Friday, August 31, 2007

Yankee Strikeout Leaders Going into Tonight's Game--NY Post

Yankees Strikeout Leaders
A. Pettitte1201203.70
C. Wang160863.79
M. Mussina80765.53
R. Clemens60624.15
M. Rivera322593.24

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Things heard on the radio in the past 2 days

I lose WFAN (in daylight) before getting to Pennsylvania, but will get it back in a few hours when it's plenty dark, maybe by Virginia. So I listen to Phillie radio, have heard WIP before, hear Jodie Mac's voice on a different station--I think 950 AM, and he's getting happy Phillies fans after the Met game which was monumentally depressing for me. I'm a Yankee fan, but if the Mets are playing someone else right now I want them to win. I just feel for that team--I don't know as much about it as a regular fan, but I'm plenty peeved at both Carlos's. Also, I'm not always convinced any manager calls all the shots so I'm not sure Willie Randolph is to blame for trotting Shawn Green out there all the time. I never want to see his face again.
  • Continuing south, I get to WBAL 1090 and a little Orioles talk. (Whoever they have on there is very good). They said Miguel Tejada's defense is a big problem, and he should move to third base or else the team should trade him. I heard part of a discussion of a MASN, something about ownership impeding candor of on-air personnel.
I fall into a depression every time I see the highway sign with Ripken's name on it. You realize, of course, he will eventually run for US Senate at the very least.
  • For the next few hours, I listen to XM baseball games. The Seattle-Cleveland makeup game was a nail-biter.
I cannot listen the XM morning show, but since I'm stuck in the car and it's 7 in the morning, I turn it on, am horrified as usual. I'll have to speak about it another time. I don't like living in a communist state, where all information is filtered through 1 source. Baseball is now like a creaking Soviet Republic--if you're one of those in charge of language and culture, you're hanging on pretty good. And fully believing you yourself deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
  • I finally arrive in Tampa, and 1010AM which says it carries the Yankees is, of course, not carrying them tonight. Football. I now listen to XM baseball.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

"Up To It!" Mariano Rivera Back Cover, NY Post, 8/30/07

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One night in August

Mariano Rivera after his 4 ground ball outs against the Red Sox, 8/29/07. From the NY Times.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Yes Network highlights Coco Crisp's Doo-Rag but ignores Mariano Rivera

The highlight montage at the end of the game shows many things including Coco Crisp's hat falling off revealing his doo-rag. I wait for maybe a half second of Mo, but they gave him nothing. Mariano came into the game in the 8th inning with a man on base, with only a 1-run lead against the Red Sox. Farnsworth had just given up a 2 run home run, ended up walking Varitek. Mo came out again in the 9th, got all three outs in order on ground balls, leaving David Ortiz on deck. Total, not just "one-two-three," as the geniuses spun yesterday:
  • ONE-TWO THREE-FOUR!!! The 1-2-3 stat is created to exclude more difficult so-called "saves."
(P.S. In the final montage after the whole post game, sometime before 11:30PM, they did include a half second of Mo fielding one of his ground balls. You'd only have seen it if you didn't blink).
  • Trivia: The last time Clemens faced Boston as a Yankee was Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. per the AP Report on tonight's game published in the NY Times. "Rocket Shuts Down Old Team, Pitches Yankees to 4-3 Victory Over Boston" (The headline writer must be a Red Sox fan--Yankee fans never think of the Clemens Red Sox thing, but those guys think of nothing else).

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Scott Proctor Gets Another Win for the Dodgers, 3IP in extras

Penny 5.08662102.88
Hendrickson 1.03220115.16
Seanez 0.10110003.50
Beimel 0.22000003.97
Broxton 1.01000102.19
Saito 1.01000201.33
Proctor (W, 5-5)3.01001003.91
Score 10-9 Dodgers over Nationals

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Origin of NY Daily News interviews on Yankee radio

If anyone can tell me the origin of the NY Daily News interview segments within Yankee radio broadcasts I'd appreciate it. I'd like to know if it's a business arrangement or not. ie, Does the NY Daily News pay for the appearances of its writers? So far I haven't been able to find out any information about this. Thanks to anyone who may know.

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Mariners radio Dave Niehaus is one of my favorites

While I was looking up how to spell Dave Niehaus' name, I found 2 sources saying the Seattle Mariners began as the result of a lawsuit. In 1970 an existing baseball team in Seattle was moved to Milwaukee. By Allan H. "Bud" Selig:

The lawsuit continued until 1976. At trial, the American League offered to give Seattle an expansion baseball franchise in return for dropping the suit. The details were ironed out over the next year. To keep the league with an even number of teams, a formal expansion proceeding was held, with a second team, the Toronto Blue Jays, being awarded.

  • The Mariners played their first game on April 6,1977 to a sold-out crowd of 57,762 at the Kingdome..."
This description is from Wikipedia, 8/29/07 on the page titled "Seattle Mariners." A similar version mentioning Bowie Kuhn's involvement is from BrooklynBaseballClub.com/Baseball History:
  • "By the start of the 1970 season, the Pilots were in bankruptcy. A local group of businessmen had offered to purchase the franchise, but commissioner Bowie Kuhn would not approve the sale, stating that the prospective ownership was spread too thin. He insisted that one owner control at least 51% of the club, but no one was willing to step forward and take that risk.

Meanwhile, Bud Selig, a Milwaukee auto dealer, had been trying to get major league baseball back to his town since the Braves had left. The Comissioner forced a sale to Selig and his group, with the final papers being signed one week before Opening Day. The team literally tore the Seattle emblems off the jerseys and sewed on Milwaukee emblems while the team was enroute from Arizona (having finished spring training) to Milwaukee.

  • Plans for the new stadium were put on hold. Seattle was understandably upset that the American League would just up and let their Pilots move after only one season. The state's Attorney General filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league. The league finally settled out of court in 1975, promising to award Seattle an A.L. franchise in the next expansion."
(Baseball must be a big deal). sm

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Sports Radio pundit discusses White Sox radio broadcasters Farmer & Singleton

"On the baseball broadcasting front, we'll know pretty soon what might become of the Chicago White Sox radio team for next year. Ever since the departure of John Rooney following the 2005 World Series Championship season, the radio broadcasts have gone the way of the team's performance on the field, even if it is a coincidence. It's the unfortunate trend of putting inexperienced former players into a play-by-play situation story all over again, and in this instance, it's on radio.
  • Ed Farmer, now the lead play-by-play man on White Sox radio, was solid as the "number 2" but six innings of PBP the past (almost) 2 seasons seems too much for him. Chris Singleton, completing his 2nd year as "number 2" continues to struggle with 3 innings of play-by-play, compounded by Farmer stepping in over him at least once per inning. Word is that the White Sox will make a determination within the next month about renewing or not renewing Singleton. They should admit that putting a former player with little to no broadcasting experience into a big market play-by-play role was not the direction to take. At this point, the use of only former players and lack of a true PBP man in both their TV and radio booths has really hurt this year, since the team's performance is not going to carry a broadcast and telecast on its own. It is for Chicago. It shouldn't be this difficult to find a national level play-by-play announcer to fill the radio void, let alone the TV situation."
Comments by Dave Kohl, RadioRecordings.com, 8/28/07via RadioDailyNews.com

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Mariners/Fox TV's Dave Sims on WFAN with Chris Russo

Dave Sims says Mariners' team leaders are as follows:
  • Adrian Beltre and Jose Guillen
  • Then JJ Putz
  • Then Raul Ibanez ('in quieter fashion')
Chris Russo had asked Sims who among the players would be the one to call a team meeting if one were needed?

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Pettitte stat v Red Sox

"According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Pettitte’s .714 winning percentage against Boston is second only to the Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry’s among pitchers in the expansion era with 25 starts against the Red Sox. Perry was 22-5 (.815). ..."

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

STAT-CREEP---THE 'ONE-TWO-THREE' STAT attached to the hijacked 'SAVE' stat

I noticed this awhile ago, ESPN platforms & others selling this stat on top of the totally hijacked SAVE STAT and CONVERSION COMPILERS. It's another way to deflect attention from a difficult situation (or "save") for a late inning reliever---or "closer," another way to slice and dice the SAVE STAT. The YES Network featured Michael Kay (who also works for ESPN) and a booming Bob Lorenz using the 1-2-3 stat--to what else---negatively define Mariano Rivera tonight. Rivera in fact had a 1-2-3 9th against the Red Sox, but Kay and Lorenz have bought the program, noted it had been 'X' number of games SINCE Rivera had a 1-2-3......
  • This 1-2-3 stat again allows Supreme Court justices at ESPN/MLB to focus the "save" stat on the one inning, usually the 9th, allowing STAT COMPILERS TO OBFUSCATE.
Bob Lorenz was ecstatic about Manny's homerun. Jeter's homerun was back to his normal tone of voice.

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Suzyn Waldman just announces on Yankee Radio post game show, said Mussina wasn't very happy, didn't want to talk about it, said Joe Torre found it difficult having to tell Mussina. No word on beyond that.
  • David Justice opines this means the bullpen for Mussina. I still remember Mussina's performance in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS v Boston, when he came in out of the bullpen with men on 1st and 3rd and got out of it without a run.

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Detroit Pitchers' Park Actually Helped Mussina Monday night--just missing Grand Slam in 1st IP--NY Times

"Mussina had not allowed a grand slam in more than 12 years before Carlos Guillén connected on Aug. 16 at Yankee Stadium. And Guillén nearly did it again in the first inning Monday.

  • With one out, he jumped on a fastball and crushed it to deep center, where the wall is 420 feet from home plate. In most parks, it would have been a grand slam. Here, (Melky) Cabrera turned it into a sacrifice fly with a running, twisting one-handed stab above his head.

That was the only run the Tigers scored in the first, but they scored twice on three hits in the second....

So it went. With two outs, Ryan Raburn read Mussina’s curveball and bounced it up the middle to score Rodríguez. Inge’s double followed, and while Inge did not hit it well,

  • Mussina left the pitch high when catcher Jorge Posada called for it low."
From NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Ugly Outing by Mussina Casts Cloud on Future," 8/28/07.
  • Hey, so Mussina was "lucky" in the first inning.....

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Yahoo, Google cooperate with China Human Rights abuse

"A human rights group in the US is suing Yahoo for alleged complicity in rights abuses and acts of torture in China."

  • APPARENTLY ACTS OF TORTURE AND ABUSE DON'T BOTHER MLB, INC. OR THE MLB PLAYERS ASSN. Of course after they choked on rancid air and food, maybe they were in a hurry to cut deals. (sm)

"One journalist cited in the case was tracked down and jailed for 10 years for subversion after Yahoo passed on his email and IP address to officials.

  • Yahoo insists it must comply with local laws in areas where it operates.

But it acknowledges that providing Chinese officials with information has enabled them to make arrests.

De-listed sites

Strict laws exist in China to regulate the internet. (A) journalist... was jailed for posting comments critical of government corruption on the web.

  • Yahoo is not the only internet company accused of collaborating with Chinese authorities. Rival Google freely admits to blocking politically sensitive items on their China website.

Whole websites - including media sources - are eliminated from Yahoo and Google in China.

De-listed sites are skipped over when the search engine trawls the web for results.

  • The internet firms argue it is better to offer Chinese users some information than none at all." (Right) sm
From BBC, 8/27/07, "Yahoo in China Human Rights Case."

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Rudy Giuliani on Yankee radio in Detroit

Hey, it was a diversion, Giuliani stops by the Yankee radio booth with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman (as he has done for many years), remarked on Melky's great catch in the first inning, said he also likes Edwar Ramirez. Giuliani is a tremendous baseball fan and if I had a choice I'd vote for him as Baseball Commissioner--Giuliani has proven ability in handling deranged foreign dictators. You recall he bounced Yasser Arafat from Lincoln Center in NY City in 1995, also gave a check back to a Saudi Arabian sheik in 2001 for $12 million. I'm acutely aware of his many failings, but all the others have them too.

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Fans, media fail to face reality: There is no "Guardian of the Game."

"WHAT once would have been out of the question as a matter of common sense and common decency has happened once again. Friday's Yanks-Tigers game began at 11:06 p.m., after a four-hour rain delay.
  • Baseball sure could use a Commissioner. What's that? It has one?

But what kind of Commissioner would allow a four-hour rain delay? What kind of Guardian of The Game would allow a game to begin after 11 p.m. and end at 3:32 a.m.? Whose best interests could he represent?

On Ch. 9, Michael Kay, just before the first pitch, called the entire episode "disgraceful." Al Leiter agreed. How could anyone disagree?

And then, minutes later, Kay and Leiter were talking about how much they love baseball's wild card.

  • Could they not make the connection? The wild card was created for the same reason this game began after 11 p.m. - to serve the financial interests of team owners, Bud Selig's enablers. A house full of sold tickets, no doubleheaders, national TV deals to consider. Game on.

  • And Friday's 11:06 p.m. start and 3:32 a.m. end is why "variable ticket pricing" - predetermined values of games resulting in jacked up face values based on the date and opponent - must end. Friday, whatever those tickets cost a fan, they were, by game time, worthless.

Baseball sure could use a Commissioner."

AHA! Amid avoidance of the real problem (the tactic of which is to twist everything or at least change the subject to somehow bash the Yankees) media reports said, "it was up to the umpires," or "this could easily have happened if the game were at Yankee stadium and no one would've complained about it." This column reminded me of another point, "VARIABLE TICKET PRICING," meaning it's possible the house that night was paying top dollar.... (sm)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

NY Daily News comments about Andy Pettitte 8/26/07 don't check out

Extremely powerful columnist Bob Raissman's item is titled, "Doubletalk."

  • "What Andy Pettitte said: "I love him (Joe Torre) to death. He is like a dad to me. He is a great manager and great to play for."
  • What Andy Pettitte meant to say: "I love him to death. But remember, that didn't stop me from leaving him to go to Houston for more cash.""
First, the Astros' offer was $7.5 million LESS than the Yankee offer, per ESPN.com, 12/12/03 Second, the Boston Red Sox offered Pettitte much more than Houston or the Yankees, $52 million over 4 years, and Pettitte turned it down. Third, it was Torre's superiors in 2003 who called the shots--not Torre.
  • The Yankees left Pettitte no choice when they failed to make a simple phone call to the pitcher in the exlusive window allowed them after the 2003 post season. Andy had spent his entire career in the Yankee organization, had pitched very well for them especially in the post season just passed, didn't get in bar fights or pitch drunk. He was rumored to have an elbow problem, but the Yankees could have addressed the issue in a phone call if that had been their concern. Their were open rumors that Steinbrenner wasn't big on Andy and had tried to trade him over a long period of time, at one point to the Phillies. Andy had no reason to think the Yankees wanted him so of course looked at an offer from his home town.
Perhaps the Yankees need to do more in terms of media relations, so misunderstandings like this don't occur in the future. Bob Raissman is an extremely powerful sports media columnist and his words about Andy Pettitte have now gone all around the world. P.S. According to the website, RegrettheError.com, the New York Daily News does not have an online 'Corrections' page (nor an ombudsman of any kind). Therefore, if at any time it's concluded an error has occurred, it may be noted in the paper version but not the online version. So far, there's at least a difference in facts reported among media.

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Chien Ming Wang back cover New York Post, 8/26/07

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bob Lorenz v David Justice on YES Network

Fortunately David Justice is poised and one of the few who qualifies very well as both athlete and broadcaster. That makes up for the blustery but distant Bob Lorenz who as always gives the impression he can't wait to get this whole thing over with. Bob gets his wish as he gives a promo for football, then gets to his true love....the Red Sox. Lorenz comes to life doing a re-cap of the Red Sox-White Sox game earlier today. Bob had no feeling whatever in describing Chien Ming Wang whereas David Justice did quite well.
  • Not that there's anything wrong with that. If your lead studio guy on Yankee games has no interest or feeling whatever for the team. I can watch ESPN/MLB platforms for that.

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Chien Ming Wang gives best of both worlds

Wang (W, 15-6)8.05212603.95
Bruney 1.00000003.32
Bonderman (L, 10-7)5.28774014.87
Byrdak 0.10000004.09
Grilli 3.02001005.37
WP: Wang. Pitches-strikes: Wang 107-66, Bruney 10-5, Bonderman 105-62, Byrdak 4-3, Grilli 50-30. Ground outs-fly outs: Wang 12-6, Bruney 0-3, Bonderman 5-12, Byrdak 0-1, Grilli 4-5. DP: 2 (Cano-Jeter-Betemit, Wang-Jeter-Betemit).
  • Wang got back his ground outs with 2 double plays and still mixed in a few strike-outs.
(What is nice is that Wang himself felt good about it, per Peter Abraham's Lohud Yankee blog)

"He was thrilled afterward.

“This is like last year,” he said. “I feel much better. More confident.”

Remember that pitch that Posada missed in the fifth inning? It was a split-finger fastball. I didn’t even know Wang had that pitch.

“I threw it in the minors,” Wang said with a smile. “I still throw it sometimes.”

Said Posada: “That thing moved like a knuckeball. It wasn’t a bad pitch, I just didn’t catch it.""

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Suzyn Waldman: Ichiro and Mike Hargrove did NOT get along.

I guess it's common knowledge by now, but her emphatic tone suggests it was a very big deal. She said McLaren was very deserving of the manager's job and John Sterling agreed. Suzyn said McLaren and Ichiro were very close, noting such a situation would be crucial for re-signing Ichiro.

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Choking on bad air, food, China acts on 'gender imbalance'

"The Chinese government says it is drafting new laws to tackle the growing gender imbalance caused by the widespread abortion of female foetuses."
  • (MAYBE THIS IS WHY MLB, Inc. thought it would be easy to peel off some young baseball players). sm

"The practice is already banned, but new rules are expected to set out specific punishments for parents and doctors.

  • China's Family Planning Association (CFPC) has revealed the extent of the imbalance - in one city there are eight young boys for every five girls.

Experts fear the phenomenon could have unpredictable social consequences.

  • Some believe that with millions of men unable to find a wife, there could be risks of increasing anti-social and violent behaviour."
From BBC, "China to Act on Gender Imbalance," 8/25/07

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Bob Davidson, immortal umpire reversed call in World Baseball Classic gets more headlines--what about background check?

Umpire Bob Davidson is world famous again. With his wave goodbye to an east coast player he threw out well after midnight last night, fans are reminded any mental defective off the street is welcomed by Bud Selig.
  • Remember the reversed call that changed the outcome of a World Baseball Classic game? It was Bob Davidson's:
"Home plate umpire Bob Davidson reversed the second base umpire's call on an eighth-inning fly ball tag-up play from third base that would've again given Japan the lead.
  • "That was a great, great ballgame," said Team USA manager Buck Martinez, who came out of the dugout immediately after left fielder Randy Winn's throw was too late to nab Nishioka at the plate and was able to get Davidson to review the call. "It was such a close game you have to check everything out."

The game turned on that contested call in the Japanese half of the eighth inning.

  • With the bases loaded, one out and Joe Nathan pitching, Akinori Iwamura skied a fly to Winn in medium left. The throw was to the third-base side way off the plate as Nishioka scored. Catcher Brian Schneider tossed the ball down to Derek Jeter covering third, and second base umpire Brian Knight, who had rotated over on the play, pointed to his chest that it was his call and signaled safe.

Martinez immediately hopped out of the dugout to appeal the play.

"I asked Bob, 'Why did he make that call? You were going to call him out. Let's get this right,'" Martinez explained. "'He said, 'Well, just give us a chance.' It was obvious to me. And everybody in our dugout yelled, 'Hey, he left early.'"

  • Davidson, who was one of 14 umpires who resigned in a union dispute nearly five years ago and is back on a list to call Major League games again full-time, conferred with Knight and then reversed the call, ending the inning with the double play.

"It's a tag-up situation," Davidson said in statement. "In a bases-loaded situation our mechanics is that the plate man lines up the tag. Brian Knight hustled over to third where he's supposed to be, but he doesn't have the tag-up call. It's the plate umpire's call. I had it lined up. The wrong umpire made the initial call. It's the plate umpire, which is me, and I had him leaving early and called him out."

  • "Buck (Martinez) is the player of the game today," Rodriguez said. "I was very surprised the call got overruled because you don't see that often."
From article by Barry M. Bloom, MLB.com, 5/13/06, "A-rod Lifts USA Past Japan"
  • Plenty more about Bob Davidson, including his old title, "Balkin' Bob," and another controversial call he made when apparently needing to rush to catch a flight, umpires leaving the Baltimore stadium with police escort:
  • "Still, Davidson called the balk with the score tied in the eighth inning and the game dragging on to the point where it apparently was questionable whether he would make his flight to Tampa for the series between the Devil Rays and the Chicago White Sox. The Baltimore Police Department and other sources confirmed that the umpires asked for an escort out of the ballpark because of the tight travel schedule. They got a motorcycle escort through the stadium traffic, which is not unusual following an afternoon getaway game. That, in itself, is not improper, and World Umpires Association president John Hirschbeck said yesterday that major league umpires would not let a travel schedule affect their performance. "I know I would never do that, nor do I believe that any umpire would do that," Hirschbeck said."
  • Pointed out by Peter Schmuck ever so gently so as not to ruffle feathers (article posted 5/10/05). on Baseball-Fever.com, "Was it a Balk or Not?
I'm so relieved to hear Hirschback say he doesn't believe it. That changes everything. (sm)
  • On last night's 11PM start after a 4 hour rain delay:
"Posada said the umpires, who had jurisdiction over whether to call a rainout, did not want a doubleheader under any circumstances." I just like reality acknowledged. (sm)

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Friday, August 24, 2007

In 1996 Bob Wickman tried to exert his influence in the Yankee bullpen

From Joel Sherman, "The churlish Wickman sensed his job slipping away, and in the bullpen during games complained about how his new manager (Torre) was using him. He also railed against the expanding role of (Mariano) Rivera, slamming the notion that any hurler with just one pitch could thrive for an extended period.
  • It was just a matter of time, Wickman told the veterans in the pen, before the league deduced the parlor trick and began walloping one-pitch Mariano Rivera. Plus, if the one-pitch inventory did not eventually nullify Rivera, then he was certain to be undone by his size--or lack of it."
Wickman's comments made in 1996, reported by Joel Sherman on page 72 of his book, "Birth of a Dynasty" published in 2006.
  • The AP article reporting Wickman's separation from the Atlanta Braves today illustrates a big problem. It's the "third rail" of baseball--you'll be demonized if you speak of it. INSTEAD OF TALKING ABOUT WICKMAN'S PITCHING SKILLS, THE ARTICLE FOCUSES ON A SMALL ASPECT OF THOSE---THE TOTAL SAVE STAT. This continues the media frenzy of recent years. The point has been to build this single stat, often quite misleading, into 2 things: a Cy Young award and a Hall of Fame induction.
Once in awhile you'll see a timid article or voice tip-toeing around this topic, but they don't have the nerve to name the focus of the cheapening of the save stat today, which is a national league west coast 1 inning pitcher (who has repeatedly proved he's not a big game pitcher). If I named him even on this small blog, my name would be publicized around the internet as a hysterical, demented, conspiracist. That's what the baseball media and internet has done to baseball records today. If you agree with them reality counts. If you don't, that's the end of you. Easy Solution: If newspapers won't stop printing propaganda, stop inviting the writers to tv and radio interviews. (sm)

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Mike Myers no LOOGY today---41 pitches

There wasn't a game on the line or anything, so Mikey pretty much took one for the team in Chicago. But yikes, 41 pitches in 1 inning. Not to say he'll always be used this way by the White Sox, but Suzyn Waldman had reported Myers' wishing to get out of the "lefty specialist" stereotype. For one day at least he got his wish. Better luck next time, Mike.

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Little League Baseball issues to be discussed by Rick Wolff, Steve Kallas--NY Post

"With big endorsement deals (Easton, for one, a maker of metal bats) and TV deals (ESPN/ABC), Little League baseball has become a big and often not a particularly nurturing business.

Sunday at 8 a.m., Rick Wolff's "Sports Edge" on WFAN will examine some of the physical, financial and moral issues that often go untold within Little League ball, especially Little League's conflicted messages and rules. Wolff will be joined by attorney Steve Kallas, a sports dad driven to investigating Little League's dubious decisions on pitch counts, curve balls and - follow the money - metal bats."

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1-man "Pro Football Website keeps tabs on NFL"

Robert Weintraub of Slate writes, "With the proper blend of scorn for the powerful and fondness for the game," ProFootballTalk.com -- a one-man website that's been around since 2001 -- has become the first stop for obsessive fans who who have to have up-to-the-second NFL news. He adds it's the single entity that's enhanced its reputation with the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal.
  • From "NFL Confidential" in Slate, by Robert Weintraub, 8/23/07. "How a One-Man Website Became the Best Source for Pro Football News."
Via Poynter.org.Romenesko, 8/24/07

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

"LUCK" is now a stat in Baseball-Reference

From Baseball-Reference.com "Glossary"
  • "Luck - The difference between the team's actual wins and the team's pythagorean wins."
On their current AL Wild Card page, B-R shows Yankees "Luck" at -6 in the AL East Division.
  • I understand certain baseball geniuses have sold this concept to their owners. It's great if it keeps them from being fired.

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If it's in SI, it must be true? Not so about Mo.

This SI.com article reinforces a fairly wide misconception. The reality is Mariano Rivera only "set-up" for John Wetteland for 1 year, 1996, not 2 years. From SI.com looking to describe Joba Chamberlain:
  • "The Yankees bullpen was at its best during their 11 straight playoff seasons with Mariano Rivera not as their closer, but as the setup man to John Wetteland. In 1995 and 1996, if the Yankees' starter could get the game through seven innings with the lead, the game was over."
When Mariano began on May 23, 1995 it was as a starting pitcher, not a reliever. Also, he was sent back to the minor leagues for awhile in June 1995 (on the same day Jeter was sent down). There are only 4 dates in 1995 in which Rivera pitched in relief or set-up, followed by Wetteland--not nearly enough to qualify as a year-long winning formula:
  • August 1, 1995
  • Sept. 1, 1995
  • Sept. 10, 1995
  • Sept. 26, 1995
What about the 1995 post season, the ALDS v Mariners?
  • # Games Rivera set-up for Wetteland: 0
  • # Games Wetteland set-up for Rivera: 1 (Game 2)
The two appeared together in only 1 of the 5 post season games, and in that game it's the reverse of SI's point. In this one game, Wetteland was set-up man, and Rivera relieved him for 3.1 scoreless innings for the Win.
  • The heavenly scene described by SI did happen often in 1996, but in only 1 game in 1995 (starter getting through 7 followed by Mo and Wetteland) as follows:
***On Sept. 26, 1995, Rivera entered in the 8th inning, faced 1 batter, got no outs, and was taken out of the game. He was relieved by Wetteland who got the "save" in that game. (Not so heavenly after all...)
  • No one can know everything about every team, but the emergence and use of Rivera was detailed in Joel Sherman's book, "Birth of a Dynasty." The main point is Showalter did not recognize what Rivera's value was, didn't really know what to do with him, stuck him in as a last resort in some post season situations, but never as a set-up man for Wetteland. As noted, the organization sent him back to the minors in June but brought him back up fairly quickly, still using him as an occasional starter. (Hence, his hackneyed "failed starter" tag).
Article by Mark Allen Haverty, Special to SI.com, Fantasy Plus, "For Better, for Worse, Which Late-Arriving Prospects Are Most Helpful Now?" Reference to Rivera/Wetteland in paragraph discussing Joba Chamberlain. 8/23/07

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Atlanta to consider banning public striptease acts, including sagging pants--AP

ATLANTA (AP) - "Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta's indecency laws.

The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country.

"Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing," Martin said Wednesday. "I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

"The proposed ordinance states that "the indecent exposure of his or her undergarments" would be unlawful in a public place. It would go in the same portion of the city code that outlaws sex in public and the exposure or fondling of genitals.

The penalty would be a fine in an amount to be determined, Martin said.

But Seagraves said any legislation that creates a dress code would not survive a court challenge. She said the law could not be enforced in a nondiscriminatory way because it targets something that came out of the black youth culture.

"This is a racial profiling bill that promotes and establishes a framework for an additional type of racial profiling," Seagraves said."

DOUBLE TALK: It's "racial profiling" to call public striptease acts "racial behavior" to begin with. (sm)

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New York Post back cover---Andy Pettitte, "The Stopper"

Andy Pettitte, Back Cover of NY Post, 8/23/07. The NY Daily News chose not to feature Andy on their back cover.

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Pinch hitter Casey Kotchman v Mariano Rivera

The Angels brought in Casey Kotchman to pinch hit against Mariano Rivera. Baseball Reference says Kotchman had a .750 average in 5 PA vs Mariano, so I guess that's why they brought him in. (No post season, just regular). He struck out this time. Joe Torre said about a week ago he was definitely going to rest Rivera. So far, that hasn't happened. Once he went 3 days, then 2 days and 2 days, but he was allowed to get ready to pitch on consecutive days at least once within this time frame, ending up he wasn't needed. I understand Mo may be saying he wants to pitch, etc., but 2 or 3 days isn't a rest.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

One West Coast team member wilts under lights of "East Coast Coverage"

Not that anyone in baseball media will mention it, but what happens to a west coast NL "total save stat" compiler in the rare instance he's asked to come in with 2 men on base in a game in New York (as in the Mets game tonight)?
  • Both runners score.
  • The NL pitcher still compiles another "save." Lucky they gave him a big cushion.
  • The bright lights got to him last night, too.
So much for coveting that "East Coast coverage."

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Suzyn Waldman's pre-game nuggets

Barring heavenly intervention, Gary Sheffield's separated shoulder will prevent him appearing in the upcoming Yankee-Tiger series.
  • As reported elsewhere, Curt Schilling said on his weekly radio interview that he likes the thought of pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays someday, likes working with and impacting young pitchers. Add this to Johnny Damon's own recent musings about the Devil Rays-- it's starting to look like Tampa Bay's lining up former Red Sox........

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Bob Grant, Radio Legend, Returns to WABC M-F's 8-10P

Welcome back, Bob Grant. With ownership of WABC radio changing from Disney to Citadel, capitulating to mentally defective "thought police" may be on the wane. Article from NY Daily News, 8/22/07,
  • UPDATE: 11/11/08: I tuned into WABC tonight at 8:10 pm and heard no Bob Grant. Instead got loudmouth Curtis Sliwa. One message board said they heard Bob say he would be out this week, which I hope means he'll be back next week. (sm)

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McLaren Anchors Mariners; Putz Anchors Pitching Staff---NY Times

"Already, McLaren has had challenges. Despite fan criticism, he stuck with the underperforming veterans Ibáñez and Sexson instead of playing Adam Jones, the organization’s top prospect, or the popular Ben Broussard. Ibáñez is batting .414 in August with 9 home runs and 21 runs batted in after hitting only 6 homers the first four months of the season."
  • He told Ibanez he had the "utmost confidence" in him.
"And Sexson, a .196 hitter as late as Aug. 6, is 17 for 52 (.327) in his past 13 games with 4 homers and 7 R.B.I. McLaren said (Jose) Guillen, who has 17 homers and 77 R.B.I., “has just been a total joy.” Keyed by balanced hitting (seven players have at least 50 R.B.I.), Seattle is 41-24 at its home park, Safeco Field, and has a major-league-best 24-8 record against left-handed starters. The closer J. J. Putz, who leads the A.L. with 36 saves, anchors the pitching staff."
  • D'oh! A writer admits a "closer" can actually "anchor" a "pitching staff!" Memo to Dan Graziano, John Delcos, all ESPN/MLB staff, etc.
"With victories on Monday and Tuesday in Minnesota, Seattle began a demanding stretch of 17 games out of 20 on the road, including a Sept. 3-5 series at Yankee Stadium. The Mariners are 30-28 on the road, but this stretch without days off could tax the Mariners’ tenuous pitching."

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Doggie gives math lesson on Yankee elimination #

Back from vacation, Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on WFAN makes Yankee elimination math his top story. Gives numbers for Yankee sunset v AL East Division and AL Wild Card. After a few minutes, he's saddened to note Minnesota Twins way ahead of Mariners in their day game today. Don't worry, Doggie, even if Seattle loses today there's still plenty of hope for you.
When the media overdoes something, the normal person will react. Russo isn't tied to ESPN/MLB platforms, so he's not afraid to speak the truth. The media, going back years, has overdone the Hoffman awards campaign. This includes the internet and its electronic mobs. Have a nice day.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Baseball Umpires hire same hondler as NBA refs---NY Times

"Asked about (Lamell) McMorris’s work during the Donaghy scandal, the (NBA) referee said, “If we didn’t have strong representation, there’s no telling what kind of constraints we’d be under now.”

  • While the World Umpires Association had been considering hiring McMorris and his firm for months, it made its choice soon after the Donaghy news broke in July and it became clear that what happened in the N.B.A. was going to have an impact on Major League Baseball.

“He understands officials,” said Jerry Lane, a veteran umpire who served on his union’s search committee. “He and the Perennial group understand what we go through.""

(I'm so relieved. sm)

  • "McMorris’s first meeting with baseball officials about deeper background checks did not go smoothly. When McMorris asked M.L.B. to add a seventh umpire to the crews of postseason games in return for the heightened scrutiny on umpires, Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations, ended the meeting angrily, although McMorris and Manfred have since spoken and met in person to discuss the issue.

As he defends his clients’ interests, McMorris will continue to draw upon a Rolodex featuring more preachers and civil rights leaders than athletes.

“I’ve been surrounded by people all my life who understood the duality of theology and public policy,” McMorris said."

***As in many areas of our culture today, this situation is the result of a total void of leadership fueled by greed and laziness. Concurrent with passivity confused with tolerance.*** (sm)

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Yankee Edwar Ramirez was released 2ce by Angels---NY Times

"For four years, Ramírez tried to earn his way onto the field at Angel Stadium. And for four years, he failed bitterly. The Angels released Ramírez, not once, but twice.

The first time the Angels released him, after the 2003 season, Ramírez understood. The second time they released him, early in the 2005 season, he did not.

“It was bad,” Ramírez said. “It was really bad. I was like, ‘Why? Why?’ ”

  • Ramírez, who was in an independent league at this time a year ago, has emerged as an intriguing part of the Yankees’ revitalized bullpen.

“I waited a long time to be here,” he said.

When the Yankees arrived in Anaheim, Ramirez immediately called his best friend, Maximo Soto, in Miami. Like Ramírez, Soto played in the Angels’ minor-league system. Like Ramírez, Soto was released.

  • Every day during the summer of 2004, he (Ramirez) went to a field in Miami and taught himself to throw a changeup.

Eventually, Soto joined him at the field and caught for him. The work Ramírez did with Soto that summer, and the changeup he developed, altered his course.

“Now I’m pitching for the best team in the world,” Ramírez said. “So why couldn’t I play with the Anaheim Angels?

  • “I don’t even remember Edwar,” said José Molina, a Yankees catcher who used to be with the Angels. “I don’t think he was a guy they had in their plans.”

Early in Ramírez’s minor league career, he had difficulty seeing what pitches were being called, much less throwing them. The catcher would put down two fingers and Ramírez would only see one.

“He would want a slider and I would throw a fastball,” Ramírez said.

  • He finally visited an eye doctor and was fitted for prescription goggles."

(But he's also had to deal with being underweight, just doesn't like food that much).

"To this day, Ramírez is a startling sight on the mound — 6 feet 3 inches, 150 pounds, with goggles. Recalled to the majors last week, Ramírez worked two and one-third scoreless innings against Baltimore and two perfect innings against Detroit.

  • The field is finally his."

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Winter Baseball in Puerto Rico on Verge of Extinction

It would be a mistake to read this and weep. What might be helpful is to read it and get angry.

Billionaires took the money from the WBC. 1% of the value of MLB.com could bring back baseball in Puerto Rico. I understand how badly these guys want to keep every penny for themselves but never show us the books.

  • "After 69 years in existence, the Puerto Rico Winter League cancelled its upcoming season because of financial problems.

Fortunately, Major League Baseball may step in and salvage part of Puerto Rico's sports heritage by sponsoring an alternative winter season league.

  • "I'm very concerned there is no baseball in Puerto Rico. I'm disappointed, because Puerto Rico has a culture and a history of playing the game. Second, we use the league as a developmental tool, and that will not be available now. We are not happy about it. The fans are not very happy about it. We have to put our heads together, between MLB and Puerto Rico and the Players Association, and keep baseball alive in some shape or form."

Lou Melendez, MLB VP-International Baseball Operations."

From AmericanTaino.blogspot.com 8/21/07
  • P.S. I can hear Allen H. "Bud" Selig's voice now: "Be-LIEVE me, Chris, be-LIEVE me......"

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John Sterling: "Scott Boras has season tickets to the Angels."

John Sterling announced this Sunday, August 19th on his Yankee radio post game show. He said anyone seeking to talk about Arod's future can always find Scott Boras at Angels games as he's a season ticket holder. He said Boras sits right behind home plate. I posted Sterling's info that Boras is at every Angels' game on another blog on Sunday. Thanks to John Sterling for the info.

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Mark Feinsand on XM takes the high road

On XM with Charley Steiner today general chat about the Yankees. Near the end of the interview Steiner gave him the usual lead in to bash the Yankee payroll...but Feinsand didn't take the bait. Charley got to the nugget about X million dollars in bench players on the team (at this particular moment) chuckling and offering the idea to Feinsand for comment. But he took the "road less traveled"--- laughed a bit, then made the point that "Melky worked his way into the line-up" as an everyday player. IE, Melky could easily have been on the bench for nickels and dimes. When you take a minute to look beyond round-the-clock Yankee payroll bashing, you can actually find other story lines.
  • P.S. You heard it here first.....

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Monday, August 20, 2007

"Now, Let's See How Michael Vick Likes It"

From Lucianne.com

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If Dog Fighting is part of your "culture"

"It was inevitable that the federal prosecution of Michael Vick would be twisted into a case about race, that white America doesn't understand that dog fighting is a "cultural" endeavor.

  • Dog fighting might be explained as cultural, but it can't be excused as cultural. If savage cruelty of any kind is part of anyone's culture, then right-headed, clear-sighted and foresighted people should spend their time, energy and authority trying to change that culture as opposed to explaining it, excusing it, or in any way defending it."
NY Post, 8/17/07, from article by Phil Mushnick, last item in column, "Patrick Better Off Without ESPN"

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jeff Joyce on XM

Hoping to see Chris Russell's name on the XM monitor, instead I see the name Jeff Joyce. I listen, wish him the best and move on. I always like to know the background of guys on the radio. The only relevant possibility I see is a 'Jeff Joyce' listed in Wikipedia as part of WEEI's staff. WEEI of course being the Boston radio station. This may or may not be the same guy.

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YES Network still adores Johan Santana

They again show triumphant footage of Santana raising his cap to the crowd in his ballpark as he walks majestically back to the dugout, I'd say 5 or 6 seconds. This was just a promo of YES' upcoming report on Santana. They've done this before with him and I've written to them about it. It would be fine if they extended at least the same consideration to their own best pitcher and mainstay, but they don't. If they show Mariano Rivera at all, it's usually for less than 1 second, a kind of nothing MTV-like edit that you'd miss if you blinked. In YES' edited version of the conclusion of the 2003 ALCS of which Rivera was MVP and pitched 3 consecutive scoreless innings, they show 1 second of Rivera in the montage following the game, and went a step further: someone put a hat in front of the camera which blocked Rivera's face. Rivera, the hero of the game which took his team to the World Series, had been lifted onto the shoulders of his teammates, was crying and waving to the fans. The YES Network is adamant that you not know about your own best player, and showers adoration on selected non-Yankee players.
  • P.S. The Minnesota baseball hype-sters try to gin up fans to fear Santana might sign with the Yankees in 2009. This assumes the guy would even want to play for the Yankees--not everyone does. He'll be older and more worn-out by then (all things being equal) and the Yankees have found it doesn't pay to wait around for big time free agents looking to cash in.
***Extra credit: I do thank the YES Network for giving Edwar Ramirez a nice clubhouse interview after the game today--a terrific kid, very articulate in English--learning a second language isn't easy, and seemed happy. He did a great job in the 8th and 9th inning.

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Fingerprints Found on Your Wikipedia Edits

"Last year a Wikipedia visitor edited the entry for the SeaWorld theme parks to change all mentions of “orcas” to “killer whales,” insisting that this was a more accurate name for the species.

There was another, unexplained edit: a paragraph about criticism of SeaWorld’s “lack of respect toward its orcas” disappeared. Both changes, it turns out, originated at a computer at Anheuser-Busch, SeaWorld’s owner.

  • Dozens of similar examples of insider editing came to light last week through WikiScanner, a new Web site that traces the source of millions of changes to Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

The site, wikiscanner.virgil.gr, created by a computer science graduate student, cross-references an edited entry on Wikipedia with the owner of the computer network where the change originated, using the Internet protocol address of the editor’s network. The address information was already available on Wikipedia, but the new site makes it much easier to connect those numbers with the names of network owners.....

  • In general, changes to a Wikipedia page cannot be traced to an individual, only to the owner of a particular network....."
From NY Times article by Katie Hafner, "Seeing Corporate Fingerprints in Wikipedia Edits," 8/19/07
  • A longtime current Yankee player had a gruesome and inaccurate write-up, so I made changes to include some positives with all the negatives (this was some months ago). Within seconds, my edits were removed and the original version restored. I tried a few more times but the same thing happened. Then I was completely blocked from the site. The back-up "sources" for the original version were newspapers from........Boston. (sm)

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More on the "Total Saves stat leaders"--NY Post

"Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez, among MLB's leaders in saves, got his 30th Thursday.
  • In his one full inning pitched, he allowed three hits, a walk and two earned runs. Rodriguez allowed an earned run in his previous save, also a one-inning job, thus his ERA over two consecutive saves was 13.50."
I wonder if Rollie Fingers knows about this? (sm)

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NY Post Back Cover, Mariano Rivera

"That's MO Like It"

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dave O'Brien on local Red Sox radio invokes his ESPN cred

  • Top of the 8th, Angels v Red Sox, Joe Castiglione marvels at a Coco Crisp catch and Dave booms his approval as well over poor Joe. O'Brien gives a superlative about Coco's great plays in the outfield, says he knows especially well how good he is because of his concurrent work on ESPN.
  • But, as you say, there's no connection between the Red Sox and ESPN.
Not that there isn't a connection between the YES Network and ESPN or everyone and ESPN. But you have a local team radio play by play guy cross-promoting the White House (ie, ESPN) and using it to increase the credibility of his opinion.
  • Yankee radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman is an oasis in the desert of nationally oriented broadcasters foisted on local baseball fans.

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Pedro-Don Zimmer, Yankee-Red Sox 2003 ALCS brawl tonight on YES Network

I notice YES Network has scheduled a classic replay at 8PM tonight: Game 3, 2003 ALCS, Yankees v Red Sox. This game featured Pedro dismantling Don Zimmer. Also, Derek Jeter hits HR v Pedro to tie the game. 1st RH hitter to hit HR v Pedro in all 2003. But, as you say, he's overrated.

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Joel Sherman comments on Mariano

Without abusing Mariano Rivera in multi-inning appearances, not to mention his pitching 2 saves in 1 day (May 3), the Yankees wouldn't be where they are today:
  • "THE Yankees lost a game yesterday, (8/16) but really began losing it in June and July. That is when Joe Torre’s trust in Brian Bruney, Kyle Farnsworth and Scott Proctor vanished, and so did any lingering restraint on Mariano Rivera.

It is understandable. The Yankees’ season and Torre’s job were on the line and no way was he going to let both evaporate due to the edgy makeups and straight fastballs of Bruney, Farnsworth and Proctor.

  • Ten times from May 30 to last Sunday in Cleveland, Torre called on Rivera to pitch more than an inning after vowing in spring not to do that."
  • *(Note to self: Inform Rollie Fingers that Mariano Rivera is not a "1 inning pitcher" as he mistakenly said in his WFAN interview earlier this week. Bruce Sutter knows that's not true, funny that Rollie doesn't). (Very end of interview). Link.

"Should Torre regret that decision? Well, the Yankees went 9-1 in those 10 games and Rivera was 1-0 with eight saves in eight tries. They are not in contention today without that contribution. But now comes the bill.
  • The reason the organization demanded Torre restrict Rivera’s outings to one inning was because in August last year - after heavy abuse - the great closer came down with a forearm strain that forced him to miss three weeks.
Because he (Torre) has to know now Rivera cannot do two jobs any more this year - set up and close - and if Chamberlain, Ramirez or someone else cannot handle the expanded burden, the Yanks are not going to make the playoffs anyway." Sherman is much more informed about Rivera than most. Others are dishonest and knowingly hide the fact that Rivera often does 2 jobs and obviously can't be compared with a closer who only does 1 job. 2 different things. Hey, lies and negativity work. (sm)


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NY POST Gets the Picture--Andy Pettitte is the story

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Getcha papizz heeah...Getcha papizz...

New York Post Back Cover 8/14/07, Mo comes out the day after, gives up one run, anonymous talk radio callers say he's done, " after 5-6 years" forgetting it's now 13 years. Not corrected by WFAN host.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Sports Writers now TV and Radio celebrities--Wash. Post

"We've gone from minor nuisance to cultural menace.

  • What was once just "The Sports Reporters" is now a sports Armageddon. We've reached critical mass. Everywhere you look, there are sports journalists blabbing, gabbing, fretting, chatting, arguing, debating and, mostly, shouting.

On ESPN alone, you have "The Sports Reporters," "Pardon The Interruption," "Around The Horn" and "1st And 10," plus several other of its daily shows -- "SportsCenter," "Rome Is Burning" and "Outside The Lines First Report" -- include regular forums of talking heads.

  • (I woke up in a dead sweat the other night because Skip Bayless was in one of my dreams excoriating Mike Shanahan for a bad third-down play call. Plus, I saw an ear-nose-and-throat specialist last week in a desperate attempt to get Stephen A. Smith's voice out of my head.)

If ESPN got out of the sports business tomorrow, half of America's top sports columnists would have to send their children back to public schools.

  • Sportswriters have gone from the locker room to the green room, from "Get me rewrite!" to "Get me wardrobe!" We used to just write, eat and drink; now we just talk, eat and drink. Who has time to write?

(Heck, I've gone into some towns and seen sports editors with their own TV shows. Sports editors! Hey, I love those fellas -- without 'em, I don't get published -- but if you're turning on your Sony and seeing a sports editor, you might have grounds for consumer action against your local cable carrier.)

  • Every sports columnist, it seems, is also on talk radio daily -- talking, well, a lot"......
From Washington Post article by Norman Chad, 8/13/07, "Look Who's Talking." Via Poynter.org/Romenesko

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Mike Francesa on Mariano Rivera's outing 8/12/07

Francesa on WFAN on Rivera's 8th and 9th inning outing yesterday (8/12):
  • He didn't have it yesterday. How do you know if Mariano doesn't have it? When he misses by FEET. He had nothing when he started in the 8th inning, but Torre brought him out again in the 9th because he is Mariano Rivera. No other reliever with nothing could've gotten out of it like he did. He saved the game 'between his ears.' He gets calm when things around him get stormy. That's why he's the best big game reliever of all time. Mike added he was wrong in his initial assessment of Melky, who's turned out better than he expected.

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Mariano and Molina, NY Post Back Cover

Back cover photo from NY Post 8/13/07. This is the third time in the past week the NY Daily News has bypassed covers with Rivera, while the NY Post has decided differently (as has Newsday). The NY Daily News did give a back cover to Melky & Cano once.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jon Weiner, PM Drive partner of Dan LeBatard debuts on WFAN

I just heard a new voice on WFAN in New York, says he works in Miami radio PM drive with Dan LeBatard. On google he's listed as General Manager of the station as well. Says he's a Mets fan. Believes money is the only thing that makes a team good. I guess we can all go home. Grade: D-

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Rivera Gets Out of Jams in both 8th and 9th innings v Indians

"The Yankees led by 5-2 when closer Mariano Rivera took the mound for the bottom of the ninth, after facing two batters in the eighth."

  • The drama was just as high in his 8th inning appearance, the score 4-2 (it didn't become 5-2 til the 9th) with 2 runners on base, 2 out, the winning run at the plate. Then he hit Ryan Garko with a pitch, loading the bases. Now the winning run was already on base. He induced a ground-out from the next batter.
  • P.S. Ryan Garko HBP 2007 YTD=15. Derek Jeter HBP 2007 YTD=10. I looked it up. Jeter is often mentioned in the media as a good HBP candidate, so I was surprised that Mr. Ryan Garko already has Jeter beaten in this category in 2007 by 50%.

"Jason Michaels and Chris Gomez singled, and Franklin Gutierrez doubled to left to make the score 5-3.

Manager Joe Torre visited the mound — the pitching coach Ron Guidry had been ejected after the seventh — and Rivera recovered, striking out Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore before Casey Blake flied to right to end the game."

(Details about the 8th inning may be mentioned in later editions, but I thought I'd point them out now just for future reference. My experience is others will overlook Rivera's extra work done in the 8th inning, just focusing on the 3 run lead in the 9th inning portion. Not that Mr. Kepner was doing that here, but that's what many scanning the article would latch onto. I've also heard some in media say that 8th inning work is "overrated," not explaining why their personal favorite late inning reliever doesn't do it. Although in the past few years, more teams have been asking their "closers" for this extra work).
  • For example, the WFAN sports flash at 7:40 PM told about Rivera's 9th but made no mention of the 8th. This interpretation will be accepted by thousands of people.

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Bob Nightengale cited by MLB Players' Union for tactics--NY Daily News

Bob Nightengale is a USA Today Baseball Columnist and baseball awards voter from Minnesota. He recently published remarks by Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield that resulted in penalties against the players by MLB, Inc. The best way to deal with this issue is for players to stop talking to BBWAA members. The Chipper Jones comments about Arod to an AP writer have so far not resulted in penalties for anyone, but lead to very sad coverage by New York media. Jones has said he's therefore not going to speak to New York media. This is the best way to stop the problem.
  • Today's media, fueled by the internet, is new territory and new approaches must be considered.
From Bob Raissman's NY Daily News article:
  • "Two recent incidents, in which players' quotes resulted in disciplinary action taken against them, have prompted the Major League Baseball Players Association to condemn the reporting tactics of USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale.

In both cases - Jason Giambi admitting he used steroids, and Gary Sheffield labeling baseball commissioner Bud Selig a liar and grandstander over Barry Bonds and the steroids issue - the stories created an uproar and both players were punished with fines and could be suspended. But were the players really talking on the record?

  • Baseball sources said the union, after discussing the circumstances of the interviews with Giambi and Sheffield, concluded the two players were misled by Nightengale.

"The union is not saying Nightengale is violating off-the-record rules," the source said. "However, the union is saying he has a way of discussing matters with players, which leads them to believe the conversations are not for publication."

  • In an interview with the Daily News, Nightengale said he did not mislead either player and was entirely comfortable with the way he handled both interviews."....
"The union is said to be mulling what action - if any - it might take in regard to how players should deal with Nightengale. It could merely warn players about having casual conversations with him, citing how such conversations have found their way into print.
  • Or, as one source pointed out: "It's not unprecedented for the union to recommend players to stay away from a particular reporter, a particular (media) institution or (media) entity.""
  • (I'm 100% certain no one at MLB Players Union reads this blog, but that was my solution, too). sm
From NY Daily News article by Bob Raissman, "Other Side of the Story--Union: Writer Got Scoops with Dirty Tricks." 8/12/07

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

"New York media can beat it."---Chipper Jones

"Jones had absolutely no interest in going over his opinions yesterday. He walked into the clubhouse just before it was set to close to reporters an hour before the game, and when he saw a crowd of reporters approaching his locker, he sternly said,
  • "New York media can beat it. By the way, if you think you're going to get any more -- out of me, you got another thing coming."
(I'm 100% sure Chipper Jones doesn't read this blog, but one of the 2 alternatives I mentioned the other day was to "shut down AP" writers. By his words here, Chipper is shutting down any New York media. Good move.) sm
  • "After the New York reporters left the room, Jones ripped the local media some more before pointing out that he wants to speak directly with A-Rod to make sure everything is clear.
"I want him to know what was said and what context it was in," he said. "It was nothing aimed at him. I was actually defending him. I think once I explain it to him, he'll see how it [was meant]."" The west coast teams and their media pals always complain they don't get enough publicity. Do they mean just "good" publicity, or do they want all the bad stuff, the blown saves, the grand slams, garbage like this, etc.? (sm)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Joba Chamberlain's ritual---Kepner, NY Times

CLEVELAND, Aug. 10 — "Joba Chamberlain has a ritual before his first pitch of a game. He stands behind the mound, his back to the catcher, his glove on the grass, his hat in his hand and his head bowed. Then he points to the sky, climbs up the dirt slope and starts to terrorize opposing hitters."
  • Kepner told Charley Steiner on XM the other day the origins of the name "Joba." It apparently stems from a young relative's inability to pronounce the name "Joshua," coming out with "Joba" instead. I'm not sure who Joshua actually was, Kepner said he wrote about it in his blog.
Item from NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, 8/11/07, "Yanks of Future Offer Help in Present."

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City of San Francisco backs illegal aliens to silence free speech of Michael Savage

This is a copy of a document filed by a city official of San Francisco. From website Michael Savage.com. This is what government officials do today instead of any actual work. Michael Savage has done a lot of good work via his radio show and speaks for independent voices in this country. The big guys want everyone to think alike, so are trying to get rid of Savage.

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Steinbrenner Didn't Deserve 'Portfolio's' Treatment---Marketwatch, Friedman

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- "George Steinbrenner, the controversial owner of the New York Yankees, doesn't deserve Portfolio's shabby treatment.
  • A 5,500-word piece by Franz Lidz, "Baseball After the Boss," smacks of "gotcha" journalism. It purports to offer a high-minded discussion of what will happen to the Yankees' fortunes after Steinbrenner, 77, dies or sells the team or loses his power within the organization. The story is in Portfolio's September issue, which hits newsstands on Aug. 15.
Oh, sure, the story discusses finances -- but Lidz's money shot is his description of an ailing man. Steinbrenner repeatedly says "Great to see ya!" to longtime friend Tom McEwen. McEwen had been ushered in to visit Steinbrenner at his Florida home, with Lidz in tow.
  • Lidz writes after the meeting: "'I'm shocked,' McEwen tells me. 'George doesn't even seem like the same person. I figured he might be in a bad way, but I never expected this.'"
The party line is that Steinbrenner's publicist, Howard Rubenstein, rebuffed interview requests and forced Lidz to improvise.
  • Sorry, but I don't buy a word of Portfolio's argument. I'm accustomed to hearing this kind of thing from a self-righteous Fortune 500 company or government official.
Let's put it another way. How would Portfolio feel if Si Newhouse, the beloved father of Conde Nast, was in similar ill health and a nosy media reporter managed to worm his or her way into his house to get a cheap scoop? I believe that Lidz invaded Steinbrenner's privacy.
Easy target
  • Steinbrenner is a useful target. He's hated for signing lots of coveted free agents, going back to Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Goose Gossage in the 1970s. He has built Major League Baseball's biggest payroll, at about $200 million.
Steinbrenner is bombastic and bullying. Oliver Platt depicts the Boss neatly in "The Bronx Is Burning," ESPN's rather bombastic miniseries on the Yankees' tumultuous 1977 championship season .(Come to think of it, Larry David's uncredited and hilarious impersonation of the bossy, tough-talking "Big Stein" on "Seinfeld" was pretty accurate, too.)
  • Mostly, though, baseball followers often resent Steinbrenner because he has been so successful. Since he took over the team in 1973, the Yankees have won six championships -- more than any other baseball franchise.
It seems to me that Portfolio is, and should be angriest at the ever-protective Rubenstein. Fair enough; he got in the magazine's way. Portfolio should go after him.
  • Of course. Portfolio wouldn't be sending out press releases to trumpet an upcoming exposé on the likes of Howard Rubenstein.
Bad publicity
  • Portfolio can ill afford any bad publicity these days. It's already coming off a week to forget.
According to media accounts, Editor Joanne Lipman forced out her deputy, Jim Impoco, because of their inability to see eye to eye. It's bad timing when a high-ranking member of the news team exits only days before the publication of the magazine's second issue."......... Via Poynter.org/Romenesko

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Warren Buffett connects with A-rod---Murray Chass, NY Times

"“A couple years ago, he (A-rod) got in touch with me and wanted to come in and talk,” Buffett said. “We hit it off very well.” In Toronto, Rodriguez explained, “I just always admired him as an American icon more than anything,” he said. Buffett lives in Omaha, the home of his Berkshire Hathaway holding company, the College World Series and the Kansas City Royals’ Pacific Coast League affiliate, of which Buffett has been a quarter owner for 10 years."

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

"Answer to Annual Question: No, Rivera Hasn't Lost His Edge"--NY Times, Kepner

CLEVELAND, Aug. 9 – "He has taken the mound for the Yankees 242 more times than any other pitcher in the team’s history. He is 37 years old,
  • a 13-year veteran who has pitched the equivalent of another full season and a half in October.***
"Yet the annual guessing game about Mariano Rivera losing it has become as hackneyed as a joke about airline peanuts. As the Yankees begin a three-game series with the Indians at Jacobs Field on Friday, their most indispensable player is as dominant as ever.
  • “He’s just a freak of nature,” the Toronto Blue JaysFrank Thomas said. “He’s mastered a pitch. People say he’s going to lose it. He’s not going to lose it.”
“It’s effortless, and when the ball’s 96 with late movement like that, it’s unheard of,” Thomas said. “He gets better and better and better. When he’s fully rested, it’s a truly amazing pitch. I’ve seen him like that a number of times over the years; many, many days. He’s maintained that same pitch with late action and it’s extremely difficult to hit.”
  • Rivera has converted his last 18 save opportunities, allowing just two earned runs in 21 and 1/3 innings in those games, with no walks and 22 strikeouts. The Yankees are 57-1 when leading after eight innings, the loss coming in Oakland on April 15....
Predictably, there were questions about whether Rivera had lost his edge....“It happens every year, so I don’t get offended,” Rivera said.
  • His ability extends beyond the mound. Rivera does not have the title of captain, but he fills that role for the pitching staff. He coaxed two strong years from Tom Gordon, in 2004 and 2005, and has now become a mentor to his current setup man, Luis Vizcaino.

“He’s my teacher, my everything,” Vizcaino said. “I’m happy to hang out with that guy, because he gives me a lot of confidence. Every day, I talk with him.”

Rivera has an elevated status among players around the league. He is one of them, but clearly on a higher plane.

  • No one wants to think about replacing him, but this week’s promotion of Joba Chamberlain offers a glimpse at a possible successor.

The Yankees view Chamberlain, 21, as a starter for the long term. But with a 100 mile-per-hour fastball and a wicked array of off-speed pitches, he may have the stuff to be a dominant closer. He threw two scoreless innings in his debut on Tuesday.

“You can be anything you want, as long as you work at it,” Rivera said. “Hopefully, he can be the man -- hopefully. It’s a lot of work, and it’s a long time to go...."

“But, definitely, I like the kid and I will do everything I can to do my best for him and be there to help.”"

From NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Rivera, Far From Losing It, Takes on Role of Mentor," (original title), and "Answer to Annual Question: No, Rivera Hasn't Lost His Edge" (title for same article in late edition) 8/10/07.

  • (Suzyn Waldman on Yankee radio Wednesday night noted Joba Chamberlain talking at length with Mariano, the latter doing most of the talking. She said not all of them take advantage of this resource!).
***Nice to hear a rare acknowledgment of a season and a half's grueling work that's never mentioned by the mass media or internet. If it is alluded to, it's put aside in a separate basket and you're railed at to focus on cookie saves in the regular season in hopes of getting a Cy Young or Hall of Fame vote for someone who's not a Yankee.*** (sm)
  • P.S. Patience pays off.
*On June 8, 2002, Mariano Rivera struck out Barry Bonds swinging on 6 pitches. So far, that's the only time the 2 have faced each other.
  • Rivera is the "All-Time Saves" Leader in American League history--not a stat you'll ever hear about.

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Ex-Yankee Scott Proctor gets the W in 5-4 Dodgers victory over the Reds today in Cincinnati in a 2 inning performance. Saito came in for the save. For the Reds, Mike Stanton contributed and avoided the 2 BS's and 1L that went to Reds' relievers. Way to go, Sparky!
Tomko 6.06331315.49
Seanez 0.22110004.00
Beimel 0.10000103.94
Broxton 1.01001002.47
Proctor (W, 3-5)2.01000203.48
Saito (S, 28)1.01000001.44

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Melky gets Mention on Jeff Erickson's Fantasy Focus

Jeff Erickson gave Melky Cabrera a little showcase on his XM Fantasy Focus show today. The feature was something like, "Player to Watch" or "Player of the Week," I can't say exactly. Of course, Jeff picked out Melky last year long before even Yankee fans did.

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Latest ESPN Ombudsman Report is interesting, as usual

  • "With all genuine and due respect for the SportsCenter producers who try daily to find a balance between sports news and entertainment, I think that SportsCenter's big tent is bursting at the seams from the strain of trying to reconcile irreconcilable audiences and values within one show.
I wish ESPN would consider adding to its lineup a crisp, half-hour, nightly news version of SportsCenter -- just news and highlights, without gimmicks or sponsored segments or recaps, without self- or cross-promotion, with a consistent anchor team accountable for a consistent tone, with spare to no use of instant commentary.
  • A prime-time island of clean, clear, straightforward news on which ESPN's journalistic credibility could securely rest. On most nights, such a show is already lurking within the expanded 60- to 90-minute editions of SportsCenter. Many viewers probably use their DVRs to seek and carve out just such a show, but ESPN's producers could do a better job of it than we can, if they would. I know viewers can go to ESPNEWS for updated half-hour news, but ESPN is the parent channel and SportsCenter is the face of the franchise.
If viewers like those who wrote me about Who's Now were provided a reliable half-hour nightly news, I suspect ESPN could take all the risks it wanted with the other editions of SportsCenter and still reduce complaints so significantly that this ombudsman could retire." Ms. Schreiber's comments pretty much echo what Mike Francesa said on these subjects on WFAN in the past couple of weeks. Which isn't to say any of it will affect any change on ESPN. (sm)

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