• I Like Cano’s Shoes…

    Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Comments (14)

    …and other Opening Day (yes, capital O capital D) observations.

    Good afternoon, WasWatching and baseball followers.  It has been quite a while since I have posted, but there is nothing like Opening Day to get one in the mood to live, breathe, and talk baseball.

    I should admit, that for the first time in roughly 9 years, I barely paid attention to the happenings of Spring Training.  I knew about acquisitions over the course of the off season, but it was almost as if they went in one ear and out the other.  Last Saturday I felt the need to to yankees.com to actually peruse the roster.

    But now I am back.  Baseball is here.  I am pumped.  So on to Opening Day:

    • I do not have the type of job where I can follow along to the game at my desk.  This year I decided to DVR the game, avoid anything that could alert me to the score, and watch the game from start to finish when I got home.  It almost worked except for one person who knew I was a Yankee fan, and knew I couldn’t watch the game, told me the score.  She covered it up pretty well, but still.  Regardless, I went home and watched.
    • Mike Mussina has always been one of my favorite Yankees, and the longer he has been away from the game, the more I am liking him and relish in the few chances I get to see him.
    • I really do like Cano’s new cleats this season. 
    • I’m hoping that Mark Teixeira’s 1-3 day with a home run, 3 RBIs, and a walk will mean that Teixeira will not get off to the normal slow start that Yankee fans have grown accustomed the last 2 years.  I might even be happy if it means a mediocre start.  (Did anyone notice the YES graphic about Teixeira’s 2010 April vs. today?  It was amusing.)
    • It’s good to see Curtis Granderson continue 2011 right where he left 2010. 
    • I’m liking Russell Martin (hopefully this feeling will last).
    • I’m also liking the Yankee bullpen.  I’m not sure if Joba will be a Yankee in August, but hopefully he will pitch like today everyday.
    • I still hate bunting, Brett Gardener.
    • 17 years for Jeter, Rivera, and Posada.  Wow.
    • I like seeing Rivera close out Opening Day on a called third strike.  15 years after being made a closer, and he is still just as good as day one.

    And now for the obligatory day off between day 1 and day 2, and then baseball continues once again on Saturday.

    For the next 7 months I can watch a baseball game that means something every day.  Yay.

    Gameday 2011

    Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Comments (2)

    It’s nice.

    Yankees Opening Day Lineups Since 1919

    Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Comments (3)

    This is just too much fun.

    That Minute Is Coming Tex, Very Soon Today…

    Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Comments (3)

    Yankeeland Opening Day 2011

    Posted by on March 31st, 2011 · Comments (4)

    The Yankees are 62-45-1 (.579) in 108 Opening Day games in their history. The 2011 season marks their first season-opening game at home since 2008. Below is a list of Yankees season-opening game starting pitchers since 1973:

    .

    A-Rod Needs Your Help

    Posted by on March 30th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    He’s dying in this ESPN Poll.

    Say Goodbye To Longoria’s Little Friend…

    Posted by on March 30th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    Wow.

    I take back anything I ever said in the past about Evan Longoria being the next Derek Jeter…

    2011 Yankees Spring Training Stats

    Posted by on March 30th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Here they are:

    Player		AB	HR	RBI	SO	SB	OBP	SLG	AVG
    Vazquez		34	3	8	11	0	.444	.765	.412
    Chavez		43	1	4	6	0	.422	.558	.395
    Rodriguez	49	6	15	7	0	.444	.898	.388
    Granderson	39	3	7	7	2	.442	.795	.385
    Krum		17	0	2	1	2	.429	.412	.353
    Jeter		56	0	0	3	2	.328	.375	.304
    Teixeira	51	1	7	10	0	.410	.569	.294
    Martin		42	1	5	5	1	.373	.381	.262
    Gardner		50	1	5	8	4	.373	.460	.260
    Swisher		59	1	8	12	0	.274	.339	.254
    Montero		40	0	2	8	0	.286	.300	.250
    Nunez		57	1	7	5	6	.290	.333	.246
    Cano		55	2	8	6	0	.276	.382	.236
    Maxwell		36	0	3	12	2	.349	.250	.222
    Pena		41	0	2	4	1	.214	.220	.220
    Posada		46	1	7	11	0	.357	.326	.217
    Romine		23	2	2	3	0	.280	.522	.217
    Parraz		19	0	2	3	0	.286	.211	.211
    Mesa		27	0	2	6	1	.313	.259	.185
    Jones		44	1	5	10	0	.265	.318	.182
    Russo		21	0	3	6	0	.208	.143	.143
    Belliard	22	0	1	6	0	.136	.182	.136
    Laird		26	0	2	7	0	.143	.154	.115
    Bernier		17	0	1	10	0	.238	.059	.059
    Molina		18	0	2	10	0	.217	.056	.056
    Player		W	ERA	IP	H	ER	HR	BB	SO
    Rivera		0	0.00	5.0	3	0	0	0	6
    Ayala		0	0.79	11.1	9	1	0	0	9
    Prior		0	1.04	8.2	4	1	0	5	12
    Warren		0	1.59	5.2	4	1	0	3	5
    Nova		2	1.80	20.0	11	4	1	4	9
    Sisco		0	2.08	4.1	1	1	0	4	2
    Banuelos	1	2.13	12.2	10	3	1	8	14
    Colon		1	2.25	16.0	10	4	1	1	17
    Feliciano	0	2.25	4.0	5	1	0	0	6
    Wordekemper	0	2.70	6.2	7	2	1	2	4
    Burnett		1	2.77	13.0	9	4	2	0	11
    Soriano		1	3.18	5.2	6	2	0	0	7
    Sabathia	1	3.31	16.1	17	6	2	3	10
    Chamberlain	0	3.38	8.0	10	3	1	2	7
    Mitchell	0	3.60	5.0	5	2	1	0	5
    Pope		0	3.60	5.0	5	2	0	0	2
    Robertson	0	3.68	7.1	4	3	0	3	14
    Sanchez		0	3.86	7.0	9	3	0	7	4
    Noesi		1	4.00	9.0	10	4	3	1	7
    Hughes		1	4.09	22.0	24	10	4	3	14
    Garcia		1	4.91	18.1	17	10	2	4	15
    Garrison	0	5.23	10.1	14	6	1	2	5
    Logan		1	5.40	6.2	10	4	0	1	12
    Betances	0	6.00	6.0	6	4	0	7	8
    Phelps		1	10.50	6.0	16	7	1	4	8

    OK, now…throw them out the window. The real stuff starts tomorrow – and that’s what counts!

    What Are Mets Fans Doing This Season?

    Posted by on March 29th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    It’s not going to games…

    Via Forbes, earlier this week -

    An internal report circulating the offices of Major League Baseball shows that thus far the Mets have sold just 600,000 tickets for the 2011 season. This implies that the team has sold less than 7,000 season tickets. In contrast, the MLB report shows that the New York Yankees have sold 3 million tickets for this season.

    Opening day is still a week away. And the Mets did get 3.2 million at the gate in 2009, Citi Field’s first season. But if ticket sales collapse this year it will be very hard to get investors to believe 3 million will come through Citi Field’s turnstiles in 2012.

    At this rate, the Mets are going to be lucky to draw 1.5 million this year.

    Will we ever see a day, again, in Yankeeland, where the Yanks draw 1.5 million or less?

    Last time that happened was 1975 – and they were playing in Shea Stadium that season. Last time it happened in the Bronx was 1973. Heck, the last time the Yankees drew less than 2.2 million over a full season was 1992.

    So, what does that say about the Mets and their fans?

    Mo Rivera Switches To Sox

    Posted by on March 29th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    Well, switching to showing more sock, that is…

    Source.

    Old school. Me likey.

    Final Touches On Yanks Opening Roster

    Posted by on March 29th, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Via Jon Lane -

    Eduardo Nunez, Eric Chavez and Bartolo Colon are headed north. Ramiro Pena, Justin Maxwell, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are beginning the season in the Minors with Romine playing in Double-A Trenton. Ronnie Belliard was released and a deal is in the works to sell Romulo Sanchez to a Japanese league team.

    Barring a late waiver pickup, Gustavo Molina and his 23 games of big-league experience will back up Russell Martin until Francisco Cervelli (foot) is ready to return.

    Pedro Feliciano (upper-arm shoulder soreness) will definitely begin on the DL; Luis Ayala and left-hander Steve Garrison are the top options to hold his place in the bullpen. Mark Prior will remain in Florida to continue his comeback after an impressive Spring Training. Prior hasn’t pitched in the Majors since 2006, but confidence is high he’ll be pitching if not with the Yankees then somewhere in the bigs this year.

    Interesting move on Nunez and Pena. Doesn’t this also cut into Eduardo Nunez’ development – riding the pines in the Bronx?

    Worry About Burnett & Hughes – And Not Nova & Garcia

    Posted by on March 29th, 2011 · Comments (13)

    I was looking back at what I wrote seven weeks ago, at the start of Spring Training this year, regarding my observations on the 2011 Yankees (heading into this season) – and I still feel the same way today.

    But, above all else, at this junction, what concerns me the most about the Yankees this year is their starting pitching – and it’s not the back-end (Nova and Garcia or a fill-in TBA) which scares the snot out of me. 

    Actually, I think the keys to the Yankees success this year are A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes – meaning they have to pitch well in order for the Yankees to reach the post-season in 2011.

    Related, I keep going back to the fact that Hughes had an ERA of 5.15 over his last 20 games in 2010. Also, there’s the whole issue with Phil’s velocity being MIA this spring.

    And, Burnett is wildly inconsistent. Further, if you look at A.J. over the last 6 seasons, his win totals are: 12, 10, 10, 18, 13, 10 – with 18 coming in his opt-out year. Seems to me, looking at these numbers, it’s safe to say that Burnett, when not playing for a contract, can only be counted on to win 10-13 games a season.

    Bottom line, if Hughes is going to pitch to an ERA close to five this season and Burnett is going to be just a 10-game winner, that’s a much larger problem for the Yankees than having a journeyman and a rookie bringing up the rear of their starting rotation. 

    Of course, maybe Hughes and Burnett will both win 16+ games this season – and the Yankees, as a team, will win 95 games and make the post-season this year?  But, I’m not counting on that – based on what we know, for fact, today, about Burnett and Hughes.   

    And, if A.J. and Phil don’t pitch well this season, we in Yankeeland could be looking at a team that’s going to win 85-90 games and miss out getting a post-season berth.

    Derek Jeter, Mr. Lucky

    Posted by on March 28th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Mark Simon offers lots of good numbers on Derek Jeter – including this one:

    Lastly, Jeter has had a remarkable knack at hitting ‘em where they ain’t, as evidenced by his Batting Average on Balls in Play.

    When Jeter puts the ball in play, he’s among the game’s most accurate batsmen. Depending on which formula you use to calculate BABIP (one includes sacrifice flies, one doesn’t), Jeter’s BABIP of .358 (or .356) ranks among the very best in the sport.

    Entering 2011, Jeter’s .314 batting average ranks 56th best since 1913 (we use that year because it’s the first year for which strikeout totals exist).

    Strip away the home runs and strikeouts and Jeter’s BABIP is fifth-best in that span, a near match for Ichiro Suzuki and Rod Carew, two players best known for being able to guide the baseball into spots where they were most likely to get hits. Jeter’s prowess in that regard is one of the rare things about him that seems to go unrecognized.

    Feliciano, It’s The New Marte

    Posted by on March 28th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    The story.

    By the way, whatever happened to Damaso Marte?

    $31.71 To Park At Yankees Games In 2011

    Posted by on March 28th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Hard to believe the same parking garages were charging $13 to park in 2006. But, it’s true. That’s quite an increase in just 5 years.

    And, it’s worse if you use the Yankees on-line advance parking site. Then, it will cost you $40.55 to park once you add the taxes and handling fee:

    Parking Subtotal:                          $31.71
    Service Fee:                                $5.55
    NY State Sales / Parking Tax (10.375%):     $3.29  
    
    Total Charges:                             $40.55

    T-minus 4 Days & Counting

    Posted by on March 27th, 2011 · Comments (4)

    Once an addict, always an addict, I suppose…

    Finally, now, I’m really starting to get juiced over the start of this Yankees season. 

    I still think they’re probably the third best team in their division.  And, I have no faith in any of their starting pitchers not named Sabathia.  But, I am excited that the season will be starting this Thursday.

    2011 Final MLB Standings Prediction

    Posted by on March 26th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    OK, here they are…

    AL EAST
    1. Red Sox
    2. Rays
    3. Yankees
    4. Orioles
    5. Blue Jays

    AL CENTRAL
    1. Twins
    2. Tigers
    3. White Sox
    4. Royals
    5. Indians

    AL WEST
    1. Athletics
    2. Rangers
    3. Angels
    4. Mariners

    AL WILDCARD WINNER: Rays

    NL EAST
    1. Phillies
    2. Braves
    3. Marlins
    4. Mets
    5. Nationals

    NL CENTRAL:
    1. Brewers
    2. Reds
    3. Cardinals
    4. Cubs
    5. Pirates
    6. Astros

    NL WEST:
    1. Rockies
    2. Giants
    3. Padres
    4. Dodgers

    NL WILDCARD WINNER: Giants.

    Take ‘em for what they’re worth…not a lot.

    Where In The World Is Phil Hughes Velo?

    Posted by on March 26th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    The story.

    Wow.  I remember when the big deal was that he was only throwing 91 MPH. And, now, it’s 87-89 MPH?

    Geez, that’s so Andy Benes like…

    Yankees Starting Staffs Since 1973 – Most “Non-Quality” Starts

    Posted by on March 25th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    Here, I’m looking at how many times, each season, a Yankees starter had a game with IP<=5 and and ER>=4 since 1973:

    .

    Thank goodness for that bullpen in 1996, eh?  Well, that and Pettitte and Cone.  And, I wonder where 2011 will fall on this list?  I’m thinking it cracks the top ten, for sure.

    Sergio Mitre Traded To Brewers

    Posted by on March 25th, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Welcome to the Yankees, Bartolo.

    Thanks to Lee Sinins for the heads-up on this one. By the way, with the season about to start, it’s a good time to remind that the new edition of the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia is available, along with the 2011 subscruption update.

    The encyclopedia and the updates can be ordered at: http://www.baseball-encyclopedia.com

    Yanks Sign Millwood

    Posted by on March 25th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    The story.

    He should be good for innings.  But, the ERA will be close to five.  That’s what it’s been 3 of the last 4 years.

    Nova #4, Garcia #5 – Colon Vs. Mitre For Long Man

    Posted by on March 25th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    How did we get to this place, in Yankeeland, today, where I’d be writing headlines like the one above? Via George King -

    The biggest question in Yankees camp — who will be the fifth starter? — could be answered today.

    “We have to make a decision sooner than later,” GM Brian Cashman said of picking between Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon as the final piece to manager Joe Girardi’s rotation.

    “We will close the competition soon enough. I will talk to Joe on the phone. … We will close this thing out eventually.”

    Girardi and his staff meet daily, and it’s not out of the question that decisions could spill out of today’s discussions.

    When camp opened Feb. 14, Ivan Nova and Garcia were the favorites to cop the final two spots behind CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.

    While it hasn’t been announced, Nova has won the fourth spot.

    And, even though Colon’s numbers are better and he is throwing very well, Garcia remains the favorite because he won 12 games last year and logged 157 innings.

    Despite the strong spring by Colon, the Yankees aren’t sure what he can deliver innings-wise, because he hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since 2009 due to arm trouble.

    Garcia can exercise a March 29 opt-out if he isn’t on the roster; Colon’s date is March 31.

    Wednesday, Girardi said he didn’t need to see any more out of the 34-year-old Garcia during yesterday’s minor-league game — when the righty worked five innings against the Phillies’ Triple-A club, allowing a run, four hits and fanning three.

    It was an indication that the manager was leaning toward Garcia. And while there was plenty of Yankee brass watching Garcia, Girardi wasn’t among them.

    “It’s not beneficial for me to state my preferences,” Cashman said. “I will get all the recommendations and make mine to ownership.”

    Curiously, club president Randy Levine watched Garcia pitch yesterday. It was a rare appearance at the minor-league complex by Levine, who was joined by Cashman, pro scouting head Billy Eppler, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and bullpen coach Mike Harkey.

    If Garcia is the fifth starter, it doesn’t mean Colon will be released or sent to Triple-A Scranton.

    There is a chance Colon could work in the pen. That would likely mean the Yankees will try to move Sergio Mitre, who has value because he can start or relieve and isn’t terribly expensive at $900,000.

    Jeter Jersey In Demand

    Posted by on March 24th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    #2 is #1. Via the USA Today

    Derek Jeter, Joe Mauer and Roy Halladay top the list of most popular MLB player jerseys heading into the new 2011 season.

    The New York Yankees shortstop, Minnesota Twins catcher and Philadelphia Phillies pitching ace rank 1-3 on the list released Wednesday by MLB and the MLB Players Association. The rankings are based on sales of official Majestic jerseys during the 2010 calendar year.

    The Phillies boast three players in the Top 10 while the Yankees have two. Here’s the list: 1] Jeter 2] Mauer 3] Halladay 4] Chase Utley, Phillies 5] Cliff Lee, Phillies 6] Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals 7] Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers 8] Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox 9] Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 10] Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants.

    The Yankees sell the most licensed merchandise among MLB clubs. The Boston Red Sox are second and the Los Angeles Dodgers third. Here’s the Top 10 list by clubs: 1] Yankees 2] Red Sox 3] Dodgers 4] Phillies 5] Chicago Cubs 6] St. Louis Cardinals 7] Chicago White Sox 8] Atlanta Braves 9] Minnesota Twins 10] Detroit Tigers

    Showalter: O’s Not Longer Yanks Feeding Ground

    Posted by on March 24th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Via David Schoenfield

    Once the crown jewel franchise of the American League, with Camden Yards packed every night, the O’s have been a joke for an entire generation of young baseball fans. Baseball, in Baltimore, was dead.

    And then the Orioles hired Buck Showalter. And Buck ain’t gonna accept losing. That’s why I love his blasts about Derek Jeter and Theo Epstein. The message isn’t really about Jeter and Epstein: It’s a message to his team. We’re not going to let the Yankees and Red Sox continue to kick the crap out of us.

    Over the past 10 seasons, the Orioles are 68-116 against the Red Sox; they’re 62-122 against the Yankees. They went 2-16 against Boston in 2009 and 3-15 in 2006. They’re 10-26 the past two seasons against the Yankees.

    This is not acceptable for Showalter. He took over a team in 2010 that was a pathetic 32-73. Under Showalter the O’s finished 34-23, including a 6-6 mark against Boston and New York.

    I hope Buck is right. Should make for an interesting A.L. East this season if he is correct. Imagine if all five teams in the A.L. East finished above .500 this year. That’s never happened before.

    Thank You, Mr. FedEx Man…

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2011 · Comments (16)

    The eagle…has landed.

    Solid Fool’s Gold: Detours On The Way To Conventional Wisdom

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2011 · Comments (13)

    Solid Fool's Gold: Detours On The Way To Conventional Wisdom I recently had a chance to read the new Bill James book: Solid Fool’s Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom.

    This book is a collection of articles from James that were previously published at BillJamesOnLine.com – sans one which was a reprint from the 1983 Baseball Abstract. And, it’s not all on baseball. Included in the book are some James features on topics such as tipping, advertising; measuring rainfall, stop lights and the TSA.

    Personally, I found the non-baseball stuff interesting. But, the meat of this one, of course, are the articles on baseball.

    The baseball articles that stood out the most to me were on “hot” pitchers, a better model for the minor league structure, the 33 best starting rotations of all-time, the worst teams of all time, the best pitching matchups of the 1980′s, and the “Expansion Time Bomb” that will hit the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

    Solid Fool’s Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom is a quick read. But, it’s a nice collection of Bill James articles to digest – especially if you didn’t see them when they were at BillJamesOnLine.com (which is a subscription site – albeit just $3 a month to subscribe). Most baseball fans would find something in this new Bill James book to enjoy. It’s worth checking out.

    The Yankees’ Guide to Media Survival

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2011 · Comments (5)

    Good read.

    Yankee Fan Is Champion

    Posted by on March 23rd, 2011 · Comments (9)

    …on JEOPARDY! , that is.   My niece, Megan Barnes, is a big Yankees fan (she likes Derek Jeter, of course) and lives in Baltimore.  My brother usually co-ordinates his Summer visits to her with the Yankees away schedule so the two of them can catch a game or two at Camden Yards—much cheaper than Yankee Stadium you know.

    Well, last night Megan was on JEOPARDY! facing off against a 5 time Champion and another challenger AND SHE WON!!  $37,000+ in fact.  What sealed it for her was Final Jeopardy.  The category was “Garments of the World” and the question (or answer rather) was a type of veiled article of clothing mentioned by Rudyard Kipling.  Now Megan’s father (my brother) served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and while he was in the former he sent his wife (Megan’s mom) a veiled outfit worn by Muslim women called a “burqa.”   So Megan wrote down “What is a burqa?” for her response AND SHE WAS RIGHT!   The other challenger wrote down “What is…?” and lost everything but $2.   And the reigning champ,  WHO IS A MUSLIM, wrote down “What is a sari?” (a garment worn by Hindu women, I believe) AND HE WENT “ALL IN!”  Yup, he lost EVERYTHING.  So the final score was:

    My Niece …….$37,000+

     Challenger 1………… $2

     Returning Champ……$0

    I don’t know about you, but I’m counting this as a good omen for the coming season.

    Wild Thought: Replay Of 1973 ALCS In 2011?

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2011 · Comments (13)

    I keep having this wild dream where the Boston Red Sox win the A.L. East this season, the Chicago White Sox win the A.L. Central, and the Oakland Athletics win the A.L. West.

    Now, that’s not too far out there. But, in this dream, the Baltimore Orioles just edge out the Yankees and the Rays in the East and take the 2011 A.L. Wildcard berth.

    And, then, in the ALDS, the A’s beat the Bosox and the O’s beat the Chisox – setting up a 2011 ALCS between Baltimore and Oakland.

    Nah, it can’t happen…can it?

    He’s Not Dead, Jim

    Posted by on March 22nd, 2011 · Comments (4)

    Happy 80th, Captain K!

    (more…)

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