy lifting (driving in the run) which shouldn't be the case for a 330+ BA guy.
2007-06-20 12:49:26
4.   Kels
I have a theory, backed up with no research, that Fogg pitches 100x better against teams that should destroy him.

My section was about 1/3 Rockies fans, 1/3 Yankee fans, 1/6 hot girls talking on cell phones, 1/6 drunk red sox fans, 1/6 too drunk to be classified

2007-06-20 12:52:22
5.   mbtn01
Granted, I've only watched the second half of last night's game and the series with the Mets earlier this year, but the Rockies don't look to me like a bad team at all. Tulowitzky (sp.) has an absolute gun for an arm. I thought he was going to crush Kaz Matsui when he leapt onto him after making that force play.

I'm glad to see Kaz Matsui returned from the DL and having a good start. Hopefully he can stay healthy and keep it up.

2007-06-20 12:59:30
6.   Mark T.R. Donohue
The Rockies got off to a very slow start because Tulowitzki, (rookie catcher) Chris Iannetta, and mysteriously Garrett Atkins all hit under .200 for the first six weeks of the season. The bullpen has been shaky and after Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook the rotation is not good.

But, Atkins and Tulowitkzi have started to hit, Yorvit Torrealba is getting more of Iannetta's playing time and has been very clutch, and Clint Hurdle has gotten away from relying on veteran mediocrities (LaTroy Hawkins) in the bullpen. Manuel Corpas and Ramon Ramirez (former Yankee prospect, also an early-season injury casualty) might be The Setup Duo of the Future which in any event is better than the setup duo of the present, Hawkins and Jorge Julio.

They're not great, but they are good enough to be a .500 team in the National League. If they hadn't traded Jason Jennings I would be much more bullish on their prospects this season.

2007-06-20 14:30:15
7.   Cliff Corcoran
I think markp misplaces the motivation for Jeter's admittedly harmful bunting in 3, but MarkTRD's description of Jeter's defense in the post above made me laugh out loud in a rather quiet office.

Not to be too self-congratulatory, but I love it when the Yankees play other teams covered by the Toaster. I always get an extra kick out of the alternative coverage.

2007-06-20 16:37:45
8.   Ken Arneson
4 That should be: 1/3 Rockies fans, 1/3 Yankee fans, 1/6 hot girls talking on cell phones, 1/6 drunk red sox fans, 1/6 too drunk to add fractions correctly.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.