• Tex: Slap Play “Not Baseball”

    Posted by on March 21st, 2011 · Comments (19)

    Via WFAN today:

    Memo from Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira to Phillies left fielder Ben Francisco: “That’s not baseball.”

    According to Teixeira, Francisco’s effort to knock the ball out his glove on a fourth-inning grounder down the first-base line on Sunday was an unnecessary play.

    “That’s not a hustle play, there is no reason for it,” said Teixeira. “He could hurt me or hurt himself.”

    Francisco engaged contact with Teixeira instead of pulling up to accept an easy out in front of first base. Teixeira was visibly annoyed after the play, shaking his head at the runner.

    “That’s not baseball,” Teixeira said afterward.

    Really? I guess A-Rod missed the memo…

    What A Difference Five Years Can Make…Sometimes

    Posted by on March 21st, 2011 · Comments (3)

    If I would have told you, five years ago from today, that Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez would be bench players for the Yankees in five years, what would your reaction have been? Seriously, look at the careers of Jones and Chavez through 2005. How old were they? What did they accomplish to date at that time? Did anyone see this coming?

    Ditto Darryl Strawberry and Doc Gooden at the end of the 1991 season. If I would have told you then, at that time, that they would be supporting players on the Yankees in five years, what would your reaction have been?

    Makes you wonder where Phil Hughes and Robinson Cano will be five years from now.

    Sometimes, in baseball, those who look like they’ll be around with your team, and stars, forever, don’t always work out that way.

    Willow

    Posted by on March 20th, 2011 · Comments (3)

    Hopefully, one of these days, Willie will get his propers.

    Yanks Allowing Montero’s Market Value To Expire?

    Posted by on March 18th, 2011 · Comments (10)

    Interesting stuff via Joel Sherman -

    There was a time in 2007, and even for a good deal of 2008, when the Yankees pretty much could have acquired just about anyone for Joba Chamberlain.

    Personnel men were that gaga about his stuff, his mix of pitches and his ability to retain command and velocity deep into games. He projected as a young ace, the most attractive commodity in the game.

    But slowly, as he ricocheted between the rotation and bullpen; health and injury; and success and mediocrity, Chamberlain’s value plummeted. Some teams remain intrigued about obtaining him to see if they can reclaim a quality starter, but only if they can buy low. The moment to maximize Chamberlain, however, has vanished.

    Are the Yanks on the same loss-of-value path with Jesus Montero? Because the more scouts have seen him this spring, the more dubious they have sounded about his defense.

    And while the belief is he will hit for impact as a major-leaguer, his attractiveness in the trade market dims if teams view him only as a first baseman/DH — as some have always. One reason, for example, Seattle chose to trade Cliff Lee to the Rangers rather than the Yankees last July was doubts about if Montero could stay a catcher.

    I asked four scouts independently about Montero’s defense the past few days, and none was enthused about his chances to stay a catcher long term.

    One scout went this far: “No matter how many different ways you ask, I don’t see a catcher. Just because you have shin guards and a mask, that doesn’t make you a catcher.”

    Did you know, before the 2000 season, Nick Johnson was considered the #5 prospect in all of baseball? The Yankees traded him after the 2003 season. Would they have gotten more from him in 2000? Dunno. The fact that Johnson did so well in 2003 kept his stock up – if not made it better. Perhaps the same will happen with Montero? We’ll know the answer in the near future.

    Yeah, Mr. T, He’s Down With Oh-Tee-Dee

    Posted by on March 18th, 2011 · Comments (6)

    Via Bloomberg -

    Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre accepted an invitation to participate for the first time in the team’s Old-Timers’ Day this season.

    “I don’t know if I’m letting the cat out of the bag, but I was invited,” Torre told reporters last night during his first visit to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida, since ending contract negotiations with the Yankees in October 2007. “I’m planning on going.”

    Old-Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, an annual tradition, is scheduled for June 26.

    Torre left the franchise after rejecting a one-year, $5 million offer, ending a 12-year run as Yankees manager that included four World Series titles and playoff appearances every year.

    He then managed the Los Angeles Dodgers for three seasons before becoming Major League Baseball’s executive vice president of baseball operations last month.

    Torre has been visiting spring training sites as part of his new job, and said the trip back to Steinbrenner Field “does feel strange, but it feels good.”

    “It’s water under the bridge, I guess,” Torre said of his contentious departure from the Yankees, according to audio of his comments posted at CBSNewYork.com. “I never would have changed anything, to be honest with you. You wish that, the time I left, that it could have ended differently, but I don’t know how it could have. I don’t know if either one of us knew how to say goodbye at that point.”

    I wonder if Torre being there will bring out some of the recent retirees, like O’Neill, Bernie, etc., to Old-Timers Day as well? A lot of those 1996-2003 Yankees are no-shows for OTD. Heck, maybe Roger Clemens will show? Somebody lube up Suzyn Waldman, just in case…

    B Is for Baseball: Alphabet Cards

    Posted by on March 18th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Simply Read Books recently sent me Doug Keith’s “B is for Baseball: Alphabet Cards.”

    These are baseball themed falsh cards to teach your litle ones the alphabet.

    Keith’s illustrations on each card are outstanding. I showed them to my kids. And, even though mine, almost seven and nine, are too old for alphabet flashcards, they enjoyed seeing how each letter was formed in a baseball setting – like a batter at the plate, a player in the field, player on deck, etc.  Great stuff.

    If you’re a big baseball fan and you have, or know someone who has, a little one about ready to learn the alphabet, you owe it to yourself to check out “B is for Baseball: Alphabet Cards.”

    Mystery Guest

    Posted by on March 16th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    Do you know who this man in the picture is?

    If you do, you’re a smarter Yankees history buff than I am…

    Where Do The Yanks Rank?

    Posted by on March 16th, 2011 · Comments (29)

    This got me wondering.  If you made a list, who would be your 2011 “Top 15″ teams in baseball.  And, where would the Yankees fall on that list?

    I would have the Yankees – even with their starting pitcher questions – in the “Top Ten,” for sure.  But, I would not put them in the “Top Five.”  It would be more around #7 or #8 in my book…how about you?

    Nothing Pasta Image Protecting Jeter

    Posted by on March 15th, 2011 · Comments (15)

    Derek Jeter is one smart dude.

    Why Cliff Lee Passed On Yankee$ Offer

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

    Via the Post three days ago -

    Cliff Lee thought the Yankees were too old for him.

    The former free agent left-hander told WIP Radio in Philadelphia that the Rangers were his second choice behind the Phillies because “some of the Yankeee guys are getting older.”

    “Texas probably finished second to be honest with you. Just as far as the quality of the team and the chance to win a World Series ring, I think they’re a better team. That’s just my opinion,” Lee said Thursday, according to a transcript on SportsRadioInterviews.com.

    “The Yankees can do anything at any moment to improve and they’re not afraid to go do things. That was part of the decision-making process, too, but I felt like with what the Red Sox had done and it seems like some of the Yankee guys are getting older, but I liked the Rangers.”

    Lee, 32, signed with the Phillies for less money and fewer years than the Yankees offered, choosing five years, $120 million over seven years and possibly $154 million.

    “I enjoyed it. It was interesting to see how that process went,” Lee said. “I was curious to see how that process went. It was definitely interesting.

    “For me there wasn’t a whole lot of negative things that could come out of that. Whichever way I chose I felt like it was going to work. I tried to remove all the money and the smaller things and which team would give me the best chance to win.

    “Then I talked to my wife and kids about it and where did they think they would be the most happy and here I am in Philly.”

    So, Lee just played the Yankees to raise his value on the open market. Too bad the Yankees front office didn’t do their homework on this one – and had all their eggs in one basket hoping to get a player…who, in the end, had no interest in joining their team.

    Jeter’s Up, A-Rod’s Next

    Posted by on March 12th, 2011 · Comments (15)

    My wife and I took the kids to the 2011 Lakewood BlueClaws FanFest today. And, I was wearing the Yankees 2009 World Series Champions Parade Hoody Sweatshirt that the kids gave me as a gift after the Yankees last ring.

    We were on line, waiting for the park to open, and there was another family in front of us – a husband, wife and daughter. I’m guessing that the parents were in their early 60′s and the girl was in her early 20′s. While waiting, we struck up a conversation that went like this:

    The woman, to me, breaking the ice: I like your shirt.
    Me: Thanks. It would be nice to get another one this year. (Meaning another championship for the Yanks.)
    The husband: They’ve got a lot of great players but they’re all rich and not many are kids.
    Me: Yeah, they’ve got some guys who are on the back-end of thirty and who are gonna be around for a while because they’re making so much.
    The husband: Well, they’re starting to go a little. Andy’s not coming back. Good for him. Spending time with his family.
    Me: Yeah, he’s set for life. He doesn’t need any more money. He’s smart to do what he wants to do now. He’s earned it.
    The husband: I just wish they didn’t have all those old guys. It would be nice to see them give some kids a chance.
    Me: That’s the smart thing to do. Have the kids ready to step in and then you don’t have to keep the other guys when they’re old and making a ton of money.
    The husband: I guess some of them never want to go. Look at Jeter. He’s going to stay there until he has every record that he wants.
    The daughter, who, until this time had her back turned to me and fiddling with her smart phone: Jeter, has got to go!
    Me: Well, you’ve got four more years of him. So, it’s going to be a while.

    And, at that point, they opened the park and we all started in…

    I found the young lady’s comments to be very interesting. There’s a good chance that she was probably one of those young girls holding up a “Marry Me, Jeter!” sign at the Stadium back in 1999. But, now, there’s a ‘hole different feeling for the Captain…

    Geez, if they can turn on Jeter – as so many others have – boy, are they gonna have a field day with A-Rod very soon…because he’s not the player he once was either…and he’s gonna be here for a long time comin’…

    Somewhere, Randy Levine Is Laughing…

    Posted by on March 11th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    as Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg to about to resign.

    Happy Birthday, Mr. Boone

    Posted by on March 9th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Ah, good times.

    Derek Jeter: From The Pages Of The New York Times

    Posted by on March 9th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    On March 1st of this year, the book “Derek Jeter: From the pages of The New York Times” was released. Here’s more on the book from the publisher:

    Derek Jeter is a sports hero in the tradition of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle. Admired for his leadership, performance under pressure, and work ethic, Jeter is the face of the New York Yankees. He is also a quintessentially modern star, appealing to baseball’s diverse audience, savvy about dealing with the press, and publicly enjoying the fruits of his celebrity. Derek Jeter draws upon more than 5,000 news articles and features from the New York Times by the paper’s superb sports reporters and columnists, including Dave Anderson, Jack Curry, Buster Olney, and George Vecsey, as well as Tyler Kepner, who has written the introduction. This book is filled with entertaining stories, penetrating insights, and colorful voices: not only Jeter himself, but also George Steinbrenner, Joe Torre, Alex Rodriguez, and a host of players, past and present. In words and photographs, it covers Jeter’s rise, his style of play, his best moments on (and off) the field, his character as a teammate and a leader, and his place in Yankee history.

    I’ve been thumbing through an advance copy of this one for the last ten days or so. And, it;s very well done. The photographs – and there are a lot of them – are all first rate. Really beautiful shots. And, the collection of stories from the Times makes this one a nice historical review of Jeter’s career, on and off the field, to date.

    Derek Jeter: From the pages of The New York Times” is a must have, in my opinion, for the serious Derek Jeter fan. And, it’s something that every Yankees fan should consider picking up. I also believe that any baseball fan would enjoy going through this book.

    The other day, I heard Cal Ripken Jr. on the radio talking about young baseball players. And, he said something like “When it comes to ball players, Dad always said that we’re trying to put 40-year old heads on 20-year old bodies.”

    The minute I heard that, I thought of Derek Jeter. He was that 40-year old head on a 20-year old body when he first came up. Really, truly, a special young player. And, the career that he’s put together since that time has been no less wonderful. We’ve been blessed to have such a player on the Yankees for all this time. And, “Derek Jeter: From the pages of The New York Times” is reminder of all that – plus a celebration of that career at the same time. I’m glad I had the chance to go through it.

    Getting Real On Jesus Montero

    Posted by on March 9th, 2011 · Comments (11)

    Tim Marchman says “Yankees Fans Should Temper Their Expectations for Montero.”

    I say: Amen!

    I laugh at all the fanboys who are dry humping Jesus’ leg as if he’s going to be the next Albert Pujols. (Like I’ve said in the past, two years ago, we’ll be lucky if he’s the next Paul Konerko.)

    Remember Gary Alexander, Ben Petrick, Steve Decker, Ben Davis and Mike Ivie? They were all supposed to be the next great hitting catcher too.

    I’d be happy if Montero ends up with a career like Mike Sweeney at this point. And, if it’s better than that, it’s a bonus.

    Lucky Braves Fans

    Posted by on March 8th, 2011 · Comments (14)

    Today, while working, I had the pleasure of taking in today’s Yankees-Braves game on mlb gameday audio as broadcasted by the Atlanta Braves radio team. The game, however, is not the reason I’m writing this. During a commercial break, there was an advertisement for Braves season ticket packages. Care to guess the price point at which they started the ticket plans? $332.00. Yep, three hundred and thirty two dollars. Color me jealous. I don’t care where the seats are, for just about $4 a game I’m hopping on that if I were a Braves fan living near the park. Made me sad in a way, because I’ll never get to enjoy that kind of deal with the Yankees.

    Banglore Tougher Crowd Than Yankeeland

    Posted by on March 7th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    Brian Cashman got off easy this year for saying Boston was the team to beat

    Via the Jazba Blog -

    An Indian man named Baba killed his Parrot for predicting Pakistan, three times in a row as World Cup Champion 2011.

    According to details an Indian psychic Parrot who’s name was Mali predicted Pakistan three times in a row as Cricket World Champion 2011. His owner, to be safe from Indian party Shiv Sena, killed his Parrot for predicting Pakistan as Champion.

    Leitch: Cashman’s Burden

    Posted by on March 6th, 2011 · Comments (9)

    Will Leitch writes about Brian Cashman’s Burden.  It’s an interesting read.  Here’s a snip:

    Cashman, who will never be played by Brad Pitt in a movie, has always envied this; he’s close friends with Epstein and knows how revered Epstein is, not just in Boston but in the sabermetric baseball community as a whole. Boston is a little bit of a general manager’s fantasyland; Epstein has power and public renown in a great baseball city. Epstein can walk down the hall and talk to Bill James; Cashman is stuck running into Hank Steinbrenner on his smoke breaks.

    This has been the fundamental quandary for Cashman since he took over. What kind of G.M. does he want to be? Does he want to be like Epstein, an all-powerful leader who is never questioned? Or does he want to be the G.M. of the Yankees, a multitentacled beast with a million masters, where you might be overruled on major personnel matters? Rumors about Cashman’s leaving have been swirling for years, mostly because of that apparent envy of Epstein, the desire for autonomy, the exhaustion from the daily trench warfare. His winter oddities only added to the speculation.

    But Cashman has never said he wanted to leave, and when spring training began, he reemphasized he wants to stay with the Yankees, and the Yankees want him to stay. (The Yankees, per long-standing policy, don’t negotiate contracts until they end.) This is his dream job, after all, and it’s undeniably easier to be a successful general manager when your team has a nearly unlimited payroll.

    That’s the weirdness of the situation, though. Remember: Cashman’s controversies this winter were about wanting to spend less money, not more. Most G.M.’s are constrained by a small payroll; Cashman acts like a man constrained by a large one. He would love to make the Yankees sleeker and younger, ignore expensive older free agents like Cliff Lee, make the team more nimble and flexible, the way their division rivals the Red Sox and Rays are. (Not signing Lee may hurt this year, with the Yankees’ rotation problems, but trust me, someday you’ll be happy the Yankees didn’t give a 32-year-old pitcher with a history of back problems $150 million over seven years.) He would love to do the job the way the other Young Turk G.M.’s do, the ones whose success and failure ride on their decisions in the short term and the long term.

    Sad to say, though, the Yankees are the Yankees: Overpaying for expensive older free agents is their birthright. Cashman can construct a smart roster all he wants, but when the guys with the purse strings want to buy a player, who is the G.M. to say no? Why would he want to? It’s not his money.

    O.K., I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction…

    Big Al Baseball

    Posted by on March 6th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    Today, I attended a Little League Coaches Clinic run by Big Al Price

    It was off-the-charts good.  Big Al, and his son Scott, did a great job.  If you’re hooked into Little League, in some form or manner, you owe it to yourself to get Big Al into your district to do a session with your managers and coaches.  Or, if you’re just a parent looking to help your kid learn more, in a proper and effective way, on how to become a better baseball player, I highly recommend checking out Big Al’s DVD series.

    56

    Posted by on March 5th, 2011 · Comments (0)

    Just a heads-up: Beginning tomorrow and ending on March 8th, the New York Daily News will be featuring a 3-day exclusive excerpt series from “56 Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports.” This is a book written by Sports Illustrated writer Kostya Kennedy. The book, which officially hits the shelves March 8th, gives detailed accounts of the Yankee Clipper’s hitting streak in 1941.

    Derek F’N Jeter

    Posted by on March 4th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    Here’s a funny article about the captain from The Onion. (Warning : Contains a large amount of profanities)

    2011 Yankees Promotions Schedule

    Posted by on March 4th, 2011 · Comments (2)

    They’ve finally posted this bad boy at Yankees.com.

    September 23rd: Roger Maris 61st – 50th Anniversary Tribute (Ceremonies begin at 6:15 p.m. ET)

    Should be a good one.

    National Unplugging Day 2011

    Posted by on March 4th, 2011 · Comments (5)

    You know I’m soooooo down with this one! Here’s more on this via PC World -

    Hey, you! Put that smartphone down! Back away from that iPad! Switch off your laptop, and stop Tweeting! It’s almost time for the Second Annual National Day of Unplugging. After all, even geeks need to disconnect now and then.

    Based on the concept of the Jewish Sabbath (i.e. a day of rest), the National Day of Unplugging is put on by a group called Sabbath Manifesto. It runs from sundown on March 4 to sundown on March 5, and is exactly what the name implies–it’s a day of rest from all gadgets and electroinics.

    Sabbath Manifesto has a list of its Ten Principles to follow during the National Day of Unplugging. The basic gist: It’s a chance for you to avoid technology, get some fresh air, and get back in touch with friends and family.

    Click here for more on this movement and Sabbath Manifesto.

    Avoid technology? Connect with loved ones? Nurture your health? Get outside? Hey, those are all great things! And, something we should do much more often than we do, in our society, as a whole.

    Hello Newman!

    Posted by on March 3rd, 2011 · Comments (10)

    John Sickels talks to Mark Newman. Good stuff. Here’s a snip -

    SICKELS: Most experts see the Yankees farm system as above-average right now, not as robust as Kansas City or Tampa Bay, but in good shape with talent on the way up. You have a lot of strength in pitching and at least a couple of impact bats. What do you see as the strengths of the system. And what are your weaknesses, areas you want to improve?

    NEWMAN: Our strength is clearly in upper-level pitching. We have several high-ceiling arms who will be at the Double-A and Triple-A levels this year and will be in the majors within a year or two. We have pitchers who can be high-end rotation members, it is our obvious strength. Our second strength is behind the plate. We like the catching, we have depth there as well as high-ceiling options, great depth at a premium position. I also like our group of center fielders. Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Melky Mesa all have the tools to play center and we think they all have a good chance to hit. Angelo Gums may end up there too. So, I would say pitching, catching, and center field are our strengths.

    SICKELS: What about your weaknesses?

    NEWMAN: Corner players with power. We have (Brandon) Laird who is a solid prospect, but we are thin for corner bats otherwise in the system. We always try to take the best players available in the draft and on the international market, and doing that can result in positional imbalance. We’re aware of it, but we would rather get as many high-end athletes as we can and worry about the rest of it later. In a perfect world you get both, of course, high-end guys who fill up the slots you need to fill.

    “High-ceiling arms” translates to “Haven’t established that they can pitch at the higher levels yet” to me. But, that’s the way I roll…

    Hank Stein Better Get His Checkbook Ready

    Posted by on March 1st, 2011 · Comments (16)

    If Bud hit his BFF John Henry for a half-mill, then ol’ Hank is going to have to pay through the nose. Via Alex Speier:

    Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in an interview on The Big Show, said that he was fined $500,000 by Major League Baseball for comments that he made about the sport’s current financial system. In late-2009, Henry told the Boston Globe that “seven chronically uncompetitive teams, five of whom have had baseball’s highest operating profits,” had received over $1 billion in revenue sharing money.

    Major League Baseball took objection to the public comments — which, Henry noted, were subsequently validated by leaked documents about team profits — and fined the Sox owner. As such, he was relucant to discuss the state of baseball’s economics.

    “There’s not much I can say, because the last time I made a comment, I was fined $500,000. The large markets aren’t allowed to give their opinions,” said Henry. “Did you know I was fined $500,000? … I made statements which turned out to be true, or at least there were various documents that were leaked after that. But anyway, the large clubs are not allowed to talk about it.”

    Henry said that the Sox received a letter from MLB following recent comments by Hank Steinbrenner that voiced similar criticism of the revenue sharing system. He also noted that small-market teams are allowed to comment on baseball’s economic system.

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