Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Deep Cover

With all of the Tribe-centric coverage here at the DiaTribe and in Cleveland, I asked serial commenter Ron Vallo, who writes the excellent Tribe Fan in Yankeeland blog to help us out to see how the other half is living these days.

Ron checked in with a tremendous look at how Yankee fans are approaching the ALDS:

I have my Kevlar jacket on.
I've got my jackass spray and my BS repellant in hand.
I'm ready to view the Indians-Yankees series from the wrong city.

And I'm ready to keep the readers of The DiaTribe up to date with what's going on here behind enemy lines.

Let's start by getting a taste of what the fans - the most knowledgable fans in the country, just ask them - have to say about the upcoming Indians-Yankees series.

This guy, quoted by my local paper The Journal News (northern NYC suburbs), has what I would say is the typical take of Yankee fans:
"They aren't going up against the Angels, which is a crazy-match team for them and can exploit a lot of their weaknesses. Going up against the Indians, I think they have a way better chance of advancing to the championship series."

The paper also quoted a fellow in his '80s. Someone a little older, maybe even wiser:
"The Yanks have got this great lineup hitting, but after about the fifth inning, I get worried about the pitching,"

But then he kept talking:
"If they can get by the Red Sox - I'll assume that they're going to win the first shot with Cleveland - I like to think they can go all the way."

And only a Yankee fan would say this:
"I think they're probably going to do OK. I would like to see them win again. They haven't been in the World Series for a little while now."

Not since 2003 you poor, suffering souls!!!

To read the full article click here.

I've got three mostly grown Yankee fans living in my own house and they are not saying much. I warned them - strongly - not to. Not if they want to keep a roof over their head. My younger son is a sports writer for his college paper. He was assigned to assess the AL playoffs. He picked the Yankees in five. I really think that he thinks it will be three. But he's afraid I'll change the locks on him before his next visit home if he writes that. (The bylines on the school Web site are reversed. He did write the AL previews).

Next to the fans, and in some cases even moreso, the toughest people to stomach here are the newspaper columnists. Most have been busy killing off any last cells of dignity that remain on the wretched heap known as the Mets. I'm sure they will get into lacerating the Tribe soon enough.

Steven Goldman of The Sun has the fairest appraisal of the series that I've seen around here so far.

He makes a good point that I don't think I've read before:
"The Yankees have a vulnerability to the Indians' lineup, and that is their lack of a left-handed specialist in the bullpen. After releasing Mike Myers in early August, the Yankees elected to do without this normally overrated part of every modern bullpen. The decision could have a major one: Hafner and Sizemore are left-handed, while Martinez is a switch-hitter who is a better hitter from the left side of the plate. All three are less effective against southpaws. But apart from Andy Pettitte's start, or a redefinition of Ron Villone's role, the Yankees won't be able to take advantage."

Still, he comes to the predictable conclusion:
"The pick here is Yankees in five: an all-time great hitting attack overcoming good, but not great, pitching."

David Waldstein of the Newark Star-Ledger took some time to recall my favorite sports moment since I moved to NYC more than 20 years ago - the 1997 ALDS. (Thank you AGAIN Sandy Alomar!!)

One thing to watch is the Yankee fans' reaction to ARod if he happens to leave a runner or two on base in Game 1. He is under a microscope here for his failures in ALDSs past - at least the ones that saw him wearing pinstripes.

The Yankees come into the series limping more than a little. Centerfielder Melky Cabrera, DH/1B Jason Giambi and leftfielder Hideki Matsui slumped most of September. And the injury bug is biting.

Matsui had fluid drained from his knee and will see action as the DH instead of the outfield, meaning Johnny Damon - also not 100% physically - will be out in left.

As for Matsui, he may lose his DH duties in the first game to local cult hero Shelley Duncan. Joe Torre thinks the righty Duncan might have a better time with CC. Duncan - son of former Tribe catcher Dave Duncan - came up in July and made a splash by hitting three homers in his first 12 at-bats over two days and displaying a fiery I-really-want-to-be-here attitude. He since has shown a big hole in his swing, and if you want to match him up with CC, well that's fine by me.

The Yankee bullpen - the middle of it at least - is a mess, though it's lights-out in the eigth and ninth with Joba Chamberlain and Mariano. But if Clemens or Hughes or Mussina get knocked around early the pen is a major liability. In fact, two September call-ups are likely to make the pen and one guy who was around all year has already been sent packing.

In addition, late-inning reliever Kyle Fransworth heard a "pop" in his hip while pitching over the weekend. He remained in the game but gave up a homer to the next batter before getting through the rest of the inning. The Yankees say he'll be fine. Many Yankee fans are hoping he won't.

And, of course, there's also Roger Clemens, who is still a question mark for Game 3.

In one final sign that things may not be breaking so well for the Yanks, legendary P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard missed a few weeks in September with laryngitis. His return for the playoffs is also up in the air.

For regular updates on the goings-on in NYC, as it relates to the Tribe-Yankees series, check out my blog Tribe Fan in Yankeeland. And hopefully Pat Tabler, the blogmeister here at The DiaTribe, will have me back for more along the way.

Thanks Ron!
Be sure to check Ron out throughout the series to know how the ALDS is being covered in New York and how one man attempts to keep his wits about him deep inside the Evil Empire.

We all know, of course, what happened to when a group of young upstarts had a chance to take down the best laid plans of another Evil Empire though, don't we?


Vegas Watch said...

Pat, mind if I jack that picture and use it on my site? You will be credited, obviously.

True story: I live in NY, and that year the Indians played six games in NY (3 at Shea). I went to five of them, and you can guess which one I missed.

Pat Tabler said...

No sweat.

I have a shirt with the same score that a buddy of mine found outside of Fenway (?!?) that he sent me.

The first time I wore it, my wife said how it was so nice that I was wearing a shirt that noted our anniversary date (8-31).

Only by looking down at it did I realize that she was right. I had, obviously been too drawn to the big 22-0 in the middle of the shirt.

Vegas Watch said...

I had (don't know what happened to it) a similar shirt, although it had the full scoreboard and said "YANKEES SUCK". Quite tasteful.

Surprising that they sell anti-Yankee shirts that have nothing to do with the Bosox outside Fenway? Hardly.

Andy said...

The construction of that 2nd Death Star was garbage.

The construction of this 2007 Indians club: much better.