Tag Archives: New York Yankees

Update! Why Colin Cowherd Is A Genius!

23 Dec

Colin Cowherd of ESPN is a genius.  Why do a say this?

Because I am a genius.  At certain things anyway.  And geniuses think alike.

I posted this morning that I couldn’t believe how exited Yankee fans and New York sports talk show hosts (who should know better) were over the recent Yankee trade that brought the Yankees the mediocrity that is Javier Vazquez.

It’s not that it wasn’t a good trade.  It’s just that everyone seemed to be reacting like it was the biggest deal ever and ignoring the hard truth that pitching in the AL is way tougher than pitching in the NL like Vazquez did last year when he had his career year.  (Sorry for the super long sentence)

I noted in my morning post that none of the so-called experts had bothered to temper their callers excitement by suggesting that Vazquez might not be an ace in the AL East.

This morning, I tuned into Colin Cowherd on 1050 AM and he restored some of my faith in sports talk radio.  There was Colin making all the same points as me.

Good trade.  Not cause for celebration.  He won 14 games last year in a career year feasting on the Pirates and Nationals.  Now he’ll be facing the Sox and Rays.

Good luck, Javier.

Two men of genius think you’re gonna need it…

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What The Yankees Forgot When They Made The Javier Vazquez Trade & Why It Will Come Back To Haunt Them!

23 Dec

Yesterday, the Yankees “stole” Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves.  At least, that’s what every sports radio talk show host and Yankee fan callers were saying. 

As I was listening to all the celebration, I was shocked at one key fact that EVERYONE overlooked.  And here it is.

Javier Vazquez, who is coming off a career year at 32, put together his one great season in the National League.  Things will be different in the American League.  There simply is a HUGE difference between pitching in the NL and AL. 

Vazquez isn’t posting a sub 3.o0 ERA next year.  Not saying he’ll be a disaster, but he’s not going to challenge anyone for anything beyond the fourth spot in the Bombers’ rotation. 

It’s not that it wasn’t a decent trade. But, what I’m warning against is believing it’s going to make a huge difference.  Vazquez simply won’t be that good in the American League.

Don’t believe me?

Fine.  Than, check out this excellent post at Baseball Evolution, which more than makes the case.  Turns out there’s a very good reason Roger Clemens pitched 3 of his last 4 years in the NL.

He was no dummy…

http://baseballevolution.com/asher/00052.html

Is This The Last Great Season For Derek Jeter?

19 Sep

Derek Jeter

Enjoy it now, Yankee fans.  This will be Derek Jeter’s last great season.

Growing up a non-Yankee fan in the New York area, nothing has grated at me more over the years than the intensity of the man crush that typical Yankee fans have on Derek Jeter.  It reminds me of those old SNL skits about the Chicago Bears fans who think that  “Da Bears” and Mike Dikta can do anything.  

Jeter can do no wrong in the eyes of love struck Yankee fans.  And the annoying thing to a Yankee hater like me is that on or off the field, it often seems true although to be fair he has at times failed in the clutch.

I’m a bit of a contrarian and nothing scares me more than group think, so I’ve had a hard time accepting the fact that Jeter is a such a special player to begin with.  For years I thought that he was an OK fielding, good hitting shortstop who won the career lottery by being able to play in New York.  And for years, I’ve patiently waited for Jeter’s inevitable decline.

Yes, Yankee fans, even Derek Jeter will tail off due to the passage of time.  He can’t play (at least at a high level) forever.

This season, Jeter is 35 and having a terrific year.  Annoyed by this, the only course of action available  to me was to tell myself that this HAD to be his last great year.

So, I started by taking a look at Hall of Fame shortstops.  It was then that I realized that there simply weren’t many who were comparable to Jeter, at least as a hitter.  For many years, baseball simply didn’t demand offense from the position.  Sure, you have Honus Wagner and some other all time greats from the very early days of the game who have huge offensive stats, but I didn’t feel like that was a fair comparison.

The three relatively modern players who seemed closest to Jeter as hitters were Ernie Banks, Robin Yount, and Cal Ripken.  Banks hit over 500 homers and clearly had way more power than Jeter or the rest.  Yount won two MVPs compared to none so far for Jeter.  And Ripken, we’ll it’s the streak that printed his ticket to Cooperstown, of course.

Feeling that Banks might not be the fairest of comparisons, I also decided to take a look at Barry Larkin.   Larkin played short as a fixture for the Reds for many years and has career numbers within shouting distance of Jeter.  Larkin may even end up in the Hall some day keeping Ripken and co company.

So let’s take a look at Jeter’s possible future by seeing what Banks, Yount, Ripken and Larkin managed to do at bat after hitting the age of 35.

As I noted earlier, Banks isn’t the best comparison.  For one, he had way more power than Jeter, but more significantly he stopped playing shortstop at 30.  From ages 33-36, Ernie Banks was still pretty much Ernie Banks as a hitter.  But at 37, he hit a wall.  He still had his power.  Hitting 32 homers as a 37 year old and 23 the next year, but his batting average took a dive.  His highest average from age 37 on was .253, which is about 20 points lower than his career average.  Banks finished out his career in 1971 getting in only 39 games as a 40 year old.  The year before, he’d played in 72 games.

Moving on to Yount, who I initially thought might be a better comparison to Jeter than Banks.  Only, it turns out Robin Yount was done at shortstop at age 28 despite winning an MVP at the position in 1982.  What jumped out at me about Yount, is that the two time MVP was out of the game at 37.  Jeter’s just two years from being 37.  For Yount, 1989 was his last great year.  He was 33 and it was the last of four straight .300 seasons.  At 34, Robin Yount dipped to .247 and never hit higher than .264 afterwards.

So what about Ripken?  The iron man’s last great season came in 1996 at the age of 35, which was also his last year at short.  Ripken hit 26 home runs while driving in 102 and batting .278.  Those may not seem like amazing numbers now, but from a historical prospective that’s a lot of offense from a presumably steroid-free shortstop.  In the next two years that followed, the games played streak went on, but in Ripken’s last three years he couldn’t stay on the field.  From age 38 to 40, he played 86, 53 and 128 games in each season.  Clearly, Ripken’s age had broken down the iron man.

Finally, we go to Barry Larkin.  Larkin may be the fairest comparison of all.  Larkin played only shortstop, like Jeter.  And like Derek Jeter presumable, Larkin only played for one club his entire career, the Cincinnati Reds.  Larkin’s last truly great year was in 2000 at the age of 36.  He batted .313 in the 102 games he played in.  The next year he played in 45 games.  At the age of 38 he played in 145.  In the final two years of his career while his batting average was within shouting distance of his career average, he played in only 70 and 111 games.  He was done at 40.

So, what conclusions can we draw?  A few, I think. 

First, Derek Jeter is a pretty unique guy.  Not even some of the contemporary greats like Banks, Yount and Ripken managed to last at shortstop as long as he has.  Derek Jeter belongs in the Hall of Fame. 

Second, Barry Larkin is way more like Derek Jeter than I realized.  Imagine if he’d played in New York…

Third, as you get older it gets tougher to stay on the field.  Yount was done at 37.  The others all went on way beyond that.  Banks, Ripken and Larkin were able to post respectable numbers into their late thirties.  But, all three of them missed significant time.

So, here’s the conclusion.  Each year that goes by, it gets tougher for Derek Jeter to produce another great year.  His numbers  might not decline, but he may find that he’s not able to stay on the field.

I’m not wishing ill on Derek Jeter.  I’ve come to respect him for his accomplishments on the field and (now that I’m a dad) for being a role model off the field.  But, the simple truth is this is very likely Derek Jeter’s last great season.  So, whether you’re a Yankee fan or not, take time to enjoy Jeter now.

Tonight, My DVR Killed The Red Sox!

11 Aug

Yes, I’m a Red Sox fan.  Yes, getting swept in the Bronx this past weekend was pretty hard to take, but my DVR made it even worse tonight.

Earlier this evening, I was watching a show called “Baseball Seasons” on one of the many sports channels my TV package includes.  My seven year old son, who all of a sudden is getting very into baseball, loves this show.  He’s very into history too and this show combines them both.  Each episode tells the story of one season in baseball history.

The episode we watched tonight highlighted 1993, in which the Toronto Blue Jays became the first repeat World Series Champions since the late 70’s Yankees.

Anyway, there I was happily watching the show with my seven year old when I start seeing scores at the bottom of the screen.  I forget that I’m watching a show recorded days earlier on my DVR.  I see the Red Sox losing to Roy Halladay and this year’s version of the Blue Jays.  To my horror, I also see the Yankees picking up a win.

I have no idea these scores aren’t live.  I think the Red Sox have now fallen 7 1/2 games behind the hated Yankees.  I pray that my son doesn’t notice the results as they’ll break his little heart.  Luckily, he doesn’t notice a thing, but asks lots of questions about 1993.

I answer all of his questions, put him and his sister to bed, hang out with my wife, and then it’s not til just a few minutes ago that I see that the Red Sox situation is in fact exactly the opposite of what I thought it was.

Tonight, the Sox in actuality bounced back against the Tigers, while the Yankees played and lost to those same Blue Jays I thought the BoSox had lost to.  All of a sudden, the Sox are only five and a half behind the Yankees rather than 7 1/2 out.

Hope springs a new.  And that’s what’s great about baseball.  It’s a cliche, but it’s true.  The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.

In fact, the show I watched tonight reminded me of that.  In 1993, the Braves trailed the Giants by almost double figures at one point in their race for the NL West title.  With the addition of Fred McGriff, great pitching and some luck, Atlanta ended up catching San Fran and winning the division title by one game.  104 wins to 103.  (In those days, there was no wildcard, so the Giants just got to go home despite winning 103 ball games.  Ouch!)

Anyway, here’s the point.  The DVR could not kill my Red Sox.  There is a wildcard and there’s about 50 games left.  The Yankees and the Red Sox have a lot of games left.  The Sox have been injured and are beginning to heal.  The Yanks have been relatively healthy, but are an old team.

You see where I’m going with this.  Yes, Yankee fans should be very pleased with their team.  The Bombers are going to be in the playoffs.  They’ll probably win the division.

But, they’re probably not done with the Red Sox.  And that’s what’s great about this rivalry.

On The Other, There’s Roy Halladay, An Old Guy Who’s Worth The Investment!

21 Jul

I just posted my absolutely correct opinion that the Phoenix Suns made a huge mistake signing 35 year old Steve Nash to a two year extension that will run out when he’s 38.  38, is 214 in point guard years, especially when you’ve played in the Phoenix speed it up offense.

So, why then do I think Roy Halladay at 32 is worth everything you can throw at Toronto to get him?

It’s simple.  Pitching is an elusive art and betting on pitcher development is complete crap shoot.  I grew up a Mets’ fan.  I’m in my 40s (although still super sexy).  I lived through Generation K.

For anyone younger and less sexy than me, Generation K was a nickname given to three can’t miss prospects of the Mets back in the long ago 1990s.  All three guys were supposed to be future aces and the future looked damn bright on the mound at Shea.  Only something happened on the way to glory.  Not one of the three made it as a big league starter.  Injuries and ineffectiveness doomed all their careers.

Jason Isringhausen went on to have the biggest career of the three, but it wasn’t as a starter.

Anyway, the point is that predicting how pitchers mature is next to impossible.  So, as much as I tend to always favor youth when my teams are looking to make personal changes, for pitching I tend to take a bit different view.  For ace pitchers in particular, I’ve got a whole other mindset.

When Johan Santana was available.  I couldn’t believe the hated Yankees didn’t go stronger after him.  The Yankees held onto their allegedly talented young pitchers rather than dealing for the 30 year old and far from done Minnesota ace.  Where did it get them?  Out of the playoffs last year.

And that’s why for a team in contention, Halladay at 32, is worth whatever Toronto can be persuaded to take for him.   Whether a team in contention is built just for today or for the long run, there should be no hesitation.

Roy Halladay is the real deal.  He’s going to be an effective pitcher for years who may be able to put you over the top now.

What about that amazing prospect or prospects you’ll have to give up?  Well, if they’re pitchers, I wouldn’t worry too much. 

After all, I’m a Mets’ fan and even I can’t recall the names of the other two members of Generation K….

 

PS – OK, yes I can.  I just wanted to make a point and end with something snappy.  Why am I cursed with such a memory for sports?!  The other members of Generation K were Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson.

Here’s a bonus picture of them in case you thought I was making it all up:

On Opening Day In New York All Is As I Knew It Would Be!

7 Apr

KROD.jpgDay one of the baseball season doesn’t mean much.  For one thing, there’s another 161 games to go.  So, day one doesn’t mean a lot.  Unless it does.

If you’re a Mets’ fan you better hope this is how the rest of the year goes.  Putz sealing off the eighth and K-Rod doing what he’s supposed to in the ninth to earn his millions.

If you’re a Yankees’ fan, you had better hope C.C. and Teixiera bounce back quickly.  The big guy got shelled and the big bat was silent today.  If that’s how their season goes, they’ll be no playoffs in the Bronx.

For me, I saw all of this coming.  I figured the Mets bullpen would be improved.  Truth be told though, I’m not convinced about their starting pitching beyond Johan and some of the lineup is suspect to me (Castillo, Delgado, Sheffield and who ever else plays the outfield there).

As for the Yankees, I previously posted that C.C. would start off badly.  And so he has.  I’m no genius.  It’s been part of C.C’s pattern the last few years.  He’s pitched a lot (what with playoffs and the WBC) and so it’s understandable that he’s started off each of last few seasons pretty slowly.  My guess is that he’ll be alright in the end as well Texiera.

As with the Mets however, I’m not sold on the Yankees either.  I think they are simply too creaky (Posoda, A-Rod, Jeter, Matsui and others).

But what do I know, it’s only opening day.

Dan Rooney Could Be This Blog’s Man Of The Year! Plus Nonsense About A Rod & Twitter!

18 Mar

President Obama today named Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney as the US Ambassador to Ireland.  Fitting that it was on St. Patrick’s Day.

Congrats to Dan Rooney who epitomizes what this blog stands for.  Passion for sports and politics.

I’m not sure where he stands on nonsense.  But, we like that too.  So here’s some more of that:

A-Rod – Crazy pictures from upcoming Details magazine came out today.  Do you have to love or hate this guy?  Is he misguided or mentally ill?  For what it’s worth, I’ve rarely seen an athlete gifted with so much work so hard to find ways to get people not to love him while not being a really bad guy. Anyway, here’s a link – you decide!  http://men.style.com/details/features/landing?id=content_8397

Charlie Villanueva– Speaking of crazy and nonsense… Villanueva tweeted during half time of a recent game against the Celtics.  The Bucks, fighting for their playoff lives, were not amused.  In fairness, he tweeted that he had to step it up and then did in the second half.

Not sure if Villanueva or the NBA looks dumber here.  Villanueva had to know it wouldn’t look good for him to tweet at halftime.  On the other hand, maybe the NBA is missing a golden opportunity.  If football coaches are forced to give sideline interviews at half time and hockey players do interviews between periods, than maybe the NBA should be encouraging all its players to follow in Villanueva’s footsteps.

Nothing like giving the fan an inside view after all…  Just ask A Rod!