Thursday, May 31, 2007

Another Gem for Douche-K

Small comfort, I know, but Douche-K faced a real lineup last night and was knocked around yet again. 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 12 H, 0 BB, 4 K. 4.83 ERA for the season.

The new Pedro, folks. The new Pedro.

Beep. Beep. Beeeeep. Boom.

Turns out all that beeping wasn't preparing us for the Jack Bauer-style emergence of Phil Hughes. The beeping was coming from the time bomb that is Phil Hughes's frail little body. A bomb which has now exploded.

Hughes is out until late July or August with a grade 3 ankle sprain, on top of his earlier hamstring injury.

Just in case you didn't already think the Yankees were fucked.

UPDATE: Will Carroll is reporting that Hughes won't be able to resume throwing for 8-10 weeks, and is out until late August. I really don't care for Will Carroll right now.

Shut the Fuck Up: Toronto Blue Jays

The Yankees got a much-needed, though probably irrelavent, 10-5 win over the Blue Jays last night, in a game marked by a controversial play involving your hero and mine, ARod.

In the 9th inning, with the Yanks ahead 6-5, Jorge Posada hit a pop up to third with two runners on base. As Arod passed Toronto third baseman Howie Clark, he appeared to yell "Ah!" or "Hah!", distracting Clark enough for the ball to drop.

Now Clark and the Jays have their panties in a bunch.

ARod's play was absolutely bush league, but certainly not illegal. The bottom line is that a major league third baseman needs to catch that pop-up no matter what distracts him. The Jays can sit in the dugout and make snide comments and give Arod the stink-eye all they want...dude still needs to catch that ball. Of course, there was much whining and sadness after the game. Uh oh ARod...better watch out...the Jays might send the Mounties after you.

Meanwhile, ARod is becoming an A.J. Pierzynski-style irritant, between plays like this and the infamous ALCS slap, which is a role some might say is not befitting one of the best players in the game. Joe Torre clearly seems weary of defending him, although Torre still has plenty of amends to make for the Sports Illustrated screw-job last September.

I'm torn on this. ARod's plays aren't exactly something to be proud of, but if they help win a game or two...why the fuck not?

One last thing: John Gibbons needs to shuuuuut up with his "Yankees pride" bullshit. Hey Gibby, why don't you worry about salvaging the Blue Jays' pride and stop challenging your own players to fights in the clubhouse? Douche. The more people call ARod out for not being a "true Yankee," the more I want to defend him. And I hate defending Arod.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bang and Blame

Blue Jays 3 - Yankees 2. It's fitting that the Yankees lost a game on a straight steal of home on the same night the Mets won a game on two balks in the same inning. That's the way it's going in the NYC right now.

Last night, the YES cameras captured the Yankees' players in the dugout immediately after the game. I'm not sure what PECOTA would say, but a psychologist would say this team is finished. The pathetic, beaten looks on their faces spoke volumes. This is the same way the team looked toward the end of the 2004 ALCS...they can't figure out what's wrong, and they've lost all hope. ARod, Robinson Cano, Bobby Abreu, they all looked ready to call it a season and move on to 2008. This is a team of quitters, not fighters, save for about five players. You can see the guys who are getting angry instead of frightened (Damon, Posada, Pettitte). Unfortunately, they haven't been able to infect the rest of the team with any spirit during any of the closed-door meetings.

It's also fitting that the only guys performing well right now are the last remaining stalwarts of the dynasty: Pettitte, Jeter and Posada, who's hitting out of his mind this year. Rivera would probably be fine too if given the opportunity. None of the free agents or Johnny-Damon-come-latelys are coming close to carrying their weight. Who's most to blame for this travesty of a season, excepting Steinbrenner, Cashman and Torre for the time being?

Alex Rodriguez - That blond in Toronto looked pretty hot and all, but good riddance, douchefucker. I know I said some nice things about you in April, but you're the same old ARod, and you should have let that bunt roll foul last night.

Bobby Abreu - I'm sorry, Philly fans, for making fun of you for booing The Great Pitch-Taker out of town. Abreu's not just a bad outfielder, he's unholy. He's lost every last bit of his power, and is perhaps the least aggressive hitter on Earth. Go back from whence you came. I miss Shane Spencer.

Johnny Damon - I like Damon, and I know he plays hard, and he's probably half-crippled, but dude takes some ugly routes to fly balls. And his power's up and disappeared too.

Mike Mussina - Fucko. Put down your crosswords and re-learn how to pitch.

Robinson Cano - Looking more and more like a young Alfonso Soriano, but without the speed and power. Well on his way to setting a Yankees record for three-pitch strikeouts in one season. Has yet to see a breaking ball in the dirt he doesn't feel like swinging at. Lazy on defense.

Minky - Goes without saying.

Hideki Matsui - A disappointment. Again.

Scott Proctor - I know it's not his fault. His arm was destroyed by Clueless Joe. But still...

Jason Giambi - Looking frighteningly like the tumor-ridden Giambi of 2005.

So there you have it, a rational, statistics-filled analysis of why everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the 2007 Yankees. In conclusion, I hate this team, I hate myself and I hate you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shut the Fuck Up: Orlando Cabrera

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Little Orlando Cabrera doesn't like Yankees fans.

Let the idiot speak:

"They don't appreciate good baseball," Cabrera said. "They just appreciate the Yankees beating up on everybody."

Fuck! I am always apologizing for all New York sports fans on here, and it looks like I have to do it again. I am so sorry, O-Dog, or whatever the fuck your nickname is, that we can't live up to the shining standards of the fans in Anaheim, who need a monkey to tell them when to cheer. Or fans in your former city of Boston, who never ever ever boo the home team.

Cabrera is clearly offended that Yankees fans would dare boo the home nine under any circumstances. In related news, Orlando Cabrera was originally signed to the big leagues by the Expos from his previous team, The Care Bears, members of the Happy Fun Sunshine and Tickling League.

"In Boston, they admire baseball," Cabrera said. "In Anaheim, those fans are some of the best in baseball. They know you care there. They know you can't do it every day. I appreciate that. These people here, they're mean. And they're really mean to the other team."

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! They admire baseball in Boston! Really?! Does Cabrera remember Games 3-5 of the 1999 ALCS, when opposing players' families feared for their lives and debris rained down on the field, while in the national spotlight no less? Oh no, that's right, he was still part of the Care Bears' famed Cabrera-to-Tenderheart-Bear-to-Wish-Bear double-play combination.

And they know baseball so well in Anaheim that they can only impact games with the help of two sticks that they bash together like mentally handicapped children.

As for the meanness, you're Goddamn right we're mean. Can't wait for your next visit to the Stadium, fucko. Now you've shown us your weakness.

Now Where Did I Put That White Flag...?

I haven't had to use it since 1993.

It's over, kids. Dunzo. Not just the division race, either. The 2007 New York Yankees are not making the playoffs. This weekend's embarrassing sweep at the hands of the Angels sealed their fate. Throw in one additional loss to the woeful Blue Jays, and the Yanks sit at 21-28, 13.5 games behind the Red Sox and 7.5 games (and about a million teams to pass) out of the Wild Card.

Doctors are calling it on May 29: the patient is dead. Fans and players alike keep waiting for a 10- or 12-game winning streak that's never going to happen. We've been conditioned to expect greatness from this team for the past 13 years, a long enough time that a lot of us can't remember what it's like to simply have a bad team. And that's what we have here — a bad team. A team that has yet to win four games in a row this season and has only won three in a row twice. A team that is not particularly adept at pitching, hitting, fielding or baserunning. A team with significant holes in its lineup and a gaping abyss in its bullpen. Things are falling apart; the center cannot hold.

As May turns to June, we pass the point of no return. It's unfortunate that the Yankees have already committed millions of dollars to Roger Clemens in one last desperate attempt to deny that it's time for rebuilding in the Bronx. It's time to sell at the trade deadline; not buy. There's no shame in folding up shop for the year and looking to the future. Years of regrettable decisions led us to this crossroads. Today is the day that the front office, and more importantly, the fans, swallow their collective pride and admit that 2007 is a lost cause. The Red Sox have been run more efficiently and productively than the Yankees for several years now. Breaking the bank in a vain attempt to catch them this year will only further delay the inevitable re-imagining of the Yankees.

Give up the ghost. We're done. It's only fitting that the death rattle occurred against the Angels, the team that started the Yankees' fall from grace in the 2002 ALDS. Frankie Rodriguez began the 2002-2006 era with a dominant playoff performance as a rookie, and on Sunday he put the exclamation point on with his fist pump after retiring Captain Intangibles to end the sweep.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Parable

I'll preface this tale by saying that I am not a brave man and I don't handle pain well.

Last night, in a co-ed rec league softball game, I pulled a hamstring in the 3rd inning after landing funny on first base. I couldn't really walk after that, much less run. But since we had no extra players, I stayed in the game, pitching even though I couldn't really stride toward the plate. I batted, and just stood in the batter's box after hitting the ball. I iced my leg between innings, limped out to the mound, and dealt with the pain until the end of the game.


Now, what's the lesson here, Pavano?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Domo Arigato, Mr. Pavano

So before we end and then begin
We'll drink a toast to how it's been
A few more hours to be complete,
A few more nights on satin sheets,
A few more times that I can say…
I've loved these days.

A sad day in Yankeeland, as the great Carl Pavano's days in pinstripes have drawn to a close. We are all wondering the same thing today: how do we keep on going? How do we wake up every day, knowing that we will never again witness the golden right arm of Carl Pavano in the home whites or the road grays? What is the point...of sports fandom, of life, of the universe...without him? Why go on?

Simply, because we must. We must go on. We must fight through each hard moment, each dark afternoon. We must find reservoirs of hope deep within our miserable shells of humanity. We must keep on with the business of living, and assume, for our own sanity, that somewhere out there, on some gravelly ballfield in Brooklyn, or Idaho, or China, somewhere a young boy is limping off a mound who can take his place. A young Pavano, bravely willing to give three percent for his teammates. He must be out there...somewhere...mustn't he?

The indefinable Mr. Pavano's final line for the Yankees:

111.1 IP, 5-6, 141 H, 20 BB, 60 K, 4.77 ERA.

For $40 million.

Thank you, Carl, you have shown us all what heart and courage really are. And good luck to you in your future endeavors, whether that means laying on the couch watching your "stories," or napping contentedly on your hammock.

Just don't forget: Carl Pavano Day at the Stadium next July 11. Think about what you want on your plaque.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Red Sox Have a New Douchebag!

Young, mediocre Dustin Pedroia has come out and taken a shot at the easiest target in baseball. Via Deadspin:

"[ARod] went in late and threw an elbow, but it's no big deal. I know now that when he's going in, my arm slot drops to the floor. Some people play like that, and some people come in with hard, clean slides."

This coming from a rookie who last night slid so far wide of second in an attempt to take out Derek Jeter that he couldn't have reached the base if he was Plastic Man or Inspector Gadget. That's illegal, junior.

So, Dustin Pedroia: douchebag and hypocrite. He found the perfect team.


The Yankees needed a sweep, and thanks to the decrepit Mike Mussina and an inept offense, didn't get one. The Yankees have absolutely no chance to catch a Red Sox team that doesn't look likely to falter severely. Pre-2004, the Yankees could have held out hope that Boston's demons would lead to a collapse, but those days are over.

The Wild Card looks unlikely at this point, but the division title is almost completely out of the question. It's not June yet. Great season, guys.

One side note: David Ortiz is a career .285/.377/.552 hitter. Against Mike Myers, he's at .357/.375/.643. Joe Torre needs to stop bringing Myers in, expecting him to have success against Big Papi just because he does things with the left side of his body. Myers is incompetent in general, but particularly against Ortiz. The Yankees would be better off walking Ortiz in every big spot or challenging him with a right-hander who can actually, you know, pitch.

Pretty Tangible

With two outs and runners in scoring position, Derek Jeter is hitting .619/.667/.857. Statistical anomaly? Perhaps. Captain Intangibles? You fucking betcha.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Someone Hates the Yankees!


So, the idiots at Rumors and Rants have decided to use the rumors that the Yankees are looking for a way to void Jason Giambi's contract as an excuse to unleash a typical, inept anti-Yankees screed. Let's break this one down a little:

Okay, so this makes two straight Yankees posts and, considering we hate the Yankees, that's kind of a lot, but we couldn't pass up another opportunity to mention how they're the worst franchise in baseball with the worst fans and the worst media covering their every move. We start first with the story of how the Yankees are allegedly looking into voiding Jason Giambi's contract because he "admitted" that he was on the juice when he was an Oakland A.

A couple mundane, generic shots at the Yankees without any fact or opinion to back it up, followed by the thin justification for publishing this drivel: a fucking rumor with no evidence to back it up.

However, his "admission" wasn't an admission at all. All he said was that he was sorry for using that "stuff." Maybe he was sorry for eating all those Pop Tarts during the off season instead of working on his swing, speed, defense, conditioning, or, you know, any baseball skills at all.

Ha ha ha ha ha! Did you see what they did there? Pop Tarts! What a rich pop culture reference that is! It's a comedic fact that Pop Tarts are the third most hilarious breakfast food to reference, right behind Cap'n Crunch and cream of wheat.

The Yankees are going to look stupid at the end of all this because they signed Jason Giambi without doing their due diligence to find out whether he was, in fact, a cheater when he was in Oakland.

What exactly is considered "due diligence" when trying to determine if a player was taking legal or illegal supplements for which there was no testing at the time? Just wondering.

They are the most powerful organization in American sports, they signed him to a $120 million contract, and suddenly they're shocked (shocked!) that a mediocre player magically turned into the AL MVP practically overnight.

Jason Giambi's OPS+ rose every season from 1995 to 2001. In every one of those seasons, he was an above-average hitter. Not sure how that translates into "mediocre" or "overnight." Also note the reliance on the ridiculously overused "shocked (shocked!)" conceit. I have the feeling a "not" joke might be coming up later.

Sure the Yankees hate that he duped them into a huge contract, but all this new controversy has only to with the fact that the Yanks are slumping and Giambi is not producing. They need a scapegoat for this mess. But they're really looking for a scapegoat for every season since 2002. Their payroll is out of control, they're an old team, and they have none of the strong pitching they had when they won in 96, 98, 99, and 2000. Basically, they bailed on everything that created their dynasty in the first place, ironically because they wanted to keep winning. Apparently the 1999 team wasn't good enough, in their eyes. They had to win by more and more and more, until 162-0 is a possibility.

First of all, the 1998 team was the great one, not the '99 team. Second, I'm pretty sure that 162-0 was never a possibility, whatever that means. Third, this paragraph relies heavily on the myths that the 1996-2001 dynasty was comprised of young, scrappy gamers playing smallball while the post-2002 teams are a bunch of no-good, greedy mercenaries. In reality, the increasing payroll has only helped the Yankees. From '96-'01, the Yankees averaged 97 wins a season. From '02-'06, they averaged 99.4 wins a season. Luck in short series has been essentially the only difference in the two eras. Small-minded people are incapable of admitting that much of the universe is ruled by luck, so they must assign reasons and explanations to things. Hence, the cute little notion that the modern Yankees lose because they're overpriced. It's nonsense.

Since the Giambi faux-controversy, now it's being thrown around the press that Joe Torre's job may or may not be in jeopardy. Don't let the New York-centric media fool you. This is yet another attempt to scapegoat some one for their crappy start to the 2007 season. They're a poorly constructed, overpaid team that's losing like they should, but New York ownership, fans, and the media don't see it that way. The Yankees have made the playoffs every year since 1996 and Torre guided them to four titles and even more World Series appearances. But hey, what have you done for us lately, Joe? Oh, right.

I grew tired trying to parse this paragraph, and downright exhausted trying to find every single logical error therein. 1) New York-centric media? Uh huh. Those damn liberal New York Jews in the media! Isn't running Hollywood enough for them? 2) Who is attempting to scapegoat Torre, here? The media? The franchise? It's not clear. 3) "losing like they should" — The Yankees have played slightly under .500 for one quarter of a season. And I suppose everyone saw that coming, right? It was so obvious that this team wasn't put together well that everyone picked the Yankees to come in 4th in the A.L. East this year. Must have missed that in the Rumors and Rants pre-season spectacular. 4) We've been over this, but Joe Torre deserves to be fired, win or lose this year. His strategic blunders have harmed the team's chances since he took over, and in recent years, those mistakes have outweighed his calming influence in the clubhouse.

This is where the true naivete of New York sports comes out. The Yankees won four championships in five years, but that wasn't good enough for them. They want more. They always want more. Near perfection wasn't good enough when Maris hit 61 for them or when Alex Rodriguez "only" has a .290, 35 HR, 121 RBI season for them. Everyone just assumed that a fantasy baseball lineup would work in real life, when that has almost never been the case, even when the Yankees were winning title after title in the 20's, 50's, 60's, and 90's.

God, we are so sorry, aren't we, fellow New York sports fans? What audacity to want more winning. After the 2000 World Series, the Yankees should have just folded up shop and let some other teams have a turn for a while. So fucking selfish. Also, can sports as an institution really be naive?

Seven years removed from the Yankees' last title, it has become clear that no one in New York took the time to enjoy the fact that their last run was/is a near-impossibility in modern baseball. Everyone seems to have thought that there was another title right around the corner. Everyone around the Yankees seems to think that no matter what, despite the organization abandoning its philosophy, getting rid of all their good pitching, all their prospects, and their core of veterans, the Yankees would still win the title. Firing Joe Torre and getting rid of Jason Giambi will not fix the Yankees. It's an insanity localized entirely in Yankees fan/organization/media. No fan in their right mind expects a title every year to the point that they don't appreciate what they had and boo their amazing array of current players. But then again, we are talking about Yankee fan, aren't we? Maybe they should boo themselves.

A wonderful grand finale. "Maybe they should boo themselves." Hmm...let's all let that sink in for a moment. I suppose Yankees fans should take after shiny-happy Cubs fans and cheer everyone no matter how they perform.

And no one has ever suggested or thought that getting rid of Jason Giambi will fix the Yankees: that's the most blatant strawman argument I've ever seen.

No wait...that's this whole post.

Here Comes the Minky

I read a book when I was little called "Here Comes the Strikeout." It was about a kid who was so bad at hitting a baseball that every time he walked to the plate, all the other kids yelled "here comes the strikeout!" I, of course, couldn't relate to the book at all because I was always a high-OBP guy in Little League. I was Moneyball while Billy Beane was still doing keg stands at whatever gay Ivy League school he went to.

In the end, of course, the sucky kid learns how to hit and comes through with a game winner. I don't foresee a similar ending to the 2007 Yankees' season.

Minky Update: .212/.282/.364. His OPS+ is 76.

Two Out of Three Ain't...*#%&ing Good Enough

With apologies to Meatloaf, of Redding, Ct., the Yankees need to sweep the Red Sox this week. Winning two out of three might cure some hurt feelings around the club, but it won't do much to help the Yankees claw their way back into the race.

Tonight, the world's most finicky pitcher goes on an extra day's rest, giving him a perfect excuse to pitch poorly. Let's see what you're made of, Moose.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Random Thoughts: Yankees/Mets, 5/20

-Joe Torre got away with a strategic blunder (shocking, I know) when he intentionally walked Damian Easley in the second inning with a man on second and two outs to face the pitcher. Young Tyler Clippard walked John Maine, then lucked out inducing a flyout from Jose Reyes. Easley was unlikely to reach base anyway, and walking him put pressure on a youngster making his major league debut to throw strikes. Torre, in his desperation to avoid giving up a run, potentially opened the door to a big inning.

-Another Clueless Joe, this one named Morgan, was at his obtuse best last night. Speaking of Robinson Cano, the wise Luddite said, "You can live with someone not hitting, but you can't live with mistakes in the field." This explains why Joe has been voting for Rey Ordonez to make the Hall of Fame every year.

Later, after Derek Jeter laced a double down the left-field line, Morgan said, "He handles the ball on the inside much better than he did before."

A) Before what?
B) Analysts have been saying that about Jeter since 1997.

-Speaking of Captain Intangibles, he's now hitting a feisty .500 with runners in scoring position this year. You can lay a lot of blame for the 2007 debacle at a lot of people's feet, but Jeter and Jorge Posada have actually played like they still care.

Here come the Red Sox. The Yankees unquestionably need a sweep, or it's time to focus on the Wild Card.

Brian Cashman is Asleep at the Wheel...

...or simply not very smart.

Cashman has made some great moves, some highly questionable moves and some moves that were ordered from above, but his continued refusal to find an adequate solution for first base proves that the GM either doesn't care anymore or doesn't understand how to win baseball games.

Minky currently has a VORP of -1.8, meaning that he is performing worse than a typical Triple A call-up. With a struggling team and a lineup that's not producing, the Yankees simply can't afford to carry that kind of dead weight on offense one day longer. Josh Phelps is adequate at best during his half of the platoon, but Minky's a lefty, making him the dominant portion of the platoon, and he is something considerably less than adequate.

Coming into the season with Dougie Baseball pencilled in at first base represented poor planning on Cashman's part. Staying the course this deep into the season represents lunacy at best, blatant sabotage at worst. Cashman clearly learned nothing from the Tony Womack Experience, as he still refuses to admit his mistakes in a timely fashion and move on. Minky can't possibly save enough runs with his glove to atone for the sins of his lumber.

There exists no rational explanation for Minky still holding a roster spot, let alone receiving significant playing time. At the very least, the Yankees' recent offensive woes have forever proven false the ridiculous notion that a team can "afford" to have a weak bat or two in the lineup, as long as the rest of the batting order is strong. Injuries and slumps happen, and when they do, a team needs production from every position, let alone one as offensively-grounded as first base.

Every day the Yankees don't make a move, their already slim playoff hopes take another hit. One of these days, if it hasn't already happened, that hit will be fatal.

Sadly, if the Yankees don't make the playoffs, their epitaph will focus on pitching injuries, overpriced vigilantes and a poor bullpen. All have hurt, true enough, but even a mediocre major league first baseman would offset some of that damage.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Discretion is the Better Part...

I think you're heart's in the right place and all, Jason, but this is not helping.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

White Sox 4, Yankees 1

So the Yankees return home with their tails between their legs, having lost four of six to two teams they should readily handle, in a stretch vital to their post-season hopes.

The Yankees' offense was completely embarrassed on this trip, and their hole is deeper and darker than ever as they prepare for a brutal stretch of schedule against the Mets, Red Sox and all. This team truly might be out of the division race for good by the time Roger Clemens makes his debut. Think Rocket's regretting his decision already?

This team-wide slump is inexplicable and inexcusable. Hope is fading, and like Jack Bauer says, WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME! It's getting late early out there. Papa don't preach, the Yankees are in trouble deep.

Perhaps this team's problems are deeper and more systemic than any of us realized. I have begun to truly doubt this group of players, this manager and this front office. Looks like the post-season streak ends in 2007.

Cleansing the Airwaves




Murderers' Row

In last night's game against the White Sox, the 7-8-9 hitters in the Yankees' lineup were Melky Cabrera, Minky Baseball and Wil Nieves. The members of that enticing combo have OPS+'s of 73, 84 and -79 respectively (league average is 100). The fact that the Yankees can send three such pathetic , inept hitters to the plate in succession condemns the way this team was put together, particularly given the franchise's financial advantages. So, Brian Cashman made some awful choices.

Making matters worse, though, is that in the second inning of last night's game, still scoreless, the Yankees had runners on first and second with no one out and Cabrera up. Melky bunted, advancing the runners. There can be no possible justification for Joe Torre putting the bunt on when two such awful hitters are due up next. Melky is off to a putrid start, but at least he has some modicum of ability. The Yankees' only legitimate chance to score that inning was for Cabreara to drive in a run or two. Sure enough, Minky struck out and Wil Nieves flied out. So, Joe Torre made an awful choice. Again.

A Tangible for Captain Intangibles

Derek Jeter has collected at least one hit in 93 of his last 101 games. No other player has accomplished this feat since 1900.

Fucking 1900. Queen Victoria was still in power. Paper clips hadn't been invented yet. El Duque was only 12 years old.

The Mediocre Shall Band Together

Question: Who is having a more disappointing Spring 2007, the Yankees or Wilco?

At least the Yankees are almost kinda mediocre.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The White Sox Radio Broadcasters are Hilarious

So, these two clowns who announce White Sox games on the radio have an outstanding running joke: whenever they say the name of reliever David Aardsma, they pronounce it "AAAARRRRRRdsma." Get it? Because he has two A's at the beginning of his name? See what they're doing? They've overexaggerating an unusual linguistic feature of his name for comedic effect.


Also, whenever a White Sox player does well, they add a "y" or "ie" on the end of their first name. Johnny Danks struck someone out! Paulie Konerko hit a home run! It's like they're family! So familiar and jovial. But when those same players do poorly, and fall out of favor, they revert to just being John Danks or Paul Konerko. They sounded confused and unsure of themselves just now when A.J. Piersynski hit a home run.

Is Joe Torre the Lady Owner from Major League?

Nothing else would explain Miguel Cairo starting at second base today.

Brief Ballpark Reviews: U.S. Cellular Field

The erstwhile Comiskey Park is in a nightmare of a neighborhood: hard to drive to, ridiculously expensive parking, no bars around.

The ballpark itself is serviceable if dull, having had the bad luck to be built right before the current wave of retro chic took effect. The food's pretty good, so that's something, I guess.

The people are fat. Incredibly, undeniably fat.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bat Control, Guts and Baseball Know-How

Despite studies that have shown batting orders are largely inconsequential to how many runs a team scores, I believe that how a manager uses the #2 spot in the lineup says a lot about said manager, and his retardation or lack thereof.

Even if batting order is indeed irrelevent, perfunctory logic dictates that you want a good hitter batting second, as that hitter will see dozens more at-bats per season than the #8 or #9 hitter. There seem to be two schools of thought among managers as to who to bat second.

One school is comprised of your traditional old-timey baseball lifers, wrinkled old men who know what's best because they've lived the game, damn it, and you can take your nerdy fancy statistics and throw them in the fucking moat, you hear me? These dinosaurs typically want a #2 hitter who can "handle the bat," meaning someone adept at bunting, hitting-and-running and otherwise wasting outs in ways that please Ozzie Guillen, Twins beat writers and other denizens of Small Ball Nation. Mind you, though, these crusty old fools aren't afraid to "think outside the box" on occasion. Sometimes, they pick a #2 hitter with no apparent offensive skills whatsoever, since they don't want to "waste" a better hitter that high in the order. Prototypical #2 hitter for this school of thought: David Eckstein.

The other school is more open-minded, more prone to recognizing the benefits of statistical analysis, saner and wiser in all regards. While generally still constructing lineups in accordance with the traditional model, speed at the top, power in the middle, incompetence at the bottom, these brave souls seem to understand that a good hitter should bat second, regardless of his ability to suicide squeeze. Prototypical #2 hitter for these fine gentlemen: 2006 Bobby Abreu.

Let's swing around the league and see where managers fall on the Psycho Fan #2 Hitter Managerial Scale of Retardation:

A.L. East

Boston Red Sox
Most Common #2 Hitter: Kevin Youkilis
Retardation Level: 0 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Nope
As much as I hate the guy, Kevin Franchise is a rock-solid #2 hitter. His greatest skill is on-base percentage, which not coincidentally, is the most critical skill for a #2 hitter to possess. Youkilis has a career OBP of .386, and he's Greek-God-of-walking all the way to a .428 so far this year. Terry "Curt Schilling's Little Bitch" Francona takes his orders from King Gorilla Suit, so he doesn't deserve too much credit here. He has begun batting Coco Crisp second occasionally, which is a worse idea, but still not awful.

New York Yankees
Most Common #2 Hitter: Derek Jeter
Retardation Level: 1 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Johnny Damon
Derek Jeter should be batting leadoff for the Yankees. He has a better career OBP than Johnny Damon, and he thrives in the leadoff spot. However, we all know that will never happen, and Damon is entrenched in the 1 spot just as that peach pit is entrenched in Joe Torre's gullet. Jeter makes a great 2 hitter, but he's also making a great 3 hitter now that Bobby Abreu's power disappeared and he's batting second. Assuming Abreu rediscovers the ability to walk, Damon/Abreu/Jeter is a pretty great combination.

Baltimore Orioles
Most Common #2 Hitter: Melvin Mora
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Miguel Tejada
Mora was clearly a bad choice at #2, and has since been replaced by Nick Markakis. Getting better, but still not there, Sam Perlozzo. Miguel Tejada still gets on base a lot, but the power he used to wield has been Abreu'd away into the filthy harbors of Bal'more. Batting the un-hustling one second would put more guys on base for the middling middle of the order, and allow the Moras, Huffs and Hernandezes of the world a few more opportunities to hit with men on base. Mos def.

Toronto Blue Jays
Most Common #2 Hitter: Adam Lind
Retardation Level: 2 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Lyle Overbay
Lind is a good prospect, but he's struggling in his initial tour of the league, not getting on base. Lyle Overbay started the year as the #2 hitter, but was removed after slumping early. Overbay has a proven track record, and can provide some lefty pop near the top of the order. You don't have many good things going for you, John Gibbons, don't ruin the ones you've got.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Most Common #2 Hitter: Ben Zobrist/Elijah Dukes (tie)
Retardation Level: 5 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: B.J. Upton
Joe Maddon has wasted an amazing 24 games batting Zobrist or Dukes second, neither of whom even come close to sniffing a league-average OBP. Zobrist is futile, and Dukes appears nowhere near ready. B.J. Upton, while not an ideal #2 hitter, is red-hot, has power and speed, and is hitting for a higher average than most players on the team are OBPing. When he returns from injury, Akinori Iwamura might be the best choice.

A.L. Central

Detroit Tigers
Most Common #2 Hitter: Placido Polanco
Retardation Level: 0 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Nope
For an idiot, Jim Leyland is kind of smart. Put another way, Leyland can't make out a lineup card to save his life, but has stumbled into the good idea of hitting Polanco second. This is a man who has batted Pudge Rodriguez (the 2007 version!!) leadoff, and who can't figure out that his best hitter should bat higher than fifth. The Tigers are a low OBP team, without a lot of solid top-of-the-order options. Polanco doesn't walk a ton, but given what Le Tigres have to work with, he's the best fit.

Cleveland Indians
Most Common #2 Hitter: Casey Blake
Retardation Level: 2 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Trot Nixon/Ryan Garko
The Tribe has utilized a hodgepodge of hitters after Grady Sizemore, with Casey Blaky leading the way. Blake is a yawn-worthy option, average at best. A batting order platoon of Trot Nixon and Ryan Garko would be more effective and show more imagination.

Chicago White Sox
Most Common #2 Hitter: Tadahito Iguchi
Retardation Level: 2 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Nope
Iguchi is clearly the best option the Sox have, but they still receive two Bilos for not batting Iguchi second every damn day. Punter Erstad hit second for a while, before being moved inexplicably to leadoff. Out of the gritty frying pan, into the gritty fire. More recently, Ozzie Guillen has taken to batting Pablo Ozuna second and DHing him, with Iguchi lower in the order. The mind reels.

Minnesota Twins
Most Common #2 Hitter: Nick Punto
Retardation Level: 4 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Joe Mauer
Little Nickie Punto had a nice little year in 2006, but he is not good at the game of baseball. He is a #9 hitter in a #9 hitter's body. Joe "No Power for" Mauer should move up from #3 to #2, allowing the power hitters, Cuddyer, Morneau and Hunter, to all move up a slot and get some more at-bats. Hitting Punto second wastes outs, and wastes at-bats for superior hitters. Dumb.

Kansas City Royals
Most Common #2 Hitter: Mark Grudzielanek
Retardation Level: 1 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: The ghost of George Brett
Grudzy sucks, but who else can do the job? Maybe a move up the lineup would shake Alex Gordon or Billy Butler out of their rookie slumps. Maybe not.

A.L. West

L.A. Angels
Most Common #2 Hitter: Orlando Cabrera
Retardation Level: 4 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Howie Kendrick
Another Small Ball Hero batting second when he should be hitting ninth or first bench, Cabrera chews up outs in front of the Angels' only truly good hitter, Vlad Guerrero. Just because he's mildly fast and plays middle infield doesn't mean he can get on base, Mike Scioscia. The injured Howie Kendrick and the forever struggling Casey Kotchman are both more natural choices for the two-hole.

Seattle Mariners
Most Common #2 Hitter: Adrian Beltre
Retardation Level: 2 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Jose Vidro
Adrian Beltre has never gotten on base at a decent clip in his life, excluding his fluke contract year of 2004. Vidro's over-the-hill and not much better, but like the Royals, not much to work with here. Credit to Mike Hargrove for making the switch, I guess.

Oakland A's
Most Common #2 Hitter: Nick Swisher
Retardation Level: 1 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Dan Johnson
Despite being wrecked with injuries, Bob Geren's A's have been able to remain fairly consistent with Nick Swisher in the two-spot. Swisher's a fine choice, but his bat might better serve the team a couple spots down in the lineup, if Dan Johnson could keep up his fine start while batting second.

Texas Rangers
Most Common #2 Hitter: Michael Young
Retardation Level: 0 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Nope
In a lineup considerably less fearsome than in years past, Michael Young's early-season slump earned him a "demotion" to the #2 spot, which is probably where he belonged all along. Overrated even at his best, Young is still head and shoulders above most of the other Texas hitters, with the possible exception of Ian Kinsler, who's been jerked around the lineup so much he thinks he's back in Triple A.

N.L. East

N.Y. Mets
Most Common #2 Hitter: Paul Lo Duca!
Retardation Level: 5 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: David Wright
Otherwise competent, Willie Randolph allows the #2 spot in the batting order to be his strategic Achilles Heel. With all the hitters in the Mets lineup, squatty Paul Lo Duca spent most of 2006 and 2007 batting second, while wunderkind D-Dubs languished in the bottom half of the order. Just when it looked like Randolph might correct his ongoing mistake, weirdos like Damian Easley and Endy Chavez have laid claim to the two-hole. Willie, come on, you're better than this.

Atlanta Braves
Most Common #2 Hitter: Edgar Renteria
Retardation Level: 1 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Brian McCann
Renteria's offensive resurgence since returning to the National League makes this a justifiable decision, but McCann's a better hitter in every way that matters. Bobby Cox gets some leeway here for taking a chance on Kelly Johnson leading off. Then, he loses said leeway because he's a wife-beater.

Philadelphia Phillies
Most Common #2 Hitter: Shane Victorino
Retardation Level: 1 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Chase Utley
Victorino's not a bad choice, but he's a not a good one either. Imagine an airtight Phillies first inning of Rollins/Utley/Howard, with Burrell next. The lineup weakens considerably after that, but Fightin' Charlie Manuel would score a bunch of runs early in games.

Florida Marlins
Most Common #2 Hitter: Dan Uggla
Retardation Level: 2 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Jeremy Hermida
The Dan Uggla Experiment hasn't gone off the rails as badly as his .240 batting average suggests: his OBP is only .016 lower than his 2006 total. Which unfortunately means that he wasn't that good to begin with. The Marlins have nothing to replace him with, though, so we'll go ahead and pencil Jeremy Hermida in there and hope he remembers how to hit. How did Joe Girardi win 78 games with this team last year?

Washington Nationals
Most Common #2 Hitter: Ronnie Belliard
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Chris Snelling
The Marlins, Royals and Mariners have a plethora of great options to choose from when compared to our sorry friends in D.C. Ronnie Belliard has bravely held down the fort, while absolutely nobody has beaten down his door to take his job. Recently traded Chris Snelling seems like the best bet. Congratulations, MLB and Jim Bowden: you've built a winner!

N.L. Central

Milwaukee Brewers
Most Common #2 Hitter: J.J. Hardy
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Corey Hart
Hard to argue with the selection of J.J. "Joe" Hardy and his eleventy million spring home runs, but even now, Hardy is not a great on-base guy. And the devil knows he ain't gonna keep this up. Still, it would take five straight years of Hardy slumping to erase the notion that he's a great player from Ned Yost's brain.

Houston Astros
Most Common #2 Hitter: Morgan Ensberg
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Some outfielder
Ensberg leads a motley crue of bad choices in the two-spot, none of whom is coming close to pulling their weight. No one even notices though, because Craig Biggio is too busy being legendarily bad leading off in his selfish quest for 3,000 hits. What a gamer. Some combination of Luke Scott, Jason Lane and Hunter Pence might work a little better in front of Lance Berkman. Or not. Whatevs. This team must be distracted by the bad clubhouse morale created by Roger Clemens golfing somewhere.

Chicago Cubs
Most Common #2 Hitter: Ryan Theriot
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Matt Murton
Matt Murton continues to plug away in obscurity, the forgotten man, whether for idiot Dusty Baker or Lou Pinella. Theriot is a classic old-timers' two-hitter: speedy, fast, quick, rapid, swift. Oh, and a bad hitter. Soriano leading off is a mistake, and Theriot second (or even playing at all) only exacerbates that mistake. The end result is that, in spite of Baker's departure, the Cubbies still can't get on base.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Most Common #2 Hitter: Jack Wilson
Retardation Level: 4 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Ryan Doumit
Jim Tracy and his Bucs only avoid the dreaded 5-Bilo rating because the rest of the lineup is so weak, one hitter doesn't make all that much difference. But Jack Wilson has a career .306 OBP. Which, in case, you're wondering, is fucking awful. Give some kid a chance to do better. In baseball, at least the devil you don't know gives you an opportunity to be better than you expect.

St. Louis Cardinals
Most Common #2 Hitter: Chris Duncan
Retardation Level: 0 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Nope
It helps Duncan's case that on most nights, he's the Cardinals only ambulatory hitter. He's also the only one with a bedtime past 10 p.m., so he's really the only feasible choice for West Coast games. A surprisingly good strategy by LaRussa, considering his Ecksteinian leanings.

Cincinnati Reds
Most Common #2 Hitter: Brandon Phillips
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Adam Dunn
Jerry Narron chickened out of using Dunn in the #2 spot, where he's so clearly a perfect fit. Strikeouts are just another out, Jerry. Dunn has never been a particularly great RBI guy, so you don't lose much bumping him up in the order. And his amazing walking ability would clearly outclass whatever Brandon Phillips or Scott Hatteberg could bring to the role.

N.L. West

L.A. Dodgers
Most Common #2 Hitter: Juan Pierre
Retardation Level: 4 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Russell Martin
Attention, Paul Lo Duca fans. This is what a catcher who should hit second looks like. Juan Pierre shouldn't see the top third of a lineup at any level where parents aren't pitching.

San Diego Padres
Most Common #2 Hitter: Brian Giles
Retardation Level: 0 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Brian Giles
No argument here.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Most Common #2 Hitter: Alberto Callaspo
Retardation Level: 4 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Conor Jackson
Leaving aside for a moment the fact that the O-Dog is hitting third in a pretty good lineup, Alberto Callaspo needs to go. Conor Jackson is a pretty perfect #2 hitter disguised as a first baseman. If only Bob Brenly were still managing, he'd right this wrong! Oh, wait...

San Francisco Giants
Most Common #2 Hitter: Omar Vizquel
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Ray Durham
Despite his old world appeal, and the insane yet apparently real notion that his golden glove makes him a better hitter, Omar Vizquel can't hold a candle to Ray Durham in any facet of the offensive game. And I don't buy the "Durham needs to protect Bonds" argument for a Rice-a-Roni minute.

Colorado Rockies
Most Common #2 Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki
Retardation Level: 3 out of 5 Bilos
Better Option: Garret Atkins
Tulowitzki might turn out to be a fine hitter, but he's only batting second for Colorado because he's a shortstop. Atkins, Hawpe or Jeff Baker should take his place.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pushing the Panic Button

Yep, it's time.

It's getting far too late in the season to be diddling away a series against lowly Seattle. Far too late to be two games under .500. Far too late to be this far out of the division and Wild Card races.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is the team the Yankees broke camp with. The team Cashman put together with his newfound authority. No more blaming injuries, or April weather. The Yankees just flat out aren't that good.

2005 was an aberration, not a pattern to be repeated. The Yankees defied the odds and the gods that year by turning around a season in disarray. It's certainly possible that they'll do it again, but the hole is getting deeper, and rookie Chien-Ming Wang is not walking through that door. Rookie Robinson Cano is not walking through that door.

The offense disgraced themselves against Seattle. ARod has reverted back to 2006 form. Giambi is inflexible and overmatched against good pitching. Matsui can't get it going. Cano looks more and more like a fluke. Johnny Damon looks more and more like a financial albatross. Is Coco Crisp available?

And let's not forget, with two outs in the top of the ninth yesterday in a one-run game, with the tying run on second base, who came to bat for this mighty Murderers' Row with the game on the line? Motherfucking Minky, that's who. Thanks, Cash. Great plan at first base this year.

It's not dark yet, but it's getting there...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Are You There, God? It's Me, Psycho Fan

If I keep screaming into the cosmos that the offense is a legitimate problem for this team, will anyone listen to me?

Hello? Anyone?

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Anti-Yankees Bias Resurfaces

The Yankees' shaky start has brought Yankees-haters in the media crawling out of their dank, shadowy holes like vicious, craven hyenas smelling dead carcass for the first time in months.

Analysts, writers and broadcasters across the country have been exceedingly quick to pronounce the Yankees dead, and are fighting amongst themselves to see who can give the most baseless, fact-free, self-congratulatory eulogy. One problem, Marc Antonys: Caesar's not dead yet. So shut the fuck up.

With anti-Yankees glee building over the first 40 days of the season, the Roger Clemens signing let loose the dogs of war. Supposedly objective journalists everywhere attacked the signing, calling the Yankees desperate, claiming the fun and harmless in-game announcement was somehow offensive to the game of baseball, and slamming both Clemens and the Yankees for a contract rich in monetary value and filled with perks for the big Texan.

Funny, I don't remember this level of venom being directed against Houston the last few years, when they were signing Clemens to partial-season contracts for exorbitant amounts (before the pitching market exploded in the 2006 off-season) and offering him the exact same perks the Yankees are giving him now. In fact, I don't remember any venom at all.

It's rare that such an obvious apples-to-apples comparison allows us to see just how deep anti-Yankees media bias runs. When Clemens left New York for Houston, he was applauded for going home. When he left Houston to return to the site of his greatest glories, he is labelled a mercenary.

Even Houston manager Phil Garner took a shot at Clemens, clearly bitter that his team sucks and that they were unable to bring the Rocket back one more time.

The national sports media has shown their true colors and naked hypocrisy, and sports fans everywhere would be wise to remember this ugly incident the next time they rail to the gods about the supposed east-coast media bias, which is about as real as the liberal media bias.

The Lineup and the Bullpen

As the starting rotation stabilizes, the lineup and bullpen are being exposed as legitimate problems. The severe lack of production from first base, catcher on days when Posada doesn't play, second base and center field is crippling the team when stalwarts like ARod and Matsui slump. Two runs of Brandon McCarthy? Really?

And Luis Vizcaino's time is up. File under "seemed like a good idea at the time," and "at least it got that mean old bastard out of town," but it's time to cut losses and move on. Chris Britton, your destiny is calling.



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Seems Like I'm Caught Up In Your Trap Again...

You have got to be kidding me.

The Yankees use chains, ushers and security guards to restrict fan movement during "God Bless America" in the seventh-inning stretch.

The Yankees, and baseball in general, have always head a patriotic/Republican bent that I find disturbing, but this is going too far. If I really had to go to the bathroom, and was told I couldn't by some douche in a uniform, something bad would happen.

Let the Tickertape Rain Down

Hooray for backup catcher/rotting corpse Wil Nieves, who last night notched a single to raise his line to .042/.042./.042. The liner to left was Nieves's first major league hit since 2002. Of course, the slow-footed catcher tried to stretch his cute little hit into a double and was thrown out by 10 feet, so he has still contributed literally nothing on offense in five years.

This dude is so far below replacement level he can't even see Clay Bellinger from where he squats. I never knew it was possible to miss John Flaherty so deep in your soul.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mine is Not a High Horse

Well, lookie who's at it again. Schilling. The Schillmeister. The Big Schillbowski. Take it away, douchefucker, and lay your sweet wisdom upon us:

"I mean, [Bonds] admitted that he used steroids," Schilling said. "I mean, there's no gray area. He admitted to cheating on his wife, cheating on his taxes, and cheating on the game, so I think the reaction around the league, the game, being what it is, in the case of what people think. Hank Aaron not being there. The commissioner trying to figure out where to be. It's sad.

"And I don't care that he's black, or green, or purple, or yellow, or whatever. It's unfortunate … there's good people and bad people. It's unfortunate that it's happening the way it's happening."

I hate Barry Bonds as much as the next guy, and I think his assault on baseball's most beloved records in the face of overwhelming evidence that he took steroids (and amphetamines) is a blight on the game. But as usual, Curt Schilling needs to shut his goddamn mouth.

What in the fucking name of holy fuck does Barry Bonds cheating on his wife have to do with anything? Are only the pure of heart allowed to break records now? I'm pretty sure that half the players in baseball cheat on their wives, and I'm equally sure that it is NONE OF CURT SCHILLING'S FUCKING BUSINESS. Pray for their souls on Sunday, Curt, but do it quietly.

And what does cheating on taxes have to do with anything? Is Schilling trying to pull an Eliot Ness and nail Bonds on tax fraud, somehow invalidating his home run record? I know Curt is all Republican and stuffy and deeply offended by people not doing their patriotic duties, but give me a break.

I also like the preemptive defense against accusations of racism, which pretty much succeeds in convincing me that Schilling is, in fact, a racist.

Really, I think we need to take a step back here and look at what just happened. Curt Schilling publicly attacked another baseball player for cheating on his wife and cheating on his taxes, claimed that those deeds somehow made Bonds less than worthy to break baseball records, then non-sequitured that he doesn't hate black people.

Stand back as I unleash a string of meaningless, old-timey cliches at The Mouth That Would Not Close:

  • Judge not, lest ye be judged
  • People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones
  • When you point the finger at someone, the other four are pointing back at yourself
  • When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me
  • Go fuck yourself, Curt Schilling

Secrets, Rocket?

Much has been made of the secret conversation between George Steinbrenner and Roger Clemens in March, which purportedly helped push the Rocket to the Yankees.

Clemens has stated he won't reveal what Steinbrenner told him in Tampa, but might let us know after the season. Rumors have swirled that Steinbrenner told Clemens that the Boss is in poor health, and is running out of time to witness one more championship. Some other possibilities:

"Listen, Rocket, you remember how I thought that Randy Johnson could replace your production and lead us to a title? I've made a huge mistake."

"Listen, Rocket, you remember how I thought that the combination of Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Kei Igawa, Javier Vazquez and Jose Contreras could replace your production and lead us to a title? I've made a huge mistake."

"Howdy, Rocket, come on in. There's something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time now, but I've never quite been able to work up the courage. I...God, how do I say this?...I, um, want to put myself inside of you. I love you, Roger, and I want to feel your sugar walls. Your musk has driven me crazy since 1998, and the time has come to let our bodies intertwine."

"Goddamnit, Rocket, you have to come pitch for us this year. Pettitte cries himself to sleep every night. He calls me at four in the morning asking why you don't care about him anymore. He says that one day you said you were going out for beer and then never came back."

"Catfish, hello! It's been so long!" [Steinbrenner spokesman Howard Rubenstein translates: "Mr. Steinbrenner greets you warmly, Mr. Clemens, and wishes you and your family continued good health and happiness."] "I have a new medication. It makes me salivate." [Rubenstein: "Mr. Steinbrenner would like for you to come out of retirement to pitch for the 26-time world champion New York Yankees this year."] "Marshmallows! Kittens! Trampolines!" [Rubenstein: "Mr. Steinbrenner cordially offers you a pro-rated $28.5 million contract to help lead the Yankees to victory. Our attorneys will be in touch."]

"Hello, Rocket, I'd like you to meet someone. This is Pacman Jones. OK, Pac, make it rain!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fuck You: David Wells

David Wells called out Roger Clemens yesterday, claiming Rocket is disrespecting his teammates by signing a contract that allows him not to travel with the team when not pitching.

"I don't think I would ever do it because of the fact I personally think it would disrespect the team and your teammates," Wells said. "You look at the other players. How are they going to respect you? What are they going to think if you're not there pulling for the team?"

Well, Boomer, here is what I personally think disrespects the team and your teammates: being a fat, disgusting, attention-seeking, beer-soaked fuck who has to leave Game 5 of the 2003 World Series after one inning with a back injury because your withered, addled spine can't support your obscene weight.

I think costing your team a World Series, and being run out of town in the process, because you are too lazy to put down that bacon-wrapped cheeseburger and get on a treadmill even though you are a highly paid professional athlete...I think that's fairly disrespectful.

You're a worthless, gout-ridden bastard who needs to mind his own business, and keep his petty, inane, jealous comments inside his corpulent head.

Opening DeSalvo

See, I can write headlines for the Post.

Despite a terrific effort from 26-year-old Matt DeSalvo, the Yankees suffered yet another soul-crushing loss last night to Seattle. Here's who to blame:

1) Umpire Gerry Davis
In the top of the 8th, Davis made one of the most egregious blown calls I've ever seen, calling Willie Bloomquist (who's white, by the way) safe at second base on an attempted steal despite being clearly tagged out by Robinson Cano two feet shy of the bag. Davis's excuse: "The throw was to the first-base side and pulled Robinson toward me a little bit, so I couldn't see the runner's hands. Normally when the runner is tagged on his backside, his hands are at the bag. That obviously wasn't the case tonight." This douchefucker is essentially admitting that he doesn't actually look to see if the runner is safe or out. He just makes assumptions based on where he gets tagged. I'm pretty sure that's the exact opposite of what good umpiring is supposed to be. Bloomquist scored on a blooper to tie the game, and that was that. Now the Yankees are 14-16 instead of 15-15, and Jerry Davis is still a stupid fuck who should be fired.

2) Mariano Rivera
I'll chalk this one up to a fluke, rather than part of a disturbing pattern of Mariano struggling this year. Mo seemed to have good stuff, he just missed his location a little bit, and Beltre did a great job. Still not the way you want to lose a game though.

3) The lineup
Yes, the Yankees have scored a lot of runs this season, but a lot of that was due to ARod's blazing first three weeks. Let's take a closer look:

Johnny Damon - .250/.368/.364. Apparently, someone replaced Damon during the off-season with the 2005 version of Bernie Williams, only with a girlier throwing arm.

Derek Jeter - .352/.424./.451. Still the one we long for, although the continued power decline is a tad worrisome.

Bobby Abreu - .256/.336./.312. Uh oh. Speaking of power outages...

AlexRod - .350/.412/.775. Saved the team's ass the first three weeks of the season. Nothing since.

Jason Giambi - .305/.407/.495. Having a good year, but more home runs would be nice.

Hideki Matsui - .273/.414/.473. As with many of these hitters, the OBP is impressive, but more power would surely help.

Jorge Posada - .351/.421/.553. Jorge will have a great year until he breaks down physically in July from having to play virtually every game, because the backup catcher is a rotting corpse.

Robinson Cano - .259/.309/.339. Please God don't let 2006 be a fluke. Please God don't let 2006 be a fluke. Please God don't let 2006 be a fluke...

Minky - .211/.282/.380. Oh, Minky. Where to begin? Your futility is obvious to everyone except those in charge. I know you wear lots of eye-black, hike up your stockings and look vaguely hustle-y, and that might fool some people, BUT YOU FUCKING SUCK. Sorry, dude. It's true.

Essentially, Damon, Abreu, Cano and the Mink-man are black holes in the lineup right now. And none of them are assured to turn it around. One of them is assured not to turn it around, though. Can we please get some more at-bats for The Catcher Hunter, Josh Phelps?

Monday, May 7, 2007

Proctor Suspended; Weeps with Joy

So Scott Proctor has been suspended four games, and Joe Torre one, for their roles in the non-fight with Seattle yesterday. Really, that's a win-win. Proctor gets to rest his withered, numb, useless lump of an arm for a few days without the fear that he'll be called into a game, and the Yankees might actually make it through a game without pinch-running for Jason Giambi in an inane situation.

Rocket's Hangover Cure

Now how about that for a weekend?

Sunday afternoon, I was a little bit tired, a little bit hungover perhaps, and watching the worthless Cleveland-New Jersey playoffs series on ABC. At halftime, Dan Patrick announced that Roger Clemens had agreed to return to the Yankees. Needless to say, I felt better quickly. The body possesses amazing powers of recovery when the spirit is buoyed.

I never had particularly harsh feelings for Clemens after his fake retirement in 2003. If he could pull off pitching at home for a ton of money, and not having to travel with the team, more power to him. I didn't feel betrayed, despite all the pomp and circumstance of his original Yankees' send-off.

So it is with a clear conscience and open arms that I welcome Roger Clemens back into my life. Wang-Mussina-Pettitte-Clemens-Hughes sounds pretty good right about now, especially given all the instability with the starting pitching thus far. Hopefully, Clemens's aging hamstrings, quads and groin have a few more months of strength left in them.

And, hey, Curt Schilling...I've asked politely before, and I do so again here: shut the fuck up, s'il vouz plait? No one cares about your two-faced opinions about where Clemens signed. So you don't need Clemens on the staff because you have Julian Tavarez? Another lie from an all-time liar.

After watching the highlights of the game and the announcement on ESPN, the most fascinating part to me was the sheer unbridled joy on the Yankees' players faces once the announcement was made. I've never seen a group of grown man look so thrilled, other than after immediately winning a championship, or in the middle of a particularly great Eyes Wide Shut-style orgy.

Wang's Near Miss
Chien-Ming Wang is a particularly unlikely pitcher to throw a no-hitter or perfect game, since he strikes out so few hitters and puts so many balls in play. If you allow that many balls to be hit in the general direction of your fielders, some of them are exceedingly likely to fall in.

Still, Wang's run at history was typically thrilling then disappointing, especially following so shortly after Hughes's bid at immortality. Wang needs to anchor this staff all year and throw a ton of innings if the Yankees are going to contend.

The Brawl
Coming just moments before Roger Clemens's dramatic stadium announcement, the bench-clearing incident between the Yankees and Mariners yesterday is being swallowed in a sea of Rocket-related hype. I'll go on record that Josh Phelps's hit on Johjima was dirty. The Mariners' catcher wasn't remotely close to blocking the plate, and Phelps actually risked not scoring by going out of his way to bowl Johjima over. To Phelps's credit, when he was hit by Jarrod Washburn, he calmly strode to first base without even looking in Washburn's direction.

Even though Washburn's retaliation was justified, I'm still glad Scott Proctor threw one behind Yunieky Betancourt. Too often, the Yankees don't retaliate when thrown at, because of some misguided notion of what being classy means. As for Betancourt, he reacted like a true douchefucker, pointing his bat at Proctor, bulging his eyes out and screeching like a girl. If you're going to charge the mound, drop your bat and charge. Don't stand at home plate with a weapon waiting to be held back by the catcher and your teammates. Even the threat of using a weapon in a baseball fight is cowardice of the highest order (including catchers' gloves, Varitek).

Three of Four?
The Yankees go for the sweep in the Bronx tonight, riding a five-of-six streak and a Clemens high, but saddled with non-prospect Matt DeSalvo making the start. Win or lose, they've done their job this weekend.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Welcome to the A.L., Bitch

Douche-K's line against the mighty Seattle lineup last night (The #5 hitter, Richie Sexson, is batting .150):

5 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 1K

Douche-K's MLB stats to date:

3-2, 38 IP, 5.35 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

The Hat Soon Burst Into Flames

Dear Tommy,

We don't want you. We don't need you. Take the hat off your pretty head, and go back to being a smug bastard. Thank you. That is all.


The Psycho Fan

PS The shorts are ultra-gay and the girl is too skinny.

The Retarded Chicken or The Retarded Egg?

Does Joe Torre abuse the bullpen because the bullpen sucks, or does the bullpen suck because Joe Torre abuses the bullpen?

We will likely never know the answer, but either way, the Yankees have a problem. Last night in Arlington, Torre inserted Kyle Farnsworth into the 8th inning of a 4-1 game, despite the fact that Farnsworth pitched an inning in Game 1 of the doubleheader. This is a pitcher who cannot pitch more than one inning in an appearance, and who cannot appear on back-to-back days, yet Torre brought him in to pitch twice in one day. Farnsy promptly gave up a home run to Michael Young before emerging unscathed from the rest of the inning.

The Yankees are severely lacking in reliable relievers these days, beyond the walking reminder of our own mortality, Mariano Rivera. Long gone are the Rivera/Wetteland or Mendoza/Stanton/Nelson/Rivera years, and the franchise has been unable to piece together a great bullpen since.

Farnsworth pitches like Steve Karsay post-injury. Scott Proctor's arm might fall off at any moment. Mike Myers is painfully ineffective. Brian Bruney is wild. Luis Vizcaino looks like he can't get it done in the American League. Sean Henn is fine but not a door-closer. All are overworked.

Chris Britton inexplicably languishes in Scranton despite being one of the Orioles' only solid relievers last year. Once again, Brian Cashman does not appear to have done his due diligence when building a bullpen. Once again, Joe Torre wildly mismanages the few assets he does have.

Meanwhile, The Yankees rode solid starting pitching from Pettitte and the Moose to a double-header sweep of Texas. But nine runs in two games in Arlington, one against Mike Wood, is unacceptable, and further proof that the lineup is incredibly flat right now without a red-hot ARod serving as anchor.

Going into the weekend, another sweep is probably too much to ask for, especially since Matt DeSalvo will start Sunday, the Yanks' tenth starting pitcher of the young season. But two-of-three is very doable, and very necessary.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Yankees' Worst Injuries / My Worst Injuries

In honor of the Yankees' too-little-too-late-but-nevertheless-satisfying firing of conditioning coach/season-killer Marty Miller, here are the Top Five Yankees Injuries I Have Witnessed, along with the Correlating Top Five Injuries I Have Endured:

5. Andre Robertson's Neck Injury / My Broken Pinky
Promising young shortstop Andre Robertson rolled his car late one night on the West Side Highway, severely injuring his neck (and paralyzing a woman in another car, but that's neither here nor there) and ruining his burgeoning career. One of my favorite players at a tender age (both me and him) was derailed before he ever really got started.

I broke my pinky by getting it caught in a locker-room door in junior high. It turned pink, purple and enormous. It healed completely, but my left pinky is slightly bent and misshapen to this day. Just like Andre Robertson's neck.

4. Hideki Matsui's Broken Wrist / My Strained Bicep
After playing 1,768 consecutive games in the U.S. and Japan, outfielder Hideki Matsui saw his streak come to a fluky end when he broke his wrist diving for a sinking liner in May 2006. Coupled with another freak wrist injury to outfielder Gary Sheffield, Matsui's broken bone gave the Yankees just 1/3 of a starting outfield for the majority of the season, and a lot to overcome.

Over a weekend of golf, softball, whiffleball and more, my right arm came out feeling very sore but not necessarily injured. However, a couple days later while playing tennis, the pain became so excruciating that I had to hit side-armed serves and two-handed forehands, then quit after one set, defeated. After two sleepless nights and a few dozen Advil, I was diagnosed with a strained bicep and potential nerve damage. Coming early in a long softball, tennis and golf season, the injury gave me a lot to overcome.

3. David Cone's Aneurysm / My Imaginary Aneurysm
In his first full season as a Yankee, David Cone was off to a fine start in 1996, with one problem. He kept experiencing numbness and tingling in his pitching hand. After trying to pitch through it, Cone was eventually diagnosed with a small aneurysm in his shoulder, and he underwent season- and career-threatening surgery in order to repair the aneurysm and save his life. Expected to miss the year at minimum, Cone made a heroic return in late August, no-hitting Oakland through seven innings in his return. He helped stop the Yankees' September swoon that year, and played a key role in bringing home the first world championship in 18 years to the Bronx.

Beginning soon after Cone's scare, I started to experience tingling in my right hand as well. I became convinced I, too, had an aneurysm, one which would eventually burst, and I would be rushed to surgery. Unfortunately for me, I wouldn't be in Sweden when it happened, like R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry, and without access to those wonderful doctors, I would perish. I never went to a doctor to get it checked out, but I still occasionally feel tingling, and I wonder.

2. Derek Jeter's Dislocated Shoulder / My Broken Collarbone
Opening Day, 2003: With the Yankees and Derek Jeter poised to have a huge year, Jeter made a typically heads-up play going first-to-third on a tapper back to the mound when no Blue Jay covered third base. Jays catcher Ken Huckaby raced down the line in an effort to take the throw from the first basemen, but got there late and crashed into Jeter just as he was sliding head first into the bag. Huckaby slammed full-speed into Jeter's left shoulder, dislocating it as he drove Jeter into the ground. It might not have been a "dirty" play, as Enrique Wilson claimed, but it was reckless, klutzy and stupid, particularly on a play where the Jays had almost no chance to get Jeter out. Jeter lay on the field, writhing in pain as the training staff attempted to stabilize him enough to get him off the field to pop the shoulder back in. Watching at home, Yankees fans could feel their shortstop's agony as he winced, sweated and screamed. Jeter sat for six weeks, and the promise of Opening Day died a quick, painful death.

One night at a local tavern, after a few beers, and then a few more beers, an argument broke out between me and a friend over who was faster. We decided to settle it right then and there, in our street clothes, in the alley behind the bar. At the last moment, a large Canadian decided to join the sprint as well. I thought the alley was a little narrow for a three-man race, but didn't think it was a big deal. I jumped out to an early lead, but felt my competitors gaining ground behind me as we passed the half-way mark. I refused to give ground, and the large Canadian bumped into me attempting to pass at full speed. I flew forward, head-first, and landed directly on my right shoulder in the concrete alley. I rolled over, vaguely aware that something hurt, but mostly upset that I hadn't won the race. Then, a friend attempted to lift me up by pulling under my arms. Pain shot through my right arm, and I waved him off and stood under my own power. Back in the bar, my friends repeatedly called me a pussy as I tried to explain that I couldn't lift my beer with my right arm. A waitress/EMT checked me out and told me I probably had a severe bruise. I believed her, drank some more and cabbed it home. When I stumbled into bed, I grimaced and grunted. My wife asked me what was wrong. I said, "I'm severely injured," and passed out. The next day, an X-ray showed a broken collarbone. The bad news: 6-8 weeks of inactivity and an annoying sling. The good news: Vicodin and a wife to wait on me.

1. Phil Hughes's Hamstring Pull / My Hamstring Pull
Recipient of the #1 slot more for the emotional impact of the injury than the physical severity, Hughes's blown hammy destroyed what could have been a historic day. The long-term impact of the injury won't be known for some time, but it could be devastating to the Yankees' season.

In a similar vein, when I was 28, I agreed to play in a 12-inch softball league, my first participation in any sort of organized sport since high school. On the first day of practice, things were going great, and my old baseball skills were coming back to me. I wondered why I hadn't been playing sports all along. I was a boy of summer again. Late in the day, I was shagging fly balls in left field, and took off in a sprint trying to catch a liner over my head and to my left. As I was closing in on the ball, I felt something pop in my leg and hit the ground hard. It was my first muscle injury of any kind, and a cruel reminder that maybe we ain't that young anymore. Like Hughes, I was on the shelf 4-6 weeks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I Don't Need the Whole Song...Just a Taste

Now that I've calmed down enough to rationally...FALSE. I HAVE NOT CALMED DOWN.

Last night's game was one of the most excruciating experiences I've had as a sports fan, given the Yankees' rough start and spate of injuries.

Of course, being me, I started thinking about the no-hitter in the third inning, but by the seventh, I was excited, superstitious and legitimately hopeful about the possibility. Phil Hughes had amazing stuff, and the weak Texas lineup looked overmatched.

Going from that high to the devastation of watching Hughes clutch his hamstring while Posada waved for Gene Monahan has rendered me an emotional cripple. The injury, which will sideline Hughes 4-6 weeks, tears apart all of the good that came from last night's game — namely, an easy win and a dominating performance from Phil Hughes.

With Mussina and Wang on the comeback trail, the Yankees were looking at a solid-to-great top four of Wang, Pettitte, Mussina and Hughes. Now, they're right back to scrambling, especially with Jeff Karstens shelved for a while with a broken fibula. What should have been a super happy fun time May Day win that buried a brutal April and looked ahead to a brilliant future has been tainted.

Once again, the Yankees' conditioning program has been called into question, with yet another muscle pull by a member of the pitching staff. For me, the Hughes injury is the tipping point.* These tweaks and strains are too numerous now to chalk up to coincidence.

This DL stint will certainly make the Yankees' job turning their season around significantly more difficult. The momentum potentially gained from last night's win is sitting in shatters in the visitors' clubhouse in Arlington, along with the withered remains of Phil Hughes's hamstring.

* - Fuck the phrase "the tipping point," and fuck Malcolm Gladwell.

Other notes from the Phil Hughes performance

Let's pretend for a moment that the injury never happened and we just have a game to analyze.

Hughes turned in a phenomenal performance, forcing 8 ground balls to only 3 fly balls, striking out six and walking three. Any concerns from his shaky first start were alleviated almost immediately, as Hughes was popping the radar gun, getting grounders at will and keeping his pitch count down. He also showed impressive ability to get hitters to swing through his pitches.

Particularly fun to watch was the first-inning at bat when Hughes threw three successive change-ups to Mark "I Suck in the First Half and my Name Sucks to Spell" Teixeira, with Tex whiffing mightily at all three. Gutsy call from Posada and the kid.

Late in the game, Hughes even had the confidence to shake Posada off a few times. Two starts, and one miserable setback, into the Phil Hughes era, and it's looking promising indeed.

Other notes from the game

I liked what Joe Torre did with the batting order last night. Batting Bobby Abreu first makes a lot of sense with Damon out, given his insanely high on-base rates and current lack of power. Unfortunately, I think Torre made the move more to shake Abreu up than out of any nod to statistical principles. And, man, Abreu does look lost at the plate right now.

I also like batting Giambi third, ahead of ARod, splitting up the Giambi/Matsui lefty-lefty stretch. And Melky Cabrera and Minky deserve to be nowhere but as far down in the order as possible.

Derek Jeter has hit in an amazing 57 of his last 59 games. Jeter is simply a hitting machine, although his power continues to fade gradually as his early-thirties become his mid-thirties.

Torre needs to institute a rule that Minky can never, ever swing with a 3-1 count. And sometimes not on 3-2, depending on the game situation.