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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ike Davis Charity Event

Help Ike Davis strike out childhood cancer.

He may be on the DL but he is putting his best foot forward to help two NYC charities by hosting an intimate up-close-and-personal charity dinner benefit on Sunday, July 17 at 7 PM after the Phillies game.

Hosted by Linda Cohn of ESPN Sportscenter, this family-friendly charity event will feature a live interview with Q&A from the guests, a full dinner, drinks, a signed baseball item from Ike, special event T-Shirt, auctions of sports experiences/unique items, photographs, gift bag and special guest appearances.

To purchase tickets and more info, visit "Striking out Childhood Cancer": A Night with Ike Davis.

DATE: Sunday, July 17 – 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Michael’s of Brooklyn – 2929 Avenue R – Brooklyn, NY

All proceeds will benefit Solving Kids’ Cancer and The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Too Soon: Why the Yankees Should Have Waited to Have Joe Torre Back at Old Timers' Day

I was looking forward to seeing a former Yankee manager, who also was a very good player, return to Yankee Stadium for the first time for Old Timers' Day. Unfortunately, Lou Piniella's first appearance at the even was completely overshadowed by the return of Joe Torre.

I'm sorry, but I just think it was way too soon to bring back Torre for the event. Especially since he has never apologized for anything he did towards the end, like the way he trashed the organization after he deemed a one-year contract that guaranteed him $5 million (with another $3 million in incentives) an "insult."

And I am not going to forget about "The Yankee Years," and the way Torre, who based his whole Yankee career on being classy, settled scores with anybody who didn't genuflect to him in his time with the Yankees. I haven't forgotten the way he talked about George Steinbrenner's health issue. The way he revealed personal information about Johnny Damon. The way he told the world that A-Rod's nickname on the team was "A-Fraud." The way he got facts wrong, and accused David Wells of being a bad influence on Sidney Ponson when they were never teammates. Torre was so nasty and vindictive in the book, he made me feel sorry for Kevin Brown (!) afterwards.

And the thing of it is, he had a lot to answer for with "The Yankee Years," but thanks to the very same media members who gave him a standing ovation at his Yankee farewell press conference, Torre was able to deflect the bile of his book, as if it was all co-author Tom Verducci's fault. (Which begs the question, how did Verducci find out that information, if not for the guy whose picture was on the cover?)

I'm not saying that Torre should have been kept away from Old Timers' Day forever, but geez, is it too much to expect him to apologize for being a twit, before being welcomed back as Saint Joe of the Bronx again? Or for Joe to acknowledge that he bit the hand that fed him for 12 years, by first walking out in a snit fit slamming the organization, and then writing such a vile book like "The Yankee Years"? And for Joe to apologize for what he said and wrote, before honoring him in Yankeeland?

But instead of having to admit he was ever wrong, Torre got treated like a conquering hero yesterday, not just with the fans, but with the press, where it doesn't look like he got a single tough question at his press conference. I'm not going to be a phony like Torre and pretend that everything he did was okay. It wasn't, and he still needs to answer for it (but unfortunately, he likely will never have to.)

Torre said yesterday:
"I knew this day would come," said Torre, who received a rousing ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd after his introduction.
Really, Joe? I seem to remember in your farewell press conference that you said you would never return to Yankee Stadium again.

He also said:
“I think they probably wanted to do something else,” Torre said. “I think it became uncomfortable on both sides on how to separate. Unfortunately it wasn’t pretty.”
Heaven forbid St. Joe take responsibility for his immature actions and say something like, "You know, I should have acted more grateful for the opportunity George Steinbrenner gave me. Thanks to him taking a chance on me, I went from being a .500 manager to a Hall of Famer. I should have handled my departure better, and not taken the cheap shots I did on the way out."

But, of course, that didn't happen. Instead Torre said about wearing pinstripes again:
"Putting it back on felt good," said Torre, who managed the Yankees to four World Series championships (1996, '98, '99, 2000) during his 12 years as their skipper. "Taking it off was quite emotional back in '07 because when I was doing it, I knew I wasn't going to be here anymore.
Really, Joe? I seem to remember the Yankees giving you another contract deal, and you turned it down because it was a pay cut. Now you say that you knew it was the last time you would wear the pinstripes as a manager? Which story is it?

Here's the kicker:
I just don't like to dwell on stuff, but I certainly did feel different when I put it on (Sunday morning), because it was something I hadn't done it in a long time, and it's obviously the uniform that has meant the most to my career."
Oh, good grief. Doesn't like to dwell on stuff? That's exactly what he did with "The Yankee Years" -- dwell on every real or perceived slight, settle every score, get back at anybody who didn't treat St. Joe with the deference he deserved.

If you cheered for Joe's return, knock yourself out. Just don't expect me to have joined you.


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Will Be on South Florida Radio Today With The Amigo

Miami's own Larry Milian -- aka the Amigo -- has interviewed me on his radio show many, many times since the first time I squawked with him, way back in 2006. He co-hosts the very popular morning drive time radio show called Armando and The Amigo on WFTL Sports -- 640 AM.

Now Larry has a brand-new radio show in South Florida as well on Saturday mornings, called the New York Sports Report, which he is co-hosting with Phil Dizz Domanic.. And I am honored to be the very first guest on the new program. How cool is that?

Check me out at 10:30 a.m. today -- you can listen live online here, and follow the guys on Twitter here. In the words of New York Jets star Bart Scott, can't wait!

Who Would You Rather Have --Jose Reyes or Derek Jeter?

I have been watching Jose Reyes' MVP-caliber year with the New York Mets with great interest, especially since it's the last year of his contract. Like some Yankee fans, I was salivating at the idea of Reyes putting on pinstripes when he is no longer a Met.

But Brian Cashman has put the kibosh on that idea, saying, "That's just not going to happen." Of course, given that Cashman's own contract is up at the end of the year, never say never. Not to mention that Cashman has said one thing, and ended up doing another, before, like when Bubba Crosby was going to be the Yankees' starting center fielder for 2006! All that said, the Yankees probably will not get Reyes, even thought they should.

Back in 2007, Squawker Jon and I were interviewed on the Mets Weekly SNY broadcast for a Subway Series preview. When I was asked who was the best shortstop in New York, I gave my smartypants answer --  Alex Rodriguez!

Now I would say it's Jose Reyes, which is not exactly going out on a limb here. But it's going to be interesting to watch if Reyes is doing great things for the Mets, or heaven forbid, the Boston Red Sox, over the next few years, while the Yankees have Jeter at shortstop for the next three and a half seasons. (The media always seems to forget Jeter's player option for a fourth year in that contract. And given that he said last year that he thought he was still in the middle of his career (!), there is no reason to think at this point that he will hang it up before that season.)

Anyhow, will Yankee fans be gritting their teeth if Reyes has a year or two like this with the Red Sox, when it's pretty clear that Derek Jeter's 2010 was just a sneak preview of what we're going to see in this contract? And for all the "he's back" talk after his two-homer game against the Texas Rangers, the fact is that the captain has the same number of home runs this year that Eduardo Nunez achieved in 62 at-bats -- two. And while Jeter is better than Nunez with the glove at this point, Nunez is hitting much better in the lineup in Jeter's absence than Derek has all year:

Jeter's 2011 splits: .260/324/.324
Nunez's numbers since replacing Jeter in the lineup:.294/.351/.441 (his overall 2011 numbers are .241/.290/.379.)

I'm not saying Nunez is the answer, but the dirty little secret in Yankeeland is that the team has done just fine without Jeter in the lineup, especially with Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher alternating at the top of the lineup (they were hitting a combined .314 in that spot going into Friday's game.)

Of course, Joe Girardi has already said he won't move Jeter out of the leadoff role when he returns from injury, whenever that is. Because it makes perfect sense to have the player with the second-worst on-base percentage on the team batting more than anybody else on the Yankees!

I know, I know, these numbers don't take into account intangibles, grit, mystique, aura, or five rings. But geez, at some point, maybe after the 3000 hit milestone is achieved, we have to remember that it's the Derek Jeter of 2011 playing, not the ghost of Jeter at shortstop. Sacrilege, I know.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Glory Days, They'll Pass You By

Last night, I attended a lively discussion on "The Cambridge Companion to Baseball" with the book's editor, Lenny Cassuto, and Caryn Rose (aka Metsgrrl). As it turned out, they had a connection even stronger than baseball - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

When I heard the terrible news about Clarence Clemons late Saturday night, I emailed Lenny. We have both been to at least 40 Bruce shows over the years, most of them with the E Street Band. I included in the email a link to a touching obituary on the main Springsteen fan site backstreets.com.

It was after I sent the email that I discovered that the obituary was written by the same person who was going to interview Lenny two day later.

(Read Clarence Clemons obituary written by Caryn Rose and Glenn Radecki and other Clarence tributes here.)

Though I suspect Lenny might have been just as happy to talk about Clarence, Caryn was coming off a string of radio and TV appearances as well as further updates to Backstreets, so once the evening officially got underway, all talk turned to baseball.

Since we were in Brooklyn (at the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene), it was only appropriate for Caryn to begin by asking Lenny about an essay in the book on Walter O'Malley.

Caryn also asked if many of the writers identified themselves in the book as fans of specific teams. Lenny said that there was one Met fan, so I immediately jumped up, only to have Lenny remind me that it was actually a different writer.

Since my piece on the origins of free agency included a part on George Steinbrenner, it's probably just as well that I didn't identify myself as a Met fan in the book's bio section. But Squawker Lisa can verify that I was strictly objective when writing about the other Boss.

When the topic of fantasy baseball came up, Caryn said she was not a fan, so I decided not to mention that I have three teams and write on it for The Faster Times. But I should have mentioned that my fantasy football team is called the Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.

Overall, it was a fun event. I got to meet Metsgrrl, and had the chance to talk about Clarence with a writer from Backstreets, all at the same time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three Years Ago, Same Record Got Mets Manager Fired

On June 16, 2008, the Mets were 34-35. In the early hours of June 17, Willie Randolph was fired. On June 16, 2011, the Mets were again 34-35, and Terry Collins is being showered with praise. Expectations have certainly changed.

Collins deserves the praise, and I agree with his comments after last night's game that we should look at it less as a brutal loss and more as the conclusion of a winning road trip (6-4) and the end of a series in which the Mets took two of three from the Braves.

But I miss the days when the Mets were expected to win. When simply getting to .500 wasn't viewed as an achievement.

When there was no question that the Mets would keep their stars. When the only question was which new stars would they seek to acquire.

At least I'm still able to yell at the TV when the Mets lose on a balk. I still have hope for this team.

Things haven't yet gotten to the point they were in late August of 2009 when the Mets lost to the Phillies when Jeff Francoeur hit into an unassisted triple play. By then, it was just the latest in a season-long string of indignities.

This year, at least the management still believes in the team. We'll soon find out if ownership shares that belief.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blimpie Contest Winners!

Congratulations to Patricia and Thoughts, the two winners of our Blimpie Ticket Giveaway. Each winner gets two tickets to this Sunday's Father's Day game - Mets-Angels at Citi Field.

If you are one of the winners, please send us your mailing address info ASAP to subwaysquawkers@gmail.com, so Blimpie can get you your tickets! We need to hear from you ASAP!

Last Chance to Win Free Mets Tickets

Today is the last time you can enter our Mets tickets contest to win two free tickets for Sunday's game, courtesy of Blimpie Sub Shop. Please go here to enter! Two of our readers will win two free tickets to see the Mets take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Fathers' Day. Good luck!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Win Free Tickets to Mets-Angels; Mets' Baserunning Blunders

If you want to go this Sunday's Mets-Angels game on Father's Day, a pair of tickets on Stubhub starts at $32 each. But thanks to our contest courtesy of Blimpie, two pairs of our readers will get to go for free.

Go to our earlier blog entry to enter:

Sunday's game also features the Mr. Met Dash, in which kids 12 and under can run the bases after the game. Perhaps Mr. Met can also offer remedial baserunning tips for the actual Mets. Last night brought two more blunders - Daniel Murphy getting caught off second when Mike Pelfrey missed a bunt attempt and Lucas Duda turning a sac fly into a double play (the second game in a row that the Mets managed to do that).

While you've got to be pleased with how the Mets have remained competitive under Terry Collins despite all the injuries, the shoddy baserunning was supposed to be a thing of the past. And while a singles-hitting team needs to be aggressive, they can't afford to be reckless, much less incompetent.

Also, weren't mysterious injuries that never get better also supposed to be a thing of the past? The more things change...

On Derek Jeter's Calf Strain, and Our Ticket Giveaway

Derek Jeter had the calf strain heard 'round the world during last night's game. Well, maybe not 'round the world, but it certainly was the sports story of the night.

Paul O'Neill was the first Yankee broadcaster to note that something was wrong with Jeter. Now everybody is worrying about when Jeter will get 3,000 hits. What's a little interesting is that I haven't heard much talk about the team implications if the captain is out; it's all about the hit record. 

Anyhow, I know from personal experience what a Grade 1 calf strain, which is what the Captain has, feels like. I was gong to catch the subway three years ago, and I tore my calf with just that little burst of energy to get into the subway before it closed. The pain I felt when I had the calf strain felt like I was shot in the leg! Longtime Squawker readers may remember that I had to be helped off the subway, as I could not walk on that leg. It took a few weeks, and a bunch of physical therapy sessions, for my calf to get back to normal. 

Granted, Jeter has more tools for quick healing at his disposal, but I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on the DL for two weeks over this. 

I read Filip Bondy suggest that overuse could have led to this injury:

And it is quite possible, in 20-20 hindsight, that Jeter was asked to play too many games in a row, at age 36, in order to assure he achieved the landmark hit in the Bronx instead of in Chicago or Cincinnati.
He hadn't sat out a Yankee game since May 5, though there were four off days built in the schedule and he'd been a DH five times during that stretch. It had become clear the Yanks were going to get Jeter as many at-bats as possible, and in the end it may have come back to bite them.
If there's any consolation in any of this, it is that once again Jeter was right. We don't know, and Jeter doesn't know, where or when he'll reach 3,000.
Nonsense. Players get calf strains all the time -- Adrian Beltre had one in spring training this year. Was that due to overuse? Jimmy Rollins and A-Rod also had the issue last year, to name a few examples. Heck, like I said, I had the injury myself, and I'm not exactly an elite professional athlete! To suggest that it's because Jeter didn't have a complete day off in an entire month is a bit silly, especially when he had four off-days and five days off in the field. Stuff happens.

And Bondy acts like the issue is the Yankees somehow driving Jeter into the ground to get the hit record. But, as Joel Sherman notes, the captain has 12 seasons with 150+ games played per year. He wants to play every day. 

Besides, up until this month, there was no way to know for sure when Jeter might possibly break the record. If he had kept up the brief hot streak he had starting in Texas, he would have hit 3,000 by now!

* * *

In other news, we are giving away free tickets to Sunday's Mets game, courtesy of Blimpie. Go here to enter!


What do you think?


Monday, June 13, 2011

LeBron James Outdoes A-Rod in Dopey Comments

There are all sorts of columns making the comparison today that LeBron James, whose Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs, is the new Alex Rodriguez, a great regular-season player who chokes in the playoffs. I can see the comparison a little, but I don't totally buy it, for several reasons.


First of all, as clueless as A-Rod can be when it comes to how to handle his image, from opting out during the World Series to saying all sorts of dopey things over the years, he never did anything as self-aggrandizing as "The Decision." When he was traded to the Yankees in 2004, the team had a press conference for him, not a pep rally. (And when he re-signed after the 2007 season, he talked to the media via conference call -- on the day the Mitchell Report was released. For once, he low-keyed it.)

Second, the comparison of LeBron to A-Rod in the 2004 ALCS, as I've heard some say, doesn't quite work. If the Yankees had been able to win Game 4, Rodriguez would be perceived as a great postseason hero. Why he gets the goat horns, when the entire team tanked the last three games, doesn't add up.

But the thing that really irks me about the comparison is that even A-Rod, somebody who didn't get that kissing himself in the mirror wasn't exactly a good look, would never say anything as offensive as what King James did last night:

James agreed the loss felt like a "personal failure" but also said  "it hurts of course, but I'm not going to hang my head low."

And he said he wouldn't let it bother him that so many were so happy to see him fail.

"Absolutely not, because at the end of the day, all the people that were rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today," James said. "They have the same personal problems they had today. I'm going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that.

"They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal. But they have to get back to the real world at some point."


Good grief. First of all, you can't trash the fans as losers who don't have the great life you do, even when they're rooting against you. The last player to pull such a thing was Red Sox reliever Keith Foulke when he slammed Boston fans who booed him as being "Johnny from Burger King." That move didn't exactly work out well for him.

Second, fans who root for you want to hear that you actually care about losing. LeBron sounds more upset with basketball fans cheering against him than he does about losing the series. We know that LeBron is still famous. And rich. And talented. But for somebody who just lost in a spectacular fashion, he seems more concerned with getting back to his fabulous life than anybody else. And that's something not even A-Rod would be foolish enough to say.


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

This Father’s Day, Enjoy America’s Favorite Pastime Courtesy of Blimpie, America’s Favorite Sub Shop!

Update - June 16 - We have our winners! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Some good news this morning -- Blimpie, our favorite place to get a sub, is partnering with us again this year on another ticket giveaway! This time around, it's a Father's Day giveaway for two sets of Mets tickets. Here are the details:

Blimpie is sponsoring a Father’s Day Giveaway for two pairs of two tickets to the New York Mets game against the Los Angeles Angels at Citi Field on Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 1:10 p.m. Two lucky winners will be able to treat Dad to a day at the ballpark!

Here's how you can win:

* Leave a comment on this blog entry about your favorite Blimpie sandwich and after reviewing their website at www.Blimpie.com, please list a sandwich you would like to try the next time you visit a Blimpie
in the same entry. (Also, please put an email address we can reach you at.)

Additional Extra Credit Entries:

*Subscribe to Subway Squawkers
*Follow Subway Squawkers on Twitter and leave a note on how you want to enter the Blimpie contest
*Fan/Like Blimpie on Facebook
*Follow Blimpie on Twitter

Please enter by Thursday, June 16. A winner will be picked that day, and the tickets sent via overnight mail. Good luck, and tell your friends!

Red Sox Get Brooms Out Against the Yankees

Even though the Yankees-Red Sox game was running way past my bedtime last night, thanks to the rain delay that went on longer than an Phish concert,  I really did try to stay up until the end. But I trotted off to bed in disgust when David Ortiz gestured his arms like a Muppet hopped up on caffeine after getting yet another big hit off the Yanks.

At least earlier in the game Ortiz finally got plunked, thanks to CC Sabathia, after both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez got hit by a pitch earlier in the game. Squawker Jon called me to tell me to put on the end of the Mavericks-Heat game, and I was like, "Ortiz got plunked! I have to watch this!" I did put the Mavs' game on in picture-in-picture, though. That was the only other real highlight of the evening, although I did also enjoy watching some of the Billy Joel at Shea Stadium concert on PBS while waiting for the rain delay to be over.

As for the Red Sox, funny thing is, though, that I found out last night, thanks to Squawker reader Larry, that technically, David Ortiz did get hit by a Yankee pitch once before -- in Game 1 of the 2003 ALCS. This is something that has been completely forgotten by everyone, including myself!

Of course, Ortiz was whining about the plunking after the game, blaming the media for it. He's rapidly moving up the charts as being my least favorite Red Sox again. For a while, he wasn't even cracking the top five; now he's No. 1 with a bullet!

Anyhow, I could rehash the rest of the painful loss, and discuss in detail that costly seven-run inning. But what else is there to say? It's a debacle!

* * *

Before I end this post, I guess I need to mention Squawker Jon talking about Joba Chamberlain needing Tommy John surgery. He pointed out that there was the Joba Rules, and the Hughes Rules, but there were no Kennedy rules, and he's, of course, still standing, with a 6-2 record this year, and a 3.01 ERA. So much for Michael Kay's Generation Trey, eh? (Speaking of which, I haven't forgotten that Rafael Soriano started going bad the moment Kay came up with the dopey JoSoMo nickname, and now Joba's hurt. If anything happens to Mariano Rivera, I'm blaming Michael Kay!)

Last night, Jon also helpfully pointed out the possibility that Francisco Rodriguez could be a Yankee, due to his contract being too expensive for the Mets, and the Yankees' bullpen woes. Oh, great. I guess I have that to look forward to, right? Good grief.

What do you have to say about this series? Join the squawk!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Yankees-Red Sox Game, Another Debacle

What a frustrating game to watch. Unlike Tuesday night, I did make it home in time to watch the top of the first inning of the last night's Yankees-Red Sox game. Unfortunately, it was the same old, same old, with the Sox getting three runs in the first. To top it all of, David Ortiz, instead of getting brushed back, got to camp out at home plate and hit a home run off The Bad A.J., who seems to show up every time against the Red Sox. What a nightmare.

Oh, and Ortiz had some classy things to say after last night:
“I don’t care what Joe Girardi says,” the Boston slugger fired back at a local New York writer. “Take it like a man. I’m done with that.” ....

“I don't want to be on national news tomorrow,” replied Ortiz on not flipping his bat after a two-run blast Wednesday. “I don’t want to have you guys asking me the same questions. I got almost 370 bombs in the big leagues and everybody wants to make a big deal because I bat flip one of them. [Expletive] that [expletive], man. If I have to make that video on my [expletive], let’s see how many bat flips I got on this [expletive]. Good night.”
Speaking of which, we're coming up on the second anniversary of the news that Ortiz failed a PED test. Remember how Sherlock Ortiz wasn't going to rest until he found out what happened? It's amazing he can still have time to play and solve crimes at the same time!

Dwight Gooden, of all people, weighed in on Twitter yesterday about Ortiz's bat flip, writing "In the 80s Ortiz would be laying on his ass right now after the stunt he pulled last night."And Red Sox Nation had a lot to say in our comments section as well yesterday, especially after my column on Ortiz got mentioned on Yahoo Sports' Big League Stew!

My own thoughts? I don't understand why Ortiz *still* has never been plunked by a Yankee, after all these years. The Yankees make him feel so comfortable at the plate, I half-expect them to bring out a pillow and a mint for him!

* * *

In other news, how about that Brett Gardner? He's on the lineup in no small part because of his speed, and he doesn't run home in the sixth when the ball gets away? So much for that. He said he didn't move because he thought the ball hit Jeter, which makes no sense.

And remember the days when Derek Jeter used to get the big hit? Unfortunately, those days are few and far between now, and last night, he hit into a rally-killing double play after Gardner's bumbling.

For all the hype about Captain Clutch's upcoming 3000 hits milestone, and the DJ3K bracelet, the fact is that he is having an even worse year than he did last season, even though many fans and writers thought his troubles were over after he hit two home runs against the Rangers. Last year, he hit .270, with 30 doubles, 10 home runs, and a .710 OPS. This year so far, he's hitting .260, with 7 doubles, 2 home runs and a .655 OPS. Yikes!

Oh, and what was up with Alfredo Aceves? Aside from the fact I was muttering to myself about why Brian Cashman didn't re-sign him, I was a little unnerved by how much he was sweating. It was like there was a showerhead installed right above his head, he was so wet. Or maybe he splashed cold water on himself between innings? What was the deal there?

What are your thoughts on Yankees-Red Sox?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On David Ortiz' Bat Flip, and The Yankees-Red Sox Series

I was on the bus home from the Staten Island Ferry when the Yankees-Red Sox game started last night, and I was following the progress via my iPhone. By the time I arrived home, the Yankees were already losing 3-0. Not a great way to start off the evening.

And it got even worse. I also missed seeing Mark Teixeira getting helped off the field. What a nightmare. Between that, and David Ortiz's hitting a home run, complete with an obnoxious bat flip, it wasn't exactly an evening for the ages for Yankee fans. (Although Jorge Posada fans did get to see him ably step up with his best game of the year -- his first 2011 three-hit game -- after he stepped in to take Mark Teixeira's place in the lineup, and at first.)

But as for Ortiz, I was irritated by his antics during the game (what, he was mad Hector Noesi went a little inside on him? Spare me. Ortiz still has never been hit by a Yankee pitcher. Ever!) and even more annoyed by his arrogant comments afterwards. He said:
“It’s not my first time. It’s not going to be my last time. So, big deal,” he said.

“I’m a home run hitter. It’s not like I do it all the time. But it’s part of the excitement. What can I tell you? I just went deep. You want more emotion than that. I just went deep. It’s another homer for Papi.

“That was one of the Papi good ones.”
Two third-person references in one interview? Oy. What happened to the personable Ortiz, any way, the one who didn't come across like a clown in interviews?

The Yankees weren't happy about his little show last night, and we'll see if they enact a little payback this series.

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Visit to Citi Field: Vision of a Dark Future

I nearly went to Thursday's game, but ended up at Wednesday's instead. Big mistake. Instead of seeing a spectacular comeback that will no doubt end up in the slim catalog of SNY Mets Classics, I got to see what a Met infield would look like without Jose Reyes or David Wright.

I did not find out until well after the fact that Terry Collins was even more annoyed than I was about the shoddy infield play that resulted in a steady stream of infield hits and helped the Pirates turn a 2-0 deficit into a 9-3 win. But what Collins really needed to be annoyed with was that Willie Harris is still on his roster and that Sandy Alderson has been no better so far at building a bench on the cheap than Omar Minaya was.

Things got a lot brighter Thursday when Reyes returned to the lineup and Harris returned to the bench. And then there was that comeback for the ages. So I deleted the gloom and doom post I started Wednesday night. After all, I did have a good time going to my first game of the year.

But ownership should know that even if fans can still have fun at the ballpark watching a lousy lineup playing a lousy game, my tickets in the fifth row of the promenade behind home plate were only $6.50 each, plus StubHub fees. And unless I missed it, they didn't bother to put the attendance on the scoreboard. It wasn't too long ago when the Mets would ask you to guess the attendance and put up four different figures, all much higher than whatever they are drawing now.

*

If the Mets want to reduce the gloom and doom surround the club, how about putting an end to rumors that they might aim to keep Reyes, but then they would have to move Wright. What's next - Shake Shack will only have hamburgers or shakes, but not both? I actually read somewhere that this could be the best time to trade Wright, before his value goes down more. Yeah, when he's on the DL with a stress fracture in his back - that's the time to move him!

Wright, like Reyes, is a very good player who has done well in New York, unlike, say, Jason Bay. Nobody should be untouchable, but moves just to cut costs can help you end up with an infield like Wednesday night's - Daniel Murphy, Justin Turner, Ruben Tejada and Willie Harris.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why I Find the "Overrated Baseball Players" List Amusing

There was a whole to-do yesterday over four Yankees being named to Sports Illustrated's poll of the Most Overrated MLB players, with Alex Rodriguez, Joba Chamberlain, and Derek Jeter taking the top three spots, and Nick Swisher tying Jayson Werth and Jonathan Papelbon for fourth place.

And for once, A-Rod, the "winner" of the contest voted on by his peers, outdid Derek Jeter, No. 3 on the list, when it came to handling negative attention with a smile and a laugh. For that matter, Joba Chamberlain, who came in second, said all the right things, too. Jeter, not so much.

Here's the scoop. Erik Boland of Newsday describes the scene in the clubhouse yesterday, with Joba, who "won" the title last year, teasing A-Rod about it:
"I lost," Chamberlain proclaimed for the rest of the clubhouse to hear. "I got beat out. No. 2, though...I guess I passed the torch on to Alex."


Upon seeing Rodriguez enter the clubhouse, Chamberlain, surrounded by reporters, yelled at the third baseman.


"You’re next Al, you’re next!"

Here's how A-Rod reacted:

Rodriguez smiled for almost the entirety of the time he spent talking about the anonymous poll.


"I’ve been on this list before," A-Rod said before pausing and taking note of 3/5 of the list comprising Yankees. "So it’s three Yankees? So I’ll see you guys next summer again."


Rodriguez also poked fun at his past reasons for making headlines.


Players vote?


"I’m sure I’ll be on it next summer so I’ll try to come up with some better material for you guys," he said.   "But, I will say this. If this is the only thing we’re talking about, fellas, we’re doing good."
 Here was Jeter's reaction, which wasn't quite so jovial:
Jeter was not close to being amused.


"We're doing this again?" he said. "I have no comment on anonymous polls. I've never understood those anonymous polls."


He added: "It's the same thing they do every year, right? I'm focused on more positive things. How about that? There's your quote."


Discussing his chase of 3,000 hits later on, Jeter amended that.


"Consistency is underrated," he said, putting emphasis on "underrated." "That's the quote."

Jeter usually has the right thing to say, as in saying nothing while saying something, but I thought he came off as really cranky here. This poll, voted on by 185 MLB players, is the quintessential example of the "you're just jealous" sentiment. Yankees win every year (Jeter was just as perturbed when he "won" the honor a few years back), because players are jealous of the attention and money they get.

Jayson Werth is on the list this year because he's making a ton of money with the Washington Nationals, and others are envious of his money. Nick Swisher is on the list because of his fame, endorsements, and probably jealousy about his TV-star wife. I would like to think that Jonathan Papelbon is on the list for being annoying, but his inclusion is most likely about jealousy, too. Any player who is on this list ought to consider it a badge of honor, quite frankly. A-Rod and Chamberlain took it in that spirit, while Jeter was peeved.

At any rate, Jeter's talk of his "consistency" is no longer applicable to his career, unless you consider consistently hitting .257 over the past year, with just seven homers, as a good thing. From the start of his career, until May 31, 2010, he put up the following stats:

.317 BA .387 OBP .458 Slug .845 OPS

Here are his stats from June 1, 2010 through yesterday:

.257 BA .333 OBP .336 Slug .670 OPS

Yikes!