• The Big Hank Stein Quote

    Posted by on February 29th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Last night, I shared a link to Jonathan Mahler’s feature in the Times on the Brothers Stein. There was a pretty “big” quote therein from Hank Steinbrenner that I wanted to mull, to be sure that I thought about what I wanted to write on it, before sharing a knee-jerk reaction. Since then, the quote has received quite a bit of exposure. So, I thought I better get my two cents in, now, before it really becomes old news. Here’s the quote from Hank:

    “Red Sox Nation?” Hank says. “What a bunch of [expletive] that is. That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans. Go anywhere in America and you won’t see Red Sox hats and jackets, you’ll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We’re going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order.”

    First, the term “Red Sox Nation” goes back to Nathan Cobb. Via Gordon Edes:

    [Q:] When was the term Red Sox Nation first used? I tell friends that it was years ago maybe the 60′s or 70′s in various newspaper articles to describe Red sox fans. My friends think it’s only in the last couple of years because NESN has used it as a marketing thing. I say it’s way back. Who’s right? Jack, Rutland, Vt.

    A: Jack, my colleague Dan Shaughnessy said it was first used by a Globe reporter not in sports, Nathan Cobb, back in 1986, but Shaughnessy gave it life and really was the person who made it part of our lexicon by his frequent use of the term from 1990 on. He even wrote a book with “Dispatches from Red Sox Nation” as part of the title.

    This ties into what Wikipedia has on the topic:

    Red Sox Nation refers to the fans of the Boston Red Sox. The phrase “Red Sox Nation” was first coined by Boston Globe feature writer Nathan Cobb in an October 20, 1986 article about split allegiances among fans in Connecticut during the 1986 World Series between Red Sox and the New York Mets. The phrase was popularized by the 1996 book At Fenway: Dispatches From Red Sox Nation (ISBN 0-517-70104-9) by Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy.

    Therefore, the “thought” of “Red Sox Nation” goes back to Cobb in 1986 and the “movement” of getting it out there was assisted by Shaughnessy in 1996. Sure, ESPN and the Red Sox have helped to continue the push of the term, but, they did not start it. Further, there is some fact behind this notion of the existence of a Red Sox Nation. Via Paul White, on August 22nd of last year:

    Red Sox Nation began growing in 2003, when the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 1999. It exploded after the Sox won the World Series in 2004 for the first time since 1918, after surprising the Yankees in the American League Championship Series by becoming the first baseball team to win a seven-game series after losing the first three games.

    The Red Sox returned to the playoffs in 2005 and led the majors in road attendance — topping the Yankees, baseball’s top road draw from 2001 to 2004. The Red Sox fell to third place in the AL East last year, missed the playoffs and saw the Yankees reclaim the road attendance crown.

    This year the Sox are surging again and averaging 39,136 in road attendance. That’s about 1,300 more than the Yankees draw in road games, and nearly 2,000 more than the Sox drew in road games in 2005, when they were the defending World Series champs.

    In the end, Hank is not 100% correct with his statement that “Red Sox Nation” was “a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN” and that it really doesn’t exist.

    In any event, the bigger fish in this pond is the fact that Hank made the comment in the first place. The Yankee fanboy in me is juiced by this battle cry from Hank. However, to be fair and objective, had Larry Lucchino (or some other Red Sox official) made this comment about the Yankees, I would be loading for bear right about now. So, in that sense, since there is a Red Sox Nation, perhaps giving them this chum to chew on was not the brightest idea in Hank’s bag of tricks?

    If Hank wants to “restore the universe to order,” his plan should be to (1) finish first in the A.L. East; and (2) win the ALDS – since the Yankees have not done the former since 2006 and the latter since 2004. After reaching these two goals, then it’s time to start worrying about the Red Sox, etc.

    The Yankeeland Before Stein Time

    Posted by on February 29th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Last night, I went out to dinner with three of my buddies. I’ve known two of them for a long time. If I had to guess, I would say that I’ve been friends with one of them for 34 years now and the other one for 32 years. The third fellow and I have been friends for at least 11 years – maybe a little longer. And, we’re all pretty close in age. During dinner, the topic of days gone by came up, and we started to reminisce about when we were back in Little League – bringing up names of old coaches and teammates, etc.

    On the way home, I still found myself thinking about that part of the evening when it dawned on me: We were going pretty far back with that Little League conversation – somewhere around circa 1972. We’re talking about the days of Adam-12, Watergate, and Deliverance territory here.

    For me, two things immediately came to mind: (A) That was a long time ago, and (B) I’m really old.

    Then, I started to think about the 1972 Yankees. It was the last year where the team was owned by CBS. That season, the Yankees went 79-76 and finished in 4th place – 6 ½ games back of the first place Tigers. New York averaged 12,550 fans per home game back in 1972. (As you can tell from this photo from the last game at the Stadium in 1972, the Yanks were not exactly packing them in those days.) The best hitters on that Yankees team were Bobby Murcer, Roy White, Thurman Munson and Ron Blomberg. And, the best pitchers on the team were Steve Kline, Sparky Lyle, Lindy McDaniel and Fred Beene.

    It’s amazing, while we were talking about those Little League memories, it didn’t seem like it was nearly three-eights of a century ago – but, it was. And, when you look back at the 1972 Yankees Yearbook (below) it seems like it was a thousand years ago. Further, looking at Yankeeland, circa 1972, and Yankeeland, today, it seems like they’re a million years apart – at least, after last night, now it does.

    Being curious, I asked Lee Sinins of the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia “How many of the 1972 Yankees are still alive today?” Without knowing, I figured that most of the 36 players on that squad were still around. If Bobby Murcer, Felipe Alou, Gene Michael, Horace Clarke, Mel Stottlemyre, Ron Blomberg, Roy White, and Sparky Lyle were still around – which I knew to be true – most of that team was probably still around (according to my logic).

    Then, Lee confirmed for me: “Everyone is alive except Thurman Munson, Johnny Callison and Celerino Sanchez.”

    Wow. That’s pretty good – just about 92% of the 1972 Yankees are still with us. Maybe YES should do a reunion show on them (while so many are still here)? Since they were the last Yankees team “Before Steinbrenner” there is some uniqueness to them. People might be interested in seeing them assembled once again – and hear their stories be brought up to date. At the least, it sounds like something that four old guys sitting in a sports bar in Edison, New Jersey, on a Thursday night in late February might want to talk about it – along with other tales from the “old days.”

    YanksYB1972.JPG

    Olney: Yanks Will Be A Surprise Team & Overachieve

    Posted by on February 29th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Click here to see the video.

    If I’m doing my math right, Buster is saying that the Yankees could win around 108 games this season.

    For the record, PECOTA does not agree with Olney.

    Jean Afterman Sighting

    Posted by on February 29th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Via the St. Petersburg Times -

    Dozens of screaming fans and a flock of paparazzi lined the red carpet at Tampa Theatre’s ninth annual Oscar Night America benefit Sunday.

    Pat Fenda reprised her Oscar-worthy performance as Roan Jivers, critiquing 300 gowned and tuxed supporters as they emerged from limos circling the block.

    The Florida Aquarium’s tiny South African black-footed penguins waddled in on Happy Feet wearing their version of black-tie, but they were not invited to stay and watch the 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony on the big screen.

    The historic theater’s benefit was one of 52 sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    Jean Afterman, vice president and assistant general manager of the New York Yankees, was among the movie buffs enjoying champagne and hors d’oeuvres from Mise en Place.

    She was rooting for Juno to win big, she said, clutching a CD of the sound track produced by her brother, Peter. The film did win Best Original Screenplay.

    In December 2001, the Yankees hired Afterman to be their assistant General Manager. At the time, Brian Cashman cited her expertise in the Far East as one of her strongest attributes. That made sense – because she was general counsel for an agency who represents Japanese players before joining the Yankees. [Insert your Kei Igawa joke here.]

    But, as a G.M., shouldn’t your assistant G.M. be someone that you’re grooming and training to be your successor?

    Does anyone really think that Jean Afterman has a decent chance of ever being the Yankees next General Manager? Man, if that happens, would that be a bad dream, or what?

    More Steinbrenner Biographies On The Way

    Posted by on February 29th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via the Philly Inquirer:

    New York Daily News columnist Bill Madden has signed a “major league deal with HarperCollins to do the definitive portrait” of Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, says the News. Not to be outdone, Random House has signed novelist Norris Church, who was married to Norman Mailer for 32 years, to write another bio of G.S.

    Looks like Peter Golenbock will have some company. I would love to see someone like Kevin Kerrane or John Helyar do a book on Big Stein too.

    Actually, the guy who should write the book on George is Gene Monahan. He’s the only guy to be with the Yankees during every single year that Steinbrenner owned the team. And, I’m sure he knows things that no one else knows. Now, Monahan doing a tell-all would be something – but, it will never happen…at least, not in the near future.

    It’s A Boy, And Another Three Boys, And Two Girls!

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via the Trenton Times:

    Chase the Golden Retriever, mascot of the [Yankees Double-A affiliate] Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team, is now a proud father, the team announced Thursday.

    Chase’s partner, Cyndarella, had a litter of six puppies — four males, two females — on Jan. 26. Now one month old, all six puppies are “playful and healthy,” the team said in a news release.

    The team said it plans to keep one of the male puppies and train it to be Chase’s sidekick. Thunder fans are being invited to suggest a name for the puppy.

    Due to his newly required parenting duties, I think the Yankees, and the Thunder, should give Chase the summer off this year and make Carl Pavano serve as the mascot in Trenton this season.

    It would be entertaining to see Pavano play the role of “batdog” during Trenton’s games – retrieving bats with his mouth and returning them to the Thunder dugout.

    Sox Dodged Bullet On Rocket

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Larry Lucchino, on Roger Clemens, via the Providence Journal:

    The current [Red Sox] ownership group, which has made great strides in alumni relations, wanted to mend things with Clemens, too. When the Sox attempted to sign him in 2006, they commissioned a video to play for him in an effort to woo Clemens back to Boston for the end of his career.

    “He did say,” said Lucchino, “that after our effort about reaching out to him, he felt much better about the organization.”

    But after demonstrating a willingness to meet Clemens more than halfway, the Sox seem to be backpedaling. They were largely unstained by the release of the Mitchell Report and, of course, they’d like to keep it that way.

    Had things gone differently, had Clemens accepted their offer to return in 2006 or 2007, the Sox this spring would be up to their necks in talk about steroids and human growth hormone. What did the Red Sox know and when did they know it?

    “Certainly,” said Lucchino, “when we look at last year and the (minimal) contributions he made to the Yankees pitching staff and the ultimate success we had, I guess we were lucky.”

    Instead, the Sox’ hands are clean. For now, the Sox are just one of Clemens’ four former employers. As his trouble worsens, Clemens’ relationship with the Sox grows more distant, his time here more and more removed.

    And after a period in which they tried to re-establish ties with Clemens, one gets the distinct feeling that that’s just fine with the Red Sox.

    Thinking of all this, I wonder if the Yankees will invite Clemens to Old Timer’s Day this season, or, to the ceremonies on the day of the last game at (the current Yankee) Stadium? Doubt it.

    Clemens is now the Philip Nolan of baseball.

    Mahler: Oedipus Bronx

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Jonathan Mahler has a very good feature in the Times on the Brothers Stein. Click here to read it. An interesting snip with the bad and good news:

    The biggest issue the Yankees face is potential sibling rivalries, particularly between the two brothers, and Hank’s outspokenness has inevitably triggered speculation about the possibility of resentment. “Observing some of the things Hank has been saying, he has a disconcerting tendency to speak in the first-person singular,” one of the limited partners told me. “When George does that, that’s one thing, but when you’re in a situation where there’s a family transition going on, for one of four siblings to speak like that can produce issues.”

    The interests of the brothers’ informal fiefdoms — business and baseball — will inevitably collide. Indeed, they already have in the case of Johan Santana, whom Hank seemed desperate to land.

    The Yankees organization clearly recognizes the precariousness of this power-sharing arrangement. After I interviewed Randy Levine, he called Rubenstein to express concern that my story was going to focus too much on Hank. And without any prompting, Jennifer told me how well her two brothers were working together: “They’re complementing each other perfectly. Together they’re just clicking.”

    However things play out among the Steinbrenner siblings, however tempting it may be for Yankee haters to indulge in dark, King Lear-like fantasies of family discord tearing apart the Yankee kingdom, it’s worth remembering that the franchise has almost always been a model of dysfunction under the Steinbrenners.

    Bad Murcer News

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Very sad to hear.

    Godspeed Lemon.

    The Hughes Health Question

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (21)

    In 2004, Phil Hughes missed playing time due to both a stubbed/broken toe and some elbow soreness. In 2005, Hughes missed playing time due to shoulder tendonitis and a “tired arm.” And, last season (2007) Hughes missed playing time due to both a severe hamstring pull and ankle sprain. That’s three out of four seasons where an injury took Hughes out of action. Reviewing this, it’s encouraging to hear that Hughes has stepped up his conditioning efforts.

    So, what do you think Yankees fans? Do you think Hughes will be less burdened by injuries now – and going forward in his career? Or, is Hughes going to be one of those pitchers who will always have his ups-and-downs in terms of being healthy enough to pitch?

    Megdal: It’s A Question Of Age

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Howard Megdal looks at the 2008 Yankees today for the Observer:

    But there are a number of questions the Yankees will begin to answer this spring that will determine if this year’s team will win ugly during the regular season and fall short against the American League’s best pitching in October, or if the Yankees finally have the right mix of youth and experience.

    Like personnel-deprived teams that played during World War II, New York’s starting pitching may be either too young or too old.

    Which brings us to Mike Mussina, who may be finished as a good major league pitcher. He has ended up with a wose-than-average ERA+ in three of the past four seasons—his ERA in 2007 was 5.15. And it got worse for Mussina as the year went on—he was at 4.62 prior to the All-Star break, 5.72 afterwards.

    Between left field and designated hitter, the Yankees need to find time for Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi, while Bobby Abreu and Jorge Posada could both use occasional DH time as well. Once hitters catch up to pitchers in mid-March, watch all of these players, and notice if they are getting around on good fastballs, or if they swing and miss too much. With the exception of Posada, all displayed signs of decline for extended periods in 2007, and the end for good hitters is often swift.

    I think the Yankees realize all this as well – which is why Brian Cashman has said this season could go well or not so well for the team.

    I just wonder how many Yankees fans realize this? Probably not enough.

    Spanning Santana

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Emma Span has a fun read in Slate today – on why the Yankees and Mets fans are happy not to have Johan Santana. Click here to read it.

    Roger, Over And Out?

    Posted by on February 28th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    The news, or should I say quicksand, just keeps getting worse and worse for Roger Clemens. But, perhaps the biggest question here is: Does anyone even care anymore?

    If someone told you that you could never hear any news about Clemens, ever again, and it would only cost you a dollar, would you be as quick as me to pony-up a buck?

    A-Rod & Abreu: Thunder & Lightning

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Copies of “The Hardball Times Season Preview 2008” and “The Bill James Gold Mine 2008” arrived at WasWatching.com HQ today. Sweet.

    Reviews on both are to follow soon. In the interim, here’s a fun Yankees fact from The Bill James Gold Mine 2008:

    101 of Alex Rodriguez’ 156 RBI in 2007 came from his homeruns. Bobby Abreu had more RBI singles, more RBI doubles, more RBI triples and more miscellaneous RBI from things like walks and groundouts than did A-Rod.

    A-Rod, last year, drove in Abreu 33 times, Jeter 32 times, and himself 54 times. That’s 119 of his 156 RBI (in 2007) right there.

    Hank ala’ Donovan: “I’m Not My Dad.”

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Via ESPN Magazine -

    [Hank] Steinbrenner on his managing style: “The fear, it’s not how I operate. The people here in the front office already know that. The people who know me know that. The Yankee fans have been very good to me so far, but I think it might take some time for people to get used to the fact that I’m not my dad.”

    Yeah, in the Yankees front office, I’m sure they call Hank “Mellow Fellow” – quite rightly.

    Hank on his relationship with A-Rod:

    I’m just mad about Thirteen.
    Thirteen’s mad about me.
    I’m just mad about Thirteen.
    He’s just mad about me.

    It’s electrical bananarama split time in Yankeeland! Long live Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper, and Snorky!

    Forbes: High Priced Imports Don’t Help In Baseball

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Some interesting thoughts from Tom Van Riper of Forbes -

    Recent history shows that in each winter since 1998, the highest-salaried major league player to switch teams has never had a notable effect on the win total of the club that got him. In fact, six of 10 teams won fewer games than in the previous year, while none enjoyed a longer advance through the post season.

    The $20 million that Santana will earn in 2008 makes him this year’s highest-paid acquisition, just ahead of Torii Hunter, his ex-teammate from the Twins who jumped to the Los Angeles Angels for a five-year, $90 million deal.

    Last winter’s highest paid acquisition, pitcher Jason Schmidt, got $15.7 million to move down the West Coast from the San Francisco Giants to the Los Angeles Dodgers. But a shoulder injury, always a risk with pitchers, limited him to just 26 innings and a 1-4 record. The Dodgers won six fewer games than they did in their playoff season of 2006, finishing fourth.

    The Giants tried to replace Schmidt by lavishing $126 million over seven years on lefty Barry Zito (he got $10 million in the first year), who struggled to an 11-13 record while his team finished last. And the man who was technically last year’s highest-paid newbie, the Yankees’ Roger Clemens (his signing came in mid-season, leaving Schmidt standing as the top winter acquisition), had no real effect on his club despite an $18 million contract. With Clemens going 6-6, the Yankees won three fewer games than they did in 2006, bowing out in the first round of the playoffs for the third straight time.

    The trend is no better for offensive saviors over the past decade. Since 1998, the highest-salaried players to jump teams have included Sammy Sosa in 2005 (Chicago Cubs to Baltimore Orioles) and Mo Vaughn in 2002 (Angels to Mets), both of whom saw their new clubs fall back in the standings the year they got there.

    Consider the Atlanta Braves’ 2003 acquisition of Mike Hampton, a $13 million-a-year pitcher, to beef up their already strong starting rotation. Hampton was a solid but unspectacular 14-8 that year, while the Braves duplicated their 2002 season of 101 wins and a first-round playoff exit.

    Slugger Alex Rodriguez, who jumped from the Seattle Mariners to the Texas Rangers in 2001 for over $22 million a year and then took that contract to the Yankees three years later, failed to push either team to greater heights. The 2001 Rangers, with the league’s worst pitching staff, finished fourth for the second year in a row. And the 2004 Yankees went from 101 wins and a World Series loss the year before to 101 wins and a League Championship Series loss to the Red Sox. Even a human stat machine like A-Rod won’t improve a team if his salary makes it difficult for a club to invest in other needs.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the player being an import, or, if it’s just “The 15 Percent Rule” coming into play?

    Birnbaum: Bill James Website & “Cursed” Teams

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Today, Phil Birnbaum writes about Bill James’ new method of determining a team’s chances to win the World Series. (Hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org.) Click here to see what Phil has to say on this.

    I wonder how this theory ties into the Nate Silver and Dayn Perry theory? Now, that would be an interesting study as well.

    The Giambi Odds, Part II

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Four days ago, the question “How many 37-year olds have posted great offensive seasons – even in part-time duty – for the Yankees?” was pondered here – which led to the conclusion that “…history tells us that we should not expect anything positive from Jason Giambi this season. And, should he actually provide some decent offense, it would be defying the odds – big time.”

    In response to that item, some asked to see the data for a larger population of 37-year olds – and not just Yankees – to see what those results would show. So, since you asked, click here to see the stats (via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia).

    For the cut, we used 1973 as a starting season – as that’s when the D.H. came into play. And, we used 251 PA as a minimum to allow for part-timers.

    As you can see, there were 149 such “seasons” found. And, in 74% of those seasons, the 37-year old batter was not great. And, here, we’re turning a blind eye to batters like Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Ken Caminiti who posted good numbers at age 37 via some help. Further, in 49% of those seasons, the 37-year old posted a bad offensive season.

    Using this bigger sample supports the suggestion made on Giambi four days ago. History here tells us that the odds are not in his favor. And, we should not expect anything hugely positive from Jason Giambi this season. Further, it’s just about a 50-50 chance that he should provide some decent offense at all.

    Sox No Longer Obsessed With Yanks?

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (16)

    From Bob Klapisch:

    Spend a day at Red Sox camp, and you sense their profound tranquility. No Yankee-bashing, no personal attacks against A-Rod and certainly no gloating over the miniature dynasty.

    With two championships in the past four years, and practically everyone back from the ’07 World Series roster, the Sox’ domination is likely to continue in 2008. That’s why no one’s obsessing over the Bombers’ spring training story lines, including the beginning of the Joe Girardi era and the un-Yankee-like decision to rely on three rookies in the starting rotation.

    Indeed, it’s a long way from 2003, when the Yankees broke the Sox’ hearts with that Game 7 victory in the AL Championship Series. The Sox were at their low point watching Aaron Boone circle the bases after blasting a season-ending home run over the left field wall. The Bombers were going to the World Series and the Sox were going home, beyond despair.

    But it helps that the Bombers haven’t won a World Series since 2000. It matters, too, that the Sox have found stability: Manager Terry Francona was rewarded with a three-year contract extension that will pay him $11.5 million through 2011.

    “I realize now how important it is, but it’s not healthy just to think about the Yankees,” he said after Tuesday’s workouts. “I know it’s a cliché, but I’m trying to get my guys to understand it’s just as important to focus on the Rays as it is against the Yankees. The goal is to have the same intensity level whoever you’re playing.”

    This is what happens, I suppose, when Wile E. Coyote finally catches the Road Runner.

    Francona may be able to sell this to his team, but, I think those fans that make up Red Sox Nation may not be buying this as quickly? Or, will they?

    How about Yankees fans? What do you say? Do you feel like the “Hammer and the Nail” relationship that the Yankees had with the Red Sox, for so long, is now gone (thanks to 2004 and 2007)?

    Beware The Sounds Of Spring

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Before we get too amped up over any quotes that come out of the Yankees camp today as a result of their intersquad game, let’s remember this diddy from Jason Giambi (this time last year):

    In the early part of camp [Matt] DeSalvo, 26, opened eyes in the bullpen and in batting practice. “I was shocked, that’s how filthy he was,” Jason Giambi said.

    Damon Oppenheimer can rest easy as Jason Giambi is no threat in terms of taking his job.

    Rangers’ Wilson Blog Comments Backfire

    Posted by on February 27th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    From the Dallas Morning News with a hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org:

    The exhibition season hasn’t yet started, and already Texas Rangers closer C.J. Wilson has found himself in a jam.

    In his own clubhouse.

    Wilson recently made comments about his teammates’ lack of political education in an ESPN.com article and then made subsequent posts on a Rangers-related blog that referred to the average major leaguer by an obscene remark. On Tuesday, teammates confronted him about the comments.

    I guess this would qualify as a “bad incident.” Given the recent news about Yankees players having blogs, I wonder if this situation will give cause for the Yankees to take a preemptive strike, using the Rangers as an example, and start to tell players that cyberspace is a no-go?

    The Breakfast Of [Hopefully] A Champion

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Want to know what makes General Joe go? From Ken Davidoff:

    Joe Girardi eats the same breakfast, at the same time, each day.

    “Egg whites, a little ham and a little dry wheat toast,” the Yankees’ new manager said Monday. “Usually about 6:30 every morning.”

    He is “regimented,” Girardi admitted with a smile, yet “I have some flexibility always built into my schedule.”

    Smart dude, that Joe. Egg whites contain a ton of protein with almost no fat or cholesterol. And, the ham, well, that’s a high density protein too. Protein keeps your blood sugar stable and reduces cortisol production. (Excess cortisol stimulates glucose production. This excess glucose then typically is converted into fat, ending up as stored fat.) The dry wheat toast is a nice low glycaemic index carbohydrate that helps ensures his brain has a constant supply of fuel.

    A much better way to start the day than a bowl of Froot Loops and a Jelly Filled Donut.

    Dan McCutchen Mislabled As PED User

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Peter Abraham confirms what Sarah shared back in 2006 – Dan McCutchen got a bum rap and was not busted for using PEDs.

    Some more on this prospect from Peter’s report:

    Counting the Eastern League playoffs, McCutchen was 16-4 with a 2.59 ERA last season for Class A Tampa and Class AA Trenton.

    “They call him ‘Danimal’ because he’s so aggressive on the mound,” Trenton pitching coach Scott Aldred said. “He’s a competitor who likes to play the game. He’s high energy, sort of like Joba.”

    Said McCutchen: “I have a split personality when I get on the mound. I probably need to rein that in a little.”

    General manager Brian Cashman said McCutchen didn’t lose any stature within the organization because of the suspension. McCutchen was even invited to spend a week in New York near the end of last season so he could get acclimated to Yankee Stadium.

    “There’s a game plan for everybody, but some guys move themselves, and he’s one of those,” Cashman said. “He’s a starter for now but we believe he does have the ability to relieve. Once we get more performance indicators, we’ll see where he fits. But we like him.”

    We could be seeing McCutchen in the Bronx some time this season. Considering the road he’s had to travel, it will be easy to root for him.

    Long On Giambi

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Via Tyler Kepner -

    “He’s not as good at D.H.,” Long said. “His numbers just aren’t there. I think it’s very important to us as a club and him as an individual if he’s out in the field.”

    Giambi said he did not lose much weight over the winter, but distributed it better throughout his body. Long said that has strengthened Giambi’s core muscles, which could speed up a bat that has one more chance to help the Yankees win it all.

    “I know it’s not the games yet, but it all starts with how he’s going about his business and the mechanics of his swing,” Long said. “I’m telling you right now, I’ve seen Jason for three years and this is the best I’ve ever seen his swing. That’s exciting.”

    At best, I see Giambi hitting 23 homers this season with 70 RBI – at the best. And, it will probably be lower than that. If he does better than my prediction, I’ll post a picture (in this blog) of myself, this October, holding up a sign that reads “I refused to get excited about what Kevin Long said about Jason Giambi back in February and now I hang my head in shame.”

    File this one under: “At the least, I don’t steal forks from restaurants.”

    Moose Should Zip His Lip On Epstein’s Taunts

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (17)

    Via Ed Price:

    Appearing on Boston radio station WEEI last Friday, Epstein said, “Kevin Brown and Mike Mussina spent the whole time bitching about [their trip to Japan in 2004] … and by the time the Yankees team got back from the trip they were all using it as a crutch.”

    Told of the comments, Mussina said sarcastically, “Yeah, we used it as an excuse for winning the division.”

    Well, Moose (at that time) did moan about making the trip. Via Tyler Kepner back on March 25, 2004:

    Mussina has no choice but to accompany the Yankees to Japan for the start of the regular season on March 30 against Tampa Bay. But he does not have to be excited.

    ”It’s just a long way to go,” Mussina said. ”I’m not going to lie to you — it’s hard. We’re going to play baseball. If we were going to sightsee, it would be different. But we’re trying to be physically prepared to play.”

    The Yankees’ charter flight, which seats more than 300 but will take about 125 players, wives and staff members to Tokyo, leaves after the game Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Each player was issued a sweatsuit for the flight, and Gene Monahan, the trainer, wants everyone to drink at least 16 ounces of water or a sports drink each hour.

    But it may take more than thousands of water bottles to overcome the jet lag and muscle cramps that can come from a 17-hour flight. Left fielder Hideki Matsui has told teammates to expect to be tired.

    ”Matsui said it takes five days to feel decent again,” Mussina said. ”When we start feeling decent, we’ll turn around and come back and do it again.”

    As a collegian at Stanford, Mussina flew to Taiwan and Europe. But he has never flown to Japan and has no plans to pass the time, other than to eat and sleep. ”How do you spend 17 hours in a tube?” he said.

    Mussina does plan to ask Matsui a question as the hours drag on across the Pacific: ”How do you say, ‘I’m tired — this trip is too long’ in Japanese?”

    Yes, Mussina is right. The Yankees did win the division that season. But, they did it with little help from him. That year, 2004, turned out to be Mussina’s worst season in the big leagues (up until that point). And, it was a season where the Yankees needed him the most. Clemens, Wells and Pettitte were gone. And, they were replaced with guys like Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown and Jose Contreras – who, as a group, gave the Yankees a below average performance that year. Mike had a chance to be a hero in 2004 and he was not good.

    How bad was Moose in 2004? Murray Chass said it best, back in April of that year:

    In Mussina’s two starts against Tampa Bay, the Yankees took leads only to have him squander them and lose both games. They scored two runs in the first inning in the game in Japan and four in the first inning in the game in Florida.

    Mussina’s performances in both games was reminiscent of a memorable George Steinbrenner scene about 25 years ago, when he summoned a reporter to his office after a young Yankees pitcher, Ken Clay, gave up an early lead against Kansas City.

    ”Ask me about Ken Clay,” Steinbrenner, the team’s principal owner, said.

    ”What about Ken Clay?” the reporter asked.

    ”He spit the bit,” Steinbrenner said, borrowing a term from horse racing, his other love.

    But Mussina didn’t just spit the bit. He hated the idea of going to Japan, let everybody know it and very likely suffered from his frame of mind. In speaking critically of the trip to Japan, he sounded like a character out of Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer’s novel ”The Ugly American.” Mussina denied that the second disastrous start in Tampa was a carry-over from the first, but he nevertheless pitched poorly and lost that game, too.

    He spit the bit. Indeed.

    Because of this, Mussina would probably be better served to keep the bit in his mouth this time and not say anything about what Theo Epstein has to say…because the facts suggest that Theo is right – at least about the part where he says Mussina complained about the trip.

    BA Top 100 Prospects

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Baseball America has issued its Top 100 Prospects List for 2008. Yankees who made the cut:

    Joba Chamberlain #3
    Jose Tabata #37
    Austin Jackson #41
    Ian Kennedy #45

    This should come as no shock – since most feel that Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Jose Tabata, and Alan Horne are the Yankees top five prospects.

    It was interesting to see that Baseball America felt that Alan Horne should not be in the Top 100. It will also be interesting to see how many Yankees make the Top 100 next year.

    Yanks Consider Banning Player Blogs

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via Lisa Kennelly:

    In a rapidly evolving culture where anyone with internet access can share the details of their lives and anyone with a cell phone can post a picture online, the Yankees have to take precautions with the privacy of their players, particularly the younger set.

    Currently, there are no regulations for Yankee players regarding blogging, MySpace, or Facebook use. But the Yankees media relations staff has included specific internet training in its players’ seminars for two years now, cautioning players about the consequences of an active online habit.

    Last season rookie pitcher Tyler Clippard learned that the hard way, when his MySpace page drew thousands of hits after he made his major-league debut. Yankees media relations staff had a quiet word with him, and his page was soon set to private.

    “We warn them about putting their private lives in the public arena,” GM Brian Cashman said, “because it comes back to haunt you, depending on what you put out there.”

    And it’s entirely possible, said Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo, that in the very near future blogs could be banned for Yankee players. All it takes is one bad incident.

    “It’s a way to relate to your fans,” Zillo said, “but you need to be hyper sensitive to the type of information you’re putting out there and understand there can be ramifications.”

    I wonder what the Yankees consider a “bad incident” to be in a case like this? And, does it just pertain to the player’s blog content, or, to that of those leaving comments on his site as well? For example, if someone leaves a link in a comment that leads to a site that’s not kid friendly, and some kid ends up there, and then his parent complains to the media, would that register as a “bad incident”? Or, would it just have to be a situation where the player posts something that is an embarrassment to him, the team, or the game?

    And, what about the concept of “free speech”? Of course, the Yankees probably have some wording in their player’s contracts that cover their right to limit things like blogging, etc.

    This is an interesting item developing off the news that Phil Hughes has a blog. And, one worth tracking – to see where it goes.

    NYU Commencement At Yankee Stadium

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (12)

    Via the Washington Square News:

    For Red Sox fans, it’s your worst nightmare: Front and center in Yankee Stadium receiving your diploma.

    Is this hell?

    NYU Red Sox fans say yes – and it’s a reality.

    It has been a month since NYU announced its decision to hold this year’s commencement at Yankee Stadium, home of what Red Sox and Mets fans consider the Evil Empire. Usually held in Washington Square Park, the ceremony was moved due to renovations.

    “If that happens to me, I will cry,” said CAS junior and lifelong Sox fan Rachel Chapman. “Graduation is such a community thing, and when you put it in a sports stadium, you’re including another community.”

    But depending on the baseball game schedule, the 2009 graduation could be moved to Citi Field, the new home of the Mets, set to open in April 2009. If the class of 2009 has their commencement in Yankee Stadium, however, there is a chance it could be in the new Yankee Stadium, also opening in April 2009.

    “I would rather graduate somewhere that’s more neutral, because I’ve always kind of thought of graduation as a momentous, happy occasion, and I wouldn’t really want to associate it with the Yankees,” said CAS junior and Mets fan Francesca Basile.

    Sox and Mets fans have no problems, whatsoever, flooding Yankee Stadium when the Yankees are playing their favorite team. But, I can see where this could be different.

    My college graduation was held at the Felt Forum (at Madison Square Garden) back in the day. At that time, I never thought about the “other” stuff that was held at that location – I was just happy to be done with school and looking forward to working.

    Still, as a fellow fanatic of a baseball team, I feel for the Red Sox and Mets fans on this one.

    Gossage: Papelbon Best In The Game

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Via the Worcester Telegram & Gazette News

    Sitting in the third base dugout watching batting practice last week at Legends Field in Tampa, the spring training home of the Yankees, Goose Gossage was asked which pitcher in the game today reminds him most of himself.

    The Hall of Fame’s newest member wasted little time answering.

    “I think (Jonathan) Papelbon,” Gossage said. “I think he’s the best closer in the game today. Mariano (Rivera of the Yankees is) still a great closer, but I think the way (Papelbon) goes about it, he’s probably the best.

    “When they said they were going to put him in the rotation last year, I just started laughing. I said they’re never going to put him in the rotation. He’s too valuable. Guys like him only come along once in a blue moon. So it was comical.”

    I guess Goose has never met Takashi Saito.

    Yes, I’m kidding – sorta/kinda. Seriously, Papelbon (as much as I cannot stand him) has a claim, sure. But, couldn’t Gossage play some favorites here and throw Mariano a bone? Let’s see Papelbon do “it” for 5 years in a row before we fit him for a crown or something, OK?

    Betemit & Ensberg

    Posted by on February 26th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    No, it’s not the law firm representing Brian McNamee. It’s the answer that some have offered up to YankeeBlography, when asked the question “Who should play 1B?

    Do you agree?

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