News Good For Hughes, But What's Chamberlain's Joba?

    Thursday, March 25, 2010, 5:55 PM [General]

    Unless one counts the Japanese media following Hideki Irabu around in the late 1990's, there really hasn't been as microscopic look at what should transpire with the New York Yankees fifth starter spot.  Oh sure there was the 2003 battle between Jose Contreras and Jeff Weaver of recent memory, but never anything with as much juice as this.  Additionally when the fifth spot in the rotation is stirring up all of the commotion in Spring Training, that can only be a good sign moving forward.

    Of course the Yankees could have easily gone with Alfredo Aceves or Sergio Mitre with this lineup and bullpen and penciled in 10-12 wins for either one.  And in the same breath in the short term the Yankees could have loaded up the bridge to Mo with more tolls than New Jersey by putting both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain in late inning setup roles. 

    Yet an organization that has hungered to develop its own cheap effective starting pitching for years is taking an approach that they believe will help them in the short term and down the road.  What the Yankees are effectivley doing is grooming the replacements for their last two prized homegrown products of the last 15 years, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.

    The Yankees view Hughes' ceiling as a potential number three in the near term and while Joe Girardi was non-commital about the eighth inning role, why else keep Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen if not to learn from the great Mariano Rivera? 

    I do like the fact that Joe Girardi has the confidence in all of his relievers in just about any spot and certainly the Yankees have some hard throwers with big time strikeout stuff like David Robertson and Mark Melancon.  However I have to wonder if you're not grooming Chamberlain for the closer spot, why aren't you sending him back down to Triple-A to start and work out the kinks?  One would think that after all the yo-yo-ing and 'Joba Rules' that a guy who has shown some glimpses of potential and is still in his early 20's would get another crack to prove himself with the training wheels off even if that process has to start at Triple-A this season.  That is unless of course the organization has him projected as a closer.

    There are a couple of other reasons the Yankees need Hughes and Chamberlain to succeed and their names are Roy Halladay and Johan Santana.  The Yankees passed up two blockbuster deals involving these two, not wanting to go 'That 80's Show' route of potentially trading the next Doug Drabek and Jose Rijo. 

    So going forward the Yankees rotation is set for 2010, enjoy the ride kids.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    What If Don Mattingly Took Steroids?

    Monday, March 8, 2010, 11:04 PM [General]

    The headline may look it but I'm not accusing Donnie Baseball of taking steroids.  However when it comes to Hall of Fame voting, does a player like Mattingly's stock go up in an era full of steroid users?  Would Donnie have gotten into the Hall had he used roids?  And if he did would he have put up "Mark McGwire type" stats?

    Don Mattingly was a great ballplayer and a great New York Yankee.  Mattingly was arguably one of the best players in the sport during the 1980's and if there were a handful of guys you'd want your kid to be like or play like, Donnie Baseball would be that guy.  Was he a Hall of Fame caliber player?  Yes.  A Hall of Famer?  Probably not.

    Yet I'm curious about one thing, if some writers and purists contend that the DH has had the effect of "tainting" the record books by pro-longing the careers of players who otherwise would've been retired long ago, then wouldn't that go the same for players who've used steroids to stick around and heighten their stats?  And does that then increase the chances for a guy like Mattingly to make a case for a spot in the Hall?

    One such player I will compare Mattingly with is McGwire.  Taking their first six years into account, from ages 23-28, before Mattingly had back problems and McGwire knee problems.

    Mattingly's averages come out to: Runs 97, hits 203, doubles 43, HR's 27, RBI 114.  McGwire's averages come out to: Runs 82, hits 127, doubles 21, HR's 36, RBI 100.  Mattingly beats McGwire every year in batting average during this period and in on-base-percentage every year except for when they were both 28.  Mattingly wins in slugging % four out of the six years (every year but the first and last of the six).  McGwire walks more, Mattingly strikes out less. 

    Each was an All-Star six times during that span.  McGwire won rookie of the year.  Mattingly won an MVP and a batting title, probably should've won another MVP in 1986 if they didn't give it to a pitcher linked to steroid use named Roger Clemens.  During that six year age span, Mattingly won five gold gloves, while McGwire won one.  Mattingly won three silver sluggers, McGwire one.  Mattingly finished in the top ten in batting five times while McGwire finished in the top ten in slugging four times during this six year age period. 

    What does all of this prove?  Well perhaps if nothing else, it furthers the notion that McGwire may not have been in the Hall on his own (which he is still not) if not aided by steroids.  It certainly makes one wonder what Mattingly's career numbers would've looked like if he like McGwire at the same cross-roads would have chosen to go the steroid route to resurrect his once Hall of Fame bound career.  This is proven out especially when one considers that when Mattingly retired at the age of 34, at that same age McGwire hit career highs of 70 HR's and 147 RBI.    

    As it all turns out, neither player may end up making it to the Hall.  But because of the steroid era, unlike Big Mac, people still want Donnie Baseball in the Hall.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    More Instant Replay Please

    Monday, March 8, 2010, 10:55 PM [General]

    If being in favor of more instant replay in baseball means being for getting the calls on the field right, then count me in as someone who wants more instant replay in the game.  Because ultimately getting the call correct is what it's all about right? 

    Now obviously umpires make mistakes just like players and managers and coaches and on down the line.  However I don't really understand this whole emphasis on "baseball tradition" as to why instant replay can't come to fruition in baseball.

    Heck the only reason its been that way for over 100 years is because over 100 years ago games weren't even on radio let alone broadcast in crystal clear HDTV.  They had no concept of instant replay as a tool back then, but who is to say they wouldn't have utilized it if they'd had the opportunity?  MLB isn't fooling anyone anymore by sheepishly sweeping these calls under the rug.

    Some umpires may take offense to this whole notion of actually being held accountable and overruled just like players, managers and coaches, but I say tough, it's not about you guys it's about getting the calls right!  Don't worry about opening some pandora's box, the technology is there so use it.

    As far as the pacing of the game, would having an extra umpire or league official up in the booth monitoring the game on a big-screen HDTV instantly relaying a disputed HR call down to the field be any slower than the umpires on the field huddling up and deliberating or arguing with both managers and players over such a call? 

    Perhaps the worry is that the technology has become too blatantly good that the umpires will cease to be relevant.  Because with the advent of HDTV and slow motion zoom and K-Zone and Questec, there's no hiding anymore and no excuse for being able to overturn obvious calls.

    This may sound a bit harsh but honestly the only reason umpires are there is because they were there first as the only means to make calls and resolve disputes.  It’s sort of like bikes and cars, sure bikes came first but if you had the option of having a car to get around wouldn't you take the car?  Upon further review, botched calls make me crave for a change.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    George Steinbrenner Belongs In The Hall Of Fame

    Monday, March 8, 2010, 12:00 AM [General]

    New York Yankees Principal Owner George M. Steinbrenner III, is one of a kind.  A few years ago it was asked if an owner should be eligible for the baseball hall of fame.  And with Walter O'Malley's induction a couple years back, there is no question in my mind that the man they call "The Boss" should be in there as well.

    The story of George Steinbrenner is far too vast and detailed to chronicle in just one article.  The son of a ship builder, born in Rocky River, Ohio, the man who made the Yankees matter again.  Steinbrenner, who has owned the Yankees longer than anyone in team history, took the team from the depths of obscurity for a "paltry" sum of $10 million to a multi-billion dollar franchise.  Steinbrenner also restored the history and tradition and winning ways of the New York Yankees.

    During his reign the Yankees have reached the playoffs 19 times, won 11 pennants and 7 World Series.  Under him they renovated Yankee Stadium and have built a state of the art Stadium which opened last season.  They've also been able to create a virtual cash cow with the inception of the YES Network in 2002.  Additionally for better or for worse, Steinbrenner is willing to spend whatever is necessary to win.  Sure he has had virtually unlimited resources in New York, but how many titles have Fred Wilpon, James Dolan and Woody Johnson won?

    Granted there have been controversies, with Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield and heck even with the new Stadium, but Steinbrenner has always been a master of controlling the back pages of the New York papers. 

    However, sadly as we have come to see publicly over the last few years unfortunately his health seems to be in decline.  So hopefully Mr. Steinbrenner who has gotten to view his dream of his new Stadium, gets to accept and be able to fully appreciate a Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown, N.Y. before it’s too late.  Then again George would probably just assume trade it all for a 28th title this season.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankee Playoff Memories: Reflecting On The Old Yard Part 4 of 4

    Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:47 PM [General]

    Starting in 1995 the New York Yankees have made the playoffs 14 out of 15 times.  With Yankee Stadium II having ended operations after 2008, I felt it fitting to reflect and list my top 12 playoff moments at The House George Renovated before they christen the new yard with post season baseball for the first time.  With apologies to Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss, I'm naming the moments I've seen in my lifetime.  Now comes part four with plenty of dramatics!

    # 3.) 2001 World Series Game 4, Arizona Diamondbacks @ New York Yankees: While game 5 is great on its own, the magnitude just isn't the same without game 4.  With the game tied 1-1 the D-Backs took the lead 3-1 in the top of the 8th.  Things were looking pretty dire for the Yankee offense, until Tino Martinez made his first hit of the series his best one.  After Paul O'Neill had singled to left, Martinez drilled the two-out offering from Kim who as mentioned would be victimized a night later in the same scenario by Scott Brosius, over the wall to tie the game at three a piece.

    The very next inning in the bottom of the 10th also with two outs Derek Jeter became forever known as Mr. November hitting one into the short porch in right off Kim for the 4-3 walkoff win.

    # 2.) 2003 ALCS Game 7, Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees: Given the scope, intensity, rivalry and nature of the game and its outcome, this may well have been the best baseball game I've ever watched and boy did it live up to the hype.  Everything was on the table, bragging rights, "The Curse of the Bambino," and more importantly the AL Pennant and a trip to the World Series.  In what was starting to look like Roger Clemens' last start ever, The Rocket got lit up for two homers by Jason Varitek and Kevin Millar that staked Boston out to a 4-0 lead in the 4th. 

    Of course in game seven as far as pitchers, all hands are on deck.  In that 4th inning with two on, Clemens exited and Mike Mussina came on for his first ever career relief appearance.  Mussina struck out Varitek and got Johnny Damon to ground into a 6-6-3 inning ending double play, keeping the Yankees in the game.

    The Yankees then chipped away off Pedro Martinez when Jason Giambi connected for two solo HR's in the 5th and 7th cutting the lead to 4-2. 

    When it finally looked as if the Yankees were back in it, the Red Sox came back with a solo shot of their own as David Wells surrendered a HR to David Ortiz making it 5-2 Boston going into the bottom of the 8th.  That's when the Yankees caught fire off Martinez.  With 1 out Derek Jeter doubled to center. 

    Bernie Williams followed suit with a single to center of his own, knocking in Jeter and reducing the lead to 5-3. 

    Hideki Matsui then roped a double to rightfield and Williams advanced to 3rd. 

    With runners in scoring position, Jorge Posada blooped a two-run game tying double to shallow left-centerfield making it 5-5.  Posada was pumped and the Stadium roared. 

    Mariano Rivera then added to his Hall of Fame playoff legacy with three epic shutout innings of relief, that would eventually earn him ALCS MVP honors.

    Then with the game still tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 11th, the improbable Aaron Boone, Willie Randolph's sleeper pick, hit a lead-off, walkoff pinch hit homer to win the Yankees 39th AL Pennant and a trip to the World Series.  The Yankees won the game 6-5 and the ALCS 4-3.

    # 1.) 1996 World Series Game 6, Atlanta Braves @ New York Yankees: Ok so I said the last game was the best I've ever seen, but the number one game to me has the most special meaning and significance.  It was the night the underdog Yankees completed their improbable run which included a slew of human interest stories and ultimately what was to be the birth of a dynasty. 

    Everyone had counted them out, every step of the way.  They'd just come off a crushing series loss the year before, Joe was supposedly clueless, Doc and Darryl were in the baseball waste bin, Coney was fighting for his life and of course there was no way they could win with that rookie kid Jeter starting at SS.  Even when they made it to the World Series, the doubters said no way could they beat the defending champion Braves, the "team of the 90's," and there was no way after losing their first two at home in ugly fashion that they could sweep the Braves on the road and come back home to win it, beating three Hall of Fame pitchers in Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux along the way.  But they did.  After sweeping out the Braves in Atlanta to go 8-0 on the road in the 1996 playoffs, the Yankees came home to try and clinch title number 23, their first in 18 years.  The first one I'd seen in my lifetime.

    Jimmy Key went against Greg Maddux in a rematch of game 2.  Key, one of the first early 90's Yankees to help create the winning culture in the Bronx was more than solid allowing just one run in 5/1/3 innings.

    The Yankees struck for 3 in the 3rd off Maddux and it would be all they'd need, as Paul O'Neill doubled to right, Mariano Duncan moved him to 3rd on a grounder, Joe Girardi then tripled to center off his former Chicago Cubs battery-mate, plating O'Neill for the 1-0 lead and the Stadium absolutely shook.  Derek Jeter then singled Girardi home for the 2-0 edge.  After stealing 2nd, Jeter scored on what turned out to be the game winning RBI, a line drive single to center by Bernie Williams, as the two emerging young cornerstones of this Yankee dynasty gave the Bombers a 3-0 lead.  The Yankee bullpen was sharp once again, including getting two scoreless innings out of Mariano Rivera late.

    Eventual World Series MVP closer John Wetteland in his typical fashion made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th.  The defending champs wouldn't go quietly as Marquis Grissom knocked in Ryan Klesko, cutting the lead to 3-2.  Then with the tying run in scoring position and the go-ahead run at first, Wetteland got Mark Lemke to pop into foul territory along the 3rd base side by the stands and Charlie Hayes gloved it for the final out of the game and series.  Wetteland's World Series record 4th save and the Yankees won their 23rd title, in what would become their next dynasty, eventual team of the decade, team of the century.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankee Playoff Memories: Reflecting On The Old Yard Part 3 of 4

    Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:45 PM [General]

    Starting in 1995 the New York Yankees have made the playoffs 14 out of 15 times.  With Yankee Stadium II having ended operations after 2008, I felt it fitting to reflect and list my top 12 playoff moments at The House George Renovated before they christen the new yard with post season baseball for the first time.  With apologies to Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss, I'm naming the moments I've seen in my lifetime.  Here's part three.

    # 6.) 1998 World Series Game 1, San Diego Padres @ New York Yankees: If they didn't win this World Series they would've accomplished a lot for naught.  Having won 114 games in the regular season, anything less than a title to this group would've been an abject failure.  Ricky Ledee who ripped Padres pitching in this series, got the ball rolling in the bottom of the 2nd with a two-run double to rightfield off Kevin Brown.  Surprisingly though the Yankees ace that year David "Boomer" Wells, allowed five runs through the 5th including HR's to Greg Vaughn and Tony Gwynn putting the Padres out front 5-2.  In the bottom of the 7th though it was two moments of atonement which spurred the Yankees on to victory.  Chuck Knoblauch hit a game tying three run blast off reliever Donnie Wall making it 5-5.  Tino Martinez then took Mark Langston upper-tank for a grand slam, giving the Yanks a 9-5 lead, capping off a seven run seventh.  The Yanks went on to win 9-6 and swept the series 4-0.

    # 5.) 1996 ALCS Game 1, Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees: After their first playoff series victory in 15 years, the Yanks made their first trip back to the ALCS since 1981.  On this day October day at the Stadium there was plenty of magic, mystique and Maier.  Setting the stage, Baltimore on the strength of HR's from Brady Anderson and Rafael Palmeiro, led 4-3 heading into the bottom of the 8th.  That's when all hell broke loose.  A child shall lead them and if that's not enough another one will help him.  Now I'll always maintain that if there had been no interference, given the trajectory of the ball it would've gone off the top of the wall for at least a double, because Tony Tarasco didn't leap for it.  But Derek Jeter with an assist from 12 year old fan Jeffrey Maier, tied the game on what was ruled a HR to rightfield, off Armando Benitez and as a result we see where both post-season careers of Jeter and Benitez have gone since.

    With the game tied at 4-4 Bernie Williams went boom, leading off the bottom of the 11th taking Randy Myers deep to left to give the Yanks and exciting walkoff win.

    # 4.) 2001 World Series Game 5, Arizona Diamondbacks @ New York Yankees: Between games 4 and 7 this one seemingly gets lost in the shuffle but shouldn't.  The Yankees off a comeback victory in game 4 made a sort of deja vu history once again.  Unfortunately their offense couldn't muster anything for eight innings against D-Backs pitching.  Rod Barajas and Steve Finley had taken Mike Mussina deep, spoiling his brilliant ten strikeout performance.  With the D-Backs about to steal back momentum and the series lead heading back to Arizona, the Yankees struck back for the 2nd night in a row in the bottom of the 9th.  Jorge Posada doubled to left to start off the inning, then with two outs and the Yanks on their last leg, Mr. Clutch since his arrival in 1998 Scott Brosius clocked a game tying homer to left off of Byung-Hyun Kim tying the game at 2-2.

    As the game moved to the bottom of the 12th, Chuck Knoblauch led off with a single, Brosius bunted him into scoring position and Alfonso Soriano continued his 2001 playoff heroics with his single to right off Albie Lopez to plate Knoblauch for the 3-2 win.  The Yankees took the series lead 3-2 and this win gave them a record 10 straight World Series home victories.  It was also Paul O'Neill's final game at Yankee Stadium.

    Would it be deja vu all over again?  Check out the fourth and final installment.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankee Playoff Memories: Reflecting On The Old Yard Part 2 Of 4

    Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:44 PM [General]

    Starting in 1995 the New York Yankees have made the playoffs 14 out of 15 times.  With Yankee Stadium II having ended operations after 2008, I felt it fitting to reflect and list my top 12 playoff moments at The House George Renovated before they christen the new yard with post season baseball for the first time.  With apologies to Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss, I'm naming the moments I've seen in my lifetime.  Here's part two.

    # 9.) 2000 World Series Game 1, New York Mets @ New York Yankees: The first Subway Series, World Series game since the New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in game seven of that series at Ebbets Field.

    This was a game in which the Mets mental errors cost them dearly.  In what was the first of two great pitching duels between Andy Pettitte and ex-Yankee Al Leiter, the game was ultimately decided with the team having better concentration.  In the top of the 6th the Mets had Pettitte on the ropes, when Todd Zeile doubled off the top of the leftfield wall.  With Timo Perez loafing around the bases, David Justice picked up the ball fired it to Derek Jeter who cut across and gunned it to Jorge Posada who tagged out Perez at home plate.

    Sparked by this the Yanks notched two in the bottom half of the inning making it 2-0.  The Mets however struck right back with 3 in the top of the 7th.  In the bottom of the 9th Paul O'Neill worked the biggest walk of this dynasty this side of Wade Boggs, off of Armando Benitez. 

    Consecutive singles by Luis Polonia and ex-Met Jose Vizcaino set the stage for a bases loaded game tying sac fly by Chuck Knoblauch, making it 3-3.  Vizcaino would comeback to haunt the Mets once again in the bottom of the 12th with a bases loaded single to left, driving in Tino Martinez for the 4-3 victory. 

    # 8.) 1995 ALDS Game 2, Seattle Mariners @ New York Yankees: Sure the Yankees eventually lost this series but for Buck Showalter's boys this was the biggest, craziest post-season win Stadium fans had seen in a long time.  It was a seesaw affair between the two clubs with the M's leading 2-1 in the 6th.  In the bottom half of the 6th Ruben Sierra the homered to tie the game up at two a piece.  Then it was bedlam in the Bronx as The Captain Don Mattingly smacked his first post-season HR to put the Yanks in front 3-2, sending the Stadium crowd into a frenzy, showering the field with debris and prompting manager Lou Pinella to pull his team off the field. 

    After the back to back HR's in the 6th, Seattle struck back with two runs in the 7th to take the lead 4-3.  That didn't last for long, when in the bottom of the 7th, Paul O'Neill took Norm Charlton yard making it a 4-4 game.  Each team would trade runs in the 12th and played on until the 15th.  In the home half of the 15th Jimmy "The King" Leyritz took Tim Belcher deep with a two-run blast in the late night driving rain to cap off a late October win in the Bronx.  This of course was only a precursor of clutch October HR's to come in the career of Leyritz.

    # 7.) 1999 World Series Game 3, Atlanta Braves @ New York Yankees: Upon getting roughed up in first two games down in Atlanta, the Braves were primed to do what the Yankees had done to them in 1996, come back and win the series in four straight after dropping the first two.  After knocking around Andy Pettitte early, just as they had in game 1 in 1996, the Braves had jumped out to a 5-1 lead through four innings.  The Yankees as they did on numerous occasions in the 1990's started to chip away.  Chad Curtis homered off of starter Tom Glavine, cutting the lead to 5-2 in the 5th.  In the 7th Tino Martinez added a solo shot of his own off Glavine, slashing the deficit to 5-3.  Then Chuck Knoblauch who'd tormented the Braves in the 1991 World Series as a member of the Minnesota Twins, also tagged Glavine with a two-run game tying blast to rightfield. 

    Finally in the bottom of the 10th, Curtis clocked his 2nd HR of the game for the winner off Mike Remlinger to deep leftfield, circled the bases and on behalf of Pete Rose, promptly told reporter Jim Gray to stuff it.

    Coming up in part three of four, some guys who unlike Pete Rose actually found some atonement.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankee Playoff Memories: Reflecting On The Old Yard Part 1 Of 4

    Sunday, March 7, 2010, 11:42 PM [General]

    Starting in 1995 the New York Yankees have made the playoffs 14 out of 15 times.  With Yankee Stadium II having ended operations after 2008, I felt it fitting to reflect and list my top 12 playoff moments at The House George Renovated before they christen the new yard with post season baseball for the first time.  With apologies to Reggie Jackson and Chris Chambliss, I'm naming the moments I've seen in my lifetime.

    # 12.) 2001 ALCS Game 4, Seattle Mariners @ New York Yankees: After getting blown out in game 3 of the series at home 14-3, the Yankees led the best of seven 2-1.  In game 4 the Yankees had been held scoreless for seven innings, while the Mariners got on the board with a run in the top half of the 8th on a Brett Boone solo HR making it 1-0 M's.  However in the bottom of the 8th with one out, Bernie Williams took Arthur Rhodes deep to knot it at 1-1.

    Then in the bottom of the 9th with one out and one on, Alfonso Soriano homered off of Kaz Sasaki to win the game 3-1, putting the Yanks up 3-1 in the series.

    With their 116 win season on the line, the M's were clearly pressing, prompting manager Lou Pinella to boldly state they would be going back to Seattle for game six. 

    # 11.) 2001 ALCS Game 5, Seattle Mariners @ New York Yankees: After this game the M's would be going back to Seattle, however there would be no game six.  New York which had suffered through the horrific attacks of 9/11/2001, seemingly let out all off their emotions and grief and the Yankees took it out big time on the Mariners.  The Yankees sent the Mariners packing 12-3 on the back of three homers by Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez.  The Yankees won their 4th AL Pennant in a row, the first and only AL team to do so in the modern playoff era.  It was the last HR for Paulie, but not for Tino... that's later down the list.

    # 10.) 1999 ALCS Game 1, Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees: The first playoff series ever for the two blood rivals.  Seemingly tamer than recent years but intense nonetheless.  The Red Sox led most of the way, 3-2 going into the 7th until the Yankees tied the score.  The two sides then took it to the bottom of the 10th without scoring, until Bernie Williams went boom, leading off the 10th with a walkoff solo shot to dead center for the 4-3 win.  Other than a blip on the radar in game 3 at Fenway Park, the Yankees rolled up the competition in 1999 going 11-1, but their walkoff magic wasn't done as you'll see in part two of the list.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Not Homegrown? Says Who?

    Saturday, March 6, 2010, 5:16 PM [General]

    Okay I want to get this out of the way up front, nobody is disputing that the New York Yankees spend a lot of money and have vast resources at their disposal.  However to say they have no farm system and that none of players from recent championship teams has been developed from within is a misnomer.  Heck the 1998 San Diego Padres had more former homegrown Yankees (Jim Leyritz, Sterling Hitchcock and Ruben Rivera) than homegrown Padres (Tony Gwynn and Joey Hamilton).

    Looking at the 2009 World Series Champion Yankees, there were plenty of guys who came up through the system to help contribute.

    Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, Ramiro Pena, Francisco Cervelli, Shelley Duncan, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, David Robertson, Chien-Ming Wang, Mark Melancon, Mike Dunn, Ian Kennedy.  And if one wants to get technical, a few guys who were drafted by other teams but came up through the Yankees system or signed with the Yankees as free agents, Alfredo Aceves and Hideki Matsui.

    So in essence those players regular contributions more or less make-up about a third of the roster.  Much more than a handful as some out there would lead or like one to believe.  Plus the Yankees have some old farm-hands back in the fold with Nick Johnson and Marcus Thames for 2010.

    Let's take it a step further shall we and compare with another team that plays in the big market of New York with their own new stadium, televison network and large payroll, the Mets and see just how easy it is to win errr come in fourth place with all of those advantages.

    Mets homegrown in 2009: Daniel Murphy, Jose Reyes, David Wright, Angel Pagan, Fernando Martinez, Nick Evans, Josh Thole, Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell, Nelson Figueroa, Jon Niese, Tobi Stoner,

    Not too many regulars in that bunch and if everyone were healthy, only Reyes, Wright and Pelfrey would have been major regular contributors.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    New Hires: Coaches and Scouts Around the League

    Saturday, March 6, 2010, 5:10 PM [General]

    In a sort of "where are they now" post, here's an offseason look at where some former Albany Colonie Yankees and others to have played/coached in Albany have landed.

    As mentioned in an earlier post, former Albany Colonie and New York Yankees pitcher Dave Eiland is the pitching coach of the New York Yankees, while former Albany Colonie Yankees coach Rob Thomson is the New York Yankees third base coach.  In addition former Albany Colonie Yankees and San Francisco Giants outfielder Jalal Leach has been hired as a scout for the New York Yankees.

    Former Albany Colonie Yankees pitcher and Toronto Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg has been hired as the pitching coach of the Houston Astros.

    Former Albany Colonie Yankees catcher Bob Geren remains the skipper of the Oakland A's, while former Albany Colonie A's and New York Yankees infielder Mike Gallego remains the team's third base coach.

    Former Albany Colonie and New York Yankees coach Brian Butterfield will stay on Cito Gaston's staff in Toronto as the third base coach.

    Former Albany Colonie and New York Yankees third baseman Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens is the new hitting coach for the San Francisco Giants.  Meulens joins former Albany Colonie and New York Yankees center fielder Roberto Kelly, who serves as the team's first base coach.

    Former Albany Colonie A's pitcher Tim Belcher is the new pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians.

    Former Albany Colonie Yankees catcher Fredi Gonzalez remains manager of the Florida Marlins, while former Albany Colonie and New York Yankees infielder Andy Fox is no longer the team's first base coach.

    Former Albany Colonie Yankees manager Dan Radison has been named the Washington Nationals first base coach.  Radison had previous coaching stints with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres as well.

    Former Albany Colonie Diamond Dogs short stop Rafael Belliard remains a coach on Jim Leyland's staff in Detroit.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The "Core Four" and More...

    Saturday, March 6, 2010, 5:05 PM [General]

    As we all know by now the New York Yankees "Core Four" of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada captured their fifth World Series Championship.  The most championships of any players to come through Albany (does Bernie Williams get another one from being with the team in Spring Training?).  Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland who pitched in Albany during the 1988 season and third base coach Rob Thomson who was a coach in Albany in 1992, also got their first rings in 2009. 

    Meanwhile among other active former Albany Colonie Yankees, the 1991 battery of catcher Brad Ausmus and pitcher Russ Springer looks to be winding down in their respective careers.  Ausmus served as a catcher for Joe Torre's NL West Champion L.A. Dodgers in 2009, while Springer started the year in Oakland pitching under Bob Geren another former Albany Colonie Yankees catcher, before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays to try and shore up their bullpen for a playoff push.

    Ausmus a future manager in the making will give it another go, while Springer looks to be still trying to latch on with another club after pondering retirement at the completion of last season.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Yankees Once Played Here

    Saturday, March 6, 2010, 5:01 PM [General]

    For those of you not from or not familiar with the Albany area, Yankees once played here.  From 1985-1994 the Albany Colonie Yankees, a Double-A Eastern League minor league affiliate of the New York Yankees called Heritage Park home for ten years.

    In fact nearly 100 or so players who made it to the major leagues honed their craft at the ballpark by the airport.  Including Yankees Captain and Shortstop Derek Jeter ('94), Catcher Jorge Posada ('93), Closer Mariano Rivera ('94) Starting Pitcher Andy Pettitte ('93-94) and recently retired Center fielder Bernie Williams (‘89-90).  Other players who contributed to their recent run of dynastic success who played at Albany are guys like Catcher Jim Leyritz (‘88-89), Second basemen Andy Fox (‘93-94) reliever Brian Boehringer ('94).

    Amongst other notable names to have played here that made it to the bigs are YES Network analyst Al Leiter, Gerald Williams, J.T. Snow, Roberto Kelly, Hal Morris, Doug Drabek, Pat Kelly, Randy Velarde, Andy Stankiewicz, Russ Davis, Sterling Hitchcock, Lyle Mouton, Jalal Leach, Mark Hutton, Kevin Maas, Mike DeJean, Bob Geren and even "Primetime" himself Deion Sanders.  Current players still in the majors along with those current Yankees are Brad Ausmus, Russ Springer.

    While their parent club in New York was essentially sleepwalking through the better part of the late 1980's and early 1990's, Heritage Park was the place for exciting Yankee baseball on the way up to the big leagues.

    Which would explain why in 1985 Albany smashed and set the Eastern League record for attendance with over 324,003.  In fact as the Oakland A's Double-A affiliate in 1983, Albany drew over 200,000 fans for a team that finished in last place.  Back to the Yankees though, from 1985-1987 Albany led the Eastern League in attendance and from 1985-1990 Albany was top 3 in attendance each year and if one wants to count the A's days (1983-1984) Albany finished in the top 3 in attendance from 1983-1990.  Of course attendance figures were skewed in the last remaining years (1991-1994) due in part to a fan base that was alienated by constant rumors and attempts by ownership to move the team.

    Perhaps no more memorable moment happened than in 1986 when Yankees legend and current pitching coach Ron Guidry came to pitch in a rehab start for 3 innings in front of a packed beyond capacity crowd of 14,491.  Of course there would be other occasions where fans would see former players like Reggie Jackson or Willie Randolph around the park to help with the younger players.  Or scouts who came with radar guns by the dozen to watch former Yankee fire-balling lefty prospect Brien Taylor pitch in 1993, a year before he would ruin his arm in a bar-fight.  Even in 1994 during the strike Buck Showalter who managed the Albany Colonie Yankees to a championship in 1989, their second of three (1988, 1989, 1991) with many of the players who would contribute to World Series Championships in New York, was on hand to scout players who would also contribute to those championships with Gene "Stick" Michael and Billy Connors.

    After the 1994 season the team left and along with it cheap quality minor league baseball.  Mostly because there was no local ownership and no local businesses willing to step up and keep the team in Albany.  Nobody wanted to put any money towards improvements of a ballpark that was unfortunately built before the Camden Yards era.  Failure also stemmed from the state level of government to local politicians in Albany County and the Town of Colonie, who years after the team left could never build a new stadium to secure another team.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

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