Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Al Leiter’

NO ONE'S LOOKING AT YOU, MIKE! Merlyweds Michael Kay and his much, MUCH better half, Channel 11 news anchor Jodi Applegate, at their gala wedding last night at The Plaza.  'I DO': Rudy Giuliani makes the happy couple husband and wife.

The long anticipated Michael Kay wedding. Let the jokes roll in.

From the NY Post:

Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay and TV news anchor Jodi Applegate tied the knot at The Plaza last night in a lavish ceremony packed with pinstripe powerhouses and skippered by former Mayor and Bronx Bombers die-hard Rudy Giuliani.

Several former Yankee greats such as Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez and Darryl Strawberry, were among the 350 guests who turned out to watch the lovebirds exchange vows at the storied hotel shortly after twilight.

“It’s a great day for Michael Kay,” Strawberry told The Post. “He waited this long for the right one. It’s amazing.”

Baseball bigs, including Yanks manager Joe Girardi and team co-owner Hal Steinbrenner rubbed elbows with TV personalities such as NBC anchor Brian Williams and Applegate’s WPIX/Channel 11 colleagues Kaity Tong and weatherman Mr. G.

And actor Danny Aiello, Kay’s uncle, was on hand to fete the happy couple as were former Yanks and Kay’s YES-network colleagues Al Leiter, David Cone and John Flaherty.

The president of Fordham University, Kay’s alma mater, gave the benediction before a grinning Giuliani took the helm.

Applegate donned a white empire lace dress designed by Suzanne Neville from the Wedding Atelier bridal boutique. She changed her dress three more times throughout the night, a guest said.

The auburn-haired stunner also sported sparkly, 14-carat diamond earrings on loan from London Jewelry, and custom silk gloves, silk velvet cuffs and a white fox fur stole. (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Andy speaks to reporters / Courtesy NY Times

For some reason, a large number of Yankee fans were surprised by the news that Andy Pettitte decided to call it a career. Mr. Mailbag’s inbox is overflowing with questions; I figured this is as good a time to answer them as any.

Dr. Mr. Mailbag,

Since Andy isn’t returning this year, does this mean the Yankees season is doomed?

Sincerely, Afraid

Well, afraid…in a word, no. Even if everything stands pat, the current rotation isn’t as bad as everyone seems to think. The line-up should be actually be better than last year’s. Boston did improve their team, but Tampa Bay is much worse. And if we’ve learned one thing about the Yankees in the Steinbrenner era, the Yankees won’t stand pat if the team needs something come mid-season. Barring a sudden surge by a surprise team, the Yankees should wind up in the playoffs in 2011.

Mr. Mailbag:

How can I live without Andy? The Yankees just won’t be the same without him!

-Crying in my pillow

Well, Crying, you’re not alone. I’ve seen a lot of these in the last 24 hours. I understand that to a certain generation of Yankees fans – pretty much those under the age of 30 – Andy is the starting pitcher of record. But you should understand that what makes the Yankees the most successful franchise in sports history is the way this team replaces great players with other great players. If you’re of the current generation, you probably find it hard to understand how fans of my generation can hold such high regard for Thurman Munson or Chris Chambliss. (To me, Chambliss’ homer in the ’76 ALCS is still the most thrilling Pinstripe moment I’ve ever witnessed). For fans of my father’s generation, it was Mickey Mantle. And on through time it goes, back for 90 years, to the time of the Babe and Lou. There’s a crop of talented players making their way up from the minors now; guys named Betances, Banuelos, Brackman, Montero, and a whole bunch more. Andy Pettitte can’t necessarily be replaced anymore than Munson could. But other great players will come along who will carve out their own dynasties. It’s the Yankee way.

Dear Mr. Mailbag,

How many ballots will it take for Andy Pettitte to get into the Hall of Fame? If it takes more than one, It’s a damn shame!

-A Yankee in Texas

Well, Texas… I hate to break it to you, but Andy probably isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame. He has a borderline case: in his favor, he did finish his career 102 games over .500; right now, only one other pitcher with a similar number isn’t enshrined (oddly, former teammate Mike Mussina). But when compared to the other pitchers of his era; well, his numbers don’t particularly stack up well. His career ERA is higher than that of non-HOF candidates like Kevin Brown, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, and Al Leiter. If anything, Andy should root really, really hard for Mike Mussina to get a HOF nod – because their final career numbers are eerily similar. In fact, Mussina’s are better than Pettitte’s (higer ERA+, more strikeouts, wins, complete games, higher winning percentage and lower OPS allowed), so you can bet if Mussina doesn’t get in, Pettitte won’t. Plus, Pettitte has the whole PED’s issue hanging over his career. I don’t think in the grand scheme of things it will make a huge difference, but if he’s close and that negatively influences a couple of voters…well, you get the idea.

Dear Mr. Mailbag,

When are the Yankees going to retire #46?

-A Huge Andy Fan

Um, Probably never. Was Andy an important cog in the past 5 championships? Yes. Does that mean he’ll get his number retired? No. Consider how many players from the 90’s dynasty have their numbers hanging on the outfield wall. Bernie Williams? Tino Martinez? David Cone? Paul O’Neill? Each was as integral to those championships as Pettitte; each as beloved in the Bronx as Andy – and none has their number retired. I strongly suspect that unless a player winds up in the Hall of Fame, their number will remain in circulation.

Mr. Mailbag,

Why did Andy Pettitte retire? The Yankees need him!

-Alarmed in the Bronx

Well, alarmed, as Andy said this morning, his heart just isn’t in it anymore. If you’ve watched Andy pitch over the past 5 years, then you know he’s gotten by mostly on heart. His once overpowering cut fastball doesn’t have the life it once did and neither do his secondary pitches. Perhaps more importantly for an athlete his age, he doesn’t have the drive to overcome injury – and a 38 year old pitcher is likely to step out on the mound with a nagging injury as not. Given his current state of mind, he’s making the right decision. Based on physical ability, he’s probably still better than Sergio Mitre. But without that competitive fire, Andy Pettitte would finish his career reminding Yankee fans why we hated Kevin Brown.

That’s it for now. These are representative of the most common questions I’ve seen. Somehow, I’m sure there will be more over the weekend, so stay tuned! Oh, and if you have one, feel free to shoot it out to me at Twitter or Facebook!


Read Full Post »

I read this today from Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

“Chamberlain’s role as the eighth-inning man and, quite possibly, his Yankees future are on the clock. The Yankees will not let Chamberlain’s inconsistency prevent them from making the playoffs or winning a championship.”

That’s quite a statement and makes it sound as if Joba Chamberlain is on the trading block. Regardless of his inconsistency this year, I find it a tad bit hard to believe the Yankees will give up on him this quickly. After all, he’s only 24 – and unlike most guys his age, he’s actually logged more innings and appearances at the major league level than he has in the minors. (He’s made 132 major league appearances for 319 innings vs. 18 appearances for 88 innings in the minors). What we’ve witnessed in the Bronx is the maturation of a thrower into a pitcher at the major league level. This is not something that lends itself easily to New York. Folks in Kansas City or Pittsburgh are accustomed to seeing young pitchers get walloped on a daily basis. Yankee fans haven’t seen this type of spectacle since Al Leiter‘s arrival in 1987.

This isn’t to say that Joba has done a spectacular job in the 8th inning role he was handed. He hasn’t. But I would be much more worried if there weren’t signs of progress. There are. His K/9 is back up to 9.6; the HR/9 is back down to 0.5. Both of those numbers are actually pretty comparable to his 2008 season, which leads me to believe that putting him back in the bullpen has helped correct some of the issues that came to the fore last year (fewer strikeouts, more nibbling, more walks, more pitching from behind). The one area he hasn’t made progress in is hits allowed, which has ballooned to 10.1 per 9 innings. But even that isn’t indicative of what Joba is doing (or not doing): his BAbip (that is, the batting average on balls actually put in play) is a respectable .280. So why the seeming unending trail of blown games?

When Joba has been bad, he’s been spectacularly bad: in 13 of his appearances this year, the opposing team has lit him up for a .700 OPSa or better – which means in 1/3 of his appearances, Joba has basically imploded, allowing opposing batters to rip him hard. In those appearances, Joba has pitched to a 1.305 OPSa. That’s a great number if you’re an outfielder, not so much if you’re a pitcher. But in his other 26 appearances, Joba has held hitters to a highly respectable .326 OPSa. (By comparison, Mariano Rivera‘s OPSa this season is .397). In case you’re wondering, OPSa is the combined on-base and slugging average against a pitcher – a great way to measure if a pitcher is getting guys out, pitching into bad luck or just plain getting hammered. When your OPSa is sub .400, it means that not only aren’t opposing hitters getting on base, they aren’t exactly killing the ball when they do. When its north of .700, the fans in the bleachers better have brought along their gloves.

So, the key to the second half may simply be getting a 24 year old kid with a history of mental lapses to concentrate. He has demonstrated that he has the talent and ability to do the job and only lacks the consistency. I wouldn’t bet against him finding some of that consistency in the second half of this season. I certainly wouldn’t want to see Joba traded away for another tired retread, a la Octavio Dotel or {shudder} Kyle Farnsworth.

Read Full Post »

Whether it’s Sterling, Flatherty, Waldman, Kay, or any of the other YES Network and WCBS 880 broadcast members, the fans always have something to complain about. It could be the crazy home run calls by Sterling, Kay’s big head, or the boring Flatherty (I don’t think he is). You even hear people make rude comments about the lovely Kim Jones. I just don’t get it.

Every person has their own quirks, and if you don’t like them for any reason..why don’t you just mute the tv? Nobody is forcing you to listen to these games. You can say the same thing for Buck and McCarver. If you hate them so damn much, just turn off your television. People don’t realize how hard and grueling these jobs really are. Let’s remember that these guys call and report from a 162-game season.

I was actually waiting outside the press gate the other day, after that grueling loss to the Tribe and I had the chance to meet Michael Kay and John Sterling. I could see they were both in a rush to leave the ballpark, but they took the time to shake my hand and sign a baseball for me. Even Suzyn Waldman waved hello.

I’m just sick and tired of all the complaints and rude comments these people have to hear. It’s unnecessary.

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: