Before I pass along a few thoughts from last night's game, let me throw one more thought out about the much-discussed bullpen. Rebecca Glass at Purist Bleeds Pinstripes has a nice post about an impassioned answer delivered by Joe Girardi during last night's post game media session. Girardi bristled at a question suggesting Javier Vazquez was skipped against the Red Sox due to past performance, and emphatically explained that Javy was needed there due to the state of the bullpen last night.
First off, kudos to Girardi for defending Vazquez and painting him in a positive light. Regular readers here know where Jay and I stand on Vazquez, so I'm glad to see that Girardi did all he could to squash the avoiding-the-Red-Sox storyline.
That said, as I explained yesterday, I still have some objections to thought process behind skipping Vazquez. Yes, the bullpen certainly did need a longman last night, with Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson unavailable. But that longman did not need to be Javier Vazquez. If the ineffective Boone Logan, instead of Ivan Nova were optioned out to make room for Chan Ho Park, Nova could have been last night's longman. In fact, if they made that move Sunday, when Park was ready to return, CHP might have pitched Sunday leaving DRob or Joba available last night. Or, if they were so hell bent on getting Nova off of the roster, they could have given him the spot start Sunday, burned him, and sent him back down, thereby allowing Sergio Mitre to return to his longman role. It's all moot now I suppose, but the explanations still don't fully add up in my eyes.
On to happier news. As I mentioned yesterday, my buddy Gripp and I had batter's eye seats last night. When I first went to the Stadium during the exhibition games against the Cubs last year, I immediately singled out those two rows atop the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar as the best seats in the house. Sitting there for the first time last night, that opinion has only grown stronger.
We arrived right when the gates opened and were able to catch the tail end of Yankees batting practice. Unfortunately, Robinson Cano had already finished hitting, so we didn't get any BP home runs hit up there. We did, however, have the pleasure of watching Mariano Rivera shag flies in center field. It's been said that Mo is the best center fielder on the Yankees, and watching him last night didn't disappoint. Just as he does on the mound, he moves gracefully, gliding underneath flyballs. His throwing accuracy isn't just limited to his cutter either. At one point, Mo fielded a one hopper in deep center and spotted Curtis Granderson stretching behind first base. Mo wound up and unleashed a one hopper that caught the unaware Granderson square on the hip.
In addition to stretching, Granderson also took some hacks in the cage, marking the second consecutive day he's taken BP as he works his way back from a pulled groin. He also took some flyballs in center last night, but since gates open an hour later this year than they did last year, we weren't able to catch that.
David Robertson was shagging flies in left field, as most pitchers do during BP. Unlike other pitchers though, Robertson was fielding and throwing with his opposite hands, sporting his glove on his right and throwing with his left. Unlike Pat Venditte, Robertson wasn't trained to be a switch thrower, he did it out of necessity. As a high schooler, a bout of right shoulder soreness caused Robertson to learn to throw left handed. He was able to stand on the left field warning track and throw balls to the screen behind second base. As someone who was forced to throw with his opposite arm for a year following elbow surgery, I can assure you that's no small feat.
Alex Rodriguez launched a BP homer off the same Monument Park wall that Jorge Posada hit during Saturday's game. Unfortunately for us, this one didn't carom up into the seats. Fortunately for the people in Monument Park, it hit the retaining wall. Six inches to the left and it would have fallen in the small gap between the wall and the netting that covers the park, right where two girls were having their picture taken at the time.
After BP, I had the chance to meet up with Ben, Mike, and Joe from RAB, as well as Moshe from TYU, who I didn't know was going to be in attendance. It wasn't until this morning that I found out that Mike from Yankeeist was also at the game, otherwise I would have attempted to say hello to him as well. Quite a few us dorky bloggers in the house last night.
As for the game itself, there isn't much I can add that hasn't already been said. Aside from Game Two of the ALDS last year, it was probably the best game I've attended in person. I can't overstate how great the vantage point is from the batter's eye seats. You're right on top of the field, you have a clean view of everything, you get a true track of the ball's flight right off the bat. The latter was particularly valuable last night as homer after homer was hit. If you ever have the opportunity to sit there, I highly, highly recommend it.