William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

Evil empire all that tired jazz



When Twitter exploded with the news that the New York Yankees had signed Jacoby Ellsbury, the same old tired refrain resonated: “The Evil Empire is back.” Ugh. While some Yankee fans glory in such a moniker and revel at the anguished teeth gnashing behind it, there is a part of me that wishes the team could be feted instead as a great American success story.

It does not happen just in baseball. Sam Walton built his brand and Wal-Mart became so successful that the story turned to a negative. The funny thing about our people is that we want to believe in the American Dream and that a person can create a successful business out of nothing, just as long as it does not become too successful. In the past half-century there has been Gates of Microsoft and even Bezos of Amazon to carry on the tradition of Carnegie and Rockefeller before them.

George Steinbrenner, along with his initial minority partners: Michael Burke, Lester Crown, John DeLorean and Nelson Bunker Hunt purchased the Yankees from CBS in January of 1973 and it was not as if they started their new venture from scratch.…

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How bad was Sabathia in 2013?

There are times when I wish our readers could see the great conversations the writers here have in our e-mail threads. Every day there are fascinating conversations. Recently, the topic of CC Sabathia has come up and the chances he has to bounce back to be some semblance of his old self as...

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Warming to the signing of Brian McCann

I have been on record of wanting the Yankees to go with their young catchers. After all, catching depth has been one of the team’s strength in the system with J.R. Murphy, Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine and Peter O’Brien. And just as recently, my ill-fated and ill-timed...

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Catcher in the NYY

One of the things I really enjoy about being a part of the team here at this site is the conversations all the writers have in our e-mail strings. I work here with very cool people. One of the many topics we have all talked about is what the Yankees will do at the catching...

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The Derek Jeter end game

There were many times during the end celebrations of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte where I kept wondering what was going through the mind of Derek Jeter. The last remaining Core Four player of the now dead Yankees’ dynasty that began in 1995, he had just watched Pettitte and Rivera go out of the game pretty much on their own terms and in good form. Trying to get into the head of another person, especially a ballplayer, is dangerous business, but I kept wondering if Jeter wondered if he could go out on his own terms too.

Jeter will most certainly exercise his player option for 2014 and no doubt, that will be fine with the Yankees. Brian Cashman has already stated as much. The doubts occur if Jeter has anything left to offer. After four aborted attempts to return in 2013, Jeter only managed 17 games and wheels that could never get healthy.

As such, questions are obvious as to if Jeter can play at least semi-regularly again and how the Yankees would use him if he can.…

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Andy Pettitte the pitcher

Today is going to be an emotional day at Yankee Stadium. Mariano Rivera Day will be shared by Andy Pettitte. That Rivera encouraged Pettitte to announce his retirement to share in the special day says as much about Rivera as anything else written about the man. And that Pettitte was concerned about impeding on Rivera’s day says a lot about him as a man as well. And much will be said today in flowering terms. And rightly so. The two pitchers are part of a dynastic era and were two big cogs in all those successful teams. Along with the hyperbole when discussing the two pitchers today will be their Hall of Fame chances. Rivera will be considered a lock. Pettitte will be considered just short.

There are a lot of statistics that will back up that assessment of Pettitte’s career. His 3.93 career ERA would be the highest of any pitcher ever elected to the Hall of Fame. Pettitte’s starts during his career have benefited from a 5.4 runs per game support.…

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The Yankees’ offensive offense

The 2013 New York Yankees season is winding down and the glimmer of hope for a wild card spot is much like that sad flower in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And after losing two of three to a Toronto Blue Jays team, even saying that sounds overly optimistic. The series in Toronto typified this season’s version of the Yankees. This team simply cannot hit.

The Yankees make guys like Todd Redmond and J.A. Happ look like All Stars. It is easy to blame the poor offensive season on injuries. But you also have to question approach. When a third or more of your lineup engenders an infield shift every game, that might tell you something. The injuries might save batting coach Kevin Long’s job. But he does not get off the hook so easily here.

Consider how bad this offense really is. Only two positions on the field, second base and center field, have an OPS over .700. The catching position only makes J.P.

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