• They Must Think They’re In!

    Posted by on August 31st, 2005 · Comments (13)

    I just got the bill for my 2005 Yankees post-season tickets. The price always goes up.

    Last year, for my seats, it was:

    LDS: $65 per seat
    LCS: $90 per seat
    WS: $185 per seat
    – – with a $6 processing charge to be added to each ticket.

    Looks like, this year, they’ve “done away” with the processing chargeright, do the math – but, now, for 2005, for my same seats, the post-season prices are:

    LDS: $71 per seat
    LCS: $106 per seat
    WS: $191 per seat

    And, I betcha there’s some convenience fee or something to be added when you try and pay for them on-line.

    In 2001 and 2002, the prices for these same seats were:

    LDS: $45 per seat
    LCS: $70 per seat
    WS: $175 per seat

    It’s interesting that the LDS and LCS are up 50% from just three years ago and the WS is almost the same.

    In the end, what can you do? If you want to go, you have to pay.

    Felix Hernandez

    Posted by on August 31st, 2005 · Comments (10)

    Just some perspective on the Venezuelan Sidd Finch, Felix Hernandez, that the Yankees are facing tonight. Right now, he’s just one year older than Danny Almonte.

    It’s too bad that Ruben Sierra is not playing today. Big Rube made his big league debut less than 2 months after Hernandez was born.

    When I think of this game tonight, why do I have the feeling that it’s going to be like something that I once saw before?

    August 30th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 31st, 2005 · Comments (3)

    So, there will be no waking up to happy endings today. Actually, I peeked last night – so, I ended up getting the bad news earlier than usual. One of my dogs had to go at 2:40 am EST. So, when I got up to let her out, I put on ESPN News and saw the final score on the scroll.

    If getting up in the middle of the night to let the dog out isn’t enough to tick you, seeing a Yankees loss, knowing that it drops them another game out of first, on top of that chore sure does the trick. Well, at least New York still leads in the Wildcard this morning.

    To me, this game came down to two players: Ichiro and Bernie Williams.

    Ichiro got the big 2-out three-run homer in the 2nd to make it 5-0. If Chacón is able to make a pitch there and get him out, it’s a whole different ballgame from that point.

    Also, Bernie came up in the 1st with the bases loaded and one out and popped up – failing to drive in at least one run. Then, in the 3rd, with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs, Bernie whiffed and did not help that situation at all. On the night, Williams had 6 LOB. You need the 5th batter in your line-up to do better in those situations.

    If you think about it, Sheffield was really missed tonight. With him in there, Bernie’s not batting 5th.

    Anyway, even without Sheff, just give Bernie a single in the 1st to drive in two and take out the Ichiro homerun and then it’s a 5-5 game going into the bottom of the 5th – even with all of Chacón’s command issues.

    Unit better be golden tonight.

    And, Bellhorn needs a haircut.

    Tampa Bleeping Bay

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    With their big comeback win this evening, the Boston Red Sox are now 10-4 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays this season (to date).

    The New York Yankees are 4-9 versus the D-Rays (also to date).

    Tampa Bay’s closer is part of the problem. Danys Baez is 5 for 5 in save chances in games with the Yankees – and his ERA is 0.00 against New York. Against Boston, Baez has allowed 14 base runners in 7 IP and is just one for three in save chances.

    Boston still has 5 games left with Tampa Bay. It would be nice if Piniella’s boys would start to play the Red Sox as tough as they have played the Yankees this season.

    Pitching In

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Thanks to the Baseball Musings Day by Day Database, I was able to run the following today:


    This tells us that, when the Yankees were going good before this month (meaning in May and July), they were just mashing the ball and out-slugging the other team. But, this month, the pitching has kicked in and performed the best this team has seen all season.

    If the Yankees hurlers can keep up this current pace through September and October, we might be looking at a cakewalk to # 27.


    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    From ESPN.com:

    Red Sox pitcher David Wells lashed out at Bud Selig after losing his appeal of a six-game suspension on Monday, drawing denials and apologies for the blustery lefty’s charge that the commissioner dragged his feet on steroids.

    “I’ve been tested three times this year, but it’s obvious that there’s guys getting away with doing it,” Wells said during a pregame news conference. “And he’s not doing a thing.”

    Wells’ comments drew a quick response from the players’ union, the commissioner’s office and an apology issued by the Red Sox.

    “The comments made by David today regarding the commissioner of baseball do not in any way reflect the views of the club,” the Red Sox said in a statement. “The club believes the commissioner has demonstrated visionary leadership and integrity, and we recognize that his contributions to the game have been enormous. Thus, we apologize to the commissioner.”

    Boomer being Boomer. I wonder if anyone in RSN is thinking of doing a site for David now?

    Giambi’s New Record

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    From The Record:

    Giambi became the first Yankee ever to have consecutive multiple homer games twice in the same season.

    On July 20 (at Texas) and July 21 (at Los Angeles) Giambi hit two homers in each game. He connected twice Sunday against the Royals, and hit his 24th and 25th homers of the year Monday night.

    I’m shocked. Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Maris, Reggie, et al, never did this? Ever?

    One would think that one of the greats, or a fluke like Cliff Johnson, Kevin Mass, Matt Nokes, Darryl Strawberry, or Oscar Gamble, would have pulled this trick.


    Fan’s View On Yankees Defense

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    Tangotiger’s 2005 Scouting Report by the Fans for the Fans is now complete.

    Some interesting notes on the Yankees results – with the yardstick being “50” for being average:

    Bernie’s Arm Strength: 0
    Giambi’s Arm Accuracy: 0
    Posada’s Hands: 25
    Jeter’s First Step: 42

    OK, I can live with those. But, Jeter gets a 48 for “Instincts”? No, no, no, no, don’t phunk with my heart. What’s up with that?

    Babe, Bucky, Buckner, Boone……and Bellhorn?

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    There could be some bonus to the Yankees in picking up Mark Bellhorn.

    As a middle infielder, Bellhorn would know the Red Sox’ signs and indicators. So, at the least, this will inconvenience Varitek & Co. to change all their methods of communication with their staff.

    And, who knows? Maybe Bellhorn knows more? Maybe he knows the best way to get David Ortiz out? Maybe he knows something the Yankees pitchers have been doing to tip their pitches (and that the Red Sox use)? Maybe Boston is stealing signs at Fenway and he knows how?

    Mark has plenty of incentive to be chatty on anything he knows – after all, Boston released him. Maybe there is some payback raging inside him? Wouldn’t that be nice?

    August 29th @ The Mariners

    Posted by on August 30th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    Boston had just about already won. The Yankees were losing 4-2 and their game was heading into the bottom of the 5th. It was about midnight. So, I went to bed. And, this morning, I woke up to a 7-4 Yankees win.

    Now, that’s a way to start your morning right.

    That shot in the elbow is doing wonders for Giambi, huh? And, I credit Torre for saving this game, yanking Princess & The Pea Mussina as quick as he did – rather than let the game get out of hand. And, of course, Lucky Charm Small to the rescue.

    Also nice to see Matt Lawton HR on the day that Katrina ripped the roof off his house. It shows that he’s able to focus. That’s good to have in a player.

    Mark Bellhorn

    Posted by on August 29th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    FOX Sports is running a story that reports recently DFA’ed Mark Bellhorn will sign with the Yankees:

    Mark Bellhorn, one of the heroes of the Red Sox’s 2004 postseason run, will join the rival Yankees once he clears waivers at 1 p.m. Tuesday, FOXSports.com has learned.

    Bellhorn, a switch-hitter, will give the Yankees infield depth and a left-handed bat off the bench.

    Why? Bellhorn’s only skill is mastering the Sonny Crockett beard. And, on the Yankees, that skill is not needed.

    Yes, he can play some second and some third in a back-up capacity. But, he’s not a glove-stud. And, he’s only been a decent offensive performer twice in his life – last year and 2002.

    Could it be possible that this is just playing keep-away from the A’s?

    The Curse of “Paint It Black”

    Posted by on August 29th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    OK, I’m calling it.

    The Boston Red Sox allow the Rolling Stones to destroy their turf – enough so that the Fenway ground crew had to get 40,000 square feet of sod from a farm in southeastern New Jersey to replace the grass on their field.

    New Jersey?

    The birthplace of Derek Jeter!

    If that’s not begging for a new curse, nothin’ is. Look for the Red Sox to now lose 17 of their remaining 33 home games this season – starting tonight.

    UPDATE, Aug. 30th: That should have been “12 of their remaining 22 home games this season – starting tonight.”

    I think I need an eye-exam!

    The Interior D Better?

    Posted by on August 29th, 2005 · Comments (9)

    “Paul from Boston” recently asked:

    With Rodriguez at third, and Cano at 2nd, the infield seems much better than in previous years. Any data to support this?

    So, I decided to look at the data:


    But, sometimes you need to look past the numbers.

    The numbers for A-Rod are based on the whole season – and, earlier this year, he was not doing a good job at third base. However, in the past month or so, Alex has turned his game at the hot corner around – a full 180, in fact.

    Therefore, if you factor this in, I would offer that the Yankees present infield defense is just as good as it was last year – but, not better.

    The key to me is Cano. Until Robinson cuts down on the “easy” errors (meaning throws) then Cairo (from last year) has the edge on him.

    This is not bad news. Think of it this way: If Cano can improve next year, and if Giambi becomes more of a DH in 2006, and the Yankees get someone at 1B who can field well, then next year the infield, defensively, looks to be a solid unit.

    In Defense Of Jeter

    Posted by on August 29th, 2005 · Comments (17)

    Looking at the leaders in Fielding Win Shares for AL SS this morning, this is what I saw:

    1 J Uribe CHA 6.4
    2 J Peralta CLE 5.7
    3 J Lugo TB 5.0
    4 D Jeter NYA 4.8

    I was surprised to see Jeter so high – because the sabermetric crowd usually likes to kill Jeter’s defensive rep.

    Last year, Rob Neyer of ESPN.comn called Jeter a “terrible” SS – twice in the span of days, once in print in his column and once in an ESPN News interview.

    I never understood the “terrible” label.

    Does Jeter have great range? No. His range, in my opinion, is somewhat limited – esp. going to his left.

    Is he a terrible SS? No. A terrible SS would have been moved off SS by now. Tony Batista was moved. Chipper Jones was moved. Mike Lansing was moved. Mark Lewis was moved. Jose Offerman was moved. Wil Cordero was moved. Julio Franco was moved. In the big leagues, if you truly are a terrible SS, you will eventually be moved. Even a stupid team figures it out after a while. Jeter has not been moved, because he is not terrible with the glove at SS.

    As a Yankees fan, at no point in time, over the last several seasons, has a ball been hit to Jeter at SS where I thought “Oh, no, why did you hit it to him?” – – the way one would think when balls were hit to the Jose Offerman or Wil Cordero types (when they were trying to play SS).

    In fact, when a grounder is hit to Jeter, within normal range, my gut reaction and expectation is “that’s an out.” I have no fear whatsoever on a groundball to Jeter.

    Further, in Baseball America’s recent 2005 Best Tools Survey, League Managers selected Derek Jeter as the AL’s “Best Defensive SS” – ahead of Miggy Tejada (at # 2) and Michael Young (at # 3).

    So, the stats now favor Jeter, and are in line with those on the field. Therefore, is it now time for people to stop lamenting about Jeter’s glove work?

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on August 28th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    FYI, a review of the book is now available over at BookIdeas.com.

    Click here for the review.

    Many thanks to John Hoh Jr. for taking the time to check out the book!

    August 28th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on August 28th, 2005 · Comments (0)

    Nice to see Giambi come out of his month-long funk today in a big way. And, don’t look now, but, in each of his last 5 starts, Al Leiter has allowed 3 ER or less, going between 5 and 7 IP each time.

    And, yes, I know that Love Child was doing his thing in the 9th – but, it was sofa king we todd ed that Gordon was getting loose at the end of this game.

    So, now, the Yankees become the Kings of Wishful Thinking. Four at Safeco and three in the other Beane-town. It would be nice to see a five and two record out of this trip.

    The highlights of this road-run should be Wednesday night, Unit vs. Sidd-x Finch-dez, and then the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, Chacón vs. Zito (on ESPN at night).

    Yankees Baseball.

    Grind It

    Posted by on August 28th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    From the CT Post:

    Alex Rodriguez wore a navy blue T-shirt with the words “Grind it” written across the front as he stood at the end of the tunnel leading to the Yankees clubhouse and answered questions for a postgame radio interview Saturday afternoon.

    Grind it. That sure sounded like the theme of a ninth inning in which the Yankees should have been finished, left to wonder if they would lose a game on the Red Sox in the AL East.

    Grind it. Well, in 2001, Schilling said that Mystique and Aura were strippers. Maybe Grind it makes sense?

    Still, the thought that A-Rod might be channeling Eric Nies here is sorta chilling – and not in the good chillin’ kind of way.

    Personally, when I hear Grind it, I think of the Sam and Diane thing from Cheers: Did you grind the beans? Yes, but I didn’t grind them fine.

    A-Rod can grind them anyway he wants – as long as the Yankees keep winning.

    Good Night

    Posted by on August 27th, 2005 · Comments (10)

    Wow. The Red Sox blew an early 6-zip lead tonight – and lost to the Tigers by a score of 12-8.

    So, now, with 34 games to go, the Yankees are just 2 games back in the lost column of 1st place in the AL East.

    It will be very interesting to see what the standings look like just about two weeks from now. That’s when the Red Sox come into Yankee Stadium for a three game set.

    For the longest time now, it seemed like the Yankees would need those games to try and get closer to Boston. Now, the way things are going, maybe it will be the Red Sox who need to win those games to try and get back into first?

    With a few breaks, the Yankees might be in first in the AL East by the close of this month. Amazing.

    August 27th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on August 27th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    Attagirl Aura!
    Attagirl Mystique!

    Folks, this is why you never leave a game early.

    You never expect something like this to happen, but, when it does, and you saw it, the feeling is indescribable.

    So, since I saw it, albeit on TV, I’m speechless and have nothing to say.

    Therefore, for now, I’m just gonna keep grinning.


    Repairing The Unit

    Posted by on August 27th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    From the News:

    Randy Johnson hasn’t had the greatest of seasons. In fact, he admits his first year in pinstripes has been “frustrating” at times.

    But Johnson insists he hasn’t lost confidence in his ability. Instead, he says, he’s just lost his ability to maintain his mechanics at times.

    That is why Johnson changed his routine when he threw a bullpen session on Wednesday. Instead of throwing off of flat ground like he usually does, Johnson climbed the mound in the Yankee Stadium bullpen and fired balls as if he were pitching in a game.

    Johnson said he received advice from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, personal catcher John Flaherty, Jorge Posada – the catcher he supposedly has an icy relationship with – and Joe Kerrigan, his former pitching coach in Montreal who was recently hired by the Yankees as a special pitching instructor. All agreed that Johnson’s mechanics needed to be tightened up.

    Mel, Flash, and Jorgie have been on the Johnson case all summer and nothing happened. Kerrigan talks to him once, for the first time, this past Tuesday, and then the next day, Randy tries the new warm-up routine – and then has a great game.

    Unit’s being very PC here in the credit. But, I truly believe this is all Kerrigan.

    Matt Lawton

    Posted by on August 27th, 2005 · Comments (1)

    I was surprised this morning to hear this news:

    With an outfielder their most pressing need as they try to claw out a playoff berth, the Yankees last night acquired ex-Met Matt Lawton from the Cubs for an A-ball minor league pitching prospect.

    Lawton, who hit .268 with 11 homers and 49 RBI in 120 games with Chicago and Pittsburgh this season, likely will be plugged into left field with Hideki Matsui moving to center on regular occasions as the Yankees address what has been a problem for them all season long. According to sources, the deal came down in the middle of last night’s 5-1 Yankee win over the Royals, after it had been learned earlier in the day that Lawton had cleared waivers.

    The Yanks are believed to be shipping Staten Island righty Justin Berg to the Cubs, who will save the roughly $1 million remaining on Lawton’s contract.

    One month ago, I said that Lawton is just about an average batter. That is what he has been the last few seasons. This year, he was doing OK for the Pirates – but, not so great once he went to the Cubs.

    Justin Berg was a 43rd-round selection from the 2003 draft. So, we’re not talking about giving up a blue-chipper in this deal.

    Maybe the Yankees can get lucky here? In 2000, New York picked up a so-so performing OF from the Cubs for the pennant run and he exceeded expectations when he played for the Yankees that year. His name was Glenallen Hill – and he went on to pound out 16 HRs in just 40 games.

    And, this is just a guess, but, I think the Yankees will end up batting Lawton in the two-hole. So, he should see lots of good pitches to hit in that spot.

    Given what the Yankees surrendered in this trade, and the possible return, it’s not a bad deal.

    August 26th vs. The Royals

    Posted by on August 26th, 2005 · Comments (5)

    Memo to Unit: For the remainder of this season, four days before each start, please spend 30 minutes talking to Joe Kerrigan.

    Twelve days ago, I suggested that Bernie has to stay in the line-up until he stops hitting. I’m glad that he was playing tonight. Could he be the go-to guy? If he does, it’s going to help him in terms of his next contract.

    OK, the-uh-uh Yankees win. So, why were they playing Liza at the Stadium tonight, at the end of the game, and not Frank? What’s up with that?

    The New Rotation

    Posted by on August 26th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    I was just looking at who were the true “aces” of the Yankees starting staffs (in terms of best stats) since 1995:

    1995 – Jack McDowell
    1996 – Andy Pettitte
    1997 – Andy Pettitte
    1998 – (tie) David Wells & David Cone
    1999 – David Cone
    2000 – Roger Clemens
    2001 – Mike Mussina
    2002 – David Wells
    2003 – Mike Mussina
    2004 – Jon Lieber
    2005 – (so far) Mike Mussina

    That’s seven different men over the last 11 years – and five of them are still active – but only one of the five is still with the Yankees (Mussina).

    Some might think: Imagine if this Yankees team had a rotation of Clemens, Pettitte, Mussina, Wells and Lieber?

    But, I’m not sure that I would say that now. Given the way that Wright is throwing, and the way that Shawn Chacón has performed, and if Chien-Ming Wang can come back in a week or two, then Mussina, Johnson, Wright, Chacón and Wang might just be fine over the last part of this season.

    Heck, if all goes as planned, the Yankees’ biggest problem might be choosing which one of the five is not used in the post-season rotation.

    New Boston Fan Slogans

    Posted by on August 26th, 2005 · Comments (17)

    The Boston Herald is running a story where readers submitted their “new” anti-Yankees slogans.

    I have to confess that I found “26 rings and a matching choker to go with them” to be very clever.

    The one that burns me is “If you can’t win a title, buy one.” Com’on RSN, take those Bosox blinders off for a moment. Didn’t you guys “buy” one in 2004? Are Foulke, Schilling, Manny, & Company lifelong Soxers? In fact, how many players on that squad were drafted and retained by the Red Sox? Further, just what was the Red Sox payroll in 2004? How many teams in baseball had a lower payroll?

    Anywho, if Yankees fans were asked to come up with some new anti-Boston slogans, I wonder what they could come up with?

    ESPN Hollywood

    Posted by on August 26th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    From the News:

    Who was that mystery woman cozying up to Derek Jeter?

    When asked, Rick Cerrone, the Yankees’ senior director of media relations, had no answer. Cerrone did see the mystery woman in a newspaper during the Yankees’ recent three-game series in Tampa. If he saw her while eating breakfast, the corn flakes did not go down well.

    This lady of mystery was in a full-page advertisement. She was silhouetted with a question mark on her head. Jeter, smiling, was resplendent in a suit and tie. Like the ones catching your eye while waiting at the supermarket checkout, this headline screamed.


    “This is very puzzling and troubling. I’m totally befuddled that ESPN would position one of its shows as a low-rent tabloid,” Cerrone said. “In the ad they insinuate they are out with Jeter, with his permission, or they are following him. Give me a break. Neither is true.”

    Considering the Yankees’ reaction, and the reaction of others Antinoro cited, the advertisement served its purpose. However, in the Yankees’ case, it clearly set off a negative alarm. “Bottom line, I’ve had players say to me: `Don’t ever ask me to do anything for them (`ESPN Hollywood’),”’ Cerrone said.

    ESPN should be careful. I think Jeter has a Bo Laramie side to him. And, if it happened, I couldn’t blame him.

    4th and 3

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (3)

    Actually, it’s not really Fourth Down.

    But, it’s close. There are 36 games left to the Yankees 2005 regular season. So, Fourth Down would have actually been around 4 games ago. But, since the difference between two-ninths left (which is 36 games) and one-quarter (which is 40.5 games) is so small, just seven two-hundred-fiftieths, I’m rolling with it as still being Fourth Down. (Gee, my grammar school teachers were right, this fraction stuff would payoff someday!)

    And, with the Boston loss this evening to KC (Thanks Curt!) the Yankees are now just three games behind in the loss column to first place Boston (in the AL East).

    It’s 4th and 3. Punting is not an opinion.

    Even though it’s relatively short yardage, it’s time to go shotgun and put the ball in the air. Someone on the Yankees needs to be Fred Biletnikoff, the go-to guy, over these next five and a half weeks.

    It will have to be just like Vladimir Guerrero did for the Angels last September.

    When you look at this Yankees team, there are only three men, in my mind, who are capable of doing this: Sheffield, A-Rod, and Matsui.

    The glory is there for the taking – if one of them wants to grab it.

    Of course, if all three of them want to run for it at the same time, that’s fine by me as well.

    Yanks Fan Buys Schilling Stuff

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    From SI:

    Congress may not have solved baseball’s steroid problem, but its hearings on the subject will do some good after all.

    Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling earned $2,000 for two charities by auctioning off the subpoena he received to testify at March’s hearing alongside Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. Kevin Bronson, a New York Yankees fan and memorabilia dealer from Springfield, Mass., paid $2,200, including auction fees for the document and an autographed picture of the Boston ace.

    “It’s probably one of the more significant baseball documents of the new era of baseball,” Bronson said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I think in years to come it’s going to be more significant.”

    Pull-ease. Now, if this was Raffy’s subpoena, or McGwire’s, then maybe I would agree that this fellow has something here. But, Schilling’s subpoena? Big deal.

    You’ve now got a piece of paper that brought cause for the Cliff Clavin of modern day baseball to once again flap his way-too-willing-to-open-yap and “bless” us with his I’m-the-only-one-who’s-right-dribble.

    That’s not a cocktail napkin, er, subpoena, it’s a cry for help.

    Mussina Post-2006

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (4)

    I was just reading about Mike Mussina being a free agent after next season. Should the Yankees consider re-signing him?

    Well, first of all, Moose will be 38-years-old in the first year of his next contract. That should scare away anyone. But, the Yankees have shown that they’re not afraid to throw money at old-timer hurlers. So, is there anything else to consider?

    In terms of relative career pitching performance and opportunity earned, and age, the pitchers that best line up to Mussina, since 1900, are Stan Coveleski, Kevin Brown, and Curt Schilling – in my opinion.

    Coveleski was cooked by the time he was 38 – but, he pitched during the 1910’s and ’20’s. So, Brown and Schilling are probably the better “comps” to look at here.

    Brown actually was a good pitcher at age 38 – and we saw how he was at 39, last season, in the Bronx. Schilling is 38 this season. And, we also know how his year has been for Boston (to date).

    I’m not seeing anything that says Mussina will have some pitching life left once his current contract is up with the Yankees. Therefore, if they were to ask me, I say let him walk after the 2006 season. And, don’t even think twice about it.

    The Baseball Same Game

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    Click here for some news on the book.

    This is after it being on Amazon for about 16 weeks.

    Not So Prêt-à-Porter

    Posted by on August 25th, 2005 · Comments (2)

    From the Boston Globe:

    Charles Steinberg, the Red Sox’ executive vice president of public affairs, ……was caught a bit off guard by the calls he fielded yesterday regarding the team’s rules against wearing offensive T-shirts to ballgames.

    Especially, Steinberg said, since the Sox have had the same guidelines in place since the start of the 2004 season, in response to complaints from fans objecting to such T-shirts as those accusing the Yankees of inhaling excessively, but in blunter language. Evidently, the issue resurfaced yesterday because Boston Magazine’s website published an item referring to the Sox’ practice of asking fans to turn inside out T-shirts that they consider offensive — again, most of which target the Yankees and their most prominent stars, such as Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

    “About two years ago, at the beginning of the 2004 season, in response to requests from many, many fans, we started the practice of asking fans to turn their T-shirts inside out,” Steinberg said. “The compliance rate has been outstanding ever since we started. It has not been an issue, and it has contributed greatly to a more family-friendly, civil ambience.”

    Understand, Steinberg said, the Sox have not instituted a formal prohibition against wearing such T-shirts. They are relying, he said, on the goodwill of their customers to comply.

    “If someone wants to make a point, we’re not trying to make some legal claim,” Steinberg said, referring to the freedom of speech issues raised. “If it’s a cool night, we might ask someone to wear their jacket over it. Our security people use their judgment that [wearing such shirts] is not going to be a problem. It is not a rigid concept; we rely on a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.

    “I asked [director of security Charles] Cellucci, and he said he doesn’t remember anyone being ejected [for offensive attire].”

    The Yankees have had a similar practice of requiring fans to reverse offensive T-shirts at the turnstiles in Yankee Stadium, but there isn’t a team in the major leagues that has yet to find a way to curb the practice of fans chanting the very words they are compelled not to wear on their T-shirts.

    Interesting, just three years ago, the Red Sox had a different position on this. From ESPN.com at that time:

    According to a survey by The News Tribune of Tacoma, 16 teams allow such shirts, while 14 do not. The controversy prompted several to review their obscenity policies.

    Bob DiBiasio, a spokesman for the Cleveland Indians, said the team would ask fans to turn the shirts inside-out.

    “Ultimately we are responsible for entertainment in an atmosphere that is good for adults and little kids,” he said.

    No such policy is expected in Boston, said Red Sox spokesman Kevin Shea.

    The distaste Red Sox fans have for the Yankees is rooted in their team’s sale of Babe Ruth to New York — and in perhaps thousands of other events since then.

    ” ‘Yankees suck’ means something different to us in Boston,” Shea said.

    Related, earlier this season, I was up in the Bronx and saw a shirt for sale outside the Stadium, near the parking garage up around 164th Street, that read (something like):

    “Boston: There was no curse. You just sucked all these years.”

    I wonder what would happen if someone walked in to Fenway wearing that one?

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