• The Price Of Saying Good-bye

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (2)

    Via the Post -

    Ticket prices for the last 11 games at Yankee Stadium are soaring like a rally-killing A-Rod pop-up.

    Fans are shelling out up to 100 times face value to make final, farewell pilgrimages to The House that Ruth Built, with some brokers looking for $10,000 apiece.

    The final 11 home games at the Stadium are all sold out, but pricey tickets galore are available on such resale sites as Craigslist, eBay and StubHub. Bleacher seats – normally the cheapest tickets in the house at $14 – are being sold for about $100 for weekday games and about $150 for weekends. Other seats run from $200 to $1,000.

    Seats for the probable last game ever at the park – unless the Yankees make an unlikely playoff run – are the most expensive.

    A bleacher seat for the Sept. 21 game against the lowly Baltimore Orioles is on sale for about $350, $29 upper-deck box seats are being listed at $2,000 each, $60 loge boxes are going for $6,000 each, and $325 field championship boxes right behind home plate are selling at $10,000 each.

    New York baseball fans interested in saying farewell to a stadium can always see the Mets, who are bidding adieu to Shea Stadium.

    Although most games sell out, tickets under $30 are still available for all of the team’s remaining regular-season games except the last one on Sept. 28, for which the cheapest ticket on StubHub is $121.

    Plus, observed one broker, “Mets fans are glad Shea’s going. They don’t need to say goodbye.”

    I have tickets for the “last” game on September 21st. And, even though I could use a boost in my income (now, more than ever), I intend on being at that game. Sure, perhaps this could be the most fiscally irresponsible move that I’ve ever made in my life. But, how many last games will there be at Yankee Stadium?

    To that, some may say “What’s the big deal? You’ve been there before. What’s one more game?” Well, to be candid, I have no idea how many times I’ve been to this Stadium. But, to be conservative, I would estimate that it’s been over 150 games (since 1976). So, yeah, I have been there – often.

    However, when I start to ponder my current age and life expectancy, the increasing family demands of my time, and the estimated prices for tickets to the “new” Yankee Stadium, I figure that there’s no way that I will ever attend as many games in the “new” Yankee Stadium as I have attended at this “current” Yankee Stadium.

    Therefore, “this” Yankee Stadium – the one that opened in 1976 – will forever be “my” Yankee Stadium. And, because of that, I want to be there at the end.

    Based on what some people seem to be willing to pay for these tickets, I guess I’m not alone.

    Tuesday Target For Joba’s Return

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via the Star-Ledger:

    Joba Chamberlain will be activated from the disabled list Tuesday, manager Joe Girardi announced after Sunday’s game. Chamberlain, who has been on the DL since Aug. 6 because of rotator cuff tendinitis, said he felt fine Sunday after his 35-pitch bullpen against live hitters on Saturday.

    Girardi said Chamberlain will be available in the bullpen when the Yanks open a three-game series in Tampa against the Rays, but he would not say whether Chamberlain will reprise his earlier role as the eighth-inning setup man for Mariano Rivera.

    “We’ll see,” he said.

    Girardi also explained that Chamberlain won’t be activated Monday because he wouldn’t be available to pitch anyway, because he threw so many pitches on Saturday.

    All things considered, I would have to think, if Chamberlain is to work out of the pen, the 8th inning will be his to own.

    Yanks Send Hughes To Arizona

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Relax. Phil hasn’t been traded. He’s going to play in the Arizona Fall League after this season – as per Chad Jennings.

    I’m a tad confused as to how this is possible? According to the rules, “No players with more than one year of credited Major League service as of August 31 are eligible” to play in the Arizona Fall League.

    Hughes was called up on April 26th last season. And, if I recall correctly, he was never optioned to the minors – he only spent time on the D.L. and did rehab assignments. So, since D.L. time on the big league disabled list counts towards service time, that’s almost a full year there. Then, this season, Hughes was with the major league team from Opening Day through, at least, the end of April – and then he went on the major league D.L. again.

    You mean, with all that, Hughes doesn’t have a year of credited Major League service already? Unless, of course, I’m wrong about D.L. time counting towards service. But, I would have to think that the MLBPA fought for that to happen…after all, a guy on the D.L., all year, automatically gets a full post-season share…so, if it counts towards that, why would it not count towards service too?

    Update, 8/31/08, 8:10 pm EST: I had a bad link to the rules – they’ve since been updated. The cut is now two years instead of one – so, Hughes is O.K. there. My thanks to Chad Jennings for the correction.

    August 31st vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Yaaaaaaawn…

    Another day, another loss.

    At least we got to see Alfredo Aceves today. Facially, he reminds me of Jim Leyritz. Pitching? He looked great today. But, what can you tell from two innings at the back end of a game that’s on its way to the “L” column?

    As I write this, the Red Sox are losing, 3-1, in the top of the 9th inning at Fenway. Assuming that Boston goes on to lose, this would make the Yankees tragic number, according to my quick math, to be “20″ – meaning any combination of Yankees losses and Red Sox wins from here out, equalling twenty, is when the Yankees will be officially dead in the Wildcard race.

    I’m guessing that number will be down to “zero” around September 18th. What do you think?

    Tigers & Royals Sunk Yanks In ’08

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    I was just looking at how the Yankees and Red Sox have faired against the A.L. East, Central, and West, to date, this season. Here’s the breakdown:

    Tm	vEast	vCent	vWest
    BOS	27-26	21-8	20-15
    NYY	29-27	17-18	16-10
    

    As you can see, both Boston and New York are about the same when they play teams in the A.L. East. And, both teams, are close…somewhat…in terms of their record against teams in the A.L. West.

    However, the big difference here is how Boston and New York have done when playing teams in the A.L. Central. The Red Sox have cleaned up – going 21-8. And, the Yankees have struggled – going 17-18.

    Let’s break it down some more – looking at the head-to-head records for each of these teams when they play teams in the Central:

    YankOpp	W	L	BosOpp	W	L
    CHW	2	1	CHW	4	2
    CLE	3	4	CLE	2	0
    DET	1	4	DET	5	2
    KCR	5	5	KCR	6	1
    MIN	6	4	MIN	4	3
    

    Bingo! There’s the big difference. Boston has gone 11-3 when playing the Tigers and Royals this season whereas the Yankees have gone 6-9 versus K.C. and Motown.

    The differnce between those two marks is worth 5.5 games between the Yankees and Red Sox in the standings. Take that 5.5 away from the 7.0 that New York is behind Boston, now, and it would close the gap between these two teams to just 1.5 games.

    If you want to know why the Yankees are so far behind the Red Sox at this point in the season, look no further than how they have played against the Tigers and Royals this season. There’s your answer.

    Yanks Should Trade Cano This Off-Season

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Things are bad these days for Robinson Cano. Via Kevin Kernan -

    It was fitting that the Yankees turned sure victory into defeat yesterday when Robinson Cano made a lazy, backhanded flip on what should have been a double-play ball in the seventh inning and the Yankees leading by four.

    Cano was a no-show after the game, ducking out of the clubhouse while reporters surrounded Alex Rodriguez

    The Cano play showed just why the Yankees are in the hole they are in this season. Cano simply lost focus and made the flip in a nonchalant manner. Joe Girardi said it was not a nonchalant play, but a smooth play. He was trying to protect his player. He compared it to the kind of plays Roberto Alomar used to make, but I covered Alomar from the time he was a rookie with the Padres on an everyday basis for three years and never saw that kind of play.

    The Yankees first mistake this year was giving Cano a four-year contract extension that guarantees him $30 million. They also should have kept coach Larry Bowa. Bowa had a way of keeping Cano focused. Players will make errors, but these lack of focus errors are the real killers.

    Looks like those “baseball people” back in January were right on about Cano.

    Back on January 15, 2008, I warned Yankees fans that Cano might not be the next great star that many believed that he would become for New York. And, based on his batting results this season, that warning is starting to look good.

    In fact, way back on November 5, 2005, I suggested that the Yankees should take this approach with Robinson Cano:

    Personally, I would “Roberto Kelly” him. Let him stay here for a year or two. You know that he can handle New York and the post-season spotlight. (That’s good.) Maybe he starts to do more things at the plate – and then you keep him. But, if he stays the way he is – productive to some on the surface but also not giving signals underneath of potential improvement – then you trade him, say, around 2007 or 2008 (and hopefully get a Paul O’Neill type in return).

    Looks like it’s time, now, to do the Roberto Kelly thing, huh?

    For next season, if the Yankees went out and got a journey-man middle infielder with a solid glove, who was just so-so with the bat, he might be just as serviceable to them at second as playing Cano….if they could then trade Cano for another player who could fill another need on the team…and it would rid the team of someone who’s attitude has to be questioned at this point.

    At First, Next Season

    Posted by on August 31st, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Joel Sherman, in the Post, talks about the reconstruction of the Yankees for next season.

    One of the big ticket items there is “Who’s on first?”

    There’s no way that I would bring back Giambi next season – even if he gives the Yankees a discount on a one-year deal (after the Yankees buy-out his 2009 option).

    Giambi will be 38-years old next season. He’s a defensive liability. And, other than having a hot bat in May and June this season, he’s been a bust with the bat this year. Here are his monthly splits, with August being through yesterday:

    Month	G	PA	R	2B	HR	RBI	SO
    April	23	92	13	3	5	13	11
    May	22	92	12	6	6	14	14
    June	27	100	16	3	6	19	18
    July	21	80	7	1	3	16	18
    August	26	94	8	0	7	21	25
    							
    Month	G	PA	BA	OBP	SLG		
    April	23	92	.164	.315	.411		
    May	22	92	.315	.446	.644		
    June	27	100	.305	.430	.585		
    July	21	80	.234	.375	.391		
    August	26	94	.228	.319	.494		
    

    Now, I know that many, many, Yankees fans want to see New York make a run at free agent Mark Teixeira this off-season – to have him play first for the team in 2009 (and beyond). I don’t question the greatness of Teixeira. He gets on base, hits for power, is great with the glove, and is somewhat young. But, the thought of having another player on the Yankees with a long-term deal paying him in excess of $20 million a year just makes me sick. The Yankees need to get away from those types of contracts.

    The last time the Yankees had a need at first – due to an aging former-star leaving the team – they went out and made a trade. You remember that one, right?

    On December 7, 1995, New York sent Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock to the Seattle Mariners for Jim Mecir, Jeff Nelson, and some guy named Tino Martinez.

    I would love to see the Yankees make a move like this again. In his feature, Joel Sherman suggests a Phil Hughes for Joey Votto type deal. I’m not sure, as much as they need pitching, that the Reds would deal Votto. But, there are other young guys that the Yankees could target to play first base for them, next season.

    These players include: James Loney of the Dodgers, Adam LaRoche of the Pirates, and Chris Davis of the Rangers. Or, the Yankees could look at some other young players, from other teams, who could be converted to first base. These players include: Kevin Kouzmanoff of the Padres, Corey Hart of the Brewers, and Mark Teahen of the Royals.

    From these players mentioned, Chris Davis of the Rangers excites me the most. He’ll only be 23-years old next season. He bats left-handed. He’s good around the bag at first – as he’s a converted third baseman. And, he’s got a great track record of hitting. I know that he’s a local boy for the Rangers – as he was born in Texas. And, when you have a local kid with star potential, those are hard to trade. But, the Rangers need pitching – and pitching prospects.

    If I’m the Yankees, I would offer the Rangers Ian Kennedy, Zach McAllister, and Brian Bruney in exchange for Davis. And, if that didn’t work, I would then offer them Phil Hughes, George Kontos and Jose Veras.

    If the Rangers reject those offers, then I would start talking to the Dodgers about a Hughes for Loney deal – straight up.

    And, if L.A. was not interested, then I would start to target Adam LaRoche and Kevin Kouzmanoff – offering some package along the lines of Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, and a relief pitcher from the bin of Brian Bruney, Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez.

    And, if that failed, I would start talking to the Royals about Mark Teahen in exchange for Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney. Next, I would start talking to the Brewers about Corey Hart – just to see if he would be available.

    I wonder if the Yankees would take this same approach?

    In-Game “Threads”

    Posted by on August 30th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    I recently ran a little survey here asking folks for feedback about being on-line during games and having potential entries here for them to use to “comment” during the game. Thanks to all who participated in the survey! Here are the results of it:

    How often are you also "on-line" during
    the time a Yankees game is being played?

    • 0% of the time = 7.4%
    • 1% to 25% of the time = 27.9%
    • 26% to 50% of the time = 20.6%
    • 51% to 99% of the time = 35.3%
    • 100% of the time = 8.8%

    If you’re on-line during a Yankees game, do you
    participate in an "In-Game" thread or discussion with other fans at a
    website?

    • Yes, most of the time = 11.8%
    • Yes, some of the time = 14.7% 
    • No, hardly ever = 27.9% 
    • No, never = 45.6% 

    If WasWatching.com had an entry set up before
    each Yankees game, specifically for readers to use during a game to share
    comments, discuss the game, etc., would you be likely to visit this entry during
    Yankees games, while you were on-line?

    • Yes = 39.7% 
    • No = 23.5% 
    • Not Sure/It Depends = 36.8% 

    If you answered "yes" to the previous
    question, how often would you visit such an entry at WasWatching.com?

    • Once or twice a game = 16.2%
    • Several times during a game = 14.7% 
    • The whole time the game was on = 2.9%
    • It depends on the game and/or activity at the site
      = 66.2%

    Based on these results, I’m thinking about kicking this off, on a trail basis, in September when the Yankees hit the West Coast. (I’m still mulling over how I would fashion such an entry for each game.)

    In the interim, I thought I would throw this out here, now, to see if anyone has some thoughts around it. All are welcome and appreciated. Please leave them in the comments section below.

    August 30th vs. The Blue Jays

    Posted by on August 30th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Oh…my…Gawd!

    I stopped watching this game while Jeter was grounding out during the bottom of the 6th inning. We had the usual Saturday errands to run – the bank, the Post Office, Costco, and the dry cleaners. At that time, the Yankees were up, 6-2. And, I’m thinking “Book it, Dano!” – this dress is in the bag. At that time, it was some time close to 3 pm EST.

    We got back home at 4:30 pm EST. I flicked on the T.V. and was shocked to see the game still on…and then I heard Michael Kay say what a terrible loss this was for the Yankees….losing, 7-6.

    What? How? When? Why? Nooooo…

    Then I realized that the final play of the game had just occured a few moments ago. Via the recap, I caught up on what happened. Robinson Cano, huh? I betcha Jon Heyman is feeling pretty timely right about now.

    Well, file this one away in that 26% drawer. It’s games like this one as to why the Yankees are where they are this season.

    What a terrible, terrible, terrible loss. Just putrid. You have a four run lead with 9 outs to go – and you blow it. On top of that, you have a chance to tie it in the 8th, albeit with 2 outs, and a chance to tie it in the 9th, with one out, and cannot get the job done.

    And, I have to say…I warned you about Veras and Ramirez. They both have been brutual this month. All of a sudden, that ‘great’ bullpen that Brian Cashman put together is not looking all that great – at a time where it’s killing the Yankees the most.

    The Power Of Four

    Posted by on August 30th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    To date, this season, when the Yankees pitchers hold the other team to four runs or less in a game, New York has gone 57-19 in those games.

    To date, this season, when the Yankees pitchers have allowed the other team to score five runs or more in a game, New York has gone 15-43 in those games.

    To date, this season, when the Yankees batters have scored four runs or more in a game, New York has gone 54-22 in those games.

    To date, this season, when the Yankees batters have scored three runs or less in a game, New York has gone 18-40 in those games.

    This tells you that the Yankees plan, for the rest of this season, should be a simple one: Score four or more runs per game and hold the other team to four runs or less each time. (Yeah, I’m writing that with my tongue in cheek.)

    It’s amazing how symmetrical the Yankees have been this season, so far, around that line in the sand of four runs.

    Yankees pitchers have held the other team to four runs or less in 76 games – 57% of the schedule.

    Yankees batters have scored four runs or more in 76 games – 57% of the schedule.

    Yankees pitchers have allowed the other team to score five runs or more in 58 games – 43% of the schedule.

    Yankees batters have scored three runs or less in 58 games – 43% of the schedule.

    When you see that 57% mark, it kinda/sorta explains why the Yankees have only won 53.7% of their games so far ths season.

    There’s an old saying that goes like this: Each season, every big league team is going to win 60 games, no matter what, and, every big league team is going lose 60 games, no matter what – and it’s what they do in the other 42 games that will define their overall record.

    Those “42 games” represent 26% of the schedule. I have to wonder how many games in the Yankees 2008 season pie (to date) fall into that 26% of the schedule that separates the good teams from the bad teams?

    By, this I mean: How many times have the Yankees lost this season when their pitchers held the other team to 4 runs or less in a game and their batters have scored 3 runs or less in the same game? And, how many times have the Yankees lost this season when their batters scored 4 runs or more in the game and their pitchers have allowed five runs or more? Here’s the answer to both questions:

    Games where the Yankees have lost this season when their pitchers held the other team to 4 runs or less in a game and their batters have scored 3 runs or less in the same game:

    April 9, 2008
    April 12, 2008
    April 26, 2008
    May 7, 2008
    May 13, 2008
    June 6, 2008
    June 9, 2008
    June 20, 2008
    June 29, 2008
    June 30, 2008
    July 1, 2008
    July 10, 2008
    July 13, 2008
    August 1, 2008
    August 10, 2008
    August 11, 2008
    August 13, 2008
    August 15, 2008
    August 19, 2008

    That’s 19 games.

    Games where the Yankees have lost this season when their batters scored 4 runs or more in the game and their pitchers have allowed five runs or more:

    April 4, 2008
    April 13, 2008
    April 17, 2008
    April 24, 2008
    April 25, 2008
    April 29, 2008
    May 1, 2008
    May 9, 2008
    May 17, 2008
    May 27, 2008
    June 2, 2008
    June 11, 2008
    June 24, 2008
    June 27, 2008
    July 4, 2008
    July 28, 2008
    July 29, 2008
    July 31, 2008
    August 4, 2008
    August 5, 2008
    August 8, 2008
    August 9, 2008

    That’s 22 games.

    Combined, 19 plus 22 equals 41 games. Those 41 games represent 31% of the Yankees schedule to date. That’s pretty close to 26%, no? Remember, it’s said that 26% of the games on your schedule are the ones that separate the winners from the losers.

    Anyway, there are a lot of numbers here to digest. And, I may have taken a left at times here when I should have taken a right. It’s happened before – without question. In any event, what do you take away from some of these stats? Feel free to leave you comments in the comments section below.

    August 29th vs. The Blue Jays

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

    Whew!

    A.J. Burnett was A.J. Burnett again tonight (at least as he usually is when he faces the Yankees) – and then some.

    But, Carl Pavano was…well, who was that guy? Did he really breeze through the first five innings on just 54 pitches – and end up going six on 72 pitches, all told, just allowing one run?

    Pavano was Mussina-like out there today. You can’t ask for anything more than that?

    In the end, the only questions left after this thrilling, nail-biting, victory are the following: Is Jose Veras cooked? Will Mariano Rivera’s arm hold up? And, how much will A-Rod be fined for showing up more than an hour late to the ballpark tonight? (Yeah, there was traffic; but, 24 other players and the entire coaching staff managed to get there on time.)

    Yanks Set 2009 Season Ticket Prices

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

    Via the AP -

    Even seats behind the outfield fence will be costly at the new Yankee Stadium.

    The front part of the area behind the outfield in right and left will cost $100 and $75 per game next year as part of season-ticket plans at the $1.3 billion ballpark.

    But behind those four sections of seats, and to the rear of the bullpens closer to center field, are nine sections of bleachers priced at $12, the same as the cost this season in the final year of the 85-year-old ballpark.

    The Yankees put season ticket prices on their Web site Friday along with a seat locator that shows views from each location. They also mailed relocation brochures to season-ticket holders.

    The Yankees said Friday the remainder of the field-seats level seats cost from $75-$325 as part of season tickets, while main-level seats go for $45-$100. The highest deck is split into two areas, with terrace seats going for $40-$65 and grandstand selling for $20 and $25.

    In a sign most of the best seats will be sold as season tickets, only the least expensive category of field seats and the two least expensive levels of main seats are being made available for partial plans. The Yankees are charging $5-$10 more per seat for partial plans than they are for season tickets. Individuals game prices haven’t been set.

    I looked for the information that’s supposed to be on the Yankees site, but, I couldn’t find it at all. Maybe it’s buried in there somewhere?

    Update, 8/29/08, 10:47 pm EST: I found the info on the Yankees site. It looks like my season ticket seats, which were $37 each in 2001 and $75 each this season, will be either $75 or $100 each next year…as I’m right on the line between two shades of green on the main level. Of course, this assumes that I get to keep that location, thereabouts, in the new Stadium.

    If my seats in the new Stadium end up in the same area as this current Stadium, and the price for next season is the same as this season, I will personally send the Brothers Steinbrenner a thank you card.

    Is it just me, or, in the new Stadium, does the new “upper deck” look like there’s hardly any seats up there at all?

    2008 A-Rod’s Most “Unclutch” Season Ever?

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

    By now, you’ve probably heard of “WPA” – meaning “Win Probability Added.” Well, they track WPA and all sorts of stuff over at fangraphs.com. And, I was just looking at Alex Rodriguez’ season by season totals for WPA over there.

    Here they are, with 2008 being through yesterday’s game:

    Year	Team		WPA
    1994	Mariners		-0.74
    1995	Mariners		-0.36
    1996	Mariners		3.79
    1997	Mariners		1.97
    1998	Mariners		4.51
    1999	Mariners		1.19
    2000	Mariners		5.27
    2001	Rangers		5.23
    2002	Rangers		3.75
    2003	Rangers		4.15
    2004	Yankees		3.08
    2005	Yankees		5.52
    2006	Yankees		1.09
    2007	Yankees		6.85
    2008	Yankees		0.69
    

    There’s a chance that this season may be the first time in A-Rod’s career that he’s played a full season and had a WPA of less than “1.”

    I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction to this…

    Witasick, Wells, and Wang

    Posted by on August 29th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Just what is it about Yankees pitchers whose last name starts with a “W” and October, anyway?

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on August 29th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    To watch SNY.tv’s “New York Baseball Today,” which features a rotating panel of analysts and previews today’s local baseball action, click play below:

    Is That Our LaTroy?

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

    Has anyone else noticed the numbers that LaTroy Hawkins has posted since he left the Yankees and joined the Houston Astros? Here they are:

    12 games
    9 innings pitched
    3 hits allowed
    3 walks
    0 runs allowed
    33 batters faced
    15 strikeouts

    Go figure, huh?

    Yanks Dead? Regret Signing A-Rod?

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

    Seth Everett and Lori Rubinson, on SNY’s Geico SportsNite, discuss the questions. Here’s the video:

    The A-Rod debate got me thinking. We know that the Yankees, to date, are 8-43 this season when they are trailing in a game after four innings. And, we know that A-Rod has only driven in three runs, all season, after the 7th inning of a ballgame. Think those two stats are connected?

    For the record, the Rays are 16-37 this season when trailing after four innings. And, the Angels are 15-34. So, while the Yankees look bad here – they’re really about 7 to 8 wins away from being good in this split. But, how much of that 7 to 8 win gap is because of their clean-up hitter not cleaning up in the late innings?

    Cashman: I’m Clueless & To Blame

    Posted by on August 29th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via Anthony Rieber:

    Joe Girardi is safe even if the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, which looks more and more likely every day. He doesn’t need a vote of confidence.

    But general manager Brian Cashman gave him one anyway Thursday and blamed himself for the sorry state of the Yankees.

    Asked how much of this is on his shoulders, Cashman said: “All of it. Bottom line, I’m the general manager. So if you want, we can clear this out of the way: This is not a Joe Girardi issue.”

    “I put together a club that is where it’s at, and I’m responsible for that,” Cashman said. “Cut through all the red tape and stuff, I think Girardi’s done a tremendous job given what has occurred. And he continues to try to remain upbeat with this coaching staff to try to keep these players up and to try to perform up to their abilities.

    “That’s frustrating for all of us, but the buck stops right here with me. And I’d say it shouldn’t go any farther than that. My job is to put it together, my job is to fix what’s broken and my job is obviously frustrating the hell out of me right now, to be honest. Because I just believe we’re better than this.”

    Asked if he could put his finger on why the Yankees have underperformed, Cashman said: “If I knew why, I would’ve fixed it. Unfortunately, it’s my job to put it together and then fix what’s broke, and obviously I have not been able to figure that out.

    “I do know one thing. This team is trying, they are not laying down. That’s a fact. They do care, they want to win, and for some reason it’s just not happening.”

    …I put together a club that is where it’s at, and I’m responsible for that…

    …it’s my job to put it together and then fix what’s broke, and obviously I have not been able to figure that out…

    Well, then, maybe it’s time for the Yankees to hire someone who can figure it out and then fix it?

    And, this doesn’t mean that I would necessarily fire Cashman. Maybe I would “promote” Brian to the title of “President” and then have the new G.M. report into him. Why not?

    Brian Cashman has value. He understands New York. He can navigate through the Yankees organization. He’s polished. He can take a punch. There’s nothing wrong with having Brian Cashman as the face of the front office – and being the person on point between the owners, the team, the media and the fans. It’s just that, by his own admission (here), building a championship level baseball team and being able to fix one that is not there, is not something that Cashman is very good at…so, why not get someone in here who can do a better job at it?

    At The Stadium & Gotta Go? Then You Better Be In The Know

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

    By now, I’m sure that you’ve heard the story about the Sox fan who was tossed from Yankee Stadium on Tuesday for making a bathroom run during the playing of ‘God Bless America.’ If not, here it is, via the UPI -

    A New York Yankees fan says he might sue after he was allegedly ejected for trying to use the Yankee Stadium men’s room while a patriotic song was playing.

    Bradford Campeau-Laurion told WCBS-TV in New York Thursday that the seventh-inning stretch seemed like an opportune time for a pit stop during Tuesday’s game against Boston. However a police officer allegedly blocked his departure until the traditional recording of “God Bless America” was finished playing.

    Campeau-Laurion said when he protested that his priority at the moment was the rest room, two officers pinned his arms behind him and gave him the bum’s rush out the gate.

    “He shoved me out the front gate and told me get out of their country if I didn’t like it,” Campeau-Laurion said to the television station.

    A police spokesman told WCBS that Campeau-Laurion was abusive and appeared to be drunk, which Campeau-Laurion and the person he was attending the game both denied.

    The Yankees have a policy that prohibits fans from wandering around when “God Bless America” is playing, but the American Civil Liberties Union said having the police throw someone out for simply wanting to use the bathroom probably crossed the line, WCBS said.

    Note that this story says he’s a “New York Yankees fan” – but, I’ve read in many other places that he’s a fan of the Boston Red Sox.

    So, the Yankees have this “policy” – and it’s not something new…I shared it here back on May 10, 2007.

    At the end of the day, it’s their house and they can make the rules. And, if you want to hang out there, you have to play by those rules…I suppose.

    Earlier this year, my six-year old daughter had her first “belt ceremony” at the dojo that she attends. The sensei there is also a member of law enforcement. Before the ceremony, he played a recording of Whitney Houston singing the National Anthem. And, he preceeded this by announcing “We’re going to play the National Anthem. It’s going to be sung by Whitney Houston – before she got messed up on crack. It’s required that everyone here, students and guests, turn, face the flag, remove your hats, and pay respect to the flag while this song is being played. If you can’t do that because of some religious, political, or whatever belief, you can leave now.”

    And, everyone complied. Again, it’s his dojo and he’s the sensei – so, he can make the rules…and you better follow them if you want to be in there. This is no different than what the Yankees are doing. If the Sox fan doesn’t like it, go watch a game in Fenway Park.

    Jetarian Numbers Check

    Posted by on August 29th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Via an e-mail from Lee Sinins this morning…

    Derek Jeter is now in third place, all-time, in Yankees history for most hits versus the league average. Here’s the up-to-date top ten:

    Rk	Player		DIFF	PLYR	LGE
    1	Babe Ruth		612	2518	1906
    2	Lou Gehrig	575	2721	2146
    3	Derek Jeter	477	2507	2030
    4	Joe DiMaggio	476	2214	1738
    5	Mickey Mantle	472	2415	1943
    6	Don Mattingly	430	2153	1723
    7	Earle Combs	304	1866	1562
    8	Bernie Williams	281	2336	2055
    9	Bill Dickey	269	1969	1700
    10	Yogi Berra	233	2148	1915
    

    For the record, since June 1st and through yesterday, here are Jeter’s batting stats:

    G	PA	R	2B	HR	RBI	BB
    76	348	44	17	6	35	28
    						
    SO	GDP	SB	CS	BA	OBP	SLG
    48	14	5	3	.315	.375	.428
    

    That’s pretty much what you would expect from Derek. So, perhaps, there’s still some life left in Jeter’s bat?

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    Posted by on August 29th, 2008 · Comments Off

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    Cashman: We Need To Get Younger, But, Youth Is Volatile

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

    Via Ken Davidoff:

    Has this painful season derailed Cashman’s greater vision of turning the Yankees into the proverbial player development machine?

    “No,” Cashman said before the game. “If anything, you’re starting to see the necessity of [why] you have to get younger … We’ve had some injuries, there’s no doubt about it, but we’ve got some key guys who haven’t performed like they’re capable of. Is that because of age?”

    Cashman fell on his sword Thursday, taking the blame for the disappointing campaign while absolving Joe Girardi and his coaches of any significant wrongdoing. It was the right thing to do, even though Girardi surely will receive some recommended changes this winter.

    But the Yankees’ 11th-year general manager doesn’t think his global plan is faulty. Not in the least. If the impending free-agent executive returns — and that’s the safe bet, given that the Yankees have largely let him run the baseball operations, just as George Steinbrenner promised three years ago — he’ll stick to what he’s been doing.

    Even if the two veteran pitchers both come back, along with a presumably healed Chien-Ming Wang and Joba Chamberlain, “Obviously, as we’ve seen this year, you can’t have enough pitching,” Cashman said.

    Sabathia’s preference is to sign with a West Coast team in the National League, as Newsday reported July 13, so it might be a moot issue. In any case, I asked Cashman if throwing a nine-figure contract at a veteran free agent from another team — one who hasn’t been exposed to the New York market — would clash with his philosophy.

    “No, not necessarily,” he said. “Ultimately, what I feel is a strong reluctance to trade three or four assets to another team [for a player] and then sign him to a multiyear contract. You trade for a guy, give up three or four assets [and then pay him], then you’ve crushed your payroll and your assets at the same time.”

    That’s why he didn’t trade for Santana.

    “If you choose to play in that marketplace, the one thing you’d be sacrificing is a draft pick,” Cashman continued. ” … We’re very protective of our draft picks, but for the right player and the right circumstance … I’ve always said we’re still big-game hunters.”

    “Certainly, [Phil Hughes has] stubbed his toe with the injury,” Cashman said. “But when we held on to a guy like that, you don’t do it and say, ‘OK, in the next four months, he’s got to do X.’ He’s got five years, whatever it is, to show why you bet on someone like that.”

    Cashman added, “When you’re dealing with youth, it’s very volatile,” and he noted that 2008 served as a bad year for Hughes and Ian Kennedy while boosting the status of young pitchers Dellin Betances and Phil Coke and outfielder Austin Jackson.

    …When you’re dealing with youth, it’s very volatile…

    Gee, you think Cashman would have learned that lesson nine years ago?

    Is The Yankees Offense Really An Issue?

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Using the “Streaks Analyzer” at Baseball-Reference.com, I decided to look at the Yankees season – prior to this three game set that they just played against the Boston Red Sox – to see how the Yankees have played (in terms of wins, losses, runs scored and allowed) in blocks of ten games.

    By this, I mean, I wanted to see the Yankees results in Games 1 through 10 of this season, and then during Games 11 through 20, etc., continuing in ten game snapshots right through Game #130 – which was the last game that the Yankees played before this Boston series. Here’s the breakdown:

    G # S	G # F	W	L	WP	RS	RA	Delta
    1	10	5	5	.500	31	39	-8
    11	20	5	5	.500	54	54	0
    21	30	4	6	.400	44	48	-4
    31	40	5	5	.500	40	32	8
    41	50	6	4	.600	53	50	3
    51	60	5	5	.500	50	58	-8
    61	70	7	3	.700	55	34	21
    71	80	6	4	.600	54	44	10
    81	90	5	5	.500	41	35	6
    91	100	7	3	.700	47	29	18
    101	110	5	5	.500	55	51	4
    111	120	4	6	.400	54	64	-10
    121	130	6	4	.600	54	47	7
    

    So, here, you have 13 blocks/streaks of ten games. Note that in 8 of the 13 ten game blocks, the Yankees only played .500 ball or worse. And, in 3 of the 13 blocks of ten games they played .600 ball. Lastly, in just 2 of the 13 blocks did they play .700 ball. This explains why the Yankees overall record is what it is this season.

    Check out those five blocks (out of 13) where New York played winning baseball:

    G # S	G # F	W	L	WP	RS	RA	Delta
    41	50	6	4	.600	53	50	3
    61	70	7	3	.700	55	34	21
    71	80	6	4	.600	54	44	10
    91	100	7	3	.700	47	29	18
    121	130	6	4	.600	54	47	7
    

    In each of these ten game blocks/streaks, the Yankees scored more runs than they allowed – and that, obviously, helped the Yankees win more games here than they lost.

    Now, look at those 8 blocks (out of 13) where New York was just .500 or less:

    G # S	G # F	W	L	WP	RS	RA	Delta
    1	10	5	5	.500	31	39	-8
    11	20	5	5	.500	54	54	0
    21	30	4	6	.400	44	48	-4
    31	40	5	5	.500	40	32	8
    51	60	5	5	.500	50	58	-8
    81	90	5	5	.500	41	35	6
    101	110	5	5	.500	55	51	4
    111	120	4	6	.400	54	64	-10
    

    Note that in three of these eight blocks of ten games played, the Yankees actually scored more runs than they allowed. So, in reality, the only ten game streaks where the Yankees offense was an issue this season (again, prior to the Boston series) were the following:

    G # S	G # F	W	L	WP	RS	RA	Delta
    1	10	5	5	.500	31	39	-8
    11	20	5	5	.500	54	54	0
    21	30	4	6	.400	44	48	-4
    51	60	5	5	.500	50	58	-8
    111	120	4	6	.400	54	64	-10
    

    That’s 5 blocks out of 13 – or, 50 out of 130 games. That’s roughly 39% of the time.

    Granted, this is just one way to slice the pie. But, it’s an interesting pattern to use. And, it may just suggest that a lack of offense may not have been the Yankees big problem this season.

    In any event, when you look at the Yankees W-L results, spread out in this manner, you do see this:

    In their first 60 games this season New York’s record was: 30-30
    In their next 40 games of the season, New York’s record was: 25-15
    And, in their next 30 games of the season, New York’s record was 15-15.

    So, outside of that run during Games 61 through 100, the Yankees have played a lot of .500 ball this year – leading into this Red Sox series.

    August 28th vs. The Red Sox

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    I saw the first three innings of this one on YES. And, I listened to innings four and five on the radio via WCBS.

    I missed innings six through eight – although I was told about the situation in the bottom of the sixth (shortly after it happened) where the Yankees had runners on first and second, with no outs, and Abreu, A-Rod and Nady due up – and they couldn’t score.

    Luckily, I was able to see the bottom of the ninth, live, on YES – picking it up where Gardner had just stole second and Matsui was at the plate.

    I’m glad that I got to see that last inning – and the eventual win…and seeing Papelbon suffer…allowing the game winning hit on an 0-2 pitch. (I’ll get back to the matter of “seeing” it in a minute.)

    This was a good one for the Yankees to win. Very nice job by Giambi in his only two PA in this game. If they would have lost this one – after losing the previous two – wasting a wonderful effort from Mussina…well, just how much hurt can a team and its fans take?

    The seven innings and two runs from Moose today was just outstanding. And, for what it’s worth, it seems like it should have been just one run allowed by Mussina. John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman were all over Robinson Cano for not taking Ellsbury’s grounder in the fifth for the out, himself, and then throwing to first for the double-play. I mean they were just killing him for making a stupid play (flipping to Jeter) and not being aware of the situation and the batter’s running speed, etc. It was very interesting to hear that from the two of them.

    Now, in the big picture, this win means nothing. The Yankees are still in a huge hole. However, if by some miracle the Yankees win their next three in a row and Boston loses their next three in a row, then this win could be looked at as a turning point in the season. But, again, until that miracle happens, this one is just another game.

    Speaking of just another game…and getting back to, as promised, the matter of “seeing” this game…there’s something that I should clarify. When I wrote last night that the season was over, I meant it was over in terms of the Yankees post-season chances. It doesn’t mean that people should stop watching their games and rooting for them to do well.

    Hey, it’s the Yankees. And, we’re Yankees fans. Of course you should root for the team. And, of course, you should watch the games. Hey, on a standalone basis, you never know what you might see in any given game. Why not watch it, and enjoy it, if you can? That’s what baseball is all about.

    This game is a perfect example. You don’t give up on the season – from the perspective of tracking the games and hoping for the Yankees do to well on that day. You just take the game for what it’s worth – and try and enjoy what it represents.

    Just don’t delude youself with any notions about the Yankees playing this October. Because, barring some sudden miracle, that’s still very improbable albeit not yet an indisputable fact.

    Hank Steinbrenner on SNY

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    To watch Hank Steinbrenner talk to SNY outside Yankee Stadium today, click play below:



    SNY New York Baseball Today video

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

    To watch SNY.tv’s “New York Baseball Today,” which features a rotating panel of analysts and previews today’s local baseball action, click play below:


    For Those Who Like To Dream

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Some Yankees fans out there actually believe that this season is not over for their team – and that they do have a shot at making the post-season. To that end, they point at the Phillies and Rockies of last season. Well, let’s look at what happened last year with those teams – as well as some other recent comeback teams too. Here are the numbers:

    On September 1, 2007, the Phillies were 3 games behind the Mets in the N.L. East and the Rockies were 5 games behind the Diamondbacks in the N.L. Wildcard race.

    The Phillies went 17-10 the rest of the way while the Mets went 13-14. The Rockies went 21-7 the rest of the way while the Diamondbacks went 14-11. (Note: The Diamondbacks were tied with the Padres on September 1st for the lead in the N.L. West – but had one more loss than them…so, they were the Wildcard ‘leader’ at that time. And, the Diamondbacks would go on to win the N.L. West – as San Diego went 14-14 to close out the season.)

    Now, next, look at the A.L. East in 1978. On September 1st, the Yankees were 6.5 games back of the Red Sox. New York went 23-8 the rest of the way while Boston went 15-15.

    How about 1995 in the A.L. West? On September 1st, the Mariners were 6.5 games back of the Angels. Seattle went 19-9 the rest of the way while California went 11-16.

    1993 in the N.L. West? On September 1st, the Braves were 4.5 games back of the Giants. Atlanta went 22-7 the rest of the way while San Francisco went 17-13.

    1969 in the N.L. East? On September 1st, the Mets were 5 games back of the Cubs. New York went 24-7 the rest of the way while Chicago went 9-18.

    Note, the trailing teams were all around 3 to 6.5 games back of the leaders on September 1st. Coming into today’s game, the Yankees are seven games back of the Red Sox.

    So, sure, if the Yankees can get this gap down to somewhere around four or five games by September 1st, then all they will need to do is win something like 19 or 20 of their 26 games in September and hope that the Red Sox play about .500 ball or worse (for the rest of the season).

    Oh, boy, it’s a piece of cake. Let’s all get on that optimism train before it’s too late!

    Aceves In, Robertson Out

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

    Peter Abraham is reporting that Dave Robertson was sent to Triple-A and Alfredo Aceves has been added to the big league team.

    Aceves had an ERA of 4.12 in 10 games at Scranton-Wilkes Barre. However, he only allowed 6 ER in his last three starts there – covering 18 IP. Lefties were hitting only .213 against him in Triple-A…and right-handed batters averaged .291 against him.

    Hank: A-Rod’s Pressing, Yanks [Stunk], Changes Coming

    Posted by on August 28th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    Hank Stein showed up at Yankee Stadium last night. This is what he had to say before and after the game:

    Before, via ESPN.com -

    New York Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner made only his second appearance at Yankee Stadium this season on Wednesday and decided to weigh in on his team.

    He defended Alex Rodriguez, while offering a remedy for A-Rod’s problems hitting with runners in scoring position.

    “I’m not concerned,” Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters outside Yankee Stadium prior to last night’s game between Boston and New York. “He is still young enough. He is going to have a lot of good years ahead of him. He just has to quit pressing.”

    “When he has a night like that, he is going to hear it from the crowd,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s the way it works. I’d rather have him than not have him.”

    After, via Newsday -

    Hank Steinbrenner once again proved he is his father’s son, ripping the Yankees last night after their 11-3 loss to the Red Sox.

    “The bottom line is, they sucked.”

    This marked only the second home game Steinbrenner has attended this season, and he expressed his extreme displeasure in what he witnessed during a brief interview on his way out.

    Mere minutes after the blowout loss was official, Steinbrenner emerged with various family members and security guards, stopped by the parking lot and said: “It’s very disappointing.”

    Told that this was the type of loss his father would have gone bonkers about as recently as a couple years ago, Steinbrenner waited for the question to finish, nodded and said: “Even without having our two best pitchers, so forth and so on, they still stunk. That’s the bottom line.”

    “I don’t know,” Steinbrenner said when asked if the Yankees are done. “All I can think about is this game at this point. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.”

    Before the game Steinbrenner vowed a busy offseason after this disappointing season, saying, “There’s going to be a lot going on this offseason. I promise you that.”

    Get used to this “A-Rod’s pressing. We suck. Changes coming.” routine. We could be hearing that a lot over the next nine years in Yankeeland – unless, indeed, changes are made.

    Yanks Have Become Annie Sez

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

    In 1996, Yankees second baseman Mariano Duncan came up with the game mantra of:

    “We play today, we win today. Dat’s it.”

    And, the Yankees kept attitute for the next few years. What do we hear from the Yankees today? Via Joe Girardi, in his post-game press conference last night:

    “You have another game tomorrow.”

    And, you’ve heard this line from other Yankees – such as Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter – quite a bit lately. Heck they might as well be singing…

    The sun’ll come out
    Tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar
    That tomorrow
    There’ll be sun!

    Just thinkin’ about
    Tomorrow
    Clears away the cobwebs,
    And the sorrow
    ‘Til there’s none!

    When I’m stuck a day
    That’s gray,
    And lonely,
    I just stick out my chin
    And Grin,
    And Say,
    Oh!

    The sun’ll come out
    Tomorrow
    So ya gotta hang on
    ‘Til tomorrow
    Come what may
    Tomorrow! Tomorrow!
    I love ya Tomorrow!
    You’re always
    A day
    Away!

    This is what this Yankees team has become – it’s no longer a take care of business today type of team…and, now, it’s all about ‘Well, we still have tomorrow.’

    Well, guess what fellas? There’s not a whole lot of tomorrows left for this season. So, stop insulting the intelligence of your fans with this “You have another game tomorrow” nonsense. It’s way too late for that now.

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