Author Archives: William Tasker

It’s about the predictions…

The season starts in a few days and predictions are like opinions–everybody has one. Now is the time to poll our top notch panel of IIATMS / YA writers to see who is on the money when it comes to predictions. Each one of us was asked to name the division winners, the wild cards, the post season awards and make one additional bold prediction. The only thing we forgot was to predict which league will win the All Star game.

Did any of us predict the Yankees to win the American League East? It should be in the bag now that Juan Rivera was jettisoned, right?

Let’s start with the founders and emeritus types:

Jason:

AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL WC1: Tampa Bay
AL WC2: Rangers

NL East: Nationals
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Giants
NL WC1: Braves
NL WC2: Cardinals

ALCS Winner: Tigers
NLCS Winner: Nationals
WS: Winner: Nationals

AL MVP: Prince Fielder
NL MVP: Joey Votto

AL CY: Justin Verlander (again)
NL CY: Stephen Strasburg

AL ROY: Wil Myers
NL ROY: Shelby Miller

AL MOY: Joe Maddon
NL MOY: Bruce Bochy

Bold prediction: Robinson Cano traded midyear to Dodgers for Andre Ethier, CASH, and a high level prospect.…

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Uniform number two through Yankee history

Derek Jeter

No one knows how much longer Derek Jeter will be wearing the pinstripes’ number two for the New York Yankees. But one thing we know for sure is that no one will ever wear that uniform for the Yankees again. A comment from Hawaiian Dave mentioned Jerry Kenney, another Yankee who wore number two for the Yankees back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That got me thinking about all those Yankees who wore number two before the Captain entered the scene. So what follows is a list of them all from 1929 until the Captain himself.

Most people are not aware that there were no uniform numbers for the Yankees before 1929. And once the Yankees did assign numbers, the starting lineup received the lower numbers. But those lineup positions were not set in stone. Only the first, third and fourth positions in the lineup stayed the same all season.

But that first game of the 1929 season did feature numbers one through eight in the lineup wearing those corresponding numbers.…

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What to expect from Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

Many Yankee experts were less than thrilled when the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners on July 23, 2012. And yet, despite a year and a half of far-diminished results prior to joining the Yankees, Suzuki had a bit of a renaissance in pinstripes. In 67 games for the Yankees, Ichiro put together a triple slash line of .322/.340/.454. He then was one of the few bright spots in the debacle of an ALCS and has been (cliche alert) tearing the cover off the ball this spring. The interesting question for a 39 year old Ichiro is whether we are to believe his last year and a half as a Mariner or his few months with the Yankees.

There is disagreement in the projection systems. His OPS projections range from a low of .653 to a high of .729 and a wOBA from a low of .283 to a high of .313. The interesting part of the projections was the range on his walk percentage.…

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An unscientific early look at April’s schedule

A year ago, I took a look at April’s schedule and thought about what a good outcome would be for that first month of the 2012 season. It was also a look based on the opponents and the location of the games without rose-colored glasses. The post was the least scientific “projection” you could possibly write. After considering last April’s schedule, I predicted the Yankees would go 14-9 in their opening month and such a record would be a good outcome and start to the season. There was one postponement during April of 2012 and the Yankees went 13-9. Rather than quitting when ahead or perhaps because such a close outcome gives me a false sense of security, I figured I would do the same thing this season.

The Yankees open the season with a three-game home series against the Red Sox. I happen to believe the Red Sox are going to be much tougher this season than they were last season.…

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When Don Mattingly played third base

Have you ever seen a left-handed throwing third baseman in the Major Leagues? I have not. And generations have not. Apparently in the early 1900s, Wee Willie Keeler, normally a left-handed throwing outfielder, played 44 games at third base, 19 games at second base and even played two games at shortstop. According to the Sabr Bio Project, nobody did it again until Don Mattingly played three games at third in 1986. The first thought that came to my mind was the four players (Tovar, Campinaris, Sheldon and Halter) that played all nine positions in a game.  But, nope, they were all right-handed throwers. The Sabr Bio Project mentioned earlier talks about Mattingly’s feat in passing as part of his larger biography. Here is the rest of the story.

The Yankees’ regular third baseman in 1986 was Mike Pagliarulo. “Pags” was a bit of a cult hero in New York because he had some home run pop in his bat and was kind of a blue-color kind of player.…

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The Kansas City connection

After a lifetime of reading about and watching the New York Yankees, there is a story that happened in the past that has floated by my consciousness from time to time. I often wondered about this story. As it goes with writers, the story floated by my consciousness one too many times and I had to find out what it was all about. The story goes that for a time, the Kansas City Athletics, a major league club, became a minor league team for the Yankees and funneled its best players to the Yankees thus allowing the Yankees to continue its dynasty. The years involved were from 1955 to 1960 when a man named Arnold Johnson purchased the Philadelphia Athletics from the Connie Mack family and moved the team to Kansas City. The period ended when Johnson died of a sudden cerebral hemorrhage in March of 1960 which led to the Charlie Finley era later that year. I wanted to know if the stories were true and to what tune Johnson’s Athletics aided the Yankees to continue the Yankees’ winning ways during the late 1950s.…

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Best friends go to a ballgame

Friendship is an odd thing when you think about it. Sometimes you develop a best friend because of proximity. That happened with my first one, Jimmy Conrad, because he lived around the corner. That one ended when his parents split up and I have never been able to figure out why. My second one was Tom Cairoli. Unlike Jimmy who was two years younger, Tom was a year or so older. And whereas Jimmy was a dominant personality, Tom was a meek one. He lived in the next town over (New Milford). And I probably would have never met him other than that he was in my bowling league. Bowling was way bigger back then. And who knows how we became best friends, but we did. The poor guy probably still has emotional issues and scarring from the association. This is one of our stories.

As stated, Tom was meek. He was the son of a CPA and was well off.…

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Matt Diaz signed to a minor league deal

Matt Diaz, a right-handed outfielder the Yankees have been searching for, has apparently agreed to a minor league deal with the Yankees with a Spring Training invite. The news was reported by Marc Carig and Mark Feinsand as sourced by this Major League Trade Rumors post. Diaz fits the Yankees’ needs in several ways. He is old (35 in March). He is cheap and he will only be around for a season.

Seriously, Diaz has a career .770 OPS in parts of ten seasons, but more importantly, has a career .863 OPS against left-handed pitching. He can play left or right field and isn’t a total disaster at either but has not shown the ability to throw out runners over the course of his career.

Diaz could be useful in small doses against left-handed starters and to face those tough lefties out of the bullpen late in the game. But this is hardly heady news.

In other news, the Mariners DFA’s old friend, D.J.

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Jolly Old Nick

Even though I predicted this day would come and have steeled myself against it way back on February 28, 2012, and even though his contract is on the high side of his value and would probably be regrettable by 2015, this still sucks. Jolly Old Nick Swisher is no longer a member of the New York Yankees. Allowing Russell Martin to walk stung and was bewildering. But allowing Nick Swisher to prance to Cleveland and to play on Terry Francona‘s side is downright painful.  Nick Swisher was fun. He made me smile. My wife loves him and enjoyed laughing at his antics. She will personify a lot of Yankee fans today. Her disappointment will be the same as many. God save 2014 at all costs, Hal. Attaboy.

Nick Swisher as a Yankee star was one of the biggest surprises ever. He was an afterthought in the 2009 preseason for us after he came over with Kanekoa Texeira from the White Sox for Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez.…

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