Monday, July 21, 2014

Foul Territory's Pursuit of Ripken Stalled

Yankees scramble to find a first baseman who will strike out with runners in scoring position.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grounds Crew Fixes Mound

This is an MLB highlight of the Yankees game.

In case you were wondering how entertaining this team is.

For some reason, it is very important for Mike Lupica to convince Yankee fans to abandon their team.

Baseball is not basketball.

Keep in mind as you read this weird attempt to convince Yankee fans to abandon their team:

"The Yankees had Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, and for a time it was as storied a five as the Knicks once had in the old days. One by one they all left, and now it is only Jeter left."

Like sands through the hour glass ...


"And when he is gone at the end of this season, the Yankees will go on, the brand of the Yankees will go on, the big business of the Yankees sure will."

The Yankees are very successful financially despite the decades-long barbs from New York sportswriters.


"Oh, we will continue to hear about how the pinstripes and the uniform and the place will transform the new hired guns they bring in. That will happen just by hype and old glory, like the kind we get about Madison Square Garden still being a mecca of basketball after one victory in a playoff series in the past 14 years."

I think the Yankees will have to win ballgames. But why are you mentioning basketball again?


"But once Jeter is gone, there is no one who connects to any of that. There really is no one. It is why the notion that Jeter got too much money in that last contract scrum he had with the Yankees a few years ago was always so chowderheaded, and short-sighted. Or it was just people just thinking and saying what the people running the Yankees wanted them to think and say. You could never properly quantify what Jeter has meant to the brand, and still means."

I think Mark Teixeira is the obvious choice to carry on the Mr. Clutch tradition. Nothing to worry about whatsoever.

As for properly quantifying what Jeter means to the brand, the Yankees quantified it at $20 million per year.


"Tim Duncan will never be treated or considered the way Jeter has been, like that kind of surpassing and iconic star of this time in American sports. Duncan never had New York, never had the Yankees, never was marketed that way because he frankly didn’t want to be. But the two of them are remarkably the same, and not just because they have each won five championships.

Duncan came along in 1997, one year after Jeter became the Yankee starter at shortstop. Only now, after all the winning he has done with the Spurs, he still is part of the Core Three in San Antonio along with Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. They just won another NBA title together a month ago, and thrilled us all the way they did. The supporting cast in San Antonio, incidentally, has been replenished without spending a fortune year after year — after year — on hired guns."


Let's see ...

1) Why basketball again?

2) Tim Duncan is highly regarded, thank you very much.

3) The Spurs are better than the Yankees for sure. The Spurs play a different sport. So what is your point?


"The current manager of the team is a good guy. CC Sabathia seemed to embrace the culture before he broke down this way, and the back end of his contract became the pitching version of Alex Rodriguez's. We will never know how Robinson Cano's presence and excellence — and the fact that he was actually the first star, homegrown position player since Jeter — would have factored into all of this, because the Yankees chose not to give him 10 years at a time when they gave Jacoby Ellsbury seven."

Before Cano signed with Seattle, Lupica spent a lot of time pre-emptively criticizing the Yankees' signing of Cano. To act like Cano 10 years and $240M is worth it and to act like Cano was poised to take over the leadership reins is a nonsensical fabrication.


"The Yankees will go on, and will win again. It just won’t be like the winning they got from Jeter and Bernie and Mo, Pettitte and Posada. And Paul O'Neill. There will never again be a time like this. Jeter takes that with him. They can buy a lot at Yankee Stadium, maybe even one more postseason for Derek Jeter.

But when he goes, in all the ways that matter at the Stadium, there is no one."


Is Jeter retiring, or something?

Thanks for the heads up. The Yankees and MLB should probably look into this. It would be a shame if he went through the entire season without recognition of some sort.


"I don’t know how long this all can last with the Mets, but they have sure been fun to watch lately.

And for a couple of weeks they’ve been a whole lot more fun to watch than the Yankees."

Right. You have been saying this for 15 years ... an observation build on the premise that Mike Lupica actually watches baseball games.

Like, the Mets were 11 games under .500 and he gathered the family in front of the TV on a Friday night and got a big bowl of popcorn. "Everybody get ready. They're about to win 9 out of 11 and it's gonna be great!"

Besides, the 2014 Yankees is a very low bar to set in terms of excitement. Unless leaving men on base is your idea of excitement.
One afternoon, I almost watched soccer instead ... but soccer was even worse.





Sunday, July 13, 2014

I'd be very surprised if the Yankees acquired Cliff Lee.

"But then Yankee fans need to ask themselves what deal they like that their team has really made since they got David Justice about nine thousand years ago.

You know who Cliff Lee would be for the Yankees in the summer of 2014?

The pitching version of Alfonso Soriano."

But here's the thing ... Alfonso Soriano tore it up for the Yankees last season. 50 RBIs in 58 games. 17 HRs in 219 at-bats. .256/.325/.525.

Ichiro tore it up in the second half two seasons ago. .322/.340/.454 in 227 at-bats.


What are you asking for from a mid-season pickup? A World Series title?

I mean, the Yankees acquired Justice in 2000. He definitely helped a great team win the World Series.

Since then, the Yankees have won one World Series.

If that's your criteria, the only eligible players would be mid-season replacements picked up in 2009:
  • Eric Hinske. There you go. In 2009, Hinske hit 7 HRs in 84 at-bats. Didn't do much in the playoffs -- walked in his only plate appearance. Ran onto the field in celebration when the Yankees beat the Phillies. He Jose Cansecoed the Phillies, in other words.


Or are you asking for any impactful July pickup since 2000? In the past 9,000 years (give or take 8,986 years)?

There are quite a few, since you asked:

  • Mondesi in 2002 wasn't bad.
  • Sierra contributed in 2003 and 2004 and probably would have been a World Series ninth-inning Champion hero if Aaron Boone could have hit a sac fly.
  •  2005, of course, was the magical Small/Chacon 15-3 combo ... Small being a July call-up rather than a trade, but it's pretty much the same thing.
  •  2006 is real easy: Abreu. Not my favorite player by any means, but a good trade for sure. Wanna know who the Yankees traded for Abreu and Lidle? The Yankees traded C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios, and Matt Smith.
  • 2007 and 2008, I got nothing.
  • Hinske in 2009.
  • Berkman in 2010 was a bad trade. I don't like that one. Wood in 2010 was a good trade. I like that one.
  • 2011 and 2012, I don't think the Yankees made any July trades. Lowe was an inconsequential fee agent signing.
  • Let's see, now we're up to Ichiro and Soriano, both played pretty well for short periods of time.

I like most of these deals, in retrospect, because the Yankees traded nothing.


That's how it works with these July trades. You trade young garbage for another team's older garbage. Then, you just hope the garbage you obtained doesn't stink so bad.




Lupica is a Dr.

In a typical pro-Mets/anti-Yankee column (Mets are exciting; Don't trade Murphy; Matsusaka is great; Granderson is great) which would force any casual observer to conclude the Mets are in first place instead of fourth place, the anti-Yankee bent crosses the line when Lupica plays Dr. with another man's elbow:

"Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees aren’t being patient about this tear in his ulnar ligament.

They seem to be in denial.

Maybe, by some miracle of rehab and treatment and miracle drugs, that tear will heal itself.

More likely, all they’ve done is push back Tommy John surgery until September, and set up a scenario where the best player they had this season doesn’t pitch again until 2016."

Doesn't that make your day? A devastating injury to a Yankee player? You can barely disguise your unbridled joy at a Yankee injury.


Everyone knows that surgery is a strong possibility. Rehab is not a PR stunt and the decision to rehab has nothing to do with the 2014 standings. It's Doctor's orders.

Real doctors, not a pretend expert whose opinion is clouded by an obsessive disregard for Brian Cashman.

Comedy

I must admit, Raissman almost got me with this one:

"With the rest of Masahiro Tanaka’s season in doubt, things could not be more serious for the Yankees organization.

Let’s hope Joe Girardi, along with the suits upstairs, don’t decide to circle the wagons and sharpen the focus by cutting out all extracurricular activities — such as Mark Teixeira’s hilarious 'Foul Territory' TV show, only on YES.

 This is just what Yankees fans, engulfed in gloom, need right now. Teixeira’s program is the kind of funny that makes stuff come out your nose. Tex plays the role of a dopey/robotic interviewer. We have yet to figure out what baseball writer Teixeira based the character on.

There have been some classic interviews, including his A+ effort interviewing a 'brand new base.' Among the penetrating questions posed to the base are:

'When you were painted, did you think you would be a first base, a second base, a third base?'

'All right base, have you ever thought of being anything else — like home plate or a pitcher’s mound?'

And at one point Teixeira says: 'I’m going to pretend that he (the base) answers and move on to the next question.'

We are begging the suits not to cancel this show. And we are begging Teixeira to do a sit-down with John (Pa) Sterling and Suzyn (Ma) Waldman."

A+? Hilarious? Just what Yankee fans need?

Oh, I get it now. You're being sarcastic. Phew.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

That's exactly what I was thinking.

"In reality, Masahiro Tanaka’s injury is not a catastrophic event that sends the Yankees from division contenders to hopeless losers. It’s not going to cost them 10 games in the standings, or even 5 games. And it shouldn’t be the prime mover that tells ownership to switch on a dime from ‘win now’ mode to rebuild mode. But if that’s what it takes — if Tanaka’s fall acts as a signal or the shedding of a psychological barrier, then so be it.

The reality is that Tanaka was just the best player on a bad team. His injury will likely cost the Yankees 2 or 3 wins over the remainder of the regular season. On a team whose run differential puts them behind 11 other AL clubs, Tanaka was the water wings that gave the Yankees hope of keeping their heads above .500 the rest of the way."


The Yankees are a shockingly bad offensive team:

-- The team on-base% is .314.

-- 371 runs in 92 games. 4 runs per game ... while playing their home games at Yankee Stadium. From what I can tell, most of those runs occur on solo HRs or errors.

-- Ready for Yankee cumulative DH stats? .202 batting average. .262 on-base%. .365 slugging%. May as well let the pitchers bat for themselves.

-- Two outs and RISP: .205/.288/.296. With 6 HRs in 361 at-bats. This is even more embarrassing when you consider the multiple Yankee batters who refuse to take the gimme RBI with the infield shift on.


So, yeah.

Pitching is not really the problem here. The Replacement Pitchers have done quite well. Tanaka is the best player on a lousy team, but there is simply no reason his injury (short-term or long-term) should change the Yankees' overall strategy.

It's not impossible that they will win the World Series this year, but it's foolish and irresponsible to turn pipe dreams into strategic decisions.

I like Gardner and Robertson. Every Yankee fan does. But Robertson is going to be a free agent and a team can't really have two closers for the long term. They both will demand closer salaries and they both needs saves to demand closer salaries.

There is really no reason to hold on to Robertson just so the Yankees can win 79 games instead of 77 ... just so he can get his 40th save in front of a bored and half-empty Stadium in September.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trade what for what?

The Yankees are "sellers" even if Tanaka is healthy. Because wishful thinking is not a legit strategy.

But if you're not specific, you're wasting column space.

I heard one WFAN caller say the Yankees should trade Jeter to a contender.

Of course the Yankees should sell. They should have traded Soriano for Giancarlo Stanton instead of designating Soriano for assignment. They should trade Ichiro for Mike Trout. They should swap the whole roster with the A's.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

MLB totally plays that.

With offenses down, don't be surprised if a lot of players get ADD exemptions.

Pitchers, not so much.


As for Big Papi, some people simply don't know when to shut up.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Showalter is correct. Every team has PED cheats.

Lackey is also stating the obvious.

So what is the deal?

Does MLB want to clean it up or not?

I know the answer: Not.

He's cycling for sure.

Depending on his stack, I think a typical cycle lasts for about 8 weeks. He may have timed it for the All Star Game, so expect a big dropoff in August.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Mike Lupica writes about Alex Rodriguez, at long last.

This is "baseball" in Mike Lupica's mind.

There is a actual MLB baseball season going on and Lupica really doesn't care about it.


I'll bet Lupica couldn't name ten pitchers in the AL. Ten good ones. Not ten names he dredged up from his memory.

Top Ten AL pitchers and you can't look it up on baseball-reference.com (and act as if you know who Sonny Gray is).


I'm not sure why it's so important for Lupica to torch a particular player.

I'm also not sure what Lance Armstrong has to do with it. I mean, I get that they both cheated, but I don't know why you'd link a PED baseball player to a PED bicyclist when there are so many other PED baseball players where the comparison works quite nicely.

I'm also not sure why Lupica is so weirdly willing to let Selig off the hook ... tell the rest of us what this story is really "about."


The thing is, ARod isn't even playing baseball this season.

We've reached the midpoint of the season, and while I'll admit that NY baseball is dreadful at the moment, a NY sportswriter theoretically signed up for the job of reporting on NY baseball.

The only thing that grabs Lupica's attention is another ARod takedown.

There has to be something about this season that is worth writing about.

How's Mike Baxter doing at AAA? That kid from Archbishop Molloy? You could do a profile on him.




Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Hurry back, Iron Man.

It's starting to make sense now.

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous speech, the similarities between the Iron Horse and the Yankees' current first baseman are striking.

Not funny.

Your team is under .500 and nobody likes you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

ARod got booed by a passionate fan base.

Steroids aside, ARod was mostly booed unfairly. The guy winning MVPs and driving in 125 supposedly wasn't clutch and supposedly wasn't earning his money.

For some reason, the 4-5-6 overpaid slobs on the 2014 Yankees are not getting booed.

Maybe it's all anticlimactic after ARod. Maybe the fans are just disinterested in general.

I think a quiet stadium might be worse than an angry stadium.

Monday, June 30, 2014

There must be a website that keeps track of LOB.

I want to see if Teixeira is going for the record. Two more tonight so far.

The so-called RBI Machine

Teixeira's HR breakdown:

  • 11 solo
  • 3 two-run
  • 1 three-run
  • 0 grand slams

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Simply put, why no one is complaining about the pitching.

Hitting bad.

Pitching good.

(Links provided by nomaas.org.)

Because Trout hit the ball really far ... get it?

Mike Lupica is in Foul Territory:

"I can’t be sure of this, but I think that home run Mike Trout hit against the Royals on Friday night just landed."

Ha ha ha!

What other insightful baseball observations from the New York Metropolitan area's leading sports columnist?


"For all the hand-wringing about injuries to Yankee starters, tell me who among us, at the start of spring training, was expecting huge things this year from CC, or Nova, or Michael Pineda?"

Well, most of the initial hand-wringing is due to the fact that the Yankees lost 3 of their 5 starters. That means the team would have to use 8 starting pitchers, at a minimum. No team has that much depth at starting pitching. So a perceived Yankee strength suddenly became a weakness.


Whitley has been good so far; Phelps has been OK; Nuno not so good. In any case, the Yankees have evaded Starting Pitching disaster so far. But Nuno and Phelps could probably help from the bullpen. Maybe Whitley, too, or perhaps he has ascended to spot starter.


As for the expectations of the Yankee starters on the DL, Lupica used the world "or."

Did I expect CC or Nova or Pineda to have a big year? Yes. I expected probably 2 out of 3 to have "big years." Depending on what you mean by "big year." With this garbage offense and pitiful infield defense, a big year out of Nova might be 15-12, 4.25 ERA.

Pineda I think still has some upside potential, maybe even in 2014. If not a "big year," then certainly better than Nuno.

CC I think is shot forever.


So while I think it would be foolish to expect the undefined "big seasons" from all three, I think a lot of people expected big things from at least one of them.

But why am I even talking about this?

The Yankees' biggest problem is their garbage offense. Which is why nobody is complaining about the Replacement Starters.


"Brett Gardner is having a terrific season."

Officially.

Because Mike Lupica noticed.

Friday, June 27, 2014

I don't know about the pitch framing part ...

... but I am happy to find an article that hypes Lucroy for MVP.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

They're not laughing with you, they're laughing at you.

Teixeira actually said, without sarcasm, that he drew inspiration from Saturday Night Live and Between Two Ferns.