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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Remembering Mets History on Historic Day

The most famous game in Mets history was 25 years ago today, and all Met fans know what happened when Mookie Wilson hit a ground ball to Bill Buckner. But how much do you know about the “Ball on the Wall Game” that helped the Mets win the NL East in 1973? “New York Mets: The Complete Illustrated History” offers a detailed history of the Mets’ first five decades.

Author Matthew Silverman has written several books on the Mets, including “The Miracle Has Landed: The Amazin’ Story of How the 1969 Mets Shocked the World.” In “New York Mets: The Complete Illustrated History” Silverman has plenty of details and photos on 1969 and 1986, including things even the diehard Met fan may not know. When spring training was delayed in 1969 by baseball’s first work stoppage, Tom Seaver led players-only workouts.

While I’ll never get tired of reading about 1969 or 1986, what sets “New York Mets: The Complete Illustrated History” apart is the rich detail of the less memorable years in Mets’ history. Even the events that Met fans try to forget are worth revisiting, if only to learn that the Angels originally asked for Gary Gentry in the Jim Fregosi trade, but the Mets preferred to send them Nolan Ryan.

As for the events leading up to the Tom Seaver trade, Silverman unearths an astonishing quote from Met chairman M. Donald Grant, who resented that Seaver was known as “The Franchise.” According to Grant, “Mrs. Payson and I are the franchise.”

On a brighter note, one of the numerous photos in the book is of Seaver with Dave Kingman and Joe Torre when Torre was named Mets’ manager. Another photo is of Willie Mays drenched in champagne after the Mets clinched the division in 1973.

Speaking of Kingman, in the spring of 1981, a time of rising cold war tensions and calls by some for a nuclear freeze, the Mets put up a sign in the Shea Stadium parking lot warning that it was a “Kingman Fallout Zone.”

The book includes profiles of the top 50 players in Mets history. The numerous photographs include not only game action and shots of individual players, but also yearbooks, programs and other memorabilia.

An appendix lists all-time Mets records, while charts throughout the book offer lists of such items as Mayor’s Trophy Game results and every game in Anthony Young’s 27-game losing streak.

I recommend it to any Met fan that embraces the team’s whole history, good and bad. And even if it is an unbelievable 25 years since the glory days of 1986, there’s still a lot worth remembering.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Were Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens Drinking in the Dugout?

I have been enjoying the heck out of the Boston Red Sox Fried Chicken and Beer (and Video Games!) scandal. What the heck were Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and John Lackey thinking? They were paid to be part of a baseball team; not to act like something out of "Animal House" or something!

Anyhow, I'm a  little disappointed to see all the rationalizations for their shameful behavior out there -- Babe Ruth drank, Dwight Gooden did coke, blah blah blah. Of course, these rationalizations only go for booze and recreational drugs, not performance-enhancing drugs -- you'll never hear somebody say that doing steroids is okay because Mark McGwire did it, or taking HGH is okay because Andy Pettitte did it. 

Besides, it's 2011. Maybe it's time that people stop doing stupid things just because other people did them in the past. And you cannot justify drinking alcohol during a game when you are an MLB player, no matter how much people try to. If players cannot wait three hours until the game over before getting their drink on, they've got issues.

And I have said on Facebook, I would be equally as outraged if The Three Stupidos were Yankees. And now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. Today's New York Daily News has a combination apologia for boozing in baseball, combined with details on other players who drank before, during, and after games. Yet there's no mention of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock, who died in an accident after driving drunk. Nor of the six MLB players who were arrested for driving under the influence this season. But the article does claim that Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens drank in the dugout during games:
According to one of the insiders, Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens would routinely drink beer on the dugout bench when they played for the Yankees, passing back and forth what Giambi called his "protein shake," code for a cup of beer, the source said.
If this is true, where was Joe Torre? Snoozing in the dugout again? How can you not detect the smell of beer -- it doesn't exactly smell like a protein shake!

The article also talks about unnamed Mets players drinking during games, and Keith Hernandez drinking after games. Um, drinking a beer after the game is over is not the same thing at all as doing it during games, so I don't know why that Keith Hernandez tidbit was included. 

Anyhow, I think it's perfectly reasonable for the Red Sox pitchers to get their share of ridicule and scrutiny right now. You go 7-20 in September, and have the worst collapse in regular season history, you deserve all the grief you get. But please, enough with the "everybody does it" argument. Everybody does not do it. 

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rangers, Cardinals and Big Contracts

The Rangers and Cardinals got to the World Series without big-market payrolls, but they wouldn't have made it without some big contracts that were far from sure things.

This past offseason, the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre to a five-year, $80 million deal. Beltre, who turned 32 in April, had had only two really good seasons, both the year that he was going into free agency.

Signing Beltre also meant that longtime Ranger Michael Young would now mostly be a DH, which made Young ask to be traded.

So far, the Beltre signing has worked out great for the Rangers. Beltre hit .296 with 32 homers and 105 RBI and did so in only 124 games. Young dropped his trade demand and hit .338 with 106 RBI.

The previous offseason, the Cardinals signed Matt Holliday to a seven-year $120 million deal. The Scott Boras client would be averaging $17M/year through age 36. The Cardinals were tying up payroll just as Albert Pujols was approaching free agency.

When Holliday was a free agent, another power-hitting left fielder was also available. Jason Bay would end up signing for four years and $66 million, which appeared more reasonable compared to Holliday, who was getting about the same per year but would have three additional years on his deal. We know how the Bay signing has worked out.

This offseason, if the Cardinals re-sign Pujols, they will doubtless face criticism for giving him too much money and years. But Pujols is irreplaceable - one of the best players of all time who is also a great postseason performer. He may be past his peak, but he still seems far from going into decline. The Cardinals, generally far from a powerhouse team, are now in their third World Series in eight years, which would not have happened without Pujols.

Jose Reyes is no Pujols, but he could end up making as much or more than Holliday. And if that happens, people will complain that he's getting too much, especially if he ends up back with the Mets. But even the well-constructed teams that get the World Series do so with the help of big contracts that are not without controversy.

***

Squawker Lisa and I find ourselves on the same side in this World Series. She likes the Rangers from her days living in Texas and I am rooting for Nolan Ryan and against Tony La Russa. One would think the Rangers would win with that powerhouse lineup so I'm picking them, but I hope the Cardinals don't turn out to be a team of destiny.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who Is Promoting Brian Cashman as Red Sox GM -- Brian Cashman?

I should be used to Yankee GM Brian Cashman's constant need for whining, puffery and self-promotion by now -- after all, just last month, he complained to ESPN New York's about how his current job required "a price of time, effort, expectations, pressure, stress levels, all that different stuff." You know, kind of like how every other job in the universe does, but at a close to $3 million a year salary. Boo bleeding hoo.

Anyhow, I was still taken aback by the "rumor" that Cashman could be in the running for taking over Theo Epstein's GM position in Boston. Who fed the media the rumor -- Cashman himself? (Incidentally, remember this summer, how Cashman's name was included as a possibility to be the new Cubs' GM? Yet it looks like Chicago only talked to Theo Epstein for the job? Funny how that works.)

It wouldn't be the first time Cashman threw his hat in the ring to be Boston's GM. Remember that New York Magazine profile of him from the summer of 2004, where his wife Mary said, “Brian would like to go to Boston and win the World Series as general manager of the Red Sox. That would be any man’s dream, to go up there and become the god of Boston." That was the same profile which had Brian talking about how smart he was in getting Javier Vazquez over Curt Schilling, and had some anonymous agent praising his trade of Jeff Weaver for the immortal Kevin Brown. At any rate, the fact that Cashman never even got called on the carpet in Yankeeland for that interview showed that the days of the Big Bad Boss were long over. But I digress.

Anyhow, aside from the fact that it's very likely, given how much he has been included in postseason postmortems, that Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington is going to be the next GM of the Boston Red Sox, what, exactly, would convince Boston ownership that Brian Cashman would be the right man for the job? What would make their fan base accept somebody who has spent his entire career in the Yankees organization?That at least the Yanks' overpriced free agent pitcher A.J. Burnett stays in the dugout and watches his team during games, unlike fried-chicken eating, beer-drinking, video-game playing John Lackey? (Incidentally, if you haven't read the Boston Globe's investigation of what went wrong, please do so. It is absolutely delicious reading for Red Sox haters!)

I also had to laugh of the ridiculousness of Yankee president Randy Levine's own puffery in declaring that the 2011 Yankees season was a failure, then talking in the same interview about bringing back Cashman. Remember, Levine said: "We are the Yankees. That is the way The Boss set it up. When you don't win the World Series, it is a bitter disappointment and not a successful year." So, when is Levine handing in his own resignation? Or looking for a new GM? Gee, you'd think that all this talk of "World Series or bust" is just a sop to the rubes, since nobody ever actually loses his job or anything! Not even a general manager who once looked longingly at being Boston's GM!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Note to (Some) Yankee Fans: Grow Up Already

I was in a bad mood after the Yankees lost Game 5 of the ALDS, and I'm still peeved this morning. But frankly, most of the my peckishness is directed at some of the Yankees fan base than at the team. The way some of these fans carried on last night, both online and at the Stadium, you would think that the team hadn't won a playoff series in 50 years. 
 
Please understand that I'm not talking about all Yankee fans. But some of the team's fans need to hear this: Get over yourselves already. Acting like spoiled, entitled jerks doesn't make you good Yankee fans. It just makes you spoiled, entitled jerks. Newsflash: The Yankees won the World Series TWO YEARS AGO. It really wasn't that long ago, folks. Show a little gratitude for once in your miserable lives.

You think you have it bad? Imagine being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, who hasn't seen their team even sniff .500 in nearly 20 years. Or a Chicago Cubs fan, rooting for a franchise that hasn't won in 103 years. Or a New York Mets fan, being in the same town as the Yankees, but having dumb owners who lost their money in a Ponzi scheme and are now making it clear that they're going to run a big-market team with a very small-market budget. I could go on and on, but you get the point. How many teams' fan bases would love to make the playoffs every year but one since 1995?

Back in March, the Yanks weren't expected to win anything this year, not with CC and the Has-Beens and Never Weres in the starting rotation, let alone win the AL East with 97 games. I certainly didn't think so this spring. No Cliff Lee, no Andy Pettitte, and no hope. The joke was that Brian Cashman had assembled a team that would have been great for 2005; not so great for 2011. It was supposed to be the Sox's year, not the Yanks.

And the Bombers had a ton of injuries throughout the year, including to Derek Jeter, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, and Rafael Soriano. Not to mention A.J. Burnett pitching horribly for the second year in a row. Yet the team overachieved, got key contributions from the Class of 2005, and made it to the postseason with the best record in the league.

Sure, I'm disappointed and ticked off that the Yanks lost the series. And I can point to a lot of things that went wrong -- like Joe Girardi refusing to pinch-hit for anybody last night, and the Yankee hitters' inability to get much done in runners in scoring position (and frankly, when you only score two runs against the Tigers at a home game, and one of them was driven in by a bases-loaded walk, you don't deserve to win.)

But it's one thing to be upset over the series loss (although for me, it doesn't even make my top five worst losses, and nothing will ever match the pain of 2004.) It's another thing to act like some unruly, hateful mob, scapegoating one player (you know who, of course!) Some of the very same "fans" who couldn't open their mouths to cheer on their team in the ninth inning -- the Yanks were behind by just one run, but the place sounded like a morgue -- found their voice outside the Stadium after the game, chanting "A-Rod sucks." Sure, Alex had a bad series, but this was a collective loss, and shouldn't be pinned on one person. Ross Sheingold of NYYStadiumInsider.com was at the game, and described the scene this way on Facebook:
Never been more embarrassed to be an New York Yankees fan. Hundreds (if not more) were chanting "A-Rod Sucks" in unison as they exited the stadium and headed down River Ave. In the past, chanting as a crowd down River Avenue was reserved for joyous moments. Now, the fans are entitled and only enjoy the game of baseball if the team marches to a World Series victory. It is sickening, and not enjoyable to be a part of.
Do those Yankee fans think this makes them look good? As Sully Baseball, a Red Sox fan friend of mine, put it last night on Facebook, "THIS is why people hate Yankee fans. Most fan bases would salivate to have a 2 time MVP who led their team to a World Series title. You cry that he hasn't given you more. Next time you wonder why the rest of the planet Earth cheers when the Yankees lose, look in the mirror. (That is if they allow mirrors in Bellevue.)" Exactly!

I just hope A-Rod has bodyguards with him anywhere he goes in this town. The unbridled hatred for him out there is out of control, and more than a little frightening.


Not only have too many Yankee fans forgotten 2009, they have forgotten who led them to that title. When I pointed out online to some Yankee fans last night that A-Rod carried the team on their shoulders that postseason, they either denied that he was the reason they won, or said "that was two years ago," like it's ancient history, or said that he only did it once, and implied that it somehow didn't count (tell that to Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, Jim Leyritz, etc....) When I then pointed out that the Flip Play was ten years ago, but people still talk about it incessantly, I was chastised for daring to put Rodriguez in the same category as Derek Jeter. Good grief. What a bunch of ungrateful clowns.

Sure, it stinks that the Yanks lost, but they did do much more this year than I expected them to. Besides, things could be worse -- the Red Sox humiliated themselves way more this season than the Bombers did!


What do you think? Tell us about it!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A.J. Burnett, "The Godfather," and Fickle Fandom

It's a miracle! As I had hoped and predicted, A.J. Burnett kept with a contrariness of his career by actually pitching a great game Tuesday, after a shaky first inning.

Two things settled him down, I think. That first was Curtis Granderson's great catch (the first of two terrific Grandy Man catches of the night.) The second was the little discussion pitching coach Larry Rothschild had with Burnett after the first. Supposedly, the two talked mechanics, but I would like to think the talk went a little more like this:



Anyhow, while I wrote the other day that A.J. "could erase the last two years with one gutty, gritty performance," I then remembered the fanbase the Yankees have, where some scapegoated players never get redeemed, no matter what they do. (Not that A.J. hasn't given people a lot of reason to be frustrated with him, but he did save the Yankees' 2009 season with a great performance in Game 2 of the World Series. To me, that's what's the most frustrating about Burnett -- there is a Good A.J. in there!)

But the next time Burnett has a bad start, this game will be forgotten with some of the fan base, even though Derek Jeter said: "Trust me -- I'm pretty sure all New York fans will remember this game as opposed to some of the other games." Not everybody will. Remember that the A-Rod haters have forgotten his two MVPs as a Yankee, and his 6 homers and 18 RBI in the 2009 postseason.

I saw it on Facebook Tuesday night. One person I saw screamed "TradeRod" when he only hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run. (Good luck with trading that contract!) Another posted on my wall that he read that AROD stood for "Another Regular October Disappointment," and when I responded "Who cares?," he said that "True Yankee fans care." (Um, I thought that True Yankee fans remembered what he did in 2009 to get the team No. 27!) A third said that the only reason Rodriguez got two hits Tuesday is because the game was already in hand. (And if he hadn't gotten a hit, he would still be Chokey McChoker, of course.)

Anyhow, A.J. did built up some goodwill with the fans with his great performance Tuesday. But unlike some Yankee players, who will never get criticized, Burnett's leash with the fans will be about as short as Joe Girardi's leash on him Tuesday night. Expect this game to go down the ol' memory hole with some fans, the way A-Rod's 2009 performance for the ages has been forgotten.

* * *

Squawker Jon had this to say, after Jesus Montero got his first hit in his postseason, after his first at-bat in the postseason. He noted that it only took Montero one at-bat with runners in scoring position to get an RBI, while it took Nick Swisher 30 at-bats to do it. Harsh!

One other thing. I listened to the presser of Ivan Nova. Some members of the media were annoyed that he said he didn't feel any pressure over Game 5, asking him over and over why not? I guess they expected him to appear in the fetal position or something, hoping that he would cry "It's all too much!"

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Squawker Media Alert: Lisa on the Radio at 1 p.m. Today

Squawker Lisa will be on the radio at 1:00 p.m. today, squawking about the Yankees's do-or-die Game 4. You can hear her talking to host Mike Lindsley on Syracuse's The Score 1260 AM. Click here to listen live online.

Keep the Faith: A.J. Burnett Must Save the Season and Redeem Himself

If I could believe that Jorge Posada could look like a kid out there (the way they said about Brett Favre) and get a triple in the ALDS, I can believe that A.J. Burnett can win tonight. Keep the faith, as Tavis Smiley says at the end of each of his shows.

I had to check on Facebook that Keep the Faith wasn't copyrighted by Red Sox fans. So I was told that was okay to use, but a Met fan friend warned me to stay away from Ya Gotta Believe!

I keep on having flashbacks to the horror that was the 2006 ALDS. (And I'm glad I missed Kenny Rogers throwing out the first pitch last night!) But at least the Yanks showed some fight in rallying during Game 2 and Game 3, even if the rallies were ultimately unsuccessful. Verlander may have won the game, but he did not look great out there.

On the other hand, Joe Girardi kept CC Sabathia in too long. CC's outings as of late have been awful -- not exactly a great contract drive for him getting that new deal! And he looks like he's put on another 25 pounds this year. Is it any surprise that he has been laboring so much when he pitches?

And it would be nice if Mark Teixeira contributed a little. (For all the grief A-Rod gets, he drove in a run and walked twice last night, only to be stranded by Tex.) Not to mention Captain Clutch striking out to end the rally last night.

Anyhow, given that so many of the big names for the Yanks haven't come through in the playoffs, while the two players who have shown some consistency are Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner, it would be fitting if A.J. hurled a brilliant game tonight. He could erase the last two years with one gutty, gritty performance.

Or he could make me hurl. But I'm gonna stay positive here. Keep the faith!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Some Yankee Fans Feel the Need to Put the Goat Horns on A-Rod

The Yankees can never just lose a game in the postseason. There always has to be a goat. And it should be no surprise that many have already decided that Alex Rodriguez is the Game 2 goat. It's amazing how the tone in Yankeeland changes so quickly -- Saturday night, everything is sunshine and lollipops. But less than 24 hours later, you'd think the series was already lost.

Anyhow, it really ticked me off last night when Alex Rodriguez was getting booed by his own team's fan base during the game. Sometimes, I really can't stand some so-called Yankee "fans." As I've said over and over in this blog over the years, booing your own home players doesn't fix anything. All it shows is that you're a fair-weather, petulant moron. And that goes for the Met fans who booed David Wright, too.

The booing yesterday -- and the subsequent media attacks on A-Rod-- are nothing but predictable. (Although I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by ESPN New York writer Wally Matthews defending Rodriguez, saying about that the scapegoating: "It isn't fair and it isn't right.")

As I have been saying for years, no matter what he ever does in the postseason, A-Rod will always be held as a scapegoat. Those booing Yankee fans who pride themselves on being so knowledgeable on Yankee history seem to have conveniently forgotten that if it weren't for him, the Bombers wouldn't have won the 2009 World Series. And all the talk back before 2009 how if he would just have one great postseason, all would be forgiven is just nonsense, as I said at the time.

Sure, A-Rod is hitless in this series, although he does have an RBI and a walk. But the Yanks only got five hits yesterday, and Jorge Posada was the one batter in the lineup to have two hits (including a triple, my favorite moment of the day.) Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson were the other batters to have hits. And how did Derek Jeter, aka Captain Clutch, do? He went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, left five runners on base, did nothing when the Yanks were trying to rally in the ninth, committed an error that led to a run, and helped cause a Boone Logan balk.


Also, I wasn't crazy with Joe Girardi pitching Luis Ayala in the ninth inning. Best bullpen in baseball, and he goes to the last man in the lineup? Hey, Joe, we're not playing Tampa anymore!

I've already heard talk about switching Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the starting lineup -- one ignorant writer from NBC Sports' Hardball Talk even sez A-Rod should be batting eighth, with Teixeira batting cleanup, because Mark is "the better option right now." This, even though Tex has exactly one hit in the ALDS this year, and has a .168 average in the postseason as a Yankee over the last three years. When, exactly, did Tex become Mr. October?

Anyhow, CC Sabathia better win tonight, or there will be full-scale panic in Yankeeland, given that A.J. Burnett is the Game 4 starter!

What do you think? Tell us about it!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Where's Suzyn? The New York Times' Very Strange Profile on John Sterling

The New York Times has a 3000+ word profile this weekend on the Yankees' radio broadcaster John Sterling. I found the article, written by Bill Pennington, interesting, but I also found it a little infuriating and head-scratching as well.

First of all, Pennington doesn't seem to understand the Internet. He writes that Sterling "has spawned more than 100 Web sites dedicated to denigrating his emblematic calls and his anomalous broadcasting style." Nonsense. There may have been more than 100 sites that have criticized Sterling at times (including Subway Squawkers!) but writing that there are that many sites devoted just to mocking him is completely untrue -- and it's also a scurrilous accusation to make. It's the type of so-called "fact" that people will quote, because they read it in the Times, even though it's inaccurate.

The truth is that there is exactly one site -- It is High, It Is Far, It Is Caught -- that is solely dedicated to mocking Sterling, albeit in a good-natured way. And the article described Hart Seely, creator of the site, as calling himself "a Sterling fan." Seely says that "Sometimes, John is like a caricature of a baseball announcer who would be on a TV sitcom." However, he also says this:
"But for the serious Yankees fan, he has a lot of appeal. Some people, most of them not Yankees fans, think that because the Yankees are a flagship franchise, they should have a network-level announcer who is never a homer. But the truth is, when the Yankees do something wrong, John rips them, like any psychotic Yankees fan. At the same time, like a true Yankees fan, when they win, John cannot control himself. The joy bursts from his breast."
Look, I'm not saying that Sterling doesn't get criticism on the web -- of course he does -- but the idea that there are over 100 web sites owing their very existence to mocking his every move is overstating the case by about a hundred! I mean, really. Casey Anthony may be the most hated woman in America, but there aren't even 100 web sites devoted just to her!

Anyhow, the author of the Times piece also writes:
He is the regular whipping boy of two New York tabloid sports media columnists. Radio talk-show hosts play tapes of his radio calls almost daily, frequently mocking his shtick and picking apart his missteps, whether they are misidentified players or a hasty, over-amped home run call on what ultimately became a long flyout.
That is true, but sometimes some of the Sterling clips played, like the home run calls and his WinWarble at the end of the game, are done in a good-natured, funny way. And Evan Roberts of WFAN, to name one example, is as obsessed as I am with coming up with possible home run calls for new players for Sterling to use.

But this topic brings me to the most jarring thing about the article -- the almost complete absence of Sterling's companera, as he calls co-host Suzyn Waldman, from the article. The sole mention of her is this: "He has worked with Suzyn Waldman since 2005." What? No interview with her? No discussion of the complete lack of chemistry the two have (one of my own complaints about the broadcasts?) Writing about Sterling without talking about Waldman is writing about Laverne without mentioning Shirley!

Besides, as we talked about yesterday with the Squawkers' radio show host friend Larry Milian, Suzyn Waldman clips are staples of sports radio, too. Suzyn's "goodness gracious" Roger Clemens remarks, and her crying over what turned out to be Joe Torre's last game as also rebroadcast incessantly on sports radio shows around the country. (The other day, I just heard WEEI hosts play Suzyn's tears as if she were crying over Terry Francona's last game!)

The article also gets into complaints that Sterling is too much of a homer. But I want my broadcasters to be homers! Frank Messer wasn't a homer, and he was pretty dull to listen to. My issues with Sterling is more than it's sometimes hard to follow what's going on in the games, between the schtick and the incessant on-air shilling for advertisers.

The other thing about leaving Suzyn out of the story is that if you're going to talk, as the article does, about whether Sterling will be back, the future of Waldman should also be discussed. Will they both be gone, or one of them, or will they stay? It doesn't make much sense to speculate on his future without including her in the mix.


What do you think? Tell us about it!

It's Ivan Nova and Robbie Cano, Don'tcha Know? Thoughts on ALDS Game 1

So much for all the media hand-wringing about the unproven rookie Ivan Nova starting Game 2 (which turned into pitching in what was left of Game 1.) He was awesome! Watching Nova grow as a pitcher into a budding young star this year was one of the great stories of the Yankee season. (Although I'm still a little ticked he got sent down to the minors for three weeks this year when Phil Hughes came back.)

And seeing Robinson Cano become a superstar was one of the better stories of the last few years. Last night was a little bit of the "changing of the guard," seeing him be The Man on the Yanks, and driving in six runs (including hitting a grand slam.) To paraphrase Jack Curry from the post-game, Cano ought to be hitting third in the lineup for the next game, and the next game, and the next game....

Anyhow, what struck me today about both of their great games was that these players were not really heavily hyped in the farm system, or as rookies. There were no equivalents of the "Joba Rules" or slogans for either of them. And I think that helped them be able to make mistakes and learn without all the hype. Is it coincidental that the least promoted "Generation Tre" member, Ian Kennedy, is the first to win twenty games in a season?

Anyhow, it was a great win last night. Here's to the Yankees winning Game 2.

* * *

These are the conversations that Squawker Jon and I have -- noting that Al Alburquerque, the pitcher who gave up the grand slam to Cano, has a name that is not spelled like the city!

Speaking of Jon, we got together in Manhattan to meet up with our South Florida sports radio show host friends Larry Milian and Phil (Dizz) Domanic. It was great to see Larry again and to meet Dizz. Glad it stopped raining so they were able to see more than an inning and a half on their trip to NYC!

While we were killing time before seeing them, I dragged Jon into the Yankees Cluhbouse store. Jon got so freaked out over all the Yankee stuff he fled the store after two minutes. The thing that triggered the flee? A "Don'tcha Ya Know, Robbie Cano" t-shirt!
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Rain, the Park, and Other Things (Yes, I'm Making a Cowsills Reference!)

I was driving home last night, getting ready to cross the Bayonne Bridge, when I saw a slew of scary-looking clouds in the sky. But WFAN know-it-all Mike Francesa insisted that it was a beautiful night, with a 72 degree temperature and not a cloud in the sky. So much for Mike's weather report. And so much for MLB's weather report.

Not only does the rainout change everything, especially with putting A.J. Burnett in the mix, (and CC had better be pitching tomorrow!) but it also inconvenienced a lot of Yankee fans, including our radio host friend Larry (The Amigo) Milian and his New York Sports Report co-host, Philly "Dizz" Domanic. They flew up from South Florida to see Friday's game, only to see just an inning and a half. Yikes!

To top it all off, the news that Friday's came was being postponed was presented by Joe Torre. You can imagine how thrilled I was to see him, especially after reflecting on the way he mismanaged the Yanks the last time the team faced Detroit in the postseason. Come to think of it, maybe Torre and MLB relied on Mike Francesa's weather report!

Oh, and can we please stop the "Joe Torre should be the Red Sox manager" boomlet in its tracks? Torre has a cushy job now, where he can threaten to punish the people and teams he hates (A-Rod, the Mets, etc.) under the auspices of MLB. He hasn't shown much interest in working very hard for a long time. By his own admission in "The Yankee Years," the clubhouse was hopelessly divided, not playing together as a team. And in any team he managed, he has been the oxygen thief, taking all the attention -- and the credit -- away from the front office and ownership. To top it all off, Joe has no interest in sabermetrics.

So given those facts, how would he possibly be a good fit with Boston, other than entertaining the media with his dopey stories? The press is so solipsistic, focusing on how he made their jobs easier, and not noticing that in recent years, he really didn't do much to make teams better (he would never have even made the playoffs in Los Angeles without Manny Ramirez, for one thing.)  Not to mention that Torre going to Boston would make the furor over "The Yankee Years" look like a day in the park. I should want the Sox to hire Torre, because he would make things even worse. But at any rate, the chances of that happening are about as big as Roger Clemens taking over the team.

Here's hoping that Ivan Nova does as well tonight as the Rays' rookie did against the Rangers yesterday.



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