• Mad Hatting

    Posted by on January 20th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    Am I the only person in the world who sometimes finds it strangely comforting to wear a baseball cap?

    There’s just something about the snugness of the cap-part itself that provides a feeling of protection and warmth that’s associated with physical contact. And, the bill of the cap, when crowned properly, serves a mechanism that sharpens your desired focus by acting as quasi-blinders to any unwanted outside noise and/or distraction.

    Then again, I’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress the last two weeks – so, maybe I’m just losing my mind?

    We Were On A Break

    Posted by on January 19th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Theo Epstein will be returning to the Boston Red Sox.

    I hope this reversal/return gets as much public poking, and is subject to joke after joke, as when the Yankees kept bringing back Billy Martin (in the days of the Big Stein Circus).

    Hey, I guess it’s true – once you go Lucchino, you can never leave-o.

    Think about this for a minute. When someone who you work with quits, and then comes back to your firm weeks later, saying that they’re happy to be back, etc., what’s the general perception of them among the working staff? In one way or another, they’re usually painted as being some sort of a baby, no?

    It’s like the person who moves out of their parents house and then moves back in years later. Fair or not, that person gets a label in the public eye. And, it’s usually not a nice one.

    Theo may be a bright guy and all that, but, I’m sorry here – he’s gotta take some heat for pulling this three-sixty route. Perhaps his new handle should be: Baby Boomerang?

    Nando Mania

    Posted by on January 19th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    I recently had the pleasure to “chat” with Ferdinando (Nando) Di Fino of Fantasyland fame – who is also a Yankees fan. And, I thought others may enjoy what we had to say. Our exchange went as follows:

    Before we get into your adventures in “Fantasyland,” let’s talk Yankees shop for a minute or two. When and why did you become a Yankees fan? How would you describe your level of Yankees fanaticism?

    Nando: Since birth. Seriously, there are pictures of me in my crib with a Yankees hat on and tiny bat. I was born in May of ’78, and, apparently, I was watching games by June. My younger brothers are all over the map–one is a Mets fan, one likes the Blue Jays (their AAA team plays in Syracuse, where we grew up), and another doesn’t even watch baseball–but I was indoctrinated into Yankee fandom from the womb.

    My level of fanaticism was pretty high going into college, and then reached new heights when I went to BC, if only to antagonize all the Red Sox fans who surrounded me.

    Strangely, it got to the point where the Yankees were so dominant, and I had gone to so many Sox games just by being there and my roommates’ parents giving us their season tickets (really good season tickets, too), I began to warm up a little to the Sox. That was when the Orioles, Indians, and Rangers really threatened the Yankees more than Boston did, anyway.

    I couldn’t–and still can’t–stand the Sox fans, but I started to like their teams a little bit. My Yankees love never waned, but I did kind of like guys like Mo Vaughn, Pedro, and John Valentin.

    Still, I’ll hang up anything that says “Mattingly” on it in my apartment to this day, and refuse to drink before or during Yankee games at the Stadium (although I have no rules whatsoever for after), just so I can enjoy it without having to get up and pee every half-inning.

    How difficult was it watching the Yankees play in Fenway? Did you ever watch a game there in Yankees garb? Any interesting tales from that experience?

    Nando: I actually went to a couple Yankees games in Fenway, under a couple different sets of circumstances. The first time was freshman year in college (1996), and I went with a couple guys on the dorm floor who were also Yankees fans. We got the Standing Room Only seats off the street for something like 40 bucks each, and, immediately upon entering the stadium, heard it from every goateed Masshole in the stadium. “Yankees suck!” From everywhere. I used to hear that chant at BC football games, hockey games, and in random bars late at night. It’s like some weird co-dependency thing they have with us.

    Anyway, I kept my hat on for the entire game, and the fans–although annoying and with bad accents–didn’t bump into us, or do anything besides their dumb chants and Jeter-bashing. And, this was in ’96, before Jeter really even blew up.

    The second time I went, I got to sit with my friend Bruno–a die-hard Sox fan–in the high-roller seats, next to Pedro’s little brother, about six rows behind home plate. I had no Yankees gear on (images of that Seinfeld with the Orioles hat flashed through my head), and sat there in silence as the Yankees eventually won. Bruno called me a wuss for days, but even he knew it was probably the right thing to do. I will say this–Fenway is a park that everyone should probably go see a game in at least once. It just looks right, and isn’t as big and cavernous as Yankee Stadium. Plus, you have to see the Green Monster in person. It’s like seeing Paris Hilton or Tom cruise on the street–maybe not your favorite, but still pretty cool to see with your own two eyes.

    This summer, when the Pirates came to Boston for interleague play, my friend Sias–who is a big, somehow, Pirates fan–convinced me to get dressed as a pirate (complete with eye patch, hat, parrot on the shoulder, fake beard, and plastic sword) and go to the game with him in Fenway. I obviously agreed, because I hate the Red Sox, so we hopped on the 2 PM Fung Wah bus ($15 each way from Chinatown to Chinatown) and were in full Pirate garb on Yawkey Way at about 6 PM, drinking Guinness and talking to every girl who walked by. He got the tickets through work, and, once again, we were sitting about FOUR rows behind home plate. We had all kinds of little kids asking for pictures with us, and we actually made some Red Sox season in review DVD. So, in a strange way, I managed to atone for that one game in the good seats where I had to stay quiet. Granted, the Pirates lost, and they weren’t exactly the Yankees, but we still managed to get drunk in Fenway, hit on all kinds of girls because of our fake beards, and have a good time.

    Ah, the difference between the Bronx and Boston. Just try to get into Yankee Stadium with a plastic sword! Heck, just try and get into Yankee Stadium with a plastic water bottle. While you were in fake beard, etc., did any of the kids or girls ask if you had a Johnny Damon fetish? Somewhat related, as a Yankees fan, what are you thoughts on the acquisition of Damon?

    Nando: My friend actually tried a couple days before to bring it in to Yankee Stadium (yeah, he went for the double dip of Pirates/Yankees and Sox/Yankees). Not only did they take the sword, but they made him take the beard off, too. He put it back on when he got in, and security stopped him inside and told him to take it off again.

    No Johnny Damon comments in Fenway. I think the fact that we had gone as far as the eye patch and fake parrot may have thrown them off a little bit.

    I hate to say this, and hope I am wrong, but I would have liked to have seen us go after Torii Hunter harder, maybe even going so far as to give up Cano for him, and then grab Nomar or someone to play second.

    Throughout our last dynasty, we did it with a myriad of guys at second–Knoblauch, Sojo, Duncan, Soriano–but we always had a solid Bernie in center.

    I like Damon, and I got just as pumped as anyone when he said he’d run through walls for the Yankees, but he has a little injury history, and is older than Hunter, and has a pretty weak arm. It’s great to take a jab at the Sox like that, but I don’t think there’s a CF in the game who compares to Hunter.

    Granted, they actually may have tried, and then gone for Rowand or a couple other younger guys. But Damon is legit. He’ll drop Jeter back to where he’s comfortable in the lineup (although he was a great leadoff hitter), and will piss off Sox fans, which is always fun. I would have liked to see someone out there in their 20’s, who they could sign to a long deal, and we could get used to and who won’t be 36 at the end of the contract, but I am fine with Damon running around. I like how he’s already embraced the Pinstripes.

    How have your aforementioned Sox fan friends taken to Damon’s move?

    Nando: It’s funny you ask…I just got back from a weekend in Boston. They are beyond anger, shock, or disbelief–it’s like they are ignoring it until one of these rumored trades (Gathright, Reed, etc) comes through, and all will be well and good.

    I had the pleasure of being there when the Patriots lost, so I got to needle them about their Pats losing, AND then asking how it felt to have Crespo at short, and no centerfielder. Usually they get all fired up about it, but it’s more regsignation now than anything else. The most they could muster was, “Our bullpen is going to be awesome…we just got Tavarez,” and then tried to change the subject to Kyle Farnsworth or Miguel Cairo. Or, the $209 million number again. They also showed me some bookmarked page of a guy burning and burying his Damon jersey in his backyard… It’s definitely a good time to be a Yankees fan in Boston right now.

    I’ve seen that website. It’s pretty funny. OK, here’s something that I’m curious about – say that it’s November 2004, and you’re in an elevator and an old friend just enters. It’s someone who you have not seen since the year before. And, they say to you “So, how was your summer?” How would you answer in the time that you had left before reaching your floor?

    Nando: Have you ever noticed that we Yankee fans don’t really get burned like that? Pettitte was probably the only one to pull that in recent memory, but there weren’t too many people burning his jersey and burying it in his backyard…

    Explaining 2004’s summer? I’ve been working on a book project with this guy from the Wall Street Journal, about fantasy baseball. No, not where you play against old Yankees…it’s Rotisserie, like where you pick teams with your friends. Yeah, he played in the hardest league in the world, and used all his contacts and inside information to try and win. I did get to meet Garth Brooks, actually. He was in Spring Training with the Royals.

    Oh yeah, it was crazy. I pretty much worked 16 hour days and stayed up until the last out of the last west coast game was made every night. No, I don’t remember what my family looks like…why? Have you seen them? Can you give them this note for me? Oh, this is your floor? It was good talking to you, too… Next year? Definitely the White Sox. I’d say against the Astros…

    Hey, I still have my Pettitte jersey! Sixteen hour days? But, did it really seem like work?

    Nando: Hahaha…yeah, I guess I could empathize with Pettitte, too… he just wanted to go close to home and get out of New York… it was pretty much an open secret that he was going to Houston, kind of like Damon coming to New York.

    But Boston lost Damon and Joe Thornton in something like a two-week period? How funny is that? Could you imagine if the Celtics did something like trade Scalabrine and Paul Pierce for Iverson? They’d burn down the city.

    Are you a Boston-hater, too?

    The 2004 season was definitely not hard work. I flew to Vegas for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, went to Arizona for three days to watch games and interview players, and was sent to a Yankees/Red Sox game to stuff the All Star ballot boxes with the players on our team. However, once that last out was made, we switched to edit/factcheck mode… that was probably the yin to the season’s yang. I remember sending Sam an e-mail at 6 AM with a file I had fact-checked, just as I was about to go to bed, and he called me two minutes later, saying he had about four more hours of writing to go until he was going to sleep. I slept for about four hours, woke up, and there were two new files waiting for me. Still, I was fact-checking things like the correct plural usage of “Poland Spring,” and the state in which Shaeffer beer is made.

    There were long hours and a lot of work, but it was all pretty fun, and I rolled through every Roto and fantasy league the next year because of it…

    I’ve got nothing against the city and residents of Boston. Now, the Red Sox organization, well, I think there are some things there not to like – in my opinion.

    What’s the one story, from your relationship with Sam Walker during the “Fantasyland” experience, that you will never forget as long as you live?

    Nando: That’s actually pretty funny. I started to like what they were doing with Theo in there, but just couldn’t stand the fans…I am your doppelganger.

    I don’t think I will ever forget being in the Kansas City locker room during spring training. Sam wanted to follow Jason Grey–one of the main characters–around the locker room, just to see how he goes about interviewing players, and what questions he’d ask. But he didn’t really go over what he wanted me to do. So, we get in the locker room, and Sam immediately deserts me to follow Grey around. I go to Joe Randa and Tony Graffanino, and they tell me to come back after the game.

    Now, this is my first MLB locker room experience. I had been backstage for a ton of concerts with all kinds of musicians and singers (although on the production and booking side, not having anything to do with journalism), thanks to a job I had before this, but nothing really prepares you for going in there with a pad and tape recorder, with very little guidance or ammunition.

    So, I start copying down the quotes they had framed on the walls. Eventually, I run out. Just at that moment, DJ Carrasco comes over, pulls a water out of the fridge, points to his shirt, and reads it off to me, “Together, we can!” I walked with him back to his locker, and asked him a ton of questions, ranging from why he wasn’t in MLB 2004 (he was a Rule V draftee and not on the 40-man at the time) to how his sidearm pitch was developing. I had seen him a few times on TV, when I was scoring games for SportsTicker in grad school, so I knew a little bit about him. He instantly became my favorite MLB player.

    Two minutes later, Garth Brooks walks by, and just starts up a conversation. My roommate in college was from New Orleans, and used to blast “Callin Baton Rouge” every Saturday morning to wake us up for football game tailgates, so I told him that story, and we got on to talking about everything. Before I knew it, Jason Grimsley and Curtis Leskanic had gotten in on the conversation, and we went on for a good fifteen minutes about touring, Leskanic’s dollar value in an AL-only auction, and Grimsley’s tattoos.

    Eventually, we had to exit the locker room, as the game was starting, but I found out that Sam was waiting for me to finish up, I met up with him, he asked me what I had, and it was a notebook full of notes on video games, racing cars, and then a listing of every player Brian Anderson had on his fantasy football team. And, Carrasco was a member of out Tout Wars team that season, and again in 2005. I’m not sure it was the crowning achievement of my time in the book process, but I will definitely remember the KC locker room for a long time, and will probably follow Carrasco’s stats in Japan as long as he plays there.

    In the “Fantasyland” saga, you were in charge of collecting the non-quantifiable information on players – like you did in K.C. Is this something that you still find yourself doing today?

    Nando: Oh, definitely. I have gotten in the habit of reading more biographical stuff about players than getting lost in the statistics. If I end up with Chris Snelling on my team, for instance, it will be more because he signs his autograph with “Yoda” underneath it than because of his OPS in the minors. Granted, he hit .370 in AAA last year, which I don’t ignore, but I think a lot of the extracurriculars kind of reflect an approach to the game that could be beneficial. A guy like Snelling plays hard, has a wide-open approach to everything, and uses Jedi wisdom to push himself.

    If everything else is pretty much even–or close to being even–I’d take that any day over a lot of the Trot Nixon “Jesus Christ hit that homerun” kind of guys. It just makes your team a little easier to root for and follow throughout the season.

    Are you still keeping a database on this type of information?

    Nando: No…Hunchmaster 2021 [database] was the last version, and that pretty much ended right after the draft.

    There were way too many elements in there that we would have needed a press pass for…like “clubhouse chemistry” or “personality”…it would probably be unwise to guess on a lot of this stuff, because we aren’t going to locker rooms anymore.

    There is a pitcher for the Tigers (now), Jason Grilli, who Sam met in the locker room when he was pitching with the White Sox in Spring Training, and he was just the nicest guy, and got a Hunchmaster bump because of that. Or Bill Mueller. Or Sidney Ponson. There are just things like that you can’t really quantify without being there.

    But I still keep up with some of it. I mean, you look at stuff like Leo Mazzone going to the Orioles, and then they trade for LaTroy Hawkins, while letting B.J. Ryan go. So you start to think there may be something behind that. Or the Yankees, real quietly, throw Joe Kerrigan in there as bullpen coach, so you’d expect a new approach from a lot of the guys this year. He was regarded as a genius in Boston before he took over as manager.

    See, this is the trip around my head. I don’t have the actual Hunchmaster spreadsheet working anymore, but I think in that manner, and know which players I like, and which players are just kind of bland and unexciting.

    So, what are you up to these days – with that information in your head?

    Nando: Well, about halfway through the book, Matt Berry asked me to write for him, so I joined the staff at Talented Mr. Roto and have been there for about a year.

    I finished second in Tout Wars Mixed last year as a last-minute replacement. I unwittingly became the personal oracle for one of my old roommates for his fantasy baseball teams–I get about five e-mails a day from him, asking who he should pick up, or if he should accept proposed trades; and I am now just waiting for the book to come out, to see if more people feel that Hunchmaster or the “SigScale” is the way to go.

    I still talk to Sig on a regular basis, and Sam pretty much every day. I helped him run the Street Walkers last year, and will probably end up doing the same this season, too.

    My life is ruled by fantasy baseball, Steve. If you haven’t noticed.

    Girls just nod and look for an exit route when I start explaining how I spent 18 months of my life working on a book “about fantasy baseball,” and I remember sitting in an office in New Orleans last summer, scrolling through Rotoworld for our FAAB moves, while all my friends were at Pat O’Brien’s getting drunk.

    Still, it was 18 months on fantasy baseball, and I’d probably do it again, given the chance…

    That’s the end of it. A huge “WasWatching.com” thanks goes out to Nando for his time and allowing me to share our discourse. And, make sure to pick up Fantasyland when it comes out next month – it’s a great book.

    Can’t Miss

    Posted by on January 18th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    I’ve been trying to think of the one Yankees player this season that the team cannot afford to lose for one-third of the season or so.

    On offense, I think, if they lost one of the big guns – even if it was A-Rod – there’s enough guys to cover it.

    Maybe Sheffield out of all the hitters is most key? He is, to me, the Yankees “Oh, Crap!” guy. By this, I mean, when he comes up in a big spot, the fans of the other team says “Oh, Crap!” – like I do now when Manny or Ortiz is batting against the Yanks (or when guys like Harold Baines and Kirk Gibson batted against New York in their prime).

    But, even if Sheff was out for 50 or 60 games, I think they could survive.

    So, what about Mo? Well, in a span of 60ish games, Rivera might pitch 25 times. I have to think that The Farns & Friends could baby sit the 9th for a couple of dozen games.

    The more that I think about it, I want to say that Randy Johnson is the one guy who the Yankees cannot lose for two months or more this year. He’s the one stud in the rotation. Even if the rest of the rotation goes something like 62-58 this season, Johnson can make that O.K. by throwing in an 18-8 record. But, if Unit misses a dozen starts, he’s not going to be 18-8 this year. Therefore, right now, I think Randy Johnson is the one guy that the Yankees will miss the most in 2006 – if he’s out for a couple of months or more.

    Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

    Posted by on January 18th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    Last night, I watched American Idol for the first time ever. And, while I’m not sure if I will watch it again, last night I wished that there was no age limit on the wannabes – because I would love to audition and sing:

    Katie Casey was base ball mad.
    Had the fever and had it bad;
    Just to root for the home town crew,
    Ev’ry sou Katie blew.
    On a Saturday, he young beau
    Called to see if she’d like to go,
    To see a show but Miss Kate said,
    “No, I’ll tell you what you can do.”

    “Take me out to the ball game,
    Take me out with the crowd.
    Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
    I don’t care if I never get back,
    Let me root, root, root for the home team,
    If they don’t win it’s a shame.
    For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
    At the old ball game.”

    Why? Just to say that I did it. And, I would wear a Yankees cap in the process. It would look a lot better than some of the stuff that I saw last night, for sure.

    Carl Pavano Speaks

    Posted by on January 18th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    From the Courant:

    Pavano appeared uncomfortable with the large number of reporters following the Yankees, something the front office hopes will improve.

    “I don’t think any [off the field issues] held him back,” Cashman said. “It was all because he was hurt.”

    As Pavano struggled, he was also adjusting to life as a high-profile New Yorker, a radical change from his previous addresses, including Southington, Montreal and Miami.

    “That was a big adjustment for me, learning how to get around in the city,” Pavano said. “I’m a lot more comfortable with that now.”

    OK, the reporters are one thing. But, this is a guy who dated TV stars – and had the media spotlight before with that. And, Miami is a big/hopping city too (just warmer than NYC). Sounds like excuses to me.

    One Down, Two To Go

    Posted by on January 17th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    A-Rod is going to play for the U.S. in the WBC.

    Reportedly, millions are now sleeping better at night with the disclosure of this news. And, this only leaves the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, and the Riddle of the Sphinx, as great unresolved cosmic mysteries.

    Arbitration News

    Posted by on January 17th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    From the AP:

    Shawn Chacon asked the New York Yankees for $4.15 million in salary arbitration on Tuesday and Aaron Small requested $1.45 million.

    New York offered $3.1 million to Chacon and $1,025,000 to Small.

    Gosh, if I’m Cashman, I call up Small’s agent and say “Here’s $1.2 – let’s get this done.” And, I bet that would be grabbed quickly. Shoot, I’d do the same with Shawnie and make the number $3.6 mill.

    It would be a shame for these two to end in a hearing – since they’re close.

    2006 Nicknames

    Posted by on January 16th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    Last year, I gave you “Obi Wang.” So, I decided to throw out some nominations now for nicknames to use this season, with the hope that some of them stick.

    Jorge “Bare Hands” Posada

    I’ve always thought this should be Jorge’s handle – considering that he never wears batting gloves (and uses a homemade hand-toughener).

    Jason “Neoprene” Giambi

    Let’s face it, the guy needs a wet suit.

    Robinson “Tippy” Cano

    Works when you pronounce his last name the way that Jeter refers to him.

    Alex “Abner” Rodriguez

    I always thought A-Rod was too J-Lo-ish. “Abner” fits on many levels – from “thinking you invented the game” to the incredible likeness to the Al Capp creation.

    Derek “Cupid” Jeter

    Who broke my heart?
    You did, you did.
    Bow to the target,
    Blame Cupid, Cupid.
    You think you’re smart,
    Stupid, Stupid.
    Shoot that poison arrow to my heart,
    Shoot that poison arrow.

    Hideki “Simba” Matsui

    Tough one here – considering that Godzilla is such a cool handle. But, I’m sorry, if you’re going to wear your hair ala’ a late ’70’s Ted Simmons, you’re going to be called Simba by me.

    Johnny “Happy” Damon

    Only because I think he’s the mental reincarnation of Happy Felsch.

    Gary “Shaft” Sheffield

    Simply because he’s one bad mother – – shut your mouth!

    Bernie “Keanu” Williams

    If Telemundo ever does a TV-version of Bill & Ted, Bernie’s gotta get the part as Ted Logan.

    I’ll start working on the bench players another day.

    Best Yankees Team

    Posted by on January 16th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    Roger Weber uses the stats to pick the best team ever. Personally, I think there’s a difference between best team and best season.

    Still, no matter how you slice it, it would be cool to see the 1998 Yankees play the 1939 Yankees, no?

    Taking A Regular Turn Helps

    Posted by on January 16th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    Here’s a prediction: If the 2006 Yankees do not have at least three members of their starting rotation make 30+ starts this year, they will not reach the World Series. Why? Check the history of the Torre Era:


    Other than 2000, any time the Torre-Yankees have failed to have at least 3 SP with 30+ starts, they have not reached the Series. And, for the record, in 2000, Cone and El Duque each had 29 starts – so, they came very close to getting three pitchers with at least 30 in that season.

    Sox Loretta On Beckett

    Posted by on January 15th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From the Republican:

    “To me, Beckett was the toughest starter in the National League,” said Loretta, who came to the Sox from San Diego. “Put him with Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Matt Clement and Bronson Arroyo, and that’s five deep rotation right there.”

    I guess Loretta never faced Roger Clemens or Andy Pettitte last season – or Dontrelle Willis, or Chris Carpenter, or Pedro Martinez, or Roy Oswalt, or that Smoltz guy in Atlanta…….

    Anywho, while I still wouldn’t mind seeing Beckett on the Yankees staff this year instead of Pavano or Mussina, I don’t think he’s going to be the “ace” that some in Boston think he will be……..

    My prediction: 32 starts, 200 IP, and an ERA of 3.95.

    Like I said, I would take that on the 2006 Yankees in a heartbeat. But, Josh is still not the next coming of Pedro.

    Sturtze Hurtz?

    Posted by on January 15th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    From Newsday:

    Tanyon Sturtze took his late 2005 right shoulder woes seriously enough to spend his offseason in Manhattan so he could make thrice-weekly visits to a Columbia-Presbyterian specialist. Tests showed the Yankees reliever’s pitching shoulder to be “worn down and weak,” Sturtze said Friday at Mohegan Sun.

    He was scheduled to fly to Tampa today so he could attempt to throw off a mound this week at the club’s minor-league complex.

    The Yankees very much need a healthy Sturtze, given that Kyle Farnsworth is guaranteed to be a colossal flop and Octavio Dotel is no guarantee to get healthy.

    While I do not agree with Davidoff’s take on The Farns, this news on T.S. is concerning. I’ve already gone on record about the need for all hands to be on deck and effective in the pen this year.

    Given the age/issues/questions around the Yankees starters this season, the 7th inning is going to be a very important frame, on defense, in Yankeeland this year. You do not want Myers and/or Villone facing RHP batters in close games in the 7th. So, if Sturtze is out, then it’s up to Small and Wright. Yikes. Maybe this explains the Nelson interest.

    Then again, maybe a Veras or Proctor could come out of the darkness and help be part of the puzzle?

    And, yes, I have not forgotten about Dotel. Sorry, until we know that he can lift his right arm for sure, I cannot count on him.

    Poor Sturtze – another victim of the Torre Burn’em Till Death plan. Let’s hope it’s not as fatal as it might be for him and the team.

    The Cost Of Posada In 2007

    Posted by on January 14th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    From the New York Times:

    Some speculators thought the Yankees might trade Posada and sign Molina, but Cashman scoffed at the idea.

    “We’ve never tried to trade Jorge Posada,” he said. “I’ve had teams express some interest in him, but I’ve never picked up the phone and made a proposal for Jorge Posada. But that’s been written about quite often.”

    The theory behind the idea that the Yankees would trade the 34-year-old Posada stems from the option in his contract for the 2007 season. If he is the starting catcher in 81 games next season, the option becomes guaranteed for $12 million and he receives an option year in 2008 with $4 million guaranteed.

    In addition, 87 days into next season, June 27, Posada becomes a 10-5 player (10 years in the majors, the last 5 with the same club) and gains trade-veto rights.

    “When you assess the market,” Cashman said, “Posada is one of the premier catchers in the game even though his numbers might be declining. If he’s with us the next two years, we’ll be comfortable with that. My concern isn’t what am I going to do having Jorge. My concern is what are we going to do when we don’t have Jorge.”

    It’s bad enough to consider Posada’s decline in 2006 – but to think that it also means that the Yankees will have to pay him another $16 million dollars after that…..wow. Did the person who came up with this contract clause ever think to look at Jorge’s birth certificate?

    Shawn Hearts N.Y.

    Posted by on January 14th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    From CBS Sportsline ten days ago:

    Who had the better New Year’s Eve: New York Yankees pitcher Shawn Chacon or ex-Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens? You be the judge.

    Chacon partied at the Hard Rock hotel and he was surrounded by the likes of Paris Hilton, Nicky Hilton and Scarlett Johansson. Not a bad crop of 20-something hotties. You’d think Chacon was Derek Jeter!

    Somehow, I don’t see this happening for Shawn the Rockie.


    Posted by on January 14th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    No, it’s not a song from Rent. It’s the number of batters faced by Red Ruffing while he wore a Yankees uniform – the most ever by a Yankees pitcher.

    I have to think, if some were asked, what Yankees pitcher faced the most batters all-time, most would have guessed “Whitey Ford.” And, Ford was close – he’s second all-time with 13,036.

    Call me crazy, but, I don’t think we’ll ever see someone break this record. That’s a lot of batters.


    Posted by on January 13th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    Only two Yankees players have had 9+ seasons of 500+ AB with <=50 K's: Don Mattingly (9) and Joe DiMaggio (10). Now, for fun, add 15+ HRs to the equation and look in the entire history of the American League.

    How many AL batters have had at least 7 seasons with 500+AB/<=50Ks/>=15 HRs? The answer – just three, all Yankees:

    Joe DiMaggio (10) and Yogi Berra & Don Mattingly (each with 7).

    Al Simmons, Al Kaline, Goose Goslin, and Lou Gehrig did it 6 times. Ted Williams, Charlie Gehringer, Bobby Doerr and Earl Averill are the only AL’ers to do it 5 times.

    Source: Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia

    Zingler Strikes Again!

    Posted by on January 13th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Four months ago, I found a Zingler rant. Looks like he is still pissin’ and moanin’ about the Yankees:

    The Yankees sign Johnny Damon.

    King George’s empire was in such desperate need of starting pitching that they went out and signed Johnny Damon. They also made him cut his hair because they are all class, in that owner throwing public tantrums, hiring mobsters to tail players and wasting money like a drunken rock star kind of way.

    Turns out that he’s from Minneapolis. I suppose this is what happens to you when you live in a town where the baseball owner pockets all his money – you take shots at the other owners who spend. Sad.

    Way To Go Mo!

    Posted by on January 13th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    If, in 2006, Mariano Rivera does what he’s been doing for the last three years – meaning throw 70+ IP with an ERA under 2, he’ll become the first pitcher since the late 1960’s to throw 70+ IP with a sub-2 ERA for four years in a row.

    Hoyt Wilhelm was the last guy – and actually did it for five years in a row: 1964-68.

    Before Wilhelm, the last one to do this for four years (or more) in a row was Walter Johnson who did it for 7 years in a row, 1910-16, and, of course, throwing a lot more than 70 IP a season.

    Nice company Mo, if you can do it.

    Derek and the WBC

    Posted by on January 13th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    From SI:

    {Jeter} On the World Baseball Classic: “If I get selected it would be a huge honor. We’ll see what happens.”

    Is Derek kidding? Does he really think they would leave him off the team?

    Jeff Nelson Return?

    Posted by on January 12th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    From the Star Ledger:

    Following the adage that you can never have too much pitching, the Yankees are talking about bringing back another old friend.

    Free-agent reliever Jeff Nelson and the Yankees have had conversations about a minor-league deal that would bring Nelson to spring training next month in Tampa, Fla., with a chance to make the major-league roster. It’s unclear how close it is to happening, as there are other teams (including the St. Louis Cardinals) interested in Nelson, and those other teams might be willing to guarantee more money than the Yankees are.

    “I’ve had a conversation with him about a nonroster invitation,” was all Yankees GM Brian Cashman would say about Nelson yesterday.

    Please, let him go somewhere else. He’s 39 – and has not had above average value since 2001. Mendoza is a flier. How many fliers do you need?

    Gossage & Rivera II

    Posted by on January 11th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Goose Gossage, as a Yankee, finished 85.3% of the games that he appeared in – meaning that when he came into the game, he was there for the final out 85.3% of the time.

    Mariano Rivera, as a Yankees closer – meaning from 1997 through 2005 – finished his games 91% of the time.

    I find it interesting that the the “closer” from 1978 to 1983 was not always the guy to finish the game. Clearly, back in that day, once the game was one-way or the other, the rule was to pull your “closer” and save him for another day – instead of always letting him go to the last out (like Mo does now).

    New Stadium Plans Snafu du Jour

    Posted by on January 11th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    At some point, I sorta wish they would just say screw it and move to New Jersey and built it on a swamp somewhere. I’d almost rather see that than have to listen to all the pols and the wannabes grandstanding on everything.

    But, it will never happen. Big Stein doesn’t want that on his tombstone – that he moved the Yankees out of New York. He knows what happened to Walter O’Malley’s legacy.

    Gossage & Rivera

    Posted by on January 10th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    From 1978 through 1983, Goose Gossage pitched in 308 games for the Yankees and allowed 2.72 less base runners per 9 IP than the A.L. average. This was 2nd in the league for that time period – following Dan Quisenberry at 2.77.

    From 1995 through 2005, Mo Rivera pitched in 657 games for the Yankees and allowed 3.58 less base runners per 9 IP than the A.L. average. This was 3rd in the league for that time period – following Pedro Martinez at 3.94 and Keith Fouke at 3.60.

    Dan Quisenberry and Keith Fouke. Go figure.

    Former Yankees Farm Hand’s Dad Elected To Hall

    Posted by on January 10th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    In 1999, I went to see a Staten Island Yankees game – this is when they played at the College of Staten Island – and sitting way out in the CF bleachers, with this wife, was Bruce Sutter and his wife. They were there to see their son, Chad Sutter, play for the Yankees. (Chad was catching that night.)

    I wanted to go out there and say hello – but, it was obvious that, based on the distance that they were from the other fans at the game, they wanted to be left alone.

    It was nice to see a “star” that into his kid’s career – enough to make the trip to a college field on Staten Island. It enables you to know that Sutter is just like the rest of us. (If my kid plays pro-ball, I too would travel, no matter what the distance, to go see him play.)

    Thinking of this, I have to wonder if Chad will make the trip to Cooperstown for his dad? Yeah, right, he’ll be there – wouldn’t you?

    Bruce Sutter had some nasty stuff. There’s another pitcher in baseball history that compares well to him – but, if you want to know, you should read “The Baseball Same Game.” Ironically, this other pitcher is not in Cooperstown – although many feel that he should be there.

    In any event, it’s always good to see nice things happen to an extended member of the Yankees family!

    Missed One, Don’t Miss Another!

    Posted by on January 9th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    From USA Today:

    Free agent outfielder Todd Hollandsworth agreed Monday to a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians.

    OK, I’m bummed on the Hollandsworth news. Man, the Indians are going to be tough this year – their front office is good.

    But, also from the USA Today:

    The Milwaukee Brewers designated infielder Russell Branyan for assignment Monday, making room for new third baseman Corey Koskie.

    Branyan played 85 games for the Brewers last season, hitting .257 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI. He has a career .232 batting average with 93 home runs and 238 RBI in 536 games. Milwaukee has 10 days to trade, release or send him outright to the minors.

    Branyan whiffs – a lot. But, last year he killed RHP (with an OPS of .943 in over 200 PA). He can back-up at 3B, 1B, and (in a pinch) the OF. He would be perfect “DH Insurance” should the Yankees options at DH fail this spring.

    If used correctly, Branyan could be a plus to have on the bench.

    Batting Pratice, Tomorrow, Be There

    Posted by on January 9th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    By accident, I just came across a post that I made over at the NetShrine Discussion Forumfour years ago – and, believe it or not, I still feel the same way today! Here’s the gist of it:

    I was talking with a couple of co-workers (also Yankee fans) about Rondell White yesterday.

    The issue of his leg (hamstring, groin) problems came up – – and I offered that the Yankees do a great job of stretching before games, asking my buds if they ever saw the players working out with huge rubberbands (during BP) behind 1B. (The thought was that perhaps White may have less pulls with the NY routine.)

    These guys are 11-15 years my junior (ouch!) and they looked at me laughing and said something like “Dude, anytime before the start of the game, we’re outside the stadium drinking – – not inside watching batting practice.”

    The more I thought about this, the more I thought about how much I love to watch BP.

    There’s so much going on – – players BSing, taking cuts, playing catch, kidding with fans, media folk walking around, guys shagging or taking INF, etc. – – it’s a crazy mix of informal and formal activities, I dunno, I just love it.

    Maybe it’s being in the park with so few people there yet? Maybe it’s one of the few “quiet times” in my life that I actually get to enjoy?

    Coincidentally, I had a somewhat stressful day at work today – and I know that tomorrow in the office is going to be worse. Man, what I would give for a little BP up at the Stadium right about now…………

    Toby Hall In 2007?

    Posted by on January 9th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    Posada should be done with the Yankees after the 2007 season. Toby Hall will be a Free Agent after the 2007 season. Hall plays where Big Stein lives.

    Yes, Hall is a very ineffective batter – probably the worst among A.L. catchers the last three years. But, the same could have been said about Joe Girardi coming into 1996 (subbing N.L. for A.L.).

    Why do I think Toby Hall will be a member of the New York Yankees in 2008?

    Brian Schneider is also scheduled to be a Free Agent after 2007. I’d rather see New York make a run at him. He would be a much better pick to take over for Jorge.

    Future Yankees

    Posted by on January 9th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    BaseballAmerica.com has a listing for the current Top 10 Yankees Prospects. As their story states:

    In the last two years, New York has added high-end prospects at the lower levels with international signings and a more aggressive approach in the draft. The organization has potential impact bats such as outfielders Jose Tabata and Austin Jackson and infielders C.J. Henry and Eduardo Nunez, as well as intriging arms in Hughes, Christian Garcia and Jeff Marquez. Loaded Yankees affiliates won championships in the short-season New York-Penn and Rookie-level Gulf Coast leagues, but most of their best talent has yet to play above the Class A level.

    Sounds like that’s right on schedule.

    Ben Davis

    Posted by on January 8th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    I just noticed now that the Yankees signed Ben Davis to a minor league deal and invited him to Spring Training.

    I know that the Yankees are very thin at catcher in the minors. And, I know that Davis was once a hyped, hot-shot, prospect. But, this is a waste of money.

    This is a guy who blew three shots at big league jobs because of his two-cent head. He’s a terrible person to have on the roster because of his bad attitude compounded by a lack of I.Q.

    Oh, and, he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat and is a bad catcher. Letting this guy wear Yankees pinstripes, even in Spring Training, is just flat out wrong.

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