• Wayne Franklin

    Posted by on June 30th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Wayne Franklin is the new LOOGY in town.

    Whenever I hear the name “franklin” these days, I think of the Orlando Jones character “Clifford Franklin” from the movie The Replacements. And, then I hear “Clifford Franklin is lookin’ for a new ho!” in my head. (One of the funniest lines in a sports comedy, to me. But, then again, I can be strange sometimes on things like that.)

    Anywho, the Yankees new Franklin is no kid. He’s 31. And, he’s been around the block. In the last 5 years, he’s been in 4 big league cities now. And, he’s been pounded pretty good in some spots.

    The word is that he has average stuff, and when he can control the zone, is a capable pitcher. But, you can say that about any minor league vet – like this one.

    If the Yankees are smart, they’ll let Franklin play catch with Mo before every game and see if they can catch lightning twice.

    Web-Rag: Jeter and A-Rod Slug It Out

    Posted by on June 30th, 2005 · Comments (25)

    According to a web report:

    On June 20, after a throwing error from Jeter to Rodriguez handed the Yankees a 5-4 loss to the last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays, a TV producer says the sluggers came to blows in the clubhouse.

    “I was doing an interview in the locker room and saw them go at it,” says the source. “A-Rod walked past Jeter’s locker and mumbled something about his throw, then Jeter told him to go f*** himself and all hell broke lose. Their teammates were pulling them away from each other.”

    “Now you have guys like Bernie Williams who remember winning the World Series taking Jeter’s side, and then you have the trades, like Tony Womack, taking A-Rod’s side,” says a ballclub insider. “What you have is a team that’s split, and you can’t win baseball games like that.” Yankees spokesman Rick Cerrone called the fight an “absolute fantasy,” and denied any rift between the players, claiming “there are no lines drawn in the clubhouse.”

    I have no idea if this is true or not. But, I do know that a report such as this, now that it is out, is not going to help this team. It’s just something else for the media to hound them on……which is not a good thing.

    Best thing for Jeter and A-Rod to do now is a joint interview to show they get along, etc., and put this little fire out.

    Good-Bye Q and Stanton

    Posted by on June 30th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From the News:

    Mike Stanton and Paul Quantrill could be traded or released during the Bombers’ off day in Detroit, as both veteran relievers appeared to be saying goodbye to teammates late last night.

    One Yankee insider wasn’t certain what method the Yanks might use to cut ties with Stanton and Quantrill, but indicated the Bombers were looking to get younger in their bullpen.

    Well, a week ago, I wrote that these two were just taking up space. So, this is not a shock.

    They’ll both land somewhere. No need to shed any tears here.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    FYI, a review of the book is now available over at Brian Kamenetzky’s Full Count.

    Click here for the review.

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

    And, if you get a chance, check out Brian’s book – Fishing on the Edge.

    Strange But True!

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    The Yankees game tonight, 6/29/05, at Baltimore, was rained out.

    When was the last time that the Yankees had a road game called?

    It was almost two years to the day – July 2, 2003, also, a game at Baltimore.

    Several games have been called at the Stadium in the last two years – but, other than tonight, and the 7/2/03 game, nothing on the road (in between).

    Wacky.

    If The Yankees Lose Tonight

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Coming into today, here are the June winning percentages for each AL team:

    Angels .708
    White Sox .696
    A’s .680
    Indians .640
    Red Sox .640
    Tigers .542
    Twins .520
    Mariners .500
    Orioles .462
    Yankees .462
    Royals .440
    Blue Jays .423
    Devil Rays .320
    Rangers .320

    There are only four teams in the AL worse than the Yankees, so far, this month. If the Yankees lose tonight, and the Royals and Blue Jays win, then there will be only two teams with worse June records in the AL.

    If they Yankees lose tonight, that puts their June record at 12-15. Those 15 losses would a “month-high” (or low?) mark for the season. (The Yankees lost 14 games in April and 10 in May.)

    After tonight, the Yankees have 84 games left this season. If the Yankees lose tonight, they would have to play .607 ball the rest of the way to get 90 wins for the season.

    But, it’s not like a win tonight will change much here either. June has just been a terrible month for New York – like April was for them. Time to close the book on it and move on.

    The Yankees need to win at least 16 games in July to pull back into this thing. Another month of 10-12 wins is just not going to do it.

    So, what I’m saying is this: If they Yankees lose more than 10 games in the month of July, turn out the lights, because the party (as lame as it has been this year) will be over.

    The countdown begins on Friday.

    Quantrill For Juan Encarnacion?

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From the Sun-Sentinel:

    Since the 2003 World Series, the Yankees have been enamored with Juan Pierre. They may settle for another Marlins outfielder to fill their need in center field.

    According to a National League source, the Yankees have inquired about Juan Encarnacion. Their interest could intensity if they can’t pry Mark Kotsay, considered their top target, from the Oakland Athletics. The center field situation has reached a critical point in the Bronx, where the Yankees have resorted to using Tony Womack in the spot Bernie Williams can no longer anchor.

    The Marlins continue to tell teams relief help is their top priority leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline. The Marlins have liked Paul Quantrill in the past and the Yankees are desperate to move him.

    I like this move if the intent is to bring in Encarnacion – who once hit a very, very, long HR in Yankee Stadium – just to play late inning defense and be a pinch-runner, etc.

    As a hitter, he’s pretty bad. Think Tony Clark, like he was last year, and apply that. It’s not Womack-bad. But, it’s basically some HRs, lots of whiffs, few walks, and a low BA. Not exactly the FT answer to the Yankees CF needs.

    Melky Cabrera

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    News on M.C.:

    With the Yankees in the market for a new centerfielder and trade talks heating up, the organization moved one of its top prospects, Trenton Thunder centerfielder Melky Cabrera, to triple-A Columbus. Cabrera, 20, is hitting .267 with nine home runs and 44 runs batted in.

    You do not move a 20-year old from Double-A to Triple-A, when he’s batting .267 in AA, unless something is up.

    Worth noting.

    Moose Tonight

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    From yankees.com:

    Mike Mussina left Baltimore on Monday morning, returning home to Pennsylvania to be with his two youngest children after they were admitted to a hospital for food poisoning.

    Shortly after arriving in Baltimore on Sunday night, Mussina called Torre to ask permission to go home for two days to be with his kids. Torre granted Mussina’s request, as the pitcher had done his between-starts work on Sunday in New York.

    Mussina’s children, 6-year-old Brycen and 2-year-old Peyton, were released from the hospital on Tuesday. Torre said that Mussina, who starts for the Yanks on Wednesday night, was scheduled to arrive back in Baltimore either late Tuesday night or on Wednesday morning.

    “He was very relieved today, because they finally kept some food down,” Torre said.

    As a parent, I know exactly how Mussina must have felt. And, I too would have rushed to my children. Luckily, Montoursville (PA) and Baltimore are only about 3 and a 1/2 hours apart. But, I have to wonder how this stress will impact Moose tonight.

    Will this be another lost series?

    Cameron for Sheffield?

    Posted by on June 29th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    From the Bergen Record:

    The Yankees’ search for a younger, quicker outfield led them to a tentative deal with the Mets that would’ve sent Gary Sheffield to Shea in exchange for Mike Cameron and Miguel Cairo, according to a major league executive who’d been briefed on the talks.

    It was the Yankees who initiated discussion during this past weekend’s Subway Series, according to the source. Saturday’s 10-3 loss to the Mets convinced GM Brian Cashman that Bernie Williams’ rapid decline and the absence of a bona fide replacement would cost the Yankees any chance of getting to the postseason.

    The Mets are believed to be seriously interested in Sheffield, and are now waiting for the Yankees to make a formal offer.

    But, the other day, the NYT has Sheffield saying:

    “I’m not going anywhere,” said Sheffield, who is signed through 2006. “If I have to go somewhere, I won’t go. If they said, ‘Wouldn’t you want to get paid?’ I’d say, ‘I’ve got plenty of money.’ I’m not playing nowhere else. I can promise you that.”

    I think that I know what the Yankees are thinking here. One, they need a CF and the market is tight there. Two, they’re probably thinking that Sheffield will be a major headache next season – looking for an extension, etc. – and want to head that off at the pass. And, do you want to have to give Sheff a contract for a season when he’s going to be 38?

    But, what I do know is that Sheffield is the one batter who strikes fear into the hearts of teams playing the Yankees. You take him out of the line-up, and you have a huge whole that cannot be filled – esp. with Cameron’s bat. I mean, for cryin’ out loud, Sheffield is your number three hitter!

    You do not trade your number three hitter. So, hopefully, this is just smoke to get the A’s and/or M’s to lower the prices for their CFers on the market. That would be the smart thing to do, right?

    Or, is it a mistake to assume that Cerberus can make the right choice sometimes?

    Cerberus In Pinstripes

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    For what it’s worth, on TMKS today on ESPN Radio in NYC, around 4:30 pm, Jon Heyman hinted towards the following:

    The Tony Womack signing was handled by the Tampa office.
    The Carl Pavano signing was a New York branch call.
    And, the Jaret Wright signing was all Big Stein.

    In Greek mythology, Cerberus is the three-headed watchdog who guards the entrance to Hades. According to the story, Cerberus allows new spirits to enter the realm of dead, but does not let them to leave.

    From now on, instead of typing out something like “Yankees Brain Trust” or “The Yankees Front Office” (and such), I’m just going to call them Cerberus – because, in the end, they do the same thing.

    Yankees To Get Swindal’ed

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    It’s official. Steve Swindal is on deck:

    With his 75th birthday approaching next week, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner made it official Tuesday: Son-in-law Steve Swindal will follow him as head of baseball’s most storied team.

    Steinbrenner did not say when Swindal would take over. At a news conference on June 15, Steinbrenner mentioned in passing that Swindal was “going to carry on.”

    “Yes, Steve will be my successor,” Steinbrenner said through spokesman Howard Rubenstein in an e-mail response to questions from The Associated Press. “I also have other sons, daughters, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law coming along and they will remain involved. As I have said many times, ‘You must let the young elephants into the tent.’”

    Swindal, 50, is married to Steinbrenner’s daughter, Jennifer. He said there was no way he would be as hands-on as his father-in-law.

    “I think that’s impossible. My inherent style is more delegation,” Swindal said Tuesday during a telephone interview from Tampa, Fla. “I don’t think there could ever be another George Steinbrenner. He is Mr. Yankee and has represented them for 32 years. I could only could only hope to surround myself with the best, brightest baseball minds and do a lot of listening.”

    Swindal said Steinbrenner had told him he would be the successor.

    “We’ve discussed that all the kids would be involved at some point in running the team and everybody would contribute,” Swindal said. “It just happens at this point in time my kids are further along, and I can spend more time in New York. The other boys have younger children, and they have to stay closer to home.”

    Closer to home? I thought this team was run out of Tampa as it is?

    June 28th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    When the Yankees were retired in the top of the 5th tonight, I thought to myself “They’re going to lose this game.” I thought this even though they were leading the game, 3-1, at the time.

    When Womack managed to reach to start that frame, and then stole second with no outs, and the Yankees 1-2-and-3 batters, Jeter/Cano/Sheffield, could not even advance him to third, I took that as a bad sign.

    And, in the next inning, once Palmeiro homered, I thought to myself, even more, “They’re going to lose this game” – even though the score was 4-3 in favor of New York at that time.

    And, two innings later, when Tom Gordon did his thing in the 8th to allow the O’s to tie the score at four, I was convinced further that “They’re going to lose this game.”

    And, of course, in the bottom of the 10th, as soon as Roberts made contact, I said to myself “They’re going to lose this game” – and I was right.

    The Yankees are now just a half-game out of 4th place. Further, even if they play lights-out ball for the rest of the season, reaching 90 wins is going to be an uphill task. And, it’s a very, very, steep hill.

    I hope Part II of the meeting in Tampa goes well tomorrow.

    The Willow & Cash Tango

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    From the Star-Ledger:

    Willie Randolph said before last night’s loss to the Yankees that he believes his old team misses him. But the Mets manager was quick to point out that he doesn’t think his absence has anything to do with the team’s won-lost record.

    Randolph said he made subtle contributions to the Yankees’ success over the years, contributions he said that went largely unnoticed by the team’s upper management during his 11 seasons as a coach.

    “My contribution to a lot of teams is not something you see,” Randolph said. “It’s behind the scenes. It’s one-on-one, very subtle. … Teaching players how to win and how to play day-to-day baseball is hard work, but it’s very much between the ears.

    “Let me say that my relationship with those guys over there is special. Like I miss them, I think they miss me. Let’s leave it like that. That’s all. I don’t think I’m the direct result of wins and losses. I’m not going to say that. But what I bring to a team is not the tangible stuff that goes unnoticed and people don’t really think about.”

    Asked if he felt underappreciated by the team’s upper management when he was with the Yankees, Randolph nodded.

    “I do,” he said, later adding that he was not talking about Joe Torre. “I do.”

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who visited with Randolph by the batting cage before the game, didn’t appreciate Randolph’s remarks when they were relayed to him.

    “I’d have to ask Willie what he meant by that,” he said. “I know a lot of upper-management people worked hard to get him that job at Shea.

    “It’s a problem when you begin painting with a broad brush like that because you include people that weren’t involved. He should name names. When you start something like that, you need to finish it.”

    Aw, com’on fellas. Don’t phunk with each other’s heart, huh?

    “Mantle” on HBO, July 13, 2005

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Mark your calendars!

    Oklahoma baseball legend Mickey Mantle will be the subject of an HBO documentary this summer.

    The documentary is called “Mantle” and will be debut July 13th, the day after Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.

    Interviews include Mantle’s widow, Merlyn, sons David and Danny, Oklahoma native and former New York Yankee Bobby Murcer, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin junior who is the son of Mantle’s good friend, the late Billy Martin.

    Behind George’s Words

    Posted by on June 28th, 2005 · Comments (11)

    From an AP report:

    “My patience is a little short by the fact that the team is not performing up to its great capabilities,” Steinbrenner said in a statement issued by spokesman Howard Rubenstein. “The players have to want to win as much as I do.”

    This is interesting. Who gets the players to “want to win”? It’s the manager, right?

    I know that I’ve been calling for a change for the past 7 weeks.

    But, would you do something now, after two wins in a row? OK, OK, I know that I said last night that the team should not let these games fool them. And, I’m still standing by that.

    It’s just that such a move now would play right into the hands of the media. Your current MGR is “winning” (albeit just at the moment) and then you replace him. And, when the new MGR loses his first two games – and, why wouldn’t he, it’s going to take more than 48 hours to right this ship – what’s the press going to do to him?

    That’s putting the new guy into a bad spot – well, a worse spot that it already is, in my opinion.

    Unless Big Stein is thinking about going after coaches and leaving Torre alone, for now? Then, it makes no difference what the team is doing. We’ll know soon.

    June 27th @ The Orioles

    Posted by on June 27th, 2005 · Comments (14)

    Taking advantage of walks and balks, plunking batters when they’re getting too comfortable at the plate, having your starter get to the point in a game where you can use your desired bullpen plan, and busting it down the line on potential DP grounders. Amazing how when you do all this stuff, you stay in the game and eventually win it, huh?

    Personally, I’ll take this as a chance to voice my displeasure of the balk rule. Yes, I know it’s been on the books for like-forever. But, I think it’s one rule that you could ditch and it would add to the game rather than take away from it. Why shouldn’t a pitcher be able to deceive a runner? Isn’t that what they do with the fake throws to 2nd and 3rd?

    In any event, it was a good day to win, beat the team in front of you, and post the “W” while the Red Sox were getting beat up at Fenway. (By the way, thanks for the “tip” tonight in Fenway Christopher Trotman. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.)

    But, here’s the deal: The Yankees cannot afford to let these uplifting wins in the last two games fool them. They are not turning a corner now, etc. Why? Because they did not turn it around after their 10-game winning streak, like we thought it was turning at that time. Nor did they turn it around after their 5-game winning streak, like we thought at that time. And, they did not turn it around after their 6-game winning streak, etc.

    Therefore, two wins in a row, while nice, is just like treating a broken leg with an aspirin. It’s not going to properly heal and will remain a serious matter of trouble.

    The Yankees still need to address the issues with why this team is where it is at this junction of the season.

    Tomorrow is a big day for the Yankees. The “eight highest officials” in Yankeeland will meet in Tampa for a meeting at 3:30 p.m. to discuss the team. I hope they’re going to look past the last two nights and make the right calls on what’s needed – and then go do it.

    I know that Big Stein said the other day that it’s all in Torre’s “lap” now – but, that’s not right. It’s in the lap of the one and only true Yankees “Boss” – the mack daddy of turtlenecks, G.M.S. the 3rd. Brace for impact.

    Home Sweet Giambi

    Posted by on June 27th, 2005 · Comments (21)

    Some Giambi splits, thanks to Baseball Musings Day by Day Database:

    Since April 26th, BA/OBA/SLG:

    Away: .241/.362/.328
    Home: .302/.429/.397

    Since May 26th:

    Away: .261/.414/.304
    Home: .350/.469/.500

    Yes, that’s .350/.469/.500 – - Needless to say, in his last 13 home games, we’re seeing the “old” Jason Giambi. But, what’s going on with these road stats? Could it be that the BALCO-steroids-cheater-stuff chants/booing is getting to him?

    David Wells On The State Of The Yankees

    Posted by on June 27th, 2005 · Comments (8)

    In the Globe today:

    David Wells, who was twice a Yankee and before signing with the Red Sox last winter called Brian Cashman and tried to talk the Yankees’ general manager into a third go-round, was asked his thoughts on the Bombers’ current travails, which had them just over .500 (38-37) after last night’s win over the Mets.

    “I don’t know and I don’t care,” the Sox pitcher said. “I’m glad I’m where I’m at. That’s their problem, and you can go ask them.

    “But I don’t think George [Steinbrenner] is too happy. I think he’s about ready to clean house, tell Brian to trade everybody and then fire him. I’ll take him, though, because Cashman is a great guy. He’s been good to me.”

    For a guy who says “I don’t know and I don’t care” Boomer then goes on even more, in the piece, to talk about Bernie and the Big Unit too.

    Wells has some ideas here. And, it’s hard for him hide them. After all, when he gets an idea, the light bulb goes on for all to see…..

    fester.jpg

    The Wildcard Chase

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

    As I look at the AL Wildcard standings this AM, and see the Yankees are just 4 back in that race, I want to say thank you to the Tigers, A’s, Cubs, Mariners, and Pirates. Why?

    It’s because the Yankees, to date, are 19-2 this season when playing the Tigers, A’s, Cubs, Mariners, and Pirates. And, against the rest of the teams that they have played, New York is 19-35. (Yes, 19 and 35.)

    Without the contributions from the Tigers, A’s, Cubs, Mariners, and Pirates, the Yankees season, right now, would be hopeless. As it stands now, however, there’s something to shoot for – as it is attainable.

    June 26th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 26th, 2005 · Comments (17)

    Until the 9th tonight, I thought the entry for today’s game was going to be:

    Despite the last ugly loss being one of those where you call it one of the most painful ones of the year, pushing aside all the previous stinging losses, along comes another loss to make the last one now seem like the second to most painful one………

    But, that nice comeback in the final frame changes everything – for one night, at least. It sure makes facing the Mets fans at work a tad easier tomorrow AM. (Of course, the Red Sox fans will still be loaded for bear and firing at will.)

    Best way to describe this feeling on the win tonight: It’s like when you were back in school, and you totally screwed up and did not prepare for something big due that day, and you’re sweating bullets over the pain that’s coming your way when you arrive………and, just then, when you get to class you discover that the teacher called in sick and you have new life for another day.

    I’m sure there are more than a few in the Yankees organization who now feel like they’ve been granted another day with the game outcome this evening. If the 4-3 score had held up, given the way the Yankees played in the first eight frames tonight, it would have been a much different morning on Monday for some, no question.

    Here’s the big question for me on this game: When was the last time that the Yankees used three pinch hitters in a game during the month of June where all of them came into the game before the first out of the seventh inning? Do you think that Torre was feeling some pressure to win this game?

    Kevin Reese

    Posted by on June 26th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    From SI:

    Kevin Reese didn’t know what to say first when he called his friends.

    “I’m getting married. By the way, I just got called up to the big leagues,” he told some.

    For others, he reversed the order.

    With Bernie Williams struggling defensively, the New York Yankees purchased the contract of the 27-year-old outfielder from Triple-A Columbus on Sunday and immediately put him in the lineup against the Mets. Reese was penciled in to play left field and hit ninth, with Tony Womack shifted to center.

    Reese was batting .272 at Columbus with 22 doubles, eight homers and 37 RBIs in 305 at-bats. Acquired from San Diego in 2001, he split last season between Columbus and Double-A Trenton, and made the Eastern League All-Star team.

    On Friday, he proposed to Laura Le Gallo after the Clippers’ game. They plan to get married in September. They had been talking about marriage for a while but hadn’t set any plans.

    What I’ve heard about Reese: Bats and throws left. A non-prospect. Controls the strike zone somewhat while batting. Could hit for a decent average. No major league power. Some speed. Decent with glove. Line drive, on base type hitter. A bench player, at best.

    Unit’s Back

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

    From the NYT:

    Randy Johnson will start for the Yankees tomorrow, and he said yesterday that his health was perfect. But the Yankees were so worried about Johnson’s back before his start on Tuesday that they called up another pitcher from Class AAA in case Tanyon Sturtze had to make the start for him.

    Three people with ties to the Yankees who were briefed about Johnson’s status confirmed that Johnson was experiencing discomfort in his back and was questionable for the start. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

    Johnson’s start, against Tampa Bay, was awful. He lasted three innings and allowed seven runs, although the Yankees rallied for a 20-11 victory. After the game, Johnson said he felt fine physically.

    The pitcher who relieved Johnson on Tuesday, Scott Proctor, had been recalled from Columbus earlier in the day. To get the extra pitcher on the roster, the Yankees had to send down outfielder Bubba Crosby, even though they were already short an outfielder with Hideki Matsui limited to designated-hitter status.

    Please, Randy, we’ve had some bad experiences recently with hurt pitchers trying to gut it out. If you’re hurt, say it, and go on the DL.

    June 25th vs. The Mets

    Posted by on June 25th, 2005 · Comments (13)

    OK, so, Henn’s not ready yet. Good to know. Personally, I was always a fan of the old O’s way of bringing in kid pitchers – let them work a year or two in long relief before giving them a starting job. Teams did this for a while – as recent as Chuck Finely and Jimmy Key. But, I guess, that was then and this is now. Back to Henn, at this point, if Brown can’t go, might as well let Quantrill start a game. It couldn’t be any worse.

    To the current state of the Yankees, well, it’s obviously very bad right now. Most recently, you have a terrible 12-game road trip. It’s the one from hell. Then, you come back and win six in a row. However, you follow that by losing 3 of 4 against what might be the worst team in baseball – and you probably should have lost all four – and then you let the Mets come in to your house and play flat for the first two games of a three game set.

    But, this is nothing new. We’ve been down this road a few times this year – where the Yankees string together some wins, and it’s looking good, and then they’re garbage, playing the lowest of low brand of baseball. It’s a cycle that they have not been able to stop.

    Yet, by some miracle, the Yankees are not 10-something games out of first – despite these long stretches of poor play. And, even though many Yankees fans are starting to become apathetic about the team’s chances this season, there is still a chance that they can get back into this thing……if they start playing better and are able to maintain that level of play for the remainder of the season.

    But, how to they do that? If you ask me, they need someone to come in, take control, and rally the team. Since the salaries on this roster do not exactly permit many changes on the players-side, it has to be a change in field management.

    Is this fair to Torre? No. It’s not his fault that Brown and Wright were busts and the best answer to that is Henn. It’s not his fault that the team thought Bubba Crosby could play second-string CF in the majors and when that failed they were forced to play guys in the OF who have no business being there. It’s not his fault that he has to carry players on the roster to just cover for a one-dimensional players like Womack and Giambi and that prevents him from carrying other players that might help him win games. And, there’s more – too much to keep listing.

    Nonetheless, in baseball, since you cannot fire the players, you fire the manager. It’s what they do. Yes, it’s no lock that a change will work. But, you can either try – and attempt to turn this around and no longer be the $200 million laughingstock of baseball. Or, you can stand pat, and keep doing what you’ve been doing all year to date – which is nothing – and let this thing die a long, slow, painful death on the vine.

    And, if you choose the latter, just watch – lots of Yankees fans out there will pull up their interest stakes and do something else with what is a good portion of their summer disposable leisure time. Is that a good thing? No, it’s bad for the team. Absence makes the heart forget.

    Let Yankees fans go from July to March without anything to keep their interest in the team and you’ll see that many of them will not be interested in the team again until they see that it’s a legit winner. Front-runners be they? Sure. But, that’s the way it works. Just check Yankees attendance, from 1987 through 1991, and then compare that to 1999-2004.

    Think it over Big Stein. What, right now, is the best move for your business? Then again, what do I know? Maybe I have this all wrong? After all, I thought the Yankees were going to have a very good season this year.

    Bernie Williams Talk

    Posted by on June 25th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    It was interesting to see what Torre said about Bernie Williams last night:

    “Bernie dropped a fly ball,” Joe Torre said after the Yanks’ fourth loss in five games. “But the whole thing about it is, especially with Pedro (Martinez) pitching, you can’t give things away. … They played outstanding defense, and we didn’t.” Before the game, Torre had expressed little concern over his team’s middling fielding; the Yanks ranked ninth among the 14 AL teams in fielding percentage entering last night. “You can’t play defense more than you’re capable of, just the best you can,” Torre had said.

    That pregame assessment included the weak-armed Williams, whose casual chase of Julio Lugo’s weak fly to center Thursday resulted in a gift double in a 9-4 loss to Tampa Bay. “That’s where the instinctive player he isn’t hurts us,” Torre said.

    That’s where the instinctive player he isn’t hurts us. Wow.

    Now, I’ve been a Bernie Williams fan. I even think he has a case for the Hall of Fame.

    But, now, seeing Torre say something negative about Bernie – which is a thing he would never do in the past – and having heard something else earlier this week, I truly believe that this will be the last season that we see Bernie in the Bronx.

    What did I hear earlier this week? Well, here’s the story. I was speaking to someone who is on very good terms with a current member of the Yankees organization. This member has been with the major league team for over ten years and is a vital part of the team’s success to date. The person that I was speaking to, when Bernie’s name came up, said “Oh, [insert name of the member of the Yankee organization] can’t stand him.”

    I was shocked to hear this because I thought (a) this member was the type of person who got along with everyone and (b) I thought Bernie was the type of person that everyone liked. So, I asked “Bernie? Are you kidding me? Why?

    And, the person I know told me “[Insert name of the member of the Yankee organization] says that Bernie doesn’t work hard enough. And, that’s why he’s fed up with him.”

    I want to believe this to be untrue. But, (a) the person that I was speaking to has zero reason to make this up, and (b) that member of the team that they’re friendly with is someone in perfect position to make a call on a player’s effort. So, there’s something there.

    Come to think of it – consider the two biggest flaws in Bernie’s game, even when he was at his peak: stealing bases and throwing. It was obvious that he was bad in these departments. Yet, both of these areas are parts of the game that can be improved if you put in the effort. See Chad Curtis on throwing. And, there’s always ways to improve your jumps and pitch selections on steals. But, we never saw Bernie improve his base stealing or throwing. Basically, he just wrote off those two parts of his game.

    In any event, Bernie has been a great Yankee to date – just check his position on the team leader boards. If you’re a Williams fan, enjoy the next three months. It is probably the last time you’ll get a chance to root for him as a Yankee.

    June 24th vs. The Mets

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

    It was both painful and boring for the first eight innings tonight, watching Pedro and the Mets pretty much have their way with the Yankees – sans, perhaps, Jeter and A-Rod at the plate. It was not right up there with having root canal while watching paint dry, but it was close.

    And, guess what……..Sean Henn gets the start tomorrow!

    Oh, and, by the way, the Red Sox are now in 1st place.

    Ever see the movie Blade – Trinity? There’s a scene where the character Hannibal King runs into a room with a dog and he says something – then he sees two more dogs and says something else. That’s kind of my reaction to tonight. I said the “something” when the last out of the game was made tonight. And, when I saw the finals for the Sox and O’s on ESPN.com afterwards, I said the “something else.”

    The “something” is a four-letter word followed by the word “me.”
    The “something else” is that same four-letter word, followed by the words “me sideways.” I think you can figure it out.

    Trade Target Suggestions

    Posted by on June 24th, 2005 · Comments (7)

    Cash, if you’re listening…..can the Yankees trade for:

    Mike Gonzalez – Lefty, 90+, with a good slider – for the pen. (Bye Stanton.)

    Dan Wheeler – RH RP, who has found himself in Houston – to replace Quantrill.

    and………

    try and get Randy Winn to play CF until Brett Gardner is ready. He can take Womack’s place on the roster.

    The price tags for Gonzalez, Wheeler and Winn are probably low enough that New York would not have to part with Cano or Wang.

    How about Marcos Vechionacci for Gonzalez, Tyler Clippard and Jeff Marquez for Winn, and Melky Cabrera for Wheeler? Or, at least offer these as a starting point. You don’t get a black eye for asking.

    0-25 When Scoring 3 Or Fewer Runs

    Posted by on June 24th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    To date, this season, the Yankees are 0-25 when scoring 3 or fewer runs. You see that stat often in the paper and you hear it on TV. I’ve seen the comment shared here frequently as well. So, I decided to look at those 25 games to see if it’s the pitching not doing the job, or the batters. Here are those loss scores (“A” is runs allowed and “S” is runs scored):

    025.jpg

    As you can see, in 9 of these 25 games, the team’s pitching keep the Yankees opponent to within 2 runs or less of what the Yankees scored. So, are these 9 nine losses the fault of the Yankees pitchers or the Yankees batters (for not scoring more than 3 runs in those games)?

    Further, in 12 of the 25 games, the team’s pitching keep the Yankees opponent to within 3 runs or less of what the Yankees scored. Given the names in the Yankees line-up, it would not be a reach to say that in 12 of these 25 games, the pitchers kept the team in the game.

    Therefore, in those games where the Yankees have scored 3 or less, and have gone 0-25, I would offer that half the time it was the pitchers letting the game get away – and the other half of the time the batters have to be called for not scoring more in that game.

    Sadly, this is what happens with teams playing as poorly as the 2005 Yankees – everyone deserves some of the blame.

    Looking At The Yankees Losses

    Posted by on June 24th, 2005 · Comments (15)

    Just looking at the 35 Yankees losses to date this season:

    In 6 of the 35, the Yankees scored 5+ runs.
    In 10 of the 35, the Yankees scored 4+ runs.
    In 19 of the 35, the Yankees scored 3+ runs.
    In 16 of the 35, the Yankees have scored 2 runs or less.

    In 12 of the 35 losses, the Yankees have allowed 5 runs or less.
    In 5 of the 35 losses, the Yankees have allowed 4 runs or less.
    In 4 of the 35 losses, the Yankees have allowed 3 runs or less.

    Let us assume that the Yankees should have won those 6 games where they scored 5+ runs and also should have won those 4 games where they allowed 3 runs or less. That would make the Yankees record to date 47-25 instead of the actual 37-35. (That 47-25 sure looks like what most of us expected them to have at this point in the season!)

    What were the scores of these 10 losses? Here’s the list:

    Lost to the Angels 3-1
    Lost to Kansas City 3-1
    Lost to Milwaukee 2-1
    Lost to Toronto 2-0

    Lost to Tampa Bay 11-8 
    Lost to Toronto 8-6
    Lost to Baltimore 7-6
    Lost to Seattle 7-6
    Lost to Baltimore 12-5
    Lost to Boston 8-5 

    The games that stand out the most to me here are:

    Lost to Kansas City 3-1
    Lost to Milwaukee 2-1
    Lost to Tampa Bay 11-8
    Lost to Toronto 8-6
    Lost to Baltimore 7-6
    Lost to Seattle 7-6
    Lost to Boston 8-5

    The Toronto 2-0 loss was a good game by Halladay, the Angels are a great team and the 12-5 loss to the O’s was a game where Wright was pitching BP (and I was there). This is why I can give a pass on these three.

    The 3-1 loss to KC was a game where the Unit pitched well but the team just did not show up to play – and Torre ripped them for it.

    The 2-1 loss to the Brewers was a game where Pavano pitched well, but the bats were flat. (The Yankees got only 4 hits that night.)

    The 11-8 loss to Tampa Bay was the game where Henn made his first start. Not much you can do there.

    The 8-6 loss to the Blue Jays was a game where Pavano got pounded and Stanton did a bad job out of the pen.

    The 7-6 loss to the O’s was a game were Sturtze and Gordon blew the game – allowing 5 runs in the 7th.

    The 7-6 loss to Seattle was one of the ugly ones of the season to date – Sturtze, Gordon, Posada, Womack and Giambi should all have bad memories from that one.

    The 8-5 loss to the Bosox was the game where the fan took a swipe at Sheffield. The game was tied, 5-5, and then Gordon got banged around for 3 runs in the 8th to blow it.

    OK, so, knowing all this, maybe we should throw out these games:

    Lost to Kansas City 3-1
    Lost to Milwaukee 2-1
    Lost to Tampa Bay 11-8

    And, just look at these:

    Lost to Toronto 8-6
    Lost to Baltimore 7-6
    Lost to Seattle 7-6
    Lost to Boston 8-5

    When you look at these four games, the thing that pops out the most is “Tom Gordon.”

    Now, this is not meant to rip Tom Gordon – because he also, to date, has helped towards 14 of the Yankees 37 wins.

    But, what it does tell me is that the Yankees problem this year, so far, has been the bullpen. All four of these games were losses because of the pen:

    Lost to Toronto 8-6
    Lost to Baltimore 7-6
    Lost to Seattle 7-6
    Lost to Boston 8-5

    If you take those games and make them wins, then the Yankees are 41-31, instead of 37-35, and then they would be just 1 game out of 1st at this moment.

    So, if the Yankees are looking for help on the trade-front, maybe they should focus on getting some pen help and replace guys like Quantrill and Stanton who are just taking up space?

    June 23rd vs. The Devil Rays

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2005 · Comments (7)

    From May 22nd through May 27th, the Yankees won 5 games in a row. Since that time, including the loss tonight, they’ve gone 10-14.

    Worse, many of those 14 losses came from teams like the Devil Rays, Royals, and Brewers. Guess what? Despite the recent series sweeps of the Pirates and Cubs, the Yankees have been a bad baseball club this month. Even more depressing, New York was a bad team in April (10-14) as well. So, this season to date looks like this:

    April: 10-14
    May: 17-10
    June: 10-11

    And, most of the credit for May should probably go to the bad play of the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners, more so than towards the positive credit of the Yankees. Obviously, whatever the Yankees are doing this season, it’s not working.

    Think about it. The highlight of this game was clearly Jason Giambi finally bunting for a hit against the shift (in the 9th) after what seems like years of everyone saying he should do it. This is what it has come down to – looking for scraps on the floor to find something that could be used for good. There’s an expression to describe this act. It’s called garbage picking. As Yankee fans, this is what we have been reduced to this year. Garbage picking for scraps that are signs of hope, etc.

    Lastly, am I the only one who noticed that Torre’s phone in his office was ringing during the post-game interview on YES? Any guesses on who was calling?

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