• Sunday Night Blackout

    Posted by on June 24th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    I’ve read that the second game of the double-header tomorrow, between New York and Florida, will not be on TV because “ESPN holds exclusive rights to major league baseball on Sunday night.”

    Can’t the YES Network make a case that it’s not a “Sunday Night Telecast” and claim it’s a “remake” of the “Saturday Afternoon Telecast” that was rained out today?

    I mean, shoot, if a Sunday game was a 4 pm ET start, and it was still being played at 8 pm ET, YES (or any network) would not have to cut the coverage because ESPN has all the rights to baseball from 8 pm on, right?

    Can’t we just call this delay, on the game from today being played, one long rain delay and have the Yankee game on TV tomorrow?

    If not, I hope that the second game tomorrow is the greatest game ever played in baseball history – and baseball shoots itself in the foot by not having it recorded on TV. It would serve them right.

    Et Proctor, Torre?

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 · Comments (4)

    Watching Everyday Scottie Proctor warm up in the pen today, I thought “What kind of pace is he on, in terms of appearing in games, etc., this season?”

    So, I checked.

    At his current pace, Proctor will pitch in 82 games this season and throw 109 innings.

    That seemed like a record to me, of some sort, until I checked.

    In 2004, Paul Quantrill appeared in 86 games for the Yankees and threw 95.3 innings. Heck, in 2002, Steve Karsay pitched in 78 games for the Yankees and threw 88.3 innings.

    Run ’em out, and run ’em into the ground, eh, Joe?

    June 23rd vs. The Marlins

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 · Comments (5)

    This game was…….


    PS – Happy 63rd Wedding Anniversary to Scooter and Cora. I thought I once heard Phil say, during a broadcast (from Seattle?) that he would never book a round hotel room because then he would never be able to corner Cora.

    Hopefully, there’s an octagon-shaped room somewhere up at Penny’s house. I have no idea how old Cora is now – but, Scooter is eighty-eight. They deserve to have some fun tonight.

    Holy Cow!

    Area 51

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 · Comments (1)

    I’ve been thumbing through “Now Batting, Number… The Mystique, Superstition, and Lore of Baseball’s Uniform Numbers.”

    This book includes listings of the complete rosters of all thirty Major League teams with each player’s number and position since 1929.

    It has some typos on player names – that I’ve noticed already. But, it’s a fun book. For instance, who were the men to wear # 51 for the Yankees? Here’s the list:

    George McQuinn 1947
    Frank Leja 1954-55
    Jim Coates 1956
    Gordon Windhorn 1959
    Pete Mikkelsen 1964-65
    Tony Solaita 1968
    Ron Klimkowski 1969
    Terry Whitfield 1974
    Larry McCall 1977-78
    Cecilio Guante 1987-88
    Don Schultze 1989
    Chuck Cary 1989-91
    and, Bernie Williams since 1991.

    Pete Mikkelsen was a Staten Island native (like myself). If I remember right, no Staten Islander has pitched in more big league games than him.

    But, clearly, when the Yankees retire #51 for Bernie, there will be no debate on “They should have retired it for so-and-so first.”

    The Kid Is Alright

    Posted by on June 23rd, 2006 · Comments (0)

    The Daily News takes a look at how Johnny Damon has been doing so far:

    Damon is on pace to score 125 runs, which would be the second-highest total of his career. Damon’s .367 on-base percentage is 14 points higher than his career mark and he’s batting .299. He could eclipse his career-high of 20 homers and get close to his personal best of 94 RBI.

    “I think Johnny drives in a lot of big runs for a leadoff guy, especially late in games,” Jason Giambi said.

    While Damon doesn’t have a strong arm, he’s also played “an exceptional center field,” according to Mike Mussina and several other teammates. “He’s getting to balls that a lot of people wouldn’t get to,” Mussina said. “We’re covering a lot more ground in the outfield.”

    Four and a half months ago, I suggested that we should expect the following from Damon this season:

    Games: 149
    At Bats: 615
    Runs: 114
    Hits: 177
    Batting Avg: .288
    On Base Avg: .350
    RBI: 72
    Doubles: 33
    Triples: 7
    Homeruns: 14
    Steals: 25

    So, he’s been better than what should be normally expected. Now, factor in that Damon has had health issues this season with his foot, elbow, and hamstring. Impressive.

    I would say that Damon’s winning over Yankees fans quickly this year – and he’s doing it the right way.

    Me Likey

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2006 · Comments (3)

    They keep all kinds of great stats over at The Hardball Timesincluding two of my personal favorites, Line Drive Percentage (LD%) for batters and the Number of Pitches that a batters sees per Plate Appearance (P/PA).

    I just like it when a batter works a pitcher. And, I like it when a batter hits a line-drive. Of course, I like it when a batter is good at both of these things. So, why not combine the two (with some multiplication) to come up with an overall rate? Such as this, for the Yankees this season, to date:


    Pretty interesting to see how this shakes out, huh?

    Torre On Pavano Comeback

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2006 · Comments (11)

    From the S.I. Advance

    Carl Pavano — coming back from surgery to remove “four or five” bone chips from his elbow — yesterday threw 50 times at 45 feet, as he did Monday. Tomorrow he will increase to 75 throws.

    “I’m confident he will help us before the year is over,” Torre said.

    Just for the record, next Tuesday (6/27) will be one-year anniversary since the last time that Pavano put his toe to a major league mound.

    Tangotiger On Jeter & A-Rod

    Posted by on June 22nd, 2006 · Comments (0)

    Tom Tango goes behind the clutch numbers for the Yankees in his blog today. (Hat tip to BaseballThinkFactory.org.) Here’s the meat of what he says:

    Fangraphs is keeping track of the change in win expectancy for the season. How is Derek Jeter, the clutchest of all clutch players doing? Don’t look now, but he is leading the Yankees in win probability added, with +3.2 wins!

    Their best overall hitter (in terms of OPS) is Giambi, and he’s at +1.7 wins. Their next best hitter is Posada at +2.2 wins. Then it’s Jeter, someone else, and then it’s Damon at +1.1 wins and Bernie at +0.4 wins. In the middle of all that is Jeter, and he should be, if he performed the same regardless of the situation, around the +1.5 win level. He’s at +3.2 wins, giving him +1.7 wins of clutch performance, in only 64 games. That’s a +4.3 wins of clutch performance over a season. That is better than David Ortiz did last year. Ladies and gentlemen, we may be witnessing the greatest clutch season of all players, and this will cement Jeter’s status as the God of all that is Clutch.

    And who is that “someone else” that I just mentioned. Why, no other than what New Yorkers consider the antithesis of Jeter: ARod. His stat line is similar in quality to Jeter, and he should be a shade below +1.5 wins. He is instead at zero. Zero! Average. He has performed, with all those home runs, all those runs scored and ribbies, and that .500 slugging percentage, he has performed, if you include the game situation, as if he were an average hitter. He is at 1.5 Choke wins. As great as Jeter’s Clutch performance has been, ARod’s Choke performance has been almost its equal.

    Hey, didn’t I just say this, albeit in a different fashion, two days ago about A-Rod this season?

    It is interesting to see two different roads lead to the same destination.

    Rudernyi Melky Cabrera

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (1)

    The Daily News is running a great feature on Melky Cabrera. Here are the highlights:

    Melky Cabrera began playing baseball at age 3, with a stick and a rock and a plea to anyone who visited the family’s humble roadside home on Carretera Sanchez, in the village of Haina, not far from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

    “Pitch it! Pitch it,” he would say, holding out a rock.

    “He was born with a ball in his blood,” says Maria Teresa Aspacio, 47, Cabrera’s mother. “He loved to play ball more than anything.”

    Cabrera wakes up in his New Jersey apartment, an upscale, low-rise building a few miles from the George Washington Bridge, and a million figurative miles from the cramped home he shared with his mother, grandmother, two older sisters and three other relatives growing up. Melky slept in a room with his mother.

    The apartment is in the same complex as Robinson Cano’s: his fellow Dominican and closest friend on the team.

    Through the end of last year and right into spring training, Cabrera put special emphasis on his defense – reading balls off the bat, improving his jumps. His speed is good, but not enough to outrun balls. As recently as a few weeks ago, Joe Torre lifted him for a defensive replacement in the late innings. Now he makes stellar plays almost regularly.

    Says Cabrera, “I think that (inside-the-park-home-run) pushed me hard and made me better.”

    Cabrera’s commitment to his loved ones is all over him, literally. He has the names of his mother and grandmother – Teresa and Delores – tattooed on his back, inside a baseball logo. Inside his cap are the words, “God, Teresa, Melky.”

    Everyone seems to love Melky’s name. Whoever heard of a Melky? “I wanted to name him Dario, after his godfather,” his mother says. Her daughter, Ladi, came up with Melky on the way home from the hospital.

    A natural lefty hitter, Cabrera taught himself to switch-hit as a youngster, after a Dominican scout said to him, “You are not going to be so tall. You will make it to the big leagues faster as a switch-hitter.” It’s no coincidence that Cabrera’s favorite ballplayer as a youngster was a switch-hitter – Chipper Jones.

    What a great story. I think “Rudernyi” is Spanish for “Ruettiger.” Maybe Kuno Becker can play the lead role in the movie version of “Melky”?

    June 21th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (4)

    When I left work today, I asked one of my Yankees fan friends there what the odds were of Jaret “Five & Pine” Wright throwing a good game in the Philly bandbox. He laughed and said “You never know.” I answered back with “Sorry, I don’t have a lot of confidence in him tonight.”

    So, it’s not an understatement to say I’m surprised – but happy – that Wright posted goose eggs tonight (albeit in his customary five spot). With an off-day tomorrow, it’s not so bad that he didn’t pitch the 6th today. (And, I buy into what they said on YES – that it may have been all those LHB coming up, in what was then a 1-0 game, that was the driver to go with Villone.)

    In closing tonight, I would like to personally “thank” the Washington Nationals for rolling over to the Red Sox (for three straight) like a patient at the proctologist after playing the Yankees like it was the 7th game of the World Series for three days in a row. Everybody wants to beat the Yankees but nobody ever shows up against the Red Sox. Let’s just say that I’ll be rooting against the Nationals now, when given the chance, whereas before they were never on my radar. They’ve made my “list” after this past week.

    Jason Johnson

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From a Red Sox Press Release:

    The Boston Red Sox today acquired righthander Jason Johnson and a cash consideration from the Cleveland Indians for a player to be named or cash. Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein made the announcement.

    This is funny. Just this morning, seeing that the Tribe had let him go, I wondered to myself “Could he possibly help the Yankees rotation?”

    Looking into it more, the answer was “No!” (That’s why I didn’t write about it here.)

    I think the only thing he provides is a view of just how bad the back end of the rotation is for Boston this year.

    If Jason Johnson is better than what you have there – you don’t have much at all.

    Yanks Acquire Outfielder!

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (7)

    Well, sorta.

    From the Chico Enterprise Record

    The rest of the Golden Baseball League won’t have to worry about facing Victor Hall of the Reno Silver Sox, because his contract was purchased by the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

    Hall, a 25-year-old center fielder, was batting .362 with three home runs, not to mention leading the league with 23 runs scored and 15 stolen bases through the first 16 games.

    Victor Hall. He’s this year’s version of Vince Faison.

    What’s the line from The Natural?

    Another brilliant find from our scouting system. Geniuses.

    Yankee Birthday Data

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (11)

    Did you know (?) that:

    + Jim Beattie and George Steinbrenner share the same birthday.

    + There have been 88 men to play for the Yankees who were born in the month of May – the only month in the year to have less than 100 men born (in it) who went on to wear the pinstripes.

    + The only “Leap Year Baby” to ever play for the Yankees was Terrence Long.

    + There’s never been someone, yet, born in 1985 to play for the Yankees.

    Lee Sinins was very kind to supply me with the birth dates of everyone to play for the Yankees to date. Putting it into a spreadsheet allows for lots of sorting fun.

    Did you know that Alan Embree and Mark Wohlers were born on the same exact month/day/year? Bernie Williams and Denny Neagle were born on the same month/day/year as well. Ditto Clay Bellinger and Gary Sheffield.

    Did you know that Tony Clark, Ramiro Mendoza and Andy Pettitte were all born on the same exact month/day/year?

    Fun stuff. (Thanks Lee!)

    Jacque Jones

    Posted by on June 21st, 2006 · Comments (9)

    The Daily News is reporting that the Yankees “have had recent internal discussions about the Cubs’ Jacque Jones.” (Hat tip to Bronx Banter.)

    Jones can do a decent job against right-handed pitching. And, anyone who has read Fantasyland can tell you that he’s stand-up person in the clubhouse.

    Then again, this time last year we also heard about a deal that was coming. This story could be just a ‘Tis the season thing.

    The strange part about the interest in Jones is that he’s under contract through 2008. You know Matsui will be back in the OF next year with Damon. Does the interest in Jones mean that Sheffield is not coming back? Does it mean that Melky does not get a shot at RF in 2007? If this trade does happen, it starts a whole slew of questions towards the future.

    June 20th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    I wonder how many Yankees fans, like me, given the events of the three games prior to this contest, expected (at some level) to see Ryan Howard blast another HR to win the game in the bottom of the 9th?


    Maybe all that fisting that Jeter did with that kid in the stands tonight has brought on some good luck?

    Before I forget – is Bernie Williams really batting .294 now? Yes, this is true. But, it’s a strange thing – because his OBA, now, is only around .334 (by my rough count). So, he’s not really like the Bernie Williams of old – he’s more like the Robinson Cano of now. But, given the Yankees’ choices for outfielders these days – Kevin Reese anyone? – Bernie’s helping the team as best he can (at this stage of his career).

    It was sort of scary seeing Mo Rivera swing a bat for the first time since Game 4 of the 2000 World Series. Why was he swinging from the heels? Torre should have ordered him to stand there for three pitches and not risk any injury. Just imagine if Mariano ended up on the D.L. this year because he hurt his shoulder swinging the bat in an inter-league game?

    Lastly, yes, A-Rod, Melky, Damon…..fill in the blanks. But, more importantly, Arthur Lee Rhodes Jr., well, thank you for being you. It’s nice to know there are still some things that you can count on almost every time.

    Mantle, Warming Up In The Pen

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    By now, you may have seen the story about Mickey Mantle’s reported personal “experiences” at Yankee Stadium.

    Part of me questions how such documents have fallen into the hands of those who are reporting this story – and therefore I have to wonder if this is legit or not.

    But, part of me thinks that it could be true – based on an encounter that someone (close to me) had with Mantle back in the 1980’s.

    Mantle was at a function held in the Binghamton Club. The person (close to me) was working at the event – and they thought this was a great chance to get Mick’s autograph (for me).

    Mantle was more than willing to sign. But, as I was told, “He tried to sign my boob first.” It seems Mantle had a few (what the Scooter would call) “lollipops” at the club that day and was feeling free and easy.

    When his idea was rejected, Mickey did agree to sign a cocktail napkin (for me). I have it somewhere – I should look for it. (I haven’t looked at it in years.)

    Anyway, it seems from most reports that Mantle had a very bawdy-side to him. So, the answer that he reportedly provided in the documents does not shock me.

    I would just like to know the source of the documents before I waste any serious time considering if they’re real or not.

    Update, 11:14 pm ET, 6-20-06: The author of the Mantle report was very kind to contact me and share some information – that I will not detail here, out of respect for the author and to ensure that I do not cause problems for their source – that now makes me believe that the Mantle documents in their report are the real deal. I’m not 100% certain on this – as a fact. But, I think the odds are in favor of these documents being what they appear to be in the report.

    Bronx Boss Blog

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    Hearing today that (NBA) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has his own blog, I began to wonder – How much fun would it be if the Big Stein had a blog?

    By this I mean the Stein that we knew from years ago – not the one today who does all his speaking via canned statements from Howard Rubenstein, his personal spokesman.

    Oh, what fun reading that would be……..

    Leather Game Faces

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Defense Efficiency Ratio is the percentage of times a batted ball is turned into an out by the teams’ fielders, not including home runs.

    Baseball Prospectus tracks this statistic. Here’s the AL leaders as of this morning:


    The good news here is that the Yankees are doing a very good job, so far, this season, at turning batted balls into outs. The bad news here is that column above titled “ROE” – that’s “Reached On Error” (meaning the number of times a batter reaches base as a direct result of a fielding error).

    Only the Angels are worse, so far, this year, in the AL, in terms of allowing guys to reach base via an error.

    I guess this should not be a shock. A-Rod has 11 errors this season already. Cano has 7 and Jeter has 6 to his discredit. Giambi has 5 and Phillips has one less than that. When your infield has 33 errors in 68 games, I would imagine that some of those allowed people to reach base safely.

    The Yankees are also second-worst in the AL, to date, in terms of allowing unearned runs (UER):


    Just imagine how bad things would be for the Yankees, in the field, if more of those batted balls went for hits instead of outs? Better lucky than good, right?

    It’s A-Rod Season!

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    I just noticed the following entry over at NoMaas.org

    06.19.2006 We should release Arod

    2006 with Runners on Base:
    .290 BA / .407 OBP / .556 SLG / .963 OPS

    2006 with Runners in Scoring Position:
    .299 BA / .444 OBP / .558 SLG / 1.002 OPS

    2006 with Runners in Scoring Position, 2 outs:
    .343 BA / .511 OBP / .600 SLG / 1.111 OPS

    Even Yankee fans can be ignorant.

    Related, Peter Abraham has an A-Rod “clutch” stat in his blog today:

    According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Alex Rodriguez has had four hits this season that have given the Yankees the lead in the seventh inning or later.

    In all of baseball, only Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Michael Young of Texas have more with five each.

    Not Derek Jeter. Not Big Papi Ortiz. Nobody else.

    Around three weeks ago, I looked at A-Rod’s numbers this season in a different light.

    And, I thought that I would re-look at them today. Here’s what I saw:

    A-Rod’s Batting Results – By Game Score


    Bottom line, this season, when the Yankees are tied, ahead, or trailing by three or more runs, Alex Rodriguez has been a monster with the stick – everything that the Yankees (and their fans) could expect from him (and maybe more).

    Where A-Rod has been a no-show, this season, is when he comes to the plate and the Yankees are losing by 2 runs or less. These are the spots where one swing of the bat can get the Yankees back into the game, etc. Here, he’s batting .087 this season – yes, oh-eighty-seven.

    So far, to date, Alex Rodriguez has come to the plate 54 times this season where the Yankees were trailing by 1 or 2 runs (in that game) – and, in those 54 PAs, he has produced 4 hits (all singles) while striking out 13 times.

    Yes, he was also walked 7 times out of those 54 PAs, and HBP once, but, given his lack of stick in those spots, his OBA is still near .200 in those 54 PAs.

    To me, it’s these “down by one or two” moments (or chances) that are what many see as “clutch” opportunities.

    Batting with runners on? Or, in scoring position? If a guy gets a hit in those spots and the score is already 15-2 (in favor or against) is he being clutch?

    As far as the hits that have given the Yankees the lead, so far, this season, A-Rod has 9 hits (regardless of the inning) all year where the Yankees were trailing by 4 runs or less. They have come in 63 ABs. That’s a batting average of .143.

    Again, I think this is what the fans see, this season, when it comes to A-Rod. They don’t see the 9 times that he’s come through in these spots – they see the 54 times that he has failed.

    And, I have to wonder, how many times did he fail, in the seventh inning or later, where he could have given the Yankees the lead, as compared to the four times where he came through? I wish Elias Sports Bureau would provide those numbers as well.

    For all we know, Justin Morneau could be 5 for 5 in these spots and Alex Rodriguez is 4 for 18? All of a sudden, that four doesn’t seem so close to the five anymore.

    There’s still a lot of season to be played, but, to me, A-Rod has not been “clutch” for the Yankees this year. Hopefully, this will change over the next four months.

    The Melking Point?

    Posted by on June 20th, 2006 · Comments (4)

    Thanks to the Baseball Musings Day by Day Database, we can slice and dice baseball stats to see things behind the overall numbers.

    Melky Cabrera, in his first 25 games with the Yankees this season, batted .286 with an On-Base Average of .375. This was over the course of 91 ABs. His Slugging Percentage was low during this time (.352) – but, he was getting on base enough, and making plays on the bases and in the field, to offset the lack of power.

    Then on June 6th, Melky made a great play to rob Manny Ramirez of a homerun.

    Since that great play, Melky Cabrera’s bat has disappeared. In the 11 games since June 6th, Cabrera is batting .150 with an On-Base Average of .292 (in 40 ABs). His Slugging Percentage during this time is just .225.

    Either Melky hurt himself making that play on June 6th or the fame that’s come with that catch has taken him away from what was helping him do well in his first 25 games this year.

    Oh, and, by the way, the Yankees have lost 8 of those 11 games since June 6th.

    Sure, it’s only 40 ABs where he’s been slumping. That’s a small sample size. And, hopefully, Cabrera will start playing better soon.

    But, if Melky continues down this current road that he’s on, well, then the Yankees are going to need to address the situation (in some way). Cabrera probably knows this as well. It will be a good test for the kid.

    June 19th @ The Phillies

    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    Something like 20-years ago, the “Magic Eye” thing was really big. I first remembered seeing them in the local mall. Then, they got so popular that the newspaper was carrying them in the comics section.

    The way it worked was – you would stare at a point in the picture, and then relax your eyes, and then you would see these “magical” things inside the picture – like rivers of color, or a funky space alien, or something silly like that.

    It never worked for me. All my friends would carry on about all the “cool” stuff that they could see – like it was an acid trip. Me? I would stare, and stare, and stare – and I’d get nothing.

    Basically, looking at these things was a total waste of my time – and the more I did it, the more annoyed I would become (since I knew there was “something” good in there, according to others, but all I could see was a blur of seemingly nothingness).

    For roughly two decades, since the height of the “Magic Eye” craze, I do not recall having this experience – of watching something, staring at it with great intent, thinking it was going to be good, and it essentially becoming a mind numbing waste of time.

    But, I swear, watching this game tonight, it all came back to me. The more that I stared at this game, the more I saw nothing. The whole thing is just one big blur. And, it’s not pretty – at least not to me.

    Cano, Wang & The Debate

    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    Lately, when I look at Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang, all I can think about is the Scouts versus Sabermetrics Debate.

    The scouts say that Chien-Ming Wang has nasty stuff and nerves of steel – and should be a very good pitcher for the Yankees. The stats say that Chien-Ming Wang’s low strikeout rates should be a red flag – and that he’ll always be at the mercy of luck to determine if he’ll have a good outing or not.

    The scouts say that Robinson Cano has fast hands and a sweet swing and should be the next Rod Carew. The stats say that Robinson Cano’s low walk rate means that he’ll have to hit .330 just to be an average offensive player.

    So, if you’re the Yankees, which road do you follow? Do you go by the advanced numbers and trade these players while they still have value? Or, do you listen to the scouts and keep your home-grown talent?

    I think we all know that it’s the latter. Cashman has said that Cano and Wang are not available.

    That’s fine. There comes a time to make a call and the Yankees have made their decision. I can roll with that.

    Still, part of me wonders – “If the Twins offered Johan Santana in exchange for Cano and Wang, should the Yankees make that deal?”

    It’s a fun question, no?


    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    From the Florida Marlins site:

    As for all the speculation, once again, [Dontrelle] Willis isn’t a free agent until after the 2009 season. There is no urgency to trade him from within the organization. Yes, the Marlins will listen to offers because they feel obligated to see what might be out there. To give you an example of what it might take to get Willis, consider this possible offer that was mentioned by league sources recently. One source said the Yankees were told it would take Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera and Chien-Ming Wang to land Willis. The Yankees, according to a source, said no thanks.

    Cano, Cabrera, and Wang.

    Thanks Marlins, it’s Monday and I needed a laugh today.

    Karsay Kurse?

    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    The Yankees signed Steve Karsay on Pearl Harbor Day 2001 – partly in response to the Yankees losing Game 7 of the 2001 World Series – as a result of not having an “ace” to pitch the 8th inning (other than Mo Rivera). At least, this was the reason for the loss in the eyes of some of the Yankees brass, I would bet.

    The Yankees threw “closer” money at Karsay to get him signed. He was pretty good in his first season with New York – but that was it. In retrospect, this deal was a terrible signing by the Yankees. In the end, it was a waste of over $17 million and cost the Yankees a draft pick that could have been someone like Jonathan Lester, Jeremy Reed or Jesse Crain.

    Since the Yankees signed Karsay, they’ve never come within 2 games of winning a World Series – despite making the post-season every year. Could there have been some sort of Karsay Curse in effect here?

    Maybe it’s broken now that Steve Karsay has retired from baseball?

    OK, I’m just kidding with all this – unless the Yankees go on to win 4 of the next 5 World Series starting this year.


    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    Sam Donnellon is the Philly News has written the following:

    Here they come: Cabrera, Cano, Cairo, Posada, Rivera, and their newest addition, Veras.

    The 2006 New York Yankees. Latin chapter.

    When people predicted a few years ago that the Yankees were headed south, this was not what they had in mind. They saw an aging ballclub built heavily through free-agent signings and contract-incurring trades, a club that had sacrificed draft choices and young talent for quick fixes too numerous to list.

    Amid their insatiable and annual quest for a championship, the Yankees also had not drafted particularly well. Which left owner George Steinbrenner and his high-stakes players with one last resort:

    Hit the resorts.

    Sign players from such places as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, who were exempt from the free-agent draft.

    When I look at the Yankees current 25-man roster, I see 32% of it is players with a Latin-background. Is that more than most teams? I think Donnellon is confusing the Yankees with the Mets.

    Hey, not that there’s anything wrong with having a mostly Latin team – it’s just that I think Donnellon is looking for a story where there isn’t one here.

    Or, at the least, it’s the same story that most teams could tell.

    Numbers: Yanks Need Another SP

    Posted by on June 19th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    Some current 2006 Yankees stats, via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:


    According to these stats, the Yankees basically have 5 hitters and 5 pitchers that are doing well, so far, this season. (I can’t count Myers because of his low IP total). And, for the pitchers, the breakdown is 2 starters and 3 men from the pen.

    There’s really no question that the Yankees need to improve their starting pitching in order to win it all this year. But, then again, that was the case last year – and the year before that – as well.

    Mussina, Wells, Clemens, and Pettitte was the last solid Yankees rotation – back in 2003. New York has never been able to replace Wells, Clemens and Pettitte – as a group.

    On the whole, Randy Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Jon Lieber, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jaret Wright, Aaron Small, and Shawn Chacon have not been the answer.

    Chien-Ming Wang has been Wang-der-full. But, he can’t fill three slots in a rotation. Hopefully, Randy Johnson, the rest of this season, can match his 2005 production levels. That will help. But, it still leaves the Yankees one pitcher short of having a decent rotation. This is the answer. How about the question?

    Is the question “Who?”

    Even a guy like David Bush, Doug Davis, Scott Elarton, Tony Armas Jr., Livan Hernandez, Aaron Cook, Chris Young, or Paul Byrd would be a decent addition (at the right price) at this stage.

    So, the question is probably “When?”

    And, the further answer there is “Soon – before it’s too late!”

    I’ll leave the “How?” up to Brian Cashman. That’s why he gets the big bucks.

    It Makes Sense

    Posted by on June 18th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    From Yankees.com

    With the Yankees’ bullpen in a state of disarray, manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Ron Guidry have decided to rearrange the team’s starting rotation.

    With an off-day on Thursday, New York will insert Chien-Ming Wang in between Jaret Wright and Shawn Chacon. Wright and Chacon have had trouble getting deep into games in recent weeks, leaving the bullpen overworked on back-to-back days.

    Perhaps in the spirit of “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” the Yankees should just go with “Wang and Mussina and a precipitation novena“?

    No Bull

    Posted by on June 18th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    It’s June 18th, and the Yankees bullpen is presently manned as follows:

    Mariano Rivera
    Kyle Farnsworth
    Mike Myers
    Ron Villone
    Scott Proctor
    T.J. Beam
    Matt Smith
    Jose Veras

    OK, show of hands, back in March, how many people figured Proctor, Beam, Smith and Veras all to be in the Yankees bullpen at the same time before the end of June?

    June 18th @ The Nationals

    Posted by on June 18th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    I was spared today. I missed this game. We took the kids to go see the Sussex Skyhawks play at Skylands Park in Augusta (NJ). It was 75 miles (each way) to get there – but, it was worth it.

    It’s a cozy park, with quiet fans – at least they were today, and the staff is very polite. We had a fun time at the ballpark today – unlike the Yankees.

    When the Yankees play the Washington Nationals, they’re supposed to win either two or three out of three games. They’re not supposed to win one game and then blow the other two for losses.

    When we got to the car today, and I heard the score of the Yankees final, and then how it happened, all I could think about was what Joe Torre said after yesterday’s game:

    [It’s] “As bad as you can get…”

    Guess what Joe – it just got worse. This is a devastating loss.

    The Yankees have now lost 7 of their last 10 games. And, one of those wins was by the score of 1-0. So, we could be looking at 8 of 10 right now. New York is lucky that Boston and/or Toronto has not taken advantage of this slump.

    The way the Yankees are playing right now, it seems like this team needs a shot of adrenaline, or something. How that happens, I don’t know? In the absence of adrenaline, maybe a slap in the face will do?

    It just seems like, if they do nothing, then nothing will happen.

    Andy Phillips Burden

    Posted by on June 18th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    I noticed a story in Newsday about Andy Phillips’ wife linked over at NoMaas.org today. Here’s the meat of it:

    Andy Phillips couldn’t stop tearing up no matter how hard he tried. His eyes stayed wet throughout a game in April as he questioned his priorities.

    Phillips had to be home with his sick wife, he kept thinking.

    He had to hold Bethany’s hand as she fought cancer.

    Phillips has traveled home on every day off since to be with his wife as she deals with the debilitating side effects of chemo, the fourth separate form of treatment she’s had and one the doctors explained was the last resort before surgery that would cost Bethany her fertility.

    It was an emotional roller coaster, beginning with their first sonogram. After learning of the pregnancy the day after Christmas, Phillips was sitting in a doctor’s office the next week.

    “When they saw the sonogram, they didn’t see the baby,” he said. “They saw a snowy picture, a snowy TV screen.”

    That’s when the doctors knew what was wrong. It’s called gestational trophoblastic disease, which occurs when a tumor is formed in the uterus. It is typically cured with immediate surgery — four out of five surgeries are successful, Phillips was told — but Bethany’s surgery did not work. When she went to have her blood checked a week later, her hormone levels still were rising. Something wasn’t right.

    The next step was shots of methotrexate for four weeks, which led up to spring training.

    The good news now is that, according to the story, “she’s [now] cancer-free, healthy and still able to have children.”

    I’m so sorry to hear about anyone going through something like this – and am glad to hear now that everything for the Phillips family is OK.

    I’m sharing this story here with a request. It’s Father’s Day. Take something from what Phillips and his wife have gone through. If you’re a dad, go hug the mother of your children and tell her that you love her. And, then go do the same with your kids. Consider it, as Yogi would say, “Thanks for making this day necessary.”

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