Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ike could be out until All-Star break

Citi Field- A re-examination of the bone bruise in Ike Davis' left ankle has given the Mets a less optimistic prognosis than before. Davis will regress to wearing a boot on his left foot for the next three weeks and will not attempt to run during that time, the Mets announced Tuesday. He will be sidelined almost certainly for all of June, perhaps even until the All-Star break.

"Gee, I would hope that's a little long," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "But I'm not a physician. I'm not in the business of making predictions."

After Davis was unable to run last week on his injured left ankle, the Mets flew him to New York for a re-evaluation. The result, Alderson said, was not necessarily a new characterization of the injury, but an updated timetable for the first baseman's return.

Davis can still play catch and swing a bat, but cannot field ground balls or run.

"There's still a hot spot," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to pretty much shut him down from any kind of activity."

"The idea is to take pressure and load off that bone and allow it to heal," Alderson said.

When Davis first hurt his ankle three weeks ago during an infield collision with David Wright, the Mets classified his injury as both an ankle sprain and a bone bruise. The sprain has since healed, Alderson said, but the bone bruise has not.

"If you look at the replay, it was ugly, Collins said. "That ankle got in a bad position, and I'm sure that bone driving down on that side like that was more serious obviously than we first anticipated."

Despite already missing three weeks with the injury, Davis still ranks second on the Mets with seven home runs and 25 RBI. In his continued absence, Daniel Murphy and Nick Evans have been splitting time at first base.

One frame turns Dickey's night into a loss

Citi Field- Turns out R.A. Dickey's injured right foot was just fine. But his health alone was not quite enough.

In his first start since partially tearing the plantar fascia in his right foot, Dickey was sharp early before fading during an eighth-inning rally, dropping the Mets to a 5-1 loss to the Pirates at Citi Field on Tuesday.

After firing seven shutout innings and giving up just two hits, Dickey ran into his first serious trouble of the evening in the eighth. After Ronny Cedeno led off the frame with a single, Dickey got the next two batters out on a popup and a strikeout, but then hit Jose Tabata to put runners on first and second. Josh Harrison followed with an RBI single to right field and advanced to second on Carlos Beltran's throw, with Tabata moving to third. Following an Andrew McCutchen walk, Neil Walker put the Pirates ahead for the first time with a two-run single to center, plating Tabata and Harrison.

The late rally spoiled what had been a spectacular performance by Dickey. Striking out a career-high 10 batters, the knuckleballer allowed a leadoff double to Tabata in the first inning then mowed down the next eight Pirates hitters in order. After Tabata walked and Harrison singled with two outs in the third, Dickey proceeded to retire another 13 in a row leading up to the winning rally.

He allowed five hits, two walks and one hit batsman in total.

But the Mets provided Dickey with minimal offensive support, scoring their only run against Pirates starter James McDonald on Jason Bay's RBI infield single in the first. Lasting six innings, McDonald struck out five batters, walked two and allowed six hits.

Dickey had to leave his previous start against the Cubs after partially tearing the plantar fascia in his right foot, a painful condition that temporarily required him to use a walking boot and crutch. But the knuckleballer tested his foot in a bullpen session this week and the Mets deemed him healthy enough to pitch.

The Mets are now 1-1 playing without three of their best hitters in the lineup: starting shortstop Jose Reyes, who is on the bereavement list, and corner infielders David Wright and Ike Davis, who are on the disabled list.

Reyes may miss week on bereavement list

Citi Field- The Mets lost another crucial piece of their lineup on Monday, when shortstop Jose Reyes was placed on the bereavement list following the death of his grandmother in his native Dominican Republic. Reyes is expected to be out for three to seven days, forcing the Mets to plot a path without the services of their leadoff hitter.

New York is already without injured regulars David Wright and Ike Davis, and adding Reyes to the list of the missing -- even temporarily -- gives manager Terry Collins yet another challenge to overcome. Youngster Ruben Tejada will likely fill in at shortstop for Reyes over the next few days, and to take Reyes' roster spot, the Mets activated right-handed reliever Bobby Parnell from the disabled list.

"With Jose out of the lineup for a few days, we've really got to rally around each other," said Collins. "We've got to understand that it's going to take everybody that's on that bench and in that lineup to get the job done. It's a group of good guys. They like each other [and] they support each other. I don't know if I've been around a group of guys that support each other as much as these guys do.

"There have been times where I've taken a guy out and put a pinch-hitter in, and the guy I took out is the first one to say, 'Hey, go get them. Get a hit here. Pick me up.' And that's the mentality here."

Reyes isn't just New York's leadoff man, he's been its hottest hitter of late. Reyes leads the Major Leagues with 26 multihit games and 76 hits, and he also has the best home batting average (.398) of any player in either league. He's hit .459 (17-for-37) in his last eight games, and the Mets will juggle their lineup for the best possible effect.

Willie Harris was slotted as the leadoff man against the Pirates on Monday, with Angel Pagan remaining in the heart of the order.

"He's been the catalyst, certainly, of this club -- probably the entire year," said Collins of Reyes. "This is a huge loss for us, even for three or four or five days, whatever it's going to be. It's hard to replace him. I know that Ruben will play great defense. And no disrespect to Willie -- we're going to lead him off, and hopefully he has a big night tonight, which would be great -- but it's pretty hard to replace a guy that can do the things Jose does on a daily basis. We're just going to do the best we can."

A's looking to keep Yankees in ballpark

Oakland- The A's have the lowest ERA in the Majors and have given up only 30 home runs this season. The Yankees have out-homered the next-closest team by 20, with 49 percent of their runs coming via the home run.

On Monday, the Yankees got a win over the Athletics' vaunted pitching staff with a 5-0 victory. On Tuesday, Oakland left-hander Brett Anderson (3-4, 2.84 ERA) looks get the best of New York's offense and Freddy Garcia (3-4, 3.26 ERA) and tie the three-game series.

"It's a really good test this series and the next when you have two high-powered offensive teams in the Yankees and the Red Sox," A's manager Bob Geren said prior to Monday's series opener. "What you need is to throw strikes and keep the pitch counts down so they don't wear you down, and try to keep the ball in the park. The Yankees have scored the majority of their runs on home runs, and it's almost impossible to say don't let the other team get a homer.

"But the thing you try to do is limit the baserunners in between, in case they do knock one out of the park. You want to make as many of them as you can solo, but obviously try to avoid them altogether, but minimize baserunners for teams like that."

The A's hope Anderson is the Yankees' kryptonite, as the left-hander has allowed just one home run this month and only four this season (three of which came in one start on April 30). Meanwhile, the Bombers have homered in 41 of the team's 52 games this season.

Although Anderson has allowed only two homers to current Yankees batters -- Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira -- he has struggled in his career against New York, going 0-3 with a 4.68 ERA in four starts. The 23-year-old left-hander is coming off one of his best starts of the season, holding the Angels to only three hits in eight shutout innings on May 26.

Backing New York's potent offense is Garcia, who has been impressive in eight starts. The 34-year-old has posted two consecutive quality starts and three in his past four outings. On Wednesday against Toronto, Garcia earned the victory, holding the Blue Jays to three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Yankees: Teixeira goes deep again
With his two-run first-inning home run Monday, Teixeira continued his impressive hot streak and now has homered in seven of his last 11 games. During that stretch, Teixeira is hitting .261, with 16 RBIs and nine runs scored. Eleven of his last 16 homers have come with men on base.

  • Despite Monday's 5-0 win, the Yankees have lost four of their last six series openers, going 9-10 in such games overall.

Athletics: Geren happy with progress
Monday's loss snapped Oakland's four-game winning streak, during which it had recorded double-digit hits in each victory. Still, before Monday's game, Geren said he was pleased with how his club was playing.

"We're starting to put things together," Geren said. "Our pitching, our defense, our offense seem to be jelling at the same time. It's good timing when you have a series against the Yankees, followed by the Red Sox. It's a good test for us right now."

  • The A's now are 3-1 on their current six-game homestead.

Worth noting
  • Jeter is hitting .429 (6-for-14) in his career off Anderson, while Teixeira is batting .500 (6-for-12), with six RBIs against the lefty.
  • Yankees catcher Russell Martin was scratched from Monday's game with soreness in his big left toe.
  • Monday's loss snapped a three-game Memorial Day winning streak for the A's.

Depleted Mets hope to support Dickey

Citi Field- Despite leaving his last start after just 2 2/3 innings with a partially torn plantar fascia, R.A. Dickey will take the mound for his scheduled start against the Pirates on Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Mets, Jose Reyes won't be backing him up at shortstop.

While the Mets received good news after Dickey pitched a successful bullpen session Sunday and completed agility exercises Monday, Reyes was informed of the death of his grandmother after entering the clubhouse Monday. Reyes was placed on the bereavement list, meaning he will miss at least three days, but more likely will miss the rest of the week.

With David Wright (back) and Ike Davis (ankle) already on the disabled list and Reyes now out of the lineup, Dickey's quick recovery is a welcomed treat for the Mets.

"If it would've been an issue, I'd have to speak up," Dickey said. "But having thrown my bullpen [session on Sunday] and done some stuff [Monday] -- and recovered well from [Sunday's] bullpen -- all the signs point to the fact that it's going to be getting better as we go along here. [Tuesday] should be no different."

Dickey is 1-0 in two career starts against the Pirates, including allowing just one run in a complete-game win on Sept. 14, 2010. Just one day before that, however, the Pirates' James McDonald, who will start opposite Dickey on Tuesday, hurled eight shutout innings against the Mets, but received a no-decision in New York's 1-0, 10-inning victory.

Though McDonald struggled to open the season, giving up 21 earned runs over his first four starts, he has allowed just a total of 10 over his last six starts. As a whole, Pirates starting pitchers have posted a 3.01 ERA over their last 31 games, in which the team has gone 15-16.

"Well, it's a combination, but it starts on the mound," manager Clint Hurdle said of the pitching staff's success. "The ball's in their hands -- if they're not throwing strikes, it breaks down from that point. We're throwing strikes, we're throwing quality strikes. Catchers are calling good games, and pregame planning has been very good."

The improved pitching this season has also helped the team offensively, Hurdle said. By limiting the opposition on the scoreboard, the Pirates have been in position to win more games than in years past if their offense produces.

"Our guys on offense know that, you know what, every day we take the field they feel confident we're going to have a shot to win the game by what those guys are doing," Hurdle said. "It's up to them to carry their share of the load, as well."

The Pirates have surprised some, entering this set in New York having already won seven road series -- matching the amount they won in the last two seasons combined -- but the Mets haven't gotten off to the start they had hoped for. They came into the series below .500 and struggling to stay out of last place in the National League East.

While manager Terry Collins said he stressed coming out of the gates strong in Spring Training, he isn't necessarily disappointed in the team's 25-28 start because of the amount of games key players have already missed this year.

"It's not where I wanted to be," Collins said. "If you'd have told me come Memorial Day we'd be three or four games under .500, I wouldn't have believed it. But knowing what we've had to go through, these guys have picked it up pretty good. They've battled through some really tough things."

Pirates: Final frames not usually a factor
The first six innings have been a pretty good indicator of the final result in Pirates games this year, as Pittsburgh is 21-3 when leading after six, just 1-23 when trailing and 2-2 when tied. The team has also not blown a ninth-inning lead this season, going 22-0 when leading after eight innings.

Mets: Reyes' departure hits home
Reyes' absence comes at an especially poor time for the Mets, with the team in the midst of playing 10 straight games at Citi Field, where the shortstop has excelled all season. His .398 batting average at home is the highest home batting average of any player, and he also leads all players with eight triples at home and has recorded at least one hit in 21 of the team's 25 games at Citi Field.

Worth noting
  • With Monday's loss, the Pirates fell to 0-8 all-time at Citi Field.
  • Pirates reliever Daniel McCutchen entered Monday night having given up just one earned run in 22 1/3 innings. He gave up two earned runs in just one-third of an inning Monday in picking up the loss.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Colon hurls complete-game gem vs. A's

Oakland- There were some shrugs when Bartolo Colon showed up this spring and tried a Yankees uniform on for the first time, carrying memories of what he used to be and no guarantees for the future.

Flash forward a few months, and the Yankees can't imagine where they'd be without him. Colon continued his amazing comeback on Monday with a complete-game four-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory over the A's.

"Especially from a guy who hadn't been in the league for a couple of years, he's really exceeding our expectations," said Mark Teixeira, who homered for the fourth time in five games. "If we didn't have him in our rotation, we'd be scrambling right now."

What could the Yankees have promised Colon, out of baseball since 2009 and admittedly out of shape, back under the Florida sun? They knew his resume as an American League Cy Young Award winner and a perennial strike-thrower, but those glory days seemed to be behind him.

Colon continues to prove everyone wrong, recapturing his old form and perhaps even improving on it. The A's consistently flailed at everything the 38-year-old fired their way, walking none and striking out six in a 103-pitch masterpiece.

"It doesn't matter if I'm 38 years old," Colon said through an interpreter. "I feel really good right now. The only difference is that I throw more strikes now. I used to throw harder. Now I throw more strikes."

Sporting Stars & Stripes Memorial Day caps, the Yankees provided Colon with all of the support he'd need in the first inning, getting to Trevor Cahill for three runs. One would have been enough.

Derek Jeter led off the game with a single, his 2,981st career hit. The captain was aboard when Teixeira went into the right-field seats for a two-run shot, his 16th of the season.

Robinson Cano followed an Alex Rodriguez walk with a run-scoring double to right-center field before being cut down on an outfield assist rounding second base.

Against an Oakland lineup that has less homers (30) than Teixeira and Curtis Granderson (16) combined, the lead held up, even as Cahill settled in and limited the Yankees to a hit over the next six innings.

They could thank Colon, who worked efficiently against a punchless A's lineup in front of a sellout crowd at the Coliseum. Oakland manager Bob Geren didn't even search for answers, only compliments.

"If the guy was average and really didn't have much and shut us down, then you maybe want to think a little more about what happened," Geren said. "But their guy was exceptional today."

Josh Willingham owned the hardest-hit ball off Colon, a second-inning double that pelted the wall in right-center. Oakland wouldn't have another baserunner until Kevin Kouzmanoff singled in the sixth.

In the eighth, Kurt Suzuki legged out an infield hit and was promptly erased on a double play.

Girardi said it was an easy decision to leave Colon in to try for his first complete game since July 5, 2006, when he was pitching for the Angels at Seattle.

"He told me he had two more [innings] in him," Girardi said. "I said, 'Well, I don't want to go two more. I want this to be it.' He said he was great, and we were going to send him back out."

Girardi had yanked Colon two turns back in the rotation, when he had shut down the Orioles on 87 pitches through eight innings in Baltimore, and paid the price when closer Mariano Rivera blew the save.

Given a five-run cushion thanks to sacrifice flies off the bats of Jeter and Francisco Cervelli, Girardi barely bothered to communicate with his bullpen this time, letting it sit dormant.

Even after Cliff Pennington opened the ninth with a double, this one was Colon's all the way. Why not? Colon was still pumping the strike zone in the mid-90's.

"That has always been his trademark, even when he was with Cleveland and the Angels," Girardi said. "I don't know if you necessarily expect it with all the innings he's logged and all the injuries that he's went through, but that was in his DNA."

Colon has now made eight starts and has 66 1/3 innings under his belt, so it seems valid to wonder if this magic ride can continue all season. Even if not, the Yankees are loving it while it lasts.

"He should be well rested," Jeter said with a grin. "Bartolo's never had issues with his stuff. He wasn't healthy there for a while. As long as he's healthy, I don't see any reason why he can't produce."

After his first Yankees win back on April 20, Colon stood in the visiting clubhouse in Toronto and glowed about how thankful he was to be carried on the roster, promising to bring home his spikes as a souvenir of a long-awaited turn on center stage.

As David DeJesus popped a fly ball for the final out, the burly hurler's game face melted into a goofy grin. The roles have reversed. These days, it is Colon who seems to be carrying the Yankees.

"I just thank God that I'm healthy, and I'm helping the team to win," Colon said.

Gee stays unbeaten as Mets pounce on Bucs

Citi Field- The Mets continued their charmed run with their lone rookie in the rotation Monday, when three of their seven runs scored without the ball leaving the infield.

Catcher Josh Thole delivered a key two-run double late in New York's 7-3 win over Pittsburgh, and the Mets scored four unanswered runs to remain unbeaten in Dillon Gee's seven starts this season.

Gee held the Pirates to three hits in the first six innings Monday, and he got some good fortune to earn the victory. Pittsburgh had tied the game in the seventh -- with Gee crossing the 100-pitch threshold -- but he got out of the inning on a caught stealing. Thole then pushed the Mets back ahead with a two-run gap double in the bottom of the seventh.

The Mets briefly fell behind in the second inning on a two-run home run by Bucs catcher Chris Snyder, but they would never trail again. Daniel Murphy started the tying rally in the second with a single and came around to score on a strikeout and a passed ball, and Ruben Tejada drove home the tying run with a nubber in front of third base.

The Mets (25-28) would get even more help in the fifth, when they loaded the bases on a hit batsman and two singles. That brought Angel Pagan to the plate with one out, and he hit a potential double-play ball up the middle. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno made a lunging stop but couldn't complete a glove-flip to second base, allowing the run to score.

Gee (5-0) set a career high for strikeouts (eight) en route to the victory. The right-hander held the Pirates (24-28) to three hits in the first six innings, and two of them came in the second. Gee retired nine straight batters after the Snyder home run -- five on strikeouts -- and has now completed at least five innings in the first 12 starts of his big league career.

New York peppered Charlie Morton for 11 hits in six innings, but none of them went for extra bases. Morton had won three of his previous four decisions and came into the game with a 2.17 ERA in May. Tejada -- starting in place of veteran Jose Reyes, who went on the bereavement list on Monday -- finished the game with a career-high three hits.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yanks' two-out magic plenty for CC

Safeco Field, Seattle- The Yankees had been unable to spark anything against the Mariners' bullpen all weekend, so they left nothing to chance on Sunday, getting to the starting pitcher instead.

The Yankees battered Jason Vargas for six runs in the first three innings, offering CC Sabathia plenty of cushion as they cruised to a 7-1 victory at Safeco Field, salvaging the finale of a three-game series.

"We needed it badly, because we had a chance to win all three here," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "To not win the first two was disappointing for us, but we talk about turning the page. Our guys did that."

Seattle's relievers had fired nine scoreless innings in the first two games of the set, including five after ace Felix Hernandez was knocked out of Saturday's extra-inning affair.

A quick sleep later, the Yankees pounced on Vargas, using five hits and four walks to chase the left-hander early. By the afternoon's end, every Bombers starter would log at least one hit for their $161 million ace.

"We've got our big boy on the mound," said Nick Swisher, who belted a second-inning homer to start the offense. "You feel like if you get more than two runs, you feel like you're going to win the ballgame."

New York batted around in a five-run third inning that saw each run cross the plate with two outs. Andruw Jones contributed the big hit, clearing the bases with a three-run double to right field.

Robinson Cano also had an RBI single, and Eduardo Nunez knocked in Jones with his first career triple.

"To come in and get this game was huge," Jones said. "CC pitched really good and we gave him some runs right away. We let him settle down and go about his business."

Vargas seemed overmatched, turning in the shortest start of his career.

"You can't let those type of hitters see that many pitches in that short a time," Vargas said. "They've got a lot of the best players in the game."

On the way to his third consecutive winning start, Sabathia had no problems with the output.

"These guys score a lot of runs for me," said Sabathia, who has averaged 6.83 runs per game over his 12 starts. "I've got no complaints. I don't think anybody's realized it yet, but I know."

The Yankees had their bullpen tattered by A.J. Burnett's five-inning start on Friday and Saturday's 12-inning affair, so there was a demand on Sabathia to go deep into the game and erase some potential headaches.

"I don't think about it," Sabathia said. "I don't try to put any extra pressure on myself. I want to go out and pitch a good game every time out, no matter what."

The left-hander held the Mariners scoreless into the sixth inning, when he fell behind Justin Smoak.

Challenging the first baseman with a 3-1 fastball, Sabathia lost his shutout bid as Smoak's drive landed beyond the left-field fence.

Otherwise, Sabathia was stellar, including pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth inning by getting Ichiro Suzuki to bounce back to the mound for a key 1-2-3 double play.

"I think it's big for him. It's big for us as well," Girardi said. "If you don't turn the double play, the pitch count continues. You're trying to get a lot of distance out of him today."

Ichiro has gotten the best of Sabathia plenty of times in the past, owning a 21-for-62 (.338) success rate against him, so Sabathia was more than a little jazzed by getting the desired results with that cutter.

"It's the fifth inning, so there's still a lot of game left," said Sabathia, who showed emotion despite the lopsided 7-0 score at the time. "You want to keep the damage at a minimum, and we were able to not let them score, so that was huge."

Sabathia wrapped up after eight innings, allowing just the one run on five hits, walking three and striking out five.

"He just knows how to pitch," Girardi said. "He knows when he has to give us distance -- he knows what he has to do. He just takes it upon himself that he's going to go out and do it for you."

Mark Teixeira also had an RBI double in the fourth off Jeff Gray, helping the Yankees remain sweepless in Seattle for every three-game series since Aug. 26-28, 1996.

"One of the great things that we have the ability to do is to put runs up very fast," Swisher said. "We've got a great lineup, top to bottom, and and any time you've got a guy like CC on the mound, you feel good."

Mets jump out early, cruise past Phils in finale

Citi Field- After wasting eighth-inning leads on consecutive nights, the Mets made sure they had a more than adequate cushion in Sunday's series finale against the Phillies.

With four runs in each of the first two innings, the Mets backed Jon Niese and removed much of the suspense early en route to a 9-5 win over Philadelphia. With the victory, the Mets avoided a three-game sweep by the first-place Phillies at Citi Field.

By the bottom of the third, every Mets position player had a base hit. Eight of the team's first nine runs came with two outs.

The Mets (24-28) scored their first run off Vance Worley on a Jose Reyes triple -- one of two by the shortstop Sunday -- and an RBI groundout by Justin Turner. After a flyout and back-to-back singles, Worley induced a ground ball and should have escaped with only one run allowed. But shortstop Jimmy Rollins booted an Angel Pagan grounder. That error scored Jason Bay and preceded the RBI singles by Josh Thole and Ruben Tejeda that gave the Mets a four-run lead after one inning.

The Mets doubled that lead in the second, all with two outs. After Turner grounded out, the next five Mets batters reached safely. Carlos Beltran doubled and went to third on a Bay single before scoring on a Daniel Murphy single. Pagan added another run by singling home Bay. Thole, who has recently lost playing time to Ronny Paulino, doubled home two before getting thrown out trying to reach third.

Niese had little trouble with a Philadelphia lineup devoid of the team's most imposing bats. Following Saturday night's game, the Phils rested first baseman Ryan Howard, second baseman Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz. With center fielder Shane Victorino on the disabled list, Niese faced an opponent tailor-made for a rebound start.

Niese, who gave up six runs Tuesday against the Cubs in Chicago, did not disappoint. In 6 1/3 innings, Niese allowed only an unearned run, struck out six and walked four. After throwing a career-high 122 pitches, he made way for the Mets' bullpen with his team up eight runs.

Sunday's game was played with only three umpires. Wally Bell, slated to work first base, missed the game for an undisclosed reason. John Hirshbeck, the crew chief, manned home plate as scheduled, and Laz Diaz and Scott Barry worked the bases.

Mo takes loss as Yanks lament missed chances

Safeco Field, Seattle- The losses that come with Mariano Rivera walking off the mound often go down this way, with a ball hit just well enough that it finds a safe patch of outfield grass to land on.

Adam Kennedy was the one providing the ending on Saturday, knocking in pinch-runner Luis Rodriguez with the winning run in the 12th inning to lift the Mariners to a 5-4 victory over the Yankees at Safeco Field.

"It was the game," Rivera said. "I made good pitches and the ball found places. You can't do [anything]. I wish we'd still be playing, but it's done."

The loss resides next to Rivera's name in the box score, but the Yankees knew better.

After wrestling a lead away from Felix Hernandez in the seventh inning, four Seattle relievers silenced their bats until the end of a four-hour, 18-minute grind that ended well after most New Yorkers had retired to bed.

"They've been throwing a lot of strikes," said Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano. "They've been pitching really well. You can see their ERAs. They're really good and you've got to give them some credit."

In the decisive 12th, Justin Smoak got aboard with a one-out single before leaving for the pinch-runner, and Jack Cust followed with a well-hit double into the left-field corner.

"You can't defend that. There's no excuses," Rivera said.

An intentional walk loaded the bases for Kennedy, who won it with a shallow looper to center field.

"I'm trying to survive," Kennedy said. "You know what's coming. That's my second hit off him ever and the other one was just the same. It's not easy."

David Pauley was the last of Seattle's relievers on Saturday, hurling two scoreless innings for the win. The Yankees have gone quietly over nine frames against the Mariners' bullpen in the series.

"It's been two nights in a row we haven't scored on them," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought we had a couple of chances, we hit some balls hard. We just didn't score."

Hernandez struggled early, serving up a solo homer to Cano in the second inning and a two-run shot to Mark Teixeira in the third.

"They were waiting a little bit, but after the third they started hacking," Hernandez said. "I made two mistakes with fastballs to Cano. That was right in the middle. And Teixeira, too. I fell behind and you pay."

He settled in, but the Yankees were able to get him to cough up a one-run lead in the seventh.

With Derek Jeter aboard, Granderson belted a drive to right field that Ichiro Suzuki pursued oddly, leaping on the warning track and missing the ball entirely. Granderson charged to third base as Jeter scored the tying run easily.

It was an interesting night for Jeter, who had two hits and is now 21 away from becoming the first player in a Yankees uniform to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.

Jeter also used the evening to reach another statistical milestone, logging his 327th career stolen base in the third inning, surpassing Rickey Henderson for the most in franchise history.

That was all book-keeping in the end. As he watched from the clubhouse, Ivan Nova took responsibility.

Down, 3-1, after three innings, the Mariners took the lead with three runs in the fourth, knocking Nova out.

"I feel bad about that," Nova said. "I had the lead twice in the game and I can't hold on. I don't feel happy with that."

Franklin Gutierrez started the fourth with a bad-hop single that ate up Jeter, and Kennedy doubled to set up Miguel Olivo's game-tying, two-run double.

Nova also uncorked a wild pitch and allowed the go-ahead hit, a Brendan Ryan RBI single, before leaving.

"I don't have really good command today, but I've got to find another way to fight and stay in the game," Nova said. "I'll try to do better next time."

Girardi said that he would have liked to see Nova challenge hitters more. The righty allowed five hits in 3 2/3 innings, walking three and fanning one.

"You have to be able to throw strikes," Girardi said. "This is a ballpark where there aren't a lot of home runs hit. I think you can be more aggressive in this ballpark and attack the strike zone. That's what he has to do."

You couldn't pin it on the Yankees' bullpen. Hector Noesi performed admirably in relief, holding the Mariners scoreless over 2 1/3 innings of two-hit ball.

Dave Robertson struck out the side in the seventh. Joba Chamberlain hurled two scoreless innings and Boone Logan faced the minimum in the 10th before Luis Ayala set the Mariners down in the 11th.

Ultimately, even as Kennedy's humpback off Rivera rolled past Granderson and was abandoned in center field, the Yankees had to look back at the early innings as the turning point.

"It's frustrating," Girardi said. "We had leads in both of the games and weren't able to hold them. We gave free baserunners and it hurt us."

Worley hopes to draw on success vs. Mets

Citi Field- Vance Worley may be starting in only his fourth game of the season Sunday, but it's against one of the team's he's had success against -- the Mets.

In his first start of the season on April 29, Worley threw six innings, giving up no runs on two hits for the win. He also walked four and struck out five.

Worley, who is taking Joe Blanton's spot in the Phillies' rotation while he recovers from elbow inflammation, struggled with his command in Tuesday's start against the Reds.

In five innings, the righty gave up three runs on five hits, while walking four and striking out three for the no-decision.

"Every start matters. Everything counts," Worley said. "I just want to have the best stuff I can to help them out and give us a chance to win."

Meanwhile, Mets starter Jon Niese is hoping to have better luck with some home cooking. Niese is 0-2 this season with a 6.97 ERA against the Phillies, yet both starts came at Citizens Bank Park.

In his last start Tuesday against the Cubs, Niese didn't get much help behind him. The Mets committed three errors, leading to four unearned runs for Chicago.

The righty took the loss, giving up six runs (two earned) on seven hits in five innings. Niese also walked one and struck out five, moving his record to 3-5 with a 4.33 ERA.

Mets manager Terry Collins sees the series with the Phillies as an opportunity to play one of the best teams in the game.

"You've got the team in town that's won the division [four years in a row]," Collins said. "You're playing one of the best teams in the game. I think you've got to get fired up.

"I think it's a great game for the fans to come and see. It's not very often that you see as good a pitching staff as they run out there. And with some of the premier players in the game. Two MVPs sitting in the lineup. Two Cy Young Award winners. Pretty good."

Phillies: Lidge pitches in extended spring training
Phillies right-hander Brad Lidge threw 24 pitches in an extended spring training game Saturday in Clearwater, Fla., striking out one and giving up one hit.

On the disabled list with a strained right posterior rotator cuff, Lidge is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday, and the closer hopes to be back in the Phillies' bullpen before the end of June.

  • Outfielder Scott Podsednik has been added to the Phillies' Triple-A Lehigh Valley roster. The Phillies released outfielder Cory Sullivan to make room for Podsednik on the roster after he signed a Minor League contract.

Mets: Options being considered for Dickey
While R.A. Dickey threw on flat ground Saturday and remains confident that he can pitch in his next start, fielding duties could be a problem.

"It's not just the pitching side of it," Collins said. "There are other things you have to do. And one of those is cover first. If he can't get over and cover first base, you end up making the game more difficult for yourself. So, there are some parts of this game, that if he can't do it, to give him a day or two extra, I don't think is going to hurt us."

Dickey, who suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot in Chicago on Thursday, is confident he can pitch through the pain when his turn comes up Tuesday against Pittsburgh.

  • Ike Davis took batting practice on the field in Port St. Lucie, Fla., but still is not running. Collins has no timetable on when that will be.
"I'll be more encouraged when I hear he starts running. I don't care if it's sideways," Collins said. "He hasn't run yet. Until they tell me he can run 90 feet straight, then I can start to look encouraged about what's the next step."

Worth noting
  • Phillies starters entered Saturday's game with 313 strikeouts and six complete games to lead the big leagues.
  • Cole Hamels' 10 strikeouts in Saturday's game marked a season high.
  • The Mets are 9-6 in their last 15 games at Citi Field, and overall are 10-14 at home.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pelfrey, 'pen falter late in loss to Phillies

Citi Field- For the second straight start, Mike Pelfrey waited until the very end of his outing to see a Mets lead disappear. This time, he had help from the bullpen.

Pelfrey, who started an eight-run inning against the Yankees on Sunday, combined with three relievers to squander an eighth-inning lead in a 5-2 loss to the Phillies on Saturday night.

The Mets, who touched up Cole Hamels for six runs in Philadelphia on April 5, scored only two against the Phillies left-hander Saturday. After Jason Bay knocked in Jose Reyes as the Mets' second run, Hamels retired 13 of the final 14 batters to face him, including the last 11. The lefty finished with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

Pelfrey, who had allowed 11 runs in 6 1/3 innings in two previous starts against the Phillies, fared much better Saturday. He allowed a run in the fourth on doubles by Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez, but had escaped otherwise unscathed when he exited the game after allowing a single to Jimmy Rollins on his 116th pitch.

Then lefty Mike O'Connor and the Mets' bullpen faltered. O'Connor allowed Rollins to steal second and score on a game-tying single by Utley. Jason Isringhausen then entered the game and walked Placido Polanco before being relieved by another lefty, Tim Byrdak, who served up the decisive two-out double to Ryan Howard.

Early on, the Mets looked as if they would run their way to victory. Reyes stole two of the Mets' season-high five bases and scored both of their runs. Rollins has scored five times in the first two games of the series, which ends Sunday afternoon.

In the bottom of the first, Reyes doubled and stole third before scoring on a single by Justin Turner. In the third, Reyes singled, stole second and moved to third on a fly ball before scoring on an RBI single by Jason Bay.

The Mets now have eight steals in their two games against Hamels this season. In his nine other starts, Hamels has allowed only three stolen bases.

Weekday and Weeknight Service Advisories

All times until August 2011

Bronx-bound 1 trains skip Dyckman St.

All times thru June 2011
Manhattan-bound 1 trains skip 238 St.

10:30 AM to 3 PM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3

241 St-bound 2 trains run express from 3 Av-149 St to East 180 St.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information,  read station signs.

12:30 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3

No 3 trains running – Free shuttle buses and 2 trains provide alternate service.

Take free shuttle buses to/from 148 St, 145 St and 135 St.

Take the 2 for service to/from 3 stations between 135 St and Times Sq-42 St.

12:01 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3

Downtown 4 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Brooklyn Bridge.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information, read station signs.

6 AM to 9 AM, Mon to Fri, until August 2011

Manhattan-bound AM Rush Hour 5 service operates at a reduced frequency between Nereid Av and East 180 St. Take the Manhattan-bound 2 and transfer to the Manhattan-bound 5 express at East 180 St.

10:30 AM to 3 PM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3
Dyre Av-bound 5 trains run express from 3 Av-149 St to East 180 St.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information, read station signs.

4 PM to 7:45 PM, Mon to Fri, until August 2011
Dyre Av/Nereid Av-bound PM Rush Hour 5 express trains run local from 3 Av-149 St to East 180 St.

All times until October 2011

6 trains skip Elder Av and St Lawrence Av.
Note: Free shuttle buses provide service overnight.

12:01 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3
Downtown 6 trains run express from 14 St-Union Sq to Brooklyn Bridge.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information,  read station signs.

12:01 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3
6 service is extended to Bowling Green.

10:30 AM to 3 PM, Wed and Fri, Jun 1 and 3

Manhattan-bound 7 trains run express from Willets Point to Queensboro Plaza.

Trains stop at Junction Blvd and Woodside-61 St.
All times until June 2011

Manhattan-bound A trains skip Beach 36 St and Beach 60 St.

11 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3
Uptown A trains run express from 59 St to 125 St.

12:01 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3
Brooklyn-bound A trains run via the F line from West 4 St to Jay St-MetroTech.

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information,  read station signs.

All times until Fall 2011

Manhattan-bound B trains skip Avenue M and Avenue H stations.

11 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3

Downtown D trains run local from 34 St-Herald Sq to West 4 St.

11:30 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3

Manhattan-bound E trains run express from Roosevelt Av to Queens Plaza.

All times until 12:01 AM Mon, Jun 20, 2011

Manhattan-bound F trains skip Smith-9 Sts.
G trains stop at Smith-9 Sts.

10 AM to 3 PM, Tue and Wed, May 31 – Jun 1
Manhattan-bound F trains run express from Avenue X to 18 Av.
Trains stop at Kings Hwy.

11 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3
Uptown F trains run express from West 4 St to 34 St-Herald Sq.

11 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3

No G trains between Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts and Church Av.
A and F trains provide alternate service via Jay St-MetroTech.

11 PM to 5 AM, Tue to Fri, May 31 – Jun 3
G service operates in two sections:

1. Between Court Sq and Bedford-Nostrand Avs.
2. Between Bedford-Nostrand Avs and Hoyt-Schermerhorn Sts, every 20 minutes.

To continue your trip, transfer at Bedford-Nostrand Avs.
11 PM to 12 midnight, Tue to Thu, May 31 – Jun 2

Uptown M trains run express from West 4 St to 34 St-Herald Sq.

12:01 AM to 5 AM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3

No N trains running between Manhattan and Queens. Use 7 service, via Times Sq- 42 St and Queensboro Plaza.

N service operates in two sections:

1. Between Queensboro Plaza and Ditmars Blvd.
2. Between 57 St-7 Av and Stillwell Av .

This service change affects one or more ADA accessible stations. For help with planning your trip, please call 718-330-1234 from 6 AM to 10 PM. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, use the free 711 relay or your preferred relay service provider to contact us. For more information, read station signs.

10 AM to 3 PM, Wed to Fri, Jun 1 – 3
Coney Island-bound N trains run via the D line from 36 St, Brooklyn to Stillwell Av.
Trains run express, stopping at 9 Av, 62 St and Bay Parkway.

All times until Fall 2011

Manhattan-bound Q trains skip Avenue M and Avenue H stations.

'Bad Tipper' Strauss-Kahn has food, patio furniture delivered; turns away balloons

Dominique Strauss-Kahn stocked up for a long Memorial Day weekend at "Chez Perv" yesterday -- receiving orders of water, food and patio furniture while stiffing one of the deliverymen.
"They never tip," said a sweaty Danny Cotto after dropping off a box from Espresso Coffee at around 6 p.m. at the luxe TriBeCa town house.

The former International Monetary Fund chief, confined to 153 Franklin St. while awaiting trial on sex-assault charges, appears to be worried about his waistline while under home confinement.

He took in a six-bag grocery order that included healthy fare like boneless, skinless chicken breast, Lean Cuisine meals and Crystal Light.

He also took delivery of nine cases of Poland Spring water -- a slap in the face to his Evian-sipping countrymen who have so vehemently defended him.

Later in the day, one of the attempted-rape suspect's security guards was seen hauling in three umbrellas large enough to shade his gnarly hide from the sun when he's on his rooftop deck.

Strauss-Kahn -- out on bail while facing charges he sexually assaulted a maid at Midtown's Sofitel hotel two weeks ago -- filled his cupboards amid a circus-like day at his $50,000-a-month crash pad.

At about 11:45 p.m., a messenger showed up at his door with six balloons, including one shaped like a shark, but was rebuffed by the moneyman's handlers as the camped-out media snapped pictures.

"Someone inside said he didn't want it," said the slightly confused worker, whose bosses at Balloon Saloon got the order from an anonymous person.

A few hours later, three men dressed like rabbis knocked on his door in hopes of observing Friday Sabbath services with Strauss-Kahn, who is Jewish. They, too, were told to go away.

"We tried to bring something for Shabbat," said one of the men, who all declined identify themselves. "We do our duty, what we have to do."

Strauss-Kahn started the day by stepping out of his home and heading to the doctor -- one of the few places he is allowed to go.

It was not disclosed why he needed medical attention, but the disgraced monetary honcho was spotted visiting a physician at a building on East 70th Street.

His daughter, Camille, showed up at the home later in the evening,

Meanwhile, a French publication reported yesterday that one day after Strauss-Kahn's arrest, the Obama administration handed over a detailed report on the case to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Le Figaro said the disclosure was highly unusual, because French diplomats never ask for information about an arrested citizen, so as not to appear like they are interfering in the case.

But the paper said the White House took the step on its own in an effort to prevent any tensions with France over the arrest ahead of last week's G-8 summit in Deauville.

Weather Report

Yanks put prolific offense to test against King Felix

Safeco Field, Seattle- Get ready for a showdown in Seattle.

The Mariners have won nine of their last 11 games and have staff ace Felix Hernandez heading to the mound against the Yankees in the second game of their three-game series on Saturday.

New York boasts one of the most prolific offenses in the game, but Hernandez has pitched well against the Yankees during the last two seasons. Really well.

Hernandez is 4-0 with a 0.51 ERA with three complete games in his last four starts against New York since Sept. 18, 2009. He is also on a roll, coming off a career-high-tying 13 strikeouts against the Padres in his last outing.

"It seemed like whenever we matched up against him last year, he was dominant," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Hopefully that's not the case this year because we're going to see him in three different series. His stuff is just really good and sometimes you match up against some teams better than others. For whatever reason, we haven't hit him."

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira respects Hernandez but is not intimidated by him. Teixeira is hitting .298 with three home runs and six RBIs in 47 at-bats against the hard-throwing right-hander.

"To me, he's the perfect pitcher," Teixeira said. "You've got a guy who throws hard, the ball moves, can hit the corners with three different pitches and his breaking stuff is so good that you just hope he makes a mistake. He's one of those guys that you have to hit his mistakes because if he makes his pitch, you're not going to get many hits off him."

Teixeira knows of what he speaks. Hernandez has struck him out 12 times.

"I remember pretty vividly the first time I faced him," Teixeira said. "I was with Texas. He was 19. I went back to the dugout saying, 'Oh, my goodness, this kid is special.' It feels like he's been around forever, but he's still young."

The Mariners defeated the Yankees, 4-3, on Friday to even their record to 25-25. It's the first time the club has a .500 record or better since it was 2-2.

"It feels pretty good for the whole team," Hernandez said. "We've been doing a great job, not just the pitchers, but the hitters and defense. We're playing good baseball. It feels great."

Ivan Nova starts for the Yankees on Saturday.

Yankees: Jeter, Granderson successful vs. Felix
Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter are on the short list of Yankees who have had continued success against Hernandez. Granderson has 11 hits in 34 at-bats against Hernandez, a .324 batting average. Jeter is hitting .304 against him (7-for-23).

"There's been games where I have some success and games where he's completely dominated," Granderson said. "It's been an even mix of baseball. One day he's got it, one day a little less. When he's on, nobody can hit him."

Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher are hitting .214 and .235 against Hernandez, respectively.

"[Hernandez] can throw any pitch at any time and he's got more than one swing and miss," Girardi said. "He can locate his fastball -- we've seen it as hard as 97, 98 -- and he's got a good curveball, a good slider and a great changeup. It's not like you can say, 'When he gets ahead of me, this is what he's going to do.' He can get you out a different way each at-bat."

Mariners: Gutierrez a big lift to Seattle
The Mariners are 6-0 in games Franklin Gutierrez has started and 7-0 in games in which he has appeared this season.

  •  Third baseman Chone Figgins was given the day off Friday, but will be back in the lineup Saturday night in his normal No. 2 spot in the lineup.

Worth noting
  • Major League Baseball made an official scoring change after an appeal by the Mariners, crediting Ichiro Suzuki with a hit instead of a fielder's choice on a ground ball behind second base in the second inning of last Sunday's game at San Diego. That change means Ichiro went 2-for-5 and Seattle finished with 16 hits.
  • Saturday's game is Fight Hunger Night at Safeco Field, with Mariners fans asked to donate cash or non-perishable food items to Northwest Harvest at any gate as they enter the park.
  • Rodriguez is riding a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .429 with seven runs, three home runs with five RBIs and five multi-hit games in his last 10 games.

Hamels hopes to conquer Citi Field

Citi Field- It's gotten significantly better for Cole Hamels since he last faced the Mets.

Hamels' 2011 season got off to a horrid start, as the Phillies left-hander gave up six runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings against the Mets in his first start of the year. Since getting booed off the field that night in Philadelphia, Hamels (6-2, 3.06 ERA) has been one of the game's best pitchers, tossing eight quality starts in his last nine outings. The 27-year-old lefty comes into Saturday night's matchup in New York on the heels of back-to-back wins, tied for second overall in the National League in victories.

Hamels' personal win streak could come to end Saturday, however, as his last start against the Mets was no aberration. Hamels is 2-9 with with a 4.35 ERA in 14 starts against New York in his career, including going winless in seven combined starts at Shea Stadium and Citi Field. Carlos Beltran (10-for-33) and Scott Hairston (6-for-17) have each hit three home runs off the left-hander.

To oppose Hamels, New York sends right-hander Mike Pelfrey (3-4, 5.37) to the mound. Pelfrey is 6-5 with a 5.25 ERA against in 15 career starts against the Phillies, two of which came this season. On April 6, Pelfrey gave up seven runs (six earned) in two-plus innings, and then allowed four runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings against New York on April 29.

Those outings came during a rough April for Pelfrey, in which he went 1-5 with a 7.39 ERA in six starts. Pelfrey has been significantly better in May, going 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA in four starts, and he credits his turnaround to pitching more to contact.

"I've been very aggressive in the strike zone and almost forcing contact," Pelfrey said. "Getting ahead of guys, and when you get ahead of guys, you're usually successful in getting them out."

While most baseball experts would quickly say Hamels has the edge over Pelfrey on the mound, Pelfrey has had success against the left-hander at the plate. Pelfrey is 3-for-6 against Hamels, with a double and an RBI, but waved away the notion that he has had the better of Hamels.

"I don't have success against anybody as a hitter," Pelfrey said. "I'll try to close my eyes and swing as hard as I can. Hopefully I can find a gap."

Saturday will be the first time Hamels steps into the batter's box against Pelfrey.

Phillies: Offense stays hot
Chase Utley hasn't produced much offense in his first five games back from the disabled list -- hitting only .167 -- but his return sure has sparked the Philadelphia offense. Since Utley's return on Monday, the Phillies are batting .286 (59-for-206) with 22 extra-base hits and seven homers. They also have scored 34 runs in those five games.

  • Right-hander Brad Lidge (strained right posterior rotator cuff) is scheduled to pitch one inning in an extended spring training game Saturday in Clearwater, Fla.

Mets: Streak ends
The RBI single by Philadelphia's Domonic Brown on Friday not only gave the Phillies the eventual win, but also snapped Francisco Rodriguez's 20-inning scoreless streak. Rodriguez's streak was the longest active in the Majors. Although Rodriguez took the loss Friday, the blown save went to Jason Isringhausen. That means Rodriguez's streak of converting 15 straight save opportunities -- the second longest of his career -- is still intact.

  • There is still no set timetable for the returns of David Wright and Ike Davis, but general manager Sandy Alderson said Friday both players could possibly return during the team's current 10-game homestand.
"I think that's feasible," Alderson said. "I'd say it's very possible."

Worth noting
  • Ryan Howard is batting .412 (14-for-34) with three homers against Pelfrey, while Utley is hitting .300 (9-for-30) with four homers against the right-hander.
  • The Mets are 9-5 in their last 14 games at Citi Field.
  • Friday's 6-4 win broke a four-game road losing streak for Philadelphia.

Staten Island teens banned from prom after vandelizing school property

There hasn't been this much prom-night carnage since "Carrie."

A Staten Island Catholic high school has pulled prom privileges for one-quarter of the graduating class after the pranksters Facebooked a night of vandalizing and drinking on school property.

The Moore Catholic HS students spent the night of May 5 on the football field guzzling beer, overturning equipment and spray-painting the word "seniors" -- often misspelled -- and images of male genitalia, parents said.

In response, Principal Douglas McManus deprived 50 of the Graniteville school's 170 seniors of their big night.

"Originally, they were going to cancel the prom outright, but when they figured out who was behind it, they decided to just suspend those students," one parent said. "Vandalism is a crime, and there deserve to be consequences."

Another said, "Maybe they should be banned from the prom just for not being able to spell."

When the principal broke the news, "it was complete chaos," said senior Ashley Diaz, 18, who was not among those suspended. "Everyone was fighting. Everyone was blaming each other."

Some students panicked because of the thousands of dollars they spent on their dresses that would go to waste.

Others apologized to school officials, and pleaded to be banned from the graduation ceremony, instead.

Although she agrees with the punishment, Dina Campitiello, whose two daughters were banned, said not all the students deserved the same harsh treatment. She says her daughters did not take part in the boozing and vandalism.

"This was a stupid prank the kids did," she said. "The kids know they did something wrong."

Campitiello, whose family owns the Excelsior Grand catering hall in New Dorp, helped organize an alternate prom for those suspended.

"Not all of the kids were drinking or doing graffiti," she said. "So I wanted them to have a prom, too."

The alternate prom will be held next Wednesday at the same time as the official one.

Brooklyn Boy killed by family dog

A pet dog last night mauled a 4-year-old child to death in his family's Brooklyn home -- ripping open his neck as his mother screamed in horror, authorities said.

Jayelin Graham was pronounced dead on arrival at Brookdale hospital shortly after frantic rescue workers arrived at the family home at 2169 Pacific St. in East New York at 9:15 p.m..

"That little boy looked like a rag doll," said one woman who saw little Jayelin taken from his third-floor apartment. "The dog ripped the baby's throat out."

Police said the child suffered bite wounds to his head, neck and torso.

The child's 24-year-old mom was speaking with police at the 73rd Precinct early today, though there was no indication charges would be filed in the case.

In addition, several youths were also taken into custody in a tussle with cops in the aftermath of the horrific attack.

The family dogs were taken away in cages from the four-story brick building.

One was a German shepherd and the other was a pit bull that appeared heavily sedated. They were turned over to animal control officials(picture).

Police sources said just one of the pets mauled the little boy.

Jayelin had a 2-year-old and 5-year-old brother who also lived with their parents -- and a menagerie of pets that included two parrots, several parakeets, a rabbit, a turtle and fish.

Early this morning, an impromptu, candle-filled memorial sprang up outside the home.

Neighbors described a nightmare of screaming and confusion in the wake of the sickening attack.

"I heard screaming -- oh God there was screaming," said a woman who lives with her 9-year-old next door to Jayelin's building. "But I couldn't hear the words. I thought someone was getting beaten up."

Several people were arrested at the scene "for unrelated reasons," a spokesman for the NYPD said.

Neighbors, however, complained that five youths, all in their 20s, were rounded up and were only trying to help the distraught family after the vicious attack.

"The whole 73rd Precinct had to be out here," said a shocked resident, Shanna Stewart.

Another resident said she witnessed one of the youths being pushed against the building door so hard his head went through a glass window.

Girardi: Collisions at plate 'part of the game'

Safeco Field, Seattle- Like everyone else, Joe Girardi winced when the Giants' Buster Posey absorbed what might prove to be a season-ending hit on Wednesday, but the Yankees manager isn't sure if rules changes need to be made.

Girardi caught for 15 seasons in the big leagues and said that putting your body in harm's way -- the way Posey did with the Marlins' Scott Cousins at San Francisco's AT&T Park -- is just part of the gig.

"I was always taught a certain way to block the plate and protect yourself," Girardi said. "Sometimes you get vulnerable as a catcher. I had a separated shoulder, I had a broken nose, but I always thought it was just part of the game.

"When you're playing in a competitive spirit, you're playing for a lot."

One change Girardi would like to see implemented, however, is to disallow collisions between baserunners and catchers in exhibition games. In 2008, Girardi was furious when the Rays' Elliot Johnson collided with Francisco Cervelli, fracturing the young backstop's wrist.

"Definitely eliminating it in Spring Training, I think that makes a ton of sense," Girardi said. "There's no reason to have someone hurt in Spring Training when the games don't count on your record."

Mark Teixeira has been on the other side of several violent collisions, including a hard hit on Jorge Posada in 2006 at the old Yankee Stadium and one last April on the Angels' Bobby Wilson.

Teixeira said that no one wants to see players hurt, but hitting catchers is part of the game, and telling charging baserunners to go against what they have been taught for years could be damaging as well.

"Look at Josh Hamilton," Teixeira said. "When you try to do something out of your comfort zone at home plate especially, you have a guy with armor that's sitting there and is solid.

"If you try to get around them or slide awkwardly, you're going to get hurt as a runner. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just curl up, put your shoulder down and hope that you knock the ball loose."

Mets reinstate outfielder Angel Pagan from the disabled list

The New York Mets today announced the team has reinstated outfielder Angel Pagan from the 15-Day Disabled List and has selected the contract of righthanded pitcher Dale Thayer from Buffalo (AAA) of the International League. To make room on the active roster for Pagan and Thayer, the Mets have optioned outfielder Fernando Martinez to Buffalo and have designated lefthanded pitcher Pat Misch for assignment. Thayer will wear #46 and will be available for tonight's game.

Pagan, 29, hit .159 (11-69) in 19 games with the Mets before the team placed him on the 15-Day Disabled List on April 22 with a strained left oblique. The switch-hitting outfielder appeared in eight games with St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League during his major league rehabilitation assignment and hit .226 (7-31) with one home run and two RBI.

Thayer, 30, pitched in 20 games with the Bisons prior to his selection, compiling a 2-0 record with four saves, a 2.05 ERA (six earned runs/26.1 innings) and 25 strikeouts. The 6-0, 180-pound native of Fountain Valley, CA, made one appearance for Tampa Bay last season and allowed six earned runs in 2.0 innings (27.00 ERA). He pitched in 11 games out of the Rays bullpen in 2009, recording his only career save and compiling a 4.61 ERA (seven earned runs/13.2 innings). For his career, he has not recorded a decision and has a 7.47 ERA (13 earned runs/15.2 innings) in 12 major league games.

Martinez, 22, appeared in nine games with the Mets and hit .250 (5-20) with a home run and two RBI after the team recalled him on May 12 from Buffalo.

Misch, 29, made six relief appearances out of the bullpen for the Mets, winning his only decision and pitching to a 10.29 ERA (eight earned runs/7.0 innings).

Trip gets off to bumpy start for Yanks, 'pen

Safeco Field, Seattle- The Yankees' bullpen was lauded as an unquestioned strength heading into the season, but it was their weak spot on Friday in the opener of a nine-game road trip.

Clinging to a one-run lead heading to the sixth inning, two Yankees relievers frittered it away. A pair of soft run-scoring groundouts eased them along to a 4-3 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field.

"We had a chance to win tonight and that's disappointing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Whether it's the first game or the ninth game of the road trip, that's disappointing."

The Yankees' frustration was evident in the face of Eduardo Nunez, who pinch-ran in the eighth inning and pulled off a daring steal of second base, only to be picked off representing the tying run.

"I feel bad. It's a big play in the inning," said Nunez, who was nabbed by Jamey Wright. "The tying run is me. To get picked off, I feel so bad. It happens."

Nick Swisher didn't have a much better night. Swisher belted a deep drive to center field in the fourth inning that seemed like a sure bet to snap his prolonged offensive funk.

He never saw Franklin Gutierrez leap against the outfield wall and bring the ball back for an out. The look of amazement on the face of Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan told Swisher everything he needed to know.

"No chance. I hit that ball really well," Swisher said. "What are you going to do? He looked like Michael Jordan out there on that play."

That helplessness seeped into the bullpen as well. A.J. Burnett needed 97 pitches to get through five innings, so Girardi wanted Boone Logan to get an out before Luis Ayala got the ball to the later innings.

Burnett said he still had a little something left in the tank, but he couldn't argue with the call.

"Those guys in the bullpen are there for a reason," Burnett said. "A lot of walks [five] and I'm sure the 97 pitches had a lot to do with it."

Logan once again couldn't fulfill his assignment, as Adam Kennedy pounced on a hanging slider, the 11th hit that Logan has surrendered to a lefty in 32 at-bats.

Ayala allowed a single to Miguel Olivo and then issued a four-pitch walk to Carlos Peguero, setting up RBI at-bats for Ryan and Ichiro Suzuki.

Ryan bounced a ball to shortstop that was too slowly hit to turn a double play, tying the score, and Ichiro followed with a RBI grounder to shortstop that gave Seattle its first lead of the evening.

"You just find a way to push them across," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "Our guys did a good job keeping them in the middle of the field. That's the separator right there. If you're hitting those balls to the corners, you're not going to score those runs."

The silent rally made a winner out of David Pauley, who hurled two scoreless innings after promising starter Michael Pineda was hit for three runs in five frames.

Seattle had scored twice off Burnett, who knew that he'd sealed his own fate by needing to wriggle free of self-created jams too often.

"I was 3-1, 3-2 on a lot of hitters," Burnett said. "At the same time, I was able to get out of it here and there. It definitely was the deciding factor in coming out, walks and a high pitch count."

It might have been a different decision, Girardi allowed, if both of the Mariners' runs off Burnett hadn't come in the fifth on RBI groundouts by Luis Rodriguez and Justin Smoak.

As Girardi knows all too well, the crop of relievers he has on his lineup card isn't exactly what he thought would be there this spring, but they must make do with few reinforcements available.

"Some guys are going to be expected to do a little bit more, that's the bottom line," Girardi said.

The Yankees saw flashes of the 22-year-old Pineda's promise but were able to run up the right-hander's pitch count and get him out after five innings.

"He had trouble with the strike zone," Girardi said. "I thought our guys were patient off him and did a good job off him. He hasn't given up a lot of runs."

Mark Teixeira accounted for New York's first run in the first, belting his 14th homer.

In the fifth, Pineda uncorked a nasty breaking ball that Alex Rodriguez waved at, but it skipped away for a wild pitch that scored Curtis Granderson standing up.

Booed as usual during his return visits to Seattle, Rodriguez then dropped an RBI single in front of a sliding Gutierrez, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

"Growing up in the Dominican, I think he heard all about the Yankees and saw all those highlights, so he was pretty excited," catcher Olivo said of Pineda. "I think he was overthrowing the fastball. But for five innings, they still only had three hits and that's amazing."

Pineda used 96 pitches in the effort, his 10th big league outing, walking five and striking out five.

"We heard a lot about him coming in," Swisher said. "I thought we did a great job getting his pitch count up. We just kind of let it slip away from us. It's a tough loss to take."

Mets' bullpen can't contain Phillies late

Citi Field- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson often stresses that in baseball, outcomes are unpredictable. His task, and the task of the team, is simply to increase the probability of success.

Such was the goal of manager Terry Collins on Friday, when he removed his effective starting pitcher, Chris Capuano, after six innings and 78 pitches. He could not have foreseen the bullpen chain reaction that resulted, ending in Francisco Rodriguez's ninth-inning implosion in a 6-4 Mets loss to the Phillies.

"I understand at that point in the game, runs are kind of at a premium," Capuano said. "We're trying to score some runs there. It was a short conversation. I obviously still felt good, hadn't thrown many pitches, but he's managing to win the game right there."

There is no telling how things might have turned out had Collins not removed Capuano after six. Though the left-hander struck out eight Phillies batters on the night -- including the last two he faced, Ryan Howard and Ben Francisco -- Collins replaced him with pinch-hitter Willie Harris with a man on second and two outs in the sixth. Harris then grounded out on the second pitch Phillies starter Roy Oswalt threw him, ending the inning.

But even three innings later, as the Phillies circled the bases, Collins could not regret it -- the manager had played to win. He could not have envisioned that after Jason Isringhausen gave up the game-tying run in the eighth, Rodriguez would serve up consecutive singles to Carlos Ruiz and pinch-hitter Ross Gload with one out in the ninth. Nor could he foresee that the next batter, Domonic Brown, would hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to the right side of the infield, where it would squirt under first baseman Daniel Murphy's glove for a game-winning single.

"Frankie pitched well enough to get out of it," said Murphy, who was attempting to turn an inning-ending double play. "I've got to make that play. That was a bad play."

The Phillies scored two more insurance runs off Rodriguez before Tim Byrdak entered and quelled the rally. Half an inning later, with the tying runs on base, Murphy then hit into a game-ending double play of his own.

"I was just trying to have a good at-bat," he said. "That wasn't a very good one."

Afterward, the Mets attempted to soften the blow by leaning on the past. They spoke of how Murphy has held his own defensively in the absence of Ike Davis, framing Friday's misplay as an aberration. They talked about how Rodriguez has been close to untouchable at the back end of the bullpen, often putting runners on base but rarely letting them score. They noted that Isringhausen has been nearly as good.

"The only thing we found out today is that the guys at the end are human beings," Collins said. "They have pitched so well."

Rodriguez, for his part, had not allowed a run since April 14. He entered Friday's play with a scoreless streak of 19 2/3 innings, the longest active stretch in the Majors.

"Obviously, it's disappointing," Rodriguez said. "But hey, I'm a human being. It wasn't my day."

"He was getting behind in the count," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He'll come at you. He'll make you beat him. But usually when he's really good, he doesn't get behind in the count. He's in charge."

For the Mets, Rodriguez's struggles produced a sour end to a game that once seemed so promising. In front of 33,882 fans, the largest home crowd they had seen in three weeks, the Mets took a late lead on Justin Turner's RBI single in the seventh inning, plating Jose Reyes (who scored three times in total).

In his first game back from a month-long stint on the disabled list, Angel Pagan rapped out two hits, stole a base and scored the game-tying run in the sixth. And the Mets even received positive news earlier Friday regarding starter R.A. Dickey, whose injury prognosis improved from grim to manageable.

Perhaps it all would have ended differently had the Mets stuck with Capuano, who -- for much of the night -- looked as sharp as he had all season. Perhaps not. The competitor in Capuano wanted to keep pitching; the teammate in him understood the decision. Scuffling to score in recent weeks, the Mets entered Friday's play averaging 2.7 runs per game over their previous nine games.

They already had two against Oswalt, one of the league's best pitchers, with a chance for even more.

Collins saw the opportunity -- the tiniest of cracks -- for what it was. He gauged it as a risk worth taking.

"When we've gotten in situations, we've had trouble scoring," the manager said. "I thought, 'Hey look, if we're hitting this guy, let's take advantage of it right now. Let's see if we can push that other run across, because the back end of our bullpen has pitched good."

Behind the News with Bill Ritter

Writen by Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter(Friday)

May 27, 2011- He was just getting a slice of pizza. Nothing extraordinary - in fact, more than ordinary. William Johnson, standing at the counter of a fast-food joint, ordering a slice.

But that counter was the wrong place, and he happened to be there at the wrong time.

And now this 16-year veteran of the Newark Police Dept. is dead.

A father of two. A cop - yes. But he wasn't killed in that capacity. He was just an ordinary guy, caught, perhaps, in a shooting that was targeting someone else. One of the three people who were shot last night.

Another violent night in Newark.

Nothing extraordinary - in fact, more than ordinary.

This is a story that unfolded less than an hour before we went on the air last night. It was unclear whether Officer Johnson was off-duty, or undercover, and also unclear whether he was the target. We were told only that he was in critical condition, but that it didn't look good for him.

It's just all so profoundly sad. We'll have the search for the killer tonight at 11.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg leads our Memorial Day holiday weekend coverage. From the getaway to the weather - which, by the way, looks pretty great. Bring on summer.

Meanwhile, Pres. Obama returns from his European tour and will spend part of this holiday weekend in Joplin, Missouri, leading a memorial service for the victims of that deadly tornado that wiped out half the city. Vice President Biden will be in Southampton, enjoying the beach.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Pakistan where U.S. officials have reportedly listed five militant Islamic leaders that they expect Pakistan to offer intelligence about - and perhaps target. They include Al Qaeda's number two, Ayman al Zawahiri, and the Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

The news seems to validate reports that the U.S. believes Pakistani officials have been providing aid and comfort to terrorists - including Osama bin Laden before the U.S. raided his compounded and killed him.

And finally at 11, a nasty situation at a cemetery run by the Catholic Diocese in Brooklyn. A mother, who now counsels young people ever since her own daughter committed suicide, is now furious at the cemetery because it removed a small statue of an angel from her child's tombstone.

And when our Nina Pineda tried to solve the woman's grievance with the cemetery, a manager of the facility kicked Nina and the mother off the property. Kicked them off from visiting the woman's daughter's gravesite. It's an emotionally packed 7 On Your Side tonight.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20. And a note about this column: We won't be emailing one out on Monday, Memorial Day. We're working - but we figure you might not be. See you next Tuesday.

Weekend Bridge and Street Closures – May 28-30

59th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Manhattan will be closed from 7 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday to facilitate utility and trunk water main work by the Department of Design and Construction. Motorists should use 2nd Avenue southbound or 58th Street eastbound to access the lower level of the Queensboro Bridge.

The following streets in Manhattan will be closed on Saturday:

  • The following streets will be closed from noon to 2 pm for the Federation of Turkish American Day Parade: 51st Street between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue; 52nd Street and 53rd Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue; Madison Avenue between 53rd Street and 47th Street; 47th Street between Madison Avenue and 1st Avenue.
  • Lexington Avenue between 42nd Street and 57th Street will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the 17th Precinct Community Council Lexington Avenue Spring Festival.

The following streets will be closed on Sunday:

  • Lexington Avenue between 34th Street and 23rd Street in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the Bellevue South Community Association Lexington Avenue Jubilee.
  • Broadway between 72nd Street and 86th Street (west side only) in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the 24th Annual Livable West Side Festival.
  • 8th Avenue between 39th Street and 49th Street in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the 8th Avenue Spectacular.
  • Erasmus Street between Lloyd Street and Nostrand Avenue and Nostrand Avenue between Erasmus Street and Foster Avenue in Brooklyn will be closed from 1 pm to 5 pm for the Haitian American Day Parade.

The following streets in Queens will be closed from 1 pm to 3:30 pm for the United Veterans and Fraternal Organization of Maspeth Parade:
  • Grand Avenue between 73rd Street and Maspeth Avenue
  • Maspeth Avenue between Grand Avenue and 61st Street
  • 61st Street between Maspeth Avenue and 56th Drive
  • 56th Drive between 61st Street and Perry Avenue
  • Perry Avenue between 56th Drive and Borden Avenue (LIE service road)
  • Borden Avenue (LIE service road) between Perry Avenue and Grand Avenue
  • Grand Avenue between Borden Avenue and 69th Lane
  • Grand Avenue between Queens Midtown Expressway and 69th Lane.

The following streets in Queens will be closed from 2 pm to 4 pm for the College Point Citizens Memorial Day Parade:
  • 28th Avenue between Ulmer Street and College Point Boulevard
  • College Point Boulevard between 28th Avenue and 26th Avenue
  • 26th Avenue between College Point Boulevard and 120th Street
  • 120th Street between 26th Avenue and Graham Court
  • Graham Court between 120th Street and College Point Boulevard
  • College Point Boulevard between Graham Court and 5th Avenue
  • Poppenhusen Avenue between 5th Avenue and 119th Street.

The following streets will be closed on Monday:

  • Madison Avenue between 42nd Street and 57th Street in Manhattan will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the Madison Avenue Community Expo.
  • 3rd Avenue between 87th Street and Marine Avenue, Marine Avenue between 3rd Avenue and 4th Avenue, and 4th Avenue between Marine Avenue and 101st Street in Brooklyn will be closed from 11 am to 1:30 pm for the United War Veterans Memorial Day Parade.
  • Broadway between Crescent Street and 47th Street in Queens will be closed from 11 am to 6 pm for the Broadway Merchants Professionals Association Festival.
  • 71st Street between Cooper Avenue and Myrtle Avenue, Myrtle Avenue between 71st Street and Cypress Avenue, and Cypress Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Madison Street in Queens will be closed from 11 am to 1 pm for the Allied Veterans Memorial Ridgewood and Glendale Parade.
  • Father Capodanno Boulevard between Sand Lane and Greeley Avenue and Sand Lane Loop and Father Capodanno Boulevard between Greeley Avenue and a dead end on Staten Island will be closed from 9 am to 11 am for the Staten Island Advance Road Race.
  • Forest Avenue between Clove Road and Marianne Street on Staten Island will be closed from noon to 3:30 pm for the United Staten Island Veterans Parade.
The times listed for closures for street fairs are for the actual times of the street fairs themselves. The streets may be closed longer to allow for set-up and breakdown. Street fair organizers are generally permitted to begin set-up at 8 am and breakdown must be completed by 7 pm.

This information will be available on the DOT web site at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/motorist/wkndtraf.shtml.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Behind the News with Bill Ritter

Writen by Eyewitness News anchor Bill Ritter

May 26, 2011- An exciting day here at Eyewitness News. Adding an hour of daily news coverage will tend to raise the excitement level.

And that's what we're doing today. First at 4 O'clock is both the name of our newscast and a venture into uncharted airtime.

We have been following The Oprah Winfrey Show for the past 25 years. Until today.

Now, it's a new newscast.

So that's what's happening as I start this column, looking ahead to our 11 p.m. newscast. And it's been a day filled with breaking news.

We're following reaction to the acquittal today of two New York cops on charges that they raped a drunken woman they were supposed to be helping. It took the jury 7 days to find the cops not guilty of rape, and convict them of official misconduct.

It took NYPD Commissioner just minutes to decide to fire the officers.

We knew that when the jurors took so long to reach a verdict, it was likely a good verdict for the cops. Although facing at least a year in jail or prison isn't a piece of cake for police officers. But the jurors questions and their lengthy deliberations seemed to point to a hung jury or outright acquittal on the rape charges. We'll have the latest on the outcome, tonight at 11.

There's another rape story we're working on - two women attacked by the same rapist in Jersey City. Cops there say they know who their suspect is, thanks to his surveillance picture aired on TV newscasts. And they're now looking for him.

And another suspect wanted in New Jersey - this time for carjacking, and the murder of a Marine, in between deployments to Afghanistan. He was going to tell his family this weekend that his wife was expecting their first child.

Cops say they know who the suspect is, and he's considered armed and dangerous.

We're also following the arrest of Ratko Mladi, Europe's most wanted criminal and the man responsible for the three-year slaughter of men, women and children in the Bosnian war. He directed the worst genocide in Europe since World War II - with Sarajevo, the once beautiful Sarajevo, getting hit the hardest.

And we're taking a closer look at the things people do at work - that are not work related. There was a time when the biggest worry for most employers was workers taking pens. Then it became employees spending too much time on personal email. Now the big worry is workers chatting it up on social networking sites. Talk about while-awaying the hours. Lisa Colagrossi has our story tonight at 11.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (summer's here, at least unofficially), and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

Tiki comparing self with Anne Frank just dispicable

Writen by NY Post columnist Mike Vaccaro

Tiki Barber never did have a terribly helpful internal editor. It's what made him a classic locker-room lawyer as a player, polarizing in his smugness. It's what caused his downfall at NBC, where he asked to be judged not as an ex-jock but as a journalist, and when those grades came in his grade-point average resembled Bluto Blutarsky's.

Now, there is this.

Now, in the same issue of Sports Illustrated in which Fred Wilpon spoke about how much money his team is hemorrhaging, in the same week Wilpon made like Michael Corleone, bloodily settling all family business, Barber -- in what clearly was intended to be a positive story (sound familiar?) -- explained his life after he left his pregnant wife, Ginny, taking up with his 23-year-old girlfriend, Traci Johnson.

Barber told SI's L. Jon Wertheim that he and Johnson decided to escape the media scrutiny by moving into the attic of Mark Lepselter, Barber's agent.

"Lep's Jewish," Wertheim quotes Barber, "and it was like a reverse Anne Frank thing."

Yes, read that again. Not a typo. That's what he said.

It's remarkable: Barber has a gift for saying exactly the wrong thing almost every time he opens his mouth.

He has gone on an extensive media rehab tour as he makes his ballyhooed return to the NFL -- a comeback that in itself is admirable, because he clearly left an awful lot of football on the table when he retired at the close of the 2006 season.

Now this? Really? He really thought it was a good idea to compare holing up with his paramour, hoping to ward off Page Six, to the two-year plight of the Frank family hiding from the Nazis -- a story, by the way, that ended with Anne's death from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp?

It's staggering, is what it is. Think about this: Think about what the reaction would be if any of the white named plaintiffs in the NFLPA's antitrust lawsuit -- Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, for starters -- decided to compare their plight to Dred Scott's?

How would that go over?

Really, by this point, nothing should surprise us when it comes to Barber, who throughout his public life has been disingenuous at best and downright phony at worst, who never has had problems offering his dim views on everything from Tom Coughlin's coaching to Eli Manning's leadership. Those observations were merely silly and ill-conceived.

This is something else. Something worse. Something much worse.