About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

Quick hit: Nick Swisher’s back with the Yanks

While it’s only a minor league deal, old friend Nick Swisher is returning to the Yankees organization. Per Chad Jennings:

Nick Swisher is working out at the Yankees minor league complex. Team anticipates signing minor league deal as DH/1B/OF depth.

Swisher’s contract pays him $15M this year, all but the minimum will be paid for by the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians. Presumably this puts some pressure on Dustin Ackley, but unless Swish hits, it’s just a trip down memory lane. Continue reading Quick hit: Nick Swisher’s back with the Yanks

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

[caption id="attachment_79701" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Courtesy of Glenn Nagel photography. Courtesy of Glenn Nagel photography.[/caption]

I wrote this article in April 2011, following a trip to the HOF with my family. Following the news of the upholding of Pete Rose‘s permanent ban, I thought it might be interesting to repost this. Originally published on ESPN here. –Jason


This past weekend, I visited baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. This was not my first time there, but it was my first trip with my two sons, now ages 11 and 8. I was curious to see the Hall in a different way, through the eyes of my children.

I left thinking about the official name of the building — the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I left realizing that the official name of the building — the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — has a very big word in the middle of it that most people seem to ignore: “and.” Mostly I write about the building from a distance, and when I do, I focus on the first part of the building’s name, about who should be admitted into the Hall and who should not. But when I am inside the building, it’s the museum part that takes over. I enjoy the plaques, but for me the real interest lies in reliving the moments that first drew me to the game and those that have kept me in its clutches since.

On the other hand, I paused at the museum’s display of the hate mail directed at Jackie Robinson and was left slack-jawed. The violence expressed in these letters is a part of our history, a tragic part, but a part that needs to be remembered. These were not proud moments for America or for baseball. However, we need to see and remember the good and the bad.

It’s wonderful that the Hall of Fame documents the history of baseball, even the worst parts. This is the part of the mission of the Hall that we don’t talk much about. We talk about how Pete Rose should or should not be in the Hall of Fame, but Rose already is represented — in the museum. So is Manny Ramirez. So is Barry Bonds. Their memorabilia feature prominently in exhibits in the museum, even if their plaques aren’t (and won’t) be hanging in the Gallery. I was able to point my boys to Rose’s jersey in an exhibit and explain to them who he was, what he did on the field and the things he did off the field which keep him otherwise outside this institution.

As I walked through the Hall, I thought about whether this is the best way to remember players who had Hall of Fame-quality careers but whose involvement with performance-enhancing drugs will likely prevent them from being inducted into the Hall. I won’t argue here whether this ban is right or wrong; I simply assume that the ban will continue for quite some time. So long as the ban is in place, players like Bonds and Ramirez are represented by the bats they used, the balls they hit, and the helmets they wore. If you want to see Manny’s 2004 tarred-up helmet, it’s there on display but it doesn’t tell Manny’s whole story.

I think if we’re going to ban the better part of a generation of baseball players from admission to the Hall of Fame, then the Hall should dedicate permanent exhibit space to an explanation of the ban. If it’s cheating we mean to condemn, then let’s have the Hall devote exhibit space to condemn the cheaters — of all the cheaters, not just the guys who took drugs, but the guys who bet on baseball and threw baseball games, even the guys who scuffed up the baseball when no one was looking. If we mean to condemn the misuse of prescription and recreational drugs, then let’s devote exhibit space to this, too.

It might be that we don’t agree on the reasons for the ban, or whether there should be a ban at all. We’ve said for years that it would take time to develop the perspective necessary to understand the so-called steroids era. Well, we’ve had time. Let’s present all views and let the museum-goers reach their own conclusions.

If we’re going to ban the better part of a baseball generation from the Hall, it’s going to leave a gaping hole in the Hall’s gallery of baseball greats. Perhaps the big names from the Steroid Era will never be elected to the Hall. That doesn’t mean their stories and stats and memories should be struck from the baseball consciousness — we still need to tell their stories. You don’t leave a hole in an historic site without an explanation. An exhibit explaining steroids would at least give me a place to take my sons and tell them the story of how baseball was played when I was a young adult. That’s a good story, an interesting one, full of ups and downs, with its share of villains and fallen heroes. It’s a story worth telling. Continue reading The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Wanna watch ARod and Mo talk baseball up close and personal?

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The good peeps at Steiner Sports have made available discounted tickets to an event highlighted by Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez on November 6th in NYC. General admission tickets are available for $99, but with the code IIATMSSTEINER, you can get them for $79. For those of you in the area, this should be a cool thing to attend.

Take $20 Off Steiner Sports’ Business + Baseball Event General Admission Tickets with code IIATMSSTEINER.

I’m sure we’ll get to watch ARod lustily dining on the souls of the young and being the general demon he is while Mo returns them to their rightful places, but honestly, I’d listen to Mo and ARod talk anything baseball. These guys are savants. I’ll do my best to be there, too, because I love this stuff.

And in case you missed it yesterday, here’s some video proof of ARod being the worst human on Earth.

Continue reading Wanna watch ARod and Mo talk baseball up close and personal?

Quick hit: IIATMS, The NY Post, and ARod

arod

Holy crap, did Alex Rodriguez have a week yesterday or what?!? Three home runs? Seriously?

I’ve never been his biggest fan; I’ll leave that to Stacey. But this season has really changed the way I look at him. All I have seen is a guy who wants to play baseball with his friends once again. Nothing more. No drama. Just completely appreciative about (yet another) chance to play and he’s not letting this one get by him. He’s always been a great teammate, we’ve been told, doing things like buying suits for the rookies who don’t have the money to do so. Teaching and offering advice. But it was routinely overshadowed by Derek Jeter and other self-inflicted feet in the mouth. So what we’ve seen appears to be genuine love of the game. I don’t think this one’s a lie and I’m enjoying it far more than I ever would have considered.

Yesterday, the NY Post reached out to Stacey and I, as well as others, to get our thoughts on Alex.

Said Stacey:

Fans grew warmer this season as his hits piled up, says Stacey Gotsulias of co-Editor-in-Chief at ItsAboutTheMoney.net, a Yankees blog. “Obviously, if he was batting .225 . . . and striking out . . . people wouldn’t be embracing him,” she says.

On Opening Day, “It was mixed when he first stepped up to the plate and before the game started, but as soon as he got on base, the cheers went up,” she says. “Most of the people I’ve encountered, if they claimed to have hated him before the season, they say, ‘I can appreciate what he’s doing, and it’s fun to watch.’ I love that he’s proving so many people wrong.”

And they gave me the parting shot:

“There will always be those who hate, but many, self included, are happily impressed and converted,” says Jason Rosenberg, founder of ItsAboutTheMoney.net. “We can only wonder where this was in prior years.”

Lastly, as a preview of ESPN’s PowerRankings comment which will appear tomorrow, furthering the ARod theme:

Alex Rodriguez is not slowing down, despite turning 40 years old on July 27. He hit four home runs this week, including three on Saturday against the Twins. And these were no “gimme” shots, averaging nearly 108MPH off the bat and travelled over 440 feet on average. Two this week represent the longest home runs hit in both Target Field (450′) and Yankee Stadium (453′) this year. (click image below to expand)

Rodriguez_Alex_2015_scatter

 So cool.

Continue reading Quick hit: IIATMS, The NY Post, and ARod

Quick hit: LOLMets, Kelly Johnson edition

From Buster Olney today (Insider required, sorry):

From ESPN Stats & Info: Kelly Johnson hasn’t exactly been a world-beater this year, but if he were on the Mets all year, he’d probably be considered their best hitter. His batting average (.275), OPS (.772) and at-bats per home run (20.2) would hypothetically be No. 1 among Mets players with 100-plus plate appearances.

Now, I don’t root against the Metsies; actually I want them to do well. Better for the NY market if both teams are strong, and a whole lot more fun. But seeing that the 2014 Yanks’ castoff, Kelly Johnson, would be the Mets best offensive player made me chuckle.

Of course, we here at IIATMS would be remiss to point out that it was just about this time last year when the Yanks flipped Johnson to Boston for Stephen Drew and $500K, who we then re-signed and continue to play nearly every day. Maybe the joke’s really on us?
Continue reading Quick hit: LOLMets, Kelly Johnson edition

*UPDATED* BREAKING: Josh Rogers (Yankees 11th round pick) agrees to terms

Josh RogersAccording to a source close to the Yankees, 11th round pick Josh Rogers (Twitter) has agreed to terms with the New York Yankees for $485K, plus additional scholarship money. Rogers is scheduled to take a physical early this coming week (Monday or Tuesday). This figure represents the highest amount the team can offer Rogers, and is well above-slot for an 11th rounder.

The issue is that James Kaprielian, who was selected 16th in the first round, remains unsigned. Kaprielian is represented by Scott Boras, who is known to demand above-slot figures for his players. However, given the figure signed by Rogers, the Yanks must feel confident in their ability to sign Kaprielian for at/near slot figures (~$2.5M).

The signing deadline is this coming Friday, July 18th.

Baseball America described Rogers:

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Rogers has a near ideal pitcher’s build. He locates his 87-91 mph fastball, mixes in a slider that flashes average at his best and below-average at other times and a usable changeup. Rogers’ mix of three pitches and an ability to locate them makes him a potential back-end starter.

h/t to Jim Callis for the slot figures. Continue reading *UPDATED* BREAKING: Josh Rogers (Yankees 11th round pick) agrees to terms

And the winner of the factually irresponsible Tanaka article of the year goes to…

…Kevin Kernan, for this stunning piece of overly-sensationalized, factually devoid, panic-pandering trash. In a season filled with back seat doctoring, Mr. Kernan has somehow leapt them all with this take. Let’s feast on this buffet of goodness, shall we, with Mr. Kernan’s opener:

This was the sound and the fury.

And the Yankees better take this warning to heart as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues.

“…as the decline of Masahiro Tanaka continues“? We’ve been through this before, with the second guessing of the doctors, but hey, facts don’t seem to be a prerequisite for Mr. Kernan or The Post, who pays him to grind his pencil into the paper with a ferocity and anger which should be better applied to warcrimes.

Yes, our favorite elbow ligament surrounded by the body of Tanaka is a source of angst and nervousness for us all, but let’s sneak a quick peek at his last three starts since returning from the DL:

Tanaka

That’s right: Three starts, 1.71 ERA, a grand total of 4 earned runs over 21 innings (an even 7 IP/start). Strike out rate of 1 per inning with a WHIP of <1 per inning. How about a 21:0 K:BB ratio? And that game he lost, the last game prior to yesterday, was a 2-1 heartbreaker. Sure, small sample size warnings abound, but when facing off against a 1 game sample size that Mr. Kernan is thrashing, three games seems like a Library of Congress-level of “evidence”. Continue reading And the winner of the factually irresponsible Tanaka article of the year goes to…