This Week In Baseball

    Sunday, June 5, 2011, 9:50 AM [General]

    Dillon Gee is now 6-0.  6-0?  Man, he’s got to be due for an injury soon.  (He is a Mets Pitcher after all.)

     

    The Yankees are 5-3 on their current West Coast Trip.  Regardless of what happens today, I still consider this a great victory.  Let’s face it.  The Yankees are normally terrible on these West Coast swings.  If they didn’t come home with a decent record, you know they would have left Nick Swisher in Oakland.  (With the way he’d been hitting as of late, that wasn’t necessarily a joke.)

     

    Finally, Jeter is 15 hits away from 3000.  I think we’re all looking forward to him achieving this goal.  First, it’s virtually locks him in for the Hall of Fame.  Second, it stops the “drunk text” countdowns from my friends at all hours of the night. Finally, the Yankees can focus on winning games and Jeter can go back to those terrible Ford Fusion commercials.

     

    Seriously Folks, do you really believe he would drive a Ford Fusion? 

     

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    Thoughts on Gary Carter

    Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 10:03 PM [General]

    We may not always be rooting for the same team; Nevertheless, this is something I believe we can all agree on.

    Our thoughts are with Gary Carter.

    Today, Baseball Hall of Famer and Mets Great, Gary Carter was reported to have Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Unfortunately, a scary diagnosis not much different than that, which took the life of Mets Great, Tug McGraw. 

    According to published reports, Carter's tumors are inoperable. A great disappointment, especially when bestowed upon a man who is the physical embodiment of optimism.  As Ron Darling said during tonight's Mets Broadcast, "[Carter] never wanted to make the last out."

    The 57-year-old Carter is expected to learn about his options (however few) at Duke University's Cancer Institute treatment center tomorrow. 

    This is truly a sad day.  Carter is one of the true ambassadors of the game and an overall good person.  Here's hoping that Darling is right.  Carter deserves a couple of extra innings to keep fighting.

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    An Ode to The Mayor's Trophy

    Saturday, May 21, 2011, 12:37 PM [General]

     

    It’s been fifteen years since Major League Baseball instituted Interleague Play and the game has been better for it.  Midseason attendance spikes. It drives revenue and frankly, especially in the case of regional rivalries, a little healthy competition between family members is never bad.

     

    In Chicago, it’s the “Crosstown Classic”.  In northern California, it’s the “Bay Bridge Series”.  However, the most famous of these regional rivals would easily have to be New York’s very own “Subway Series.”

     

    Before Interleague Play was a gleam in Bud Selig’s eye, the “Subway Series” was pretty common in New York.  After all, two New York teams have faced each other in the World Series fourteen times dating back to 1921. (Technically two New York teams played each other in the “World Championship Series” in 1889, but being that the Subway didn’t make its debut until 1904, that series could probably best be described as a “Trolley Series.”)  The most of the regional rivals by far.

     

    Beyond the postseason, the Yankees and Giants used to play exhibition series against each other from time to time. These match-ups were known as the "City Series." Sometimes they were even played in October, on the rare occasion that either team wasn’t in the World Series. After 1940, this became difficult because the Yankees routinely appeared in the World Series. In the seventeen-year span between 1941 and 1957 (when the Giants and Dodgers left for California), the Yankees appeared in the World Series twelve times.  They only failed to reach the Series in 1944, 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1954.

     

    Prior to the abandonment of New York by the city's two National League teams, the Yankees and Dodgers began to play an annual midseason exhibition game called the Mayor's Trophy Game.  It benefited sandlot baseball in New York City. The proceeds raised by the Yankees went to leagues in Manhattan and the Bronx while the proceeds raised by the Dodgers went to leagues on Long Island and Staten Island.

     

     

    Interest in the annual charity event was revived in 1963 with the expansion New York Mets.  With it, bragging rights to the city were back on the line.  The Yankees were no longer the only team in town and at some points they weren’t even the best team in town.  (For those of you born after 1996, this seems like an impossible idea, I know.)

     

    Most of the time, these games weren’t very competitive.  If one team was great, the other was usually very bad.  After dwindling interest as well as public bickering between the owners of both teams, the Mayor's Trophy Game was discontinued following the 1983 season.

     

    It was revived again as a pre-Opening Day series titled the "Mayor's Challenge" and hosted many recent Yankees’ and Mets’ Greats like Doc Gooden, David Cone, Al Leiter and Don Mattingly.  However, as the Major League schedule evolved and the game became harder to schedule, it was eventually discontinued for good in 1992.

     

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    He Said What? A Salute to Jorge Posada

    Sunday, May 15, 2011, 12:10 PM [General]

     

    …Because without him, last night’s loss to the Red Sox would have been insufferable.   Don’t get me wrong.  Last night was terrible. The Yankees left too many runners on base.  Their play was sloppy and uninspired.  Hell!  Fox couldn’t even find a celebrity Yankees fan willing to talk on air.  Sure, who wants to talk to Joe Buck? But, really? No one could be found anywhere in a Yankees/Boston game in New York?  Who was I watching?  The New York Yankees or the Pittsburgh Pirates?

     

    However, around the 5th inning this game took on a new level of interesting.  It became less America’s Pastime and more “The Real Housewives of the Bronx”.  It was less about the game and more about who was sitting on the bench.  Did Jorge Posada decide that he couldn’t or simply didn’t want to play last night?

     

    Manager Joe Girardi released the lineup for last night's game. Posada was slotted into the 9th hole as the team’s DH.  Interestingly enough, this was the first time Posada batted ninth since 1999.  A fact not lost on reporters in the Bronx.  Thus the barrage of questions began.

     

    Posada had been getting heat for his lack of contribution to the team as of recent.  He hadn’t hit a homerun since April 23rd, was far too expensive to sit on the bench and wasn’t hitting his own weight.  Come to think of it.  He was barely hitting my weight.

     

    Undeniably, the lights have been far more glaring on Posada than on fellow “Core Three” teammate, Derek Jeter.  Is there a double standard?  Perhaps.  Nonetheless, if the pressure was getting to Posada, he didn’t let on during the pregame press conference.

     

    But by the first pitch, Posada is out of the line up.  This was strange, but not unheard of.  Players are pulled from the line up all the time.  They fall ill.  Injuries are uncovered.  Family issues come up. Maybe Posada was under the weather?  Girardi must have had a good reason to take him out of the line up.  This is 17-year Yankees veteran, Jorge Posada, after all.  He wouldn’t just pull himself from a line-up because he was having a “bad day.” He would never put himself or his ego before the team.  Or would he?

     

    By mid-game, things get juicy. Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with reporters.  He claimed that it was Posada who pulled himself from the game. Cashman didn’t offer a reason for the removal, causing rumors of insubordinate behavior by the beloved Yankees veteran to spread like wild fire.

     

    Adding fuel to the fire was Laura Posada, Jorge’s wife.  She took on the role of PR rep and took to Twitter and Facebook mid-game saying, "Jorge loves being a Yankee…He's trying his best to help his team win. Today, due to back stiffness he wasn't able to do that."  What back stiffness?  This was new to everyone. Better yet, why wasn’t Jorge speaking for himself? Within a matter of innings, a spot in the lineup developed into the most uncomfortable “he said/he said” since Charlie Sheen and CBS.

     

    Is it out of the realm of possibility that Jorge Posada’s frustration and ego got the best of him?  No.  This once proud Yankee is hitting well below the Mendoza line and there are plenty of young bucks itching to take his place.  Has there been a giant double standard applied?  Yes and maybe it’s starting to get to him.  He might be a member of the “Core Three”, but that doesn’t mean he’s not human.  Face it.  Derek Jeter didn’t receive half the scrutiny that Posada received when he hit the schnied. 

     

    Should Posada be coddled because of his past contributions to the team?  No. Baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately.  Nonetheless, in a post-steroids era, perhaps we all need to learn that we’re supposed to get old.  Our bodies break down and its ok.  There comes a point in time when perhaps even our heroes have to hang it up. 

     

    But is it fair to judge players by different standards?  No.  But when was life fair?

     

    Ultimately though, should Posada be given the chance to explain his actions without his wife’s twitter account?  Yes.  He is at least owned that. 

     

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    A Salute to a Newly Relevant Cleveland Indians

    Saturday, May 7, 2011, 3:10 PM [General]

     

    With the Yankees battling injuries and the Mets battling…themselves? This week I turn my attention to the AL Central.  It’s May 7th and the Cleveland Indians are in first.

     

    What?!

     

    That’s right.  This is a team once voted the most disliked team in all of Major League Baseball (even over the Yankees)!  A team picked to place dead this year is actually in first place.

     

    Sure, we’re only entering the second week of May but according to the “experts”, shouldn’t the Cleveland Indians be a hundred games out of first by now?

     

    Maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how this year’s Cleveland Indians are looking more and more like the Tribe from the movie, Major League?   It's true and this is not a thinly veiled reference to Charlie Sheen ranting like “Captain Crazy Pants” in a Chief Wahoo hat.  Think about it…

     

    Left for dead, they have become the team to beat in the AL Central.  And just like the Yankees in the movie, the Boston Red Sox couldn't hit the broadside of a barn when they faced Cleveland.

     

    Just like the movie, the Indians have a big bopper with questionable immigration status as well (i.e. Pedro Cerrano).  I’m looking at you, Shin-Soo Choo!  If he didn’t carry his team to a Gold Medal in the Pan-Asian games, he was looking at mandatory military service… in South Korea!  

     

    They also have a crafty veteran looking for that elusive championship.  However, I’ll say it now.  Grady Sizemore sports a far cuter hairdo than Jake Taylor.

     

    Finally, have you checked out Closer Chris Perez?  This left-of-center (or in his case, right-of-center) hurler is making the 2011 Cleveland Indians a relevant contender through out the league, even if his look screams NHL 1994.  

     

    And I bet he would be far funnier in front of a microphone than Charlie Sheen ever could.  But, that's not that hard.

     

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