Open letter to ESPN Programming suits

Dear ESPN Programming Officials:

Once upon a time, you had a talk show during the evening drive (on the National feed, not local) called SportsBrothers, featuring Erik and Chris Kuselias. Good show, good banter, great listen. One day, Chris decided it wasn’t for him and the show became the SportsBash, hosted solely by Erik. This show was brilliant as the host was awesome. Intelligent, former attorney (meaning he knows how to build and make a case in an argument) leading the way. {What would you expect from a guy who attended Brown University (undergrad), Michigan Law School and got his Ph.D. from Columbia?}

After a few years, you decided to pull Erik from the show to lead a NASCAR show (“NASCAR Now“). Travesty. Why you’d put a NorthEast-centric former-attorney in the lead for a NASCAR show is beyond me. You put John Seibel and later added the mumbling Orestes Destrade on the show now called, lamely, SportsNation (“It’s not my nation, it’s your nation!“). This show has become unlistenable. Just awful.

Getting to watch/listen to Erik Kuselias fill in for Mike Greenberg every morning this week has only reminded me what a great asset you are burying on your bench. Relegating him to a “Fantasy Draft Show” or whatever else you have him doing is akin to having Brandon Webb in your rotation but only pitching him 3 times a month.

Erik now has a Saturday morning show but that’s too small a forum. Please, I am begging you, put Erik Kuselias back into a national spotlight show. Have him take his old chair back during the afternoon drive. As someone who is in the car for at least an hour at night, I implore you to consider it.

I am telling you this as thanks to the miracle of satellite radio, I have so many other choices than the pathetic SportsNation, and I am not afraid to use them.

Thank you for your time,
Jason Continue reading Open letter to ESPN Programming suits

Enough second guessing

One thing I’ve heard a bit too much lately, especially from Mets fans, is how the Yanks should have traded for Johan when they had the chance.

Sure, hindsight being what it is shows that the players the Yanks could have dealt have greatly disappointed the team this year. Melky, Kennedy, Hughes… all a disappointment.

However, what makes me crazy is that looking at just the talent-for-talent transfer is only half the story. We have to remember that Johan signed for over $130 million. That’s not insignificant, especially when you add in the 40% luxury tax hit.

Cashman noted the double-dipping issue yesterday:

No, not necessarily,” he said. “Ultimately, what I feel is a strong reluctance to trade three or four assets to another team [for a player] and then sign him to a multiyear contract. You trade for a guy, give up three or four assets [and then pay him], then you’ve crushed your payroll and your assets at the same time.”

That’s why he didn’t trade for Santana.

It’s also worth noting Cashman’s thoughts on Hughes, expectations and what’s to come:

Certainly, he’s stubbed his toe with the injury,” Cashman said. “But when we held on to a guy like that, you don’t do it and say, ‘OK, in the next four months, he’s got to do X.’ He’s got five years, whatever it is, to show why you bet on someone like that.”

Cashman added, “When you’re dealing with youth, it’s very volatile,” and he noted that 2008 served as a bad year for Hughes and Ian Kennedy while boosting the status of young pitchers Dellin Betances and Phil Coke and outfielder Austin Jackson.

We can only keep our faith in Cashman and his accountability, his judgement and the surrounding scouts. Continue reading Enough second guessing

Stark on Teix, others

From ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

• Bronx glue: The best thing that could happen to Mark Teixeira‘s checking account is the Yankees’ missing the playoffs. Even though Jorge Posada‘s long-term future might well turn out to be at first base/DH, missing the playoffs — because of an offense that will score nearly 200 fewer runs than last year — likely would make the Steinbrenner family just desperate enough to put the team in the mix for Teixeira. And it’s a good thing for him, because it now seems like virtually a lock that that other team in New York, the Mets, will pick up the $12 million option on Carlos Delgado (who actually leads Teixeira in homers, 30-27).

Boras’ auction house: But how much is Teixeira worth? If Scott Boras is serious about establishing a 10-year, $230 million price tag on Teixeira, he won’t have many bidders to play the Yankees against. Most teams view him as a five-year, $90 million kind of guy. “What really stands out, when you’ve got Vlad and Teixeira back-to-back in the same lineup, is what he isn’t,” an official of one club said. “Let’s put it this way: I know which one I fear, and it isn’t him. To me, when you see truly great players, they always have that extra edge, that killer instinct. Well, if this guy has it, he doesn’t project it. Hey, he’s a good player, obviously. But is he a guy who’s going to legitimately carry a club for the money he’s asking? I don’t see that.”

What’s free about free agency: Whether Teixeira ends up in the Bronx or not, the Yankees’ free-agent hyperactivity figures to make this an expensive market for any team to shop in. The Yankees have about $90 million in expiring contracts (most of it courtesy of Jason Giambi, Bobby Abreu, Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Pudge Rodriguez/Kyle Farnsworth). Even if they bring back a couple of those guys at reduced rates, that’s way too much money for a team like this to have burning a hole in its pocket as it heads into a new ballpark. So other clubs already are hearing that the Yankees plan to put a full-court press on CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets (if Sabathia rejects them) and Teixeira. And that will drive up free-agent prices for everybody, as agents everywhere rejoice.

Continue reading Stark on Teix, others

MLB's replay NOC is pretty bad-ass

And yes, we all wish we had a living room like this:

Five monitors stretch across the top of the wall, and beneath are eight, 46-inch screens split into two rows. Each television can show one picture, or be split into nine, 16, 25 or 100 angles at once.

And I did find this interesting as it only serves to prove how big an overreaction to the instant replay we’ve all witnessed. Truth told, the impact will be negligible:

MLB estimates it will take 2 minutes, 30 seconds for replays to be reviewed, and that so far this year about 18 calls would have sparked video checks.

Eighteen calls all year? Oh the humanity. The games are long enough!!! Continue reading MLB's replay NOC is pretty bad-ass

So now what?

So now what should the Yanks do to play out the string? I’m already in favor of dumping Ponson in favor of ANY of the kids on the farm….

Bugs & Cranks’ Yanks correspondent Ed Valentine has some interesting ideas, too. (You’ll have to head there to read the full thing as I don’t want to pilfer the whole shebang.) To summarize:

  1. Shut down Joba Chamberlain
  2. Play Brett Gardner every day
  3. Shut down Hideki Matsui
  4. Get Phil Hughes some big-league starts
  5. Play Johnny Damon at first base

I know all of this makes the Yankees seem like a $200 million version of the Washington Nationals. But, the reality is, that is what they are. Just another team going nowhere in 2008 that needs to spend the next few weeks finding out what they can about how they will be constructed in 2009.

I like his thinking, though I am not so sure about Damon at 1B. Continue reading So now what?

Could Ponson actually be a goner?

Please tell me my boys at the “Pride of the Yankees” blog have it right (emphasis mine):

UPDATE — 10:35am: Apparently the team is calling up Alfredo Aceves, who has been on a fast-track through the system this year. Aceves, a starer, has been pretty good at Scranton (eight starts, 2-3 record, 4.12 ERA, 42 strikeouts to 13 walks). We’d think this means Ponson is toast, but the team hasn’t announced what the corresponding roster move will be.

We can only hope. We can only hope. The nightmare might be (partially) over. It’s about time to see what the kids on the farm can do. I’m waiting for all the witty/lame/trite Phil Coke headlines that the tabloids can come up with…

UPDATE (8/28/08, 1:08pm): Just tuned into to the Yanks game at work (love the TV in the office) and heard Michael Kay announce that the Yanks sent David Robertson back down to make room for Aceves, not Ponson. I am officially bummed. Continue reading Could Ponson actually be a goner?

A Jeter fact

Stumbled across this in the notes of a larger story and it wow’d me (emphasis mine).

Derek Jeter went 1-for-4 and has 2,504 hits. That’s 14 behind Babe Ruth for second on the all-time Yankee list. Lou Gehrig is first with 2,721.

Jeter has 1,255 hits at the Stadium. That’s 14 short of Gehrig’s all-time record with 14 games left.

He has over 2500 hits and he’s 34. I knew he had a lot of hits but that number creeped up on me and startled me. He’s not getting 200 hits a year for the the next few years, but could he average 150 and surge past 3000 in a hurry. If he plays another 6 years at 150 hits a year, well, he’d be in some awfully fancy company!

In case you’re curious, here’s the leaderboard for career hits:

Rank / Player / Hits
1. Pete Rose 4256
2. Ty Cobb+ 4189
3. Hank Aaron+ 3771
4. Stan Musial+ 3630
5. Tris Speaker+ 3514
6. Carl Yastrzemski+ 3419
7. Cap Anson+ 3418
8. Honus Wagner+ 3415
9. Paul Molitor+ 3319
10. Eddie Collins+ 3315
11. Willie Mays+ 3283
12. Eddie Murray+ 3255
13. Nap Lajoie+ 3242
14. Cal Ripken+ 3184
15. George Brett+ 3154
16. Paul Waner+ 3152
17. Robin Yount+ 3142
18. Tony Gwynn+ 3141
19. Dave Winfield+ 3110
20. Craig Biggio 3060
21. Rickey Henderson 3055
+ – Indicates Hall of Famer Continue reading A Jeter fact

Pedroia 2008 = Damon 2004

Two grand slams by Sox players effectively ending the Yanks season.

Not a surprise that we’re here today, but it still leaves me with a very hollow feeling. I can only manage to shrug my shoulders. No tears, no crying, no chest-beating, no looking for sympathy.

It just is.

I guess the reality hit me once the Yanks picked up Ponson. To have to rely on Sidney Ponson for a team with playoff aspirations (but in reality, playoff desperation) is just crazy. I know Cashman was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle but it should have been obvious that Ponson should not be any contending team’s answer. I can’t believe we had to use Ponson in a MUST WIN game against the RedSox. Really? It got THAT bad, huh?

Sidney Ponson. Carl Pavano. Darrell Rasner. The 3-4-5 pitchers on a contending team down the stretch? Yeah, not so much.

UPDATE: I just found an interesting quote that captures my feelings on this season: “It is better to have a horrible ending than to have horrors without end“. The end of an era. Continue reading Pedroia 2008 = Damon 2004