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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Character matters--See the Mets---NY Times

"Before the Philadelphia game with Washington on Sunday I listened to an interview with Pat Gillick, the Phillies’ general manager. Gillick was once Toronto’s general manager and won five division titles with them along with two World Series.

  • Gillick said that for many years he felt that talent was everything. But he said after watching Philadelphia overcome injuries and other adversity this season and overtake the Mets, he had concluded that talent was overrated.

Talent is important, he said, but what is more important is mental toughness, character, passion and the desire to win.

  • “These are things that cannot be measured,” he said. But perhaps they can be, in the space and time it takes for a team to collapse with 17 games left to play.

Moving forward, Minaya and Randolph may want to use a new measuring stick."

Jose Reyes failed to run out an infield hit on Saturday. My question to another NY Times alleged "reporter:" Why didn't you report all the sabotage that has gone on against Willie Randolph? How would you do your job under such circumstances? Oh, right, you're in a union. (sm)
  • P.S. If ESPN were aware of the reality of "character," it wouldn't have considered holding its "Townhall" meeting to discuss Michael Vick. Since then, even more has come out about this individual-- as happens with those lacking "character." (It's normally obtained from what is called "parents.")
Finally, the always perfect when he writes about baseball, George Vecsey says:
  • "....José Reyes deteriorate(d) into a swaggering, helpless juvenile in the final month of the season. Somebody — probably Omar Minaya, the general manager — had better sit with Reyes in the Dominican Republic in November and explain the next 10 steps to growing up as a major leaguer. Reyes was 0 for 5 yesterday, with four balls in the air.
From George Vecsey's NY Times column, "Perhaps Glavine Needs Ticket to Life he Once Knew," 10/01/07. (Via the 'Midnight Train to Georgia.')

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Go Mets

Newsday Back Cover 9/30/07

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

2 Roads Diverged in a Wood--they took 1

I've read 2 accounts so far of Joba Chamberlain's appearance tonight in the game v Tampa Bay (Yanks won 12-4). They both admitted he gave up 1 hit and 1 long fly ball that was caught. 1 account revealed the fly ball was caught valiantly at the wall by Melky. In your higher stakes situations, a long fly ball like that could be a sac fly, advancing or scoring a runner. Neither account mentioned Chamberlain was charged with a Wild Pitch. In some of your higher stakes situations, Wild Pitches can lose games via runners advancing, assuming you have 1 or more persons on base. I looked up Joba's GO/AO ratio and it's .95 (17/19). Mo's is 1.96 (87/48), and is consistent with his career average as a ground ball pitcher. Obviously, Joba is great and a necessity as a bridge to Rivera. (Rivera has been himself and a bridge to himself many times even this year).
  • If Mo had a 9th inning situation with a 1 run lead, gave up a hit, a long fly ball to the wall, and a Wild Pitch, many media outlets would've described his outing as "shaky," or "worrisome." Worst of all, they would've said, "HE WASN'T 1-2-3...." I'm pretty sure no one will say Joba was "shaky" tonight. Lucky guy.
*The "1-2-3" stat is being pushed by ubiquitous ESPN/MLB merchant/celebrities for the purpose of re-defining a pitcher's ability- in particular what is called a "closer." They want you to look at the "total save stat" (BUT REGULAR SEASON ONLY, NOT POST SEASON), and save 'CONVERSIONS.' These stats ignore MULTI INNING APPEARANCES, ENTERING WITH RUNNERS ON BASE, WHETHER THE PITCHER CAME IN WITH A 1, 2, or 3 run lead, TIE GAME SITUATIONS, AND, OF COURSE, THE BIG GAME WIN. AND WHETHER THE PITCHER WAS WORKING 3 DAYS IN A ROW, 3 OUT OF 4 DAYS, SAVING 6 1-RUN GAMES IN A 2 WEEK PERIOD IN A DEADLOCKED PENNANT RACE, ETC.

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Mr. Steinbrenner meets fans tonight in Tampa, 5th inning

AP Photo in Newsday

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Doggie plays cuts from new Springsteen album today on WFAN

They sounded great, especially "Long Walk Home" which Francesa also liked. Doggie is of course a big Springsteen fan. I was happy WFAN played these cuts, because they sounded good and I wouldn't have heard them otherwise. #2 Because it allowed Mike and Chris to show their versatility--they are both knowledgeable in areas that overlap interests of the sports fan.
  • One item from Bill Madden's interview with Mike and Chris yesterday, Tuesday, 9/25, which has been said before but is still interesting. Following up on his column about Willie Randolph, Madden mentions one of the reasons they chose Willie was because of his willingness to do extra work in the community related to the Mets. Madden said Jim Leyland didn't want to do this extra stuff, which is one reason they weren't a match. Assuming this is true, there's nothing wrong with not wanting to make a 24 hour a day job even longer. I just thought it was interesting Madden mentioned it again. The Bill Madden interview is at wfan.com, then click podcasts under Mike and Chris.

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Seattle P-I & Hearst face lawsuit over "online reporter" status

Pacific Northwest Newspaper Guild wants "online reporter" to be a union job, Seattle Post-Intelligencer disagrees.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Remembering what JP Ricciardi said in June 2006 on WFAN

On June 24, 2006, JP Ricciardi spoke on WFAN about closers:

  • J.P. RICCIARDI TO FRANCESA: MARIANO RIVERA #1 REASON FOR YANKS SUCCESS

JP Ricciardi spoke with Mike Francesa on WFAN on Friday afternoon, Francesa saying how well BJ Ryan has been doing. Mike brings up the Red Sox and issue of having Papelbon as closer vs. starter. JP says how crucial it is to have an ace closer, no matter what else you have if you don't have the ace closer you won't win. Francesa says, "So if you had to choose between Curt Schilling or Papelbon, which would you choose?" and JP answers, "Well, I'd have to say Papelbon, because
  • the closer is ultimately more important. IT'S BEEN THE REASON FOR THE YANKEES' SUCCESS ALL THESE YEARS."
I posted this at that time, and re-post it for the record. (sm)

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There are more "Farnsworth Rules" than "Joba Rules"--NY Post

Joel Sherman points this out today:
  • "There are more rules for Kyle Farnsworth than Chamberlain and no one cares much because, well, he is Kyle Farnsworth."
NY Post column, "Like them or Not, Joba Rules Work," 9/25/07
  • The internet is funny--often you don't know who's actually posting things or why, such as Farnsworth hasn't had "the chance" to be the closer....Some teams can afford to have a "saves stat compiler," who wisks in for the quick stat when it's convenient, but the Yankees aren't one of them.
What many don't know is Farnsworth over the past 2 seasons has frequently been "unavailable" due to bad back, neck or shoulder, which may not have been formally announced to the press.
  • On top of that, his--Farnsworth's-- own rules say he can't pitch back to back days, can't pitch more than 3 outs, doesn't like coming in with men on base, etc. The "closer" job on the Yankees would require 2 or 3 separate people to do the job Kyle might envision. You want a "fly ball" closer, watching all those homeruns go out? Better a ground ball pitcher like Rivera, who in 122 innings in 1996 gave up only 1 homerun. And has continued his low homerun rate in regular and post ever since. (sm)

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Lupica: Joba as bridge to Rivera & too bad Minaya didn't make a similar big move for the Mets...

"The Yankees are not this close to the Red Sox and this close to officially securing a playoff spot without Joba becoming the first reliable bridge to Mo Rivera since Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton.
  • And because the Joba Rules were in place for these six weeks, at least the kid won't be pitched out when the postseason begins next week, pitched out the way Tom Gordon was before him, and Paul Quantrill, and all the others who were supposed to be that kind of bridge to Rivera.

There are a lot of reasons why the Yankees came on this way the last six weeks. None bigger than the big kid from Nebraska. Biggest move of the year. Willie Randolph probably wishes his general manager had made one like it for him."

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Jon Friedman, Marketwatch--Done with Bill Simmons, now likes Joe Posnanski

"True, Simmons may be the most notable personality on ESPN.com, which is owned by Walt Disney, and he has done a fantastic job of creating a one-guy franchise in the new media. He deserves a lot of credit for his success.
  • But my favorite now is Joe "the Poz" Posnanski, whom I think of as good ole K.C. Joe. You could also call him America's best sports columnist. Joe, a Star columnist for 11 years, is an engaging writer, a keen observer and someone (unlike you-know-which-Guy) who seems to be more interested in talking about his subjects than himself.
Super Fan' positioning
  • Meanwhile, Simmons has long represented himself as a sort of Super Fan, not as a traditional reporter who chronicles game action and then gets quotes in the locker rooms. You're probably a Sports Guy diehard if you love "Caddyshack," Boston sports teams (especially the Celtics and Larry Bird) or the Las Vegas scene. These are Simmons staples.
Of course, Simmons has a willing accomplice: ESPN.com.
  • The Web site enables him with promotions disguised as branding efforts. It also presents assiduous news coverage (especially when big events are being televised by ESPN and its cousin, ABC Sports), attention to Fantasy fanatics
and a carefree attitude about printing and stirring up trade rumors."

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Mr. Chass, sir, you mean the same Jesse Litsch who embarrassed the Red Sox too?

"A victory would have put the Yankees one game behind, but Andy Pettitte had one bad inning and the Yankees’ hitters had nine bad innings.

  • Scoring one run in seven and two-thirds innings against a substitute starter, Jesse Litsch, a 22-year-old right-hander, is no way to get in position to embarrass the Red Sox."
You mean the same 22 year old "substitute starter" who embarrassed the Red Sox too last week (Sept. 19) at Toronto, beating them 6-1? (sm) (Baseball Reference box score).

From NY Times column by Murray Chass, "Leaving the Light on for the Boss," 9/25/07

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Bill Madden confirms my worst fear for Willie Randolph: Jeff Wilpon

Having read about Jeff Wilpon and heard his father Fred speak of him, I thought this is another situation of a father passing authority to a wretch of a son (see James Dolan). Bill Madden confirms that Jeff Wilpon is the problem in the Mets organization. Little Jeff thinks managers don't matter. And Little Jeff has been told by his Daddy that he's a very big deal.
  • Worse, there's almost the same problem in the Mets clubhouse as when Steve Phillips was there, Madden reports: An assistant GM is hanging around the clubhouse much of the time, undercutting Willie Randolph's authority.
Then you have the shrill voices of people like Buster Olney opining on the situation. Olney has a lifetime appointment as judge, jury, and executioner, but is unelected. He's treated like royalty. "Intensity," floats Olney about Willie Randolph, passing the fiery torch. The money and fame must be great over there for you to broadcast such crap about Willie Randolph. He is nothing if not intense. Bill Madden's column gives some details which the average mortal would deem obvious. NY Daily News column by Bill Madden, "Willie Randolph Catching Too Much Heat for Mets' Slump," 9/23/07 (Sunday)

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Boras says he didn't really say what he said about dealing with the Cubs--AP

The original story sounds quite believable to me and in line with how Allen H. "Bud" Selig does things. There will be various denials, but the prospective Cubs owner already being a friend of Selig's, Boras being what he is, etc.,it all sounds logical. Any tampering charges will be poo-pooed by Selig and no one will question him. AP story in Newsday, "Boras Knocks Down Arod Cubs Report," 9/23/07

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IP by Top 10 AL Closers (by SVO's) ytd

  • M. Rivera 69.1
  • J. Putz 68.1
  • J. Nathan 67.1
  • J. Accardo 65.1
  • F. Rodriguez 64.1
  • B. Jenks 63.0
  • J. Borowski 61.2
  • T. Jones 61.1
  • A. Reyes 57.2
  • J. Papelbon 56.0
Stats as of 12 noon, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2007

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Schools in UK told to fight Cyber-bullies

"Cyberbullying is a particularly insidious type of bullying as it can follow young people wherever they go and the anonymity that it seemingly affords to the perpetrator can make it even more stressful for the victim.

The guide being sent out to schools in England says cyberbullying can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, "with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target".

But it says it differs in that it invades home and personal space and the perpetrator can use the cloak of anonymity.

Among the new guidance are tips for drawing up anti-bullying policies to cover cyber bullying, how to have offensive or malicious material removed from websites, and advice on confiscating equipment used in bullying, such as mobile phones.

Offensive weapons call

  • The new measures were developed in consultation with anti-bullying experts, mobile phone companies and websites including Bebo, MySpace and YouTube.

The (teachers') union is calling for pupils' mobile phones to be classed as potentially offensive weapons and for them to be banned during school sessions."....

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Joel Sherman & John Sterling show pop culture awareness in 9th inning, score 11-11

This exchange was noted on another blog, I couldn't listen myself at that point. The Mets game appeared in the bag, so he dialed over to check out the 11-11 Blue Jays/Yankees game in the 9th, saying:
  • "I haven't listened to Yankee radio in a long time but I just switched over from the Mets game because that game is "in the bag" and the Yankees and Blue Jays are tied at 11. So the guy who is doing radio now with John Sterling, (Joel Sherman), (Suzyn Waldman is out atoning for her sins)
  • says 'Mariano Rivera coming into this game is like Gisele Bunching (sic) walking into an Ugly Festival.'
And then John Sterling says 'it's like in My Fair Lady, the tune "I'd rather have a choir singing flat" well Mariano coming in is like Ella Fitzgerald walking in on that choir."" (Sterling has seen every pitch Rivera has thrown in the major leagues. Sherman has followed him closely from the beginning and has studied and written much about him). "After the 14-inning horror show late Friday, Joe Torre needed to run in the junior varsity yesterday, conducting a game of musical chairs to see if any of the reserve pitchers could be trusted in the postseason. As far as I can tell, nobody made the cut, except for that young feller, No. 42." Also from the NY Times from the substitute beat writer, Bill Finley--I agree, 20 pitches is a lot for 1 inning for Mariano--bad, bad. First batter an infield grounder. Then he gave up a double to a light hitter. While this runner was in scoring position, Mariano faced the next 2 batters, both of whom struck out swinging. The score was tied, so a run could've meant winning the game for Toronto. At this point, the season is still on the line, so a loss might've meant a lost season (meaning no post season). I agree, it wasn't a 5 or 6 pitch inning and it did have the double. But, this is how the NY Times guy described it--which will be sent all around the world with the greatest authority:
  • "Torre brought in Mariano Rivera for the ninth inning. He got through the inning, but even he was shaky...."
From NY times article by Bill Finley, "Yanks' Offense Finally Closes the Door When Bullpen Can't," 9/23/07.
  • "Shaky" is what the world will see and remember. It's the NY Times' judgment. Their columnist Murray Chass also has an article for tomorrow's edition--he wrote about various bullpen situations, mentioning several teams. He mentioned the Yankees but just as a team Boston plays, nothing about their bullpen, which for me is a plus. It makes life easier for me. I only note it for those who believe so-called New York newspapers are biased in favor of the Yankees.

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"Staggering" negativity in NY from media & fans--exec. to Joel Sherman

9/21/07, NY Post:"As a rival executive (of the Yankees) said recently,
  • “...It is staggering the amount of negative noise that comes in New York (from media and fans) when your team spends that much money, has their expectations and has their history. It is bad anywhere, but in New York it is so much louder and so much more relentless. To stay the course, to stay yourself, I really admire that.”"
From Joel Sherman's NY Post column, 9/21/07, "Steadiness and Sturdiness."
  • -----------------------------------------------------
The NY Post ran the following grabber in the banner on top of its sports page on 9/23/07:
  • "So this what a $200 million tiara looks like sitting on top of a pig's head. While the Yankees' 12-11, 10-inning victory over..."
Anybody can make the human experience worse. This was copy from NY Post beat writer, George King.
  • Then this item from Phil Mushnick's NY Post column about how you've been told by our cultural leaders that bad language is fine. But they didn't say you'll still get bashed if you're a Yankee:
"All the Yankees' Shelley Duncan had to do was write "Red Sox Stink!" instead of the word he used, and his autograph, to that 10-year-old Boston fan, would have been cute instead of vulgar. But at 27, it's not Duncan's fault.
  • He was raised at a time when multimedia and sports marketing strategists decided that good is bad, bad is good, and worse is even better.
  • Reap, sow."
From Phil Mushnick's NY Post column, 9/23/07 "Race Against Time."

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Friday, September 21, 2007

If true in 1993, it's even moreso now....the superfluous "Beat Writer"

Allen Barra reviews a 1993 book by 2 then NY Mets beat writers about the 1992 Mets:

  • "Bob Klapisch for The Daily News and John Harper for The New York Post -- take the reader from the preseason trades of disgruntled star players through accusations of gang rape to enough petty feuds and squabbles to fuel a soap opera. All you want to know about the Mets' 1992 season is in "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," as well as a few things you may not want to know and quite a few things you would never have thought to ask.

In one sense Mr. Klapisch and Mr. Harper have done their job. They detail the arrogance, egomania and ineptitude that helped create the 1992 fiasco....On the other hand....

  • "The Worst Team Money Could Buy" never comes to grips with the fact that the enormous sums baseball players now earn have

changed the role of the newspaper beat writer. To their credit, the authors acknowledge that beat writers no longer just report the news but are having an increasingly greater influence on the shaping of it.

  • (In one bizarre vignette, the Mets' then manager, Davey Johnson, calls a peace meeting between Mr. Klapisch, his colleague Mike Lupica and the Mets' first baseman, Keith Fernandez, whom Mr. Lupica had called "the Prince of Darkness.")"
(More teams are moving press boxes to out of the way spots in the stadium. The point is, those people can all gab if they want, but their job is largely superfluous. Or redundant). sm
  • (Allen Barra)"Newspapers are no longer the primary source for descriptions of games, as they were in, say, Ring Lardner's day, when players and writers traveled, ate and played cards together, and when players' off-field exploits were taboo subjects for news columns.
  • Today it seems that beat writers more and more cover teams to explore the players' private lives and to offer judgments about players' character (or lack of it). Friction between press and players, especially in New York, seems inevitable. One wonders if it isn't beginning to grate on readers."
(Yes. And fans). sm P.S. Mr. Harper is now with the NY Daily News. Mr. Klapisch is now with the North Jersey (Bergen) Record.
  • For the BBWAA record:
On 11/10/05 on XM radio, Scott Miller said Chris Carpenter deserved the NL Cy Young in part as recognition for 'lifetime achievement.' Carpenter had pitched 6 full regular seasons, parts of 2 others. He had appeared to date 1 year in the post season, 2005, in the NLDS and NLCS. In spite of this and other statements, Scott Miller continues to be treated like royalty. On 1/12/06 on XM radio, Scott Miller said the BBWAA's first job is to protect newspaper writers.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does Joe Borowski eat quiche? NY Times suggests "1 inning closers" often do...

NY Times' Harvey Araton looks at Joba Chamberlain, and muses about the post season. There's no guarantee the Yankees will be there at this date, but he wants to imagine it. The "quiche" part is near the end. "Good luck to Yankees opponents this fall, once the game gets to (Joba) Chamberlain, setting up for the still-formidable Mariano Rivera. And good grief to the plan to terminate
  • this tandem of contrasting personalities by inserting Chamberlain into the starting rotation next season rather than have him continue in his current role and groom him as the closer for when Rivera retires."
(I like the "tandem of contrasting personalities." Mr. Araton wants Joba to continue as a set-up man. Araton reminds us Goose Gossage likes setup guys who growl, gesticulate, whiz balls by players' heads, and wants them to be in the Hall of Fame. Joba Chamberlain has only been pitching a few weeks, but Gossage likes the picture as he related to Araton). sm
  • “I really don’t see how they can think about making him a starter after what we’ve seen,” Gossage said in a telephone interview. “You can find starters — I know they have other young kids — but how are you going to find another character like him? How are you going to replace him? Before he came up, those setup guys were killing them.”

(Araton) “Before he came up,” in measurement of years, given the roll call of failed relievers on various levels that

  • at the end of the most important days too often made Rivera’s a painful out or three longer."
  • Wow. "A PAINFUL OUT OR 3 LONGER." In a convoluted, low-key turn of phrase, a quiet acknowledgement that MARIANO RIVERA HAS OFTEN BEEN BOTH SET-UP MAN AND CLOSER--NOT JUST A 1-inning pitcher--- has slid into a NY Times article. However, Araton either doesn't pursue Gossage on this topic or Gossage wouldn't go there anyway). sm

(Araton) "From the New York state of mind, hasn’t this season already become the telling tale of the seventh and eighth innings? Even with Chamberlain pitching under restrictive house rules, witness the Yankees surging, the Red Sox faltering under the fatigue of Hideki Okajima and the failure of Eric Gagné, and the Mets’ desperation based on their inability to bridge the gap between their starters and Billy Wagner.
  • (Back to Gossage): “Someday, mark my words, one of these setup guys is going to make the Hall of Fame,” Gossage, himself a deserving outsider, said. “That’s how valuable they’ve become. In my opinion, the best setup guys now have a tougher job than the closers."

(Gossage has made this statement numerous times to the media. Even though he's now talking about a setup guy who's only been pitching a few weeks, why not trot it out again.) sm

  • (Gossage) "They pitch more innings, inherit more runners. And this kid, with the attitude and excitement he brings, man, it’s beautiful thing, nothing in baseball that’s like it.”
(Araton) "The 21-year-old with the fiery makeup and the fastball consistently pushing triple digits has the ability to make major league hitters flail at the well-spotted bender into the dirt. Break it down any which way; as Gossage said, hitters more often than not are succumbing to Chamberlain’s swagger.
  • (Gossage) “I saw him throw those two pitchers over Kevin Youkilis’s head when they played Boston,” he said. “I loved it.".....

.....“It was a great purpose pitch, only now they’re protecting these hitters every chance they get. It makes me sick. I went crazy when they tossed the kid that day. I screamed, ‘What the heck is this game coming to?’ ”

(Araton) He actually said this a bit more colorfully, unfiltered passion still at Gossage’s disposal so long after an eight-out save in Boston —

  • back when closers were no quiche-eating, one-inning wonders —....."
(An amusing line by the writer--but no 1 inning wonders were mentioned in the article. Maybe he was thinking of Joe Borowski or one of those types). sm

(Araton) "Of course, not all great relief pitchers must pose, or posture, or wear a menacing-looking mustache, as did Gossage. Rivera, an impassive, 170-pound fireballing incongruity, long ago put the lie to that.

  • But if Chamberlain has proved anything in his first six weeks in the major leagues and — incredibly — his first pro season, it is that he was born for the late-innings challenge. He has come out of nowhere, out of the Gossage mold, into the fire."
From NY Times column by Harvey Araton, "Gossage Reaches Back," 9/21/07
  • P.S. Time will tell.

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Andy Pettitte tips his cap then and now

4 years between them: Top photo Andy Pettitte 9/19/07 from Newsday; Bottom photo Andy Pettitte post season with Yankees, probably 2003, which I posted on this blog 12/7/06 anticipating his return after a 3 year absence.

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Gordon Edes, (NESN, Boston Globe) on WFAN with Mike and Chris (Mike & the Mad Dog)

Momentum didn't affect the Tigers going to the World Series last year, so Red Sox know they can still get there. Re: missing Manny Ramirez, Edes notes big hits he's been getting in recent workouts, so some may conclude he's OK to play. But the oblique is tricky and they don't want to risk using him too early.
  • Funny: Edes said Manny recently suggested he go down to the minors to work things out. They had to tell Manny the minors were done for the season.
Edes' suggestion for 8th inning if Okajima not available: CLAY BUCHHOLTZ.
  • Gordon notes some fans in New England would rather beat the Yankees for the pennant than go to the World Series.
He says if they don't play David Ortiz when Scott Kazmir pitches (to rest his knee), that will say they're fine with either the wild card or the division.
  • (Francesa thinks the Red Sox will probably still win the division).

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Red Sox Alert System by Bob Ryan

from the Boston Globe, 9/20/07, Extra Bases

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Orioles fans can place some blame on World Baseball Classic

The Orioles had more players on the WBC than any other team, and 5 pitchers. Players from many teams broke down and were 10 cents on the dollar to their fans as a result. Angelos, Selig, and Fidel Castro are busy working on the next WBC, when Orioles fans will be set up to have their players ruined again. There are other sources for this info, this is just one. I remember very well Bruce Chen publicly criticizing another Panamanian player for not participating. That player is still playing today.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chris Russell back on XM 175 doing XM on deck

Great to see Chris Russell's name on my XM monitor with the stories leading into tonight's games. As I mentioned before about Mr. Russell, he's a personality and a talent. He should be on much more, provided that's also his wish.

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Boston Globe--Gagne says Devern Hansack did it--Gordon Edes

"A report in yesterday's New York Post said that Yankee closer Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning Sunday night in Fenway Park after being struck on his pitching elbow by an errant warmup toss thrown by Sox reliever Eric Gagné in the bullpen. "It came in hot," Yankees reliever Ron Villone told the Post. "He couldn't feel his arm; it was numb. We were in the bullpen saying, 'Oh no.' " Rivera told reporters yesterday that the ball hit him in his right hand and bruised his pinky.
  • Gagné was aware that there was a wild pitch out of the Sox pen, but he said he didn't throw it; he said it was Devern Hansack, who was warming up alongside him. Gagné did not know that the ball had struck Rivera. "It wasn't me," he said. After allowing a double to Aubrey Huff, Rivera earned his 29th save last night, striking out Melvin Mora with runners at second and third in the ninth inning of the Yankees' 8-5 victory over the Orioles."
From article in Boston Globe by Gordon Edes, "Return of Ramirez to Sox Lineup a Tough Call, says Francona," 9/18/07

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Monday, September 17, 2007

NY Times just calls it a "mysterious toss" at (Mariano) Rivera-- doesn't name Gagne--they're so polite that way.

"The episode may help explain why Rivera pitched so poorly after entering the game at the start of the ninth inning with the Yankees leading, 4-2. He allowed a run-scoring double with two outs before hitting Jacoby Ellsbury with a pitch and walking Dustin Pedroia to load the bases. He then got David Ortiz to pop out to end the game, earning his 28th save.

  • Why did Manager Joe Torre allow Rivera to pitch with a numb finger? Torre said he did not know about the injury until yesterday morning, when General Manager Brian Cashman told him. Cashman also did not learn about the injury until yesterday.

“I don’t know really much of the specifics, but thankfully, he’s O.K.,” said Cashman, who added that the Yankees had no plans to start an investigation into how Rivera was hurt.

Torre and Cashman said, in some ways, they were glad they did not know about what happened when it happened.

“I would have been more freaked out if I was told before he was coming in that, by the way, he can’t feel his finger because he got hit,” Cashman said, adding with a laugh, “It would have made the ninth inning worse.”"

From NY Times article by David Picker,"MYSTERIOUS TOSS ADDS DRAMA TO RIVERA'S NINTH AT FENWAY, 9/18/07

  • P.S. As I pointed out last night, the NY Times has very opinionated headline writers. Here, their opinion is they don't want you to know what really happened, just something 'mysterious' involving a "toss," and they sure as heck don't want you to know the ball was thrown from the Red Sox bullpen by Eric Gagne as other outlets have reported. (sm)

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Guest in Yankee Radio booth says Pettitte is #3

In a showcased appearance during tonight's Orioles-Yankees game, a topic was the 7 vs 8 day playoff schedule, which might benefit certain teams vs maximum usage of their number 1 and 2 pitchers. Mentioning the relevant teams Angels, Indians, Red Sox, Yankees (Detroit of course looming in the wings), the guest says, "Pettitte is probably the best #3 starter" (amongst the field of #3 starters). I've read for quite some time that Wang and Pettitte are the #1 and #2 starters on the team, and that's how Joe Torre views it as well. So I wrote the comment down for future reference.
  • This showcased daily expert format is by nature limited to a few seconds between pitches. If one makes a dramatic or controversial statement--especially near the end of an inning-- it almost certainly won't or can't be refuted but will live in perpetuity with the validation and professional environment provided by John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on the airwaves of the worldwide Yankee organization. (The speaker's appearance may be a paid or sponsored event, which I have no way of knowing).
Update: The guest has notified me that he said "Clemens is probably the best #3 starter." I was listening quite closely, and thought I heard Pettitte. But the names may sound similar when said on the radio. Sometimes I tape the Yankee radio games, but am listening on XM today and don't have a recorder hooked up there.

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Suzyn Waldman interviews Mariano Rivera on Yankee pregame, 9/17/07

Suzyn Waldman asks Mariano Rivera about being hit by a ball thrown by Eric Gagne last night. Gagne threw the ball from the Red Sox bullpen just prior to Rivera's 9th inning appearance in a game the Yankees needed desperately.
  • Suzyn mentions the 'stories going around today about Rivera being hit by a ball thrown by Gagne' but says the ball hit him on a finger. (The NY Post reports said he was hit on the elbow).
Mariano says yes, he was surprised, expressed no anger of course, but said he (Gagne) "hit me good." He said his finger went numb, that he had no feeling in it when he pitched, but wrote it off saying, "It happens."
  • Suzyn notes the bullpens at Fenway Park are 'very close.' Asked Rivera how he felt today, and he said fine, no problem. Whatever did or didn't happen, Mo won't make a big deal about it. We saw that in the 2004 post season when his relatives were tragically killed and it was thought Rivera might not be able to pitch at all in the 2004 post season.

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Mike Francesa & Chris Russo on WFAN fail to mention Eric Gagne hitting Mariano Rivera

In the 5PM hour they discuss the Yankee-Red Sox game, I wait to hear them mention the NY Post and others reporting Eric Gagne threw a ball from the Red Sox bullpen last night and hit Rivera in the elbow right before the 9th inning. Rivera's arm was numb as he went into pitch the game, and he gave a tremendous clutch performance against David Ortiz with the bases loaded to save the game.
  • Both Mike and Chris noted Rivera struggled in that inning, BUT MADE NO MENTION WHATSOEVER OF HIS BEING HIT IN THE ELBOW MINUTES BEFORE.
I EVEN SENT AN EMAIL TO WFAN'S INSTANT ACCESS TO NOTIFY THEM, BUT SO FAR IT'S BEEN IGNORED.
  • So Mariano's performance has been criticized mistakenly to a huge audience--so much for New York bias.

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ERIC GAGNE HIT MARIANO RIVERA ON HIS ELBOW WITH BALL THROWN FROM RED SOX BULLPEN PRIOR TO 9TH INNING

As a result of being hit in the elbow by Eric Gagne, Rivera's arm went numb just prior to his entering the 9th inning of a game the Yankees desperately needed to win:
  • "September 17, 2007 -- BOSTON - Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning of last night's game moments after his right arm went numb when hit by an errant toss that came from the Red Sox bullpen that adjoins the Yankees' pen beyond Fenway Park's right-field fence.

As Rivera prepared to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, he was struck in the back of the elbow by a ball thrown wildly by Eric Gagne.

"It came in hot," said Yankees reliever Ron Villone, who witnessed the scary moment. "He couldn't feel his arm; it was numb. We were in the bullpen saying, 'Oh no." I guess ESPN was too busy bashing Rivera to care about the real story of that inning. Even so-called Yankee blogs today were in a rush to say Mo had an off night; the NY Times rushed to call it "shaky" last night. Now, even Joel Sherman calls this precision pitch by Gagne an "accident."
  • "Thus, Rivera was handed a 4-2 lead in the ninth. But because Yankees-Red Sox can always use more plot twists, Rivera came in at less than 100 percent. While warming up in the eighth inning, he was accidentally struck on his right elbow by a ball thrown in the Red Sox bullpen. According to Ron Villone, Rivera "couldn't feel his arm."

That explains why a man who had walked eight men all year, walked two, hit a batter and permitted a double by Julio Lugo. That meant one run in, bases loaded, two down and Big Papi due. Torre visited the mound essentially to break the tension. "What do I say, 'pitch him carefully," Torre joked.

The strategy was handled by Jorge Posada and Rivera. "Attack him and attack him in," Rivera said. "That is my best pitch. That is his powerhouse. Strength vs. strength."

  • For Rivera that meant cutter, cutter, cutter, cutter and then one last 93 mph cutter, with a 2-2 count, veering toward Ortiz's hands. Big Papi had a big popout, the ball fittingly landing in Jeter's glove. The final out in the 18th and final game of this regular season between the Yankees and Red Sox had been registered."
From Joel Sherman's NY Post column, 9/17/07, "MAGIC MO-MENT."
  • GAGNE MUST BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY FOR THE REST OF 2007. sm

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Even a Red Sox blogger knows what the 9th inning story was in Boston---unlike NY Times headline writer

If a Red Sox blogger can ascertain reality--why can't a NY Times headline writer? (noted in post below)?* THIS was the story:
  • "Yankees closer Mariano Rivera against Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. It was the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded, and Boston trailing by a run. The legendary closer won the battle as New York held on for a 4-3 victory last night ..."
Projo SoxBlog - http://www.beloblog.com/ProJo_Blogs/SoxBlog/

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ESPN, NY Times chose negative portrayal of big night in Boston--MISSES STORY OF GAGNE HITTING RIVERA'S ELBOW.

I have 4 brothers, one of whom is an actual Yankee fan, 2 are casual fans, and the 4th doesn't know they exist. Once the game tied at 1-1 tonight, I turned off everything, told myself I'd check around midnight to get the hideous news. I decided to check my email first, and there was this from Brother #1 (the actual fan)-
  • THIS IS ALL BEFORE THE NEWS THAT ERIC GAGNE HIT MARIANO RIVERA IN THE ELBOW WITH A BALL THROWN FROM THE RED SOX BULLPEN JUST PRIOR TO THE 9TH INNING, WHICH CAUSED RIVERA'S ARM TO GO NUMB:

"Hi Sue – I just finished watching the nail biter in Boston. I am sure you’re as glad as I am that Mo hung on to win. He sure made it tough on himself. I couldn’t stand the fact that those Boston fans were going to have such a comeback. But it wasn’t to be. I noticed of course that

  • espn had to have all Mo’s blown save stats and the Yankees blown lead stats throughout the inning. Scumbags.

  • I don’t know about you but I can hardly stand to watch the game. I am like hyperventilating. I can’t have the sound on until something good happens. When Jeter hit that 3 run dinger I seemed to hear some cheering, but all the Boston fans were suddenly sucking pond water and Narragansett tall boys. Ha ha.

I am still banned in Boston on their website, I am sure. Two weeks to go!"

Thanks for the email, Jeff, and of course ESPN should be closed down. Start this by boycotting all their advertisers. At least they'll be less influential when the MLB, Inc. Baseball Channel starts up (again).

I have a headline for the NY Times:

  • WHO ELSE CAN RELIABLY FACE DAVID ORTIZ WITH THE BASES LOADED, THE GAME ON THE LINE, POSSIBLY THE SEASON ON THE LINE, ON NATIONAL TELEVISION, THE WHOLE WORLD WATCHING--AND GET OUT OF IT? THE GREATEST BIG GAME PITCHER OF ALL TIME, MARIANO RIVERA.
However, the opinion leaders at the NY Times have opinions--with which they aim to shape your view of an historic person and an historic event--so they bash Mariano in their headline. They even easily withstood the availability of a JOBA BREAKS THE RULES, SOX HIT HOMER OFF HIM IN 8TH--and went with:
  • "Yankees Escape a Shaky Ninth,"...
People whom I didn't elect and have not vetted don't get to decide what I think.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's the "save stat's" fault ---it's right here in the NY Times...

The "save stat" slave excuse chiseled into history by baseball opinion leaders today:
  • "Although Papelbon was trying for his first two-inning save of the season, he said that did not contribute to his malaise. Papelbon also said that he did not zone out because the Red Sox had a five-run lead after seven innings and it looked like a possible night off for him."
From article by Jack Curry in the NY Times, "Papelbon Was on the Mound, but His Mind Was Somewhere Else," 9/16/07
  • I'm pretty sure Terry Francona was trying to win the game. The kid didn't even record one out before he got blasted. The NY Times (and others)* suggest he was worried about a 6 out save coming in with a 3 run lead.
P.S. IN 2006, PAPELBON HAD 7 APPEARANCES OF 2IP OR MORE :
  • 3 WERE NO DECISION
  • 2 WERE WINS
  • 2 WERE BLOWN SAVES
THIS IS THE PRICE PAPELBON WILL PAY DUE TO THE FAKE 'SAVES' STAT GARBAGE BY THE OPINION LEADERS OF BASEBALL. MUCH OF HIS WORK WILL GO DOWN THE TOILET, LIKE THE ABOVE 7 APPEARANCES, DUE TO THE FOCUS ON THE 'SAVE STAT.' *Like John Harper in the NY Daily News, 9/15/07, struggling with the demon save stat...
  • "It's not as if it's a crime to ask a closer to get six outs. How many times has Rivera done it in crucial games for the Yankees over the years?
So, 5 outs with 1 or more runners on didn't count in 2007 which he did just fine? It was just the "6 out save?" What if he had thought it would be a 6 out save but it ended up being a 6 out No Decision or a 6 out Win? He had those in 2006, not that long ago.

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4/6/07, Papelbon OK to go in 8th--Bill James theory agrees

From MLB.com article 4/06/07 by Ian Browne
  • Notes: "Papelbon Could Pitch in 8th--Francona won't hesitate to use reliever if team gets in jam."
ARLINGTON -- "While making it perfectly clear that he is going to be mindful about Jonathan Papelbon's usage this season, Red Sox manager Terry Francona indicated that the eighth inning will not be off limits for his closer.

In fact, Francona said that there could be occasions when he'd rather have Papelbon rescue the team from a sticky jam in the eighth, even if it means going to one of his other relievers for last call.

  • "Obviously we're not going to over-use him," said Francona. "And we've talked about managing him better. But for me, still, that last out in the eighth is maybe the most important out of the game. We don't want to sit around until the ninth and have a tie game."

In essence, what Francona believes in to a degree is the Bill James theory that the most important outs aren't necessarily in the ninth inning.

  • "If we need to get him in the eighth to get out [of a jam], and even if for some reason, I was uncomfortable pitching him in the ninth ... you don't want to lose the game that early when you have a weapon that valuable down there," said Francona. "That will be a lot easier to do once [Mike] Timlin comes back, because he's used to maybe pitching a clean ninth. We have guys who can do it, but not guys who are used to doing it."

Papelbon certainly didn't have any over-use when the Red Sox broke him out for his first save situation in the ninth inning of Thursday's game. He didn't pitch in the first two games, and was working on six days of rest.

There was no rust, however, as Papelbon preserved Daisuske Matsuzaka's first Major League win with a 1-2-3 inning, two of the outs coming on strikeouts."

  • Several baseball opinion leaders today said Papelbon's problem must've been the 8th inning use. (NY Times, 2 NY Daily News writers). According to this article from back in April, the Red Sox with all their experience and skill judged the 8th inning not to be a problem and possibly a necessity. (sm)

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Deep Perspective on Papelbon lands in shallow end of the pool on Yankee radio

The NY Daily News has a showcased appearance on every Yankee radio game. Personnel from the newspaper are generously introduced into the close, friendly environment by John Sterling for the purpose of lending exclusive, inside information for avid Yankee listeners, I think. I'm not sure if the appearance is sponsored (paid for) by the News, as that's not mentioned.
  • Today, John asked the NY Daily News reporter what he thought about the Yankee-Red Sox game last night (8-7 Yankee win). First, his answer was the kind I'm accustomed to hearing across ESPN/MLB platforms and internet. A stab at the Yankee listeners as well as the player mentioned. Beyond that, it offered nothing that his privileged insider status supposedly brings with it. Instead of answering with any specifics about Papelbon (which we had earlier received from Suzyn Waldman, thanks Suzyn), he opened his showcased expert interview by putting down Mariano Rivera. Apparently, the Daily News knows neither the Yankees nor Rivera's agent will complain, so not to worry. He's gone this route before.He says:
"You may be seeing with Papelbon what you've seen with Mariano Rivera," that is, "the players are getting used to seeing him," as the "Red Sox have done well against Rivera."
  • He's told us nothing about Papelbon, but has put down Rivera (who did very well against the Red Sox Friday night). There's no comparison whatsoever between the 2 situations he cites. Papelbon has scant plate appearances v the Yankees. In addition to regular seasons going back to 1995, Rivera has faced the Red Sox in 2003 and 2004 post seasons. Last night Mariano struck out Jason Varitek. That doesn't mesh with the Daily News reporter's point.
Going into last night's strike-out, Varitek had faced Mariano 37 times, according to Baseball-Reference, regular season and post season (2003 and 2004) .
  • Going into last night, Papelbon had faced Jeter 9 times, Abreu 7 times, and Arod 5 times.
This evaluation was not something the reporter "simply saw or heard," as might be claimed. This was taking up very finite moments on Yankee radio. It was not something said on a blog. And it was quite specific. The comparison served no purpose for the program's audience.
  • I wrote down another statement the Daily News reporter made. I'm not concerned about the topic of Youkilis in general, and won't waste time on it. But in this very focused--sponsored or not, I don't know--high profile appearance, he said Youkilis was "hit by Proctor and then by Chamberlain." Neither John nor Suzyn corrected him. With all the reports on the Joba-Youkilis incident, I've never read that Chamberlain "hit" Youkilis. He was suspended for throwing dangerously but he did not "hit" him.
This is what was said on my Yankee radio broadcast. It's on tape and a matter of public record. I don't have the time to "rip" people, have posted several articles about the excess of negativity and general rudeness on the internet and don't intend to contribute to it. Nor am I a nit-picker.
  • One more thing--I'm pretty sure there's a difference in the value of showcased interviews in a high-profile, highly emotional, world wide organization's broadcast--such as the Yankees--and a person's "blog." One's appearance in this venue naturally confers importance, validity and a sense of history to one's words. Not to mention the graciousness and professionalism provided by John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

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Mike Vaccaro could be describing 3 people here...

In Mike Vaccaro's NY Post column today, he makes the following reference:
  • "He remains the baseball figure with the largest target on his back, still, after almost 12 full years and four World Series championships, after nine straight division titles and what is now at least a fighting chance to make it an even 10. As May was about to bleed into June (2007), as it looked like the Yankees were about to be lapped by the Sox,..."
There are 3 people I can think of who fit this description. It turns out Vaccaro was talking about Joe Torre, but the same can be said of 2 other people: Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Message: "The Real Media is not needed!"---Demasio

The problem of sportswriters who also appear on tv and radio was mentioned without fanfare, but I thought the former NFL beat writer's best line was:
  • "The ominous message is that the real media is not needed." Nunyo Demasio on conditions the NFL has recently revealed and/or dictated to media, owning its own network, website, etc. Demasio's interview by The Big Lead blog, posted 9/14/07.
A former SI writer, Demasio is asked by The Big Lead what his work entailed there:
  • "...you often end up doing an all-nighter trying to craft a quality story that will hold up several days after ESPN has shaped the national conversation."
(Add this name to Bob Ley's--that's at least 2 people to publicly admit it doesn't matter unless ESPN, Inc. says so. Amazing that no one questions that. Here are persons unelected, often appointed for many years, who get to tell me what is. No thanks). sm
  • The problem of baseball writers as radio and tv celebrities is distinct from that of other sportswriters. Baseball writers often become members of BBWAA, usually a lifetime appointment, then vote on baseball awards that can mean millions of dollars and immortality. Other sports have awards, but none as meaningful, secretly controlled, and without accountability.
Quotes from interview in "The Big Lead" blog, 9/14/07. Via Romenesko.

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Bigger Picture of Empty Marlins Stadium, Nats-Marlins 9/13/07

AP Photo in Washington Post via Drudge Report (same photo, smaller version 1 post below this)

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Nats-Marlins play in empty stadium

'Sad', says Manny Acta. Photo by AP. Story in Washington Post. At this moment, lots of people are spending millions to prepare for the next World Baseball Classic. It takes a total absence of conscience to do so while this is happening in Florida. Via the Drudge Report

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bobby Valentine on Matsuzaka---NY Times

"Bobby Valentine, the manager of Japan’s Chiba Lotte Marines and a former major league manager, said in April that Matsuzaka would develop in the majors as long as he did not get worn down by pitching every fifth day and threw only about 35 percent fastballs.

  • Matsuzaka’s performance has made Valentine sound like a soothsayer. Matsuzaka has struggled with a heftier workload and he has thrown fastballs more than half the time. According to Inside Edge, a scouting service, 56 percent of Matsuzaka’s pitches have been fastballs. If Matsuzaka is behind in the count, the number increases to 58 percent.

“I have seen some games and I cannot believe that he does not throw more changeups and split-finger pitches,” Valentine said in an e-mail message. “It looks like he is trying to prove he can pitch like the American pitchers and, as I said, that would be a formula for failure.”"

  • (I recall Valentine speaking on WFAN last November saying Dice-K was a great addition, etc., but Valentine wouldn't go so far as to say he'd be as good as Pedro at his best). sm ***Here's the link to my post on Valentine's appearance with Mike and Chris on WFAN, 11/15/06.

(NY Times): "One A.L. talent evaluator who has scouted Matsuzaka’s recent starts said Matsuzaka grew exasperated when he could not throw strikes with his changeup or his splitter. The umpires in Japan, where Matsuzaka pitched for eight years, tend to call more strikes on high pitches.

  • When Matsuzaka does not get strikes with his other pitches, he can get flustered and resort to throwing fastballs, lots of them. Farrell said pitchers sometimes “revert to aggressiveness” when they are in a tough spot, and rely on the pitch that secures the most strikes. Matsuzaka seems to think that is the fastball. Valentine said he thought Matsuzaka’s changeup was his key pitch."
From NY Times article by Jack Curry, "Matsuzaka Running Out of Gas in the Fast Lane," Sept. 14, 2007
  • P.S. The Red Sox will still win the division easily--per sm. (me)

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Tyler Kepner does not take the bait from Charley Steiner today

Charley goes through Yankee happenings, brings up Clemens, his condition, etc. He concludes saying Clemens can be viewed as a 4th or 5th starter. Fine, whatever. Then he gets to his main job, taking a deep breath and with relish,
  • "This is where the Yankees are different from EVVVVERYYYBODY else..." referring to the salary being paid to a 4th or 5th starter. Charley assumes Kepner will join in with such a choice morsel tossed his way--ie, Yankee bashing, especially Yankee payroll bashing.
BUT...CURSES! Tyler Kepner doesn't take the bait, saying in part,
  • "Well....Chien-Ming Wang is being paid the minimum," Kennedy and Hughes are obviously cheap, etc. This shows character on Kepner's part, ie, not surrendering to herd mentality.
P.S. Joel Sherman was with John Sterling for 9 innings at last night's Toronto game on Yankee radio. Conversation is worked in between pitches and action on the field with the interest of listeners in mind. This happens very well with Sterling and Waldman, and was fine for the 1 game Sherman subbed for Suzyn's night off. Mention was made of key Yankees needing to be re-signed for next year (for example Mariano, Posada, and Arod), and Sherman said, fortunately "the Yankees make a lot of money," and he's correct.
  • This is different from the ESPN/MLB platform mantra, which is to bash the Yankee payroll. The spending is what got $100 million extracted from the Yankees and paid into thin air--no one is required to say how it was spent. Sherman's view acknowledges the potential available in the largest market--it's not automatic that a team in New York makes the most, spends the most, or even loses the most money. But the market provides that potential and in the case of the Yankees, they do earn a lot. It's also true they don't put the money in their pocket, but have an owner who's more concerned about winning.
Not that Joel Sherman alone will change existing baseball culture, but he gets credit for being accurate instead of going along with 24/7 Yankee bashing. This shows character rarely found in today's "guardians of the game."

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Kyle Farnsworth was not available Wednesday night v Toronto--Torre on WFAN

Joe Torre on WFAN with Mike and Chris, turns out Farnsworth had a problem with his neck when he got into town (Toronto) and wasn't available in the Wednesday night game v Toronto. This is for Dan Graziano who consistently misstates information about Yankee players (eg, "They baby Farnsworth" when the rules about his usage come from Farnsworth himself--fans know this. Graziano is a "guardian of the game," which means he stands guard to make sure the truth doesn't get out, at least from him).
  • Torre also said Farnsworth will not be available tonight v Toronto (and AJ Burnett) either. Mike and Chris pressed Torre as to why he used Joba Chamberlain for 2 innings last night (it actually ended up being an inning & 2/3 with Mariano Rivera for an inning and a third), making him unavailable for at least 2 days. They asked why he didn't use Farnsworth for 1 of those innings, that's how the subject came up. Torre said no one else had asked him specifically about Farnsworth's condition in the past day or so.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Mike Mussina's relief pitching remembered...

  • In Tyler Kepner's NY Times article tonight:
"It was the 500th game of Mike Mussina’s career, and his night began just the way he wanted it: with the ball in his hand.
  • His last appearance had been the first of his career in relief."
I understand it's "unfair" and all to consider post season appearances when discussing a player's "career" stats, and it's certainly not politically smart. And it's technically correct according to MLB, Inc. rules to ignore post season appearances. The practice is encouraged in the opening paragraph of this NY Times article. I'm not a big Mussina fan, but the 2 biggest things he's done in his "career" with the Yankees are as follows:
  • His appearance IN RELIEF in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS v Boston, he entered in the 4th inning, runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs and got out of it with no runs.
  • Not a relief appearance, but just for the record, his 7 innings of shut out pitching in the 1-0 game 3, 2001 ALDS v Oakland, an elimination game facing a team the Yankees had not lead in scoring in over 70 innings leading into that game. You recall, of course, Mariano Rivera pitched the final 2 innings in that game.
I appreciate the other information in the article, but observe that enormous bodies of work of a player's "career" continue to be excluded on a technicality.

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Joel Sherman with John Sterling in Yankee Radio Booth

Sitting in for Suzyn Waldman at the Yankee-Blue Jay game tonight, Joel Sherman did a great job with John Sterling. (Sherman a long-time columnist with the NY Post). Among Joel's interesting points:
  • HD TV has helped show up bad umpiring this year, worst umpiring he's seen in 20 years, you see umpires not moving to get a better look, just not working. Says things have gotten worse since Sandy Alderson left "the commissioner's office." Noted this about 1B umpire Jeff Nelson's call of ball 4 allowing Alex Rodriguez to take first base v Dustin McGowan. Sherman questioned the call which had gone in the Yankees' favor.
  • The call of Vernon Wells' obviously "trapped" ball--not a caught ball--was called "caught" for an out to end the top of the 9th. Sherman said it was obvious when it happened, could not possibly have been out of view of the 3B umpire, & was shown in replay to have been "trapped." Finally, Sterling and Sherman note tv showed Damon and Wells passing as innings changed, with Damon grinning at Wells saying in effect, "you got one," and Wells grinning back.
He said Blue Jays' John Gibbons played the game very tough, showing Red Sox and Tiger fans he's not giving the Yankees a pass. Joel Sherman was full of great tidbits if you like either baseball or the Yankees or both.
  • P.S. Many baseball geniuses will see the final 4-1 Yankees win with a ***"Save"*** for Rivera as just another "1 inning save with a 3 run lead with bases empty." These types who don't know Mariano Rivera was pitching in the 8th inning with bases loaded tonight, don't want to know. In my experience these individuals are BBWAA members or aspire to be.

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Baseball Signals Explained (whether or not you want to steal them)

  • YouTube video shows sometime secret baseball signals:
  • New Hampshire Fisher Cats Manager Bill Masse explains signs flashed by third base coach.
YouTube video, from wmur-tv

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I didn't know Giambi was in business with Todd Zeile...

"TAKING A SWING AT FILMMAKING Todd Zeile, who played for the Yankees in 2003, was a pregame visitor on the field. Zeile is in town for the Toronto International Film Festival as the owner of Green Diamond Entertainment, a production company in which the Yankees’ Jason Giambi is a partner.

  • Zeile’s company will begin work on a horror movie in Toronto in about six weeks, he said, and he is also developing a documentary about Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Now that he has brought in people to run the financial side of his business, Zeile said he could focus more on content, which he finds most appealing."****
  • Mr. Kepner also got my attention by mentioning that Ross Ohlendorf has the make-up to fill the Yankee role of none other than Ramiro Mendoza---give me the ground ball pitcher every time....
From NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Clemens is Planning to Face the Red Sox," 9/12/07 (end of article)
  • P.S. I heard Dave Niehaus (Seattle play by play) say last night he doesn't think Mike Piazza will be back with Oakland, that he's not happy there. Weren't Zeile and Piazza pals from the Mets? Maybe Piazza will go into the movie business.

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September 11, 2001

via Lucianne.com

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Ken Rosenthal actually broke rank on the "Total Save Stat" issue on May 26, 2007:

Repost from May 27, 2007 by me re: The momentary but appreciated bravery of Ken Rosenthal on the 'Saves' stat. He spoke with a little smile on his face, at which point I thought, he's just going to make a polite statement and move on without really taking on the subject.
  • (Note on today's situation: Dave Campbell said last night Joe Borowski recently said he knows there's something wrong with his arm or shoulder). ***Noted by me: Pitching through an injury, though not recommended, worked out well hardware-wise for Bartolo Colon in 2005.

'KEN ROSENTHAL MOVES THE BALL FORWARD: OPINES ON THE PHONY "SAVES" STAT

Ken Rosenthal said during the Fox Phillies-Braves game on Saturday, May 26, 2007, 5:54PM ET:

  • "THERE ARE TOO MANY MANAGERS WHO MANAGE ACCORDING TO THE 'SAVE' RULE."
Which is a polite way of saying managers are in the business of giving "gifts" or "cookies" before other priorities. Way to speak about THIS MEDIA-HYPED RUNAWAY TRAIN. Maybe others will have the guts to take on the subject that has gotten way out of hand, ie "Give him the Cy for his Total Saves Stat." The discussion occurred surrounding Brett Myers' being used "FOR MORE THAN 1 INNING" by Charlie Manuel. Joe Girardi avoided the controversy, just saying it depends on how deep your bullpen is and what the game calls for. Well, that's true, but a couple of teams have used the "Saves" stat as a promotional and awards device FIRST.
  • (Load up those 1 out saves or no runners in scoring position or no more than one inning, or high pressure pennant race performances, etc.)'
This was only the beginning of a long post by me on the subject which no one cares about and is unpopular.

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On newspapers, by Gen. Robert E. Lee, 1863

""It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers.
  • In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late.
Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the Cause by writing editorials - after the fact."
  • - Robert E. Lee, 1863"
via Lucianne.com

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lupica--Single Yankee MVP of last decade: Mariano Rivera

"Joba Chamberlain is going to be a big Yankee starter, I get that.

Going to be such a tremendous Yankee starter that they can't pitch him two days in a row while he's a reliever. I get that.

And good for Brian Cashman to take the long view on a guy pitching short relief.

What I don't get:

Why can't Joba Chamberlain be groomed to be the Mo Rivera of the future?

  • Who has been the single most valuable Yankee over the past decade?
  • Mo Rivera has.

He has, over those years, been more of a difference maker than Jeter or anybody else.

  • Great closers in baseball are rarer than great point guards in basketball."

From Mike Lupica's NY Daily News column, 9/9/07, "Rick Ankiel is MLB's New Spin Doctor"

  • The author of a recent column in the North Jersey (Bergen) Record might want to update her files on Rivera. Or, give Mr. Lupica a call. She narrowly defines Mo (as many do).

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Brian Bruney stalked by Umpire Paul Schrieber

John Sterling described the 8th inning in tonight's Yankee-Royals game with Brian Bruney not gesturing at or physically threatening the home plate umpire, but expressing minor displeasure over Schrieber's confirmation that he wasn't throwing strikes.
  • Sterling: "What is this? School?" noting Schrieber leaving home plate and striding out to the mound to scold Brian Bruney. Sterling says this is ridiculous, indicative of a problem with the umpiring system, if he didn't like what Bruney did, throw him out, but this tactic is wrong.
This is physically threatening behavior by the umpire. Why doesn't the umpire respect boundaries? The umpiring system like the Hall of Fame (on whose board he sits), and everything else in baseball operates with the approval of Allen H. "Bud" Selig. No one in a position to address the problem will do so--they won't question Selig about anything except in the gentlest manner--. I've read what the self-described "guardians of the game" have to say about problems like this---nothing. At most, a few puffy sentences, then backing and filling, keeping their eye on their own aspirations, offices to be held, books to be authored, tv and radio shows on which to appear, maybe even the writers' wing of the HOF. Many who read baseball blogs would probably sign up for a job like that in a minute.
  • (Having not seen the game, only listening to the radio, I'm relaying how John Sterling described it. He wasn't melodramatic, didn't try to make Bruney out to be a saint, in fact agreed he wasn't throwing strikes. I'm going by what I heard as Sterling's immediate and unorchestrated reaction. I don't think Suzyn was in the booth at that moment, at least I didn't hear anything from her at the time of the incident. She later mentioned it in the post game show, someone asked Torre a question about it, he answered he didn't know what went on).

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Major League K/BB Leaders

(Minimum 50 IP, 2007)
  • M. Rivera 8.00
  • R. Betancourt 7.63
  • T. Saito 7.10
  • C. Sabathia 5.69
  • J. Putz 5.67
  • J. Nathan 5.33
  • J. Papelbon 5.13
  • J. Shields 5.12
  • R. Soriano 4.67
  • J. Santana 4.61
  • J. Beckett 4.58
as of 8pm, Sat. 9/8/07, mlb stats

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Joba Chamberlain and his father Harlan in Kansas city

Joba and his father Harlan at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, before the Yankee-Royals game, 9/7/07. Photo by Kansas City Star via AP P.S. Joba himself has a son, Karter Chamberlain, which I just found out about on Peter Abraham's LoHud Yankee blog.

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Does Joba Chamberlain remind you of Mariano Rivera in 1996?

Per Suzyn Waldman, someone asked Joe Torre this question in the post game interview, and he answered:
  • "No. Mo did it every day. We only have limited access to Joba." (continuing) Mo pitched differently.They're completely different kinds of pitchers.
If the questioner bothered to look up what the great Mariano Rivera did in 1996, he/she would be ashamed to even attempt this comparison. On the other hand, at this point, the person has a bright future on any of the ESPN/MLB platforms. (Mo pitched in both regular and post season in 1996).
  • P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SUZYN WALDMAN! (Sept. 7)

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Friday, September 07, 2007

NY Sports media critic describes harsh, cruel landscape

From Bob Raissman's 9/7/07 column in the NY Daily News:
  • "By criticizing Coughlin last season, (Tiki) Barber enhanced his chances of landing a big-time network gig. Whether his words were spontaneous or calculated is not an issue now. On TV it does not matter if you are a phony. It only matters if you can deliver.

Now, Barber is playing with the big boys. Not only will the other networks - through various pipelines - be sniping at him, but he is working with a formidable NBC cast. Early on Sunday night - like about 7:06 p.m. - he will find himself sitting next to Bob (Rapping Roberto) Costas and the NFL's premier TV hatchet man, Cris Collinsworth.

  • And yet Barber will be called on to swing the ax.

Even more reason for him to keep smiling."

  • Mr. Raissman's opinion is vital, and he seems to give a recipe for success in sports media. With the object to "deliver," the tools are criticism and controversy. He sees the landscape as stations or individuals attacking each other. I find this instructive--I hadn't seen it like that before. What's disturbing is he sees these shows driven by swinging axes at someone else, and everyone just line up behind your bunker. It benefits no one to have needless, forced acrimony. And phony smiles.
The largest New York area sports radio station, WFAN, carries PM drive hosts Chris Russo and Mike Francesa, who mention Raissman's column from time to time. So powerful is Mr. Raissman's opinion that Chris Russo even called him early last week to find out how he felt about Boomer Esiason starting as AM drive anchor on WFAN Sept. 3. Chris mentioned on the air he had called Raissman to get his advance word, but had been told, "Oh, no no...," Chris saying in effect he wasn't going to give him an advance review. So, we all wait for the word. (sm) There is a 1 hour daily show on SNY, the Mets' TV Network in New York, entitled, "The Daily News Live" which includes personnel from the newspaper as well as other pundits, occasionally including Mr. Raissman. The moderators from SNY always do a great job in my opinion.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Brad Pitt, son Maddox in Yankee hat, Tuesday at Yankee Stadium v Mariners

And received bat signed by Derek Jeter. Photo by Ray Stubblebine, Reuters, via SFGate.com Link to article

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The NY Daily News Yankee beat writer has obtained the most important beat at the paper.

People say Yankee beat writer is most important of all beats at the NY Daily News:

"Q. Is it the most important beat at the paper?

  • A. People tell me it is. I have trouble thinking it's more important than national news. When I first started doing baseball I talked to Bob Hohler – he covered the White House for the Boston Globe before covering the Red Sox. He said covering baseball was harder than the White House. I was shocked but now I can see how it can be true. I can't imagine a much harder thing to do."
From Sports Media Guide interview with 2006 NY Daily News Yankee beat writer Sam Borden, 10/30/06. (Borden has since moved to another newspaper).
  • How decisions are reached in awarding this job, an instant ticket to celebrity and immortality, is of greater importance. All of a sudden, your name and words carry instant authority around the world and are showcased on Yankee radio broadcasts. (sm)

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How to view articles you read on MLB.com--Helene Elliott, Sports Media Guide interview

"Q. Are writers for the league websites doing real journalism? Mlb.com for example?

  • A. It's an arm of Major League Baseball. If you are an mlb.com correspondent and you start writing things critical of Bud Selig do you think you would keep your job? It may not be edited by MLB but MLB would remember what you wrote. When it came time to pick the correspondents for next season they would go in another direction.

Q. How should readers approach league sites?

  • A. With healthy skepticism."
From Sports Media Guide interview with Helene Elliott, 9/12/06, last item in interview Ms. Elliott was hired as a baseball writer by the LA Times and covered the Angels for 3 years, reported on other sports as well for the LA Times, hockey 'on and off since 1980,' stated in the interview. Became a general sports columnist in September, 2006.

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Total "Saves rarely come in concert with dominance..."

Says Eric Karabell, ESPN platform guy on 9/5/07 discussing 2008 Closers.

11. Jose Valverde, Diamondbacks: Sure, he seems safe today, but tell me there isn't a worry in your mind about this guy? There has to be.

  • Doesn't matter to me if he ends up with 50 saves, either.
  • This will just make him more overrated next season.
  • Accumulated saves rarely come in concert with dominance, and this guy is not dominant.

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Hey, Jim Bouton--Stick This in your secret notebook: Joba's onto you.

"With a hearty lead, (Joba) Chamberlain took the rest of the game off.

  • He has worked 12 1/3 scoreless innings to start his career, the most for a Yankee since Jim Bouton reeled off 15 in a row as a rookie in 1962.

The difference this time was that Chamberlain was rewarded with a victory. But he said he did not realize it until Mariano Rivera gave him the game ball after Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth.

  • “I didn’t know what I was getting the ball for,” Chamberlain said. “The game was over and the ball was in my hand. That makes it a little extra special.”"
  • From NY Times article by Tyler Kepner, "Big Inning for Yanks is Bigger for Rodriguez," 9/6/07 (end of article) Report on Mariner-Yankee game, 9/5/07.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Synchronized Yankee bashing on ESPN/MLB platforms again

The key phrase, The Yankees can spend more than "ANNNYYYY OTHERRR TEAMMM" delivered by Tim Kurkjian on ESPN platforms in shrill and urgent tones (as I posted here 8/4/07), and the hopeless saga accentuated by Charley Steiner on XM is till going strong today with Steiner and Scott Miller....
  • Steiner's chat opens with the topic of Clemens and the exciting revelation that the Yankees are the only team able to pay that kind of dough for that kind of production.
HANDING THAT KIND OF OPENING TO SCOTT MILLER HAD TO MAKE HIS DAY. Miller says, other teams look at that money and dream what they could spend it on...... (anyone crying? sm). And--A TOTALLY NEW, CREATIVE IDEA IN BASEBALL AND RADIO FROM MILLER..."the money gives them (the Yankees) a chance to gamble more than other teams do." Wow, how enriching to the baseball fan, this idea.
  • Finally Steiner says, the Yankees have "MORE MONEY THAN AAANNNNNYYYYYY-BODY."
Shockingly, Scott Miller says, RIGHT, ANY--BODY!"
  • Why is this idea sold round the clock in baseball media? As I've suggested before, no one is in charge at Yankee headquarters to put a stop to it.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chien Ming Wang, "The Yankees' Best"--John Sterling

John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman are probably the only 2 broadcasters who've seen every pitch thrown by any Yankee pitcher going back at least 13 years in both regular and post season. So, they happen to know a few things about this team. After today's (must-win) game by Chien Ming Wang, John Sterling referred to him as "the Yankees' best," and why not. In fact, he was projected to be that at least as far back as Feb. 2006, stated by Jorge Posada in spring training and noted on this blog--this was even when big, bad Randy Johnson was still on the staff....
  • Wang's winning formula:
  • 17 GROUND-OUTS, including 3 Ground ball double plays
  • 3 FLY-OUTS
  • 1 STRIKE-OUT
Congratulations to Chien Ming Wang. The Yankees were on the brink and he brought them back. Don't be fooled by the final score--it was a nail-biter for much of the game until the Yankees started to hit.
  • On second thought, I have to say Andy Pettitte is at least as worthy of the title, "the Yankees' Best" as Chien Ming Wang. Andy has brought the team back from the brink countless times himself. The team, still firmly on the edge of a cliff, needs both of them. (sm) 9/5/07

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