Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Show Me How Smart You Are And Win A Prize

  1. How many total runs will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in their 2 game series?
  2. How many total hits will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in their 2 game series?
  3. How many total strikeouts will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in their 2 game series?
  4. How many total home runs will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in their 2 game series?
  5. How many total walks will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in their 2 game series?
  6. How many autographs do I have in my collection?
  7. What will be the total # of points scored in Monday night's (April 6) NCAA men's national championship game?

Send me an e-mail (click the link or use the address in upper left under "contact me") with the answers to the above questions and you can win a copy of the Essential Games of Yankee Stadium DVD box set. Questions 1-5 are part of the contest. Questions 6 and 7 will be used as tie-breakers. If you correctly guess the correct total for any of the questions (1-5), or are closest to it without going over, you could win. Deadline to enter is 7:05pm EST this Friday April 3rd. Each question (1-5) will have a winner. One entry per person and you can only win once.

That's it in a nutshell but you can click here for more details or e-mail me with questions. Good luck!


Get Your Prediction On

I haven't yet posted my predictions for the upcoming year (it's on my to do list), but the guys over at The Voice of Yankees Universe have made their predictions for 2009. They run the gauntlet, predicting everything from division winners to major award winners, as well as some other interesting ones, such as who'll hit the 1st HR in Yankee Stadium, things like that. Everyone is invited to join and post their predictions in their comment sections. It's always fun to look back and see how the predictions went once everything is said and done. Make sure to check it out and make sure to check back here sometime before the opener for mine. If you want to drop any predictions on the blogosphere, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


The Boogie Down Book Club: The Yankee Years

I've been busting my hump over the last few days trying to "clean house" before the regular season starts. One of the things I need to is finish some books and post some reviews. I finally finished Joe Torre's The Yankee Years. I've been reviewing this as I've made my way through the book and if you're interesting in reading those, you can click here.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I like reading about seasons past and getting a behind-the-scenes look at what went on. The book pretty much ran through every season of Torre's career as skipper of the Yankees. For the most part, each chapter was pretty much broken down into one of the seasons. There were some exceptions to that but by and large, it ran chronologically from start to finish.

I think the book itself was a little over-hyped. There was a lot of buzz about the book prior to its release and I don't think it lived up to the hype. Sure there were parts of the book where the curtain was pulled back maybe a little too far, but for the most part, it was pretty tame. The hype was an excellent marketing ploy. It definitely worked. It peaked my interest in the book. They were also smart to make it look like Joe Torre wrote the book. He was more of a contributor. there were some stretches where it had nothing to do with Torre. It seems like all Verducci did was interview Torre and then incorporated his quotes/stories into the book. Torre's named belong more in the Acknowledgement section than on the front cover.

My favorite story by far was the story about Roger Clemens's pre-game ritual of having Yankee trainer Steve Donahue rub down his testicles with the hottest possible liniment. That was a mental image I didn't need. I mentioned it in one of my previous reviews, and I'll say it again, I don't care who you are or how much I'm getting paid, the last thing I'm doing is rubbing something on another man's junk.

It was also interesting to read how the rest of the league pretty much leapfrogged the Yankees when it came to how to build a team. The Yankees were definitely behind the curve when it came to changing their thought process.

Overall, it was a great read. Any Yankee fan will enjoy the book. If you didn't, I'd love to know why.

I've got a few more books I'm reading that I'm wrapping up and should have reviewed by Opening Day. I've got about 100 pages left of John Feinstein's Living on the Black. That was a book about Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine and their respective 2007 seasons. I also picked up a book called New York Yankees and the Meaning of Life by Derek Gentile. One of the books is good, the other is just so-so. Check back and you'll find out which is which.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, March 30, 2009

Win Some Yankee DVDs

Not sure how many of you remember the contest I ran last September where I gave away 5 copies of the Essential Games Of Yankee Stadium DVD box set. Well with the new season upon us, I'm going to give away another 5, with the help of the good people at A&E. For those not familiar with these box sets, it's 6 classic Yankee games on DVD. If you'd like more details on the DVDs, click here.

I'm going to do this contest in the same manner I did the last one. I'm going to throw out 5 questions and the person who gets an answer correct will win the DVDs. There will be one winner per question. The person who is closest to the correct answer without going over will win. Ties will be broken with a "bonus" question. Each question will have 1 winner. You can only win once so if you win for the 1st question, you can't win for the others. Any questions, please let me know in your e-mail.

I am going to tie-in the 5 questions into this weekend's exhibition series against the Cubs. Here are the 5 questions:

  1. How many total runs will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in the 2 game series?
  2. How many total hits will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in the 2 game series?
  3. How many total strikeouts will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in the 2 game series?
  4. How many total home runs will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in the 2 game series?
  5. How many total walks will the Yankees and Cubs combine for in the 2 game series?

In the event of a tie, the tie-breaker question will be:

How many autographs do I have in my collection?

In the event of a 2nd tie, a 2nd tie-breaker question will be:

What will be the total number of points scored in Monday's (April 6th) NCAA Men's National Championship basketball game?

In the event of another tie, I'll do a random drawing from those who are still tied.

Please remember the winners will be those that are closest to the answer without going over. Here's what I need you to do if you want to enter:

  • E-mail your guess to me at the e-mail address listed in the upper left under "contact me"
    1 guess per person
  • There is no need to leave the guess in the comments--this will negate the "price is right" strategy
  • The deadline to submit a guess is Friday at 7:05 pm EST, which is when the Yankees/Cubs game starts . So get your guesses in before then and you're good.

The answers to the question will be in the form of a number. The person that guesses the correct answer for the question, or comes closest to the correct answer without going over will win. Any ties will be broken by the tie-breaker questions. I am going to post each person's guesses shortly after the first pitch of the Friday game is thrown. You can only win once, so if you win the DVD for the one of the questions, you can't win the other if you happen to win that one also.

Thanks and good luck!


Catching Up From The Weekend

Greetings everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. Please forgive my absence. My home PC got sacked with a nasty virus on Thursday night and it took me all weekend to fix it and deem it healthy. I was trying to find a "crack" or a "serial key" for a program and must have clicked on something I shouldn't have because the next thing I know my web searches were being redirected and I couldn't get any of my virus/security programs to load. The system was freezing and wouldn't reboot properly. But I think it's good to go now. Enough about me, let's talk Yankees:

  • Joe Girardi named Brett Gardner the Opening Day starting CF. That decision ended up being a no-brainer. Gardner definitely earned the spot. He had a great spring and deserves the nod. I will give Melky some credit though. He had a much better spring than I would have imagined. Melky's spring average is now up over 300 and his OBP is about 400. I didn't see that coming. I still think Melky should be traded but I doubt it's going to happen.
  • CC Sabathia is getting the ball on Opening Day. He's also going to start the home opener. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. CC was brought here to be the #1. He's definitely the best SP on the roster and the more starts he gets the better.
  • Girardi has also decided to flip-flop Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon in the lineup, batting the Captain in the leadoff position. I can get down with that. Jeter hits into a lot of DPs and that number is going nowhere but down if he's batting leadoff. I also like having a lefty in the 2 hole. Having a lefty batting 2nd should cut down on DPs and should also move the runners over more. A grounder to the left side usually freezes the runner on 2nd. If Damon grounds to the right side, like he should, that runner on 2nd will get to move over to 3rd. It's a wise move by the Yankee skipper. Even though both Damon and Jeter are moving out of their ideal lineup spots, it should work well. Very well.
  • We're now a week away from Opening Day and I'm getting very excited. It's been a long spring and regular season baseball can't get here soon enough. I'm tired of not getting to watch these guys play. Not enough games are on TV and the radio doesn't really do it for me in the spring.
  • I'm not sure how everyone fared in their NCAA March Madness pools, but I totally flamed out over the weekend. I was cruising and well on my way to cutting down the nets, but in typical J-Boogie fashion, I couldn't "Mariano" it. I had a final four of Louisville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma. None of them won. At least I did better than last year. I finished 2nd to last. Ugh. I have the worst luck.

Make sure you check back later today. I'm going to be giving away another 5 copies of the Essential Games Of Yankee Stadium DVD box set. I'm going to tie it in with the 2 exhibition games this weekend against the Cubs. The contest details will be up later today. For those not familiar with the box set, it's 6 classic games on DVD:

  • 1976 ALCS GAME 5 VS. KANSAS CITY ROYALS: Chris Chambliss' walk-off home run sends the Yankees to their first World Series since 1964.
  • 1977 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 VS. LOS ANGELES DODGERS: Reggie Jackson's historic three-home-run-game propels the Bronx Bombers to another World Series Championship.
  • 1995 ALDS GAME 2 VS. SEATTLE MARINERS: This 15-inning drama ended with Jim Leyritz's walk-off home run and featured home runs from Don Mattingly, Paul O'Neill, and Ruben Sierra. With 3 &1/3 innings in relief by a young Mariano Rivera who notched the win.
  • 1996 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 VS. ATLANTA BRAVES: After New York lost the first two games of the 1996 World Series, they won the next four and finished with a Game 6-celebration that shook Yankee Stadium with delight.
  • 2001 WORLD SERIES GAME 4 VS. ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: History unfolded when Tino Martinez hit a 2-out, bottom of the 9th, two-run homer to tie the game. Then in the 10th, "Mr. November" Derek Jeter's game-winning home run ended another remarkable victory.
  • 2003 ALCS GAME 7 VS. BOSTON RED SOX: With a World Series appearance at stake, aces on the mound, and white knuckles everywhere, Aaron Boone stroked the game-winning home run to seal the Yankees' 11-inning victory.

I'll also be giving away some copies of the New York Yankees Perfect Games & No-Hitters DVD box set in the future. So check back for that as well.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Melky On The Block?

I mentioned in my last post that if I were Brian Cashman I'd consider dealing Melky Cabrera. According to Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports, the Yankees are looking into it, telling teams they're open to the idea. They better be open to the idea. It doesn't make any sense not to be open to it. Gardner is the obvious choice for the starting CF job. Nick Swisher is the 4th OF, leaving Melky at the bottom of the totem pole. Melky is out of options so sending him to Scranton isn't an option. If he's not going to play and you can't send him down you might as well ship him out.

Rosenthal writes that, "The Yankees have talked about trading either Nady or Swisher, but potential suitors might be more willing to part with young talent for Cabrera, who is 24 and four years away from free agency." Rosenthal makes a valid point. The Yankees have been exploring deals for Swisher and Nady all spring and nothing has materialized. We haven't even heard any rumored deals. This probably makes Melky even more attractive to teams. Rosenthal name drops the White Sox as being a club that should have interest, writing, "Jerry Owens, Brian Anderson and DeWayne Wise have been competing for the White Sox's centerfield job. Cabrera almost certainly would hold greater appeal."

Melky is having a good spring, hitting .295 with an OPS of .801. I'd like to think they'd move on this pretty quickly. Opening Day is right around the corner and Melky's stock is higher than it used to be. Might as well strike while the iron is hot, or at least warm. I think the longer they wait, the lower his value will go. I can see them getting lowballed and accepting something below market value if there isn't any other choice but to DFA him or leave him on the roster.

Trade him I say.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yanks Beat Sox, Gardner Beats Melky, And The Opening Day Lineup Takes Shape

I was really looking forward to watching last night's Yankees/Sox game but life had something else in store for me. My wife and I are trying to consolidate space in our house since we have a new bundle of joy coming in about a month so I bought a laptop at the local Best Buy. I caught bits and pieces of the first few innings on the radio as I drove back and forth from the store. Secondly, our son is sick with a nasty cold so taking care of him took me away from the game at times, but I caught most of it and saw what I wanted to see.

A.J. Burnett looked pretty good. His velocity was great. He was still maintaining it late into the game which shows me his arm strength is there. His control wasn't perfect, but very rarely is it. He pitched extremely well and I think he's going to do great things this year. Now granted, he was facing a lineup primarily made up of minor leaguers. A.J. should be able to shut them down. Perhaps his outing would have been a little worse had it been the Opening Day Sox lineup, but I think his stuff was there, so it wouldn't have been much worse.

Mariano Rivera again looked great. It was his 4th outing of the spring and it was his 4th scoreless inning. He threw more pitches than he has previously, and I wonder if that had more to do with him wanting to get his work in during a game and not a bullpen session. Mo has always had great control. He threw more balls than normal yesterday and again I think that had more to do with him missing on purpose than anything else. He wasn't exactly missing his spots. It definitely doesn't look like Mo is being bothered at all by his shoulder surgery. He looks 100% and I wouldn't be surprised if he has a better year than he did last year.

The lineup yesterday is most likely going to be the Opening Day lineup. If I were Girardi, it's the lineup I'd put on the field. Maybe not in that exact order, but that's the 9 I'd roll with. The only change I might make is swapping Nady (hit 7th yesterday) and Cano (hit 6th yesterday). It would break up having 2 righties back to back in the order (Nady batting 7th, Ransom batting 8th) and the lineup would then go: Damon (lefty), Jeter (righty), Teixeira (switch), Matsui (lefty), Posada (switch), Nady (righty), Cano (lefty), Ransom (righty), Gardner (lefty). Except for having 2 lefties hitting back-to-back in Gardner and Damon, it flip-flops between lefties and righties pretty well. That would definitely be an advantage late in the game when the opposing team's manager has to bring in his RPs. It works for me. Anybody else have suggestions about the lineup?

The offense didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball yesterday. That's a small concern. It would be larger if the pitcher was anyone other than Tim Wakefield. Wake has always given the team fits and the knuckleball isn't exactly the easiest pitch to hit. Gardner's triple off him in the 6th lead to the only run they scored off him. Gardner is continuing to have a monster spring. His .409 average (in 44 ABs) is the highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 13 ABs. His .750 slugging percentage is the highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 9 ABs. His .439 on base percentage is highest on the team, excluding anyone with less than 26 ABs. John Rodriguez has a .480 OBP in 20 ABs and Eduardo Nunez has an OBP of .484 in 26 ABs. The starting CF job is really between Gardner and Melky Cabrera. Melky isn't exactly having a bad spring. He's hitting .295 with an OBP of .392 and a slugging percentage of .409 in 44 ABs. Editor's note: These stats are taken from MLB.com and I don't think they include yesterday's game. But Gardner has definitely earned the job in my opinion. From what I've seen this spring, he's my guy for the starting CF. The only problem with that is that Melky is out of options. So he either makes the team or he's likely gone. Melky is nothing more, and won't ever be anything more than a 4th or 5th OF for the Yankees. I don't see him bouncing back and having a respectable year. If I'm Cashman, I look to deal him. There's got to be somebody out there who'll take him, right?

The Yankees are off today so there probably won't be much to discuss today. Who knows? Maybe a story will break today that A-Rod is the father of some illegitimate kids or something. If he's as big of a horn dog as I think he is, I wouldn't be surprised if a paternity suit is in his future. Nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to Alex. You know how some companies will have a sign that says something like, "This workplace has been accident free in XX days." I think the Yankees' clubhouse needs something like that. "There have been no scandalous A-Rod stories in XX days." I wonder if that would ever reach triple digits?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

13 Days And Counting Until The Opener

Spring training can't end soon enough. As much as I love it, I also hate it. The majority of the games aren't on TV or the radio. And the ones that are, are typically played during the day and I usually miss them, usually because I forget to check. I don't like blogging about the box scores so missing games kind of puts a crimp in my blogging duties. But whatever, it is what it is. In just under 2 weeks, the regular season begins and that problem goes away. At least I'll get to see tonight's Yankees/Sox game. It's on YES. A.J. Burnett gets the start. Jeter makes his return from the WBC. I know what I'll be watching tonight.

Here are some other random thoughts:

  • Phil Hughes, despite pitching pretty well this spring (12.1 IP, 5 H, 7 BB, 8 K, 2.19 ERA), was assigned to the minor league camp. I'm not surprised by that. It doesn't make any sense to keep him as a long man. He also wasn't going to crack the top 5. He needs to get his innings in as a starter and the only place he can do that for now is in Scranton. So Phil, I'll see you in Buffalo on April 13-16.
  • Kei Igawa, despite being almost perfect all spring (12.1 IP, 10 H, 8 BB, 13 K, 0.73 ERA), was sent to the minors. Igawa could have pitched a flawless spring and i still don't think he would have made the roster. Perhaps this increases his value a little bit but I don't see him ever pitching for the Yanks except in an absolute emergency. I kind of hope Cashman looks into dealing him. Igawa would do well out in the NL West. Not sure who is available out there but get rid of him while his stock is high. Correction, while his stock is higher. It was pretty low and I don't want to imply that Igawa's stock is high because it's not. It's still low, but it's better than it was. I wonder if they could deal Igawa and Melky anywhere?
  • Joe Girardi has apparently said that Xavier Nady would be the starting RF if the season started today. To be honest, I'm not that high on Nady. I like him, but I think he played above his potential last year and he ended up doing so-so with he was with the Yankees. The problem is, Nick Swisher is the only other option, and he is just as undesirable. Sure he gets on base, but his average was in the toilet last year and he whiffs more than I care for. Neither is having a terribly impressive spring, but Nady is the obvious choice of the two.
  • A-Rod apparently likes to spend time (and money) supporting the "world's oldest profession." WTF Alex? I don't even know what to say. I'm not surprised though. We've learned over the years that Alex likes to place his bat in many different bat racks. I vaguely remember hearing a story years ago that alleged that Alex and his wife Cynthia were swingers. I've always said that perhaps A-Rod and Cynthia had "an agreement" where he could do whatever (or whoever) he wanted to as long as it didn't become public. I actually wouldn't be surprised if a lot of ball players have that kind of agreement with their wives. I get that it's tough to be away from home for so long and needing that, well, you know. Who knows is A-Rod had the freedom to do that? That's only something that I'm sure he and Cynthia know. I can see that being a reason why Alex would go down this road. You'd think that paying for it would be one name to keep the indiscretion a secret since it's an illegal activity. Regardless, what the heck is he thinking? He's pretty much the biggest name in baseball and he keeps making one bad decision after another. It wouldn't surprise me if one day we learned that he killed somebody. Actually, it would, but I'm sure you see my point. Every time something comes out about A-Rod, it gets worse and worse. He needs to get his act together. He's ours for another 9 years.
  • Congrats to Japan on winning their 2nd straight WBC.
  • Curt Schilling, everyone's favorite blow-hard, is hanging up his spikes. Like him or not, you can't argue that he had a great career. I haven't really looked into whether or not he's a HOFer. My initial reaction is that he falls just short, and I mean just short. That opinion could change of course and it probably will as it's that close. It's like 50.1% of me says he's not and 49.9% of me says he is. I think he was one of the best pitchers in the past 20 years. I also think that of Mike Mussina, and by a lot of accounts, he just misses also. I'm pretty sure when it's all said and done, both will be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bernie Williams: Guitar Hero

I got a chance to listen to an advanced copy of Bernie Williams' new album, Moving Forward. My review in 2 words: LOVE IT! It's a great album from top to bottom. It's the perfect album to listen to when you just want to chill and relax. It's also the perfect album to just have playing in the background as you go through the day. As I sat and listened to it, I couldn't help to play along with some air-guitaring. I just laid on the couch, closed my eyes, moved my head back and forth with a smile on my face, playing along. It's addictive. It really is. If they ever game out with any of Bernie's songs on Guitar Hero or Rock Band, I'd be all over it.

For my money when it comes to music, there is no sweeter sound than a well played acoustic guitar. Bernie is extremely talented when it comes to playing his ax. He's also quite the talented song-writer. My most favorite songs were the following:

  • Moving Forward - This is the 1st song on the album and sets things off perfectly.
  • He Reigns
  • Go For It - If you want to spend 7 minutes in heaven, listen to this song.
  • Chillin In The West
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game - Bernie puts a nice spin on the old classic. It's beautifully arranged and any baseball fan is sure to love it.
  • Glory Days (Live w/Patti Scialfa & Bruce Springsteen) - This was recorded at Joe Torre's 2007 Safe at Home dinner. Bernie gets a solo about halfway through and shows his skills.

There is a quote from James Taylor in the album jacket that reads, "Bernie is one in a million (at least). A champion athlete and a gifted musician. What are the odds?" I couldn't have said it any better myself. He was a champion on the field. He'll be a champion on the stage.

If you're a fan of Bernie Williams, or a fan of music in general, do yourself a favor and pick up his CD when it comes out on April 14th. If you're lucky enough to live in the NYC area, you can join Bernie at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square on April 18th to celebrate the album's release. That promises to be a great night. If only I lived close by.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, March 20, 2009

Bernie Has A Brand New Record

For those of you that don't know, Bernie Williams has a new album coming out. The album is called Moving Forward. It's his sophomore album and is schedule to be released on April 14th. The album features performances by Dave Koz, Jon Secada, and a very special live performance with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa. According to the press release, the album "embraces those early influences (salsa, merengue and 80's rock), while also reflecting a unique mixture of classical and jazz guitar topped-off with additional Latin rhythms." Good stuff if you ask me.

I am being sent a copy of the CD to review and will hopefully be posting that review sometime this weekend, assuming of course it comes in today's mail. But for now, here's a song to whet your appetite. The song is Bernie's cover of Take Me Out to the Ballgame and you can listen to it by clicking here.

Make sure to check back this weekend for my review. If it's anything like his first album, The Journey Within, it won't disappoint. If you haven't listened to it, do so now.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Burnett Pitches A Snoozer

I was looking forward to watching last night's Yankee game. It was going to be my first live look at A.J. Burnett. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. I made it through about 3 hitters before I zonked out on the couch. I think I'm still recovering from a lack of sleep when I was up in Toronto for the WBC. What I do remember seeing was a guy with great velocity (fastball around 94-95) but very little control. I checked out the box score this morning and saw that he only lasted 3.1 innings, giving up 3 hits and 3 walks. That tells me he threw a lot of pitches and a lot of them were off the plate. Not an ideal start but if he can keep those runners from crossing the plate, it works for me. I was surprised to find he didn't allow the leadoff triple to score. He must have grinded his way through that game seeing as he only allowed 1 run. I still think A.J. will be great for the Yanks. He just needs to stay healthy, but then again, who doesn't?

I was also looking forward to seeing Mo pitch another inning. I guess i didn't miss much. 3 outs on 5 pitches. Nicely done Mariano. That's 2 scoreless/hitless innings for Mo this spring. 2 innings, 16 pitches, 11 strikes. Talk about vintage Mariano. So far, so good. The shoulder seems to be holding up.

Angel Berroa is looking really good this spring. When I predicted the Opening Day roster a few weeks ago, he was the last guy I picked. Angel is hitting .415 with an OPS of 1.112. He leads the time in hits, doubles, RBI, and total bases. Granted some of that is because he also has more at-bats than everyone (but Cody Ransom), but even still, damn, dude is tearing it up. Maybe he does make the squad? I can see it happening, especially if he finishes the spring strong.

Finally, Bob over at The Voice of Yankees Universe, sent me an e-mail about a new weekly feature called Bald Vinny's Roll Call. For those of you that don't know who Bald Vinny is, he is the unofficial leader of the Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures. Some of you may recognize him from season one of the YES Network's Ultimate Road Trip. Some of you may have seen him standing outside the Stadium (across the street of course) hawking t-shirts. I also think his mug is affixed to some ads over the urinals in Yankee Stadium bathrooms. I vaguely remember seeing that last time I was there. If none of those ring a bell, he's the voice you hear kicking off the roll call at the start of every Yankee game. Every week they'll be checking in with Vinny to get his thoughts. I checked out the first one this morning (prior to receiving Bob's e-mail) and it was a good read. I suggest everyone check it out. While you're at their site, you might also want to check out the contest their doing where you can win a copy of the book Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. That should be a good book. Who doesn't love Yogi Berra?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 19, 2009

NCAA Tourney Predictions

Forgot to post these:

Final Four: Louisville vs. Memphis, Pittsburgh vs. Oklahoma
Championship game: Louisville vs. Pittsburgh
Champion: Louisville

Feel free to share yours.


Cashman Speaks to XM Radio

Brian Cashman just wrapped up an interview on one of Sirius XM's MLB morning shows. Here are some highlights of the interview, with my comments bolded and italicized:

  • He thinks camp is proceeding nicely. I agree.
  • He's extremely pleased to see the SPs improving start to start. I agree.
  • He thinks Phil Hughes is having a great spring and when asked if he was pleased with his performance, he said, "absolutely." He's noticed that his breaking ball is "much stronger and sharper." The goal is to have Phil improve/develop his changeup. He thinks he'll be a very productive SP for the Yanks assuming he stays healthy. He's not in consideration for the long man role and will start in AAA unless somebody gets hurt. I am a big Hughes guy and it's nice to know that Cash has a lot of faith in him. It doesn't sound like Phil's going anywhere anytime soon.
  • His hopes are high for Mariano having another Mariano-type year. He knows that at his age (39) that any year could be the year where there's a decline. It wasn't a knock on Mo but more of a comment about skills declining with age. As much as we don't want to admit it, mo won't be Mo forever. A time is going to come when he gets less and less effective. Hopefully that time is a ways off and he leave s the game 2 years too early rather than 2 years too late.
  • He's pleased with all of the rehabs. He said those guys coming back healthy are very important to the Yankees. He said there wouldd be no way to ever replace Mariano or Jorge. They could only hope to "cushion the blow" as best they can. Knock on wood that these guys stay healthy. Mo at the back of the bullpen and Jorge in the lineup are two key factors to their success. As we saw last year, losing Jorge was a huge blow to the offense. Let's hope it doesn't happen again.
  • There was a light-hearted moment when the XM crew said they were in Lakeland last week for the Yanks/Tigers game and the PR team wouldn't let them get 5 minutes with Cody Ransom. Cash said "maybe Cody was busy with his Details magazine interview." That got a chuckle from all. It got a chuckle from me too.
  • The Yankees are going with Cody at 3rd unless something comes up that's cheap and doesn't hurt the club. I applaud that line of thinking. The Yankees should be able to make due with Cody Ransom. He may not be the ideal choice but he's already accounted for on the books. Anything else would end up costing the team. So unless it's cheap, I stand pat and roll with Ransom.
  • He thinks "the WBC is a fantastic idea" but thinks it needs to be moved to a better time. His preference would be to have it all at the All-star break. He said "the players involved need to follow the training regimen put forth by the clubs to make sure they're ready to go from zero to sixty when it starts." It sounded like his point was that it's on the players to make sure they're ready. I love the WBC. I don't think it would hurt to have it at the ASB. It would be once every 4 years. It's a more optimal time than during spring training.
  • The interview concluded with Seth Everett saying it was "refreshing not to have to talk about Torre's book or A-Rod and steroids." Cash agreed and ended his interview by saying, "it's been a long spring training and he just can't wait to get to the new stadium." Amen to that.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CC Shines, Mo Returns, And Team USA Wins A Thriller

I spent last night flipping back and forth between the Yankees game against the Pirates and Team USA's game against Puerto Rico. I focused more on the Yankee game for their first 5 innings, figuring that would get me through CC's outing, as well as Mariano's. After they left the game, I pretty much didn't care and I flipped it to the WBC game.

Last night's Yankee game was the first time all spring I'd gotten to see CC Sabathia pitch. I was really impressed with what I saw. His velocity was good. If I remember it correctly, he had his heater consistently hitting 94 on the gun. He was on with his location also. He issued only 1 walk while whiffing 7 guys. I thought that was impressive. Granted he was facing the Pirates, but impressive nonetheless. I'm hoping this is a sign of things to come. I'll take that outing any day of the week.

Enter Sandman. Mariano made his spring debut last night and was lights out. Mo looked real good. Great velocity, great location. He threw 11 pitches, 8 for strikes. 3 up 3 down. 2 Ks. He looked real good. Pete Abe has an update today on how Mo's shoulder felt today and all sounds good. Mo will be ready for Opening Day and I'm predicting he'll have another great year.

I'm not sure how many of you out there watched the ending of last night's USA/Puerto Rico game but it was another classic. I decided before the game that I was going to root root root for the home team. I asked yesterday for some advice. I was torn because I have a ball signed by the entire team less Brian Roberts. Had they lost, I would have only needed to run down his signature. With the victory, I may have to run down another 3 guys to fully complete the ball. In the end, that's not that big of a deal. Granted it would be nice had there been no injuries, but what happens happens. I'll gladly try to run those guys down. Hope the wife won't mind.

I found myself on the edge of my seat during the end of the game. I was pretty pumped when Wright knocked in the game winner. It was an exciting game and you could tell by their on-the-field post game celebration, that these guys are into it. You can definitely see it means something to them. I know a lot of people out there don't like the WBC but I love it. Don't get me wrong, I think it's flawed, but it's great for baseball. I don't know how people can't get into it. I'm curious to know what you guys think about the WBC. Love it? Hate it? Why?

If anyone wants to read a great story about Team USA, I suggest you click here. It's a column from Jeff Passan at Yahoo. Team USA had a special visitor in their clubhouse after last night's game. It's a great read. Check it out.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Need Of Some Advice

Hey everyone. I have a dilemma and I don't know what to do about it. Here's my problem: I don't know if i want to root for Team USA to win tonight and move on to the semifinals of the WBC. I obviously want them to win, but I have some selfish reasons not too.

If you've been keeping on the blog, you know I came back from Toronto with a baseball signed by the entire Team USA squad. Dustin Pedroia was replaced on the roster by Brian Roberts due to an injury, so now my ball is technically incomplete. If they make it to the semis, they'll probably replace Chipper Jones with Evan Longoria, and Matt Lindstrom with a reliever. Ryan Braun could also get replaced though it's doubtful. Barring any other injuries, worse case scenario is I'd need to get 4 more guys to sign the ball to have the whole team. If they lose, I can live with Roberts being the only guy I need. I could pull off a trip to Toronto at some point to try and get him. It gets a little tougher when more teams are involved, especially if it's a National League club. Not to mention, there isn't exactly a lot of open real estate on the ball as it is. Am I making sense?

So here's what I'm faced with: Root for them to lose and have 1 guy missing on the ball or root for them to win and have to get what's looking like 3-4 guys on the ball. It will bother me if I never fully complete the ball. I'd love it if they won it all and I had a ball signed by the entire team, but getting 4 guys on it is going to be tough. Really really tough.

What would you be pulling for if you were me? Would you even bother with the replacements? Would it bother you if you didn't have them all on the ball? Thanks and I appreciate the insight.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, March 16, 2009

The Week That Was In The Yankees Universe

I spent a good portion of my vacation last week in Toronto for the WBC. I didn't get much of a chance to follow the Yankees at all. I did my best but Toronto isn't exactly a haven for Yankee news. I picked up some info on XM Radio, but the radio is so old that the battery dies pretty quickly. I spent the last few days catching up on the week that just went by. I had all of last week off from work and I spent what free time I had with the fam so I'm just not getting to it. I'm a little under the gun for time tonight but I wanted to get this out. So here are a few quickies about last week's happenings:

  • As I was driving to Toronto on Saturday the news broke about A-Rod's surgery. As they explained it, the Yankees and A-Rod are taking a "hybrid" approach of surgery and rehab. This approach should get Alex back in the lineup in about 9 weeks, which will put him back on the field sometime around in mid-May, about 40 games into the season, give or take. So Alex is gone for a quarter of the season. It could have been much worse. I think Cody Ransom is the way to go. The Yanks should be able to get by with Cody. The only way I'd go after a 3rd baseman via trade is if they can deal Melky Cabrera, which brings me to point #2.
  • I think Brett Gardner is going to be the Yankees Opening Day CF. Coming into today's game, Gardner is hitting .375, 116 points higher than Melky Cabrera at .259. Gardner has hitting the cover off the ball also, slugging a team high 3 HRs. Melky just isn't measuring up. Melky is also out of options so his only hope is that the Yankees keep him on as a 5th OF behind Damon, Swisher, Nady, and Gardner. Melky is the perfect candidate to be dealt. Maybe package Melky and a SP for somebody. Not sure who is out there. Haeven't looked. Any suggestions?
  • On the injury front, Robbie Cano and Damaso Marte came back from the WBC with minor injuries. Cano was diagnosed with right shoulder bursitis. Marte was diagnosed with left shoulder inflammation. Neither are expected to miss much time. Cano should be back in the lineup on Friday. Marte is slated to throw a bullpen tomorrow and according to Pete Abraham, he needs 2 off those before he'll be game ready. Both will be ready in plenty of time for Opening Day. No harm no foul. I know a lot of people out there think participating in the WBC is to blame, but that's ridiculous. These injuries would have likely happened had they skipped the WBC. I don't buy into that whole school of thought that the WBC is bad because guys can get hurt playing in a meaningless exhibition. Same thing can happen in regular old spring training. I like the WBC and really wish more of the bigger names would have participated.
  • Mark Melancon was sent to the minor league camp which all but assures he won't be on the Opening Day roster, which is what I predicted at the end of February. A lot of people are high on Melancon, myself included. He's definitely going to be an important part of the Yankees' future. I do think he needs a little more seasoning.
  • Mariano Rivera is scheduled to make his spring training debut tomorrow. He's already thrown 2 bullpens (I think) and so far all seems well with the greatest closer of all-time. Mo typically needs about 10 innings or so of work in spring training so there's plenty of time for him to be ready to hit the ground running come Opening Day.
  • Jorge Posada made his first appearance behind the plate the other day. According to Pete Abe's blog, Posada said his shoulder felt strong. That's good news. Jorge is an extremely important part of the Yankee lineup. If the lineup is going to be as strong as it can be, Jorge needs to be behind the plate, allowing Matsui to DH. I'm very encouraged by where Jorge is at this point in the spring.
  • I haven't seen/heard any of the games since CC, A.J., Wang, Andy, and the Wanger started pitching, so I don't have any first-hand knowledge of how they've done. I see in looking at the spring stats and box scores that they've all been doing fairly well. Joba has settled down nicely in his last 2 starts. Wang looks like he's keeping the ball up, giving up 3 HRs in his 3 starts. I'm not sure what he's working on but giving up so many longballs is very un-Wang-like. Andy's numbers look good. CC's pitching line looks pretty bad. Hopefully, that's a by-product of it being early. A.J. Burnett is the most impressive of the bunch, pitching 6 innings and only allowing 1 hit. I really hope A.J. stays healthy. The Yankees rotation for my money is one of the best in the league. I'll go to battle with those guys any day.

I'm sure I'm missing something. I tend to do that after long periods away from the Yanks, which doesn't happen often. It's been a little more than a week since I've seen them play and I'm jonesing to see some action. Thankfully tomorrow night they're on TV against the Pirates. It'll be my first look at CC Sabathia. Can't wait!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Win A Trip To The All-Star Game And Some Other Fun Stuff

I moved to Raleigh, NC in 1997. At the time the Raleigh-Durham area was the best place to go for jobs and whatnot. It turned out to also be a great place to get a great sandwich. About 2 miles down the road from my apartment was a Schlotzsky's. We don't have Schlotzsky's up here in Buffalo and I really wish we did because the sambos are really good. i used to get this roast beef sandwich on sourdough. I haven't had one in about 8 years but I can still taste it. Mmm mmm good.

Now, in honor of their new Big League Clubz sandwiches, the delicious restaurant has something yummy for baseball fans - a whole slew of contests and games at BigLeagueClubz.com.

Here's your chance to win a trip to St. Louis for the All-Star Game, get a personalized mini-bat, play games online, and get baseball scores on your desktop. All very cool stuff.

You can register online at BigLeagueClubz.com to enter the All-Star Game contest.

To get the mini-bat, you need to visit a Schlotzsky’s and try one of the Big League Clubz sandwiches. You'll get baseball cards for doing this at the store. Collect three cards, and upload a pic of yourself holding the cards, and if you're one of the first 1,000 to do, you'll get a free personalized mini-bat. They sent me the cards as part of this promo so I will be doing this very soon so you can check and see what I did. Assuming I can find them that is. While I was in Toronto, the wife did some "nesting" with the baby coming in 6 weeks, and I think she moved them.

Anyhow, check all this stuff out at BigLeagueClubz.com. Good luck!

Peace, love and Pinstripes (and be back later with some Yankee stuff),


ps - if this post looks familiar, it should. The good people at Subway Squawkers (aka Lisa) were kind enough to let me "plagiarize" what they wrote. I couldn't have said it better myself. The part about eating at Schlotzsky's in Raleigh is true though. Man they had some great sambos.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My WBC Trip: The Autographs

If you've been following this site for a long time then you know I enjoy collecting baseball memorabilia, specifically signed baseballs. I've been collecting for almost 5 years and right now I have about 175 signed balls in my collections, as well as some other things, but pretty much I stick to balls. Having the WBC in my own backyard was a dream come true. I had a lot of lofty goals for the trip, and here's a rundown of the week that was:

I left Buffalo at about 8:30am on Saturday. I had an idea of where the team's were staying but I didn't really know when they'd be leaving for things such as batting practice. I left a little later than expected and that ended up biting me in the keester. I was about 30 minutes away when got a text message from my friend Tom telling me that Jeter left on the team bus and he got his autograph. Needless to say my trip was not off to a good start. Now, I don't want to bore everyone with the details of the entire trip. If I did that, I'd be here forever typing away. I'll just hit on the high points. If you don't want to read through the whole post to see what I got, just scroll down to the bottom.

All four teams were staying at the same hotel. I was there primarily for Team USA. I had only minor interest in some of the guys on the other rosters. The hotel itself had about 4 entrances and it was difficult to watch them all. The primary focus was on the main entrance as well as one of the side entrances. The one side entrance was about 50 feet from a Starbucks, which ended up being a very popular place for the players to visit. It was extremely cold every day. I wore a long sleeve t-shirt, a t-shirt, a track jacket, and 2 hooded sweatshirts and was still chilly. Thankfully, there was a Subway sandwich shop right across the street from the side entrance and a lot of us autograph seekers hung out in there for good parts of the day. I affectionately refer to it as "The Hound House." You could see who was coming or going from Subway. Someone would see someone leave, yell out the name, and then you'd see anywhere from 5 to 12 guys come pouring out of there and chasing down that autograph. Imagine a firehouse and all the firemen springing into action when the alarm rings. That's kind of what it looked like. At times, it also looked like a scene out of that old movie "Oliver." I remember a scene in that movie where all of the little orphans surround a man on the street begging him for money and picking his pocket. We hounds had the begging part down that's for sure. We're pretty much like panhandlers for the most part, roaming the streets looking for a handout. I spent a lot of time each day hounding. If the US played, I would stick around until their bus left, and then head to the Rogers Centre for BP. If the US had the day off, I skipped the games and spent the day hounding. The days would start around 8am and would usually end around 1am. They were long days but the time flew by.

I got my first big name autograph on Saturday night. Dustin Pedroia left the hotel with his wife and I'm assuming his parents. It was cold and drizzling so there weren't a lot of hounds out on the prowl. Tom and I were the only ones at the side entrance when he left. There were about 6-8 out waiting at the front entrance. DP said he'd sign on his way back and Tom and I kept that info to ourselves. Typically, you're more likely to score an autograph when fewer people are around, especially when the player is a big name. Dustin came back and signed as he said he would. I got him on the sweet spot of an official major league baseball. I finished the 1st day with 4 autos. Pedroia being one, and LaTroy Hawkins, Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Ziegler being two, three, and four. One of my goals was to come away with a ball signed by the entire US squad and that's what I got the other 3 on. There were some guys on the team who I wanted to get on their own balls which was going to make getting a fully signed team ball tough. My plan for those guys was to get them on their own baseball if I could by Monday afternoon and on the team ball if I got them later.

Jeremy Guthrie is now one of my favorite players. He seems pretty down to Earth and was kind of funny. One afternoon as he was boarding the team bus, a kid asked him if he could have one of his bats. He jokingly responded that he could have all the bats he had at the park. That kind of cracked me up. One night, 3 of us went walking around the area looking for some relief pitchers that went to dinner. Guthrie was apparently ahead of us and thought we were stalking him. He had his lady friend walk on ahead without him and he ducked and his behind a jeep parked in the street. The kid who was with us, same kid who asked for the bat, noticed him do that, and said "We see you Jeremy" in a playful little taunt. Guthrie didn't move and stayed hidden so the kid peered his head behind the jeep and saw Jeremy crouched down and hiding. Jeremy popped up and bantered with us for a few seconds. He was a pretty cool guy.

One afternoon, there were about a dozen of us hanging out in "The Hound House" when we spotted Guthrie walking back to the hotel. The same kid from before peered his head out the door and squealed "Jeremyyyyy" and then hid behind a concrete pillar. JG looked around and didn't see him and the kid did it again. JG again looked around and didn't see him but he did spot someone else on our side of the street that we couldn't see. They had an across the street conversation and we were all sitting there wondering who he was talking to. Seconds later, David Wright came into view. The hounds scrambled for their Wright stuff but they didn't have to. Wright turned and walked right into The Hound House, which for those who skipped the beginning is a Subway sandwich shop. You could tell by the look on his face that he knew who we were and I interpreted his expression to be, "Oh crap. I walked right into their headquarters." We let him order his sambo (not sure what it was) and as he was leaving someone asked if he could sign. He did and I ended up getting him on the side panel of a baseball. Wright apparently doesn't sign sweet spots.

The day before the Wright encounter, Ryan Braun also stopped by Subway for a visit. We weren't there at the time but happened upon him while he was there. He was more than happy to sign on his way out. I went with him on the team ball.

Another good place to snag an auto or two was when the guys were getting on the team bus. Even on off days the teams would go to the stadium for their workouts. Derek Jeter took the bus each day and signed every day as he got on the bus. There were anywhere from 5-30 people there waiting and he would normally sign about 10. I got him twice in the 5 days, once on the team ball and once on the side panel of a ball as he also rarely signs sweet spots. The last day he signed only 1 autograph. Hotel security sets up a barricade of sorts so the players have a clear path to the bus. There are 2 barricades, one on each side of the exit. On the last day, Jeter left the hotel and went to the side I was on and signed for the person to my immediate left. As he was signing that one autograph, the other side started flipping out for some reason and the barricade fell over with 2 people face-planting right into the concrete. Jeter turned around, saw what happened, and bounced. I'm not sure why that side flipped out the way they did, but it ended up costing us the chance for an auto. I still can't figure out why they flipped out as Jeter signed for both sides every day. Some people.

Going into the last day, I needed 3 people to complete my team ball. Pedroia, J.P. Howell, and Joel Hanrahan. One of the toughest parts about trying to do the team ball was that I didn't know what most of the relief pitchers looked like. I still don't think I could pick John Grabow out of a lineup. The only one that took the team bus that day was Hanrahan. The other hounds knew I needed him so as he left, several shouted his name and pointed to me. He came over and signed and I can honestly say I never thought I'd be so excited to get Joel Hanrahan's autograph. Team USA was the home team for the last game and that meant they'd be off the field when the gates opened as their BP was first. I had no chance at getting the last 2 but that didn't mean I wasn't going to try. I was the 1st one in line when the gates opened and I sprinted my way to the corner of the US dugout. The corner is a good spot to have as you're literally in the dugout, standing right above the bat rack. Team USA, as I expected, was off the field. When Team Venezuela finished with their BP, the ushers told everyone to beat it and to go to their seats. I pleaded with the female usher to let me stay down there to try and get Pedroia. DP is always the 1st one into the dugout and he always hits up the pine tar, which I could almost touch from where I was standing. The usher reluctantly let me stay but said I had to sit down. I was seated for all of about 1 minute when someone shouted the name "Dustin." I pounced up, slid into the corner, and there was DP right there before me. I could have touched him he was that close. His back was to me so I said, "Dustin, you're the only person I need to sign my team ball. Would you mind please?" He said, "Yeah, just a second buddy." He finished doing what he was doing, signed the ball, and I was down to one: J.P. Howell. The only time I saw Howell before the game was during the national anthem. A core of RPs made their way to the bullpen before the game actually started, but J.P. wasn't one of them. I was more than content leaving 1 shy of being done and coming back in the future to try at a Jays/Rays game. I was tempted to go into the OF section and try to ask him when he was sitting in the bullpen, but they had their jackets on and I wasn't 100% sure I knew who he was.

When I go to games in Toronto, I usually get the cheap tickets and then stand on the lower concourse. I made a popcorn run during one of the innings and found my way to a concession stand near the outfield. After buying my popcorn, I hung out in the standing room section out in right field. As I was standing there munching away, listening to Adam Dunn get heckled, I noticed one of the kids from the team hotel (same kid who I mentioned above) take a seat against the wall that was connected to the 1st base bullpen, which was Team USA's for this game. My feet were killing me so I wandered down and asked the usher if I could go down to talk to him. The usher didn't really care since the place was empty. I know from going to Yankee games in Toronto, that relief pitchers will often walk to the bullpen during the game and they'll use the "back entrance" as opposed to walking across the field. As we were sitting there, Brad Ziegler walked in. The kid asked him if Howell was still in the dugout and Ziegler said he was. I started to get a little excited. The kid I was with, who was probably 13-15 years old, claimed to have an in with Howell. He was wearing a Rays hat he said J.P. gave him. J.P. ended up using the "back entrance" to the bullpen in the 6th inning. The kid caught him out of the corner of his eye and called to him. They acted like 2 old friends catching up after not seeing each other for a while. They bantered for a minute. We mentioned the team ball and he jumped all over signing it. My mission was accomplished! I can't even explain how good it felt to put in that much time trying to get it done and to actually finish it. I didn't think I had a chance once the team bus left that day. Things just fell into place. It was definitely meant to be. Not a bad way to finish off the trip.

Here's the list of what I got on my trip:

  1. A baseball signed by the entire Team USA squad, including Davey Johnson on the sweet spot
  2. Luis Sojo on my 1998 World Series Yankees team ball
  3. Chipper Jones on the sweet spot of an official major league baseball
  4. Derek Jeter on the side panel of an official major league baseball
  5. David Wright on the side panel of an official major league baseball
  6. Barry Larkin on the sweet spot of an official major league baseball
  7. Jake Peavy on the sweet spot of an official major league baseball

Not a bad haul if I do say so myself. I'll try to snap a picture or two and post them if anyone is interested. Let me know.

My plan for tomorrow is to catch up on the week that was in the Yankees universe. There are a few things that went down over the past 7 days and I'll share my thoughts on each. Until then.......

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Needs Tickets?

Just got an e-mail from Yankees.com. They are doing an online random drawing for the chance to purchase single game tickets and pre-season game tickets (I'm assuming that's the 2 games versus the Cubs). I thought I'd share the link in case anyone isn't signed up to get those e-mails. People have until March 17th at 10pm to register. Getting selected will probably be the only way one can purchase tickets to the 2 games against the Cubs or the home opener, without paying well over face value anyway.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 12, 2009

My WBC Trip: The Baseball

Hey everyone, I'm back. I got home late Wednesday night after spending the last 5 days in Toronto for the World Baseball Classic. Well, I shouldn't say that. I did drive back and forth between Toronto and Buffalo a few times in an attempt to save a couple of bucks. It's about a 2 hour drive door to door which isn't bad, but it does make for some tiring days. The trip far exceeded my expectations in every way. I pretty much went for two reasons. I love baseball and I love collecting autographs. I had a lot of fun with both. I'll start with the baseball.

I ended up only going to 3 of the 6 games. I blew off the games that Team USA didn't play in. I spent that time on the streets of Toronto hunting down autographs. But I'll get into that later. The Saturday game between Team USA and Team Canada was without a doubt the most fun game I've ever been at. I wish I could say that game 7 of the 2004 ALCS had that honor, but we all now how that game ended. It was a pretty exciting game. I was fully expecting J.J. Putz to squander the lead but he escaped with the save. The crowd of 42000, which was probably made up of 40000 Canadians, was definitely on the edge of their seats for that last at bat. I heard some people saying that it was the loudest that the Rogers Centre had been since the World Series days of 1992. It was an awesome game.

The Sunday game between the US and Venezuela was a blow out and that's always fun especially when the team you're rooting for is on the winning end of things. I wasn't overly impressed with Team Venezuela's pitching staff. They kept trotting out guys with ERAs over 5 and WHIPs close to 2. I remember thinking to myself when I saw their stats on the "jumbotron" that the US was going to blow this wide open and that's what they did. I was surprised by the size of the Venezuelan fan base. Man they love their baseball. They were chanting and singing all game, even when they were down by almost 10 runs. I really think they thought their team would make a comeback.

The rematch between the 2 teams on Wednesday was a much better game, even if it was meaningless. I know it was a "seeding game" but couldn't there have been a better way to go about determining that? Team USA didn't even look like they cared. It came off that they were more interested in just "getting their work in" than anything else. I left in the 7th inning right before their late rally. I wanted to get home at a decent hour as I was on "kid duty" all day today since I was on vacation. It was a boring game for the most part, highlighted only by a fist fight in the crowd in the 7th inning. 2 drunks in the front row decided to throw down. It got broken up pretty quickly but was fun to see nonetheless. They kicked both guys out and as I was exiting the stadium they were exchanging blows right outside the stadium. A lot of punches were thrown but few connected. But again, still fun to watch.

Overall it was a great time. Here are a few other tidbits:

  1. Venezuelan fans far outnumbered US fans
  2. Red Sox fans far outnumbered Yankee fans, at least based on what people we're wearing they did
  3. The Venezuelan fans were fun to be around. Dancing in the aisles and whatnot. It was kind of neat.
  4. They played Sweet Caroline during the 7th inning stretch at all games. It made me vomit in my mouth.
  5. The biggest rip off in town are the currency exchange centers. I exchanged my 40 bucks and got back $41.06. I should have gotten $46 but there was apparently a $4.94 service fee.
  6. I took a leak next to Dr. Charles Jeter. I was standing on the concourse with my friend and fellow Yankee fan/autograph hound Tom when we saw him walk from his seat to the bathroom. I said to Tom, "I'm going to go take a leak next to Jeter's dad." There weren't a lot of people using the urinals when we went in so I did give him the courtesy urinal in between us. I didn't peak but when I walked out and caught Tom's eye, I raised my hands and put them about a foot apart.

I'm sure there is something else but I'm drawing a blank. Drowsiness is setting in and I can feel the brain shutting down. I'll post the second half summary of my trip (the autograph hounding) sometime tomorrow. I've got some interesting stories so be sure to check back.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Off To Watch The WBC

Just a heads up that I'm heading up to Toronto to watch the WBC so the blogging here may be a little light over the next few days. I'll try to hop on while I'm up there and post a few quickies if of course time allows. I'm excited for the games tomorrow. Nothing beats watching some live baseball. Getting an autograph or two for my collection wouldn't hurt either. See ya in a few.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

A-Rod Injury Update

Earlier today, it was being reported that A-Rod was headed for surgery and would be on the shelf for 10 weeks. Thankfully, it's not entirely true. Alex has a torn labrum, which is the same injury that recently plagued both Mike Lowell and Chase Utley. It's an injury that requires surgery, just not immediately. Alex can play through the injury, which is good news for the Yankees and their fans.

The Yankees are basically faced with 2 choices when it comes to Alex and his injury. Option 1 would be to treat the injury with rest, treatment and exercise. That will allow Alex to continue playing. Eventually, he'll need surgery, and that would require him to miss about 4 months of time. Hopefully that time comes in November. The other option is of course to have him have his surgery now and return in early July. The Yankees are going with option 1, which I think is the right move.

Let's face it, losing A-Rod would be a huge blow to the offense. You can't easily replace a guy that'll hit you 40 homers and knock in 120 runs. Alex Rodriguez at 75% is better than most guys at 100%. It's to my understanding that the condition can't get any worse. I heard that on the radio so take that for what it's worth. If Alex were to have surgery now, he'd be back in July, which means he misses 1/2 the season. I think the Yankees know that without A-Rod for 80 games, they're pretty much done considering they have to contend with both Boston and Tampa Bay. I think that's the main reason why they'll put surgery off as long as they can. If you ask me, if the surgery has to happen in the season, the drop dead date for it would be at the end of April. If he had the surgery at the end of April, he'd likely be back for the September stretch run. If surgery has to happen after April, the Yankees are pretty much effed.

If Alex can play through it, I think he has to. There really aren't any options for replacing him. Cody Ransom is the logical candidate and that really only works if A-Rod is gone temporarily. The only other options are to trade for a guy or sign a free agent. I've heard 3 names mentioned that I wouldn't mind. Mark Grudzielanek is currently a free agent and wouldn't cost the team much. The Dodgers appear to have an extra infielder in Mark Loretta or Blake DeWitt. I can't imagine the price tag is high for either of them either. But again, none are close to A-Rod in terms of talent. There are other options, but none in my opinion are worth going after. If the deal is right, maybe. I can just see a team try to bend the Yankees over on this one.

If the Yankees were to lose A-Rod, they better hope that Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada stay healthy. Losing any 2 of those guys for an extended period of time would be a huge blow to the offense. Can you imagine a lineup that is steady rocking Ransom, Molina, and or Gardner/Cabrera at the bottom of the order. They might as well let the pitchers hit.

If Alex is lost for an extended period of time, the team better hope the pitching lives up to its expectations. The Yankees have arguably one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and they no longer have to outslug teams to win games. That's the only silver lining I see right now if A-Rod goes down.

The season hasn't even started yet and already our best player is saddled with an injury. I really hope the Yankees are making the right call by trying to let him play through this. It's a roll of the dice and I hope it turns up 7 or 11. Crapping out could prove to be extremely detrimental to their chances at winning #27 in 2009.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


A-Rod To Miss 10 Weeks?

ESPN Deportes is reporting that A-Rod is going to need hip surgery and will be out of action for 10 weeks. The site is in Spanish but here's a translation of the main paragraph, done with an online translator:

EDGING -- Alex Rodriguez only will not be lost to play with Dominican Republic in the World Classic of Baseball, but the first month of the season with the Yankees would be lost of New York after a medical exam revealed that should be operated immediately of a cyst in the hip, a brother of the ballplayer said to ESPNdeportes.com.
To-Rod would be able to be inactive until May Joe Rodriguez reported that TO-Rod will be operated Monday in Red and would need near 10 weeks to be rehabilitated.

Take this for what it's worth because it hasn't been confirmed yet and ESPN Deportes has been wrong before. The Yankees have yet to comment and until they do, I'm taking it with a grain of salt. My first impression is that I don't buy it. The Yankees had to be aware of this and you'd think that they would have been more pro-active in making sure it wasn't an issue. He's been playing with it all spring and it hasn't seemed to bother him. If the report is true, it could be a huge blow to the Yankees offense. Taking the best player out of the lineup for 2 months is going to have a big impact. They'll be OK if the pitching performs up to expectations and right now there's no reason to think it won't. The pitching is no longer a weakness so the Yankees don't necessarily have to outslug everyone to win.

More on this as it develops.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,