What's up with the photo? The gentleman on the left is Hank Steinbrenner, whom you might know. The gentleman on the right is Rob Dromerhauser, who served as a bullpen catcher for the Mets in the late '80s. In the middle is Rob's son Connor, who has juvenile diabetes. Rob's foundation, Pitch for a Cure, is based on Long Island and helps sick and needy children.
I used to make fun of Hank Steinbrenner here on the blog, but it's wroth noting that since he backed out of the spotlight, he has admirably dedicated a good amount of time to worthy causes like this one.
Gotta run this morning, so just a quick few thoughts, and then I'll check in tonight from the Stadium:
--Your new playoff seeds:
AL: Yankees (1) vs. Texas (3), Minnesota (2) vs. Tampa Bay (4)
NL: Philadelphia (1) vs. San Diego (3), Cincinnati (2) vs. Atlanta (4)
Thoughts: Thanks to a Giants loss to the Cubs, the Padres took over the NL West again with a victory over the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Rockies lost even though they jumped out to a 4-0 lead over lowly Arizona with ace Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. Nevertheless, Colorado remains just two games out of the NL West penthouse and, with Atlanta getting swept by Philadelphia, one game behind Atlanta in the loss column for the NL wild-card.
There is, in other words, still much to be decided when it comes to the NL West and NL wild card.
Meanwhile, the Twins are now tied with the Yankees for the best record in the game, 92-60. The Yankees get the edge because of their 4-2 season record against Minnesota.
--Off the Yankees game, I wrote about the great Mariano Rivera, as he prepares for a 15th postseason. He says he isn't concerned about his recent stretch. If anyone has earned the benefit of the doubt, wouldn't it be this guy?
As for the actual game...Joe Girardi displayed once again that he's thinking big picture. Sure, his hands were tied somewhat thanks to the rain delay. But in relief of A.J. Burnett's three-inning outing, he went with four pitchers _ Royce Ring, Dustin Moseley, Chad Gaudin and Jonathan Albaladejo _ who are likely to combine for zero postseason appearances. This despite the fact that the Yankees trailed by a mere 1-0 count when the rain hit.
When Gaudin entered in the seventh, with the Yankees trailing by just a 3-2 margin, we wondered why David Robertson wasn't in there. It turns out Robertson's back tightened. These things happen. Girardi insisted afterward that Robertson had a muscular problem, and therefore one that shouldn't sideline the right-hander for an extended period. Robertson said the same thing.
--Random thought on Joe Torre: This is just common sense talking, more than any reporting, but if he's determined to manage again, his best opportunity might just come as a midseason replacement. If someone's season goes awry, and a clubhouse gets unglued, maybe a team would look to Torre as someone who can come in and clean things up.
And yes, I'm writing this with the understanding that Torre pretty much lost the Dodgers clubhouse this season.
--Omar Minaya says it's business as usual for him. But make no mistake, he knows the end is coming. And realistically, Minaya won't get another chance to be a general manager. If he wants to stay in baseball - and my bet is he will - he'll have to settle for being a scouting guru. There certainly are worse fates.
--See you tonight.