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Thursday, January 31, 2013

BIG INVITES FOR YANKEES SPRING TRAINING

The Yankees have invited 44 players to Major League Spring Training camp. Now I'm starting to get psyched.    

Here's the list of the Yankees' spring invitees:

Pitchers: 

 
 

Catchers: 


Bobby Wilson

Infield: 




Outfield: 




2 players I am curious about.  Why wasn't Russ Canzler and Mason Williams invited? Not sure I know the answer, but I would have loved to have seen them compete for a spot.  It would have been fun. I must have missed something. 

Congrats to the guys who got a spot! I can't wait...

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TRAVIS HAFNER IS A YANKEE...

And we let Raul Ibanez go... why?

Look, we'll have a more in depth analysis on this toss up between Travis Hafner and Raul Ibanez later. I will have analysis, as well as one of our writers here on BYB, because everyone in Yankeeland is scratching their head on this one.  That being said, I don't want to dilute the fact that we DO now have a lefty bat with power in Travis Hafner.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, HERE, the deal with Hafner is a 1 year deal, a low base salary plus incentives. He'll be the DH. There is no doubt Hafner will be effective in the Bronx. I like him, I always have although, I would have liked him better if it was 2004.

Credit to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, HERE... he had the story first.  Good work.

Welcome Travis Hafner... don't get hurt.




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HAPPY BIRTHDAY JACKIE ROBINSON

We all know Jackie Robinson's amazing story. He did the impossible and broke through the color barrier. Without Jackie, there would be no Larry Doby, no Elston Howard and yes, no Derek Jeter.

Jackie's a hero, he's iconic and let's not forget that with his story of courage and race comes his story about believing in himself.  He had a goal, he knew what he was capable of and his drive and determination should be celebrated as well. He did it.

Happy Birthday Jackie. 42 will always be in baseball because of you. It may have been the smartest decision Major League Baseball has ever made.

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ALEX RODRIGUEZ & HIS FINAL ACT

I once wrote that the best thing for Alex Rodriguez should do is to walk away from the Yankees, this great game and retire, lock himself up somewhere and just close out the world. I wrote it in October when I wrote THE ALEX RODRIGUEZ PILE ON IS NOW RELENTLESS. I said: "If I'm Alex Rodriguez, I retire from baseball at the end of 2012, I take my daughters and just hang out on my compound in Florida. It will be quiet, calm and I would shut everyone out....the pounding that Alex is unfairly getting regularly by the press, ALL press. The past 48 hours, it's come to a head. It is so overwhelming, so relentless that, I have to say, it's just not fair for anyone to be bashed as bad as this man has been."

I felt bad for the guy then.  It was he and several others that just stunk up the playoffs for the Yankees. Yet, the world jumped down Alex’s throat, and he wasn't even playing! Yes, he contributed to the loss, which is why he was benched in the first place, but at the time, I felt alittle bad for him. No one needs that kind of abuse, from the fans, the press, etc.  It’s a lot of pressure and could drive anyone batty. Sure, he’s a millionaire, he’s expected to deliver, I get all that, but my point was, enough was enough and the best thing he could have done then was just walk away from the game.  For him, it couldn’t be fun anymore.


Fast Forward to this New Times story (HERE) that links ARod and some others to a PEDs facility in Miami.  Well, if proven true, and I stress truth here, Alex needs to walk away.  Ken Rosenthal wrote an interesting piece yesterday titled, Will Injury be end for ARod?, in it he says… "A-Rod might be voided by his own body.

Specifically, a doctor might determine that Rodriguez is suffering from a career-ending injury. In that event, A-Rod still would collect the $114 million remaining on his contract, even though he would never play again.

The scenario would not be the same as retirement — if Rodriguez retired, he would forfeit all of his money.

The Yankees, though, would be almost entirely free of their obligation — they would collect from insurance up to 85 percent of the money that Rodriguez is guaranteed, but only after he missed a full season, according to major-league sources."

And sure, the other side of this is everyone is talking about the Yankees and the voiding of ARod’s contract and we'll have a story on it on BYB tonight.  Sure, it sounds like a piece of cake, but it ain’t happening.  There are way too many variables that go into that and it’s almost easier to just not do it.  The Yankees were the ones who made a huge mistake signing Alex Rodriguez to that big of a contract in the first place.  Sure, you can yell at ARod for demanding that kind of dough, but that’s what you do in sports, you aim high and see what you get.  The Yankees were blinded by the idea of getting the All-Time Home Run record back to the Yankees and didn’t know any of this was going to happen, none of us did.  It did and now the Yankee have egg on their face.

But back to Alex.  It is my opinion that time is up.  At this point, I guess we can chalk this report up as an accusation.  MLB will investigate and we will wait patiently. But say the investigation proves that Alex IS innocent.  Do you think it really matters in the eye of the public? It doesn’t matter, Alex is toast no matter what, and you know what? That sucks.  It’s sad, but true and what was once the greatest baseball player in this generation will be forced out of the game with too many skeletons in his closet, true or untrue, it doesn’t matter and like I said, he should just hang it up and move to a compound somewhere counting his money. Sad.

Why do I think that way? Because of 1 thing my 10 year old asked me two days ago when all this stuff broke… “Why do baseball players take drugs if they are already talented?” That stayed with me. Good question. I didn’t have an answer… I still don’t, do you? 

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HOW THE YANKEES STACK UP: CENTERFIELD

It's been an interesting journey for BYB.  Our series HOW THE YANKEES STACK UP is insanely popular. It's because of you, but it's also because of the creator, Steve Skinner.  So far we've examined Catcher, First base, Second base, Shortstop, Third base and Left Field.  Now... we examine Centerfield.  Keep enjoying this series... I am.

--Casey
Centerfield
  
It is one of the most storied positions on the most storied team.  Center field in the Bronx has been occupied by the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Bernie Williams.  Names that lie close to the heart of every Yankees fan.

The current keeper of center field is Curtis Granderson.  Whether or not his name gets mentioned with the others may very well depend on his performance in 2013.

Following this season, Granderson is a free agent, and he is coming off a somewhat disappointing 2012 where he hit a career-low .232, but remained productive by slugging 43 HR with 106 RBI.  It seems that in 2012 it was an all-or-nothing proposition for the multi-talented outfielder.


Between 2010 (when he came to the Yankees) and 2011 it looked as though Granderson’s work with hitting coach Kevin Long was paying off as he raised his average 15 points (from .247 in 2010 to .262 in 2011) and added power (24 HR in 2010 to 41 HR in 2011).  While his power has stayed, the 30 point fall in batting average last year is concerning, and given the team’s self imposed salary cap ($189 million) it means that the Yankees will most likely look elsewhere for a center fielder in 2014 – unless Granderson can make himself invaluable during 2013.

The potential for Granderson is still there at age 32.  We have caught glimpses of his speed (he stole 25 bases in 2011) and he certainly has proven that he can deposit balls beyond the outfield wall with regularity (84 HR the past two seasons).  With consistency at the plate, he could give the team some help at the heart of the order.   As bad as his average was in 2012, he still was one of the better hitters  with runners in scoring position (hitting .254).  

This year will determine if number 14 will remain in pinstripes, and I’m betting that one of the genuine good guys in Major League Baseball will prove his worth.

Here is what the rest of the division will look like in center field:

Toronto Blue Jays:  27-year old Colby Rasmus will be the primary center fielder for the Blue Jays.  Like Granderson, he has shown decent power (25 HR in 2012) but inconsistency at the plate (hitting .225). He is solid in the field (7 assists in 2012, including a double play) and can hit in the clutch (.276 with RISP).

Baltimore Orioles:  The Orioles most talented player will occupy center field in 2013.  Adam Jones at age 27 is just beginning to enter the prime years of his career and will be trying to build on a 32 HR, 82 RBI, 103 runs scored performance from last season.  He is decent in the field (Gold Glove winner) and smart on the base paths (stealing 16 bases in 2012), and will remain the player at the heart of the order for the O’s for years to come.

(In Photo: Sam Fuld)
Tampa Bay Rays: As of this writing it would appear that some sort of combination of Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer will play center field for the Rays in 2013.  Fuld is 31 years old and hit .255 with seven stolen bases in 44 games for the team last season.  Guyer is 27 and has played in a total of 18 games with the big league club.

Boston Red Sox: In 2011 it appeared that center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury’s career was taking off.  That season he hit .321 with 32 HR and 106 RBI in an otherwise disappointing campaign for the team.  Last year was riddled with injuries, and rather than building on 2011, he took a step back.  The 29-year old still has his best years ahead of him and should greatly improve (if healthy) upon the .271, 4 HR performance (in 74 games) from 2012 – especially since it is a contract year (he’ll be a free agent in 2014).

Here is how we see the AL East center fielders stack up:

  1. Baltimore: Adam Jones’ star only continues to rise.
  2. New York: “Grandy” will become more consistent at the plate and put up numbers similar to his 2011 season with the “Bombers”.
  3. Boston: If Ellsbury stays with the club – and healthy – for the entire season, he could be mentioned as an MVP candidate.
  4. Toronto:  Like Granderson, Rasmus needs to improve his batting average to be considered a legitimate threat in the Blue Jays lineup.
  5. Tampa Bay: Only time will tell if Fuld or Guyer is the answer for the Rays in centerfield.
Let us know what you think!


 
--Steve Skinner, BYB Guest Writer
Twitter: @oswegos1





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ALEX RODRIGUEZ PROVES MY CASE

I’m not even going to delve into the current PED mess floating around baseball right now. I will say this though, whether it's true or not, whomever linked Alex Rodriguez to this story has just done me a HUGE favor. What I’m about to say may blow your minds: Frank Thomas is the greatest power hitter of the last 25 years! WHAT? Yes! That's right, I said it.

Let’s all jump in our “way-back” machines to that magical year of 1990. The Yankees were dreadful. I was 11, really had nothing to cheer about (except for my hero Donnie Baseball). But it was another first baseman that competed for my heart way back then.

All of my friends and cousins instantly fell in love with Ken Griffey Jr. They did nothing but talk about his greatness and they all competed to see who could accumulate the most Griffey baseball cards. Not me, I was at the baseball card shop (do they even exist anymore?) seeking out Frank Thomas

Sure Griffey was fast and made playing centerfield look effortless, but there was something about this linebacker-sized guy playing first base and hitting monstrous home runs that caught my eye.

Thomas had a stellar career with the White Sox. He came back from a torn triceps muscle and continued putting up power numbers. Aside from all that thought, he had a terrific eye. He amassed over 1600 walks in his career. (A number that I’m sure is padded because of the fear opposing pitchers had facing him.) Ultimately it was the broken foot in 2004 that was the beginning of the end for Thomas.

When he finally called it quits in 2010, after sitting out all of 2009, Thomas had amassed a .301 lifetime batting average, 521 home runs, 1704 RBI, and a .974 OPS. His .301 puts him ahead of both Griffey and ARod. He’s currently tied for 18th all-time for home runs with 6 known or suspected PED users in front of him (Bonds, Rodriguez, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, and Manny Ramirez) and 22nd in RBI. He did all of this playing his home games in pitcher friendly Comisky Park.

Over the weekend Thomas was quoted as saying that all of this talk about PEDs makes his accomplishments much more special, read HERE. And he’s correct. He’s never been linked to anything. Thomas came up as rookie as a large man and retired as the same large man. For the most part he was never flashy, never controversial, seemed to be a terrific teammate. Unless something earth shattering comes out over the next year he should be a first ballot Hall of Famer – something Alex Rodriguez will never accomplish.




--Lem Allen, BYB Contributor
Email me at: bybcurmudgeon@gmail.com



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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

PEDs HAVE DESTROYED THIS GREAT GAME OF BASEBALL

"Hi Boys and Girls, my name is (INSERT VIOLATOR HERE), I play for the (INSERT TEAM HERE), but I tested positive for drugs and cheated.  I am now suspended for 50 games.  What I did was wrong.  Don’t be like me. I am not a role model. A role model works hard to achieve their goals.”

Looks like we have a big problem in Major League Baseball if this New Times story is true, read HERE. The above statement was a statement I put together in the summer when Melky Cabrera was caught cheating and admitting to using PEDs, read WHEN SUNSHINE TURNS TO DARKNESS for insight on that. Now look, because this issue of PEDs use is such a wicked web, and I'm no lawyer, I can't sit here and tell my audience that I have it all figured out. I don't. Sure, there are accusations everywhere about who used, who didn't and when they could have used and when they didn't use. Bottom line, the only one that truly knows is that player and God. BYB would love to ban all players that are caught, but something needs to happen for me to go further. These players would either need to admit it, like Melky Cabrera, or they would need to be found guilty. I know, I know, it's no easy task, none of it is, but it's so hard to just read a news item and just point fingers. I'm trying to give the benefit of the doubt.  I feel like I can't just blanket the whole thing and jump on the "accusation wagon". None of us truly know. Again, It's a wicked web and it makes me queasy.
(Note: not the actual incident)
Late yesterday I came home from work and went to throw out some garbage in my kitchen. I opened up the can and found my son's Alex Rodriguez card in the trash. Puzzled, I asked him about it.  He told me a kid in his class told him that ARod cheated and told me he didn't want it anymore. Now look, he's 10.  He's old enough to read the Internet and thanks to athletes who use and get caught, he knows what PEDs are now. Unfortunately for me, I now have to parent alittle harder to explain not only cheating, but Performance Enhancing Drugs. Not exactly something in my parent handbook.  But, it's funny, when he said he threw out ARod's card,  in some regard, I was proud of him. He understood right from wrong.  Cheating isn't allowed, he got it. In another regard, I was crushed.  If these reports of Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez and Bartolo Colon and others are true, and I stress the importance of truth here, It is the ultimate blow to baseball, to sports and Bud Selig has to wake the hell up.

The report simply said this: "Major League Baseball is gathering and reviewing information regarding Tuesday's report in the Miami New Times that linked at least seven Major Leaguers to performance-enhancing substances via a recently closed clinic in Miami, but also expressed confidence that the developments demonstrate the scope of the sport's anti-doping efforts.

The newspaper said that records it obtained connect the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez, the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, the Rangers' Nelson Cruz and others to Anthony Bosch, the former owner of Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables, Fla. In the cases of some, Bosch's handwritten notes indicated that players obtained human growth hormone and other substances from him."
Here is the full story from MLB.com HERE.

Here is a portion of MLB statement. Full statement is HERE:  “We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances. These developments, however, provide evidence of the comprehensive nature of our anti-drug efforts. Through our Department of Investigations, we have been actively involved in the issues in South Florida. It is also important to note that three of the players allegedly involved have already been disciplined under the Joint Drug Program... Vigilance remains the key toward protecting the integrity of our game. We have the best and most stringent drug testing policy in professional sports, we continue to work with our doctors and trainers to learn what they are seeing day-to-day and we educate our players about the game’s unbending zero-tolerance approach. We remain fully committed to following all leads and seeking the appropriate outcomes for all those who use, purchase and are involved in the distribution of banned substances, which have no place in our game... We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information. We will refrain from further comment until this process is complete.”

When it now trickles down to my son, I have some thoughts on this. Trust me. PEDs are running wild and my kid is crushed. When that happens, I want to circle the wagons. So, in other words, this is more about baseball now... This is about my family.

So, I simply revisit an idea that Bleeding Yankee Blue had that was ignored by Major League Baseball this past summer. Once again, I believe that if implemented, it will surely end this epidemic, or at least slow it down to a grinding halt. Quite simply, we shame these offenders.  I detailed this idea when Melky Cabrera was caught, and admitted his guilt. The idea is simple: You put these players in front of a camera. You have them talk directly to the fans, to the kids. You make them read a script and, I'll use Bartolo Colon as the example here below, remember he was another player who admitted guilt:
(Below is the statement I would force failed testers to use as a new policy suggested by BYB)
My name is Bartolo Colon, I pitch for the Oakland Athletics this season, but I tested positive for drugs and cheated.  I am now suspended for 50 games.  What I did was wrong.  Don’t be like me. I am not a role model. A role model works hard to achieve their goals.”

This Public Service Announcement should be shown on MLB or Sports productions around America, at the Super Bowl, before Tennis matches and on baseball pre-game shows.  Everyone should see it.  But that's not all, that player should also pay a nice fat fine.  This hits these players in the ego and in the pocketbook and in addition to all of that, these violators should be suspended for an entire 162 game season meaning, that season is erased. In other words, if they are caught in August of 2013, there stats don't count.  On their baseball card it would read "Suspended for PEDs", just like it would read "Out for Season with Injury."

Quite frankly, this is the smartest, most comprehensive idea to keep players from using.  I am sick of my son asking me why players "cheat" if they're already talented.  Pretty smart question for a 10 year old, I don't have an answer, do you?   I'm tired of explaining why PEDs are bad.  Now it's time for the players to explain to kids why it's bad, so, a Public Service Announcement from the player himself should do the trick. Why? Because I may be a parent, but I do my job, I guide my kids. I also teach about personal responsibility. So why not have these guys do it too?  Hey ARod, if this report is true, why don't you tell my son why you cheated? (In fairness, ARod denies the charge by the New Times, read HERE.)
Why don't you tell my kid why it's wrong Alex?  Why don't you tell my kid why he shouldn't do it?  I already do, but kids worship athletes and you guys need to set the example!

And message to MLB... Implement my idea. It's easy to do!  From this point forward, if a player violates the PEDs agreement, it should be considered a violation of MLB Rules and it would automatically void any involvement from the Players Association.  These players need to step forward like men and take their lumps. They need to do it without protection of lawyers, agents, the Player's Association or their teams. If they are so "adult" about making a decision to cheat, then they need to be "adult" about handling their punishment on their own.

Sure, read this post and poke holes in it if you want, you're entitled. But I know I'm not the only one who thinks that enough is enough. It's time to drop the hammer. Shame these violators, because we all know MLB will never ban these violators from baseball.  So, do the next best thing, take away their stats, embarrass them and let them talk directly to the kids about personal responsibility, because I gotta tell ya, your little PEDs handbook just ain't working.  Wake up Bud, wake up.



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TEAM CHEMISTRY: IT'S IN THE GENES

Chemistry- the hard-wired genes of a team, the talent pool, the potential for growth- the camaraderie between players and the glue that holds the team together at its seams.  As ESPN Boston’s Jack MacMullan explained in his article Unlikeable Red Sox Flunked Chemistry, following the Boston Red Sox demise in 2011, “… People say we make too much of the value of good chemistry and camaraderie. They are wrong; it matters. When things get tough, teams with unified players step up. They rely on guys who believe in leadership and accountability — and each other — to turn things around.”

Many analysts are saying that teams like the Braves, Padres and Diamondbacks, who are being touted as this year’s youngsters, need chemistry to glue together the raw young talent.  Kirk Gibson, a young manager, may be the guy to lead the newbies in Arizona.  The Braves are looking for a player who can step in like Chipper Jones has for so many years.  The core of good chemistry is good leadership and clear expectations.

Setting expectations for a team is essential.  Otherwise, if expectations are unvoiced, unrealistic or unmet, you run into problems- many of these unearthed themselves in Boston and could be brewing in New York if egos aren’t managed properly.  Who is going to step up this year for the Yankees?  We have our veterans like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter back, but I think it’s time for Robinson Cano to show his leadership skills and take on a deeper role in the Yankee clubhouse. 

Oakland was never expected to win last year, but the gritty team came a long way.  No big stars, no big deal.  “The 51-year-old (Bob) Melvin, a former big league catcher who grew up in Menlo Park and played at Cal, took over from the fired Bob Geren in June 2011. Melvin led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title in 2007 and also won 93 games in his rookie season with Seattle in 2003.”  (Read HERE.)

Melvin just got a contract to extension to 2016 and Oakland may have the right mix this season between frugally careful general manager Billy Beane, “modern day” manager Bob Melvin, and a young raw team that fits way under the salary cap at $59.5 million. 

But does good chemistry stem from good management and a thrifty payroll? Not exactly.  Of course we need the guys in the jerseys to mesh.  And that means, like I said before, we need people to step up, player to player and empower, motivate, and excite not just the team, but the fans too.  We want to see happy players, who are enthusiastic, who run with passion, who laugh and smile, who are edgy and fired up and who never give up.  Good character is at the route of good chemistry.  “Although the assembled talent was at first glance glittering, when the late-season malaise kicked in and it was time to roll up their Brooks Brothers sleeves and wade into the muck of an everyday slump, far too many of the big-name players turned up their noses and balked,” said MacMullen about the 2011 Sox.  He could have been saying the same thing about the 2012 Yankees at the end of last season.


So, how do we know we have the right formula this Spring to win this Fall? Will newly signed Dan Johnson mesh with Kevin Youkilis?  Will Youkilis mesh with Jeter?  Is there really beef between Joba and Youk?  Our guys need time to build new relationships and renew old ones.  And we need to give them their time and so does the media!

This is our team, like it or not, so let’s hope that they ace chemistry and not flunk it.



--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Opinion Columnist
Twitter: @suzieprof




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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

GUESS WHERE CHRIS DICKERSON JUST SIGNED...

So news broke earlier today that Chris Dickerson has signed a deal with the Baltimore Orioles.  Good for him.  You can read about it HERE. The deal is a minor league deal and an invitation to Spring Training.

For all of you that suddenly hate Dickerson for going to the enemy... think again.  This is a guy that was let go by the New York Yankees so we could sign guys like Thomas Neal and Matt Diaz.  Confused yet? I am.  Dickerson did what he needed to do, look for a job and you know what? He got one because he's actually a good ballplayer. I knew he'd latch onto a team! Look, we all knew what Dickerson brought us as a player and while I have nothing against Diaz and Neal, from my personal standpoint, Dickerson deserved a shot.

I wish Chris well.  On Twitter he was personable, he always interacted with the fans, and he even announced it today and thanked us who rooted and supported him while he was in pinstripes.  That Tweet is below.

Take a minute, congratulate the dude, and we'll probably see him this season.

Good luck Chris, you are the man!

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NICK JOHNSON GETS INJURED RETIRING

(In Photo: Disorderly Orderly Movie)
Sure, that title is just me poking fun at good old Nick Johnson, because it seemed like every season the kid played, he got hurt. The most games he ever played in a season was 147 and that was with the Nationals in 2006.  2000 was supposed to be his rookie season, but he was out because he was hurt. He'd get hurt a lot, what can I say.  When Nick Johnson was on, he was effective at the plate. I loved his stance, his uniform was always dirty, he looked like a throwback, or at least had that throwback mentality.  The difference is a throwback would always be in the lineup. Nick was always sidelined.  That being said, it's my opinion that he was a good Yankee, he just had a worse injury streak than Mr. Fragile himself, Eric Chavez.

So yeah, it's being reported HERE that Nick Johnson is calling it quits, he's officially retiring. Let's hope he doesn't get hurt doing it.

Good Luck Nick.

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THE SECOND COMING OF DEREK JETER

I don't have to tell you just how devastated I was the night Derek Jeter fell to the ground in the playoffs.  I gasped... we all did.  At that moment, we all saw the writing on the wall.  It was over, our champion was down.

Combine that with this slow off-season and there hasn't been much to get happy about if you're a Yankee fan.  We all feel like the rug has been pulled out from under us ever since Jeter went down.  We're in a weird funk, so much so that I personally didn't even realize just how close we were to Pitchers & Catchers.  It's crazy to me to think that we've been in the month of January trying to blame everyone in Yankeeland for this lousy off season.... then, yesterday we got a truly great piece of news! Derek Jeter was not only taking batting practice, but he was in the field working on his glove work as well.  I mean, are you freaking kidding me?  How exciting is that?
According to the Associated Press (HERE), "Derek Jeter worked out on a baseball field Monday for the first time since breaking his left ankle last October.

The 38-year-old New York Yankees captain fielded 55 grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt at shortstop at the team’s minor league complex. He also hit in a batting cage. 


'Everything went well,' Jeter said as he drove out of the complex."

Now, truth be told, Jeet could have a cast on his leg and he'll tell you he feels great, so reading a quote from him saying that everything went well almost seems like a throwaway line to me.  I don't care. I DO care that he's on the field and took a bunch of grounders.  That means a lot, trust me.

(In Photo: Matt Diaz)
It's a miracle and to be honest, it let's me forget about us signing guys like Matt Diaz... no offense to Matt Diaz by the way, but you know what I mean.

This is a big moment for Jeter and the Yankees.  You have to assume that Derek will work as hard as possible to get out there on Opening Day.  That's the precedent he has set for years and will put forward again right now.  Jeter knows what it means to be a New York Yankee. This is a guy that will hide an injury to play. Not because he's a selfish player, but because he knows his talent can help the club win.  He also knows the fans, Yankee brass and the world expects it.  It's values like that... combined with dedication, determination and pure blood and guts that make up Derek Jeter's entire career.  There is no one better. That's the damn truth.
Thinking about the lack of energy when it comes to Yankee brass and this off-season gets many of us down, but reading about Jeter yesterday really made me forget about all of it, because at the end of the day, guys who have only heard about Derek but never played with him will see something special if he's leading the charge.  Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, God willing, will all be there ready to go.  They are no spring chickens, that's for sure, but they are leaders that have been doing this since the beginning, as a team... as New York Yankees. They GET the Yankee way of doing things.  Throw in  Jorge Posada as a special instructor and we really have something going.  The Core Four will be back! Sure, only for a little while, but with them comes a different feeling if you're playing as their teammate... it's pride, it's confidence, it's the ability to try harder.  In the end, if these new players see Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera coming back from serious leg injuries like they did and they take the field ready to go... let's just say, no one will want to be left behind!  I no longer see no-name players anymore... now I see the light.  We CAN do this.

The Yankees breed champions.  We've heard it a thousand times, but something happens when you put on the pinstripes.  Don't believe me? Ask no-name Scott Brosius about that.  He was probably the worst Yankee pickup on paper. Yet, he became a huge part of that Yankees run in the late 1990's even winning the MVP in the 1998 Word Series.  Something happens when you put on the pinstripes.  Ask Charlie Hayes about that... how about Shane Spencer... or Hiroki Kuroda.

(In Photo: Russ Canzler)
My point is, who cares that Russ Canzler is joining us this season?  The pinstripes make players shine and with Jeter leading the charge, it is my estimation that new Yankee stars can be born in 2013.

Sure, on paper, we look like an OK club, and if we hit a good losing streak, Yankee brass will get hell, and they know it, but what if we don't? What if we win?  What if we win, not because we're lucky, but because no-name talent believe in themselves enough to scratch out an extra run or 2?  What if these guys we've been sarcastically ripping on actually start to believe they CAN do it all because an iconic legend, Derek Jeter says they should?  And I don't verbally, I mean physically.

When Jeter takes the field after an injury like that, wearing the pinstripes and holding the brim of his hat with a smile on his face, you can't sit there and tell me a player is going to think they CAN'T.  No.  They think they WILL.  Why? Because we have the greatest Captain that has ever graced Yankee Stadium and not only that... he's the best damn Captain in baseball.  We are damn lucky as fans and they are damn lucky as his teammates.  And hey, at the end of the day, the Yankees will do well, as long as our captain stands tall. Trust me on this, with Jeter there... there ain't nothing that can get in our way. I believe that.

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Monday, January 28, 2013

JUAN RIVERA SIGNS WITH THE YANKEES

It's true, that right handed bat that Brian Cashman wanted?? Juan Rivera apparently is it. I'm not kidding.  It is being revealed by Andrew Marchand of ESPN that Juan Rivera has signed a minor league deal with the Yankees, read HERE. According to Marchand, "It is a minor league deal, allowing Rivera to compete with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler to be a right-handed-hitting outfielder for the Yankees."


No surprises here from me, I'm defeated.  Look, it's always nice to have a Yankee reunion of course, and you all remember Juan right?  He had a nice short visit with us and also had a good run with teams like the Angels and Dodgers.  He's a decent hitter, not a great fielder, but hey, this must have been what the Yankees were talking about when they wanted a right field outfielder with alittle pop.  Rivera has that and he's cheap. 

Look, who knows who's going to come out of this outfielder competition between Diaz, Canzler, Thomas Neal and Rivera, but I'm at peace with the Yankee penny pinching and I'm not gonna get nuts about it.  It's not worth it.  And yes, I understand Neal's a left fielder, but they are collecting all these guys to compete, that's it.

I will tell you something. I understand why so many people are nuts with the Yankees off season, me included at timed.  It's shows in BYB's readership today.  A ton of fans read  "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE" and it really resonated with a lot of you. I know you're all feeling the same way. I just have to say, hang in there.

Fans are truly disappointed with the Yankees lack of movement.  I am too, but my New Year's resolution was to not be angry anymore.  There are more important things going on in life, I can't get upset...besides, "Pitchers and Catchers" is 16 days away.  I can't wait!

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"I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE"

Here's another installment from my good friend Dave Goode, a die-hard Yankee fan... and my friend.

As your blog says, The Yankees are looking to 2014. I am going to be like a bear and go to sleep.  You can wake me just in time for Spring training 2014.  It is my opinion that this Yankee team sadly reminds me of being a young Yankee fan.

(In Photo: Jake Gibbs)
I remember being around 11 years old and seeing that 1967 Yankee roster... an aging Mickey Mantle in one of his last years. Jake Gibbs as catcher, Charley Smith at 3B. There was Tom Tresh, Joe Pepitone, Ruben Amaro, Steve Whitaker and many other so-so players past there prime.

Last season they BATTLED to barely make the playoffs with so-so pitching and no clutch hitting. Now I see this off season and there is nothing. It has been the "Off Season of Stugots."


Yeah, we signed Kevin Youkilis because we had no choice. Alex Rodriguez is down through mid-summer at best and he "could" be out all season, read HERE.   Youk could surprise us, true, but his better days are behind him.  We couldn’t even get a so-so Scott Hairston to sign with us, never mind a Justin Upton who ended up going to the Braves. Plus, instead of going after Michael Morse, we signed Dan Johnson, a .237 lifetime hitter. To me, it's pathetic. BYB blogs have talked all the players the Yanks have missed the boat on and I'll tell you, I wish I could talk to both of the Steinbrenner boys and tell them that's it's been a disappointment.

We are in the toughest division in baseball and after the Toronto Blue Jays made that trade with the Miami Marlins, things just got tougher. Plus, who's left to sign? Michael Bourn?  I don’t see that happening.  I've been in sales for over 30 years. We usually have mock sales sessions. But look, until you actually interact with customers, it is all nonsense.  That is why the time is NOW to get the kids on the farm up to the bigs! Another year down on the farm won't matter that much. not when we sign  guys like Dan Johnson. Instead of waiting, give the kids a shot.  My gut tells me they can't do any worse and it will mature them and give them the big league experience they need. Who knows, we may actually get luck too! Forget about Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees just won't spend the money.

I think the only way the boys wake up is if us fans revolt. I back BYB's idea, hit them in the pocket book. Read YANKEE FAN'S REVOLT: "ENOUGH'S ENOUGH". Let the attendance dwindle, let food and souvenir sales fall flat and all revenue sources dry up and if in 2014 they put a team that can win #28 on the field, we will be back, but not before!  Hey, when they spend money, fans will spend money.  As was said in the movie Network. " I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!"

Finally, on paper, I don’t see a team that can go out win the division, a pennant and a #28 championship, so wake me in 2014.  Hopefully I'm wrong.  If I'm not, hopefully next winter these guys will wake up and go after some quality players.  Hey, it never hurts to start looking early... right?



 --Dave Goode, Die-hard Yankee fan
Interviewed for his 30 plus years experience as a vendor at Yankee Stadium
THE VENDOR FROM THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT



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