NEW YORK -- Mr. October sauntered over to talk to
"A-Rod's going to have a good series," Reggie declared.
Truth be told, that is exactly what he says every year.
"I didn't know in the past what he was going to do. I was just hoping he'd catch lightning in a bottle those other times," Reggie said.
That's what he says every year, too.
"He just looks good now," Reggie continued, undaunted. "He's ready to go."
Lets' just say Jackson's batting average as a player was higher than his batting average when it comes to Rodriguez. But this time, Rodriguez does appear looser. He hasn't been the center of attention all season, and he has seemed noticeably happier to those around him.
Rodriguez deflects questions that are about him to talk about the team, a la
"He has come with a different mentality,"
"He seems relaxed. He seems focused out there,"
"He seems very comfortable since he's been back,"
When the game started, at first it was the same old October A-Rod. He flied to right in the first, stranding Jeter at second base and thus making it 0 for 19 in his last 19 postseason at-bats with runners in scoring position. Then he whiffed in the third inning with
The strikeout was especially bad. Twins starter
But in the fifth inning, Duensing tried to slip a low fastball past Rodriguez, and he lined a run-scoring hit to left field. The 0-for-19 and 0-for-29 streaks were broken.
And then in the seventh inning, Rodriguez stroked a
Jackson was in a very good mood. That is until he saw Twins pitcher
"Why would he wear my number?" Jackson said, observing Pavano across the field. "That's not good."
Pavano, who did wear Jackson's No. 44 in Cleveland, actually wears No. 48 for the Twins.
The crowd presumably didn't take offense at that number but booed him lustily in pre-series introductions. (If any number bothers the fans, it's got to be that $39.95 million figure.)
Pavano has managed to win more games this year than in his four years in New York. And he will start Game 3 of this series, although the Twins still haven't quite officially announced it. Maybe they think mere mention of his name will rile up the Yankees.
The Twins are amazing. To erase a seven-game deficit in September is incredible. And to do it without injured slugger
Smith mentioned how just about everyone else came up through their minor-league system. He pointed out one executive --
Smith listed every facet of the organization, and mentioned how consistent they all are. But "first and foremost," Smith said, "It's the players."
"The players, they never quit," Smith said. "They are high-quality players and high-quality human beings. The represent us well on and off the field. We couldn't be prouder."
When it was mentioned to Cuddyer that the oddsmakers are making the Twins a 5-1 underdog in this series. Cuddyer said, "I'm sure the odds were even more astronomical at the beginning of the month for us to still be here. But we don't really go by what other people think."
Few expected the Twins to beat the Mets to the postseason after Minnesota traded
"You really can't say it was an even trade because Johan is one of the best pitchers in the game," Gomez said. "But Minnesota got what it needed, an outfielder to replace
Posada is still a big-time threat with the bat, so this is a real gamble on Girardi's part. But Posada made Girardi's call to go with Molina in Game 2 look better when he committed two passed balls in the first four innings. He whiffed on two high pitches from Sabathia, and he worsened the situation the second time by failing to locate ball, as his catching counterpart
Posada said they were both cross-ups, with the first one his fault and the second one CC's fault. The communication between Posada and Burnett has been an issue this year. So Girardi made the gutsy call.
• The Yankees noted that a key to Sabathia's success Wednesday in Game 1 here was "backing him off" in September. But while he threw less this September than last September, he actually threw about 90 more pitches this September than in September of 2007 with Cleveland
• The Mets copped out firing bench coach
• By the way, Johnson probably won't be making a return to New York. While the Mets will look at free agent first baseman, and Omar Minaya had Johnson with the Expos, the Mets are shying away from injury-prone players.
• The four players with the longest tenure who entered the season with no playoff experience all played on teams with winning records. But all still failed to make the playoffs. They are