Been so long...

A million apologies to my loyal followers for the lack of posts over the past week or so. This is a big week coming up, I promise. Both Deputy Dawg and I will be constructing our ideal bullpens and bench players in preparation for the upcoming season. The Yankees take on the Cubs for no apparent reason in exhibition games this Friday and Saturday, unofficially opening the new Stadium. Check back early and often for our take on the latest news in Yankeeland.


Nady to Start in Right Field?

According to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Joe Girardi took the air out of Nick Swisher. After speaking with his manager and learning that he would not be the team's starting right fielder, the usual energy of Swisher was noticably absent:

"I've been thinking all day about what I wanted to say," Swisher told us after the game, an 8-3 loss to the Phillies. "I'm the type of guy, I want to play every day, there's no doubt about that. I guess we're just going to see how it plays out.

"I love this team. I love the coaches, players, I love it all. I think it's a great spot. But that's the biggest thing: we're going to have to wait and see how it plays out."

It has been no secret that we here at The Fowl Balls have been pushing Swisher since he was acquired from the White Sox, and we disagree with this decision. Swisher is more versatile, more patient at the plate, and a better defender than Nady. I can not help but wonder if Swisher's versatility actually hurt him in the competition this spring. A switch hitter with the ability to play multiple positions is attractive coming off the bench, but not at the cost of running out your best lineup day in and day out.

The one thing that I am enjoying most about Swisher is his honesty. Though he was careful not to blast anyone, he did make his emotions evident. He is a passionate player, but not to the point of being subordinate. When asked how he took the news, he offered the following response:

"I don't know of anyone who would take that the right way, at first," Swisher said. "But I have all the faith in the world that this team is where I want to be. The front office has put together a great team and not only that, but just a great group of guys, and we all get along. So that's the thing: I'm not going to let any of this try to stir things up in any way, because that's just not our style."

Having dealt with players that are completely completely insane and ignorant to what their actions do to the clubhouse (see: Alex Rodriguez) and others that have been robotic in all statements since 1996 (see: Derek Jeter) over the last few years, Swisher looks to be a breath of fresh air. Now all Girardi has to do is find him 500 at bats.

The WBC is over

An Asian team won. That's all I know, because I definitely wasn't staying up to watch that boring as hell base-hit-you-to-death style of play until 2AM.


You Sock

So Curt Schilling is hanging up his cleats. I am sure his cleats are relieved.

Schilling retires with 2 World Series rings to his credit and an ever expanding waistline. Over the last few years he was known more for his blog than his pitching. But let’s be honest, cheeseburgers were more afraid of him than opposing hitters.

Sure, he helped Boston win their first World Championship in 86 years while wearing a ketchup stained sock (see Doug Mirabella and Gary Thorne). And to his credit, he did this while catching David Wells disease (commonly referred to as douchebagitis).

Now it’s all over. After hijacking the Red Sox for $8 million last year for essentially nothing, Schilling announced today that he is done at age 42. Jock straps everywhere rejoice.

Let’s talk reality. This guy is NOT a hall-of-famer. He has a career ERA of just under 3.50 and only 216 career wins. He is only 70 games over .500 for his career, yielding a winning percentage of .596, and he finishes in 14th place on the all-time strikeout list. He pitched in parts of 20 seasons and only won 20 games 3 times.

Really? Are those overwhelming, can’t miss, HOF numbers?

I think not.

Schilling was at right place at the right time, twice. Just check is jewelry box. Let’s not forget Game 7 in 2001 where he locked it up with Roger Clemens in an epic battle but was on the losing end when he left that game. If not for a quirky bottom of the 9th inning against the greatest closer known to man, his “mystique” would not be quite so impressive.

I personally loved his honesty in interviews about the game, but Cooperstown is not the next stop on the Curt Schilling tour. I am sure he love the catering the in press box of whatever team he winds up calling games for in the near future.

Thanks for the soundbytes.


According to a report from Boston BJ artist Peter Gammons, the Angels have tried to push Gary Matthews, Jr. on the Yankees.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia says Matthews "isn't comfortable" with his role as a fourth outfielder, but despite rumors that the Angels may try to work something out with the Yankees, the contract will be difficult to move.

"Difficult"? How about "shove it up your ass and never call this office again!"? Although I am still a proponent of bringing Mike Cameron to the Bronx, the multi-year, multi-multi-million dollar commitment attached to Matthews is a deal killer. And by the way, we destroyed the Angels for this terrible signing two years ago.

Client #13?

According to a report** from the New York Daily News, Alex Rodriguez has been linked to the same prostitution ring that cost former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer his job. Did I say linked? What I meant to say was not only did A-Rod use the service for "dates", he actually dated Kristin Davis, the madam of the operation.

The article makes Rodriguez look like a lost little school girl, peppering Davis with emails until she finally would meet with him. Although some would be shocked, I have to say that this is as big a story as my commute into work this morning. Newsflash to the country: rich pricks buy hookers. Since Mr. Rodriguez explicitly meets those criteria, it should come as no surprise that he was plowing the occasional "lady of the night" whilst he was married. The man is an imbecile, so lets stop paying attention. According to Buster Olney, that's what the rest of his team has done.

**Editor's note: Since I am not in the business of peddling smut, I will not post a picture of Kristen Davis here. What I will do, however, is recommend that you follow the link to the report, because she is definitely worth a look. I assure you that this is not another case of Alex showing the world his mommy issues by dating a 65 year old washed up pincushion.


Much Ado About Spring Training Stats

Just when we all thought the center field job was being handed to Brett Gardner, ESPN's Jason Stark throws a monkey wrench in the works.

According to his latest "Rumblings and Grumblings" column, Stark claims that the Yankees are speaking again with the Brewers about Mike Cameron. This should put a little bit of a damper on the Brett Gardner love fest going on in Yankees Universe. Gardner's "gritty, gutty" (read: little white guy) style of play gets rave reviews from fans and writers alike, but the simple fact remains that it does not necessarily translate to the Major League playing field.

Through Spring Training so far, Gardner has put up regoddamneddiculous numbers in 34 at bats: .382/.447/.765. Good for him. That and $2 will get you on the subway. Unfortunately for Li'l Gardy, the Yankees just found out that they have lost the biggest offensive threat in the American League for, what could be, two months of the regular season, and that offense needs to be made up somewhere.

This may come off as a harsh assessment of Brett Gardner's body of work (or lack there of), but I am obviously not the only person that feels this way, nor am I the most important. Brian Cashman is obviously exploring other options for the center field job, and we agree. Actually, we agreed when the Cameron deal was supposedly done back in December. The Yankees are obviously in wait-and-see mode regarding Austin Jackson. To start a young, inexperienced player in center on a championship caliber team is borderline irresponsible. If Gardner does what equates to a solid job in 2009 as the starter, and Jackson tears up AAA like he did Trenton, Gardner will be supplanted by Opening Day of 2010.

At this point in his career, Brett Gardner is a good, young fourth outfielder with a ton of speed coming off of the bench. The move to make, in this instance, is to capitalize on the dominant spring that Kei Igawa has put together, eat some of his contract, and send him to the pitching starved Brewers for Mike Cameron. He will provide the serviceable stopgap that the Yankees are looking for while providing 20-25 home run power and a superior glove.


Book Corner

Even though I swore off of books in my sophomore year of college, I will read this one. Arrving in stores on March 24th, friend of The Balls Jeff Pearlman has made Roger Clemens the subject of his latest work.
This book has the potential to be the second-most satisfying accomplishment of Pearlman's career, coming in behind his interview with The Fowl Balls.

Who's First?

It’s time to get out of the media and the discussion of performance enhancing drugs. It’s time to forget about what drugs players are injecting and start thinking about how many balls they will be ejecting from parks in 2009. It’s about damn time for baseball.

Last September saw the last game at the House that Ruth Built. On April 16th the Yankees will begin play at the new House that was Built by the YES Network. Though they are only moving across the street, the upgrade in facilities is vast (obstructed view seating aside).

A recent Sports Illustrated article suggests that it will be Joba Chamberlain’s turn in the rotation on the day the new Yankee Stadium is set to open. If that is in fact the case, it’s a mistake.

Now, please don’t misunderstand, I don’t ever favor tinkering with your rotation based on where you are playing or who or when. But this is a special case. This is a once in a lifetime moment. This is historic and immortal. We have to beg the Bronx Bombers not to get this wrong.

Joe Girardi needs to examine the magnitude of who will start that first game and ensure he sends the right man to the hill. If you look at the 5 starters on paper, each has a case for this start, but only one is the right choice.

The choice is clear.

The choice is CC Sabathia.

Sabathia is your $161 million dollar man. He was priority one this off-season and is going to be part of the New Yankee Tradition for a while.

He is a lefty who averaged 7.2 innings per start last year and needs to feel the magic that the opening day crowd will provide. He struck out 251 batters last year and tossed 7 complete games. He is 29 years old and just hitting his prime. He is a horse, so let him run.

He also gets to face the team he made his mark with, the Cleveland Indians.

The guy is 16 games over .500 in career at his home parks, so why not let him open the new house? He is also 39 games over .500 on grass fields. So he has that going for him as well.

While he was only 1-4 in the old Yankee Stadium, his perception of the new house should be set with an opening day win and a standing ovation as he leaves the game in the 7th with a 6-1 lead. Oh, I forgot to mention that he is 11 games over .500 during the day.

But the best thing about Sabathia is that HE GETS IT. He made it a point to go the press conference held by A-Rod. He has said all the right things since getting his very large payday. He is the cornerstone of the rebuilt staff.

Sabathia knows what this means and how to handle being handed the responsibility of this game. He knows this is the fastest way into the hearts of Bronx faithful. He won’t lay an egg. Not that day. Not a chance.

He’s the guy.

Give him the damn ball.

A Little Housekeeping

- Adding to the plethora of features of The Fowl Balls, Jimmy Dugan now has his own Facebook page. Send a comment or a big FU if you feel the need

- We are working diligently to provide our readers with more Fantasy material, as I know that y'all will eat that up. We should have an announcement in the coming weeks.

- Deputy Dog will have his latest post up this afternoon and it is definitely worth a read.

- Once again, if you have an questions, comments, or suggestions for the site, they are greatly appreciated. I can be reached at jimmydugan.thefowlballs@gmail.com, or now on my Facebook page !!!11!!!OMG!!1!!!!


Stop. Talking.

This photo (along with many other homo-erotic, narcissistic shots) is from the latest issues of Details Magazine (apparently they still print that piece of sh*t). Even after our ver public falling out, I still feel for Alex Rodriguez. It's articles like this that make you realize that this guy is so out of touch and misguided that he actually thinks that he won't be destroyed in the public for it. Wow.


Check this out

Friend of The Balls Bob Ruffalo has posted some insane exclusive pics of the New Stadium over at his site, The Voice of Yankees Universe.

There are some great shots of the new park, so get a look considering most Yankee fans won't ever be able to enter the place without taking out a 30 year mortgage.


New feature

One of my tech savvy (read: dork) friends told me I should be on Twitter. I had no idea what that meant, but he is smarter than me, so I did it anyways. Click on the twitter logo in the left frame to follow our "tweets". Gay.

Do NOT f*ck with Bernie Williams

In what may be the funniest thing I have ever read in my life, Bernie Williams is being accused of hitting a woman in a Puerto Rico night club for taking his picture.

First of all, Bernie WIlliams is WAY too old to be in a night club. I bet he still carries Banaka and drinks Tom Collins' neat. Second, Bernie hasn't hit anything hard in 5 years, so I don't know what this woman is complaining about. And based on the strength of his throwing arm, I can't see how a swing of his right hand could have done any considerable damage.

Of all of the seedy things that we hear about professional athletes, would you EVER have thought that you would be hearing about Bernie f*cking Williams backhanding some skank in a club? It just sounds too much like Wayne Brady threatening to choke a bitch on Chappelle's Show. This is why I love this job. (Well, let's call it a job even though the defining characteristic of a "job" is usually some sort of monetary compensation. In that case, its not really a "job", per se. More of an "activity" I guess. Or a "hobby". Or, as some call it, an "enormous waste of time and productivity". There, thats it.)

(Hat tip to Peter Abraham for the article)

The Balls at Spring Training

The Fowl Balls will have newly annointed correspondent Hideki Irabu at tonight's Yankees vs. Red Sox Spring Training game in Ft. Myers. Expect video, commentary, and pictures from what promises to be a heated exchange between two American League powers (HA).


8 (or so) Questions Fantasy Edition with Tim Dierkes

You may not know it, but MLB Trade Rumors founder Tim Dierkes is also a fantasy baseball guru. With everyone's drafts on the horizon, I bounced some questions off of Tim to get his take on the upcoming season.

Jimmy Duggan- Give me your #1, super secret fantasy sleeper that you haven't told anyone else about:
Tim Dierkes - My problem is that I tell everyone all of my sleepers. I guess one guy I havent hyped up much who could be a ROY contender is Tommy Hanson. Needs a rotation spot first though.

JD - With drafts right around the corner, give me your top five picks:
TD - 1. Hanley Ramirez, 2. Reyes, 3. Pujols, 4. Wright, 5. Braun

JD - Who is your best candidate for a bounce back fantasy sleeper:
TD - I'll take Aaron Harang or Victor Martinez.

JD - With the relatively large drop off at 2B after Utley and Pedroia, what round should I be looking to draft Robinson Cano?
TD - Cano is going on average in the 7th round, way too early for me. I would rather wait back for Kelly Johnson in the 18th or 19th.

JD - WHat is your predicted fantasy line for Hideki Matsui:
TD - .283-16-76-71-1 in 464 ABs

JD - In a typical fantasy 5x5 format, are you a bigger advocate of drafting pitcher heavy or bat heavy?
TD - Definitely bat heavy. I usually wait until the 7th or 8th round to think about pitching, and midseason I'll try to round out my staff using the waiver wire.

JD - What is your snack of choice when doing a live draft?
TD - Sour skittles.

JD - Since none of us are perfect (even you) who is your "holy sh*t I can't tell anyone I drafted this guy or I would no longer be considered an expert" from last season?
TD - How about Kosuke Fukudome? There are probably worse though.

We at The Fowl Balls would like to thank Tim for giving us a little time (again). Keep checking out MLB Trade Rumors while the world tries to figure out what the hell the Yankees are going to do without A-Rod, and good luck in your drafts.


I am a whore

Just a heads up for our readers, I have come to an agreement to do a few guest posts on Bronx Baseball Daily. Check out the site - they do a nice job. This is just the next step in my plan to take over all blogs, therefore making one super-blog that feeds off of the lives of lesser blogs.


According to a report from ESPN Deportes, Alex Rodriguez's brother has been telling people that the third baseman is scheduled to have hip surgery to remove a cyst. He went on to say that it will take A-Rod out of action for 10 weeks. After doing math quietly in your head like I just did, you will realize that that timeframe will include up to the first 6 weeks of the season.

This could be the worst possible news for a team that NEEDS to get off to a good start. After the money that was spent this offseason the pressure is immeasurable on people like Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman, and losing the best player in the world does not bode well for either of them. I don't care how high Cody Ransom can jump, he's just not enough.

So here's hoping that the report from a sometimes-right news source obtained from A-Rod's sister's-gardener's-college roommate is inaccurate.


I love Kevin Cash

I am of the opinion that Kevin Cash should be given a spot on the Yankees 2009 roster. Disregarding the fact that he is (arguably) the worst hitter that gets paid to play baseball for a living, he is funny. I like him.

Cash caught against Team USA yesterday. He was a member of the Red Sox organization last year, and when he was asked about Dustin Pedroia prior to the game, he had this to offer:

"I didn't know Team USA carried its own batboy," Cash said of the second

Phenomenal. Even though he sucks camel scrotum, Kevin Cash knows how to have a good time.

F*cking weird

AThough I have not been the biggest Jeter proponent as his defense has declined to near-embarassing levels, I have to say that I was a little struck yesterday seeing him oppose then Yankees. I posted this particluar picture because the man pictured to Jeter's left could very well be the cause of Derek's New York exit.
The Yankees committing to Mark Teixeira clogged a position that Jeter may have been able to fill in the waning years of his career. He obviously can't move to third (unless the Stenbrenners put a hit out on A-Rod), and a move to the outfield might be a lot to ask of a player that will be 37.
For the first time in a long time, I was hit with some nostalgia. I thought about watching a young Derek Jeter that was able to do everything possible to win a baseball game; run, hit for average, hit for power, and doing it with the glove. Though those days are seemingly behind him, he is still the most recognizable link to the Dynasty Era left with the team. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees maneuver when Derek's contract is up, but keep this in mind: no team with a shortstop 37 or older has EVER won a World Series, and only one team has even made it to the Series. In case you were wondering, that shortstop's name: Pee Wee Reese.

More evidence that Alex Rodriguez is mildly retarded

As if dating Madonna was not proof enough, a report has surfaced that Alex Rodriguez sought career advice from Katie Couric after he opted out of his contract with the Yankees after the 2007 season. Yes, Katie Couric. If anyone knows about committing career suicide and losing credibility, it would be Katie.

This is reason number 238,765,123,467,876 that Alex Rodriguez is too stupid to make a decision on his own. He has more advisors on hand than the President, and yet he still talks to this clown-faced airhead about what direction his life should be headed. That is the equivalent of throwing Billy Martin your car keys.

Johnny Damon may not be an idiot

In reaction to the horrifically overblown comments made by Alex Rodriguez yesterday, Johnny Damon had this to say:

"Obviously, we know how talented Jose Reyes is," Damon told The Post. "I know Alex loves me as a teammate and leading off. Jose Reyes still has 10 to 15 years in the tank; I have five at the most."
So there. The headline of this article by George A. King III actually suggests that not only was the comment a slight to Derek Jeter, but also Damon because A-Rod mentioned that he would love to see Jose Reyes "batting leadoff" for the Yankees. We are reaching now, gentlemen.
After spending double the gross national product of Guam on names like Sabathia, Teixeira and Burnett this offseason, one would assume that professional writers would have plenty of material for columns about the Yankees. But we all know what happens when we assume; you make an ass out of Uma Thurman.


Is this what we are reduced to?

Before I get started on my rant, let me say this: I respect Peter Abraham, and I love what he does. I probably account for 20% of his daily hits. That being said, I am getting tired of all of the bullsh*t surrounding A-Rod, and reporters trying to make a story out of nothing.

In a post on his blog today, Abraham tries to stir up controversy between Rodriguez and Derek Jeter. Apparently A-Rod made a comment today saying that he wish(es) that "(Jose Reyes) was leading off on our team, playing on our team." In my eyes, this is an innocent comment complimenting the skills of Jose Reyes. Instead of taking it at face value, Abraham fires a shot at Rodriguezz because Reyes "plays the same position" as Jeter. Come one. Is this a shot at Johnny Damon because he is the leadoff hitter? A-Rod f*cks it up enough himself, I don't think he needs any help from Pete Abe.

I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!

As anyone who reads the blog knows (that's right, both of you), the recent fall of Alex Rodriguez has left Jimmy Dugan as heartbroken as a schoolgirl. After much deliberation, a suitable replacement has been found, and we at The Fowl Balls are ready to introduce our new man crush.

...and the player you will hear so much about this season that you will be sick by the All-Star break is...


Mark Teixeira

We have always had an affinity for Teixeira's play, and who wouldn't. A well-rounded, slugging first baseman that plays gold-glove quality defense. Sound familiar? It should.

Now that he is a Yankee, Tex will be subjected to the ridiculous media scrutiny that all star players are afforded once in New York. Thanks to this, we will be able to learn more about Mark Teixeira the person, not just Mark Teixeira the player. The article that cemented my undying love (read: until he tests positive) was in the New York Times this weekend. Just like the rest of us, Mark Teixeira worshipped Don Mattingly as a child. That's right, even though he was a die-hard Orioles fan growing up in Maryland, Tex had a poster of Donnie Baseball on his wall. He's one of us.

Again, Teixeira's numbers are admirable enough on their own. He gets on base, hits for power, and will do a great job protecting you-know-who batting in front of him all year. But in the end, the idiot fanboy in me eats this other sh*t up. Now that I have officially received my Mark Texeira jersey in the mail, it's on like Donkey Kong. Teixeira updates all day long.


8 (or so) Questions: Mike Ashmore of Thunder Thoughts

Thunder Thoughts is a blog about the Yankees AA affiliate, the Trenton Thunder. Blogger and beat writer Mike Ashmore has been covering the team since 2006, and he was kind enough to answer a few of our questions:

Jimmy Dugan - Who is the best prospect you have seen that didn't make it to the
big or busted at the big league level?
Mike Ashmore - Right now, Eric Duncan and Chuck Lofgren come to mind...I'd say Adam Miller -- there were people who thought he was better than Phil Hughes when both were in the Eastern League in 2006 -- but I still think he's going to be a big leaguer.
Duncan was a local guy and a first rounder, and as a result was hyped to ridiculous levels. I think people forget how young he still is,but the fact that he isn't getting spring invites and isn't getting a sniff in the Rule 5 shows you how far his stock has fallen.
As for Lofgren...BA has him ranked as Cleveland's #2 prospect last season, and now he's fallen completely off the radar. He had one great year in 2006, a pretty good year in 2007 and was a mess last year...was he a starter? Was he a reliever? He's only 23, but still...yikes.
Adam Loewen comes to mind as well, actually...he got a handful of games in the bigs, but he was another first rounder who was hyped to death who just never really panned out.

JD - You had the chance to watch Mark Melancon pitch pretty frequently last year - how good is he?
MA - Well, he certainly doesn't suck. Melancon's going to be an above average big leaguer one day, and perhaps the future Yankees closer depending on how things work out with Mariano Rivera and so on...then again, people were saying the same thing about J.B. Cox a few years back and that didn't entirely pan out.
Melancon's fastball still isn't where it once was in terms of velocity, but his secondary stuff is pretty nasty...a bad outing from him was rare in Trenton. I doubt he cracks the big league club out of camp...but he'd have to be one of the first guys called up if an opportunity should arise in the bullpen.

JD - Better logo: Thor or the Cloud? What is the best Minor League Logo?
MA - Neither...I'm impartial to the original logo from the first eight years of the Thunder's existence. That's the one I was accustomed to from following the team when I was younger.
Best minor league logo? Yikes. Probably not a good answer, but Always liked the color scheme the Vermont Lake Monsters had.

JD - How has the morale of the team has changed from the barren early2000s, to what is now billed as a resurgence. Guys like Robinson Cano have talked about how futile it felt to be a Yankee farmhand for along time until he and Wang got promoted. Do Yankees minor leaguers feel like more than bait now?
MA - Well, I've only been covering the Thunder since 2006, so that isn't as easy to answer as I'd like...but even over the past few years, guy shave felt like they actually have a chance in the organization as opposed to more or less being groomed for someone else's big leagueteam. I still wonder whether that attitude will change considering guys like CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira were added via free agency...which was more like what the "old" Yankees would do and not as much going torwards building from within as they'd seemed to be trying to do over the past few years. You can't blame them at all forgoing out and getting the best guys available...but if you're Yankees minor leaguer, you're probably a little more frustrated than you were last season.

JD - Is Austin Jackson the potential star that the Yankees are telling us, or is he a serviceable big league center fielder?
MA - Somewhere in the middle, I think. Occasional All-Star? Perhaps.Perennial All-Star? Probably not. But the kid is a great athlete with a great attitude and a strong work ethic, and that can take you pretty far. I'd really like to see what he can do against Triple-A pitching for a full season and not see him get rushed...but that all depends on how the Yankees center field options perform in the first half of the year.

JD - Give me a sleeper for 2009
MA - Is Eric Hacker considered a sleeper? He's on the 40-man roster, after all. But he could end up on the Trenton roster to start the season considering the pitching depth the organization currently has. He was just so consistent, and he's similar to Phil Coke in that he just wants the ball and doesn't really care when or where he gets it. I'll be very curious to see if he can follow up on his breakout season of'08.

JD - I read in your bio that you have conducted an inordinate amount of interviews - who was the most interesting?
MA - I don't even want to take a stab at putting a number on how many people I've been fortunate enough to interview during my career...I know it's a pretty ridiculous number that I'd ultimately be pretty proud of. Most interesting? I usually go with Matt DeSalvo when people ask me that question. He was just a very different guy who was very into books and just had a lot of layers to him. He liked to answer questions with other questions and is probably the only player to this day who didn't want to read what I'd written about him.

JD - Dish dirt: Who was the biggest prick?
MA - Ha. You could probably make an All-Star team out of the guys who have turned me down for interviews...but most of them have been nice about it. I think Kenny Rogers was the first one who ever flat shot me down back when I was working for a sports radio show in 2005, and he wasn't the best about it. Ben Sheets also wasn't the easiest to talk to,either.
As far as Yankees go...I've never, ever had a problem with anyone in Trenton. A-Rod shot me down once before a Yankee game, but I wasn't surprised. More embarrassed than anything else because he did it in front of other reporters, really. But then Derek Jeter was kind enough to give me a few minutes of his time, and it made the day suck much, much less. Think of it this way...I need to talk to those guys a lot more than they need to talk to me, so it was nice that Jeter would actually give a break to the Double-A beat writer. You don't forget stuff like that.

JD - As a minor league expert, I have to ask: Is it really possible fora catcher that has pop from both sides of the plate and calls a great game to be overlooked to the tune of 220+ minor league home runs, or was Crash Davis as fake as Joaquin Phoenix's shtick?
MA - Setting minor league records is kind of like being the tallest midget...yeah, that's great and all, but you're still a midget.Little person? Is that more politically correct? But the point is,there are guys who have got some impressive minor league numbers who have never and likely will never get a look at the big league level.
There was obviously some embellishing on the Crash Davis story...but it's not too far-fetched.

Thanks again to Mike for taking the time to pen some very in-depth answers for us (we'll be keeping an eye on Eric Hacker!). I urge all of our readers to check out Thunder Thoughts, as it gives an excellent snapshot of whats going on in Trenton throughout the year.