25 May 2007

A Petition to Stop Interleague Play? Why?

I got an email today form a concerned fan, asking me to sign a petition to end Interleague play. As a Yankee fan, I rather enjoy interleague play, at least when we play the Mets, but it's also cool to get a chnace to play Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and other teams we would not normally see. The petition, if anyone wants to sign it, is located here:


The following is the text of the petition and my own responses to the arguments, most of which I felt were not particularly strong, though I'm open to other interpretations of the matter.

We, the undersigned, believe regular-season interleague play is bad for baseball and should be abolished. We believe interleague play is wrong for any combination of the following reasons: 1. Regular-season interleague play detracts from the uniqueness of the World Series. For nearly a century, when two teams met in the World Series, they had no regular-season history. There was only speculation as to how the teams would match up. Interleague play has damaged the special magic of the fall classic.

You could use the World Series' declining ratings to support this argument, but I think that would be misguided. In reality, people watch the NFL and NBA and NHL finals (OK, so maybe not the NHL) despite the fact that the teams in them sometimes play each other during the regular seaosn, and nobody seems to mind. The issue is never even discussed. If you have good games and good teams (and especially, if those teams happen to play in big media markets) then people will watch. If not, they'll watch reruns of Seinfeld or something else. Consumers have too many choices these days to let themselves be tethered to a TV watching two teams that aren't that good, in which they have no specific rooting interest, duke it out for a week when they have better things to do.

The last few years, the fact that the teams have largely come from smaller markets (Houston, Detroit, Florida, St. Louis) has hurt the ratings of the World Series. In addition, there has been a general absence of "great" teams from the World Series, with at least one Wild Card winner in the Fall Classis every season since 2002, when both teams (San Francisco and the Los Anaheim Angeles of LAnafornia) failed to win their own divisions. Since 1997, eight of the 20 teams in the World Series have been Wild Card teams, and half of those have won it. In addition, teams like the 2000 Yankees and 2006 Cardinals won the Series only because of the Wild Card and the three-division format. They really weren't that good, but managed to get hot at the right time and take home the Commissioner's trophy. Those kinds of things tend to lead to some disenchantment by fans of the other 29 teams that don't think they deserved it. But that's the fault of the Wild Card, not Interleague play.

2. The schedule is too unbalanced. The accent on divisional play, combined with interleague play, means that teams rarely play certain other teams within their own league. In the American League, for example, East teams play only six games against each of teams in the Central division. Play within a team's own league should take priority over the novelty of interleague play.

With the exception of the geographic rivalries that dominate Interleague play, intra-league play does take priority over Interleague play. Teams play everyone in their own league at least six times, three at home and three away, though perhaps no more than that. Interleague games are only three-game series, and do not have a home/away complement unless they're the regional rivalries.

Read more thoughts on the merits (or lack thereof) of InterLeague play at The Pitch, on MVN.com...

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19 May 2007

Running Subway Series Blog: Yankees @ Mets, Game Two

This has been a weird year (or at least a weird month and a half) for the New York Yankees, so it seems only fitting that the first Interleague matchups between the Yanks and their cross-town rivals, the Mets, should be a little left of center as well.

After last night's pitching duel, a 3-2 win by the Mets, today's game looks like it's going to be a long one, with plenty of runs for both teams, perhaps.

First Inning: Tom Glavine and his 294 career wins in the major leagues toed the rubber against the Yankees in the first, but he has not looked sharp at all today. He walked Johnny Damon on five pitches to start the game (and to be fair, the one strike he got was a gift) and gave up a single to left to Hideki Matsui. In between those, he struck out Derek Jeter, but again, on some very questionable pitches. Jeter had been hitting .360 with two homers in 25 career at-bats against Glavine, so hopefully that was just a fluke.

Glavine then walked Alex Rodriguez as well, not a wise move given that A-Rod's been hitting only .242 with one homer in the month of May. Jorge Posada, surprisingly leading the American League with a .370 batting average as he entered the game, managed to drive in the game's first run on a fielder's choice to short. Bobby Abreu, hitting a dismal .211/.219/.296, with a sub-Neifi .515 OPS in May, flied out to end the threat.

Yankees starter Darrel Rasner cranked one all the way up to 84 (Jamie Moyer, eat your heart out) before he left the game in the first inning. Rasner was hit by a batted ball, off the bat of Endy Chavez, which broke his right index finger and ended his day. Broken fingers usually take 4-6 weeks to heal, so we wn't likely see him before July. For the second time in two weeks, the Yankees have called on LOOGY Mike Myers for long relief. (On May 4th, he made the longest appearance of his major league career, allowing one run in four innings of relief in that 15-11 slugfest against Seattle.)

Unfortunately, Mike Myers hasn't been much relief. In the first inning, with two on and nobody out, he gave up a sac fly to Carlos Beltran, no great sin there, and then struck out Carlos Delgado, exactly what a lefty specialist is supposed to do. But then he gave up a homer to 3B David Wright, making it 3-1, before getting Shawn Green to ground out to second. Unfortunately, Green was safe at first when Robinson Cano botched the grounder, throwing wide of first. Nevertheless, Myers got Paul LoDuca to fly out to right to end the inning.

Second inning: FOX is broadcasting, and they have a reputation for inflating thair radar gun readings to make the game more exciting, but if they’re doing that toda, you ca’t tell. Glavine hasn’t thrown a pitch above 81 mph through the second inning (as I’m writing this).

Cano did his best to appease the baseball gods for his defensive miscue by hitting Glavine’s first offering (a hanging curve) into the right field seats, making it 3-2. Glavine probably won’t be throwing many more curveballs.

Josh Phelps then singled, but was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice when Myers (with one previous career at-bat, way back in 1999) tried to choke up and push one through the brought-in infield. Can’t blame him for trying.

Damon then singled, and Myers got to third when Jeter grounded to third base and Wright threw Damon out at second. But first and third with two outs was as close as the Yanks would get in the second. Matsui could not replicate hs success against Glavine in the first, and despite being 6 for 8 against Glavine in his career before that, he grounded out to first. Three grounders in the inning. I guess however fast he’s throwing, Glavine’s keeping the ball down.

In the Mets’ half of the second, Damian “You Know it Don’t Come” Easley singled and got pushed tosecond on a Glavine sacrifice. (Interesting sidenote: Tim McCarver pointed out that Glavine has more sacrifices than anyone in history. He was wrong of course, but then first, seventy ninth…who’s counting, right?)

Jose Reyes then reached on an error, Cano’s second of the game, and stole second (again) and wnet to third when Endy Chavez singled (again), scoring Easley. Fortunately, Jorge Posada nailed Chavez trying to steal second, and Myers got Beltran to fly out to deep left. Mets 4, Yankees 2.

Third Inning: Nothing doing for the Yankees, three up, three down, though Posada did get a single in the middle there. Abreu, not content to make only one out per plate appearance, made sure to ground into a double play this time up. Apparently Glavine doesn’t need to be able to throw harder than 81 mph, at least not to get the Yankees out.

Myers could do nithing right in the bottom of the third inning, allowing a leadoff single to Delgado, another homer to Wright, and a walk to Shawn Green. Green’s had something of a resurgence this year, hitting .324/.383/.514 coming into the game, after seeing his annual stats in those areas dropping for several years in a row. Of course, this is only six weeks worth of baseball we’re talking here, and just like I don’t think Abreu will keep hitting .230 all season, I don’t think Green will hit .320 all season either. In any case, hard-throwing righty Luis Vizcaino came in to relieve Myers, and got three straight outs to end the third.

Cano messed up a double play ball, which doesn’t show up in the boxscore because “you’re not allowed to anticipate the double play” (an archaic old rule that should have been changed years ago), but it was his third defensive screw up in three innings. Mets 6, Yankees 2.

Fourth Inning: Cano, again trying to make up for his error, singled to start the nnin, but was quickly erased on a DP grounder by Phelps. Luis Vizcaino, like Myers, with only on previous career at-bat in the majors, struck out to end the inning.

Back on the mound, Vizcaino managed to contain the Mets’ supposedly greatest threat by getting Jose Reyes to pop up, but then he surrendered the third hit of the game to Chavez, a single to Beltran, and an RBI double to Delgado. Wright was then intentionally walked (at least he didn’t hit his third homer of the game), setting up a force play at every base and potentially a double play. However, Green’s grounder to second (no error by Cano this time) led to only one out, which meant that Beltran scored. Fortunately, Luis got Paul LoDuca to ground to short and end the fourth. Mets 8, Yankees 2.

Fifth Inning: Glavine’s medium-ball continues to mow the Yankees batters down. Damon and Jeter grounded out to Glavine and Wright, respectively. Matsui hit one kinda hard, but right at Jose Reyes, who doesn’t seem to have the same aversion to catching baseballs that Cano does.

To start the Mets’ half of the fifth inning, the Yankees brought in Bergenfield’s Ron Villone, and the Jersey Lefty wasted no time in showing up his comrades in the bullpen. He got Easley, Glavine and Reyes to ground out to Second, short and third, respectively. Since there aren’t any other players on that side of the infield, I expect he’ll start by inducing a grounder to first in the next inning. Mets 8, Yankees 2.

Sixth Inning: A-Rod pops up, but then Posada and Abreu both single to give the Yanks two men on with only one out. Have no fear, Robby’s here! Cano grounds into a double play to end the top of the first. On the plus side, Abreu’s single was a clean, hard shot pulled through the right side, and may be a sign that he’s feeling a little better at the plate. He ad hit only .224 against Glavine in 67 career at-bats entering the game, so 1-for-3 is an improvement.

With their turns, it looked like the Mets might get to Villone like they got to Myers and Vizcaino, but in the end, Bergenfield’s Pride held his own. An automatic double (NOT a ground rule double, as Joe Buck called it) by Endy Chavez gave him the first four-hit game of his career, but a pop-up by Beltran and a fly-out by Delgado put a damper on that. David Wright was then walked intentionally for the second time in the game, and Villone got Shawn Green to line out. So I was wrong about Villone starting the sixth with a grounder t first, but I was righ that Green’s hot streak wouldn’t keep up. So there. Mets 8, Yankees 2.

Seventh Inning: Glavine comes out to start the seventh with almost 100 pitches already thrown, but he would throw only six more before leaving. Phelps reached on an infield single, and the Mets’ manager Willie RAndolph pulled a double switch, putting Chris Gomez in right field and substituting Scott Schoenweis for Glavine. Apparently the soft-tossing lefty thing was working pretty well, so they figured they’d stick with it. No secret to Glavine’s success: he leaves with a 13-3 ground ball/fly ball out ratio.

Schoenweis looks as good as Glavine had been, at first anyway, getting Doug Mientkiewicz (pinch-hitting for Villone) and Johnny Damon to ground out, but each of them moved Phelps up in the process. Derek Jeter, only 5-for-21 against Schoenweis in his career before today, singled to center, scoring Phelps, and getting the Yanks their first run since Cano’s leadoff homer in the second. Hideki Matsui hit another one hard, but right at a Mets infielder, this time David Wright, to end the top half of the seventh.

The Mets, who could do little with finesse lefty Ron Villone’s ifferings for two innings, found that they could do even less with he hard righty cheese in Brian Bruney’s arsenal. Bruney got LoDuca to fly out to center, then struck out Easley. He then walked Chris Gomez, but struck out Reyes to end the seventh. Mets 8, Yankees 3.

Eighth Inning: Whatever Schoenweis had in the sixth, he must have left it there, as Alex Rodriguez homered to deep left to lead off the inning, and then Jorge Posada hit one out to right center, an opposite field shot against the lefty pitcher. That was A-Rod’s first homer since May 8th, and only his second since April 23rd, a two-homer game against Tampa that tied him for the most April homers of anyone in history. Hopefully that means he’s feeling his oats at the plate a little more, too.

After walking Bobby Abreu, Schoenweis was relieved by lefty Pedro Feliciano. Pedro immediately demonstrated how he’s held lefties to a miniscule .205 batting average from 2004-06, getting Cano to ground out, though he did advance Abreu to second. Josh Phelps, a righty, got his third hit of the game, a double to left center, scoring Abreu. For reasons I do not understand, Joe Torre then pinch hit for Brian Bruney with Jason Giambi, who hit only .243 against lefties from 2004-06, and only .147 overall this month. That’s right: One-forty-seven.

Meanwhile, Miguel Cairo and Melky Cabrera, both of whom can hit right handed and neither of whom strikes out much, sat on the bench. Not surprisingly, Giambi grounded oout to the shifted-over firstbaseman, moving Phelps over to third. Feliciano then walked Johnny Damon, but reliever Aaron Heilmann got His Clutchness to ground out to end the inning. Nevertheless, some damage had been done, and the Yankees were within striking distance again. Mets 8, Yankees 6. But not for long…

Since Jason Giambi can’t even hit, much less pitch, Torre called upon Kyle Farnsworth to start the bottom of the eighth inning on the mound. Farnsworth, to his credit, did everything he could, but didn’t get much help. He got Endy Chavez to ground out to himself, the first Yankee pitcher to retire that pesky Met all day, but then he walked Carlos Beltran. He did get the other Carlos (Delgado) to ground out to second, which moved Beltran up a base. He then issued the third consecutive intentional walk to David Wright, which put things in place to get a double play, if possible, but the Mets executed a double steal to take that away. Then, with 239-year old Julio Franco pinch hitting for Heilmann, Cano made his third error of the day. Cano dove for a grounder to his right, but rather than holding onto the ball when he didn’t have a play, he tried to throw it while on his backside in the outfield grass, and it ricoheted off his right foot into right field, allowing both Beltran and Wright to score. Farnsworth then struck out LoDuca to end the inning, but not before the Yanks found themselves in a four-run hole once again. Mets 10, Yankees 6. But not for long…

Top of the Ninth: The Mets bring in Billy Wagner to pitch the ninth, despite the four-run lead and non-save situation. Just to give us Yankee fans a false sense of hope, McCarver and Buck remind us of Wagner’s melt-down last year when he came in to protect a four-run lead in the ninth against the Yankees and allowed the Yankees to tie the game.

That didn’t hapen today.

Hideki Matsui swung at the first pitch and flied out to center, but then A-Rod and Posada hit consecutive singles. Abreu grounded back to Wagner, which should have been the second out, but Billy made an ill-advised throw to home and it went wide, allowing A-Rod to score, Mets 10, Yanks 7.

First and third, only one out, and Robby Cano with a chance to redeem all those errors with one swing of the bat, right? Two words: Robby Canope. Strike three, sit down Robby. And take some extra infield practice tomorrow, too, will you?

Last and finally, Josh Phelps, who had gone 3-for-4 up to this point, struck out to end the game. At least he went down swinging.

Give credit to the Yankees for not giving up, even as yet another starting pitcher went down with an injury. They battled back and got to the Mets’ bullpen, giving themselves a chance to win, but Cano’s three errors, even though they didn’t directly lead to unearned runs, definitely had an impact on the game, and forced the pitchers frequently to get four or more outs in an inning, which isn’t particularly fair.

Tomorrow is Tyler Clippard’s major league debut, so don’t hold your breath about eeking one out and avoiding the sweep.

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13 May 2007

Game Review: Grand Slam Trivia - Yankees & Red Sox Editions

Grand Slam Trivia: Yankees and Red Sox Editions
Snap TV Games, Inc.
$24.95/each ($19.99 from Amazon)

Snap TV Games would like you to know about their new Yankees and Red Sox Editions of their Grand Slam Trivia games, available on DVD. I was able to review one of each of these editions in my home, and thought my readers might be interested to know about them.

Packaging: Each game is a DVD that comes in a normal-sized DVD case, and that comes within a board-game sized box. It's a bit more packaging than you probably need, but since you're buying it through the mail, it's probably just as well, to make sure the disc doesn't get damaged in transit. The packaging itself does look very nice, though, with slick looking graphics and Yankees or Red Sox insignias emblazoned on the box, the DVD case and the disc itself. There's nothing else in the box at all. No board, no instructions, no small pieces to lose. Just air, which means there's no reason to keep the box and packaging other than the DVD case afterthe first time you open it. Make sure you remember to recycle, kiddies.

Game Setup: Nice and easy. (New Yawk Translation: Fugghedaboudit!) You put the disc in the DVD player, it boots up and you can start playing right away (the "Grand Slam Trivia" option). The game also has an option for practice (the "Batting Cage"), and of course for the Rules, but nowhere are there any printed instructions to read, which means that the other players don't have to sit through listening to you reading the tedious list of rules, and you don't have to get annoyed if they don't listen. This was a particular bonus for me, as I hate it when people don't pay attentio...HEY! WAKE UP!!

Learn how to play the games, and whether you'll even want to, at The Bronx Block on MVN.com...

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10 May 2007

Don't Look Now...but Here Come the Yankees

On Thursday, April 19th, the Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians, 8-6, which raised the team's season record to, believe it or not, 8-6. A-Rod had hit his second, 2-out, 9th-inning, walk-off homer in less than two weeks. The Yankees had the best offense in baseball, and in Alex Rodriguez, perhaps best player in baseball having possibly the best month anyone had ever seen.

And then the wheels came off.

Sure, A-Rod, and the yankees, continued to hit, but both the starting pitching and the bullpen fell completely apart, and the Yanks lost seven straight, their longest losing streak since Y2K, when they lost their last seven games in a row.

The first series against Boston was a disaster. First, Andy Pettitte's solid performance was squandered when Mariano Rivera decided to remind us all that he is, in fact, only human, by blowing the game in the ninth. Then rookie Jeff Karstens reminded us that he simply doesn't belong in the major leagues, surrendering 7 runs in 4.1 innings. Then, not to be outdone, rookie Chase Wright made an indelible mark on the collective Yankee Fan Psyche by surrendering four straight homers, which, as you'll recall, got Chase Wright chased right back to Double-A Trenton.

Rookie Kei Igawa, just days after his first major league win, suffered his first major league loss, to the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays no less, giving up a Karstens-esque seven runs in 4.1 innings. Chien-Ming Wang, not as sharp as usual coming back from a hamstring injury, lost the next game, and then highly touted prospect Phil Hughes, in his first major league start, lasted only 4.1 innings himself, though in his case it was more because he hit his 90-pitch limit than because of the four runs he allowed. Unfortunately for him, the Yankee batters decided to take the night off, and the Bronx Bombers were unable to do anything with A.J. Burnett's 97-mph gas. The Yankees were shut out for the first time all year.

Finally, in the last game of the streak, Pettitte proved unable to repeat his performance of a week earlier, allowing five runs in less than five innings of work against Boston. Red Sox rookie Daisuke Matsuzaka was not terribly sharp either, allowing four runs in six, but the Yankee bullpen, especially the increasingly mortal-looking Mariano Rivera, gave up six runs in four innings to put the game well out of reach. That dropped the Yankees' record to 8-13, 6.5 games in back of Boston in the AL East, and set the New York sportswriters and radio talk show hosts into Panic Mode. Phil Hughes was going to be brought up ahead of schedule! George Steinbrenner was freaking out! Joe Torre was going to be fired! Carl Pavano was on the DL!!! (OK, so that part was business as usual.) Human sacrifice, cats and dogs, living together...MASS HYSTERIA!!!

Except that then a funny thing happened: The Yankees started winning again.

Maybe you haven't heard about it, but the Yanks have managed to stem the losing tide and have actually won eight of their last eleven games. And this, despite injuries to Karstens (broken leg, six weeks or more) and Phil Hughes (pulled hamstring, about 4 weeks) and the recent demotion of Kei Igawa to Single-A Tampa to work on his mechanics. Last week, Phil Hughes reeled off 6.1 no-hit innings before his hamstring accomplished what the Rangers' bats could not: getting him out of the game. Pettitte rebounded nicely the day after, and Mike Mussina pitched well in his first start since coming off the DL with a hamstring injury of his own. After an ugly loss to Seattle on Frriday night, Chien-Ming Wang flirted with immortality, pitching 7.1 perfect innings before surrendering a homer to Ben Broussard, and picked up his first win of the year. The next day, rookie Darrel Rasner helped to shut out the Mariners for his first win of the year.

A shocking loss followed on Monday when Mr. Automatic squandered Matt DeSalvo's impressive major league debut by giving up a game-winning homer to the struggling Adrian Beltre. Nevertheless, Mike Mussina (who's usually excellent against Texas) and Andy Pettitte (who's usually not), helped keep the Yankees' 2007 record against the Rangers perfect by beating them on Wednesday and Tuesday, respectively. Pettitte benefited from A-Rod's first homer in a dozen games, and five relievers helped hold onto the win for Moose.

And now, they're back at .500 for the first time in almost three weeks, with a chance (dare I write it?) to have a winning record if Wang can continue his success and help the Yankees sweep the Rangers in the season's series tonight.

Granted, they are still in second place, and still six games behind the Sawx, who have this frustrating habit of continuing to win, but the Bronx Bombers have started to look like the team we all thought they would be this year, a very good sign.

And speaking of signs, as you Red Sox make your drive for the pennant, keep an eye on that rear view mirror:

Those Yankees are closer than they appear.

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03 May 2007

Winner in 1977 Yankees World Series DVD Giveaway

Congratulations to Chris McDonald, who submitted the winning (read: only) entry for the 1977 New York Yankees World Championship DVD Set Contest!!!

We still have two sets to give away, so if you can submit some clever/funny lyrics for "Pomp and Circumstance" you still have a shot. Heck, even if your lyrics are boring and stupid, email them to me anyway. Even if I only get two entries, they will have to win.

And thanks again to Chris McDonald who proved that by

1) trolling the InterWebs, looking for stuff to win,
2) knowing how to use the "Print Screen" function on your computer and
3) having a valid email address...

Dreams can come true!!!

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02 May 2007

Yankees, Hughes Catch a Break...and a Pull, and a Strain, and a Tweak...

My initial thought, when I heard that the Yankees' top prospect, indeed the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball, took a no-hitter into the seventh inning last night, was "Wow, now that's more like it!" Except that in the same breath, ESPN's Bob Pecose also announced that Hughes injured his hamstring and will miss 4-6 weeks, so all I actually got to think was "Wo-".

My next thought was, "Man, the Yankees just can't catch a break this year."

And then the irony hit me: They've already caught a break. It was Jeff Karstens' right fibula.

They've also caught four hamstring pulls (Hughes, Hideki Matsui, Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina), three sore elbows (Karstens, RHP Jose Veras, and RHP Humberto Sanchez), a strained oblique (Bobby Abreu), a stiff forearm (Carl Pavano), a cracked nail (Wang), and most of Johnny Damon's body (calf, hammy, back...good thing he had his hair cut, or he'd have found a way to make that hurt, too). Meanwhile, with six errors in only 22 games played, "Gold Glove" Shortstop Derek Jeter can hardly catch a cold.

The interesting thing about the injuries, at least to me, is the frequency of hamstring problems. At some point or another, the Yankees have had five different players with some kind of hamstring injury, though to date Damon's demons have not sufficiently crippled him to justify a stint on the Disabled List. Mussina (38), Damon (33) and Matsui (32) are not young, but they're hardly old men either, and Wang (27) and Hughes (20) are still very youthful, and yet they've all suffered the same kinds of injuries.

Charles Euchner's book, The Last Nine Innings, discusses the physical trianing regimen that Steve Finley used to rejuvenate and extend his career, one that emphasizes flexibility and agility over strength, and is centered on the abdominal and trunk muscles, which helps to take the strain off the leg muscles. Someone like Will Carroll could probably do a better job of explaining why it seems to work than I can, but Finley related in the book how he was feeling his hamstrings start to tighten up, so he went to see his trainer. She was able to isolate his lower abs and pinpoint them (their weakness) as the problem. Strengthening the lower abdominal muscles took the pressure off his legs, especially the hamstrings, and he was able to keep playing. Say what you want about him being lousy these days, but the fact of the matter is that Finley's stuck around til age 42, while 20% of the Yankees' major league roster either is or has been on the DL with the same injury this year. OSmething tells me the new strength and conditioning coaches are asleep on the job.

The other problem plaguing the Yankees this year, particularly the pitching staff, is elbow trouble. Jose Veras was the closer in AA Trenton last year, and he had surgery in the off season to clean bone fragments out of his elbow, and it hasn't totally healed. So we'll give the Conditioning coaches a mulligan on that one. Humberto Sanchez, the top prospect from the Gary Sheffield trade, is reportedly going to be out all year after Tommy John surgery on his elbow. Karstens had a strained elbow as well, but was back from that only about a week before he got his leg broken by a batted ball. These are all young guys, and I don't know how much blame the coaches deserve for them, considering that they probably were not Veras' coach in Trenton Last year, or Karsten's coach in AAA Columbus, and they certainly could not have had anything to do with Sanchez, who was in AAA Toledo last year, in the Tigers' organization. Carl Pavano, with a strained forearm sustained in only his second start since June of 2005, has had all kinds of problems, this being the most recent, if not the most severe. One of the commenters on Peter Abraham's blog on LoHud.com had a different explanation for Pavano's scarcity in the Yankee rotation:

Cashman: Let me take you off the DL.

Carl: [with a small wave of his hand] You don’t need to take me off the DL.

Cashman: We don’t need to take him off the DL.

Carl: This isn’t the Pavano you are looking for.

Cashman: This isn’t the Pavano we are looking for.

Carl: He can go about his business.

Cashman: You can go about your business.

Carl: Send me my check

Cashman: Send his check… send it.

So maybe the midichloreans are the reason Pavano never pitches?

Rob Neyer makes the point that the Yankees can certainly come back from this and still succeed, even without their rookie phenom, though I'm sure that everyone who loves the Bronx Bombers hopes that he'll be back to phenominating as soon as possible. Heck, even if you hate the yankees, you can hardly begrudge Phil Hughes a chance to become a great pitcher. It's not his fault that they're the greatest team ever.

Neyer's right, of course. That's why he works for ESPN and you don't. The Yankees weren't counting on Phil Hughes before the season started, and they have enough talent that if those guys come back from their injuries (none of which is season-threatening) and play up to their capabilities, they should be able to overtake Boston in the AL East once again. But that's a big "if".

Regarding Hughes and his injury, Abrams makes the point that Hughes would not have gotten injured if he'd been in AAA last night. His reasoning is

The kid was pitching one hell of a game tonight. He was eight outs away from never having to buy another drink in his life. There’s Mark Teixeira 0-2 and waiting for the changeup that struck him out in the first inning. So Hughes was going to throw him the best curveball he had ever thrown.

Hughes told us [he] stepped too far in an attempt to really get on top of the pitch and throw it low. His momentum carried him downward, he got off balance and he tore his hamstring. Next time, and hopefully there is a next time, he will throw the pitch the right way.

Abrams then argues that since the pressure is lower in AAA Scranton, where Timo Perez hits #3 in the order for the bad-guys, Hughes would not have needed (or thought he needed) to do that. And Peter's probably right about that. But what he misses is that Hughes would likely have just gotten hurt whenever they called him up anyway, later in the season, and therefore closer to the postseason, when Hughes' skills would really be needed, assuming that the Yankees can actually make the postseason. If Hughes' injury was caused by an abandonment of his allegedly "perfect mechanics", the the first time he felt real pressure in a game, whether it was May in Texas, in June against the Mets, or September against the Red Sox, he was going to do the same thing, and he was, in all probability, going to pull that hamstring anyway. Perfect mechanics only help you if you remember to use them.

So, Yankee fans, be glad that Hughes hurt his hamstring last night, and that he can spend six weeks on the DL and still return before the All-Star Break, which was about as soon as the Yankees wanted to have to bring him up anyway. With some time off, and hopefull a lesosn learned at a very young age, Hughes should be as good as ever in late June or July, and with some (good) luck, the Yankees may even have a lead to protect in the AL East by then.

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Yankees 1977 World Series DVD Giveaway!!!

Yankees 1977 World Series DVD Giveaway!!!

The DVD described in my last post is currently being sold on A&E's website, here. I will soon post a review of it as well.

But if you're not into buying stuff, then you can win one of three (3) free sets from Boy of Summer. You can win in one of three ways:

1) If you happen to be the visitor who arrives #60,000 on the counter on the right side of my blogspot site, email me with a screenshot, and you'll automatically win one. If you're close to #60,000, email me a screenshot anyway. If I don't get the exact number, I'll declare the winner to be whomever gets closest, either above or below the mark. If there's a tie (for example, both #59994 and #60006, then you BOTH win.

B) For those of you who rely more on creativity than luck, I will pick one winner from whomever submits the funniest or most clever lyrics for "Pomp and Circumstance", the song that Yankees' relief ace and 1977 American League Cy Young Award winner Sparky Lyle used to use when he would emerge from the bullpen. Email me your submissions, and I'll pick a winner. You can hear the tune here: Pomp and Circumstance audio file. Actual recordings of yourself singing the lyrics will get you bonus points, especially if you play the music, too.

iii) If there is no tie in option 1 above, then a third winner will be chosen from the Pomp and Circumstance submittals.

In all cases, the shipping will be paid by A&E so it won't cost you anything to enter. They will ship it right to you, so if you win, I'll notify you, and you'll just have to provide me with a name and address to send your DVD set to.

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Now, all of the heroics of Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Willie Randolph, Lou Piniella, Sparky Lyle, Ron Guidry and the full roster of clutch performers from the 1977 champs are finally showcased and digitally preserved in their entirety.

This exquisite, fan-friendly collection definitively presents the indisputably classic showdown from the mid-70s era of big personalities and epic confrontations. These seven discs capture a perfect moment from a golden era of America’s Pastime. From every perspective, pundits and fans alike anticipated nothing less than an amazing championship World Series in 1977 as classic rivals the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers faced off for the ninth time in World Series history. By the time the Yankees’ Reggie Jackson had floated around the diamond after his third consecutive home run in Game 6, the baseball community and sports fans across the globe had witnessed an unparalleled performance and a remarkable feat for the ages.

Throughout the season the 1977 Bronx Bombers battled opponents – and often each other – with unprecedented ferocity and style. Squared off against the Dodgers in the World Series, the Yankees pulled out dramatic and precise wins to capture the Club's first World Series crown in 15 years.Yankees fans, Baseball fans, Sports fans: this is your chance to own a piece of sporting history, to experience it again and again, to celebrate the height of competition.

All the action of the stunning 1977 World Series packed into a brilliant 7-disc set.

Includes Game 5 ALCS Pennant clincher the and all six World Series Games.

Packaged with SleeveStats®, offering stats, trivia, and game summaries right on the case.

DVD Extra Features:
1977 World Series Clubhouse Victory Celebration.
1977 World Series Trophy Presentation.
Inside Moments: Reggie Jackson's 3 HR Game; The Reggie Jackson/Billy Martin confrontation in Fenway Park.
Rare Interviews with Reggie Jackson, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Lou Piniella, George Steinbrenner, and many more.

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