Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bronx Banterrific

I had quite an enjoyable time with the gang over at Bronx Banter during yesterday's game with the Jays. There was a real comraderie as the Yankees fumbled around against A.J.Burnett, cracking things open late, before hanging on by a thread....like Ron Villone's arm.

I suggest you go back and read the game thread yourself for a sense of the fun. I think everyone who was there will agree that it was a great atmosphere, and I always feel thankful to Alex and Cliff for hosting such an intelligent, witty, and passionate forum for Yankee fans.

Speaking of Ron Villone, I had a chance to catch up with the man just after the game and asked him a few pointed questions about his current lack of effectiveness. It went a little something like this:

COH: Ron! Ron! Canyon of Heroes....do you have a minute?

RV: Uh....yeah. What's it about?

COH: I'd like to talk to you about the condition of your pitching arm, if you don't mind.

RV: Sure, but I'm in kind of a hurry. You can talk until I'm finished changing, and then I gotta hit the road.

COH: Cool. Thanks for the time. It seems you're kind of going through a dead arm period now. Would you characterize that as accurate?

RV: Not at all. I have always felt that I'm able to go everyday if needed.

COH: Well, in August you posted a 6.04 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, and allowed hitters a .282 clip against you. So far in September, you have appeared in 6 games and have a 31.50 ERA, 4.25 WHIP, and hitters are smacking you around at .476. If you don't have a dead arm, what's the problem?

RV: I don't believe in the whole "dead arm" thing. I think it's a simple mechanical issue that will straighten itself out.

COH: WHOA!!! What is up with the underwear Ron?

(Villone is sporting a red leotard set under his pinstripes, complete with a yellow plastic belt.)

RV: What? This? I wear this every game. It's kind of a good luck charm.

COH: Uh....whatever floats your boat, but your arm looks pretty messed up now that the Yankees duds have come off. Have you been hiding that from Joe?

RV: Hiding what? This is how my arm has looked since I signed on as a rookie. It's kind of an advantage that keeps the ball hidden until late in my delivery.

COH: No offense, bro, but there's something F-ed up with that arm, and I've seen pictures of you in the minors. You never had that kind of bend in your bicep. It looks like somebody took a crowbar to your pitching arm.

RV: Alright. Interview over. Somebody get this guy outta my face.

That's all I was able to get out of Villone. He seemed quite reluctant to get into the whole arm thing, and the question of it's peculiar shape will have to go unanswered. I tried to ask Joe Torre about the problem, but a couple of Steinbrenner's muscleheads in YES Network t-shirts tossed me out on my head. I swear one of them looked just like Suzyn Waldman.....

On an unrelated note, except that it involves excessive arm abuse, Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a complete game on 145 pitches for his 17th victory of the year. His ERA stands at 1.89, his WHIP 0.904, his K-rate is a healthy 9.78, and his K/BB is currently 6.16. On top of that add a .195 BAA and a .232 OBPA and you have a monster. He may not even win the Sawamura Award (Japanese Cy Young) as SoftBank Hawks pitcher Kazumi Saito is one step ahead of him in every stat so far. Check it out at Matsuzaka Watch.

Magic number at 3. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!! Derek Jeter!!! MVP...MVP...MVP....