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The Lohud Yankees blog has reported that the Yankees have agreed to terms with first round pick Cito Culver.  Culver is currently a high school senior and cannot sign on the dotted line until after he graduates this weekend.

Lohud is reporting that Culver has backed out on his committment to attend the University  of Maryland opening the door for him to sign with the Yankees.

So what if 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park?  Major League Baseball thinks Kansas City is more deserving of the All Star game in 2012 because they, well, exist.  Commish Bud Selig announced yesterday that the Kansas City Royals would host the 2012 mid-summer classic.

Kansas City had been promised an All-Star game in 2006 after KC voters approved a financing plan to pay for renovations to Kaufmann Stadium.  The Stadium re-opened in 2009 boasting millions in improvements, including a giant big screen to rival that at the new Yankee stadium.

Now that the renovations have been completed, it appears Selig is following through on his promise to award KC with the game, despite what he said were “compelling” reasons to hold the game in Boston.  If you feel that the All-Star game was just at Fenway, you’re right.  The last game there was held in 1999.

If I was a Red Sox fan I would probably be upset by this, but at the end of the day, I think Selig made the right decision.  Boston (and New York) get a lot of extra benefits that most teams don’t because of who they are and how much their tradition means to the game of baseball.  Despite this, it was right for Selig to follow through on the promise he made to the people of Kansas City.  Plus, you cannot hold an all-star game in the same place twice in 13 years when there are 30 clubs in the league.  It has to be somewhat fair.

Still, I like to see Red Sox fans in a huff about this.

My in-laws were in town visiting this week, so the wife and I took them down to the Bronx for their first visit to the new Yankee Stadium.  We elected to take the Metro-North train down for the convenience, and as always, the train was packed, but easy and on-time, making the trip very smooth.  This time we skipped the trip to Stan’s for some beers before the game – we didn’t think the in-laws would enjoy the packed-like-sardines bar.

It was Military Appreciation Day at the stadium, so we hustled into the stadium for the show.  The Army Golden Knight Parachute team parachuted into the stadium in quite a grand fashion  Here are some pictures:

We had left home in pouring rain with hopes that the forecast of no rain for the Bronx would hold true.  Fortunately, it did.  We were able to make it through the entire game and the trip home with no rain.

The game was electric.  It featured two home runs by Derek Jeter and an extremely exciting grand slam by Jorge Posada.  Despite having attended over 25 Yankee games in my life (more than the average fan, less than the average blogger) I have never witnessed a Yankee grand slam live.

The game was also abnormally quick for Yankee games – a mere 2 hours 36 minutes.  We were on the train on our way back home by 4:10.  Usually we are still in the 8th or 9th inning at that time.  Overall, the game was a great time.

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Its a strange, unintended effect of Interleague play in baseball – you end up rooting against the league you favorite team is in.  On Sunday as it appeared the Yankees would win, I was rooting for the Marlins to beat the Rays and the Phillies to top the Red Sox.  Go National League!

I’ve always liked the Interleague portion of the schedule.  The Yankees are able to play teams it typically rarely ever sees in a non-playoff setting.  Prior to the Yankees sweep of Houston this past weekend, I couldn’t remember the last time the two teams played.  Over the next two weeks, the Yankees will face off against their opponents from last season’s World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies, the NY Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Dodgers series, in two weeks, will pit the Yankees against their former manager, Joe Torre.

Interleague provides a little extra spice to a long baseball season.  Although I think the National League needs to get with it and start using the DH, it is fun watching Yankees pitchers hit, or rather, try to hit.  Plus, the fun of seeing teams you don’t usually see is a good attraction to interleague play.  After this year, the Yankees won’t face the Dodgers or Diamondbacks for years.

It does surprise me that teams from the same division will end up playing different teams.   It’s kind of unfair.  Tampa, Boston and the Yankees all get to face off against the struggling D’Backs, but the Yankees will face tough series against the Phillies, who are built like an AL team, the Mets, who are always a tough series no matter what each team’s record is, and the tough Dodgers.  Boston faces three NL West teams with winning records – the Rockies, Giants and Dodgers, while the Rays face off against interstate rivals Florida, the tough Atlanta Braves and NL West-leading Padres.

I think Boston gets the worst of it, while Tampa gets the easiest schedule. I personally like the NFL version of inter-conference play – each division plays the same teams – so you know that schedules are equal on at least that footing.

The Yankees completely dominated the Houston Astros this weekend, winning by scores of 4-3, 9-3 and 9-5 behind the offense of Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and the grand efforts of Jorge Posada.  Posada hit a grand slam in back-to-back games for the first time in his career.

While the Yankees were sweeping Houston, Tampa Bay lost 2 of 3 at the hands of the Florida Marlins, allowing the Bombers to catch the Rays for the first time in months.  Right now, three of the four best records in the American League are in the AL East.  The Yankees and Rays have the two best records, while the Boston Red Sox currently boast the fourth-best record after the Minnesota Twins.

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