All Things Bubba

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The $275 Million Sleazeball

I hardly know what to make of this. It's a preview of Selena Roberts' book about A-Rod. It claims he used steroids for much longer than he admitted - from his high school years to his time with the Yankees. There's also stuff about his sleeping around, and even a claim that he was stingy with the tips at Hooter's.

Man, he really comes across as a jerk in that article. All the money he makes, and he’s a lousy tipper?

Except when he’s tipping pitches. The media is all excited about the new 'roid revelations, but it's the allegation that he tipped pitches to opponents that I can't get over. Supposedly, he did it in lopsided games, where it wouldn't change the outcome. He did it with the understanding that they would return the favor.

Holy jeez. That’s a terrible thing to do to your pitcher. Besides, there’s no such thing as an insurmountable lead in baseball. It ain’t over until the last out is recorded.

I'm appalled. If the game is really lopsided, there’s probably some kid or journeyman on the mound, just trying to stick in the big leagues. And A-Rod, whose job and immense salary were safe no matter what his batting average, was throwing them under the bus by tipping pitches? Just to pad his own stats?

It's almost Black Sox-ian. And so mind-boggling selfish I can hardly wrap my head around it.

At this point, we don't know what proof there is. But...Roberts' previous allegations about A-Rod turned out to be accurate. While his against her...weren't.

If this turns out to be true, I don't think I'll be able to root for A-Rod, no matter what laundry he's wearing.

And yet...I find myself feeling oddly sorry for him. He's got wealth and talent and the kind of life we all dream about, but despite all that, he strikes me as a basically pathetic figure. He wasn't doing it for personal gain. His motivation appears to be insecurity. It's like he doesn't believe the real A-Rod is good enough. So he juiced, even though he was one of best players in the game even without juicing. And he threw his teammates under the bus for a few points of batting average that wouldn't matter to anyone but him. Despite that photo of him kissing himself, I don't think he likes himself very much.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:23 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alabama Slammer - make it a double

Andy Phillips went on a rampage today. He hit two home runs, and ended up 2 for 4 with a walk and 6 RBIs. Holy cow!

I was planning to go see him play in a couple of weeks, when the Charlotte Knights come to Scranton, but it's looking like he may be called up before then.

If Thome goes on the DL, the Sox have an array of choices. First baseman-third baseman Andy Phillips is batting .378 with three home runs, 13 RBIs in 45 at-bats for Charlotte. Phillips also has major league experience, and the Sox have room to add him to their 40-man roster.

I'll be disappointed if I don't get to see him play next month, but of course I'll be very happy for him if he gets called up. Go, Andy!

UPDATE: This article has some quotes from Andy:

Two of the homers came off the bat of first baseman Andy Phillips, a recent addition who hit the Knights' first three-run homer all season Tuesday night and followed with a pair of three-run blasts Wednesday.

Phillips, whose first Major League at-bat for the New York Yankees in 2004 resulted in a home run over the "Green Monster" in Fenway Park, smashed two over the DBAP's Blue Monster on Wednesday.

"It's a good park to hit in," said Phillips, who was traded two weeks ago from Triple-A Indianapolis in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization to the Triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. "It's fair to all parts of the park.

"It's just a good hitting environment and a good playing environment."

Phillips heard plenty of "oohs" and "aahs" from the youthful crowd of 9,052 fans on Education Day, one of just two pre-noon home games the Bulls will play all season.

Bulls starter Carlos Hernandez retired the first two batters in the third inning before Eider Torres rapped a single and Jayson Nix drew a walk. That set the stage for Phillips, who blasted the first pitch he saw over the left-field wall for a 3-0 lead.

An inning later, Phillips capped a six-run outburst with a similarly placed shot. Before his second homer, Michael Restovich and Javier Castillo led off the frame with back-to-back blasts.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For Love of the Game

They finally updated Andy Phillips' player page. Not sure if it's a real photo of him in a Knights uniform, or a Photoshop job. He's wearing jersey #18 (like Bubba used to).

Andy hit a three-run homer today. It wasn't enough, though, as the Knights fell to Durham in a game with a football-like 14-7 score.

The Atlantic League season is starting, and I've been looking over their rosters. The Atlantic League is an independent league, known for having a lot of former major leaguers.

Former Yankee Tim Raines is the manager of the Newark Bears. Pete Rose, Jr. is listed on the roster an infielder, though according to the transaction report, he was released a few days ago. Keith Foulke, Boston's former closer, is on the Newark roster, too, along with journeyman pitcher Daryle Ward and former Yankee prospects Oneli Perez and Francisco Castillo. Also on the roster: Jay Gibbons, the former Orioles star.

Other familiar names...Adam Greenberg is now on the roster of the Bridgeport Bluefish. He’s the guy who was beaned by the first (and only) pitch he saw in the big leagues. Esteban Yan is also a Bluefish.

Luis Taveras is a catcher for the York Revolution. He’s the older brother of Reds outfielder Willy Taveras. Daryl Harang is a pitcher for the Revolution - Aaron Harang's younger, left-handed brother.

Junior Spivey is a Camden Rivershark. Brad Halsey is a Long Island Duck. Former Yankees minor leaguer Eric Crozier is a South Maryland Blue Crab.

I'm really surprised at some of the names on these rosters. Pete Rose, Jr. will be 40 this year, but still wants to play baseball. At this point, he must know he's not making it back to the big leagues. And you have to figure his life in baseball hasn't been easy. He's constantly in the shadow of his famous father, but has never been considered as good a player. Yet he's still playing, at an age when most players are retired.

Then there's Jay Gibbons. He made some serious money as a major leaguer, and could probably retire to a life of leisure were he so inclined. But he wants to play. It must be strange to be back to a minor leaguer's life - cheap food, long bus trips, sparse amenities - when he used to be a major league star. He must really love baseball.

I wonder if Bubba Crosby ever considered playing for the Atlantic League. I'd go see him if he did. :-) I gather that independent league contracts often allow the player to leave if he gets a better offer. For example, Tim Raines' son, Tim Raines, Jr., is listed outfielder for his father's team, but has been released to go play in Taiwan.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:30 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swept Away

Ellsbury steals home

Well, that was ugly. The third game lacked the drama of the first two, but it was a Sox win nonetheless, giving them the sweep.

And it did feature Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home on Andy Pettite. They had the shift on, so they couldn't hold Ellsbury on. Still, Posada was caught napping - he clearly wasn't expecting it, though he should have been keeping an eye on Ellsbury.

The Sox took the lead in that inning, and even though it was small compared to the slugfests of the two earlier games, it seemed insurmountable. And it was.

The Yanks scored only one run, with the RBI credited to Brett Garder's sac fly.

Gardner is not doing all that well. He's good on the basepaths, but is struggling at the plate. I don't think he's all that great in center field, either. Good speed, but his instincts could be better.

Melky is on a hot streak now, and you have to wonder how long it will be before Gardner is benched in favor of Cabrera. But I'm not that enamored of Melky, either. He's had his chance, and didn't measure up. Free Austin Jackson!

One thing about Gardner...he's making a lot of Yankees fans remember Bubba fondly. The River Ave. Blues game thread featured this lament:

Bubba Crosby could swing with one arm and have more power than Gardner. At least Bubba had a little juice in his bat.

Gardner had reminded me a bit of Bubba, but the Bronx Banterers say Bubba was a better hitter. They argue that Gardner is really more like Tony Womack - kept on the team solely for his speed.

I'm still rooting for Gardner and hoping he figures it out, but it doesn't look good.

And man, am I annoyed that Bubba never got this kind of chance.

posted by BubbaFan, 1:15 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I'm wilting on the vine here. Almost 90F in just ain't right.

The Yankees aren't doing so well, either. Even worse than losing a close game in overtime is losing a game that you had been winning in an apparent blowout.

And no, I don't think the problem is A-Rod's absence and the presence of players like Brett Gardner, Cody Ransom, and Melky Cabrera in the lineup. The Yankees are scoring a ton of runs. The problem is they are giving up even more. They have the worst ERA in the league.

Joba Chamberlain is not pitching well as a starter. He's reminding me more and more of Jaret Wright, the five-inning wonder. Even worse was Wang, who struggled to even get out of the second inning. The pen is exhausted - not least because Cashman decided to go with no long man.

And to think pitching was supposed to be the Yanks' strong suit this year.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:13 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Run over by a truck

Watching last night's game was like being run over by a truck. So perhaps it's appropriate that I came across the above behemoth in the parking lot of the local grocery store this morning.

Check out the bumper sticker:

It was all decked out with Red Sox stuff. Stickers, decals, magnets, etc.

I usually do my grocery runs early in the morning on Saturday or Sunday. I hate crowds, and the store is usually pretty empty then. There are a few senior citizens (who often seem to be out and about at the crack of dawn). Occasionally some college athletes, shopping for healthy drinks and snacks, on their way to a game or meet. Sometimes a woman out grabbing some groceries before the kids wake up.

But on a day when there's a big game on TV, you see a lot of young and middle-aged men, obviously shopping for a party. Today, there were several men wearing their Yankees or Red Sox hats and jackets while loading their carts with beer, chicken wings, chips, and dip. One man ran into the store ahead of me, grabbed two giant bags of potato chips, and was in line in the "10 items or less" lane before I'd even gotten a cart. This was at 7am, mind.

Meanwhile...Pete Abe reports that Bruney will join Wang and Ransom on the DL. Mark Melancon has been called up to take his place. He is not on the 40-man roster, and neither is Angel Berroa, called up to take Ransom's place. The Yankees have put Ransom on the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man for Berroa. No word on how they'll make room for Melancon yet. They could put another player on the 60-day (Nady, maybe?). Or they could trade one of the minor leaguers, or release him and try to shoot him through waivers.

posted by BubbaFan, 1:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, tonight's Yankees game was a kick in the teeth. Mo blew the save. Then a walkoff homer by Youk in the 11th inning.

Even worse, Chien-Ming Wang and Cody Ransom are going on the DL. Ransom strained his quad sliding into 2B. Brian Bruney may also be headed to the DL, with elbow soreness.

Girardi said David Robertson will be called up to take Wang's spot. They will be calling up someone to replace Ransom; they haven't decided who.

They may be calling up someone to take Bruney's spot, too, depending on the MRI results.

Why not Phil Hughes? He may yet get the call. Robertson is probably a stop-gap measure. He's a reliever, not a starter. The Yanks will likely swap him out for a starter before Wang's next start.

Andy Phillips didn't have a very good day at the office, either. He was 0 for 4 with a walk and a caught stealing. He did pretty well the rest of the week, though. 2 for 4 on Tuesday, 2 for 5 with a double on Wednesday, 2 for 5 with a double on Thursday.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:54 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plenty of good seats still available

CNBC had a segment on the sports business today. They mentioned that the Mets and the Yankees were both having trouble selling seats in their pricey new ballparks.

I must say, it looks awful on TV. All those expensive seats behind home plate - empty. Right behind the batter. It wasn't like that last year.

AP had an article about it:

Pricey seats at new Yankee Stadium a Bronx bomb

NEW YORK - At the new Yankee Stadium, the best seats in the house have turned out to be the emptiest.

The most expensive spots in America’s costliest ballpark have become an embarrassment packing a financial sting to the proud New York Yankees, as the Legends Suite section in the infield has been filled only once in the six games since the $1.5 billion stadium opened last week.

On most days, the seats that cost $500-$2,500 as part of season tickets and go up to $2,625 for individual games haven’t been close to full. And as TV cameras pick up the patchy attendance with every pitch, it serves as a little tweak to the nation’s richest baseball franchise.

I think the Yankees made a big mistake. Yes, they got burned by the economic downturn, but even without's just wrongheaded, to make so much of the stadium off-limits to ordinary fans. If you don't have an uber-expensive ticket, you can't even enter the lower level to take a photo or beg an autograph during batting practice. It's a real bummer for the kids. Heck, even rich people are likely to think twice about buying $2,000 tickets for their kids.

I thought minor league baseball might do okay in a bad economy. Tickets are cheap, parking is usually free, and people who can't afford a big league game or out-of-town vacation might opt for a trip to the local minor league ballpark instead.

But I forgot how dependent on corporate sponsorships even minor league baseball is these days. I went to my first SWB Yankees game of the year...and was shocked at how empty the stadium was.

Yes, it's early in the season. Yes, it was cold and a bit rainy. But I went even earlier last year, when it was just as cold and even more rainy. And it wasn't nearly as empty.

Last year, there were never any seats available in the lower level. The lower level often looked pretty empty, but the seats were all sold - season ticket holders, I was told. I could only get seats in the upper deck. I went to several games over the season, from April to August, it was always the same: no lower level tickets available.

On Wednesday, there were plenty of seats still available in the lower level. Even behind home plate.

I asked for my usual seat instead: first row on the end, upper deck, right above first base. The ushers were shocked to see anyone sit up there. And I felt kind of silly sitting there, too. I didn't want to be too crowded, but there was almost no one downstairs. It was one of those games where it almost seemed like there were more people in the dugouts than in the stands.

I would guess that this means the SWB Yankees did not sell nearly as many season tickets as they sold last year. That's why so many lower level tickets were available, when none were last year. Season tickets are often bought by companies, and I suspect many are cutting back.

I can't get over how empty the ballpark was. It was the Mets farm team visiting - presumably of some local interest. Phil Hughes was on the mound for the SWB Yankees, and Freddy Garcia was going for the Bisons. And hardly anyone showed up to watch.

Phil Hughes looked fantastic. He went 7.2 innings.

Freddy Garcia was with the Bisons on rehab assignment.

Top Yankees prospect Austin Jackson:

Top Mets prospect Fernando Martinez:

Eric Duncan played 3B and went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Mark Melancon pitched the rest of the game for the SWB Yanks.

Juan Miranda pops it up.

Shelley Duncan pops it up. (With bases loaded and a big lead, they were swinging for the fences.)

Final score: SWB Yankees 6, Buffalo Bisons 1.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Paul Janish's triumphant return to Houston

Paul Janish, who was born and raised in Houston and went to Rice University, got to start at SS for the Reds last night. The Reds played the Astros, and Dusty Baker likes to give players a chance to play in front of their families when possible. There was an amusing moment when they interviewed his aunt in the stands, and while she was going on about what a wonderful player he is, he hit into the dreaded innning-ending double play.

All in all, though, he had a great game. 2 for 3, with a run scored - and sparkling defense. Given how Alex Gonzalez is struggling with both stick and glove, a lot of Reds fans want to see Janish start at SS more often. Many of them didn't want Janish on the roster at all the beginning of the season, but now they love him.

Of course, Janish is back on the bench tonight. I really don't like the way Dusty's using him. Even bench players need more playing time than Janish is getting - especially young players who are still getting the hang of the big leagues. He's not going to keep his edge if he only gets to hit once a week. Janish can play all the infield positions; if Dusty wants A-Gon to play tonight, let Janish spell Edwin Encarnacion at 3B or Brandon Phillips at 2B.

And when I said all infield positions, I meant it. Janish can even pitch and catch.

Andy Phillips did not play last night. It stopped raining, but the game was called anyway because the field was too wet. He is playing tonight - batting cleanup and playing 1B.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Yankee Stadium Wind Tunnel

There have been 20 home runs in the first four games at the new Yankee Stadium. That is ridiculous. Most of the home runs went out over the short right porch. Accu-Weather has an analysis that blames the stands, not the fence. Their theory is that the higher stands force the wind over and down, then up and out. While the wind had a swirling motion in the old stadium.

If this is what's happening, they predict that the new stadium will be a launching pad only in spring and fall. The wind tends to die down in the summer. No wind, no wind tunnel.

Andy Phillips is playing first base and batting cleanup tonight. Still don't know what number he's wearing. He must have a jersey number, since he's been playing in games, but they haven't updated the roster to show it.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:13 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Kaat Came Back

Meant to post this before, but I forgot. Jim Kaat is returning to baseball. As a broadcaster, of course, not a pitcher. And it looks like he's going to have a blog.

Kitty's retirement took a lot of people by surprise. He didn't announce it until near the end of the 2006 season, and then he didn't really get to say goodbye. What was supposed to be his last game was rained out, and he refused to do another game. His family had plans, and he said he couldn't do a makeup game. In the end, he did return and call one inning the next day, but it was brief and unexpected, so I still felt like we didn't get to say goodbye. It just seemed like such an abrupt end to a long career in baseball.

Well, now he's back, though the reason is sad. His wife passed away from bladder cancer last summer, and he decided he needed to go back to work. In keeping with his wife's wishes, he's raising money in her memory to support a community baseball field. He says he'll send an autographed photo to anyone who donates $10 or more.

I'm glad he's back, though the reason is unfortunate. I wonder if he might not have returned anyway, eventually. A lot of people find retirement is not as enjoyable as they imagined. Of course a lot of people love it, but many miss working.

I've been thinking about this because one of my coworkers is retiring next month. I am green with envy. The office is not a lot of fun right now. Management has gotten a pay cut, and we peons may be next. Worse, we had to fill out paperwork on Friday specifying whether we would accept a transfer in lieu of being laid off, and if so, where. It sure would be nice to be able to retire and not have to worry about all this. Unfortunately, I've got several decades to go yet.

If I ever retire. The way the stock market, company pensions, and social security are going, it's not looking good. I have a feeling that people of my generation and younger will never be able to retire. The idea that the last 10 or 20 or 30 years of your life should be spent in leisure will turn out to be a brief blip, roughly coinciding with the baby boom generation. We simply can't afford it. There are not enough young people to support so many retirees. Most of us will end up having to keep working, at least as long as our health permits.

Maybe I'd hate retirement. But I'd sure like the chance to find out. I imagined getting an RV or something, and following the Yankees around like Deadheads followed the Grateful Dead. :-)

Meanwhile...Andy Phillips was 2 for 5 with a walk and 2 runs scored in today's game. He played 1B and batted third. The game was a barn-burner, though Charlotte lost in extra innings.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Curse of the New Stadium

Yeah, I'm going there. A lot of people are thinking it, but no one wants to say it. Well, except the Indians fan I talked to today, who said, "There’s something deeply wrong with the new park." Yes, even though her team beat the Yankees like a red-headed stepchild today, thanks in part to that short right porch, she doesn't like the new stadium.

I haven’t actually been there yet, but from what I’ve heard...I don’t like it, either.

It seems to be a launching pad. Perhaps it's just a small sample size. Perhaps it's a temporary fluke of weather. But somehow, balls that look like they'll be fly outs keep going, and end up home runs.

That in itself isn't bad. It will have the same effect on both the home and visiting team. But you gotta figure pitchers will hate it, if this proves to be real.

Alex Belth describes the new stadium as a mall with a baseball field in it. A mall where many of the bars and restaurants don’t allow ordinary fans, according to Pete Abe. Where the real fans are excluded from the good seats by insane prices, making the place eerily quiet. The vast expanses of empty seats look terrible on camera. And of course, they don’t let fans from the cheap seats move down, even when there aren’t many people left in the place.

Then there's the expense. The Yankees paid for building it, but they got some serious tax breaks - at a time when the state budget is facing massive deficits. I wouldn't be surprised if some ugly things came slithering out if anyone bothers to overturn some rocks there.

No, I don't believe the new stadium is really cursed. But I think a lot of people already don't like the new stadium, and if there more games like today's 22-4 beatdown, it's going to be hard to warm up to it.

I find myself wishing New Yorkers had done what Red Sox Nation did: declared their stadium a historic landmark, and thereby not allowing it to be torn down or significantly changed.

Today's game was brutal. I don't know what they're going to do with Wang. Skip his next start, but then what? I thought he had options left, but apparently, he doesn't. They can't send him down. They said he's not hurt, so they can't put him on the DL.

We didn't even get the fun of Swisher pitching. I ended up watching Yankees Classics, to wash away the bad taste of today's record-settingly bad game. They showed the game where Jeter went face-first into the stands.

Bubba got into that game as a pinch-runner, and stayed in for the rest of it (which turned out to be several innings). He was so young back then. And had so much hair. Really Elvis-y looking hair. Not just the sideburns. They showed him in the dugout hatless, cheering on Miguel Cairo's triple, and his hair was so fwoopy. Like that vampire guy in Twilight.

I'd forgotten this game was the one where Bubba got one of his two major league errors. I really didn't think he deserved an error on the play. He threw the ball in from center, and it was right on target - a great throw. But A-Rod wasn't there. He was off the base, probably because Big Papi was sliding in. They gave Bubba an error because the ball got past A-Rod. That hardly seems fair.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Knights won tonight. Andy Phillips was 2 for 4.

I wonder how he feels about this trade. Charlotte, NC is probably closer to Alabama culturally than Indianapolis. Indianapolis is physically closer to his home in Oklahoma, though.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:24 PM | link | 2 comments |

Meet the Tribe: Andy Phillips

Ironically, this article appeared the day before Andy Phillips was traded to the White Sox:

From the Indianapolis Star:

Position: Infielder.

Born/Resides: April 6, 1977, in Demopolis, Ala./Lives in Ralph, Okla.

College: Alabama.

Attributes: 6-0, 216/bats and throws right.

Experience: 11th season, first with Pittsburgh organization.

Got some highlights in the hair? "Yeah, I went with a little red and blond during spring training. People don't expect that from a guy in Alabama."

Hobby? "I enjoy golf. I play the guitar."

Any good at golf? "Being good, that's relative."

Guitar, huh? "Actual guitar. I don't get into Guitar Hero."

Player you idolized growing up? "Ryne Sandberg."

What do you get the biggest rush from in baseball?
"Getting a big hit in a crucial moment, to win a game. Or making a defensive play that ends the inning. Anything that changes the momentum."

Do you practice a behind-the-back throw at middle infield? "I don't know that you have to practice it. Sometimes, it's just instinct. I've done it once in my career, in 'A' ball, and it worked. I was a little afraid it wasn't going to go over well with the manager, but he thought that was the only play I had."

Last thought in your head before stepping into the batter's box? "I'm just usually thinking about trying to hit the ball the other way, to the right-center field gap."

Funniest teammate? "Steve Pearce. He gets it for today. Don't know if it will last."

Hmmm. I didn't know he was living in Oklahoma. Why Oklahoma?

And highlights...somehow I didn't think he was a highlight kind of guy. Now I'm curious to see what his hair looks like.

I checked out some White Sox blogs to see why the Pale Hose wanted Andy. Apparently, they're hoping to stop the bleeding in Charlotte. The Charlotte Knights have been terrible. I didn't think the big league clubs really cared how their AAA teams did, but I guess it might be dispiriting to the prospects to lose every night.

Andy is listed as a first baseman on the Charlotte roster. No jersey number yet. And he did not play last night. The lineup for tonight hasn't been posted yet, so I don't know if he'll be in it.

UPDATE: Andy Phillips is playing 1B and batting third for the Charlotte Knights tonight.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:43 AM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, April 17, 2009

Andy Phillips Traded to Pale Hose

The Pirates traded Andy Phillips to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Michael Dubee.

Andy didn't play yesterday. I thought it was because they were playing with NL rules, and so he couldn't DH. But maybe it was because this trade was in the works.

The Bucs also sent down backup infielder Luis Cruz to make room for outfielder Delwyn Young, acquired from the Dodgers. Cruz won the job Andy was competing for in spring training, so it looks like even if he'd made the roster, he wouldn't have stayed on it for long.

Well, I guess it's a good thing I didn't shell out big bucks to go to Syracuse and see Indianapolis play. Andy's new team is the Charlotte Knights, also in the IL. They'll be in Scranton in mid-May. I will definitely go to at least one of those games.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:35 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Red Sox Fan Suing Yankees

Remember that guy who got kicked out of Yankee Stadium for trying to visit the restroom during "God Bless America"? He's suing the Yankees.

Good for him. I'd donate to his legal defense fund, if he had one. Even though he's a Red Sox fan.

Young Paul Janish hit a double last night. Which of course means he's on the bench today.

Andy Phillips batted 8th and went 1 for 4 last night. He batted sixth and again went 1 for 4 today.

I think Andy must be injured. He DHed again today. That's the third or fourth game in a row. I wonder if it's his back again. Though hitting seemed to bother his back more than fielding during spring training.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:49 PM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tonight's action

Andy Phillips DH'd and batted fifth last night. He went 1 for 4, and was pulled for a pinch-runner in the 8th inning, as Indianapolis lost a close one.

Andy is DHing again tonight, and batting 8th. I wonder if he's hurt. Seems odd to DH him two days in a row otherwise.

Paul Janish is getting a start at SS tonight, in Cincinnati. Alex Gonzalez has been struggling, but I think this is just to give him a rest, not a threat to replace him.

And of course, the Yankees are trying to avenge last night's thrashing by the Rays.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, April 13, 2009

Beware the Ides of April

Spent the afternoon doing my taxes. Yes, it was kind of last-minute. As usual. I hate doing my taxes, and always put it off.

I kept my nose to the grindstone today with the promise of watching a nice baseball game in the evening if I finished the job. I completed both the state and federal returns, wrote the checks, weighed the envelopes, and looked up the correct postage online. All ready to go.

Unfortunately, the Yankees weren't. The game was over as soon as it began.

It was really strange to see the Trop sold out. And the stands were filled with Rays fans, not Yankees fans. They had a ceremony before the game, hoisting their AL championship banner. The whole team was really fired up.

I like Chien-Ming Wang. He's probably my favorite Yankee, now that Bubba's no longer in pinstripes. But so far this season...he stinks. His sinker wasn't sinking tonight, and his velocity wasn't good. He threw 60 pitches, and got only three outs. While giving up three walks and eight runs, and earning himself an ERA close to 30. Ugh.

It was really painful to watch for Yankees fans. I honestly feared the inning would never end. Poor Wang looked bereft, sitting in the dugout after he was removed from the game with the bases loaded. He stayed to watch...and thus saw Albaladejo give up a grand slam.

The Yanks' roster moves earlier this month came back to haunt them. They decided to keep Albaladejo instead of a long man like Tomko or Giese. The bullpen was already shot after last night, and now they had to find a way to get through a game in which the starter was pulled after only one inning.

This game was slow and grueling. I think doing my taxes was more fun. But I'm glad I stuck with it. In the eighth inning, with the pen spent, Girardi put Nick Swisher on the mound. He said later that he picked Swisher because of his easy-going nature. They thought he'd approach it in the right spirit, and not hurt himself trying to pitch too hard.

He was fun to watch. He's got a bubbly personality, and was so obviously enjoying himself out there.

He had the Yankees save the ball from his first major league strike out.

And...he ended up being the most effective pitcher the Yankees put out there tonight.

Thanks, Nick! You made this game worth watching.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:10 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Long day at the office

Andy Phillips worked overtime this Easter Sunday. The Toledo-Indianapolis game went 14 innings. And Andy stayed in for the whole game.

He played 2B, and was moved up to the fifth spot in the order. He went 2 for 4 with a walk and 1 RBI.

Unfortunately, my plan to go see Andy play in Syracuse has been foiled. I checked the usual travel sites, and there were no deals to be had in Syracuse that weekend. Hotel rooms were available, but only really expensive ones. I figured something had to be going on; Syracuse is not exactly Acapulco.

Turns out, that weekend is when Syracuse University has its commencement. The weekend before and the weekend after, there are plenty of hotel rooms for a third of the graduation weekend price - or less. Just my luck that of all the weekends Indianapolis could be in Syracuse, it would be that one.

I guess I'll visit Syracuse some other time, and catch Andy in Scranton, if he hasn't been called up by June.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Happy Easter!

Andy Phillips was 0 for 3 with a walk last night. Anderson Machado pinch-ran for him in the 8th.

Baseball players generally don't get Easter off. (It was Easter Sunday when Bubba made such a splash in his first start, five years ago almost to the day.) Lots of games scheduled for today, but whether they'll be played is another story. There's a big band of rain moving across the middle of the country. A lot of people will be hiding their eggs indoors.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:46 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday Night's Alright

Ron Villone signed a minor league contract with the Nationals. The Nats released him earlier this year.

Andy Phillips went 1 for 3 yesterday, and is now batting .500.

He's in the lineup again tonight. As in the earlier games, he's batting 8th and playing 2B.

Why 8th? He's been more of a middle of the order hitter lately, at least in his minor league career. I think that means they're confident that he can handle the stick, and want to give the kids more at-bats. (Andy's easily the oldest guy in the starting lineup.) What the Pirates want to know is whether he can handle the glove in positions other than 1B.

I live roughly midway between Syracuse and Scranton. I've never been to a Syracuse Chiefs game, though. Being a Yankee fan, I prefer going to Scranton. I've been thinking about going to Syracuse when Indianapolis plays there early next month. I'd like to see Andy play. Indianapolis will be coming to Scranton in late June, but Andy might be called up by then.

I'd also like to visit Watkins Glen State Park, which is an hour or two from Syracuse. I've heard it's stunningly beautiful. The only problem is the Gorge Trail might not be open yet in early May.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:08 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, April 10, 2009

Minor League Musical Chairs

What with the minor league season starting yesterday, I wanted to figure out which teams had changed affiliations. As in 2007, there are a lot of Triple-A teams with new affiliates this year:

Triple-A TeamLast YearThis Year
Columbus ClippersWashington NationalsCleveland Indians
Syracuse ChiefsToronto Blue JaysWashington Nationals
New Orleans ZephyrsNew York MetsFlorida Marlins
Las Vegas 51sLos Angeles DodgersToronto Blue Jays
Albuquerque IsotopesFlorida MarlinsLos Angeles Dodgers
Buffalo BisonsCleveland IndiansNew York Mets

There could be more; those are just the ones I noticed.

There are some big changes there. Some long-time affiliations have been dissolved, and some teams have switched leagues.

The Clippers are now part of the Cleveland farm system. That makes sense; baseball teams seem to want geographical consolidation, both because it makes it easier to call up minor leaguers at a time when air travel is increasingly inconvenient, and for marketing purposes: fans of the big league team are more likely to be interested in the prospects. While Buffalo is actually pretty close to Cleveland, it's in a different state, and that matters when it comes to fan loyalty. When they parted ways with the Yankees, the Clippers insisted on a short contract with their new team, because they were set on luring an Ohio team for the long term. It appears they've succeeded.

The Syracuse Chiefs is a bit of a shocker. They'd been with the Jays for 31 years. And they're pretty close to Toronto, all things considered. Syracuse is not particularly close to Washington; I'm surprised the Mets didn't hook up with them instead.

The Mets dumping New Orleans is not a surprise. They were basically stuck with New Orleans in the last round. Everyone else paired off, and the Mets were left with the wallflower. New Orleans is really far away from New York, plus they play in the PCL. Now the Mets' Triple-A team is in New York, and in the IL.

The Marlins are much closer to New Orleans. Playing in the PCL isn't ideal, since so many of the games are played out west. Makes it harder to call up minor leaguers. But they were playing in the PCL anyway, so this is an improvement. Half their games will now be played in New Orleans, instead of Albuquerque. (Trivia: the Albuquerque Isotopes got their name from an episode of The Simpsons; they get a surge in sales of jerseys, hats, etc., whenever that episode airs.)

The Blue Jays may have suffered the most serious blow. Jilted by Syracuse, they are now playing in the PCL. They've hooked up with the Dodger's former Triple-A team, the Las Vegas 51s. Yes, the team Bubba hit so well with in his Dodger days. That means a real schlepp if they want to call up any youngsters.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, have hooked up with Albuquerque. Not sure why. It's farther away than Las Vegas, and probably has fewer flights, too.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:08 PM | link | 0 comments |

Alabama Slammer

The minor league season started yesterday. Andy Phillips was ready. He started at 2B for the Indianapolis Indians, and went 3 for 5 with a home run. The Indians fell to the Toledo Mud Hens, 16-5, but it certainly wasn't Andy's fault.

I've been trying to find out what happened to Bronson Sardinha. He was signed by the Detroit Tigers, and played in a few spring training games. He was not expected to make the roster, and didn't. He was assigned to the Double-A Eerie SeaWolves a week ago, but he's not on their roster. When I checked Minor League Baseball, he didn't have a team listed. His brother Dane is listed as being with the Tigers' AAA team, the Mud Hens, but Bronson is teamless.

This SeaWolves blog explains what happened. Sardinha was released, just a couple of days after he was assigned to Eerie. That strikes me as rather odd. He was signed in January, not that long ago. If it was a bad spring training performance that got him booted, wouldn't they have done it before setting the minor league rosters, rather than after? Did he have another "off the field mistake"? Or is this just a reflection of the new economic reality in baseball, where players who would surely have gotten jobs a few years ago are left waiting in vain for the phone to ring?

Dan Giese is one player who is still in demand. The Yankees were hoping to slip him through waivers and stash him Scranton, but it was not to be. He was claimed off waivers by Oakland, and will be playing for the Sacramento River Cats.

I've never seen a River Cats game, but I visited their field once. I was in West Sacramento for some reason. I can't remember if it was off-season, or if the River Cats were just on a road trip, but there were no games, or I'd have gone to one. I did check out the gift shop, which was open, and take a photo of the outside of the stadium.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:32 AM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Nick Adenhart, 1986-2009

Shocking and tragic news coming from California today. Angels top prospect Nick Adenhart was killed in a car crash only a few hours after pitching six shutout innings. He was a passenger in a car hit by a minivan that ran a red light. Two other people in the car were also killed. The driver of the minivan, a 22-year-old man driving under the influence and with a suspended license, fled the scene but was later apprehended. He may face murder charges. (Joba Chamberlain might want to take note.)

I didn't "know" Adenhart, not even as a fan. He was a prospect just making the transition to the show, and I don't particularly follow the Angels or their farm system. But for some reason, I find his death more upsetting than Cory Lidle's or Josh Hancock's. He was so young - just 22. His future seemed so bright. Many expected him to be the Angels' ace one day, and being in the big leagues at such a tender age, he seemed well on his way. He was by all accounts a nice guy, humble, down to earth and well-liked. And, so far as we know, he wasn't doing anything that put him in harm's way. We still don't know if he was wearing a seatbelt, and I suppose being on the road at midnight could also be considered a hazard, but aside from that, he wasn't doing anything that put him at risk. The guy seemed to have it all...then it was gone, in an instant. It just seems so random, and so unfair.

Tonight's Angel's game has been canceled. There was a moment of silence before the games that were played today. Even the legendarily tough Scott Boras was left in tears. has already updated his player page to list his status as "deceased."

Rest in peace, Nick.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:07 PM | link | 2 comments |

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Baseball Writers Brace for the End

An article from the Wall St. Journal...

Baseball Writers Brace for the End: As Newspapers Cut Back, Press Boxes Grow Lonelier; How a Venerable Institution Lost Its Way

Baseball's independent press corps, once the most powerful in American sports, is fading. As newspapers cut budgets and payrolls, the press boxes at major league ballparks are becoming increasingly lonely places, signaling a future when some games may be chronicled only by wire services, house organs and Web writers watching the games on television.

"I certainly recognize where things are going," says Jack O'Connell, secretary of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the venerable 101-year-old membership organization for the profession. "I certainly see the dark clouds."

It's not clear how many newspaper beat writers and columnists will vanish. Some major dailies in baseball towns like Boston and New York say so long as they exist, they will never stop covering their teams. Online-only sources have filled some of the void, and independent Web sites have popped up where fans gather to comment on the games as they happen. In many ways, baseball writers are no different than other professionals whose industries are being shrunk.

...The changing world was on vivid display recently at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., the spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Opened in 1923 during the golden age of sportswriting, it held its first-ever night game last March -- 20 years after the lights first went on over Chicago's Wrigley Field. At a March 22 game between the Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds two writers from Pittsburgh papers were in attendance, along with two reporters from Major League Baseball's Web site. The Pittsburgh chapter of the BBWAA is down to nine members, an all time low, from 20 in 1988.

The Beaver County Times, outside Pittsburgh, has stopped covering spring training and won't cover every Pirates home game -- primarily due to finances, according to sports editor Ed Rose. To some, it's inevitable that more papers will follow suit. "We're waiting for that first domino to fall, for that first major newspaper not covering its team on the road," says current BBWAA president David O'Brien.

Will we miss baseball writers when they're gone? We really don't need newspapers for the box scores, or even accounts of what happened on the field. With sites like Fangraphs, MLB's own Internet coverage, and bloggers who describe the games as seen on TV or from the park, we can generally follow what happened.

What we lose with the beat writers is the view from inside the locker room. Beat writers develop a relationship with the players over the long season, and have access and insight a blogger can't hope to match. There are the radio and TV reporters, of course, but with their time constraints, they generally don't provide the kind of in-depth reporting the print media does.

Newspapers are dropping like flies. Declaring bankruptcy, going web-only, folding altogether.  Among the troubled papers: the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free-Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Rocky Mountain News, Christian Science Monitor.  And of course, the Cincinnati Post went under in 2007.

The bad economy is exacerbating the problem, but this is deeper than the economy, as this essay points out:

Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable

It argues that what we are facing is as fundamental a change as the invention of the printing press. Though we know what the world was like before the printing press, and what it was like afterward, what's really interesting is the transition. That is what we are living through now. And if the previous transition is any model, we can expect this one to be chaotic. In the end, something will replace newspapers, but from where we are now, it's impossible to know what. We won't know the turning point when it happens; it will be clear only in the rear-view mirror.

During the wrenching transition to print, experiments were only revealed in retrospect to be turning points. Aldus Manutius, the Venetian printer and publisher, invented the smaller octavo volume along with italic type. What seemed like a minor change — take a book and shrink it — was in retrospect a key innovation in the democratization of the printed word. As books became cheaper, more portable, and therefore more desirable, they expanded the market for all publishers, heightening the value of literacy still further.

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. (Luther and the Church both insisted, for years, that whatever else happened, no one was talking about a schism.) Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify.

In the end, we'll get our baseball coverage somehow. But it could suck to be a baseball writer in the immediate future.


posted by BubbaFan, 9:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, April 05, 2009

More transactions

Nick Green made the Red Sox roster. I wasn't expecting that, but I guess they need infielders, since Julio Lugo is on the DL. Tom Gordon is starting the season on the Diamondbacks' DL.

And John Fay explains why the Reds picked Paul Janish over Adam Rosales:

"With (Alex) Gonzalez's situation we need the defense. (Janish is) our next true shortstop. He worked hard to improve his strength and hitting."

That's great news for Janish, but I'm kind of surprised. I thought they were grooming him to be a utility infielder. They had him playing other infield positions, not just SS as he did in the minors.

posted by BubbaFan, 3:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Congratulations, Soft-J

Trent reports that Paul Janish has made the team.

I must admit, I'm a bit surprised at the decisions the Reds are making. They kept Janish, but sent down Rosales and cut Jonny Gomes. I thought Gomes as a lock. Laynce Nix and Darnell McDonald have made the team. (Nix has been given Bubba's old number, 16.) Not sure what's going on. Either they have a trade brewing behind the scenes, they're really, really worried about payroll, or they're serious about building the team on speed and defense.

And I can't help thinking that Bubba would have probably made the roster this year, if he'd been in camp this year instead of 2007. The surfeit of left-handed outfielders the Reds used to have has turned into a dearth, via trades and free agency. They could really use a superior defender in center field, and a left-handed bat off the bench. Sigh. The timing just never worked out for Bubba.

Other transaction news...the Rays released Morgan Ensberg. Miguel Cairo has made the Phillies roster. Scott Proctor will be starting the season on the DL for the Marlins. The Mets released Matt DeSalvo. The Yankees DFA'd Dan Giese.

posted by BubbaFan, 1:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Paul Janish, dubbed "Soft-J" by Trent (then the Cincinnati Post Reds beat writer), is still hanging in there. The Reds have 30 players on their roster, and took all of them north. They have to be down to 25 by Sunday. Janish is in the mix for a utility infielder job.

He's seen as having a superior glove, but a light bat. He's kind of a skinny guy, and has trouble keeping his weight up. (That's a problem many people - even many baseball players - wish they had.) They told him build up his hand and wrist strength, hoping to increase his power.

I once applied to be a special agent for the FBI. They told me to build up my hand strength. They take the shells out of a gun, then tell you to fire it as many times as you can, with each hand. I passed with my right hand, but not my left. So they gave me a racquetball and told me to squeeze it while watching TV or whatever.

Not sure how you build up wrist strength. I probably had plenty of wrist strength back then, anyway. I was working in a deli after school, and had to carry 40-60 lb. trays of beef several times a day. I had muscles I never knew existed popping out of my wrists. (Someone told me they were "milkmaid's muscles" - because you see them in people who milk cows.)

Anyways, I'm rooting for Janish to make the roster. I really think the Reds could use a good glove at SS, and he's by far the best they have at the moment. It's come down to him or Adam Rosales. Rosales has a better bat, but is not as good on defense. The Reds are kind of hurting for offense this year, so they might prefer Rosales.

Starting SS Alex Gonzalez is playing very well today in a exhibition game against the Reds minor leaguers. I imagine this means he'll be the opening day starter. Which means either Janish or Rosales will be sent down this weekend. They both have options left, so might be traveling back and forth between Louisville and Cincinnati, no matter which one wins the job.


posted by BubbaFan, 3:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, April 03, 2009

Midnight Blue

The Yankees played their first game in their new stadium tonight - an exhibition game against the Cubs. It aired on TV, so I got my first real look at the new digs.

I got a decidedly Twilight Zone kind of feeling. It looks so much like the old stadium, that it's disorienting when you notice the things that are different. What I found most jarring was the change in color, from bright royal blue to dark midnight blue. The seats, the fences, etc. I can understand that; the Yankees' uniform color is navy blue - a blue so dark it's almost black. But I think the old, royal blue looked better on TV. All that darkness looks dreary on TV. Though maybe it will look better in daylight.

Or maybe I'm just used those royal blue walls, that Bubba threw himself against so often.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:27 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, April 02, 2009


Of course the big news is that Gary Sheffield has been released. The Tigers are eating his $14 million contract. Sheff is 40 now, had a bad year last year, and didn't do well in spring training. And his attitude problems are well-documented. Nevertheless, teams are interested. Among them, the Reds and the Phillies.

Among the lesser transactions:

The Yankees re-acquired catcher Chris Stewart, from the team that originally drafted him (the White Sox). I assume he left the Yanks as a six-year free agent.

I must say, I don't understand this one. If they wanted him, why not sign him directly, instead of trading for him? And why did the Yankees want him? He didn't obviously didn't impress them, either in Scranton or the Bronx. Sure, they need some insurance for Posada, but if Stewart couldn't handle it last year, why trade for him this year? If they need Jorgie insurance, sign a guy like Chad Moeller. Maybe Paul Bako, who was recently released by the Cubs.

The Dodgers released Brad Halsey. Halsey was drafted by the Yankees (twice!), then sent to the D-Backs as part of the trade that put Randy Johnson in pinstripes.

And the Mets released Ron Villone.

Jason Romano was released by the Astros. Romano was a pal of Bubba's when they were both with the Dodgers:

Bubba Crosby, Jason Romano, and Paul Lo Duca

He was the guy who was joking about Bubba being traded to the Yankees, minutes before the trade deadline...only to have it come true.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:22 PM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Andy cut

Not really surprising, but it's official now. Andy Phillips was reassigned to minor league camp today. It's really too bad. The guy's had the worst luck in spring training. If he hadn't been injured, he'd probably be going north with the big league club.

I don't think Andy can refuse the assignment, unless he has a special clause in his contract. He had a minor league deal, and so was not on the 40-man roster and does not have to clear waivers. He probably wouldn't want to refuse the assignment even if he could. He's not likely to find a better opportunity now.

I guess I'll be seeing Andy in June, when Indianapolis comes to Scranton, if he hasn't been called up by then.

Former Yankee Jeff Karstens won the final spot in the Bucs' rotation.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:59 PM | link | 2 comments |