• Too Hot To Hold?

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2007 · Comments (1)

    I have just received word that Michael Morrissey’s book, The Pride and the Pressure: A Season Inside the New York Yankee Fishbowl, is being fast-tracked and moved up a month. It will now be released on March 13th.

    Should the Yankees now brace themselves for the Ides of March?

    Stay tuned.

    Websites That I Visit

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2007 · Comments Off

    I’ve been surfing the Internet now for the last 13 years or so. And, as the time goes by, I find myself going to less and less sites. In any event, since I’ve been asked before to establish a blogroll or something, I thought that I would start an entry on “Websites That I Visit” and list them for those interested.

    I’ll add to this from time to time – if you ever want to see this again just click the item “Links” on the “Categories” Menu (on the right of the main index for WasWatching.com).

    Here’s where I find myself going these days when I’m surfing around:

    Yankees-related Blogs & Sites

    Almost Perfect
    Baseball & The Boogie Down Bronx
    Bats
    Blogging the Bombers
    Bronx Banter
    The Bronx Block
    Canyon of Heroes
    Count The Rings
    Depressed Fan
    High and Tight
    Inside The Stadium
    Ledger On Yankees
    The LoHud Yankees Blog
    NoMass.org
    No Sense Worrying
    On The Yankees Beat
    New York Yankees, Etc.
    Pinstripe Posts
    Pinstripes PA
    Pride of the Yankees
    The Psycho Fan
    Replacement Level Yankees Weblog
    River Ave. Blues
    Scott Proctor’s Arm
    StrikeTwo.net’s Yankees Page
    Subway Heroes
    Subway Squawkers
    Sweeny Murti’s Yankees Blog
    This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes
    Unbiased Yankees Fan
    The Weblog That Derek Built
    Yankees Chick
    Yankees For Justice
    Yankees Official Site
    YanksBlog
    Yanks Fan Vs. Sox Fan

    General Baseball-Related Blogs & Sites

    Baseball Musings
    Baseball-Reference
    The Baseball Savant
    The Baseball Strategist
    Baseball Think Factory
    Deadspin
    The Feed
    Fire Joe Morgan
    The Hardball Times
    The Immaculate Inning
    Major League Baseball Official Site
    Minor League Ball
    My Baseball Bias
    NetShrine Discussion Forum

    Yankees-Rivals-Related Blogs & Sites

    Feeding The Monster Blog
    The Mighty Quinn Media Machine

    Stories On Big Stein This Spring

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From Michael Geffner -

    Before I ever arrived here, I heard the scuttlebutt that the Boss wouldn’t be around much in camp, that his gradual but inexorable disappearance from the Yankee scene would go another level deeper, fade more into the black of that final good night.

    And so far, in the first 10 days of spring training, this has been entirely true, as George Steinbrenner has surfaced a just twice, looking shockingly pale and frail, walking with an unsteady, if not limping gait, and at least that first time, on opening day, he slurred the few words he was able to utter.

    Mind you, it must be said that we in the media have never been offered an official announcement about what exactly is wrong with the man, of how bad it his health is, whether he has Alzheimer’s or dementia or simply is deteriorating from the process of age, from existing on this planet for 76 years.

    All we’ve ever gotten are rumors, including some pretty wild ones and sad ones, like the Boss coming face to face with Reggie Jackson and not recognizing the guy, or remembering Alex Rodriguez’s name.

    I can tell you this with absolute certainty: The Steinbrenner we’ve known these last 30 years, the one we’ve hated and loved and admired and criticized, is long gone.

    The thought of Big Stein playing the role of Aunt Clara to Cashman’s Samantha Stevens just breaks my heart. It truly is an end of an era.

    Jeter Starting To Feel The Media Heat?

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2007 · Comments (11)

    Am I annoyed?

    Didn’t Derek offer that reaction the other day in his press conference? (This is when he was asked if A-Rod’s disclosure on their friendship status annoyed him.)

    He sure seems to be more annoyed with media these days.

    Stone, cold, calculated, and effective, I must say…..

    Update, 2/23/07, 11:31 AM ET: Jeter’s in a better mood.

    Green On ‘Red Light’

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Sarah Green gets two big thumbs up for an awesome blog headline.

    thumb.gif thumb.gif

    Geffner Quizzes Jambi

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (1)

    Mekka-Lekka Hi, Mekka-Heine-Ho!

    jambi.jpg

    From Michael Geffner’s fabulous Q&A with Jason Giambi:

    If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you at the Pearly Gates?

    [Jason:] I forgive you.

    Man, three words can tell you a lot sometimes.

    Don Mattingly’s Hitting Is Simple

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (10)

    Don Mattingly’s Hitting Is Simple: The ABC’s of Batting .300” is slated to be released in 12 days.

    There’s no word on whether or not the sequel to this release will be a book on tips towards being a wonderful bench coach.

    Now, I love Donnie as much as the next Yankeeland zealot. And, I will not deny that Mattingly knows more about hitting a baseball than many, many, people. However, I don’t see myself running out to get his new book.

    To be a batting coach who gets my attention, you need to have a serious pelt on your belt – like Charlie Lau had George Brett and Rudy Jaramillo has Gary Matthews Jr.

    Show me where you actually made someone into a great hitter and then I’ll want to hear what you are selling.

    There’s no fighting the fact that Mattingly knows hitting mechanics and works hard on studying pitchers, etc. – he’s proven that. But, you can say that about most batting coaches in the bigs too. Therefore, I see no reason to be overly jazzed about this book release than I would be if, say, Steve Henderson had a book on hitting coming out as well.

    Maybe His Name Should Be “Boo-ras”?

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (12)

    The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is showing no love for Johnny Damon today.

    This made me wonder…if A-Rod opts out of his contract after this year, will Yankees fans feel the same about him (then) as Sox fans do about Damon (now)?

    Would A-Rod have to sign with a rival to get the “Damon treatment”? Or, does it not matter – since A-Rod was not loved by all in New York, as Damon was in Boston?

    Does it matter that Damon had it well in Boston and A-Rod’s had a rough go with the media and some fans in New York? Does this make it OK for Alex to leave?

    Would it be any different for A-Rod in the Bronx, post-move, from the way that Seattle “welcomed back” Alex in 2001 or how Texas did in 2004?

    If A-Rod opts out, what would be the reaction to him in Boston – assuming he does not sign there – as a visiting player at Fenway in a uniform other than the Yankees? (I think he might get the mock standing-O.)

    Maybe teams can just make all Scott Boras clients where a special patch – so that the player can be booed all the time, no matter where he is playing? It’s what ends up happening in most places, anyway.

    Giambino To Dr. Phil: Where Were You Last Year?

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Via Michael Geffner -

    The Yankees had their first live batting practice today.

    All the young pitchers were, predictably, impressive, especially phenom-in-waiting Philip Hughes. You heard the Yankee batters drop names like Clemens and Schilling after they faced the kid.

    “His fastball jumps right out of his hand,” Jason Giambi said, “and his curveball was filthy. We could’ve really used him last year.”

    Hey, is Jason putting Hughes in the same class as Pavano with that last statement?

    More Love In Boston Than The Bronx?

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (2)

    The Sox gave Papi a truck – a late Valentine’s Day gift, I suppose.

    Gee, I hope that Mariano doesn’t hear about this gift.

    S.I. Yanks Looking For Dancin’ Homers

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (1)

    “Fitty” bucks a game? Where do I sign up?

    Who Gets The Pill On Day One?

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2007 · Comments (5)

    The Hardball Times 2007 Season Preview projects an ERA of 3.82 for Worm Killer Wang this season.

    Considering that Wang’s lifetime ERA is 3.77, this seems fair.

    And, it’s probably why most Yankees fans think that Worm Killer will be the Yankees ace this season.

    It will be interesting to see if Torre names Wang the Opening Day starter this year. Mussina was awesome, overall, last season. And, he seems to have taken the role of staff leader, with respect to his clubhouse presence. Does that give Moose the nod? Then again, Pettitte is a horse and he’s being paid like a #1 starter. So, Andy has a case too.

    Part of me says Wang should be #1 in the rotation – for all the obvious reasons. Yet, another part of me likes the idea of Worm Killer not having to match up with the other team’s #1 or #2 pitcher most turns – because it almost makes his turn then like automatic-win day. (Here, I assume that Mussina and Pettitte will be up to the task of tying up the other team’s two best starters on their days.)

    If I had to guess, knowing Torre and his love for experience, etc., I’m guessing that Mussina gets the opening day assignment – and the either Pettitte or Wang will be #2.

    In terms of mixing up the look for opponents, I would suspect that an order of Mussina-Pettitte-Wang-Igawa-Pavano makes the most sense (since it’s a R-L-R-L-R sequence). Then again, you could flip Mussina and Wang in that order and it would have the same look in terms of handedness.

    Spring Training games start in a week. Torre may make us wait until around March 15th before he makes this call.

    The best part of this debate to me is that, I would bet, none of the Yankees starters will be upset with the decision. There’s not one of them with the prima-donna attitude that makes them think that they must be considered “the ace” and get the ball on Opening Day.

    River Ave. Blues

    Posted by on February 21st, 2007 · Comments (5)

    There’s a relatively new Yankees blog on the scene: River Ave. Blues. You may recognize some of the authors there.

    If you stop by, tell them that WasWatching.com sent ya!

    In Dust They Don’t Trust

    Posted by on February 21st, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Not everyone is happy about the dust bowl that’s being created in the Bronx. Elaine Rivera of New York Public Radio has the story.

    The report also notes that they won’t take down the old Stadium until the new one is open. Sounds like the mess will be around for quite a while.

    What Would John Wetteland Do?

    Posted by on February 21st, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Did he mention disliking his hats?

    Sweat proof hats.

    I don’t think he would like it.

    I wonder how much they’re going to charge fans for them at Yankee Stadium?

    Time For Torre To Earn His Pay

    Posted by on February 21st, 2007 · Comments (29)

    Are the Yankees a team, or, twenty-five separate entities? Former Yankee Bubba Crosby offers some insight. From The Cincinnati Post – (with a hat tip to Peter Abraham):

    Monday’s drama in Tampa was that Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter aren’t best friends. In Sarasota, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn were ganging up on Ryan Freel and busting up the entire clubhouse in laughter.

    “That’s something we lacked in New York. It felt like everyone would go their own separate ways. Here guys go out and do things together,” said [Bubba] Crosby, who was signed to a free agent contract in the off-season. “I think that’s a huge part of the game. The Yankees have had $200 million-plus payrolls the last few years. Money doesn’t mean championships all the time. You look at St. Louis, it looks like the guys love each other and hang out.”

    Is there any evidence to support this claim? Well, yeah. Take a look at The Post today – (hat tip to Bronx Banter):

    This was about E-6, error on Jeter for malfeasance as a leader. His relationship with Alex Rodriguez has mattered because Rodriguez matters so much to the success of the Yankees, and A-Rod has cared deeply about Jeter’s approval.

    Rodriguez attempted to recast the bond between the two and, perhaps, the power dynamics Monday when he admitted that their association had dwindled from “blood brothers” to “a working relationship.” It was, perhaps, a liberating moment for Rodriguez, a chance to stop having to act as if something existed that does not any more.

    Jeter’s opportunity to take the cathartic baton came and went yesterday with the Yankee captain defiantly sticking to his cover story that nothing is wrong, and nothing has ever been wrong. Jeter is not dumb, so we must assume he just continues to play dumb. The ice prince wants to freeze A-Rod out, and then haughtily dismiss any discussion of the subject.

    Should we be surprised by this? Bob Klapisch said it last October:

    They talk about pinstripe tradition, but the roster is plagued by petty rivalries and jealousies that act as a cancer in the postseason.

    Somehow, this Yankees team needs to come together. (Or, if it’s not possible with this current cast, maybe the Yankees need to find a combination that works?)

    I wish that Cashman would have thought about personalities fitting together when he constructed this team over the last three or four years. But, that’s said and done.

    Perhaps Torre could pull everyone into a room and hold them there until it gets worked out? That’s what he does best, no? So, Joe, how about it?

    When Longing For Cecilio Guante Is A Better Option

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    Just as it happened to me 44 days ago, it happened again tonight.

    Emergency construction on I-287, right after Exit 5 on the south-bound side. They closed two lanes. So, it went from three lanes to one. Backed it up from the construction site, around Exit 5, all the way past Exit 14.

    There I was: stuck in bumper-to-bumper, two MPH, traffic between Exit 14 and Exit 5. Like last time, my door to door trip (of 45 miles) to get home from work took me three and a half hours – yes, three and a half hours. Oh, what fun.

    I’ve only been taking I-287 to/from the new job for the last three months. And, I already hate it. That didn’t take long, did it?

    During my not-so-sojourn on I-287 this evening, I listened to the radio – quite a bit. At one point, I heard “Funkytown” by Pseudo Echo – the 1987 cover version of the “Lipps Inc.” song of the same name.

    Whenever I hear the Pseudo Echo version of “Funkytown,” I always think of the Yankees – since a Yankees T-shirt is featured in the video for the song. In fact, back in 1987, I had that same exact Yankees T-shirt myself at that time.

    Oh, to be 24-years old again, enjoying the summer, watching Donnie, Winnie and The Rick, along with Tommy John, Mike Pagliarulo, Charles Hudson, Gary Ward, Dennis Rasmussen, Wayne Tolleson, Cecilio Guante, Dan Pasqua, Pat Clements, Claudell Washington, Rich Bordi, and Henry Cotto (among others) play for the New York Yankees…

    …it sure as hell beats siting still on I-287 for hours, in the dark, wasting time that could be spent with my wife and children.

    Did I mention that I hate I-287?

    Screw it. Rock on “Funkytown.” Time to think about happier days.

    February 2007 Survey Question #4

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    What’s Likely To Happen Next In Tampa ’07 (aka Camp Quiet) For The Yankees?

    Update, 3/1/07: This poll is now closed. Poor Johnny.

    Click on the thumbnail below to see the results:

    Brett Jodie

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Brett Jodie was drafted by the Yankees in the sixth round of the 1998 draft. He made one start for the Yankees in 2001 – where he got pounded – and then was traded to the Padres ten days later (for Sterling Hitchcock).

    The Yankees then re-claimed Jodie on waivers on January 4, 2002 (from the Padres) – only to let him go him again (this time via a release) on September 2, 2002.

    He’s now the pitching coach and Director of Player Procurement for the Somerset Patriots.

    Whenever I hear his name, I think of the old Jim Carroll song “Jody.” Somehow, I don’t think they’re playing that for him in Somerset during his trips to the mound.

    Brett Jodie obviously has allowed baseball to get into his blood. You gotta root for a guy like that.

    Rico To The Rescue?

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Via Michael Geffner -

    Alex Rodriguez may not have Derek Jeter as a clubhouse ally, but he has his old high school teammate and new Yankee first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz, now.

    “Any time Alex wants to come to me about anything, a problem on or off the field, I’m here for him,” said Mientkiewicz, who played baseball and football with A-Rod at Westminster Christian High School in Miami. “I know that he’s such a proud man. He wants to figure everything out on his own. That’s being a man to him. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, is his own worst enemy at times. But, hopefully, if something is bugging him and he needs a familiar face to go to — we’ve known each other since we were 16 — I’ll be the first one he wants to sit down with. Not that I’m a psychiatrist or anything like that. That’s just what being a good teammate, a good friend is all about. And if he wants to open up to me, or if he doesn’t, I’m not going to pressure him either way. He may or may not come to me, I don’t know for sure. But I know he knows I’m here for him. I don’t have to say anything to him.”

    I still fully expect Rico Bergman to be Fran Healy to A-Rod’s Reggie this season.

    It also probably helps that Rico’s wearing #11 this year – he’ll get to locker near Alex on the road in most clubhouses, I would imagine, because their numbers are so close.

    Really Old Reliable

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Via Lee Sinins’ ATM Blog – Tommy Henrich is 94-years young today.

    Happy birthday to the first great free agent signed by the Yankees.

    Jeter: Basically, No Comment

    Posted by on February 20th, 2007 · Comments (16)

    Via Michael Geffner’s blog -

    Derek Jeter, predictably, talked for around 10 minutes this morning about what A-Rod said about their relationship the morning before. “I’m going to do this one time,” Jeter said before he began. And he proceeded to essentially say that he holds a hard line between his private and public life, and that he wouldn’t expound on what happens outside of the ballpark or how he feels about A-Rod as anything but a teammate. “I’m the captain,” he said, “and I support him like every other player on this team.” It was typical guarded Jeter, of course, keeping his emotions and feelings close. I have no problem with that. Find it admirable, in fact.

    Jeter really is the modern-day Joe DiMaggio – in terms of his approach with the media on personal matters off the field and non-baseball game related matters impacting what’s on the field.

    I wonder if he’ll wear a suit to Old-Timer’s Day every year (like Joe) after he’s retired?

    And, I fully expect someone like Ben Cramer (in the future) to do a tell-all book on Derek (where we see some stuff that Jeter tried to keep from the public in terms of how he truly went about his business – like protecting his image, holding a grudge, and more).

    Hopefully, now, Alex and Derek will stick to their promises here – and not talk about their “relationship” again with the media. Any bets on who is the first to break that promise?

    Update, 2/20/07, 10:31 am ET: More on Jeter’s reaction to A-Rod’s statements from Peter Abraham:

    Derek Jeter sat in the dugout in the same place Alex Rodriguez did yesterday. But he wasn’t nearly as happy about it.

    But there was no doubt Jeter wanted nothing to do with this issue.

    “Am I annoyed that he chose to talk about it? He can talk about whatever he wants to talk about, Jeter said. “Me personally, this is the last time I’m going to address it.”

    Like I said yesterday, “Like green tea through Torre’s bladder, so are the days of our Yankees.”

    Update, 2/20/07, 11:37 am ET: More on Jeter today from Tyler Kepner:

    Derek Jeter spoke with reporters today in the dugout before the Yankees’ morning workout. He would not talk about sleep overs or dinners with Alex Rodriguez.

    Jeter knows what some fans want: an all-out “defense” of A-Rod and a statement that he “forgives” A-Rod for his comments in Esquire six years ago. Those statements aren’t coming, so people should stop waiting for them.

    The key difference between Jeter and A-Rod is this: Jeter goes to great lengths to keep things uncomplicated, and A-Rod seems to complicate everything. In this case, I think they’re both being sincere. They should get some credit for that. They function well as teammates. The rest is interesting, for sure, but it’s mostly a soap opera.

    From an image standpoint, this is good for Rodriguez. Fans appreciate honesty and perseverance. That’s why people cheer for Jason Giambi. If A-Rod wants to win over the fans (and we know he does), he may have finally hit on a good strategy. He’s telling the truth about his relationship with Jeter, and he hasn’t bailed on the Yankees despite his struggles in the clutch. I could be wrong, but I sense that fans will respect him for that.

    This is what I said last night. With A-Rod starting this up, he comes out the good guy – no matter what Jeter does. So what if Alex had to toss Jeter out there to make this happen, right?

    Does MLB or the Yankees keep stats on sacrificial lambs produced? Maybe they should?

    Nine Hours Later

    Posted by on February 19th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    I’ve been unplugged to the Yankees scene for the last nine hours – thereabouts – since the news broke on A-Rod’s press conference today.

    I had the brakes done on my car. We took the kids clothes shopping. There was a quick stop to the supermarket. We went out to dinner. Once we got back home and the kids went to bed, I watched Prison Break.

    Being busy, there was no time to reflect on the news of the day in Yankeeland. But, now, I can focus on what happened.

    Thinking about it, I cannot buy into the notion (that some have) where Alex Rodriguez should be applauded today for being “honest” and “unscripted,” etc. His disclosure in this press conference today was totally calculated, in my opinion. Here’s what A-Rod is probably thinking:

    I’ve lived with this “relationship” (or lack thereof) for three years now and I want try and shake it up. If I “out” it, then, one of two things will happen. Either way, by “me” coming out with it, now Jeter is in the spotlight. I served it up and it’s his turn to volley.

    As team “captain,” Jeter should choose to make “it” go away (by forgiving me for the Esquire thing and loving me again). This way, I’m the hero by giving “it” up and getting the ball rolling towards making a change.

    Or, if Jeter wants to remain “thick” about it, then the spotlight will continue to burn on him – since I’ve disclosed “it” and now he’s taken no action or made further bad moves. This way, he’s the bad guy and I’m the martyred victim. Again, I look good.

    Don’t get me wrong, Derek Jeter is not without fault in this issue. Jeter, post-Esquire, is clearly playing “Michael” to A-Rod’s “Fredo.” And, once Alex joined the Yankees, Jeter should have probably let it drop.

    Nonetheless, with today’s move, Alex Rodriguez threw Jeter under the bus. In Tampa tomorrow, Derek Jeter is going to have a very bad day with the media and it’s all because A-Rod decided to break this news on the very first day that he arrived to camp.

    Alex could have disclosed this to the press at several points this off-season. And, that way, it would have been old news come camp-time (and not be a team distraction).

    But, Rodriguez held it until his first day in camp. Why? It was the biggest bang for his buck in terms of media coverage. And, again, the more media, the bigger the spotlight created and the more pressure on Jeter to respond or deal with what happens if he does nothing.

    This move today was all about A-Rod trying to make A-Rod look better. It was not an effort taken solely with the aim to be honest. It’s another “A-Rod Corp” PR-move. The only thing different this time, as compared to his Yankees past to date, is that Alex is actually trying to make himself look good by making someone else’s life uncomfortable – meaning Jeter.

    If you think about it, tying back to the Michael and Fredo reference, the whole thing between A-Rod and Jeter does somewhat read like a Mario Puzo novel up to a point.

    A-Rod rips his buddy Jeter in Esquire. (Like Fredo tried to kill his brother Michael.) In response, Jeter cools towards A-Rod – making his life tough in New York. (Like when Michael disowned Fredo.)

    I’m guessing that Alex read Puzo’s book (or saw Francis Ford Coppola’s movie) and knows what happened to Fredo in the end. So, seeing the parallel between fiction and his own situation with Jeter, he thought, “Screw this, I’m not going to just sail out on to Lake Tahoe and take my chances, I’m going back on the offensive – when I get down to Spring Training, I’m going to make this Jeter’s problem and not my problem.”

    Stone, cold, and calculated.

    Of course, maybe his agent and/or wife came up with the idea for A-Rod? That’s very possible.

    And, I would bet that Jeter is seeking counsel with his trusted mentors at this moment as well. And, again, thanks to A-Rod, “this” story will continue tomorrow at Camp Jeter…

    A simple game of self-respect.
    You flick a switch and the world goes off.
    Nobody jumps as you expect.
    I would have thought you would have had enough by now.

    Guess again.

    A-Rod: I Lied About My Relationship With Jeter

    Posted by on February 19th, 2007 · Comments (15)

    This will probably not be filed under “Best Foot Foward.”

    From the AP -

    On the first day of his fourth season with the New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez finally acknowledged his relationship with Derek Jeter has cooled.

    After insisting for three years that they remained close, Rodriguez said it was ”important” to him to publicly confirm what others have said since he joined the team.

    ”People start assuming that things are a lot worse than what they are, which they’re not. But they’re obviously not as great as they used to be. We were like blood brothers,” Rodriguez said Monday. ”You don’t have to go to dinner with a guy four, five times a week to do what you’re doing. It’s actually much better than all you guys expect, but I just want to let the truth be known.”

    Sitting in jeans and a black sweat jacket in the first-base dugout at Legends Field after his physical, Rodriguez did three rounds of interviews: English-language television, Spanish-language television and print reporters. He addressed his relationship with Jeter in all three.

    ”We were best of friends about 10, 13, 14, years ago, and we still get along well. We have a good working relationship. I cheer very hard for him. He cheers hard for me. And most importantly, we’re both trying to win a world championship,” Rodriguez said.

    What’s changed? He made it sound as if they had just grown apart.

    ”The reality is there’s been a change in the relationship over 14 years and, hopefully, we can just put it behind us,” Rodriguez said. ”You go from sleeping over at somebody’s house five days a week, and now you don’t sleep over. It’s just not that big of a deal.”

    During the offseason, former Yankee Darryl Strawberry said Jeter needs to ”embrace” Rodriguez. A-Rod said he didn’t feel Jeter needed to support him more.

    ”I’m a big boy. I’m 31 years old now, so I should be able to help myself out there,” he said. ”I care about what he thinks about me on the field. I think it’s important for us to be on the right page. And we are. We’re here to win a championship together.”

    When he was first asked about Jeter, Rodriguez said this would be the only time he would address the topic.

    ”Let’s make a contract: You don’t ask me about Derek anymore, and I promise I’ll stop lying to all you guys,” A-Rod told reporters.

    So, is Alex also calling Derek a liar here since Jeter said, as recent as four months ago, that there was no tension between him and Rodriguez?

    Never a dull moment in Yankeeland these days. It’s getting to the soap opera level.

    Like green tea through Torre’s bladder, so are the days of our Yankees.

    The First & Last Impressions of A-Rod

    Posted by on February 19th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    ARodCoverToCover.jpg

    Not exactly matching bookends, huh?

    Seeing these images, and knowing that Alex Rodriguez reports to Yankees camp today, I have to wonder: What will be the A-Rod story this spring? All smiles or all drama?

    This time tomorrow, we should have a better idea of what Alex’s cover story may be this season. Stay tuned.

    Pavano Thinks He’s Robert Newhouse

    Posted by on February 19th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    From Pete Abe via TJN -

    Carl Pavano spent much of the winter working with a personal trainer in Arizona, but he bailed out of several drills late in the workout complaining of “heavy legs,” according to Yankees manager Joe Torre.

    Pavano still is scheduled to throw his bullpen session today.

    I wonder if Pavano realizes that some men find heavy legs on a woman to be unattractive?

    Subway Heroes

    Posted by on February 18th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    There’s a relatively new “New York Sports Blog” on the scene: Subway Heroes

    If you stop by, tell them that WasWatching.com sent ya!

    Goodnight Bernie

    Posted by on February 18th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    With so much focus in the media today on Bernie Williams, and still seeing the notion from some that Williams has something to offer this current team and that he should report to the Yankees camp, I decided to take another look at Bernie’s season last year – in terms of his relative offensive production and age – to find some batters since 2000 who did what Williams did in 2006. Via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, I came up with the following list:

    Bernie37.jpg

    It’s a short list – so, that lends towards taking a quick look at each player there with Williams.

    Omar Vizquel continued to be a regular player following his age 37 season. But, in the two years that followed, he was pretty much the hitter he was at age 37 – meaning not very impressive.

    Randy Velarde also played in (parts of) two seasons following his age 37 season. As a part-timer, he showed some value. However, one has to wonder how much of that was PED-assisted.

    J.T. Snow tried to play past his age 37 season – but, he was toast by that time (and he retired last year).

    If you throw out the enhanced Velarde, Snow and Vizquel probably paint the spectrum on what to expect from Williams (should he try and play this season). Either he’s done and will crash on an empty tank (like Snow) or he will hold up for another year albeit producing at a sub-par level (like Vizquel).

    Back in September of last year, when we started to hear about “The Boss” relinquishing control of the Yankees, I wrote that “Stein is an old tiger sensing his end.”

    Bernie Williams carried the Yankees offensively from 1996 through 2000. The four rings that came during that time were driven by Bernie as any other Yankee on those teams. Alas, 2000 was six years ago. And, for the last four seasons, Williams has been a poor offensive performer.

    It’s time for Bernie Williams to follow Big Stein’s lead and be a tiger sensing his end – and put all this recent “I need to feel loved to report” drama to bed.

    Williams was one of the best ever to put on the pinstripes. But, that was then and this is now.

    SI Review of A-Rod’s “Out of the Ballpark”

    Posted by on February 18th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    John Rolfe, of Sports Illustrated, on A-Rod’s new book:

    As for Mr. Rodriguez, his tale of struggling to deliver under the crushing pressures of a youth league championship game is the very grit and gristle of Poe. One envisions the author, empty bottles of absinthe scattered about his squalid apartment, eyes wild spirals, hands feverishly clawing his cauliflowered ears at the sound of the heart beating under the floorboards while the wind moans in the eaves and the raven in the corner cackles with scorn. Symbols of torment can be found everywhere: young Alex’s best friend is JD (Derek Jeter in reverse) and his brother is Joe. Tory might have been too obvious, but one nevertheless begins to scan the crowd scenes for a scowling, grumbling fat man named George in a navy blue turtleneck.

    It’s all a little too real for comfort — and it might have been even more real had young Alex simply disappeared the day of the big game. As it is, Out of the Ballpark is still the stuff of rancid nightmares as less confident tots will surely lie awake wondering, “If the supremely gifted A-Rod can get up at 5 a.m. to practice and still choke under pressure — never mind that bogus Hollywood ending — what hope have I?”

    The story is steeped in a sense of weltschmerz so overarching that younger readers, at least those who don’t revel in schadenfreude, might be better off waiting for Thomas Harris to produce Young Hannibal Learns to Cook or the illustrated children’s editions of the works of Bret Easton Ellis. In the meantime, parents of impatient offspring can keep them pacified by handing them a copy of Stephen King’s Misery.

    Ouch.

    Yanks, Media & Me Agree: “Key” Igawa

    Posted by on February 18th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Didn’t I just say this three weeks ago?

    From George King’s blog -

    Ron Guidry is optimistic by nature. And even the most pessimistic coach views things through rose-tinted glasses at this time of the year.

    Yet, Guidry’s actions Saturday in the Legends Field bullpen insured Yankee fans biggest worries are legitimate. While Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte worked their way through a 45-pitch effort that included curveballs for the first time, Guidry’s eyes were trained on Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano.

    Anybody who has been paying attention knows they are the question marks of a questionable rotation that can’t be expected to be aided by Phil Hughes just yet.

    “I spend more time looking at Igawa and Pavano,’’ Guidry said.

    While Hughes is the key to the Yankees future _ he has to be more like Pettitte than Ryan Bradley _ Igawa and Pavano hold the key to this season. Healthy and productive they provide back-of-the-rotation stability. Unproductive and say hello to Jeff Karstens and Darrell Rasner. They are perfect in their insurance roles but who knows what they would do when counted on regularly.

    At least, from what Peter Abraham reports today, it sounds like Igawa has a good head on his shoulders. Let’s just hope that Igawa defies what 11,398 Japanese people think.

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