Sunday, July 30, 2006

He Killed The Younglings!!! Darth Marc Visits Keyspan Park

I wanted to write this post a while back but got distracted as my ADD ass often does. Thankfully the baseball gods have given me a chance to redeem myself.

Being a Brooklyn resident and a baseball fan, I decided that it was my duty as a baseball to visit Keyspan Park and watch the Brooklyn Cyclones play. Even though they're baby Mets and technically infidels, I remembered how much fun I used to have at Durham Bulls games when I lived in NC so I put my prejudices aside and made the trek to the Island of Coney.

I wasn't disappointed. I was expecting a smaller version of a modern major league ballpark. What I got was a modern minor league ballpark. And for those of you who have never gone to a minor league game, there's a huge difference. And I'm not just talking about in the play either. There are certain things that are appropriate to the Minor Leagues (silly sing-a longs, silly mascots, Hot Dog races etc.) that when I see in the majors I cringe. In the minors, it more about families, more about entertainment. So when I see a giant Eagle dancing on the dugout, throwing T-shirts into the crowd...I smile, instead of feeling the urge to throw up in my mouth.

The team, however, was a different story. When I saw them earlier this month against State College, they were horrible. They pitched and fielded the ball ok, but they couldn't hit a lick. That's why the amusement park atmosphere (appropriate, since it's next door to one)works in the minors. You're watching kids, who in some cases, are still growing into their bodies and their games. Sometimes it's not pretty to watch. If you paid your good money to just watch baseball, you might get pissed and walk out some days. So in this instance, it's good to mix in a baseball wedding or fireworks to keep you from becoming suicidal.

Watching minor league ball is akin to watching College sports. To paraphrase George Orwell, all men may be created equal, but it's clear that some men are more equal than others. It caught me off guard a bit the size difference between Cyclones and their opponents. State College and Staten Island's players looked like grown men whereas the Cyclones looked as if they could be playing for nearby Lincoln High. You forget sometimes that these kids would be in college if they weren't playing in the minors.

Saturday however, I saw a very different Cyclones team. Their bats actually touched the balls and they even scratched out a 3-0 lead against cross-town and division rival Staten Island Yankees. But the Yankees powered by two mammoth homers by Francisco Cervelli and Chris Kunda managed to stay close and eventually tie the game. That's when I and my buddy Detroit Rich had to leave to attend his birthday drink-a-thon. But I wasn't surprised when I found the Cyclones beat the first place Yankees 5-4. It's the reason why baseball is the perfect game. You can have a team full of runts beat a team of goliaths on any given day. Something that would never happen in football or basketball.

So if you get the chance, I'd highly recommend visiting Coney Island for a game. I'll have a full report when I head to Staten Island.

While I'm still a little skeptical about the Abreu trade, there a couple of factors that are putting me somewhat at ease.

The first is that Cashman managed to pull this off without losing any of his top prospects, Proctor or Cabrera to get this done. Not one of the prospects traded today will be on an All-Star team anytime soon. Outside of Smith, it will be a couple of years before any of them will be on a major league roster for anything more than a cup of coffee. That gives Abreu plenty of time to justify making this trade. If he makes a couple of all-star games and helps us win a World Series, then the trade is a good one regardless of how good these kids might become one day.

Second, Abreu is an on-base machine. He's not hitting for the same average or power that he has in the past, but he's still getting on base, driving in runs and stealing bases. He's a much better fit with this lineup than in Philly because of the way he takes pitches and works counts. Plus, the change of scenery could do him some good. Larry Bowa said today, that the Philly fans might be tougher than the ones in the Bronx because they haven't won in so long. There, he would get the brunt of the abuse because the team would fail to make the playoffs. Here, he wouldn't have to be the man, so maybe he'll relax and play the way he knows how. Plus having played in this intense Northeast environment, he won't need the adjustment period that Carlos Beltran needed when he came here from Houston. That short porch in right might help him to rediscover his power stroke as well. If he's right, it definitely lengthens and hardens the soft underbelly bottom of the lineup. When Cano gets back, you have a solid 1 to 7 along with whatever get from Cabrera and Phillips. A much harder lineup to navigate. Your outfield gets a little crowded if and when Sheff and Matsui get back. But that's a nice problem to have.

Third, you get a proven pitcher in Corey Lidle in the deal. You already have a proven 1-2-3 in your rotation. Lidle gives you a legitimate four. It enables you to move either Wright, Chacon or Ponson to the bullpen and gives you another option there.

Finally, you replace Sheffield with a younger player for next year. I loved Sheff's fierceness and intensity. But his age and need to create drama where none existed wore me out. I wrote before that I would've liked to replace Sheff with Andruw Jones, move Damon to left and Matsui to right. But I can definitely live with Abreu if he plays the way he's capable. Another left handed bat in the lineup doesn't hurt matters either. Damon, Jeter, Giambi, A-Rod, Abreu, and Posada at the top of your lineup is a nice thing to have.

My friend Yankee Mark is hearing that since Abreu has gone to the Yankees, that this might quell interest in Soriano by other teams. The theory he's hearing is that the Yankees would sign Soriano, put him back at second and trade Cano for a front-line starter. Interesting theory, but why would you sign another expensive bat when you have a younger player who hits .300 that you have locked up every year. Cano is also better defensively (although neither of them will remind you of Robby Alomar) and strikes out less.

In theory, you could trade Cano anyway for a front line starter, get someone for defensive purposes at second, and spend a lot less money than you would locking up Soriano. Plus, you fill a more pressing need with starting pitching than offense. We'll see how things shake out this winter.

From Mo'Nique to Moose. Today's win wasn't like going to bed with Halle Berry. Maybe Stacey Dash or Gabrielle Union. But anything's better than waking up with Mo'Nique like yesterday. Anything. Thanks a lot, Unit.

Moose is the ace of this staff and he pitched like it today. Damon and company were able to scrape enough runs together for a 4-2 win. Now it's payback versus Toronto hopefully on Tuesday. The Halos beatdown of Boston combined with the O's ninth inning comeback against the Chi-Sox puts us back in the driver's seat. A half game back of the Sox and half game ahead in the wildcard.

Abreu wanted a change of scenery, how he's got it. Hopefully he survives the experience. Should be an intense two months.

Going To Bed With Halle Berry...Waking Up With Mo'Nique...

That's what it felt like watching Friday and Saturday's games. The exhilaration of a complete game shutout....the disgust of getting beaten 19-5 by the the D-Rays. Thankfully, I had to leave home in the fifth to go watch the Baby Yankees play the Baby Mets in Coney Island. Otherwise I might have had to write this post from jail on account of my trashing my building.

I understand that the Rays lineup gives Johnson fits. But can he at least be comepetitive? Four or five runs in six or seven innings I can understand. Nine in three plus is a bit ridiculous.

If we could find a way for Unit to avoid the Jays, the Mets and the Rays....

On top of all this, I have to read that the Yankees are getting a dog from Philly. And not even a pitbull!!

Seriously, if we give up Proctor to make this happen, it's a bad move. Yes, it would be nice to get another professional bat into the lineup. And Abreu could be rejuvenated in Yankee Stadium being lefthanded with his high OBP. He could well thrive here getting out of Philly just as Scott Rolen did. He doesn't have to be the man here. Just one of many stars.

But to give up one of your best arms in the bullpen when your eighth inning guy has a balky back and you don't know if Dotel is coming back is very, very dangerous. Especially when your top two starters are 42 and 38.

I know we need offense, but we can't sacrifice pitching in the process. We just can't. Not with the way AL teams punish bullpens.

This latest story says that Proctor isn't apart of the deal. I hope not. While I'm not enamored over giving up prospects for a player who's possibly only a rental, I can live with this...for now.

It's 3-2 bottom of the fifth right now and I have two things to say about this game in progress.

A-Rod, you cannot let a rookie pitcher strike you out on three pitches after he's intentionally walked Giambi to put runners on first and third with one out. You cannot. You are a first ballot Cooperstown guy. When rookies and their managers do this, you make them pay. You don't make them look like the friggin second coming of Seaver and Hodges.

Moose, when you get a bad call or an error against you that could've gotten you of an inning, you make a good pitch and get out of it. You don't give up the damn store and whine. You man up and pick up your teammates. I'm tired of these two out rallies by Tampa.

More later....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wang Dynasty Puts Yanks In Control Of Their Own Fate

Sorry for the delay in the post. Computer and gastrointestinal issues. That's all I can say.

I wonder how the Lupicas of the World who declared the Mets the best team in NYC feel now when they see the standings?

NY Yankees 60 40 .600
NY Mets 61 41 .594

Once again, this is why I don't pay attention to certain columnists and media types who want to make every slump, every injury into Armageddon or the Apocalypse.

I stated a while back that we had enough offense to stay competitive in the AL race. What we lacked was consistent pitching and defense. I wrote that if they tighten up both areas that they'll remain in the conversation. Last night was a perfect example of my point.

Wang is essentially a right-handed Andy Pettitte. If his sinker is working and the defense is on their game, you have two-hit gems like last night. If either is off, then you have what you got last Saturday against Toronto. A sloppy game that the Yanks were fortunate to win.

With Wang, Moose and Unit pitching well, the Yankees will be a very tough team to beat even with the question marks in the back of the rotation as well as with Matsui and Sheffield missing. Do I want to stay with the status quo? Absolutely not, but if the answer is trading Scott Proctor, then the we should avoid the question altogether.

None of the bullpen arms mentioned are better than Proctor and none of the bats mentioned are going to make the offense significantly better than it is now. And the added offense won't compensate losing a plus arm in the bullpen like his. With Farnsworth's balky bat and the questions around whether Dotel will return, should make Proctor untouchable unless a front line starter becomes available. And that's not going to happen.

The mediocrity of the National League and the AL West has made almost everyone a buyer. Teams under .500 like Milwaukee, Texas and Atlanta are still in the hunt for the wildcard and division titles. Even the good teams (except for Detroit) need help in their rotations. As a result, anyone going after a front-line starter (ie, Zito or Willis) can expect to get fleeced. I seriously doubt that you're going to see a big deal concerning a premium starter this weekend which means....barring some waiver wire brainlock....That most of these teams will have to look from within to better their rotations.

We have Chacon, Ponson and Wright vying for the last two spots. Should be a very interesting two months.

More later....

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yanks Make A Sweeping Statement

I know...that was really, really bad.

Sorry for the delay in posts. But an illness Tuesday night laid me out. So now I'm playing catch up.

YES has a lot of 'splainin' to do.

I had a feeling that Farnsworth absence had something to do with back spams. He's suffered from them earlier in the season and with the sweltering Texas heat, I'm not shocked that his back locked up on him.

But why did it take YES nearly an hour to get the viewers the information? Everyone in the world knew that something's was wrong when TJ Beam cme into the game in the eighth. We just didn't know what happened to Kyle.

Hello, you own the friggin team! How long does it take Rick Cerrone or whoever the traveling secretary is to tell the producers of the broadcast that Kyle Farnsworth back locked up on him? This isn't Darryl Kile being found dead in his hotel room before a Cubs-Cards game or theCal Ripken-Kevin Costner conspiracy. This was an injury that almost costs the Yankees a very important game. An injury the fans shouldn't have had to find out about after the game was over.

Tonight's win is the main reason why it's stupid to make playoff pronouncements in June. I've been hearing about how the wildcard is probably coming out of the AL Central. Oh really? Take a look at the standings.

Now it could end up that Chicago or Minnesota could end up taking it. Minnesota has the sickest 1-2 southpaw punch and they've finally discovered how to hit. Chicago, despite their pitching problems is the still the defending champs and will probably find a way to stay in the race.

But if tonight showed us anything, it showed that the Yankees are going to be a very, very tough out. Their first season sweep in Texas in 35 years couldn't have come at a better time.

This is why I don't buy it when players say that they don't scoreboard watch. They knew that Boston lost earlier today and they had to know that the Chi-Sox lost to the Twinkies....which means that they could gain ground in the division as well as the wildcard. They saw an opportunity and pounced on it.

I don't have to go through all the cliches because you know them all. Hell, Singleton and Murcer went through them all by the fifth inning.

I just hope that this back thing with Farnsworth is something minor. He's actually been pitching well lately and we can't afford to lose him for any extended amount of time.

Chacon was amazing in the eighth. Does this mean more bullpen time for him or does he get another start if Ponson struggles again? I don't know but what is clear is that he has to get himself in the mindset to be ready whenever he's called. He's sulked a bit because of the inconsistent way he's been used. But look at Ron Villone. He had the same challenge earlier in the year. But he was always ready to pitch when needed. Now his role is much more prominent. The same thing can happen for Chacon. But he's going to get there by posting zeros not poutie-faces.

As if Philly don't have enough reason to hate New York, Now Sal's Pals have to come to the Bronx to see their hero.

When I heard that the Phillies designated him earlier this week, I was hoping that Cashman made a play for him. I've always liked the way he's conducted his business. And he has a decent bat for a backup catcher as well. Anything was better than watching Stinnett try to hit a curveball. He was so bad that I was wishing Flaherty came out of retirement. That's bad. Great move in picking him up tonight. The Yankees can't afford to carry an automatic out in the nine hole anymore.

It also forces Johnson and Posada to continue to work through whatever was ailing them earlier in the year. They seem to be on the same page now, but now that Johnson's old crutch is gone, there's no turning back.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Those Who Can...Do.....Those Who Can't, Yack On ESPN...

I don't even know where to begin with this column.

Raissman hints that Phillips "might" have an agenda he's pushing with his "A-Rod should be traded" rants.

Gee, you think?

There's nothing more pathetic than an out of work GM spewing the sort of idiocy that shows why he's an out of work GM.

His campaign to make A-Rod look like a selfish jerk before he even began negotiations with his agent Scott Boras, surely hastened his demise in Queens along with the horrible Mo Vaughn and Robby Alomar trades a year later. Now he sees his chance to show that he was right all along.

As if those horrible mock news conferences weren't bad enough. Now Phillips is reverting to muckraking to get vindication.

The foolishness about the "once the booing starts in New York, it won't stop" was probably the dumbest thing that he said in his little rant. Who made up that rule? Where is his example of a player who got booed in NYC that kept getting booed after they started to produce?

If you play well and play hard, the fans will appreciate your effort and you'll get a pass(sometimes) when you struggle. If you stink, know what happens.

Phillips conveniently glosses over the fact that the rules have changed a bit at Yankee Stadium. There's "B04"(Before 2004) and "A04" (After 2004). Remember A-Rod got a pretty warm reception when he came here. Even after he had a subpar season. It wasn't until after the collapse that certain Yankee fans started acting like...well, Red Sox fans. With the cynical remarks and the sky is falling attitude. Hell, even I had to be talked off the ledge a couple of times.

The arrogance and swagger that made the world hate us was gone. The angst that fills every other fanbase during the season. We became mortal.

Add to that the added problem of watching your team in the media capitol of the world...the way a hangnail becomes as serious a ACL or Tommy John....and you have an angry, angst-filled fanbase that foaming at the mouth over every loss in a perceived important series.

You have these idiots booing Mo after blowing a couple of saves to the Red Sox in the opening series of the year. You have these same idiots booing A-Rod after he strikes out....when the Yankees are winning!!! It's all symptomatic of the same disease.

Smart baseball fans know that you can't treat every game like it's game 7. You'll burn out before Labor Day. Unfortunately, the Yankee fans we're talking about aren't that smart. And it's idiots like Steve Phillips who feed on this and create this groundswell of foolishness.

I wonder if he got Harold Reynolds whacked? Maybe he got him traded to SNY?

Keep yacking Stevie. Maybe you'll yack enough so enough owners will decide to blacklist your dumb ass.

Wait a second....there was a game last night!!

And Alex actually had a solid performance!

Seriously, it was nice to see Randy string together another solid outing. I have to admit that when I see that he's pitching in launch pads like Arlington, I get a little nervous that the slider will flatten out and resemble a Hezbollah missile.

But he's "pitching" instead of throwing which means he's finally realized that he's 43 not 33. Throwing between 93-95 mph for a thrower is tantamount to batting practice for major league hitters. Throwing that hard when you know how to pitch is lethal when you throw a couple of pitches in the mix.

A shout out to Cubs blogger Thundermatt. Thanks for reading buddy. Hopefully you can continue to avoid hurling in your mouth when you visit.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Thank You Reggie....

For adding some perspective to this A-Rod affair.

It's just a shame that you had to do it through Lupica. But an excellent column nonetheless.

If any of you want to read about what Reggie had through with Billy Martin and the Bronx Zoo of the late seventies, read Roger Kahn's book, October Men.

Roger Kahn has been called the Dean of Baseball Writers. Read this, as well as his classic, The Boys Of Summer, and you'll see why. Great stuff.

Speaking of classics, I'm listening to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak off of Napster. Where the hell have I been? That band was hot! The only song that I ever of there's was "Boys are Back In Town". That song is alright, but Jailbreak is sick.

What can I say? Even though I listened to Rock music in high school, none of my headbanger friends were into Thin Lizzy and even though he was black, they sure as hell didn't play Lynott and company on WBLS.

I'm pretty secure in my knowledge of music, but damn, I don't know how I missed this one. Good shit.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Apologies, Joe.....

You were right not to bring Chacon in sooner than you did. When you're giving up triples to John McDonald, you don't deserve to get in, regardless of the score.

It's a little annoying when the Mets can bring up guys like Pelfrey (in spite of his bad outing today) and John Maine from the minors to fill holes in their rotation. And we have to rely on castoffs like Chacon, Ponson, Wilson and Small and hope you get lightning in a bottle. There's a reason why these guys are castoffs and no matter how good they might pitch for the short term, eventually they'll come back to the pack.

This is why you don't trade guys like Phillip Hughes. Because you never know what the free agent market will bear in a given year. I'd rather not make the playoffs for a year than to trade prospects away for short term fixes. The Sox have Lester, Jansen and Paplebon. Who do we have like that?

Kris F***ing Wilson???

Let me get this straight....It's 4-3 after Glaus' homer in the third. It's two on, one out and Ponson, an innings eater is in there. Why you decide to put him on such a short leash is beyond me, but Torre decides to take him out. Manager's perogative. Maybe he sees something we don't. Ponson struck out five , but he did give up two bombs so maybe after 57 pitches, Joe wanted to bring someone in to keep it at one.

But Kris Wilson???? Villone and Chacon are available, and you bring in someone who these guys know can't throw the ball by them? Torre must be a lot of fun at barbeques. Medium rare? What's that?

Win or lose....this game is pissing me off.

By the way....Thanks Moose for coming to A-Rod defense. Don't think his back has quite healed though from when you backed your Cherokee over him the other day though. Or was Dr.Z driving?

This is why pitchers are rarely team leaders. Is it Alex's fault that Moose gave up those hits to Catalonotto and Glaus that gave the Jays the lead the first place? Or the bomb that Rivera gave to Wells? Guys don't dog you when you get bombed. Give me them the same respect when they struggle.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

You Can't Win....You Can't Get Even...And You Can't Get Out Of The Game

I need to sit my ADD ass down and figure out how to use Paint Shop...because A-Rod as Michael Jackson's Scarecrow from the Wiz is the perfect analogy for this post.

Assuming you agree with ESPN's season projections, in an "off year", A-Rod is projected to hit 37 homers and drive in 123 runs. He's the youngest player ever to hit 450 homers (He turns 31 next Thursday) and the sixth youngest to hit 2000 hits after last night's homer. You're talking about a player with a .306 lifetime average and .959 career .OPS mark. Who makes $25 million a year on top of all this. A first ballot Cooperstown guy.

And you're talking about trading him???

This is why I agree with Bill Simmons recent comments in a recent mailbag response to a reader. He said that he doesn't read the Boston Globe except for a couple of beat writers because of all the constant negativity of the coverage of the Red Sox.

Ironic that he says that about Shaughnessy and the Globe...but he was one of the pied pipers of the whole "A-Fraud-Mr March"nonsense....Quite telling, when he and the rest of his whole phony "nation" backed their Volvo station wagons over Nomar to get A-Rod there in 2004. But I digress....he does make a valid point about the negativity of local press and how the need to generate headlines takes some of the joy away from following your favorite team.

That's why I pretty much stopped reading Lupica whenever he writes about the Yankees. Because 99 times out of 100, he doesn't tell me anything I don't know and he's going piss me off with some unnecessary dig at the Yankees. John Harper is on the cusp as well. He likes to stir the pot as well but he isn't as virulent as Lupica.

Granted, A-Rod isn't going to earn any admirers with the Golden Sombrero he earned today against Ted Lilly and the Jays bullpen. But the beauty of the game is that redemption is only a day away. Not to make excuses for him, but being the DH probably didn't help matters. It gives you way too much time to think about what you're doing wrong when the last thing you need to be doing is thinking. Torre's heart was in the right place when you consider the extra work he put in earlier today with infield practice with Mattingly and Bowa. But the last place A-Rod needs to be between at bats is the bench. He thinks wayy too much when he plays a full game. Playing half the game is an invitation to....well, what happened today.

Good win by Wang and the bullpen today. But not to take away from it at all, but as hard as Wang throws, he should have more than 40 K's on the year. When the ball is put in play as much it is during his outings....yeah you have low pitch counts, but sometimes the ball is hit where they ain't. Guidry and company should seriously consider working with Wang on an out pitch for next year. Someone who throws in the mid-nineties should make bats work a little than he does. Knowing how to pitch and hit your spots is important, but good old fashioned hardball can't hurt things either.

Anyone who thinks that the Boss is asleep at the wheel, doesn't watch the YES broadcasts. It was no accident that in the end of game montage, that they showed everyone of A-Rod's strikeouts. After a win, no less! If you don't think the Boss isn't trying to get his message across to Alex to get his head out of his ass, you're blind.

Ponson goes tomorrow. I think he think he has a good outing. Whether that translates into a win.....

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Man Crush On Vernon Wells Has Worn Off....

You can't be hitting bombs off Mo and expect me to maintain platonic man-love for you, VW. Sorry. You're going to have to hit a couple of bombs off of Paplebon, Schilling and Beckett if you want a Christmas card this year.

I appreciate Moose's observation about A-Rod's recent play after last night. But while he didn't intentionally throw Alex under bus, he must've forget to take it out of reverse, because those looked like tire tracks on his back.

As annoyed as I was about the errant throw, I'm more annoyed that he sidearmed it into the backstop than the fact that he made it. I've seen him make that throw and others like it dozens of times before without a problem. All I want is for him is to get his head right, start playing the game the way's he's capable of playing it and stop with the gay shirtless poses in Central Park.

And enough of this A-Rod wants out of NYC garbage that I've been hearing on the radio and ESPN. First off, as self-conscious as he is about his image and his legacy, he knows that it would be irreparably damaged if he asked out of here because he can't hang.

Secondly, even if you could trade him, where would he go? There are only two other teams who can afford him and neither want him. And even if they did, how can you get equal market value for one of the 50 best players in his prime? The answer is, you can't.

The Yankees best bet is for them to help him work his way through this. And enough of the "Jeter to the rescue" nonsense. Whatever Jeter has to say the Alex should be done in private. Not for the cameras. And spare with the "Derek did it for Giambi" garbage. Giambi was this close from being out of baseball forever last year. If the Yankees could have cut him, they would have. He was a shell of a player and a person. Jeter's vote of confidence was almost a necessity for Jason to get back to where he needed to be.

All Alex needs to do is stop reading the papers, quit with the Queer as Folk spreads and focus on the friggin game.

We're only two and a half back. I wish everyone would stop acting like we were 22.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Pulling The Tights and Grabbing The Ropes For A Win

I've been accused of only posting after wins. Hopefully this post ends that nonsense.

This guy is a Yankee hater....but he's on to something...Hilarious.

Old-school Wrestling fans know what I mean when I talk about pulling the tights. It's when a wrestler (generally a rulebreaker/bad guy)is getting his ass kicked and resorts to underhanded tactics to win a match. Like waiting for the ref to turn his head and bashing your opponent with brass knuckles. Or using the ropes for leverage to pin someone.

In the Yankees case on Tuesday, it's taking advantage of bad umpiring to tie and win a game. The Bombers are well known for their opportunistic when they won Tuesday's game with Melky's homer in the 11th, I was pleased....but hardly surprised.

But this is where Baseball Karma comes into play. Wednesday afternoon's game tells us why you never crow too loudly about a win like Tuesday's. Because incompetence has no friends. As bad as the timeout, the third base ump called while Phillips was half way to third...the Posada "safe" call on Tuesday was as bad if not worse. Wednesday's loss was karmic payback for Tuesday's looting.

The Mesche-Johnson game was the one I had the most concerns about. Not because of Randy. But because when he's on like he was on Tuesday, Gil gives us fits. I thought Randy would pitch well. But I was concerned that Mesche would pitch better. That wasn't the case, but with the bats asleep and the umps lending a helping hand, it was enough to keep the M's from getting swept.

Yeah, the Yankees are now a game and half back after the loss, but I'm not going sweat it too much. My philosophy is to gain a game a week. We gained two plus after the Sox lost three of four versus the A's last week. That was a gift. Oakland never beats Boston and probably never will after last week but it enabled us to gain some extra ground with our sweep of the Chi-Sox. A game a week in the standings will enable us to put pressure on the Sox and cement our position in the standings.

You probably think that after Wednesday afternoon's power outtage at the Stadium that I would be screaming for another bat. On the contrary, on most days we'll have enough to win our fair share of games. What I'm excited about is any sort of help we could get from the arms race. Normally I feel about four runs and six plus innings the way my hero Stringer Bell feels about 40 degree days. Nobody gives a f**k about either.

But Ponson's outing on Tuesday has me almost giddy. If he can give us an outing like that everytime out, it can do wonders for us. All we need is someone who can keep the team in the game and give us some length so the Proctor and Farnsworth's arms don't implode. In other words, a fifth starter. The state of pitching in the majors is such that the Yankees can win most games if the starter keeps the opposition to four runs. If Ponson can keep us in ballgames so we don't have to go to the pen in the sixth inning everytime he starts, it means more gas in the tank for our guys in the pen for September and October. Torre was just on WFAN and said that Dotel had another setback today. Which means that we might not see him for a while, if at all. Who knows what Pavano will give you. I'd love to live a pipedream and think that those two along with Sheff and Matsui will be on white horses and make the difference in September. But fairy tales are for children, not serious baseball fans.

Noone is going to go out of their way to help the Yankees so outside of giving up one of our prospects...any help we get will have to be internal. Gillick is going hold anyone up who want Bobby Abreu. So is Bowden concerning Soriano. Shea Hillenbrand is an option ...but if he's going throw temper tantrums over playing time, how's he going to feel about splitting time with Andy Phillips if Joe decides on a first base platoon?

My gut feeling is that we're going to go into stretch run with the guys we have now...including Cano, when he gets off the DL. Which isn't as bad a proposition as some might think. I don't know what Melky Cabrera is. Whether he's a fourth outfielder on a good team or a potential star in the making. But I'd like to find out. He's a fun player to watch who knows where we'd be without him right now. There's something intriguing about going into battle without an all-star at every position. You actually have to play baseball to win games. Focus on the little things that ironically kept us out of the World Series for the last two years. Those things are now in the forefront when you can't bat around at will. It was nice seeing the Yankees win games with solid defense and pitching the last couple of weeks.

This might be blasphemy, but I'd almost rather miss the playoffs then to see Cashman do a Kazmir. I don't if any of our guys will be that good. But I'd like a chance to find out.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back From Hell....To Watch A Coming Out Party

"Act like you've been there before..."

"I'm not saying we're worried about the wild card, we're trying to win a division, but four games with 70-something games left? I don't think that's that big a lead,...
"Four games, three games? That's a week. So I don't see why everyone's assuming the wild card's coming out of here, or that this team or that team is already in the playoffs."
Derek Jeter, July 15

I don't who originated the first phrase, but the first person that I'd ever heard say that was Giants great Frank Gifford. It originally was applied to athletes grandstanding but I think it can apply to fans as well. More so even.

I've gotten a lot of questions and grief as to why I didn't let loose both cannons of material on Metstradamus' blog last week. I had two weeks to plan and all I had was a couple of posts and a guest post from someone who turned out to be a traitor sell-out Mets fan in Imperial clothing. Ironically, this mercenary pink hat wearing Bobba Fett wanna-be's post generated the most venom from the viper's nest. I wonder if the Shea snakes knew they were eating one of their own.

My answer to the query at hand....Karma is a bitch. Baseball karma especially.

Ask Metstra and his mutant brother Fredstra about Karma. In the year 2000, you'd have thought that the Empire and its fans were London, 1941, these two way these two were giving it to me because the Yankees were having problems. Metstra even decided to expand his horizons and become Celticsdamus and put together a weekly newsletter called "Boy, Do The Knicks Suck!" just to stick the knife even further in my gut. And why not? The Mets had a better record and it looked as if this was finally going to be their year to overtake the Braves. Then came July 8, 2000....

The rest as they say is history....although I doubt Mike Piazza remembers....

Metstra remembers. Yet and still, even after that painful lesson in baseball karma, he was still going to tempt the fates and attempt another baseball blitzkrieg on the Empire. He was going to in his words "do something really evil" that might destroy our friendship had the Mets won the Subway Series earlier this month.

My response? Dude, it's July. There's a lot of baseball to be played. Why blow my load now when there's three months left in the season? If this is the way he is with sports....Obviously, his life-partner is very frustrated with Metstra in other ways....

So while I didn't take completely the high road, I decided to only tweak the infidels a bit instead of completely tearing off their proverbial wings. I decided to hold back just a bit. Why run down the mountain and nail a couple of infidels...when I can walk down and nail them all?

Of course, this line of thinking completely went of their heads. You're lame, Darth! Is this the best that you can do? was the refrain of Hell's chorus. They didn't realize the symbolism of my little visit to their little corner of the blogosphere. How a certain someone went to hell for a minute....just let to cats know who was in charge and then went about his business. Not to compare myself to that someone...but I will say this, while he'll never admit this in public...Metstradamus knows full well what I'm capable of. What havoc I can wreak when I have the time, the target and the motivation.

My little visit to your little corner of the netherworld was just a courtesy call. A little hello of sorts. The real reckoning won't be as polite.

So all I'm going to say is this. You better hope you win the World Series, Mets fans. Because if you don't...then to quote another favorite badass of mine....Your suffering will be legendary...even in....well you know, because you're already there.

Now as to the second quote that began the's a shame that sports fans don't have more of a sense of history. If they did, they would be able to ignore the columnist in the tabloids who have all but written the Yankees off and have annointed the Tigers, White Sox and Red Sox as three of the four AL playoff teams.

What this weekend in New York and Boston says is this....there's a lot of baseball to be played and before we do any friggin annointing....let's play some goddamn games.

Am I ecstatic that we swept the White Sox and that we're now a half game out thanks to Oakland pounding on Oakland? Absolutely. But what does it all mean if we lose two of three to Seattle, Boston sweeps KC and Chicago sweeps Detroit? We're back where we started Friday.

I don't want to focus on the negatives. But we still need another arm in the bullpen and the rotation. Jaret Wright still hasn't gotten through the seventh. Another bat wouldn't hurt either. As well as this team is playing right now, this team is still very flawed. What's helping us is that so is everyone else. The White Sox are a much better offensive team this year. But their pitching isn't nearly as consistent as it was last year as you saw in this series. What you had last year was a lot of above-average and good pitchers have career years last year. Now they're coming back to the rest of the pack a bit.

Freddy Garcia's pitching coach says that he's lost about five miles off his fastball. Javier Vasquez clearly isn't the same pitcher that he was in Montreal. These guys, despite their relatively young ages, have thrown a lot of innings over the last decade. Maybe it's catching up to them. Think about that before you burn Omar in effigy for not trading the farm away for one of these guys, Mets fans.

Momentum is tomorrow's starting pitcher as I said a million times. Sunday is over, people. Let's see what Wang does on Monday.

Sidney Ponson? I don't know what to think. He still has a great arm. Maybe Guidry and company will see something in his mechanics and makeup that will help him turn things around.

My point is much pleasure as I got out of watching my Chi-Sox buddy Arnie suffer on Friday and Saturday at the stadium....this thing is far from over. Hopefully, what this was was a coming out party. A trumpet call to the rest of the league that things are about to get very bad for them.

For that to happen, we need the rotation to blow like Duke's orchestra, the defense to improv like Coltrane and the offense to thump like Mingus.

Kenny G need not apply....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Say what you want about Metstradamus. He's a man of his word. He fulfilled his debt to me tonight without having to be asked.

As a result, I decided to tweak him a bit on his site with a couple of fun posts and a guest post from a friend. I was going to go full throttle but opted against it when a couple of friends reminded of the karmic ramifications of totally ripping him apart. So I had a little fun. Nothing too nasty. Just a little reminder that I was there. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Mr Wright Now

Jaret Wright vs Jae Seo pitch a 1-0 game. If you knew how weird it is to write this.

Not that I'm complaining mind you. Wright was amazing last night. If he can only manage to extend his outings another inning or two. I had a feeling he would bounce back from that awful start against Mutts last Sunday. Say what you want about him. You have to admit that the man's a fighter. He has as bad a start as you can have against the Mets and he rebounds against a pretty good hitting team in Tampa. He has had as bad a stretch of luck as anyone I can think of. Yet he keeps grinding. It's a shame the White Sox spit the bit against Boston last night.

It makes you wonder what Chacon did to get in Torre and Cashman's doghouse. Not only is he out of the rotation for the time being, but he could be designated for assignment. I understand that he might be upset about the way he's been used and frustrated with the leg injury that's set him back. But does he realize how lucky he is right now? Would he rather be back in Colorado or another spot in baseball hell?

Common sense is just not common, I guess.

It's Wang vs Kazmir tonight. And I'm gonna miss it because I'll be in Coney Island for a Cyclones game. I know, I know. I'm an idiot. But hey, it's minor league baseball.

I don't know about you, but I giggled my ass off watching Dontrelle Willis hit a grand salami off of Lima Time! last night. That little strut around the bases was priceless.

It's make you wonder what MLB is thinking when they more marketing, scouting and recruiting in Latin America than in the black community. There are only three African American starting pitchers in the majors right now. Shameful.

More later....maybe.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Maybe Kissing Your Sister Isn't So Bad.....

After getting beaten by a combine score of 24-3, a little baseball inbreeding isn't such a bad thing.

For all its flaws, this Yankee team is proving to be a very tough out. They're extremely opportunistic offensively....pouncing on the mistakes of their opponents. Combine that with solid pitching performances by Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina, and you have a split in a four game series when you could have rolled over and been swept. You destroyed any momentum the Indians might have had in their July 4th rout and gain a game on the Sox in the standings. Plus you hurt a hated rival's playoff chances. Fun times.

The title of my last post still holds true. And any sort of good feelings can erased in an instant if they don't win in Tampa. You have Wright, Wang and Chacon going in the dome....and with the pouting that Shawn's doing over the way he's being used, who knows who will pitch on Sunday.

If I were Chacon, I'd go in Torre's office and make peace. Then, I would keep my mouth shut and hope it's enough for me to get another start before the All-Star break.

With the Sox going to Chicago to play their black kinsmen, we have a great chance to gain some more ground on the infidels. Tampa did us a great service beating them three out of four. Now it's time to bring them back to reality.

I see a lot of crooked numbers on the scoreboard in Tampa this weekend. Not necessarily a good thing....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Momentum Is Tomorrow's Starting Pitcher

I might have used that as a title in the past, but I can't think of anything that describes the last three games better than Whitey Herzog's prophetic phrase.

I'm sort of angry at myself that I used the word prophet to describe Whitey Herzog, but if the mitt fits....

This sports fans, is what we're going to have suffer through for the next few months unless the Yankees get some help for the back of the rotation. They'll never be completely out of the race. But they'll never run away with it either.

The Yankees used to be able bludgeon teams with their bats and cover up the deficiencies in their rotation. The team as it's constituted now can still score runs. But it lacks the Conan-esque bloodthistiness and rage that it had with Sheff and Matsui. Heck, even with them, you'd see a laugher like Tuesday's 19-1 beatdown occasionally. I'm surprised that you haven't seen more of them this season.

Tonight was a nice bounceback from Tuesday, but I expected Moose to pitch well. He normally rises to the occasion when he pitches after a bad loss. And I think Johnson will pitch well tomorrow and we can possibly salvage a split.

But what I would love to see is the Yankees go on a winning streak of more than three or four games. It's good enough to win series, but if they're going to catch and pass the Red Sox, you need some winning streaks of six games or more.

Tampa is doing their part, helping keep the Yankees close. But with Wright, Wang and Chacon scheduled to pitch this weekend, do you really want to face Tampa right now? Their bats are sick. If Kazmir isn't on the mound, they can't do much else but hit. But man, can they hit.

Wright always looks like he's almost ready to turn the page and become a winning starting pitcher, then he falls off the cliff like he did against the Mets. I've stopped trying to figure out what to expect from him. Just that good or bad, he won't be pitching come the seventh inning.

Chacon is finally showing us why Colorado (that pitcher's paradise) waived him in the first place. Some guys pitch just well enough to lose and some guys bungee off the Grand Canyon without a rope. Chacon has done the latter the last several starts. I wrote once that he would be fine as a back of the rotation guy on a good team. I can't even say that anymore after Tuesday.

You want to say that rust (he hadn't pitched in over a week) might have contributed to it? Maybe. But you know what, considering where he's come from and where he's playing now...he needs to be ready to be called at all times. That leg injury set him back a bit and when he decided to come back, it was too early. He needed another start under his belt. Can he turn it around? Perhaps. But it has to start with his next start.

He can show Torre and company something by pitching well against a very good offensive team in Tampa. Give the bullpen a much needed blow. Otherwise, the Yankees need to find someone else who can.

Even if these guys did pitch well, I still would continue to look for a decent back of the rotation starter who can eat innings like Livan Hernandez or Tony Armas. Then I would put either Chacon or Wright in the bullpen as the long man.

But since this is definitely a seller's market and everyone's going to try to hold us up...I don't expect this Roller Coaster of Angst to let me off anytime soon.

The All-Star break can't come soon enough. If I had my way, no Yankees would play in that game. Mandatory rest for all starters.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

My Name's LoDuca....I Live On The Second Floor....

So many infidels to kill, so little time.

Yet another Scion of Shea has started his own site, Ed from Westchester, a regular on my blue bitch Metstradamus' site has started his own blog. Ed is quite clever for a mongoloid and ocassionally can be quite funny. And unlike some jerkoffs who only want to comment and run from site to site, he had the guts to actually to put his Big Apple where his pen is. Give him a read. Who knows when I'll have to destroy him. ;-)

I'm paying dearly for Sunday night's win. Not getting to bed until 4am last night is the reason I'm up 5am typing this blog.

I fell asleep on my couch around the 7th inning of the Yanks-Tribe game last night and woke up well after midnight. I go to bed to get some real sleep. I wake up thinking it's probably 6:30 or's friggin 3:30! My sleep cycle is all screwed up. Thankfully the game is on at 6:05 tonight so I can catch up on some Z's.

Not that there was much reason to stay awake last night mind you. Wang had one of his patented Pettittesque starts. A mediocre one right after a great one. It was nice to see him battle through despite not having his best stuff. But this Cleveland lineup is not one you want to scuff through without your best stuff. Eventually the big lumber is gonna hit you square between the eyes. In Wang's case Hollandsworth did the honors with a two run homer that knocked him out of the game in the sixth.

They have to start scoring runs for this kid. I understand that it's common to have a lull after an outburst like Sunday's. And maybe the late Sunday start had something to do with it. But they have to start scoring runs consistently. They had their chances early. But once again, you could start three orphanages and a group home with all the runners they leave on base.

As if the baseball gods are pissed at Mets fans for some debt unpaid, a ghost of Shea prospects past helped the Yankees last night. Scott Kazmir shut out the Sox last night to gain his 10th win of the year and his 5th career win against Boston. We didn't gain a game, but at least we didn't lose one either.

To tie up the Subway Series thread, I wanted to touch on a point that the characters from the Mets Blog Faith and Fear In Flushing made recently. It is sort of anti-climatic to have the series end in a tie. Particularly in years when both teams are competitive.

So if you're going to do it, why not make it seven games? That way you'll have a definitive winner and a fanbase who will have definite bragging rights for a year.

I know that there are a lot of opponents to Inter-league. Personally, I like it, because it gives me an excuse to visit parks that I rarely go to or have never seen. Yeah, Yanks-Marlins is kind of blah. But the tradeoff is Yanks-Cards (Clemens 300th win & 4000th strikeout), Yanks-Cubs (always fun to hang with the Wrigley Drunks) and Yanks-Dodgers(Chavez Ravine? Nuff Said.) I don't think that it takes away from the World Series at all. It just gives the fat kid in the candy store Orange Nerds when only Cherry was available. And outside of a little tooth decay and diabetes, how is that a bad thing?

Or maybe it's better that it's only six games. Let the World Series settle things. Who cares about a six game season series when you can win seven game series in October?

I loved how Paul LoDuca tried to make the problem with his pitcher, A-Rod's problem. Alex's reaction after his grandslam was quite tame, yet Lo Duca felt the need to try to pick a fight after he jogged the bases.

I think the root of all this was that Paulie was frustrated with his rookie pitcher who refused to throw strikes and with his manager who didn't have anybody going in the 'pen after it was clear that this kid didn't have it.

For some reason, players just hate losing to Alex. Manny can do the centipede around the bases and noone says a word. But Alex shows the slightest bit of joy after hitting a huge home run and LoDuca wants to mouth off.

What's worse is that seems like people feel like they can mouth off to him and get away with it. I'm glad that he and Giambi got in his face after that.

The Mets players seem to love Willie, so none of his guys are going to throw him under the bus for now. But if that 10 game lead becomes five, I wonder who's going to throw the first molotov cocktail into his office?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ton-YA-Rod Crushes The Queens Kerrigans

I Don't Understand The Way You Think
Saying That It's Yours Not Mine...Sending Mets Hats And Your Silly Dreams..Is Really Just A Waste Of Time...Because it's mine...The Doggone Blog Is Mine....Don't waste your time...Because the doggone Blog is mine.....

For a day at least.

This was so worth the wait. Thank you Alex. Tonight you heard all the Queens Kerrigans fans yell "Why?" after A-Rod and company smashed them in their collective kneecaps with a 34 ounce bat.

I wonder how many orange and blue caps and pink David Wright shirts I'll be seeing tomorrow after last night. Not many I bet.

He's going to regret not adding me already to his hall of hate. After I get through with his blog, I'm going to have a whole wing dedicated to me.

While Metstradmus is on his alternative life-style cruise with his life partner...I get to scheme on how to destroy his readership for his horrible blog.

Hey Westchester Ed and Toasty Joe...hope you enjoy the new de coeur I'll be bringing to your sooth-sayer's little abode in a couple of weeks. Not that I care what you think mind you. Just trying to be polite.

Actually, I'll need you the check the grammar and spelling for the posts in a couple of weeks. Provided you have enough guts to read them.

I'm too excited to sleep but I'm gonna try anyway. More tomorrow. Just wanted leave you Mutt fans with this little message from my dear friend Palpatine.

I wonder how many domestic abuse calls there were in Queens tonight?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I Knew It Wouldn't Be That Easy

Somehow I knew Randy Johnson wouldn't cooperate.

Even though we're going up against the back end of the Mets rotation, I had a feeling that this wouldn't be an easy sweep. These series always play out tough. No matter how good bad the teams are. They try to play down the importance of these series. But you can tell that both teams take this series seriously.

It's funny how all of this blue and orange has come out of the woodwork. All you Shea faithful who love to comment on how Yankee Stadium is full of frontrunners, tourists and pink hats. Guess what, they're coming your way now. This middle aged guard tried to give me a couple of digs after today's loss in the drug store. You could tell he was just a peripheral fan and assumed that just because he had 15 years on me that he knew what he was talking about.

"The NL was running things before you were born, young boy. We won all the All Star games in the 60's and 70's." After reminding him that the games don't count. I also reminded him that the AL has won more World Series (the 60's being the only decade since World War II where NL held the advantage) and have dominated the All Star game over the last decade. "Do you really want to have this argument, old man...or do you want to go back to guarding the door against old ladies stealing Depends?" He didn't like that too much and realizing that I had six inches and 50 pounds on him...he wisely decided to walked away.

I don't mind arguing baseball with strangers. I enjoy it quite actually. But don't throw rocks at a man who has a machine gun. I live and breath this stuff. If you don't want to get your feelings hurt than it's in your best interest to keep the discussion civil. There are some pissed off folks in the Lou who decided to bring up A-Rod's travails to me when all I wanted to do was watch the game. They didn't like it when I brought up how Pujols and company got the Mommy Dearest treatment when Manny and the Sox yelled "No Wire Hangers!" in 2004.

This is a.357 world. Leave your 22's at home.

Jaret Wright, if you don't win another game this year...please win this one tomorrow. You've been pitching well lately. The Empire will love you if we can get another quality start out of you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

One Is The Loneliest Number.....

"Right now, you can say the American League has four to five teams that are a little better than teams in the National League." Willie Randolph after Friday night's loss

This is from the manager of the best team in the Senior Circuit. Not a lowly Yankee fan. I wonder if they're going to start calling Willie a Yankee spy like they did Mike Stanton?

The Mets get one hit last night and all of a sudden, Metstradamus and his little minions are all of a sudden bored with the game and Interleague. I was at the game and the crowd didn't seem at all bored to me. They were very into the game. Even after the rain delay. At least the Yankee fans were.

There were quite a few mutants sporting the blue and orange in the Bronx last night. I was quite impressed because normally, Mets fans don't like making the trek to the Bronx as much as Red Sox fans do. Ask Metstradamus, who has boycotted Yankee Stadium for several years now.

But for the life of me, I can't imagine why they were so quiet. I guess 1-2-3 innings have a different effect on Mets fans than other folks. They get very sleepy and cranky.

This is the sort of pitching performance we needed. The inability to string several together has been the reason we haven't been able to go on a long win streak like the Sox (who had their's ended last night. Thank you, Dontrelle!). Even without two of our sluggers, I've maintained that we still have enough offense to win games. But we have to get consistent starting pitching. Our bullpen can't be expected to carry the load. Last night was a unique situation because of the rain delay plus Moose felt a tug in his better safe than sorry. The pen was coming off a off day so everything lined up quite nicely.

But you can't expect this every night. The starters have to start pitching into the seventh or our guys will have nothing left for the stretch run, much less October. I'm hoping Unit can go deep into today's game to give our guys a blow.

One more thing about last night. Enough of the A-Rod booing. You can't give him a standing ovation after he hits a game winning homer on Wednesday and then boo him because he pops up on Friday (with the team winning btw). I've said this before and I'll say it again. If it meant we could get rid of all these front-running hypocritical tourists who call themselves Yankees fans...I'd be happy if we never drew four million ever again.

We don't need their support or their money. Go to a Broadway show or something.