This is a pretty short list. Within the next 10 days to two weeks, the Yanks should get A-Rod, Jeter Granderson and Pineda back, all at various times, of course. The four-day All-Star Game break should also help an aging team like the Yankees. When these guys return, it will take a lot of pressure off the replacement players, who right now feel like they have to perform better than their actual abilities. The only definite upgrade will be getting Cervelli back to replace Romine, who would probably be batting ninth in a ladies league.
Unfortunately, these things pretty much negate all the positives I've just mentioned. How much are you really going to get out of the returning all-stars? There is a big difference between playing in Double-A and Triple-A and playing in the majors. The adrenalin starts pumping and "easing into" the game goes out the window. That's what happened to Jeter and it's a real possibility with A-Rod. And Granderson? He might hit 15-20 home runs, but he's going to strike out 100 times, too. Pineda is still an unknown and three of the starters, Sabathia, Pettitte and Kuroda have an average age of 37+. Four days probably isn't enough rest. The Yanks still have to rely on Wells, Overbay, Stewart and Suzuki to produce even more than they have.
I don't know if I should list this as a Good thing or a bad thing - you decide. I think the Yanks will trade Chamberlain and Hughes by the end of the month. I think it will be for prospects rather than some fill-in pieces, because that's just trading a young under-achiever for an old one. In 12 days (July 31st), the Yanks will know exactly where they stand - and it won't be pretty.
Hooray for Jim Leland. Rather than treat the All-Star game like an exhibition of American League players, he played his best players and matched up his pitchers, rather than just playing everyone and bringing in pitchers indiscriminately. He did make darn sure he got Mariano Rivera into the game which was another smart thing.
Because there is so much inter-league play, there doesn't seem to be any AL - NL loyalty, not among the fans or the players. Consequently, you have fans booing players from other teams in their league, and being more concerned that players from the home team get in the game instead of worrying about winning the game. Back in the 60's you had starters that played the whole game, that actually got four at-bats, and a lot of players that didn't get into the game. Even the threat of home field advantage in the World Series doesn't seem to have affected anyone. Except for Jim Leland this week. Bravo, Leland.
Bunglin' Bud Selig expressed remorse that the Tampa Bay Rays weren't drawing decent crowds, even though they have been so successful on the field for a number of years. This is the same remorse he has offered about the appalling conditions of the stadium in Oakland - a stadium in disrepair, that is not designed for baseball and has a terrible name. Bud, of course, has offered no solution to either problem. At least he knows they exist. That doesn't seem to have been the case for a lot of years.
***THEY SAID IT***
"Over 35 NFL players have run afoul of the law this offseason. Where are they finding these guys? Arrested development camps?" -- RJ Currie
"So little offense in Tuesday night’s All-Star game you had to wonder if all the batters knew they might be asked to provide a urine sample after the game?" -- Janice Hough
"This is a tremendous game, and we are going to do our best to win this game,' Leyland said. “I think it's a combination of things. I think you want to see these great players showcase their talent. Yes, you're trying to win the game because of what's at stake now, and I think there's a lot of things involved in this game and I want to try to make it the total package for the American League." -- Jim Leland
"At the MLB All-Star Game, the AL held the NL to three hits. In the interest of parity and to increase the entertainment for fans, the commissioner almost ruled that Carly Rae Jepsen pitch the ninth inning." -- Brad Dickson
"Carly Rae Jepsen’s terrible ceremonial first pitch at a Tampa baseball game has gone viral on the internet. Her agent immediately sent her to Florida’s Biogenesis Clinic to get some help." -- TC Chong
"Dodger Stadium security has reprimanded Yasiel Puig’s personal interpreter for trying to help the rookie outfielder score dates with female fans in the stands, ESPN reported. Just who does the guy he think he’s working for, A-Rod?" -- Dwight Perry
"Did you know there's actually a betting line on Finland's Wife Carrying World Championships? You bet your wife." -- RJ Currrie
"NFL training camps are beginning to open. I think it'll just be nice to see 150 NFL players assembled in one place that's not a holding cell." -- Brad Dickson