• Wang’s Agent Confident Of A Good Deal

    Posted by on January 25th, 2010 · Comments (13)

    Via Ken Rosenthal

    Chien-Ming Wang, coming off shoulder surgery on July 29, is expected to throw off a mound in the next week or two, according to one of his agents, Alan Nero.

    “Everything is going extraordinarily well,” Nero said.

    Six teams are evaluating Wang’s medical records, Nero said. Wang, who turns 30 on March 31, is training at Fischer Sports in Phoenix.

    “We’re anticipating a major-league offer with a substantial guarantee and substantial upside,” Nero said.

    “We’re so confident with what is going to happen, if we don’t do it until May, we’re OK. Whoever shows the initiative to take a little bit of risk is going to win.”

    Chien-Ming is a solid citizen. So, whomever signs him is not going to get a dog or a nut job. But, for Wang, it all depends on whether or not the MPH is there on the sinker. If it is, and if his arm can make 30 starts, he’ll be a decent pitcher. But, if he wants to be a 19-game winner again, and have nice numbers, he better sign with a club that has high grass in the infield and outfield fences that are somewhat deep. Safeco Field or Busch Stadium would be a nice fit for him.

    Where’s Waldo…Um, I Mean, Hank?

    Posted by on January 25th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    For those who thought that good ol’ Hank Stein had enrolled into the Steve Swindal and Joe Malloy Witness Protection Program…guess again! Seems as if the Son of Stein is getting his “kicks” another way these days. Via Ted Fleming:

    Professional soccer returns to Tampa Bay in April when the Rowdies take the field in the North American Soccer League. The original NASL existed from 1975-1984 where the Rowdies won the league championship in their first season. In addition, the Tampa Bay franchise played in two more title games, 1978 and 1979.

    The Rowdies returned in 1988 as part of the American Soccer League playing in the ASL until 1993 when the team folded. Now they are back a third tike in the revival of the NASL with the official team name FC Tampa Bay Rowdies.

    One of the more recognizable names in the area is Hank Steinbrenner and he will be on the Board of Advisors for the team. He is the Senior Vice President and managing owner of the New York Yankees, resides in Tampa and grew up attending Tampa Bay Rowdies games.

    The new league was formed last November and is comprised of the following active teams: Carolina RailHawks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Minnesota (whose name is to be determined), Montreal Impact, Rochester Rhinos, AC St. Louis, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. For the 2010 season, the NASL’s nine teams, together with three teams (Austin Aztex, Portland Timbers and Puerto Rico Islanders) from the United Soccer Leagues, will play in a second division league established and administered by the United States Soccer Federation.

    Below is a picture of Hank Steinbrenner as he was leaving the last Rowdies’ Board of Advisors meeting.

    January 2010 Survey Question #4

    Posted by on January 25th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:90}

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

    Got Mud?

    Posted by on January 24th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    No, not Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd…

    I never get bored of this story:

    Well, for sure, Lena Blackburne hit like his name was Mud. Note the lifetime OPS+ of 67.

    Matthews: Yanks Better This Year Than Last

    Posted by on January 24th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Bob Matthews of the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle offers his opinion on the 2010 Yankees:

    If the Yankees don’t win at least 105 games this season, I’ll be surprised. They finished 103-59 last season and I believe this year’s team will be better. Here’s why:

    Alex Rodriguez won’t miss the first six weeks of the season coming off hip surgery.

    Curtis Granderson is a big upgrade in center field and Nick Johnson should adequately replace departed Hideki Matsui at DH.

    Javier Vazquez should win at least 15 games as the No. 3 starting pitcher. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Vazquez, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes is an impressive starting rotation.

    The bullpen could be surprisingly effective (Hughes or Chamberlain, Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Damaso Marte and Chad Gaudin, plus closer Mariano Rivera.)

    I don’t believe Brett Gardner will be the heavy-duty left fielder. My guess is that free agent Johnny Damon will return. If he signs elsewhere, the Yankees will be looking for someone else other than Gardner.

    I believe the 2010 Yankees have the potential to have a better pitching staff than the 1998 Yankees, but here’s why I don’t think they can win 114 games:
    Boston and Tampa Bay are strong AL East rivals and figure to hold their own against the Yankees.

    Age will become a factor sooner or later. Jorge Posada turns 39 on Aug. 17 and his days as a heavy-duty catcher are numbered. Derek Jeter turns 36 on June 26. That’s old for a shortstop. Rodriguez turns 35 on July 27. Rivera is 40.

    If Gardner is the left fielder, I don’t believe he can match the production of 1998 left fielder Chad Curtis (.243, 21 doubles, 1 triple, 10 HRs, 56 RBI, 21 stolen bases).
    The 1998 Yankees outscored opponents by 309 runs (965-656). The 2009 Yankees outscored opponents by 162 runs (915-753). I believe the run differential for the 2010 Yankees will be between +162 and +309.

    Wow. That’s a big difference from what Matthews had to say about the Yankees four years ago.

    Me? I still feel like 2009 was a magical season for the Yankees where just about everything went right. Whether that was due to luck, design, or whatever is open for debate – of course. But, I know that you cannot expect to match or better such a season – at least not in back-to-back fashion.

    Will the Yankees win 95 games in 2010? Yes, I’m fairly certain of this – and if they don’t win that many games then something went very wrong in Yankeeland.

    But, will New York win 103, 105 or 114 games in 2010? Well, that’s not something that I would bet on…how about you?

    The Question Of Fan Safety At Baseball Games

    Posted by on January 24th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    An interesting piece on baseball fan safety that I noticed today in a Youngstown (OH) paper:

    Like many couples, Chad and Nicole Holko had to wait a little longer to finally have their first child.

    Luke was the Trumbull County couple’s medical miracle son.

    Four years into life, this past September, Luke pulled off another medical miracle.

    He was nearly killed when a foul ball struck him in the back of the head at a Mahoning Valley Scrappers game. It fractured his skull and caused a brain injury that left him essentially starting over in life — talking, standing, sitting and walking.

    Today, his progress has been substantial, said Chad.

    “He’s gone from sitting to standing to walking a couple steps,” Chad said of his 4-year-old miracle. “Speech that was hard to understand has now become understandable to us for just about everything.”

    Luke deserves to see another miracle.

    As much progress as he’s made, there’s not been as much with the Neanderthal thinking of professional baseball.

    Other sports leagues have not been as stubborn. At all levels of spectator hockey, including the Covelli Centre and the Ice Zone, there is protective netting around the end boards where pucks enter the crowd at the most-dangerous speeds.

    Sure, the National Hockey League needed a dead spectator in Columbus to revisit its loose approach to spectator safety. But, it did, eventually, take action.

    Baseball seemingly does not want to learn from hockey. More regretfully, it does not want to learn from Luke.

    Or from Californian Susan Rhodes, who took a bat to her jaw, shattering it.

    Or from Texan Maddie Emerson, who took a foul ball to the head and needed surgery to release pressure on the brain.

    Or Jane Costa, who was in the ballpark for 10 minutes when a foul ball screamed over a Fenway Park dugout and slammed into her face — breaking bones and causing permanent damage.

    Or Ronnie Zinner, whose scalp was split by a Derek Jeter foul ball. She bent over in her seat to set down some pizza a vendor had just sold to her. Had she been upright, the ball could have been a bull’s-eye between the eyes.

    One lawsuit I found reported that in a five-year span at Fenway, injuries caused by foul balls ranged from 36 to 53 fans per year. Multiply that stat by 300 professional baseball teams networked through Major League Baseball, and at minimum, you may have 10,000 fan injuries per year caused by foul balls.

    Here’s a sobering stat: There are more injuries in baseball stadiums than on commercial planes.

    Leigh Augustine’s Sport Law class at the University of Denver studied this and found that in 2006, there were 750 million rides on planes and only four serious injuries. Yet baseball had 35 injuries per 1 million visitors.

    Obviously, some ballparks are worse than others. Ones like Fenway Park and minor league stadiums, where the fans are right on top of the field, do present some dangers. It’s interesting to see some of the names mentioned in this report – mostly women and children. And, from my own personal experience, seeing fans get clocked with foul balls at parks, I would say that the majority of the time it’s a woman or a child.

    Why is that? Are women and children less likely to be paying attention to the action on the field at a ballpark and therefore are more likely to get hit by a foul ball? I dunno. And, I would hate to stereotype that way.

    In any event, fan safety is an issue at some ballparks. And, it would be nice if we never saw another story again about someone suffering a serious injury while attending a baseball game.

    Last Night’s Baseball Writers’ Association of America Dinner

    Posted by on January 24th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Some past and present Yankees-stuff, via an AP report -

    Alex Rodriguez looked at the award he just received from Babe Ruth’s granddaughter with big eyes and a broad grin. It was as if he almost couldn’t believe it was his.

    “Postseason MVP. Wow,” Rodriguez said Saturday night. Pausing for effect he added, “What’s next, the good guy award?”

    Less than a year ago, it would have been difficult to decide which would be more preposterous for the troubled star to earn.

    Rodriguez completed a tumultuous season that began with an awkward confession to past steroid use and then hip surgery that kept him out until May by being selected the winner of the Babe Ruth Award as the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s postseason MVP.

    A-Rod picked up the hardware at the 87th annual New York baseball writers’ dinner Saturday night.

    Rodriguez used his time away from the team to rehabilitate his hip as a period of reflection. He returned with a mantra: simplify things.

    And after he told fans at the dinner that “he’d stick to the script of 2009 and keep it very, very brief,” he choked up, taking a long pause – save for a nervous laugh – to look down at the podium and smile awkwardly.

    Unlike the extended pause he took during his steroids news conference, this one was broken when an attendee – the dinner was crowded with Yankees fans – shouted, “You’re the best, A-Rod!”

    The three-time American League MVP took great pleasure in this award.

    “I’ve been to these dinners a couple of times to receive MVP awards and those, I’m very proud of those accomplishments,” he said. “But none of those accomplishments will ever compare to the feeling you get from being part of a team that won a world championship. Like Albert (Pujols), said there’s nothing like winning a World championship.”

    Former Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone received one of the loudest ovations of the night when he picked up the Arthur and Milton Richman You Gotta Have Heart Award. Boone had heart surgery this season and was able to return to the field for the Houston Astros in September.

    Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was not at the dinner to collect his Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town Award. He also shared the Willie, Mickey and the Duke Award with teammates Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte as the core four of the Yankees championship teams.

    No Jeter? How uncaptain like…no?

    Heyman: Yanks Give Damon This Weekend To Accept Low-Ball Offer Before They Sign Another OF Next Week

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2010 · Comments (20)

    Check out Brian Cashman going Muammar al-Gaddafi and issuing a “Line of Death” for Johnny Damon’s return to the Yankees. Via Jon Heyman

    Johnny Damon and the Yankees spoke again within the past few days, and Damon now has been given the weekend to decide whether he wants to come back on a bargain deal.

    The chances he will accept a low-base contract for a few million dollars (probably no more than $5 million guaranteed) from the Yankees still appear slim, so Damon’s tenure with the team could officially end early next week.

    The Yankees plan to sign an outfielder from the remaining list of free agents that includes Reed Johnson, Randy Winn, Xavier Nady, Jim Edmonds and Jermaine Dye by mid-week if Damon doesn’t call them in the next couple days, say people familiar with the situation. The Yankees and Damon spoke by phone late this week and the team is still interested in bringing him back, but only at the right price.

    The Yankees are telling free agents they have about $2 million left in their budget. While they may be able to find a few more dollars for Damon, any offer they make wouldn’t be close to what he’s been seeking, so the chances for a deal back in New York still appear pretty remote.

    Damon, 37, last month asked the Yankees for $20 million on a two-year deal after hit a career-high 24 home runs, scored 100 runs for the 10th time in his career and helped the Yankees win in their 27th World Series title, but the Yankees were in the process of signing Nick Johnson at that time and said no.

    Jim Edmonds? Really? What’s a matter, Jose Cruz Sr. – yes, Sr. and not Jr. – doesn’t want to come out of retirement? And, Karim Garcia is off the market? So, the Yankees are going to let Johnny Damon walk and replace him with a 40-year old Edmonds who sat out last year? Really?

    Betcha it’s Rocco Baldelli or Reed Johnson…which is six of one, half-dozen of the other. Stay tuned…

    Cashman: Yanks Will Not Sacrifice Opportunity To Sign Talent On Basis Of Reducing Payroll

    Posted by on January 23rd, 2010 · Comments (15)

    Well, that’s what Brian Cashman said seven years ago

    Reading about how the Phillies signed Jose Contreras – and, good luck with that Philadelphia! – got me thinking back to 2002…and this AP report that ran in USA Today on X-mas Eve that year:

    The New York Yankees’ need to cut payroll ends at the U.S. border. For the second time in less than a week, baseball’s biggest spender broke its budget for a big international acquisition, reaching a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a $32 million, four-year contract with Cuban defector Jose Contreras.

    Last week, the Yankees agreed to a $21 million, three-year deal with outfielder Hideki Matsui, Japan’s biggest slugger. The agreement with Contreras means the Yankees will have eight starting pitchers on the roster as soon as their deal to re-sign Roger Clemens is completed.

    “We couldn’t, the right word is we wouldn’t, sacrifice the opportunity to sign these talents on the basis of reducing payroll first,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said.

    New York had been cutting payroll, letting go of relievers Mike Stanton and Ramiro Mendoza, re-signing third baseman Robin Ventura at a pay cut and negotiating with Clemens to take far less than the $15.45 million he averaged under his last deal. Cashman has tried to trade outfielders Rondell White and Raul Mondesi, and pitcher Sterling Hitchcock.

    “The mindset is still for me to reduce payroll,” Cashman said. “Obviously, when the opportunities to sign Hideki Matsui or Jose Contreras presented themselves, it was time for us to make decisions, to move now and continue to work on cutting the payroll down the line.”

    Contreras, a right-hander who says he is 31, got the largest deal ever for a Cuban defector, topping the $14.5 million, four-year deal Cleveland gave pitcher Danys Baez three years ago. Contreras throws in the mid-90s, and the Yankees envision him as part of their rotation.

    …We couldn’t, the right word is we wouldn’t, sacrifice the opportunity to sign these talents on the basis of reducing payroll first…

    My, how times have changed in Yankeeland these days, no?

    And, it’s kinda funny how many times, in the recent history of the Yankees, that we’ve heard this Cashman edict of “Reduce payroll!”

    We’re hearing it now during the off-season of 2009-2010. The above AP report was from the off-season of 2002-2003. And, check out this AP report from the off-season of 2005-2006:

    The Yankees let Tino Martinez go, declining their $3 million option on the first baseman. Martinez returned to New York this year and hit .241 in part-time duty with 17 home runs and 49 RBIs. He was a staple in the Yankees’ lineup from 1996-01, helping the team to four World Series championships with his clutch hitting and reliable defense. Always a fan favorite at Yankee Stadium, he was brought back to provide insurance at first base for slugger Jason Giambi, who was coming off a 2004 season wrecked by illness and injury. But Giambi, now healthy, found his stroke as the summer wore on, pushing Martinez to the bench most games. ”At this stage, I’m trying to reduce payroll,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said at the GM meetings in Indian Wells, Calif. Cashman plans to meet tonight with Arn Tellem, the agent for Hideki Matsui. The outfielder’s contract says he must be re-signed by Nov. 15 or he’ll be released

    So, reducing payroll was Cashman’s plan for 2003 and 2006 – just as it is now for 2010. Seems like this is the Yankees G.M.’s mantra every three or four years? But, guess what, it never really happens, does it? And, has Cashman ever addressed the root cause issue of who’s behind the Yankees having an insane payroll that so badly needs reducing? Nah,…

    2009 World Series Trophy Heading To Fordham Tomorrow

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Birge -

    Fans living in the Bronx won’t have to travel far on Saturday to get a glimpse of the World Series trophy, which, of course, is in the possession of the New York Yankees.

    The trophy will be making a short trip, as the Yankees will be bringing it to Fordham’s Rose Hill campus, which is only a few miles from where the trophy resides now – Yankee Stadium.

    Fans can view and take photographs of the hardware, which will be on display in Fordham’s Rose Hill Gym from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The trophy’s visit to Fordham is in conjunction with the Rams’ basketball game against Temple, which begins Saturday at 1 p.m. Yankees announcer Michael Kay in a 1982 graduate of Fordham.

    After Fordham, the trophy will appear at Simmons College, a private women’s undergraduate college in Boston, Massachusetts. Suzyn Waldman graduated from there some time, a long time ago…

    [And, yes, I'm kidding - about the appearance part, not about where Waldman went to school.]

    NY Mag Q&A With Curtis Granderson

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Richard Morgan did a nice Q&A with Curtis Granderson. Some snips:

    So what’s happened so far? Who have you met?
    When the trade was announced, A-Rod immediately texted me, “you’ll love it here.” I met him and CC at the press conference with some front-office management. And I know Jeter from the World Baseball Classic. But that’s it right now.

    Have you gotten any advice on just what to expect?
    I was lucky enough to talk with Gary Sheffield, who was a Yankee and a Met and on seven total Major League teams. He told me all the things you’d expect: the media, the fan base, cops recognizing you, everyone remembering every slip-up you do.

    You don’t get to keep No. 28.
    They offered it to me, but I knew Girardi wanted it for his quest for a 28th championship. He’s the boss. Plus, I’m not going to mess with any of the superstition. There are so many numbers that are retired there, so there wasn’t much choice. But No. 14 was available, and I was No. 14 in high school. So it worked out.

    You mean Joe Torre didn’t lobby to have #14 retired in honor of Enrique Wilson? Really?

    Oh, Those Alphabet City All-Stars!

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Seeing the presser on the 30th anniversary of the release of “Funky Town,” made me remember those Yankees CD’s that were released, back in the day.

    Hey, were they classics, eh?

    New York Yankees: The New Era, Vol. 1
    Playlist:
    1. Highlight Montage – Alphabet City All-Stars
    2. Doc’s Masterpiece- (May 14, 1996 vs. Seattle)
    3. That’s the Way (I Like It)
    4. Yanks Beat O’S- (Sept. 16, 1996 vs. Baltimore) – Ini Kamoze
    5. Here Comes the Hotstepper
    6. Clincher- (Sept. 25, 1996 vs. Milwaukee) – Village People
    7. Y.M.C.A.
    8. Yanks Win A.L. Division Series- (Oct. 5, 1996 vs. Texas) – Buster Poindexter
    9. Hot, Hot, Hot
    10. Bernie Beats O’S- (Oct. 9, 1996 A.L.C. S Game #1 vs. Baltimore)
    11. Bang the Drum All Day – Todd Rundgren
    12. Orioles Fumble (Oct. 11, 1996 A.L.C.S. Game #3 vs. Baltimore)
    13. Rock & Roll, Pt. 2 – Gary Glitter
    14. Atlanta Here We Come- (October 13, 1996 A.L.C.S. Game #5 vs. Baltimore)
    15. My Adidas (My Yankees) – Run-D.M.C.
    16. Comeback- (Oct. 23, 1996 World Series Game #4 vs. Atlanta)
    17. Right Field Rally – Alphabet City DJ’s
    18. Yanks Sweep Through Atlanta- (Oct. 26, 1996 World Series Game #5 …)
    19. Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) – C+C Music Factory
    20. Trophy Comes Home- (Oct. 26, 1996 World Series Game #6 vs. Atlanta) – Alphabet City All-Stars
    21. We Are the Champions
    22. Parade- (Oct. 28, 1996) – Terry Cashman
    23. Talkin’ Baseball (Yankees Version) – Alphabet City All-Stars
    24. New York, New York [Instrumental] – KC & the Sunshine Band

    New York Yankees Greatest Hits, Vol. 2: The Dream Season
    Playlist:
    1. Opening Montage – Alphabet City All-Stars
    2. Y.M.C.A. – Village People
    3. Perfect Game – Vs. Twins
    4. Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
    5. Subway Series – Vs. Mets
    6. Whoomp! (There It Is) – Tag Team
    7. Bernie Goes Boom – Vs. Rangers
    8. Fire – The Ohio Players
    9. Division Series – Vs. Rangers
    10. Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye) – Steam
    11. Must Win (Game #4 A.L.C.S. Vs. Indians)
    12. Flash Light – Parliament
    13. A.L.C.S. (Game #6 Vs. Indians)
    14. Get Ready for This – 2 Unlimited
    15. Dar-Ryl Dar-Ryl….
    16. Strawberry – Nicole Renee,
    17. Grand Slam (Game 31 World Series Vs. Padres)
    18. Funkytown – Lipps, Inc.
    19. Back to Back Brosius (Game #3 World Series Vs. Padres) – Lipps, Inc.
    20. New York Groove – Ace Frehley
    21. 24th (Game #4 World Series Vs. Padres)
    22. New York, New York – Alphabet City All-Stars

    Com’on, raise your hand if you have one, or both, of these in your CD collection.

    Javier Vazquez Has No Interest In Becoming Jamie Moyer

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Via Mark Miller

    New York Yankees pitcher Javier Vazquez may be only 33 years old, but he is apparently already thinking about retirement.

    Vazquez, who is in the last year of his contract, reportedly told Puerto Rican newspaper La Perla del Sur, “I don’t have much playing time left…I go year by year, and I don’t know if it will be one, two or three years, but I’m definitely not going to play until 40.”

    Vazquez apparently has a rich and varied life off the field, hanging out with his wife and two kids, collecting fine art (especially that of Puerto Rican artists), and educating himself about wine.

    If 2010 does turn out to be his last season, let’s hope that Vazquez posts up 20 wins like Mike Mussina did in his last year…

    Hell Hath No Fury

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Let’s hope that Kate Hudson doesn’t get any ideas from YaVaughnie Wilkins.

    Yankees To Have Rare Short Corners In ’10?

    Posted by on January 21st, 2010 · Comments (5)

    This one is a simple query…how many times in Yankees history has the franchise had two players on the team, in a given season, where either player played at least 100 games in either LF or RF, and the players were shorter than six feet tall? Here’s the answer:

    Rk Year Tm Lg #Matching  
    1 1976 New York Yankees AL 2 Oscar Gamble / Roy White
    2 1969 New York Yankees AL 2 Bobby Murcer / Roy White
    3 1911 New York Highlanders AL 2 Birdie Cree / Harry Wolter
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 1/21/2010.

    So, will 2010 be the 4th time in franchise history that the Yankees will pull this off? It all depends on whether or not you believe Nick Swisher is 6′ tall or 5′ 11″ – and if Brett Gardner will be the Yankees full-time left fielder this season.

    A-Rod To Get Babe Ruth Award This Weekend

    Posted by on January 21st, 2010 · Comments (10)

    Well, there are worse things that you can get from Babe Ruth.

    Via Dom Amore:

    Alex Rodriguez, BTW, will be in New York on Saturday to receive the Babe Ruth Award from the New York Chapter of the BBWAA.

    The award, which for many years was strictly a World Series MVP award, is now given to the MVP of the entire postseason – it’s the only award of its kind, and truly Ruthian – and Rodriguez, beaten out for ALCS MVP by CC Sabathia and World Series MVP by Hideki Matsui, deserves the credit for what he did over the course of 15 postseason games. To wit, he was 19-for-52 with six homers and 18 RBI, and he walked 12 times. If A-Rod doesn’t homer off Joe Nathan to tie up Game 2 of the Division Series, the whole post-season could have been very different.

    Better yet, Linda Ruth Tosetti, the Babe’s granddaughter, will be down from Connecticut to present the Babe Ruth Award to Rodriguez. Should be a great night.

    January 2010 Survey Question #3

    Posted by on January 21st, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:89}

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

    I Weep For The Future…

    Posted by on January 21st, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Why? See this report from the New York Times -

    The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones.

    And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

    “I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.

    The study’s findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further, and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are constantly tethered to media devices. It found, moreover, that heavy media use is associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades.

    The third in a series, the study found that young people’s media consumption grew far more in the last five years than from 1999 to 2004, as sophisticated mobile technology like iPods and smart phones brought media access into teenagers’ pockets and beds.

    Contrary to popular wisdom, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the light media users. Nonetheless, other studies have established a link between screen time and obesity.

    While most of the young people in the study got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users — those who consumed at least 16 hours a day — had mostly C’s or lower, compared with 23 percent of those who typically consumed media three hours a day or less. The heaviest media users were also more likely than the lightest users to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school.

    The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students in grades 3 to 12 that was conducted from October 2008 to May 2009.

    On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device, the study found. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web site Hulu or iTunes. Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them.

    “I use it as my alarm clock, because it has an annoying ringtone that doesn’t stop until you turn it off,” Francisco Sepulveda said of his phone. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep. It lets me talk on the phone and watch a video at the same time, or listen to music while I send text messages.”

    Ah, the heterological nature of “progress,” eh?

    Granderson Set To Say Goodbye To Motown

    Posted by on January 20th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    Via Detroit News columnist Terry Foster:

    Curtis Granderson doesn’t know whether to wear a Yankees cap or a Tigers cap for his farewell weekend to Detroit.

    “Or maybe I will just wear some jeans and a T-shirt and remain neutral,” Granderson said.

    No matter what he wears, I plan to be part of it. In other words, I am exercising for a cause.

    This will be my most active week because a big weekend of charity work is on tap. But I am finding it difficult to curtail my eating.

    On Sunday, I will play in the third annual Curtis Granderson Celebrity Shoot Out at Birmingham Seaholm High School. Tipoff is 3 p.m. and tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students.

    Donations will benefit inner city youths in Detroit. And sadly, the former Tigers center fielder is saying farewell to the city of Detroit as he begins his first season with the Yankees.

    “I don’t know if this is farewell,” Granderson said. “I really don’t know what I am going to say, but it is goodbye for now.”

    Celebrity players will include football stars Desmond Howard, T.J. Duckett, Will Gholston, and hoop legends Jalen Rose, Antonio Smith and Jimmy King.

    Lloyd Carr, Brian Rafalski, Ben Gordon and Lomas Brown will serve as celebrity coaches.

    Hey, Austin Jackson was a basketball player. Maybe he’ll pick this up after Granderson leaves town?

    Looking To Give…The Look

    Posted by on January 20th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    A non-Yankees related rant…skip it, if that doesn’t interest you…

    Everyone in my family has been sick for a while – my wife and both my kids. It was only a matter of time before it caught up to me. And, yesterday, it landed. Actually, since they first became ill a couple of weeks ago, I’m surprised that it took this long to get me.

    Related, this morning, on the way to work, I stopped at the local retail drug store chain outlet to get some Cold-Eeze. As I paid for it, at the counter, the cashier asked me if I would also like to donate a dollar to the Haiti Relief Fund.

    Now, this is a pet peeve of mine. To be candid, its gotten me in trouble at work, in the past, when I’ve been asked by my employer to contribute part of my pay to the United Way or to partake in a group activity during the holidays to buy gifts for the needy.

    I’m all for making charitable contributions. I think it is important. And, my family does make donations throughout the year – to the efforts and organizations that we feel are helping those in need, etc. But, it’s our choice as to who we give to, and when, and how much, etc. Further, no one else has a right to get involved in the process – as its our business (and not theirs).

    Back to this morning, when the woman at the counter asked me about donating the dollar to the Haiti Relief Fund, I politely answered “No, not at this time. Thank you.”

    So, what happened? The woman looked at me as if I was the nastiest and most uncaring person on the face of the earth. I let it go at that and left the store.

    Next time someone asks me if I want to make a donation to their particular charity, I’m going to say “Yes, I’d be more than willing to do that, if, in exchange, you’d be willing to make a matching donation to my designated charities of choice.”

    And, then, perhaps, I’ll be able to give them a look when they say “No thank you”?

    What Do Johnny Damon & Johnny Dickshot Have In Common?

    Posted by on January 20th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Johnny Damon to hang them up and have 2009 be his last season?

    Via Bob Klapisch -

    Remember back in November, when [Johnny] Damon refused to give the Bombers a hometown discount? Remember when he said that unless Brian Cashman was ready to pay $13 million a year, don’t bother making an offer? Damon should’ve been careful for what he wished.

    No one has called, no one has that kind of money anymore and no one, least of all Damon and his agent Scott Boras, has any hope of this ending well.

    With only a month to go until spring training, Damon has two options: He can call the Yankees and admit he has nowhere to go. The Yankees, who will listen politely, will tell Damon he can play for $2 million for one season, not a penny or a day more.

    Option 2, practically unthinkable after the World Series, would be retirement. A friend of Damon’s recently said, “Johnny is completely in the family mode right now” and has considered that option. It’s still hard to believe that, in the wake of a 24-home run campaign in 2009, and hitting .364 against the Phillies in the Series, Damon actually would quit.

    Give him credit for not panicking. In a text message to the New York Times on Tuesday, Damon wrote: “I’m sure things will work out somewhere.” Chances are, however, he never thought he’d be in this kind of predicament so late in the off-season.

    In past years, the Yankees automatically would’ve broken their budget to make room for an extra part. And Damon, after all, has his selling points: His swing obviously is built for the Stadium, he’s proven he can succeed in big-market pressure and he’s a good guy whom everyone likes. Damon was a key reason why the Yankees’ clubhouse was so upbeat and controversy-free last summer.

    But times are indeed leaner, as Cashman has no intention of crashing through a $200 million hard ceiling. The GM promised Hal Steinbrenner that the days of wanton spending are over – although there are plenty of baseball teams who’d love to be on lockdown at $198 million.

    Other than Kirby Puckett, Johnny Dickshot, Ed Konetchy and (maybe) Carney Lansford, how many batting title qualifying big leaguers have left the game, at age 36, after having a season as good as Johnny Damon had last year? Not many…that’s for sure. And, some of those that I mentioned here had an excuse – like injury or players returning from the war.

    Or, maybe, is Damon just setting himself up to be the Collusion Poster-Child when the agents and/or the MLBPA makes a case against the owners? So, maybe Damon is more like Curt Flood than Johnny Dickshot?

    What do you think?

    Holy Homestead Batman!

    Posted by on January 20th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Is it just me, or, are there still a lot of free agents hanging out there looking for jobs, and we’re just four weeks away from Pitchers and Catchers reporting to Spring Training?

    Talk about flashback to 1995, huh?

    A Hazel PSA

    Posted by on January 20th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Just some housekeeping here…I know that there have not been a slew of new posts to the blog the last few days. But, that’s because, lately, there’s been a lot of work (and conversation) going on behind the scenes regarding the future state of WasWatchinig.com – which has left less time for blogging.

    Soon, I’ll be able to share more on that stuff. In the interim, thanks for your interest, patience and support of the blog.

    Verducci: Decades Most Efficient Teams

    Posted by on January 19th, 2010 · Comments (20)

    Today, Tom Verducci wrote/asked:

    The Yankees left little doubt that they were the team of the last decade, but what team was the most efficient from 2000 through 2009? Did the Yankees get the most bang for their 1.6 billion bucks or did someone else win more efficiently? And which team wasted enough money to claim the title of the least efficient team of the decade?

    And, then Verducci did the math on this one. It’s a very interesting read. Click here to check it out.

    In summary, Tom found that the Marlins, Cards, Twins, A’s and Rays were the most efficient from 2000 through 2009. And, the M’s, Dodgers, Cubs, O’s and Mets were the least efficient team of the decade. Both groups seem to make sense, no?

    How about the Yankees? According to Verducci’s Efficiency Rating, the Yankees were the 23rd most efficient team in the majors from 2000 through 2009. Or, flipping it, the Yankees were the 8th worst team in the big leagues, over the last decade, in terms of getting a bang for their buck. And, this includes the fact that New York won so many games and made the post-season so often.

    What’s really amazing is this tack on from Tom:

    The Yankees spent 31 percent more than the next biggest spender, Boston. By laying out $1.6 billion dollars, it would have been difficult for them to be among the most efficient teams in baseball — but not impossible. All they needed to do to crack the top five in efficiency was to win the 2003, 2004 and 2008 World Series in addition to their 2000 and 2009 titles.

    I wonder what they would have needed to win to just reach the middle of the pack?

    In any event, being the 8th worst team in the big leagues, over the last decade, in terms winning efficiently is probably not going to be the calling card for Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman’s induction into the Hall of Fame, is it?

    Wynegar: Austin Jackson Is Not Ready For Prime Time

    Posted by on January 19th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Via Lynn Henning with a h/t to Craig Calcaterra

    Butch Wynegar, the Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach, said that he expects [Austin] Jackson to be a legitimate big league hitter. But he did not disagree with Carter and other critics of Jackson’s swing.

    “He still is raw, still has a lot to learn, but he’s an intelligent kid and a good athlete — and he wants to learn,” Wynegar said. “I basically told the Yankees at the end of the year, if they were thinking about him being their center fielder this coming year (2010), I didn’t know if he was ready yet.

    “But I know he has a bright future. There are just some things he needs to iron out yet and incorporate to be successful.”

    Wynegar does not disagree with Carter that Jackson’s front-loaded swing can be a hindrance. It is also a relatively new development. He had a kick-step start in his earlier years that Reggie Jackson, the great slugger who now works in the Yankees front office, persuaded him to ditch a couple of years ago.

    He also tends to drop his left shoulder, which is another reason why he hits for little power.

    “But I love his athleticism and his coachability. He’s a great kid, very personable, and he’s excited about coming to Detroit,” Wynegar said.

    This ties into what I saw in the recent print edition of Baseball America, in the Yankees organization report, where it mentioned Jackson:

    To fulfill the contracts of Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez, the Yankees owe them a combined $43 million.

    So to believe that New York’s key offseason additions didn’t come with a financial price tag is misguided. However, two of those three were acquired in trades that didn’t devastate a minor league system more notable for depth than impact talent.

    Sure, center fielder Austin Jackson, who was dealt to the Tigers in a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that delivered Granderson to the Bronx, hit .300 in Triple-A. Evaluators inside the organization, however, weren’t sure what type of big leaguer the 22-year-old would become.

    Jackson’s supporters believed he could be ready by mid-2010 at the earliest—but his power is in question after he connected for just four homers in 132 games.

    Of course, some guys learn to hit with power at the big league level – like Don Mattingly and Kirby Puckett. It’s something that can be taught and learned…assuming it’s the right teacher and student. Time will tell on Jackson. And, the Yankees, obviosuly, didn’t want to wait…or, couldn’t?

    The Nolan Ryan Of Japan Retires, Again

    Posted by on January 19th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via breitbart.com

    Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu has retired from professional baseball for the second time, citing wrist problems.

    “I’ve decided to retire and consider what to do next in my life,” the 40-year-old wrote Monday on his official blog.

    In 2009, Irabu came out of four years of retirement to pitch for the Long Beach Armada of the U.S. independent Golden Baseball League.

    He moved to the Kochi Fighting Dogs of Japan’s Shikoku-Kyushu Island League later that year.

    Irabu was released by Kochi in September after being diagnosed with tenosynovitis, the inflammation of a tendon sheath, in his right hand and asked the club to terminate his contract.

    “I have belonged to all kinds of organizations in the major, minor and independent leagues. I appreciate those who gave me those opportunities,” he said.

    Irabu has a blog? Is it FatPussyToad.com?

    Now that his career is really over, is it too late for Jonathan Winters to star in the biopic of Irabu’s life?

    Didn’t Need No Welfare States, Everybody Pulled His Weight, Gee, Our Old Lasalle Ran Great…

    Posted by on January 18th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    A look back at parts of a July 1990 piece that Dave Anderson had in The Times -

    Eventually the Yankees announced the attendance as 25,120, but according to American League policy, that total included tickets that were sold but not necessarily used. At the start of Friday’s twilight-night doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, the spectators were so scattered they hardly outnumbered the pigeons swooping back and forth above the screen behind home plate and into the rafters under the upper deck.

    Maybe that’s the proper nickname now for the team that plays in Yankee Stadium: the New York Pigeons.

    The team is in last place. The principal owner is holding his breath that he won’t be expelled. The best player is in the trainer’s room with a bad back, and sitting behind the desk in his office the manager is in deep thought.

    ”I’m trying,” Stump Merrill said, staring at a lineup card, ”to come up with nine guys.”

    But on the Pigeons, there aren’t nine guys who can play baseball the way the Yankees once played it. In other years, the Yankees usually sent a delegation to the All-Star Game. But when the American League team is introduced Tuesday night at Wrigley Field, only the starting second baseman will be wearing a gray uniform with ”New York” across the chest.

    ”I never thought,” Steve Sax said, ”I’d be the only Yankee going to the All-Star Game.”

    In the years to come, Andy Hawkins will be remembered by Yankee historians as the symbol of this 1990 season. Against the White Sox in Chicago a week ago, he pitched a complete-game no-hitter but lost, 4-0, when his outfielders started impersonating the Marx Brothers.

    What it does mean is that Hawkins is now the symbol not so much of the Yankees’ failure as of the Yankees’ fiasco. In sports, it sometimes happens that way. Twelve years ago the fiasco of the pro football Giants’ losing seasons suddenly was brought into focus by the Fumble, a last-minute handoff from Joe Pisarcik to Larry Csonka that bounced to Herman Edwards of the Philadelphia Eagles, who ran into the end zone for a 19-17 victory.

    Soon after that, Giant fans were burning tickets and hiring a small plane to fly over Giants Stadium towing a sign that read, ”15 Yrs of Lousy Football We’ve Had Enough.”

    Now that the Lost No-Hitter is the Yankees’ version of the Fumble, their frustrated fans might be expected to mutiny as those Giants fans did. But the organizer of the Bring Back the Yankees movement, Bob DeMartin, has turned into a naturalist. DeMartin is a New Jersey trucking executive who was barred by Yankee Stadium security from displaying a sign reading ”Forgive Him, Father, He Knows Not What He Does,” at last September’s banner-night parade.

    ” My feeling now,” DeMartin said, ”is let nature take its course. I don’t want to get disappointed.”

    What a difference twenty years makes, huh? But, you have to be a Yankees fan born before 1978 to really “appreciate” what was going on in Yankeeland back in 1990. Talk ’bout a ‘hole diff’rent ball game, and then sum, a-huh.

    If Hank and Hal decide to cash out after Big Stein is 100% gone, maybe those days could return? I hope not – but, it’s possible, I suppose…

    January 2010 Survey Question #2

    Posted by on January 18th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:88}

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

    Stat Of The Day: Yanks Team Of The Decade

    Posted by on January 18th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Neil Paine, over at B-R Blog & Stat of the Day, takes a look at “Maximum Likelihood Teams of the 2000s.” Doing some heavy math, Neil makes a case for the Yankees being ‘the team of the last decade.’ Good stuff. Check it out. As Neil states:

    Shifting our attention back to the other end of the spectrum, the battle for #1 overall wasn’t especially close going into 2009, and the Yankees blew it wide open by winning their 2nd title of the decade. They finished the 2000s as the only team with more than 1,000 combined regular-season and playoff wins, an MLB-best 8 division titles, and an MLB-best 4 pennants as well. Many would argue that I forgot to include an additional column for their record-shattering payroll, their advantage in which mirrors their lead in the ratings… But whatever the reason for their success, you have to acknowledge that — by the numbers, at least — the Yankees were the decade’s most accomplished team (and this is coming from a very committed Red Sox fan).

    Yanks To Wear Two New BP Caps This Season

    Posted by on January 18th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    Here’s one (for home games) and here’s the other (for road games).

    Hey, it could be worse – at least neither version is this cap. Yikes.

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