• Should Yanks Bat Jeter 1st & Damon 2nd?

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    The buzz in Yankeeland today was all about the report that Joe Girardi is considering having Derek Jeter bat lead-off (in his line-up) this season – followed by Johnny Damon (who has usually batted lead-off while playing for New York).

    I love hearing logic about who should bat second in a line-up. As a new baseball fan, back in 1973 and 1974, I read many stories about how Ted Sizemore was the perfect number-two man – because he could handle the bat and was willing to move runners along, etc. And, I can also recall how, back in 1980-1982, Billy Martin would bat Dwayne Murphy second – offering that Murphy, as a left-handed batter, would block the catcher’s view of Rickey Henderson leading off first and also make the catcher throw over him trying to get the ball to second on a steal attempt. Also, I’m more than sure that many thought, back in 1990, that batting second helped Ryne Sandberg see more fastballs – and also reach a career high in homeruns that season.

    But, from what I’ve seen on this news today, the bigger item here is around Derek Jeter batting lead-off – more so than it is about Johnny Damon batting second. Many Yankees fans think moving Jeter to the top spot in the line-up is the smart move because he hits so many ground balls – which he does – and he lacks power and hits into many double-plays, etc.

    But, you know what? It really doesn’t matter, between Jeter and Damon, in terms of who hits first and who hits second (in the Yankees line-up). Here’s why:

    Lately, Derek Jeter reaches base about 36-39% of the time. And, lately, Johnny Damon reaches base about 36-38% of the time. So, that’s a push. And, both Damon and Jeter are good baserunners – with Damon attempting more steals than Jeter, again, lately. However, the Yankees are not about stealing bases – at least in the top half of their line-up. For New York, it’s more about the first three guys getting on base and then the next three guys trying to hit an extra base hit. And, that’s the Yankees M.O. – offensively speaking. Also, consider this…how many Plate Appearances (PA) the Yankees first and second batters earn in a season, over the last three years:

    	1st	2nd
    2008	762	748
    2007	793	777
    2006	785	768

    Big difference between batting first and second, huh? What’s the difference?

    It’s a difference of .097 PA per game. Or, one PA every 10.3 games. That’s like a difference of…nothing.

    So, whether Jeter bats first and Damon bats second; or, if Damon bats first and Jeter bats second, both of these guys are going to get the same number of PA either way – and both will reach base about 37% of the time. And, the impact to the Yankees line-up will be no different either way.

    Anyone who wants to make a case that this potential line-up switch is a good or bad thing for the Yankees is trying to make themselves look smart.

    Now, if you were going to bat Derek Jeter fourth, or, if you were going to bat Johnny Damon eighth, then I could see the reasons to get your feathers in a bunch. But, just flip-flopping the two at the top of the line-up? Hey, it’s no biggie…really.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/26/09

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (20)

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    Wild Thought: Runaway In East By May?

    Posted by on March 26th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Looking at the Tampa Bay Rays schedule, we can see that the Rays play the Red Sox and Yankees 15 times between Opening Day, April 6th, and May 10th. But, it’s mostly a Boston-Tampa thing since the Rays play the Red Sox 10 times between April 6th and May 10th.

    So, today’s wild thought is this: Could it be possible, if the Yankees get off to the rough start that I expect them to this season, if either Tampa or Boston wins 8 of 10 of those H-T-H match-ups, could either the Rays or Red Sox establish a commanding lead in the A.L. East by May 10th?

    Steven Jackson Impressive

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via South Carolina’s “The Item” –

    Relief pitcher Steven Jackson’s bid to make the Opening Day roster for the New York Yankees has fallen short.

    But the former Sumter resident certainly left an impression before being optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

    “He’s been successful in every situation we’ve put him in, whether it’s to start an inning, whether it’s to throw a couple of innings or whether it’s to come in in the middle of an inning,” New York manager Joe Girardi said Sunday before the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays. “We told him, you know, just keep doing what you’re doing. There comes a point in spring training when you start running out of innings, but he had a great camp.” Jackson entered spring training as one of 25 pitchers on the 40-man roster. The 6-foot-5 right-hander, acquired in the January 2007 deal that sent veteran hurler Randy Johnson to the Arizona Diamondbacks, had no record and a 2.16 earned run average in nine appearances.

    “I was real pleased,” the 27-year-old said before Sunday’s game, during which he allowed two hits and two unearned runs in 1 1/3 innings. “I’m just trying to keep pitching well, and hopefully I’ll get a chance sometime during the season.”

    Last season he was 1-3 with two saves and a 5.74 ERA in 15 relief appearances for Trenton. He was 3-0 with four saves and a 3.17 ERA in 34 games, including one start, after a promotion to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

    “We put him in the bullpen, and things kind of took off for him,” New York pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “He got more consistent. His stuff actually got better for whatever reason.”

    Jackson was a starter and reliever at Clemson, so the switch in roles wasn’t a stretch.

    “I didn’t take it as a bad thing,” he said. “It’s just another opportunity to pitch. They’ve (Yankees staff) been at this game a long time, so if that’s where they thought I need to be, I was all for it.”

    He has pitched in short, middle and long relief for the Yankees.

    “We just thought his stuff fit better (in relief),” Eiland said. “He can come in with runners on base, get us a ground ball double play. He keeps the ball on the ground, he’s very economical with his pitches and he’s able to bounce back and pitch back-to-back days.”

    This spring Jackson typically got two days of rest between appearances. Eiland said the Yankees staff project him to be a middle inning guy capable of throwing two to three innings, although he may toss one inning if necessary.

    “We’re giving a couple of different looks, and he’s doing well in both those roles,” Eiland said. “That’s what he’s going to have to do. He can’t just be one-dimensional.”

    The Yankees already have a number of right-handers in that capacity. Last year Jose Veras (60 games) and Edwar Ramirez (55 games) were workhorses, typically pitching on short rest or throwing two innings. Dan Giese threw at least two innings in a third of his 17 relief appearances.

    “That doesn’t mean during the course of the season that he won’t be up to help us,” Girardi said. “We used a lot of different relievers last year. We’re not afraid to make changes if guys aren’t doing the job. We told him to be ready at any time. You never know when your time is going to come.” Jackson spent last year working on improving his slider. He’s not an overpowering thrower, his velocity reaching 92 or 93 mph, he said. Since joining the Yankees, however, he has become more effective in striking out batters. A year ago he had 54 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings for Scranton/Wilkes Barre and 37 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings for Trenton. He had a nearly 3-1 ratio of strikeouts to walks in 2008.

    “He’s down in the zone,” Girardi said. “His breaking ball has been good, his split has been good and the location of his fastball has been good. He doesn’t beat himself. He’s the kind of guy who attacks the zone.”

    Then again, this time last year, Scott Patterson looked real good too…

    Guitar Bernie Williams Could Never Serenade Jeter

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via Entertainment Weekly -

    Yet despite his lifelong love of music, [Bernie] Williams was the rare major-league hitter who didn’t have a signature pop song played over the stadium speakers when he stepped up to the plate. “It was kind of distracting to me,” he says. “I’m trying to concentrate, to hit [a pitch from] a guy throwing 95 miles an hour. I don’t want to be thinking about Clapton or B.B. King in the middle of the at-bat. And in old-school baseball, I never heard that Mickey Mantle had a favorite song coming up to bat.”

    What’s more, Williams says his fellow Yankees didn’t always appreciate his musical stylings back in his major-league days. “I used to bring my guitar all the time on plane rides and the bus,” he laughs. “I happened to sit behind or in front of Derek [Jeter]. He used to tell me to shut up. I’d drive him crazy! I would try to serenade him, but he would have none of it after a game. Everybody’s sleeping, and I’m trying to play some blues right in his ear.”

    Though Williams says he may never formally retire from baseball — “I’ll be 75 and still think I can hit out there,” he jokes — music is undeniably his primary focus now. “I have a lot of ways to go as far as my music knowledge is concerned. But it’s a lot more relaxing than going through a grueling 162-game schedule and trying to produce and be part of that great Yankee legacy.”

    Funny, I never realized that Bernie didn’t have Plate Appearance intro-music. Good for him. I hate that stuff.

    Thank You FedEx Dude!

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    As I have said in the past

    …It’s like a combination of…

    ….Christmas morning, the last day of school, finding forgotten money in the pocket of an old coat, and waking up from an afternoon nap thinking it’s Monday morning and then learning that it’s really Saturday afternoon, every year when these puppies show up each season…

    [Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the image.]

    Yanks Looking To Move Leche?

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Ken Rosenthal:

    The Yankees are telling clubs that they are open to moving outfielder Melky Cabrera, who would be a perfect fit for the White Sox.

    Four days ago, I kinda/sorta called this. But, I had him going to Milwaukee rather than Chicago.

    Hey, I was only off by about 90 miles…

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/25/09

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (25)

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    Blanchard & Richman Pass Away

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    PeteAbe is reporting that Johnny Blanchard and Arthur Richman have passed away.

    Click here for a great story on Richmond from back in 2001.

    More on Blanchard via Charley Walters:

    Johnny Blanchard, a Minneapolis Central grad who went on to play six seasons with the New York Yankees and in five World Series, died early this morning of a heart attack at age 76.

    Blanchard was a close friend and confidant of Hall of Fame teammate Mickey Mantle. Besides being a great storyteller of those glory days with the Yankees, Blanchard was a terrific guy, an old-fashioned ballplayer’s ballplayer.

    We played golf together last fall with former Twins-Mets-Phillies-White Sox pitcher Jerry Koosman at Wayzata Country Club. Blanchard regaled with baseball stories, and if you loved baseball, you couldn’t have spent a better day than one listening to Johnny. The outfielder-catcher was Minnesota’s revered link to those glorious Yankees years.

    Blanchard made many annual trips to Yankee Stadium to appear in Old-Timers Days. He was excited about receiving an invitation from the Yankees and eagerly looking forward to appearing on Opening Day this season in their new stadium.

    Yanks To A-Rod: Less Distractions, Please

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Jon Heyman -

    Top Yankees officials are apparently giving Alex Rodriguez a pass on his latest appearance in the tabloids, but they were annoyed and concerned enough about his extracurricular activities and a spate of often unflattering celebrity news stories that top team executives — including owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner — staged serious discussions with the superstar slugger in recent weeks about toning down his off-field act and focusing entirely on his well-known drive to be baseball’s best player, according to people familiar with those talks.

    While Yankees people generally seem to remain concerned about Rodriguez’s inability to stay out of the gossip pages, they appear to not be overreacting to the latest A-Rod news — which includes a narcissistic magazine photo spread and a Manhattan madam’s claims to a tabloid that she received personal emails from Rodriguez and subsequently dated him — since both developments appear to have occurred before the team’s most serious talks with Rodriguez, even if they didn’t become public until later. Thus the new revelations haven’t spurred any new lectures from his Yankee bosses.

    Club officials have even referred to the alleged episode involving the madam as being “part of his past” and reflective of a difficult personal situation at the time. Rodriguez and his wife of five years, Cynthia, who have two young daughters, divorced last year.

    The most serious of the heart-to-heart talks occurred right after Sports Illustrated reported on Feb. 7 that Rodriguez was one of 104 players to have failed baseball’s 2003 survey test, as club officials used the steroid revelation as a platform to discuss avoidance of all controversy. That message was strongly reinforced again by top Yankees executives after A-Rod was rather indiscreetly picked up by cousin Yuri Sucart following a spring training game only days after Rodriguez named Sucart as the one who helped procure the steroids for him.

    The Yankees’ message was, “Put all the distractions behind you.” And Rodriguez agreed, according to people familiar with those discussions.

    “Clearly, you don’t want any controversies on or of the field,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “As to whether I talked to Alex specifically, I’ll just keep that private and in-house in the best interests of the club.”

    Somehow, I don’t think this is going to work…

    What To Expect From Nick Swisher?

    Posted by on March 25th, 2009 · Comments (16)

    Many Yankees fan think they know what to expect from Nick Swisher this season based on his past statistics and/or some gut feeling – myself included. However, doesn’t it make more sense to get an opinion from someone who has seen Swisher play – and seen that often? To that end, I reached out to a couple of fellow bloggers who had more exposure to Swisher’s performance. And, here’s what they had to say…

    First up is Nico from Athletics Nation:

    Fans should not expect Nick Swisher to be as good as the 35 HR slugger he was with the A’s in 2006, nor as bad as the .219 hitter he was with the White Sox in 2008.

    What Swisher is, as far as I’m concerned, is about a .250/.350 [BA/OBP] hitter good for about 25 HRs, who can play an excellent 1B and a solid corner OF but who is really stretched if he tries to play CF.

    I’ve never thought Swisher was a premier talent, but he can be a productive player and in the clubhouse he is certainly a lively and fun presence whose energy seems to work well for most teammates.

    And, next is Jim from Sox Machine:

    The Swisher era still confuses me.

    For one, he blamed his woes partially on batting leadoff, which he’d never done before. But… he was awesome in his first two weeks leading off, and then again in June, well after Ozzie dropped him down in the order. Even if hitting first truly freaked him out, there’s no reason for the second two-month crash.

    And while he hit a lot of line drives right at people in the first half, after the break, he had huge problems taking the bat off his shoulder. At one point in September, he struck out looking in three consecutive at-bats. Against J.P. Howell in the ALDS, he worked a 3-0 count, then proceeded to watch three strikes to end the inning. So while sabermetricians will look at his line-drive rate and stamp him “unlucky,” it ain’t that easy.

    There’s a good chance he’s a useful player. He can play the corner spots just fine, and while he’s a below-average center fielder, he can be out there for a week and you might not notice. He has range at first, but falls on his ass a lot in unsuccessful scoop attempts.

    But his personality is probably what packed his bags. Armchair psychologist: He’s manic, and wants to say awesome things (he was pumped to bat first at the start of the season) while having an awesome time. When things aren’t awesome, he’ll still act like it (he smiles and nods after called strikes) until it becomes awesome again. Losing playing time to Dewayne Wise and Ken Griffey Jr. finally smashed the facade. If Teixeira and Nady take his ABs, it’ll be interested to see if he’s adjusted, or if he’ll pout again. He’s saying 2008 humbled him, but that’s just the awesome thing to say right now.

    Very interesting stuff here, huh? My thanks to Nico and Jim for this insight.

    Will Swisher be a productive player or a pouter for the Yankees? It seems he’s capable of being one or the other. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

    Hey, Is That Steve Swindal & Joe Malloy At The Game?

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    The Yankees are having a hard time, still, selling some tickets. Via Neil Best:

    So far 2009 has been the Year of Plenty of Good Seats Available, with high-priced tickets across North America that once would have been snapped up eagerly instead going unsold and unloved.

    Perhaps nothing, though, illustrates the phenomenon better than the spectacularly priced seats in the first few rows of the new Yankee Stadium.

    When word of them first leaked in 2007, the Yankees expressed confidence they would sell out as part of season-ticket packages, some requiring multi-year commitments.

    They did not, which has led to TV, radio and print ads pushing them, and also led the team to make them available for partial-season purchases.

    Then yesterday, the team began single-game sales to the general public online.

    Yankees COO Lonn Trost did not return a call yesterday, but he told Newsday in February that the team would not consider lowering prices. “No,” he said, “our prices are our prices.”

    In a recent interview on WFAN, Trost said some who could afford seats near the field were not buying them for fear of being seen on TV in them, spending too much money in a difficult economy.

    It now appears some of those seats will be spotted on TV unoccupied, making a statement of their own.

    I’m starting to get this vision where the new Yankee Stadium becomes Fort Zinderneuf with Lonn Trost playing the role of Sergeant Markoff – ordering Yankees staffers to fill those empty seats, during TV broadcasts, with the corpses of all the men who were once romantically linked to one of the Steinbrenner daughters and who were then subsquently cast out from the Yankees family…

    Related, click here to see some great recent photos of the new Stadium.

    Red Light & Boomer

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (13)

    The Red Light Schilling parade continues…

    …everywhere you turn, the question appears: “Is Curt Schilling a Hall-of-Famer?” (Michael Kay even asked Paul O’Neill the question during this evening’s YES coverage of the Sox-Yanks game.)

    Well, to that question, I offer two words: David Wells.

    Curt Schilling pitched in the major leagues from 1988 through 2007 – playing for 5 different teams. David Wells pitched in the major leagues from 1987 through 2007 – playing for 9 different teams. Let’s look at each of these pitchers as starters, non-starters, and during the post-season:

    As starters:

    • Curt Schilling made 436 starts, pitching 3,079.3 innings, going 206-134, with an ERA of 3.43 during his career.
    • David Wells made 489 starts, pitching 3,171.6 innings, going 221-144, with an ERA of 4.21 during his career.

    As non-starters:

    • Curt Schilling pitched out of the bullpen 133 times during his career – throwing 181.6 innings while allowing an opponent’s OPS of .686 and an ERA of 3.62.
    • David Wells pitched out of the bullpen 171 times during his career – throwing 267.3 innings while allowing an opponent’s OPS of .680 and an ERA of 3.23.

    During the post-season:

    • Curt Schilling pitched in 19 post-season games, all starts, throwing 133.3 innings, going 11-2 with an ERA of 2.23.
    • David Wells pitched in 27 post-season games, 17 being starts, throwing 125 innings, going 10-5 with an ERA of 3.17.

    Two pitchers who threw in the same exact era. And, their numbers as starters, relievers, and post-season pitchers are extremely close. Therefore, if Curt Schilling is a Hall-of-Famer, then so is David Wells. Think about that the next time you hear the question “Is Curt Schilling a Hall-of-Famer?”

    Wife Of Former Yanks Prospect An Alleged Kidnapper?

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via ESPN.com with a hat tip to Lee Sinins:

    A 2-month-old is back in the arms of her parents and the wife of a top Pittsburgh Pirates minor league prospect is suspected of taking the infant from a health clinic outside Tampa, authorities said Tuesday.

    Amalia Tabata Pereira, 43, was being questioned by Florida detectives in Manatee County, where the girl was found unharmed Tuesday afternoon, a day after she was taken from the clinic. Plant City Chief of Police Bill McDaniel said authorities are looking to charge Pereira with false imprisonment.

    She is the wife of Jose Tabata, 20, an outfielder and one of the top three prospects for the Pirates, who train in Bradenton, which is in the county where the infant was found. In a statement, Pirates president Frank Coonelly said they have received “no indication that Jose is believed to have had any involvement in this matter.”

    Sandra Cruz-Francisco was taken from her mother, Rosa Sirilo-Francisco, about 3 p.m. Monday by a woman her family only knew as ‘Janet,’ Plant City police said. The mother had taken her baby for a checkup at the Plant City Health Department, where she met Janet, who said she was an immigration official, Sirilo-Francisco told the Tampa Tribune. The woman told Sirilo-Francisco that there were officers at her home waiting to deport her and the child’s father to Mexico.

    Janet offered to help, but said she had to take the baby.

    The two women drove with the infant to a farm where the child’s father works and Janet told him the same story, and the mother later handed the child over.

    Plant City police Capt. Darrell Wilson couldn’t confirm the mother’s account of events.

    “We believe that may have been the story, but we haven’t spoken with the suspect,” he said.

    Investigators now believe Janet and Pereira are likely the same person. Wilson said Pereira has a criminal record that includes theft and fraud convictions and that police did not have a hometown for her because she has several aliases.

    What a bizarre story. Luckily, the baby was not harmed and returned to her parents.

    Amalia Tabata Pereira “has a criminal record that includes theft and fraud convictions” and “did not have a hometown” because “she has several aliases.” Wow. Isn’t that wonderful?

    Jose Tabata obviously must be a subscriber to “A-Rod’s Good Judgment Advisor” or something…

    Sad News On John Brattain

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    In case you didn’t happen to see this over at The Hardball Times, John Brattain passed away today.

    I’m sick to my stomach over this news. It’s the same feeling I had when I heard about Doug Pappas and Todd Drew.

    Really. I’m at a loss for words.

    I never met John. And, I never spoke to him. But, in my internet-related exchanges with him, Brattain always seemed like a really good guy. In fact, John just left a comment here three days ago.

    The Baseball-Internet-Circle lost a good one today. I’m just stunned by this terrible news.

    SNY New York Baseball Today Video

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    To watch SNY.tv’s New York Baseball Today, which features a rotating panel of experts, click play below:

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/24/09

    Posted by on March 24th, 2009 · Comments (24)

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    Nady Vs. Swisher In Situations Of Higher Than Average Importance

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (28)

    Some fun stats, via Baseball-Reference.com – Xavier Nady vs. Nick Swisher, in High Leverage situations, the last three seasons:

    Xavier Nady						
    
    Year	G	PA	 OBP	 SLG	 OPS	Babip
    2006	82	128	.386	.463	.849	.301
    2007	74	105	.381	.398	.779	.377
    2008	88	142	.415	.589	1.004	.392
    
    Nick Swisher						
    
    Year	G	PA	 OBP	 SLG	 OPS	BAbip
    2006	89	134	.403	.534	.937	.250
    2007	83	118	.398	.409	.807	.319
    2008	72	103	.291	.400	.691	.164

    I’m not here to knock Nick Swisher. More so, these numbers tell us, in important game situations, Xavier Nady does not take a back-seat to Swisher in any shape or form. Further, for those who like to point towards the fluke seasons of Nady and Swisher last season, again, these numbers are over the last three seasons. Therefore, it takes any good or bad luck that may have happened in 2008 out of the picture.

    I’m just as comfortable with Nady batting in a big spot for the Yankees this year as I would be with Swisher – if not more.

    The Way Back Machine – Video Style

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    This puppy aired 9 days after I attended my first game ever at Yankee Stadium…

    A Good Meal Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    As a result of Red Light Schilling blogging today that he’s retiring, ESPN Classic is now showing Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. I just caught a little of it while I was eating dinner. Only a few seconds was nearly enough to make me hurl. Thank goodness that I have a quick remote trigger-finger…

    YES To Feature A-Rod Interview On Tuesday

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Via Bryan Hoch -

    Alex Rodriguez believes the other 103 positive tests from Major League Baseball’s 2003 survey program should remain anonymous, the Yankees slugger told the YES Network in an interview to be aired Tuesday.

    Speaking with host Michael Kay for a segment taped before the slugger’s March 9 right hip surgery, Rodriguez said that he does not think releasing the identities of that year’s other positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs would help his own situation.

    “This is really about my mistake,” Rodriguez told Kay. “You know, many nights I fell asleep thinking about who I can blame, and this guy, or that guy. And when I woke up I kept coming back to the same person; it’s me. I mean, there’s no one to blame. I hope those 103 names never come out.”

    In the interview, Rodriguez again apologized for his use of banned substances during his three seasons with the Rangers from 2001-03.

    “I’m very sorry,” Rodriguez said. “You know, we’re role models, and I think athletics plays a big part in our culture, especially in the world we’re in today. There’s so much negativity and sadness going on around the world and the U.S. … people look at baseball for a savior or for inspiration, and I know that I’ve let a lot of people down.

    “I know there’s kids out there that I’ve never met before, and I probably never will, that I’ve hurt them, and for that, I’m very sorry. I’m not very good with words, but no matter what I sit here and tell you today, it’s not going to express how truly sorry I feel for what I have done.”

    Given all the other press that Alex has received in the last two weeks, since A-Rod taped this interview with Kay, would it have killed YES to delete this interview from their Tuesday night special? At this point in time, do we really need to see and/or hear from Rodriguez at all – even if the content is favorable? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a full week in Yankeeland where we didn’t hear something about Alex Rodriguez that was off-the-field related? Really, just seven days in a row…that are “A-Rod Free”…wouldn’t that be sweet?

    Wild Thought: Is Brian Bruney The Next Scott Proctor?

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Reportedly, Joe Girardi is leaning towards using Brian Bruney as his 8th inning setup man out of the pen. Related, here’s today’s wild thought: What if Brian Bruney is just the next Scott Proctor?

    By this, I mean, Bruney is a good guy and teammate, stand-up in the sense that he wants to do well and holds himself accountable for failure; but, at the same time, is prone to bouts of wildness and/or pitches that get too much of the plate which prohibit his ability to be a relief pitcher who you can trust late in a close game.

    If true, who sets up for Mo Rivera? Jose Veras? Edwar Ramirez? It can’t be Damaso Marte – if you also want to use him as a left-handed specialist. Ditto Phil Coke. Who else is there – from guys likely to make the Opening Day roster?

    Or, is Bruney no way, whatsoever, the next Proctor – and this is all moot? What do you think?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/23/09

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (18)

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    March 2009 Survey Question #1

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:53}

    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    The New “Meet Me At The Bat”?

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Ask any three diehard Yankees fans who frequent Yankee Stadium on a regular basis and at least two of them will tell you that they’ve played the “Meet me at the bat” card at least once in their lifetime when it came to finding a spot to rendezvous with a game-buddy.

    Looking at Tom Kaminski’s latest Chopper 880 photos of the new Yankee Stadium, this shot caught my eye:

    newyankstad031809

    And, it made me wonder: Will the huge interlocking “NY” on the ground outside Gate 4 become the new “bat” (in terms of becoming a common meeting spot for most Yankees fans)? Perhaps…

    But, such a spot would not offer the fun of waiting for someone with them being there already, the whole time, but just standing on the opposite side of the bat (and out of your view). Also, “Meet me at the logo” just doesn’t have the same cool effect of “Meet me at that bat” – does it?

    Ramiro Pena And Eduardo Nunez

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via Ken Rosenthal -

    Just as the emergence of shortstop Elvis Andrus persuaded the Rangers to move Michael Young to third base, the rapid development of two young shortstops eventually might compel the Yankees to approach Derek Jeter about a change.

    The issue could not be more sensitive — Jeter, who turns 35 on June 26, wants to continue playing short, and he will be a free agent at the end of the 2010 season.
    Scouts, however, have been buzzing all spring about Ramiro Pena, 23, and Eduardo Nunez, 21, both of whom have received increased exposure with Jeter participating in the World Baseball Classic.

    Pena spent last season at Class AA, Nunez at Class A.

    “They’re two of the better young kids I’ve seen … two legitimate core players for the future,” one scout says. “They’re not that far from being major-league ready — they have some tools and they know how to play.”

    Will they hit?

    “Their offense will not keep them from playing — they have at least survivor skills with the bat,” the scout says. “I enjoy watching them. They’re exciting players. They bring a lot of energy.”

    As for Jeter, one problem with moving him off short would be finding him a new position. Center field would appear to be his most logical destination, considering that the Yankees are set long-term at first, second and third.

    Robin Yount moved from short to the outfield at 29, but Jeter’s mentality is probably more similar to that of Cal Ripken, who did not shift to third base until he was 36.

    The Orioles had to sign free agent Mike Bordick to justify the switch to Ripken. Jeter might resist for moving younger players, but his diminished range could weaken his case.

    Both times now, when Jeter has been away at the WBC, Pena has taken advantage of the situation – in terms of making an impression. And, it was three years ago when Eduardo Nunez popped up on the Yankees prospect radar. However, then again, neither Pena or Nunez made it on to the Yankees top prospect list in John Sickels’ The Baseball Prospect Book 2009 – whereas SS prospect Carmen Angelini did make the list (albeit with a grade of “C”).

    Remember, once upon a time, Domingo Ramos and Damaso Garcia were supposed to be the future of the Yankees, up the middle, too…

    The Remaining Spots On Yanks ’09 Opening Day Roster

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    For the last eight weeks or so, at times, I’ve pondered over the Yankees Opening Day roster this season. Since the 2009 regular season is right around the corner, let’s take a look at the battles for those spots on the roster which appear to be still open.

    At this junction, it’s safe to assume that these players have made the Opening Day roster:

    Posada	  Sabathia
    Molina	  Wang
    Teixeira   Burnett
    Cano       Pettitte
    Jeter      Chamberlain
    Ransom	  Rivera
    Matsui	  Bruney
    Damon	  Marte
    Nady	  Swisher

    That’s 18 players which leaves seven spots to be determined.

    It’s not a reach to suggest that those seven spots can be broken down as follows:

    • Starting CF
    • Three RP
    • Back-up Infielder
    • Utility Player/Pinch Runner
    • Wildcard – either a 12th Pitcher or a 3rd-String Catcher

    Now, the “Starting CF” and “Utility Player/Pinch Runner” will probably be Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera – with one getting one spot and the other getting the other spot. That’s easy.

    And, the “Back-up Infielder” will probably be Angel Berroa – as much as the thought of him being on the Yankees does not thrill me.

    So, that leaves the “Three RP” and “Wildcard” spots open for debate. Here are the players under consideration:

    Pitchers: Brett Tomko, Anthony Claggett, Dan Giese, Kei Igawa, Alfredo Aceves, Jonathan Albaladejo, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras and David Robertson.

    Position Players: Kevin Cash or Shelley Duncan.

    Looking at these names, and factoring in who has done well this Spring, and considering that Jorge Posada is coming off surgery for a major injury, I think that Kevin Cash will make the Opening Day roster and the Yankees will go with three catchers and eleven pitchers. Therefore, this leaves Tomko, Claggett, Giese, Igawa, Aceves, Albaladejo, Coke, Ramirez, Veras and Robertson fighting for three spots in the Yankees bullpen.

    From here, I can see Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Veras getting the call. Maybe, just maybe, if Ramirez is not sound, then perhaps Brett Tomko, Jonathan Albaladejo or David Robertson gets a chance.

    How about you? If you were running the Yankees, which 25 players would you bring north when the bell rings?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 3/22/09

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Click here for more information about this entry.

    Daniel Murphy

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    The Mets’ Daniel Murphy had a nice time playing in the big leagues, last season, for the first time. And, he’s done well in the minor leagues, for the most part, in the past. Further, I heard Murphy interviewed on the radio once, recently, and he truly seems to be a “ballplayer’s ballplayer” in the sense that he has his head screwed on right, puts the team in front of himself, and cares more about helping the team win, no matter what it takes, more than his own glory, etc.

    Now, that all said, as a Yankees fan, aren’t you starting to get a little tired of hearing about Daniel Murphy?

    I don’t know if it’s Yankees partisan jealousy on my part or something else; but, lately, just hearing the words “Daniel Murphy” it makes me what to…well, you pick the word…just a little bit. How about you?

    The Jacket…A Year Later

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2009 · Comments (2)

    So, we’re out shopping yesterday afternoon and I’m wearing the Yankees Therma Base Elevation “Premier” Jacket that I picked up last year. And, while I was in an Under Armour Factory House, one of the guys working there came up to me and asked “Would you mind if I asked you where you got that jacket? It’s really nice.”

    Gotta say, it’s not the first time someone has come up to me asking about it. Don’t get wrong…the baseball old-school guy in me will always have a place in his heart for the puffy-vintage-satin baseball jacket. But, there’s something to be said about these new jackets too. One year later…I’m still thinking it’s one of the better buys that I’ve made in a while…

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