• Pete & Elda’s

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Minor programming break here with some information for those who may be thin-crust pizza lovers.

    I grew up eating pizza from Denino’s on Staten Island. And, they had a well deserved rep for having good thin-crust pizza. Tonight, for the first time, I ate at Pete & Elda’s in Neptune, N.J. – and, I was shocked at how thin their pizza was…like paper. I can’t believe it took me this long to try it out. I can’t imagine anyone having a thinner pizza than Pete & Elda’s.

    If you’re into thin-crust pizza, and you’re around Neptune some time, you really should check it out.

    Hank Stein & Cashman Agree On Next Yanks Manager

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Now we just have to wait for them to tell us.

    From mlb.com -

    Hank Steinbrenner believes the Yankees will decide on their next manager by Monday and could have an announcement as early as Tuesday, according to a report published in The New York Times.

    The team could make their selection public in a press conference on Tuesday, pending Commissioner Bud Selig’s approval to make an announcement during the World Series. Tuesday would be a potential off-day during the Fall Classic, assuming the the Series goes to a sixth game.

    Steinbrenner said that general manager Brian Cashman, who has declined to comment publicly until the managerial search is complete, are in agreement on their inclination regarding who should follow Torre, but the Yankees have been tight-lipped and are offering few clues.

    “As far as myself and Brian, there’s always been a slight favorite, but only a slight favorite,” Steinbrenner told the Times. “Me and Brian have always agreed on who that is. Is Brian’s job on the line, depending on who the manager is? The answer is no, because we’ve always agreed on who is the favorite. The final decision hasn’t been made.”

    “We’re going to pick whoever’s the best guy for right now, that’s the bottom line,” Steinbrenner told the newspaper. “We’ve got the best baseball people. The Red Sox obviously have some good baseball people, as well, but we’ve got great baseball people, including some of the guys responsible for the team in the late ’90s, one of the greatest teams ever.

    “So who am I going to go with? The fans and the media, or the best and the brightest — the guys that are the smartest baseball people in the country? That’s where the final decision’s going to be, whether it’s Mattingly, Girardi or Peña. The final decision is with ownership, which is the way it should be. But the process Brian set up is spectacular. They really did this right.”

    Olney: Yanks To Open Piggy For Alex

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    From Buster Olney -

    The New York Yankees have asked to meet with third baseman Alex Rodriguez, and if and when they get that meeting, league sources indicate the team is prepared to make him an offer that will exceed, in average salary, the $27 million per year that he is scheduled to make over the next three seasons — and A-Rod would be in line to set yet another salary benchmark.

    The offer could be for something in the range of five years — beyond the three years Rodriguez is already under contract for, from 2008-10 — and perhaps $30 million a year. The highest per-workday salary earned to date is the $28 million Roger Clemens received, in prorated salary, for a little less than four months of work this season.

    If the Yankees’ extension offer is for something in the range of $150 million, over five years, then Rodriguez would be owed about $230 million over the next eight seasons.

    Some executives are convinced that no other team will come close to the enormous extension offer the Yankees intend to make, and rival agents and executives are reading the steady stream of public negotiation rhetoric from agent Scott Boras as a bluff. But some officials cite Boras’s history of taking his clients into free agency, and say they think Rodriguez will leave the Yankees.

    That’s a whole heap-o’-cheddar. If Alex and Scott pass on that, then you know it’s all about the benjamins and you shouldn’t believe a word about A-Rod’s desire to play in New York.

    Yankees Batting Prospects

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (14)

    I usually try and stay away from this – as it’s not my area of expertise. But, it’s still something that I thought would be fun to do – and to look back on, at a much later date.

    Below is my list of the Yankees top “position player” prospects in their organization. Note, for this list, in addition to excluding pitchers, I’m not including anyone who has already reached the majors – like Shelley Duncan, Alberto Gonzalez and Bronson Sardinha.

    1. Austin Jackson, OF
    2. Juan Miranda, 1B
    3. Francisco Cervelli, C
    4. Jose Tabata, OF
    5. Jesus Montero, C
    6. Colin Curtis, OF
    7. Bradley Suttle, 3B
    8. Brett Gardner, OF
    9. Mitch Hilligoss, 3B
    10. Carmen Angelini, SS
    11. Reegie Corona, SS
    12. P.J. Pilittere, C
    13. Prilys Cuello, 2B
    14. Seth Fortenberry, OF
    15. Eric Duncan, 1B
    16. Kyle Anson, C
    17. Austin Romine, C
    18. Justin Snyder, 2B
    19. Juan Francia, 2B
    20. Matt Carson, OF
    21. Josue Calzado, OF
    22. James Cooper, OF
    23. Edwar Gonzalez, OF
    24. Ramiro Pena, SS
    25. Don Hollingsworth, OF
    26. Cody Ehlers, 1B
    27. Taylor Grote, OF
    28. Abraham Almonte, OF
    29. Damon Sublett, 2B
    30. Chase Weems, C
    31. Brandon Laird, 3B/1B
    32. Braedyn Pruitt, 3B/1B
    33. Jose Pirela, SS
    34. Kelvin DeLeon, OF
    35. Justin Christian, OF

    Keep in mind that this was a “quick and dirty” attempt to list these prospects. Is there anyone that you would have included that I missed?

    Would A-Rod To Boston Make Sox The Team To Hate?

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    From John Harper -

    So the question now, as the Red Sox move toward a second championship in four years, is when do they officially become the team that everybody loves to hate? In other words, when does the world decide they’ve become the Yankees?

    They fit all the categories, right? They win a lot. They spend big. Their fans seem to be multiplying by the day, invading stadiums around the country.

    After all, this isn’t 2004. There’s no charm to the Sox winning this time around, no curse to break, no octogenarians waiting for that elusive championship so they can die happy.

    For that matter, you’d have to say the old underdog role is gone for good. The Sox are too well-run, too well-financed, not to be an October presence for years to come.

    Still, it’s hard to imagine the Sox ever being perceived nationally as the Evil Empire, the label the Sox themselves hung on the Yankees. Boston is not New York, for one thing. The Sox don’t have an imperious owner in the manner of the old George Steinbrenner, for another.

    Of course, there’s one way to practically guarantee the Sox becoming the new villains of baseball, and that’s by signing Alex Rodriguez for a billion dollars or so.

    People around the Red Sox don’t rule it out, because the club is one of the few in baseball that could pay a player the $30 million a year agent Scott Boras has told the world he expects as a minimum.

    I’m probably shooting myself in the foot for thinking this, but, there’s a part of me that hopes Alex Rodriguez goes to the Red Sox – should he decide to leave the Yankees. It would be one heckuva story – and it will be interesting to see how such a move would impact A-Rod, the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the fans of both teams.

    And, it just might put that bullseye, that always seems to be on the Yankees’ backs when teams play them, on Boston for a change.

    SOTD: Moundsmen Who Get It Done In October – And Often

    Posted by on October 27th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Just a little shout-out to Andy Pettitte.

    Let’s go Yankees – make sure Andy’s coming back in 2008!

    Dicko Schilling

    Posted by on October 26th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    DickoSchilling.jpg

    The face on the left, above, is Ian “Dicko” Dickson – a judge from Australian Idol who is now also a judge on the new FOX show The Next Great American Band.

    The face on the right, above, is Curt “Red Light” Schilling – the mercurochrome “stained” sanitary sock king of Boston.

    Separated at birth? Most be something about having that type of face and being willing to share your opinions on anything….

    Hit Man In Soprano Land

    Posted by on October 26th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    I was just looking at some of the events coming up at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center (in Montclair, N.J.) and this one caught my eye:

    Friday, November 9, 2007

    Don Mattingly Booksigning

    The New York Yankees great will sign copies of his book, “Don
    Mattingly’s Hitting is Simple: The ABC’s of Batting .300.”

    Booksigning only, no memorabilia.
    Event begins at 12:30p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
    Books available for purchase at Museum

    Gee, think any of the media might try and crash this one?

    2007 World Series Game 2

    Posted by on October 26th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    Gosh, is this face annoying, or what?

    This World Series is starting to remind me of 1996.

    Back in the ’96 World Series, the Braves won Game 1 by a score of 12-1. The Red Sox won Game 1 of the 2007 World Series by a score of 13-1.

    Back in the ’96 World Series, the Braves held the Yankees to no runs in Game 2. The Red Sox held the Rockies to just one run in Game 2 of the 2007 World Series.

    Now it’s up to Josh Fogg come through for the Rockies in Game 3 (of this World Series) the way that David Cone came through for the Yankees in Game 3 of the 1996 World Series.

    Man, that 1996 World Series was magic – and then some.

    How’s The Rehab Going Pav-Dog?

    Posted by on October 26th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    From the Bergen Record last Friday (on who was at the Rutgers football game) -

    Packed sidelines

    Sure Schiano’s talked about winning championships since his first day at Rutgers. But he’s also talked about making Rutgers Stadium the place to be for as long.

    Thursday night, it absolutely was.

    Rutgers alum Shaun O’Hara was scheduled to bring a chunk of his Giants team down the New Jersey Turnpike with him, with defensive end Michael Strahan, linebacker Kawika Mitchell, receiver Plaxico Burress and running backs Brandon Jacobs, Reuben Droughns and Derrick Ward all taking spots on the sideline along their center. Mets third baseman David Wright was spotted, and Yankee pitcher Carl Pavano had requested a sideline pass, too.

    By now, one would think that Carl Pavano is the king of the sidelines.

    Cash On Front Line, Steins & Levine Suit Up The Teflon

    Posted by on October 26th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From Bill Madden -

    There is a reason Brian Cashman is taking this extra time to reach a decision on a manager and doing his due diligence by conferring further over the weekend with his baseball people: His job is riding on it being the right one.

    The emergence of young-gun pitchers Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and especially Joba Chamberlain – the centerpiece of Cashman’s grand plan to maintain the Yankees as a power without the bloated payroll – saved the season for the GM, if not his manager. Forgotten for the time being was the $40 million spent on Kei Igawa that could have otherwise gone to Ted Lilly; the $40 million Carl Pavano was still soaking up while lying by a pool in Florida; the $17 million in wince money being paid out to Kyle Farnsworth or, going back, the ill-conceived trades for Jeff Weaver and Kevin Brown that started the Yankees on this downward pitching cycle that now is showing signs of reversing itself.

    Nevertheless, it was ownership that took the public relations waxing for the severing of ties with Torre, which is why the Steinbrenners have taken pains to say the hiring of the new manager will be largely the decision of Cashman and his baseball operations people. Even though Steinbrenner long ago designated Don Mattingly as Torre’s heir apparent, his son Hank has made it clear that while the family has its own favorite for the job, it isn’t going to force anyone on Cashman. If it is indeed Mattingly, then he is Cashman’s guy.
    This is Cashman’s dilemma: whoever he chooses will be directly tied to his own destiny. His three-year, $5million contract expires after next season and it was interesting to hear Hank Steinbrenner say the other day that Yankee fans and the media should have “patience” with the new manager because he isn’t being handed the 1996 Yankees. Whether intentional or not, it came out sounding as if (in his mind) this current version of the Yankees, which is largely the product of Cashman, doesn’t have the same potential as the team Gene Michael put together for Torre.

    This all makes sense to me. If the public is upset about the Yankees taking Girardi over Mattingly, let Cashman take the heat. On the flip side, if Mattingly is chosen and he’s in over his head, let Cashman take the heat. It’s win-win, in terms of PR, for the Steinbrenners and President Bluster – if it works out, in terms of the manager choice, they’re golden for empowering Cashman, and, if it doesn’t work out, it’s Cashman’s fault.

    It’s an old Steinbrenner trick – he used to do this with Gabe Paul in the 1970’s too with statements like ‘Billy Martin’s fate is in Gabe Paul’s hands’ when we all knew that Big Stein was the man behind the curtain.

    But, don’t feel sorry for Cashman – because, if he makes the right call (assuming it really is his call), he can look like a genius here and it gives him some leverage on his next contract. What’s it going to be Batman, the tiger or the lady? Tough call.

    Why The Yankees Should Hire Joe Girardi

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    As I have previously written, with Joe Girardi you get the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin, the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter, and, the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre – all rolled into one. There’s really not much more that you can ask a manager to have, in my opinion, in terms of skills and talent.

    Don Mattingly has some assets to consider, as well, of course. He’s been well schooled in the game. His work ethic is off-the-charts. He’s respected in the Yankees clubhouse as well as around the game. And, he’s a living Yankees icon.

    However, there’s one thing to consider that separates Mattingly and Girardi, now, in terms of which one the Yankees should have run their team in 2008.

    Outside of this opportunity with the Yankees, no other current major league team would currently consider Don Mattingly as someone who they would want to manage their team. It’s not a knock on Donnie – it’s just a fact that (probably) every other team in baseball would not consider him ready, at this point, to be a viable candidate to lead their club.

    To be candid, the reason why the Yankees are considering Don Mattingly now is because he’s “Don Mattingly” and he has “Yankees” running through his veins.

    Joe Girardi, on the other hand, has been sought out by other franchises, in the past, to see if he would be interested in managing their team. And, there’s great reason to believe that, should he be available, clubs will continue to have a strong interest in having Girardi lead their team.

    Brass tacks, today, Joe Girardi is an “A+/A-” managerial prospect at this junction whereas Don Mattingly is a “C+/B-” managerial prospect in the eyes of organizations other than the Yankees.

    Think of it this way: Joe Girardi is “Joba Chamberlain” and Don Mattingly is “Tyler Clippard.” Sure, in the end, maybe Clippard turns out to have a better career as a pitcher than Chamberlain – you never know in baseball. But, right now, in terms of rolling the dice, and picking one hurler over the other, you’re going to choose Chamberlain based on the demonstrations of his talents to date.

    This is why the Yankees should choose Joe Girardi now to be their next manager. It’s no slap at Mattingly – it’s just that Joe is further along in terms of his skipper “attractiveness” (for lack of a better team) than Donnie – among objective baseball circles outside of Yankeeland.

    Maybe this all changes in one or two years? Maybe it doesn’t? But, for now, it’s a fact – many teams recognize Girardi as having the potential to be a great manager and only the Yankees consider Mattingly as someone who could be their next manager.

    At some point, the Yankees have to look at this and ask themselves “Who do I want to run my business, the valedictorian who was voted most likely to succeed, or, the dude next-door that I’ve known for the last 18 years, who’s not afraid of hard work, and who has always been a buddy?”

    It’s a tough question because, in the end, it’s a call that’s between your head and your heart. Translated to the Yankees, their heart probably tells them “Mattingly” whereas their head should tell them “Girardi.”

    Follow your head, Yankees, and hire Joe Girardi.

    Homeboy Skippers

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Has there been a recent case where a “hometown” favorite went on to manage the “hometown” team and he did a great job?

    I’m thinking about guys like Mike Hargrove, Bill Russell, Larry Bowa, Ozzie Guillen, Pete Rose, Alan Trammell and Bud Harrelson.

    Am I missing anyone?

    More times than not, it seems not to work out. Should this be something that the Yankees are concerned about, when considering whether or not to hire Don Mattingly as manager?

    Heyman: Girardi & Mattingly ’50-50′

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    Click here to read what Jon has to say on this. I found this part interesting:

    Whatever is decided, MLB would prefer the Yankees wait until after the World Series to make the call. While an MLB spokesman said he didn’t think official permission to make the announcement would be granted, the Yankees appear to be shooting for the World Series off-day Friday (though “we won’t rush it,” one Yankees person said). MLB prefers the Yankees wait, but Yankees people ignored MLB’s request not to have a conference call Wednesday with Pena and want to get on with their immensely busy winter.

    When you consider how much money the Yankees give MLB, I say “Tell us on Friday” and the heck with what they would prefer (the Yankees did with the announcement).

    Steve Balboni & Wayne Tolleson

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (11)

    Bones & Tolley were two of Don Mattingly’s closest friends when they were teammates in New York. I wonder if Donnie would try to add them to the coaching staff, if he gets the manager’s spot?

    I would like to see Mattingly get a good bench coach, if he’s named skipper. Someone like Jerry Narron or Dave Miley, who has experience managing, would be a plus, in my opinion.

    Powell: It’s The G.M. Who Makes The Mgr. Good (Or Not)

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    From Shaun Powell -

    Given the turmoil of another failed October, next season will be a stressful one for the man on the Yankees’ hot seat. He must handle the demands, both the reasonable and the ridiculous. He’ll deal with a wave of new challenges. Furthermore, he’ll have to work in the aftermath of Joe Torre’s departure.

    Basically, the direction the Yankees take as they enter a whole new world will be dictated by Brian Cashman.

    In some ways, his job as general manager has never been tougher or more important than now. He doesn’t have a Boss anymore; he has bosses, Hal and Hank Steinbrenner, who are new to this. He’ll have a new manager, if it’s Mattingly, who’ll be new to the game, too. Therefore, Cashman will have the unenviable task of advising his neophyte bosses on personnel and also giving the rookie manager something to work with.

    While Torre was made out to be the scapegoat by the Yankees high command, despite all the rhetoric about everyone being held accountable, the Yankees simply lacked the pitching to go deep into October. Since pitching is everything this time of year, the Yankees were ill-equipped for a championship run. In hindsight, they had Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang, and only one was up to the task. Basically, they had no shot.

    Torre could only work with what Cashman gave him, which was a heavy batting order and a rather average pitching staff comprised of pitchers who proved too old or not old enough. You could make the case that the one man in the front office who strongly wanted Torre to return was also the man who quickened Torre’s departure.

    And once again, the success/failure rate for the next Yankees manager will be dictated in large part by Cashman, who has a tricky task ahead.

    Already, the Yankees are wisely backing off their playoffs-or-bust demands, with yesterday’s call for “patience,” a word Torre never heard during his time in the Bronx.

    If the new manager doesn’t rise to the level or Torre in that regard, then maybe it won’t be his fault. Maybe he wasn’t given the right pieces. Maybe he didn’t fail; maybe Cashman failed him.

    The Yankees could make it official as early as tomorrow that Mattingly, the leader in the managerial clubhouse, is the guy. Whether Mattingly can cope with the demands will be up to him. Whether he’ll become the next great Yankees manager will be up to Cashman.

    Amen.

    Yeah, I Probably Think About The Yankees Too Much

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    I had a very strange dream last night. I dreamt that I was in my car – following Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter who were in a car ahead of me. It was planned that I was following them – as they were leading me into a parking lot for a retail store.

    It was one of those discount clothing places – like Syms or Marshalls. After we both parked cars, the three of us went into the store together. We were there because A-Rod was looking to buy some winter gloves and a wool ski cap. He made a note to tell me that he didn’t need a scarf thanks to me getting him one (at some time) as a gift. Soon, some other Yankees showed up in the store – but, I could not tell you now who they were (as it was unclear in the dream). As a group, we all started ragging about Randy Johnson (who was not there) – including Alex and Derek. We called him an old man. We joked about how broken down he was once he got to New York – and what a waste of time he was for the Yankees.

    Then, in the dream, Alex said to me “I need you to do me a favor.” As he explained it, A-Rod wanted me to go to his house and move his car (which was parked in front of the house) to the front of my house – because, as he said, “I won’t be around for a while and I want my car somewhere that people who I know can keep an eye on it.”

    The next thing I remember, in the dream, I was back on the street where I lived as a small child – in front of the first home that my parents owned. I was in my car, driving up the street (as it’s a street on a hill) towards Alex’s house. When I got to his home, there was a white Tony Soprano Cadillac Escalade parked on the street. I parked my car and rang the doorbell at A-Rod’s place. His wife answered the door and knew who I was – and she asked me what was up.

    I told Mrs. A-Rod that Alex wanted me to move his car, etc., and it all made sense to her. She tossed me the keys to the car and I left. When I got into the car, I decided to back the Caddy all the down the hill, in reverse, to my parents old house – and I parked it there.

    That’s all I remember from the dream.

    Bizarre, huh? Don’t ask me what it all means – I have no idea.

    2007 World Series Game 1

    Posted by on October 25th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    I think it’s probably a dream of many Yankees fans to see the Boston Red Sox win the first three games of this World Series – and then lose the last four, in a row, to the Rockies.

    So, when you look at the results of last night’s game, think of it this way: It’s all going according to plan!

    Yanks Yet To Make Posada An Offer

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    From George King -

    Almost a year of talking with the Yankees hasn’t resulted in Jorge Posada signing an extension and with the recent changes in the club’s universe it’s not likely the All-Star catcher will ink a pact soon.

    “We have been negotiating with the Yankees in earnest for 10 months and there are issues to be addressed,” agent Seth Levinson said yesterday. “And no offer has been made.”

    It’s not out of the question the 36-year-old Posada could command a three-year deal in the $39-44 million range considering the weak free-agent catching market. After all, he hit a career-high .338 with 20 homers and 90 RBIs while making $12 million this season. The Mets aren’t expected to resign Paul Lo Duca and the Marlins, who have been stockpiling dollars, will likely be interested.

    Three months ago, I wrote:

    I hope that Cashman and the Yankees handle Posada better this off-season than they did Andy Pettitte during November-December 2003.

    So far, this is starting to smell a lot like 2003. The Yankees better make Posada an offer soon – or else it may be too late.

    Jason Rees And Eladio Rodriguez

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    From the Yankees site -

    The New York Yankees announced today that they have signed outfielder Jason Rees and catcher Eladio Rodriguez to minor league contracts. Both players participated in the Israel Baseball League’s inaugural season in 2007.

    Rees, 23, batted .362 (47-for-130) with seven doubles, leading the league in home runs (17) and RBI (50) in 42 games for the league champion Bet Shemesh Blue Sox, managed by former Yankee Ron Blomberg. A native of Newcastle, Australia, Rees was awarded the league’s Co-Defensive Outfielder of the Year honors and was named to the IBL South All-Star team. Rees played collegiately at Cloud County Community College and Fort Hays State University in Kansas where he was named Second-Team All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2006.

    Rodriguez, 28, received the Hank Greenberg Award as the IBL’s Co-Most Valuable Player after leading the league with a .461 batting average (47-for-102) and a 1.000 slugging percentage. In 34 games at catcher with the Modi’in Miracle, he led the club with 16 home runs and 44RBI and was named to the IBL South All-Star team. Rodriguez was originally signed by the Boston Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent in 1998 and played seven seasons in their system, hitting .253 (203-for-803) with 38 doubles, seven triples, nine home runs and 98 RBI with the DSL Red Sox, GCL Red Sox, Short-Season Single-A Lowell, Single-A Augusta and Single-A Sarasota. Rodriguez was also named the most valuable player for his native Dominican Republic team in the Central American Games in 2006.

    Mick “Crocodile” Dundee and Juan Epstein have a better chance at helping the Yankees at the big league level someday than these two players. File this one under “Charleston RiverDogs Fillers.”

    Olney: Yanks Should Hire Girardi

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    Buster Olney makes a great case for Joe. It’s pretty much the same case that I made a month ago.

    Friday Is Hire Day At Yankeeland – Maybe

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    From the AP -

    The New York Yankees could hire a new manager by the end of this week.

    “It’s possible,” Hank Steinbrenner said Wednesday, adding that the process could extend longer. “We want to get it done as soon as possible.”

    Teams aren’t allowed to announce moves during the World Series, but the Yankees could ask commissioner Bud Selig for permission if they’d like to name a successor on off days Friday or Tuesday.

    Hank Steinbrenner said last week the team planned to consider five or six candidates but the Yankees may limit the field to the original trio.

    “It’s starting to look more and more that way,” he said,

    “It’s going to be a tough decision, but what we want is no different than what the fans want. We want to win,” Hank Steinbrenner said. “Be the best manager, be the best leader and win. We’re in a transition period. We’ve got a lot of great young pitchers, a lot of great young players coming.

    “I’m not saying we don’t have a chance next year. Obviously, the Marlins beat us a few years ago with the same kind of young pitching staff. And Detroit got to the World Series with the same kind of young pitching staff, so it can happen.”

    But he also cautioned that success might not be immediate.

    “I think the most important thing is whoever we hire, give ‘em a chance because he’s not getting the ’96 Yankees. He’s getting an even younger team or for the most part a team in transition. Give him a little while,” Hank Steinbrenner said, “We want to win the World Series every year. We’re not stupid enough to think we can do it. Of course, we’d love to win the World Series next year.”

    The Yankees rotation in 1996 was Andy Pettitte, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Gooden, Jimmy Key, and David Cone. From that group, only Pettitte and Cone were outstanding that season – and Cone was limited to 11 starts.

    I think the Yankees rotation in 2008 has a chance to match that group – or better it. And, the Yankees offense in 2008 will be better than it was in 1996, for sure.

    Hank is just setting the bar low here – so that his hire looks good next season.

    I am disappointed that the Yankees only interviewed three guys for the spot. It tells you that they pretty much had their mind made up on who they wanted for the job.

    The 2007 World Series

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (13)

    Last night was a Bones and House doubleheader night for my house – as Tuesday nights have become now. Of course, during commercial breaks, FOX plugged Game 1 of the World Series. The first time this happened yesterday, and FOX highlighted the teams in the game, my wife turned to me and said “Oh, that’s right. This must be killing you” (referencing that the Red Sox were in the World Series).

    My answer to that was “Not really.”

    And, I mean it.

    Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t like the Red Sox and I would be happy to see them lose the World Series. I would be thrilled to see Schilling, Beckett and Dice-K get pounded by the Rockies – Papelbon too.

    But, if Boston won the Series, I would not be heart-broken. Perhaps it’s because they already won in 2004 and the “1918” thing doesn’t apply anymore? Or, maybe it’s just because I realize that the Red Sox are a very good team? They won the A.L. East. They beat the Angels and the Indians in the playoffs. They deserve to be in the World Series. They earned it. No one handed them anything. Therefore, if Boston wins a ring this year, you have to tip your cap to them.

    I think most Yankees fans should feel this way about the Red Sox being in the Fall Classic – with a good chance to win it. What ever happens, happens – and it’s no skin off our nose. Or, am I the only one that feels this way?

    Lupica: Blame A-Rod As He Set The Bar

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (17)

    From Mike Lupica -

    Understand: If the Yankees allow him to break the Bank of Steinbrenner as a way of keeping him away from free agency, they are not just saying that he stays on as their third baseman and cleanup man and top run producer. It is so much more than that, both realistically and symbolically.

    Pay A-Rod this way and they are officially making him the centerpiece of their franchise and the face of their franchise for the next decade.

    It won’t be Derek Jeter, won’t be the new manager and won’t be Joba Chamberlain. It will be A-Rod, who puts up huge numbers except at the time of year when the greatness of the New York Yankees has been grandly defined. Bucky Dent has a more impressive October résumé with one swing.

    People say A-Rod’s not the only one who let the Yankees down. He’s not. But he’s the guy routinely called the best player in the game, the one who’s supposed to break the all-time home run record someday, the one who is obsessed, along with Boras, with breaking contract records.

    The bar is supposed to be set higher for him.

    And yet his numbers are so low in the last three postseasons and when the Yankees began to fall apart against the Red Sox in 2004 that you need to scrape them off the bottom of shoes. The first six guys in the Red Sox batting order all did more for their team against the Indians than A-Rod has done for the Yankees lately.

    The one thing that Mike does raise here, that is interesting to me, is the notion of Alex, if he stays, becoming “the face of their franchise for the next decade.”

    As Yankees fans, are you cool with that? I’m not sure that I can say, now, that it’s an idea that thrills me.

    A Strange Musical Interlude

    Posted by on October 24th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    I spend, on average, about 15 hours per week (between Monday and Friday) sitting in my car (while I commute to and from work). Thank you I-287. During this time, I listen to the radio – a lot. This morning, as I was sitting in traffic – thank you, rain – listening to the radio, and thinking about how much I do listen to the radio in the car, I thought back to a question someone once asked back in January 2003 (on an internet discussion forum). The question was “What are your personal top 25 LPs or CDs?”

    At that time, this was my answer to that question (with the selections listed in no particular order of preference):

    ABC – Lexicon of Love
    Depesche Mode – Music For The Masses
    Devo – Freedom Of Choice
    Elvis Costello – Armed Forces
    Gang of Four – Entertainment
    Garbage – Garbage
    Gary Myrick – Living In A Movie
    Jim Carroll Band – Work Not Play
    Ministry – With Sympathy
    Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad
    Pink Floyd – The Wall
    Police – Outlandos D’Amour
    Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magik
    Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow
    Slow Children – Slow Children
    Sorrows – Teenage Heartbreat
    Split Enz – Waiata
    Squeeze – Argy Bargy
    Talking Heads – Fear Of Music
    Tears For Fears – Songs For The Big Chair
    The Cult – Electric
    The Vapors – Magnets
    Ultravox – Vienna
    X – Under The Big Black Sun
    Yes – Fragile

    Why am I sharing this here? Well, as I was sitting in traffic this morning, listening to music, and thinking about music, I remembered that some other Yankees bloggers, at times, have shared some thoughts on music, etc. Therefore, I thought I would join the party on this – at least for this one time.

    I doubt that I would have many changes to the list I came up (above) five years ago. Maybe I would replace five (or so) of the selections – but, I would not move many of them.

    Yes, there’s a lot of 1980’s music on that list. Tying this back to the Yankees, I guess you can thank players like Bobby Meacham, Shane Rawley, Dave Collins, Henry Cotto, Brian Fischer, George Frazier, Alvaro Espinoza, Bob Shirley, Steve Kemp, Dan Pasqua, Omar Moreno, Gary Ward, Wayne Tolleson, and Jerry Mumphrey for that. Back then, the Yankees often left you looking for something else to focus on in terms of entertainment.

    So, how’s this for a strange musical interlude? As strange interludes go, I know it’s not up there with Groucho’s – but, who can hope to match that one?

    Yanks Intern Killed

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Sad news from the Yankees family:

    The New York Yankees are saddened to announce the passing of media relations department intern Matthew Wasser, 22, who passed away tragically early Sunday morning in Waltham, Mass., as a passenger in a cab hit by a person charged with operating under the influence of alcohol.

    Matt began working with the Yankees media relations department in the spring of 2007, dealing extensively with local, national and international media covering the team on a daily basis.

    Born and raised in Bernardsville, N.J., Matt was to graduate from the College of New Jersey in December, 2007 with a degree in Communications. He is survived by his parents, Marilyn Gottlieb Wasser and Eric Wasser, and siblings Jason and Stephanie.

    “A loss of this magnitude is impossible to put into words,” said Yankees Director of Media Relations Jason Zillo. “Matt will long be remembered for his boundless enthusiasm and uplifting, selfless spirit. The Yankees family reaches out to the Wasser family during this tremendous time of grief, as we keep his loved ones and friends close to our heart.”

    Services will be held on Thursday, October 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Sholom on 594 North Bridge Street in Bridgewater, N.J. The family asks that any memorial gifts be sent in Matt’s name to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, The American Cancer Society or Joe Torre’s “Safe at Home Foundation”. To send condolences to the family, visit www.brucecvanarsdalefuneralhome.com.

    I said this when Steve Swindal got busted for DUI and I’ll say it again: I consider DUI as attempted vehicular manslaughter.

    For the sake of the Wasser family, I hope the courts punish the person behind this terrible crime. This is a tragedy – someone so young, minding their own business, and taken for no reason whatsoever outside of someone else’s inconsiderate behavior. It’s beyond sad.

    Something To Consider After Mariano?

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2007 · Comments (8)

    From Tom Van Riper, of Forbes, and his feature Myth Of The Closer:

    Of this year’s eight playoff teams, the four that spent the most on closers–the Yankees, Angels, Cubs and Phillies–all lost in the first round. Combined, those teams coughed up $28 million, or 48% of their bullpen money, on the position. The four first-round winners–Rockies, Diamondbacks, Indians and Red Sox–spent $10 million, or 36%, on their closers. Those four also had the lowest overall relief ERAs, a result of building quantity along with quality in the pen.

    Those veteran closers making millions can thank Tony LaRussa, who ushered in the era of hyper-specialization as manager of the Oakland A’s in 1988. That year, LaRussa decided that his best reliever, Dennis Eckersley, would be used strictly to protect ninth-inning leads. Other clubs soon followed suit, and top relievers found themselves racking up more saves (the biggest stat driving their paychecks) while pitching fewer innings.

    Yet in the 20 seasons since LaRussa’s brainstorm, teams holding late leads have won at about the same rate they did in the 20 seasons before. Since 1988, teams leading after eight innings have won at a .951 clip, according to Baseball-Reference.com and STATS Inc., compared to .948 from 1968 to 1987. That adds up to less than one win per season per team.

    Would the Yankees be willing to be the team to take a new (or old?) approach towards their pen? By this, I mean, use younger and cheaper pitchers in relief and have them throw more than one inning per appearance – even the “closer”? Is that a better way to use your budget? It’s an interesting case.

    But, I doubt the Yankees would be the team looking to set any new trends here. Then again, the Yankees were, according to some, the first team to use OBP as part of their planning instead of batting average. So, you never know….maybe, it might happen with the pen approach too?

    Where’s Derek?

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2007 · Comments (5)

    From People Mag this past Saturday -

    Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter may be taking a well-timed vacation from the New York tabloid headlines about his departing manager Joe Torre.

    The superstar, normally a club fixture on the East Coast, has been taking L.A. by storm – hitting the Hollywood hot spots two nights in a row. On Thursday, as Torre was turning down Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s one-year contract offer, Jeter stepped out at the new lounge Green Door in Hollywood with a bunch of pals.

    Then Friday, Jeter was at it again, surrounded by a bevy of beauties at Les Deux in Hollywood. Along with a guy friend and the club promoter, Jeter took over a massive outdoor table in the club’s patio area and it wasn’t long before the table was completely surrounded with women. A clubgoer tells PEOPLE, “Jeter just enjoyed the attention with his buddy and left in peace at closing time.”

    It is amazing that no one in the press has been able to get a quote from Jeter on Torre since the news broke that Joe was not coming back. It’s like Derek has a magic shield or something.

    Man Decides To Sell His Yankee Fandom

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2007 · Comments (12)

    From the Barre Times -

    For Will Forest, the famous pinstripes of the New York Yankees have been ingrained in him almost from Day One.

    Soon after he was born 50 years ago last April, his grandfather, a lifelong Yankees fan, stood over his daughter and her newborn, and welcomed his grandson into the world with a blessing of fresh allegiance by passing the Yankees’ torch to another generation of fandom.

    But now, partly in protest and partly as a fundraiser for a charity that rescues animals from Mexico, Forest is putting a price on five decades of team loyalty.

    More accurately, bidders on eBay — the widely popular online auction house — are calculating what they deem to be a fair price for Forest’s devotion, and to which team Forest now will be placing his allegiance.

    “Anyone who has known me for a while knows this is a big thing,” said Forest, who grew up in Wayne, N.J.

    Less than a week after Yankee’s management made Manager Joe Torre a one-year offer to return to work – which Torre declined – Forest had had enough.

    “I couldn’t believe it,” he said of the loss of Torre that sent many Yankees’ fans into a tailspin last week, days after the team was ousted from the playoffs. “I just couldn’t imagine what (the Yankees’ front office) was thinking.”

    Soon after he posted the item, word of his baseball treason hit online chat rooms. He called to warn some of his closer friends — many of them Red Sox fans — as well as his baseball-loving son, Spencer, 20, who lives in Montreal. (Forest has two other sons: a 23-year-old who lives in New York, and a 7-year-old here in Montpelier.)

    All of the money raised in the auction will go to Compassion Without Borders, a California-based organization that rescues dogs and other distressed animals from Mexico.

    “I am not getting a penny from this,” Forest said, adding that he would be shipping the winner his beloved 20-year-old Yankees’ jacket, as well.

    The winner picks the team he will be loyal to from here on out –”even the — gulp — Red Sox or Mets” he says – and the winner “can check in with me any time and ask me where my new team is in the standings, starting rotation, what the next week’s schedule is. I’m a man of my word and this will be my team.”

    So what do the Yankees think of Forest’s statement?

    On Monday afternoon, the Yankees’ front office had not heard about nor seen the eBay listing. But after reviewing it, Jason Zillo, head of media relations for the Yankees, said the team had no comment.

    At least he’s doing it for a good cause. This is an interesting topic. Back in December of last year, I shared a story about someone who I know – who became a Mets fan when the Yankees traded Bobby Murcer. I can’t think of anything, that has a reasonable chance of happening, that would make me turn my back on rooting for the Yankees.

    Sure, if I found out that the Yankees had sent me a dozen cup cakes that were spiked with Ex-Lax, or, if the Yankees decided to ban bald men from attending games at the Stadium, that might tick me off enough to say good-bye. But, I doubt those things are going to happen.

    What about you? Is there a line, if the Yankees crossed it, where you say “Bye!” to the team?

    Joe Torre Making The Rounds

    Posted by on October 22nd, 2007 · Comments (11)

    From Smallscreen -

    Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre visits the “Late Show with David Letterman,” Monday, October 29.

    This appearance will be Torre’s first broadcast network television interview since leaving the Team, on Monday, Oct. 29 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

    From LoHud Yankees Blog -

    In other news, Joe Torre will be on HBO tomorrow night getting interviewed by Bob Costas.

    Looks like Joe has the “Red Light” fever.

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