Tag Archives: Joe Torre

Sandberg Says Sosa Shouldn’t Go To Hall of Fame! But, Why Is Sandberg In The Hall??

24 Jun

Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg said in a recent sports radio interview that Sammy Sosa shouldn’t make the Hall of Fame due to Sosa’s use of performance enhancing drugs.  Sandberg made the point that baseball’s Hall  lists integrity as one of the voting criteria for election to Cooperstown.  Rightly, Sandberg feels that Sosa and others like him who cheated the game should not be rewarded with sporting immortality.

I could not agree more with Ryne Sandberg.  It was brave of him to say it.  I’m glad he said it.

Then, I got to thinking.  Why exactly is Ryne Sandberg in the Hall of Fame?

In parts of 16 seasons, Sandberg hit 282 home runs with 1,061 RBI, a .285 batting average and a .344 on base percentage.  Not horrible by any stretch.  In addition, he managed to win about 30 Gold Gloves.

Still, a lot of guys had offensive stats like him and didn’t make the Hall anywhere as easily as Ryno.  And some worked at much tougher positions that Sandberg.

Sandberg contemporary Lou Whitaker played second for Detroit for 19 seasons.  He didn’t win an MVP like Sandberg, but he did win a Rookie of The Year Award and won a World Series unlike Sandberg.  Whitaker hit 244 homers, knocked in 1,084 runs, batted .276 with a .363 on base percentage.  Whitaker didn’t win the 300 Gold Gloves that Sandberg managed to win in just 16 seasons, but he did win three as well as four Silver Sluggers as the AL’s second basemen with the most pop in his bat.

It’s no slam dunk that Whitaker has a better Hall case than Sandberg, but they’re clearly in the same range.  Yet, Sandberg got in relatively easily and Whitaker has never gotten a serious sniff from Cooperstown.

And you don’t have to go much further.  Take a look at Whitaker’s double play partner all those years in Detroit.  Alan Trammell’s stats include 185 homers, 1,003 RBI, .285 and .352.  And this was all in an era in which shortstops didn’t need to contribute much to the offense.  Yet, Trammell’s vote total seems to decline every year and didn’t start out with much Cooperstown support to begin with.

We all know Joe Torre as a future Hall of Famer due largely to his managerial success with the Yankees.  Yet, Torre’s stats as a player don’t look all that much different than Sandberg’s.  18 seasons, 252, 1185, .297 and .365.  Torre has never threatened to enter the Hall as a player.

Frankly, Sandberg’s career stats don’t even dwarf Ray Durham, who in 14 seasons put up 192, 875 along with a .277 batting average and .352 OBP.  Ray Durham was a respectable major leaguer but he’s rarely confused with a baseball immortal.  So, why are even his stats within shouting distance of Sandberg’s?

I guess there’s a few answers for that one.  Seems to me that Sandberg was undeniably talented.  He won a lot of gold gloves and was beloved in Chicago.  His really good years were on a different level than most of the other guys on this list and that helped his legend grow.  The one MVP year didn’t hurt him at all either.

It’s not that Sandberg wasn’t a good player.  He was.  Chicago knows their baseball.  And again, he did pile up Gold Glove Awards year after year.

It’s that Sandberg’s prime if you really look at it was too short to have merited getting into the Hall so quickly.

On Sandberg’s page of baseballreference.com his page sponsor’s quote is that Ryno was the best Cub the sponsor ever saw. 

Guess he never saw Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, or Billy Williams to name just a few…  And by the way, Santo’s not in the Hall of Fame.

PS – here’s a link to Ryne Sandberg’s stat page:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/sandbry01.shtml

Bud Selig & Joe Torre Are A Great Comedy Team!

14 Feb

Earlier this week, Bud Selig chastised Alex Rodriguez for sullying the great game of baseball.  Today, I wake up to read that Joe Torre told the media that baseball needs to work to rebuild trust.

Don’t make me laugh.  Or do, if that’s your intention Mr. Selig & Mr. Torre.  Just realize that both of you have zero credibility these days.  Your statements are a joke plain and simple.

Bud Selig, who has to be in the discussion for worst baseball commissioner ever, presided over the game during the steroids error.  (Yes, I mean to say error, it’s a play on words, people).  Under Bud’s watch, guys were routinely shattering records that had thwarted the game’s greats for decades.  Selig, like the rest of us and the media, embraced it all.  For the fans, buying baseball’s bad act may have had to do with naivety and clearly the media didn’t bother to ask enough questions.

For Selig, though, the steroid era was not embraced out of naiveity.  Selig knew what he was doing when he played his head in the sand.  Baseball and its union wanted no part of any critical examination of the way the game and players had changed.  Business was too good.  Selig’s biggest failure was shortsightedness.  He must have had ideas about what was going on, yet didn’t ask and didn’t tell.  Why rock the boat when after all you’re really just an owner in disguise and taking home 18 or so million a year to boot?  Bud should have known better.  He should have realized that someday steroid abuse would come back to bite baseball.  Hard.

Consider Selig and baseball marked for life.  Both are tarnished with little hope of recovering in the near term.  Every time a suspected cheater is up for the Hall of Fame for the next couple of decades and throughout A-Rod’s seemingly inevitable march to eclipsing Bonds’ career homer record, we’ll be revisiting Selig’s disastrous term as commissioner.

Selig’s right that A-Rod and other cheaters have sullied the game.  He just forgot to mention that he, himself, bears the biggest responsibility for baseball’s bruised image.

Speaking of bruised images…. Joe Torre is one to talk about rebuilding trust.  Didn’t he just release a book in which he revealed the clubhouse drama that took place during his decade plus in the Bronx?  Ask Torre how many of his former players feel that he needs to rebuild some personal trust.

Not only that but, Torre isn’t exactly free and clear of involvement from steroids abuse.  Let’s not forget that the Yankees won four championships smack dab in the middle of the cheating era.  Jason Giambi, Roger Clemens and A-Rod are all part of Torre’s Yankee run of success and all three, it seems clear, cheated.

Where was Joe then?   And who else on the Yankees was on the stuff that we have yet to know about?  Torre’s been round the game long enough to know that 40 year old pitchers simply don’t get better with age.  Yet, he never questioned the source of Clemens’ late career success.

Like Selig, Torre wasn’t rocking any boats while the Yankees were winning.  Of course, the minute Torre could make a few bucks by ratting out his old organization, the former Bronx manager put pen to paper.  This, despite the fact that as manager of the Dodgers he didn’t need the cash.  It was a pure greed play on Joe Torre’s part.

Both Torre and Selig are a joke.  And the more they keep speaking out the more hysterical their routines get.

A-Rod Takes The Innocence Of A 42 Year Old Hetrosexual Male!

8 Feb

Yup, that’s me I’m referring to in the post headline.  I’m 42, male, hetro and have a pathological hatred for all things Yankee.  Yet, today A-Rod crushed my innocence.

How was this possible you ask?  Well, let’s start with Barry Bonds.  For some crazy reason, I bought that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa smashed Roger Maris’ season home run legitimately.  Looking at both of them, I thought they were freaks of nature who benefited from the advanced training methods available to today’s multi-millionaire athletes as well as from the decline of quality pitching.  McGwire and Sosa had always hit bunches of home runs so it didn’t seem so strange they not only passed but obliterated the mark that had taken so much out of Maris.  Plus, for whatever I think of McGwire and Sosa now, it must be said that they both handled the chase for Roger’s record with a great deal of charm and class.  I bought it all.

Barry Bonds is a different story.  Bonds was, of course, more talented than either Sosa or McGwire.  He just didn’t hit as many home runs as they did.  Until, that is, he began to in his mid thirties.  Suddenly, Bonds’ totals were skyrocketing.  No one in the whole history of the game had gone from really great to all time freaking amazing great in his mid thirties.  Usually, players slow down as they age.  Not Bonds.  Bonds was busy breaking McGwire’s home run record.  Something wasn’t right.  Players don’t do what Bonds did at his age without help.  They cheat.  It’s more than obvious that Bonds juiced.  The Feds may never nail him, but most of America could sleep at night if they were on a jury that convicted him of steroid abuse.  I hate statements like this upcoming one, but we all know he did it.

Bonds cheating to pass Hank Aaron on the all time home run list personally offended me.  Hank Aaron is a gracious man.  Bonds, despite his legion of apologists, is a sour personality who really doesn’t seem to appreciate what the game has given him.  Hank Aaron endured death threats and all kinds of racism during the quest to pass Babe Ruth.  Hank Aaron did it the right way.  He didn’t cheat and he overtook the Babe with dignity.

On the other hand, Bonds would let nothing slow him down on the way past Aaron.  He added steroids to his training regime to keep up with McGwire and Sosa.  Then, as he was closing in on Hammering Hank, it all started to fall apart.  We started to hear about how Barry Bonds had been cheating.  His home runs were artificial.  They were fueled by steroids.  Bonds, wouldn’t let the controversy get in his way.  He just kept  knocking them out of the park.  MLB was weak and did nothing.  Bud Selig held his nose and attended the game in which Barry cheated his way past Hank.

You have to give it to Barry.  Nowhere along the way did he crack.  Never did he express regret.  He somehow held it all together and just kept stepping on home plate.  Too bad such determination couldn’t have been applied to a better cause.

If Barry Bonds had any conscience or class at all, he could have made the ultimate gesture.  He could have stopped.  He could have given up the chase, admitted he’d cheated and realized he didn’t want to pass a quality human being like  Hank Aaron in such a tawdry way.  Barry Bonds could have turned it all around.  I would have been writing about how Bonds had made a mistake, come clean, and punished himself by giving up the chase.  For me, that would have been enough to say let’s forgive and forget.  For me, that would have been enough to say he belongs in Cooperstown, since after all he was a Hall of Fame caliber player way before the ‘roids.

Of course, all of that is a dream, a fantasy.  The world doesn’t work that way.  Today, Alex Rodriguez taught me that.  You see, despite my 42 years on this planet, I still like to believe in things.  I believed in Alex Rodriguez.

Sure, I hated seeing him go to the Yankees.  And certainly seeing him up close now that he plays in my home market, I’ve come to see that he has some personality issues too.  Yet, I never doubted that Alex was clean.

The guy started in the game so young and never seemed very big, yet the homers were always there.  I believed he was something special.  I believed he was the best hitter of his generation.  I even heard sports talk hosts and journalists stating that he was obviously not a steroid guy.  Like Bonds, he had us all fooled.

I believed.  As much as Bonds sitting atop the all time homer list gnaws at me, I was content in my anticipation of the clean living A-Rod passing Bonds’ cheating ass in the next few years barring injury or unexpected decline.  It was poetic justice.  I’ve taught my kids that the real home run champ is Hank Aaron.  I was looking forward to teaching them about how A-Rod took back the crown that Bonds had stolen and restored baseball’s reputation in the process.  It was going to be a great lesson about how you can achieve things the right way.

So, today we find out that A-Rod flunked a test in 2003 and was on at least two steroids while he played for the Texas Rangers.  I feel like a fool.  I feel let down.

What do I teach my children now?

Thanks, A-Fraud.  Now we know Joe Torre was right the whole time.  And my kids will learn a whole new lesson from you.

Joe Torre Proves He’s A Fraud Too!

25 Jan

According to early newspaper reports on Joe Torre’s upcoming book, the former Yankee skipper says A-Rod’s Yankee teammates referred to him as A-Fraud.  Torre also reveals that A-Rod has a Jeter obsession and takes some shots at GM Brian Cashman and King George along the way.

All of the above may be true and well deserved commentary.  Here’s the thing though, this book is going to change people’s perceptions of Torre rather than his targets.  Long regarded as a class act, a book like this is going to take Joe Torre’s good reputation down more than a few pegs.

For the life of me, I don’t understand this move by Joe Torre.  I’m not a Yankee fan, but many of my friends and c0-workers are.  From what I’ve seen most were ready for a regime change.  But, it wasn’t that Yankee fans no longer liked Joe Torre, in fact it was quite the opposite.  New York fans are sophisticated and realized that like anything else Torre’s run simply had run its course.  The team just needed to hear a new voice after so many year’s of Torre’s.

When the Yankees forced Torre out by offering a contract they knew was way below what he was expecting, most Yankee fans were not happy to see Joe leave the organization.  Many expected him to no longer manage but to stay part of the Yankee family.  They were disappointed when Torre fled for the bright lights of L.A., but they understood and most sided with Torre over Cashman and the Steinbrenners.

Why?  Cause they thought he was a class act.

I wonder what Yankee fans are thinking now? 

Anyway, back to what I’m thinking.  I can’t understand why Torre would do it.  It can’t be for the money.  He’s making a seriously nice salary with the Dodgers.  So, it’s got to be that Joe Torre is majorly ticked off at the Yankees.

We’ve all been there.  It could be directed at your boss, a good friend or your wife.  You are just too angry or hurt and end up saying something that you know will end up hurting you more than the person you’re trashing. 

Today was Joe Torre’s turn to say something dumb and prove that Saint Joe is merely human.

Mission accomplished…

The Yankees Are Like James Bond!

25 Jul

It starts tonight.  The real baseball season I mean.  Yankees versus the Red Sox at Fenway. Joba versus Beckett.  Can it get get any better than this?  Unless you are a Devil Rays, excuse me, a Rays fan I don’t think so.

Three quick observations for you all from my POV as a BoSox fan:

First, the Joba experiment has worked out much better than I ever anticipated.  Despite the completely messed up way that Chamberlain was handled by the Yankees, Joba’s transition to a starting role has been almost without bumps.  Now, they’re counting on him in one of the biggest spots of the season.  Will he crack?  I don’t think so.  At least, I don’t think Chamberlain will under perform until the end of the season when he’s worn down, if at all.

That said, the whole Joba thing doesn’t worry me much.  In fact, I think the Yankees did Red Sox Nation a favor by converting Joba.  Let’s say he pitches a lights out game tonight and gets the Yankees that all important first game victory at Fenway.  So what?  Joba is one and done.  The Red Sox won’t have to face him again.  When he was a reliever, he might have had an impact in all three games.  As it stands now, the Sox just have to deal with him once.  I’ll take my chances facing him once when he has to be out there for many innings at a time versus having to face him for short spurts everyday.  And that’s why I still think The Yankees made a mistake pulling him out of the bullpen.

Finally, the Yankees piss me off and scare me because for the last two years they’ve reminded me of a James Bond movie.  I’m much too lazy to actually look up the movie or get the dialogue exactly right, but the scene I’m thinking of goes like this…

James Bond is tied down on a table.  He’s on his back and his legs are spread apart and restrained.  Bond’s enemy (the usual megalomaniac, evil, lunatic) has a laser beam started and charting a path toward Bond’s cherished family jewels.  Bond asks the villain “do you expect me to talk?”.  The villain replies “no, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die”.  Then, of course, Bond doesn’t.

For the last two seasons, the Yankees have started out like Bond.  Seemingly done and about to die.  But, only then, they don’t.  If I wasn’t a Red Sox fan I guess I’d admire it.  Posada’s been hurt as has much of the rotation they started the year with.  Yet, there they are still in the thick of it. 

Last year, I was pretty sure the Yankees were finished.  I could see Torre getting fired and the dynasty ending.  And then they made the playoffs.  While they did fire Joe Torre, it seems like replacement Joe Girardi is using Torre’s script from last season.  Once again, the Yankees are rising from the almost dead.

You have to give them credit.  Unless, you are a Red Sox fan like me.

The last five years have been a great time for me baseball-wise.  Suddenly, the culture in Sox Nation has changed from how will we blow this to we’ll come through in the clutch.  I’ve seen the Red Sox win two world series titles after I resigned myself to possibly dying without seeing that happen even once.

I’d like to see a third that includes a total collapse by the New York Yankees.

Is that too much to ask, Mr. Bond?

Here’s What No One Is Saying About Willie Randolph’s Firing!

18 Jun

What a strange thing to wake up today and hear that Willie Randolph had been fired at three in the morning NY time.  The Mets have spent the 24 hours since getting beaten up for the classless way they handled Randolph’s termination.  The criticism is all more than due the Mets organization.  After stringing him along for weeks, they let Willie Randolph fly out to LA only to fire him in the middle of the night and after a win no less.

Here’s what no one is saying.  The Mets did the right thing.  They handled it wrong, but it was time for Willie to go.  In fact, he was past due.

Growing up a Mets fan, Willie was that one ’70s Yankee you just couldn’t hate.  After a decade as Torre’s assistant it was comical that he hadn’t landed a skipper job of his own until the Mets gave him the keys to their half of New York a few years back.  From all accounts, the guy is a good and decent person.

Still, he needed to go.  This Mets team with such a big time payroll and even higher expectations, has been under .500 for over a year.  Over a year!  In a season in which they were expected to rule the NL East, they started the year sluggishly and there have been absolutely no signs pointing to any kind of turnaround.

Basically, the Mets really messed things up by not firing Willie last year.  The Mets collapsed down the stretch and blew a seven game lead with just 17 games to go.  The Mets let Willie come back, but you knew if they didn’t get off to a great start this year that he’d be on borrowed time.  That’s no way to go into a year following the biggest let down in franchise history (including the historically disappointing ’92 season).

No Willie didn’t select the players.  No Willie doesn’t pitch, hit or field for the Mets.  But, as a major league manager part of the job description is to take responsibility for wins and losses. 

The Mets gave Willie his first managerial gig and the chance to come back after a horrific choke last season.  This year, they strung him along and fired him with zero class and about three million dollars still due him.

Call the Mets and Willie Randolph even.

Hank Steinbrenner loses his mind. It’s good to be a Red Sox fan!

22 Apr

Showing himself to be more like his dad with every passing explosion, Little Steinbrenner went off recently about Yanks Phenom Joba Chamberlain.  In a season in which, so far, the young Yankee pitching (they resisted trading for Johan Santana) has let them down, Hank could take no more.  It was time for the chip off the old block to pull one of his dad’s favorite moves.  Pointing the finger of blame squarely at somebody else.

Hank has just come out in favor of Chamberlain joining the Yankees starting rotation as soon as possible.  But, that wasn’t enough for him.  He had to get to the root of the problem.  He needed someone to blame.  It was Joe Torre or maybe it was Brian Cashman, but it was NOT him.  That much was VERY clear.  According to Hank, Joba was handled the wrong way last year.  Rather than being used as a set up man, Hank thinks Chamberlain should have been put straight into the Yankee rotation.

If Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes keep pitching like Ted Kennedy and the late Howard Hughes (ok, that was an admitted stretch…) respectively, then The Little Stein will soon get his wish.

And how will Joba do in the starter’s role this year?  Not as good as Hank may think.  First off, kiss a few miles off of his fastball.  If Chamberlain’s going five plus innings, he’ll have to pace himself.  Secondly, while he has two fantastic pitches, his other two are not as stellar.  Major league hitters will exploit that relative weakness when he’s forced to throw them more.  And lastly, how exactly is he getting tuned up to be a starter?  Do you send him down to the minors for a while in the middle of a pennant race and give up your eighth inning lights out set up guy?

As a Red Sox fan, I certainly hope so.  I’d love to see Joba only once in a seven game series rather than three or more times. 

Bring it on Hank!