Saturday, June 20, 2009

For you ryan

The mobile post is back baby!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Someone is Going Around Pretending to be Brian Cashman

I am a big fan of Brian Cashman as a general manager. Sometimes I may even go so far as to fall intowhat one might deem Cashman apology. One thing that does bother me sometimes about his approach is his seemingly laid back public persona. Maybe its because I’m used to George coming out after a 5 game losing streak in April and calling the player with the worst average a pansy, or Mr. April or something equally as derogatory yet blissfully entertaining to us plebes, or maybe its not. What I do know is that Cashman almost always seems to eschew what showing emotion or voicing an opinion for the cryptic or the corporate speak response. What I like to see is someone telling it like it is or at least how they think it is. One problem with this, though, is that people (I’m looking at you Mike Francesca) don’t know when to shut up and blather on and on even after they have been proven to be misinformed or completely, utterly, and embarrassingly incorrect, but, as is my wont, I digress. As for the Yankee’s gm, we might be witnessing his bursting from his corporate shell. Allow me to elaborate.

This morning, when perusing my favorite blog (River Avenue Blues), and overall best Yankee site hands down, I read an interesting quote in one of the articles there. It was about comments made by Andrew Marchand regarding Chien-Ming Wang. In it Marchand mentions how the Yankees, having no experience with the Lisfranc injury that Wang suffered last year, told him not to work out his legs this offseason for fear of reinjury. The meat and potatoes comes when Marchand mentions he talked to Wang’s agent, Alan Nero, and details what he said and Cashman’s response. Mike Axisa writes:

"Marchand also said he spoke Alan Nero, Wang’s agent, who said his client is upset about being told not to work his legs, as well as having to work out of the bullpen. He’ll go along with it for the time being because he’s a team player. Cashman’s response: “His contract says baseball player, not starting pitcher.” That’s an OH SNAP! moment if there ever was one."

OH SNAP! just about hits the nail on the head. I think this is such a great response in so many ways. The Yankees and Brian Cashman do not owe one player on that roster a damn thing. They get paid to show up and play. Chien-Ming Wang won 19 years in 2006 and 2007. That’s awesome. He had an era over 30 this year. That is Teh Epic Suck©®™ and deserves nothing more than a reality check. He gets nothing handed to him nor deserves a damn thing until he proves he can get people out in whatever way the Yankees see fit. He is, in fact, a baseball player under contract to play baseball. If he feels disrespected for that and is unable to forgive the Yankees for their blatant mishandling of his DL stint and subsequent activation (my opinion obv) then let him walk when he is eligible for free agency and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out Monsieur Wang.

Now, had this been an isolated incident, I would have thought nothing of it other than +1 for Cashman and his portrayal of someone who has a set of balls. But, as Erik Boland’s article shows us, we might just be seeing Brian Cashman taking his set of brass balls off the mantle and finally putting them to good use. In the article Cashman discusses none other than Joba Chamberlain and (for God sakes already) the bullpen. I plowed through the first few sentences expecting the typical line of he is in the rotation and we have no plans to move him back to the bullpen at this time yada yada yada. But, much to my surprise and joy, there was more. The topic turns to Joba’s velocity, or lack thereof at the beginning of games and Boland brings up the argument (sorry, the really stupid and “but I see it with my own eyes” argument) that there may be an adrenaline rush resulting from pitching out of the bullpen that would allow him to come in and pump 1000 mph fastballs that would burrow holes through the barrels of the bats and be completely unhittable for one inning a game every couple days. Cashman’s response is great:

"That's all crap," he said. "Wake up and smell the coffee. If he's on national television on ESPN and throws 91 on the 22nd pitch, why would you think if he comes in in the eighth inning protecting a 4-3 lead [he'd throw 96]? Stop, he's a starter.''

While not quite an OH SNAP! moment it does seem to be a concrete dig at B-Jobbers the world over and only moves him higher up Teh Awesome scale coming on the heels of today’s earlier comments from Marchand. Will Joba be moved back to the bullpen? "It's not even an option," quoth the Cash$$. We are all witnesses.

What caused this shift in Brian Cashman? Is it not being in fear of a whimsical Big Stein who could snap at any minute and feeling like he has some job security so he doesn’t have to produce generic answers? Is it a better relationship with Hal? Maybe he is just fed up and wishes everyone would so totally just STFU and leave him the hell alone? Or maybe he has always been like this and I have just never noticed. Who knows? He could totally be an alien like Dennis Leary and Alec Baldwin and be counting the days til he can suck out our mushy brains. Frankly, I couldn’t give a damn as long as he doesn’t retire that set of balls anytime soon and keeps on bringing the entertainment. Up next, I want to hear what Cash$$ really thinks of Carl Pavano.

My Life in Rain Delay

This morning I woke up and went through my usual routine of getting ready to leave the house on my way to work. It was business as usual until I went to open my front door and head off to the train station. I crack open the door and what do I see? Pouring rain. Awesome. Not only pouring rain, but the heaviest downpour I have seen in my area during my morning commute since I moved here a little over a year ago. Needless to say I was none too pleased. Compounding my frustration was the debilitating lack of an umbrella. You see, every time I need one at home it just so happens to be at work and vice versa. So I stood there, momentarily stunned, weighing my options. It is Friday. I mean, I could just wait for it to subside and go in late, especially since I am always on time, right? I seriously considered this approach for a second before I caught myself and started to chuckle. I just thought about imposing my own personal rain delay on my life. I was ready to bring the tarp out on the front lawn, head back into my bedroom dugout and wait out Mother Nature with a nap.
Unfortunately, this excuse probably wouldn’t have flown at my office, although it would have been fun to see the response when I said I was late because my morning commute had been in a rain delay. The humor of the situation could not, though, prevent the inevitable. Super screwed. I gave up and, with a sigh, ran (kind of maybe a little) to the train station. As I was drying out in my seat this whole thing got me thinking about rain delays in baseball and I decided to do some research, specifically, what was the longest official rain delay in MLB history.
The first thing I found was that there are no official records kept on rain delays. The MLB and Elias Sports Bureau (the people that keep track of all statistics and supply ESPN with their meaningless filler stats like only 2 players have ever hit a single at 2:37 pm in a 2-0 count in the Midwest with the middle initial Q) do not feel that rain delays are worth archiving or even a stat at all. Luckily for me, though, there is a man named Phil Lowry. Good old Phil. I found an article on with an email he sent in to Jason Beck’s blog in 2007 explaining exactly what I was looking for.
Throughout baseball history (as of August 2007) we have been subjected to 6 rain delays of four hours or more. Which one was the longest you ask? Well I will answer that in two ways. First, the longest rain delay in MLB history was for a game that got called after the delay. Lowry has it listed as a game between the Texas Rangers and Chicago White Sox on July 23, 1990. However, it seems Phil Lowry’s dates are wrong. When I went looking for box scores from that date (thinking there wouldn’t be any) I found the Rangers played the Yankees in Texas and the White Sox were home at Comiskey Park against the Cleveland Indians. Good Job Phil. It’s ok, we forgive you. After a little more digging I found that the correct date was actually Sunday August 12, 1990. Based on the starting pitchers the following day, the 13th, it seems as though it was scheduled to be young rookie Alex Fernandez, in only his 3rd start of his career, against veteran Kevin Brown and his 12-8 record and 3.51 ERA. Let’s set the scene.
Chicago was a second place team sitting 4.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics and Texas was in third place, a whopping 13 games back. The game was scheduled to start at 1:35 pm central time. It was not to be that day as the skies opened up, and for some godforsaken reason, the game was delayed for a brain numbing 7 hours and 23 minutes (!!111!!1!1!!) before it was finally and mercifully called at 8:58 pm central time. We can only imagine what Sammy Sosa, Ozzie Guillen, and future Yankees Jack Mcdowell and Melido Perez were doing with their time in the White Sox clubhouse. Maybe this is when Scott Radinsky decided to start a punk band after he retired (Pulley Homepage). Or, over in the Texas clubhouse, maybe Nolan Ryan, Charlie Hough, and Julio Franco were making a bet to see who could get closest to 50 before retiring? Only God knows. By the way, Julio won by retiring at age 48 while Hough and Ryan only made it to 46. Amateurs.
The longest delay of a game that was actually played (double-checked as I learned not to trust Lowry’s dates), was 5 hours and 45 minutes on October 3, 1999 in Milwaukee when the Reds and Brewers were supposed to start at 3:15 pm central time. This game was delayed for so long because of its playoff implications. It was game 162 and the Reds found themselves 1 game out of first place in the NL Central behind the Houston Astros and in a dead heat with the Mets atop the Wild Card standings. Mike Hampton led Houston over the Dodgers to secure the division crown for the Astros earlier in the day, and the Mets also won, defeating the Pirates behind a solid relief outing from none other than Armando Benitez. If the Reds won, they would face the Mets in a 1 game playoff the next day to determine the Wild Card winner. Imagine the agony of watching both the Mets and Astros win in early day games and then having to sit through almost 6 hours of rain. The pain! Well, the game did finally happen and the tandem of Pete Harnisch and Greg Vaughn led the Reds to victory. Unfortunately for the Reds they ran into big game Al Leiter who tossed a complete game shutout to put the Mets into the playoffs. All that waiting and rain for nothing.
So, in conclusion, I guess I have to give a shout out to Mother Nature for the torrential downpour I was greeted with this morning for giving me the inspiration to pen such an investigative piece of sports journalism. Thanks sweetie. Never change. 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chipper Jones, Golden Sombreros, and The Hall of Fame

The Golden Sombrero. This term has got to be one of my favorite baseball sayings. A golden sombrero occurs when a player strikes out 4 times in a game. According to Wikipedia, that almighty beacon of truth, the term is based off of the hat trick in hockey. Since 3 goals in hockey is a hat trick, 4 strikeouts should be commemorated with a bigger hat (of course it lacks a citation.) To me this makes no sense since 3 goals in hockey are extremely good and 4 strikeouts in baseball are extremely bad (borderline pathetic,) but I digress. This educational, or not so much, moment is brought to you by Chipper Jones.

I was on the train today on my way to another day at the office when I read something on ESPN mobile. It was buried in the game notes of the recap of Randy Johnson’s 299th win. Chipper Jones struck out 4 times for the first time in his career, his 15 year major league career (A-Rod currently sports 4 sombreros on his hat rack.) This made me think. Chipper has been around a long time and unless you are a Braves or Mets fan (based on the urban legend he named his son Shea because he hit so well there) has mostly been lost in the shuffle. Exactly how good is Chipper? Having not struck out 4 times in a game in 14+ seasons seemed pretty impressive to me so I thought I would check it out. My question, is Chipper Jones a 1st ballot Hall of Famer?

First off, I found out there are only 10 (TEN!!?) Major League 3B in the Hall plus 3 Negro League 3B. This made my life easier when researching no matter how surprising. The three that stand out on the list and are comparable to Jones are Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and Brooks Robinson, all of whom played the majority if not the entirety of their careers at the hot corner. Oh, yeah, and did I mention that they’re all first ballot Hall of Famers as well?

George Brett

George was the offensive 3b albeit without monster power. In 21 seasons he only hit 317 HR (average of 15 a year) but he did finish his career with 3,154 hits and an impressive career line of .305/.369/.487. What jumps out a you are his 13 consecutive All Star appearances, 3 Silver Slugger awards, and 1 MVP in 1980. He was an on base machine who while not being stellar in the field was above average, winning a Gold Glove in 1985 and finishing with a career fielding percentage of .970. In 1980, his MVP year, he hit .390/.454/.664. That is just insane. Despite having 231 fewer homeruns than Mike Schmidt, Brett has the exact same number of RBI. Crazy. Oh yeah, and his hat rack is golden sombrero free, believe it or not.

Brooks Robinson

Brooks is the glove of the group. He is quite possibly the best defensive 3B of all time. He won 16 CONSECUTIVE Gold Gloves (are you kidding?!11?) and appeared in 15 straight All Star games. At age 37 he not only won a Gold Glove and made the All Star Team, but got 9% of the MVP vote that year. His career offensive numbers are average overall but he cemented his legacy with an MVP award in 1964 at age 27 with just shy of 200 hits, 28 HR, 118 RBI and a triple slash of .317/.368/.521. In 1964 that is out of this world when combined with Gold Glove defense. Strangely enough, Robinson had 1 4 strikeout game in his career, giving him a 40 something year old sombrero hanging on his hat rack.

Mike Schmidt (equal sign beast)

This dude was a monster. He combined great defense with rock em sock em type power. For God sakes the guy won the MVP in 1981 and only played in 102 games and only had 112 hits! Not fair. In 18 seasons he amassed an underwhelming 2234 hits but that does not tell even one third of the story. From 1976-1984 Schmidt won the Gold Glove every year and hit 35 or more HR in 7 of those years while also going to 8 All Star games and winning 2 MVPs and 5 Silver Sluggers. His career OPS+ is the highest of the three sitting at 147. This type of power comes with a price though as he was a high strikeout guy throughout his career, finishing with more than double George Brett’s K total. As a result, he sports 6 golden sombreros.

Now after going through all of this and seeing how truly amazing each of the above individuals was in their own right we come to Chipper. He already has more hits than Schmidt (81), more HR than Brett and Robinson, and a chance, with 2 or 3 more good years of surpassing Brett and Schmidt’s RBI total. Were Chipper to retire today, his triple slash of .310/.408/.547 would be the most impressive of the three by far and his career OPS+ is only 2 points lower than that of Schmidt. Add into that Chipper’s 6 All Star games, MVP award, and 2 Silver Sluggers and his case seems even more solid. His consistency throughout his career despite spending good portions of some seasons on the DL is very impressive. Chipper probably won’t make it to 20+ years like Robinson and Brett without the benefit of moving to a 1B/DH split but he should, barring any David Ortizian Collapses®™© or serious injuries, at least be able to meet Schmidt’s 18 years of service and with that put an emphatic stamp on a very impressive career.

So next time there’s a braves game on TBS put it on and watch Chipper’s at bats so when he goes into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot you can tell your kids, “I watched him play.”

For now, I retreat back into my mother’s basement to hug my spreadsheets and play my Strat-O-Matic Baseball game.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Testing mobile post

Still on the couch in my undies except the game started. Decided to test this automatic email post jammie.


So here we are. I'm sitting here in my underwear on my couch waiting for the Yankees to come out of the rain delay down in Texas. At least there's hockey and basketball playoffs to help me wile away the hours. I have been meaning to start a blog for a long time. I first had the idea for the Vote Paul For Mayor ©®™ a year or two ago while watching a game and talking to a couple friends. We were discussing what a character O'Neill was and how there wasn't a Yankee fan to be found who didn't like him. This made me think. If O'Neill were to, say, run for office, would everyone vote for him?
To test this theory I hit the road in search of validation. Are you a Yankee fan? Would you vote for Paul O’Neill? And you know what? Some said yes, some said hell yes, some said definitely, and some said without a doubt. You know what not one person said? No. Not one person said they would not vote for good ol’ Paulie O. So there’s the inspiration for the name and the idea behind it. As of right now I’m not sure exactly what it will be. Probably just my sounding board to rant and rave like a lunatic about things like sports, music, news, etc.
How is this different you ask? Everyone has a blog, sir, so how is yours different? Well, I guess for now it is not. But hey, I’m a smart guy and have been known to be funny on occasion so I have faith it will adapt into something totally awesome. If not, whatever, everyone has a blog, layoff me man.
Final note. It took me absolutely forever to start this because I am lazy and probably afraid no one will give two craps what I have to say. On that note, if you have any suggestions, comments, or just want to tell me I am so super totally awesome or just plain old suck go right ahead. Everyone's entitled to their opinion even if it is wrong.