• May 31st @ The Royals

    Posted by on May 31st, 2005 · Comments (10)

    I can do this one with seven sentences.

    There are pages of baseball stats that can be used to show how bad the Kansas City Royals are this season. But, rather than show you them, just trust me when I say they are so bad that they should have Chico’s Bail Bonds printed on the back of their jerseys.

    Tonight, the non-striving New York Yankees were defeated by these aforementioned Royals.

    By the close of the 1st of June, the Yankees could be in fourth place in the American League East.

    As crazy as this might sound, the Yankees next game is “must win.” I hope the Big Unit realizes this as well.

    Freakonomics For Yankees

    Posted by on May 31st, 2005 · Comments (8)

    I just started reading the book Freakonomics. It’s been interesting so far. And, this AM, a passage that I read made the Yankee light bulb go on over my head.

    Without going into too much detail and giving anything away from the book, this section was regarding the prevention of a postwar revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the North, where the book talks about the “raw power of information” and how sometimes that power is “derived in large part” from groups hoarding information and that “once that information falls into the wrong hands” the hoarding group loses it’s advantage.

    Right away, I began to think of the baseball book Moneyball – in which, A’s G.M. Billy Beane allowed the telling of many of the ways the A’s run their team. Hmmmmm, and, how exactly have the A’s been doing since Moneyball came out?

    But, then, just as quick, I thought about a Baseball Digest article that I read as a kid following the 1976 World Series. This piece talked about how hard that the Reds scouted the Yankees for that series. It was very interesting to read after-the-fact.

    The scout that did the work said that he told the Reds that a Rivers bunt was an automatic hit. So, what did the Reds do? Rose played in at third right down Mickey’s throat. And, Rivers was neutralized. Next, the scout told Cincy that they should not let Munson hurt them with extra base hits – and, that if you gave Thurman the outside pitch, he would be willing to take it for a single to RF. So, what happened? Munson had a ton of hits in that series – but did not harm the Reds with any extra base hits.

    It was not all perfect. The scout told the Reds that you could “knock the bat out of the hands” of SS Jim Mason. And, Mason homered in his only AB in the series – the Yankees only long ball in the ’76 series.

    Nonetheless, information does have raw power. So, since the Yankees know that they have to beat the Red Sox to win in the A.L. East, why not try and get as much information on them as possible? If I were Big Stein, I would have a good scout assigned to the Red Sox 24/7. Get him a MLB.TV package. Make him watch every pitch of every Sox game. Somebody is getting Ortiz and Manny out sometime, right? There has to be something to learn there, no? And, some teams are able to beat Tim Wakefield, right? Why not try and see how they do it?

    And, while the scout is at it, he can look at the Sox-Yankees games and figure out what the Yankees are doing wrong when they play Boston.

    How much could it cost to cover a full-time Boston scout? Fifty-grand? Seventy-five maybe? Isn’t that worth it? How many Ortiz homeruns do you have to watch before you sign off on the idea? I think it’s time. Beats doing whatever they are doing now – because that is not working.

    May 29th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 29th, 2005 · Comments (20)

    Looks like I called it yesterday.

    Funny thing happened tonight. Well, I say funny because it’s the most polite thing I can think of now. At 9 pm EST, I tuned away from the game to watch the second half of HBO’s Empire Falls (since I watched the first half last night and wanted to see how it ended.) At that point, the score was 2-2 in the 2nd. When I got back to the game at 10:30, it was in the 7th and the Yankees were down 6-2 (with Obi Wang on the mound). And, I thought to myself “Why did I change the channel to Empire Falls when I could have just stayed on ESPN and seen the Empire Fall?

    Actually, I think I can sum up the difference in the Yankees and the Red Sox over the last couple of years in two names: Jason Giambi and David Ortiz. Yankees have the former and the Sox have the latter. And, it’s worse that New York paid gazillions for Jason and Boston found David on the scrap heap. Go figure.

    And, if that’s not bad enough, seeing this man (below) pitch into the 9th inning to get the “W” tonight is another kick in the pants.

    wells.jpg

    I wonder how the Yankees will rebound (if they do) from this series?

    May 28th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 28th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    Different year.

    Same story.

    Once again, New York had the Red Sox flat on the ground with their pinstriped boot lodged tightly on the Bostonian’s neck. But, instead of maintaining pressure until the Sox’ life-force faded to black, the Yankees knelt down, pressed their lips on that of their foe, and administrated the kiss of life.

    Will this repeated failure to go for the jugular again lead to great despair? Tune in tomorrow.

    Then again, maybe I just take this stuff too seriously?

    May 27th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on May 27th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Hey baby, I hear the blues a-callin’,
    tossed salad and scrambled eggs.
    Oh my,
    mercy.

    What’s with the theme to Frasier? Here goes: I’m watching the game tonight, and it’s the Cano Show, ya know? And, I’m thinking “This guy is so smooth, he could be the Silver Surfer” and then I thought “He might be the smoothest dude to play in New York since Clyde Frazier.” And, just then Frazier Cano came into my head and right away I realized how close that sounds to “Frasier Crane”………and, then, well, the music started.

    Just earlier this week, I heard A-Rod doing an interview on WFAN and Mike Francesa asked Alex about Cano. And, Rodriguez noted that he brings energy to the game, had a great smile, and was very confident. Francesa noted that Cano looked confident at the plate and Alex added that he (Cano) thinks he can hit anyone (and then laughed). Well, tonight, Robinson showed he can hit anyone and hit them in a big game too.

    Speaking of hitting, congrats to Gary Sheffield for reaching WARP 7 on that homerun blast tonight. Holy Zefram Cochrane Batman!

    Now, time for a true confession. My eyes blurred a little in the beginning of the game, and, I swear, for a moment, when this happened and I was watching the Big Unit pitch, all I could see was Lee Guetterman. But, I’ll give Randy a pass since he said he had extra MPH tonight for the first time in a while and Posada said in the post-game that tonight was the “best I’ve seen him” this season.

    And, speaking of Posada, he deserves a tip of the cap for blocking the plate twice in the 6th. There was a time when he would never do this. On the throw from Womack to nail Bellhorn, I think I even saw Jorgie throw his left elbow out there a little too, just for extra measure. Nice.

    Anyone else out there say it and then almost do it when they saw Mueller come up to face Mo in the 9th? And, speaking of Mo – boy, the segues are flying tonight – Torre said in the post-game that perhaps both Rivera and Gordon are not available tomorrow. This could be interesting.

    Newspaper Coverage On Bernie To Left

    Posted by on May 27th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Same story, two headlines/spins. First, from the NY POST:

    BERNIE’S ALL RIGHT WITH LEFT

    The project of turning Bernie Williams into a part-time left fielder picked up more steam yesterday as No. 51 spent the better part of batting practice by the fence in left watching the way the ball comes off the bat from a new vantage point.

    “I’ll just deal with it when it comes,” Williams said before the Yankees’ 4-3 win against the Tigers, downplaying the position change.

    Williams last started a game in left early in 1992 before emerging as the Yankees’ everyday center fielder for over a decade.

    “It’s just a matter of what’s familiar,” manager Joe Torre said, not committing to when we can expect to see Williams in left. “When you get a little more familiar, you get a little more comfortable. But I like his overall demeanor right now.”

    Williams doesn’t anticipate much trouble in adjusting to the new position, but seemed less than anxious about the move before last night’s game.

    Next, from NEWSDAY:

    LEFT DOESN’T STRIKE BERNIE RIGHT

    It is rare that Bernie Williams doesn’t accept managerial decisions with a gracious smile. So before last night’s game, it was telling when Williams answered a question about Joe Torre’s recent suggestion that he prepare himself to play leftfield by saying: “I’ll deal with it when it happens.”

    That’s not exactly the same way Williams embraced being moved up and down in the batting order in recent years or even the way he handled being more of a DH than a centerfielder after the Yankees’ season-saving blueprint that moved Hideki Matsui to center, Tony Womack to left and rookie Robinson Cano to second.

    Last night, Williams’ body language suggested he’d like to remain the regular centerfielder.

    Pretty interesting in how “I’ll deal with it when it happens” can be taken so many ways……..meanwhile, Matsui has played LF, CF, and RF this season, without any fuss.

    Just imagine what the NY rags would have to do if everyone on the team was not from the US and didn’t speak English? They’d probably be forced to report on the games.

    Possible Baseball History For A-Rod

    Posted by on May 27th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    We’ve been hearing a lot lately that Alex Rodriguez has a chance to become the 1st player in baseball history to hit 400 HRs before his 30th birthday. That would be an incredible feat.

    But, there’s another record that A-Rod has a shot at this year – one that has stood for 67 years.

    In 1938, Hank Greenberg hit 58 HRs for the Tigers. To date, no right-handed batter in American League history has matched that mark.

    To date, A-Rod has 17 HR in 47 games for the Yankees this season. This is a rate of 0.3617 HR per game. If Alex keeps up this pace, and plays 162 games this season (which is something he’s been able to do twice in his career) then he would have the record for most homers in a season by a RH-batter in the AL.

    And, I guess I should note that Rodriguez played in 162 games in 2002 and hit 57 HRs – just missing the Greenberg mark by one. So, it’s not like Alex has never knocked on this door before.

    Granted, there’s many things that have to happen for this to come true in 2005. So, it’s all uphill at this point. But, at the least, what this does tell us is something about the rate at which Alex is currently pumping the long ball. Folks, we’re seeing something special right now.

    Tanyon Sturtze, Cinco De Mayo Gift?

    Posted by on May 27th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    I saw an interview with Jorge Posada recently where he was asked about the Yankees present great turnaround and the bullpen’s contribution towards it.

    Right away, Posada said that the key to the bullpen’s contribution was getting Tanyon Sturtze back from the DL. So, I thought, what do the numbers say towards this?

    Sturtze’s first game back was on May 5th. To date, since then, he’s appeared in 8 games, logging 10.1 IP, allowing 6 hits and 1 walk – and yielding just 1 earned run. In addition, he’s fanned 7 of the 39 batters that he has faced. Most importantly, he’s been credited with 5 holds and his only “bad” stat in this run was a blown save on May 18th. However, that was the game where Posada could not snag the Tanyon’s third strike on Miguel Olivo that would have ended an inning and changed that “BS” into another hold.

    Clearly, the stats back up Posada’s statement.

    When the Yankees acquired Sturtze on May 15, 2004 from the L.A. Dodgers off their AAA (Las Vegas) roster, on another website, I wrote: “For guys his age or older, over the last three years, he’s been one of the worst pitchers in the AL (his league). He’s Jeff Juden like.” The next day, on the same site, I wrote: “You know, I keep looking and looking for a reason why maybe Sturtze could provide something positive to the Yankees this year. I cannot find anything close to a positive sign. Nada.”

    However, things changed and on October 6th of last year, on that same site, I referred back to my initial reaction to the trade and followed up with:

    I was not alone [with this type of reaction]. Others were more harsh. One night, on the Wally and The Keeg show on 1050 AM in NYC (ESPN Radio), the drive time jocks were ripping his name – - – - “It’s bad enough that your last name is Sturtze; but, then, your parents have to go out and name you Tanyon?”

    Various message boards on the ‘net in some parts referred to his “deer in the headlights” look while pitching – and, his stat lines were not much prettier.

    But, then, something happened. Reportedly, Mariano Rivera taught him the cutter. Down the stretch of the last month of the season, Sturtze began to dominate batters. Yankees manager Joe Torre began to trust him in pressure spots.

    And, less than a year after the Yankees traded for Sturtze, he’s now one of the main keys to the Yankees bullpen success. This is truly an amazing story.

    May 26th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on May 26th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Check this out: 20 days ago, when the bad start to this season hit its low-mark, I wrote in an entry to WasWatching.com:

    If the Yankees losses equal the new number (22) on Cano’s back before they win their 12th game, at least two members of the Yankees braintrust will be fired. Maybe more than two.

    Since that time, when New York’s record stood at 11-19, the Yankees have gone 15-2 – - and they still have not registered their 22nd loss of the season. And, with the win this evening, the Yanks now share 2nd place in the AL East (with the Toronto Blue Jays). And, for the cherry on top, the Red Sox (with a loss this evening) presently reside under Team Stein in the standings.

    With Boston coming to the Stadium to play three this weekend, it’s always better to be up on them (and use these games as a chance to drive them further away) rather than having to use these games to try and catch up to them.

    It’s absolutely incredible how this team has turned it around in less than three weeks.

    Speaking of turnarounds, it was also 20 days ago when an entry made here said that it was time for Kevin Brown to pitch better or hit the road.

    Since that time, Brown has won four starts in a row, allowing just 6 earned runs in 25 innings pitched. While I still never want to see Kevin starting a Game 7 in the post-season again for New York, if he’s going to pitch like this in the regular season, by all means, he can stick around.

    And, how ’bout poor A-Rod? He hits a homerun tonight deep into the Yankees bullpen to give the team the eventual winning lead in the game. The ball was crushed. Nah, it was more than crushed. Today, for us, Mr. Rodriguez served up a very special super-sized dish of piping hot Pureed Rawlings this evening. And, as much as that seems like it should be the lead story here, the bigger picture items in terms of the rebound of Brown and the team in general deserve to have the position here of being in the spotlight, on showcase.

    Here’s hoping the next three days brings numerous other positive stories that will have to jockey for top billing in their respective WasWatching.com entries.

    Damon: Cannot Let The Yankees Overtake Us

    Posted by on May 26th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    From an AP report:

    “We’re a really bad team right now,” [Red Sox] center field Johnny Damon said Wednesday night after a 6-1 loss to Toronto, the Red Sox’s sixth in nine games. “We need to win tomorrow. It’s a must win. We need to get back to that stage where every game is a must win instead of just saying ‘Oh, we’ll be OK.’ It’s a different year.”

    “We were in trouble on that West Coast swing, and we were in trouble these first two games here,” Damon said. “New York’s climbing. We have to start doing something or it could be a long summer. … We have a big series this weekend. Whether or not the Yankees are going to overtake us or not, we can’t let that happen.”

    I guess Damon missed it 5 months ago when I predicted that it was going to be a long summer for the Red Sox in 2005.

    Of course, Johnny, your team is always welcome to try……but, basically, it’s like trying to ice skate uphill. Then again, idiot is as idiot does, I guess?

    May 25th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on May 25th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    I have to submit that we should start calling Chien-Ming Wang “Obi Wang” from now on – because he is a Jedi Master of the Mound. I was floored during the 8th inning tonight when Kitty Kaat on YES shared that only 2 pitchers in the big leagues, so far this season, have more 1-2-3 innings pitched than Wang: Rocket and Pedro. Throw in that Chien-Ming joined the Yankees after the season started and this is even more amazing.

    Obi Wang, indeed.

    Speaking of amazing, what can you say about that Jeter play on Marcus Thames’ pop-up in the 7th? Throw a black jersey on Jeter, put a helmet on Cano with a star on it, and it’s Super Bowl X all over again – with Derek being Lynn Swann pulling in a 53-yarder in the 2nd Quarter (on Mark Washington). Luckily, no one was hurt there.

    But, for me, what was most amazing tonight was Torre pulling Jason Albatross, er, I mean Giambi for a pinch-hitter in the 8th with a 2-run led. That, ladies and germs, was an eye-opener. Message to Jason: First they start pinch-hitting for you, and then next you’re a piney. Tick, tick, tick…….

    I noticed a lot of smiles on the Yankees today early during the game. This is good. It would be even better if they can keep smiling after the next series too. Fingers crossed.

    DerekJeter.com

    Posted by on May 25th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    MLB.com just released the news.

    Jeter goes cyber.

    I dunno, a journal entry every two weeks? I hope the pace picks up.

    Bill Dickey

    Posted by on May 25th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Bill Dickey sometimes seems to get lost in the shuffle of all-time Yankees greats. Yes, for sure, he was a batter who took advantage of Yankee Stadium – as 135 of is 202 lifetime homeruns were hit in the Bronx. But, Dickey was also durable and one of the best hitting catchers in the modern era (post-1900) of baseball – and remains there today.

    First, the proof of his stability: How many catchers in the history of baseball have caught 100+ games in a season for 13 years in a row? The answer is just two: Bill Dickey and Johnny Bench. Very impressive.

    Secondly, regarding Dickey’s standing among modern catchers with the bat. When Bill retired in 1946, it was basically him, Mickey Cochrane, and Gabby Hartnett at the top of the list in terms of great offensive catchers. In the 20 years that passed after his retirement, this fact was only changed by the addition of Yogi Berra to the list. In the 50 years that passed after Dickey’s retirement, the only other catcher to warrant inclusion to this group was Johnny Bench. And, as of today, you would have to include Mike Piazza as well.

    Therefore, at the worst, today, Bill Dickey has a claim towards being the 6th best batting catcher in the history of modern era baseball. And, by many sabermetric measures, Dickey would rank as the 2nd or 3rd greatest of all-time.

    Most Yankee fans know that Bill Dickey was a great player – as he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954 and the Yankees retired his number (8) in 1972 along with honoring Yogi Berra (who also wore #8). At the time, this was just the 6th number ever retired by the Yankees.

    But, there are probably just as many Yankee fans who would list catchers like Fisk, Carter, Campanella, I-Rod, on their list of great hitting catchers before getting to Dickey, and this would be wrong. Bill Dickey, as an offensive catcher, has very few peers.

    Not Exactly Piniella Slamming Into Fisk

    Posted by on May 25th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    From SI:

    [Red] Sox righty Bronson Arroyo played Yanks counterpart Carl Pavano in 2K Sports’ Major League Baseball 2K5, on Xbox Live.

    “Take a look at this [Yankees] roster! This is sick!” said Pavano, who’s 4-2 in his first year as a Yankee. He batted Tony Womack at leadoff, Alex Rodriguez at cleanup and tabbed Randy Johnson to pitch. (“I’ll take Randy any day over me.”) The Big Unit struck out the side in the first. “A 91-mph slider,” Arroyo marveled. “Does he have that in his repertoire?” (He does.) Arroyo’s pitcher, Sox ace Schilling, allowed a Hideki Matsui RBI triple in the first inning and a two-run triple to Womack in the second. “What do you play at home, Bronson?” Pavano asked into the two-way speaker. “Atari?”

    The Sox closed to 3-2, but Arroyo killed a rally trying to stretch a Jay Payton double into a triple. Pavano’s Yanks got nailed on the base paths, too. “If our managers were watching, they’d be mad,” Pavano said. For the Yankees the running gaffes hardly hurt. Johnson pitched a complete game, and a late offensive outburst left Arroyo out for revenge. “I’ll get another shot at him,” he said, “on the real field.”

    YANKEES 9, RED SOX 3.

    Be careful what you wish for Bronson. Pavano’s been looking good lately.

    It’s Beats Letting The Apple Make You Go Whitson

    Posted by on May 25th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    In the Daily News today, there’s a story where Alex Rodriguez discloses that he’s receiving therapy sessions as “a maintenance thing.”

    In the feature, A-Rod’s wife is quoted as saying: “It’s because of therapeutic intervention that he’s been able to discover and flourish as a person.”

    This makes perfect sense to me as Mrs. A-Rod has a psychology degree. Why would/should anyone be surprised that Alex is now seeing a therapist? If his wife was a vegan and Alex said he was giving up meat, would you be shocked? If she was into Kabbalah and Rodriguez said he was going to convert, would that seem like something very strange for a new husband to do? This type of stuff happens all the time once people get married.

    Actually, this whole story reminds me of a thought that I think is a Tony Robbins pitch. If I recall correctly, it’s about John Belushi. The point being: Here was a guy who had it all – fame, money, millions followed his career with interest, etc. – and it was not enough to make him happy and he turned to drugs which led to his death. The things that many of us think bring happiness (dough, adoration, etc.) are not always something that makes you a lock to be happy. So, if therapy helps A-Rod deal with all the baggage that fame, money, etc., brings….then, good for him. It can’t hurt. And, if he helps someone else by him being a role model of sorts with this, then it’s even better.

    Rodriguez has been a pin cushion for many on a number of things for a while now. I know that I’ve stuck a few in there at various times in sundry outlets. Some of those jabs are deserved and others were probably not – depending on your scoring system. But, clearly, this news does not warrant any additional poking at Alex. This is a good thing.

    May 24th vs. The Tigers

    Posted by on May 24th, 2005 · Comments (17)

    Tonight: Mussina = chain saw, and, Tigers = butta.
    Game = Th-uh-uh-uh-uh Yank-eeeees Win!

    Boom, Boom, Boom,
    Yankees bats were in tune.
    They were raking tonight,
    and it led to a fight.

    Well, sort of – that is. On that stuff in the 7th and 8th, I must say, while three weeks ago I was on Quantrill, I’m now doing the 180 on “Q”. This evening, he won me over. I want him on my team. Good job Paul. Attaboy.

    Related, in a roundabout way, this might just be the year that Joe D’s record of most big flies by a RH batter in the ‘stripes (46 in 1937) bites the dust. A-Rod is throwing some serious lumber these days. As long as Alex keeps pumping, we’re going to need someone to protect him from teams playing the old “Hit Slugger, Avoid HR, Win Cupie Doll” game.

    OK, now, on to one gripe and one less serious comment.

    The moan: Giambi comes out of this game in the 5th inning – the first “regular” to be lifted? Huh? Excuse me, but, doesn’t he need ABs? Or, is he already back to form and can use the rest? Yikes.

    The happy ending: I finally figured out who Russ Johnson reminds me of – - it’s Bobby Hill. No, not the ballplayer with the Cubs and Pirates. Bobby Hill, the son from King of the Hill – assuming he grew up to be a baseball player. Same body type. Kinda like if Ron Cey and Greg Luzinski had a baby.

    PS – anyone notice that the Yankees are 13-6 since Robinson Cano was called up?

    No Retractable Dome On The New Stadium

    Posted by on May 24th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    On cool, damp, rainy days like today – and the ones that are forecasted to happen over the next 5 days or so, I cannot help but get a little ticked over the new Yankee Stadium plans.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with the concept of a new Stadium. I’m a big believer that the current Stadium is 30-years-old and not this great old ballpark that some make it out to be, and therefore do not want to lose it. Heck, I actually have baseball gloves that I used in a game that are older than anything in the current Yankee Stadium.

    In any event, the thing that ticks me is the Yankees’ reported call not to have a retractable dome on the new facility. The logic that I have heard on this decision was (something like): ‘The roof would cost about an extra $350 million and since studies showed that not many games are rained out anyway, and the Yankees are paying for just about everything, they decided that the roof wasn’t worth it.’

    Yeah, they’re right. There are not a lot of rainouts. But, there are many, many, games where fans have to sit through constant cold drizzle or steady periods of rain, etc. Think about the Giambi slam in extras to beat the Twins. Think about Clemens 400/3000 game. There are tons more like this. What about those times? Do you not care about the fans?

    I have season tickets in the Loge that I would never give up just for the reason of the fact that they offer protection from the elements. And, when you’re taking your wife to the game, or your 69-year-old Dad, there’s something to be said for not making them sit out there in the cold rain for three-hours to watch a baseball game.

    I guess it’s important to state that I’m as anti-dome as anyone and would tear down the parks in Minny and Tampa Bay if I had the power. However, if you’ve seen parks like the one in Seattle and Houston, there is a way to have a retractable dome and not take away from the beauty of the ballpark.

    Just throwing this option out there as we probably watch baseball in the rain more often than not over the next few days.

    Fightin’ Words?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From the Daily Star Online:

    First baseman Kevin Millar offered this: “I’m not worried about the Yankees, to tell you the truth. I think we’re a better team right now, so that’s all that’s really important to us.”

    Who would have thunk it that Millar can think?

    The A-Rod Dealio With Most Yankees Fans

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2005 · Comments (10)

    Tonight, driving home from work, I was tuned to The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio (1050 AM in NYC). It was sometime near 5:30 pm EST and Kay was doing something he’s been doing often now (for at least the past month or so): Questioning why Yankees fans are on A-Rod so much and then slamming people who call into the show to explain why they’re not Alex fans.

    Michael was really bringing it tonight – with rants such as “He’s not just a great player, he’s the best player in the game, and he’s one of the best players of all-time!” (Or something close to that.) You could just hear the spit coming out of his mouth as he was shouting it. In some ways, it was one of those moments in time where paid professional radio host and Jerome from Manhattan become indistinguishable from each other. You kind of expect this from Mad Dog Russo (who probably can’t kiss his wife hello without spitting). It’s just a tad on the sad side when Kay pulls this routine.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why Kay has taken on this A-Rod crusade. But, if you listen to the likes of a Bob Raissman (and why would you?) he would tell you about the Kay-Rodriguez relationship. Who knows? Maybe Michael has ticked off enough guys in the Yankees clubhouse that he needs someone to be his friend in there? Or, perhaps Kay sees the Red Light beast in Alex and he wants to feed it – knowing that’s a good thing for both of them down the line?

    In any event, the question I would love to ask Michael Kay during times like these – but cannot because I don’t have a cell headset and, regardless of that, I would never burn cell minutes to wait on hold for about a half-hour – is this:

    Michael, say the Yankees are losing 1-0 and it’s the bottom of the 9th. They have a runner on 3rd with less than two outs. Based on play that you’ve seen since April 2004, if you could pick one Yankee to be up for you, who would you pick?

    Honestly, I think most Yankees fans who watch a lot of games would pick either Sheffield, Matsui, or Jeter in this spot before they would say A-Rod. And, I would not be shocked if some Yankees fans said “Cairo last year or Womack this year” before picking Rodriguez for this At Bat.

    And, that’s the issue. Many Yankee fans will not embrace A-Rod until they feel comfortable with him at the plate in a spot where he can/will save the game for them. Yankees fans love that “clutch” quality/security in a player. That’s why (in the last 30 years) they loved Munson, Piniella, O’Neill, Donnie and the like in the past and that’s why they don’t moan about Matsui, Sheffield and Jeter today (even if they do fail in a game sometimes).

    That’s the dealio my friends. Once A-Rod is able to win the fans over, by gaining that “the man” trust, then all this debate will end. Is this fair? Too subjective? Whatever – it does not matter. It’s just the way it is. I just wish that folks like Kay would learn it, accept it, and move on to something new. I do a lot of driving and it’s boring to keep hearing the same thing every week.

    The Power Of Mo?

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2005 · Comments (3)

    This one from CNN is a hoot:

    CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves has an unexpected scapegoat for the network’s expected No. 2 finish behind rival network Fox in a key ratings fight: New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.

    The New York Times reports that Moonves, when talking to advertisers last week, said that the competition for viewers age 18 to 49 was so close that if you subtract the ratings of some key sports events from Fox’s ratings last year, CBS would have been able to beat Fox.

    Rivera uncharacteristically blew a ninth-inning lead in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and when the Red Sox later won that game, they avoided a four-game sweep. Rivera also lost an eighth-inning lead in Game 5 of that playoff, eventually won by the Red Sox in seven games on their way to their first World Series championship in more than 80 years.

    “Mariano Rivera cost us more money than the Yankees,” Moonves told the advertisers, according to the Times.

    I dunno. I’m thinking that Yes, Dear, Clubhouse, Listen Up! and Dr. Vegas might have more to do with this than Rivera.

    Then again, it’s much easier to blame the Yankees for everyting that’s bad in the world, I guess.

    On CenterStage

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Sometimes, when it comes to working with the VCR, I’m about just as good as A-Rod is with balls hit between him and the line (this year). And, I pulled a rock yesterday when it came to judging how much time I had left on the tape, and recording the Big Stein edition of CenterStage on YES. I did manage to get the first 30 minutes or so – but, that’s it.

    It looks like it’s going to be on again at 11 pm EST on 5/27. I’ll have to try and catch the full thing that night.

    But, based on what I saw yesterday, I did not come away feeling very good. I did not see The Boss. Instead, I saw a man who looked very much the role of being extremely elderly.

    It seemed like G.S. needed to be led with some of the questions so that he could answer them “yes” or “no” or “sure” and the like. And, I noticed traces of tremoring in both his voice and mannerisms (at times).

    George really was working his eye-glasses during what I saw – playing with them excessively in his hands while fielding questions and speaking.

    And, it seemed that, on a few occasions, Steinbrenner was working hard at choking back an emotional reaction – when there was no need to be emotional at the moment. I hate to say this, but, it was a semi-borderline-kinda-like-visting-someone-in-a-nursing-home-type-thing. I know just the other day there was an entry here about Life After The Big Stein. Gosh, I was thinking maybe 10 years from now.

    After just 30 minutes of that interview on YES, now I’m wondering if we have very much time left at all? This is very sad. I wish someone would get to him soon and start working on an autobiography before it’s too late.

    May 22nd @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2005 · Comments (6)

    I missed the game today. So, I cannot offer too many comments – other than I enjoyed seeing Mango being denied a “W” yet again thanks to the Boys from the Bronx.

    Instead of watching the game, I went to see Sparky Lyle’s Somerset Patriots play (with the family of course!). You just cannot beat an experience where you walk up to the ballpark 45 minutes before the first pitch, and can buy four seats that are four rows behind the dugout, for a combined price that is less than the cost of one seat in the Loge at the Stadium. And, just to show support for the boys, our kids were dressed appropriately today:

    kidsblog.jpg

    Could a three and one-year old be dressed any better on a Sunday?

    You know, Nettles’ kid plays for the Patriots. Maybe on an off-day, he can come up to the Bronx and give A-Rod a refresher course on manning the hot corner? He seems to need it this year. (No complaints on his batting this season though. This is what I expected.)

    On A-Rod, I saw that he called today the biggest regular-season win in his 1½ seasons with the Yankees (according to ESPN.com). Hey, Alex, I still have the stubs and parking lot ticket from 7/1/04. Should I send them to you to make you remember?

    Nice to see Pavano get the win today. And, is the Giambi thing over yet? His last 10 ABs have not been impressive – have they? And, you can’t blame them on rust – right? He played 5 days in a row (FT) coming into them.

    May 21st @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 21st, 2005 · Comments (16)

    I got nothing.
    Sorry.
    But, when you’re Brazilian waxed by Mr. Anna Benson in public, during broad daylight, that just leaves me with a loss of freakin’ words.
    I’m going to do exactly what the Yankees did today – and mail this one in.

    In closing, I remain, in disrespect of the Mets who behave like Little Leaguers when they’re winning, yours truly,
    The laconic commenting Yankeeland zealot

    Consider this entry an open mike for anyone who wants to chime in……

    May 20th @ The Mets

    Posted by on May 20th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    Back during the early evening of April 7th, I heard a caller to the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio (1050 AM in NYC) say “Kaz Matsui has more balls pass through his legs than Paris Hilton.” I now see what he meant. I’m glad he decided to let some more pass through tonight.

    For 8 innings tonight, it looked like the Yankees were going to need some luck to stay with them to win this game. What were they, something like, 1 for 15 with RISP through eight (and they still had a lead)? And, the only word to describe Jeter’s all-around play tonight is horrific. (I wonder if his left knee, which he did something to in Seattle while batting, is bothering him?)

    But, thanks to a little 9th inning action and a sharp Mo, it’s a “W.” Whew.

    Speaking of “Whew!” – am I the only one who was holding his breath to make sure A-Rod was OK after that ugly dive back into 1B in the 9th to avoid being doubled-up? He’s a big man to be throwing his body around like that. That was too close for me.

    Lastly, back in Spring Training, I thought that Ruben Sierra looked about 6 months PG. Looking at him tonight, I’d say he’s at least 30 pounds overweight. I’m calling it now – he’ll be back on the DL at least once before the All-Star break. The Yankees better think about getting another back-up OF on the team who is capable with the bat – just in case.

    Which Yankees Were On PARR Last Year?

    Posted by on May 20th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    I’ve always been interested in a player’s BPA (Bases per Plate Appearance) in terms of measuring his offensive worth. The formula for BPA is (TB+BB+HBP+SB-CS-GIDP)/(AB+BB+HBP+SF).

    And, just today, while thinking about Gross Production Average (GPA) and the value that it yields and the ease on the eyes that the final numbers provide, I thought

    Well, if you take BPA and cut it in half, you get numbers very close to what you see with GPA. In fact, the numbers you get are probably closer to the “great/good/bad/terrible” numbers that “Batting Average” has trained our eyes to accept.

    For example, below are the 2004 BPA/2 results for Yankees batters:

     Alex Rodriguez

    .290

     Gary Sheffield

    .287

     Hideki Matsui

    .286

     Jorge Posada

    .263

     Derek Jeter

    .258

     Andy Phillips

    .250

     Tony Clark

    .244

     Ruben Sierra

    .238

     Bernie
    Williams

    .237

     Jason Giambi

    .232

     Miguel Cairo

    .231

     Kenny Lofton

    .226

     John Olerud

    .221

     John Flaherty

    .218

     Bubba Crosby

    .188

     Enrique Wilson

    .168

     Dioner Navarro

    .143

     Homer Bush

    .063

     Felix Escalona

    .056

     Travis Lee

    .050

    I’m going to continue to play around with this for a while. Shoot, for all I know, someone has already done this with BPA? Or, I’m just expressing something else already done in a more complicated manner? It’s more than likely. However, just in case it is not the truth, I need to stick a flag on this puppy and claim it in the name of WasWatching.com, right?

    Therefore, for me (and hopefully the world) BPA/2 will henceforth be known as Plate Appearances Results Ratio, or “PARR.”

    If any of the more learned sabermetricians out there would be willing to comment on this, it would be appreciated. I know just enough to be dangerous. And, rather than have the guys over at Primer accuse me of sabermasturbation or something worse, it is better to ask for help on this before having it tattooed on my forehead. (By the way, what ever happened to Gary Myrick? He was awesome).

    PARR……..good, bad, ugly? Been done before? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks in advance.

    Update, 5/20/05, 11:55 pm EST: I’ve been playing around with PAAR for some time tonight. I think I have something interesting. A lot of times, when you have a guy with good OWP, OPS, and/or RCAA – and, if he has a low PAAR, the next year, he bombs. It’s still early – I want to look at this more. But, it’s kinda cool. Stay tuned.

    Update, 5/21/05, 9:16 am EST: I just took 22 major league batters at random who qualified for the batting title during the seasons of 2000 through 2003 and who had a PARR of <= .270 and an OPS >=.800 in a season. Of those 22, one was terrible the next year, one had his career end, 9 saw a drop in their numbers the next season, 4 had poor seasons next – and 3 were about the same the next year and 4 improved the following season. So, on this very small sample, two-thirds of these batters did not do as well the next year with the bat. That’s enough for me to keep playing with this for a while – to see if I can find more good stuff. Stay tuned.

    Update, 5/27/05, 11:49 am EST: I just looked at the 643 major league batters who qualified for the batting title during the seasons of 2000 through 2003.

    From that group, 134 had a PARR of <= .270 and an OPS >=.800 in a season. Of this group, 64% saw their numbers go down the next year, 5% stayed about the same and 31% saw an increase the following year. (Note, this includes guys who were injured or out of MLB, etc., the next year as being “down.”)

    Seems like this cut is a good flag for possible stat reduction the next year – but, it would be nice to know the overall ‘natural’ average of “down” next years to see if the 64% is high, low, or normal.

    Also, while I was at it, I looked at those within the 270/800 cut with 20+ RCAA and 25+ RCAA in the season. For the 20+ RCAA group, which ws 32 batter/seasons, 75% were down the next year. And, for the 25+ RCAA group, which was 26 batter/seasons, 84% were down the next year.

    R.I.P. Emanuel Gluck

    Posted by on May 20th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    Sounds like he had ten times more fun than most people – but, 65 is too young to go. This is sad.

    Here’s the meat of his story:

    Emanuel Gluck, a retired middle-school principal who had a rich alternate life as Yankee Stadium’s longest-working vendor, signified by his No. 1 badge, died of a heart attack last Thursday at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in Manhattan. He was 65.

    Gluck, 6 feet 6 inches tall, was the guy with the booming bass voice at Gate 4. He was there for every opening day for 50 years, saw every perfect game pitched at Yankee Stadium and was on hand for 19 World Series, 10 of which the Yankees won.

    ……

    Gluck was born March 4, 1940, in the Bronx, and grew up about a block from Yankee Stadium. When he was 14, he went to work for the Harry M. Stevens Co., which handled Yankee concessions from the stadium’s opening in 1923.

    He stayed after the concession passed in 1963 to the Automatic Canteen Co. of America, and then through various name and ownership changes. The company now managing Yankee concessions is called Centerplay. An employee of Centerplay confirmed Tuesday that Gluck had hawked one thing or another in Yankee Stadium since 1964, which is as far back as records go.

    The young Gluck began by selling popcorn, peanuts and hot dogs in the upper decks, worked his way up to soda and beer, and graduated to programs and souvenirs, the prestige assignment. For 20 years, until about seven years ago, he manned the souvenir stand at Gate C at Shea Stadium as well.

    One of the best things about being the senior man at these souvenir posts was that he could often leave after two innings and watch the game.

    Gluck also worked when New York professional football teams played at Yankee Stadium, the Polo Grounds and Shea.

    Somebody should have gotten him to write a book. I would have read it.

    Life After The Big Stein

    Posted by on May 20th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Stephan Clark of the Lake County (CA) Record-Bee recently wrote:

    Imagine if you will that day when George Steinbrenner is called to the Big Bambino in the Sky. I’m not wishing him there, at least no sooner than God would will it. I’m only saying: Imagine.

    Because when Steinbrenner’s gone, who will take over?

    The 75-year-old’s sons (Hank, 47, and Hal, 36) have recently taken an increased role in the club, as has Steinbrenner’s son-in-law, the 50-year-old Steve Swindall. So while I can’t say who will assume the throne, I can say there are no shortage of candidates.

    But what if there’s a struggle, and one son wants to cash out when another doesn’t? The team could be put up for sale and sold to the highest bidder.

    A few years ago, a group of highrollers led by John Henry bought the Boston Red Sox for a record $660 million.

    With the YES Network included in Steinbrenner’s holdings, the Yankees could easily go for twice that.

    We’ve all seen in the recent NY/NJ sports scene how co-owners just don’t work – even when they’re family. I think about this sometimes. The state of the Yankees in about 10 years from now could be quite a mess. We should enjoy what we have now – because it could be a long time before we see it again, if ever.

    1970′s Rain Delay Soundtrack

    Posted by on May 20th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    This morning is one of those……..

    It’s raining. It’s pouring.
    The old man is snoring.
    He went to bed
    and he covered his head.
    And he didn’t wake up
    till the morning.

    ……….types of mornings here right now. And, when this happens on days of ‘you’d like to see’ games, Hot Butter’s “Popcorn” instrumental hit starts cueing up in my head – as it seemed to be a WPIX mid-’70′s staple for the musical backdrop to the rain delay wallpaper that they used to throw up on the screen (when scrambling to decide what else to put on).

    Anyone out there feel like humming along on this one with me today?

    Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop.
    Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop.
    Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop, Pop-Pop…….

    Man, that and when they used “Raindrops keep falling of my head” – it was just maddening, I say! (In a good Yankee zealot kind of way.)

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on May 19th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    FYI, a review of the book is now available over at TigerBlog.net.

    Click here for the review.

    Many thanks to Brian Borawski at TigerBlog for taking the time to check out the book!

    Robinson Cano’s Historical Perspective

    Posted by on May 19th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    The recent play of Robinson Cano made me wonder “How many men have played 2B for the Yankees, for a minimum of 100 Plate Appearance in a season, at age 22 or younger”?

    I was surprised to see the answer is just six – before Cano:

    Willie Randolph – 1976 & 1977
    Tony Lazzeri – 1926
    Leo Durocher – 1928
    Bobby Richardson – 1957 & 1958
    Jerry Priddy – 1941
    Joe Gedeon – 1916

    We know that Willie and Richardson went on to have long Yankee careers. And, Lazzeri was a Hall of Famer. They’re the top end of this half-dozen.

    Durocher, reportedly, got himself in hot water with Babe Ruth – who thought that Leo stole his watch. And, that, combined with some other questions about his character, had Durocher out of Yankeeland in a hurry. Besides, Leo was more of a SS than a 2B anyway.

    Gerry Priddy, who was the DP partner of some guy named “Fiero Francis Rizzuto” in the minors, was a bit of a loud mouth (like Leo) and he was sent packing after a couple of seasons in the Bronx. After his playing days, he put a bomb on a boat and tried to extort a quarter-million dollars from the company that owned it. That usually tells you something about a person.

    Joe Gedeon was later traded to the White Sox (in 1918) and got himself tied up in the Black Sox Scandal and was eventually banned from the game.

    So, as far as Robinson Cano, as long as he doesn’t steal A-Rod’s Rolex, or pop-off too much, or start getting plugged in to other bad things, he’s in pretty nice company…….with Lazzeri, Randolph, and Richardson.

    Not too shabby.

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