All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!


Daisuke Matsuzaka jack-o-lantern

Because I went to see the Louisville Bats at McCoy Stadium last July, I'm now on the McCoy Stadium mailing list. Apparently, they fill the stadium with thousands of jack-o-lanterns on October (and charge people $8 a piece to walk through the resulting Halloween maze). Many of the pumpkins are carved to look like Red Sox players, past and present. Now that's what I call scary!

Well, it's Halloween, and what's Halloween without ghost stories? What's the most haunted baseball stadium? Yankee Stadium? Fenway Park? Wrigley Field? According to Haunted Baseball, it's Huggins-Stengel Field, in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was the Yankees spring training facility for years. The Mets, the Orioles, Devil Rays, and Cardinals also used the field.

With that much history, it's not surprising there are ghosts. Some of the groundskeepers have seen the ghost of Babe Ruth on the grounds: a bulky figure in a gray, #3 uniform. In one case, a groundskeeper saw a man he assumed to be a living person - until it walked through the wall. Later, he and his boss found footprints burned into the grass - leading right into the wall the ghost had walked through.

And once, two clubbies spent the night in the clubhouse, catching up on their work. All night long, they heard the sounds of a card game: cards shuffling, glasses and bottles clinking, and the scent of cigar smoke. They kept searching for the source of the sounds, but no one was there!

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posted by BubbaFan, 6:48 AM | link | 3 comments |

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Not quite official


No public announcement yet; Girardi and the Yankees are still wrangling over the details of the contract. Girardi's apparently playing hardball with them. But it's all over but the shouting. It's not like they can change their minds now. Girardi will be the new Yankees manager, at a higher salary than the Yankees anticipated.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are firing Grady Little and hiring Joe Torre. They originally wanted Girardi, but since he's not available, they're grabbing Torre. Mattingly will be going with Torre, and he may not be the only one. Torre is very popular with his players and coaches, and several of them may decide to go with him to LA. If so, the Yankees could look very, very different next season.

With A-Rod gone, Posada, Pettitte, and Rivera question marks, and holes at first base and in the pen, the Yankees may be very active in the trade market in the off-season. I suppose it's possible that with Girardi in charge, they'll try to build a winning team out of their farm system. But this is still the Yankees. They will probably try to replace the star power and production they are losing. This may mean some really big trades, coming soon.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Hollywood Joe?


CNN reported this morning that Joe Torre may be headed to Los Angeles to manage the Dodgers.

Yay. He can continued his abuse of Scott Proctor's arm.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:29 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Mourning After


Well, last night was not a good night for Yankees fans. Their arch-rivals won the World Series for the second time in four years, while the Yankees haven't won this millennium. And the Yanks' MVP, Alex Rodriguez, announced that he's opting out of his contract. While some think it's just a negotiating ploy by the ruthless Boras, most believe it's the end of A-Rod's time in pinstripes.

Hat-Man sums up my feelings on it pretty well: "The Yankees will miss his production, but they’ll be better off without him." A lot of Yankees fans are happy A-Rod is leaving. Others are upset, or angry. Me, I have mixed feelings. He's probably the best player of his generation, maybe the best ever. One day, people will envy those of us who got to see him play.

But he's also very high-maintenance. He's so eager for approval and attention it's painful to watch. The pressure he put on himself to live up to his contract was also painful to watch. I don't really blame him for wanting out of New York. Some people can make it in NY, some can't. From the beginning, he seemed to be one who can't. The fans were brutal to him, but he pretty much brought it on himself. New Yorkers hate a phony, and that's what he came across as. Even now, it's hard not to remember that only last month, he said New York felt like home to him and he wanted to stay. (Why climb out on that limb, Alex? You could have said something noncommital, or just refused to talk about it until after the season was over.)

MLB is pretty upset at A-Rod's making the announcement in the middle of Game 4. I don't blame them. It was tacky, tacky, tacky. And don't tell me it's Boras' fault. Boras wouldn't have done it without A-Rod's permission. They could have waited a day or two, and let the Rox and the Sox have their day in the sun. No class at all.

But all in all, I'm not really angry at A-Rod. Nor will I boo him, when he comes to Yankee Stadium wearing some other team's uniform. (I'm sure many others will, though!) I feel kind of sorry for him. As Celizic put it:

That’s what’s so sad about him. He has everything, and yet he has so little.

All the money has not brought him serenity, nor has it won him the approval of the fans or the affection of his own teammates. You see him playing a team game alone, and you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

That’s why he won’t end up in Boston. The Red Sox had generations of teams that were characterized by 25 players taking 25 cabs. No wonder they spent 86 years between championships. Now, they’ve won twice in four seasons by becoming a band of brothers who seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. They have stars, but you think of them as a true team. To add a person who has never had many friends in the clubhouses he’s inhabited doesn’t make sense.

(The Red Sox fans chanted, "Don't sign A-Rod" during the game last night. And it seems the front office is in agreement; they are reportedly more interested in Lowell than in A-Rod.)

In other Yankees news, it looks like the new manager will be Girardi. Mattingly has already told the press he's not interested in a lesser job with the Yankees, and has offered his congratulations to Girardi. (Pena will remain as a coach.)

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posted by BubbaFan, 8:21 PM | link | 5 comments |

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Holy guacamole


They just announced during the World Series that A-Rod is opting out of his Yankees contract. While it's still possible the Yankees could pursue A-Rod as a free agent, Cashman has been adamant in saying that won't happen.

Wow. I thought they'd get him to stay. Does A-Rod really think someone will pay more than the Yankees? Does he just hate NY that much? Or does he think jumping ship is the best way to win a World Series ring?

He said his concern was the "composition of the team" - who else will be returning. And perhaps the loss of Torre and what that means about who's in charge. I have to say, I'm a little concerned about that, too. (Especially if the Yanks' new manager is Girardi, as everyone seems to be expecting. He's not exactly known for his political skills.)

Goodbye, A-Rod.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:09 PM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, October 27, 2007

No baseball for you


For some reason (high winds, maybe?), half my cable channels are out tonight. They've been down since early evening. Including - you guessed it - Fox. No World Series for me tonight. Except on Gameday. Grrrr. Good thing it's only the Red Sox and the Rockies, or I might be really annoyed.

Doesn't look like much a game, anyway. Sox up 6-0 already. I guess god isn't on the Rockies' side after all. The Red Sox fans are going to be insufferable.

The Yankees are making A-Rod an offer he can't refuse:

The Yankees are preparing to offer Alex Rodriguez a contract extension that probably will run for four or five years and have an average yearly salary of $25 million to $30 million.

Well, he could refuse, but if he does, it's because he wants out of NY at any price. I don't think anyone else will offer more.

The Yankees are going to wait until after the World Series to announce their new manager. The way things are going, that could be Monday.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:38 PM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, October 26, 2007

Still no white smoke


Another Friday night with no baseball. I guess I have to get used to it.

Despite the rumors that the Yankees had gotten permission to announce their new manager today...nothing. The Yankees brain trust is still making up their minds. Though Pete Abe still thinks it's going to be Mattingly. Sounds like it's a tougher decision than expected, though.

Trent reports that the Reds have lost more players to waiver claims:

Phil Dumatrait was claimed off waivers by the Pirates. Pedro Lopez and Mike Gosling were claimed off waivers by the Blue Jays.

Dumatrait looked so good at the beginning of the season in Louisville. But he got a fairly good shot in the big leagues later in the season, and was pretty awful. Though watch him turn into Cy Dumatrait with the Bucs. If only while pitching against the Reds.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Look at all these rumors...


The grapevine is abuzz today. Pete Abe thinks the Yankees will announce their new manager on Friday. Which means it will be either Girardi, Mattingly, or Pena, since they haven't interviewed anyone else. No one was called back for a second interview, either. Some think Girardi has the inside track, since he was interviewed first.

MSNBC has a couple of Yankees-related items in their rumor column. They think A-Rod will go to Boston, and Posada will go to the Mets. Ugh. I hope it's not true.

And Game 1 of the World Series is tonight. I'll watch, because it's baseball, but I'll be rooting for both teams to lose.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:34 PM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Enough with the freakin' collision already


Y'know, it's one thing for random bloggers to blame Bubba for that 2005 collision with Sheff. But it kind of plecks me off when a paper like the New York Times does it:

The Six Playoff Moves That Haunted Joe Torre

2005 Starting Bubba Crosby in center field in Game 5 of the division series in Anaheim. Torre had a sound reason for starting Crosby over Bernie Williams: Crosby covered more ground. But Crosby was also a reckless fielder, and that hurt the Yankees when he ran into Gary Sheffield on a critical misplay at the wall.

Grrr. I'll concede that Bubba can be a bit reckless on occasion. Heck, it's part of his appeal. But he was not reckless on that play, and the collision was not his fault. He was set up under the ball. He did not run into Sheff, Sheff ran into him. Sheff wasn't going to get that ball anyway. It bounced off his wrist before he even made contact with Bubba. While Bubba would have gotten it if Sheff hadn't run into him.

The decision that should haunt Torre from 2005 is the one to give infielder Tony Womack (the worst player in Major League Baseball that season) 65 starts in the outfield, while Bubba rode pine. Or how about the decision to play Matt Lawton (batting average .125, even though he was juicing) ahead of Bubba? Or the decision play 40-year-old Ruben Sierra (hit .226, with the mobility of a brick) instead of Bubba?

Bubba would have hit better than any of those guys, and he was easily the best defensive center fielder in the Yankees system. In 2005, the division race wasn't settled until the penultimate game. The Yankees got only one day off before their first post-season game, so Torre couldn't set up the rotation the way he wanted to. And the team was utterly exhausted, from what amounted to a grueling month-long playoff. Playing Bubba instead of Womack, Lawton, etc., would probably have been worth a few wins over the season. That would have given the Yanks some breathing room - and some much-needed rest - at the end of the season.

And if Torre had used him more often, he and Sheff might have been more in synch. (Bubba only got regular playing time in September, and Sheff missed a lot of playing time due to injury that month.)

There are a lot of things Torre probably should have done differently. (Like calling for the hit-and-run in that same game. Bernie missed the signal, and hung Cano out to dry. Which meant Bubba's single was for one RBI instead of two. Can't really blame Bernie; he wasn't asked to hit-and-run much.) But starting Bubba in Game 5? That is not a decision that should haunt Torre. Bubba played very well that night. (2 for 3 with a RBI and a stolen base...on a pitchout, no less!)

Sigh. As someone posted in the comments once, Bubba deserves to be remembered for more than a collision.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:29 PM | link | 5 comments |

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dreary Friday


The storms that wreaked such havoc over the midwest and southeast are over the northeast now, so it's a wet, dreary evening. Just as well; thanks to the myriad off days in the postseason schedule, there's no baseball tonight. Boy, it feels weird to have no baseball on a Friday night.

Torre minced few words in his press conference today. He was classy as always, but he made it clear that he thought the offer was an insult, and that he's pretty angry at the way he was treated. He flew down to Florida hoping to negotiate, but he soon realized that negotiation wasn't what the Yankees had in mind. He knew they were trying to force him to turn it down. The meeting lasted only 20 minutes.

Torre sounds like he's very much interested in managing another team, and said he would accept a lower salary than the Yankees offered him to do it.

And you can cross Trey Hillman off the list of possible Torre replacements. He's going to be managing the Kansas City Royals instead. He was a long shot for the Yankees job, but I'd have liked to see what he could do. Torre was so "old school." Someone younger - or at least, someone more open to the new thinking on baseball - would be nice.

Oh, and check out NoMaas.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:24 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Take this job and shove it


Holy guacamole. I didn't see this coming. The Yankees offered Torre an extension, with a pay cut and a lot of incentives. (Kind of like you'd do with an aging player.) And he turned them down.

All in all, I think this is a happy ending. The Yankees need new blood, but they also needed to show respect for Torre and what he's done for them. This outcome offers both. Torre leaves on his own volition, head held high. And no one can say the Yankees kicked him to the curb.

Whatever Torre's other flaws, he's always been a class act.

UPDATE: Wow. The general consensus seems to be that the Yankees intended to present Torre with an offer so insulting he would have to refuse it. Basically, that they were too lily-livered to fire Torre. So they spent three days working out a contract that would seem like a good deal to the fans but would be a clear message to Torre: "You're not wanted."

This article seems to be pretty representative of the media reaction.

It sure seems like Steinbrenner is not much involved any more. And it sounds like Cashman's star is waning (probably due to this year's failures). I fear the usual Yankees power struggles will be more toxic than ever next year, with Torre gone, Steinbrenner increasingly disengaged, and Cashman's position weakened. Not to mention Steinbrenner's long-time heir apparent, Steve Swindal, now ousted (because he and Steinbrenner's daughter divorced). Steinbrenner's sons are the new heirs, but you have to figure...if they were really interested in the Yankees, they'd have been Steinbrenner's second-in-commands all along, not Swindal.

And never mind what effect Torre's departure will have in the clubhouse...

posted by BubbaFan, 4:47 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bubba granted free agency


This is hardly a surprise, but now it's official. Baseball America reports that the Reds granted free agency to Bubba Crosby. Infielder Enrique Cruz also became a free agent.

The Yankees are losing Wil Nieves to free agency.

Meanwhile, Cashman has once again said he won't pursue A-Rod if he chooses free agency. I think he's serious.

And there was another puff of black smoke from the Steinbrenner compound today. They still haven't made up their minds about Torre. They'll continue discussions tomorrow.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:11 PM | link | 6 comments |

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Black smoke


Today was the big meeting where Joe Torre's fate was supposed to be decided. The reporters gathered outside the gates of Steinbrenner's Tampa mansion, and the Yankee faithful waited with bated breath...but the meeting ended with no decision made. The smoke is still black. The cardinals are still arguing. A Pope has not been chosen.

But I have to think this is good news for Torre. If they were going to cut him loose, they'd have done it by now...wouldn't they?

I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I like Torre. On the other hand, I think it may be time for him to go, just because he's been there for so long. Someone - was it Bill James? - did a study and found that managers are most effective in their first two or three years on the job. The reason, supposedly, is that when you're new, you can see what's wrong, and do what it takes to fix it. Once you've been there for years, that becomes a lot harder. You no longer see what's wrong with the team. And even if you do, your loyalties may make it hard to do what you have to do. (Think Torre sticking with Bernie Williams years past his sell-by date.)

I don't blame Torre for this disappointing season. I just think it may be time for some fresh blood in the manager's office.

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posted by BubbaFan, 8:37 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Random Acts of Management


ESPN is reporting that the Reds have a new manager. They've signed a three-year deal with Dusty Baker. The fans are pretty upset. I guess they don't like Dusty Baker.

I don't think it's that horrible a pick. It's at least a declaration of serious intentions.

They could have kept Mackanin. I actually like Mackanin a lot, but keeping him, IMO, would be doing the same thing they did last time with Narron. Which some might say is Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

They're doing something different this time, and presumably something that is costing them some serious bucks. I give them credit for that.

And it's not like there are a lot of choices out there. Girardi seems to be the one everyone wants, but he was never coming to Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, in the Bronx...they'll decide Torre's fate on Tuesday. The NY papers are all reporting that Torre's chances of surviving are increasing, because the players have all come out in support of him. Not just the "old guard," but newer guys like A-Rod, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes. Pete Abe still thinks Mattingly will be the manager of the Yankees by the end of the week, though. (Of course, he was sure Torre was going to be fired last year, too.)

posted by BubbaFan, 11:28 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, October 12, 2007

Colter Bean Freed


According to Baseball America, the Yankees won't have Colter Bean to kick around any more. He's become a free agent, finally escaping the Yankees minor league system.

Or maybe not. He could sign with the Yankees again, and probably will, if no one else wants him.

The Reds are losing outfielder Dewayne Wise and pitcher Ricky Stone to free agency. Sort of. They've lost them before, and got them back, so we may not have seen the last of them.

The full list of minor league free agents won't be out until after the World Series, but Bubba will presumably be on it. I have no idea where he'll end up, but my guess is that it won't be with the Reds. The Reds have too many left-handed outfielders. And if it's true that former Clippers manager Bucky Dent was the one who wanted Bubba, well, Dent was fired when Narron was.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:29 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ready for some baseball


Not much news on the Yankees front. Cashman has been talking tough, saying he won't pursue A-Rod if he becomes a free agent, and that Joba will be the closer if Mo doesn't come back. I think it's just bluster. He's positioning himself for the negotiations to come.

The Reds DFA'd Jason Ellison, Kirk Saarloos, and Mark Bellhorn. They cleared waivers, refused minor league assignments, and became free agents. Not really surprising.

And it's Colorado vs. Arizona in a southwest battle tonight. Not a particularly compelling game for New Yorkers, or for most of the country, really. But after a couple of days with no games, and the long, cold baseball-less winter looming, I'm looking forward to the game more than I expected.

I stopped at the grocery store after work today. The cashier was having some computer problems or something; the line was very slow. So I ended up studying other people's groceries while waiting in line. (Beats reading those tabloid headlines about Britney on suicide watch! or J-Lo pregnant!)

The woman in front of me was obviously on a diet. She had piles of SlimFast, and some fresh fruit.

The woman in back of me was not on a diet. She had two bags of heat-and-serve Buffalo wings, a jar of blue cheese dressing, and a gigantic can of beer. Obviously preparing for the game tonight!

posted by BubbaFan, 7:25 PM | link | 2 comments |

Limbo


The Yankees are leaving Torre twisting in the wind. They say they won't announce his fate for a few more days.

I have mixed feelings about that. He doesn't deserve to be left in limbo like that. But I guess if they are seriously considering re-signing him, it's legit to wait. He was considered dead and buried at this time last year, but Cashman saved his bacon.

Mo has hinted that he may leave if Torre is ousted, but I think he's just saying that. If they offer him a good contract, he'll stay. Ditto Posada.

If Torre goes, who takes his place? Mattingly was the frontrunner at the beginning of the season, but now many think he's too close to Torre. Girardi's star is rising, but he may not have the personality for NY. Tony La Russa is another name being bandied about. It may seem like an odd choice, but he's the kind of guy Steinbrenner likes. Assuming it's still Steinbrenner who making the decisions.

I don't hate Torre, but I think after twelve years, it's probably time for a change. I just can't get excited over any of the possible replacements. Hmm. Bucky Dent is looking for a job. He was fired by the Reds, reportedly because he was upset over being passed over for Pete Mackanin.

Speaking of the Reds, they will also be looking for a new manager. Some of the same names have come up: Girardi, La Russa...and Torre. I know, it seems like a long shot, but Torre's wife is reportedly from Cincinnati. He definitely seems to want to keep managing, even if it's not in NY, so why not Cincinnati?

Though actually, I like what I've seen of Pete Mackanin. He's a smart guy, has a great sense of humor, and seems to handle both the press and the players well. It'll never happen, but I wouldn't mind seeing what he could do with the Yankees. (Would be funny if the Yanks and the Reds swapped managers next season.)

posted by BubbaFan, 12:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Day After


The security guard at the front entrance of my office building is this little old guy. I think he's retired, working part-time to supplement his income or just to have something to do. He's really friendly, greeting everyone who passes by. He found out I was a baseball fan a few months ago, and since then, every time I see him, we talk a little about baseball, usually the Yankees. (Bubba had never come up in our brief conversations, which were mostly about what happened in the previous night's game.)

Anyway, the guy is an interesting character. He says he played baseball for 40 years, until his body gave out. (I assume non-professionally.) He knows a lot about the game, but doesn't always remember the players' names. For example, he can never remember Igawa's name, and calls him "that pitcher from Japan."

This morning, like many Yankees fans, he was very sad. He said he liked "Torres" and didn't want to see him go. Then he said he wished they never signed Damon. I was a little surprised at that. Damon was one of the players who came through in the post-season, hitting two homers and covering left field like the old center fielder he is. I asked him why, and he said, "I wanted them to give that kid more of a chance."

He meant Bubba, of course. He didn't remember Bubba's name, but he remembered him.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:53 PM | link | 2 comments |

Death of a Dynasty


The Yankees' season is over. They managed a win last night, but fell just short tonight. Chien-Ming Wang gave up a leadoff homer to start the game, which wasn't a good sign. The kid ended up being pulled early, and Moose came in. Moose pitched all right, but didn't get much run support. (The story of his life lately.)

Once again, the Yankees' dependence on slugging came back to bite them in the post-season. Cleveland didn't hit a lot of home runs. It was just a bloop here, a bloop there, and suddenly, the Yanks were in a hole. Once behind, they seemed to panic, swinging for the fences at everything.

Jeter had a terrible series. His post-season average is below the Mendoza line, and he seemed to hit about a million GIDPs. Not clutch. Maybe that will take some of the heat off A-Rod.

Torre's eyes were red and wet during the post-game press conference, and he sounded like he knew it was goodbye. He wouldn't talk about the possibility of being fired, but everyone seems to see the handwriting on the wall. The Yankees coaches and other staff were reportedly crying and hugging each other, knowing that many of them would not be back next year.

Pettitte, Posada, and Rivera reportedly may leave if Torre does. I suspect they are trying to save Torre's job, but if push comes to shove, they'll probably stay.

I can't say I'm surprised or upset at how this season ended. I'm happy they even made the post-season, all things considered. And I think Torre probably should be replaced.

But it's sad. Sad that baseball season is over, at least for the Yanks, and it will be a long, cold winter before they'll pick up the bats again. Sad that Torre is likely leaving, and probably a lot of other players and coaches, too. Sad that it's the end of a dynasty.

posted by BubbaFan, 12:21 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Torre in the hotseat


This isn't exactly a surprise. I wasn't expecting Torre to be the Yankees manager next season, unless they win the World Series. And even then, it's questionable. I get the feeling that Cashman is calling the shots, a lot more than previously. But now Steinbrenner has laid it on the line:

The Boss to Torre: Win or else

"His job is on the line," the Yankees' owner said in a phone interview. "I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."

However, Steinbrenner doesn't want to fire A-Rod:

"I think we'll re-sign him," Steinbrenner said of Rodriguez. "I think he's going to have a good run the rest of the [postseason]. I think he realizes New York is the place to be, the place to play. A lot of this [postseason] is laying on his shoulders, you know, but I think he's up to it."

This could be a sea change for the Yanks. Pete Abe thinks that if Torre goes, Posada and Mo may go, too. He thinks Torre's strength is the way he deals with his superstar players; they love Joe and are very loyal to him.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:23 AM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Baseball Card



Discover is offering 150 different designs for their credit card. Landscapes, patriotic, abstract graphics, fine art, flowers, wildlife, hobbies, flags, pets, etc. (Weirdly, they have only one US state design: Texas.) They're all very nice looking, I must say. Of course, I went straight to the sports category to see what they had. The only individual teams they had were WNBA. But I rather like their generic baseball design. I almost picked the football design instead, or a nice beach scene, but in the end, I went with the baseball one. I like the way it looks: attractive and unusual. And of course, I love baseball.

It's do or die for the Yankees tomorrow. Torre is reportedly thinking about putting Giambi in the lineup. Pete Abe thinks it will be Minky who sits, because Matsui has a better record against Westbrook.

PeteAbe also posted this, under the title Recipe for a disaster:

Damon 1-9
Jeter 1-8
Abreu 2-6
Rodriguez 0-6
Matsui 0-7
Posada 0-7
Cano 1-7
Cabrera 1-8
Mientkiewicz 0-4

The Yankees are 8 of 66 (.121) with 17 strikeouts in two games.

Ugly. And so similar to what happened last year. That's why a team full of sluggers is not the way to win in the post-season. I don't think it's a coincidence that the two players who have hit home runs, Damon and Melky, are also two slap hitters, not known for their power. That's the way to deal with good pitching. Take something off, just go for contact.

Came across this amusing bit, at a site that has nothing to do with sports or baseball:

Yankee Loss Attributable To Global Warming

Cleveland players seemed unaffected by swarms of bugs, O-for-October A-Rod says, "They're used to living in filth, Cleveland is such a pit."

"I mean, I don't want to make excuses, or divert attention from my own poor performance, but this is bigger than that. We could be witnessing a slow motion climate catastrophe, perhaps the breakdown of the whole North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor. It's not about one player. There is no I in unusual weather."

(It's a joke, of course. He didn't really say that. Though you could almost imagine him saying it...)

I think the chances of A-Rod staying in NY are shrinking rapidly. If the Yanks lose tomorrow and A-Rod is still O-for-October, I don't think he'll stick around. And I'm not happy about that. A-Rod is not the most likable player, but he's a once-in-a-generation talent. If the Yanks let him walk, they'll regret it. Betemit is probably the A-Rod insurance, and promising as he is, he's no A-Rod.

And when A-Rod is playing with the Angels or Red Sox or whoever his new team is, he's probably going to go Kenny Lofton on us and just kill the Yankees. Year after year after year.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:56 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, October 05, 2007

Attack of the Killer Mayflies



During spring training, the Yankees were attacked by a swarm of bees...twice. I wondered at the time if it was some kind of omen.

Maybe it was. Tonight, the Yanks were undone by bugs. As in insects. Joba Chamberlain was lights-out...until the infield was invaded by a swarm of bugs.

According to the Indians staff, the bugs were "Canadian soldiers." Also known as mayflies, June bugs, and shadflies. Um...paging Al Gore. Mayflies in October? Something's not right. They said the unusually warm weather caused the bugs to hatch early.

Anyway, it was really bad. They sprayed everyone with OFF. It didn't seem to help. Poor Joba Chamberlain had bugs stuck to his neck, stuck to his face, and swarming all over his hat and jersey. Clearly, they bothered him. He completely lost the strikezone, throwing way outside, hitting and walking batters. He ended up giving up the tying run.

The game went to extras with the score 1-1. The Yankees had been living dangerously all night, letting runners get on, but somehow wiggling out of it. Even Mo loaded the bases, though he, like Pettitte, escaped unscathed.

Their luck ran out in the 11th, with Vizcaino on the mound. He gave up a bases-loaded single to Travis Hafner, which easily scored...you guessed it...Kenny Lofton.

The Yanks are now down 0-2 in a suddenly very short series. Things are not looking good for our heroes.

I was surprised that Torre ran the same lineup out there today. I thought he'd try to shake things up, get Giambi in, maybe. Will he finally make a change on Sunday?

I think Melky and Minky stay in the lineup. They both had great plays on defense tonight. Melky gunned down a runner at the plate, while Minky caught a screaming liner that would have been trouble if it got past him (and might have killed him if he hadn't caught it). If Giambi gets in the lineup, it's got to be Godzilla who sits.

I still haven't figured out what Torre was thinking yesterday. Why throw Ohlendorf to the wolves? Was it reliever tryouts, as some thought? Or sheer desperation, hoping he'd do well (because he knew the rest of the pen wouldn't?). And why put Hughes into a game that was hopeless? Fear that the game would never end if he didn't?

Strange as it seems to say about the Yankees, I really think they are too young. At least pitching-wise. The kids are freaked out by the pressure of the post-season, and it's killing the Yanks. Even Joba Chamberlain, the best of the rookie pitchers, just lost it...due to the bugs. Admittedly, it was a tough situation. But the other pitchers - Carmona, Perez, Mo, etc. - managed to deal with it. They were clearly bothered, too, but they didn't let it affect their pitching. I'm not criticizing Joba. He's got a bright future ahead of him, but right now, he's still very green, and I think that came back to bite us tonight. So to speak.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:30 PM | link | 5 comments |

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Revenge of Kenny Lofton


Unfortunately for the Yankees, Kenny Lofton is not headed for Japan like that TV commercial says. Nope, he's still in Cleveland. Formerly an outfielder for the Yankees (who blocked Bubba - boo!), he left New York in less than amicable circumstances, and perhaps had something to prove tonight. He was 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs - enough to win the game all by himself.

But he wasn't all by himself. His teammates chipped in, too, and in the end, it was Cleveland 12, Yankees 3.

It was a rough night to be a Yankee fan. I didn't assume a win - not with CC Sabathia on the mound. But I didn't expect a massacre, either. Both Sabathia and Wang struggled at first. Sabathia eventually settled down, but Wang continued to leave pitches up in the zone. And eventually paid for it.

Still, the Yankees were only down by 3 runs when Wang was pulled with two outs in the fifth. Torre put in...Ross Ohlendorf?

That seemed really unfair. The kid was just called up in September. He's played all of six games on the big league level. And you throw him out there in the first post-season game? With a runner already on?

Not surprisingly, he didn't do well, and ended up taking one for the team. He's now the owner of a 27.00 ERA.

I know I'm always griping about Torre and his veterans, but I really wished there was a veteran in the pen tonight. Someone who could go long and take one for the team without having his confidence destroyed. A Villone, or an Igawa.

The funny thing is, Torre ended up using Phil Hughes in the 8th inning. What the heck? Why use Hughes when the game is hopeless? Why not put him in when we were only three runs down?

The only thing I can figure is that Torre didn't want to put Hughes in with a runner on. But jeez, Ohlendorf is much greener than Hughes at this point. If it's a bad situation for Hughes, it's a worse one for Ohlendorf.

OTOH, Hughes didn't look that great, either. He gave up a home run, as well a couple of hard-hit fly balls that were close to being homers.

The Yanks' pitching is suspect. And tonight, they weren't hitting, either. Damon and Cano hit homers, and Abreu hit a clutch RBI double. Duncan and Giambi got pinch-hit singles. And that was it: just five hits all night.

Shelley Duncan ended up being subbed in for Minky early. I think it may have been due to injury more than anything else. A YES cameraman fell on Minky today. There was some concern about whether he would even start, because his ankle was injured. (The cameraman was fired.)

It will be interesting to see who starts tomorrow. I think Giambi may get a start, either at 1B or DH. Melky is terrible at the plate these days, but may be worth keeping in the lineup for his glove. Matsui is also in a deep, deep slump. He may be the one benched for Giambi.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:47 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The postseason lineup


The Yankees have announced their Game 1 Lineup.

1. Johnny Damon LF
2. Derek Jeter SS
3. Bobby Abreu RF
4. Alex Rodriguez 3B
5. Jorge Posada C
6. Hideki Matsui DH
7. Robinson Cano 2B
8. Melky Cabrera CF
9. Doug Mientkiewicz 1B

Interesting. I was half-expecting Torre to start Damon in CF and bench Melky, or start Giambi at 1B and bench Minky. I think he might still revert to that if the Yanks start to lose and Melky and/or Minky don't hit. But I can't complain too much about this lineup.

And here's the rest of it:

Reserves
Jason Giambi
Jose Molina
Wilson Betemit
Shelley Duncan
Bronson Sardinha

Pitchers (11)
Andy Pettitte
Chien-Ming Wang
Phil Hughes
Ross Ohlendorf
Jose Veras
Joba Chamberlain
Luis Vizcaino
Kyle Farnsworth
Mariano Rivera
Mike Mussina
Roger Clemens

No real surprises in the bench, but I wasn't sure if Ohlendorf would make the relief pitchers' list. Ian Kennedy has been shut down for the season (luckily for him, since he's supposed to get married this week), so I wasn't expecting to see him. I did half-expect Villone to make it. Many fans would have preferred Britton to Veras.

I might have taken a chance with Igawa. I know, I know. He's a crapshoot. But better a crapshoot than crap. He can also go long in case of starter implosion. I suppose that's not as important in the postseason, but still.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:07 PM | link | 5 comments |

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lost Souls




No baseball, yesterday or today. I'm wandering around like a lost soul.

Speaking of which, it's October, the spooky time of year. My favorite thing about Halloween is ghost stories. Especially true ghost stories. I'm not sure I really believe, but I love them anyway.

Reds fan "jch24" posted this one at Red Reporter:

I was stationed in Hawaii for a while, and worked at the Air Force data center located on Pearl Harbor, in the FISC building right next to the Arizona memorial.

One night on the way to midnight chow, I stopped in the bathroom to take care of business, and got absolutely spooked. I firmly believe there was something in that room with me, to the point of scouring every bit of it for an explanation. I found nothing....no people, no open windows or vents, nothing.

When I came out, my friend asks me what took so long, and I ducked the question. After finally telling him later, he told me to talk to another guy in our squadron who had experienced something similar in the same area of that floor.

Ends up that my experience wasn't uncommon, and I learned that since the refrigerated portion of the building I worked in had been completed when the attack on Pearl Harbor happened, it was used as a temporary morgue. All I know is that I NEVER went back in that damned bathroom.

He later added this bit:

There was a girl in SP (Security Police) who was discharged for psych reasons, that much I know as fact. The backstory was that she had been doing overnight rounds in the PACAF headquarters building, which was well-known to have been a makeshift morgue after the attack. The building still had the bullet cavities in the exterior walls, they refused to fill them to serve as a reminder. Very cool.

Anywho, she was doing rounds, and stopped to adjust her uniform in a mirror. When looking into the mirror, she saw a 1940's era guy standing behind her. She spun while drawing her weapon, to find nothing. She looked back, and he was still there. They said you could hear her screaming clear across the building.

Yikes!

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:41 PM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, October 01, 2007

Death of a Season




The Mets' season ended in heartbreak yesterday, and the tabloids had field day.


It wasn't only the kids who were crying. Their parents were, too:

Leaning on the bar at ESPN Zone in Times Square, Steve Thomas, 32, a Mets believer in a boisterous throng of Yankee fans celebrating their customary march into the playoffs, called the Mets meltdown “the biggest choke job that ever happened,” and groped for words to explain how badly he took it.

“The New York Mets disappointed me in a way I had never been disappointed since I’ve been on this earth, man,” Mr. Thomas said. “To be in first place for the whole season and then lose it in the last game is like getting a letter with that job offer you always dreamed about the day after the offer expires. They let me down. They really let me down.”

As soon as I set foot in the office this morning, the security guard at the door started laughing at the Mets and their hapless fans. He's a diehard Yankee fan, and knows I am, too. But I don't hate the Mets. I'd have loved another Subway Series.


Baseball. It'll break your heart every time.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:03 PM | link | 0 comments |