Sunday night link-around, catch-up

It’s been quite the weekend for me. A two day blizzard started Thursday. Took me forever to get home and nearly as long to get into my driveway. Big birthday for me on Friday. If you’re going to be snowed in, it’s nice to have it on your birthday. Except we had no power from Thursday night until Saturday afternoon (after ConEd told us we’d be powerless until this coming Tuesday night @ 11pm). Spent Friday with friends, including others who were still without power. A better day than I anticipated. Despite the lack of heat, we stayed in our place Friday night, aided by a nice glowing fireplace. Woke up Saturday to 50 degree room temps. Spent the day with other friends (who had wonderful heat!) and a great dinner out with a larger group Saturday night to help me ring in my birthday. And Syracuse waxed ‘Nova to finish off the evening. Some fun in the snow today, followed by two basketball games, the gold medal hockey game and suddenly, it’s time to think about the week ahead.

As you can probably tell, I didn’t get to much online reading and stuff. Thankfully, some of you were good enough to keep me in the loop via email. Thanks and thanks for the birthday wishes, too!

Here are some of the things of note this weekend in baseball-land, some of which you have seen and others maybe not:

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Why I Love Sports

[image title=”PH2010022803182″ size=”full” id=”15488″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ] Sports are a big part of my life. I’m not athletic – I was my pitch-to-yourself softball team’s catcher, and the only sport that I’ve ever been reasonably good at is ultimate frisbee. But between the hockey and baseball seasons, I don’t spend a whole lot of time during the year without devoted day-to-day following of my favorite teams. I’m a total filmy, but I probably enjoy movies like The Rookie, Invincible, Miracle, Mystery Alaska, Tin Cup, and Bull Durham more than any Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson film. And of course, I’ve Continue reading Why I Love Sports

What Does It Mean To Be A 5th Starter? Part 1

Longtime readers know that one of my pet peaves is the arbitrary designation of how good a starting pitcher is. People like to classify guys as “#1 starter”, “#3 starter” etc. Its not an uncommon way to classify players in sports – because its fairly intuitive. I’ve been involved in a lot of debates about whether or not Scott Gomez was a “true #1 center’ for the Devils – and I absolutely hate the designation. Each team in a normal rotation has to carry 5 starters. The Yankees have Javy Vazquez, Andy Pettitte, C.C. Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett, and the Continue reading What Does It Mean To Be A 5th Starter? Part 1

Montero Determined to Catch at Major League Level

While this headline is rather obvious, the young Venezuelan made it very clear in an interview with’s Marc Craig (h/t to River Ave. Blues) that he wants to be a catcher going forward. When asked about possibly playing another position in the future, Montero was vague: “I don’t know. Maybe in the future, two, three, five years more, maybe they’re going to put me in another position. But I’m working to be a catcher. I want to be in the big leagues as a catcher.” Any player would likely say the same thing about staying at his natural position, Continue reading Montero Determined to Catch at Major League Level

And you thought today’s MVP voters were bad!

Last night before I went to bed I took a look at Lou Gehrig’s stats on Baseball Reference. That’s the kind of guy I am. I’ve been obsessed with baseball history since I was about 5. Every now and then I like to take a look at some of the old-time greats, mostly to see how dominant they were. In Gehrig’s case, last night I saw something that would have made Ken Tremendous explode if the internet and FireJoeMorgan existed in 1934. Baseball Reference highlights a player’s stat from a given year if that player led his league, or both, Continue reading And you thought today’s MVP voters were bad!

Notes from Tampa

The first couple weeks of Spring Training have been relatively drama-free for the New York Yankees. No PED confessions, no reporters hounding Jeter about whether he hangs out with A-Rod in the off-season or is about to marry Minka Kelly, in fact, everything has been very focused on the game of baseball. While it is still early, there were a few items of note coming out of Tampa today:

  • Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes each pitched their first batting practice today. Each threw about 30 pitches and the batters saw a lot of changeups. Afterwards, the two young hurlers did their running together and joked around with the media. While they are clearly taking the competition for the fifth starting position seriously, it’s good to hear the kids are still having fun. Of course, they better be careful or Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre might win that spot (yeah, I doubt it, too).
  • Marcus Thames signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees, but he is competing for a spot on the 25-man roster. Cashman let it be known that if Thames does not make the 25-man at the end of Spring Training, the outfielder is free to opt-out of the contract.
  • The Yankees latest signing, Chan Ho Park, has yet to make an appearance in the Yankee’s training camp.
  • Brett Gardner, Randy Winn and Curtis Granderson all worked out in left field yesterday. Today they were all in center. Obviously, its too early to know who will end up where for certain, but it is nice to see them all getting some work in at both spots.

Continue reading Notes from Tampa

Burnett working on his change

According to the Star-Ledger‘s Marc Carig, right-hander, A.J. Burnett, is refining his changeup this spring and hopes to overcome a fear he has of getting beat by the pitch in order to employ it more often in 2010. “I think it’s a big key,” noted Burnett when discussing the pitch, which he used only 3.1% of the time a season ago, the lowest rate of any American League starter with at least 180 innings accrued. “Whether I throw it or not, I don’t know, but I’ve been working on it,” he added. Carig states that Burnett is trying to get Continue reading Burnett working on his change

Theo makes the case for Gardner in left

In an interview with WEEI, while discussing left field for his ballclub in 2010 and stressing the importance of defense at that position, Red Sox architect, Theo Epstein, inadvertently made the case for starting Brett Gardner in left field for the Yankees as well. And, though it pains me to give any Red Sox fan credit, his argument was rather effective. Here’s what Epstein had to say via a WEEI transcript (the interviewer’s words are in bold, Epstein’s are not): We knew Julio Lugo stunk and Lowell was hurt. But we never thought Bay was less than average or Ellsbury Continue reading Theo makes the case for Gardner in left

Anybody but the guy with the career .414 wOBA in pinstripes

In Joe’s piece on A-Rod’s press conference he points out that Anthony DiComo’s article for — despite an epic postseason redemption — still manages to undersell A-Rod, which is somewhat remarkable for a story titled “Much has changed for A-Rod in a year.” It seems that even when trying to write something positive about Alex Rodriguez the media just can’t help but still take a dig at any opportunity. I hate to waste virtual ink on this — especially as I’ve probably spent more time defending A-Rod in the last six years than just about any other Yankee-related topic Continue reading Anybody but the guy with the career .414 wOBA in pinstripes