Allow me, if you will (though you really have no choice), to discuss basketball for a moment, specifically playing basketball. Given that you’re reading a sports blog, I’m sure you’ve at some point played many sports, including basketball. And if you’ve played basketball, you’ve no doubt taken your fair share of shots that were just god awful. Of course, when you shot them, you didn’t think they were god awful, but they were. What you did recognize, however, as god awful were the shots that your chucker teammates threw up towards the rim that had no chance of going in…until they did every once in a while. This experience struck me a lot during Shabazz Napier’s (glorious) run at UConn. Many, many times I did the “no, no, no, no…YES!” ritual when number 13 put one up from NBA range that seemed destined to clank off the rim, only to find, as they say, nothing but net. Baseball offers a few experiences like this–that fly ball that seems bound for the seats, but settles on the warning track; that meatball on a 3-1 count that the batter inexplicably takes–and the other sports do as well, but none seemingly as frequent as basketball.… Click here to read the rest
Yesterday, we heard Yankee pitching coach Larry Rothschild suggest that the Yankees may use six starters for a particularly tough stretch–30 games in 31 days–in April and May. Bryan Hoch’s story later in the day included a clarifying quotation from Rothschild:
“It’s a result of some of the stuff that’s gone on over the last few years, not just here, but everywhere,” Rothschild said. “We’re aware of situations here and early in the season, we need to get these guys through these stretches. Being that possibly early in the spring, some of them aren’t going to be able to throw a lot, we’re going to need to build them up too and give them the extra days when we can.”
My gut reaction to a six-man rotation in the past has always been aversion, and probably for good reason. Six-man rotations give a possibly fringy starter starts and they take starts away from the top pitchers in the rotation. However, the 2015 Yankee rotation is making me rethink things.… Click here to read the rest
I mentioned it in my commissioner piece from last Friday, but I’ll say it again: I feel like I’m the only one with no real qualms about the game of baseball’s pace of play. There is no clock in baseball and that’s something that appeals to me for whatever reason. Perhaps it stems from most other things in my life being dependent upon a clock.
Professionally, I’m a teacher and an SAT/ACT tutor. So, if I’m teaching something exam prep-related, I’m stressing the importance time management to my student: You have this much time to do these many questions, etc. And if I’m teaching in my classroom, I’m stressing the importance of time management to myself: How long to spend on this line of discussion? How long to wait for a response? How many…etc. When it comes to baseball, then, the idea of an activity devoid of a clock and devoid of time, even just for three hours, feels good.
While driving to work on Friday, I heard a radio host respond to a caller by saying the average time of a baseball game has increased by 40 minutes over the last 30 years.… Click here to read the rest
This post is corny. This post has been done before. I don’t care. I find stuff like this fun.
Yesterday, Rob Manfred won election by the owners to become Major League Baseball’s next commissioner, replacing long-time commissioner and former used car salesman Bud Selig. Manfred takes over at a strange time in that baseball is still a huge business, but as Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk has documented many times in the past, many want to declare baseball dead and bemoan its decline in popularity. For a moment, though, let’s put that nuance aside and ask a silly question: What would the people of IIATMS do if they were placed in the commissioner’s role with autonomous power?
William Tasker, Overlord Jason Rosenberg, and I put forth some ideas. Many of them overlap, but some of them don’t and hopefully this’ll lead to some conversation by you fine folks in the comments. Without further ado, here are some of the ideas we laid forth, starting with the Overlord.… Click here to read the rest
“Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,” I thought; “anything at all…”
Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.”
Here we see narrator Nick Carraway and title character Jay Gatsby crossing the Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. In the pages prior, Gatsby “cleared up” some misconceptions and rumors about himself and Nick comes away with an idea of Gatsby. The idea, not the man, is the possibility Nick speaks of.
Now that we’ve crossed the bridge of his acquisition, it’s clear that anything is possible when it comes to Masahiro Tanaka.
The idea of Tanaka is invariably familiar to us as Yankee fans. He is the big-ticket “free agent” that has been long coveted by the Bronx faithful. Like countless others before him, we’ve wanted him. Badly. For the last year, his name had hung over the baseball season, spoken in a “low, thrilling voice” that had us counting down the days until he was posted and had us axiously passing time, waiting for hi to sign.… Click here to read the rest
Yankees have signed lefty reliever Matt Thornton to a 2-year deal. He will make $3.5 million each season.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) December 17, 2013
Instant analysis to come.
Lefty reliever Matt Thornton will join the Yankees, pending a physical, to fill the LOOGY vacancy left by Boone Logan and his departure to the Rockies on a three year, $16.5M pact. Thornton debuted with the Mariners in 2004 (19 G, 32.2 IP) and became a regular in 2005 (55 G, 57.0 IP); he’s pitched between 55-74 games (43.1-67.1 IP) in each year between ’05 and 2013 while spending time in with the Mariners, the White Sox, and the Red Sox. All told, Thornton has appeared in 606 games, tossing 568.1 innings with a 3.53 ERA and a 3.41 FIP.
I’ll start you off with the cause for concern: Thornton’s strikeout rates have been dropping pretty badly for the last few seasons. Take a look for yourself here (thanks to Mike Axisa for this tweet directing me to the graph).… Click here to read the rest
To describe Wednesday’s walk-off loss to the White Sox, I’ll borrow from Luke Skywalker’s description of his home planet of Tatooine: “If there’s a bright center of the universe, you’re on the planet farthest from it.” Andy McCullough called the loss the nadir of the season, and it’s hard to disagree. That loss featured just about every confounding component of the Yankees’ season: early runs with no tacking on; stranded runners galore; a wasted quality start. Pick any of the following “D” adjectives to describe the Yankees’ situation and you’d be right: dismal; dire; desperate; distressed; daunting.
Going into their series with the Tigers, the Yankees find themselves looking a long way up and through a thicket of teams towards a playoff spot. As I write this on Thursday night, they’re seven games behind the Wild Card leading Rays and 11.5 games behind the division leading Red Sox. Despite the distance, I can’t help but look up.
If the Yankees have succeeded in one thing this year, it’s the deflation of expectations.… Click here to read the rest
During last night’s game, Michael Kay said something that bothered me. Granted, this isn’t something unique and it definitely happened multiple times last night. Can you believe that in 2013, we’ve still got an announcer talking about Adam Dunn through the lens of batting average? Ugh, that bothers the hell out of me. Anyway, I digress. Getting back to the point of this article, Kay said something about David Robertson that he’s said many times before, that he worries about D-Rob as the post-Mariano Rivera closer.
At its face, that’s a fair point. Going from Mo, the greatest relief pitcher ever, to anyone is going to seem like a downgrade. But Robertson is a damn fine relief pitcher and does just about everything that you want a reliever to do. He strikes lots of guys out; he gets ground balls; and he keeps the walks down. Kay, though, thinks Robertson throws too many pitches to be a closer and that this will hinder his ability to take the ball on back-to-back days and the like.… Click here to read the rest
That game did not seem fun at all. I intently watched the first inning, but started to doze off in the second. The last thing I remember hearing before I was out til morning was CC Sabathia contributing more than he has on the mound lately when he drove in Eduardo Nunez with an RBI groundout. From that point on, what was already a rocky start became a disaster for Sabathia.
Though Sabathia’s third inning was scoreless, that was thanks to Brett Gardner connecting with Chris Stewart to nail Chase Headley at the plate for the third out. In the fourth, though, the Padres would strike for two more runs thanks to (you guessed it!) a home run by Logan Forsythe and an RBI triple by Everth Cabrera (whom Stacey drafted like three picks before me in our fantasy league draft way back when) that plated San Diego starter Andrew Cashner. The Padres added another run off of CC in the sixth on a Chris Denorfia single, followed by a Jedd Gyorko homer off of Joba Chamberlain in the seventh, and they finished their scoring with a Will Venable homer off of Adam Warren in the eighth.… Click here to read the rest