Media Finds **** in Racial Sensitivity

    Sunday, February 19, 2012, 9:50 AM [General]

    Members of the sports media, after years of having your racist tendencies suppressed by groups such as the NAACP, you have now found your loophole...Freedom of (Figure of) Speech.

    Why should I give you the benefit of anything when, given the opportunity, you will reveal your ignorance and hatred towards people who are not like you?

    Late Friday night into early Saturday morning, after the Knicks lost to the lowly Hornets due in large part to Jeremy Lin's nine turnovers, ESPN Mobile posted an in-game photo of Lin with the headline, "**** in the Armor". ESPN pulled the headline a half hour later. But that wasn't even the sports media giant's first careless and callous mistake. Earlier in the week, an ESPN reporter used the same phrase while asking Walt Frazier a question about Lin.

    Straight-faced, the reporter asks Frazier, "...if there is a **** in the armor, where can Lin improve his game?" Really? Instead of "...if there is a weakness, where can Lin improve his game?" Hmmm. I've heard the latter phrase used pretty much ALL THE TIME in interviews regarding athletes. Now when it is posed about an Asian American athlete, this sudden re-phrasing happens?

    It's no accident.

    The reporter got his racial slur in and he did so knowing full well he could simply argue that it is a figure of speech. Reasonable doubt, although not reasonable enough to leave as a headline on ESPN's mobile site.

    I've been on the receiving end of racial bombs...both subtle and blatant...and there is always a sense of accomplishment by the racist when he's going to get away with insulting someone's race. I'm sure the camera crew snickered knowingly. Please don't tell me not one person in that studio knew what other meaning the word "****" has in American lingo. And please don't tell me that the writer for ESPN Mobile was innocent either.

    Am I being too sensitive about this whole matter? Maybe. I guess that can be considered a weakness on my part, or as you racist media members might put's a **** in my armor.

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    2011 MLB Predictions

    Thursday, March 31, 2011, 12:30 AM [General]

    Yes I am a Yankee fan. I just wanted to let that out there before people read my following predictions for this upcoming season, one in which the Yankees ultimately find themselves on the outside looking in at the Playoffs...

    AL East - Red Sux

    AL Central - Twins

    AL West - A's

    AL Wild Card - White Sox

    NL East - Phillies

    NL Central - Reds

    NL West - Giants

    NL Wild Card - Rockies

    ALCS - A's defeat Red Sox in 7 games

    NLCS - Phillies defeat Giants in 6 games

    World Series - Phillies defeat A's in 5 games


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    Yankees Plan B: Make Pen Mightier

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 7:57 PM [General]

    So Cliff Lee spurns Yankees money for the City of Brotherly Love and the Yankees' 2011 season goes from destiny to destitute? The first pitch hasn't been thrown yet. And although pitches thrown by Cliff Lee this coming season will be in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform, we have to look on the bright side, he'll be making life harder for teams in the National League...not for us.

    The prevailing (but not overwhelming popular) thought now is that the Yankees will trade highly regarded prospects and major league-ready players to the Royals for Zack Greinke, anxiety disorder and all, and see if he can bounce back from a disappointing 2010 season where he compiled a 10-14 record with a 4.17 ERA.

    Less popular a thought is bringing old pal Carl Pavano back to the Bronx.

    But why is the prevailing thought that the Yanks should go out and get another starting pitcher? In this year's market? Granted, Cliff Lee was the big fish, one that would feed the village for a few years but now that he's gone and we're left with injury plagued (at least while in Pinstripes) Carl Pavano as the next best free agent starting pitcher available and a guy suffering from social anxiety disorder the best starting pitcher available through trade then maybe the Yanks shouldn't be looking for a starting pitcher.

    Why not then grab the talent still out there in the relief pitching pool? Why not use the money earmarked for Cliff Lee to lure outstanding arms like Rafael Soriano and Bobby Jenks to the Bronx? How about bringing Kerry Wood back? Pay them better-than-closer money (just not more than Mariano Rivera) for being Mo's setup guys six through eight? Wood's done it, and excelled at doing it. You want a lefty specialist? How about Randy Choate or Pedro Feliciano? Both men have pitched well in New York and would be an arguable upgrade over Boone Logan.

    With the surplus of relief pitchers, maybe Cashman can package one or two with lesser prospects to get a good starting pitcher. I think Joba's value is still high enough to fetch something worthwhile.


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    Would You Do This Trade?

    Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 7:33 PM [General]

    New York Yankees send A.J. Burnett, Eduardo Nunez, and $8 million to the Atlanta Braves for Derek Lowe.

    Braves get: A younger pitcher (by three and half years) with better stuff. They also get a promising utility player to replace the recently traded Omar Infante. With the $8 million added, the Braves are compensated for the extra $3 million Burnett will make more than Lowe for 2011 through 2012 and then have $5 million to offset the $16.5 million in Burnett's final year.

    Yankees get: A more consistent pitcher who can give them 14 to 16 wins a year and has a history of pitching well in big spots. They will also be relieved of Burnett's salary one year sooner.

    If the Yankees do not sign Andy Pettitte but do sign Cliff Lee, the starting staff would look like so (if this deal were to be made): CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Derek Lowe, Phil Hughes, and (insert 5th starter here).

    That's the same Opening Day starter, a much better number 2, minimal dropoff from Andy Pettitte at number 3, Phil Hughes over Javy Vasquez at number 4, and no Javy Vasquez at number 5.

    Let me know what you think. Too much? Too little? Better? Worse? Would the Braves even consider this trade?

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    Is D.C. the New Sports Hot Spot?

    Thursday, November 11, 2010, 7:32 PM [General]

    New York and Boston beware! There's a new hotbed of sports in this country and it's D.C.

    That's right, Washington D.C., home of the lowly Nationals and the nearby Baltimore Orioles, the irrelevant Redskins, the troubled Wizards, and the disappointing Capitals.

    But perceptions may change...even as soon as 2011.

    Starting with the here and now, at 2-4, the Washington Wizards have not started the 2010-2011 NBA season well. Upon further inspection however, we see that 3 out of their 4 losses have come on the road and they've won two out of three at home. They say winning begins at home. That's looking at the bright side. Get out your sunglasses because things are going to get brighter. Twenty-year old rookie and the number one overall pick of this last draft, John Wall, is already playing like a man, averaging 19.3 points (which leads all rookies) and 10.2 assists per game. His average assists rank fourth behind Rajon Rondo, Jason Kidd, and Deron Williams. He's ahead of Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, and Steve Nash. Not too bad. Wall will be distributing the rock to a relatively young but talented squad (Al Thornton, Nick Young, and Yi Jianlian - three first rounders from the 2007 draft) once seasoned vets like Gilbert Arenas, Josh Howard, and Kirk Hinrich move on. More big scores in the next two drafts and we may be looking at an NBA Finalist very, very soon.

    The Washington Redskins, to be truthful, don't really have a good outlook for the near future. They're 4-4. They're old. They average 19.3 points per game (ranked 23rd in the league). They play in the same division as the Giants and Eagles. They have drama. The only thing they have that's positive is head coach Mike Shanahan. Like the Wizards, a few good drafts (along with some smart free agent signings) and this organization could quickly right its ship.

    I don't know much about hockey. But I do know that the Washington Capitals are an NHL best 11-4. They lead the league in goals scored with 52 while no other NHL team has yet to reach 50. They come at you offensively with no better a trio than Alex Ovechkin (3rd in NHL with 20 points), Alexander Semin (9 goals - 4 behind league leader), and Nicklas Backstrom (14 points). This was a team of destiny last year until destiny fell in the laps of two surprise teams, the Flyers and Blackhawks, who wound up in the NHL Finals. As long as this unit stays together, destiny should not miss them.

    We finally get to baseball and to two teams that in three years, maybe two, could be giving fits to our two baseball locals: The Orioles and the Nationals. Let's start with the Washington Nationals, who may have the most exciting player right now in Stephen Strasburg. If they can keep him healthy, the Nats have an incomparable ace for years to come. Couple him with the promise of catcher Bryce Harper and they will have an electric battery. Ryan Zimmerman is a star lost in the obscurity of a losing team. Equally obscure but no less effective with their pitching than Zimmerman is with his hitting is the Nats relief corps. Guys like Drew Storen, Sean Burnett, and Tyler Clippard will probably never be heard of outside of D.C. but they are the team's strength. The starting staff is not too shabby either. Add John Lannan, Jordan Zimmerman, and a healthy Chien Ming Wang after Strasburg and that's a starting staff to reckon with. Overall the team is young. If they're hungry enough, the Phillies, Braves, and mets have something to worry about.

    Buck Showalter, Orioles Manager. Period. The name itself marks the Baltimore Orioles as a team on the rise. He has a history of building losing teams into championship contenders. He's just never around long enough to see them get there. Look no further than this year's Texas Rangers, who he managed from 2002-2006. They made it to the World Series four years after he left. Whether or not he left his mark on the Rangers, or on the 2000 World Series champion Diamondbacks, or on the current dynastic Yankees is debatable. He could just be a lucky charm whose charm doesn't work until after he's gone. Whatever it is, these young O's could find themselves playoff contenders within the next few years.

    Everyone's a winner in Washington, or so people say, but that's referring to politicians who won their seat in office. The same can't be said about the area's pro teams. Give it a year or two. D.C. teams will be making lots of noise. In four years, without a shadow of a doubt, the nation's capital will be the "it" city for sports. Whether Buck Showalter, or even our current first-term president, is still in the nation's capital to see it happen might be the only thing in question.

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    Cashman Moves Hurt 2010 Yanks

    Thursday, October 28, 2010, 1:55 PM [General]

    Much blame was heaped on Joe Girardi for some of the decisions he made before and during the ALCS: Pitching Phil Hughes in Games 2 and 6; constantly walking Josh Hamilton and rolling the dice versus Vladimir Guerrero; not moving Cano into the 3-hole sooner; etc. Media and fans were right to do so, especially when you consider the final disappointing outcome.

    But there through every ALCS game, sitting in the stands safely away from any criticism and blame was Brian Cashman.

    Whatever little value Brian Cashman's presence at ballparks brought to the Yankees in triumph over the Twins and elimination versus the Rangers, it was a whole lot more than what Javier Vasquez, his prized pitching acquisition of 2010, brought...which was zero.

    In Javy's defense, what more can you bring when you're left off the playoff roster?

    Sure, fifth starters aren't supposed to make the playoff roster anyway, but shouldn't they be at least considered in the equation? Vasquez was an instant postseason outcast as soon as he suffered from a "tired arm" in August. He went from fifth starter to bullpen, then from bullpen into oblivion. Next move...anywhere but the Bronx.

    But all obtaining Vasquez from the Braves, along with lefty Boone Logan, cost Cashman and the Yanks was fan favorite Melky Cabrera and unknown pitching prospects Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.

    Although Cabrera played seemingly over his head throughout his career as a Yankee (.274, 13, 68 in 2009), he came back down to earth as a Brave (.255, 4, 42).

    No harm, no foul.

    But numbers put up by Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino this past season were enough to make Cashman say "ouch".

    In 25 appearances for Bobby Cox's team, Dunn pitched 19 innings, fanned 27 batters, serving up only one homer and surrendering just 4 earned runs. His ERA was 1.89, his opponent BAA was. 211, and his won-loss was 2-0.  According to scouting reports, Dunn's fastball routinely hits the mid-90s and can get up to the upper 90s on occasion. He has the ability to both cut and sink his fastball. His slider generally sits in the 80-82 mph range and is "death to left-handed hitters". 

    Wasn't Josh Hamilton a left-handed hitter?

    As for Arodys Vizcaino, he was outstanding too, but unfortunately he tore an elbow ligament in July. This was what was written about him back in June by Anthony Trippichio of

    "Arodys Vizcaino, the 19-year-old former Yankees pitching prospect given away in the trade for the embattled Vazquez, is annihilating his competition at Rome, Atlanta’s Single-A affiliate.

    Vizcaino is 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA, and those numbers don’t begin to tell the story of how dominant he’s been.

    Striking out 66 in 69.1 innings, Vizcaino has walked only nine. Tantamount to his freakish strikeout-to-walk ratio is Vizcaino’s 0.99 WHIP. He hasn’t issued a walk since May 6, and he’s thrown 33.2 scoreless innings over his last five starts."

    He is about three years away from the bigs. It would have been comforting to know that three years from now, we've got a young arm to call up or trade for a big-time player...not a Javier Vasquez, who failed in two go-rounds with the Yankees.

    Yes, Cashman receives pats on the back for Curtis Granderson (although it cost him exciting young player Austin Jackson and effective lefty Phil Coke while ridding himself of the question mark that was Ian Kennedy in the process) and for obtaining Kerry Wood in July.

    But for every good move, there was bad.

    Nick Johnson stands front and center as one of Cashman's worst 2010 moves, signing the oft-injured first baseman/DH to a one-year $5.5 million contract only to have Johnson play in 24 games before succumbing to...go ahead and guess...yet another injury.

    Boone Logan, part of the Vasquez deal, got blasted in the playoffs. Had he been the least bit effective during the ALCS before Game 6, Girardi may have called on Boone to face Josh Hamilton instead of walking him to face Guerrero in that fateful inning.

    Despite coming to the Bronx for seemingly little (mid-90s righty hurler Mark Melancon and athletic infielder Johnny Paredes as well as $3.5 million), Lance Berkman never really excited the Yankee fan base, unless you count his overturned blast to right field and falling on his butt in the ALCS exciting.

    Finally, I want to bring up outfielder Austin Kearns. When it was announced on the news that Cashman had traded for Kearns for a player to be named later, most Yankee fans scratched their head. Those who were familiar with Kearns knew him as a marginal player whose only 20+ homer season came in 2006 (he's averaged 9 home runs every year since then) and he was not a big RBI guy (86 - a career high, also in 2006). Kearns ran hot and cold with the Yanks but in the end, he was riding the bench during the playoffs.

    On August 20th, the player to be named later for Kearns was finally Yankee pitching prospect Zach Mcallister. Although projected to be no more than a back of the rotation starter, McAllister was many times (because of his size and build) developmentally compared to Phil Hughes and is still considered a good, major league-caliber arm. Good enough to be a key piece, along with Jesus Montero, in the July deal for Cliff Lee which fell through. Instead he wound up as an afterthought piece to obtaining Kearns, who did essentially nothing for the Bombers.

    Cashman got little blame for the demise of the 2010 Yankees. But after mortgaging young talent like Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, Mike Dunn, Arodys Vizcaino, and Zach McAllister for what ultimately produced a failed season, we can look no further than our current GM to blame if the Yankees fail in future seasons.


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    Thanks Idiot Yankee Fans

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010, 3:24 PM [General]

    I would love to have Cliff Lee sign with the Yankees but now I'm not sure whether it will happen.

    I caught a little of Cliff Lee's press conference and heard him mention how his wife, who was sitting with Texas Rangers wives together in one section, was spat on by fans from the upper deck and cursed out by fans sitting close by. Real classy. All that intimidation of the opposing players' family really helped us win, didn't it?

    If he winds up signing elsewhere, you idiots might want to consider growing up a little bit.

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    CJ Wilson Owns Yankee Heart

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010, 5:24 PM [General]

    No Cliff Lee in Game 1. Whew!

    CJ Wilson? Can we breathe a sigh of relief as well now that we're facing the Rangers' #2 starter and 15-game winner? It will depend on which part of the Yankee lineup comes up in crucial situations.

    When it comes to the matchup of Yankee offense versus CJ Wilson, the Bombers have more than a handful of guys, six to be exact, that have hit him well...from .286 (Robinson Cano 4 for 14 with one double and two walks) to .455 (Marcus Thames 5 for 11). The top of the order guys, Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher, are tough hitters for Wilson. The Captain is 5 for 14 with 1 homer, 2 RBIs, and three walks while Swish has collected 6 hard hits out of 20 at-bats with 3 doubles, 1 homer, and 6 RBIs. Francisco Cervelli and Austin Kearns both are 3 for 7 versus the Texas lefty.

    Unfortunately for Yankee fans who like watching their Yanks hit the longball, Derek Jeter's and Nick Swisher's homers are the only ones Wilson has given up against the Yankees. That's a grand total of two.

    Neither of the four players projected to bat 3, 4, 5, and 6 for the Yankees have a dinger off Wilson. With the exception of Cano, the other three guys (Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada) have atrocious numbers against him. He has held Teixera hitless in 5 at-bats, striking him out twice. He's also blanked Posada in three faceoffs. A-Rod has has fared slightly better than Tex and Jorge, getting one hit...a 13 at-bats for a .077 average against. He has, however, drawn 4 walks and driven in 2 runs versus CJ. 

    So Yankee fans, we've got our ALCS opponent and again, the Game 1 opposing starter is not Cliff Lee. Whether that's a good thing Friday night truly depends on the big bats of Tex, A-Rod, Cano, and Posada. In other words, hitters 3 through 6 will need to show some really big heart.


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    Big Deals Connect Playoff Teams

    Thursday, October 7, 2010, 12:46 PM [General]

    This year's playoff landscape has its share of perennial postseason teams: the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins, and the Philadelphia Phillies. But new combatants have entered the fray: the Texas Rangers (last postseason appearance: 1999); the San Francisco Giants (last postseason appearance: 2003); the Atlanta Braves (last postseason appearance: 2005); and the Cincinnati Reds (last postseason appearance: 1995). These new guys are in and can look back to the few past years on trades they made to help themselves and in doing so, wound up helping their trading partner as well. Below is a list of a few major direct moves that helped shape what we are now watching this October...

    July 31, 2007 - Atlanta Braves trade Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to Texas Rangers for Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and three other players: The Rangers are in the playoffs due to two big moves they completed in 2007. One was sending fan favorite (and now New York Yankee) Mark Teixeira to Atlanta for the speedy Andrus, who led the team with 32 stolen bases and was third in runs scored behind Michael Young and Josh Hamilton respectively, and their dominant closer Perez, who converted 40 out of 43 save opportunities this season.

    December 21, 2007 - Cincinnati Reds trade Josh Hamilton to Texas Rangers for Edison Volquez and another player: The other trade made later that year was sort of a head scratcher. Texas, who always seemed in need of pitching more so than hitting, sent their young phenom Volquez up north for power hitting Hamilton. This year Hamilton is a leading candidate for AL MVP. He went 1 for 4 with a run scored in yesterday's 5-1 Ranger victory over David Price and the Rays. Volquez only lasted 1.2 innings in yesterday's Game 1 start versus the Phillies en route to a historic 4-0 loss. Not such a head-scratcher now.

    December 22, 2009 - Atlanta Braves trade Javier Vasquez and Boone Logan to New York Yankees for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and another player: Javier Vasquez was the most heralded name in this deal after having won 15 games while posting a 2.87 ERA and 238 K's for the Braves during the 2009 season. Boone Logan is on the playoff roster for the Yankees. Melky Cabrera and Mike Dunn are on the playoff roster for the Braves. Javier Vasquez is not. Nice job Cashman!

    July 9, 2010 - Seattle Mariners trade Cliff Lee to Texas Rangers for Justin Smoak and three minor leaguers: How is this a connection between two playoff teams when one of them, the Mariners, are sitting at home watching? It's actually because of a trade made a few months earlier...December 16th to be exact...when the Philadelphia Phillies decided that trading Cliff Lee to Seattle for three minor leaguers would balance their books once they brought Roy Halladay in from Toronto. It was a surprising blockbuster deal that had fans buzzing for months. Can you imagine, if Phillies GM Ruben Amaro had managed to hold on to Lee while still acquiring Halladay, what the Phils would look like right now? Wow!

    Other connections (indirect) of note:

    * Current Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz joined the team as part of a trade on July 28, 2006 that sent Carlos Lee from the Milwaukee Brewers to Texas for Francisco Cordero and Laynce Nix, both of whom signed this year as free agents with the Cincinnati Reds

    * Current San Francisco Giant Pat Burrell was an offensive force for the Philadelphia Phillies from 2000-2008 before he was granted free agency. He signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on January 5, 2009. After being granted free agency by the Rays on May 19th of this year, he signed ten days later with the Giants and is now an offensive force for them

    * Current San Francisco Giant Aaron Rowand was part of a trade on November 25, 2005 that sent him from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Chicago White Sox for current Minnesota Twin Jim Thome

    * Current Tampa Bay Ray Dioner Navarro was included in a trade along with current Yankee Javier Vasquez and another player to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Randy Johnson on January 5th, 2005

    * Current Tampa Bay Ray Randy Choate was traded, along with Nick Johnson and Juan Rivera, to the Montreal Expos for current Yankee Javier Vasquez

    * Current Atlanta Brave Eric Hinske signed with Atlanta on January 5 of this year after being granted free agency by the New York Yankees, with whom he won the 2009 World Series with, on November 0f 2009. He was also on the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays of 2008

    * Current Atlanta Brave relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Proctor were New York Yankees before they got traded to different teams. On July 30, 2008 Farnsworth was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Ivan Rodriguez. Almost a year earlier, Proctor had been sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 2007 for Wilson Betemit

    * Current Atlanta Brave closer Billy Wagner was once the closer for the Philadelphia Phillies after he was traded there by the Houston Astros on November 3, 2003

    * Last but not least...current New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez was the lone big star for the Texas Rangers before being traded to New York on February 16, 2004 for Alfonso Soriano

    If anyone knows of other connections between the current playoff teams, direct or indirect, that are not listed here, please reply to this post with them!



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    Things I'm Looking Forward To This Postseason

    Thursday, September 30, 2010, 7:01 PM [General]

    Saw this subject in a forum and decided to blog it. Now that the Yankees have made it to the playoffs, I can first exhale and now look at all the intriguing scenarios I'm looking forward to that may present themselves during these next few weeks. Here they are in no particular order...

    Phil Hughes vs. Brian Duensing - Depending on how Girardi and Gardenhire set their respective starting rotations, we may get a "futures game" pitching matchup between 17-game winner Phil Hughes versus Minnesota's Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.44 ERA). Called on to take on the BoSox in a "must win" game at the Stadium on Sunday, Hughes went pitch for pitch with an almost unhittable Dice-K. That was a pressurized game, albeit in the regular season, and Hughes stepped it up big time. This is the playoffs, and when his turn comes up in this series, it may be to win a pivotal Game 3, complete a sweep, or God forbid, avoid a sweep. Duensing took the loss in his last start, a 5-1 loss to Detroit where he gave up five runs, seven hits, and four walks over 6.2 innings. Prior to that game, he was 8-2 with a 2.80 ERA since the All-Star break. He's an up-and-comer the casual baseball fan has yet to hear about. Next week may change that.

    Aroldis Chapman busting a radar gun - This guy can bring it. Period. Never has there been an eighth inning more exciting, even in the history of the playoffs, than when Chapman takes the mound for the Reds in this coming postseason. If Cincinnati winds up facing the Phillies, it would be great to see him take on the likes of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth. After clocking 105mph on the gun last Friday night, can he rear back for even more when his adrenaline goes up?

    A.J. Burnett pitching a gem - This may be more wishful thinking than anything else but he has the stuff. He showed it in Game 2 of last year's World Series after Cliff Lee and Chase Utley beat C.C. in Game 1. It's true that he also turned to Mr. Hyde in Game 5 but that's what we unfortunately have to endure with him. Look past his last start, which was undeniably horrible, and you'll see two previous starts where he pitched decently. A rain delay shortened one outing and may have saved him from one of his vintage meltdown innings but who knows, maybe he would have gotten better as the game had gone along. Again, it's the two sides of A.J. that's always up in the air. We may not get to see either in this series, even if it goes more than three as the prevailing thought is Girardi will have C.C. go in Game 4 if necessary. But I don't figure Burnett to be the odd man out in a best of seven. The good news is, if we do see Burnett make a start, it means the Yanks have advanced!

    Texas winning the World Series - Alright, don't get your panties all up in a bunch Yankee fans. I'd want to see the Rangers win it all if...and only if...the Yanks are out of the playoffs. And that's even if they were eliminated by those same Rangers. I believe baseball needs to inject it's passion into other areas of this country besides the Northeast. Texas is definitely one of them. Yes, there is Houston, but even with a trip to the World Series no more than five years ago, the fans in the Lone Star state just don't seem to get their mojo up for baseball the way they do for football. There are so many guys of interest on this team: Josh Hamilton, on a remarkable career comeback from substance abuse, is still a candidate for MVP; future Hall of Famer Vlad Guerrero needs a World Series ring to round out his stellar career; long-time Ranger Michael Young, who epitomizes what it means to be a team player, would be deserving of a championship; Cliff Lee will have stock go up even further this offseason if he adds World Series winner to his resume; manager Ron Washington...from addiction to drugs to winning the World Series...what more can the media ask for?

    Yankees vs. Phillies Part Deux - Okay, back to a scenario we Yankee fans can all like! Yankees beating the Phillies? Yeah, been there done that. But it wasn't done against old American League nemesis Roy Halladay followed by Roy Oswalt then Cole Hamels. When Jeter and company take the field, they have to deal with an offense that is dangerous eight deep. If the Yankees are to be crowned "the best" after all is said and done then they have to beat the best. And frankly, the Phillies right now are the best team in the majors.

    Playoffs at Target Field - It ain't the Metrodome anymore Yankee fans. The dynamics of this new stadium may come into play...and maybe not in favor of the Bombers. A new twist in an otherwise overdone matchup.

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    New "House" Not Torre's Home

    Thursday, September 23, 2010, 8:04 PM [General]

    Watching the New York Yankees' tribute to George Steinbrenner on YES Monday night, among the small group that marched along the first base line towards Monument Park led by the Steinbrenner family then followed by Yankee executives, current Yankee players and managerial staff, as well as former Yankee players, I was able to see up close one very notable former Yankee manager: Joe Torre.

    As he followed the procession, neither at the front of the line sharing prominence with the Steinbrenner family nor at the back of the line like some featured attraction at a parade - Torre was simply in the middle. But him being in the middle was fitting actually as, once word had gotten out that he and Don Mattingly were going to show up at this ceremony, he was no doubt going to be center of attention.

    I'm assuming whatever I was watching on YES was the same as what was being shown on the big screen at Yankee Stadium because every time a closeup of Joe Torre came on my television screen, a loud cheer from the Stadium crowd erupted. Torre would graciously wave to the adoring crowd with one hand as he held the hand of his wife Ali with the other. He didn't do so in a manner of some returning hometown hero, bigger than the moment...although he was exactly that. That's how it is in New York. One person can steal the show's spotlight. And in a tribute to the organization's greatest owner, it was George Steinbrenner's greatest manager that would upstage him. Again. It was the late 90's all over again.

    I'm wondering however, if everyone, YES viewers and Stadium Jumbotron watchers alike, noticed the look on Torre's face when he appeared on screen. Along with the somber face, the current Dodger skipper looked lost in the new Yankee Stadium. This wasn't the same place where he was mobbed by his coaches after Charlie Hayes caught the final out of the 1996 World Series. It wasn't the same field where he embraced a sobbing Paul O'Neill, who had just lost his father, after they won the one in '99. It wasn't the same Stadium where he witnessed a no-hitter and two perfect games thrown by his pitchers. He was there also for Boston's comeback from 0-3 down in the ALCS against his team, probably the beginning of his ultimate end as Yankee manager three years later. I'm assuming that for Joe, this Yankee Stadium bears the same name, but it bears no resemblance to the one that housed all those great and not-so-great memories.

    After winning last year's World Series, I have to admit that old Yankee Stadium is slowly coming out of my system. I am getting used to how the new one looks on TV and in person. For Torre on Monday, being on the new ground, looking up at the grandeur of the new building, he must have viewed it simply as a structure, nothing more. Of course, this structure, really an homage to the organization's recent success, has no banner-sized photo tributes to the manager most instrumental to it inside it's hallways like there are for former Yankee greats. It was designed that way to never expect him back. Let me rephrase that. It was designed to never welcome him back.

    The Yankee brass did welcome him back however. Begrudgingly? Maybe. Torre's book "The Yankee Years" didn't paint the current Yankee bosses in such a nice light the way he did for his go-to players of the dynasty: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, David Cone, and Paul O'Neill. As far as we know, Monday night's invite to Torre might have been a one-night offer only.

    But, again, for all we know, the invitation may also extend beyond this season. The way this coming offseason may play out, with the possibility of a bunch of managers playing musical chairs with managerial job openings including Joe Girardi for the position vacated by Lou Piniella in Chicago, who knows if Torre finds himself in front of an available chair with the New York Yankees logo on it. His name has surfaced as a possibility to return if Girardi decides to leave. It would take a lot for this to happen though, a whole lot more than crossing T's and dotting I's. It would take a lot more reconciling. Some apologies. Lots of money. Lots of pride swallowing.

    Oh, and one more thing Torre would probably want before ever returning as Yankee skipper...bring back the House that Ruth Built.

    We know that ain't happening.




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    2010 Yanks = 2007 mets?

    Thursday, September 16, 2010, 10:46 AM [General]

    The Yankees went into yesterday's rubber game versus the Rays just a half game up on Tampa Bay. The Bombers' 88-57 record going in was also 7 games better than Boston's.

    That's a 7 game lead. With 17 games to play.

    Sound familiar?

    Back up three years. Look at the NL East standings from September 12, 2007 and you'll find the exact date when the infamous regular season collapse began for the New York mets at the hands of their division rival Philadelphia Phillies.

    The mets were 83-62 after defeating the Atlanta Braves at Shea 4-3. The Phils had just been embarrassed 12-0 at home by Colorado. Philly's record was 76-69, losers of two straight games and six of their last ten. The mets were seemingly in cruise control, division title in sight, and talking playoffs. Jimmy Rollins, the brash shortstop from the Phillies who proclaimed his team the one "to beat" in the NL East before the season began was going to have to eat crow. His squad was left to fight for Wild Card scraps in a pool with five other teams: the Cubs and Brewers (both tied for the NL Central lead at 74-71), Padres (78-66), Dodgers, and Rockies (both 76-69).

    The Phillies were, at that point, on the outside looking in.

    But from September 13th on, the mets won just five games the rest of the way, finishing the regular season with an 88-74 record. The Phillies? They tore through their remaining schedule, going 13-4 and besting the mets by one game when all was said and done. Colorado was equally incredible. They wound up winning the wild card with a 90-72 record.

    The mets, leading the division by 7 games with 17 to play on September 12th, were out.

    If you think whatever happened three years ago in Flushing will stay in Flushing because it was the mets and that sort of thing will never happen to the Yankees, you better do so with fingers tightly crossed. These 2010 Yankees right now are headed in waters chartered once by the '07 version of their NL counterpart. Their final destination was not good. The Yanks may end up with a similar fate if they don't right their ship.

    The Yanks are just 2-8 over their last 10 games. They were almost swept at home by the Orioles. Only a walk-off homer by Nick Swisher in that series finale saved face. The sweep they avoided in the Bronx caught up to them down in Texas and they just lost two of three, as well as first place in the AL East, to the Tampa Bay Rays.

    For weeks after Andy Pettitte went on the DL, the burning issue with the Yankees was their shaky starting pitching after CC Sabathia. After the last ten games, the biggest problem looks to be the Yankee offense more so than the starting pitching. Here is what the Yanks have scored in each of their last eight defeats: 3, 3, 2, 5, 6, 1, 0, 3. Had Swisher's walk-off not happened, the Yanks would have mustered just one run in that game and they would be losers of 9 out of their last 10 games.

    The Yankees are a little dinged up. Mark Teixeira has a toe problem and it may be affecting his swing. Swisher and Jorge Posada are now cameo performers rather than regulars because of their ailments. A-Rod may not be at 100% and Jeter, mired in a season long slump, has resorted to acting in order to get on base. The names are there in the lineup. The performance isn't.

    A-Rod was asked in the postgame interview about some of the reasons behind last night's loss and he pointed out, among other things, that their situational hitting was lacking. This team can hit. They can put guys on base. It has become a matter of driving those guys home that's become the problem. The first inning last night was a perfect example. They had "Big Game" James Shields on the ropes with two men on and Jeter already in for a 1-0 score. They ended the inning 1-0.

    They are simply not doing the job with runners in scoring position.

    The surging Red Sox, the team which could be this year's version of the 2007 Phillies, has won four straight games and six of their last nine with scoring outputs of 12, 11, 5, 5, 9, 5 in their most recent victories. 5, 0, 3 in their last three losses. They are scoring runs and as a result...slowly creeping into the playoff picture.

    Again, if you think what happened between the mets and Phillies in 2007 was an aberration, go ahead. But the Phillies too were a team that had a potent lineup. Their starting pitching wasn't seen as a strength. They won the division with offensive prowess and gutty, overachieving pitching performances. The BoSox don't really need to overachieve with their pitching the way the Phillies had to in winning 14 of their final 17 games. With a starting rotation of Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Dice-K, the Red Sox have renowned arms to go with their effective bats. All they have to do is pitch true to their form and half their battle is already won. The entire staff pitched to a 2.70 ERA in their recent four game win streak.

    The Yanks will be facing the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on September 24 through September 26th. What kind of lead will they have on Boston by then? Will they even be ahead of Boston? David Ortiz and company will be playing at Fenway their next six games. Meanwhile, the Yanks continue this dismal road trip with a visit to Camden Yards against the team that may have started this downward spiral. After that, they return home but face the Tampa Bay Rays yet again. Going 2-4 combined in those two series will make for a very big, crucial series if Boston comes into the Bronx having won 5 out of those 6 home games. That will be 90-62 hosting 87-65. A three game lead but not a comfortable three game lead. The way these two teams are playing right now, a BoSox sweep at The House That George Built is a possibility.

    On September 14th through the 16th of 2007 the Phillies, a day after returning fire to the Colorado Rockies with a 12-4 victory while the mets were idle, went into Shea and promptly swept a three game series from their division leading rival. The improbable was on its way to becoming probable. The rest, as they say, is history.

    If history bears an omen against the Yankees this year, let's go past 2007 and look at what happened in 1978. How many of you remember "The Boston Massacre"?


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