As for tonight's game, the Yankees are facing a pitcher who's been called up from triple A for his first start - ever, I believe - so that means the Yankees have no chance of scoring any runs off him. Now if they get to face him again this year, they'll destroy him, but I think this is the last series with the Indians of the year. Anyway, it almost always seems to go this way in this situation. New pitcher, no hits - seen the pitcher before, and they hit him like he deserves to be hit. Go figure.
President, CEO, and Dictator
The Fowl Balls
The voice of our childhood dreams moved on this weekend. Even knowing that he was 99 years old, I know that every fan was still holding out hope that we would hear that booming voice in the New Stadium. Alas, there were other plans. Rest in peace, Voice of God.
I know that I don't usually post videos, but between this and the Wally Backman meltdown, it's been pure gold this week. The best part about this video is A-Rod looks so young, and Jeter and his flat top look like this could have been taped yesterday.
*That was not a typo - Mark Teixeira hit a home run off of a quality pitcher.
2010 Seats Between Bases start at $235 per seat per game.
That's classic stuff, right there! And that is a significant reduction from last year, is it not? Wish I could get a list of stuff you could get for $235 bucks. I was perfectly happy to watch the Yankees blow their lead on Saturday from my once a year $100 seats, thank you very much! My girlfriend and I were talking about going to another game, but sitting in cheaper seats rather than upping the price.
On my most recent visit to Yankee Stadium:
We bought 2 blue moons at the game - the cost was over $20. For two beers. I felt bad that I didn't have any tip money... but when you pay over $20 for two beers, do you really need to tip? I'd love to hear some thoughts on this topic. It didn't appear that people were tipping.
On the other hand, we ate at the Noodle Bowl over by the food court, and the price was totally reasonable; maybe $7 something each for our noodles with fried tofu, and the portion was ample to say the least, and it was tasty.
Oh, and the $100 seats had padding - we took a quick look around the stadium and noted that all the box seats on the first floor seemed to have padding, but the second and third tiers were not so blessed.
Joe Lemire's SI.com article, Who will throw the next perfect game? I must take issue with. As a rule, I recommend baseball fans not waste their time prognosticating who has the potential to throw a perfect game during their career because the idea is totally idiotic. This was Lemire's Memorial Day offering, so I'd love to know what ragging bash he went to the previous weekend that inspired such nonsense, what kind of alcohol was served, and finally, where I can acquire said alcohol that will make me so delusional that I'll come up with a list of potential perfect game candidates.
Here is a list of criteria he came up with, which I can't argue with, but again, that's not the point.
first-pitch strikes, swing-and-miss stuff, multi-pitch repertoire and good team defense
OK, fine. That sounds good. But honestly, did anyone ever think Mark Buehrle was going to throw a perfect game? If someone made this list before Buehrle had done it, I guarantee you he would not be there. Here is the list of all MLB perfect games. Did any member of the press ever have the cohonas to predict someone would throw a perfect game before they did it? Now I realize Lemire isn't offering any predictions, but this is still a bold declaration.
And now, here is what drove me over the edge, the very inspiration for this post:
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals: No, he hasn't thrown in any major-league games yet, much less come close to completing a perfect one, but what limits would you place on him? This is an exercise in potential and few, if any, have the upside of Strasburg, whose minor-league record is sparkling (6-2, 1.43 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 10.7 K/9) and who'd need only one dazzling start to make it happen.
He went there. I know Strasburg looks like he's going to set the National League on fire, but let's let the kid pitch first, huh? Maybe we could find a way to put more pressure and attention on the kid... let's just paint a bulls-eye on his back and get it over with.
I love that closing line: "need only one dazzling start to make it happen." That's all ANYONE would need to throw a perfect game, damn it! Oh, and just for giggles, Tim Lincecum hasn't completed 6 IP in his last 3 starts - he's #3 on the list. I'm sure Lincecum will recover, as he has good stuff, but the point I'm trying to say is anyone can struggle - and anyone can be great.
As the nonsense that is ESPN and our local paper's coverage of the Yankees weighed on me all off season long, SI.com became a daily destination for me, but as this season has rolled on, I find myself visiting less and less. The simple fact is, Yankees Blog coverage is just better than Media coverage. I know that I'm tooting my own horn on some level (try to keep the comments on that PG, folks), but its true. Flip through the Yankees blogs and you'll find
amazing statistical analysis at River Ave Blues, incite on other parks and cities from Yankeeist or just silliness from An A-Blog for A-Rod.
What's going on at ESPN, you ask? More Joe West comments on length of games. Yep, they're still beating that horse. And speaking of desecrating graves, The NY Post has got yet another McNamee/Clemens article - I think I counted 5 entire sentences. Just awesome. Now that's good reporting on a topic nobody cares about anymore.
I could go on, but it'd be an exercise in futility. The Yankees Blogs are doing better because they're not beholden to a business model that dictates they create as many pages/posts as possible in an effort to serve as many banner advertisements as possible. Yankees Blogs don't post a bunch of crap and their not motivated by financial gain; we blog the Yankees because we love 'em. Even when the Bombers play like ass, they're still there for us, just about every day, from late February to (hopefully) early November and beyond. Covering baseball is a writer's dream - they play every day and there are a million stories to write that are interesting and relevant. Yankees Blogs give you an analysis, statistical information and facts, passion for their team and a laugh. The media is just filler.
The Morning Dump is a new feature on The Fowl Balls that will compile what I perceive as the most entertaining Yankees links from the previous day. If you find anything that you think is dumpworthy, leave it in the comment section
Hey all - just a few notes on what to expect from The Balls in the near future...
Ok, so it's been to long since my last post. Big shit. God knows the Yankees have enough morons like myself covering even the most minute move like its going to cost the team the World Series in March. Oh no!!! They are keeping Marcus Thames and cut the juggernaut that is Jamie Hoffman!!
I weigh in when my opinion is needed - nee - DEMANDED.
The fifth starter derby (which we all knew was a two-horse race from the beginning) has finaly come to a close, with Phil Hughes being officially named to the final spot. This leaves Joba Chamberlain in the wind, seemingly banished to the bulpen. I have never been a "Joba to the bullpen" guy and still believe that he has a real future as a starter. Young, live armed pitchers with three plus pitches, by definition, are starters, and don't let any asshole tell you differently. Unfortunately, the Yankees do not have the luxury of letting two young starters develop by getting their asses handed to them over a full season. They are expected, if not demanded, to win year in and year out so there really is only one slot to play with when the goal is a championship. Not to mention Joe Girardi is in a contract year, and nobody gives a fuck about the title he won in 2009.The pitcher that showed the most in Spring Training was going to win this job, and Hughes put up better numbers while showing real promise with a changeup.
So what now for Joba? Is he the heir apparent to Mo, if he ever retires? In my mind, Joba is a starter. Again, 23 year olds with 3 major league pitches don't just grow on trees. There is a reason why A.J. Burnett, a possible #2 starter with horrific inconsistency makes more than Mo, the greatest closer ever to walk the earth. Starting pitchers a fucking impossible to find. The Yankees have two choices - either send Joba to AAA to start and let him fill the hole left by Andy Pettitte or Javy Vasquez in 2011, or package him in a trade while he still has value. "But Jimmy, Joba should be setting up for Mo!!1!11!!!!". Shut the fuck up. I will take my chances with Robertson/Marte/Aceves/Melancon in the late innings and groom a kid that still has at least #2 starter upside. That being said, I am a huge Hughes fan, and I look forward to watching him throw every fifth day. Until Chamberlain came out firing bulletts in 2007, Hughes was a MUCH bigger prospect. Top flight stuff, and a pro attitude. In the end, this really won't matter as much as people are makiong it seem. It's the fifth starter. The other four days of the week, the Yankees are trotting out potential All Stars, and no matter how bad Hughes is, the Yankees' refuckingdiculous offense will carry him to 12-15 wins. Just another storyline as the Yankees march to #28.
Our Love Affair Continues - NoMaas.org had another great interview, this time with TFB favorite Nick Swisher. Call me, SJK.
It feels so good not to see Phil Coke on this list - Cliff Corcoran over at Bronx Banter gives his prediction for the 25 man roster.
Larry is a mean bastard - At the Yankeeist, a cranky Larry Koestler poops all over Chan Ho's beard.
If you have a day to waste - Former Jimmy Dugan interviewee Mike Ashmore is doing a series called "2009 Thunder A to Z", painstakingly chronicling every player to don the legendary pinstripes of Trenton last season.
Not really a "Yankees story", but I make the rules here - I know most people that would read the blog may be familiar with Cot's Baseball Contracts, but I am going to plug them anyways. The site has info on like every baseball contract since Old Hoss Radbourn agreed to go barnstorming for some snuff tobacco and a live chicken in 1832.
Maybe it's post post concussion syndrome - Larry Koestler at Yankeeist hollows out David Wrights rectum for declaring the Mets a contender
It could be the first step to being canonized - Steve Lombardi at WasWatching questions if/when the Yankees will promote Brian Cashman
For those of you who love Cliff's Notes - If you wanted to see Sugar, you can scratch that off your to-do and just read Jay's review at Fack Youk
I never EVER thought I would miss the fat man - The LoHud Yankees blog was it's usual, lifeless self; just as it has been since the Pete Abe jumped ship
I hope they wiped their mouth after - Nomaas.org interviewed their favoritist prospect in the whole wide world, Brett Marshall, whom they have been fawning over since the day he was drafted
It looks like you can start ordering your #93 Sanit jerseys now - Chad Jennings lists the jersey numbers for the 2010 Yankees
Best. Interview. Ever. - In what could be a door-opening interview for the Yankees blog community, Brian Cashman sat down for the most candid interview I have seen him give with Sensei John Kreese over at NoMaas.org.
I can't imagine what he's going to be like on Opening Day - MJR over at Yankeeist does his best fanboy impression on Pitchers and Catchers Day.
Nice gesture, but go fuck yourself - iYankees, one of my new favorite sites, has their take on the ball-licking quotes that Papelbon made about Mo.
Mike Gallego must be pissed off that he never got this kind of coverage - My buddies over at Bronx Baseball Daily are prewviewing the Yankees in 2010, player by player, starting from the bottom.
With Spring Training 3 days away, it got me thinking about the most significant number three in franchise history: Babe Ruth. As hardcore Yankee fans, as I assume the people that read this blog are, we know all of the stories and lore of Ruth, so I am not going to sit here and wax poetic about the most dominant force in baseball history. What I will do, however, is refer you back to my post from April of 2007 imploring Major League Baseball to remove its head from its collective ass and retire the number three for all Major and Minor League teams. Maybe a little common sense like that could help save the clusterfuck that has been Bud Selig's tenure as commissioner, but what the hell to I know?
Thames has always been viewed as a guy who rapes left-handed pitching, and has played both corner outfield spots (albeit terribly)as well as first base. After the deal that the team gave Randy Winn I don't see whole lot of room for Thames, unless they view him as a potential bench bat against lefties. Or I could possibly be hoping that Thames gets cut so I don't have to hear John Sterling's fat mouth cite his first career home run off of none other than Randy Johnson every fucking at-bat.
Frequent readers of this site might be scratching their heads as to why I would cover a small, bullshit story such as this, and for good reason. But the fact is I am bored out of my skull right now, and I think its making me delirious.
On another note, check out HotStove.com, where they came back to your boy looking for opinions. I am becoming the fucking baseball Oracle over here.
President, CEO, and Dictator
The Fowl Balls
Winn's numbers look horrific at the plate last year, but he did hold his own against righties. Also, the platoon splits are not remotely typical of him forn his career, as the switch hitter has hit around .280 fron both sides of the plate . His WAR fell below 2 last year after a healthy 4.6 in 2008, so the Yankees are looking for some buy-low upside on a player that should be a defensive attribute in left field.
I have been accused of being a Cashman whore in the past, but this is an example of me and my boy being on different pages. Sure, Winn should come at or around the $2 million that was cited as a limit coughbullshitcough, but if Johnny Damon could really be had at $5-6 million, I don't get this one. I hope Ca$h proves me wrong.
/prays in front of makeshift Brian Cashman shrine
MLB rumors website HotStove.com asked me to weigh in on the Johnny Damon situation today. Word is getting out, so keep checking out TFB before I get that seven figure contract and you have to pay to even think about reading my shit.
I am a Sabermetrician. I once wasn’t, but I’ve seen the light and realized that everyone else is just stupid. You know how some people keep bibles by their bed? I keep a copy of Moneyball by mine. I read one chapter a week and then sermonize every Thursday (the official Sabermetrician Sabbath, bitches). Just in case you were wondering, my favorite chapter is ‘Scott Hatteberg, Pickin’ Machine’, but I’ll save that discussion for another day.
It is my sincere belief that we are on the brink of a major breakthrough in Sabermetric analysis. There is room for so much more. For example – just humor me here – if these Harvard MBAs running the show are so smart, why haven’t they figured out that they don’t even need to pay actual people to play baseball? Hello? They can just assign values to make-believe players and simulate the games in computer models. Clearly, the lights are on but there is nobody home. Sure, the MLBPA might have a problem with it, but other unions have been busted before. So these front office idiots would save a fortune – think about it, no shiny new venues to pay for and argue over, no outlandish contracts, no flights and travel arrangements, basically no overhead, save for a few guys with crusty Cheetos-orange fingers and their PCs. Anyway, I digress.
Now that I’ve converted to the one True Faith, I wanted to get in on the action and make my own mark on Sabermetrics (in case you haven’t noticed, Sabermetrics should always be capitalized, just like the word God – it would be an insult to our god, Bill James, if it wasn’t. He reads all, just like that other God). It all began as a discussion over Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano, when I was momentarily blinded and the voice of His Statiness, Bill James, inspired me. I don’t remember much about the ordeal but when I came to, I, along with the rest of my brethren at Yankeeist and the Yankee Google Group, developed a new advanced statistic:
That’s right. DTPIF, or Desire to Punch In Face, is the new “it” stat. WHIP? That’s so 2000. FIP? BLOP. VORP? Been there, done that. WAR? Don’t even want to hear the word unless it is preceded by “The U.S. declared” and followed by “on Mexico because it’s awesome and we want a 51st state.”
Yes, DTPIF. DTPIF is scaled from -10.0 to 10.0, with zero being neutral (credit goes to Dr. Skip for the scale). The dual directionality from zero allows one to better understand the reasons behind a player’s rating. Allow me to explain. Alex Rodriguez is one of the most polarizing personalities to ever grace a baseball diamond. However, he isn’t despised for his performance. It’s just his being that bothers everyone. His DTPIF is a whopping 9.1. So a DTPIF over zero indicates a sheer dislike for the human being. Now, Yuniesky Betancourt has a -8.9 DTPIF. This is attributable to his sucking and has little to do with him as a person. The fact that he is a nice guy is actually what keeps him from busting past the dreaded 9.0/-9.0 barrier. Getting back to the conversation that sparked it all, Carl Pavano has a DTPIF of -9.8, while Kei Igawa’s is a smaller yet still-too-high -7.4. DTPIF is an extremely complicated statistic that took many, many minutes to develop. But as you can see, the scale allows the user to understand if the player sucks as an athlete or as a person. If you don’t fully understand the situation behind the DTFIP you can delve a bit deeper and find out about things like Pavano’s “injury” history and his “desire” to play baseball, or that Igawa is the not even the best pitcher on his AAA team but will earn a lot more yen in his career than any of them.
So where do others rank? Only four players have ever achieved an imperfect DTPIF (10.0/-10.0) and they all happen to be currently active and play on the same team. Impossible, you say? Remember, complicated models. Check this out:
Dustin “I Even Want to Punch Myself in My Bald Head” Pedroia 10.0
Kevin “Arrrrr, Matey” Youkilis 10.0
Jonathan “Papelsmear” Papelbon 10.0
Jason “The Mariners Didn’t Even Want Me” Varitek 10.0
Tyrus Raymond Cobb 9.6
Theodore “Ted Theodore Logan” Williams 9.5
So there you have it, folks. The Red Sox have a long and proud history of putting a product on the field that is as dislikable as the locals. Oh yeah? Well, fack you too, fackers !!!
It looks as though Bengie Molina and his DD's will be sunning themselves in San Francisco in 2010, despite the Mets' "best" efforts to woo him to Shiti Field. I am actually starting to feel for peole who follow this team; they just can't do any fucking thing right at this point.
First, the organization slams Carlos Beltran in the press for having a surgery that they didn't approve (although there have been whispers that they actually did tell the doctor to go a head with the procedure). Then Peter Gammons' corpse reports that the Red Sox pulled their four year offer to Jason Bay off the table because an MRI on his knees revealed damage*. Now Bengie Molina tells them to go piss up a tree.
The Yankees are apparently interested in Rocco Baldelli for the fourth outfielder/righty platoon left fielder position. Unless they think signing a wop would help them capitalize on the success of MTV's The Jersey Shore, I am a little puzzled by this one.
Look, I want Rocco to succeed as much as the next guy. It's would be a great comeback story from something that was actual tragedy, not some sheltered superprospect that started shooting crank when he couldn't take the pressure. I have met Rocco on more than one occasion, played against him, and met his family. Rest assured, I want him to turn it around more than anyone you know. Facts being facts, though, it's not something I would bet my house on (or the $9 in my wallet right now). After seeing him suffer through yet another season in 2009, it seems as though the Rocco Baldelli who had 185 hits as a rookie in Tampa is nothing more than a distant, albeit unfortunate, memory.
On paper, Baldelli seems like a solid fit for this roster spot. Good defender, hits lefties, has speed, and isn't a boat-rocker in the clubhouse. But, for me at least, the durability issue is just too much to ignore. This spot on the team could be vital to the Yankees' success, as I fully expect Brett Gardner to fucking terrible. Sure, I have heard the argument made by men much smarter than myself that the Yankees could basically trot Corky from Life Goes On out to left field every day and still win a title but, call me crazy, I would feel more comfortable with a dependable every day guy out there.
So, I wish all the success in the world to the pride of Rhode Island, but I don't see enough to convince me that he is in a position to help a team win a title.
Since their inception, the Marlins have had a pretty predictable modus operandi - build a winner, then dismantle it by selling it off, piece by piece. It has brought the Franchise not one, but two World Series titles in their short history, but it has also made them the poster child for what is wrong with the revenue sharing process. They haven't won a title in six years, and typically we would all be waiting for the rising of the Marlins in 2010. To the contrary, their have been reports of them trying to trade slugging second baseman Dan Uggla this offseason, and even whispers about Josh Johnson, their staff ace, being available.
People can bitch and complain about the Yankees' spending habits, but I find this absolutely fucking repugnant. This is exactly what Hank Steinbrenner meant when he told the Associated press that the Yankees are "basically baseball's stimulus package" last February. Teams like the Marlins have been hoarding the money that has been given to them with the sole purpose of making them more competitive, and they should be retracted for it.
Because of the Yankees (and let's not discount the low-budget Red Sox), there is a lot of screaming and yelling demanding a salary cap, but I am not so sure that the high end of the spending spectrum is the real problem here. What may be more prudent would be a salary floor, forcing teams to spend a percentage of their revenue+revenue share on players and baseball operations, as opposed to pocketing proceeds. You can't tell me that the Florida Marlins don't have enough money to lock up Josh Johnson - that's horseshit. This is a team that just got a new ballpark approved, and they aren't paying for it (thanks Florida taxpayers!). Meanwhile, the Yankees go into hock up to their asshole, and still spend on the product that they are putting on the field. Am I saying that the Marlins need to be spending $200 million on payroll every year? Of course not. But would it be exhorbitant to set an annual number at, say, $50-60 million? No way.
If teams like the Marlins can't afford to put a quality product out there and take advantage of the large Miami market, one of two things needs to happen: 1, the league could demand that the team be put up for sale, and allow an owner like Mark Cuban to give a shit about the team's results or 2, the team could be contracted. I, for one, would be much happier watching 25 teams that compete year in and year out than having another 5 teams whose seasons are over in April **coughPiratescough**. For now, I commend the MLB and the MLBPA for at laest speaking up on the issue - but it is far from resolved.
Now, a disclaimer. I don't hate on the man because he did steroids. Far from it. I could care less about what these athletes do to themselves for our entertainment. What bothers me about this whole McGwire public apology tour is that it is the phoniest, most self serving pile of shit that I have ever heard in my life.
First off, someone should tell Little Mac that there's no crying in baseball. When A-Rod got caught red handed, he didn't break down and start sobbing like a little pussy. And if anyone thinks Marky Mark would have admitted to this if he wasn't getting a job with the Cardinals is delusional. He's self serving to the bitter end.
Another thing that really pissed me off was his lame ass response as to why he didn't admit to this when he was called up to congress in 2005. He was "afraid" of prosecution. Bullshit. Jose Canseco wrote a whole fucking book in which he admitted that he was the Godfather of the steroid era, and the Feds didn't do shit to him. McGwire thought he could get away with his little dog and pony show when he went before Congress, but unfortunately the court of public opinion doesn't accept memory loss as an alibi.
It is actually comical that he tries to portray himself as some sort of victim. He said that he wishes he wasn't part of the steroids era. Oh yeah? Then you would have been the modern day Rob Deer, you fucking jackass. He could hit for power before steroids, but that's it. A one trick pony. He owes his entire career to the juice. He's no Barry Bonds. At least Barry was a Hall of Fame caliber player before he started juicing.
Also, a big fuck you goes out to Tony LaRussa, everyone's favorite drunken uncle. Don't try and pretend that you didn't know what was going on. You knew from the start, and probably enabled the big red haired sack of shit to keep juicing.
And now it's come out that this whole media blitz has been orchestrated by Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary. That's all this is anyway, a big fucking show by a desperate man who feels no remorse. He's only sorry that he got caught.
Lastly, but certainly not least, a big fuck you goes out to the biggest dipshit of all, Bud Selig. He's a sleazy used car salesman masquerading as Commissioner. He likes to talk about integrity of the game, but he could care less. He turned a blind eye to this problem all these years, and now he wants to act like its over. Newsflash Buddy, players are still juicing. It's called HGH. That drug you don't test for. So eat a big steaming shit sandwich, you fucking pathetic stooge.
Other than that, congratulations Mark!