The New Stadium
As we all know, this year is the final year of the real Yankee stadium, and next year will be the first of the new Yankee stadium built right across the street. Personally, I don't know what to think about it. There is a lot of excitement about the new stadium with all the features, new restaurants, and general ammenities, but I guess I'm not that excited about it. Before, I couldn't afford a hot dog at a game, now I can't afford a hot dog or a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe they're going to build there. Not to mention that they ruined my outfield bleacher seats by putting a restaurant behind center field. They say that if you sit in the right field bleacher seats you won't be able to see part of left field, and vice versa if your in the left field seats. They're going to install TV's so you can track balls hit into those spots, but if you ask me that is some awful planning. With all the prices going up, they're pricing out a large section of the population who would like to take their kids to some games. I'm sure the new stadium is going to be awesome, and once I step into it, I'll feel differently, but for now I have mixed feelings.
Starting tonight the Yankees are taking on the Reds and it will be Mike Mussina vs. Edinson Volquez. I don't know much about Volquez only that he leads the majors in strikeouts and has a 1.64 ERA. Despite this, I feel good about our chances with Mussina on the mound. This should be a good game to watch. Adam Dunn recently was attacked by JP Ricciardi, the GM for Toronto who said that Dunn didn't like baseball and would never want him on his team. It was completely uncalled for, and I'm not really sure what provoked such a statement. Its not like Dunn even plays in the same division as the Blue Jays. Instead of attacking players who aren't even in the same league as his team, Ricciardi should focus his efforts on explaining why his team sucks.
Tampa Bay Rays
So it turns out a name change was all this team needed. Even though the Florida sun beams are the worst team uniform concept since the Padres started wearing camo, the Rays have played like an elite team. The Rays have been building correctly for a few years now, and they're seeing the fruits of their efforts. Last night, I watched the Rays battle with the Cubs, and the Rays had a lot of fight in them. Losing 3-1 in the 7th, the Rays loaded the bases, and then Carl Crawford hit a grand slam. He hit it so awkwardly, but there was no doubt about it. Mind you, that was Crawford's 5th homerun of the season, and he's not a homerun hitter. That win last night finished a sweep of the Cubs who have the best record in baseball. They even beat Zambrano a couple nights ago. The Ray's of even 2 years ago weren't this good. This is a new era for them.
Finding a 5th Starter
I know some people may be interested in pursuing an elite pitcher to replace Wang in the short term, but I think many realize that the cost in personnel may be too great to pull that off. We won't have Wang until September, but aren't Hughes and Kennedy on their way back sooner than that? I think they should be given a shot, and not to mention the cast of starters we have in the minors who have been raking down there. I think we can mix and match until we find a viable solution. We're not trying to find the starter of the future, we're just trying to plug a gap. We've done more with less. Aaron Small, Shawn Chacon, and Al Leiter bolstered our rotation in 2005, and no one saw any of them as viable starters at that point. Leiter had been let go by the Marlins before coming to the Yankees. Aaron Small was a career minor leaguer, and returned to that role after 2005. Chacon, had been bumped between the rotation and the bullpen and could never find a home. After his stellar year with the Yankees, everything returned to the norm for him too. Not to mention that 2005 was when the Yankees called up Chien Ming Wang. Wang came up out of necessity in 2005, and now he's the staff ace. The Yankees need to make some small moves, and give some kids in the minors a chance to show their stuff. You never know what will come from it. Even the Ponson move is a good move. I know he pitched horribly for us in 2006, but it cost us nothing in prospects, he had been doing decent for the Rangers, and he's drinking again which was the source of his success early on in his career. He may catch fire and give us some wins. Who knows?
Remember Kerry Wood? The pitcher whose been so oftly injured that no one but the Cubs would take a chance on him? I think it would have been a good idea to take that shot. He's taken to the closer role pretty well with the Cubs recording a 2.65 ERA, 18 saves, and 44 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. The only thing is that no one would pay what the Cubs are paying. He's making $4.2 million with incentives that could bring it up to nearly $9 million. It's a little steep for a card carrying Pavano Club member, but the Cubs are looking like geniuses for doing it. It certainly would have cleared up our 8th inning problem. The Yankees aren't strangers to throwing away money. It may have been a risk worth taking.
That concludes the Friday thoughts. Hit up the comments section with thoughts of your own!