• What’s In A Name?

    Posted by on March 24th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Just checking now, I realized that “Mike” Mussina is probably the greatest “Mike” in Yankees history. See the list:

    Mike Pagliarulo
    Mike Stanley
    Mike Gallego
    Mike Easler
    Mike McNally
    Mike Gazella
    Mike Garbark
    Mike Hegan
    Mike Milosevich
    Mike Kekich
    Mike Blowers
    Mike Fischlin
    Mike Humphreys
    Mike Ferraro
    Mike Heath
    Mike Aldrete
    Mike Stanton
    Mike Chartak
    Mike Fitzgerald
    Mike Patterson
    Mike O’Berry
    Mike Powers
    Mike McCormick
    Mike Lowell
    Mike Mussina
    Mike Donovan
    Mike Handiboe
    Mike Figga
    Mike Thurman
    Mike Vento

    And, we know that “Derek” Jeter is the greatest “Derek” in Yankees history. Ditto the guys flanking him – “Alex” Rodriguez and “Robinson” Cano. Also, in the “Jason” department, it’s Giambi, Grimsley and Anderson – so, Giambi wins. And, “Jorge” Posada is the only “Jorge” in Yankees history.

    Do we even need to discuss “Hideki”?

    There’s been a lot of “Johnny’s” to wear the pinstripes:

    Johnny Lindell
    Johnny Blanchard
    Johnny Murphy
    Johnny Mize
    Johnny Grabowski
    Johnny Kucks
    Johnny Sain
    Johnny Callison
    Johnny Sturm
    Johnny Broaca
    Johnny Allen
    Johnny Hopp
    Johnny Oates
    Johnny James
    Johnny Johnson
    Johnny Mitchell
    Johnny Lucadello
    Johnny Cooney
    Johnny Priest
    Johnny Schmitz

    So, Damon has a way to go.

    I was suprised at how few “Gary’s” there were:

    Gary Sheffield
    Gary Ward
    Gary Roenicke
    Gary Thomasson
    Gary Waslewski
    Gary Blaylock
    Gary Jones

    Sheffield is the best ever here. And, “Bernie” Williams only has “Bernie” Allen in his way. Also, “Mariano” Rivera only has “Mariano” Duncan.

    What about “Randy” Johnson? You tell me:

    Randy Velarde
    Randy Gumpert
    Randy Choate
    Randy Johnson
    Randy Keisler

    I could go on for a while with this – but, I think the point is made. This Yankees group is the “best” ever in terms of their relative first names (as a whole). That’s kind of interesting, at least to me.

    Jason Quotes Nell Carter

    Posted by on March 24th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    From the Journal News:

    Jason Giambi yesterday mocked claims in the book “Game of Shadows” that he took steroids in an attempt to please his demanding father.

    “It’s pretty pathetic to drag my father into it,” Giambi said. “Give me a break.”

    What happened to the good ol’ days when “Hey, Dad, you wanna have a catch?” was enough to please a Dad?

    Fantasyland Party

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2006 · Comments (1)

    This evening I had the pleasure to attend a party in Manhattan’s Union Square to celebrate the publication of Sam Walker’s new book Fantasyland.

    It was exciting to be in the room with several of the founding fathers of rotisserie baseball – look, over there, it’s Glen Waggoner! – as well was several participants of Tout Warslook, over there, it’s Lawr Michaels!

    And, I was able to have a nice chat with both Nando Di Fino and Ron Shandler.

    Of course, it also was an honor to meet Sam Walker in person as well.

    But, most of all, what I will remember overall about tonight was being part of such a large crowd of diverse people gathered together to rejoice over the release of an extremely fine baseball book. There must have been close to 100 people at the party – and many of the faces and names there were recognizable members of the fantasy baseball crowd.

    Some say that you can judge a man’s life by the size of his funeral (or something like that). Working from that logic, I estimate that you can judge the excitment generated by a book via the quantity and quality of the people that attend its publication party. Yes, Fantasyland is a winner.

    If you didn’t listen to me back on New Year’s Day, I’ll offer the advice again. If you’re a baseball fan, you’re going to want to read this book.

    Ray McNulty On Jim Kaat

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2006 · Comments (4)

    I noticed a link over at BaseballThinkFactory.org to a nice feature on Jim Kaat – which included the following:

    Nor is he reluctant to criticize the Yankees when they play poorly, even though the team’s omnipresent owner, George Steinbrenner, also owns a piece of the network.

    “Being critical has never been a problem, as long as the criticism is fair and honest and deserved,” Kaat said. “Sometimes, I think George likes us to be more critical. I’d never take a cheap shot at anyone, but I don’t hesitate to give my opinions. That’s my job. And I think the fans appreciate the way I do it.”

    Amen.

    269

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2006 · Comments (3)

    That’s how many days it’s been since Carl Pavano last pitched in a game for the New York Yankees.

    The guys in the YES booth made a good point last night – how effective can he be when he comes back after not being on the mound in a game situation for that long?

    It could be July before he’s able to be effective, at this rate.

    Sheffield & Game of Shadows

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2006 · Comments (4)

    From the Daily News:

    Gary Sheffield’s claims that he never knowingly used steroids take a beating in the book that has already devastated Barry Bonds’ assertions.

    “Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports,” by San Francisco Chronicle reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, alleges extensive use of testosterone, human growth hormone, “the cream” and “the clear,” contradicting his claim in 2004 that he only used a cream he thought “was like a cortisone to heal (surgical) wounds.”

    The book, which is in stores on Thursday, also describes Jason Giambi’s steroid use, including the fact that he received the BALCO drugs at his home and his parents’ home, but there are no notable revelations about Giambi because, unlike Bonds and Sheffield, he gave himself up to the BALCO grand jury in 2003.

    Major League Baseball officials did not respond immediately to calls for comment, but with commissioner Bud Selig preparing to announce an investigation into Bonds, Sheffield may also find his own past being probed.

    Here’s the hole in this thing: Sheffield trained with Bonds in the Bay Area during the winter of 2001-02.

    And, Sheffield’s production in 2002 was down, power-wise. His HR% was much lower than in 2001. And, his Isolated Power (ISO) really took a nose dive in 2002 (from .272 to .205).

    Further, when Sheffield’s “power” returned in 2003, it was at the level where it was in 2001.

    So, if Sheffield did do something with Bonds in that off-season, it hurt him more than it helped him. If they do any probe of Sheffield, I hope they notice that the “E” in “PED” is missing in his case.

    One Sign That It’s Just About “Go” Time

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2006 · Comments (2)

    OK, I confess. I cheered, out loud, when Tanyon Sturtze drilled Mike Lowell in the 8th inning of tonight’s Spring Training game.

    And, yes, unlike the guys in the YES booth, I believe that Riske hit Jeter on purpose.

    It’s The Little Things That Get Ya

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Tony Womack’s hit in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

    Shawn Wooten’s two big hits in the 5th inning of Game 4 of the 2002 ALDS.

    Alex Gonzalez’ HR in the bottom of the 12th of Game 4 of the 2003 World Series.

    Dave Roberts steal in the 9th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.

    Orlando Cabrera’s 2-out 7th inning hit in Game 2 of the 2005 ALDS.

    Bugs can bug ya, huh?

    Just Say Sori-Ahhhhh-NO!

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From Newsday -

    Alfonso Soriano’s dream is to return to the Yankees, where he had his greatest glory, people familiar with his situation said yesterday. But while Soriano’s days with the Nationals appear to be dwindling, his chances to move to either the Yankees or Mets appear remote.

    Soriano’s interest in the Yankees is so high that one person familiar with his situation said he’d probably be willing to play the outfield for them, or possibly DH. But the Yankees, who have rising star Robinson Cano at second base, are stacked offensively. One high-ranking Yankees person said Soriano “doesn’t fit” when asked about him late Monday night.

    According to one person close to him, Soriano has kept his north Jersey condo in hopes of returning to play in New York.

    The return of Raul Mondesi Jr.?

    No thanks. Pass.

    And, don’t look back.

    Estee Harris – The Next Andy Brown?

    Posted by on March 21st, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From Newsday:

    The Yankees thought highly enough of Harris to take him in the second round of the 2003 draft, but they are still waiting to see him produce the way they were expecting.

    “He needs to have a good year,” said Mark Newman, a senior vice president who heads the farm system. “He’s still young. He needs to make a step forward.”

    Harris, 21, has struggled to make consistent contact in the various levels of Class A, with 152 strikeouts in 380 at-bats in 2004 and 106 in 375 last season. He said yesterday his top goal this season is to “make sure I make as much contact as possible.”

    In 1998, the Yankees drafted an OF by the name of Andy Brown – in the 1st round – one pick after the Dodgers took Bubba Crosby.

    Brown was a whiff-machine. In his first 254 pro-games, he struck out 366 times – in just 917 ABs. Yet, because he was a 1st round pick, someone had to play CYA on that selection and Brown stayed in the organization for seven years (while batting .220).

    So, using the Brown-scale, Harris should stick around until 2009.

    It’s silly, actually. As you move up the ladder, the pitchers get better. So, if you can’t make contact as a pup, against crap pitching, why would anyone believe that you’re going to improve as your career moves forward?

    Whoever was drafting these kids need to figure that out.

    Hee-p of a Second-Chance?

    Posted by on March 21st, 2006 · Comments (4)

    From S.I. -

    Hee-Seop Choi’s time as a Dodger could be down to its final days, a situation hastened by James Loney’s fast-arriving future. The Dodgers likely will make a decision before they break camp in Florida. If they release Choi by March 29, they would owe him approximately $178,000 in salary. — Orange County Register

    You don’t have to ask me if I would rather have Choi or Wil Nieves on the 25-man roster.

    If there’s a way to make this happen, the Yankees should go after Choi and then make it work on the roster.

    Passing The Hat (Again)

    Posted by on March 21st, 2006 · Comments (2)

    Sixteen days into the donation drive, we’ve had 27 folks help out so far. Thanks to all involved, again, for that!

    But, this is much less than what I had hoped for on this effort (considering how many read this blog).

    So, I’m asking directly again – if you like this blog, please consider making a donation towards it – even if it’s just $1. It all helps. Thanks!

    Damon On Arroyo

    Posted by on March 21st, 2006 · Comments (12)

    From the Hartford Courant -

    “I’m really upset for Bronson,” Damon said. “He should be able to become a free agent after this year, re-do his contract. This is what they were afraid of – his agent was right.”

    Hey, Johnny, I want to like you a lot this year, and the seasons to come. But, first, for that to happen, you have to let the Red Sox thing go. You’re a Yankee. Only worry about the Yankees. If Boston F’s-up, it’s a good thing – for the Yankees, and you.

    In the words of Brad Hamilton, “Learn it. Know it. Live it.”

    The Superfluous Catcher

    Posted by on March 20th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    Three catchers?

    From MSG -

    Torre said the Yankees will open the season with 11 pitchers. He didn’t rule out Wil Nieves, who is out of options, making the roster as a third catcher. …

    Oh, that’s going to be a useful thing.

    Ten Little Indi…..er, Sox

    Posted by on March 20th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    With today’s trade of Bronson Arroyo, all that remains of the 2004 Red Sox are:

    Curt Schilling
    David Ortiz
    Gabe Kapler
    Jason Varitek
    Keith Foulke
    Kevin Youkilis
    Manny Ramirez
    Mike Timlin
    Tim Wakefield
    Trot Nixon

    And, all that reduction in force took place in about 16.5 months.

    It’s the Big-E, Boston-style. Wet and wild.

    Who Was Al Leiter?

    Posted by on March 20th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    I never would have guessed “Tim Wakefield” – stats via the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia:

    00000alwake.jpg

    And, if you like this type of “stuff,” then you should read The Baseball Same Game.

    Bosox Sign Juan Gone

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

    It’s true – albeit a minor league deal.

    If this were March of 2001, I would be worried. But, it’s not. This is just the Red Sox throwing a Hail Mary. I’m sure that the members of RSN will say it’s Theo being a genius – because of the risk/reward ratio. But, in reality, that’s like saying that the people who keep casting Ben Affleck are geniuses too.

    Coach Moose Makes Wright?

    Posted by on March 19th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From the Journal News -

    Wright credited some of his resurgence to a new grip on his slider he picked up from Mike Mussina. He now holds the ball further back in his hand across all four seams. It puts a tighter spin on the ball and keeps it in the strike zone. “I was getting a lot of swings at balls in the dirt,” he said. “That’s a good sign.”

    Hey, stranger things have happened………

    A Pavano By Any Other Name

    Posted by on March 19th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Form the Journal News:

    Carl Pavano will throw batting practice for the first time today as he continues his comeback from shoulder and back woes

    I finally figured out who Carl Pavano reminds me of……it’s the Zuzu Petals character from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.

    Therefore, henceforth, he will be Zuzu Pavano in my book.

    Not Even Dan Pasqua Light?

    Posted by on March 19th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    From Newsday -

    An American League scout recently referred to Yankees prospect Eric Duncan as “Kevin Maas Lite.” Ouch. Does that mean he wouldn’t even produce a powerful rookie year before flaming out?

    Ouch, indeed.

    If I’m Duncan, I tape this one to the inside of my locker.

    Sheff Needs To Gargle With Imodium….

    Posted by on March 19th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    …because his diarrhea of the mouth is flaring up again.

    From the New York Times -

    Any number of reasons could have prompted Gary Sheffield to speak out the way he did yesterday in Jupiter, Fla. — wanderlust, regret, frustration or stress. Regardless, Sheffield turned a benign conversation with Florida Marlins beat writers at Roger Dean Stadium into a startling assessment of his two seasons with the Yankees.

    Sheffield, who played with the Marlins from 1993 to 1998 and is beginning his third season with the Yankees, said he was still not comfortable in pinstripes despite back-to-back seasons with at least 30 home runs and 120 runs batted in.

    “I’m not allowed to be comfortable, that’s the reality of it,” he said before the Yankees’ 8-3 exhibition victory over Florida. “I always have to play with my back against the wall. And it’s just one more year of that. It’s just always my situation.”

    I love Sheffield – the baseball player. He plays hurt. He’s intense at the plate. He hits the ball as hard as anyone in the game. And, he’s clutch during the season.

    But, man, I’m really starting to think that it’s time to just stop listening to him – because he never shuts up.

    Rock On!

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

    From the TC Palm -

    The Bronx Bombers sure do draw a crowd no matter where they go.

    Friday, at Roger Dean Stadium against St. Louis, it was more of the same. Fans battled for position along the fences to get autographs. Media members hustled inside the New York clubhouse for interviews.

    This is a way of life for the New York Yankees, regardless if it’s Jupiter, Tampa or the Big Apple.

    “It’s awesome,” said catcher Kelly Stinnett, who signed with the Yankees in the offseason. “I guess it’s kind of like being a rock star. Everybody follows you around. Everywhere you go.

    “Every place is sold out, and it’s a great feeling.”

    Last season, the team drew more than 4 million fans to Yankee Stadium. That’s not only the most in the league, but also more than double that of 12 other franchises. On the road, the Yankees average 37,036 in attendance. Just five other teams average that many per home contest.

    Sing it Kelly……..

    Hey kid, rock and roll
    Rock on, ooh, my soul
    Hey kid, boogey too, did ya
    Hey shout, summertime blues
    Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
    Hey kid, rock and roll, rock on

    And where do we go from here
    Which is the way that’s clear

    Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
    Prettiest girl I ever seen
    See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean
    James Dean

    Cool Standings, Indeed

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

    According to CoolStandings.com, on August 4th, the Yankees will have a 5 game lead on the Red Sox:

    coolstand.jpg

    I’d sign up for that, right about now.

    Dress For Success!

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

    With the start of the baseball season right on our doorstep, I thought this was a good time to remind you all about the availability of WasWatching.com shirts.

    And, if you’re looking for that something special to wear to a Red Sox series, we got you covered there too.

    Just remember that the shirts tend to run on the small side, when ordering.

    And, I promise, if I ever see anyone wearing one of these shirts, I will go out of my way to come over and say hello (and thanks!).

    Yanks Interested In Bay Area’s Barry?

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

    No, not that Barry.

    From Tracy Ringolsby -

    The Yankees, Mets and Dodgers have expressed interest in Oakland left-hander Barry Zito, but if they want the Athletics to listen seriously, the teams are going to have to overpay. The Athletics have reason to believe they can win the division, and while Zito can be a free agent after the season, he also is the key to a developing rotation.

    Good to see that the Yankees are listening to me.

    Shall We Play A Game?

    Posted by on March 17th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    From Team Xbox -

    Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees, one of the most established players in Major League Baseball is taking time from his busy Spring Training regimen to challenge his fans as part of the latest Xbox Live ‘Game with Fame.’ Fans that are interested in challenging Giambi should keep their eye out for the Xbox Live gamertag ‘giambiGWF’ playing MLB 2K5® for Xbox on Tuesday, March 21 between 9:00 a.m. ET – 11:00 a.m. ET / 6:00 a.m. PT – 9:00 a.m. PT.

    “There’s no better place to play baseball than New York, Yankees fans are the greatest fans in baseball,” Giambi said. “It’ll be fun to get on Xbox Live and showcase my pride for the Pinstripes. But don’t plan on me letting up against my fans, if they come inside on me I’ll turn on it and knock it out of the park!”

    I just hope that no one mistakenly selects the gamertagGlobal Thermonuclear War.”

    Kids, let go of your joysticks, get your gloves, and go play running bases, or pickle in the middle, or something, huh? All alone? Get yourself a PitchBack and go have a party. It’s cheaper, healthier, and more fun!

    Thank Jason When Johnson Helps Jays Beat The Yanks

    Posted by on March 17th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    From the Toronto Star – -

    Reed Johnson figures he’d be a lot worse off for his three-week injury absence if not for the charity of New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi this past off-season. Johnson lives and trains in Las Vegas with long-time friend and former roommate Aaron Rowand of the Philadelphia Phillies and spent the winter taking the equivalent of live at-bats there because of some purchases by Giambi.

    “Jason Giambi bought some cages out in Las Vegas this year and one of those pro-batter, (pitching) simulator machines,” said Johnson, who saw his first game action on Wednesday after being out all spring with a sore elbow. “It was me and Travis Lee and Aaron Rowand and a couple of other guys out there and we were able to use the facility whenever we really wanted. Getting to hit off that was almost like quality at-bats.

    “So, basically, I had some live at-bats and then three weeks off and then I’m getting some live at-bats again,” he added. “So, rhythm-wise, I’m going to be off a little bit but I felt pretty good (on Wednesday).”

    Somehow, I don’t think DiMaggio ever let Ted Williams use his BP pitchers……….

    Ramiro Pena

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

    From the Courier News -

    On several occasions over the past few weeks, Yankees manager Joe Torre has made it a point to praise minor-league infielders Ramiro Pena and Marcos Vechionacci.

    Until Monday, those words hadn’t filtered back to Pena. He was convinced Torre didn’t know who he was.

    “I never talk to him,” said Pena, a slender 19-year-old shortstop. “I just nod my head.”

    Torre laughed.

    “Do I look like somebody who wants to bite your head off? I guess I do,” he said. “Poor kid.”

    Before they are reassigned to the minor-league camp, Torre plans to talk with both Pena and Vechionacci and there will be smiles, not snarls.

    “All of us are impressed by those two kids,” Torre said. “This has been a great spring for them. It’s fun to watch them in this atmosphere.”

    When Jeter comes back from the WBC, somebody should ask him if he feels like Wally Pipp. Pena is making some impression this spring – for sure.

    Did you ever notice that Peter O’Toole has a double-phallic name?

    Posted by on March 16th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Seeing this AP story today……

    oooookissastros.jpg

    ……reminded me of when the Astros had a farm team in Kissimmee. And, then, someone realized that “Kissimmee Astros” sounded more like instructions than a minor league team.

    It’s probably a good thing that the “Yankees” never put a farm team in a certain Texas location – for the same reason.

    Yeah, it’s a slow day in Spring Training today………

    Stepping Out For Stepping Up

    Posted by on March 15th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    This evening, at the the Village Quill in TriBeCa, I had the honor and pleasure to attend a celebration for the release of Alex Belth’s new book, Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players’ Rights.

    It was an exciting night – as I had a chance to chat with (yes, here comes the name dropping!) Cliff Corcoran, Jacob Luft, Steve Goldman and Mark Lamster.

    The Yankees, Rickey Henderson, Pythagorean Winning Percentage, Kevin Thompson, Barry Bonds, Sam Walker’s Fantasyland, the Mets, the Marlins, Joe Girardi, Baseball Prospectus, Orlando Cepeda…heck, it seems like, if you can name a baseball item, we probably chewed the fat on it.

    That’s one of the beautiful things about baseball – where a bunch of guys who have never met before can gather and have tons of fun talking about the game.

    While I expect to have a review done of Stepping Up in the near future, knowing Alex’s work from the past, I feel very comfortable recommending (now) that you check out this new release.

    In some ways, Curt Flood was the Rosa Parks of baseball. He had the ‘nads to say “No!” and that served as the platform for a major change in big league baseball. It’s a story that every baseball fan should be aware of – and I would bet that Alex does his usual great job in telling it.

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