Friday, July 31, 2009

What Today's 10-5 Yankee Loss To The White Sox Taught Me

If tonight's loss to the White Sox taught me one thing, it's this: Sergio Mitre is not the answer. He shouldn't even be in the mix. The problem is that, as of right now, there aren't any other options. I exchanged a few texts tonight with my buddy and he was basically trying to tell me that Cashman messed up big time for not getting a starter. I'm fully convinced that the only way the Yankees were getting a SP was if they dealt Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Austin Jackson, or Jesus Montero. The Mariners reportedly wanted A-Jax for Washburn. Sorry but no thank you.

There wasn't any SP on the market, except for Halladay, that I'd deal any of those guys for. None of the names that were tossed around (Washburn, Arroyo) struck me as a must get. It's easy for those of us on the outside to say that Cashman messed this up. But really, how do any of us know what went down? From the sounds of it, everyone tried to rake Cash over the coals. I'm glad he didn't make any silly moves. I like to think that Cashman is a pretty smart dude. He's going to find an answer to the small problem that is the Yankees 5th starter. It might not be today. It might not be tomorrow. But it'll be soon.

If you think about it, has the Yankees 5th starter really provided the team with anything this year? 9 starts from Wang = 11.38 ERA. 7 starts from Hughes = 5.45 ERA, 4 starts from Mitre = 7.90 ERA. 1 start from Aceves = 8.11 ERA. Collectively, those 4 have made 21 starts. Their combined line is 5-8, 85.2 IP, 122 H, 79 ER, 36 BB, 61 K, 8.30 ERA. Granted, Wang makes those numbers a lot worse. If you remove CMW, it's 4-2, 51.2 IP, 65 H, 36 ER, 19 BB, 39 K, 6.27 ERA. What place are they in again? Oh yeah. They're in first with the best record in the American League.

The Yankees 5th starter is a problem. But it's certainly not a big one.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Step Away From The Ledge

I've been reading all of the comments over at Pete Abe's blog and there are a lot of wacky Yankee fans out there. A lot are complaining because Cashman hasn't made any huge deals. As nice as it would be to see the Yanks land a big fish, they don't need to. Last time I checked, the Yanks have the best record in the American League. Teams are chasing us. Sure there is room for improvement but upgrading the team isn't a necessity.

The Red Sox are being very active at the deadline and quite honestly, none of their deals make them a vastly improved team. They're not making any significant gains. It's also apparent, if you believe the rumors, that when it comes to the Yankees, teams want the same guys regardless of who they're getting back. The Mariners reportedly wanted Hughes, Joba, or Jesus Montero for Jarrod Washburn. The M's settled for Luke French and a minor leaguer. Cash would have been foolish to make that deal.

I'm glad Cash isn't bending over and taking it in the rear. Trades work two ways. You've got to have 2 parties willing to play and agree on equal value. So far, from what I've seen/read, I'm glad the Yanks haven't done anything stupid. Not yet anyway. There is 2 minutes til the deadline so there's still time.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yanks Acquire Jerry Hairston Jr.

The Yanks traded for Jerry Hairston Jr.

Whatever. I guess he's better than Cody Ransom, who I'm guessing he'll replace.

35 minutes til the deadline......


Yanks Lose An Odd One

What an odd game last night? The Yanks definitely didn't deserve to win considering how they hit (1 for 8 with RISP and 14 team Ks), but they were so close to sneaking out a W. Andy Pettitte pitched a great game. His performance kept the Yanks in the game and put them in the position to win. Andy has had a nice stretch of starts since the ASB. 3 starts, 20 innings, 17 hits, 3 walks, 23 K, 2.70 ERA. Andy is widely known as a second-half pitcher. He didn't quite live up to that last year but he's definitely on track this season. If the Yanks could just get him some run support he'd be golden. They've scored 8 runs in his last 3 starts. Not good.

The end of last night's game was very weird. It was an very odd chain of events. Pettitte slips on the wet grass allowing Thome to reach 1st. A-Rod then boots a ball. Hughes gets what looks like an inning-ending DP but Cano throws the ball too far to Teixeira's right and it trickled far enough away for the go-ahead run to score. Swisher goes deep to tie things up with a 2-out HR in the 9th. Thome places a perfect ball past an over-shift. Then DeWayne Wise and his sub-200 average singles off Coke's glove and the Yanks find themselves hard luck losers. Weird. But again, can it really be called a hard luck loss when the offense is pretty much non-existent? Definitely a tough loss, but I wouldn't call it a hard luck one.

Hopefully the offense shows up tonight. Sergio Mitre is on the mound and I don't feel confident in his ability to keep the score low. There's now roughly 5.75 hours until the trade deadline. It's been a pretty quiet few weeks for the Yankees. It's almost too quiet. I wonder if Cashman has a trick or two up his sleeve. I really think something is going to go down before the 4pm deadline, even if it's as small as the Yanks dealing for some middle-relief. I wouldn't mind seeing them land a starter. I'm sure they could get by with Mitre but I don't think even the Yanks want to try that. It should be an interesting couple of hours.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, July 30, 2009

(Most) Red Sox Fans Can Eat A Fat One

This is a day that many of us Yankee fans have been hoping for and knew was coming for a long time. I am taking great pleasure in this. I am loving every second of it. As the title of this post says, Red Sox fans can eat a fat one.

Red Sox fans crack me up. I love how they're dismissing the NY Times report about Manny and Ortiz being named on the list of positive tests from 2003. I've seen comments online like, "this isn't proof of anything," and "I'd like more more proof than some lawyers saying this," and "this is nothing more than hearsay," and my personal favorite, "using in 2003 doesn't mean they used in 2004." Blah blah blah blah blah. Your boys got busted, plain and simple.

I didn't hear any of you making statements like this when A-Rod's name was first leaked. You jumped all over us. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you're singing a different tune. That's pretty weak. Unlike A-Rod, I'll bet that Ortiz doesn't step forward and admit to anything. He'll probably blame it on tainted GNC products or something. Sadly, you'll probably all believe him. He'll never admit it though. I'll give props to Alex for stepping up and "admitting" to it, even if it wasn't the whole story and may have included a few lies. At least he came out and gave the public something. All we'll probably get from Ortiz is "no comment."

This isn't a big shock to those of us outside of RSN. I can't believe that many of you were dumb enough to think the Sox clubhouse was clean. Right now, I am laughing in your faces. I've heard of wearing rose-colored glasses, but you guys took it to a whole new level. Your team is no different than ours. Except for the fact that the face of our franchise wasn't busted. Ouch. Red Sox Nation has been shaken to its very core. It's as if an atomic bomb was dropped in the middle of Fenway Park.

Sox fans deserve to have this thrown back in their faces. They deserve every second of it for all of the sanctimonious BS they've thrown our way since Giambi first admitted his use. It's worth mentioning that this doesn't apply to ALL Red Sox fans. I hate to lump the good ones in the bad ones as there are some good ones out there but they are few and far between. Some of them actually get it. The Yankee fanbase is the same way. Just own up to the fact that your team is no different than the Yankees when it comes to juicing. Both teams were using. Deal with it.

Here's how it's going to go. Red Sox fans can no longer act all sanctimonious when it comes to their team and steroids. Red Sox fans can no longer say anything about Jason Giambi robbing them of the making it to the 2003 World Series. Red Sox fans can no longer say anything about A-Rod. Red Sox fans can no longer point to the Mitchell Report as evidence of their clean clubhouse. That report is turning out to be a heaping pile of you-know-what. Red Sox fans can no longer chant "You used steroids" or any other steroid-themed chant at anyone. Sox fans can no longer say the Yankees championships of the late 90s were won on steroids without saying that about their 2004 and 2007 titles. No more calling A-Rod "A-Roid." No more calling Roger Clemens "Roidger." No more steroid-related nicknames. You guys got it? Commit this to memory because you guys no longer have the right to do any of it. Ever.

Despite taking great pleasure in this, it would be nice if we could find a way to put this whole steroid mess behind us. When these big names get leaked it just makes baseball's black eye bigger. So please release the list of who tested positive and get it over with already. Maybe once it comes out we can move on. Let's just get it over and done with.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Manny & Ortiz Allegedly Tested Positive For PEDs In 2003

I was getting ready to blog about Joba Chamberlain's dominant performance last night when I got a text alert from ESPN. Per the NY Times, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz each tested positive for PEDs back in 2003. I'm shocked. Well not really. Everyone always thought that Ortiz was on something. I can't wait to see how he spins this one considering that he felt anyone who got busted for using should be banned for an entire season. Enjoy your time off.

The Times article says, "The information about Ramirez and Ortiz emerged through interviews with multiple lawyers and others connected to the pending litigation. The lawyers spoke anonymously because the testing information is under seal by a court order. The lawyers did not identify which drugs were detected. "

This has to be a big blow to the Red Sox and their fans. It took 86 years for them to win a World Series and they only way they could do it was by juicing. Talk about having those championships tarnished. Sox fans cried foul over the Yankees ALCS win in 2003 because of Jason Giambi's PED use. Can't make those claims anymore. We Yankee fans might as well dust off the "1918" chant because the Sox now still haven't legitimately won a World Series since then.

It must really burn Red Sox Nation that they won't be able bust on A-Rod anymore without looking like complete and utter douchebags. Scratch that. Rewind. Let's try that again. It must really burn Red Sox Nation that they won't be able bust on A-Rod anymore without looking like bigger douchebags than they already are. Yeah, I like that better. Disclaimer: I don't think that all members of RSN are douchebags, but a good percentage are. I also think that the "Yankees Universe" has its share of those as well. And now back to our show.....

Two of the biggest components of the Red Sox 2 championship teams were busted as users. David Ortiz is arguably the most popular member of the Red Sox. I'm really interested to see how the Red Sox and their fans spin this one.

And the walls came a crumbling down.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Jobamania Is Running Wild As Yanks Sting Rays 6-2

I wanted to blog real quick about tonight's game and I'll expand it tomorrow. Joba was absolutely awesome tonight. He's been an entirely different guy since the All-star break. One could argue that tonight was his best outing of the season. My first inclination is to agree with that. He was lights out.

Brian Bruney sucks balls. He has to be on his way out and that's a shame because he's shown that he can do the job. He's been God-awful lately. You can't come in with a 6 run lead and make the manager have to go to the closer. He's brutal. I think his days are numbered.

The Red Sox dropped another one to the A's and the Yankee lead in the East is now at 3.5 games. Boston's recent swoon probably means that they're going to be making a big deal before Friday's deadline. They're almost being forced to pony up the goods for Roy Halladay. John Smoltz hasn't been good. Brad Penny isn't good. Tim Wakefield and Dice-K are on the DL. They're 4-8 since the ASB and are slipping in the standings. All signs are pointing to the Sox landing a big arm. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if they deal for Halladay. They're almost being forced to.

My plans are to blog tomorrow on my lunch break which is around noon EST. I'll expand on tonight's game and who knows, maybe a deal or two will happen before then. Enjoy your night.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yanks Fall To Rays 6-2

I didn't get to see the game last night because it was on My9 so this won't be a long post. A 6-2 loss, eh? Oh well, you can't win them all. The box score doesn't tell me anything really. Nothing in it jumps out at me. I see A-Rod and Jeter each committed a throwing error but that's about it. If anyone watched the game and wants to drop me a quick recap, feel free to lay it on me. The good news is that the Red Sox lost as well, so no harm no foul.

The big loss yesterday came off the field as we found out that Chien-Ming Wang is having season ending shoulder surgery. It's been a very disappointing year for the Wanger. His season got off on the wrong foot (no pun intended) and it just never got going. It won't be a huge loss for the Yankees though. CMW has only made 9 starts this year, going 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA. To be honest, the Yanks probably would have been better off if Wang missed all of this season. The pitcher we saw this year wasn't Chien-Ming Wang. It might as well have been someone else.

I am interested to see who fills that spot in the rotation. I don't see it being Sergio Mitre or any Yankee farm-hand. The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and rumors are floating around about several names. I'd have to think the guys in the mix, even if it's to a small extent, are Roy Halladay, cliff Lee, Jarrod Washburn, and Bronson Arroyo. Everything I've read right now is pure speculation. I don't think I've even seen a rumored offer for anyone. Cashman must be playing this one close to the vest. Maybe he's got something up his sleeve? The deadline is this Friday so we should find something out in the next few days. Wang's injury will probably force Cashman's hand a little bit. My gut tells me a trade is coming.

Joba tonight. He's been on fire since the ASB. 2 starts, 13.2 IP, 5 hits, 6 BB, 2 ER, and 14 K. Go Yanks.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And We're Back

Hello friends. I'm back from brief hiatus to Cooperstown for Induction Weekend. I got back Sunday night and needed a day to recuperate. It was a fun, yet tiring weekend. On average, I get about 5 hours of sleep per night and I sleep in the back of my ride as it's just easier that way.

I've been going down there for IW now for the last 4 years. I primarily go for the autograph opportunities, of which there are a lot. You can usually put quite a few freebies if you put your time in. My problem is I have most of the guys who sign for free already and I didn't bring anything to have them sign, so I passed up on a few that I could have gotten.

It's getting to the point where everyone I need I have to pay for since they usually aren't around to sign for free. They have paid signings in town so I dropped some coin on some guys I needed (Gibson, Brock, Williams, Carew, and Bench). I'm trying to get signed balls from all of the living HOFers. I think I need 9 now (MacPhail, Lasorda, Aaron, Koufax, Yastrzemski, Winfield, Murray, Sutter, and Henderson). I'm getting there. It's tough as I try to get them all in person.

I did manage one freebie while I was there and that was from Roger Clemens. He happened to be in town because one of his sons was playing in a Little League tournament. I picked his up one afternoon after one of their games. That was unexpected and not a bad way to cap off the trip.

I tried to follow the Yankees as best I could when I was down there. I caught the tail end of Friday's win. I heard about 3 minutes of Saturday's game and was getting most of my updates via a friend's Blackberry. I listened to the last half of Sunday's game on the drive home. And I was in front of the TV for last night's game. I was still a little exhausted and had plans to go to sleep before it was over, but tonight's game is on My9, which I still don't get, so rather than missing 5 straight games, I sucked it up and watched the whole thing. Anyway, I can't complain at all about how the team is playing as they went 3-1 over those 4 games. The pitching is still going strong. Burnett was awesome last night and is proving to be well worth the money. A.J. has been lights out in his last 11 starts, going 8-2 with a 2.08 ERA. He'll finish July with a 4-0 record and a 2.43 ERA. A.J. has been one of the league's best pitchers over the last 2 months. There's no debating that.

The offense hasn't been any kind of a slouch either. I just noticed that Melky has his average up to .290. He's been on a little tear over these last 5 games, going 8-13 with 5 walks. That came put of the blue. That's pretty clutch seeing that Brett Gardner is headed for the DL. The Melkman is going to be playing full-time while Gardner is out. If he can continue to play like he has been, that will be huge, and a little unexpected. I'm still a little taken aback about Melky's July numbers. In July, he's hitting .302 with an 817 OPS. I didn't see that coming. Wow. Get out the crayolas and color me impressed.

The trading deadline is a little over 3 days away and as nice as it would be to land a big fish, I'm not sure it'll happen. The Yanks have incentive to land a starter as it looks like Chien-Ming Wang's season might be done. Sergio Mitre isn't going to cut it. I wouldn't be surprised if they bring someone in. I don't think it'll be Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee. And I hope it's not Bronson Arroyo. I saw that rumor and saw that's been shot down but we've seen that before. Where's there smoke, there's fire. It looks like it's not a lot of smoke. At least i hope it's not. I'm not an Arroyo guy. I think he's average at best and a little overrated, which is bad for someone who I don't think is all that good to begin with. They'll get someone I'm sure. The Yanks have the best record in the AL and are 1 game behind the Dodgers for the best record in all of MLB. They're 2.5 up on the Red Sox for the division and 5 up on the the Rangers, who trail the Sox for the wild card. I don't think the Yankees need a lot to maintain their lead so I don't see them making a huge splash. It's possible though. A lot can change if the competition betters themselves. It'll be a fun few days.

Enjoy tonight's game. I really need My9.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Taking A 3-4 Day Hiatus

Just letting everybody know that I'll be taking a few days off from blogging. Tomorrow morning, at about 4am, I'm headed to Cooperstown for Induction Weekend. I'll be back Sunday evening, ready to blog about what I hope will be a very successful 4 games for the Yanks. I was hoping to watch tonight's game, but the delay has pretty much rained out those plans. Thanks a lot Mother Nature.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cheers And Jeers As Yanks Win 6th Straight With Sweep Of Orioles

I followed the game online as best I could today. I had some "cheers and jeers" to post based on what I caught as well as the box score. If you have any to add, please do.

Cheers to A.J. Burnett. A.J. had what looked like a pretty decent outing. He had a decent strike-to-ball ratio (65% strikes and picked up his 9th win and lowered his ERA. Well done.

Cheers to Phil Hughes. You the man bro. I've always maintained Phil is and will always be better than Joba. I'm glad he's pitching relief in the bigs and not starting in the minors. The bridge to Mariano is secure.

Jeers to Brian Bruney. WTF? As I was watching the gamecast I was really impressed with his outing up until I see, "in play, run." I sent my buddy Tom a text message that read, "Brian Bruney sucks." Next batter I see, "in play, run." I sent my buddy Tom a follow-up message that read, "Brian Bruney really sucks." At this rate, Bru will be DFA's by the end of the month.

Cheers to Mariano Rivera. It was unfortunate that Mo had to come in and clean up Bruney's mess. I was not surprised at all when I saw that he promptly struck out Huff looking. Mo has yet again saved the Yankees bacon. Watch out Tevor Hoffman. He's coming for you.

Cheers to the Yankees offense for going 7-for-15 with RISP and scoring 6 runs. Jorge, Alex, and Robbie have multi-hit games. Me likey.

Jeers to Nick Swisher for making an error. I don't know what you did, but come on. That's 6 on the year.

Cheers to the Yanks for winning 6 in a row. I'd be really excited except they did the same thing last year and then floundered. It's a much better team this year so I don't see that happening again.

Cheers to me. Just because I said so.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Enjoy The Game

I'm stuck at work in a training class so I have no access to the game, outside of the gamecast. I'm not sure how much of a write-up I'll get to do outside of saying, "yay they won" or "boo they lost."

Go get 'em A.J.!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yanks Alone In 1st After 6-4 Win Vs. Orioles

I didn't get to see tonight's game because it was on My9 and if you're a regular reader of the blog, you know it's not carried here in Buffalo. Not on Verizon FIOS or Direct TV that is. Time Warner gets it occasionally, maybe even full time now. So I didn't get to see Sergio Mitre's decent Yankee debut. I didn't get to see another stellar outing by the Yankee bullpen. So I can't say much about the game. Aargh.

I did though get to watch the Red Sox lose their 4th straight game and fall 1 game behind the Yankees in the East. Yes, you read that correctly. Ladies and gentlemen, the New York Yankees have sole possession of first place in the AL East.

You can't front on that.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yanks Win Another 2-1 Squeaker On Matsui's Walkoff

3 straight games. 3 straight 2-1 victories. These games are getting too close for comfort. I like the fact that the team is pitching well. But donde esta la offense? For those of you without a handy-dandy Spanish to English translator, that means where is the offense? I think it means that. The only Spanish I've ever heard translated was on an episode of "Who's The Boss" when they went to Mexico and taught Tony how to say "Where is the bathroom?" I'm kidding of course.

But seriously, where is the offense? The Yankees have scored a whopping 11 runs in their 4 games since the ASB. They've managed 16 hits in their last 3 games. Their last 4 runs all came on solo HRs. 5 of their last 6 runs came on solo HRs. 8 of their last 9 runs came via the longball. I don't like this trend. It's very hard to win consistently when you live off the home run, especially when it's of the solo variety. I'm a little surprised that they've won their last 4. It's a good thing that the pitching is taking care of business. They deserve all the credit for these wins in my opinion. I'm excited about how well they're doing, but would be a lot more thrilled if these games were against better opponents. Baltimore and Detroit don't exactly have stellar offenses. If the Yanks were facing better teams, they very easily could have lost all 4 of these games. I hope the offense gets going soon. Enough of these solo HRs.

I don't think any team had a chance against Andy Pettitte last night. In a word, awesome. Andy has struggled at home this year. He got the 2nd half off on the right foot by going 7.1 innings, allowing just the 1 run on 6 hits and a walk. The stat of the night though was the 8 Ks. His control was there too as he threw 69% of his pitches for strikes. Very impressive. He made the mistake to Markakis in the first inning and was pretty much on cruise control the rest of the night. Like CC and Joba in their outings, if Andy needed the big out, he got the big out. Baltimore had a runner on 2nd with no outs in the 3rd and Andy whiffed two in a row. the O's had two on and 1 out in the 5th and Andy struck out another to keep them put. He also met 2 of his best friends in the 6th and 7th when he induced two double plays. All in all, a stellar outing.

The game was saved though by the defense. Those two plays at the plate in the 8th were tremendous. The first was great on so many levels. First Teixeira made an incredible pick. He then made a tremendous off-balance throw to the plate. Molina made a sweet grab on the throw and made a nice tag at the plate. I'm not sure how the ball stayed in his glove. That was remarkable. And then lightning struck again. Coke makes a wild pitch, Molina pounced on it and hit Coke at the plate for the tag. I originally thought Roberts got in there but there was no question that the ump made the right call. Those plays were game savers. If Mark Teixeira doesn't win the Gold Glove at first I am going to be shocked. The Yankees haven't had a slick fielding first baseman in I don't know how long. Teix has saved the Yankees' bacon several times this year. I am so glad that the stars aligned and Cashman was able to bring Teixeira into the fold. He's the bomb yo.

Boston's 3 game lead is gone. Yanks are back in first. Sergio Mitre is getting the call-up to make tonight's start in place of Chien-Ming Wang. It's the right call. The Yanks are better off if the leave Hughes and Aceves in the bullpen. Wang had another setback in his rehab yesterday. The Yanks are likely going to need to fill that spot for quite a while. The trade deadline is about 10 days from now. I can't see them going with Mitre if Wang is out long term. It'll be interesting to see what develops over the next week and a half. Mitre should be nothing more than a stop-gap. He's not the answer. I'm interested to see how he does. Good luck Serge. Hopefully you get some run support.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Boogie Down Book Club: Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain

It's been a while since I've held a meeting of the Boogie Down Book Club. Frankly, with 2 kids under two and Yankee games on TV most nights, I don't have a lot of time for reading. But I did come across a book that EVERY Yankee fan is sure to enjoy. I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain, by Marty Appel, ex-PR Director for the new York Yankees. If you're a Yankee fan, or just a fan of baseball history, then you have to read this book. And trust me, there is no one else who could write this story other than Marty Appel.

Marty started his career with the Yankees around the same time that Thurman started his career with the Yankees. Thurman was "his guy." He wrote (with Thurman's input of course) Thurman's official auto-biography which was published before Thurman's tragic death almost 30 years ago. I wouldn't call this book a sequel, but more like a companion piece, or an updated auto-biography. The original auto-biography was written two years before Thurman died. This kind of picks up where that left off and tells the rest of the story.

I never got to see Thurman play in person. I wish I had. I wasn't quite 6 when he died. The book does a great job of bringing Thurman's career to life. There is a lot of insight about Thurman as a person. There's everything from stories about his rough childhood to his dealings as a real estate entrepreneur (I didn't know he was in to that). You get everything from beginning to end. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Reading about Thurman's childhood was very interesting, and to be honest, a little painful to read at times. He didn't have what I would call a supportive family. His dad, well, you'll have to read it for yourself.

I especially liked how the book flowed. Marty did an outstanding job of incorporating his thoughts, as well as those of Thurman's family, his friends, his teammates, and the like. The book will definitely put a smile on your face and if you're like me, you'll probably shed a tear or two also.

If there were a Monument Park for books, this book would be in there, no question about it. It was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a must read for all Yankee fans.

The publisher was kind enough to send me an excerpt from the book. You can find that below. Enjoy!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Excerpted from Munson by Marty Appel Copyright © 2009 by Marty Appel. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Baseball wasn't cool in the 1960s.

During the "Summer of Love" not many young people were talking about Carl Yastrzemski. No one at Woodstock wondered whether the Mets could really go all the way. Few among my friends were particularly impressed when I took a summer job answering Mickey Mantle's fan mail for the Yankees in 1968. And it was the same when I was offered, and accepted, a full-time position in the public relations department midway through my senior year in 1970.

I was one of two people in my college who subscribed to The Sporting News (my roommate was the other)--but I couldn't watch baseball on Sundays in the fall when the one TV in the dorm was tuned to the NFL--even during the World Series!

As Mantle, Banks, Clemente, Mays, Aaron, Mathews, Maris, Killebrew, Koufax, Drysdale, and Colavito moved toward the twilight of their careers, few stars appeared to replace them. The mid- to late sixties gave us Reggie Jackson, Johnny Bench, and Tom Seaver, but not many other attention-getters.

But then, in the midst of this decidedly uncool period of baseball, the once proud Yankees, now mediocre and dull, found a player named Thurman Lee Munson to proudly take them to their tomorrows.

Thurman was a throwback; a lunch-bucket kind of guy who was all jock and no rock. He wasn't going to win over New York by being Joe Namath or Clyde Frazier. He liked Wayne Newton music and, in what was arguably the worst-dressed decade of the twentieth century, the 1970s, he was the worst of the worst. His wardrobe featured clashing plaids and checks made of the finest polyester. Socks were optional.

It was an everyman look that went with his regular-guy demeanor. He liked to pump his own gas, even in New Jersey, where you weren't allowed to, and even when he became famous. On occasion, thinking he was the attendant, someone would pull up next to him and say, "Fill 'er up"--and he would! He'd pump the guy's gas, collect payment, and hand it to the station manager. I was with him one day when he even washed a guy's windshield while filling up his gas tank. I suspect the guy drove away thinking, That gas station guy looked a lot like Thurman Munson.

No, cool wasn't his game. He was going to win them over the old-fashioned way--with gritty determination and a focus on respecting the game and playing it with heart. He would honor the tradition of the Yankees and wear the uniform dirty and proud, and would not tolerate mediocrity from his teammates. He would restore the Yankees to their prominence in the sports universe, the place they occupied when all seemed right in the world.

We would fall in love with his game and realize, watching him, that cool didn't have to count in baseball. Thurman Munson made it a virtue to be uncool, winning over the young and the hip with his decidedly unhip approach to his profession.

He wasn't Mickey Mantle--he wasn't born with those looks or that body, or that particular style that made "the Mick" a pinup boy for baby boomers. But he was Mantle's heir. Mickey retired in spring training of 1969. Munson made his debut later that season, giving the Yankees continuity in their ongoing parade of stars.

By 1970, my first year as assistant public relations director, New York had begun to latch on to his Ohio grit and guts. And since my career began along with his, he would become "my guy," the player I would grow up with in the Yankee organization, the one I'd write about and collaborate with.

I loved watching Thurman Munson play baseball. He just knew how to play the game, knew how to win the game, knew how to lead. He was grumpy but he had a great sense of humor and a magnificent sense of self. He was the kind of guy you wanted to be friends with.

As kids we had the same glove. His first glove was made by Hutch, as was mine. When I asked him whose model it was, the coincidence broadened--we both used the same model, a Billy Goodman infielder's glove. I remembered mine as a pancake that didn't really fold to trap the ball; he remembered his as a "good old mitt." Clearly, he made better use of his than I did of mine.

I was there when he made his first appearance at Yankee Stadium in August 1968, when the Yankees brought the Binghamton team to the stadium to play Waterbury, Connecticut. While some of his Binghamton Triplet teammates like Steve Kline and Frank Tepedino walked out to the monuments in center field for a look, Thurman was detained near the infield for some media interviews and photographs. He was clearly the guy everyone wanted to see.

At one point, he just decided to walk over to the Yankee clubhouse and say hello to Mickey Mantle. What the hell. The other guys could look at monuments to dead guys. Thurman would say hello to a future monument, still living.

Mantle, in the final weeks of his eighteen-year career, was seated on his stool by his corner locker, dressed in his baseball underwear, wrapping his legs in long Ace bandages, as was his custom.

"Mickey, I'm Thurman Munson," he said, his voice perhaps revealing that he was nervous but determined just the same. Since he was wearing his Binghamton uniform, he didn't think it was necessary to say who he was other than his name. Mick responded with a firm handshake and asked, "How ya doin'?"--hardly the stuff of highlight reels, but enough to make Munson's day.

Mantle had heard of him. Everyone in the organization had. He had been an elite high school athlete in three sports, and then went to Kent State, where he was the consensus All-American college catcher in his junior year. The Yankees felt fortunate that he was still available in the first round when they made him the overall fourth selection in the amateur draft. He was "_fast-tracked" by the scouting department for a ticket to the majors.

Michael Grossbardt, a Kramer-like character in the Seinfield vein, was the Yankee photographer. He was under orders from PR chief Bob Fishel to get some good "posed action" pictures of Thurman, which could be used as publicity stills. Grossbardt would go on to photograph most of Thurman's career, shooting thousands of pictures of him at bat and behind the plate, as well as baseball card photos for the Topps Company, family pictures for his personal use, and magazine covers.

I walked behind Fishel, his assistant Bill Guilfoile, and Michael, out to the area behind home plate for the photos. We took turns shaking his hand, and I was flattered that Bob took the trouble to introduce me. Munson had a chubby look, almost unathletic, and he wasn't much taller than I was, but he had those big forearms you always see on baseball players. His flannel hand-me-down Yankee uniform, converted to a Triplets uniform, was baggy and unflattering. The schedule called this a Waterbury home game, so he was in the drab gray road uniform. He seemed to know how to pose, and there was a confidence to him that I would seldom see among rookies, as it grew to be part of my job over the years to get them all photographed in spring training. Amazingly, you can always tell a rookie photo from a veteran photo by the poise or lack of poise on display. Thurman had some poise.

I had asked Bob if we were going to call him "Thurm" going forward in our press notices. Remembering that, he asked Munson if he went by any nicknames.

"None that you'd want to print," he laughed, a typical ballplayer answer. And indeed, he never really developed one that stuck with the public.

Howard Berk, our vice president for administration, had come down onto the field as well. "We really needed someone to capture the fans' imagination," he said later. "We were so hoping this would be the guy. And we liked him from the start. He was always very cooperative with me; always went on our Winter Warm-Up radio shows to help boost off-season ticket sales for us."

He did all that and more in the decade he played for the Yankees until his untimely death in 1979. By the time I wrote his autobiography in 1977, he had accomplished enough to fill up a plaque in Cooperstown. The book was a traditional baseball life story with little controversy, particularly given his place in the turmoil of the so-called Bronx Zoo. He offered an equally small amount of personal insight. "Does it have to get personal?" he asked, when I approached him with the idea.

What a strange question, I thought, from a man considering an autobiography.

The book sold a lot more copies after he died than before. I've received a lot of compliments on it over the years, particularly from Munson fans. His wife, Diana Munson, was especially admiring. "Thank you for writing it, thank God we have this," she said to me on the eve of his funeral in her home in Canton.

But as I have reread that book over the years, I've always felt that Thurman held back too much, skirting over personal matters, as was his right. The publisher was pleased with the final product, so I felt I had met my obligation to give them both the book they wanted. But I was never really satisfied with it.

I was also perplexed. Why were his comments so unenlightening? For example, there was the matter of his ancestry. I wrote he was of German stock. His sister told me later that the family was mostly English-Welsh, and only part German on both sides. Why didn't he correct me? Why didn't he care about getting his life right? Why did he have so little to say about his childhood?

Diana had asked me whether he brought up much about his childhood. She hadn't been in the room when we were doing the tapings. I told her I had brought up the subject but the conversation didn't go very far. I think she was just curious to know how much he had opened up.

Obviously, he hadn't. In the three decades since Thurman's death, I have wondered why a man who gave so much of himself on the field would withhold so much off of it. This book is an attempt to fill in the gaps that Thurman left in telling his own story to me in 1977-78. In the course of revisiting the details of his life and his death, of visiting his family and friends, I have thought back to the way he presented himself in the Yankee clubhouse in the last years of his career.

He had pretty much stopped talking to the media. Still, there were times when the glare of the Bronx Zoo fell squarely on his thickset body. Maybe it was something the Boss, George Steinbrenner, said. Maybe it was something Reggie Jackson said. Maybe it was something Billy Martin had done. Thurman was the captain, the go-to guy for the press, the steadying influence, the voice of reason. And so they had to ask him about it.

Munson would lower his gaze, refusing to make eye contact, walk through them all, and say, "I'm just happy to be here."

It was as though he were Mr. Magoo, walking blindly through the turmoil, oblivious to it all. Of course, Thurman wasn't oblivious at all. He was well aware that his home wasn't like the homes of his classmates and teammates. He didn't want his coach to drop him off at home and see it. He didn't want readers to see inside those walls. And he certainly wasn't going to reveal himself to the media. No, he would pretend everything was fine, and that life would go on--la de da--no matter what chaos surrounded him.

The story Munson didn't tell is how his childhood had in fact prepared him for the Bronx Zoo. I see him now walking through the tensions of the Munson home and saying, in his own way, "I'm just happy to be here."


Thurman Lee Munson was born on June 7, 1947, in Akron, Ohio, the tire and rubber capital of the United States.

He was the youngest of four children. Darla, the oldest, was born in 1941, and Janice came along eleven months later. Duane, the oldest son, was born fourteen months after Janice. After those three children in twenty-five months, there was a four-year gap between Duane and Thurman.

When Thurman was four, the Munsons moved as tenants to a farm in Randolph, a half hour east. When he was eight, they moved to the city of Canton, a half hour south. When Thurman was in second grade, the family moved to 2015 Frazer Avenue NW, between Nineteenth and Twenty-first streets. Canton, the state's eighth largest city, would always remain Thurman's hometown, even after fame and fortune would come his way. He was comfortable and well respected there, partly from his Yankee fame but also from his schoolboy fame, when he was one of the best athletes the town would ever see.

The Frazer Avenue home was a modest two-story home (plus an attic) with a gable roof and bevel siding, and a homey, brick-bordered front porch. There was a side entrance, and about thirty feet of front lawn along the modestly trafficked street. The houses on the block were set close to one another, and represented a comfortable standard of living for a working-class family.

"We moved around quite a bit," Duane Munson recalls. "Thurm was probably too young to remember much of those years, and sometimes they're pretty vague on me too. We were very active kids and got into our share of trouble, but nothing very serious. When Dad did find out that we were bad, he let us know it with his leather belt.

"We lived on Ido Avenue in Akron, and that would have been where Thurm was born. I vaguely remember my grandfather and my mother having polio or having had polio, but beyond that, Akron is a blur."

"When I finished my chores, I'd play ball mostly," said Thurman. "I loved to play and I'd come home at night where my collie, Fritzy, was waiting for me.

"I started playing as a kid and I was 'littler' than most. This may sound corny, but I remember seeing a lot of horses back in Ohio and baseball reminded me of a stallion just running free. There was a freedom to the game. No matter what your problems were and what you had on your mind, when you played baseball you forgot about it."

Excerpted from Munson by Marty Appel Copyright © 2009 by Marty Appel. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yanks Finish Sweep Of Tigers With 2-1 Victory

Everyone please with the start to the second half of the season please raise our hand. For those of you that can't see me, and that would be all of you, I'm jumping up and down doing my best Arnold Horshack impersonation. Ooh, ooh. Pick me Mister Kotter. I miss the Sweathogs. Focus JB, focus.

Joba surprised me today. I was more than worried about how he'd do. I was no nervous I left him out of my fantasy lineup because a poor outing would have killed me. Looks like I made the wrong decision. Joba was pretty impressive today. Al Leiter mentioned on the broadcast that this was one of Joba's best outings this season. I can't disagree with that. JC was on. He had me nervous there in the first inning. He walked the 2nd batter, gave up a single to the 3rd, escaped without giving up a run, but threw about 20 pitches. After the leadoff walk in the 2nd, I thought he was done for. But he nutted up and pitched one heck of a ball game. Like CC did the day before, Joba got the big outs when he needed them. Joba's outing was very similar to CC's. I would love to give Joba and CC a lot of credit but the Tigers offense came up empty whenever they had the chance. The Tigers were an abysmal 1-for-26 with RISP in these 3 games. The Yanks should feel a little lucky that they swept these guys considering they won all 3 games by a combined 4 runs. 1 or 2 more timely hits from the Tigers and the Yanks very easily could have lost 2 of 3. Better offenses won't let them off the hook so easily. Regardless, we Yankee fans should be extremely happy with the pitching over the last 3 days. Great job all the way around.

A-Rod blasted another longball today. That's his 5th in his last 6 games. I predicted yesterday that he'd won the HR title this year. If he keeps it up, it won't be a contest. Alex has now homered in 9 of his last 19 games. A-Rod has been on a tear since June 23rd, going 25-for 72 with 10 HR and 24 RBI in that 20 game span. The Yanks are 15-5 since Alex has turned it on. A-Rod seems to be fine. No worries here.

If you were to ask me to describe Mariano Rivera in a word, that word would be automatic. There are a plethora of words you could use but I think automatic sums it up nicely. He's converted his last 22 saves and hasn't allowed a run in his last 13 games, a 13.1 inning stretch. He did walk a guy today so I guess he's human after all. What more is there to say other than he's the greatest of all time. God bless ya Mo.

The Orioles are next up and Andy Pettitte makes the start tomorrow. As I was with Joba, I'm worried. Pettitte has been inconsistent lately. He's good. He's bad. He's good. He's bad. He's generally worse at home than on the road so on paper, we have reason to worry about how Andy will fare. The good news is that the Orioles aren't all that good. The Yanks may need to slug their way to a W tomorrow. Thanks to the Blue Jays, the Yankees are now 1 game behind Boston. The Sox are off to face the Rangers. It's a win-win series for the Yanks. The Rangers trail the Yanks by 5 for the wild card. If the Sox happen to win, it'll put some distance between us and them and that wouldn't be bad. Don't get me wrong though, I'm pulling for the Rangers all the way. The Yanks just need to focus on winning their games. Hopefully, Andy has it tomorrow. Fingers are crossed.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yanks Win A Squeaker Over The Tigers

Let me preface this post by saying I slept through most of the game. Well maybe not most, just the middle innings. 2 kids will do that to you. I saw enough though to know that CC wasn't at his best, yet he somehow found a way to battle through 7 scoreless innings. It seemed like CC was constantly flirting with disaster but always escaped unscathed with some key double plays, pop ups, and strikeouts. He got the outs when he needed to, and that's what good pitchers do.

CC allowed 9 baserunners and kept them all from scoring. You could make a case that the Tigers offense came up lame when it counted, but their offense is nothing to slouch at. OK, who am I kidding? The Tigers offense is a little below average. They should be doing better than they are, but they're not and CC took advantage. Not every team will let CC off the hook like the Tigers did. Those are the games you hope the offense picks up up. Thankfully they didn't need it today.

A-Rod now has 18 HRs on the season and he trails Carlos Pena by 6 HRs. It was Alex's 4th in his last 5 games. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if he ends up with the most HRs in the AL. I'm going to call it now. He will.

So the Yanks have won this series and look for the sweep tomorrow. It should be another interesting game. Edwin Jackson goes for the Tigers and he always seems to have the Yankees' number. Joba goes for the hometown Bombers and the question is which Joba will show up? JC has been having a rough go of things lately, managing only 13.1 IP in his last 3 starts, allowing 27 hits, 5 walks, and 16 runs, 10 of which were earned. Joba's stock is falling. He needs to bounce back. The good news is that the Yankees win the majority of Joba's starts. The Yanks are 11-6 in games Joba has started. It should be a good game. And it's Old Timer's Day to boot. All I can say about that is, Moooooooooooooooooooose!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, July 17, 2009

Yanks Open 2nd Half With A 5-3 Win Over Tigers

The comeback kids did it again. Tonight's come from behind win was a nice way to start the 2nd half of the season. I think I heard them say after the game that the Yanks have won the first game after the break 8 straight years now. Like Phil Hughes' outing tonight, impressive.

Phil Hughes looked really good tonight. I mean really good. He was very sharp. He hit 97 on the gun and threw 30 of his 40 pitches for strikes. That's an outstanding strike-to-ball ratio. What was most impressive was the fact that all 6 outs came via the strikeout. Phil has been the man since joining the bullpen. Tonight was Phil's 14th relief appearance of the season. He's allowed only 2 earned runs and those came in his 2nd outing. Here's Phil's line as a reliever: 20.1 IP, 10 hits, 2 ER, 5 BB, and 25 K. That's an ERA of 0.89. Woah. I'll say it again. Woah. Talk about lights out. Looks like he'll be Mo's setup man for the foreseeable future. Phil has definitely been pitching with a lot more confidence lately. When the time comes for Phil to go back to the rotation, and that time will come, I hope he brings that confidence with him. He's going to be the man.

A.J. Burnett on the other hand was not so sharp. A.J. finished the 1st half of the season on a very strong note. A.J. has pitched extremely well since 5/27. Prior to tonight, he was 6-2 in his last 8 starts. His line over those 8 games: 49.1 IP, 39 hits, 11 ER, 26 BB, 51 K. That's pitching to a tune of a 2.01 ERA. A.J. was OK tonight. He wasn't bad. He wasn't good. His control wasn't there. He walked 5, hit 1, and threw only 55% of his pitches for strikes. Not good. I'll give him credit for only giving up 3 runs. It could have been a lot worse but he battled his way thru his outing and kept it close. A.J. had a great second half last year, going 8-2 with a 2.86 ERA and he lost his 1st start after the 2008 break. I'm expecting a big 2nd half from Burnett.

5 guys tonight had multi-hit games. Good stuff. The big offense of the night came courtesy of Mark Teixeira. Teix went 3-for-5 and his 3-run dinger in the 7th was the big deathblow. Teixeira is another guy I'm expecting to have a big 2nd half. Teixeira has the rep from being a slow starter and getting better as the season moves along. He definitely got hot after the first month of the season and cooled a little. His 2nd half is off to a great start. His HR was his 2nd in his last 5 games. It looks like his stroke his returning and that 23 game homerless streak is a thing of the past. Keep it going Teix.

Mariano came in and did what he does best. Mo now hasn't given up a run in his last 11 games. He's been absolutely awesome over that stretch, giving up only 4 hits in 11.1 IP. 4 hits. That's it. No walks. No runs. 11 Ks. Mo is the greatest of all time. 'Nuff said.

Marquee matchup tomorrow afternoon as CC matches up against Justin Verlander. Should be a war. Go Yanks.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Baseball Is Back

My apologies for not posting over the last few days. I decided to take the full ASB off. A little down time to recharge my batteries was nice. The second half picks up tonight. The AL Central leading Tigers come to town. It would be nice to take this series and add a little distance between us and the Tigers. The Yanks won their first 8 games after the ASB last year. Let's hope they can make a similar run this year. Just avoid the post winning streak collapse.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quick Update

Sorry for not posting over the last few days. I was going to post something Sunday night but I did something I hadn't done since I was probably 10 years old. I went to bed at 8:30. I was out like a light to and slept right through until 6:45 the next morning. I was exhausted. The day got away from me yesterday. I'm going to try and fit something in today but it'll likely be tomorrow or Thursday. Not sure. I'll probably do a 1st half look-back and a 2nd half look-ahead. Something along those lines.

As for the first half finale against the Angels? That was a very winnable game, wasn't it? @ runners on with 1 out in the 6th. No runs. Bases loaded with 1 out in the 7th with Teixeira and A-Rod up. No runs. Bases loaded in the 8th with no outs. 1 run. To be fair there in the 8th, Swisher hit a rocket that the pitcher made an unbelievable grab on. That would have easily tied the game. A 1-run loss that could have been a 1-run win. Now they're 3 games back at the break. I'm happy with that. It's 2 games better than I thought they'd be considering the schedule over the last 2 weeks of the first half.

Catch you guys in a day or two.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yankees Pitching Implodes (Again) In 14-8 Loss To Angels

Today's game pretty much went the same as yesterday's. A great start and then all of the sudden, KABLAMO! So if you're interested in reading my thoughts on the game, scroll down to my last post and replace the names Joba Chamberlain, Mark Melancon, and Brian Bruney with Andy Pettitte, David Robertson, Brett Tomko, and Phil Coke. The guys sucked yesterday. The guys sucked today. Same story, just different names. I'd sprinkle in something about all the Yankee homers (5) today, but why bother? They were all for nothing.

Boston is up 6-0 in the 3rd. Consider the Yankees 2 games back.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yankees Pitching Implodes In 10-6 Loss To Angels

Because the game started late last night, I only made it to the 7th inning stretch before I fell asleep with the game on. The Yanks were down 7-6 and I remember thinking that they could easily come back and win the game, assuming the pitching held up. I woke up a few hours later and the replay was on. I rolled over to the laptop to check the score. 10-6 Angels. Ugh. I was half asleep but was still awake enough to skim the box score. The pitching did them in and it all started with Joba Chamberlain.

To be frank, Joba sucks right now. Simply put, he sucks and he's not getting the job done. He's been absolutely awful in his last 2 starts, throwing a total of 8 innings, allowing 18 hits and 13 runs, albeit only 7 of them were earned. Joba needs to pick the team up after a defensive miscue, not melt down. The downfall yesterday happened after A-Rod booted a ball in the 5th. A-Rod makes an error and the next batter goes yard. The next batter then doubles and Joba's night was over. In his last outing against the Jays, he gave up a double, a single, a homer, and a single after a fielding error. To his credit, he did get a guy out before that all happened. If Joba wants to keep his spot in the rotation, he needs to step up his game. I'm not really high on Joba right now. I was in Toys R Us today looking for the Lou Gehrig McFarlane figure that came out. They didn't have it. But they did have the new Joba figure. I picked it up and put it down. That says a lot because I pretty much have every Yankee McFarlane figure that's been released in the past several years. I really had no interest in buying it. I'm just not a Joba guy.

I'm also not a Mark Melancon guy either. I have yet to see in him what everyone else sees. I know it's really early in his career but I'm not, and haven't been, impressed with him. Maybe someday I'll see it. I hope so.

I'm becoming less and less of a Brian Bruney guy. Talk about a total 180. Earlier this season he was lights out. Now he's the new Jose Veras. His last 4 outings have been God-awful. 4 IP, 8 hits, 4 walks, and 5 earned runs. Congrats Bru. You're the new mop up guy. What the heck happened to you?

Andy Pettitte pitches today and I hope he fares better than the guys yesterday. Andy has pitched much better on the road this season. He's 4-1 with an ERA of 2.79 on the road. Opponents are hitting only .228 against him. If the "Pettitte Pattern" holds true, he'll win today. His last 8 starts have gone like this: win, loss, win, loss, win, no-decision but got shelled, win, loss. Notice the pattern? Hopefully it rings true today and he can break the pattern after the ASB.

Congrats to Jonathan Sanchez on the year's first no-no.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Team Effort Leads Yanks To 6-4 Win And Sweep Of Twins

I didn't get to see any of today's game because of work. Typically when it's a weekday afternoon game, I can follow along online with a gamecast. I wasn't so lucky today. I had to attend a 5 hour training from 12-5. Not fun. Not fun at all. While in the training, I found myself constantly thinking about the Yankees game and what I could be missing. We got to take a little break in the middle of it. As soon as the trainer announced the break I scurried to my desk so I could get an update. Yankees were up, Aceves was out, Robertson was in, and the bases were loaded with look-alikes. The break wasn't long so all I really got to see was Robertson walk in a run. Ugh. As soon as the training ended, I bolted for my PC. The game was over. The Yankees were 6-4 winners. Nice. Very nice.

Considering I didn't see, or follow, any of the action, I can't really say much about the game. I checked out the box score and for the most part, I'm pretty happy with the results. Here are some thoughts.

Teixeira went yard. That ends a very long drought, 23 games to be exact. I heard a little bit of the interview he did with Kim Jones on thr radio post game show. Teix commented that HRs often come in bunches and he's hoping some more follow. I hope he's right.

Alfredo Aceves only lasted 3.1 innings. I was hoping for a little bit more but I'm guessing that the Twins worked up his pitch count knowing that he was probably only in for 65 pitches. It would have been a smart game plan as the Twins probably thought they'd fare better against the Yankees' middle relief. Ace threw a high percentage (63%) of strikes and seeing that he only K'd 2 and walked one, I'm assuming the Twins took a lot of pitches, primarily what I would guess to be first pitch strikes. If someone saw the game, let me know. It's purely an educated guess.

Starting Aceves as opposed to a minor leaguer could come back to bite the Yankees in the ass. They had to use 5 RPs today. Coke, Hughes, and Mariano have each now pitched in back-to-back games. This wouldn't be a problem if tomorrow's SP was anyone other than Joba Chamberlain. Joba doesn't exactly have a reputation for pitching deep into games. In fact, it's the exact opposite. JC has made 16 starts this year. 3 of those starts have lasted more than 6 innings. He's failed to pitch at least 6 innings in 8 of his starts. Chances are that the Yankee bullpen is going to be needed tomorrow for at least 3 innings. You'd like to think that Girardi and his crew would have had the foresight to consider this a possibility. Personally, I wanted to see the Yanks call up someone with some decent arm strength to start today's game. I'm sure there was more to the decision that just picking Aceves. Who would they send down and did they have any options? Who in the minors was available to start? Maybe Ace was the only option. If he wasn't, I hope this doesn't come back to bite us. Good thing the ASB is 3 days away.

The Yankee bullpen, with the exception of David Robertson, was awesome. Robertson pitched an inning, walking 3. He only threw 11 pitches, out of 28, for strikes. That's ugly right there. But the pen as a whole was lights out. 5.3 IP, 2 H, 4 BB, 7 K, and no runs. The pen is the reason why the Yankees won this game. I'm loving Phil Hughes as the 8th inning guy. Don't be mistaken though, I prefer him as a SP. But what they've got him doing is working. I'm glad he's pitching at the big league level and not in AAA. It's a much better learning experience. I'd have to give him an A+!

I was a little surprised to see Brian Bruney's name absent from the box score. He last pitched on July 6th. I think it's very telling that he didn't see any action today. His stock has dropped significantly as of late and it's obvious he's fallen out of favor with Girardi. Bru should see some action tomorrow considering everyone else, except for Brett Tomko, pitched today. He better make the most of it, especially if it's in a big spot.

I was shocked to see 4/5 of the run production come from the 8 and 9 hitters. Cody Ransom finally did something. Good for you Code-man.

Who wants to venture a guess how long it takes Melky to get his average down to .250? Melky's average sits at .277 and it's dropping fast. It's dropped 14 points in his last 9 games. Over his last 9 games, Melk is 6-for-32 (.188) with 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, and 5 K. Not good. The silver lining is that he's not whiffing a lot. I didn't comb through the game logs to see what kind of outs he's making. My sometimes good, sometimes not so good memory, is telling me he's hitting a lot of weak grounders and pop ups. If Melky doesn't turn things around, I wouldn't be surprised if Cashman looks around for an OF on the trade market.

The Yanks are now off to Anaheim for a 3 game set and then it's the ASB. I said before this last stretch of games started that I'd be happy if the Yanks went into the break no more than 5 games out of first. They were 3 back at the time and had a much tougher stretch of games than the Red Sox. The Yanks have been playing great ball and are only .5 games back. In all likelihood, they'll be a full game back at the end of the day as the Sox are currently up on the Royals 5-3. The Yanks have now won 3 straight, 6 of 7, and 13 of their last 15. They've won their last 8 road games and their 25-18 road record is the best in the AL. Needless to say, they're playing great baseball.

Wow. For someone who didn't see the game I sure had a lot to say.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Burnett Pitches Yanks To 4-3 Win Over The Twins

I've got to keep this blog really short as I'm on a quick break and my normal blogging time, lunch, is being overtaken by a 5 hour meeting. Sadly, that means I'm going to miss all of today's game. I probably won't even get to follow it online either. Color me bummed.

All I've got time to say about yesterday is Burnett was good, not great. I'm not really sure how he pulled off only giving up 2 runs. He battled and got the job done. The most surprising stat to me is that he only whiffed 2 guys. I can see that being a reason for getting out of trouble but since he didn't K that many, his outing impresses me more.

Despite Phil Coke giving up a bomb to Mauer, you have to be impressed with the bullpen. Hughes was again awesome. Mo was Mo. The bullpen is no longer an area of major concern. The issues have seemed to work themselves out. It didn't hurt either that they dumped Jose Veras and Edwar Ramirez. Hughes has adapted very well to the setup role. His stock is definitely rising. Before my softball game last night (we lost 5-4), a bunch of us were talking about the Yankees and Roy Halladay. The consensus was that if the Yanks were to do something and it came down to dealing Joba or Phil, they'd prefer to see Joba go. Joba is definitely falling out of favor with many Yankee fans. That's not to say Joba's still not liked. He is. He's just not as well-liked as he once was. If you think I'm wrong, let me know.

Decent day offensively. 10 hits and 3-10 with RISP. Cano hit with RISP but his hit didn't drive in the run. But at least he picked up a hit. That's 2 in two games. Derek Jeter is absolutely murdering lefties: 36-for-81 (.444). His OBP is .521 and his SLG percentage is .654. That's kicking some ass.

Day game today. Alfredo Aceves makes his season debut as a SP. I think he's got about 65-75 pitches in him and that hopefully carries him through 5-6 innings. It could be an interesting game depending on how Girardi uses the pen. Sadly, I likely won't know until after the game is over. Enjoy it.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Yankees Rout Twins 10-2 & Thoughts On Roy Halladay

I didn't get to see last night's blowout victory over the Twins because the game was on My9. I did get to listen to most of it on the radio but was preoccupied with some other things, but I did hear all the good parts. I was very pleased with the outcome and loved what I heard. The offense hammered the Twins pitching. 10 runs on 16 hits and 7 walks is a pretty good day. I'd expect them to score more runs seeing that they went 7 for 17 with RISP and had 23 baserunners, but 10 runs is nothing to scoff at. Only 3 of the 16 hits went for extra bases. I hope the team takes a lesson away from that. You don't need to constantly swing for the fences and the 5-run homer to score runs and win games. Singles get the job done too. Every starter had at least 1 hit and every starter except for Damon and Jeter had at least 1 RBI. It was a total team effort. I was particularly impressed with the bottom of the order. Cano, Gardner and Cervelli combined to go 7-for-14 with 6 RBI and 5 runs scored. The trio also had the Yankees 3 extra-base hits. Not a bad day for those guys. Cano finally picked up a hit with RISP, so his 0-21 streak w/RISP has ended. Girardi wisely moved him back down in the order. CC Sabathia was again gold. I'm sure it helped pitching with a lead from the get-go. It was a great outing from the staff ace.

There's been a lot of chatter lately about Roy Halladay being traded. The Jays know that they're not contending anytime soon. Their rotation has been decimated by injuries. Their 8 games back and trailing 3 powerhouses. They're not catching up. Halladay's contract is up at the end of 2010 and there's no chance they resign him. Halladay obviously wants to win and that's not going to happen in Toronto. If I had to put money it, I'd say his departure from Toronto is all but imminent. He's being dealt. It's going to happen. The Jays would be foolish to not try and get something for Doc before he bolts.

The question is where will he go and what will it take to get him? I think the Yankees will be in the mix, largely because they have to be. You don't at least inquire about what it will take to get Halladay. They also need to make sure he doesn't go to Boston. There's a school of thought that the Jays won't trade Halladay within the division. I don't think that matters really. It'd be nice for the Jays not to have to do that but they should take the best that they can get. If that comes from the AL East, the Jays make the deal. I think we'll hear a lot of talk from Brian Cashman that the Yankees aren't in the mix. Cash has said all season that his goal is to lower the payroll. Trading for Halladay would surely increase it. Disregard anything you hear from Cash. He said the same thing about signing Mark Teixeira and look where he ended up. If it makes sense, Cash will do it.

Halladay to the Yankees would make them heavy favorites to win the East and move deep into the playoffs. Those extra home games means extra revenue. As the old adage goes, you have to spend money to make money. It's only a bust if the Yankees fail to make the playoffs or win in the playoffs. That could happen. We've seen it before. But you don't get the chance if you're not there. With Doc on the roster, the odds of October baseball in the Bronx is high. Really high.

So what would it take to get Halladay? If Halladay were to remain a Blue Jay thru 2010 and leave for another team, the Jays are going to end up with 2 first round draft picks. That's your jumping off point. Any team that deals for Halladay is going to have to pony up 2 highly valued prospects. The Yankees have some of those. The question is, will they part with any? If they want Halladay, they're going to have to. I think the Jays would ask for Austin Jackson and either Jesus Montero or Austin Romine. I think the Yanks can afford to part ways with one of the catching prospects, assuming of course their plan is to not turn one into a DH. If the plan is for them to remain catchers, they can afford to part with one. In addition to Romine and Montero, there's also Francisco Cervelli. 3 catchers for 2 positions. There won't be enough room at the inn.

In addition to the two prospects, it's going to take a young major league ready pitcher with ace potential. The Yanks have that in Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. I think one of them have to go if the Yanks were to pull a deal off. Personally, I'd prefer to see the Yankees keep Hughes over Joba. I've always said that when their careers are said and done, Hughes will have had the better career. I've never been a huge Joba guy. I like him. I think he's the skills. I'm worried about the mental makeup. His meteoric rise to stardom in NY has obviously gone to his head. I think he got way too big way too soon and he's not ready for it. The same thing that created him, Jobamania, could also kill him. Hughes seems much more grounded and he definitely has a better head on his shoulders. If one must go, I'd prefer to keep Hughes.

I'm sure in addition to that, the Jays will want one more major league ready talent, or possibly 2 B-level prospects. That's the wild card. I've read that the Jays want a SS. Would Ramiro Pena fit the bill? Maybe they'd want another pitching prospect, say Zach McCallister. There's not going to be a lot of opportunity to join the Yankees rotation in the coming years. The Yankees could be inclined to part with a young starter or two. Who they would trade would probably be dictated by the Jays.

So in my estimation, if the Yankees were to make a deal for Halladay, they'd be looking at dealing Austin Jackson, Romine/Montero, Hughes/Joba plus 1 or 2 other guys. If that's the deal, I'm not sure what I do. I think it's a lot to give up. I remember when the Yankees were in discussion for Johan Santana and I didn't want them to do it and they were rumored to be giving up less than that. I'm not sure what I think now. Joba is floundering. Hughes hasn't yet matured. Wang is injured and has been ineffective. CC and A.J. are in the fold. Maybe bringing in Doc makes sense. If Cashman can get creative and make something sensible happen, then I say go for it. I don't think though that what I came up with above is sensible.

Come July 31, when the smoke clears, I don't think Halladay will be wearing Pinstripes. I also don't think he'll end up in Beantown. I'd be happy with that outcome. I think in the end the price will be too rich for the Yankees' blood. I know the Phillies are jonesing for a starter and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up there.

Imagine a rotation headlined by Sabathia, Burnett, and Halladay. I get giddy at the thought.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,