Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pitchers practice fielding before but not during the season.

We've all probably wondered about it for years.  During the season whenever a pitcher does something like cover first base the announcer assures us that the pitchers practice these things endlessly in spring training.  But the announcer never, and I mean never, indicates in any way that the pitchers ever practice at all once the season begins.

Now we finally know.  Read the whole article yourself but it's especially shocking compared to the analytical stuff that's become so prevalent in recent years.  You'd think that practice would be pretty basic.

Despite October Errors, Pitchers’ Fielding Drills Wither After Spring By BILLY WITZ FEB. 28, 2015  The New York Times

P.F.P., pitchers’ fielding practice ...

fielding comebackers and bunts, running pickoff plays, covering first base and starting or finishing double plays — almost any situation that requires a pitcher to become a fielder...

Most days during the course of a major league season, batters take batting practice, fielders practice fielding and pitchers throw balls back and forth. But only on rare occasions do pitchers practice fielding.
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Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees, pitching against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on May 23, 2006 by Ryosuke Yagi via Wikimedia Commons

In the bottom of the ninth inning of game seven of the 2001 World Series in Arizona Mariano Rivera had the biggest blown save in baseball history.  Rivera undermined his own effort by committing a throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt.  Ultimately, Rivera was charged with an error, blown save and the loss.  I wonder how long it had been since Rivera had practiced his fielding.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bunt against the shift? “I’m not going to ask you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing,” Manager Joe Girardi said.

Say what?  The manager of the once mighty New York Yankees is not going to ask his first baseman Mark Teixeira to do what obviously makes sense: bunt into an open area along the third base line for a sure single?  What?

How about demanding?  How about issuing a direct order?  How about fines and suspensions?  Who's running this show anyway?

Mark Teixeira, John Smoltz says lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.  Sunday, March 1, 2015

The New York Times:

... Teixeira’s eagerness to alter his habits does not extend to the batter’s box...

“Every time I try to slap the ball the other way, it doesn’t go well for everybody,” ... “That’s what the other team wants. They want to take the middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter.” ...

Joe Girardi April 24, 2011
by Keith Allison via
Wikimedia Commons
“I’m not going to ask you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “But it’s something we need to have conversations about and see how we attack it.” ...

Mickey Mantle is number 11 (.977) in OPS, number 6 in OPS+ (172: 72 percent above average).  Mantle is not one of the eight over 1.000 in OPS.  However, when Mantle bunted:

Batting Average (BA): .527 (87 for 165)
On Base average: .527
Slugging average: .527

OPS: 1.054  ...

Ted Williams against unknown fielding alignments bunted 11 for 12 (.917); Williams was 1 for 1 bunting in his only World Series.

Mantle and Williams were much better hitters overall and better home run hitters than Mark Teixeira.  Mantle and Williams had better home run rates in eras when there were far fewer home runs per at bat...

So what's the deal with Teixeira and Girardi?  If Teixeira won't make the decision on his own, why won't Girardi make it for him? ...

So what the heck?  What are we all missing here?  Managers employ the shift against opposing batters but then sit there like dopes and let their own batters bang away hitting into the teeth of the shift deployed against them.  Is there something obvious that I'm missing, because it's driving me nuts.  Who can watch this?
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Mark Teixeira, John Smoltz says lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.

Mark Teixeira Changes His Plate Philosophy, but Only When It Comes to Meals
By BILLY WITZ FEB. 25, 2015  The New York Times

... Teixeira’s eagerness to alter his habits does not extend to the batter’s box...

“Every time I try to slap the ball the other way, it doesn’t go well for everybody,” ... “That’s what the other team wants. They want to take the middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter.” ...

“I’m not going to ask you to do something that you’re not comfortable doing,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “But it’s something we need to have conversations about and see how we attack it.”
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Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift?  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Mark Teixeira OPS (On Base Plus SLG):
career .881 (.364 + .516)
2014 .711 (.313 + .398)

John Smoltz: lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.  Saturday, February 28, 2015

OPS 1.000 bunting against the shift?  Saturday, May 24, 2014

On base average plus slugging average (OPS) is not perfect but it gives us a pretty good idea of the relative value of players in the batter's box...

Mickey Mantle is number 11 (.977) in OPS, number 6 in OPS+ (172: 72 percent above average).  Mantle is not one of the eight over 1.000 in OPS.  However, when Mantle bunted:

Batting Average (BA): .527 (87 for 165)
On Base average: .527
Slugging average: .527
OPS: 1.054  ...

I will immediately address the objections of non-radical baseball people:
1. Mantle was fast.
2. Mantle played a million years ago when everything was different.

1. Except for about a dozen plate appearances (PA), Mantle did not bat against the shift, which greatly reduces the need for speed and bunting skill...

2. A million years ago Mantle was the home run king of baseball, so his personal attributes were very similar to those of today's players who are most likely to refuse to bunt against the shift.  They think that they are doing the other team a favor by forgoing a chance to hit a home run.  I've written several recent posts with specifics on Mantle bunting in order to increase the chances of his team winning, including 7 for 8 bunting in the World Series: BA .875.  Mantle also set the WS record for most homers: 18.

Let me emphasize again that I am advocating bunting against the shift, not bunting against a traditional alignment of fielders.  I am suggesting that even slow runners can bat at least .500 bunting against the shift.  That's an OPS of 1.000.  Mantle did it against the regular alignment used for over 100 years.  Can't current players adapt and match that against the shift?
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Does Mark Teixeira think he's better than Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams? Bunt the damn ball into the ocean!  Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mickey Mantle by
Tony the Misfit via Wikimedia Commons
Bunt.  There are no fielders there!  Just bunt and get on base! ...

Yankee announcers discussed at some length the stubbornness of Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira who last night was batting cleanup.  Teixeira has given no indication this season that he would hit the ball away from fielders who overload on the right side when the switch hitter is batting lefty against a righty.  The word bunt is not in Teixeira's vocabulary.  Even Yankee catcher Brian McCann bunted against the shift for a single this season ... once...

I've written extensively about this throughout the season.  In a nutshell my view is that any major league non-pitcher and probably any top professional tennis player can hold the bat still and bunt a pitch into fair territory.  Bunting against the extreme shift should produce a batting average of at least .500. Mickey Mantle bunted .527 for his regular season career against regular fielding alignments; in the World Series Mantle was 7 for 8 (.875).  Ted Williams against unknown fielding alignments bunted 11 for 12 (.917); Williams was 1 for 1 bunting in his only World Series.


Mantle and Williams were much better hitters overall and better home run hitters than Mark Teixeira.  Mantle and Williams had better home run rates in eras when there were far fewer home runs per at bat...

So what's the deal with Teixeira and Girardi?  If Teixeira won't make the decision on his own, why won't Girardi make it for him? ...

So what the heck?  What are we all missing here?  Managers employ the shift against opposing batters but then sit there like dopes and let their own batters bang away hitting into the teeth of the shift deployed against them.  Is there something obvious that I'm missing, because it's driving me nuts.  Who can watch this?
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

John Smoltz: lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift.

In January former pitcher John Smoltz was elected to the Hall of Fame.  Feb. 27, 2015 Smoltz was on MLB Network and was adamant that batters should have no trouble laying down a bunt into the empty area near third base.  Smoltz repeated this in multiple ways and the program showed game video of 27 year old lefty batter Kyle Seager of Seattle doing this multiple times.  Seager was even shown in isolation trotting to first because the defensive team had no chance to throw Seager out at first base.

Smoltz was making the obvious point that I had made in numerous posts in 2014: that a major league batter should have no problem putting the bat on the ball in a sacrifice stance but when no fielders are in position to field the ball.  Unlike Smoltz, I claim that batters should do this every time against the extreme shift and that they should easily achieve a .500 batting average.  More on that in a future post.

I feel somewhat vindicated.  Early last year I had lunch with a few friends who are intelligent and otherwise well educated.  Two were adamant that bunting is much harder than I thought and that I was naive for thinking that all batters, even slow ones, could and should bunt successfully against the extreme shift.  John Smoltz provided a big fat "I told you so".

Friday, February 27, 2015

If Alex Rodriguez ran his mouth like David Ortiz did this week, he'd be punished.

Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.  A-Rod and Fat Papi.  A tale of two guys.  One disliked, the other liked, at least in his home city of Boston, which hypocritically in 2014 embraced its prodigal knucklehead Manny Ramirez, twice punished for using performance enhancing drugs (PED).

David Ortiz: high and tight, low and away. That's all you need to think about.  Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fat Papi ignorantly (his union approved the rules) and defiantly stated that he would violate rules made without consulting him.  Where was the outrage?  Where was the action my the new commissioner, Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer?  Not a peep.

Now imagine if A-Rod had said the same things as Ortiz.  The media would have clobbered him and the commissioner would have summoned A-Rod to appear in person to explain himself and suffer verbal lashing.  All that should happen to any player who so recklessly defies the authority of his league by insisting that he will not conform.  No, Ortiz only talked, he did not actually break rules ... yet.  How long do you think that you would last in your job behaving like that?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

David Ortiz: high and tight, low and away. That's all you need to think about.

I just heard David Ortiz (Fat Papi) run his mouth on MLB Network about how he needs to strut around between pitches so that he can think deep thoughts about what might happen next.  All any batter or pitcher considers is:

high and tight, low and away

RedSox at Orioles 31/3/14
by Keith Allison
via Wikimedia Commons
That's all it ever was and all it ever will be.  It's one or the other.  Pick one and play ball.

Instead of issuing meaningless fines to Ortiz and others for violating the meager efforts to speed up the pace of play, punish the team.  Call a strike.  Call the batter out.  I've long advocated: you step out, you're out.  Teammates will turn on a player who is putting himself above the team.

Put some teeth into this effort.  Otherwise, you'll get the naked defiance displayed today by Ortiz and then the inevitable drifting back into bad habits.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Chase Headley money to spite Alex Rodriguez could have landed Cuban Yoan Moncada.

The Yankees fell $13 million short of signing 19 year old Cuban Yoan Moncada, a potential super star.

Yoan Moncada got $6.5 million more from the Red Sox than what the Yankees offered.  Because of the Allan Huber "Bud" Selig convoluted rules designed to thwart the Yankees after Selig brought George Steinbrenner back from his lifetime ban, which co-opted Steinbrenner from protesting, the Yankees would have had to pay an additional $6.5 million penalty to Selig's Major Baseball League (MBL), thus the Yankees stopped $13 million short of matching the Red Sox who also had to pay penalty money.

$13 milion.  That's a lot of money.  As a percent of the $50 million that the Yankees were willing to pay to Moncada plus the penalty money, the extra $13 million was 26% more.  But what are the Yankees doing these days with $13 million?

Months before Alex Rodriguez set foot in training camp the Yankees felt compelled to sign free agent third baseman Chase Headley for $56 million for four years, by far the most money committed by the Yankees since the end of the 2014 season.  That's $14 million for each of the next four seasons.  And why?  Purely to spite Rodriguez and possibly provoke Rodriguez into asking to be traded.  It obviously made much more sense for the Yankees to wait for Rodriguez to arrive in camp, which he did yesterday looking like $100 million, and see how he plays before looking for his replacement.  Why?  Because the Yankees foolishly signed Rodriguez to a new contract several years ago, which they now regret doing, and which commits the Yankees to pay Rodriguez at least $20 million for each of the next three seasons.

So for the next three seasons the Yankees are committed to paying at least $34 million for two players who both play third base.  But the Yankees would not spend an extra $13 million for Yoan Moncada.

Why do I think that the Headley signing was done to cause dismay for Rodriguez?  Because the Yankees were punishing Rodriguez even before the 2013 performance enhancing drug (PED) scandal broke.  Note the October 2012 dates of the following posts:

Yankees humiliate A-Rod. Now what?  Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why denigrate your product?  Alex Rodriguez is not an employee, he's the product.  Ticket takers are employees, not ball players.

Without getting too much into the soap opera aspect this reeks of GM Brian Cashman telling Yankee President Randy Levine and the male Steinbrenner kids: I told you so (concerning A-Rod's big contract).

The Yankees have inflicted all three humiliations mentioned here previously, none of which were inflicted on Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays:
- benching
- dropped in the batting order
- pinch hit for.

Alex Rodriguez pinch hit for: worse than benching.  Thursday, October 11, 2012

For another team to take damaged goods and a huge contract the Yankees would have to pay maybe 75% of that contract to have Alex Rodriguez reach these milestones with another team:
- 2,000 runs
- 2,000 RBI
- 3,000 Hits
- 700 home runs.

Is that good business?

Whatever his faults, real or imagined, Rodriguez plays and practices hard with an unmatched diligence.  And he's endured his public humiliation with grace and dignity.
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Alex Rodriguez pinch hit for: worse than benching.  Thursday, October 11, 2012

Alex Rodriguez was replaced in the ninth inning of last night's Major Baseball League (MBL) first round tournament game at Yankee Stadium against Baltimore by his manager Joe Girardi...

I think being lifted in a clutch spot like that is much more humiliating than being benched outright as Yankee manager Billy Martin did to Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in game five of the division series in Kansas City in 1977...

In the final losing game of the first round in 2006 Yankee manager Joe Torre dropped Rodriguez to 8th in the batting order...

People talk big when they are not the ones making the decisions.  Handling a fading super star is extremely difficult and usually the manager does not humiliate the player.  They generally do not:

- bench
- drop in the batting order
- pinch hit...

Check these starting batting order positions for stars in their final seasons:

- Joe DiMaggio 1951 managed by Casey Stengel: 4th 108 games; 5th 5;
- Mickey Mantle 1968 managed by Ralph Houk: 2nd 8; 3rd 122;
- Willie Mays 1973 manged on the Mets by Yogi Berra: 1st 21; 3rd 35; 5th 1...

There was plenty on the line but neither Stengel nor Berra humiliated his aging star despite the fact that neither had a long or close relationship with the star.

The easiest for a manager is to bench the aging super star.  There's always the pretext that the star needs rest.  Next, though difficult, is to drop him in the batting order and even that is seldom done.  By far the most difficult because it is the most humiliating for the star is to pinch hit for him, especially in a big spot.

Joe Girardi did the most difficult thing last night.
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Alex Rodriguez broke his hand ... three months ago! (2012)  Friday, October 19, 2012

Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken hand Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at Safeco Field in Seattle.  Felix Hernandez hit Rodriguez with a pitched ball in the eighth inning.  Rodriguez did not play again until September 3 in Tampa.  After returning his strike out rate increased dramatically...

So how come hardly anyone even mentioned this much less emphasized it in explaining why Rodriguez was striking out so much in the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament?  In particular Yankee general manager Brian Cashman simply tried to justify the Yankee position in benching Rodriguez against Detroit by stating that the increase in strike outs stretched back into the regular season.  Yeah, all the way back to September 3 and after Rodriguez suffered a BROKEN HAND!

What the heck?  Do people hate Rodriguez so much that they would ignore a BROKEN HAND?  It appears that they would rather jump to the conclusion that Rodriguez was choking ... again.
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Batting order of my all time Yankee team.

My team has changed since the 2009 post.  Alex Rodriguez replaced Graig Nettles at third base and for making a lineup I decided to include both Mantle and DiMaggio even though both played center field.  There is no designated hitter (DH).

All time Yankee team.  Saturday, June 13, 2009

most over-rated ... under-rated
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Mantle v. DiMaggio Monday, June 15, 2009

Mantle walked a lot, DiMaggio did not. Mantle struck out a lot, DiMaggio did not.

I don't think we can measure fear by walks, nor team play by strike outs or lack of them. They had very different attributes as batters.

If you just glance at their batting stats, the Mick has WAY more black ink. Mick lead AL in OPS+ in his first full season, 1952, NINE times total. Joe lead once. Career OPS+: Mantle 172 (6th best), DiMaggio 155 (22nd best)...

It wasn't until 10-15 years ago that I realized that Mantle was clearly better than Joe D. That's how much even a lifetime Mickey Mantle fan had been brain washed.
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1933 Goudey card via Wikimedia Commons
1. Mickey Mantle CF
2. Lou Gehrig 1B
3. Joe DiMaggio LF
4. Babe Ruth RF
5. Alex Rodriguez 3B
6. Yogi Berra C
7. Tony Lazzeri 2B
8. Derek Jeter SS

Monday, February 23, 2015

Steinbrenner Kids, sell the Yankees.

19 year old Yoan Moncada, the latest Cuban hot shot, signed with the Boston Red Sox, not their arch rival, the New York Yankees.  The four adult children of the late owner George Steinbrenner failed again, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
Yoan Moncada
It's only getting worse:
- too many attempts to distract fans, primarily "days", number retirements, etc.
- biggest mistake this off season by ant team: not signing Tampa general manager Andrew Friedman but instead giving their 16 year incumbent Brian Cashman a new three year contract
- spending significant bucks for only one player, Chase Headley, which was purely to spite Alex Rodriguez
- letting the vulgar Derek Jeter farewell tour in 2014 influence too many decisions, which will adversely impact the Yankees for many years to come
- failing to sign the one remaining big time free agent Max Scherzer, which I had made my last straw for the Steinbrenner Kids to sell the Yankees.

There was yet another huge opportunity and the Steinbrenner Kids failed again.  Fail, fail, fail.  Enough.

Steinbrenner Kids, sell the Yankees.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What happens when fast pace minor leaguers get to the majors?

You can't make up stuff like this.  The people who run and report on the Major Baseball League (MBL) don't seem to even give matters a second thought.

Supposedly the MBL wants to introduce faster pace play in AA and AAA ball.  But what happens when these players reach the MBL?

A fast working rookie pitcher faces a batter accustomed to jerking around.

A rookie batter remains in the box waiting for a veteran pitcher who expects the batter to take a walk and otherwise jerk around before he, the pitcher, then does his own jerking around.

How is the plate umpire to deal with these scenarios?

1. It should now be apparent that Allan Huber "Bud" Selig left a mess.

2. Rob "Bud Light" Manfred is no dynamo.  And Manfred may be questioned about his ethics in the Biogenesis trial.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Baseball Think: keeping time without a clock: "one Mississippi, two Mississippi, ...".

In the warped world where people speak baseball what is it that strikes fear like no other concept?  A clock.  Baseball Think causes baseball people to insist that there is no clock even when they deal with keeping time as in the newest lame attempts to ineffectively bring baseball back from the brink of extinction due it devolving into an unwatchable slow motion mess.

Increase time to reduce time: only in the Bud Selig Alice in Wonderland league. Sunday, January 18, 2015

Enter the well hidden details by new Commissioner Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer:

http://m.mlb.com/news/article/109799096/mlb-announces-pace-of-game-initiatives

I won't critique it, just highlight the most ridiculous part:

Schuerholz said: "The Pace of Game Committee wants to take measured steps as we address this industry goal to quicken the pace of our great game. It is not an objective of ours to achieve a dramatic time reduction right away; it is more important to develop a culture of better habits and a structure with more exact timings for non-game action."
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Say what? They do not want to "achieve a dramatic time reduction right away". What? Do it so slowly that it will not be noticeable and therefore ineffective. That's the objective? To doom the effort?


There are several items with measurable time intervals but everyone insists that there is not and should not be an actual clock. I guess there will be a lot of people counting "Mississippi" repeatedly.


Perhaps worse than the league bureaucrats, including the unions of the players and even umpires, are the media types who are not significantly different in their views. Even outsiders do not want reform. Both insiders and outsiders wallow in junk like the batter keeping one foot in the batter's box.


Earth to planet Baseball: only the umpires can call time out! The batter may not step out and implicitly get time out. If Commissioner Rob "Bud Light" Manfred had a pair, he'd inform all parties that he was instructing, dare we say ordering, the umpires to enforce existing rules starting immediately and that, where there is ambiguity, he, Manfred, will clarify in terms of radically speeding up the pace of play.


Yesterday Yankee manager Joe Girardi addressed this general topic and mentioned time between innings and time for changes, which I took to mean pitching changes. Time for TV commercials will not be reduced. Time for the ritual of changing pitchers should simply be eliminated by making all substitutions on the fly as football and basketball do. This would make it practical for players to re-enter, which is long overdue.


The problem is the DEAD time between the 300 pitches in each game. They still don't understand that. When there should be play, there is inaction that has nothing to do with the nature of the game. Mindless dead time does not equate to time honored matching of wits between batter and pitcher. Neither batter nor pitcher is thinking any more by procrastinating, probably just the opposite. And here is breaking news for the professional news reporters: the pendulum switched dramatically from the pitcher to the batter as the chief culprit years ago, yet I continue to hear about the pitcher causing most of the delays. The pitcher is usually waiting for the batter to get back from his walk.


Here is all anyone ever needs to know about it: high and tight, low and away.


Why doesn't one of the thirty teams decide to run a hurry up offense? Just one. Just to demonstrate how it can be done and to possibly shame other teams into also speeding up. How about to offer a more entertaining form of baseball to its fans?


How about a rogue plate umpire unilaterally informing both teams before a game that he intends to follow the rules and that he will not call time if a batter takes a walk, even with only one foot. In boxing the contestants are told to follow the most basic rule: protect yourself at all times. Batters should be required to adhere to that and not depend on the umpire to protect them by running away from home plate at the slightest indication that a batter has decided to bail out for no apparent reason.


How about some players speeding up on their own. Maybe if some top players did it, others would follow. Baseball think promotes lots of followers.


How about somebody showing some leadership, some imagination. Is that so radical?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Alex Rodriguez: "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another.

Oh, wait.  That was J. Robert Oppenheimer:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another.
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Most of the hysteria concerning the impending return of Alex Rodriguez from his unprecedented 162 game full season suspension seems to be from media people, not fans, except for those fans who try to suck up when they call talk radio.

A-Rod apologized. Why?  Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Many were sceptical.  Some outraged.  Some are always outraged.  Some wanted a press conference.  Some a public execution...

As far as I know, except for the seven White Sox players who took money to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series plus one who knew but didn't turn them in, Alex Rodriguez has served the longest suspension of any player for any reason.  Having served his entire sentence without ever any hint of commutation, Rodriguez owes nothing.  If anything Rodriguez is owed...

I think many people, especially Yankee fans, are over this issue.  Rodriguez served his time.  It's over.  Mostly it's the media types who cannot get over it.  For them Rodriguez can do no right.  Nothing he does is good enough for them...

The media people are desperate for Rodriguez to fail if he plays.  They want it to be justification for their turning all this into a morality play.  Rodriguez will be punished for violating their sense of baseball justice.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects of 2015: two Yankees. "The horror! The horror!” Apocalypse Now.

The Top 101 Prospects of 2015  baseballprospectus.com
Sliced and Diced
by Rob McQuown and Mauricio Rubio  February 16, 2015

Top By Teams New York Mets (6)
9. Noah Syndergaard (RHP - age 22)
33. Steven Matz (LHP - age 24)
69. Brandon Nimmo (OF - age 22)
78. Amed Rosario (SS - age 19)
80. Kevin Plawecki (C - age 24)
82. Dilson Herrera (2B - age 21)

Top By Teams New York Yankees (2)
49. Aaron Judge (OF - age 23)
51. Luis Severino (RHP - age 21)
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"The horror! The horror!” Apocalypse Now (1979) Marlon Brando as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz

By Christian Flores via Wikimedia Commons

A-Rod apologized. Why?

It was signed Alex.  That was a nice touch.  As was the fact that it was actually hand written, which does not mean that Alex Rodriguez was the sole author.  Still, that provided a hint of authenticity, sincerity.

Many were sceptical.  Some outraged.  Some are always outraged.  Some wanted a press conference.  Some a public execution.

Rodriguez should not have apologized.  Why should he?  The one small part of his statement that seemed to represent the hurt that he must feel was Rodriguez correctly pointing out that he had served a longer suspension than any baseball player for using performance drugs (PED).

As far as I know, except for the seven White Sox players who took money to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series plus one who knew but didn't turn them in, Alex Rodriguez has served the longest suspension of any player for any reason.  Having served his entire sentence without ever any hint of commutation, Rodriguez owes nothing.  If anything Rodriguez is owed.

Rodriguez should not have met with the new commissioner Rob "Bud Light" Manfred, the A-Rod slayer.

Rodriguez should not have met with the Yankees.

Rodriguez should merely show up at Yankee spring training and be a baseball player.

Why apologize?  What kind of person wanted Rodriguez to apologize?  The kind who then do nothing but ridicule Rodriguez for his apology.

I think many people, especially Yankee fans, are over this issue.  Rodriguez served his time.  It's over.  Mostly it's the media types who cannot get over it.  For them Rodriguez can do no right.  Nothing he does is good enough for them.  Rodriguez should leave the planet.  That's what they want.  Then they can accuse Rodriguez of running away.

The media people are desperate for Rodriguez to fail if he plays.  They want it to be justification for their turning all this into a morality play.  Rodriguez will be punished for violating their sense of baseball justice.

I'm rooting for Rodriguez to play well.  I'm a Yankee fan and I want both Rodriguez and the Yankees to succeed.  I'm also rooting for Rodriguez to make the Yankee haters among the media people to be exposed for the hypocrites they are.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yankee question of the day ... from a Met fan.

"When they retire all numbers will they go to letters, decimal points, three digits, fractions..."

Received Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 11:43 AM

By Steve Burns
(Mickey Mantle and me)
via Wikimedia Commons
Oh, the humanity.  A Met fan mocking Yankee fans ... and having a good point.  The Steinbrenner Kids have reduced Yankee fans like me to this.  Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth had to be on death's door to be honored in Yankee Stadium.  Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio got plaques in 1969 but didn't get their monuments until after they died, same as Gehrig and Ruth.

Steinbrenner Kids to immortalize Andy Pettitte. I'd rather they just sell the team.  Monday, February 16, 2015

I don't think that Andy Pettitte deserves to have his number retired and certainly does not deserve a plaque, although he would not be the least worthy.

The Steinbrenner Kids are running the Yankees into the ground and trying to hide their ineptitude with increasingly silly ceremonies that ironically only serve to emphasize how incompetent the Steinbrenner Kids are.
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Steinbrenner Kids to immortalize Andy Pettitte. I'd rather they just sell the team.

Yankees to hold Andy Pettitte Day on Aug. 23, will retire No. 46 and present plaque in Monument Park

Pettitte will be the second Core Four member to have his number retired, with Mariano Rivera’s No. 42 already on the shelf.

BY ANTHONY MCCARRON NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Sunday, February 15, 2015, 5:50 PM
Updated: Monday, February 16, 2015, 6:55 AM


Lou Gehrig November 9, 1929 working the stockbrokers' office of Appensellar, Allen and Hill considering a career there after retirement. by Wide World Photos via Wikimedia Commons

The monuments are for Miller HugginsLou GehrigBabe RuthMickey MantleJoe DiMaggio listed chronologically.  The recent Yankee ceremony mania has gotten so bad that even many Yankee fans do not distinguish between a monument and a plaque.  I don't think that Andy Pettitte deserves to have his number retired and certainly does not deserve a plaque, although he would not be the least worthy.

The Steinbrenner Kids are running the Yankees into the ground and trying to hide their ineptitude with increasingly silly ceremonies that ironically only serve to emphasize how incompetent the Steinbrenner Kids are. The every day players likely to play in 2015 have only one younger than 31 and he replaced 40 year old Derek Jeter. That's the Steinbrenner Kids idea of a youth movement.

Derek Jeter Yankee Stadium events in perpetuity and ad nauseam. Friday, September 26, 2014

... the usual suspects appeared on the field to pay homage: Joe Torre, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge PosadaTino Martinez, even Bernie Williams.

Next season the Yankees will probably retire more numbers and award more plaques, maybe to Posada and/or Williams (Bernie, not Gerald).  The honored guest at these events will, of course, be none other than ... you guessed it: Derek Jeter!

But Yankee management will need to bolster attendance since the Jeter farewell cannot be duplicated in its entirety without fans becoming at least a little suspicious that they are being played for fools...


I'm sure the Steinbrenner Kids have lots more planned.  Otherwise, we Yankee fans might notice the horrendous job they are doing.
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Enough already with the Yankee Core Four and what happened to Bernie Williams? Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The New York Yankees are steeped in history but relying way too much on it ...

Monday was opening day at Yankee Stadium and the team trotted out their fabled Core Four:Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.  I listed them in order of importance as I see it...


They're not exactly Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Billy Martin when it comes to being like brothers.

One problem is that it reminds us of recent success that diminishes the current players...

What the heck happened to Bernie Williams?  Has he been removed along the lines of another Yankee center fielder from the most recent championship team: Melky Cabrera?

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Sell the team!  Just sell the damn team before none of us can stand it any longer.  You Steinbrenner Kids have no idea what you're doing.  At some point you'll run out of Core Four.  Don't you realize that?  Then what's your plan?  Magic tricks?

Presidents Day: players with presidential names.

Let's start with a list of all 43 presidents.  I count Cleveland only once while most give him two numbers because his two terms were not consecutive.  Only major league players are included.

Presidents
ID First Middle Last FirstBirth MiddleBirth LastBirth
1 George
Washington


2 John
Adams


3 Thomas
Jefferson


4 James
Madison


5 James
Monroe


6 John Quincy Adams


7 Andrew
Jackson


8 Martin
Van Buren


9 William Henry Harrison


10 John
Tyler


11 James Knox Polk


12 Zachary
Taylor


13 Millard
Filmore


14 Franklin
Pierce


15 James
Buchanan


16 Abraham
Lincoln


17 Andrew
Johnson


18 Ulysses S. Grant Hiram Ulysses Grant
19 Rutherford Birchard Hayes


20 James Abram Garfield


21 Chester Alan Arthur


22 Grover
Cleveland


23 Benjamin
Harrison


24 William
McKinley


25 Theodore
Roosevelt


26 William Howard Taft


27 Woodrow
Wilson Thomas

28 Warren Gamaliel Harding


29 Calvin
Coolidge John Calvin Coolidge
30 Herbert Clark Hoover


31 Franklin Delano Roosevelt


32 Harry S. Truman


33 Dwight David Eisenhower David Dwight Eisenhower
34 John Fitzgerald Kennedy


35 Lyndon Baines Johnson


36 Richard Milhous Nixon


37 Gerald Rudolph Ford Leslie Lynch King
38 James Earl Carter


39 Ronald Wilson Reagan


40 George Herbert Walker Bush


41 William Jefferson Clinton William Jefferson Blythe
42 George Walker Bush


43 Barack Hussein Obama



1903-2012 397 pitchers have won at least 20 games in a season.  Sixteen of them had the last name of a President.  Click link to see the details.


qry20WinPitchersSince1903Presidents
FirstLast
BabeAdams
GuyBush
JoeBush
RussFord
WhiteyFord
MudcatGrant
DannyJackson
LarryJackson
RandyJohnson
WalterJohnson
IanKennedy
VernKennedy
BillyPierce
DummyTaylor
JackTaylor
EarlWilson

Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Walter Johnson are the most prominent players.  Three of the names had the advantage of two presidents: Adams, Bush and Johnson.

I found 570 players with a last name that matched that of a president.  This does not include birth last names for Ford and Clinton: King and Blythe.  There are about a dozen for King but zero for Blythe.  Several named Ford.  Lou and Jim Clinton.

For Washington there are Claudell, U.L., Herb, Rico, Ron and even a George who played 128 games for the White Sox in 1935-1936.

Lincoln, all pitchers: Ezra, Mike, Brad.   Ezra Lincoln (1868-1951) was a lefty pitcher who threw 138 innings in 1890.  Mike was a righty pitcher 1999-2010: 376 innings.  Brad righty 2010-2014, 222 innings.  Abe was taller than all three.

Of the eight Grants the aforementioned 20 game winning Mudcat (Jim) was the most prominent.

Eight players named Hayes included Von and Charlie.

Garfield didn't last long in office and perhaps fittingly had only the obscure Bill Garfield.

Cleveland served those two non-consecutive terms interrupted by the second Harrison but had only Reggie and Elmer.  Only six Harrisons played ball.  The one and only Hoover had seven.

John Kennedy had 20 players with his last name, including two named John, one of whom debuted with the Washington Senators while his namesake was still in office: 9/5/1962-6/16/1974; the other John: five games in 1957.  There were also Junior (1974-1983), Ted, Adam (1999-2012).

Many players named Johnson.  Surprisingly six named Nixon: Al, Russ, Donell, Otis, Trot, Willard.

Fifteen named Carter, including Gary and Joe.

Jefferson: Jesse, Reggie, Stan.

Madison: Art, Dave, Scotti.

Monroe: Ed, John, Larry, Zach.

Van Buren: Jermaine, Deacon.

Tyler: Fred, Johnnie, Lefty.

Many named Adams, Taylor, Johnson, Wilson and Jackson (Reggie).

Pierce: 8, including southpaw 20 game winner Billy.

Buchanan: David, Brian, Bob, Jim.


Robinson Cano is named after Jackie Robinson.  Why does a parent name a child after someone famous?

Birth Name: Jack Roosevelt Robinson ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackie_Robinson#Family_and_personal_life

Theodore Roosevelt 1903
John Singer Sargent via Wikimedia Commons
(Jackie) Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, into a family of sharecroppers in Cairo, Georgia. He was the youngest of five children born to Jerry and Mallie Robinson, after siblings Edgar, Frank, Matthew (nicknamed "Mack"), and Willa Mae.[7][8] His middle name was in honor of former President Theodore Roosevelt, who died 25 days before Robinson was born.[9][10] After Robinson's father left the family in 1920, they moved to Pasadena, California...

Willie Mays
Birth Name: Willie Howard Mays (Say Hey Kid)
Born: May 6, 1931 in Westfield, AL ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Mays#Early_life

His father ... was named after president William Howard Taft ...

In the early 1960s I became aware of two National Football League (NFL) players with the first name Rosey.

Roosevelt Grier (born July 14, 1932)
New York Giants (1955-1962)
Los Angeles Rams (1963-1966)

Born in Cuthbert, Georgia as one of twelve children, Grier was named after Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was governor of New York at the time of Grier's birth and was elected president of the United States later that year.[2]
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Roosevelt Taylor (born July 4, 1937 in New Orleans, Louisiana)
Chicago Bears 1961-1969
San Francisco 49ers 1969-1971
Washington Redskins 1972

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president from March 1933 to April 1945.
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There are no baseball players with the last name Roosevelt, even though Roosevelt is the name that has had the most days as president.

As mentioned previously Washington and Kennedy are the only presidents with players who match on both first and last names.

Harding: Charlie Harding one game: September 18, 1913 for Detroit; 2 innings, 1 run, earned.

Shutout: Polk, Filmore, Arthur, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft, Coolidge, Truman, Eisenhower, Reagan, Obama.

Reagan, of course, played Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander, himself named after a president, in a movie: The Winning Team (1952).