Off topic: Tiger's pretty good, eh?

I’m taking a quick detour this morning. Feel free to come along, or not. Your choice.

Admission: I didn’t do a NCAA bracket this year. I won a bracket pool last year and I just never did one this year. A combo of factors but bottom line, I didn’t get one filled out. There I said it. This allowed me to continue with a long-standing thought of mine: Once Syracuse’s hoops season ends, it’s the first signal that baseball season is around the corner. So once ‘Cuse got blown out on Friday night, I had very little interest or investment in the rest of the games this weekend. As a result, I got to watch golf on Sunday.

I love playing golf but haven’t been able to play much (kids and all) over the last few years. I, like many others, don’t watch golf regularly, but will make it must-see TV when Tiger’s playing. If it’s Sunday and he’s in contention, definitely. Yesterday afternoon, I managed to catch the back nine in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. And I wasn’t remotely disappointed. My sons even joined me for parts of it (we play Tiger Woods on the Wii, so they have an understanding of the game and I got a kick out of my 5 year old asking if “was that a flop shot or a wedge?”). I had to remind them that Tiger is doing this agains other pros, the best in the world, and making it look almost easy.

You know, by now, how it ended and the best part was seeing it live with my soon-to-be 9 year-old and my wife. I KNEW Tiger would do it, just as if we were watching a movie and we knew the ending, but we were watching a slightly different script. His mental strength around the green is just absurd and fun to watch. I hope everyone got to see it, or at least the highlights somewhere.

It was just incredible. Continue reading Off topic: Tiger's pretty good, eh?

Randy Levine: Profiled

I know I have been pretty darn critical of Randy Levine. I firmly believe he puts the “evil” in Evil Empire. He’s a bully, an ex-politician, smart, stubborn, unyielding and often flat out rude. For any of you reading here for any length of time know that I think his NYC government connections were the driving force behind not just the building of the New Yankees Stadium, but also most, if not all, of the sketchy/oft-criticized financing schemes that were required to get this thing built.

In recent years, as George Steinbrenner has faded from view as the principal owner, Levine has emerged as the strongest voice of the Yankees, baseball’s wealthiest team. He is their executive-as-prosecutor, a tough, short-tempered and smart protector of the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees brand.
He’ll smile, shake your hand and cut your heart out if you’re not repared,” [former union president, Norman I. Seabrook] said. “don’t mistake that smile for anything but a knife.”

Richard Sandomir, the writer of this article, does a good job of balancing the pros versus cons of Levine and his persona; how it works, how if fails. But make no mistake about it: if there’s something heavy that needs to be lifted, it’s Levine to do it.

As a side note, I noticed two hits from the NY Times on my StatCounter before this article was published, researching Levine (Here’s one, and the other). I have no idea if that was Sandomir or just a fact-checker, but I thought it was cool that they are scouring the web for info and found their way here.

Thanks to Pete Toms, Canadian baseball information minister, for the heads up.

Continue reading Randy Levine: Profiled

WBC poll results

Wanted to post the final the voting results on the WBC poll:

Q: How do you feel about the WBC?

44 votes cast

  1. Don’t feel strongly either way 16 (36%)
  2. Love it as it is 10 (22%)
  3. Love it as it is, start it in November 10 (22%)
  4. Hate it and want it to stop 4 (9%)
  5. Love it, do it mid-season 4 (9%)
  6. Love it but don’t want my team’s stars to play 3 (6%)

Thanks for voting Continue reading WBC poll results

Comparing Bernie, Melky, and Gardner

Mark Carig made an interesting point this morning about Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner by comparing their credentials with those of a young Bernie WIlliams: What if Bernie Williams (the 1992 version) were involved in the Yankees’ current position battle in center field? How would he stack up competing against Gardner and Cabrera? Would he go on to earn a chance to play enough to develop into the steady star that he became? Gardner isn’t in the same offensive universe as the other two, though his speed and glove in center might help offset some of the difference, though certainly Continue reading Comparing Bernie, Melky, and Gardner

Gardner named starter in CF

Manager Joe Girardi continues to make the fans happy as he names Brett Gardner the starting Yankee centerfielder, according to the NY Post.  “It’s not going to be day by day, Gardy is our center fielder,” Girardi said.  “He brings a little more speed to the lineup and defensively he brings a little more speed. Offensively, they were pretty even this spring and Gardy will steal more bases.”  Melky hit .340 this Spring to Gardner’s .385.

Burnett: Championship Or Bust

From Mark Feinsand: For years, Jeter has preached that the season is a failure if you’re not the last team standing. “I agree with him 100%; that’s why we’re here and why we play this game,” Burnett said. But is a World Series-or-bust edict more pressure than players need over a 162-game season? Burnett doesn’t think so. “I think it’s a good mind-set to take to the field with you every day,” he said. “I’ll start thinking that in my preparation now, because I think it’s true. There are 25 guys in here, but we’re not just playing for ourselves. Continue reading Burnett: Championship Or Bust

Managers Using Statistics

From Peter Gammons: Years ago, managers just snubbed their noses at sabermetrics. Now, it’s mostly media members and former players who reject such studies. Not managers. Washington’s Manny Acta will lay an occasional “VORP” on you, and Brewers manager Ken Macha was so intrigued by “The Fielding Bible,” compiled by John Dewan and Bill James, that he copied sections and gave them to players. He wanted the players to understand the relationship of bases and outs to runs, and how outfielders cutting balls off and hitting relay men and how baserunners’ aggression and hustle add up at the end of Continue reading Managers Using Statistics

Bernie’s wishful thinking

From ESPN: “I felt really good about playing,” Williams said. “I am my worst critic and I didn’t feel very bad about it. It took me a while to get acclimated. But after a while, I felt very encouraged.” “I can still play,” said Williams, 40, who was in New York to tape an interview for the YES Network’s “CenterStage” program. He went 0-for-5 with two walks during the WBC. Williams has yet to ask his agent to contact any big-league teams and would not say if he’d play for a team other than the Yankees. But he did say Continue reading Bernie’s wishful thinking

Final Roster Spots: Center Field (Updated: Gardner Wins Spot)

Throughout the day, I looked at the battles for the final spots on the Yankees roster: the last reliever, the battle for CF, and the utility infielder fight. I started with the 7th reliever, continued by looking at the utility infielder role, and will now wrap up the series by discussing the battle for center field. Unlike the last two roster spots that I discussed, it seems that this fight is not for a spot on the team: The competition between centerfielders Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera is likely to end with both players making the Yankees. “That’s probably my Continue reading Final Roster Spots: Center Field (Updated: Gardner Wins Spot)