Friday, February 15, 2019

John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, and Joe Castiglione simulcast on WFAN/WEEI as Spring Training draws near

2/5/19, Audio clip of "John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman, and Joe Castiglione w/Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and Adam Ottavino"

"Here's Yankees radio announcers John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman along with Red Sox radio voice Joe Castiglione Tuesday night [2/5/19] on a WFAN/WEEI simulcast as Spring Training draws near talking to Yankees Manager Aaron Boone and newly acquired Yankees relief pitcher and Northeastern University alum Adam Ottavino."

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2019 Yankee Spring Training Schedule, Sat., Feb. 23-Tues., March 25, 2019. And ten Yankee Spring training games on Yankee radio, 2/23-3/23

Saturday, Feb. 23-Tues., March 25, 2019. Regular season begins Thursday, March 27, Orioles at Yankees. Ten 2019 Yankee Spring Training games on Yankee radio listed below.


Following ten 2019 Yankee Spring Training Games will be broadcast on Yankee Radio, WFAN, with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman:

Sat., Feb. 23, 1:05pm
Sun., Feb. 24, 1:05pm
Sat., March 2, 1:05pm
Sun., March 3, 1:05pm
Fri., March 8, 6:35pm
Sat., March 9, 1:05pm
Sun., March 10, 1:05pm
Tues., March 12, 6:35pm
Sat., March 16, 1:05pm
Sat., March 23, 1:05pm


Opening Day:

Thurs., March 28, 1:05pm, Orioles at Yankees


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Monday, January 21, 2019

"The best of all time at his position. Mo. The one and only on this year’s ballot"-Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe, 1/20/19

1/20/19, "This time around, only one candidate is worthy," Boston Globe, By
Mariano Rivera

Sorry. I know we’re allowed to vote for as many as 10 players, and it’s certainly trendy to vote for the max, then protest that you wish you could vote for more, but I have never shared this feeling. In my view, we are not charged to vote for the 10 best players on the ballot. We are asked to determine who is Hall of Fame-worthy.

After much thought, debate, and consultation, (I called three former players who are in the Hall of Fame), I cast a vote for one player: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Call it the Harold Baines Effect if you want....The Baines Effect has me choosing the single player on this ballot who is clearly Hall-worthy and appears not to have cheated the game. 

The ever-regal Rivera was clutch and dominant — the best of all time at his position.



Added: Above is excerpt from Boston Globe article including its five writers/voters:

1/20/19, "One player is a lock. Then the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame vote gets tricky." Boston Globe

Five Boston Globe voters: Peter Abraham, Nick Cafardo, Bob Hohler, Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy

"Here's now the [five] Globe writers voted in this year’s election"

"Mariano Rivera is a Baseball Hall of Famer; the five Globe writers with votes in the annual election agree on that. From there it gets tricky, and that reflects the complexity of the ballot this year.

The Hall of Fame will reveal the choices made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Those players with at least 75 percent of the votes will join Harold Baines and Lee Smith, who were elected by the Today’s Game Era Committee last month.

The Hall allows for secret ballots. But in the interest of transparency, here are the decisions made by the Globe writers with their explanations.

Players we voted for: 

5 votes
Mariano Rivera
1 year on ballot
4 votes
Edgar Martinez
10 years on ballot
Mike Mussina
6 years on ballot
Curt Schilling
7 years on ballot
2 votes
Roger Clemens
7 years on ballot
Barry Bonds
7 years on ballot
Omar Vizquel
2 years on ballot
Larry Walker
9 years on ballot
Roy Halladay
1 year on ballot
1 vote
Jeff Kent
6 years on ballot
Gary Sheffield
5 years on ballot
Scott Rolen
2 years on ballot
Todd Helton
1 year on ballot
Andy Pettitte
1 year on ballot"...

Mariano Rivera Baseball-Reference


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Scott Boras is in the building-Dan Mullen, ESPN

Above, 12/12/18, "2018 MLB winter meetings trade and free-agency buzz," ESPN.com, Dan Mullen

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Alex Rodriguez: "London is open for business and baseball"-BBC

11/20/18, "Alex Rodriguez: 'London is open for business and baseball'," BBC.com, One min. 55 sec. video

"Former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is in London to promote Major League Baseball. Does he think it will take off in the UK? And what is his approach to business?"

Arod is promoting MLB in London which next season includes a Red Sox-Yankees weekend series. Images, screen shots from BBC/MLB video

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

1996 ALDS Game 2, 10/2/96, Rangers at Yankees, Mariano Rivera for 2 and 2/3 hitless frames. MLB announcer: "A lot of people think this man should be considered for the Cy Young"

1996 ALDS game 2, Oct. 2, 1996, Rivera takes the mound for 2 and 2/3 hitless frames. Final in 12 innings, Yankees 5, Rangers 4. Game duration, 4:25. WP: Brian Boehringer, • LP: Mike Stanton. (No save).

MLB national announcer:

"You know, you talk about finishing strong in a baseball season. Rivera had a wonderful season, but in the month of September he was 4 and 1, seventeen innings pitched, 22 punch outs and only one walk. Talk about finishing strong down the stretch. And they needed him, and that's why a lot of people think this man should be considered for the Cy Young."

1996 AL Cy Young voting: Mariano Rivera third, 13% of votes

Baseball Reference:

Rivera entered in 7th in relief of Andy Pettitte, one out, Rangers ahead 4-2. Rivera retired Ivan Rodriguez and Rusty Greer. Rivera enters in the 8th, score now 4-3 Rangers. Rivera retired Juan Gonzalez, Will Clark and Dean Palmer. Rivera enters in the 9th, score now tied 4-4. Rivera retires Tettleton, McLemore, and Elston. Wetteland pitched 10th and 11th, Graeme Lloyd, Jeff Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and Brian Boehringer pitched the 12th. Yankees win in bottom of 12th 5-4.

Mariano Rivera: Total post season innings pitched: 141. ERA: .70. Post season home runs in 141 innings: 2


Via 11/16/18, "1996 ALDS Game 2: Rivera hurls 2 2/3 hitless frames," virginiamn.com, Mesabi Daily News


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Monday, October 29, 2018

The scene at Dodger Stadium after game 5-Dave Schoenfield

Above, 10/28/18, "The scene at Dodger Stadium," Dave Schoenfield twitter...Final score, Red Sox 5, Dodgers 1

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Flyover at Dodger Stadium, NLCS game 3 vs Brewers, Oct. 15, 2018-Dan Mullen ESPN

10/15/18, "NLCS Game 3 flyover at Dodger Stadium was absolutely spectacular," Dan Mullen, ESPN. Brewers at Dodgers, NLCS game 3

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Sunday, October 07, 2018

Aaron Judge home run in 1st inning and Gary Sanchez' in 2nd and 7th, ALDS game 2, Yankees at Red Sox

Above 10/6/18, "Aaron Judge started the Yankees’ Game 2 long-ball attack with a solo home run off Boston’s David Price in the first inning on Saturday. Credit Ben Solomon for The New York Times."
..."Judge crushed the ball, sending it soaring into seats above the farthest edge of the Green Monster, the ball landing between the light tower and the flagpole." NY Times. Final score, ALDS game 2, 6-2, Yankees over Red Sox

Above, 10/6/18, "Gary Sanchez after his second home run of the game, a three-run shot in the seventh that gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead. Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times." 10/7/18, "Yankees Flex Muscles and Even Series With the Red Sox," NY Times, Billy Witz...
Final score, ALDS game 2, 6-2, Yankees over Red Sox

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Friday, October 05, 2018

Today's Yankee game marks first time since George Steinbrenner bought the team in 1973 that Yankee payroll is lower than a postseason opponent-Oct. 5, 2018, GetUp ESPN

" GetUp ESPN

 Opening Day Payroll

Yankees ($166M) 

This marks the first time since George Steinbrenner bought the team (1973) that the Yankees' payroll will be lower than a postseason opponent.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Kirk Gibson throwback uniforms from 1988 World Series are 🔥 selling fast-Arash Markazi, ESPN...Mike Sciocsia in Dodger dugout cheered team mate Gibson's game winning home run in World Series game one,10/16/1988

Above, Oct. 1, 2018, Arash Markazi ESPN twitter. Below, Mike Scioscia among Dodger team mates in the dugout cheering Gibson after his game winning home run in World Series game one, 10/16/1988, v Oakland Athletics. Dodgers went on to win 1988 World Series in 5 games.

Above, 10/16/1988 Scioscia among Dodger team mates cheering Gibson after his game winning home run in World Series game one v Oakland Athletics. Screen shot from You Tube video

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Catcher and 1B wear mitts. Everyone else on the field wears gloves-Kirkjian

Above, 9/13/18, Tim Kirkjian, ESPN twitter

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Sunday, September 09, 2018

Arod lost bet to Mark Wahlberg so has to work at Wahlburgers before Sunday Night Baseball-ESPN

Above, 9/9/18, "Last month, 's Yankees lost to 's Red Sox, so Alex agreed to work at Wahlburgers before Sunday Night Baseball." ESPN twitter

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Monday, August 27, 2018

There are no slam dunks in baseball-Aspen Times, Glenn K. Beaton

8/25/18, "Glenn K. Beaton: There are no slam dunks in baseball," Aspen Times, Glenn K. Beaton

They had swatted more flies than fly balls. The pine tar on their bats was melting, and there was concern that the wood might be next. Even the Central American players thought it was unbearably humid.

The Atlanta Braves needed just one more weak grounder to send the Rox back to the place they apparently wanted to be — their air-conditioned hotel. It was a slam dunk.

But there are no slam dunks in baseball.

In an onslaught not seen in Atlanta since William Tecumseh Sherman visited in the century before last, the Rox with two outs in the ninth rocked the southerners with three runs. They were having so much fun in their new party barn that they stayed for an extra inning to add two more.

Per the baseball rulebook, that ended the game. Which is lucky for the Braves because otherwise they'd still be playing and the score would now be 687-3 in favor of the Rox.

One reason that there are no slam dunks in baseball is that there's no clock. Nobody scores three touchdowns in the last second of a football game or 10 baskets in the last second of a basketball game. But it's not unusual for a baseball team to rally in the ninth inning, even with two outs and nobody on.

If the score is tied at the end of the game, then it's not the end of the game. They play another inning and, if necessary, another and another. This can go on for a spell. The White Sox and Brewers once went 25 innings in a game that lasted over eight hours.

I come from a baseball family, in the sense that my big brother was a terrific pitcher and my mother recorded his every pitch on a notepad. Mark was so good that he went to college on a baseball scholarship. That made him the first of our family to attend college, going all the way back to our clan in Scotland.

Mom still has her scrapbooks of Mark's sports page writeups. A typical headline is "Beaton strikes out 15."

I was, um, not as good. My baseball career ended in ninth grade when I was cut from the team. I realize now that my biggest problem was poor coaching. No one ever told me "swing hard in case you hit it." Not that I hit it very often.

In retrospect, being cut was a good thing because it saved me from a sports section headline reading something like "Baby Beaton strikes out 15 times."

Even though baseball has not been berry, berry good to me, I'm berry, berry good to it.

I love this game. I love that it's not over till it's over. I love that there's just enough luck involved that on any given day any team can beat any other team.

I love the foreign players. On the Rockies, a Korean pitcher speaks so little English that a translator accompanies the team manager on mound visits. Think about being in his shoes.

And what about those Venezuelan players? They fled the crumbling "workers utopia" to face long odds in a strange land where a foreign language is spoken. Imagine what they think of Bernie Sanders.

I love that both the foreign and American players stand at attention with their caps off and their hands over their hearts for the playing of the national anthem, because they want to.

I love that there's no end zone dancing, and I love that they scratch themselves but only when people are looking.

I love that many players believe, and are not too shy to give thanks to the object of their belief with a simple hand point and nod to the sky.

I love baseball."


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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Lance Lynn is 5th Yankee pitcher since 1990 to turn in 7+ scoreless innings in first start with the team-ESPN

8/6/18, "According to ESPN Stats and Info, Lance Lynn became the fifth Yankees pitcher since 1990 to turn in a start of 7+ scoreless innings in his first start with the team." Marly Rivera, ESPN...final, 7-0, Yankees over White Sox


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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Chinese baseball team takes over Texas minor league club-AP

"The players ranging in age from 18 to 29 rotate on and off the active roster...in one of the low-minor leagues not affiliated with Major League Baseball."

7/25/18, "Chinese baseball team takes over Texas minor league club," AP sports, Stephen Hawkins, Grand Prairie, Texas

"The starting lineups are announced in English and Spanish at home games for the independent Texas AirHogs. And then the Chinese national anthem is played.

For about 30 members of the Chinese national team, the suburban ballpark a few miles west of downtown Dallas has become their summer home and training ground in an unprecedented setup.

They are a revolving part of the roster for a professional team in the United States, playing more games and against tougher competition while working to improve for future international events such as the upcoming Asian Games and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"The system that they've created here, where we work out in the morning, we've got weight training, the pitchers have a system where we throw on, the coaches have kind of set up a system that's really helped them to be able to make the adjustment to play more games," Sun Jianzeng, a 26-year-old right-hander, said through a translator.

Chinese players who professionally back home would play only 20-30 games a season make up about two-thirds of the expanded roster for the American Association team now formally known as the AirHogs powered by Beijing Shougang Eagles. The players ranging in age from 18 to 29 rotate on and off the active roster to play 6-7 games per week in one of the low-minor leagues not affiliated with Major League Baseball.

"It makes it workable, because we don't want to wear these guys down," said AirHogs manager John McLaren, a big league coach for three decades who has worked with Chinese teams since 2011. Players not on the active roster for games go through early workouts at AirHogs Stadium, 10 minutes from the home ballpark of the Texas Rangers. There are conditioning and weight training drills that are new to the Chinese players.

"They're trying to do something they've never done before, which is play this many games on a daily basis, and you throw into the fact that with the exception of maybe three or four pitchers, they're physically and experienced-wise overmatched," said Larry Hardy, a former Rangers pitching coach filling the same role for the AirHogs. "But they're getting better."

McLaren had a short stint managing Seattle in 2007-08 and was Washington's interim manager for three games in 2011. He was on the Philadelphia Phillies staff the past two seasons.

He also managed China at the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2017. Over that time, there would be gaps of six or seven months when he wouldn't even see the team — and players would barely play baseball. China has a 2-10 record in its four WBC appearances, getting outscored 102-18 in those games.

"These guys, I don't think they'd ever played twice in a week," McLaren said .

That changed when the Chinese Baseball Association made arrangement with the AirHogs, allowing them to focus on daily development.

They are now together all the time in a 12-team league that stretches more than 1,300 miles from Texas into Canada. The closest stop is Cleburne, Texas, where 53-year-old former big league slugger Rafael Palmeiro is starring for the Railroaders.

China's only Olympic berth was in 2008, going 1-6 in group play after an automatic berth as the host nation. That was the last time baseball was part of the Summer Games until its return two years from now in Japan.

The AirHogs are a league-worst 17-44 this season, but player-coach Na Chuang said the team has progressed faster than expected, increasing the confidence of the Chinese players who will leave with McLaren and some of their national coaches for the Asian Games in Indonesia before the end of the 100-game AirHogs season.

Kevin Joseph, who pitched in the majors briefly with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002, is part of McLaren's staff as an assistant coach and invaluable translator. He learned Mandarin while spending more than eight years teaching baseball to young people after a friend with connections to baseball officials in China invited him there.

"The big need, I think, for China is they don't play a lot of games. So for them to be able to come, and to learn the rhythm of a baseball lifestyle, play against better competition, has been a great experience," Joseph said. "The players have really meshed well with the Chinese guys, they love them."

Joseph said hitters have changed the way they swing the bat, being more aggressive and ready to hit pitches coming faster than they've seen before.

For the pitchers, the emphasis has been on throwing more fastballs and fewer breaking balls. Hardy said the catchers have started to understand what the coaches are looking for from pitchers.

"The level of play is a lot higher," Jianzeng said. "You can make smallest mistakes, can be hurt here as a pitcher. ... Because you're playing so many games, you're learning about yourself as a pitcher, and you're getting a lot more experience."

There are the inevitable hiccups because of communication issues and culture differences, including the style of play the Chinese players were used to, but Joseph said things have gone well overall.

"It's fun just to watch them interact with everybody, and themselves, and show up every day, kidding and joking," said McLaren, sitting in the coaches' office next to a narrow room cramped with lockers. 

"It's a clubhouse. They're a different culture, speak a different language, but the laugh in the clubhouse is the same.""


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Friday, June 15, 2018

Andy Pettitte debuts as Old Timer on Sunday, 6/17/18, throws bp before Friday's Rays-Yankee game

Above, 6/15/18, Coley Harvey twitter

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

Young Yankee fan in Toronto was able to use his "All Rise" sign in the 13th inning, Yankees at Blue Jays, after Aaron Judge home run-Wed., 6/6/18

Above, 6/6/18, Young Yankee fan in Toronto brought along his Aaron Judge "All Rise" sign and was able to use it in the 13th inning. Yankees at Blue Jays, final in 13 innings, Yankees 3, Blue Jays 0.
Screen shot from ESPN MLB video on box score page.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Mike Francesa twitter page debuts 5/18/18

Above, 5/18/18, Banner at top of Mike Francesa twitter

Above, Mike's first tweet


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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Line of cars for Yankees at Nationals 4 hours before game time, parking attendant replaces $40 sign with $50 sign-Eddie Matz, ESPN

"Ticket prices aren't the only thing that soars when the Yankees come to town. With a line of cars waiting to get into the lot across the street from Nats Park a full four hours before game time, the attendant took the sign that says "$40" and replaced it with one that says "$50." New York is averaging 35,442 per road contest, second in the majors behind Arizona." Eddie Matz, ESPN...Yankees at Nationals

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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Great news: Mike Francesa likely returning to WFAN in 3-7pm time slot-Newsday, Neil Best

Newsday back page, 4/25/18

4/24/18, "Francesa: 'It is time to return to WFAN'," Newsday, Neil Best

"A person at WFAN with knowledge of the plan said Francesa likely would reclaim a portion of his old afternoon drive time slot.

"Saying “it is time to return to WFAN,” Mike Francesa told Newsday on Tuesday morning that after four months away from the station he is ready for a comeback.

Francesa declined to elaborate on what form his return might take, but a person at WFAN with knowledge of the plan said he likely would reclaim a portion of his old afternoon drive time slot, from 3 to 7 p.m. It is not clear when that would occur.

Where would that leave his successors, Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott? Likely with a continuing role, but one that is shorter and less visible than their current 2 to 6:30 p.m. show.

The person at WFAN said the tentative plan would be for Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts to return to their old 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. slot — they have been on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. since January — with “CMB” being heard from 1 to 3 p.m.

Mark Chernoff, WFAN’s vice president of programming, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Francesa said he has been working on a project with the agency CAA and that he intended to include WFAN. He also alluded cryptically to a “campaign” to keep him from returning to the station that he left in December.

Francesa declined to answer followup questions about that or any other aspect of what he said, which was that, “I have been working on a project with CAA for months. That will be explained in the days ahead.

“This is for those who started this campaign in recent days. I didn’t decide to go back to WFAN until I was told I better not go back. For those behind it, that was the moment I decided to return.

“I will do everything to work WFAN into an integral part of the project. It is time to return to WFAN.”

Francesa’s last 1 to 6:30 p.m. show was Dec. 15. He was succeeded as of Jan. 2 by Carlin, Gray and Scott, who in their first full ratings book lost narrowly to ESPN New York’s Michael Kay in ratings among men ages 25-54 from 3 to 6:30 p.m., when the shows overlap. Kay never had beaten Francesa for a full ratings book.

Carlin, a former “Mike and the Mad Dog” producer, has had a strained relationship with Francesa for years. After Francesa and his former partner, Chris Russo, jokingly and obliquely referenced WFAN’s struggles on the MLB Network show “High Heat” on March 28, Carlin texted both men with a strongly worded expression of displeasure. Carlin posted a tweet on Tuesday morning that read, “How’s everybody’s day going so far?”

Carlin, Gray and Scott opened their Tuesday show by addressing the matter and taking the high road, even though Carlin acknowledged the situation is “awkward, of course it is.”

“All we can tell you is this: We’re not going anywhere,” Carlin said. “We’re going to be a big part of this radio station for a long time. This is a business. And you are talking about someone in Mike who was wildly successful for 30 years, so it only makes business sense to welcome somebody like that back into the fold.”

He added, “There is room for all of us here, and we’re all going to be here. Our show is going to continue to grow and I guarantee you one thing, we’re going to have a ton of fun doing it, and if Mike’s back in the afternoon, which it certainly looks like that’s going to be the case, it only makes the radio station stronger.

Carlin also said, “I have always loved this place, and I will always love this place.”

Said Gray, “There’s room for all of us here, and all of our voices can be heard . . . We’re going to continue to be something different. That’s why they hired us in the first place, right? Fresh perspective, a little something different.”

Scott joked, “I’m just trying to get out of the house,” then added, “I’m the only one here that has retired before. Retiring isn’t fun. I’m happy that I get to share this piece of real estate with you guys.” Scott also joked, “I know the [pay] check better clear.”

Francesa has been free to sign elsewhere since April 1 and has worked with CAA on what comes next. Apparently that “next” is at hand.

In March, Francesa told Newsday his departure from WFAN had been “very much an adjustment.”

He said, “Have there been times when I wish I had a forum and I wanted to express myself?

Absolutely. Many, many times that has come up. I have to say, I miss it more than I thought I would . . . There have been some [topics] that have gotten me. There’s no question. I don’t want to list them, but there’s been more than a few I would have loved to opine on.”"

Link for above image: 4/25/18, Newsday sports reporter, "Bob Glauber twitter"


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Monday, April 09, 2018

Chicago Cubs home opener postponed due to lack of global warming-4/9/18

4/9/18, "The Cubs have pushed their start time back an hour to 2:20 CT/3:20 EST for their home opener against the Pirates today due to weather. It's still currently snowing at Wrigley Field. Jesse Rogers ESPN Cubs twitter...(Update: Game postponed until Tues., 4/10

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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

US gives baseball to Facebook: Mets game Wed., April 4, 2018 can be viewed only on Facebook. MLB signed deal with Facebook global sports to stream 25 MLB games in 2018, says will be great for MLB global audience-NY Daily News, 3/9/18

3/9/18, "Facebook to exclusively stream 25 MLB games this season, starting with Phillies-Mets," NY Daily News, Evan Grossman

"MLB and Facebook reached an agreement to stream games on the social media site season, starting with Phillies-Mets on April 4. Facebook Watch will broadcast a total of 25 games this year, mostly on Wednesday afternoons, as part of MLB's first digital-only broadcasts.

"This partnership with Facebook reflects the ongoing commitment of Major League Baseball and our Clubs to connect with people around the world," Tony Petitti, Deputy Commissioner of Business and Media for Major League Baseball, said in a statement Friday. "It is a major creative step forward in serving our diverse, passionate community of fans, who will enjoy a uniquely interactive experience watching our games on Facebook each week."

First up will be the Mets and Phillies on the first Wednesday of the regular season. MLB will release the broadcast schedule a month at a time, to allow for more flexibility. Every MLB team has a certain number of national broadcasts they must be a part of each season, which will also dictate the rolling schedule.

As for the day and time, MLB selected mid-week afternoons to maximize the online audience. The thought is that most viewers are in front of a computer, most likely at work, in the middle of the week. The league is still working out the finer details, such as which announcers will be used on each game.

Game broadcasts will be produced by MLB Network and will feature a number of digital tools to enhance the viewing experience. Fans will be able to watch games on their mobile and desktop devices that have been designed for more immersive viewing, sharing and interacting consistent with the social media platform.
"We're excited to extend our partnership with Major League Baseball to make Facebook Watch a home for exclusive, live games every week this season," Dan Reed, Facebook's head of global sports partnerships, said. "Community and conversation are central to both baseball and Facebook, and MLB Network's innovative broadcasts will bring these interactive and social elements of the game to life to fans around the world in new ways on our platform."

Facebook has previously live streamed college football and UEFA Champions League games.

The first MLB broadcast will stream on Facebook Watch April 4 live from Citi Field. The remainder of the April schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, April 4: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Wednesday, April 11: Milwaukee Brewers vs. St. Louis Cardinals, 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday, April 18: Kansas City Royals vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m.

Thursday, April 26: Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 1:05 p.m." 


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

John Sterling's first home run call for Giancarlo Stanton, March 29, 2018

1st inning, Yankees at Blue Jays: "“Swung on and drilled to deep right-centerfield! It is high, it is far, it is gone! In his first Yankee at-bat, Giancarlo, non si puo stoparlo! It is a Stantonian home run, a two-run blast to right- center in his first Yankee at-bat, and the Yankees take a 2-0 lead!”" Per Neil Best, Sterling had indicated he'd use an Italian phrase though Stanton isn't Italian. It translates to, "Giancarlo you can't stop it," per google translate, says Mr. Best. Final score, 6-1, Yankees over Blue Jays


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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Aaron Judge will tower over NY City streets this year-Coley Harvey, ESPN

3/27/18, "As part of his new Adidas deal, Aaron Judge will tower over NYC streets this year. If the ad looks familiar, that’s because it was created by the Costacos Bros, designers of ‘90s posters featuring Ken Griffey, Jr., Randy Johnson and Pat Ewing among others. (Photo courtesy adidas)," Coley Harvey, ESPN twitter


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Monday, February 19, 2018

2018 Yankees aren't just built to break records. They're built to break windows-Mike Lupica, NY Daily News

2/18/18, "Yankees are team to watch but Astros are still the ones to beat in 2018," Mike Lupica, NY Daily News, W. Palm Beach

1/28/18, Stanton and Judge at BBWAA dinner, AP

"The Yankees are the team to watch this season in baseball, without question. Are you kidding? They’ve got All Rise Judge, who finished second in the MVP voting in the American League and hit 51 home runs, and even hit some balls at the Home Run Derby in Miami that have just now come down in Georgia someplace. The Yankees now have Giancarlo Stanton, who won the MVP award in the National League and hit 59 home runs in Miami. And they’ve still got Gary Sanchez. They aren’t just built to break records. They’re built to break windows."

Sun., 1/28/2018, "New teammates in NY: Judge, Stanton honored," MLB.com, At New York Baseball Writers Dinner



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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

'Silly Goose: Mariano Rivera and the myth of the 7-out Save,' Baseball Prospectus guest author Kevin Baker, 10/31/2011. Fact Checking Goose Gossage: The 'thrill' of his coming in with bases loaded...was limited to the other team's dugout

Kevin Baker's 10/31/2011 BP article addresses Gossage boilerplate. Gossage's twelve+ year long smear campaign against Mariano Rivera has become a second career for him. Until Feb. 2018, the Yankees provided Gossage with podium and microphone to do his bashing.
Mariano Rivera
Goose Gossage

10/31/2011, "Silly Goose: Mariano Rivera and the Myth of the Seven-Out Save," Kevin Baker, Guest at Baseball Prospectus, "Baseball ProGuestUs." (Rivera retired after the 2013 season)

"I used to love watching Goose Gossage pitch. With that wonderful rising fastball he was one of the best examples ever of the pure power game....

That’s why I was happy to see him elected to the Hall of Fame, an honor he heartily deserved. Gossage’s approach to the Hall was as straightforward as his pitching style. He campaigned actively by pointing out how much harder relief pitchers were worked back in his day than now, and how much more difficult it was to run up impressive save totals.

His points were well-taken, and now that he’s in the Hall…
  • I wish he would shut up.
Over the last few years, the Goose’s advocacy for the pitchers of his era has turned more and more into carping about the closers of today, and especially Mariano Rivera. This is usually followed by some boilerplate about what a great competitor Rivera is, apples and oranges, blah blah blah. But more and more, it’s become downright pissy. Worse yet, it’s begun to influence those highly
  • impressionable young minds we call sportswriters and broadcasters.
“…when I pitched the ninth inning to save a three-run lead, coming in with no one on base, I felt guilty. I would go home and be embarrassed,” Gossage told Fox Sports online columnist Greg Couch last month. “Rivera is a great pitcher,
  • but what he’s doing is easy. It really is.”
Easy, huh?

Let’s have a quick show of (liver-spotted) hands: What springs to mind when you hear Goose Gossage talking about how “easy” it is to get through an inning without giving up three runs?
George Brett hitting a three-run homer into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium to clinch the 1980 ALCS for the Royals? Yes, thank you, Yankees fans!

Can I get an “amen” from the Padres fans out there? Remember Kirk Gibson going deep to wrap up the 1984 World Series for the Tigers with a three-run blast…the inning after Lance Parrish
  • had already homered off Gossage? You stay classy, San Diego!
That’s right, Rich Gossage’s two most famous moments in postseason history consist of him
  • surrendering mammoth, three-run homers.
But wait, that’s not really fair. Sure, it wasn’t strictly the postseason, but it was Goose Gossage out there on the mound saving the “Bucky Dent game,” the 1978 playoff between the Yankees and the Red Sox.

In that game, the Goose was actually given a three-run lead at one point…and barely survived, surrendering hits or walks to six of the last eleven Red Sox he faced. Save for a terrific head fake by Lou Piniella in right field,
  • Boston would probably have tied the game in the ninth.
Not so easy, holding on to a three-run lead.

Unfortunately, thanks to Goose, Fox’s Greg Couch joined all too many commentators in
  • damning The Great One’s record-breaking 603 saves with faint praise. [Rivera ended his career with 652 regular season saves in 1283.2 innings, 2.21 ERA, and 42 post season saves in 141 innings, .70 ERA. (Gossage post season ERA is 2.87). Rivera's 141 post season innings equate to 2 additional years of regular season relief pitching @ 70 IP per year. The equivalent two additional years of pitching are sandwiched into the regular season years. No stat exists to reflect this durability]
Couch claims that he doesn’t want “to doubt the greatness of Rivera,” but that there is “no way of knowing” if he is the greatest closer ever, due to the faulty, “fabricated” statistic that is the “save.” 

What would be a better one?

Well, Couch quotes approvingly a definition that’s been bandied about a lot recently. That is, a save of “seven outs or more”—or over two innings. Goose Gossage has 52 of these in the regular season, he informs us; Mariano Rivera…one, Trevor Hoffman, two. Optimally, what a real closer does, according to Couch and Goose, is to “come in during the
  • seventh inning, bases loaded, one-run lead.”
“I used to love that,” says Gossage. “They used to use and abuse us, but think of the pressure. You couldn’t even let them put the ball in play.”

I’m sorry, but just when did we start handing out style points for degree of difficulty? This is baseball, not gymnastics or figure skating. The idea is to win. If Mr. Couch covered music, would he be sneering, “Nice concerto, Mr. Heifetz. But let’s see you play it while crossing a high wire—riding a tricycle?”

I’ll concede that there are plenty of problems with the current save statistic. And some day, in baseball’s equivalent of punctuated equilibrium, a manager will climb out of the antediluvian ooze and try using his best relief pitcher in the most critical moment of the game, whether or not that’s in the ninth inning. (Although this is expecting a lot of prescience from the poor manager
  • and it still leaves that pesky ninth for someone to get through.)
But what the record shows is not that Mariano Rivera should be used more like Goose Gossage.
  • It’s that Goose Gossage should’ve been used more like Mariano Rivera.
The basic idea here is that a relief pitcher is a weapon, and like all weapons, it makes sense to use it as wisely and efficiently as possible. Someone—I think it was Roger Angell—compared the closer to the cavalry of Napoleonic era warfare, designed not to make foolhardy frontal assaults, but to exploit breaches in the line and turn an opening into a rout. I think that’s a pretty fair analogy. And when it comes right down to it, the weapon that was Goose Gossage was all
  • too often sent charging into the guns, in acts of idiotic bravado.
Let’s examine first the mythology of the seven-out save—we’ll call it a “Supersave.”

Why seven outs and not, say, six, or nine? The whole idea seems at least as arbitrary and fabricated as the original save stat. For that matter, Gossage’s 52 Supersaves become a lot less impressive when you take into account the fact that he was a major-league pitcher for 22 seasons, and a reliever for 21 of them.

Thanks to the brilliant statistical work of Baseball Prospectus’ own Bradley Ankrom, we can report that the Goose was in fact only the master of the extended save
  • for a few seasons,
  • most of them near the beginning of that very long career.
He was at his best in 1975 when, as a 24-year-old hurler for a poor White Sox team, he converted 11 of 13 Supersave opportunities, throwing 141.2 innings. After flopping as a starter for the Sox the following year, he came back in 1977 to convert seven of nine Supersave chances, while throwing 133 innings.

Pretty spectacular. But this was clearly a young man’s game, and the Goose would not last at it. In 1978, at age 27, Gossage racked up six more Supersaves—but also blew six such chances. He had only two more good years at this sort of work—1980, when he converted nine of 11, and 1984, when he was six of seven.

After that, for the last nine years of his career, he racked up exactly four more saves of seven outs or more, while blowing two. Nor was the save rule always unkind to him; one of these “Supersaves” consisted of pitching four innings—
  • beginning with an eight-run lead.
At the same time, the Goose would, according to my count, blow 25 Supersaves—or about one-third of all his opportunities, a ratio that would be
  • unacceptable to most teams today.
Yet this was pretty much in keeping with Gossage’s entire career record. Looking it over—thanks again to Mr. Ankrom’s industry—the first thing that jumps out at you is
  • just how many games
  • Goose Gossage managed to lose,
  • compared to all leading closers today.
Even in 1977-78, two of his very best years, spent pitching for a hard-hitting Pirates club that won 96 games and a World Champion Yankees team, he lost a total of 20 games coming out of the pen,
  • and blew 22 saves—in other words, almost one-third
of the 129 total games those two teams lost. Nor was this an anomaly. Throughout his career—spent largely with winning clubs—Gossage ran up double figures in blown saves in six of the 13 seasons when he was either his team’s primary closer or at least shared the role.

Mariano Rivera, by contrast, has never lost more than six games in any one season, in his 15 straight years as the Yankees’ closer and another as their set-up man. He has blown more than six saves only once, in 1997, his first year as a closer, when he gave it up nine times.

It’s a big reason why Mo’s failures are so memorable. He reached almost ridiculous heights of efficiency in 2008 and 2009, blowing one and two saves, respectively, out of a total of 86 opportunities. It’s why his lifetime percentage of saves is a mind-blowing, all-time high of 90 percent,
  • while Gossage’s is only 73.5 percent.
Even in his heyday, the Goose routinely squandered between a quarter and a third of his save opportunities. In 1977, he managed to save only 72 percent of the leads he was sent in to preserve.
  • In 1978, just 69 percent,
  • in 1982, only about 77 percent;
  • 1983, 63 percent;
  • 1984, 69 percent;
  • 1986, 66 percent,
  • 1987, 65 percent;
  • 1988, 56.5 percent…
after which even unevolved managers decided they’d just as soon find more novel ways to lose games.  

Goose’s best years in terms of the percentages of games he would win and save out of the pen? Well, unsurprisingly, these tended to be in the seasons when he was used the most judiciously, if only by accident.

Limited to 36 appearances and 58.1 innings in 1979, when Cliff Johnson broke his thumb in a showerroom brawl, the Goose saved a career-high 90 percent of his 21 save opportunities. In 1981, limited to just 32 appearances and 46.2 innings by an owners’ lockout, he was nearly untouchable, saving 87 percent of his opportunities (20 of 23), losing only two games, surrendering just 22 hits, two home runs, and 14 walks, and compiling an ERA of 0.77.

You’d think somebody would have noticed just how much better the Goose did with more rest, and someone did—namely Dick Howser, the most perspicacious of all Gossage’s managers during this period. Howser limited him to “just” 99 innings in 1980, a full season…in which the Goose went 6-2 and saved 33 of 37 games, including nine Supersaves.

Unfortunately for Gossage and the Yankees, Howser was fired after that one season (in no small part because of Goose’s insistence that he could throw a fastball past George Brett, a concept he never would rid himself of). Then in his thirties, the Goose was once again given over to the care and maintenance of managers who refused to make much allowance for his age or condition.

I thought I remembered him being used in a particularly egregious fashion in 1983, which marked one of Billy Martin’s later and uglier incarnations as Yankees manager. Thanks once more to Bradley Ankrom, I was able to check if this was really so. Sure enough, it was.

To be sure, Gossage’s overall innings totals remained more limited. But day to day, his use seemed more mindless than ever. Here, for instance, was the Goose’s first appearance: entering the second game of the season with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Yankees trailing Seattle, 6-2.

Why, exactly? To beat the spread? Because Martin had dinner reservations at the Space Needle?
This set a pattern. Gossage would enter seven more games that year with his team trailing in the seventh inning or later, four of which they were losing by more than one run. Only once would they rally to win.

If there ever was a manager willing to indulge a pitcher’s desire to get out on the mound and stay there, it was Billy Martin. Throughout 1983, Gossage—now 32 years old—would
  • attempt six more Supersaves but convert only one of them.
It wasn’t that Goose was finished, or close to it. He still threw hard, still allowed just 82 hits and 25 walks in 87.1 innings; still struck out 90, won 13 games, and saved 22 more while compiling a 2.27 ERA. But he did blow 13 savesin a year the Yankees finished seven games out of first—
  • and clearly seemed less able to get outs when he wanted them.
This leads us to the other part of Gossage and Couch’s blather about what a “real” save should look like. That is, how “thrilled” Goose always was to come in with runners on base, particularly “bases loaded in the seventh inning.”

Throughout that 1983 season, it struck me that Gossage—now an older pitcher who probably required more time to get ready—gave up more hits and walks than ever to the first batter or two he faced, then seemed to settle down. Yet Martin almost never seemed to use him to start an inning.

The record confirms this, too. Of his 57 appearances in 1983, just four of them started an inning. In all but four of these, there was already at least one man on base. As for the “thrill” of coming in with the bases loadedit was limited to the other team’s dugout. Goose faced that situation exactly four times all year
  • and every time, he surrendered hits that scored one or two runs.
Over the entire course of his career, Gossage would enter regular-season games with the bases loaded 48 times—far more than any closer, or even set-up man, is likely to do today. In those games he performed well…but slightly worse than he did in the rest of his appearances, compiling 16 saves and a win
  • but also blowing eight saves.
The whole notion of using Gossage this way in the first place is baffling. Why limit your big power pitcher by constantly making him pitch out of the stretch? Never mind pitch counts; do you really have so little idea of when your starter (or another reliever) is running out of steam?

Goose coming in mid-inning in 1983 suffered all five of his losses and all 13 of his blown saves, compiling a 2.32 ERA. His four appearances starting an inning are too small to be statistically meaningful, but it is interesting to note that while he gave up five hits and two walks in those six innings, he surrendered just one run and saved a game.

The moral here is, take care of your tools—or your weapons—and they’ll take care of you. “Abused,” as he claimed, for most of his career, Goose was in serious decline as a relief pitcher by his early thirtieswhereas Mariano continues as one of the very best relievers
  • in the game at 42.
The abuse of the Goose was particularly unnecessary when you consider the fact that he played most of his career with very capable bullpen mates—Kent Tekulve and Terry Forster on the Pirates; Dick Tidrow, Sparky Lyle, Ron Davis, and Dave Righetti on the Yankees; Craig Lefferts on the Padres, etc.

It wasn’t a case of desperate managers trying to eke out an extra win with no one else to turn to. Goose and Couch assert that when Gossage appeared on the scene, “the bullpen was just a junk pile of washed-up starters who couldn’t throw nine innings anymore, or guys who weren’t quite good enough to start.”
  • But like so much else of which they speak, it ain’t necessarily so.
Managers had been dabbling intermittently with the idea of specialty relievers since the days of John McGraw, and by the time Goose Gossage came up in 1972, there had been quite a few good ones.  

That is, men who were outstanding pitchers, expected from an early age to throw mostly or solely in relief: Joe Page, Hoyt Wilhelm, Clem Labine, Ryne Duren, Elroy Face, Lindy McDaniel, Dick Radatz, Luis Arroyo, Ron Perranoski, Pedro Ramos, Phil Regan, Wayne Granger, Clay Carroll, Dave Guisti, Tug McGraw, Sparky Lyle, Rollie Fingers, to name just a few.

These closers threw different pitches and had different backgrounds, but they all had one thing in common: either they burned out after a few wildly successful seasons, or they
  • suffered mysterious “off years” throughout their careers. 
The answer to the “mystery” was, of course, that they were overworked. Managers were so thrilled by this new weapon, one that would preserve their every lead—or so it seemed—that they couldn’t help themselves from overusing it.

“Never save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it might rain,” was Leo Durocher’s famous adage, and it became their watchword, even though it was never supposed to apply to relievers throwing on a daily basis.

Goose Gossage had enough arm strength, enough bulk, and enough mental toughness to endure much longer than this generation of abused pitchers, and he deserves all the accolades he’s won. But too often, his remarkable gifts were wasted—the baseball equivalent of blindly throwing cavalry at artillery batteries (a tactic that would be immortalized as, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”).

The very idea of a relief pitcher is that of someone who has one extraordinary pitch—and one only. If they have more, they are being wasted as a reliever and should be moved into the starting rotation. Overusing a reliever not only weakens his arm over the long run of the season or his career, it also provides hitters with the opportunity to adjust to his specialty pitch—and given enough opportunities, at least in the same game, major-league hitters will adjust to any pitch you can throw.

Here’s one more statistic to throw the trade-off between save and Supersave into full relief: over the course of his career, Goose Gossage threw some 600 more innings than Mariano Rivera (although 224 of these came in Goose’s one season used almost exclusively as a starter, while Rivera threw only 67.1 in 1995, when the Yanks gave him 10 starts).

However, by the year he turned 35, Gossage was throwing fewer innings per season than Rivera was for every year he was the same age. And throughout their respective careers,
  • Mo almost always logged more appearances.
So the cost of Goose’s Supersaves was more blown saves, fewer appearances, and a foreshortened career. Tell me again: Why is it better to have an athlete try to do something he can’t do as well when he overextends himself, especially when that something makes him
  • less available to his team and less effective over the course of his career?
Still, even if you could convince Couch and Gossage that it’s infinitely more rational to use relievers the way they are used today, rather than in romantic times of yore, they would argue that this only confirms Goose’s opinion that he was “abused” by his managers. It doesn’t answer the main thing they claim to want to know,
  • which is: Who’s better? Who’s the best?
In this sense, Couch is right—it’s arguing apples and oranges, and ultimately unknowable.

To wonder if Mariano could have carried Goose’s old pitching load without breaking down is about as useful as wondering if Roy Halladay could have pitched four hundred innings a year, the way Joe McGinnity and Happy Jack Chesbro did over a hundred years ago. (The answer is…yes, probably, if you started all the games in the late afternoon and handed Mr. Halladay a ball he could spit on, rub any sort of gunk on, and not replace until it had become a wobbly, soggy, gray mess.)  

Certainly, Rivera doesn’t have Gossage’s bulk…although as a young set-up man back in 1996, he did throw 107 innings, firing almost entirely fastballs that moved as much as the Goose’s ever did."...

[Ed. note: In 1996, Rivera threw 107.2 innings in regular season and 14.1 innings in post season for a total of 122 innings that year. In the 1996 World Series, he was used in 4 of the 6 games including 3 days in a row, Oct. 21, 22, and 23. In game 6 on Oct. 26, Rivera provided two scoreless innings, the 7th and 8th, his 121st and 122nd innings in 1996, entering with the score Yankees 3, Braves 1. Wetteland pitched the 9th, gave up one run, the final score Yankees 3, Braves 2.]

(continuing): "Could Mo have kept up that pace year in and year out, even with his famous cutter? Who knows? Gossage certainly didn’t; his effectiveness falling off as dramatically
  • as his yearly innings by his early-to-mid thirties.
Of course, what Couch and Gossage are driving at is how good Goose would have been in the modern era of relief pitching, free to just come in at the start of the ninth, with no one on base. I suspect he would have been spectacularly successful…
  • although again, who knows?
Rivera has pitched, after all, almost entirely in an era of bandbox ballparks and souped-up sluggers. While it would not surprise me to learn that any ballplayer today has used performance-enhancing drugs, it seems unlikely that Mo has ever done so, considering the course of his career, his body type, his declining velocity over the years, and his religious convictions.

This would mean that he has played his entire career with a handicap unlike anything that Goose was ever subjected to. Would a fastball pitcher with a wild streak, stubbornly maintaining that he could throw his ball past anyone, anytime, really have fared so well in an age of steroidal hitters who specialize in working pitch counts? Just how many of all those impressive Gossage innings included popping up bandy-legged shortstops on the first pitch, or getting batters to fly out to the far reaches of stadiums built mainly for football?

Maybe Gossage would’ve made adjustments. The great ones usually do…although it’s hard not to forget the famous footage of the Goose talking Dick Williams out of making him walk Kirk Gibson intentionally in the eighth inning of that 1984 World Series finale, while over in the other dugout,
  • Team be damned—it was all about how hard the Goose could throw.
There is one further indication of how Mariano Rivera might have fared in the Gossage era, and that’s his prodigious postseason record. During the regular season, along with those 603 saves, Mo has a 75-57 record and a lifetime ERA of 2.21—the best ever compiled in the live-ball era, depending on how you want to measure it—along with just 934 hits and 275 walks in 1,211.1 innings, and 1,111 strikeouts, figures so gaudy they’re almost absurd.

But in his postseason appearances, which by now have amounted to an extra season, or maybe two seasons, [it does amount to two extra seasons-at 70IP per season, total of 141 innings] of pitching, Rivera is even better…much better. Against the best teams in baseball, with everything at stake, he’s run up an 8-1 record, with 42 saves in 47 attempts, allowing 21 walks and 81 hits against 110 strikeouts
  • in 141 innings and compiling an ERA of 0.70.
Yet the most salient fact about all those playoff games is how dramatically Rivera changed his usual pitching habits in them.

You want seven outs? Mariano has provided four such appearances in the postseason; in none of them did he allow a run or an inherited runner to score. They included a couple of the most memorable playoff games in history; his coming out, a 3.1-inning victory over Seattle in the 1995 American League Division Series, and the three unforgettable innings he pitched to win the Aaron Boone game” against Boston in
  • the ALCS finale in 2003.
You want two-inning appearances? Rivera has run up 29 of those in the postseason, garnering four wins, 14 saves, and three holds.

You want more than one inning? Mo has another 24 one-inning-plus playoff appearances to his credit, earning another 16 saves and a hold.

In other words, 57 of Rivera’s 96 playoff appearances have been for more than one inning. In them, he has run up half of his
  • eight postseason wins and
almost three-quarters of his 42 postseason saves. 

You want inherited runners? In nearly a third of his playoff appearances—30 out of 96—Rivera has entered the game with runners on base; a total of 48 of them,
  • 14 of them on second, 11 on third.
He has prevented all but eight of them—or one-sixth—from scoring. 

And yes, he’s come into postseason games with the bases loaded. He did it in his first year in the playoffs against Seattle, age 25, and he did it just this fall, in the ALDS against Detroit, age nearly 42.
  • In each case, he struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Gossage’s record in the playoffs, while much more abbreviated, is also outstanding. In 19 appearances, he had two wins and eight saves, with an ERA of 2.87, and 21 hits, 10 walks, and 29 strikeouts in 31.1 innings. He inherited runners on six different occasions, ten in all, and allowed only one to score. In 1981, easily his best postseason, the well-rested Goose did indeed come into the seventh inning of a game the Yankees were winning 1-0, in the second game of the special ALDS that year, and retired Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper in a bravura performance.

That was the only time he ever did it. But he also managed to blow three of eleven save opportunities in his postseason career, as well as effectively taking San Diego out of that last game of the 1984 World Series. In 1980, he wouldn’t have even had to face George Brett had he not given up a two-out single to Royals’ shortstop U.L. Washington (who’s “embarrassed” now?).

Yet somehow these blips have dropped from most sportswriters’ memories, while one after another
  • felt obliged to bring up the fact that Rivera “had his failures in the postseason,
  • almost as if he were the Greg Norman of relief pitching.
It’s instructive to take a look at those “failures.” Mariano has blown all of five saves in the postseason. One of these was Sandy Alomar’s famous, opposite-field home run in the 1997 ALDS that barely cleared the right-field fence—
  • and only tied Game Five of that series.
One was the even more famous Yankees meltdown in the seventh game of the 2001 World Series, where Mo—after pitching a scoreless eighth inningwas victimized more by the fielding of himself and his teammates than his pitching (and when Joe Torre foolishly decided to move his infield in, behind a pitcher who specialized in weak pop-ups to the near outfield).

The other three came within a space of 13 days in the 2004 playoffs, after a season in which Rivera had set career marks in appearances and saves, with 69 and 53, respectively. In the midst of this period,
  • he had to make a hurried flight to Panama and back to deal with the tragic death of his cousins in a pool accident.
Nonetheless, Joe “Breaker of Pitchers” Torre decided to call on Rivera seven times in this span, including three two-inning stints and three more of five or six outs. One of the blown saves was when Rivera gave up the tying runs to the Twins in the ALDS, in a game the Yanks later won in extra innings.

The other two, of course, came against Boston. One was Game Five of the ALCS, in which Mo gave up a sacrifice fly to tie the game after coming in men on first and third—something that tells you most of what you need to know about the problems with the save statistic. The other was the famous “Dave Roberts game”
  • although here again, Rivera,
  • in his second inning of work, gave up the tying but not the winning run.
In other words, in 96 tries, Mariano River has never given up an earned run that lost a ballgame in the postseason. Used as he was “supposed” to be used—that is, the way he was used through most of the season, brought in at the start of the ninth inning—he has never surrendered a lead in he postseason, period. The only postseason contest where Rivera was really even hit hard was Game Two of the 2000 World Series against the Mets when, rushed in to save a floundering Jeff Nelson, he gave up a two-run homer to Jay Payton, and nearly another one to Todd Zeile. The Mets almost broke through—almost.

Throughout his career, Mariano Rivera has been the most brilliant of weapons, a stiletto expertly applied to win a great many ballgames with his one, unhittable pitch. What he has done is unique in the history not just of baseball, but all athletics:

appearing for a decade-and-a-half, only when the game is on the line, and succeeding nine times out of ten in preserving victory.
  • No other athlete in a team sport has ever performed so consistently under pressure.
Yet when jerked out of the security of his usual role and used in a very different role—when his managers have tried to use the stiletto as a meat axe—he has actually picked up his game. Taxed beyond his usual endurance, at the end of a long and wearing season, and against the best teams and hitters in the game
  • he has performed better than ever.
If they want to contribute something, Goose Gossage and Greg Couch should take up the worthy cause of getting some of Goose’s other contemporaries into the Hall with him (Sparky Lyle, anyone?). In trying to denigrate what Mariano Rivera has accomplished,
  • they only make themselves look foolish."
  • Among comments to above article at BP:
10/31/2011, "randolph3030 (17064)"

"Couldn't agree more. I would love to be able to love Goose, but he's such a jerk about Rivera it makes it hard. One big difference between the workloads of the two pitchers is the quality of the batter faced. In the 70s and 80s relatively few hitters were able to punish a pitcher in comparison those of the 90s and 00s. Rivera has been amazing during in an era when middle-infielders hit 30/40/50 homeruns in a season. Most of the SS that Goose faced didn't hit 50 in a career. I never could figure out a proper way to frame a study of results vs. top quality opposition to see who fared better against the best opponents. Results vs. players with OPS+;100? Per season? Per career?"
  • ------------------------
"delatopia (19303) 

To me this article is a perfect example of the difference between daily journalism and reflective, non-deadline sites like BP. Not defending Couch's point of view, the angle he took or the correctness of his pronouncements, which I think are seriously flawed, but the guy probably has to file three or maybe even four columns a week -- a pace I'd never want to operate at. When you've got to fill the maw of a beast that's never full, you're going to go oftentimes for the column that generates the most reaction while also being the easiest to file -- call the loquacious Gossage, do a little research, spend a couple of hours over the keyboard letting beads of blood form on your forehead (was that Red Smith's quote?), and that's one column down. Of the three that your job requires that week. That being said, those columns should be taken apart (as was done most excellently here), if only to correct the record and add a dissenting view in the marketplace of ideas. I don't like that newspapers and websites demand so much of their columnists. But I think it does mitigate the situation somewhat to understand what those guys are up against, and take these things with a grain of salt."


12 related links:


1. 1/6/2006, "It's an insult to me to even be compared to Mariano Rivera, it really is....The job is easy compared to what we used to do. It's apples and oranges." "Gossage beyond compare," Denver Post, Jim Armstrong


2. 1/5/2008, AP--Gossage admits he had it easier than pitchers in the 1990s and 2000s:

"Gossage's strong opinions have not been limited to his own career. He thinks there ought to be some method of denoting in baseball's history books that offense increased in the 1990s and 2000s, partly because of smaller ballparks, tightly wrapped baseballs and a shrinking strike zone." (6th parag. from end). "Goose Gossage hopes Hall of Fame vote provides relief," AP via ESPN


3. 10/25/2001--CNN/SI.com, "Rivera Like Closers of Old," Jacob Luft, and here. 
(The original link to the 2001 CNN/SI piece appears to be dead. I copied it in Jan. 2008)

"In an era when closers often come with a "Handle with Care" label, Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera is a true throwback.

  • Most managers pamper their high-priced closers, bringing them in for the last three outs of a game after an unheralded setup guy wiggles out of the eighth-inning jam.
The inflated save totals end up devaluing the statistic, making a 30-save season seem downright pedestrian, if not easy.
  • But Rivera in October is different.
  • He's Rollie Fingers without the handlebar mustache,
  • Goose Gossage without the showmanship.
Rivera has the most postseason saves in history with 23 [as of Oct. 2001]. And that's not a soft 23, either, with 17 of them demanding more than one inning of work."... 

[Note: Rivera ended his career in 2013 with 42 postseason saves, 8 postseason Wins, and 1 postseason loss. 57 of Rivera's 96 post season appearances from 1995 ALDS through 2011 ALDS were multi-inning. Against the game's best hitters, under the greatest pressure, when most other relief pitchers were resting up to pad the next year's regular season stats.]


4. 2007, Michael Hoban, PhD: "At this point in his career, Mo Rivera is way ahead of the HOF standard and could emerge as the greatest relief pitcher to date." BASEBALL’S BEST: The TRUE Hall of Famers," by Michael Hoban, Ph.D. "Chapter 11, Two Special Categories of Pitchers," "Now, what about the true relief pitchers, that is, those who had very few (or no) starts and spent the bulk of their careers in relief? Is there any way that we can arrive at a fair standard for HOF induction for these pitchers based strictly on the numbers? Of course, we need a tough standard that only the truly outstanding relievers will meet." [This study didn't include post season or All Star].


5. 7/15/2010, "Just How good is Mariano Rivera," by Dr. Michael Hoban, Seamheads.com

Mariano Rivera is the best reliever in baseball history.” [Based on regular season only].


6. 3/6/2010, "Pinstripes Then, Now and Forever," NY Times, Joe Brescia

"A. (Gossage): When I was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was told that I had 53 saves with seven-plus outs. I was told that Mariano had one and Trevor Hoffman had two. So I think that says it in a nutshell.

Q. (NY Times): How do you think you would do if you were closing games today?

A. It’s hard to say what my statistics would be if I was used for only one inning like these guys. I had longevity. When I got a one-inning save, I felt guilty. Guys would kid me: You’re going to take that? Does that count?”"


Talk to most players, and they will tell you that Rivera has been the most important stripe forming the pinstriped dynasty of the 1990s and 2000s. More than Derek Jeter. More than Andy Pettitte. More than Jorge Posada. More than Bernie Williams.

There is no equal.

"It's a huge psychological advantage when you've got a guy like Mariano and a great setup corps," Gossage said, "to know that it's a six-inning ballgame. You've got the lead, and it's over."

In the 2009 postseason, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon, Minnesota's Joe Nathan, the Angels' Brian Fuentes, Colorado's Huston Street, the Cardinals' Ryan Franklin and the Dodgers' Jonathan Broxton all blew save chances.


He went 5 for 5 [pitched a total of 16 innings in the 2009 post season which didn't end until Nov. 4]. Philadelphia's Brad Lidge, with three saves, was the only other closer without a blemish.

"That is so incredible. To be able to do it at that level, with that pressure. Try to do it in that environment, in New York, with them expecting to go to the playoffs every year," Eckerlsey said.

"He's made differently. There's a calm to him. And because of that, there's a calm to the team.""

8. 9/20/2011, "The Best Reliever of All Time, Mariano Rivera," FanGraphs, Steve Slowinski [Based on regular season only]


9. 4/25/2012, "A lot of times, people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series," (Dusty) Baker said. "You're still pitching while everybody else is home resting. That's a lot more. And you have less time to recover for next year. You have a shorter winter. Winning takes its toll, big time. There's nothing better than that, but it takes its toll."" "7 closers on DL, showing it's a high-risk job," AP, Joe Kay

10. Joe Maddon: "He's (Rivera) the best closer in the history of our game." NY Times, 5/4/2012

"His (Rivera's) ability to pitch multiple innings in October, the way the pioneering closers did, has made him invaluable."...NY Times

5/4/2012, "For Rivera, Maestro of Ninth, Injury Is Not Final Symphony," NY Times, Tyler Kepner

"Mattingly added: “I’d hate to see him end like this. I’d rather see him come back and pitch than thinking your last view of him is going down on the track.”

Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, had a similar reaction.

It upsets me,” Maddon said in St. Petersburg, Fla. “He is a very special person. You know that the moment you meet him. He’s the best closer in the history of our game. You don’t want to see him possibly ending his career shagging a fly in Kansas City. I think he’s the player most responsible for their success over the last 15 years.” 
Unquestionably, as Maddon said, Rivera is the best closer ever. His 2.21 [regular season] career earned run average is the lowest, with a minimum of 1,000 innings, since 1920, and he is even better when the games matter most.

Rivera’s postseason E.R.A. is 0.70. He has not allowed a postseason homer since the 2000 World Series. His (Rivera's) ability to pitch multiple innings in October, the way the pioneering closers did, has made him invaluable."


11. 4/7/2013, Detroit Tigers Manager, Jim Leyland: "I've gone on record, I think he's the best of all time. I'm not looking for arguments with people to compare guys. I know in my time he's been the best that I've seen." "Tigers honor Mo before finale with Yankees," MLB.com, Bryan Hoch


12. In 1984 World Series deciding game 5, 10/14/1984, Gossage wasn't asked to protect a lead, just to keep his Padres team close as it trailed 4-3, but he gave up two home runs to the Tigers, one in the bottom of the 7th (which he entered with one out and bases empty), and one in the bottom of the 8th with two men on--both put on by Gossage. His name wasn't involved in the decision. In the 7th Gossage gave up a home run to the first batter he faced, Lance Parrish, making the score 5-3. Gossage came back in the 8th (bases empty), Padres trailing 5-4, facing hitters 9-1-2. He walked the first batter, put a second batter on, and gave up a 3 run home run to his 4th batter, Kirk Gibson making the score 8-4 which became the final score.

He appeared in only two of the five 1984 World Series games, in neither case was he asked to protect a lead and both of which his team lost. His season ended on Oct. 14, 1984 so he didn't experience the "abuse" of shorter off seasons and recovery times that Mo did. For example Rivera's 2009 World Series didn't end until  Nov. 4.




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