1. The Yankees, in this emotional weekend, will take two of three games from the Rays to open the second half. It’s almost as George Steinbrenner would’ve wanted it, as The Boss generally loathed the team that played in his backyard.
To salute the late Bob Sheppard, meanwhile, Joe Girardi will issue orders just as “clearly, concisely and correctly” _ including arguments with umpires _ as John Houseman did in “The Naked Gun” (at about the 3:40 mark).
(But seriously, click the Sheppard link to read Mark Herrmann's wonderful story about the funeral of this wonderful man.)
2. The Mets will drop two of the three remaining games to the Giants in San Francisco. And it will be frustrating for Mets fans to see Jerry Manuel continue to talk all over his place about his plans for the team.
"Jose Reyes is in the lineup," Manuel will say tonight, "and when I say 'In the lineup,' what I really mean is 'out of the lineup.' When he comes back, he'll hit righty and bat second - unless the other team is throwing a lefty, in which case he'll hit lefty and bat ninth.
"After the game, I'm going for Italian. Nah, make it continental. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm going to go to a charming hideaway. And then, tomorrow, I'm going to play Thole at shortstop"
3. The Padres, baseball's most surprising team of the first half, will begin their second half in discouraging fashion, as not only will they drop two of three to the lowly Diamondbacks, but they'll suffer more injuries.
After losing Mat Latos to a sneeze, they'll see Clayton Richard go to the disabled list with a cough, Nick Hundley hit the bench with sand in his shoe and David Eckstein rest indefinitely with a bad shoulder from carrying skis.
--Interesting column by David Lennon about Major League Baseball scheduling. On a very related note, when Bud Selig met with the Baseball Writers Association of America Tuesday in Anaheim, I raised the question/objection that I have here multiple times about the interleague schedule getting increasingly random.
Selig acknowledged it was a problem, and said that they were looking into it. Which means, realistically, that nothing will change in time for next year.
--The Giants signed Dontrelle Willis.
--So who was the best player in the Steinbrenner era? Derek Jeter, according to this piece. I like this piece because it magnifies a point I like to make: We sometimes get so caught up in the mythology of Jeter's personality that we sometimes overlook the reality how magnificent a player he has been. Just sayin'.
--I'll be at the Stadium tonight and will try to check in both before and after the pre-game ceremony.