Thursday, December 27, 2007

The New Yankee Stadium and 2008 All-Star Game

Within the Season Ticket Renewal Letter there were a few bits of information pertaining to the fate of season ticket holders for the All-Star Game and relocation to the New Yankee Stadium.

New Yankee Stadium
"Early in 2008, you will receive an official New Yankee Stadium Relocation Package which will detail our relocation policies and procedures, your relocation status as a Ticket Licensee and complete information about seating opportunities at the new Yankee Stadium."

So, it appears as though we will know well in advance where our new seats will be for 2009 and hopefully have the opportunity to ensure that we keep our "neighborhood" intact.

2008 All-Star Game
"MLB and the Yankees will use commercially reasonable business efforts to offer Full Season, A Plan and B Plan Ticket Licensees the opportunity to purchase a license, for Tickets, equal to the quantity of Ticket(s) in said Ticket Licensee's Ticket Account, not necessarily in the same seat locations (subject to availability), for the All-Star events scheduled to be held at the Stadium.

"All Ticket Licensees, regardless of plan type, must purchase a strip or strips of Tickets for all MLB All-Star events to be held at the Stadium (i.e. the same seat location and the same quantity of strips for all All-Star events) and each strip will include 2 DHL FanFest Tickets. For example, if you purchase two (2) All-Star events strips of Tickets, you will also purchase four (4) FanFest Tickets. There is no exceptions to this policy."

From reading the above, full season ticket holders will have first crack at the opportunity to buy strips of tickets which sounds like MLB's way of overcharging for the event by adding a bunch of worthless FanFest tickets to every purchase. It also reads as if we bought 2 tickets to the Futures Game, Home Run Derby, and All-Star Game we would have to buy 12 FanFest tickets.

A few big questions still remain. What are "commercially responsible business efforts"? I am going to assume that half of all season ticket holders will have the chance to "purchase a license" for All-Star tickets. Hopefully it is weighted toward the length of ownership of a Ticket License, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was seat location and then length of ownership. If we are selected to buy an All-Star license, do we have a shot at our usual seats? I would guess that MLB gets first pick at the seats they hand out to their sponsors and to the players, so our seats may be vulnerable due to their panache and value during the Home Run Derby. And lastly, if selected, does each Ticket License have the opportunity to buy tickets to each of the events or only choose one of the three? It sounds like the winning season ticket holders will have the right to buy an equal number of seats for all the events and then presumably the remaining tickets go into a general lottery for the public.

Here's hoping we're all sitting in Section 39 in mid-July!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"The Rocket" explains himself....... Well, sort of.

Listen to what "The Rocket" has to say and let the opinions fly.

My Interview with Dan Naulty.

Who is Dan Naulty and why should you care what he says? That was my initial reaction to an article I saw written in the N.Y Post earlier in the week. The piece talked about Naulty's remorse for having used performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Twins and Yankees in the late 1990's.

Naulty is now a pastor in Littleton, Colorado. Far away from the bright lights and big stadiums he preaches to youngsters about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. In my conversation with him, he spoke about a time when he wanted to take his own life. That was the hopelessness this man felt while using these drugs that he only took to "improve" his life. Two or three times in my conversation, Naulty used the word "cheat" to describe his methods for climbing the ranks to the big leagues.

He seems like he still isn't at piece with himself some 8 years after he last pitched in a Major League game. He says he wants rosters of all the teams he played with from the Yankees and Twins with names and phone numbers attached. He wants them so he can apologize to each and every guy that he feels was perhaps cheated or held back because of his own(Naulty's) drug use.

I could have spent 25 or 30 minutes talking with Dan Naulty, but unfortunately due to the time constraints put on my show at Sirius, I only had 15. I hope to talk with Dan Naulty again. His journey to improve his life continues even now. Spiritual improvement is proving to a longer road than that of a man trying to make it in Major League Baseball.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Advisory: Dan Naulty Interview is in your EMAIL

If you are a subscriber to this blog, I have likely sent you a copy of my interview with former MLB reliever Dan Naulty. He is essentially the only player to confess to the Mitchell Report regarding his steroid use when they contacted him.

Enjoy the interview and your comments are welcome. It's a shame that BLOGGER doesn't allow for audio to be posted the same way they allow video to be posted.

Jason Page Snags Naulty Interview

Jason Page just called to say he tracked down Naulty and will talk with him tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Sirius satellite radio channel 123. If you've got Sirius, tune in. If you don't, Jason will give us the details later. Can't wait to hear more of Naulty's story. People he knows can email Jason and he'll send you the interview.

Yankees Close Ranks Around Clemens And Pettitte

No surprise here and I hold presumably clean players like Jeter just as culpable for the steroids era (in a different way) as the actual cheats. All the clean players and managers and owners and agents and trainers looked the other way, thinking it was manly to just back up your guy and not break the code of silence. Virtually none of them even condemned cheating in general. So no surprise Jeter says Pettitte is great and it was wonderful to see Andy be see honest and come forward (he didn't come forward; he was outed as a cheat and did some damage control). And Jeter says Clemens is a great teammate and we shouldn't rush to judgment -- as if a 20 month investigation is a rush to judgment. And Joba says Clemens is the man and has nothing to prove to him -- look at all those intense workouts -- to stupid perhaps to realize that steroids help you indulge in those intense workouts and get results faster. Too stupid or he just doesn't care. Nothing will change because the players don't care, the fans don't care and certainly the owners don't care. Meanwhile, the Texas High School Basketball Coaches Assocation is trying to go slow while deciding about Clemens, who was scheduled to speak at their annual convention about those same vigorous workouts. You'd think Clemens would give them an easy out and say he appreciates the offer but wants to devote himself to clearing his name and hopes they'll make the offer again down the road. But why should he? They're deluged with phone calls from people who rush to judgment -- the judgment that Clemens MUST be innocent despite the evidence. And Dan Hooton, whose baseball-playing son committed suicide while on steroids (one lovely side effect of abusing them is depression) and has devoted his life to warning kids about steroids? He's never been asked to speak at the convention and tells USA Today "Many of the [Texas] coaches have distanced themselves from me. Many don't want me talking at their events." Who thinks its perverse that high school football coaches might want to have a player immersed in a steroids scandal give a pep talk to their kids while they want nothing to do with a dad warning those same kids about the dangers of steroids?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

There Is Hope For Baseball

A lot of good posts today with a lot of passion. I'd like to keep them up higher, but this story in the New York Post is beautiful -- it's like a cool rain after some miserable heat wave. It's exactly what I was hoping to hear from Andy Pettitte and others involved in this cheating scandal. Journeyman pitcher Dan Naulty actually approached the commission, offered his testimony and gave a full, heartfelt confession. Please read the entire article; it's really heartbreaking to see the painful repurcussions on Naulty and the people around him (he says he's been haunted by his actions for years) and heartening to know people CAN turn a corner.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Straw Man" says Clemens isn't a juicer.... My thoughts??

I just got done watching Darryl Strawberry on "The O'Reilly Factor" on FOX NEWS. The "Straw Man" says Roger Clemens is innocent and Bill O'Reilly(surprisingly or not so surprisingly) agrees with Strawberry but it seems they agree for different reasons. Strawberry is basing his opinion on the fact that he played against Clemens on the same field and feels he is a guy of integrity. O'Reilly took the perspective of "Innocent until proven guilty."

I'd hate to ever agree with O'Reilly, but he make a good point. Clemens has been convicted in the media. Lets take a moment to think about why this is happening. You have this cloud that's been hanging over the game for the past few years thanks in large part to Barry Bonds and his continued denials on whats been documented as pretty lengthy performance-enhancing drug use. You combine that with the collective holding of one's breath that was forced on us by the 20 month investigation which culminated in the releasing of the Mitchell Report and you have a media that's out for blood.

I was one of the members of the media who received the long-awaited report just seconds before Senator George Mitchell stated his findings. And the goal of the media was clear: FIND NAMES

Nothing else mattered. The impact on kids, the impact on players and the impact on the game and its history were an afterthought. All we did was scan for the names. And when we found the big ones, we immediately started texting our respective media bases to tell them which ones we found. Forget what it said in terms of the evidence against the players listed. All we wanted were the names. That's what was sensational and that's what would grab headlines.

Who knows what kind of pressure was put on the two trainers that served as the major source for the Mitchell Report. In some cases we have cancelled checks. In others we have packing slips. In the case of Clemens we have one persons word versus another. And the last time I checked, it would take a lot more than that to convict someone in a court of law. Now granted, this is not a court of law and its largely a court of public opinion and when all is said and done, peoples careers and their legacies will be based on the opinions of a selected few in the form of the Baseball Writers Association.

I do not have a HOF vote. Maybe someday I will but its unlikely. Based on the information I have in front of me, Roger Clemens is still going to the Hall of Fame. I don't have a single positive steroid test or any test for that matter that shows he had an illegal substance in his system. The same cannot be said for Barry Bonds. So before you start to say it's a "white and black thing," take that into consideration for moment. All I have is one trainers word. From accounts I have read on the Mitchell Report, trainers were the most vulnerable to brow-beating from the staff put together to investigate on behalf of Senator Mitchell. The trainers unlike players(who have the MLBPA) were often questioned for lengthy periods of time and forced to sometimes guess whether or not they thought a player used steroids. How admissible would that be in a court of law??

Just because I believe Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer doesn't mean I believe he is absolved. It just means that as of today, I don't have enough evidence(circumstantial or otherwise) to say a guys whole body of work should be thrown out the door because of the word of one person. But I will say this: Should further evidence come out(circumstantial or otherwise) that proves "The Rocket" did indeed use the juice, I will use my bully pulpit(the airwaves at ESPN Radio) to ensure he never gain acceptance into Cooperstown......... That is unless he buys a ticket like the rest of us.

You've Been Paged.

Judge Lest Not Ye Be Judged

I know it makes my liberal brethren shudder when I wax biblical but indulge me….I’m home recuperating from major back surgery and maybe it’s the euphoria of being released from the hospital and my 500 lb. pneumonia stricken roommate (his hacking cough nauseates me to even think about) or perhaps it’s the Oxycontin I’m taking for the pain but, whatever the case I am compelled to share my thoughts with you, my fellow Bleacher brothers and sisters. Let me scream this loud, clear and long….
Judge not, that ye be not judged! For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? A big shout out to Matthew 7 for the contribution.
YES!!! I BELIEVE THE ROCKET!! He didn't do roids.....but then again neither did I (wink, wink) and my crumbling body is only me at 41 falling apart piece by piece....and not the 'roids I didn't do when I had the foolish inkling to body build. I had no career on the line, save for my legacy as a legendary softball All Star in the Kings County Softball league. I have been competitive all of my life; growing up in a home with two other brother’s close in age to me the competition started at the breakfast table and didn’t end until I fell asleep at night. I was always looking for an edge in everything I did. Not to cheat necessarily, but just to get me from point A to point B in life quicker than the next guy. When I began body building at the age of 34 I had no knowledge of steroids, no knowledge of legal supplements or vitamins, etc. I became a gym rat and soon my workout partner became a former WWE wrestler. It was then that I got clued in quickly to the fact that unless I was so genetically blessed (I wasn’t) that elusive 6 pack would elude me forever unless I started using supplements legal and illegal. To make this long story short, I started by using Andro (when it was still legal) and soon advanced to Deca-Durabolin and Winstrol. The results were amazing. When my body finally started breaking down about 2 years ago I was bench pressing 325 lbs. I was 200 lbs with 9% body fat. I looked great but I felt awful. I had nothing to gain by using steroids, except satisfying my intense desire to compete and win in everything that I did. At the end of the day, vanity defeated sanity and I made a choice I rue to this day. There are many more people out there like me who use steroids but have NO financial gain forthcoming. The choices people make are personal sometimes we are motivated by finance, sometime by vanity, or sometimes just merely because everyone else is doing it. The point is we have all made mistakes and we have all used poor judgment at times.

I have read all the judgmental, self serving, bullshit from the goody goodies who want to crucify Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and whoever else was named in the Mitchell Report. Let me break it down like this.....far be it from me, you or anyone else to pass judgment on anyone else for their actions. Yes, I have done steroids, Yes I have done other illegal drugs.....and Yes I have lied....(ask my wife, lol). Am I in a position to judge Andy's apology....Roger's denials or Jason's admissions? NO!! AND NEITHER ARE ANY OF YOU. Look in the mirror and if perfection stares back at you then please by all means, feel free to feel betrayed insulted or whatever the fuck. I hate to sound like a Preacher but, hey....until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes DO NOT JUDGE him or her. It is as simple as that.

Let us for a moment put ourselves in the shoes of a 28 yr old career minor leaguer, holding on for his last shot at the "bigs" his last shot to cash in and take care of himself and his family for years to come, playing the game he's loved forever. Someone tells you, that if you take Deca, Winnie V's and maybe one or two other legal supplements you can put an extra 5 mph on your heater; turn that warning track power into home run hitting power (see Jack Cust for more info). You can turn that $52,600 minor league paycheck into a $316,000 major league paycheck (http://mlbplayer.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf.) In just one off season you can remake your entire body and advance to a level you have strived for since little league. You can set yourself and your family up for life. Given that line of thinking, who are we to crucify someone for making the decision to use performance enhancing drugs? Especially since the MLB policy on HGH and steroids was very sketchy until recently, it’s hard for people like us to be so judgmental. The piling on, unruly mob mentality of the world has always bothered me. So many people who know so little about the topic have turned themselves into self proclaimed experts in order to offer their condemnation of Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and the like. I am living proof that steroids ultimately harm you and I fully condemn their use. However, I cannot and I will not condemn someone for using them to advance his career in a sport where so few are fortunate enough to cash in on the riches it has to offer.

On the topic of HGH, I have not used HGH; however, there is a clinic in my neighborhood in Miami Beach that specializes in administering HGH, legally, to people who are in pain, etc. When I am healthy enough to fly, I plan to go home to Miami and visit that clinic. If after consulting the doctors, I feel that HGH will help me heal and get back to where I can be a productive, husband, father and son, and then I will by all means use it legally. I plan to spend a month in Florida and I would use them under doctor’s care and fully monitor the effects. There was a great article on HGH in ESPN Magazine a while back. In short, the doctor who wrote it feels that if it is used properly than it can be a great catalyst in getting someone who is healing back to good health. The doctor was also a huge, loud, opponent of steroid users and abusers. He was vocal about steroid abuse back to the 70’s, when it was prevalent in the football and weightlifting world.

Now let’s all take a deep breath and calm down before we continue the hysterics on what I believe to be a real non-issue. There are way bigger issues for us to be pondering like; will our big 3 really succeed on the next level? Will Giambi give us any production? Will we get real bullpen help? I don’t know about you guys but Latrell Hawkins is so 2002. I am not impressed. Will we ever replace the two headed monster that was Stanton and Nelson?

Hey, its less than 2 months till pitchers and catchers.....the stars are aligned and all is right with world. As for me? I've learned my lesson....I'm healing and dealing. Life is too short to stress over the small issues so I'm anxiously waiting for March 31 @ 1pm. My season tix have unfortunately been paid for since October past and I am raring to be back in Sec. 39 Row HH Seat 3 (I'm on the aisle Davis!!!!) watching Mike play volunteer usher.
Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all, Go Yanks!

*(Please excuse the grammatical errors, I'm on drugs, remember???LOL)*

"The Rocket" Fires Back. Or Does He??

So it only took 6 days but Roger Clemens finally released his own statement through his agent Randy Hendricks in response to his being included in the recently released Mitchell Report:

"I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life," Clemens said Tuesday in a statement issued through his agent, Randy Hendricks. "Those substances represent a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.

"I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt, but I understand that Senator Mitchell's report has raised many serious questions. I plan to publicly answer all of those questions at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. I only ask that in the meantime people not rush to judgment."

Clemens emphatic denial almost mirrors that of another player destined for the Hall of Fame until controversy struck. Pete Rose spent years denying that he placed bets on baseball before finally coming clean well over a decade later. He threw himself at the mercy of the court of public opinion and Commissioner Bud Selig. End Result?? Pete is still on the outside looking in. Selig was probably his best chance at getting back into baseball even in some limited form. Whether guilty or not, "The Rocket" now faces years of the same questions along with giving years of the same denials. Clemens obviously sees the alternative as a damaging blow to his legacy if not the death nail in any Hall of Fame hopes that remain following the release of the Mitchell Report. Admitting guilt would make it unlikely that "The Rocket" would be enshrined in Cooperstown.

"The Rocket" has made his denial and says he will say more at the appropriate time. I will be waiting Roger. I only hope your explanations hold more water than "The Hit King's" did.

Judge Not....

From Neil: As I sit here at home recovering from back surgery I have a lot of time on my hands and have come to the following conclusion.....YES!!! I BELIEVE THE ROCKET!! He didn't do roids.....but then again neither did I (wink wink) and my crumbling body is only me at 41 falling apart piece by piece....and not the 'roids I didn't do when I had the foolish inkling to body build. But hey.....the stars are all aligned and all is right with world. For Vincent, let me break it down like this.....far be it from me, you or anyone else to pass judgment on anyone else for their actions. Yes, I have done steroids, Yes I have done other illegal drugs.....and Yes I have lied....(ask my wife, lol). Am I in a position to judge Andy's apology....Roger's denials or Jason's admissions? NO!! AND NEITHER ARE ANY OF YOU. Look in the mirror and if perfection stares back at you then please by all means, feel free to feel betrayed insulted or whatever the fuck. I hate to sound like a Preacher but....until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes DO NOT JUDG him or her. As for me? I've learned my lesson....I'm healing and dealing......I'm anxiously awaiting March 31 @ 1pm. My season tix have unfortunately been paid for since October past and I am raring to be back in Sec. 39 Row HH Seat 3 (I'm on the aisle Davis!!!!) watching Mike play volunteer usher. Go Yankees! Best wishes from me, my wife, Mookie, Ari and Joey. Btw....for the poor sucker who sits in GG Seat 3....JoJo promises to kick the hell outta ya this year! Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year! -- Neil.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bleacher Prices Raised

While reading this AP story about the 2008 schedule, I caught the last line which stated that "bleacher seats not purchased as part of a season-ticket package rose from $12 to $14." Since the season ticket prices have been set at $10 since 1998, I was hopeful that we would continue to be rewarded as faithful members of Ruthville.

So, I went over to yankees.com and logged into my account assuming MLB had invoiced me already for next year. Here is what I found:



Two season seats in the bleachers is now $1,969 or $12 per ticket plus the shipping and handling fees.

The final Opening Day at the House that Ruth Built will be March 31st against the Blue Jays and the last regular season game will be September 21st against the Blue Jays. MLB seriously couldn't have let the last game be against the Red Sox, the Yankees rival and the team that played the first game in Yankee Stadium? I guess that would be too much to ask, so instead the Sox get to host the Yanks for their final weekend. And that's why you don't let computers decide on scheduling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Okay...... Time for my take on steroids/h-g-h and Pettitte


I've sat around for a couple of days on all of this and then I saw Michael Giltz's blog on Huffington today and felt compelled to respond.

For me, this all starts with a basic question. Why do we or in this case I watch sports?? I view sports as entertainment. I view sports the same way I would watching a Russell Crowe movie. I go to be entertained. Athletes should not be put up as role models for children. Former NBA great Charles Barkley said this best years ago when he said "I am not a role model."

It's been said throughout much of this steroids investigation that its important to rid the sports world of steroids because of the message it sends to our Nations youth. I agree with this. But the messages our children get shouldn't be from Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. The messages our children get need to be from the home or from the school. If you rely on pro athletes to be the message of whats right or wrong in the world, then you get what you deserve.

For those that believe this is the worst scandal of all-time in baseball(such as my dear friend Michael Giltz), I would suggest they need to do a little more research. The "Black Sox Scandal" of the early 1900's was far worse. Players from the Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinatti Reds is slightly worse than an era where multiple people were using performance enhancing drugs. Why??Eight players were banned for life and the game was rocked to its core. While this current scandal is big, it doesn't rise to the level of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Some players used and some players didn't. But who won and lost wasn't ultimately determined by who used H-G-H or steroids. If you can factually determine that World Series were won and lost based on who was using (especially when you don't know everyone that was using and when they were using) then we can have a conversation about it. But until then, stop calling this the worst scandal to ever rock baseball.

Sports is entertainment. I go to games when I want to be entertained. Sometimes I get to see good games and I am entertained and sometimes I go and see a game that is boring and filled with a lack of hitting and lots of errors and I leave feeling unfulfilled. The same way I feel if I go to see a bad movie or Broadway show. It's entertainment. You choose to go or not go. Nobody twists your arm and says you have to go and see a baseball game from your seat in a luxury box or your seat in the bleachers. If you feel so strongly that what has happened in baseball is so terrible, then you won't go to the game. Otherwise, your giving the same lip service that Commissioner Bud Selig has been giving for years on the steroid matter. Your going to continue going to the game but bitch and moan all the way through it?? That seems to contradict your feelings on the game. Why would you spend the money to support a franchise that knowingly employs cheats and destroys the integrity of the game??

I'm disappointed in whats happened to the game of baseball. It's not the game I grew up watching and chances are, it never will be again. This is the new era of baseball and you need to choose to except it for what it is or find some other way to spend the 3 or 4 hours you spend 60 to 80 days per year. In fact, to someone like Michael Giltz who feels so jilted and betrayed by whats happened, I would suggest going to watch high school sports. If you truly just want to watch athletes playing for the love of the game and nothing more, you can do it for next to nothing at nearly every high school in America. Otherwise, start understanding that professional sports is just that. It's a profession, where people make money, but also make mistakes. A profession where bosses are looking at the bottom line and in the process, do things that go against the morals we were brought up with. Guess what Michael?? It happens everyday in every line of work. It doesn't make it right and I am not justifying it.

You didn't like the way Andy Pettitte apologized?? I agree that it was half-assed but the only way to really send a message is to NOT GO TO THE GAMES!! You punish the ownership by not giving them your hard-earned money and you send a message to the players that you have had enough. Then again, you doing that is about as realistic as the chances of Andy Pettitte giving the sort of apology you are expecting.

But It DOESN'T Help You Hit Home Runs

Except when it does. Per the NYTimes: "Before the 1996 season, Radomski told [Todd] Hundley that if he used steroids, he would hit 40 home runs, according to the Mitchell report. Radomski told Mitchell that he sold Deca-Durabolin to Hundley, who went on to hit 41 home runs in 1996. Hundley had not hit more than 16 in any season. Hundley was also represented by the Levinsons, who did not answer messages."

Andy Pettitte's Half-Assed Apology

Here's what I think. That answer your question, Jason?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Forgive and Forget?

It's the holiday season...I'm feeling charitable...so why the hell not...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-pettitte-hghadmission&prov=ap&type=lgns

I forgive you, Andy. Now go win us some ballgames.

He's saying all the right things...

And really...wouldn't you rather blame Boras than A-Rod anyway?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/14/sports/baseball/14arod.html?ref=baseball

Friday, December 14, 2007

Proud New Papa!!



So the doctor walks into the Grand Hyatt today just steps away from Grand Central and says:

"Congratulations Mr. Page!! You are the proud new papa of the "Cheaters Era of Major League Baseball."

I was fortunate enough today to sit 6 rows from former Senator George Mitchell as he gave his prepared statement outlining his findings in the Mitchell Report. Here was a man that brokered peace in Northern Ireland. He'll be hard pressed to ever find that sort of peace between the Major League Baseball Players Association and Commisioner Bud Selig.

A couple of things stood out to me today. Three press conferences were held. Senator Mitchell was at the Grand Hyatt at 2:00 PM EST. Commissioner Selig was at the Waldorf Astoria at 4:00 PM EST and MLBPA Chief Donald Fehr was in never-never land at 6:00 PM EST. On a day where the most important indictment of the games difficulties with regard to performance enhancing drugs was being delivered, you couldn't even get the three sides of the story to hold press conferences in the same hotel. Labor war is on the horizon for baseball.

Let there be no doubt. Cowboy Selig is going to do everything he can(even if its too late)to try and rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs, and be rest assured that Donald Fehr and the MLBPA is going to put up a fight. They're putting up a fight to protect players names and reputations, but even more so because Fehr is feeling jilted about the way this investigation was handled. Whether he is right or wrong, he's going to assert that much of this investigation was done in a way that was unfair to HIS players.

Something the commish said today during his press conference really got my blood boiling. It's something that best frames the "head in the sand" mentality that this guy posesses. Selig today(and I'm paraphrasing) when asked about the message thats being sent to fans and children of those fans when teams gave contracts to these players that have now been named in the Mitchell report(I.E. Andy Pettitte, Jose Guillen and Miguel Tejada) Selig responded "Well the owners didn't know these players would be named in the report." YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! I spoke to former big league reliever Jeff Nelson today. He pitched with the Yankees and Mariners and the above mentioned players as well as with Roger Clemens. He said that while nobody saw guys shooting up with HGH or steroids, players knew it went on and it wasn't discussed. Names of players who have reportedly used this stuff has been discussed for the past several years. If we've been talking about it, do you expect me to believe that GM's and owners didn't know about it?? How dumb does Mr. Magoo(Selig) believe we are?? Check that.... He doesn't have his head in the sand. It's obviously buried up his ass.

Senator Mitchell spent 20 months and millions of dollars compiling the information for this report. He allowed journalists 16 minutes to ask him questions. I was one of the lucky few who asked him a question during a press conference that aired internationally on Thursday. During his statement, Senator Mitchell expressed his hope that Commissioner Selig would not punish those players named in the report, unless the player had done such damage to the integrity of the game that it could not go without punishment. I took that caveat to be an opening for the Commish to go after Barry Bonds and the records he broke over the past several years. I asked Mitchell that very question in a room full of my peers but he flatly denied having that motive.

A dark day for baseball has come to an end with some answers to our many questions. But new questions have arisen out of this day as well:

* In addition to Barry Bonds, baseball must now ponder how to handle the accomplishments of Roger Clemens

* How is baseball to punish those players named in the report for violations that took place 3 or 4 years ago?

* Will further investigations now take place or has the "naming names" portion of our program come to an end?

* Will my leather dress shoes from Zara ever dry out after all the sloshing through puddles that I did?

I guess we'll have to wait and see. One person that was happy today was President Bush. For one night on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann, he wasn't the top story.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

So Few Names

SportsCenter experts decry the flimsy evidence. Players scoff that so few big names are included. That's all? Gee, what a surprise that you would stonewall an investigation that had no subpoena powers and they'd "only" come up with dozens of names including some of the most storied in baseball. Another expert: "in the absence of proof, I'm voting for [Clemens, et al]. Just to single out guys doesn't seem fair to me." You're not throwing them in jail, idiot. You're deciding whether to give someone tainted with cheating the biggest honor your sport can offer. Why would you include ANYONE with even a reasonable chance of being a low-down, dirty cheat? Others weren't implicated? Sure. But to HONOR people you have reason to think have behaved in a way that disgraces the game? It's not necessary, it's not needed and it shouldn't be done. All the players decided to live in an era of looking the other way. They all need to pay the price where rumors and hearsay and physical evidence contribute to their not being honored with the Hall of Fame. They don't like it? Tough.

Jeter and A-Rod Not Named

That was Nannette's happy response to the list: no Jeter. And poor ole A-Rod is starting to look better and better. He may be a schmuck but he's our schmuck and at least he wasn't a cheater.

I Hate SportsCenter

They're already quoting "experts" who claim "lots" of the names are just rumored to have cheated, as if Mitchell just threw in anyone willy nilly. That's bull. Plus, these are the names we found mostly from ONE source. If people had really cooperated and come clean, God knows how many players are implicated. Then SC quotes idiots who insist steroids and HGH don't help you hit a home run. Yeah, no one with increased muscle mass would ever have more power. Plus, these illegal drugs help you work out longer and harder and build up muscle quicker. They help you recover from injuries quicker. (Andy's apparent folly.) Finally, it doesn't matter if you're SUCCESSFUL cheating. Getting caught or failing to win the game doesn't make cheating any less pathetic. Cheaters are losers, no matter how poorly or well they do it.

Are Our Rings From The 90s Tainted?

Hey, it was a level playing field -- EVERYONE was cheating.

Should Yankees Dump Andy?

Boy, this puts Andy's decision to resign with the Yankees early (which I lauded to high heaven) in a new light, doesn't it? He could have waited till January, but then wouldn't signing him have been embarrassing for all involved? Not that the Yankees would have decided not to -- but Pettitte's decision to pull the trigger early sure makes it easier for everyone to deal with it as a done deal.

So should the Yankees dump Pettitte? But, there's no proof Andy is cheating today. And he's mentioned in the report but he hasn't been convicted in court of anything. And that was in the past. And he feels bad. And we're all turning over a new leaf and he'll be subject to stringent new requirements. And...and...we NEED him. My God, if we don't keep him, our chances of making the play offs are much dimmer. Besides, if we dump him, someone else will sign him so what's the difference. No, no, no, we've GT to keep Andy so we can pay him $16 million and be the next come-back kid just like good ole Jason Giambi.

My very safe prediction: not a single team will dump a single valuable player. The only people that might be cut are marginal players they want to dump anyway.

List of Cheaters

Kudos to Wikipedia for producing a list of the players. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Chad Allen
Rick Ankiel
Mike Bell
David Bell
Gary Bennett
Larry Bigbie
Barry Bonds
Kevin Brown
Paul Byrd
Jose Canseco
Mark Carreon
Jason Christiansen
Howie Clark
Roger Clemens
Jack Cust
Brendan Donnelly
Chris Donnels
Lenny Dykstra
Matt Franco
Ryan Franklin
Eric Gagné
Jason Giambi
Jeremy Giambi
Jay Gibbons
Troy Glaus
Jason Grimsley
Jose Guillen
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Matt Herges
Phil Hiatt
Glenallen Hill
Darren Holmes
Todd Hundley
David Justice
Chuck Knoblauch
Tim Laker
Mike Lansing
Paul LoDuca
Nook Logan
Josias Manzanillo
Gary Matthews, Jr.
Cody McKay
Kent Mercker
Bart Miadich
Hal Morris
Denny Neagle
Jim Parque
Andy Pettitte
Adam Piatt
Todd Pratt
Stephen Randolph
Adam Riggs
Armando Rios
Brian Roberts
John Rocker
F.P. Santangelo
Benito Santiago
Scott Schoeneweis
David Segui
Gary Sheffield
Mike Stanton
Miguel Tejada
Ismael Valdez
Mo Vaughn
Randy Velarde
Ron Villone
Fernando Vina
Rondell White
Jeff Williams
Todd Williams
Matt Williams
Steve Woodard
Kevin Young
Gregg Zaun

Clemens and Pettite Are Cheats

Way to be a mentor, Clemens. Never wanted him; never liked him -- if only he'd stayed in Toronto to beef up those artificial wins. But no excuses -- Andy is no longer a favorite of mine. This wasn't a single, one-time mistake, a slip of the tongue or singe act they immediately regreted -- the sort of thing anyone can say or do in the heat of the moment. This was cheating for months or years at a time. Shame on you, Andy.

Will Yankee Fans Care If Pettitte Is A Cheat?

Will the Yankees drop him? Will fans boo him? Will he be disgraced? In fact, will ANY team drop any player because they're tainted by this report? Only if they wanted to drop them anyway and the report gives them an excuse.

Clemens and Pettitte

Now the NYTimes is reporting that Clemens and Pettitte will be on the list. Clemens seems inevitable since his career bottomed out like any aging pitcher until he began cheating. After seven seasons of winning 17 to 24 games per, in 1993 at the age of 30 he won 11 games, in 94 he won 9 games, in '95 he won 10 games and in '96 at the age of 33/34 he won 10 games. That fits the pattern of every other pitcher in baseball history: you hit your midThirties, you decline. Then magically in 1997 at the age of 34/35, he DOUBLED his winnings and 21 games, in '98 he won 20 (thank God he wasn't with us yes), then 14 in '99, 13 in 2000 (with a Yankees ring to show for it at the age of 37/38), 20 games in 2001 -- really, he was hitting 40 and pitching as good as ever after years of major decline. And during this remarkable renaissance, Andy Pettitte was right by his side, doing everything Roger did. As the devil in his ear, I won't forgive Roger for tempting Andy. But Andy's an adult and if he cheated, it will break my heart. Clemens was always a bum and I never liked him. But Andy? Good, wholesome Andy who should know better? Shame on him. I can forgive him off the field, but not on. And I'd love to see one person say, 'I cheated to gain an advantage because I wanted to win and wanted to succeed and knew everyone else was doing it.' Guillen's bold statement that he admitted it and made no excuses -- other than that he was following his doctor's orders -- is insulting. Today is going to be very depressing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Matchgame, NY: Mitchell Report Style

Okay Yankee fans, with the Mitchell Report releasing tomorrow let's take the time between innings to make some guesses about which Yankees will be on the report. In the comments section, compile your top 10 list of players that you think are most likely to make the report who played for the Yanks any time between 1996 and 2007 (Giambi, Sheffield, and Canseco are excluded from this exercise).

Once the names are released, I'll tally the ballots giving 10 points for a correct first choice, 9 points for second choice, and so on. I don't have any Yankeeography sets to give away, but I'll think of some prize for the winner.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

America Loves Cheaters

I've posted this piece about baseball and performance enhancing drugs on Huffington. Go leave a comment!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Farnsworth's Other, Useless Half

Well, the Yanks have come to terms with Latroy Hawkins for 1 year. Unfortunately, LaTroy was only good for 3 years and we're 3 years removed from his last good year.

It appears as though Cashman is trying to rebuild the 2004 Cubs bullpen, so expect a flush offer to draw Mike Remlinger and Kent Mercker out of retirement before Spring Training begins. If this were only 2003, we'd have the best bullpen in the bigs. As it stands we'll need a couple of the kids to step it up as the "bridge" to Mo or else we'll get sucked out in the first round yet again.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Andy Phillips Really Gone

My brother David tells me Andy declined Triple A and has been released. Who the heck do they expect to play first base, what with Duncan's floating anueryisms, Giambi's crippled body and Betemit not being an every day guy? Makes no sense to me. Poor Andy. He had a lovely singing voice.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Winner!!

Peter McClain has WON! He will receive the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set courtesy of A&E Video, pr firm Foundry Communications and of course the New York Yankees. Well done!

Trembling with excitement, he initially typed in correct answers but forgot to answer Question #2. But with prompting, he clearly knew all the answers and quickly got everything right. Michael Moriarty starred in the terrific miniseries "Holocaust," which is not currently available on DVD but should be. His co-star was Meryl Streep, who had debuted onscreen in 1977 in "Julia" but had a banner year in '78 with "The Deer Hunter" and this TV smash hit. She later gave one of the greatest screen performances of all time in 1982's "Sophie's Choice," for which she won every award in sight. Her co-star was Kevin Kline who in 1983 starred in "The Big Chill" with William Hurt, Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, Meg Tilly, Jeff Goldbum, Mary Kay Place and JoBeth Williams. All of them were on the cusp, makng this one of the great casting jobs of all time. The cast also during filming included Kevin Costner as the suicidal Alex, the person everyone was gathering to mourn. They filmed a number of flashback sequences but director Lawrence Kasdan decided it worked better without actually meeting Alex and letting his presence hover over the film. Costner is seen in the title sequence: he's the body being prepared for burial, with the most notable shot being one where someone tugs up a sleeve to cover the stitches on his wrist where he killed himself. You don't see his face. Kasdan felt terrible and gave Costner a choice, flashy supporting role in "Silverado" two years later that helped launch his career. (Being directed by Steven Spielberg in an episode of TV's "Amazing Stories" that same year helped, but since Kasdan had given Costner buzz via "Silverado," he gets full credit for launching a career stuck in mostly bad B movies (though "Fandango" is a small delight). Two years after that, Costner began his great run of movies with "The Untouchables," "No Way Out" and then "Bull Durham" and "Field of Dreams," two great baseball movies later followed by the golf flick "Tin Cup," the baseball movie "For The Love of the Game," and "The Upside of Anger," a drama in which Costner plays a washed-up, former pro baseball player.

Congratulations to Pete! The DVD set of Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set courtesy of A&E, pr firm Foundry Comm. and of course the New York Yankees is on its way.

The Five O'Clock Lightning DVD Giveaway!

Here it is, your final chance to win a Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set courtesy of A&E and the pr firm Foundry Communications. That's a $100 value on sale at A&E's website for $70.

The contest is another bit of pop culture trivia. Connect the chain. Good luck.

One of the best Yankee baseball movies is 1973's "Bang The Drum Slowly" starring Robert De Niro and Michael Moriarty. Moriarty is forever linked to "Law & Order," but his greatest role came five years later in a blockbuster NBC miniseries about Nazi Germany and the Final Solution. His co-star won the Best Supporting Actress Emmy for her performance in this TV event.

1. Name that miniseries and his Emmy-winning co-star.

Four years later, his co-star was the lead in a feature film that also focused on the Holocaust. She won an Oscar for her performance in that movie.

2. Name that film.

Her co-star in that Oscar-winning movie appeared the following year in a hit comedy/drama with one of the best ensembles of relative unknowns in movie history, along with a smash hit Motown soundtrack.

3. Name that movie.

One actor was glimpsed (very briefly) in the title sequence of that film but had ALL his scenes cut from the movie. He would later become well known for making sports movies himself.

4. Name that actor and your favorite sports movie that he made. (Obviously, there's no wrong answer for the second part as long as it's a sports movie he made.)

Good luck!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Next Five O'Clock Lightning Give-Away

I forgot to post an additional reminder, so I'll make the trivia day and time this Friday, December 7 at 2 p.m. EST. (I have to do an interview at 3 p.m.) The prize is again a copy of the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set, with dozens of Yankeeography episodes and loads of extras courtesy of A&E DVD and Foundry Comm. pr firm. Everyone but me and Joe Verillo is eligible since I'm doing the question again without my brother's help. So unless anyone objects for some useful reason and suggests early next week, Friday at 2 p.m. it is.

Ellsbury in Bed With Boras?

Did Jacoby Ellsbury switch agents to Scott Boras? That makes me like him less, both for switching to Boras and even more for dumping his last agent just as he enters his rookie year in the majors.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

No More End Of Season Honors For Baseball Players With Bonus Clauses

Excellent. In a pretty brilliant move, the Baseball Writers Association of America has done an end run around both short-sighted management and the players themselves. They adroitly passed a simple rule. Starting in 2013, if a player has a bonus clause in his contract for winning the MVP, Cy Young, or Rookie of the Year award, they will be automatically ineligble to win that award. The most bizarre example was Curt Schilling getting $1 mil bonus simply for receiving a single third place vote in the Cy Young competition. Naturally, good Christian that he is, Schilling blasted the baseball writers for being hacks who don't know what they're talking about or having personal axes to grind rather than taking a step back and realizing the absurd greed and distortion of such a bonus. He also doesn't tackle the main issue: bonus clauses and their purpose. He says he donates his own bonus to charity, which is lovely. But that's beside the point. What is wrong with sportswriters trying to separate their end of the year honors from gaudy salaries of players -- trying to keep the awards pure? If they wanted more power and attention and more chances to interfere with the game like Schilling insists, then they would LOVE the connection between their votes and the money players get. What better way to punish a player you hate or reward a player who always talks to you?

I wish it were possible to do the same for the Gold Glove and other awards, but at least it gets sports writers out of the unseemly business of inflating salaries rather than the pure desire to simply reward excellence. It also puts the spotlihgt on these bonuses in general -- al of which I find insulting and bad for the game in an era of multi-million dollar salaries for all but the rookiest of rookies and lower rung talent that would never garner a bonus anyway.

One agent saw collusion between management and players, saying it would hurt the middle level and low level guys -- that would be the players who virtually never win these rewards and usually don't have the clout to get such bonuses included in their contracts the first time around. I HATE bonus clauses. Derek Jeter should get every penny he can from the Steinbrenners when negotiating his contract. But asking for an extra $1 mil if he wins the Gold Glove is stupid. What, $16 mil isn't incentive enough to play hard? Giving a manager a bonus for X number of games won (like Torre had at the 90, 95 and 100 games won level, apparently) is dangerous and shortsighted. No good can come of it. And A-Rod's clearly illegal gerrymandering to get bonuses for personal stats - which is supposed to be a no-no -- should be stamped out by Selig, not condoned by giving it a different name.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The rich get richer

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3141703

At what point does the entire National League just get demoted to AAA?

This Detroit team is getting scary...look at this lineup...I think its the best in baseball:

Granderson
Renteria
Cabrera
Ordonez
Sheffield
Pudge
Thames
Guillen
Polanco

Except for Cabrera every one of those guys is a good fielder, and they have power and speed throughout the order.

With that rotation (Verlander, Bonderman, Willis, Robertson, Rogers), top notch bullpen, and the best manager in the game...they are going to be very tough to beat. At least now I have some hope that somebody can give the Red Sox a run for their money.

Santana Banana

The NYTimes: describes a "flicker of life" in the Santana deal for Yankees.
The NY Daily News: "Yanks Slam Door On Santana"
The NY Post: "Santana Deadline Passes But Yanks Still Favorites"
ESPN: "Red Sox Are Favorites"

Sports "reporting" is a joke. Did all these guys transfer from their jobs covering the build-up to the Iraqi War?

I just don't get it

This feels like the Schilling trade all over again. Then, it was the D'backs demanding BOTH Soriano and Nick Johnson from the Yanks, but from the Red Sox they accepted Casey Fossum (who had already been exposed as mediocre) and mid-level prospects. Two championships later the Sox are still laughing about that one.

Now for Part Deaux. The Twins want Hughes AND Melky AND Kennedy from the Yanks -- but apparently are willing to take Lester (inferior to Hughes/on par with Kennedy) and Coco frickin Crisp (not even a viable major leaguer in my opinion).

Hughes and Melky -- while I don't want to trade them -- are so far superior to Lester and Crisp that it boggles the mind why the Twins would even entertain the Sox offer.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3140668

Can't wait to face a rotation of Beckett, Santana, Schilling, Dice-K, and Buchholz.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Andy's Gone!

Phillips that is...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-yankees-molina&prov=ap&type=lgns

I blame A-Rod.

Andy's Back!

The first good news in ages. I always respect players who know when to walk away and don't drag out their twilight days. But when you're still pitching great, why retire? You've got the rest of your life to be retired but only another few years when you can pitch in the majors. And what a stand-up guy -- Andy could have waited till January or longer but made his choice now because he knew how in flux the rotation was and all the variables the Yankees were working with. Welcome back, Andy!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Now Boston Offers Jacoby

Morons. Is it a pure trade? Nope. One will always be a hired gun. The other is a farm system kid who lit up the team like a Christmas tree last season and has a great shot at being the rookie of the year. Every manager will tell you an ace pitcher is more important than any every day player. They're wrong. I also think teams VASTLY underrate the value of home-grown talent, the pleasure and joy fans get from following a player from the farm system to their rookie year and throughout their career. I love Matsui and ain't so fond of A-Rod but neither of them will ever be a "real" Yankee. That's not a slam. If you're not "born" into the team, you just aren't. That's why fans feel such passion for Jeter and Jorge and Mo and Pettitte (despite his being tossed aside). They're OURS. I saw the Mets two times this year. The first time, David Wright was resting and I was bummed. I felt cheated, like I hadn't really seen the team. Jacoby is potentially that type of player. He's very clearly a promising face of the team, a franchise player, a cornerstone for the team. He reminds me a great deal of Jeter cause last season he seemed to be in the middle of every big play, every key series of bats. Plus he's fast on the bases and brings and energy and excitement to the team. Why would ANYONE trade a player like that. Ever. For anyone. Those are the players you dream about, the players you want to build your team around. They don't always pan out, but to toss them aside for a hired gun, however promising, is foolish. You don't build a team by focusing on what you want to do for game one and two of the post-season.

Now They're Trading HUGHES and Melky

After almost four years of hearing what a gem, what a jewel, what a future star Phil Hughes would be and then seeing him tantalize us with his potential by pitching a no-hitter before an injury and then coming back to pitch very well down the stretch AND GET US OUR ONLY POST-SEASON VICTORY, the Yankees are trading away Hughes and Melky for Santana. Hank Steinbrenner is an ass. No one can predict the future of course; maybe Hughes will be injury plagued and Kennedy will be a Hall of Famer. But based on what we know right now, Melky is a solid center fielder with a great arm (something our outfield sorely needs) and Hughes has what it takes to succeed in NYC. We're not just trading those two players for Santana. We're also trading the HUGE financial gap between what we'd pay them and what we'll pay Santana and a new outfielder we now need (Torri's gone by the way; nice going). I know you all think it's Monopoly money but where's the pride in spending more than THREE TIMES as much as most teams on your payroll? We'll easily add ANOTHER $35 million, very conservatively to our payroll. On top of A-Rod's massive deal. Oh God, why oh why did Steve Swindall get drunk and cheat on his wife? Hank and Hal are just like their dads. Moronic men who think out-spending everyone for the biggest names constitutes strategy and think trading the future for a blustery stab at (limited) glory today is smart. This deal is a disaster no matter how well Santana pitches. If Hughes wins 14 games and Santana pitches 20, what do we give up with Melky, demoralizing the other young pitchers and trying to cobble together a Frankenstein's monster of an All-Star team with big bats and no chemistry? Why? Because we were worried Boston would get A-Rod and Santana? If they traded Jacoby away to do it and broke the bank in the process, I would have been thrilled. Hank and Hal couldn't negotiate with a kid running a lemonade stand. "25 cents for a cup? No. We'll give you $100,000 for the entire pitcher, kid. Take it or leave it!"

A-Rod Deal Up To $314 Million

So now the deal for A-Rod is up to $314 million. And Bud Selig idiotically ends more than a century of tradition to allow teams to reward players for statistical achievements -- you just have to call them "historic milestones" instead od # of HRs. They will the day -- though actually they won't since they're too stupid to realize what a dangerous door they've opened. Meanwhile, other people continue to paint A-Rod and Boras as the big losers who blinked first. Why? Because Boras didn't get the $350 mil he reportedly claimed he wanted from the Yankees. Yes, Boras did huge damage to A-Rod's reputation with that World Series stunt. has Bud Selig penalized A-Rod and his agent yet for thrusting their own personal story into the clinching game of the World Series and distracting from baseball's biggest night? Nope. And what was A-Rod's image BEFORE this latest fracas? It was as a supremely talented but petty player who has always gone for the money, is disliked intensely by his former teammates, booed aggressively by HIS OWN TEAM'S FANS for an entire season. In other words, his image was pure crap. They don't care about image. They care about money. And who blinked? The Yankees insisted if he walked they would never negotiate. Then they negotiated. They outbid their OWN HIGHEST OFFER FROM BEFORE, AN OFFER THEY HADN'T EVEN MADE. At most, they reportedly outbid the only vageu tentative not-confirmed offer of $225 million BY A TOTAL OF $89 MILLION. They outbid the market by $90 MILLION, which is close to the $100 mil Texas outbid other teams for A-Rod's services in a deal widely mocked as one of the stupidest and most profligate in baseball history. Everything Boras promised A-Rod he delivered, including a front-loaded salary (which costs a team even more) in which A-Rod wil get $32 mil his first three years for bragging rights. I try to move beyond this deal and accept it but people continue to mischaracterize this massive, record-breakng contract as some sort of "discount" that handed A-Rod humble pie. I'll take a nice big fat heloing of that humble pie any day, thank you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Will Hank Trade Hughes? Is Posada Pissing Off Pitchers?

I fear Hank will trade Hughes and Melky for Santana. I don't care how much of an ace Santana is, I think that's a bad trade. Since it's only safe to assume two out of the three young pitchers will succeed, we need all three in order to guarantee we don't trade away one of our two long-term (potential) aces. Plus Melky has proven himself as capable of playing in New York and Hughes showed a great deal of poise and promise over half a season and succeeded in the post-season. How much of a risk is he? If he wins 15 games and Santana wins 20, why trade Melky to get those extra five games -- not to mention the MUCH higher cost, though of course I seem to be the only one who hates the bloated Yankee payroll.

Finally, was it politic of Jorge to say he lusted for Santana? First, he should just shut up while the Yankees are trying for a trade. Describing Santana as a must-get certainly doesn't help their bargaining. Second, it's in the context of trading Kennedy and/r Hughes. How would you feel if your every day catcher was telling the world they want you traded away to get another pitcher? It would certainly tick me off.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Winner! And A Second Chance!

We have a winner. Joseph Verrillo won the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set with the correct answer that began with the trade of Babe Ruth, went to the Broadway musical No No Nanette, went from there to the show's hit song "Tea For Two," went from there to jazz singer Anita O'Day, went from there to the classic concert film Jazz on a Summer's Day and went from there to her other brillian performance that day, of "Sweet Georgia Brown." A copy of the Yankeeography DVD Mega-Set is headed his way courtesy of A&E and pr firm Foundtry Communications. It's a 12 DVD set with dozens of Yankeeography episodes profiling everyone from Babe Ruth and Yogi Berra to Deek Jeter, along with bonus interview footage never before seen and other bonus features.

But don't despair. A&E is providing a SECOND boxed set to be put up for grabs. I'll post a new trivia question on Thursday Dec 6 at 2 p.m., to give people on the West Coast a chance to wake up and get ready. Same rules, with two people ineligible: me and Joe, because he just won his set. Congratulations and good luck!

The Yankee Trivia Question!

Boy, was this hard. Google and Wikipedia make the most obscure baseball questions easy to answer in about two seconds. Just google or wikipedia the player's name and you've got your answer, whether it's the three pitchers Reggie homered off in the World Series, who made the last out in the game that Bucky Dent homered off Boston, etc. etc. So I've gone pop culture on you.

Everyone knows that the Yankees got Babe Ruth from Boston because the Boston owner wanted to fund his Broadway musical No, No Nanette. Actually, everyone knows that ISN'T true since that show didn't hit Broadway until 1925, five years after Ruth was traded in 1920.

The big hit from the show was the standard "Tea For Two," a song given a swinging jazz version by the great Anita O'Day in one of my favorite concert films of all time. What is the name of that film and what is the OTHER jazz standard that she swung so terrifically in that movie? Sorry this isn't strictly baseball related but I wanted to make it just a little more difficult than just a question of speed.

Good luck and the first person to post the correct answer as determined by me wins the prize.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Will The Yankees Trade Melky/Cano and A Pitcher For Santana?

OK, you saw me go hyper over the A-Rod deal. But now the Yankees are gunning for Santana. And the deal they're going to offer will hurt the Yankees a lot more long-term than re-signing A-Rod (which was annoying and bad for "chemistry" but every team can use one whack job and A-Rod is our whack-job so leave him alone). Trade Melky and a pitcher? Trade Cano and a pitcher (one of the three untouchables: Joba, Kennedy or Hughes)? What's the point of trading the core of our future team for one pitcher? Then you have to overpay to fill their roles with lesser talent who haven't proved themselves in NYC the way the C+C boys have, Joba has and Hughes (sort of) has. To me, it's idiocy and unthinkable. Therefore Hank will do it. Are you for or against such a deal? How damaging will it be long-term? Can it be stopped?

Yankeeogaphy Giveaway: The Details

The first annual Five O'Clock Lightning Yankeeography giveaway will take place...Wednesday at noon. I will post a question. The first person to correctly post the answer will win a Yankeeography DVD Megaset. Woohoo! I wil be the sole judge and arbiter. Good luck!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Coming Next Week: The First Give-Away

Next week I'll pose a trivia guestion and the first person to post an answer will win...a free copy of the Yankeeography Mega-Set from A&E Home Entertainment. This 12 DVD set contains dozens of Yankeeography episodes featuring everyone from Babe Ruth to Derek Jeter. It will be shipped free to your home courtesy of A&E and their publicity firm. (Tell me more, Michael!). On Monday, I will post the date and time I'll put the trivia question live. Then the first person to respond correctly wins the set! Perfect for a holiday gift or better yet perfect to keep! Happy Thanksgiving and check in on Monday for the date and time for our first trivia give-away!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where Should Joba Go?

In the Mo story below, Hank says that with Rivera coming back, it "would be crazy" to have Joba in the bullpen. So where does Joba belong: starting or in the bullpen playing the Mo role of '96 and getting the ball to Wetteland. I agree with my friend Noam, who says that in this day and age, the set-up man is more important than ever. Even your ace isn't expected to give you more than six innings If they do, that's a great story (get through seven innings and it's cause for celebration.) Many, many pitchers don't get out of the fifth. That is standard issue today. The best staff still needs a bridge to get to your close, making middle relief just as vital to getting a win as a starter or a closer. Joba was electric in middle relief, he clearly fed off the crowd and was open to the idea. He could be a kep player in getting us wins two or three games a week, rather than just one. If we get through the sixth inning, it would be LIGHTS OUT. That was a HUGE genuine and psychological advantage for the team. I say Joba in the bullpen makes Andy and Wang and Hughes and Kennedy all the more formidable. He makes everyone's job easier. If he starts, we're still going to need people to get us to the ninth -- even if he pitches great. I say an ace middle reliever is JUST as valuable as an ace starter and ace closer. And with starting pitching rarely getting out of the sixth, an ace middle reliever is crucial. Joba in the bullpen. What say you?

Mo Of Course Takes Three Year Deal

Suzanne of Foundry Comm had to tell me about this deal for three years and $45 mil -- I was traveling and missed the deal closing on Monday. I hope Mo got some satisfaction out of making them sweat. They were stupid not to extend his contract one year at the beginning of the season when he offered (ALWAYS take a one year extension for a core player -- long term, it will also pay of financially). And Hank was stupid to run down Mo for being so old after he performed great and we were trying to resign him. Now someone call Pettitte.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A-Rod The MVP

Jason is right: A-Rod was robbed. He had one of the greatest regular seasons in baseball history and he did it for a team that was scratching and clawing its way to the post-season. It should have been unanimous when A-Rod was named MVP. Agree?

Stop the hate!!

So I really have laid low during this whole A-Rod situation. I unlike others who post here, didn't want to make snap judgements or knee jerk reactions without seeing how things played out. In this "gotta have it now" world we live in, people often speak or in this case type, without taking a minute to step back and look at a situation from outside the bubble.

Today, I saw more than ever the sheer jealousy around the sports world for Alex Rodriguez. If ever there were a case for a unanimous choice for a regular season M-V-P awarded. It was Alex Rodriguez. For the sake of brevity(not a strong-suit of mine) I will not go through all his statistics for the past season. Two voters, one from Detroit and one from Oakland said Maglio Ordonez was a better choice for M-V-P. The mere thought is laughable. Ordonez was on a team that couldn't even make it to the postseason. So we really need to start asking the question. Why is there all of this hatred towards the best talent the game has seen?? A talent that when all is said and done, will be the greatest the game has ever seen and one that's likely to break every major record. The answer is simple. Its the same answer that truly fuels most of the anti-A-Rod sentiment that spews from this blog. Jealousy.

Lets take a look at all these different things that are thrown out on this blog. There was a question posed today to the effect of "Why does he have all these incentives thrown in on top of his $275,000,000 contract?? Doesn't this fairly compensate him for the revenue he'll bring in to the organization??" Well, if the person writing this entry took the time to read every financial analysts take on the A-Rod contract and what him chasing and breaking the home run record with the most popular franchise in all of sports would mean to said franchise, perhaps he would think different. But I've learned that for some, it's flat-out impossible to look at A-Rod objectively. These people that have rode him from day one that he got into New York lack the capacity to view A-Rod on the baseball surface.

4 seasons for Alex Rodriguez in New York. He's the American Leagues Most Valuable Player for two of those years. Not good enough?? Hmmmmm...... Oh wait, he wasn't even the best Yankee in the 2005 season where he won M-V-P. Some who blog here would like you to believe that. The numbers simply don't support a baseless slap at A-Rod. he led the team in home runs, RBI's and batting average. Oh yeah, he did all that while playing in all 162 regular season games at the hot corner. Oh yeah, that first year at the hot corner was his first. Still, he put up monster numbers while playing a solid third base.

Ahhh, but what about the playoff problems Jason?? Yeah, he wasn't the only high-priced talent on the team that struggled after the game 4 loss to Boston. The whole team did. But A-Rod is an easy target because of the $$$$$ attached to his name. Is that fair?? Only partly. Just because a guy makes less than A-Rod, that doesn't mean he's any less culpable for his struggles in the playoffs and what those struggles mean to his team. In the end, baseball is a team sport. Oh wait..... I believe the same person on this site spewing the A-Rod venom says Rodriguez isn't a good team player. Games played, stolen bases, playing hurt and numerous head first slides debunk that myth quickly.

Maybe it’s coincidence that the Yankees turnaround this season began with the whole “HA” incident. Some who post here decided to whine about "HA" as if he spit in an umpires face or threw at somebodies head on purpose. It’s called gamesmanship. You’d have to have played the game a little bit to understand it. The same way you would yell “ga-nay, ga-nay, ga-nay” and then yell “SWING” just as the pitcher released the ball to an opposing hitter when you were a kid in little league. This was no different. It was never considered bad sportsmanship then, and it’s just another example of going after A-Rod anytime you can.

For a guy that people accused of being uncomfortable around the media, he sure did enough to deflect attention from the other high-priced talent that underperformed over the past 4 seasons. He was the lightning rod(pun intended)for criticism constantly. Whether he did it the way some wanted or not, the fact of the matter is, he sat in front of his locker room every night and took the heat. He NEVER, EVER made excuses. But that wasn’t good enough. Yankee fans set him to a standard that few would be able to live up to.

Now I know what you're thinking..... Here is Jason Page being an A-Rod apologist. All I've done thus far is give the A-Rod facts. Not the tired old rhetoric. Not one headline here that suits my argument while ignoring the other headlines that would be contrary to my point. Just the facts ma'am. I think A-Rod took bad advice from an agent he has entrusted with his career since he was a teenager. That's obviously a fact that was lost on those criticizing his decision to opt out. Then there is this theory that Scott Boras just threw out a "random number" in terms of his $350,000,000contract for A-Rod. Actually, he didn't. He had a very specific report which detailed why his client would generate the money that allowed him to ask for the contract he did. Whether teams bought it, or wanted to break the bank to pay it is another story. But this idea that Boras threw out some random number as was said by a poster here is just idiotic at best. And it again shows an unwillingness to look at the facts.

Because $275 Million Just Isn't Enough

Will A-Rod be a unanimous choice when he wins the AL MVP award today? He'll be the first Yankee since Mickey Mantle to do so. But apparently he won't get re-signed today because they want to reward A-Rod for breaking the home run record but it's against the rules to give players bonuses for hitting milestones so they have to figure out a way to pretend that's NOT what they're doing. (Just like Jeter pretends to live most of the year in Tampa.)

But putting aside my feelings about the deal in general and my blanket condemnation of incentives since I think it's crazy to pay a player tens of millions of dollars and then add on "incentives" to stay in shape, get lots of hits, win a Gold Glove, etc -- yes, putting aside all of that, isn't there something insane in the fact that he's getting $275 MILLION DOLLARS but they've somehow got to figure out a way to GIVE HIM MORE MONEY so he can "benefit" from the windfall of his home run chase. What the heck do you call A QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS? I would have thought that was pretty good compensation for ALL the revenue you created. Am I crazy to think it's a little absurd to suggest that the $275 million contract DOESN'T reflect fair compensation for everything A-Rod brings to the table?

Friday, November 16, 2007

A-Rod Will Be Booed On Opening Day

I don't like the idea, but I just feel in my bones it will happen. And he will certainly be booed the first time he hits a slump and the intense, distorting focus on his individual performance will get really crazy. It's going to be an exhausting ten years.

Boras Is At The Table; Yankees Overpaid by $75 million

According to the NY Post, Boras has been negotiating for A-Rod. That's right, the one big "demand" by Hank and Hal -- no Boras! -- has also fallen apart. Anything else would be against MLB rules so it's no surprise. They're also reporting that the only firm offer A-Rod had was eight years at $225 million. So if A-Rod was going to come back to the Yankees at a "discount," the bidding starts at 8 years and $200 mil and heads DOWN from there. Boras has done his job well (except for the World Series fiasco). Everything he told A-Rod came true and they got everything they wanted from the team they wanted at the price they wanted. And they scored $75 mil over the next highest offer. If I were A-Rod, I'd be buying him champagne right about now. It all comes down Monday when they announce A-Rod and he gets his MVP Award.

That Massive A-Rod Discount

If Scott Boras had thrown out the figure of $500 million, would everyone be saying that A-Rd was coming to the Yankees at a "discount" of $200 million? For heaven's sake, the number of $350 mil that Boras tossed out was just that: a random number. It's what good negotiators do, throw out a ridiculously high number and then "compromise." A-Rod's $300 mil is higher than the highest offer the Yankees had previously prepared and is $300 mil higher than any offer made by any other team. Don't get suckered by Boras's fancy into thinking $350 mil was any sort of starting point for anything. Besides, they're damn close to that number, aren't they, so it wasn't that outrageous.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bonds Indicted On Perjury

Finally, some good baseball news. The chickens come home to roost for Barry Bonds.

By the way, kids, the ONLY reason Jason Giambi 'fessed up in the grand jury was because he wanted to avoid this same front page photo of himself with that headline. Giambi was CAUGHT and he didn't want to go to jail for perjuring himself the way Bonds might. Giambi wasn't noble or forthcoming or honest or a stand-up guy. He cheated for months and probably years and he got caught red-handed and he listened to his lawyer's advice and did the minimum he had to in order to stay out of jail. And not one bit more.

There's No Discount and the Yankees Folded

Several lies -- or at best several gross misperceptions -- are growing around A-Rod's contract. The lies:

1. A-Rod is coming back at a "discount" -- In no way, shape or form is A-Rod "leaving money on the table" or offering a discount to the Yankees. He is reportedly signing a $300 million package that is the largest such deal in sports history. This deal is $10 million BIGGER than the absolute final, final offer the Yankees had planned to offer of $290 million when they still hoped to talk with A-Rod before he opted out. This is not $21 million "lower" than anything.

2. The Yankees called A-Rod's bluff -- I don't know how this could even get started. A-Rod opted out. The Yankees insisted till they were blue in the face that if A-Rod opted out they would NOT negotiate with him. When he opted out, they repeatedly and angrily said it was over, goodbye, sayonara. Re-open talks? No way. Then they began to negotiate. A-Rod had to say he wanted to be a Yankee? Big deal? That's the sort of nonsense the Steinbrenners love to "demand." I'd say I want to be a little green Martian if you paid me $300 million.

3. Scott Boras looks like a fool -- In what universe? He told his client they would get a recod-setting deal. They got it. Boras told the world he was looking for $350 million, which everyone said was completely insane. A-Rod is getting $300 million, which is by far the biggest ever. The typical average salary for the biggest mega-deal players since A-Rod's last blockbuster is closer to $20 mil. A-Rod will be getting $30 mil. And Boras has indeed been involved in ironing out these details. (The home run incentives smack of his idiocy completely.) It would be illegal of the Yankees to try and block Boras. If he sat in another room or whatever, so what? Everything Boras told his client came true.

4. The Yankees played hardball -- Ha! The Yankees bid against themselves even AFTER no other team began to come even close to making an aggressive move on A-Rod. They look just as stupid as the Texas Rangers did when they outbid the next highest offer by, what, $80 mil? $100 mil? (I forget right now.) The Yankees even outbid their OWN highest offer and even after insisting they HAD to get a $21 mil "discount." Someone tell me where the discount is. Did someone offer A-Rod $321 mil? Cause that's the only way it's true. Even if you think it's great A-Rod came back, the Yankees wildly overpaid and have only themselves to blame. They could have patiently waited to see what other offers -- if any -- came his way. There isn't a chance in hell that someone would have gotten them in a bidding war and they would have ended up paying MORE than the biggest package in history.

Another Fan Speaks

Noam wrote: The heavens are crying today because of the A-Rod news. On the bright side, he'll get substantially more money if he breaks the home run record. Because that's what we have to look forward to: a decade of miserable, brand name (mediocre) baseball during which we watch A-Rod's inexorable march towards individual accomplishment.

I kid you not, if Jeter, Posada, River and Pettite all decided to orchestrate a mass exodus and join the Mets or Torre out in LA, I would root for that team.

Michael's Last Stand

A-Rod at third...and possibly Lowell at first? While this is the exact scenario I dreamed up a month ago, something tells me that the combination of A-Rod returning, Andy Phillips being displaced by a free agent signing (even though he was drafted by the Yanks -- that's gotta count for something!), and thus Giambi assuming the full time DH role would be enough to send Michael into Mets fandom.

What say you?

People Are Calling!

Call the Yankees at 718-293-4300 and say you want to leave a message. "About A-Rod?" Yep. "Hold on, please" and they send you right to a voice mail for that purpose. I pity the employee who probably can't answer his phone all day. Say the calls are 50-50. Why would you want to sign a player -- much less give that player the biggest salary package in the history of all sports -- when HALF OF YOUR FANS ARE SO VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED TO HIM THAT THEY TAKE THE TIME TO CALL YOU AND VOICE THEIR CONCERN? Seriously, why would you want to alienate half your fans? The other half doesn't EXPECT you to re-sign him, the polls show not bringing him back is wildly popular and NO OTHER TEAM IN BASEBALL HAS EVEN MADE HIM AN OFFER BECAUSE HE'S SO POISONOUS. Seriously, why not sign Barry Bonds? Why sign a player a huge chunk of your fans are adamantly opposed to? It's just bad business.

A-Rod's Deal: More Stupid, Damaging, Dangerous, Self-Glorifying Incentives

This is EXACTLY why I hate incentives. A-Rod's deal reportedly will be worth up to $300 million once you add in the incentives A-Rod will get for passing Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and ultimately Barry Bonds on the all-time home run list. Did you catch that? A-Rod will have millions dangling in front of him, encouraging him and telling him that the Yankees want him to hit home runs and achieve personal milestones. Never mind that to win games you need walks and singles and doubles and sacrifice flies to score a run or an out that moves a runner over. No, Hank and Hal are telling A-Rod: swing for the fences. How many ways is that a terrible, terrible idea? It puts focus on one player and their personal achievements instead of the only goal that should matter: winning games and winning the World Series. it puts focus on the WRONG way of playing baseball, the way that has NOT been the Yankees' M.O. for decades and certainly not the type of baseball Girardi will be trying to instill in his players. It turns a ball game into a circus. I like it when a personal milestone is achieved and they flash a message on the scoreboard and everyone applauds. Then we get back to what matters: the game at hand. I do NOT go to baseball games to watch anyone hit a home run. Would I rather see A-Rod achieve a personal milestone or watch the Yankees win a game? Do you have to ask? This goes against EVERYTHING the Yankees should be doing.

By the way, the deal is now $300 million. Who said Boras was "crazy" when he talked about $350 million? This is damn close and Boras doesn't even have to bother showing up.

It's Raining Today

I blame A-Rod.

One Missile Already Launched

Here's the first email sent to the Yankees (and bonus points for saying "sloughing," Bruce):

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Bruce and I am a lifetime New Yorker and Yankee fan. I currently split season tickets in Section 39 (the right field bleachers). I am sending this missive for a single purpose: To beg you to not re-sign A-Rod. All of my reasons have been said before and there is no reason to reiterate them. All you need to know is that if you do this blatantly harmful act, then you will have not yet lost a fan, but will certainly accelerate the sloughing of my fanhood. This will ultimately leave you with one less fan and about two thousand dollars less a season.

Sincerely,

Bruce

Contact The Yankees

Call them at 718-293-4300 or email them via this link. Keep it short and sweet. Tell them you're a Yankee fan. If you have a season ticket account number, share that. Tell them where you usually sit or how long you've been a fan and say simply, "Please don't sign A-Rod." At least you can say you tried.

He's A Pain In The Ass

The guy can't just sign an extension. No, he has to opt out during the World Series, hem and haw more often than Hamlet, agonize, ponder, deliberate and in the end sucks up so much oxygen that no one else can breathe for days. My God, he's SUCH A DISTRACTION. It never ends with him. Four years and it just continues. Ten more years of this? My heart can't take it. Enough already. I don't like telenovelas and he's a living breathing one that will never be cancelled until he retires. And it's not possible but he thinks we're going to LIKE him because he signed the biggest deal in sports history and somehow expects us to think this is a "discount."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Return Of The Seventies

That's the heart of my despair today: not the re-signing of A-Rod per se. But the sinking feeling that just as the Yankees looked set to move beyond the George Steinbrenner era and embrace the mentality and baseball smarts and solid position players that had given us a dynasty in the Nineties, just as that looked like coming to fruition we had a divorce, an illness and now suddenly Hank and Hal are in charge and look set to make the first of many irrational, blustering comments full of anger and firm unwavering resolve that is complete ignored the next day (and don't you dare point that out!) and the desire to spend the most money on the biggest names out there. It's the return of the Seventies and Eighties when the Yankees almost never won and the owners behaved like such complete dicks it made it hard to be a fan. These guys are stupid enough to trade away people that have succeeded in New York, future stars like Melky and Cano and one or two of their supremely promising pitchers all for the pleasure of spending gazillions of dollars on Johan Santana. Who in their right mind would want to trade Melky and Cano, the C and C boys, when they've proven themselves New York ready and given the fans new homegrown talent we can watch grow and cheer for years to come? Hank and Hal, that's who. Their behavior is erratic and stupid and they are NOT building a great team. They are building up their egos and the Yankees are going to suffer, just as they did under George.

This Time, It's Personal

Joe said: Michael, I know you are saying this ARod vendetta is not personal -- but are you sure?

ARod is so incredibly talented that I find it hard to believe anyone would think the Yankees are better off without him from a pure win/loss standpoint. But let's say for a second that you believe that...do you really think ARod is so terrible that he makes the team worse? If the answer is yes, then I ask what that belief could possibly be based on. Because I don't think there is enough evidence that would allow anyone to say with any degree of certainty that the Yanks are better off without him. And if they are worse off -- how much worse could they be? Worse off than if they had a better 1B? Better LF? Etc. etc.

The bottom line is you just wrote a couple of thousand words on how incredibly distasteful the idea of ARod coming back is...seems a bit much unless this is...personal?

Michael replied (without pausing for breath): It's personal NOW in the sense that I held my breath for four years, tried to make the best of it for the sake of the team (just like I do with the cheater Jason Giambi), I had promised myself I would wipe the slate clean and give A-Rod the benefit of the doubt if he didn't opt out and got an extension (hey, we'd be stuck with each other so what choice would I have) but then he was GONE and I was really, really relieved because I WANT THE YANKEES TO WIN and I think we can do a better job without him. I'm thrilled we got rid of Soriano and he's had terrific numbers. I'm thrilled Gary Sheffield (the cheater) is gone and he had a great bat. I want a team I can root for, a team I can like, preferably a team that does NOT have a grotesquely inflated payroll because that takes the fun out of winning and we were working towards that thanks to the departure of Clemens and A-Rod and others. Of course, I believe the team would do better without him.

I've thought the entire direction of the team since 2001 has been disastrous and gone far away from the philosophy that got us a dynasty. Then George got ill, Cashman and Swindal got more control, payroll was actually reduced, our farm system started to improve, we didn't keep throwing away the future on aging veterans, our new philosophy was like the old philosophy...and then Swindal cheated on his wife, george got so ill that Hank and Hal stepped in and they started behaving just like their boorish dad and the nightmarish years of the 70s and 80s when the Yankees rarely won and behaved like complete jerks and made it hard for even fans to like them returned in full force and in about six weeks I've seen the dream of intelligence and long-term planning and graciousness been trashed completely and the big swaggering assholes of Hank and Hal taking over completely and booting Joe out the door gracelessly (even just HOW it was done, not the fact that it was).

For many, many people, the Yankees have been a hateful team throughout the ages. Who could blame them in the Seventies and Eighties? I missed that entire miserable era because George Steinbrenner broke the law and was banned from baseball for about three years and in that tiny, tiny window Gene Michaels and Buck Showalter managed to put together the makings of a dynasty and we reaped the rewards for most of the 90s with a team of decent, hard-working position players who never embarrassed you off the field, played great on the field, were mocked by other managers as not containing a single Hall of Famer among them (ha! who the hell cares?) and won four World Series. America LOVED the Yankees the way they hadn't been loved since the 50s and 60s and you could be proud to be a fan.

George destroyed that legacy in the Seventies and Eighties and failed to win while doing it. Now his sons are taking over and this deal is indicative of their boorish, idiotic, changeable, mercurial, obnoxious behavior and it frightens me because this is the first of many obnoxious manuevers they're going to make. I don't want to have to think about the owners -- I want to think about the players. These schmucks think spending the most money for the biggest names available is how you buy rings. It can work, sometimes, for a season. But most of the time it fails miserably. This deal is the beginning of a pattern.

I am most angry at Hank and Hal for returning to the bad old days. But A-Rod could not have behaved more dishonorably, more pettily, more dishonestly than he did by lying repeatedly and opting out so he could get the most money from somewhere, anywhere even if it was the Yankees and by lying about the reasons and making the entire baseball community angry at his behavior during the World Series and after. He has behaved like a complete and utter boor. I have mocked his awkwardness in interviews but I have never criticized his personal life or personal dealings. He doesn't do drugs. He doesn't use steroids. I don't care about his marriage. He's very talented. (This year, for the first time, I thought the greatest player in baseball history was in fact the MVP for the Yankees. The other three years? Not so much.)

But he has behaved like a complete dick these last three weeks and yes, I am angry that just as he showed himself to be callow, self-serving, two-faced and money hungry (if he really wanted to stay a yankee, he would not have opted out) and walked out the door and I could exhale he's walked back in again. A-Rod's behavior in the last few weeks was like seeing the villain at the end of the film removing his mask and proving he was the complete bastard you always secretly feared he might be. A-Rod could NOT have behaved more prickishly.

Calling him classy and humble is absurd. Let's not forget his diss of that Hank Aaron award -- an award he lied and said he couldn't receive because reporters would ask him all sorts of questions and he didn't want to be a distraction -- right before releasing his opt-out news in the middle of the final game of the World Series. But no, it's not personal. That is, it wasn't personal before and he's been a complete ass now, but if I thought we were better with him I'd still want him. You know all the reason people give for saying he can be a hindrance to the team. I don't need to repeat them. He did NOT "win" us six games. No single player ever does. Not Jeter, not Pettitte, not Mo, not A-Rod. You can't hit the game winning walk off three run blast if other people don't get on base. NO ONE has ever won a single game on their own, not even a pitcher throwing a perfect game because that takes a catcher and players making great plays in the field.

Coming up with the imaginary figure that A-Rod "won" six more games for us that we would have otherwise lost shows a fundamental lack of understanding about team sports and baseball in particular. It's NOT POSSIBLE for one player to be credited with such a claim. In the same way, A-Rod's exceptional regular season did indeed contribute to EVERY win the Yankees did achieve. You win or lose AS A TEAM. Period. And I type fast. No matter how much I've written about A-Rod today, I've written twice as much about High School Musical 2 yesterday.

2018

That's the first year I can look forward to the end of the -- god help us -- A-Rod era. Ten years. I might just boo him for the first and only time on Opening Day, just to get the anger and bitterness out of my system, just to make clear to him: You came back with your eyes open, you knew how the fans treated you, you knew how the players treated you, you knew how the media treated you and yet you came back for more because the Yankees offered you the biggest sports deal in history and you'd rather have more money than be happy, you'd rather have more money than be reunited with Lou Pinella, you'd rather have more money than show a little self-respect and say, 'You know what? I don't need this.' Maybe you LIKE this. Maybe you're masochistic. But I'm not. I'll bet dollars to donuts the fans boo you on Opening Day just to say, "You wanted it? You got it. Now just get a hit every single at bat and never make an error and you can rest easy."

For The Love Of God, Take Some Responsibility!

A-Rod hides behind his wife in public statement:
"After spending time with Cynthia and my family over these last few weeks, it became clear to me that I needed to make an attempt to engage the Yankees regarding my future with the organization.

"Prior to entering into serious negotiations with other clubs, I wanted the opportunity to share my thoughts directly with Yankees' ownership. We know there are other opportunities for us, but Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club that has brought us comfort, stability and happiness.

"As a result, I reached out to the Yankees through mutual friends and conveyed that message. I also understand that I had to respond to certain Yankees concerns, and I was receptive and understanding of that situation.

"Cynthia and I have since spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family. During these healthy discussions, both sides were able to share honest feelings and hopes with one another, and we expect to continue this dialogue with the Yankees over the next few days," he said.
Why in God's name does he keep talking about his wife as if she's his co-negotiator? Because he refuses to shoulder responsibility himself. "Cynthia and I have a foundation with the club?" That would be the same club she wore a t-shirt to that said "Fuck You"? "Cynthia and I have spoken directly with the Steinbrenner family?" "Dialogue?" Why does he keep bringing her up beyond the pro forma "after heartfelt discussions with my wife about what's best for our children" comment? It's pathological.

The Poisonous Clubhouse

I'm sure Posada and Mo and Pettitte were delighted when A-Rod used THEIR contract negotiations with the Yankees as his lying, half-assed reason for opting out. I'm sure A-Rod was thrilled when Jeter said at Joe Torre's charity dinner that you can't replace A-Rod's numbers but that the Yankees had won the World Series repeatedly without those numbers and they'd be fine. I can just see A-Rod walking into the clubhouse offering a cheery "Hey guys!" and being stunned when he's greeted with cold indifference. I hope that's not the case, but how could it not be?

Why?

Why would you give the BIGGEST SPORTS DEAL IN HISTORY to a player who dissed you and the game, a player that every poll demonstrates the New York fans are THRILLED is gone, a player most if not all of your own players are thrilled is gone, a player that a new ESPN poll shows that -- despite obvious Hall of Fame stats -- that the vast majority of baseball fans don't want on their team either at any price, a player that no team has made an offer to, a player that poisons the atmosphere of every team he plays at and serves as an unending source of distraction, misery and woe? It upsets most fans, most players, your captain, is bad for the bottom line and arguably bad for the team's chances of winning. Maybe you don't agree with that argument but it can be made and you're gambling $270 million that history will be proven wrong. Why?