Quit yer whining

With a big thanks to Shysterball for the tipoff, I just felt I had to post something about Posada. Seems he’s a tad bit upset about not starting the last few games. I can summarize my thoughts this easily:

BOO HOO. Get over it. Think about the team first, please.

Now, I am a Posada fan but I detest this sorta “I am defined by my position/place in the batting order” stuff. Jorge, you have had a bum shoulder all year. You were on the DL for it. Other teams drool when they see you back there as they know they can steal almost at will.

Jose Molina can’t hit a damn, but he sure can gun down runners.

Posada, 36, has struggled to throw out runners since he returned from the shoulder injury that kept him out of action from April 28-June 3, catching just one of 17 base stealers. Molina, meanwhile, has been the best in the majors, throwing out 24 of 50 runners.

Hurmmm, 1-17 (5.9%) versus 24-50 (48.0%). With Damon and Matsui on the DL and not requiring the DH slot for themselves, this is a perfectly acceptable decision by Girardi and I think Posada’s looking foolish for arguing about it.

Let’s keep the focus on the team, please. Jorge, you are still in the lineup, a very valuable piece of this team. But if your shoulder isn’t up to snuff right now, let someone else handle it. It will probably keep your legs fresher than usual, too.
“I like to catch. Okay?” Posada said. “I’m in the lineup and I’m happy that I’m in the lineup, but I like to catch. I’m a catcher. I’m not a first baseman and I’m not a DH. I like to catch, so I’m looking forward to catching (today).”

The thing is, at some point, we’re going to have this issue with Jeter, too. And that’s gonna be a whole lotta ugly. But we can table that for another day.

Continue reading Quit yer whining

This is Gerrit Cole

For those of you with an insatiable appetite for all things prospects/draft-related, here is some great dish from the talented Alex Eisenberg at The Hardball Times. For those less tuned in to the draft, Cole was the first round pick of the Yanks at #28 overall. He slid thiat low due to both “signability concerns” as well as “makeup concerns” and “mechanics”. I’ll skip most of that stuff and just point out a few things that Alex noted:

My initial thought on Cole was this: If Justin Smoak was the draft’s best pick, Cole was a very close second. Cole profiles as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter, and to get a player of that sort with the 28th pick in the draft is a coup for the Yankees.

Stuff

Cole has the best raw stuff of any pitcher in this draft.

Fastball – He has two fastballs: a four-seamer, which comes in between 95-97 with plenty of movement, and a two-seamer, which he throws between 91-93 and which has a great deal of sink to generate a lot of ground balls. Both profile as plus pitches, though I like the four-seamer a little more because of its better velocity and movement.

Curveball – This pitch comes in on a similar plane as his two-seam fastball, only about 17 mph slower. The pitch looks faster than the radar gun would indicate, and it has a late-breaking action, though the break isn’t as big as that of other power curves.

Change-up – This pitch has good fading action, and once again it is difficult to discern from a fastball (this time, his two-seamer).

Quickly about his mechanics:

So we have a pitcher with tremendous stuff but some questionable mechanics. How much should he change mechanically, if at all? That’s up to the New York player development team and Cole himself. Every pitcher has a wind-up that works for him. You must also look at the reputation of the organization in terms of the success they’ve had in changing a pitcher’s mechanics. With Joba, the Yankees did quite well; with Phil Hughes, not so much.

The title of the Hughes article at the link is “If It Ain’t Broke.” The same concept applies to Cole: Why fix something that ain’t broke? The answer is, They shouldn’t. For now, the focus should be on simply letting Cole pitch. If needed, tweak his mechanics to make his current mechanics more efficient (such as shortening his arm action just a little bit, which I think would help solve a couple other problems as well). But let him pitch.

Continue reading This is Gerrit Cole

Munson auction

My affection for all things Thurman borders on the silly. I was just a young kid, about same age as my older son is now, when Thurman died. I remember where I was (Wildwood Crest, NJ). Yet, I remain a tremendous fan to this day. Which is why somehow it pains me to see that his wife is auctioning off his stuff, even though the cause (his grandchildren) is completely worthwhile.

I got a Thurman replica bat from Bat Day (I think the year he died). Not a little twig like they give away now; but a real bat. It’s in my office at home, barely a scratch as I never used it as a kid. We used my brother’s Mickey Rivers’ model until the knob damn near wore off, though. I also have a beaten up Thurman Munson model catcher’s mit in my office, too. The gold stencil of his name is still barely visible, but that’s good enough for me. And if you see me wear a jersey to a game, it will be my #15 away jersey more often than not. Every time I wear it to the Stadium, people come over just to quietly say that they “love that jersey”. It’s a silent classic that affects anyone old enough to know how much Thurman meant to that team. Real fans get it. And no, there is no name on it.

I joked yesterday about buying stuff from the Stadium, but I’d prefer to buy something from Thurman’s auction. He embodies my fandom as much as anything or anyone. I don’t know if I will be able to even bid, much less afford anything, but I’ll certainly be interested.

I want that glove.

Continue reading Munson auction

We're NY, we deserve it, dammit

I can’t stress enough how much I think Hank Hal is off-base here (in bold).

This is New York, and the fans deserve a team with marquee players,” Steinbrenner said. “Where we want to end up is a tremendous mix of young talent
and veterans. And the veterans, the free agents, they cost money. And we realize that. We are going to have a lot of money come off the payroll, and that’s going to give us some options. But believe me, we’re going to use a good portion of it to get this city the team it deserves.”

What really bugs me, REALLY BUGS ME, is how he uses the word DESERVES, like we’re somehow more deserving than any other city. Again, I’d bet most Yanks fans don’t hold this belief. We want to win every year but in no way do the level-headed fans think we’re more deserving than others.

I know he’s simply pandering to the fans, but NY doesn’t deserve a team of marquee players. Heck, I bet most fans recognize that you need exactly what he says in his second sentence: a blend of youth and veterans. That doesn’t mean an all-star in every position.

I caught some (largely justifiable) grief by bashing Sawx fans since they had a lunkhead represent their Nation by attacking a guy in a car with NY plates on it. That lunkhead no more represents the collective thoughts/beliefs/values of the RSN than does Hank Hal for the Yanks fan base. Again, we all want to win all the time. But no one has a right to claim that they “deserve” to win merely due to geography.

That’s akin to someone saying the USA deserves to pay less for gas because, well, we’re the USA.

UPDATE: I realized that this was the mild-mannered Hal uttering those Hank-isms. My apologies for the gaff. Continue reading We're NY, we deserve it, dammit

Bummer: Voice of God still silenced

Unfortunately Bob Sheppard, the Voice of God, is not yet feeling up to announcing. I was hoping he’d make it to the ASG on Tuesday.

I am not going to be physically able to perform my duties during the All-Star activities,” Sheppard told The Star-Ledger from his home in Baldwin, N.Y. “I notified the Yankees that my back-up, Jim Hall – H-A-L-L – will be filling in for me.”

Hope he’s doing better and will be well enough to welcome the Yanks to the new Stadium next year.

Sheppard, who Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson once described as “the Voice of God,” is a living link to the stadium’s past. His first game behind the microphone was April 16, 1951 – which also was the first game for a young outfielder named Mickey Mantle.

Continue reading Bummer: Voice of God still silenced

My wish list

I’ve got a great spot in my house that is begging for a Babe Ruth monument. Or a few chairs from the Stadium to watch the game from. I wouldn’t mind a piece of the facade, either, for those of you pondering a gift for me.

    1. The Babe Ruth Monument. Price Range: $250,000 – $2,000,000
    2. The bronzed Lou Gehrig bat atop the flag pole in center field. (Legend has it that Gehrig’s wife gave it to the stadium after he passed) Price Range: $150,00 – $300,000
    3. The “I’d like to thank the good lord for making me a Yankee” Joe DiMaggio sign in the clubhouse. Price Range: $5,000 – $25,000
    4. Home plate. Price Range: $10,000 – $20,000
    5. The “Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!” sign that sits up on Steinbrenner’s desk. Price Range: $3,000 – $20,000
    6. The Eddie Layton Hammond organ. Price Range: $5,000 – $15,000
    7. The scale used in the locker room to weigh Yankees as far back as the 50’s. Price Range: $2,000 – $10,000
    8. A stadium seat. Price Range: $300 – $2,500
    9. A piece of that famous white facade. Price Range: $100 – $ 2,000
    10. Dirt from the field. Price Range: $200 – $500

    Continue reading My wish list

    Remember when: Heaven Help Marge Schott

    One of the best things SI.com did was open their vast history to us online, via their Vault section. I got totally sucked into sifting through the old baseball articles. I’ll share a few over the next few days or weeks, depending if you guys like ’em or not. Just let me know.

    This one about Marge Schott, back in 1996, was just awesome in its depth and insider view of one of the most hated, loathed, misunderstood, and feared owners in MLB history. It’s a very long read (9 pages using their “print this” button) but it’s fascinating. I could give a hundred samples but here are a mere few:

    Marge sees [Chris] Sabo. “Hi, honey.”
    Hi, Mrs. Schott.”
    Tell Schottzie you’re going to win for her tonight.”
    Sabo looks around uncomfortably, then mutters at the ground, “Uh, we’re going to win for you tonight…Schottzie.
    …..
    In the sixth inning Schott moves down to her box seats behind the Reds’ dugout to chain-sign autographs, hardly looking up except after loud cracks of the bat. She hates it when the bats break, but she does not lose money on them. She has an employee take them to the gift shop at a downtown Cincinnati hotel and sell them. (To show their undying love for her, some Cincinnati players smash their cracked bats into two pieces so they’re in no condition to be sold.)
    ……
    Marge Vision is set on the 1950s, and she sees it clear as a bell. She often feels like speaking out for what she believes, and it hasn’t hurt her much. While Al Campanis , Jimmy the Greek and Ben Wright lost their jobs for saying one fiftieth of what Schott
    has said, she got only a one-year suspension from baseball in 1993 for making racial and ethnic slurs. A sensitivity-training course was thrown in for good measure. The course didn’t really take. Sending Schott to sensitivity training is like sending a pickpocket to a Rolex convention.
    ……
    At the start of the [1996] season the Reds weren’t providing fans with scores from other games on the Riverfront scoreboard. “Why do they care about one game when they’re watching another?” argued Schott , who had stopped paying her bill for the service (it costs $350 a month) during last season.

    Following the sixth home game, after being raked over the coals by the media for her stinginess, she reversed her scoreboard decision and blamed it on her employees, saying in front of a roomful of reporters, “I’ve got to have the worst public relations staff in America!” Now those employees have to track the scores by calling to other ballparks and listening to the radio.
    ……
    Even though Cincinnati won the 1990 World Series and was the NL Central champion last year, anybody in baseball will tell you privately that the Reds are leaking oil three lanes wide. They routinely lose their best scouts to better-paying clubs. Attendance is down for the second straight year. In the playoffs last year there were more than 12,000 unsold seats for one game at Riverfront and more than 8,000 for another. For some reason, aside from Bowden , who is considered one of the best young executives in the game, top-notch baseball minds aren’t inclined to come to work in an office chilled to 55 [degrees] for substantially less than what other teams are paying, bringing their own tissues to the office and wondering who else is listening to their phone messages.

    Continue reading Remember when: Heaven Help Marge Schott

    Signs that it's a slow news day

    After the fawning over Jeter and Pettitte from last night, it got slow around the Post’s news room:

    YANKEES radio announcer John Sterling is being called out for foul behavior in the stadium’s press dining room. “Sterling has made a habit of walking over to the dessert table and dipping his finger into the ice cream barrel,” one stadium worker told us, adding that the play-by-play vet has also used the same tablespoon to repeatedly take samples. During the Boston series, “He wandered over to the cake and pie section, broke off a piece of a cake slice, ate it and wiped his grimy hands on the linen tablecloth, leaving the remainder of the slice for someone else to eat – which indeed happened,” our spy continued. A rep for WCBS Radio declined to comment, and a team spokesman said the Yankees “know nothing about it.”

    Gross, but does it really need to be a separate story? Who interviews dining room help anyways?

    Continue reading Signs that it's a slow news day

    …And starting for the AL All Stars…

    It might not be the Voice of God making the opening call (it will likely be Jim Hall, his long time understudy and virtual sound-alike), but there seems to be some groundswell to have the Yanks closer, Mo Rivera, start the All Star Game on Tuesday night as a tribute to his success.

    I first thought it was a hairbrained idea –maybe it still is– but I am warming to it. I didn’t discuss it yesterday when I first heard about it, but after giving it some time to marinate, I think it would be great.

    Unorthodox? You betchya, but with Tito Francona selecting 6 relief pitchers, who cares about convention. Of course, it’d have to be Tito’s “call” to honor a Yankee in Yankee Stadium. It would be a magnanamous move. I like Klapish’s take:

    …the real way to commemorate Yankee Stadium in what could be its final marquee event is to let Rivera start the game: Allow him to bask in the thunderous standing ovation, and let him know what it feels like to have a million flashbulbs go off in his face upon delivery of that first cut fastball.

    Unconventional? It’s almost surreal. But Rivera himself says, “I’m sure the fans would love it. They’d go crazy.”

    The theory behind this heresy goes like this: The 2008 All-Star Game isn’t your typical Midsummer Classic. The very reason it’s being staged in the Bronx is to bid an official farewell to Yankee Stadium, which is being replaced by a new structure in 2009.

    I say: DO IT! I’m all for the wild, crazy, great moments in sports. Let’s see it happen! Continue reading …And starting for the AL All Stars…