And, yes, I was a little startled at Bruney’s performance, but I trust him for the future. Do we know what went wrong?
Wow. What a Weekend. Well, at least it’s the Right Sox tonight. A breather, even if they do win, which is how it’s looking right now. Roger the Rocket looked pretty fat at Pinstripes on the Park last Thursday. Hate to but I must tell you that the audience — just like at the Stadium the Saturday prior — was definitely not swayed by his charms or promise. His promises, on the other hand, were inspiring. He said we’d take the Series this weekend, and we did. We could use a cheerleader from Texas. One who’s on OUR payroll.
I hear from Floraine Kay that we might take Runyldys Hernandez off the hands of the Red Sox. We might have saved some money and the risk of a double agent (ala Ramiro Mendoza working for us in in their clubhouse in 2003 — and then back with us in the minors last year — where is he now?) had someone LISTENED TO ME and bought him straight from Kansas City. It’s hardly a secret that I have a soft spot for oversized lefties like David Wells (San Diego — HELLO, anybody LISTENING?), CC Sabathia (Cleveland), and, yes, Runyldys, who definitely needed some guidance while he was with the Royals. It will be interesting to see where he is.
So we need a fielder who doesn’t have to hit, eh? Um, anybody look at our bench? MIGUEL CAIRO? And, does anyone remember that he makes things happen? Why hasn’t he been working? He worked in April during some shortages, then NOTHING. Even a DH needs SOME time on the field, and he is a good fielder when he gets a chance to play.
Besides Miggy, there’s Super Joe McEwing, former Met, beloved by fans in Kansas City, and now somewhere else, I will have to check. I loved watching him field. Like David Dellucci as a Yankee, Super Joe was everywhere before you knew where to look. Then, there’s Jeff Keppinger, another former Met, though he may have found a home, as I know Ty Wigginton has as a Devil Ray. Wiggington is a bat more than a fielder, anyway. I’ll always remember the story Floraine told me about how, when he was playing 3rd base for the Mets, knowing he was prone to errors, he wrote E-5 on the inside of his visor.
More on umpires, especially regarding this last weekend, to come.
You are pitching with a 9-3 lead in the bottom of the 9th. You just got 2 outs in a row. You are 2-2. If you get this out, your team wins.
- DO YOU HIT THE BATTER? I DON’T THINK SO!
- Pitchers weren’t warned despite 4 previous hit batsmen (3 hit by Red Sox, of course) and yet Yankee Scott Proctor — who has every reason to avoid another suspension — is thrown out of the game? Was he more likely to be guilty because he has a "record"? Even Joe Torre, who took an unusual position earlier in the game and got himself thrown out on behalf of a bad call against Bobby Abreu, would not back up Scott Proctor, who swears he didn’t mean to hit Youkilis. I believe him, and Joe’s job is to believe what his players say, at least publically. Instead his position is that he understands why Proctor was thrown out, because the ball could so easily have hit the head of Youkilis. In my opinion, that is all the more reason to believe Proctor, who would not want to take a risk like that. He’s no Roger Clemens, who didn’t get punished for those Mike Piazza incidents, by the way. And remember Pedro as a Red Sock? No umpire dared throw him out, despite his history, which always went unpunished. Clearly his hit batters were purposeful — he stopped hitting batters when he switched leagues and started batting, for the Mets. By the way, John Sterling and Susan Waldman were critical of Proctor, too. I am disappointed, especially because earlier in the game, they sounded as if they were finally speaking out straightforwardly about the bad calls that the Yankees have been receiving these last weeks. Susan even said she was going to start keeping a list. Yet, they made no comment on how Youkilis – screaming – came at the mound.
- Youkilis — the hit batter — came at Proctor screaming. I think that’s why the benches cleared for a brawl. WHY DOESN’T YOUKILIS GET THROWN OUT?
- OK, it turns out Youkilis was scared. Weee Weee Weee. (Kudos to Posada for calming him down.) Regardless, a big guy is charging the Yankees’ pitcher Proctor, who — several pitches into the at-bat, at 2-outs in the 8th with a score of 9-3– hits him up and inside. It just doesn’t sound like an intentional hit.
- Shame on the umpire, Torre, and Sterling/Waldman for not backing Proctor, or at least supporting the possibility that he did not hit Youkilis on purpose, especially after he went straight to Torre’s office to say so.
…but in the end it’s all the same anyway. Or is it?
By the time I came in from O’Hare on Monday April 2, the anticipation of Opening Day had ended, with the Northsiders’ loss to the Reds in Cincinnati with Zambrano falling to Harang and the Southsiders’ self-defeating home opener in which Contreras finally left the mound with a 63.00 ERA, leaving Cleveland’s starter Sabathia to win handily if shakily. (Yankee fan that I am, I have always said with goodwill, God bless the White Sox if you can get Contreras to pitch for you. And, you did. Once in awhile, in moments like this, deja vu floods all over again, and I have to remind myself that he’s not mine any more. Don’t worry. He always seems to come out of it for you. Sigh. I was so glad to get Loaiza in return. Wish we still had him.)
Sports radio was mourning the joint losses and that’s about all it was doing. I got no serious recaps, and even heard nothing about Sabathia — who had given his team an injury scare in the last game of spring training, leaving everyone wondering if like last season he like Loaiza (Oakland) would be spending an early portion of the season on the DL. (Right- Photo of Loaiza by Jeff Chiu/AP)
In fact, I would have heard little about either game without settling in for the late night with The Score, WSCR, and even they were covering college football — while acting cute — when I tuned in.
I avoid contrasting cities because it smacks of measuring siblings against each other and I hear that’s bad. Not having any, I wouldn’t know, but I do not want to step on toes, so I will say no more than this:
In NYC, even left-leaning news & talk radio AIR AMERICA (1600 AM) gives better baseball detail about important games (Opening Day, games against Boston, post-season games) than I heard about the Cubs or the Right Sox on sports talk radio here. I’m sure there were the usual postgame shows, but really!
Thank goodness for MLB.com Radio and TV! I subscribe to the premium package and I recommend it. Years ago, I started with the audio alone, and stayed with that for a couple years. It’s a terrific deal, and when I had access only to my home dial-up connection, it was the wisest deal, too. Can you believe that we can watch or listen to Vin Scully any time we want? If it’s just on audio, it’s $14.95 for the whole season!! No, I’m not being paid by MLB.com! I was just so glad to have it when I couldn’t find any late night baseball talk radio!
We let Jeff Nelson retire in pinstripes. We had just re-hired him, again, and he retired before spring training. Could that have been pre-arranged?! Surely we can do something for a man who loves the Yankees more than he loves his beer and ego combined. He even has some good games left in him to boot, and we saw him pitch well into the postseason again last year as a Padre. WHO could this be???!!!!
It could only be….
BOOMER!!!! Denis Poroy / AP
San Diego sounds like they want him but can only go so far, and you know we can beat that number. We need another lefty, don’t we?! Wouldn’t it be cool? And, if there’s any chance we are going to fulfull Petitte’s wish for Clemens, can we show Wells some respect by hiring him back first? After all, we let him go the first time in exchange for Clemens, who took some time to fill Wells’ shoes. I know, I know about Boomer’s second time around with us, and his book and his back and how he wasn’t throwing off the mound, and how some that season’s disappointment on his untimely departure after a perfect first inning with back pain. Despite the debacle, there was no way he could accept the minor league contract for a couple hundred thousand that we offered him after that year.
Mr. Steinbrenner, PLEASE! Let Mr. Clemens go to the Red Sox, and let Boomer come back to us where he belongs. He can even pitch short starts, even out of the bullpen sometimes. Let him pitch as a Yankee one more year, and retire in pinstripes.
Surely Jeff Nelson would not mind the company, when the time comes.
BY KEN DAVIDOFF
Newsday Staff Correspondent
November 16, 2006, 10:41 PM EST ____________________________________________________
NOW they’re talking. Here’s Brian Cashman’s quote, from Naples, FL:
"We’ll probably have him proceed and prepare as a starter, because you can always go the other way, slide him down and reduce his workload. But it’s hard to go the other way. But that’s for another day."
In 2005, Scott Proctor was a starter being squeezed into a reliever’s innings. I used to grimace when I heard that he was warming up in the bullpen. Floraine Kay and Marc Marc can tell you how I would repeat myself whenever he failed, announcing with familiar emphasis that the should have expected this, as he was a STARTER, not a reliever, that you could tell by how he used so many pitches and how he approached the at-bats. Early in the 2006 season, Proctor stared down death and helped his baby daughter recover from a life-threatening heart condition, he re-joined the team a little late and was nearly flawless as a reliever. I do not know what happened, and I wrote about this transition from starter to reliever at the time. In fact, back in 2005, I complained that he was being shoehorned into a role that did not fit. (In 2005, we kept hearing that "they" "loved his ‘stuff’" and were willing to put up with his struggles.)
In 2005 Proctor played in 29 games and averaged 49.2 innings, ending with an ERA of 6.04. He started 1 game and won it, accounting for his 1-0 W-L record. In 2006 he played in 83 games and averaged 102.1 innings, ending with a substantially lower ERA of 3.52. Although he did not start any games, his W-L record was 6-4, and more importantly, his Hold count was 26, whereas it was 0 in 2005. (As I may have noted elsewhere, I believe the Hold is one of the most under-used stats in baseball, and I strongly argue for its inclusion in box scores.)
So now, back to starter. Wow. Scott, I admire your Iron-Clad stomach. Good Luck.
Readers, should the Yankees convert Proctor back to a starter now that he is a successful reliever? What about the Mets’ Aaron Heilman, who shares the profile, and who has been quite vocal about his desire to return to starting?
Links to the YES Network’s Jim Kaat Tributes:
Calling It a Career, and more
- When the YES Network booth crowds up with Kay, Kenny, and Oh-Mercer, and you can’t figure out how you could possibly be missing anyone’s voice, it will be Jim "Kitty" Kaat’s that you are straining for. His sharp, well-timed explanations of pitching strategy and execution has reminded us that baseball is a skill and an art to be appreciated, and that we "pay" all these people because they have specialties the others do not know about.
Time to make it formal. Turn the TV volume off. Turn on John and Suzyn on WCBS AM. The timing will be a little off, but we will know the score and get some analysis at least. Suzyn lacks the insight of a player and could use a mentor like Mr. Kaat. Meantime, she out-schools the bunch in the big Yes broadcast box in the sky.
- We’ll miss you, Kitty. Meow, baby, as Kojak would say. Good luck, and please do not be a stranger. Stop by the WCBS booth if you get a chance.
Blue Jays 1 (57-49) @ Yankees 5 (62-41)
Nothing makes me remember that part of the world still makes sense like going to Yankee Stadium for a game. I’m on my way, will add later tonight. One plug for StubHub: Our Tier Reserved tickets accidentally were sold to someone else, and StubHub made good on their guarantee and replaced them at the same price — with Main Reserved MVP seats!
Floraine Kay and I agreed that this was an especially fun game to watch in person. Although homeruns are dramatic–and I will never turn one down–I am so glad that we have returned to the "small ball" style of play, which I find more strategically interesting and also more depenable than and the homerun style of game, in which we sit back and hope that someone expensive hits the ball out of the park. Frankly, I found that approach a bit demeaning to all our players during the year or two when we were acquiring sluggers with abandon. Runners gave up racing to base, fielding got sloppier (or was that my imaginaion?), etc. Anyway, now we have a lot of National League-style movement going-on on the basepaths, with swift basehits, double steals, and scoring. Nice. Even A-Rod and Giambi settled for basehits, and it was a good thing. A-Rod’s New York fans are determined to support him, even through strikeouts, and he got cheered in a big way when he connected for a single, and again when he stole second. Even when he was thrown out at home, the crowd was cool. The closest thing to a homerun by a Yankee was a roaring double by Miguel Cairo. Maybe he is strength training. He was fabulous. At bat, he got his own special Main Reserved MVP cheer. THAT was cool.
AJ Burnett seemed to burn out. Floraine thought the volume and intensity of the crowd might have worn him down toward the end of the 6th inning. Reliever Accardo kept us quiet for over an inning, but Tallet let in 1 more run. Jaret Wright let in only 1 run, in what would have been a bit of a pitching spectacle were it not for the tremendous infield assistance — especially the Jeter-Cairo-Giambi double plays. Outfield there were some big saves, too — one by Johnny Damon for Villone, one by Melky Cabrera, and a potentially damaging one in the 9th, for Farnsworth, by Bobby Abreu, with his bright orange glove, on his first day as a Yankee. Farnsworth closed out the 9th, once hitting 100mph. I had never seen that before. Wright pitched through the 5th allowing 1 run. Villone pitched the 6th and part of the 7th, Proctor finished the 7th and pitched the 8th, and Farnsworth got all 3 outs in the 9th. The relievers allowed no runs. What a cliche, relief.
In today’s article by Mark Feinsand, you can find out more about our new extra first baseman — who split his time in right field — who has replaced Shawn Chacon. Excerpted, here is the winning record he put together, despite significant DL time and no rehab starts:
"Chacon went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 games (12 starts) for the Yankees last season, helping lead New York to an eighth consecutive American League East title. This year, Chacon was penciled in as the Yankees’ fourth starter, but he went 4-3 with a 6.58 ERA in 11 starts before being yanked from the rotation.
In six relief outings, Chacon is 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA, making him 5-3 with a 7.00 ERA for the season. He had a memorable outing last Wednesday, escaping a no-outs, bases-loaded jam against Texas without allowing a run."
Let me get this right. Despite pitching with an undiagnosed injury, despite spending significant time on the disabled list, and despite apparently not meriting a rehab start or two in the minors, Chacon builds a winning record in both starts and relief appearances this year. Despite his winning records as both a starter and reliever in a year of injury, and despite his consistent excellence which undeniably made the postseason feasible last season, and despite his youth and future — rare qualities on the Yankee rotation — and despite the Yankees’ desperation for pitching, we traded a WINNING PITCHER for a position player who isn’t even injured? Andy Phillips and Jason Giambi are healthy at first base. We just traded for Bobby Abreu who will play right field. Aaron Guiel has been astonishing off the bench and in right field, but we sent him down to Columbus and brought in Craig Wilson? Nothing against Wilson, but…
…Is this about Joe Torre? Is this about his ulcer? (Does he have an ulcer or just look like he does?) You remember that quote, right? Something to the effect that he didn’t enjoy watching Chacon pitch because he loads the bases, etc. Oh, sure, it was great last August, when Chacon was new and "unflappable," or something like that, but this year sounds like it’s all about Joe’s stomach lining.
"He’s the best .233 hitter I’ve ever seen."
About whom did WCBS radio’s John Sterling say this? He said it today, Sat. 7-29-06 during the Yankees-Devil Rays game. The same player had completed 11/12 stolen bases at that point.
Answer: Miguel Cairo