I went to two Yankees games during the last home week of the season: One on Monday, September 17 and one on Sunday, September 23. Noticeably absent at both of those games were Bob Sheppard. I was more than a little bit worried.
During the telecast on Friday, Sept. 21, Michael Kay informed the folks watching at home that Sheppard was out with laryngitis and would be back in time for the playoffs. Now, Sheppard is no spring chicken. He won’t admit his age but the Yankees say he is just a few days shy of 97. He’s been doing games since 1951 or all of the years that my dad has been a fan (and just one year short of my father’s entire life).
A 97-year-old coming down with laryngitis is certain not a Good Thing. Today, SI.com via the Associated Press gave an update on Sheppard in this notebook. Reading between the lines, the prognosis is not good:
Bob Sheppard, the Yankees’ public-address announcer since 1951, could miss the team’s postseason home opener Sunday night.
Sheppard wasn’t at the final homestand of the season because of laryngitis, and as of Wednesday it wasn’t clear whether “The Voice of God” will recover by the weekend. If Sheppard isn’t back, longtime backup Jim Hall will be behind the mike.
Sheppard’s birthday is reportedly Friday, October 12, and while he missed the Cubs last World Series victory by two years, he’s lived an incredibly long life. The fact that he still announces the games – even if his voice has slipped a bit over the last few years – is amazing. In fact, up until recently, he did the New York Giants games as well.
Meanwhile, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach has a few more details. According to Mary Sheppard, Bob’s wife, Bob is recovering from “a bronchial laryngitis infection.”
“It’s hanging on,”she said said. “He can talk now. But it needs rest.”
I don’t like this news. Sheppard’s been out for three weeks and any time a 97-year-old has an infection that’s “hanging on,” there’s reason to worry. The day Bob goes would be a very sad day indeed in Yankee history.
Anyone else really excited for this afternoon? I sure am. Watching three other games yesterday was fairly torturous. And as a side note, to everyone praising Josh Beckett, we Yankee fans can attest to the fact that Beckett’s done that before on a bigger stage. It’s not a surprise, and great baseball is a pleasure to watch no matter who’s playing.
But enough about Them up in Boston. Let’s get on to the preview. Yesterday, I looked pessimistically at why the Yankees won’t beat the Indians. Today, we get the opposite: Why the Yankees will beat the Indians. The preview and my series prediction after the jump.
No other Yankee prospects played. Dan Bard has already issued 3 walks in under 2 IP, this after walking 78 in 75 IP during the regular season.
“And there’s a shot of the mercurial Carlos Zambrano. I don’t know what that means, but it sounds smart.”
That just came out of the mouth of the no-talent assclown that’s in the TBS studio with Frank Thomas and Cal Ripken (who looks embarrassed beyond belief to be there, btw). Please, oh please tell me I don’t have another round-and-a-half of this ahead of me. · (14) ·
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Time for the unveiling of the post-season roster.
As you may have guessed, Ron Villone is not on the roster. The gods are rejoicing. The Yanks, however, are going with no lefties in the pen. Filling the last spots are Jose Veras and, more impressively, Ross Ohlendorf. Torre really liked what he saw from Ohlendorf down the stretch. I did too. I see big things for this kid next year.
Here’s your Game 1 roster and line up courtesy of Peter Abraham. All of you Melky lovers will be happy to see he’s playing. Shelley Duncan, however, is on the bench and not in the lineup against a tough left. I wish Torre had gone with Duncan:
Jason Giambi – Most expensive bench player ever.
Shelley Duncan – He’s gotta come up big at some point this October, right?
Jose Molina – .318/.333/.439 in 71 Bronx PAs. Remember Wil Nieves?
You know how the Yankees are supposedly paying for their own stadium. Not quite, says Neil deMause in one of the few articles worth reading in the Village Voice these days. According to tax documents, among those items the Yanks asked for reimbursement from the city were crystal baseballs and bar tabs. And that’s just scratching the surface. Read the article. If you care about this obviously ridiculous situation, it’s pretty outrageous. · (2) ·
Today really sucks. Everywhere else, the playoffs begin. The Red Sox face the Angels; the Rockies and Phillies square off; and the Diamondbacks and Cubs begin their battle. But the Yankees – the only playoff team in 2006 to make it in 2007 – have to wait another 24 hours before they begin a thrilling set against the Indians.
I’m going to do a two-part playoff preview post. The first post – today’s installment – focuses around why the Yankees won’t beat the Indians. The next part – tomorrow’s bit – will discuss why the Yankees will beat the Indians. I can make compelling cases for both, and that, folks, is what makes October grand.
So powered by a pretentious sentence right here, on to the predictions:
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