Monday, August 20, 2012

On Resigning Kuroda or How the Yankees ended the Red Sox 2012 Season

Last night Hiroki Kuroda continued his dominance over the American League by throwing an 8 inning 4 hitter over the Dead Sox and it raised a couple of issues. Normally NL pitchers have trouble adjusting to AL style baseball with these explosive offenses. He has 12 wins and has a 2.96 ERA. I think he has adjusted fine. Sure, you might say “well, it was the Red Sucks” but he did it to Texas earlier in the week.

Much focus has been put on the 2014 season, lowered Yankee budget and free agents Cano, Granderson and Swisher, with all sorts of combinations being floated. Kuroda could be a perfect transition to this austerity budget. He is 37 years old but would seem to have at least one more good year in him. He could be a bridge to Pineda, recovering from surgery, Pettitte who will re-retire by then, having guys like Phelps and maybe a Killer “B” or two, along with figuring out Hughes and Joba. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

-As we say goodbye to the Dread Sox for 2012, (their savior Carl, will have season ending surgery tomorrow) next up is the White Sox. They just got swept by the Royals and are returning home. Yanks are dealing with the emotional release of destroying Red Sox Nation’s heart and probably will be somewhat drained. Could be a losing 3 game series, which is tough because Baltimore will not go away and Tampa Bay is hot too, both within about 5 games of New York. With a one game wild card elimination game this year, winning the division is important again so we shall see if they rise to the occasion.

-Kelly Shoppach has found an interesting way to use social media. He hated being with the Sox and Bobby V and made his wishes know. They trashed him on the way out, as they often do to their players leaving (Nomar, Roger, Youk all say hello here). Kelly’s response was interesting. He used his Twitter account to leak news of the big, super-super, top-secret player / ownership bitch session which led to the most recent (and may I say spectacular) Red Soxopolypse. Two lessons learned from this. Management needs to be more careful about trashing a player on the way out. Just shut up and stay above the fray. Also, players in all sports need some education about how to use and not use social media. Interacting with fans, OK. Posting naked pix of their wives or girlfriends or videos of them do stupid or illegal things, also not OK.  I used to think it was dumb to have to teach people basic skills, but if we do it about not drinking and driving it would seem that people are generally not as smart as we thought they were.

See you in a few days. Sucks fans, see you in 2013.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some random notes:

It has been a couple of busy weeks since I last posted here. Much has been going on in Bombertown and in Tfabp-city, so I have neglected to write much but time is here, time is wasting and I have a few things to say. Here goes:

-Two weeks ago, the Yanks were doing poorly, losing a bunch of games, blowing leads, fielding badly, etc., etc. Since the trade for Ichiro, they have gone on a bit of a tear, lately winning like 8 of their last 9 games. Coincidence? Perhaps but don’t fool yourself, he has made an impact at bat, in the field, and I'm guessing, in the clubhouse. Just the fact that he has his own media entourage from Japan, means the reporters are concentrating more on him then writing stories about Tex’s struggles, the poor hitting with men in scoring position, and a bit of a blip in the bullpen. Without this constant media scrutiny, they have taken off. Unlike one of their biggest rivals. More on that below!

- King Felix of the Seattle Mariners threw a perfect game last night. He is an incredible talent. But, This isn’t a Len Barker, Mike Witt, Dallas Braden or even Don Larsen perfecto, this is more like a Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax or Roy Halliday one. By this I mean instead of us asking how could THAT guy pitch a perfect game, we are asking today, why did it take so long for him to get one and when will he get another.

Yankees go tonight for a sweep of their anticipated playoff match, the Texas Rangers. I know games in August mean little in October but there has to be some confidence building in the Yanks and doubt setting in for the Rangers.

- There is nothing, NOTHING more enjoyable for me in baseball terms than when the Yankees beat the Red Sox. Make it a 3 game sweep and I start to hyperventilate. Make it in the playoffs and well, you’ll just have to guess how excited I get. I mean still today when I watch replay number 1.4 million of the Billy Buckner flub, I get tears in my eye, tears of joy. Right up there in this emotional apocalypse is watching the Sox crash and burn, watching them self-destruct. Last year, in beer and fried chickengate, when the club’s veteran players showed just how they led and they fell out of the playoffs entirely, I thought I had reached nirvana. I found myself listening to Boston Sports radio for the latest fan rant, I read the Red Sox fan blog “SOSH” every day to see the fans writing about choking and dismantling the club and just how bad they were. Over the winter, the Sox hired Bobby Valentine to be their manager and I knew, KNEW, that the match had been lit. All we needed was a small can of gas and they would burn again. Well it seems that the team was standing in line, holding a gas can waiting to tip it over. There was Youk and Bobby V, Becket and the V-ber, Crawford and Bobby V, and most recently Pedroia, Gonzolas vs. Bobby V, in the Mega Death Match, complete with damning tweets, photoshopped pictures and angry players and ownership in super duper top secret hotel meetings to trash Bobby V together. What does this all mean? Two things I think. It will be a while before the Sox compete again in the American League and to rob and paraphrase a poetic line or two:
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Boston – the mighty Red Sox have struck out.

See you in a few days!

You’ll recognize me, I’m the one with the shit-eating grin on my face… (Wiki: A broad smile indicating self-awareness that may suggest self-satisfaction, (or) smugness.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Some random notes:

As the Yankees complete a 3 game set with the Orioles, its time for a bunch of quick observations and commentary:

-The Yankees are playing poorly right now. Incredibly, Ivan Nova, who has been a rock for them for almost two years, got a five run lead against Baltimore and then promptly let them score seven runs.

-Ichiro has one hit in each game he has played as a Yankee. I am hoping that his Stadium home run is a foreshadowing of things to come. That right field porch should be a piece of cake.

-Joba is back and even though he gave up some hits and runs in his first outing, it is still nice to say, “Joba is back”.

-The Red Sox supposedly discussed a blockbuster deal with the Rangers that included Josh Beckett, Kelly Shoppach, and Jacoby Ellsbury. My only comment: how can they trade “dreamboat”? The pink hats will revolt (for those who don’t know, pink hats are what Red Sox Nation calls all the bandwagon jumpers who started following the team when it was winning the 2004 pennant and now buy up all the Fenway Park tickets to watch Jacoby’s ass, which means “real” Red Sox fan cannot go to Fenway. Their description, not mine.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tail between my legs, so to speak…

To the delight of Red Sox fans all over, including on the road from California, this was a bad weekend for the Yankees vs. the Red Sox. It could have been a sweep by NY after game one but two last inning scores in tie games cooked the Yankee goose. I was  hoping it would be a “see my taillights” moment and felt good about it after Friday’s win but it wasn’t to be. What could have been a 12.5 game lead has shrunk to 9.5 games, with the Sox still in last place. Can they recover and make a race out of it?

Absolutely. You see, with their outstanding pitching (plenty of Josh Beckett trade rumors but no one seems interested in “white trash” for 17 million,  all they need to do is figure out whether Carl Crawford can (a) play every day, (b) only play 4 games in a row unless the manager does not listen to the front office which he promises to never do again, (c) listen to Carl because he says he needs surgery or (d) listen to the manager who has never heard that he needed surgery. You know when I was growing up I used to love the Three Stooges. Who would have thought we would see them in real life, right there in Boston, yuk, yuk yuk… Even the 1962 Mets think the Red Sox season is done. The best way to tell they are toast  is to listen to what the typical Red Sox fan says. It used to be things like “we’ll get it together” or “wait until so and so comes back”. Now they just say “Yankees suck) Right Fred?

 So we move on now to the rest of the season and drive to the playoffs. The Yankees meet Baltimore tonight to play the fading Orioles and the Red Sox go home to face the “fighting for the lead” Detroit Tigers. The next few games should be interesting…


Only one today, a quote by Brian Heyman, directed to the Red Sox fan who bemoans all the injuries: “  The Yankees sure have done a better job getting past their injuries than the Red Sox. They have more talent and more depth than the Red Sox have, too. The pitching is much better.
Couldn’t have said it any better myself…

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Well, I still hate West Coast road trips but the trade for Ichiro Suzuki has now softened this one that ended 2 up 5 down. The GM, Brian Cashman, as has become his fashion, made the trade without even the sniff of a rumor leaking out. Damn near impossible but he does it/ He gave up a couple of minor leaguers, neither of which is an “A” prospect so some are calling this a steal. Amazingly the Yankees are going to bat him lower in the order, even though he led off in the third game of the series when Jeter got some rest. This lengthens the lineup and puts some speed down there. In his first game he had a hit and stolen base, hopefully a foreshadowing of what is to come.

And as if I didn’t have enough reasons to hate these trips, another reason was added to the list when ARod was hit with a pitch that broke his finger. This has been a weird year for injuries for the NYY. First they lost newly acquired Michael Pineda before he threw a pitch for them. Then Joba, who was already recovering from TJ surgery, dislocated his ankle playing on a trampoline. Joba is a lot of things but smart does not come to mind. Brett Gardner goes down after nine games with a “minor” injury diving for a ball and three setbacks later, we hear the words “Dr. Andrews” and he has season ending surgery. Next up, the rock, Mariano Rivera tears up a knee shagging fly balls, Andy Pettitte gets hit with a comebacker and breaks one of his 40 year old bones and the ARod bought the farm last night. He could be back in 5-6 weeks. He is a hard worker in great shape. We’ll see.

-The Mariner fans showed a lot more class then those in Kansas City when they gave Ichiro a standing ovation before his first at bat. Many in the park only heard the news when they arrived for the game, beer and hot dog in hand, but they cheered him, thanked him with signs and even applauded when he got his first hit.

-A lot was made of the pitching match up between Freddy Garcia and Felix Fernandez. I guess Garcia was somewhat of a mentor for Hernandez when they pitched together in Seattle. However, on paper it looked like a big tilt toward Seattle and on the field, it was a Yankee loss.

- In what may be a gift from the baseball gods, the wife is off on a whirlwind tour to see some family and friends and I get to watch Yanks vs. Boston the whole weekend. Yep, my kind of TV watching for sure. This has the makings of a make or break weekend for both these clubs, an opportunity to bury someone or to revive some semblance of a pennant race. With no ARod to bother, Sox fan could turn their vengeance onto Ichiro. Of course there still is the baseball Jesus (thanks JHop) Derek Jeter for them to antagonize. Remember the cheer “No-Mar is Bet-ter, No-Mar is Bet-ter) How’d that work out for you. Will have a post about this weekend sometime during this weekend. Funny how that works out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Hate the West Coast

For as long as I remember, I have hated the West Coast. Hang in there Left Coast lovers or inhabitants; I am speaking in baseball terms about road trips. There is usually 2 long trips and perhaps a short one each summer. Living on the East Coast originally, this meant 10 or 11 pm starts, even when on TV most of the time. There is nothing I hate more then falling asleep during a game with the Yankees ahead and waking up to find they have lost. A second problem for me has been the fact that the Yankees seem to have some difficulty in these games, even when better than there opponent, so it is not unusual for them to 3 and 6 on a trip.

Now, I wrote that last paragraph on Thursday, knowing the Bombers opened a 4 game set with the Oakland A’s that night. I am writing THIS paragraph on Sunday morning with the Yankees having dropped 3 consecutive one run games out there. I am not happy

So, 3 losses by one run each – this exposes the problem of a team depending on homeruns. If they face good pitching, or in the Yankees case, pitchers they have not seen much before, they simply get screwed. This is not the end for Yankees but they have to work on grinding out some runs sometime even if it means losing games. They can’t wait on a “bloop and a blast” to win long term and by I mean in the playoffs and World Series.

So far on this trip they have wasted great starts by Nova and Hughes, quality starts but nothing to show for it. That must be tough on a pitcher. With CC going on Sunday, he had the opportunity to be the stopper. THAT is what he gets the big bucks for. But it wasn’t meant to be, the Yankees got swept in 4 games in Oakland, with all games decided bt one run and two of them won in walk off fashion to boot. Yea, there was a game tying homerun too. I bet they can’t wait to get out of Oakland and get to Seattle. They will probably run there.

Pinch hits
-There was an interesting blog post today on The Yankee Analyst blog about Bret Gardner and upper body injuries and head first slides. Basically said he is convinced it gets him to bag quicker but testing at UK show it does not. Can you tell a ballplayer he cannot slide head first? Can you make him not slide head first? Will you screw him up if you do?

-Just found out that the Yankees open next season at home against the Red Sox. Just how EPIC would it be to pass out Championship rings to the Yankees and raise their 27th pennant that day.  Oooooh I got goosebumps!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

To come back or not comeback, that is the question

This has been an interesting past week to 10m days for the guys from the Bronx. The title of this post reflects the injury situations for CC Sabathia and Bret Gardner. On the positive side of the ledger, CC returned from his groin (I love how we have learned to refer to these things with one word and everyone seems to know what you mean – he has a knee, he has a groin, he has a steroid) and pitched very, very well. What to me, that was even better, was the fact that he talked about how much the time off helped his arm (didn’t know he had an arm). He said he felt rested, stronger and I am or at least my fantasy team is expecting a big second half. There is part of me that thinks this type of thing may end up being a wave of the future in terms of managing pitching staffs. Take your big gun(s) and shut them down just before the All Star break, have them miss only one start, get the 5 day break for the game and return rested and revitalized. This could also be a boon for older starters or the guys that throw a lot of pitches. Watch for this, you heard it here first.

On the negative side of the ledger, it seems that Brett Gardner is destines to play only 9 games for the Bombers in 2012. Everyone who calls themselves a fan knows the story – hurt his arm in a game, DL, rehab starts, still hurts, keep him on the DL, rehab starts, still hurts, keep him on the DL, rehab starts, still hurts, go see Dr. Andrews, have surgery, wait until next year. This I think is the reason the Yankees have been more dependent on home runs as Gardner’s absence affects the entire line up. This whole injury thing for him has been a pain in the …elbow.

How about a little love for the tandem of Ibanez and Jones. Yes, the defense suffers, especially when Ibanez puts on a glove, but the bats are a real bonus, a REAL bonus. Jones almost singlehandedly took apart the Red Sox a couple weeks ago and it seems as if Ibanez picks perfect times to go yard. Hopefully this continues well into October

Finally a few words about ARod. Believe me, I am no ARod apologist. He was a dumb HGH user, he showed what not to do when you talk to the media by bringing down teammates and much of the time he looks more interested in how he appears in the media rather than performing on the field. But to me, the fans need to take a chill pill or they are going to have to defend that “greatest fans in the world” moniker. In the series against the Angels, Alex Rodriguez homered in the first inning of yesterday’s 10-8 loss versus the Angels, and the crowd cheered. With the winning run on first base in the bottom of the ninth, he popped out to end the game. This time, the crowd let out boos. The Yankees’ fan base likes to pride itself on being knowledgeable, but too many from among the team’s legion of followers are unworthy of that distinction. Those are the fans who incessantly boo Alex Rodriguez. Although just about every player has been treated harshly by the home crowd at some point in their career, but the abuse of Arod by Yankees’ fans has gone beyond the point of being rational. Look, Red Sox fan can ignore their own skeletons in the closet and boo and taunt him for his HGH mistake but Yankee fan needs to look at just what they arte doing and why. Perhaps their memory is better than Jeter, who felt the ARod stupidity but please, you guys know better.

-Old nemesis, Kevin Youkilis, hit a game winning homerun for the Chicago White Sox to beat the Boston Red Sox. Or should I say, my new best friend, Kevin Youkilis. BFF! You can tell the state of Red Sox Nation by the comments on their bulletin board. Comments like even Stevie Wonder could see that coming, Lester (who gave up the bomb) is finished. Not an Ace, not even a good pitcher anymore. Whose fault is that Sox fan? Josh Beckett of course, the fried chicken and beer king. He made no comment because he was out on the golf course again today, not his day to pitch. Plus Sox fan is now Garciaparring Youkilis/. Several people commented that he was jaking it his last few weeks as a Red Sox to get out of town. THAT would be Bobby Valentine’s fault. There is nothing, NOTHING as good as watching Sox fan self-destruct. I may have to listen to Boston sports radio to get the FULL effect. Thanks Youk! And the sound in the stands after his big homerun was not Yoouuuuk. That was Booooooo…