Category Archives: American League East

98 WINS AND PRESTO….THEY’RE GONE!

If MLB is going to insist on playing a prolonged schedule of 162 games, they should at least do everything they can to insure that every game played “counts”.  1371As things sit now, you could have a good argument in saying that the REAL season 150px-Houston-Astros-Logo.svgdoesn’t begin until August 1st when the trading deadline has passed and teams have tweaked their roster to the point they believe they need to be at to make “a run” to the finish and steal a Playoff  spot in spite of how they have performed until then (hello Rangers and Blue Jays).

The Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games during the regular season, and yet they have vanished from the Playoffsimages-3 following a one game playoff against the Cubs and Jake Arietta images-2who pitched the game of his life with a “Namath like” guarantee beforehand.  I’m not taking sides here because if the Pirates had won, the Cubs  would have gone home with the third best record in the Majors with 97 wins.

The point is this…….only two of the three teams with the best  record over the course of the season are still in the hunt. The teams in the National League Central are being punished for being really good because they are the powerhouse Division right now. But, that can change as it has over the past few years when the American League East was stacked with the same kind of talented teams.

I’m not a mathematician and I don’t get paid to do this, but surely the suits at MLB can figure this out so we have a better chance of seeing the best of the best in the Playoffs and (ultimately) the World Series. 

In the meantime, the Yankees images-14who won 87 games over the course of the season and would have qualified  (with more wins than – for example – the Rangers) for a “Playoff” spot under different circumstances as well as the aforementioned Pirates who have packed their bags and are  heading home. 

MLB images-31 and specifically Rob Manfred (right) has tweaked the Playoffs before, most recently with the addition of two Wild Card teams who play a one game shootout at High Noon. Very dramatic ( a real show in prime time for television $$$),  but does it really do the game justice………or….. (and they’ll never admit this) is the April through July “season” merely an extension of the Spring Training season. It’s a valid question and it needs to be answered.

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MLB – YOU SUCK! (MY ONETIME RANT)

I don’t like to whine when I do this, but I’m sitting on my back deck in Catskill N.Y. The temperature is 57 degrees and AccuWeather says the wind chill is about the same. Trust me, it’s not. The East Coast is always damp at this time of the year and the chill as they say here “goes right through you”. Meanwhile……..

2015 Major League Baseball Playoffs begin this Tuesday, October 6, and will conclude 6a00d8341c630a53ef010535c99713970c-800wiNovember 4th if the World Series goes seven games around the same time as the NFL season is beyond its half way point. If any of the East Coast teams venture forward in the Playoffs (Toronto excepted because they have a domed venue), it’s likely – again- that we won’t be seeing the best of the best able to perform at their best because pitchers will be struggling to get a firm grip on the ball especially for breaking balls, while hitters will be praying to God they don’t hit one off the end of the bat that numbs their hands and arms for a few minutes or so.

This is supposed to be the Fall Classic, but it’s not. It turns instead to a grind to watch (much less attend) these games. They start late and end the next working day past or close to midnight – forget the kids – the future fans of tomorrow – it’s the television ratings that matter.

The owners insist on a prolonged 162 game schedule – over six months – which I don’t mind because I can’t get enough baseball – and I get it – COLD-BASEBALLthe East Coast is not the center of the universe anymore – but isn’t it time to reduce the schedule back to where it was at 154 games? Sometimes, less is more. And if the almighty dollar rules baseball, as it does the NFL, then maybe this should be a chance (fat chance maybe) for the owners to step up and demonstrate that they mean what they say……….that it’s really all about the fans. I’d like to go to the Yankees one game playoff….I’m a fan…..but there’s no way I’m going to sit there and freeze my butt off. Don’t believe me?……watch on TV how many empty seats the fat cats leave empty…..

If you’ve gotten this far, thank you. I promise I won’t do this again. 
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“I COULDN’T GIVE UP THOSE KIDS………”

In the early days of July and before the trading frenzy began, I posted a column titled The Yankees Should Stand Pat. It argued that there was no reason to part with the young and promising talent in the farm system………for the sake of buying temporary talent (think David Price) or by adding a marquee name or two just to appease the fan base.

We all know how it played out. The Yankees did just that while Toronto’ s GM (left)  images-39“loaded up” adding Price as a rental and the oft  injured Troy Tulowiski. We also know (now) that a 7.5 game lead by the Yankees is now extinguished and the Blue Jays hold a tenuous lead in the East.

But just yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner – the principal owner of the Yankees images-25– offered a resounding defense of the Yankees decision to play for and with the future declaring “I didn’t want to give those kids up”.  Yankee fans along with baseball fans know that statement is BIG. And almost simultaneously, a report comes out rating the Yankees  #10 in all of baseball’s farm systems.

Recent call up Greg Bird goes 0 for 5 in his debut. Think that’ll continue?images-36……….not so says Luis Severino (left) (another sparkling farm system call up)……….Severino simply says he’s “The best”. Soon to follow will be Aaron Judge, a power hitter made for Yankee Stadium, Gary Sanchez – a major league ready hitter and catcher who may have to wait for Brian McCann to decompose at a early age due to a physically demanding position as well as a log  jam at DH that is further blurred by the arrival of Bird.

And so, for once the Yankees can truly be called a team of the future. Make no mistake about it though……..they will always have a marquee player or two- or three. They are the Yankees and they do play in New York. And when the time is right, you’ll see them actively engaged in the free agent and trade markets. So don’t be surprised if you see the likes of Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Mike Trout playing for this storied franchise in the future.

As for this year, (well) let’s just see how it plays out. I’ve said before…..the Yankees have a team with chemistry and proven experienced (though aging) talent while the Blue Jays have a buzz saw lineup. And down the stretch they come…….