Game 92: KC vs. NYY — A Captain’s return = victory

There were so many things going on at the Stadium today, that it’s rather hard to figure out what was more interesting — the final day of voting for David Robertson to make the All-Star Game roster, Derek Jeter’s return to the Bronx, and HOPE Week Day 4. My Twitter feed alone was more populated with Yankee news, pictures, and hashtags since October, I think.

Okay, so Andy Pettitte started the game today against the Royals. Pettitte had some trouble early in the game finding his stride, as evidenced by the runs scored in the first 2 innings by Kansas City, but soon enough found the momentum and kept the Royals away for 5.2 innings. He allowed 8 hits, a walk, and 4 runs (3 earned). In the 1st inning, 2 back-to-back singles and a walk loaded the bases, which allowed 2 runs to score on a solid double and another to score on a sacrifice fly. And very quickly the Royals were up 3-0 in the 1st. They tacked on an RBI single in the 2nd, but that would be the last run they’d score for the entire game. Now, Pettitte wasn’t as happy with his outing, understandably so, but he had the Yankees offense to thank for his earned win today. And the bullpen (via Kelley, Robertson, and Logan) protected his win excellently, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 5 amongst themselves over their 3.1 innings.

Now the offense had some help today via a DH-ing Derek Jeter. That’s right, the Captain returned to the Bronx, making his debut for the season today, almost 9 months since he was sprawled out by 2nd base in Game 1 of the ALCS with a shattered ankle. A long road indeed, but today, he went 1-for-4, with an RBI and a run scored. It must be good to be back “home”. In fact, he was able to get the first of the Yankees 11 hits today on the first pitch to him in the game and score the first run on Vernon Wells’ sacrifice fly all in the 1st inning.

Other offensive contributions came when Austin Romine doubled home Nunez and Ichiro Suzuki singled home Romine in the 2nd inning. At this point, the Yankees were still down 4-3, but they weren’t done yet. In the 5th inning, Ichiro walks, Cano is walked intentionally, and Wells walks to load the bases with 2 outs. So when Lyle Overbay hits a single, he watches Ichiro and Cano score to put the Yankees up 5-4. Zoilo Almonte then singles home Wells (6-4). Eduardo Nunez then singles, and Overbay scores, but Almonte tries to go for 3rd base and gets tagged out there to end the inning. But the Yankees are up 7-4 at the end of 5 innings. But just for added insurance, Jeter adds his own flair and scores Cruz on a ground out RBI in the 6th inning. And that’s where the Yankees sit 8-4 and glide right into the win, splitting the series with KC, but doing so outscoring the Royals 18-13 (there’s that flair).

Also, Jeter came out of the game after his fourth at-bat, feeling a “tightness” in his right quadriceps (the top of the thigh muscle). This is nothing previously injury-related (as it’s nowhere near the left ankle bone), and probably just a little stiff and not used to the day-to-day rigors of base-running and daily life as an active ball player. If the MRI proves negative, he will probably DH again tomorrow. They’re not rushing to put him at shortstop yet, but that is clearly the next step in his road to health and return to the Bronx. I don’t think anyone will declare him fully returned until he’s played a full game defensively at short. Here’s hoping for continued health, healing, and hope!

For all the efforts made by the Yankee fans, I’m really surprised David Robertson missed the All-Star Game final spot, which apparently was very close. I know I spent quite a bit of time on my own voting a ridiculous amount of times online and via text and Twitter (thank God for unlimited texting!). But I think the recognition of his importance to both the team and its fans certainly will be remembered in future years. I can’t imagine that Robertson will go unnoticed for another ASG, especially if he continues in his excellent efforts as one of the best set-up men in the league. You’re still #1 to us Yankee fans, no matter what the results say!

And HOPE Week continued this Thursday afternoon. Today, the Yankees partnered with Birthday Wishes, a non-profit that organizes birthday parties for homeless children. They invited a whole group of children from various homeless shelters around the city to a Yankees game today and were greeted in their own suite by Mariano Rivera, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, David Phelps, Chris Stewart, and bullpen coach Mike Harkey with a big birthday party at Yankee Stadium. They got a private tour of the Stadium, including the field and dugout and met Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal. And then had their party complete with a magician, music, food and candy, and gifts for everyone. Mark Teixeira even stopped by to watch part of the game with the kids, and what a great game and a great party!

I don’t think there’s ever adequate words to express what the Yankees truly do for their community. I know many teams do their own version of HOPE Week, but there’s something weighty about adding the Yankee stamp of approval on an organization. The Yankee name means excellence and respect, and not just for their on-field playing, but their off-field lives. There’s a high standard on the ones who wear the pinstripes, and HOPE Week is one of the best outpourings of that standard of excellence, integrity, and compassion that so suits so many on this team. I really love being part of this fan base. It’s really nice to have a team to root for that deserves rooting for.

Go Yankees!

Game 90: KC vs. NYY — A complete CC loss

I’d love to say it was a pitching battle today, but the Yankees just weren’t hitting the ball consistently. Seriously, the Royals pitcher was nowhere near what should have been a near-flawless game for him or the team, but a few minor weaknesses in CC Sabathia’s game were just enough to push the Royals up over the Yankees and take today’s game.

Sabathia actually threw all 9 innings, something I’m sure the bullpen is feeling better for the day off, especially in light of the packed schedule up to the All-Star Break. Honestly, with some minor misplaced pitches, Sabathia actually threw a decent game, all 113 pitches over 9 innings, some innings near-flawless, allowing 7 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 6 batters. The 3 runs the Royals conjured up were due to 2 solo home runs in the 6th and 7th innings and back-to-back doubles for an RBI in the 8th inning.

The Yankees only offensive score came in the very 1st inning. Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki each singled; then Robinson Cano singled home Gardner to score the only Yankee run of the game. Much of the Yankees’ lack of offense was due to some really fantastic plays by the Royals’ outfielder Cain, who has the kind of speed and fielding range as Gardner or Granderson. Some of these plays, sliding catches, back-handed grabs, and just phenomenal speed will probably on some sports analysts’ replays this week. I know Cain isn’t an everyday guy for the Royals, and I really don’t understand why. He’s really one of the better guys on the team, especially in light of some of the more “publicized” names in Kansas City. But that’s for another blog to muse over…

In more interesting news, today was Day 2 of HOPE Week. And today, the Yankees surprised a young girl named Autumn Blinn as she visited the Ronald McDonald House in New York. The 10-year-old began sewing pillows and giving them to people who were undergoing dialysis, chemotherapy, and the like to help ease some of their pain. So in her honor, the Yankees sewed and gifted pillows with Autumn at today’s visit. (The article is here and you can find pictures on the Yankees Facebook page.) Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez, Vernon Wells, Jayson Nix, David Robertson, and manager Joe Girardi all came out bearing buckets of pillows and spent time playing with the children in the House. The Ronald McDonald House is a wonderful place for critically ill children and their families can receive treatment for their illnesses in a safe, comfortable, family friendly environment. (Putting your change in those red boxes in every McDonald’s is what you can do on every visit.) The local RMH is the recipient of today’s donation in Autumn’s honor.

Then, Autumn was invited to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the game. It’s kids like her that inspire people and prove that you don’t have to be a celebrity (or even a grown-up) to make a difference. And that’s what HOPE Week is all about — recognizing those who change their world for the better.

Don’t forget #HighSocksForVotes, voting for David Robertson online for the All-Star Game. You can also vote via text — text A3 to 89269.

Go Yankees!

Game 84: NYY vs. MIN — #200 for CC

Tonight, CC Sabathia recorded his 200th win of his career. And really, he threw a hard game, but one that was well-fought on his part and on the offense. Sabathia threw a season-high 121 pitches over 7 full innings, striking out 9 Twins’ batters, walking 3, allowing 7 hits, and 2 runs. One run was scored on an RBI double in the 3rd and the other was a solo home run in the 5th. And the Twins were ahead 2-0 going into the bottom of the 6th inning. This wasn’t looking good, but like I said before, sometimes it’s just where the offense needs to step it up.

And step it up they did in the 6th inning. Gardner walked and Ichiro doubled for Robinson Cano to double and score both of them to tie up the game. Hafner singles, Cano to 3rd, (still no outs) and the Twins call for a pitching change, who immediately strikes out a batter for the first out. Lyle Overbay hits a sacrifice fly to score Cano which put the Yankees up 3-2 before Minnesota gets out of the inning. Neither team would do much after the top of the 6th inning, especially due to a great double play in the bottom of the 6th that got Sabathia out of trouble, so the score was planted at 3-2 Yankees.

And Mariano Rivera recorded his 28th save. Yesterday, the Twins organization gave him a rocking chair made of broken bats they dubbed the “Chair of Broken Dreams”. It’s by far the most interesting thing any team has given him this season as of yet. And (to steal a tactful phrase from a favorite character of mine) “that’s all I have to say about that.”

Hiroki Kuroda is still in New York and will get further tests later this week to make sure there’s nothing worse with his hip, but the clean MRI seemed to indicate just overuse and needed rest, rather than something more serious (Alex Rodriguez’s recent hip issues come to mind). Jayson Nix has been placed on the 15 day DL due to a grade 2 strain on his right hamstring, which typically require 3-6 week full recovery time. In his place, the Yankees have picked up recently released Dodger Luis Cruz to fill in at short stop; Cruz went 0-for-3 at bat and notched a throwing error on a really lousy throw in the 3rd.

Alex Rodriguez is on his way back to Florida for his next rehab assignment with the Tampa Yankees, who will play the Tigers’ affiliate in central Florida on Friday. Eduardo Nunez is heading up to Trenton to join the AA team there for more of his rehab; he hopes to rejoin the team before the All-Star Break, which if his recent outings have proved anything, might be right on schedule. And Girardi mentioned that Derek Jeter might be closer to his rehab assignment. All of these sound like great news all over the Yankee world as far as progress in the injury-rehab department.

But back to CC for a moment… this is really a huge accomplishment. He currently sits on a list of 114 MLB pitchers who have 200+ wins. Teammate Andy Pettitte is currently sitting at 47 with 250 wins (including 5 this season). Two other current players (one each from the Braves and the Phillies) are on the list at 201 wins, but Sabathia is the youngest (by about 4 years) and statistically more likely to surpass even Pettitte on this list within the next 8 years (by the time he’s Pettitte’s age). And for those who are interested, the famous early 20th century pitcher Cy Young holds the record for most wins at a near ridiculous feat of 511.

So a big congratulations to Sabathia for his new record and the injured-recovering on their progress. And prayers out for Kuroda and Nix and all those still on the road to recovery. There are many records to be set by a team that is steeped in legend and myth, and every man counts for something on that kind of journey to greatness.

Go Yankees!

Game 79: NYY vs. BAL — The Birds clip Yankee wings

CC Sabathia started the first 5 innings with such flair and finesse and was contending for a no-hitter and his 200th win of his career. And then came the 6th inning, beginning with back-to-back singles. A double then scored both of those runners and a single scored another. To top things off, a solo home run off Sabathia in the 7th was the icing on the cake for Baltimore to grab this first game of the weekend series from the Yankees, which is a shame because of the tight game Sabathia played for the first half of the game, striking out 6 batters (on the lower side for Sabathia, but still significant).

The Yankees offense started out very strong. Gardner led off with a double and was later scored by a Robinson Cano single in the 1st inning. And in the 3rd, singles by Nix and Cano line up Vernon Wells for an RBI single (scoring Nix). And Chris Stewart singles home Cano to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead and force the Orioles to seek bullpen relief in the 3rd inning. It’s that bullpen that kept the Yankees from further damage and allowed the Orioles to keep their 4-3 lead they earned by the 7th inning.

This is the 2nd night in a row I think I feel bad for the pitcher. Now, Sabathia clearly blames himself for tonight’s loss and said so in his post-game interviews, but he really wasn’t anywhere near as bad as he is when he normally earns a loss. And I don’t think he would have earned a loss if the Yankees weren’t suffering from a sort of “power shortage”, as it were. They need home runs where they hit singles, and they leave far too many people stranded at the end of innings.

On the other hand, the Yankees seem to struggle in Camden Yards (Baltimore’s stadium). I noticed that last year when the two teams were constantly playing each other for 1st place in the AL. I don’t know what it is, but the Yankees just don’t seem to play as well as they should there. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Last September, for instance, I remember one game that the Yankees wiped the floor with the Orioles in Camden; that was a really good game. And while there is not really a “usually” in baseball (remember: anything is possible in baseball), it’s one of those things where conspiracy nuts begin to throw words around like “kyptonite” and “voodoo” (those people are weird).

And it’s not like the Yankees are ever really welcomed or well-represented in Baltimore. They definitely compete with Toronto, Detroit, and Kansas City for the most hateful fans. (And I didn’t forget Boston: I like the rivalry we have there, so I can’t count that as pure hate. Look at my previous posts on rivals for more details.) That has to play into the game at least somewhat. Sometimes, if you’re winning, I imagine the boos from the opposing fans would almost be exhilarating (“They only boo if you’re good.”) But the jeers and taunts when you’re losing have to be like salt in the wounds. It would take a pretty thick-skinned player to go out there and do whatever you can to try to prove them wrong. And I can’t imagine many of these guys are that thick-skinned yet, so many are still very new to the Yankee roster and are just now experiencing the other side of the anti-Yankee-ness from such crowds.

Guys like Robinson Cano, who’ve played with the Yankees for his whole professional career and is the favorite for jeers and taunts in Kansas City (really, how long can Midwesterners hold that silly grudge?), take those nasty things are turn them into a great personal outing like tonight, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored (the most productive offensive player tonight). Guys like CC Sabathia (in his 5th year as a Yankee) ignore the crowd and blame themselves for not doing their jobs, as they know they can’t fault anyone for their performance but themselves. Guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (both in Tampa doing their rehab today) have dealt with the boos, jeers, and taunts for so long that they must tune it all out or laugh it off or just make every go to power through and show why they’re legends in the playing field.

It certainly doesn’t make it right, but it’s something I guess that every Yankee, perhaps every ball player must endure and come to terms with over their career. Somebody, somewhere isn’t going to like you, maybe for no logical reason, and it’s all up to how you react to the situation. Another great life lesson brought to you in action and example by the New York Yankees.

Go Yankees!

Game 74: TB vs. NYY — What grand slam? It’s about walks & Wells

The only runs the Rays could score today were on home runs off starter CC Sabathia — one was a solo in the 2nd and one was a grand slam in the 6th. The batter for the grand slam is a rookie this year, and this was his first major league home run, so what a way to mark your career first. Too bad it wasn’t for the Yankees, but still a nice achievement for him. (I don’t usually include media celebrating the opposing team, but this was something, deflecting off Gardner’s glove as he reached for it over the wall, nearly silenced the crowd in the Bronx today.)

Outside of the 6th inning, which was easily his weakest in what was a rather strong outing, Sabathia still managed 91 pitches over 7 full innings, only allowing 6 total hits from the Rays. The low statistic was the strike outs, which is usually his strong category, but today he seemed to rely on the team’s defense, which was outstanding again. Robertson and Rivera (earning his 26th save) finished out today’s game, keeping the Rays from further damaging the Yankees’ lead and ultimate win.

Offensively, the Yankees took advantage of the Rays’ weak defense this afternoon, like reaching bases on fielding errors, and finding holes in the pitchers’ strategy to make a dent in the scoreboard. In the 3rd inning, with bases loaded (due to a fielding error and 2 singles), Zoilo Almonte singles out to center field and scores 2 runners. Then with bases loaded in the 5th and Zoilo Almonte batting again, Almonte draws a walk and Cano walks in to score.

Down 5-3 in the 7th inning, 2 outs and bases loaded (again), David Adams earns his first major league walk in 87 at-bats to walk in another run and make it 5-4 Rays. Girardi sends Vernon Wells to pinch hit for Stewart (later replaced behind the plate by Romine). Wells, who has been in a slump all month, proceeds to clear the bases with a double and plant the score at what would become its final 7-5 Yankees. Though some argument was made by the Rays and umpires regarding that last call due to what looks like some fan interference, it wouldn’t have matter anyway because the Yankees would’ve been at 6-5 and still won the game. Remember a win is a win is a win no matter how many runs you win by.

I’m sure the Rays fans at the point of that grand slam were sure that was the game winner for them there, as big sweeping gestures like that usually are. Those are really fantastic ways to score runs, full of grandeur and celebration and everything every kid dreams of doing one day. And in the same game, we have 2 runs that were literally walked in. I say this every time, but this is my least favorite way to score runs. It’s not fun for the pitcher and his team, and it’s usually a small celebration for those benefiting from the pitchers’ inaccurate strike zone. I always have to remind myself that a run is a run and every little bit counts, but it’s almost as if the team was cheated out of natural effort to add to their score.

So as of right now, the Yankees have 2 of the 3 games played so far this weekend against the Rays, with one more game tomorrow. Tomorrow’s game is also going to be preceded by the annual Old Timers’ Day, featuring Yankees alumni of all kinds, including some legends and HOFers. It should be a real treat to those who are able to attend to see pinstripes of recent and older history in action and honor their contributions to make this team what it is today and what it continues to mean to both the sport of baseball and the city of New York.

Derek Jeter also showed up to take batting practice and minor fielding drills with the team today and will be in town through the weekend. I don’t think he would miss Old Timers’ Day for anything; I know I wouldn’t if I had the option. And I’m thinking his presence with the team is always for the better, whether he plays on the field or encourages from the dugout; the Yankees need their captain for morale and consistency. With all the changes, injuries, and other news surrounding the team, it’s more than beneficial to have some strong morale and consistency in the clubhouse.

Anyway, a big “get well soon” to all those still on the DL. I know it’s a frustrating thing to not be able to do what you love, or even basic life activities sometimes, but the wait is always worth it. Full health and effort is always a better option than half the effort on sort of healed bodies. There’s still a long season ahead of you and plenty of time to jump in full speed toward #28.

Go Yankees!

Game 69: NYY vs. LAA — A win a bit too close for comfort

That last inning was a little scary… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let’s start with some of the fun news. It was the 3rd inning that seemed set up for the magic today in Anaheim. Stewart walked, Gardner singled, and 2 outs later Travis Hafner hits a very long ball deep into center field (into the rocks and vines out there) for a 3-run home run. But the Yankees aren’t done yet as Vernon Wells singles and then scores on a Lyle Overbay double. Overbay then scores on a long single by Jayson Nix out to left field (then Nix would be picked off 1st base for the 3rd out of the inning). So if you’re keeping up, that’s an easy 5-0 score the Yankees maintained until the 8th inning,  when Wells added a 6th run (which later proved very necessary) on a sacrifice fly to score Cano. So the Yankees were riding high into the bottom of the 9th on a 6-0 lead.

Starting pitcher CC Sabathia threw his 107 pitches into the 9th inning, only allowing 5 hits and striking out 6 batters, but walking 3. One of those walks and one of those hits came back to haunt him toward the bottom of the 9th inning. David Robertson, usually a master of getting out of inherited jams, certainly struggled to find that groove against the heart of the Angels’ batting order and will have a nasty bruise on his thigh to show for it — Robertson deflected a line drive off his leg, which scored the Angels’ first run. A strike out and a walk loaded the bases for a ground out to still score another run (now 6-2). A single on the next batter scored 2 runs and it’s 6-4.

So in comes Mariano Rivera for the save and all the Yankee fans are breathing easier. But then he allows back-to-back singles which score an additional run (6-5) and walks a batter. Bases are loaded and one of baseball’s well-known power hitters (Pujols, formerly with St. Louis) steps into the batters box. Everyone is on pins and needles — the fans in red know that a single will score at least one run to tie or two to win the game right then and there, while the fans in blue know they just need an out anyway anywhere to get out of the game with a much-needed win. And three pitches (of his 25 in the inning) later, he swings and missed for a “strike three, three outs, game over, hallelujah, Yankees win” kind of call.

Well, like I’ve said before, a win is a win is a win. It doesn’t matter how much you score over the other guy as long as you have more runs in your box than they do with the last out. A shut-out is great, but a win is always the goal, no matter how you achieve it. And it was nice to see some of the Yankee hitters who’ve been in personal slumps (in the middle of this team-wide low) knock their way into some nice hits and contributions into the team.

Speaking of which, the “message board managers” have been spouting off their theories as to the recent slide of both the Yankees and those who seem to be working to gain back their earlier season swing. And amid the usual “old, over the hill, broken-down” complaints, the newest blame target seems to be the Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. I’ve been trying to understand the logic in this. Somehow, they think that Long controls every swing of the bat a player makes, and if they’re not hitting, the player has no responsibility in it so it must be Long. Again, short of a great advance in robotic players, I don’t think anyone in the dugout can be personally responsible for whether a player is hitting a ball thrown at them, and I really don’t think these “MBMs” have any clue how a baseball team functions, let alone the responsibilities of specific coaches.

Now, I had the privilege of watching Long work with a few of the players during Spring Training this year. And I thoroughly respect his techniques and coaching methods. He was able to correct or adjust minor things in these struggling players to show them how to fix their swing. Like many people, players sometimes get lazy or develop bad habits and just need to be reminded (depending on their learning style) on how to hit a ball cleanly. Of course, a clean hit is also dependent on a clean pitch, which isn’t as common as people think and can cause hitters to lapse into sloppier batting patterns to make up for the lack of consistent clean pitching. Those patterns easily become those nasty habits that send those guys right back to Long to work on finding their swing again.

Those “MBMs” just make me shake my head and smile. What a waste of time. Just watch the game, root for your team (no matter what happens), celebrate/be bummed at the result, move on with your day, and get ready for the next game. Complaining and silly assumptions and theories do nothing good. And we need more good in this world.

Speaking of good: Mark Teixeira, pulled from yesterday’s game and sent back to New York to check things out, was diagnosed with inflammation in his right wrist (the same one he injured earlier), no tearing or reinjuring, just overuse, and given a cortisone shot to help with the swelling. With the off-day tomorrow, they’re expecting to keep him out just a few days. This is good news. And I like good news. Good news in the injury scene and good news (eventually) from Los Angeles means a good day all around.

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there (including the many dads that played on diamonds across the country today)!

Go Yankees!

Game 64: NYY vs. OAK — Not quite the All-Star performance tonight

There was a big deal made about starting pitcher CC Sabathia’s “return home” because he grew up not far away from Oakland and was an Oakland fan growing up. I guess it was because there wasn’t much else to talk about leading up to the series in the Bay Area. Sabathia had a rough start though, getting only 3 strike outs, allowing 8 of the Athletics’ 9 hits and all 6 of their runs in tonight’s loss. A 2nd pitch solo home run in the 1st inning pretty much set the stage for the night, followed by an RBI double in the 2nd, and the A’s had a 2-0 lead quickly.

Their big dent came in the 4th inning with a 3-run home run deep to left-center field. And the proof of Sabathia’s off-night came in his last inning (the 6th) when he walked a batter on a wild pitch and the runner at 3rd easily scored the A’s 6th and final run of the night. Claiborne and Chamberlain kept the A’s scoreless for the rest of the game.

The Yankees racked up the hits off Oakland’s starter and bullpen, getting 10 solid hits through the whole 9 innings. The A’s starter wasn’t exactly at his best either, but the Yankees couldn’t seem to bring enough effort to score until the last two innings. In the 8th inning, 3 straight singles by Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira ended up scoring a run (Gardner on Teixeira’s single) before any outs were made in the inning. Then 3 batters later, it was pinch hitter Vernon Wells’ single that hit in Cano who was waiting through two outs at 3rd to make the score 6-2 A’s.

In the next inning, the Yankees’ last attempt for the win, a single by Chris Stewart (who continues to prove his value on the team) and a double by Cano set up Teixeira for a 2-RBI single to plant the final score at 6-4 Oakland. It was that 3-run homer by Oakland that really lost the game for the Yankees, as proved by this last minute rally.

It was just “one of those games”. But in other news, Cano was named AL Home Run Derby Captain again for the upcoming event at the All-Star game next month. While he most definitely won’t have to face any angry, vengeful Midwesterners, he still gets tasked with selecting three other AL derby competitors, players who can hit long balls for a fun charity event the day before the All-Star Game. I voted for who I wanted him to pick for the Home Run Derby (they weren’t any other Yankees), and I’ve used up all my votes on the All-Star Game (yes, I voted all Yankees for the team).

And I look forward to see if Cano can put together yet another championship team; he excelled at last year’s selections picking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place players in the 2012 HR Derby, with Detroit’s Prince Fielder coming in on top. Something tells me Cano’s going to have a whole lot more fun at this year’s event, and much of that is because this year’s All-Star events are taking place at Citi Field just over the river in Queens. It’s not quite home-field advantage, but it’s close enough for all the Yankee fans to cheer on their All-Stars and drown out all the negativity. And that’s my favorite kind of cheering.

Go Yankees!