Cashman: Not a Top GM?

Beyond the Boxscore recently polled their writers for their choices as to the top GM’s of the last 10 years. The results were interesting, with the 5 writers each making 5 selections, and coming out with a top of the list that went as follows: Beane, Epstein, Friedman, Schuerholtz, and Shapiro. Brian Cashman did not receive a single vote, and I find that to be a bit silly. The argument against Cashman is that anyone could win with the budget that he has. While that seems make sense, the fact that high payroll clubs miss the playoffs all the time Continue reading Cashman: Not a Top GM?

Don’t worry about Joba

Fro Bryan Hoch (MLB): In Chamberlain’s lone inning of work on Saturday, two Minnesota Twins rounded the bases on three hits, hardly a convincing sales job for those still not believing he is best suited for work as a starting pitcher. But Chamberlain shrugged, knowing that he kept some of his best stuff in the holster. “It’s Spring Training — that’s what it’s here for,” Chamberlain said. “You establish your fastball early. These guys are good enough that if they see you pitch the same guy twice in a row when you get ahead of them, they’re going to know Continue reading Don’t worry about Joba

Jorge scratched with sore shoulder

Jorge Posada was scratched from today’s exhibition game because of “shoulder discomfort.” He’ll be shut down for a few days and won’t resume throwing until Tuesday (at the earliest). While he and Joe Girardi don’t seem too worried about the issue, you have to wonder about the severity of the soreness. Hopefully he’s alright and it isn’t a serious setback. UPDATE – Here’s some more info on the situation (NY Times): Girardi described Posada’s shoulder as “a little, little, little sore.” “Minuscule weakness,” he added. “He wanted to play. We said: ‘You’re not playing. It’s too early in the process.’ Continue reading Jorge scratched with sore shoulder

Quick Links: A-Rod, BOA, Baldelli, Joba

Although it has certainly been a slow news day, there are a few interesting stories out there. 1. A-Rod will meet with MLB officials on Sunday, in Tampa. 2. The economy has shifted the Yankees’ relationship with long-time sponsor, Bank of America. 3. Rocco Baldelli’s medical file is over 3,000 pages in length. 4. Joba Chamberlain is taking a Nebraska student to Disney World.

Lesser-known steroids (satire alert)

Thanks to Bryan Jones for pointing out this report from the great satirical site, The Onion, regarding some of the lesser-known steroids. A sample:

Estrogen: Popularized by A-Rod, who religiously injected this steroid in an effort to speed up his swing by strengthening his cervix, adding mass to his labia, and slimming down his rectouterine pouch

Document Clamp on the Nuts: Not so much a steroid as a method of increasing aggression and adrenaline output by fastening a large document clamp right on your nuts

And Bryan added an impressive list of his own:

  • Jeterbolone: transforms slick fielders with excellent range into permanent geographic points. See Bobby Abreu and the Washington Monument.
  • MrMetabol: users sport a marked hydrocephalic appearance and increased loss of balance consistent with ever enlarging hat size. See Barry Bonds and Spongebob Squarepants.
  • Piniellabolin: regular cycling with this baby causes users to walk to the mound like they’ve doubled down on the Depends, sound strategy in view of the chronic diarrhea common in injectors of a certain age. Piniellabolin has also been credited with irrational hostility towards left-handed relievers, long periods of wide-eyed unconsciousness, and the inability to remove a low OBP player from the lead-off spot.
  • McCarvipose: The steroid of choice for catchers and second basemen, the long term side-effects of brain cell loss, rapid acquisition of baseball ignorance, repetitive non sequiturs, and massive ego enlargement appear to become more severe with age. See Joe Morgan, Harold Reynolds and Joe Garagiola.
  • Mannystrol: closely related to Borastanon-250, the recommended two week cycle should never be attempted during a competition period as users lose interest in participation and often suffer from a heightened awareness of non-existent injuries.
  • GayRhoid: First introduced in 2004, not a steroid per se, but a fast-acting hemorrhoid treatment, often associated with self-absorption and erratic athletic performance as autumn temperatures decline. Users report elevated mood and distorted eyesight, which often results in dates with unfortunate looking-older women.

ZING!

Continue reading Lesser-known steroids (satire alert)

"In the best shape of my life"

We’ve always been suspect of the Spring Training claims of a new-found diet, rededication to the weight room, yoga, Pilates, etc. The NY Times George Vescey has a long tome on the subject today:

Baseball clubhouses seem to be getting bigger this spring, with more room to move around. Or maybe the players are becoming smaller.

Out of the roughly 1,000 major leaguers in spring training camps, a couple of dozen appear to have lost significant weight in the off-season, all in the name of health and agility.

Some of them did it by eating grilled fish. Others played active video games with their children. Some went on diet programs or took up yoga. Others cut back on alcohol. Whatever they did, clubhouse attendants are coming up with smaller uniforms all over Florida and Arizona.

Among the biggest losers are Brett Myers and Ryan Howard of the championship Phillies, who lost 30 and 20 pounds. Yankees relief pitcher Brian Bruney, Mr. Avant-Garde himself, shed 25 pounds before last season by giving up beer and eating healthy food. He has slimmed down another 10 this year, and essentially does not look like the same person.

I know Vescey’s not accusing Myers, Howard and Bruney of previously doing things that were against the rules, but it sure smells like he’s doing that.

Vescey landed a good quote from a damn reputable source:

“You have to be a little skeptical, given the context of watching bodies change,” Dr. Gary Wadler, an internist and member of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said Thursday. “The explanation then was that they were eating more and working out more. Now if you hear players say, “We changed our ways,” all you can do is be suspicious.”

And that’s all we’re left with, as fans: suspicion. We can’t assume all players are clean, just as we can’t assume all players are dirty. Can we really put all our chips on Pujols, Jeter, Wright, Sizemore, Longoria, Howard, Utley? I think the only way we can get to a place where we, the fans, can have a greater degree of confidence in the testing program is if they start TODAY taking, testing and storing blood. There are questions that blood testing/storing open up, but that can be addressed some other time. I can see this being a major issue when the CBA next expires. Continue reading "In the best shape of my life"

IPK <3 Fastballs

Here’s Mark Feinsand (Daily News) on Ian Kennedy (08/10/08) : Kennedy will make his next start for Triple-A Scranton on Wednesday, but his primary focus won’t be shutting the other team down. Instead, he’ll work on his sinker, curveball and slider, trying to refine the three pitches regardless of the results. “It’s still making quality pitches, but it’s working on location, working on his breaking ball when he’s behind in the count, not being afraid to throw it over,” Joe Girardi said. “Just trying to develop him as a starter.” “Not focus on results, but rather the results of what Continue reading IPK <3 Fastballs

Wishing Baldelli well

Hard for any fan of the game to root against Rocco Baldelli, even a staunch Yanks fan.

“It’s tough,” Baldelli said. “I don’t know if there is a layman’s way to describe it. It’s almost impossible. My muscles get tired, but I prefer not to even say things like that because I don’t want that to be the headline of the story. That’s why I don’t really get into it much. It’s tough for me to explain to other people exactly what’s going on.”

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a world class athlete in peak condition to have trouble cranking the engine when needed. I hope he can make a full recovery and makes 80+ starts in right field.

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In the same article, there’s a comment about the “new” Sox clubhouse. Sox fans, your team’s persona is on the same path as the Yanks: professional, corporate, vanilla. Just read this next comment and swap out “Baldelli” for “Jeter”, “Sox” for “Yanks”, “2004” for “1996”, and “Jesus hairdos” for “former drug-addicted Mets”:

Baldelli is polite, almost shy when dealing with the media. He’ll deliver words and fill the sound bite for the 11 o’clock news, but strives to say as little as possible. This makes him a perfect fit for the 2009 Sox. Theo and his guys have assembled a group that is the polar opposite of the 2004 Idiots. No more wild and crazy quotes. No more Jesus hairdos or Jack Daniel’s shots.

Not saying there is anything really wrong with that corporate, vanilla persona. We just have to recognize that once a team wins and eventually loses the key players of that team, the team will bring guys in who try to fit in rather than just be themselves and giving the team a new identity. It melds into something pretty santized.

The ’04 Sox lost Manny, Pedro, Damon, Millar, Foulke, etc. Think of those personalities. Big personalities, lockerroom leaders. Sure, ‘Tek and Papi are still there, intense as ever. Papelbon seems to be a bit of a wacko, and I mean that as a compliment. But JD Drew, Ellsbury, and Bay aren’t exactly guys you think of as leaders. Pedroia seems to be a natural leader, but is he (and Lowell) the loose kinda guys in the lockerrooms like Damon, et al, were? I ask because I don’t know the answer, not facetiously.

The “early dynasty” Yanks lost the same type of leaders: Wells, Cone, Paulie, Bernie, Jimmy Key. Sure, we filled them with other guys, some of which had larger than life personalities (Clemens, Giambi) while others were as vanilla as they come (Moose, Abreu, Matsui). And the team slowly conformed to Jeter’s “give ’em only what they need to know/hear” personality. Santized, scrubbed, polished. And ARod and his personality is as obvious as they come. I heard someone say on XM MLB #175 today that it looks like ARod is acting like he is playing ARod in a movie about ARod. “Sincerity” is not a word I’ll ever use to describe him. The truth is, if he was a pompous ass, crass and crude, people might have an easier time accepting him. At least we’d know he was honest with himself. I think this is what helped Giambi’s “recovery” in the eyes of fans. [Not for nothing: I think adding Sabathia’s clubhouse presence will do wonders for this team, who needs a boost of personality]

I still think the Sox are as feared an organization as there is in baseball, this year and for years to come. I think I have been more than fair in my thoughts on this team, no matter how much I want them to fail. My respect for Tito, Theo and so many of their personnel is tremendous. I think their off-season acquisitions were smart and calculated, even without Teix. But this team is no longer the Boston Dirt Dogs. They are now a corporate powerhouse. They are no longer the lovable losers; they have an image to uphold (and sell). Continue reading Wishing Baldelli well