• WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/31/09 – World Series Game Three Edition

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (8)

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    So, Yanks, what’s it gonna be tonight…trick, or, treat?


    Big Game Tonight?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Sam Borden

    People often talk about Game 3 as the swing game in a World Series and there’s some truth to it: The team winning Game 3 has gone on to win in 35 of 53 World Series that were tied at 1, including each of the last two and nine of the last 10. The lone exception? You probably already know it. The Yankees won Game 3 of the 2003 World Series but then lost three straight to the Marlins to lose the Series.

    Well, it’s not “must win.” But, for sure, tonight is a “nice to win” game.

    At this point, thinking about this World Series, I think it’s almost a lock to go six games – and maybe seven.

    Why? Simple: The next three games are in Philly, sure. But, I don’t see the Yankees losing three in a row there. Actually, forgetting where the games are played, due to the fact that both of these teams are so talented, I don’t see either one, ever, beating the other one three times in a row.

    O.K., maybe, just maybe, it could happen – but, what are the odds?

    So, over the next three, I see one team winning one game and losing two. And, that would bring us to Game Six.

    For that game, I figure it will be A.J. Burnett locking up with Pedro Martinez again. Now, won’t that be an interesting match up when one team cannot afford to lose? Because of that, I would imagine that both the Yankees and Phillies would prefer to be up, three games to two, heading into Game Six. (Heck, what team doesn’t want to be up, at any time, in a series?)

    In any event, if you also believe that, over the next three games, one team will win one game and lose two, then it’s somewhat key to win today – as that gives you house money, to some extent, over the two games to follow.

    Hmmm…maybe tonight is not “must win.” But, then again, maybe it’s more than just “nice to win”? Perhaps, this all said, it’s “a key win” – which ties back to Sam’s point here.

    Does This Make A-Rod Mr. Big?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (5)


    Via the NY Post: Karen Burnett, wife to Yankees pitcher AJ, hangs out with Amber Sabathia, Kate Hudson and Michelle Damon.

    When I look at this picture, the names that come to mind are: Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha Jones, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes. And, then, I’m embarrassed that I actually know those four names.

    Gotta go lift some weights and then watch a movie featuring guns, talking chimps, car chases, vampires, and fart jokes. And, maybe, after that, I should go hammer some nails and cut some wood. Yeah, I better do all that…and fast.

    Phils On To Mo’s “M.O.”?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (6)

    Via Jayson Stark

    The Phillies didn’t beat Mariano Rivera in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night. Heck, they didn’t even score on him.

    But they did make Rivera sweat through 39 pitches — the most he’d thrown in any outing, regular season or postseason, since May 6, 2005 (336 outings ago) and the most he’d tossed in a postseason game since his infamous blown save in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.

    And afterward, Jimmy Rollins said something — almost in passing — that we should all keep in mind the next time we hear the dulcet strains of “Enter Sandman” and the Great Mariano bursts through the bullpen gates:

    “I think we saw some things,” Rollins said.

    Now if there’s a secret to hitting Mariano Rivera, it’s definitely news to the rest of the population. But here’s the full context of exactly what Rollins said:

    Asked if it was any kind of benefit to have seen Rivera for two full innings, in which he faced everyone in the Phillies’ lineup except Pedro Feliz, Rollins replied: “We felt pretty good up there, and that’s always the question mark: What is he going to look like? And I think we saw some things.”

    So what kind of things? That’s the question.

    “Now you have a game plan,” said Rollins, who worked an 11-pitch walk against Rivera in the eighth. “We didn’t really see Mariano during the season. Spring training, he comes in [when] I’m out of the game. So it’s a mystery.

    “Like we know what he’s going to do. It’s no surprise. But when you see him, you figure out how much his ball is moving. Once you find your approach, you’ve got to be stubborn with it, because he’s going to be stubborn with what he’s going to do to you.”

    That 8th inning in Game Two was concerning. Given the sorry state of the Yankees “Bridge to Mo,” if Mariano is not going to be über-effective against the Phils, the Yankees could be looking at some big problems late in these Series games.

    A-Rod Is A White Goodman Wannabe?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Via the Daily News

    You’d expect Alex Rodriguez to have a bedroom filled with trophies – not bizarre portraits of himself.

    US Weekly reports the Yankee’s slugger has commissioned paintings of himself – as a centaur.

    But wait, it gets better – they’re hanging above the superstar athletes’ bed, according to the magazine.

    “He was so vain. He had not one, but two painted portraits of himself as a centaur. You know, the half man, half horse figure,” scoffs an ex-girlfriend to the magazine. “It was ridiculous.”

    Obviously, one lady doesn’t mind it. Hudson and A-Rod are hitting home-runs all the time.

    “They love sex!” an insider reveals to Us Weekly. The celebrity couple, who began dating in May, apparently can’t keep their hands off one another. And when they can’t be close enough to touch, they’re talking about it. “They talk about it all day,” the same snitch says. “Kate gets graphic talking about his body, even to her parents.”

    The magazine also reports Hudson is trying to make her beau less egotistical. But talking about his body all the time probably doesn’t help.

    For those who don’t get the “White Goodman” reference – remember this character (below)?


    Big Stein Nearing The End?

    Posted by on October 31st, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Via Scott Miller

    The failing health of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, 79, is no secret.

    But the depth of how rapidly Steinbrenner is deteriorating was dramatically on display following Game 2 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. You just couldn’t physically see it.

    That’s because the Blue Curtain dropped quickly and sharply following Game 2, with the Yankees — or, to be more precise, a coterie of New York policemen and security guards working at their behest — essentially placed on lockdown a main tunnel running outside of the clubhouses as the club moved Steinbrenner out of Yankee Stadium.

    Not only do the Yankees not want anybody to speak with Steinbrenner, they’re protecting his privacy so fiercely that they won’t allow most people to even get a glimpse of him anymore.

    Mechanized gates dropped suddenly from the ceiling to confine some officials to certain areas of the corridor — including some surprised major league baseball officials who were not told beforehand and were suddenly trapped — and keep them away from the vehicles transporting Steinbrenner. Temporary curtains were quickly set up as well to block views.

    Security guards not only shut down the press elevator carrying media members downstairs to the interview areas until after Steinbrenner had departed, they also locked the doors downstairs, trapping several dozen media members in the stairwell.

    One security guard shooing people out of the area, according to one official who was there at the time, said that they were “cleansing the hallway.”

    The Yankees also have gone so far as to tell major league baseball officials that they do not want Steinbrenner shown on television, according to one industry source.

    As of now, Steinbrenner is not expected to return to Yankee Stadium if the World Series moves back there for Games 6 and, possibly, 7. Before attending Games 1 and 2, he had not been to the new Yankee Stadium since the home opener.

    It’s so sad to see the Yankees play the John Gill routine with Big Stein. At this point, it seems like the better idea is to just leave the man at home to rest, etc.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/30/09 – World Series Travel Day To Philly Edition

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (17)

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    Oh, boy, three days done in the “City of Brotherly Love.” Let’s hope the Yankees give the Phillies their money’s worth.

    The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, The Giants And The Cast of Players, Pugs And Politicos Who Re-Invented The World Series In 1912

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos Who Re-Invented the World Series in 1912 A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was reading Mike Vaccaro’s new book: The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos Who Re-Invented the World Series in 1912.

    And, I can now share that this one is more than just a book…it’s a time machine.

    Over the years, I’ve read my share of “historical” baseball books. And, many times, these types of works – especially ones that go back 70 to 100 years ago – can come across as dry and a labor to read. But, this is not the case with Vaccaro’s “The First Fall Classic.”

    Reading “The First Fall Classic” is a joyride back to 1912 as it enables you to feel what it was like to be there during that time when this World Series was played. And, what a World Series that one was! (I’m not going to spoil it here by giving you all that went down in the 1912 World Series. Besides, this book does a better job at providing the details than I can do in this space.)

    I highly recommend The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos Who Re-Invented the World Series in 1912. And, I cannot think of a better time for you to read it – given that we’re in the middle of a World Series now. It’s very fun to use Vaccaro’s work and compare how much the World Series – and the world! – are different, and yet the same in some ways, today as compared to 1912.

    Really good stuff here in this one from Mike Vaccaro.

    Phillies Alter World Series Rotation

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (6)

    In a decision that could impact the results of the World Series, the Phillies have elected to start Joe Blanton over Cliff Lee in game 4.  ESPN has the story.

    Personally, I’m very shocked by this news. You’d think with the ball game that Lee tossed in game 1, it would be a no brainer to trot him out again on Sunday against Sabathia. Apparently Manuel is afraid that Lee would not be that strong on 3 days rest, as he hasn’t done it before in his career. I’m glad.

    – Posted By Corey

    Starting Pitching Starring So Far In ’09 World Series

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Raphy at B-R Blog & Stat of the Day has a great post up on this now. It’s worth checking out.

    Menounos, The Fresher Maker

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (7)

    Via Bob Raissman with a H/T to BBTF

    There were some very angry TV sports reporters, most of whom have covered the Yankees all season long, inside the Stadium Thursday night. Multiple moles said these reporters were rushed through their interviews with Yankee players to accommodate “Access Hollywood” “reporter” Maria Menounos.

    “Guess the Yankees wanted to reach a different audience,” one spy said. “They basically shafted the people who had been covering them all year to give her better access.”

    Before Menounos interviews Mariano Rivera, one stoolie overheard her ask, “Is he a pitcher?”

    Hey, when it comes to ballplayers, those with better asses always get “better access.” Why do you think Dick Young spent so much time working out with a Buns of Steel VHS?

    Nick Swisher & The Philly Phanatic

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Somehow, I think, Swishalicious meeting The Phanatic over Games Three, Four and Five of the 2009 World Series is going to produce some interesting moments. Maybe it will be like when Peanut Butter met Chocolate? Then again, it could turn out to be more like when Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson got together during Superbowl 38…

    October 29th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 30th, 2009 · Comments (36)

    In a must win situation, the Yankees got the win that they needed.

    And, the Yankees can thank two parties for this victory: A.J. Burnett and Charlie Manuel.

    Burnett was super for New York in this game. He was a master at getting strike one and starting ahead in the count. And, he would have pitched a shutout over seven innings if not for the A-Rod’s error…errrr…I mean Matt Stairs RBI “single” in the 2nd inning.

    And, Charlie Manuel made a stupid, stupid, move in the 7th inning – one that probably cost his team a win in this one.

    Pedro Martinez had thrown 99 pitches over the first 6 innings of this contest – allowing just 2 runs and getting 8 K’s in the process. Now, even when he was a superstar, everyone knows little Petey was not the same pitcher after 100 pitches. And, today, Martinez is clearly in what Dan Duquette would call the “twilight of his career.” Or, as FOX pre-game analyst Ozzie Guillen would say: “Pedro’s not the san juan as he used to be…”

    So, why, would you allow Pedro Martinez to come out and start the 7th inning in this game – when he was at 99 pitches? Holy Grady Little Batman! Manuel did the Yankees a favor and that extra run (charged to Pedro) was huge. If the Yankees don’t score there, then it’s a 2-1 game and that changes the whole scene in the top of the 8th inning when Philly had two on, etc. For sure, then, they play for one-run, probably get the job done, and then it’s a tie-game heading into the bottom of the 8th inning.

    But, that’s all just “What if?” stuff. And, while it’s not up there with “What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?” it’s just “What if?” nonetheless…

    Back to Pedro Martinez…I don’t like the clown, but, you have to give him his due for this one. So many in Yankeeland looked at Martinez season this year and went into some babble about “Brad Penny, John Smoltz, National League, blah, blah, blah…he would get killed in the American League…” Well, in this game, Pedro faced the best offensive team in the American League, in a hitter’s park, on the big stage, and was near stellar for six innings. So, he’s got nothing to feel bad about there.

    Back to the Yankees…again, a huge win here. Now it’s “Best 3 of 5” (albeit with the Phillies having the home field advantage). Even if the Yankees now win just one game in Philly, they get to bring the series back to New York. Hey, things could be worse.

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    Hey, is it just me, or, has Alex Rodriguez struck out in 6 of his first 8 career World Series At Bats. Whither that Kate Hudson magic?

    Derek Jeter bunts with two strikes in the 7th inning with runners on first and second, no outs, and the Yankees leading by two runs? Ladies and Germs, if that ain’t a “WTF?” moment there ain’t a “WTF?” moment in the world.

    Speaking of the bottom of the 7th inning today, the umps blew that call, obviously, on the Damon “DP” liner. But, how simple was it to realize that Howard knew he trapped Damon’s hit – since he threw to second instead of stepping on first? No way he throws to second if he knows he caught it on a line. Man, the umpires are falling apart this off-season.

    Lastly, Mo Rivera made that 8th inning sort of interesting, huh? All these two-inning saves for Mariano is a sure sign that the “Bridge to Mo” does not exist in the Yankees pen. Hughes, Chamberlain and Bruney cannot be trusted. Ditto Robertson and Aceves in a tight spot. That leaves Coke and Marte. And, that’s not happening. So much for the Yankees bullpen being so good. And, that might come back to haunt them in this series. Given the Yankees bats are so weak, most times, this post-season, these games are going to be close. Further, all these two inning saves, even with off-days, are going to drain Rivera. Just wait and see…

    World Series Game Two Thread: Because [Your Name] Needs A Place For Their Stream Of Consciousness Ranting

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (5)

    Headline says it all…

    …anyone that wants a place to rant, feel free to do it here.

    Why Tonight Is Must Win For The Yankees

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Fifty teams have lost the first two games of a World Series (excluding ties). And, only 11 have come back to win a ring:

    1921 – New York Giants
    1955 – Brooklyn Dodgers
    1956 – New York Yankees
    1958 – New York Yankees
    1965 – Los Angeles Dodgers
    1971 – Pittsburg Pirates
    1978 – New York Yankees
    1981 – Los Angeles Dodgers
    1985 – Kansas City Royals
    1986 – New York Mets
    1996 – New York Yankees

    But, only the 1985 Royals, the 1986 Mets, and the 1996 Yankees came back to win after losing the first two games at home.

    That’s it – just three teams have pulled this off. Needless to say, if the Yankees lose tonight, New York will have created some big hill to try and ice skate up

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/29/09 – World Series Game Two Edition

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (23)

    Click here for more information about this entry.

    The Yankees won’t say who’s catching A.J. Burnett until Joe Girardi arrives at the ballpark today and posts his starting line-up. But, in case it’s Jorge Posada, let’s hope that “Jorgie & The Pie Man” take this suggestion…

    Swisher & Posada To Start On The Pine For Game 2

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (8)

    Yankees announced starting line-up for Game Two of the 2009 World Series:

    Jeter SS
    Damon LF
    Teixeira 1B
    A-Rod 3B
    Matsui DH
    Cano 2B
    Hairston RF
    Cabrera CF
    Molina C

    I’m sure that Swisher and Posada are thrilled to hear this news…

    …then again, Wade Boggs and Tino Martinez weren’t thrilled in 1996 either and the Yankees survived.

    This Year’s October Special: Tex Mess Served Cold?

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Seems like Mark Teixeira’s defensive value to the Yankees this season is a hot topic these days.

    Via John Dewan

    In 2008 the Yankees were the second-worst defensive team in baseball based on Defensive Runs Saved. Their defense cost them 38 runs. Only the Royals were worse with 42 lost runs defensively.

    In 2009 the Yankees improved dramatically defensively. By becoming an average defense overall (with 2 runs saved as a team overall), they improved by 40 runs. Using the rule of thumb that 10 runs represents one win, that’s a four-win improvement due to their defense.

    Where was the improvement? Most Yankee fans can pretty much guess: first base. Mark Teixeira stabilized the Yanks’ infield defense. In 2008, Yankee first basemen cost the team 18 runs overall. This year, even in a down year for Teixeira, they improved by 19 runs to one run saved at first base.

    And, via Sean Forman

    …Ryan Howard allowed 1.4 fewer runs than the average first baseman because of his defense, while Mark Teixeira allowed 2.4 runs more. This flies in the face of widely held perceptions of the two players — Teixeira is a multiple Gold Glove winner and Howard is, well, not. Howard has improved drastically this year and Teixeira has regressed from previous high levels. Three runs’ difference is small, and Teixeira was much better than Howard last year, so I’m going to chalk this season’s performance up to random variation and an off year for Teixeira defensively (just as off years happen with the bat, they happen with the glove too). About the throwing, the Phillies were second to last with only 12 first baseman assists to second base (the Cardinals led with 38), but the Yankees managed only two more with 14.

    Me? I just know that, to date, Tex’s post-season offensive contribution this year looks like this:

    Year   Series Opp G PA R H 2B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
    2009     ALDS MIN 3 13 3 2  0  1   1  1  1 .167 .231 .417
    2009     ALCS LAA 6 31 2 6  1  0   4  3  8 .222 .290 .259
    2009       WS PHI 1  4 0 0  0  0   0  0  2 .000 .000 .000

    And, it would be nice to see him start to hit a little bit…before this World Series is over…no matter if he’s great with the glove or not…

    Funny, I thought have a “hot” A-Rod back in the line-up was the spark that got Tex going this season. Well, in October, not so much, huh?

    Yanks Now Need Some Funk To Top Phils?

    Posted by on October 29th, 2009 · Comments (4)

    Before Game One of the 2009 World Series, since 1969, the visiting team has won the first game of the World Series 14 times. Here’s the list of all the times, since 1969, where the visiting team has won Game One of a World Series:

    Date		Win	Lose	Score	Champ
    10/28/2009	PHI	NYY	6-1	??
    10/22/2008	PHI	TBR	3-2	PHI
    10/21/2006	STL	DET	7-2	STL
    10/18/2003	FLA	NYY	3-2	FLA
    10/19/2002	SFG	ANA	4-3	ANA
    10/23/1999	NYY	ATL	4-1	NYY
    10/20/1996	ATL	NYY	12-1	NYY
    10/18/1986	BOS	NYM	1-0	NYM
    10/19/1985	STL	KCR	3-1	KCR
    10/9/1984	DET	SDP	3-2	DET
    10/11/1983	PHI	BAL	2-1	BAL
    10/12/1982	MIL	STL	10-0	STL
    10/12/1974	OAK	LAD	3-2	OAK
    10/14/1972	OAK	CIN	3-2	OAK
    10/10/1970	BAL	CIN	4-3	BAL

    O.K., so, in these 14 cases, here, 57% of the time the team that won that first game went on to win the World Series. That’s not far off from being 50-50.

    However, note that, from 1985 forward, the visiting team who won that first game of the series went on to get a ring every time except in series where something funky happened – like the Giants choke in 2002, the Leyritz/Wohlers homer in 1996, the Red Sox choke in 1986 and the Don Denkinger call in 1985.

    So, does this mean the Yankees now need something funky to happen in this World Series for them to come back and win it? Well, put it this way…it couldn’t hurt…could it?

    October 28th Vs. The Phillies

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (12)

    Well, at least the Yankees avoided being shutout in Game One of a World Series for the first time in their history (covering 40 World Series).

    Funny, for some reason, this didn’t feel like a World Series game. Maybe it was the damp conditions with all the mist and the lack of crispness in the air? Then again, I didn’t sense a lot of enthusiasm resonating from the Yankees starting line-up as they were being announced during the pre-game either.

    Sure, you had Yogi and the big flag before the game, etc. But, it felt more like “just another game” watching this one – more so than feeling the electricity of “The Fall Classic.”

    Heck, even during the 1976 World Series, where the Yankees got waxed by the Reds, at least it felt like the World Series during those games. Here? Well, not so much…at least to me.

    Speaking of lack of emotion, that Cliff Lee is one cool cucumber…more so than I ever knew. Talk about not being rattled! And, those plays he made…the “ho-hum” grab on the Johnny Damon pop-up in the 6th inning and the Robinson Cano come-backer in the 8th inning that he caught behind his back…they were right out of the family “for-fun” backyard whiffle ball game. You just don’t see guys being that “chill” during a World Series game that often, do you?

    Will the Yankees bats wake up tomorrow? They better snap out of it…and, if they don’t, this just might end up being more like the 1976 World Series…in terms of the end result.

    CC Sabathia was not clicking early in the game. Yet, despite throwing 58 pitches over the first three innings, he went seven inning and kept the game close. Two fat pitches to Chase Utley were the only thing to hurt him. And, on the whole, I think most would be happy with seven innings and two runs from Sabathia – every time. It’s really a sin for the Yankees to lose a game when they get this kind of result from Big CC.

    Without question, the Yankees cannot afford to lose a well pitched game from Sabathia and not have it hurt their chances in this World Series. And, for sure, it now puts a ton of pressure on A.J. Burnett in Game Two. And, he has to do better than he did in Game Five of the ALCS.

    Moving on…is it now safe to say that the bloom is off Phil Hughes as a relief pitcher? At the least, it’s probably safe to say it when it comes to this post-season. (Shame on Hughes, too, for barking at the umpire after being removed from the game. That’s not taking ownership of his own lack of good performance.) And, Brian Bruney? Hey, I told you so!

    Now, for some miscellaneous observations…

    So much talk about the “Spike Curve” in this game. Really, guys, is it any different from the “Knuckle Curve”? Let’s not go crazy over something that’s been around for a while now…

    Thank goodness the umpires, after huddling up, got the call correct on that Cano liner-DP to Jimmy Rollins in the 5th inning. Imagine the fallout from that had the men in blue screwed up another call this post-season?

    FOX mentioned that it’s 108 miles from Yankeeland to Phillie-town. Pretty cool – considering there are 108 stitches on a baseball as well.

    Also cool: Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia pitched in the first regular season game ever at the new Yankee Stadium and they faced each other in the first World Series game at the new Stadium – both happening in the same year. What are the odds on that?

    Lots of empty blue seats to be seen on the monarchy-side of the moat from the seventh inning on in this one. Guess the bandwagoners had seen enough?

    Speaking of the Stadium crowd, it was funny to hear the field mikes, during the 7th inning stretch, pick up fans yelling “Hats off!” Some things never change at the Stadium…no matter which one it is.

    Lastly, I saw where the Phillies are hanging Harry Kalas’ sports jacket in the dugout. Made me wonder…when the time comes…will the Yankees players hang Big Stein’s blue blazer and turtle-neck in the Yankees dugout? Somehow, I don’t think that’s happening…unless Randy Levine and Lonn Trost can figure out a way to place some advertising on it.

    Philly Scribe Not Feeling Yankee Hospitality

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Frank Fitzpatrick is not having a nice day in the House that Stein Built. (H/T BBTF.)

    Frank Fitzpatrick has been covering sports with the Philadelphia Inquirer since 1980. And, he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2001. There’s no record as to how long he’s had a stick rammed up his poop chute.

    World Series Game One Thread: Because [Your Name] Needs A Place For Their Stream Of Consciousness Ranting

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (55)

    Headline says it all…

    …anyone that wants a place to rant, feel free to do it here.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/28/09 – World Series Game One Edition

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (23)

    Click here for more information about this entry.

    Let’s hope we’re not getting a shot full of this today…

    …cause, if the Big Man don’t get it done, it’s going to be all uphill for the Yanks from there…

    Wild Thought: Decade Crown On Line For Yanks In Series?

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Of course, we know that the Yankees are going to win the 2009 World Series. Why? Well, the guy over there in the Yankees-blinders said that they would! (Me? I still think the 2009 World Series is going to be close. It may not end up to be six or seven games. But, even if it doesn’t, the games are going to be close. And, therefore, it’s hard to predict who will win at this time.)

    In any event, if the Yankees do win, the debate will begin around “The Team of the Decade 2000-2009” – with the Yankees and Red Sox each waiving their two rings (from this decade) in the air.

    Shoot, even if the unimaginable happens, and the Yankees lose – leaving the Red Sox and Phillies as the only teams with two rings this decade – many will want to claim the Yankees as “The Team of the Decade” given all their wins from 2000-09 and their number of first place finishes.

    And, that leads to today’s wild thought: Say the Yankees do lose this World Series. But, nonetheless, you still want to say they’re still the team of the decade due to finishing first so many times in the last 10 years. Then, does that mean the Atlanta Braves were “The Team of the Decade 1990-1999” even though the Yankees had three rings during that span? After all, didn’t the Braves have twice as many first place finishes as the Yankees from 1990 through 1999?

    If you’re a Yankees fan, I doubt you’d want to say the Braves were “The Team of the Decade 1990-1999.” So, then, if the Yankees lose this World Series, how could they have any claim as to being the “The Team of the Decade 2000-2009”?

    October 2009 Survey Question #5

    Posted by on October 28th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Please consider taking the following poll:


    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    Hinske & Bruney In, Guzman & Cervelli Out

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    Joel Sherman has the details.

    Eric Hinske makes sense. You’re going to need to pinch-hit for the pitcher in Philly. Brian Bruney? When was the last time he pitched to a major league hitter in game conditions, four weeks ago? That’s too long. Shoot, that’s an accident waiting to happen.

    NJIT Prof: Yanks In Six

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (1)

    Via a New Jersey’s Science and Technology University Press Release

    NJIT’s Bruce Bukiet, a mathematician who has applied mathematical modeling techniques to elucidate the dynamics of run scoring in baseball, has computed the probability of the Yankees and Phillies winning the World Series. He also has computed the most deserving of Major League Baseball’s prestigious 2009 Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Cy Young awards.

    Bukiet, a popular NJIT math professor, dives annually into such terrain in part for his love of the game, but also for his love of teaching and math. “Baseball can be a terrific learning tool,” said Bukiet. “It demonstrates how math can be used to help us better understand the world around us.”

    With the World Series set to begin Wednesday night in the new Yankee Stadium, the model gives the Yankees a 70 percent chance of winning the series with most probable outcomes being a Yankees championship in 6 games (23 percent chance). The chance of them winning in 5 or 7 games is 19 percent each. The Phillies have a 30 percent chance to defeat the Yankees. Their best chance is a 10 percent chance to win in 7 games.

    Bukiet’s method uses the 2009 regular season statistics for each player on each team’s roster. He then applies a Markov Process approach to modeling production of runs in baseball games. Bukiet first presented this mathematical model in 1997 in Operations Research. His method has been used for a number of purposes over the past decade, including predicting how many games a team should win in a season, the expected influence of trades, the value of wagering on a game and who is most deserving of Major League Baseball’s most prestigious awards.

    Well, at the least, a study like this is less messy than performing a tasseography on Damaso Marte’s Starbucks empties…

    Click here for some more interesting methods of predicting this series…

    Phils Fan A Real Pro

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (3)

    Via the Daily News

    She wanted to get to the World Series in the worst way.

    A “desperate” Philadelphia Phillies fan was arrested for offering to exchange sex for tickets to see her beloved team play the Yankees, investigators said.

    Cops say Susan Finkelstein, 43, posted a pleading ad on Craigslist saying she needed two tickets to baseball’s biggest game.

    “DESPERATE BLONDE NEEDS WS TIX!” the ad was headlined.

    “Diehard Phillies fan – gorgeous tall buxom blonde – in desperate need of two World Series Tickets,” she allegedly wrote.

    Describing the price as “negotiable,” she ended the ad flirtatiously: “I’m the creative type! Maybe we can help each other!”

    Bucks County Public Safety Director Fred Harran said an officer with the special investigations unit spotted the ad and set up a meeting with Finkelstein at a local bar.

    The officer told her he and his brother had tickets to sell.

    Finkelstein offered to perform sex acts on both of them, saying, “Well, I’d rather have two tickets, and I could take care of both of you.”

    “There was no confusion at all,” Harran said. “She was pretty explicit in what she was going to trade.”

    Finkelstein is charged with a misdemeanor count of prostitution.

    Maybe she just confused “StubHub” with “StubRub”?

    Astute Reader Comments On The Yanks World Series Match-Up This Year

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (2)

    I know that some readers of this blog elect to pass on checking out reader comments. Because of that, I wanted to highlight two really fun comments left this week by “Tresh Fan” – as they present some unique insight about the 2009 World Series:

    The first one

    For me this has been some time in coming. They nearly met in ‘64, and in the Spring of ‘65 I clearly remember picking up a baseball mag with the prediction that the Yanks and Phils would meet in the WS that year. It didn’t happen, of course; but what was really weird was that both teams made the post season in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1981—5 times in 6 years—but they never met in the Series: the Yanks got there in every one of those years but one (1980) which was the one year the Phillies got there. In fact, the only time the NL East met the AL East in the WS during those 6 years was in 1979—the year that both the Yanks and Phils missed. So like I said, this match-up was some time in coming. And now that it’s finally here I hope to enjoy it.

    And, the second one

    2009 will mark the 8th time the Yanks have taken on the defending World Champions in the World Series. Their record in the previous 7 trials is 5-2 with the two losses coming in 1922 and 1976—interestingly enough, in both of those series losses the Yanks failed to win a single game, going a collective 0-8-1. Most recently the Yankees faced off against the Atlanta Braves in 1996 with what is known in the medical community as “the desired result.”

    The Phillies for their part are trying to become just the 4th NL team—and only the second in the last 86 years—to win back-to-back World Championships, thus establishing themselves as on of the most memorable teams in Senior Circuit history. And their status would be enhanced all the more by besting the New York Yankees in doing so. Should be interesting.

    Great stuff “Tresh Fan” – and thanks for sharing it!

    Derek Jeter On Biggest Loser

    Posted by on October 27th, 2009 · Comments (0)

    Yup, it’s true. Best job at reading off the TelePrompter since Ron Burgundy…

    But, maybe not the best week to be linked to something called “Biggest Loser,” eh? Heaven forbid some of that might rub off…

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