• Some Music For A Monday

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Never to be confused with A.L. East rival Nick Markakis…here’s Paul Lekakis circa 1987.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk Commenting Guidelines

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2009 · Comments Off on WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk Commenting Guidelines

    On February 15, 2009, it was shared that the “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” series would soon be expanded from being a weekday only item into being something that would happen seven days a week.

    Related, beginning on February 25, 2009, when the series becomes a daily item, rather than have a description in each “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entry explaining the rules of the road for that entry, a link to this entry will be included in the “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entry. (The thought here is that one small and simple link, in place of the same instructions text repeating each day, would be easier on the eyes for those who were already familiar with the “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” series and its purpose, etc.)

    If you’ve reached this entry via a link in a “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entry, please read the following which pertains to what you may post as a comment in that entry.

    Feel free to use “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entries as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) on the day said entry was posted. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Just remember: keep it Yankees-focused.

    Also, feel free to use “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entries as a place to share your opinions, observations, complaints, rooting, and other sundry comments with fellow fans during the playing of the Yankees game that day, should the Yankees be playing a game on the day of the “WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk” entry.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    And, of course, please, also be mindful of the WasWatching.com Community Standards.

    Wild Thought: What If Cashman Goes 3 For 3 On the 40% Plan?

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2009 · Comments (30)

    In 2007, Brian Cashman’s plan for the Yankees starting rotation, at the start of the season, was to give 40% of the team’s starts to Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa. Because of ineffectiveness and injury, that “40% Plan” failed.

    In 2008, Brian Cashman’s plan for the Yankees starting rotation, at the start of the season, was to give 40% of the team’s starts to Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Because of ineffectiveness and injury, that “40% Plan” failed.

    Now, in 2009, Brian Cashman’s plan for the Yankees starting rotation, at the start of this season, is to give 40% of the team’s starts to A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain.

    It’s just today’s wild thought; but, what if this Cashman “40% Plan” fails for the third season in a row? It’s possible – Burnett has a checkered past and Chamberlain has yet to prove that he can be counted on to make 25+ starts at the big league level.

    Would a failed “40% Plan” hat-trick mean three strikes and you’re out for Brian Cashman? Should it?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 2/23/09

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    P.S. – if you want to discuss the Academy Awards results, as a special treat, here – that’s O.K., today, too.

    Yank Official: We’re Stuck With A-Rod Now

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Via Wallace Matthews – an unnamed Yankees official on A-Rod now that we know he used PEDs –

    “Now we’re stuck with the [expletive deleted] for the next nine years. What if parts of his body start falling off in year five of the contract?”

    Any guesses on who said this?

    Goldstein: Yankees Top 11 Prospects

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Kevin Goldstein offers his list of the Yankees Top 11 Prospects:

    Five-Star Prospects
    1. Jesus Montero, C
    2. Austin Jackson, CF
    Three-Star Prospects
    3. Dellin Betances, RHP
    4. Austin Romine, C
    5. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
    6. Andrew Brackman, RHP
    7. Jeremy Bleich, LHP
    8. Alfredo Aceves, RHP
    9. Zach McAllister, RHP
    10. Phil Coke, LHP
    11. Mark Melancon, RHP

    Just Missed: Brad Suttle, 3B; Kelvin De Leon, RF; Wilkins De La Rosa, LHP

    If you want to see Goldstein’s list for the Yankees last year, click here. And, to see the year before that, click here.

    Last year, Goldstein had the Yankees having 5 prospects who were Four-Star Prospects or better. This year, it’s down to just 2 prospects who are Four-Star Prospects or better.

    Actually, when you look at this list for the Yankees, Goldstein’s commentary stating that the Yankees system has “a lot of young, high-ceiling prospects and older, low-ceiling types” rings true. It’s pretty hard to look at this “Top 11” list and come away saying that the Yankees have a lot of prospects that look like pretty good bets to be solid big leaguers.

    33% Of The Time, Bernie Was ‘The Man’

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Here’s a fun little stat/list via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

    Since 1973 (when Big Stein took over the team) – Yankees players with the most seasons where they qualified for the batting title and had an OPS of .950+

    Bernie Williams	4
    Jason Giambi	3
    Alex Rodriguez	3
    Paul O'Neill	1
    Derek Jeter	1
    Don Mattingly	1
    Jorge Posada	1
    Reggie Jackson	1


    Scout: Angel Presinal Master At Beating PED Tests

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (10)

    Via the Daily News:

    According to a former baseball scout, who worked with players who trained with [Angel] Presinal in the Dominican, Presinal provided some players with steroids. The former scout declined to be named in this story but says that players refer to Presinal as “The Cleaner,” someone who can rid traces of steroids from the players’ urine before a drug test.

    “He puts them through a cycle and then they flush the body out,” the former scout said. “If you’re afraid of testing positive, this is the guy to go to.” He said players are afraid to discuss Presinal because they depend on his expertise as a trainer. It is also expensive to work with Presinal, according to the former scout, who says the trainer charges as much as $10,000 for an offseason session.

    If this is true, then shame on George Mitchell for not including Presinal, who has ties to several Red Sox players (in addition to the Yankees Alex Rodriguez), in his report to baseball on PED usage. If the Daily News is able to get the skinny on Presinal, then why not Mitchell?

    Mea Cupla, 2/22/09, 7 pm EST: I was wrong about Presinal not being in the Mitchell Report. He was mentioned in it. My apologies to Mr. Mitchell, MLB, and anyone else who my bad assumption adversely impacted.

    Swoboda: A-Rod’s Not A Winner

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (15)

    Ron Swoboda on Alex Rodriguez, via Kevin Kernan with a hat tip to BBTF and Mike Silva:

    “He is a tremendous athlete, but for what he gets paid, his game breaks down in a bunch of different ways too often when it really matters,” Swoboda said. “Like Joe Torre said, he puts a lot of pressure on himself and he’s so aware of every move he makes sometimes you can just see him cracking because the play’s too easy. The guy can’t catch a popup, can’t make a simple throw, can’t get a big hit when it really matters.

    “If you had eight A-Rods out there I doubt you would be a winning team. He isn’t about winning. He may think he is, but he isn’t about winning. He’s about building those numbers and some day being called the greatest player that ever played. That’s fine and dandy, but in my humble opinion, he is way overpaid for what he contributes to winning.”

    For the record, the Yankees went 209-201 when Ron Swoboda was a member of their team. But, in games that Swoboda started, the Yankees went 43-34. So, he knows what he’s talking about when referencing how players help a team win…

    O.K., yeah, I’m kidding here. (Not on the numbers, those are real – just with the commentary about his remarks.)

    Nonetheless, when Swoboda says “[A-Rod] puts a lot of pressure on himself and he’s so aware of every move he makes sometimes you can just see him cracking because the play’s too easy. The guy can’t catch a popup, can’t make a simple throw, can’t get a big hit when it really matters,” it’s hard to say that’s not the truth, right?

    Something For Brett Gardner To Shoot For…

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Can “The Holly Hill Hot Rod” better Miguel Dilone’s “record“? I sure hope so…as that would be neat.

    General Joe: RF Up For Grabs

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (9)

    Via Mark Feinsand

    Not so fast, said Joe Girardi, who declared on the first day of camp that [Nick] Swisher would be given an opportunity to challenge [Xavier] Nady for the right-field job. The only problem was no one ever told Nady that his position was up for grabs.

    “I haven’t met with anybody,” Nady said Saturday. “This is the first I’ve heard of it. I’m planning on helping this team win and being a part of the lineup.”

    Girardi reiterated Saturday that the job is there for the taking, a competition that he feels is an integral part of any spring camp.

    “It’s something that I have to balance and juggle, and possibly make some tough decisions when spring training ends – or the decisions might be made for us,” Girardi said. “To me, when you come to spring training, you’re all competing. You have to prove yourself in this game over and over and over. We expect all our players to do that.”

    “You know that they want to play, and that’s how you want it,” Girardi said. “X had a great year for us and showed us a lot. For us to know what’s going to happen April 6 right now, you’d like to be able to predict but we can’t. Players get ready and we’ll make the decisions. The more great players we have on the team, the better team we’re going to be.”

    “It’s important that, as players, you understand that you’re doing what’s best for the team,” Girardi said. “When I played here, that’s the way the team was. You had veteran guys that didn’t necessarily play every day, but we thrived as a team. That’s why the team concept is so important. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the good of the team and it’s important that players buy into that.”

    “I’ll just play the game like I always do,” Nady said. “Whether it’s a competition or not, there’s always someone out there that’s behind you, coming up that can take your job. If you don’t produce at this level, you’re going to find yourself somewhere else.”

    Actually, I think the true spring battle will be between the loser of Swisher/Nady and Hideki Matsui’s knees. And, if Godzilla was 100% sound now, either Swisher or Nady would be on the Atlanta Braves right about this time.

    Former Yankee Has Book Coming Out

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Relax. I’m sure this one will be harmless.

    Is it just me, or, is this the year of a thousand new baseball books? Seems like more newbies this season than usual…

    August 4, 1985

    Posted by on February 21st, 2009 · Comments (8)

    At this very moment, the MLB Network is airing the Yankees game of August 4, 1985 as part of their All-Time Games series. Granted, that’s the day that Huckleberry, Seaver, rained on the Scooter’s parade. But, it’s so coooool to watch this one now. Rickey Henderson, Joe Cowley, Donnie Baseball, Ron Hassey, Willie Randolph, Dan Pasqua, Dave Winfield, Mike Pagliarulo, Bobby Meacham….ah, memories.

    And, just the sights and sounds from a Yankees game, circa the ’80’s, being played, in the sun, at Yankee Stadium…from the crowd reactions to Eddie Layton’s tunes…right down to the ballplayers looking like human beings, and not hulks, and wearing their uniforms properly….

    I’m telling ya, getting to watch this today is like having a nice, warm, friendly, blankie on a cold and rainy day. It just feels right.

    I found this one by accident – as I just got back from some errands and flicked on the TV when I got in. Man, what a great surprise…

    Felix Lopez Kid Busted in ’02 For PED Possession

    Posted by on February 21st, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Post

    The son of Yankees senior vice president Felix Lopez Jr. – who is the son-in-law of Bronx Bombers owner George Steinbrenner – was busted in 2002 for trafficking in a banned date-rape drug that has been used by athletes for muscle recovery, and for possession of anabolic steroids at his Tampa, Fla., apartment, records reveal.

    Felix Lopez III, who in recent weeks has been spotted at the Yankees’ minor league facility in Tampa working out in official team sweats, served 19 months of probation after pleading guilty to reduced charges in 2003.

    Lopez, 30, had been arrested at his Tampa home in September 2002 as part of a nationwide Drug Enforcement Administration sting, which cooperated with local law enforcement authorities, for trafficking in a drug known as GBL.

    Earlier this week, a source told The Post that Lopez had been acquired as a strength trainer for the Yankees minor league facility, which his father, Felix Lopez Jr., oversees.

    Lopez Jr. is married to Jessica Steinbrenner, the younger daughter of the Yankees principal owner.

    But Lopez III, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and Howard Rubenstein, a spokesman for George Steinbrenner, all denied that the younger Lopez had been, or was going to ever be, hired by the Yankees.

    “I have not,” Lopez III said, when asked if he had been hired. “I’m not a hire … I wish.

    “No, it’s always best to let family just do kind of their own thing. I don’t work for the complex at all, no W-2, no paychecks, nothing.”

    Lopez III did confirm he has visited the minor league complex, noting that his dad works there.

    The Post’s questions about Lopez’s criminal record caught a number of highly placed Yankees sources by surprise, as they were completely unaware of that aspect of his history.

    The Stein family is starting to look more and more like the Bluth’s…everyday.

    An A-Rod Theory, Newly Formed

    Posted by on February 21st, 2009 · Comments (21)

    The chart below contains some sabermetric stats for each full season that Alex Rodriguez has played in the major leagues:

    1996	1.024	.444	.108	.755
    1997	.773	.374	.027	.580
    1998	1.022	.399	.057	.660
    1999	.968	.397	.042	.614
    2000	1.135	.433	.109	.770
    2001	.927	.428	.098	.749
    2002	.927	.424	.080	.705
    2003	.961	.420	.074	.697
    2004	.921	.385	.050	.654
    2005	.951	.438	.116	.787
    2006	.860	.391	.053	.663
    2007	1.101	.449	.116	.780
    2008	.885	.413	.074	.706

    Thanks to FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference, and the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia for the numbers.

    And, here’s what each of these stats are:

    R_OPS: This “OPS” (On Base Average plus Slugging Percentage) in road games. (I thought it would be interesting to see the road split as a way to take home park factors out of the picture for a moment.)

    wOBA: This is Weighted On Base Average. It’s a statistic developed by Tom Tango. It uses linear weights on certain batting events to come up with a metric that is more statistically sound than OPS and is scaled onto an OBP scale. According to Tango “An average hitter is around 0.340 or so, a great hitter is 0.400 or higher, and a poor hitter would be under 0.300.” (I included this stat in the comparison because it’s among the newer toys in the sabermetric playground.)

    RCAA/PA: This is “Runs Created Above Average” per Plate Appearance. RCAA is the difference between a player’s Runs Created total and the total for an average player who used the same amount of his team’s outs. (I used RCAA since I’m a fan of this statistic – and I divided it by PA to turn it into a rate stat.)

    OWP: This is Offensive Winning Percentage. It’s a Bill James stat that projects what a team’s winning percentage would be if each offensive player was cloned to that player and the team had an average pitching staff. (Another one of my favorites – it’s a baby of Bill James and, like RCAA, it takes into account the league context.)

    Now, let’s take all these numbers and put them into a semi-pretty line-chart:

    Click on the line-chart to enlarge the image.

    The line-chart paints an interesting picture in terms of Alex Rodriguez’ production rates since he’s been a full-time big leaguer.

    In 1996, his first full major league season, A-Rod was a force with the bat. But, he had a pretty steep decline in 1997 (from the previous year). The following two seasons (1998 and 1999) were better – but not near his levels in 1996 (for the most part).

    However, in 2000, his last season in Seattle before becoming a free agent, A-Rod got his production back up to where it was in 1996 (or thereabouts). Afterwards, in 2001, 2002, and 2003, he maintained a high level of performance (for him) for three years.

    Then, in 2004, A-Rod had another dip on his trend-lines (in the chart). This was followed by a spike in 2005, and then a dip in 2006, a huge spike in 2007, and another dip in 2008.

    O.K. – these are all stats. So, they’re facts. Now, here comes some speculation with respect to the trend-lines these numbers have derived for us. And, my new theory on what Alex has been up to the last 13 seasons.

    Rodriguez exploded on to the scene in 1996 and then the league caught up to him, as is the natural course of things in baseball, the following season. In his third full season, 1998, A-Rod rebounded and started to build a nice upward trend in his relative offensive production rates – hitting the roof in 2000. It’s significant to note that, according to reports, the late 1990’s was when Alex was BFF with notorious PED user Jose Canseco.

    Rodriguez continued his very high levels of relative offensive production during the period 2001 through 2003. It’s significant to note that, according to A-Rod’s recent confession, Alex was using PEDs during this time period.

    Rodriguez’ offensive production dropped in 2004 – compared to where he had been the four years prior. It’s significant to note that 2004 was the year after Alex failed a PED test (as we have now learned). Further, in June of 2004, baseball began drug testing Major League players under the punitive phase of baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. A-Rod’s 2004 season was probably his third worst offensive output, at that time, in his big league career.

    Coming off a very rough season, and a disaster of a LCS for his team (in 2004), Rodriguez came back in 2005 and posted very high numbers in terms of his relative offensive production.

    However, the next season, 2006, was much more like his 2004 season (than his 2005 season). It’s significant to note that, prior to the 2006 season, in November 2005, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA reached agreement that significantly strengthened penalties for steroid and other illegal drug use. Penalties for steroid use would now be 50 games for a first offense, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third. The plan also includes testing and suspensions for amphetamine use. Further, prior to the 2006 sesaon, A-Rod played in the World Baseball Classic (in March of 2006) – and was required to take a blood test for PED use prior to those games.

    In 2007, Rodriguez had an incredible season with the bat. This was also the “opt-out” season in his contract which allowed him to become a free agent at the end of the year. It’s significant to note that, reportedly, A-Rod spent most of the 2007 season in the company of Angel Presinal – a known PED pusher.

    And, finally, in 2008, Rodriguez’ numbers declined – as the line-chart shows – coming closer to where they were in 2004 and 2006. It’s significant to note that 2008 was the first year of a mega-contract that A-Rod had signed with the Yankees. And, the season was preceded by a six to seven month period where major league baseball players were being found guilty of PED usage (in large numbers) – via various methods such as testing positive, pharmacy raids, etc.

    Tying this all up, based on the numbers and what off-the-field activities that we know to be true, or are strongly reported to be true, it would not shock me if the A-Rod story, in reality, broke-down as follows:

    Rodriguez started messing around with PEDs in the late 1990’s, as a member of the Seattle Mariners, while he was a friend of Jose Canseco. Then, when he moved on to the Texas Rangers, Alex used PEDs the three seasons he was there. As a result of failing a PED test in 2003, A-Rod was “clean” in 2004. However, due to a nightmare season (for him and his team) that season, Rodriguez returned to his habit (that he probably developed in Seattle and used in Texas) and used PEDs in 2005.

    As a result of the stronger PED policy in baseball, and the tests required for the World Baseball Classic, Rodriguez went clean again in 2006. However, because of the importance of putting up huge numbers in 2007 – as it was his opt-out year – with the assistance of Angel Presinal, Alex used PEDs in 2007.

    And, finally, with his new monster-contract secured, and because of all the PED-related heat on baseball players being turned up in the months before the 2008 season, A-Rod played last season without the use of PEDs.

    So, in summary, if we were to find out (someday) that Alex Rodriguez used PEDs during eight of his first thirteen full major league seasons, I would just say “That’s what I figured.” After all, that’s my A-Rod theory, newly formed.

    A-Rod & Angel Presinal

    Posted by on February 20th, 2009 · Comments (18)

    Via the Daily News

    Embattled Yankee Alex Rodriguez has had a long relationship with a steroid-linked trainer who’s been banned from major league clubhouses, four independent sources told the Daily News.

    Angel Presinal, who was banned from private areas of every MLB ballpark after an October 2001 incident involving an unmarked gym bag full of steroids, has been tight with the Yankee slugger dating back to his time with the Texas Rangers, several sources said.

    A former New York-area scout says Presinal, whose named surfaced in the Mitchell Report, was with Rodriguez in New York and Miami as recently as this past fall.

    MLB has warned players to stay away from him.

    He has been thrown out of clubhouses in Cleveland, Anaheim and Texas.

    “He’s an unsavory character,” said a source.

    Another source said Presinal accompanied A-Rod for the entire 2007 season, staying in the same hotel as the A.L. MVP, but in a separate room with the “cousin” Rodriguez pegged three days ago as his steroid source from 2001-03.

    The cousin was identified Thursday as Yuri Sucart.

    The source said Rodriguez avoided being seen in public with Presinal.

    “He was around Alex in 2007,” the source said of Presinal. “Every hotel they went to, he stayed in the same room with Yuri. You would never see Alex with [Presinal]. They would meet in one of their rooms.”

    Presinal was not around A-Rod and the Yankees during the 2008 season, the source said, but Sucart remained a constant presence around Rodriguez, at home and on the road.

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was aware of Presinal’s name but said that the exiled trainer had no official ties to the team.

    “He’s never had any association with the Yankees,” Cashman said. “Whether he knows our players or has worked with any of our players, I wouldn’t be able to confirm that.”

    A-Rod agent Scott Boras would not comment on his client’s relationship with Presinal, who runs a gym at the Palacio del los Deportes in Santo Domingo. Presinal also did not return multiple calls.

    “Several people have warned Alex about this guy,” said a second source.

    MLB began monitoring Presinal’s relationships with players after the bag containing five ampules of anabolic steroids, the anabolic drug clenbuterol and hypodermic needles, was seized by the Canadian Border Service Agency in 2001.

    Presinal was traveling with the Cleveland Indians, where he was Gonzalez’s personal trainer at the time.

    Not the best piece of news for A-Rod today, is it? The question is: Will there be more coming?

    Wild Thought: What If The Perfect Storm Hits?

    Posted by on February 20th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Today’s wild thought is a dark one.

    Many projections have the Yankees winning between 95 and 100 games this season. And, personally, if everything – and I mean everything – goes right for the Yankees this season, I would agree that they should win around that many games.

    But, what if the perfect storm hits this year? Suppose that CC Sabathia experiences issues dealing with his first season under the New York microscope and the expectations that come with a mega-contract, A.J. Burnett becomes a Pavano case, Andy Pettitte and Joba Chamberlain have a recurrence of last year’s injuries, and Worm Killer Wang’s shoulder blows out. What would happen then?

    This might be crazy, but, if the Yankees entire starting rotation had issues this season, I believe that the Yankees could still be a .500 team, thereabouts, winning around 81 games – given the rest of the talent on their team. However, what if the storm went beyond the starting rotation?

    What if Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui are not able to rebound from their injuries of last season? What if Robinson Cano has another year this season like he did last year? What if the Selena Roberts book has something in it that will impact Alex Rodriguez’ performance?

    How many games will the Yankees win then? Seventy? Less?

    Granted, it would truly take the perfect storm for all this to happen – but, what if it did? Given their payroll, the fact that it’s the first year in the new ballpark, and all the expectations around those things, would the 2009 Yankees then be considered as the biggest bust in baseball history (if they only won around 70 games this season)? Or, would they just be considered unlucky?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 2/20/09

    Posted by on February 20th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    A-Rod, Canseco & Ripper

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (9)

    From a Mel Antonen feature in Baseball Digest that was published in December of 2000:

    When he’s not playing shortstop for the Seattle Mariners, [Alex] Rodriguez, 24, likes to jet ski, listen to Frank Sinatra and hang out with his three dogs. But what really blows A-Rod away these days is da Vinci, the 15th-century genius who studied astronomy, anatomy. geometry, botany and geology while squeezing in time to paint the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

    A book on da Vinci sits on Rodriguez’s bedside table: “He wrote his notes backward so that people wouldn’t take his ideas,” he says. “People like me would have to put them up to a mirror to read them. He says you can learn seven facts every second for the rest of your life. That means we are using only two percent of our brain. It fascinates me. I like education. My dream was always to get a degree from Harvard or Yale, but I wasn’t that smart.”

    Rodriguez is the milk-and-cookies player whom baseball embraces. He’s talented, humble, hard-working and caring. He apologizes when he’s five minutes late for a lunch appointment. He has a mature perspective on what it means to be good-looking, rich and famous.

    During the season, Rodriguez used to live in a Seattle high-rise with views of the Space Needle, Puget Sound and the mountains of Olympic National Park. But for last season he rented a house on Mercer Island, about 10 minutes from the ballpark, partly because of his dogs and partly because he wanted a big picture window overlooking Lake Washington.

    Rodriguez has three dogs. Ripper is an old German shepherd, a gift from fellow Miami resident Jose Canseco, who plays for the Yankees. Shorty, a yellow lab, is in training school. Gypsy is an affectionate German shepherd.

    …Ripper is an old German shepherd, a gift from fellow Miami resident Jose Canseco…

    O.K., so, A-Rod and Canseco were tight back in 2000. I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction to that.

    Why Does PECOTA Have Yanks Projected To Slug .424 As A Team In 2009?

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Thanks to Evans Clinchy, I saw that Baseball Prospectus has released their annual Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm (PECOTA) projections for the upcoming season. And, while I was looking at the PECOTA standings, and clicked on the Yankees, this question popped up:

    Why does PECOTA have the Yankees projected to slug .424 as a team in 2009?

    Could the reason be the fact that the Yankees, as a team, slugged .427 last year? I dunno. What do you think?

    Teixeira The Future Face Of Yankees Franchise?

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    What, you mean it’s not going to be Phil Hughes?

    Via Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger :

    The Yankees also would like Teixeira to be the face of their team for the next eight years, long after their four Mt. Rushmore figures — Jeter, Posada, Rivera and Pettitte — have faded off into retirement.

    This is not Jason Giambi, who had to cut his hair and hide his tattoos for the introductory press conference. Teixeira looks like he stepped out of a Gillette commercial every day when he arrives at the ballpark. He embraces this part of the job and fits the role naturally.

    “From the time I met him on his first recruiting visit, you could tell that this guy had a special makeup,” said Danny Hall, his coach at Georgia Tech. “He knew where he wanted to go and exactly how he was going to get there.”

    And, here he is, at the heart of the most famous franchise in baseball. If the fast-living, motorcycle-riding Giambi appealed to the bleacher-creature crowd, then the Sesame Street-watching Teixeira figures to be a favorite to parents toting their impressionable Little Leaguers to the ballpark.

    You think Derek Jeter is a model citizen? It was Teixeira who told Sports Illustrated that he’s “not the type of guy who goes out at night and parties,” a straight-laced National Honor Society member in high school who met his future wife when they were freshmen at Georgia Tech.

    Hall loves to tell the story about Teixeira, as a junior with millions waiting for him in the draft, playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament on a broken ankle to try to get his team to the College World Series. In a Yankees clubhouse too defined by individuals stars in recent years, Teixeira will try to put the focus back on the team.

    “There’s obviously some guys who have been here a long time that will continue to be the Yankees’ poster children,” Teixeira said yesterday, standing at his locker before a morning workout. “At the same time, I’m going to be here for a while, and hopefully I’ll grow into that role.”

    I’m starting to get into the Teixeira thing. I have my favorites on this Yankees team: Pettitte, Rivera, Posada, Jeter, Matsui, Wang, and Damon…but, as I have mentioned in the past, I’ve always been drawn to the Munson-Mattingly-O’Neill types. I like guys who are leaders, work hard, play with passion, not afraid, etc.

    Teixeira just might be one of those guys. Now, that would be a sight for sore eyes, indeed.

    Melky Cabrera 2009

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Good news: Leche is still young. Bad news: Melky has shown no ability to hit for power in the big leagues and his ability to consistently reach base is in serious question. Further, while Cabrera’s defensive ability would suggest that he could stick in 2009 as a 4th outfielder, due to his age it would be better that Cabrera played everyday in Triple-A (rather than ride the pines in the Bronx)…except for one thing: He’s out of options.

    Therefore, at the end of the day, Melky Cabrera will either be the Yankees starting center fielder this season, or, he will be on their big league bench, or, he will be playing for someone else, other than the Yankees, in the majors at some point this year.

    Back To School (1986)

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    The Fav Flicks series returns thanks to public demand

    Thank you…Dean Martin.

    Kaat: I Was Part Of The Problem

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Via TCPalm.com

    Jim Kaat blames himself.

    Or, to be more precise, he takes his share of the blame for the steroids scandal that has tarnished the game he loves.

    “All of us in and around the game during that period, we could see what was going on,” Kaat was saying the other day from his Stuart home. “We could see the size of the bodies. We could see how far the ball was traveling. And none of us made a big deal of it.

    “So we’re all to blame.”

    “I probably should’ve said something,” Kaat said. “Maybe I should’ve called the commissioner and told him what I was thinking. I know Bud (Selig) well enough. He would’ve listened. But I didn’t.”


    “Good question,” Kaat replied. “I guess I didn’t feel obligated enough or convicted enough. If I were an active player, maybe I’d have felt differently and said something. But as a media person, I just covered the games. That probably sounds like a lame excuse.”

    Truth is, Kaat was torn.

    How could he rip players for using steroids, particularly when they weren’t illegal in baseball and the game hadn’t yet adopted a testing program, when he wasn’t sure he wouldn’t have succumbed to the same temptation?

    “I was in or around the game for 50 years, I love baseball and I treated it right,” Kaat said. “But if I were playing in that era — when there were no rules against it, no real penalty — and I saw the guy next to me throwing noticeably harder than I was, would I have tried it? I might have. I might’ve been the first in line.”

    I miss Kitty. It would be great to see him get back into the game, somehow, in some capacity, now that the health issue with his wife has come to a close. Actually, he’d make a heckuva bench coach, if you ask me. No knock on Tony Pena – but, Kaat could be what Don Zimmer was to Joe Torre (for Joe Girardi).

    Yanks Seek Walter Silva

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Buster Olney

    The Yankees and Padres continue to search for pitching depth, even with spring training under way, and both are in the bidding for Walter Silva, a 32-year-old right-hander who had a strong showing in the Mexican Winter League, sources said.

    Silva is the property of the Monterrey franchise, and went 7-8 with a 4.21 ERA for that team last year. He threw well in winter ball, pitching for Mazatlan; in 16 games, Silva had a 2.54 ERA, allowing 31 hits and striking out 29 in 35 innings.

    Click here for more on Silva.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 2/19/09

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (39)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Yuri Sucart, Charles Colaw & A-Rod

    Posted by on February 19th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Two links that provide more information on Sucart and Colaw – and the connection to A-Rod:

    Link One

    Link Two

    Something tells me that today will not be the last time we hear the names Yuri Sucart and Charles Colaw.

    And, I was really hoping that this A-Rod stuff would start to quiet down today…it’s getting tired…even for me.

    Hank: The Yankees Tax Gives Us Right To Spend As We Want

    Posted by on February 18th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the AP

    Boston Red Sox owner John Henry renewed his call for a salary cap on Wednesday after an off-season in which the New York Yankees added three free agents for $423.5 million.

    Or, as Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said, “the Yankees have spent like the U.S. Congress.” That drew a quick response from Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner.

    “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package,” he said.

    New York thinks it has the right to spend after paying at least $110 million in revenue sharing and luxury tax last year.

    “As long as we’re doing that and giving all this money to other teams in revenue sharing, a staggering amount, we should be able to spend on salaries what we want to,” Steinbrenner said. “Because of revenue sharing and because of the popularity nationwide, the Yankees are critical to baseball.”

    I doubt even those who are not too crazy about the Hankster can argue with that.

    Godzilla Reduced To D.H. Duty

    Posted by on February 18th, 2009 · Comments (11)

    Via Anthony DiComo:

    The Yankees announced on Wednesday that all of [Hideki] Matsui’s Spring Training action will come as a designated hitter, and that he won’t play much left field during the season, either.

    Coming off knee surgery for the second successive winter, Matsui entered camp saying that his goal was to rehab his knees back to full strength. And for Matsui to achieve that, the Yankees decided he would be better served as a DH, without the rigors of regular outfield play.

    “We just feel it’s not in our best interest to push it there in that situation,” manager Joe Girardi said. “For him to hit, he has to have his legs underneath him.”

    It’s not really my decision, as far as how I’m used in the lineup,” Matsui said through an interpreter. “I’m going to continue to make sure I prepare for the game. I’ll make sure I prepare to play defense as well. But as far as the decisions are concerned, that’s beyond my control.”

    Regardless, Matsui said that he agrees completely with the decision, but he won’t completely abandon his defensive preparations. Despite his age and injury history — he’s had two knee surgeries and a major wrist injury over the past three seasons — Matsui said that he envisions playing the outfield again in the future.

    “As long as I do the things I need to do, take care of the knees and make sure I be diligent in my preparations,” Matsui said, “then I believe that I will be able to continue playing in the outfield.”

    How did Hideki Matsui go from being Cal Ripken Jr. into being Tony Oliva in what seems like the blink of an eye? Regardless of his role, I hope that Godzilla has a big season in the Bronx this year. It would be good for the Yankees – and a nice send-off for a good guy in what most likely will be his last season in Yankeeland.

    MLB Wants To Talk To A-Rod

    Posted by on February 18th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via T.J. Quinn:

    Alex Rodriguez isn’t finished answering questions yet.

    Major League Baseball will ask the disgraced slugger to meet with its investigators in the coming weeks to further explain his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs, two sources familiar with MLB’s plans told ESPN.

    After two public confessions, one with ESPN’s Peter Gammons and the other at a news conference in Tampa on Tuesday, Rodriguez will be asked to give a full account of how extensive his drug use was, and who the “cousin” is who Rodriguez says injected him with a drug believed to be the anabolic steroid methenolone. Rodriguez said they bought the drug, which he described as “boli,” from a pharmacy in the Dominican Republic.

    “They’re more interested in what happened in the States than in the Dominican,” one source said.

    Representatives from MLB’s department of investigations are expected to ask Rodriguez whether his cousin, whom Rodriguez declined to name, had access to major league clubhouses and other players, and whether either he or Rodriguez ever distributed drugs to other players. Under baseball’s labor agreement Rodriguez cannot be punished for any banned substances he took prior to 2004, but he could be punished if MLB were to determine that he supplied drugs to other players.

    MLB officials declined comment, and MLB Players Association officials could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday night. Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, did not immediately return a phone call or email message seeking comment.

    The sources who spoke to ESPN said that MLB must formally request a meeting through the Players Association, and that Rodriguez will be allowed to appear with a lawyer and a union representative if he chooses.

    One source said commissioner Bud Selig could choose to punish Rodriguez if he feels he isn’t forthcoming, although the union would be likely to fight any action.

    A-Rod and his primo…something tells me that we’re going to need some special effects if we’re ever going to see them, together, at the same time…

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