Friday, October 14, 2011

Nightmare At Fenway Park




John Henry- Principal owner of the Red Sox and a class A Jackass.

Let's face it. If you are a baseball fan or know a baseball fan, you are at least slightly aware of the struggles facing the Red Sox. For those of you who have had a hard time following the circus in Beantown, here is a breakdown and commentary on what has taken place so far:

First and foremost, the Sox topped the record books this season for having the biggest collapse in the month of September, EVER.

On September 1st, the team awoke in first place in the AL East with the best record in the American League. They also had a commanding 9 game lead over the beleaguered Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card column. 28 days later (ironically the title of a zombie movie considering the team's starting pitching looked just like zombies) the Orioles just completed a ninth inning comeback off of star closer Johnathan Paplebon and the Yankees, having already clinched first place with a commanding lead, dropped a 12 inning game to the Rays. This combination effectively eliminated the Red Sox hope of a post season, and completed the worst (or greatest depending on your standpoint) collapse in September baseball.

Reeling from the disappointment and obviously looking for a scape goat, the organization blamed Terry Francona, the manager who helped bring an end to the 86 year drought in Boston. Francona decided to fall on the sword and go peacefully, acting as if his departure was a mutual decision although "unnamed sources" stated that ownership had voted him out a week prior to the end of the season.

As if things didn't look bleak enough for the Sox, the worst was yet to come. Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe publication wrote a scathing article pointing the finger at who was to blame for the epic collapse. Mr. Hohler spared no one. Hohler, siting "unnamed sources," revealed a number of veteran players who never took on the leadership roles they should have. However, the most glaring revelations were the drinking in the club house DURING games and a supposed drug problem. It was made public that Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey were "drinking beer, eating fried chicken and playing video games" in the clubhouse during the games instead of being out in the dug out and supporting their team. It was also noted that during the season, Francona was possibly abusing pain medication he was prescribed after knee surgery and may have also been distracted due to his marrital problems.

Next, in what can only be described as really bad timing, word broke that the superstar General Manager would be jumping ship in favor of the Chicago Cubs. Theo Epstein, who was partly responsible for pushing Francona out the door, decided he was also ready to leave. Epstein was majorly responsible for building the team that was able to thwart the "curse of the Bambino."

While all this news was swirling about in the baseball world, the "unnamed sources" spoke out once again. These sources admitted that the information about Francona that was given in the Hohler article was in fact leaked by ownership as a smear campaign at an attempt to make it difficult for Francona to find a job elsewhere.

All the controversy surrounding the team sparked David Ortiz to express his desire to not be "a part of the drama in Boston next season." Ortiz even hinted at a possible desire to go play for the Yankees, saying "they lost just like us...and no one is killing each other over there."

Finally most recently, John Henry came out of hiding. Henry is the principal owner of the Sox and he decided to go on the Sports Hub radio station in Boston to address some of the happenings. He said a lot of things including how he had nothing to do with a "smear campaign" against Francona and how he doesn't feel that any of his players quit on the team in September. He managed to say a lot of stupid statements in a span of just a few minutes but the words that were missing are the words that every Red Sox fan deserves to hear: "I'm sorry for this embarrassment and I will do everything in my power to right these wrongs."

Henry is an idiot that makes the owner of the Dodgers look good. He is a moron who has no clue how to stop the bleeding. Instead of trying to move on, he is simply making matters worse by ignoring glaring issues that now plague the Red Sox. The simple fact that he can sit there with a straight face and say that the players didn't quit in September is laughable. Maybe he was absent that month but if the players didn't quit then they wouldn't have finished an embarrassing third for the second straight year.

The Red Sox are in trouble and the two guys who deserve to have statues in front of Fenway are gone. The ship is sinking.

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Location:Fenway Park

Friday, October 7, 2011

$200 Million Failure

I know this is not what people want to hear but this is not entirely A-Rod's fault. Yes, the image of A-Rod striking out to end the season sums up his miserable season of minimal production. However, when you score 2 runs on 10 hits, you simply don't deserve to win that game. They didn't completely lay down but they failed to get that big hit, time and time again. Some (including myself) would consider that worse, but it is hard to get the big hit when your 4, 5 and 6 hitters are a drain rather than a spark.

Robinson Cano was our big threat and he was easily neutralized because he had zero protection. If you don't have to pitch to a big hitter, why would you? Our most consistent hitter was Jorge Posada who was batting 7th. Last night was likely his last game as a Yankee and it was the absolute definition of bittersweet. He went out producing but his last game was a first round exit.

Last night was also likely the last time Swisher will have donned the pinstripes. There are only so many times you can be completely useless in October and still return to the Yankees. This is likely the last straw.

Truth is, if the Yankees weren't contractually obligated to keep A-Rod, he'd be gone too. There is a common misconception when discussing the Yankee hitters. The notion that they live and die with Rodriguez's bat. People actually think that without A-Rod's bat in the lineup, the rest of our hitters don't produce. This couldn't be further from the truth. We saw this year, A-Rod got hurt and Nunez and Chavez but stepped in for him. During this stretch, the lineup was clicking beautifully. The issue is having a slumping A-Rod in the lineup. That is when his bat affects the hitters poorly. So am I saying that Girardi should have just sat A-Rod and put in Chavez? Maybe but it's easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. We would have been better off with losing A-Rod for the season but it didn't play out that way. Maybe it's time the Yankees have a sit down with Alex and make him the full time DH. His fielding was stellar this series but all his injuries seem to come while playing defense.

One thing is for sure, this season could have been so much more.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pivotal Game 5

As Yankee fans, we are almost lead to believe that the Division Series is meaningless. We are so focused on the World Series that the DS is merely step one.

However, the DS is very important. Its the start of the playoffs and it's when a team needs to get into a grove. The Yankees will be playing a "win or go home" game 5 against the Tigers tomorrow night in the Bronx. Listening to how loud the Detroit fans were the past 2 nights, I hope to see a great deal of intensity in the Bronx tomorrow.

We are Yankee fans and we should not be out done by anyone. Our fans are great but I want that building shaking from the 1st inning to the 9th.

LET'S GO YANKEES!
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Long Road Home




It is August 25th, and this is the final stretch. They playoffs are about 5 weeks away and the AL East is still air tight. The Yanks just fell out of first but sit only a game behind the Red Sox in the division. But as the smell of October starts to fill the air here in New York, the Yankees have to kick it into gear. They seemed to be playing solid baseball until a slew of resent losses to subpar teams. Losing 3 of the last 4 is not the way the Yankees want to be playing teams like the Twin and the Athletics. What happens when they are playing teams like the Rangers and the Red Sox?

Believe me, I am not beginning to panic. I might be a tad disgusted about last night's loss to the A's, but I am not panicking. I just think there are couple of things that can be done to strengthen the team. Firstly, the six man pitching rotation has to end. The long rest has effectively ruined CC Sabathia's chances of landing the Cy Young Award. Worse than that, is how the long rest has made him not as effective or dominant. Freddy Garcia is all better and a decision needs to be made. Not just any decision either. Listen to the fan base on this one. Banish AJ to a place where he can hurt the team the least. Burnett has been so bad and I don't need to delve into details, we all know the stats. He is simply awful and to keep allowing him to start games this late in the season is irresponsible to say the least.

Secondly, adding a lefty to the pen is very important. Boone Logan has been unreliable in big situations this season. He can not be trusted to do his job come October. The team added Aaron Laffey but quickly designated him for assignment. Now, Brian Cashman is saying that Manny Banuelos may not be a late season call up and that putting him in the bull pen is unlikely. Banuelos is the organizations best lefty prospect. A trade for a reliable lefty is out of the question so why is it that the organization also refuses to fix the issue with a prospect? I feel like logic is absent in this decision.

5 more games until Boston. Let's get with it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Glaring Issue

It doesn't seem to matter how hot the Yankees come in against their Beantown rivals, it's the same result. The bombers came into the series on a 7 game winning streak. They managed to push their streak to 8 before losing the next two games and the series to the Red Sox. The most glaring issue the team has is the Boston Red Sox. Even if the Yankees get the wild card spot and manage to get to the ALCS, they will be facing the Red Sox almost certainly.

The problems don't end there, however. You guys know that I am all for bringing up prospects to see if they can have a place on this team and now is as good a time as any. As the lights slowly and quietly dims on Jorge Posada, it is time to see what Jesus Montero has.

I'm just as sad as any Yankee fan to see Posada's Yankee career wind down in such a lackluster sort of way. Girardi has to play the part of the bad guy sometimes. It was an absolute pleasure watching Posada's career unfold but I support Girardi's decision. It is August and these games are important. The Yanks are just a game out of first place and the best team needs to be on the field. Don't be surprised if Montero gets his first at bat this week at Yankee Stadium.

Moving on to the 6 man rotation, enough is enough! Time to make a decision. Nova over Hughes. It's not just because I'm bitter about the loss of another rivalry series, but because what I saw last night worried me. That was a situation where we needed a lights out inning and we instead got a train wreck. He looked nervous from the moment he stepped out of the bullpen. The team can't afford to give the ball to him on every fifth day if they don't know if his confidence is in good spirits on that given day. Ivan Nova has gotten better and better this season and he has earned his spot on this team. Only, he keeps having to prove it. We have a strong young starting pitcher so lets use him.

This is all a part of fielding the best team possible. The team needs to figure out how to beat this Red Sox team, because if they can't, this whole season will have been a complete waste of time.

INJURY REPORT: Alex Rodriguez is shooting for an August 15th comeback, and it can't come soon enough.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Christmas Never Came

The off season was a let down by New York Yankee standards. We did not get our prized free agent so instead, Brian Cashman put together a who's who of Baseball misfits. It was expected that come July, the organization would make a big trade to bolster the team.

July has now come and gone and the Yankees are the only playoff contenders that did not make any addition to their team. Luckily, Cashman's misfits have come in handy at the right times.

Eric Chavez was injured for a while but came back in time to ease the burden in the wake of A-Rod's absence. Jorge Posada has struggled to fit in as a DH but has taken to the first base position rather well, giving the team an option to rest Mark Teixeira when needed. Russell Martin has not hit the ball as well as the team had hoped but has shown that he can call a great game and play stellar defense. Rafael Soriano seems to have been humbled by his shoulder troubles and is now willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win. Then there is the combination of Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. These three have all made at least 16 starts and have a combined ERA of 3.49. You really can't ask for more out of your bottom 3 starters.

The weakest link at the moment, is Phil Hughes. Maybe the recent trade rumors will spark a reaction from the embattled starter and if not, Nova stands ready to step in.

On the other side of the pitching spectrum, the Yankees have a bullpen who is missing Pedro Feliciano, Demaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain. Soriano, having just been reinstated, joins Dave Robertson and Mariano Rivera to fortify a back end of Baseball's finest. In Soriano's absence, Robertson established himself as the best setup man in the league.

Boone Logan has been the weak link in a bullpen that has also looked to Luis Ayala and Cory Wade for stability and Hector Noesi as a long man. All parties with the exception of Logan have pulled their share of the weight.

The team may have an answer for this problem. Clearly it is not a trade. Twenty year old, Manny Banuelos is the team's top pitching prospect and has been promoted to AAA. He is likely a favorite for a late season call up to see if he can help the team in the playoffs.

The leaks in the team could not be plugged by what was available on the trade market. Although this is an upsetting and unsettling fact, it is nice to see that the team did not make a deal for the sake of making a deal. Our prospects are too valuable to just trade away for cosmetic reasons. Time to start benefitting from these kids. Brian Cashman seems confident in what we have. His message: "I like our team."

Let's see if he still likes it in October.
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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Just A Day In The Career Of A Legend




I sat and watched the television as my niece played with her toys. 3-2 pitch grounded to short, through the hole! I scream and my niece cries. I pick her up and tell her it's ok. I show her the TV and explain that Derek Jeter is just one hit away from 3,000. She is one and she is pissed at me. I give her a hug and tell her I'm sorry, but it's going to get loud one more time.

Jeter comes to the plate in the third, and my niece is now in her pool on the porch. Now is the time, Derek. You can get this hit and she won't cry.

Five miles away from me, 50,000 people stood and chanted. Another 3-2 pitch. Flash bulbs go off everywhere. Jeter swings, and there it goes. Up, up, up. It just kept going up.

Back in my living room, I watch as the camera follows the flight of the ball. At some point before the ball landed, I realized that this was not only hit to the gap, I realized the ball was going to land deep in a sea of fans.
I was in awe. I know I yelled, but I don't know what I yelled. I just know that I marveled not only at the 3,000th hit, but at what a hit it was. And as Derek came home to hug his dear friend, Jorge Posada and the rest of his team, something dawned on me. The game was now tied. It just made sense.

As I stood there watching, my father said; "he's gotta be the greatest Yankee of all time. Stature wise." My dad is right. What we watched on the afternoon of July 9th, 2011 was amazing, but it was also pretty normal. Normal, that is to say, for Derek Jeter. We watched him get some hits and make a difference in the game, just like he has done time and time again.

Say what you want about the aging legend, but this is a fact: For the rest of his career, he will go out and give 100 percent. Each and every day, he will give his all and he will strive to win. It's the same thing he has done for his entire career and it works for him.

Derek Jeter got 3,000 hits but that wasn't enough to win the game. So he went out and got 3,001, 3,002 and 3,003. On the day he is inducted into the Hall of Fame, ask him what stands out to him about the day he joined the 3,000 club. My guess is he'll tell you; "Yankees won, 5-4."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Derek




Derek Jeter is an amazing Baseball player. He is not the best there has ever been, but I have certainly never seen anyone rival his passion for winning. He is everything you want to be when you are a kid, and he is ours.

We have followed him since he was drafted 6th overall by the Yankees in 1992. We have been with him for his first hit in Seattle in '95. We were with him in Cleveland on Opening Day in '96. We were there to see him lift his first championship trophy, and his fifth. And all of the ones in between. We were there for the flip play, and for the dive. For a home run that needed a little help
(the Jeffery Maier shot) and a home run that lifted the city briefly out of sadness (November 1, 2001).

We were there for every opposite field hit, and for every jump throw in the hole. We are his fans. Although this achievement belongs to him, the joy it brings is every bit ours as it is his. We were there for the beginning, we'll be there for the end, and we'll be in Cooperstown come induction day. We are his fans.

Derek stands at 2,998 carreer hits, just 2 hits shy of 3,000. He's ready, are you?

Captain America




Yesterday, looking more like Captain America than the Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter proved to the front office that he is ready to rejoin his team. Jeter's night was highlighted by a bunt single that he himself called for because "I don't know the signs so I just bunted." The captain has tested his calf in every possible way and is sure he is ready to play. Jeter also asked that fans not judge his performance in yesterday's game because he was uncomfortable in his uniform. A small crack at the 4th of July themed Thunder uniforms.

So today, on the day we celebrate the birth of our nation, we also celebrate the return of our captain. On the day of the late George Steinbrenner's birthday, the captain will resume his quest for his 3,000th hit. Break out your Jeter shirts and your DJ3K bracelets because the he is just 6 hits away. If he doesn't get the historic hit during this series in Cleveland, he will likely get it at home on River Avenue against the Rays.


SIDE NOTE: This is just speculation, but after yesterday's late inning blunders, it is likely that Ramiro Pena will be optioned to AAA to make room for the Captain.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Serious Question

With Derek Jeter slowly making his way back from injury and Eduardo Nunez filling in for him at short. The Yankees are playing exceptional baseball without their captain. The question that had been posed by many around baseball is; are the Yankees playing better because of Jeter's absence or in spite of it? Many sports writers and analysts want to know if the team is better off with Nunez at short.

My serious question is; is everyone on crack? Nunez is batting .250 and despite having better range than Jeter in the field, he has 9 errors on the season so far. Jeter is batting .264 and has just 4 errors. The bottom line is, Eduardo Nunez is a good player and has the talent to be a starter, but he has not carried this team. The lineup is clicking in spite of Jeter's absence, not because of it.

I don't understand why some people get paid to write about baseball and yet I do it for free. Some sports writers have no clue what is going on. Cough SPORTS ILLUSTRATED cough. Oh my, excuse me. I think I'm coming down with a little something.

Jeter is 6 hits shy of the exclusive 3,000 hit mark. Lets not quit on him yet.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

FLAG DAY OUTRAGE!

As some of you might know, yesterday was flag day. So, having tickets for the Yankee game, I decided to buy a small flag at Duane Reade. Little did I know that I was setting myself up for an altercation I will never forget.

As my friend and I were entering the stadium, a Securitas security guard informed me that I was not allowed to bring the AMERICAN FLAG into the stadium. When I asked why I couldn't bring in the flag on Flag Day, I was told " you just can't." He told me he was confiscating the flag and I asked what he was going to do with it. He told me he would give it to his supervisor. I asked if he was sure that his supervisor would end up with it. The guard then became very rude and told me that he wasn't going to give the flag as a gift to a family member. I explained that I just wanted to make sure it didn't end up in the trash considering it is an American Flag.

He did not respond to my statement and instead told me that my two choices were to quiet down and go inside or to leave. At this time, I demanded my flag back and walked over to a traffic cone and placed the flag in the traffic cone. I then walked inside.

Outraged over the whole situation, I asked a security guard inside why flags were not allowed in. He told me that they were allowed in but just not on the stick. Had I been told this by the guard at the gate, I could have easily removed the flag from the stick. I told the security guard I was currently speaking with about my run in at the gate. He instructed me to respectfully ask for their names while leaving and then write a letter about the issue to the Yankees.

So after the game, I did just that. I calmly approached the guard at the gate and asked him for his name. When he asked why, I explained that I intended to write the Yankees about the issue. He refused to give his name.

I then asked to speak with his supervisor and he pointed me to him. I explained to the supervisor what my intentions were and asked his name. He told me his name is Wendell. When I asked for a last name, he told me that Wendell was all I would get. So as I typed on my phone "Wendell from Securitas," another guard had walked over and sarcastically and insultingly started slowly giving me the spelling of "Wendell." I responded by getting my first attitude of the night. I said "I can fucking spell buddy, thank you." I then turned to leave.

In my mind, the situation was over, it didn't benefit me or anyone else to continue to talk about the topic. I had taken a step out of Yankee Stadium when the security guard who was sarcastically spelling decided to get tough. He yelled out as I was already walking away "That's right! Don't get fucking smacked!"

My head whipped around and I shouted "Who's going to smack me? You?" He then insisted that he would smack me in the face. All the while instead of doing his job, the supervisor tried to lie to me and tell me that he had said "don't get smart."
I demanded that a police officer come over. The officer came over and I told her everything from A-Z. She told me that she did not hear him say he was going to slap me and asked if I was leaving, I told her I had already turned to leave when the guard got tough. I then informed all the guards that their office, the Yankees and the news would all be notified of their behavior.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

History On Hold

I think I speak for every Yankee fan when I say, THIS SUCKS! Last night after getting 1 hit and knocking his countdown to 6, Jeter was pulled from the game with a grade 1 calf strain. Grade 1 strains are known as the least severe on a scale of 1-3.

A timetable is not yet known but rumors are swirling about a possible trip to the DL. If that is the case, the soonest the captain could be back is June 29th against Milwaukee. They are at home the 29th and the 30th. However, the following 3 games are played at Citi Field. It is likely that if this is the case, Jeter could get 3,000 in New York but not likely that it will be at home.

However, if Jeter only misses a couple of games, the chances of him reaching the milestone at home are likely gone. After this 3 game set with the Rangers, the Yanks will head to Chicago for a series with the Cubs and from there they will head to Cincinnati.

Derek Jeter will get his 3,000th hit, but some other group of fans will be present, not the Yankee Faithful.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Heartless

Last night in the Bronx, the Yankees came back from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Red Sox in what surely looked like another crushing defeat. Instead, the Bombers seized opportunity and turned it into the biggest win of the season.

That's what the papers could have looked like this morning. Hell, that's what the papers should have looked like this morning. Maybe had Martin's back not locked up the night before, we could have had him in there instead of Cervelli. But Cervelli went 3 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Ok, maybe if Posada was with the team last night instead of with his family, A-Rod wouldn't have had to DH and Nunez would have never been in the game. Oh but Nunez had a big hit and a run scored. Well maybe if Joba wasn't on the DL. But Boone Logan threw three scoreless innings.

OFFICIALLY OUT OF EXCUSES.

Maybe the Yankees lost another heart breaker last night because they do not have any heart as a team. AJ Burnett showed last night that he does not care to protect his hitters and further, that he doesn't care to even pitch inside. God forbid making a Red Sox hitter uncomfortable in the box. Personally I think Lance Pendleton deserves a little bit of credit. Yes, he was the guy that gave up a Solo shot followed by a 2 run shot but he was also the only guy who had the balls to come up and in on some hitters.

They have no fight, all they have is " tremendous respect for the Red Sox" according to A-Rod. A-Rod clearly doesn't realize that this isn't a time for civility and class. This is a time to get pissed off. Thus far this season, the Sox are 5-0 against the Yanks IN THE BRONX! Congratulations Bombers, you are all nothing but a chew toy to the Boston bull dogs.

Tonights game becomes a must win for the simple fact that after tonight, the Indians come to town for a 4 game set followed by the Rangers for 3 games. This home stand is not getting any easier and the Yanks need to start playing better at home. This team better start showing some heart, because June or October, winning is very difficult without it.

SIDE NOTE: With Joba, Feliciano, Soriano and Marte all on the DL, it is time to bring up Banuelos and Betances and see what these kids can do. A bullpen equipped with Pendleton, Ayala, Sanit and Logan will not get it done for the month that Joba will be gone.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sports Illiterate

The sports publication "Sports Illustrated" has once again proved that they are not interested in what is really going on in baseball. If there ever was a magazine that wrote about facts and current events, SI might go out of business.

Instead of focusing on real stories to circulate their magazine, they rely on horrible predictions, tabloid-like gossip and apparently, anonymous polls. Forget about the fact that every year they predict the Twins will beat the Yankees in the playoffs, and it never happens. The editors over at SI put out an anonymous poll of the most over rated players in Baseball.

The poll is said to be the results of asking 185 players around the league. Now the fact that three Yankees round out the top 3 is annoying enough. Alex Rodriguez is one of the greatest players to play the game but yeah, he's over rated. That makes plenty of sense. Joba was number two on the list and I fail to see how a relief pitcher is over rated. The man hasn't been hyped up since 07 when he was a rookie phenom. And of course, Derek Jeter makes the list at number three. Jeter being the greatest Yankee hitter of all time and a man that wears 5 rings, over rated.

Sounds to me like the Yankees aren't very well liked around the league and that's fine. But to stoop to such a juvenile level is absurd. Shame on SI for conducting a poll of this nature but its to be expected when the publication itself is HIGHLY over rated. Most of all though, shame on the 185 players that took part in cowardly attacking their peers and hiding in anonymity while doing it.

Might I add that all three players handled their rankings with class. A-Rod said that he had made the list before and that it doesn't bother him. When asked if he was among the 185 players polled he said that he had too much respect for his fellow players to ever partake in something like that.

Joba joked about it by saying that he was disappointed that A-Rod beat him out for number 1. And Jeter just shrugged and asked if "we were doing this again?"

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. What ridiculous thing will they think of next?
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Big Bang Rule Change

Last week, Giants catching sensation and team glue, Buster Posey, was severely injured in a collision at home plate. The throw came in to Posey who was set up to receive the ball while blocking home plate. The runner came in hard and, as many have done before him, he bowled into Posey. Posey dropped the ball and the runner was safe. The play was clean but Posey broke his leg and tore several ligaments in his ankle. He will likely miss the entirety of the season.

This incident has sparked much debate on whether or not the collision at home should be banned from the game. Some feel that "it's always been a part of the game" is not enough of an argument anymore and the league must step up and change the rules to prevent further injuries. I am not one of those people.

There has been discussion after discussion about the use of instant replay and many are against it because they say "where does it end?" The way I see it, there are certain topics that are just changing with the times and others that are sacred. Do you think if instant replay had been available when baseball was invented, it would be a part of the game? ABSOLUTELY!

My view about the home plate collision is that it is just one of the sacred things that should not be touched. If baseball decides to eliminate it, the game will be approaching a very slippery slope. Where do those types of rule changes end? Do we also eliminate the inside pitch? Or how about breaking up a double play? Baseball is a sport and in sports, injuries happen. Eliminating collisions at home plate is changing the very dynamic that makes the game great. In many ways, a collision at home plate represents the game beautifully. It shows how important one run could be and many people are forgetting that. This is a game where every run matters.

Every now and then, a catcher gets roughed up and everyone talks about getting rid of the play. In some regard, it might be called for. Yankees GM, Brian Cashman, told the media that he would support eliminating the play in spring training. Cashman may be on to something here. During the season the games matter. Risking injury to win a game could be argued but as far as spring training goes, it is pointless. However, it doesn't stop the younger runners from plowing into a catcher and it doesn't stop the younger catchers from standing their ground. These kids are simply playing their hardest to make a spot on the big league club. They are trying to prove something. So it is not uncommon to see a young catcher get hurt in spring training. Eliminating the play in spring training is something to consider but as far as regular season and post-season, LEAVE IT ALONE!

SIDE NOTE:

Phil Hughes is making progress in the early stages of his rehab and could be facing hitters in as early as 1 week. Hughes says that he is hoping to be back in a couple of weeks but the Yankees believe that might be a little quick, although they believe it will be before the allstar break.

Bartolo Colon has tasted the water's of the fountain of youth. He had managed to find his way back to his Cy-young form and be exactly what the Yanks need. Last night Colon pitched his first complete game since 2006 and gave up just 4 hits in the shut out effort. He has been nothing short of spectacular to watch but the question remains, can he stay healthy the entire season? I know 24 guys who certainly hope so.
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Monday, May 16, 2011

The Circus Is Back In Town

"Nothing happened, nothing at all." That was the response given when reporters asked Derek Jeter what happened at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. As far as the Yankee oganization is concerned, the Posada matter is closed, forgiven and forgotten. Each party had something to be sorry for come Sunday morning.

It was Saturday afternoon and reporters strolled into the stadium to find the lineup card posted as usual. But on that card was something that hadn't been in 12 years. Jorge Posada was batting ninth. Reporters then went to Posada and asked if he was aware of his place in the lineup and if he was upset. Posada's initial reaction was the one he should have stuck with. The long time catcher turned DH explained that he was aware and that he put himself in the postion and "the only way out of it is by producing."

Sometimes our initial reactions are not how we really feel. Sometimes we can only truly react to something after it has been internalized. Joe Girardi had needlessly dropped Posada in the lineup. The drop to the 9 spot served no effective purpose and seemingly threw salt in an open (and some might say already infected) wound. Posada wasn't happy and he intended to make it known. He went to Andruw Jones and informed him that Jones should expect to play. Then, about an hour before game time, Posada went into the manager's office and asked to be pulled from the lineup. What actually took place in what was said to be a short meeting is unclear. It has been suggested that Posada took issue with being batted ninth although Girardi just said that Posada told him "he needed a day." Posada got his wish. He spent the entirety of Saturday nights game on the bench.

It has certainly been tough on Posada. He has gone from being in the most important position on the field to not even on the field. He has an incredibly diminished role and he is not trasitioning well at all. Posada is batting just .160 this season.

During the game, rumors swirled over what could be the reason for Posada's actions. Initial reactions were that the fan favorite was going to announce a mid-season retirement. Then, slowly, that was ruled out and dispelled by his father and tweets from his wife. Tales of back stiffness began to leak to the media but Brian Cashman believed otherwise. So much so that he appeared on national television before the end of the game to let everyone know that the situation was not injury related but further than that, he would not comment.

Posada took issue with Cashman's actions as well. The media is not supposed to be addressed about the day's matters until the game is over.

Finally, the game ended. What had been an embarrassing 6-0 loss was remarkably overshadowed by the looming statement to be made by Posada. Girardi spoke first. Joe handled the press conference with the utmost amount of professionalism and respect for his player's situation. Despite the fact that what Posada did was a clear case of insubordination, the manager protected his player. Regardless of how upset Girardi was at Posada, it was not made public.

At last, it was Posada's turn. He explained that he "felt stiffness in his back" but assured reporters that it was nothing to be concerned about. He then went on to say that he needed some time to clear his head. Kim Jones, the on field reporter for the YES network, went on to ask the dumbest question of the night. "Jorge, is it clear now?" She asked in reference to his head. Although the question itself was incredibly stupid, Kim did her job by making Posada open up a little and give a not so scripted response. Posada let out a small laugh and explained that he would need a bit more time and that him playing Sunday's game was not yet decided. He said he needed time to talk to the people around him in his life and specifically mentioned his wife. When asked if retirement was ever on his mind, Posada's reaction was of shock and amusement. He laughingly explained that retirement was not on his mind.

SUNDAY

Sunday came and with that came an apology. Posada went to Girardi and had what was said to be an emotional meeting with the manager. Posada apologized to Girardi and likely Girardi to Posada for dropping him needlessly in the lineup. Posada chalked it all up to a bad day. Girardi told Posada that he can turn this around and that he wanted Posada to feel "joy" again.

Posada also set things straight with Cashman. Cashman then briefed Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine. The organization then released a statement that they were accepting Posada's apology and that no disciplinary action would be taken. The Yankees considered the matter closed.

Jeter, who's silence was noted on Saturday night, addressed the media and explained that there was no need for Posada to apologize to his teammates. Jeter said "if I felt he had done something wrong, I would be the first to tell him."

Soon the game was under way and the Yankees showed more life than the night before. However, some more sloppy mistakes put them down 7-5. Although the Yanks would go on to lose by that score, one question was certainly answered. The question was; are the fans still in Posada's corner? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

The "Bleacher Creatures" had already shown their support of Posada by including him in roll call. Posada responded with a wave from the dugout. Later, Andruw Jones was set to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning. But when a batter emerged from the dugout to take some practice swings, it wasn't Jones. Posada had a helmet on and was ready to go. The crowd rose to their feet and let Posada know just how much he means to the fans. The fans let out a thunderous applause that seemed to last the entirety of his at-bat.

That show of support for Posada not only showed him how we as fans feel about him but also showed the rest of baseball that through the trials and tribulations, we Yankee fans stand tall.

Posada eventually walked but was stranded on first.

The team is playing badly. But like Posada, Girardi believes that the team too can turn this around.

Sloppy baseball will get you to last place and no where else.

SIDENOTE:

SORE-iano...

Rafael Soriano is still feeling tenderness in his elboy. He will be unavailable for the Tampa Series and may need to be put on the DL.

Cough, what a mistake it was to sign this over paid baby. Cough cough
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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Questions and Comments

The Yankees lost to the Royals last night in what was a sad show of offense. The Yanks had 3 runs on 12 hits. The Royals had 4 runs on just 4 hits. The reason for this lopsided box score is that the Yankee bats were just 2 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Surprisingly, that's not what I want to dwell on this morning. Why? Because that's horrific and everyone knows it. No need to tell you that the sky is blue.

There are two topics I want to focus on. The first might be a bit obvious. Did A.J. Burnett hit Jeff Francoeur on purpose? The truth is, we will never know the answer to this question. The Royals will tell you there was intent and Burnett will tell you it got away from him. A person can clearly argue both sides. In the half inning prior too Francoeur getting hit, Cano was hit in the head by relief pitcher, Nathan Adcock. I do not believe there was intent to hit Cano but you have to be more careful. Even accidentally hitting someone in the head looks bad, you can end a guys career. Is it possible that Burnett was trying to send that message? Definitely.

The situation did not seem to be ideal for Burnett to retaliate. A runner was already on and the it was a one run game. However, Burnett had always been known for being an emotional guy. So was burnett trying to send a message? I hope so!

The second topic I want to touch on is the undertone of what happened to Jorge Posada last night. Posada had a good game, getting on base 4 times with a pair of hits ands pair of walks. There is one at bat I want to focus on though. In the bottom of the 9th with Nunez on second, the Royals decided to walk the struggling Nick Swisher to instead face Jorge Posada. The Royals felt more comfortable trying to get Posada out than a slumping Swisher. It used to be that Posada was one of the last guys you would ever want to face in the 9th with the game on the line. What happened? Posada needs to figure out the problem quick because teams have officially started to pin him as an automatic out. It's tough enough to not see him behind the dish but now to see him batting .150 is just painful.

I will not do to him what everyone has done to Jeter. I do not believe that Sado's career is over. Most of his 6 homers came on fastballs which means that his bat speed is still there. It seems that he is simply uncomfortable in the DH position. Hopefully he can turn it around.
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GIVE IT A REST!

Tired of reading about Derek Jeter? Too bad.

It has become trendy to question Derek Jeter. It has become a fad to talk about his age and his batting average from last season. Well here is a number I would like to throw in the mix; .406. That is what Jeter is hitting over the last 7 games.

For the past week and a half, Jeter has been breaking out of his slump and is now batting over .280. Now that we have seen that the Captain can still do what he has made look easy for so long, can we please stop filling out his retirement papers for him. He is about to turn 37 and his best years are likely behind him, but it is an absurd notion to think that Derek Jeter cannot still do his part to help this team win.

I expect this sort of talk from ESPN and maybe the MLB network. And I definitely expect this from the morons at Sports Illustrated (with the exception of Tom Verducci and Jon Heyman). I can even understand it when the local papers are talking bad about Jeter because I suppose it sells papers. But Yankee Universe?

I expect the Yankee faithfuls to be the voices of reason. Since when are we the type of fans to hop on a band wagon? It is up to us die hards, just as it is up to the team, to stand behind our captain.

Derek Jeter has helped our beloved Yankees to win 5 World Championships. I think he has done all that is necessary to earn our undying support. So next time someone throws a stat out there about aging short stops, remember that this is DEREK JETER we are talking about. If anyone can do it, he can.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Our Children

There are many Americans that were not alive on September 11th. Some of them will be turning 10 years old. They don't know what it was like to be alive on that day or before that day for that matter. They were forced to be born into a nation on constant alert from terrorism. For these children, we entrust our history books to teach them of that day and we entrust ourselves to express the impact one September day had on our country.

When these children are ready, they will be taught of a beautiful cloudless sky that quickly became dark with black billowing smoke. They will learn of what it was like to be in New York or Washington D.C. that day and of the fear and uncertainty we all felt. They will also learn of the heroics of the people on board United flight 93 who, in an attempt to take back the plane, forced a crash in an open field in Pennsylvania and saved us all from further destruction and sadness.

They will learn of the wave of love, unitity, and selflessness that washed over our country in the days, weeks, months, and years following the attack. They will also be told of the years of war that took place as a direct result of an attack on our home soil. They will learn a lot from our stories and from their history books but now we can conclude our tragic and sorrowful story.

The final page of the chapter can teach them that almost 10 years later, a group of highly trained American soldiers raided a compound in Pakistan. They had been preparing for the mission for months and because of this, they swept through the compound with seamless precision and after a 40 minute firefight, America prevailed.

There was a code word to be radioed if the mission was a success. The code word was Geronimo. Once the mission was completed, the team leader radioed in; "For God and Country! Geronimo! Geronimo! Geronimo!"

The chapter in our children's history books will have a overall message. It will teach our kids that we are a nation of strength and resolve. You may knock down our walls but you will never break our spirit. You will only make it stronger. And to all those who seek to do harm to our country, you will be hunted and no matter how long it takes, you will be brought to justice.

GOD BLESS THE USA!
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Baltimore Roadtrip

I was up bright and early last Saturday morning. Well, not bright, more like cloudy and early. It was 7:40am on my day off when I awoke to a text from a friend of mine that said "I'm in the Bronx. First one to reply gets shotgun." I replied "I'll be ready in 6 minutes." It was time to get on the road because the Yankees were playing in Baltimore and my friends and I had tickets.

After Russ picked up Grumer, Jay and myself, we got on to 95 south. We drove through Jersey as fast as possible and only stopped once. It's just too hard to pass a Cracker Barrel without stopping. Once breakfast was resting safely in our stomachs and we were insulted enough by Philly fans, we were back in the car headed to Delaware.

Delaware went quickly and without even noticing, we were in Maryland. Soon we were ignoring Grumer's question of what a tunnel was and we were in the tunnel headed right into Baltimore. Once we exited the tunnel there it was. Just beyond M&T Stadium (the home of the Baltimore Ravens) was the beautiful Camden Yards.

After we were all done snapping pictures, it was time to find parking. We drove a few blocks and accidently parked in a hospital parking lot. We paid $7.00 for parking instead of $25.00 so I recommend making the same mistake. After we were parked in what seemed like the center of the earth because we went down so far to find a spot that wasn't reserved for physicians, we all got game ready and left whatever articles of clothing weren't needed in the car. We then realized we had arrived 6 hours prior to game time. WONDERFUL!

We walked to the stadium and directly across from Camden is a row of fun looking bars. And since it was dark and rainy we did what any man would do if they had 6 hours to kill before a sporting event. We drank.

We walked in to a bar called Pickles Pub and had a seat at their lesser crowded bar. We then made friends with the bar tender and began our fun. Slowly the place began to get crowded and to our surprise, the Yankee fans were strong in numbers. There were no angry words spoke between us and any O's fans. At one point it was recommended that we try Baltimore wings and I have to say, if you are in the area and are a lover of chicken wings, do try them.

After about 4 hours in the bar, we ventured outside. We were very surprised to see that the clouds had vanished and the sun was shining bright. Our next step was to enjoy a delicious Maryland crab cake because let's be honest, if youbare in Maryland and you don't try a crab cake, you are doing yourself a great injustice.

Once the crab cakes were done, it was time to venture inside. Upon seeing the field, you realize that Camden Yards is one of the most beautiful stadiums you will ever see. There is no easy way to describe why but everything about it just screams Baseball.

Our seats were outstanding. Right center field bleachers in the front row. There were a decent amount of Yankee fans so we weren't alone although I wasn't really worried, at this point we had established that Orioles fans are very nice people. They are not obnoxious Yankee haters (well not outwardly anyway). They are passionate and knowledgeable.

The game as a whole was a laugher although Adam Jones did what he could to spoil C.C.'s unstopable approach and make a game of it for a little while. Jones teed off on a pitch and drove it out in right field making it a 6-3 game. However, C.C. would go on to complete 8 innings and the Yankees would win 15-3 while hitting 5 homers (2 by Russell Martin).

Even while the Yankees were destroying the Orioles, the fans never really got on our case. It wasn't until the game was over sand we were outside that some O's fans decided to get tough. For the most part, we just laughed off remarks about how the Yankees "suck."

We walked the few blocks to our car and it was straight to New York for Easter dinner.

As a whole, the trip was certainly memorable and one I hope to take again someday.

WEEK IN REVIEW: The Yanks came home to a 4 game set against the White Sox. The Sox were able to take the first two games of the series by stifling the Yankee bats. The first game was lost 2-0. Rafael Soriano gave up the 2nd run in the ninth. The next night, the Yanks had a 2-1 lead going into the 8th, and again Soriano was not able to get the job done. This time, Soriano gave up a go ahead homer to Paul Konerko. I'm sick of hearing "it's only April" in regards to Soriano. The man is being paid a lot of money to get outs in every month, and if the Yankees end up losing the division by one game, you better believe I'll remember this.

The following night, the Yanks rode Bartolo Colon to a 3-1 victory. Colon threw a brilliant 8 innings just giving up 1 run. Mariano came in for the save.

C.C. Sabathia continued the recent string of strong outings with a 7 inning performance on Thursday night. The Yanks were being no hit through 4 innings despite taking a two run lead on 4 walks and a sacrifice fly. In th fifth, Gardner led off with a monster homerun to break up the no-no. The Yankees continued to collectively hit for the cycle in 4 consecutive at bats. The team batted around before recording an out. The game ended 12-3.

Tonight did not go so well. The pitching was painful, and the Yanks were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The final score was 5-3.

Mark Teixeira was back in the lineup tonight after a night off due to a sore shoulder.

Phil Hughes may have a season ending circulatory issue and will be seeing a specialist on Monday.

Finally, the Yankees have welcomed back their back up catcher, Francisco Cervelli.
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Friday, April 22, 2011

On a Tear

First, let me start by apologizing for my recent absense. It certainly has been a little while since my last article. Last time I wrote an article, the Yankees were not in first place. Today, they have a 2.5 game lead over the A.L. East while Boston is still sitting in the basement of the division.

Are there still non-believers out there? Our Yanks are 10-6 and are the only team currently in the division with a winning record. The team is off to a rather powerful start. Offensively matching or even surpassing numbers from the 1927 Yankees aka Murders Row.

The team is winning. But if you know this team like I do, you know what its like when they are really clicking. They have not put it into that high gear yet, this team is poised to do a lot of damage, maybe more than I even realized.

One thing I am ready to say "I told you so" about is the acquisition of catcher Russell Martin. It is still early in the year and there is still a lot of baseball left to play but Martin has caught all but 1 game for this team and he has done it with fire and intensity. Not only has Martin been a solid addition on defense, he has been clutch with the bat. He is making a lot of people happy in the front office. Brian Cashman even went as far as saying that Martin was "Munson-like." Quite the compliment. Don't be shocked if the Yankees look to resign Martin at the end of the season if he continues to produce on a desired level.

If Martin is solid through July, it might even be wise to talk extension and trade star prospect Jesus Montero. But that's a post for another day.

That's all for now but check back this weekend for updates on my trip to Baltimore to see our Yanks take on the O's.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Away We Go


It was a nice opening home stand for the Yankees overall.  After 6 games played, the team is coming away with 2 series wins and a 4-2 record.  The team seems to be gelling nicely and all aspects that were a concern seem to be working well.  Russell Martin is proving that he has what it takes to handle the pitching staff and also hitting the ball well.  Jeter's new stride-less swing has gone from the talk of the town to eliminated as a whole.  A.J. Burnett is 2-0 and Posada, Teixeira, and A-Rod are all locked in. Yup, all in all things are looking good in New York.  

In Boston, on the other hand, there has yet to be a single pitch thrown in the historic and timeless Fenway Park. The Red Sox have started their season on the road and it has not been a friendly road trip. The trip started in Texas and the pitching gave up 26 runs.  From Texas, the team travelled to Cleveland where they were out-scored 12-5 and lost the last game 1-0 due to a base running blunder in the 9th inning.  All said and done, the Red Sox come home with an 0-6 record.  Something the team hasn't in over 60 years.

This weekend, it's time to get serious.  The Yankees have an opportunity to put the Red Sox in an 0-9 hole and make early asses out of all the skeptics that called them underdogs.  It is interesting to see all the  analysts who picked the Red Sox to run away with the east, now suddenly saying that the team is "not as good as advertised." 

The truth is, as a Yankee fan, I get serious joy out of seeing this atrocious start.  However, it is just 6 games people.  There are 156 more of these things to play.  Make no mistake about it, the Red Sox are a great team and they will eventually click.  But since we are telling the truth, the Yankees are a much better team than advertised.  This weekend's series doesn't mean all that much in the great scheme of things but it can help put things in perspective.  This division is going to be tough and it will likely not be decided until the end of the season.  

The Red Sox will be coming into this series desperate for a win but the Yanks will be coming into every series looking to prove something.  Yet another reason to be excited about Baseball.  Let's Go Yankees!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Grand Entrance


Opening Day in the Bronx proved to be an excellent start to the year.  C.C. didn't seem to have his best stuff but he still found a way to limit the Tigers to 3 runs while the Yankee bats came to life to take the lead twice.  Russell Martin started the offense for the Bombers by getting a lead off single in the thrid inning.  After a walk to Jeter, Martin stole third base.  While the stolen base was very impressive and certainly got the crowd going, it was ultimately unnecessary because of Mark Teixeira's 3 run blast to the second deck in right field.  The home run put the Yankees on top 3-1.

Sabathia would later give up 2 more runs but it would be Curtis Granderson who would break that tie with a solo bomb to the second deck in right field.  Granderson capped off an outstanding day by making an outstanding running catch in the 9th for the second out.  He also made a very impressive diving play in the first inning.  Granderson played an outstanding game against his former team and proved that he was in fact healthy enough to start the season in center field.

The Yanks went on to score 2 more runs and a very impressive 7th, 8th and 9th inning combo locked down a 6-3 win.  Joba, Soriano and Mariano combined for 3 perfect innings.  That late inning combo is hopefully a sign of things to come. 

MARIANO WATCH: 
Mo is in the hunt for the all time saves record and as he gets closer, I will be counting down until he achieves his goal.

42 more saves until the record is his.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Big Bart

With Ivan Nova all but locking up the 4 spot in the Yankees rotation, one spot still remains open. It seems Sergio Mitre is destined for the long relief spot in the bullpen. So for the final week of spring, Bartolo Colon will battle Freddy Garcia for the final spot even though that battle seems to be over. Garcia is not likely to see anymore action in the big league camp, although he is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game this week.

Brian Cashman said "We have a pretty good idea of what Freddy can do." He said that Colon was just way more surprising this month. Joe Girardi seems to agree. Girardi explains that he is no longer a power pitcher but he can still get his velocity up to about 93MPH and can still locate very well. A long with his command, he has improved his breaking ball and his change up, essentially reinventing himself on the mound.

Garcia has not pitched badly and, if it came down to it, he could likely do a pretty decent job at the back end of the rotation but the Yankees seem to feel they have caught lightning in a bottle with Colon. There is still some life left in that right arm. The only serious concern remaining about Colon is his weight. Colon is up at 267 pounds and the Yanks are wondering if he can hold up through the dog days of summer. Girardi says that it hasn't been cool in camp lately and Colon has bounced back nicely. But his lack of a full season since his Cy Young year in 2005 begs the question; can he take the ball every 5 days for 6 months? These are the things that the Yankees must think about over the course of the next week but with AJ Burnett being named the official number 2 starter, I imagine the rotation will look like this:

1. Sabathia
2. Burnett
3. Hughes
4. Nova
5. Colon

SIDENOTE: Joba is scheduled to pitch tonight, officially putting his oblique issue behind him. Chamberlain is not worrid but Girardi will feel better after he sees him effectively throw an inning.
Pedro Feliciano (bicep tightness) threw a bullpen session in which he threw 25 pitches and reported no issues.
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Foreshadowing

Last night, we got a glimpse of the Yankees as they will take the field on Opening Day against the Tigers. Along with their now likely number 4 starter, Ivan Nova, the Yanks showed what they can do against an Opening Day caliber Baltimore team. The Yanks put on a show with the bats including 2 doubles by Teixeira, a double by Chavez and a monster 2 run blast off the bat of Alex Rodriguez.

In fact, the only starter that did not join the hit parade was Bret Gardner who still managed to reach base by working a walk. Yes, the Yankee offense looked amazing last night but the story was (as it has been all spring) the pitching.

Ivan Nova showed his confidence and his ability by hurling 6 shutout innings against a talented O's lineup. Not only did he not give up a run, he never surrendered a hit, while striking out 4 batters. Nova's only blemishes were a hit batter in the first and an error by A-Rod. Only one hit was given up all game and it was by the most unlikely candidate, Mariano Rivera. Mo gave up a double to Vlad Guerrero. Other than that hit, Mo was strong. He needed only 12 pitches to get out of the inning even with the double to Guerrero. Prior pitched a strong inning surrendering a walk but no hits. Dave Robertson ended the game with a perfect inning, even striking out a batter.

Girardi won't admit it but with just two starts left for Nova, it's hard to see him not starting the season as the Yankees' number 4 starter. Leaving the 5 spot to Bartolo Colon and a long relief spot for Freddy Garcia. This is only speculation of course. We will know for sure in 2 weeks when the Yankees take the field in the Bronx.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Lightning In A Bottle

It is now a 17 days until the Yankees suit up in their pinstripes. Just 17 short days until Opening Day. Spring Training is now more than half way over and dare I say it, the Yankees look to have possibly caught lightening in a bottle with several players. Of course, it all depends on how they hold up during the season, but I have to believe the Yanks are feeling good about what they see.

This may surprise you but I am not going to start with the pitching. Eric Chavez has done a great deal to turn some heads. He is batting .417 this spring and has shown range with his glove by learning to play first base. Chavez is looking to make the roster has a backup corner infielder and as long as he stays healthy, it seems the job is his.
By adding Chavez to the team, the Yanks are adding a veteran player who has the ability to play everyday and can fill in for A-Rod and Teixeira when needed without giving up a whole lot in the field. He has had some problems staying healthy recently but is looking to put that behind him.

Russell Martin has quietly had himself a nice spring. He has shown that he can be an asset at the plate as well as behind it. Martin's bat hasn't been quiet, even hitting his first spring homerun a few days ago but it is his ability to work the count and walk that had really caught my eye. He has done what the Yankees intended Nick Johnson to do last season. What has really impressed me about Martin though is his ability to call a game. He has learned the staff very well and seems comfortable catching everyone. His arm is also very impressive, which will hopefully minimize the opponent's running game.

O.K., now its on to the pitchers.

Bartolo Colon is pitching for a spot in the rotation and he has really turned some heads. His dominant command is making him a front runner for one of the two available spots in the the starting rotation. He has given up a couple of runs but he rebounds nicely and makes his pitches. I would have to say that right now he is the only front runner for a spot. It is not for lack of pitching though. It is because the other 3 guys are also bringing their A game.

Ivan Nova has been pitching very well but his last outing was less than stellar. Nova looks like the type of pitcher who always has to overcome that one bad inning during a start. Although there is hope for Nova because early on, Phil Hughes looked that way as well.

Freddy Garcia gave up 4 runs in his outing yesterday but previouly had not given up a run. It will be important to see how he bounces back from this start but he seems healthy and comfortable. You have to remember, these guys are not always going to be perfect. In fact, you expect the back end of your rotation to have the most amount of losses. With the setup the Yanks have now, I believe they are not only going to be good, but I am also havinga hard time believing this "underdog" label they have been given.

SIDE NOTE: Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera gave us our first preview to the 8th and 9th inning combo. Soriano pitched well giving up 1 hit in a scoreless frame. Mo dazzled hitters with his cutter as usual. Rivera struck out all three batters he faced, two of them looking. He threw 12 pitches, 9 for strikes in what was a dominant first outing of the spring for the closer. Mo has started his spring late as usual and is expected to throw 6-8 inning before the start of the season. Soriano is comfortable with this number and seems to be following Rivera's lead.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Passed Week at Yankee Camp


I'm going to have to start with Derek Jeter. He is clearly still getting used to his new stride-less swing. Jeter has asked that people not judge him on the results until opening day but the day after his first multi-hit game of the spring, it looks to be working. Jeter had a 2-3 day yesterday and both singles were positive results. Leading off the game, Jeter laced the first pitch to the left-center field gap for a line drive single. His new swing is supposed to give him more of an ability to get the ball off the ground and drive it for hits. Jeter then led off the third inning with a ground ball through the hole at second base. Here Jeter is showing his ability to still go the other way when he needs to. Obviously Jeter's swing is a working progress and we won't know much until the season starts but so far so good.

Moving right along, Francisco Cervelli has a lot to be angry about. For the third time, Cervelli has an sustained an injury that he will carry into the start of the season. It's definitely worth geting frustrated over but Cervelli isn't letting it come to that. His initial reaction was one of disappointment and dejection but, after speaking to his family and friends and celebrating his birthday, Cervelli has awoken with a positive outlook. "Let's do this" Cervelli said. Joe Girardi believes that as soon as Cervelli is physically able, he will be back with team and doing all he can to help win. Cervelli has a broken foot and will be in a walking boot for 4 weeks. His injury is expected to sideline the catcher for 4-8 weeks.
With Cervelli's injury comes a bit of good news for Jesus Montero. Sometimes this is what it takes for a young player to break into the bigs and show what he's got. Montero is on a mission to prove that not only is he ready for the back up slot, he can be the starter if the Yankees need him to be. He has amazing ability with the bat and has really impress the organization with how comfortable he looks behind the plate and how well he can call a game. The pitching staff seems to like him behind the plate. With Cervelli being hurt, it gives Montero a much better chance of making the team out of spring training.

Another guy competeing for a job is veteran hurler, Bartolo Colon. Colon threw 3 very impressive innings against the Red Sox. He comanded his pitches well and reached 94mph at one point. At this point in spring, all who are competeing for a spot in the rotation are really stating a case for the job.

Earlier today, A.J. Burnett threw three sparkling innings against the phillies. In fact, Burnett retired all nine hitters he faced. His spring has started exactly how the Yankees have hoped.

Tonight at 7:05 is the second split squad game for the Yanks. They will be facing the Orioles and Sergio Mitre is scheduled to pitch 3 innings.

Worth Mentioning: A-Rod is batting over .400 thus far and is driving the ball extremely well. Kevin Long says that he hasn't seen A-Rod's swing look this good since 2007 when Rodriguez won AL MVP.

That's all for now...more to come.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Monday @Tigers and Tuesday @ Pirates.

The important things to take away from the 6-2 loss to the Tigers are clear. Pitching is clearly ahead of hitting but don't worry, that's just how it works in spring.

C.C. Sabathia went 2 scoreless inning. He was noticibly thinner and looks strong. His pitches looked sharp and he worked quickly. Next time through the rotation, the starters will likely pitch 3 innings each.

Manny Banuelos made his spring debut as well and let's just say it went the exact same way as Bryce Harper's debut; strikeouts. Considering Banuelos is a lefty pitcher, strikeouts are good. He first got Victor Martinez to ground out weakly to short, clearly fooling him with a changeup. Next up was Jhonny Peralta. Banuelos quickly froze him in place with a curveball that can only be described as disgusting. Strike three looking on Peralta. Brandon Inge had the same fate as he froze staring at Banuelos' curve for strike three, as well. 1-2-3 for the 19 year old who is clearly making a case to be a late season call up with fellow teammate, Dellin Betances.

As far as hitting goes, Mark Teixeira's swing is in mid-season form. So far he is batting .600 and will likely see a lot of playing time to gear him up to hopefully have a strong April.

Alex Rodriguez is also hitting very well. Even his outs look good. He is clearly driving the ball well. A-Rod looks poised to have a big year.

Andruw Jones got his first unofficial hit as a Yankee as well as his first RBI. He drove in the Yanks' final run with a sharp single.

Ok, I'm going to address it just because apparently it's a big story. Derek Jeter has had 6 at bats and only one has been a hit. Even more troubling is the fact that all 6 at bats have resulted in ground balls. First let's focus on the fact that none were strikeouts. He's seeing the ball fine. The truth is, Jeter is still getting used to a stride-less swing. It's difficult when you have been doing something one way for so long then u cut out a large part of it. He is Derek Jeter and he has 4 weeks to figure it out. It's called spring training for a reason.

Francisco Cervelli is someone that has to be mentioned. Cervi is ripping the ball every time he hits it, which has been often. It seems that all his extra work with Robinson Cano has payed off. Cervelli started working at the begining of December with Cano in the D.R. Cervi's hands look much quicker than they have been which will result in more hard hits down the line. He does not seem ready to accept a back up job.


The hitting news in the 2-0 loss to the Pirates is almost non-existent. Actually, it seems the biggest news is probably Jorge Vasquez. This was his fourth appearance of the spring and he made his first out. Vasquez has been a pleasant surprise this spring. He homered in his first and second game and had a two hit day in his third game despite being put in the game late. This kid seems to be someone to keep an eye on.

Once again, the focus should be on pitching. Phil Hughes looked real sharp with two no-hit innings. He issued just 1 walk but looked dominant. Hughes was particularly satisfied with his outing having mixed in his new change up 3 times in his two innings. He says that he is aware it won't be his go to pitch but he wants to be able to use it occasionally to make him more of a dangerous pitcher.

Dave Robertson also made an appearance, his second of the spring and the only thing I can deduce from his outings are that he plans on striking everyone out this year. His put away ability is definitely there which inspires even more faith in this seemingly invincible bullpen.

Today the Yankees play at 1:05. The game will be televised on YES and the MLB network. A.J. Burnett will get the start. Details will be posted later on facebook and twitter.



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Monday, February 28, 2011

Game 2. Yankees Club Phillies.

It was a post card day in Clearwater, Florida as the Phillies played host to the Yankees. I know I mentioned just about everyone in the opener but I will not be doing that for the rest of spring. From here on out I will only be talking about what sticks out as glaring to me.

Ivan Nova wants to be in the starting rotation. He took a step forward in proving that he should be. Nova turned in 2 no-hit innings of baseball. His command was excellent all except for one pitch that almost took off the head of a batter. I mention the buzz inside because after that pitch, Nova came back with a 96 MPH fastball. I was impressed with all of his pitches, they seemed to be all working for him.

Sergio Mitre turned in a solid performance as well. He was not as untouchable as Nova but still commanded his pitches well and used multiple pitches as put-aways.

Later on, it was the Brooklyn native taking the mound. Dellin Betances is more than likely going to start the season with AA, but he is definitely making sure the Yankees look to bring him to the big leagues this season. He had not only a no-hit inning but he struck out the side. He walked one batter but made the base runner meaningless by strinking out his last batter. His command is good and he mixes his pitches in well.

Jesus Montero looked great at the plate. He hit the ball hard in multiple at bats including an RBI single passed the diving third baseman. But the big surprise was how great he loomed behind the plate. We had solid performances by Nova, Mitre, Logan and Betances. A lot of the credit has to go to Montero for knowing the hitters and calling a great game. He looks comfortable behind the plate and I don't think he is ready to just let Russell Martin take the job.

Jorge Vasquez is turning some heads in only the second game. That's because in as many appearances he has homered. Yesterday was his second home run of the young spring. Last season he was second on the AAA team in home runs, second only to Montero. This season, Vasquez wants to make sure he gets a call up at some point to see what he can do at the Major League level.

Jorge Posada and Bret Gardner also had great days. Each showed patience at the plate. Gardner walked twice and Posada walked once. Both also had solid hits as they doubled in the 6th inning.

Nick Swisher also had a double in the 6th but the two prior at bats, he looked caught off gaurd and very off balance. In his 6th inning at bat he looked level and balanced but maybe he is just not seeing the ball great just yet. It's something to keep an eye on.


The next game is against the Tigers at 1:00 on Monday afternoon. Lineup is as follows.

Yanks lineup: Jeter SS, Cano 2B, Teixeira 1B, ARod 3B, Jones RF, Martin DH, Cervelli C, Maxwell LF, Mesa CF, Sabathia P
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Phillies Drop Yankees In Spring Opener.


The day began with a moving tribute to "The Boss."  Their has already been several pre-game tributes to George Steinbrenner, but today was to recognize his importance to the city of Tampa.  I never get tired of that last line of his tribute video.  Steinbrenner is on stage at "Saturday Night Live" and he is talking about which category of host he falls under.  He says, "I'm not an entertainer. So the way I see it, I must fall into that other category.  Beloved American from another walk of life."  He truly was a beloved American.  The tribute was moving and incorporated a reading of the plaque from the new statue of "the boss" outside George M. Steinbrenner Field.  Tino Martinez, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter all read from the plaque.  After the tribute it was on to Baseball. 

Although the Yankees dropped this one 5-4 to the Phillies, it was a promising outing for most.  Bartolo Colon took the mound for New York.  He looks big and admits he needs to lose weight but he looks strong and healthy.  His velocity was in the high 80's for the first inning and looked solid.  He allowed a triple in the second inning and after that seemed to be able to gas it up to 92 and 93mph.  His velocity topped out at 94mph, so his arm strength is good for a guy who dealt with a torn rotator cuff.  He got himself into a jam but worked out of it by inducing a much needed double play while giving up 1 run. All in all, it was a positive step towards earning a spot in the rotation. 

Joba Chamberlain took the mound in the third and did nothing short of dazzle.  He looks broader but I am starting to buy that he is stronger.  Joba is sporting a new delivery.  The new pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, approched Joba and told him he need to bring his hands down at the start of the delivery.  Joba informed him that he had already made that tweak after studying tape.  Joba liked the idea that him and his new pitching coach are on the same page.  Joba is starting his delivery at the waste rather than at his chest.  The tweak allows him to be quicker to the plate and makes him more deceptive. His velocity was in the mid 90's but it's still early. Joba worked quick by getting himself a 1-2-3 inning.  Looking forward to see what he can do. 

Dave Robertson started his work looking solid but seemed to have control issues at the end of his inning.
He was able to work through the control problems and get out of the inning without a run scoring. 

Phelps and Noesi showed promise but both ended up having shaky innings and Wordekemper didn't look too good at all.  Phelps is someone to get excited about but it seems that all three of these guys are destined for another season in the minors. It is just the first game, however. 

As far as hitting went, there is much to talk about there.  Jeter went 0 for 2 but his batting stance looks good.  Jeter's issue was that his footing was off, he was stepping toward the plate too much causing him to hit the ball down.  He seems to have stopped doing that and is able to hit the ball hard.  I expect to see results as long as he sticks with his new footing.

Nick Swisher looks to be in great shape again this season. His hands seem quick but he went 0 for 2 as well.  He had a career year last year and is looking to improve on those numbers this season.

Mark Teixeira was the only starter besides Cervelli to get more than 2 at bats.  Tex was hit in the foot for the first at bat, chopped the ball to short on an off balance swing in his second at bat.  In the third at bat, Tex showed real power.  He almost hit the ball out to center field but settled for a triple.  It seems they may work Teixeira extra hard this spring to hopefully get him into a groove so that he does not struggle in April.

Alex Rodriguez looks like he is in mid-season form.  His swing looks outstanding and he had a solid double to the right center field gap.  Somehow, A-Rod is in even better shape than he has been before and is looking for a sort of bounce back season this year.

Robinson Cano has become one of he hardest workers on the team.  No hits today but his swing is picture perfect and his patience seems to be continuing from last season. 

Jorge Posada didn't look great in his first time as a full time DH.  He popped up to short on the first pitch of his at bat.  We have plenty of time to see what he can do over the next 5 weeks.  I'm not worried.

Curtis Granderson showed a lot of patience in his only at bat but ultimately swung at a pitch out of the zone to strike out. 

Francisco Cervelli had a great game.  He looked solid behind the plate and even tried a snap throw to first.  It was unsuccessful but it looked great.  He also had a double down the left field line.  Cervelli has been working with Cano at Cano's home in the Domincan since early December.  He is kind of the lost catcher this year in camp and feels he can prove a lot by making his hitting more consistent. 

Bret Gardner only had 1 at bat and walked.  He looks to be in great shape as usual. His goal this spring is to make bunting more a part of his game. 

As far as the rookies and backups go, I am not going to touch on everyone.  There were a few notable mentions for the day.  

Andruw Jones showed that he can have great discipline at the plate.  He walked twice but after the second walk, he was thrown out stealing.  Seems as though the speed isn't what it used to be. 

Greg Golson did nothing special today but just from observing him, it seems that his bat is improving and he has great speed.  Lets not forget that canon of an arm, as well. 

Eduardo Nunez is showing power and solid strokes.  He had a nice liner to center field and even showed off his speed by stealing second base.  Nunez wants the spot on the team as the utility infielder.

Austin Romine looks very confident behind the plate.  Nobody questions his ability to call a game.  It's pretty much common knowledge around Yankee camp that Romine is a better defensive catcher than Montero but that his bat isn't quite there yet.  Romine is showing improvement at the plate and even had a solid single today.  If his bat can catch up it is very possible that Montero gets traded in a blockbuster deal this season and Romine is next in line to catch for the Yanks.

That's all for today folks check back tomorrow for an analysis on Yanks at Philles. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

George Would Never!

Maybe George Steinbrenner was known for calling out star players at some point. It's true that the boss did in fact voice concern about Jeter partying into the night, but that was quite some time ago. In fact, after the two mended their relationship, they goofed on the situation by making it into a credit card commercial. So should we be expecting a Benjamin Moore Paint commercial starring Hank Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter? Something tells me the answer is no.

Jeter claims he was not bothered by Hank's remarkes that "some players were a little too focused on building mansions and doing other things" last season. Jeter grinned his way through an 11 minute interview in which he said all the right things as usual. Jeter pointed out that Steinbrenner at no point said his name so therefore only assumptions can be made. He said "I'm not moving, so we won't have to talk about this again."

Jeter addressed Steinbrenner's mention of a "lack of hunger" as well. Jeter said "Did I see it? No. We got beat by a team that was better than us in that series, that's why we lost." Joe Girardi backed up his player by pointing out that when a team isn't playing well, they usually don't look good. He said' "we didn't play well against Texas." He also acknowledged that whenever a team isn't playing to there full potential, people have the tendency to question hunger.

I do not believe Jeter was hurt by any of the co-owner's remarks. I think he was truthful when he said it didn't bother him. Even after Jeter gave his interview, Steinbrenner did some serious back pedaling by saying that the mansion comment was just a poor euphemism and that without Jeter, this team doesn't win it's last five rings. He said his intension was not to single out Jeter. However, this is a page right out of his dad's book. The only difference is that George Steinbrenner would never question the focus and comittment of Derek Jeter. How can anyone?

Hank still has a bit to learn before he can master his fathers fire. He has to learn when statements are needed and when they are completely uncalled for and unfounded.

Sidenote: Bud Selig called Hal Steinbrenner and Randy Levine to remind them that owners should not be publicly discussing revenue sharing. In Hank's slew of comments, he also decided to point out that something needs to be done about revenue sharing and that the Commissioner agrees. Even though Steinbrenner's comments did not bother Jeter, they clearly struck a nerve with Selig.
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Boss-less

A statue of George Steinbrenner stands guard outside the spring training home of the Yankees. Tampa was the adopted home of the stern Yankee owner and his presence was known well at Legend's Field. The stadium was renamed George M Steinbrenner Field toward the end of his 80 year life. However, for the first time, the stadium that bares his name will be without him.

The Yankees are begining their first spring training without their fearless leader. At the moment, his office remains empty but his position has been filled. His sons, Hal and Hank are now in control of the team their father transformed back into a first class organization. Hal has taken the lead as managing general partner and Hank will be assisting as co-chairperson.

As the Yankees begin their 2011 campaign with many doubts, you have to wonder, are the Yankees in the same capable hands as they previously were? Would George have let the Yankees miss out on a major opportunity while letting the Red Sox succeed at several major opportunities? Maybe players are not as interested in this new management or maybe it was simply the Yankees turn to not get their way.

These are all perfectly normal thoughts to be pondering but the facts are there. The Yankees are being controlled by a man who is just as business smart and way more patient than his father (Hal), and a man who has that same fire and demand for excellence (Hank). George may be gone, but his ideas and his beliefs are still very much present.

Let us not forget about the off-season of 2009. These are the same men that pulled off the biggest off-season in Yankee history by signing CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixiera. The Yankees are in very capable hands and will continue to strive for excellence. That is, after all, what being a Yankee is all about.
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Mid Season Answer

It's no secret that the Yankees starting rotation leaves a lot to be desired for a team with a payroll of $200 million. It is also no secret that the team plans to see what they can get out of low risk acquisitions and rookies. The plan is essentially a stall until something worth jumping at comes along. However, next year's free agent pitching market also leaves a lot to be desired.

If the Yankees get through this season with what they have only to enter an off season where Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson are headlining the free agent pitchers available, they may be stuck in the same exact position they are in now barring a major step up from the team's youth. The team may have to resort to something that Brian Cashman is not fond of. Trading star prospect Jesus Montero.

The best case scenario for the Yanks is King Felix. Come mid-season, if the Mariners are in last place, they may become open to the idea of trading the star ace. Hernandez is set to make $10 million from Seattle this season and he jumps up to $18 million next season. If Seattle has yet another losing season it may become possible for the Yanks to work something out.

One thing is for sure, if the Yankees look for help outside the organization, it will have to be in the form of a trade.
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