Category Archives: New York Yankees

YANKEES – SIT TIGHT AND WAIT IT OUT

If there is one thing the 2015 season demonstrated, it’s that younger (read athletically) constructed teams were the ones who played well into October. In essence, speed kills. Whether you’re talkingimages-1 about a fast ball consistently in the 95-97 mph range (Mets starters) or quick thinking and athleticism on the base paths, or swift and reliable ball tracking in the outfield (Royals on both counts)  – all winning teams (add the Cubs, Astros, and Pirates too) have speed as a common thread between them. Continue reading

JOE TORRE – A QUIET YET VERY EFFECTIVE LEADER

When you look up a profile of Joe Torre, you quickly realize that he has been successful in every facet JOE TORREof his career, and never has that been true more than in his current position as MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer. As a player, he finished a distinguished career withi (1) a .297 batting average, appeared in nine All Star Games, and won a NL Batting Title in 1971. Then, as a manager he won four Championships more than 2,300 games. Culminating his career as a manager, he was rewarded with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. (left) Oh, and by the way, he’s also a member of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

And from the looks of things, he’s just getting warmed up. Since 2011 (his first year as a baseball executive), joe-torre-jpghe has presided over the introduction and refinement of instant replay, the creation of the “Buster Posey Rule” for collisions at home plate, the adoption of the 20 second rule designed to speed up games, and is now poised to lead the way with the adoption of a “Chase Utley Rule” requiring a runner to be sliding directly at second base when attempting to break up a double play. 
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GIRARDI’S EPITAPH MISSES THE MARK

New York Yankees manager Joe Girard’s press conference yesterday included a look forward to 2016 as well as a glance backward at ” what happened”. Most telling were his largely defensive comments explaining how he tried to give his aging lineup enough rest so they could limp to the finish line. Left unsaid, probably because he’s a true professional, is the question he must have been asking himself all season……..”Why do I even have to deal with this?”

The New York Yankees are old. Even Brett Gardner (left) who is considered “young” by team standards will be 33 next August. Along with Jacob Ellsbury, (below) he appeared to lose his legs down the stretch and both weighed heavily in the Yankee’s decline and inability to catch the Blue Jays. More telling, Ellsbury was sat by Girardi against Houston in favor of Chris Young. He may regret that decision now but it is indicative of the decisions Girardi had to cope with all year.

Even more baffling was Girardi’s insistence that the Yankees are good to go for next year. Again, he is not the type to put any of his players in harm’s way. But he could have deferred the question to Brian Cashman who will be weighing in soon and it is likely that he will have a entirely different take on next year’s roster. More importantly, ownership is likely to take notice of the continuing decline of TV ratings on YES. Even fans like myself found my way to SNY and the youthful and energetic Mets more often than not.  We’ve seen this cast before and watching Alex Rodriguez go 1-4 with three strikeouts and a home run is getting downright boring. And I sense that a good portion of the fan base agrees.

Some tough decisions need to be made quickly. CC Sabathia is one of them. As difficult as it would be (in light of his personal problems now), he needs to be cut loose and his salary eaten. Same with Teixeria who is a injury waiting to happen all year, every year. The kids the Yankees have need to be in the forefront of the lineup and in full view of the fans and media. Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Michael (above) Pineda (if he can stay healthy and grow up – pine tar?) and Rob Refsnyder are budding stars. Don’t let them wait for a spot to clear in the lineup when a aging “regular” goes down with injury. And for God sakes, do not sign David Price or any other veteran over the age of 26. 

In truth, the Yankees are no longer fun to watch. That needs to change………and while I’m thinking about it…….maybe a change at the helm needs to be made too.images-8 $$$ is always the big factor though and a year of Girardi’s contract would need to be eaten. We know what George would have done regardless of the cost. His son Hal moves to center stage now………it’s been six long years since the Yankees posted a Championship in 2009. The Boss would never have stood for that…..no way….no how.

 

“NOBODY ASKED ME BUT” – IN MEMORY OF JIMMY CANNON

Back in the day when newspapers were read as voraciously as we check our email today, a-siegel-deadlineJimmy Cannon wrote a weekly column that appeared every Sunday and was read across America by his avid fans. His favorite sport to write about was baseball, but occasionally he delved into other areas if it suited him. He called his column “Nobody Asked Me But……….”. What follows is a attempt to create a piece (hopefully) similar to what he might write if he were with us today……..

Where does Adam Wainwright (now that he’s back) fit the in the Cardinals post season pitching plans…….

Rookie or not, big stage so what……..The Yankees should pitch Luis Severino over their announced starter Tanaka. He’s less known to hitters and exudes nothing but confidence on the mound.

Regardless of what happens in the down to the wire final Wild Card chase in the American League, the Minnesota Twins deserve a round of applause for their effort with a team most everyone wrote off in March.

The Mets without Matz if injury shuts him down – or at least out of the starting rotation is a big blow to the team – not to mention what happens with Cespedes after last night’s hand injury. But they’ve bounced back from adversity all year so who knows…..

It’s just not right that two of the best teams in baseball have to face each other in a do or die one game playoff. The Pirates and Cubs deserve better than that. It’s easy to fix……just shorten the season by four games and make it a best of three (at least).

You may or may not like the cup of tea Donald Trump is pouring, but you have to admit it certainly tastes different. Question is how many of  us prefer our regular tea……

Having the home field advantage in the Playoffs is overrated. Besides, the weather promises to be far more pleasant on the West Coast than it does in New York next week. Calm down Met fans.

Yogi Berra deserves some kind of a Humanitarian Award for his service to country and baseball. Your move, Mr. President.

The Washington Nationals and the Detroit Tigers are competing for a spot on the T.V. Show “Extreme Makeovers”.

“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…….

WHEN ALL THE PIECES FALL INTO PLACE…….

As in life there are times in baseball when everything just seems to fall into place. A hitter goes on a stretch where the ball coming to the plate looks as big as a beachball. Likewise, a pitcher goes through a series of starts where home plate seems 30ft away. Teams also have runs where twenty five players and the coaching staff come together to form a juggernaut that seems destined always find a way to win.

The New York Yankeesimages-8 are giving every indication thatimages-9 they are that kind of a team this year. Under the laid back (but focused) leadership of Brian Cashman (left) and Joe Girardi (right) we are watching – not a great team by any means- but certainly a solid and steady team that is avoiding the predictable highs and lows of a long and arduous baseball season.

No, this is not the team of the five year run. This year’s edition of the Yankeesimages-7 images-6is not even comparable to the 2009 team. Except for Mark Teixeria, there’s not even a true All Star on the team.

What the team does have are a bunch of role players who complement and support each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Brian McCann (upper right) for example is proving clutch at the plate while handling a relatively young staff seamlessly. Mashahiro Tanaka (upper left) seeks perfection every time out there. To hear him talk about his start that day, you’d think he gave up ten runs if you hadn’t watched the game.

It goes even deeper than that with contributors like Jacoby Ellsbury (right) who if not the best leadoff images-10 hitter in the game today,  must  surely  be in the discussion. A natural center fielder who runs like a deer, clutch is fast becoming his middle name too.

Flying under the radar too is Chase Headley (left). A star by no means….your everyday ball player who shows up for work every day andimages-15 gets his one hit a night when it means the most. So too with Brett Gardner who Cashman refused offers for a year ago when the season was already lost. Now, he’s having a career year as a graduate of the Yankees much underrated farm system.

This is a good team that certainly can win its imploding division. And when they get to the crapshoot playoffs, look out because they just might find their way to an unexpected but well earned title.

 

BITS AND PIECES………..THINGS TO PONDER

Can you imagine the conundrum of ridicule from Met fans and the the N.Y. media if the team played in the American League and they had to field a DH every day from their regular roster of .150 hitters………

How do you explain a Cy Young winner of last year owning a 3-9 record ththis year while his team is 3-13 in games he’s started……….Did Cory Kluber wake-up one morning and forget how to pitch…….not likely but you have to wonder

Don’t you get the feeling that the Giants are just playing with the Dodgers until September rolls around…….

Based on the proven record of his betting on baseball, Pete Rose should never th-2be allowed to have a formal association with Major League Baseball. But he should be elected to the numbers driven Hall Of Fame. His record of most career hits is not likely to be broken by another player in a era when high salaries negate the need to play the twenty years it would take to challenge this phenomenal stat.

Although I consider myself a fan of the Yankees, I have to admire the way Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles play baseball day in and day out.

If you are wondering where the Minnesota Twins came from this year, th-1look no further than the signing of Torri Hunter. Not only is he on target for 25 home runs and 90-100 RBI, he is also the go-to guy in the clubhouse. We might also be seeing a manager in training too……

Did you hear the Secret Service caught another man trying to scale the wall at the White House…….They had to tell him “I’m sorry Mr. President, you have another year and a half to go in your term”.

Phone lines are buzzing everywhere as we move towards the July 31 deadline.images-6 Who are the buyers and who are the sellers………Who is able to land the one or two guys that brings their team over the top. Who overpays and who robs the bank netting the under the radar player who makes it seem like a no-brainer to everyone else. Johnny Cueto isn’t that under the radar guy but he is certainly underrated. Someone needs to go get him……now!

And finally, Happy Birthday America!

 

Mickey Mantle With David Letterman

If not for one twist of fate (literally) on an October dayimages-6 when he injured his knee on a water drain at Yankee Stadium running down a fly ball, Mickey Mantle might have eclipsed all of baseball’s power records.  And if he knew he was going to live this long he would (in his own words) have taken better care of himself…….and eclipsed even more.

With grace and humor ……….while being led by the incomparable David Letterman….. “The Mick”  leaves us laughing………..

Enjoy this clip courtesy of Sights And Sounds Of Baseball

New Life – New Plan (A-Rod and the Yankees)

As I was walking from the parking garage to Yankee Stadium last Sunday, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sprawling and magnificent city park that now sits where the old stadium was situated.

Countless ballfields, countless numbers of inner city kids off the streets and playing on green grass in the open air………..

It caused me to reflect on the  bonus owed to A-Rod by the Yankees. A sticky situation no doubt images-3with each side trying to tip toe around a sudden thaw in the relationship………especially eased by A-ROD’s resurgence this year. And after all, $6 million is a chunk of change.

But what if the two sides could get together and reach a common images-2ground? And what if that common ground was to donate the entire sum to charity and earmark the money to the kids who use this city park.

How many balls, bats and gloves could be bought with $6 million? How many off duty cops could be hired to ensure the safety of the kids using the park. How many players could be paid their expenses to conduct a clinic when school is out for the summer………and so much more. The interest alone each year would pay for most of these costs.

And as a real bonus (for them),  it would all be accomplished in the names of Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees.

Alex…….the first move should be yours. The Yankees can’t say no……go for it!