Counting Down To Spring Training: San Diego Padres

The years of the Padres being locks to win the AAAA Lest are over. Due partly to the fact that they don’t have the talent they used to have and partly to the fact that the rest of the division is catching up.

Gone is G.M. Kevin Towers and his replacement Jed Hoyer (used to work for Theo) had a busy off-season signing a few new players, trading a few loved Padres away and hiring some front office staff.

Click here to read the rest of this post at my new blog Yankeesblog.com

Randy Winn, Really? Cash, this Move is Gonna Hurt

The Yankees have signed Randy Winn? Really? How does this help them? I know Cashman is probably as tired as I am of people griping about the fact that the Yankees are a successful business that can afford to spend money but this is ridiculous.

Randy Winn is not an improvement. At best, he is a lateral acquisition. Maybe Brett Gardner will have a break out season. But be honest, watching Brett’s futile base running in the post season was akin to watching one of those horrible TV shows where they show horrible things that have actually happened to people-you want to look away but you just can’t.

Winn’s number’s are adequate but he’s 35! He’s coming from the NL to the AL which is an almost guaranteed drop of 15% in the numbers department.

Does anyone really believe it was a fluke that Matt Holiday went from the NL to the AL and looked like a T-ball player at a College game then went back to the NL and regained his “dominance”? 

John Smoltz looked like a batting practice pitcher in a Red Sox uni (I enjoyed every minute of that) and went back to the NL and looked like Cy Young again?

Oh Cash, this move is gonna hurt.

Mike Leech is the Latest Example of a Troubled Mindset in American Sports

Mike Leech is the latest example of a troubled sports mindset in America. It is time for him to go away.

He needs to just crawl under a rock and hide for a little while. He
has made his statements about how it was a nice area where he kept the
kid, and we might have believed him. That is, until his video came out
showing the area where he kept a college sophomore. He locked a kid up
like he was some sort of barn animal because he was not sure if the kid
was actually injured. Never mind the fact that Leach is a coach, not a
doctor.

Of course, there are also the remarks of other current players
essentially saying that Leach is a bully. Then on the last day of 2009
he came out with the beautiful interview where he made a statement from
a doctor about how putting a kid with a concussion in a shed does not
endanger him even if the kid did have a concussion.

I get that Leach thinks the kid is faking a concussion. But that is
not Leach’s decision. The doctor’s said that he did and that should
have been good enough for Leach and his staff.

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if you put him in danger, putting a
kid in a shed because of an injury is just wrong. There is nothing more
needed to know.

To be fair, the guilt doesn’t lie completely with Leach. In America
we have taken the whole warrior mentality for athletics too far. It is
a useful metaphor as long as it doesn’t cause us to lose sight of what
college athletics are actually about.

I realized this the other day as I was listening to the post game interview on one of the bowl games.

The winning coach talked about his kids being warriors and how they
battled during the game. Then he said the only truthful statement of
his interview. He said, “They put on quite a show tonight.”

That is the truth of it; college football is entertainment. Coaches
are not training kids to go to war. They are not making warriors; they
are making entertainers. They are getting rich while the kids make next
to nothing.

Ideally, the kids learn some life principles and get a decent
education in the process. Of course, there’s a few too many stories out
there (FSU anyone?) that cause me to doubt even that most basic tenet
of college athletics.

The metaphor of warrior has gone on for too long.

It has enabled men like Leach to actually think that putting someone
in a shed is an acceptable behavior because it could teach them
discipline or some other sort of warrior mentality. Leach has confused
the position of coach with that of a drill sergent.

Listen to your local talk radio, if it is like mine, you will hear
“war stories” about atrocities high school coaches could inflict on
kids in the “good ole’ days” of yesteryear. Anyone who would dare to
not play and subject themselves to what the all mighty coach wanted to
do was and is somehow less of a man.

We feed a kids a lie from the time they start playing as little four
and five year olds. We tell them that what they’re doing is going to
matter beyond them. We make it into some sort of mytholgical tale. Of
course, it’s just a tale.

Don’t believe me? Then you never played high school athletics. Why
is it cliche for the guy who has not done anything as an adult to
always fall back into telling stories about his High School days?
Because he was sold a lie.

Like medicine that is helpful when taken in appropriate doses, but
dangerous when used in excess this metaphor/lie is tearing at the very
fabric of the values our sports are supposed to be teaching. 

Mike Leatch’s actions are just one more example of how dangerous
this metaphor actually is and the danger it can cause if left to go
unchecked.

Who Knew Ken Rosenthal and I Would Agree

Ken
Seriously, I figured there would be a better chance that the he would
say the sky was blue and I’d point out that was just light reflecting
through the dirt, the sky is actually black. But Ken Rosenthal and I
agree: Andre Dawson deserves to be measured on his era not, the steroid
era or the current era (the Shrivel era?) but his era. Andre was a HOF
for the era he played in.

He should be voted in. Read Ken’s (Can I call you that Ken?) thoughts here.

Looking at the Yanks 09 Pitching and Management

In this post
we looked at the offensive lineup for the Yankees but as the last few
years have shown us, there’s much more to a whole season for a team.
Obviously, there is the pitching and management.  This is where the
Yankees have obviously made the most strides.  Sebathia, Burnett, Wang,
Chamberlain and ….? Well, that’s where it gets interesting. I’ve
already said that it’s time for Andy Pettitte to make peace with
reality and sign, but if he doesn’t? Well, there’s still the like of
Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. What about Derek Lowe? I’m not talking
forever. I think Hughes will be big league ready this year but if he
isn’t Lowe would be an excellent short term fit. 

The
Yankees middle relief is the most interesting of their pitching to me.
Last year Girardi seemed to know how to use it to maximum effect but
was that a fluke. Was that just a misconception on my part?  Which
brings me to the next piece of this puzzle to consider, management. Is
Girardi the best guy to lead this team? The truth is I don’t know.  I
loved Girardi as a player and catcher’s often make great managers, but
he seems a little high strung for this team. I hope I’m wrong, but to
me, he is the second biggest wild card (behind Cano and Jorge).  What
kind of job will he do? My guess is that if the Yankees don’t get out
of the gate fast, we may see a new manager, or at the very least
Girardi will feel some real heat from ownership and fans alike. 

On the whole I think this team is the best team the Yankees have had in a few years and

Tommorrow: Why the Yanks should sign Milton Bradley and dump Hideki

Is Jason Whitlock a Racist?

I’ll admit it, I’m not a Jason Whitlock fan. I think he’s obnoxious,
and rude (listen to him on the Jim Rome show).  I think he makes
everything a race issue. Which begs the question; “Is Jason Whitlock a
racist?” I don’t know, I hope not. But hang with me here. Have you read
his latest article for Foxsports.com? Look at this quote:

8. A friend called me Sunday afternoon and referred to Brett Favre as the “White T.O.”

Can you imagine if a white reporter wrote that? Brett Favre is the
white TO?  What happened to “I don’t see a black football player, I
just see a football player”? What does their skin color have to do with
it? The answer is absolutely nothing. Is Favre just like TO? Yes, he
probably is. It appears that he is every bit as much of a cancer as
“the player” at WR for the Cowboys. This isn’t new. Remember when he
was debating retirement 68 seasons ago and he infamously said, “What
are they [the Packers] going to do, fire me?”

But this isn’t about Brett Favre, or TO. It’s about Whitlock and his
inconsistency. Ironically, this racially loaded statement came in an
article that was about character. When accusations came out against
Clemens from a weasel named McNamee Whitlock cried racism. Why else he
opined would people be so willing to slay Bonds? It had to be the color
of their skin! It had to be because deep down “the man” is still alive
and kicking trying to put the black man in his place.

Now, I wonder what Mr. Whitlock would do if someone other than “his
friend” made a racial distinction. He could have easily said, “You know
there’s no difference in character between Favre and TO.” I’m just a
lowly blogger and I fixed it in about 5 seconds.

 I know racism still exists in America. I’ve seen it first hand. It’s
disgusting and gross. The other extreme is just as bad, and this is
what I think Whitlock is guilty of more often than not. The problem is
in America we have things that one race can say and get away with while
another race could not. That, my friends is racism. It was wrong 150
years ago, it was wrong 50 years ago and it’s wrong today.

Jason Whitlock needs to apologize for what he’s said. I know it was
actually his friend and I know that he was just quoting him but if a
white reporter said this, Whitlock would be leading the charge to get
his reporter’s license revoked.   I’m sure that Whitlock would probably
bristle at the idea of someone calling him a racist. I’m sure that many
of his friends would come to his defense, but hey I’m just applying the
standard that Whitlock has set to his own words.

Oh! And I’m not holding my breath about that apology.

The Yankees Are Getting Better and Younger

The
Yanks have had quite the off-season.  There’s a lot of “experts” out
there talking about how it’s the same old same old from the Bronx
Bombers, but is it? Yes, they’ve been spending money on some stars. I’d
argue that they’re not only getting talent, they’re getting talent that
is in or near it’s prime. Last year, the Yankees relied too much on
“could be’s”,  “never were’s” and “used to be’s” with a few proven
players scattered in there. This year, they’ll be younger, and more
proven. Taking a quick look at each position and you  can see they’ll
be better talent wise at almost every position.

1B:
Tex over Giambi is a huge upgrade. Did the Yankees overpay for Tex?
Maybe. But they certainly upgraded. Tex is one of the top three
offensive first basemen in the league. He has no equal on defense. This
has been a thorn in the Yankees side as long as Giambi has been there.

2B:
This is a “We don’t know” position. Will Cano return to form or will he
struggle again? I don’t know and frankly neither does anyone else. The
Yankees seem to believe in him so that might count for something.

3B:
A-Rod, love him or hate him this is an odd year, which has typically
been a good year for him. (Of course I’m a little superstitious! I am a
baseball fan). Even a down year for this guy is something to look
forward to from an offensive POV. Of course, the question will be can
he hit when it matters?

SS: A healthy Jeter is always welcome in my opinion.

Outfield/DH:
This is still a bit of a cluttered mess. Who will play where? Is
Gardner really that big of an improvement over Melky? Personally, I
think Melky is a good to average centerfielder. If that is the case,
Damon could play left and Swisher could DH/play left or right. Nady
will be a good platoon guy and I think he could play LF everyday.  He
is the type of guy the Yankees had in spades during the last dynasty
run in the late 90′s.  A hard working platoon guy that can play hard
nosed defense and get some timely hits when needed.

DH
is the most interesting position to me. I think Matsui needs to go.
I’ve not been sold on him for a few years. I imagine that might hurt
the team from a business stand point as I am sure he brings in a lot of
revenue from the Japanese markets but his skills are just fading. If
they kept him, I think that he would be adequate. The depth here at OF
allows them some wiggle room in the trade department.

I think they should move Matsui for a MR guy and go after Manny to be a full time DH.

C:
If Jorge is healthy, he will really lengthen their lineup this coming
year. We’ll see what happens there. I love Jorge but he is older.
Molina isn’t a bad back up because of his defensive skills but his
offense leaves much to be desired.  If Jorge is healthy this should be
a huge upgrade over last year.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the pitching and management.

This Just In: Todd Jones Needs a Hankey!

Todd Jones is whining about the Yankees making moves that are perfectly legal and within the rules of the game. Poor Todd never mentions that they Yankees payroll actually went down this year. Poor Todd never mentions that these rules actually make sense for the Yankees. Boo Hoo, this is what Todd has to say…

I wonder if Yankees fans ever blush. What’s so special about pulling
for the bully at the end of the street who beats up on the smallest kid
in town? What’s cool is when you’re rooting for a team that comes from
nowhere. Most of us like the underdogs, and they still have their day
in baseball, as we saw with the Rays this past season.

I’ll answer for you Todd. I do blush occasionally, but never about the Yankees. If I were a Pirates fan, I’d blush about my ownership. If I were a Marlins fan, I’d blush about my ownership. As a Yankees fan, I blush when I have to read drivel like yours.

HT: Yankees Chick

I Love Andy Pettitte

andypettttt.jpg

One of my favorite Yankee Stadium memories is from when I
was in college. We drove to the Stadium at the last minute.  I snuck down from the nose bleed sections to
the right field wall. Shawn Green still played for the Blue Jays. He missed a
ball that should have been an easy out (after striking out on three pitches in
the top half of the inning) and we rode him really hard. He actually pointed to
us, uttered a few words about wanting to have “special relationships” with us.  That clip of him pointing at us actually made
it on ESPN, the world wide misleader, that night. Clemens was pitching for the
Jays. There was this little girl that came to the game with her dad. She wore a
pink dress, patent leather shoes, and had a poster hidden against her body.  During one portion of the game where there was
really not all that much going on, the fans started booing and chanting. I
turned around and sure enough her poster said, “I love Roger.” I have no idea
what her dad was doing bringing her to that portion of the stadium. That is a
fond memory.

Another fond memory was this large guy making fun of Bernie
Williams. Now, I love Bernie. There was no need for him to be making fun of
Bernie at this time (I think it was ’97) so I turned around to see who was
heckling Bernie. The guy looked like Newman.

newman2.jpg

So I turned around and went after
the poor fellow. I asked him if they charged him for two seats and told him to
let Bernie alone. The entire area of the stadium cheered me for that. (I know
it was mean and I can only claim the lack of judgment that comes from youth).  

None of that was my favorite memory from that game. My
favorite memory from that game is the fact that Andy Pettitte pitched. Even as
I sit and type this post I can still remember his pitching. It was magical. He
was so fluid. Each body-motion was loaded with power, yet the overall motion
was like a dancer performing a fine classical tune. Andy Pettitte is my
favorite Yankee of my life time, maybe of all time…but

…it’s time for him to accept the fact that he isn’t worth 16
million dollars in this market. Is there another team out there that is going
to give it to him? Maybe, maybe not, no one knows for sure. At what point
though, does that become a moot point. Andy has said before that it’s not just
about the money for him. I believed him. Now, I’m starting to wonder.  He has a chance to be part of one of the
potentially greatest rotations in a long time to wear the Yankee pinstripes. When
he left last time, I was crushed. It physically hurt and I imagine that this
time will hurt some as well but he needs to be realistic.

I suppose with the Red Sox signing of Brad Penny may give
Andy some more room to negotiate with the Yanks but not much. I really hope he
comes back. I think his leadership and personality will be good for the
Yankees. He’s one of the best post season pitchers of all time.  The Yankees could use him, but they don’t
need him.

How To Fix The BCS

I know this is a baseball blog but I found this blog today and it mentioned how to fix the BCS. The whole post makes sense to me. You can read it here. My favorite quote is:

Last year, LSU proved that the proper spin is more important than wins or losses. 

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