Here's Mikey Moose delivering a pitch:
So, I'm jumping back and forth from one project to the next to keep each one (and myself) fresh, but I'll post updates on each as I go along. Here are some pastel sketches of what will become acrylic paintings. The first is a 36'x24" canvas of A-Rod hitting his 500th home run. The second is a 16"x20" canvas of Capt. Jeter doing his trademark "Veni, Vidi, Vici" fist-pump.
It looks like everything is starting to fall into place with the team. The hitters seem to be getting into a rhythm. Pettitte's rounding into form. Except for a few notable exceptions, the bullpens done pretty well, too. So, we'll see if they can maintain a little momentum tonight and tomorrow against the Hated Red Sox when Chien Ming Wang takes the hill to try and shut the Sawx down twice in one week.
Speaking of Wanger, there's a really great piece on what a huge phenomenon he is in his native Taiwan over at SI.com. He's literally the most famous and most popular person in the country, and they say his pitching performance even effects their stock market. Great stuff.
Below is a picture of the Yankees' own #42 after closing out the game last night. The last active player to wear it, and, in my mind, he beats Jackie out as the best to ever wear it, Mr. Mariano Rivera:
This is why they play 162 games and why I watch every one of them: you never what's going to happen.
Here's the happy Cano after giving the Yankees back the lead:
You can now view all the drawings I'm doing of this Yankee season over at my new Flickr set. I've also put a link up to it over in the panel to the right.
Game 10 - Pettite Wins. YANKEES 6, Royals 1
Game 11 - Wang's Two-Hitter. YANKEES 4, Red Sox 1
Game 12 - Manny chases Moose. Yankees 3, RED SOX 4
Game 13 - Hughes gets rocked. Yankees 5, RED SOX 8
The greatest irony, of course, is that I believe Coney actually did get caught jerking off in the Shea bullpen about 20 years ago. Beautiful.
I'll be back later today with my drawing for last night's game. I'm actually putting an effort into this one.
The one thing that is for certain is that the Yankee lineup is currently a big bowl of suck. Even though it's too early to really panic, this offense is off to a historically slow start. And, with a tough month ahead and a more competitive division this year, you'd like to see them get the wheels rolling soon.
Andy Pettite takes the mound tonight. Let's see if he can regain his past form as a stopper and put this two game losing streak on ice.
Here's a pencil sketch of Farnswroth serving up that home run to John Buck. I wanted to do a little atmospheric pen and ink thing with the rain, but I have to get to work on this Eli painting, and finish this other commission piece by the weekend. So, I apologize for the slight shittiness of today's drawing and, most likely, the next two or three as well.
As for the Jeter and Posada injuries, it looks like Jeets could be back in Fenway this weekend and Posada will get an MRI today. I'm not too worried about either. In fact, with Posada it could be good news. Molina is a more than serviceable backup and this could leave a little extra gas in the tank for Jorge at the end of the season. It looks like April could be a tough month, but as long as they can hover over .500, I think they should be fine.
Despite it being so damned early, the baseball landscape is interesting right now. Are the Tigers this bad? Are the Orioles and Cardinals actually good? The Rays and Royals look like teams on the come, though. I don't know that they'll do too much this year, but it appears that ownership for both teams has committed to putting a better product on the field. It'll be interesting to see where it takes them.
On another note, I don't want to hear about what a classy act it was for the Sox to bring Bill Buckner back to throw out the first pitch at Fenway this year and how great the fans were to cheer and "forgive" him. The classy thing would've been to do it 10 years ago, not after they've won two championships. And, the real question should be whether Buckner would forgive the fans, not if they would forgive him. If I were Bill I would have come to the mound with two middle fingers raised high, then brought Bucky Dent out to throw the first pitch.
I'll give the Sawx fans credit, though, just when you think you have all the reasons you need to hate them, they give you another. I'm at the point now, I'd dislike them even if I weren't a Yankee fan.
Today's sketch: a scribble of A-Rod's fourth strikeout of the day. Forgive me for not putting a whole lot of effort into it. After yesterday's game it was tough to get up for.
Well, NO MORE I SAY! From now on, I will do my best to alert you, my loyal reader, to all that is great and semi-great in my internet browser.
First off, I'd like to alert everyone's attention to The Official Jersey Shore Podcast, hosted by DJ Messer and my friend Danny Peterson. You'll also hear Danny's brother Joe on the 'cast who is nice enough to back me up with his bass when I go out and do my singin'. They basically chat about what's going on during the week and over the weekend around Monmouth County and the Jersey Shore, and come up with some great places and events to check out you may or may not have been aware of. For instance, two weeks ago they told listeners about this great, handsome, charming singer playing over in Sea Bright, and, wouldn't you know it, the guy was absolutely wonderful. So, do me, them, and yourself a favor by clicking that link and diggin' the 'cast.
A few other links:
One of my daily blog visits is The Hater by Amelie Gillette over at the Onion A.V. Club, in which she daily eviscerates pop culture. This post on a current running MTV psa using holocaust imagery was great and lead to some of the funniest comments I've ever read. Four words: "Mein Super Sweet Kampf".
Gary Kamiya reviews Gerard DeGroot's ""The Sixties Unplugged: A Kaleidoscopic History of a Disorderly Decade". A book that debunks all the hazy, hippy, mythologizing of the 60's. Now, I'm as absolutely sick of hearing about the Nineteen "You don't understand, it was revolutionary! We changed the world with our minds and our music, man!" Sixties as any sane person under the age of 50 could possibly be, but I like the fact that someone is laying a thorough and well-researched hammer down on the age of peace and love. At the end of the article Kamiya does try to put a little of the (star)shine back on the 60's, arguing that they may have achieved something that just can't be quantified or measured (*gag*), but obviously a man with this bio (scroll down) is going to be a little insecure and defensive after such a scholarly de-pantsing.
For all you presidential campaign watchers out there, Slate.com serves up two great articles about the two presumptive candidates. One is a bit of advice to Obama on how to play on the world stage, the other is a li'l feel good anecdote on John McCain from about a decade ago.
Last, but certainly not least, not only did the Mets lose their final season opener at Shea, they also got "Rick Rolled". Here's the video. For those of you who don't know what getting "Rick Rolled" means, Google it, I can't link to everything, dammit.
After Moose left, Brian Bruney came on and continued to impress this year. Farnsworth had one of his good days, and LaTroy Hawkins finished up, but made you sweat while you did it.
One note on Hawkins: I know I slammed him the other day, I have absolutely no faith in the guy and will slam him the next time he blows up (which we shouldn't have to wait long for), but can we wait on the booing and the "Paul O'Neill" chants until the guy actually screws up? Do those Yankee fans want him to blow the game? Let's not completely destroy the guy's psyche when we need him to get another 3 outs.
The offense finally woke up, with Bobby Abreu leading the charge and coming one hit shy of the cycle, but, of course, the big news is Jeter and his strained quad. I think the Yankees can make it a week or two without him. Let's hope it's no longer than that, but I'm gonna hold off pressing the panic button until I hear more.
Today's drawing is a colored pencil and marker sketch of the scene as Moose was about to unload on Johnny Gomes.
I'll leave you with a pen and ink sketch of Wang and Hideki for your Monday viewing pleasure.
For those of you that remember the Roethlisberger piece I did earlier this year, I'm going for that same muted tone, and rough look to the background in order to clash with the Hi-Def color and detail of the main figures. Hopefully, I'll be able to finish the right side of the background up when I get back from my nephew's little league game today. Then, I'm hoping to log some serious hours this week to finally finish the bastard. I'll post updates as I go.
It's days like today that I stay away from the Daily News and the radio call-in shows because everybody's looking to start panicking. The fact is, while I'd like the team to get off to a hotter start than they did last year (especially with the brutal schedule they have this month), it's game 5. There are 157 left to play. In fact, if you look at the standings for the AL East and Central today, it looks like they were printed upside down. The Orioles are in first in the East and the Tigers are in last in the Central. So, let's all just hold our collective horses for a bit until May, at the earliest.
Below is a sketch I did of Andy Pettite kicking the dirt while leaving the field in the middle of the third inning. It seemed to kind of sum up the day. Chien Ming goes up against James Shields today to try and stop the skid and notch his second win of the season.
I don't think Kennedy's control problems last night portend anything dire for the rest of the season. Hopefully, he'll work out whatever the problem is and be fine by his next start, but I hope they saved the receipt for LaTroy Hawkins. From what I've read, Hawkins is supposed to be a helluva guy - and I know he's wearing 21 to honor Roberto Clemente - but, I would probably still have been one of the crowd chanting "Paul O'Neill". Here's a tip, LaTroy: If you're going to wear 21 to honor Clemente, you probably don't want to do your best impression of a plane crash when you take the mound.
Albaladejo, Ohlendorf, and Traber were the bright spots last night, and it looks like the bullpen should be pretty good this year, except for crossing our fingers when Farnsworth is out there and closing our eyes when Hawkins is.
The Rays now look like they may have another good young starter in Andy Sonnanstine to go with Scott Kazmir, and they're lineup is a pain-in-the-damn-ass. They're gonna be trouble this year, and, along with the resurgent Blue Jays, could provide a nice wrinkle into the whole "Yankee, Red Sox Battle For World Supremacy".
Below is today's drawing. It features young Mr. Kennedy in an homage to 'The Empire Strikes Back'.
Tonight, Ian Kennedy takes the mound against the Rays, and we get to see if the third of The Big Three can start fulfilling his potential, not to mention whether any of the Shelley Duncan noise from spring training carries over to the regular season.
I leave you now with a sketch of Mr. Hughes from last night's contest:
Overall, if you're a Yankee fan, you just have to say 'Hey. Their pitching beat our pitching'. From what I understand, Mussina was decent and Farnsworth and Ohlendorf did what they get paid to do. I'd like to see Farnsworth's control a little better, though. Sometimes, you're just gonna have those cold days that are tough to play in and the other guy on the mound is gonna be too tough to beat. I tell you this, though, the Jays look like they have some good pitching. If they stay healthy, the AL East could be interesting this year.
When I first heard that the opening game at The Stadium this year was being postponed to last night I was afraid the whole thing might feel a little anti-climactic. A little after 6:30 however, I was driving back from the store with a 12 pack of Sierra Nevada, a big bag of chips, and as I was listening to every Yankee fans' crazy uncle John Sterling start the pre-game show, the sun was shining, it was 65 degrees outside and all was once again right with the world. Baseball was back, and so was spring.
The vibe at the Stadium was probably more electric than it would have been in the rain and cold the day before. YES's pre-game tribute to The Stadium was great. The fans were out in full force and both teams came to play and to play hard.
I'll admit I was a little nervous heading into the game. Starting the season off against one of the American League's toughest pitchers in Roy Halladay would ordinarily be tough, but there were a lot of questions floating around about Chien Ming Wang. He looked awful when we saw him last against the Indians in the divisional playoffs, and his spring training did little to restore confidence in the young sinkerballer.
You don't win 19 games two years in a row by accident, however, and I was pretty sure that, over the course of the season, Wang would be fine. But, would he be good enough last night?
The answer, as we now know, was 'Yes. Outside of one rough inning, he'll be the same great pitcher he's been for the last two years. Everyone sit down and relax.' Seven strong innings of two run ball later, I looked at the scoreboard and thought to myself 'Almost time for the Joba and Mo Show'. And, a great show it was. It went exactlly the way Yankees and Yankee fans would have wanted it to go.
A few other thoughts on the game:
It was good to hear A-Rod getting such a great ovation from the crowd and starting the season off with an RBI. I think all the problems he's had in the past in New York are officially behind him, and we can all settle in and watch one of the great Yankees of all time for the next 10 years.
Giambi looked great both in the field and at the plate. I think he really wants one more contract from somebody next year and is gonna be much better this year than he's been in awhile.
I don't think you can overstate how glad Yankee fans are this morning that Melky Cabrera didn't get traded. I felt my Melky love rekindled during the introductions when he bounded out of the dugout with a huge smile on his face like some oversized Little Leaguer. He then goes out and puts together a mini highlight reel out in centerfield during the fourth inning, and tops that with an only-in-Yankee-Stadium home run to tie the game in the sixth.
Overall, it was a great night of baseball that really made you feel like it was the middle of summer. At the end of the game, the Yankees stood on the field victorious under the Stadium lights while Frank Sinatra sang 'New York, New York', a scene which makes me feel better than all but about 4 or 5 other things on this planet. Yes, little darling, the smiles returning to the faces...
Above is the first of what will, hopefully, be more than 162 sketches of scenes from this year's Yankee games. It's a quick colored pencil sketch of Melky's diving catch in the fourth. Each game's sketch will be a little different. Some will be a little more detailed than others, and I'll be using a bunch of different mediums. The one above was done really quickly this morning while I was still feeling the effects of the aforementioned Sierra Nevadas. Stick around and we'll see what happens the rest of the year. It should be fun.
Anyway, here's a few pics on two works in progress, both of your reigning Super Bowl MVP: one Mr. Eli Manning. I'm working on a 36"x24" painting of Eli's Great Escape and an 11"x14" colored pencil drawing of a Eli letting out a celebratory shout during the game. Unfortunately, the pencils I use for my initial sketches are very light and are tough to photograph, but you folks are just so damned good to me I figured I needed to give you something.
So, here's a half done background and a very light sketch followed by some cool news, so keep reading.
Tomorrow I begin a little experiment which I hope will last well into October. The night of or morning after every Yankees game I will not only post my thoughts/analysis on each and every game, but I will also post a sketch relevant to every game. That means at least 162 new posts and sketches over the next few months. I figure it'll be a great way to keep me writing and drawing, and should bring some more eyeballs to the site. So, be sure to swing by here the day after every Yankees game. Let's see how this thing turns out.