Results tagged ‘ New York Yankees ’
One week until every team is in first…..at least for a day
One week until the Angels begin life with the best right handed hitter in the game
One week until the beginning of Chipper Jones’ farewell season
One week until Stephen Strasburg tries to recapture his rookie year magic
One week until the Pirates try to end a streak of 19 straight losing seasons
One week until Paul Konerko is just 4 homers away from 400
One week until the Theo Epstein era begins in Chicago
One week until Prince Fielder questions money over Comerica Park’s 420ft Center Field fence
One week until the ‘Carlos Zambrano Meltdown Watch’ starts
One week until Bobby Valentine tries to prove he’s the smartest guy he knows
One week until Kenny Williams questions why he traded Sergio Santos
One week until Kansas City fans look at the starting lineup and say “who’s that?”
One week until Magic Johnson wonders what $2 Billion just bought
One week until the fans actually listen to the starting lineup announcement
One week until Ryan Braun tries to prove it was all legit
One week until the Houston Astros become National League lame ducks
One week until the New York press declares the Mets out of the division race
One week until a first pitch ball outside will get a huge cheer
One week until I duck my head when an F-18 skims the top of Wrigley after our National Anthem
One week until the Red Sox don’t eat fried chicken during the game
One week until this passion we call baseball begins
One week until Opening Day!!!
Wild Card Edition
1.The first two Wild Card teams were the New York Yankees (79-65, 7GB) and the Colorado Rockies (77-67, 1GB) in 1995.
2. In the 17 post-seasons since the start of the Wild Card in 1995, 10 wild card teams have made it to the World Series. They are 5-5.
3. Wild Card teams have met in the World Series once. In 2002 the Anaheim Angels defeated the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 3.
4. If you have some free time, pick up Submarine at Redbox, it’s one of the better movies you have never heard of.
Bonus. The Florida (Miami) Marlins have never won their division; in fact they have only made the playoffs twice in their 19 year history, both times as a wild card. Both times they won the World Series (1997, 2003).
I read a note this morning that said Jorge Posada was going to announce his retirement from the Yankees and baseball tomorrow. Posada played his entire 17 year career with the Yankees and he was a key component on their 5 World Series championships since 1996.
I also read that he is probably a lock for the Hall of Fame. Maybe not first ballot, but he will definitely get in. Let’s take a look at his credentials.
– Power: 8th on the all-time catcher list for home runs……… Check
– Clutch: 11th on the catcher list for RBI’s…………Check
– Recognition: 5 time All-Star and 5 time Silver Slugger Award winner…….Check
– He was a part of 5 World Series winners………Check
– And of course, he was a Yankee………Check
But wait, is he really a shoe-in?
– He has only hit above .287 once in his career, and under .250 eight times.
– Of his five All-Star games, he was only named a starter twice. Not that the fans always pick the best player, but it does give you an overall feeling of what people thought of him.
– He’s never won a Gold Glove. I mean, if you’re not gonna win a Gold Glove as a catcher, than you better dominate on offense if you plan on making it into the Hall; and Posada didn’t.
– Yes he has 5 WS rings, but I think players like Jeter, Rivera, Martinez, Clemens, Petitte, and Williams can lay more claim as to being the key cog in the machine.
Let’s look at a few comparables.
—————————- G H HR RBI Avg
Player A: 1988 1782 324 1070 .252
Player B: 1829 1664 275 1065 .273
Player C: 1503 1527 260 864 .287
One player is Lance Parrish, one is Javy Lopez and one is Jorge Posada. Both Parrish and Lopez received less than 5% of the vote and were dropped off the HOF ballot after just one appearance. And without me telling you which player is which (Parrish-A, Posada-B, Lopez-C); I bet that you had a hard time picking out Posada.
So I say Posada was a good player, and he deserves the moment in the sun that he is going to get tomorrow when he retires, but when you start to hear things like “great player”, “best catcher of his era”, and “HOF lock”; think twice.
Dan Uggla doesn’t play in New York or Boston or Chicago. He plays in Atlanta. While the Braves might be a very popular team in the Southeast, they are still just a regional favorite that doesn’t have the national following of say the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs.
And so what he is doing in baseball right now, a 33 game hit streak, does not seem to be getting the over-the-top, wall-to-wall, live cut-in for every at-bat coverage by ESPN that a Derek Jeter race for 3000 hits might get; but it is something special.
What really makes it special is the incredibly unlikely nature of it happening.
In the 92 games prior to the streak, Uggla had a .182 batting average. He is a career .259 hitter.
Only 18 players have had longer streaks in baseball history. For some perspective, there have been 20 perfect games pitched.
This is the 7th longest streak since Pete Rose hit safely in 44 straight games in 1978.
And again, the crazy part is the guy who is doing it. Here are the seven longest streaks since Rose along with their batting averages the year before the streak and the year of the streak.
Pete Rose (44) 1978 .311/.302 All-time hit King
Paul Molitor (39) 1987 .281/.353 .306 lifetime avg and 3300+ hits
Jimmy Rollins (38) 2006 .290/.277 Switch-hitting speedster
Luis Castillo (35) 2002 .263/.305 Switch-hitter. Topped .300 7 times in career
Chase Utley (35) 2006 .291/.305 Career .290 hitter
Benito Santiago (34) 1987 .290/.300 Young at the time and fast
Dan Uggla (33) 2011 .287/.232 Career .259 avg
Not only is what this guy doing rare, but he probably shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re not already, it’s time to start watching.
Over the past couple of days I’ve had a chance to watch a couple of TV documentaries and read several baseball related print articles. Here is a quick summary.
Derek Jeter 3K: HBO
This is a one hour show that follows Derek Jeter during the weeks and days leading up to his getting his 3000 hit. I’ve never really been a big Jeter fan, but the show presented Jeter in a different light, at least to me. You see Jeter as he recovers from a strained calf muscle, at home with his family and friends, at the ballpark as he plays the game he’s known for.
It’s not an extraordinarily in-depth look into the life of a superstar player, but I would call it a must watch for any Derek Jeter or New York Yankee fan, and a ‘catch it if you have some free time’ for the rest of us.
The Curious Case of Curt Flood: HBO
On October 7th 1969, the St Louis Cardinals traded Curt Flood and 3 other players to the Philadelphia Phillies. Flood refused to report to the Phillies and then filed suit against Major League Baseball challenging the ‘Reserve Clause’ under which all players were bound.
This 90 minute documentary reveals the events in Curt Floods life that lead up to his decision to sue baseball, and the aftermath both to Flood and baseball from the results of the case.
This is a must watch for all fans of Curt Flood, the St Louis Cardinals, and baseball history. I would also recommend that the MLBPA show this movie to every one of their members. Let them know how and why they have what they have.
Here he Comes by Tom Verducci: Sports Illustrated
When he was 16 years old, Bryce Harper was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. One year later he was drafted number 1 overall in the June MLB free agent draft by the Washington Nationals. And now at the age of 18 he is tearing through minor league pitching on his path toward baseball superstardom. You can read about some of his ups and downs on and off the field, and find out the story behind the kiss he blew to a pitcher as he rounded third base after a home run.
A must read for fans of Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals. For everyone else this is a train ride home, sitting on the front porch, or waiting for the game to start in 10 minutes read.
Baseball’s Weight Problem by Craig Wolff: WSJonline
Does swinging a weighted bat, lead pipe, sledge-hammer or any other heavy object in the on-deck circle really help you swing quicker at the plate? The scientific evidence says no. In fact, it most likely slows your swing down. So why do players do it, and when did they start?
This is a must read if you are into the science of baseball, otherwise, know that I just summed up the article and that you now know that using a donut on your bat doesn’t help.
Realignment of baseballs teams is not something new, but it’s getting looked at anew after last weeks ESPN report that Major League Baseball and the Players Association are discussing the options of realignment.
Baseballs first major realignment took place in 1969. Prior to that; each league, American and National, had one division each. From 1901 through the 1968 season each league sent the winner of their division directly to the World Series. And while the overall number of teams in baseball increased slightly from 16 in 1901 to 20 in 1968, the structure of the leagues didn’t alter. But that all changed in 1969 when Major League Baseball expanded with the addition of 4 new teams (Seattle Pilots, KC Royals, Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres). Instead of 2 twelve team leagues, each league separated their teams into 2 six team divisions. A new round of playoffs was created and now 4 of the 24 teams made the post-season. Although a couple of teams moved over the next few seasons, Seattle to Milwaukee and Washington to Texas, the leagues remained the same until the next round of expansion.
In 1977 two new ball clubs were added to the American League, the Toronto Blue Jays were added to the AL East and the Seattle Mariners went to the AL West. The American League now had 14 teams and the National League had 12, and this is the way it stayed until 1993 when the NL expanded to 14 teams with the addition of the Florida Marlins in the NL East and the Colorado Rockies going to the NL West. But the overall system of two divisions in each league remained unchanged, albeit for only one season.
In 1994 baseball decided to break each of their 14 team leagues into 3 divisions. Each league created the 5 team East and Central divisions, as well as a 4 team West division. With the advent of 3 division champions, the leagues also added a “wild card” team to the playoff structure. Each league would now send 4 teams into the post-season. A new round of playoffs was created, the League Division Series.
This 3 division system is the same that MLB employs now, although since 1994 two new teams have been added, Arizona and Tampa Bay in 1998; one team changed leagues from the AL to the NL, Milwaukee, also in 1998; and another team just moved, Montreal to Washington.
And now we’ve reached 2011 when the talk of realignment has started again. Although there has been sporadic talk over the years of doing something with the league structure, I believe that the current drumbeat to do something is the loudest it’s been. The main reason that this talk is gaining traction is because, according to reports, the Players Union is on board with making a change.
The first thing we should look at is, why? Why realign at all? I think the main reason is fairness, or balance. In the current configuration of teams, at the beginning of any given season a team from the 4 team AL West has a 31.8% chance of making the playoffs while a team from the 6 team NL Central only has a 23.1% chance at post-season. There are other reasons as well, competitive balance and geography to name a few, but those factors are not being looked at in regards to the current realignment proposals.
So if “fairness” is the goal, the obvious solution is to make all divisions equal. But how?
So here are the two potential options being thrown out.
Two leagues of 15 teams, with 3 divisions of 5 in each league. Each league would have 3 division winners and 2 wild cards.
Two leagues of 15 teams, with just one division of 15, the top 5 teams from that league making the post-season.
My initial reaction to both plans was; No, I don’t like it.
With 30 teams, it’s easy to create six 5 team divisions. But that leads to two 15 team leagues. That’s something that baseball has always avoided because of the odd number which makes scheduling league play impossible. But with the advent of inter-league play 15 years ago, the thought of playing teams from the other league during the regular season became a reality and is now common place.
But do we want teams playing inter-league games on the last weekend of the season? And just to be clear, some teams will be playing inter league games then; there’s no way around it. As my friend posed this question to me; The Cubs are 1 behind the Cardinals with three games to play, do you really want to be playing those last three of the season against the Royals? And of course my first reaction was no; that would be horrible. But as I thought about it more I realized that it’s not a valid question. The question presupposes that if it weren’t for the 15 team league and inter-league play throughout the baseball season that the Cubs would be playing the Cardinals on that final weekend. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This year the Cubs end the year against the Padres, not even a division opponent. In fact, of the current 1st and 2nd place teams in the six divisions right now, only 2 of the 6 sets of teams are playing against each other the final weekend of this season. So if the final opponent of the season doesn’t matter in the scheduling, that removes the barrier to leagues with an odd number of teams.
So then the question becomes; One 15 team division or three 5 team divisions?
Again my initial response was, three divisions of five.
Let’s keep the rivalries intact, I want those September Cubs-Cards matchup’s to have extra meaning. But you know what? I was wrong. One of the things that give those games meaning is the close location of the two cities, and that won’t change. The other thing that can make those games special is a tight race in the standings. But they don’t have to be in the same division to be close in the standings. If it’s the last weekend of the season and the Cubs and Cards are tied for the fifth spot in the playoffs, I have a feeling the excitement would be just as great as if the two teams were playing for first in the NL Central.
Think about it this way, we already have the ‘one division’ playoff race right now. Every team in the league currently competes for the wild card spot now. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the central or west divisions, if you have the better record, you are in the post-season.
The one division plan also helps alleviate the competitive/economic balance problem. For the past decade the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Rays have been behind the power curve being in the same division as NY and Boston (yes I know Tampa was in the World Series two years ago). But now Toronto could still finish behind both NY and Bos and still make the playoffs.
The thing is, the past two seasons the same 4 teams from each league (3 Div Champs and 1 WC) would have still made the post-season. But in 2008 things would have been different. The LA Dodgers won the NL West with 84 wins, but that was only the 7th best record in the NL overall. The Mets, Astros, Cardinals, and Marlins all had a better record than the Dodgers but didn’t make the post-season because LA was in the weak NL West. The irony here, at least for a Cubs fan, is that the Dodgers swept the “number 1 seed” in the first round of the playoffs that year; of course that number 1 team was the 97 win Cubs.
One of the last issues would be tradition. I’ve talked to a couple of people that say we need to maintain divisions, that they are part of the game. How if we change the system now for “fairness”, it would just be another example of the softening/PC fixing of America. But really, that’s just a matter of perspective. Sure we have had divisions for 40+ years and that’s what everyone is used to, but for the 60+ years before that we only had one division. I’m fairly certain that if the internet was around in the fall of 1968 there would have been plenty of people complaining about how baseball was becoming soft and that they didn’t need any of that ‘flower power hippie stuff’ in their game.
In Conclusion (for all that skipped ahead or those brave enough to have read the entire post), I say baseball should realign. Move one team from the NL to the AL and have just one division of 15 teams with the top 5 teams making the playoffs.
I’d love to hear your opinion and thanks for reading
(Also, this week I will be posting reviews and photos from one White Sox-Mariners game as well as last night’s Cubs-Yankees game)
Today one of the greatest players in the history of the game
will receive the highest honor that the President of the United States can
confer to a civilian of our country.
Stanley Frank Musial (Stan the Man) will receive the
Presidential Medal of Freedom award.
of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who
have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national
interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other
significant public or private endeavors.
a White House press release announcing the award.
Congrats to Stan the Man.
I’ve always felt that Musial is one of the ten best
players to play the game. And amazingly to me, I think he is one of the most
underappreciated players in the game.
Why? I don’t know. Is it because of the time period he
played in? Is it because he played in St. Louis, not New York, for his entire
career? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t do much TV. But for whatever reason, when
bar discussions take place and guys start throwing out the names of the
greatest players to play the game, Musial’s name takes a while before coming
You can find all of Musial’s stats here:
But I will point out a few that should be highlighted.
Stan won 3 MVP’s and finished second 4 other times.
Stan was a 24 time All-Star.
He is fourth all-time in hits (3630); he was second only
to Cobb when he retired.
He’s still 28th on the all-time home run list;
he was number 8 when he retired.
Stan is top 20 all-time in hits, RBI’s, doubles, triples,
total bases, base on balls, slugging %, and OPS.
If nothing else, I hope today’s award gives Musial some
long overdue acknowledgment. (Hopefully
I can post a picture of Stan receiving the award sometime later today)
Side note: The St. Louis Cardinals and Albert Pujols
agreed to extend the deadline to reach a contract agreement for 24 hours until
Weds out of respect for Musial receiving today’s award. If no contract is
signed, Pujols has said he will end all talks with the team so that his status
with the team is not a constant distraction. All that means to me is that
Albert doesn’t want to be answering questions about the contract. This issue is
not going away. There will be distractions. There won’t be a day all season that fans won’t be reminded
that Pujols is a free agent at the end of the year. Every time Albert drives in
a run or hits a bomb into Big Mac Land, fans and players will be reminded that
this guy is the best player in the game and nobody knows what team he will play
for in 2012.
If you’re a New York Yankee’s fan, you gotta love your team
for doing what they do in an attempt to win. And that is, spend money.
Now money doesn’t guarantee a championship, if it did the
Cubs would have won one in the last ten years, but it gives you a leg up on
First the Yankees go after the best offensive player
available on the free agent market, Carl Crawford. They didn’t get him, and
maybe they were holding back just a little because they also were making a play
for Cliff Lee, but they forced Boston to pay full price.
After losing out on Crawford, the Yanks made a full court
press to get Lee. They offered the best contract, and in today’s world that
would usually be enough, but Lee decided to go back to Philadelphia where he
pitched in 2009. As a fan, you have to appreciate their effort.
But when you don’t get your first two choices, when you’re
the Yankee’s, you get pick number 3 no matter what it takes.
So according to ESPN sources, New York has agreed to a deal
with closer Rafael Soriano to be Mariano Rivera’s setup man. How do you get a
closer to sign as a setup man? You give him closer money. Look, most teams have
to abide by a general salary structure for their club and paying huge bucks for
setup guys just doesn’t fit the equation. But when you have almost unlimited
funds and you don’t get the first two guys that you wanted for some reason, the
rational thought that would limit how much you pay for a setup man goes out the
The crazy thing is, Soriano probably should have been their
first choice all along. The Yankee’s rotation is going to be in flux for most
of the year (even if they do get Pettitte back) and their bullpen is going to
be counted on more this year than in any recent memory.
With the re-signing of Mariano last month, the recent
signings of lefty Pedro Feliciano and Soriano, and throw Joba Chamberlain in
the mix, the Yankees will have a solid pen that will only require starters to
get the game to the 7th inning.
Will it be enough to beat Boston? Does it have to be? The
truth is that two teams will probably come out of the East just like they have
in 7 of the last 9 years.
PS. I like all 4 home teams to cover this weekend in the NFL Playoffs.
Volume 3 -
Rich “Goose” Gossage.
With the recent announcement of the Hall of Fame class of
2011, I thought it would be appropriate to showcase a HOF member as the next
subject for my “He Was a Cub” series. That hall of famer is Rich “Goose”
Rich Gossage was drafted in the 9th round of the
1970 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox.
After being drafted, Gossage pitched 51 innings in single “A” ball to finish
out the summer of 1970. The next season, 1971, Rich Gossage was a starting
pitcher for single “A” Appleton, and Gossage totally dominated his opponents. Rich
made 24 starts that year going 18-2 with a 1.83 era.
Gossage’s great minor league season led to a roster spot
with the Chicago White Sox for the 1972 season as a reliever in the bullpen,
although his first appearance would be delayed by the first ever players
strike. The start of the season began 13 days late and Gossage made his first
appearance on April 16 against the Kansas City Royals. With runners on second
and third and no outs, Gossage came on in the bottom of the fifth in a 1-1 tie.
The first batter that Gossage faced was the 1969 AL rookie of the year, Lou
Piniella. Gossage walked Piniella to load the bases. The next batter hit
into a 6-4 force-out at second with a run scoring and then Gossage was able to
get out of the inning without additional runs scoring.
With Chuck Tanner as his
manager, Goose Gossage spent his first three seasons in the bullpen for the
White Sox pitching middle relief and making a couple of spot starts. The main
closer for those teams was Terry Forster, however, during the 1975 season
Forster suffered an injury and Gossage took over the closer role. That season
Gossage made 62 appearances with a 9-8 record, 1.84 era, and a league leading 26
saves. Unfortunately for Chuck Tanner, the Sox finished 75-86 in fifth place
and Tanner was fired.
In 1976, new Sox manager Paul Richards decided to make Rich
Gossage a starting pitcher again. Gossage made 29 starts; he was 9-17 with a
3.94 era. Meanwhile, Chuck Tanner was managing the Oakland A’s for one season
with Rollie Fingers as his closer.
Chuck Tanner was fired from Oakland after the ’76 season and
hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates to be their
new manager. One of his first moves was to make a trade with the White Sox for
Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. Tanner told Gossage he would make him the
closer like he was under Tanner in Chicago. That season Gossage saved 26 games
to go along with 11 wins and a 1.62 era.
Today Gossage gives Chuck Tanner all the credit for defining
his role in baseball and making into who he became.
Rich Gossage became a free agent for the first time
following the 1977 season and he signed with the team that he would become synonyms
with, the New York Yankees.
Over the next 7 seasons Gossage dominated the AL in the
closer role for the Yankees saving 151 games, winning 42 more. He was a four
time all-star with the Yanks, getting Cy Young and MVP votes three different
times each during that period.
After the 1983 season, Gossage left the Yankees and signed
as a free agent with the San Diego Padres. 1984 would be a good year for both
Gossage and the Padres as San Diego made the playoffs and crushed the hopes of
Cubs fans winning three straight games and winning the NL title 3 games to 2.
In the World Series the Detroit Tigers beat San Diego 4 games to 1.
Rich Gossage pitched the next three years for the Padres
bringing his four year total stats with San Diego to 25 wins, 83 saves, and a
On February 12, 1988 the Padres
traded Gossage and Ray Hayward to the Chicago Cubs for Mike Brumley and
At the age of 36, Gossage pitched in 46 games for the Cubs
in 1988. He was 4-4 with 13 saves and a 4.33 era for Don Zimmer’s 77-85 fourth
place finishing Cubs. That season he pitched in 21 games at Wrigley Field going
2-3 with a 5.06 era over 16 innings. 1988 would be Gossage’s only season with
the Cubs; during spring training of 1989 Chicago released the Goose.
Over the next five years Gossage pitched with five different
teams including Oakland, the Rangers, and finishing his career with the Seattle
Rich Gossage pitched his last game on August 8th,
1994 for Seattle against the Rangers in Texas. He pitched the final 3 innings
in a 14-4 Seattle win to earn his 310th
and last career save.
Richard ” Goose” Gossage entered the Hall of Fame in 2008 with
85% of the writers vote in his 9 year on the ballot.
Photos – Bing Image Search, SI, Vintage Cards
I’m sure over the next couple of days people are going to
hear about the Seattle Seahawks and how they
made the NFL’s playoffs this year with a losing record (7-9). There will be hand-wringing and calls to
revamp the system. Complaints that 10 win teams(Giants & Tampa) are out of
the playoffs while the 7-9 Seahawks will be 10 point underdogs at home against
an 11 win New Orleans Saints team.
And when the Seahawks lose that first game, people will be
complaining again about how they shouldn’t have been in. “See” they’ll say.
So do we change the system? No more divisions, just two big
conferences with the top 8 making the playoffs.
Can what happened in the NFL happen
Can a team with a losing record win
a division in baseball? It hasn’t happened yet, but I guess it could.
The Dodgers won the NL West in 2008 with just 84 wins, they beat the 97 win Cubs in the first round
before getting knocked out of the post-season. In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals
entered the playoffs as the NL Central champs after winning just 83 games. The
Cardinals went on to win the World Series that year, becoming the WS winning
team with the lowest win percentage in MLB history.
I know that there has been a suggestion that MLB expands the
number of teams in the playoffs and that they should also change the structure
of the leagues. The idea would be to eliminate the divisions and just have the
AL and NL and the top five from each league making the playoffs.
While this sort of change might eliminate the 83 win type of
teams from making the playoffs and give teams like Baltimore and Toronto a
better chance considering they are stuck in the same division as the Yankees
and Red Sox, I think I would be against this.
I just like division races.
I like the division heavy schedule. I like the idea that’s teams from all
around the country make the playoffs. And if that means that the Cubs might
make the playoffs with 82 wins and Toronto sits home with 85 wins, so be it.
So even though I think that the New Orleans
Saints will crush the Seahawks, Congrats to Seattle for making the