Last night, prior to the game, the Yankee Stadium crowd gave Bob Sheppard a big round of applause. His voice was the most noticeable absence of the All Star festivities, and it’s now been nearly 10 months since the Voice of God last announced a game. While Sheppard is working to return to the booth, the reality is that he’s in his late 90s and is recovering from a debilitating illness. He won’t be around forever. To that end, Darren Rovell at CNBC suggests that the Yankees should look into preserving Bob’s voice forever. The technology exists for a company to spend a whole bunch of hours recording Sheppard — approximately 10 — in order to pick up his speech patterns so that his voice could be saved digitally forever. The cost — in the six-figure range — is pocket change to the Yankees, and I sincerely hope they look into this idea. Bob Sheppard won’t be around forever; his voice filling Yankee Stadium should be. · (28) ·
In the bottom of the tenth inning, the American League loaded the bases on two errors by Dan Uggla and an intentional walk issued to Carlos Guillen. At that point, I figured the game was moments away from ending, and fitting, Mariano Rivera would get the win. I snapped a picture of my ticket and scorecard to preserve the moment forever. Little did I know that I would still be in Yankee Stadium for an hour and 38 minutes.
What follows are a select bunch of photos from my vantage point in Row N of Tier Reserve 31. For the first seven innings, I used my mom’s high-powered zoom camera, and I have some nice shots of the pre-game ceremonies. You can see them all in my flickr set. Click on any picture for bigger versions and click through the jump for a select bunch with my comments.
It’s a solid group. The rotation is excellent, led by Brett Anderson, Jake Arrieta, Trevor Cahill and Steven Strasburg (San Diego State), and the bullpen is solid with Casey Weathers, Mike Koplove and Jeff Stevens (the guy the Indians got for Brandon Phillips). GM Bob Watson went for hitters that he knew could handle top flight pitching, surrounding young studs Colby Rasmus, Dexter Fowler and Matt LaPorta with veteran mashers Mike Hessman, John Gall and Terry Tiffee. No Yankees made the team, but I can’t imagine they were too keen on letting a guy like Mark Melancon leave their watch for a month. · (13) ·
As part of an example of what NASA imaging technology can do, mosey on over to this nifty applet on Sports Illustrated’s Website. The image — a composite of 124 frames shot over 10 minutes — shows just how detailed GigaPan technology can be. If you were at the Yankees-Red Sox game on July 4th, odds are pretty good that you can find yourself, in high res, in that photo. Oddly, because of the time lapse, Matsuzaka is just finishing up a pitch while A-Rod has stepped out of the box. (Hat tip to Bryan Hoch.) · (18) ·
Perhaps the best news of the month is the current seven-game slide of the Tampa Bay Rays. They looked unstoppable a month ago, but now seem to be regressing to the mean. That’s not to say they’re not a good team. They certainly are. And they’d be a lot better if Carl Crawford was hitting as he has in recent years. Given current indications, though, we could see the Rays drop off a bit in the second half, much to the delight of the Yankees.
The key to Tampa Bay’s second half is their home/road discrepancy. They currently hold a 36-14 record at home, and a 19-25 mark on the road. The significant part of that is the number of games they’ve played with each: 50 at home, and just 44 on the road. So they have 31 games left at home, and 37 on the road. If they continue to play sub-.500 ball away from the Trop and can’t keep up the torrid pace at home, they could quickly fall out of the Wild Card race.
Then again, this is an instance where past performance might not be the best indicator of future results. If Tampa Bay can get their overall road record back to .500, they could negate any kind of drop-off in play at home. Still, to know that they have more road games in the second half is a bit reassuring.
Yesterday afternoon, as I noted then, Hideki Matsui called his setback “short-term.” Today, we find out that the news may be worse. Matsui’s knee has swelled up again, and the AP reports that he will likely need surgery. Within the same report comes speculation that the Yanks could turn to Barry Bonds to fill the Matsui void. However, Brian Cashman doesn’t seem to want to go down that path. No matter, Matsui’s injury is bad news for the Bombers. · (71) ·
Posted by mobile phone: The Yankee Stadium scoreboard just told those of us still left in the Stadium that this is now the longest ASG in terms of hours. After the AL fails to score in the 15th, we’ll reach a new innings mark too. Apparently, the ghosts of Yankee Stadium are trying to send a message… · (16) ·
Triple-A Scranton is off until Thursday for the All-Star Break. The Triple-A All-Star Game (International League vs Pacific Coast League) is Wednesday at 7pm, and can be seen on ESPN2. Justin Christian made the team, but he’s in the bigs so he won’t be playing. Cody Ransom has replaced him on the roster. Yawn.
Double-A Trenton, High-A Tampa, Low-A Charleston & Short Season Staten Island were all off in observance of the MLB All-Star Game. No joke. They do this every year.
The Rookie GCL Yanks were rained out. They’ll probably make in up as part of a doubleheader on July 28th.
In other news, Jim Callis of Baseball America updated the top prospect for each team in the latest edition of Ask BA. It’s been a while since the Yanks had a top prospect that … uninspiring.
Hooray for meaningless games. The lineups:
Talk it up here.