Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching

From Joe:

C.C.
Wang
Joba
---------
Lowe??
Burnett??
Sheets??
Pettitte??
______
Hughes
Kennedy
Aceves


Can never have enough pitching...

From Pete:

Any chance we can package Hughes, Kennedy and Melky for Jake Peavy?

And I'd rank those 4 question marks in this order: Sheets, Lowe, Pettitte, Burnett.

From Joe:

I hope they trade Kennedy for Rick Ankiel just so we can have another
'roid user on the team. I figure eventually with enough 'roid users and
hired guns that Michael's head will explode.

Hughes, Melky, and a minor leaguer for Peavy -- sign me up for that.

From Michael:
x x x
x x
x x x
x x x
x x
x x x
xxx xx x

x x
x x xx
x X
\ \
I /
I /
X X
X X
X -- -- X
X X
X - X
X --- X
X X
X X
XXXXXX


Damn, I carefully drew a picture of me with my head exploding and blogger squished it all together.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mike Mussina Retires: It's Official

See ya, Moose. I wish he'd come back and we'll definitely miss him. But there's a lot to be said for a graceful exit when you're still on top. A smart man to the end and an honest competitor in an era of cheats.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My (Latest) Angry Letter To The Yankees

Dear New York Yankees,

I’ve been going to Yankee Stadium since I moved to New York in 1991 and I’ve owned season tickets in the bleachers since the moment they became available. My seat location in the old Stadium was Section 39, row FF, seats 3-4. Because the stairway “cut into” the row, there were no seats 1 or 2 down low. I was seated on the aisle. Also, the rows began with row CC because rows AA and BB were removed so that people in wheelchairs would have somewhere to be positioned.

In the new Stadium, instead of being in the 4th row and on the aisle, I’m in the sixth row and three seats in. I went to great lengths to make clear I just wanted to stay in my same location but was frightened out of ticking off the “stay on the aisle” box because of course you made it very clear that might well mean being pushed ten or twenty rows back and then if I didn’t take THOSE seats I would be put into the back of the line. I also feel terrible for the people who’ve sat in the front row for years if not decades and suddenly find themselves placed in the third row.

Here’s what I don’t understand. The first two rows and the two seats on the aisle (seats 1 and 2 in row 6) DIDN’T EXIST in the old Stadium. I’m linked to a group of people seated in section 203 from rows 3-9. All we want is to be moved over so our seats begin on the aisle where we’ve been for years instead of three seats in. Why should strangers who have never had those seats get priority over us?

I tried to call up and see about buying TWO MORE SEATS if necessary to get those aisle seats and was basically given the bum rush. How dare I ask any questions? They can’t look anything up (like “Are the seats assigned yet?” or “Can I buy them as well?”), why would I even ask if they were open and available and I better just damn well take the seats offered to me or I’d be out of luck. Forever.

Why in God’s name didn’t you just speak to at least the full season ticket holders when assigning their seat? If you had ten people a day contacting 30 people each, you could reach 300 people a day. I assume there’s probably about 20,000 full season package ticket holders, though perhaps less since I own two seats, my neighbor owns two seats (5-6), his neighbor owns 3 (7-9) and so on. Frankly, I don’t know any full season ticket owner who doesn’t own at least two seats though I’m sure they exist. I suppose spending three months to actually reach out to your full season ticket holders for this once in a generation move was too much effort for you?

This process has been nothing but insulting and frustrating and aggravating, from the constant delays in getting information to us to the abrupt, threatening, take it or leave it attitude that has reigned throughout. Every time I call Yankee Stadium I’m made to feel like a criminal. Instead of being excited about the new Stadium, I am angry and upset. I don’t expect the team to win the World Series every year or get to the post season every year. I do expect to be treated as a valued customer and not as some schmuck who better realize you’ve got a waiting list of people wanting to buy tickets so I better take what’s given to me and shut up.

Obviously, you couldn’t have chosen a worse time economically to make this move; the economy, of course, is out of your control. But your indifferent attitude and obnoxious treatment of loyal customers – even those who feel pressured into offering to spend more money just to regain the seats we should have been assigned all along -- is wholly your fault.

Sincerely,

Michael Giltz

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I'm Back...let the Hot Stove begin

Been a while. I know you were all clamoring for my return, and I apologize. The last time I posted, Lehman Brothers was still the 4th largest investment bank, Barack Obama was just a Senator instead of President-Elect, and the Cubs and Angels looked destined to meet in the World Series. Has it been change we can believe in? Not sure about that. On to more pressing matters...

Post-Mortem
1. Congrats to the Rays and Phillies. If you look at the young rotation the Rays have assembled along with All-Star talents like Longoria, Upton, Crawford, Pena, Iwamura, and Navarro (wouldn't the Yankees love to have him back...), it is clear that this was not a one time deal. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with as long as they keep those guys signed and healthy. The advantage that the Yanks and Sox have is still plain and simple...$$. If the Rays are hit by injuries or ineffectiveness at a particular position, they probably won't be able to plug a hole with a big free agent or mid-season salary dump. Its clear to me that the Yanks need to rebuild, and until they do they are only the third best team in the division (though that could still mean they are the third best team in the AL).

2. Congrats to Mike Mussina on his 20 wins and his Gold Glove. Gold Gloves are probably the least deserved award in sports (evidenced by Rafael Palmeiro winning one year at first base when he played DH something like 120 times), but its still a nice trophy to go on the wall and something that HOF voters look at (cause they are probably the same idiots that vote on Gold Gloves). I hope Moose comes back, but if not he can take pride in going out on his own terms. Its been a great career, I just wish he had a ring to go with it.

3. Kudos to Hank and Hal for re-signing Cashman. He's not perfect. No one is. Gotta get more right than wrong and he does that. Gotta have a clear long term plan, and stick to it when you can and deviate when you must. He does that too. I share his vision and philosophy but unless the players on the field play up to their potential it means nothing. Cashman has a tough road ahead to get this team back to the World Series, but there is no one else in baseball I'd rather have at the helm.

4. Goodbye Carl Pavano. It's like we hardly even knew you.

On to 2009: Question Marks
Moose: Probably not coming back, but let's hope he does so they don't sign someone like Derek Lowe to a four year, $60mm deal.

Andy: Probably coming back, but after his performance down the stretch last season he better take a look in the mirror and accept a sizeable pay cut.

Joba: Apparently he will be in the starting rotation, though there will be an innings limit. Will be interesting to see how he holds up. I still say his talent is best served as a #1 starter, but if his arm can't handle the stress its better to stick him in the bullpen than end up with another Mark Prior. I suspect he will be on a short leash and at the first sign of trouble they will pull the plug for good.

Giambi: Appears to be gone and perhaps headed back to Oakland (good fit), but we'll see. He had his ups and downs but he always gave it his all. I wish him well.

Abreu: Looks like he is the odd man out due purely to the timing of his contract since Nady, Matsui, and Damon are all still signed. If they can trade Matsui or Damon (and they probably can't), then Abreu is gone and they'll likely get a first round draft pick for him. I like Bobby. He's our best defensive outfielder, he always has good at bats, and he's a good base runner. No doubt in my mind that he was the second best all around player on the team last season and that is tough to replace.

The Veterans: Jeter, Damon, Matsui, Jorge, & Cano all had disappointing seasons for various reasons. An optimist would hope they return to their previous levels next year provided they stay healthy. A realist would say that only Cano is likely to do that given his late season return to form. While the others may show flashes of their former brilliance, it is likely that they will continue to struggle with injuries and ineffectiveness. Its not their fault...they are just getting old. And other than Jamie Moyer (freak) and Barry Bonds (drugs), baseball players don't get better after 30.

The Young Guys: Hughes, Kennedy, Melky, Gardner. Will any of them contribute next season? Will they be traded? Should be interesting to see what Cashman does. I think Hughes still has high end potential if he can stay healthy. I'm cautiously optimistic about him. I think Kennedy has #5 stuff at best. Melky needs to improve his hitting. He's young, but he's running out of time. Gardner to me will never be an everyday player, but he is the type of player that championship teams need. I hope they keep him as their #4 outfielder for the next 10 years. He can pinch run, bunt, and play the field. He can also play all three outfield spots in case of injury. Just the perfect glue guy to have on a winning team.

Free Agents/Trade Possibilities: Clearly they are going to make a pitch to Teixiera and Sabathia. I think both players are great talents and are without a doubt the two best players on the market (not counting Manny, who I refuse to consider and K-Rod who doesn't fit at all). The fact that they perfectly plug the holes on this roster is even better. But breaking the bank as far as dollars and years go has not proven successful in most cases. I would love to have one or both of them, but not if that means paying through the nose (relative to what other teams are offering). I would rather sign Sabathia to a 6 year, $150mm deal than miss out on him and overpay Derek Lowe (bum), A.J. Burnett (injury concern), or Ben Sheets (injury concern). I would also rather pay Sabathia than trade Hughes, Kennedy, and Austin Jackson for Jake Peavy. So in some ways you could say that breaking the bank for C.C. is the lesser of all evils. If they do sign him lets just hope he can keep his body in pitching shape for the duration of the contract. They are also exploring a trade for Mike Cameron, who is old, on the decline, and strikes out a lot. But if they are not comfortable going into the season with Melky/Gardner in CF, then a 1 year deal for Cameron makes sense while they wait for Austin Jackson to develop in AAA. That's assuming of course that the Brewers asking price is reasonable. Similar logic would apply to a possible trade for Nick Swisher, but only if they fail to sign Tiexeira. Plus the White Sox always ask for too much. One player who I have not heard much of anything about is Japanse hurler Junichi Tazawa. He is a free agent so no huge posting fee would need to be paid, but they are still feeling burnt by the Kei Igawa disaster so I can understand their reticence towards him. Hopefully the Red Sox give Varitek a Posada-like contract and the Mets sign Derek Lowe to a Pavano-like deal.

So what are we left with? Here is what I'd like to see for a roster next season (I'm assuming Moose is gone even though I'd like him back).

SP: Sabathia
SP: Joba
SP: Wang
SP: Pettitte
SP: Hughes

RP: Aceves
RP: Ramirez
RP: Coke
RP: Veras
RP: Marte (they declined his option but can still re-sign him)
RP: Bruney
RP: Mo

Waiting in the Wings: Giese, Robertson, Melancon, Sanchez, Britton, Albaladejo, Rasner, Kennedy

LF: Damon
SS: Jeter
3B: Rodriguez
1B: Tiexiera
RF: Nady
DH: Matsui
2B: Cano
C: Posada
CF: Melky/Gardner

Bench: Gardner/Melky, Betemit, Molina, Ransom/Duncan (??)

That's a team that can contend for a title, but only if they stay healthy and produce somewhere near their historical averages. I think its a decent blend of power/speed and age/youth. We'll see over the next few months just what they do and what other contenders do as everyone looks to overtake the 2008 American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays (sounds weird, right?). I for one am excited about the potential for success as they move into the new Stadium.

Yes We Can!

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Yankee Stadium Seat Assignments

Of course, the Yankees f*%#ed it up!

My new seat assignment is Section 203, Row 6, Seats 3-4.

You can go to this site and look at the view from every section of the Stadium.

How did the Yankees screw it up? By being complete morons. The front row of Section 39 was labeled CC. (There was no row AA or BB because those were just areas of the walkway set aside for people in wheelchairs.) The first seat in the first 15 or so rows were labeled seats 3 and 4 because the stairway/ramp from underground cut into the rows. Higher up, the first seats were the traditional 1 and 2. Now in the new Stadium, the rows are labeled 1, 2, 3 and so on. All the rows are the same length in the new design so the first seats in my row, which would be Row 4 under the new naming system are now 1 and 2. In other words, there are two "extra" rows and two "extra" seats. Now anyone with half a brain would know to put the first Row in Section 39 -- that is, Row CC -- into the first row of Section 203, which is now labeled Row 1. It doesn't matter whether the rows are called "shunnfdbhcv" and "ahcbjnjbj" anyone can tell what's what. Ditto for the seats that are on the aisle. Seats 3 and 4 are the first two seats in 39 and should be the first two seats -- 1 and 2 -- in the new 203. But that takes thinking. The extra rows should be placed in the very back and the extra two seats should be placed in the middle of the row, somewhere where it doesn't split up blocks of seats that asked to be linked together. Any fool could figure this out.

What did they do? They PUNISHED the season ticket holders. The people who have set in the front row for years are now in the third row. That's a huge difference since there are ten extra rows and a huge concrete barrier between us and the field. The people who sat on the aisle are now shoved three seats in. So new fairweather fans who show up at the box office today get better seats and better placement than the long-time fans who supported the team through thick and thin.

Way to go, jerks. The new Yankee Stadium sucks in every way and I hope Congress catches them and the city for the hundreds of millions of dollars they tried to scam out of the taxpayers and makes them pay through the nose.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Super Bowl Tix Are $1000? OUTRAGEOUS!!

Oh wait, Yankee tickets to a dull game in April are $2500. For a regular season game. That's two and a half times as much as the best seats in the house for the Super Bowl. Again, if I won the LOTTERY I couldn't afford to get two season tickets above the dugout (the only place I'd like to see a game other than section 203 (aka Section 30, baby).

So I'm getting ready to write another letter to the Yankees. What do we want to request?

1. End the no-bag policy for men. Every other baseball stadium in the country allows them. And women can bring whatever they want. And men with babies can come loaded down with stuff. So it's basically single males denied the right to bring in a small personal bag or backpack like the ones virtually everyone in NYC walks around with all the time. Doesn't make us even remotely safer and they have to search us anyway, so why do it?

2. End God Bless America -- it cheapens the song and slows the game to have it playing every single day. Enough already.

3. End the ban on video cameras in the stadium and on Yankee tours. (Not in the locker rooms; I understand that desire for privacy.) The Yankees ban video cameras as if someone shooting some footage from a million miles away in the stands might compete with TV coverage or a DVD they might want to put together of a Stadium Tour. But as we know, virtually every new decent camera contains video options, so it's completely unenforceable -- thousands of people bring them on the tour and in the Stadium every day. Keeping a rule in place that cant be enforced (and serves no purpose in the first place) encourages people to break other rules that do matter. Obviously, they can say no to a camera on a tripod, which eliminates any serious filmmaking so people don't try and shoot a scene for their indie movie with a Yankee game as the backdrop. They can always use their discretion But a tiny hand held FlipVideo or small HD video camera is no threat to any potential sales the Yankees might make and the thousands of digital cameras on hand are already shooting video anyway.

Anything else I should bring up?

Michael

Thursday, October 16, 2008

FOX Delays World Series For Obama

Barack Obama is buying a half hour ad on October 29 to talk to Americans in the week before the election. He's roadblocking this ad -- that is, buying it on a string of networks at the same time so anyone watching any number of networks at that time will see his speech. This could take place during Game Six of the World Series (assuming there is a Game Sxix) and FOX has just said it will push the start time of the game back (and skip its usual half hour of blather beforehand) in order to air the Obama ad. Amazing.

NOTE: They keep mentioning he is buying the ad on CBS and NBC and FOX. Why not ABC?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yankees Cancel Half-Assed Plans For Nov 9 Concert

The Yankees quietly admitted their half-assed, poorly planned idea for a concert at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 9 have been cancelled. This "secret" ceremony, which was news to most of the fans who shelled out big bucks to be at Yankee Stadium on its final day, was tossed out there as a fait accompli. It was gonna celebrate all of Yankee Stadium -- the boxing and Popes and football and everything else that happened there, not just the baseball -- and they casually tossed out names like Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney and Billy Joel as potential performers. Too bad no one told Springsteen or McCartney or Joel since none of them were remotely confirmed and when you're talking about people of that stature, you need to lock them in months if not a year in advance. I always found the idea annoying since it was so secretive and felt like a rip-off for everyone who went to that last game. So I'm glad their half-assed, shambling, incompetent plans fell apart.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What Moves Should Cashman Make?

By popular demand. (OK, by Pete's demand.) The NY Daily News weighed in. What do you think? Me, I'm fairly ignorant about anyone who's not currently playing on the Yankees. But I DEFINITELY believe we should dump Giambi and Abreu. And I think the News is dreaming when it thinks Posada would take being moved to first base. The News also suggested the Mets should consider trading David Wright, which also seems insane. Hmm, who could we offer in a trade? (I know, I'm a jerk.) Weigh in, people.

End Of Season Wrap-Up

Okay, I went to 45 Yankee games (a personal best), one Met game, the Yankee Stadium tour on Sunday Sept 7 and the All-Star Game on Tuesday July 15. My record on Yankee games was 26 wins and 19 losses. You?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cashman Stays For Three More Years

Hal aint Hank and George is out -- or Cashman would have been fired. Surely George would have fired SOMEONE after failing to make the post-season. I say it's good Cashman stays; heck, I was wrong about Hughes and Kennedy as well.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mussina Gets 20 Wins!

Let's pray he'll be back next season to get another 15+! Congrats, Mike.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Goodbye Yankee Stadium: The Movie Part 1

Riding the #4 train to the Stadium on Sunday, September 21, 2008.

Goodbye Yankee Stadium: The Movie Part 2

Looking around the bleachers.

Goodbye Part 3

More bleacher watching during the pre-game ceremony.

Goodbye Part 4 -- Bernie's Bow

Bernie Williams gets a final bow at Yankee Stadium during the pre-game ceremony.

Goodbye Part 5 - Bob Shepherd's Video

Watching Bob Shepherd's taped farewell from Section 39.

Goodbye Part 5.5 -- Roll Call By The Bleacher Creatures

The final roll call at Yankee Stadium on Sept 21, 2008. You won't catch a glimpse of Bald Vinny -- too many people crowding around and taking pictures. (Even Spike Lee was there sitting next to him, recording the moment.)

Goodbye Part 6: Cowbell Chant

The cowbell chant in Section 39 on September 21, 2008 - the final game at Yankee Stadium.

Goodbye Part 7 -- Jim Leyritz

Jim Leyritz poses for pictures in Section 39 during the final game at Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008.

Goodbye Part 7.5 -- One of Jeter's At-Bats

Derek Jeter takes an at-bat at Yankee Stadium during the last game ever played there. He'd been hit by a pitch recently and was in severe pain and would eventually sit out the last two games of the season. But he played this game and never got a hit. As Nannette said after the game (and I've never been prouder of her), That doesn't matter. We won the game and that's all Derek cares about. He could care less about all that personal stuff. We won the game and that's what counts.

Goodbye Part 8 -- Derek Jeter's Last At-Bat

Oh Captain, my Captain.

Goodbye Part 8.5 -- Mariano Rivera Comes In To Pitch

Mariano Rivera -- perhaps the greatest closer in the history of the game -- comes to the mound in the top of the 9th as Metallica's "Enter Sandman" blasts through Yankee Stadium. It's his final trip from the bullpen at Yankee Stadium on the last game ever played there.

Goodbye Part 8.8 -- The Final Out At Yankee Stadium

Derek Jeter is pulled from the game with two outs so we can cheer him one last time. Then Mariano Rivera gets the final out, the Yankees win and Frank Sinatra sings "New York, New York." All seen from Section 39, the Bleacher Creatures on September 21, 2008 -- the final game at Yankee Stadium.

Goodbye Part 9 -- The Last Idiot To Run On The Field

I hate it when people run onto the field. At least this idiot waited until after the game was over. Check out his high kick as they drag him away, a little homage to "New York New York."

Goodbye Part 10 -- Derek Jeter Addresses The Crowd

After the final game at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter addresses the crowd. Short, sweet, classy. Of course. As seen by the Bleacher Creatures in Section 39 on Sept 21, 2008.

Goodbye Part 11 -- One Last Peek

One last peek at Yankee Stadium. Walking up the ramp and looking at the field about one hour after the final game was over on Sept. 21, 2008.

Still Saying Goodbye To Yankee Stadium, Part I





Here are some great photos from Roy Groething and his son Eric. Personally, my favorite is the shot of the chipped and faded "39" above the ramp to our seats. All photos are by Roy except the only one that Nannette cares about: the shot of Derek, which Eric took. Thanks for sharing, guys.

Still Saying Goodbye To Yankee Stadium, Part II






More shots from Roy.

Still Saying Goodbye To Yankee Stadium, Part III



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Goodbye Yankee Stadium

Paul Simon's tribute in the New York Times is great. And here is Billy Crystal's essay on his memories of Yankee Stadium. You'll also find links to pieces by everyone from George Steinbrenner to Henry Kissinger there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Countdown Lever

Michael started this list back in April, but lost the count when he ran off to the south of France. Anyway, if you are interested in seeing who pulled the lever for each home game, now you know.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Touring Yankee Stadium Part 1






Well, the tour of Yankee Stadium was a lot more fun -- and law-breaking -- than I expected. Nina got kicked out for taking photos in the locker room, I had to delete (almost) all of my videos and others secretly took photos of that same locker area and got away with it.

Touring Yankee Stadium Part 1.5 -- Monument Park

Walking around Monument Park on Sunday, September 7, 2008 -- just before the tours ended for good.

Touring Yankee Stadium Part 2




Touring Yankee Stadium Part 2.5 -- The Finale

Outside Yankee Stadium after our law-breaking tour on which Nina and Kate were kicked out. This was Sunday, September 7, 2008, the last weekend before they ended the tours for good.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Matsui Permanent DH

Girardi says he expects Matsui to be a full-time DH in 2009. Matsui insisted he would get surgery and work in the off season to be available for as many roles as possible and suggested he could play infield, such as first base. Huh. If Matsui is a permanent DH, will Damon be a full-time outfielder or is he too old? Does this mean the Yankees keep Abreu? If they dump Melky and Matsui is gone and Damon is at most a part-timer, they may need two new outfielders even if they KEEP Abreu.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ode To Yankee Stadium

FROM NEIL, DOWN IN FLORIDA AND SAYING GOODBYE TO YANKEE STADIUM 2.0

I guess my arm will be twisted into upgrading to a complete season rather than "just" 61 games. Hey, Vincent!!! You can add Saturdays to your games!LOL...actually, since I am in South Florida most of the time I will be going through these shenanigans for just a handful of games. And to think the judge would not accept my insanity plea!!?? The nerve!

I have to say as bad as the baseball has been most of this season and I surely do not miss watching A-Rod choke with men on base, but I do miss hanging out with you guys. I mean....what's better than, Vincent "The Diva" Davis showing up in the 5th inning and complaining about the candy wrapper on his seat or seeing him and "Officer" Williams locked in an amorous embrace? Or Mike "The Volunteer Usher" Glitz guiding wayward (and sometimes inebriated) patrons to their seats (ummm...dude I'm in row H...why is HH before H???doh!) Or Colin "The Weekender" Brown getting his new A-Rod jersey imprinted with my son, JoJo's sneaker prints right between the 1 and the 3. Last but not least.....I miss Aunt Nannette relieving me of my parental responsibilities so I can watch a few innings of baseball in peace without being nagged for soda, chips, ice cream, lemonnn iiiccce, or worse yet, those $20 foam fingers!! Yes, Marlins baseball and its 5,000 fans in a 75,000 seat football stadium will never come close to parking at Concourse Village, the beer at The Bowling Alley, the long lines on River Ave, the hard ass metal bleachers, the brain dead morons who think sitting in section 39 is an excuse to act retarded, and everything else that goes into Yankee baseball. I fear that I have made my last venture in the great Cathedral of Baseball, as media types like to call it and as corny as it sounds, I am choked up imagining that the place where my Dad, rest his soul, took me to see my first ballgame is going to be rubble. I fell in love with not only a silly game there but with an atmosphere, an aura, and a place where all of my troubles seemed to be gone the second I walked through those turnstiles. Maybe I am waxing poetic just a tad here, but Section 39, Row HH, seat 3 (sorry Davis!)is more than just an overpriced ticket to a ballgame for me. It is a place where I felt happy, at home, where I shared moments with my kids when I was young and so were they. It is a place where I forged real friendships with real people and where I could come after a hard day to unwind and relax. No matter what palace they build across E161st Street and I do believe that the time had come for a better facility; nothing will ever replace the "REAL" Yankee Stadium and all the idiosyncrasies that came with it. When September 21 comes and goes and the doors are closed one last time things will change forever. Surely, from a baseball standpoint things will change and perhaps be better (hopefully...but, I have my doubts) but even more importantly, at least for me, life will change, a piece of my history will be gone, and life will never be the same. I do not know about any of you but that makes me sad, very sad.

No matter what next season brings, I want to thank all of you for adding a lot to the lives of not only Mookie, but Ari, Joey, and me as well. I will never forget you guys or any of the great moments we shared together as the "other" side of section 39. Maybe, we were not the commercial "Bleacher Creatures" with their novelties or their media exposure but we were there every night, cheering just as hard, bleeding Yankee pinstripes just as navy, and caring just as much. I hope that you guys stay in touch, although in all likelihood that will not happen. Even so, I wish all of you lots and lots of happiness, good health and good luck. May all your dreams come true and may the Yank's win another World Series before I lose my prostate and while Vincent still has hair! Go Yank's!

AND COLIN'S RESPONSE:

Man that was deep. And really got me thinking. I sure hope the rest of us are still able to keep the seats together. Vincent, are you gonna get a package for yourself? Neil we'll miss having you around yelling at people sitting in your seats and watching your kids wear their ice cream and ask about going home in the third inning (Jojo), listening to Mookie real off stats I didn't even know about. Whenever you come up for games make sure you catch a Sunday game so I can join in the reunion. And who knows I might be around full time in a year....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moral Dilemma #73

OK, the Yankees are basically out of it. But not mathematically out of it. And who wants to admit the season is over, even when the season is over? But what about the post-season package? The Yankees have never waited this late to send out the order form to season ticket holders. Any day now we'll receive in the mail an offer to buy the entire post-season package in advance. We'll have about three days to decide or our tickets for the post-season will be up for grabs. Of course, any money we spend on tickets that aren't used will automatically roll over and be used as credit towards the money we'll need to spend in December for NEXT season's package. And for the past 13 seasons, we've always gone to the post-season. But this year we won't. As Pete points out, beyond the cost of tickets is about $144 in ticket handling and shipping charges that will NOT be refunded. In other words, we'll be paying more than $100 for the privilege of paying early for next season's tickets. So what do we do? Refuse to fork over the $100 non-refundable charges and admit the season is over? Or pay up and laugh when the Yankees make the most improbable of comebacks, make it to the post-season and our friends find themselves watching the games on TV?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Stadium Sneak Peek

Joseph Verillo passed on a link to some stats of the new stadium. He doesn't like the increase in foul territory but thinks the giant scoreboard will be impressive. My feeling is -- Finally! A martini bar. Actually the only comparison I'd like to see is distance from front row seat to field (or pitching mound) for every part of the stadium. I know the bleachers distance has grown dramatically. That and the massive hike in tickets do NOT bode well for the new stadium. It'll look fine, but they've taken all the fan enthusiasm and joy out of the game and made it so expensive most people will only come once a year.

What's Worse? The Loss Or Fans Booing A-Rod?

So, one season after A-Rod is MVP (and rightly so, stats wise), and during a year when everyone is struggling and Jeter is having one of the worst seasons of his career, who are the fans booing? A-Rod, of course. First and foremost, I don't understand fans who boo their own team. (Whenever a pitcher is pulled and fans boo, I think, 'Do you really want to harass your own team?") Second, I just feel sorry for the guy. I feel like he's made the wrong decision at almost every point in his career (going to Texas at a price so crippling the team could never compete instead of a big market team) and that when he finally made he the RIGHT decision for himself and his career -- going to Boston for a reduced price -- MLB wouldn't let him take a "loss" on his contract (surely a case of idiotic interference since the rules were not intended to keep a mega-millionaire from playing where he wants but to protect small players from being taken advantage of). Here's a brutal quote from the NYTimes: "This may be the closest the Yankees get to the postseason, and Alex Rodriguez is in October form." And here's an A-Rod quote where he STILL doesn't seem to have the attitude I'd prefer: “It’s terrible,” he said. “There’s absolutely no excuse. My team expects me to get big hits and make big plays, and tonight, I didn’t do it.” For the love of God, no. When the bases are loaded, a big play can be a walk. A single. A double. When you always feel like you're supposed to make BIG plays you don't make the little plays that keep rallies going. I guess Jeter is lucky he can't hit for power because he never seems to be trying for the 3 run home run. Just get on base, keep it going. I honestly don't think A-Rod is EVER going to be happy in New York and clearly the fans are never going to make it easy for him and I feel just as bad for him as I do for the team.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Goal: Get Mussina 20 Wins

Hey if we want to salvage something from this season, how's this for a goal? Get Mussina his 20 wins. God knows he's pitching well enough.

Hank Steinbrenner Is Reasonable; Pigs Fly

You could have knocked me over with a stick. The season is slipping away and Hank Steinbrenner is sober and reasoned? Hank actually acknowledges Joe Girardi has done a good job, realistically says our chances were exceptionally weak with a rash of injuries that decimated our starting lineup, didn't lambaste Girardi and Cashman for sticking with the tanking kids Kennedy and Hughes, said we could still make the post-season, but what the heck. And we'll be fierce next year. All this with 41 games left to play? I am gobsmacked.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bunting, Batting and Other Questions

Another fine performance by a starting pitcher wasted by the Yankees. (Maybe if Ponson had received SOME run support his two runs given up wouldn't have crept towards four runs.) Some questions.

1. Why as the season slips away do I find myself watching more games on TV than usual? I can't seem to stop watching. Is this like craning your neck to check out an accident while driving by on the highway?

2. Bottom of the 6th. The Twins are up 2-0 in a tight game with good pitching (and the Yankees almost incapable of moving a runner from first to second) so every run looms large. The Twins get a lead off double, no outs. Then they lay down a nice bunt to move him over. Runner on third with one out. Then they hit a ball deep into left field, scoring the run. Twins up 3-0. Was that a dumb move in your book(s)? To me, it's great baseball and very frustrating when you have to face it.

3. Bottom of the 9th. Abreu and A-Rod and Nady fail to get to first base. Twins up 4-0. In that situation, I was rooting for one of them to of course get on base. A double or even a triple would be even better. Naturally I'd prefer a solo home run to striking or grounding out. But in that situation, isn't a double or a triple FAR preferable to a home run? My thinking obviously is that the pitcher can shrug off a home run since the Yankees are starting from scratch. A runner on second or third or even first is a distraction and an annoyance and the Yankees can feed off a base runner, maybe getting a walk because of the open base and then a home run has us within one or a double has us within two and a runner on second -- all of which I see as much better than a solo shot. What say you?

4. Derek Jeter had a miserable night at the plate. He batted four times and saw a total of 10 pitches, I believe. Awful. Just when he starts to look good, he slumps again. A permanent decline or will he bounce back next season? I know we don't expect him to be this bad, but will he bounce back seriously or just do not as bad on his way to being a so-so player? Me, naturally, expect full bounce back.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will The Yankees Make The Post-Season?

Not only do I not think the Yankees will make the post-season (heck, we've only been tied for the wild card for about a day this entire season), more controversially I don't think it would be GOOD for the Yankees to stagger into the post-season and get kicked out of the first round again. Is there anything to be said for the wake-up call of ending the streak of post-season appearances so the Yanks can dump Abreu and Giambi and bring in lots of kids (like Texeria (sic) on first) and do a real re-building. Don't yell at me -- I'd love to be wrong and see the Yankees make the post-season. But I haven't believed they were going to win the World Series any season since 1999 (I know, I was happily wrong in 2000) and nothing has happened to change my mind this year. What say you?

Joba Out For Year?

No one I've spoken to believes Joba will pitch any more the rest of the year -- not the way the Yankees rushed him to Alabama for a minor, no-tear bit of tendinitis. Please. What say you?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Girardi BLASTS Joba

Joe Girardi said this about Joba Chamberlain's near-decapitation of Youkilis: "He's done this before," Girardi said. "I don't like it. He was down in the zone all night and you just don't like it. It's happened a few times with this guy, JOBA CHAMBERLAIN. At times, we know he has some control issues, but it's awful dangerous when you're up there."

Okay, Girardi actually said this about Daniel Cabrera of the Orioles beaning A-Rod, not Joba beaning Youkilis. I substitued Joba's name for Daniel's name in that quote. And yes, there's a difference: when Girardi said "he's done this before" he was not referring to Cabrera repeatedly drilling A-Rod because the previous incident involved Derek Jeter. In Joba's case, it was Youkilis again and again and again. Now explain to me the difference -- why is Cabrera crazily out of order but Joba blameless?

Pitchers Praise Molina, Yanks Bench Him

I was actually feeling sorry for Jorge Posada lately. First Andy Pettitte praised Jose Molina to the high heavens. Then Mike Mussina actually said Jose was the best catcher HE HAD EVER WORKED WITH. EVER. I don't need to point out that those are the two winningest Yankee pitchers this season. I also don't need to point out that our pitching has been a strong suit, despite the fact that three of our starters on opening day are injured. And who has been the primary catcher guiding all those pitchers this season? Jose Molina. Who have our two top pitchers given their stamp of approval to? Jose Molina. Who has worked with the bullpen that has been far better than expected? Jose Molina. But he doesn't bat .325 and he'll never be an All Star so in the moronic minds of the Yankees front office, that means we have a WEAKNESS at our catching position.

Yep, the catcher our pitchers LOVE is a weakenss and we better bench him and bring in someone new, namely Ivan Rodriguez because it's always a good idea to switch things up when things are running smoothly. Besides, am I the only who looks at Pudge and sees yet another steroid abuser? He has the classic late 90s bulge in his stats and Jose Canseco (who has been accurate on most every charge he made in his first book) fingered Pudge by name. Of course, the Yankees have a history of actively recruiting players they know are cheating like Jason Giambi and just don't give a damn if their World Series rings are juiced or not as long as the cash flows.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bunting In The 4th?

What was Melky thinking? Except that he hasn't been batting well, they weren't looking for a bunt when no one was on base and he got a hit out of it, stole second and then scored. Well done!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yankee Trade: Hello Nady and Marte; Goodbye Tabata

So the Yankees traded three pitchers (including Ohlendorf) and outfielder Jose Tabata for Nady and Marte. Everyone spoke about Nady's bat but not a word about his glove. I gleaned what I could from his stats, but numbers lie. Anyone got a bead on this guy as a fielder? By all accounts, this looks like an excellent trade. What say you? My only concern is that we were told Tabata was the cat's meow until another guy started flourishing and now Tabata is expendable. Just like with Hughes and Kennedy, I always prefer to keep both prospects. You never know which one will flourish; besides, we need TWO outfielders. Obviously, I'm a very conservative owner. But still this looks at first blush like a deal I would have signed off on. Talk to me.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What Joba Should Say

Joba should have said, "Kevin Youkilis has every right to be angry. No one playing this game should ever feel like they're risking their life. There is no excuse for throwing a ball at a player's head and obviously I would never do it on purpose. But it's my responsibility to see that it doesn't happen even on accident and I apologize to him and the Red Sox. I know it's happened several times in the past but I'll do everything I can to avoid it in the future short of forfeiting my ability to pitch effectively for my team. And I want to emphasize again how sorry I am -- we want to win games by playing better and pitching better and batting better, not by shaving corners or putting someone's safety, season and even their life at risk."

Of course, he can't say it...BECAUSE IT'S NOT TRUE. Even the Yankees announcers on the post-game YES show all finally admitted it was pretty damn suspicious given their past history, Joba's excellent control the rest of the game, etc. There's simply no excuse for headhunting. Roger Clemens was a poisonous influence and hopefully Andy Pettitte (who has hit all of one player on purpose in his career and still regrets it) will give Joba a talking to. This doesn't help win games. It helps inflame the opposition, get them pumped up and put your players at risk of serious injury. Wanna protect your players? Then NEVER intentionally hit an opponent. And if you do unintentionally hit them, walk over a few feet and apologize and say it was an accident. I know this isn't considered manly and that pitchers are supposed to terrorize their opponents and any sign of weakness is for wimps. Bullshit. There is no more cowardly act in all of sports than an American League pitcher intentionally beaning someone, especially near the head. The sooner people realize it's cowardly, the better we'll be. Joba should be ashamed of himself. And before you say I'm wrong and no one in that situation would ever intentionally blah blah blah, imagine for a second that a Boston pitcher had thrown over the head of your favorite Yankee TWICE, then beaned them, then threw that pitch Joba pitched last night -- all from a pitcher who has shown EXCELLENT command and has no issues with any other player. You'd be screaming for his head and rightly so and it's only fair to hold our own players to the same standard. If you want fights, switch on ECW. I do.

P.S. I am SO glad I was pushing for Joba to become a starter, because damn, he is the real thing. Seriously, we all thought Joba had huge potential and I am so glad I was wrong and that the Yankees jerking Joba around and changing his role mid-season like this has not only not messed with his mind but that we've seen him flourish. Plus, he's been so effective -- 7 innings with just over 100 pitches? -- that we might even have him for the post-season.

Barry Bonds In Pinstripes?

They're not really considering Barry Bonds. As far as I can tell, Hank Steinbrenner was asked if they would discuss Bonds and he said the name would come up and that they'd discuss everything -- not the same as saying they were thinking about signing Bonds. Anyway, I ASSUMED none of us would want Bonds but then again, assumed we were all small ball people wo enjoyed a good bunt in the fourth to move the guy from second to third when there were no outs. So what say you: yea or nay to Bonds?

The Neighborhood

Here is the latest information on our relocation to the new Yankee Stadium. Let's hope they keep the "neighborhood" together.

"We have reached another important milestone in our move from Yankee Stadium to the new Yankee Stadium across the street. Your Relocation Program Guide for the New Yankee Stadium (the "Guide") is in the process of being printed and you can expect to receive your Guide in the near future. The Guide will outline the seat relocation program, explain the criteria to be used to assign seat locations, detail ticket prices and ticket license options, and serve as your introduction to the new Yankee Stadium."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another Strong Win

Mike Mussina wins 13 games at the fastest pace for him since...1991!

The Yankees win six in a row and go 11 over .500 for the first time this season.

The Yankees win 10 in a row at the stadium, the longest winning streak since...1998. (That was a pretty good year for them too, as I recall.)

The bullpen is remarkably strong. The starting pitching is good too, despite losing three of our five starting rotation, including our ace.

Damon is swinging the bat. Posada has stopped griping and looks set to try and get in shape for NEXT season so that four year deal won't look quite as stupid as it did the day it was signed.

A-Rod had another good game and to his credit FINALY 'fessed up to posing too much at home plate. (It's the little things that really annoy me and spotlight people's character.) A-Rod has on a NUMBER of occasions posed at home plate because he thought it was a home run and instead suddenly had to scramble because it wasn't. He got a key hit today but instead of gettng to call him clutch I had to grimace as he posed and then scrambled instead of running hard out of the box every time like EVERY player should always do. On the post-game, A-Rod said without being asked that he was wrong about a hit being a home run for the 8th time this season and that it was "embarrassing" and he needed to start running. Good for him to call himself on it. And it's not embarrassing that he thought it was a home run and it wasn't; it's embarrassing when ANY player doesn't run hard out of the box. That's fundamental. (And this is not just A-Rod. Abreu poses too, as does Giambi, but he can't run anyway. I HATE it when guys don't run out of the box. One more reason to miss Matsui.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How Can You Not Like Damon?

Damon updates the Daily News on his rehab: "I haven't tried throwing the ball hard - I probably haven't thrown the ball hard in my career - but it was definitely better today," he said. Hilarious.

Posada Gone For Season, Probably

Jorge Posada is going to need season-ending surgery that will involve six months of rehab. Somewhere, Jesse is laughing his ass off. The NY Daily News writes this:
Indeed, the Yankees look rather foolish right now for signing a 36-year-old catcher to a four-year, $52 million deal last winter, but it's hard to second-guess them considering the circumstances at the time.

Huh? That entire situation was the Yankees own fault so we certainly CAN second-guess them. Or more accurately, point to how we chastised them at the time for being so idiotic. OBVIOUSLY they were gonna re-sign Mo and Posada. They had no closer of the future ready the way Mo replaced Wetteland. And obviously they needed Posada, ideally to mentor the next catcher. BOTH should have been resigned before the beginning of last season. If they'd done that, Posada would be in the second year of a three year deal (at lower numbers) and next year he'd be platooning with a kid and the Yankees wouldn't look like morons. The Yankees traditionally wait until the last minute and pay through the nose, with Robinson Cano a rare exception.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Good Game, A-Rod!

Sacrifice fly scores a run (Jeter, natch); fun, smart base-running in the late innings and a very heads-up play in the ninth to rescue Bobby Abreu's flustered throw way over the head of Jeter -- A-Rod backed it up and got the runner out at second. (By the way, on the last out of the game, that base-runner was safe. Oakland got a bad call.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

In response to Michael's All-Star Break recap...

Decided to make a new post so as not to lose the discussion in the comments section. Here's my review of the season to this point:

Obviously its been a disappointing year but coming into it I don't think anyone thought this team was going to run away with the division. The fact that the pitching staff, minus Wang, Hughes, Kennedy, Bruney, etc. has carried the team while the hitting has been lackluster is a major surprise.

If they have any chance to make the playoffs they need to get on a roll where the entire lineup clicks, which means (1) they need to get healthy and (2) guys like Jeter, Melky, Abreu, etc. need to pick it up.

MVP: Mussina/Joba/ARod/Mo
LVP: Kennedy/Hughes
Biggest Surprise: Mussina/Ponson/Veras
Best Newcomer: Gardner

Individuals: Working on the assumption that a very good season for most players is .300 BA, .400 OBP, .500 Slugging %, subject to position.

Damon: .319/.387/.470: Solid numbers and has played a decent left field despite his noodle arm. The team plays so much better when he's leading off and hitting well. Need him to get healthy in a hurry.

Jeter: .284/.345/.395: Not hitting for average, not getting on base, not hitting for power. Down year for The Captain but hopefully the All Star break allowed him to rest that ailing wrist so he can return to form the rest of the way. Goes without saying that he needs to be on top of his game for the team to make any kind of run. And I still maintain that he's a defensive liability at SS.

Abreu: .274/.345/.436: Down year for Abreu at the plate. He's still an asset to the team but in a contract year he'll need to do better. He can get hot and carry the lineup for a week or two at a time, but he needs to avoid these 0-22 slumps that he seems to fall into. A guy with his eye at the plate should be immune to those.

A-Rod: .312/.392/.581: Missed a lot of time (20 games) with the hamstring but has still been the team's most productive hitter and has played a very solid third base. The least of our problems.

Giambi: .253/.386/.529: Enjoyed a nice resurgence with the mustache after a dreadful start of the season. Can't throw to save his life but has an adequate glove in the field which has allowed other players like Jorge and Damon to DH when needed. His production is doubly important since when he's on it force pitchers to go at A-Rod.

Posada: .272/.360/.420: His hitting, while not on par with his career year of last season (which was an aberration the size of the Grand Canyon given his age and position) has been ok but since he couldn't throw out my grandmother trying to steal second has made life difficult for Girardi. That contract is looking like a potential albatross right now (as we suspected, but not quite so soon).

Cano: .246/.285/.358: Like Giambi got off to a terrible start but has picked it up of late. Needs to keep that momentum going to have any shot of producing decent numbers at year end. Adequate in the field.

Melky: .241/.301/.347: Still playing a good center field but has regressed at the plate (though his power numbers are better than last year). Hopefully the presence of Gardner fires him up; if not it might be time for Girardi to give someone else a chance. Melky's bat has been a big detriment to the lineup.

Matsui: .323/.404/.458: Not getting a lot of press but his loss has been huge. Just a very consistent, professional hitter that gave Girardi a very deep lineup. If he is indeed out for the season I don't think they can replace his production with anyone not named Barry Bonds (not that I'm advocating such a move).

Others: Betemit (ok for a fill-in thanks to his versatility), Molina (GREAT defense; can't hit a lick), Moeller (filled in admirably), Duncan (lost season -- will we ever see him in pinstripes again? I doubt it.), Gonzalez (showed nice potential as a utility player off the bench with his stellar defense, ability to bunt, and decent speed on the basepaths), Gardner (fastest player I've seen on the Yankees...but it doesn't do anyone any good if he can't get on base. If they were to make the playoffs he'd be a great weapon off the bench since he could make the difference in a close game with his speed.)

Starting Pitchers (ERA under 4, WHIP under 1.30 is what makes a good starter in my book):

Wang: 8-2, 4.07/1.32: Was on a good run until the unfortunate injury. If he can come back and pitch well down the stretch that would be a huge boost to the team. But I wonder if that will be too late...how many teams are still in contention after losing their ace for such an extended period of time?

Pettitte: 10-7, 4.03/1.34: Has been great at times and horrible at times. Still lights out when his cutter is working. Still has plenty left in the tank, and I feel most at ease when he is on the mound than with any other Yankee starter.

Moose: 11-6, 3.61/1.23: What a comeback! I thought for sure he'd be done after this season, and earlier this year when he was giving up one HR after another to Manny I was ready to give up on him. But to his credit he's finally changed his style and the results have been great. Just hoping he can keep it up. Should have been on the All-Star team in my opinion.

Hughes: 0-4, 9.00/2.14
Kennedy: 0-3, 7.41/1.75

Those atrocious numbers, combined with those of Melky, are going to be what costs Cashman his job after the Yanks miss out on the playoffs this year and Santana leads the Mets to a division title. Not saying the decision was right or wrong, but what a terrible disappointment. Still hopeful that down the road all three become stalwarts of a championship team.

Joba: 2-3, 2.62/1.32: Best stuff on the team. Has handled the switch to the rotation very well. Just needs to try to keep his pitch count down so he can go deeper into ballgames. IP stands at 65, and with just 67 games remaining that means something like 13 starts. At an average of 6 IP per start, that would put him at 143 innings for the season. Long story short -- they ain't shutting him down until the season is over.

Ponson: Not crazy about the guy but he's put the team in a position to win games and that's more than you can ask for a mid-season acquisition like that.

Rasner: Started off hot but has since been exposed as the prototypical AAAA pitcher...too good for AAA, not good enough for the majors.

Bullpen
Rivera: 4-3, 1.06/0.64: Beyond words at this point, he is further adding to his legacy as the greatest closer of all time. 23 for 23 in save opportunities. A picture of excellence, and we should all be grateful for being able to watch one of the game's true legends.

Farnsworth: 1-2, 3.51/1.34: Has been OK, which is better than most expected. Can't complain about him when you look at the next guy...

Hawkins: 1-1, 5.79/1.47: An absolute disaster. Get rid of him...

Veras: 2-1, 2.87/1.12: The breakout star of the bullpen since Joba went to the rotation. Has solidified the back-end options for Girardi.

Other relievers:
Britton (good stuff; needs experience), Bruney (could be back soon which would be a nice addition to a solid 'pen), Robertson (fantastic in short time up...could be a fixture in the 7th/8th inning for years to come), Giese (nice fill-in but not sure he has the ability to be a long term contributor), Ramirez (great at times and equally awful when he can't get his changeup over the plate for strikes. Scares me a little in close games because of that.), Albaladejo (good stuff, unfortunate injury), Traber (Really? That's the best lefty they could find?), Ohlendorf (Huge disappointment; hopefully he can get back on track in the minors), Igawa (An absolute train wreck. Worst signing ever.)

All in all its been a mixed season. I'd give Girardi mostly positive marks, but I can't say he's exceeded all expectations by any means. The bottom line is this team was built to win now and I don't think anyone wants Yankee Stadium to end with a regular season game. Let's hope the team can rattle off a Mets-like double digit winning streak to get back into the thick of things before going on their typical September surge. Will it be too little, too late? I fear that may be the case...they can certainly catch the D-Rays but the Red Sox are a better team at the moment. The wild card is the best option but there is a lot of competition from the Rays, Twins, A's, etc. Don't forget the Tigers either...they are just as capable of going on a long winning streak despite their rotation being decimated by injuries.

In summation -- I think they need to win somewhere around 92 games to make the playoffs, which would mean going 42-25 the rest of the way...certainly a reasonable expectation if they can get/stay healthy and if a few breaks go their way...but a far cry from their performance to this point.

NY Daily News Shout Out To Our Blog

Sort of.

This is the franchise that used to terrify the rest of baseball with its various Murderers' Rows. And when the game was played in the best light, daylight, the Yankees' lineup was famously known as Five O' Clock Lightning.
http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

Let's Buy The Cubs!

We need to submit a bid by the end of the day. Looks like $1 billion is the floor for the team, the stadium and a piece of their sports network. I can pitch in about...oh...$100. And what would your first move be if you did buy 'em?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Steinbrenner In The Hall Of Fame?

Please. What an idiotic, short-sighted suggestion from Joe Buck. Yes, Steinbrenner (along with other owners) should definitely be featured and mentioned in the Cooperstown history of baseball -- he's a signal figure. But someone who brought disgrace to the game and was banned from the sport for years and whose major claim to fame (other than making tons of money) was having a dynasty built by other people when he was barred from walking in the door of Yankee Stadium by law does NOT deserve to be officially selected for the Hall Of Fame. He's a loud, blustery, unforgettable figure in the sport. But a Hall of Famer? Only if you think Barry Bonds should be in there too. NOTE: THIS POST IS MICHAEL'S NOT PETE'S.

Yankees Sign First Baseman Richie Sexson

Good or bad decision? Just for te end of the season, just to start against lefties and just for $100,000. Like any player who is not a Yankee, I don't know a thing about him. NOTE: THIS IS MICHAEL'S POST, NOT PETE'S.

My Brother-In-Law A-Rod

OK, I've now decided that A-Rod is like a brother-in-law. He's married into my family and I have to deal with him (unless there's a divorce, which ain't gonna happen). But that doesn't mean I can't gripe just a little every once in a while. (I'll still applaud him on the field, where it matters, despite that awful batting average with runners in scoring position this season.) But anyway, a few groaners from A-Rod this Al Star break.

In the NY Post on July 14, 2008:

Question: Why is being a New York Yankee so addicting?

A-Rod: You get to do neat things with an ill kid who's so courageous and brave, and you think about Virginia Tech and what we were able to do this year and how you influence people, and how really it transcends sports.

"Neat things with an ill kid?" Ugh.

Then in the NY Daily News on Wednesday July 16, he said this to reporters after the All-Star ceremony where people spotted the ailing George Steinbrenner (unable to even get out of the golf cart) crying.

Rodriguez said he gave Whitey Ford a big hug and Ford might have been crying more than George Steinbrenner, who was blubbering as he was squired around the warning track before the game to deliver the first-pitch balls.

"Whitey was bawling," Rodriguez said. "Did you see that? When I gave him a hug, he was bawling."


First, I have no love for Steinbrenner, but to refer to such a sick, elderly man as "blubbering" is tactless and cruel. Then A-Rod one-ups them by referring to Ford as "bawling," which makes him sound like a baby. Again, tone-deaf and petty. I'm sure he meant it nicely (I have to assume this), but it's just petty. He couldn't say, Ford was very moved by the event as well?

Finally, A-Rod gave that comment during the game. How? As soon as he was pulled, A-Rod showered and dressed and headed out for a party he had planned in the city -- a party he knew would be in full swing DURING the All Star Game. Did he hang out and soak up the atmosphere and chat with the legends who were there? I can maybe forgive players who left come midnight or something, just like I can sort of forgive Jesse for leaving in the 12th or whenever he did. But to PLAN to take off and party during the All-Star Game just illustrates his paper-thin love of the game and an event like this.

Derek Jeter, needless to say, stayed till the very end and was there to congratulate the shortstop playing his position in his park who made the winning hit at 1:30 in the morning. A-Rod = corporate bigwigs who left when it got "boring." Jeer = bleacher creatures who NEVER leave a game before it's over.

NOTE: THIS IS MICHAEL'S POST, NOT PETE'S.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Analyze This: Yankees At The Break

How are we doing? What are our chances? Who do we need to trade for? Who's having a good year/bad year? How's Girardi as manager? WHat say you?

NOTE: THIS IS MICHAEL'S POST, NOT PETE'S.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Home Run Derby

Do the rules need to change? Is it boring to watch one guy pull ahead so early on? Or is it more boring/embarrassing to watch someone win the home run derby who no one thinks of as the winner? (Really, if I were Justin Morneau, I'd put that trophy in a closet and never mention it again. If he had it on a shelf, all anyone would do is talk about Josh Hamilton.) Mind you there's nothing inherently wrong with wiping the slate clean on the final round (the way everyone starts at zero for the world series). But since the whole point of the Home Run Derby is to hit lots of home runs, why penalize someone for doing it? (If he'd lined out a few times after hitting, oh, 18, he would have probably won.)

Even stupider than the results? The ESPN announcers who annointed Hamilton as a saint and told his story over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over (and over) again. Drugs, three years off, dreamt of Home Run Derby and now in it. We get it. Old guy pitching is 71. Check.

Even stupider than the results? The ESPN team guy announcing that Josh Hamilton hitting some home runs has us all literally turning the page and putting the Mitchel Report behind us? Huh? Sports media people are wimps. Real reporters should go after the rampant cheating in baseball that has distorted the records and made the last 15 years a sham. Instead, because they practically sleep with the athletes and are too timid to ask a question that might annoy them (like, why all the cheating?), all they want to do is pretend that releasing a report and having virtually no one get punished means the scandal is behind us.

*This was posted by Michael. I think I was still logged in on his computer.*

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I'm a slob, AAAAAAAAAAAAAh'm a slob!

Is it really so hard to believe that John Sterling would act like Costanza?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good website

Lists the Yankees top prospects at each position by their current level of play:

www.yankeesprospects.com

Of particular note, remember these names:

Jesus Montero, C
Austin Jackson, OF
Jose Tabata, OF
Delin Betancis, P
Mark Melancon, P
Alan Horne, P
Jeffrey Marquez, P

And in particular lets hope that Humberto Sanchez (obtained for Sheffield then underwent Tommy John surgery), who has finally started pitching in the last few weeks, passes all of the physical tests and makes the bullpen transition smoothly so he can help out down the stretch (along with Robertson). I think he's the closer of the future and another reason why Joba belongs in the rotation.

Another AL hurler heads to the NL

After years of stockpiling talent and building solid all around teams, the AL has apparently decided to make interleague play more of a fair fight by exporting its top pitchers to the Senior Circuit. Just this year we've seen the following stars switch leagues in exchange for prospects:

Johan Santana
Dan Haren
C.C. Sabathia
Rich Harden

Now most of this is probably a result of teams not wanting to trade stars within their division, and increasingly, within their league. The short-term effect of this imbalance would seem to be a positive for teams like the Yankees, but unfortunately it is also a positive for the teams they are fighting in Boston, Tampa, Chicago, and Anaheim.

One could say the biggest effect on the AL's elite is that it could end their All-Star game dominance while giving up the all important home field advantage in the World Series.

Yankee Pride

Was talking to Britt the last few days about our "Dream Team" of MLB Players over the course of our baseball-watching lives (a bit over two decades). Thought it might be a fun exercise as far as the Bombers go, so I'll go ahead and throw out my team (listed by how I would make out the lineup):

LF Rickey Henderson
SS Derek Jeter
1B Don Mattingly
3B Alex Rodriguez
RF Dave Winfield
CF Bernie Williams
DH Paul O'Neill
C Jorge Posada
2B Robinson Cano
Bench: Steve Sax, Roberto Kelly, Tino Martinez, Jason Giambi, Scott Brosius

SP David Cone
SP Andy Pettitte
SP Jimmy Key
SP Chien-Ming Wang
SP Mike Mussina
RP Mariano Rivera
RP Joba Chamberlain
RP Mike Stanton
RP John Wetteland
RP Dave Righetti
RP Ramiro Mendoza

I'm sure I'm forgetting some but I'll leave it to others to fill in the blanks.

Two more games for a rainy day: (1) The best team we can assemble made up only of players to never have made an All-Star team and (2) The best team we can assemble of former Yankees (minor or major leagues).

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Curse Of The "B's"

Eventful game at the Stadium last night. Jesse (who came drunk, surprisingly enough), had the rare experience of being in the men's restroom...completely alone! It's apparently never happened to him before and he danced around and peed pretty much anywhere. Then he was tossed out (by a female cop Nanette saw saying to another cop "I want to throw him out" earlier). Why? Because he yelled "Axl! Axl!" at a Boston fan who looked like Axl Rose (and laughed about it). Everyone picked up the chant but the cop thought Jesse was chanting "Asshole." Even though ten people immediately spoke up and insisted he was saying "Axl" and she clearly realized she was wrong, she threw him out anyway. Then Girardi was tossed out. Then the cops continued to harass the fans, telling people to sit down seconds after they jumped up cheering for a play (seriously), throwing people out who looked genuinely bewildered over being tossed out. The woman sitting one row behind us could NEVER find her seat after going downstairs, which became a running joke. And the curse of the B's reared its head again for Boston, with Brett Gardner joining Babe Ruth, Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone as Yankees w "b's" in their names who get key hits off Boston, in this case a dribble up the middle that scored A-Rod. (Oh, and A-Rod tied Mickey Mantle with HR # 536.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Does anyone like Joe Buck?

Or Tim McCarver for that matter?

Isn't it bad enough that I have to listen to Buck spew his hatred of the Giants all football season, but I have to listen to him spew the same NY-hating BS about the Yankees too? What the hell is Fox thinking making these two hacks their #1 play by play team?

Worst broadcasters ever.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Dumb Ass Interview With Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter's new deal with Gillette has apparently forced him to give a few interviews, which is fun for us fans who rarely get to hear anything but his low-key post-game comments. I also love seeing him placed on a par with Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. ("That should be A-Rod, damnit!") But how annoying that I will probably never get to interview him and this guy asks Jeter about his "prowess" with the ladies and what slamming NYC nightclubs he frequents these days. (I have to admit, I would have asked what movies he'd seen lately.) But what really bummed me was that this was in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. For God's sake, I know it ws supposed to be light, but did we really have to ask him the last time he's worn a thong? It'll probably be 2020 before he gives another interview.

Madonna is NOT dating A-Rod

Just so you know. P.S. By the way, her publicist's statement that, "There are no plans for Madonna and Guy to divorce," means they are in fact divorcing. If they were not divorcing, it would say something like "They're very happily married and these rumours are hogwash."

To Bunt Or Not To Bunt?

And the Five O'Clock Lightning blog comes to life (kickstarted perhaps by Joe's questioning of my patriotism/Yankee-ness)! Thanks Joe. Now how about pulling the knife out of my back? :)

Meanwhile, here's a fun chat with Jeter in which he talks about his slump and says he has every intention of stealing stuff from Yankee Stadium before the season is over. And here's a moronic post at the NYTimes in which practically everyone scoffs at even the idea of bunting in almost any situation and insists bunting has been asinine for about 80 years now. They mock Jeter for bunting, act as if Girardi must have been crestfallen and fail to even mention his being hit on the wrist and going into an immediate slump and whether or not being weak at the plate might be a teensy factor when deciding whether to bunt. What say you? Is bunting statistically absurd or is manufacturing a run still the smart, small ball way to play?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Igawa sent back down; young stud called up

Without much fanfare the Yanks called up a 23-year old reliever from the minors yesterday named Dave Robertson. He was not a high draft pick like Hughes, Kennedy, or Joba, but he's been producing in the minors.

Evidence: 51 2/3 innings between AA and AAA this year -- he has allowed 26 hits and struck out 74. Over the last two seasons he has pitched 136 innings without allowing a home run, to the tune of a 1.12 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. You read those numbers correctly. He is the anti-Kei Igawa.

Who knows how well this will translate to the big leagues, but those are the kind of eye-popping numbers that could lead to him becoming a prominent fixture at the back of the bullpen. The only red flag to me is 16 walks allowed in 33 innings at Scranton -- will need to improve on that as he matures.

Hopefully this guy pans out, and along with the emergence of Jose Veras could give Girardi some solid options in the 7th and 8th innings so that Cashman doesn't feel pressured to make a deal for someone. With Ohlendorf disappointing and Edwar Ramirez not consistent enough to pitch pressure-packed innings, Robertson could really play an important role down the stretch.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Mets have given up on the season

During the start of the SNY broadcast for the first of today's two-stadium doubleheader, it was annouced that the Mets were wearing their blue hats in honor of playing their last game at Yankee Stadium. So, it seems as though the Mets have given up on trying to reach the World Series this year and some other NL team will lose in the last game played at Yankee Stadium.

Can Joba Pitch In October?

Hey, we're all delighted that Joba has proven just as spectacular as a starting pitcher as he was in middle relief. Thank God their jerking him around and changing his role mid-stream has seemingly not affected him at all. Go Joba! Boy, Hank is smart!

Now here's my question. Is there any scenario under which Joba can pitch in the post-season? Won't he hit his inning limit for the year by early September? We're gonna miss him in October but of course we might not get there anyway without sterling pitchng like Joba has delivered.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nice Debate

Bravo Mike and Joe. I doubt there was a clear winner, but that was as well written and though out debate as I've ever heard or read from any sports writers, pundits, talking heads, etc. Your ideas were so lucid and analytical that I agreed with both of you with every comment and then switched when I heard the other guy's rebuttal (accept the A-rod stuff, he's just a metro with purple lipstick). Maybe one of you should try being a professional writer! No wait...that's just ludicrous.

Andy Phillips is back in New York

Too bad Michael has tickets at the wrong stadium.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hard Rock Yankees

Can we all agree that putting a Hard Rock Cafe in the new Yankee Stadium is sad, pathetic (the Hard Rock brand is so tired and played out -- any chain would be annoying but this one is so LAME) and generally indicative of how much the new stadium is going to suck for average fans?

Who here is a Yankee fan?

I'll take some liberties with this...

People Michael Likes: Jeter, Mo, Posada, Melky, Cano, Joba, Wang, Hughes, Kennedy, Matsui
People Michael Does Not Like: A-Rod, Giambi, Abreu, Pettitte*, Farnsworth
Not Sure About: Damon, Mussina

Common thread: If you were fortunate enough to be drafted by the Yankees, or perhaps sign with them as a penniless teenager from a Latin American country, then you are a Real Yankee and Michael will root for you.

If on the other hand you had the audacity to play for another MLB team, and at some point -- whether it was your choice or that of your former team, you despicably found yourself sullying the vaunted pinstripes, then Michael will rue the day you became a baseball player and root for the day when you are replaced by a Clipper.

So I guess the question is -- what makes Bobby Abreu a "hired gun" and not Hideki Matsui? Really, what makes ANY player on the team that has passed their arbitration years NOT a hired gun? Think Jeter would have re-signed with the team for $50mm if the Mets offered $100mm? No way, nor would anyone expect him to. But they are all hired guns if you think about it.

My point is this...we root for the uniform, which means we root for the players wearing them. Now that is obviously not unconditional. You've made it a point not to support players connected to the steroid scandal, and while I don't agree, I totally understand it. What I don't understand is not supporting players that give it their all on and off the field. That's all I ask. If they are really good at what they do, I'll like them even more. If they are the best player of all time (A-Rod), I'll get ticked off when people fail to appreciate their contributions.

Now of course its more fun if a player comes up through the farm system -- but they don't all pan out the way you want. And if a team like the Yankees wants to compete for championships every year, they need to supplement that internal talent base from time to time with smart trades and strategic free-agent acquisitions.

Look at Boston. How many World Series would they have won without David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Johnny Damon, Josh Beckett, Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts (cringe), Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell, etc. etc. etc.? Answer: None. And you know what? Without exception, Boston fans grew to appreciate those players for their contributions to the success of the team -- regardless of how they made it to Boston.

Even the Yankees of old...David Cone, Jimmy Key, David Wells, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, Joe Girardi, Chuck Knoblauch -- not one of them came up through the farm system, but no one refers to them as "hired guns."

So if someone is adament that they want to root for a team made up entirely of home-grown players, none of which are tainted by the steroid scandal, then I propose they shift their allegience to the Staten Island Yankees.

If said person decides they need to root for a Major League team, then I would suggest they become a fan of the Marlins, a fun team that mostly builds from within. Just don't root for that "hired gun" Hanley Ramirez since he wasn't actually drafted by the Fish.

In summation -- I'm a Yankee fan, which means I'm a fan of Yankees. So unless they are total a-holes on and off the field, as long as someone CHOOSES to put those pinstripes on and gives it their all, the least they deserve is our support.

Voice of Reason

"Look, without guys like Joba, you can't win championships," Rodriguez said. "That's just the bottom line. We need him in the starting rotation."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I know it's early...

But Michael, can you admit yet that the Yankees were right to bring back A-Rod?

The guy is phenomenal, and he's going to continue to be so for years and years. And not a hint of controversy this season...

All hail A-Rod. Give him his due!!!

The National League needs a Designated Hitter

Now, before you point out the proximity of this post to Wang's injury from Sunday, I want to say that I'm all for pitchers having to hit and the strategy that comes along with their spot in the lineup. But even so, the National League needs to add a DH.

However, I'd call it the Designated Fielder and apply it to both leagues. I may be running with an idea that I read a few years ago, but here is what I propose. Each team would select a designated hitter to hit for any fielder on their team EXCEPT for the pitcher. This would allow aging stars and unathletic sluggers to play until they are 45 while adding an exceptional defensive player who will make incredible plays in the field. These defensive specialists rarely crack Major League rosters since they can barely hit above their weight.

This plan would force pitchers to face retaliation for their chin music rather than the team's superstar and the combination of improved defense along with the pitcher batting would speed games along. All of the strategy involved with double switches would still be in effect and offenses would likely produce at a rate greater than the current National League average since a weak hitter would be replaced by an aging star. And to make sure the union is on board, I would raise the roster size to 26 players adding 30 new members to the MLBPA.

It's a plan that works for everyone. Fans get to see better baseball with lots of strategy, 30 new jobs get created, and pitchers will be more accustomed to batting or running the bases that injuries like Wang's will not occur as often.

Mets Fire Willie

Hey, they really are trying to be just like the Yankees! Justified or silly, since a minute ago Randolph was being praised for winning their division for the first time in 18 years and being only a few outs from taking the Mets to the World Series? He should have studied Torre more closely: you've got to win the World Series right away two or three times in order to protect yourself or anything you do (like getting to the post-season every year for a decade) is considered a failure. Silly Willie.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Joba: What Did We Learn?

In short, nothing. We certainly didn't learn that Joba has the makings of an ace starter. But we also didn't learn that he's a flop. It'll take the rest of the season to see what Joba can do with a role in the rotation. You just can't make judgments based on one start. And frankly, it'll be hard to make judgments on even a good start when the pitcher is limited to 75 pitches. If you're really really lucky, a strike out pitcher (who by nature needs a lot of pitches) will get to four or five innings on such a pitch count. But we knew that. How stupid is Hank Steinbrenner?

1. Joba's on a short leash so he'll be burnt out before the end of the season.
2. Joba's ego was strong in the bullpen but now you've underminded his confidence by throwing him into the rotation and letting him flop mightily -- when the upside was so low and the downside was so high.
3. The bullpen has lost about five games in the eighth innning in the past 10 days. Gee, think maybe you could use an ace bridge to secure the games you so desperately need?
4. Now every part of our pitching staff looks shaky, indeed is shaky.
5. I never felt the need to see what Joba could do as a starter if he could maintain his excellence as a bridge for the rest of the season and place himself in line to take over the monumentally hard task of Mo's role in a few years. But pushing Joba into the starting rotation this year when he was going to be on a short leash and would clearly be used up before the post-season was just about as dumb as possible, even if he succeeded.

So, let's hear from the people who insisted that we were idiots for not wanting to remove Joba from a role where he excelled (so far) and put him into a role where he would be done by Sept 1 no matter what.