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Vagabond Shoes



Discussion of all things Yankee--email pinstripedtrader@yahoo.com



Updated: 2012-04-15T20:21:23.086-05:00

 



Hey, man

2004-04-25T09:00:18.610-05:00

Heyman today wrote that the rift between Colangelo and Steinbrenner is over: "Jerry Colangelo and George Steinbrenner quietly made up when they ran into each other at a restaurant recently. 'Whatever issues they had over David Wells are completely resolved,' Arizona GM Joe Garagiola Jr. said. That's good to know. Because the Big Unit will be the answer come July."

He also suggested that, at Torre's urging, the Yanks would make a run at Derek Lowe were he to enter the free-agent market this winter.

And then there was this little piece: "Bill Haselman's the one who acted as the go-between who called Rodriguez and tried to convince A-Rod to come to Boston in the failed last-minute scramble to prevent the Yankees from landing him, according to several sources. Newsday didn't out Haselman back then because Haselman, a Texas teammate of A-Rod's, strongly denied it. 'I didn't talk to him, I promise you,' Haselman claimed then. 'I'm friends with Alex . . . but where he ends up is his business.' Now this week, Haselman was hired for Boston's front office. And now he'll be paid for acting on their behalf. Haselman was given another shot yesterday. This time Haselman said he spoke to Rodriguez 'in the midst' of things, before the Yankees came into the picture. He claimed they didn't discuss Boston or the trade situation. 'I was with Baltimore getting ready for spring training. I really didn't care about the Red Sox . . . I wasn't even employed by them at that time.' So I offered to let Haselman show me his February phone records and he said, 'I don't have to prove myself.'




Sacrificing Our Young

2004-04-24T09:42:09.390-05:00

Sherman suggested that the Yanks ultimately would use Contreras as a pawn to get the Big Unit. It is true that Jose has a 2.38 lifetime ERA against teams other than the Red Sawx, and that we managed to get Brown for Weaver and prospects who were said to have limitations in their games. But the failure of Contreras to nail down the number four spot in the rotation -- we weren't asking him to be an ace here -- could lead the Yanks to sacrifice some top talent. Arizona still has an axe to grind with Steinbrenner and supposedly asked for Nick Johnson and Soriano when Schilling was discussed this winter. Will they really deal the Unit for the Bronze Titan and a bag of balls? Or will Jose's failures cost us someone like Dioner Navarro, who, after a good spring, is hitting .194 with a .265 OBP, .226 SLG and 1 RBI?

Incidentally, Joaquin "Spiderman" Arias, the young SS who went in the ARod deal, is at .205. The Rangers supposedly turned down Trenton's Robinson Cano (.356 with .644 SLG and 11 RBI in 45 ABs) and the following Tampa Yankees: Rudy Guillen (.351 with .456 SLG and 12 RBI in 57 ABs), Jose Valdez (2.65 with 18/4 K/BB in 17 IP) and Bronson Sardinha (.367 with .467 OBP, .510 SLG and 12 RBI in 49 ABs).



Oh Mo!

2004-04-22T18:06:14.890-05:00

None of the four prospects that the Yanks traded for Denny Neagle in 2000 -- Drew Henson, Ed Yarnall, Jackson Melian and Brian Reith -- has made much of a mark on a major-league roster. Neagle delivered seven wins, a 5.81 ERA and a train whistle without equal. We didn't lose much of anything ...

Until we traded Wily Mo Pena to get Henson back. Granted, Pena would have been traded at some time for somebody. Because he possessed a major-league contract, he had to be on a major-league roster before he was ready, something the Yanks could not afford. He would have been fodder for another Wohlerseque acquisition.

But look at what Wily Mo finally is doing. Still only 22 years old, he has a .333 average and 1.178 OPS across 15 ABs, and there is talk that he may take some playing time away from the struggling Austin Kearns. Of course, he has eight strikeouts, so there's no need to get carried away.

But maybe we yet will regret the day the train whistle rolled down the tracks.



The New and the Old

2004-04-22T15:44:55.123-05:00

Javier pitched great last night, holding the White Sox to one run over eight innings despite not having his best fastball, according to Jorge Posada. His curve looked like it was working well though, and hitters looked fooled on more than a couple occasions. Posada, meanwhile, continued to support the Yankees with his seventh home run. This guy just seems to be getting better with age. It also looks like Sheffield is starting to come around. You can really see what people mean about his quick wrists. He pulled a low outside pitch into left field for a soft line drive single. By the way, that's a pitch that Soriano missed about 1,000 times in the playoffs last year. Today's Chicago Tribune reports that Sheffield almost retired after last season and that winning another World Series is the only thing keeping him going. He says that he is burned out and has to "find that fire for 162 games". Hopefully having him hanging around guys like Jeter, Posada, and Brown will renew the spark. But it's not exactly what you want to hear from your big free agent acquisition.

Rodriguez's home run to right is, as the papers are saying, a good sign that his swing is returning. His hitting aside, he has looked great down at third. He looks like he has always played the position and he has a very strong arm. The Gold Glove this year certainly does not look out of the question.



On the Verge

2004-04-21T08:30:07.653-05:00

Following up on my last post ... Last night in Chicago, the Yankees showed why they are on the verge of completely busting out. They continued to work the opposing pitchers hard, drawing seven walks (against six strikeouts). The Yanks now have drawn 66 walks and have a 1.0 K/BB ratio on the season.

Don Mattingly said the other day, "You are what you eat," meaning that you have to swing at strikes. For the most part, the lineup has been doing that.

And last night, they starting pounding out hits. Sixteen of them. Even balls that weren't struck hard found their way fair and free.

The Yanks obviously weren't going to stand at .206 forever. As long as they continue to eat well, in Mattingly's words, and control the zone, they will have the opportunity for double-digit outbursts.

But they have to find a way to stop leaving 21 guys on base ...



Fenway Debacle

2004-04-21T08:15:45.890-05:00

The Red Sox are not playing good baseball. Luckily for them, the Yankees barely played better than Bad News Bears baseball over the weekend. From atrocious hitting with RISP, to lackadaisical baserunning (see Jeter in a rare moment of slacking failing to make it to second on Sunday) to laughable fielding, it was an all around joke. What really bothered me the most, though, was the way all our pitchers threw to a bottom third of the order that looked more suited to Detroit than Boston. Names like Kapler, Bellhorn, Reese, and Crespo don't strike fear into anybody's hearts. So why then were the NY pitchers throwing to them with such care? Over the first three games, the 7-9 spots in Boston's order were walked 5 times. These are the guys that should be allowed to swing away. Kapler's career average of .270 leads the bunch, and he hasn't played regularly since 2000. The rest are below .250 lifetime. If you throw a fastball down the middle, chances are the worst that can happen is no worse than walking them.

Mussina, in particular, was tough to watch. I've noticed at times that when he is ahead of the count that he tries to throw that perfect pitch on the corner to complete the strikeout. This is fine for one pitch, but often with Moose that 0-2 count becomes 3-2 before you know it, with three pitches just missing. This seemed to be the case all day Saturday. I'm convinced if he trusted his stuff more, and challenged hitters a bit more, he'd be more successful. Especially when facing hitters like Pokey, Gabe, and Cesar.

Jim Fannin, "performance coach" for many major league hitters, including one Alex Rodriguez, had this to say in today's NY Times of A-Rod's 1-17 performance in Fenway:

"Superstars don't think like everyone else," Fannin said. "The average person has 2,000 to 3,000 thoughts a day, and 60 percent of the average person's thoughts are in chaos. The superstar has 1,100 to 1,300 thoughts a day. They eliminate worry, envy, jealousy, embarrassment and anger. The superstar thinks a lot less and holds a thought longer."

But wasn't 0 for 16 on Rodriguez's mind?

"No, it's on your mind, it's on everybody else's mind," Fannin said. "It's not on his mind."


Anybody who watched Rodriguez's body language and facial expressions over the weekend knows what a crock this is. When he slammed his helmet after yet another groundout (I believe on Sunday, but maybe Saturday), don't tell me his failure at the plate wasn't on his mind. Last night he bunted in the first with two on and no outs--when's the last time Alex has bunted at all, let alone in a situation like that. I liked his thinking, and he got the job done, but don't tell me he would have bunted had he been off to a typical A-Rod start.

And don't even try to tell me that "superstars" think differently than me. The only ones thinking 1/3 the thoughts of a "normal" person are the ones 1/3 as smart. Man, I wonder how much they pay this guy to stroke their egos.

Finally, I'm pretty certain Contreras is tipping his pitches, but I want to watch another start first. More to come on that.



What's Wrong With This Picture?

2004-04-17T18:05:00.093-05:00

Through 10 games, the Yanks led the major leagues in walks, and were the only team in the majors to have more walks than strikeouts (by a longshot -- the next closest K/BB ratio to the Yanks' 0.96 was Arizona's 1.26).

Still, New York was tied for 25th in on-base percentage, reaching base a putrid 32.2% of the time. As a result, 21 teams had scored more runs than the Bronx Bombers. And here is the culprit -- the Yanks' .206 team batting average bettered only that of Montreal.



Ho Hum

2004-04-15T07:51:27.123-05:00

Not a whole lot going on right now except taxes. The season hardly feels like its begun, and for many of the Yankees, it seems it hasn't. Anemic averages and sleepwalking performances can be attributed mostly (we hope) to the strange Japan start, following lag, and rain and off days. And the Red Sox also appear to have fallen victim to the irregular pace of the season thus far. This weekend should obviously change all that with all the subtlty of a Drudge headline. I have to think that Francona's decision to skip over Pedro this weekend, even after Tuesday's rainout is due at least in part to his diminished velocity this year and an effort to keep Pedro out of the fire until he's more himself. At his best, Pedro has been confounded more often than not in trying to beat NY. After Game 7, you have to wonder about his psyche, a la BH Kim. On another note, I'm happy to see Javier pitch the first game. Let's see what he's made of right off the bat, hopefully give Boston another guy to worry about. We've only seen him once, but I've got a good feeling about him. Yes, I'm knocking on wood now.



The Mighty Mighty D-Rays

2004-04-07T11:29:10.640-05:00

Mussina became the first Yankee pitcher to ever drop consecutive decisions to Tampa Bay. Moose at times seems to lack confidence in his pitches and tries to get too fancy. This was the case last night, as his attempts at nailing that perfect pitch on the corner led to many unfavorable counts. The bullpen didn't fare much better, especially Quantrill, and it was just a tough game to watch. I am looking forward to watching Brown and the rest of the rotation pitch to hopefully remove the bad taste left from Mussina's first two outings. On a more positive note, the Yankees continued to work counts and had 8 walks and a HBP, only two of which led to runs. Generally I think we can expect more runs from so many free passes. Let's just hope that Moose settles down and Quantrill pitches like he did last year.



Work the Count, the Regular Season Edition

2004-03-31T09:22:14.623-05:00

The Yanks certainly made the Tampa starters work during the two-game set in Japan. Victor Zambrano needed 117 pitches (61 balls) to make it through six innings on Tuesday. Today, Jeremi Gonzalez threw 98 pitches (60 balls) before leaving in the fifth; when you add in the next three relievers (Damian Moss needed 28 pitches to get two outs, Jorge Sosa 28 to get three, and Trever Miller 18 to get one), the Rays threw an incredible 172 pitches in 6 2/3 innings.

In the opening 8-3 loss, the Yanks generated only three walks against six strikeouts. Notably, all three walks belonged to newcomers Gary Sheffield and Kenny Lofton; as written in an earlier post, the replacement of Karim Garcia, Alfonso Soriano and Aaron Boone with Sheffield, Lofton and Alex Rodriguez should greatly improve the team's ability to work counts.

In today's 12-1 win, the Yanks walked eight times against only four strikeouts. Sheffield had two more walks and scored three runs.

Through two games, Lofton and Sheffield have combined for six walks against one strikeout.




Couldn't have gone better.

2004-03-30T11:13:48.060-05:00

Well that was a spectacular start to the season. I got up early to watch some of the game, but of course Directv's MLB Extra Innings package didn't include the first game of the season. Just as well I suppose. Somebody is going to need to remind me of why, exactly, we chose to retain the services of Felix Heredia during the offseason. Isn't this the same guy who, in last year's postseason, seemed hellbent on losing every game he entered? While today's game was looking pretty bad by the time Mussina exited, Heredia couldn't have performed worse if he was blindfolded. The guy's got decent stuff. I just don't think he can do it in NY. Having said all that I hope he makes me eat these words, but I'm not betting on it.

Nice to see Mussina take the blame for a loss. Could he be stepping up to assume a leadership role? Maybe I'm reading a little to much into that one....



With apologies to Bill James and Rob Neyer disciples...

2004-03-18T14:30:33.513-05:00

Joe Sheehan revisits here the oft-argued concept of "clutch hitting" http://premium.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2656 in his March 10 Baseball Prospectus column. He writes:

"All major-league players have a demonstrated ability to perform under pressure. They've proven that by rising to the top of an enormous pyramid of players, tens of thousands of them, all trying to be one of the top 0.1% that gets to call themselves "major leaguers." Within this group of elite, who have proven themselves to be the best in the world at their jobs, there is no discernible change in their abilities when runners are on base, or when the game is tied in extra innings, or when candy and costumes and pumpkins decorate the local GigaMart. The guys who are good enough to be in the majors are all capable of succeeding and failing in these situations, and they're as likely to do one or the other in the clutch as they are at any other time. Over the course of a game, a month, a season or a career, there is virtually no evidence that any player or group of players possesses an ability to outperform his established level of ability in clutch situations, however defined."

I'm inclined to buy into this theory. If clutch is to be defined as "at bat's with RISP", then I doubt that there is a discernible difference over the course of seasons between a player's stats with and without RISP. But I would also not define clutch hitting this way. Clutch hitting is an AB with the game on the line, with or without RISP. Even more clutch would be an AB with the game on the line in the postseason.

When the truly big time moments come calling, the big October at-bats, I do believe there are those who perform better than others. It would be a bit absurd to imply that every major league batter, who are, as you may recall, human, to react to intense pressure in the same way. Some may have more trouble keeping their breathing steady and their heart from pounding than others, or focusing on the task at hand, and these would seem to be factors that would affect a player's ability to perform. It may be virtually impossible to come up with statistics to back the belief in clutch hitting since clutch hitting is so difficult to quantify, but that does not mean it does not exist as far as I'm concerned.

I know that I would rather see Jeter up in a pressure situation than any other Yankee batter. The only times he's played "poorly" in the playoffs have come when he's played injured. Likewise, Rivera's postseason ERA is significantly better than his career average, and we are talking about a healthy amount of postseason innings pitched. I guess as a Yankee fan, I am lucky to have had the opportunity to decide over the years who our clutch players are, and having had that opportunity, I'm inclined to believe that clutch performances are not merely the flights of fancy of baseball old-timers and nostalgists, statistics be damned.



Work the Count II

2004-03-05T16:43:19.420-05:00

Chuck Knoblauch, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez had the following strikeout/walk ratios during their respective Yankee careers:

Knoblauch: 0.93
O'Neill: 1.21
Martinez: 1.34



Work the Count

2004-03-04T15:28:41.996-05:00

With the exodus of Karim Garcia, Alfonso Soriano and Aaron Boone, we have lost the three worst hitters in our lineup at working pitchers, at least as measured in terms of strikeouts per walks. In 2003, Garcia struck out 3.7 times for every walk, Soriano whiffed 3.4 times for every free pass, and Boone's ratio stood (or sat, as in "Sit down!") at 2.3. Their performances in the postseason, of course, were ghastly, as Soriano's ratio swelled to an unforgivable 8.3 and Boone's to an otherworldly, but at least for a moment forgivable, 15.0.

So, which member of our existing lineup had the most strikeouts per walks in 2003? Derek Jeter, at 2.1 (1.9 in the postseason), with Enrique Wilson (2.0) snipping at his heels for as long as he mans second base. The remaining seven regulars had ratios below one-and-a-half strikeouts per walk, and Bernie Williams (0.9) and Gary Sheffield (0.6) both walked more than they struck out.

By essentially replacing Garcia, Soriano and Boone with Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez (1.4) and Kenny Lofton (1.1), we have reduced, significantly, the likelihood that our lineup will give away outs. At the same time, this is a group that, like its great and recent predecessors, can wear down starting pitchers and feast on their weaker middle-inning replacements.

It is worth noting that while Rodriguez whiffed 126 times and had the third-highest ratio of the current group, he is considered to be adept at working pitchers -- if not into a walk, then at least into a pitch that he can mash. Indeed, scouts consulted by The Sporting News stated that while ARod "has not shown the plate discipline or ability to draw walks of other great hitters, ... he does a good job of working pitchers, especially righthanders trying to nibble."



All's right with the rotation...for now...

2004-03-04T13:53:02.606-05:00

Contreras and Lieber both threw without pain, which gets us throught the first mini-crisis of the year for this rotation--http://yesnetwork.com/team/index.cfm?cont_id=233522&page_type=wide. Note that Cashman mentions minor leaguers DePaula and Graman as alternatives should a starter go down but not Donovan Osborne. I'm guessing he has not impressed thus far..



Bern Baby Bern

2004-03-04T12:09:33.610-05:00

So Bernie may be back for the Japanese opener http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/170142p-148536c.html. Even if he's not given the green light then, it seems safe to assume he'll be ready for the home opener. This is good news. With all the commotion this off season, he has been a forgotten piece of the puzzle. I, for one, think Bernie's production this year might yet be a large factor especially in light of what will likely be the beginning of the post-juice era for Sheff and Giambi. No I'm not saying they are guilty until proven innocent, as Ron Rapoport discusses here http://www.suntimes.com/output/rapoport/cst-spt-rap041.html, I'm just saying the facts in evidence right now don't look good.



Fox Bumps "When Office Supplies Go Bad" for NYY/BOS

2004-03-03T13:30:49.420-05:00

March 2 (Bloomberg) -- The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox is moving Major League’s Baseball’s season debut on Fox up by five weeks, and in weeknight prime time at that. The News Corp. network said it would telecast the first game of the season between the American League rivals from Boston’s Fenway Park on Friday, April 16, the first time Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez will play for the Yankees against the team that tried to acquire him last year. Fox last altered its baseball schedule in 1998, when it added a weeknight prime-time game to show Mark McGwire break Roger Maris’s record of 61 home runs in a season.
Fox, which is in the fourth year of a six-year, $2.5 billion network contract with Major League Baseball, was scheduled to begin its telecasts with two games on Saturday afternoon, May 22 -- the Yankees at Texas and St Louis at the Chicago Cubs. Prime- time telecasts reach a larger potential audience than Saturday afternoon games. After the Yankees got Rodriguez in a trade with Texas on Feb. 16, Fox cleared the prime-time slot and asked MLB, the teams and their local broadcasters to approve the switch. Final approval came today, Fox said. In return, Fox gave back two games -- the Yankees at Baltimore on July 31 and the Red Sox at the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 6.

Forgot to comment on this--for the Sox it will be Pedro. The Yanks are a different matter. If they start Moose for the Japan opener, and again for the home opener so that he can be on close to regular rest, which they likely will since he seems to get rusty with too much rest, than it will be Contreras against Pedro. If they go with Vazquez as the game 3 starter, it will be Mussina/Pedro. Since Mussina tends to pitch tough against Pedro, I doubt this will escape Torre's attention. His decision will be interesting.



Upgrade

2004-03-03T10:30:22.326-05:00

BTW, Blogger is not currently offering an upgrade from the free blog page, so for now I have to keep this generic format. As soon as it's available again, I will be upgrading to a spiffy new look. I'm told by Blogger that I'll be "pleased" with the new options they will be making available.



A Bit of Baseball in There Somewhere

2004-03-03T10:17:32.483-05:00

I admire those players speaking out against steroids (Turk Wendell, Denny Neagle, etc) and think those who are sticking their head in the sand look foolish. It's the latter type of player, the majority, who has tied the union's hands and prevented it from policing itself. Steroids ought to have been a priority for the union; they pose a threat to legitimate (read: clean) players and place pressure on more players to start juicing just to keep up. Instead an atmosphere of "don't ask don't tell" was fostered, and now we're here. To players like Cliff Floyd who (directed to Wendell) say that nobody knows what Bonds has done and that "Until you know it for sure, leave it alone", I say: this is the attitude that got us here. Look, I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but Bonds, along with Giambi, Sheffield, etc. appeared before a grand jury to testify about steroids and BALCO. Bonds's trainer has been charged with distributing steroids. And as Andy Van Slyke said, "People do not gain 35 pounds of muscle in their late 30s without a little bit of help." Isn't it safe to start asking some questions, Cliff? Bonds's head went from normal to the size of huge bowling ball. How exactly did that happen? Look at Mcgwire's frame as a rookie compared with his body upon retirement. And he is reportedly much smaller now, "shrunken" I think is how one reporter put it.

In other news (there is a tad here and there), Conteras and Lieber both will throw today http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/story/169814p-148284c.html. The first intrasquad game yesterday featured no balls hit to Rodriguez and a quiet showing for the meat of the order. Dioner Navarro, top NYY prospect, did homer, as well as new addition Travis Lee.

Donnie Baseball has apparently made a few new friends in Tampa http://www.nypost.com/sports/yankees/15870.htm, and Cash, when asked if he'd made an offer to El Duque, replied "We have had discussions, I don't know what other offers he has". Doesn't sound like a categorical denial to me.



AL East

2004-03-02T15:13:01.233-05:00

Stark has one of the funnier articles he's written in a while here http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2004/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1748433 about how there are actually other teams in the East other than the Yankees and Red Sox. One thing he throws out there is that the Yankees and Red Sox have a combined payroll of "one-third of a billion dollars". People say stuff like that just so they can work the word "billion" or "million" or whatever into the conversation. When is the last time you checked your pockets when somebody asked you if you had some cash on you and answered "one third of a hundred dollars". The correct answer, by the way, should be never. Other than that, Stark raises a valid point, namely, the Jays and O's are a lot better, and the D Ray's are just plain better. On the cheap, Riccardi added Hentgen, Lilly, and Batista to significantly solidify a rotation that is supported by one of baseball's most potent offenses that is young and figures to be even better this year. The O's added instant credibility with Javy Lopez, Tejada, and Rafael Palmeiro (overrated at this point--once he got those HR milestones in his head, he abandoned balanced hitting). These veterans were scooped up in a down market this year and will add to a core of young players including the legitimate Jay Gibbons and fleet-footed Jerry Hairston and Brian Roberts (both second basemen--one could possibly be traded). Their rotation is anchored by Sidney Ponson. Granted, it's a little shaky from there, but the rotation is young and you have to figure will improve somewhat--toss in the leadership of Javy Lopez having caught some of the game's best in Atlanta, and you are looking at an improved O's team. The Devil Rays managed 6 wins against the Sox and 5 against the Yankees last year. 13 of their losses to NY and Boston were by 1 or 2 runs, and most were 1 run losses. My point is that Tampa hangs tough against the Yankees and Red Sox, and if their young nucleus of solid outfielders/dh (Aubrey Huff) can continue to improve and steal a couple of those close games this year, the AL East just might beat itself up and allow the AL wild card to come from outside the division, despite all the talk of the Yankees and Red Sox.



Rotation ?'s

2004-03-02T13:47:12.293-05:00

Ok, so we have yet to play a spring training game and we are currently without 60% of our rotation with Mussina away because of his father in-law's death, Lieber still nursing the groin injury, and Conteras with his stiff back http://yesnetwork.com/team/index.cfm?cont_id=233013&page_type=wide. Man we love those pitchers with back problems, huh? Barring a deal for another pitcher, or the signing of a free agent (the most likely being El Duque, but the front office's reaction to him has been luke warm, at best. That may have changed given Lieber's tentative recovery and Conteras's condition.) we are looking at a rotation this minute of Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Jorge De Paula, and Donovan Osborne. Of course Mussina will be back, so you can pencil him in as the ace, but the back end is pretty suspect. De Paula looked good in his start last year, and Torre seems to be impressed. Osborne says he's feeling great with no arm problems in the past few years. Hopefully these guys will be positive contributors this year, as you know there will be health issues in this rotation, but you really don't want to be talking about them this early in the year.



The Authors

2004-03-02T11:40:38.530-05:00

I guess it would be a good idea to introduce myself and my fellow authors. My name is Ben Erichsen and I am a 28 year old, slightly fanatic follower of the Yankees. I am from Boston--was born and raised there. Natick, MA to be precise. During the 80's it was a little rough, but look who's laughing now. I went to school in upstate NY, at a small school named Hamilton College, moved to Miami Beach for five years during which time I learned to daytrade. I moved to Wilmington, NC one year ago and have been here since, trading from home. My only qualifications for commenting on the Yankees are an inordinate amount of time spent following them and a few English classes attended sporadically throughout college . I'll let my father, David, and friend Jason introduce themselves when they feel like getting around to it.



Juice

2004-03-02T10:45:04.043-05:00

It looks like the cat is finally out of the bag http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1748786 with Bonds, Giambi, and Sheffield looking increasingly guilty of steroid use. In my mind, there wasn't ever much doubt about Bonds at all. Giambi coming to camp so much thinner this year certainly raised eyebrows as well. Benito Santiago was also named in this article. As I had him on my fantasy team last year, I watched a few of his AB's when I happened to catch them. I remember thinking that his arms looked a lot more jacked than the last time I had really looked at him. Small wonder. But I think I speak for all NY fans everywhere when I say that Velarde's mention in this article is crushing. I guess we should have known those power numbers were too good to be true.

Thing is, there are many more juicers out there. This roundup is just going to snag those players who received their steroids from BALCO. Smart players out there who get their anabolic enhancers elsewhere will quit now before baseball actually gets serious and begins non-mickey mouse style testing. This is their lucky opportunity to quit before their names get sullied. However, those players who are really into the juice will likely not be able to hide their quitting, a la Giambi. As much as I don't like to see Bombers get embroiled in a scandal, it's not that big a deal to me. It's a generally accepted fact that every team has players on steroids--the Yankees certainly don't have the market cornered on that commodity. If anything, I'm glad that it appears that Bonds will finally be caught. I'm sick of hearing how he's one of the greatest of all time. Maybe he could have been, but the juice removes him from that argument in my mind. Put Ted Williams or Lou Gehrig on steroids and let's see what kind of numbers they would have put up. And don't get me started on the moronic argument present by Jeff Kent that Babe Ruth may have been juicing. Please. Hey Jeff, I just got a new motorcycle, can I get some riding lessons? The fact is, this enhanced era has ruined the legacies of many ballplayers, not just those of record holders like Maris. As recently as the '80's 20 HR's was a damn good season's worth. Now? Your middle infielders better hit that many. Maybe that's why Donnie Baseball is left out of Cooperstown, but that's an argument for another day.



SoSH and Bernie Williams

2004-03-01T18:04:55.153-05:00

SoSH stands for Sons of Sam Horn--a Red Sox fan site (www.sonsofsamhorn.com) basically comprised of a group of message boards with a variety of threads touching on any number of topics affecting Red Sox Nation. I check this site frequently after I've exhausted other Yankee resources on the net. I do this for a few reasons. 1) It gives me some perspective on what "the enemy" has to say about the Bombers--always interesting. Since the Yanks figure prominently on the RSN radar, there are a variety of threads dedicated to various NYY happenings, or, at SoSH, "MFY" happenings. Use your imagination on the "MF" part. The last few weeks have seen a quite a bit of activity, naturally. 2) There are at least a couple RSN celebs who post, which I think is pretty cool. One is none other than Curt Schilling, who posts as Gehrig38--combination of his son's name (wonder how that sits in RSN) and his uni number. The fact that he is willing to "mingle" with the fans, patiently answering questions and expounding on his feelings toward Questec, among other things, is definitely a sign of how the web can be used to make ballplayers more accessible to their fans, while still doing it at their own leisure, on their own terms, and with safety. I hope more players follow suit. The other is TSG, The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, ESPN and Jimmy Kimmel funnyman and shameless Boston fan. The guy is really funny. If you don't know of his ESPN.com page 2 http://msn.espn.go.com/page2/index.html column, than I have no idea how you stumbled across this page first. 3) The final reason is that Sox fans may just be the second most knowledgeable in the game, so getting their take is interesting. Which brings me to my point here: as a result of Bernie's appendectomy, a thread was started on SoSH. To their credit, most Sox fans wished him well (none wished him dead either). However, the general take is that it didn't matter much since Bernie's offense has been in steady decline, and the SoSH founder actually said his offensive output was about equal to Lofton's. Because I like to do things backwards, let's dissect that last comment first. The last year that Lofton did anything remotely on par with Bernie William's performance was 1997--he hit .333 with a .409 OBP and stole 27 bases (but was caught 20 times so I think you can toss out the SB benefit). Of course there was no power--only 5 HR's. Even last year, Bernie played hurt a bit, missed a lot of time, came back too fast, and still posted higher slugging and on base %'s than Lofton. Unless Bernie is unable to recover from his injury, a presumption I certainly wouldn't bet on having had the same injury before and suffering from it as we speak in the other knee (it's not that serious a procedure--you just can't play with it til you get it fixed), there is no basis in reality for a Lofton-Bernie comparison. The other thought--that Bernie is a player in decline, is also not supported by the facts. Barring last year's injury marred stats (and remember Williams had started the year hotter than any other in his career before the injury) he has 7 straight years of an OPS above .900. In 2002 he hit .333. His power numbers dropped off a bit that year from the previous few, but I'll take a switch-hitting CF with a .900+ OPS any day. Bottom line, as long as we see a typical Bernie season (and I think we will given how determined he's purportedly been working to keep his CF job[...]




2004-03-01T13:41:48.716-05:00

For those that aren't aware of it and are in need of Yankee updates more frequent than the daily dose of articles from ESPN's insider roundup of the nation's finest papers, the Yes Network's Chris Corbellini has a blog which is akin to a running diary from Tampa detailing his various experiences during Spring Training. Some interesting stuff from a cafeteria run-in with the newly (and likely temporarily) jovial Boss to an account of Warren Sapp's visit to Legends field. Check him out at www.yesnetwork.com.