• Treshfan Gets Called Up

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (4)

    First of all I would like to offer my thanks to  Steve for giving me the opportunity to join the team, as it were, and also to those who have welcomed me to the clubhouse.   I hope to fit in here as a sort of Ramiro Pena —I’ll contribute when and where I can while hoping not to embarrass myself and  letting the big sticks in the lineup do most of the talking.

    As my brief little bio states I have been a Yankees fan since 1962.  I have seen the team bought and sold, torn down and built up,winning World Championships and finishing dead last, all while playing in four different home ball parks.   It’s been quite the experience—and continues to be—and I’d be pleased to share a bit of it with you.

    May 31st Vs. The Indians

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (5)

    New-York-Yankees-Authentic-2010-Stars-Stripes-Performance-59FIFTY-On-Field-CapFirst off, I must say, as much as I am usually vehemently opposed to the merchandising money-grab “special occasion” alternate cap gimmick, I really, really, find myself liking the hats from today’s game. They sort of have a 1919 or 1921 feel to them.

    Hey, Andy Pettitte, what can you say about him? Talk about a way to start a season, huh? Prior to this year, 1997, 2001 and 2007 were probably his best “10 starts” starts in a season – during his career. And, if 2010 doesn’t top those, it’s right up there with them. Let’s just hope his second half in 2010 is not like his second half in 2001 (where his ERA was 5.22).

    Lastly, A-Rod’s slam. Chris Perez was having a pretty nice season, so far, up until that At Bat…boom.

    Folks, that was a grand salami!

    O.K., thunder and lightning here now…gotta power down…I’m outta here White.

    The Fantography Project

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (4)

    I never get tired of seeing great baseball photography. There’s some many things about baseball that lends to more interesting photography compared to the other “major” sports.

    Just yesterday, I was really enjoying the enshrinee photos in the National Baseball Hall of Fame 2010 Official Yearbook. (Really, great shots there.) And, later in the day, I saw a sick photo of Adam Wainwright’s fingers on Yahoo as he was throwing a pitch in yesterday’s game. (Yahoo has since removed the photo – hate when they do that! – but it was amazing to see the way Wainwright’s long fingers were wrapped around the ball.)

    Thinking more about baseball photography, I found this great (somewhat Yankees-related) story from the La Jolla Village News:

    As a testimony to one of America’s most beloved pastimes, the La Jolla Riford Library will display a collection of fan-captured snapshots that portray poignant moments in the last 100 years of major league, minor league and Negro league baseball throughout the month of June.

    Assembled by local baseball historian Andy Strasberg as part of his ongoing Fantography project, the exhibit eschews professional photography and focuses instead on the personal contribution of devoted fans. Strasberg, who worked in marketing for the San Diego Padres from 1975 to 1996, will be present in the library on June 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and again on June 22 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to accept photo submissions and hear the stories behind the snapshots. He will collect photos of players, ballparks, mascots, scoreboards and “just about anything else that relates to professional baseball” as long as they are not taken by professionals and do not depict baseball game action.

    Strasberg’s project was influenced by a lifelong devotion to the sport. His father, a traveling pharmaceuticals salesman, took him to his first game and encouraged Strasberg’s passion during his childhood growing up in the Bronx. Later, Strasberg said, he developed a relationship as a fan with former New York Yankee Roger Maris.

    “I’d get to the games incredibly early and I was too nervous to say anything,” Strasberg said. “So I handed him a note expressing my support and my interest in his talent as a player. Over time, I lost the shyness and we developed a sort of friendship that probably impacted me more than anything else.”

    In 1973, Strasberg left New York for San Diego and met his wife, Patti, whom he married on home plate in San Diego Stadium three years later.

    Strasberg’s current collection includes about 4,000 snapshots gathered since 1997 from fans nationwide, and even a few from Japan. Eventually, he hopes to amass 250,000 by continuing to travel and visit with fans, then publish all the photographs in a book that will preserve professional baseball as seen from the eyes of fans everywhere. He lamented the fact that so many photographs shot before the invention of digital cameras have been discarded, and that today’s digital photos often disappear into the nebulous online world without ever being printed.

    The Fantography display is presented by B.H. Gold Insurance Agency of San Diego, and will run June 1 to June 30 before it travels to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s home in Cooperstown, N.Y. To learn more about the project, visit fantography.net.

    Click here to check out the Fantography site. (It’s a good one!)

    Related, what’s your favorite collection of baseball photography?

    Me, I’m a junkie for this stuff. So, whether it’s something like The Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia or Baseball: A Celebration! or Baseball’s Best Shots or something else…I, again, just love outstanding baseball photography.

    September’s “Cry For You” & Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy”

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    O.K, may it’s not up there with “Ice Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure,” but, to me, the beginning of these two are sooooo close…

    (more…)

    The Curious Case Of Mark Teixeira

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Mark Teixeira’s struggles this season have been documented and discussed ad nauseam in various news outlets including during the Yankee broadcasts.

    Basically, it has been decided that Teixeira generally has a slow/statistically bad April and then he heats up again in May and continues throughout the year.

    Well here we are on May 31, 2010, and Mark Teixeira still has a .221 next to AVG in this statistic box, so where is this “heating up” thing that he generally does?  At what point will the real Mark Teixeira show up and perform?

    I think he has.

    April: .136/.300/.259          .559 OPS

    May: .284/.364/.482            .846 OPS

    Career: .287/.376/.537       .914 OPS

    He is currently only missing about 50 points in slugging and 10 points in on base percentage when comparing his May numbers to his career numbers, and I think that will come.

    And really those points have started coming back as well.  Since May 23 (yeah yeah only 7 games), Teixeira is hitting .321/.406/.464 which is good for a .871 OPS.  The slugging is down, but I think the high batting average is encouraging because it shows that he is at least putting the bat on the ball.

    I’m not too worried about Mark Teixeira.

    Yankees June 2010 Monthly Win Expectancy

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (2)

    For more on what this is, click here.

    For the month of June 2010, the New York Yankees should win 15 games and lose 11 games – all things considered, and being reasonable about it.

    I know that doesn’t seem like much – winning just four more than they lose. But, June is a funky month – with 12 road games, inter-league play, and series against the Blue Jays, Mets, Phillies and Dodgers…who, all, would like to beat the Yankees. This doesn’t imply that the O’s, ‘Stros, D-Backs and M’s don’t want to beat the Yankees up this month too. More so, it’s just that those four teams shouldn’t be able to win series against the Yankees whereas the other teams have some more talent.

    May 30th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (6)

    What a difference a day makes, huh?  I’m sure most Yanks fans were feeling what I was feeling yesterday as we watched Justin “Mediocre” Masterson just tear through the Yankee lineup into the 7th inning.  What happened next took some of the sting out of what was an absolutely unforgivable loss the previous day:

    Bottom of 7th Inning

    -Nick Swisher singles on the second pitch of the inning against Masterson.  I thought nothing of it other than a touch of relief that Swisher was able to swing the bat after he had violently collided with the RF wall the previous half-inning;
    -Juan Miranda works a 3-0 count, takes a strike and then weakly grounds out to first base.  The Indians tried to start a 3-6 double-play but fortunately Swisher got to the bag in time;
    -Brett Gardner’s speed gets him to first base on an infield single, advancing Swisher to third;
    -Frankie Cervelli pinch hits for Chad Moeller and strikes out.  The catcher’s spot in the lineup went 0-for-3 with 3 K’s (and a SF) today;
    -Captain Intangibles steps to the plate with two outs and represents the tying run.  In increasingly irritating fashion, Jeter again swings at the first pitch (his plate discipline has been absent in 2010).  Another strike and ball later, Gardner takes off for second and Jeter is now in a 1-2 count with two outs…until he puts a “Jeterian” swing (as Sterling would call it) on a low pitch and slices it to right field for a two-run single!  Brett Gardner scored on a close play at home, coming in just split seconds before the ball arrived for a tag;
    -Granderson doubles and advances Jeter from first to third;
    -Teixeira steps up and at this point I’m at least pumped up that the Yanks have shown a little life in this game.  Because it’s Teixeira and I’m losing confidence in him daily I make no assumptions that he’ll actually drive a runner in but at least it’s putting the pressure on Cleveland for a change.  Teixeira battles back from an 0-2 count to even it at 2-2 and then BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!  A three-run homer into the second level of LF bleachers and the Yanks have completed the comeback, all with two outs and after spending the first six innings looking foolish against a guy better suited to middle relief.

    The Yanks added two more runs in the bottom of the 8th and took the game 7-3.  Because of the magnitude of Teixeira’s homer the unsung hero/forgotten man was AJ Burnett.  Burnett tossed a gem, going 8 strong innings of 5-hit/0-walk ball and allowed only 1 earned run while striking out 8.  He had full command of his fastball and breaking pitches and, thanks to Teixeira, he picked up his 6th win (against 2 losses).

    Yanks go for the series win this afternoon.  I want this one.  There’s no way we should be splitting at home against one of the worst teams in baseball.

    Montero, Yankees, Not Worried About Poor AAA Numbers

    Posted by on May 31st, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via Wayne Coffey:

    For Jesus Montero, it doesn’t mean there’s not still a lot to figure out. At the top of the list is this: Two months into his first season in AAA ball, with the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees, Montero, a 6-4, 225-pound Venezuelan, is hitting .234 after going 0-for-3 Sunday night against Syracuse. He has hit three home runs, or one every 50 at-bats. He has 21 RBI.

    What happened to the ball-pounding prodigy who went .326/17/87 in his first full year in the minors at age 18? The guy who hit .337 with 17 homers and 70 RBI in 92 games last year, split between Class A and AA?

    “I am worried about my hitting, but not that much,” Montero says in front of his locker in the PNC Field clubhouse. Not even five minutes later, he says, “I’m not upset that I’m not hitting. I’m still the same guy … trying to hit the ball hard every single time.”

    “In a lot of ways it’s good for young players to hit these speed bumps, because this business is full of them, and life is full of them,” says Mark Newman, the Yankees’ senior VP of baseball operations. “He’s one of the better young hitters we’ve had in our system since I’ve been here (22 years). I am confident that he will hit. Our baseball field personnel – the coaches and coordinators – think he’s going to hit. You can’t find anyone in our organization who doesn’t think he’s going to be a really good player.”

    Former Yankee catcher Butch Wynegar is the Scranton-Wilkes Barre hitting coach, and Montero’s unofficial catching coach.

    “He’s got the ability, no doubt,” Wynegar says. “He’s got quick hands. He’s got power. Now he just needs consistency in his approach. There are a lot of guys who know how to pitch in this league. He just hasn’t made the adjustments he needs to make.”

    The thing is…down in Double-A, Austin Romine has a BA/OBA/SLG line of .329/.389/.493 (in 167 PA). So, at some point this season, if things continue this way for both Montero and Romine, the Yankees are going to have to consider demoting the former to AA and promoting the latter to AAA, to replace him, no?

    What’chu Talkin’ ’bout Willis?

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Shockingly, this will not be a Gary Coleman post (though obit fans should read this one in the Washington Post because man was Coleman’s life depressing).

    Nope its about the rise and fall of another child star – Dontrelle Willis.

    Earlier this week, in a move that most people saw as the return of prospect Max Scherzer to the majors, the Detroit Tigers designated the one-time dominant pitcher and effervescent personality for assignment effectively ending his time in the Motor City.

    Willis burst onto the scene in 2003 – going 14-6 and combing with some Beckett guy and a big Italian with a penchant for debilitating injuries to power the upstart Florida Marlins to the Wild Card and ultimate to the World Series – though I confess I can’t recall what happened when they go there.

    The next season Willis regressed in the won-loss column, and across the board really as his walks and hits were up and strikeouts went down. However in 2005, Willis was a horse – going 22-10 with an ERA on 2.63, striking out three times as many batters as he walked and for all the world looked like a guy set for superstardom.

    The rest of his time in Florida was sub-par – a .500 season and a disaster season respectively – before he was traded to Detroit along with  Miguel Cabrera – essentially as Cabrera’s anchor a la Mike Lowell and Josh Beckett.

    In Detroit, Willis has been a Deepwater Horizon level disaster – after signing a three-year, $29 million extension with Detroit here’s what Dontrelle has thrown on the board:

    22 starts and two relief appearances
    101 innings
    103 hits
    93 walks/68 Ks
    11 HRs
    77 runs, all earned
    For a grand total of a 2-8 record with a 6.86 ERA (66 ERA+ for those of you scoring at home).

    Willis also had an unfortunate arrest while still with the Marlins and has battled, in addition to physical maladies, anxiety disorder while a Tiger.

    This is all a long lead up to two basic points:

    1) Willis is the reason why you can’t be too hard on so-called “failed” pitcher prospects and pitchers. The attrition rate is so high and the pitfalls so numerous that even a guy who looks like they have made it can still crash out. It helps to stockpile and when the opportunity is there, pilfer from someone else’s stockpile.

    2) Should the Yankees, when Willis is finally let go by Detroit, look to bring him in?

    New York has had some success (notably with Dwight Gooden and Daryl Strawberry) of helping troubled players bounce back to a modicum of productivity, and most key, Willis – who won’t turn 29 until next January – throws left handed.

    While success came early (perhaps too early) baseball is filled with guys – particular southpaws – who didn’t put it together until their late-20s/early-30s.

    For example, Randy Johnson was a bucket of injuries, wildness and potential until he turned 29. Closer to Yankeedom – Allie Reynolds was a player during World War II with limited success, until after 30.

    I don’t know if Willis can put it back together. I do know he was fun to watch when he was good, all arms and legs and an electric smile.

    I sure hope he can – and as an added bonus – it might be fun to see him do it as a Yankee.

    …Gone!

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Bulldozers and other machinery are parked near the remains of the old Yankee Stadium prior to the New York Yankees hosting the Cleveland Indians on May 30, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo Credit: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    It’s so sad when Sinatra meets Siouxsie

    Derek Jeter’s 2010 Season

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Derek Jeter’s 2010 season can really be divided into three parts so far:

    First 23 games: .333/.367/.510
    Next 16 games: .169/.234/.211
    Last 9 games: .415/.455/.585

    A lot has been made about the struggles of Derek Jeter this year. But even after a rough stretch in the early parts of May, Jeter is still hitting a very solid .294 on the season. He has the sixth most hits in the American League and is on pace to have the best fielding percentage of his career. Granted, he has been slow going to his left. He is also on pace to strike out about 100 times. But for a guy about to turn 36, Jeter is having another typical Jeterian season.

    It really is amazing how well Jeter has played and how consistent he has been over his career. This year, he is on pace for over 200 hits, 100 runs, and 35 doubles. It would be Jeter’s eighth 200-hit season and thirteenth 100-run season. No one has ever done that.

    He has also been remarkably durable. He has only had one major DL stint (thanks, Ken Huckaby) in fifteen seasons. Only four active players have a higher career WAR than Jeter’s (69.7). And of the top 15 in active career WAR, Jeter is the only one without a 30 home run season.

    So yeah, you get it. Derek Jeter is a good player.

    But what has gone unnoticed is that he has actually been a lot better in 2010 than people think. I have read a lot of negative articles about Jeter (and Mariano Rivera) this year. People tend to think that they are losing their touch. And while they are aging, they seem to be right on track with their career norms.

    New Author Added To WasWatching.com

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Back in February, we added some additional authors to this blog for the first time. And, I’m now very pleased to announce that we’ve added another one to the team!

    Jim TreshFan – who many know via sundry comments left here under the handle “Tresh Fan” – has agreed to provide some content to the blog going forward.

    For more information on Jim TreshFan’s background, or for the skinny on any of our authors, please see this link.

    Please join me in welcoming Jim to the WasWatching.com team!

    Huff Thanks Yanks & A-Rod For Concern & Assistance

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    A message from David Huff, via Twitter leading to his Facebook Page -

    I’d like to thank the Yankees team doctors and our training for making sure i was ok. I’d also like to thank the NY Yankees security staff for taking care of my family, they were amazing. finally, to A Rod for contacting me on his way to the hospital, one class act. Everything is good. It was a little scary but I’m out of the hospital now and with my family. Thank you all for you concern and support.

    I was in the car with my daughter yesterday, who’s eight, and we had just tuned into the game, on the radio, when A-Rod came to bat in the 3rd inning. Hearing what happened, listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman react, we were both stunned. In fact, when we got to our destination, we stayed in the car until we heard that Huff was moving and being taken off the field.

    Later, as a family, when we were watching the game on TV, it was mentioned that Huff had gone for a CAT Scan and the results were favorable. That caught my son’s attention, who’s six, because he had to go to the ER via ambulance for a CAT Scan back in March when he fell off the money bars at school. (He was OK.) And, when he heard how it happened to Huff, he was even more interested because last weekend, in his Tee-Ball game, while playing shortstop, he took a liner off his forehead too. (He was OK again – thankfully.) Seeing that a major leaguer could get hit in the head and have to go for an emergency CAT Scan too really connected with him.

    Even last night, as I was blogging about “that feeling,” my daughter asked me if I was going to write about the pitcher who got hit in the head. At that time, I told her that I wasn’t sure – because he was OK, which was wonderful, and I didn’t have anything else to add to that great news that most people already knew, by then. However, seeing Huff’s statement now about the Yankees and A-Rod, now, I think it’s worth noting how well this scary situation was handled by all.

    As far as Huff, he really seems like a good kid. (Click here to see a video clip from earlier this year featuring him.) And, I do hope that he comes back from this without any issues.

    Cliff Lee Prize In Yanks Eye

    Posted by on May 30th, 2010 · Comments (34)

    Via Joel Sherman -

    The Yankees are just one of many teams that have begun to proceed as if Cliff Lee — not Roy Oswalt — will be the prize of the July 31 trade market.

    That means they have increased their scouting attention on a pitcher they already were following closely because he projects as the best pitcher of the coming free-agent class. Remember that the Yankees had a scout on almost every start CC Sabathia made in 2008 in anticipation of the lefty’s free agency after the season.

    One AL executive went so far as to say last week, “I have no doubt that the Yankees will sign Cliff Lee.”

    The assumption is logical. Javier Vazquez ($11.5 million) will come off the payroll, and Andy Pettitte ($11.75 million) contemplates retirement annually. Their combined salaries are roughly what it is going to take on an annual basis to secure Lee.

    There is no doubt the Yankees front office is enamored of Lee. The Yankees can imagine going forward with Lee and his former Indians teammate, Sabathia, heading the rotation followed by A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, and if he wanted to come back again, Pettitte. If not Pettitte, then the presence of horses such as Lee and Sabathia would more comfortably allow the Yankees to break in someone such as Ivan Nova as a low-cost No. 5 starter.

    But having their eyes on Lee does not mean the Yankees will be at the forefront of the derby come July 31.

    The Yankees often feel they get asked to pay a higher cost in trades dating to a time when George Steinbrenner was truly in charge and more apt to impetuously order a deal regardless of the cost.

    I have little doubt that Cliff Lee will test the free agent market this coming off-season. And, I have little doubt that that Brian Cashman will open up the Steinbrenner Family Checkbook and throw an obscene amount of money in an offer to Lee. Lastly, I suspect that Lee doesn’t care where he signs – and just wants as much money as he can get when he’s on the market.

    So, it sure sounds like Cliff Lee will be a Yankee in 2011. But, I have to wonder…if the Yankees hadn’t screwed up on Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, Ross Ohlendorf, Gerrit Cole, Jeremy Bleich, Andrew Brackman, Alan Horne, Ryan Pope, Humberto Sanchez, Christian Garcia and Dellin Betances would it be necessary to throw gobs of dough at Cliff Lee this winter?

    Kendry Morales Breaks Leg Celebrating Walk-Off HR

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Well, maybe this will mean the end of the idiotic helmet flip and catch celebrations at home plate following a walk-off homerun?

    Oh, What A Feeling…

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    So, I’m watching the Yankees game today, and it’s the top of the 5th inning. At this particular point, the Yankees were winning, nine to four. However, CC Sabathia seemed to be laboring – his body language was not good to me – and I started to get that feeling

    Even when the Yankees scored in the bottom of the 5th inning, to make it a 10-4 game, I couldn’t shake that feeling

    Do you know that feeling that I’m talking about?

    Sometimes, and it’s hard to explain, when I’m watching a Yankees game where they’re winning or losing by a lot, I just get that feeling, or call it a vibe, that the current score means nothing (despite the somewhat large run differential at the moment) and the outcome of the game is going to be the opposite of what it appears at that time.

    Of course, that feeling it not always right. But, it’s correct enough times that it would be stupid to discount and/or ignore it.

    I like to think this ability to gauge the ambiance comes from years or watching so many games. I mean, what have I watched in my lifetime, something like 3,000 baseball games, give or take? Maybe that’s it?

    Hey, for all I know, maybe it’s just the subconscious processing what’s going down…factoring in a combination of things – like a team scoring a lot early and leaving the other team time to comeback in the game…combined with seeing a starting pitcher lose his aggressiveness due to having a large lead and knowing that, if he goes, the relief pitchers behind him are the types to allow a team to mount a few rallies?

    Well, whatever the cause, I had that feeling today…so, when the Indians came back to tie the score in the 7th inning, I was annoyed, but, I wasn’t shocked. To me, I sort of saw it coming…or, I should say that I felt it coming…

    How about you? Know what I’m talking about here? Do you ever get that feeling? Did you get it today too?

    May 29th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    The fourth bullet point from Corey’s recap says it all: the Indians are a lousy team and the Yanks should absolutely sweep a team like this.  But you can throw that right out the window whenever David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain come in to a game.

    If you watched this game, there’s nothing that I can say in my recap that can describe the embarrassment that each and every Yankee should be feeling when they go out to dinner tonight.  If you didn’t watch this game, be thankful because it was pathetic.

    I’ll end with this: when it appeared as though Chamberlain was the presumptive #5 starter, I spent the entire off-season making the argument that he belonged in the minor leagues to start the season (for a number of reasons that I don’t need to rehash at this time).  Now that he’s a reliever I’d argue that he should be sent back to the minor leagues simply because he’s just not a very good pitcher anymore.

    I Heart Phil Hughes

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    So last night, I went to my first Yankee game of the season and saw a wonderfully pitched game by Phil Hughes against the Cleveland Indians.  I tried to take pictures, but somewhere around the second inning and Phil Hughes’ 5th strikeout, the battery in my camera decided to die.  Oh well.

    Odds and Ends

    • Hughes opened the game with 5 strikeouts.  I love watching strikeouts.  Hughes is now 7-1 on the season.
    • The game really was close until the bottom of the 7th inning, which made it a particularly fun game to attend.  A pitcher’s dual for most of the game, and then a Yankee offense outburst.  Fun.
    • I was shocked SHOCKED by the Yankee offense hanging up an 8.  I know I really shouldn’t be, but when you consider their recent malaise, and when you notice that in the 7th inning, 5 (Granderson, Teixeira, Miranda, Pena, Moeller) of the 9 players in the lineup had an average of .220 or lower, scoring 8 seems highly unlikely.
    • That catch that Trevor Crowe made in center field to rob Juan Miranda was amazing.  I mean, the fans I was sitting with, and I’m pretty sure in most of the Stadium, had no choice but to cheer for it.
    • I have said in the past that I hate bunting, but I was okay with Curtis Granderson’s bunt attempt in the 7th inning against the lefty, Sipp.  However, after 2 failed attempts, Granderson showed me why I hate bunting again, by doubling to center field.
    • Don’t trust the out-of-town scoreboard in Yankee Stadium.  We were keeping an eye on the Tampa Bay and Red Sox games, and noticed that the scores were going back and forth from 4-2 to 3-2 down in Tampa, and 10-5, 12-5, 9-5 up in Boston.  The innings kept changing.  One minute it would be final, and the next it would be back in the 7th.  The whole thing was odd.  We double checked the score on the phone at one point.  It was nice to see that both teams did lose, so the Yankees are now 3.5 out and 3 up on Boston.

    So there ya go.  See ya Tuesday for the Month in Review: May Edition.

    Baseball Fans: Why Do We Root For Who We Do?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (5)

    I’ve been introducing my kids to all things Yankees for the past couple of years.

    My daughter, who’s almost eight, has been into it for a while now. In fact, when we went to Bat Day at the Stadium this year, and I suggested in the bottom of the 8th, after two outs – with the Yankees losing six to three – that we leave the park and go out to get something to eat, she looked at me and said “Don’t tell me you’re asking us to leave before a full nine innings are played!” (In the end, due to lobbying by wife and son, both very hungry, we caved and did leave – because the Stadium stopped selling food at that point. But, as we were leaving, my daughter said to me: “When we come to our game next month, there’s no way we’re not staying for the full game.”)

    My son has really been ramping up his Yankees fandom this season. Part of that is because both the kids are playing in Little League this year for the first time. So, we’ve been on baseball/softball overload for the last three months with going to their games, Lakewood BlueClaws games, and Yankees games.

    In addition to Bat Day, I took my son to a game this season where the Yankees pounded the White Sox and we had a lot of fun that day. Since the teams in my kids’ Little League are mostly named after big league teams – he’s on the Cubs and she’s on the Angels – he’s been very interested in learning about what the other teams in baseball are called, where they’re from, etc., outside of the ones that he already knew about (like the Twins and Angels, who he’s also seen at Yankee Stadium before, and the Mets and Red Sox, who he’s heard me talk about when the Yankees play them).

    So, my son knows about the Boston Red Sox…a little bit. And, one day, he comes home from kindergarten and says to me “Dad, I know what the Red Sox wear on their hat. It’s the letter ‘B.’”

    Hearing this, I asked him “What’s this all about?” To that he explained to me that one of his classmates – who I will call “Remy” (to protect his identity) – is a Red Sox fan and that he wears his Red Sox cap to class.

    Now, keep in mind, we live – and our kids attent school – in central New Jersey. So, it’s more typical to see Yankees, Mets and Phillies fans in our neck of the woods.

    Later that night, I asked my wife – who is very involved with my son’s kindergarten class, the kids and the other mothers – “What’s the deal with Remy in our son’s class? The kid wears a Red Sox cap to school?” And, she told me that she’s met Remy’s dad a few times and he’s always wearing something Red Sox related – like a T-Shirt, jacket, or cap – so, he probably got it from his father. “O.K.,” I think to myself, “that” makes sense.

    Moving forward, my son’s kindergarten class had a trip recently to one of these environmental centers where the kids learn about bugs, snakes, frogs and such. And, my wife was on the trip – along with some other moms. The kids were told to wear appropriate clothing for mucking around in the woods looking at this stuff – including caps to keep the bugs out of their hair. And, as you can guess where this is going…”Remy” wore his Red Sox cap.

    Now, as my wife explained it to me, some of the staff at the environmental center were ragging on Remy, pretty good, about being a Red Sox fan. When she told me this, my reaction was “Well, if he’s going to be walking around in New Jersey wearing a Red Sox cap everyday, then he better get used to having to hear about it.”

    My wife’s quick reaction to me saying this was: “Steve, he’s just six years old. Com’on…really?”

    She has a point – of course. And, my next comment was “Hey, then blame his father for doing this to him.”

    This whole thing got me into thinking about why we choose the teams that we do root for…

    I’m a Yankees fan. Both my father and his father were/are Yankees fans. But, no one in my family pushed me towards baseball or the Yankees. It just happened.

    Now, I’m just as “bad” as the father for “Remy” – since I’ve really funneled my kids into the Yankees. So, I can see, easily, how some kids become fans of a certain team because of their family.

    But, I’ve heard many an interesting story from others on how they became fans of a certain team too.

    Recently, someone told me that he’s a Red Sox fan – even though he was born and raised in New Jersey. When I asked him how this happened, he explained that he has two brothers and the three of them who play Wiffle Ball in the backyard when they were very young. And, one brother was always the Yankees, the other brother was always the Mets, which left just the Phillies or Red Sox for him – and he took Boston and it stuck. Crazy, huh?

    Years ago, I once met a guy, briefly, outside Yankee Stadium who was from Boston who was a Yankees fan. I asked him “How does that happen?” And, he told me that his father was a huge Red Sox fan and he wanted to bust his old man’s balls as bad as possible – so, he started rooting for the Yankees and never stopped.

    And, about seven years ago, through the kids, I met another dad – around my age – who was another nutty Yankees fan. At a party for one of his kids, he introduced me to his brother who was all decked out in Mets stuff. So, referring to his brother’s attire, I asked him “You guys grew up in the same house. How does that happen?” And, he explained that his brother was a lot younger than him – and just got into baseball around 1986 when the Mets were great and Gooden and Strawberry got him hooked.

    I guess there are many roads which lead us into the teams we root for…sometimes it’s forced on us, sometimes it’s happenstance residual from “fill in the blank,” and sometimes it’s for reasons why we don’t know, for sure. How about you? What’s your story?

    Canadian Immigration Officials After American Baseball Players With Past Criminal Records

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via McClatchy news services:

    Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was detained by Canadian immigration officials for a few hours Thursday night after he landed in Toronto for this weekend’s series.

    “They said I had a criminal record,” said Jones, a former Seattle Mariner. “My mom raised me better than that. I’ve never done anything like that, been involved in anything criminal in my entire life. It was a long, pointless situation because of the circumstances, but I’m glad everything got cleared.”

    Jones had to leave the airport for extra screening. He was not able to go until about 5 a.m.

    “We went to immigration,” he said. “I was considered detained.”

    Jones blamed the incident on a case of mistaken identity.

    “They had the wrong person,” Jones said. They thought I was somebody else.”

    Jones said he was not told whether he had been mistaken for NFL player Adam “Pacman” Jones, who has had frequent legal troubles.

    “I don’t know if it’s him,” Jones said. “We’ve got the same name, obviously, but I don’t know if it’s him.”

    Jones posted a note about the incident on his Twitter account but deleted it shortly afterward.

    A message written about 5:30 a.m. Friday read: “detained by immigration in canada for no false accusations till 5am and appreciate someone from the team making sure were ok NOOOOOOTTTTT.”

    Jones said at least one other Baltimore player had to go through extra screening, too.

    Maury Brown had something up last week reporting that:

    …the MLB Players Association to all player agents warns those representing any non-Canadian players who have any past criminal record, that, “Under Canadian immigration laws, individuals who are not Canadian citizens may be detained at the border and, in certain cases may not be permitted to enter Canada at all, if they have any sort of past criminal record.”

    So, this is not shocking to see this happen now…

    Still, I have to wonder if any Yankees will get this treatment when they make their next trip to Toronto? Joba Chamberlain has a DUI arrest. Would they go after him? That’s one that we know about. Are there any Yankees who were busted for something in the past that we don’t know about? This might tell us about it.

    May 28th vs. The Indians

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Well, I wrote out this entire post and before I could save or publish Fire Fox crashed. Guess I learned my lesson to use a text editor to write the posts and not the form…

    Anyway, I can’t write out the same post twice, so here’s a couple of bullets of what I originally wrote :

    • Tex’s defense makes him extremely valuable despite his poor offensive numbers thus far. (He is hitting decently in May, though)
    • Hughes dominated last night (except for the 4th where he got hit hard a bit, but escaped) including striking out the first 5 batters he saw
    • Cano’s tearing the cover off the ball again
    • The Indians are barely showing up to play these days and the Yankees have no excuse if they don’t sweep them. Here’s the Indians announcer talking about their club earlier in the month.

    Amauri Sanit Busted For PED Abuse

    Posted by on May 29th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Yankees AAA relief pitcher Amauri Sanit has been suspended for 50 games due to Mephentermine use.

    Sanit is from Cuba. He’s a small right-hander who is “30-years old.” His lifetime Triple-A ERA is 6.18 (in 43.2) innings. He’s also currently on the disabled list.

    Without knowing, I would guess that his usage here was an uneducated panic move. Still, don’t do the time if you can’t to the time…

    Yankees Cut Randy Winn

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    The Yankees have cut Randy Winn.

    Brian Cashman’s comment: Randy Winn…Wilson Betemit…Jeff Weaver…Rondell White…Tony Womack…Jaret Wright…why do players with “W” in their name work out so poorly for me?

    (Yeah, I know, Womack and Wright were not Cashman. It’s just a joke, ya know…)

    How Bad Has Javy Vazquez Been?

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Well, put it this way, if his season ended today, it would be one of the worst showings by a Yankees starting pitcher since 1996. Note his place among these other clunkers:

    Rk Player ERA GS IP ERA+ Year Age G W L W-L% BB SO OPS
    1 Chien-Ming Wang 9.64 9 42.0 45 2009 29 12 1 6 .143 19 29 1.025
    2 Hideki Irabu 7.09 9 53.1 64 1997 28 13 5 4 .556 20 56 .957
    3 Shawn Chacon 7.00 11 63.0 65 2006 28 17 5 3 .625 36 35 .915
    4 David Cone 6.91 29 155.0 70 2000 37 30 4 14 .222 82 120 .891
    5 Javier Vazquez 6.86 8 42.0 59 2010 34 9 3 5 .375 22 36 .908
    6 Sergio Mitre 6.79 9 51.2 64 2009 28 12 3 3 .500 13 32 .872
    7 Ramiro Mendoza 6.79 11 53.0 74 1996 24 12 4 5 .444 10 34 .898
    8 Kevin Brown 6.50 13 73.1 65 2005 40 13 4 7 .364 19 50 .843
    9 Sterling Hitchcock 6.49 9 51.1 70 2001 30 10 4 4 .500 18 28 .837
    10 Kei Igawa 6.25 12 67.2 73 2007 27 14 2 3 .400 37 53 .907
    11 Randy Keisler 6.22 10 50.2 73 2001 25 10 1 2 .333 34 36 .857
    12 Jaret Wright 6.08 13 63.2 70 2005 29 13 5 5 .500 32 34 .869
    13 Jeff Weaver 5.99 24 159.1 74 2003 26 32 7 9 .438 47 93 .852
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/28/2010.

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    Girardi’s Call On All-Star Pitchers

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    I was just looking at the best starting pitchers in the A.L., to date, this season:

    Rk Player ERA+ Age Tm GS W L W-L% IP BB SO ERA
    1 Doug Fister 201 26 SEA 9 3 2 .600 62.0 10 26 2.03
    2 John Danks 184 25 CHW 9 4 3 .571 60.2 18 50 2.37
    3 Jeff Niemann 179 27 TBR 10 5 0 1.000 64.2 20 41 2.37
    4 David Price 176 24 TBR 9 7 1 .875 59.2 23 46 2.41
    5 Andy Pettitte 154 38 NYY 9 6 1 .857 58.1 18 36 2.62
    6 Phil Hughes 149 24 NYY 8 5 1 .833 49.2 18 49 2.72
    7 Shaun Marcum 145 28 TOR 10 4 1 .800 67.0 15 53 2.82
    8 Clay Buchholz 144 25 BOS 9 6 3 .667 55.2 24 43 3.07
    9 Justin Duchscherer 144 32 OAK 5 2 1 .667 28.0 12 18 2.89
    10 Matt Garza 143 26 TBR 10 5 3 .625 69.2 25 57 2.97
    11 C.J. Wilson 143 29 TEX 9 3 2 .600 58.2 22 44 3.07
    12 James Shields 142 28 TBR 10 5 2 .714 69.1 14 71 2.99
    13 Jon Lester 140 26 BOS 10 5 2 .714 65.2 28 72 3.15
    14 Francisco Liriano 133 26 MIN 9 4 3 .571 59.2 19 59 3.17
    15 Jason Vargas 131 27 SEA 9 3 2 .600 57.2 17 38 3.12
    16 Dallas Braden 127 26 OAK 10 4 4 .500 64.0 11 39 3.23
    17 Colby Lewis 127 30 TEX 9 4 2 .667 57.1 24 58 3.45
    18 Jered Weaver 127 27 LAA 10 4 2 .667 61.2 17 68 3.36
    19 Trevor Cahill 125 22 OAK 6 3 2 .600 35.1 10 17 3.31
    20 Cliff Lee 119 31 SEA 5 2 2 .500 36.2 1 32 3.44
    21 Ricky Romero 119 25 TOR 10 4 2 .667 68.1 27 72 3.42
    22 Jeremy Guthrie 117 31 BAL 10 3 4 .429 64.1 13 35 3.64
    23 Zack Greinke 117 26 KCR 10 1 5 .167 63.0 11 51 3.57
    24 Gio Gonzalez 116 24 OAK 10 5 3 .625 61.0 27 52 3.54
    25 Ervin Santana 116 27 LAA 10 4 3 .571 69.0 21 62 3.65
    26 Justin Verlander 116 27 DET 10 5 3 .625 65.0 23 59 3.74
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 5/28/2010.

    .

    If these guys continue at this pace, when comes down to Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Jeff Niemann and David Price, Joe Girardi’s going to have a tough call on who to select and use…unless the league just makes the call for him?

    The Yankees Chan Ho Park Experience To Date

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    It’s been a Juan Acevedo/Gabe White/Felix Heredia/LaTroy Hawkins-like ride, so, far, hasn’t it? In case you’ve missed any of it, here are the details:

    (more…)

    May 27th @ The Twins

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Javier Vazquez pitched last night.  The Yanks lost 8-2.  It’s not even news anymore.

    It may not have been all his fault — the Yankee lineup has been punchless for a solid week now, the bullpen has been a mess all season and both of those problems played a role in last night’s defeat – but he sure didn’t do himself any favors.  Once again, the pitcher that had a 91 mph fastball last year was averaging 89 last night.  This time, however, instead of the fastball’s ineffectiveness being the main culprit in Vazquez’s struggles, it was his secondary stuff that completely deserted him.

    Whatever the problems might be, they’re still two sides of the same coin.  The quality of Vazquez’s stuff has deteriorated from 2009 to 2010 and the reasons why seem to be escaping everyone in the Yankee organization.  No one knows for sure if it’s a mental issue or not — I say it isn’t — but at this point the promising results of the past two starts have been erased and we’re back to square one.

    Yankees Offense Three Week May Vacay

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Check out the Yankees offensive “attack” since May 9, 2010:

    May 9, 2010 to May 16, 2010: 4.1 runs per game
    May 17, 2010 scored 11 runs
    May 18, 2010 to May 27, 2010: 3.7 runs per game

    Yankees record since May 9, 2010: 7-11

    The last three weeks, New York’s bats have been MIA sans that one game on May 17th. The bulk of that gets hung on Jeter, Gardner and Teixeria – who each has an OBA under .300 during this span. And, the fill-in players like Cervelli, Winn and Miranda have stunk as well, overall, during the last three weeks.

    Maybe Tex and Jeter are starting to come around? And, maybe Granderson coming back will mean less ABs for Winn and/or Gardner? Also, if Posada comes back, that will move Cervelli back to the bench…

    The whole thing is interesting…and makes me wonder…is the Yankees offense more about Jeter, Teixeira and Posada than it is A-Rod, Cano and Swisher? I think that we saw in 2008 what losing Posada means…and we saw in 2009 what a difference having Teixeira means…

    On the bright side, it’s only been three weeks. And, hopefully, the skid will end soon…

    Yankees Scouts Looking At Big League OF Help

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via Jayson Stark -

    Clubs that have spoken with the Yankees say they haven’t met to formulate their July shopping list yet. But with Randy Winn fizzling and Nick Johnson’s future uncertain, we’re hearing Yankees scouts have begun lightly targeting versatile outfield bats who could be available. One name in that category they’ve inquired about in the past: David DeJesus.

    I like David DeJesus…but, he’s no Johnny Damon, is he?

    Fan Lays Pork Chop Chomp On Kim Jones’ Meat Stick

    Posted by on May 28th, 2010 · Comments (9)

    The revenge of Pork Chop Pough? No, it’s just some yahoo eating Kim Jones’ cold other white meat…

    Via Mark Feinsand

    One of the new features this season on the YES Network’s telecasts has been an in-game report by Kim Jones, whose topics have ranged from the latest struggles of Mark Teixeira to updates on the multitude of injured Yankees players.

    Thursday night’s topic was an update on Curtis Granderson, but Jones also showcased some of the unique concessions offered at Target Field. One of those items is a “Pork Chop on a Stick,” which Jones held up for display during her report.

    Unbeknown to her, a fan wearing a Yankees jersey and hat snuck up behind her while she was on the air and took a bite out of the pork chop.

    “I can’t believe this right now,” Jones said to fellow YES broadcasters Michael Kay and Al Leiter on the air. “I’ve lost control of this. Al, I was going to bring it back to you.”

    Kay expressed his disgust at the fan’s action, to which Jones replied, “I can’t tell you how revolting it is.”

    Here’s the video:

    No truth to the rumor that the fan later came down with a bad case of Nick Swisher’s cooties…

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