Friday, October 28, 2005

Inspired By Infidels

I have to admit...the last couple of weeks, I've had a serious case of writers block on this blog. Part of it has been the Yanks getting knocked out in the way that they did. That took a lot of the wind out of my sails. Some of it has been physical exhaustion. Between work, staying up late to watch the games, going to games live and the typical drinking and debauchery that I engage in...I've had a hard time coming up with good stuff for this blog. I've posted some decent stuff on my other blog, the Imperial Sports Page, but I haven't done right by my first born.

An infidel friend says that my writing is much better when I'm pissed at someone or something. That I'm at my best when I focus my hate on a subject and spew away. It's easy to do this during the season because there's always someone or something that's getting under my craw...that there's often not enough time to write about everything that's pissing me off.

I think I've found my inspiration.

Let me start off by welcoming MetsGuy to the blog universe. Unlike some cowards who don't have the courage to start their own blogs but want to mock others who do have the courage to bear their souls, this transplanted left-coaster had the guts declare his love for his team on the World Wide Web. Bully for him. For this he should be saluted.

Now he must die.

He decides to use his inaugural post to spout the old, silly drivel that I've had to hear from Mets fans for years. Let me give you a couple of tidbits in case you've become from reading his saccarhin account of the Flushing faithful...

Mets fans are the greatest baseball fans in the world.

The greatest baseball fans in the world? Mutt fans deserve hazard pay for traveling to that eyesore of a park in Queens 81 times a year. But how can a team that can't sell out consistently unless they play the Yankees call themselves the greatest baseball fans in the world? Last season and in 2004, when this team was still in the pennant race in July and August, they only drew about 30 to 35 thousand a game. In a park that seats well over 50 thousand. Where were all these great fans? In a metropolitan area of over 17 million people, how can a team with the greatest fans in the world only draw 30 plus thousand a game? In the middle of a pennant race?
We live in a city where we have a team that represents tradition and dominance. We could easily don the navy blue and spend every season watching last year’s crop of overpaid free agents. Yet, given this option, we reject it for the stigma that comes with the blue and orange. We reject one-dimensional, swing for the fences baseball, and we embrace pitching, defense, base running, and all the comforts that Shea’s wide outfield provides.

The reason you don't spend any money on free agents is that when you do...they suddenly forget how to play the game that made them rich in the first place. Bonilla, Vaughn, Alomar, Beltran...the list is almost endless. The Yankees have their fair share of disappointments, but we also have quite a few success stories. Winfield, Jackson, Hunter, Wells, Mussina, Matsui, Sheffield and others. Guys that have earned their paychecks by posting superior numbers. Why? Because we hold our guys accountable for their performances.
New Yorkers are Yankee fans because they support New York. We are Mets fans because we appreciate baseball. To us, this game is not about supporting a team in October, and ignoring them during the season. We do not jump off the bandwagon at the smallest sign of failure. In an odd Buddhist way, we embrace the failures that come with being a Mets fan, because we know it gives us character. It shows that we are better fans than our Yankee brethren, who would sooner not watch than cheer for a team that doesn’t make the postseason.

I love the way losers feel the need to justify why they root for their teams by calling winners bandwagon jumpers. That it shows some strength of character to root for your team even when they stink. I and a lot of Yankee fans remember the bad old days of the 1980's. When New York was a Mets town. When Doc, Daryl and the Kid ruled Gotham City. I remember the empty stands of Yankee Stadium. The full houses at Shea. Growing up in Queens and getting tortured by the Flushing Faithful. Never once did I ever consider donning the blue and orange. Now the tide has turned. Now, NYC is once again the capital of Galactic Baseball Empire. The Yankees are drawing record crowds while the Mets players are looking at empty seats.

You know what that tells me? It tells me that every team has a core group of diehards. Then there are peripheral fans. Fans that follow a team but don't live and die with how they do. Then there are bandwagon jumpers. People who want to be associated with a winner and despite what they say, and have no real allegiance to anyone except whoever's holding up that trophy at the end of the season. You're a loyal fan. True to you school. But this idea that the Mets stink and you deserve a medal because you have the courage to wear a Mets hat makes you a better fan than Yankee fans is silly. Sports runs in cycles. There will be a time in the future where the Mets are better than the Yankees. Not next year like Mike Lupica thinks, but someday. And then Shea will be overrun by all pink Mets hats and David Wright jerseys in the way Yankee Stadium is inundated with pixies with their pink Yankee gear and Jeter shirts. Bandwagon jumpers have no allegiances.
We have no association with the business-like pinstripes of the Yankees, and the tight suits who cheer for them. Our tradition stems from the working class fans of the Dodgers and Giants, gathering with the ghosts of Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds. Their stadium was built on sluggers whose names we can rattle off until we want to vomit: Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, gag, choke, puke. Take a stroll down Monument Park, and you’ll see the retired numbers of many sluggers, and two pitchers. Is that the best you can do? For all your tradition and storied history, is your baseball team really so entrenched in the philosophy of simply swinging for the fences and beating opponents into submission?

This maybe the dumbest thing that he wrote. Despite the glorification of the big bats, anyone who knows anything about Yankee history knows that this dynasty was built on pitching. Names like Ruffing, Gomez, Ford, Hunter, Reynolds, Larsen, Page, Wells, Pettitte, Clemens, Cone, Rivera and so on. The Yankees have as rich a history of pitching as any club in the history of the game. When the Yankees consistently beat the Dodgers in the forties and fifties. It was with their arms not their biceps. The only perfect game in the Postseason history was thrown by a Yankee. The greatest closer in postseason history is a Yankee. The World Series leader in wins is a Yankee. Chicks dig the long ball and home runs put fannies in the seats. But pitching wins championships. So despite Metsguy's little rant about the Yankees being a one dimensional franchise, despite all this holier than thou National League nonsense, the Yankees actually "outNational League" the National League.

But why am I defending my team to a man that roots for a team that's produced exactly one Hall of Famer(not counting Nolan Ryan) and no Hall of Fame position players? The Padres have two. The Twins have three. Even the Expos have one. Who have the Mets produced? Strawberry? Redeemed as a Yankee. Mitchell? Traded away and became the NL MVP in 1989.

Congrats on the blog, Metsguy. But instead of constantly trying to compare your team to a franchise and legacy that you'll never live up to...worry about whether Reyes is going to break his leg legging out a triple or if Wright will get caught with underage midget triplets in the Poconos. You'll be better than trying to convince the world that going to a sewage plant for fun develops character.

Thanks I needed that....

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cash Gets Some Serious Cheddar to Stay With The Empire

This hit the wires earlier

Brian Cashman is staying with the only team he's ever worked for the New York Yankees.
The Bombers and their general manager agreed today to a three-year contract worth more than five (M) million dollars.
Yankees owner George Steinbrenner says in a statement he is happy that Cashman is staying with the team.
Now that Cashman and manager Joe Torre are staying, the Yankees can start their offseason moves.
The first priority will be to re-sign outfielder Hideki Matsui, who is eligible for free agency.
New York also has a deal that is all-but-finalized with former San Diego and Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa, who would become third base coach.

Good move by the Boss keeping Cashman with the Empire. He's the best man for this madhouse. Cashman was on WFAN earlier and it sounds as if the Tampa meddling that was commonplace last year will be kept to a minimum. Let's hope so. We'll see how the Boss reacts when the Yankees are mired in five game losing streak in June...

I like the Bowa move as well. He's a good baseball man and a good infield instructer provided you keep a leash on him. My concern is his relationship with Cano. Sojo was able to stay on him and hopefully Bowa will be able get through to him and help in his development. This kid can be a player and it's important to have the right coach to work with him.

I would rather have Dave Righetti here, but Gator Guidry as the pitching coach is cool with me. My only concern is the fact that he hasn't done this full-time...only during spring training. But Joe seems like the idea. So I'm cool with it for now.

More later...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Everybody Get To The Back Of The Bus....

I don't think anything else needs to said...Rest In Peace, Rosa...We owe you...everything

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Weekend Points Of Review

The Merry-Go Round begins....from Friday's NY Daily News

The Yankees are looking to overhaul their coaching staff this winter and have their sights set on former Phillies manager Larry Bowa to be their third base coach in 2006, according to sources. The Yanks are also said to be in negotiations to bring back Lee Mazzilli, this time as bench coach.
Joe Torre is believed to have spoken several times with Bowa, who spent the 2005 season working as an analyst for ESPN. GM Brian Cashman has also spoken with him.

Bowa, 59, was known as much for his fiery personality as his baseball acumen during his days as a manager, but he was regarded by many as one of baseball's best third- base coaches during his stints on the line.

Bowa was one of the topics discussed during Torre's sit-down with George Steinbrenner in Tampa on Monday, according to sources.

Roy White, who coached first base for the Yanks last season, is likely to be cut loose, and it's possible that Luis Sojo, who was the third base coach, could shift over to first, though he also might be let go.

Another potential scenario involves moving Chuck Cottier, who was an advance scout, to first base coach.

Sojo is incredibly popular within the team, but his decisions as third base coach often drew criticism from club executives and fans. Most of the time, Torre stood up for Sojo, but there were instances when the former infielder made choices that were indefensible.

When Sojo ran Derek Jeter into a first-inning out against the Angels in April, for example - taking away a second-and-third, nobody out situation for the heart of the Bombers' order - not much could be said to defend him.

"Luis was a little over-aggressive there," Torre said at the time. "We let them off the hook."

One factor that could allow Sojo to remain with the Yankees is his relationship with their Spanish-speaking players; Sojo quickly developed a strong tie to Robinson Cano, and whenever Torre had an issue with Cano he would typically ask Sojo to be involved in the conversation or even just speak to Cano on his own.

Since Cano figures to be a part of the Bombers' long-term future, there may be some in the organization who do not want to eliminate that dynamic, particularly since Sojo has tried to help rid the 22-year-old Cano of some of his flaws.

Torre has said he believes he'll have more control over the makeup of his coaching staff this winter than in years past and he mentioned after his Tuesday press conference that he wouldn't mind seeing Mazzilli return. Unlike Joe Girardi, who was bench coach last season but will be the Marlins' manager in 2006, Mazzilli has managerial experience, which only makes him more valuable as Torre's right-hand man. Mazzilli served as Torre's first base coach for four seasons before leaving for Baltimore.

Bowa, who did his first managerial stint in San Diego from 1987-88, then spent a dozen years coaching and waiting before getting the Phillies' job before the 2001 season, served as Lou Piniella's third-base coach in Seattle in 2000 and thus already has a relationship with Alex Rodriguez.

Bowa won't come cheaply, but that doesn't figure to be an issue for the Yankees. Although he said during the season that he enjoyed working in television, Bowa has wanted to get back into the game and was under consideration to replace Ken Macha as A's manager before Oakland did an about-face and rehired Macha one week after breaking off contract talks with him.

Things went sour for Bowa after he was named Manager of the Year with the Phillies in '01 and he was axed with just two games remaining in the 2004 season.

I actually like the idea of Larry Bowa coming here possibly. He knows the game inside and out and he's probably going to be on his best behavior because he's trying to get a managerial job somewhere. Guys like Bowa are fine if you can put a muzzle on them. They know the game inside and out and their expertise would be invaluable. Plus, with Joe there, there's little chance of him doing the damage that he did in Philly. These guys make way too much money for the Yankees to let some third base coach get under their skin. Guys like Bowa, Billy Martin and Valentine are fine to have around as long as you have a alpha-male in charge that they respect. Someone who will give them the boot if they get out of line. I don't think you find a better big dog to handle this situation than Joe Torre.

Sojo should definitely stay in some capacity. With the constant influx of Latin players thanks to more international scouting, you need some sort of liason in place to help with the adjustment process. Someone who understands their needs and thought process. I think Sojo is perfect for this. As good as Joe is at communication, it's kind of hard to talk to someone if you're not fluid in their language. You see that now watching the playoffs. Look at what Ozzie and El Duque have done for Jose Contreras. Proof positive, that there needs to be someone in place to help the special cases out. The guys who are having a hard time adjusting to their new life. Guys that you have invested a huge amount of money and time. I've always thought that one of the mistakes that some clubs made was to have a support system in place for black players when they were allowed to play in the majors. This is a much different situation, but there's nothing wrong with a little TLC for those that need it.

I know Joe trusts Mazzili, but I've never been impressed by Lee. He's never stood out as a player or a manager. If Joe's comfortable having there, I suppose it's ok. We survived with a wackjob like Zimmer. The man who was as responsible for the Red Sox collapse in 1978 as anyone. I guess we can survive Lee.

The pitching coach possibilities are intriguing. My choice would be Dave "Rags" Righetti. He's done a great job for the Giants and he's contemporary enough to relate to today's players. He's one of the few pitching coaches that I could see as a good manager someday. I don't know if he'd leave his family in Bay Area, but he'd be my choice if he would. Jimmy Key is an interesting choice as well. He was a very crafty competitor as a Yankee and Blue Jay. I'd like to see what he would do with a pitching staff. Ron Guidry has a certain star quality, but I wonder he'd willing to do this full time. If he did, he'd obviously have a lot to offer any staff.

I thought the world of Joe Girardi as a player and have no doubt that he's going to be very good manager. But why was everyone ready to annoint this guy as soon as as he was ready to call it quits as player? And why was it so hard for guys like Willie Randolph to get a decent gig? The talking heads were down on Willie get the Molly job from Minaya but nobody's saying anything about Girardi inheriting the most talented team in the division on paper. As bright as Joe might be, you can't tell me that race didn't have a little to do with that.

More later....

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Why Joe Matters

Joe Torre showed the Empire and the baseball world on Tuesday why he's still the best man to lead this team. Everyone in the press was hoping and praying that he'd have a Billy Martin-esque tantrum and tear King George a new one. Instead, you saw what you've seen for the last 10 years. The cool, calm collected presence that has rarely ever cracks under pressure.

Joe understands that it's not his job to provide the press with stories for the winter. It's his job to manage the Yankees. He's had a good relationship with the media over the past decade. But he's not going to air his team's dirty laundry and inflame an already tense situation. In a very understated press conference, Torre showed why you don't need a flamethrower here. Someone like Martin or Piniella would have probably gotten themselves fired by getting into a public battle in the tabloids with George. And deservedly so. Not to say that George wasn't wrong for mouthing off in public. But like Joe said, we all know how George is. He's not going to change. Whatever problems that needed hashing out between them, need to be discussed in private.

That's the great thing about Torre. He's able to take the temperature of a situation and deal with it. He was described in Buster Olney's book "The Last Night Of The Yankee Dynasty." as a "social genius". That genius was on display in dealing with George and the media as smoothly as he did this week.

It's hard to say where Torre ranks as an in-game manager. And you know what? I really don't care. I keep hearing about all these guys that are great maanagers that have done little or nothing. Tony LaRussa is going to the Hall Of Fame. But you'll never convince me that he's a great manager. I've seen him overmanage his teams out of victories. Bobby Valentine is a great motivator and in-game strategist like Billy Martin was. But like Martin, he always seems to overstay his welcome because he's a jackass. Dusty Baker is a great motivator and his teams and the media love him. But he's not the best in-game manager. Torre gives you the best of the both worlds. He's a solid in-game manager. Plus he's excellent in dealing with players egos and the media. The only one who gives you total package like Torre right now is Mike Scoscia. Ozzie Guillen is another candidate. But with his mouth, you wonder if he'll wear out his welcome at some point in Chi-Town. I've always thought Terry Francona was underrated, but I think he lets his players throw him under the bus a little too often.

As much as I like Sweet Lou, Joe Torre is our best chance for a return to glory. He probably did his best piece of management last year with all the drama and injuries. He deserves to finish out his contract and go out on his terms.

Every manager is going to make moves that make you scratch your head and throw stuff at the television. Torre is no different. I've screamed at the TV many a game when he left someone in too long or took them out too soon. But at the end of the day, Torre's been right a lot more than I've been.

Yankee fans have been spoiled rotten. With Mo Rivera and Torre. I don't even want to think about a world without them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Imperial Rants And Notes

Before I get into my rant, I promised Imperial Vixen Vicki that I would post this message to the Infidel scum named Fenwayparked who posts comments from time to time on my blog.

Your hatred must be effecting your ability to write and spell, fenwayparked. It's good that your name is fenwayparkED, but it's in the past tense, just like your championship. As has been said before, when you string together four in a row you might have earned your bragging rights. One in 86 years is nuttin,' honey.

Well said, Vicki. Well said. Don't know if you guys read this. But this was in Monday's Daily News.

The mother of Yankee star Alex Rodriguez is defending her son's poor playoff performance, saying the slugger was secretly grieving over the death of his uncle.
"I know how much he suffered from the death of his uncle without being able to do anything, from listening to me crying and not being able to be there," A-Rod's mother, Lourdes Navarro, told the Dominican Republic newspaper Listin.

Rodriguez's uncle, Augusto Bolivar Navarro, died in a Miami hospital Sept. 30, a day before the Yankees clinched a playoff berth by winning their division.

Lourdes Navarro said her brother was like a father to the Bombers' All-Star third baseman, whose biological father abandoned him as a child.

As the Yankees prepared to take on the Los Angeles Angels in the playoff, Navarro said her son was privately hurting as relatives in Santo Domingo prepared to bury Augusto Navarro. She said Rodriguez kept the death quiet because he did not want to distract the Yanks during the critical part of their season.

"We buried him in Santo Domingo. ...[Alex] didn't see him. Alex has a very high sense of responsibility to his job," Navarro said.

She said Rodriguez spoke on the phone for three hours with his uncle, who raised him from the age of 8, the day before he died. His last words to his uncle were, "I know you will be in a better place and that we'll be together," the mother said.

"I only know about Alex's heart," she added. "He is a sentimental man, a very sentimental man who sometimes lights up like a little boy. Everything that happened, he handled it with professionalism."

Rodriguez, who boasted a .321 batting average and had 48 homers during the regular season, struggled at the plate against the Angels, hitting only .133 with no runs batted in. He was roundly criticized by fans for the Yankees' early exit from the playoffs.

The $25 million-a-year player made no excuses, apologizing to his coaches after the Yanks were eliminated from the playoffs, saying, "I played like a dog." But Rodriguez apparently never let on that he was torn up inside.

"He suffered in silence," Navarro said.

"I would like ... for the baseball fans to know that my son is a great human being, that they're seeing a human and not a robot, that he can fail, especially when there are reasons like this," Navarro said.

Calls to Rodriguez's spokesman were not returned last night.

The abandonment by his biological father, Victor, scarred A-Rod, and it's one of the subjects he has addressed during thetherapy sessions he began as an adult.

During an interview with the Daily News earlier this season, he said he "wished [he] had therapy as a kid" because of what he endured.

"Whatever his true reasons for leaving and not staying in touch, I can forgive him," he wrote in his children's book entitled "Hit a Grand Slam."

"I have to let go of that anger to move forward. The problem is, I can't forget what he did."

Alex, you need to put a muzzle on your mom. She sure as hell isn't helping your cause. Let me be blunt. Noone in the empire cares about your dead uncle after your putrid performance against the Angels. I mourn for your loss, Alex. Really I do. But for your mother to attempt to make excuse for your non-performance by using the death of a family member isn't going to help your cause with Yankee fans. This is a team that's had to deal with more tragedy then most. And yet they've always persevered and triumphed for the most part. Even though it wasn't you that brought it up. After seeing Pujols keep his team alive on Monday, the last thing, we want to hear is that you were playing with a grieving heart. Mo pitched on the same day he buried two relatives in Panama last October. For $25 million a year, nobody is going to care about your uncle. You did the right thing and fell on your sword after the playoffs. Don't let your mom taint your already damaged image and reputation.

This would be an interesting move with Mel gone....

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Yankees have gotten permission from the Atlanta Braves to speak with pitching coach Leo Mazzone. General manager Brian Cashman still has not determined whether he will sign a new deal or leave when his current contract expires at the end of the month. And manager Joe Torre hasn't spoken publicly since New York was eliminated from the playoffs by the Anaheim Angels.
Contacted Monday, Cashman declined comment on his status, saying nothing has been decided.
But the Yankees do know they will need a new pitching coach. Mel Stottlemyre, who has held the job since Torre took over after the 1995 season, says he's not returning.
A Braves spokesman would not comment on Mazzone. A message left at Mazzone's home in Atlanta was not immediately returned.
Mazzone rebuffed interest from the New York Mets after the 2002 season, signing a new deal with the Braves that included a significant pay increase.
Mazzone, who turned 57 Sunday, has been with the Braves organization since 1979.

Mazzone would add an interesting dynamic to the team. He's probably the best pitching coach in the game. Two things that might impede his departure from Dixie. First, is money. Mel made about twice as much as Leo. Mazzone might want Mel money to come to NYC. The other is comfort. Why leave a great situation to come to a potential maelstrom? This is a situation worth watching.

Here's one from the absurd and ridiculous file...

New York Mets reliever Felix Heredia was suspended for the first 10 days of next season for violating baseball's steroids policy.
Heredia became the 11th major league player suspended for steroids. The announcement came Tuesday.
Traded from the Yankees to the Mets during the offseason, Heredia appeared in only three games before going on the disabled list in April with a strained left thumb. Doctors then found an aneurysm in his left shoulder after he began having circulation problems and he missed the rest of the season following surgery.
Heredia is 28-19 with six saves in 511 career games all but two in relief.

You need to take steroids to suck as bad as Felix did? Wow, playing baseball is more difficult than I thought. This guy couldn't throw a strike if you walked the ball to home plate and handed it to the catcher. And he was on the juice?? Wow.

More to come later....

Friday, October 14, 2005

A Little Imperial Perspective

Talk about trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

That's what the NY tabloids are trying to do in trying to goad Joe Torre into a confrontation with George Steinbrenner. Because Joe said that he wouldn't comment to any of King George's criticism until the end of the season. Now that the Yankees have finished their fifth straight season without a World Series Title, the writers want their winter war in the Bronx to sell to the readership.

Joe's doing the right thing. Laying low and enjoying time with his family. Whatever he has to say to or about George can wait. Screw the writers. Don't let them bait him into a war of words with George. The only one who wins that war is the tabloids. Everyone else, the fans, the Yankees...lose if that exchange goes down.

They're also starting blather about how the Yankees aren't a team, they're a collection of all-stars. Garbage.

Members of the Empire...I beg you...don't buy into it.

We lost. Deal with it. Suffer in silence. Don't write to these stupid tabloids regurgitating you've heard on Mike and Mad Dog or what that jackass Lupica might have wrote this week kicking dirt on the Yankees and their season. There's very little useful analysis in any of it.

If you want to talk about how the Yankees were a flawed team, fine. But if you want to talk about how they weren't a team but rather a collection of all-stars, stop right there. You don't win 95 games in the majors with just a collection of all-stars. The Dodgers, Orioles, Mets and others have tried it and failed miserably.

This wasn't a perfect team, but it was a good team. Just not good enough to keep playing. Despite what all these Gene Mauch/Whitey Herzog wanna-bees say. These were the same idiots who would criticize the way the Cardinals played ball in the 80's. Now they're crowing for baseball to have their own OzzFest. Ozzie Smith that is.

The bottom line is this, the team that pitches better, wins. Period. If you want to talk about timely hitting and moving the runner over, yes that plays a part. But in the postseason, it's all about pitching. You have to have either excellent starting pitching or a deep bullpen. The Yankees in the 90's had both. Outside of Clemens, they didn't have a one hall of famer. But they had guys who were gamers. Guys who could give you quality starts. And they had a solid bullpen that would take over in the later innings. Their offense was good, but as Torre has said in the past, their foundation was pitching. There were plenty of games where they only scored a couple of runs but still got the win. The reason was solid pitching.

In game 5 of the ALDS, they got two runs versus Anaheim in the top of the second. Now you can argue that they could have scored more versus Ervin Santana. And I agree. But the flip side is that it should have been enough for the time being. Instead Mussina gives up a 2 run shot to Anderson, a hit to Molina and a walk to Finley (who's even more shot than Bernie). Then with two outs, you have the collision between Crosby and Sheff on the Kennedy flyball to right-center that scores two. The collision aside, Moose can't give up a homer to start off the second after he was spotted a 2-0 lead. He can't walk someone hitting .222 for the season. There's no excuse for that. He has to put up a goose egg in that frame. Give his team chance to scratch some more runs across the board. Instead they go into the third down 3-2 instead of up 2-0. Momentum shifts from one dugout to the other.

We gave up too many runs with two outs in that series. You can't do that and expect to win. Yeah some errors hurt their cause, but even with the errors, the starters had a chance to end the frame with little or no damage. Instead they gave away the store and the games with two out hits. Good pitchers don't do that.

Whitey Herzog liked to say that momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher. The reason the Yankees were such roller-coaster ride this season was because you never knew what you'd get from your starters from start to start. The Angels series showed the world what Yankee fans have known all season. That our starting pitching was very, very erratic.

And don't even get me started on our middle relief. If you said, "What middle relief?", you're right. At the end of the season, there were two guys that Torre trusted in the pen...Mo and Flash. Sturtze's arm problems caught up to him and the rest of the flotsam and jetsam that made up the pen isn't worth mentioning in this blog. Even when Randy Big Bird lays a big egg in game 3, we didn't have one pitcher to hold the fort after we took back the lead. Even with Small giving back the lead, there should have someone in the pen to stop the bleeding. Instead a 7-6 deficit became an 11-7 loss.

In the glory days, when the starters laid an egg (and they did occasionally in the postseason)the bullpen was deep enough to keep the damage to a minimum. Now? It's 22-0, 17-1 losses.

A-Rod, Matsui and Sheff deserve their sharr of blame in this as well. They had opportunities to bury the Angels. They got good pitches to hit, but ended up fouling them off or popping them up. But good pitchers are going to find a way to good hitters out more than times than not. And even if you do get a good pitch to hit, the best hitter is going hit it at somebody more than he crushes it into the stands.

The Angels are playing now and the Yankees aren't for one reason and one reason only. They pitched better. Vlad did nothing in that series. Chone Figgins did just a touch better. But he didn't make anyone forget about Rickey Henderson or Lou Brock with his performance. The reason they won is that their pitching made little they did with the bats stick.

If your offense spots you a lead, any lead, it's the pitchers job to hold the fort until they scratch together more. In the playoffs, you don't see many 11-10, 8-7 games because the best pitchers are on display. So if your team gives you a 3-0 lead in the first, you better make it for a couple innings until they can get some more.

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but the quality of teams in the American League is much better now than it was in the late nineties. The lineups are much more balanced and the pitching is much deeper than it was. These teams took the Yankee model of building a winner and ran with it. You don't see the Indians and Rangers of the nineties anymore. Teams with mediocre pitching and big bats. The Angels, White Sox, Twins, Indians are all very balanced offensive teams with solid pitching. The Red Sox, last year, were as well.

The American League right now is the stronger league by far. Don't be fooled by the renaissance of Clemens and other pitchers who have changed leagues. The National League is a very top heavy league right now. Want proof? The Mets had the fifth best record in the NL at 83-79. Two teams finished with 90 or more wins. In the AL, five teams had more than 90 wins. It's a lot tougher to get out of the AL than it was five years ago. I guarantee that whoever comes out of the AL will beat the NL representative in no more than six games.

These teams are much better than any of the teams the Yankees beat in the AL playoffs from 1996-2000. The only teams that were comparable were the 2000-2001 Mariners teams that the Yankees beat in the ALCS. They had the pitching, but their offenses paled in comparison to these teams.

The Yankees? They've had the worst luck when it comes to pitchers the last two years. It all started with letting Pettitte go to Houston. They should have locked him up as soon as the season was over. Don't give him a second to even think about going home. That way Clemens stays retired and we don't have to watch the Astros go to the World Series with two of our starters (Yes, they're going to beat St Louis).

They never forgot the fact that pitching wins championships. But because they traded away prospects (Jake Westbrook and Zach Duke among them) and lost compensatory draft picks to teams like Oakland because they signed their free agents, they had to replenish their pitching staff with veteran free agents instead of young prospects. As opposed to someone who has been reared and indoctrinated into the Yankee way of doing things, you get a veteran who used to doing things their way and might or might not buy into what you're doing (i.e Randy Johnson). Or you get somebody who just can't handle the rigors of pitching in NYC (Jose Contreras and Javier Vasquez). If he's raised in your system like Pettite, Wang or Guidry, he knows what to expect and is more likely to thrive than an outsider.

Sometimes you get lucky with free agents and trades. Key, Wells, Moose, Cone and Roger were a huge part of the Yankees sucess in the nineties. But it can't be a one or the other sort of approach. There has to be a balance. Free agents are cool. But you have to have a strong farm system and a smart front office who can pull the trigger on trades that can help the team.

The Yankees are victims of their own success. All the trades and free agent signings that enabled the Yankees to stay competitive have left them with a very few strong prospects above the Single-A or Double A level. Meaning they're several years from away being able to help the big league club. It's the main reason that they have a $200 million payroll. Filling holes with free agents instead with your own farm hands or young inexpensive players via trades.

This year, I think they've finally seen the light with the success of Cano and Wang. They see two players that can be part of a foundation of the future. Hopefully, they won't be used as trade bait for the next Javier Vasquez. Or Jeff Weaver.

Call them overpaid. Call them underacheiving. Call them flawed. But this was a good baseball team. Not a collection of all-stars. A baseball team. Like I said before, a a collection couldn't have won 95 teams and overcome as many injuries and assorted maladies as this team did. An all-star collection wouldn't have been as devastated as this team was when they lost. They got beat. But they weren't the first good team to lose and they won't be the last. The Big Red Machine got beat in the playoffs three times before they finally won it all in 1975. The Braves lost three times before they finally won 1995. 14 straight postseasons. That's the only title they have to show for their efforts. The Orioles won in 1966 and 1970 but lost to two inferior teams in 1969 and 1971. The Red Sox averaged over 95 wins from 1975-1978. They have only one pennant and no World Series to show for it. Good teams lose from time to time when they shouldn't. That's the great thing about the game. On any given day, you can expect the unexpected.

The difference between those teams and the Yankees is their payroll. Because of the money, they are judged by a different standard. Forget the fact that they've made the playoffs 10 straight years and won 8 straight division titles. They're looked at as failures because they've failed to win their last game for the last five years. Forget the fact that teams like the Mets, Dodgers and Mariners are all in the top ten in payroll but were out of contention in July. Criticize the Yankees for doing what they have to do stay competitive and having the resources to do it.

The hypocrisy among infidels sickens me. Praise the Mets and the Red Sox for trying to acquire A-Rod but fail to pull the trigger. But curse the Yankees for getting it done.

But when the Mets pay a very good, not great player franchise money off of one good postseason, it's a blessing from the baseball gods. Until said player puts up numbers slightly better than a shot Bernie Williams. Even then it was still the right thing to do. And it's ok to trade for the Mets to try and trade for Manny Ramirez and his $20 million salary. That's just a good baseball move. When the Yankees do it with A-Rod, it's the end of baseball civilization as we know it.

Don't let the infidels make you feel guilty about the Yankee payroll. Is it too high? Absolutely. But any infidel who tells you that they wouldn't want their team to raise their payroll to an uncomfortable level to get a player of the caliber of a Manny, a Vlad, an A-Rod or a Pujols is a liar. The Mets had the third highest payroll in baseball and had 83 wins to show for it. If they trade for Manny, sign a closer and another bat, their payroll could go upwards to $130 to $140 million. If that means that they could possibly finally knock the Braves off, do you think Mtestradamus or any of his little crew will shed one tear about it? If the Red Sox add payroll to sign either Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan, do you think anyone from Infidel Nation will be crying about competitive balance? About how the small market teams can't compete under this collective bargaining agreement? Please.

This is the baseball equivalent of Donald Trump saying that he can't compete with Warren Buffett or Bill Gates because they have more money. If he said that, you know what you would do? You'd laugh at him and tell him to get lost. But because baseball is a business veiled in sport. And unlike other businesses, in sports you actually need your competition to be...well competitive. So John Henry can whine about competitive balance and not be laughed out of the room.

And guess who has the highest ticket prices in the majors? If you guessed the Red Sox, you would be correct. So much for caring about the fans.

But you know what John Henry would do if he had the Yankees resources? He'd spend more money. So would the Mets and every other team.

So don't get caught up in the numbers. Are they too high? Yes. But you still have to pay to play. There isn't one team left standing with payroll less than $70 million. There are no Twins or A's standing in the winners circle. Maybe you don't have to pay $200 million. But you're paying more than $40 million, I can tell you that much.

The games are still won and lost on the field. Judge the Yankees by that standard instead of by what someone was dumb enough to pay them. They're all overpaid. Even the ones making the minimum. But who among us would turn that down much less $25 million if someone offered it to us. Good for them I say. Make that loot. Someone's got to make it.

I like this team's chances for next year despite what happened last week. We need some bullpen help to be sure and we need to figure out what we're getting out of Pavano and Wright. But I like the rest of this team. There's no reason why we can't be competitive next year with a little fine-tuning.

Ask yourself. Would you rather be in our situation or would you rather be like the Mets? Wondering how you're going to fill the right side of your infield, get a closer and a big bat for middle of lineup. Or would you want to be a Red Sox fan? Trying figure out if Johnny Damon's worth $50 million over five years, fill the holes in your starting rotation and bulpen and find protection for Big Papi if you trade Manny. Papi is Maris to Manny's Mantle. A very good player who put up MVP numbers because he hit in front of a first ballot hall of famer. Trust me, Theo trades Manny and lets Damon go and Papi becomes mortal. The .300 40 homer, 140 RBI years are a distant memory. He'll probably be a .290 30 HR 100+ RBI guy. Still good. But not good enough to get the Sox into the playoffs. Not with their pitching problems. He and Manny are the reason why they made the wildcard this year. They're a second or third place team if they trade Manny. And I could totally see the Jays overtaking the Sox and challenging for the wildcard and the division even with Manny there. With Roy Halladay healthy, they have one of the better rotations in the American League. Their lineup is solid as well. Throw in the fact that GM JP Ricciardi has the blessing from the ownership to raise the payroll to $80 million, you could have a contender in the making.

So despite the challenges we face in the off-season, I refuse to take a Chicken-Little attitude toward this team. I'm as pissed as anyone about losing. I thought we had the better team. But I still have faith that we'll be back in the winners circle soon. This isn't the 80's redux.

We'll be back next year, brother of the Empire. And the infidels will have a new reason to hate us other . We'll be back on top. Again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Death Star Pilots Makes Stop In Vegas For Hookers...

Because they obviously forgot there was a Game 5 last night in the O.C...

No point in reliving last night's debacle. Just wanted to bring up a couple of points.

I cannot watch playoff games in public places anymore. Can't do it. I planned on watching from home, but a friend was leaving town for good and I wanted to say goodbye before he left. So I watched the game with friends at Blondies. Bad move. I almost killed three people last night. Seriously. To keep myself out of trouble and jail, I'm watching the games at home unless I'm actually there.

This is from my friend Tonya who wrote:

So angry and exhausted. If/when Arod wins the MVP, I will vomit.

Amen. I've been torturing myself and watching Mike and The MadDog on YES. Francesa made a good point (for once). If someone that good is as bad as he was, guess who's going to be scapegoat. And it's a shame because he had a great year. It would be a slap in the face if he wins MVP. And he better be very humble at the press conference. Very humble. As a matter of fact, don't even show up. Refuse to accept the award. That would be something to see.

Randy Johnson was great in relief but we probably wouldn't have been in that situation if he did his job on Friday. He's going to get booed all season next year.

When Colon came out of the game last night, I was saying to folks that it's not necessarily a good thing. I saw Ervin Santana pitch vs the Bombers in July. He has nasty stuff. When I saw that he was walking the park in the second, I said "we have to get to this kid now. Pile on. If we let him settle in, he's gonna be tough. He hasn't pitched in two weeks." I was poo-pooed by several people. I hate being right. That's what happens when you actually watch teams other than the Yankees every once and a while.

Moose is a bitch. Yeah, the play with Crosby and Sheff hurt. But he gave up a bomb to Anderson and a laser-like single to Molina. He then walks Finley who can't a lick and gives up a very well hit ball to the warning track by Kennedy that should caught by either Bubba or Sheff...but it wasn't a exactly a bloop. Torre needs to remember to feed Morris his nine lives before the game.

The Angels are a perfect example of why you can never have enough pitching. They had Santana waiting on their bench in case something like this happened. Amazing. The fact that he was an Angels farm hand earlier in year also tells you why it's important not too trade away prospects. K-Rod who saved the game, was a September callup who became a huge cog in their title run in 2002. You see that the Yanks are starting to see the light with the success of Cano and Wang. But you hope they continue the trend and don't trade away the future for a quick fix. If we're going to continue making the playoffs, we're probably going to look from within to do it. Signing free agents and making trades to fill holes is ok. But you can't or sustain a winner that way.

And on that note...Umm, Go Giants!!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Stadium Notes

If you're a fan who's ignorant about the terminology of the game. It might be a good idea to keep your mouth shut. An idiot behind me last night keeps yelling to Sheff "we need a can 'o corn to score this run, Gary. Come on!!". For those of you who don't know, a can o' corn is a term used for a routine fly ball. It was bases loaded, two out. Unless the rules changed and we had four outs not three, I think that a routine fly ball would have fallen short of "getting it done." When I explained to him his mistake, this exchange ensued:

Fan: I thought a can o corn was a bloop.
Darth Marc: No, it's a routine fly ball.
Fan: Then what do you call a bloop?
Darth Marc: You call a bloop a bloop.
Fan: Oh...thanks.

Normally, I wouldn't be as hard on someone who doesn't know the rules and terminology. But when you're being as loud and as obnoxious as he was (I almost turned around and smacked him when he called Matsui "Duck Sauce.") he needed a muzzle.

Speaking of fans, it was hilarious to see the crowd boo Randy Johnson's image everytime it up on screen...for PSA, a Yankee Trivia question, a picture in Match Game...everytime his ugly mug came on the screen he got booed. And it will be that way until he gets a chance to redeem himself and win a playoff game. Hey, if you stink it up the way he did, he deserves anything he gets.

I've been pretty hard on Jorge Posada over the years, but I have to say, this was maybe the best all-around game that I've ever seen him play. Getting hits, drawing a walk in a crucial situation and then running to third base after Guerrero threw home to nail Cano. He also picked off two runners and called another excellent game. Jorgie gets criticized often for not blocking the plate as well as Pudge and other receivers. He's also come up short in the clutch at the plate at times. But he's still one of the best all-around catchers in baseball. Now if only the Big Onion got over himself and got a clue. I like Flaherty, but we need Posada's bat in the lineup.

Bernie Williams is my favorite Yankee from this entire run and one of my favorite players ever. And as much as I loved all standings o's and chanting for him last night, it sounded a bit defeatist to me. Like we can't pull this thing out. If the score 10-0 in the eighth, fine, I can understand why you're doing that. But 2-0 in the sixth? I understand the intent, but the timing was a bit off.

I've come to the conclusion recently that there are some people who through no fault of their own are just going to rub people the wrong way. A-Rod is one of those guys. People hate him because of his talent, his money, his metrosexual-image conscious ways. Now Met/Jet fans have another reason to hate his guts. The reason he wears number 13 is honor his hero....

Dan Marino!!!! Metstradamus needs another reason to rant.

Yuengling is Jinx beer. That's right, jinx beer. A friend was good enough to buy me a Yuengling last night, and as soon as I sip the beer ,the Angels start scoring!! That beer stayed under my chair untouched for the rest of the game. So to all members of the Empire...Yuengling at the stadium...very bad.

Die or die tonight boys....I've got a whole booklet of playoff tickets that I'd love to use. Hopefully, they won't become souvenirs like Red Sox 1986 World Champions T-Shirts.....

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Not.... In.... Our.... House!

It was a long day for me since I went to the Jets/Bucs game and followed it up with the Yanks/Halos nightcap. I'm beat. But I wanted to post something before I crashed.

We can never do things easily can we? Wow, an unbelievable game tonight. But I can't take much more of this.

At least we didn't have to see another team celebrate on our field. For now, at least. Chacon, Leiter (never thought I'd say that) and Mo made sure of that. Plus we preserved the rest of the staff so we'll have all hands on deck for tomorrow just in case. And the Angels had to use Shields and Escobar for extended work so that has to hurt them a bit for Game 5.

The crowd was so amped after the game. They want blood for tomorrow. We have to finish them off. Payback for 2002. Make all those Dodger fans who want to trade in their blue for Angel Red think twice.

Time for the Death Star to make a little trip to the O.C.....

I'm beat. More in the morning.....

Saturday, October 08, 2005

No More I Hate You's

There is one thing that infidels do better than us members of the Empire...Hate. Because of so much more experience of being the geeks who get their lunch money taken in high school. The guy who has to watch someone kiss his girlfriend but can't do anything about it because they'll get their asses kicked. We can't possibly be as creative in articulating our hatred as they are. We're usually the targets not the holders of such enmity.

To the baseball world, those of who where he interlocking NY, we are the bad guys. The Empire. The bad guys. So let's give them a reason to hate us.

I was going hold off on killing Infidel Nation in their failure to win one game in the defense of their title. For being the Buster Douglas of World Series Champs. Upset of the century one minute. Gettin knocked on their fat asses the next. So here are some snapshots of the fall of the biggest flukes in the history of baseball. Hey, if we get knocked out tommorrow, they're going to kill me so I met as well get my shots in...

Thank you Orlando. You've done a great service to the Empire. The Emperor says the check is in the mail....

Hi mom! See, I told you that turning tricks in Worcester would get me somewhere! And I've met my first Negro!!! I never knew that they let them in Fenway! Cool.....

I can't believe that I gave Jeter a lapdance in the back of Boston Beer Works!!! Wait a minute....Torre and Luis Sojo too???

I see a career as a hair stylist and a life partner named Lyle in this kid's future...

We're all going to laugh at you!!! We're all going to laugh at you!!!!

George, I beg of you....please resist the temptation. Please.....

Maybe I'm better at this hate thing that I thought...

The Big Onion Stinks Up The Place

Can you believe this bull@#$%, Vader? This friggin stork couldn't go four innings, this what we paid $32 million for?? I can't believe this....

Was that a smirk on your daughter's face? Kill her please. Damn, you're a Sith Lord and you couldn't even prevent your daughter from becoming a Yankee-hater. Dark Side of the Force, my ass....

We could have started Jaret Wright if we wanted this. I know Small and the rest of the bullpen laid a big fat one in our mouths, but this loss falls squarely on the Chicken Hawk's shoulders. This should have been a 7-1 or 7-2 win. Instead we get our wigs split 11-7. It's 18 hours later and I'm still seeing red. Running around the bases, that is.

I couldn't even enjoy this. As much as I enjoyed watching Infidel Nation get torched to the ground by former Yankee El Duque, I'm not one of those fans who gets more enjoyment out of my enemies failure than our successes. To be honest, I could care less who we face in the ALCS. I just want to get there. Somebody needs to reminds these latecomers to the Death Star that it's not about beating the Red Sox. It's about us winning the World Series. Period. If they lose and we lose tomorrow, all it means was that we died two days after they did. It means that I have to watch someone other than the Yankees in the World Series. Again. So leave the playa-hating to the Mets fans. They're much better at it because they have a lot more practice. You get a lot of it when you've been the Braves bitch for 10 years.

But I will say that it was kind of funny reading that one of the idiots wants to jump ship. Damn, the body isn't even cold and they're already scattering like rats.

The rain-out today could be a mixed blessing. On one hand, it puts some distance between last night's loss and gets our bullpen some rest. It also could take some of the momentum away the Halos. On the other hand, they could pull Washburn and start on Colon on regular rest. As turns out, we'll face him on Monday on five days rest. Not great, but it also means Moose will be on five days rest as well. I like our chances a little better with Moose in an elimination game.

Now it's up to Chacon to keep our season alive versus Jerrod Washburn. Chaka Chacon has responded well in following Yankee losses so hopefully he'll do that Sunday. I think he'll come up with a good effort and the Bombers will be good and pissed about losing another game they should have won. We'll find out tomorrow, are they the baseball equivalent of the wife/girlfriend who makes excuses for her man who kicks the crap out of them? Or are they Farrah Fawcett in the Burning Bed? Are they ready to say enough is enough?

Come on Shawn, bring out the Inner Farrah in us....

The Big Onion is depending on you....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I Guess I'm It...

Because I've been tagged....I can't sleep, so I guess I'll play along.
10 years ago, October 1995:
I was in second semester of Grad School at NYU. I remember watching game 2 in the student newspaper office. I nearly lost it when Burnitz crushed that homer to win the game. I also remember watching game 5 at work and almost smashing a desk when Griffey crossed the plate to win the game. My lifelong hatred for Grrifey, Jr and the Mariners began that night.

5 years ago, October 2000:
I remember getting hit with a mail carton by Metstradamus for taunting him after the Yankees won Game 4 at work. I don't know why. I've always thought "They're gonna laugh at you! They're all gonna laugh at you!" from the movie Carrie was hilarious. I guess he didn't get the joke. I was living where I live now in Brooklyn.

One Year Ago: October 2004
Experiencing the worst sports month of my life. Watching our nemesis celebrate in our cathedral still sickens me almost as much as looking at this....

I only have this to say...Never again. Never again.

Yesterday: Wednesday & Thursday (since this is technically Friday)
Watched the fat bastard blow a 4-0 lead with the help of Strong Island resident Tony Graffanino (possible Imperial Spy? Perhaps) and then I watched us do the same thing versus Anaheim. A busy day at work. Not overwhelming, but busy. Thursday was a ry busy day capped off with the NYPD/FBI annoucement that terrorists want to blow up the subways. Fun, fun....

Five Songs That I Know The Words to: Wow I know literally thousands but here it goes:
Lift Every Voice and Sing: James Weldon Johnson
Anything Goes: Cole Porter
Lush Life: Billy Strayhorn
One More for My Baby:Johnny Mercer & Harold Arlen
New York, New York: Kander & Ebb
The Weight: The Band

Five Snacks:
Chocolate Shake
Vienna Fingers
Entermann's Chocolate Donuts
Ben & Jerry's NY Super Fudge Chunk
Jamaican Beef Patty with Cocoa Bread

Five Things I'd do with 100 million dollars
Go back to get my PHD in either International Affairs or American History
Get a big enough place so if my mom or brother wanted to come back to NYC they could.
Send my brother back to school and help him with his business
Set up a trust and rainy day funds just in case.
Get a luxury box at the Stadium. Write it off as a business expense.

Five Places I'd Run Away to...This sounds like some punk ass s##t.
To my mom's place in Charlotte.
To the Stadium (my fortress of solitude)
To Union Square
To Prospect Park
To my room

Five things I would never wear:
Red Sox gear
Cowboys gear
Anything with a Native American emblem
Dook Gear
Florida State Gear

Five Favorite TV Shows
West Wing
Law & Order
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Baseball Tonight

Five greatest joys
Yankee World Series
Winning two state titles in wrestling
Getting my two college degrees
The smiles on loved ones face when you do something nice for them
Giants Super Bowls

Five favorite toys:
My Dell DJ
My DVD Collection
MY CD Collection
That's enough...

Current Reads:
Emperors And Idiots by Mike Vaccaro
Forging Genius:Casey Stengel:Steven Goldman
Little Yellow Dog:Walter Mosley
The Bad Guys Won: Jeff Pearlman
Divided They Fell:The Demise of the Democratic Party (1964-1996): Ronald Radosh
Rise Of The Vulcans:The History of Bush's War Cabinet: James Mann
The Napoleon of New York: Fiorello LaGuardia: H. Paul Jeffers
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York: Robert A Caro

Five People I am tagging to do this: Every candyass that reads this blog and has one of their own....I dare you....

The One That Got Away

What the *%@3, master? I stayed up to watch this b******t? Three friggin errors? That is not the imperial way. We had this game in the bag.

How do you think I feel, young Anakin? I was in the Death Star with no TV. I had to listen to Sterling and Waldman the entire way back from Coruscant. I'd rather have rats nibble off my toes than go through that again....

Tough loss last night. A very winnable game that would have put a stranglehold on the series for us. Instead of going back to New York up 2-0, they have to settle for a split. A good start to the playoffs, but not great.

I'm not going analyze the hell out of went wrong what went wrong Wednesday night. What it came down to was that the Yankees might have wanted to win, the Angels had to win. Plain and simple. And if the Yankees were going to win that game, they were going to have to beat Anaheim. Because the Angels weren't going to lose, if that makes any sense. You saw the sense of urgency with the plays they made in the field and the fact that Lackey made pitches when he had to to get out of a jam.

That game showed me several things about both teams.

1) That this Yankees team is still a little uncomfortable playing the front-runner. The late nineties teams would get a ahead and there would be no looking back. This team is still a little tentative when it comes it to putting its boot on a team's neck and finishing them off. This team seems to respond best when its back is against the wall. While it's nice to know that they'll respond when they need a win. It makes for some unnecessary drama and lots of upset stomachs and ulcers in the Empire.

2) That this Angels team isn't as good as the 2002 version. The bullpen is still very good and the starters are actually better with Bartolo Colon as the ace. But they are a very average offensive team. Yeah, they have Vlad the Impaler. But he's the only one on the team with over 20 homers and 100 RBIs. Garret Anderson is not the same silent assassin at the plate because of back problems. And this team seriously misses the power of Troy Glaus and Tim Salmon. They're faster on the basepaths. But they hardly put the fear of God in you like that Angels team could.

3)The Yankees are a better team than the Angels. I wasn't so sure about that this season. This team gave us fits. But when you look at the lineups, the only one who could, without question, start for the Yanks is Vlad. And the only reason why I give him the edge over Sheff is age. Everywhere else is either a toss up or a clear Yankee advantage. The rotation's are about even. Their bullpen is deeper but I like the back of our pen over theirs. The thing about the Angels is that they take on the persona of their skipper, they rarely beat themselves. If you want to win the game, you have to beat them because they won't give it to you. The Yanks and the Red Sox will occasionally give games away with silly errors like yesterday. The Angels don't lose games like that. You have to play nine innings of great baseball. Not six. Not seven. Not eight. Nine. That's why you have a team like that, you have to bury them Look at what they did with two outs and men on base. If we did that on a regular basis. We would have won 120 games.

I like what I saw out of Wang. He's a gamer. Maybe next time, we can get him runs.

I think Randy will give us a good start on Friday. Hopefully the rains won't disrupt the proceedings....

Time to send the Angels to baseball hell....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

First Strike

Leia, Met Fan or no....I don't care if it's too painful for you to watch Al Leiter eat innings for the Yankees in the playoffs. You're watching every frame of this series!! If you don't, I'm turning the Death Star around and we're fragging your whole friggin planet!!!

I was asked what do the Yankees need to do to win this series. Exactly what they did
for the first six innings of Tuesday night game. Solid starting pitching, timely hitting, good defense and solid relief work. You can't ask much more from the Bombers Tuesday, as they beat the Angels 4-2 in Anaheim.

Coming off a week's rest, Mussina was sharp as he kept the Halos off balance for 5 2/3 innings when Joe Torre took him out of the game because of pitch count. Robinson Cano hit a three-run double in the first, Jason Giambi stroked a RBI double in the second and the Bombers never looked back.

The only burps were Sturtze and, ironically, Cano. Sturtze gave up a jack to Bengie Molina in the seventh and Cano tried to backhand a high-hopper from Darrin Erstad in the ninth that went into rightfield and allowed Vlad the Impaler to score. Can someone please tell this kid to get in front of the ball instead of backhanding it? Please? That move has disaster written all over it.

And Sturtze? I don't know what to say about him. He's clearly got a tired arm. But what do you do? With our bullpen problems, we need every arm we can muster. I don't know if Small can fill that void. Maybe, but that depends on how deep the starters can go into the games. If they get knocked around early, then Small will probably end up being the longman coming out of the pen. If the Bombers want to avoid expose the vulnerable under-belly of the team, they have to get length from their starters.

All in all, a great way to start off the postseason.

Part of the fun in being a Yankee fan, is seeing the misery that your joy instills in others. So when Infidel Enemy #1 Metstradamus published this post today, I giggled just a little. Ok a lot.

This also made me laugh...just a little bit. I know it's only one game and they'll probably win tonight with Wells on the mound. But watching them get their lunch money taken from them on the South Side of Chicago was a joy to behold. If that beating didn't make the scum from Infidel Nation realize that this isn't 2004...I don't know what will.

An deleted scene from the Godfather Part II.....

Frank Pentangeli: Tommy, I'm telling ya, I'm gettin' so friggin' tired of these damn Yankees! I keep thinking that they're dead and they keep popping back to life! I'm tired of having to stay in Witness Protection because of that damned Jeter and his stormtroopers!! What's a good Mets fan to do, Tommy?

Tom Hagen: I'm sure you'll do the right thing, Frankie Five Angels. You've got to make sure your family's taken care of.

Frank: You're right, Tom. Guard!! I need you to draw a hot bath for me...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Forget Buck, Just Win

Luke.....Would you relax?? Just because Showalter is a bitter little ass-clown, doesn't mean we can't win this thing....Would you stop acting like your mom, Luke and get back on this ledge? Homefield isn't everything...

Agreed Vader. Homefield isn't everything. It certainly helps when you have raucous crowd like the one here and in Fenway. The players can definitely feed off the energy. But it's a moot point unless your team is playing well in the first place.

You have an interesting dilemma coming into tonight. You have two pretty evenly matched teams who are playing well at the moment, facing off tonight. The Yankees have been the best team in baseball in September while the Angels are probably a close second. But with the Bombers pretty much phoning it in in their last game against Boston and Buck Showalter pulling several of his starters in the fourth inning of his game against the Angels, it leaves the Yankees in a rather new predicament for them. Winning the division, but having to start a series on the road.

This is why every game counts. Seemingly meaningless losses to Tampa or KC in June can bite you in the ass in October. The Yankees have noone to blame but themselves for having to start the playoffs on the Left Coast. Partying all night in Boston after they win the division, A-Rod playing poker with his boys. Did they not realize that Sunday's game actually meant something? That this scenario could have played out? I'm a huge Torre fan, but he dropped the ball on this one. I understand the need to get Mussina some rest, but the entire team seemed to be going half speed as soon as the Sox went up 2-0. I hope they enjoy the OC because that's what they're getting tonight and tomorrow.

And all these snipes at Buck by the Yanks for pulling his starters early in Sunday's game need to stop. The Yanks should have pummeled Schilling and avoided this scenario all together. If you handle your business, you don't have to worry about how somebody else handles theirs.

I will say this about Buck though. He can no longer take the high road and play the "conscience of playing the game the right way" anymore. After tanking it on Sunday with a 4-1 lead, he gave a huge middle finger to the A-Rod and Steinbrenner. George unfairly gave him the boot after the 1995 season and he and A-Rod didn't have the best relationship in Texas. By losing Sunday, he stuck it to the Yankees in a big way. By doing that, however, he can no longer lecture anyone on the right way or talk about how some player is disrespecting the game by wearing their hat backward like he did to Griffey, Jr over a decade ago. If tanking the last game of the season to stick it to a rival isn't disrespecting the game...then I don't know what is.

This was an awesome back page by the Daily News

Moose, you've gotten more than enough rest. No more excuses. Time to step up.

Monday, October 03, 2005

California Hate

What do you mean we have the third home Yankee game for the ALDS??? We start the series on the road!!! You bought a ticket for a game that will never happen!!! You got a ticket to Anaheim to go with that ticket, jackass??

I'm with Vader on this one. I'm not happy about starting this series on the road. We could have iced home-field for this round with a win. Now we have to go on the road and play the one team that gives us more problems than any team outside of the Red Sox.

The Angels are a very good team that can pitch, defend and run the bases. They're not the best offensive team, but they have Vlad Guerrero and Garret Anderson, two hitters that have given us fits over the years. Chone Figgins has given us fits on the basepaths. Of all the playoff teams, they're the only one that we were under .500 against(4-6).

It seemed like Torre was going fullspeed for the first couple of innings. But when it looked like they would have to balls to the wall to win the game, Torre backed off. I understand why he did it, but I wish we could have won that game for homefield. Then again, with the way we played earlier in the year, I guess we should be happy that we're in the playoffs in any position. And this is why the games against the Royals and Devil Rays hurt. Instead of being in control of your own destiny, you're fighting for homefield on a day you should be resting guys...against a team that came into the day fighting for its playoff survival.

And Jeter banged up his knee...ugh.

I see that we have Moose, Chacon and Johnson going in this series. If we can get one game on the left coast, we're in good shape to finish it off over the weekend.

I hate Cali....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sunday Morning Notes

Daughter or not, I'll smack the taste out of your mouth if you even if you even joke about Fisk being better than Thurman!!!

Thanks to a nap after the USC-ASU game last night, I'm up early burning music for a friend and reading the papers I might as update this blog with some random thoughts about this series and race in general.

The sweetest thing about this division title was how all the haters out there and how they outted themselves. The Republicans talk about a liberal bias in the media. And they're probably right. Well this year, more than in recent memory showed that there is definitely a anti-Yankee bias in the mainstream sports media. You can see it on ESPN where analysts and talking heads at times go out of their way to pick against the Yankees. Even when it flies in the face of common sense and logic. I wish I had nickel for every idiot that said that the Yankees were done. In June!! Heck Dan Shaughnessy of the the Boston Globe wrote this column in late saying that the Sox were a lock for the division . Now even if he wasn't working in Boston in 1978 (which he was), how can you count any team that's won as much as the Yankees out in June? I understand trying to create buzz, but there's also talking out of your ass. At least he had the guts to say he was wrong in a later column.

But it's not even guys like Shaughnessy, Bill Simmons or Jim Caple that bother me the most. They're at least honest about their bias. And they're quite entertaining in expressing that viewpoint. It's guys like the Mike Lupica that bother me the most. Guys who try to act like they don't have an agenda, but you can't read one column of theirs without reading about the Yankee payroll. Who actively root against the Yankees. Who in their latest column is whining about how the Yankees won the divsion yesterday was a farce.

Why, because it robbed the fans of a final Sunday showdown? Please. The Yankees deserved to win the division because they won the season series by winning yesterday. The best the Sox could do was tie so the Yankees deserved to win the division by virtue of winning the season series. Why shouldn't the team who wins the season series be rewarded for it? The other 160 games shouldn't count for something?
This doth sound like a vexed columnist who was hoping the Yankees lost in another epic battle. Sorry Mike, if the boys disappointed you in not letting this affair drag on anymore than it had to yesterday. I love it when columnists get mad when the facts get in the way of a good story. Why not write what happened instead of what you hope would happen? Sometimes, the truth can be more entertaining as fiction if you pay attention.

In the same column, he also gives a backhanded complement to A-Rod by saying he now can be mentioned in the same sentence as Mantle...but not quite. He forgets to mention that A-Rod has done several things that Mantle never did, including eight straight years with 30+ homers and 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored. Mantle only had four 100 RBI years in his careers. He also neglects the three 200 hit years (Mantle had none) and the 40HR/40Steals in 1998(Mantle's best combined year was 31/21 in 1959, although in fairness, stolen bases weren't as prevalent then as they would be in the next decade or even now). Not to mention that their career OPS numbers (.978 to .963 in favor of Mantle) and career batting averages (.305 to .298 in favor of A-Rod) are very similar.

The point is, A-Rod deserved to be mentioned in the same conversation as Mantle and his ilk long before he became a Yankee. The only thing he hasn't done yet is win a title, but that never stopped people from giving Ted Williams his propers. Yet Lupica acts as if it's blasphemy to mention him in the same sentence as the Yankee greats of the past. Another slap at him is that he'll never be as beloved as Jeter or Mantle. First of all, who cares? Secondly, are you now Metstradamus and can predict the future? Fans are very fickle and a lot can happen in several years time. I'm not saying it will, but if A-Rod and the Yankees win a couple of titles, a lot of opinions can change between now and then.

But I'm tired of writing of writing about that jackass. Let's move on some other stuff.

You silly hoe!!! You did what with my playoff tickets? And who the hell is Fred Neurohr???????

Other than seeing our team and fans in a parade down the Canyon of Heroes, nothing makes happier than to see images like this. Infidel nation wallowing in misery. I love seeing them suffer. Kind of like a little kid feeding battery acid to seagulls just to see them explode. Or picking the wings off a butterfly and throwing it to your pet lizard. Or putting salt on a slug just to see it dehydrate. That's what's I'd like to do to Infidel Nation. Figuretively anyway. That's why I think the Yankees should make it as hard as possible for them to make the playoffs. Play everybody today to ensure a win. That way if, Cleveland regains their manhood and can win today, it forces a play-in game between the Tribe and the Infidels Monday.

Now the Red Scum probably win that play-in game, but what if they didn't? What if they manage choke and miss the playoffs entirely? How great would it be to see the abject misery of their fans if couldn't even see their beloved team defend their first title since World War I? The shrinks in New England would make a killing if that were to happen. The entire region would be on suicide watch. When the Yankees beat the Sox in 2003, I read Bill Simmons everyday to see what he and his fans would come up with. It didn't matter if we lost the World Series. I've seen them win plenty in my lifetime. Seeing all of Infidel Nation this close to putting their collective heads in an oven was worth it.

Now last year was the worst sports year of my life. I was so angry that I saw blood-red for a month. And my infidel friends twisted the dagger already in my belly by sending me pictures like this. I've got to admit, I was this close to cracking. But I took comfort in the fact that the law of averages caught up with us and that we would have another crack at them. That the Empire would indeed strike back. You beat us once, let's see you do it again.

That's why the Yankees owe it to their fans and themselves to go all out in this last game. Pound on Schilling and their pathetic bullpen. Make it as hard as possible for them to defend their title. While there's a good chance that they might still end up in the ALCS, there's a less of a chance of them pulling another Hulk Hogan and coming back if we have them down 3-0 again. Sorry, fellas, God only goes fishing and gives Satan the keys to the house and Porche' once every millenium. No more miracles. And that one came with a price. Schilling clearly isn't the same and Foulke is out for the year. If they want a ALCS rematch, fine, but let them earn it. Put as many roadblocks as we can in front of them. I understand our guys need rest, but I don't think this team has left in the tank. Let's finish this thing.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Meet The New Boss....Same As The Old Boss!!!

AL EAST CHAMPS, INFIDELS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


With a little help from the Chi-Sox, and a solid performance from the Unit, the Yanks finally win the AL East by beating the Third World Infidels 8-4. Sheff, Matsui and A-Rod crushed home runs and Johnson pitched a solid seven plus innings. With a 4-3 win by White Sox over Cleveland, we win win the Al East by virtue of the head to head matchups with the Tribe and the Sox. We won the season series 4-3 and 10-8 respectively against the two.

Now we need to put the dagger in the infidels heart. If we win tomorrow, and the Indians win, we force the infidels to play Monday in a play-in game. That puts more pressure on their depleted pitching staff.

I understand why Torre is going with Wright. Mussina needs the rest. But we can't take it easy on them. They are still dangerous. We have to make it as difficult as possible for them. Play as many regulars as you can and make them earn it.

This isn't payback for last year. But this is pretty nice.



Winning To Stay Alive....Time For Randy To Be Randy

It was painful last night. But not unexpected.

It's not a copout for me to write that this was a must-win game for the infidels last night. Their most accomplished big-game pitcher(outside of a healthy Schilling) on the mound against a rookie. They had win this game. As good as Wakefield has been you never know what a knuckleball is going to do. And who knows what they'll get out of Schilling on Saturday. Granted, we have no idea what Mussina will do orwe'll get out of Randy, with all hands on deck, I like my chances against them on Sunday believe it or not.

Time for Randy to be Randy. This is how he cements his legacy is as one of the big-name pitchers of all time and arguably the greatest lefty post World War II. By winning today. Randy, like Pedro, seemed to resent all the attention that loud-mouth Schilling would attractto himself.

If you look at his career stats he's not going to sniff anywhere near the Hall like Pedro and Unit. Wells and Mussina both have more career wins. Yet he gets all this press as the big-game pitcher of his time. It's kind of like Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman. Seaver was clearly the better pitcher. Yet, Koos was a better big-game pitcher. Unit can overcome all of that with a win today.

Yes, it only gets the Bombers a game ahead with one to play. But it guarantees that Boston can't finish it off on Sunday even if Schilling pulls a Bob Gibson. It guarantees that this high drama finsihes at the Stadium, with someone other than Schilling deciding it. It means that Randy can possibly come on in relief and be the savior like he was for the D-Backs in 2001.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not playing for Monday. Nothing would me happier than win today and stick it to Doughboy tomorrow. And I think that can happen. But I want to win this thing....period...and how we do it is irrelevant. The point is, winning today puts us back in drivers seat. Enables us to control our destiny. Regardless of what happens tomorrow. Losing today. Well, I'm going to leave that one alone right now.

By the way, in case you were watching, huge win for the Chi-Sox last night. It puts the Tribe a game back of us and the Sox. I thought it rather strange that all these Indians fans were coming up to me saying that they were rooting for the Yanks. Until I realized why. Sorry,'s going to be a pleasure rooting against you this weekend. Go Sox!!! Chi-Sox that is.

Wow, never that I'd say that. Eww....