Friday, November 30, 2007

Johan Philler

Things to think about when thinking about Santana. Or, how I rationalize the world when I go to sleep tonight:

1) Every trade you make is a risk, but the biggest risk is not taking one.

2) We're arguing about Phil Hughes and Johan Santana, not Phil Hughes and Ben Sheets or Phil Hughes and Mark Prior.

2a) It's Johan freakin' Santana.

3) No matter what, our rotation will have at LEAST Wang, Joba, one of Phil/Kennedy and likely either Santana/one of Phil/Kennedy and Moose or Pettitte. That is a better rotation than most teams can dream of--young (except for Moose/Pettitte), but talented. Holy crap is there talent.

4) I don't want to see Melky go, of course, but with that exception, we have the same line up we had in 2007, which, in case you forgot, wasn't really a bad line up. Actually, it was pretty good. Actually, we'd still have guys like A-Rod, Jeter, Robbie, Bobby, Johnny D...hell, we have Jason GIAMBI coming off the BENCH. Not to mention Shelley Duncan or Jose Molina, etc. It's not a line up I want to pitch to...even in a slump.

5) We also have a coaching staff teams would kill for...and I like it. A lot.

It really isn't a bad time to be a Yankee fan.

Boston won the World Series twice in five years, sure, but it's not like the Yankees' Universe has suddenly imploded.

I love Phil Hughes. I want him to be a Yankee, but I am not going to cry myself to sleep if he goes for Johan Santana.

Whatever happens, happens, but if you're considering trading in your Yankee pinstripes for a Twins' cap if Phil goes, you need to take a few deep breaths.

(Then call 911 and tell them you've gone off your rocker)

You Learn Something New Every Day

So with all of this hullaballoo about Johan Santana, I thought I might as well make an actual post about Santana. Most of us know who he is and why we want him so bad, but I'm sure there are a couple that aren't quite familiar (aside from the Santana-is-great-pitcher thing).

Johan Santana

Born 13 March Venezuela in 1979

Santana was originally drafted by the Houston Astros, but picked up by the Florida Marlins in the Rule V draft (which I explained last week). The Marlins, in one of there classic general managing moments, proceeded to trade Santana to the Twins for Jared Camp (who?)

Santana throws a 91-95 fastball and a hard slide, and a changeup considered one of the best in baseball.

He also has exceptional control: In about 220 innings, he walked just over fifty batters. Not 220 batters, 220 innings.

In 2004, Santana went 13-0 in the second half, setting a modern day record.

In 2005, Santana had the AL's second-lowest ERA after Kevin Millwood.

In 2006, Santana won the AL pitching triple crown, the first to do so since 1999. He led in ERA, Strikeouts, and tied with CM Wang in wins.

On August 19 2007, Santana struck out 17 batters in a 1-0 win for the Twins.

Source has a wicked fastball

Thursday, November 29, 2007

NFL Picks Week 13

So apparently there's a game today. (where have all the readers gone?)

Packers over Cowboys. This one's going to be good. Unfortunatley, none of us are going to get to see it.

Tennessee over Houston. With luck, Tennessee will change it's ways...

Indianapolis over Jacksonville. Another one worth watching.

San Diego over Kansas City. In spite of LT.

St. Louis over Atlanta, just to change things up.

Jets over Miami. Dude, if you hold the other team to three points and you still lose? Sorry man, you're cursed.

Detroit over Minnesota. They need a win, bad, and Minny might be perfect fodder.

Seattle over Philadelphia. Have to give props to the Eagles, though, for last week.

Buffalo over Washington, because I'm not really a Washington fan.

Carolina over San Francisco. *shrugs*

Denver over Oakland. Because they're Denver. And they're Oakland.

Cleveland over Arizona. Who wudda thunk this game would be so easy to pick?

Giants over Chicago. But only if they don't kick it to Devin Hester.

Tampa Bay over New Orleans. Tampa is a sleeper team.

Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. Maybe they'll score more than three points this time.

New England over Baltimore. More because Baltimore is sucking than because NE is good.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Slippery When Wet (NHL and NBA Roundups)

So I didn't do this last week because I had to do (my not-so-good) football picks a day early, so let's see if I can get back into the swing of things.


Eastern Conference

Philadelphia: So I know Philly's not exactly the city of brotherly love, but dude, enough with the hits already.

NY Rangers: Hey, they're getting better press than the Knicks for once. Who wudda thunk it?

NY Islanders: Still...uh...getting no press?

NJ Devils: Brodeur's 500th win was like A-Rod's 500th HR: now that he has it, he's on a tear. As is the team. Colin White and Jaime Langenbrunner might also have something to do with it.

Pittsburgh: Sidney, you're fun to watch, but MVPs are generally given to players when their team wins

Ottawa: Five losses now? Geez, what's happened up north?

Montreal: Maybe they'll actually be playing in May? That'd be pretty awesome.

Boston: Eh, give 'em an SI cover like the Pats/Sox/Celtics, and then see what they do.

Buffalo: Moving up in the world! Or, at least, on the US/Canada border...

Toronto: Dude. Not cool.

Carolina: Down south, a hockey team is more successful than a basketball team. Wha?!

Florida: Wait. Weren't these guys in like last place last time I did this?

Atlanta: Changing coaches can apparently do a lot of good.

Tampa Bay: Seems to be confusing itself with Florida at the moment.

Washington: Well, what else do you expect from a team from Washington?

Western Conference

Detroit: As you were.

St. Louis: Keep singing.

Chicago: Third place? An accomplishment.

Columbus: Except...

Nashville: Maybe not.

Vancouver: Hey, first place again! Yay Canada!

Minnesota: So do the people in Minnesota care more about the Wild or Santana?

Colorado: Wonder if it's as cold there as it is here...

Calgary: Well, certainly colder here than Syracuse.

Edmonton: But given the lack of winning, this might be the coldest of all.

Dallas: Hey! Finally, some truth in advertising!

Anaheim: Seem to have decided that y'know, defending the holy grail Cup is not a bad idea.

San Jose: Muddled in the middle?

Phoenix: Hey, they're not in last!

LA Kings: But they are.


Eastern Conference

Boston: You can't get more 'running away with the division' than they are. Well, you can, but it's not likely.

Toronto: Treading water, which most years is enough to win the Atlantic.

New Jersey: Wait. So you lose six straight, five of which are at home or close by on the road and then go 3-0 on the West Coast? W. T. F. ?!

Philadelphia: Has the benefit of not being New York.

New York: *point and laugh*

Detroit: This city's got a thing for winter sports, doesn't it?

Cleveland: Heh, finally realized they were a playoff team last year, have they?

Milwaukee: I thought these guys weren't supposed to be as good without Allen?

Indiana: Dude, what happened?

Chicago: Michael Jordan is not pleased.

Orlando: You beat the Celtics? Thank you, my new #2 favorite NBA team!

Washington: Treading water, but without Arenas they quickly become the Titanic.

Charlotte: Well, for an expansion team...

Atlanta: Dude, I thought you were supposed to be good?

Miami: Not even the best team in Florida?!

Western Conference

Utah: Keep singing, dancing...

Denver: Melo's good, but the frosh Syracuse have might yet be...well, I can't say better, but...

Portland: You lost to the Nets at home?

Minnesota: Youch.

Seattle: Youch-ier.

Phoenix: Sun-nier.

LA Lakers: Kobe? You've gotta make those FTs at the buzzer.

Golden State: Finally picking it up.

LA Clippers: Noooo! C'mon, it sucks when the Lakers are better than you!

Sacramento: Dude, weren't you guys really good once upon a time?

San Antonio: Yea. You're not beating these guys.

Dallas: Cowboy up?

New Orleans: If only they played in the East...

Houston: Yao-uch. Sorry. Was waiting to be used.

Memphis: Well, you beat the Nets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Random Baseball Trivia and Yankees' Classic Moments

Random Trivia, courtesy of Uncle John's 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader:

A Regulation baseball has exactly 108 stitches.

On a more serious note, I'm sitting here, trying to come up with a classic Yankees' moment, and all I can think about is Joe Kennedy and Sean Taylor, and how they were taken from life way too soon (Taylor was only 24. That's three years older than me. Scary thought).

Life is precious. There is tragedy when anyone is taken from us too soon, but there is more tragedy when someone is taken without warning and often without reason.

I have to say, though, while we might mourn the loss, it is far more important to celebrate the life.

For anyone such as Kennedy or Taylor or Lou Gehrig or Thurman Munson or any other athlete taken from us too soon, it is far more important to remember what they gave us than how they were taken from us.

Yes, I know it's far from my most cheerful entry, but it is on my mind, especially as I've just found out Indians' pitcher Lara is also in critical condition after a car accident...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday is Movie Night

So this video does, in fact, cut out...I never thought I could fill a 2 gig memory card, but apparently it's possible (I keep my photos on the card after I download them as a back up).

I apologize for my hair. It's rainy and gross, and my hair behaved accordingly.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Season, Part Seven

So I have a ten page paper to write, which is why I'm posting this at 12.08 AM instead of 12.08 PM, even though that's still likely the time I'll wake up.


Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six

(c) Rebecca Glass, All International copyright laws apply

The Season, Part Seven

#57 Eduardo Gomez, relief pitcher, fourth year

On the flight back to Hope City, Eduardo Gomez’s thoughts are a mess. The winter has deserted him, but he is not ready for spring. It’s not been a good winter, that’s for sure.

It started early on, in November. His father succumbed to a tumor in his spine, even after Eduardo had spent everything necessary to get him the best care in Hope City, and then the best care in New York. Eduardo had paid for his entire family—father, mother, two older brothers, a younger brother and a younger sister—to make the trip from Panama to Hope City, so they could all stay together for his father’s last few days. None of them, however, outside of Eduardo spoke any English, which made the move much harder than it should have been, and gave Eduardo the uncomfortable duty of translating everything that the doctors said,

…There is nothing more we can do…

….No hay nada que los medicos pueden hacer…

…Your father will die, a month or two at most…

…Papa sera morir, no mas que un o dos meses…

His mother had taken her grief out at him, and not at the doctor, because the words were coming from his mouth. She had even said Se va! Nunca deseo verti! Go! I never want to see you!

To her credit, she came to her senses the next day, but Eduardo had to spend that night in a hotel room, and the only one with a room free two nights before Thanksgiving was a little too much like a brothel for comfort.

December wasn’t much better. Eduardo’s mother had never been able to work much, the result of a broken leg as a child that never fully healed, so it wasn’t long before Eduardo was asked for a little help, here and there. Around Christmas, a little help here and there turned into full on support, paying everything from the weekly groceries to his brother Felipe and sister Andrea returning home to visit their favorite aunt. It’s not so much that Eduardo minds helping his family out, but none of them, not even his older brothers, make an effort to help themselves.

January wasn’t too bad, but Monty’s story broke at the end of February, and that, more than anything, hurt. It wasn’t just that Monty wanted to start. Everyone wants to start, except maybe Cory Daniels. It was that he had said he was stuck in the bullpen, like it was a punishment. Even when asked by the TV reporters after the article appeared, Monty had said the same thing, in the same tone as one might talk about if he was left on the bench. It didn’t end there, either. His mother got wind of it, and then she started asking him what he was doing in the bullpen. No puedes hacer nada! You can’t do anything!

It hurt.

Now, on the flight back, Eduardo is not ready for spring. He’d like just another week, at least, to relax and not have to think about anything…but he’s dreaming. He looks like someone with too many troubles; he’s only twenty-seven and he looks nearly forty. His dark eyes sink back into his face, and his posture is one someone might expect of a man that’s just spent the past twenty years in the Himalayas.

He’s sitting next to Cory Daniels, who is fast asleep. He doesn’t blame him, it’s late and the lights in the cabin are kept low. He envies Cory, and the peace that Cory seems to have. He doesn’t know much about Cory’s personal life because Cory doesn’t talk about it, but when Monty’s article came out, Cory took it as a personal affront not just on him, but on the entire bullpen.

It was nice to have someone there, saying that he was just fine in the bullpen, how relief pitchers had no room for error while starters could have some, how relief pitchers had to make perfect pitches every single time. Eduardo had told Cory how grateful he was for it, and Cory responded simply by saying, “you’re the one that made me realize it.” Cory and Eduardo are not best friends, but if Eduardo could pick any person on the team that he’d be willing to die for, Cory would be it.

As the plane touches down, Eduardo can see snow still lining the runway. It seems odd that they will soon be playing baseball where the weather is still perfect for hockey, but it is the same every year. The snow is deceptive, keeps the fans from the Stadium until the first nice week in April, when everyone wakes up and begins to realize that spring is, in fact, here. It creeps into the schedule as well—it’s been five years since the last time the Spartans opened at home and this year is no different.

Eduardo isn’t ready for spring, and the snow does nothing to help him, but he still has to face it. The season is here; the season is now.

He gets off the plane and walks into the cold and unforgiving night; what the future holds, he’ll find out soon enough.



Hope City Spartans 12-4
New England Tribe 10-6
New York Knights 9-7
Minnesota Berserkers 9-7
Cleveland Rivermen 8-8
Detroit Moose 8-8
Florida ‘Canes 6-10
Washington Sox 4-12


Seattle ‘Nauts 14-2
St. Louis Gold 12-4
California Diablos 12-4
Chicago Lakemen 9-7
Texas Stampede 9-7
Denver Mustang 8-8
Memphis Jazz 5-11
Kansas City ‘Nadoes 3-13



#16 Adrian Martinez, third base, fifth year

The morning dawns so cold that no one, least of all Adrian Martinez, can quite believe that it’s Opening Day. The sky is not a healthy blue, but a pale grey and it smells, even still, like late autumn, when the leaves litter the ground. It’s the type of weather that comes right before the snow, and Adrian has been in Hope City long enough to recognize it—even if he’s a few hundred miles away in Washington.

The weather forecasts said that today will be one of the coldest April days in recent memory; it probably will not get any warmer than forty-five degrees. The weather is more suited for the opening days of hockey and basketball; that Adrian will shortly be at Kennedy Stadium, playing third base in front of 45,000 people seems the most abstract of all concepts.

Still, when Adrian wakes in the morning, he finds himself shuffling through his suitcase for a shirt and khakis—no jeans allowed in the clubhouse. His roommate, Leo Castiglione is still sleeping; it’s not likely he’ll wake any earlier than five minutes before the team bus leaves for Kennedy Stadium. Adrian, however, needs the early morning on a game day. He needs to be fully awake when he enters the clubhouse, and not thinking of how much he’d rather still be in a warm bed.

Adrian is, he believes, the best-looking, best-dressed of all the Spartans, so when he shuffles through his suitcase, he makes sure he picks an outfit in which he will not mind being photographed. He’s got small but vibrant green eyes, a medium complexion and a large, expressive mouth. He’s on the cover of the Spartans’ Media Guide this year, and he earns most of his keep not from his playing contract, but from the endorsement deals he has with three different athletic clothing companies. It’s not a bad life.

Leo still sleeping, Adrian makes his way out of the hotel room and down towards the breakfast buffet. Most on the team will be choosing room service, for the privacy, or eat after the game, but for some odd reason the waffles that Adrian loves aren’t on the room service menu. He could take the phone on the nightstand, call the front desk and ask specifically—Leo’s done it before, with dinner—but part of Adrian feels that on Opening Day, he might as well make the trip. There will be time for room service later.

The buffet room is spacious; though there are many present, it doesn’t feel crowded. Adrian makes his way straight to the buffet itself, grabs a plate, contemplates cutting the line, and at the last moment decides against it. There’s a kid in the line, probably no more than seven or eight, and Adrian won’t cut the kid. He’s at the waffle tin soon enough, but to his dismay, it’s empty.

Adrian eyes one of the waiters, a young woman who looks like she hasn’t slept in about a month. The woman walks over, looks at Adrian, and then at the tin.

“They’re coming out of the kitchen,” the woman says, making no effort at being polite. There’s a fairly large stain on her white, button-down uniform shirt and Adrian gets the impression that this woman simply does not care. He nods his head, but the woman keeps staring at him.

“I’m just waiting for the waffles.”

“You’re holding up the line.”

“You said they were coming out?” It’s a question, though it doesn’t sound like one.

“They are. You’re still holding up the line.” Adrian takes this as a cue that the woman doesn’t really know if the waffles are, in fact, coming out of the kitchen.

Frustrated, but not wanting to make a scene, Adrian walks away from the line, and instead takes his empty plate to a table where the buffet is in his direct line of sight. A waiter in a much more cheerful disposition comes by and asks Adrian if he cares for coffee, to which Adrian replies that yes, coffee would be nice. He’s not really a coffee person, but it’s better than just sitting and staring at an empty plate.

Adrian looks around the room for anyone familiar; he eyes a few reporters he doesn’t know very well, and some young Sox players who look much to anxious for an Opening Day game. There are a few people looking at him, but not too many. It’s early yet, and as most of the business people in the room haven’t had their coffee yet, they would have a hard time recognizing him out of uniform. He’s in the clear; no one seems the least bit interested in him.

Adrian’s sipping the last of his coffee, still waiting for the waffles, when there’s a scream from the far corner of the room.

He stands up to get a better view, and sees a dark-haired man looking wan and terrified, standing next to a very pregnant woman who has slumped over in her chair. It’s a scary sight; everyone else in the room is also staring at that table.

Adrian doesn’t think; he moves. He doesn’t know anything about pregnant women or childbirth, but he knows that people listen to him when he wants it, and that’s enough. He leapfrogs over his table and cuts a line straight to the table on the other side of the room, showing off speed more common in an outfielder than a third baseman. There are, of course, people looking at him now, but he’s thriving on the adrenaline that’s pumping through his veins.

“What is it?” Adrian looks at the man, speaking in a gruff and forceful manner that no doctor or nurse would ever use in reality.

“M-my wife!” The man seems incapable of uttering anything else, and can only manage to point. His wife starts to come to, but she looks dazed, and unaware of her surroundings.

“We should call an ambulance.”

“Are…are you sure?” It comes from the coffee waiter, looking unsure of doing anything that might remotely resemble creating a scene.

“She should see a doctor.”

“You’re not a doctor?” It’s the husband this time, looking bewildered.

“No, but if there’s any in this room, they’re not doing a very good job.” It’s supposed to make the husband feel better, but it doesn’t, so Adrian takes out his phone and dials 911. He stays with the husband while waiting, and directs the wait staff to bring the woman some water. Though there are probably others more qualified to be helping the woman, everyone has shied away from Adrian.

It’s not long before paramedics race into the room, and Adrian is glad to see them.

“What happened?”

“My wife…she’s nine months, she passed out…”

“What happened?” The paramedic, a heavyset middle-aged man asks the question again to Adrian.

“There was a scream. I jumped up to see what was happening, and she was slumped over in the chair.”

“You’re not a doctor, what did you think you were doing, Martinez?” The paramedic looks at Adrian as though there is no fouler creature on earth. Either the paramedic is a Knights fan, or a Spartans fan who is still bitter about last year’s loss to Seattle.

“Is she going to be all right?”

“She’ll be fine,” the paramedic says without stealing a glance at his partner, who is busy taking the woman’s pulse. “You, on the other hand, should be at Kennedy Stadium. Lord hopes you haven’t forgotten how to use a bat.”

“I haven’t forgotten.”

“Then prove it,” the paramedic says, grabbing onto the woman’s gurney and pushing out of the room, down the hall and into the ambulance.

Still aware of everyone looking at him, Adrian spots a newly filled waffle tin, and thinks only about the taste of melted butter mixing with maple syrup.

#30 Dylan Offers, utility infielder, third year

It’s the National Anthem, more than anything else, that gives Dylan Offers chills. When the choir from Roosevelt Elementary School starts singing, the goose bumps form on Dylan’s bare arms.

It’s not from the cold. Dylan doesn’t care about the cold; he’s the only one on the team wearing short sleeves. It’s the music. It’s “and the rocket’s red glare, and the bombs bursting in air”, and the flyover that occurs just then. Of course, this is Washington, so the displays of patriotism are that much more intense, and if it’s supposed to make Dylan’s stomach drop, it does. Somehow Dylan manages to combine the idea of Opening Day with the thought of his older brother, Kyle who was killed the same day Dylan got his first big league hit. Kyle’s the one that got him into baseball in the first place, the one that taught him about playing on a team…

The thoughts are nearly too much, and Dylan has to come to his senses, or he’ll soon find himself in a ball on the frozen ground. Daniel knows about how the Anthem gets to Dylan, but he’s the only one, and right now Kent and Eliot are standing in between the two of them. Dylan tries stealing glances at Daniel, but Daniel’s eyes are elsewhere, and instead Dylan only gets odd looks from Eliot. He can break down long after the game, but not before, even if he will probably spend most of it in the dugout.

When the Anthem ends and Dylan returns to his spot in the dugout, he appreciates the moment. It’s not the modest crowd of a few thousand that came to the Florida games, but instead a crowd of fifty thousand, all wearing some combination of denim blue and navy. There was talk of replacing the field with blue turf, but the Washington fans made their voices heard loud and clear: the Sox were nearly always in last place, we don’t need any more reason for people to make fun of us.

Dylan is tempted to laugh at the Washington players; they all look freezing, but Dylan’s played in much colder weather in Hope City. There was still snow on the ground when Dylan got on the plane, but here the cherry blossoms are out in full force. As Washington’s pitcher, Trent Rove, blows on his hands about ten times before each warm up toss, Dylan is reminded of the first time Kent experienced the Hope City cold. Kent’s gotten used to it; Trent Rove looks as though he’s never even seen snow.

Dylan himself looks a bit like he’s seen too much snow. His complexion would be the picture next to the dictionary definition of pale, only his mousy hair keeps him from being nicknamed the albino by his teammates. Even his eyes are a pale, almost colorless blue, and the way he carries himself, one might just as easily think him invisible. Lord knows that in the past two years, that’s more or less how Pete and Dennis have seen him; only visible when in need of a pinch runner who can hit a single and play adequate defense.

“So I guess this one counts.” Dylan says it to Dan, and he has to repeat himself before he catches Dan’s attention.

“Yeah. Means we probably won’t see the light of day.”

“It’s Washington. They’ve got Rove pitching on opening day? I guarantee Kent or Eliot’s going to be in before the end.”

“Not us, though.”

“Well…you never know.”

“No, guess not.” Dan takes a bag of sunflower seeds out from behind him. “Guess I can open this now.”

“Let me have some of those,” Dylan says, only after Dan tosses the open bag towards him, seeds flying everywhere. “You know it’s Opening Day when the seeds come out.”

“You know it’s Opening Day when it’s cold enough to play hockey on the field.”

“In HC, maybe, but you’d think it’d be a bit warmer here…”

“Eh. I think Rove and Gonzalez, especially, are making it look like it’s about twenty degrees colder than it is….and where the hell was that pitch?”

“Somewhere not in the strike zone…” The pitch from Rove, to TJ with nobody on and one out, looked both high and outside. The umpire, Kelly Jordan, called it a strike, and even Pete is having a hard time hiding a scowl.

“You know it’s Opening Day when the umps start botching the calls.”

“Not even out of the first inning.”

“Not even out of the top of the first inning. Give me some more of those seeds.” Dan takes the bag back from Dylan, taking a fistful for himself, before Eliot reaches over and demands the back for himself and Kent. “You’d better pay for that.”

“How many times did you steal my seeds last year?” Eliot laughs; in truth neither of them pay for the seeds; one of the batboys does it.

“I didn’t steal. I borrowed them without telling you.”

“All right, well, I’m telling you I’m borrowing these…”

“Keep them, I don’t really want them back.” Dan laughs as Eliot makes a motion with his finger in his mouth, as if to retrieve the seeds he’s just swallowed. Dylan finds himself laughing too, and it feels good. It keeps him warm.

“You know it’s Opening Day when you’re on the bench talking about…HOLY MOTHER…” Dylan is thrown off course, as Adrian Martinez hits a moon shot with one on and two out.

The pitch is high and outside, exactly where Adrian likes it, and he crushes it, far over the left field bleachers and likely into the street. No one can quite believe it; even Adrian stands there for a minute, but a rather nasty look from the Washington catcher, Rob Craig, gets Adrian to start his trot.

“What the hell was that?” Dan asks, when Adrian returns to the dugout.

“A hit.” Adrian says it as though it is the most obvious thing in the world.

“No shit.”

“If I could hit like that,” Dylan muses, “even just one pitch, I’d probably get off the bench before the eighth inning.” Adrian doesn’t respond to that, and even though Dylan knows that it’s more because Adrian doesn’t really know what to say to that than anything else, it still hurts.

So the game passes, the temperature never really getting much warmer. After Adrian’s home run, neither offense gets much going. It’s simply too cold to hit, too cold to exert energy on the basepath, too cold to do anything other than shiver and hope that the pitcher misses the strike zone on four consecutive pitches. Even the fans seem on edge; their team is only down by two but it is cold enough that two runs might as well seem like twenty.

Dylan can feel the wind against his pale complexion, trying to tell him that spring is truly a long way off, but he ignores it. Dan and Eliot are fighting over the sunflower seeds.

It’s spring.

Friday, November 23, 2007

You Learn Something New Every Day, Week 5 (I think)

First, a moment of silence in memory of Joe Kennedy, a 28-year-old pitcher who has passed away (cause undetermined).

Okay, I'm still kind of out of it after all that food yesterday...okay, I'm lying, I had sushi. I am not really a fan of Thanksgiving food...however, I really still am out of it, so for this week's YLSNED, I'm going to go with something timely.

On Josh's suggestion, I'm going to go ahead and explain the Rule V Draft.

The Draft, which is different from the amateur draft held each year in June (the amateur draft is the one most comparable to the NBA or NFL draft), is held at the Winter Meetings in December each year.

The goal of the draft is to prevent any one team (okay, the Yankees/Sox/Mets/Cubs/any large market team) from stockpiling their farm system with talent that other teams (like Tampa/Oakland/etc) would use at the major league level.

The selection order is as is usual with drafts--worst team goes first, best team goes last, those in the middle are roundly screwed.

Because any player selected is automatically added to a team's 40-man-roster, teams without an open spot are ineligible to participate. Additionally, any player chosen must be kept on the 25 man roster for the ENTIRE season of the selecting team--no optioning to the minors or DFAing.

You can read more about the Rule V Draft here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dei Gratia (Or, the Thanksgiving Post)

Okay, hopefully I didn't just offend my atheist readers, in which case, I apologize.


We all have something for which we are thankful. For me, personally, it's been an amazing year--having spent the first four in Europe, and then September 'til now I've had this blog, which has given me so much more than I thought it could possibly give to me.

One of those things it's let me do is help others.

What do I mean?

Well, perhaps you remember me advertising an auction for the Domestic Violence Project.

When I first got the email asking me to advertise the auction, Tom Kackley, I was told that the goal was to double last year's auction total of $1400, with all proceeds benefiting the DVP--ie, a goal of $2800.

Maybe it was all the Joba, Phil and Ian stuff, or maybe it was that Yankee fans really are a do-good lot, but quoting directly from an email I received a week ago,

Thanks in no small part to your help in getting the word out, I'm
thrilled to say that we'll be giving the DVP a check for over $5000
sometime before Thanksgiving."

So for anyone that clicked on the link, browsed the items or bid on any of them, you've helped.

I've got a lot to be thankful for this year.

Enjoy the turkey. Go watch parades and football. I'll see you all later.

NFL Picks Week 12

Again, these are today because of the games tomorrow.

Green Bay over Detroit. Green Bay might be the only team that can take down the Pats.

Dallas over NYJ. One, picking against the Jets seemed to work for the Jets last week. Two, does Dallas lose on Thanksgiving? Ever?

Indianapolis over Atlanta. Maybe they'll actually cover the spread this time.

Tennessee over Cincinnati. Dude, if you lost to Arizona last week, I ain't picking you.

Cleveland over Houston. Okay, I'm not sure anyone thought Cleveland would be over .500 this late in the season. Wow.

Kansas City over Oakland. Hey, they almost beat the Colts.

Seattle over St. Louis. Hey, the Jets and St. Louis now have the same exact record. Yay?

NY Giants over Minnesota. No Adrian = no win.

Tampa Bay over Washington. Toss up.

New Orleans over Carolina, because my brother's university colors are black and gold.

Jacksonville over Buffalo. Losing to NE like Buffalo did is going to sting for a while.

Arizona over San Fransisco. It is so weird to pick Arizona...

Denver over Chicago. Can we say 'mediocre AFC West'?

San Diego over Baltimore. Toss up.

New England over Philadelphia. Can we say 'duh'?

Pittsburgh over Miami. See above.

A Man of Letters

Steve over at Was Watching has asked me to link you all to Project P46.

Now, I know P46 is such a highly descriptive name, but, just in case it's not, it's a letter/card writing campaign over the weekend to get Andy back in pinstripes. The address is there, all you need is some paper, an envelope and a stamp.

Oh, and a pen.

Anyway, because of the Thanksgiving games, I'm going to switch-a-roo NFL picks with NBA and NHL Roundups.

I will have those for you later. Like, after I eat breakfast.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yankees' Classic Moments, Week Six

In honor of Thanksgiving, and the spirit of being thankful, I present, in entirety, Lou Gehrig's famed speech:

"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.

"Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.

"When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.

"So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for."

Taken from here

I don't need to say any more--any Yankee fan, hell, any baseball fan, will be familiar with the circumstances.

We all have something for which we are thankful.

Monday, November 19, 2007

MVP(s) (Random Baseball Trivia, Week Six)

So right now we're waiting to hear that A-Rod is going to be named MVP (at least, we think we are...), so in honor of the MVP, I present this conundrum:

Nine players--enough to field one on-field team--have won the MVP award in back to back years. Not-so-coincidentally, they've got all nine positions covered.

Who's on the mother of all All Star teams?

The Answer

Yogi Berra, Catcher
Jimmy Fox, First Base
Joe Morgan, Second Base
Ernie Banks, Shortstop
Mike Schmidt, Third Base
Mickey Mantle, Outfield
Roger Maris, Outfield
Dale Murphy, Outfield

Hal Newhouser, Pitcher

Now, THAT is some team!

Thank you, Straight Dope

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Season, Part Six

The Jets won (!!!), I am thus in a good mood, so here it is!

If Mo goes official official, I have something later or tomorrow.

(c) Rebecca Glass, all international copyright laws apply.

The Season, Part Six

#27 TJ Redd, 2nd Baseman, third year

“Damien, man, you ready yet?” TJ Redd knocks on the door of Damien’s hotel room. There’s no reply. “C’mon, man, we’re gonna be late, and I promised Jenna we’d be on time!”

TJ’s promised his girlfriend, Jenna, that he and Damien would go to a malaria charity dinner, but the dinner starts in an hour and it will take at least thirty minutes to get there. Jenna’s only just returned from her February in Africa, Zambia, to be exact, and she’s not staying in Florida long. This might be their only chance to see each other before the season starts.

“Man, hurry up!” TJ knocks again, but again there’s no reply. Thinking that maybe Damien hasn’t heard him, TJ takes out his phone and dials Damien’s number. The phone rings a few times, but there is no answer. TJ knocks once more…and this time, Damien opens the door while trying to button his shirt.

“Sorry, I was—“

“You ready?”

“Yeah, yeah. Let’s go.” TJ leads Damien to the elevator, and then down to the lobby. TJ’s dressed a little bit nicer than Damien, in a dress shirt and pants, whereas Damien looks like he’s about to hit the town.

TJ and Damien have been good friends since TJ joined the team; although their lives are similar, TJ’s had the better luck. Both grew up poor in the Industrial Park area of Hope City, but TJ grew up with both parents and his grandmother, who had emigrated from Jamaica. Damien had multiple run-ins with the law, TJ didn’t. Both attended the same high school, and played on the same team, but TJ got to be captain senior year. Damien came up first, but TJ was signed to the bigger contract. Damien had a problem with coke, and was ridiculed. TJ broke his wrist, and received so many get well soon cards that he had to buy a large storage bin just to have a place to put them.

Still, TJ’s always been there for Damien, and that’s only made their friendship stronger. When TJ was made captain of their high school team, TJ treated Damien like a co-captain. When Damien was in rehab, TJ was the only member of the Spartans to visit him every week. They were—and are—inseparable when the season starts; only in the winter, when Damien stays in Hope City and TJ goes (for the most part) wherever Jenna’s work takes her, do they spend time apart.

They take TJ’s car, a rented SUV, and the drive to the beachfront restaurant is uneventful. The weather’s some of the nicest they’ve had, cool and not too humid. The sunset is gorgeous, though neither TJ nor Damien takes notice. TJ’s thoughts, especially, are elsewhere.

They rest on Jenna. He’s been with her long enough now that his grandmother’s begun to press the subject of rings. I want to see my grandson with a good woman before I die, and that ain’t gonna be too long from now. Those had been her exact words. The problem isn’t that TJ’s shy or that he doesn’t want to do it; the problem is finding the right time for it. Between Jenna’s work, researching malaria, and her traveling to Africa and South America, and the baseball season, there isn’t a lot of time for them to have together.

All TJ wants is a week that Jenna can take off, the same time as a Spartans homestand, so he can ask the question one night, and then have the week with her, and not in a hotel room…

TJ’s attention is drawn back to the present as he pulls into the restaurant valet, lane. He hands the car keys over to the valet, and he and Damien make their way into the restaurant. Jenna is waiting just inside the entrance, in a green cocktail dress that does well to accentuate her sea-green eyes. Her hair is a mass of bronze curls that fall down to her shoulders, perfectly done. The curls get TJ every time, propelling him to embrace her even before she has a chance to say hello.

“I know it’s been a month, but I’ve been gone longer,” Jenna says, laughing, as she draws herself out of TJ’s grasp.

“I know, but, man, you look…amazing.”

“Thanks, but if you get all mushy now, Damien’s gonna feel left out.”

“It’s all right,” Damien smiles. “You can have the girl if I get the food.” Had TJ been younger, he would have answered that with a hearty Sounds good!, but Jenna has taught him better. He says nothing and waits for Jenna to take the lead.

“C’mon, they’re gonna start.” Jenna takes TJ’s hand and leads him and Damien into the dining room. There are about one hundred gathered; while there are a few Asian-Americans, TJ, Damien and Jenna all stand out as the only African-Americans. There are some who stare, but for the most part the three are able to find their seats without hindrance. There’s a small stage in the front of the room, where a microphone is set up for speakers. TJ doesn’t know who’s supposed to be speaking, and he doesn’t care too much, but when a woman in traditional African dress steps forward, he applauds with everyone else.

TJ doesn’t pay too much attention to what the woman says; he keeps his eyes on Jenna. He’s entranced. He doesn’t notice when there’s food placed in front of him, or when a Nobel prize winner (medicine? Peace?) steps up to the microphone and delivers a rousing speech. He keeps his eyes on Jenna, and then and there he makes a decision.

Diamond solitaire, on a silver band etched with gold. His grandmother would approve of that.

#50, Eliot Zephyr, utility outfielder, second year.

“Dude, check this out...they have us third in the East. THIRD!” The outrage in Eliot’s voice is only half-joking. He’s clutching the newest issue of Sports Weekly, the baseball preview issue, where the baseball writers make their predictions as to how all the teams in the league will finish. That the writers have picked New York to finish first in the East comes as no surprise; they predict the same every year. It’s that the writers have decided that New England will finish ahead of Hope City that’s getting to Eliot, and, as he looks at Kent, it seems he’s not the only one.

“Are you serious?” Kent grabs the magazine from Eliot, and sure enough, it reads East: 1. New York, 2. New England, 3. Hope City, 4. Florida, 5. Washington. “What are they saying?”

“Something about how we’ve got a lot of issues…here…” Eliot takes the magazine back from Kent, as the two of them sit in the clubhouse, waiting for the start of their last preseason game. “They’re saying that what Mont’s done is such a distraction we won’t be able to focus…and they think we’ve got no pitching.”

“What?” Kent looks at Eliot, and neither of them can resist a laugh. They’ve played fifteen preseason games, and they’ve won eleven of them. “Guess they haven’t seen the likes of Paul or William or Cory…”

“Dude, it gets better! They say Chicago is good enough this year to beat both St. Louis and Minnesota.” Eliot points to the passage, and it takes only a quick glance at Kent to confirm what he’s thinking: they’re reading one of the funniest things they’ve ever seen. It is as if the writers have been paid to make the most outrageous claims possible—Chicago hasn’t finished higher than third in the Central for six years now, and except for a new rookie center fielder by the name of Jordan Jackson, there hasn’t been much done to change the team.

Eliot tries not to laugh too loudly, but it’s hard. There’s much to be happy about today, and this is just the icing. The Spartans are about to play their last preseason game, against Minnesota, before flying back to Hope City later tonight. The eleven-and-four preseason record is the best of all the teams training in Florida, and still, it doesn’t show everything. The record doesn’t show how well Graeme and William Tully have pitched (or Paul Green, for that matter), or how well Damien and TJ have been hitting, or how Bran’s managed to get on base every game. Sure, Micah’s starts have been a little spotty, and neither Richie nor Leo Castiglione are hitting much, but the rest of the team’s been nearly the epitome of perfection. Anyway, it’s still March; it’s not like Micah and Leo won’t pick it up…though, Eliot admits, he can’t be too sure about Richie.

The best part about today, Eliot thinks, won’t actually be the baseball game. The best part about today will be when their plane lands in Hope City, Eve will be there waiting for Kent…and Kent doesn’t know it. It wasn’t too easy to arrange; trying to find time apart from Kent when Kent was not on the phone with Eve was damned near impossible. Still, Eliot’s pretty sure it will be worth it, just to see the look on Kent’s face. They won’t have too much time together, since the Spartans will only be in Hope City for a week before traveling to Washington for Opening Day, but some time is always better than none.

“Guess we’ll have to prove them wrong...” Kent laughs, giving the magazine back to Eliot who lets it fall to the bottom of his locker.

“We will, don’t worry.” Eliot grabs his glove, and the two of them make their way to the practice field, the last time they will do so together until next year, barring injury. It’s an odd sort of feeling; they really don’t spend much time in Florida, and yet it feels so much like a second home.

“I can’t believe we’re going back to HC tonight,” Kent says, abbreviating Hope City to its less-corny sounding initials. “It seems like we just got here.”

“Dude, I know. I can’t wait to go back, though.”

“Can’t wait to get back to the snow?” Hope City, like the rest of upstate New York, is notorious for the long, brutal, unending winters. Eliot, unlike the rest of the team, has never bothered to hide his love for the cold weather. If his contract would allow it, he’d go skiing every weekend, but the risk of injury makes it one of those things on the if-you-want-to-have-a-career absolute no-no list.



“Just…nothing.” Eliot can’t hide a smile.

“Bro, what’s going on?”


“You’ve got a girl you haven’t told me about?”

“Dude, I got nothing. I just want to see some snow before Washington!”

“Sure. Right.”

The two of them make their way into the dugout, taking their place amidst Daniel Lewis and Dylan Offers, the other utility men. Though Dylan has the talent to start every day and Daniel the drive, Kent and Eliot have made their momentary peace coming off the bench. It is, after all, only their second year playing at the top level, and all it takes is for a starter to start slumping for them to get their chance.

One chance is all that it takes. Eliot can wait.

#1 Dennis Howard, bench coach, tenth year

Hope City Spartans tradition dictates that the last preseason game of the year, the bench coach gets to manage the team. It is Dennis Howard’s favorite day of the year.

Short and pudgy, the type of man that looks like he can be squashed by an umpire the second he races onto the field to argue a call, Dennis has been stuck in bench-coach-purgatory now for ten years. The five-year contract extension that Mr. Haus offered him three years ago was better than the managing offers from Florida and Denver, and somehow it had made more sense to him to take more money and stay with Pete than to go and do what he really wanted.

The problem Dennis has, he knows, is that he’s nearly attached to the Spartans as much as Pete. He didn’t play as long as Pete or even have a remarkable playing career as a back-up infielder, but he’s always been a Spartan. It would feel too much like treachery to try anything else, he knows, even if it means giving up on the one thing he wants most.

So, for Dennis, the last game of the preseason is the highlight of his year. He gets to do as he pleases, with no real consequences of any sort. It doesn’t matter if the Spartans win or lose this game, so it’s not a huge deal if he decides replace Damien at short or Bran in center in the third, just to give Eliot some time in the field or Daniel a chance with the bat. Dennis doesn’t do that, though; he manages to win.

It surprises no one that the line-up card on the last day of Spring Training looks nearly exactly like it will on Opening Day, the only difference being that Paul Green is being given the start over Graeme Johnson. Bran leads off, followed by TJ, Damien, Adrian Martinez, Ben, Terry, Leo Castiglione, Richie and, today, Graeme. If Dennis had the guts, he would bat Graeme ahead of Richie Haus, but the last day of Spring Training is a bad time to make an enemy of the team’s owner.

There’s a modest crowd on hand today, as the Spartans’ Floridian fan base seems to have come out in full, getting their hands on the last cheap $8-a-seat tickets for the year. Though the Spartans can’t claim to do too many things better than New York, they can at least claim that their Spring Training games are affordable for their fans.

The weather’s humid again; it won’t surprise anyone if the tarp has to be brought out right in the top of the fifth, just before it’s long enough to be called an official game. There’s no wind; instead the air sits heavy, like a great weight crushing the world beneath it. Dennis has his sunglasses on, but it’s overcast and does not look like it will be clearing any time soon, at least, not before it rains.

Dennis does not take his normal seat on the bench next to Pete today, but instead, he stands at the second-to-last step, leaning on a loose bat and watching the field with intent. Paul looks as good as ever taking his warm-up tosses; in a few years, maybe less, he’ll be the one on the mound Opening Day. It’s just one of those baseball things; Dennis knows it. He can exude confidence in his pitcher as Minnesota’s lead off batter, Casey Jensen, steps into the batter’s box, for one last go-around.

The first out is a strike out, as Jensen flails at a pitch that was probably outside the strike zone. The second out follows soon after on a pop up, and the third is a line drive right at TJ. It’s a fast and easy start to the game, an inning where Dennis doesn’t have a whole lot of managing to do; he can just sit and enjoy it. The bottom of the inning is not too much different. Bran works a walk, steals a base, TJ bunts him over to third, and he scores easy on Damien’s fly ball to right field. Adrian is called out on a pitch that probably wasn’t a strike, but in a game that doesn’t matter no one is about to complain.

The game continues in much the same vein. Graeme gives up a hit here or there, but never more than two in the same inning, and more important, walks just one batter. It’s not a hard game to manage; anyone with a basic understanding of baseball would be able to manage the Spartans today. Dennis won’t admit it, but it makes him slightly bitter. How is he supposed to prove to everyone else that he has what it takes when all of the critical decisions have been made for him?

In the sixth, Minnesota’s pitcher gets to an 0-2 count on TJ Redd, and then hits him straight in the wrist, the same wrist that TJ broke last season. The hush that falls over the small crow says all that needs to be said, as Dennis makes his way onto the field along with the trainer Liam Laurens. TJ stands there in the batter’s box, a grimace on his face, but he looks more annoyed than hurt.

“Let me see.” Liam says, taking TJ’s wrist lightly in his hand. His eyes, dark and strong, say much. “Doesn’t feel broken.”

“I’m fine,” TJ mutters, as if it is anathema to say anything else.

“You sure?”


“No sliding,” Dennis interjects, not content with just observing.


“No sliding. The game doesn’t count for anything, don’t risk it.”

“I agree,” Liam says, nodding his head. “We’ll take x-rays after the game, to make sure, but for now, no sliding, no diving after outs. It’s not worth it.”

“So I can stay in, but I gotta be youth league about it?”

“Yep.” If there’s one thing Dennis has learned well from Peter, it’s that honesty isn’t the best option; it’s the only option.

“If it was up to me,” Liam says, face straight as an arrow, “I’d take you out of the game now.” That seems to work; TJ complains no further and heads to first as Liam and Dennis head back to the dugout.

“You wouldn’t be a very popular manager,” Dennis says. Liam has to look at him to make sure it’s a joke.

“Yes, well, at least they’d all be healthy.”

“You do a pretty good job of it anyway.”

There’s no response to that, and the two of them take their separate seats. Dennis likes Liam well enough; he’s good at what he does and he’s a nice fit with the rest of the coaches, but he’s got a habit of thinking he is a coach. He would make a great coach someday, maybe even a manager, but for now Liam is much better off sticking to mending to players broken in body.

In the eighth inning, Dennis lets Dylan Offers hit for Damien, Kent hit for TJ, Eliot hit for Richie and Daniel hit for Leo Castiglione. The bench does a nice job; the pitcher from Minnesota isn’t quite ready for this level, and he pays for it. Five runs on three walks and three hits, and if not for Jeff Martin, the current pitcher, grounding into a double play, there would have been more. It is almost a mercy when Jeff closes out the ninth, but for Dennis there is a bit of regret.

It will be another long wait before Dennis gets to do this again.

Weddings? I love weddings!

So I promised you all a picture...

The wedding was lovely, I am beat.

I will post "The Season" update either later tonight or tomorrow, but now I am going to nap and/or watch the Jets.

Probably nap.

Friday, November 16, 2007

All About Barry (Again)

It's generally a bad idea to make posts about things that are highly emotional right after you find out about it--so that's why my Bonds post last afternoon was so short.

So I've had a day to think about it.

There is, of course, a lot you could say about the indictment. You can argue that 'okay, finally something is being done about steroids" or that "Why did they wait until now", or even "they're only going after Barry because he's Barry."

Truth is, it's a bit of everything.

Steroids are a real problem. They are a big problem. Barry Bonds is an easy target. Barry Bonds is a good target. The government has proof that Bonds did use steroids.

There is no question that this has suddenly become the biggest story of the off season (and not, I almost feel bad for Scott Boras. Almost.) and that it could, if it goes to trial and Bonds is proven guilty, be something that shakes the sport for a long time to come.

However, Barry Bonds is not Micheal Vick. Bonds did not harm another human being, did not desecrate property, did not harm animals, did not cause tangible damage. It is important to remember this when weighing whether or not Bonds deserves to be criminally prosecuted. Remember that Bill Clinton perjured himself while President, and simply ended up impeached, not incarcerated.

What Barry Bonds did do, however, is hurt an idea, and perhaps an ideal. He hurt the idea that men could do truly great feats, like hit 756 home runs, on nothing more than talent and honed skill. He hurt the idea that it was possible to have heroes that were human doing things that were not human. He hurt the idea that the home run record was sacred, that only someone touched by divine grace such as Hank Aaron could touch it.

So what should happen to Bonds?

Well, it seems the worst has happened. Before 2000, Bonds would easily be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Now, despite the record, he will probably end up in the limb of Mark McGuire, Pete Rose and those others who let things slightly less than legal, slightly hubraic (I just invented a word!) overwhelm their on-field accomplishments.

Bonds will never be able to fully separate or exonerate himself from the steroid allegations. He has become a symbol, a caricature of everything we see wrong with baseball today.

Perhaps, in some sense, that is punishment enough.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Blog Note and Whatnot

Purist Bleeds Pinstripes now has a Facebook page!

Click here to go to it, and add yourself to the fan list...if, of course, you are a fan.

So, of course the Bonds news breaks as I'm in the airport, and the battery on the computer is dying, which I guess is the sort of irony that fills my life.

However, upon arrival in New Jersey, my father told me that Monday night he went to a dinner at which Jim Leyritz spoke.

I was a little jealous.

Okay, I was very jealous.

Again, such is my life.

Bonds Might Need THAT Sort of Bond

Well, free wireless at the airport has many uses. Such as, I can now tell you all that according to the Enterprise-Record,

Barry Bonds has been indicted on perjury and obstruction charges

I could go on about how this has completely made my day, if not my week, but I have a feeling that would be juvenile.

Seriously, though, this is one crazy off season. Wow. Battery dying, must go.

NFL Picks Week 11

Are we really at Week 11 already? Dang. I know it's a bit early for me to be posting these, but I might not get another chance today.

Tampa Bay over Atlanta. I'm feeling the pirate thing.

Cincinnati over Arizona. Toss up.

Detroit over NY Giants. I have been unduly impressed by the Lions.

Green Bay over Carolina. Brett Favre is really hot.

Indianapolis over Kansas City. Tough break for Indy, but they need the win.

Oakland over Minnesota, because didn't Minnesota lose Adrian Peterson or something?

Philadelphia over Miami. I do not pick 0-9 teams. Even if something's got to give.

Jacksonville over San Diego. Because the Jags are the only Florida team that can win on a consistent basis.

Cleveland over Baltimore. Sorry Mr. Ravens owner person, but you're not well liked.

New Orleans over Houston, but more of a toss up.

Pittsburgh over New York Jets. Talk about wounded pride...this one's a knife through the heart!

Dallas over Washington. Dallas or Green Bay is the best NFC team. I'm amazed it's not a greater rivalry.

San Francisco over St. Louis. Two wins are better than one.

Seattle over Chicago. Yet one more toss up.

New England over Buffalo. Dude, Buffalo, c'mon, help us out here....

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Third-Degree Burn: The Prodigal Son Returns?

By now, if you're reading this, you're hearing that it seems increasingly likely that Alex Rodriguez will return to the Yankees.

While I am a little conflicted by this, I am encouraged that it seems that A-Rod has done or is doing this without Scott Boras, and the statement he made on his website re-affirms that he went to the Yankees, and not the Yankees going to him.

If it is true, then the Yankees won't have to worry about filling a hole at third, and can instead focus on putting together something vaguely reminiscent of a bullpen, resigning Mo, resigning Molina and convincing Pettitte to come back for one last time.

Alex, dude, if this is true, you don't need to go on a 54 home run barrage. Play solid defense, get those hits in the ninth inning, when it matters, and if a guy's on second or third in October, get a hit. Even a dinky single.

Oh, and if you really did go behind Scott Boras to do this, let's just say I'll be noticeably impressed.

Wood and Ice (NHL and NBA Roundups, Weeks 6 and 3)

Okay, so first about this weekend--I'm going home, to NJ, to go to a wedding and staying for Thanksgiving. I'll do my best to post as normal, but this weekend might be tough.



Eastern Conference

Philadelphia Flyers: Still undefeated at home. Dang.

NY Rangers: Just one win on the road? Okay, dude, even the Devils are better than that.

NY Islanders: Finally realizing that it's not 1986, aren't you?

New Jersey Devils: Out of the basement! This is cause for celebration!

Pittsburgh Penguins: Aha, those are the Penguins I know and love...

Ottawa Senators: Losing to Carolina, I give you, but losing to Washington? Huh?

Montreal Canadians: Better than Toronto. All that matters, right?

Toronto Maple Leafs: Since I'm trying to be sort of family friendly, I'll refrain from commenting on the dude whose nude pictures have made an appearance on the internet.

Boston Bruins: Dude, guys, if you want people in Boston to care, even a little bit, you've got to start winning. No one else seems to have a problem doing it.

Buffalo Sabres: Just a shake of my head. Maybe it's the lack of snow?

Carolina Hurricanes: Best team to play south of the free state/slave state line.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Meh. 8-8 teams seldom inspire wit.

Atlanta Thrashers: Nor do teams from Atlanta. Except maybe the Braves circa 1995.

Florida Panthers: I don't know, something about 'hockey' and 'Florida' just doesn't sit right.

Washington Capitals: You beat Ottawa? What the hell are you doing in last place?

Western Conference

Detroit Red Wings: Why do they even bother playing the season?

Chicago Blackhawks: No, I am not sure I want to know what these guys are doing in second place...

Nashville Predators: ...Or these guys in third...

Columbus Blue Jackets: Or these guys dropping to fourth...

St. Louis Blues: But no one needs to explain this.

Colorado Avalanche: No love for the Avs, but respect for them finding their stroke.

Minnesota Wild: Keep the good times going.

Calgary Flames: Should be better, but hey, not Edmonton.

Vancouver Canucks: Well, at least the city's pretty.

Edmonton Oilers: Uhhh...

San Jose Sharks: Right where we'd expect them.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks: Apparently realized they actually need to win games to defend the Cup.

Los Angeles Kings: Again, WHAT are you doing better than the other Kings?

Dallas Stars: You disappoint me. Again.

Phoenix Coyotes: Go watch a basketball game.


Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics: Damned Irish. What gets to me is that I actually am finding a Boston team fun to watch, if not easy to stomach.

Toronto Raptors: In what universe is Toronto better at basketball than hockey? Oh. This one.

New Jersey Nets: Loss to Boston was given, loss to NO was sloppy. Injury to Vince is worrying but RJ's play is encouraging.

New York Knicks: Fire Isaiah? Or has that been said?

Philadelphia 76ers: Yeah. Umm. Proving sportswriters right when they pick you to lose isn't really a good thing.

Detroit Pistons: Yes, but can they keep it going all season?

Cleveland Cavaliers: in King James' court, you find ways to make it work.

Indiana Pacers: Sleeper team.

Milwaukee Bucks: Missing Allen, aren't you? And how the hell is Sam Cassell still playing?

Chicago Bulls: Dude. WTF?

Orlando Magic: Working the Harry Potter magic!

Charlotte Bobcats: In second? Wha? Can we say 'worst division in the East'?

Atlanta Hawks: Dude, the Bobcats are better than you.

Washington Wizards: See Atlanta.

Miami Heat: Well, you're still better than Seattle.

Utah Jazz: Keep singing your song.

Denver Nuggets: Dude, 'Melo, you have GOT to see this Donte Greene kid.

Portland Trailblazers: Not in last place!

Minnesota Timberwolves: Well, still less losses than Seattle.

Seattle Supersonics: So if you played against the Dolphins, would you lose that game as well?

Phoenix Suns: At least 'Zona has got one good team.

LA Clippers: Every day the Clippers are better than the Lakers, I smile a little more.

LA Lakers: Zen master needs to do some serious Zenning. Or trade Kobe.

Sacramento Kings: Ooh, finally won some games!

Golden State Warriors: Unlike these guys.

San Antonio Spurs: Dynasty, and right now probably the only team that can beat the Celtics.

New Orleans Hornets: Shouldn't have beaten the Nets, and those yellow jerseys are almost Pacer ugly.

Houston Rockets: Another sleeper.

Dallas Mavericks: Well, still better than Golden State.

Memphis Grizzlies: See if you can go play in the Eastern Southeast or the Northwest.

To Be or Not To Be, In the Primary Position?

My friend found this on YouTube last night, and it's too good not to share.

If you're not overcome with side-splitting laughter, check yourself for a pulse and then call 911 ASAP because you won't have one.

I'll be back later with Wednesday round-ups and some notes about this weekend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yankees' Classic Moments, Week Five

Sorry about this being so late today! It seems that there are mice in my building, so I've been spending the last hour or so talking with my co-inhabitants about an exterminator.

Anyway, out of respect for mice, today's classic moment involves Mickey Mantle, as the Mickey Mouse thing is just so waiting to be used.

So here we go, reaching more than the normal ten or twenty years back in Yankees' history:

In the 1964 World Series, the Yankees played the St. Louis Cardinals. Three years ago, in 1961, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle had been involved in a race to break Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in a season. Maris won the chase, but Mantle was not far behind.

The '64 World Series is also notable as being the "last hurrah" for the Yankees of Berra (as manager), Mantle, Maris and Ford.

In Game Three of the World Series, with the Series tied at a game each, the Yankees came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth, with the game tied one-one. Mantle was up at bat, and he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from Barney Schultz. The walk off home run was arguably the most dramatic of Mantle's career and occurred in the last World Series in which Mantle played.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hip Hip Jorge!

Okay, for the record, sometimes you just know that something is going to happen.

Like, for example, when Pete Abraham decrees that no deals will be made today, you know something is going to happen.

So, of course, when The Daily News reported that Jorge Posada has agreed, in principle, to a 4-year, $52 million deal I was greatly, greatly amused.

Now you might be thinking, Four years? What the hell is Cash smoking? To which, I respond:

We're the Yankees, not the Mets. We have this thing called the 'designated hitter' spot in the line up. Sure, it's extremely unlikely Jorge will be able to catch more than another two years, but as we have the DH spot and Giambi's money likely coming off the books in 2009, it should work out well.

Now, if Posada has another year like he had in 2007, we'll probably all be thinking Jorge, what are you smoking and where can I get some?, but his 2007 was so good that even if he drops off, he'll still be a critical part of the Yankees' line up.

All right, so here we go.

Yankees' 07-08 Free Agents:

Alex Rodriguez: Opted out of contract. Good bye, so long, auf weirdersehn, etc.

Andy Pettitte: Yankees or retirement. Please, for the love of G-d, return!

Doug Mientkeiwicz: Didn't spell it right. Free Agent. Not high on concern list.

Jorge Posada: One and done.

José Molina: Free Agent. Dude, Cash, when you're done with Mo, Po and the 'pen, get this guy back, pronto!

Luis Vizcaino: Free Agent. If we bring back anyone from the '07 pen aside from Mo, it'd be him. I almost called him José. Oops. Anyway, Torre isn't managing, his arm will hopefully not fall off.

Mariano Rivera: Supposedly close to deal. Hope this is true. Enter Sandman!

Roger Clemens: Rumor is he's accepted a position on the Houston staff. Thanks for the spark that made 2007 one of the most memorable Yankee seasons after 1 June!

Ron Villone: Free Agent. Low priority--we need a bullpen, high priority, but we need guys that can get guys out with runners on base. Have heard Ron is a wonderful guy in person, though.


--We interrupt the broadcast to bring you the following announcement--

TPBP has now reached 10.000 views, including 5,000 within the last month.

As a celebration of this accomplishment, and because I have some of the most amazing blog readers in the world, I am now going to go make tea.

--You are now returned to your regularly scheduled programming--

Lookie, Rookies! (Random Baseball Trivia Week Five)

Today's trivia nugget comes after discovering that on this day in 2001,

One year after playing Class-A ball, Albert Pujols (.329, 37, 130) is named the National League Rookie of the Year by BBWAA. The Cardinal freshman set NL rookie marks RBIs (130), total bases (360)and extra base hits (88) and fell one home run shy of tying the National League rookie record of 38 established by Frank Robinson in 1956 as a member of the Reds. I love this site

So I went looking for rookie trivia, and I stumble upon this: there are two baseball players that have won Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same year. They are:

* Fred Lynn in 1975 with the Boston Red Sox
* Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 with the Seattle Mariners

This one ain't half bad, either/

Now, of course, given Ichiro's previous playing experience in Japan, there was debate as to whether or not Ichiro should have been considered rookie of the year, but there should be no debate as to whether or not he should have won the MVP award--Seattle won 116 games in 2001.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Season, Part Five

Okay, so first of all, you guys are amazing--yesterday was just an awful day and you all made it just that little bit better.

Good News: I actually looked up my scores for the hellof it, and while my scores were certainly nothing special, they are apparently on the right side of average.

Bad News: It's a week before my brother's wedding and I've caught a cold. From the way I feel, I can kind of tell that this is going to be a bad one.

Anyway, the stuff you all want, (c) Rebecca Glass, all international copyright laws apply.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Five

The Season, Part Five

#40 Bran Stromer, center fielder, third year

Once again, Bran Stromer grabs his batting helmet, his bat from the rack, takes a couple of swings in the on deck circle and makes his way to home plate.

It’s the first game with any sort of game tone to it, the first of the many supposedly meaningless preseason contests, and Bran is up first. The Spartans are at the training complex of the New England Tribe near Miami, and while the game will have no bearing on October, it does not mean it’s insignificant. Spring Training is always one large try-out, and these games determine who plays on the roster on the first of April. Bran knows this, and he makes sure he doesn’t forget it.

It’s a windy day. Bran piles his dreadlocks under his batting helmet, so that they do not blow into his face. He was laughed at, the first few times he did it last year, but he knew his stats. With the hair up, .332, 14, 78. With the hair down, .288, 4, 12. When the hair is down, even if it doesn’t get into his face, he can feel it, and it becomes a distraction. So Bran piles his dreads under his helmet, which is a size larger than he would need otherwise, and doesn’t really care about what anyone else says.

There’s not much of a crowd present; it’s mostly scouts and local fans. It rained in the morning and there is still a dampness in the air, making it about ten degrees colder than normal for south Florida this time of year. Bran feels the chill—he’s not wearing sleeves, and when he goes to adjust his batting gloves, he sees the goosebumps on his arm.

He doesn’t know much about the guy pitching for the Tribe, except that he’s a rookie, so when Bran steps into the batter’s box, he doesn’t know what to expect. Like him, the pitcher (____? Dante) is built large and muscular. Unlike Bran, however, the pitcher keeps his hair short, and shields his eyes with sunglasses, despite the cloud overhead.

All Bran has to do is get on base. That is the beauty of leading-off: there’s no onus to get a runner in, because there are no runners on base. It doesn’t matter if Bran hits a single, double or triple, doesn’t matter if he walks or reaches on an error, he just has to get on base. It’s simple enough.

There is a bit of tensions as the pitcher sets, the feeling that now there is no turning back, but there’s no ceremony. It is March, not April. The pitch—and Bran takes all the way, like any good lead off hitter does on the first pitch—is low, in the dirt and gets away from the catcher. The New England fans probably hail it as a bad omen; the papers in Boston will probably say something about it, but it has no bearing on Bran. Instead, he stays locked in as the second pitch catches the low outside corner of the plate for a strike. Both pitches, Bran notices, have been thrown hard, as if it’s the ninth inning of a game in late August.

The third pitch comes, just as hard, low for a strike but in the middle of the plate. Bran has a split second to decide that he’s going to swing. He steps forward, extends his arms and reaches for the ball. He makes contact, solid contact, but it’s not much good, the ball is fouled straight back. With two strikes on him now, Bran doesn’t have a choice. Unless the pitch is way out of the strike zone, he’s got to swing. The fourth pitch is too close to take, so Bran steps, extends and reaches for the ball.

He makes contact. The ball rises into the air, sailing towards right field, but not high enough. The right fielder on the Tribe, Adam Scott, is playing a bit deep, and the ball won’t stay in the air long enough for him to reach it. If this was a game in May or June, Scott would lay out for it, but in March, it’s about staying healthy, so he lets the ball fall in front of him.

Bran reaches first base with ease. He’s done his job.

#28 Cory Daniels, closer, sixth year

“No way that was fair,” Ben says, laughing.

“What? You mean I’m supposed to let them hit it?” Cory Daniels laughs alongside Ben, high-fiving him. They’ve just finished the game against the Tribe, winning by the modest score of 5-3. The last pitch from Cory was a fastball over 100 MPH that—somehow—dropped just like a curve. It was one of those pitches where the batter swung three times after it had landed in Ben’s mitt.

“Who called it?”

“You did!” Cory laughs, as their handshake-ritual is completed, and they move on to the rest of their teammates.

Cory knows that if he can pitch like he pitched today the rest of the season, it’s unlikely he’ll give up more than one or two runs. He also knows that it’s not likely to happen; it’s a long season. Still, he revels in the moment. He pitched well and his team won. The game’s not going to show up in any standings, but Cory’s got to win. If Cory’s on the mound and the Spartans lose, it’s because Cory blew it. He’s got no other option. He has to win.

Cory’s average height, with light brown hair and a go-tee. He’s got jovial blue eyes that makes it hard for anyone to take his game face seriously, and he’s the best closer that the Spartans have ever had.

It’s gotten to the point now that even if just one man for the other team gets on base, it’s not a good outing. Cory has to remind the press and the fans that he’s human, that sometimes someone will hit the pitch he throws, but he never admits that sometimes he’ll lose. He can’t let himself do that, because any time he comes into a game, it’s all or nothing. No one ever said being a closer was easy.

Cory makes his way through the team, and meets up with Ben again on the short walk back to the dugout.

“Seriously, Cory,” Ben laughs, “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pitch that good.”

“It did the job.”

“No kidding. I called for a fastball and I got a fastball curve thing I’ve never seen before!”

“You called for a fastball and I wasn’t paying attention to high or low, so I decided to go with both.” Cory laughs, glad he can joke about the pitch.

“Right. The Great Cory Daniels misses a sign. Next you’ll be telling me Monty Allison actually won a start.” This strikes a nerve. Monty’s antics had not gone over well for anyone, but the worst of it was in the bullpen. Cory, especially, feels that Monty has betrayed the bullpen, not so much for wanting to start (who doesn’t?), but by saying that the bullpen wasn’t good enough. Cory’s made his living coming out of the bullpen, and it’s certainly good enough for him.

“He shouldn’t throw another pitch.”

“You can’t still think that…”

“He betrayed us,” Cory says as they make their way down into the dug out and the locker room. “He betrayed not just me but Eduardo and Jeff as well.”

“He’s going to pitch sooner or later, you know. Starter or reliever, he’s too good not to…”

“I know. I don’t like it, but what can you do?”

“At least you don’t have to catch him,” Ben mutters, under his breath, as they pass close to the locker Monty has taken. “Just remember, if you’re on the mound pitching, he can’t lose us the game.”

It’s true, Cory thinks. For this small mercy he is thankful. In the end, it’s the wins that matter.

#5 Steven King, pitching coach, 3rd year

Steven King gets to go home—or rather, to the hotel—happy tonight. It’s not that the Spartans won the game, that doesn’t matter much right now, but because all of the pitchers looked so damn good. Graeme Johnson and Willy Tully each pitched three, and then Eduardo Gomez, Jeff Martin and Cory Daniels, all were excellent. Sure, Graeme walked a couple and gave up the home run to Samuels, but he still struck out the side. Twice.

No one, however, looked better than Cory, Steven thinks. The last pitch of the game was the definition of a perfect pitch, located in an impossible-to-hit part of the strike zone and so fast you couldn’t see it; you just heard it hitting Ben’s mitt. Cory’s been great since he was a rookie, but Steven’s beginning to feel that this year could be something special. Cory’s already an All-Star, but this year…so far, he looks like the MVP. It’s not just that he’s pitching so well, but because Steven can’t think of anyone else on the team that wants to win more.

Steven’s entering the hotel through the front door tonight; a good day like today means he’s perfectly willing to deal with hotel staff fawning over him, willing to attend to his every need. He’s dressed in a navy sports jacket and khakis, looking as if he’s just come from lunch at the prestigious Oakwood Country Club nearby. Steven takes pride in being considered the best-dressed coach in the league, though there aren’t many others that seem to care. He fits right in with most of the other men in the hotel, especially when given his fast-graying hair and body that looks like it hasn’t been to the gym in quite a while.

Steven steps into the elevator in the lobby, sharing it with a teen-age girl who looks like she’s just gotten out of the pool. The girl doesn’t notice him at all, though Steven suspects anyone with that much spray-tan on his or her body doesn’t go to many baseball games. He steps out of the elevator on the fourth floor, turning left to make his way towards his room.

There’s a boy in the hall, throwing a bouncy ball against the far wall. He’s probably not much older than eleven; he’s dressed in swim shorts and there’s a beach towel lying on the floor next to the door of room 427. Steven’s room is across the narrow hall, 428, so Steven walks slowly, watching the boy. The boy can’t seem to decide whether or not to pitch the ball, which is a little smaller than a baseball, if he wants to just throw it. Steven’s amused by the sight, as when the boy tries to pitch, his form’s not half-bad.

“Don’t throw across your body, you’ll hurt your arm,” Steven says, his voice soft as always. The boy looks at Steven, and then inches closer to the door of his room, frightened. “It’s all right, I’m a baseball coach.”

“I…I don’t play baseball.” It’s a lie, Steven senses, but he feels bad for scaring the kid, so he plays along with it.

“That’s all right. When you’re throwing across your body, you can hurt your shoulder. Tell me, is your shoulder sore?”

“I guess.”

“You’re rubbing it quite a bit.” It’s a bit of a stretch; the boy hadn’t touched his shoulder until Steven mentioned it, but now he’s massaging it enough to attract Steven’s notice. “Here, give me the ball for a second, let me show you.”


“It’s all right, I can show you without it.” Steven walks to the center of the hall where the boy had been standing before, and stands as if he’s on a pitcher’s mound. Pretending he has a baseball in tow, he sets, and exaggerates with his arm, so the boy catches it. He brings his elbow down, then back, shifts his weight, and plants his foot down just as he makes a release motion, all the while keeping his arm straight. “Do you see?”

“I think so.” The boy seems impressed enough with Steven’s miming that his fear seems to disappear, while also confirming Steven’s guess that the boy plays baseball.

“I’ll show you again.” Steven repeats the motion—elbow down, then back, shift the weight, and release. “If you bring your elbow back far enough and you focus on shifting the weight in your legs, it will almost force you to throw the ball straight, and not across the body.”

“I think I understand.”

“Good, then try it.” Steven smiles, getting out of the way. “You lied when you said you didn’t play baseball, didn’t you?”


“You didn’t want to talk to strangers. I understand. Go on, then.”

The boy takes his ball, and tries to do just as Steven showed him. It’s not perfect, but it’s an improvement over what he had been doing before, and the boy senses it, as the ball’s not only thrown harder, but bounces straight off of the center of the wall. Steven has to react quickly to catch it and keep it from bouncing all the way down to the other end of the hallway.

“It’s better, isn’t it?” Steven smiles.

“Yeah! It is!” The excitement in the boy’s voice is undeniable. “Wow! That was incredible!”

“It was pretty neat, wasn’t it? It’s not sixty feet from here to the wall, but that’s all right. Do you play in the little leagues then?”

“No, I play on my school team, I play shortstop but I want to pitch. What about you? Do you coach in the little leagues?”

“Not quite,” Steven laughs. He takes a moment to think about whether or not to tell the boy the truth, and then decides he might as well. “I coach on the Spartans.”

“The Spartans? The Lakewood Middle School Spartans?” Steven has a hard time keeping even a semi-straight face.

“No, I’ve never been to Lakewood Middle School. I coach for the Hope City Spartans.”

“No!” The boy looks almost as though he is going to hyperventilate. “No way!”

“Well, it’s not quite the Florida ‘Canes—“

“I’m a Spartans fan! We’re from Rochester!”

“All right then! One more for us!” Steven laughs some more, as he starts to think that this might even be more enjoyable than watching Cory pitch. It’s a tough call.

“Wait…so…you’re not Pete Towers, though…”

“Nope, not even close. I’m Steven—“

“King! The pitching coach!”

“That would be correct.”

“Whoa! I have to…” the boy takes a room key out from under the towel and opens the door to his room. Steven can easily hear the shouts of DAD! GUESS WHO’S HERE?, and he times the boy’s father’s entrance into the hallway perfectly.

“Hello.” Steven smiles, extending his hand to the boy’s father. “Your son’s got an arm on him, if he learns how to use it.”

“Thank you!” The boy’s father speaks with almost as much excitement as the boy himself. “So, can I ask you a question?”


“Who looks best so far?”

“Well, it’s still early, but Cory Daniels was the best I’ve ever seen him yesterday.”

“He’s not starting, is he?”

“No, of course not.” Steven smiles. “You didn’t ask me for a starter.”

“Oh. Well, would you—“

“Mind? Not at all! Now, you’d have to promise me you’re really a Spartans fan, and that you don’t talk to reporters and all of that…”

“Are you kidding? Brett, tell him!” The boy’s father looks at the boy, as excited as a six year old on Christmas morning who’s just seen the milk and cookies have been consumed.

“Dad’s got season tickets! He’s got his whole office at home covered with Spartans’ stuff!” This time, Steven’s pretty sure Brett is telling the truth.

“Well, in that case, I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’ve got a rookie just coming out of State this year…he’s younger than Graeme Johnson when he first came up, and he’s got better stuff.”

“Really? Better than Graeme Johnson?”

“Well, it’s too soon to tell for sure, but he’s got the potential. When’s his birthday?” Steven asks it, looking at Brett.

“In May.”

“Right, well, if you’re going to get him a jersey or shirt, it’s number eighteen, Paul Green.”

“Paul Green,” the father says, committing the name to memory. “Brett, remember. Paul Green.”

“All right then,” Steven smiles, “I’ve got to go, but it was very nice to meet you.”

“Aww…” Steven can tell Brett didn’t mean to let it escape his lips, so he smiles knowingly, signaling that he will keep it secret. He takes his key out, opening the door to his room, and eyes Brett and his father heading towards the elevator, and then the pool.

It’s been a good day.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

That whooshing sound....

Something about a toilet, flushing it, and my future.

All right, staying positive: one test isn't my future. I can do better, I will do better.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The State of the Yankees: Why Rebecca is going to ACE her GREs!


Well, here we are: 2007 was quite a season, wasn't it? After finding themselves 14.5 games back in May, the Yankees had quite an acclivity to summit, and while they didn't quite reach the pinnacle, they came pretty close.

So now we're in the off season, and the Yankees have a lengthy and complicated agenda.

So let's propound some of the more important points.

First of all, there is Alex Rodriguez, whose mellifluous, mawkish comments about loving New York turned out to be a hurtful lie to Yankee fans, such as this ingenuous blogger.

While we may deride Alex's emolument, there is no doubt that his ability to be a factotum will be greatly missed in the Yankee line up.

Yankees' fans can also not afford to be blithe about the potential departures of Mariano Rivera and/or Jorge Posada; the Yankees should not brook even the possibilities of them leaving the team.

It will take much cerebration on the part of Brian Cashman to rectify the situation, especially as concerns third base, given the limited market. There is no doubt that the endless speculation will eventually pall even the most ardent Yankees' fans, especially if it produces nothing but chaff.

However, Yankees' fans should not be hypercritical. The doings of Phil, Joba, Ian and even Austin Jackson and José Tabata are hortatory, and, hopefully, a portent of the Yankees' future the rest of this decade and next. Joba is so far the most sacrosanct of all the prospects, though that is not to say he is infallible.

We will have to weather the next few months with much patience; with luck our faith in the Yankees' future will be warranted

Yep. I am SO acing this test.

You Learn Something New Every Day, Week 4

For this week's YLSNED, I thought I'd go and explore some of the terms that we keep hearing associated with Alex Rodriguez an his current limbo. I know a business lesson might seem boring...okay, it's not the world's most exciting thing...but there may come a time when such terms are of interest. Also, I need to build up my vocabulary for tomorrow!

Like, now, with Alex Rodriguez.

So, without further ado, here we go!

Arbitration: Occurs when a player and team cannot agree on a salary. A player and a team will each submit a contract offer, and an arbitrator (ie, an independent judge) chooses the one that he or she feels is most fair.

The player can then accept or decline the offer.

If, for example, A-Rod accepts arbitration, he would return to the Yankees, albeit likely taking a huge pay cut, and with compensation provided to the Yankees (this is the whole Texas money thing again). If A-Rod declines arbitration, he would thus be severing ties with the Yankees.

Tampering: This one we here a lot, albeit usually in whispers, and it's fairly easy to understand. The best way to think of it is to think of it as like a false start: if a player that is a free agent or FA to-be has a deal with another team in place before the free agency period officially begins, it's tampering.

The big problem with tampering is that it is incredibly hard to prove. It's very easy to have a verbal agreement in place, and there's absolutely no way to prove that unless you're Richard Nixon and tape your phone conversations...

It's also kind of like when someone plays around with the pills in the bottle of Tylenol before the bottle is sold, but I like the false start analogy better.

Collusion: Dude, this word is actually in my GRE book! Anyway, collusion is the banding together for 'fraudulent' purposes. For example, if baseball's owners all decided to band together to not sign A-Rod or to prevent him from getting top dollar, that would be considered 'collusion'. At least, it would be considered collusion by the MLBPA. I doubt the owners would call it that...

Right, back to the other vocabulary words. I'm making my way through the list. I'm on letter I.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

'Roid Rage and Reportage, or Something Like It

This winter is not just a crazy off season because of the new Yankees’ manager or the new vacancy at third base, or even the uncertainties of whether Mo, Po and the free agent co will resign. This winter, there is the probable release of the Mitchell Report, the results of the congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

While we might joke about the baseball names that seem to be obvious to be released in connection with the report, such as Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds, and while we might dread the idea that any of our favorite players might be revealed, there is something else we need to consider.

George Mitchell, the leader of the investigation, is not merely a senator assigned to the task. He is a director for the Front Office of the Boston Red Sox.

Consider that for a moment. Ask yourself if that’s not a bit unlike asking the CEO of Ford to lead an investigation into car safety, or asking the head of Prudential to investigate insurance fraud.

Can I get a ‘conflict of interest’?

Can I get a ‘why has this not been mentioned by the mainstream media’?

I had no idea that George Mitchell was in Boston’s front office until others mentioned it to me on a Yankees’ blog. I had a hard time believing it at first—it seems so unprofessional, to say the least.

Now, I don’t know George Mitchell. As far as I know he could be the world’s most honest man. However, whether or not Mitchell is an honest man, and that he’s treated those on the Red Sox the same as those on all of the other major league teams, is not the point.

The point is, hiring someone with a direct stake in the results of the report is unethical, to say the least. We’ll probably not know for sure whether or not any special treatment was given to Boston players, but what’s done is done.

What’s getting to me right now, though, is the lack of coverage this conflict of interest seems to be getting. It’s a no-brainer that it would come up on Yankees’ forums; we have a great sense of Schadenfreude, especially when applied to the Red Sox. However, the Yankees are not the only team Boston plays in the course of a year.

Is it coincidence that Paul Byrd was mentioned in connection with HGH just as he was pitching in the ALCS? An ALCS that happened to go seven games? It’s not entirely likely Cleveland would have won at Fenway, but again, that’s besides the point.

Like many Yankees fans, I tend to see a pro-Boston bias with ESPN and some of the other mainstream media outlets, so perhaps I’m a bit jaded, but for this to get no mention at all? Are people really that thick? Do they just not care?

All right, I’m done ranting.

I’m setting the odds on when the names are leaked at 5:1 before Thanksgiving, 10:1 between Thanksgiving and 14 December (the end of my Semester), 20: 1 between 15 Dec and Christmas, and 50:1 between Christmas and New Year’s.