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Archive for the ‘Yankees Blogs’ Category

On his blog, Bryan Hoch reports that in the greatest upset since the St. Louis Browns 1944 World Series win, neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine will break camp with Yankees. Instead, the backup catcher (at least for now) is Gustavo Molina. In other news, the primary back-up infielder for the past two years, Ramiro Pena, is on his way to Scranton. His roster spot is taken by Eduardo Nunez.

You can read all the details here.

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This has been a fun week for the LeBron James detractors as “LeBrick” and “LeFraud” tweets filled my timeline with the Heat losing 3 close games all ending on missed 3 point attempts by the “King” in the final seconds. This recent string of poor end game play has further fueled the perception that LeBron James is un-clutch, a choker, isn’t a “closer” (a popular, yet maddening term used by many basketball talking heads) and above all comes up small in the biggest situations. Couple the undeserved clutch reputation, with the ill-conceived off court “Decision” where he infamously took his talents to South Beach, and throw in the blame of playoff failures heaped solely on him and you have…Pre-2009 Alex Rodriguez.

While the impact an NBA superstar can have on a game is much greater then that of any position player in baseball, many of the terms used to describe LeBron were also previously used by people who disliked ARod, including many Yankee haters and even Yankee fans (i.e. the Jeter “zealots” and members of the Cody Ransom fan club). There is no question both James and ARod’s off-field actions (e.g. 2007 World series opt out, PED usage, aforementioned Decision, the silly “What should I do?” commercials) have turned fans to root against them and if you feel that way, that’s fine. I get it…most of us need a heel to root against, especially if our team isn’t playing, that’s part of what makes sports enjoyable. What I do have an issue with is when the dislike of a player completely warps the view of their performance. Think back to ARod:

  • He was given the goat horns for the epic 2004 collapse, but if Mo closes Game 4 or Gordon doesn’t implode in Game 5, ARod probably wins the ALCS MVP
  • As he struggled in the ’05 and ‘06 ALDS (a grand total of 9 games), ARod detractors and many Yankees fans began to dismiss his previous playoff statistics as a Mariner and even his great series versus the Twins in ’04 because he “wasn’t a Yankee” and because the “ALDS doesn’t matter because the Yankees are only about winning the World Series…blah blah blah”
  • In 2007 despite having a historic MVP regular season and carrying the Yankees to the playoffs, his 4 for 17 postseason was the lead story for Yankees failures (instead of the two game C-M Wang meltdown)
  • Even his manager fell prey to the madness dropping him to 8th in the lineup in a playoff game (Could you imagine Spoelstra or even Pat Riley making LeBron come off the bench in a deciding playoff game?)

All the walk-off homeruns, game-winning hits and MVP awards he had during those years were minimized, because “A-Fraud couldn’t get it done when it mattered most.” Never mind that the Yankees starting pitching was the main culprit in those playoff series losses, it was ALL AROD’s FAULT. Heck even players from other teams would chime in and take shots at ARod as did Torre in his book. Thankfully 2009 happened, silencing most of the critics.

LeBron finds himself today, were ARod was 2 years ago. A HOF player, who is hated and disliked by most fans/media, resulting in a skewed analysis of his play. Under this pretense, Regular season MVP awards are trivialized. Stellar post-season performance is conveniently forgotten (Regular season: 27.7ppg-7.1rpg-7.0apg, Postseason: 29.3ppg-8.4rpg-7.3apg). “Clutch” shots and “closing out” games (LeBron has made four game-winning shots in the playoffs and rates well statistically in clutch situations as of 2009) are swept under the rug. The fact that until this season, his supporting cast has been mediocre to poor (see the Cavs this season without him), will also be nothing more then a mere footnote for the LeBrick backers.

The perception won’t change until LeBron wins a ring. Until then he’ll have to hear about how he doesn’t have the clutch gene (Ian O’Connor’d: Yes Jeter was born with this gene and ARod wasn’t) and how he’s afraid to take and make big shots. ARod finally broke through and LeBron will one day as well. On that night I hope LeBron hooks up with ARod once again this time to get wasted on championship champagne. That is one scene I want the A-Fraud/LeFraud supporters to all be witnesses too.

Follow me on Twitter: @eddieperez23

(This blog post was also used as a guest post on http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/)

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With the recent acquisition of Rafael Soriano, the seemingly ageless question of whether Joba Chamberlain should be moved back into the starting rotation has resurfaced. It’s a question that has plagued the Yankees ever since Joba exploded on the scene as Mariano’s set-up man in the second half of the 2007 season.

Really, nobody thought the question would be a topic of discussion heading into this season. Joba was given a shot at the #5 spot last spring and lost to Phil Hughes. Going into this offseason, he seemed destined to be given a legitimate chance at earning the 8th inning role, despite his erratic pitching in 2010. After all, the Yankees were the consensus pick to land Cliff LeeAndy Pettitte wasn’t supposed to semi-retire. There wasn’t any room for Joba in the rotation and 8th inning duties looked to be a battle between him and David Robertson.

My, what a difference a few months and one type A free agent signing can bring. Now the 8th inning role is filled and the 7th inning features Joba, Robertson, Boone Logan and Pedro Feliciano, while the rotation features world-beaters Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Given the way the pitching staff has suddenly been reshuffled, it’s no wonder the question of Joba’s proper role has resurfaced.

There are plenty of statistical reasons for making Joba a starter again. Mike Axisa of RAB has the usual arguments listed here. There’s also another reason moving Joba to the rotation makes sense: as currently constucted, the ‘pen doesn’t have a long man – the guy you bring in when the starter blows up in the 3rd or 4th inning. Last year, that role was filled by Mitre and Chad Gaudin. The rotation as currently set, with three guys who have a history of falling apart early in starts (not only Nova and Mitre, but the volatile and erratic AJ Burnett), that role looks to be more important than ever this year. After all, the back end of the pen is solid. The middle looks solid – but all six of the guys the team is counting on will wilt in the second half if they’re logging 1/2 of the teams innings.

The argument against Joba starting boils down to two problems: first, how healthy is his shoulder? Second, will he ever display the consistency to be effective over 7+ innings every five days – or is he more of an AJ-lite?

As to the question of health, we’ll never know unless Joba is returned to the rotation, it seems. Last year, his average fastball clocked in around 94-95mph, ending a three year decline in velocity. But, Joba also threw fewer pitches than in any full-season – 30% fewer. Was the increased velocity the result of a lighter workload not taxing that injured shoulder? If returned to the rotation, how will tripling his pitch count affect his velocity and control? (Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs)

The maturity question is another one that’s hard to gauge at this point. If it’s true that being bounced around from one role to another makes a pitcher great, then Joba should be ready to become the next Bob Gibson. But all the evidence thus far points to pitcher who has difficulty controlling his emotions, which is the principle reason he was relegated to the pen in the first place.

Of course, the Yankees could sign a back-of-the-rotation type over the next 4 weeks (Justin Duchsherer, perhaps?), relegating Mitre back to the pen or Nova back to the minors and rendering the whole question moot.

For now.

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ZellsPinstripeBlog.com has reached a major milestone. Just recently, the site reached the 500,000 hits milestone and I think it’s a good reason to celebrate. I started this blog back in March of 2008 thinking it would just be a hobby, but it’s turned into much more than that. When I first started this blog, it was a struggle to just get a few hits per day on this site. Now, we have a forum, a great team of writers, and loyal readers. It just shows you how much this site has grown since then. I’ve gotten to know new people, learn knew things about the team and realize how great the Yankees fanbase really is. I just want to thank all of you for making this possible.

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Steelers head coach Chuck Noll once said his biggest mistake as a coach was sticking too long with the great players who were pivotal in winning him four Super Bowls. It was loyalty. It was comfort. They were proven winners and great guys. It made sense at the time. But they all got old at once, and the dynasty ended. Fast forward to after the 2007 season:

  • The Yankees off the negative public outcry from Joe Torre’s exit, felt pressure to placate the fans. Cashman despite taking a hard line against ARod, had Hank Steinbrenner foolishly handed him a 10 year albatross of a contract. ARod should have been resigned, but not double the money another team was willing to offer.
  • That same offseason, Jorge Posada already 35 years old used Omar Minaya and the Mets to extract a 4 year contract from the Yankees. It was another illogical signing given his age and likelihood of breaking down, but feeling the “heat” from the NY baseball media and fans that were mostly in Torre’s corner, Hank/Hal as neophyte owners caved to public pressure….Fast Forward to the present:

Hal is now the clear lead owner of the Brothers Steinbrenner and has empowered Cashman to fully run the baseball operations (without having Hank around to botch things up). Jeter has been a great player, but no longer is. Given his captaincy and status on the current team, the Yankees offered Jeter double his true market value. Yet, this offer was deemed “baffling” by his agent Casey Close. What’s truly baffling about this negotiation is Jeter’s/Close’s thinking that they’re deserving of 4-5 years and $85-100M. If that’s the case, the Yankees should avoid repeating their sins of the past by caving to fan and media pressure. Similar to what the great Steelers players meant to Chuck Noll, Jeter represents winning, loyalty and comfort to Yankee fans. However, giving him a “blank check” or paying him an exorbitant amount of money for his past achievements and/or future milestones is bad business. I applaud Cashman and Hal for their stance in these negotiations. Sorry Derek as Michael Corleone said, it’s not personal, it’s strictly business. Hopefully offering to make him the highest paid middle infielder in the game isn’t too much of an insult to Jeter/Close.

What do you think of the current Jeter negotiations? Do you side with Jeter or Yankees ownership?

Follow me on Twitter @eddieperez23

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During and after yet another playoff victory for the Yankees over the Twins, the main story line for TBS and ESPN wasn’t Andy Pettitte’s terrific pitching performance or Berkman and Granderson’s offensive production…no, instead it was the strike called ball to Berkman in the 7th inning before his go-ahead double. What TBS and most other media outlets failed to report is during that at bat, the first pitch called a strike was actually a ball and for most of the night Pavano benefited from a very friendly strike zone. Below is the strike zone from tonight’s game (via Brooksbaseball.net):

 

Hunter Wendelstedt had a bad night

 

(Each pitch is represented by a single dot. Green dots are balls and red dots are strikes. Pitches marked as belonging to a particular team (for example “min” or “nya”) are designated with different shapes. These teams represent the pitching team, not the batting team. So, a pitch marked “nya-Called Strike” was thrown by a Yankees pitcher)

  • Twins pitchers had 14 balls called strikes
  • Yankee pitchers had 2 balls called strikes
  • Twins pitchers had 6 strikes called balls
  • Yankees pitchers had 5 strikes called balls

So while the media won’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, its clear the Yankees and not the Twins got the short-end of the strike zone stick last night.

Follow me on Twitter @eddieperez23

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Alex Belth of Bronx Banter has come out with a new book, called Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories: Unforgettable Tales from the House That Ruth Built. Buy your copy today!

America foremost sportswriters and other personalities offer their favorite memories of Yankee Stadium, the world’s most famous ballpark. In Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories, editor Alex Belth of BronxBanterBlog.com collects personal essays by some of the most well-known and respected voices in sportswriting and entertainment today. In these revealing, sometimes hilarious, oft-touching essays, the contributors recount their favorite moments inside the most famed of all American stadiums. The book also includes a special chapter on the new Yankee Stadium.
 
Alex Belth is the author of Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories and Stepping Up, a critically acclaimed biography of Curt Flood, and a regular contributor to SportsIllustrated.com. After eight years spent working in the film industry for such notable filmmakers as Ken Burns, Woody Allen, and the Coen Brothers, Beth in 2002 founded BronxBanterBlog.com (now part of SNY TV’s blog network), which has become one of the most popular New York Yankees sites on the Internet. A lifelong Yankees fan, he lives with his wife in the Bronx, New York.

Contributors include: Bob Costas (NBC, HBO) • Richard Ben Cramer • Pete Hamill • Tony Kornheiser (ESPN) • Tom Boswell (Washington Post) • Dave Kindred (Washington Post) • Leigh Montville (Sports Illustrated) • William Nack (Sports Illustrated) • Joe Posnanski (Sports Illustrated) • Jane Leavy • Pat Jordan • Maury Allen (New York Post) • Bob Klapisch (Bergen Record) • Tyler Kepner (New York Times) • Allen Barra (Wall Street Journal) • Marty Appel • Jeff Pearlman • Alan Schwarz (New York Times) • Charles Pierce (Boston Globe) • Steve Rushin (Sports Illustrated) • Nathan Ward • Mike Vaccaro (New York Post) • Rob Neyer (ESPN.com) • Ken Rosenthal (ESPN) • Scott Raab (Esquire) • Luis Guzman (more…)

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The YES Network scored big ratings last night with the the Yankees/Red Sox game being blacked out on ESPN in the New York area. 

“The YES Network’s Yankees-Red Sox season-opening telecast last night generated a 10.01 average TV household rating (1,085,000 average Total Viewers), the second-highest-rated and second-most-watched regular season live sporting event ever on a New York regional sports network. It is second only to the YES Network’s April 3, 2005 Yankees-Red Sox telecast (also the season-opener), which generated an 11.64 average TV household rating (1,213,000 average TV viewers). Last night’s YES Network telecast peaked at a 12.46 TV household rating (1,388,000 average Total Viewers) during the 8:45-9:00 quarter-hour.

YES’ Yankees Pre-Game Show last evening (7-8 pm) did a 2.22 average TV household rating, YES’ post-game show averaged a 2.13 TV household rating, and an encore presentation of The Joe Girardi Show airing at 1 am this morning (immediately following the postgame show) did a 1.31 average TV household rating.”

Andy Pettitte To Retire After 2010? : Andy Pettitte can see the end of his gratifying career approaching and can feel the number of games he might have left reduced to a precious few dozen. Pettitte is fine with that scenario, content with trying to help the Yankees fashion another memorable season before probably retiring. “I can’t just keep on playing,” Pettitte said. “I need to get back home.”

-Tommy John’s youngest son, Taylor Simmons John, passed away on March 9, 2010. A moment of silence was held at George M. Steinbrenner Field during an exhibition game against the Orioles. He died as the result of a seizure and heart failure due to an overdose of prescription drugs.

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