• May 18th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 19th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    It had to end sometime.

    You just cannot win everyday. And, after winning 10 in a row, you knew it was coming soon. Actually, earlier on Wednesday, I thought to myself “If they lose today, it won’t be the worst thing. You don’t want to go into the Mets series being due for a loss. Maybe it’s better to get it out of your system and then be hungry for another win when you start up at Shea?”

    But, when I saw the last 3 starts stats on YES for Mussina and Moyer at the beginning of the game last night – where Moose was lights-out and Moyer had an Opp BA over .500 and an ERA over 16 – I thought “OK, 11 in a row is good too.” And, then, it happened.

    I went to bed last night ’round midnight after five with the Yankees winning 6-4 and thinking good thoughts. Then, this AM, I woke up, flipped on ESPN News on the box, and saw that Seattle won the game, and “L: Gordon (0-3)” scrolled by and I thought “Oh, great.” Then, I got on-line and read the recap on ESPN.com.

    I’m glad I missed the 6th where Posada and Sheffield decided to sample some of the greatest hits from the days Tin Glove Alley – after two outs! – to allow the M’s to score two and then tie the game.

    And, I’m really glad I missed where Gordon later gives up the two out hit in the 8th to Miguel Olivo (thanks a lot Kevin Millar) to break the tie.

    Even after this, the Yankees managed to load the bases with two outs in the 9th…..but Giambi Ks looking on an 0-2 pitch to end the game. And, if that’s not bad enough, we see this quote from the MVP-turned-human-version-of-the-last-shot-out-of-a-roman-candle: “I got caught looking slider and he threw a fastball.”

    Jason, it was an 0-2 pitch with two outs and the bags full and the game on the line……..and you’re pitch guessing? My stars, are you that bad of a ballplayer? Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your brain, and, this is your brain on steroids. Scary.

    At least I didn’t say up to watch it live.

    So, now, instead of riding the high of an 11-game winning streak, the Yankees have to make a long plane ride home from the west coast thinking about the win they gave away in ugly fashion, and then sit on that all-day today as they return to New York, trying to bounce back from the time-difference. And, then they get to strap it on for the Mets on Friday. And, who’s on the mound for the Yanks?

    Kevin Brown.

    I have to stop now before I break the keyboard.

    He Knows Us! He Really, Really, Knows Us!

    Posted by on May 18th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Newsday just published a piece on Big Stein’s upcoming appearance on Michael Kay’s CenterStage (that will air on YES on 5/22). This line in it from The Boss hit home:

    “There are people that get up in the morning and have their good day or bad day depending on how the Yankees did the night before.”

    True.

    Actually, sometimes I also have a good or bad “rest of the evening” too – depending on the game that day. And, then that carries over to the next morning.

    Bernie Williams and the HOF

    Posted by on May 18th, 2005 · Comments (11)

    The topic came up today in a comment made to a WasWatching.com entry regarding Bernie Williams chances for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

    Let us look at the numbers a bit. If you just look at OFers, and hitting, the best match (to date) for Bernie Williams (in my opinion) is Indian Bob Johnson. Note the stats for each (with the numbers for Williams through 2004):

    berniebob.jpg

    Now, this is interesting – because there are many that feel Bob Johnson should be in the HOF and his omission all these years is a VC oversight. But, the issue for me here is that Johnson was a LF whereas Bernie was a CF. So, what CFers from baseball history best line up with Bernie to date as a hitter? See the following – which, again, is in my opinion:

    berniebob2.jpg

    This is interesting as well – because both Roush and Ashburn are in the HOF and Bernie was a better batter than they were, in terms of relative career batting results (through 2004 for Williams). But, both Rousch and Ashburn were excellent fielding CFers – whereas Bernie, on the whole, was not in their class.

    On the other hand, compare Bernie to another recent CF that was granted HOF entry:

    berniebob3.jpg

    The Plate Appearance totals are about the same and clearly Bernie was a more effective batter, career-wise, than Puckett. But, Kirby also was reportedly a good fielding CF – albeit not in the Ashburn-class.

    In any event, in terms of CFers with the bat, there’s something to be said for making a claim for Bernie Williams being in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Is he a Mantle, Speaker, Mays or DiMaggio? No. But, Bernie is clearly at the top of the next level.

    So, will Bernie Williams be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame? The answer here is: Probably not. Any time that you need to think about whether or not a guy deserves to be in, and then have look at the numbers to see where he stacks up, that usually means the voters will not put him on their ballot.

    The only thing that might change this is if the media really starts pounding the comparisons of Bernie to other centerfielders who are in/not in the Hall and the facts become very obvious by the time he’s on the ballot.

    What are the odds of that?

    May 17th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 18th, 2005 · Comments (15)

    First off, a great win last night. Yankees keep pace with the O’s and Sox who also won. And, as West Coast trips can go, this one could not be any better. Also, Pavano was sharp. But, here’s the scary part from last night:

    In an ESPN.com report, I read that “Torre believes Giambi has been showing good signs and will continue to play this weekend in the interleague series at the Mets.”

    Why, because Giambi had three hits last night? This is a joke. I saw the three hits. The first one was a pop-up that fell in, the second one was a ground ball, and the third one (the HR) was a breaking pitch that didn’t do much, and, in the words of Kenny Singleton, was in Giambi’s “happy zone.” I’ll add that it was hit off a guy with an ERA on 6.27 who already had allowed 6 HRs in 18 IP so far this season.

    So, for this output, the Yankees are willing to pull one of their hottest hitters (Tino) out of the lineup, and put one of their worst defenders (Giambi) in the field, for a series in (of all places!) Shea Stadium? Is that enough reward for a bloop, a bleeder, and a BP HR? Why not throw the guy a parade too?

    Do the Yankees realize that I have to go to work on Monday and that the Mets fans will be lined up waiting for me to talk about Pedro vs. Giambi, and how many runs Minky saved this weekend vs. how many Giambi let in while in the field?

    Joe Torre, why me? What did I ever do to you? Unless, of course, the Yankees want Giambi to embarrass himself this weekend to build a case? Nah, can’t be – right? After all, winning ball games is the important thing, no?

    Then, why sit Tino to play Giambi? Based on what? There’s nothing to support this – zip, zilch, zero, nada.

    Unless, of course, if by “continue to play” Joe means that he’ll use Giambi as a PH at not leave him on the bench completely. Maybe this is the case? I hope so.

    Thinking Three Days Ahead

    Posted by on May 17th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Just before 9 pm EST tonight, I was channel surfing a bit (waiting for House M.D. to come on). On my cable provider, Channel 55 is YES, 56 is MSG, 57 is ESPN, 58 is ESPN2, and 60 is ESPN Classic. So, as I typically do when I start flicking around, I started on Channel 55 and began moving forward.

    And, just as I hit Channel 56, I saw Stick Michael sitting at Shea Stadium watching the Reds and Mets play. Gene had all his scouting stuff with him – stop watch, notebook, etc.

    My first reaction was “What’s Stick doing there? There’s no way the Yankees are working a deal with the Mets? Oh, no, please don’t tell me they’re checking out Griffey Jr.!” And, then I remembered – Subways Series 2005 starts this Friday.

    Geez, having Stick Michael do the advance scouting for an interleague series in May? You know Big Stein still wants to always beat the Mets. Worth noting – and then seeing what happens if the Yankees have a letdown of some sort this weekend.

    Avoiding The “Inefficient” Inning

    Posted by on May 17th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    A recent Star-Ledger piece entitled “Striking out in the majors now is considered no worse than any other out” contained the following:

    The Moneyball theorists consider a strikeout no worse than any other kind of out — better, in fact, than a double-play grounder. But there are still talent evaluators who can’t stand the idea of a high strikeout total.

    “Ultimately, the strikeout, you get no value from it,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “There’s no moving of the runner, no way for the defense to feel pressured. It’s worthless. To me, it’s the biggest offense you can commit on offense.”

    Cashman’s belief is that a fair ball creates a chance of something good happening for the hitter — be it an error, a ground ball that moves a runner — while a strikeout offers no such opportunity. As for players like Dunn or Sexson, who manage to be productive in spite of their high strikeout totals, Cashman’s answer is that they’re not as productive as they could be.

    “The guys who can hit home runs and still be productive despite being big whiffers, I still term those guys as inefficient,” Cashman said. “I’ll look at that and say, ‘Look how much better this person can be.’”

    Looking at the stats from 2002 through 2004, there were 20 men in the American League to whiff 300+ times during this period. In terms of K/AB ratio (of these 20) the leaders were:

    Mike Cameron 0.290083411
    Carlos Pena 0.285714286
    Corey Koskie 0.248370746
    Jose Valentin 0.246671338
    Carlos Delgado 0.246575342
    Jorge Posada 0.239417071
    Jason Varitek 0.236784938
    Jason Giambi 0.231052244
    Eric Hinske 0.221451104
    Jacque Jones 0.212856277
    David Ortiz 0.210124827
    Alex Rodriguez 0.206877729
    Alfonso Soriano 0.205438066
    Bret Boone 0.198573779
    Torii Hunter 0.195547533

    Memo to Joe Torre: Please do not bat Posada, Giambi, and A-Rod, back-to-back-to-back in the line-up……..ever. Ask Cash for more details on why.

    The Broadcast Power Trio

    Posted by on May 17th, 2005 · Comments (12)

    The YES Network has many announcers covering games this year (as they did last season): Jim Kaat, Bobby Murcer, Michael Kay, Ken Singleton, David Justice and Paul O’Neill. And, they mix and match them in numerous combinations to cover various series, home-stands, road-trips, etc.

    Personally, having grown up with Phil Rizzuto, Bill White and Frank Messer covering the Yankees on TV, I’m in favor of having the same three-man booth, game-after-game, doing every game.

    And, I think three men in the current YES stable might be the prefect combo to match the days of Scooter, White and Messer.

    If it were up to me, I would go with Ken Singleton, Jim Kaat and Paul O’Neill for every game. Singleton is like Messer – a gentleman with great class who is full of grace. Kaat can play the role of Bill White, a semi-curmudgeon who knows his baseball and who is not afraid to be frank and candid. And, O’Neill can be this generation’s Rizzuto – substituting his “Holy Smokes!” for “Holy Cow!” and talking about food and his wife during the dull games. Plus, I think he has no issue with being a homer.

    Granted, Kenny, Kitty, and Paul are all ex-players and it’s always nice to have a “pro” play-by-play (PBP) man in the booth. But, Singleton and Kaat have been around long enough to handle PBP.

    When you have the same guys, game-in and game-out, it builds something between them and the audience. Much like how the characters on a hit TV show come together and then become something that you have an interest in tuning into, on a regular basis. It’s a homey feeling, in a way.

    What to do with Kay, Murcer, and Justice, you might ask? Murcer and Justice can handle the pre- and post-game analysis in the studio. They’ve done it at times and are very good at it. Kay can go back to radio and work with Sterling and allow us to be spared hearing Suzyn Waldman’s nails on a blackboard voice. Michael might not like this. But, Kay has to remember that Michael Kay without the Yankees is no one and he should be happy to do whatever the Yankees ask him to do.

    Suzyn Waldman can go back to doing the locker room interviews for YES and Kim Jones can be sent back to whatever hole they found her in when YES made the mistake of hiring her.

    Then again, no one at YES is asking me. I wish they would.

    May 16th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on May 17th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    Anytime you leave 23 runners on base in a game and still win, you know the baseball gods are smiling on you.

    And, the funny thing is: One of the heroes of this game, Bernie Big Slam Williams left 6 runners on himself.

    Think someday we’ll say “That Wright signing was a good thing – it allowed us to discover Wang. Had the Yankees signed an able-bodied pitcher, poor Wang would have been stuck in Columbus all year in 2005″?

    I missed the 9th inning last night. But, per the boxscore, Mo looked shaky – a walk, a hit, and almost half of his pitches were balls. Something to keep an eye on……maybe?

    Yankees are now 6 back in the loss column. Can’t wait until that gets closer to three.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on May 16th, 2005 · Comments (0)

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    The Difference Today

    Posted by on May 16th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    This morning, the Red Sox are in 2nd place, 2 games back of the O’s. The Yankees are in 4th place, 5 1/2 back.

    Both teams, to date this season, have had batters do very well combined with some that are stinking up the joint. For Boston, Bellhorn, Mueller, Millar, and Renteria have been nothing to brag about. In New York, Giambi and Williams have been ugly at the dish. Posada struggled in April and Matsui struggled somewhat after a hot start as well. Tony Womack has been Tony Womack.

    For the Red Sox, Nixon, Ortiz, Varitek, Damon and Manny have been swinging the hot sticks to date. And, for the Yanks, it’s been Tino, A-Rod, Sheffield, and Jeter.

    This all said, in terms of starters at the plate, it’s been a wash of sorts between the two teams.

    On the mound, the Red Sox have been without Schilling and Wells and the Yankees had bad starts by Wright and Brown. Boston’s Wakefield has been OK so far this year and New York’s Pavano has been so-so. This, all said, is a push (like the batters), to an extent.

    However, for the Sox, Arroyo and Clement have been stellar this year – and are a combined 8-0. And, for the Yanks, Mussina and Randy Johnson have been good, but not great every time.

    If you took that 8-0 out of the Red Sox record, they would be much like the Yankees to date – playing around .500 ball.

    It will be interesting to see where both of these teams take it from here.

    Javy Vazquez – Now You Tell Us?

    Posted by on May 16th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    From just about August last year forward, we heard theories about what was wrong with Javier Vazquez. He can’t stomach pitching in New York. Or, he’s tipping his pitches. Or, he’s not 100% healthy.

    And, that last point was denied – over and over again. Yet, now, according to a TSN report we hear:

    As Vazquez began throwing more crisply and consistently in spring training, he realized how much he was affected by the pain and weakness he had experienced behind his right shoulder blade in the second half of last season. “It altered his release point, impacted his velocity and ultimately crushed his confidence,” a friend of Vazquez says. Vazquez was an All-Star before struggling in the final two months. His velocity, which had dropped to 89 to 90 mph, is back at 93 to 94. . . .

    “Pain and weakness…….behind his right shoulder blade”? Did anyone hear any complaint about that last year – ever? I’m sorry, but, if Yankees fans want to string up Kevin Brown for punching a wall last season and costing the team….then, you have to also make room on that tree for another and give Vazquez some rope time too.

    If he knew that he was injured and it was obviously adversely impacting his ability to pitch, then he was doing a disservice to the team by continuing to go out there and blow games.

    An attempt at nobility by Javy? Perhaps, I guess? But, there comes a time to put your shield down and allow an able bodied warrior to take your place (when you know that you cannot function).

    Especially when it’s Game 7 of the ALCS.

    May 15th @ The A’s

    Posted by on May 15th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    If you would have told me last March that, after 38 games, the Yankees would be a .500 team on the morning of May 16th, I would have said that would be a major disappointment. Yet, given the fact that the Yankees needed to string together a very impressive winning streak to get to .500 at this point, I’m actually feeling pretty good about this team right now.

    In some ways, losing 19 of their first 30 games this season may have been a blessing to this team – if there is such a thing. I believe, that maybe, just maybe, it gave this team a hard slap in the face and taught them (the hard way) that you cannot just throw your gloves on the field and expect to win. Hopefully, if this is a lesson learned, it will be one that says with the team right through their 4th win in the World Series.

    I’m half-and-half on the big Giambi hit today in the 7th. Half of me says “Big deal. The pitch was centered on the plate. Might as well have been on a Tee.” But, the other half of me says “To his credit, he did exactly what you’re supposed to do with a cookie like that – hit the snot out of it.” Deep down inside, I still find myself rooting against him…….because I know total and absolute failure is the only way to get him off the roster (albeit a pricey measure).

    So, Unit fails to strike out a batter for the first time in nearly five years. And, in fact, it was the longest appearance of Johnson’s career without a strikeout. Still, he gets his 250th career win. Baseball is a hoot with stuff like this – time and time again.

    I’m starting to see some Robby Alomar is Cano’s swing. And, he just looks like a ballplayer in the field. I hope they keep him.

    Tino Martinez = Best.insurance.policy.ever.
    He makes the Aflac duck look like Huey, Dewey and Louie’s baby sister.

    May 14th @ The A’s

    Posted by on May 15th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    Just one more win until .500! Poor Unit – going tomorrow, day game after a night game where the Yanks scored fifteen. You know they’re going to only score 2 runs tomorrow, uh, I mean later today. That’s the way it always goes.

    Kudos to the A’s fan for fingering the buffoon who threw the beer at Giambi (who now has his BA up to an even .200!) in the top of the 8th. Imagine having seats that great – right on the dugout – and doing something that stupid. Dude, just enjoy being that close to a major league baseball game. (Whoops, I forgot. Make that half-a-major-league-game. The way the A’s are playing these days is not exactly big league.) There really ought to be a way to make sure someone like this brew-tossing bozo never gets to go to a game again – - but, I know that’s not possible.

    I wish I could bottle a film clip of that shot YES had in the 5th when Posada homered – the reaction of Jeter and A-Rod in the dugout. And, then I could show that to the next person who wants to make the claim that the relationship between Derek and Alex is chilled and forced. Yeah, right.

    Lastly, I laughed out loud when David Justice said “Thank God!” to the mention of how quickly he was traded away from the Mets before ever playing for them. I really wish Kay and Kenny had asked to expand on that. But, they did the right thing by not allowing their partner to get himself in a bad spot.

    May 13th @ The A’s

    Posted by on May 14th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    This is now three games in a row for Moose where he’s won, and, more importantly, it’s the 3rd time that he’s been able to give the team 7+ innings. That’s big.

    Please, please, please, let this be a Giambi showcase that we’re seeing. A loud fly to the track and one base knock was good. Good enough to get Billy Beane hot and bothered? Let’s hope so……..

    I know this requires planning, and foresight, etc., but, it would have been cool if YES, on Womack’s 2-run triple in the 3rd, had a split screen going with Jeter scoring from 1st isolated in one half and Womack going home to 3rd in the other. Talk about a day at the races!

    And, while this has probably happened and maybe I just (heaven forbid) wasn’t watching, it would be nice to see – at least once, for me – where A-Rod makes a play going to his right…….either snaring a liner in the air or snuffing out a grounder-double that’s skipping down the line. Maybe it’s just me, but, I swear, this year, I’ve yet to see him make a play to his right that required any type of range at all. Maybe he’s playing off the line too much? I dunno.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on May 13th, 2005 · Comments (0)

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    Rocket Stay Home

    Posted by on May 13th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    Jon Heyman has a piece out today on the possible return of Roger Clemens to the Yankees this season.

    This is not the first time this theory has come up in the past month or so. For certain, if it were to happen, it would be costly. Clemens makes $3 mill per month. And, if he’s traded, he gets a $3 mill ‘pain and suffering’ bonus. Furthermore, on the Yankee-side, there would be the Steinbrenner, er, I mean, Luxury Tax impact. That’s a lotta cheddar for a rental.

    And, there’s the issue here of what prospect do you offer back to the Astros for Rent-A-Rocket? Cano? Wang? Duncan? Melky C? I’ve never had an issue with giving up kids for a player – because, unless you can hit the ground running in NYC like a Jeter, Mo, or Donnie, chances are the Yankees cannot tolerate the typical rookie-to-player learning curve. But, that’s OK if you get someone who’s going to be around for a few years. Not OK if it’s someone who’s going to be here just for a few months.

    Personally, the whole “I’m retiring/I’m coming back” thing in 2003 totally turned me off Clemens and allowed me to remove my Yankees-blinders when looking at him. Thus, I see him now for what he is: An all-about-me player. Because of this, I’d rather lose without him than win with him.

    Lastly, who says Clemens would be any good for the Yankees? Look, behind the numbers and honestly, at what he did when he was here.

    In 1999, he was a below average pitcher. He did rebound in 2000 and 2001 to pitch very effectively. However, in 2002, he was just a league average pitcher. And, in 2003 (his ‘going into retirement’ season) he was slightly above average – but, nowhere near where he was in 2000 or 2001.

    Some might say “Whoa there pard! He won 77 games in da’stripes over 5 years. That’s some’tin.” But, to that, I would say “Based on the quality of his pitching performance metrics, Clemens should have won about 63 games in his 5 years in New York – which is around 13 wins per year and a lot less than the 77 games he was credited with winning.”

    Clemens was good when he was in New York. But, he was not the head-and-shoulders above everyone else pitching god of the Yankees team. He was just about the same as Mussina and Pettitte.

    At this stage of the game, in terms of pitching behind Unit, and all things considered, I’ll take my chances with Moose, Pavano, Wang, and pray for rain.

    Let Roger stay home this summer, watch his kids games, drive his Hummer, and rub his puppy Pettitte’s belly when he rolls over for him. We’ll just figure out a way to win without him – if it’s up to me.

    In A Time, Not So Farr, Farr Away

    Posted by on May 12th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA) is a Lee Sinins creation. It is the amount of runs that a pitcher saved versus what an average pitcher would have allowed. It is similar to the statistic Pitching Runs detailed in the book Total Baseball – except (1) both have different ways of park adjustments and (2) Total Baseball added a procedure to take into account the amount of decisions the pitcher had while Runs Saved Above Average does not.

    Just now, I was wondering for a moment, who were the top 5 Yankee pitchers in the 1990′s, in terms of RSAA? Thanks to my handy-dandy sabermetric baseball encyclopedia, I was able to run the following quick list:

    NEW YORK YANKEES 1990-1999
    Top 5 RSAA Leaders

    1 David Cone 103
    2 Mariano Rivera 86
    3 Andy Pettitte 78
    4 Jimmy Key 52
    T5 Steve Farr 29
    T5 John Wetteland 29

    You’d expect Mo to be on this list. Pettitte too. Cone and Key shouldn’t shock anyone. And, Wetteland was a good pitcher.

    But, the name that few would expect, and who is on the list, is Steve Farr.

    Top Five. Farr, yes. David Wells, Mike Stanton, El Duque, and Jeff Nelson, no. Go figure.

    I think this says a little something about Steve Farr (in that he was one of the Yankees better pitchers when he was in NY) and a lot about the state of Yankees pitching in the early 1990′s.

    I wonder if Steve Farr showed up at a Yankees Old Timer’s Day, would the fans give him the proper appreciation? There’s no reason not to – he was fine when he was here.

    Homer Happy Old-Timers

    Posted by on May 12th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    Tino Martinez is 37-years-old. As of this AM, Tino has hit 9 homeruns this season. This is pretty much a 40-HR season pace.

    How many Yankees have hit 40+ homeruns in a season while being 37-years-old, or older? Just one. Some guy by the name of George Herman Ruth did it in 1932.

    Say Tino slows a tad on the big fly pace. What if he posts 30 long balls for the year? How many Yankees have hit 30+ homeruns in a season while being 37-years-old, or older? Again, just one – that Ruth fella again. Following that 1932 season where he hit forty-one, he hit 34 out of the park in 1933.

    OK, while we’re on it. How many Yankees have hit 20+ homeruns in a season while being 37-years-old, or older?

    Well, ol’ G.H. Ruth did also have 22 HRs in 1934 when he was 39-years-old. (I’m starting to think he was a pretty good hitter.) So, he’s on the Old-Timer 20+ HR list three times. And, besides him……..we have just three:

    Johnny Mize in 1950 (with 25), Paul O’Neill in 2001 (with 21) and Graig Nettles in 1983 (with 20 on the nose).

    What does this all tell us? It says if “Bamtino” can keep it up this year going yard, we’re seeing something pinstripily special.

    May 11th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 11th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Clams on the half shell and roller-skates.
    These are good times.

    This time last week, this is the type of game that the Yankees would have lost. However, instead of an ugly loss, we saw an ugly win. No matter, there are no style points in baseball. A win, baby, is a win, albeit of the Angelina Jolie class or something that looks like an orangutan’s butt after he just guzzled a gallon of caster oil.

    Today, the pen was mightier than the sword. And, that helped a lot.

    .500, here we come.

    On a side note, I was surprised to see that Russ Johnson was added to the team when F’ed-Rod went down. In 2002, Johnson missed two months due to anxiety and depression. I hope he’s over that now. New York can be a tough place to play. Then again, if you’ve seen the Columbus roster, there’s not many other options to pick from down there. It’s not a basket full of prizes.

    May 10th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 10th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Tonight’s victory is a big one. Whenever you have a winning streak and then have Brown or Wang pitching, and they can win and keep it going – so that one of the Cash Money Brothers in the rotation can get a turn at keeping it going, that’s a clutch win.

    Wang is starting to remind me of Ramiro Mendoza, if ‘Doza had been a good starting pitcher. Keeping it down, moving it, pitching to contact.

    Think Tino is locked in?

    I’ve read some Internet reports tonight that said Giambi could be headed to the minors. But, in the YES post-game, Joe said he’s taking Giambi on the road trip and that Jason thinks he’s close to coming out if it. I’m sticking with my June 15th deadline mentioned earlier today.

    Drawing The Line For Jason Giambi

    Posted by on May 10th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    In the YES post-game coverage last night, David Justice said that Jason Giambi is not able to catch up with fastballs. This is not new. It’s been a year since Giambi was an effective hitter. Since June 1st of last year, he’s been a bust. Therefore, Giambi’s lack of performance during the first 6 weeks of this season should be not a total shock.

    Right now, Giambi is a scarecrow in the batter’s box and he’s running the bases like Mr. Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. And, to complete the total package, a blindfolded Venus de Milo would be a better first baseman at this point than Jason.

    The Yankees should designate June 15th as “Deadwood Decision Day” (D3, for short) for Jason Giambi. If, after another 5 weeks from today, Giambi is still playing like he was been to date this season, then make a call on him and roll with it.

    Call Billy Beane and see if he would take him – assuming the Yankees pay most of his salary – in exchange for a bag of batting practice balls and an autographed copy of Moneyball. Or, find out if Howie Spira has any dirt on Giambi. Or, hire a Jeff Gillooly type and see if Giambi can be put on the DL for the rest of the year. Or, just cut the bum and eat the salary. Whatever – but, do something.

    To take no action on Giambi by mid-June, if he continues to under-perform, is a disservice to the team and an insult to Yankees fans.

    I’m sure Jason is a really nice guy. But, this is about winning, not making friends. And, Giambi is hurting the Yankees now in numerous more ways than he is helping them.

    May 9th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 9th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    I had a business commitment this evening and could not pick up the game until the 7th inning when I tuned into the radio coverage from my car. I thought they were nuts to have Jeter bunt over Sanchez for Womack in the bottom of the 8th.

    Just goes to show what I know.

    I got home just in time to see the post-game on YES. Randy certainly looked pumped coming off the mound in the 8th (per the highlights that I saw). Even after all these years, the Unit lives to compete. That’s good. This team needs that kind of heart.

    As exciting as it is to finally win three in a row this year, it’s depressing as heck to think the Yankees are still so far below .500.

    I know, I know………you have to crawl before you can walk – and you have to walk before you can run. I’m just looking forward to when this team not only runs – but, also runs over some teams too.

    I was also going to rant some on Giambi today. But, I’ll save that for another day soon. Why ruin an otherwise nice Yankee win by bringing up the Yankee’s version of Star Trek Deep Space Nine’s “Morn”?

    Mike Mussina’s Game On 9/01/01

    Posted by on May 9th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    From Opening Day 1998 through the final out of the 2000 World Series, things pretty much went the Yankees way.

    The start of the 2001 regular season was a positive for the Yankees as well. In fact, at the close of 8/31/01, New York was in 1st place with a record of 79-56 (leading the Red Sox by 7 games).

    Then, on September 1, 2001, Mike Mussina came within one strike of throwing the first perfect game in the history of Fenway Park. The Sox’ Carl Everett, as a pinch-hitter, broke it up.

    Since that hit, things started going against the Yankees. There was the Mo meltdown in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Then, in 2002, the Yanks were tarred and feathered by the Angels in the ALDS. The next year, New York had the huge letdown in the 2003 World Series against the Marlins. And, by now, everyone knows the story of the 2004 ALCS.

    You know, it was Carl Everett who gave Dan Shaughnessy (who wrote The Curse of the Bambino) the less-than-affectionate nickname “CHB” that Red Sox Nation loves to use for Shaughnessy. Could the curse have been transferred to the Yankees with that Everett hit somehow?

    OK, I know that’s a reach. But, whenever I think about Mussina’s game on 9/1/01, it always seems as if that game is a marker for where the good-luck road started to turn for the recent Yankees champions.

    And, I have to wonder, what if Moose had gotten that last strike?

    May 8th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on May 8th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    For a while now, I’ve been calling Kevin Brown a mother. But, today was mother’s day! Sweet fancy Moses – KB was not toying around out there this afternoon.

    This makes it back-to-back victories for the Bronx Bombers. As you need to win two consecutive games at some point to start a winning streak, the “W” today is a beautiful thing.

    This all said, prior to this series, I saw the following on the A’s in a report somewhere on the ‘net:

    The A’s are batting just .241 as a team, with 19 home runs in 28 games. They have scored three runs or fewer 16 times.

    Therefore, we have to wonder – at least a wee bit – was it us, or them, these past few games?

    In any event, BTB wins will make going to work tomorrow AM somewhat easier and takes some of the sting out of the “I wanna shoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-ot the whole day down” Monday blues.

    And, of course, Happy Mother’s Day! to all the moms out there. Holy cow! Where would we be without you?

    May 7th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on May 7th, 2005 · Comments (13)

    Today, ladies and gentlemen, Mike Mussina stepped up.
    Not as big as Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS or Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS. But, in terms of stepping up for a game on May 7th, Moose came through with a game today as big as one could hope for – and then some.

    Granted, these are the 2005 Oakland A’s – and they’re not exactly an offensive to make you want to cry “Mommy!” But, Mussina did something today that we do not see a lot of in Yankeeland: A complete game shutout victory.

    When you factor in the losing streak, the way the team has been playing, and who is pitching tomorrow for New York – oh, and the facts that the Yankees have several slumping hitters, a bullpen full of arsonists, and a closer that was not available today – then coming through with a shutout this afternoon is a huge, huge, effort.

    Attaboy Moose. You don’t step up all the time. But, when you do, it’s memorable!

    May 6th vs. The A’s

    Posted by on May 6th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    This is starting to take depressing to another level. I’m surprised that one of those YES Ultimate Road Trip people hasn’t checked themselves into the loony bin by now.

    Before the first pitch tonight, I thought I saw something. With the start slightly delayed, the TV cameras focused on the Yankees dugout. Guys were slapping each other, doing the fist, etc., and I thought I saw some energy and upbeat players.

    Then, through the first seven innings of the game, that optimism disappeared. But, it made a comeback in the 8th, albeit short-lived.

    By the 10th inning, well, there just aren’t words. Kaat said it best when he said (something like) “Just when you thought you had hit the lowest of lows, it gets lower.” I guess that’s why they pay Kitty and not me – he’s able to find the words.

    So many of the “old guard” had a hand in this one – Mo (walking the 9th place hitter to start the 10th?), Jeter with a muff, Tino with a boot and a bad throw, and, Posada……..Oh, my stars and garters, will someone please put a leash on Jorge when he’s on 2nd base? Watching tonight was like watching an old, past his prime, fighter get slugged around in a ring he had no business being in.

    And, while it was not a factor in this game, having two players on the active roster who cannot play the field is going to cost the Yankees a game very soon. When Phillips moved to LF, what would have happened if he, Matsui, or Sheff got tossed from the game or injured? Rey Sanchez to the OF? That’s about all that was left.

    Prediction: 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.

    And Then There Was Brown

    Posted by on May 6th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Coming into tonight’s game, the Yankees team ERA is 5.23 (according to dougstats.com). This mark is next to dead last in the AL. And, it’s not that far from rock bottom, which is Tampa Bay @ 5.86.

    Needless to say, this is not good.

    However, if you take the Yankees current team pitching totals, and subtract the “contributions” of (to date) Sean Henn, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, Steve Karsay, and Felix Rodriguez, then the team ERA would be closer to 4.23.

    An ERA of 4.23 would place the Yankees around 7th in the current AL team ERA rankings. This is not great. But, it’s still means being in the top half of the league in ERA – which is much, much, better than being next to (and almost) last in ERA.

    Therefore, when people say “the Yankees pitching stinks” – they are not correct. To date, five Yankee pitchers have “stunk” and they are: Sean Henn, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, Steve Karsay, and Felix Rodriguez.

    Now, Henn is back in the minors. And, Wright is on the DL until who knows when(?). In addition, Karsay has been designated for assignment. These three pitchers can do no more harm to the Yankees, at least presently.

    There’s some rumors out there today that Felix Rodriguez might be traded to the Cubs. For Yankees fans, this is good news – based on the way F’ed-Rod has thrown this season so far. Who does that leave?

    Just Kevin Brown.

    If you want to say that the Yankees problem is pitching, there’s just one part of that problem left: Kevin Brown.

    And, pretty soon, if he doesn’t turn it around, well……

    Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo, fum
    I smell smoke at the big Stadium.

    Ol’ Kevin Brown, Ol’ Kevin Brown
    He’s a clown,
    that Kevin Brown.
    He’s gonna get caught
    Just you wait and see.
    Pretty soon he’ll be another ex-Yankee

    WasWatching.com Stuff

    Posted by on May 6th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Want to make my day sometime?

    Let me meet you somewhere, sometime, and see that you’re wearing an official WasWatching.com Shirt or using the official WasWatching.com Tote Bag.

    It’s the perfect shirt for the Stadium!

    And, the small profits from the sales of these items help support this site.

    Pitching Is My Main Concern

    Posted by on May 6th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    The Big Stein speaks! From a USA Today report:

    “I am concerned because time is getting shorter as each day goes by,” he told USA TODAY on Thursday. “We’ve got to get better, that’s for sure. It’s never too early. Pitching is my main concern.”

    ……….

    “We’re just not getting the pitching,” he said. “I don’t know whether we have to think of some changes there or what.”

    ……….

    “Joe Torre doesn’t attach much importance to spring training, but now this is in his lap, his lap and (general manager) Brian Cashman’s lap. They’ve got to perform, and the coaches have to perform.”

    ………..

    “I think we have a great team, and they’ll start pulling together once the pitching goes, then they’ll all go. As Joe Torre says, pitching wins it. Pitching is important. We’ve got to have it.”

    The two most important lines in there:

    1. “We’re just not getting the pitching,” he said. “I don’t know whether we have to think of some changes there or what.”

    2. “the coaches have to perform.”

    Bye-bye Mel.

    This is at least two years overdue. The question is: Who will replace him? Reportedly, Neil Allen is a Stein guy. And, Gil Patterson is in Columbus. But, the Yankees need someone like Ray Miller – and what he did for the O’s last and this year, turning around the staff. Like what Orel has done in Texas too. Tom House? Dave Stewart? I dunno? I’m just pulling names out of the air. Johnny Sain is 87. Count him out. Is Joe Kerrigan working somewhere?

    Who would you like to see replace Mel? Kaat? Gooden? Gator? Tommy John?

    If it were possible, I would love to see them pull Jimmy Key into this. I think he would be perfect.

    May 5th @ The Devil Rays

    Posted by on May 5th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    We Play Today, We Lose Today, Dassit.

    Is there someone out there who can explain this new math to me? I’m having a very hard time understanding how 29,893,567 is better than 205,938,439, three times out of four.

    As of this moment, I am convinced that this team had the life sucked out of them in the 2004 ALCS and until they receive a spark to reanimate them, we’re not going to see anything different from what we’ve been seeing this year.

    From 1989 to 1992, the Yankees averaged 90 losses per season. Since that time, they’ve never lost more than 74 in a given year.

    Their magic number is now 57. If the Yankees lose 57 more games, that would give them an all-time high loss mark since 1992. In order to not lose 57 more games, they must win 4 out of every 7, from now until the end of the year. It’s possible. But, first, we need that spark.

    Quick, everyone start cutting out pictures from old Yankee yearbooks, put on a rally cap, and sing with me……..

    From my heart and from my hand
    Why don’t people understand
    My intentions . . . . Oooh, weird . . . .

    Weird science!!

    (Weird science)
    Magic and technology
    Voodoo dolls and chants
    Electricity We’re makin’

    (Weird science)
    Fantasy and microchips
    Shooting from the hip
    Something different
    We’re makin’

    (Weird science)
    Pictures from a magazine
    Diagrams and charts
    Mending broken hearts (and makin’)

    (Weird science) Something like a recipe
    Bits and pieces . . . . Bits and pieces . . . .

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