Analyzing Jim Bowden’s Plan for Realignment

While Brien already discussed the possibility of MLB’s interest in a realignment that could include the creation of two 15 team leagues; moving either the Astros or Marlins from the NL to the AL; daily interleague play; and/or the abolishment of divisions (all things I am for), I feel compelled to throw my two cents into the ring.  No, I’m not going to debate Brien point-for-point.  Though I could easily write a 3000 word piece arguing against Brien’s position that a divisionless system will ultimately reduce the number of competitive playoff teams, and therefore, playoff races, I will avoid the temptation.  Why?  There are much more pressing matters.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Jim Bowden laid out a controversial proposal for not only expanding the MLB playoffs, but also drastically realigning baseball’s league and divisional structures.  While Bowden states up front that his proposal would be “radical” in “old school terms,” he fails to recognize that his recommendations are still “radical” even in new school terms.  Though I don’t have any problems with concepts like daily interleague play being implemented, he offers up several other ideas that are not only impractical, but also likely to face extreme resistance upon being recommended.

For starters, Bowden recommends abolishing the American and National Leagues, and replacing them with two, 15-team geographically realigned conferences similar to the NFL, NBA, and NHL models.  While some might wretch at the idea of changing from “leagues” to “conferences,” it actually makes a lot of sense with interleague play evolving from a novelty into an everyday occurrence.  “Leagues” symbolize exclusivity; a hard line.  “Conferences,” on the other hand, signify fluidity and intermingling.  In reality, MLB would be updating the titles of the two entities for the sake of accuracy.

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Martin and Montero

Russell Martin sat with a back injury last night. If Martin cannot catch back-to-back days and his back hasn’t responded overwhelmingly well to treatments, then he needs to be laced on the 15-day disabled list. If he goes on the 15-day disabled list, the Yankees have to call up Jesus Montero. The whole picture of 2011 for Jesus Montero has not looked as rosy as we’d’ve liked it, but I think most of us would agree that the bat has enough potential that he’s worth the call up at this point (it helps that he hit a homer last night). Continue reading Martin and Montero

Appealing to authority

Criticizing a front office or a manager is part of being a fan. It’s fun, on the one hand, and it’s cathartic on the other. We can’t really criticize good players for making a mistake too vociferously, after all we couldn’t do that either, but we could all do the job of the general manager or that bum field manager, right? Criticizing those guys is darn near a fundamental right for sports fans.

On the other side of the coin, there are people who at times seem overly defensive of the front office. These guys got their jobs for a reason, they say, and they have access to more information than we do. And that’s true enough, I often point out that with things like making trades and evaluating minor leaguers those of us on the outside lack sufficient information to make too many criticisms. On the other hand, there are plenty of things that are out in the open we can critique, and the defense that the front office must be right because they’re the front office is a classic appeal to authority fallacy. The Yankees’ front office has made plenty of mistakes in the past, and they’re going to make mistakes again.

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Yankees shockingly roll over and die for Pitcher They've Never Seen Before

The most surprising thing ever happened on Monday night, and by most surprising I mean least surprising thing in American history, as the Yankees got completely shut down by a Pitcher They’ve Never Seen Before™ for the approximately 800 millionth time over the last two seasons. I’m sorry, but there’s just no excuse for a game like this. Bases loaded, no out in the first inning, and the team fails to score. Five total hits off Carlos Carrasco, who came into this game with an ERA above 4.50, and who struck seven Yankees out during his seven scoreless innings. Seriously, Continue reading Yankees shockingly roll over and die for Pitcher They've Never Seen Before

Game 64: Indians 1, Yankees 0

The Yankees entered Monday’s game having put the Red Sox series behind them and riding a strong three game win streak. New York showed a lot of offense over the weekend, as they looked to sweep the Indians in a four game set, but despite a great outing from AJ Burnett and plenty of early opportunities, the Yankees took a 1-0 loss to the Tribe.

It looked like it was going to be more of the same in the first inning, as Derek Jeter led off with a single to left. He was followed with a single to center by Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira worked a walk to load the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, Alex Rodriguez flew out, Robinson Cano struck out and Nick Swishes grounded out leaving the bases juiced without bringing a run home.

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And now for the airing of grievances

The Yankees lost 1-0 tonight in a game where they loaded the bases with no one out in the first inning, then had two on with no one out in the 2nd. Yeah, it was that kind of game. As a general rule I hate doing instant reaction pieces to games like this, because they’re so inherently frustrating and can cause you to overreact, so instead of focusing too much on tonight, how about we air out some festering problems that haven’t been addressed and were on display at unfortunate moments tonight?

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Jeter leaves game with leg injury

After flying out in the 5th inning, Derek Jeter left the game with an apparent leg injury, having pulled up lame running to first base. Eduardo Nunez was substituted in, and Jeter was caught slamming his batting helmet upon getting back to the dugout. Obviously not good news for anyone hoping to see Jeter get his 3,000th hit on this home stand.

Update: Via Bryan Hoch, the Yankees have sent Jeter for an MRI. Earlier in the game, the Yankees were calling it a “sore calf.”

Update II: It’s a grade one strain, the least severe, thankfully. Apparently there has been no decision made on whether this will require a trip to the DL, but it means that Jeter will almost certainly not be in the lineup for tomorrow night’s opener with the Rangers. Continue reading Jeter leaves game with leg injury

Game 64-Brooms out for the Tribe

I don’t quite know how to read this series thus far. Either the Indians caught the Yanks at the wrong time, coming off being embarrassed at home by the Red Sox. Or maybe the Yankees caught the Indians at the right time, slumping their way into the stadium losing 6 of 7 before coming to the Bronx. Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, the results haven’t been pretty for the Tribe, but have been lovely for the boys in pinstripes. In Yankee news, Russell Martin was a late scratch due to his back stiffening up after he took Continue reading Game 64-Brooms out for the Tribe

Russell Martin scratched from lineup

Word just broke via the beat writing crew that Russell Martin has been scratched from the lineup tonight due to back stiffness. This means that, with the exception of yesterday’s game, Martin will have basically been out for just under a week since Tuesday night’s loss to Baltimore, and because he started yesterday, the Yankees don’t have the option to put him on the disabled list retroactively. Hopefully he’s going to be alright now, because if the Yankees keep playing around like this they’re going to have to keep starting Francisco Cervelli while carrying a gimpy Martin as a backup.

In related news, I hear the Yankees have a catcher in Triple-A that’s highly thought of around the baseball world, but someone in the Yankees front office absolutely hates him. I wonder if he could be of some assistance these days? Continue reading Russell Martin scratched from lineup