You had me at…, um, no, you didn’t…
We are supposed to simply accept a handwritten apology? Right. Sorry, I don’t buy it and I don’t think it would matter if A-Rod spoke before a packed house at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez is sorry for only one thing. He got caught. He could care less about you or me. Honestly, at this point, the only thing that I’d accept out of A-Rod’s words would be a retirement announcement.
I saw a few New York sportswriters commenting that home runs will bring the fans back. Are we so shallow that we could forgive Alex for his behavior by simply forgetting all with the first ball that clears the fence? I know that I will not be a fan of Alex Rodriguez today nor would I be one if by September he has hit 40 home runs. My days cheering him are over. I am still a Yankees fan, and of course, I want the team to win. I would not wish for A-Rod to do anything detrimental to the team (well beyond the damage that he’s already done) but I will only accept his contributions as team contributions, not individual accomplishments.
I admit that I hope Alex plays so poorly in the spring, the Yankees bite the $60 million bullet and release him. But that’s too far fetched to be possible. He won’t need to do much to hold his own on the roster. Rob Refsnyder could play twice as well in spring training and end up in Scranton/Wilkes Barre while A-Rod is the team’s full time DH. But still, the thought of an outright release would be the best possible outcome in my mind.
As good as the Boston Red Sox’ front office has become, it’s too bad they weren’t better back in 2003 when they failed to acquire A-Rod from the Texas Rangers. How differently things might have been had A-Rod gone to Beantown.
Ifs and buts, I know…
It’s a numbers game…
There was a time when it seemed odd that Phil Hughes wore #65 or that Joba Chamberlain wore #62. Now, with the announcement plans to retire numbers 20, 46 and 51, the lower numbers are slowly going away. Of course #2 will soon be retired for Derek Jeter and I’ve always wondered if some day #21 will be taken down for Paul O’Neill. Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams were all great Yankees and they deserve becoming legends of Monument Park. It was also very classy of the Yankees to announce plans for a plaque for former second baseman Willie Randolph.
It thought it was cool when Manny Ramirez wore #99 for the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years ago. Now, we’re probably just a few seasons away from someone donning the same number with the Yankees. Hopefully, I won’t live to see the days when players are wearing triple digits.
Make or break a farm system…
Based on all reports, I would love nothing more than to see the Yankees sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. However, based on what I’ve read, I do expect the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the bidding. I hope the Yankees emerge victorious. Given they’ll be limited in the international market for the next few years, Moncada would be icing on the cake for the fantastic international draft they had this year. I know that there are no certainties but Moncada does sound like the real deal. I guess if the Dodgers win the bidding, I shouldn’t fret too much since I live just a few miles away from Dodger Stadium. But after an off-season of largely inactivity, signing Moncada would make this winter well worth the wait. I guess we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.
Open the door…
Count me among those who hope that new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred re-opens the Pete Rose case. It’s time to let Pete the Ballplayer take his rightful place in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. I will never defend Pete the Man, but I saw the ballplayer play, and he remains one of the greatest that I’ve ever seen. He has served his sentence and deserves to stand among the game’s greats.
* * *
It’s hard to believe that it is time for pitchers and catchers to report. With this off-season’s inactivity and losses, it is hard to envision October baseball in the Bronx. Yeah, yeah, if all things go right and everyone stays healthy, I know they have a chance. But realistically, this is a third place team at best with the potential for the cellar if things go horribly wrong. As always, I will throw in the caveat that I hope I am wrong. But if anything, I do think the Yankees are laying the groundwork for future success.
Let’s play ball…
Nobody was the right fielder…
I was surprised that nobody was elected to the Hall of Fame for the Class of 2013. Count me among those who feel no consideration should have been given to the players accused or who have admitted steroid use.
There no circumstances that I would have supported putting Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens into the Hall. From the sounds of it, it is the consensus of the HOF members. However, I am probably not as hard line as Rich “Goose” Gossage who said “If they let these guys in ever — at any point — it’s a black eye fo rthe Hall and for baseball”. I do believe there will be a day when Bond, Clemens and other suspected users should be given consideration. With Barry, I realize that ‘roids changed his physique and surely powered a few homers. However, his terrific hand-eye coordination was his own and not something derived through PED’s.
Same with Clemens. He was a great pitcher from the start. Maybe PED’s extended the career, but the ability to leave batters befuddled at the plate, mix up his pitches and play to the batters’ weaknesses was never drug induced. Baseball has seen too many guys who could throw a baseball 100 mph but couldn’t harness the control to save their lives. Clemens knew where to place his pitches and it was his natural ability that made him a star, not his suspected PED use.
I am not sure how long they should be excluded for the Hall but personally I would not want to see them allowed to enter for at least 5 years. Admittedly, I am also in favor of Pete Rose’s entry to the Hall but I suspect that one won’t happen until Pete has met his maker.
The sad part about this entire issue is the presence of suspected and possibly undetected cheaters in the current HOF enshrinement.
As for the 2013 votes, Craig Biggio deserved to get into the Hall. But I am not convinced he was a first ballot HOFer. So I think 2014 will be his year as he will be enshrined at some point.
I did not believe that Bernie Williams was a legitimate Hall of Famer but it was still sad to see him make his final unsuccessful attempt. Given the Yankees have not re-issued #51 or #21 (for Paul O’Neill), it is very likely they will be enshrined in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. That certainly makes for a nice consolation prize. I still see votes for Don Mattingly. I would absolutely love to see Donnie Baseball make the Hall but realistically I do not believe it will happen. Yet, he continues to garner sufficient votes to remain on the ballot. Mattingly was my favorite player and has reached the status of my favorite manager. I hope the expectations for the Los Angeles Dodgers, the newly adorned salary champions of baseball, do not become too overwhelming for Donnie to succeed. If given the time and support, he will win a championship.
Much ado about something?…
Back to the Yankees, I think the Yanks should aggressively pursue Michael Morse of the Washington Nationals. His bat would fit nicely into right field. I would be inclined to move Ichiro Suzuki to left, and move Brett Gardner for prospects. Morse is the kind of guy that I’d love to see the Yankees pursue.
Today was cold by Northern CA standards. Yeah, to the Cheeseheads of Wisconsin in town for the NFL play-off game between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers might beg to differ but I was shivering. If there is a reason I left my beloved Minneapolis, this might be it. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…….
Without much surprise, Curtis Granderson was named the latest Yankees center fielder…
Gene J. Puskar/AP
…in a long line of great center fielders.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
While I think playing catcher for the Yankees is very prestigious given the great catchers past and present, center field is clearly THE position for the Yankees. Well, Derek Jeter would tell you shortstop, but there have been few ‘great’ Yankees shortstops until DJ came along. Scooter held the unofficial title as franchise best until Jeter, but the rest have been good but not great. Sorry Bucky, the home run in 1978 was fantastic, but you still have to be put in the ‘good, not great’ category…
Jack Curry of YES Network.com has written the article that I have feared. This could very well be Andy Pettitte’s final season before he heads home for good to Deer Park, Texas. I always thought that Andy would be one to retire too soon rather than too late. I didn’t expect to see him pitching into his 40’s like his former good friend Roger Clemens or the Phillies fifth starter Jamie Moyer. I actually thought Andy might call it a career after last year’s World Championship, so I was somewhat surprised he made the decision to return so quickly this past off-season.
But the comments Andy makes in the Curry interview are the strongest yet that I’ve heard Andy publicly say and it does sound like someone who is starting to reconcile retirement in his own mind. I will hate to see Andy go, but I will support whatever decision he feels is best for him and his family. He will always be a part of the Yankees family. It was tough to see him pitch in Houston for three years, so hopefully, the Yankees organization will keep him in the fold with spring training coaching invitations, old-timers games, and other related functions.
Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy watching Andy win for the Yankees.
Introducing the 2010 New York Yankees:
Catcher: Jorge Posada
First Base: Mark Teixeira
Shortstop: Derek Jeter
Third Base: Alex Rodriguez
Right Field: Nick Swisher
Center Field: Curtis Granderson
Left Field: Brett Gardner
DH: Nick Johnson
1st Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia
2nd Starting Pitcher: A.J. Burnett
3rd Starting Pitcher: Andy Pettitte
4th Starting Pitcher: Javier Vazquez
5th Starting Pitcher: Phil Hughes
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Infield/Bench: Ramiro Pena
Outfield/Bench: Randy Winn
Outfield/Bench: Marcus Thames
Backup Catcher: Francisco Cervelli
Reliever: Joba Chamberlain
Reliever: Damaso Marte
Reliever: David Robertson
Reliever: Sergio Mitre
Reliever: Chan Ho Park
Reliever: Alfredo Aceves
Reliever: Boone Logan
Is this the team that will propel the Yankees to their 28th World Championship? Time will tell, but I like our chances.
I hate to date myself, but there are nine players on the Yankees 2010 roster that were born AFTER Don Mattingly had his major league debut with the Yankees in late 1982.
Finally, I was saddened to hear the passing of former Baltimore Orioles pitching great Mike Cuellar. Mike was only 72, and died today from stomach cancer in Florida. He joined Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Pat Dobson as the only foursome other than the 1920 Chicago White Sox (Red Faber, Lefty Williams, Eddie Cicotte and Dickie Kerr) to win 20 games each. Ironically, of the four, only Palmer survives, as McNally and Dobson passed away in 2002 and 2006, respectively. From 1969 through 1974, Mike won 20 games four times as the Orioles dominated the American League East. He also pitched and won the deciding fifth game of the 1970 World Series, a 9-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
A-Rod – What else are we going to talk about?
I found it somewhat humorous Alex Rodriguez said that he will be under intense scrutiny for “the next 18 months to 24 months”. Interesting how one can predict the exact time frame involved in the ‘post-confession’ period. Does that mean we are guaranteed of no reference to A-Rod in March 2011? Looking forward to it!
Personally, I don’t blame Alex for not wanting to talk about his past drug use following the press conference earlier in the week. If he talked, he’d run the risk of contradicting his previous comments…
Wallace Matthews of Newsday wrote a great piece today about how GM Brian Cashman wanted to ‘move on’ when A-Rod opted out of his ‘drug-induced’ $250 million contract in 2007. Cashman’s position has gone largely unnoticed until now, but he could have saved the organization from much embarrassment. A-Rod’s return only came about when A-Rod bypassed agent Scott Boras and dealt with the Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner directly.
It should come as a welcome relief when A-Rod joins the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team early next month. Egads! The reporters in Yankees camp will have only baseball to talk about! Of course, there might be mention of the scandalous time that Mark Teixeira took a couple of Advil for a post-game headache…
More Yankees in the Headlines?
I have to admit that I was startled for a moment when I saw the headline about the frozen assets belonging to Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady. Of course, it is clear that they are innocent victims. The government’s freeze of a company affiliated with Robert Allen Stanford impacted accounts owned by Damon and Nady.
Neither Damon nor Nady invested directly with Stanford funds but rather they invested through broker dealers whose accounts were with a Stanford company.
It was reported that Damon complained of being unable to pay his bills and Nady could not put down a deposit on a New York apartment. I find it surprising that both would wrap up their assets through a single source. I guess diversification is not something they are concerned with. I also find it interesting that both players are represented by agent Scott Boras. Thanks for the sound financial advice, Scott! And, oh by the way, Jason Varitek sends his love!
Credit: Branimir Kvartuo/AP
The Return of Bernabe Figueroa Williams
Enjoy camp for a few days, Bernie, but don’t get used to it!
I have to admit that it was both strange and exciting to see Bernie Williams wearing Yankee gear with number 51 on his back. However, that does not mean I would want to see him make a comeback with the team. At this point, I’d clearly prefer Nick Swisher over Bernie. I thought Bernie was a great Yankee but time has moved on.
Credit: Antonelli/New York Daily News
Then again, Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer won a world championship at age 45, winning 16 games in 2008. But c’mon, this guy just doesn’t age…
Bernie had begun a significant decline by 2006, and there is no chance that future years will be any better. He played more and better than expected in 2006, but it was time to turn the page. His presence on the roster would potentially prevent the presence of a younger player with more potential.
Upon completion of the WBC, Bernie should focus on his musical career. His latest CD, Moving Forward, is scheduled for release on April 14, 2009. The CD includes a special live performance with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.
RETURN OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
From the fiends, that plague thee thus!
Why look’st thou so? With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.
— From Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Ancient Mariner has returned! Ken Griffey Jr., 39, decided to sign with his original team after deliberating between the sentimental choice versus playing close to home with the Atlanta Braves. Some news accounts earlier in the week were erroneously reporting that Griffey had chosen the Braves.
I was surprised. I had expected Griffey to stay close to home, but obviously the lure of the sentimental return proved to be too great in the end. On one hand, it is a nice story to see his return to Seattle. The fans are excited, and he has the chance to end his career wearing the same uniform he started with. But on the other hand, he is a shell of what he used to be.
As a Cincinnati Red in a June 2007 series at Safeco Field against the Mariners, Griffey did say, “I think I owe it to the people of Seattle, and myself, to retire as a Mariner“.
Apparently, it was Griffey’s teenage daughter who helped seal the deal. Taryn Griffey plays for an AAU basketball team that’s based in the Atlanta area, but according to agent Brian Goldberg, “She told him, ‘Dad, I really think you should go back to the Mariners and not have any regrets about how you finished,” Goldberg said. “That kind of put it over the top.”
Griffey, with 611 career home runs, will play left field and DH for the Mariners.
Despite signing free agent pitchers Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami and trading for pitcher Javier Vazquez, this has been a disappointing off-season for the Atlanta Braves. In addition to losing out on Griffey, they failed in their attempts to sign or acquire Mike Hampton, A.J. Burnett, Rafael Furcal, and Jake Peavy. It also sounds like the Braves will look to fill their outfield needs internally, rather than pursue a trade for someone like Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher.
I’ll admit that it’s nice to see Griffey back in Seattle, but hopefully, we won’t be seeing any repeat headlines like this…
NEW OLD VISITORS
The Yankees had two visitors in camp today. Bernie Williams was invited to practice at the major league facility by manager Joe Girardi as he prepares for the World Baseball Classic. “Obviously he’s retired as a Yankee, but, you know, once you’re a Yankee, you’re always a Yankee,” Girardi said. Hmmm, I wonder if Mike Lowell knows that he is still a Yankee? 😉 The other visitor was owner George Steinbrenner, who is rarely seen in public these days. The frail 78-year-old owner was taken from the parking lot to Steinbrenner Field by golf cart, using a wheelchair to get to his office.
LET THE BATTLES BEGIN…
Nice to see that the Great Yankees-Red Sox War resume battle this week with the opposing points of view regarding a salary cap in Major League Baseball. Red Sox Owner John Henry called for a salary cap, and President Larry Lucchino criticized the Yankees’ spending on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Teixeira. Yankees Co-Chairman Hank Steinbrenner, never at a loss for words, fired back with “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package.” Say what you will about Hank, but he’s right. The Yankees pay a heavy price for their spending habits as evidenced by the high luxury taxes and revenue sharing they pay each year for exceeding the salary thresholds; money that is funneled to other teams. According to AP, the team paid about $110 million last season.
It’s exciting to see the Phoenix Suns return to their “offensive” ways. In the two games since Terry Porter was dismissed as coach, the Suns have scored a total of 282 points. Of course, the opponent in both games was the Los Angeles Clippers. But it’s exciting to see the team return to its fast-paced strategy. It doesn’t mean it will result in a championship, but it is fun to watch. I felt Terry Porter was a mistake when he was named to replace Mike D’Antoni since he was coming from a defensive-minded team like the Pistons. I know what much of the appeal to the Suns was, but they need to stick with the strengths. This is a great opportunity for interim coach Alvin Gentry.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images
TIGER’S IN THE HOUSE
Tiger Woods has announced on his website that he’ll make his 2009 PGA Tour debut at the 2009 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, AZ February 23rd through March 1st. Tiger is the defending champ, and also won the event in 2003 and 2004. It will be exciting to see the new dad back in action!