Monday, September 19, 2005

Weekend Notes

I was way too drunk and tired this weekend to write anything half way decent about this weekend's games with the Jays so I'm going to write some of my thoughts on this road trip right now while I have a minute to breathe.

First of all, a very nice road trip. 5-1 isn't 6-0, but we cut the Red Sox lead in half last week. We lost a game in the wildcard to the Tribe but hopefully we can get it back and then some as Cleveland face the Chi-Sox this week. Provided the Sox learned how to play baseball instead of whatever that disgusting game they've been playing the past couple of weeks. If they can take two of three from the Tribe and we can handle our business versus B-More, we'll make up the ground that we lost. Now that they're up against it, Ozzie Guillen should be able to light a fire under his troops so that they don't roll over and die.

How pathetic is the AL East? We're the only team with a record over .500 on the road (38-36). The baseball gods were very kind to Third World Infidel Nation. The residents of Castle Grayskull have had the bulk of their games this month at home...where they're virtually unbeatable.

Friday Night

Randy Johnson should be hit in the head with a shovel. I don't care if the umpire is missing calls two feet, you cannot get thrown out of a game during a pennant race. What if the league decides to take action and suspend him? Granted, the appeals process is a joke and he probably wouldn't have to serve it out until next season.But why chance it? We end up having to go to the long relief in a game we should have cruised through. Johnson didn't have his best stuff, but he probably could have gone six or seven innings with minimal damage. When you post 11 runs on a team, you shouldn't have to bring your closer in to seal the deal. It was third day in a row that Mo had to come in and close. Every bit of rest that we can get these guys is important. Which made what Chacon did on Saturday. But Johnson has to know that some of these umps are more confrontational than ever. Between the pressure that these guys are getting because of Questtec and the league offices for missing calls and players mouthing off...a lot of these guys have a very short fuse. I agree that the game-calling by umps is more inconsistent than ever...but you can't do anything to hurt your team like the Unit did.

Saturday's Glove Fest

Shawn Chacon's start Saturday was huge for several reasons. First he needed to rebound after his horrible start vs Boston last weekend. Secondly, he needed to pitch well because he could be pitching for a spot in the rotation since Mussina is supposed to come back on Thursday. And third, the bullpen needed a blow after the Big Dummy's temper tantrum on Friday. He went eight strong, but he had some help along the way. That was one of the better played games that the Yanks have played in a couple of years. This was one of those refuse to lose type games. Tom Gordon came in in the ninth and bended a little bit but he didn't break. A-Rod made a nice play on a wicked hop to third to start a nice 5-4-3 double play to end the game. That play is one of the reason why A-Rod should be the AL MVP.

Big Papi's having an awesome year, but Alex can beat you about three or four ways while Cookie Monster can only beat you with his bat. If you're going to give the MVP to a DH, his stats have to be far and away better than everyone elses'. And Alex has better stats in every category except walks and RBI's. And the Big Burrito didn't help his cause when he decided to take a shot at gold glove winners who "hit .230." Hey, Chubb-Rock, they may not produce a lot of runs, but they do save quite a few. And they certainly don't give runs away like the Sux do when you're in the field. The MVP shouldn't be someone who you consider a liability to your team. A manager shouldn't be worried about whether you have to make up runs for when he's in the field.

Back to Mussina coming back to the rotation. I'm a little leery about this. If he can come back and not miss a beat, fine. But if he's going to scuffle like he did before he left or worse, get bombed, it doesn't help us a bit. Every win is precious. And as important as Moose is, I'd rather take my chances with the guys we have. Let Moose work out of the bullpen until he feels like he's at full strength.

Wright's Black Cloud.

Seriously, does anyone have worse luck than Jaret Wright? This poor kid. He battles back from surgery and has a decent season last year which he spins into a 3 yr deal with the Yankees. He has a great spring training only to suffer more shoulder problems. He battles back to form, pitches reasonably well, only to get hit by a ball in one start and a broken bat yesterday! He didn't pitch awful despite the line score. And he certainly wasn't helped by the defense like Chacon was. Sierra misplayed two flyballs and Jeter had a couple of blunders that led to runs scored. Instead of turning an inning ending double play, Jeter's errant throw drags Giambi off the bag and leads to three runs scoring. An error he makes leads to another run scoring later in the game. Yes, the captain hits a solo homer to cut the deficit to one, but he strikes out looking to end the game with Cano on second base. Yes, the pitch was inside, but it was much too close to take. The ump had been calling that a strike all day and Jeter had to at least offer at it to keep the at-bat alive. This led to a argument between me and a couple of friends of mine when I had a rather harsh partially alcohol-induced criticism of the Captain's performance.

I love my captain as much as the member of the Empire, but this idea that Yankee fans can't have an honest criticism of Saint Derek is BS. He has had a decent season for him, but too many times this season, he's come up empty in clutch situations. John Harper wrote a column in today's Daily News that echoes my feelings on this. What's worse, whenever A-Rod or another player makes a mistake to cost a game, they own up to it. Jeter gets defensive. That throw yesterday was one he's made dozens of times and the replay shows that probably gets the runner by a step or two. Yet, Jetes says "he probably would have been safe anyway." No my bad, I messed up. Just that. I'm sorry, but that's weak.

And yes, as a fan I have a right to criticize any Yankee if he's not cutting the mustard. Booing is one thing, I don't think he deserves to be booed. But if a player is striking or GIDP with the bases loaded or with runners in scoring position I have a right to criticize him. If a player is hitting under .250 with RISP like Jeter is, than I have a right criticize him. I'll always honor and love him for the joy that he's brought this city and Yankee fans everywhere. But that's the past. If the Yankees fall short, is that going any of us feel better this winter? Watching another Red Sox championship parade? Watching them get their rings again while the Yankees watch?

He's gotten such a pass from the fans and the media over the years. He's an incredible player. A first ballot Hall Of Famer if he keeps this up. But he's never been the best player or the primary threat for the Yankees in this run. Bernie and Tino were primary run-producers then....A-Rod, Sheff, Matsui and Giambi are the guys now. He's a .300 hitter and scores 100 plus runs a year, but has only drove in 100 once. He's not a prototypical leadoff guy like Knoblauch or Rickey Henderson were. Taking pitches so the rest of the lineup can see what the pitcher has and how he throws it. And he's a solid defensive player, but he's not the next coming of Ozzie or Omar like Michael Kay and John Sterling make him out to be.

The point is that he's gets all the glory that someone like Mantle or DiMaggio or Gehrig or Ruth get, without being the best player on his own team. He's a great team leader. One of the best in professional sports. But he was never the best player like Messier was. That what A-Rod was talking about in that infamous interview serveral years ago. He's gotten the accolades of being the best player without actually being just that.

Does he deserve the money and the glory? Absolutely. But he shouldn't shy away from owning up to messing up just like everyone else. Being defensive only feeds the story rather than killing it.


Blogger Kat said...

read on Karen's site.. you went to the Giants game last night? I'm so jealous man! I watched at home. Kept flipping back and forth from the Yanks to the Gmen. A great night for NY sports. Once again, JEALOUS! TOTALLY GREEN WITH ENVY! ;-)

ps, glad to see you tied one on over the weekend! I did too.. Gotta love it!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Darth Marc said...

Had a great time at the game. 1/2 GAME BACK, BABY!!

10:24 AM  

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