Monday, October 29, 2007

Not So Random Stuff

As I blogged a few days ago, I was pulling for the Yankees to hire Joe Girardi as Torre's replacement. I'm glad they saw it my way and went with Joe over Yankee fan favorite Don Mattingly. I really didn't hear or see much support out there for Mattingly. People referred to him as the favorite and I always found that to be an odd belief. Girardi was always the best candidate in my opinion. I think he'll serve the Yankees well.
It's being reported that the Dodgers have canned Grady Little and are replacing him with Joe Torre. Not a big surprise in my opinion. It also reports that Mattingly is being brought in to again serve under Torre as the bench coach. Again, I'm not surprised. It's a good move for both. Torre stays in the game and gets far away from the guys in Tampa. Mattingly gets more experience and is now part of the organization that drafted his son Preston. I get the impression too that Tommy Lasorda is a big Mattingly guy. He's always spoken highly of him when his name comes up in interviews. I think I speak for Yankees fans everywhere when I wish them both the best. I was listening to the 24-7 MLB channel on XM tonight and a guy called in and asked if anyone thought that Torre to LA would mean that the Yankees would lose guys, specifically Posada, Mo, and Pettitte, to the Dodgers. The hots of the show had a great answer, and one I agree with. The Dodgers have no interest in Posada with Russell Martin behind the dish. I can't see them approaching Rivera with Saito at the back of the Dodger bullpen. Pettitte, I can see leaving, but I don't see it happening. I'm real curious to see if Joe to LA will have any bearing on their desire to bring in A-Rod. Honestly, I don't see Torre wanting to put up with him if he doesn't have to. Maybe the list of potential suitors for A-Rod just got smaller. I hope so.
Speaking of A-Rod, I love the quotes I've read pertaining to this whole situation and how it went down. I'll start with Bob DuPuy, COO of MLB:
"We were very disappointed that Scott Boras would try to upstage our premier baseball event of the season with his announcement. There was no reason to make an announcement last night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game. Last night and today belong to the Boston Red Sox, who should be celebrated for their achievement, and to the Colorado Rockies, who made such an unbelievable run to the World Series."
Well said. I especially love the part that mentions "selfish interests." Classic and it sums up A-Rod and Boras quite nicely. And Boras can be all apologetic and try to take the heat for this, but he works for A-Rod. He does nothing without client approval. Selfish doosh.
The next quote comes from Big Bank Hank. And this is probably the only thing he's said that I agree with:
"It's clear he didn't want to be a Yankee. He doesn't understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field. I don't want anybody on my team that doesn't want to be a Yankee."
Wow, Big Bank Hank. I'm honestly surprised you came up with this. My only critique is that you didn't use the word "painfully" in the first sentence. It was obvious that Alex didn't want to stay. If there was even a remote chance, he would have met with the Yankees brass and at least listened to what they had to say. He didn't even extend them the opportunity. That speaks volumes.
"We're not going to back down. It's goodbye." - Hank Steinbrenner
I only hope that the Yankees stay true to their word and don't even bother with him. He thinks he's bigger than the Yankees. He thinks he's bigger than MLB. We don't need that. Let him be a cancer somewhere else.
Despite all of that, and my current feeling of A-Rod, I do want to thank him for the last 4 years. He's truly a marvel and fun to watch. He did some amazing things and it was nice to watch him do that while he played for "my team." But in the end, he showed his true colors as a selfish man, who is only out for his own personal glory. Whatever. It's business. I hope he doesn't mind being the first player inducted into the HOF who will have the MLB logo on his cap, or maybe even no hat at all? He'd probably love it. Man, what a selfish doosh.
Stay true to your word Hank. Stay true to your word.

An A-Bomb From A-Rod

First off, congrats to the Boston Red Sox for winning it all. As I mentioned a few posts ago, if it's not the Yankees winning the World Series, I don't really care who it is. I'd prefer it not to be Boston for obvious reasons, but it is what it is. So congrats. I didn't think they had the best team when the season started or even when it ended. But the proof is in the pudding, so hats off to you.
Can A-Rod be any bigger of a dooshbag right now? I don't really care that he opted out, but more so how he opted out and the BS excuse that he and his agent concocted to justify their reasoning. What in your minds made you think that dropping this news during game 4 of the World Series was the right move? You guys look like total tools. Did you think that the Sox winning was going to deflect the attention away from you? It didn't. Do you think anyone believes that your reason of not knowing what Posada, Pettitte and Rivera were going to do had anything to do with your decision? We don't. You had a week and a half to see what was going to happen with those guys. You'll look pretty foolish when those guys all resign. You didn't return any calls placed to you from the Steinbrenner's. You didn't even give your employer the professional courtesy of meeting with them face-to-face. If you were opting out from the get go, you should have just said so. You just look like a bigger doosh than everyone already perceived you to be.
This just goes to show that there is one person that Alex cares about, and that's himself. The timing of his announcement shows me that he thinks he's bigger than the game and obviously doesn't really care what anybody thinks about him. I'll be interested to see who, if anyone, gives Alex more money than the Yankees were reported to be offering. I can't see it happening and I'll be shocked, but not surprised, if it does. I love the conspiracy theories out there. I read one that suggested that Scott Boras cut a side deal with the Red Sox when talking about JD Drew. I love it. Good stuff. The only teams that jump out at me who can afford to pay A-Rod $30 million are the Yankees (not interested), Boston (reportedly not interested), the Mets (where will he play with Reyes and Wright), the Cubs, Angels, Dodgers and Giants. He will definitely blend in a little easier in LA or Anaheim as he'll have plenty of people out there sharing the spotlight. But who knows? I would have thought he would have waited to opt out and not steal the spotlight from the Red Sox.
Man, what a doosh.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Eenie Meenie Mynie Joe

By all accounts, the Yankees are done with the interview process and we could have a successor to Joe Torre by the weekend. Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, and Tony Pena. Not that my opinion counts for much, but I'm hoping that Joe Girardi gets the nod.
If you've ever watched Girardi on a YES broadcast, you know that he knows his stuff. I remember listening to him during the 2004 postseason and I remember saying to myself then that I hoped he would succeed Torre as the next skipper of the Yankees. He came across an extremely intelligent guy. A guy that definitely knows the game of baseball. I remember him saying that the first thing he would do if he were managing game 6 of the 2004 ALCS was to bunt on Curt Schilling and his surgically repaired ankle. Make him field the ground and disrupt his comfort level right from the get go. I think every Yankee fan at the time was calling for Torre to do that. I don't know if he thought he and the Yankees were above that, but that's part of the game. Girardi strikes me as an old school guy and I don't think he'd shy away from calling for a few brushbacks on David Ortiz if the situation called for it. Torre became too passive and I think part of his fall from grace had a lot to do with his lack of "feather ruffling." Don't get me wrong, I love Torre to death and I still think he was the best call for a few more years at the helm of the ship, but since that is out of the question, I've moved on. Girardi has also successfully managed at the big league level. 2006 NL Manager of the Year in his first and only season as manager. He took a young team, one that was pegged to lose 100 plus games, and had them in contention for a playoff spot deep into the season. He's shown he can get the job done. The only negative I can think of is that he didn't really get along with Marlins management. If you can't get along with the peeps if Florida, how do you expect to make nice with the guys in Tampa? That'll be interesting.
I think Mattingly would be too much like Torre in terms of a managerial style. And quite frankly, I don't see him as a manager. I can't really articulate why. He just doesn't strike me as the type. And I've heard a lot of people say that about him. Now I have no real basis to make that judgment on. I've never really heard him give an interview. I've never really seen him "in action" as a skipper. I haven't really heard him talk baseball and strategy and what to do in situations. I'm also not sure a "fresh-faced" manager is what this team needs right now. If they go with Mattingly, a positive would be that he would be the smoothest transition away from Torre. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Can't really decide. It's difficult for me not to back Mattingly as he is my all-time favorite Yankee. Any kid that grew up on the Yankees in the '80s loves Donnie Baseball. Sorry Donnie. I can't give you that love this time. I've also blogged before that the Yankees haven't won squat with Mattingly in Pinstripes. Never made the Series while he played. Haven't been to the series since he's been coaching. Let me break it down. The Yankees went to the World Series in 1981. Mattingly joined the Yankees in 1982, retired in 1995 and they never played in late October during that stretch. From 1996-2003, without Mattingly in the organization, the Yankees win the World Series 4 times, and reach it 6 out of the 8 years. Mattinlgy comes back as coach in 2004 and they haven't been back to the World Series since. It's been one horrendous playoff loss after another. Maybe he's just not a winner? Or maybe he's cursed?
Mattingly has to be the favorite. But if Hank and Hal didn't like Torre as much as it seems, I can't see them being a fan of Mattingly for manager. It wouldn't make sense. Another thing that doesn't make sense is this quote from Hank Steinbrenner (thanks to Bryan Hoch's Bomber Beat for the quote):
"I think the most important thing is whoever we hire, give 'em a chance because he's not getting the '96 Yankees. He's getting an even younger team or for the most part a team in transition. Give him a little while. We want to win the World Series every year. We're not stupid enough to think we can do it. Of course, we'd love to win the World Series next year."
If that's truly how you feel, why the heck did you guys run Torre out of town? Where was his "chance?" Where was the "little while?" Who better to manage a team in transition that Joe Torre? Why rock the boat? And you're not stupid enough to think they can win the World Series every year? Sorry Hank, but you are that stupid. You ran Torre out of town for not winning the World Series. We're not blind. We're not dumb. Your entire comment basically screams that Joe Torre should be the manager. If Napolean Dynamite was ever needed to say the phase "Idiot," it's now.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our new leaders. We're in trouble.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Beantown Bandwagon Rolls On

So it's down to this. The Rox vs. The Sox in the battle for baseball supremacy. Being a Yankee fan, I'm hardwired to cheer against the Red Sox, so I'll pull for the Rockies, but to be completely honest, I could really give a flying (expletive deleted) if the Red Sox win. In my world, this is how I break it down. There are the Yankees, and then there is "not the Yankees." And if it's "not the Yankees," I don't really care who it is. The Yankees didn't win, and that's what matters to me.
Since the Sox are back in the Series, they will no doubt get another billion or so applications for membership in the Red Sox Nation. Red Sox Nation arguably has the most bandwagon fans in all of professional sports. Their membership has exploded since they won it all in 2004. It's evident everywhere you go. If you've ever attended or watched a Sox road game, you know that the home team's fans are in the minority. A few years ago, I went to a Buffalo Bisons/Columbus Clippers game. At the time, the Clippers were the triple A affiliate of the Yankees. The amount of people there sporting Sox gear was amazing. Yankees fans were in the minority. It was amazing. What I'm wondering, and I'll ask this of any long term members of the RSN, is it bothersome to have so many new members of your clan? You guys lived through 86 years of terrible lows, and now all of these people are coming out of the woodwork to ride on the current wave of success? Does it bother you that it's "cool" or "trendy" to root on the Sox? Does it bother you that most of the fan base, along with Kevin Millar, thinks that Ellsbury's first name is Jacob? Here is a recap of a recent exchange I had with a Sox fan in my neighborhood Best Buy, a few days after the Indians ousted the Yankees from the playoffs.
I was perusing the DVD section. I think I had a copy of Season 3 of "The Office" in my hands. I was wearing a Yankee cap. All of the sudden I hear, "Yankees s*ck." I turn and there standing is John Q. Soxfan, wearing a Sox hat. If I had to guess, I'd say he was 17-20. Now I'm not 100% on the age. If I were, I'd work at the State Fair guessing ages and weight.
Me: I'm sorry. What?
Soxfan: Yankees ***********.
Me: Umm, OK. Thanks! You a Sox fan?
Soxfan: He11 yeah.
Me: Who's your backup second baseman?
Soxfan: Pedroia baby.
Me: No, I said back-up, not starter.
Soxfan: "puzzled look"
Me: You don't know, do you? It's Alex Cora. Who's in your bullpen?
Me: Anybody else?
Soxfan: Some Japanese guy.
And that's when I walked away. True story. And there you have it. A once proud fan base now is full of tools and dooshbags, more so than normal. I'm just curious if that bothers the die-hards. Does it bother you to show up at a game and to have people see a redheaded dude in RF and wonder who the heck he is? The landscape of the RSN has changed drastically since 2004. You guys are turning into, well, Yankees fans. The very people you guys despise. But I guess that's to be expected when you win. Everyone hops on the bandwagon. As I mentioned earlier, it's trendy to root for the Red Sox. Not because you identify with the team or the city, but because it's the cool thing to do.
You guys aren't too far off from being exactly like the Yankees. The two franchises are almost identical at this point. We both attempt to "buy" championships-- don't tell me that bringing in Matsuzaka, Okajima, Lugo and Drew isn't an attempt to solving your problems with cash. We both have huge, passionate fan bases with more than their fair share of tools and dooshbags. We both have players that like to slap at balls in the glove of the guy at first base during the playoffs. We have a lot in common. We don't have many differences any more. Is that bothersome? Do you like the new face of the Red Sox Nation?
Just curious?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Torre Era Draws To A Close

It's official. The Joe Torre era is officially dead. The Yankees offered up a deal and Torre turned it down. The deal was for a guaranteed $5 million with the option of earning another $3 million in incentives, a million each for reaching the playoffs, advancing to the ALCS, and then to the World Series. As far as I'm concerned, that's a pretty good deal from a financial standpoint, even for Torre. But, the deal was only for 1 year, and therein lies the problem. Joe wanted more years, and if you ask me, he deserved to get them. I can totally understand why each side did what they did, and I can understand why they'll now part ways.
My final take on this deal was that Torre got a little screwed and didn't get the respect he deserved. By offering him a year, the Yankees knew Torre would turn it down, and in the end, they get they wanted, a new skipper. They "sort of" saved face, but everybody knows the deal was a BS offer. I'm sure Joe had no beef with the salary structure but there was no way he was signing on for a 1 year deal. He deserved more than that and if they really wanted him back they would have gone at least 2 years. Bravo Yankee brass. You got what you wanted. But at what expense? Time will tell how much of a price this turns out to be. The odds of bringing back A-Rod, Mo, and Jorgie just took a significant hit.
It's going to be a very interesting couple of weeks. Oh the humanity. All I can say now is please bring in Girardi. I love Donnie to death but he's not ready for this.

Say It Ain't So

I'm listening to a sound clip of one of the Yankees brass announcing that Joe Torre turned down an extension??? What the dilly? Unfortunately, one of my staff called me during the playback and I missed a lot of the details.
I don't know what to think but it looks like Joe's out. All I can say is keep negotiating!!

The Era Continues?

They're reporting on XM that ESPN is reporting that the Yankees and Joe Torre are close to reaching an agreement for a contract extension. If this happens, I for one, will be relieved, as I think that Joe Torre, despite his shortcomings, is still the best man for the job. The guy can only do so much. He has after all gotten these guys into the playoffs for the last dozen plus years. I think the fallout from letting him go would be immeasurable. The domino effect would ripple through the entire organization. It would be good. If they did can Joe, it would have been extremely difficult to resign A-Rod, Posada, and Rivera. In my estimation, those are 3 key components to continued trips to the postseason. Cashman now just needs to make sure they come back.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pot Meet Kettle, Kettle Meet Pot

I had logged out of my Hotmail account and it redirected me to the homepage. A link titled "America's (Most Hated) Team" caught my eye. I clicked on it expecting to read another anti-Yankee diatribe, which was an educated guess based on the fact that the entire world hates the Yankees. Much to my surprise, I was treated to an excellent article about the Boston Red Sox, and how the team, and their fans, are turning into what they claim to hate so much. That of course being, drum roll please, the New York Yankees. We talked about this a lot at the beginning of the year and their transformation into "the organization they hate so much but won't admit to being exactly like" is still continuing. I'd like to think that any Red Sox fan, who reads it with an open mind and sans their pair of "red" colored glasses, will undoubtedly agree that they are no different than everything and everyone they supposedly hate so much.
So give it a read. It's a great piece.
Wow, 3 posts in 3 days. What's gotten into this kid?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

They Gets No Respect

Holy wow! 2 posts in 2 days. The kid is on fire.
I'm not sure why this bothers me so much, but I'm a little miffed how everybody, well most people, are anti-Yankee instead of being pro-"team." Most of what I hear is about the Yankees failures in the ALDS and not the Indians successes. The Indians pitched and hit their tails off that series and deserved to win. All I hear is how A-Rod is Mr. April. How the Yankees again failed to make it out of round one for the 3rd straight year. Little to no talk about the Tribe. I don't get it. Show them some respect.
They've been playing this sound byte repeatedly on XM's MLB channel. The clip is of Indians announcer Tom Hamilton right after Posada struck out in game 4 to close it out and to send the Indians to the ALCS. Hamilton, in an understandably excited tone, remarks how the Indians played the role of "giant-killer" and how they took down the "juggernaut" Yankees. To me, his comments show a lack of respect for the team he supposedly has been following all year. Last time I checked, the Indians won 96 games, the most in baseball, and 2 more than the Yankees. They did so in arguably the toughest division in the American League. They also have 2 of the best pitchers in the AL in Carmona and Sabathia, both of which will finish in the top 5 of the Cy Young vote, 1 possibly winning that award, and both should finish ahead of Yankees ace Chein-Ming Wang. As the old adage goes, good pitching beats good hitting. It's no surprise that the Yankees struggled mightily against the Indians. Personally, I thought we were the underdogs in this series. I'm not sure how the Yankees were "giants" or "juggernauts," and Tom's comments again to me, show a little lack of respect for his club. The Tribe should have won, and they did. Tip of the cap to the Tribe.
But this is nothing new. The world has always been anti-Yankee. It's always about what the Yankees did, and the focus is rarely about the opponent. You rarely hear accolades being thrown upon the victor that takes down the Yankees. The focus is always on the boys in Pinstripes, and their fans for that matter. The fact of the matter is that the Indians deserve a lot more respect then what they've been shown. They've got a great ball club. One that's going to give Boston a lot of fits. That should be an interesting series as both teams can boast that they have great pitching. I've got to give the edge to the Tribe though. I think they'll keep the Sox in check.
As a Yankee fan, I'd love to see the Tribe scalp the d-bags in Beantown. I'll be curious to see if there will be anti-Sox chat if they in fact lose to Cleveland. If it is, I don't think it will be even close to the anti-Yankee bias I've seen. It's very trendy to be anti-Yankee, regardless of what fan base people come from.
The world is against us. What's new?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another Early Exit

Again, I must start off by apologizing for my lack of posts, especially during the stretch run and through the short-lived playoffs. Anyone with a newborn at home I'm sure can relate. And for those wondering, Cooper is doing great. His dad, not so much. I'm still a little bummed about the 3rd consecutive early exit by my beloved Bombers. A co-worker asked me how I felt the day after they were bounced and I equated my current mind state to that of the typical Buffalo Bills fan. It's like watching the Bills lose in the final seconds of a game (which they did so gracefully against Dallas on Monday). It happens so much, you get a little used to it. But, it's a lot harder for me to get over.
The Yankees definitely didn't deserve to win that series. You've got to give credit to the Indians for coming through in all of those 2-out situations. Unreal. I find it incredibly odd that everyone in the media, both local and national are continuing to bash A-Rod for his poor postseason performance. I'm not seeing much credit thrown towards Carmona and Sabathia. In the postseason, it's all about the pitching. Great pitching can easily neutralize the greatest of hitters in the postseason. It's an entirely different monster than pitching in the regular season. And we saw that all series. The Tribe pitchers did their jobs and kept the Yankee bats in check all series. Yankee pitchers couldn't get the big out to stop the rally. The Indians hit almost .500 with RISP and 2 outs. Unreal. Gnats or not, they totally deserved it. They'll be tough to beat the rest of the way.
It's going to be quite the interesting offseason. There are so many question marks and they all begin with what's going to happen to Joe? I'm on the fence here. While I do think it might be time for a change, I don't think they need to whack Joe. He managed his tail off this year. Many, myself included, think it's the best job he's ever done. He makes some bad choices (I would've brought Mo in the 8th in game 2), but who doesn't. Moves backfire. It happens. If they panned out, we wouldn't be having this discussion. If they can Torre, I'm afraid of the ripple effect that this is going to cause. It's no secret that the players love Joe, and it's definitely no secret that he loves these guys, evidenced by all the tears he shed in his postseason interviews. If Joe goes, so might Posada, Rivera, and A-Rod. Don't give them any reason to bolt. Bring him back and let him leave on his terms. I don't agree with Steinbrenner's tactic of threatening his job publicly. Maybe he watched too many episodes of "The Bronx Is Burning" and he got a little nostalgic, thinking he could do it again. You just know if the Yanks pulled out that series, he was taking all the credit. I think Stein now realizes the error in his ways, which is why he hasn't been canned yet. It will only get worse for Steinbrenner as the outpouring of support for Joe continues to come from his players. But who knows? Maybe it was a ploy by Stein to take the heat off of his team when they were down 0-2 and put it on he and Torre. I guess we'll see.
And then there's A-Rod. God, I hope he comes back. I know Boras wants him to hit the market, but the Yankees need to sign this guy for the long term. You're not going to get a better offensive 3b. And in my opinion, he'd be worth every penny. I heard a sound byte from Cashman where he said that he wouldn't pursue A-Rod if he opts out b/c they'd lose the money from Texas. He's said that several times. There was one change though this time and that's when he added that "it was his recommendation" to do that. You know that there are other forces, namely Steinbrenner and crew, at play here. Big Stein is going to give A-Rod a blank check. He wants him in Pinstripes, and rightfully so. A-Rod in Pinstripes for 10 years equals big bucks. I hope they can get something done before the deadline rolls around. He may have stunk again in the postseason, but there would have been no postseason without his bat in the lineup. He's worth the dough. Pony it up.
I'm going to try and be around more this offseason. I hope to be around a lot more than I was over the last few weeks. I also hope to get back to commenting on my fellow Yankee bloggers sites. There should be plenty to talk about. It's just hard to find the time with work and family. Until then......
Peace, love and Pinstripes.