Yes, the Yankees swept the Red Sox. More on that -- and all the rest of the big games this week -- tomorrow.
At the moment I want to talk about Joe Girardi.
Girardi's currently serving as one of the Yankees' many TV analysts. By my count, there are seven of them, which has to be some sort of all-time record. What's more, most of them are truly excellent. In addition to Girardi, my favorite, Al Leiter, John Flaherty and Paul O'Neill all are solid (Leiter's better than solid, actually), and Ken Singleton has a million stories to tell.
Today, in the bottom of the fifth inning, this exchange came after Robinson Cano hit his second home run of the afternoon:
Michael Kay: One of the big knocks against Robinson Cano, for the first couple of years, has been his lack of production in day games. And that's changing with these two home runs today. And that's something that Jeter really rides him about.
Girardi: That's a small sample. When you hit well, they're always going to find an area where you don't hit as well as you have in the past. But it's a fairly small sample. Some guys are just better nighttime hitters. There's no doubt about it.
Actually, Cano's never showed any particular lack of production in day games. As a rookie in 2005, he played just slightly worse in day games than night games. In 2006, he was significantly better in day games. It's not until this year that he's struggled in day games, with a .721 OPS in 187 plate appearances (before today).
You know what, though? Girardi's right: That is a small sample. Of course, we can't know the depth of Girardi's understanding of statistical significance. But just a passing familiarity is something you like to see in a future manager, and Girardi will manage again someday.
Notice in his "favorites" list, no mention of Michael Kay. He's right though, although maybe he like Singleton a bit more than I do.
Give me Leiter, Flaherty, O'Neill and Girardi swapping off on every game though, and I'm a happy man.
In one of the more asinine moves made by the commishioner's office, Joba Chamberlain received a two-game suspension for throwing inside to Kevin Youkilis.
What is Bob Watson thinking here? It doesn't make any sense at all. It's almost to the point that if you're ejected from a game, there's an automatic suspension from Majoe League Baseball.
Joba didn't hit anyone. Yes, Youkilis cried and whined and moaned like a little baby, but that doesn't change what didn't happen. Chamberlain didn't hit him. There should be no suspension.
Joba now has one more career suspension than he does victory. He's got more suspensions than saves. He's got more suspensions than he's allowed runs.
The bottom line is that if Watson thinks that Chamberlain was throwing at Youklilis' fat bearded head, then he should get more than two games, and if he doesn't think it was intentional than the ejection should have been all the punishment neccesary.
Now I know by the "Joba Rules" that Chamberlain wasn't going to pitch until Sunday anyway, but this sets a ridiculous precedent. Earlier this year, Clemens hit Alex Rios after benches were warned and received a 5-game suspension (really, it's a 1-game suspension for a starter). Essentially, Joba is getting twice the number of days for not hitting someone but "scaring" him that Clemens got for hitting someone after there were warnings issued. I'm not a big conspiracy theorist, but does anyone else think that if Joba had a "B" on his cap instead of the "NY" that he'd be available to pitch tonight?
Today after Joba Chamberlain was ejected (for no reason) for throwing inside to Kevin Youkilis (for no reason), NESN cameras clearly caught the respectful Beckett yell at a questioning and rightfully confused Chamberlain: "Get out of here, you fucking cunt!"
Respect. Class. The right way. That's Josh Beckett.
Has everyone noticed a difference in one player's uniform on the Red Sox? Jason Varitek has a large "C" on his chest. Originally I figured this to be for "captain" but upon looking at other captains of other teams (Derek Jeter, for example, or footage of Mattingly and Guidry from their playing days) I noticed no such letter sewn on their chests.
So I open the question to the readers: tell me what you think this rogue "C" could stand for. Let's figure this out in the comments, once and for all.
Torre said Saturday he wasn't inclined to play Jason Giambi at first base unless his numbers against a starting pitcher were too strong to ignore. However, when Torre didn't start Jeter and Jorge Posada (day game after night game) yesterday, he went with Giambi at first.
"With (Jose) Molina (catching) and Betemit at short, I wanted to put him in the lineup," Torre said of Giambi, who had started in just one of the previous six games. "He gives us more guts."
Giambi did that early, hitting a solo homer of Jair Jurrjens in the second. Jurrjens left after the blast with soreness in the back of the right shoulder.
I'm hoping next year the Yankees have a manager that believes more in OPS and VORP and EqA and less in "guts" and "hearts of (insert name of african beast)" and "having been there before-edness."
Ok, so maybe that's a little bit of hyperbole, but the Yankees have optioned Sean Henn to Scranton and recalled Chris Britton.
Now since it's Red Sox-Yankees, we'll hear about how Torre wants to "find the right spot" to bring him in and "not throw him into the fire" all the while forgetting that he pitched in the AL East last year.
I've been posting about this for seemingly forever. I have sent you personal emails.
Enough is enough.
If Sean Henn's 79 pitches in 2+ innings with 8 hits, 7 runs and 5 walks - yes, that's 13 baserunners in 2.2 innings - isn't enough to convince you that he should NOT be a major leaguer and that Chris Britton should, there's really no other explanation other than you're intentionally tanking the season.
I can see the future headlines now. Nec Colletti, (you know, the guy who replaced stat-nerd Paul DePodesta and his computer from "geeking" up the Dodgers with a bunch of players based on funny made-up stats like OPP and VIRP) may be finally starting to figure things out.
Or, maybe not. Perhaps if he starts reading the papers such as the LA Times, with it's hard-hitting journalism and latest huge breaking news story, he'll pick up a few tips. Woodward? Bernstein? Step aside, it's Pullitzer time for Kevin Baxter! (Highlights mine):
Workload could be a factor for Proctor
By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer August 27, 2007 NEW YORK -- When the Dodgers acquired Scott Proctor at the trade deadline last month, they knew they were getting a pitcher who had thrown more innings in the last 1 1/2 seasons than any reliever in baseball. And now, after three poor performances in his last six outings, there has been speculation that the heavy workload may have left Proctor hurting, or at least fatigued.
"Am I taking the ball every day?" Proctor asked in response to a question about his health. "Then I'm fine. When I'm not taking the ball every day, then you know something's wrong."
Friday's appearance -- in which he gave up two runs, three hits and a balk in one inning -- was the 13th this month for Proctor, one more than he made in June or July and equal to the number of games he pitched in May. But he has given up two runs in four of his last eight appearances, leaving him with a 5.28 earned-run average for August, his highest of the season.
"Overall he's been pretty good," said Manager Grady Little, who dismissed talk of an injury. "[Friday] I think I saw the best fastball I've seen since he's been with us. He wants the ball every day. [And] we want him out there."
Wow. Grady is continuing the abuse that Torre inflicted it seems, and now there's "speculation" that the reliever with more appearances than any other pitcher in baseball since 2006 may be "fatigued"?
Upcoming LA Times headlines: Juan Pierre Not Getting on Base Enough Golf More Popular When Played Outdoors Nomar May Be Injury Prone Best Way to Put Nail in Board? Hammer, Experts Say Jeff Kent Surly at Times to Teammates Sun to Rise in East Takashi Saito: Japanese
So Bruney's been recalled and Villone is going to the DL because of a "minor lower back strain."
My take: phony injury, created in order to keep Villone on the DL past Sept 1, so that once rosters expand they can keep both and wait to decide whether to put either Bruney or Villone on the postseason roster.
Analysis: Crafty move if you want to keep Villone as an option, but still wrong if Britton is left to rot in AAA.
Chris Britton another victim of Torre's "Circle of Trust"?
Rumors persist that something happened in Spring Training that caused Torre to lose faith in Britton. The guy's been tearing it up in AAA, and during his brief visit to the Bronx this season gave up 1 ER in 5 IP.
Rather than getting promoted again, Britton has been forced to watch as Henn, Karstens, Ramirez, Bruney, Brower, Chamberlain, Bean, Rasner, Villone (and I'm sure someone I'm forgetting) have been promoted instead of him to the Yankees' bullpen.
I know Torre wants "a lefty." But there's no reason to have "a lefty" if said "lefty" (Henn) is only used as your long reliever.
Maybe it's the show and not the host that makes people say really dumb things. This morning Doug Gottleib was filling in for Colin Cowherd on the latter's generally unlistenable "The Herd" on ESPN Radio. About 8:30 AM PST, Gottlieb made the following statement:
"Jumptheshark.com. I'm not usually one to promote a website. It's about how certain shows hit a moment and then go downhill, like in Happy Days when Fonzie jumped that shark on the motorcycle. I surf the internet. I am reckless when I surf the 'net. But I'm not a recluse. Those are the only words I know that begin with r-e-c-k."
Obviously the ability to spell isn't a requirement to be a radio host, but Gottlieb shouldn't advertise that fact.
The best part is that this was all an into to how we'll see whether or not the Colts have "jumped the shark" in their most important pre-season game against the Saints. He goes on to talk for about five minutes about how the last preseason game in the NFL is the only one that really matters, and we'll see in the Colts final tune up how they can handle the run with McAllister and Bush on the field and how important it is that they show something positive to build on before the game counts and so on.
Five minutes later after another segment, Gottlieb then admits "his mistake" and mentions how the Colts open the regular season against New Orleans. In fact it is the first NFL game on the season, and broadcast in prime time on NBC.
Dont worry Colin, your show is in capable hands while you're gone. It's like you never left.
Mussina was downright awful, unable to get through the second inning in his worst start ever as a Yankee. The bullpen didn't help, as the Yankees did come back and score runs, but you can't bury your team that far down and expect to win.
It has to be time for Britton and Bruney to replace Villone and Henn. Yes, I'm aware they're the only lefties, but neither is used as a "left-handed specialist," and handedness doesn't mean as much as ability.
The biggest excitement happened in the stands when a fan failed in his public attempt at popping the question.
With the couple highlighted on the big screen, the mood soured after the man took a knee to offer an engagement ring. Wearing a brick-red replica Astros jersey, the woman appeared to angrily dump a bag of popcorn on the man before rushing up the stairs amid a chorus of boos.
After the top of the sixth, the man left amid cheers from the sympathetic crowd.
"If it was an act, she put on a good one," Garner said. "She looked totally surprised and then totally mad. We couldn't even get a proposal right down here tonight.
"We lead the league in marriage proposals, and we couldn't get that one right tonight."
When I was young I always wanted to marry a girl who would love baseball so much that she'd swoon at a ballgame proposal.
Since I've grown up, I've realized I still want the girl who loves baseball just as much, but also has enough taste to eschew the now tired and cliched ballpark proposal in favor of one more original and more personal and more tailored to the relationship as it has uniquely grown.
However, I'm still down for a ballgame on the honeymoon, possibly.
We've all heard Joe Morgan brag about his "Golden Ticket" - the lifetime pass that lets him into any MLB game for free. From what I've been able to find out, it's actually a lot more common than Mr. Morgan tends to let on. From what I can tell, any major leaguer with 10 years of service or more gets one. No special ceremony. No HOF induction required. Morgan's constant references to said ticket, however, seem to make it appear a bit more rare, which is kind of odd since in his frequent chats he constantly refers to not having seen enough of any team to form any sort of opinion about anything.
Here, for example, is a picture of one Golden Ticket, presented to Charley Root:
Here's another, more recent one, presented to journeyman middle infielder Len Randle, who attended a Padres-Rockies contest with Dave Winfield last week, using said ticket for entry:
My guess is though, in Mr. Morgan's slipping memory, things went a bit like this (with apologies to lupe for aping her style):
I wanted to be the first to find a Golden Ticket, Daddy. I know, Angel. We're doing the best we can. I've got every girl on the bleeding staff hunting for you. All right, where is it? Why haven't they found it? Veruca, sweetheart, I'm not a magician! Give me time! I want it now! What's the matter with those twerps down there? For five days now the entire flipping factory's been on the job. They haven't shelled a peanut in there since Monday. They've been shelling flaming chocolate bars from dawn to dusk. Make 'em work nights. (shouting down the stairs) Come along, come along, you girls, put a jack in it or you'll be out on your ears, every one of you! And listen to this: the first girl that finds a Golden Ticket gets a one pound bonus in her pay bucket! What do you think of that? (The workers scream and begin unwrapping more furiously.) They're not even trying. They don't want to find it. They're jealous of me. Sweetheart, I can't push 'em no harder. Nineteen thousand bars an hour they're shelling. Seven hundred and sixty thousand they've done so far. You promised, Daddy! You promised I'd have it the very first day! You're going to very unpopular around here, Henry, if you don't deliver soon. It breaks my heart, Henrietta. I hate to see her unhappy. I won't talk to you ever again. You're a rotten, mean father. You never give me anything I want. And I won't go to school 'til I have it. Veruca, sweetheart, angel . . . Now. There are only four tickets left in the whole world, and the whole ruddy world's hunting for them. What can I do? I got it! I got it, Mr. Salt, here it is! It's about time too! I want it! (Slugworth leads the worker up the stairs to Veruca.) Give me that ticket! It's mine! I've found a Golden Ticket! (Slugworth whispers in Veruca's ear.) Thank God for that. Aye. Happiness is what counts with children. Happiness and harmony.
Look, everyone, look, I've got it! The fifth Golden Ticket is mine! You're pulling our legs, Charlie! There aren't any more Golden Tickets. No, Grandpa, the last one was a fake; it said so in the papers. I found some money in the street, and I bought a Wonka Bar, and the ticket was in it. Look at it, Grandpa, see for yourself! "Greetings to you, the lucky finder of this Golden Ticket, from Mr. Willy Wonka. Present this ticket at the factory gates at ten o'clock in the morning of the first day of October, and do not be late. You may bring with you one member of your own family but no one else. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine the marvelous surprises that await you!" Charlie, you've done it! Grandpa? It says I can take somebody with me. I wish you could go. (struggling to get out of bed) Charlie. (Charlie helps him.) Ah, that's good. Now help me up. (He stands, then falls back on the bed) Oh! Are you okay? Oh yeah, I'm fine, Charlie. (He stands up and stumbles.) Look at me! Look at me! Up and about . . . I haven't done this in twenty years. Grandpa!
Then again, Morgan's gotten more gold than he deserves:
Vizcaino: 0.2 IP, 2H, 1 ER, allowed 2 iherited runners to score
Torre: No major problems with Torre's bullpen management this time, unless one wishes to get incredibly nitpicky. Bringing Vizcaino in was probably the smart move. However as previously mentioned, Torre set up his lineup in such a way as to give his team a handicap when it came to scoring runs. For what it's worth, lefties went 2-for-13, righties 4-for-7 against Moseley. Pretty much what should have predicted had Torre looked at his splits.
The Yankees face Dustin Moseley tonight, who has been much better against lefties than righties. Considering the new interchangable Yankees lineup, you'd expect to see a bunch of righthanders (Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betermit (S), maybe Jose Molina) in the lineup today, right?
Damon DH (L) Jeter SS (R) Abreu RF (L) Rodriguez 3B (R) Matsui LF (L) Posada C (S) Cano 2B (L) Phillips 1B (R) Cabrera CF (S)
Torre essentially put out his most lefthanded lineup.
I know most of you are complaining that these games "come on too late" and are "still going when it's way past" your bedtimes.
I get it.
But when you live on the west coast, you only get a handful of games per season that start on a weeknight after you have a chance to come home from work.
Think about it - nearly every game the Yankees play on weeknights start at 4pm PST. Add in that most people work until 5pm, and traffic, most of us are lucky to get through our front doors before the start of the 7th inning.
All I'm saying is before you get all upset and complainy about 3 games that run a bit late for you, count your blessings the rest of the season and remember that there are plenty of others out there who are not as fortunate. Just give us these three games.
6th inning, Villone facing Jay Payton, 1 out, bases loaded, Kevin Millar at third:
Ken Singleton: Melky's reputation held Millar there. Word gets around. They see the tapes. There aren't many centerfielders in the American League who can throw runners out at home plate. You have Melky, Torii Hunter, Mark Kotsay, maybe Curtis Granderson... Michael Kay: Ichiro. Singleton: Yep. Vernon Wells. Gotta throw Gary Matthews, Jr. in there. Sizemore.
So after saying it's "not many in the AL" Singleton goes on to name more than half of the starting centerfielders in the league. Brilliant.
I know some of you might not have heard a lot of his broadcasts, but I grew up on him. Every night, Scooter and Bill White (or Murcer, or Seaver, etc) would be on my TV and I'd go to sleep to the hum of the tiny B&W set. I remember that it was late and I should go to sleep whenever Scooter was "halfway across the bridge" (ie the 7th inning).
When I went to Cooperstown with my brother and mom, I couldn't have been older than 5th grade. My brother picked typical souvenirs (current Yankee shirt, cooperstown hat) and I remember I got a shirt that said "Cooperstown has a Big Train, an Iron Horse and a Yankee Clipper.. but where's the Scooter?" It didn't even bother me to have to explain to my typically ignorant classmates who exactly most of those were (it may be hard to believe, but I could be a snarky kid).
When I was in 6th grade or so, I waited at the players entrance at Yankee Stadium. I didn't get or look for a player's autograph like nearly everyone else clamored for, but I yelled to Rizzuto, and over he came and signed my ball.
To this day on my wall I have a signed Rizzuto ball and 8x10. What a truly classy, wonderful guy.
So, so long Phil. Today there will be plenty of stories full of your on field exploits, championships, MVP, years in the booth, etc., but for me I'll just miss the nice old man who finally made the Hall, and was kind enough to stop and talk to a young boy that he once helped put to bed every night.
Do I know if this is true? No. Is it possible? Sure. But hell, I'm reporting it anyway.
LA Rag Mag is reporting that Derek Sanderson Jeter, who was widely reported to have dated (and was repeatedly photographed with) Jessica Alba, infected her with an STD, namely herpes.
We’re going to apologize in advance to all the straight men out there, for ruining their Jessica Alba fantasies, but here goes…..Jessica Alba(before she was Jessica Alba) used to date Derek Jeter, the serial celebrity dater, who plays for the NY Yankees. Well, our source worked closely with Alba, and had to refill her Valtrex prescription for her on a regular basis! Guess who she got it from…that’s right…dirty Derek Jeter.
So unless Alba, Scarlett Johannson (God in heaven, please no), Mariah Carey, Adriana Lima, Jordana Brewster, Vanessa Minnillo, a bunch of Miss USAs or Jessica Biel confirm this, I'll withhold judgement on the veracity of the claim. But still... interesting.
Unless the Yankees decide to rely on sentimentality and "veteranism" over talent and production, Tronto is probably the last stop for Miguel Cairo in a Yankee uniform.
Jason Giambi is coming back. Andy Phillips can play first, second, and third. Wilson Betemit can play all four infield positions (second base in a pinch). Shelley Duncan is a DH/first baseman/emergency outfielder who is crushing the ball whenever he's given an opportunity. Miguel Cairo is, well, Miguel Cairo.
One of those people have to go, as there is no reason to have eight infielders on the roster (not counting the catchers, that's Jeter, Rodriguez, Cano, Phillips, Duncan, Giambi, Betemit, and Cairo).
Cairo's versatility made him an asset to a weak bench early in the season. Now, he's redundant and should be made so. I know he's a Torre favorite, but Cashman needs to do what's best for the team and let Cairo go.
The "King" of reporting speculative trade rumors as absolute fact (did you see that? there's a pun there!) has outdone himself again. While everybody and theirbrother is reporting it's Jim Brower (no, not the Half Baked Goatboy) and not Joba Chamberlain who is being promoted to take the spot of the DFA'd Mike Myers, good ol' George King is reporting the complete opposite:
HERE'S JOBA! By MICHAEL MORRISSEY and GEORGE KING JOBA CHAMBERLAIN Getting the call-up. JOBA CHAMBERLAIN Getting the call-up.
August 6, 2007 -- Yankees fans are dying to see Joba Chamberlain pitch, but Joe Torre would simply like to meet the young man first.
He'll get that chance today.
After yesterday's game, Mike Myers was designated for assignment and did not make the trip to Toronto. Chamberlain will be there and will be activated in time for this afternoon's game.
If any proof were ever needed that King reports guesses and speculation as fact without first checking little things like facts and sources, here's the smoking gun. King probably saw that Myers was released, and in his typical lazy style made a big splash headline about Joba being called up, despite the fact that:
Chamberlain was "demoted" from SWB to Trenton because the Scranton team is playing in Canada and Chamberlain doesn't yet have a passport
On July 8, the day before the All-Star Game break, the Yankees led the Angels by 10 runs when Scott Proctor was sent in to pitch the eighth inning. To the Yankees’ decision makers, this was an obvious sign that Manager Joe Torre would probably always favor Proctor over a pitcher just up from the minors, no matter how promising that pitcher seemed.
So when the trading deadline arrived at 4 p.m. yesterday, the Yankees took away Torre’s go-to reliever, shipping Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers for the utility infielder Wilson Betemit.
The Proctor trade cleared the way for two converted starters, Joba Chamberlain and Ross Ohlendorf, or for Edwar Ramírez to assume an important role in the Yankees’ bullpen. Ramírez, who went two weeks without pitching when he was with the Yankees in July, will probably be recalled today.
Joe Torre had better use (Chamberlain). Because if he doesn't, it could be one of Torre's last mistakes as Yankees manager.
The impending promotion of Chamberlain is a huge test for Torre at a time when his position in the organization is as tenuous as it's ever been. He is not, traditionally, good at trusting young relief pitchers. And the Yankees front office wouldn't be promoting Chamberlain if they didn't want him to be used in key spots. Their hope is that Chamberlain's 98-mile-per-hour fastball and vanishing slider will be good enough -- and strange enough to opponents -- to overcome his youth and lack of experience. But if Torre doesn't put the front office's plan into action, he could find himself without any backers in the organization when this year is over and his contract is up.
But some in the organization are skeptical. Torre has frustrated people in the front office with his loyalty to slumping veterans and his refusal to use the players (Shelley Duncan, Edwar Ramirez, Andy Phillips when he first came up) they have promoted from their system. He voiced strong opposition to proposed deals for outfielder Milton Bradley and infielder Morgan Ensberg -- deals the Yankees eventually turned down in part because they believed those players would just rot on the bench. Duncan, who was a budding cult hero at Yankee Stadium a week and a half ago, played in just two games on the road trip that followed his big-splash debut weekend.
So as the Yankees mulled different available bench players in advance of the deadline, the common off-the-record refrain from Yankees officials was "our manager won't play him anyway."
It's just about impossible to find somebody in the Yankee organization who thinks Torre will be managing the team in 2008. He's a sure bet to finish out this season, but plans are in the works to replace him with Joe Girardi, Don Mattingly, Bobby Valentine or somebody else when it's over. And that feeling has made complaining about Torre a popular pastime around the team.
Given Torre's track record with pitchers who've never helped him win playoff games, Chamberlain's season is likely to go one of two ways. If he pitches well in his first couple of games, Torre will overuse him. And if he doesn't, Torre will never call his number again. That's the manager's pattern with young, untested players, though he insists he'd make an exception if the kid is all they say he is.
"I've always said I make an exception if you have someone who has extraordinary ability," Torre said.
In this case, if he doesn't, it could be bad news for the Yankees, bad news for Chamberlain and the end of the road for Torre as Yankees manager.
.. an exception to what? Did Torre admit to that pattern? I kinda wish Graziano had posted the question or preceeding statement, but nonetheless, an interesting read.