Sunday, October 31, 2010
***WHO'S ON THE TRADING BLOCK?***
The following is a collection of names that various Yankee beat writers and ESPN Insider columnist have put out on the line:
Burnett (Yanks picking up most of the contract money)
These players were all packaged a certain way, depending on whether or not they acquired Cliff Lee.
***WHO WILL THEY PICK UP?***
Again, various writers view the team's need differently, but some of the names are:
Johnny Damon (?)
All interesting but unrealistic. I'm surprised Hank Aaron wasn't mentioned.
***OH YEAH, THAT'S WHAT BASEBALL NEEDS***
Barry Bonds has been quoted as saying he'd like to be a hitting coach someplace, saying, "I have a gift, and sooner or later I have to give it away" Yeah, you'd better get rid if "it," Barry. Your trial's coming up soon and you don't want to be caught with it.
***AROUND THE COLUMNS***
RJ Curry, Sports Deke:
"Brett Favre says he plans on playing this Sunday despite two fractures in his leg. In other surprises, Lindsay Lohan has been ordered back to rehab and the Maple Leafs have started losing."
Brad Dickson, Omaha World-Herald:
"Vikings coach Brad Childress is leaning toward sitting Brett Favre. In a related story, so is Mrs. Favre."
"All four wheels were stolen from the Lexus belonging to the Florida Marlins’ Logan Morrison. And the car still moves faster than Bengie Molina."
Saturday, October 30, 2010
The next several games will be played in the home park of the Texas Rangers, a team once owned by George W. Bush. After several years of losing records and disastrous financial losses G.W. sold the team in 1998 proving it takes at least 12 years to get over Bush.
The games in Arlington should be interesting. Several hundred Giants fans have come into town to support their team ... the first time anyone from San Francisco has voluntarily gone to Texas.
The Governors of Texas and California have, of course, made the traditional, friendly wager on the outcome of the series. If Texas wins, it may secede from the Union. If San Francisco wins, Texas has to secede from the Union.
A hearty "Well Done!" to NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me for the above truth and wisdom.
I read that the TV ratings for the first two games of the Series, was down 25%. It doesn't seem to bother Bud Selig. "I know Fox is happy, and I'm happy." Apparently, baseball commissioners aren't tested for PEDs.
Texas Ranger owner, Nolan Ryan, is scheduled to throw out the first pitch in tonight's game. Ron Washington said he needs to get 5 good innings out of him. It might be better to save him for the last two, Ron.
***WHAT DID HE SAY? (PART II)***
While talking about re-signing older players who are popular and chasing personal records (Jeter, A-Rod), Brian Cashman had this to say: “We’re not going to be interested in retaining players because of future milestones,” Cashman said. “The stars don’t put fannies in the seats. Wins do. If it’s a bad team, people will stop showing up by July. They’ll go to the beach.” I seem to recall A-Rod getting a contract specifying big money bonuses for hitting some 'milestone' home runs, most of which probably won't occur until he's in his 40's. And Jeter will more than likely be signed to a 3 or 4 year contract at age 37. I guess there are stars and then there are STARS.
***WHAT DID HE SAY? (PART III)***
David Ortiz says he's, "...not comfortable with a one year deal." Really? Not even for $12.5 million? He says he doesn't like all the talk that goes on if he has a "slow" start. "It's not like you're in a cage, locked up and you come to the field and that's it. It's not like we don't watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper." $12.5 million buy a lot of newspapers, David. He turns 35 in November. He better hope that Theo Epstein didn't read what Cashman said.
***THE YANKS ARE LOOKING FOR A PITCHING COACH***
A lot of names are being tossed about, including Leo Mazzone, former guru to that famed Atlanta Braves pitching staff. He's actually 'applied' for the job in a radio interview, saying he's interested in a job with a team that "...has New York in front of it." There are a couple of problems, though. After years of success in Atlanta, he moved to Baltimore where he discovered he wasn't so good when he didn't have guys like Smoltz and Maddox on the staff. He's also been out of baseball for two years. After the Orioles dumped him, no one else seem interested in his so-called "magic," either. Keep looking, Brian, this train has left the station.
***WHAT DID HE SAY? (PART IV)***
Pedro Martinez is thinking of pitching winter ball in the Dominican Republic. The 39-year old right hander says, "I'm looking for motivation to come back." Don't you mean "money," Pedro?
***FROM RJ CURRY, SPORTS DEKE***
"John Daly told the Charlotte Observer he played better golf back when he was a drunk. Presumably in those days he used a putter, a wedge and a designated driver."
***FOR JUDY & DAVE***
From Dwight Perry: "Stock-car driver Jeff Gordon has a new primary sponsor, starting in 2011 — the American Association of Retired Persons and its Foundation on the Drive to End Hunger.
Though veteran gearheads say being forced to drive his victory lap at 20 mph with the left blinker on might take some getting used to."
Friday, October 29, 2010
***MIXING AND MATCHING***
Texas manager Ron Washington sure showcased all the disadvantages of this particular technique. To me, there are two major problems with this theory. One, the matchups usually involve too small a sample to be trusted: the hitter is only 1-7 lifetime against a pitcher. Does this make it a sure thing? Of course not. If that same hitter then goes 3-3 against the same pitcher, now he's hitting 4-10, or .400. Did the hitter suddenly become an all-star? Wrong again. Secondly, maybe the guy you bring in doesn't have it that day. Bring in three different guys and you increase the odds that you're going to run into one guy that's out of whack. That's what happened last night. Bingo, game over.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I said yesterday I would watch some of the 1st game of the Series because I wanted to see Lee & Lincecum. If I wanted to see pitching like that, I would have watched a rerun of a couple of Yankee games. Lincecum was okay, but certainly not overpowering. Lee just didn't have it. The Giants ranked 17th in the majors in runs scored, but Lee made them look like all-stars.
***THE DESIGNATED HITTER***
Something really has to be done about the designated hitter rule. You can use the DH in AL parks, but not in NL parks. This kind of puts both teams at a disadvantage, depending on where the game is played. The sports analysts always seem to make a big deal out of the fact that the NL team doesn't have a a bona fide DH on their roster, but I never hear too much about the fact that the AL team has to put someone in the field who really can't play there anymore, or weaken a lineup that put them in the Series in the first place. Last night Vlad Guerrero played right field like he was wearing swim fins and welding gloves.
Besides giving a team the ability to score more runs, I've always liked the DH because it kept players like Guerrero and Matsui in baseball longer. It also helped starting pitchers stay in the game longer, because you didn't have to pinch-hit for them when the team had a rally going.
As long as we're in a criticizing mood, let's talk about the "double-switch." I never understood this NL penchant for moving players around like this. You start the game with, I assume, your 8 best position players. Your team falls behind and your pitcher seems to have lost it, so you change pitchers and replace a position player that you have already inferred is inferior to the man he replaced. If you don't want your pitcher to hit, pinch hit for him. Keep your 'best' players in the game. Use your "inferior" player for just one at bat instead of two or more, plus gambling that he won't hurt you in the field. Yes, I've heard all the arguments for eliminating the DH, none of them carrying much weight.
1) It keeps a reliever in the game longer. No it doesn't. Check the box scores, relievers only last one inning or less, just like in the AL.
2) You get bench players in the game more often, keeping them sharp. Yeah, that's what any manager wants to do: give .220 hitters more at bats. If "being sharp" was all it took to hit better, they probably would have been starting in the first place.
3) It keeps your lineup from having any weak spots. Right, except for the .220 hitter you put in the game. Plus, why not wait till you see what the situation is when the pitcher is scheduled to hit? If there are men on base, and you need to sacrifice, put in a bunter to pinch hit. If there's no one on, put in a power hitter instead.
I can't win any argument about this (even if I think I have), so let's just put down as an American League bias.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Anyway, Rangers in six, just to keep my hand in.
***CC UNDER THE KNIFE***
Sabathia is having surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee. It's considered "minor" surgery (not according to Annie-O, who's had this), and recovery is about three weeks. You have to wonder if this might have been part of the problems CC had in the playoffs.
Interesting headline on ESPN: "YANKS MOVE TO IMPROVE PITCHING." It turns out that it was a story about firing Dave Eiland. Nobody is saying why, but something is going on here.
***FROM JANICE HOUGH***
She has suggested a new nickname for the San Francisco Forty-niners. Her name: the Fourth and Niners. Gotta love Janice.
***ALMOST FORGOT DWIGHT***
"Chicago QB Jay Cutler's numbers in his team's three losses in Mike Martz's pass-happy offense: 19 sacks, 5 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles, 1 concussion.
"Is 'Mad Mike' trying to kill the guy?" asked Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Apparently he is. It would be more expedient to beat him with a sledgehammer at practice and get it over with."
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Every year, after the Yankee season is over, the NY Daily News runs a "Keep him or dump him" poll. The results are not always what you might think. Not a lot of surprises in the "keeper" category: Pettitte, Rivera, Jeter, Posada and Cano, et.al. But there were a couple of real surprises on the "dump him" side. Robertson, A-Rod, Chamberlain and Sabathia, among the nine people that the consensus was to let go. Sabathia is the biggest surprise. Considering that Mosley, Nova and Boone Logan were picked to stay, what's the rap against a 21-game winner? It isn't like you can pick them off of a tree. However, historically, the Yankee front office pays no attention to these polls...or the sportswriters.
***A FEW BEAUTIES FROM BRAD DICKSON***
It isn't just the baseball umpires: "Late in the NU-Texas game Garrett Gilbert took a knee at the Nebraska 10. Officials marked it at the six."
"Georgia running back Caleb King became the 11th Bulldogs player arrested this year. Georgia coach Mark Richt now begins every pregame pep talk with, “You have the right to remain silent ...”
"The Miami Dolphins’ special teams are a mess. On Monday night they had two kicks blocked and gave up a 103-yard kickoff return for a TD. Then, in the 4th quarter, Miami kicker Charlie Brown was attempting a field goal when Dolphins holder Lucy pulled the ball away."
***RJ CURRY AT SPORTS DEKE***
"Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison has threatened to retire over the NFL's tougher stance on hits to the helmet. Anyone who takes Harrison seriously needs to have their head examined."
During a game in AL Championship series, a fan who ran out onto the field, was described as "angry, ranting, raving and talking gibberish." Reports that it was Ozzie Guillen were false.
One of the big questions facing the Yanks this winter, is what to do with AJ Burnett. He's not tradeable and completely unreliable. Annie-O suggests the Yanks make him a position player. Good thinking. His best position is sitting down.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
So with the pitching staff blowing up like the Fourth of July fireworks show, the "most powerful lineup in baseball" decided they had to score in double figures every game. Instead, they became very ordinary, in fact, less than ordinary. As in all sports, the harder you try, the worse you do.
Most of the hard hit balls went right at fielders and instead of quaking at the thought that the Yanks were catching up to them and pitching scared, opposing pitchers were laughing and keeping their composure.
It just shouldn't have affected all these all-star, professional players like that. And frankly, a couple of the usually reliable players got old. Jeter showed it at the plate, Posada showed it behind the plate. A-Rod hit into a lot of bad luck, Swisher slowed down and Gardner became invisible. Only Granderson and Cano looked like they belonged on a championship team.
It will be interesting to see how Cashman attacks these problems over the winter. It's not just a matter of adding a couple more big guns, there are some deletions that need to be made, too.
At any rate, making it to baseball's Final Four is still a good thing and the Yanks should be congratulated for that. There are 26 teams that didn't, and a couple of teams that got sent home a little earlier than they thought they would.
Like Vod, I, too, will just check into the Series occasionally. It is fun to watch a pitcher who has more hair than the whole Yankee staff combined.
In the words of the old Brooklyn Dodgers: "WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR."
Friday, October 22, 2010
"Our father, who art in the Bronx, baseball be thy name. Where hot dogs are on buns, and championships are won, on earth as they do in New York. Give us these games, so we can flip off those who root against us. And lead us not, into elimination, but deliver us to the World Series yet again! AMEN!....LET'S GO YANKEES!!!!"
Thursday, October 21, 2010
It seemed easier than what I read this morning. CC gave up a bunch of hits, but never the big hit. Every time it looked like the Rangers were going to fight their way back in it, CC would step up and say, "Um, I don't think so."
In the meantime, the Yankee bats finally woke up and did some damage and put some pressure on the Rangers. In a post game interview, Mgr Ron Washington said, "They beat us. We didn't give it away." I suppose so, if you don't count the second inning, when Texas looked like little leaguers out there. It started with third baseman Michael Young, who has not been very impressive in this series. First, he backed away from an A-Rod line drive. Last night, on a play at third, he tried to stay on the bag instead of going out to get the throw. With a throw that bad, you aren't going to nail the runner, so your obligation is to get that throw. That mistake allowed Posada to try for home. He would have been dead again, except Wilson, backing up on the play, threw it over the catchers head.
A few homers, some great relief pitching and another bonehead play on the bases by the Rangers and the Yanks had a win. If the Yanks win game six, it will be interesting to see if the pressure will get to Texas. That pressure will be a lot greater than the first round.
***A FEW QUICKIES***
Darlin' Ron Darling was at it again last night. After Wilson walked his second man, Darling said, "Back to back walks from Wilson, Very uncharacteristic." A few minutes later, he commented, "Wilson had 93 walks, leading the American League." I guess he had to walk at least three in a row to stay in "character."
From RJ Currie: "Cliff Lee dominated New York in game three of the ALCS, striking out 13 leading Texas to an 8-0 victory. The last time Lee made a bunch of Yankees look that bad, President Lincoln fired General McClellan."
From Bob Molinaro, The Virginia-Pilot: "It was very convenient for Cliff Lee to pitch at Yankee Stadium this week. While he was there, he picked out his locker for next season."
Budd Bailey, Buffalo News: After rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena was invited to run in the New York City Marathon: "If the course went through the Lincoln Tunnel, he'd be tough to beat."
Victoria's Secret unveiled it's new $2 million dollar bra yesterday. That's nothing. This winter, Cliff Lee will unveil HIS new $25 million Yankee jersey. (Tough question: Which would you rather watch?)
Ian O'Connor continues to take heat for his comments about Girardi's moves in game four. Even though today's column had nothing to do with Girardi, the readers are still calling him names.
Lunch with the cousins today. A non-drinker is doing the driving to Rochester so another relative can drink. Should be interesting.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
With a man on second and two outs, Joe decided to intentionally walk left-handed hitter, David Murphy, and pitch to right-handed Bengie Molina, who promptly hit a three-run homer. According to O'Connor, this was totally predictable. Why (and this is exactly what he wrote)?
"Molina isn't Albert Pujols. But four years ago to the night, Pujols' teammate hit the big Shea Stadium homer off the Mets' Aaron Heilman that sent the Cardinals to the World Series.
Yadier Molina was his name."
Apparently, the three Molina brothers are joined at the waist, or the Louisville Slugger. Now there's scouting report you can bank on. Four years ago, a different guy, on a different team, in a different league, in a different stadium, happened to hit a home run. Ah, but he happened to have the same last name. Better not pitch to HIM. Makes you wonder why Vince DiMaggio isn't in the Hall of Fame, doesn't it?
Frank Verdi, former minor league manager of the Syracuse Chiefs, was once asked the secret behind his team's winning streak. "I think the key is scoring more runs than the other team," he said. In the Yankees case, it's scoring, period. Bases loaded and one out and no runs scored. Can't win like that. It seemed the Yanks were snake-bit on occasion. Bases loaded in the fifth with one out and Gardner hits what looked like a single to left, except shortstop Elvis Andrus makes a diving stop and gets a force at third. Most every hard hit ball seemed to find the glove of a Ranger fielder. Take nothing away from the Rangers, though. It may be that they are the team of destiny, but they're still hitting the ball hard and in timely spots. Even the worst case scenario for Texas puts superman Cliff Lee on the mound for game seven in Texas.
Without sounding like sour grapes, is this the worst broadcasting team you've ever heard? Ron Darling seems like he's just trying to play devil's advocate, even if his interpretation of plays is ludicrous. He said Burnett hung a curve for Guerrero when Vlad hit a single up the middle, yet the replay showed that he hit a ball off his shoe tops. If he had missed it, Darling would have claimed it was a great pitch. He tried hard to convince everyone that Cano's home run was due to fan interference. When replays seemed to show that nothing illegal happened, he finally acquiesced: "Well, I'll go along with the call, but I still think he was interfered with." Manfully conceded, Ron.
I can't say too much about John Smoltz, but that's okay, neither did he. He acts for all the world like, "I'm only here for the money." I'm glad I'm not paying him.
That fellow who is doing the on-the-field commentary looks like he just got fitted for dentures and he's afraid they're going to fall out. What's with that tight-lipped smile?
I will say that, outside of one bad pitch, AJ Burnett justified Girardi's faith in him. Too bad the rest of the team couldn't do a better job of helping him. It looks like Teixeira is all done for the year, but he wasn't really any factor in the first four games. The whole Yankee offense seemed to be Jeter and Cano. It wasn't enough. The most damage the Yanks did, was to one of the TBS camera. A broken bat grounder by Brett Gardner, shattered the lens of the first base camera. Oddly enough, the camera still worked and probably gave us a good idea of how Ron Darling viewed the game.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Kevin Long may be a miracle worker with the Yankee hitters, but he's no match for Cliff Lee's left arm. It's a good thing Texas took Lee out after 8 innings. With the score, 8-0, I was afraid Lee would pitch the ninth inning with his right arm, just to show he could do it. So much for Kevin Long's "plan." During the previous round of the playoffs (remember the "glory days?"), it was said that the Yankees were inside the Twins head. Well the head is in a different hat, now. The Yanks have to win three straight, because if it comes down to a game 7, Lee will just have to thrown his rosin-stained hat out on the mound and it's curtains for the Yanks.
Andy Pettitte pitched great, but you can't win without runs. The Yanks only hit a couple of balls hard, including a line drive by A-Rod into left center , but left-fielder Nelson Cruz caught up with it and made a wonderful stretched-out grab, saving at least a double. However, that didn't even faze the broadcasters, who simply said, "A-Rod flied out to left."
So who would have thought the Yankee season now comes down to AJ Burnett? I better get out the Johnny Walker Red; Labatt's Blue isn't going to do it for this one.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Hughes looked terrible as did Sabathia. I believe that the long layoff really affected both of them and they should revert back to form in their next outing. Pettitte is scheduled to pitch game three, and Girardi announced today that he is sticking with his original plan: Burnett will pitch game four. In the words of Charlie Brown, "This better work."
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Just one, really. Men on 1st and 3rd, two outs. the man on first takes off and the catcher throws through, allowing the man on third to take off and score. The one man on the field with the experience to recognize this gambit, Jorge Posada, throws to second anyway. This never works as the runner from first will just stop and let the run score before he is tagged out. The result was predictable: one run in and a man in scoring position. You NEVER throw thru in that situation. You fake the throw and hold on, or throw to third. You could also throw to the pitcher and try to catch the man on third. The worst case scenario leaves you with men on 2nd & 3rd, but still two outs and no runs scored. Besides the run scoring, it became a big boost to the morale of the Rangers. This might have changed the whole complexion of the game.
***ANOTHER TOP FLIGHT PITCHER BECOMES AVAILABLE***
The Kansas City Royals have said they would "listen" to offers for Zack Greinke this winter. The Yanks have already been mentioned as "possible" suitors. Gee, ya think? The Royals need a catcher and the Yankee farm system is loaded with them. I know, I know, what about Cliff Lee? Do you really think that Brian Cashman cares how many front-of-the-staff pitchers he has?
The bigger question might be, will the Yanks go after Carl Crawford? Most analysts say no.
***COULD IT BE? COULD IT REALLY BE?***
ESPN has not yet offered contracts to Joe Morgan and Jon Miller. They've been together for 19 years and some people think the delay is an indication that ESPN won't be bringing them back. All I can say is: "Please ESPN. Don't tease me like this."
***WHAT'S THE WEATHER IN HELL?***
Has it frozen over? Did Roy Halladay really lose? I hear you all: "Picasner! Can't be!" I'm afraid it is. And Sabathia has gotten beat up, too. Cliff Lee better watch out tomorrow night. There must be a full moon out.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
As my Dad used to say, "Now's the time to break their hearts." And they did, with an 8th inning rally, fueled by Ranger bullpen that couldn't get an out.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
# Sabathia diving across the plate to nail a runner trying to score on a wild pitch. Girardi's comment was, "When you see him get up all dirty, you worry a little, but CC's big enough to win most of those home plate collisions." Maybe CC should have run the ball across home plate, instead of throwing it.
# A complete shut-down by the Yankee bullpen: Chamberlain, Mosley, Woods and, of course, Rivera.
# Ranger Manager Ron Washington was perfect all night. Every move he made was worse than the last. After 'mixing and matching' for the whole 8th inning, he brings in a lefty to face lefty- hitting specialist, Marcus Thames. This is like giving Usain Bolt a 50 yard lead in a 100 yard race. Even if he breaks a leg, you know he'll limp across the finish line ahead of you. And that's what happened: Marcus broke his bat and STILL limped one out into left field for the go-ahead (and winning) run.
# Michael Young and the ole' fielding technique. This is the playoffs. Even if they have to surgically remove a ball from your chest, you have to get in front of ground balls.
# Ian Kinsler gets picked off first base. If the score is tied and you're at home, you can take chances. If you're behind in the 8th, you can't get picked off. If you kill a rally, Mariano Rivera will be throwing dirt on you in the ninth.
A FEW CHOICE COMMENTS:
Michael Young on A-Rod's grounder: "I would have liked to have the ball find my glove." Perhaps we should open our eyes when making a play, Michael.
Marcus Thames on his broken-bat single: "My bat died a hero,'' Thames said, "but I'll take that any day.''
Brett Gardner, on sliding into first, when the conventional wisdom is that sliding does you no good: "Whoever says that probably isn't playing,'' Gardner said. "If I would have gone in standing up, I would have been out.''
CJ Wilson, on the Yankee comeback: "They used to have this show called the 'Twilight Zone.' That's how I felt," Wilson said. "We were all kind of pacing in the dugout. It was surreal."
Janet Hough: Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver came out against instant replay, saying it "will kill the pace of the game." You know what already kills the pace of the game? Listening to Tim McCarver.
THE PICTURE OF THE NIGHT:
Nolan Ryan's chin buried deep in his chest in the ninth inning.
Friday, October 15, 2010
6 of the 8 ESPN announcers have picked the Yanks to win in 6 games or less. One of the dissenters is Yankee-hater, Rob Neyer, who is still rooting for Minnesota. Rob, meet Bob.
Not having watched many NL games this summer, I have only one strong opinion about the Giants-Philly series. The Phillies three starting pitchers are so dominant, that Philadelphia could probably start manager Charlie Manuel in the fourth game and still beat the Giants. My apologies to Tim Lincecum, who could certainly make Game One interesting, but the rest of the Giant pitchers don't measure up.
Philadelphia in five (They lose Manuel's start)
***THE AMERICAN LEAGUE SERIES***
Cliff Lee makes this series interesting, and if it goes seven games, the edge would go to Texas. I believe the Yanks will win because they have a better offense and their bullpen will make a big difference. In order for the Rangers to win, CJ Wilson has to come up huge in games one & five. The Yanks did a smart thing in moving Pettitte to game three, because he's their best shot in a game seven situation. The Yanks will have to control Texas on the bases better than Tampa.
Sleepers: Michael Young will be a real thorn in the side of Yankee pitchers. On the other side, Marcus Thames could turn this all around for the Yanks.
New York in six
***THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA***
"The Platoon Advantage" made an interesting point in an article on Wednesday. The umpires made mistakes, some of them crucial, but the TBS announcers were strangely silent about it. I saw more replays of the missed calls on ESPN than on the live broadcasts. Platoon Advantage 'suggests' that the TBS broadcasters acted as though they were under orders to downplay the missed calls. Frankly, I didn't notice that, since the less I had to listen to them, the better. Maybe I make fun of Michael Kay and co. a little, but they do bring a lot more insight into the game and not just because of their detailed knowledge of the Yankees.
I don't think TBS will protect anyone on in these series.
***IT'S NOT SPORTS, BUT IT'S REALLY FUNNY***
From Janice Hough:
"Federal prosecutors in Detroit were embarrassed to find out that a man they had charged with running an illegal lottery is actually dead. In their defense, apparently the man did just vote in Chicago."
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Lets take the "facts" one at a time:
Mazeroski - 17 seasons
Player A - 11 seasons
Player B - 12 seasons
Maz - 10 time All-Star
Player A - 9 time All-Star
Player B - 8 Time All-Star
Maz - 2 time MVP - Nope. NEVER won MVP
Player A - 0
Player B - 0
Maz - 8 Gold Gloves
Player A - 8 Gold Gloves
Player B - 8 Gold Gloves
By the way, Mazeroski's career OBP was .299 and 8 of his 10 WS hits came in the 1960 Series.
Pretty similar stats, however, neither Player A or B is in the Hall of Fame. Guess it's the Veterans Committee whose view is distorted.
A is Billy Martin, B is Bobby Richardson.
***SAN FRAN VS PHILLY***
We 'll have to wait until Saturday for this one to start, but it should be a doozy of a first game. Roy Halladay against Tim Lincecum (or as ESPN says, "Big Time Timmy Lin"). Janice Hough claims the Las Vegas over/under for runs scored in this game, is 1.6. If this game lives up to expectations, look for MLB to find a way to build in extra days off next year so two pitchers of this magnitude could face each other all seven games. Won't that be exciting.
As to the series, I think you have to go with Philadelphia in five, since they have Oswalt and Hamel behind Mr. Perfect.
***RANGERS VS NEW YORK***
The pick here seems to be Texas, I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe because of the Yankees 'suspect' pitching. Some analysts say Texas won the first round thanks to some opportunistic baserunning. Part of that had to do with the fact that Tampa was very tight. I don't think you'll see that in the Yankee players; too much post-season experience.
I pick the Yanks in six, mostly because Cliff Lee won't pitch until game 3 and if it only goes six, the Yanks will only see him once. The only thing the Yanks have to worry about is if their hitters lose their edge because of the long layoff.
***IT'S A BLACK DAY IN NEW YORK***
Boston Red Sox fans still hold a grudge against Bucky "F***ing" Dent. A "lucky" home run in a big game, costing the Sox a trip to the World Series and the only reason anybody remembers Bucky's name (according to the Sox). It's no consolation to Boston fans, but today is the 50th anniversary of Bill "F***ing" Mazeroski's home run in the 9th inning of the 7th game of the 1960 Series, beating the Yanks. It's a shame that Bucky's home run didn't get HIM into the Hall of Fame. Maz's homer is the only thing that got him in.
(Deep Breath) Okay, I'm all right now.
Monday, October 11, 2010
The ESPN "analyst" that's been assigned to cover the Yanks, Wallace Matthews, wrote that you shouldn't put too much stock in the Yanks 3-game sweep of a "clearly inferior team." Gee, I thought the Twins had won their division easily. Apparently, the AL Central has been designated as Division III baseball while our backs were turned. (Please note: Wallace is no relation to our own Bob "WW" Matthews, but it seems like he should be)
***THINGS GET A LITTLE TIGHT IN THE PLAYOFFS***
Errors have played a big part in a number of games in the 2010 playoffs. Normally, teams don't make it this far without being pretty good defensively. This year, the only exception is Atlanta, which has the 2nd worst fielding team in baseball. However, the only teams that have played up to their records are the Yanks and Minnesota. The Twins only made one error, but it helped break open the first game. As to the rest of the teams:
Yankees - 0
Twins - 1
Giants - 2
Rays - 3
Phillies - 3
Rangers - 4
Braves - 5
Reds - 7
The numbers might not seem too high, but they all represent 3-4 times the number of errors they would make, based on their season averages. I believe that if a team is feeling the pressure, it will show up in the field.
***DID I MISS SOMETHING?***
TBS, taking advantage of their national audience are airing promos for their network. All networks do this, but TBS has taken it to a new level. The promo last night was for college basketball's March Madness. That's 5 months off. So how was your Christmas?
***THEY SAID IT***
Seattle Times reader Roy Brewer, on the NFL investigating reports that QB Brett Favre once e-mailed pictures of his private parts to a female Jets employee: "And I thought he didn't like playing exhibition games."
Dwight Perry: "Patriots QB Tom Brady and receiver Randy Moss got into a heated locker-room squabble on the subject of hair grooming just days before Moss was traded to the Vikings, CBS reported. Over split ends, no doubt."
Janice Hough: "But how must it feel to be a Minnesota Twins fan? 12 playoff losses in a row. This team now folds faster than the winners at an Origami competition."
***SPEAKING OF ERRORS...***
Comedian Ralphie May was arrested at an airport the other day, for possession of marijuana. Being a friendly sort, he went out of his way to pet a dog. Turns out the dog was there to sniff out illegal drugs.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
This one seemed relatively easy, well, as easy as sweeping any professional team could be. There weren't any 10-0 blowouts, but you got the distinct impression in all three games that it wasn't a matter of if, the Yanks would win, but simply, how. The Yanks had a different hero every game and their "suspect" pitching was overpowering. The Twins just looked very tight, waiting for the hammer to drop. Even their biggest star, Joe Mauer looked out of sorts, making a throw to 2nd on a steal that was so bad, that I thought for a minute that it was Posada behind the plate.
The next round won't be so easy, that is, if they ever get around to playing the next round. Thanks to some marvelous scheduling, the Yanks have the next 5 days off. Goodbye to any momentum. I understand they have to wait for their next opponent to emerge, but if Texas wins today, why can't the next game be on Tuesday? I don't want to hear the "logistics" excuse. This is the age of electronics; two days is plenty of time.
***TODAY IS A BIG TIME SPORTS DAY***
Three baseball games and 4 pro football games. It's enough to send fans into overload. We may even burn out some remotes. But, as long as there's enough chicken wings and beer, we'll live with it.
***PLAYERS AND UMPIRES TO MEET THIS WINTER***
It's a good idea, but what do they really expect to accomplish? I think the players believe that they're going to get to air some complaints, but I can see the umpires tossing guys out of the room: "I don't have to listen to that. You're outta here."
One columnist from ESPN, suggested that the umps be a little more lenient during the playoffs. Ignore the ranting by managers and just walk away, rather than argue with them and then toss them. It'll never happen. No way would the umps let the players and managers "disrespect" them. The umps don't have to justify or even explain their calls. The crew chief intercepts reporters and gives non-responsive answers to pointed questions. Umpires are going to make mistakes, but instead of holding their noses in the air as though they've made the right call in spite of what instant replays show, they should own up to their mistakes. Otherwise, we're the ones who end up holding our noses.
Friday, October 08, 2010
***THE YANKS WIN TWO***
Great pitching (Sabathia, Pettitte and Rivera), timely hitting (Granderson and Berkman) and good fielding plays (Jeter's pivot on a double play). Liriano did a really nice job for the Twins, but the bullpen ultimately failed. Apparently, I saw a different 2nd game than the media, who indicated a "masterful" job by Carl Pavano for 5 innings. I saw some really hard hit balls smashed right at fielders. Pavano wasn't fooling anyone. The score could have been 6-0 by the 5th very easily, so I wasn't surprised when they started to find some holes in the 6th.
According to the announcers, the series MVP appears to be Kevin Long, who seems to be responsible the hitting prowess of every single Yankee.
One sports writer claims the Twins are built to succeed in a short series. No, they are not. This is the kind of team that will fare very well over the long haul, but is not a shut-down, blow-you-away type. A team like Philadelphia, with three hot starting pitchers and an explosive offense, is the kind that do well in the playoffs.
***IS HALLADAY BASEBALL'S BEST PITCHER RIGHT NOW?***
Let's see: is "absolutely" the right answer? The Reds must have thought that Doc Halladay was allowed to throw golf balls instead of baseballs. As a hitter once commented after being struck out by Bob Feller, "You can't hit what you can't see." If that wasn't bad enough, Cincinnati now has to face Roy Oswalt. Doesn't seem fair, does it?
***AND THEN THERE'S THE "FREAK"***
Atlanta looked helpless, flailing at Lincecum's assortment of hard breaking balls. I've never seen wiffle balls break that much. He's got a pretty wild motion, too. He looks like his arm is going to follow the ball to home plate one day.
***DON'T FORGET CLIFF LEE***
Even though I'm sure that Tampa would like to. Of the 8 teams in the playoffs, Tampa is the only one that looks tight, tight, tight. Texas, on the other hand, is as loose as can be. I don't see this series lasting more than one more game.
***THE UMPIRE'S CONTRIBUTION***
You get the feeling that the Umpire's credo is, "If there isn't any controversy, no one will know we're there." Missed calls in the outfield, missed calls on the bases, the usual ball-strike problems and even a half-swing argument. Except for the blown call on a sinking liner that the Yankee's Golson got zapped on, all the umpires mistakes were game-changing. It's too bad that happens, but you have to wonder if it's really a recent problem. Back in the early years, there was no slo-mo or instant replay, even TV while-it's-happening coverage. Maybe we're just finding out how many calls are missed.
At least the umps didn't go out of their way to toss managers or players. It's irritating to me when umpires "go after" managers or players, actually chase them to get them to argue so they can eject them. The two managers who did get the thumb, Gardenhire and Madden, basically asked for it, and deserved what they got.
As far as instant replay goes, I agree with what one player said, "Missed calls are a part of the game. They actually make it interesting." Judgement calls, like safe or out on first, balls and strikes and tag plays are one thing. Half-swings and hit-by-pitches, along with home run calls, could easily be reviewed and probably should be. I don't think we'll see any of this too soon.
***THE LIGHTER SIDE***
Where's Yogi Berra when you need him?
Indians' manager Manny Acta (to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes) after his starting pitcher, Jeanmar Gomez, had finished giving up eight runs with two outs: "When you have two out, you're three-fourths of the way there."
From Sox manager Ozzie Guillen on whether his team's offensive issues were going to keep him awake at night: "I'm going to sleep like a baby. I'm going to wake up crying every two hours."
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Bautista hits 54 homers - It's either a break out season for baseball's newest slugger, or maybe somebody had help. I hope there was nothing funny about his season, we need some legitimate performances.
The Mariners go into the tank - In the beginning, they looked like they had a realistic chance at a division championship, with 2 potential pitching aces: Cliff Lee & The King, plus a supposed decent lineup. It didn't work. They traded Lee and there was no lineup. I don't know if management made poor choices or some players just didn't perform the way they should have.
Boston Red Sox - We should say "Boston Medical." Too many injuries and not enough recognition for the job Francona did.
San Diego challenges for the NL West - Teams do come from out of nowhere sometimes, but the Padres hung on a lot longer than anyone thought they would.
Minnesota wins the Central - And they did it without Morneau. Of course, Jim Thome filled in admirably. Gardenhire did his usual great job and he IS getting the recognition.
Philly comes through - But it did take them a while.
Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Kansas City didn't - But you knew that.
***PICASNER'S EARLY PLAYOFF PICKS***
One and out:
***AND THE LIGHTER SIDE***
I guess it depends on your viewpoint. 3 headlines in the Rochester paper today:
YANKS TAKE WILD CARD (the emphasis is theirs)
Yanks Settle For Wild Card
Yanks Stumble Into Playoffs
Something for everybody there, I guess
From Dwight Perry:
"Ten players got kicked off Nashville's Hunters Lane High School football team for smoking or possessing marijuana. Coaches figured something was amiss when just six players hogged all the postgame brownies."
From Brad Dickson, Omaha World-Herald:
"An East German sports official admitted in a book that the E. German athletes used performance enhancing drugs in the 1970's. I believe the book title is, 'Well, Duh.'"
Another from Dwight:
Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant was forced to pay his veteran teammates' $54,896 restaurant tab, his agent said, "unless he wanted to wash dishes for a month."
"If that's what restaurants are paying dishwashers these days," noted David Thomas of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "it's time for a career change."
From CJ Currie, Sports Deke:
"Not only is George Steinbrenner's memorial at Yankee Stadium about three times larger than those around it, I just read it weighs 760 pounds! And my dentist thinks I have a problem with plaque build-up?"
Picasner & Annie-O head to Cooperstown till Thursday. I'll let you all know if Dwight Perry has a plaque there.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
In a move towards satisfying the needs of a younger audience, MLB has scheduled the Third game of the World Series to start at 6:57 p.m., instead of the usual 8:30 or so. It's about time they realized that their youngest fans have been unable to enjoy baseball's biggest show and are doing something about it. Thank you Mr. Commissioner.
It's only one game of a possible seven, but I guess it's "baby steps." On the other hand, why a Saturday night? Why not a game during the week, you know, SCHOOL NIGHTS? Instead of patting yourself on the back, MLB, why don't you make a real concession to the fans and schedule a day game (2:00 pm) or at least a twilight game (4:10 pm)?
We will now pause for a few minutes in case anyone from the commissioners office should be reading this and needs some time to allow their heart to slow down. ......Okay now? Lacking a radical move like that, did you ever think to put an encore presentation on the next day? YES Network does it and even if you saw the original, it's fun to watch it again the next day - a bonus for the fans.
And just to prove that they care even less about the players than they do the fans, the Yankees are playing probably the most important day-night doubleheader of the year today. Did MLB schedule one game for 1:00 pm and the 2nd game for 6:00 pm? What, and make the commiss--, I mean FOX Network, change IT'S schedule? Of course not. First game is a 4:10, the 2nd game is at 9:00 pm, or thereabouts. Can you think of a more pleasant atmosphere for a baseball game than a rainy midnight in Boston? The fans may still be there by choice, but not one player would be if they had the choice, especially the Red Sox, who have nothing to gain. At least the fans can drink beer during the game.
Major League Baseball and Bud Selig (after all, it's his responsibility if not his fault) continue to shoot themselves in the foot. They should aim a little higher.
***IT'S STILL POOR SCHEDULING***
CT. Yankee thinks I shouldn't pick on the 'lesser' teams in the league. I admit that being that they are pros, the axiom, "Any team can beat any other team on any given day," certainly holds. But there is a reason they have a worse record than a first place team: they aren't as good. While the Yanks were playing arguably the 4th or 5th best team in the league, plus a division AND a personal rival, the Rays were not. Therefore, you'd have to say the Rays were more likely to win their games than the Yanks, which is the point I was making.
Secondly, if the Yanks have a good chance to win their division, I think Girardi will play his best guys, but if not... Don't forget, a tie does the Yanks no good either. Girardi's point is to win the playoffs, not finish in first for the regular season. He might have no choice, now that he has to play a double header tonight ...and into tomorrow.
***THE FAN CLUB MAY STILL BE ALIVE***
For those of you not familiar, read the posting from 9/28.
Mansfield Wrotto has been signed to the Buffalo Bills practice squad. Picasner will become a member of the Wrotto Rooters Fan Club if Vod will agree to be the President. Unfortunately, Dwight Perry has declined an honorary membership:
"No, I'll let you take the plunger, er, plunge." - Dwight Perry
You've been down on Tampa's light end-of-year schedule in a couple recent blogs (9/24, 10/1), but Baltimore "manned up" by taking 2 of 3 against Tampa on their home turf (The Land of the Invisible Home Crowd), and Kansas City owned the Rays last night. Let's give the cellar boys their due: Tampa has gone 3 and 5 against the worst the American League has to offer. I don't buy the argument that Tampa is prepping for the playoffs instead of dueling for the division. I credit the AL lowliest with showing some pride by duking it out right to the end. Easy to roll over: They're playing for draft picks, not the division title. But they don't. And my hat is off to them.
The Yanks and Rays are playing for home field advantage in the playoffs, and with teams as closely matched as they (assuming they meet in the ALCS), they will need whatever advantage they can get. Girardi would be a fool to lighten the work load on these guys, especially not now that he has a chance. (He's conservative, but he's not a moron. Why would he want to tip his hand to the Sox, anyway?) He should tighten the screws to help gear up their intensity for the upcoming First-Team-to-Eleven contest. Besides, when have the Yanks ever rolled over for the BoSox? Even if you're right, and Scranton-Wilkes Barre shows up for the final series, given the injuries Boston has been plagued with this year, they'll be playing against Pawtucket.
Friday, October 01, 2010
# Surprise! The Syracuse University football team has a record of 3-1, with wins over Akron, Maine and Colgate. However, the tough part of the schedule starts now, with games against actual college teams.
# What athletes lack in physical ability, they make up for with originality. Let's see; athletes who have tested positive for banned substances have blamed the following:
1) Over-the-counter cold medicine
2) Tainted vitamin supplements
4) Female hormones (Tho' Manny won't admit it)
...and now - tainted beef. Tour de France cyclist (a cyclist? Can't be!) Alberto Contador tested positive for a banned substance that he blames on tainted beef. One Big Mac too many, eh Alberto?
# Upset about their consistently low attendance figures, the Tampa Rays gave away 20,000 unsold tickets to Wednesday night's final home game. Not only were the tickets scooped up in 20 minutes, the fans filled the stadium to 102.6% capacity. Apparently, something worth doing is worth over-doing. Not to be outdone, the Yankees have announced that they are giving away 25,000 unsold tickets to Yankee Stadium for tonight's game with the Red Sox. No mention of the fact that the game is in Boston.
# Good thoughts go out for former OHS teacher, Virginia "Tiny" Dain, who died at age 92. A good golfer, a popular teacher and a really fun person, she will be missed.