Wang falters, but Yanks rally back for 8-6 win

Ajax hits first homer of the year
Wang, Hughes and the Yanks' final rotation spot

Chien-Ming Wang‘s final line from yesterday’s game certainly doesn’t look pretty: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. Yet there were signs of life from the erstwhile ace. Wang, who had not started a game since April 18, looked good in the early going. He kept the sinker low, sometimes to a fault, and pitched a perfect first two innings, using just 23 pitches to retire six Rangers. After that, though, things fell apart.

Chris Davis doubled to lead off the third, but Wang recovered nicely. After Taylor Teagarden sacrificed — to get to the #9 hitter — the Yankees moved the infield in. This might seem strange in the third inning of a 1-0 game, but with Wang on the mound, it was a good call. In textbook manner, Elvis Andrus bounced one to third, holding Davis in place. The Yankees were set up to escape the inning without damage, but Wang uncorked ball four to the next hitter, Ian Kinsler, allowing Davis to score. A Michael Young infield single followed by a Hank Blalock single gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

Even at that point, Wang wasn’t doing too badly. He used 22 pitches to get through the third, almost as many as it took him to get through the first two innings combined. Perhaps he tired after that, because the fourth inning started off about as bad as can be. Single, double, double, plating two runs. Wang did come back to get three straight outs, including a strikeout and two groundouts, and then recorded the first two outs of the fifth on six pitches, but Nelson Cruz ended the consecutive-out streak with a homer into the Rangers bullpen. All of a sudden, the score was 5-1 Rangers.

Obviously, Wang wasn’t at his best. His sinker was up at times — the homer to Cruz was of the belt-high variety. That it came in the fifth inning, on Wang’s 69th pitch, could signal a fatigue issue. After all, Wang hasn’t been accustomed to throwing a starter’s share of pitches this season. Even in his final AAA start he threw just 75 pitches. That came on May 17. We’ll know more after his next start, but unfortunately that comes up at Fenway. It would be a shame for Wang to get lit up at Fenway, where he has a 5.11 career ERA. Still, it doesn’t appear that the Yankees will remove him from the rotation after one mediocre start.

Thankfully, the Yankees were able to bounce back. Al Aceves replaced Wang and ran into some trouble, walking the first two batters he faced, but escaped the fifth without allowing a run. That’s when the offense went nuts.

No one likes to see Francisco Cervelli and Ramiro Pena leading off an inning, but the two bench players came through with consecutive singles. Good teams do not waste these opportunities. The Yankees got a new life with the top of the order coming up with two men on base and none out, and they took full advantage of it. After Johnny Damon walked to load the bases Nick Swisher did the same, scoring Cervelli. Then Mark Teixeira, the Yankees savior in May, poked a double down the third base line, emptying the bases and tying the game. That was it for starter Brandon McCarthy.

In yesterday’s game recap I chastised Yankees fans who boo Alex Rodriguez. Yes, fans have the right to boo, but we have the right to do plenty of things that make us look like jackasses. It doesn’t mean we have to do them, even if our impulses and emotions push us in that direction. Yanks fans again booed A-Rod after he grounded out to short after a Teixeira double in the fourth. Of course, when he drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth he heard cheers. Here’s an idea: If you’re going to boo A-Rod, have the common decency to not cheer him when he helps the team.

After walking the two batters in the fifth, Aceves made just one mistake the rest of the way, serving up Ian Kinsler’s homer on a silver platter. That ball was demolished, but it was just one run. Unfortunately, that tied the game. The Yankees would have to find a bit more offense to take this series.

Robinson Cano walked on five pitches to open the eighth, but Hideki Matsui followed that with a fly out to center. With the 7-8-9 guys the Yankees had some moves to make. With Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter on the bench, Girardi could easily pinch hit for Cervelli and Pena. The only thing standing in his way: Melky Cabrera. We’ve seen the Melk Man ground into his share of double plays, and that was certainly a worry in the first two pitches of the at bat. But when C.J. Wilson delivered the fourth, Yankees fans threw their hands in the air. Melky had hit one just beyond the left field wall, giving the Yankees an 8-6 lead and keeping Jeter and Posada on the bench. Mo would come in and do his thing, securing the series win.

Boston won too, so it’s still a tie atop the AL East. But because Texas lost, the Yankees and the Red Sox are now co-holders of the best record in the AL. The Yanks will have a chance to get even next week in Fenway. Until then, it’ll be the Rays in town for four. David Price on the mound tomorrow night against CC. This is one game I’m really glad I’ve got tickets for.

Ajax hits first homer of the year
Wang, Hughes and the Yanks' final rotation spot
  • AlexNYC

    PeteAbe also said that Wang also got booed, so it wasn’t just A-Rod.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      That’s disgusting. Truly disgusting.

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Hyperbole FTW!

    • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

      I was there and annoyed.

      Wang got booed.
      Aceves got booed
      Arod got booed repeatedly.

  • yankees=warriors

    The worst thing is that Wang’s next start is against the Red Sox, and then the Mets!
    I don’t think I’ll be able to sit through those games…

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      The Red Sox could be scary.

      But the Mets? Wang could no hit the Mets. I’m dead serious. Chein-Ming Wang could damn well throw a no-hitter against that pathetic franchise 10 days from now.

      They just got swept by the Pirates. The Pittsburgh Pirates. The “we haven’t been relevant since the first Bush White House” Pittsburgh Pirates.

      • UWS

        I’ve already penciled in the RS game as an L. As long a they win the series, it’s the most important thing. I’m open to being pleasantly surprised, however.

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        Unfortunately, lately, the Mets seem to up their game for the Yanks. Last year, the Mets had lost 3 out of 4 to the lowly Senators and then beat the Yanks 7-4 and 11-2 (Ollie Freakin’ Perez pitched that one). The Mets then went on to promptly lose five in a row and seven of eight.

        They also lost three of five before and after splitting the following four-game series with the Yanks.

        Hopefully, the Mets will reveal their true suckitude this year when they visit the Stadium.

    • Chris

      Texas is a better offense than Boston, and Yankee Stadium is a better hitters park than Fenway. I don’t expect much different from what happened yesterday.

    • JP

      Sorry, but this “oh no, he’s starting against the RED SOX (GASP)” is starting to grate on me.

      Yes, they have some good hitters. They are one of the best teams in baseball. But since when do we act like chicken sh!t when facing them? Ok, I’ve been as critical of Wang as anyone, but you put him out there and you expect him to do good things. The Red Sox are mortal…look at their stats, they’re not the 1938 Yankees.

      I’m not guaranteeing a win, but all of this screeching and noise every time we get set to play the Red Sox is not “Yankee-ish.” It’s bush, Red Sox-ism. Francesa is the worst about this stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    “Here’s an idea: If you’re going to boo A-Rod, have the common decency to not cheer him when he helps the team.”

    Here’s another idea. If you’re going to boo A-Rod, ask the people around you if you’re a massive asshole and annoying douchenozzle. When they tell you that yes, you are a massive asshole and an annoying douchenozzle. take their advice and go seek professional help.

    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      I would really like to see blogs get on the “STOP BOOING PEOPLE IN PINSTRIPES” bandwagon.

      My Mo it has gotten out of hand. True fans DO NOT boo Yankees and it needs to stop. It’s been making me crazy.

      As I said in today’s game thread I am giving friends tickets to games this year ONLY on the condition that they will scream at anyone who even remotely boos.

      It has to stop. Seriously.

      Yankee fans (I use the term loosely) are looking like complete assholes.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        21st century Yankee fans have become 20th century Red Sox fans.

        It’s pathetically disgusting.

        • JP

          Word. See my comment above about wetting our pants every time we get set for a Boston series.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Remember the “Save the Big Three” shirts?

        I will buy a “Stop Booing Your Own Yankee Players” T-Shirt. I’ll pay extra for it.

        • John

          That’s a good idea. Some blog should get on that (I’m talkin to you RAB, you could make some money off of this)

        • Jack

          I’m all for making signs. If only I knew what kind of material to use . . .

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            ICWUDT

            Hold on, lemme get jsbrendog on the phone.

          • UWS

            Oh no you diin’t!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15305165&ref=profile Doug

            +1

          • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

            cardboard?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Yes, but specifically, what kind of cardboard?

        • LiveFromNewYork

          I would too.

      • http://kikojones5.blogspot.com Kiko Jones

        Booing your own while in 1st place, in a tie for the best record in the AL, is simply inexcusable at best; imbecilic at worst.

        • JP

          Yes. A-Rod is in the midst of a terrible slump, and he had the only hit with RISP Tuesday, and he drove in a run Wednesday. Yeah, he’s a douche and should be booed.

  • Arlok789

    I’ve got tickets tomorrow night too. I want to see the Yanks unload a world of hurt on price and make him rethink a career in professional baseball. I want him to get hammered so bad that he gets whiplash from watching his pitches get turned around and sent screaming into the gaps.

    Sadly, I doubt this is going to happen and I am probably going to end up seeing a great pitching matchup.

    • DocBooch

      The only thing you’ll probably see tommorrow, if they don’t call it early, is the tarp. unfortunately.

  • jake s

    I sadly confessed that I have booed Randy Johnson (after he gave up 10 or so to Tampa Bay) and Kyle Farnsworth (for being Kyle Farnworth). I’m not terribly sorry for doing so, however.

    Ben, your game is probably going to be washed out. Sorry bro.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      There have been numerous Yankee players I didn’t care for and prayed for the day their pinstripe career would end.

      I never booed them, though. Booing your own players is dumb.

      • John

        At least he admitted and doesn’t do it anymore….Good enough for me :)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          True.

          • inman

            pavano…? that’s right. i just remembered you never saw him pitch for the yankees.

      • JP

        I agree, I don’t know if I’ve ever booed a Yankee. Never say never – I reserve the right to do so, but it’d have to be something awful like poor sportsmanship or repeated not hustling, screwing his teammates, etc.

    • DocBooch

      I never understood booing your own guys either. Any Yankee fan who finds it necessary to boo their own player is rooting on the wrong side of the city. They need to travel to Citifield and start following that other team that seems to accept it.

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

      If only Ben had written this post.

  • John

    Great day. Yanks win. Lakers win.

    • 65hughes

      yep what an excellent day

  • AndrewYF

    I boo Jose Veras all the time, in my mind. Mostly because if I started booing in class I would get a lot of strange looks.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Jose Veras may be the crappiest reliever in baseball (he’s not, but he MAY be).

      He’s still trying his hardest to help the Yankees win. Booing him when he fails to help the Yankees win serves no purpose whatsoever. It doesn’t help, it only hurts.

      • AndrewYF

        It helps ME. I vent my frustration on a player that’s hurting my baseball team. Me booing Veras where he can’t hear me hurts the team? Really?

        For the same reason people cheer when something good happens, people boo when something bad happens. And don’t try and say it turns New York fans into something they haven’t been. They don’t call it the “Bronx Cheer” for nothing.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          There are lots of things that you could do that would help you that you don’t do because they’re anti-social. Booing is one of them. Booing is not just “venting frustration”, booing is expressing contempt and disapproval. If you need to express frustration, find a way to do it that doesn’t convey a message of contempt for the player who’s trying to help the team you love win.

          And yes, Veras can hear you. And yes, it hurts the team. Teams and players like to know that the fans have their backs, good or bad.

          • AndrewYF

            Veras can read my mind?????

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              VERAS CAN HEAR YOUR BOOING.

              • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

                THAT IS HOW YOU DEBATE!

                • UWS

                  WHY ARE WE YELLING?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  You hear that, Ed? Bears.

                  Now you’re putting the whole station in jeopardy.

    • John

      yea, I’ll occasionally let out a loud grunt or “Damn!” in class. Everyone understood after while, asking “Did the Yanks lose again?”

    • whozat

      I’ve been known to scream “COME OOOONN!!!” at Gameday when I watch him throw three straight balls after coming out of the pen…to the second batter he’s facing after walking the first on five pitches.

      • John

        I’ll do that too but that’s just expressing frustration and still not booing.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’ve been known to scream “COME OOOONN!!!” at Gameday when I watch him throw three straight balls after coming out of the pen…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELMYEFqlGTc&feature=channel

  • UWS

    The animosity among the fans has been especially apparent recently, and I find the timing very odd, given that the team has been firing on all cylinders. I was at the 12-3 blowout the other night, and ARod got booed when he made an out late in that game. I mean, come on!

    Like I said last night, to listen to the boos (and read some of the comments here and elsewhere), you’d think Yanks were 20 games below .500, in the middle of a losing streak, and entrenched in last place. It’s all very puzzling.

    • John

      Yea, it’s understandable, but not acceptable, if we were slumping greatly for a while, but we were just 1st place in the LEAGUE, not Division, the whole AMERICAN LEAGUE!

      • LiveFromNewYork

        I know. WTF do these fans want? I have never boo’d at a Yankee game and I was there in the 80s when they never made the playoffs.

        TRUE YANKEE FANS DO NOT BOO ANYONE IN PINSTRIPES.

  • chriskeo

    As long as you pick one player to boo and stick with it (cough…Veras) but don’t boo Arod then cheer when he hits a homer, that wrong.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      No.

      Booing your own players is dumb. Whether you do it once or every time. Whether you boo a superstar or a scrub.

      Booing your own players is dumb. We’re better than this, people.

      • AndrewYF

        “We’re better than this, people.”

        No, we’re not. We’re sports fans.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Sports fans = people

          • Chris

            That’s debatable.

        • DocBooch

          The whole idea of being a fan at the game is to be that extra man. Booing your own guy just takes him off his game more, I think. Granted, in 07 ARod had the attitude of FU I’m going to mash in spite of all you hypocrites for booing me. There are just not many players who can take it and it makes them better.

        • John

          So you want to classified in the same tier as Mets fans, notorious Philly fans, and all the other fans of the world when you’re a fan of the most successful sports franchise in the universe. I say we go a step ahead the rest become the best fans. When people boo, loyal fans like me and probably you get a bad reputation as being band-wagonners, even though we’re not. It’s why a lot of people question the Yankees fans’ fanhood.

          • DocBooch

            Hold up John, I don’t boo my own players…ever. I don’t condone it either. I was just saying that not many people can handle it.

            • John

              That wasn’t a reply to you…

              • DocBooch

                sorry for the misinterpretation.

                You know, Yankees fans were once touted as some of the most knowledgeable fans in the game. Ah, the glory days.

                • John

                  until the boo-birds came and ruined it but at least there are some left.

                • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

                  no, until we started iwnning again and posers fired up the bangwagon.

          • DocBooch

            maybe you should read my reply in the earlier comment box about the Mets

  • Nigel Incubator-Jones

    The only reason I can see booing your own team is if a player is not trying, i.e not running out a grounder that gets bobbled and still getting thrown out. But since there could be a reason for this, such as a tight hammy, and you have no idea the mindset of the player, you still shouldn’t boo.

    I guess I could have said, “I agree, don’t boo”, but hey I don’t post much and I have never understood anyone booing their team. I’m a SJ Sharks fan and there was a lot of booing this year, it is a pathetic response to something you cannot control and have no idea what’s going through the minds of the players.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m a SJ Sharks fan…

      Wow.

      (stares in awe)

      They do exist. The encyclopedia was right!

      • Nigel Incubator-Jones

        Ouch, Just wait till next year?

        Transplanted NYer here living in Santa Cruz. didn’t get into Hockey until I was out here.

        • http://www.myspace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

          What’s hockey?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            +1

  • Moose

    Dude,

    If things dont work out here on RAB, I would strongly suggest tryin out for an Anchor job at Fox News, cause you are a master of the spin my man. No matter how you slice it, Wang SUCKED once again. Granted, he didnt give up 10 runs in 2/3 of an inning, but are we really to believe that “Wang didnt do too bad” after giving up 5 runs, 7 hits, and 3 walks in 4 2/3???

    Those numbers are awful and he is extremely lucky that we were able to battle back today. And despite the win, Wang hardly “gave his team a chance to win.” I could have done that.

    Here’s the reality – Brian Chasman and the Yankees brass have TOTALLY fucked up this Wang problem. First, they brought him up way too early from AAA so he could just sit and rot in the pen without stregthening his arm and/or regaining confidence by going 6-7 strong. That was a huge mistake, especially considering the lack of minor league options Wang has left. And to make matters worse, Cashman, in all his wisdom, decides to pull Hughes and insert Wang back into the rotation for starts against Texas, Boston, and NY Mets! Thats great Brian, lets try and get Wangs “head” back by throwing him out there against 3 division leaders when he can’t even get the Orioles out. Not too mention, by having Wang pitch those three starts, it jeapordizes the ENTIRE SERIES since there’s a good chance the bullpen is gonna be exhausted after his starts.

    In sum, Cashman and co. went from making a bad situation to worse. Mistake bringing Wang back up too early; Mistake taking Hughes out of the lineup when he was pitching very well, for the sole reason that “Wang has a good track record”; and Mistake for switching Wang for Hughes during a huge 3 start-set.

    Today was bad start number 1 – lets see how Wang is feeling after he gets pounded by Boston and Mets in his next two starts. Dr. Kavorkian, anyone?

    • DocBooch

      Damn Moose, what do you suggest they do to fix it? They might as well pack up the whole season with the way you are thinking.

    • Nigel Incubator-Jones

      Talk about spin.. You forgot “At that point” befoer the “Wang hadn’t done too badly”. It was 2-1 at that point, and no, he hadn’t done too badly.

    • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

      But but he lowered his era from 17 to 15.

      It was a mistake to take Hughes out and put Wang back in this early. Against one of the better hitting teams also was a mistake. But if they going to put Wang back in, they should stay with it err I mean him.

      • DocBooch

        Hughes wasn’t exactly a model for consistency. Plus, if you don’t at least get Wang’s feet wet now, you don’t want to throw him to the wolves in Fenway or have pitch against the Mets, which are always intense, as his first game. So, it was now or in 2 weeks. By then, Wang would have lost a lot of arm strength

        • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

          Right now I trust Hughes much more than I trust Wang. The ideal situation would have been keep in the minors until the light hitting Natinals came to town.

          But that ships already sailed and all we can do is hope for the best.

    • Chris

      The problem is that there was no ‘right’ way to handle this. They could have left him in AAA, but he was already dominating down there so I don’t know how that would have changed anything. They could have left him in the pen, but again he was pitching well, and there was no evidence that he would have struggled as much as he did. At some point you have to put him in the rotation, and there’s no way of knowing for sure that he’s really back.

      • Joe R

        But being at AAA his arm strength and stuff/confidence wouldve been where it needed to be to put him right into the rotation and then you can option Hughes back down without making him sit in the bullpen getting no work. Now being in the bullpen you need to work up his arm in game situations and hope it works out alright.

  • DocBooch

    Wasn’t the reason they recalled Wang was because of Joba and Bruney going on the DL? or did they not find out about Bruney until just before the start of the saturday game?

    • Nigel Incubator-Jones

      I think it was the day after Joba got hit with a line drive, but he ended up being ok to pitch.

  • handtius

    I didn’t get to watch this game. I actually had some work! rejoice! Anyway…Wang back in the rotation is a good thing. We have a strong rotation, with the 4 in front of him always giving us a chance to win, he’ll have some time to get back in the grove. He will take a little whipping, but when he’s fully back, we have a another workhorse in this rotation and it will just make us that much better for the long run. Having CC, Wang and Pettitte (usually) and sometime Burnett going deep into games will make our bullpen only that much stronger, thus making our team that much better. I think this team has the chance to be unstoppable once the pen comes around and I do believe Wang is one of those keys to getting us there. Everything else Is there, once the bullpen steps up, look out.

  • NaOH

    Here’s a little story for people about when I learned how foolish booing can seem.

    Back in 1990 the Yankees were bad. And I mean really bad. They went 65-97 that season. This is the team that yielded the failed #1 draft pick in Brien Taylor. You can look down the season’s roster and see some familiar names, some who elicit positive memories and some who bring a chuckle for what they represented. But even the names which people may fondly recall were bad that year. On the plus side, tickets were pretty cheap and traffic was usually minimal because rarely was the crowd size greater than 25,000 since the team barley drew 2 million that year.

    For a hitting perspective on how bad 1990 was, the collective team was .241/.300/.366 with an OPS+ of 86. Roberto Kelly, the regular CF, lead the team in BA at .285. Jesse Barfield in right field with an OBP at .359 was the only regular over .332. 1990 was the year that signaled the end of Don Mattingly as we knew him. He played 102 games, underwent back surgery, and would never again be the player who just a few years before his peers voted the best player in the game. Alvaro Espinoza, now a coach in Scranton, hit .224 with an OBP of .254. His slugging percentage? Who cares. Just know that in 150 games as the team’s shortstop he had 16 extra base hits.

    Jim Leyritz spent most of his time at 3B. He hit .257 with an OBP of .331, both of those numbers were second among regulars. For those who don’t know, though, Leyritz provides deceptive memories. He had a few big playoff home runs, but this guy never had much power, and 1990 was no different. He had 19 extra base hits in 339 PAs. So who was catching? Mostly Bob Geren, the same guy filling out the lineup card for the Athletics today. He hit .213 with an OPS+ of 63.

    Among the other regulars were Oscar Azocar who got the most games in left field. In recent years folks have wanted guys like Melky or Cano to draw more walks, but they’ve got nothing on this guy. In 218 PA, he had 2 walks which raised his OBP to .257, 9 points above his BA. At second was Steve Sax. He spent 3 years in NY, and this was easily his worst year, at .260/.316/.325. At DH was Steve Balboni. Talk about an all-or-nothing hitter, in 307 PA he hit .191 with 91 Ks. Of his 51 hits, 17 were HR and 6 were 2B.

    Among other players, whether they came off the bench or were later called up, were Mel Hall and Kevin Maas providing some pop. Matt Nokes (acquired 19 years ago yesterday) was a catching upgrade, but he still wasn’t that good a hitter or a receiver. Randy Velarde was a utility infielder hitting .210. Mike Blowers would get some games in at 3B and the next year he would be sent to Seattle for cash and a PTBNL. Deion Sanders got some games. Man, could he run. Made Gardner look like Molina. He could hit a hard one-hopper right at the second baseman and he’d barely get thrown out. But he hit .158 in 57 games. Hensley “Bam-Bam” Meulens got a few ABs. He, along with other 1990 players like Brian Dorsett, spent years on the back pages of Yankee yearbooks as players who were on the way up. Those who made it up were never good and never lasted in a noteworthy way.

    Pitching was maybe a touch better than the hitting. The starters were generally healthy with 5 guys getting at least 29 starts, and the low-end pitcher at 29 starts was an in-season acquisition. Problem is no starter had an ERA+ of 100. Tim Leary and Dave LaPoint led the way at 97. Andy Hawkins took up the rear at 74. Sure, that team had Righetti in the bullpen, and on the surface his numbers were okay (36 saves), but the key indicators were all trending the wrong way. Greg Cadaret and Eric Plunk were the hard-throwing lefty and righty out of the pen. These two, along with Luis Polonia, had been acquired when the Yankees sent Rickey Henderson back to Oakland the year before. They pitched okay, but there was no way they could replace Rickey. Lee Guetterman was the other bullpen regular. Big lefty, not much shorter than Randy Johnson. And while my memory is probably off by a little, it never seemed like he threw much harder than Wakefield does today.

    Other guys throwing some innings include Mark Leiter, little brother of Al. And Pascual Perez, brother of Melido. Lance McCullers was kind of like Bruney in the sense that you felt as though if he could just harness things, he’d be a real asset. He was sent to Detroit in the trade that brought Matt Nokes, and he never harnessed things. 1990 was his last year in the Majors. Dave Eiland got 5 starts, and this was the only year his ERA+ (112) exceeded 100. Alan Mills, who most remember for his years in Baltimore when they were good in the late 90’s, was another mediocre bullpen arm. Rich Moneleone, dismissed by the Yankees from a coaching position last winter, got a few innings in that year, but not many.

    As you can see, there were some memorable names on this team. Some good, some not so good, and some a little ignominious. Anyway, on May 19 a good buddy and I went to a game. Later in the year, games would be fun because no one was there, after an inning or two you could sit almost anywhere, and the team was giving away leftover promotional items (I think I got a fanny pack, Chiquita Banana digital watch, calendar, umbrella, and fake signed ball that year). On this day, it was 8 days after Steinbrenner had enough of Winfield and sent him to the Angels for Mike Witt, a so-so starter who had 102 innings left in his career. Later in July, Steinbrenner would be suspended by Fay Vincent for hiring Howard Spira to dig up dirt on Winfield (technically, it wasn’t a suspension but a lifetime ban). And in just a couple weeks, iconic Yankee Bucky Dent would be replaced as manager by Stump Merrill (actually, it was on this day in 1990).

    By this point, things hadn’t bottomed out as they soon would. The day I went, the Yankees were in 6th place (7 out), a half game ahead of Detroit and 6 games under .500. Remember, only two divisions back then, and the Brewers were still in the AL East. For some perspective, back then you played every team the same amount of games, and in the 7-team AL East, the Red Sox ended up winning the division with 88 wins and the Yankees ended 21 games out of first. Basically, while the team hadn’t stunk up the joint yet, there was no real reason for immediate optimism.

    So what does this have to do with booing? As you can tell, this was not a good team and there was no reason to think that it would be any time soon (though by ’94 they were good). Unlike today’s team which has good-to-great-players up and down the lineup and in the rotation, this team offered nothing. And remember, they hadn’t seen the playoffs since losing the ’81 World Series. So, May 19, the second game of a 3-game weekend set against the Royals, pitted Mark Gubicza against Mike Witt making his first start for the Yankees. Mind you, the 1990 Royals were no great shakes themselves, but they had some decent players, like future Yankees Danny Tartabull and Steve Farr, but also Bo Jackson, George Brett, Willie Wilson, the first appearances of Jeff Conine, Pat Tabler who was renowned for his performance with the bases loaded (.489 BA!), Tom Gordon was in his third full year in the Majors, Mel Stottlemyre Jr. had his one year in the Majors, and Bret Saberhagen and Kevin Appier were still good.

    In the fourth inning on May 19, the Yankees’ catcher Rick Cerone had a passed ball that put the Royals ahead 1-0. Now, understand, while this was his third tenure with the team, he had generally been well liked by fans, and – in a way that only makes sense if you lived through the 80’s – was viewed by the women and girls as very cute.

    Anyway, we booed him for the passed ball. When he came up in the bottom of the inning, we booed him again. And we booed him again in the bottom of the sixth even though the score was now tied. And we booed him when, between changing sides, the DiamondVision showed it was his 36th birthday. In the 8th, Balboni drew one of his 35 walks for the year, and Cerone followed that with a home run to the left field seats. We cheered like crazy. Gave the man a curtain call for what ended up being the last home run he ever hit as a Yankee.

    But that was the day I stopped booing anyone. Here was a terrible team and fans booed a player repeatedly for a small mistake and cheered later like they’d always loved him. I couldn’t help but notice how foolish we seemed, and I’ve never booed anyone since, not a Yankee nor any other player or person on the field. I’ll cheer any great play by any player, I may let out an “Aw” at a disappointing outcome, but I won’t boo. Quite simply, even at a baseball stadium, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I won’t say anything. And really, what I’d like to see, is that taken to the extreme. If there’s a Yankee who has disappointed fans or an opponent player who fans don’t like, I’d like to see the reaction from the player if the whole stadium went silent in response.

    Boo players if you want. Fans are certainly entitled to do so. You’re sending the same message to a player who strikes out as you send a player who loafs or an umpire who misses a call. Really, it’s not very constructive and not very informative. All it really says is, “I don’t like what you did.” But the same message can be conveyed with a groan or an “Aw.” The difference, though, is that booing is an angry, rude sound of disappointment and says more about the fans than it does about the player.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      The home crowd is supposed to pump the team up, not bring them down. The Yankees get boo’d enough on the road. People hate the Yankees across the country.

      To get this from your own fans is simply unacceptable. How can they feed off the crowd? When they’re doing well they don’t NEED the crowd. They need to feed off the fans when they’re slumping.

  • yankeegirl49

    Well said!!
    You also brought back some memories…and they werent good ones!

  • JobaWockeeZ

    If you boo a Yankee than you’re simply a bandwagoner that knows nothing of baseball expecting a flawless record every year. You should really stop following baseball. Those people don’t deserve seats in the stadium.

  • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Ok, before I get into this, let me preface by saying that I don’t boo the Yankees.

    But PLEASE. Enough. Booing is “disgusting” and the people who boo are “pathetically disgusting” “assholes?” People who boo aren’t “True Yankees Fans?” This whole thing is getting out of hand, and this is coming from someone who has joined in the anti-booing screeds in the past. The backlash is going a bit too far, now. Fans in every city boo their players sometimes. Does that make it right? Of course not. Is it annoying and frustrating? Of course. But it’s not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean the people who do it are stupid or bad people. I don’t like it when people boo, I think it’s misguided and childish. But this backlash isn’t too far off from that same description.

    And, frankly, I find people who try to tell me who or what a “True Yankee Fan” is more annoying than people who boo A-Rod.

    • pat

      booooooooo

    • Joe R

      I think the problem is it has just become almost like an every game occurrence. Especially for A-Rod. In a game where you’re good if you fail only 7 out of 10 times the guy gets a chorus of boos for every out he makes. It kind of takes a toll on people. Does that mean there needs to be fights breaking out over people booing and what have you? Of course not, but I can see the reasoning of the frustration.

      “And, frankly, I find people who try to tell me who or what a “True Yankee Fan” is more annoying than people who boo A-Rod.”

      Couldnt agree more.

    • Reggie C.

      Mondesi. You are a professional.

    • JeffG

      I just find it crazy that people that are supposedly for the Yanks show no appreciation for their best player.

      • Reggie C.

        Booing a player during a moment of overwhelming frustration is a SNAPSHOT of that person’s feelings towards that player and the uniform he wears. Its by no means a lasting un-appreciation of the team. Now … making it a daily habit to boo players regardless of performance is a different thing altogether.

        • JeffG

          “Now … making it a daily habit to boo players regardless of performance is a different thing altogether.” – this is what it seems like… believe me I was groaning when Arod came up short with bases loaded on Tuesday and Wednesday but yesterday when Tex is on second in the forth and he comes up short – how do you boo at that? He is not going to drive a run in ever time. He does do it a lot though.

          Further when I was at a game earlier this season this guy was going off on how he was glad A-rod was out… I think a lot of fans are just caught up in a tabloid mentality.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Mondesi: If you read my comments, I’m not saying we should stop booing our own players because it’s “unYankee” like.

      It’s because it’s antisocial, dumb, retarded, pathetic, and disgusting.

      I’d feel the same way if we were all Pirates or Mets or Nationals or Royals or Twins fans.

      It doesn’t matter what team you support. You SUPPORT your team. That means you should not boo your own team’s players.

      I don’t boo Jets, Knicks, Miami Hurricanes, etc. etc. I don’t boo my coworkers when they fuck up an important memo. I don’t boo my four year old nephew when he misspells a word. I don’t boo my best friend when he can’t get some girl’s number at the bar.

      YOU DON’T BOO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY. THAT INCLUDES THE MEMBERS OF THE TEAM YOU LOVE. YOU DON’T BOO YOUR OWN TEAM. DOING SO MAKES YOU AN ASSHOLE. THERE ARE NO TWO WAYS ABOUT THAT.

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Mondesi: If you read my comments, I’m not saying we should stop booing our own players because it’s “unYankee” like.”

        No, you didn’t, but that comment was made by someone else. I didn’t attribute that comment to you. I didn’t attribute any quotes to anyone by name, I didn’t want to specifically call out people individually.

        As far as the other stuff… Look, I’ve been part of the anti-booing masses in the past, and I still take that position. Nothing in my comment above can be construed as an endorsement of booing. I wish people wouldn’t boo the Yankees, I think it’s (and I said this above, too) annoying and frustrating. I just think the backlash is going too far with the personal attacks, and I especially take issue with anyone declaring that some people are “True Yankee Fans’ and some people aren’t.

        You’re welcome to your opinion on the matter and I agree with you, we just differ regarding methods/degree. My comment wasn’t a rebuttal of your opinions (or anyone else’s other than the “True Yankee Fan” stuff).

      • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

        uhm, the sports teams i follow and love are not by any means anywhere even remotely close to family and friends.

      • Nady Nation

        I don’t think he’s arguing that. I think he’s arguing against the people who are completely blowing “booing” out of proportion, as if it’s some sort of crime. We all know booing your own players is stupid. But saying it’s “disgusting”, as Mondesi noted, is ridiculously overdoing it. This is a SPORTING EVENT. Paying customers are entitled to voice their displeasure. Just because it might be dumb or counterproductive doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do it. And statements like “You don’t deserve a seat in the new stadium” are just nonsensical. Guess what, if you like the Yankees, and you pay the cost of a ticket, you “deserve a seat in the new Stadium”. Again, I’m not defending the booers of Yankee players. But, let’s keep this in perspective here. It’s a baseball game.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Nothing that I’ve ever said says that booing isn’t a “right” or something you are “entitled” to.

          Of course you have a right to boo. It’s freedom of speech.

          Some speech, though, while you’re entitled to make it, is disgusting and pathetic. You’re “entitled” to walk up the block and boo random people. You’d be an asshole, but you are withing your rights.

          That’s my point. I’m not saying people don’t have a constitutional right to be an asshole. They do. I just want them to know that they are assholes. There’s no way to interpret the booing of players on the team you claim to love other than the fact that you’re an asshole.

          People who aren’t assholes find other, more productive, more social ways to express their frustration. Booing = lowest common denominator. Lowbrow and assholish.

          • Nady Nation

            Just like Mondesi stated above, this was not directed at your comments. I mostly agree with your stance. My response was geared more towards the comments insinuating that some fans are more deserving of seats in the Stadium than others.

    • Nady Nation

      “And, frankly, I find people who try to tell me who or what a ‘True Yankee Fan’ is more annoying than people who boo A-Rod.”

      + freekin’ 1.

  • JeffG

    I think Wang looked like he is on his way back. Strength is an issue and I just hope to see the weakness getting pushed back to the 120 count where he would normally be removed from a game. I’d imagine it could take up to four or five stats before he’s 100 percent. Hopefully he’ll win games before he gets there.

    On the other A-Rod point: “If you’re going to boo A-Rod, have the common decency to not cheer him when he helps the team. ” – I think these retarded fans should cheer and then boo themselves. It is just so planly dumb to boo the guy that makes the biggest difference on your ball club.

  • Pingback: Wang, Hughes and the Yanks’ final rotation spot | River Avenue Blues

  • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

    i booed kyle farsnworth and have no qualms about it. and all the “true yankee fans dont boo teh yanks!1111!!11!” people can stuff it cause as NaOH (sodium hydroxide for those of you scoring at home) said so eloquently above, the yankees were bad, last place team in the early 90’s, and that is when I began following them and loving them and before there was an obsession with jason giambis mustached there was the alvaro espinoza stache. before chuck knoblauch couldnt throw and lost it there was steve sax who counldnt throw and lost it. and before there was randy johnson attacking a cameraman there was jack mcdowell flipping the bird to 50,000+ fans. And i loved every second of it. So, wihle there is no such thing as a “true” yankee fan, i would love to see how many people stop going or put their hats away or change their minds if the yankees revert back to their late 80s early 90s futility. I for one would wecome it with open arms knowing that it is just a valley soon to be followed by a giant peak. And if kyle farnsworth came back to pitch, i boo.

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

      But did you cheer Farns when he struck out David Ortiz in a big spot?

      • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

        i cheered david ortiz’ inability to put the ball in play not kyle farsnworth’s magical luck at getting him out

      • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        I don’t know the mindset of the “boo-er,” but can’t a person boo a player he’s frustrated with and then turn around and cheer when that player does something good, because that good act helps the team that fan roots for? So, in this example, couldn’t jsb boo Farnsworth, but also cheer when Farnsworth strikes someone out because that strikeout is good for the Yankees (and not because he suddenly loves Farnsworth)?

        • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

          exactly.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I find booing Wang and Arod disgusting. If you think that is hyperbole, so be it. I feel disgust when I hear about it. If you don’t, fine. But I think we need MORE anti-booing posts instead of disagreeing as to whether or not it’s disgusting or unYankee fan like.

    If we all agree that it’s NOT OKAY then that’s a good thing. Taking issue with our varying degrees of how not okay we think it is or what it represents is futile. My disgusting is your I don’t like it.

    • http://farm1.static.flickr.com/153/413671602_daded72a81_m.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “I find booing Wang and Arod disgusting. If you think that is hyperbole, so be it. I feel disgust when I hear about it. If you don’t, fine.” [and later] “My disgusting is your I don’t like it.”

      Ok. I agree we (and everyone else) have the right to express our respective opinions. This isn’t groundbreaking or relevant.

      “But I think we need MORE anti-booing posts instead of disagreeing as to whether or not it’s disgusting or unYankee fan like. If we all agree that it’s NOT OKAY then that’s a good thing. Taking issue with our varying degrees of how not okay we think it is or what it represents is futile.”

      I think comments stating that fans shouldn’t boo the Yankees are fine, I’ve said that multiple times, but you’re creating a false choice between (1) anti-booing comments and (2) discussion of whether the content of those anti-booing comments is appropriate, or mature, or reasonable. You want the first and not the latter because the latter criticizes your comments, but you don’t get to choose which topics are appropriate for people to comment on and which topics are not just because you agree with one topic and the other is critical of your comments.