Thursday, August 31, 2006

Some Of You N***as Is Bitches Too....

Jacking NWA's lyric seemed apropos after reading this little diddy about Carl Pavano and his latest brainlock.

Unbelievable. This guy already has zero credibility in the clubhouse as the locker room rumblings allude to in the article. Even if he does come back from this, you really have to question what you'll get out of this guy for the stretch run. Say what you want about Wright or anyone else on this team. At least they're out there competing. This guy hasn't been seen in over a year and whenever it looks as if he's ready to come back.

There's always something with this guy. Why would you hide getting into car wreck? Noone is going to fault you for getting you for hydroplaning into a truck during a rain storm.

Unless there's something you're not telling them, which the Yankees are looking into now.

I'm so annoyed about this Pavano thing, that I can't even make fun of Big Papi's problems. Normally, I'd love to take a couple of digs at the Nation and their hero. But say this about him, at least he's out there battling. He's one of the few reasons why that team was in the race as long as it was. It's almost no fun to watch that team collapse with Ortiz and Manny there.


But I can't kill Papi when there's a guy on our team who finds a new way not to compete. At least their guys are trying. This guy is playing bumper cars with trucks. Idiot.

But it is fun watching their team implode...ain't it sports fans?

While Schilling got pounded on the East Bay, Wang cruised through the best team in baseball.

This is how done the Red Sox are this year. The Yankees gained a game in the standings without playing a game in two days. They were up eight and a half games with a chance to be up nine with a win in the nightcap.

Damn you Craig Monroe. God damn you to hell.

I really want to blame someone for this loss. I sooo want to get on Torre for this. But I can't. Proctor threw one pitch in game one and was coming off two days rest. This was totally on him. But I will say this, has Torre lost complete faith in Farnsworth? He's the one with closer experience. I understand that he gave it up against the Tiggers the last time they faced off, but this was perfectly set up for his arrival. No dice. Call me a greedy Yankee fan but I really wanted a sweep to send a message to Motown and the rest of the league.

I'll say this much for the Tiggers; whenever you're ready to write them off as a serious contenders, they win a game like this. I have no idea how far they'll go, but I'll say this much....they're gonna be a tough out.

They can pitch and they get timely hitting from their offense. Are they a dominant team. Not even close. But they are for real.

And if they do win it all, I will sing the Tigger song, YDB. That's a promise.

More Later...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This Team Must Be Pretty Good.....

For their best player to suck so bad.

If Big Papi, Manny, Pujols, Howard or Vlad were to suck as bad as Alex has over the last week, I doubt they're able to avoid a six game West Coast sweep, much less go 2-4 with a chance to win every series. The only team I can see surviving with their big star struggling are Mets and Beltran. Their lineup is balanced enough to get through some games with Carlos scuffling.

But I can't see anyone winnning it all with their best player stinking it up through October. Get it, Alex? This shit has got to stop.

He looks as bad as Giambi did early last year. Taking pitches down the pike, almost hoping to get walked. And there are no breaks upcoming with the Tiggers and Twinkies in New York for six games. I'm hoping he breaks out of it this week because it's getting painful to watch his at-bats. I'm squeamish like it's a bad horror flick or something. Call it Evil Dead: The Bronx.

Bernie turning back the clock along with Jeter being Jeter was enough to hold off the Halos in spite of Proctor and Farnsworth rather giving natures. But the way we touched up their starting pitching this weekend, we should have won that series. A timely hit here or there, we sweep and win the season series for the first time in four years. That team is not that good.

I agree with Torre in his assessment that the team was running on fumes after the Red Sox series. That probably played a part in Alex's struggles along with his illness. But sleep is the cousin of death this time of year. They have a chance to put the Sox away, secure a division title and a playoff spot in the next couple of weeks. They also have a chance to send a message to two potential playoff opponents. They miss Santana and Verlander next week, so there's no reason why they can't win both series. 4-2 is more than reasonable to expect out of this homestand.

You think everyone on the South Side of Chitown isn't a Yankee fan this week?

Speaking of Chicago, I almost forgot to write about my latest visit to the Windy City. I knew that I was going to be in Indy for a conference a week and a half me being the diamond junkie I am, I looked to see who within driving distance had a game going. The baseball gods smiled upon me when I saw the Cards were facing the Cubbies at Wrigley Aug. 18-20th. So I decided to call in some favors and get some seats for my third visit to Friendly Confines. Cost me a few bucks, but I figure it was more than worth it.

While it wasn't my first visit to the North Side, it was my first Cards-Cubs game. I figure that since there was no way I could be at Fenway for the Yanks-Sox five game set, the next best thing is Cubbies-Cards, right? Before I get into my answer, let me say, that every fan of the game must visit Wrigley at least once in their lives. After this trip, I might make it an annual event like Camden Yards. It's hard to believe that there's somewhere more fun before, during and after a game than Wrigley Field. The surrounding bars and restaurants in the area are packed before and after the game. The park truly is the Friendly Confines. Only Fenway can hope to match the feeling of intimacy you feel when you walk into the park. It's the closest thing to a little league park, and I mean that in a good way, that you'll get in the majors. Nothing comes close. Nothing. Outside of the obstructed view seats, there isn't a bad seat in the house. And even they aren't that bad. The fans and the staff are some of the friendliest in the majors. And despite it being one of the whitest parks in the majors, I never felt uncomfortable one moment I was there.

As for the the actual baseball, well, that's another story. I can see why the Tribune folks could care less if the Cubs are competitive. That Park is a friggin cash-cow. People come for the experience and the party atmosphere. Very few actually give a damn about the game. They're getting crushed by their arch-rivals 11-3 and you would think the score was 2-1. It's sort of sad because if you decided put a competitive product on the field every year, their fanbase would multiply by 1000. It would be harder to get tickets for a game at Wrigley than anywhere else in the majors. And that includes Yankee Stadium and Fenway. Combine a winner with that park and neighborhood, they become the Yankees Midwest.

Right now, though, I don't want any of this garbage about how this is the best rivalry in baseball. Not even close. Yankees-Red Sox is the best rivalry in the game and one of the five best in all of sports. Name me one game or series in the Cubs-Cards that had the stakes and dramas of 2003-2004 ALCS' or the 1978 Playoff game? Name one. After Yankees-Red Sox game, I can't imagine Sox fans coming into Yankee bar en masse and partying with pinstripes. Would never happen. I got more grief wearing my Charles Woodson Michigan Jersey than any of the Cards fans in red regalia. I understand that I forgot that I was in Big Ten-Notre Dame Country and Wolverine blue gets no love in the Windy City (Even the usher gave me grief)but why am I getting more grief than some hick wearing a Pujols jersey?

Thankfully, the North Side vixens came around and realized that a baseball deity was in their midst.

They're a good people, Darth
They just need a light to show them the way
For this reason, I have sent them you, my only son...

Maybe there's something to missionary work after all....heh, heh, heh...Class is in session, beyotches. The Dark Lord is all about higher learning...

Hey YDB!! You know who you are. Start practicing this gasface this week. Get ready to bow down, youngling....

Saturday, August 26, 2006


I know what I said the other day about resting the bullpen, losing the battle to win the war. I understand the season-marathon-sprint analogies. Seeing the big picture and all that.

But why do these analogies always come into play when we play the damned Angels?

I see what Torre is trying to do. He wants to get Bruney and Dotel some work 1)to give Proctor and company some rest and 2)to get them in meaningful situations to see if they'll be useful in the stretch run.

But a five game lead isn't 15. A point I'm sure Joe is cognizant of with a little over a month left in the season. I appreciate Joe wanting to give his key guys a blow. But giving away all the momentum gained in the sweep in Boston can't be underestimated. The Yankees get swept and Boston win the next two in Seattle, the lead is 3 and a half. Hardly daunting with a month of baseball left on the calendar.

For once, I agree with Kevin Kennedy. Sit Alex tomorrow. He's not helping anyone collecting golden sombreros. And he's the last person you want as a DH, if he is not hitting. At least playing the field, he'll have something else to preoccupy his thoughts. If I were Joe, I'd tell Alex to fake a sickness and stay in his hotel. Get an early flight back to NYC and spend some time with his family. Get himself right for next week's series against the Tiggers and the Twinkies. Two potential playoff previews at home. Give him a couple of days off with the travel day to recoup.

I never thought that I would welcome the possible return of Carl Pavano. He's apparently looked great in his rehab starts and could be back very soon. Lidle showed today why he's a back of the rotation guy. I can't get angry at the guy for today because that's all he's ever been. Some starts when his breaking ball and off-speed stuff is working, he looks like he did against Boston Monday. Other days, it's extra batting practice.

When a batter knows you can't throw the ball by him and your breaking stuff isn't sharp, he's going to sit back and wait for a pitch to hit. You can't do that with Pavano. Even he's on a pitch count and can only give us six innings, I like him better than Lidle or Wright. We'll see if I'm right or if he makes me look like an ass again.

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine who also works in media last night. She's someone who's opinion I've always respected so I always enjoy bouncing things off her to see what she's thinking. Last night, it was the preoccupation of the New York Media of all things A-Rod/Jeter and their relationship or lack thereof. The latest instance was Mike Lupica's column last Saturday.

I asked her why is this news? She brought up the preoccupation with the bloggers and sports radio on the subject and while you might not like Lupica, you have acknowledge that he did a good job on such a divisive subject.

Maybe I'm not the target audience for columns like that. Not because they're negative. I can take bad news about my team. I'm not one of these fans who look at their team with rose-colored glasses and is shocked when all of a sudden I find out that my favorite players are (gasp!) all too human. I watch professional sports because the men and women can do something only one percent of one percent of the world can do at their level. It's the same reason I go see a live music show or a museum for an exhibit. To see the best of the best on display.

But while I admire these people for their skill and ability, I don't hold out any chance that I would become friends with these people. If I had the opportunity to meet them, I'd hope that they would polite and civil but nothing more than that. Though in this day and age, asking that out of normal folks much less celebrities seems to be asking a lot.

People think that might be a cynical way of looking at things. Not at all, I've always been more of a glass half-full guy than half-empty. But I put these guys on pedestals like my rose-colored brethren do. I agree with Barkley, your role models should be the folks who are in your every-day life. Not someone you admire on television or in the papers. So when I hear about an athlete like Derrick Brooks and his charitable works, I'm like good for him. Nice work. But nothing more.

However when I hear about someone like Albert Belle, I say "What an asshole". And nothing more. Why? Because being a pro athlete doesn't make one immune to being an asshole...anymore than it makes one more apt to do good works. They're people just like their fans. They're not gods.

But unfortuantely, the media feeds into this black/white, rose-colored attitude that many fans have about sports and their athletes. Anyone with any sense of history (which most fans don't have) know that to the question over whether the Yankees win a title, Jeter and A-Rod's relationship is inconsequential. Gehrig and Ruth were not friends. DiMaggio did not have many friends on the Yankees. Munson and Jackson were cordial at best at the end of Munson's life. In 1977 and 1978, Munson along with Billy Martin threw him under bus every chance they got. The media tried to create the story that Mantle and Maris did not get along(which was not true). But even if it was, it would only be relavant if their discord got in the way of team results on the field.

Ultimately a team's success is based on the talent of the team and their professionalism. Just like any sucessful business, a team can have guys that hate each other. As long as they conduct themselves as profesionals and do their jobs, they'll be sucessful.

But because we choose to view athletics in a cartoonish, naive way, we choose to give relevance to a tree instead of the forest as a whole. If the Yankees win a title this year, will Derek and Alex's relationship still hold relevance? Chances are, if they weren't hanging out before the World Series, they won't be afterward. Will Lupica and company still write Sunday columns on it?

A big part of the problem is the explosion of new media outlets and the need for more and more content. Newspapers have to find a way to keep up with television outlets and the internet. So they have to give the public something only they can write. What complicates things is the fact that the Yankee locker room isn't exactly the most media friendly place in the majors.

Read Roger Kahn's books like October Men or The Boys Of Summer. There was a camraderie and trust between players and the press that seems like fantasy in today's climate.

You can see it these days in smaller markets. I was drinking with buddy of mine who covers a major league club in a small market when the club came to the city a few months ago. He brought one of the starters from the team with him for a night out on the town. They were doing what American males in their twenties do, telling crude jokes and chasing skirts. Nothing out of the ordinary for a night in NYC.

But can you imagine Giambi, Jeter or any of the Yankees breaking bread with their media counterparts? The Yankees keep the media at arms length. They make players available for pre and post-game, but don't think you're getting something to win you a pulitzer.

But can you blame them? Every story is turned into a scandal or melodrama. I keep hearing about how in New York, you don't have one season. But rather 162 seasons. But whose fault is that? Is it the fans or is the media feeding the frenzy?

Would I like to see my team have a more open relationship with the fourth estate. Yes. How that happens? I have no idea. Maybe when Steinbrenner dies, things will lighten up a bit.

Until you see Jeter having to deny that he's gay in the tabloids, that is....

Hating The OC Right Now....

Just hating it...

Outside of their bullpen, nothing stands out on this team. Their starting pitching is good but not great. Their offense is average at best. The defense is the worst in the league. Yet noone gives us fits like the Angels. We're 51-54 against them during the Torre era, even when this team is a longshot for the playoffs.

Thank goodness, for small blessing I guess.

A-Rod was this close to capturing a platinum sombrero last night. He actually did get it over two games because he struck out to end Thursday's game and four straight to begin Friday's game.

Alex, if you're sick sit out until you're better. You're not doing anyone any good by going out there until you're ready. He tried to do it earlier in the year and it took a month to get out of the slump. Sit your ass out until you're better. Stupid, just stupid.

Dotel got squeezed last night. That should have been strike three last night. Instead, it was ball three and a full count. He gets that strike out, we get out of that inning and possibly win the game. The ump's strike zone last night was all over the place. Horrible job.

I'm out...Kevin Kennedy and Jeannie Zelasko are blowing Derek Jeter right now, which means the game is about to start.

More later...

Friday, August 25, 2006

TGI Tirades

Before I get insomnia-inspired rant, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, wrote an interesting column on what it means to be a fan these days. Pretty good read.

I'm really trying to look at the glass as half full these days. On one hand, it's never a good thing to lose two of three to the Mariners. But thanks to Wang and Johnson's extended work Wednesday and Thursday, we didn't have to use Mo, Farnsworth or Proctor for three days. Rest, they desperately needed after the Boston series. With an off-day Monday, you can use them for all three games of the Anaheim series starting tonight.

Yeah, you lost a game in the standings and losing to Washburn sucks. I have no idea why a team that destroys left-handed pitching scuffles against a stiff like this. But with Manny banged up and the pitching situation still iffy, it's going to be hard for Boston to go on an extended winning streak. While we have the back of our rotation going, it's not as Lackey, Saunders and Santana are Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz. We should be able to score runs against them. And with all hands on deck in the bullpen, I see no reason why we can't take two out of three in this series.

Some looks like my nemesis ,Metstradamus, took issue with my post where I say that he and his brood are obsessed with all things Yankee. Here's what he wrote...

This is why I hate you

(I know you love it when I lead off my comments with that.)

First off, you certainly mention the Mets A LOT for someone who "doesn't care". And if you don't believe me, check your own archives.

And as usual, Darth Marc, you seemed to have completely ignored what I actually wrote and instead read every fifth word and inserted your own interpretation of what I wrote.

I didn't get on Carlin for injecting Derek Jeter's name for MVP consideration. Because the fact is, he SHOULD be considered and I always thought so. And he's more in the forefront after the five game sweep.

Read the Carlin quote again. He is arguing that there should have been an outcry that Jeter should have won an MVP BEFORE this season. This of course, is the kind of revisionist history that HBO basically used to award them the 2001 World Series with their documentary, and it will run rampant when Jeter retires.

Carlin completely ignores the fact that Jeter never had an MVP worthy season with his numbers, and that 2006 is probably his best statistical season by far.

Because people can't talk about Jeter in the here and now. They have to go completely over the top with him like those boobs at FOX basically devoting their whole pre-game show to him with this Chris Myers interview when they had TWO MVP candidates playing that day. But of course with FOX, it's all about Jeter, all the time...even BEFORE his clutch hit against Paplebon.

So yes, it makes me sick. Sue me.

For that reason, there's no way shape or form that Jeter will finish any worse than second for this season's MVP. First if the Red Sox miss the playoffs. And that's fine. It will piss me off but it would be legit. But let's not act like Jeter has ever been "robbed".

(But your NL MVP rankings are on the button.)

I did read what you wrote, Metstra. Maybe I should have been more specific in addressing Fatboy Carlin's remarks. But what I was trying to say in a general way was that Carlin's remarks were said to spark the sort of outrage that you expressed in your post...and to fall for it, much less address a waste of time and space.

Jeter has been a very good to great player for the the better part of a decade. But I can't think of any year where he's been robbed of the MVP. There has always been someone who has clearly been better and more deserving.

Besides, he doesn't put up the type of power numbers that attract voters. To overcome his lack of power production, he'd have to hit over .350 with 220 plus hits, win a batting title, steal over 50 bases and score 120 plus runs. In other words, be Ichiro in 2001. Plus he'd have to hope that there wasn't a big-bopper on a contending team that had eye-popping stats. Like Ichiro in 2001. His principle competition was Jason Giambi and Mariners teammate Bret Boone. But the fact that Seattle won 116 games that year and the fact that Giambi won it in 2000, probably helped Suzuki pull it out.

Jeter career averages; .316 BA, 18 homers, 83 RBIs, 207 hits, 123 runs scored and an .849 career OPS...puts him in Cooperstown as one of the great table-setters of his generation. But it doesn't win him an MVP or even give him cause to whine about it.

Carlin (an admitted Yankee-hater) is trying to make a name for himself, so he throws the Jeter thing out there to get buzz. My point is that smart baseball people should be smart enough to see through that and let it go. Instead, he get you mooks, hook, line and sinker.

Hope Chris enjoys Mook-fish for supper.

This little whine-fest after The Empire's destruction of Castle Grayskull killed. It's courtesy of the deluded infidel who calls himself Fenwayparked....

I was kind of surprised to find you alone with your thoughts as I visit today. Here to take my lumps as it were hoping at the same time I might find a sliver of light that might perhaps guide me to a true, intelligent discourse on the grand old game.
I was also wondering if this is how Yankee fans felt after Game 7 in the '04 ALCS. You remember that don't you?
The acknowledged except for here perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history.
I also want to note that there was not one reference to the Red Sox injury situation in you musings. When the Yankees were something of a MASH unit it was a topic often discussed here.
Manny pulling a "No Mas?" I heard he had dinner reservations w/ Mussina and his sore little groin.
Boy, I'm starting to sound small here. The one thing that did surprise me as game 5 ended was the reaction in the dugout.I've always felt Joe Torre was a class act. Celebrating like that? I expect it out of Bowa the classless little runt, but not Joe.
And read up about the Boston Massacre will you? The British won the day but not the war. The Bostonians were Patriots standing up to another "evil empire."

First off, 2004 is won, we lost. It's over and done with. I asked Infidel Nation in 2005...let's see you do it again. I'm still waiting for an answer. Not only did you fail to win the division last year, you got swept in the first round. On top of that, you have to be talked off the ledge after Damon and company ran through you like Sherman through Atlanta. Manny goes No-Mas and leaves the reservation. Epstein being burned in effigy. Fun times.

And then you have the gall to whine about Torre's celebration in the dugout after the sweep. Please. There was nothing over the top about what he and the Yankees did Monday. It was a long exhausting series and he was happy that it was over. Managers aren't allowed to smile or pump a fist after a win? I've seen a lot worse and from members of his fraternity.

If you want to whine about something Fenway, whine about why your front office did nothing to improve a team with more holes than John Karr's story. Not a manager, who rarely shows emotion, who has the audacity to smile and enjoy a huge series win.

This isn't the American Revolution, and you idiots aren't the resistance. It's been 88 years and you're still under our thumb. 2004 didn't change a thing. The French aren't going to save you, either. They play soccer, not baseball.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why I Hate West Coast Games....The 2006 Edition

Before I start my rant, you have to watch the best thing that NESN has had on the air in years. Thank you, Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke.

You can file Tuesday night's loss under taking one for the team. For Villone and Wright pitching in relief. And for me having to stay up watch this buzzkill.

Because Torre is determined to get some rest for his position guys and the bullpen in this 21 in 20 bataan death march part of the schedule....L's like this are gonna happen. I've banged my head against the wall over losses like this in the past. However, post-concussion syndrome and intensive psychiatric treatment has made me realize that this is about winning the marathon not the sprint. So in the hope that I can inspire Pavlov's pooch to end the cycle of emotional violence, I'm going to try and take Tuesday night's loss in stride.

Besides, with Red Sox Nation collapsing like Troy, it's wise that Torre is resting his guys when he can. It would be nice to increase the lead, but six and a half games right now to the Sux and their pitching staff might as well be 15. Better to get your ship in order for the stretch run than overextend your guys for one win.

Especially when the late season buggaboos start rearing their antennae. Looks like we know what Alex's problem has been. He's got cooties!!!

Sweeping those five games gave them some breathing room in the standings. They now control their own destiny. They're probably not catching Detroit for top seed in the AL. They're five games ahead of Oakland which means it would take a significant slide on our end or run on theirs...for things to flip. Which means things will probably remain status quo for the time being.

That being said, It was nice to see Wang right the ship Wednesday. He had been scuffling a bit, particularly on the road. But the Mariners are a good matchup for him so their stop at Starbucks Central came at a great time. 15 wins? Very nice for his sophomore campaign. It's funny how he's done that under the radar. Probably because he doesn't strike guys out. It's a shame that good old fashioned pitching doesn't get the same press that strikeouts and homeruns do these days. The point is to get batters out, how you do it is irrelevant. I've talked about wanting Wang to develop an out pitch to complement his sinker. The reason being, is that hitters know they'll get strikes when facing him. If he's off his game, he's going to get pounded. A strikeout pitch would keep hitters honest and make them less likely to sit on a fastball.

That being said, it's a shame, he's not getting his due. Am I saying that he's Santana or Halladay. No, but he is a big reason why the Yankees have the third best record in baseball. That should count for something.

Whenever the Yankees surge like they have recently, you can always count on a couple of things. One is a rant from the Scions of Shea. Thanks Metstra, for not letting me down.

Let me go on the record, by saying this.....Carlos Beltran should absolutely be in the conversation for NL MVP. He's put up comparable numbers to Pujols and Howard, while playing a premium defensive position. He's probably not going to win because, 1)their numbers are slightly better across the board while playing on inferior lineups(at last check, the Mets have a pretty sick lineup) and 2)anti-New York bias along with the country's love with all things Pujols probably means Beltran finishes second...third, if Howard and the Phillies win the wildcard.

Is it fair? Maybe yes, maybe no. But you have to ask the question, are the Phillies in the wild-card without Howard? No. Are the Cardinals in first place without Pujols. Hell no!

Now are the Mets in first place if Beltran is putting up his career averages instead of these monster numbers? My guess is that, yes they are. However they probably don't have the second best record in baseball. A factor that should ultimately work in his favor.

Then again, these are the same idiots that voted Ichiro, AL Rookie of the Year and MVP one year, and decide to give Angel Berroa the Rookie of the Year a couple of years later over Hideki Matsui, because they decided that Matsui shouldn't be considered a rookie. Forget what the rules say. We're the writers...WE RULE!!!

What kills me is that Metstra and his brood continue to get their panties in a bunch over the fact that Chris Carlin and company have decided to insert Jeter's name into MVP consideration. The fact that Carlin is an unabashed Yankee-hater who's trying to generate interest for his show so he can get from under Imus' boot probably never dawned on these mooks.

There is no figure who's more polarizing in the New York Sports scene than Jeter. And mentioning his name on the Flagship station of the Mets is guaranteed to generate buzz. Looks like Pavlov's pooch has season tickets at Shea.

For the record, I think Beltran has a better chance of winning the MVP than Jeter does. I think he's more deserving as are several candidates in both leagues. Here's how I would stack it.



That being said, it kills me how this team's fans are still so obsessed about all things in the Bronx. I haven't written one line about Glavine, Green or Pedro lately. Know why? This is a Yankees blog and I don't care!! As a baseball fan, of course I'm aware of the goings on around the league. But I'm more focused on the Yankees pennant race rather than hypothetical MVP races and Wanna-be Francessas who are trying to make a name for themselves. Call me an arrogant Yankee fan, I don't care. But being fan is about loving your team not hating someone else's. Something some Mets fans have failed to grasp.

As for his digs about the mini-marathons the Yanks and Sox played this weekend....all I can say is this, welcome to Yankee baseball baby. Working counts and pitchers over is what they do. Get used to it, whoever you face in the World Series will probably give you a first hand lesson in that practice as they beat you in five games.

I think what irks the Mets fan the most is that they know that they won't be able to prove their worth to the baseball world until the Fall Classic. and that if they fail to get there, in a year where the senior circuit is putrid, that the entire year is a failure.

Welcome to what it feels like being a Yankee fan. You guys are whining after one year of this, talk to me after a decade.

The Met fan in his heart of hearts also knows that their last chance to face a championship-caliber team in the regular season was during inter-league when they faced the Yankees, Boston and Toronto(a team, btw, as dysfuctional as they are, that is better than every team in NL except for the Mets...but ask yourself, who would you rather face in a seven game series....Halladay, Burnett and Lilly with Ryan closing out or Martinez, Glavine and Tracshel with Wagner in relief? Interesting question to ponder. Martinez and Glavine are HOF bound, but Halladay is the best of the bunch right now. That would be an interesting seven games).

Nobody's saying that the Mets wouldn't crush Boston in their current condition. But when they were healthy and wreaking havoc during interleague, the Mets looked like Boston against the Yankees last weekend. The Mets went 5-7 against those teams. The finale being put on A-Rod's highlight reel to Cooperstown. This Cardinals series is a good barometer for what they can expect in the NL playoffs. But they have no clue what awaits them when they have to faceoff versus Detroit, Chicago, New York or Minnesota in the Fall Classic (Sorry A's fans, I don't think Oakland has enough offense to get there....and Halos fans, you're five games back).

It's the same reason why the big conference teams like the ACC, Big East, SEC and others usually dominate the NCAA basketball tournament. They're so used to playing a high level of competition during the regular season and tourney play, that they're ready for the big tournament.

Sometimes, it can work against you because you're beat up and you exert so much energy to get there. But more times than not, your game is so honed, that you look like the Red Sox in 2004. Adrenaline takes over.

Right now the AL is the Big East or the ACC. The NL is Big Sky conference or the WAC.

But come October, will the Mets become UNLV circa 1990-91? Or Gonzaga?

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"It's not fair. Those guys are not playing around..." ``This whole series has been a nightmare."

No, David...they aren't. And yes, it was.

Six millions way to die, Papi. Choose one.

Apparently for tonight's loss, they went with pitching duel. Didn't go too well for the infidels.

The best part of the Sux losing like this is the reaction of the "Nation". Noone does angst like the folks in New England. I don't know if it's because of the rabid, claustrophobic media situation which is more intense than New York in many ways or the fact that New England is the most literate section of the country. But whatever it is, it's highly entertainining to read and watch what's going to come out of the "Nation" in the next few days. Take a look at this picture courtesy of the Boston Dirt Dogs.

Pick up the Globe, the Herald or ProJo to see what I'm talking about. Read Bill Simmons on ESPN 2, that is if he's not become a complete soccer mom and stops writing about the English premier league, then this could get very interesting.

I wonder what the Nation will have to say about Manny pulling a Roberto Duran? Francona will never throw him under the bus, but you have to wonder...

I'm ecstatic that the boys are playing to their potential instead of the opponents. But I need more. I want expect nothing less than a 4-2 roadtrip on the Left Coast. I don't think that it's unreasonable. I know that the Angels give us fits and Seattle isn't the Royals, but I feel it's time for the Yankees to start flexing their muscles and show what potential playoff opponents can expect.

Six more games boys til your next day off. Keep it going til' then...

More later.....

Monday, August 21, 2006

Death Takes A Holiday In New England

Figures I had to be in the Midwest watching Cubs-Cardinals Friday, when the carnage began. Outside of the the first couple of innings of games 1 and 2 on Friday, I missed all the action from the 2006 version of the Boston Massacre.

Until Sunday night.

To quote Terry Funk, "What else can you say but ouch?!?"

Not to be non-chalant about what's happened this weekend. I'm as excited as the next member of the empire. When your chief rival throws their ace and their closer at you to stop the bleeding and still can't get it done, I giggle just a little thinking about the infidels pulling out their Brady jerseys because they've written off the last six weeks.

But sports fans, this is what the Yankees are supposed to do to a team like this.

Take a look at the Yankees and look at the Sox. Boston is a team surviving on fumes right now. They have one decent starter and one reliable guy in the bullpen. That's it. The middle is a big mess. The Sox are a better defensive team this year, but they don't have enough offense to compensate for what passes for pitching in New England these days. Joe Morgan was dead-on tonight when he said that the Yankees massacre mediocre pitching. What do you think they do bad pitching?

See exhibits 1-4 from this weekend.

Personally, I would have thought that anything less than four of five this series would have been a disappointment. This is what Schilling was talking about in June when the Yanks were banged up and he said that they should take advantage of it by building a big lead in the standings. Problem was, the Bombers did just enough to stay alive in the race. They got healthy, made some moves like the Abreu trade while Epstein and company did almost nothing at the trade deadline as his team got banged up.

Epstein might have to change his digits to an unlisted number if this continues.

I'm loving the fact that they're not letting up on the infidels. To complete the sweep by beating Fat Boy Wells today won't knock them completely out of the playoff mix, but it'll take a 2004 type comeback to get them back into the conversation.

If they lose this afternoon, they could be five games out of the wild card and six and half out of the division race. With six weeks to go, it gives them plenty of time to make that up, but as banged up as they are, no victory is a given. They're going to have to hope the teams ahead of them cool down while they try to scratch out every victory.

I'm never going to completely count out any team with Papi, Manny and Schilling. But the Yankees, White Sox and Twins are flat out better than Boston right now. I would take the Angels and A's over them right now.

They throw everything they had at the Yankees this weekend. They had late inning leads on Friday night and Sunday. And they have nothing to show for it.

I don't care who you are, that has to wear on a team. I know folks want to bring up 2004. But 2004 didn't happen by accident. The Yankees had nothing left in the tank pitching wise and the Sox took advantage. Now the tables have turned. The Yankees are getting healthier and could have reinforcements coming in September.

It's not double digits, but I'll take it for now. I can't wait til the 'Nation rebels against Tito and company. They love eating their own.

Why is this a story?

Who care if they like each other or not? I don't know of anyone that likes all of their co-workers so why should we hold them by a different standard?

Let it go, Mike, let it go....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Catching Up After Chi-Town

Sorry the delay in posts...I was totally wiped out Sunday night when I got back from Chicago (more on that later) and my cable/internet went on the fritz Monday night so I'm way behind.

After a very competitive series against the Chi-Sox last week (one of the best this season), the Bombers suffered their predictable let down to the feisty, but inferior Angels. Unit and company were able to salvage a split in the four game set with a 7-2 win over the Halos last night.

What is it with the Yankees and the Angels? I understand 2002, that team had a relentless lineup that mirrored the Yankees, an adequate rotation and a killer bullpen. I can understand why that team gave us fits.

But this team is a shell of that old team. Yes, Vlad is better than anyone on that 2002 team. But he doesn't have any protection because Anderson and Salmon are shot, Troy Glaus is a Blue Jay and while Juan Rivera has turned into a nice player, he doesn't exactly put the fear of god in anyone. When Orlando Cabrera is hitting in the three spot, you've got problems. Their once solid defense is one of the worst AL right now so it's not as if we're looking at the '69 O's infield gobbling up RBIs.

But this team continues to gives us the epilepsy as Jerome from Manhattan would say. Why? Starting pitching is part of it. Despite losing Colon for the season, their rotation is actually better this year thanks to the rookies Saunders and Weaver. The Yankees are 5-7 vs rookies this annoying trend that's continued over the last few years.

I like Scoscia as a manager, but I seriously doubt that he's the difference-maker when the talent gap is as big as it is now. Is it psychological on both ends? That's probably as big a factor as any. They are in the Yankees heads and they know it. Thank god they're four games out and their black magic doesn't seem to work on the rest of the league.

I suppose we should be happy with a split all things considered. However, with Boston floundering against any team with a pulse, this is a prime opportunity for the Bombers to put some distance between them and the infidels. Too many crazy things can happen in this upcoming five game set so I would feel more comfortable with a few more wins in hand before we head to Castle Grayskull. Hopefully the Tiggers can help us out. Because of course, Tiggers are wonderful things....

Thankfully, this week has started off a lot better than last week. As great as the ChiSox series was for the casual baseball fan who likes pennant races....It sucked for the average Yankee fan. To add insult to injury, I was present last Thursday night in Chicago. When I had the misfortune of waiting through an hour-long rain-delay only to watch A-Rod and Melky help Moose to a early 4-0 hole. We make Vasquez throw a million pitches but only manage scratch out two runs. It seemed like the bases were loaded every friggin inning, yet we let the stiff escape. Melky hits a two run bomb off of Sox wunderkind Brandon McCarthy to make it 5-4...but we get no closer despite a couple of hits off of Bobby Jenks in the ninth.

My punkass friend Willie aka General Zod was with me for the first few innings until suburban life summoned him back to his prozac-filled existence (He couldn't miss the last train to West Bubblefuck). He moved to Chicago about a year ago and all he does is whine about how much he misses the New York Sports scene and the Yankees in particular. So you'd think that since this is the first Yankees game he's attended in over a year that he would plan ahead and find a way get hom in case the game went late? As a Yankee fan, he should know that the games usually go long, right?

Hell, no...this weasel left because his "wife had the car to take their son to karate." and he had no other way to get back to the sticks. Weak, very weak. If I ever get like that if I ever have kids. Shoot me. Just walk up to me and shoot me. The baseball gods will thank you.

No worries, because despite their tough reputation, the South Siders were a pretty civil lot. Unlike their cousins on the Northside who are basically there to drink and hit on girls, these folks actually were paying attention to the game. They were a little overwhelmed by all the Yankees fans there who were matching them cheer for cheer, but for the most part they held their own.

They seemed to be more animated during the Yankee series than they were for Detroit series. The fans were much louder for that last Yankee game than they were for the two Tiger games I saw on Friday and Saturday. Part of it was because the Yankee fans were much less bashful about rooting for their squad. There were a decent number of Tiger fans in the crowd, but even before the games, they were pretty quiet. After it was over, you would have thought they were mimes. ChiSox fans and their team represented their city well last weekend.

Too bad I can't say the same for their stadium or the silly gimmicks.

I can see why US Cellular Field gets a bad rap from folks around baseball. It was the first of the new wave of ballparks built in the 90's and unfortunately, it pales in comparison to vitually all of its younger counterparts. There's nothing overtly wrong with it, except for the fact that there's nothing that would want to make you go there if you weren't a ChiSox fan.

It seems bigger than it really is, in part because while many of the new parts built their fields below ground level to give the park a more intimate feel...Cellular is as straight as an arrow. As a result, not only is there less seating than the new parks, it feels like you're further away from the action.

But I could live with the experience if the park was the only problem. Apparently noone's told the Reinsdorf and company that they're the champs. Because they continue with silly gimmicks that you would expect out of the New York-Penn league much less a major league franchise.

The fireworks after every home run or win, the silly rally song from 1959 after every run scored. The Elvis night's enough to want to make you vomit. What happened to good old fashioned cheering?

I don't know if Chicago is still a Cubs town, but I'll say this, as long as Wrigley's still standing, they'll always make more money than the South Siders. Tourists go just to see the park, to hang out and drink at the bars in Wrigleyville. When you're on the South Side, you go to the game and you go home. That's it. It's like Shea in Central time.

Real Chicago baseball fans might be White Sox fans, but they better hope the Tribune folks never get a clue and decide to bring home a consistent winner, because if they do, The White Sox might as well move to Gary because it will be over. The White Sox will be forced to get a new stadium or move. Wrigley Field is a cash-cow that no amount of fireworks or flying Elvises can match.

A-Rod must not like Moose. The way he's committing errors during his starts he must still be pissed about the way Mike threw him under the bus a few weeks ago. Thankfully, it didn't cost us the game like the last couple of times. But jeez, can you two bitches hug it out before you head to Fenway please?

A couple of points about tonight's game.

The Orioles really, really suck.

Bedard is a pretty good pitcher on a really sucky team.

LaTroy Hawkins has just been inducted into the Yankeebitch Hall Of Fame. I smile whenever I see him, Arthur Rhodes, BK Kim or Armando Benitez come into a game. They must have PHD's in Jeter Salad Tossing.

Combine that, with the fact that Tiggers are very wonderful things. I can leave town with a clear conscience.

More when I get back....

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Kyle Farnsworth AKA Joe Buzzkill

Ok boys, enough with the gifts. Tuesday night was bad enough.

How do you go from enjoying a blowout and near no-hitter to fighting for your life in the ninth inning? Ask Kyle Farnsworth, he found a way to make every infidels' dream come true last night. Two bullpen implosions by the Yankees resulting in two devastating losses. Rivera making Pierzynski spin himself into the ground after getting jammed was the highlight of the night.

Thank god for 1)Mo Rivera putting an end to that foolishness and 2)the Red Sox are so god awful right that they can't even hold off the 4A Royals in the ninth.

I would have had to show my color going to Chicago for the weekend to catch the rubber game of this series and the Friday-Saturday Tigger-Chi-Sox matchup. Ghetto would have been an understatement.

Speaking of ghetto, I've had to deal with its polar opposite recently watching games at my favorite watering hole. Last week, I had deal with a preppy prick going off on Lastings Milledge. Normally, I hate having to defend Mets, but the doofus had it coming. He kept going on and on about how the kid is a punk and yammering about him high-fiving crowd after hitting his first home run. He, then decided to get on his braids saying that they're thuggish and that normal people don't where their hair like that.

I almost lost it. He probably wouldn't have said anything if it's a white boy who wore his locks long but he has a problem with braids? I destroyed him, pointing out that there are plenty of college educated black folks who wear braids or locks and was wondering what the big deal was. In addition to saying his comments were borderline racist (I was being kind)I also killed him on getting on Lastings about the celebration. There are jerks out there that won't give the fans the time of day and you're dogging a kid who shows them love? The kid has a lot of the growing up to do but he's not a bad kid.

Every once in a while some Yankee/baseball fans show the red in their collars and remind us of the bad old days...when George Weiss wouldn't call up Vic Power because he was too "flamboyant and dates white women." Or the problems Dave Winfield went through here in the eighties. How the white fans went out of their way to embrace a kid named Mattingly instead of him. How good niggas should know their place, play ball and shut up. It's the same idiocy has Chris Russo blaming Duaner Sanchez for the fact that his cab got into a freak accident.

That accident could have happened anywhere, anytime. Yet these hypocrites who have never been young and can't understand wanting to have a good time... blame the victim. I wonder if these same folks would have been as indignant when Mickey Mantle was getting into car wrecks.... stumbling home drunk after games?

But I digress. This is a Yankee blog not a redneck asshole blog. Let's talk baseball.

My friend Boston Don hates the way Yankee fans revel in August victories like it's Mid-October. We were pumping fist even before Boston lost. When Papelbon gave it up, the reaction from the peanut gallery was so bad he left in disgust.

As usual, he misses the point of our excitement. The internal clock has gone off in everyone in the empire. We realize that now is the time to break find that Jerry Rice gear that enables him to dust his opponents during games and the Yankees to turn two game leads into seven.

It's the gear that Schilling impored his team to find a couple of months ago when it looked like the season was over in June. Now the Sox are in reverse trying to find neutral before they back off the cliff. It's time to give them a little push.

The five game series in a couple of weeks will be huge, but now's the time where we can create some distance. So even if they miraculously win four of five, they'll still be in a hole.

It'll be tough to do considering after this series, we have four versus Anaheim at the Stadium. But today's game as well as that series is an incredible opportunity to piss all over the American League playoff race. To exact some revenge on an archrival as well as put some distance between us and the Red Sox.

Don likes calling Yankee fans bloodthirsty. He's right. We do cheer louder when 15-2 than when its 5-2. But that what makes going to Yankee Stadium the experience it is. It was unfair for Paul O'Neill to continue to compare US Cellular to the Death Star. But the experience leaves such an impression that it pretty much spoils any other stadium experience. Kind of the City itself.

So tonight's reaction was our call to the wild. It means that Yankee fans expect August to be a very bloody baseball month for the Junior Circuit playoff race.

A former Yankee executive described the feeling best when he was talking about the ideal game experience for him.

He said for the team to score nine runs in the first...and then slowly pull away.

More from Chi-Town.....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday Wisdom From The Dark Lord

To continue my rant on Michael Kay and why I want him gone...

Last night was perfect example of why I hate when he does play by play. It's remedial baseball 101 whenever he does the booth. I never learn anything new about situations or stragegy when does play by play. He always assumes that his audience is watching their first game...that it's all seven year olds and girls with pink hats and Jeter jerseys. I wish someone would tell him that it's ok to talk to the audience as if they've seen a few games in their lives.

And when he does impart some useful information, it's always with a touch of spin or an agenda. They were beating the death the point that the White Sox staff is awful this year. Valid point. But when he spins the fact that Jaret Wright has a lower ERA than anyone on their staff except for Jose Contreras, I almost threw my shoe through the TV. The idea that he would insinuate that Wright is having a better year than anyone on the Chicago staff is intellectually dishonest.

Yes, Wright, the number four starter of the Yankees, has a lower ERA at 4.38. But take a closer look at the numbers and you realize how much of a farce that is. Every one of the Sox starters is projected to pitch between 194 and 220 innings (Contreras who spent over a month on the DL is still projected to pitch 208). Our own Jaret Wright is projected to pitch 139 innings this year. A little more than some long relievers. All of the Chicago starters average six plus innings a start, Wright has one of the lowest averages among starters with just over five innings an appearance.

This is the AL so pitchers are going to take a beating from these deeper lineups which is going to inflate ERAs. But I'll take a four plus ERA if it means my starters go deeper in games and my bullpen's fresher for the stretch run.

Bottom line, I would take any of their starters over Wright even if they do get roughed up for time to time, because I'd rather have a line of four or five runs in seven innings rather than three runs and five. Saving the bullpen means more bullets for Mo and company in October.

But do you get this sort of analysis from Kay? Hell no. He spins it that the White Sox staff is awful this year, but only glances over the reasons why. Between him and O'Neill comments on how the crowd wasn't as into the game as they should be...I wanted to barf. Leiter, as usual, was the only saving grace for the broadcast.

Is the ChiSox staff as good as last year? Nope. You had several pitchers who had career years last year. And if they continue to struggle, they'll be watching either Minnesota or Boston playing in the wildcard game. But to suggest that Jaret Wright is a better pitcher than any of these guys...tells me that either he's stupid or he thinks we are.

Yankee fans really need to move away from the ledge. Last night's loss was tough but we win that game 99 times out of 100. Mo isn't going to burp much. Posada's GIDP in the eighth hurt...but I prefer to take a half-full approach to this.

Boston doesn't know who will stop the bleeding for them. Their bullpen is starting to wear down and the leader is on the DL for a month. Liriano for the Twins is on the DL with a bum shoulder so who knows who can carry the weight for them. And the Chi-Sox are trying to find a quality start from one of their starters.

Meanwhile, we strenghthened our lineup, bench and rotation with the Abreu/Wilson trades. We just got Cano back and Dotel should be back this month as well. Plus, we could get Matsui and Sheff back next month and there's outside chance we could see the Human ATM Pavano back as well (although I wouldn't the farm on that one).

Point being, we're playing solid baseball while some of out chief rivals are scuffling and we could have more help on the way.

See what happens when you lay off the Starbucks?

More later...

Chi-Town Christmas

Kris Kringle must have a goomah on Michigan Avenue because he was giving out gifts on the South Side tonight.

Wow, that really sucked.

Give the Chi-Sox credit, they wouldn't go away and they were able to squeak one out in 11. But I'm not too depressed about the loss.

Wang was very mediocre and yet we still had a chance to win in the ninth. Mo doesn't blow too many games like that. Plus the loss still helps us in a way. A Chi-Sox win combined with a Boston loss in KC means that not only do the Yankees maintain their two game lead, the Sux lose ground in the wildcard race. The Twinkies win over the Tiggers tonight actually puts them in third in the standings (albeit by a game)

Plus, Ozzie had his closer Bobby Jenks go two plus innings tonight. I understand they needed the win in the worst way so Guillen was going with his best guy. But throwing 38 pitches Tuesday night probably means he's not throwing today. Mo only threw 15 pitches so he's probably available for redemption Wednesday night. It'll be interesting to see if it works for him this series or blows up in his face.

We get Cano back and he looks great. Alex has a nice night at the plate, but Giambi gets hit in the forearm has to leave the game. This is getting old. Can we have a healthy team on the field for more than a day please? Hopefully he'll be back soon and misses little or no time. Posada grounding into that DP with one out and bases loaded was the difference. One more run, we win. He had a great game behind the plate playing Megatron to Chi-Sox runners Autobots. But that DP killed us.

As good as Wang has been this year, it's a startling to see how bad he's been on the road. He was battled and was able to get through five but damn it was ugly.

I feel pretty good despite losing the way we did. Hopefully, Unit can recover.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Michael Kay Has To Go....

Just like Johnny Cakes...he's GOTTA GO....

I wanted to go to bed, but I just opened my email and saw that Metstradamus sent me this clip from Michael Kay's show.

Mike, if you ever want to want to wonder why you'll never, ever beat Russo and Francessa, that's why. However annoying and obtuse they can be at times, they at least keep it in the realm of sports. And they're for the most part entertaining.

I can't imagine either of them getting so annoyed at a caller because he questions them on why they're talking about a pithcer throwing a perfect game while the game is in progress....that they would bring up an analogy using two of the greatest tragedies in human history!

I agree that people who think broadcasters jinx games are silly. But they don't deserve to be berated in that way.

That is called taking yourself way too seriously. There is a million different ways he could have handled that caller. About 999,999 of them humorously. He decides to not only berate the caller, he decides to use slavery and the Holocaust as part of his point.

Congrat, not only made yourself look more stupid than the caller you needed to probably pissed enough potential listeners to guarantee Mike and Chris will rule that timeslot for the next 20 years.

You also made those of us who think of you as a dubious Yankee announcer at best...a pathetic Yankee shill at an even bigger joke than previously thought.

George, if you do nothing else in the off-season... fire Kay, Bobby Murcer, Paul O'Neill and David Justice. They add nothing to your broadcast and make the YES broadcast teams one of the jokes of baseball. Convince Kaat to stay on, and give Flaherty and Leiter more games. I liked Kaat and Flaherty in the booth during the Jays series last week. No frills baseball talk and analysis. Flaherty is very solid.
I think Singleton in that sort of enviroment can thrive, but he's never going to be a provocateur so he needs someone to play off. I had the sound off Sunday when I saw that it was Kenny and Paul.

Then hire a solid play-by-play guy. Maybe Gary Thorne or maybe you can pry Jon Miller away from the Giants provided you let him do the Sunday Night ESPN games. There are plenty of solid guys out there who can do solid job for you if you them.

Just get rid of Kay and Murcer please. I know Bobby is a favorite among the baby-boomer set and a nice enough man, but he's a horrible announcer. He's like Frank Gifford on Monday Night Football. Everyone loved him as a person and player so noone criticized him.

Well even though I'm old enough to remember him as a player, I still say he stinks. Give him and Kay front office gigs. But get him and Kay out of the booth. I know they'll never get rid of Radio Shill-extraordinaires Sterling and Walden. That's asking wayy too much of Georgie. He needs someone to kiss his ass. But, please, please, get some respectability back to the cable broadcasts.

My ears are bleeding...

Nice Problems To Have...

Finally, an intelligent attempt by a New York columist to figure out the disparity between the leagues. Thanks Bill Madden.

I think the Sox-Yankees rivalry reasoning is something worth probing. When you have two very smart, savvy front offices who have the finances to match their smarts, it forces every one else to bring their A games when they're trying to compete for a pennant. You have to add the Angels and Tigers to that mix as well. It means that GMs whose teams don't have the same revenue flowing in like the Chi-Sox , Twins, A's, Jays, Indians and others have to find new ways to stay in the game. Creative scouting can only get you so far when you're dealing with smarts and deep pockets.

What does it mean for the game? A higher, more competitive brand of baseball being played and the fans are the beneficiaries.

The National League has never had a scenario like that occur in the Senior Circuit. The two standard-bearers for the league over the last decade, the Cardinals and Braves have smart GMs in Scheurholz and Jocketty. But neither teams' owners were willing to do the sort of spending that the Red Sox or Angels do... Much less the Yankees.

The Mets can possibly be the standard-bearer for the NL the Braves and Cards weren't. They finally have a GM the Wilpons are willing to trust with their team and they're opening their pocketbooks as a result. Smart trades and free agent signings..along with the development of home-grown stars Wright and Reyes, has the Mets as the new big dogs of the league. I don't think they have enough pitching to win it all (even before the Sanchez injury). But they're certainly on their way to making their first fall classic since 2000..if only because the rest of the league is so horrible. If Maine and Pelfrey continue to progress and/or they're able to sign someone like Zito in the off-season, they'll be one of the favorites to win it all next year.

God that was painful to write. Someone take the sword out of my stomach, please?

My point being, is that if they're able to make a sustained run of playoff appearances, it will force their competition to find different ways to stay in the game up their pocketbooks on occasion. When that happens, you'll see an NL renaissance.

Until then, expect the interleague and October beatdowns to continue until morale improves.

Two weird days at Camden Yards this weekend. On Saturday, the Yanks get one hit by a rookie Southpaw in a year where they've destroyed leftties. And Sunday, Jaret Wright pitches the best game by a Yankee starter as the Yankees win the rubber game 6-1.

The more I see Abreu play, the more I like him. I didn't watch him regularly as a Phillie, so I didn't see him dog it or take plays off like the fans there say he did. And I probably bought into some of the bad press that he got in the past few years.

And I know it's only been a week, but what I'm seeing right now is a more athletic, more powerful version of Paul O'Neill without the temper tantrums. I know that's sacriledge to say in these parts right now. But his game reminds me a lot of Paulie's. He works counts, hits to all fields for average and power and he's a much better basestealer than O'Neill ever was. He also has a powerful arm in rightfield with decent range.

Does he have that same fire and will to win that Paulie had? We'll find out in October. But I'll say this much, I wouldn't be surprised if Bobby stays in the three hole even if Sheff and Matsui get back. Here's the potential lineup I see if they return.


It gives Torre his lefty-righty-switchhitter mixes that he likes and it puts a .300 avg/.400 OBP guy in the two of the first three spots in the lineup which gives the 4-5-6-7 guys more RBI opportunities. And it spreads the wealth throughout the lineup and takes some of the pressure off of Sheff and Matsui as they get back into game shape.

Does it put our best defensive team on the field? Nope. But at the end of the day, pitching decides who gets to kiss the girl. And this team should score enough runs to compensate for a few errors. And with our strengthened bench, we can make defensive replacements late in games and still have some offensive punch as well.

Two games up. Now it's off to Chicago for rematch with the ChiSox and then back here for four game set versus Anaheim. Brutal. I liked the way Torre gerrymandered the rotation so we have Wang, Johnson and Mussina pitching in Chicago. It gives a chance to send another message to the champs. It makes us vulnerable in the first two games against the Halos, but I'm willing to take that chance. The Angels have a chance of winning the West but right now, Chicago is the wildcard leader. This could be a first round playoff matchup.

The problem with beating up on Chicago means that it helps Boston and Minnesota. But those are nice problems to have. Deal with them when you play them.

Cano is back but Cairo is gone for a while. Another nice problem to have provided Cano's doesn't do a Rickey Henderson.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Playing The Part of Riddler In Tonight's Episode....Randy Johnson

I was nervous that I would regret talking Jorge Posada up as one of the best all-around catchers in baseball yesterday. Thank you, Chris Ray.

My blog buddy Kat, however, won't be happy when she reads this. Sorry doll. We need the pitching.

This blog would not have been a fun place to be had the Yankees given Bruce Chen his first win of the year. And for the first few frames, it looked like Randy Johnson was trying to do just that. Joe thinks that this might be an after-effect of his 130 pitch start against the Mariners a couple of starts ago. A game that Johnson lost 3-2.

I'm not going to second guess Torre for pushing Johnson in the way that he did. If you remember, the Yankees were coming off an extra inning game and Johnson's start was a day game which means a very, very short turnaround. The bullpen was on fumes and the Yankees needed Johnson to go as long as possible.

But it does mean that the need for pitching at this point of the season means that players like Bubba are a luxury we can't afford right now. He's a good fielder and baserunner. But his light bat made him expendable. Even with the addition of Abreu and imminent return of Robby Cano next week, we can't afford to give away any at bats. With a one game lead in the division and the Sox struggling to beat teams like Tampa and Cleveland, it's a prime opportunity to create some space between them in the division. With a five game season looming with them in a couple of weeks at Fenway, I don't think it would be an overstatement if I said the entire season could be decided this month.

In addition to five at Boston, we have seven games against the Angels and six total against Chicago and Detroit. 18 games against potential playoff opponents.

That's not even counting five more against Baltimore and three at Seattle.

It means there are no gimmes this month. No time to become complacent. If someone's not hitting like Bubba, he's gotta go like Johnny Cakes. We have a down month, September could be a moot point.

Feel good stories have no place in pennant races like this. The last two months will be like the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Hesitate...insert cap in ass.

Bernie at 38, is not the ideal backup centerfielder. But he can fill in a pinch and he still has something left in his bat. I liked Bubba, but I can live with the decision. I'm hoping they find a way to bring back Guiel when the roster expand. I like his bat off the bench.

Keep the line moving Moose. Keep it going.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Looks Like Theo Is Alive After All....

I thought John Henry and Larry might have put the boy genius on punishment after not getting done at the trade deadline. But it looks as if he might have found an able replacement to Varitek.....

BALTIMORE (AP) Javy Lopez was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to Boston on Friday, a deal that gives the former All-Star another chance to play and provides the Red Sox a replacement for injured catcher Jason Varitek.
The Orioles sent Lopez and cash to the Red Sox for a player to be named.
Varitek had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday and was expected to immediately begin rehabilitation. The Red Sox have not indicated when their captain might return.
The Red Sox lead the wild-care race and are competing with New York for the AL East title. Baltimore is out of contention, and didn't have much need for Lopez because Ramon Hernandez is their starting catcher and Jay Gibbons serves as the designated hitter.
``Javy is ecstatic about the opportunity to be a catcher again. That's been the most frustrating thing for him about being in Baltimore,'' said Lopez's agent, Chuck Berry.
Lopez hoped to be dealt before the non-waiver trade deadline Monday. He then passed through waivers before being traded to Boston.
``This is perfect for him: He gets to play with a team battling for first place and at Fenway Park, which has all that history,'' Berry said. ``It should be a great ballpark for him to hit in, too.''
At 35, Lopez is in the final season of a $22.5 million, three-year contract he signed as a free agent with the Orioles in December 2003. He got that deal after hitting .328 with 43 home runs and 109 RBIs for Atlanta, his third All-Star season for the Braves.
Lopez is hitting .265 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 279 at-bats. He has caught in only 21 of the Orioles' 109 games as a backup to Ramon Hernandez.
``I've got no position on this team. I don't see why they really need me,'' Lopez said this week. ``I'm not meant to play once a week. ... I cannot be happy in this situation. They probably have their plan, and I don't think they're going to keep me like this until the end of the season. They're probably going to do something sooner or later.''
It happened Friday.
``We've been looking all year long for a place where Javy could catch,'' Berry said. ``To its credit, Baltimore worked with us on that.''
The Orioles signed free agent catcher Chris Widger to replace Lopez on the roster. Widger began the season with the Chicago White Sox and batted .184 with one home run and seven RBIs in 27 games before being released Tuesday.
He has played parts of 10 seasons in the majors, batting .239 with 55 homers and 220 RBIs in 604 games.

On the surface, this looks like a great move for the infidels. You get a former all-star to hold the fort while your current all-star backstop recovers from knee surgery. But there's a reason why Javy doesn't catch anymore. As a catcher, he's better served as a DH.

Tek is having a down year offensively and he's always been overrated defensively (how do you win a Gold Glove when you can't catch a Knuckleballer?) But he's always been great at handling a pitching staff. He knows the hitters in the AL as well as anyone. In spite of this, the Sox staff has still struggled. Lopez has only caught sparingly in this league. In the NL, Cox overlooked his deficiencies as a backstop because of his bat. You could overlook his game-calling and defense because he was hitting 30 jacks and driving in 90 plus every year. I doubt he'll put up enough runs to compensate for his problems behind the plate.

One of the pleasant surprises with the Yankees over the last couple of years is Posada's coming of age as a complete catcher. I still cringe when he tries to block the plate. But he's calling games much better and he's throwing out runners at an increased rate. Combine that with his bat which is still potent and you have one of the three or four best catchers in the game. Jorge's play is a big part why the Yankees have remained in the race.

But forget Javy. If Theo's behind this move...then colored me concerned....From ESPN's Buster Olney today...

With Andruw Jones only days away from gaining trade veto power, the All-Star center fielder was claimed on waivers by an unnamed team, leaving the Braves until 1 p.m. ET Saturday to decide whether to take their last opportunity to deal Jones unfettered.

That Jones was placed on waivers is unremarkable; he was one of hundreds of players, including many stars, who were placed on waivers earlier this week. What makes Jones' situation interesting is that on Aug. 15, he will gain 10-and-5 rights -- 10 years in the big leagues, five with the same team -- to block any proposed trade.

Multiple teams placed claims on Jones, according to major-league sources. But on Thursday afternoon, one team was awarded a claim on Jones. Now the Braves have two choices -- either work out a trade with the team who placed the claim by Saturday or pull Jones back from waivers. If they pull him back, they cannot trade him again for the rest of this season.

Jones' value in the trade market is relatively high right now, because he is a highly productive player locked up for only one more year -- at $13.5 million -- at a time when players like Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee might command $70 million packages on the free-agent market.

The Boston Red Sox tried to deal for Jones leading up to the trade deadline, with some intent to try to flip him to the Houston Astros for Roy Oswalt. Some scouts also think that the Los Angeles Angels, who've been looking for a bat, might have high interest in Jones.

Atlanta GM John Schuerholz, reached on his cell phone, said Friday afternoon that he would not comment on the team's internal business.

I've expressed my love for all things Andruw in the past. So much so that I proposed that the Yankees go after him in the off-season and say buh-bye to Sheffield. But acquiring Bobby Abreu has pretty much eliminated that possibility and there's a chance we would retain Sheff and platoon him and Giambi at first base and DH.

But if the Halos or the Sox are in cahoots on this, it's not a good thing for the Empire. Even without Colon, Anaheim has a deep pitching staff and their offense while hardly scary is one slugger away from being a force in the playoff race. With Garret Anderson's decline, the Halos have desperately needed a slugger to protect Vlad Guerrero in the lineup. Jones gives them that plus a gold glove caliber centerfielder, making a good defensive team even better. It's pretty obvious that we don't match up well with Anaheim. Jones makes a potential matchup even more difficult.

The idea of Epstein flipping Jones into Oswalt is not something that makes me sleep well either. Oswalt would give the Sox potent 1-2-3 along with Schilling and Beckett. Navigating through the AL East is a tad more difficult than the peutrid NL Central...but that's a trio you wouldn't want to face in a short series.

All this means is that the Yankees have to handle their business and continue to win series. They're something like 10-1-1 in their last 12 series. A nice winning streak would be nice. But if the Yankees continue to win series, they win the AL East. Simple as that.

Well, hardly simple...but nothing in baseball ever is...

Time To Defend My Captain

I've been getting a ton of grief when this came out....

NEW YORK - Derek Jeter cologne is on the way.

Derek Jeter's cologne will be called Driven.
Avon Products Inc. has signed the New York Yankees shortstop to a deal in which it will create a men's fragrance called Driven — "reflecting the unique personality of one of the most driven men in America," according to a news release from the company.

The fragrance, the first in a line of men's grooming products bearing Jeter's name, goes on sale in November.

"I have been very involved with creating this fragrance — everything from the blend of scents to the design of the bottle and logo," Jeter said in the news release. "I did have some help, however. Because women buy a large percentage of the men's grooming products sold in the U.S., I asked my mother Dot and sister Sharlee to be part of the project.

"I wanted to make sure the final product was something men would like to wear — and that women would want them to wear."

The fragrance is a blend of chilled grapefruit, clean oak moss and spice.

As soon as I saw this in the paper the other day....I knew the crack committee of Yankee haters would be on my ass. Here's this clever little ditty from the Metsmaster....

Oh my God!!!
What's next? Derek Douche?
I've always thought this guy was a "pinstriped pussy".
"Chilled grapefruit, clean oak moss and spice"????
Somewhere "The Mick" and Billy Martin are howling.
What an age we live in. "Real Yankees" now smell like French faggots.

Now first off, what would a scion of Sheas know about what a true Yankee would or wouldn't do for a buck? It's well know that the Mick, Billy or any of those Yankees would have done anything for a few extra bucks much less the cheddar that Jetes is probably getting to put his name on this cologne.

These guys worked in coal mines, sold insurance and did other odd jobs in the off-season to pick up some extra change. You think they would turn down the chance of a seven figure payday because some retard from Queens thought it was gay? They'd probably do it just pull to new and improved talent aka trim.

As for calling jetes a pinstriped pussy, well, when the Mets produce one Cooperstown bound position player like him then you can call him anything you want. Until then, worry about beating Marlins or whatever second-rated teams you play in the NL East.

Finally! We get a quality start from the back of our rotation. It could get really ugly if this becomes a habit.

I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm enjoying the relentless nature that this lineup is starting to develop. Interesting move putting Abreu in the three spot and moving Giambi down to five. It takes away some of Abreu's agressiveness on the basepaths, but it puts a better average hitter in that spot and provides protection for A-Rod by batting Giambi behind him. It also increases Giambi's RBI opportunities with three high OBP guys ahead of him in the order.

I know the schedule for this month is brutal compared to the Red Sox, but with their pitching problems, no victory is a given as we saw tonight. Beckett has filthy stuff, but he's finding out how difficult it is to navigate these AL lineups over the course of a full season. This is also the first season he hasn't been on the DL so these innings are starting to pile up on him.

People keep talking about the heroics of Papi and company with these ninth inning comebacks. I see something else. If they're struggling against the Tribe, what happens when they face the big dogs?

This is a team in trouble and now we've got the lead back, we need to break out the shovels. I'm not naive enough to think we're gonna have 10 game lead at the end of the month. But I don't think four or five is unrealistic.

Bruce Chen vs Randy Johnson should not scare me. But why do I have a pit in my stomach when I think about tomorrow's matchup at Camden Yards?

This Yo-Yo stuff with Randy has to stop. A prime opportunity has been presented to the Yankees to create some distance between them and the pack and maybe get Detroit in their sites for homefield. Let's not trip over a Bruce Chen changeup.

Happy birthday, Bobby Smith aka Daddy. I love you and I miss you. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of you.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some Perspective On Papi

Enough already.

It's bad enough reading Shaughnessy the other day about Papi. Now Bill Simmons is comparing him to Larry Bird???

Make it stop, Lord. Make it stop. This man-love-athon for Papi needs a room at the Shady Arms.

Yes, I understand how sick he's hitting right now. Since 2004, he is the most clutch hitter in the majors. He had a VERY healthy argument for MVP last year. He's the runaway favorite to finally win it this year. With everything that's happened to Boston the last two years with injuries and the like...he and the Manny are the only thing to keep that team alive in the playoff race. He's an amazing offensive force and a great ambassador for the game.

But as wrong as it would be....I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't win it again. If I had a vote, it would be for Papi as much as it pains me. But just like there are voters who will never vote for pitchers...some will never vote for a DH.

If anyone in the AL has a hot two months and he cools down a bit....Papi loses once again if it's close and they play the field. Guaranteed. It's messed up and but it's reality.

And while I don't agree, I can see why the haters will vote way they do.

Papi-backers will say, "What's the big deal? He doesn't play the field. So what?" And the haters would say (and they'd be right)that hitting is only part of a winning combination. Defense is an important equation as well. Part of the reason the Sox are still tied for first is that they're one of the best defensive teams in baseball. They don't leak runs like they did when Millar and company were there. Good defense means less pitches thrown by your pitchers, which means fresher pitchers for the stretch run. The Yankees know something about spent pitchers from 2004.

And on nights like this is when complete players show their worth. Say whatever you want about A-Rod's metrosexual tendencies. But the fact that he's playing solid defense, starting around the horn DP's in this hellish weather.....Along with driving in runs, stealing bases and turning singles into doubles like he's done the last two nights....That's pretty friggin impressive. What was Papi doing while his teammates are in the field? He's in the dugout, he's watching tape....getting a rub-down....but he's not in that oppressive heat fielding his position because he doesn't have one.

You can't tell me that he doesn't have a huge advantage over players who have to run and throw in oppressive conditions. He's a glorified cheerleader while his teammates are trying to get three outs so he can be the hero.

The DH was created for two primary reasons. To put asses in the seats with added offense and to create a roster spot for older players who can still hit, but can't play the field on an everyday basis.

Ortiz is 30 years old. His ass should be in the field.

The other thing about Ortiz that people seem to forget is the guy who hits behind him.

Forget Larry Legend. A more apropos comparison to Papi is Roger Maris.

A very good player who hit in front of a first-ballot Cooperstown guy in a park that was tailor made for him. Mantle was a Triple Crown threat any year he was healthy. Manny is arguably the best right handed hitter and RBI man of his generation. These guys would get their stats regardless of who was hitting in front of them or behind them. You can't say that for Papi or Maris.

And Maris isn't going to sniff any parts of Cooperstown posthumously because of a bad shoulder. His stats just don't add up. Papi would need five or more years of production at the level he's at now for consideration. An MVP or another World Series wouldn't hurt either. I doubt Manny's around for another five years. It'll be tough without that protection to get those numbers.

The one thing I'll give Maris over Papi. Maris was a superior outfielder and baserunner. Papi is...well, Papi.

So while it's alright to be in awe of what David Ortiz is doing at the plate right now...let's put it in it's proper historical perspective. There's a big difference between being super-human and being a baseball god. He has more a few more trials in store before I can annoint him to Mount Olympus.

And I would still rather have Pujols than Ortiz. Any day of the week. He's not doing this if he has to play the field everyday like Albert does.

I know I'm jumping the gun a bit. But last night's game made me very excited about the next two months.

The long grinding at-bats. Working counts. If they're this relentless now with Abreu in the lineup and Giambi has a night off...imagine what it will be like when Jason, Sheff and Matsui are in there?

Cue the Imperial March. Some Younglings are about to buy it.

That sixth inning was a thing of beauty. Even Abreu striking out after a million pitch at bat was ok because Alex picked him up with a two run single. Jeter working a bases loaded walk was perfect example of how you approach that situation. The pitcher is in trouble, not you. Make the bastard throw strikes. Hit your pitch, not his.

If we can get away from the whole issue of salary for a minute, and just talk in baseball terms...I think that Abreu coming here can have the effect on him that it had on Paul O'Neill when he was traded here in 1993.

Abreu has power, but he's not a home-run hitter. He's line-drive hitter with power whose at his best when he's hitting the ball to all fields. He can pull one into the stands when he has to. But he's more comfortable hitting the ball the opposite field for doubles.

Just like O'Neill, he tried to become a home run hitter when it went against the natural flow of his game. O'Neill came here and thrived because he could be the hitter he was supposed to be. Not what Lou Piniella wanted him to be.

Abreu can do the same thing. That big contract he got made him try to be something he's not. That's why I hate these big deals. If the money is going to make a player play outside of his comfort zone, then it's counter-productive. He was being paid, BMOC money when his team wasn't ready for primetime. Here, he can play his game. Which is to hit .300 to all fields, 20 plus homers, 100 plus RBIs, 100 runs scored, 100 walks and 20 stolen bases. About a career .900 OPS guy. I'll take that. That's Bernie in his prime without the steals. We don't need him trying hit homers like A-Rod or Giambi.

Here, he can thrive because he's not expected to be the savior. Just another cog in a very powerful wheel. The idea of having this lineup along with Sheff and Matsui in September is scary. Buster Olney thinks that the Yankees might try and keep Sheff for next year and make him a DH or part-time first baseman. The payroll would be ridiculous if that happened. But you know what? I don't care. The haters are going to find a reason to kill us. Better to give them a reason by winning.

As the injury bug has moved up north to New England, our guys are rounding back into shape. Strange game, baseball is. Who wins and loses is dependent on when people get hurt...not how many. Losing Veritek for a month is going hurt them in ways they can only imagine right now.

With Wang pitching, last night must have been the Anti-Coors Field for the Jays.

He throws such a heavy sinker with such velocity to begin with. Imagine what it must have been like trying to hit that thing in this heavy, nasty air? Probably like trying to hit a shotput with a broomstick.

Eight more shutout innings, plus one more night we don't have to use Proctor, Farnsworth or Mo. With the Sox having to use Papelbon and Timlin nearly every night(and it'll probably be worse this month with half their rotation a question mark) don't think these innings won't add up when the stretch run in September starts.

You might not have to pay now, you might not have to pay later...but eventually, you will pay.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Grabbing Victory From The Depths Of Hell

If Hell is anything like last night at the Stadium...then I need to clean my act up.

It was actually hotter in DC when I was there for a Saturday Nats-Yanks game in June. But this was brutal. You know it's bad when it's dark and you still feel like Ike Turner's punishing you for singing the wrong note.

Note to Joe Torre: please try to avoid Jaret Wright's turn during heatwaves. He was at 50 pitches in the second inning and I thought I was the Wicked Witch Of West after getting a Poland Spring cooler dumped on her. 100 plus pitches in five innings was unbearable.

But a win's a win, especially if it puts us back in first place. Combine that with Captain Infidel's trip to the DL and it's warm and fuzzy feelings in the empire right now.

More later...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Are You A Yankee? F***ing Yankees!! The Yankees Are Responsible For All The Wars In The World!!!

That's the sort of drunken Gibson-esque rants that I expect to hear on the air and the blogosphere for the next couple of days. I laughed my ass off when I heard Chris Russo and his minions saying that the Cinderella dust had worn off of the team with the pickup of Abreu, Lidle and Wilson. That the Yankees were no longer a fun underdog sort to root for because we were no longer winning with Guiel, Melky and Phillips. Like the Bombers would all of a sudden be the likable group they were in 1996.

Really? The fact that we were winning with a patchwork outfield would suddenly melt the hearts of the hardest Yankee haters and make Russo and his crack committee wear Jeter jerseys?

The hypocrisy concerning these media types and the Yankee payroll knows no bounds. Let me understand this....a ballplayer who makes seven figures is overpaid...but the sports writer who writes columns and books on him...and the talking heads that spend six hours or more talking about him...aren't? It's ok for them to make six or seven figures writing and ranting....but it's not ok for the subjects of their praise, rants etc to get theirs?

If you want to question why a society would pay a baseball player $25 million a year when it only pays teachers $30,000.....What about the society that pays someone who yacks about it over $1 million a year? Where's the outrage there? Or the fact that there are people who make a living off sports merchandising....selling items hit or thrown by these same athletes? Or mooks with blogs who make money off of advertising who write about these same athletes? Where's the outrage there?

Sports is only the profession where you're allowed to kill the golden goose on a regular basis. You never see the Hollywood media throwing their folks under the bus for making too much money. Just the opposite. Am I saying that they can't be criticized? Absolutely not. But keep it focused on what happens on the field. Not their checkbooks.

The Yankees pulled off a great trade on Sunday getting Abreu and Lidle. Were the financial considerations a big part of it? No question. But whose fault is that? If you want to blame someone, blame Pat Gillick. He's the one who went for it. Obviously, getting payroll relief was more important than getting back players who can help the Phillies right now. And there's no way to tell what BJ Henry and company will become. In three or four years, one of those prospects could become the best players in the trade.

The Yankees have made trade like this before and they've given up players who became everyday starters....Eric Milton, Luis Guzman and Jake Westbrook among them. Sometimes it works....sometimes it doesn't.

But here's the deal Yankee can't win this one with the haters. If you believe that even one of them would root for the Yankees under any circumstances, you're sorely mistaken. They throw the payroll issue in our faces for one reason and reason only....they wish that their teams had the means pull it off.

Read these Hater blogs and the comments....these are the same hypocrites who were calling the Yankees, "the worst team $200 million can buy". Ready to bury us as soon as we fell a few games back. Now we control our destiny by finding solutions from within the ranks...and strengthen our team with Sunday's trade...and they whine about the Yankee payroll.

At least Metstradmus was honest about why the trade pissed him off. He was angry that the Phillies didn't ask for more and let the Yankees seal the deal without giving up their top prospects or Proctor. A legitmate beef.

Cinderella? Please. The Yankees never have been and never will be the underdog that everyone rallies around. Not in 1996, 1998 or even 2001. Because everyone knows what's lurking around the corner. It's like rooting for Ric Flair or Triple H. They'll come off like the sympathetic good guys for a little while...then as soon as things don't go their way....out comes the brass knuckles and the sledgehammer.

If you want to compare them to a woman, compare them to the Williams Sisters, Steffi Graf, Chris Evert, Dianne Sawyer or Queen Noor. They're the smooth, super athletic chicks with perfect bodies who you can't possibly keep up with. Or the cool statuesque Ivy League educated blondes who speak several languages and date movie stars and heads of state. In other words, the women you have no chance with. To beat or lay.

Happily ever after? In real life, Cinderella lives in the projects with her five kids and her man Ray-Ray who's out on work release.

So embrace the hate, Imperial fans. Wear it like a badge of honor. Guilt is for the weak.