Monday, May 21, 2012, 11:43 AM
by Patrick Read
It's a late start for me; the traffic is all jammed up in DC with street-closings. Security is tight. I assume it's result of the Occupy Chicago & Anti-NATO protest there...
I will continually update this post, so make sure to hit refresh (for updated info) if you want to follow along with the live blog...
To catch up on the day so far:
In a stunning turn of events; Judge Walton changed his mind regarding his previous ruling—that evidence/testimony about Andy Pettitte, Mike Stanton & Chuck Knoblauch's use is not admissible. He previously ruled this info would "taint the Jury with guilt by association."
Gov't Prosecutor Butler asked he be allowed to introduce it to "rehabilitate Brian McNamee's credibility." Judge Walton agreed.
Earlier in the trial, Andy Pettitte reaffirmed his 2008 Deposition (here); that he misunderstood a comment made by Clemens about HgH during a workout, 15 years ago. The Defense asked when Pettitte began to feel he misunderstood Clemens, and Pettitte replied, "When he told me that wasn't what he said (in 2005) about HgH." When asked, "so you believed him in 2005?," Pettitte answered, "Yes. I did. And I've thought ever since then, that I did misunderstand him."
The prosecutor's case took a major hit, and McNamee's testimony damaged it even further. So, Walton's reversal--made only to "rehab McNamee's credibility"--seems like it favors one-side over another, instead of remaining neutral & letting the facts stand on their own merit.
Why is he interested in accomplishing that for McNamee, and why was it so damaged to begin with? A lot of sidebars have guided the course of events for this trial, leading to "some evidence being admitted and some not."
- Judge Walton would not allow evidence of McNamee's drugging an unwitting victim with GHB before raping her, per a Hotel Manager who witness the act & heard the woman shout, "No! Help Me!" McNamee then lied to investigators regarding the incident (here).
Somehow the Judge doesn't think this incident, involving the 'key witness / accuser,' his illegal drug use & pattern of lying to investigators to get out of trouble, is relevant in this case—about McNamee's illegal drug use & lying to investigators to get out of trouble.
- Judge Walton also ruled that 20 plus years of clean drug tests from Clemens is not relevant (nor convenient) either. He would not allow it admitted into evidence.
The time to object to any line of questioning or content of testimony was already thoroughly discussed and agreed to. This may be grounds for appeal.
Gov't Butler wrapped up his questioning of McNamee.
A few things came out: Brian McNamee went into detail about his use. In 2005, McNamee used testosterone two times to help rehab his shoulder.
When asked if it worked, he said he "didn't know." Butler: Did you obtain the testosterone himself? BM: "Yes." Butler: "Did you keep it in your own house?" BM: "Yes." (This contradicts earlier testimony that he "didn't like keeping drugs (prescription bottles included) in his house, around his family."
He also cut off his finger, and used HgH. Butler: "Did you obtain it yourself?" BM: "Yes. I knew where to get it and it was always around." Butler: "Did you keep it in your house?" BM: "Yes. I used it for 2 weeks and it worked."
Caution: Watch out for lightning
McNamee redirect: Hardin, "You don't know where Clemens got the 'HgH for his wife?" BM, "No." But you said Clemens got it & it was from Radomski? BM, "I just assumed it was from Kirk. It was the same kind." Mr. McNamee, you have no personal knowledge that Clemens ever got any package sent/recieved from Kirk Radomski, isn't that right? BM, "That's right. I don't know where it was from." (Chalk it up to "made up story" (lie) or "bad memory?")
McNamee testified in 2008 that Deb Clemens used HgH "just before a Sports Illustrated photo shoot." He then went onto give details as to why he remembered it was "just before the photo shoot." However, it was discovered on cross-exam that this is 'inconsistent." The Sports Illustrated shoot was June 2002. And the alleged use was during Feb. 2003—after the photo shoot, not "before."
Manny Manuel of Miller Lite was then called to give testimony about "beer cans." The Govt is trying to sure up the "care, control & custody" involved in the chain of custody. Manny says the "beer-can-model" was from the relevant time frame.
Hardin: Mr. Manuel, Miller Lite does not make beer cans to store needles in, do they? MM "No. No they don't." RH: That's all your honor. Thank you.
Alexander Lowrey takes the stand to talk about Jose Canseco's pool party. He recalls seeing Roger Clemens there along with his son, Koby. Lowrey arrived at 1pm sharp, he is absolutely sure about it. He was given a tour of the house, ate there & got his picture taken with Clemens & Canseco just before leaving (at 3 or 4pm). Lowrey said he remembered Clemens arriving (he had been looking for Clemens during the party), it was shortly before his leaving -- which means McNamee was already gone when Clemens got there.
McNamee testified that he only stayed there a couple of hours because her had to get to work, and "set-up for the game." He got to the party between 11:30 & noon, so left between 1:30pm and 2pm. If so, this means McNamee never saw Clemens at all, let alone witness a drug deal at a family BBQ.
Clemens testified to Congress that he went to Canseco's after a golf game, didn't stay too long; and "did no such thing as a drug deal' like McNamee claimed. A guy's memory about a pool party 15 years ago doesn't seem very "relevant to this case" (which is about steroid use in baseball, per Henry Waxman). I'm sure Clemens has attended thousands of events & parties; but maybe a BBQ for the Blue Jays might stand out?
-- Lunch Break --
(Saw Roger at lunch. He had a good weekend, and did another charity event. He must be racking up the flying miles, that's for sure. His nephew, Nick Johnson, played in the Junior College World Series this weekened too. The Tyler Junior College ApacheAthletics (here on twitter) made it the game 6 & were up 5-4 in the bottom of the 6th inning. But Joliet JC came back to win, 7-5. Good experience is the best teacher... Hardin, "I had a working weekend.)
Update from earlier: Govt Butler wanted Knoblauch to appear to give testimony & Hardin replied "If he shows up, we'll ask him about the 2001 rape incident in St. Petersberg (here).
End of Lunch: Judge back in chambers. It will be a short day on Weds. Govt Durham will be calling two witnesses from the West Coast. And expects to wrap up his witnesses this Thursday or Friday.
Hardin's 1st witnesses will be Agent Novitzky & Agent Longmire. He expects to wrap up in 7 to 8 business days.
Jose Canseco named more players than McNamee. He is not here either.
Hardin: Mr. Lowrey, would you say that your recollection from 1998 is good? AL, "Yes sir." How old were you then? AL "11 years old." You remember swimming and playing wiffle ball with Koby? AL, "Yes sir." You knew that he wanted to be a baseball player & so did you, right? AL "Yes sir." Do you remember Koby having bleached blonde hair? AL "No sir."(Lowry testified that Clemens had highlights, which got a chuckle in the press room. "Hehee" ~ Really fellas?) Hardin "Koby's team-mates all bleached their hair & so did their fathers."
Continuing... Hardin "Do you remember the trial from 2008?" Objection. Sidebar
Hardin asking about the picture from Canseco's party: When was the 1st time you were asked to remember the picture with connection to the Clemens hearing in 2008? AL "My father asked me about it the day after the hearing. (2/14/2008) Did you then make arrangements to meet with the government? AL "No sir." Admits to never having thought of it from 1998 til 2008.
Hardin: Do you remember when the Govt called you to give a statement about it? AL, "Yes. June 25th 2009" He was 1st interviewed by the Govt during the Grand Jury by Govt Butler & Durham.
Lowrey admits to having a reading comprehension problem.
Leading up to the Grand Jury, had you read anything about the case? AL "A little bit." And what about after your testimony to the Grand Jury? "Not really. I had a conference with the Govt" Who was there? "Guerero." Anyone else? "Yes. Her." Who? Do you remember her name? "No." Harding notes it as Govt Saleski & Agent Longmire.
Asked who answered the door at the Canseco pool party. AL "I don't remember." Would you remember if Canseco answered? "Probably." Did you see any buses parked at Canseco that day? AL "No sir." You didn't see any team buses? "No sir."
Do you remember what time the party started? AL "No sir. I didn't have a watch." And you were only 11 years old, right? "Yes sir." You remember taking a tour of the Canseco's massive house? "Yes sir" Do you remember how long it lasted? "How long could it last, it was just a tour?" But you don't remember how long, right? AL "no sir"
Do you remember what was served at the party? AL, "No sir. BBQ I assume" But you don't remember? AL "No." Who did you want to see at the party? AL "Canseco, Clemens & Jose Cruz." Did you meet Jose Cruz? "No." Do you remember what Clemens was wearing? AL "Yes. A bathing suit. Everyone was wearing one" Do you remember how long you played wiffle ball with Koby? AL "No. About an hour." You remember how long you played wiffle ball? AL "Its a guesstimate" So you don't remember? AL "No sir. Not exactly."
Do you remember what time Roger Clemens got there? AL "No sir." Do you know what time Clemens got there? AL "No" Do you remember if Roger Clemens showed up at the party wearing golf clothes? "No. I don't remember."
Do you remember taking a pciture with some of the players? Al "Yes" With who? "Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens" Do you remember what time the picture with Jose Canseco was taken? "No sir." Do you remember what time the picture was taken of you & Roger? "No sir. I know it was at the end of the day. Or just before I was leaving. If I left at 3pm, then the pictures were probably taken at about 2:30. if I left at 4pm, then they were probably taken 3:30pm"
(Shows a picture of Clemens in the pool swimming) Was anyone else in the pool? AL "I don't think so" Do you remember anyone being around you? "AL "No. I just remember being really nervous trying to build up the courage to ask him if I could get a picture with them." Mr. Pasquale helped intervene for you, to get the picture for you? AL "Yes sir."
Do you remember what time you ate? AL "No sir." Sometime before this picture (at the pool) AL "Yes sir." Man, you really don't remember what time you got to the party, who all was there or what time people left, do you? AL "No, I don't."
Thank you, Mr Lowrie. That's all I have your honor.
Govt redirect to try & re-establish the credible memory of an 11 year old kid in 1998...
Lowrie recalls teleconfrerence with Mitchell, and "some FBI guys." We didn't tell you what to say, right? AL "No sir."
Did you watch the series that weekend (of the pool party)? AL "No. I can't tell." You don't remember? AL "No sir." Thank you, Mr. Lowrey That's all your honor.
Jurors shown a Clemens excerpt from the 2008 Oversight Committee regarding the pool party. Clemens says he attended the party, and reaffirms that he went for a short while after playing golf (which he has credit card receipts for). He says he "might have stopped into Canseco's, but didn't stay long & certainly wasn't "huddled in a group doing a drug deal."
Note to Darrell Issa: It seems not all evidence from the 2008 Oversight Hearing is being ignored...
Govt Durham calls Elizabeth Fontaine of the FBI crime lab (here). Very slow speaker on a very slow subject. Now trying to educate the jury on what surface is best for finger prints.
Fontaine goes through her process of counting out finger prints & verifying finger prints; including how prints are lifted using chemicals & ultra violet light, powder etc etc etc etc etc
(Jury looks tired.... I'm with them!)
Fontaine pointing out the evidence that McNamee fabricated regarding Clemens:
- a beer can ('not made for storing needles')
- a pill bottle (that McNamee changed because he didn't want "a prescription bottle in his house, where is family lived" despite the testimony about all the drugs he kept & used at his house)
- cotton balls (that McNamee admitted tainting with his own blood, and adding to a beer can with other players "stuff in it" after stating that all contents had to do with Clemens)
- ampoules (that may have been used by other players despite stating "ALL evidence handed in had to do with Clemens")
- and tainted tissue & guaze (per McNamee's tesimony last week).
These items & relative information are some of the reason McNamee spent so much time apologizing to the jury for last week; admitting he lied to the Govt (Novitzky & Parella), George Mitchell (*Ex-Senator & Red Sox Legal Consultant, who was asked to "represent the MLB); to Congress (the Oversight Committee) and to the jury itself (having changed his testimony several times last week).
Fontaine states she found fingerprints on the plastic bag belonging to Brian McNamee.
No Clemens prints at all.
Fontaine also says Earl Ward & Deborah Greenberg's prints were found on the evidence. Only 6 usable prints total, they are all on the bag & are McNamee's prints.
No prints on the ampoules or drugs, that McNamee claims was "in Clemens apartment."
Govt Durham: Can you tell what date the prints were left on these items? Fontaine "No I cannot."
Mike Attanasio cross examine: Did you find Clemens prints on the beer can? Fontaine, "No"
Did you find Clemens prints on the pill bottle? Fontaine, "No"
What about on the 2 syringes, the 2 viles and 2 ampoules - were Clemens prints on them? Fontaine, "No. They were not."
(This is important. McNamee said Clemens "had the HgH himself, at his Sky Dome quarters." If true, then how wouldn't his prints be on the viles or ampoules; especially when McNamee admitted he was going to save evidence from Clemens (for Mrs. McNamee's comfort) "to make sure he didn't take the fall?")
That is it for the day.
No court on Tuesday 5/22/2012.
No Clemens finger-prints found on McNamee's "evidence."
Court resumes Wednesday at noon. See ya then...
Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 8:54 PM
By Patrick Read
As a blustery winter-cold blanketed the entire nation in snow—reminding all how bone-chilling cold global warmth can get—the ever expanding Yankee Universe has been once again set ablaze with mounting pressure over what’s come to be known as, “the debate.”
And minions of Phil Hughes E-fans have been chiming in, promoting the idea that he be named a Yankee starter over fellow young teammate and Yankee phenom, Joba Chamberlain .
Someone tell the Hughes fans to be more patient—because in comparison—it is clear that Joba Chamberlain is more starter-ready than Phil Hughes.
Joba has the edge over Hughes in most categories considered important; especially progress, ERA, games started, innings-pitched, team need and overall health. Proper mechanics and a role-to-talent comparison should also be considered when talking about who should start in 2010.
It is not too often that Yankee fans have seen rookie talent come up from the minor leagues to become a premiere starting pitcher, let alone two at the same time .
The last pitcher to accomplish the feat was Andy Pettitte in 1995, after a four year minor-league stint.
Some might be tempted to say that Mariano Rivera did the same after having spent five years in the minors, but he suffered Tommy John’s in his first year and was—thankfully—permanently sent to the bullpen afterwards . Yes, Mariano was supposed to be a Yankee starter and it worked out well that he wasn’t one.
Before Andy was Dave Righetti , who became a full-fledged major-leaguer in 1981 having spent four years in the minor-leagues. And before him was Ron Guidry, who spent six years in the minors before breaking out in 1977.
Joba started 2007 in the A+ league throwing 40 innings in 7 games, he went 4-0 and had a 2.02 ERA. He quickly moved up to the AA Trenton Thunder, again starting 7 games, throwing 40 innings, he went 4-2 with a 3.35 ERA. Then Joba was sent to the AAA, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Yankees, where he started 1 game and lasted 8 innings striking out 18 hitters while giving up 0 runs.
After starting 15 games, throwing 88 innings, Joba's record was 9-2 and he had a 2.45 minor-league ERA. Chamberlain soared through the ranks of the minor-league system and made his major-league debut in his first year, where he opened a nation's eyes throwing 24 blazing-innings of relief while maintaining a 0.38 ERA. He has yet to be sent back down.
Hughes’ first year was in 2004 and he didn’t debut in the majors until 2007 when he started 13 games—his most big-league starts to date—while maintaining a 4.46 ERA, his lowest to date. 2010 will be Hughes’ sixth total year and he has yet to even get through a half-season of major-league baseball and remain healthy.
In 2008 and in only his second year, Joba was challenged to move to the Yankee rotation as Wang, Hughes and Kennedy each fell to injury. Joba responded by earning the 2008 team-low ERA for starters.
* In 2008, Chamberlain touted a 2.76 ERA in 12 games-started and 65.1 innings.
* In only 8 games started and 34 innings, Hughes put up a 6.62 ERA.
Many fans point to Chamberlain’s disappointing 4.78 ERA in 2009 as the main reason why Hughes should start in 2010. Some consider that an average ERA—especially in the toughest league in baseball—but not for Joba.
What they fail to mention is Phil’s ERA as a starter in 2009.
* In comparison to Chamberlain’s 4.78 ERA
* Phil Hughes had a 5.45 ERA , almost a full earned-run more than Joba.
While the two virtually matched one another in WHIP—Chamberlain’s 1.554 to Hughes’ 1.500—and opponent batting average—Chamberlain’s .275 to Hughes’ .276—the two areas where Joba clearly dominates is in games-started and innings pitched.
* In 2009, Joba started 31 games and pitched 156.1 major-league innings
* Phil Hughes only started 7 games and pitched 34.2 innings.
Joba threw more big-league innings in 2009 than Hughes has thrown over the last three seasons as a starter.
The two pitchers were almost identical in strike-outs per 9 innings, Hughes with 8 and Joba with 7.6.
Not too many predicted Chamberlain’s unorthodox transition from the bullpen directly into the rotation. Most thought he would be sent down to the minors, instead of pitching extended innings as a reliever, stretching out his arm to start.
By all means, the 2008 transition worked.
While Hughes was injured in both 2007 (pulled hamstring) and in 2008 (broken rib), Joba only suffered a slight shoulder-strain in August 2008, most likely the result of throwing too many sliders. He made it all the way through 2009 healthy, which was more than likely his season’s goal rather than performance.
Despite high expectations lost, Joba did lead the team in low-ERA going into mid-June, in what would have only been his third year in the minors. He showed the 97 mph fast ball on several occasions last year—including in the post-season. It was as if Joba was on an injury prevention program in 2009. Certainly, a fast ball doesn’t magically appear for some games and not others.
And when it really mattered, Joba has out-performed Hughes in the pressure cooker of post-season play.
* In two post-seasons, Joba Chamberlain has a 3.60 ERA
* Phil Hughes has a 5.25 ERA.
In the 2009 World Series:
* Hughes gave up 3 earned-runs in 1.2 innings and had a 16.20 ERA.
* Chamberlain gave up 1 earned-run in 3 innings, ending with an overall 3 ERA.
But solace can be found for Hughes fans.
2009 was Phil’s most impressive year-to-date. Albeit from the bullpen, Phil turned the Yankee season around displaying a brilliant-shine and 1.40 ERA in relief. In effect, Hughes showed to everyone where he is more valuable to the team. As a major-league starter he has a combined 6 (+) ERA. As a reliever he has a 1.4 ERA.
And after having lost Brian Bruney and Phil Coke this off-season, the Yankees will need his strong bullpen-arm in relief; especially considering the effect he had last year.
The fact that Hughes can perform in the bullpen makes the decision all the more easy for the Yankees to announce Joba the 2010 starter.
It’s a no-brainer.
While it is hard to argue that Chamberlain would be the best set-up man in the league, so would have Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson or Doc Gooden.
But those who can start—do start.
If pitching in every other game for an inning were more important than putting up 7 innings every five games, then Mariano would be the highest paid pitcher in the league. He is not, because it is not. The value is placed on starters because they typically “win” or “lose” games.
Finally, a pitcher’s mechanics must be considered.
Phil Hughes has a certain elbow jerk that makes some nervous about how he would respond to pitching in the rotation for a long, strenuous season. His delivery would be less a worry if pitching less consecutive innings in relief.
After having adjusted his mechanics —moving his weight back to the balls of his feet and straightening out his spine during the set-up, producing more torque—it can be said that last year was an overwhelming success for both the Yankees and Chamberlain.
He learned how to “pitch” to big league hitters instead of just throwing the ball. And with better mechanics, he lessened the stress put on his shoulder. Chamberlain also mixed-in his curve ball more and relied a bit less on the slider—which as Chieng Ming Wang proved—causes injury to the shoulder.
And after three years of performing in the pros—having completely all but skipped the minors—consider the training wheels all but off for Chamberlain.
Yankee Pitching Coach, Dave Eiland said that the team will “rely more on Joba for when to take him out of games or leave him in," finally ending the Joba rules. It’s window into Yankee’s management thought process, unless Eiland thinks that Joba would need to come out while a reliever.
If starting, Phil Hughes would be limited—to a speculated—150 innings. This is evidence who the Yankees believe has made more progress and who the Yankees believe will be more durable and reliable.
In fact, the Yankees told Joba to prepare for the rotaiton in 2010 .
When objectively considering the stats; Joba has many more games-started, more innings pitched, a much lower ERA and has proven more reliable with improved mechanics. It makes little sense to throw away Chamberlain’s two consecutive years starting; when Hughes has such a sketchy, injury ridden, history as a starter.
Hughes' brilliance in relief all but demands he fill the set-up role.
Look for Chamberlain to get after it this year slamming shut the door of the continued debate. After having a completely healthy season last year, don’t be surprised to see Joba make a run at the AL Cy Young in 2010.
Look for Hughes to gain even more confidence in the bullpen and making more progress as a big-league pitcher while filling in the set-up role, much like Super Mariano did early in his career.
Not once in the last 40 years have fans seen one talent almost completely skip the minors and train for rotation while a major-leaguer in New York.
With New York only averaging one-premiere-starter produced from their minor-league system per decade, it’s been about 15 years since fans last saw young pitching talent even become part of the Yankee starting rotation. And never two at the same time.
Monday, February 1, 2010, 3:03 PM
By Patrick Read
Last year, Brett Gardner demanded Yankee attention during Spring Training while hitting .385 with three fence-clearing home-runs and showing blazing speed effectively making smaller the gaps in the outfield, especially left-center or Death Valley.
And without question, the Yankees will keep a close eye on his play this spring while contrasting it with their newly acquired, veteran-outfielder, Randy Winn.
It was announced last April that Gardner had earned the coveted-title, Yankee centerfielder, edging out promising fan-favorite, Melky Cabrera. And he kept that edge over Cabrera, completing 48 games in centerfield through July’s end as Melky went onto platoon.
“Mr. Speed” impressed fans with his play in the field, racing to cover huge gaps in left & right center and making motoring smash-into-wall catches at the warning-track of fence’s edge.
Gardner is a gritty, stone-jawed, young player and proved his courage on July 26th when he broke his thumb diving into second while stealing another one-of-twenty six total bags.
Instead of whining about the injury, Gardner gutted it out and went onto play the complete game. And thank-goodness, because—despite a loose shard of bone in his thumb, no doubt sending searing pain—Brett robbed Raji Davis off a short blooper hit over second-base. With a full-throttle head of steam and blatant disregard, Gardner made a full-body diving catch to help the Yankees topple the A’s.
At the end of the day, Gardner’s flat, long-in-the-zone swing left him hitting .275 in his first, albeit shortened, Yankee season.
And in only one-third of the plate-appearances of the player to lead New York in steals, Gardner reminded the team what it meant to have speed, finishing second in stolen bases—26—to Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter’s 30.
Not since Rickey Henderson garnered the pin-stripes have Yankee fans seen anything remotely close to Garnder's speed. When given the chance to play complete games for a full-season, Gardner could easily top seventy-Bronx Bomber-steals.
Potentially standing in the way of Gardner’s aspirations to be the regular outfielder of the New York Yankees is the freshly signed, veteran, all-star outfielder; Randy Winn.
It was first speculated that the Yankees were looking for a right-handed bat to bring off the bench, seemingly to cover for Curtis Granderson’s struggling offense against left-handed pitchers.
But Randy Winn’s .158-average against lefties in 2009 leaves much to be desired, as Granderson has struggled with the same, hitting .183.
It means that Winn will not replace Curtis against left-handed pitchers despite speculation and according to Joe Girardi , Winn was not signed to replace Johnny Damon, but rather to guarantee team-depth and add competition.
What it does mean, is Winn and Gardner will square off this spring in heated competition for a regular spot in the Yankee outfield.
If you’re one to think Winn was signed to be the regular starter, replacing Damon, think again.
While Winn does have impressive offensive numbers—.262 in 2009, .306 in ’08 & .300 in ’07—Gardner’s numbers against left-handed pitchers cannot go unnoticed.
- Last year, Gardner hit .292 against lefties.
Without question, Gardner will play when the Yankees face a left-handed pitcher. There is no way that Granderson and Winn will face a lefty in the same game.
And while Winn is “Mr. Reliable,” having played in at least 149 games in each season since 2002, his power numbers leave for some interesting comparison.
In 2009, Winn had a .262 batting average to Brett’s .270 and had only two home-runs in 597 plate-appearances to Gardner’s three homers in 284 plate-appearances.
Randy had an on-base-percentage of .318 to Gardner’s .345—and—Brett has the edge in slugging-percentage as well, .379 to .353; for a total OPS of .724 to .671, Gardner over Winn.
The competition between Gardner and Winn will make for an interesting Spring Training for both fans and management alike.
With Winn’s impressive durability, all-star caliber play and higher-than-the-norm batting average over the past three years; and Gardner’s obvious edge in power numbers, stolen bases and ability to cover more field—one thing is for sure—the Yankee outfield is better this year than last.
The orthodox thought for baseball purist would demand that Curtis Granderson replace Johnny Damon in left-field. He has power numbers, a decent arm, good speed, and would be a clear improvement over Damon.
With lightning-fast speed, Brett Gardner would be a clear improvement over Cabrera. He has an average arm, hits for average and would pester pitchers all game long while on base.
The fact that Gardner is faster than Granderson demands that he at least be considered for center, because he would cover more ground in the vast Yankee centerfield. Not to mention that Curtis reportedly takes some suspicious routes to the ball.
And assuming that Gardner earns a starting role over Winn, Randy’s solid batting average may mean he platoons with Nick Swisher.
They are both switch hitters and while Swisher hits for power, Winn hits for average and would most likely be called-in for defense in the back-end of games to preserve a lead.
It all makes for a dynamic outfield as the Yankees head into 2010 in an attempt to repeat as World Series Champs; now with combinations that would both guarantee offense, and more importantly, solid defense.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 7:41 AM
By Patrick Read
Now that the only man left to hit more than 61 home runs in a single-season without admitting (or being named) as being a user of performance-enhancing drugs has finally come clean for being dirty, the title “Single-Season Home Run King” has been unofficially retained by—not one—but two Yankee All-Time greats.
Mark McGwire has finally admitted that he regularly used steroids throughout his career.
Starting in 1989, when with the Oakland A’s, and especially during 1998’s highly acclaimed home-run race against Sammy Sosa, McGwire said that he began “using steroids as a way to recover from injury, used on occasion throughout his career and now regrets ever having played during baseball’s Steroid Era.”
The three players—Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire—who broke Babe Ruth and Roger Maris’ single-season record of 60 homers in 154 games and the modern-day record of 61 home runs in 162 games, have now each been tarnished and in so doing have passed the title of Home Run King back to the rightful owners and era.
It was proven that Barry Bonds took steroids because he failed a urine test in 2001. His record setting baseball has an asteriks on it, left as it rests in the Hall of Fame for children to question and fathers to answer.
Unless Selig finally adresses the question while perserving the integrity of the Great American Past-Time left for him to oversee, the single season record will be a discredited hall mark.
Senator Dorgan of North Dakota certainly wishes that the Hall of Fame take some action. He is pressing for the Hall to induct Roger Maris. After all, it's painfully obvious that Maris is due merritt considering that no one has been able to top his achievement without using a foreign susbstance.
Sammy Sosa was also named as one of the players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Certainly the corked-bat incident doesn't help his credibility.
Now, the one left standing has manned-up and admitted his fault for tarnishing the game during an era best described by Jose Canseco—who has gained even more credibility for his book—Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big.
For Roger Maris, it was a different time in America and in baseball.
The black and white television set piped out an occasional Major League game for fans to enjoy, and more often than not, fans listened with great anticipation to the radio to catch their favorite team play. Often heard in Mom & Pop shops, restaraunts and union hall break rooms was tthe voice of Mel Allen shouting "How about that!"
It was a time when men wore a suit & tie and acted like well-spoken gentlemen; when women wore dresses below the knee with low heels & pig tails and acted like well-mannered ladies.
Dad went to work every day and took pride in being an iron horse for his family, while apple-pie Mom stayed home and soberly cared for her children. Families went to church every Sunday and made it there on time decked out in their Sunday's Best.
It was a much more simple time, but not without baseball heroes and baseball controversy.
In 1961, the M & M Boys were all the noise in the Bronx, when the Yankees took on a newly heralded nickname endeared by fans to this day.
The Bombers had both players anchoring baseball’s meteoric rise to home run-race notoriety. Imagine the Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa’s race of 1998, with both players suiting up in the same locker room and on the same team for every game of the season.
Anticipation and expectation of who would hit more homers—or hit one further than the other—unfolded daily on the dusty, hot field of play for Yankee fans in 1961.
The race pitted Yankee fan against Yankee fan with each player pulling ahead of the other almost weekly, making for a NASCAR type give-and-take.
Did you cheer for Maris, a four-time All-Star out of twelve seasons who had won the Gold Glove and American League MVP in 1960? Or was it The Mick, who had won baseball’s triple crown and was a 20-time All-Star and seven-time World Series champ?
Most pulled for the well-established Yankee phenom, Mickey Mantle; while others more liked the underdog, mild-mannered Roger Maris. Together they were the M & M Boys, who gained so much popularity that they even appeared in Hollywood movies together.
Leading up to 1961, baseball leagues were limited to eight teams each, and the season consisted of 154 games, which unsuspectingly laid the ground work for the wildly popular home-run race and its controversy.
Since 1927, the baseball home run King was Babe Ruth, who had hit .356 that year and smashed 60 homers cast out over fences measuring up to 450 feet in dead center with pitching-mounds much higher than today’s game.
In retrospect, perhaps the league itself is most guilty of all in falsely enhancing performance.
Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a single season is one that still stands in tact today—as it will forever—after all, no one will be able to say they out-homered an entire league with so many obstacles (short season, higher mounds, and longer fences).
But in 1961, gentleman player Roger Maris set his own record. It too is one that still stands in tact today—after all— no one since Roger Maris can say they hit 61 homers in a single season from higher mounds without the suspicion (or admission) of using PEDs.
See the Video of Number 61 here
Perhaps, it was destiny foreshadowing what was to come for baseball as the mighty Mick suffered an infection from a botched injection from a “magic flu shot”, which took him out of the race toward season end paving the way for humble Roger Maris to attain baseball immortality.
Mick was a hulk of a player who was equally as fast off the field as he was on it. Often known for his wild nights spent on the town with Whitey Ford, Billy Martin, and on occasion, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle graced the covers of newspapers for both his talent and his larger than life character.
And legions of Yankee die-hards were left deflated and in disbelief as the Mick laid down his bat and dropped out of the race, kneeling on hallowed ground no more for the rest of the season.
As Maris continued the march toward the Ruthian Record, the then MLB Commissioner (and close friend to the Babe) Ford Frick announced another obstacle—the home-run record would only be beaten if Maris hit 61 homers in 154 games—a feat not easily obtained when not only were newspapers trying to protect Babe’s record, but so was the league.
It was no picnic for Maris to get through the stress of—not only getting through a normal baseball season—but battling through one against the press, the league, and the fans. It was told that Maris even received death threats from fans loyal to both Mantle and Ruth.
It got so bad that Maris was literally pulling clumps of hair out of his head in the trainers office before refusing to talk to the press one day.
Maris did not hit 61 home runs inside of 154 games. The only man to do that is George Herman “Babe” Ruth.
But Maris is the only man in baseball history to legitimately hit at least 61 homers in 162 games—a record that has now stood without question for 48 years.
So there are two authentic single season home-run kings, but only one is in the Hall of Fame.
And upon reflection of the kind of endurance and drive that it really does take—knowing that the best of our generation has only surpassed the mark while using PEDs—perhaps it is time for the Hall of Fame’s Veteran Committee to induct Roger Maris into the great Hall of Fame, alongside his famed 61st home run baseball.
No one is taking the fact that Mark McGwire is a class act away from him at all. He is known as one of the good guys of the sport and actually called Mrs. Maris (to her shock) and apologized for his transgressions.
As far as records go, it is clear there are two single season home-run kings, one for the shortened season era and one for the longer one.
It seems as though every baseball era has its looming controversy and hence, the records will always be debated.
Sunday, January 17, 2010, 2:40 AM
By Patrick Read
With the off-season slowing down to a snail's pace, there is no better time to do an All-Time Yankee Line-Up.
The Line-Up includes Bench Players, a mixture of right & left-handed sluggers, a Designated Hitter, a rotation mixed with lefties & righties, a mid-reliever, late-reliever & Closer too. It is finalized with the All-Time Television broadcasters, radio broadcasters with newspaper & writer.
Please read on and feel free to leave your thoughts on who would make the squad on your team...
The New York Yankees have the richest legacy and deepest-of-all talents for any one franchise, plus a winning tradition paralleled by no other team in the world. Needless to say, this was one challenging task, keeping in mind that all generations will be accounted and the Yankees have beeen winning World Series Titles since 1923.
Their twenty-seven World Series Championships remain second-to-none in any country, of any sport and has come to lay claim to what is now known as, "The Yankee Universe."
Order and Line Up
1.) Leading off and playing Center-Field is Right Handed, Joe DiMaggio.
Career Batting Average = 325. Hall Of Famer (HOF)
"The Yankee Clipper" was the sharpest tool in the shed for the Yankee from 1936 To 1951. "Joltin Joe" made his MLB debut in NY and was an All-Star every single year that he played, earning 9 Rings out of his 13 year career. He won the MVP three times and is tied for second in most World Series Yankee Titles. Only Yogi Berra has more. Joe is # 4 in Yankee All-Time OPS.
Touting the all-time least-likely streak to be overcome, Joltin Joe (video) has the record for most consecutive-games with a hit at 56, in 1941. His speed was memorialized by Yogi Berra, who once said, “You never saw Joe DiMaggio dive for any ball hit to center-field. He caught everything chest high.”
2.) Hitting second and playing first-base is Left Handed, Ludwig Gehrig.
Career Batting Average = 340. 1st ever Yankee Captain (HOF)
"The Iron Horse" played 2,130 consecutive games from 1923 to 1939. Lou was the only person in the history of the game to be inducted into the Hall of Fame who played in the same year as being elected. Having been clean-up hitter for the widely known “Murderers Rows,” Lou holds the American League record for RBI with 184, a record that may never be beaten.
Having busted into the league in 1923, Lou was as reliable a left-handed bat as any in Yankee history (video). He helped New York transition from Murderers Row into what became known as the Bronx Bombers, and undoubtedly Lou would be sure to move Joe over and into scoring position. He was # 2 in All Time Yankee OPS.
3.) Playing Third Base and hitting third is right-handed, Alex Rodriguez.
Career Batting Average 308. Future HOF
Coming into the league at age 19, "A-Rod" was widely regarded as the league’s premiere short stop in the mid 1990s and is widely known for his range along with a rock-solid arm. He is the youngest player to hit 500 home runs (video).
With his reliable power & speed, he would hit in the top-three in order to move runners over and drive in runs simultaneously. He is # 2 in All Time Yankee home runs per at bats behind Babe Ruth, and is number 5 in OPS.
4.) Batting 4th & Playing Right Field is lefty, George Herman Ruth.
Career Batting Average = 342 (HOF)
"The Sultan of Swat" held the title Home Run King when fences were 450 feet andd when the league used what is now known as a “dead ball” or softer ball. He also played when pitchers had an advantage by throwing off of a higher mound.
"The Bambino" out homered an entire league in 1927 with 60 fence (video) clearing shots in only 540 at bats, in 151 games. "The Babe"--even now--remains the standard to which all great power hitters are compared. He was traded to the Yankees in 1920 and played 14 years in Pinstripes, ending his career hitting 3 home runs in his final game against the Boston Braves in 1935.
Babe leads the Yankees in just about every pertinent offensive title including batting average, runs scored, total number of bases and all-time home runs. He could even sing (video)!
5.) Starting in Left-Field, is switch hitting power, # 7, Mickey Mantle.
Career Batting Average of = 297 (HOF)
"The Mick" (video) was stronger than a mule and is famous for being a work horse who carried the team to "7" World Series Rings. He won the Triple Crown, the MVP three times and is a 20 time All-Star, Gold Glove, Hall of Famer.
With power from both sides, "The Commerce Comet" hit one of the longest home runs ever measured at 634' in 1960.
Having great speed and a strong arm, the Mick would more than cover left field and be able to throw runners out at second from the wall with ease. He was the clean up hitter for years and would drive in runs or drive the ball out when no runners were on-base. The Mick is third in All-Time Yankee OPS.
6.) Hitting left handed and playing catcher is Bill Dickey.
Career Batting Average = 313 (HOF)
The philosophy here is that guaranteed Joe or Lou gets on base and then between A-Rod, the Babe and the Mick someone has hit a double, or more. At minimum, a runner should be on second with maybe another on third with some runs on the board. That is why I bring in Dickey here--I looked for a reliable bat to get a smiple base-hit and set up the next power bat. And one needs look no further than Dickey--Mr. Reliable.
Bill Dickey (rare video) is the mentor of Yogi Berra and is tied for the fourth all-time Yankee highest batting average with only Joe, Lou and Babe having higher averages. Dickey played his whole career with the Yankees starting 1928. He was a 9 time All-Star catcher and ended his career in 1946. For 11 consecutive years he had more than 120 hits and was a pivotal part of Murderers Row and the Bronx Bombers. He has 9 World Series rings, which is second only to Yogi.
7.) Playing second-base and hitting right-handed is Tony Lazzeri.
Career Batting Average = 292 (HOF)
"Push Em Up Lazzeri" (rare photo) played on the Yankees from 1926 through 1937 and also transitioned the team from the Murdering Row days to the Bronx Bombers. IN his rookie year Tony had 14 home runs and 114 RBI. He earned 5 rings and hit a career best .354 in 1929 while going seven years with more than 100 RBI and 5 consecutive seasons with a .300 plus average. Towards the bottom, Anthony is positioned here to load ‘em up once again.
8.) Batting eigth is the left handed Designated Hitter, Jason Giambi.
Career Batting Average = 288 average, possible HOF
This is the power-bat that Dickey and Lazz were placed in front of--one of the two should be on base--and with Giambi's slugging % plus his 3rd All-Time homers per at-bats, the chances are he knocks one out.
Reggie comes in a close second, but Jason edges him out in slugging, OPS and is hitting 26 points higher in average than did Reggie. "The Big G" (grand slam video) averages 28 home runs per year and if he plays 7 more years he is on track to hit 575 home runs and is currently at 386. Jason is a 5 time All-Star and tied with Reggie having one MVP.
Jason is in the top three for All-Time home runs per at bat with 14, just behind A-Rod at 13.8 and Babe at 10.9. Jason is 6th in All-Time OPS too.
9.) Hitting 9 The second lead-off, right-handed short-stop, Derek Jeter.
Career batting Average = 317. Future HOF
"Mr. November" is one of very few to be named the Yankee team captain. Derek debuted in 1995 playing short-stop and in his very next year helped the Yankees end a 19 year World Title draught.
In his 15 years, he is a 10 time All-Star and has earned 5 World Series Rings. "Captain America" is--without question--the best Yankee shortstop in the history of the organization, winning 3 consecutive gold gloves in 2004, 05 & 06 and another in 2009.
He broke Lou Gehrig's all-time Yankee's hits record (video). Derek was rated in the top 3 best in the MLB at short-stop in the 1990s and has set the standard for short-stops to be judged league wide. He has never played another position in his professional career. Having him here offers Joe Di a relaible bat to hit behind and someone with speed. It then starts over again.
On the Bench:
Yogi Berra (.285--Left--HOF), Thurman Munson (.292-2nd NYY Capt.–-Right--HOF Hopeful). Reggie Jackson (.262--Left--HOF), Bernie Williams (.297 –-Switch--Possible HOF), Bob Meusal (.309 –-Right--HOF). Roger Maris (.260--Left--All-Natural, HR KING) Rickey Henderson (279-Right-Speed-HOF).
note: Re Roger Maris - he replaced Babe Ruth as the single season HR King, who hit 60 homers while playing in 8 less games than did Maris. Here is a video of Maris' 61st homer.
The league gave Roger Maris an asterisk in the Hall of Fame for his Single Season HR King Title. It was removed in the early 1990s, but Roger had already passed, which maybe the way Pete Rose and others will be dealt with too. Roger Maris's ball remains in the Hall, but Roger Maris himself is not a member--he held the single season HR King Title longer than anyone else in history.
1.) Whitey Ford– (HOF) "The Chairman of the Board" (video) had a career 2.75 with 3,170 innings pitched. "Slick" helped earn a total of 8 World Series Titles. Ford was one that came into the League as a Yankee Major Leaguer and went out one too. He had an overall ERA of 2.75 with a career low of 2.13 when appearing in 10 games or more. – Lefty
2.) Roger "Rocket" Clemens–Following the lefty is one of the only pitchers to have ever won a MVP. The Rocket has earned 354 wins (8 All Time), with 4,672 strikeouts (3 All Time) and 7 Cy Young Awards (#1 All Time). He got his 4,000th strike out on the same night he won his 300th game (video). He's an 11 time All Star and helped the Yankees win two more rings. Clemens came into the league as a Red Sox, spent 2 years in Toronto and then 6 years with the Yankees. He has an overall 3.12 ERA with a career low of 1.87. – Right.
3.) Ron “Louisiana Lightning” Guidry–(possible HOF) "Gator" touted the All-Time Yankee Low ERA andd helped secure two more rings after the slue that began in the 1920s and ended in the 60s. He has the most strike-outs (18) in one game by any Yankee (video). Guidry is a 4 time All-Star and 5 time Gold-Glover. He came into the League a Yankee and went out one too. Guidry's over all ERA was 3.29 and he had a career low (and third All-Time Yankee low) ERA of 1.74 in 1978 – Left
4.) Red Ruffing rare photo (HOF) With a second right-handed pitcher who averaged over 220 innings each year and had a low ERA of 1.77, Ruffing pitched a total of 85 World Series innings and helped earn 7 World Series Titles, including four in a row from 1936 through 1939, and another 2 in a row in '42 & '43. Ruffing came into the league with the Red Sox, spent most of career in Pinstripes and played his final year with the White Sox. Ruffing threw less than a 4 ERA in 13 consecutive years. He had an overall ERA of 3.8 and a career low of 1.77 in 1946. – Right
5.) Lefty Gomez photo (HOF) Following another right is Lefty Gomez who has 29 Yankee Shut-Outs (3 ) and helped the team earn 5 rings. Lefty averaged 247 innings per year and boast an overall ERA of 3.34 with a career low 2.33, which he did twice. He came into the League a Yankee and went out with the then AL team, Washington Senators, in his last and final year of a 14 year career. – Lefty
Bull Pen Including Two Relievers and a Closer.
The 7 inning bridge starts with Goose Gossage who had a career 3.01 ERA, an overall Yankee low ERA of 2.14 and one year put up a career low of .77. Goose rates third in all time Yankee saves per innings pitched at 151 (S) / 533 (IP).
The Set-Up Role is being filled by Dave Righetti who has the 2nd most all time Yankee saves with 224, and is third in one-year saves with 46. Righetti is ranked second in Yankee saves per innings pitched at 224(S) / 1137 (IP).
Closing is, "Enter the Sandman," Mariano Riviera. The all-time career saves leader with 526 saves, "Super Mariano" holds the All-Yankee single-season saves record at 53, and again at 50. Mo has a career-ERA of 2.31 (2nd All Time Yankee) and a low 1.38. He leads the Yankees in saves per innings pitched at 471 (S) / 1004 (IP).
Casey "The Old Professor" Stengal (HOF Mgr. 7 time WS Champion) and Billy Martin (1B Coach and 2 time WS Champion) and Joe McCarthy (HOF - Bench Coach - 7 WS Championships) with Ron Guidry as the Pitching Coach.
TV, Radio and Newspaper:
My All-Time TV play-by-play announcer would go to John Sterling and although branded a “homer,” there is no better play-by-play man in the game, save the home run calls. Phil Rizzuto (SS - HOF) is the color commentator with Jim Kaat (P-HOF) as an Analyst.
Radio: Mel Allen (HOF) is the play-by-play announcer with Charlie Steiner his color commentator.
All Time Newspaper: The NY Post, featuring George King. He’s good. The Daily News can go blow--which probably excites Lupica to no end--they're a bunch of Yankee Haters led by a graduate of Boston College.
Uploading pics when I get home. Go Yanks!
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