Tagged: Yankees

This Week In Hot Stove

Major
League Baseball had a pretty shocking Hot Stove this week.  As a fan with two degrees and the inability
to score any job above minimum wage, some of the shenanigans going on are
frankly…starting to tick me off.

 

Derek
and Mo were squared away.  I think their
contracts are fair and the intangibles they bring to the team are incalculable.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about Jayson Werth.  What?!

 

I
can’t state this more clearly. Jayson Werth is being paid too much money.  Werth will be paid about two and a half times the guaranteed money of New England Patriots
QB Tom Brady.  (Insert my “spit take”
here.)

 

Let
me clarify.  I am a proponent of players
getting their fair share of the Billionaire owners’ pie.   Now, let me clarify further. Tom Brady is a
proven commodity.  Like him or not, he
definitely earned every dime he gets.

 

But Jayson Werth by the Nationals? (Insert my second “spit take” here.)  Have the Nats finished over 4th
place…ever?  Werth is getting one of the most obscene
paychecks ever and hasn’t even stepped to the plate for the Nats.

 

It’s
starting to make that A-Rod contract look civilized.

 

Now,
let’s talk about Cliff Lee.  I have to
admit.  I too was swept up the “We need
to get Cliff Lee now!
sweepstakes.  However, while we were all
going goo-goo-ga-ga over an admittedly great pitcher, who was watching the inn?

 

Ce
la vie.  Lee didn’t sign.  That’s fine. 
We’re talking about the Yankees. 
If any team can suck it up and move on, it’s the Bronx Bombers. 

 

Great.
What’s “Plan B”?  (Insert my final “spit
take.”)  Oh, wait!  There was no
damn “Plan B”! Contrary to what Brian Cashman might say while looking like a
hacky-sack wannabe propelling off a building in Connecticut.  (Umm. If you don’t know what I’m referencing,
check out this link to see how the Yanks’ Front Office Brass wisely uses their
off season time:

 http://nymag.com/daily/sports/2010/12/heres_the_video_of_brian_cashm.html)

 

Oh…so
was that why he couldn’t get on the phone with Jeter?

 

Was
I the only person who thought that
Lee could possibly not be the best
for the Yankees?  Like Zack Greinke,
Cliff Lee is a small town guy.  (Sorry
Philly.  In comparison to New York,
you’re a small town.)  He’s essentially untested
on a big stage.  What if he was a head
case? Why did you want to lock up such an unproven commodity for seven
years?  Remember the last time a New York
team locked up a player for a long contract? (Ahem! Mets! Mo Vaughn!)  How did that turn out?

 

In
the meantime, the Red Sox were busy building a team while the Yanks put all
their eggs in one basket.

 

So
what do they do now?  Pettitte has just
told the team to not count on him, which officially makes the pitching staff a
glorified mess.   There are no real first
(or even second rung) starters available. 

 

The
team needs to stop stocking up on bats. 
The Yanks have enough and frankly, bats were not the reason why they
lost last year.  Russell Martin is a
great catcher, but aren’t there enough decent catchers in the system (even with
Posada moving to DH)?

 

The
team needs to build up the bullpen with long relievers.  Pedro Feliciano is a good start but they need
more.  What about resigning Kerry Wood?  Oh wait! 
We must have missed that on “Cliff Lee Watch”. 

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So The Boss Isn’t Headed To Cooperstown…

Yet…

 

Believe it or not, George Steinbrenner was not voted into the Hall of Fame this week. The late Yankees owner was not named on the required 12 of 16 ballots cast by the Veterans Committee.   In fact, he didn’t come close. 

 

Steinbrenner was torpedoed.  The man who redefined Free Agency, received fewer than eight votes. To add insult to injury, he wasn’t the only Yankee who got blown out of the water. Ron Guidry, Tommy John and Billy Martin (for his managerial career) also received fewer than eight votes.

 

Former scout and executive Pat Gillick was the only person selected in this week’s vote. Gillick has spent 50 years in baseball and counting.  During the Bronx Zoo, he was Yankees’ scouting director (1974-76). He also was integral in building successful teams with the Phillies, Blue Jays, Mariners and Orioles. Before I go further, Gillick may not be glamourous, but he is more than worthy of enshrinement.

 

I didn’t find it odd that Steinbrenner wasn’t inducted his first year on the ballot.  I did find it odd how few votes he got.  Executives are inducted based on their impact on the game (for example: Branch Rickey).   Steinbrenner defined the Free Agent and redefined business acumen in the Expansion Era.

 

I’m not screaming Yankee bias. I don’t think that Guidry, John and Martin deserve the call.  I don’t.  Sorry. However, it should be noted that Union head Marvin Miller fell short as well.  Like Steinbrenner, Marvin Miller redefined Major League Baseball (for better or for worse) in the Expansion Era. 

 

Frankly, what was the Veterans Committee thinking?

 

In accordance to the Hall of Fame’s new voting regulations, the Expansion Era is defined as 1973 to today.  Steinbrenner became Yankees owner in 1973. The Yanks won seven World Series Titles and 11 American League pennants during his reign.

 

The Expansion Era Committee will next consider candidates like Steinbrenner and Miller in 2013 for the 2014 induction year.

 

Interestingly enough, none of the voters were allowed to discuss their ballot.

 
To read more on the topic, check out:

 http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/boss_snubbed_in_hall_of_fame_voting_oM8uYZjDm4ygO0IE2Fv13N#ixzz17XNr1uHU

 

 

Thoughts on Derek Jeter – Part I

A friend of mine, an outsider to baseball fanaticism, brings an interesting perspective to the Derek Jeter contract negotiations.  I don’t necesarily agree with all of this, but again…it’s an interesting look from an outsider’s point of view:

Derek Jeter, you are not an icon.  You are a member of an iconic team.  I’m sorry that management sought out, budgeted, and paid for a lot of big names, and at a crucial time, you were one of them.  I’m sorry that someone led you to believe that you were irreplaceable, ageless, and, like a skid mark that defies bleach, will never, ever go away.  It’s a shame, really, that you believed the hype that Yankees marketing kept alive, and that sports networks made so much money by showing your team (not just you) play baseball.

Let’s look at this situation through a particular lens –

Brett Favre.

Like you, someone who’s name will forever be associated with one team, during a time when watching that team play was pretty exciting.  Unlike you, he was a man who was loved, not only for his on field abilities, but for (a time) a squeaky clean, good ol’ boy, Wrangler wearing persona.

But look how the mighty have fallen.  He is in the process of going way, way down in the sports lover polls because he can’t admit that football can live on without him.  He can’t admit that a game played without him among the ranks will continue to be played.  But because of who he is, he continues to play.  One can argue that without football, he wouldn’t know what else to do, so he keeps going – against the entire sports worlds better judgement.

Here’s what Favre did right.  He didn’t bring his final years of playing the game down to the fattest contract he could bully himself into.  Be it for ego, or for love of the game, or a refusal to believe he’s done, he didn’t turn his relationship to the sport into a haggling match.

I don’t understand how, after multiple World Series, and a career that could put you in the hall of fame, you still feel you need more.  You’ve done it all.  You’ve gotten a lion’s share of the Steinbrenner budget for overpaid players. ( And let’s face it – you’ll find other things to occupy your time.  I won’t list them, but one of them is sell luxury cars in commercials.)  Now is the time to accept that your time is winding down, show some class, and live out these last years playing the best ball you can in front of the fans who have been cheering you on since you were just barely a man.  Stop acting like a pimp who needs to be shown “respect” from his underlings, and accept that you already have the respect and admiration of the people who care about the Yankees. 

In short – people care about YOU less than you think, Jeter.  Get over it, and take this enormous contract before they hand it to someone else younger, and more excited about being a Yankee, than your iconic self.

 

 

MLB remembers Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an interesting holiday.  You probably had the day off.  You got to wake up late… and how ’bout those awesome sales?  Nevertheless, I think we can all take a good hard look at ourselves. The true meaning behind the day is often lost.

Fans my age know a cursory history of Baseball’s role in the Second World War, thanks to “A League of Their Own.”  However, Baseball’s ties with men and women in uniform go far deeper than most people realize.  If you had the opportunity to check out New York City’s annual Veterans Day Parade (either in person or on television) or Bailey Stephen’s article on MLB.com, you saw it.

Yesterday, one of the last remaining players who left the Major Leagues to fight in WWII (and later the Korean War), former Yankee and Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry Coleman, rode down Fifth Avenue in New York as the grand marshal of the city’s annual Veterans Day Parade.   I knew that Jerry Coleman was a poet on the mic and pretty darn funny, but I didn’t know that he served his country not once…but twice.  It kinda makes you feel guilty for waking up late, huh?

Thousands of Americans greeted Coleman, active duty serviceman and veterans participating in yesterday’s parade. (Did you know the city’s annual parade is the nation’s largest?) It’s that reverence which is at the heart of “The Spirit of ’45,” a non-profit organization in which Coleman is involved. Coleman’s role as grand marshal in the parade capped off a year of campaigning for the 501c3.

The Spirit of ’45 initiative held events throughout 2010 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. Coleman successfully lobbied to have Major League Baseball and its thirty teams recognize Aug. 14, 2010, around the league. The campaign sought to recognize the past and inspire a call to service for young Americans. Thursday’s parade only helped spread that message.  If anything, as I look at my shopping bags, I’m listening with some guilt.

Ok…a lot of guilt…

“I hope so,” Coleman said. “It’s to make people aware of what can happen in wartime. I would hope people would stop to think about the people serving. Any time young American men are challenged, someone steps to the forefront.”  Coleman along with Ted Williams, Yogi Berra and Bob Feller were just some of the few who went to bat for their country over 65 years ago.  With everything going on today, maybe it’s time we all take a look to see how we can get in the on deck circle as well.

Check out Bailey Stephens’ original article at http://tinyurl.com/BaileyStephens.  She is a reporter for MLB.com and can also be followed on Twitter at Bstephens27.

 

To Lee or Not to Lee…

With two days of organizational meetings complete, the Yankees turn their attention to the pursuit of Cliff Lee.  The club determines him their top priority outside the organization.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that pitching should be the top priority looking toward 2011.  It was the team’s “Achilles’ Heel.”  Sure, the Yankees weren’t hitting either but if the 2010 World Championship Giants have taught us anything, they taught us that pitching always beats hitting…

 

And that Brian Wilson is kinda creepy… or a comedic genius….I haven’t figured it out yet.

 

Cliff Lee is the best Free Agent pitcher out there, hands down.  However, have we forgotten the lessons of Greg Maddox?  We shouldn’t put all of our eggs into one basket. This isn’t a slam dunk.  One of the biggest factors working against us is his wife.  How do you compete with that?

 

Also, can Lee even handle the biggest sports market in the world?  He’s an Arkansas boy who has only played for small market teams.  Even Catfish Hunter struggled when he first got to New York. I don’t know.

 

The Yankees also state that signing legends Mo Rivera and Derek Jeter are their top internal priorities.  Regardless of age, Mo Rivera is still the guy I want on the mound in a tough situation.  If I can’t have him, then maybe Billy Wagner…

 

I have to be a closet Metallica fan…

 

Either that or I’m still creeped out by Brian Wilson.  (What’s up with that beard?  Why is it so much darker than the rest of his hair?)

 

And even if Derek Jeter doesn’t have the range of his earlier days, he brings intangibles to his team that no other shortstop has brought since Cal Ripken.  Remember when the Mets dumped Seaver?  Do you want that on your head?

 

The Yankees organization needs to swallow their pride and sign Mo and Jeter quickly.  They bring far more to the team than they detract.  Get some pitching to protect them and let’s get back to the business of winning, alright?

 

Now, I’m going to get back to trying to replicate that Brian Wilson Mohawk.

 

So…Yesterday’s Game

So, last night’s game. What can we say about it? (Insert deafening silence here.) 

 

I’m absolutely at a loss of words for the lackluster performance by the Yankees yesterday.  Lackluster is probably the nicest word I can think of without getting edited by the webmaster.

 

Actually, while we’re being bitter, we can probably open this conversation up to analyzing their performance throughout the entire ALCS.  They stunk.  How do you not play yesterday’s game like there’s no tomorrow? 

 

Oh, wait.  You play it exactly like yesterday’s game.

 

On a seemingly unrelated note, my birthday was this week (October 17th, and yes, I forgive you for not sending a card). Ironically, a lot of baseball events have happened on my birthday.  In fact, many of them have been awesome moments in Yankees history.  So, in my vain attempt to bring some cheer to my Bronx Bombers brethren, I’m going to do what Yankees fans do best. Shove our rich history down the throats of these wannabe JV teams of the expansion era.

 

(Ah, I’m back now.)

 

So, on October 17 in Baseball History…

 

 

1960 – The National League formally awarded franchises to the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc., headed by Joan Payson, and a Houston group headed by Judge Roy Hofheinz, Craig Cullinan, and R.E. Smith.  Yankees fans give thanks for finally having someone to make fun of without having to face traffic on the Mass Pike.

 

1976 – On a cold Sunday night, the Reds gang up on Catfish Hunter for three runs, but the Yankees battle back to tie it up. With two outs in the ninth inning, Yanks shortstop Fred Stanley throws Griffey’s easy grounder into the dugout. A walk and a Tony Perez single follow and the Yanks lose the second World Series game 4-3.  Billy Martin finds the bottom of a glass somewhere.

 

1978 – The Yanks win their fourth straight game, 7-2, to clinch their second consecutive World Championship over the Dodgers. Brian Doyle and Series MVP Bucky Dent have three hits apiece.  Please note, I arrive by the 7th inning to catch the rest of the game.

 

1989 – Minutes before Game 3 of the World Series between Oakland and San Francisco, an earthquake hit the Bay area. The game was postponed and the Series resumed 11 days later.  This has absolutely nothing to do with Yankees History.  However, I missed a Girl Scouts meeting to watch the game and I was really pissed that I didn’t get 9 innings of baseball for my birthday.

 

1990 – In the first extra-inning World Series game since 1986, the underdog Reds beat the A’s 5-4 in ten innings to take a surprising 2-0 lead in the Series. Reds outfielder Billy Hatcher goes 4-for-4 to run his consecutive hit streak to seven, tying Thurman Munson’s World Series record.  The Yankees of the late 80s/early 90s responded with a resounding, “Wha? You can play baseball in October?”

 

1993 – A five-run uprising in the third pushes the Phillies to a 6-4 win over Toronto in Game Two. Mitch Williams earns his only save of the Series.  Yankees take a page from the Blue Jays playbook 16 years later and no one has to fall off the mound to make it happen.

 

1996 – The Atlanta Braves had the biggest blowout in postseason history, beating St. Louis, 15-0, in Game 7 of the NL championship series to complete a comeback from a 3-1 deficit. 3 -1 deficit?  Yeesh, if Atlanta could do it, what the heck were we doing yesterday?

 

Date Sources: www.todayinbaseballhistory.com

The Yankees and why I shouldn’t blog while hungry…

It’s the 2nd inning of Game Three of the ALDS.  The Yankees are up two games to nothing and they can finish the Twins off tonight.  My friends from Minnesota are getting cranky and I can’t get passed the Twins’ Right Fielder, Kubel.  He sounds less like a ballplayer and more like a delicious Jewish delicacy. 

 

That was a Kugel reference.  Anyone? (Well, that’s what I get for writing while hungry.)

 

It’s now 1-0, New York.

 

Last week was the anniversary of the Bucky Dent Home Run.  For those of you too young to remember, the Yankees found their mojo thirty-two years ago last Saturday.  Well technically, I’m too young to remember.  I was born two weeks after that game happened.

 

Appropriately, after limping into the postseason, it looks like the Yankees have predictably found their mojo again.  In all truthfulness, it’s a pretty safe bet that I’ll be writing about the ALCS next week.

 

So, turning to the funnier NLDS…

 

Did anyone catch the Phillies/Reds game last night?  I think we can all agree that the Reds have a Snowball’s chance in Hell of getting out of the first round of the playoffs.  I haven’t seen so many errors since the Little League World Series. 

 

I was going to start throwing at people.

 

So, what did we learn from last night?  I mean other than Bronson Arroyo should really give the name of his stylist to Tim Lincecum.  (He really does have a lovely ‘do.) 

 

Well, we learned that no matter how fast you throw, if you can only throw ropes, most Major League hitters will find a way to hit it.  Hey, Aroldis! I’m looking at you.

 

The Yankees now have a 2-0 lead.

 

Fantasy Baseball update:  I won my league.  I’ve named Carl Crawford and Mark Teixeira my MVPs. They should expect to receive their Fantasy Championship Rings and Bonuses in the mail.

 

Did John Sterling really call a Mark Teixeira hit a “Tex Message”?  Wow.  He can go ahead and stop that now.

 

You know, like they can stop those terrible Conan commercials on TBS.

 

I also think that Ron Gardenhire has a promising career as a Macy*s Santa if this whole managing the Twins thing doesn’t work out.

 

Did Ron Darling just compare the Yankees and Twins to Lucy and Charlie Brown?  He can go ahead and stop that as well.

 

It’s now 4-0, Yankees.

 

Seriously Minnesota, things aren’t looking so good.  Can’t we just blame it on Carl Pavano’s mustache and call it a day?