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Sunday, November 30, 2008

At least Shea didn't have seats with teak armrests


Squawker Lisa, I see you are calling for Citi Field to be renamed something that rhymes with Citi. Well, I have some suggestions for names for your new stadium:

Golden Parachute Stadium
(the only people who will be able to afford to go are disgraced former CEOs)

Mitchell Report Park
(Shouldn't "Oh, my goodness gracious" be among the DVD extras on the "Essential Games of Yankee Stadium" that's part of our giveaway?)

The House That Kabbalah Built
(Will this be the year that A-Rod can sing "Like a virgin/In the World Series for the very first time"?)

But Lisa, I do agree that taking $20 million per year from floundering Citigroup isn't the best timing. But if that deal does get canceled, I hope it happens AFTER the free agent season. I don't want to hear, oh, we were just about to sign K-Rod when Citigroup pulled out, so we're going to give the bullpen guys we already have under contract another chance to get it right. Naming rights or not, the Mets revenue will only go up in the new stadium.

I've been to some of the new stadiums in the Midwest, and I hope Citi Field is a beautiful new stadium along the lines of PNC Park in Pittsburgh or Comerica in Detroit. But Lisa, I was dismayed to read in your entry about the teak armrests on at least some Yankee Stadium seats, and how, according to that CBS sports column, these seats will have to be covered with a tarp during bad winter weather.

Gee, too bad neither of these pricey new stadiums contains the one amenity that could most benefit fans - a retractable dome. But I figured that at least the seats where we poor slobs will sit would at least be weatherproof. Will the seats with teak armrests come with a teak maintenance charge? Will cupholders be banned, lest beer be spilled on the precious teak? And here I thought maple bats were the biggest wood-related problem facing baseball.

* * *

I want to echo Lisa's thanks to our friends at baseball blogs The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, Was Watching, Baseball and the Boogie Down, and The Sommer Frieze for helping us get the word out about our new location, and about our giveaway.

If you haven't already entered our A&E Essential Games DVD giveaway, you can do so here.

I was looking over the list of essential Shea Stadium games and was pleased to see that I was actually at three of them. In 1999, I got a ticket at the last minute through a friend to what would become the Robin Ventura grand-slam single game. Our seats were way out in left field, so I made sure to set the VCR to tape the game so I could have a better view of anything that I missed. I set the tape to run for five hours - surely that would be enough.

Fortunately, our seats were under an overhang, since it was raining steadily. Unfortunately, the overhang blocked our view of fly balls, so when Ventura got his hit, we had to watch what was going on in the infield to see whether the ball was caught and what happened after that.

Well, we quickly figured out that the Mets won, but as far as understanding exactly what happened, that would have to wait until I got home. It's the only game I can remember attending in which I didn't even know for sure what the final score was until after I got home.

The game lasted almost six hours, so I came home to a worthless videotape of the first 12 innings. (After that, when taping a game, I always set my VCR to record for the full six hours.)

At least now that we have SNY, if a game turns out to be a classic, we know we'll get to see it again in its entirety at some point.

In 1986, I had a Saturday plan, which enabled me to get tickets to Game 3 of the NLCS and Games 1 and 7 of the World Series. I was pleased to see Game 3 included on the DVD set, since it was a great game that is overshadowed by the legendary Game 6's of both the World Series and the NLCS.

The most memorable game I ever attended was Game 7 of the 1986 World Series, and it has only gotten more memorable over the years as the Mets have sadly not repeated the experience. But I can understand why the featured game from that Series would be Game 6.

In 1969, my father got tickets to Game 4 of the World Series. I was a little young to fully appreciate just how historic the Miracle Mets' season was, but it was fantastic to be there. But as exciting as that game was, with Ron Swoboda's incredible catch and J.C. Martin running out of the basepath on the winning play, I would have to go with Game 5 as the most memorable game in that Series. The DVD does include the last inning of Game 5 (as well as the last inning of 1986's Game 7).

I did get to go to a few other games in the 1969 season, my first full one as a Jet fan. (I was not a bandwagon fan - I actually started following the Mets during the 1968 season.) One of the games I was lucky enough to attend was Tom Seaver's "imperfect game" - the perfect game broken up by Jimmy Qualls of the Cubs in the 9th inning. Seaver was my idol growing up. And ever since that game, I've always wanted to be watching when the Mets finally got that elusive no-hitter.

It is strange to think that there will never be a no-hitter at Shea. If there's a no-hitter curse on the Mets, I suppose we'd have to call it the Nolan Ryan curse. Maybe moving to a new stadium will break that curse.

All quiet on the Yankee hot stove front

There's not much going on in Yankeeland - or in the rest of the baseball world these days, for that matter. Squawker reader McGreevey1903 writes:
I'm scratching my head over the slow start for this free agent market. It seems ages since the Yankees made their offer for Sabathia, and the longer this goes on, the more likely it seems that he ends up on the West coast somewhere. Worst case scenario for the Yankees would be that none of the big pitching free agents sign, leaving a rotation of Wang, Chamberlain, Hughes, Kennedy, and some fifth starter.
I wonder if any of this quiet is connected somehow with the uncertainty regarding the economy these days. Speaking of which, I also wonder what the powers that be in Yankees and Mets ownership are thinking right now. They are finally opening their new ballparks - both of which are playgrounds for the rich - only to have the economy tank so badly. That's gotta hurt.

Did you ever visit one of those historic mansions, like Hyde Park's Vanderbilt Mansion? And all the ostentatiousness seems both gorgeous and disgusting? That's what I'm thinking Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are going to look like.

In a time when even Oprah Winfrey's "Favorite Things" show has morphed from the program showcasing $3800 refrigerators with an HDTV built in, to this year's "Thriftiest Holiday Ever" episode, where the big give featured free MP3s of Christmas songs, I'm thinking that the new stadiums are already out of style before they've even opened. It could be like how Chicago's new Comiskey Park became a dinosaur as soon as Camden Yards opened and changed the style of baseball stadiums forever.

CBSSports.com's Larry Dobrow wrote a funny column on the new Yankee Stadium, talking about the new amenities, including the Yankee seats with teak armrests and the concierge service. The kicker to the story is that he finds out that his old 20-game ticket plan will now cost $550 per ticket per game, adding up to $22 grand for two seats. Unreal.

While the stadium does sound like it will be beautiful, I think it will also seem vulgar in this economy. Not to mention that it's unclear who will be able to afford these prices. Remember, many of the cheap seats in the old ballparks have been eliminated, in favor of more luxury boxes and suites. Worst. Timing. Ever.

As for Citi Field, the Mets really should either let Citigroup out of their $400 million naming rights contract, or force Citigroup to change the name to something more appropriate. Two NYC City Council members suggested that it should be called Citi/Taxpayer Field, since the U.S. taxpayers are bailing out the company.

My own thought is that the Mets should make official the derogatory name Yankee fans have come up with for the new stadium (hint - it rhymes with Citi.) Because it's fitting for the current situation, given that taxpayers are paying towards naming rights for a stadium that many of them can no longer afford to attend on a regular basis.

* * *

Two other notes:

  • If you haven't already entered our A&E Essential Games DVD giveaway, you can do so here. We've gotten a terrific response so far. And thanks to our friends at baseball blogs Was Watching, Baseball and the Boogie Down, The Musings and Prophecies of Metstradamus, and The Sommer Frieze for helping us get the word out about our new digs, and about our giveaway.
  • And it looks like Alex Rodriguez and Madonna are finally going public with their relationship - he was in the front row of her recent Miami show, and he even handed her a water bottle during the concert. In a year, A-Rod has gone from MVP to Madonna's waterboy. Let's hope he can have some more greatest hits next season.

But what do you think? Leave us a comment!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pettitte should stay put in pinstripes

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Squawker Jon and I are thankful for all of our great readers. And I'm also thankful that my Texas Longhorns carved Texas A&M up like a holiday turkey last night. Hook 'em Horns!

One thing I was thankful for last year was Andy Pettitte returning to the Yankee fold. But this year, there is a troubling story that he might not be back as a Bomber. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Pettitte has been talking to Joe Torre about becoming a Dodger.

Pettitte was my favorite Yankee of the dynasty era. But when he left for Houston after the 2003 season, I infamously proclaimed that he was dead to me. When he rejoined the Yanks for the 2007 season, Pettitte became undead to me, the first time I had ever removed anybody from my list! I brought out my Pettitte autographed photo, which had been in mothballs for three years, and restored it to a place of honor. And I bought a new #46 t-shirt in honor of him (my previous Andy shirt ended up in the trash after 2003.)

But Andy's in danger of becoming dead to me again, and his shirt entering the dumpster for the second time. If the Yanks make him an offer he does refuse, and he moves out to L.A. (or any other team, for that matter), he will be dead to me forever. And that autographed photo will be sleeping with the fishes.

Granted, it's possible the Yankees might pass on signing him again, in which case I can't blame Andy for going elsewhere. But if the Yanks do pursue Pettitte, he owes it to them to stay in pinstripes.

It's not just that he had such a lousy second half last year. And it's not just that he looks ridiculous in anything other than Yankee pinstripes (I still have nightmares about him wearing that horrid Houston uniform.)

It's that the Yanks stuck by Pettitte through the whole Mitchell Report debacle - the report, the testimony before Congress, and the spring training controversy. Remember when he spoke to the media last spring, and his Yankee teammates showed up at the press conference in a show of solidarity? Well, it's time for him to repay that loyalty, and return to the Yanks.

True, Pettitte is not the pitcher he once was. But I still want to see him as a Yankee. If that makes me a sentimental old fool, so be it!

* * *

One other thing I am thankful for this year:

That A&E is sponsoring this terrific DVD giveaway contest to kick off our new blog location. Click here, or scroll down on the page, to read the details, and to enter the contest.


What do you think of Andy Pettitte? Tell us about it!

Yanks and Mets battle it out with wine for charity

Remember how Yankees and Mets players were doing their part for charity with themed wines? I squawked about it back in the spring (click the Longball Cellars site here to read more about the wines.) There were five wines available:

  • Johan Santana's "Santana's Select Merlot"
  • Jorge Posada's "Jorge Cabernet"
  • Bobby Abreu's "Abreu's Finest Merlot"
  • Jose Reyes' "CaberReyes"
  • Brian Schneider's "Schneider Schardonnay"
Jean's Fine Wines and Spirits (click here to see their web site) ran a contest this summer over which team would sell more wines, the Yankees or the Mets. And after hundreds of fans got involved with supporting their team, the Met fans won, and the store decorated their outside display this summer in honor of the guys from Flushing.

But the fun isn't over. The Staten Island wine store still has a few bottles of the Longball Cellars wines left. And if you go to the store, and tell them Subway Squawkers referred you, you'll get $3 off your charity wine purchase, and help some very worthwhile causes in the process.

Jean's Fine Wines and Spirits is located at 642 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, New York. Phone number is (866) 258-7609. Just wanted to pass this deal on to our readers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giveaway: A&E's "Essential Games" DVDs

I wrote yesterday that we had a big surprise for Subway Squawkers readers. Here's the scoop, just in time for the holidays.


To celebrate our new Subway Squawkers location, we're partnering with A&E Home Video for a very special giveaway for our readers. Fifteen lucky readers are going to each get a copy of A&E's terrific "Essential Games" baseball series, which retail for $59.95 each, to Squawker fans.


Each of the DVD sets contain six legendary uncut games, as well as DVD extras. Click below to read more details on each set:

Yes, you Red Sox fans will get your moment in the sun as well. Given how many members of Red Sox Nation post at this site, we thought they should be rewarded as well for being Squawker readers, even if it does mean we're handing out DVDs including the "Where Was Roger" and the "4 homers in a row" games. Yikes!

Anyhow, here's how you can enter the giveaway: send an email with your name, address, and phone number to subwaysquawkers@gmail.com . Also, please put "DVDs" in the subject line, and let us know which DVD set you would prefer to receive. There is one entry per person. But feel free to tell your friends about our site - and the contest.

Please send in your entries by Friday, December 5 at noon. After that, the good folks at A&E will randomly pick five winners for the Met set, five for the Yankee set, and five for the Red Sox set. They will mail out the steel-cased DVD series sets to the winners. These DVDs make great holiday gifts.

In the meantime, we hope everybody has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Which legendary baseball game is your most essential? Leave us a comment!

Mixed feelings on potential Subway Super Bowl

Squawker Lisa, I have a confession to make.

As much as I try to suppress those memories, I do remember that the Mets were in the World Series more recently than 1986. And with next year the tenth anniversary of the Mets' return to the playoffs in 1999 after years of misery, maybe it's time to start looking back favorably on the 1999-2000 Mets. They made the playoffs twice, won three playoff series and got to the World Series. As of now, that's a much better record than the current crew.

But 2000 won't be celebrated at Citi Field (or whatever it ends up being called) anytime soon. Part of it is that I doubt many people are quite ready to celebrate the achievements of the likes of Mike Hampton, Armando Benitez and Steve Phillips. But the main reason is how the 2000 season ended.

There was no shame in losing to the two-time defending champs. Unfortunately, that team played across town. It was bad enough losing to the Yankees, but the Mets couldn't even have the spotlight to themselves in getting to the World Series in the first place.

As a long-suffering Jets fan, I'm very excited by the team's success this year. But why, after 40 years in the wilderness, does a potential Jet trip to the Super Bowl face the same drawbacks as the Mets' World Series trip in 2000?

Once again, the other team in town will likely be waiting. Once again, that other team will be defending champs. Once again, that other team will be favored by a sizable margin. And once again, that other team is the more popular team, and will have a chance to completely take over the local fan base.

Still, there are enough differences that I hope the Jets do make it, even if they must face the Giants. In 2000, the Mets were only 14 years removed from a title. The team seemed to have a good chance to make it back.

But the last time the Jets were in the Super Bowl, Lyndon Johnson's presidency was winding down. It's been so long that it doesn't matter if they are 18-point underdogs, I just want to see them get there. (Of course, the other time the Jets got there, they were 18-point underdogs against the Colts and that worked out pretty well.)

More importantly, there may not be a next year. The Jets are built to win now, with mostly older stars led by 39-year-old Brett Favre. Next year, there's a good chance Favre will retire again, and the Jets will have no quarterback and, if they got to the Super Bowl, no number one draft pick, either.

And losing to the Giants isn't like losing to the Yankees. I'm not a Giant fan, but I really admired last year's team and have nothing but respect for this year's bunch. Losing to the Giants would hurt a lot less than losing to the Patriots in the playoffs this year with Matt Cassel at quarterback.

Finally, it's just one game, with much more potential for an upset, as the 1968 Jets and 2007 Giants can attest. So while I still think the Jets have a lot of work just to get past the likes of the Colts, Steelers, Titans and the dreaded Patriots, maybe it won't be so bad to have to face the Giants at the end. Who knows, maybe the Jets could become the first team to beat one brother (Peyton) in the conference championship and another brother (Eli) in the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A-Rod: Kabbalah School Dropout or Madonna's Boy Toy?

Shocker! Alex Rodriguez is in the headlines - again. And the Subway Squawkers have a big surprise in store for our readers.

But first, A-Rod. Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long, who has been working with Alex in Miami this offseason, admits to the New York Times that the A-Rod/Madonna drama may have affected the third baseman's performance last year:

“I can’t even imagine going through a divorce in the middle of a season and trying to compete at the highest level. He was able to do a good job, but there were days last year when you could just tell he had a lot on his mind. He’d be looking through you, and not completely focused like I’d seen him. You try to push that to the side for a couple of hours and do the best you can, but it’s easier said than done.”

Yikes! Given this, you'd hope that Alex's personal life would be a bit less, well, dramatic this year. But MSNBC reports that the recently-divorced Material Girl may be miffed at A-Rod because he has been skipping Kabbalah classes:

“This is certainly off-putting to Madonna,” says the source. “She did drag Guy into Kabbalah, she’s doing the same now (with Rodriguez). But he’s bored. He’s basically a Kabbalah school dropout.”

Talk about a song parody waiting to happen. I can hear it now, to the tune of "Beauty School Dropout" from "Grease." Can't you just picture Frankie Avalon crooning this to Alex?:

Kabbalah school dropout
No red string bracelet day for you
Kabbalah school dropout
Highlighted your hair, but Madonna's still blue

I'm also imagining Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada chiming in on harmony. Okay, maybe I'm not Weird Al Yankovic or anything, but I think there's something there!

Anyhow, a day after this article runs, Cynthia Rodriguez is reported to be furious at her estranged hubby:

"Access Hollywood" reports that Cynthia, who's in the final stages of her divorce from A-Rod, wrote an e-mail to a confidant noting: "My 6-foot-3, 220-pound soul-less, soon-to-be ex-husband is abandoning his kids on Thanksgiving to be with Madonna. . . She called and he ran on her command back to New York City . . . Gross!"

I dunno if I'd want to spend Thanksgiving with Madonna. And it's not just the likelihood that she'd demand to be the center of attention and start rolling around the table when it was time to pass the cranberry sauce. It's that she adheres to a notoriously restrictive macrobiotic diet and made her ex Guy Ritchie follow it as well, to the point where he had to put rice milk in his tea. Yum!

Oh, and her onetime husband was reportedly forced to beg Her Madgesty to allow their son Rocco to have a birthday cake. And Madonna also sleeps in a plastic suit, slathered with expensive anti-aging cream. Good times!

The A-Rod/Madonna gossip gets better - or worse, depending on your point of view:

An insider told Page Six, "Alex likes a woman with a strong hand. He likes to be told what to do. He's a bit of a cipher."

Maybe that's the solution to the Yankees' problems - Madonna can simply tell him to remember how to hit in the ninth inning again!

* * *

As promised, we have breaking Subway Squawkers news. To celebrate our new location, we will have our first-ever giveaway for our readers. But you'll have to come back tomorrow to see what 15 lucky Squawker fans will have the chance to win.

Also, please bookmark us at http://www.subwaysquawkers.com or sign up for us via RSS feed. And be sure to tell your friends about where to find our new digs.

What do you think of the A-Rod/Madonna drama? Leave us a comment!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yanks make changes at the top; wait and see on rest

The Yanks may have officially replaced George Steinbrenner with Hal Steinbrenner (wonder what Thanksgiving dinner is going to be like - do you think big brother Hank is all peeved? I do!) But there's not all that much else happening - yet - on the Yankee front.

CC Sabathia appears to be about as excited about the Yanks' phenomenal contract offer as my cat C.C. is when I present her with some kitty treats. Which is to say - neither is making a big effort to nibble right away. Both seem to want to take their time.

As for the other possible Yankee pitchers this year, I hope the Bombers forget about A.J. Burnett - the last thing they need is another injury-prone pitcher. But what about Derek Lowe? I'm not as against it as I was just last month (he can actually pitch well in the post-season, for one thing, even if the Derek Lowe Face is always a potential downfall.)

But what if the Yanks don't sign any of these pitchers? The Red Sox fans at Surviving Grady, who ask about the Bombers, "Remember when they mattered?" (ouch!) ponder the notion by linking to a Chicago Tribune column about the possibility of the Yanks whiffing on signing this Big 3 of starting pitchers.

And while I was at the Tribune site, I saw that their most-read sports story is this one - "Sox Manager Sheds No Tears for Swisher". Check out these Ozzie Guillen quotes about Nick Swisher sulking when he was benched late last year:
What about the disappointment of Swisher, who hit .191 after the All-Star Game?

It was hard because when we brought him here, a lot of people were excited [that] he would have a great career with the White Sox, but we got to the point that we went through the roster ... and we had a right fielder, left fielder, first baseman and DH. It was hard for us to find a place for him.

Was Swisher a bad influence in the clubhouse late in the year?

You've got to ask the players about that. To be honest with you, I was not happy with the way he was reacting at the end of the season. He wasn't helping me either.

Not exactly music to my ears. Let's hope that there are no issues with Swisher as a Yankee!

But what do you think? Leave us a comment!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

At least Mets don't have to get under cap

I've always felt baseball needed a salary cap, as well as a salary floor, but caps can result in strange situations. Just when I was thinking it's time to check out a Knick game, now that the team is competitive for the first time in years, they trade perhaps their two best players for lesser value as part of a master plan to get under the cap in two years to make a run at LeBron James.

What should the Knicks' slogan be for the next two years? How about "Catch the expiring contracts!"

This is one time when I'm glad baseball doesn't have a cap. Imagine if the Mets were looking ahead to a bumper crop of free agents in two years and decided they had to clear out long-term big contracts. First Omar gets value for the coming year by trading Johan Santana for Josh Beckett's expiring contract. But with Carlos Beltran, he's not so fortunate, getting back the expiring contract of Andruw Jones.

But that's just for contracts expiring in a year. (The Red Sox have a 2010 option on Beckett.) Imagine if Met fans were told that we wouldn't be seeing any new superstars for two years.

Then again, Met fans have often had to wait a lot longer than two years for the team to get back in contention.

But if the Mets limit their upgrades at closer and second base because of the existing contracts of Billy Wagner and Luis Castillo, they are in effect telling their fans to wait till next year, or, in Castillo's case, for three years.

There's no cap, so if you think K-Rod is the best choice, sign him rather than save a little money on Brian Fuentes, who won't be so cheap himself.

As for Castillo, if the Mets land both a top closer and a solid setup man, as well as filling Oliver Perez' spot in the rotation, I wouldn't mind so much if they scrimped on upgrading second base and left field. Just upgrading the bench at these spots would be a lot cheaper and would add the depth missing much of last year.

Whatever happens, the Mets should give us plenty of reasons to tune in next year.

But as for the Knicks, they can't even check out top draft pick Danilo Gallinari, who might be out for the year.

Then again, Steve Henderson wasn't all that much consolation when the Mets traded away their top players in 1977.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Moose hangs up his spikes

I have made no secret of the fact that I have never been much of a fan of Mike Mussina - until this year, that is. I found his personality a little offputting, and I didn't appreciate his sighing demeanor in postgame interviews, or the way he seemed to criticize his teammates.

But this year, other than that bad pitch to Manny Ramirez, I really enjoyed watching this season of the Moose. And it wasn't just the fact that he had his best year ever. It was that Moose finally seemed to let loose with his personality, and seemed to be more personable than ever before. He was downright likeable, and him winning 20 games proved to be one of the few highlights of this dismal season.

Maybe his friendliness - and his ability to let loose - had to do with him planning on retiring all along. As he told the media yesterday:

"I lied to all of you. I knew that [2008] was going to be my last year from the first day of spring training," Mussina said during Thursday’s conference call to officially announce his retirement. "I didn’t want to make it part of the season. I just wanted it to be baseball season … and just enjoy it."

I'm glad he "lied," if you can call it even that. Better that than the endless "retirement" tour, a la Roger Clemens circa 2003.

Should Moose be in the Hall of Fame? I would say yes, but he shouldn't be a first-year pick.

The Baltimore Sun asks whether if Mussina gets into the HOF, should he be an Oriole or a Yankee. I would say Yankee, not just for him winning 20 games as a Yank, but because of the playoff games and the near-perfect game.

But even if Moose does get into the Hall and as a Bomber, I don't think the Yanks should retire his number. Inconsistent, I know, but given how many Yankee numbers are already retired, I just don't think Mussina merits it.

Coming soon - my thoughts on Prince Hal. But in the meantime, tell us what you think about Mike Mussina.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mets could use a Dustin Pedroia

It's got to be frustrating to fans of small-market teams when the big-market Red Sox have a player, Dustin Pedroia, win the MVP from their farm system. And the other Sox MVP candidate, Kevin Youkilis, was also from their system. But even the big-market teams can't win without at least some help from their farm system.

While it can seem that the Mets have spent their way into contention in recent years, the current core of the team is split 50-50 between expensive acquisitions and homegrown talent: Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado from the first group and David Wright, Jose Reyes and Mike Pelfrey from the second group.

Of course, the reason for the even split is the number of expensive acquisitions that have gone down due to injury and age: Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Moises Alou and Luis Castillo. (El Duque wasn't really a big-money signing.)

I want the Mets to be active in the free-agent market, but I don't like rumors of the team offering top young talent for the likes of the soon-to-be-35 Jermaine Dye. Raul Ibanez is a free agent, but he's Type A, so the Mets would have to give up their top draft choice for him. Is Ibanez worth it? Think the Mets would like to have back that number one they gave up for Alou? If you're giving up a number one pick, you need to get back a top free agent such as K-Rod.

Along with getting younger, the Mets need to get scrappier. Look at the last part of the scouting description for 2004 second-round pick Pedroia (65th overall) from mlb.com:

PLAYS WELL ABOVE TOOLS. HEADSY BASEBALL RAT W/ PLUS INSTINCTS. KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THE GAME. GUY YOU WANT ON YOUR TEAM. DOES WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN.

Rather than just look for aging stars, the Mets need to find their own Pedroia. Too bad Shane Victorino isn't a free agent instead of Pat Burrell.

*

Lisa, as long as you're talking bets, I was going to offer to make one for this Sunday when my Jets square off against your undefeated Titans with your beloved Vince Young. But where is Vince? Looks like the eyes of Texas are upon the bench! At least, as a Yankee fan, you're used to overhyped throwers.

Yikes! Dustin Pedroia gets MVP

How do I feel about Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia succeeding Alex Rodriguez as this year's AL MVP? Let me tell you a story.

Earlier this year, somebody I know - let's call him "AB" - kept on running his mouth about how the Yankees were not going to make the playoffs. Even in the spring, he insisted that they looked terrible, and that this would not be a good year for them. Mind you, this person wasn't a Yankee-hater by any means - he just thought that this team wasn't very good.

Meanwhile, I was so sure back then that the great Joe Girardi would lead the Yanks to their 27th World Championship, that I was willing to make a bet on it. So I told AB to put his money where his mouth was, so to speak, and do his prediction in writing.

Which he did. On the back of the March 24 sheet in the 2008 Bad Cat Page-a-Day Calendar. Here's what he scribbled:

"The Yankees will not make the playoffs in 2008. - AB"

Incidentally, the picture on the front of the calendar for that date is of a very peeved-looking cat named Yogi wearing a White Sox cap. Wonder if that cat lost a bet, too, the way I did.

Fortunately, although AB and I had talked at the time about betting money or a dinner, we never ended up wagering anything of value, other than pride. And I didn't even have to wear anything embarrassing over it. (Speaking of which, Squawker Jon and I bet eight years ago that he would have to wear Yankee gear for a day if the Mets lost the Subway Series. I'm still waiting for him to do it.)

So yeah, the bet didn't cost me anything but pride. But the pride thing was enough. I hate being wrong. And I hate that AB was right. And I hate that I have it all in writing.

Kind of like how I hate that the annoying Dustin Pedroia, last year's Rookie of the Year, is now MVP. And that his also-annoying teammate Kevin Youkilis finished third. And that both of these very good, albeit obnoxious players, are Boston's homegrown products.

True, all this doesn't cost me anything, but still. Knowing that Red Sox Nation has something to cheer about is enough to tick me off!

But what do you think about the Pedroia choice? Leave us a comment.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Change is coming

So here we are at our new location, and I am back from visiting my brother in Tennessee and ready to squawk. Please bookmark http://www.subwaysquawkers.com to easily get to us. Change is in the air, and we expect to pretty this new place up and have even more fun squawking as time goes by.

One of our first changes is that we're going to add a blogroll. If you have a baseball-related site, or are a regular reader at our site and have a personal blog, please email us at subwaysquawkers@gmail.com to be included in our list.

The Yankee hot stove season is heating up. I see that the Yanks already picked up a Texeira - Kanekoa Texeira, that is, in the Nick Swisher trade. (Mark Teixeira, of course, is still out there.)

I'm not sure just yet how I feel about Swisher trade. I'm guessing the Yanks are thinking he will rebound from a rough season the way Scott Brosius did. And at least he's young. Swisher does need to update his web site, though - he doesn't even mention the trade yet on the site.

Squawker Jon does raise an interesting point about the Yankees going for people with non-Yankee like hair and personalities, and making them change. Swisher's web site motto is "WORK HARD PLAY HARD." Let's hope that even if he does have to shave, he can bring a little fun to this often-lifeless team, and remember how to hit again!

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The other big news, of course, is the overwhelming Yankee offer to CC Sabathia - a reported $140 million over the next six years, which is even more than Johan Santana got with the Mets. Is Sabathia worth that money? Of course not. But 1) The Yanks don't have much of a choice but to pay him, and 2) I'd rather see them overspend on him than on A.J. Burnett.

But what do you think? Tell us what's on your mind.

Friday, November 14, 2008

CC Sabathia shouldn't be priority for Mets

I keep hearing reports that the Mets are quite interested in CC Sabathia, and I don't understand why. Long-term big contracts for pitchers are always a risk. Look at the Mets' recent history with Pedro Martinez and Billy Wagner. Both moves looked good at the time,and for eight years worth of contracts, the Mets ended up with only about four years of production.

Johan Santana was a lot younger, the best pitcher in baseball, and a move the Mets absolutely had to make. Well worth the gamble of the long megacontract for a pitcher. If the Mets didn't have Santana, Sabathia would probably be worth the risk as well, just as he makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.

But putting that much money into the rotation without first dealing with the number one issue - the bullpen - makes no sense. Sabathia was renowned for pitching complete games on three days rest as he led the Brewers to the playoffs. Santana won a brilliant complete game on three days rest on the final Saturday. But it's one thing for Milwaukee to burn out its ace, knowing he is mostly likely leaving. If the Mets ended up with Sabathia, but did not dramatically upgrade the bullpen, they would end up with two high-priced starters who would feel obligated to finish every game they started because of a fear of what the bullpen would do. And those long-term pitching contracts would get that much riskier.

If the Mets are nervous about giving Francisco Rodriguez $75 million because of a risk of injury, why should giving Sabathia as much as twice that much be any more reassuring?

As for K-Rod, maybe his price will come down as more closers become available and teams such as the Angels say they will not pursue him. And since the Mets need both a closer and setup man, a case could be made for bringing in multiple pitchers instead of spending everything on K-Rod.

But getting, say, Brian Fuentes or Kerry Wood for four years, $48M, makes a lot less sense than giving K-Rod a bigger deal. K-Rod has been a proven closer for years and helped his team win a World Series in 2002. Wood has been a closer for one year and his name is synonymous with injury risk. Fuentes lost his job in 2007 to Manny Corpas, then won it back last year after he did well as a setup man. Not that you'd want to pay that much for a setup man, but the Mets need at least one backup to next year's closer who could step in if necessary. The Mets didn't have that last year, while teams like the Rays and Dodgers did.

So pass on K-Rod if you must, but make sure that at least two good arms are coming in - and some of last year's culprits are going out.

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Lisa, congratulations on the Yankees acquiring the player with the lowest batting average in the majors last year for players with enough at-bats to be eligible for the batting title (or, in this case, the lack-of-hitting title). And what better name for such a player than Swisher?
Nick Swisher is also known for his facial hair. Why do the Yankees keep acquiring players known for personality traits that they will have to squelch as soon as they come to the Bronx? At midseason next year, do you really think Swisher will be hitting .300 and remarking how that unruly facial hair is what was holding him back?

Imagine if Manny Ramirez comes to the Yankees, adopts the required clean-cut look, and falls into a slump. How long before we hear: "Joe Torre let me wear my hair any way I wanted, and I hit .396."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Welcome to our new blogspot

Squawker Jon and I have a new web home - at subwaysquawkers.blogspot.com. Feel free to set a spell and set in here. I am on vacation this week, but when I return, I expect to have a lot to squawk about.