• Happy New Year!

    Posted by on December 31st, 2007 · Comments (5)

    I would like to wish all the readers of WasWatching.com a very happy and healthy new year. And, may all your resolutions for 2008 come true!

    The Look Of The 1960′s Yankees

    Posted by on December 30th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    For Christmas this year, as part of a gift, my wife’s aunt gave me a 1978 TCMA Stars of the 1960’s Baseball Card Set. It’s been fun flipping through the images on those cards. Here’s some Yankees – see if you can name them. (Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos.)

    The Yankees had a different look in the 1960′s huh?

    From the same set, here’s three guys who went on to manage the Yankees. One of the faces you can’t help but know. But, how about the other two?

    Have fun guessing. I’ll post the answers to “Who’s Who?” in the comments section, to this entry, tomorrow.

    Something To Think About If You See Snow Today

    Posted by on December 30th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    46 days until Pitchers & Catchers report.

    Hey, 6 1/2 weeks ain’t so bad. I can do that standing on my head.

    A-Rod, Giambi, Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton, And…Coco Crisp?

    Posted by on December 30th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    From the Arizona Republic:

    When the Super Bowl comes to town, it brings a media circus with it. The networks will be sending their big guns to the Valley to cover the game, plus all the festivities that go along with it.

    That means opportunities will abound for Valley fans who’d love to impress their pals by popping up in the background of their favorite sports shows.

    Portions of several Fox shows will be taped in the Valley, including FSN Final Score, Fox NFL Sunday and The OT. The Best Damn Sports Show Period will broadcast live from the Bird’s Nest of the FBR Open in Scottsdale on Jan. 28-Feb. 1.

    If you have $300 to spare, the Best Damn Super Bowl Party Period will feature a performance by Ludacris and hosting duties courtesy of Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete and Jenny McCarthy.

    The party will be held Jan. 31 at the exclusive Rockridge Estate compound, according to the network Web site, which says to expect such celebrities as Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Warren Moon, Alex Rodriquez, Jason Giambi, Coco Crisp, Jeremy Piven, Vida Guerra, Brooke Burke, Kim Kardashian and Travis Barker. (Details: www.bestdamnsuperbowlpartyperiod.com) The bash will benefit the Peetes’ HollyRod Foundation.

    Coco Crisp? How does he sneak in there?

    New Canseco Book Due Opening Day

    Posted by on December 30th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From the Post -

    José Canseco has inked a deal to publish a sequel to his blockbuster steroid tell-all, “Juiced,” his lawyer said.

    “It will be an unjaundiced view, without the rose-colored glasses that [The Mitchell Report] obviously put on,” said Robert Saunooke, Canseco’s attorney.

    As reported by The Post earlier this month, the former major leaguer and admitted steroid user humbly calls the new tome “Vindicated.”

    It comes some three years after “Juiced” hit shelves with steroids charges against players like Jason Giambi, who went on to be named in the Mitchell Report.

    The new book will hit shelves on baseball’s Opening Day this coming spring.

    Saunooke said the sequel is set to be published by Penguin Books and will be co-written by former Sports Illustrated reporter Don Yaeger.

    Saunooke declined to discuss any big players named or any big details revealed in the book, but said that it would be a more complete version of the Mitchell Report, which stunned the nation with steroid allegations against the likes of Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte.

    Saunooke said when former Sen. George Mitchell initially began his investigation, he contacted Canseco and Saunooke, who provided “tons of information and background” on steroid use in Major League Baseball.

    I suspect that Canseco will probably have a whole chapter on the 2000 Yankees.

    Theo: We Do Things Different Than The Yankees

    Posted by on December 29th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    From the Times -

    “If someone wants to compare us to the Yankees based on winning and results, that’s an incredible standard,” said [Theo] Epstein, the general manager of the Boston Red Sox. “If they want to compare us to the Yankees in how we do things, that’s a little off base.”

    This notion that “homegrown players contributed directly to the [Red Sox] title” (as the Times reports to back up Epsetin) is a hoot.

    Yes, Papelbon, Pedroia and Youkilis were a big part of the team. And, yes, prospects brought the team Lowell and Beckett.

    However, it was money that allowed the Red Sox to take on Lowell and Beckett. And, it was money that brought the Red Sox Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, J.D. Drew, Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo – and, Matsuzaka and Okajima too.

    I give the Red Sox all the credit in the world for finding David Oritz and Tim Wakefield, like they did, when anyone could have went after them.

    But, again, when the Times claims that “the way Epstein and his staff made decisions propelled the Red Sox to their second championship in four seasons,” they make it sound as if spending huge amounts of cash had little to do with it. And, that’s just not true.

    Yeah, It’s Come To This…

    Posted by on December 29th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From 1978 to 1992, I was really into the NFL thing – and a pretty huge Giants fan. I watched the games every week and sweated out the big ones. But, after that time, I basically stopped watching pro-football. Since then, I’ve gone to a couple of Jets’ games, with a friend who has season tickets. And, I still watch the Superbowl each year – but, that’s just about the one and only football game that I watch on TV each season. I’ve just become disenchanted with the NFL.

    Nonetheless, I have to say that I’m interested in the Giants-Patriots game tonight. Sure, the Giants have no reason to be playing this game with no other intent than trying to avoid injury. But, man, if they could manage to somehow win this game – and, yes, that’s a tall order – maybe, just maybe, in some way, it could be a shadow of some form of payback, from New York to Boston, for the 2004 ALCS.

    Yes, it’s apples and oranges. And, yes, it’s not an eye for an eye. You can’t equate baseball and football. And, you can’t equate the last game of the season, with only one team’s perfect record on the line, with a league championship. I get that.

    It’s just that it would be one bubble burst in exchange for another bubble burst, to me…and, well, these days, in Yankeeland, you take whatever you can get when it comes to giving Beantown one less thing to gloat about – even when it’s something that they earned and deserve to gloat about…

    Joe DiGangi

    Posted by on December 29th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Man, before it’s too late, will somebody work with this guy on a book? It could be one fun read.

    From SignOnSanDiego.com:

    Joe DiGangi was ready for his close-up. On the glass-top coffee table in his Coronado condo sat neat piles of clippings and annotated photographs. DiGangi had told his baseball stories so many times that his narration was as lean as a Hemingway novel.

    Because DiGangi had spent nine seasons catching batting practice for the New York Yankees, his 92-year-old fingers were a little harder to follow.

    “Lou Gehrig always had a hitch (in his swing), and he tipped one,” DiGangi said, holding up his gnarled hand as Exhibit A. “If you look at the damn glove I (had), it was rawhide in those days. You couldn’t catch with one hand because the ball would pop out.

    “You see the guys now catching with one hand. If I had that, I would have made the Hall of Fame.”

    DiGangi told of acting as a bullpen lookout when Babe Ruth wanted a drink between innings, of throwing batting practice to Joe DiMaggio the year of his 56-game hitting streak, of warming up a pitcher while Gehrig was calling himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

    He could not have been more gracious or more helpful.

    Among the blessings of old age is the opportunity to recount history through your personal prism, to “remember with advantages,” as Shakespeare put it. Among the treats of the journalism trade is the opportunity to hear history as told by the participants.

    – TIM SULLIVAN

    Update: Just found out that the Times had a feature on Joe DiGangi about 10 months ago.

    Yanks Sign Juan Gone?

    Posted by on December 29th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    From MinorLeagueBall.com -

    …on another message board, someone posted this article

    http://www.vocero.com/noticiasum.asp?id=11112

    saying that the Yankees signed Juan Gonzalez (2 years, 2 million). But I’m not sure of the validity because it was written at 1 PM Friday and it hasn’t been announced by ESPN/Yankees/Rotoworld/etc. and that Gonzalez probably couldn’t get more than a minor league deal.

    Juan Gonzlaez, perhaps the one person in the world who can make Carl Pavano seem like Cal Ripken Jr.

    Juan Gonzalez, perhaps one of the few baseball players out there who can fail a PED test before it’s taken out of it’s package.

    Juan Gonzalez, well, I could go on all day on this one…

    Let’s just hope that the story is not true. Even if it’s just a Spring Training NRI situation, Cashman would be out of his mind if he pulled the trigger on this one.

    (Thanks to WasWatching.com reader Nick M. for the heads-up on this report.)

    Leyritz Charged With Vehicular Homicide

    Posted by on December 28th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    From ESPN.com -

    Former Major League Baseball player Jim Leyritz was arrested Friday on charges of driving under the influence and killing another driver after his vehicle crashed into hers.

    Leyritz, who turned 44 on Thursday, faces charges of DUI manslaughter and DUI property damage, said Detective Kathy Collins, Fort Lauderdale police spokeswoman.

    Police believe alcohol was involved in the crash, though investigators are awaiting results of blood alcohol tests, Collins said. He posted the $11,000 bond and was released from the Broward County jail at 2:35 p.m. on Friday, according to Keyla Concepcion, a public information officer for the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

    It could not be determined whether Leyritz, who lives in Davie, had a lawyer.

    Fort Lauderdale authorities got a call at 3:20 a.m. that a crash had occurred in the city’s entertainment district, Collins said.

    She said Leyritz was driving a 2006 Ford Expedition when he collided at an intersection with 30-year-old Fredia Ann Veitch of Plantation, who was driving a 2000 Mitsubishi Montero.

    Veitch was ejected from the car, police said. She died at Broward General Medical Center, Collins said.

    Witnesses told police Leyritz had a red light. Officers on the scene observed Leyritz to have red, watery eyes, a flushed face and an odor of alcohol, police said.

    Leyritz was told Veitch had died and he was asked to submit to a blood test, police said.

    “After he refused, Leyritz was informed that blood would be taken above his refusal,” the police statement said.

    I hope the courts punish Leyritz for this terrible crime. This is a tragedy – when someone so young, minding their own business, is taken away for no reason whatsoever outside of someone else’s inconsiderate behavior. It’s beyond sad.

    2008 Fall Classic Hallowed Ground Ballparks Past & Present Calendar

    Posted by on December 28th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Just a heads-up on something cool. I just received, in the mail, today, a “2008 Fall Classic Hallowed Ground Ballparks Past & Present Calendar” (as a gift). If you’re a baseball nut, like me, you’ll love this one. If you’re looking for an awesome calendar for this upcoming year, I highly recommend this one.

    Romulus & Remus Steinbrenner Have First Clash?

    Posted by on December 28th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From Joel Sherman -

    Hank Steinbrenner has continued to suggest the Yanks are in play for Santana, and a sense has percolated of a tug-of-war between Steinbrenner’s willingness to surrender top youngsters and GM Brian Cashman’s reluctance. But multiple sources say the media has focused on the wrong son of George Steinbrenner. These sources say Hal Steinbrenner is most responsible for dictating financial policy and does not want to spend the dollars in salary and luxury tax (nearly $30 million annually) necessary for Santana.

    This makes me think of what I wrote back on July 8, 2005 – yes, in 2005:

    My biggest fear: After George, this thing becomes something like the Wellington and Tim Marra situation and it becomes so ugly and dysfunctional that it impacts the team in a negative way – and the Yankees become like the football Giants (meaning a team with a great and devoted fan-base, lots of revenue, but one that rarely has the best team in the league or wins).

    So, is this Santana speed bump the first sign of the Brothers Big Stein pulling a Marra?

    Brian Cashman 2000

    Posted by on December 28th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    Brian Cashman became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998.

    It’s rare for someone to be a G.M. for tens years with one team these days. Ten years does provide for some “body of work” analysis. Therefore, I thought it would be fun, this off-season, to take a look back at Cashman’s “moves” during the past decade – one year at a time. (I’ll try and post one year, per week, over the next ten weeks.)

    Here, we’ll look at Cashman’s moves in 2000 and how they helped or hurt the team:

    No Impact:

    January 26, 2000 – Signed Roberto Kelly as a free agent.

    April 2, 2000 – Signed Lance Johnson as a free agent and signed Felix Jose as a free agent.

    July 12, 2000 – Traded Ed Yarnall, Drew Henson, Brian Reith, and Jackson Melian (minors) to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Mike Frank and Denny Neagle.

    August 11, 2000 – Traded Wilson Delgado to the Kansas City Royals. Received Nick Ortiz.

    December 14, 2000 – Signed Brian Boehringer as a free agent.

    Good Impact:

    June 5, 2000 – Drafted Matt Smith in the 4th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed June 21, 2000.

    June 20, 2000 – Traded Jim Leyritz to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Jose Vizcaino and cash.

    August 3, 2000 – Signed Luis Polonia as a free agent.

    August 7, 2000 – Traded Chris Spurling to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Received Luis Sojo.

    August 21, 2000 – Signed Dioner Navarro as an amateur free agent.

    November 7, 2000 – David Cone granted Free Agency.

    November 16, 2000 – Signed Damaso Marte as a free agent.

    Great Impact:

    May 5, 2000 – Signed Chien-Ming Wang as an amateur free agent.

    June 29, 2000 – Traded Ricky Ledee, Jake Westbrook, and Zach Day to the Cleveland Indians. Received David Justice.

    July 21, 2000 – Traded Ben Ford and Oswaldo Mairena to the Chicago Cubs. Received Glenallen Hill.

    November 30, 2000 – Signed Mike Mussina as a free agent.

    Bad Impact:

    June 2, 2000 – Signed Adrian Hernandez as an amateur free agent.

    June 5, 2000 – Drafted Sean Henn in the 26th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed May 25, 2001.

    August 7, 2000 – Selected Jose Canseco off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

    October 31, 2000 – Jeff Nelson granted Free Agency.

    November 20, 2000 – Released Jason Grimsley.

    November 21, 2000 – Signed Joe Oliver as a free agent.

    Was Probably Not A Cashman Move & More Likely Something Done In Tampa:

    June 11, 2000 – Signed Dwight Gooden as a free agent.
    ______________________________________________________________

    This season was much, much, better than the two before it – in terms of pushing buttons and pulling strings. But, it does raise an interesting question. For people like me, who believe that the G.M. is responsible for the team’s moves, at the end of the day, you have to give Cashman two huge thumbs up for the work here in 2000. However, for those who like to say that Cashman did not gain total control of the team until 2005, well, to be fair, those people can’t give Cashman credit for all these good to great moves in 2000 – can they? This make sense?

    Cano’s Winter Calf Injury

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

    From ESPN -

    The New York Yankees told second baseman Robinson Cano to stop playing winter ball, his Dominican Republic team told ESPNdeportes.com on Thursday.

    “The Yankees sent a letter to Cano to stop playing, but they didn’t offer many details or reasons,” said Alfredo Griffin, the Estrellas Orientales general manager.

    Cano told Estrellas teammates, however, that the Yankees didn’t want him to aggravate a calf injury that is still healing.

    The Dominican winter league baseball tournament began its round-robin playoff series Wednesday. Cano hit .389 in nine games during the regular season. He was hitless in his first postseason game Wednesday.

    Around five years ago, I thought there was a rule that allowed big league teams to prevent players under contract from playing winter ball.

    If I recall correctly, major league clubs could prohibit native-born Latin players from participation in the winter leagues based on injury, illness or extreme fatigue. And, on that last item, it was basically a catch-all that meant any player who played a full season (in the majors, minors, or some combination) could be held out of the winter leagues.

    Maybe that rule went away? I dunno. But, if not, and I’m the Yankees, I wouldn’t let anyone play during the winter – unless they were a prospect and needed seasoning. Why risk injury if you can avoid it?

    Joba & Jose Yanks New Crown Jewels?

    Posted by on December 27th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    The current print issue of Baseball America lists who they believe are the top ten prospects (today) in the Yankees farm system. Here’s their rankings:

    1. Joba Chamberlain
    2. Austin Jackson
    3. Jose Tabata
    4. Ian Kennedy
    5. Alan Horne
    6. Jesus Montero
    7. Jeffrey Marquez
    8. Brett Gardner
    9. Ross Ohlendorf
    10. Andrew Brackman

    So, like Goldstein and Sickels, Baseball America agrees: Joba Chamberlain, Alan Horne, Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Jose Tabata are the Yankees top five prospects. (Note: I’m just listing them in alpha-order here.)

    For the record, here’s the “top five” (for the Yankees) from Goldstein, Sickels and Baseball America, from a year ago:

    Goldstein

    1. Philip Hughes
    2. Jose Tabata
    3. Joba Chamberlain
    4. Humberto Sanchez
    5. Dellin Betances

    Sickels

    1. Phil Hughes
    2. Jose Tabata
    3. Humberto Sanchez
    4. Joba Chamberlain
    5. Tyler Clippard

    Baseball America

    1. Philip Hughes
    2. Jose Tabata
    3. Dellin Betances
    4. Joba Chamberlain
    5. Ian Kennedy

    So, it’s now two years in a row that Chamberlain and Tabata have made the top five, across the board (among these three sources). Perhaps Joba and Jose are the Yankees best [farm system] “crown jewels” since the days of Scott McGregor and Otto Velez?

    Some Administrative News

    Posted by on December 27th, 2007 · Comments Off

    As you may or may not be aware, for the last 4 hours someone has decided that it would be fun to SPAM the comments sections of this blog. This happened here before last January and also during this past June. Apparently, we’re on someone’s six month cycle.

    This is not a problem. I can close accounts and delete posts just as fast as this individual creates them.

    Please ignore any of these libelous attacks if you should see them in between the time they are posted and the time it takes to remove them. You should not waste any time from your day being concerned with this individual’s attempt at pleasing themselves.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance with this matter.

    Have Your Ad Seen By Yankees Fans!

    Posted by on December 27th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    Yankees fans are everywhere. And, they read WasWatching.com everyday. Your ad on WasWatching.com will been seen across the Tri-State Area, the U.S. and around the world.

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    Clemens Attempt To Break From His Prison Without Bars

    Posted by on December 27th, 2007 · Comments (5)

    Hey, if Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell can keep on staying alive, why not the Rocket?

    First, some recent Clemens news. From the Star-Telegram -

    Roger Clemens is either an idiot of Michael Vick-ian proportions, or he’s telling the truth about not taking steroids.

    My hunch is it is the former.

    If Roger wants a flying Fig Newton of a chance of being in Cooperstown, it had better be the latter.

    You see, there is a natural order to athlete screw-ups: Do whatever it was you should not have been doing, get busted, publicly apologize (entering rehab optional, depending on the crime) and watch as a very understanding public forgives just about any gaffe, big or small.

    When problems arise is when a prolonged deny-and-lie is introduced into this equation.

    The whole “sincere” apology tends to feel a little slimy when it follows a prolonged period of deny, deny, deny and is issued only after the initial denial is proven undeniably to be a lie. The court of public opinion has a statute of limitations for coming clean.

    Or, in the case of steroid users, admitting you were not.

    The window already has closed for Clemens, who has been steadfast in his denial of steroid and HGH use since the Mitchell Report had an eyewitness placing his butt on the receiving end of a juiced syringe. Originally, he denied via a lawyer statement, upgrading to an agent statement and a YouTube video in recent weeks.

    Next up: 60 Minutes and Mike Wallace.

    It used to be, back in the day, just sitting across from Wallace could make a squeaky clean CEO sweat and a dirty politician cry. In fact, 60 Minutes was the show nobody wanted calling them for an interview because their interest probably meant you were guilty of something, and they had you nailed.

    Is this the same Wallace and 60 Minutes? Who knows?

    There is much skepticism, especially in New York, where it has been noted that Wallace is both a Yankees fan and friend of Clemens. He had better go high and tight with his Clemens questions, starting with how the trainer is standing by his story and how he already has been proven reliable with Andy Pettitte.

    What we know now suggests Clemens is lying.

    He is an idiot if he is and he has a lot of convincing to do if he isn’t.

    That’s not exactly a bucket of love for the Rocket there from one of his hometown newsies. Related to Clemens, the Times today (among many other sources) is reporting:

    Roger Clemens’s lawyer has hired private investigators to try to challenge the credibility of Brian McNamee, the trainer who told federal agents and former Senator George J. Mitchell that he had injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone, a lawyer familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

    The investigators may have a tape of McNamee contradicting what he said about Clemens, the lawyer added, although it was unclear whether the tape predated McNamee’s interviews for the Mitchell report on performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. The lawyer was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the case.

    To me, it’s pretty clear what Roger Clemens is doing here – he’s making a Pete Rose play. And, considering how close Clemens and Rose are, in terms of their personality, it does not shock me.

    For those who don’t remember, “The Dowd Report,” released in 1989, said that Pete Rose bet on baseball. This is much like “The Mitchell Report,” released this month, that said Roger Clemens used PEDs.

    For 15 years, Rose kept saying that the Dowd Report was not true – and that he never bet on baseball. It wasn’t until 2004 that Rose came clean on the subject.

    I expect Clemens to do the same – he’ll keep his fight going for as long as he can. And, then, someday, maybe as late as the year 2022, perhaps he’ll come out with a book or something telling the true story.

    After all, what does Roger have to lose here? The court of public opinion has already made up their mind on him – he’s guilty. If he fights that, and loses, he’s still guilty – and all he’s wasted was time. But, if by some miracle, by protesting, he can win over some people, maybe it works out in his favor down the line? Maybe, in a few more years, we find out that just about every “Hall of Fame” type pitcher, who’s thrown in the last 15 years, has used some sort of PED? Who knows? But, if that happens, then Clemens is just one of the crowd – as opposed to being the PED Pitcher Poster Boy – and then it’s a better time for Roger to fess up.

    Hey, it’s a reach. But, again, at this point, what does Rocket have left to throw out there?

    SOTD: 1,000+ Whiffs w/Less Than 300 BB Club

    Posted by on December 27th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    What do you think, will Mo, someday, stand alone on this list?

    Calling On Dr. Moose?

    Posted by on December 26th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Ben at River Ave. Blues ponders “Can Mike Mussina be league-average?

    Just the other day, I was reading the Bill James Handbook 2008 and Mussina’s Component ERA last season caught my eye – and it made me wonder (as well) if Mike could be better in 2008 than he was in 2007.

    But, for Moose, in 2008, I think the key is his age. He’ll be 39 years old next season. I did a quick look at RH-pitchers who were 39-or-older, in the A.L., since 1973, to see how many qualified for the ERA title and had an ERA+ of 100 or better.

    The only guys to make the cut were somewhat hard throwers like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens, or, guys who doctored the ball like Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry and Dennis Martinez, or, guys who were knuckle-ballers like Charlie Hough, Tim Wakefield and Phil Niekro.

    We know that Mussina does not have much of a fastball left. And, we know that he doesn’t throw a knuckler. So, what’s left?

    It’s simple: if the Yankees are hoping to get an average, or better, season from Mussina in 2008, let’s hope that Santa stuffed Moose’s stocking this Christmas full of stuff from Black & Decker.

    Taxing Times For Bombers

    Posted by on December 26th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From the Daily News -

    In the world of the Yankees, where anything short of a World Series title is seen as a failure, the 2007 team could be looked at as a $208 million bust.

    But that really would be understating it.

    After receiving a $24 million luxury tax bill at the end of last week, the Bombers really were a $232 million letdown.

    Major League Baseball clubs adopted a team payroll threshold during the collective bargaining sessions in 2002 in an effort to contain costs; each time a team exceeds the league-wide figure, its tax rate increases as punishment.

    The Yankees have been over the limit all five seasons and this year paid a 40% tax on all salary above $148 million. That means that when the club gave Roger Clemens a prorated $28 million deal at midseason – that equaled about $18 million in salary – the Bombers actually ended up paying him $25 million for the 18 starts during which he went 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA. Clemens then lasted only 2-1/3 innings in his lone playoff start before being named in the Mitchell Report.

    “I can’t imagine that was the return they were looking for on that deal,” said one executive from another AL club who requested anonymity. “If his postseason – and theirs – had gone better, it might have been a different story.”

    The archrival Red Sox were over the tax threshold for the fourth straight season, bringing their rate to 40% as well. They owed $6 million on their team salary of $163 million. The Angels were the only other team over the limit – a first for the franchise – and owed $927,000. The bills are to be paid by the end of January.

    Hard as it may be to believe, the free-spending Bombers have a lower tax bill this season than in either of the last two seasons. They owed a franchise-high $33.98 million in 2005 and $26 million in 2006 before the $23.88 million hit this season. Over the five seasons, the Yanks have paid $121.6 million to be redistributed among the league’s lowest-revenue clubs.

    The Red Sox won two championships over the past four seasons and paid $13.9 million in luxury taxes. During the same time, the Yankees’ tax bills totaled about $110 million for no titles.

    Over the five seasons, the Yanks have paid $121.6 million to be redistributed among the league’s lowest-revenue clubs.

    Man, you could buy a whole lotta Igawas with $120 million.

    Clemens To Appear On 60 Minutes

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2007 · Comments (6)

    From the AP -

    “Let me be clear, the answer is no. I did not use steroids, or human growth hormone and I’ve never done so,” Clemens said. “I did not provide Brian McNamee with any drugs to inject in to my body. Brian McNamee did not inject steroids or Human Growth Hormones into my body either when I played in Toronto for the Blue Jays or the New York Yankees. This report is simply not true.”

    “After Christmas, I’m going to sit down with Mike Wallace of ’60 Minutes,’ and I’ll do an interview, and he’ll ask me a ton of questions on this subject, and I’ll answer them right there in front of him, and we’ll do all of this again,” Clemens said. “I’m angry about it. To be honest with you, it’s hurtful to me and my family, but we’re coming upon Christmas now, and I have been blessed in my life. I’ve been blessed in my career, and I’m very thankful for those blessings.”

    To quote Professor DeWitt as he watched Andy Schroeder and Diane Chambers go at it: I love it! A Desdemona that fights back!

    ’08 All-Star Tickets & Season Tickets At The New Stadium

    Posted by on December 23rd, 2007 · Comments (0)

    Some information that you may find helpful and/or interesting…from the materials that came with my ’08 season ticket bill:

    Regarding season tickets at the new Stadium, for those who already have season tickets…as per the Yankees…

    “Early in 2008, you will receive an official New Yankee Stadium Relocation Package which will detail our relocation policies and procedures, your relocation status as a Ticket Licensee and complete information about seating opportunities at the new Yankee Stadium.”

    I noticed, for what I think is the first time ever, a “Ticket License Seniority Date” on my invoice – along with my account number. My date is “3/1/2001.” Looks like the Yankees will be tying “seniority” into the “relocation” process.

    Regarding the “2008 All-Star Summer”, for those who already have season ticketsas per the Yankees…

    “The Yankees are please to host the 2008 All-Star Summer including the 79th Major League Baseball (“MLB”) All-Star Game. For five action packed days, baseball’s biggest stars will descend on New York City for what will truly be a magical experience for the players and all Yankees fans. The All-Star events, which will be held at the Stadium, begin on Friday, July 11, 2008 with the opening of the DHL All-Star FanFest (which will be held at the Jacob K. Javitis Center), followed by Taco Bell All-Star Sunday (featuring XM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell Legends & Celebrity Softball Game,) on Sunday July 13, 2008, Gatorade Workout Day (featuring the State Farm Home Run Derby), on Monday, July 14, 2008, and conclude with the 79th MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 15, 2008.”

    “MLB and the Yankees will use commercially reasonable business efforts to offer Full Season, A Plan, and B Plan Ticket Licensees the opportunity to purchase a license, for Tickets, equal to the quantity of Ticket(s) in said Ticket Licensee’s Ticket Account, not necessarily in the same seat locations (subject to availability), for the All-Star events scheduled to be held at the Stadium. All-Star events consist of the following: the DHL All-Star FanFest (to be held at the Jacob K. Javitis Center), the Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, (featuring the XM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell Legends & Celebrity Softball Game, the Gatorade Workout Day (featuring the State Farm Home Run Derby) and the 79th MLB All-Star Game.”

    Regarding DHL All-Star FanFest Tickets…

    “All Ticket Licensees, regardless of plan type, must purchase a strip or strips of Tickets for all MLB All-Star events to held at the Stadium (i.e. the same seat location and the same quantity of strips for all All-Star events) and each strip will include 2 DHL FanFest Tickets. For example, if you purchase two (2) All-Star events strips of Tickets, you will also purchase four (4) FanFest Tickets. There is no exceptions to this policy.”

    For those with “C Plan through I Plan, the 20-Game Flex Plan and new 2008 Full Season, A Plan, and B Plan Ticket Licensees,” again, “MLB and the Yankees will use commercially reasonable business efforts to offer” them a chance to purchase tickets prior to them going on sale to the general public – with limits on what can purchased. (For example, these groups can only buy two tickets, max, for the Workout Day or All-Star Game.)

    The information from the Yankees also referenced the “Scheduled Final Regular Season Game.”

    “As an existing B Plan, D Plan through I Plan, and 20-Game Flex Plan Ticket Licensee (2007 season and prior),” you’ll be invited to a pre-sale to buy two-tickets, max, for the game on September 21, 2008. Anyone with the Full Season, A Plan, or C Plan is not eligible for the pre-sale since these plans already have the game of September 21, 2008 in their plan.

    On the bright-side, the materials from the Yankees also state, regarding your tickets:

    “StubHub has been selected by MLB as the Official Ticket Marketplace of MLB.com and the Yankees. Commencing for the 2008 season, you may post Yankees Tickets for resale on StubHub through www.yankees.com with no restrictions on resale price. For more information, please visit www.yankees.com.”

    Click here to see the Yankees regular season schedule for 2008. Note that the Yankees consider Opening Day, Old-Timer’s Day, the last three regular season home games, and all games against the Red Sox and the Mets as “premium games.”

    The Dan Naulty Story

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

    In case you haven’t seen it, the Daily News has an interesting story today, composed by former Yankee Dan Naulty.

    Naulty pitched in 33 games for New York in 1999 – 27 of them which were games that the Yankees lost. And, 4 of the 6 games that he appeared in, where the Yankees won, were blow-out victories.

    Many Yankees fans probably don’t even remember Naulty being on the team. Still, his story is one worth reading about. I’m glad that it seems he’s on a better path now.

    2008 Polar Bear Plunge @ Seaside Heights, NJ

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

    I usually don’t plug too many things here, but, this one is such a good cause, and the person involved is such a good guy, that I can’t help myself on this one.

    My buddy Dave, who I have known now for over eight years, and who is a huge Yankees fan, is taking part in the 2008 Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, February 23, 2008 (at Seaside Heights, NJ).

    Funds raised through the Polar Bear Plunge help to advance the goal of Special Olympics New Jersey, to provide free year-round training and competition in 22 Olympic-type sports to more than 16,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

    Anyone who wants to make an on-line donation towards this event, of any amount, and help Dave reach (and hopefully exceed) his fundraising goal can do so by clicking here and visiting Dave’s personal donation site.

    Being that it’s year-end, this is a great time to look back over the past 12 months to see how things are going for you. If you’re like me, and you have tons of things to be grateful about, it’s also a good time to remember that there are folks out there who don’t have it as good as you – and, if possible, it’s a nice thing to try and help those who are not as fortunate as you.

    We often debate things here such as the role of luck in the baseball post-season, etc. Whether or not you believe that luck comes into play in baseball, there’s no denying that, for some people, the difference between having serious things to deal with as a part of everyday life, or not, really comes down to getting lucky. When seeing someone who doesn’t have it as good as me, I often find myself thinking “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

    Hats off to my friend Dave – and to all of you who try and make a difference by helping those less fortunate than yourself. You are special.

    And, it’s never too late, and no amount is too small, to make a difference. If you’d like to assist Dave help the Special Olympics of New Jersey, please check out his site.

    polarbear.jpg

    Olney: Joba Could Start ’08 In The Pen

    Posted by on December 21st, 2007 · Comments (8)

    Via Buster Olney with a hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org and River Ave. Blues -

    If all goes well in spring training for the Yankees, Joba Chamberlain is likely to start next season in the Yankees’ bullpen, as part of the team’s effort to limit his innings. Chamberlain will go to spring training and, at the outset, prepare to pitch out of the rotation, along with five other rotation candidates: Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy. Assuming that none of the other five has a physical or performance breakdown, Chamberlain would then open 2008 in the bullpen, as a set-up man, for at least the start of the season — under the Joba Rules.

    The Yankees want to restrict the number of innings Chamberlain throws, and working him out of the bullpen for at least a couple of months will allow them to do that. Chamberlain may return to the rotation sometime in the middle of the season, depending on the Yankees’ needs.

    Remember Tom “Flash” Gordon? He came up as a starter in the minors. In 1986, in the Rookie League, he made 7 starts after he was drafted and signed. Then, in 1987, he made 16 starts in A-ball. Gordon’s 1988 season was somewhat like Joba’s season this year. Then, Gordon started out in A-ball, then went to Double-A, and then the big leagues…making 28 starts overall…at the young age of twenty.

    However, in 1989, the Royals started Gordon out that season in their bullpen.

    Pitching from the pen, as a 21-year old, Gordon was a monster. He started the 1989 season going 10-2 in his first 33 games and the league was only batting .175 against him. Then, on July 17, 1989, the Royals moved him back into the starting rotation – and he remained a starter through the 1990 season.

    After 1990, Gordon’s role went back and forth. He pitched out of the pen and started for the Royals in 1991, 1992, and 1993. Finally, in 1994, the Royals put him back, full-time, in the rotation. And, Flash remained a starter until Boston converted him back to the pen near the end of the 1997 season.

    In retrospect, to date, Gordon has been a better pitcher out of the pen than as a starter in his career. Tom has faced 5,543 batters as a starter and allowed an OPS of .725 – whereas, out of the pen, he’s faced 3,366 batters and allowed an OPS of .609.

    What does this all have to do with Chamberlain? Other than showing Joba would not be the first hot pitching prospect to come up as a starter and then get jerked around a bit, between the rotation and the pen, not much, really. I just hope the Yankees don’t bounce Joba around as much as the Royals did Gordon. And, to be honest, if Chamberlain does start out well in the pen, I expect the Yankees to leave him there – as long as the rotation is not in flames.

    It would not shock me to see Chamberlain set-up Rivera in 2008 and then start to work into closing some games in 2009 – and then becoming the main closer in 2010.

    Yanks’ Most & Least Dominant Teams

    Posted by on December 21st, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Playing around today, I decided to come up with list of the Yankees Top 25 “most dominant” and “least dominant” teams – statistically speaking, using the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. Here are my results with the teams ranked by year:

    Yankees Top 25 “Most Dominant” Teams, by year:

    YEAR	PLACE	W	L	PCT	RCAA	RSAA
    1920	3rd	95	59	0.617	107	72
    1921	1st	98	55	0.641	152	84
    1923	1st	98	54	0.645	93	62
    1927	1st	110	44	0.714	338    117
    1934	2nd	94	60	0.610	166	58
    1935	2nd	89	60	0.597	127	57
    1936	1st	102	51	0.667	287	57
    1937	1st	102	52	0.662	181    144
    1938	1st	99	53	0.651	76     149
    1939	1st	106	45	0.702	289	92
    1941	1st	101	53	0.656	150	66
    1942	1st	103	51	0.669	168	86
    1948	3rd	94	60	0.610	121	68
    1952	1st	95	59	0.617	140	54
    1953	1st	99	52	0.656	220	52
    1954	2nd	103	51	0.669	149	52
    1955	1st	96	58	0.623	136	78
    1956	1st	97	57	0.630	142	57
    1957	1st	98	56	0.636	154	65
    1958	1st	92	62	0.597	95	97
    1977	1st	100	62	0.617	146	51
    1980	1st	103	59	0.636	108	61
    1997	2nd	96	66	0.593	134	78
    1998	1st	114	48	0.704	168    102
    2002	1st	103	58	0.640	143	76
    2003	1st	101	61	0.623	142	50
    

    Yankees Top 25 “Least Dominant” Teams, by year:

    YEAR	PLACE	W	L	PCT	RCAA	RSAA
    1903	4th	72	62	0.537	-6	-22
    1905	6th	71	78	0.477	28	-32
    1907	5th	70	78	0.473	-68	-21
    1908	8th	51	103	0.331	-30    -117
    1909	5th	74	77	0.490	5	-27
    1910	2nd	88	63	0.583	1	 18
    1912	8th	50	102	0.329	-97	-83
    1913	7th	57	94	0.377	-109	-42
    1914	T6th	70	84	0.455	-59	-12
    1915	5th	69	83	0.454	-37	-27
    1916	4th	80	74	0.519	-10	 18
    1917	6th	71	82	0.464	-83	 26
    1918	4th	60	63	0.488	22	-53
    1925	7th	69	85	0.448	-29	-27
    1965	6th	77	85	0.475	-44	 31
    1967	9th	72	90	0.444	-48	-31
    1968	5th	83	79	0.512	-41	 35
    1969	5th	80	81	0.497	-30	 23
    1982	5th	79	83	0.488	13	-14
    1987	4th	89	73	0.549	12	-14
    1989	5th	74	87	0.460	-10	-64
    1990	7th	67	95	0.414	-82	-68
    1991	5th	71	91	0.438	-54	-41
    1992	T4th	76	86	0.469	-1	-15
    

    As a Yankees fan, are there any surprises here for you? Any team on the lists that you think should not be there? Any team missing from the lists that you think should be there?

    Tommy Byrne Passes

    Posted by on December 21st, 2007 · Comments (0)

    From WRAL.com -

    Former major league pitcher Tommy Byrne, known for his fastball and his fond memories of life in the major leagues, has died, Bright Funeral Home of Wake Forest has confirmed. He was 87.

    Byrne, 87, had a career record of 85-69 and an ERA of 4.11 in his major league career.

    For a pitcher, Byrne had some pop. Here are the HR/AB ratios of all pitchers who hit more than 10 career homers from 1943 to 1957:

    Jack Harshman .051
    Clint Hartung .037
    Joe Nuxhall .034
    Bob Lemon .032
    Johnny Antonelli .027
    Dizzy Trout .025
    Tommy Byrne .023
    Don Newcombe .017
    Warren Spahn .016
    Early Wynn .011

    We’ve lost too many ex-Yankees this year.

    Happy Holidays!

    Posted by on December 21st, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Barring any breaking and hot Yankees-related news, I do not expect to be posting many entries to WasWatching.com over the next five days. Therefore, I wanted to take this time now to wish all the readers of this blog a safe and happy holiday season. It’s been 32 months now that WasWatching.com has been up and running, and, I’ve truly enjoyed all the feedback to this site and its content that you have provided this year and last. Thanks for that wonderful present! I hope you all have as much fun (as I’ve had here so far) during your holiday observance.

    Look for more stuff here starting next week!

    Mike Borzello Leaves Yankees For L.A.

    Posted by on December 20th, 2007 · Comments (8)

    From George King -

    Alex Rodriguez will try to duplicate his scintillating 2007 season without a key member of a very small inner circle.

    Mike Borzello, a bullpen catcher for the past 12 seasons and Joe Torre’s godson, has left the Yankees and taken a job with the Dodgers as a catching instructor.

    Normally, a support-staff member splitting doesn’t create a huge void. However, Rodriguez leaned on Borzello as a workout partner, and he was one of the few people whose criticism Rodriguez listened to.

    Whether it was a 7:30 a.m. spring-training workout fielding ground balls or the daily 3:30 p.m. long-toss session, Borzello was on hand. And when Borzello saw Rodriguez drifting mentally, he wasn’t afraid to say.

    “He was good for Alex because he told Alex the truth,” a Yankee employee said of Borzello. “Not everybody does that.”

    Without the 37-year-old Borzello, a former minor-league catcher who also is close to Mike Mussina and interacts with the pitcher the same way he does with Rodriguez, it will be interesting to see how Rodriguez reacts.

    Nobody in baseball puts more emphasis on routine than Rodriguez, who now needs a workout partner and somebody not afraid to tell the best player in baseball that he isn’t perfect.

    A bullpen catcher, who was the godson of the former manager (which was probably the reason why he got the job in the first place), quits – and, it becomes an “A-Rod” story. These are the days of our lives, now, in Yankeeland.

    Get used to it – we have ten more years of it coming.

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