Cold

Is it the weather? Is it New York? Whatever the reason for his struggles, Giancarlo needs to hit the road

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Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
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I have four words for Giancarlo Stanton.

Get out of town!

What else can you say to a guy who looks like he is wearing a blindfold and swinging at an atom?

Have you seen what Stanton has done in Pinstripes? He’s a mess at the plate.

On Sunday, the Yankees new slugger – can we call him slugger if his bat rarely touches the ball? – went 0-for-7 and struck out five times in one game. Five bleepin’ times!

There’s a name for striking out five times in a game: Platinum Sombrero. Yankee fans may have other names for it. Use your imagination.

Sunday’s game wasn’t the first time Stanton has achieved platinum status this season. And look at the calendar, it’s only April 9. He fanned five times during his Yankee Stadium debut less than a week ago. Fans booed him mercifully. He explained it as a bad day at the ballpark. He hit a home run the next day, but guess what: He also struck out three times.

After Sunday’s performance, a game in which his Bronx Bombers jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead on Baltimore but were unable to hold, Stanton summed up his plate futility as a “bad week.”

After Aaron Judge hit into a double play that all but killed the last-gasp rally, the Yankees could have used one good hit from Stanton is his last plate appearance Sunday. A single would have sufficed. It could have tied the game.

It didn’t happen. Stanton stuck out with runners on first and second in the bottom of the 12th inning with two outs.

Stanton’s whiff ended the game. The Yankees lost 6-5 and ended a dreadful home series in which they lost three of four games to the Orioles, an American League East rival.

Fans booed Stanton, a lot, as he was making his way through a 3-for-28 homestand. Not to keep harping on the Ks, but he struck out 16 times in those seven games.

Criticize Yankees fans for booing all you want, but their angst is justified. Stanton seems to think so.

“They’re not going to cheer for that, so what do you expect? Stanton said after Sunday’s game.

So, what else is there to say but, “Get out of town, Giancarlo.”

It might do you some good.

It might be good to get away from the Bronx and the preseason expectations of hitting as many or more home runs there as Babe Ruth. Flee, for a while, the expectations of leading the Yankees to championship No. 28.

Get away for a week and leave all the expectations that have been thrust upon your shoulders after you became a superstar in Miami, particularly following last year’s performance in which you smacked 59 home runs and drove in 132 runs. And while you’re gone, don’t think a thing about the expectations that come with your contract, the one that will pay you $295 million through 2027.

Just go, man. Get out of here. Go to Boston.

Yeah, I know, it’s not the friendliest city for players dressed in pinstripes. But go find your swing, your happy place, and drive a few balls over the wall, or off the wall or, hell, under the wall if you can. Clear your mind in Boston. Make contact, for Jete’s sake!

Follow it up with a trip to Detroit this weekend, doing the same thing there. Forget about the Bronx. Forget about the Ks thus far in the House That Jeter Built. Faaaagetaboutit! Rip Comerica Park a new one.

Get your mind right for the next homestand. You’ll play 10 games there in Yankee Stadium, beginning April 16 against the Miami Marlins, the team that sent you to the Bronx. Yeah, they did you a favor getting you away from that circus, but you don’t want to thank them. You want to make them wish they had gotten in the trade a few more bags of peanuts for the elephants.

Some say much of Stanton’s struggles can be blamed on the cold weather the Yankees have played through in New York. They say that once temperatures heat up just a little, so will Stanton. They say, having been raised in Southern California and playing the past eight seasons in Miami, he is not used to swinging a bat at curveballs draped in icicles on 40-degree days with snow and rain and fog following him around the ballpark.

That may be true. And, sure, April can be cold in the Bronx, but so can October.

There will be many games between now and the playoffs for Stanton to rid himself of whatever demons are causing his bat to miss inside fastballs… and curveballs… and sliders … and… you get the point.

“The season is much longer than a week,” Stanton said minutes after his fifth K Sunday. “A couple good games and I can turn it around and help us win.”

Good attitude!

So go now, Giancarlo. Go find whatever you lost between Miami and New York. Bring it back to the Bronx and give us, baseball fans, the show we are waiting for. Give us home runs to Monument Park. Give us three-run moon shots that thrust daggers into the hearts of Red Sox Nation in late September.

But leave behind your sombreros, be they gold or platinum.

Do so and the boos will stop. Yankee Stadium crowds will roar. The New York tabloids will stop spelling your name “GianKarlo.” And John Sterling will have five words for you: “Giancarlo, non si può stoparlo!”

And Suzn Waldman will giggle with delight.

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Fall Classic Savings Time

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Good news for those of us who have become somewhat sleep deprived during the Major League Baseball playoffs: Tonight’s World Series Game Two start time has been moved up one hour to 7:08 p.m.

Now the bad news: The change was made because of a threat of rain tonight in Cleveland. According to forecasts, rain is expected in the city this afternoon before tapering off.

The chance of precipitation is around 35 percent at 8 p.m. and increases to 50-55 percent in the next couple of hours. At 11 p.m., the chance of precipitation jumps to about 80 percent and 90 at midnight.

Look out if the game goes into extra innings.

The last time a World Series game was suspended for weather was Game 5 in 2008 when rain drenched Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies and Rays were tied at 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth when the Monday night game was called. It was resumed two days later.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was skipper of the Rays, who lost to the Phillies in five games.

Cold temperatures could also be a factor in tonight’s contest at Progressive Field. Game-time temps are expected to be in the high 40s with a wind chill of around 42 degrees. In the opener, in which Cleveland won 6-0, temperatures hung around 50 degrees.

Everyone has to deal with the cold, but a lot of eyes will be on Cubs’ starter Jake Arrieta. You may remember Arrieta’s velocity dipped a bit last October as he struggled in Game 2 of the 2015 NLCS on a 45-degree night in a 4-1 loss to the Mets. Many believe the cold played a role in right hander’s struggles.

The Indians last played in the World Series in 1997 against the Marlins. The games in Florida were nice weather-wise, but Game 4 in Cleveland had a game-time temperature of 41, which dropped to the mid-30s throughout the contest.

But tonight, our biggest concern is rain… and for me, getting to bed at a decent time. So, the hour-earlier start time is just dandy. Tribe manager Terry Francona does mind either.

“Shoot, it just means we start an hour earlier. We can handle that,” Francona said. “I don’t care what time they tell us to play. I’m sure they have good reason. If it’s supposed to rain late, I don’t really have a reaction. I’m going to be here anyway by 10 (a.m.) So it doesn’t really matter.”

Heating up Harp

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What does it take to get the reigning National League MVP’s bat hot on a cool night in Washington, D.C.?

A dugout heater, of course.

Bryce Harper was 0-for-3 Tuesday night and his club was struggling to put runs across the plate against a winless Atlanta Braves team. The Nats’ fortunes changed, however, in the eighth with runners on first and second and Harper due to arrive at the plate.

Moments before he climbed out the dugout, MASN cameras spotted Harper warming his hands and bat in front of an orange floor heater.

“Going no gloves, keeping the hands warm. Maybe heating that pine tar up a little,” said Nationals TV commentator F.P. Santangelo. “When you put that bat in front of the warmer it makes that pine tar a little bit wet again. It (pine tar) will get cold on a night like tonight and get real dry.”

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Whether it was warming his hands, his bat or both, the technique worked on this 51-degree night. (Or, maybe it was the fact that No. 34 is quite the slugger.)

Harper slapped the first pitch he saw from Braves’ lefty reliever Eric O’Flaherty into left field. Jeff Francoeur attempted a diving catch, but the ball bopped off his glove, giving Harper a two-run double as Stephen Drew and Anthony Rendon scored.

Temps in D.C. are expected to be about the same Wednesday night, in the mid to low 50s, so perhaps the entire team should gather around the heater and not wait until the eighth inning to put away the Braves.

Pantyhose to combat cold? What an innovative idea!

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ESPN.com New York Jets reporter Rich Cimini wrote Sunday advocating for the induction of Bill Hampton into the Jets Ring of Honor because, as Cimini states, “You can’t write the history of the Jets’ franchise without mentioning Hampton.”

Hampton, the team’s equipment manager from 1964 to 2000, died last week at age 86.

He was a favorite among the team’s players, Cimini writes, and was responsible for Joe Namath’s famous white sneakers. The long-time equipment manager also impacted the game in ways that benefited players through those cold, wet late-season games. Namath’s famous pantyhose commercials was born from one of Hampton’s brilliant ideas.

Cimini writes:

Hampton was innovative. During the run-up to the 1968 AFL Championship, played in nasty cold at Shea Stadium, he and his wife, Dottie, stitched pockets into the uniform jerseys of the skill-position players. Hampton also introduced this radical concept to combat cold weather — pantyhose beneath the uniform pants. It later became the inspiration behind Namath’s celebrated pantyhose commercial in 1973.

The Jets will induct two former running backs, Emerson Boozer and Matt Snell, into its Ring of Honor Nov. 29 when the team hosts the Miami Dolphins.