Friday, June 30, 2006

Boston To The Mets: Now Go Home And Get Your Shinebox!!

I shouldn't laugh so hard being four games back. This has a chance of blowing up in my face.

The Mets are pissed and want blood after getting thrown a Jimmy Conway type beating in Beantown. The Mets fans want my head. Even with the back of their rotation scheduled to pitch, the Mets figure to be a tough out this weekend. If the Yankees lose two out of three or get swept, it could be a tough July for yours truly.

But where's the fun in all of this if you don't put yourself on the line every once and a while? No guts, no glory.

Despite certain Mutt fans whining to the contrary, I wasn't rooting for either team this week. I planned on jumping all over Infidel Nation had they lost the series to the Mets. And I would gladly have taken the games gained in the standings as well. Instead of gaining games however, we lost a game in a half. Now the Yankees are responsible for their own destiny. If they win or lose the pennant, it won't be because the Mets did or did not beat the Red Sox in June. We control our fate, not the Mutts.

But yeah, I enjoy tweaking Mets fans just like they enjoyed tweaking me in 2001, 2004 and 2005. It doesn't mean that I hate the Mets as much as I love the Yankees like many Mets fans admit to such as Shea Butt Boy Metstradamus has done in the past. He calls himself the Sooth-Sayer for the Scions of Shea and their fans. Yet, he's admitted when confronted by yours truly that he hates the Yankees more than he loves the Mets. What I wrote doesn't come close to doing that.

Mets fans have very limited experience in this so I should remind them that pennant races are not won in June. If you're six games out or less in June, history shows that you still have a great chance of catching up. We're down four games and it stinks. But if we handle our business, we should have more than enough time to make up the difference because the Sox are due to cool off at some point.

I said the Mets have locked their race up because the rest of the NL East teams are so putrid, that it would take a collapse of monumental proportions for them to lose the division. Outside of a Yankee World Series title, nothing would make me happier. But it's not gonna happen.

But does my tweaking of the Mutts fans make me as bad as the tools at Shea that chant "Yankees Suck" when they're playing the Braves? Hell no. Am I as bad as Brooklyn Met Fan who has a Hate the Yankees section on his blog? I hate the Red Sox and I hate the Mets almost as much. So I'm gonna tweak both whenever I get a chance. But to call me a hypocrite when your fan base is full two-faced liars and phonies is kind of like Heidi Fleiss telling Jenna Jameson that she doesn't approve of the way she makes a living.

Newsflash to Mutts fans: You can't whine when Yankees fans take digs at your team for getting manhandled like Jodie Foster in "The Accused", when your fanbase takes more pleasure from Yankee losses than Mets wins. When your fanbase is defined more by their hatred of my team than their love of their own. When you get your own identity and stop defining yourself by comparing yourself to us....Then talk to me about how much you "love" your team.

So bring it on this weekend, bitches. Let's see whose team is up to the task of backing up our boasts.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Reversal Of Fortune

I don't know whether to gag or giggle.

On one hand I'm pissed off that the Mets have stunk Fenway up like the Fulton Fish Market on a humid day in August with no air-conditioning. Granted the only thing that kept me from going postal Tuesday after the Yanks loss to the Braves was Routh and Spacey (It is mandatory for everyone who read this blog to go see Superman Returns. Mandatory!!! An absolutely awesome film.). As annoyed as I am about the Mets getting Love Trained by the Infidels, we still control our own destiny. Winning two out of three against substandard teams might be ok in most years. But not when the top three teams in the league are making the Senior Circuit look like the Carolina League in Interleague play. We need some sweeps, because there's no guarantee that we'll be getting any help from the opposition.

But despite the discomfort and agita this Sox Barnstroming tour has given me, I'm willing to endure for three reasons. 1) I have no choice 2)We don't have to face them again until August and a lot of things can happen between now and then...and 3)Seeing these Mets fan in A)complete denial about what this series means 2)the ones who were strutting around like Horny Roosters when they were beating on the D-Backs and the Phillies....who now realize that their team isn't nearly as good as they think.

My favorite line of the day? The Red Sox fan who told Mike Francesa after Tuesday night's loss to "bring on the team from New York who can actually play." Priceless.

It's not that fact that the Mets lost this series that's so alarming. If you lose 3-2, 2-1, 5-4...there's no shame in that. It's that you're heads and shoulders better than anyone in the Senior Citizen circuit...and you've gotten beat a combined 19-6 in the two games to a team that's currently the third-best in the American League. Make no mistake, the Red Sox are still a very flawed baseball team. The back of their rotation is a big question mark as is their bullpen outside of Timlin and Papelbon. But they have two frontline starters that can win a short series all by themselves and the best 3-4 tandem in Manny and Papi in the majors. That and Papelbon make them a force to be reckoned with it pains me to say.

So while I'd be lying if told you that I'm not surprised that the Mets have been manhandled at Castle Grayskull the last two days. I would say that I did consider this more of a test for the Mets than the Red Sox. Why? Because the core of that team has already won a World Series and been regular participants in hotly contested pennant races.

They have to face the Yankees 19 times a year and that's more intense than anything the Mets have had to experience. The Red Sox know that even if they sweep this series, that they still have to face off against Yankees, Chi-Sox, Tigers and others. They'll be battle-tested come October if they're still standing. The Mets coronation as the NL's best team is complete. Outside of the Yankees this weekend, what other series will the Mets have this season that will compare to these two? The NL East is in shambles. I doubt the Braves, Phils or Marlins will put up much of a fight this summer. Only the Cardinals have a chance to challenge the Mets. But I doubt that they have enough pitching.

These six games give them a chance to gauge themselves against two potential opponents in October. Even with all the injuries in the Bronx and the ugly skin of their teeth wins against bad teams. The Yankees are still a good barometer for the Mets. Because you know, barring major injuries, that they aren't going to tank like the NL East. They'll find a way to stay in the mix until the very end.

The Yankees are also very flawed. But they still have Captain America, one of the best players in the world, a former MVP and the greatest closer of all time. Say what you want about the Tigers and the Chi-Sox. Would you trade any of their players straight up for Jeter, A-Rod or Rivera? If you would, you're an idiot, a liar or both.

I have no idea what A-Rod's homer yesterday means for his season. Jorge Sosa is awful and the Braves have blown 15 saves this year. But there's no denying that's he's still one of the top five players in baseball. A talent that can carry a team over long stretch. If yesterday was a harbinger of things to come, it could be what gets the Yankees through the summer while Matsui and Sheffield heal.

This weekend series is the first time the roles are reversed. The Mets will come in as the team with the most to lose. If they lose this series after the Red Sox series, they take a huge blow to their credilbility as a World Series contender. Pennant contenders? They're still the class of the league. But noone's going to take them serious as the ones who can win it all.

In the meantime, what happens to the Yankees? Lose, they're in the race and noone thinks they're done. If they win?

Cue the Imperial March.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Alea Iacta Est

It's what Caesar said in 49 B.C.E when he had five thousand of his soldiers cross the river Rubicon to enter Rome. An act forbidden by the Senate and ruling classes. It means that "The Die Is Cast." That like or not, there was a reckoning between them on the way. And there wasn't damn thing that they could do about it.

Fast forward, 2,000 years. In a office in NYC, I decide to make a little wager between my co-worker/mortal enemy Metstradamus on this weekend's Subway Series at the Stadium. The winner of the series gets to post on the loser's blog.

Being the bloodthirsty Yankee fan that I am, I wanted the winner to be able to post for the entire week. But the only way I could get the infidel to take the bait was to agree to his concessions. It's not the sort of reckoning that I wanted, but it will have to do. I'm already thinking of the sort of havoc I could wreak with the Mets universe with one post much less a week's worth. Stay tuned.

I liked what I saw last night out of Randy and the Yankees. Unit was sharp and Giambi two bombs were a nice touch. But I was still rooting for some tack-on insurance. Why? Not just because I'm a bloodthirsty Yankee fan as my infidel friend Sportsaholic likes to call me. It's because I know we're gonna need all the help we can get.

I wish our team had the sort of defense and pitching that would enable us to win games 3-2, 2-1, 1-0 with regularity. It's not. Outside of Jeter, saying that our infield defense is mediocre is generous. I wish Torre would burn all of Giambi's first base mitts after Sunday. We have decent range in the outfield, but only Melky can throw runners out regularly. Posada has gotten better behind the plate, but he's not winning a gold glove anytime soon. Not while Pudge is still playing.

People would think that having Matsui and Sheff in the lineup was a luxury. I say that it was a borderline necessity. This lineup still has the ability to score five to seven runs a game. But it lacks the ruthless efficiency that it possessed with Gary and Goczilla. The ability to bat around at will. To turn a 3-1 deficit into a 10-3 lead in an instant. The assassin-like quality of the Yankee offense covered a lot of flaws in this team. The mediocre starting pitching or defense was overlooked when the team dropped a 17 spot on someone.

They didn't get exposed until October. When a team with an inferior offense but a superior bullpen and defense beat them five heart-breaking games. The Yankees should have swept that series. They instead had to watch the Halos fold like cheap suits versus the Chi-Sox.

So as much as I'd love to win a couple of 2-1 and rest the bullpen. I don't think the team right now can do it the way it's currently constructed. That's why I feel that pitching is a more pressing need for the bombers than a bat. If there was a gold glove centerfielder available at the deadline so I could move Damon to left, I'd jump on it. But I'd settle for a good gloveman at first who can keep you honest at the plate. There's a reason why Andy Phillips is 29 and just getting regular major league time. He's a bench player, nothing more. Give me an Olerud type so I can DH Giambi regularly, and I'm good.

I have no problems rooting for the Mets to beat Red Sox a bit. But since they might lose just out of spite, I'm going to stay neutral and worry about what the Yanks do against the Braves. If we gain a game or two great. Just so as we don't lose any ground.

I am tired of them running through the NL East though like it was the Cape Cod Summer League. It'll be nice to see them face a real major league team finally. Even if it is the Mets.

Despite his infidel leanings, I had nothing to do with what happened to Peter Gammons. I've enjoyed his work even though ESPN wants you to pay for it now. There's a joke somewhere in there. But I'm going to let it go for now.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

No Help From The Senior Citizen Circuit And Weather

If you need any more proof that the Junior Circuit is the superior league this year, just look what's happening in Detroit, Chicago and Boston this past weekend. The best of the AL is beating the best of the NL in every conceivable way. You want a blowout? No problem. Late inning heroics? We got that, too.

Only the Mets are making a respectable show of it against very underrated Blue Jays (they won the rubber match in Toronto 7-4). And when you consider that they're an AL team in disguise (Deep lineup, deep bullpen), you understand why they're the only NL team that I can see making noise in October. This is becoming as bad as it was in football in the mid-eighties to the late nineties, when NFC Championship became the De-facto Super Bowl because whoever represented the AFC was an afterthought.

If I had my own power rankings right now, here's how I would rank the best teams.

1)White Sox
3)Tigers (I need to see a little more from them vs the top AL Teams)
4)Red Sox
6)Blue Jays

Noone in the NL West is even worth mentioning right now. I don't think the Giants have enough depth or pitching, Arizona is better, but they're not ready for the prime-time. San Diego can pitch but they can't hit enough to make noise in October. The Dodgers are intriguing, but they have too many injury-prone players for me to take them seriously just yet.

You'd think that this would make me, an AL fan, happy with this Junior Circuit renaissance. On the contrary...I love parity. Parity means that the Red Sox don't go on an eight game winning streak and not only take over first place from the Yankees....but gain a two and a half game lead. It means that the White Sox and Tigers don't pummel Cardinals for five straight wins and they don't add to their seed leads for playoff homefield.

Interleague parity is a good thing when it comes to pennant races. In the past, you figure that the style of play and strategy might trip up a couple of AL teams. Even if they're playing a slightly inferior NL team. Maybe someone will forget to double switch or a pitcher will fail to sac bunt runners to second and third. Gaffs like that used to mean a couple of wins for the senior circuit every year.

Now with free agency and a decade of interleague play under their belts, junior circuit teams are much more comfortable playing both ways (Although it's a little misleading to say that solid pitching/defense, hit and run, base stealing are national league styles of play. Rickey Henderson stole 130 bases in 1982 under Billy Martin. A manager who played and managed mostly in the American League. Ty Cobb stole over 900 bases with the Tigers. The Yankees of the early 50's couldn't match the star-studded Dodgers. They beat them with superior pitching and a platoon system. Styles of play aren't exclusive to leagues.) So when you take into account that the best teams are in the AL....You realize now the beatdowns you've been seeing are not by chance or coincidence.

You know it's bad when even unapologetic NL guys/AL haters like Joe Buck acknowledge on the air that the AL is the better league. And when they're acknowledging that it's more than just the DH rule that's leading to this, you know you're on to something.

So what does that mean for the Yankees. Nothing good. It means that it's going to be that much harder to make the playoffs, much less the World Series. Don't be surprised if only one team out of the AL East makes the playoffs this year. There's a chance that Detroit or Chicago could come back to earth. But I doubt it with their pitching. And don't discount Minnesota making a run either for the wildcard. The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays are all very talented, very flawed teams that can be had if the right opponent comes along at the right time.

So when the Yankees get a gem like Moose's today against Dontrelle, it's nothing to take for granted. From here on in, every win counts. If we're able to complete the sweep the Marlins today, enjoy it like we've just swept the Jays or the Tigers. We gain a game in the standing with the Sox-Phillies rainout. And these wins in June will go along in deciding who's still standing in October.

So for me to say that the Braves series to say nothing of the Subway Series at the Stadium next weekend are huge. Beating the Mets two out of three is one thing, but we can't afford to even lose one game to the Braves. They're reeling and the Yankees have to take advantage of it.

You know the Two Sox and Tiggers would.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Emperor Has A Message For Cole Hamels...

Welcome to the Death Star, infidel....hope you survived the experience....

Seriously, this kid is good. Nice heater, excellent breaking stuff, wicked changeup. He's going to be something special in a couple of years. But he's no Liriano or Kazmir. And he's certianly not worth all the hype Phnatic fans having been gushing on him. He froze several Yankees with that changeup of his. But you get the impression, that he'd probably get lit up the second or third time around.

If you want to see what a young phenom is supposed to look like, watch the highlight of Liriano pitching against Clemens last night in the rubber game of the Twins-Astros series. Here he is, pitching opposite of the first appearance of the season of one of the five greatest pitchers post World War II. And he delivers his best performance of the year, outshining the return of an immortal. That's money, folks. With him, Santana, Morneau and Mauer, the Twins are set for the next decide. That trade they made to get him in 2003, (AJ Pierzynski for Nathan and Liriano) might be the most lopsided trade of the last 10 years. Very Kazmir-esqued. Even worse, when you consider that the Twins got a top flight closer and a starter, while the Giants traded Pierzynski a year later because everyone in the clubhouse hated him. If they could ever get another big bat, wow.

I would love it if Wang or Phillip Hughes developed into a tandem like that. I'm tired of the Yankees shelling out all that money for free agents pitchers who don't pitch.

The Yankees finished this latest 3-3. Not bad on its face, except when you consider the fact that they easily could have gone 5-1. The only game I reluctantly concede is the Myers-Johnson game Monday. And we had our fair shares of shots in that game as well. Speaking of Myers, I understand of having to face Manny and Papi is a little daunting. But do you have to take it out on your wife? Relax, brah. Relax.

I know the Marlins are playing well now. But the Yankees should still win this series handily. Winning series is nice, but I think this team needs a sweep to get to the next level. I would love to get a nice streak of eight in a row going into the Mets series next weekend. It would put pressure on the Red Sox and up the stakes for the Subway Series. The Marlins are the Marlins and the Braves are hot garbage. There's no reason why the Yankees can't string a nice win streak together.

If the Yankees are going to the playoffs, they have to learn how to feast on the bad teams. And that means sweeps, not two out of three. Two of three is fine when you're playing a string of good teams. You have to sweep the bad teams.

Let's hope the roll continues tonight.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Random Rantings

Evil Empire 9, Ryan Howard 7

I might have done a Frank Pentangeli if that kid hit another homer in the ninth. I can't see this kid not hitting 50 plus homers in the not too distant future. With that park and that swing, he has huge star written all over him. Unreal.

Philly's had a spotty history when it comes to embracing baseball and its stars. Mike Schmidt, Dick Allen, Scott Rolen...all of them had their problems with this city. I hope they get on this kid's bandwagon in a big way. He's a lousy fielder, a better fielder gloves Melky's single in the ninth, but that's why he's playing first base. He'll win a lot more games with his bat than he'll lose with his glove.

Strangely enough, all the buzz that I hear out of the 215 isn't over their stud first baseman. It's over Aaron Rowand who has a fetish for outfield walls. Or their uberkind southpaw Cole Hamels who's pitching tonight.

Here's an example of how nuts they are over this kid....

Kanye West almost needed to pay Cole Hamels royaties to release that "Jesus Walks" song, but Cole let it go, because he doesn't walk anyone so it couldn't really be about him.

Cole Hamels will win 1 Cy Young... and 11 Cole Hamels.

You can't divide by zero, but Cole Hamels can.
Cole found Waldo and Carmen San Diego, and then struck them out to retire the side.
Cole Hamels once struck a man out looking. Literally. Cole just gazed at him and the batter was retired on strikes.
Cole Hamels invented syphillis to rid the world of Mets fans.
Cole could have convicted O.J.
Cole Hamels struck out Eric Lindros' mom, Eric Lindros' dad and Eric Lindros.
Cole Hamels beat Contra without losing a life.
Cole Hamels will walk batters just so he can pick them off before the next pitch. Then he will run over to them as they walk back to the dugout, whisper something to them and make them cry and leave the game. In the locker room after the game, reporters will ask those players what Cole said to them, and they will cry again and run to the off-limits-to-media trainer's room to get away from the reporters. And because it was Cole Hamels that made them cry, they will not be considered sissies but mere mortals. Reporters and fans will refuse to condemn those crying players but instead will say a silent prayer thanking God that He never answered their prayers to become baseball players themselves since they might have had to face Cole.

Cole Hamels didn’t need to go to college, because he already has a Doctorate in K’s from the University of Domination.
Cole Hamels gave Stuart Scott his lazy eye.
A Federal Law was passed when Cole signed with the Phillies that states if the Phillies should attempt to trade Cole to the Mets, Cole will be legally permitted to kill the entire Philadelphia front office, the entire New York front office, and everyone who knows John Smoltz's lifetime ERA.

A picture of Angelina Jolie's and Brad Pitt's child is reportedly worth $75,000. A picture of Cole and Angelina conceiving this child while Brad happily watches is worth $5 billion.

When Cole was born, he beaned the doctor with a fastball, made out with the nurse, and struck his father out in two pitches!

Wow, how low have the standards in Philly fallen. All you have to do to become a folk hero is win a game and have sub-five ERA. Steve Carlton. where are you?

Nice job, btw, by Phillies fans for not letting the Yankee fans take over their stadium like they let the Mets earlier in the season. It's still a second-rate baseball town. But at least you saw as much Red and white in the stands as Navy Blue.

I'm tired of all these lame excuses I hear from the Illadelphi about why people don't support the team. Yeah, they've had their fair share of heartache. But they have a beautiful park and a competitive team. There's no excuse as to why a division foe's fans can come into your house and make it sound like Shea South.

It's not as if the Mets are the Cardinals. They're nine games up and they can't draw 40,000 against the Reds last night. Weak Philly. Very weak.

Before you complain about injuries Yankees fans take a look at this story came over the AP today.....

The Boston Red Sox, beset by injuries to starting pitchers, obtained right-hander Jason Johnson on Wednesday one day after he was designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians.
The Red Sox gave up a player to be named or cash for the struggling pitcher, who is 1-8 with a 7.38 ERA in his last 10 starts. Johnson, signed in the offseason after two years with Detroit, is 3-8 this season and has allowed 10 homers and 108 hits in 77 innings.
The Indians will pay most of his $3.5 million salary for this season. He had a one-year contract which had mutual options for either party to get out of it in 2007.
Three Red Sox starters righty Matt Clement and lefties David Wells and Lenny DiNardo are on the disabled list.
Kyle Snyder, obtained on waivers from Kansas City, made his first start for Boston on Monday in a 6-3 win over Washington and was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after Tuesday night's game, opening a roster spot for Johnson.
Rookie Jon Lester was scheduled to make his third start for the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Boston has days off Thursday and Monday and was expected to go with four starters Lester, Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield through the end of June.
Johnson, 32, has pitched at least 189 innings on four of his last five seasons. He has a 5.89 ERA this season and a 4.95 ERA and a 55-94 record for his career.
He and righty Paul Byrd were signed as free agents before the season to help make up for the loss of Kevin Millwood, who signed with Texas. But Johnson was ineffective again Monday when he allowed two homers in a 12-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Johnson, a good ground-ball pitcher, reached the majors in 1997 with Pittsburgh where he worked in three games. He spent the next season with Tampa Bay, making 13 starts with a 2-5 record. After five seasons in Baltimore, he went to Detroit in 2004.
He was 8-15 with a 5.13 ERA that season and 8-13 with a 4.54 ERA last year when he pitched a career high 210 innings.

So the next time you want to whine about injuries, don't be surprised if the Sox fan pops you in the mouth. You should behead him for his insolence however.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Price You Pay For The Life You Choose

Coming home on Amtrak Saturday night, I kept hearing on an endless loop, the voice of my friend/enemy and fellow Yankee fan Willie aka General Zod. He was yelling in my ear
...."Darth, you jinx. Stay away from my team! Stop going to see my team on the road! Give up your season tickets!! I beg you! Go jinx the Mets! Stay away!"

That's what I hear whenever he hears that I attended a traumatic Yankee loss. Now as you've probably figured out, I attend a lot of Yankee games. Probably about 20 plus home games and three to five road games a year. In the seven years that I've decided to travel, I've seen far more wins than losses. Hell, of the 20 plus Yankee road games I've seen, I can only count six losses. Two at Camden Yards (2000, 2005), one at Dodger Stadium (2004), one at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati (2003...they won the next night) and two at Shea (2004,2005).

You think any of that matters? Hell, no. This bitter hen-pecked shell of a once proud Yankee fan (who now lives in Cubbie-land) kills me whenever he hears that I've witnessed a loss. It doesn't matter that he kills me 'cause he's jealous. It still burns my arse.

So when I had to witness firsthand that monumental collapse Saturday....I had his annoying voice ringing through ears the entire time home. It's not often when a loss showcases everything that's wrong with a team. But Saturday and Sunday was definitely one of those times. What can I Michael Corleone said, "This is the price you pay..for the life you choose." If I'm gonna continue on this sports oddysey, some haters are going to materialize now and then.

Offense: I've written in the past that the Yankees still have enough offense to win games. But here's how you miss Sheffield and Matsui. The Yankees would have scored two touchdowns or more against the pitching Saturday with them in the lineup. Why? Because there's a difference between having a good lineup that can score five or six runs a game and having an relentless one that's capable of batting around in an inning several times in a game. That's what the Yankees had with Sheff and Godzilla in there. On a day where your starter is lacking, it doesn't matter, because the other side is so demoralized that you just dropped 10 runs on them in an inning. And it's only the fourth. When the back of your rotation isn't giving you length and your bullpen is spent. You better have guys that can put runs on the board. Which leads me to my second point.

Weak back of the rotation: Small's magical run hit a brick wall and he was designated for assignment. It appears that the magic pixie dust or the deal that Shawn Chacon made with the netherworld has run its course. I think he can pitch better than what he did Saturday but he's still not more than a five guy on a good team. Wright's pitching better, but seems to have a mental block when it comes to getting past the sixth inning. Torre says that he's planning on splitting them up in the rotation, so the bullpen's not worn out on consecutive days. Great idea. I'm sure Wang would have applauded the move today. The only positive out of his performance is that he finished the game and the bullpen got a blow. The Yankees actually had a series several years ago at Shea versus the Mets. They were on the verge of sweeping them for the first time. But the bullpen blew a lead in the bottom of the eighth. Torre refused to go with his front-line guys because they were overworked. Cashman made some move to bring some extra arms here. Maybe he can do it again.

Defense: You need no other example than Posada's throw into left field that scored Soriano Saturday. The defense is not to be trusted in close games. Pitching and defense are part of what did the Yankees in last October. If your defense is sub-standard than you better be able to pitch well. And the Yankees don't do either well enough to win consistently against good teams in October.

I still like Farnsworth and Proctor. But not if they're being used every day. Mo is still Mo, but you can't throw him out there to save games that you should have been garbage time wins. What happened on Saturday and Sunday was proff positive that the Yankees should go after another arm for either the rotation or the pen. They need another pitcher far more than another bat. Dotel should help some, but what they need is another starter who can eat some innings (not a big name, just a guy like Livan Hernandez or the sort who has a rubber arm). That way you can move either Chacon or Wright to the pen (Chacon probably, since he has pen experience). That gives you another arm to throw into the mix to give your main three some rest. If you can get a quality top line starter for the right price, fine. But a guy like Hernandez can be a perfect back of the rotation guy like Lieber was in 2004. You don't need perfect games, you need length.

All this Burrell and Abreu talk is sexy talk for the tabloids, but in baseball terms, it's not going to help the Yankees one bit. If I could make one offensive move, I'd get a first baseman with a little pop who has a great glove. Like Olerud in 2004 or Johnson in 2003. You don't need Gehrig, just someone who can keep pitchers honest. And can turn the 3-6-3 DP. That way Giambi can fulltime DH and you maintain strongest team defensively and offensively. I'd love to move Cano to left and get a stronger glove at second. But that's not going to happen for a few years. I can live with Posada behind the plate. He's never going to be Pudge, but he's not a liability either. Jeter's fine at short and I think once A-Rod gets all the clutter from the slump out of his head, he'll be fine in the field.

Speaking of Alex, the last couple of days have kind of answered the questions for me...but I was wondering what side I was going to come down on his situation. Initially, I thought Jeter saying something to the public could help matters, but then I He still has to go up there and hit a 95 mph fastball with movement. Torre's right. He's going to have to work his way out of it. It doesn't matter how the fans or Jeter or anyone else feels about him. He has to go up there and produce. Noone can do it for him. In 1977, Reggie Jackson had his manager and his captain hating his guts. In the end, it didn't matter because he came through when it counted.

All this media talk about how there's still some tension and bad blood between Jeter and A-Rod over comments Alex made about him several years ago....Who cares? I'm sure the Captain is not rooting against him so what does it matter if they're still friends or not? And this lockerroom isn't nearly as bad as the Bronx Zoo of the late 70's.

It looks as if A-Rod is breaking out of this slide and if that's the case, he has the ability to carry a team over an extended period of time. And all this talk about Jeter coming to his rescue will be moot.

And maybe he can save me from another long train ride with General Zod whispering in my ear. I'm just glad I wasn't there on Sunday after Wang's loss. It would have been in Bose surround sound.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Rumors Of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

After Metstradamus' latest tirade aganst me and the empire, I thought it would be apropos to start this post of with a quote by a Clemens. Only instead of Roger, I decided to go with Samuel. Just like the Yankees, the classics just get better with age.

And despite rumors to the contrary, I did not commit seppuku after the Yanks were swept by the A's. It was a very, very bad cold and other ailments, caused by nearly a year of debauchery, gluttony and lack of exercise, that has kept me from posting more frequently.

But now that that's passed, I can continue my lifelong mission; torturing infidels and making them realize that unless they change their ways...that the light at the end of their baseball tunnel is merely the gleam of a titanium wall.

My age-old enemy couldn't enjoy the fact that his beloved Mets, that doomed and tortured franchise is currently one of the best teams in baseball. He couldn't just enjoy the moment and ignore all the naysayers. He had to take a shot across the bow of the Death Star.

See, I knew the needle was coming. It was only a matter of time after my Yankee-free week came to an end as this guy returned from his vacation. And it was certainly just a matter of time after three newspapers proclaimed the Mets as new owners of New York City:

"You know, if the Mets played in the American League..."
-Darth Marc

He didn't even have to finish. I knew where he was going. American League...superior league...blah blah blah. Been there, heard that, bought the DVD.

But here's what makes the Mets so mind boggling: They're basically an American League team. And it a reversing of the tables if you will...because in 1996, a certain American League team started winning their string of World Series (two of which tainted by HGH using Jason Grimsley, he he) by playing...(gasp)...National League baseball, beating our league at our own game. Now, the Mets are beating teams by acquiring the horses to play their game.

There's a glimmer of truth in there. The Mets are a slugging American League style team. No question. However, the point that he didn't dispute was the fact that the American League is the far superior league right now. Why? Because in his heart of hearts, he knows I'm right.

I'm not disputing that the lack of the DH forces NL teams to use their lineups and bench more creatively than the American. That there is a different level of strategy in use in Senior Circuit games. No question.

But we're not talking about stratego and chess. We're talking about horses. Sheer brawn. Toughness. And what I'm saying is this, the teams in the American League are superior because of the DH. Because the lineups are deeper, which means the pitchers have to be tougher and smarter. There are very few gimmes in any of these lineups. Even the 7-8-9 hitters are threats. Which means the pitchers, once they get to the playoffs, are far more honed and battle-tested than their NL counterparts. If you just went through the Indians, Red Sox and Astros like the ChiSox did, then getting through the Astros is a garden party that even Ricky Nelson would have to applaud.

Take bad teams like Tampa and Baltimore. With their lineups, give them a couple of arms and they might wreak havoc on the NL. A team like Cincinnati is two games out of first with Eric Milton and Bronson Arroyo as their aces. Does anyone think that they would be that close in AL East or Central? The West is a mess right now, but once Oakland gets healthy and Angels remember how to hit, it will get much more interesting. The A's swept the Yankees this weekend. Can anyone in the NL boast a rotation as deep when Harden is healthy? Or the Twins? Or the White Sox? Or Detroit? If the Mets had one of the Tigers young arms, they'd have the pennant won by the end of the month.

It's the fact that these teams beat the snot out of each other that makes them so tough in the post-season. It's why basketball conferences like the ACC and the Big East dominate the NCAA tourney...and why it's hard for football teams from the SEC to ever win it all in a game where one loss in October, knocks you out in January.

AL teams develop a huge callous on their hides during the regular season. That callous makes them strategy proof. Is Tony LaRussa a better manager than Terry Francona? Probably. But it didn't matter, because the Red Sox had a "We're whupping your ass" attitude after beating the Angels and Yankees that the Cardinals couldn't match. Some would say that Billy Martin was as good a strategist as Sparky Anderson. Didn't matter, because in 1976, noone on the planet was beating the Big Red Machine. Try to manuever against a three run homer.

My point? Strategy has its place in the game. But sometimes, its effect on the game is overrated. A good manager can make the difference between a mediocre team and a good one....and a very good team becoming a great one. But he can't make a bad team into a good one, much less a great one. Players have to play and right now, if you look at the teams in the NL and's my opinion that the best teams are in the junior circuit.

With Pujols out, I can't think of one team in the NL that can beat the Mets. I can think of about four or five in the AL that could. The Red Sox, The White Sox, The Blue Jays, The Tigers and yes, the Yankees. Not saying that they would. But all of those teams in a seven game series would give the Mets fits.

Which brings me to my point of why, with the Dark Lord recovering from his illness, did Metstradamus decided to take a shot at me and my beloved team after tonight's win. In part, because he's seen this movie before. Only the last time, Clemens was the star and Mike Piazza was his foil.

I've said in the past, that Clemens started pitching like Clemens for the Yankees, when gave Piazza a haircut in 2000. I'm not advocating beaning anyone in the head. But what I meant is that he started becoming the fire-breathing dragon that gave the AL fits of diarrhea for the Yankees when he decided to stop trying to be a good citizen and put the fear of god into hitters again. That incident along with the thrown bat in the World Series let the world know that this mo-fo was a crazy bastard again. And that if you got comfortable in the box, you might end up on your ass.

Say what you want about whether Posada overreacted. What can't be disputed, is the fact that intentionally or unintentionally, Yankee hitters have been beaned at an alarming rate over the past several weeks. And with no response from the pitching staff. Posada had probably had enough of it. Johnson feeling the same way, responded in kind.

You can debate on whether they should have thrown at Victor Martinez instead. But hey, the if you can get an out in the inning and still make your point, then do it. It's a lot easier to get two outs in that Cleveland lineup than three. And with the way the bullpen's been used lately, every out helps.

But I think the heart of Metstra's angst is this...He knows the Yankees should be dead and buried, but somehow, at the time of this posting, they're a game ahead in the AL East. He knows that for all the headlines in June that declare the Mets as the New Boys of Summer...He knows in his heart of hearts that if last night's game means Randy Johnson has finally become the Big Unit in pinstripes, that Lupica, Newsday and all the Infidel naysayers will just be setting the scions of Shea for what might be the biggest fall in the history of their franchise.

This team has survived despite the loss of two of their big bats and one of their better bullpen arms. If Johnson coming back to form can solidify this rotation, this lineup, as constructed, can find a way to score enough runs to win. If A-Rod can ever get the fans out of his head play like his old self, he, Giambi and Jeter can carry us to the finish line. And don't get me started if Cashman can make a move at the trade deadline.

I'm not ready to call Johnson cured just yet. This is still the same guy that gave up homers last Friday to a guy hitting .030 and another guy with five RBIs. But if this was a glimpse of the future, then this could a special Summer of Hate for all the infidels. A summer where the Yankees still managed to power the Death Star into October, despite all of their losses. It would be nice if Moose could complete the sweep this afternoon. You bury a potential rival and start a nice winning streak going into interleague play.

For all the bluster in his post, what motivated my old enemy to write that was fear. He's seen the movie before....and he knows that his heroes die in the end.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Perspective From Middle America

Before I start today's post, take a look at this post by No-Maas that my buddy Karen gave me a heads up on. It totally shows the Sports guy for the fraud (my favorite is where he calls Ortiz Simmons' goomah) that he is when it comes to talking about baseball, the Yankees and A-Rod. This should be required reading for everyone in the empire. I know he opened my eyes to some things. Who says Yankees fans don't know their baseball? Nice work.

I just wish I had read this after witnessing a Yankee win over Schilling and his merry group of infidels rather than a loss where Alex made a critical error in the field and struck out to end the game. But maybe it was important for me to read it today rather than after Monday or Tuesday's win. It's times like these when we need perspective, not when things are going well.

I just hate losing to the Red Sox and especially hate losing to Schilling. He's a phony of the first order. As I've said before, the way that he and the rest of the merry band of hypocrites lobbied to get A-Rod into Boston (selling the face of their franchise, Nomar, down the river in the process)and then turn around and act as if they never wanted him in the first and how they never would have won if he had gone there, is one of the most sickening reversals in recent memory.

I can understand the hatred. Hell, I embrace it. The hypocrisy is what bothers me. I more than anyone want A-Rod to come through if for no other reason than to shut all the haters up. But this will continue to be an issue until he and the Yankees win it all. I was even getting grief about A-Rod from Cardinals fans who now think he's a choke artist thanks to Simmons and others. The remarks stopped when I reminded them that their beloved RedBirds not only got the Love Train run on them by not only the Red Sox....but Giants, the Astros and the lowly Mets in recent years.

In the meantime, I just have to remember to take my meds and not overreact everytime somebody gives me grief about A-Rod and he strikes out with the bases loaded.

Whatever issues we might have in the empire right now, I'd still deal with this than be a Cardinals fan. This view of the city might be the only good thing going on in the land of the Redbirds. They looked next to lifeless against the Reds in the last two games of the series. Only Eckstein and Rolen seemed to have a pulse out there.

But that's the least of their worries. On top trailing the Reds by a half game in the standings after getting beat by a combined 14-4 score in the final two games ....not only is their best player going to be out for a month.....but when he gets back , he might have to allegations that he's a cheater just like McGwire.

I hope to God that this isn't true. Not only will this hurt one of the great franchises in the sport, the already tarnished reputation of the game as a whole would be destroyed.

When I was in the Lou, Pujols' number 5 was easily the most worn shirt in and around the city. Even more than Ozzie Smith's number 1. The T-shirt that nailed down the city's feelings about Albert. It said "I have a man-crush on Albert Pujols." This city loves this guy in the way few players are ever embraced by a fanbase.

Let's hope for their sakes and Albert's.....that the rumors are just that...rumors.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

St Louis Dispatch

If the Cardinals get pounded again today by the Reds, I guess you can call me the Robbie Rist for Red Birds.

Wow, you'd have thought Eric Milton won the Cy Young last year and not Chris Carpenter the way they looked last night.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering how the Yankees were able to pound Beckett but this Pauley kid almost shuts them down. It looked like a great win last night. I'm pissed off that none of the ESPN highlights showed Bernie's homerun that tied it up, but they all showed Big Papi's that gave the Sox a 1-0 lead. ESPN saying that they don't have a bias versus the Yankees is like saying FOXNEWS isn't conservative. It doesn't what you are what you do.

Initially, I was going to where some neutral jersey into the park because I didn't want to antagonize anyone. But then I thought, wait a second, the Reds are playing not the Yankees. If someone has a problem let them say something. Being a big black guy in Busch who wasn't selling peanuts or leading people to seats made me stand out enough (definitely in the trifecta of the whitest parks I've ever been to...along with Wrigley and Fenway). Wearing a Yankee cap and a Yogi Berra Minor League Newark Bears jersey....well, now I know what Worf felt like serving in Starfleet.

The Cards have done a great job with the new Busch Stadium. It's a beautiful BASEBALL park. It has all the amenities the new parks have, but the focus is still on the game. They honor the history of the team without making you feel like you're being sold something.

A lot has been said about Cards fans being the best fans in baseball. They are great fans to be sure. There was nothing but a sea of red everywhere you looked. The best shirt I saw, was a Retire 51! T-shirt, in reference to the effort to get Willie McGee's old number retired (I'm sure that would please Mets fans to no end). They are for the most part, a very knowledgeable, very polite and friendly group. They almost never boo and only occasionally groan when their team gets shelled or make a bad play. Cards fans even applaud when the opposition make a great play!

One sad note: Cards fans hate Tino Martinez. With a passion. Replacing a Yankee great is one thing, replacing a Cardinal God (albeit an artificially enhanced one) is something else entirely. Particularly when you try to do it when you're three years past your prime. The fans I spoke to couldn't wait for him to be gone.

They love the game and pay homage to the history. I had several great baseball conversations with some of them and had drinks with a couple of them after the game. I was a little disappointed that the downtown area wasn't a little busier after the game. Apparently, Cards fan aren't in the mood for libation when the team loses. I've never heard that one before. But there was enough going on to get yourself in a little trouble.

But I would hold off all the "Greatest fans" proclamations. They're great fans for sure. But so are Yankees fans and Red Sox fans. I would say they're at least as loyal to their team as the Cards fans are to theirs. Go on a roadtrip where the Yankees and Boston are the visitors and you'll see what I'm talking about. They have fans everywhere. And while their Northeast brashness and angst will prevent them from ever winning the "most polite category" (Cards fans win that hands down), they're every bit as knowledgeable about the games as anyone else. Who says that being polite and not booing makes you a better fan?

I think the three fanbases are the best in baseball, with the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants just a notch below. But I don't think it's fair that any of the three are better than the others.

More when I get back to NYC....

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Beckett On Beatdown Street...Darth Marc In The Lou

Before I get on more recent events, I want to wrap up my thoughts on my trip to Camden Yards.

My friend Karen had an interesting analogy in one of her recent post describing her feelings on Camden Yards. She described as a beautiful ballpark...with all the soul of a Bennigan's.

Wow. As much as I love the park, I can see her point. There is definitely a stripmall feel to the place. But I think that has more to do with the fans than the actual stadium.

It's the fans that make a place rock, that gives the place a buzz or a chill. No stadium, no matter how magnificent the architecture, can do that. Yeah the intimacy of Wrigley or Fenway can help in setting the mood, but it's the fans that decide whether or not the place shakes. It's their emotions that the players feed off, not the jumbotron or the smell of Boog's BBQ. If if weren't for the fans, all the must-see parks like the Stadium, Fenway, Wrigley, The Jake, Safeco and others would just be big warehouses taking up space.

So while I agree that sometimes Camden Yards can be a little hollow emotionally, I put the onus on the fans and the ownership. B-More used to be a great baseball town. From 1966 to 1983, they were the winningest franchise in baseball. But ever since Peter Angelos bought the team, the product has gotten worse and worse. They used to sell out every game. Now they only sell out when the Yanks or Sox are in town and their fans take over the Inner Harbor.

I used to hate the O's and their fans like I hate the Sox and the Nation. Now they're barely a blip on the radar. Sad.

So until the O's and their management find a way to get their fanbase back, Camden Yards will never have the sort of buzz a beautiful park like that deserves.

Nothing will ever make up for Josh Beckett and game 6 of the 2003 World Series.

But it was nice to see him to catch a beatdown from Melky and the boys.

Cabrera's mad dash home was a perfect symbol of how this team is getting it done on the field. The youthful exhuberance is a breath of fresh air to the almost robotic way the Yankees would dismantle opponents. Not that I didn't enjoy beating Tampa 19-1.... The Yankees of 2006 are getting it done the old-fashioned way. Solid defense and pitching, timely hitting and aggressive baserunning. You could see that the Mad-dash unnerved Josh a little bit. The Sox get the lead back and he gets his ass handed to him. I'd love to hear the Infidel Nation is saying about the fact that in his last two starts he's allowed 10+ runs to the Yankees and the Jays.

Moose always seems to pitch better in duels than in blowouts. Maybe it's the long layoffs that throw off his concentration. Whatever it is, his stretch of 12 straight quality starts came to an end when he gave four earned runs in six innings.

Nice to see Proctor put some gooseeggs on the scoreboard after Saturday's meltdown. Real bright trying to do a Kevin Brown imitation and punching a door afterward. At least Brown was smart enough to use his left hand.

Speaking of hand, I wish Jeter would stop the whole "I'm playing, I'm playing" and then sits out bit. If you're hurt, you're hurt. But no need in getting fans hopes up by saying you're playing and then sitting out for two days. He has to realize that fans hang on his every word and he needs to be a little more responsible in his assertions.

It's Wang and Jane Pauley tonight on the mound. This is a chance for Wang to redeem himself for the two bad outings he's had with Boston this year. He's finally pitching at home against them so maybe he'll be a little more comfortable.

I'll be monitoring the out of town scoreboard and my new phone for the Stadium scores as I'm watching my first game from St Louis tonight. The Cards are playing the Reds in a three game set.

It's my first time in the Lou. I'm staying across the street from Busch at the Millenium so that's pretty convenient. Not much to do downtown during the day. The Arch is within walking distance, but outside of that, it's pretty dead. Had a great T-Bone at this place called Caleco's for lunch though.

I plan on hitting up a couple of place afterward so maybe things with loosen up a touch after the game.

More tomorrow.....

Trip To Yankee Stadium South

Thanks to Paul Katcher and Bald Fuck Ediie for the great pictures.

"We've been overrun by New Yorkers this weekend!"

That's what the hotel clerk said to me as I was checking in Saturday. Coming down to Baltimore for the Yanks/O's game, I expected to see a few Navy hats with interlocking NY. But I didn't expect them to take over the Eastern Seaboard! We scared the wedding party at our hotel and just caused a shitload of mayhem across the street at the bars near the park. Heaven on earth.

O's fans should be ashamed of themselves for letting the Empire take over their park. It must have been two thirds Yankee fans in Oriole Park Saturday or it seemed like it. I felt like I was at home. We had the annoying pink Yankee hats and idiot tourists(who always want to start the wave. We started chanting "Johnny Cakes" at him and his buddies) who came along for the ride.

Thankfully, they weren't a part of the group I organized. They were what made my trip this year the most enjoyable I've ever had to Baltimore (That and the Yankee win). Even the infidels that came along (Bald Eddie and several others) were respectful and got along with everyone. Thanks to the Friday Night Crew, The Imperial Vixens, the Blondies folks and everyone else...not even a case of diarrhea could ruin the fun I had. Between the Movin' Out sing-a-long during a Orioles pitching change (you had to be there)and the look on TV friends' face when they heard the Friday Night Crew jump up and down to a very-ahem-talented Yankees fan, you couldn't have had a better group.

No A-Rod, No Giambi? No problem. Despite the nagging injuries and maladies, the Yankees continue to win series. Who cares if we're half-game up or back in June? The bottom line is if we keep winning series and putting pressure on Boston and Toronto, everything will take care of itself. They keep expecting us to fold, but we keep coming at them at waves. A plus will be when we get Chacon back in the rotation. Small's 15 minutes were done five hours ago. Once that happens, I think things will fall into place. And when Sheff gets back in a month or so. Watch out. In the meantime, I love watching the kids play.

Had no problem with Wang coming in to close the game out. It was his throw day so let him work an inning. He'll keep the ball on the ground and hopefully in the park. Smart move by Torre.

More later when I get to St Louis.....

Friday, June 02, 2006

Catching Up After Running The Streets

Sorry for the lateness in posting. But a late night Thursday and running errands before my trip to Camden Yards later today prevented me from getting online any sooner.

If I have to hear again that the Yankees blew a chance for their first four game sweep in Detroit in 80 years one more time....

Apologies to the girls that I called jinxes at Blondies Thursday night after the loss. I wanted that win in the worst way, but I shouldn't have blamed you for the loss. Even though technically, the Yankees didn't start losing until you came over to say hello....

It was still a great series for the Yankees all things considered. We're only half a game out and playing well despite the injuries.

The Yanks are winning series and that's what matters. But a sweep would have been sweet.

Farnsworth bounced back well last versus the O's. Yeah he got a blown save, but Cairo could have gotten the DP had he fielded it cleanly.

What's been overlooked is Damon knocking the ball out of Roberts glove with his slide into second in the ninth. If he slides in headfirst, Roberts is probably able to hold onto the ball. But by sliding in feet first, he's able to jar the ball out of the glove with his foot...keeping the inning alive and enabling Captain America to do what he does.

Darth Marc is all about fundamentals.

Aside from good weather today in B-More, what I hope for most is some length from this latest installment of One Unit To Live. We need at least seven innings out of him tomorrow. It wouldn't hurt if the Yankees put some runs on the board to give him some cushion. No drama please. The only drama I want is seeing whether one of my Imperial Crew murders Bald Fuck Eddie the first time he decides to say something smart about the Empire.

How delicious. The Omen remake comes out next week and O's fans have to deal with this? I would giggle my ass off. I would say that they've suffered enough with Angelos owning their team. But I'd be lying my ass off.

Quick Shout to the guys at AOL NY Sports Page. Thanks for the plug, fellas. Hopefully I can return the favor in the future. Oh wait! I just did...;-).

More when I get back....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

So Money And You Don't Even Know It!

I was trying to figure out how to start this post. Fortunately, my buddy Rob gave me the perfect intro...

ive got three words for you. melky freakin cabrera. i love watching this mix n match yankee team right now. dare i say it is more entertaining?

if you told me in march that come june 1st the yanks would be without matsui...without sheffield...damon has a broken foot...johnson has an era of 5.37...and still be tied for first place...i would call you crazy.

what does this all mean? doom for everyone else. once they get healthy and straightened out (rj) the yanks are gonna be puttin a hurtin on. sawx fans are cringing. if they cant get any space between them and the [columbus] yanks now in the state they are in right now...what the hell they gonna do once the big guns come back? get bitch slapped.

Couldn't have said it better myself. I don't like talking about statements series/games in late May/early June. But I feel that last night's performance has definitely put the rest of the league on notice. The way they've beaten the Tigers the last three days has showed me a couple of things.

First off, the Tigers have made progress but they have a long way to go before you can call them an elite team. They can pitch, hit and run. But their free-swinging ways are going to be their downfall. They probably need one more slugger to even out the lineup.

Second, the Yankees, once again, are going to be a tough out for anyone has the misfortune of anyone that has to face them in October. Last night's game had rollover written all over it. They had just won the first two games of the series, and with the injuries they've sustained, I would have been happy with a split. Now I smell blood. I want a sweep.

I don't care how good Verlander is (and he's very good), I want the Yankees to send a message to the Red Sox, the Jays and rest of the league that it's on. That's with without Matsui or Sheff, that it's going to be long, miserable summer for the American League.

Granted, it would be nice to get Sheffield and Damon healthy. But as I said in an earlier post, if we pitch well, then we have enough offense to get by. I'd certainly take our offense over what Minnesota and Oakland put on the field every night.

Moose was as good I've seen him last night. This wasn't the Royals he shut out. But a good offensive team with a nice mix of speed and power. It was a masterful pitching performance at the absolute perfect time. The bullpen needed Moose to go at least seven last night. They couldn't have asked for more with a complete game six hitter.

With the O's up next, this is the time to go on a nice winning streak so we have some momentum coming back to the Stadium next weekend.

I want blood tonight. Blood, I tell you!!!