Kyle Farnsworth signed with the Rays today, which has made a lot of Yankees fans happy because of his uneven time with the team. I don’t think that it is a bad signing for Tampa as he is really there for depth (he’s something like 5th on their reliever totem pole I’d think) and he made some changes to his pitching where he no longer relies on throwing a slider in the dirt a zillion times in a row and praying that the batter will swing and miss, but this will not stop me from laughing a bit about the deal.
Farnsworth came to the Yankees when I was once again able to attend a large number of games a year after working nights (and having no money anyway) for years. This meant that I got to see him a lot—much, much more than I wanted to for sure. To welcome him back to the AL East here are some of my lasting memories involving Kyle Farnsworth of mine at Yankee Stadium.
Old Timer’s Day 2007 – By the time Old Timer’s Day rolled around in 2007 pretty much everyone who rooted for the Yankees also rooted for Farnsworth to get a blister and go on the DL so they wouldn’t have to watch him pitch. I was sitting in the Loge in left field for the game which gave me a good view of the Yankees bullpen. At one point, Farnsworth got up and started tossing. From my seats you could hear the glove hitting the catcher’s mitt so people looked over to see who it was getting ready. Someone yelled out “ARGH IT’S FARNSWORTH” and a large percentage of those within hearing distance let out a big groan. Some (probably drunk) fans threw their food garbage in the general direction of the bullpen and got kicked out.
September 17th, 2007 vs Baltimore – In 2007 the Yankees had enough unsold inventory in the outer reaches of the Tier Box and Tier Reserve that they discounted a huge chunk of the games in September to the $5 price level. I picked up a pair of tickets for a game versus the Orioles and went with a friend. The game itself was pretty boring and laidback, the Yankees had pretty much locked up a spot in the playoffs and had a pretty substantial lead over Baltimore for most of the game. In fact, pretty much the only things I remember about the game before Farnsworth came in are that Daniel Cabrera was starting and there was an annoying guy next to me who kept talking about how his granddad went to see the Giants play at the Polo Grounds in Brooklyn all the time (I did not stab him though I did consider doing so).
The Yankees went into the 9th in a non-save situation and so Kyle Farnsworth came out to finish Baltimore off. It should have been easy—or at least not too difficult—but oh no it was never easy with Kyle. There were very few people left in the stadium at this point and as the Orioles kept not making outs we grew very irate. Finally someone yelled out “BRING BACK PROCTOR” which promptly started a cheer among the few thousand left at the stadium of “WE WANT PROCTOR”. It lasted until Joe Torre hit the panic button and got Mariano up in the bullpen (it turned into a save situation by that point, of course) after which the focus of the crowd shifted to being annoyed that Mariano had to come in (he didn’t really but that’s a whole other line of discourse). Before recording the last out Mariano gave up an RBI double to that bastard Aubrey Huff and we very rationally decided it was Farnsworth’s fault.
April 30th 2008 vs Detroit – This game was bad. The weather was cold and wet, the Yankees got to Jeremy Bonderman early then stopped hitting, and Andy Pettitte pitched badly. The game started to slip away from the Yankees, and Farnsworth came in to pitch the 8th inning to try and keep the deficit at three runs. My boyfriend who was even crankier than me at this point looked at me and said “If he gives up a homerun, we are going home.” I don’t really like leaving games early, but if you’re not having any fun and the person/people you’re with are miserable I don’t see a reason to stay so I agreed to his condition.
Farnsworth gave up a homerun immediately to Placido Polanco (his second of the game!!!), which caused Chris to jump up and scream something about hating Farnsworth and going home and hating Farnsworth. I said goodbye to my row-mates, told them I’d be at the next game in our plan and shuffled out of the stadium. As we walked down the ramps from the Tier there was a lot more yelling about Farnsworth from various parties. It wasn’t Kyle’s fault that the game was bad he just didn’t help things.