The end of the “Core”?…
The deterioration of two-thirds of the remaining “Core” is very disheartening. Both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have shown that it is time to pass the baton. With both, I am not sure how you can gracefully move on but as long as both are in the lineup, the Yankees are in an inferior position to both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.
Sadly, the day is going to come when Mariano Rivera just doesn’t have it anymore. Fortunately, he is not showing any signs of letting up and thankfully so since his closer-in-waiting, Rafael Soriano, is having a tough time staying healthy.
With players like Jeter or Posada, you’d like to think that they’d come to the realization that they are an albatross to the organization and would willingly step aside. But egos and money are not forgiving. At some point, the decisions will need to be made for the players. I think that DJ has a longer leash than Posada, who infuriated the organization with his behavior this past weekend. I’ve read that Posada has until about the All-Star Break to start hitting before the team explores other options. My sense is that this is not going to end well. As for DJ, I am sure that he’s secure the remainder of the year, but I really wonder what the future holds. Perhaps if the team is able to improve the offensive production in other areas, they can be more accommodating with Jeter’s reduced output. If this experience has proven anything to me, it is a renewed respect for GM’s like Theo Epstein who are not afraid to the cut the cords to star players sooner rather than later. Baseball is purely all about ‘what have you done for me lately’, and the Yankees do not owe Jeter, a future Hall of Famer and the last recipient of the #2 jersey at Yankee Stadium, anything. This is about wins and losses, and the Yankees should field the best shortstop in the organization, regardless of who that individual is.
A sad day for Twins baseball and all of MLB…
I was very sorry to see the passing of Minnesota Twins great Harmon Killebrew. Earlier in the week, I saw the comments that Harmon was no longer seeking medical treatment for his cancer but I never realized that we were just days away from his passing. Growing up in Iowa, I used to listen to Minnesota Twins games on a regular basis. Killebrew had retired by the time I was listening, but I clearly knew who he was and his stature in major league baseball. Frankly, I am surprised that I was never a Twins fan. Rod Carew was the star of the team in those days, and they routinely fielded quality teams as they do today. I guess they didn’t have that magical player on their active roster to endear me to the team. Instead, I latched onto Oakland A’s star pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter as my favorite player and of course when he left to sign with the Yankees on 12/31/74, my fate as a Yankees fan was sealed. Nevertheless, I am appreciative for what Killebrew meant to the Twins organization. He will be missed…
No more LeBron, please…
How sweet would it be if the Chicago Bulls ousted the Miami Heat from the NBA Play-offs?…
The closet door may be open, but the key to victory remains unchanged…
For the record, I have no issue with Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts coming out of the closet to announce that he is gay. His sexual preference has nothing to do with his ability to lead and develop a championship organization.
Collaboration at its finest…
I was glad to hear that Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder is seeking out the Vikings wide receivers for workouts and has plans to work with my favorite Viking, Percy Harvin. I was also glad to see Sidney Rice reach out to Ponder to express his willingness to participate. I don’t want the Vikings to lose Rice, but until the lockout is settled, it’s anybody’s guess what happens with Rice. He is clearly the greatest WR the Vikings have had since Randy Moss (the Dante Culpepper version, not last year’s). The NFL needs to put closure on the lockout and aggressively pursue resolution with the Player’s Association.
A toast to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz…
I received my shipment of Jon Lester’s CabernAce and Clay Buchholz’s ChardonClay today. You can buy the wine at www.charitywines.com. For Clay’s wine, your contribution benefits Jimmy’s Fund, while Jon’s wine supports the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy fine wine while supporting two great causes!
Have a great night, everyone! J
I am pleasantly surprised at the Yankees’ success,
so far, against the Minnesota Twins…
I had been so disappointed with the team’s pathetic
September performance that saw them lose any chance of winning the AL
East. Within a matter of days or even
hours, they went from the possibility of the AL East Championship with home
field advantage to a road-traveling Wild Card team. It was hard to be excited about the start of
the play-offs with the team playing so poorly.
For the first two games of the ALDS series against the Twins, the
Yankees have risen to the challenge.
Granted, the Yankees have a history of success against the Twins, but I’d
be the first to say that past domination does not guarantee future domination. 2004 wasn’t that many years ago…
Vincent Laforet/The New York Times
While the Yankees have the series advantage and are
now headed for the Bronx to resume the series on Saturday night, the Twins are
far from out of it. If they can get
solid pitching and timely hitting in New York, they have a chance to take the
series back to Minnesota for the deciding Game 5. Outside of perhaps CC Sabathia, the Yankees simply
do not have a pitcher that is capable of putting up a Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee
type of performance. Even CC has his bad
days. But going into the play-offs, I
knew that the lesser guys would need to stand up and so far, Lance Berkman and
Curtis Granderson certainly have.
Sipken/NY Daily News
I am very surprised to see the AL East Champion
Tampa Bay Rays trailing their ALDS series to the Texas Rangers (down two games
to none). I realize that the Rays
struggled in September like the Yankees but I felt they were probably the best
team in the American League based primarily on their pitching staff. Like the Twins, the Rays can still get back
in the series but the Rangers have to like their chances.
There have been great pitching performances in the
National League with the no-hitter thrown by the Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy
Halladay and last night’s 14-strikeout, complete game shut-out thrown by San
Francisco’s Tim Lincecum in the Giants’ 1-0 victory over the Atlanta
Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle
Regardless of what happens, the League Championship
Series in both leagues should be very exciting this year. I still think the Phillies will win it all,
but the Yankees certainly have as much talent as anyone to get on a roll.
Going off-topic but staying with the ‘Minnesota to New York’ theme, I was very pleasantly surprised to
see the return of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings play the Jets in the Meadowlands on Monday night. I have retained my purple #84 jersey all
these years but never thought that I’d get a chance to wear it again. I knew that Randy had become quite vocal in
recent weeks about the lack of a contract extension and of course there was
last weekend’s blow-up with a coordinator.
Still, I did not expect the New England Patriots to trade Moss. The Vikings have clearly been missing Sidney
Rice who will be out until at least mid-season due to hip surgery. It will be interesting to see if chemistry
develops between Moss and QB Brett Favre.
It is going to be weird watching Moss catching passes from Favre after
all those years of playing against each other in the Packers-Vikings series.
At 1-2, the Vikings face a very challenging
October. After the game against the Jets, they will face the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and
New England Patriots to close out the month.
The team should definitely know where they stand by Halloween.
Give the man a pie…
This game belonged to the Swish. With one swing of the bat, Nick Swisher launched his second home run of the night in the 9th inning to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 3-2.
When the Yankees acquired Swisher in the off-season from the Chicago White Sox, I was cautiously optimistic. When he first arrived, Swish was slated to take over at first base for the departed Jason Giambi. But as we all know, the Yanks swooped in at the last minute to see free agent slugger Mark Teixeira. Swisher was then penciled in right with Xavier Nady, but a season-ending injury to the X-man opened right field for a solo starting gig. Admittedly, I was a bit cautious after Swisher’s less than successful 2008 campaign in the White Sox’ outfield. At the time, the price seemed high…Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez, and Jhonny Nunez for Swisher and pitcher Kanekoa Texeira. But there is no one that would hesitate pulling the trigger on the trade today. The Yankees will long regret the decision to acquire Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte (at a cost of Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen) but the Swisher trade was far more productive. Last year with the White Sox, Swisher hit .219 with 24 home runs and 69 RBI’s. This season, with 22 games to go, he stands at .254 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI’s. But, I will always say that the biggest thing that Swisher brought to the Yankees is his personality. He is exactly what they needed to shed the ‘Corporate America’ mentality in the Yankee Clubhouse.
The game featured a productive outing by Chad Gaudin, much to my disbelief. Gaudin went 6 innings, and gave up just one run while striking out 6. He walked 2 batters. Phil Hughes gave up a game tying home run in the 8th to Jason Bartlett, but the bullpen was otherwise superb. The great Mariano Rivera (2-2) was the winner.
Derek Jeter was 0-for-4, with three strikeouts. Ouch! He remains 3 hits behind Lou Gehrig for the franchise’s all-time career hits record.
The Yankees won their 90th game of the season, one more than last season, and are 40 games over .500. They retained their 9 game lead on the Boston Red Sox, who defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 10-0, tonight. Yes, Julia, life is good…
And Julia, in case you were counting, the magic number is now 15…
The Yankees lost an integral piece to the bullpen when the decision was made to shut down reliever David Robertson. This has been a breakout year for Robertson, and he has been quietly effective…very effective. In 41 innings of work, Robertson has struck out 61 batters and has fashioned a 3.29 ERA in middle relief. He has felt elbow tightness for several weeks, and the discomfort progressed to the point that the Yankees decided to send Robertson to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham. Unfortunately, a trip to see Dr. Andrews is not usually a good thing. Hopefully, the best case scenario will play out for Robertson. Meanwhile, I hope someone else can step up to fill the void.
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
I realize that he plays for the enemy, but I will send out a special congratulations to David Ortiz for tying Frank Thomas for most home runs by a designated hitter (296). This season started slowly for Big Papi, and of course, there was the admission of performance enhancing drugs. But Ortiz has come back to prove that he is a player worthy of the respect of the RSN. Congrats!
Brett Favre makes his Minnesota Vikings debut this weekend against his former coach, Eric Mangini, and the Cleveland Browns. The game will also feature the Williams duo (Kevin and Pat) at defensive tackle as they have been cleared to play despite their ongoing case against the NFL over a 4-game suspension. It will be fun to watch Favre make his purple debut, but I am more excited to see Percy Harvin get his hands on the football. The offense should be the most fun that it has been watch since Daunte Culpepper was yelling at Randy Moss on the sidelines…