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March 10, 2007: Simple Pleasures

It was a tidy little game at Legends Field tonight. The Yankees scored four runs in the second, in a nine-man inning kicked off by Alex Rodriguez. Alex had a much better day than Wednesday, tonight playing flawlessly in every respect both offensively and defensively. Also, everyone in the audience–in my section anyway–noticed that tonight he played with his socks high.

I speculate that this is in solidarity with–or perhaps just symmetry to–Doug Mientkiewicz, A-rod’s high school buddy and Yankees first baseman, who wears his socks high as a matter of course.

Technically it isn’t a player’s “socks” that are high, it’s the hem of his pants, raised to show more sock. But “high socks” is still the name for that style. It’s a style associated with dirt dogs, speedsters and old school players who can bunt and execute the hit and run. In recent years many of the big sluggers have adopted the opposite style, the “pajama pants” look, in which the hem hangs down over one’s endorsement-contract shoes (see Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, et. al.)

The pants/socks probably didn’t help or hurt. Alex led off the second inning with a single, moved up on a wild pitch, tagged and went to third on a fly to center, and then came home on a fielder’s choice. The Yankees went on to score three additional runs that inning. In the third, which he also led off since the Yankees had batted around, he hit a line drive but was robbed of a hit by a nice play from the Devil Rays’ shortstop, some kid named Ben Zobrist.

He also made two great plays in the fifth–he meaning Alex Rodriguez, not Zobrist–spearing a humback liner and then on the next play a great diving stop to his right, pegging the throw to Mientkiewicz, whom I shall call Minky from here on because that name is using up too many letters. Alex walked in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by a pinch runner.

On other news, Minky uses the Miami Vice them–the old one from the TV show–as his at bat music. Don’t know if he picked it or if the scoreboard department did. And someone must have read my column from the other day… several people updated their at bat music. Derek Jeter added Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” which seems a truly weird choice for him but it’s got a cool riff.

Jorge Posada hit a home run off Rays righthander Jae Kuk Ryu. The amusing thing to note about this homer is that the first two swings he took, on the first two pitches, Jorge looked about as awful as a hitter can. He worked the count full though, and then tagged the next offering hard, just fair, and just hitting the top of the wall to go out for a dinger. I am guessing that once he had seen all the kid’s pitches, he picked up something that tipped him off to what was coming on the one he walloped. Jorge’s good like that.

And we got a look at Juan Miranda, the Cuban defector. he has a dangerous, slugger-like demeanor at the plate. Meaning that when he worked the count to 3-2 with the bases loaded and two out, everyone got excited. And that it was perfectly in character that he then struck out.

And then there were fireworks, paid for by the Yankees, for the simple fact that it was Friday night. The pleasures of the spring are simple ones.

(Did you enjoy reading this blog entry? Please consider buying me a hot dog.)

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