Monday, October 20, 2014

Name five players on the Royals ... better yet, name the Yankees' starting staff.

Mike Lupica, King of the Fake Baseball Fans, calls out the amateurs:

"All the fake baseball fans who wring their hands constantly about the state of the game, and act as if the only way to quantify the sport’s appeal is through network TV ratings, if the stress of that is all too much, they should just skip watching the Royals trying to finish off one of the great and magical storybook runs in all of baseball history."

I'll make a deal with you regarding Fake Baseball Fans who worry about ratings. If TV ratings don't matter, then never bring up the post-Jeter YES Network ratings.

Very nice run on sentence, by the way, Fake Sportswriter. Read it out loud to yourself before you print it. That's a very basic rule.

Also, for what it's worth? There is absolutely zero stress involved in the decision to skip the World Series. It's the opposite of stress. It's disinterest. No team to root for and no team to root against.

"I think 10-year contracts for baseball players are dumber than Bruce Jenner, but if given the choice between 10 years for Cano or seven years for Ellsbury before the last offseason began, there’s no question that paying Cano would have made more sense."

First, some background: Lupica presumed the Yankees were going to sign Cano to a dumb ten-year contract. So Lupica pre-emptively ridiculed the contract. But the Yankees didn't sign Cano.

Then, Lupica insisted Ellsbury would get hurt. So Ellsbury played pretty good and stayed healthy. Ellsbury or Gardner were the best non-pitchers ... and Ellsbury was probably not worth $17.5 million ... but Ellsbury still undoubtedly proved Lupica wrong.

Lupica was wrong about the Yankees and wrong about Cano. Yankees are fools for signing Cano, Yankees are fools for not signing Cano. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So how does Lupica try to wriggle out of it?

By comparing Ellsbury's contract to Cano's ... and not even considering the possibility that Cano wanted to leave ... and not even offering any basis for his conclusion. (I'd definitely take Ellsbury's ridiculous contract over Cano's impossibly ridiculous contract.)

But it doesn't even matter.

The entire "choice" is a red herring. It's a non-argument. Before the offseason began, if given the choice between a ham sandwich and flesh eating bacteria, the Yankees should have chosen art deco.

Everyone knows Cano is better than Ellsbury. The Yankees know this. Ellsbury knows this. That's why Cano makes about 50% more per year.

The Yankees did not want to pay Cano $241 million. Which is a smart decision, and the wisdom of that decision has nothing to do with Jacoby Ellsbury or Masahiro Tanaka or Brian McCann or anybody else.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stop with the Royals worship.

I admire the hitting approach of the Royals and the Giants (and the Cardinals, for that matter). The Yankees swing for the fences in all circumstances, as we all know.

But the Royals won 88 games this year, have not yet won a World Series, and missed the playoffs for the previous 29 years.

This is not a model for success that anyone needs to follow:

"This was after Game 2 of the ALCS in Baltimore, in which the resurgent Royals had just beaten the Orioles at their own game again, and a couple of scouts were discussing the way the series was going.

'Let me ask you something,' one of them said to me. 'If the Yankees, with all their over-30 guys and questionable defense at so many positions, had to play the Royals 162 times, how many games would they win?' ”

If Tanaka is healthy, then the Yankees probably win 90.

If Tanaka is not healthy, then the Yankees probably win 80.

The Yankees are not very good and neither are the Royals. Welcome to the Wild Card World Series. If two sub-90-win teams jazz you up, then good for you. Like most of America, I'll tune in from time to time, depending upon what happens to be playing on Comedy Central.

"The point he was making was that, in this post-steroid era of declining offense, especially home runs, it’s a greatly changing game, with the formula for winning having shifted to athleticism, defense and, most importantly, a shutdown, power-arm bullpen."

Sounds like the Yankees in 2014, at least two out of three.

"And, of course, the one thing that never changes is that there is no substitute for youth.

This is Brian Cashman’s challenge as he seeks to restore the Yankees to perennial World Series contenders. He’s got a three-year contract to do it. Unfortunately for him, it’s going to take at least that long for the Yankees to start getting younger and more athletic, with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran locked in for two more years for $23 million and $15 million per, respectively, Brian McCann for four more years at $17 million per and Jacoby Ellsbury six more years — to age 36 — at $21 million per."

Did somebody really suggest Mark Teixeira is not athletic?

3-4-5 should be a lot better than they are. They're paid to produce and they don't produce.The Yankees could take a lesson from lots of teams who know how to drive in runs rather than constantly swing for the fences. I agree with that obvious observation for sure.

I just wouldn't use a Hot Team in October as a model for the next dynasty ... especially if the plan is to wait three decades.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I must say, I'm shocked to hear about the juice bars.

"He had his worst full big-league season in 2014, hitting just .216 with 22 homers and 62 RBI. Some of his struggles, however, could be partly attributed to the various injuries that limited him to just 123 games."


Maybe his injuries are partly attributable to the fact that his exercise bike is covered in spider webs.

As for the referenced story, Wallace Matthews claims that Mark Texeira "displayed a genuine flair for comedy in the 'Foul Territory' segments he did for the YES network, in which he played himself as a bumbling TV interviewer"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Maybe WAR isn't what you think it is.

In the ongoing battle between the old school baseball poets and the new wave sabermetricians (Bill James started publishing his Baseball Abstracts in 1977, so I don't now how new it is), WAR is one of the focal points of disagreement.

  • There was some general disagreement with WAR when it listed Alex Gordon so highly. Sixth in MLB for 2014. After watching the playoffs, maybe Gordon is undervalued and WAR reveals his true value.

  • The career WAR ranking of Yankees? Jeter is fifth, ahead of Berra. So maybe WAR is right, and maybe WAR doesn't really disagree with the old school.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Apparently, Mike Lupica knows people who talk about the Yankees like it's the '90s.

"A better way is the Cardinals, who have become the model organization of the sport without buying their way here. They are now in the NLCS for the fourth consecutive year, have won two World Series over the past decade, lost two others to Boston. The Giants, who don’t buy their way to October, are looking to win a third World Series in five years."


The Yankees have not been as successful in recent years as the Cardinals or the Giants.

Thank you for your in-depth baseball observations.

As for the team payrolls for the Giants and the Cardinals, it's like $140 million and $110 million, respectively.

They're still buying their way to October.

"The Yankees, with general manager Brian Cashman getting a new three-year contract, basically say they aren’t going to change. It means they are going to keep spending like drunks. They have spent about $3 billion to win one World Series since 2000."


I verified this with exactly 1 second of research.

"But we still talk about them like it’s the ’90s, and they are just a couple of moves away. They’re not."


Who does this?

Who still talks about the Yankees like it's the '90s?

I don't know of any group -- players, coaches, writers, fans, announcers -- who talk about the Yankees like it's the '90s.

"We" isn't me or anyone I know.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Oh, boy. The Players' Tribune.

Dear Mark Teixeira,

Where do you get inspiration for Foul Territory?

Your biggest fan,

Monday, September 29, 2014

I hope ARod doesn't disrupt the chemistry of a team that has missed the playoffs two years in a row.

Let's say runners are in scoring position and the count is 3 balls and 2 strikes.

Don't think about ARod's press coverage. Think about getting a hit.

When the run scores, the team scores a run, and you get something called a "run batted in," commonly referred to as an "RBI" for short.

RBIs are good things.

RBIs are things that we like.

RBIs help the team and also help your personal statistics.

It's a win-win:

"When Rodriguez returns, Girardi doesn’t believe he will cause too much of a distraction, but remember Girardi’s glass is always half-full.

'I thought our guys handled it pretty well.' Girardi said of Rodriguez’s return from injury in 2013, when he continued to play while appealing his MLB suspension. 'Will there be a number of new guys in there? We will do everything we can so it’s not a distraction, but until we get into it we won’t really know. My personal opinion is that it won’t be one.'

The smart money differs."

Don't blame ARod for this mess. He wasn't even on the team.

The final ugly numbers.

Mark Teixeira's 2014: .216/.313/.398, 22 HRs, 62 RBIs, 56 runs.

It gets worse.
  • Fifteen solos HRs, six 2-run HRs, one 3-run HR, zero grand slams.
  • RISP: One HR in 113 at-bats.
  • Two outs and RISP: 7-for-45 (.156).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In 2015, the Mets will be better than the Yankees.

After proclaiming Mets superiority for a decade or two, Lupica is finally poised to win a Pyrrhic Victory.

What did Lupica lose in the war?

All credibility:

"Which New York baseball team do you think is set up better for next season, the Mets or the Yankees?"

The Orioles were better than the Yankees this year. The Orioles finally won the AL East.

Except it felt like the Orioles won the "AL East" and finally beat the "Yankees."

When the Mets win 81 games in 2015 and the Yankees win 77, it will be a big deal to Lupica and Mets fans?


"Now that the farewell tours have ended, which Yankee are you buying tickets to watch play next season, especially if Tanaka has to miss next season because of Tommy John surgery?"

Got it. This is undoubtedly true.

But you can't have it both ways.

If you ridiculed Jeter's $20 million annual salary... and ARod's $25 million annual salary ... then you should at least recognize what they were paid to do.

They moved the product, and you're a dumb hypocrite because you are the first person to criticize ARod's contract.

"Which contract do you think looks better now for our kids on 161st. St., incidentally, Teixeira’s or Sabathia’s?"

David Wright's.

 "Alex Rodriguez’s contract, as you know, is in a league of its own."

It's like a reflex.

He really can't see it, can he?

I think the party is over for ARod. The Yankees will get little return for the remaining $60 million, both in terms of on-field production and ticket sales.

But if you really question the return on ARod's overall contract, then count the number of times your newspaper put him on the back page over the past 10 years.

Then, look up the Yankee Stadium attendance numbers.

Yankee Stadium II: The House that ARod Built.

Bob Raissman is the downstream feed.

"In his final days as a Yankee, Derek Jeter gave the media what he had not been able to deliver during his 20 seasons in pinstripes — controversy.

The more precise way of describing Jeter’s gift is this: He provided the media with the motivation to create a controversy. Of course this enabled Valley of the Stupid Gasbags, and commentators from other media precincts, to verbally take out cans of whup-ass and spray paint the Captain.

Or passionately rally to his defense."

Valley of the Stupid Gasbags? Says the guy who regularly appears on SNY?

"It was all entertaining. It also begged the question: Was all the passion, with the extreme points of view, more about evoking the 'Wow, did you hear what that guy said about Jeter' moment than it was about the legitimacy of the critique itself?"

Oh no, they're stealing my shtick.

"Jeter’s been around for two decades, so why did Olbermann wait so long to go to the whip? If he felt Jeter’s skills were so inferior, why not put the verbal beatdown on him years ago? Gee, why wait until Jeter’s end is near? Oh shucks, this is so hard to figure out."

I don't know if this is accurate.

The anti-Jeter backlash is deserved and I wouldn't be surprised if Olbermann has rolled his eyes several times over the past 20 years. I know I have.

I don't even think it's so much tangible vs. abstract. At this point, Jeter's leadership qualities are clearly overrated to such a degree that his actual tangible baseball-playing abilities are overshadowed.
I heard one talk radio caller say Jeter is a bi-racial healer and our society will fall apart without him. I paraphrase in this particular case, but that was kind of the gist of many teary-eyed old men: "Jeter transcends baseball."

I heard another say that Jeter should run for mayor. No word if Ricky Ledee would be the deputy mayor.

"See, everybody’s a winner here.

So, thanks Derek Jeter. Thanks for leaving us all with something to peddle. Free of charge."

Unsure if that's a confession.

But if Raissman is ripping his content providers for providing controversy, then what does that say about his column?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just say "Mark Teixeira" instead of "some players."

"According to clubhouse sources who were present for the critique, and backed up by interviews with more than a half-dozen players, most of whom spoke to not for attribution for fear of angering their manager, Girardi chided some players for being overweight and others for not being 'hungry' enough."

Anthony McCarron seems to have forgotten about the fan favorite playing first base and making humorous videos for YES Network.

"For the first time since maybe the early 1980s, the Yankees are icon-less, an unusual position for a franchise built on some of baseball’s biggest names, from Babe Ruth to Lou Gehrig to Joe DiMaggio to Mickey Mantle to Reggie Jackson to Don Mattingly to Jeter himself. In some ways, it’s not just their shortstop that’s leaving, it’s part of their identity."

I know the answer to their problems: Win. That's what fans like.

The Stadium was empty when Mattingly played on bad teams, and, frankly, the Stadium was dead in 2014 when Jeter played on a bad team.

Who will be the next iconic Yankee? Tanaka has a shot. But it doesn't really matter, anyway.

If Tino can get benched in the playoffs and then find himself in Monument Park 18 years later, then anything can happen.

But nothing happens unless you win.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Derek Jeter is the prism through which I view my life.

I don't know who this guy is, but he said that Jeter has played up to expectations and has the Yankees in the middle of a pennant race.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Derek Jeter has gall to make money.

Having trouble seeing what Chris Carlin is upset about here.

Derek Jeter not living up to an imaginary ideal?

A pro athlete making a commercial?

I think many observers don't get the whole farewell tour thing ... I sure don't ... especially when opposing teams go out of their way to honor the retiring player.

However, even if Jeter's not-too-inclusive leadership skills and aw-shucks humility are consistently exaggerated, I fail to see how Jeter can be a fraud, when all he really ever claimed to be is a pro baseball player. He's a great player who stayed out of trouble (check the national headlines) and ran hard to first base for twenty years.

Carlin is on the Mets station and he's ripping a Yankee player. The station that operates under the pretense of covering "all NY sports" while openly mocking the Yankees.

Carlin's commentary is brought to you by your tri-county Ford dealers (just like the 15th out of the game serves to remind us that you can save 15% on your car insurance in 15 minutes).

So what is Carlin's gripe with a Gatorade commercial?

Jeter makes some cash and further promotes the extremely valuable Brand of Jeter.

Gatorade sells more sugar water to idiots who also think that pro athletes eat anti-nutritional garbage at Subway.

I don't really have a historical scorecard of Chris Carlin's editorial comments.

I have a hunch that Carlin is the fraud here.

I have a hunch that, while Carlin is mocking NY fans and media for worshipping at the altar of Jeter, Carlin spends a lot of time masturbating to a David Wright poster while eating a couple of boxes of ring dings.

Some perspective as Tanaka starts a game for the first time since July 8th.

Tanaka leads the Yankees in wins.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

In corporate speak, it's known as "optics."

Though optics has a very specific meaning -- it's the study of light -- the word is now widely used to mean, simply, how something appears.

If you fall for a PR attempt at good optics, you are an infantile fool.

Mike Lupica, unsurprisingly, in an infantile fool:

"When Major League Baseball’s Bud Selig and Rob Manfred wanted to suspend a dozen guys last year, and drop a richly deserved hammer on a drug cheat like Alex Rodriguez, they didn’t talk about a conduct committee or wait around for law enforcement to throw the first punch against Anthony Bosch, drug pusher to the stars. They went right after Bosch with a lawsuit for interference and you know what happened in that moment? They became real enforcers, not people simply posing that way."

Wow. "Real enforcers."

 It's incomprehensible to me that Selig's PR play worked so well.

We got ARod. Steroid era over.

By the way, here's a short list, Mr. Enforcer ... and this does not go back to the good ol' days.

The current AL MVP is a drunk driver.

Who knows how many cheaters helped Baltimore win the AL East and Buck Showalter win Manager of the Year? It's a number somewhere between 1 and 50. We know for sure it isn't 0.

Selig is hardly an enforcer. Selig is a corporate poser and Lupica is his water boy.