• Joba Not Getting JUGS Love This Spring?

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Everyone seems to be talking about Joba Chamberlain’s velocity these days. Via Mark Feinsand today:

    Joba Chamberlain tossed 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks, striking out six. His fastball ranged from 90-96, which is where you should expect to see it during the season.

    “It wasn’t a huge concern to me, because he had been at 95 earlier in the spring,” Joe Girardi said. “I know some people were concerned about it, but I figured he’d get a little stronger and as we got closer we’d see his velocity return.”

    Chamberlain finishes his official spring starts with a 4-0 record and 3.60 ERA, a considerable improvement over the 6.14 ERA he posted last spring. Chamberlain also struck out 20 batters in 20 innings.

    “Last spring, he was very unimpressive, but when it was lights, camera, action, he was game-on,” Brian Cashman said. “Some people are that way.”

    Rob Neyer had a nice write-up on the matter today as well.

    Now, there is something else to remember here – at the end of last season, Chamberlain was clocked at 91 MPH.

    So, what gives? Joba was throwing around 97 MPH when he converted to starting last year. And, he was at 91 MPH in late September 2008 – after coming back from his injury. Lastly, he’s been throwing 95, 92, and 94 MPH at times this Spring.

    Well, you can forget the 97+ MPH stuff – as that was when he was coming out of the pen. And, you can probably forget the reading at the end of last year – because he was most likely taking baby-steps with his wing at that time. What you see, this Spring, is probably what you should expect from Chamberlain this year: A heater in the range of 92 to 95 MPH. And, there’s nothing wrong with that, at all.

    Now, if he was reported to throw 95 MPH and he was routinely showing up at 88-92 MPH, that would be a horse of a different color.

    A 95 MPH fastball gets to the plate in about .43 of a second whereas an 88 MPH fastball gets to the plate in about .47 of a second. That seems like a small difference. However, that .04 of a second is the difference between getting away with a pitch that has too much white on white (meaning ball is over the plate too much) and not getting away with that pitch.

    In any event, the bigger issue may be to watch Chamberlain’s velocity after he’s made 15 to 20 starts this season. If it starts to drop at that time, it’s a red flag. But, for now, I really don’t see anything to be concerned about – with respect to the speed of his pitches. Control and running up a pitch count may be a whole ‘nother thing…

    Osbournes: Reloaded

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    OMG. It’s Springer on crack.

    Shows like Journeyman and Jericho get the quick hook. Prison Break gets jerked around as well – so much, in fact, that it leads to its end. But, shows like Osbournes: Reloaded are given a chance…go figure?

    I haven’t seen anything like this, well, since this…

    Under Dog Lady Ch. 9

    Yanks Win (AL) Bobby Murcer Award From B.A.T.

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (0)

    The news (below) came to me today via a MLB Press Release. Nice to see Bobby’s spirit live on through this award. And, also nice to see the Yankees win the award for the A.L. this year.

    The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) today announced that they have collected nearly $1.5 million during their seventh annual Spring Training tour to raise funds for members of the baseball family in need. B.A.T. also announced that the New York Yankees (American League—AL) and the Houston Astros (National League—NL) are the first recipients of the Bobby Murcer Award. The award is given to the team in both the AL and NL whose players contribute the most amount of money to B.A.T. through the Major League Baseball (MLB) Payroll Deduction Program. The award will be presented by Bobby’s widow Kay during the 2010 Annual B.A.T. Dinner.

    During the Spring Training tour, which is B.A.T.’s largest annual fundraiser, approximately 800 Major/Minor League players, managers and coaches committed nearly $1.5 million in donations to B.A.T., totaling more than $7 million pledged over seven years. This was approximately a 7% increase in monetary contributions compared to last year’s tour. The donations will be made through MLB Payroll Deduction Program, which allows players, managers and coaches to provide funding for B.A.T. throughout the course of the season.

    “The B.A.T. organization would like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone around Major League Baseball who donated and made our trips to Florida and Arizona worthwhile,” said B.A.T. Executive Director Jim Martin. “Especially in today’s economic climate, their generous contributions will go a long way in helping members of the baseball family. I would also like to send a special message of gratitude and congratulations to the baseball personnel of the New York Yankees and Houston Astros organizations for making the largest contribution in their respective leagues. We are honored to award them the Bobby Murcer Award at next year’s B.A.T. Dinner.”

    During the tour, representatives from B.A.T. including Randy Winn, Ted Sizemore, Cookie Rojas, Sam McDowell and Robin Roberts took time at various clubhouses to assist with the fundraising efforts. Joining the B.A.T. representatives for the presentations were several B.A.T. recipients who shared stories of the positive effects B.A.T. has had on their lives and those of their families.

    Entering its 24th year, B.A.T. is a unique organization within the sports industry as it is the only formal initiative among the major sports leagues dedicated to assisting members of its family who are in need. B.A.T.’s assistance takes a variety of forms including financial grants, healthcare programs and rehabilitative counseling. Through charitable contributions from corporations, foundations and individuals, B.A.T. strives to provide a means of support to people who are unable to help themselves.

    B.A.T., a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, has awarded more than $18 million in grants to date, benefiting more than 2,300 members of the baseball family, including former Major League players, managers, coaches, scouts, umpires, athletic trainers, front office personnel as well as Minor League players, Negro League players, their widows and children and players from the Women’s Professional Baseball League. All aid provided by B.A.T. is strictly confidential, allowing those in need to receive help discreetly.

    Click here for more information about B.A.T.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/31/09

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (19)

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    Former Yank Sheffield Released By Tigers

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (24)

    The AP has the story. By the way, it’s March 31st. Do you know where your Humberto Sanchez is?

    Wild Thought: Jeter To Second?

    Posted by on March 31st, 2009 · Comments (17)

    Derek Jeter’s contract is up after the 2010 season. And, some Yankees fans only want him back after that if he moves off shortstop. However, the Yankees have A-Rod at third and Tex at first – for years to come. And, Jeter’s bat doesn’t profile for the outfield. So, where does Jeter go?

    How about second base? If Robbie Cano hacks and/or dogs his way out of Yankeeland over the next 2 years, would the Yankees ask Jeter to play second in 2011?

    Well, if Jeff Kent, Julio Franco, Toby Harrah, Mariano Duncan, Juan Samuel, and Tim Teufel could play second base in the majors and not kill their teams, then there’s no reason why Derek Jeter, even with his limited defensive skill set, cannot play second base and help the Yankees. Anyway, that’s today’s wild thought…

    Yanks’ Most & Least Dominant Teams (Take II)

    Posted by on March 30th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    This evening, I was playing around with the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, taking a look at each of the Yankees 106 seasons to date…

    (more…)

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/30/09

    Posted by on March 30th, 2009 · Comments (11)

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    Bloggers Weigh In On Yanks @ Times Blog

    Posted by on March 30th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    If you don’t check the Times’ Bats Blog everyday…and, if not, why aren’t you?…anyway, in case you missed it there today, myself and some fellow Yankees bloggers were asked to share some thoughts on the Yankees 2009 season. Click here to check it out.

    My thanks to Justin Sablich for asking me to be a part of this Q&A session.

    Brett Gardner Wins CF Job

    Posted by on March 29th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Via the AP -

    Brett Gardner has won the Yankees’ starting center field job.

    New York manager Joe Girardi announced Sunday that Gardner beat out Melky Cabrera this spring for the starting spot on opening day.

    “Both of them played great,” Girardi said after the Yankees beat Pittsburgh 9-8. “Gardie finished up strong and had a great camp. Right now I think Gardie has a little bit of the edge. He brings a little more speed to the lineup.” The speedy Gardner had a .228 batting average over 42 games in 2008, but was successful on 13 of 14 stolen-base attempts. He is hitting .385 with five stolen bases in 22 spring training games.

    The Yankees plan to have Cabrera on the regular-season roster in a backup role.

    “Melky had a tough year last year, but came into camp, was ready to go and played very well,” Girardi said. “Melky is going to have a lot of important things to do for us. He’s a switch-hitter, can put him anywhere in the outfield. He can run.”

    So, does three years count as a fast track?

    Well, many know that I’ve been a Gardner fan for a while. And, I still think he can be, for the Yankees, what Jacoby Ellsbury is for the Red Sox.

    And, having Melky Cabrera on the bench is not terrible. He will probably spell Gardner against tough lefties and be a defensive caddy for Xaiver Nady. He can also pinch-run for Jose Molina when needed. These are all tasks that Leche can handle.

    What should Yankees fans expect from Gardner this year? Great speed, a decent glove in center, a willingness to work the count, and a hard-nose attitude. Nuthin’ wrong with any of ‘dat…

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/29/09

    Posted by on March 29th, 2009 · Comments (3)

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    As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels In The Land Of Umpires

    Posted by on March 29th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Presently, I am reading “As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires” by Bruce Weber. And, while I’m not done with it yet, I’ve read enough of it to share a review.

    If you’re looking for the all-time panoptic book on umpires and what they do, “As They See ‘Em” is the one that you want to read. With this book, Weber thoroughly researched the topic. And, yet, “As They See ‘Em” doesn’t read like an encyclopedia as Weber presents his facts, stories and opinion in a very entertaining manner. If you’re looking to build the “must have” baseball library, you’ll want to have “As They See ‘Em” as part of your collection.

    I’ve read books by umpires such as Durwood Merrill and Ron Luciano and they did provide some insight on their craft. However, they don’t come close to painting the picture that Weber does with his book. I’ve been a baseball fan since 1973. And, I played the game, albeit as a amateur, when I was young. As such, I had some knowledge and opinions about umpiring, the demands therein, the history and evolution of the vocation, and how umpires have been perceived and treated. And, yet, I found “As They See ‘Em” to be very illuminating.

    This all said, I don’t need to wait until I’m done with “As They See ‘Em: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires” to offer this review – and share that I highly recommend this book.

    I Remember…

    Posted by on March 29th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    D’Angelo Jimenez, Sam Militello, Kerry Dineen, Ed Yarnall, Ruben Rivera, Dave Pagan, Mickey Klutts, Ryan Bradley, Larry Murray, Mike Griffin, Dennis Sherrill, Gil Patterson, Drew Henson, Brad Halsey, Domingo Ramos, Ray Fontenot, Hipolito Pena, Ted Wilborn, Andy McGaffigan, Otto Velez, Jerry Nielsen, Juan Bernhardt, Jason Anderson, Hensley Meulens, Ryan Bradley, Terry Whitfield, Mark Hutton, Joe Lefebvre, Mike Griffin, Vic Mata, Larry McCall, Matt Luke, Christian Parker, Dell Alston, Marshall Brant, Bobby Munoz, Mike Humphreys, Kevin Mmahat, Oscar Azocar and Randy Keisler.

    How many of these do you remember?

    More Praise For Ramiro Pena

    Posted by on March 29th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Bill Madden -

    Whether Derek Jeter realizes it or not, Joe Girardi’s proposed move to bat him leadoff may well be a prelude to a much more dramatic switch in the not-so-distant future.

    Jeter’s decreased range at shortstop, especially to his left, has been an increasingly hot topic around baseball – which the Yankee high command has pointedly chosen to ignore, because there didn’t appear to be any bona fide prospects in the system. That, however, all changed this spring with the emergence of 23-year-old Ramiro Pena, whose dazzling glovework has made him the frontrunner to win the utility infielder’s job until Alex Rodriguez comes back in May.

    Fact is, Pena has always demonstrated world class defense since being signed by the Yankees out of Mexico in 2005, but his improvement with the bat is what’s elevated him to legitimate major league prospect status.

    “When I first saw him three years ago, you could knock the bat out of his hands,” said one veteran scout whose primary assignment is in the minor leagues. “But he was a magician with the glove and that made him someone to keep an eye on. Now that he’s gained a little weight, put on a little muscle, he’s no longer an ‘out.’ He can handle the bat. I always felt his glove would get him to the big leagues, but now I can see him as an everyday shortstop.”

    “Best looking young shortstop I’ve seen in a couple of years,” said one National League scout.

    So assuming Pena is the real deal, it would seem that with another year of Triple-A apprenticeship, presumably mixed with stints at the big league level, he’ll be ready for regular duty with the Yankees. Jeter will be 35 next season, the last year of his contract, and, his pride aside, he can’t expect to extend his career as a shortstop.

    Not the first time we’ve heard someone singing a happy tune over Pena.

    Me? I think if anyone is going to push Jeter off short, it’s going to have to come via a Wally Pip case – where someone fills in for Captain Derek, over an extended period, due to injury, and just plays so well during that time that it forces the Yankees and/or Jeter to make a move. Now, the twist to all this, of course, is timing. If such a situation should occur during Jeter’s last year of his current contract, well, then it gets really interesting, doesn’t it?

    1980 & 2002

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Look at the 1980 and 2002 Yankees. Man, those teams were stacked. Both won 103 games in those seasons. Yet, both got their rear kicked in the post-season.

    When you think of these teams, what do you think of more, the 103 wins or their October nightmare? If you’re a Yankees fan, it’s probably the latter.

    When you look back at high-win/no-ring teams like the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, 1954 Cleveland Indians and 1969 Baltimore Orioles, because the post-season format was different, you can at least say that they got to play in a World Series. But, then there are teams like the 1993 Atlanta Braves or the 2001 Seattle Mariners…who had big win total seasons and then got bounced in the playoffs…like the 1980 and 2002 Yanks…

    well…they do cast a shadow but they don’t hold up to the light, do they?

    Looking at that 2002 Yankees team, and seeing how many of the players on that team played in New York from 2002 through 2007 (Mike Mussina, Jason Giambi, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera) and then looking at the other players who were there for most of that time albeit not all of it (Scott Proctor, Hideki Matsui, Bernie Williams, Andy Phillips, and Alex Rodriguez), I wonder who will be the last one out of this gang of post-season sufferers to play for the Yankees?

    Mussina, Giambi, Proctor, Williams and Phillips are gone. Matsui should be gone after this year. Rivera and Posada are getting older. That leaves Jeter and A-Rod. Which one will be the last one standing in New York? Right now, contractually, Rodriguez has the longer life – as his current deal runs through 2017.

    Yikes, for Alex’s sake, if he lasts that long in Yankeeland, let’s hope all those seasons are not ring-less. If they are, wouldn’t that be something? Imagine the Yankees going 17 years without a World Championship and A-Rod being on the team for 14 of those 17 years? That’s not exactly something that a ballplayer would want on his resume.

    Stick Tried To Get Schilling

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Bill Conlin:

    Gene Michael is an adviser to Yankees miniboss Hank Steinbrenner these days. When Curt Schilling was emerging as one of the great control freaks — on and off the mound — “Stick” was the Yankees’ general manager.

    “I tried to trade for him,” Michael was saying during a rain delay that turned the Phillies’ media and officials dining room into an any-port-in-storm. News of Schilling’s blogignation had replaced Davey Johnson’s curious and inept managing of Team USA in Sunday night’s World Baseball Classic debacle as the No. 1 topic of conversation. “I kept calling Lee (Phils GM Lee Thomas) and asking if Curt was available. He’d kind of laugh at me and say, ’No way.’ But one day I called and Lee said, ’If Schilling comes up here one more time trying to run my ballclub, he’s going on the market.’”

    Schilling kept telling anybody who would listen that he wanted to stay in Philly, but only if they made a clear commitment to winning that included spending more money to obtain better players. Sometimes, Schil would call his favorite talk-radio station from his auto on the way to Veterans Stadium, and enumerate his many gripes. This was fingernails on the blackboard stuff to a front office that has always been loath to have its dirty laundry publicized, particularly by a 1993 hero who had become a face of the franchise.

    It’s an interesting scenario: If Curt Schilling had become a member of the New York Yankees, say, in 1995, how would that have changed all the post-seasons from 1995 through 2004? Think about it…

    Loose Lips Sank Sox In Teixeira Chase

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Boston Globe -

    In an interview with sports radio station WFAN in New York on Friday, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said the public comments the Red Sox made during their pursuit of the free agent last winter “probably worked against them a little bit.”

    “I think always had the Yankees in my sights, and one thing that my agent and I had asked every single team is, we’re not going to negotiate through the media, and we ask you not to,” Teixeira said. “The Yankees were really the only team that did that. The other teams went out and told everybody their offers, and told everybody they’re gonna talk to me, that they’ve made made this call, and they made that trip, and they did that. The Yankees just kind of kept quiet. We talked with them all throughout the offseason and when they were ready to make their final offer, it was a great offer, and my wife and I were very excited about going to New York.”

    Teixeira was asked specifically if the public nature of the Red Sox negotiations last winter bothered him. “It did, it did,” replied Teixeira. “And I think in the end, it probably worked against them a little bit, because everyone thought the Red Sox were [my] No. 1, but in reality, the Yankees were gonna be the team, like I said all along, if all things were equal, the Yankees were the place that I wanted to go. It made the most sense for my family. It made the most sense for me and my career and where I wanted to go. Being a Yankee and wearing the pinstripes into the new Yankee Stadium, it doesn’t get any better than that. They had a leg up all along.”

    I really hope that Teixeira does well for the Yankees. He seems to be the type of player who can become a huge fan favorite. And, while he may not reach the “Paul O’Neill” level of imported-everyday-player-who-becomes-Yanks-fan-fav status, there’s no reason why Tex cannot reach the “Hideki Matsui” or “Tino Martinez” level. The trick is simple – and it’s a “Three P” thing: Play hard. Produce. And, don’t be a priss. If Teixeira masters all three “P’s,” his ticket to Yankees fans’ hearts will be punched.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/28/09

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (0)

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    Petty Yanks Shoot Themselves In Foot

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via the Post with a hat tip to “It Is High…” –

    The Yankees are snubbing one of their biggest fans. Novelist Jane Heller’s latest, “Confessions of a She-Fan,” chronicles the time she spent traveling the country with her husband, watching the transformation of the 2007 squad from the doldrums to a wild-card playoff berth. The book earned praise from play-by-play man John Sterling, but the Yankees wouldn’t run an ad for it in their Opening Day program because they deemed it too “controversial.” “It’s sad to have the Yankees so mad at a fan who writes about how much she loves her team,” Heller said. A rep for the Yankees declined to comment.

    Now, I’ve read Heller’s book. Believe me, it’s a good read – and I enjoyed it. But, if the Yankees are painting her work to be in the class of Ball Four, Joe You Coulda Made Us Proud, The Bronx Zoo and/or Perfect I’m Not, then I think we’ve discovered what has happened to the sod from the last Yankee Stadium. The gang in the Yanks’ front office has rolled it up and started smoking it…

    Really, I know what this is all about. In the book, Jane Heller shares that people in the Yankees front-office gave her a major league stiff arm during the season in which she was following the team – with Jason Zillo and Jean Afterman leading the charge. (Heller also shared that Kim Jones blew her off – but, I doubt that the YES Princess of Tight Sweaters has the pull to keep someone from running an ad in the Opening Day program.)

    Could Zillo and Afterman be this thin-skinned? Hey, we know how thin-skinned Brian Cashman is…should it be a shock that his underlings are the same way?

    The really stupid thing here: With this action, the Yankees have done exactly what they didn’t want to do: Give Jane Heller’s book some publicity. And, in fact, they saved Team Heller the dime of having to buy the ad now…smart, huh?

    Score this one: Heller 1, Yankees 0.

    Randy Levine Is ‘The Voice Of The Yanks’?

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via Richard Sandomir:

    When politicians questioned the propriety of the Yankees’ $1.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds for their new stadium, Randy Levine, the team’s president, scolded them for having their facts wrong or for failing to examine similar financing for the Mets’ Citi Field.

    When the Milwaukee Brewers’ owner criticized the Yankees for signing $423.5 million in free agents this off-season, Levine countered, as he frequently has: we follow the rules, so don’t tell us how to invest our money.

    In recent years, as George Steinbrenner has faded from view as the principal owner, Levine has emerged as the strongest voice of the Yankees, baseball’s wealthiest team. He is their executive-as-prosecutor, a tough, short-tempered and smart protector of the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees brand.

    “If you attack me unfairly, there are no free shots,” Levine said.

    No other Yankees executive — not Steinbrenner’s sons, Hal and Hank; Brian Cashman, the general manager; or Lonn Trost, the chief operating officer — is as willfully aggressive.

    “Part of Randy likes to fight,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner. “He has a history of not backing down. He likes to be the bad cop. I’m the good cop.”

    The family has never asked Levine to restrain his style. Hal Steinbrenner said he “absolutely” applauded Levine’s castigations of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a persistent critic of the stadium’s financing. Levine has angrily accused Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat, of attacking the Yankees name for political ends.

    It’s interesting to see a puff-piece come out on President Bluster just as Sandy Alderson’s resume starts hitting people’s desks…

    Cashman & Girardi: “CC” = “Championship Caliber” Player

    Posted by on March 28th, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Via Kevin Kernan -

    “Basically, what we aspire to as a front office is to find high-octane competitors. If you combine that with talent, you’ve got a championship caliber player,” GM Brian Cashman said last night as [CC] Sabathia shut down the Reds, 4-1, firing 7″ effortless innings at Steinbrenner Field. “We believe CC is that.”

    “He’s the type of guy who makes the staff compete against each other, which is always a good thing,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I love it. That’s the type of guys you want on your team.”

    Via Baseball-Reference.com, here are Sabathia’s career post-season numbers:

     Year   Round Tm  Opp WLser  G   GS   ERA   W  L SV CG   IP   H   ER  BB  SO
    +------+-----+---+---+-----+---+---+------+--+--+--+--+-----+---+---+---+---+
     2001   ALDS  CLE SEA     L   1   1   3.00  1  0  0  0   6     6   2   5   5
     2007   ALDS  CLE NYY     W   1   1   5.40  1  0  0  0   5     4   3   6   5
            ALCS  CLE BOS     L   2   2  10.45  0  2  0  0  10.1  17  12   7   9
     2008   NLDS  MIL PHI     L   1   1  12.27  0  1  0  0   3.2   6   5   4   5
    +------+-----+---+---+-----+---+---+------+--+--+--+--+-----+---+---+---+---+
      3 Lg Div Series       1-2   3   3   6.14  2  1  0  0  14.2  16  10  15  15
      4 Postseason Ser      1-3   5   5   7.92  2  3  0  0  25    33  22  22  24
    +--------------------+-----+---+---+------+--+--+--+--+-----+---+---+---+---+

    I’m happy that Sabathia is on the Yankees this season – even if the Yankees bid against themselves and broke the bank to sign him.  But, I think the Yankees, and their fans, had better allow for the chance that CC is the A-Rod of pitchers…meaning great in-season numbers and a choker in  the post-season.

    I’m not saying that Sabathia is a lock to fail in October.  But, those numbers are pretty darn ugly, no?

    Kernan: Yanks Clubhouse Better This Year

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via Kevin Kernan -

    After traveling around the last month for the WBC, finally getting the chance to spend time in Yankee camp.

    There is a different feeling in the clubhouse, more relaxed but at the same time more focused. Part of that is because A-Rod is in Colorado but the impact of new Yankees has made a positive difference.

    Workers at Steinbrenner Field have noticed the positive vibe of players like Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. It’s only spring and the games don’t count but the Yankees have improved their clubhouse tremendously.

    Every time I hear something like this, I wonder if it’s a nice thing being said about Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett; or, is it a slap at guys like Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Mike Mussina and Kyle Farnsworth? Or, maybe it’s just a little of both?

    SNY’s Daily News Live: Greatest Yanks Lead-Off Men

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    The gang on SNY’s Daily News Live (yesterday) discuss the greatest lead-off hitters in Yankees history. Here’s the video:

    Maybe I would have snuck Willie Randolph in there too…but that’s just me.

    Jorge Imposada

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Sam Borden, over at SNY.tv, took a recent look at the importance of Jorge Posada. Here’s some highlights -

    Posada is the emotional center of the Yankees clubhouse. While Jeter, his best friend on the team, is the captain, even Jeter admits that Posada’s presence is irreplaceable. Posada does not make excuses for poor play, is brutally honest about his teammates (and himself) and has earned universal respect for being so fiercely genuine in a game filled with phonies. He is not afraid to call out a player or, as was the case with Orlando Hernandez, even get into the occasional fight.

    Since 2004, Posada’s numbers while batting as a catcher are: .290 batting average, .390 on-base percentage, .490 slugging percentage and 23.3 at-bats per homer. During that same time period, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the numbers from all other catchers the Yankees have used are: .214/.259/.324/56.9. The average production every other team in the league has as gotten from its catcher position during those seasons: .259/.322/.399/37.0.

    In a clubhouse filled with superstars, it isn’t CC or A-Rod or Jeter who is the most important. It is the player who does a little bit of everything. It is Posada.

    Personally, I think you could debate Posada’s contributions as a defensive player. I’m not sure he’s the best game-caller out there. And, I know that he’s not super in catching the ball. However, there’s no question, in my mind, that Posada’s offense and contribution in the clubhouse is huge – and the Yankees truly missed both of these things last season.

    It will be nice to have ‘Sado around for a full-season this year – sound and contributing.

    CF & 12th Pitcher Call Coming Soon

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via Kat O’Brien today -

    Joe Girardi said before the game that he wants to have the centerfield job settled by Sunday or Monday. It would seem likely that guy will be Brett Gardner, but as I am writing for tomorrow’s paper, both Gardner and Melky Cabrera are having good springs. Girardi also said that he expects both Gardner and Cabrera to make the team.

    One decision likely to be finalized after tomorrow’s game is that of the long reliever. Brett Tomko, Alfredo Aceves and Dan Giese are splitting that game, with each of them slated to pitch three innings. The Yankees plan to start the season with 12 pitchers. Girardi doesn’t believe they need three catchers, as he has seen enough out of Jorge Posada to think he can catch regularly.

    I fully expect Brett Gardner to be the starter in center. And, it would not shock me to see Brett Tomko get the nod for the long-man spot. And, if he does, it would not shock me to see him off the team before June 1st.

    Not Going Without A Fight

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    The last two episodes of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Last Voyage of the Jimmy Carter (which aired on March 20th) and To the Lighthouse (which aired this evening) were off-the-charts good. It would be a shame to see this series not see another season…

    Yankee Stadium Parking Website

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, about making a trip to Yankee Stadium, along comes this. Amazing…

    Hat tip to Pete Abe.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/27/09

    Posted by on March 27th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Click here for more information about this entry.

    Big Stein To Make The Opener

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via Newsday’sOn the Yankees beat” blog -

    George Steinbrenner is expected to be at the new Yankee Stadium for the season opener on April 16, a person with knowledge of the situation told Newsday Thursday.

    Steinbrenner, 78, and considered in frail health, has not been seen in New York since he attended last summer’s All-Star game at the old Yankee Stadium.

    “I spoke with him and he said he is going to be there,” the person said. “I doubt he will be at the welcome home dinner. But he said he is coming to the opener.”

    The person said he recently sat with Steinbrenner at two exhibition games in Tampa and found him “very enthusiastic, fully engaged in the game, his players, his manager. To me, he was really terrific.”

    Steinbrenner is essentially confined to a wheel chair. “He can’t walk, he has two football knees,” the person said. “He can barely stand.”

    Steinbrenner, who made a tearful farewell to the old stadium while riding with his daughter in a golf cart last July, is not expected to make a public appearance at the game. “I don’t think he’s willing to pose in a wheelchair,” the person said.

    I’m very happy for the Boss – being able to make this game. If anyone deserves to see the first game in the new Stadium, it’s Big Stein.

    Teixeira’s A Stick Ball Wizard?

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Via the Tampa Tribune:

    Here’s a traffic delay more at home in Brooklyn than Tampa: 9th Avenue will be shut down Friday between Republica de Cuba and 13th Street because of a stickball game.

    That’s right. A film crew will be on hand to capture the 90-minute promotional event by Yahoo! Sports, dubbed as “old school” versus “new school,” or stickball veterans against upstarts.

    Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to play, although it’s questionable whether the Annapolis, Md.,-born Major Leaguer will be as prodigious in a street game as on the baseball diamond.

    Stickball, a favorite in New York, Boston and Philadelphia neighborhoods, typically involves a rubber ball or tennis ball and a broomstick. In Philly, the ball sometimes gets chopped in half, transforming “stickball” into “halfball.”

    The game is set for 12:30-2 p.m. The road will be closed longer, however, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to give the film crew time to set up and take down its equipment.

    The five- to 10-minute video eventually will run on Yahoo! Sports, producer Corrin Arasasaid. She expects about 10 players, all Yankees fans, to play.

    What’s next, bocce with Derek Jeter?

    I think the last Yankees stickball legend was Joe Pepitone, no? Maybe Tex should get a replica of Pepi’s rug and wear it in the game for luck?

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