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Thursday, April 24, 2014

IT'S NOT PINEDA-GATE, IT'S PINE TAR. GET OVER YOURSELF

The rulebook states that a foreign substance being used by pitchers to doctor the ball is illegal.  If you use it and get caught, you’re ejected and most likely suspended.  That happened to Michael Pineda. He was dumb, real dumb… almost like he wanted to get caught.  I mean for crying out loud, it wasn’t like the dude was late to the game, jumped off his motorcycle and accidentally wiped bike grease on his neck as he was getting his uniform on. He put it there on purpose.


It was out in the opened.  He admits that and you know what? He was disciplined and to be honest... now it’s over.  That’s unless you read the blogs and media all over the world today, who are reviewing the incident as severely as rape or PEDs use. Yup, what I wrote is extreme, but it’s to make a point; He cheated ,he blew it and it’s the 24th of April. I don't feel like reviewing every other doctoring incident caught on camera because I'll be here all day. Plus, it's a silly exercise. I'm talking about the hammering of dumb Michael Pineda.  I am stating it here... this incident is now behind us.

I tweeted this last night and I meant it:

The line of questioning from reporters last night was too similar to a Congressional hearing. There were even slick beat writers almost trying to trip the guy up because of the language barrier, almost to get him to say something scandalous  Sure, Michael Pineda messed up, but he could have hid behind the Yankee machine and never talked to the media last night.  What he did was the right thing to do.  He took his lumps like a man, and now he needs to deal with the punishment. Case close. I'm not so sure investigators need to go to him home and look for more pine tar evidence, you know what I mean?


Ironically, through most of this, I was coaching Little League when my phone blew up as I stood in our dugout. “Pineda got pinched”. “Did you see the pine tar on Pineda’s neck?” I got a quick update and continued on my way with our own game. The funniest parallel I can tell you is that it was damn cold last night and our pitchers were freezing.  They couldn’t grip the ball. One of the kids said,"I wish we could use something to get a good grip.”  I said, “You can’t do that, it’s illegal”, knowing good and well that pitchers have been using some sort of grip on the ball for decades.

Look, my position on this is simple; If you need it, use it. But if you get caught, don’t deny it and take your lumps.  John Farrell did the right thing last night, but he was also a pitcher who most likely used, or knew someone who used pine tar in his clubhouse in his career.  Joe Girardi was a catcher who knows all about it too I’m sure.  These 2 did their best tap dance to the media.  The media let them slide, because it’s not supposed to be talked about. "Those to managers are old school, but Pineda, he's new in this HD world where everything is amplified! Let's get him!"


Meanwhile, Al Leiter, was as giddy as ever and talking to the audience in the post-game, openly admitting to using pine tar on his belt to get a grip.  In other words, it’s no big deal… or is it if it’s literally on your face?


What Michael Pineda did was stupid.  But it’s over.  Overkill in the New York media over an incident like this will erupt into something more. It will fester.  Look for a ton of managers to examine Pineda, or others every game now.  Is it fair? Sure. Go for it. My point is this is nothing new. Life should go on like it did before Pineda.

In the end, this isn’t PEDs being shot up in his ass on the mound during a live game ladies and gentlemen.  This isn’t murder. This is pine tar on a 30 degree, windy night. It’s not a scandal, it’s a dumb mistake.

Pineda’s suspended… let’s move on, OK?

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ARE YOU DUMB, OR JUST STUPID?


Look, I'm the first to admit that I love the doctoring of the ball. And just so you know, everyone does it and everyone used to do it. Look, I'm a child of the Gaylord Perry era and no one did it better than him. I also understand it's cheating, which makes the whole thing seem like a big contradiction because I also know that PED use is cheating... and I hate that.  OK, so sue me...

Tonight, in front of the world, just 2 starts later, Michael Pineda used pine tar on this person after the same team he used pine tar on the last time... and this time, he got caught.  Now, I know that John Farrell wasn't realizing all of this in the dugout tonight.  Farrell had it in his head last night that Pineda was most likely going to get checked in today's game, and that's a smart manager.  You break up the game with alittle examination of the opposing pitcher and even if Pineda doesn't have an illegal substance, you hope the pitcher is thrown off, rattled and distracted a bit. It also wakes up your own club.  Tonight, John Farrell played the odds and won...so did the Red Sox.


But not only does Michael Pineda have pine tar on his neck and screws himself in the process... he also screws the Yankees and with it, changes the whole landscape of the game.  More importantly, and I'm saying this because it's very important... write this down...

If you really need an illegal substance and aren't smart enough to hide it, you clearly have no confidence in your own abilities.  Pineda failed miserably tonight.  It's disappointing. There is no comeback story anymore. Pineda has let his team down and it's pathetic. 

But believe it or not, there was a game tonight. It didn't matter much to the Yankees, because the moment Pineda left the game, the Yankees didn't show up anyway. There were errors and a lack of run scoring.  The wind was out of the sails. It was over in the 2nd. 


The Yankees scored 1 run tonight. Alfonso Soriano had a sacrifice fly and Carlos Beltran was able to score.  That's it. Again, the Yankees had 3 errors. The Yankee bullpen did a good job of holding the Red Sox to only 5 runs, but you also have to understand, John Lackey pitched really good tonight.  I hate saying that, but it's true. You have to wonder... if Pineda was actually dealing and not screwing around, could the Yankees have had a chance?

We have more about this incident in MICHAEL PINEDUH!, but it was clear, the game was lost in that second inning when Pineda was ejected.  It sucks, but we need to move on.  Sadly, the New York media will crucify Pineda tomorrow, and they should. He deserves it.  What a dummy.

Final: Red Sox 5 - Yankees 1

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MICHAEL PINEDUH!


Michael Pineda won’t be sent down, HE’LL BE SENT TO SCHOOL!! I will first say to all the Yankee hating, self-righteous fans attacking the Bombers’ # 1 idiot, YOUR PITCHERS ALSO USE PINE TAR! Yes, even your team breaks the “No Pine Tar” rule. So grab a seat in your glass house and put down the stone. You have no leg to stand on.
 

Now back to Pineda. Unlike the countless number of MLB hurlers that use a bit of the sticky stuff to get a better grip on early spring evenings, Mikey was dumb enough to make it obvious beyond obvious. He should have just taken George Brett out to the mound instead of his glove, winked at John Farrell and yelled, “Hey! I’m going to use pine tar tonight!” Seriously was this kid dropped on his head?

The towering right-hander was already under the microscope after being caught with a foreign substance on his hand during his last outing against Boston. Did he think, “Maybe if I make it so blatant they’ll completely miss it? Maybe if I wear it on my neck in plain sight they’ll figure there is no way I could be that dumb.” No, Mikey. We all now KNOW you are that dumb. In fact were setting up a spelling contest between you and Yasiel Puig and I am betting heavy on the Not-too-bright Dodger outfielder.

I also have to take the WHOLE YANKEE TEAM to task on this one. It’s like being a parent and stopping your goofy kid from wearing two different shoes on the way out the door to school. Everyone in road grey HAD to have seen the giant smudge of tar on Mikey’s neck. Why not stroll over and say, “Hey, Big Mike, maybe lose the large jar of pine tar on your neck. It’s just a thought. Your call at the end of the day, but I think they might be able to see that…FROM SPACE!!”


I am just utterly disgusted in Pineda. Not only did he make himself look awful but also he is going to be suspended 10 games for sure…and I’d toss in 2 more for absolute stupidity. He is the CY Young of dumb dumbs at the moment and it’s a shame considering all he went through to get back to the Big League level.

I wish I could go on and on about this, but I am really at a loss for words. I’ll just sit back and listen to the sports world bash Michael Pineda and the Yankees. They have them dead to rights this time around.


** Here’s an old classic about being a moron by RUN DMC. Way to go Mikey.**





--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
   Twitter: @mikeyoh21

"Paulie was always my favorite player."


 

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

"RUN, DUMMY!"

It took me a little while to calm down and organize my thoughts for this post. On one hand I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with David Ortiz and found him to be one hell of a good guy. He is funny, personable and overall a class act…off the field. On the other hand, I had lost my voice from screaming at the television when he pulls his classless showboating act after taking a pitcher deep. Do you remember that from the other night? It was utterly embarrassing! His trot around the base path is excruciating and the epitome of what NOT to do as a professional athlete. In the words of Durham Bulls’ Great Crash Davis, “RUN DUMMY!”


Now we all KNOW that any and all members of the Red Sox Nation who might read this will immediately dismiss it. They lose their chowdah at the thought of a Yankee fan taking their eloquent designated hitter (This is our F%#*ing City!) to the proverbial “Woodshed”. Hey, Boston, with all due respect, GET BENT! You know these same folks would collectively need blood pressure medication if an opposing power hitter marveled at his handy work at the expense of Jawny Lestah, Clay, Jake or Dubrawnt. That is as factual a statement as saying the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, gang. Boston isn’t immune to the double standard. Believe it.


So the other night Ortiz, who looked foolish in every other at bat, took new Yankee import Masahiro Tanaka deep…good for you, Papi. You are an outstanding hitter and feast off the mistakes left up in the zone. There is no denying that. You’ve been doing it for years…SO ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE! You don’t get style points here. Let’s go! Make it around the bases as if you have respect for the your opponent and the game. I mean when Papi does finally cross home plate and points to the sky to thank God. You can almost hear the Almighty saying, “Hey! What took you so long? I gave to two strong legs, David. Run my son!”


The Yanks won Tanaka’s Fenway debut handedly and the back-to-back dingers the young righty served up to Ortiz and Mike “Looks like an extra from the movie Gettysburg” Napoli didn’t matter in the end. But believe me when I tell you that Masahiro, and more importantly Brian McCann, won’t forget Ortiz and his lame pause in the batter’s box and sightseeing stroll around the diamond. David may have only succeeded in focusing the Yankee staff even more. Way to be, champ. I bet even Pedy rolled his eyes at “Big Poser’s” stop and stare routine. It’s as stale as that guy who shouts “Play Free Bird!” at concerts.

The thing that has always bothered me about the Sox is that they seem to play with “Conduct Unbecoming of The Rivalry” and always get a pass. Ortiz and Manny with their showboating, Boston pitchers constantly throwing at Yankee batters (Look it up. They plunk us at like a 20 to 1 clip) and the needless bulletin board jabs from ownership and players like Jonny Gomes of all people!


I am getting tired of the Yanks allowing it to happen. Yes, beating the Boston and acting like it’s business as usual is the best way to win. Treating them like they don’t matter much burns them and fires up their massive Town vs. City inferiority complex. But I’m all for sending a  message here and there. I am hoping McCann let’s Big Papi know the next time the two clubs play that showing up a New York pitcher ain’t gonna happen on his watch. I want a little bit of the “Bronx Zoo” back. Goose, Nettles, Munson would have put Ortiz and his manicured beard in the ICU at Mass General.


I’m not looking for David to get injured mind you, but set him straight. He has meant a great deal to the city of Boston, the organization and Baseball…but in my opinion there is a reason a guy like Derek Jeter will receive a league-wide farewell tour and why Big Papi won’t. Sox fans (Hell, all fans really) despise ARod, and rightly so. But maybe Ortiz should ask himself after crushing a hanging slider out to the STOP & SHOP sign, “What would Alex do?” and then do the exact opposite.

You are better than that, Papi…aren’t you?


**Here’s the other “Boss” and a song for David Ortiz**






--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
   Twitter: @mikeyoh21

"Paulie was always my favorite player."


 
 

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

THE YANKEES' FUTURE ISN'T SO BAD AFTER ALL

(In Photo: Aaron Judge, Michael O'Neill)
Over the past few seasons we’ve listened as experts have told us how the Yankees’ farm system is slowly digressing.  The philosophy of using the minor league talent to land other teams’ established veterans had depleted our future and left the organization nothing more than a top-heavy behemoth vulnerable to the slightest of setbacks.

Last year seemed to bear that out as we had no real answers when Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter, and their replacements, fell to injury.

I’ve had the opportunity over the years (thanks to a minor league club – the Syracuse Chiefs – being nearby) to watch some of the Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders’ games, and what I’ve witnessed hasn’t exactly validated the experts’ assessments.

I’ve seen players with genuine talent and passion for the game make solid cases (in my mind) for the stability of our favorite team’s future.

To that end, I decided to take a look at how many of our “Baby Bombers” are currently doing at their various levels of baseball.  I discovered that the Yankees have a number of players distinguishing themselves in their quest to reach “The Show”.

At Single A level Charleston (RiverDogs), we have first baseman Mike Ford hitting .333 with a .464 slugging percentage through 15 games.

Also at first base for the RiverDogs is Aaron Judge.  The 22-year-old was drafted in the first round (32nd pick overall) last year, and like Ford, is hitting .321 through 16 games.

Starting pitcher Caleb Smith carries a 1.26 ERA and 1.12 WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) with 13 strikeouts in 14.1 innings pitched.

Out of the bullpen, Charleston brings 23-year-old Nick Rumbelow who has three saves, a 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

Moving up to A (Advanced) level Tampa, there’s Dante Bichette Jr., a third baseman, who is hitting .358 with a 1.028 OPS (stat that represents a combination of slugging and on-base percentages) with 16 walks in 17 games.

Teammate Peter O’Brien, also a third baseman, is batting .333 and has a 1.086 OPS.  He leads Tampa with six home runs and has 12 RBI in 16 games.

On the mound in Florida, we have Eric Wooten, a starter that currently carries a 2.11 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP.  Wooten has struck out 16 and walked just 4 in 21.1 innings.

Fellow starter Rafael DePaula has a 2.51 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 19 strikeouts and six walks in 14.1 innings.

So, what about the guys within reach of a call-up?

Well, at Trenton (Double A) the Thunder have top prospect Gary Sanchez.  The catcher isn’t disappointing by hitting .302 with a .453 slugging percentage and .846 OPS with 13 RBI in 14 games.  If he continues at this rate, chances are you’ll see him at Scranton for the second half of the season. Teammate Kyle Roller, a first baseman, is batting .308 with three home runs and a 1.110 OPS.

24-year-old starter Zach Nuding touts a 2.89 ERA and 0.91 WHIP while striking out 18 in 18.2 innings. 

Closing out games for the Thunder is 26-year-old Diego Moreno.  He is among the league leaders with four saves and holds a 1.29 ERA with a microscopic 0.43 WHIP. 

The Yankees have some guys at Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre (the RailRiders) who are making strong cases for themselves as well.

We’ve all become familiar with Scott Sizemore whose demotion back to Scranton was nothing more than a result of the roster shell game that teams have to play.  He’s batting .344 with a .936 on-base percentage.  I really would be surprised if we didn’t seem him return sometime soon.

Our Triple A club has a strong bullpen and most representative of that are relievers Mark Montgomery and Danny Burawa.

The 23-year-old Montgomery seems to be on the fast track to the majors.  He has been promoted every year and with a 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and nine strikeouts in eight innings, his meteoric rise through the organization doesn’t appear to be slowing.

Burawa is the 25-year-old complement to Montgomery and his statistics are just as impressive.  Like his teammate, Burawa has a 0.00 ERA.  His WHIP is slightly higher at 1.05, but he has struck out 12 in a little over six innings.

After reviewing how our minor leaguers have begun 2014, I can’t help but think that the Yankees’ future is in good hands.  It is clear that on the horizon there are stars just waiting to explode onto the scene in New York. 

I’ve only mentioned a few here to make the point that while there are prognosticators who will be critical of the organization that has won more championships than any other, only time will be the true evaluation of our scouts’ hard work.

Will any of these guys be the next Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera

Probably not, but none of them can be discounted just yet.

Talent like that comes around once in a generation if you’re lucky, and God knows we’ve been pretty damn lucky over the years.

Nonetheless, what these ballplayers (and others) represent is depth in a system that many like to call barren.  They give us a glimpse into what the future holds for the Yankees.

I like what I see.


    

--Steve Skinner, BYB Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1




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HAPPY BIRTHDAY WRIGLEY FIELD!


I have a special place in my heart for the baby bears from Chicago’s North side. The first Little League team I played for was the Cubs. I remember my Dad returning from a business trip in The Windy City. Some associates took him to the Friendly Confines for an afternoon game.


My Father is a die hard New Yorker and Yankee fan, but that didn’t stop him from uttering this memorable line, “Michael, Yankee Stadium is the best place in the world to watch baseball. Wrigley Field is the best place to enjoy a baseball game.”


I didn’t quite understand that completely until I finally visited 1060 West Addison (Also the address of one Elwood Blues if you are scoring at home.) It is truly a magical place. Where The House That Ruth Built truly was Baseball’s cathedral, Wrigley was like your neighborhood had a block party and a ball game broke out. It was all as great as advertised, the ivy, the Cubbie traditions, singing “Take Me Out”.

(In Photo: Harry Caray)
I sat an watched the hometown club duke it out with the visiting Colorado Rockies. I had no horse in the race but pulled for the Cubs all the same. I drank Old Styles, ate Chicago-style hotdogs and loved every second of it. It was great to experience one of Baseball’s crown jewels. There is nothing like Wrigley. I’m not saying it’s better than Yankee Stadium…it’s just different.

I studied Improvisation at the IO theatre and Second City. I really do love Chicago and all the friends I have that hail from that great city. They are very much like New Yorkers in a way. They are proud of their town. Like Yankee fans, Cubbie fans are born and raised to live and die with their team…and let’s call it down the middle here. The Cub Faithful have had a much heavier cross to bare.

Wrigley is celebrating a big birthday this season, and just like when Fenway turned 100 it really wonderful to see. The fact that these two ballparks still stand proud in their respective cities should make any baseball fan smile. They are the truly “The Old Guard” and I hope they never come down. They are national treasures, monuments to the sport and something you don’t see in the NBA, NFL or NHL.


I want to wish the Cubs, their fans and that grand ol’ ballpark a very happy birthday! I raise my glass to another 100 years…and hopefully better days for the North side baby bears.

** What else would I pick? Here’s Jake, Elwood and the boys.**






--Mike O'Hara, MLB Fan Cave Host, Season 1
   Twitter: @mikeyoh21

"Paulie was always my favorite player."


 

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DOMINATION IN FENWAY!


The Yankees need to beat the Boston Red Sox every time they play them.  That should always be the plan.  Tonight, despite the boos and signs that read ELL$BURY, they stood like professionals with 1 mission... win.  Behind Masahiro Tanaka, they scored 9 runs, had 15 hits, and never looked back.  They didn't flinch tonight... that's the way I like my Yankees.


Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .342 this season. Tonight he was 2-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBIs. He had a double and a triple and the message was clear, "You can boo all you want... you let a good player walk to a rival. Big mistake."


Tanaka went 7.1 innings. He gave up 2 runs and struck out 7.  He gave up back to back homer to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli, but what pitcher doesn't have problems with those guys? It was simple; he missed his spots those times. Life goes on.  Give Tanaka credit, he pitched real well. He is legit.  Dellin Betances followed and gave up only 1 run.  He too looked good. He's developing into what the Yankees wanted from him a few years ago. I like that.


It's evident the Yankees are feeling good about themselves right now. Offensively, they're solid.  Brian McCann was 3-4 tonight.  Ichiro was 2-4 tonight and currently has a .371 AVG.  Carlos Beltran cranked out a homer.  Even Derek Jeter looked great tonight! Things are happening ladies and gentlemen, and it has #2814 written all over it.   Yes, the bullpen is alittle weak, but with David Robertson being activated from the DL today, and a guy like former Yankee, Hector Noesi being DFA'd by the Texas Rangers today (Dallas Morning News HERE), moves can be made. I'm not saying we're going to make major moves, but I am saying the Yankees will improve. DRob provides leadership, and while Noesi may or may not be on the Yankees radar, all I'm saying is, there are options. Maybe he could be an extra option for them.

Look, in the end tonight, the Yankees looked great... dominant, and full of energy in Fenway.  Let's keep it going boys... I like what I see!


Final: Yankees 9 - Red Sox 3.

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TOMMY JOHN'S COMING TO A NOVA NEAR YOU

 
A quick note and something that you already know, because you're smart fans and readers... Ivan Nova was examined and it is "recommended" that he have the Tommy John procedure. 

According to CBSSports.com, "Tommy John surgery has been "recommended" for right-hander Ivan Nova, the Yankees announced. A second opinion confirmed the initial diagnosis of a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament."
 
 
Bummer, but Nova will recover fine and the recovery time for a procedure like that is quick these days.  It's fascinating actually.

Wish him well if he decides to have the surgery. His twitter is @IvanNova47.

Get well soon, Super Nova.

You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store!  Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook!