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.


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...

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.