Ideas to speed things up

The natural (over-) reaction when things don’t go perfectly, especially post-season baseball, seems to be “tear it down and fix it”. Sometimes, like the monsoon that hit Philly Monday and Tuesday this week, these things are unavoidable and equally rare. Some things, however, can be addressed and changed without meaningful impact to the game, the season, the teams, the almighty revenues.

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Switch-Pitcher wins award

Remember the fun video of the Yanks minor league switch-pitcher Pat Venditte? Well, he was awarded the MiLBY for Best Short-Season Reliever, whatever that means. For me, it’s just another chance to post a great picture of this kid, who can pitch equally effectively with both arms.

The Creighton University alum finished his rookie campaign 1-0 with an 0.83 ERA and a New York-Penn League-leading 23 saves, allowing just three earned runs in 30 games with Class A Short-Season Staten Island.

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Stop the "neutral site" chatter now!

My message for those out there pounding their chests in defense of a neutral site World Series: STOP IT NOW.

Yes, the 2009 season, if the WS lasts until Game 7, will end on November 6th, the latest ever. Yes, if it includes a northern team not in a dome, the elements will play a huge role. But you know what? Tough. Stuff happens.

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What would you have done?

Let me quickly set the stage: A college buddy of mine lives in Philly. He and his 8 year old son are huge Phillies fans. He went to the game on Monday, much to the dismay of his son. So he had his ticket stub to return last night, with a chance to see his team clinch the World Series, at the home ballpark. Would you have gone, leaving your son disappointed that you weren’t there to watch it with him… or would you stay home to have him sit by your side to celebrate together but miss the rush of seeing it live and the partying that goes on after?

My buddy’s answer: “I gave my ticket up to watch it at home with Noah. Before I left for the game on Monday he was very sad we were not watching together. I definitely made the right decision.

Nice call. Continue reading What would you have done?

Believe it or not: 10 years have passed

Remember Scotty Brosius’ home run off eventual Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman? Feels like yesterday. Well, maybe yesterday TEN YEARS AGO! Ack.

I feel old. I’m getting old, that’s for damn sure.

In that magnificent postseason run, Brosius batted .400 in the divisional series sweep of Texas, then .300 in the ALCS triumph over Cleveland. He left the best for the World Series, during which he dominated the Padres with a .471 average, two home runs and six RBIs. He drove in 15 runs in 13 postseason games that October.

And that’s the benchmark that the all-world ARod has to live up to. Nevermind that Brosius batted .203 the year before and during the entirety of the 1998 season he hit .300 with only 19 HR and 98 RBI. Solid numbers, no doubt. Very similar to a typical Mike Lowell season, if you will. And like Lowell, both players elevated their play in the post-season, when the stakes got higher, too.

It’s fairly telling that Brosius will be forever worshipped in NY for his incredible 3 week stretch in 1998 whereas fans will always treat ARod with a skewed glance until he has HIS own post-season masterpiece. Fair? Most say no. I say yes. The Yanks, for better or worse, are expected by their fans and management, to deliver a World Series every year. Any player, role or star, who is instrumental in doing just that, hoisting a trophy, will be forever loved.

Once ARod does that, IF he does it at all, he’ll enter the Pantheon of Yankee Lore. Until then, we’ll marvel at his stats and wonder how it could all go so wrong in October. ARod knew this when he agreed to the trade in 2004. He knew it when he re-signed this past off-season. He knows it now. And he knows the answer to the fair/unfair question, too.

Hell yeah it’s fair.

Continue reading Believe it or not: 10 years have passed

So what happens after the season ends?

Well, blogger/buddy Paul DePodesta of the Padres gives you a small taste of the mindset of a front office exec in his latest entry. Naturally, I added a ton of questions via the comments section (which are moderated, meaning Paul only allows those which he wants or are acceptable to him; unlike here where anything goes!). Thankfully, he allowed my comments to go thru. I hope he answers them, which he’s done with others via comments. I’ll check back and provide an update if there is one.

My “questions” to Paul:
Jason @ IIATMS said…

Being a senior member of the team, do you guys set up a war-room for free agents? How do you prioritize and then plot your strategy? Are the scouts deployed to the various leagues already in action? How often do they report in?

Do you get involved in the marketing/community affairs stuff?

What about the things that don’t directly impact the players, such as stadium issues/upgrades? Do you get into that minutae or do you stick strictly to the “talent” side of the operations?

Continue reading So what happens after the season ends?

Yankee rumors 10/28/08

Looks like there are some folks who really think Sabathia and even possibly Holliday will be in pinstripes come Spring Training. Oh yeah, maybe the reason why Cashman chose to stay in NY, too.

First Sabathia:

Jimmy Rollins, a friend of superstar free-agent pitcher CC Sabathia dating back to their upbringing outside Oakland, Calif., and one of the best prognosticators in the game considering his lofty and correct predictions for his own Phillies, didn’t hesitate when I asked him where he thought Sabathia would wind up.

“New York, American League,” Rollins, an Alameda, Calif. product, said. “They’ve got enough money, and they need him.”

As Heyman rightfully noted, it IS about the money, stupid (where have you heard that before?):

As is typical, the choice may come to the usual: love or money. In that skirmish the loot usually wins out.

And regarding Holliday:

Yankees people have heard good things about Holliday. However, their one concern is his home-road splits, which show he has been more successful at Coors Field than on the road. This year the difference was minimal, as Holliday hit .332 with 15 home runs at home, .308 with 10 home runs on the road. But his lifetime numbers reflect a significant variation. He’s a .357 career hitter at Coors Field, with 84 home runs. On the road he is a .280 hitter with 44 home runs.

Color me concerned about the splits. But he runs in addition to bopping HR’s. Too bad he doesn’t play 1B.

On the cesspool that is the Mariners ownership (as compared to our cesspool, mind you):

Brian Cashman is still a Yankee in part because of Gillick’s stories about working for the current Mariners regime. Gillick told Cashman for years what it was like to answer to Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln, and Cashman is said to have never seriously considered going there in part because of those stories.

Now, if Cashman chose Hank and Hal (and George) over Lincoln, how bad does Lincoln have to be? Seriously.

Now, back to that Gillick-as-special-assistant-to-Cashman-next-year stuffContinue reading Yankee rumors 10/28/08

Great moments in Barkley-isms

A bit of a tanget-alert here, but sometimes you just have to take witness to the beauty of someone who has no internal editor. Doubly so when that person is Charles Barkley.

Ever lovable, ever t-rrrible, ever opinionated. Thanks to Deadspin, I ran across this (emphasis mine):

Brown: So are you going to run for governor?
Barkley: I plan on it in 2014.
Brown: You are serious.
Barkley: I am, I can’t screw up Alabama.
Brown: There is no place to go but up in your view?
Barkley: We are number 48 in everything and Arkansas and Mississippi aren’t going anywhere.


And also this pearl (emphasis mine):

Barkley: I know that, but this thing didn’t start with him. It started with President Bush and these gifts to rich people like myself — all these tax cuts and things like that. That’s my biggest problem. Uh listen, John McCain, you gotta respect anybody who goes to war. But these Republicans who ran this economy into the ground. We’ve got to end the war in Iraq and we got to stop giving rich people like myself and people who run big companies tax breaks. We’ve got to do that.

Wonder if the casinos will give him gifts and tax breaks.

UPDATE (10/28/08, 4:20pm): Reader Steve clued me into this one, which is so far over the line it’s astounding.

In discussing ways in which the Knicks should be improved this season, Barkley said, “I think they have a better coach. This coach probably won’t try to kill himself.”

Continue reading Great moments in Barkley-isms