Tag Archives: McGwire

Slow time.

Well, there hasn’t been many posts lately for a number of reasons.

1) the season is over and we see what happens with trades/free agents.

2) Hurricane Sandy knocked my power off for 22 hours. I’m lucky. Many didn’t get power for many more days.

3) I’ve been busy. 48 hours of work this past week and 48 next. 40 Thanksgiving week and I’m not working on the holiday. 50 hour weeks the two weeks after T-Giving.

So we await on the major awards from MLB. So far, Cano and Teix got the GG, Cano and Jeter SS awards.

I don’t know what the Yanks will do yet with their free agents. They did give some qualifying offers (rejected) to Kuroda, Swish and Soriano. I expect Swish and Soriano to be gone. Kuroda is a question mark.

Martin is a free agent. I wouldn’t mind a 2-yr. deal for him, but remember, he only hit .211 last year (with 21 HR). Romine needs a full year at AAA, something his back injury prevented him from last year. So 2013 AAA, maybe 2014 back up Martin. If so, who is the backup? If Stewart, then best to trade Cervelli and see what you can get for him. Sanchez is on the come, so you don’t even know if Romine is the future. Sanchez is a few years away.

SS/3B is a problem. Jeter is 39 next June, and coming off a broken ankle. He had just 9 sb this year, his range is in question and now a broken ankle. I’d love to see Nunez figure more in the lineup for the 35-40 SB potential he brings, but where to put his horrendous defense? And A-Rod looks like a fading star. 38 next July. Do you really want a left side of the infield that has a 39 year old SS and 38 year old 3B? Guess what. You are stuck with it.

Do you bring back Kuroda and Pettitte? One will be 38 next year, the other 41 next June. Then there is Mo. He threw 25 pitches off a mound for a commercial. Good sign, but he will be 43 in a few weeks. Ibanez is on the block. 41 next year. Jones 35. Chavez 35. Who comes back?

This team MUST get younger.

Meanwhile, Toronto mgr. Farrell goes to Boston. Toronto is looking. One-time A’s SS Walt Weiss is now the Rockies’ mgr. Mark McGwire leaves St. Louis to become the Dodgers’ new hitting coach.

The Mets and Jason Bay reach an amicable divorce. That didn’t work out.

College Football: Darrell Royal died at age 88. He won 3 national titles for Texas in the 1960’s (although, as a PSU grad, I’ll dispute that 1969 one).

Lee MacPhail, who was the Yanks’ GM in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, died at the age of 95. His dad (Larry) owned the Yanks for a brief time (1945-1947). Lee later became the A.L. President and it was he who made the Pine tar ruling.

The Yanks are thinking of flip-flopping Granderson and Gardner, moving the Grandy Man to LF. If they bring Ichiro (39) back for RF, they’ll have a speedy and good defensive OF, but having Ichiro AND Gardner cuts into your power.

If Torii Hunter really wants $20 mil over 2 years, count the Yanks out. He is 37 so it wouldn’t fit the “getting younger” plan.

I worry about next year. Too much age.

As for 6-4 PSU, I’m happy with the job Bill O’Brien has done. It’ll get much harder after this year. I see an offense that has come out of the stone age. Under very difficult circumstances, he has done a good job.

A strange year. My faves are Rivera and Polamalu (Steelers fan) and between the two, I don’t get to see them on the field what with injuries. I’m happy the Steelers are 5-3. They should beat KC tomorrow night, they should reach the playoffs.

But anyone doubting the Texans needs to be aware of them. Houston is for real.

Game 11. AJ tosses 7 scoreless in Yanks 7-3 win. Jeter, Alex (584) HR, Gardner 3 infield hits.

Had a church function this morning and have to grab some dinner and do some laundry. I’ll be updating on here as I can. Feel free to comment.

Infield hit and a SB by Michael Young in the top of the first but AJ has a scoreless inning.

One out in the first and Johnson does what Johnson does. Another walk. The guy’s eye is amazing. Time for Teixeira to wake up, but we’ve been saying that all week. Ouch. Called strike three. 3 for 37. Single for Alex but Cano leaves them stranded.

1-2-3 for AJ in the 2nd. 2 Ks.  

Sorry for the delay. I just went online, ordered and printed out my ticket for next Saturday, April 24. I’m going up to SWB to catch the AAA game and to check out Montero. Besides, sometimes you just need a day away!

Posada singled and with two out, Gardner gets a hit that few can. An infield hit that his speed forced the play. Gardner beats it out. Jeter gets hit #2764 but Posada has to be held at third.

Bases loaded, two out and a guy up who draws a lot of walks. Sure enough, Johnson walks again and this one brings in a run. Now it is the 3 for 37 Teixeira.

Cheap hit but we will take it (Teixeira certainly will). Between 1st and 2nd, infield, no play. RBI. 2-0 Yankees. Alex ends the inning by flying out.

As for Gardner, no extra base hits yet, to his detractors dismay. But would those detractors be fair and give Gardner credit for beating out a dribbler that few would beat out? Fair is fair.   

…and Gardner does it again. Bottom 3rd, with one out, Posada singles, and Granderson doubles. Swisher makes an out, but Gardner hits one into the SS hole, and they can never get him. Posada scores, Granderson to third. Gardner steals second (no double steal) but the throw goes into CF. Granderson scores, Gardner to third. Gardner’s speed forcing the action… 4-0. Gardner didn’t get either ball out of the infield. Still, 2 hits, a SB, an RBI.

Gardner
Yup, Gardner’s at it today.

…and the Captain blows it open to 6-0. Hit #2764, HR #227. 6-0 Yankees.  

Here’s one way to know IT IS EARLY. The 2 for 2 for Gardner raised his average from .217 to .280.

I’m pretty confident right now. It’s a long way from over, but AJ looks good, 4 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 walk and 4 Ks. … and a six-run lead.

…make that a SEVEN run lead. Alex hits #584*, his first of the year. He is now two behind Frank Robinson.

 Sorry, was busy. That ended the Yankees scoring for the day.

Quickly recapping the fifth inning on… AJ got out of a bases-loaded one out jam in the 5th. The Yanks got three infield hits but no runs in the bottom of the 5th, and yes, one of them was by Gardner. Gardner was 3 for 4 for the day, and all three hits were infield hits.

AJ went 7 shutout innings. 6 hits, 2 walks and 7 K. 2-0, 2.37. A great job.

Pena came in for Jeter (3 for 4) in the 8th. Yanks up 7-0. He even got his first at bat of the year later in the game (flied to RF).  Aceves replaced AJ. Aceves had nothing. Single, forceout, walk and a 3-run HR.

Marte came in and retired the only two batters he faced.

1-2-3 for Joba today, two K’s. And even from that, I get a text complaining about Joba’s fastball? C’mon, buddy (Truth). Now you are getting picky.    

       

Fisk joins Clark at ripping Big Mac

Carlton Fisk today joined Jack Clark in ripping Mark McGwire. Now Fisk is in the HOF, Clark (despite a nice career, 340 HR) not.

Given that the Vets Committee, made mostly of the HOF members, have NOT voted in any ex-players (Santo, Hodges, Reynolds, etc.) since the Vets committee was reconfigured a few years ago, do you really think a Fisk or other member might, after a McGwire or Clemens (for Fisk ripped him too) exhausts their eligibility on the writer’s ballot, vote said player (Sosa, McGwire, Clemens, Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, we could go on) into the HOF on the Vets’ ballot? I think not.

In my post of yesterday, I mentioned that it was my opinion that the Yanks should play Montero and Romine at other positions on their “days off.” Think about it. Instead of playing 80 games at catcher and 33 at DH, why not spend those 33 games in the OF (well, 25 with the other 8 at DH). Why DH a 20 year old or 21 year old in AA or AAA? Teach him a different position. Make him more versatile and valuable. Berra and Howard both played OF in their careers besides catching. Gil McDougald was an all-star at 3B, SS and 2B.

Munson wasn’t a great OF, but he did play 27 games there in his career. Munson only played five games at 1B, but one of those was on August 1, 1979—the day before his death.

In his MVP year of 1970, Johnny Bench actually played 24 games in the OF. You may remember Bench ending his career as a 3B (and not a great one), playing 195 games there, but did you know Bench played 145 at 1B and 111 in the OF?

Goodness. Jim Edmonds is thinking comeback? He’ll be 40 in June. He didn’t play last year. In 2008 he went .235-20-55, OPS+ 111 for the Padres and Cubs.

Interesting piece from MLBTR:

8:10pm: Jerry Hairston Jr. was on Jim Bowden’s radio show on XM 175 earlier today, and said that the Yankees didn’t make him an offer because they’re waiting on Damon’s price to come down (via Bowden’s Twitter). If true, it would seem that it’s only matter of time before they get a deal worked out.

and from Bowden’s Twitter link above:

Jerry Hairston…”Brian Cashmans going to get mad at me, but Yanks didn’t make me offer because he’s waiting on Damon price to come down” on XM

Would be interesting. Will we see the Limbo Rock regarding JD?

Limbo Rock for JD/Cashman?
How low will JD, Cashman go?

Remember, you can add your “Damon CD” ideas to my previous post. Maybe we can now add Limbo Rock to Lonely Days, Money, Take a Chance on Me and others on the JD current song list.

But Cashman responds (from MLBTR)

Brian Cashman says it’s “right” that he never made an offer to J. Hairston Jr., but “not right” that he is waiting for Damon’s price to drop

It looks like the Angels have their Lackey replacement….Joel Piniero.   

As if they don’t have enough troubles…the NY Post reports of rumors surrounding Bay’s health.

Vikings, Jets advance, and shame on some fans.

The Vikings crushed the Cowboys 34-3 and will face the Saints for the NFC title. Somehow, there are certain people I just don’t see winning a Super Bowl. Wade Phillips, Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb are three of them. Maybe Andy Reid. Maybe.

In the AFC, a surprise as the Jets upset the Chargers 17-14. The Chargers had won their last eleven in a row so maybe they were due. Or maybe they weren’t except for their FG kicker, who missed 3 FG. Next week, Colts/Jets (and how many SB III references will you see over the next week?) for the AFC title.

As for me, (sorry Tim the Wizard), I’m pulling for a Colts/Saints SB. Manning vs. Brees.

SHAME: I read where McGwire got a standing ovation at some Cardinal function today. They should have booed the cheat. How does one expect to get steroids out of the game or clean it up if fans like the ones today CHEER the cheater? Boo.

Good story by Rob Neyer of ESPN on Johnny Damon today. Check it out. Meanwhile, the Yanks could still be searching for that righty LF bat. MLB.com states that Jerry Hairston could be SD-bound. 

 

     

 

McGwire, the Rooney Rule, and more…

I think I wrote and stated most about McGwire yesterday. The steroids may have helped him extend his career and put up the numbers he did. Which is unfair to anyone whose career was shortened but who did it the right way.

Put it this way. Say steroids would have helped Mickey Mantle (and considering some of Mickey’s tape measure shots, could you imagine Mickey on steroids?). Say Mickey is healthier in those last four years, 1965-1968. Say they add a few more years to his career and that instead of 1968 being his last year, it’s 1971 instead. Say Mickey winds up with 600+ HR instead of 536. Who knows? Would Mickey have taken steroids had they been around in 1962? Who knows. McGwire says he did it to get back on the field. Given Mickey’s injuries that he played through, we just don’t know, do we? I wrote a few years ago about the shot Mickey got from a quack at the end of the 1961 season. That shot was supposed to cure a cold that Mickey had. Who knows what was in the needle that infected Mickey and caused him to miss the end of the season and most of the World Series?

Can you imagine if steroids could have helped Don Mattingly? If they could have cured his back problems and restored him to the 1984-1989 Donnie Baseball? McGwire may have had his career saved. Could they have done the same for Donnie?

Kevin Kernan’s column in the Post today (1-12-10) was worth reading. It’s Title says it all…”Truth remains he’s a cheat.” I wouldn’t vote for McGwire for the HOF. My stance is that if he, or for that matter, Rose or a Joe Jackson ever get in, that the last line on the plaque should read gambling, steroids or whatever to let the fan visiting the hall…many years later…know exactly the controversy that surrounded the individual.

This doesn’t only go for McGwire. You wonder how Commissioner Landis would have handled this vs. the spineless, gutless Bud Selig. I’ll tell you this. Landis, if getting a sniff of this, would have barred them all. Clemens,  Bonds, A-Rod, all of them. Granted I’m a Yankees fan and hope that A-Rod helps lead the Yanks to a WS title in 2010 as he did in 2009, but if he were barred, I’d accept it.

It’s one thing for a Pettitte to do it once or twice (50 game suspension in my eyes). But Alex admitted to three years of it. McGwire admits to years of doing it. Different scenario. Bar for good? I’d go with it, even if it is Alex and it hurts the Yankees. The problem here, of course is that Alex did it while with Texas. Who should then get punished, Texas or New York? Alex, definitely. But which team?

Sad music news. Knack frontman Doug Fieger has cancer. It looks pretty bad. They may have been one-hit (or one-album) wonders, but in 1979, they were a refreshing sound to those who were tired of the disco sound that permeated that year.

The Knack
The summer of 1979. I’d still rather hear My Sharona
or Good Girls Don’t than We Are Family.

Good article also in the Post regarding the Rooney Rule. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reason and concept of the rule. Good intentions. But when there are obvious candidates out there like Shanahan (2 Super Bowl wins) or Carroll (a pair of national championships), then bringing in a minority candidate to interview for a job they have no chance of getting—when we all know it’s a sham interview to satisfy the Rooney Rule—makes no sense. If there is no clear cut candidate, enforce the Rooney Rule. When there is an obvious candidate, waive the rule. Don’t make a joke out of the process.

Put it this way. In 1969, the Redskins let Otto Graham go. The replacement? Some guy named Vince Lombardi (who only coached the Redskins for one year before colon cancer took his life). Would you have enforced the Rooney Rule back then? I mean, if the ‘Skins could get the best candidate available…Lombardi…would you really want to…or need to…interview anyone else? I mean, come on.

Lane Kifflin, former Raiders coach and then Tennessee, is going to replace Carroll at USC. 

Forget some of the celebrity weddings. Jolie/Pitt. Streisand/Brolin. Can you imagine what the circus of paparazzi will be like, all (like the National Enquirer) trying to get shots of Jeter’s wedding?

Joel Sherman in the Post is reporting that apparently the Yanks are budgeting $2M for their LF situation this year. Hairston? Nady? Reed Johnson? But if that is the truth, certainly not JD. No way he goes from $13M to $2M.

For what it’s worth, compare Greg Maddux to Roger Clemens. Compare Ken Griffey Jr. to McGwire. For what we know, Maddux and Griffey’s numbers are clean…and better than Clemens’ and McGwire’s. Just saying…and why the respect (and first ballot votes) should be so much greater for Maddux and Griffey.

The worst part about the steroid era is that we suspect. Our suspicions about McGwire have proved true. But for others, we just don’t know…Peter Gammons writes,

Last spring, Mike Piazza talked to me about the accusations of steroid use and seemed legitimately shaken. Piazza is a smart, good man — one we all hope was clean — but he is going to have to deal with rumors and innuendo.

Sammy Sosa will have to answer the assumptions. So will Clemens and Barry Bonds and many others.

So will Jeff Bagwell when his name appears on the ballot next winter. Bagwell’s name has never turned up on any report. He lost bulk his last few seasons, but he couldn’t lift a weight for five years because of congenital arthritis in his shoulder. This summer, two of his closest friends in the game adamantly maintained there is no chance he cheated.

Bagwell, according to Elias Sports Bureau, is one of nine players with 1,500 runs, 1,500 RBIs and 200 steals — the other eight are in the Hall of Fame. Compare him to Jim Rice, and you’ll see that Bagwell had 67 more homers, 78 more RBIs, 268 more runs, 135 more extra-base hits, 84 more total bases and one more Gold Glove. His on-base percentage was 56 points higher than Rice, his slugging 38 points higher, his OPS 94 points higher and his OPS-plus 21 points higher. No doubt, no question a Hall of Famer.

I wrote the other day about Bagwell and the suspicions. If I definitely, positively KNEW he was clean, then I would consider him a HOF worthy player. But we don’t know, and that is the problem. We’d like to believe Clemens, a sure-shot 1st ballot HOF if clean, but the suspicions are too great.

God forbid someone like Jeter or Rivera be guilty. I can’t think of two cleaner players in the game.

 

      

McGwire now addresses the past.

As suspected, Mark McGwire used steroids and HGH in the 1990s. Today McGwire finally addressed the past that we wouldn’t address before Congress in 2005.

What this does for McGwire as far as the HOF vote, who knows. He, despite his 583 HR, has not received even 35% of the vote while he has been on the ballot. 75% is needed. How many of those who wouldn’t vote for him will vote for him now that he’s given a mea culpa? How many who did vote for him before will now turn their backs on him?

McGwire will be the new hitting coach for the Cardinals. His admission took his former manager, Tony LaRussa, by surprise. How fans will react throughout baseball, who knows. I think most will forgive and forget—their suspicions all along having been confirmed. After all, look at Giambi and Alex. Forgiving and forgetting, though, doesn’t mean the stain has been washed away. It’ll be interesting to see how others do in the HOF vote…Sosa, Clemens, A-Rod, Bonds, Palmeiro…and hey, Juan Gonzalez makes the ballot next year. Despite 2 MVP awards and 434 HR, his chance are nil. Palmeiro, despite 3000 hits and 569 HR has no chance because of his positive test. I even think Jeff Bagwell, a ROY, 1 MVP, 1 runnerup MVP and 449 HR, won’t get much support. Heck, Bagwell had two 40/30 seasons. But I think there are suspicions there.

With McGwire, you wonder how the steroids helped his career after 1994. For Big Mac missed most of the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Were he forced to retire after 1994, he would have been an afterthought regarding HOF consideration. Any HOF consideration would focus on 1996-1999, a four year stretch where he hit 245 HR out of his 583. Lest we forget, Big Mac did have a years of .231, .235 and .201 from 1989-1991 (and despite that, the A’s won 2 pennants and 1 WS in that span) with 33, 39 and 22 HR. Nice HR but nothing like the four years where he averaged 61 a year. His final year was freakish. Just 56 hits, a .187 average. 29 HR. 4 doubles. Read that again. Granted Maris had just 16 doubles with his 61 HR in 1961, but McGwire had 4 doubles in 56 hits and of the 56 hits, 29 were HR. The year before, it was 8 doubles, 32 HR.

His numbers are freakish. Maybe it’s justified because of the steroid usage. Did you know he didn’t even get 1700 hits in his career? 583 HR (same # as A-Rod right now) came in 1626 hits. .263 BA. OPS+ superb at 162.

It remains to be seen what his confession means. Without 1996-1999, I don’t think he makes the HOF. Now those years—and others—are tainted. As MLB.com reports, (emphasis mine)

According to McGwire’s statement, his usage of PEDs spanned a large portion of his career, which included parts or all of 16 seasons.

Large portion. Which throws his whole career into question. Hence, I think (but won’t predict) that his HOF vote totals won’t go up much. I could be wrong.

Update: I saw some of the McGwire interview with Costas. I felt sorry for him, and he was remorseful, but he brought it upon himself. Would he have hit 583 HR or 70 in a season without the help? Probably not. If not, is he a HOFer? Probably not.

Maris...still the REAL Hr single season champ
Still the real single season champ, or at least
the non-steroid champ. 
Roger hits #61, 10-1-61.
  

Other baseball news.

The Indians named Manny Acta as their manager. He was fired as Nationals’ manager this summer. Wonder if the Nats are still interested in Mattingly?

ESPN fired Steve Phillips because of his latest sexcapades.

Mark McGwire returns to St. Louis as hitting coach. Wonder how he’ll deal with the past?

Ugh. Felt fine. Went to a fast-food restaurant for lunch. Must have received bad food. No sooner did I get back to work than I had to hit the men’s room. Blew chow. Told boss. Left. Got to parking lot. Blew chow again. No fun.

Update: Needless to say, ESPN fired that female who was messing around with Phillips.

Game 162. Yanks finish 103-59 as Alex has record-setting inning.

The Yanks finished 103-59, their best record since the 2002 Yankees went 103-58. A ten-run sixth inning was the difference in the 10-2 victory.

A.J. Burnett went 5 IP, 2 R (1 ER) on 7 hits, 1 walk, 3 K. A HR to Longoria. He finishes 13-9, 4.04.

The bullpen gave four scoreless innings. Robertson 1 IP, 1 K (3.30). Joba in the 7th. A completely different Joba, forcing our friend Josh “The Truth” to urge Joba’s return to the bullpen. Josh states that Joba is a completely different animal out of the ‘pen. Maybe so. Maybe he is that “bring it and fling it” raging, snorting bull out of the bullpen. Maybe being a starter (and thinking) is not in his repertoire—that maybe he shouldn’t think but (to use a golf term) just grip it and rip it. Who knows.

Joba threw 9 pitches, 7 for strikes in a 1-2-3 inning with a K. Have to say it, where was THAT all year? The Joba we wanted all year long as a starter…throwing strikes, being economical on the pitch count and hitting 95. 9-6, 4.75 to end the year.

Coke got two outs, one via K (4.50). Hughes came in for one batter, and got the K. (3.03). Then Mo in the 9th. Scoreless with a K. Season #9 of a sub-2.00 ERA for the Great One. No other closer comes close to that. 1.76 for the year. This coming from a soon-to-be 40 year old coming off shoulder surgery.

As I said…MO FOR SI’s SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR!!!    

Offensively it was almost all Alex. A-Rod set an AL record with seven RBI in one inning. There is only one way to beat that—the way Fernando Tatis did it—with two grand slams in the same inning. Alex came close, hitting a 3-run HR to erase the Rays 2-0 lead, then capping off the 10-run inning with a grand slam.

The first HR set a new Yankee team record, the 2nd made that record 244 (too bad the 1961 Yanks had no DH to work with). The second HR also set a couple of individual marks for A-Rod. For one, it was career HR #583* tying Mark McGwire* on the all-time list. Secondly, it was #30 of the season. Finally, Alex entered the game with 93 RBI and the seven in one inning gave him an even 100 for the year.

Damon chipped in with a double that drove in two.

Jeter got two hits and ended at .334. He will enter 2010 with 2747 hits.

Teix couldn’t get #40 (he was intentionally walked to get to A-Rod). I mean, c’mon as far as the walk goes. It seemed to be in spite. Down 6-2, last game of the year, the Rays are history… I know they probably wanted to help Carlos Pena (injured and who co-led the league at 39 with Teixeira; Teixeira led the AL with 122 RBI) but sheesh. Talk about petty. Be a man, let him hit. It’s not like it meant anything to the game or the standings. The Rays finished 19 out. Like it mattered? Nice to protect Pena and have him as a HR Co-leader, but maybe there was “payback” to Teix because of CC breaking Pena’s fingers and knocking him out for the year. I’m pretty sure though that CC didn’t mean it. It was not intentional. I don’t know if there will be hard feelings carrying over, but I really think there are hard feelings going back to that spring 2008 game where Cervelli had his wrist broken and Duncan got payback on a slide and started a brawl. Really petty, Rays.

Cano took the collar. He finished at .320.

Cervelli PH for Hughes in the 9th. The only sad part about the day…he flied out and dropped from .301 to .298.         

So 103-59 it is. Excellent. Now to find out who to play…     

Heading out. Steelers up 35-14 mid 4th. A must-win over a good team in SD. Steelers needed this win to avoid dropping to 1-3. The game was at Pittsburgh. SD has NEVER won a regular season game in Pittsburgh. Ever. An absolutely MUST win for the Black and Gold. Mendenhall stepped up huge with Parker out, and Big Ben was superb.  

Update: I got a bit peeved when it appeared that the Steelers were on their way to blowing a 28 point lead, but they regrouped at the end and held on for a 38-28 win.

Game 111. How Sweep it is! Yanks bust Boston, 5-2.

After losing the all of the first eight games played this season to Boston, the Yanks turned the tables, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The four-game sweep of Boston put the Yanks 6 1/2 games up on the Red Sox and reduced the Yanks’ magic # for an AL East title to 46 (I know, too early, but just giving the facts).

Once again, Boston bats were silent. The scoreless streak went to over 31 before Phil Coke gave up a 2-run HR to Victor Martinez.

Prior to that HR, A-Rod hit #574* in the bottom of the 7th to break a scoreless tie. Pettitte and Lester had a great duel, and Lester broke. Alex’s HR enabled him to pass Killebrew on the all-time list. Next up, McGwire’s 583*.

In the 8th, Coke gave up the dinger to Martinez, putting Boston up 2-1. I was upset at Girardi’s use of Coke vs. Martinez there. Hughes did pitch in the previous two games, but didn’t pitch long at all in either one. What was it, one batter each? A four-pitch K of Green the day before? I would have had Hughes in there. No way would I have had Coke (who has a propensity for giving up the dinger) pitching to Martinez.

Questionable decision aside, the Yanks came back with four in the bottom of the 8th, as JD and Teix hit back-to-back HRs and Swisher added a 2-run single. 5-2 Yanks and enter Sandman. The great Rivera closed it out.

The lead is 6 1/2. Flash those pearly whites and smile broadly, Yankees fans. 

Forget Freddie…Garcia to Mets

MLBTR states that Freddy Garcia has signed a minor league deal with the Mets as he continues his comeback. So cross him off the list as a potential #5 for the Yanks. (Are you getting as p-o’d about Pettitte as I am? Damn it Andy… )

Interesting talk about Jeff Kent today. Most talking about him as a HOF but then Colin Cowherd read an email saying not. If Kent does get in it won’t be on the 1st ballot, that’s for sure. Granted Kent wasn’t a great fielder, but Cowherd said only 5x an all-star in 17 years in the majors. Still, I look at the position. If Kent played LF, not a HOF, but he was a 2B. At 2B, he put up offensive numbers rarely seen by 2B. Granted if given the choice between Robbie Alomar or Kent, I’d take Robbie. Same with Hornsby, Sandberg, Mazeroski (not the bat, but what a glove), Eddie Collins, Jackie Robinson, etc. I don’t know about that enabler bit. That Kent only benefitted from Bonds behind him. Surely it didn’t hurt, but give Kent his offensive due. .290 with 377 HR and an OPS+ of 123 is pretty damned good for a 2B, as is 8 100-RBI seasons.

Looks like the Celtics are out of their funk.

Now Mark McGwire’s brother is coming out against his brother Mark, saying that McGwire started with the steroids in 1994. As ESPN News has on as I write this, the Pre- and Post-1994 numbers on McGwire are quite different. McGwire did have good seasons before 1994 (49 HR as a rookie in 1987) and he also had some clunkers, despite the power. 1989-1991, .235-.231-.201. And in 1989 the A’s won the WS, 1990 the pennant. Granted the HRs were 33, 39 and 22 but not HOF numbers at all then. He bounced back with a solid 1992 before injuries cost him most of 1993 and 1994. Those who want to put Big Mac in the Hall have to admit that his pre-1994 numbers do not merit HOF consideration. Granted he had nice power numbers, but those BA’s of 1989-1991 are sickly. It’s the post-1994 numbers (1995-2000) that do. Those, combined with the pre-1994 give the 583 HR. Even at that, the career BA was just .263. Reggie had a .262 with 563 HR but Reggie’s numbers don’t bear the brand of suspicion that McGwire’s does. The accusations by McGwire’s brother won’t help his cause. What’s that? You choose your friends but your family you are stuck with? It’s sad. McGwire’s power should override his BA, and that 162 OPS+ is superb. But he (and Bonds, Clemens, etc.) wear the scarlet letter. You wonder with the problems that McGwire had, if he could have come back at all from the injuries if not for the juice. If he couldn’t have, then there would definitely be no HOF talk about him.

But with the McGwire/Bonds controversy, you wonder what Maris’ family thinks. I know what ex-YFCR co-host Joe thinks. He’s a huge Maris fan.

Speaking of, do you know McGwire never won the MVP award? The year he hit 70, 1998, he finished 2nd. Sammy Sosa (another story there … 600 + HR and more suspicion) won the award that year.

You hate to play judge and jury. But you also hate the suspicion. Not only that… the “cheating” belittles the accomplishments of a Mays or Aaron. Trying to compare Sosa’s 609 HR to Mays 660 or Griffey’s 611 is not fair to Mays or Griffey. Not fair at all.

I see that Dante Lavelli, a great Browns WR from the late 1940s/early 1950s, passed away earlier this week.