Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yankees Set To Unveil New Uniforms

The New York Yankees have long been synonymous with "pinstripes", but that, as this report shows, may soon be changing.

The Yankees are now set to unveil new home uniforms, which include plain white uniform pants and a navy blue jersey similar to the ones that they wear now in Spring Training, and perhaps, most importantly, including player names on the jersey backs.

As the source quotes GM Brian Cashman, "the new uniforms, we feel, will bring the Yankees into the 21st century, and we felt that with the unveiling the new Yankee Stadium, the time was right to make the change."

No doubt, fan reaction to this will be sharply divided; it seems a sudden move for a team that's prided itself so long on tradition.

There's more to read at the source

Pinto Likes the Yankees

On his Baseball Musings website, David Pinto has his AL East preview up and offers this take on the Yankees:

The Yankees return Posada, Matsui and Cano with value wins under 1.0. Brett Gardner is unlikely to improve much on Melky Cabrera’s 0.1 WAR. Yet the Yankees look like they are going to blow the division out of the water.

Their position players rank third in the AL East, but the 26.6 level is likely an underestimate of their offensive and defensive core. Full seasons from Posada and Matsui boost their 0.8 value wins, and if Cano just reverts to his mean, the Yankees will add three wins there. Those three are likely to make up for any downside on the part of Jeter, Damon and Nady.

Be on the lookout for a Nancy Kerrigan like recovery for Alex Rodriguez. Back in 1994, skater Kerrigan was whacked in the knee by the boyfriend of her rival skater, Tonya Harding. Kerrigan was force to rehabilitate her knee to get ready for the Olympics, and the therapy made her stronger, leading to the best performance of her life. A-Rod is going through that kind of training right now, possibly increasing his strength beyond what a normal spring training would bring. I could imagine him coming back and posting six months worth of number in five. (Of course, he’ll complain about Jeter’s makeup and everyone will hate him again.)

The Yankees real strength comes on the mound. CC Sabathia takes over as the ace of the rotation with consecutive seasons of 7+ value wins. A.J. Burnett’s 5.7 WAR in 2008 was better than both Beckett and Lester. Wang produced the lowest WAR of these five starters in 2008, and he still managed a 2.0 in half a season. Joba Chamberlain still has upside. Their impressive 23.1 WAR may very well be a conservative estimate! Add to that Rivera’s 3.1 value wins, and the core of their pitching staff is over seven wins better than any other team in the AL East. Without any help from the bench, New York is looking at a season with their wins in the high 90s. That’s the floor, not the ceiling.

The Yankees are going to be tough to beat unless everything goes wrong for them.


That is quite the favorable analysis, unlike, say, Sports Illustrated, which likes the Mets to win it all.

What's more, this type of preview, however, illustrates just how high the expectations are for the Yankees. You can't sign Sabathia and Burnett and Teixeira and not have high expectations; but with high expectations also comes greater disappointment when they are not met.

It brings back my favorite line from Calvin and Hobbes: "I find my life a lot easier the lower I keep everyone's expectations"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Some more Random Spring Training Thoughts

*I know some that read this will disagree, but I agree with Gardner starting over Cabrera. Gardner has performed better over the whole of Spring Training. Gardner also offers speed on the bases that the Yankees haven't really seen since Homer Bush.

*The pitching looks pretty darn good so far. Sabathia, especially has been impressive, and Burnett, if we forget yesterday, has not been half bad himself. Mariano Rivera, however, is on another plane of existence altogether.

*I can't help but think if the Yankees batted Jeter first last year they may very well have made the playoffs. The move seems so obvious given Jeter's declining power and speed.

*I love that the Yankees have so many bullpen options. Phil Coke may very well end up the unsung hero.

*I have three fantasy teams, and they all have some of the same core, especially with pitching. Brian McCann is my starting catcher on two of the teams. I've come up with the basic philosophy that it's better to draft at 'thin' positions--like SS and Catcher-first, than to go after, say, (a healthy) Alex Rodriguez. Which would, of course, explain why a pitcher has been my first pick on each team...

*I'm going to see the New Stadium on Friday, but the forecast is cold and rainy. I would have much preferred going on Saturday, but I have other commitments. Actually, the only way I can go Friday is by missing the beginning of the game, when all the fun things happen, but it's always better to go than not go at all. I will take pictures and post them as soon as I can.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saddest picture I have ever seen as a baseball fan

Courtesy CBS 880 radio.

Yankee Stadium, the old one is now completely grassless.

I had an interesting conversation with my father last night. He, of the non-baseballfan-why-are-you-wasting-your-money-on-tickets variety, asked me why they didn't just keep the old Stadium, turn it into a park...

As excited as I am about the new Stadium, I can't help but be sad about the passing of the old.


(Sorry to disappoint you, but I didn't disappear off the face of the earth, and now I'm back to annoy you even more! Yay!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Something Smarmy about the awesomeness that is Syracuse

Two of my friends from Nottingham came to visit me this week, so tonight I took them to my favorite restaurant on Arthur Ave, Zero Otto Nove. While we were waiting for a table, we had drinks at the bar, where one television screen showed the latest football (soccer) scores and highlights, while the other was showing the ACC tournament highlights.

I had to explain to my friends that yes, we do televise college basketball in the States, about March Madness and about why college basketball is so popular.

They went to sleep tonight after watching Jon Stewart rip into Jim Cramer (in my opinion, Stewart's best performance yet), but I think now that I should have made them stay awake.

See, even though they are avowed non-sports fans, I'm not sure anyone could have watched the Syracuse/UConn Big East Quarterfinal game tonight and not become a fan.

This is, after all, what March Madness is: insane things happening, like buzzer beaters, non-buzzer-beaters and multiple overtiems.

As a Syracuse alumna, of course, it figures I had a vested interest in the outcome of the game. Four years in the frozen tundra of upstate New York has taught me to hate UConn and to hate them well. I thought nothing could surpass the glory of beating them in the 2006 Big East Tournament...

...And then tonight happened.

At times I felt sick to my stomach from nerves, and at others I had to look away because of a an incessant feelings that the teams I like play best when I don't watch, if only then because if I don't see it, I can't see anything wrong with it.

Tonight's game, though, tonight's game re-affirmed everything that we love about sports: the rivalries, the competition, the play-till-you-bleed-your-heart-out, the never-give-up, never-surrender attitude that can take down Goliath. Sure, it's not as though Syracuse was David, even in David's prime, as a #20 nationally ranked team is far different from an unranked mid-major, but the Goliath of UConn has been portrayed as such that you would think anyone not named Pitt or UNC that had won the game would be hailed as a Cinderella.

Syracuse does face the unenviable task of having to again field a team for tomorrow's match up against West Virginia, but somehow, some way, they will.

And once again, I'll be there watching, even through six OTs if need be...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I WIll Never Make This Much Money in My Life

Players with 0-3 years of major league service time signed contracts today. This is how it broke down for the Yankees:

Cody Ransom $455,100
Joba Chamberlain: $433,000
Jose Veras: $432,975
Edwar Ramirez: $422,450
Brett Gardner $414,000
Ian Kennedy: $408,925
Phil Hughes: $407,650
David Robertson: $406,825
Jonathan Albaladejo: $403,075
Phil Coke: $403,300
Francisco Cervelli: $400,700
Wilkin De La Rosa: $400,000
Michael Dunn: $400,000
Christian Garcia: $400,000
Eric Hacker: $400,000
Steven Jackson: $400,000

(Courtesy LoHud Yankees

You know, I thought I was doing okay for myself, but now I've gone back to thinking about how much better my life could be if I could throw a baseball 90 miles an hour.

I'm sure there's a drawback...I mean, it's not like they're being paid to play a game or anything...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I am Woman, I am Baseball Fan, I am Blogger: Hear Me Roar

(Today, 8 March, is International Woman's Day. In honor of that, I offer this post, on my thoughts, feelings and experiences as a blogger.)

Being a blogger has its roots in being a sports fan, so please pardon me the momentary detour through my youth:

I don't know how it started, my interest in sports.

There's really no logical reason for it: neither of my parents were very interested in sports, I was such a bad athlete that I got cut from my middle school basketball team when fifteen tried out for twelve spots, and I can't begin to enumerate the number of times I was picked last for pretty much everything remotely athletic.

Everything from my childhood states this girl should not be a sports fan, and yet, here I am.

By some odd confluence of events and circumstances, I am here now, a blogger, a writer and a die-hard sports fan.

I remember the year it happened. Twelve years old, my math teacher nursed a passion for the Yankees I had never seen anyone have before (his son was taken in the 2008 draft by the Minnesota Twins), and I, ever the teacher's pet, latched on to it. There was nothing quite like the feel of competition, and, unlike the Nets, who never won, and the Devils, to whom I had not yet been acquainted, the Yankees won, and they won a lot.

I remember learning about David Wells' perfect game, about one of Darryl Strawberry's giant home runs (which happened to, as my older brother says, "bounce off my friend's chest"). Of course, in the pre-Stub Hub days, it was possible to get $12 bleacher seats on game night, and such things seemed more possible than they might now.

In 1998, the year of Sosa and McGwire, it was impossible not to fall in love with the Yankees.

We watched Game One of the World Series as a family, and when Tino Martinez came up to bat in the seventh, worked a 3-2 count with two outs, it wasn't hard to figure out what would happen next–these were the Yankees, after all, and the season was 1998.

There was, however, one drawback.

There were few people with whom I could share it.

Most twelve year old girls care about boys and trying to get away with being more grown up than they are. Trust me on this–I was one of them. Most twelve year old girls do not care so much about baseball unless they are on the field, playing the game.

I never really bothered to hide it when I became obsessed, and it was probably a very short track from being obsessed to becoming a blogger, though blogs first had to be invented and my ability to be critical of the team, instead of blindly delusional, had to develop.

Still, develop it did, and now I've been at this small thing for about a year and a half–just over it, actually.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to do this at a time where women baseball bloggers are not an absurdity, even if we still are a little unusual. For instance, in January, when guest bloggers appeared on The Yankees LoHud Blog, I was only one of two women to make an experience. Actually, thinking about it, I can't actually remember if the second woman scheduled to post ever did post...

I have to be honest. The most sexism I've ever seen are comments left by trolls, which obviously don't count, and that is, perhaps, an incredibly encouraging thought.

Granted, a blogger will never experience what a beat writer or broadcaster will, as we don't exactly get press passes here, and thus will likely never be in an all-male locker room. It's no secret that until recently women weren't even allowed in the press box, so you can imagine how much trouble the locker room may have been for the first to integrate it.

Even if we can't stand Suzyn Waldman's nasally voice or Kim Jones's, well, not very questioning questions, you have to remember that as recently as 30 years ago, a time that many of you, dear readers, may remember, the idea of a woman broadcasting or a woman in the locker room would have been preposterous.

Women may still be underrepresented in baseball (though that is changing), but the wonderful thing about blogging is that, at least in the fan community, that ratio is getting narrower.

I am lucky enough to be a part of it now.

It means that in ten or twenty years, as the case may be, I can tell my (future) daughter, that yes, she can be a sportswriter if she so desires, and that her being a sportswriter in itself won't be an objectified spectacle.

My grandmother was born only three years after women in the United States won the right to vote; I have grown up in a world where traditional gender norms have been questioned to a point where we can banter around terms like 'transsexual' and 'transgender' without much thought.

Still, it's hard to be completely satisfied. I have this opportunity, but many do not.

In Iran, for example, women are not even allowed to watch their national football team , never mind being a sportswriter that covers male teams.

Even here in the United States, Title IX legislation was needed to ensure girls of an equal opportunity. While such legislation may no longer be needed as attitudes have shifted, that there is still a debate shows that this is not the same thought everywhere.

I started my blog because one person told me he'd read what I wrote. I don't actually know if he still reads–if you do, ChiDave, more power to you–but, it got me to do something that has utterly changed my life for the better.

I hope there are more women out there, willing to take the opportunity.

Cheers, and since I don't say it nearly often enough, thanks for reading.

Alex Rodriguez to have surgery, out 6-9 weeks

According to Pete Abraham and ESPN , Alex Rodríguez will undergo surgery on his labrum and miss six to nine weeks, which would mean a return sometime in late April or early May.

Rodríguez will still need surgery after the season to repair the bone impingement in his hip, a recovery that will take about four months, but getting the labrum repaired now should allow him to play most of the season.

Given my lack of medical knowledge, I can't actually say if this is the best option or not, but it does seem to be a much better one than trying to play through the injury without any sort of repair.

Of course, now the Yankees have an interesting option: do they go after someone outside the system to play third base for a month, or do they take Cody Ransom's decent Spring Training and say, "hey, go on and hit it, you're in" ?

There's much less incentive for a free agent to sign when he may only play a month, but then again, a month is still better than not playing at all...

What do you think? What would you like to see the Yankees do?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why the World Baseball Classic is a Good Idea, and a thought on the timing

To understand why the World Baseball Classic is a good idea, we first need to take a look at what happens when you have a sport that is 'global' in that it is played and enjoyed by people an an international, multi-continent spectrum.

Think for a minute, if you will, of team sports with pronounced global appeal and international athletes playing for the top leagues.

Let's use soccer and hockey as examples here.

Soccer, football, or whatever you'd like to call it, is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world. That it's not very popular in the United States doesn't seem as odd when you consider that the sport has not done too well in former English colonies, although in the United States and Australia this is currently changing.

Soccer's top leagues, like the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, all draw from an international pool of talent (even MLS is in on this), and then every so often, there is a significant international competition as well. There's not just the World Cup every for years, but also tournaments like the European championship (the Euro), which seemed to shock a bunch of people over at ESPN when (other) people watched the tournament this past summer. The World Cup, however, is the ultimate tournament, perhaps even bigger than the Olympics.

Hockey presents a more nuanced version of this: the elite league is the NHL, which draws large numbers of players from Canada and Eastern Europe. On the amateur level, the World Juniors are well established and often a focus for hockey fans, as they like to gander at their prospects. At the NHL level, the league takes a break for two weeks during the Winter Olympics to allow its players to play for their countries. While the system isn't perfect, it does allow players to experience both elite league play as well as national play.

Why am I bring up soccer and hockey on a baseball blog?

Both sports have managed to combine global tournaments with league play, and both have managed to pull it off in a format immensley popular with fans (as far as I know, anyway).

It seems a long time coming for Major League Baseball, where many players hail from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Japan, and have been doing so for quite some time. While it may seem odd to us Americans that the sport, quintessentially American, is so popular elsewhere, that shouldn't matter. What matters is that it is popular, and Major League Baseball, seeing the opportunity to use its star power, if you will, to foster an international competition, has done the right thing.

The benefits from international competition, where those playing are not amateurs with whom most are unfamiliar, are immense.

Aside from the obvious revenue (one of my friends made the comment today that the Rogers Centre in Toronto looked far more crowded than for any Jays/Yankees game), the publicity could be well worth it. If one steps outside the United States for a moment, and looks at the game from another perspective, it's easy to see its appeal.

For example, a country like Japan will routinely lose it's best players (and sometimes the not-so-best, yes, I'm looking at you, Kei Igawa) to the Major Leagues, which keeps fans in Japan from being able to see them, either live or on a non-premium television channel. Granted, streaming internet may render this a moot point, but with the World Baseball Classic being a truly global tournament, fans can once again have an opportunity to see their favorite athletes.

The one major problem with the Classic is the timing.

The issue here is that there really is no decent time to have the Classic. The season is so long that you can't pause it without risking a World Series bleed over into November (actually, that might already happen even though the regular season starts on April 6). I don't know about you, but the idea of potentially going to a November baseball game in Boston, New York, Chicago or in Minnesota's open air stadium (ETA 2010)...is not terribly appealing.

Playing the tournament in November doesn't offer any better of a solution, as some players will have been done with playing since the end of September if their teams don't make the playoffs, and the time required to get ready again would be an unfair commitment.

Spring Training seems like the best option, but it also means that players risk injury before the season starts and teams can't bond in the way they normally would over Spring Training as many teams miss a number of their starters.

The best solution I can think of is that, perhaps, those playing in the WBC start in camp for their WBC teams a few weeks (not too many, perhaps, but a couple) earlier than the official start of Spring Training, and the WBC is held in February instead of March, so the players of countries eliminated early can join their Major League teams earlier and not have to leave them. What's more, if a player does happen to get hurt, they will still have much of March to recover, which means less time missed during the regular season.

Of course, the major caveat here is that the quality of play might not be the same, as players would have less time to get ready, but it's not unheard of for players to show up to camp early, anyway.

There is likely a decent reason why the WBC isn't done like this, so take what you read here with a grain of salt.

Still, the important thing to remember is this: baseball, whether you want it to be or not, is a global sport. Major League baseball has come up with a way to capitalize on the globalization in a way that those living outside the United States and Canada can enjoy on a regular basis. The league has made a lot of mistakes in recent years. This isn't one of them.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Alex Rodriguez Should Have Surgery Now

I know. I'm sick of the Alex Rodríguez posts, too, but right now, he's not a story, he IS the story in Yankeeland.

While no surgery has been scheduled yet, courtesy River Ave Blues via Pete Abraham and Brian Cashman,the fact is that surgery will be likely needed at some point in time, and sooner rather than later.

It makes no sense to put the surgery off, even a little bit.

Think about this:

While the human body possesses an incredible ability to heal and cure itself with minor injuries, a torn hip labrum doesn't really fit that label.

A seriously injured hip will only deteriorate if left untreated, much like the teeth of someone that avoids the dentist, or cataracts or glaucoma. Now, Rodríguez might not be in danger of losing his teeth or his sight, but he is in danger of losing his ability to pivot, and, for a hitter, that's no small thing.

So the question here is, what do the Yankees and Alex Rodríguez gain by delaying surgery? Potentially some playing time in April and maybe May? While Rodríguez's Spring Training numbers have been all right, there's no telling how good they could be if he was healthy. Rodríguez's production will likely decline as the injury worsens, and it will reach a point where it is more detrimental to play him than to sit him; it's only a matter of when that happens.

If the Yankees lose Rodríguez for four months, is it not better to lose him now? There still is the entire month of March; if Rodríguez was to have the surgery tomorrow he could theoretically be back before the All Star break, healthy and right in time for a pennant race. What's more, there are still free agents on the market--the Yankees could sign someone like Mark Grudzielanek to a one year deal with relatively little harm done, and it's not as though the Yankees have issues with signing players with impossible-to-spell names (Doug Mientkiewicz, anyone?)...just sayin'.

If it's a situation about getting the most value out of your asset, would not the Yankees get more value from a healthy Rodríguez than an injured one that deteriorates as the season goes on?

Or have the Yankees/Rodríguez/anyone with any possible say in the matter completley forgotten what happened to Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui last year?

I Don't Know is on third: A modest proposal

With the news that Alex Rodríguez has an injury that could require up to four months of rehabilitation, should he opt for surgery, the proposals for temporary third base replacements have been coming fast and furious from all corners of the Yankee, and indeed, baseball universe.

Now, while it's important to remember that if Rodríguez opts to go the rest and rehab route that worked oh so well for Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui, he needn't actually miss much, if any time.

The caveat is, however, that Rodríguez's injury will likely need surgery, so, at some point in time, the Yankees will have to address the issue as to who should play third base.

I have a modest proposal, and I beg you all to read it through before thinking holy deity in a handbasket, this girl's insane: The Yankees should trade for Aaron Boone.

Think about it.

After etching himself firmly in Yankee lore for all time to come in 2003 by ensuring Boston one more hard winter of misery, Boone decided to play a pick-up basketball game.

Normally, such things don't matter, except this time Boone did something that wasn't very smart from his perspective: he tore his ACL.

Torn ACLs in the world of sports are ubiquitous, and so are the lost seasons and months of rehabilitation that they entail.

The Yankees knew right away that they'd need a third baseman for the 2004 season.

Someone, and I can't tell you who, aware of the issue, must have shared a thought with the rest of the Yankees management: hey, you know, this Alex Rodríguez guy, I hear he's supposed to be pretty good, and hey, Texas doesn't want to pay the rest of his contract because they aren't winning, and hey, we don't really need Alfonso Soriano anyway...

I'm not sure what said person had been thinking, drinking, or smoking, but lo-and-behold, Alex Rodríguez became a Yankee.

And here their troubles began.

Since Alex Rodríguez became a Yankee:

  • The Yankees suffered the biggest postseason choke in all of baseball history and have not been back to the League Championship Series since, and the Red Sox have won the World Series twice in that span
  • The issue of steroids in baseball went from a 'dirty-little-open-secret' to full blown Congressional hearings
  • Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodríguez have both admitted to juicing/doing HGH/using banned substances; Roger Clemens has sued for libel, but most everyone thinks he's guilty as well.
  • The Yankees decided to build a new stadium, which isn't a bad thing until you consider that it's 4,000 seats smaller and has seats with obstructed views
  • Joe Torre wrote a book trashing the Yankees
  • Bob Sheppard, the legendary PA announcer at Yankee Stadium, missed all of last season due to illness
  • The Tampa Rays exorcised the word 'Devil' from their name and stopped being the Yankees' favorite doormat
  • Minor one here: The American economy has completely collapsed

So, as you see, there's a little mess that the Yankees have gotten themselves, and heck, most of the free world, into, and they need to get themselves, and the free world, out of it.

In most circumstances, proper decorum as well as coming-of-age stories all tell us that if you get someone or something into a mess, you have to get the said someone or something out of said mess.

Aaron Boone got the Yankees into their mess. It'd be nice of him to get them out of it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Surgery, but Rest and Rehab for Alex Rodriguez

According to Pete Abraham, quoting Brian Cashman, Alex Rodríguez has a torn hip labrum and cyst, the cyst was drained, and the team is trying rest and rehab.

Before you get all excited that Rodríguez won't be going under the knife, remember that the Yankees originally tried rest and rehab with Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui last year, and, well, we know how that went, as both went under season-ending surgery.

I don't know much about hip surgery; Stephania Bell of ESPN.com thinks that recovery from that surgery could take as long as 19 weeks

Hips are different things than knees or shoulders, and it's hard to believe the Yankees, after last season, wouldn't mandate Rodríguez getting the surgery if they thought it the most prudent option.

Then again, we are talking about the team that thought Kei Igawa was a good idea...

In the meantime, while the Yankees have some in house options for third base, none is much higher than a replacement-level value, but you can't exactly replace Rodríguez's numbers, especially with someone that's only been signed or traded for to play until Rodríguez is healthy again.

Alex Rodriguez To Miss 10 Weeks?

Oh shit.

I did this in a bit of a haste; the few phrases I am unsure of are left in parentheses-but they don't take from the article.

Translated from here

ORLANDO - Alex Rodríguez no solamente se perderá jugar con República Dominicana en el Clásico Mundial de Béisbol, sino que se perdería el primer mes de la temporada con los Yanquis de Nueva York después que un examen médico revelara que debe ser operado inmediatamente de un quiste en la cadera, dijo un hermano del pelotero a ESPNdeportes.com.

Alex Rodriguez will not only lose his ability to play with the Dominican Republic in the WBC, but he could miss the first month of the regular season with the New York Yankees after a medical examination revealed that he should have an immediate operation on a cyst on the hip, said a brother of the player to ESPNdeportes.com

A-Rod podría estar inactivo hasta mayo

A-Rod could be inactive until May

Joe Rodríguez informó que A-Rod será operado el lunes en Colorado y necesitaría cerca de 10 semanas para rehabilitarse.

Joe Rodrígues told that A-Rod will have surgery this Monday in Colorado and will need about 10 weeks for rehab.

"Para toda la familia es un golpe muy fuerte, Alex está destrozado", dijo Joe Rodríguez. "Todos estábamos muy enstusiasmado de verlo jugando con Republica Dominicana en el Clásico Mundial", agregó.

"For the entire family, it's a strong blow, Alex is devastated," said Joe Rodríguez. "All of us were very enthusiastic to see him play with the Dominican Rebulic in the World Classic," he (said?).

"Pero lo más importante es que la operación sea exitosa para que Alex pueda continuar con su carrera", dijo el hermano del pelotero.

"But the most important thing is that the operation will be successful so that Alex can continue with his career," said the brother of the player

La noticia tomó fuera de base a Stan Javier, gerente general del equipo de República Dominicana. "Aún no ha recibido ninguna información de los resultados del chequeo médico que realizaron a A-Rod", dijo Javier.

The news took Stan Javier, GM for the Dominican team, (off base?) "we still have not recieved any information about the results of A-Rod's medical exam," said Javier.

Los Yankees aún no han informado nada respecto a su estelar antesalista.

The Yankees had not informed anyone in respect to their (departing?) star.

Rodríguez, de 33 años, jugó con molestias en su cadera la temporada pasada, pero los Yankees nunca pensaron que el asunto fuera realmente serio hasta que un examen de resonancia magnética reveló el quiste el sábado.

Rodríguez, 33 years old, played with pain in his hip the past season, but the Yankees never thought that the matter was in reality serious until an MRI revealed the cyst on Saturday

Los Yankees enviaron al pelotero al especialista Marc Phillipon, de la clínica Steadman-Hawkins de Vail, Colorado. Los exámenes realizados por Phillipon determinaron que A-Rod debía ser operado inmediatamente.

The Yankees sent the player to the specialist Marc Phillipon, of the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado. The exams from Phillips determined that A-Rod should have the operation immediately

El 2009 no comenzó bien para Rodríguez, quien en febrero admitió que usó esteroides durante tres años mientras jugaba con los Rangers de Texas. Las Grandes Ligas interrogaron al pelotero por dos horas el domingo.

2009 did not begin well for Rodríguez, who in February admitted that he used steroids during the three years while playing with the Texas Rangers. MLB questioned the player for two hours last Sunday.

El lunes se integró a los entrenamientos de República Dominicana para el Clásico Mundial, en Jupiter, Florida, y el martes bateó un doble en tres turnos en una victoria 10-1 de los quisqueyanos ante los Marlins de Florida en un partido de exhibición.

Monday he joined his teammates for the Dominican Team for the World Classic in Jupiter, Floriday, and Tuesday batted with a double in three tries in a 10-1 victory against the Florida Marlins in an exhibition game.

"Un sueño hecho realidad poder usar la camiseta dominicana. Mi mamá debió sentirse muy emocionada", dijo Rodríguez.

"A dream had been realized to wear the Dominican uniform. My mother mother had been very emotional," said Rodríguez.

A-Rod ha ganado ha ganado tres premios de Jugador Más Valioso de la Liga Americana y ha pegado 553 jonrones en 15 temporadas en las Grandes Ligas. En el 2009 juugará la segunda temporada del contrato por 275 millones de dólares y 10 años que firmó con los Yankees hace dos inviernos.

A-Rod has won three MVP awards in the American league and has hit 553 home runs in 15 seasons in the major leagues. In 2009, he will play the second seasons of his contract for $275 million and ten seasons that he signed with the Yankees two winters ago

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cody Ransom can Jump Over Me

I'm only 5'3", and that's if the measuring stick is generous

Courtesy NY times/It's About the Money, Stupid/Youtube

Heroes and Zeroes

Over at It's About the Money, Stupid, Jason posts an excellent post on how the media ignored the steroids scandal in baseball.

At River Ave Blues, Joseph P offers his take and comments on the following Ken Rosenthal quip:

“That is our greatest sin, extolling these guys as something more than they were. Some of us had a feeling that something was amiss. We are more guilty of making McGwire and Sosa into heroes when they weren’t.”

Joe's comment:

First of all, McGwire and Sosa are not and never were heroes, even if they hit all those home runs clean. Baseball players are not heroes. They are entertainers. We might attach some narrative lore to them, especially the legendary ones, but that doesn’t make them heroes. There are people who sacrifice their lives for the betterment of others. That’s when you can get into the hero discussion. It does not apply to people who hit baseballs 400 feet.

In an ideal world, Joe is perfectly right. Baseball players aren't heroes, not in the way that firefighters, EMTs, soldiers, the members of the Coast Guard and those that risk their lives to help others are. There's no real comparison between them and guys that get paid hundreds of millions to play a game as a living.

The problem is, however, that we don't live in an ideal world.

We live in a world-and I've said this before-where what matters is not so much the reality as does the perception.

In 1998, the majority of us baseball fans perceived at least one of the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa bashing duo as a hero-and in many cases, we thought they both were. In that instance, Sosa and McGwire became de facto heroes, even if they never planned to be considered as such.

See, the thing is, when you are a marquee employee of a multi-billion dollar industry, you don't get to pick and choose what you want to be-if the fans decide you are a hero, if they think you are a hero, however misguided their notion may be, well, then, you are a hero.

So when these guys do something that's not just disallowed by the governing body of their employer, but in many cases illegal as well, you can't just brush it off and say it doesn't matter.

I wish it didn't matter. Really, I would love more than anything not to care, and if you've talked to me recently, you know that my state of delusional grandeur doesn't extend to the belief that 99% of baseball players are clean and there are only a few bad eggs. We know this wasn't and, likely, still isn't true.

An alarming percentage of baseball players likely used-a conservative estimate of 103/800 yields a percentage of 13%; there are only 750 25-man roster players active at any one time-it might seem like an inconsequential number, but over one in ten using would easily mean that yes, someone on your favorite team's roster is using as well.

The public-the paying public-will probably still pay to see the game, even if only to boo the cheaters, but much of the harm done is irreparable.

The Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to a ten year deal, when they knew that at the tail end of the deal A-Rod is likely to be dead weight because he was the one that was supposed to "cleanly" break Hank Aaron's record. Alex might still go on to hit 800 home runs, but how many of the runs are tainted? If people demand that McGwire's numbers and Bonds' numbers be tainted with asterisks, there is no reason to think they won't demand the same of A-Rod.

I can't actually tell you that most baseball players have no interest in being heroes, but if the opportunity arose, I wouldn't hesitate to make that bet. Baseball players are, as Joe says, in reality entertainers. The perception of them as heroes is unfair...but it's still there, just the same.

As I said before, the steroids scandal isn't likely to keep fans from the game-if you see a decline in attendance figures this year, you're probably best off attributing blame to the recession/economic collapse/second great depression-but the argument that baseball players aren't heroes and thus how they do what they do shouldn't matter is fallacious.

Baseball players have tremendous ability-they can inspire kids to play and thus stay out of trouble, they can inspire kids to dream and they can provide us adults with an escape from the humdrum of every day life (well, unless you're a Nationals fan, but that's not the point). In that sense, baseball players are heroes, and as much as I have issues with Ken Rosenthal, he is not entirely off the mark.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Derek Jeter Takes on the Yankees: A Liveblog

(It's one of those things, if you don't liveblog it, it didn't happen)

[1.14 PM]: Phil Hughes starting? Is Team USA looking for a practice game or... batting practice? Just kidding. Well, maybe sort of.

[1.17 PM]: Al Leiter John Flahrety in the booth. I liked him a lot more last year than I did in 2007. I suck.

[1.17 PM]: Still kind of hate Dustin Pedroia.

[1.18 PM]: The GIDPs from Jeter continue...

[1.19 PM]: Nice play by Ransom.

[1.21 PM]: If being 6'0" means you're not a big man, what the hell am I? (I'm 5'3", for the record)

[1.24 PM]: You think maybe Gardner wants that CF job? Nice single.

[1.25 PM]: Nice hitting by Teixiera to let Gardner get to third.

[1.26 PM]: Jorge says, "shoulder injury? What shoulder injury?"

[1.30 PM]: I like the idea of the WBC, but there really is just no good time to have it. It would be kind of interesting, perhaps, if the teams used minor league rosters--that way teams don't have to worry about losing so many of their 25 man rosters (the Mets have lost 11, apparently)...but, you know, sensible things never actually happen.

[1.32 PM]: Nice K for Phil.

[1.34 PM]: I repeat. Nice K for Phil.

[1.38 PM]: Nice play by Pedroia. I still hate him (well, as a baseball player, anyway).

[1.43 PM]: Ryan Braun is all sorts of awesome. Have to give members of my tribe their props =D

[1.46 PM]: Well, uh, at least he's pitching inside...

[1.49 PM]: So now Jeter comes up Captain Clutch...

[1.49 PM]: NHL mention, and how they stop games for the Olympics, and, speaking of the NHL, dude, the Devils have been all sorts of awesome.

[1.50 PM]: That's it for Hughes. All in all, a pretty decent showing, but he's still gotta stop hitting batters.

[1.53 PM]: I love me some Coke. Well, not that base hit there, but I still think he's awesome.

[1.56 PM]: Why hello thar, Ted Lilly! Nice mumblin'.

[1.58 PM]: Hey! Brett! What are you drinking and where can I get some?

[2.00 PM]: Gardner can fly.

[2.06 PM]: Adam Dunn and Ryan Howard should have a contest to see who can strike out the most in a season...

[2.09 PM]: Striking out Dunn and Braun? Yeah, I'm addicted to Coke.

[2.12 PM]: John Flaherty and Michael Kay: Slashtastic. Only not really.

[2.18 PM]: And there goes the cable feed.

[2.21 PM]: Dunno what happened now, but it's the top of the next inning and the score is still 2-1 USA.

[2.25 PM]: Yeah, still addicted to Coke. I expect the DEA to be knocking on my door shortly.

[2.30 PM]: I know someone that will kill me for saying this, or at least that it will put a damper on our relationship, but I am really impressed with Gardner right now. Great double, going the other way.

[2.34 PM]: Good thing Hacker isn't a hitter...he'd probably have to change his name or something.

[2.41 PM]: Well, Hacker's not doing much of a good job pitching, so maybe he should hit or something. And that was just a really bad play by Berroa.

[2.51 PM]: Wonder if this Dunn has any relation to that other Dunn...

[2.57 PM]: And what do you know, Dunn comes through.

[3.01 PM]: Nice hits for Jorge and Nady.

[3.11 PM]: Nice 2-run GR double for Swisher, 6-4 team USA.

[3.17 PM]: Wait. DeRosa played for BC and John Flaherty played for St. Joe's? Holy crap. And hey! I've been to West Nyack multiple times! And my high school, Indian Hills, took on BC in Mock Trial a few times...dude, this is so weird!

[3.21 PM]: Great outing for Dunn.

[3.30 PM]: Melky in now...and...now he's out.

[3.38 PM]: Nice explanation of the flag facing backwards on the jerseys. Now, if only I could get it in English.

[3.49 PM]: So, to be honest, I've kind of stopped paying attention. That's the great thing about Spring Training though, you can put the games on like background music...

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's Never Too Early for Some Spring Training Power Rankings

One of my favorite articles to read every week for every sport, especially when my team is performing well, is the weekly Power Rankings. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS, Fox Sports, and others all offer their takes. The results of the poll are (usually) not based on standings or any formula, but simply are the author's own take on where each team ranks in the league.

So, since I'm having little luck doing my other work, I thought I'd offer a start-of-Spring-Training Power Poll, because, well, I can.

For the record, I totally make no effort to hide my biases.

30. Washington Nationals

As easy as it would be to lambast a team whose brightest prospects include Elijah Dukes, ex-GM Bowden has a few other illegalDominicansigningscandal-type worries on his mind.

29. Pittsburgh Pirates

They've been bad for most of my life, and that's saying something, since I can now imbibe legally and go to the big person's jail. There are some bright spots—Andrew McCutchen comes to mind—but it'll probably be a season or two before there are any tangible results.

28. Toronto Blue Jays

What happens when you take a team with no offense and blow up the starting rotation? What also happens when you add in the fact that the AAA affiliate of this team had 10 errors in a game I was lucky enough to attend? Yeah, you won't want to put that on your resume.

27. San Diego Padres

It seems like the 2007 team that came up one game short of a playoff spot is a distant memory. The pitching staff will always seem better than it is because of PetCo, and if you finish last in the NL West in 2008—a division where the winner had all of 84 wins—dude, that don't look good.

26. Baltimore Orioles

So the reason the Birds are here instead of back there is that unlike the other birds, the O's have already seen rock bottom. Are they going to be good in 2009? No, probably not. However, Matt Wieters might be the best prospect in all of baseball, Nick Markakis is a solid player, and Adam Jones could become a mainstay in center field. You won't see results this year, but with some legitimate pitching help, the resurgence of the O's is on the horizon. That is, until Angelos gets in the way again...

25. Seattle Mariners

Well, the good news is that Bavasi is gone. The bad news is that the good news kind of ends there. You could consider Felix Hernandez, but a starting pitcher can only win you one game out of every five.

24. San Francisco Giants

The Giants probably shouldn't be this high, but it's hard to root against Tim Lincecum (and, for kicks, Matt Cain). While much of the lineup can be described in one word ("old"), there is some really young talent buried in the farm system, like Angel Villalona, who was born in 1990.

23. Cincinnati Reds

Perhaps the Reds should be higher—with names like Cueto, Volquez, Bruce, and Votto, there's certainly talent—but in a six-team division, it won't be enough. The team's got a lot of youth and waved good bye to Griffey (so now they can find themselves a center fielder who doesn't spend most of the season on the DL), but with youth also comes inexperience. It took the Rays a couple years to be good once they figured out what they were doing, and it'll be the same here.

22. Kansas City Royals

Some are saying that the '09 Royals could be the league's Rays of '08. There's lots of young talent here and if the pitching staff can keep it together, there's certainly an upward trend to look forward to, but this is also the team that thought Jose Guillen was a good idea. Proceed with caution.

21. Houston Astros

Don't be fooled by the 2008 attempt at a miracle run to the playoffs...remember, this is the team that signed LaTroy Hawkins (then again...). Anyway, the point is, in a division with contenders like the Cubs, Cardinals, and perhaps even the Brewers, the Astros don't have a whole lot of upside outside of Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, and, the team happens to be the oldest in the National League (caveat: the Yankees were the oldest AL team in 2008, so take that as you will).

20. Atlanta Braves

I guess with the departure of John Smoltz for Beantown things won't be quite the same in Atlanta any more. It's not really possible to replace the jackpot the Braves hit with the Smoltz/Maddox/Glavine combo, but they've got some great young talent in Brian McCann and Jair Jurrjens. If they develop the young talent correctly (and it's hard to believe they won't), the latter half of the 2000s will probably, in the grand scheme of things, just look like a fluke.

19. Detroit Tigers

The very first thing I ever learned about baseball, courtesy of my older brother in 1998, was that good pitching will always, in the long run, beat good hitting. The strength of the 2008 Tigers was supposed to be an offense capable of 1000 runs. Well, that's fine and dandy, but when you can't pitch worth a damn, that's not really a good thing, and if your offense doesn't produce like it's supposed to...yeah, you end up in the basement. Some of the Tigers' poor 2008 was simply luck; they should be better in 2009, but it seems more and more like the AL champion of 2006 was a fluke. Especially worrying is the year that supposed ace Justin Verlander had last season—if he can get back on track, things need not look so bleak.

18. Arizona Diamondbacks

It's been argued that the Yankees' faults the past few years all rest on an inability to get off to a fast start. The Diamondbacks, uh, don't really have that problem. They dominated all throughout April and May of last year and seemed a shoo-in for the NL West, but ended up only two games over .500. The easiest argument to make for this is simply that the Snakes are young. Like babies, almost.

There is talent galore in the lineup (I'm looking at you, Justin Upton), but it hasn't quite matured yet. Give it time—when the lineup does mature, no one's going to want to go to the desert.

17. Colorado Rockies

Well, you know, the 2007 Rockies really did come out of nowhere, and pretty much got lucky enough to have one of those seasons where everything went right. Are the 2009 Rockies necessarily a bad team or out of the running in the anyone-can-win-it-except-the-Padres-and-the-Giants NL West? Nope. Seasons where everything goes exactly to plan do happen on occasion, but you can't count on those happening often, if at all.

16. Cleveland Indians

In 2007, the Cleveland Indians rode Sabathia and Carmona to within one game of the World Series. In 2008, Carmona was...well, let's just say his ERA rose by two and a half points, and Sabathia found himself a Brewer by the deadline. If Carmona can rebound and Cliff Lee not have a drastic fall off, there's enough offensive talent to give the Indians a chance. Don't write them off just yet.

15. Texas Rangers

The team had 2008's best offense, and there's no real reason to suspect 2009 will be much different. They have perhaps the best farm system in the Majors and...the curse of not having the pitching to match. When this team figures out how to not lead the Majors in relief innings, they're gonna be scary good. LA and Oakland, watch your backs.

14. LA Dodgers

It might seem low to drop a division winner...well, this low, but one has to remember that the Dodgers won all of 84 games last year, basically rode Manny Ramirez—whom they haven't (yet) resigned—to the division title, and, oh yeah, Torre's book where he betrayed the confidences of a heck of a lot of people in the Yankees clubhouse. You can't believe that's going to sit well with a lot of the Dodgers.

13. Milwaukee Brewers

Again, it feels kind of weird having the Brewers this low, but they lost Sabathia and even if they were to resign Ben Sheets, he will miss much (if not all) of the year with elbow surgery. Granted, Sheets is never exactly healthy and the Brewers were already competitive before they got Sabathia...the issue here might simply be that the Cardinals and the Cubs are the better teams, unless Yovani Gallardo can bring a can of whoop-ass like Baseball Prospectus 2008 had predicted.

12. Florida Marlins

Hanley Ramirez. It's possible to add Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla here, for sure, but, dude, Hanley. Honestly, if he isn't your pre-ranked No. 1 player, you probably shouldn't be playing fantasy baseball (unless you're me and...well, not very good at fantasy sports). Nevermind that the 2008 Marlins showed some panache and finished with 13 more wins than 2007, and with their youth things are only looking up...dude, Hanley!

11. St. Louis Cardinals

If the pitching staff could just hold it together...I mean, you know Pujols will produce, assuming the elbow doesn't blow up, and if Ludwick is anywhere close to his 2008, and the Cardinals did manage to snag the Molina that can both hit AND catch...

10. Oakland Athletics

I've been reading posts that the Oakland A's could contend for the 2009 AL West, but outside of Giambi and Gonzalez, I have a hard time naming anyone on the roster. Then again, Billy Beane generally seems to know what he's doing. Who knows, enough things go right here, enough things go wrong in LA, and anything's possible, really, and just because I don't know anyone on the roster doesn't necessarily mean a team is good or bad—heck, I could probably give you the O's starting nine from memory (Roberts-Markakis-Millar-Jones-Huff-Mora...eh, 6/9), and the O's aren't exactly supposed to compete...

9. Minnesota Twins

I'll do my best to refrain from posting that now that Carl Pohlad has departed us, perhaps the Twins management won't be afraid to spend a penny, since such a thing would be inappropriate. Then again, if you fall one game short of the playoffs the year after you lose Johan Santana, you might not really need to open the wallet after all...

8. Chicago White Sox: These guys kind of baffle me. I mean, they were competing for the cellar in 2007 and last year made the LDS? Was that because the Sox were good or because they got lucky that the Indians and Tigers were, uh, not very good? It is possible to argue, after all, that the Twins should have won that one-game playoff and been the real AL Central champions, but what's done is done. The simple truth is that I don't know what to expect out of these guys, and there really isn't anywhere else to put them.

7. NY Mets

The 2008 Mets can be summed up in the pun-nish phrase "blow-pen." Knowing this, Minaya went and got not one but two elite closers in K-Rod and J.J. Putz. Assuming the bullpen can now, you know, do their job, this team should (hopefully) be able to avoid the September collapses of late. Caveat: Santana's recent elbow troubles should not be taken lightly.

6. LA Angels

We know this team can and will win in the regular season. We know that they'll always manage to kill the Yankees, especially in LA. We know that they can do all the little things right when needed. What the Angels haven't been able to do, however, is win in the playoffs, at least since 2002. They're still one of the better teams in baseball, and should have no problem at least contending for the AL West title, but Oakland and Texas aren't write-offs as they have been in years past, and the Halos, age-wise, are in their prime. It won't be long before it's now or never with this group.

5. Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies, the easiest way to put this, are a team where the sum is way, way greater than the parts. That's really good for this thing called team chemistry, and, well, the winning that goes along with it. Now, chemistry doesn't necessarily mean everyone loves each other (think "Bronx is Burning" here), but just that, when and where it matters, every part works seamlessly within the whole. That's what the Phillies had in 2008.

Phillies fans I know don't tend to think a repeat is likely—how much longer can Jaime Moyer keep disobeying the laws of human aging? How will the departure of Burrell hurt? However, I'd still consider them the favorites to win the NL East. Even if they don't repeat, they should still be lots of fun to watch.

4. Boston Red Sox

I know, I know, the Red Sox are better than the Yankees...well, they were in 2008...but, dude, the thing about a new season is that it's a new season. The Yankees went out and, to the dismay of the economies of most moderately sized nations, signed Sabathia and Burnett AND Teixeira.

The Red Sox signed John Smoltz and Brad Penny. Now, if and when they're healthy, those signings will be well worth it, but the Sox have some questions that I can't recall them actually addressing in the offseason. Like, for instance, the fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka walks pretty much everything in sight is going to come back and bite him. Anyway, despite their flaws, the Sox do have one of the best farm systems in the league. If the prospects produce anywhere near their full potential, this is a team that *gulp* could be a dynasty to contend with for years to come. Like I said, *gulp*.

3. NY Yankees

Most teams, most years, if they win 89 games with their Opening Day lineup and rotation, well, they've got a very legitimate chance at sneaking in with the Wild Card and thus no one will complain. When the Yankees win 89 games, the world is ending.

However, if you consider that the Yankees won 89 games last year WITHOUT Jorge Posada or Hideki Matsui for most of the year, without a single win from the Opening Day No. 3 and No. 4 starters (hell, the No. 5 starter, Mussina, LED the team in wins), with the No. 1 starter's season coming to an end in June with a freak foot injury, with nearly one-third of starts from Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson, with a team so hurt that Carl Pavano made pitching appearances, with Jose Molina in an every day lineup that included a Melky Cabrera who regressed badly enough to be sent to AAA, a Cano who really came and played for about a week in July and a week in September, and a Giambi that had two mustache-fueled good months amidst being more or less a lump in the lineup the rest of the time...yeah, when you consider that despite all that the Yankees still won 89 games, and then you consider that this winter they've added Nick Swisher, AJ Burnett, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia...

...Uh oh.

(Dude, this is a Yankees blog. Were you expecting objectivity?)

2. Chicago Cubs

After last season's horrid October (for the Cubs, anyway), I've come to believe that there probably is something to the curse of the Billy Goat. Ignoring that, however, this team has talent galore and it's not raw, non-matured talent, either. The team finally has seemed to realize that they will break the curse one of these days. All that's left now is to do it.

1. Tampa Bay Rays

Hands down the best team in the AL last year, there's no reason to think they'll be any worse this year. They've got it all: youth, good offense, good defense, good pitching, a great farm system, and now you can add in playoff experience as well. I don't think I ever really thought I'd be saying this, but you would have to consider the Rays one of the favorites to win the 2009 World Series, assuming they stay healthy and all that. If you think Joba is good, wait till you get a load of Price.

Some Random Thoughts from Spring Training

I'll admit it. I've been an awful blogger the past couple of weeks. I'll spare you the excuses.

Anyway, now that Spring Training is a few weeks old, I've had a couple of thoughts that keep repeating:

  • I wish the Yankees would do something about the fact that Derek Jeter is not going to be able to play shortstop for a whole heck of a lot longer. They've got a couple prospects at the lower levels, I think, but I would love to see if perhaps they considered trading some of their surplus pitching talent for a closer-to-ready SS...unless the kids the Yankees have in their system really are supposed to be that good...but, given that you never hear them mentioned in the nearly the same breath as Jackson, Montero, Romine, et al, that doesn't bode very well.
  • Posada's been swinging the bat well. I wonder how many people remember that in last spring training, in the first game against USF, Posada hit a triple?
  • I wouldn't worry too much about the pitching right now--and here I'm talking about the starting. All you need to worry about is whether or not they stay healthy. Don't go too much on Spring Training performances--remember how good Canó was in March and how bad he was in April?
  • As the economy continues to collapse and enters downright scary-as-hell territory, I have to think that it might soon become very possible to see ticket prices, at least from fan-to-fan selling, come down a tad. Granted, no, you still won't be able to afford tickets for Opening Day, but the prices for the Cubs exhibition games, at least the ones I've seen, aren't too bad (until you consider that face value is 1923 prices, but we'll ignore that). I'm still hoping to magically land a ticket (or two) for Friday night, but I have to go to a conference all day on Saturday, which is a shame since I'd much prefer the day game.
  • If you haven't seen it, PBP was mentioned on the New York Magazine website here the other day, under the appropriate named linked 'fanatic-blogs'. My inappropriate sense of self-importance grows ever larger.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's March 1st. It's okay to step away from the ledge

Apparently, I never realized that Grapefruit League games actually matter.


Are we so starved for baseball that we take games in the first week of an extended exhibition season and use these to judge the fortunes of our team in 2009?

Right now, the "regulars" leave the game after four or five innings and the pitchers you see are not your Opening Day starters.

Right now, all that matters is keeping the team healthy and getting them up to full strength.

Thus, Jorge Posada and Edwar Ramirez and Jonathan Albaladejo are legitimate concerns (even if grouping Albie here is pushing it a little bit).

Jesus Montero is a bit of a concern, sure, but he is not supposed to impact the major league team for a couple of seasons...kid's 19 years old! When I was 19 years old, my biggest concerns were staying up till 3.30 AM to finish that paper on African myths...

What isn't a legitimate concern: worrying about losing games in the first week of exhibition play.

Seriously. Remember last spring training? How Robbie Canó hit .440ish? How'd that work out during the regular season?

While, right now, Brett Gardner is pwning Melky, remember, there's still a whole month before the regular season starts, and anything can happen, so, I'd exercise some caution before going out to buy those "Gardner" t-shirts just yet.

Spring Training right now is a time to sit back, be jealous of sunny Florida while in NY it's about to dump a foot of snow, take a seat with a cup of hot tea and Baseball Prospectus 2009, take a deep breath...

...and relax.