Sorry for the tardiness. It was a late night at the ballpark, and now I'm on a train back home. I should be home in time for the big, 2:00 live chat.
According to my Las Vegas sources, Dennis and Poppy are co-favorites, at 2-1, to win the Live Chat MVP. Islander505 is 4-1, Tufts and JE 5-1. Richie G., for some reason, is a longshot, 60-1.
But anyway, you gotta be in it to win it. Please join us.
I'll make this brief:
--Crazy, crazy Yankees game. My goodness. It was the type of game after which, as I headed down to the clubhouse, I had so many items on my mind:
1) Joe Girardi's decision to lift Bartolo Colon for Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning (with which I was fine. It's Mariano Rivera, for crying out loud).
2) Chris Dickerson's health, after getting nailed by Mike Gonzalez in the bill of the helmet in the top of the 15th (he got a CT scan. We'll find out more today).
3) Mark Teixeira's amazing, game-saving stop of Alex Rodriguez's erratic throw in the 11th (Teixeira said he has experienced similar plays before).
4) Colon's performance, for that matter. Here's the column I wrote on Colon for our newspaper today.
5) Hector Noesi pitching four shutout innings, under that sort of pressure, to win in his major-league debut. Here's the column I wrote on Noesi for the website.
6) The decision to use A.J. Burnett as a pinch runner for Dickerson in the 15th, which warrants a thorough explanation: The only remaining position player on the bench was Jorge Posada, whose best role of course is hitter. So Girardi switched Derek Jeter from DH to shortstop and switched Eduardo Nunez from shortstop to rightfield to replace Dickerson (who had replaced Nick Swisher for defense).
It didn't make sense to use Posada as a pinch runner, since a) he's slow, and b) by eliminating the DH, Girardi put the pitcher Noesi in the lineup. Just in case the Orioles tied the game in the bottom of the 15th, Girardi wanted Posada available as a pinch hitter for the pitcher's slot.
So that narrowed his pinch-runner list to the pitchers who hadn't pitched yet in the game. Why Burnett? Because his years with the Marlins gave him a little better idea of what to do out there.
--Here's a feature story I wrote on general managers, and how they try to strike the right balance in relating to players (and also managers and coaches).
See you at 2.