Tag Archives: Media

Thoughts from the weekend.

Was away from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon. Had some thoughts saved up and kept up (somewhat, access limited) on the weekend happenings.

First off, going into Friday, Mussina was 266-151, one of 18 pitchers 115 games or more over .500 (and I see he got a ND Friday night). 12 of the 18 are in the HOF. Of the five not in the HOF besides Moose, four of the five are Clemens, R.J., Maddux, and Pedro….all who will be in the HOF (except for maybe Clemens because of the steroid allegations….) Furthers the case for Moose in the HOF.

Secondly, Why does it seem like every time Suzyn describes a player under 25, they were “rushed up” and that she only gushes over veterans who have been around 12 or more years? Maybe the veterans are the only names she remembers. Most of the time it sounds like Suzyn wants to broadcast in an old age home.

Hmmm…Yanks face arguably the best pitcher in baseball and are a team that has scored two or fewer runs in something like 40 of 125 games this year but some sportswriters question them playing littleball? What’s not “to get” about Jeter bunting on Halladay in the 1st? He’s Jeter, not Henry Aaron. He’s a #2 hitter who won’t hit 15 HR this year. Granted a .300 hitter, but one who for the greater portion of 2008 has been an average ballplayer. Besides, isn’t the job of a #2 hitter that of advancing the runner? Preferably by hitting the ball to the right side. If the leadoff guy doesn’t get on, be a leadoff guy yourself. Walk. Steal. Take pitches to let what you hope is a speedy leadoff guy steal. Swinging on the 1st or 2nd pitch and GIDP (which Derek has done a lot of this year) isn’t the job of a #2 hitter. But, oh yeah…he’s Derek Jeter. Rules that apply to #2 hitters don’t apply to him? I know he’s been hot lately, but this is Halladay we are talking about. Were it a nobody, then I question him bunting. A Halladay or Halladay-type pitcher? No. You need to take advantage of every chance you can get to advance the runner, score, etc., and how many bases loaded, no out , 1st and 3rd, no or one out situations have we seen this year where the Yanks don’t score?

Amazing. 40 times two runs or less, and when they DO play littleball, they get ripped for it. Unreal. Hypocritical.

Since 2001, the Yanks have had the big G, Tony Clark, Sierra, Alex, Sheff, Sexson, Bernie, Abreu, Posada, Matsui and now Pudge at various times, and where has the wait for the 3-run HR approach gotten them? The situational hitting has been bad for years. Forget the number of runs scored last year. What has the offense done in the playoffs recently? What is it doing this year? One World Series appearance since 2001. Yet the same reporters decrying the lack of offense want that offense to continue down the same road. Don’t bunt. Don’t steal. Don’t squeeze. Unreal.

Meanwhile, a team with lesser offensive firepower, but one who keeps taking advantage of their opportunities—who plays littleball—keeps beating the Yanks left and right. The Angels.

One thing making it worse is that the players who a) have speed or b) should be bunting because of the types of players they are (Melky, Cano, Damon, Jeter….Gardner) don’t bunt.

Not utilizing ALL your talents…one sure way to lose. Another way is waiting for things to happen instead of making them happen, and we’ve seen that a lot lately, haven’t we?

What’s not “to get”?

Get rid of the “I can’t (fill in the blank) because I’m (fill in the blank)” attitude, and maybe this team can start winning again.

Ok. Saw the Yanks won Friday night 9-4 behind 4 HR, a couple from unexpected sources. Cano, Molina (back to back), then later Ransom and Nady back to back. Ransom a defensive replacement. Meanwhile, since his callup, 2 for 2, 2 HR with the Yanks. Didn’t I want him instead of Betemit a month or so ago? And how about that Nady again? Great pickup.

Then I see that Mister MIA himself went 5 IP, 3 R and got the win last night—right in front of Yankee Fan Club members (I was not on the trip). HRs by Giambi (#389, tying Johnny Bench) and Matsui. Giambi’s next HR will tie Graig Nettles on the all-time list.

Lastly, I didn’t see the minors this weekend, but did see that Phil Hughes was rocked Friday night. 3 1/3 IP, 8 R, 10 hits, 6 K. Ouch.

Media boorishness

1 p.m. The NY Post reported yesterday about goings-on at the NY Daily News (or Snooze as they called them). Sportswriter Lisa Olsen has quit the news over a dust-up with (surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle would exclaim) Mike Lupica. Some of you may not read Lupica’s stuff, but see him on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, where he has built a following of those who can’t stand him. I don’t get to watch that show much (it conflicts with my churchgoing on Sunday mornings) but I’m not a Lupica fan either.

Wikipedia states that when Jason Whitlock was interviewed by sports blog The Big Lead he disparaged two of his ESPN colleagues. Whitlock labeled Mike Lupica “an insecure, mean-spirited busybody”. In the Post article, they describe how Lupica butt in on other assignments, notably a column Olsen was to have written on Giants’ placekicker Lawrence Tynes. Then after that, Olsen did not get Super Bowl press credentials despite having covered football all season long–be it Giants or Jets. Lupica meanwhile, didn’t begin showing up at Giants games until the playoffs. Of course, the Little Big Man got to be there. Olsen does have a history with the Patriots, having sued the NFL for sexual harassment when she was one of the first women allowed into the men’s locker room. The Patriots were fined $50,000 by the NFL, and some players received fines as well, the Post reports. The Post also reports that this wouldn’t be the first time Lupica horned in on his co-workers. Says one source, “everything falls into place based on what he wants to do. He’s like the spoiled kid who is enabled by his parents. He’s like a mafia don.” As for me, his columns are snooty enough, and lately he’s added (like Keith Olbermann) his two cents on political issues. The two of them get “just shut up” awards.

Speaking of media boorishness and “just shut up,” an award must be given to an old grouch, Bill Conlin of the Philly Daily News. (What is it with Daily News’s?) We know he bleeds Phillies but to write this about Johan Santana is ridiculous:

That by itself is no reason to contemplate Charlie Manuel’s superb nucleus being dragged to also-ran status by inferior components parts. (My note: superb nucleus? They won 89 games to the Mets’ 88 and were only helped by a Mets’ collapse. Since when is Charlie Manuel a genius? Yes, Howare, Rollins, Hamels and Utley are superb, but inferior component parts? I’ll take Wright over Feliz, Delgado isn’t shabby if he has a bounceback year (no Howard, but outside of Pujols, who is?), and Beltran is better than any Phillies’ OF. Reyes may not be J-Roll, but he’s not shabby. I’ll take John Maine over the ancient ex-Mariner Jamie Moyer, and an aging El Duque over Adam Eaton). The pressure is all on the Mets. And when all the zeros are finally in pace, the 28-year-old Venezuelan’s enormous contract and the Himalayan expectations wrapped around it will subject Johan to more scrutiny than any pitcher in the history of a city,the Sour Apple (My note: more scrutiny than any pitcher? Oh, really? and “Sour Apple”, gee, no NY bias there, is there?) that has made a lot of grown pitchers cry. Hideki Irabu, Jeff Weaver and Kevin Brown come immediately to mind. (Note to Conlin: those three pitched for the Yanks, not the Mets. How do those three have any bearing on Santana & the METS?)

Santana has pitched his entire big-league career in Minnesota, where pressure is getting shut out in an ice-fishing tournament. (Real nice there, Bill. Minnesotans may want to put you under that ice). If Santana fails to tip a waitress in NY, it’ll make the front page of the Post under a headline like “El Cheapo” or “Senor Stiff.”

….and you wonder why you train your dogs on newspapers. BTW, Conlin’s disdain for bloggers is well known and some of his comments are despicable.

I have to laugh when someone is declared “questionable” for the Super Bowl, like Burress. If he can walk, he’ll try to play. It’s the Super Bowl. In 1965, in one of the first plays of the Western Conference playoff game between the Packers and Colts, Bart Starr fractured some ribs and backup QB Zeke Bratkowski had to fill in. The Pack won in OT 13-10. The next week who QB’d the Pack in the NFL title game vs. the Browns? Starr, wearing a flak jacket in the Packers’ 23-12 win. It’s the Super Bowl; if a guy can walk, he’ll try to play.

NFL commish Goodell is looking to shake up the playoffs. If a team makes it as a wild-card but has a better record than a division champ, Goodell thinks that the team with the better record should get the home field. He’ll have a tough time selling the idea, which would need approval by 24 of the 32 teams. The Steelers-Jaguars playoff game, as well as Giants-Tampa Bay, would have seen a different home team under his scenario. Not that it might have mattered, for the road team came out victorious in both instances.

The 1972 Dolphins are still yakking. Another “just shut up” award goes out to them. See a previous post about this, particularly Eugene “Mercury” Morris. Let’s just repeat one thing. If the Pats go 19-0, their strength of schedule was far more difficult than the 1972 Dolphins, and they were more dominating in their victories as well.

Given the number of NFL posts recently, (let’s face it, more of that than baseball…) previous NFL items have been tagged NFL. I’ll now start breaking down those posts to more than just NFL for better clarity. That way someone can tag the Ice Bowl, the 1967 Baltimore Colts, the 1965 NFL title game, etc. individually.

Last year people were upset that the Yanks didn’t go after Barry Zito. I reminded people of the $1.40 to the dollar ratio that Zito would have cost. The $126 million Zito got from SF would have cost the Yanks $176 million what with the luxury tax. What did the Giants get in 2007 from Zito? 11-13, 4.53 (OPS+ 98) in a ballpark and league supposedly suited for him. Can you imagine the boos and jeers Zito would have received in NY had he signed with the Yanks for that amount and posted that kind of record? He’s a good pitcher, not yet 30, and will most likely bounce back, but he’s good–not great, and not worth the amount he did receive.

Some signings. The Reds signed Scott Sauerbeck and Paul Bako. Sauerbeck is a 36-year-old lefty reliever who didn’t pitch in the majors in 2007. For his career, he is 20-17 with 5 saves and a 3.82 ERA (ERA + 117). Bako will compete for the backup C job. The 35-year-old lefty hitter had 156 ABs for the Orioles last year, hitting .205-1-8 (OPS+ 42). He is a .233 career hitter with an OPS+ of 62.

Baseball Prospectus lists their top 100 prospects in all of baseball. The link is here:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7092

Joba is # 4, Ian Kennedy # 34, Austin Jackson # 47, Jose Tabata # 48 & Allan Horne # 67.

I am not a winter person. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, meaning six more weeks of winter weather. I now wish the groundhog was roadkill.

Media big-time screw-ups, and a long-term deal for Cano?

7 p.m. From Bomber Beat (link at right)—The Yankees are closing in on a four-year, $30 million contract with second baseman Robinson Cano, according to a report published Thursday on FOXSports.com. …. and from Pete Abraham…it sounds like the term will be for four years with the Yankees holding two one-year options. They would buy out four years of arbitration and two years of free agency.

Cano and the Yanks were $1.3 million apart on their arbitration figures. Cano asked for $4.55M, the Yanks offered $3.2M. Signing Cano to this deal would be a good move for the Yanks. Cano is just 25 and has a solid .314 career batting average so far. $7.5 million for four years is far more than the arbitration figures, but consider this. Say Cano continues to develop and wins the batting title he narrowly missed in 2006. Say the 19 HR and 97 RBI turn into 25 and 110. Say he only got a one-year deal this year, and WINS his arbitration, then GOES BACK for arbitration again after 2008 or 2009 after two monster years. The price tag goes up. Sure there is a risk that Cano may drop off. But if he continues at this pace or better, you have extended “good faith”—something that will hopefully work in your favor if Cano becomes the superstar we think he will be (and is close to being now) and becomes a free agent.

Some media members have really embarrassed themselves this month. The “lynch” and “noose” controversies surrounding Tiger Woods, which resulted in disciplinary actions including a dismissal. Now the recent anti-Catholic and anti-Notre Dame rants of a drunken Dana Jacobsen at a recent roast. She deserves to be severely disciplined and may I say, lose her job as well. There is no place for it and no excuse.

A-Rod bashers have pointed out that the 2001 Mariners won 116 games–right after losing A-Rod. They also point out that Texas improved the year after they got rid of A-Rod. This brings me to the NY Post’s Mike Vaccaro’s column of today. He mentions how ironic it is that the Giants are now in the Super Bowl the year AFTER Tiki Barber retired and took his big mouth to the TV studio. Yes, it looks like the Giants haven’t missed Tiki’s Coughlin and Eli bashing very much. Vaccaro also points out how this run came without Jeremy Shockey. Interesting how the team came together. A team is like a jigsaw puzzle. The best looking piece isn’t necessarily the piece that fits.

Recently I advocated that the Yanks look into a trade with Washington in order to bring Nick Johnson back to the Bronx. Nothing against Betemit or Shelley Duncan, but a healthy Nick brings a great OBP to a lineup he would bat EIGHTH in. A guy whose last two seasons saw OPS+ marks over 135 hitting 8th? Not only that, he provides great defense. With Dmitri Young there, the Nats have a logjam at 1B. If you don’t think looking into getting Nick back makes sense for the Yanks, consider this quote from Washington manager Manny Acta:

“Nick, even when Soriano was here, was the most productive player we had because of his on-base percentage,” Acta said. “That prolongs innings, prolongs games. It wins games. It’s huge. He has so much value for us.”

Imagine how much value he could add to the Yanks. Wonder what it would take? Johnson made $5.5 million last year, when he missed the entire season while recovering from a broken leg. Considering his defense and OBP, that’s cheap, and remember, he’s only 29. According to MLBTR, he has no remaining physical limitations.

The Mets signed soon-to-be-38-year-old Ricardo Rincon to a minor league deal. Rincon didn’t pitch in the majors last year. He pitched 7 games in AAA. This proves that if you are a lefty (like Rincon) and can lift that arm to comb your hair, you have a shot. Have a lefty-throwing child at home? Teach him to pitch. Besides not being in the majors in 2007, he only pitched in 5 MLB games in 2006 (all with Cards). He is 21-24, 3.58 (ERA+ 125) for his career with 21 saves.

Here is another example. The Pirates (who just signed Jaret Wright) signed Casey Fossum. The 30-year-old Fossum went 5-8, 7.70 for the Rays last year (ERA+ 59) and is 37-52, 5.46 (ERA + 83) for his career. Heck, if your DAUGHTER throws lefty, teach HER to pitch.

There are still rumors regarding the Orioles. Mostly dealing with possibly trading Brian Roberts and/or Erik Bedard. They did get rid of Tejada (and in typical Ed Wade fashion, he gets a guy named in the Mitchell Report the day before the report comes out, and that player may now face perjury charges). Regarding the O’s, I expect them to finish dead last this year—yes, behind the Rays. Does anyone in Baltimore have a clue?

1/25; 7 a.m. Catcher Rod Barajas has signed with the Blue Jays. Barajas hit .230-4-10 in 122 AB for the Phils in 2007 (OPS+ 89). He hit 21 HR for Texas in 2005. For his career, he is a .239 hitter with an OPS+ of 75. He is 32. He won a WS ring for Arizona in 2001, and Yankee fans may remember that despite hitting .160 that year with 3 HR and 9 RBI, that he homered off Mike Mussina in Game 5 of the WS that year.

7:30 p.m., 1/25 Funny Barajas goes to Toronto after he shafted them last year.