Sunday, October 04, 2015

I don't believe Mike Lupica is a baseball fan, nor do I believe he pays attention to actual baseball games.

The best regular season I can think of -- in terms of weird September comebacks, anyway -- was that season a few years ago when the Rays came from way back and knocked out Boston on the last day of the season. The Cardinals did the same thing to the Braves.

It wasn't that long ago.

It was 2011:

"There has never been a better regular season in baseball than this one, at least not lately."

What is your agenda?

This is such an implausibly ridiculous statement, that I find it utterly impossible that you genuinely feel this way.

"All the way to the last weekend of the season, you had two New York teams in the playoffs, you had Chicago in the playoffs, you had the Dodgers in the playoffs and the Angels still trying to get in."

Well, gee.

When 1/3rd of the teams make the "playoffs," then a lot of teams will make the "playoffs."

There is simply no comparison to the first nine decades of MLB because the teams really had to earn it.

"That’s just the overture.

You had two Texas teams in play and the Cardinals — and their 100 victories — and the Royals in play and the team in Canada with as strong a chance to win it all as anybody."

OK. You're clearly prefer quantity over quality.

I gladly admit that Saturday's game in Texas drew a big crowd who thought they'd witness a division-clinching event. It took to game #161 to get some buzz in Arlington, but it's more buzz than I thought they'd get.

Toronto (aka "the team in Canada") is a huge success story in 2015. Again, that took a division title. I doubt they'd get jazzed up about a wild card, but, on the other hand, they've waited a long time.

"But the country is supposed to have passed the game by.

Sure it has."

Relative to football, I think, but that's water that passed under the bridge a long time ago.

"You know who says that?"


Who says this?

Who dares to question the Selig Success Story of watered-down playoff teams and luxury taxes and "parity"? Is it one of the usual suspects? Is it one of your unnamed friends, a "huge Yankee fan," or such? Is it Rudy Giuliani? Is it one of the contestants from "Dancing with the Stars"? Is it your father/mother/wife/one of your children? Is it Scott Boras? Is it ARod's platelet-spinning doctor? Is it Mike Baxter, that kid from Archbishop Molloy who saved Johan Santana's no-hitter? Is is Mr. Met?

"People who don’t really know anything about baseball or who never cared about baseball in the first place, and think that the real national pastime is deciding between DraftKings and FanDuel."

DraftKings and FanDuel probably bother with fantasy baseball, but fantasy baseball is undoubtedly a teeny tiny fraction of their fantasy football business.

Which kind of disproves your point, doesn't it? The popularity of football-fueled DraftKings and FanDuel? Millions of Americans ignoring baseball?

If there are enough people who never cared about baseball in the first place, then ... well, you finish the conclusion about national pastimes and such.

I think Cubs vs. Pirates will be an interesting wild card game.

The Yankees will benefit from the wild card this year and the Yankees were the first AL wild card team ever, back in 1995.

I still insist that the 2015 regular season was ruined by the wild card safety net.

The AL East race was boring because Girardi never pushed the gas pedal to the floor. Of course, some of the games were exciting -- Beltran's 3-run HR, a couple of Tanaka masterpieces -- but it was nowhere near the tension of a good old-fashioned pennant race between two legit rivals.

The AL West and all the possible permutations that are coming down to the last week? Imagine if only one of these teams could make the playoffs.

Who loses in this scenario? Pittsburgh and Chicago. Tough. Sorry, but you need to beat St. Louis ... and maybe one of wild card teams would have been compelled to really go for it at the trading deadline, with the knowledge that 95 wins wasn't going to cut it.

That's how I feel about that ... and I've never even looked at DraftKings or FanDuel.

Friday, October 02, 2015


"Where would the Yankees be without Adam Warren this season? They would be waking up in their Baltimore hotel Friday morning, just as they are. The only difference is they may not all still be soaked in champagne."

Or they'd have to replace him with Hansel Robles.

AL Least?

The AL East is the best division in the AL and probably the second-best division in baseball.

Just sayin'.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I can't be the only person who thinks Matt Williams is going to win NL Manager of the Year.

Despite rumors to the contray, Mike Lupica was not laid off.

You know the drill by now: Mets are great, ARod is a bum, it would be a shame if (Longtime Fan Favorite) Juan Uribe didn't play in the playoffs, pro-David Ortiz, pro-Red Sox ...

"One of the amazing late-season stories in baseball, and that means anywhere, is the way 35-year old Rich Hill has pitched for the Boston Red Sox.

On Friday night against the Orioles, Hill gave up a hit to the first batter he faced and didn’t give up another one until the 9th, and walked away with a two-hitter."


That is one of the amazing late-season stories in baseball? Two sub-.500 washouts snoring through a late September game?

That's what caught your attention in late-season MLB?

Not the time Jose Altuve was cleaning wax out of his ears while sitting on the bench?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I did a double-take when I saw Bailey on the mound.

"Now on to the bullpen. The Yankees like Pazos and Cotham and both seemingly are auditioning for potential postseason roles.

Girardi’s closer, Andrew Miller, was not available after throwing 42 pitches in a two-inning stint in Tuesday’s win, so bullpen roles were shifted, giving Pazos, Cotham and, later, Andrew Bailey, a chance in high-leverage moments. Maybe the fact that the struggling Chasen Shreve didn’t pitch says something about his place in the relief pecking order.

Going into the game, Girardi planned to use Justin Wilson in the eighth inning Wednesday and then close with Dellin Betances. 'We never really got to a situation where we could use them,' Girardi lamented.'"

I don't think Pazos, Cotham, or Bailey are auditioning for a spot on the playoff roster.

Girardi turned over the game to middle-of-the-bullpen September callups.

The score was 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning with a runner on first base and two outs.

"But this all brings us to the real problem Wednesday − the Yanks mustered nothing on offense against Long Island’s Marcus Stroman, setup man Brett Cecil and closer Roberto Osuna.

'We just weren’t able to get any runs across,' said Brett Gardner, one of the culprits since he is 4-for-39 in his last 10 games. 'You’ve got to score a couple runs if you want to beat these guys.
“We just didn’t do our job offensively.'

What does any move matter if your team does not score against the team it’s chasing in the race?"

This is all hypothetical, of course, but if the score was 0-0 or 1-0 in the ninth inning ... and ARod led off with a (small rally) double ... then maybe the offense plays it differently and gets the run home.

Maybe they win the game in extra innings.

Maybe they pull withing 1.5 of the Blue Jays and make a run at the East.

I doubt any of this would happen, but it might have.

The bullpen moves matter because Girardi's actions speak louder than his words. He knows the Yankees won't win the AL East and he is preparing for the Wild Card.

If Wednesday's game was a playoff game, if it was the biggest game of the season, then Girardi would have put all hands on deck and taken his changes with the White Sox.

Small Rally

 Brendan Kuty describes the smallest rally of all:

"SMALL RALLY: Alex Rodriguez doubled off Toronto closer Roberto Osuna to lead off the ninth inning but was stranded on third base."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yankees are 5-12 (.294) vs. Toronto this year.

Toronto is better.

The must-win games have already been played.

Except the Yankees didn't, you know ... win.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

This is boring stuff.

This is the third year in a row where the Yankees hit September with a mediocre team and lost lots of games and conducted lots of postgame press conferences explaining how they're not mathematically eliminated.

In this September to Remember, the Yankees got bombed by Toronto, they lost to Baltimore, they squeaked by the Rays. They're all big games, in theory.

Girardi promised this part of the season was going to be easy because his team wouldn't have to travel too much from the Eastern Time Zone, which sounds like a Program Director at a nursing home rallying his troops to the early bird special at the local Golden Griddle.

Their "strong hold" on the Wild Card is 4 games.

But they think they can catch Toronto, who's up by 4.5.

The Yankees look at the schedule and think that they're going to cruise through Boston and Chicago and Baltimore. Does it ever occur to anyone that Boston and Chicago and Baltimore and the Mets and the Blue Jays look at their upcoming schedule and consider the Yankees a soft spot?:

"The Yankees now trail the Toronto Blue Jays by 4.5 games in the American League East, their biggest deficit of the season. Yes, they still have a strong hold on the Wild Card (4.0 games) but 16 games remain in the season, and nothing's guaranteed.

Plus, the Wild Card, Girardi's said all year, is nothing he's too interested in, considering it's a do-or-die, one-game playoff.

That means Saturday, Game 2 of the Subway Series, is as important as any game this season. The Yankees surely don't want to drop the fist two games against the Mets, then face a sweep, and Matt Harvey, on Sunday followed by three games in Toronto starting Monday."

Girardi will change his tune about the wild card when his team is 11 games back of Toronto.

"The Wild Card is an opportunity we played hard for all year."

The Wild Card is dreadful for MLB. Teams like this don't deserve second chances in the playoffs.

Easier Solution: No Wild Card

Beat Toronto or miss the playoffs.

No fans in New York, Minnesota, Cleveland, Texas, etc. are excited about the Wild Card race. It ruins divisional races.

I don't even consider the Wild Card round to be the playoffs. I don't think Yankee Stadium will sell out a Wild Card game (if the Yankees make the playoffs).

Girardi's solution is to extend it to a best-of-three. The World Series will finish up around Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Conclusion: NY Fans are Fair Weather Fans.

"Noticing more blue-and-orange caps and fewer navy pinstripes around New York these days?"


 "Hearing more talk about how the Mets keep finding ways to win?"

Yes. Because they have been winning.

One guy at the Ledger basically said he'd rather watch tennis than watch the Yankees.

"But some telling evidence points to trouble for the Yankees and a boon for the Mets, suggesting that New York might be turning into a Mets town for the first time since their championship season of 1986."


"It is not just a feeling. By the measures of attendance and television viewership, the Mets are surging while their crosstown rivals are sliding a bit."

And when I say evidence, I mean "evidence."

"It is an improbable reversal of fortune, given that the Yankees have dominated the market so clearly since they won four World Series from 1996 to 2000, capped by a triumph over the Mets in the so-called Subway Series."

It's not improbable by any means, and it's not even a reversal of fortune.

The Yankees haven't been too good in several years. The Mets just happened to be even worse.

If you viewed these teams independently, you'd see nothing unusual at all. The Toronto attendance is up, the Phillies attendance is down.

The "buzz" factor is enhanced precisely because it has been so long.

"The Yankees’ paid attendance at home is averaging 39,537 a game, down 5.6 percent from the average at this time last year, according to The Yankees, who trail first-place Toronto by three games in the American League East, have never averaged below 40,000 fans a game since moving to the new Yankee Stadium in 2009.

(Major League Baseball, which calculates attendance differently, has the Yankees’ average home attendance at 40,086.)

The Mets are averaging 31,257 a game this season, a 17.6 percent rise from last season. That is still about 10,000 short of the capacity at Citi Field, but this season’s increase of 4,689 fans a game represents a drastic shift from a dispiriting trend: Attendance had fallen almost 32 percent from a peak of 38,941 during the inaugural season of the ballpark six years ago."

Like I said, fair weather fans.

"Yet perhaps a more precise reflection of the passion of a fan base is viewership on a team’s cable television channel. After all, most fans prefer to watch games without having to buy tickets, which can be expensive."

I'd say TV viewing is not a more precise reflection of the passion of a fan base.

"But the Yankees, who averaged 454,000 viewers a game in 2007, are drawing only 256,000 this season, a 10 percent decrease from 2014 after a comparable number of games."

What you're really saying is that nobody watches baseball on TV.

Which partially explains why writers can get away with nonsense like "Teixeira is a gold glover," but I digress.

The Yankees' TV audience fell from 454,000 in 2007 to 284,000 in 2014. To what do you attribute this fall in TV ratings? Because it damned sure wasn't the Mets buzz drawing Yankee fans away.

"The Mets’ average television audience, which reached a high of 314,171 in 2007, bottomed out at 138,627 in 2013 before a slight revival to just over 144,000 last season.

But so far this season, viewership is up 62 percent, to 240,091 a game. And games are averaging 324,195 viewers since the Mets acquired the slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes on July 31.

For the season, the Yankees’ lead over the Mets in average viewership is about 20,000 — a far cry from four years ago, when the difference was more than 200,000."


I mean, what can I say, I'm shocked.

Nobody watches regular season baseball on TV.

Check out the propaganda pics in this article. You don't think the press acts like free PR for the Mets?

I like the ACTION PICTURE of Ruben Tejada running home!

Juxtaposed with Gardner hitting a HR in a sullen, empty Yankee Stadium ... ignoring the fact that it was the second game of a rain-drenched double header.

"The Yankees are an older, less flashy team that lost much of its charisma with the retirements of Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter in 2013 and 2014."

I agree. But those two were playing from 2008 - 2014, while TV ratings tanked. So maybe lots of fans got 4G phones or something. Maybe TV ratings are not really a good reflection of the passion of a team's fan base.

"The former ace C. C. Sabathia is struggling with a bad knee and the wear and tear of pitching nearly 3,000 innings in his career, and the Yankees’ current top pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka, is soldiering on with a slightly torn elbow ligament."

Well, Sabathia and Tanaka may not be big draws, but Sabathia (CC, not C.C., please) has been coming up clutch down the stretch ... and Tanaka is the best starting pitcher in New York.

"Their biggest star is probably Alex Rodriguez, whose unlikely comeback after a season-long suspension has helped keep the Yankees in the pennant race. Although it seems that fans have grudgingly accepted him because he is producing well and not causing trouble, he is not a Jeter-like presence who draws fans to the stadium in droves.

Jeter merchandise is the hottest seller among all Yankees, according to, a retailer. The Yankees are the top-selling team in Major League Baseball this season, but sales of Mets goods, led by those of pitcher Matt Harvey, are up 140 percent this season and 300 percent this month compared with figures from 2014."

The Yankees are the top-selling team in MLB this season ... but the Mets are up 10,000%!

The GDP of the United States is still #1 in the world ... but Estonia's GDP is up 12%! Because they got a new Dairy Queen right near the gas station!

"Still, the task of turning New York into a Mets town is far from complete. Prince, the blogger, offered two ways to measure future progress: when Mets caps are highly visible on all trains, not just the 7 line to Flushing, and when a fan’s request to turn a restaurant television to a Mets game is not met with a look 'like you have three eyes.'"

Gee, very compelling "evidence."

I heard a guy call a radio show today and say he converted to a Mets fan. He was on the way to Yankee Stadium on Friday night when he turned around and headed for Citi Field. Which is a cute story, but the Mets were playing in Atlanta that night.

I know lots of Yankee fans and I know lots of Mets fans. I actually know one guy who sort of converted. More like he started paying attention to the Mets as well as the Yankees. Doesn't bother me. I'm sure most Mets fans don't want ex-Yankee front runners invading their ballpark, am I right?

So you're not fooling anybody ... and nobody cares who you root for. Nobody. I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true.

"More important, they probably need to do well in the postseason and then re-sign Cespedes.

'I think we have a great chance of going all the way,' Breuer said."

Comedian Jim Breuer, by the way.

Your go-to guy for expertise in ... I don't know what.

"Before that can happen, the two teams will play each other this weekend for the first time since April, when the Yankees took two of three games.

They may want to remind the Mets again of who has been boss for so many years."

I despise the subway series, and this is another reason why.

The Yankees don't need to be crowned Kings of New York ... they're going to have enough trouble hanging on to a Wild Card spot. So taking two out of three is imperative for the Yankees ... just like taking the series against Tampa is imperative.

The Mets have nothing to prove, they already crushed the Washington Grapes.

The Mets are better than the Yankees this year. It finally happened. Give Mike Lupica and everyone else in the press a cookie. They've been waiting for it for 20 years.

Is it as good as you thought it would be?

Or are you setting yourself up for a sweep by the Dodgers?

It would be ironic if the Yankees made it to the ALCS and the Mets got bombed in the first round. The disinterested press should be banned from the press box and the fair weather fans trying to transfer from the 7 train should be blocked at Grand Central.

Greg Bird x 4

Greg Bird has 98 at-bats this season. Mark Teixeira has 392 at-bats this season.

Bird x 4: 392 ab, .235/.315/.459, 24 hr, 76 rbis, 68 runs, 48 bb, 128 k.

Teixeira: 392 ab, .255/.357/.548, 31 hr, 79 rbis, 57 runs, 57 bb, 85 k.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Attendance 27,320.

I'm not criticizing Mets fans.

I'm just curious if the fawning press will notice the lack of buzz.

When Yankee Stadium is barren, the press takes note.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

0-for-10 with a walk.

Ellsbury's first half: 40 games, .318/.399/.376, 14 stolen bases, 32 runs.

Ellsbury's second half: 50 games, .212/.254/.332, 4 stolen bases, 25 runs.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Why is there no Yankee buzz?

Maybe it's the ticket prices.

Maybe it's the absence of Jeter.

Maybe it's because the fans are spoiled.

Maybe it's because the Wild Card ruins the AL East race.

Or maybe it's because the fans are smart.

The Yankees are not as good as Toronto and an overachieving mediocre team is still a mediocre team.

Is anybody jazzed about a Wild Card game? I know I'm not.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The Man Who Had No Remote Control.

"So who out there had a TV-watching experience like this on Tuesday night? You were glued to the Mets for six innings to see how Matt Harvey would do after he became a back-page punching bag, and when the ball rolled past Yoenis Cespedes' glove to put him in a 7-1 hole, you figured that was that. 


And you put on the U.S. Open to see Serena Williams drop the second set to her sister Venus in their quarterfinal match, leaving open the possibility — albeit a slim one — that the older sister could stop her younger sibling's march to Grand Slam history. 

The second set was over, so you find the remote control again and put your finger on the last-channel button ... 



Well, that's a very specific TV-watching experience, but you seem a little too excited.

Go for a walk or something. Read a book. Make a prediction on whether or not the Fed will raise interest rates during their September meeting.

"The Yankees? They might take their own turn as the team to watch this month, but the overnight ratings tell the story."

If the overnight ratings tell the story, then we don't need you.

"The Williams vs. Williams sisters led the New York market with a 4.7 share, because if you were going to watch one tennis match this tournament, this was it. The Mets were not far behind at 4.56. The Yankees, meanwhile, were well back at a solid 3.29."

Must-See TV got beat by a tennis match.

I didn't even know tennis was on TV.

"I only caught a few minutes of the Yankees, and that'll probably be the case again tonight. The Mets go for the sweep in Washington, and maybe this is the night they put the Nationals to rest for good. Or maybe it's a night that gives fans a reason to chomp their nails for another week or two."

You missed a very good game, sports writer.

Tanaka with another masterpiece. Bad opponent, but not a bad lineup.

You missed a stellar double play started by Brendan Ryan.

Since you have ignored the Yankees this season, you've missed quite a few good, young players. You've missed the best bullpen in baseball. You missed the Rise of DiDi.

Since you promise not to pay attention to the Yankees the rest of this season, I promise to ignore anything you have to say about them.

By the way? With a remote control and the Internet? It's not too difficult to follow all 30 teams if you care about baseball.

With all due respect, Cespedes has 34 NL RBIs this season.

"Plus, there’s scant evidence that the voters (two members of the Baseball Writers of America from each league city) will reward a half-season of excellence. In 1984, pitcher Rick Sutcliffe was traded from the Indians to the Cubs, for whom he went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA, lifting Chicago to a division title. For that performance, Sutcliffe was awarded the NL’s Cy Young award over Dwight Gooden of the Mets (17-9, 2.60 ERA).

But for midseason acquisitions, that’s it. In 1987, Doyle Alexander was traded to the Tigers from the Braves (for John Smoltz!) and went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA for Detroit. That got him fourth place in the Cy Young voting. In 2008, Manny Ramirez was dealt from the Red Sox to the Dodgers and promptly produced a slash line of .396/.489/.743 in Los Angeles, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the season-long resumes of St. Louis’s Albert Pujols, Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard and Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun, who all finished ahead of him in the voting."

Sutcliffe was traded in mid-June, not the end of July.

Unless the voting changed to one MVP instead of one per league, Cespedes can't win. The award is for one league and for the whole year.

Monday, September 07, 2015

They should post a pic of Johan Santana, celebrating his no-hitter on the field, arm disconnected from body, career ended. A testament to management's unerring consideration for a player's long-term health.

Oh, and by the way, the Mets traded Nolan Ryan. So really appropriate message for Matt Harvey regarding team loyalty and digging deep.

The Mets haven't done anything wrong. They know they have a young, valuable pitcher and have treated him accordingly. There is no reason to bench Harvey in the playoffs unless his arm hurts. There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on his surgically-reconstructed arm, balancing short-term goals with long-term goals. This goes for every player, not just Harvey.

Everyone knows 180 innings is a guideline, not a magic number. Everyone knows that "innings pitched" does not correspond directly to "pitch count." Everyone knows that some innings and some pitches are more stressful than others.

So, first the Mets have to make the playoffs. Then, assess their team's health and set their roster and rotation. Take it one step at a time.

As for the snark?

The Nolan Ryan Tough Guy tweet?

For every Nolan Ryan, there are 1,000 Mark Fidryches. Perhaps Harvey could post all the pitchers from the Elbow Graveyard in response, but it would break the Internet.

It's all Scott Boras's fault.

Lupica is just mad that Jeter got the scoop:

"Matt Harvey went running to Derek Jeter’s Players Tribune — occasionally a safe house for athletes in trouble — on Sunday to try to end a controversy that his agent created. Harvey said things in a short essay that he should have said when he faced the media on Saturday in Miami. The fact that it took him a day longer than it should have to wake up isn’t anybody’s fault but his own."

You wish Matt Harvey was blaming the media. It would make you feel important.

I challenge anyone to read Harvey's rather terse post and find any suggestion of blaming anyone.

Lupica is so used to this pretend dance between the media and the players, that he just writes the script out of habit.

"Matt Harvey, who likes the bright light that comes with being a celebrity in New York, needs to realize once and for all that with a talent like his and a stage like this come responsibility. At least in the Players Tribune he sounded like the grownup he ought to be at his age, and after everything that has happened to him so far in his career."

Mike Lupica says adults should stop acting childish.

"Once and for all: The media didn’t start this, the Mets didn’t, neither did any angry Mets fan.

Boras did."

Start what?

You (and many others) over-reacted because Harvey gave vague answers at an impromptu "press conference" where he didn't live up to a stupid and childish media-created cartoon character.

It demonstrates journalistic bravery to go after Scott Boras, by the way.

Nice column. It didn't explain who, what, where, when, why, or how. Lupica is just a guy who's angry that Harvey and Jeter won't return his calls.