• Bill Purdom’s Yankees Art

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Friend of WasWatching.com Marty Appel, sent me a heads-up on something cool recently. As Marty shared:

    Legendary Sports Prints sells top quality art at reasonable prices; they have a lot of Yankee material, but two in particular got my attention.

    Both are by Bill Purdom. One shows Mantle at bat with Maris on deck from 1960, and the other Ruth at bat with Gehrig on deck from 1929, the first time players wore numbers. The Mantle/Maris one shows the left field grandstand, and the Ruth/Gehrig one the right field grandstand. Side by side, they make a beautiful matched set. Very cool holiday gifts for Yankee fans.

    I checked these out and Marty is correct. There’s also one featured where Thurman Munson is giving Carlton Fisk “the look.” Priceless. Click here to check them out for yourself.

    A Rainy Sunday Night Picker-Upper

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Go ahead, and choose the ’60′s born Scottish singer of your choice…Clare Grogan or Shirley Manson.

    Yeah, I know. It’s so hard to pick just one.

    Road Runner Gardner Now A Daddy

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via the the Scranton Times Tribune:

    When Brett Gardner was called up to the New York Yankees this season, it probably marked one of the highlights of his life.

    The former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre center fielder had an even bigger moment off the field two weeks ago.

    Gardner and his wife, Jessica, became the parents of a son, Hunter Thomas, who checked in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces.

    Sure, but, what’s the kid’s time to first base out of the batter’s box?

    Just kidding. And, of course, congrats to the Gardners!

    Phil Hughes 2009

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    In his few major league appearances, left-handed batters have fashioned an OPS of .876 against Phil Hughes (in 220 plate appearances). Reportedly, Hughes has been working on a cutter to address this situation.

    And, this makes sense. Left-handed batters can handle a fastball and a curve from right-handed pitchers (which is what Hughes mainly throws). After all, this is why batters learn to switch-hit – so that they can look at the curve from the “opposite” side of the pitcher. Further, for a right-handed pitcher, the cutter is the perfect pitch (when thrown correctly) to attack left-handed batters. (See: Rivera, Mariano.)

    So, how’s the cutter coming along? Well, in the Arizona Fall League this off-season, Hughes did an excellent job of not allowing hits to any type of batter (albeit righties or lefties). However, in terms of runs allowed, in the AFL, his ERA against RH-batters was 2.37 whereas his ERA against LH-batters was 4.09. This suggests that, while lefties were not getting many hits against Hughes, they were reaching base and the hits that they did get were producing runs. This also suggests that Hughes’ cutter (in addition to his overall ability to effectively pitch against lefties) still needs some work.

    According to the Yankees, Hughes is a candidate for the last spot in their rotation. However, it would be at the back end of the rotation and he must earn it during the spring. According to me, Hughes better show this spring that he can handle left-handed batters. If not, he should start the season at Triple-A and stay there until he proves that he can effectively pitch to all types of batters.

    Saturday Night Fever (1977)

    Posted by on November 30th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    In 1977, I was 15-years old and a “rock” guy. My choice of music back then was usually something from Yes, The Who, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Queen, Pink Floyd, Foreigner, and the like.

    As such, I was also a “Disco Sucks!” kind of guy.

    Now, sure, I’ll admit, at that time, I did (somewhat) covertly find “guidettes” attractive in a Montague/Capulet taboo temptation sort of way. But, hey, I was fifteen, remember?

    In any event, when this movie came out, as my friends used to say to me every time I mentioned some “D.G.” (our slang for “Disco Girl”) was hot, “it stands for everything that we’re against!”

    So, while I saw it when it was released – and everybody saw it – I hated it. And, it wasn’t until several years later (when my musical tastes started opening up) that I started to appreciate it’s value/standing from a soundtrack perspective. And, after that, I learned to recognize how spot-on this one is for capturing the whole Brooklyn/’70′s/Disco era. And, today, it’s one of my favorites now.

    Who says a teenage rocker can’t grow?

    A Yank Mistake Not To Offer Pettitte Arbitration?

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

    Via Ken Rosenthal:

    Monday, the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their respective free agents, could offer the first true glimpse of how much the economic crisis is affecting the way clubs do business.

    In a better economy, most teams would not hesitate to offer a one-year deal through arbitration to attractive Type A free agents. Some teams would want such players back on one-year deals, even at arbitration-inflated salaries. Other teams, knowing that the players likely would depart for multiyear contracts, would offer arbitration to ensure that they received draft-pick compensation in return.

    In most cases, little has changed. The Brewers, for example, are certain to offer arbitration to left-hander CC Sabathia, knowing they have nothing to lose and high draft picks to gain. The Yankees, on the other hand, do not figure to extend such an offer to lefty Andy Pettitte. If they wanted to give Pettitte a one-year contract with an increase from his $16 million salary, they would have done it by now.

    If the Yankees don’t offer Pettitte arbitration then some team who is kinda/sorta in the CC Sabathia hunt (but who has an uphill chase in signing the big lefty) may just see this as a great chance to sign somebody else (meaning Pettitte) to a shorter-term deal (like two years plus an option) at less money without having to also give up a draft pick.

    The only question may be whether or not Pettitte will take something around $14 million a season, for two years, from someone other than the Yankees.

    However, given the quality of free agent pitchers out there – especially left-handed ones – it would not shock me to see someone out there with a desire to sign a pitcher like Pettitte to a very short-term deal over signing someone like Sheets, Burnett, Lowe, or Perez to a long-term deal.

    You know, a typical flight between Milwaukee and Houston would have a flying time of about 2 hours. If the Yankees make Pettitte that much better looking, by not offering him arbitration, do you think Willie Randolph may give Andy a call and tell him about how the Brewers, with some pitching to replace Sabathia and Sheets, could be a contender in 2009?

    Something Wild (1986)

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

    A good one from Jonathan Demme and the movie that put Ray Liotta on the big screen map. This one was typical of the type of movie that caught my attention in the early to mid-’80s.

    2005-07 Yanks: Great Stealing Team That No One Noticed?

    Posted by on November 29th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    I was just playing around with the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, looking at the Yankees team SB success rates from 1940, and, well, here they are:

    (more…)

    Ira Thomas’ Baseball Career

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

    Paul Post, in the Saratoga Springs Saratogian, has a great feature on former New York Yankees Highlander’s catcher Ira Thomas. It’s full of some good baseball history stuff. Click here to read it.

    Posnanski On Steinbrenner

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

    Joe Posnanski offers 3,908 words on Big Stein at his blog. Click here to read it.

    The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)

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

    Steve Carell was funny in this one. But, for me, Romany Malco and Seth Rogen stole the show. And, in a smaller role, Jane Lynch was her typically great self as well.


    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 11/28/08

    Posted by on November 28th, 2008 · Comments (41)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Phillip Coke 2009

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

    Phil Coke is a late bloomer who received an ample late season pen audition with the Yankees. While Coke was a starter in the minors, he’s a candidate to be a member of New York’s bullpen in 2009 – as a left-handed specialist and/or middle innings long-man. Held the 52 big league batters that he faced to an OPS of .392.

    Then again, 2008 was the first time that Coke, who is 25, pitched above A-Ball. And, you have to wonder if he’s a true late bloomer or if this past season was just a fluke.

    The Matrix (1999)

    Posted by on November 27th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    When I went to see this one, in the Spring of 1999, I knew nothing about it. Basically, I went because the effects in the trailer looked so good.

    I remember leaving the movies, after watching it, with a headache. I think the flick just gave my mind too much to process – between the effects and the story – and that plus it being allergy season led to the pain. And, since we (meaning my wife and I) saw it during the day, the headache got worse when we walked out of the darkness of the theater into the bright daylight. (Don’tcha just hate it when that happens?)

    But, I was very impressed. And, when this one came out on DVD, I grabbed a copy of it on Day One.

    Every chance I got, I watched it again, in the weeks that followed. It got to the point where it was really starting to annoy my wife. If I had a dime every time she walked into the family room, caught me watching it, and said “You’re watching that movie again?”…well…I would have a whole heap of dimes, at the least.

    I watched it so many times that I pretty much had the script down to where I could mouth the words while watching it. So, yeah, you can say this is one of my all-time favs. I also liked the the second and third features that came in the series. But, not as much as the first.

    It’s now almost ten years after it first came out. And, just recently, late one night, I was flicking channels and noticed this on HBO. What happened? I stopped to watch it for a while – even after all these times that I’ve seen it before…and, it’s still good, at least to me.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 11/27/08

    Posted by on November 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Happy Tryptophan Day 2008!

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

    I justed wanted to take a quick moment to wish all the readers of WasWatching.com (and their loved ones) a happy, and a safe, Thanksgiving Day. Enjoy.

    Subway Squawkers & “Essential Games” DVDs

    Posted by on November 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    In case you haven’t seen it, Subway Squawkers is having an “Essential Games” DVD collection give-away. Click here to check it out.

    Randall Gumpert Passes

    Posted by on November 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via The Pottstown Mercury:

    Randall Pennington Gumpert, 90, husband of Ann Louise (Boyer) Gumpert, of Monocacy, Berks County, died peacefully Tuesday, Nov. 25, with his extended family at his side at the Highlands of Wyomissing where he resided for 10 months.

    Born in Monocacy, he was a son of the late Abram and Emma (Nolte) Gumpert.

    Mr. Gumpert had been a Major League baseball player and scout. He had pitched for the Philadelphia Athletics, the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Senators.

    He began his career in 1936 pitching his first game two weeks after graduation from high school on June 13, 1936. His final game was on Sept. 23, 1952. He managed the Bradford Yankees in 1956, the 1956-1958 Kearney Yankees and the 1960 St. Petersburg Saints. He gave up Mickey Mantle’s first home run in 1951. He last worked for the Major League Scouting Bureau of Newport Beach, Calif., for 19 years before retiring in 1993. He was an American League All Star in 1951. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the Berks County Sports Hall of Fame, the Reading Phillies Hall of Fame, the Daniel Boone Wall of Fame and the Major League Scouting Hall of Fame.

    The 1956 Bradford Yankees were the Yankees Class D team in the PONY League. They went 3-9 and then disbanded on May 18th.

    The 1956-1958 Kearney Yankees were the Yankees Class D team in the Nebraska State League. They went 35-28, 30-26, and 33-30 under Gumpert. Jay Ward, Deron Johnson, and Phil Linz all played there.

    The 1960 St. Petersburg Saints were the Yankees Class D team in the Florida State League. Gumpert took over the team from Stan Carnofsky during the season. On the whole, the team went 55-83.

    Yanks Don’t Think Halos Want Sabathia?

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

    Via Jon Heyman -

    People inside the Yankees organization are skeptical about whether the Angels are as serious as it seems about signing star free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia. Some Yankees officials seem to believe: 1) that the Angels leaked their alleged intention to make an offer to Sabathia approaching that of the Yankees’ $140-million, six-year offer to drive down the demands of first baseman and stated top target Mark Teixeira, or 2) that if the Angels do go for Sabathia, it will be with an offer in the range of $100 million-$120 million, not $140 million.

    I, however, tend to believe the Angels are serious about Sabathia.

    A competing executive from another American League team told me he believes the Angels are “dead serious.” He predicts the Angels will match Johan Santana’s $137.5-million, six-year deal with the Mets, causing the Yankees to up their offer to $160 million over seven years. At that point, the Angels would have to decide whether to increase their own bid.

    …people inside the Yankees organization…

    I wonder if these are the same “people inside the Yankees organization” who thought they had all the time in the world to re-sign Andy Pettitte after the 2003 season; and, who thought that Jon Lieber would sign for two years at $12 million following the 2004 season; and, who thought they could win the posting for Daisuke Matsuzaka with a bid of $33 million following the 2006 season?

    Lean On Me (1989)

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

    The Lord said, do whatever you have to do. And he didn’t say “Joe, be polite.”

    Morgan Freeman was awesome, as he usually is, in this one for me.

    Loud Mouths: Sabathia And Beyond

    Posted by on November 26th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Adam Schein and Chris Carlin, yesterday on SNY’s Loud Mouths, discuss the question of what CC Sabathia might do if someone offers him close to what the Yankees have offered (or will offer him) – as well as what the Yanks may do if Sabathia goes somewhere other than the Bronx. Here’s the video:

    For the record, I think Adam Schein is correct on this one.

    And, personally, I’m starting to feel that Sabathia is praying that someone out west will offer him close to “Yankee money” so that he has an excuse to pass on coming to Yankeeland.

    Callis: AFL Scout Says Hughes “Not Overpowering At All”

    Posted by on November 26th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Via Jim Callis in the recent print edition of Baseball America -

    [Phil] Hughes experienced his own ups and downs with the Peoria Javelinas. He earned AFL pitcher-of-the-week honors after his first outing and started the league’s all-star game, but he also got shelled by the Scorpions and missed a start with a torn fingernail.

    Hughes mainly pitched off his 89-92 mph fastball and a plus curveball, a nice combination but not the 91-94 mph heater and knockout bender he showed down the stretch in Double-A two years ago. Whether he’ll regain his premium stuff once he stays healthy for an extended period remains to be seen. Whether he can stay healthy is uncertain, too, though he hasn’t had any arm-related problems since 2005, when he made two trips to the DL with shoulder tendinitis and a tired arm.

    “I just don’t see how he dominated the lower levels of the minors so thoroughly,” a second scout said. “He’s not overpowering at all. But he has a solid fastball and the curveball is OK. I don’t see what all the fuss was about, but he’s probably still a No. 3.”

    …I don’t see what all the fuss was about, but he’s probably still a No. 3…

    Sort of rides along with what I wrote back on September 17th:

    Phil Hughes…at his worst will have a major league career much like Carl Pavano and at his best will have a major league career like Andy Benes. And, in all likelihood, Hughes’ career will probably fall somewhere in the middle between Pavano and Benes…and mirror someone along the level of Aaron Sele.

    Yeah, I know, I know, it’s also been reported that Hughes was “throwing 94, 95 with ease” in the AFL. So, who knows which report is true?

    In any event, what do you think? Is Phil Hughes a future #3 starter, at best? Or, is he going to be an ace someday?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 11/26/08

    Posted by on November 26th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Ozzie: Swisher Not Good In Clubhouse

    Posted by on November 26th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Via Mark Feinsand -

    Ozzie Guillen didn’t seem very sad to see Nick Swisher traded to the Yankees this month. The White Sox manager told the Chicago Tribune in a recent Q&A that the first baseman/outfielder wasn’t always the best influence in the Chicago clubhouse.

    “You’ve got to ask the players about that,” Guillen said. “To be honest with you, I was not happy with the way he was reacting at the end of the season. He wasn’t helping me either.”

    Now, you have to factor in that Ozzie Guillen is not the classiest guy in town when you read this one. But, it’s worth filing away, just in case.

    Pettitte To The Dodgers?

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (24)

    Via mlb.com -

    The Dodgers need pitching and Andy Pettitte wants to pitch: sounds like a possible match.

    The left-handed veteran has indicated interest in returning to the Yankees, but the club is currently preoccupied in its chase of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and possibly Derek Lowe.

    Pitching in Los Angeles is not a tremendous reach for Pettitte, who has worn pinstripes in 11 of his 14 years in the big leagues.

    Pettitte’s former manager, Joe Torre, has a year under his belt in the same capacity with the Dodgers and according to a report by Ken Rosenthal on Foxsports.com, the two have spoken on numerous occasions about Pettitte pitching for the Dodgers.

    Man, if the Yankees make the same mistake that they did five years ago, well, I’ll be ticked. How about you?

    Galaxy Quest (1999)

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Can you form some sort of rudimentary lathe?

    If you were/are a fan of the Star Trek franchise, going back to “The Original Series,” I don’t know how you cannot laugh at this movie. Gosh, it’s spot-on. And, I enjoy it every time I see it.

    The Bird Is Beyond Cooked

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Anyone else tired already of hearing about where A-Rod is spending Thanksgiving and what his ex-wife is saying about him on it?

    A Sneak Inside The New Digs

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    If you haven’t read about Larry Dobrow’s covert trip to the new Yankee Stadium, you’ll want to check it out.

    He even had a Brian Cashman sighting:

    And so it was that I found myself waiting in the lobby of the old Yankee Stadium at five to 10 on a chilly Friday morning. In November, amazingly, there’s more bustle around the Yankees than there is in mid-August at a Marlins home game. Tour groups snaked around the building on the third-to-last day they were offered, even with Monument Park already packed up and relocated across the street.

    Brian Cashman darted across the lobby and into an elevator, responding to the security guard’s “Hey Cash, what’s the good word?” with a quick “Thunderbird.” This, I later learned, was a cheap-hooch ad back in the 1950s. Gotta love Cashman.

    Always good to know that your G.M. is up on his bum-wines

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 11/25/08

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Cano Shaping Up To Be Main Cog For Yanks?

    Posted by on November 25th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    Via George King -

    While they wait for CC Sabathia to decide if $140 million is worth the headaches created by the spotlight that always scorches the Yankees, the club is jazzed about Robinson Cano’s new body.

    “I was as impressed with what he looks like as I have ever been in my whole life,” hitting coach Kevin Long said of Cano yesterday after spending six days last week in the Dominican Republic with the second baseman who led the list of Yankees disappointments last season.

    “He hired a personal trainer from New Jersey who is kicking his [butt], and he looks great,” Long said. “His body fat is at 11 percent, his stomach is cut.”

    The Yankees have been concerned about the 6-foot Cano’s body weight – listed at 205 pounds – for a while. That, according to Long, shouldn’t be a worry.

    “He works on hitting and doing agility drills for two hours, rests and goes to the weight room for three hours,” Long said of Cano, who enters the second-year of a four-year, $30 million deal. “There isn’t a whole lot of heavy lifting. It’s more cardio and light weights.”

    While Cano works on his body, Long attacked the head with the hope the free swinger can develop early-count plate discipline.

    “If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be, he has to learn about the strike zone and taking a lot more often than not,” Long said of Cano, who drew 26 walks last year. Only 11 players with at least 477 at-bats drew fewer walks than Cano.

    “He can do that, because he hits as well as anybody with two strikes.”

    …If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be…

    That’s the Yankees plan this off-season to offset the loss of Abreu and Giambi? Yikes!

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