A tale of scoreboard trivia woe on an offense-less eve

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It's hard out here for a pimp

One day, I’ll understand how Cliff Lee has managed to start the season 6-0 with an ERA of 0.81. I’ll one day understand how opposing hitters have managed just 25 hits off Lee in 44.1 innings. I know the walks are key; he has issued only two this year. But his stuff just doesn’t scream out untouchable success.

Tonight, I watched from the third deck as Cliff Lee put on something of a strike-throwing clinic. He threw 103 pitches, 76 of them for strikes, and the Yanks found themselves in few three-ball counts tonight. What he did, though, was to keep the Yankeess off balance by changing speeds. None of his stuff is overpowering; his pitches range from about 79 to 92 miles per hour. But he pounded the zone and kept the Yankees hitters guessing.

Or at least, I think that’s what he did. Part of me thinks that the Yanks probably should have crushed Cliff Lee. But the unstoppable force that is Cliff Lee just keeps rolling along. On a night like tonight, you just have to tip your cap to Lee and hope that the Yanks end their 14-inning scoreless drought early in this afternoon’s game.

Now, instead of dwelling further on this loss, let me regale you with a tale from the stadium tonight. Every night, after the second inning or so, a lucky fan gets to answer a fairly easy Yankee trivia question on the DiamondVision screen. It’s long been my family’s theory that the people with the giant cards and the announcer do everything in their power to make sure the contestant gets the answer right. For example, on Ron Guidry Day, Ron Guidry was probably the answer to the trivia question. Other times, the announcer will go, “Is it A, Beeeeeeeeeeeee, C or D?” drawing out the B to the point of absurdity.

Tonight’s trivia question: Who threw the last Yankee perfect game? Was it: A. David Wells; B. David Cone; C. Don Larsen; or D. Jim Abbott? The scoreboard announcer then noted that, as a hint, the answer was in the stadium, and then they flashed on David Cone sitting in the YES broadcast booth.

The contestant picked the card for A. Not only would any fan know that David Cone’s perfect game in 1999 was more recent than Wells’ 1998 effort, but anyone with half a brain could have made the visual connection between David Cone in the broadcast booth and the picture of David Cone on the scoreboard.

When the contestant go it wrong — and it takes some skill to actually get the answer wrong — the scoreboard announcer seemed a little shocked. He amusingly urged the guy to get glasses and thanked him for playing. As the crowd booed the clueless for getting the answer wrong, I laughed at the absurdity of it all. It was one funny moment during an otherwise dreary performance by the Yankee offense.

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It's hard out here for a pimp
  • http://knickerbockerchatter.blogspot.com/ Bruno

    HYSTERICAL indeed!

  • RustyJohn

    At least they didn’t pick Jim Abbott…I know that was in 1993, but I just started reminiscing about the lost season of 1994- I sometimes lie awake at night thinking of an Expos-Yankees World Series and a season where Tony Gwynn hit .400.

    Dude, what a powerhouse rotation that was in 1994…lol…Jimmy Key, Jim Abbott, Melido Perez and Kamienieki. I think Wickman was a starter then too. Oh how times have changed…pre-Mo. Steve Farr as closer.

    I had forgotten how many years Farr was a closer-for some reason I thought it was just one and that Rags had pitched deeper into the 90s but then I remembered that Farr was the closer for like three years and one year had an ERA in the mid 1’s? Unreal.

    Anyhow, stream of consiousness tonight—there ought to be a discussion on shitiest Yankee rotation- 1990 or 1991. I’m going 1990 just because even when things went good (like an Andy Hawkins no-hitter) they went bad (a loss).

    Those rotations were so crappy then- recall watching a spring training game between the Phillies where it was Dave LaPoint v. the Yanks Tim Leary- after one inning it was 5-6.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I was at the game as well (Sec. 39, Row N, 24) and I just couldn’t grasp it. I was asking a friend of mine who got me the ticket what the velocity readings were and she said she might have seen 92 flash for Cliff Lee (being in the Bleacher Section, kind of hard to see the velocity readings) which is in line with his reported 91-93 MPH heat. I don’t get it. Is he really just changing speeds and keeping guys off balance that much? Is his command that exquisite that he’s able to execute every pitch he wants to perfection at will? Even Greg Maddux serves up a gopher ball or two, how is his command this fucking good?

    Anyways, the Yankees are not to blame for this loss. Wang pitched seven innings in which he allowed a sacrifice fly RBI and a two-out RBI so it’s not like he was getting rocked. Cliff Lee just dominated, again.

    • Sciorsci

      Part of it, from what I can tell, isn’t just Lee’s ability to change speeds in terms of velocity, but also to change speeds in terms of delivery. He works fairly quickly, which helps keep his defense on its toes, but also alters the timing of his delivery and how quickly he’ll come set on the mound.

      His stuff isn’t overpowering, it seems, but he does a good job of keeping hitters off balance and not letting them just dig in against him.

  • chris

    speaking of wondeful rotations – anyone remembe the yea when scott sanderson was the sole yankee representative in the all-star game.

    i cant remeber the year, but i was a little guy had just become a yankee fan a few years earlier. i can remember how proud of him i was and how i watched every game without eve getting angry. don’t know if it was because i had never experienced yankee success to spoil me, or if being a kid you just dont care.

    that, the hawkins no hitter (or technically by baseball rules a non-no hitter), steve howe coming back fom a cociane addiction only to eventually fall again, and pasquel perez dissappearing in the dominican where the team couldnt find him fo sping training are my best memories of great rotations

    • RustyJohn

      I think that was 1991. I was in high school at the time living in South Florida and would skip school all during March to see Spring Training games- my favorite part in those years was to buy Yankee magazine and read all the stories about that winter’s free agent signings and actually believe they would push the Yanks over the top….Mike Gallego, Sanderson, Danny Tartabull. I just remember how they had an article on Gallego who has to be like 5 ft 4 and a caption that said, “It’s the little things he does.”

  • chris

    anyone else think that if the yankee offense had not been so bad to start the year, the kids ay have pitched better. seems that in addition to having the pressure of the BIGS on their shoulders, they had the feeling they had to be perfect evey time out.

    tough to pitch when you have the feeling that if you give up moe than 3 runs you will lose. causes pitchers to nibble (IPK).

    Not saying this is the only reason but I think it is a contibutng factor. Remember last season they came up at a time when the offense was clicking on all cylinders and they could expect to get 5-6 runs in support.

    this off season, in addition to needing an ace, the team needs an offensive makeover and injection of youth (26-32 year old) players into the line-up. Add a couple of bats such as Dunn, Burrell, Furcal (who is only 30 and should push jeter out of short – my ne campaign) and texeira (i shy away from tex unless they are bringing up some youth as they could get 2 players for his price) plus Sabathia, Sheets, and worse case scenario Burnett and i love their 2009 chances.

    Too many guys on this team are old and if you look aound baseball, top offesenes are doing it with multiple bats under the age of 26 – DBacks, Brewers, and Rays to name a few. Look around baseball –

    guys over 35-36 are not doing what they used to. Conspiracy theorists may think it has something to do with the new drug testing policy and the shortage of guys taking HGH

  • Marsha

    Re the trivia question part of the post–ROTFLMAO!!!

  • chris

    as for the offense – there is still a guy out there that could have a .450 OBP – lower because he will be pitched to more – not to mention that he could easily smack 25-30 homers in half a season at a ballpark that is ideal fo him.

    hey we put up with giambi and what he did. why, because he was honest? a lineup with the middle of the order sporting 3 guys who are hall of fame locks and a 2,3,4,5 of Jeter, Abreu, ARod, and “you know who” would be deasly for other teams.

    This team is going nowhere this year unless the offense is better than it was last season. Maybe as a stop-gap solution fo this season, maybe even next depending on how it goes this season “HE” is exactly what the tea needs.

    An added benefit is that it will give us a great insight into how Girardi can handle a possible explosive situation – something that will come up a lot in his tenure.

    He will cost Damon and Matsui playing time, but who really cares about them – maybe they can try our their first baseman mit.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Yeah, because Matsui isn’t our best hitter at this point or anything.

      • Glen L

        If the yanks are willing to eat some big time money … release Giambi, sign Bonds for 5mm prorated and let him DH … play Matsui and Damon in LF and whichever isn’t starting can either can an off day or MAYBE play 1b?

        just rifing here

        but personally i would LOVE to see Barry Lamar Bonds don pinstripes

  • JT

    How many times did the yankees take first pitch strike, then second pitch strike. It was ridiculous. They couldn’t even get the bats off their shoulders.

  • wayne’s world

    We should have a quiet day at Yankee Stadium as an experiment. There should be no stupid games played with fans in the stands. There should be no idiotic games and other spots on the scoreboard. There should be no music other than organ music. Just one day. Please. Just once. Let’s experience what a simple trip to the ballpark can be when it’s all about, and only about, the game. No wedding proposals. No birthday greetings. No Duncan Donuts subway race. No lucky seat contests. No bloopers. No Tommy Lasorda being knocked over. No Yankees being interviewed about songs. No match game. No cap game. Nothing. Zippo. Nada. Just hot dogs, beer, the ice cream of the future and the other food they sell except for cotton candy which is totally gross and makes me sick to even see.

    • RustyJohn

      I think they have a place like that, or used to until a couple of years ago. It was called Dodgers Stadium.

  • Marsha

    I totally agree with wayne’s world, but he left out a few things, like the poor YMCA maintenance men, Cotton Eye Joe, and the countdown to the end of Yankee Stadium scoreboard.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Wayne’s World –

    As long as Bob Sheppard can get on the PA every three minutes and say:

    “Fans, welcome to the Bank of America ‘Quiet Assurance Mortgage’ New York Yankees Quiet Day, brought to you by, Bank of America alongside Mastercard and Adidas, and proudly sponsored by Canon USA, W.B. Mason, Dunkin Donuts, Steiner Sports Collectibles, The Lawfirm of Belluck and Fox, Avis Rent-a-Car, Yili, DHL Shipping, SpongeTech Delivery Systems, Inc. Utz Potato Chips, Poland Spring Bottled Water, Ameriquest Mortgage, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Famiglia Pizza, Bud Light, and Ajinmoto Food Supplements, and is a presentation of The New York Lottery. who would like to remind you to play the new game, Bada Bling – Bada Bada Bada Bada Bada Bada… BADA BLING! Hey, you never know!”

    …then you’re good. Just remember, every three minutes.

  • barry

    Lee had a great season a couple years ago, went 18-6. He’s still pretty young, probably just his breakout season.