Friday, June 29, 2007
This would seem to signify a subtle shift in the GM's rhetoric, which could eventually mean Clueless Joe's ouster. Too little, too late for 2007, but still a worthwhile endeavor, if only to save Yankees' fans countless nights of heartburn.
If and when the axe falls, we'll thank Joe Torre for the years of service, for the memories, for his role in the championships. Then we'll slam the door behind him. The time to do this came three years ago, at minimum.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Jorge Posada. Alex Rodriguez. Derek Jeter. Those are the only competent offensive players on this team. They happen to be three exceptional players, but they're getting no help whatsoever. Hideki Matsui has completely disappeared this year. Bobby Abreu died in 2005. Oh, and MIGUEL CAIRO IS STILL STARTING GAMES AT FIRST BASE.
Being a Yankees fan this year is like being in love with an alcoholic. How can you trust and support someone who refuses to admit they have a problem? How can you help someone who refuses to help themselves? The Yankees stubbornly deny they have problems, despite starting a middling utility infielder at first base and carrying a rotting corpse at backup catcher. They can't admit that Kyle Farnsworth destroys everything he touches. Joe Torre fails to ever learn from his mistakes, no matter how costly and egregious.
I still love this team, but they're abusing me. They're willfully neglecting their responsibility to put the best team possible on the field. Is that what it feels like to be a Pirates fan?
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Joe Torre bungled his second game in three days, and in the exact same fashion...by leaving his best pitcher on the bench while a lesser reliever, with an overused, diseased arm, blows the game.
I don't care if the Yankees were at home, on the road, or playing a pick-up game in my backyard...Mariano Rivera needed to be in that game. We want him on that wall. We need him on that wall.
Torre made another key mistake ordering Robinson Cano to bunt in the top of the ninth with Jorge Posada on first and nobody out. Predictably, the low-percentage move backfired and the lead runner was forced at second. Way to take your best remaining bat out of the inning, Joe. I'm sure Miguel Cairo will pick up the slack. Oh, wait...
This loss was sickening, unconscionable, unmanageable, unbearable.
Worse was the way Torre responded after the loss:
"We walked ourselves right out of this game," Torre said. And: "We contributed more than the Orioles did to our demise, with the walks and our play in center field."
Wow. Just...wow. Torre, who used to be so skilled at protecting his players from criticism, now doles it on them himself to protect his own ass. That's simply irresponsible and despicable. Torre was most responsible for the loss, and if he doesn't know that, he's truly an idiot, and should be fired. If he does know it, and is throwing Proctor and Melky Cabrera under the bus to deflect blame, he's a Machiavellian douche, and should be fired.
A Brief Glimpse Inside the Mind of Joe Torre: Hmm, last year, when Alex Rodriguez was really struggling at the plate, I humiliated him in front of the entire world by batting him eighth against the Tigers. That worked out so well, I think I'll try it again with Abreu!
Overheard in the Psycho Fan's Apartment as Scott Proctor Appeared to Start the Ninth Inning: "Why am I the only person in the world who's not retarded?"
Events That Made the Psycho Fan Bash His Head Into a Brick Wall: Kyle Farnsworth's continued existence on this team; Miguel Cairo at first base.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Additionally, significant cast changes have been made. A few pages of the leaked script are below:
The Wire - Season Five, Episode One - "The New Game"
"We gonna be runnin' this town for a lot more years, String." --Avon Barksdale
INT. - SQUAD ROOM - NIGHT
McNulty: Finally, seems like we got ourselves a quiet night in Bal'more, boys. Who's ready to hit the bar?
Daniels: We just got a call in from the Western. Looks like we got a body on one of the Barksdale corners. McNulty, Herc, get on it. Freaman, Prez, see what we can catch on the wire.
McNulty: Fuckin' A. Every time I think we got the Barksdale crew under wraps, they crawl out from under their slimy rocks.
Freamon: It's just like when we thought they were eliminated from the playoffs back in '07, and they somehow backed their way into the Wild Card. Slippery little bastards.
Herc: Let's go bust some fuckin' skulls, show those moops what's what.
Prez: How can I help, sir? (accidentally shoots self through neck; bullet also ricochets through Lt. Daniels and three computers)
EXT. - STREET CORNER - NIGHT
Herc: This is some ugly shit right here, McNulty. Why am I always called in on the ugly shit?
McNulty: Jesus H. Christ. (chugs whiskey from flask) This guy was a fat-ass good for nothing, but he didn't deserve to go out like this.
Rod Beck: (lies dead on street)
Herc: We fuckin' know who did this, McNulty. It's Barksdale's crew. Let's crack some skulls.
McNulty: I think you need a warrant for that, genius. Let's see what our CI has to say, since the wire's down now that Prez and Daniels are both dead. Hey Bubs, Bubbles...get over here. What do you know about this Beck thing?
Bubs: I didn't see nuthin', McNutty. I was down in the low-rises, selling some T-shirts, doin' right by myself.
McNulty: Ah, Bubs. You always have to make this hard, don't you? Tell us what you know, and we'll look at getting your sentence reduced for that B&E.
Bubs: Sorry, boss. Not this time.
McNulty: (throws a cumpled-up five-dollar bill at Bubs)
Bubs: OK, here's what I know. It's definitely Barksdale's crew. Payback for something from a-way back. But I heard they used an outside shooter this time. (picks up money; buys drugs; injects drugs)
McNulty: Sorry, Avon. I'm one step ahead of you this time. Nobody knows the streets of Bal'more like I do. (chugs whiskey; cheats on girlfriend)
INT. - SAFEHOUSE - NIGHT
Bodie: Hey, is the man here? We need a re-up in the towers.
Stringer Bell: You deal with me. Is that problem taken care of? You use who I told you to?
Bodie: Mos def. That nigga done paid the price for his sins.
Stringer: Alright. Be gone, young'in. Be smart out there. Hey, Avon. Avon! It's done.
Avon Barksdale: (looks up from sex with four women) Why you interruptin' me, man?
Stringer: That problem you wanted solved? Shit's done, man.
Avon: Nice. Once a Red Sox, always a Red Sox. You know what I'm sayin'?
Stringer: Mos def. And we got a package comin' in from up New York way from Prop Joe.
Avon: We gonna be runnin' this town for a lot more years, String. Fuckin' Baltimore man...we own this place.
Stringer: Us, man.
Avon: Us. (pounds Stringer's fist) Hey, Prop Joe, in exchange for your help with the package, we'll give you five of our best corners.
Proposition Joe: (picks nose; sucks on peach pit)
Avon: Where we at with my parole hearing, String?
Stringer: Levy's on it, like a good Jew lawyer should be.
Levy: Things are looking good, Mr. Barksdale. We've had a surprise witness testify on your behalf...
The Greek: Let's just say it benefits both of us if you run this town a while longer, Mr. Barksdale.
Stringer: We got it locked up, Avon. And Slim Charles says...aw, fuck. What's this clown doing here? Who let him in?
Ziggy: Hey, you guys. I got a great idea for how to make some money for you guys. You just gotta listen to me.
Stringer: Will someone get him the fuck out of here before....oh, no...
Ziggy: (takes out genitalia; waves it around; giggles)
Avon: The fuck? Will someone please shoot this clown? String, who'd you use on that Beck thing?
Stringer: (strangles Ziggy to death) The last person you'd expect.
Avon: You don't mean...Brother Mouzone?
Stringer: Nah, man, that nigga's out the game. Went all religious and shit.
Brother Mouzone: Will someone please bring me the Koran and my Harper's?
Avon: You're not sayin' you used...
Stringer: That's right, homey.
EXT. - HARBOR - NIGHT
Omar: (tosses shotgun into harbor)
Brian Roberts as Det. Jimmy McNulty
Miguel Tejada as Lt. Cedric Daniels
Corey Patterson as Det. Roland 'Prez' Pryzbylewski
Melvin Mora as Det. Lester Freamon
Kevin Millar as Det. Thomas 'Herc' Hauk
Derek Jeter as Avon Barksdale
Jorge Posada as Stringer Bell
Robinson Cano as Preston 'Bodie' Broadus
Jason Giambi as Bubbles
Mariano Rivera as Brother Mouzone
Brian Cashman as Maurice Levy
Joe Torre as Proposition Joe
Alex Rodriguez as Ziggy Sobotka
Peter Angelos as "The Greek"
...and featuring Roger Clemens as Omar Little
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Uncle Mel was the girls' basketball coach at the time. Hall was one of the assholes who terrorized Bernie Williams in Bernie's early days as a big leaguer, calling him soft and constantly giving him shit. Seems he likes easy targets who aren't likely to defend themselves.
First of all, yet again, the Yankees lost an extra-inning game while their best pitcher sat around waiting for a phone call. Mariano Rivera lingered on the bench while a parade of inferior arms threw inning after inning against the Giants. In one ultimate tour de force of lunacy, Joe Torre allowed Scott Proctor to bat for himself with the winning run on base in the 13th inning, then sent him and his limp, dangling, wizened right arm out for a third, and ultimately fatal, inning of work. All the while, Rivera sat in the bullpen playing Connect Four with the bullpen catcher and one of San Francisco's "ball dudes."
Torre also fucked up by botching the 7th inning, bringing in the inept Mike Myers for Chien-Ming Wang, who walked his only batter faced, then calling for Brian Bruney and Ron Villone, severely limiting his options the rest of the way.
This game exposed Torre's strategical inadequacies, but it also exposed the severe lack of depth and flexibility on the Yankees' roster. Mike Myers and Ron Villone are just taking up space in the bullpen (Chris Britton has apparently died in Scranton). Chris Basak isn't even sent in to hit in favor of a pitcher. Miguel Cairo, Andy Phillips and Wil Nieves still have jobs. Kevin Thompson is hanging around. Christ, even the ghost of Bernie Williams would have been better than these Keystone Kops.
Brian Cashman gave his manager a short hand to play this season, and there's almost no manager in baseball less well-equipped to handle limitations than Joe Torre.
Oh, and Derek Jeter's hurt.
Friday, June 22, 2007
EXT. - RIGHT FIELD - DAY
BOBBY ABREU stands alone in right field, late in a close game. The crowd is tense and quiet. Bobby is alone with his thoughts. Or so he thinks...
Man, it sure is a beautiful night for baseball. And what a great, exciting game. I really hope there's a fly ball hit my way so I can make a great play and help my beloved New York Yankees win this ballgame.
What was that?
(Looks around. Turns to people in the right-field bleachers)
Did one of you guys just say something?
Hmm. Must be hearing things. Focus on the game, Bobby you old nutter!
Seriously! What the fuck is going on here?
Bobby. Don't turn around. Don't look at me. Don't come near me.
Shut up, wall! I've got a game to pay attention to over here! Leave me in peace. Go bother Melky.
Bobby Abreu. I am going to eat you.
What? That's fucking insane, dude. You're just a wall. Inanimate and shit.
I am going to eat you and then burn everyone you have ever loved in a fire. They won't even be recognizable, Bobby Abreu.
What did I ever do to you? Please, just leave me alone. I'm just trying to do my job out here.
My teeth are like razors, Bobby Abreu. Did you know that?
Listen, wall. I don't mean you any harm, I just have to come into your general area sometimes to make my trademark "Web Gem" defensive wizardries. I mean you no harm. Leave me be.
I am going to carve you into tiny pieces before I eat you.
(shrieks and runs toward the infield)
Thursday, June 21, 2007
UPDATE: Congratulations to Mike Myers for coming in to face one batter, a lefty, and giving up a hit. You're wonderful at your job, Double M.
Two losses in a row to a crappy N.L. team, and the Yankees find themselves in a double digit deficit in their division yet again. So much for hope. The Yanks were never really in the division race, and the last two games just confirm that.
This is an overrated offense filled with past-their-prime players and guys who shouldn't be in the Major Leagues. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada have to carry the load while the rest of the lineup implodes around them. The Johnny Damon contract, which looked so reasonable just 12 months ago, already looks like an albatross. And those of us waiting for Robinson Cano's bat to wake up are starting to get pretty desperate. Melky Cabrera may have all the energy in the world...but he can't hit a lick.
Also, Clueless Joe: everyone watching that game on television could see that Andy Pettitte was tiring and becoming ineffective in the 7th inning. Why couldn't you see that in the dugout? Meanwhile, the best candidate to eventually take over for Torre, Joe Girardi, looks set to take over another team in the division.
Say it ain't so, Joe.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
But instead, he had me bang on his pot with a spoon, and handed me a self-published newsletter. The Stadium has never quite been the same since.
More than the self-manufactured hype of the guy in the fireman hat at Jets games, more than that freak who sits in the bleachers at Wrigley Field and shrieks like Ric Flair, Freddy is a quintessential aspect of the ballpark experience — a fan whose identity is inseparable from the team he roots for.
Freddy goes to every Yankees home game, and walks the same route through the Stadium, imploring fans to bang on his shamrock-adorned pot. He handcrafts a different two-sided poster for each game, bearing inspirational messages like "Bye, Bye Slumps/Time for Yanks/To Say No! No! No!" and "Cut the Balony/Start Playing/Baseball Yanks."
He's a lovable, if a bit odd-smelling, one-eyed old scamp always happy to stop and chat for a few moments. You can monitor his progress through the crowd by listening for the unmistakable sound of metal-on-metal.
I've always wondered if Freddy is allowed into the Stadium for free. Now I know. I also wonder what will happen when the new ballpark opens in 2009. I imagine Freddy acting like an old dog asked to move houses late in life, wandering in circles and walking into doors and walls, trying to walk his routine paths in a new environment.
Freddy will never die. Or at least, he better not. I dread his passing almost as much as I dread Phil Rizutto's. Amazingly, Freddy Schuman lives in sin on the Upper West Side with an accountant. Go get 'em, tiger.
Josh Fogg's career (spent almost entirely in the National League): 53-56, 4.68 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 1.59 K/BB. And he shut the Yankees down in high elevation. Yuck.
That's what happens when you start a rotting corpse at catcher, a replacement level center fielder, and carry the likes of Miguel Cairo, Andy Phillips and Chris Basak on your bench.
The Yankees' bench is among the worst in baseball. Basak is just wasting space, and is redundant as long as Cairo's on the roster. First base has just become a clusterfuck, because Brian Cashman didn't properly address the issue in the off-season. Andy Phillips is probably a downgrade over Josh Phelps, and Cairo should never, eevvvvvvvver play first base again. But he probably will.
Finding an adequate first baseman (or first basewoman, with apologies to Sweet Lou) should be one of the easiest jobs for a major league general manager. Cashman dropped the ball with Minky, and he's dropping it again now.
The Yankees are 9 games back now...the division remains a pipe dream. The Wild Card remains slightly more realistic, but still a long-shot. And for the second straight series, the Yankees have dropped the opener, forcing them to win two in a row to capture the three-game set..
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
These "Oh yeah? You think you know baseball? Wrong, fucko!" columns all share certain key characteristics:
-A haughty, condescending tone — not unlike that of a Harvard professor deigning to explain something to a class of freshmen
-A hastily described strawman argument, outlining the way certain fans or ignorant media types have been too quick to criticize Player A or Manager B or General Manager C
-An impassioned defense of said player, coach or GM, complete with cherry-picked stats, often occurring at the crest of a winning or hot streak
-An inexplicable obsession with and loathing for sports talk radio, the medium that bears the brunt of the blame for the massive stupidity spreading throughout the game, according to Gammons
In his latest piece, the oracle actually builds his entire column around the theory that people misjudged and are misjudging teams based on cold streaks and slow starts. And those people are stupid, stupid, stupid.
Gammons complains often and at length about the "sports radio culture" permeating our society, which causes fans to demand instant results and places undue pressure on struggling teams. But by attacking the most idiotic facet of sports media, Gammons is able to ignore intelligent critcism and analysis that impugns the people and franchises he so indignantly defends.
In this one article alone, Gammons defends the Seattle tandem of Mike Hargrove and Bill Bavasi on the basis of their slightly-better-than-average 2007 record, conveniently ignoring the rest of the recent past. Amazingly, at the same time, he hypocritically rails against small-sample arguments like Theo Epstein being attacked for acquiring Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo just because the team is struggling. Umm...two things, Pete. 1) Theo Epstein should be attacked for acquiring Crisp and Lugo, no matter the team's record, and 2) Have you ever written a column in which you didn't defend Epstein against a real or imagined attack?
Check this out:
In these days of IGR (Immediate Gratification Radio), these cycles are not allowed to be placed in perspective. We have already heard calls for the firing of Bill Bavasi and Mike Hargrove in Seattle, and the Mariners have one of the five best records in the American League. Daniels and Ron Washington in Texas, in a process known as a massive overhaul. Williams, Ozzie Guillen and Jim Hendry in Chicago, where one of the game's most respected pitching coaches, Don Cooper, got yelled at by a talk-show jock. Dayton Moore in Kansas City, for taking Luke Hochaver, not Tim Lincecum, in last year's draft. And Brian Sabean even got into it on a talk-radio program.
Not to mention Sam Perlozzo in Baltimore,which is legitimate heat. John Gibbons in Toronto. Jerry Narron in Cincinnati. Jim Tracy and Dave Littlefield in Pittsburgh. Dan O'Dowd and Clint Hurdle in Colorado, long before the Rockies went into Boston and blew out Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. And Phil Garner in Houston.
So...I guess you can't ever criticize a losing team, under any circumstances? Gammons seems to be arguing that these are baseball people, damn it, and therefore shouldn't have to suffer questioning from the likes of you and me. He seems to be promoting some weird Utopian view of the game, wherein all teams, managers and executives deserve praise. Teams that are winning are doing so because a well-thought plan is paying off. Teams that are losing are doing so because their plans haven't had a chance to come to fruition yet.
It's OK to get mad at people, Pete. We're not in kindergarten anymore. They can take it. Some people just suck at their jobs.
I have no inside information, but I bet this signing involves three things:
1) The players are probably pretty decent.
2) The Red Sox brass recently took a well-publicized trip to China, and
3) The Yanks want to continue capturing the lucrative Asian market for merchandising and other purposes, and they hope Liu and/or Zhang can follow in the footsteps of Hideki Matsui and Chien-Ming Wang.
Canyon of Heroes has scoop on the kids.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wang was dominant last night against the Mets, with an uncharacteristic 10 K's in 8 2/3 innings. Thus far in 2007, Wang is 7-4 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 41 K and 16 BB in 78.1 innings. For his career, he sits at 34-15 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 164 K and 100 BB in 412.2 innings. Anyone who is still waiting for Wang's numbers to drop off because he can't throw strike three is going wait for a long time. This kid is the real deal, and he will be anchoring the Yankees staff for years to come. Not bad for a guy Cashman brought up in 2005 for a change in energy.
Friday, June 15, 2007
I was young. Naive. I had no respect or admiration for the brash, young, arrogant nucleus of the Mets. They were the bad guys, plain and simple. They were druggies, wife-beaters and all-around no-accounts, and I wanted them to lose with everything inside me. I seethed with jealousy that they ruled the town while the Yankees struggled to put together a competent pitching staff. I burned with anger as the equally jealous George Steinbrenner picked up every Mets retread he could find, like the immortal Rafael Santana.
Those '80s Mets teams seemed so despicable, with their Goodens and their Strawberrys. The hateful, overzealous celebrations of Jesse Orosco. Keith Hernandez crouching in the hallway to the clubhouse smoking while zany Roger McDowell hotfooted some rookie. Cocky David Cone feigning masturbation in the bullpen wile Sid Fernandez and Howard Johnson just stood around looking ugly. Dynamite throwers, reporter terrorizers and cat killers. They were the enemy.
I argued endlessly with every Mets fan I could find about the merits of Don Mattingly vs. Hernandez, and Dave Righetti vs. Orosco. I cackled with delight as the team began to implode on and off the field after that '86 season, never again capitalizing on all that promise. The back-page headlines turned ugly and venomous. Managers were roasted on spits in Times Square. And most importantly, the Yankees got good again.
The Yankees' mid-90s rennaisance was timed to coincide with one of the Mets' least relevant periods. Their players grew boring, their seasons uneventful, and my passion for despising them waned. When the Yankees played the Mets in the '00 Subway Series, the boys from Queens weren't a particularly hateable bunch, but the World Series atmosphere and the Clemens/Piazza dust-up added some spice.
But now? The Mets aren't the bad guys anymore. They're not even particularly dull. They might be...dare I say...likable. The Red Sox have a firm grasp on the coveted "most hated by Yankees fans" title, and recent mini-rivalries with Seattle, Atlanta, Baltimore and Anaheim have vaulted those teams ahead of the Mets on my personal enmity list.
The Mets have an ex-Yankee at the helm. The always affable Willie Randolph keeps things classy at Shea, and makes sure his team does things the right way. David Wright and Jose Reyes are two exciting, young stars who play the game with respect and energy, and do absolutely nothing to piss me off. I respect the Carloses, Delgado and Beltran. I admire Tom Glavine's stubborn greatness. Even Pedro Martinez has morphed from headhunter to court jester. I'm out of the closet...I like this team.
I went so far as to root for the Mets in their recent NLCS battles with the Braves and Cardinals, the former because I hate the Braves, the latter because I thought the better team deserved to win. When interleague play began, these Yanks/Mets series felt vital and caffeinated, like the soul of the city was on the line with each game.
As the teams prepare for another three-game clash, it doesn't feel like souls or lives are at stake anymore. It just feels like a lot of fun.
The Jon Heymans of the world argue that Giambi has some sort of responsibility to cooperate with the investigation, for the good of the game, and perhaps as some sort of self-flagellating cleansing ritual. They couldn't be more wrong.
Giambi is no saint, and his body is likely paying the price now for his past (or current) sins, but his semi-apologies are considerably further than any other current player has gone in accepting responsibility for the steroid era. And he has absolutely no obligation, legal, moral or otherwise, to help out Bud Selig's gang of torch-bearing yokels.
The Mitchell investigation is about one thing and one thing only: Bud Selig attempting to cover his ass with the fans and the media. It's a naked public relations gambit with no real power, and no interest in finding the truth. George Mitchell is the head of a Selig-empowered lynch mob looking for a few scapegoats...three or four current or former players that can bear the brunt of the blame, allowing Selig to come out clean and put the issue to bed once and for all.
The commissioner pretends that the investigation is some multi-tentacled, all-encompassing beast endeavoring to explore every nook and cranny of a vast steroid conspiracy perpetrated on his beloved game by the evil players and their back-alley doctors. In reality, the truth is utterly inconsequential. Pinning Barry Bonds and a few others to the wall will suffice.
Much has been written about who's to blame for the rampant steroid and HGH use in baseball, and there's much culpability to spread around: players, managers, owners, writers and fans all looked the other way happily while Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa walked around looking like G.I. Joe figures and destroyed the record books. But the person most to blame is the one who held the most power at the time - Bud Selig. Recently, Selig has been caught in lies about how much he knew about steroids and when, and we can only hope that a Woodward and Bernstein are somewhere out there looking for their Watergate.
Selig rode the tide of public opinion in the late '90s, happily benefiting from the effects of the pills, powders and needles. Then, when the fans turned, mainly because of Bonds, and Congress grumbled, the commissioner put on a show of acting like an angry, shocked, betrayed parent. "I can't believe you kids were taking drugs this whole time! And after all these talks we had! How could you do this to me?"
Anybody with a conscience or sense of propriety will refuse to cooperate with the Mitchell investigation. Bud Selig deserves to deal with the problem he helped foster by looking the other way for far too long. Moreover, the investigation is primarily dealing with events from three, five and ten years ago. It's too late to ban certain players from the record books, and baseball has too little power to suspend players retroactively, especially considering that a steroid policy wasn't even in place at the time.
Jason Giambi is no hero. I don't even really like the guy. But if he stays on his present course and shuns the investigators, he will have done the right thing. Caving in to Selig's bullying (but impotent) strong-arm tactics will send the wrong kind of message to other players. The only correct way for the Mitchell investigation to end is with the inquisitors throwing their hands in the air and giving up.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Yeah, you fucking statheads! You nerdlingers! Look at you cute little nerdfaces, trying to prove me wrong with your numbers and abbreviations. You are sucking all the joy out of the game by disagreeing with my asinine assertion that Derek Jeter is a comparable player to Joe Dimaggio. You probably ran straight to the computer when you read my column, didn't you? But you tripped when you ran because you are uncoordinated, nonathletic dorkwads! Ha ha...burn! You went straight to the comfort of your nourishing "statistics," those pathetic, robotic numbers that are your only friends in the entire world. And look at your funny little acronyms, EQA and something called "slugging percentage." HA HA HA! Like anyone even knows what those mean.
Can we stop with the ridiculous comparisons of Derek Jeter to Joe DiMaggio? I remember ESPN had a graphic on SportsCenter about a month back, and now you're making the same comparison. Sure, the numbers look similar at first glance, but they're cherry-picked. Games are exactly the same, and hits are very similar (despite Jeter having 200 more ABs), so of course BA -- and to a lesser extent OBP -- are going to wind up similar as well. This totally ignores, though, just how completely different of hitters they were. Comparing the Translated Batting Statistics from Baseball Prospectus, DiMaggio destroys Jeter in career slugging, .647 to .490. Adjusted for all-time, DiMaggio's BRAA was 620 to Jeter's 408, and his career EqA was .327 to Jeter's current .304. These two players weren't similar at all, beyond the number of hits they accumulated.
-- Matt Simon, Carmel, Ind.
I don't get it. Do statheads enjoy sucking the joy out of the game? Chill a little. I like numbers as much as the next guy, but lighten up and don't take every small reference as the human genome project. Did you happen to miss the point I clearly stated that DiMaggio was the superior slugger? This was not an exercise to trot out all your acronyms and translations and define with pinpoint accuracy that -- whoa! -- DiMaggio was a better hitter than Jeter. It was, as stated, a simple exercise to show their statistical similarities (I addressed their differences, which are obvious) at the point when Jeter played as many career games as DiMaggio did.
You motherfucking, joy-killing bastards. Put on your taped-up Urkel glasses and take a look at reality. Because reality is my fist meeting your glass jaw in about ten seconds if you don't get those fucking stats out of my face. I AM TOM VERDUCCI! I played right field for the Toronto Blue Jays! And Derek Jeter is as good as Joe Dimaggio because I said so. I am an expert, and I have learned things on the playing diamond that your brainless, soulless, heartless computer machines can't possibly comprehend. I bet Marilyn Monroe would have dumped Dimaggio for Jeter in a New York minute.
So Matt Simon, of Carmel, Ind., grab a pen out of that pocket protector and take a note: CHILL THE FUCK OUT. I DON'T CARE FOR YOUR TONE, NERDBOY.
His Highness Curt Schilling got slapped around by the woeful Rockies last night. Between losing the no-hitter in heartbreaking fashion and now this 5 IP, 5 ER, 9H performance, Schilling must not be glorifying God nearly enough. Get on the pulpit and preach it, Brother Schill!
In related news, when are we having Shannon Stewart Day at the Stadium?
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Michael Kay: John, you used to catch Randy Johnson. If he had made the trip here, would you have sought him out to say hi?
John Flaherty: No, I don't think that conversation would go quite as well as the one I had with Tony Clark.
Kay: Really? What was your relationship like with Randy?
Flaherty: Well, his mean streak is well known. It was...an interesting relationship.
After giving us this insider's view, Kay then went on to point out that Johnson has the same sweetheart deal that Roger Clemens has, not having to fly to cities in which he's not pitching, without all the media scrutiny and accusations of selfishness.
Then, Kay and Flaherty returned to calling the ballgame, with Flaherty providing impressive insight into how pitchers work certain hitters.
Len Kasper: What are you looking at out there? The bullpen?
American Idol contestant Kellie Pickler (staring through binoculars): What do they call that? The outfield?
Kasper: Yes, that's the outfield.
Pickler: Wow, look at all those people! I can't believe it! I get confused sometimes because in racing they have an infield.
Bob Brenly: They have an infield here too.
Kasper: If you have any questions about anything in baseball, just ask. There's a strike to Pagan.
Kasper: Have you ever heard of a "pickle" in baseball?
Pickler: No, but I bet I'd be good at it! I knew I'd be good at this game.
And that, kids, is not even The Second City's worst broadcast team. Pickler could become a permanent addition to the booth and it still wouldn't even be fucking close.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Yankees ran up the victories against two of the worst teams in baseball, and even now, at their single hottest point in the season to date, they remain under .500, 9 1/2 games behind Boston and trailing several quality teams in the Wild Card race.
There is a glimmer of hope where none existed a week ago, but that's all it is. Much damage was done in April and May, and it will take more than a week of winning to undo it. Arizona will be a good test this week...winning two of three would be a very positive sign.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Pending Pinstripes liked the Brackman pick a lot more than I did, and also supports taking pure-hitter-with-signability-issued Brad Suttle in the fourth round. Catcher Austin Romine and pitcher Ryan Pope were viewed as surprise picks or reached in the second and third rounds, but PP is willing to trust Damon Oppenheimer for now.
True Yankee Blog shares my disappointment about Porcello and Harvey, who would have been a risky pick in the second round, no doubt, but disagrees about Brackman, who's quickly becoming a polarizing selection.
Was Watching has some nice scoop on the picks from Baseball America.
No Maas features a pre-draft interview with Perfect Game's Patrick Ebert, and reports that Keith Law and Peter Gammons both like the Brackman pick. Uh oh.
Ironically, Joe Torre's 2,000th career managerial win featured one of his worst strategic performances to date. Here are 10 things that made me furious during last night's 10-3 win over the White Sox, the least relaxing seven-run victory in baseball history.
1) In a decision reeking of senility, Torre chose to give Derek Jeter a night off (though he pinch-hit late) for the same game that The Unsinkable Wil Nieves was subbing for Jorge Posada. With one deft stroke, Torre removed two of the Yankees' three best hitters from the starting lineup, a lineup that featured an impressive bottom three of Phelps/Cairo/Nieves.
2) Torre pulled Mike Mussina with two on and no out in the 7th inning, after Mussina had allowed ZERO RUNS on only 79 PITCHES. Mussina got the hook after allowing an infield dribbler and one hard-hit ball to open the inning. Stupidity turned into idiocy as Torre elected to bring in Mike Myers to face lefty A.J. Pierzynski. Myers had allowed a .333 BAA to lefties entering the game, and Pierzynski promptly singled in the tying run.
3) In the 8th inning of a 4-1 game, Torre brought Kyle Farnsworth in to "hold the lead." Farnsy predictably blew up, forcing Torre to bring in Rivera for a potential five-out save...
4)...but Rivera's arm was saved by the Yankees' six-run outburst in the top of the ninth, which gave them a 10-3 lead. BUT TORRE LEFT RIVERA IN THE FUCKING GAME. After vowing in spring training to never use the aging closer for more than an inning, Torre let him pitch 1 2/3 when there was absolutely no justifiable reason to do so. I don't know if Torre wanted Mo to get a save because his total is so low this year, or if he honestly didn't believe any of his other pitchers could hold a seven-run lead against the worst offensive team in the American League. Either way, Torre was handed a gift and promptly pissed green tea all over it. I know Rivera hasn't pitched a lot this year, but that's not a good enough reason to let him go an extra inning when the game's already wrapped up. Now, he probably can't pitch tonight.
5) Where the fuck is Chris Britton?
6) I don't know if it was Torre's call or his own, but Johnny Damon had no business attempting to bunt after Jeter led off the 8th with a single.
7) Apparently, Jeter can't go to his right anymore, either.
8, 8...I forget what 8 was for...
but 9, 9, 9 for my lost God...
10, 10, 10, 10 is for Melky Cabrera batting second instead of Cano or Abreu. It must be his "energy."
Thursday, June 7, 2007
NO-HITTER IN PROGRESS!
JINX! JINX! HEY, BLOWHARD!! CURT...OVER HERE! JINX!
::pats self on back:: Nice job, Psycho Fan. You have saved the baseball world from unspeakable douchery and self-aggrandizement tonight.
And how did the Yankees respond? By choking and taking the biggest-money kid around, 6'10" N.C. St. hurler Andrew Brackman. This pick screams high-cost bust. He throws 99 mph, but has had arm injuries and poor results.
Kevin Goldstein at BP doesn't like the pick, and his colleague Bryan Smith chimes in:
He's fun to watch pitch, I know, but at some point, the results have to matter. The consistency isn't there, the dominance has never been there, and earlier in the year, I wrote about his struggles against 1-5 hitters in the ACC. He is probably going to do well in the low minors, if he's healthy, but I don't see him having much more success than Jon Rauch.
Now it's time to sit back and watch as stat-centric Yankees bloggers revolt. Mock drafts had the Yankees taking Matt LaPorta, and praying for Porcello, but haven't we had enough of tall pitchers recently?
Last night at the old ballyard, I noticed the Comiskey Park scoreboard advertising "Dippin' Dots...the ice cream of the future!"
I feel the need to clarify a couple things here. First, Dippin' Dots have been around for years now, and they need a new slogan. Tang is no longer the beverage of the future. It's the beverage of the past's pathetic imagined future. Same for Dippin' Dots. You can't advertise these things as being the ice cream of the future for a full decade, during which time no events have transpired that indicate Dippin' Dots are taking over the world, gaining a foothold in the marketplace and destroying the sales of pussy traditional ice creams.
Second, if Dippin' Dots truly is the ice cream of the future, can someone hand me a rope and the Michael Hutchence Guide to Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation, because that's a future I want no
* photo courtesy of Random Fat Kids
Wang pitched like the ace he is, generating a steady stream of grounders and pop-ups, with the occasional K mixed in. His control was on, he kept his pitch count low, and the woeful White Sox lineup helped him out a few times. How's Ozzie Ball working out these days?
Miguel Cairo inexplicable started again at first base. Actually, "inexplicable" is not correct. The explanation is apparent and simple: Joe Torre is a moron who doesn't understand how to win baseball games. His peach-pit-and-green-tea-addled brain prevents him from understanding the most basic concepts of mathematics and strategy.
The last few games have also highlighted Derek Jeter's utter inability to go to his left on groundballs. I've never been as down on Captain Intangibles' defense as most stat-heads, but anecdotally speaking, he looks worse than ever ranging toward second base this year. In this White Sox series alone, he has allowed five balls hit to his left to get by him that most shortstops would have at least gotten a glove on. Perhaps not significantly, he has failed to convert his patented jump-and-fire play twice on grounders to his right by rookie Jerry Owens, allowing infield hits both times. In the past, Jeter's ability to be both clutch and spectacular in the field has helped mitigate his lack of range. That might not be the case anymore.
The Yankees have won five out of seven now, which is normally not a cause for celebration, but this year, we have to take what we can get, right kids? Before we start allowing ourselves to dream of better days, we must keep in mind that even if the Yankees play .600 ball for the rest of the year (normally a 97-win pace), they'll only win about 88 games. Two problems: a) this hasn't looked like a .600 team at any point this season, and b) 88 wins won't be good enough for the Wild Card in this league.
The grave has been dug.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
So Josh Phelps threw the ball to all corners of Comiskey Monday night, and Joe Torre's shrill, hysterical reaction was to punish that bad boy, and start Miguel Cairo at first base against Mark Buehrle last night.
I don't care that Cairo slapped a clutch RBI single into centerfield last night; playing him at first-base was irresponsible, an extreme breach of a manager's responsibility to put the best team possible on the field. Cairo is a significantly below-average player at any position, let alone first base where mighty sluggers normally roam (or at least stumble). Cairo's not exactly Don Mattingly with the glove either, so there is no possible justification for playing him.
Bring me Andy Phillips. Bring me Josh Phelps. Bring me the ghost of Minky. Bring me Shelley Duncan. Bring me...oh, wait...not him.
Meanwhile, the Yanks' bullpen continues to disgrace itself at every opportunity, enabled like a lifelong alcoholic by the sad, abused tandem of Joe Torre and Brian Cashman.
Chris Britton, he of the impressive 2006 season and dominant minor league numbers, has pitched five innings with the big club this year. At the same time, Luis Vizcaino (6.91 ERA) has thrown 28 innings, Kyle Farnsworth (1.58 WHIP) has thrown 24, Ron Villone (6.30 ERA) has thrown 10, and Scott Proctor's right arm has grown 11 inches longer than his left. These guys shouldn't even have big-league jobs, let alone be allowed to pitch in high-leverage situations.
The Yankees, as an organization, don't recognize mistakes quickly enough, and they don't learn from the past. Minky/Miguel Cairo = Tony Womack. Vizcaino = Felix Heredia. Certain guys just need to be cut loose before they sink a season, but the team's brain trust is unwilling on incapable of action. Cashman and Torre combine the indecisiveness of Hamlet with the sheer stubbornness of Archie Bunker. The results speak for themselves.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Since the Yankees have been forced to start seven rookie pitchers this year, let's take a look and see if the kids are alright, at least in the big leagues.
Matt DeSalvo (age 26): 1-3, 23 IP, 6K, 5.87 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 73 ERA+
Tyler Clippard (22): 2-1, 15 IP, 10 K, 4.20 ERA, 1.40 ERA, 101 ERA+
Chase Wright (24): 1-0, 8 IP, 6 K, 7.88 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 54 ERA+
Phil Hughes (21): 1-1, 10.2 IP, 11K, 3.38 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 126 ERA+
Jeff Karstens (24): 0-1, 4.1 IP, 1 K, 14.54 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 29 ERA+
Darrell Rasner (26): 1-3, 24.7 IP, 11 K, 4.01 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 106 ERA+
Kei Igawa (27): 2-1, 30.2 IP, 21 K, 7.63 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 56 ERA+
Yecch. The seven deadly sins. Due to small sample sizes, there's a not a ton we can glean from those stats, except that Matt DeSalvo is clearly not a big-league pitcher. Hughes's brief and tantalizing performance reinforced what scouts have told us about him. Clippard is still an unknown. Karstens and Rasner are #5 starters or swingmen at best.
The Yankees better hope their next generation of young arms turns out better than this crew. Incidentally, Kei Igawa has thrown 21 innings for the Class A Tampa Yankees, and has posted 21 K, 6 BB, and a 3.43 ERA.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Speaketh the Sheff:
"I called it years ago. What I called is that you're going to see more black faces, but there ain't no English going to be coming out. ... (It's about) being able to tell (Latin players) what to do -- being able to control them. Where I'm from, you can't control us. You might get a guy to do it that way for a while because he wants to benefit, but in the end, he is going to go back to being who he is. And that's a person that you're going to talk to with respect, you're going to talk to like a man. These are the things my race demands. So, if you're equally good as this Latin player, guess who's going to get sent home? I know a lot of players that are home now can outplay a lot of these guys."
What I love about this quote is that Sheffield is assuming that because he's a paranoid, uncoachable assholes, all black people are paranoid, uncoachable assholes. That's some forward thinking right there. Here are some other qualities that Elijah Dukes's mentor believes all African-Americans share:
-They have all used "the clear," but totally didn't know that shit had steroids in it
-They all attended Hillsborough High School
-They all waggle their bats
-They all have wives that get pissed on by R. Kelly
-They all punch Red Sox fans while fielding balls near the right-field foul line (if only!)
Over the course of the rest of the series, the Fenway faithful proceeded to:
-Cheer wildly when Derek Jeter fouled a pitch off his foot and hopped around in obvious pain. (I thought only Philly fans cheered injuries.)
-Hold up paper cut-out masks in front of their faces of the woman with whom ARod was recently photographed.
-Give Blistery Josh Beckett a standing ovation as he left Sunday night's game, after he gave up 4 ER, 8 H and 3 BB in 6.1 IP, a performance which included putting his team in a 4-0 hole. Wow, those Boston fans really know their baseball.
Red Sox fans are philistines unfit to worship in the temple where they congregate. They are crude, ignorant, vicious, hypocritical, foul-smelling, bigoted, ugly motherfuckers who don't deserve to breathe the polluted air that infests their ugly, traffic-ridden hole of a city.
And Peter Gammons needs to stop jerking off during his sideline reports about the wonders of Beckett and Kevin Franchise. "Why, I remember seeing Youkilis play in the Cape Cod League, and he's completely transformed himself as a hitter through hard work and dedication, and..."
Go back to what you're good at, Pete: giving shitty music recommendations. (The statute of limitations has passed for mocking someone who's recently suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm, right? Right??)
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Proctor has proven himself to be the only pitcher on the Yankees' staff willing to stand up for his teammates. Despite serving a four-game suspension earlier in the year for throwing at the over-emotional Yuniesky Betancourt, Proctor once again rode in on his white horse last night to defend the honor of his hitters.
Chien-Ming Wang hit Mike Lowell with a pitch much earlier in the game, clearly unintentionally. Then, three Yankees were hit by Red Sox pitches over the next five innings, capped off with Javier Lopez drilling Robinson Cano in the 9th. Proctor stepped up and threw high and tight to Kevin Franchise, who reacted like an eight-year-old girl whose older brother had just cut off her Barbie's hair.
Whenever Yankees are hit by pitches, they react in low-key, professional fashion, unless the intent is so obvious that it can't be ignored. When Red Sox players get hit, the tears start flowing and temper tantrums and histrionics ensue.
So, thank you, Scott Proctor, for finally showing that this team has a backbone. Of course, we must consider the possibility that Proctor was trying to get suspended, to give his rotting shell of a right arm another respite.
Friday, June 1, 2007
I don't care if Torre hates ARod's guts. He needs to defend him, especially given how easy ARod is to criticize. This sort of thing used to be Torre's forte. His players loved him because he stood up for them wrong or right. Now he only stands up for his "boys."
This "incident" has led to some debate around baseball and the media about the unwritten code of the game, and what's considered acceptable as gamesmanship and what crosses the line into the realm of cheating or the dreaded "unprofessional play."
Bud Selig has appointed a council of well-respected players, coaches and former players (all white, don't worry...Maddux and Glavine have key roles) to define the undefinable and finally put into writing the unwritten rules of our beloved national pastime. Here's a brief look at some of the council's findings about what type of plays are permissible.
OK: An infielder fooling a baserunner into believing that a ball has been hit on the ground when in fact it was a fly ball.
Not OK: A baserunner yelling "I got it!" to distract a fielder from catching a pop-up.
OK: A runner on second base trying to steal signs and relay them to the batter.
Not OK: The batter peeking himself to look at the signs.
OK: A good, hard-nosed slide to break up a double-play by a gritty gamer like Craig Biggio or Darin Erstad.
Not OK: A good, hard-nosed slide to break up a double-play by a pretty-boy prima donna like ARod.
OK: The first baseman attempting to distract a runner on first base with some friendly chatter.
Not OK: The first baseman gently caressing the runner's inner thigh while whispering, "My wife likes it with two guys."
OK: Playing "I Walk the Line" on the PA system when a pitcher gets wild.
Not OK: Playing "Kim" by Eminem when Elijah Dukes is at bat.
OK: Throwing up and in when a hitter is standing too close to the plate.
Not OK: Throwing up and in when a hitter is standing too close to the plate...but still in the on-deck circle.
OK: A pitcher who has been removed from the game returning to the clubhouse to shower.
Not OK: Sneaking into the clubhouse early just to beat Miguel Cabrera to the post-game buffet.
OK: The hidden-ball trick.
Not OK: The hole-in-the-bottom-of-the-popcorn trick.
OK: Standing and admiring your long home run if you happen to be an idiot savant.
Not OK: Hitting a home run, then using your bat as an imaginary machine gun to slaughter everyone on the other team.
OK: Treating your teammates and opponents with respect, and playing with integrity and manners.
Not OK: Actually trying to win the fucking game.