BP Hit List

BP Hit and Run
ESPN Insider Archive Archive

Facebook Page


It's almost spring
when a young man's thoughts turn to... those expensive
seat licenses. An online cash advance can help relieve the anxiety.

Attending baseball games can be expensive. You could get a cash advance onine to pay for tickets.


All contents of this web site © Jay Jaffe, 2001-2011 except where indicated. Please contact me for any questions or comments regarding this site.

      F I E L D  T R I P S


September 8, 2003: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium
Godzilla vs. the Incredible Chulk

Sometimes it just looks simple. The Yanks spent the weekend struggling for runs against the Boston Red Sox, scoring just six over the course of three games and at one point putting up 17 straight zeroes. But by the time the fourth inning of Monday's ballgame against the Toronto Blue Jays had ended — by the first out of that inning, actually — they'd topped their weekend's meager output.

Not that very many people saw it. A Monday afternoon makeup game is a tough draw regardless of the circumstances, but on the first day of school it's a recipe for a hollow ballpark, Hideki Matsui bobblehead doll or not. The official attendance at Yankee Stadium was reported at 8,848, but if there were 2,000 people there by first pitch then I'm the Yankees' fifth starter. My pal Nick was anxious to get to Yankee Stadium early enough to get a doll, sweating it after he'd missed a noontime 4 train. By the time we took our seats, we joked that everybody in attendance could have gone back for seconds.

The Yankees rolled from the get-go against Toronto starter Kelvim Escobar, taking their approach back to basics. Alfonso Soriano, never the most patient hitter, led off with a seven-pitch at-bat, spraying foul balls down both sides before lining a single to left. He took second on a wild pitch, Nick Johnson walked, and then Derek Jeter beat out a perfect bunt to load the bases.

Though he was falling behind just about every hitter, it looked as though Escobar might dodge a bullet when he induced a comebacker from the struggling (1-for-40) Jason Giambi. But the pitcher bobbled the ball, and his throw home was too late to catch Sori. After Bernie Williams struck out, Matsui celebrated the day in his honor with a two-run single. When Aaron Boone and Karim Garcia ended the inning with K's, it meant that Escobar had struck out the side — on 35 pitches.

For awhile, the Jays looked like they might make a game of it. After Mike Mussina mowed them down in the first, they scratched out two runs in the second. A one-out Josh Phelps single put Moose into his stretch move, the one I not-so-affectionately call the Goddamn Drinking Bird. Mussina looked hapless as he walked Eric Hinske and then gave up a two-run double to Orlando "O-Dog" Hudson, the number nine hitter.

Escobar took care of the Yanks in the second, but he was wobbly again in the third. Giambi led off with a single, a good sign that he may yet emerge from his slump. Williams forced Giambi at second, and then Matsui hit another double, with Bernie stopping at third. Boone slapped an RBI single to left, 4-2 Yanks. But with first and third and only one out, the Yanks failed to capitalize further. Garcia struck out again, and John Flaherty popped one to short rightfield, where Hudson made a diving catch that drew a respectful ovation from the Stadium crowd.

Escobar's number was up in the fourth. Three straight singles by Soriano, Johnson and Jeter added a run. Giambi walked to load the bases, still with nobody out. Bernie Williams hit into a fielder's choice, forcing Giambi at second but beating the throw to first to avoid "The RBI of Shame" (which actually isn't an RBI at all), and making the score 6-2. That was Bernie's day in a nutshell; a day after providing the Yanks with a much-needed power boost, he slid back into his funk.

Matsui singled again for his third hit of the young afternoon, scoring Jeter, upon which Jays manager Carlos Tosca mercifully pulled the plug on Escobar. But the comedy of errors continued, literally. On new pitcher Brian Bowles' first batter (Aaron Boone), Eric Hinkse mangled a grounder beyond recognition, then threw it into rightfield, as Williams scored. Bowles settled down and did the one thing Escobar was able to do consistently: strike out Karim Garcia. By the fourth inning, the Yankee rightfielder was wearing a silver sombrero. The 8-2 margin wasn't enough for my pal, who took Garcia to task for once again failing to plate a runner at third with less than two outs.

Karim made up for his transgressions in his next trip to the plate. After a Boone double, he singled up the middle on the first pitch, capping the Yankee scoring for the day at nine runs. Meanwhile Mussina had settled down admirably, with only Hudson and Vernon Wells gave the Yankee pitcher any bother at all. In the fifth Hudson doubled for the second time, later scoring on Wells' single, his third hit of the ballgame. Besides that, Moose pitched well, especially to Carlos Delgado, who he K'ed three times. He's owned the fearsome slugger, having limited him to 2-for-18 with 11 strikeouts this year, and 10-for-61 with 22 K's overall. On the day, Mussina pitched seven innings, allowing three runs and striking out eight (including all three outs in the seventh) while walking only one, winning his 15th game. A nice outing for the Moose.

A couple of interesting relievers made the scene in the late innings. A Toronto rookie named Vinnie Chulk made his major-league debut and threw two shaky but scoreless innings. We immediately dubbed him "The Incredible Chulk," noted that as a rookie he was quite green, and marvelled when he bested Matsui by striking him out in the seventh. Hey, how often do you see Godzilla battle the Incredible Chulk?

On a more serious note, the Yanks brought in recently-acquired lefty Felix Heredia to clean up the mess Antonio Osuna made in the eighth. With men on first and second and two outs, Heredia calmly disposed of Hinkse on three pitches. He set the Jays down 1-2-3 in the ninth, something Yankee relievers seem to have a hard time doing these days. Given Gabe White's struggles since returning from his groin injury -- hell, given every single goddamn Yankee reliever's struggles since March 31 -- Heredia may end up being a very useful acquisition. He's no angel (he's got a year-old assault with weapon charge whose outcome is still pending), but the Yanks aren't really in a position to be picky.

Final Score: Yanks 9, Blue Jays 3: One jumbo hot dog, one Coke, several handfuls of sunflower seeds, one bobblehead doll, one green rookie with a great name, and several jokes at the expense of the O-Dog. BOX SCORE