Saturday, August 30, 2008
I wanted to wait to write this post until the Yankees lost a truly sickening game. Thankfully/regrettably, today's 7-6 loss to the Jays was such a defeat. The Yankee's bullpen, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, allowed 5 runs over the final 3 innings. However, an A-Rod double play in the 9th and a Cano error on a sure double play ball in the 7th did not help the beleaguered bullpen. So without further adieu............
(1) Injuries to Wang and Joba-Although the offense has been atrocious this season (more on that soon) you would have to say that when a team loses its #1 and #2 starter, it is awfully tough to make the playoffs. In past season the Yankees have had shoddy starting pitching but could always rely on perennial 19 game winner Chien-Ming Wang to be the steadying force in the rotation. When he went down in mid June for the season; the Yankees were in trouble. But just as Wang was lost for the year, Joba began to assert himself as a dominant starting pitcher. He was learning "how to pitch" by starting off with low 90's fast balls and 2 seamers and then began to dial it up in later innings as the situations in the game became more crucial. However, in the middle of a start in early August in Texas, the Yankee's ace in the making succumbed to shoulder tendinitis. He has not pitched in a game since. As great as Mussina has been this year, Pettite has been awful in far too many starts this season, particularly against Boston, and Ponson and Rasner are just not any good. As great as Mussina has been this year, he does not have the dominating stuff and intimidating presence of Joba. But hey, at least we got Pavano....
(2) The Trade of Farnsworth for Pudge: I am the first to admit this trade excited me. I knew that Pudge was no longer the hall of fame catcher he had been in years past but he filled a void that the injury to Posada created (more on that later). Furthermore, the bullpen had been the strength of the team to that point as Edwar Ramirez and Jose Veras had been dominant much of the season so Farnsworth seemed expendable. But this trade has proven disastrous in 3 critical ways: (1) Pudge has done a horrendous job with the relief pitchers. Veras and Edwar Ramirez were excellent in the first half of the season when they were largely being caught by Jose Molina. Both had sub 3 eras before the all star break. Both have been atrocious since the break (Pudge was traded for only 10 days or so after the break) posting 5+ eras. (2) Farnsworth had a nearly perfect July posting a paltry 0.91 WHIP and 2.16 era. He had become the 8th inning anchor in the bullpen and Veras had become the 7th inning stalwart. Trading away Kyle completely destroyed the chemistry of the VerFarnsMo trio. (3) Pudge has been a downright pitiful offense player since he has joined the Yankees. Entering today's game he was 10 for his first 53 as a Yankee good for a below 200 batting average. I'm not suggesting that Molina is too much better offensively but he has done a far superior job defensively and the pitchers seem to trust him far more than Pudge.
(3) Jason Giambi: Giambi has had a very A-Rodian season. He has fairly good power numbers and a high on-base Percentage. However 18 of his 27 home runs have been of the solo variety and he has done miserably in the clutch only amassing a .200 batting average with runners in scoring position. It is a glaring indictment on your team's power guys when your 1-3 hitters all are around 300 and you are only middle of the pack offensively. In every season starting in 2005, either Giambi or A-Rod has carried the team offensively. In 2005 and 2007 A-Rod won MVPs and in 2006 Giambi had a phenomenal season. This is the first year where neither guy has had a great year and it has cost the team dearly.
(4) Robinson Cano- Devo will point out to you, as he has to me, that Cano is only our 7th or 8th hitter. This may be true, but the Yankees paid him handsomely this past off-season with the expectation that Cano would continue to be a .300 hitter and would develop a stronger batting eye and power swing. I keep hearing that he is a future 3 hitter, but I do not want Cano anywhere near the three hole! He has a horrid .310 on base percentage and takes till August to warm up (he hit .246 prior to the all star break). Furthermore, his complacency in the field, in spite of his brilliant abilities, is downright nauseating. Today he made a lazy flip to Jeter on a sure double play ball which sailed horribly low and wide leading to a 3 run inning which ultimately cost New York the game. He has made plays like this all season irritating the Yankee faithful. Cano needs to stop acting like a kid and start showing the game and the Yankees organization the respect they deserve. You are a high paid star now; act like it!
(5) Jorge Posada's season ending injury: This has received little attention as a cause for the Yankees relatively poor play this year. However, Jorge, more than Jeter, has been the emotional and fiery leader on this team for the better part of the past 8 seasons. His ability to work with younger pitchers and call a game, coupled with his offensive prowess as a switch hitting power hitter, makes him an indispensable player on this team. Molina has done a great job defensively but he can't replace Jorge's all around game. I remember saying to White Boy Senior after an exciting 14-9 win over the hated Angels earlier this month, "It's nice that we got this game but this team isn't going anywhere without Jorge". I wish I was wrong but sadly I was right. I can only hope that he comes back in April as good as new both defensively and at the plate so my favorite team does not have another sub-par season in 2009.
I need 4 hours to take in this loss and then I will post about the biggest non A-rod reasons that this team won't make the playoffs at that point.
-A-Rod deserves a post all to himself as the main Yankee goat this year.
-Cano's mental in game vacations confirms to me he's not a winner. I used to love ya kid but today you went to far.
-Wow...I've already added a new hole in my closet door and slammed a no longer functional alarm clock into the ground so now I just need to go for a run or the gym later and I'll be ready to have a more coherent post about this year's team. And I know that I raised the white flag already but that doesn't mean games like this don't make me raving mad.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Veteran Jay Feeley was brought in on Monday, an apparent admission that the Chiefs were not entirely happy with either Barth or Novak.
“He’s been a good kicker in the league,” coach Herm Edwards said. “We decided to bring him in here and see where he’s at. We’d like to have a kicker opening day, and he’s our kicker. We don’t want to have every other week a kicking contest again.”
But the Feely experiment lasted about one day.
The Chiefs announced Wednesday that Feely had been released after Novak and Barth clearly out-kicked the veteran in practice.
“When you’re in our situation, a young football team, sometimes the easy thing to do when guys are in a position where there’s not a clear-cut favorite, the easy thing to do in the past was, ‘Let’s go get a veteran.’
“We’re not doing that. We’re trying to build a football team. If it’s a good veteran and he fits in our system and he does what we want him to do, then that’s fine. But we don’t just go out and get a veteran to say we got a veteran. We did that a little bit last year. It didn’t work out too well in certain positions.”
I find this hilarious. Maybe what actually happened that Herm Edwards realized they signed Jay Feeley and he recalled his battles with field goals. You know the security guard who mans the Chiefs Headquarters probably was like 'Jay Feeley? Really?' but such osmosis didn't hit the Chiefs braintrust.
What's even funnier is that Herm know has to play damage control? Look I know various teams have 'systems' but there is no unique Kansas City Chief kicking system thats different outside of a few words from the rest of the league. So by not fitting into the system, Jay Feeley obviously has proven he is horrendous and can barely beat out two greenhorn kickers. But alas, don't worry Chief fans, you can have your pick of kickers that will soon be entering the unemployment line next week.
As Feeley attempts to find another job, one can only hope that he hooks up with Tommy Maddox as the two of them can tackle the insurance industry together.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
That would be the Yankees playoff chances sinking to the bottom of New York harbor above. At this point in the season, the Yanks have a 4.6% chance of playing in October. Even the owner(at least one of them) has given up on the season and has started preliminary negotiations with Scott Boras to decide on who they will overpay in the offseason to come save the team. Its really not that shocking that Yankee Stadium will probably come down without seeing another postseason game, looking back at the state of Yankees pitching from the beginning of the year, but it surely didn't help that someone taught the Devil Rays how to play baseball in the offseason. That being said, its still gotta sting giving up grand slams to leprechauns....
Part 1: MissMet
1. Derek Jeter
Perhaps you didn’t know this, but I don’t really like the Captain. My hatred for him has grown this year, as there are probably at least 9 Ford commercials starring him during Mets games. I know that other Mets fans hate this, so I’m sure they all rejoiced (as I did) when he was on the DL earlier in the season. I don’t even remember (or really care) what happened to him, but it was nice to see him out for a few weeks. Maybe somewhere down the road, he will have some sort of freak career-ending injury- most likely caused by his awful hair. Maybe then I’d get to stop hearing about how that Jeter-guy has an Edge (barf).
2. Lleyton Hewitt
This Australian tennis player is just a big asshole. With his obnoxious “COME ON!” cheer, seemingly after every point, and his pissy attitude, he has always rubbed me the wrong way. Worst of all, he showed a racist side when he accused a black linesman of calling points in James Blake’s favor, because they were both black. Duh. Whenever I hear about a Hewitt injury (or even loss) my day gets a little merrier.
3. Scott Gomez
Ah, remember the good ol’days when Scotty was a Devil? Well, as soon as the Alaskan-native went across the
4. Pat Burrell/Chipper Jones
These two power hitters have been killing the Mets for years as part of the Phillies and Braves respectively. Since they are both on NL East rivaling teams, most of their home runs and RBI have been very costly to my team and painful to me. Jones even named one of his sons Shea (it’s a good thing he didn’t hit well in
Well, last night's 'nite o'rivalries' turned into one large clusterfuck.
I went to the Yankee game with White Boy and a few others last night. And I was honored to attend THE LAST MEANINGFUL GAME IN YANKEE STADIUM. Sometime around when it got to be 7-3, I said to White Boy, "Ya know, I can't remember the last time I attended a funeral. Nor can I remember the last time I paid to attend one. Thanks."
But as bad as last night was for the Yankees, I would rather have been a Yankee fan last night, but 4 weeks from now, I'm pretty sure I'd rather be a Mets fan.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Nine-year-old Jericho Scott is a good baseball player -- too good, it turns out.
The right-hander has a fastball that tops out at about 40 mph. He throws so hard that the Youth Baseball League of New Haven told his coach that the boy could not pitch any more. When Jericho took the mound anyway last week, the opposing team forfeited the game, packed its gear and left, his coach said.
Officials for the three-year-old league, which has eight teams and about 100 players, said they will disband Jericho's team, redistributing its players among other squads, and offered to refund $50 sign-up fees to anyone who asks for it. They say Jericho's coach, Wilfred Vidro, has resigned.
But Vidro says he didn't quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league's field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.
"He's never hurt any one," Vidro said. "He's on target all the time. How can you punish a kid for being too good?"
I never understood situations like this. So okay, my retarded child can't hit this guy so wah let's kick him out of the league?!
Back in my day, one we were facing that guy in little league, we would try to bunt or something but under no circumstances did any of our parents and coaches cry or whine about it or say it was unfair. Yea we all looked like idiots trying to hit his 70 mph fastball but who cares? Not only that but the one hit the guy gave up was probably the best moment of the season for us as one of our guys homered off him. It taught us all a very important life lesson that maybe, just maybe baseball wasn't the right sport for me or that hey life can surprise you once in a while.
I mean think about it like this -- if they said the same thing to Micheal Phelps that he couldn't be on the swim team because he was too good. Do you think he would have won 8 gold medals at this year's Olympics? I'm not saying this kid is the next Pedro or anything - he could flame out his arm before that - I'm more sick of this glorified Disney Channel lifestyle that's filtering its way to our nations' youth. Wasn't there stories of little leagues that wouldn't keep score?
Hey, Let's not develop any personality traits in our kids. That's much better. They don't need to learn about winning and losing or why it's ok that some kids are better at things. Instead just kick them out of the league.
And for the record, if I packed up and forfeited because I saw some kid pitching, I'd be pissed at the coach. Did Spartans forfeit against the Persians?! HELL NO! Did the Jets forfeit against the Colts?! HELL NO! Did the NY GIANTS against the evil Patsies? HELL NO! Did this coach have something better to do or something? I mean seriously how much of a wuss can you be?
Now before I go all Lou Holtz on anyone, I'm sure there is some back story to this but I failed to actually read the whole thing. So consider me an asshole when it's reported this kid is actually 15 but I'm just bothered how everything is becoming all rose-colored with pink fairies and sunshines with kids these days. Maybe that's why we have so many emo kids out.
How about we make a rule to just ban parents from kids sports? Sports were so much more fun during lunch recess anyway.
The Olympics have been over for two days now, and most of you have probably moved on, either back to baseball, forward to football or over to the US Open. I'm knee-deep in tennis right now, but I did promise to write about my favorite moments from the 2nd week of the Beijing games, so without further ado:
Usain Bolt The Jamaican sprinter is absolutely the fastest human alive now that he has broken the 100m and 200m World Records. He broke them both easily. He's also kinda flashy, which I think you are entitled to if you run that damn fast.
Beach Volleyball Golds True, I did mention how sick I was of seeing early rounds of beach volleyballers Misty May-Treanor & Kerry Walsh and Phil Dalhausser & Todd Rogers. However, when it came to the Gold Medal matches, I was admittedly really into them. Both matches were pretty close in the beginning and then the Americans pulled away in the end.
Matthew Mitcham Watching this cute Aussie prevent a sweep by China in the Diving competition was really exciting. It looked as though the Zhou Luxin of China had it in the bag until he messed up in his last dive- he was in leading Mitcham by 30 points! Mitcham took advantage of a poor final round by scoring a 112.10 to win the competition by 5.8 points. It was wonderful to watch is reaction to his stunning upset.
The Redeemers Though I didn't get to see the Gold Medal game between Spain and the US, I was happy that LeBron, Carmelo and I suppose Jason Kidd and Kobe were able to take back the Gold glory for our country.
Men's Volleyball Gold In the team Volleyball competition, it was special to see the men's team win Gold for their coach, who's father-in-law was killed and mother-in-law severely injured by a crazy man while they were touring Beijing. The win was clearly quite emotional for him, as he must have run through the whole gamut of emotions during his time in China.
Cris Collinsworth I had never really seen much of Collinsworth, since he mostly does football and I don't watch much of that sport. I really enjoyed his stories each night, not only because they were heartwarming, but because you could tell that he was genuinely having a great time doing his job in Beijing.
Shawn Johnson finally wins her Gold Medal
American men and women both get Gold in the 4x400m relay
Dara Torres earns 2 Silvers at 40
Michael Phelps wins his 8th Gold
The Closing Ceremony (Setting up for London 2012)
Now we won't really think about the Olympics until 2010, when the Winter Games take place in Vancouver...
Monday, August 25, 2008
James Blake has his annual 5-set post-midnight U.S. Open match. Ah, what a time to be unemployed...
(And for the record, this is the least homoerotic photo I could find of James Blake. He needs to get drunk and pass out like the Captain (below))
The Two Non-Strahan Options
1. Move Kiwanuka back to defensive end.
Positives: This is the smart move. Kiwanuka was on his way to being one of the top DE's in the league and probably could be as good as unofficial-SB XLII MVP, Justin Tuck rushing the QB. The Giants proved that a great pass rush can more than compensate for a decent secondary and linebacking corps.
-Kiwi's move makes the Giants weak at the outside linebacker slots. With Kiwi, the Giants were still left with Gerris "Who?" Wilkinson as one of the OLB's. Now, without Kiwi, the OLB slots will go to two of the following: Wilkinson, 4th round pick Bryan Kehl, Zak "Who's your Daddy?" DeOssie, or Danny "Who: The Sequel" Clark.
-However, as Mahatma would point out, Mitchell and Torbor were arguably products of Spagnulo's system, and any of these options could end up being just as effective.
-Kiwanuka is apparently just starting to fit into his OLB role. Asking him to move back to DE could mess with Kiwi's ego, especially when he'll probably be asked to move to OLB again next season. Then again, given that the Kiwanuka family name has had to endure a bloody coup; I'm sure he can deal with switching positions.
Likelihood of this option:
2. Go into the season with the DE's we have.
-The Giants maintain their depth at linebacker.
-Um, have I mentioned linebacker depth? Really, I have? Well then, I got nothing.
-Unless you have faith in Renaldo Wynn or Dave Tollefson starting 16 games, this is a bad idea. There's always a chance that a good veteran is cut, or that Simeon Rice becomes a) good again and b)not a douche, but that's not likely.
-Really? You need more? Renaldo Wynn or Dave Tollfeson starting wasn't good enough for you?
Likelihood of this option:
Best Case Strahan Scenario:
Strahan agrees to come back as early as today or tomorrow for a 1 yr/$8 mil deal. (Sidenote: Do the Giants have the cap space for this? Does SUS now need our very own capologist?) Strahan has been keeping himself in good game shape and will (hopefully) only need 4-6 weeks to play himself into a force on the D-Line and should be in midseason form by Week 5 after the first bye week.
Most Likely Scenario:
Um, remember when he retired? He seemed pretty happy, still does. The man has his Super Bowl ring, the Giants sack record, the NFL single-season sack record, and $2 million/yr for sitting beside Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson's egos in the Fox pre-game studios.
And more importantly, he doesn't have an "undying passion for football, and blah blah blah," of a certain Mrs. John Madden who does not "throw" the football as much as he "gunslings" it into Corey Webster's waiting arms. Strahan will stay retired is the main bulletpoint here.
What I hope happens:
One of two things:
1. Strahan comes back, leads the team to back-to-back Super Bowls. This scenario makes him a larger-than-life hero as big as Mark Messier, Willis Reed, and Joe Willie Namath combined. It's also very unlikely to happen. Instead I'm rooting for this...
2. Strahan stays retired. Look, I've already written about how this Super Bowl completely rewrote Strahan's legacy in New York. He goes out a winner- something that very few in the NYC area have done. (The only one who comes to mind is Ken Daneyko, 2003 Devils.) So as much as the Giants and their fanbase would love to have Strahan for one year, he has earned the right to stay retired, preserve his legacy, and talk about Howie Long getting robbed of an Oscar for his role in Broken Arrow. So Strahan, stay retired. Because let's face it, option #1 aint happening.
Likelihood of a Strahan return:
2:30 Live from White Boy's not-so-humble abode, we'll be here all night to tell you about the game. Hopefully the US will be owning by mid-2nd quarter, but it doesn't matter; 3 hours of pre-game drinking will not prevent us from giving you the most in depth coverage of USA Basketball's return to glory.