He'll be fine, really.

Oh, Special Kay, you sure did have a big bag of excuses for Javier Vazquez after he got lit up again yesterday (really - 4 runs in 5.1 is 'not that bad?').  My favorite was that he's had to pitch against really good teams!  Then how did Pettitte manage to pitch well against the same team the day before?  Weak, Michael, weak.

So, the season so far: Papi need to be platooned at a minimum;  the Sox pen is scary and not good scary; the Yankee pen aside from Rivera is not all that much better;  Chamberlain is on his slow descent and as I predicted long ago, will be out of baseball within 5 years;  Phil the Franchise had to fight to win a #5 spot; and it's going to be a long, wacky season.

Back! Let the pigeons loose!

Yeah, well, we'll see how this works out. 

Anyway, Special Kay is in fine form already.  He outlined a major problem in baseball by saying, while raging about Joba being sent to the pen, that the Yankees don't need to develop relievers because they can just go out and buy the most expensive one out there when Rivera retires.  Jesus, what an indictment of a flawed system.  This is why I have little respect for Cashman as a GM - he's not responsible for his mistakes.  No talent in the minors?  Go buy players. 

Kay also said he thinks the Sox will have trouble scoring runs, which leads me to believe he doesn't think much at all.  Yes, they lost Bay.  But they'll have Martinez for the full year instead of the black hole that Tek was, they have Beltre who is going to LOVE the Monster much like Lowell did, and Scutaro is an improvement with glove and stick at short.  The offense will be fine.  The infield defense is incredible.  The rotation is one of the best in baseball.  Despite the juggernaut the Yankees have built I think this team can seriously contend for the pennant.  Really?  yes, really.  Look:

The Yankees had a charmed year.  Aside for A-rod missing 2 months - during which they floundered - they really didn't have major injury issues.  Jeter had an improbable surge that is unlikely to be maintained.  Vasquez was awful years ago in NY and there's no reason to believe he'll be any different now.  They still have a single lefty in the pen.  Hughes will be a terrible starter, as he's incredibly overrated.  His fastball is 88-91.  Why do people ignore this?  Joba is going to break down as his pitching motion is a disaster.  if Cashman is smart he'd move him, but his ego is so hung up on developing a quality pitcher that he won't let go.

If they stay healthy - a huge if, given ages involved - the Yankees are going to be tough to catch.  But they've trended back towards that home-run-or-nothing lineup that didn't work for them in the mid-aughts, and I'm not convinced their pen is all that great beyond Rivera.  In any case, let's get the games going already. 

On Girardi

So the AL Manager of the Year award went to Mike Scioscia, which is concrete proof that the playoffs don't count. Girardi finished 3rd, and I imagine he's happy with that, especially since last year he was Clueless Joe and ready to be run out of town. Given he had the best record in the league and won the Series, was he jobbed on the MotY?

I don't think much of him as a manager, but he's in a no-win situation as far as recognition goes. I'm not feeling sorry for the guy - a truckload of money to oversee a bunch of all-stars doesn't deserve pity - but when he wins with these guys, well, it's expected. He has the best players the Yankees could buy including 3 probable Hall of Famers in his infield, not to mention the greatest closer of all time and a catcher who would bat cleanup for most teams. Around here he's supposed to win with his talent gap, so why would he be lauded when he does?

Conversely, if he falls short, like last year, he must be an idiot. Even though Torre suffered through an awfully long dry spell himself before departing, Girardi is going to be under a microscope every year.

I don't think he deserved the MotY because he's not, in my opinion, a particularly good manager who didn't do anything spectacular this year besides guiding a battleship fighting a naval war against a fleet consisting of mostly PT boats (World War II references! Timely!). To be fair, it probably should have been Gardenhire who did the most with the least, but he'll get to show his managing chops next year outside in Minnesota in early April. Still, Girardi now has something that most managers don't - a title under his leadership. And that counts for something, even if that something isn't being crowned Manager of the Year.

Remember that scene in Better Off Dead when Blaine throws the radio out of his car?

"Next up on their Brandon Tierney Show, Spike Lee!"

Click.  Every time I get annoyed seeing Affleck in the stands at Fenway I should remember this and be thankful . . .

My Yankee fan friends have been fairly under control.  Most just smile, shrug, and nod when it's suggested that they bought the championship.  Considering that none of the players raised through their system in the past 5 years really contributed at all in the playoffs, it's tough to dispute that.  There's a fascinating article by the great Joe Posnanski about the way the Yankees spend here.  His point that even though the Yankees outspend every team by around 50+ million or so every year it's just become part of the landscape is interesting, to say the least.  Also that with their advantages it's astounding that they'd gone so long without a championship. 

Again, why is Cashman revered?  I just don't get it.

Sox get Jeremy Hermida.  I'm so excited I might keel over sideways and fall asleep.  I really hope they resign Bay as opposed to Holliday, but neither one excites me in the field.  Will Theo pull off a trade and get the Padres' first baseman?  That would be nice. 


And so, the Dark Times Arrive

I suppose I should be ranting away here, bitching about the championship going to a team that spent way more, that has acknowledged cheaters playing for them, plays in a toy stadium, blah blah blah.

Why bother?

Look, when people look back the books are merely going to say that the Yankees won the Series in 2009.  It's not going to have a * next to it for any reason.  Not for the disproportionate salary gap, not for Pettitte and Rodriguez, not at all.  There's not much to do but shrug and move on.  The Yankees had the perfect storm this season.  Aside from Wang, who couldn't be counted on anyway, the only player of any significance who missed time was Rodriguez, and that was at the beginning of the year.  There's no way it'll ever be like that again, and this team has an interesting and delicate balance.  Despite hearing endlessly about the farm system they really haven't produced much - no starters, questionable relievers, and are you really that excited about Cervelli?  It's an old team.  They should be in trouble, but we all know Cashman is going to break out the checkbook and sign a few more big names this winter.  It's unfair.  It destroys competitive balance.  But it's also completely legal, so deal with it.

I think I'm able to be handling this with a 'meh' attitude is because this is the first time I've had to deal with a Yankee championship after the Sox have tallied two.  There's no more 1914, no more 86 years, and the Sox have an awfully good rotation heading into next year.  Questions at short, catcher, and left field, but otherwise a very good team to be excited about.

So while I could never congratulate the Yankees or the majority of their fan base, I can say congrats to my friends and the readers here who are fans.  I know how awesome it is to go out and buy something shiny and expensive.  Oh hell I said I wasn't going to go there and I did.  And while I'm elsewhere, who the hell is Jody MacDonald?  They have him doing WS updates on Mike and Mike and he sounds like a homeless guy who wandered in off the streets to get warm.  Here's some his insightful musings this morning:  "The players win the championship," (huh?  as opposed to robots?  or the hot dog vendors?)  and  "Girardi made decisions, and if they were right he'd be a genius, and if they were wrong he'd be second-guessed," (thank you, Captain Obvious.  Can you also remind us that the Sun is going to rise in the ast this morning, and set in the west?).  He also sounds like he was chugging Nyquil before he got on the air.  Really, ESPN, this is the best you could come up with?  Tell all your talent to quit having sex with low-level staffers and get to work.

I will get a tank and shove cars off the Harlem River Drive if need be

Here's a situation I might have to face.  I have a championship rugby match scheduled for this Saturday afternoon on Randall's Island.  For those not acquainted with NYC, Randall's Island is a little blob of land at the base of the Tri-Boro Bridge.  Coming from jersey you can't get to it without dealing with Manhattan, either the Harlem River Drive or coming across Harlem itself.  My concern is that if the MFY win in 7 games, would the parade be that Saturday?  Because that would make my trip absolutely miserable and I'm warning the world now, anything with pinstripes that keeps me from my match is fair game.  I'm just sayin'.

Uhmn, these two bullpens are awful.  With Pedro and non-rested Pettitte the Juicer going tomorrow, this game should end up at like 11-7 or something.  I still have zero faith that the Phillies can pull it off, but oh hell it would be about 15 kinds of awesome if they did.

Speaking of heading up to the Jerome Ave Mall, let's see what some other folks think of the new Stadium, via Deadspin.


Spooky Time!

The setting:  the home of a Yankee fan, a dozen or so years in the future. 

Dad:  Okay, son, time for bed.  What story would you like tonight?
Son:  I don't want one from a book tonight, Daddy.  Can you tell me a Yankee story instead?
Dad: Of course!  What would you like?
Son:  Tell me about . . . The Franchise.
Dad:  Now, you know I'm not supposed to tell you horror stories at bedtime.  They give you nightmares!
Son:  Dad, please?  They were so close then, and it's been 22 years and eleventy-billion dollars spent and still no championships.  How much more scary could it be?
Dad:  Well, that's fair enough.  Well, back in the middle of the Aughts the Great Yankee Hype Machine start to crank up full steam over the impending arrival of can't-miss Hall of Famers Phil 'The Franchise' Hughes and Joba 'What do you mean, bend my brim?' Chamberlain.
Son:  Why did they call him 'The Franchise?'  Was he that good?
Dad:  No, not really.  See, the Yankees had pretty much the worst draft scouting ever, for years and years, and Brian Cashman -
Son:  AHHH!!!!! (hides under covers)
Dad: It's okay, it's okay, Captain Spendalot isn't here.
Son: (muffled) But Daddy we live on a farm and he KILLS farms systems . .
Dad: Come out, he hasn't been working for years and years, not since he was hired by a team with an actual salary limit and, well, you know.
Son:  (emerges)  Okay, I guess.
Dad:  Anyway, the Yankees just loved to tout every player of theirs that either hit above .240 in AA or had and ERA under 4.00 in AAA as THE NEXT BIG THING.  Remember reading about, say, Ian Kennedy?
Son:  (confused) No.
Dad:  He was a AAAA player, but it you listened to Cashman he'd have you believing that EVERY pitcher wished they had an 88mph fastball.  Anyway, The Franchise was Can't Miss.  A sure number 1 starter.  The pride of the Yankee Farm system.
Son:  And what happened?
Dad:  Meh, he missed.  After one start during which he managed to hurt himself, he came back and pretty much proved he wasn't, uhm, so good.  His fastball dropped in velocity when he was starting and was straighter than a Kansas highway.  Then came the magical time!
Son:  Oooo!
Dad:  Yes, Mariano taught him a cutter after Phil failed yet again as a starter, and suddenly he was THE GREATEST 8TH INNING PITCHER EVER!
Son:  Really?
Dad:  No.  Well, He was effective for half a season, and suddenly that meant he was incredible.
Son:  Just like Joba the year before, right?  Didn't they ever learn?
Dad:  No, son, they didn't.  But the Hype Machine wasn't supposed to learn.  And then came the 2009 playoffs, and The Franchise wasn't so Franchise-y.
Son:  Dad, i don't think I want to hear any more.  It's getting scary.
Dad:  Scary?  that's not scary.  The fact that the Joba Rules were for a grown man and not a nine-year old, that's scary.  The right field wall at the New Stadium, that's scary.  Being locked in a room with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman, that's scary!
Son:  (weeping)  please stop!

That being said, it's only 1 game.  But they denied CC, knocked around the overrated pen, and now have home field advantage.  Let's hope AJ is already sweating bullets and Posada is already bitching about his bench seat.

Can't they just fight it out with swords?

Phillies vs. Yankees.  Ugh.  Well, guess I'm rooting for the Phils, as hopeless as it may be.  I'm not one who believes in fate, but when Jeter boots a ball and it bounces off his chest directly to Cano instead of anywhere else, things don't look good.  Still, the Phils aren't pushovers.  If they can steal one of the games in Yankee Stadium, they've got a chance.  The Yankees lose Matsui's bat in Philly and also have to rely on Girardi's debatable managing skill much more.  The Philly pen isn;t too bad, as long as Lidge holds up.  

the Phils took 2 of 3 from the Yankees in their stadium this year and it should have been a sweep, if not for Lidge.  Let's hope they don't fall apart like the Angels did and Girardi has to keep that 27 on his back for as long as he keeps his job.

He said it, not me

Mike Greenberg, this morning on Mike and Mike:

"The Yankees have bought themselves a pretty good team."

When even Yankee fans are owning up to it, I guess it's a fact.  But the thing is: it really doesn't matter.

It's not a level playing field.  Hell, where the Yankees are involved, it's practically a vertical one.  But history isn't going to care.  Maybe we shouldn't either because, well, what's the point?

If the Yankees win this year, the history books are just going to list them as the World Series Champions.  There won't be an * next to it because they spent much more money than anybody else, or because they have acknowledged cheaters playing for them, or any other reason.  They've played within the rules, as unfair as they might be, and if they win, they win. 

Look, I'd love a salary cap, and I root for a team that spends more than most teams.  I think it would bring an NFL type fairness to the game, it would rein in ticket prices, and it would hopefully erase the utter insanity of a single person getting 35k per at bat - per AT BAT - while ten percent of the country is unemployed.  I think this has about as much a chance of happening as me hitting the lottery tomorrow, which ain't likely since I don't play it.  But it's nice to wish for.

What isn't nice is how angry I am at the Sox.  How did they roll over and die for the Angels team?  They're awful. They keep handing games to a Yankee team that, before yesterday, had about 2guys hitting over .250.  Throwing the ball around, walking guys left and right, it's horrible to watch.  So I don't.  Instead I resign myself to the fact that I'm going to have to root for the Phillies, from the angry, nasty city of Philadelphia.  If Lidge is straightened out it could be interesting, although I'd rather see them give Happ a shot.

If that sounds like I think the Angels are dead, well, it should.  They are.  Evidently the Ghost of Nick Adenhart was only good for one series.


How do you become a media darling in NYC?

If you're A-Rod, it's simple.

Hit a fly ball to right field that would be an out in 29 of the 30 MLB stadiums.  In fact, it would have been an out in the Stadium you called home last year.

Benefit from the Little League dimensions of your new field, tie up game.

Wah-lah!  You're the New Mr. October! (although you were 1-6 in the game and really, should have been 0-6)

I'm losing hope.  I recognize a lost cause when I see it.  Too many expensive players healthy.  Gonna take a miracle to avoid #27.