Thursday, October 20, 2016

No fair ... we should have lost 10-3.

I think he was out. His hand was hovering above the plate.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Not much going on in NY baseball.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Phil Mushnick cares about the batting title.

"Even the golden goodies — the old standards — no longer apply, lost to modern standards, which means low standards or none at all.

Remember, 'Winners never quit and quitters never win'?

But quitters now win, so much the 2016 National League batting title was won by sitting out the season’s last 4 ²/₃ games. Yet, that barely made a sound from a media who have lost their ability to identify cheap and cheesy while surrendering their tacit responsibility and public trust to distinguish right from far less."

The media was not paying attention to the Rockies or the batting title.

"To think he could’ve told them he chose to risk losing the title by trying to win it rather than to win it by quitting. To think his legacy might have been as a man who wouldn’t exploit circumstances to win rather than one who did."

He really doesn't have a legacy. 

"On Sept. 28, 1941, Boston’s Ted Williams, just 23 — five years younger than Reyes and LeMahieu when they won their titles — was batting .3996, which rounded to .400, before the last two games of the season — a doubleheader, Red Sox at the Philadelphia A’s.

He was given the option to sit them out and finish at .400 — the first since Bill Terry hit .401 in 1930. 

It wasn’t as if the Red Sox, 17 games behind the Yankees, were in a race.

But Williams insisted on playing both games, with, 'If I can’t hit .400 all the way, I don’t deserve it.'

Williams went 6-for-8 to finish at .4057 — rounded to the now unapproachable, known-by-heart-head .406. No one since has come close."

The go-to Ted Williams story, huh? God Bless America.

Technically speaking, Brett came close in 1980 (.390). Gwynn came close in 1994 (.394). Carew came close in 1977 (.388).

Manly McManly would have probably hit .400 back in the Good Ol' Days, but he strained his back Fixing America during the off season.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Writers simply dislike Ellsbury for some reason.

"AL Anti-MVP: Jacoby Ellsbury, Yankees


Look, it would be easier to pick an Alex Rodriguez/Mark Teixeira tandem, since they went from carrying the offense last year to burdening it in 2016. But they were baseball geezers at the end."

Look, it would be easy to be accurate.

"Ellsbury is not the worst player in the AL or even on the Yankees. But is there anyone more invisible for the money (well, maybe Joe Mauer)"


I can think of several on the Yankees.

"Brought to New York to be a catalyst, Ellsbury on Thursday registered his second steal since June 19. How is that possible?"

I also don't understand why Gardner and Ellsbury stopped stealing bases.

"Did anyone notice a lot of veterans who might have been in play for this award vanished, never to return: A-Rod, Prince Fielder, Omar Infante, Desmond Jennings and Jimmy Rollins?"

Yes, I noticed. But ... vanishing means they're adding even less value than Ellsbury.

Whatever. It's not something to get too hung up about (the LVP isn't even a thing).

The problem is, taking the totality of the 2016 season, Ellsbury is not worse than any of the other Yankee non-pitchers. Which isn't saying much. Sanchez didn't do it long enough, Beltran is gone, Castro leads the team with an astonishingly low 70 RBIs.

Ellsbury was paid too much, of course, but not compared to ARod, Teixeira, Headley, McCann ... if you're taking salary into account when you figure out your LVP.

It's not a defense of Ellsbury. The signing is no longer defensible. The Yankees paid a premium for an ordinary player. But what gives with the sportswriters who fixate on Ellsbury's deficiencies and then get all teary-eyed when Teixeira finally takes a hike?

It was fun while it lasted. A jolt of energy. A beacon for future success.

But the so-called Yankee MVP in this un-scientific poll has batted .222 in September (down the stretch!).

It's actually insulting to the Yankee players who grinded it out all year.

No offense to Sanchez and best wishes for 2017 and beyond. He had a great debut. He was insanely productive, even in the month of September. 

The lack of appreciation for Betances ... who has been Mariano-esque for three years, if not better ... while being asked to pitch 250 innings ... it's just a shame that he's underappreciated and overshadowed by the New Kid in Town.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

I am going to attempt a measured response to Andrew Marchand.

Sports writers offer no value to understanding baseball. They simply use their column to hand out merits and demerits depending on how much they like the player:

"Stand up and cheer.

That is what Yankees fans should do over the next three nights when Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz walks to the plate during his final appearance in the Bronx. Ortiz deserves this respect as arguably the most important figure in the game's greatest rivalry since George Herman Ruth."

You forgot about Roger Clemens and arguably some others, but, whatever. The key here is that HE PLAYS FOR THE RED SOX.

"So if Yankees fans want to jeer Ortiz until the bitter end, it's their prerogative. But it's not right. To boo Big Papi based on his alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs, for one, would be heaping with hypocrisy. Some Yankees fans will point to the New York Times report that Ortiz failed a PED test during what was supposed to be an anonymous phase of Major League Baseball's drug program. Given Ortiz’s lack of an explanation, and the arc of his career from castoff to superstar, it is easy to understand how a reasonable person might label Ortiz guilty.

Still, it shouldn't prevent fans from honoring what Ortiz has definitively done -- not what he might have done."

That's a straw man.

Yankee fans are not anti-steroid activists. They are pro-Yankee activists.


"Did you cheer Andy Pettitte upon his return, post-Mitchell Report? Did you applaud Alex Rodriguez in 2015 when he hit 33 homers? If you answered 'yes' to either of those questions, how can Ortiz’s supposed use prevent you from acknowledging him during his final at-bats in the Bronx?"


"On the other hand, Ortiz has never failed a test that wasn’t anonymous. He has never been caught up in a BALCO or a Biogenesis scandal. That doesn't make him innocent, of course, but it doesn't make him guilty, either. The PED issue remains relentlessly complicated when it comes to honoring players from the last quarter century."

That's it? He might be guilty and he might not be guilty?

Of course, Marchand wouldn't know if it's "relentlessly complicated" because he hasn't relentlessly pursued the truth.

Maybe so, maybe not, I dunno. Journalism!

"His infectious smile, his ability to build friendships with seemingly anyone and everyone in the game, and his exploits at the plate in clutch moments will be a part of rivalry lore forever."

Infectious smile? This is embarrassing, yet revealing.

Nobody as ESPN is going to proclaim that we can't believe in Ortiz because he couldn't believe in himself? No?

Oh, you're welcome, don't mention it.

"The other day, one of my teammates comes over to me in the clubhouse and says, 'Hey, you see what they’re gonna do to you in New York?'

I don’t know what he’s talking about.

I’m like, 'What’s up? They gonna give me a pizza or something?'

He says, 'Nah. Your last game, the fans are gonna pull their pants down.'

I’m like, 'Nah, bro. Come on. Be serious.'

Then he shows me an article on his phone about some guy who’s trying to get everybody in Yankee Stadium to moon me.

This dude even made a whole website:



Come on."

OK, I think we're finished here ... bro.

"Playing against the Yankees was just different. It was war.

You gotta understand what it meant to me, Pedro and Manny — three guys from the Dominican Republic. In our country, the Yankees are huge. Back in the day, they were pretty much the only big league club on TV. When you walked around Santo Domingo in the ’90s, you would see so many Yankees caps."

XXL Yankee caps for these three ... their heads are swollen for some reason.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Thank you, John Harper.

"First things first: If Yankee fans want to give David Ortiz ovations this week at the Stadium in appreciation of his remarkable career, then great, I’m all for showing that type of respect to an opponent.

I just don’t think the Yankees should be forcing that notion upon the fans with a going-away ceremony on the field that feels like a politically correct response to what the Red Sox did for Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter."

No one has ever satisfactorily explained to me why the Sox (or any team) would officially honor Jeter and Rivera.

Fans know what's up. They can stand up and cheer for 15 seconds when his name is announced, a tip of the cap. That's about the extent of it.

"Ortiz, after all, has played the role of hated villain in the famed rivalry with the Yankees, and willingly so with his bat flips and leisurely strolls that passed for home-run trots over the years.

In short, he’s not Jeter, he’s not Rivera, the two most universally admired players of their era. Ortiz may be well-liked by his peers, but it wasn’t long ago that David Price, before he signed with the Sox, essentially called out Big Papi for thinking he was bigger than the game, in part because of his home-run celebrations.

No, Ortiz doesn’t mind agitating the opposition, and so in regard to The Rivalry he’s a lot more like Alex Rodriguez than Jeter or Rivera."

I think we can just make this easier on everybody and eliminate the practice entirely.

"As beloved as Joe Torre was as manager, in fact, it drove fans crazy that he wouldn’t insist that his pitchers at least try and intimidate Ortiz — and the same for Joe Girardi.

Finally, when the outcry reached such a level that CC Sabathia felt compelled to plunk Ortiz with a fastball one night, the Red Sox DH further annoyed Yankee fans by complaining publicly about it.

As for the steroids? Ortiz has tried to shoot down the issue by denying he ever took PEDs, even though his name was leaked to the New York Times in 2009 as being one of the 104 on the list who failed drug tests in 2003, the year the Players Association did survey testing as a prelude to MLB’s mandatory testing program.

Those names were supposed to remain anonymous, but a few were leaked. When A-Rod was outed in February of 2009, he admitted to using PEDs; but months later Ortiz denied his usage, and while he promised at the time that he would find out which substance caused his positive test, he later insisted he was unable to obtain that information."

What he said.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Felzball entry on August 27th

"The bullpen is still quite strong, though weakened relatively since the trade deadline. This relative weakness could negatively affect their .690 winning percentage (20-9) in one-run games ... a few devastating blown saves in crunch time vs. one of the four teams ahead of them in the wild card race."

Wally Matthews is a jerk.

"It's kind of a reworking of an age-old question -- who quit first, the New York Yankees on Joe Girardi, or Joe Girardi on the New York Yankees? -- but unlike the classic chicken-and-egg conundrum, the answer to this one came directly from the manager's mouth."

The Yankees quit (or burned out).

Girardi does not quit.

"Asked why he had gone to Blake Parker in the seventh inning of a game his team absolutely, positively, had to win Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, Girardi replied: 'He has the most experience and has probably been pitching the best in a situation where you’re down 3-0. If it’s closer, I probably go to Adam [Warren], but knowing that we’re going to need these guys a lot if we’re going to make a run, you’re hoping he can get through the seventh, you get a couple runs then maybe go to Adam, but it just didn’t work.'

Let that sink in for a moment. "If it's closer ...?''

Which led to what seemed like a natural follow-up: 'Joe, do I understand that you’re saying 3-0 is no longer considered a close game?' "

No, you don't understand what he's saying. "Closer" is different than "close." Right? It's a normal use of the English language.

It's not because you're dumb, it's because you are trying to get a rise out of Girardi. It worked! Now you have a column and are briefly the center of attention! Congratulations to you.

Besides, what does Wallace Matthews have against Blake Parker in the first place? Are you just judging players after the game? That's very easy to do.


"Here's exactly what he said: 'No, Wally. But I’ve been throwing Adam multiple innings. Parker has been throwing pretty good for us. He didn’t tonight. I could have went to Adam and then maybe I don't have him tomorrow. We have some issues, in a sense. We don’t have a starter Monday. I’m just trying to piece it all together.'

Then he said, 'I'm done, I'm done. That's it,'' and left the room.

What exactly he was saving his bullpen for was never made clear, because as everyone knows, there is no tomorrow for the Yankees. Not if they lost today."

He was saying he never quits.

He's saying you play to win the game. That's the great thing about sports. Hello?

Girardi is constantly lying to the press. Torre did the same thing and was better at it. It seems to go against Girardi's nature.

Girardi wanted to say all year: ARod stinks and is a cheater; Teixeira is a decrepit joke; my bullpen management doesn't help much when the team scores zero runs; Pineda is gutless; if you want Gardner and Ellsbury to  be benched or moved down in the lineup, please name a suitable replacement; the GM gave up on me, I didn't give up on the GM.

" 'Things are kind of slipping away at this point,' said Brett Gardner, always a rational voice in the Yankees' clubhouse. 'We're not out of it, but definitely not in a good position. It’s frustrating.' ''

Sure, he's rational. He's allowed to be. Girardi is not allowed to be.

"But unlike his manager, Gardner was not willing to give up. 'I think until you’re six back with [five] to play, or whatever it is, you’ve still got a chance. Crazier things have happened. We’ve just got to win.' "

Go screw yourself, Wally. You just called Girardi a quitter and you're a disgrace for saying it.

By the way, if Gardner hasn't actually given up, he sure plays like he has.

This is not the first time the team has tired down the stretch. Maybe Girardi has worn out his team. They don't seem to go to the wall for him.

The problem then is not that he quits ... the problem might be that he's too intense.

"After that, he was sure to be asked about starting Billy Butler at first base, a decision that cost his team two unearned runs -- and essentially the game -- in the first inning when Butler bobbled a routine grounder. And about how the Yankees had Francisco Liriano on the ropes in the top of the first, loading the bases but failing to score. And about how he had suddenly decided to abandon the use of the young kids on his roster, who temporarily at least had injected a dose of energy and enthusiasm into his clubhouse and created the impression that the Yankees were, in fact, playoff contenders."


1) Teixeira stinks.

2) Have you seen this team with RISP this year? What team have you been watching?

3) Because they stink, too, other than Sanchez.

Any more stupid questions?

"As soon as Girardi admitted going to Parker -- who allowed the Blue Jays to bust it open with four runs in one-third of an inning -- because he wanted to save his effective bullpen guns (Warren, Tyler Clippard and Betances) for another day, he was telling you he considered this game a lost cause.

And it is hard to reconcile a team with the proud history of the New York Yankees -- the Bronx Bombers, for George's sake -- conceding defeat when trailing by a measly three runs."

Be a man.

Walk up to Parker in the locker room, look him in the eye, and tell him that his appearance in a Yankee game is conclusive proof that the Yankees have given up on the game and given up on the season.

Parker's ERA when he entered that game was 2.93.

If you think George would have a problem with his manager, I wonder what George would say about his GM giving up on the season? Ownership giving up on the season?

"The third inning was even worse, when the Yankees got the first two runners on base -- Gardner via an error and Jacoby Ellsbury on a single, the Yankees' only non-Sanchez hit -- but went nowhere when Sanchez flied out, Butler struck out and Didi Gregorius popped out. The Yankees managed two more baserunners all night -- a Sanchez single leading off the sixth and a walk to Aaron Hicks in the seventh -- but could do absolutely nothing with them."

Wally Matthews with his first in-game analysis of the season!

Hey, Wally, why did they get rid of ARod? Don't you think ARod could have had a productive at-bat in that situation? Wally?

I mean, what is this? The Yankees have been horrible with situational hitting all year. From day one. Not all year, actually. Probably the past 10 years.

We have a beat writer who slogged around locker rooms for five months who finally noticed that the Yankees can't hit.

The Yankees have scored 644 runs this year, and the year is almost over.

Here are the collective clutch stats, genius:
  • RISP: .229.
  • 2 outs RISP: .222

You knew this already, though, right? Since you watch all the games and stuff?

I mean, you're suddenly all overwrought about the Yankees being the Yankees.

"It was still only 3-0 to that point, but as far as the manager was concerned, it could have been 300-0.

'I know that we lost another day, it seems like most of the teams [the Yankees are chasing] are winning or won,' Girardi said before his curtain line. 'We’re going to have to win a lot of games.'

But there aren't a lot of games left, and it no longer seems even the manager believes the Yankees are capable of winning them."

The manager was right, by the way. The Yankees were not going to score 4 runs. Because they stink is the overarching reason.

Not sure why the beat writer wants to fixate on the manager's attitude when the team is in the midst of three consecutive shutouts.

In praise of steroid cheats.

Mike Lupica likes the Mets, the Red Sox, the Jets, Jimmy Connors, Dancing with the Stars, and David Ortiz. Not all of them are steroid cheats, but some of them are steroid cheats:

"The last man standing in Terry Collins’ starting rotation, at least the one he started with, is 43 years old. So much then, at least for now, for all those big young arms that were going to steamroll their way with big stuff through the National League for years to come. For the last time: You want to make the baseball gods laugh? Tell them about all your plans for young starting pitchers."

You use those words "last time" quite often. I don't think you know what those words mean.

"So Collins’ starting rotation, led by Bartolo Colon, now has Robert Gsellman in it, Seth Lugo, Gabriel Ynoa. Who had them in their fantasy leagues before the start of the season? I keep waiting for Tim Tebow to get a start."

I'm waiting for Tim Conway to get a start. Dorf on Pitching.

"Lucas Duda is back playing first base for the Mets, which means that Collins is working with half the infield that he took north from Port St. Lucie. An indispensable part of that infield is suddenly T.J. Rivera, a 27-year old out of Lehman High, Bronx, N.Y."

The only good player the Mets lost to injury was deGrom. Neil Walker, too, I suppose.

All the other injuries were blessings in disguise. Collins didn't have to deal with the drama of benching Wright or moving the Dark Knight to the bullpen.

The Mets' patchwork rotation is not much different than every other team's. The Mets used 12 starting pitchers while the Yankees used 9, the Nationals used 10, and the Red Sox used 10.

"You know he might not make it and the Mets might not make it. But it was just the other day that they were 60-62 and now here they are, with no Matt Harvey and no Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz with a sore left shoulder and even Noah Syndergaard with strep throat at the worst possible time. And, oh by the way, if you can name all of the relief pitchers that Collins keeps running out there, you have a chance to win some valuable prizes."

If you can identify one player in the Phillies starting lineup, I'll give you $1 million.

So that's the problem with the Collins praise, and the Mets' undying underdog narrative (oddly endorsed by Dan Rather, of all people): Outside of the Nationals, the NL East is abysmal. Cespedes probably gets paid more than the entire Phillies' roster and could probably win 85 games in this division single-handedly.

"You know how many Mets fans are always looking to jump Collins first chance they get, who want him gone. You know there is a loud, angry chorus who will never forgive him for not bringing in Jeurys Familia to pitch the top of the 9th in Game 5 against the Royals. So Mets fans like that are probably thrilled at the suggestion that somehow Collins is supposed to be fighting to keep his job.

Only that’s not the story here, or the headline, or a fair take on this particular Mets season. No. The story is the job Collins has done to keep his team fighting. If you can’t see that, you’ve been watching the wrong movie.

That's talk radio nonsense following a sweep by the Braves. Collins isn't going to get fired, but guess what? The Mets underachieved this year.

The hypocrisy of Lupica is revealed when he praises Colon and Ortiz:

"I have thought for so much of the second half of the season that his teammate, Mookie Betts, was the MVP of the American League.

I believe it is Ortiz now, hitting the way he did in the postseason the last time the Red Sox won it all, three years ago.

So the Stadium says goodbye now.

Or maybe good riddance."

Good riddance, cheater. Don't let a 95-MPH fastball hit you in the butt on the way out.

As for the farewell tour nonsense, I'm not understanding it at all. Maybe if he'd played for the Yankees for 10 years or something like that.

As for this particular observation, this is standard. "Game of the Year" was proclaimed by many sources:

"That game the Mets played against the Phillies the other night, tied by Jose Reyes with a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 9th and then won with a 3-run shot by Bat Flip Cabrera, was one of the great regular season wins the Mets have ever had.

Once again, the problem here is the part about "against the Phillies."

It was a crazy comeback while the Mets are in a playoff race in September ... but the opponent was the Phillies' AAA roster.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Girardi doesn't quit.

The team may be worn out and uninspired as they struggle to score runs, but Girardi never quits. If a reporter questioned Girardi's commitment and professionalism, then that reporter is way out of line. Girardi probably takes this stuff too seriously and it may wear on his players.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Please note that Citi Field was empty for Cabrera's walkoff HR.

While the mathematical possibilities abound, the truth is that most cities don't get excited by wild card races.

Monday, September 19, 2016

No respect for Bartolo Colon.

Colon is 14-7, 3.14 ERA.

Leads the Mets in wins.

The bullpen got traded away.

Clippard and Warren have been quite good replacing Miller and Chapman ... until they weren't.

If your strategy is to intentionally walk every Red Sox batter who's a Yankee Killer, there's nobody left to pitch to.

A better idea is to get Hanley Ramirez out once in a while.

I applaud Girardi for sticking with the plan. One can only hope that Refsnyder is learning something in his 200 at-bats ... his power numbers in 2016 are disappointing to say the least.

This is what Yankee fans pleaded for as the team squandered around .500 through the first four months. Give the young players some experience in the challenging environment of Fenway.

Do you want to play for the Yankees? Do you have plans to win the AL East in 2018? If so, you're going to have to beat Boston. Maybe Cessa and Mitchell and Severino got some experience they would not have gotten if the Yankees were still chasing a playoff pipe dream.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Tanaka for Cy Young

"Halfway to a very different kind of Boston Massacre, we have clarity on several issues swirling around the Yankees: They’re not nearly as good as the Red Sox and their rotation beyond Masahiro Tanaka is suspect enough to loom as the potential undoing of their wild-card hopes."

The Yankees have scored 200 fewer runs that the Red Sox. The Yankees have been outscored this season by about 20 runs. The Yankees have not been higher than 4th place since May. The Yankees could win all of their remaining 15 games and still miss the playoffs.

Wild-card hopes are still theoretically alive, but that's just because Selig and his cronies ruined the regular season by allowing 1/3rd of the teams into the playoffs.

Imagine the legendary 2016 AL East race if only one team could make the playoffs? Sigh.

But enough about the Yankees' ever-dwindling playoff hopes that never had much to dwindle in the first place.

I want to give an extended shout out to Tanaka. Mention him beyond one sentence.

Why no NY hype about his Cy Young chances? A right-handed pitcher whose home games are at Short Porch Yankee Stadium who leads the league in ERA.

Yes, it has happened before. Three times. Allie Reynolds in 1952 and Spud Chandler in 1943 and Wilcy Moore in 1927. Black-and-white replays before you were born.

I suspect there's no hype or recognition because he is proving everybody wrong and people don't like to be proven wrong.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Most HRs in a season by a second baseman.

A record shared by Rogers Hornsby and Davey Johnson. The record is 42 HRs.

Brian Dozier has 39 HRs so far in 2016.

13-4, 3.04 ERA