Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Randy Johnson Nearly Done Deal

Let's look at the bright side of this, although I wish he'd stay a Diamondback:

(a) If the Junkees don't win it all in '05, it'll be a bigger embarrassment than had they not gotten Johnson.

(b) This will get the small market owners to push harder for a salary cap. Even though they have enough of a case as it is, once the Junkees have the top hitter (A-Schmuck) and the top starting pitcher (RJ), the Junkees will have no argument whatsoever to say that the system is fair.

(c) I read that in '04, they spent something like $85 million between revenue sharing and the luxury tax. Taking on another $16 million contract will inflate that number.

(d) If the Junkees do win it all in 2005 (please God, no!), Yankee despisers like me will be able to rationalize by saying, hey, they bought themselves a World Series title.

(e) They'll have to sign him to an extension, and chances are, he won't be any good in two years from now, so the Junkees will have another hefty contract on their hands.

When you hate the Junkees, you have to be optimistic!

Monday, December 27, 2004

But Can They Spend $200 Million?

I've heard the argument against owners like the Twins' Carl Polhad and the Tigers' Mike Ilitch many times. How can these billionaires cry poverty when they're too cheap to spend their own money on their teams? After all, Ilitch was all willing to spend his big bucks on the Red Wings (back when hockey existed), but was a cheap bastard when it came to the Tigers! But I don't blame these owners for acting the way they've been acting.

Think about it. Every free-agent signing is a risk. Aside from a few teams with crafty GM's (and the verdict is out on the A's in the post-Mulder and Hudson era), many teams are going to make mistakes. So it's not enough to ask these owners to spend an extra 10 million. Perhaps more like 25-30 million is more like it. And maybe more.

After all, the Yankees are the one team that can afford to eat a mistake, or a bunch of mistakes. Jose Contreras for 8 million? No problem, just sign someone else. Sterling Hitchock for $6 million? No problem, just get Jeff Weaver. No all-star in RF yet? Just trade (glorified salary dump) for Raul Mondesi. Mondesi turns out to be a mistake? Just sign Gary Sheffield.

But when the Pirates sign a Jason Kendall long-term and it turns out to be a mistake, they're strapped for a good few years. Only the Yankees can afford to eat their mistakes. These other teams have no margin for error. And no, they can't spend $200 million.

Besides, will the Twins be profitable by spending $200 million? In a small market? No YES network? I don't think so. So do you expect Polhad to ultimately waste millions just so his team could win? Come on.

In April, BusinessWeek wrote about how Boston has hit the limit on the amount they can spend:
The truth of the matter is that the Sox are hitting a wall. "We're maxing out on everything," [Red Sox owner] Henry admits. Every game is already sold out. Ticket prices are the highest in the majors. That means the Sox payroll has gone about as high as it can, which could have a severe impact on the team as early as next year. Four of the Sox' biggest stars -- Martinez, pitcher Derek Lowe, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and catcher Jason Varitek -- could become free agents at the end of the season. All are demanding huge new contracts, but "we can't afford to re-sign all of them," warns Lucchino.That's why sabermetrics has become such an important part of the Boston strategy. Henry is not a guy who goes in for half-measures. After buying the Red Sox, he first tried to sign Billy Beane. When that fell through, he did the next best thing: He hired Bill James, the writer and baseball thinker who invented sabermetrics, as senior baseball operations adviser.

The article also quotes baseball economist Andrew Zimbalist saying that the TV revenue gap between the Sox and Yankees is at least $100 million.

And if the Sox are "hitting a wall" with a $120 million payroll, what can you say for the rest of the teams!? If the Brewers tried spending as much as the Yankees, forget it! Either the owner or the team would go bankrupt. They're not getting YES network revenue. It just isn't happening.

And speaking of the Sox, in spite of their high payroll, I don't blame them for their spending. After all, with the Yankees setting the precedent by buying an All-Star at nearly every position, what do you expect the Sox to do, just sit there with their arms folded and say "forget it"? They want to win too. But in this league, if you want to win, you've gotta play by the Yankees' rules. And after the Yankees started putting their payroll on steroids, the Sox have done the best they can trying to compete.

And even if you'll tell me that the Yankees are just playing by the rules, and it's not the Yankees that are the problem, it's the system that's an issue, I think it's fair to say that the Yankees are the perfect poster boy for all that is wrong with the system.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Twins Owner Speaks the Truth

Although I have not been able to dig up quotes, I heard on ESPN-Radio that Twins owner Carl Pohlad complained about the state of baseball. He said that his team cannot compete because they keep losing too many players. Over the past two offseasons, his team lost LeTroy Hawkins, Eddie Guardado, Christian Guzman, and Corie Coskie to free agency, had to trade Eric Milton in a salary dump, same with A. J. Pierzynski.

Pohlad said that the system stinks (which everything agrees with, except Yankee fans), and Torii Hunter shared similar sentiments.

So we'll see what happens when the CBA expires in 2006. If owners like Pohlad can convince the others that they need to make drastic changes in the system (i.e. salary cap), who knows - maybe something happens. Then we can see the Junkees return to the AL East basement.

Looking Ahead: Hudson in '06

Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that come 2006, Tim Hudson will be donning pinstripes.

The Yankees will offer him a huge amount of money, and no other team will come close; they won't be able to. Then the Yankee despisers will have to pray that his health deteriorates, or that he is the next Mike Mussina - okay, but not worth the big bucks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Crybabies are at It Again

What can you expect from a team that cries for a forfeit when the Devil Rays show up a few hours late after a hurricane? Well, team president Randy Levine had this to say about the Dodgers after the Randy Johnson deal fell through:

Last Friday a deal was agreed to with the only contingencies being [contract] extensions and physicals. [L.A.] got cold feet. As early as [yesterday morning] they wanted to go through with it. Their actions said something different. It's very disappointing. We will take a long, hard look before doing business with them again.

I'm sure the Dodgers are shaking in their boots by this dumb threat. How will they win without Eric Duncan and that guy Navarro?

I hope Arizona comes to their senses and decides to keep him. There's no dominant team in the NL West, so with Johnson, Ortiz, and a healthy Glaus, they may be able to squeak out a division title.

But Yankee despisers get to breathe for another few days.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Jeter, Rivera Welcome Back Giambi

I know, I know, it's a slow news day, and the beat writers have to come up with something, but how dumb is this? Hey Jeter, who died and made you God? Since when do you decide who's welcome and who's not? Same with Rivera. I thought it was dumb when the Mets used to ask Al Leiter and John Franco who they should keep and who they should get rid of, and now the Junkees are acting the same way.

What is Jeter supposed to say - "we want him off the team"? So that when Giambi comes back they'll hate each other? There's just no logic here. Just shut up, and everyone will be better off.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Yankees Starting Five: $67 Million

I saw this on Mike'd Up on Sunday night - when the Yankees get Randy Johnson, their five starters (Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, Wright, Brown) will all make $67 million in 2005, which is more than 18 teams' entire payrolls. But there's no problem with disparity, right Junkee fans?

By the way, check out - another great Yankee despiser site.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Wait and See; Renteria = Jeter?

Been busy lately, so not much time to blog, but a quickie here.

a) I'll admit. As a Sox fan, I was hoping for them to get Pavano. And yes, the Yanks will probably end up getting Johnson and Beltran. But remember last winter: After getting Brown, Vazquez, Gordon, and especially A-Schmuck, the Yanks looked like the team to beat. And what memorable moments did those guys provide? Brown, punching the wall and breaking his hand? Vazquez morphing into Jeff Weaver? Gordon barfing in the bullpen during game 6? A-Schmuck flailing at the ball in Bronson Arroyo's hand like a 2-year old during the ALCS?

Look, a lot of deals look good at the time. If you would've told me 3 years ago after Giambi signed with the Junkees that 3 years later they couldn't get rid of him fast enough, you would've looked at me like I was from Mars. Ask Schmet fans about Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn. And I remember my Yankee-fan friend telling me how Weaver was gonna win 20 games in pinstripes, and how the Vazquez deal will be viewed as one of the best trades in Yankee history.

Basically, a lot can happen. Let's see what happens come next October.

b) I may offend a bunch of Yankee fans and 16-year old girls with this one, but new Red Sox SS Edgar Renteria is as good (ok, arguably a drop worse) than Derek Jeter. Let's compare their numbers from '02-'04:


AVG .308
OBP .362
OPS .802
HR 34 (11.33 per year)
SB 73


AVG: .302
OBP: .371
OPS: .818
HR 51 (17 per year)
SB 66

Aside from the power numbers (a 6 HR difference per year for Jeter) and a slight edge for Jeter in OBP and OPS, the two are basically the same. Both are gold-glovers, too (Renteria 2, Jeter 1), although Renteria is probably the better fielder.

The major difference here? Salary. Renteria's getting about $10 mil a year from Boston, and Jeter about $19 mil. Is Jeter worth nearly double the price, Mr. Ca$hman? Maybe they pay him to be the first to high-five everyone. Or to pull off the tired "Mr. Torre" shtick. That's right. An extra $9 million for Jeter's priceless "intangibles." Too bad he can't rub Zim's head anymore.

Of course. Overpaying is part of the Yankee way.

Johnson and Beltran: Yankees in '05

Buster Olney, among others, are willing to bet the farm that both Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran will wear pinstripes in 2005. Just another example of how the system stinks. The Astros want Beltran back in the worst way, but will not be able to compete in terms of salary, so they'll lose him. How can any Yankee fan with half a brain tell me that that's totally fair? Sure, they're not breaking any rules; they're taking advantage of a lousy system. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Yankees are buying themselves another championship for 2005. Their payroll will be in the $200 millions, at least $50 million higher than the next team, so how a Yankee fan can get excited when their team buys World Series is beyond me.

As far as Randy Johnson, again, the other 29 teams know he's good, but they can't afford him, so the Yankees will get him. I guess the Yankee despisers will have to pray that this is the year he breaks down. I know, he was good in '04, but consider that Johnson has never pitched for a high-pressure team. Montreal, Seattle, Houston, and Arizona are places where the teams are happy just to make the playoffs. He seems like a sensitive fellow, so who knows - maybe he gets bombed in his first start, gets booed, and it's all downhill from there. One can only dream....

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pedro to Mets: Rubs Yankee Fans the Wrong Way

Yankee fans are probably upset that Pedro is going to New York. Sure, the Mets are nutjobs for giving this guy a 4-year deal, but with George, you know it's as much about being on the back page of the newspaper as it is about winning. And Pedro does that. He puts the Mets on the back page of the papers.

When Pedro made his "call the Yankees my daddy" statement, he wanted George to sign him. He thought that George was going to shell out the big bucks, but even George wasn't that stupid. Still, George must have assumed that he was going back to the Red Sox, so he didn't bother pursuing Pedro. So the question remains - had George known he'd become a Met, would he have pushed harder?

When the Mets dominated the papers in the mid to late '80s, it ate George up. New York has been Yankee Town since '96, and now the Mets are trying to grab some headlines.

But you can't tell me that George wasn't interested at all; why then would he meet with Pedro? Don't tell me to drive up Boston's price, because that doesn't work with the Red Sox. George had lukewarm interest, but didn't blow Pedro out of the water, so Pedro's a Met, and the Mets gain some points in the PR war.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pavano: Another One-Year Wonder

Going back to the theme of George loving guys who had beaten the Yankees, here you go: Pavano in the 2003 World Series.

Now there's no doubt that he had a great season in '04 - 18 wins, 3.00 ERA. But two points:

(a) His lifetime record is 57-58. So we're not talking Tim Hudson here. For the first five years of his career he did nothing. He was 12-13 in '03, and last year he was his breakout year, so granted, as a Yankee despiser you hate seeing him picking up the pace, but at the same time, let's take it easy.

(b) You might say that unlike Vazquez, he has postseason experience. True, but you have to admit that pitching for the Marlins isn't exactly pressure. It's not like being a Junkee, where you have to win. They knew that even had they got knocked out of the first round, the Florida fans would have been happy that at least they made it that far. And after the '03 ALCS (Aaron Freakin' Boone), there was a letdown by the time the Series rolled around. Nobody was paying attention. So let's be fair.

Now to be honest, I would not have thought of him as a one-year wonder, but Harold Reynolds of Baseball Tonight made the point. "They're giving him four years $39 million because he had one good year?" So I'll take it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Looking at Other Teams' Pockets

When the Yankees thought they had the Randy Johnson deal worked out, the only thing preventing Arizona from taking Vazquez was the money. Johnson is owed $16 million for one year; Vazquez is owed $35.5 million over the next three years (great job, Ca$hman). The D'Backs asked for the $19.5 million difference. The Yankees were only willing to give $12-13 mil. Now that the D'Backs have signed Troy Glaus and are on the cusp of signing Russ Ortiz, the Junkees are saying that, hey, Arizona doesn't need the money, so how dare they ask us for millions.

Hey idiots, what do you care how much money they have? They asked you for money - either you make the deal or you don't. Whether they have money or not has nothing to do with anything. This is not charity, where you want to make sure the recipient really needs it. This is a business. If you don't want to give them the money, then it shouldn't matter what their situation is. So they pleaded poverty to you? Who cares?

That's just dumb. I guess this was the Yankee way of covering themselves in case Johnson ended up being a bomb - "Hey, we did Arizona a favor. They really needed the money."

I'm telling you, being a Yankee despiser becomes more fun by the day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Wright and Womack? Ca$hman Is Senile

Why do the Junkees fall in love with one-year wonders? First it was Chris Hammond a couple of years back. He had been a journeyman for years, had one solid year in Atlanta, and the Junkees picked him up. He stunk as a Yankee, so they got rid of him.

Yet, they're willing to pay Jaret Wright $7 million a year for three years despite the fact that he's had only one good year, and wouldn't you know - it was in Atlanta! Face it - Leo Mazzone, the Braves' pitching coach, is a magician. That's why so many pitchers did well there, and then faltered elsewhere. Wasn't Steve Avery supposed to be the next Tom Glavine?

Granted, Wright had a better year in '04 than Lieber did, but Lieber has a track record. I would have picked up the $8 million option. It's only a million more, and you know what you're going to get with him. I bet the Junkees are kicking themselves for letting him get away.

Then you have Tony Womack, who hit .224 for three teams in '03. He was pretty good for the Cardinals in '04, but think of this - his career OBP is .319. That stinks. Also, he was hitting ahead of Walker, Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds. Now you could make a similar argument that with Jeter, A-Schmuck, and Sheffield, he'll see pitches to hit. But you can't deny that the Junkees are banking on the fact that he had one good year and therefore, he deserves a 2-year contract.

Or maybe they got him for the same reason they got a washed up Mike Stanton - they're living in the past. And they want to make sure that Game 7 of the 2001 World Series doesn't happen again.

Ah, joy in Yankee despiser land.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Felix Rodriguez? Are You Kidding Me?

Let's get one thing straight: Ca$hman was in idiot for giving Lofton a 2-year deal. In '02 and '03, Lofton wasn't signed until Spring Training. So what do the Junkees do? They give him a 2-year deal for $6 million. Insane! So now, to get rid of him, they had to take Felix Rodriguez off the Phillies' hands. Now anyone who has followed baseball over the past five years or so knows that Felix Rodriguez cannot buy an out in a big spot. He stinks. He's like Kenny Rogers and Armando Benitez - great when there's no pressure, but lousy in the big game. Anyone remember Rodriguez in the '02 postseason?

So what we're going to have is a repeat of Tom Gordon in '04 - amazing during the regular season, horrible during the postseason.

I tell you, between this, the whole Giambi thing, the Junkees' failure to get Randy Johnson (until now, at least), the 2005 season cannot start soon enough!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Void Giambi's Contract? Dream On

Here go the crybabies again. They signed a bulked up slugger they had to know was taking the juice, benefited from his 30+ homeruns in '02 and '03, but now are crying foul that his '04 season was terrible because he was off steroids. Hey, idiots, you knew he was doing it, yet you signed him anyway. Why didn't you look for it when you gave him a physical before signing him after the '01 season? Answer: They didn't care. Only now that he stinks is it an issue. Once again, another Junkee double standard.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Now Stanton? I Told You They Were Desperate

The Daily Snooze is reporting that the Junkees are close to re-acquiring Mike Stanton in exchange for Felix Heredia. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again - George is so desperate to bring back the glory days of '96-'00 that he's trying to get as many players from that era as he could. That's why there were talks of Tino Martinez a few weeks back. Now if only Cecil Fielder would come out of retirement...

You know as well as I do that Stanton will not be a set-up guy. In other words, he'll only come in when the score is 10-0. And the Junkee fans will give him a standing ovation the first time he takes the mound in pinstripes.

Has anyone bothered to look at the guy's numbers over the past two years? He had a 4.57 ERA in '03, and last year he blew six saves. Yeah, the 3.16 ERA is respectable, but do you think they'd have any interest in him if he were never a Yankee? No way, Jose.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

What are the Junkees Waiting For?

Can somebody tell me why George and Ca$hman have been sitting on their hands doing nothing so far? Well, let's be fair - they did re-sign Miguel Cairo.

Maybe they are so afraid of getting burned, as they've gotten several times over the past few years, that they're going to sit back, see what happens, then jump in later to sign the guys they need. Of course, they run the risk of those guys getting picked up by other teams.

Maybe they don't have a plan. The Red Sox, the A's, the Giants, and some other teams have been thinking about which guys they want. They have guys they want to re-sign, and others to take their places in case they don't get who they want in the first place. That's why the Red Sox will not be held hostage by Jason Varitek or Pedro Martinez. No matter who stays and who goes, they'll be okay for '05. The Junkees, though, don't seem to know what they want. Sure, they'd love to have Randy Johnson, but other that that, there are talks that they may pursue Jaret Wright, Eric Milton, Al Leiter, Ron Villone (!), Russ Ortiz... otherwise, they don't seem to have much of a mentality.

That's why I could see them missing the playoffs in '05.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Yankees Whine: Lieber's Playing Hardball

The Junkees have proven, by the way they've handled the whole Lieber situation, why Ca$hman is a buffoon.

They turned down an $8 million option on Lieber with hopes to resign him to a 2-year $12 million deal. Meanwhile, the Mets signed Kris Benson to a 3-year deal worth about $7.5 million per. Now Lieber is just as good, if not better, than Benson, so the idea that you were going to offer him only $6 million per is ridiculous. So he'll probably get a comperable offer elsewhere, and leave New York. So what will end up happening is that the Junkees lost their #2 starter because they didn't want to give him an extra $500,000. Who knows - maybe they are serious about cutting payroll!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Irony of Nomar

The latest on's Rumor Central says that the Yanks are interested in Nomar Garciaparra. This shouldn't come as any surprise; this blog has said long ago that George would love Nomar to help stick it to the Red Sox.

The irony about Nomar is that back in July, the media and Junkee fans were comparing his dour attitude to that of Jeter's selfless passion for the game. While Jeter was jumping into the stands to catch a ball, Nomar had no interest in getting up to pinch-hit and had no passion at all for the game. It will be hilarious to hear the feedback from Yankee fans if the Yanks get Nomar.

And I know what the response will be: Listen, Nomar was bitter because the Red Sox tried trading him during the winter. You can't blame the guy for feeling that way; his team betrayed him! But look at Manny Ramirez: much as you can give it to him for his antics, you have to respect the fact that he was a team player this year. He didn't let the fact that he was put on waivers in November affect his attitude. He just kept doing his thing all year and put up his usual almost-MVP caliber numbers.

Nomar is a sensitive guy, that's what it comes down to. And New York is not a place for sensitive people. Nomar was a fan favorite in Boston for many years. But as an injury-prone guy who's days of hitting .370 are over, Nomar may not get such a reception here.

At least Kevin Brown is basically untradable. Nomar should fit in well with him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Steiner a Goner reports that it's official; Steiner is now part of the Dodgers' radio team. I've already laid out my thoughts on Stiener in an earlier piece. I think with a classy organization like LA, Steiner will return to the professionalism he had with ESPN radio. Working for the same organization as Vin Scully (and no longer having to kiss King George's fanny) will rub off on him.

And as the Despiser has said, I'd love to see Suzyn Waldman in the Yankees radio booth. The Yanks would love to do it for the PR, even though the fans won't buy it. If the Yankee fans hated Steiner, they'll be smashing their radios once Waldman comes on the air.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Pedro for Four Years? Come On, George!

When Pedro made his infamous "call the Yankees my daddy" speech a while back, he was planting the seeds to become a Junkee in '05. Why? Because they're the only team dumb enough to give him four years guaranteed at a ridiculous amount.

He had the highest ERA of his career this past year, a walk year. You would think that he'd be motivated to do even better than he's ever done to show that he's worth the big bucks. So how do you think he'll perform with a contract that runs through 2008?

He gave up 26 home runs in '04, tying his career high. His 61 walks were his most since 1998. He allowed more hits this past year than ever before.

Now don't get me wrong - a 3.90 ERA in this day and age is darn good. But he's clearly deteriorating, he's a small guy, and he'll be in his mid-30s. Now you'll tell me that Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Curt Shilling are all doing great despite being up there in the years. True, but look at their builds.

I ask you, does it get any better than this?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Snorre: You May Sign Pedro

Joe Snorre, who died and made you God? Who cares whether you like Pedro or not? George will decide whether he wants to bring in Pedro, and you have no say in the matter, so why say that you don't mind having him here when you really have no choice anyway? Just shows you what an arrogant bum Snorre really is.

George: Ca$hman's in Charge

George is shrewd - you have to give him that. Now he's saying that Ca$hman is in charge, so any deals have to be done through the Junkee GM. Why the sudden change of attitude? Answer: This way, when Pedro ends up being a bust, George can wash his hands clean of the deal. "Hey, it wasn't me. Brian signed him."

So if Ca$hman's been in charge all along, why would you meet Pedro face-to-face to discuss coming to the Junkees? Face it - if George wants him badly enough, Ca$hman will sign him, even if Ca$hman thinks it's a dopey move. He knows that if Pedro signs elsewhere, George will needle him every time Pedro has a good outing, similar to what George did to Ca$hman in 2000, when the GM nixed a Soriano-for-Edmonds deal. So ultimately, it's up to George, but if Pedro stinks, he can always point a finger at Ca$hman. Clever, eh?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

George Ticks Off Ca$hman

Newsday is reporting that Ca$hman was NOT invited to the Tuesday night meeting between George and Pedro, and the Junkee GM was quite upset about it. Folks, what did I tell you? This is a return to the Bronx Zoo of the mid-'80s, and I'm telling you, the team is falling apart. Ca$hman no longer has a say in any matter (boy, he's got an easy job!) and whenever George is the GM, the Junkees make stupid moves. Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, until his suspension, George made all the decisions and the GMs were just a bunch of puppets. For the few years he was out of office, and the years after when he didn't stick his nose where it didn't belong, you saw the acquisitions of Paul O'Neill, Jimmy Key, David Cone, Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez, and all the guys who made the Junkees a winning team.

Now let's look at the past few years. Enrique Wilson misplays a ball in right field, and a couple of days later Raul Mondesi is brought in. Then you have Kenny Lofton; Jose Contreras; Jason Giambi; Aaron Boone. And soon, hopefully, they'll add Pedro Martinez to that list.

Every offseason, I've been fretting that the Junkees are going to win it all. This past year, with A-Schmuck, I was totally despondent. Well, no more. At the rate things are going, I have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Do It, George! Sign Pedro!

The Red Sox aren't stupid. They know that Pedro is a shell of what a used to be. Which is why I was surprised at first that they offered him a 2-year $25 million contract. Now I know better.

They knew that George would be all over Pedro, so they offered him the loot knowing that he'd turn it down. Now he can go to George and say, hey, they offered that, what can you guys do? So now, George will offer him a 3- or 4-year offer, at $13 million per, and if he doesn't breaking down, he'll be decent, but Jon Lieber will be better wherever he is, and the Junkees could have had him for $8 million. Putzes.

And as Manny pointed out, the bullpen will be overworked because Pedro will never pitch into the seventh inning.

So George, do all of us Yankee despisers a favor and sign him!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why George Wants Leiter

After the Schmets declined Al Leiter's 2005 option last night, he is officially a free agent. Leiter is among the better pitchers in the game, there's no arguing that. But he's 39 years old. And he's had a few injuries the past few years. And with his age and his erratic control, he usually won't give you more than 5-6 innings a night. And he may pull a David Cone in 2000 and just lose it. But George will want him badly, and will likely get him. George loves PR. That's why he got Matsui and Contreras. Here's why George wants Leiter:

a) Leiter is one of those players who comes off as the ultimate good-guy nice-guy. He always gets awards from various charity organizations during the winter, and comes off as a real family man. And maybe George wants to bring back more family men to the Yanks, guys like Tino, Brosius, O'Neill, and Pettitte. Leiter would certainly provide a happy face in the rotation compared to the arrogant Mussina and the surly Kevin Brown, and bring back memories of another lefty hurler named Andy Pettitte.

b) Leiter is a good buddy of Michael Kay's. After Chris Russo called Leiter "shot" in the summer of '03, Leiter was mad and got closer with ESPN-Radio's Kay to spite the FAN. Every Friday, Kay and Leiter yuk it up on Kay's show. And since Kay is the biggest Yankee fan out there, he may have a big say in bringing his pal to the Bronx. And just wait till Kay lays on the praises of Leiter next year on al-Yankzeera. Bring out the barf bags, please.

c) Leiter is an ex-Met. And King George has an ex-Met fetish. Come on. Doc, Darryl, David Cone, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Tony Clark, Mel Stottlemyre (coach). Hell, Joe Torre managed the Mets! So that's another thing going in Leiter's favor. George would love for Leiter to do well so he can stick it to the Mets for losing the guy. And perhaps he's hoping that the Mets fans who adore Leiter will switch allegiances with him. As for me. I'm hoping Leiter will bring the Schmets luck (or lack thereof) with him.

d) Many years ago, George blundered in trading Leiter to the Jays for Jesse Barfield. While Leiter was one of the game's better pitchers in the '90's, Barfield stunk and was a poster boy of the woeful Junkees of the Stump Merrill era. So perhaps to make amends and recognize his mistake, George will bring back Leiter, as if to say "all is not lost."

On the same note, I think Eric Milton has a good chance of bringing his 4.76 career ERA to the Bronx. Again, it would be George atoning for trading Milton for Knoblauch. Hey George, maybe you can get Cristian Guzman too. And while you're at it, coax Doug Drabek out of retirement. Also, Milton's a lefty. Perhaps after this year's all-righty rotation fizzled, George will have his eye on the lefties in particular, even a guy like Milton who gives up homers like hotcakes.

And with that in mind, I think Jon Lieber's done in the Bronx. He's a nice guy and younger than Leiter, but not enough PR impact there.

But between Leiter and Pedro, the Yanks will have two 6-inning pitchers. Someone tell Quantrill and Gordon to enjoy their winter, because they'll be in for a very long summer.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Answering Comments 2 - How the Junkees Ruin Baseball

I wrote that on April 1st, 20 teams have no shot of winning the Series because of the economics of baseball. With the Junkees buying up a team of all-stars every year, they do not allow lesser teams to compete with them. As a result, two-thirds of the teams are out of it before the season even starts. Some commentor asked me to name the teams. Fine.

A's; Blue Jays; Brewers; Devil Rays; Diamond Backs; Dodgers; Expos; Giants; Indians; Marlins; Orioles; Padres; Pirates; Rangers; Reds; Rockies; Royals; Tigers; Twins; White Sox.

And I'm being generous by not including some of the teams that may belong there, like the Mariners or Astros.

Let's think about this - these teams have no shot. The A's have a limited budget, so even if they make the playoffs, they're not getting through the first round with the middle relief pitching of the mighty Jim Mecir. Same with the Twins. They had the best pitcher in the AL last year, and couldn't close the door because the middle relievers couldn't hold down a 5-2 lead. And every year, these two teams lose players either to free agency or due to budgetary constraints. Think of all the guys who've come and gone in the Oakland organization: Johnny Damon, Keith Foulke, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Giambi (okay, they caught a break there), and of course, Miguel Tejada. Minny lost Pierzynski, Milton, and now they'll probably lose Brad Radke.

Sure, once every ten years a team like the '03 Marlins will win. Otherwise, it's a team with a hefty payroll. So there you go. Steinbrenner ruined baseball.

Did he break the rules? No. Did he help baseball? Hell no!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Answering the Comments, pt. 1

Believe it or not, there are a few insightful Yankee fans out there. And they bring up what appeas to be some valid points that I'd like to deal with. The comments are italicized.

Over the past twenty years in Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees have won a whopping 4 championships. You would think from listening to some people that they win every year, but that’s just false. I would be very interested to hear your opinions on the state of baseball in the years that they don’t win (like 1979-1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).

I dont' judge baseball's state by the Yankees' results. I judge it by the financial opportunities other teams had to compete with them. In '96, for example, the Yanks' payroll was the highest at $61 million, but the other teams were close. The 2nd-highest teams (Orioles and Braves) were just $8 million away, not $60 million like it is today. And a bunch of teams were in the $4o millions. So it was much closer to a level playing field than it is now. In fact, in '98, the Yanks payroll was second to Baltimore's. So I don't have a huge problem with that.

But the payroll gap has grown huge. It's now about $60 million between the Yanks and Red Sox-- and $60 million can get you the entire Oakland A's roster. So that's far from a negligble difference.

And the Yanks' losing the past few years doesn't mean much. I attribute that to George and Cashman's blunders. There have been so many the past few years: Weaver, Contreras, Brown, Vazquez, Giambi, Mondesi, etc. If the Yankees were managed solidly with that kind of payroll, they might be on a 7-year dynasty run by now. But when you've got a $60 million advantage over the next best team, you should be able to win it all. If the Yanks had Beane or Schuerholz running the team, the Yankees would be downright scary.

And speaking of Schuerholz...

They do dominate the American League East. However when you devote as many words criticizing the Atlanta Braves for an even greater stronghold on the NL East, I’ll address that level of dominance. Keep in mind that the Braves were the first team to own their own national TV station (Ted Turner owned both entities) and reap the financial benefits of such.

Granted, the Braves have been among the upper half of baseball's payrolls for much of their run. But do they have as huge an advantage as the Yankees do? No way. In fact, the Braves payroll has been lower than the Yanks for much of that time. Even in '91 when the Braves made in to the Series while the Yanks lost 91 games, the Yanks still outspent 'em by $10 mil. So maybe the Braves aren't quite the penny-pinching A's, but they've never outspent the rest of the league by a ridiculous margin.

And keep in mind that they're in a bit of a weak division. The Phillies and Mets are two of baseball's biggest underacheivers-- in fact, they have recently been spending in the same range as Atlanta (Philly had a higher payroll- $93 mil than the Braves this year -- $88 mil). The Expos need no explanation. And the Marlins have been up and down.

Atlanta has also been well-managed. From Schuerholz to manager-of-the-year Bobby Cox to pitching guru Leo Mazzone, they've won around a strong rotation (till this year) and role players like Bret Boone, John Burkett, Kenny Lofton, Marquis Grissom, and Johnny Estrada. Of course, that management hasn't done a whole lot in October.

And in the '80's, even Ted Turner's pockets couldn't help a poorly managed team. In '86, for example, Atlanta had the highest payroll at $15.8 million, but still lost 89 games. But they've certainly come a long way since the Bruce Benedict era.

More to come.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Teasing, Winning, and Dynasties

Many commenters have pointed out that, in fact, many small-market teams can win it all. After all, the Royals had a great run in '03. And the Marlins won it all in spite of their small payroll. So these teams have no right to cry poverty. They have as much of a chance to win as the Yankees do!

First off, when teams like the Royals get hot, it's just a tease. Plain and simple. It's nice for a while, but it doesn't last. Realistically, these teams have no chance to grind it out through the summer and stay on top. The Royals had a few good months that year, but once reality set in they were awful. And being unable to afford players to improve the team, they were simply horrible in '04.

And even this year when the Reds were hot for the first few months, you knew they would implode once the pitching cooled off and Griffey got hurt. And after that happened, they stunk. The same goes for the Brewers and Indians. Hot for a while, but it's all a tease.

And Texas was a nice story this year, but they had a very slim chance of making it. And they wouldn't have lasted a day in the playoffs with that patchwork pitching staff. You're not winning it all with John Wasdin on your team.

When you've been turned off by a team with losing seasons for a decade, can you really get excited when the team gets hot? Especially when you know it's just not gonna last?

And even when a mid-market team like the Marlins win, they can't build a dynasty. After winning the championship, the Marlins had to cut payroll and shed I-Rod, Urbina, and Derrek Lee. And aside from Benitez, they couldn't sign any big names on the market (and I'm being very generous to Benitez by calling him a "big name"). And those losses hurt the Marlins in '04. And with Pavano and Benitez on the brink of leaving, it may get even harder for the Fish to return to October baseball. And with Billy Beane's A's missing the playoffs this year and Tim Hudson a free agent next winter, it looks like Moneyball magic may have run its course.

Only a few teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can afford to build a contender every winter without sacrificing a thing. A team like the Astros has to lose a Billy Wagner in order to sign more free agents. But the Yankees won't be stopped this winter, even with Giambi, Brown, and Bernie making more than the whole Devil Rays team.

Suzyn Waldman in the Radio Booth? PR All the Way!

According to the Daily Snooze, the Junkees are considering having Suzyn Waldman be one of the radio voices in the booth. This reeks of bad PR. They want to show how great they are for having the first woman call a game on the radio.

This is dumb because she stinks. I know you're not allowed to criticize a woman without being called a chauvinist pig, but I don't care. I can't stand her. She has a grating voice, and she doesn't say anything that knocks my socks off. Let's be realistic here - she only got to where she is now because she's a woman, and everyone wanted the PR.

Let me guess - in 2003, Lisa Guerrero got the job as sideline reporter for Monday Night Football because of her extensive knowledge of the game, right? Same thing here, except Waldman is certainly not eye candy - she's old enough to be my grandmother. But that's not the point.

There are more qaulified broadcasters out there, but if George hires Waldman, it'll be to exploit her to make himself look like a great guy. Make no mistake about it; everywhere you turn you'll see or hear, "The first female to broadcast radio games, blah blah blah..."

Just how low can you go, George?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why I Love Hating the Yankees

All of the comments from Junkee fans are the same: You're jealous of our success, we're not breaking any rules, we're good for baseball, you're a loser...

First of all, I don't know if there's anything more satisfying than the Junkees either not making or losing the World Series these past four years. Ah, memories... Luis Gonzalez popping it over Jeter's head in '01, Nick Johnson popping out to end the ALDS in '02, Josh Beckett tagging out Jorge Posada in '03, and Ruben Sierra grounding out to second in '04... But I digress...

The Junkees are the evil empire. Nobody ever said they're breaking any rules, but that doesn't mean they haven't ruined baseball. Because of their spending, 20 out of 30 teams show up to Spring Training knowing that they have no shot of winning. In the '80s, all the teams thought they had a shot. But that was before George got out of control.

So rooting against the Junkees is like rooting for David against Goliath. It's no big deal if Goliath beats David - that's what's supposed to happen. But when David pulls off the upset, how sweet it is! So rooting against the Junkees is rooting against arrogance, buffoonery, and the jerks who ruined baseball for all the small market fans. Come on, isn't it great when something evil just totally collapses?

And I'm not a Red Sox fan. They happen to be playing the Junkees, and the Junkee fans despise Boston, so I had to root for them. If the Orioles fight the Junkees for first place in '05, I'll be rooting my fanny off for Baltimore.

Now what happens if the Junkees return to their early '90s form of losing baseball? Will it still be as satisfying to root against them? I don't know; I'll cross that bridge when I get there, but I'd sure love to find out!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bernie Williams: Arrogant Bum

I always thought that Bernie was one of the classier Yankees. Boy was I wrong. The papers are reporting that Bernie has given his blessing to the Junkee front office to go out and sign Carlos Beltran. Hey Bernie, who the heck needs your blessings? The Junkees are paying you $15 million a year (which is about $14 million more than you deserve), so they don't need your approval. If they give you a first-baseman's glove, you take it! You mean to tell me that had you not approved, the Junkees wouldn't pursue Beltran?

I hated when Piazza did the same thing with the Mets about moving to first base. Who gives you a right to dictate to your bosses where you'll play and where you won't play? Bernie, you're lucky that the Junkees are willing to keep you around next season, let alone give a darn what you think about where you'll play. If they hadn't been such boneheads by signing you to this outrageous contract, you'd be a Milwaukee Brewer right now, you arrogant bum.

The Road Attendance Myth

One commenter yesterday noted that the Yankees have the highest road attendace in baseball. In fact, I was once listening to Yankees-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium when John Sterling said, "The Royals usually draw 15,000 a night, but during this three-game set, they've drawn over 30,000 a night. Who said the Yankees were bad for baseball? Look at all these extra fans they're bringing in!"

Sterling's moronic statement ignores the big picture. Why don't the Royals draw? Because they can't compete. They don't have the money to buy all-stars. When the Yankees spend like crazy, small-market teams can't get those marquee players and build a team. And the disparity has reached the point where many teams feel like they're out of it before they start spring training. How does that motivate fans to come to the park?

And baseball wasn't always like this. In his great book The Last Night of The Yankee Dynasty, Buster Olney quotes a old GM of a cruddy team as saying, "back in the day, we felt like if we can make one good trade or have a solid young starter come up, we've got a shot. But it's not like that anymore."

Think about the '80's. Back then, every small-market team had a chance to win and players worth watching. The Expos had Tim Raines. The Royals had George Brett. The Brewers had Yount and Molitor. And the Reds had Eric Davis. You didn't need to wait for the Yankees to come to town to watch a good team play. And these teams didn't need the Yankees to come and help them draw 30,000 a night.

I recently saw an ESPN Classic playoff game from '81. It was Dodgers-Expos in Olympic Stadium. The place was packed. None of this bull that "Canadians are more into hockey." Baseball's system wasn't as screwed up back then. If the Expos were competitive, the fans would come. But once they got shafted by the system in the mid-late '90's and couldn't afford their young stars, the fans said "screw you" and stopped showing up. I don't blame them.

And nowadays, who do the Royals have that's worth watching, Ken Harvey? And the Brewers-- Geoff Jenkins? Please. The Yankees have screwed up the system so much that the small-market teams are out of the race on April 1 and are stuck with a lousy team and inexperienced players that don't attract fans to the ballpark.

The Yankees, on the other hand, have an all-star at every position, basically. So when a traveling all-star team comes to town, of course you want to see them!

Perhaps there's hope, though. With teams like the Brewers and Indians surprising in '04, fans showed up in record numbers. The more competition, the more fans will come. And more record-breaking attendance. And they won't need the Yankees to help them, either.

Also, after seeing how a Red Sox world series get much higher TV ratings than the Yankees series the past few years, perhaps the public has had enough of the Junkees. I know I have.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Duh! Post Says Yanks Can't Shed Payroll

After Brian Cashman's startling revelation, I'm not sure how Yankee fans will cope. This is almost as big a shocker as losing a series after you're up 3-0.

The Post reports, "In candid comments at the general managers' meetings here yesterday, Yankee GM Brian Cashman acknowledged he likely can't cut any payroll this winter.
In fact, as the Bombers attempt to bounce back from the worst playoff collapse in baseball history, Cashman said the payroll will likely increase from the approximately $191 million George Steinbrenner futilely spent last season.
Cashman made it clear that he'll be unlikely to dump any money in unproductive or unpopular players such as Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Kenny Lofton or Javier Vazquez."

No team wants to waste its time and money on these guys. Even if the Yanks pay most of the contract, which NL team would want a guy like Giambi? And Brown is finished. We all know that. So is Lofton. Vazquez being unmovable kind of surprises me, but keep in mind the guy pitched in a pitchers' park up in Montreal. So maybe his numbers this year tell you more about him than anything else.

And this basically means the Yankees can only sign free agents. No trades. So wake up, all you dumb Yankee fans in fantasyland. You're not getting Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, or Ben Sheets. Do you really think Billy Beane is stupid enough to take your garbage?

Further in the article, Cashman jumps into BS mode:
""It's more likely going up a little bit than it is going down," Cashman told reporters in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. "Because we aren't getting any relief of any major free agents involved.
"But again, my preference is to put the best team out there that can win a championship.
"It's unlikely we'll have a drastic change in payroll."

Shut up, buffoon. The Yankees' payroll will skyrocket. Beltran and Pedro give you at least $25 million per. And the Yanks will likely get Nomar or Jeff Kent for second base. That's another $7 mil per year, at least. And expect another free agent pitcher or two from the likes of Russ Ortiz, Eric Milton, and Brad Radke. Add $10-15 million more. And after Quantrill's struggles last year, I think you'll see Troy Percival in pinstripes, or another of the closers on the market. Plus Steve Kline as a lefty from the pen. Another few million there. It all adds up to at least $50 million more.

So Cashman is full of garbage. The Yankee payroll is gonna climb like crazy this winter. And it still won't help.

Stupid Question About Lieber

Ca$hman said that he didn't want to pick up Lieber's option because $8 million is too much, but he hopes to resign him to a two-year deal. Reports indicate that the Junkees are going to offer a two-year deal worth $12 million, or put another way, $6 million a year for two years.

So why didn't the Junkees just offer him another year at $4 million? If Lieber's willing to accept $12 million over two years, pick up his $8 million option, add $4 million for '06, and your total is... $12 million! The same you want to offer him anyway!

Oh, I hope I see him in a Red Sox uniform come '05... And nobody's taking Posada, so forget about Varitek...

Monday, November 08, 2004

Yankees Coaching Update

Now it looks as if Mattingly will be back, taking an $80,000 pay cut, and will make $420,000. When George says he's looking to save money, he means it!

And now that Randolph went to the Mets, sources say that Joe Girardi will take over as bench coach. What's with George's sick obsession with ex-Junkees on his coaching staff? Last year he employed Luis Sojo as the third base coach, Roy White at first, and Rich Montleone served as the bullpen coach. Let's not forget Mel Stottlemyre, the pitching coach. Are there any other teams out there that will let you coach only if you played for that team? Yeah, you'll have Mookie Wilson coach the Mets, or Kirk Gibson the Tigers, but every darn coach has to be an ex-Yankee? And there were talks that if Mattingly didn't return, they'd get Chili Davis, you guessed it, another former Junkee.

So if you're a former baseball player and you want to coach for the Yankees... if you never played for them, don't bother applying.

Your Big Fat Obnoxious Boss: Screwing Mattingly

George is really losing it. First he lets Lieber go because he decided he wants to curb spending (watch the '05 payroll be at least $225 millions...). Then, he decides that $500,000 a year is too much to give Don Mattingly to be his hitting coach. So now Mattingly might leave.

George, you have money coming out of your backside, and you're cheaping out on a Yankee legend? How can any of you guys root for an owner who's has absolutely zero respect for Yankee tradition? Hey George, you didn't have to bring Mattingly back, but you were so desperate for PR, that you threw bad money at him. Now you want to cut his salary? Too bad! You made your bed, now you have to lie in it. You should have thought of that before you made him the highest paid hitting coach in the majors!

As much as I despise the Yankees, I still respect Mattingly. He played hard, had enormous respect for the game and for his teammates, and never won a ring. Then again, I respect the good guys who won rings, like O'Neill and Tino, even if I rooted against them at the time. But the Yankees are becoming a harder team to root for, and a much easier team to despise.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Leave, Lieber

So the Yankees declined their $8 million option on Jon Lieber. Now, if Lieber really wants to go back to New York and is willing to go for cheaper, then the Yankees have pulled off a decent move, saving themselves a few million bucks in the process. And Lieber has claimed that his first choice is New York.

But who knows if that's true. Maybe he's really had enough of the Bronx Zoo and George's shennanigans. And if Lieber signs elsewhere, then the Yankees blew this one. They'll have lost their #2 starter, and be left with one sure deal: Mike Mussina. Brown and Vazquez are finished in New York, and you have to wonder how much Old Duque has left in the tank. And even if the Yanks sign Pedro, they'll miss Lieber. I would love to see Lieber go and screw the Yankees. I was thrilled when Pettitte and Clemens got outta there last winter. Especially after they gave a good guy like Pettitte a hard time about his kids wearing Mets caps (part of their little league team's uniform) in the dugout during spring training. He wanted no more of New York.

I would also find it amazing how George can cheap in all the weirdest places. While he'll overpay for guys like Giambi, Posada, and Karsay, he'll cheap out when it comes to his #2 starter. Is Lieber worth $8 million? No way. But these are the Yankees we're talking about, who gave that same number to Jose Contreras, who's far worse. And if there's a chance Lieber will sign elsewhere, the Junkees are taking a gamble. Here's hoping it'll backfire.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Return of Soriano?

Now the Old York Times is reporting that Texas is considering trading Soriano back to the Junkees for Javy Vazquez. I sure hope Texas isn't that stupid. Granted, Soriano is due $8 million in '05, but the guy is worth it. He's a fantastic slugger. The Junkees want Vazquez out so badly, they'll take a bag of tee shirts in exchange. And I bet Texas could get back a much better player than Vazquez in return.

Then again, Soriano had such a dreadful 2003 postseason that who knows - maybe he can no longer handle playing in New York, especially in October. He can be an easy strikeout, so if he comes back, the Red Sox may be glad to see him. But I don't want him in the Bronx. He's too darn good.

Now Tino? I Told You They Were Desperate!

A couple of days ago, I discussed a report that the Yankees were considering bringing back David Wells by saying this: The Junkees are looking to recreate the Junkees of '96-'00, so what do they do? They bring back the same players from that era!

In the words of Rush Limbaugh – see, I told you so, because the Daily Snooze is now reporting that the Junkees are talking to Tino Martinez about coming back. Tino Martinez! The guy was a bust in St. Louis, the Cardinals somehow managed to dump his salary onto Tampa Bay, and now the Devil Rays don’t want him!

Now you know that had he not played for the Junkees, George would have zero interest in Tino. But, in a lame effort to recreate the dynasty, George will bring back an aging first baseman who the Devil Rays don’t want. Think about it.

Now you’ll tell me that he’s only an insurance policy anyway, in case Giambi doesn’t work out… Nonsense. Either Giambi will be healthy, in which case Tino will sit and rot on the bench, like Mike Stanley did in ’97, or Tino will have to play every day, and when they see that they are not getting the production they want, they’ll go out and acquire a power hitter.

Tino had one great year – 1997, when he hit 44 home runs. Since then, he’s been decent, although he’s hit .262 in two of the last three seasons, and hasn’t come close to 44 homeruns in the past few years. George doesn’t realize that Tino wasn’t the reason the Junkees won all those championships. They won because of pitching, pitching, and pitching. What did Tino do really? Sure, he hit the big grand slam in Game 1 of the ’98 World Series, but (a) the score was tied then, so chances are the Junkees would have come back anyway; and (b) the Padres didn’t have a chance in Games 2, 3, and 4, so I can’t go crazy with the Tino home run.

But when you’re desperate, you do crazy things. But enough about Kevin Brown…

Thursday, November 04, 2004

No Shoulder Surgery for Sheffield / Posada on Block?

I wonder if the Yankee fans will finally shut up about how heroic it was for Sheffield to play with a bum shoulder. Obviously, if he doesn't need surgery, it wasn't as bad as they made it out to be. So he had shoulder pain? What major leaguer plays without pain? That's what happens! That's why they get paid the big bucks!

And what's all this stupidity I hear about the Yankees trading Posada to the Diamond Backs for Randy Johnson? Why on earth would Arizona do it? Posada is heading downhill, he makes way too much money, and a team that lost 111 games doesn't need a veteran catcher - they need prospects, and they need pitching. The Junkees' farm system is in shambles, and other teams that want Johnson have much more to offer. I guess when you buy every player you want, you get used to it as a way of life. So the spoiled Yankee fans think everything is coming to them, but if they think Arizona is so dumb that they'll take an aging catcher in return for the best pitcher in baseball, they're in for a rude awakening.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sayonara to Steiner?

Hey Despiser, I don't know if Charley Steiner will be talking about Jeter's Gold Glove for much longer. The man who once said he had the perfect face for radio has yet to have his contract renewed as color commentary guy on al-Yankzeera radio, and word is the fans have had enough. Is Steiner's tenure finished?

It's funny. I always liked Steiner when he was doing the Sunday Night Baseball games on ESPN-radio. He had a real passion for the game, and was engaging and fun to listen to. There was pretty good chemistry between him and Dave Campbell. So when the Yankees got him, I thought it was a pretty solid move on their part. Instead of getting some washed-up ex-Yankee for PR purposes, (hey, let's listen to Joe Girardi!), they got a professional.

But Steiner's professionalism ended the day he walked into the Yanks' radio booth. It seemed like Steiner was trying to compete with his compadre John Sterling in trying to be as pro-Yankee as possible. Steiner never developed the awful trademark lines that Sterling has ("Theeee Yankees Win!" "Bern Baby Bern!"), but he sure wanted to.

And it seems like Steiner failed. All his kissing up hasn't led George to renew his contract, and the fans didn't draw to Steiner. Maybe he wasn't as pro-Yankee as his annoying, whiney predescessor Michael Kay. But you gotta give him the A for effort.

And after selling out so dramatically, I don't see Steiner getting a job anywhere else. His reputation as a professional guy is gone. He can't pull off the shtick like Sterling, so he really has no appeal anymore. What a loser.

Jeter's Gold Glove

Hey Manny, how many times will the clowns on WCBS and Al-Yankzeera (Sterling, Steiner, Kay, and the rest of the losers) say, "And now the gold-glover Jeter comes to the plate..." or, "Nice play by the gold glover at shortstop!" About 3000?

"That play right there shows you why he's a gold-glove winner!"

The guy's been around for nine years and has won a grand total of one gold glove. I say, let's take it easy a little. You make one nice catch in the stands, come up bleeding on your face, and you win a gold glove. Hmmph!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Wells? Wow, They're Desperate

Now the Daily Snooze is reporting that the Junkees are thinking about bringing back David Wells. Just how dumb are they? Here's a guy who's going to be 42 in May, admits that he doesn't take care of himself, and had a decent year in '04 in a pitcher's park. The Junkees are looking to recreate the Junkees of '96-'00, so what do they do? They bring back the same players from that era!

I'm a tad nervous if they do bring him back, because he might pitch well, but at the same time, there's enormous potential that he'll stink up the joint, so it's exciting that he might be back in pinstripes next season. And if they commit to giving him a spot in the rotation and then he breaks down, the Junkees will be plucking guys out of the scrap heap.

Now you know it's only a matter of time until they talk to Roger Clemens. Will they try to talk the Astros into trading back Andy Pettitte? Maybe they'll try to talk David Cone into coming out of retirement...

There's also the factor of George tweaking Snorre, so for that alone it's worth bringing Wells back.

Oh, I can imagine the Junkees '05 rotation:


Scary, huh? NOT!

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Other Ortiz

That other Ortiz? He would be ex-Brave Russ Ortiz, a free agent pitcher on the market. (Not to be confused with homer-happy Angels pitcher Ramon Ortiz.) I'd love to see the Yankees get this guy. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen.

But, you'll ask, Ortiz has out up some solid numbers throughout his career, including a 21-win season a few years ago. Who's to say he wouldn't do the same in pinstripes?

Well, throughout Ortiz's career he's had two huge factors going for him that he won't have in the Bronx:

a. Don't let Barry Bonds fool you: the Giants' SBC Park is one of the biggest pitchers' parks in the game. Ortiz's numbers with SF definitely were helped by this one. Yankee Stadium (and the DH rule) isn't as generous.

b. And in Atlanta, not only did Ortiz have pitcher-friendly Turner Field, but he had pitching genius Leo Mazzone taking care of him. Look at what Mazzone did a few years back with John Burkett. The guy was just a mediocre journeyman, and Mazzone turned him into one of the NL's best hurlers in '01. Then when Boston signed Burkett, he crashed back down to earth. The whole Red Sox Nation held their breath when he started game 6 of the ALCS last year.

Mel Stottelmyre (or whoever takes over) won't have the same effect. And Stottelmyre is overrated- he doesn't even deserve credit for the '86 Mets. They had a young Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda, Sid Fernandez... With talent like that, who needs a pitching coach? And the same holds true for the guys he had in the late '90's.

And after Vazquez and Brown's disastrous league-switches from the NL, can Ortiz do better?

And Ortiz'z control has been awful: he's given up at least 90 walks in all of his full seasons in the majors. Steinbrenner was excited when he got Steve Trout; he can repeat that success by getting Ortiz.

Will the Yankees Go To Hell-ton?

Today's NY Post has a Joel Sherman article that says the Yankees might go after Todd Helton, especially if they don't get Beltran. While I don't know much credibility Sherman has on this one, I'd love to see the Yankees get Helton. I'd love to see the stupid Yankee fans get excited, the ones who think Helton will put up Coors Field-esque numbers in the Bronx.

In terms of numbers, the guy is kinda like Shemp Matsui. Matsui had amazing numbers in Japan, and has been pretty good here, but nowhere near the level he was in the Far East.

Here are Helton's numbers for the last 3 seasons in Coors and away:
HOME:.380, 62, 197
ROAD: .310, 33, 125

He's averaged about 10 HR a year on the road. Over a full year for another team, he probably hits 20 HR with an average at around .305-.310. So if you look at his road numbers per year, he's basically a little better than Mark Grace and John Olerud (in his prime): a 1b-man who can hit for average, but not a ton of pop. Good, but nothing special. (And again, don't forget the big market factor. Colorado is not New York. If Helton struggles and buckles under the pressure, the Yanks will be in trouble.)

And of course, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Jason Giambi. Then again, that's true of every first baseman in baseball except Mike Piazza.

Is that worth over $15 million a year? I don't think so. But I think George is fed up with Giambi, and will likely try to get Helton. And that's even if the Yanks get Carlos Beltran, and even if they can't get rid of Giambi.

Problem is, who will Colorado want from New York? Vazquez maybe? Would they take risky Giambi if the Yanks eat a large chunk of the contract?

A possible wild-card here is Carlos Delgado. He's a free agent, and I think he's another guy that George has liked, seeing that he's done well against the Yankees. Plus the fact that he stays seated during "God Bless America" will appeal to the ultra-liberals all over Manhattan. Delgado struggled last year, but should still command a lot of money for the numbers he's put up in the past. But that won't stop George.

By the way, the Yankees payroll will skyrocket this winter. Anyone who thinks they're gonna slash payroll is ridiculous. The Yankees will likely find no takers for huge contracts in Brown, Bernie, Giambi, etc. and being unable to make a trade, will instead spend on free agents like Beltran, Pedro, and others. I think you'll see $250-260 million on the payroll by next spring.

The Homegrown Myth

First off, it's amazing how quiet the Junkee fans have been lately now that their team is long gone. When I celebrated the Twins Game 1 victory in the ALDS, the Junkee fans were all over me as the Twinkies dropped the next three. But now, complete silence. Life really is beautiful.

Next topic - I hate when Junkee fans attribute their '96-'00 success on the fact that they had lots of homegrown players. For one, that's not even true. In '96, they had Tino at first, Mariano Duncan at second, Boggs at third, Raines in left, O'Neil in right, Girardi behind the dish, and a staff featuring Jimmy Key, David Cone, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Gooden, and John Wetteland closing, all of whom came from other teams. So homegrown players can't be the only reason they won. And then in '98, they acquired Chili Davis, Scott Brosius, David Wells, and a bunch of other guys from other teams. Same in '99 and 2000. So why is it suddenly a concern in 2004?

Also, many other teams won the Series without a ton of homegrown talent. Look at the '86 Mets. Carter, Hernandez, Fernandez, Darling, Ojeda, Knight, and a bunch of others came from other teams. Same with the Blue Jays in the early '90s and the Red Sox of '04.

So why are the Junkee fans so hung up on homegrown talent? Answer: Because they don't want to acknowledge that Brian Cashman is a buffoon, or that George doesn't know what he's doing. So they blame the farm system, despite the fact that George hires the scouts! They won in '96 because they got the right players. They lost in '04 because they got the wrong players. It's as simple as that.

Recent Yankee Transactions

I love how put it:

"The Yankees began restructuring for 2005 Friday, declining options on Travis Lee and Paul Quantrill..."

Meanwhile, what they don't tell you until you click on the declining options link is that Quantrill's option is for 2006! So unless they can dump him, they're stuck with Mr. 4.72 ERA for '05. But Travis Lee is gone? Uh oh, watch out, Red Sox fans!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Junkees' Off-Season Moves, Pt. 1

a) The most obvious one here is Carlos Beltran. Unless he really doesn't want to play in a big market, only George will be able to fork up the dough to please Scott Boras.

b) I may take a lot of flak for this one, but I see Sammy Sosa in pinstripes next year, as a DH. He received a huge fine for skipping the last game of the season last year and has clearly worn out his welcome in Chicago. The Cubs would love to find a taker for his $17 million contract.

Back in 2000, George wanted Sosa very badly. He couldn't get him, and instead had to settle for David Justice. And when George wants somebody, he'll get the guy even a few years later, when the guy is past his prime. Think Kevin Brown. The Yankees wanted him from back in his Texas Rangers days, and when they finally had a chance to get him, they took advantage. The fact that he was an old man, an injury risk, and ridiculously expensive? No big deal.

Who will the Cubs take for Sosa? I see them getting Bernie and in essence trading bad contracts. They're losing Alou to free agency, and because they've got Corey Patterson already, they'll probably put Bernie in left. Perhpas they hope his numbers will improve in Wrigley.

And ESPN's Rumor Central now reports that the Mets want Sosa. (Typical stupid Schmets move- they're doing it just for PR). If the Mets are trying to get him, that'll make it all the more important for George to get this guy he's coveted.

Yankees: Watch Out for Boston in '05

One of the sweetest things about the Red Sox winning the World Series (I love the sound of that - the Red Sox winning the World Series), aside from the fact that it sticks it to Yankee fans, is the idea that the Yankee fans have to watch out for Boston next season.

Until the Sox proved that they could beat the Junkees, Junkee fans didn't take Boston seriously. After all, they'd say, they've never beaten us in a big spot, and the so-called Curse still lives. Well, no longer! They can beat the Yankees (they're not intimidated), there's no more curse (not that I thought there ever was), and you have to admit that Theo Epstein is a hundred times better at what he does than Brian Cashman is, so Yankee fans, beware of Boston!

It'll be sweet to see Joe Snorre and the other Junkees next season as they watch the Red Sox accept their World Series rings. If you thought Snorre looks 85 now...

Life is beautiful!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Message to Yankee Fans

Hey guys, hope you enjoyed the World Series. Then again, you losers didn't watch it. At least the Cardinals didn't pull off the biggest choke in history, unlike some other team out there.

Yeah, those "1918" t-shirts? You can throw 'em out. Or try selling them on eBay. 2004's the year now.

And the Curse of the Bambino? No longer. The only curse in town is the Jeff Nelson curse, or the curse of George Steinbrenner's bonehead spending.

Speaking of which, the Despiser and I have a new chant: TWO THOUSAND! That's the last time your team won. Been a while, huh? Hope it stays that way.

And don't even bother talking about your 26 World Championships. Stop living in the past. Get with it. Your team sucks now.

By the way, if you haven't done so already, throw out the "Who's Your Daddy?" t-shirts. I think they're at 75% off in Modell's by now, if they're not paying you to take them.

And if you got that stupid "Bucky/Boone" poster in the NY Post last week, you can tear it down. Put David Ortiz or Johnny Damon up there instead.

Bill Buckner & Grady Little? Welcome back to Boston. Bucky and Boone can come too. Just for a good laugh.

The best team in baseball is the Boston Red Sox. The biggest chokers? Your team. All $190 million worth of the biggest chokers money can buy. Haha. Get used to it.

I heard Buster Olney's putting out a book called "The Last Night of the Curse."

And someone tell Joe Torre he can't put half his team on the All-Star roster next year. John Flaherty's just gonna have to wait a while for his first appearance.

Look forward to seeing you next Opening Day at Fenway, when the Sox get their World Series rings.

It's the Pitching, Stupid

If there's anything the last two weeks have taught me, this is it. The age-old lesson. To win in the postseason, you better have the pitching.

The Yankees didn't have it. Not with Brown and Vazquez. Not with a tired bullpen. Not with Leiber unable to outduel Curt Schilling. And they had plenty of offense, but Boston's pitching stymied that offense. Derek Lowe and Schilling got the job done. And aside from Jeter's double, so did Pedro. And so did Timlin, Foulke, and Arroyo out of the pen.

And the World Series. I wanted the Cardinals to make it. Now we all see why. These guys can hit, but they can't pitch. And against Schilling and Pedro, they couldn't hit, either. I don't pin the blame on Rolen for slumping. It's just that Morris and Suppan just don't match the Red Sox guys.

It's amazing. The Red Sox #4 guy, Derek Lowe, may be better than the Cards' #1 guy Woody Williams. If Lowe puts in a performance tonight like last week's, the Bambino should turn over in his grave.

And even if he doesn't, I don't see a Yankee-esque choke coming if the Sox have Curt and Pedro lined up to pitch. Pitching wins in the postseason. That's all it boils down to.

The one exception: the 2002 World Series. Both the Angels and Giants were dealing with the Kirk Reuters and John Lackeys of the world. But I would argue that the Angels' deep bullpen of Weber, Donnelly, Rodriguez, and Percival gave them a big edge.

And if not for Byung-Hyun Kim in '01, Arizona's pitching would've discarded the Junkees a lot sooner.

The Cardinals got a lot of their wins from the injured Chris Carpenter and from beating weak teams in its division like the Brewers, Pirates, and Reds. They need dominant postseason pitching to stay in this one. Is Jason Marquis the answer? We'll find out.

Still Can't Believe It

When I watch the World Series on TV, I still have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure I'm not dreaming - the Red Sox really did beat the Yankees in the ALCS and really are in the World Series!

The Junkee fans are already claiming to be over it. Nonsense! When your team is up 3-0 in a best-of-seven series, you're high on your team, especially if you're a Junkee fan, who is pompous to begin with.

After Game 3, Pedro Martinez told Chris Myers on the postgame show that although the BoSox are up 3-0, they are not taking anything for granted. Pedro added that he had read in the papers during the ALCS that Gary Sheffield had become "arrogant" and that has made the ALCS victory all the more sweeter.

I'm not getting arrogant about the Red Sox winning it all until it happens. And if they can win that one game, that'll really stick it to Yankee fans. It'll be the quickest offseason ever!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Yankee Fans: Not Real Baseball Fans

I read in the paper that many Yankee fans will NOT be watching the World Series this year because their team isn't in it (thank God!). You know what that means? These people aren't real fans, that's all.

To me, if you love baseball, you can't be happy about Steinbrenner and his idiotic ways. The guy singlehandedly ruined baseball, which is why the true fans of baseball can't warm up to the Yankees.

Not only that, but I find that a lot of Yankee fans have very little knowledge of the other teams. All they care about is Yankees, Yankees, Yankees. They probably can't name five players on the Colorado Rockies. I wonder if they ever heard of Miguel Cairo before he became a Junkee.

I despise the Yankees, but I still watch the World Series when they're in it, because I love baseball, and whatever happens goes in the books, so I want to know what happens so I can remember the games. I sat through painful moments such as Tino's grand salami against the Padres in the '98 World Series, Jeter throwing out Jeremy Giambi in the '01 ALDS, Armando Benitez's blown save in game 1 of the '00 World Series... Then again, I got to enjoy the final inning of the '01 World Series when the unstoppable Mariano Rivera allowed two Arizona runs to score to beat the Junkees.

So I'm loving the '04 World Series. It might be the best I've ever seen. And if the Red Sox can win two more and become champions of the world... I can't wait to see the Junkee fans then! Oh, how sweet it'll be. Manny Ortiz, you thought the ALCS win was the best night ever?

Last Year's Big Talker

I forgot one point in the Schilling discussion: he provides a stark contrast to David Wells last year.

In one of '03's top Yankee Despiser moments, Wells bragged about how he's a great pitcher even though he doesn't work out at all, unlike Roger Clemens and his rigorous routine.

And two days later, Wells lasted only an inning due to his back and had to be replaced by Jose Contreras. Not the guy you want on the mound in the World Series. Needless to say, that shut Wells up.

And by the way, one more good Yankee Despiser moment (well, not quite a "moment") of '04. Seeing Wells, Clemens, and Weaver put up good numbers for their new teams. Not to mention ex-Yankee farmhands and '04 All-Stars Jake Westbrook and Ted Lilly. All this while the Yanks' starting pitching was a question mark all year long. Too bad Andy Pettitte was injured for a good part of the year.

Yankee fans: Jealous of Schilling

Like everyone else out there, I keep hearing a lot about Schilling's sutures and how he's played through pain. I think it's not only up there with Kirk Gibson, but much greater. Gibson has one at-bat. Schilling's done this for 13 innings.

But the New York media is tired of it. The Post had a bunch of articles yesterday saying that even though Schilling is an arrogant, full-of-himself, selfish player, you've gotta respect what he's done.

And then I hear ESPN's Mike and Mike say that Schilling is the one who doesn't stop talking about it. He's the one drawing the attention to himself.

Come on, Yankee fans. Talk about a double standard.

When Derek Jeter dove into the stands, the Yankee fans talked about it for weeks. They thought it was the greatest catch ever. They talked and talked about how he giving of himself for the team, willing to get hurt to make the catch.

And if Mariano gets the job done in Game 4 of the ALCS, we'd still be hearing about his courage in pitching after his relatives were killed. But after his two blown saves in a row, the courage we heard about after Game 1 has gone the way of the aura and mystique of Yankee Stadium. History.

And throughout the year, we heard about how Gary Sheffield was thinking of retirement because of the pain in his shoulder. Hey Gary, after your pathetic ALCS performance in Games 4-7, it looks like a pretty good idea.

And why do you think Schilling talked so much about the injuy? Because he was asked about it so much, that's why! What do you expect him to do-- pull off a Mike Mussina and snub the media? And Schilling's been classy about the deal, discussing his faith in God and how he was enocuraged by the fans' signs of support on his way to the ballpark.

Who was the last Yankee to do like Schilling? Was it Kevin Brown, pitching with an injured left hand after his moronic wall-punching incident? And we all now how that turned out. And then Vazquez, the guy the Yankees got instead of Schilling. Gave up the grand slam that basically capped off the Yankees' choke.

As it is, when I went to Citizens Bank Park in Philly this year, they had a video of Schilling discussing the '93 Series. Schilling was wearing a "Yankee-hater" cap during the interview. The guy is classy.

And the jealous Yankee fans should just shut up. You're getting Carlos Beltran in a few weeks. Maybe he can pitch.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Top Ten Yankee Despiser Moments in 2004

(10) Big mid-season acquisition: Estaban Loaiza. (And not getting Randy Johnson.)

(9) Derek Jeter’s 0-for-32 slump in April.

(8) Mets sweeping Yankees at Shea in July.

(7) Red Sox sweeping Yankees at Yankee Stadium in April.

(6) Bill Mueller’s walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera to win that wild game in Fenway, on July 24th.

(5) Kevin Brown punches wall, breaks hand, misses a month.

(4) David Ortiz’s extra-inning walk-off home run in Game 4 of ALCS.

(3) David Ortiz singles in Johnny Damon to win Game 5 of ALCS in extra innings.

(2) Indians 22, Yankees 0.

(1) Red Sox overcome 0-3 deficit to beat the Yankees in the ALCS 4-3. Enough said.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

al-Yankzeera does it again

In this town full of pro-Yankee media, it's refreshing to see someone who tells it like it is. NY Daily News media pundit Bob Raissman has ripped the biased Yankee-loving broadcasters for years, and was right on the money in his Friday column. I liked his piece so much I've decided to put it up on here.

"Anyone surprised that the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network was the place to be if you were looking for some spin on the biggest gag job in baseball's postseason history?
It happened at the bitter end of what, up to that point, had been a fine and informative Game 7 postgame show.
As he wrapped things up, Michael Kay said the Yankees had had a "great season," but acknowledged it hadn't ended the way they would have liked it to. He pointed out that the Bombers had won 101 games while also setting "attendance records" at the Stadium. Kay said that "superstars up and down the lineup" had provided excitement in 61 come-from-behind victories.
"Again, they fell short, but have nothing, nothing to be embarrassed about. It didn't end the way they wanted it to end. And the Red Sox made history tonight as they go to the World Series," Kay said. "But the Yankees certainly don't have anything to hang their heads about when you look at the entire season as a whole."
It would be too easy just calling this a typical Al Yankzeera moment. It was pure fantasy.
Even Kay's primary benefactor - George Steinbrenner - wouldn't buy this jive.
Would anyone be shocked if, behind closed doors, Steinbrenner himself is embarrassed by the Yankees' performance? Does anyone actually believe Steinbrenner or Joe Torre is finding any solace in the Yankees' regular-season performance?
How many times have you heard Kay say the Yankees are "built for October." The regular season? Regular season come-from-behind victories? Attendance records? When October comes and goes, those subjects are rarely discussed in Yankeeland.
The Yankeecentric, and all other interested parties, know Steinbrenner's blueprint begins and ends with winning the World Series. How many times have you heard that line?
It's no darn secret.
The Yankees are unlike any team in baseball. Other clubs are satisfied with just making it to the postseason. So if they lose, no matter how it goes down, there is still a feeling of satisfaction. When a team in rebuilding mode contends for the playoffs, and just misses, its regular season might mean something.
These notions are so foreign to the Yankees they don't even exist. The Boss sets the bar high. Did Steinbrenner throw crazy money at Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez to finish in first place during "the regular season?" Did Steinbrenner throw millions at them so that they could be key components of Operation Choke?
For Kay to say the Yankees have nothing to "hang their heads about" when "you look at the season as a whole" contradicts every statement he has ever made about the "Yankee way."
The 2004 regular season already is a distant memory. Is anyone going to remember - or care - about the Yankees finishing first when that achievement is compared with the memory of becoming the first and only team in baseball history to blow a 3-0 playoff series lead? The Red Sox factor makes this a double whammy.
And the statement about the Yankees having "nothing, nothing" to be "embarrassed about" strongly suggests Kay is taking on ostrich-like qualities.
Only someone with his head in the sand - or looking to play Dr. Feelgood for heartbroken Yankee fans - would not realize the Bombers have everything to be embarrassed about. This is an eternal embarrassment for everyone in the organization - especially the players.
In the future, when people reminisce about all those Yankee World Series titles and pennants, they also will bring up the year the Bombers blew it like no other team ever has. That's what usually happens when a dubious achievement is authored.
Nobody knows this better than Steinbrenner. In this respect, he is a realist. This isn't a man inclined to let someone blow smoke up his gasket. After all these years of owning the town, moving easily among moguls, politicians, celebrities and everyday working stiffs, Steinbrenner knows when the praise is real and when it's false.
False praise. Or Kay attempting to say it ain't so bad. In Steinbrenner's world, it's the same as someone telling you "keep your chin up" or "wait till next year."
Those are the only lines the Yankees are left holding.
And it is embarrassing.

Pitching for the Yanks: Too Much to Handle?

An writer pointed out that Tom Gordon was so overwhelmed by the pressure in Game 6 of the ALCS that he threw up in the bullpen. Seems like Gordon is the latest casualty to fall to the pressure of pitching for the Yanks. And with the casualties mounting over the last few years, it seems like more pitchers will do like Greg Maddux in '92 and pass up on a chance to go to the Bronx.

It all started with Kenny Rogers back in '96. Rogers was awful in New York, but has done well in Texas and Minnesota. But back then, guys like Jimmy Key were able to deal with it. Seemed like it wasn't a big deal at the time.

Then in '00, there was Denny Neagle, whose experience in the Bronx was only 2nd-worst to his tenure with the Rockies. Jay Witasick was solid for the Padres in the beginning of '01, then morphed into Ed Whitson after joining the Yanks.

After that the list gets longer. Weaver. Contreras. Gabe White. Felix Heredia. The latest? Javier Vazquez and Tom Gordon. All of the above have succeeded at some point for another club. But Yankee pressure got the best of them. And it seems that this pressure is reaching the point where many players don't want to join the Yankees.

Carl Pavano, one of the top arms on this year's free-agent market, has said that he doesn't want to sign with the Junkees. And even if the Yankees dangle enough $$$ to get a guy like Eric Milton, who's to say he'll do well in the Bronx after stints in Minny and Philly?

Seems like if you want to do well for the Yanks these days, you better get your ego ready. The aloof Mike Mussina and surly El Duque fit nicely with the Yankees. Maybe Jon Lieber is an exception to this rule. But for most pitchers, it's "enter at the risk of your sanity." And ask the Orioles of the late '90's about trying to win with lots of egos on the team. Doesn't work.

Hitters don't suffer as much (but don't forget Chuck Knoblauch and Rondell White), simply because they're not in the spotlight like the pitchers. After all, a struggling hitter usually has 8 other guys to bail him out. But a stinky pitcher is out there all alone on the mound.

With Yankee craziness, desperation, and pressure at an all-time high, Yankee Stadium is gonna start looking about as appealing as Coors Field to free-agent pitchers. Once again, the madness of King George may come back to hurt the Yankees.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Not Nelson's Curse, But George's

I had also been a believer in the curse of Jeff Nelson, but not after last year.

After not being re-signed afer '00, Nellie said "the Yankees won't win without me." And it was true in '01 and '02.

But in '03, Nellie was back. So the Yankees should've won. But they didn't.

In my not-so-humble opinion, the biggest Yankee curse is George Steinbrenner.

Stick Michael was able to build the cornerstones of the dynasty in the early '90's when George was suspended and low-key. Michael let a core of home-grown players develop and added importnat pieces like O'Neill and Cone.

As for the late '70s dynasty-- Gabe Paul built the core of that team in the early '70's, making excellent trades to obtain Lou Piniella, Graig Nettles, Sparky Lyle, and others. George deserves credit for getting Reggie, but that's it.

Once George got too involved and got duds like Dave Collins and Doyle Alexander, the team went south.

If George was active in the early '90's the way he is now, Mariano Rivera would be on the Braves. Derek Jeter would be on the Dodgers. And Bernie and Pettitte would've performed in different uniforms. There would have been no dynasty, no World Series rings.

Now that George is too involved and has let key players like Pettitte leave, and has encouraged lousy moves like Giambi, Brown, and Vazquez, the Yankees are going back to their '80's ways. Lots of overpaid, overage hitters and lousy pitching.

George can tease the fans by spending enough dough to make this team crush the Devil Rays and Orioles 35 times a year and win 100 games. But a team like that can't and won't succeed in October.

The ’05 Yankees Will Go the Way of the ’04 Mariners

If the ’04 ALCS proves one thing, it’s this: prayer really does work.

Looking ahead to next year, the Junkees are in trouble, and I’m delighted:

1B – They have Giambi locked up for another few years, and no team will be dumb enough to take him, so they can either leave him at first, with his horrid defense and his .208 batting average or move him to DH, which would preclude them from getting Beltran, because Bernie would have to remain in centerfield. I wonder if the Yanks wouldn’t mind having Jeremy Giambi instead…

2B – They’ll probably try to get Jeff Kent. Typical, typical, typical… Then again, Kent didn’t have a great experience in New York when he was on the Mets, so he might opt for a smaller market team. That leaves

SS – The overrated Derek Jeter, who would get no attention if he played for the Devil Rays. He’s nowhere nearly as good as Tejada, Nomar, or Michael Young.

3B – Alex Rodriguez has shown that his great ’01-’03 numbers were due to batting in the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington. Worth all that dough? No way.

LF – Shemp had a pretty good postseason, but he’s a tad overrated. He hit 16 homers in ’03, but once the Yanks got Sheffield and Rodriguez, his total increased to 31 because he had more pitches to hit. If he were on the Pirates, I wonder if he’d have 10. And his defense leaves much to be desired.

CF – Bernie has one more year on his contract, and George will not cut him, so he’ll be in centerfield, unless they get Beltran, in which case Bernie DHes and Giambi plays first. The media seem convinced that the Junkees are getting Beltran, but you never know. If Houston goes further in the postseason, he just might accept a 5-year $60 type of deal. Unlikely, but it’s possible. But even if they get Beltran, having Giambi play first everyday with those gimpy knees will be a joy to watch.

RF – Sheffield is excellent, there’s no denying that, but he’ll be 36 and has had nagging injuries over the past couple of years, so who knows if he’ll stay healthy. But I give the Junkees props on this one, even though many teams can’t afford to pay a guy $13 million a year.

C – Posada is looking a little long in the tooth, so I can see him slowing down both offensively and defensively, where he was never a bargain anyway.

DH – They still have Lofton signed through ’05, who I can see George dumping, but the logjam of Giambi and Bernie will make it tough to sign anyone.

So right away you see that the Junkees don’t have much space to put anyone, except second base, of course, and Bernie is getting old, as is Sheffield, Shemp (who looks like he’s 55), Posada, Giambi (who aged about 10 years since 2001), and we haven’t even gotten to the pitchers!

SP – Mussina doesn’t impress anyone with his 4.59 ERA, gives up a lot of home runs, and hitters batted .276 off him this past year. He’s become a #2, #3 type starter making #1 type money. Lieber is not signed past this year – they have an option on him – but hitters batted .301 off him in ’04. El Duque cannot be relied upon long-term, and the Dodgers look like geniuses dumping Brown and his $15 salary. He’s shot, so forget him being effective, but he’s under contract for ’05. Who else is there – Loiaza?

Pavano looks like he’s going to Boston, so the Junkees will have to settle for a second tier pitcher like Eric Milton, Russ Ortiz, or Derek Lowe, so don’t expect the rotation to resemble the ’98 Yankees.

RP – After the two blown saves in the ALCS, I think it’s fair to say that Mariano is no longer invincible. He’s been around for a long time now, and his contract extension may prove to have been a mistake. Gordon, Quantrill, and the other guys are most likely goners, so the Junkees will look to pick up relievers off the scrap heap. So you’ll have the Tanyon Sturtzes and Antonio Osunas of the world once again.

All in all, I like what I am seeing, so I think I’ll re-subscribe to the baseball package on Direct TV and enjoy watching the Junkees miss the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Astros or Cardinals?

With the ALCS over and the Sox in it, the question is who should we root for tonight?

The Cardinals have a slightly better offense and deeper lineup than the Astros. Pujols, Edmonds, Rolen, and Larry Walker are all threats. Even though the 'Stros have the killer B's, guys like Mike Lamb and Brad Ausmus water down the lineup.

With Tavarez looking sharp last night, The Cards' pen is still the one to beat. The Astros have the unhittable Brad Lidge, but guys like Qualls and ex-Schmet Dan Wheeler are nothing special.

The Astros' big edge? Starting pitching. Clemens and Oswalt are solid, and after an excellent Game 5 start, Brandon Backe is starting to look real good. Woody Williams and Jeff Suppan just don't cut it.

With that in mind, I've got to say the Sox have a better chance at beating the Cardinals. The Sox should be able to feast off the mediocre starters like Morris and Williams. On the other hand, I see Pedro being dominant against the Cards, simply because they aren't the Yankees. If they can get two starts from Schilling, that's two wins right there. And perhaps not being used to Wakefield's knuckler, the Cards won't be able to get him. Plus, don't forget the resurgent Derek Lowe.

Clemens, Oswalt, and Backe could shut down guys like Damon, Manny, and Ortiz. And if those starters go long enough, the Sox won't have a chance to feast on the Dan Wheelers of the world. Brad Lidge looked incredible last night. And Carlos Beltran just plain scares me. He can hit anybody right now.

Let's go Cardinals!

The Curse Lives On... The Curse of Jeff Nelson, That Is!

After his spat with Joe Torre in 2000 over being left off the all-star roster, Jeff Nelson, the great middle reliever for the Yankees was not resigned and became a Seattle Mariner. Upon leaving, he cursed the Yankees that their great run would end. How right he was!

Every year since then, the Yankees have done a great Atlanta Braves imitation. They've found ways to lose. And for the fourth year in a row, they're denied their rings. Oh baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can finally sit back and enjoy the World Series not having to worry about the Junkees ruining my year. Thank you, Yankees!

This year has made all my years of being a Yankee despiser worthwhile. Does it get much better than this?

And how about Mike Mussina, who joined the Junkees after 2000 to get his ring? Hey pal, your contract's gonna run out soon, and like Karl Malone joining the Lakers just for the ring, I hope you never get yours. Go do your crossword puzzles in the locker room, you preppie!

And A-Rod, go slap the ball out of Arroyo's glove, huh? A-Schmuck is exactly right.

Shemp Matsui, go back to Japan!

Jason Giambi, do we have to call the cops for all the money you stole this year? At least Bonds could still hit after getting off the juice...

Hey Cashman, how'd that 4-year $45 million contract for Javier Vazquez work out for you?

Hey Manny, wanna go to Boston and party?

Best Night Ever

No, this can't be real. I'm not even excited yet. I'm just shocked. I can't believe this. Too good to be true.

During the game, my other favorite moments flashed before my eyes.

--'97, the Sandy Alomar HR. Not too great, because it was before the Yanks really killed baseball
--'01 Luis Gonzalez' bloop hit. Wow. Everyone thought it was over after Byun-Hyung Kim blew two saves in a row, a feat matched by Rivera in this series, oddly enough.
--'02 David Wells just not giving a damn anymore after Bernie screwed up catching a fly ball.
--'03 Beckett baffling the Yankees.

But '04 leaves all those in the dust. Wow.

I wrote "Game Over for the Sox." Gee, what the hell was I thinking? But that was so long ago. 4 incredible nights later, the tables have turned.

Game 7, aside from the Pedro inning, was heavenly. Kevin Leary getting his $17 million butt kicked. Javier Trout giving up the slam to Damon, followed by 5 walks. And encores of Esteban Loser and Felix Headcase. Flush Gordon giving up a few runs, and Rivera coming in just to leave the fans something to go home with.

And Damon and Bellhorn, how about those guys. Did nothing all series, and they provided the offense in games 6 & 7. Gotta give Francona credit for keeping those guys in the lineup.

And then there were Mo's two blown saves. How sweet! Especially after everyone made a big deal following his save in game 1.

Face it, Torre screwed up big-time in handling his bullpen. Rivera, Gordon and especially Quantrill were overused during the season and didn't have it. And Grand Tanyon, Headcase, etc. just weren't the answer.

David Ortiz is awesome. You gotta love the guy. But what the hell happened to Manny? The fact that the Sox won without him makes it all the more incredible.

And Derek Lowe. What a job the guy did tonight. Nobody saw this coming. He deserves a lot of credit, more than he'll probably get, especially being preceded by Schilling's incredible effort.

The amazing thing is, this happened so quickly. Saturday night, I felt like it was done. I was freaking depressed.

And then, Sunday night, the Yankees three outs away. Rivera on the mound. Okay, it's over. Sweep.

Monday night, 4-2 Yanks going into the 8th. Okay, we got teased, but the Yanks have beaten Pedro again. Or have they? Flush Gordon wears out his welcome, and the Sox tie it up.

And now, a few nights later, the Red Sox have finally beaten the Yankees.

I gotta see George's face. Worth a million bucks, that's for sure. Like seeing Michael Moore election night if Bush wins.

Cashman should be fired. Brown and Vazquez? Awful. Sierra and Tony Clark? Terrible.

But right now, with the ESPN-radio guy lamenting, it's starting to hit home. I'm going stop blogging now and enjoy the moment. Wow!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bottom of the 9th Blog

Here are my thoughts throughout the bottom of the 9th. Sterling and Steiner blaring on the radio. My sick pleasure.

--Steiner and Sterling talking about Mickey Mantle's birthday. Coming into a Game 7, who would've thought they'd be talking about him?

--Matsui gets a hit. I've never heard Sterling less enthuiastic. I guess John figures George will have other things on his mind.
--Shemp is among the more clutch Yanks.

--I don't care if it's a 7-run lead. I can't relax till it's officially over.

--"If the Yankees stage this kind of comeback, it will be remembered forever." -Sterling
Wake up and smell the choke, Johnno.

-- 3-1 Timlin can't find the plate!

-- Reese with the forceout. 2 outs to go. Posada grounding into a DP would be perfect.

--Posada swinging first pitch-- pops out. 1 more to go.

--Season comes down to Lofton and Olerud. I feel a little better.

--"The Yankees were half an inning away from sweeping the Red Sox"- Charley Steiner
Thanks, Mariano.

-- 3-0 on Lofton? Come on! End it!

--He walked him!!

--Olerud trying for a Kirk Gibson moment. Let's see. They're putting Embree in. Good move. Seems like Francona is making up for the Pedro gaffe. What the hell was he thinking there?

--Commercial break. I'm officially sick of the Foxwoods jingle

--"As the clock strikes midnight, literally and figuratively"- Steiner
What's with the cringe-worthy cliche-- trying to compete with Hickman.

--Sierra grounds out.