Knock me down, dust me off, and get back up…
I never expected the Baltimore Orioles to catch the Yankees in the AL East in the month of September. All season, I’ve been expecting the O’s to run out of gas and drop off the pace. It was the Tampa Bay Rays that I was most fearful of. At one time, the Yanks had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, but sluggish play in August and now September allowed the O’s to catch the division leaders.
Fortunately, a night later, the Yankees are back up by one game after defeating the Rays, 6-4, while the O’s lost to the Toronto Blue Jays by the same score.
I keep hearing the excuses of injuries but every team deals with its share of setbacks. It is how the teams respond to adversity that defines the winners from the losers. After the Yankees had defeated the Orioles in the second game of a recent three-game set (a game the O’s should have won), I thought the Yankees had turned back Baltimore’s threat. But in the third game, the Yanks fell flat and the O’s walked away winning two of three. That set the stage for this week’s tie as the Yankees continued to under-perform.
I knew that tonight’s game with the Rays was a “statement” game. The Yankees needed to show who they are and what we can expect in the coming days and weeks. It was a close game and less than stellar start for pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, but the Yankees got the all important “W” so that’s all that matters. Now, they need to continue upon the momentum and kick this into a short (or long) winning streak.
I have been worried that the Yankees didn’t really add any reinforcements at the trading deadline. Being forced to use Freddy Garcia in the starting rotation or over-exposing aging vets like Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez is not a good thing. I had been hopeful that either Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos would step up at some point this year after the season-ending loss of Michael Pineda in spring training, but injuries wiped out the talented duo.
I’d like to think the Yankees have the horses to win the World Series, but I do not. I think they’ll persevere and win the AL East, but admittedly, I do not feel they’ll advance very deep in the play-offs. Inferior pitching and the lack of timely hitting will again prove to be their Achilles Heel. I am still convinced the Texas Rangers will once again represent the American League in the World Series. Perhaps this is their year to finally win it. I’d love it if the Yankees got hot and went on a roll that took them deep into October, but I just don’t see it happening.
Aaron Rodgers-Lite, is that too much to ask?…
As we move into the NFL season, it’s tough when your team (Minnesota Vikings) is picked to be on the fast track to a top pick in next year’s draft. There is talent on the team so I don’t see anything close to 0-16, but Christian Ponder certainly needs to step up his game. He has the intelligence and the ability to do it so time will tell. It’s not going to hurt having T Matt Kalil watching his back. Hopefully, the Vikings can regroup to the point that they are a championship caliber team by the time the new stadium opens.
Win a championship, lose to the Cowgirls…
Well, the NFL Season has opened and the Dallas Cowboys lead the rest of the league by one game. Let the games begin!
Good luck, well, not so much…
The Los Angeles Angels’ search for a new GM has me nervous as they’ve interviewed both Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler. Eppler, but not Oppenheimer, has been called back for a second interview which probably means that the chances are great the Yankees could lose a valued member of the front office. I don’t dispute that either Eppler or Oppenheimer would make great general managers, but I truly believe that Kim Ng deserves an opportunity. She’s held Assistant GM positions with both the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and she’s currently working for MLB. She has a tremendous background, and if I was starting a franchise, she’d be my pick for GM.
Ouch, that photo hurt…
I wasn’t very pleased to wake up to the morning photo of CC Sabathia in Boston Red Sox gear. Courtesy of the New York Daily News…
I recognize that the Red Sox will be a very active player in the search for quality rotation arms, and they’d be aggressive with Sabathia if he hits the open market for no other reason than to drive up the price for the Yanks. Just like I think the Yankees need to lock up GM Brian Cashman before the end of the month, they need to re-negotiate CC’s deal before he can opt out…not after.
The Yankees are the reason for all of the World’s problems…
At the gym this morning, I was listening to guys talk about how the Yankees make it impossible for other teams to compete. I always find this talk so narrow minded given how much the Yankees contribute to other teams through luxury and payroll taxes. Baseball is about good decisions at the end of the day. The size of your contract does not ensure greatness. As for this morning’s conversation, I just don’t think the Minnesota Twins have made the same quality decisions under their current GM that they did in years past when they won the World Series. I know that a mistake by a small market team is going to be more severe than if the Yankees make the same mistake, but if memory serves correctly, there’s a team in the World Series…with the advantage…that was in bankruptcy court not too long ago. They made the right decisions and persevered. Their decisions were subsidized by Yankees money, so I am not going to feel sorry for other teams simply because the Yankees happen to reside in the largest market.
I am not a Chicago Cubs fan, but I am excited about the front office re-build with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod. Mike Quade might be a great guy and a good manager, but I just don’t see how he survives the regime change. I remain hopeful that Terry Francona will get the job, but I agree with those who say that he might be best served by staying out of managing for a half season or so before re-entering the grind. I would like to see a Chicago Cubs World Championship in my lifetime. Maybe not with Alfonso Soriano on the roster, but I think if anyone can end the drought, it is Theo. I will be watching the Cubs with interest next year. My favorite NL team is probably still the Los Angeles Dodgers as long as Donnie Baseball is the manager, but the Cubs will be fun to watch. As for the Dodgers, they would be easier to take if Frank McCourt is forced to sell the team. Owner to owner, I’d take Tom Ricketts any day.
Time to Ponder a great future…
Breaking away from baseball, it was fun to see the debut of Minnesota Vikings rookie QB Christian Ponder. He made his fair share of mistakes, but the energy he infused into the team was tremendous. I think he’ll continue to grow with each start, and I am glad that he finally gained the starting opportunity after the lethargic performance of past-his-prime QB Donovan McNabb. It sucks that we had to find out what Philly and Washington already knew, but at least that saga has reached its conclusion. I am looking forward to seeing what Ponder can do in the coming weeks. He is incredibly bright, and I think that his football smarts will offset some of the physical limitations. They always talk about the “it” factor, and I think that Ponder, like Aaron Rodgers, has it.
The Cops must love the Vikings…
CB Chris Cook beat his girlfriend? I agree with the felony charge and the suspension. His loss to the defense is huge, but his behavior is not acceptable and cannot be tolerated. There may be another side to the story, but there is no denying that this involved physical abuse. Very disappointing. As a former first-round pick, there’s no way that the Vikings can simply cut bait. But they have to send a message to Cook that character and personal code of ethics are greater attributes than football ability.
As for Aaron Rodgers, I hate to say anything pro-Green Bay, but he has clearly surpassed Bart Starr and Brett Favre as the greatest QB in franchise history. Tom Brady was the best QB in the NFL for a few years, along with Peyton Manning, but there’s no doubt that Rodgers is now setting the bar. I continue to ask myself, why did the San Francisco 49ers select Alex Smith over Northern CA local Aaron Rodgers. That has to be one of worst draft decisions in recent memory. Where’s Carmen Policy when you need him?…
Is it time for Spring Training yet?…
This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers). First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies. Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family. And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.
Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected). But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up?
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way. Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks. At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away.
As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft. I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick. As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick. I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man. My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker from the University of Washington.
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post. If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder or Andy Dalton. As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s.
For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera. It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest. Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night. Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th.
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.
Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base? I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…
We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert is still on the board. Why
is that important? Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available. Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.
It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning). With CC
Sabathia on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split.
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…
Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!
Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now. There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up. It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection. Bummer for me…
This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings. Drats, those Titans!
Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning. The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around.
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix.
The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada. Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting.
His batting average stands at .134.
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH. Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.
Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk. 8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far). So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.
It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert with their trade up with the Washington Redskins. So much for the QB for the future for
Minnesota… Does this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb? Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft. Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.
Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early.
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position. I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers just sitting there for the taking.
Oh well, Go Seminoles!
Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0. Nice…
I was disappointed to see no resolution for the Albert Pujols contract
negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the passing of Albert’s deadline, we’ll have to tolerate an entire
season of discussion regarding Albert’s future before the contract negotiations
resume after the season. I may be a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have no desire to see Albert play his career
anywhere except St. Louis.
Scott Rovak/Getty Images
I really thought that the Cardinals organization would have put forth a
highly competitive offer prior to the deadline.
It really makes me wonder why the Cardinals would invest $8 million in
former Yankee Lance Berkman who has clearly seen his better days rather than
look for a less expensive option with similar production to invest the Berkman
dollars toward the re-signing of Pujols.
I realize that $8 million for one year is insignificant in terms of what
it would take to sign Pujols over 10 years but there are ways the organization
could subsidize the contract without sacrificing the team’s play-off
If Albert does become a free agent after the season, I agree with those
that say the Chicago Cubs would make a very strong play for the future Hall of
Famer. Nothing against the Cubs, but I’d
hate to see that happen. It’s not unlike
Brett Favre and his decision to play for the Minnesota Vikings after a Hall of
Fame career with the Green Bay Packers.
Granted, they were separated by Favre’s one year in New York with the
Jets but his decision to play for the Vikings did adversely impact the way he
is viewed by the Packers fans. Perhaps
Favre will be able to salvage a relationship with the Packers fans but he’ll
never hold the stature of former Packer QB Bart Starr or current Green Bay QB
Aaron Rodgers now that he has won a Super Bowl in Green Bay. Albert deserves an untarnished legacy and he
should be remembered the way that Stan Musial is when his playing days are
over. Hopefully, the Cardinals
organization will use the days and months between now and the end of the season
to sharpen their pencil…
I wish reliever Neal Cotts the best of luck in his attempt to come back
from injuries. The Yankees released him
today after reviewing the results of his physical. I had hoped Cotts would experience a re-birth
under his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, but it was not meant to
be. Hopefully, this does not mean the
end of Cotts career but wherever he goes and whatever he does, I wish him the
I had hoped that reliever Brian Schlitter would clear waivers and return
to Yankees camp but he was selected by the Yankees latest nemesis, the
Philadelphia Phillies. Losing Schlitter
wasn’t so bad since he probably would not have found a spot in the bullpen, but
losing him to the Phillies was bittersweet.
It used to be that my second favorite is any team that beats the Boston
Red Sox. My new second favorite team is
now any team that beats the Phillies. In
a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, I would pull for Boston and that’s something
that I thought I’d never do…
Personally, I want a Yankees-Dodgers World Series! A Bay Area resident, I am withdrawing my NL support for the Giants and aligning myself with the Don Mattingly-led Dodgers. There is no way that I could root against my baseball idol from younger days…unless he is playing against the Yankees, of course. Granted, I am not crazy about the whole Frank McCourt divorce situation and the Dodgers don’t have the Giants pitching staff but I have faith in Donnie Baseball…