Friday, October 31, 2008
General Manager Brian Cashman sat in his chair staring at his work laid out. As he sits he hears a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, a rap-tap-tapping on his chamber door. Who is this stranger rapping? Wondered Cashman as he sat there saddened. Saddened that his work was challenged by this stranger at the door.
Cashman stood to see the happenin. To see who was a-gently rappin. A-gentle rap-tap-tapping on his chamber door. When he opened no one was there a-standing, just the faint silence of abandon, Cashman wondered what just happened as he backed from the chamber door. The ghost of Torre it could be? Nothing less and nothing more.
Cashman sat back down, and with a saddened bitter frown, stared at Pavano's club option, and to a brick he quickly bound. 'I will throw this through his window, when midnight falls upon the town.' For I am saddened at the money that has vanished from the Yankee crown. 'Where did this money go?' He wondered, as the night time air a-thundered, when a sudden yet gentle rumble, came a-sounding from his chamber door. Could it be the gentle ghost of Torre once more?
Cashman stood to see the curious sounding. As if someone was a-standing. Standing at his chamber door. As Cashman opened once more, a raven flew through the opened door. The raven circled through his office, and landed on the chamber floor.
'Where did this vilest creature come from as I sit and mourn? I mourn for the loss of money, oh how I wish Pavano was never born.' Thought Cashman once more, 'could this be the gentle ghost of Torre that rapped at my chamber door? Why is this raven here a-standing, standing at my chamber floor?'
As Cashman sat there pondering, as he pondered he looked despondent, until the raven came responding, simply saying 'Nevermore'.
Cashman was surprised to see the carion speaking, he exclaimed a word that we are a-bleeping, that children would be slapped for repeating, as Cashman wondered its meaning, he looked more saddened than before. 'Tell me the meaning of your word, I do implore!' But the Raven simple in its speaking, repeated 'Nevermore'.
Cashman became a-freightened, his senses were a-heightened, could the meaning come from all the free-agent signings that sank the Yankees of before? Cashman hoped it was this and nothing more.
'Simple creature standing on the ground, give me an answer that is sound, are your words against the signings, of Pavano, Wright and Kevin Brown? Please answer me I do implore!' But the raven simply shrugged, and answered 'Nevermore'.
'Should I sign Sabathia, Teixeira, or Lowe, perhaps trade for someone more? Will Peavy come to New York? Answer this and nothing more!' The raven answered 'Nevermore'.
'Nevermore' has no meaning, please answer me I'm pleading! Should I re-sign Abreu or keep Gardner his feet a-fleeting? Do I let Hughes keep a-pitching, will Cano get back to hitting, should I bring back Justin Christian? I do implore! Why did you come a-gently rappin' at my chamber door? Answer this and nothing more!'
The carion offered words a haven, Cashman was surprised by the birds behavin, when the bird answered a-saying 'You're talking to a frickin' raven! I eat dead animals a-laying on the pavement. I know nothing about free agents. I did not come to give advice, I simply say nevermore.'
'Then why did you come!?' Cashman found himself exclaimin, as he grew more impatient, at the Raven on his floor. 'Answer this, and nothing more!'
The Raven said 'I'm here to tell you nevermore, nevermore will I be paying, paying to see this team a-playing, with its veterans a-aging, with A-Rod striking out and caving, when a run this game would be a-saving, but they play like over-paid free agents and give up earlier than before.'
Cashman angered by the words the raven's a-sayin', finally pulled the glock he'd been a-saving, saving for the day a raven, would back-talk to him once more. The raven exclaimed a word a-shaming, more vile than the word Cashman was exlcaimin', he moved to try escapin' but Cashman shot the raven before the bird could speak once more.
Cashman then signed Sabathia.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
-He said that he is voting.
-He said the he lives in Tampa.
-He doesn't play much X-box.
-He said that his parents don't have bad seats.
As you can see, the man knows how to give a good interview. Oh, he also revealed that he doesn't plan on picking up Kaballah. Is there any doubt that if Derek Jeter ever went to court he would get off of what ever charges were put against him? He answers all the questions without giving you any information. Its an art I am personally trying to master.
In other news, the Phillies won the world series. I'm happy for them. I was pulling for the Rays, but the Phillies had a good team, and I like a lot of their players. I like especially that they toppled the Mets. I did however lose a lot of money yesterday. Not because I bet online against the Phillies, but because the stock market continues to tumble. I would pull my money out, only by doing so I would send the Dow plummeting so precipitously I would start the next great depression and World War III at the same time, and that's not a responsibility I want.
Lastly, the hot stove season can officialy begin. Let the rumors fly!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Costner): Cashman, we want John Santana, and we want him now.
Brian Cashman (Brad Pitt): Do you mean Johan Santana?
Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Costner): Him too. Get me Carlos Santana while you're at it, I've had enough of doing your job Cashman. You straighten out or I'll straighten you out..... by killing you.
(Intense techno fight music begins, as Costner and Pitt get into their appropriate fighting stances. An excellently choreographed fight scene begins, when suddenly, in comes Damon Oppenheimer the scouting guy)
Damon Oppenheimer (Al Pacino): Hank! Cash! I found the next great prospect. The only problem is, he's stuck in the plains of the great west, and the only way you can get to him is to dance with wolves.
Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Costner): I'm 1/3 wolf, and 2/3 shark. I'm in.
Brian Cashman (Brad Pitt): Damon, how good is this kid?
Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Costner): Don't ask questions Brian. See that's your problem. You think I made my money by asking people's opinions on things? I made my money by impulse! And there will be evil to pay if I ever hear you asking questions ever again! I run this house! I'm the Pharaoh of this organization!
Damon Oppenheimer (Al Pacino): Who do you think you're talking to!? Your bell boy!! You wanna go to war!? You wanna go to war!!??!
Hank Steinbrenner (Kevin Costner): Dance party!
(Kanye West's "Stronger" song comes on and Costner, Pacino, and Pitt all dance to it)
As you can see, its bound to be a summer blockbuster. Expect it in theaters summer of 2010.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
This is going to be an interesting hot stove season, though I suspect the winter meetings will suck, because, you know, they're the winter meetings.
If I have to guess, our rotation next season will be (in alphabetical order):
Joba will start the year on the DL, with a shot at making the rotation when he stops hanging out with Carl Pavano, who will be our long relief guy.
10. He suspects that we'll link him to Socialism, which we will.
9. Hank Steinbrenner doesn't like the hard questions, and that's all we ever ask. Hank is used to answering questions about his favorite pony and stuff like that. We ask questions like "Where were you the night Cashman signed Pudge, and there was a communist meeting a block from your home in Tampa?"
8. Hank fears what he doesn't know, and he doesn't know gangster.
7. Hank's inner circle which consists of Hank Steinbrenner, advised him not to do it.
6. Hank is afraid of our business pitch. The pitch would include him funding the RJG blog by paying a six figure salary to each of its authors, and to give them a luxury suite at the new stadium. What does Hank get out of it? A free pass from future interviews, which he clearly fears.
5. Hank doesn't like to hear that he is wrong, which is precisely what we'll tell him when we bring up the fact that the centerfield restaurant at the new stadium partially blocks the view for all fans sitting near it.
4. He's sick of talking about dinosaurs.
3. He's unsure of how he'll answer the question about what he respects most about Jeter's gangster, and why the RJG is his favorite blog.
2. He fears it will ruin his future political aspirations.
1. Maybe, just maybe, there's a miniscule outside chance that he hasn't seen our request yet.
So probably some combination of these reasons are in play here, but we won't know until we sit him down and ask him. Hank, if you're reading this, its time to man up.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
My other idea for how the Yankees can approach this off season is to ask for a $700 billion bailout plan of their own. They can claim that they dug themselves in a hole by signing all these subprime veterans over the years, and now need the money to bail themselves out of 3rd place. Just think about how easy trade negotiations would be if the Yankees had $700 billion at their disposal. They can call Tampa Bay and say "Give us Kazmir for a billion dollars.", and you think Tampa wouldn't budge? Then we can call Toronto and ask for Roy Halladay for another billion dollars, call St. Louis and get Pujols for a billion dollars, and call Texas for Josh Hamilton in exchange for another billion dollars. Relievers? I bet K-Rod would take a billion dollar contract to be a set up man for Mariano. We just fixed our entire team and we still have $695 billion left to spend. Also, I bet Ripken would coach third base for the Yankees if a billion dollars were involved, and even if he didn't we could always call the Dodgers and ask them to give us Bowa for a billion dollars. Then we can call the Red Sox and tell them to take Kei Igawa for a billion dollars, and then the Red Sox will be stuck with him. There's no down side to this plan. The possibilities are endless.
Lastly, tonight is game 7 ace Matt Garza vs. the ever aging Jamie Moyer. No one in their right mind would pick Moyer to win this game, but this is baseball after all, and this is the world series. No one would have guessed Larson would pitch a perfect game after getting crushed in his previous start. Either way, my money's on Garza. Should be a good game one way or another. Enjoy!
Friday, October 24, 2008
By the way, have you guys ever noticed at Tampa games there's one guy who heckles throughout the entire game. You can't understand a word he says, but he's always there throughout the season, and when the Rays were at game 7 against the Red Sox, he was there too. The notorious heckler is a real Rays fan. I found this article about him written in 2003, and he even has a wikipedia entry devoted to him. I noticed him years ago when the stadium would be empty and all you would hear is him heckling every visiting player. I salute this one true Tampa Bay Rays fan. There may be others out there who have been supporting this team for a while, but none are as vocal as this guy. If Tampa Bay wins, they need to give that guy a ring too. He deserves it for sticking with this team all these years.
Speaking of the Rays, don't ask me why but I still remember when they started cowbell night in their park. I thought it was a good idea because all the Rays fans, which numbered in the hundreds at that point, could make quite a bit of noise with those things. They banged away all night. I don't recall if they won or not, but its now a mainstay at the stadium. Apparently, the SNL cowbell skit is what inspired it. I suspected that was the case, but it makes it that much better to know its true.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Mark, Baltimore, Maryland features one of the northeasts nicest ballparks in Camden Yards. This much is true, but the city is so much better than just the ball park.
Do you enjoy taking long walks? Baltimore, Maryland features one of the more livelier street atmospheres in the Northeast.
Feeling tired or ill Mark? No need to worry, Baltimore is known for their proficiency at performing house checks.
Worried about your children's future or your future children? Baltimore is known for its nurturing atmosphere and positive messages for kids.
Now Mark, many people might try to tell you that Baltimore is a dangerous city, but don't buy into it. If you look at this murder rate map of Baltimore, and ignore all the blue arrows that mark where a murder occured, you'll see how many non-murder neighborhoods there are. The non-murder neighborhoods out number the murder neighborhoods by plenty:
Lastly, if the Rays are any indication of a future trend, then Baltimore is also in a prime place for 2009.
AL East Standings:
Tampa Bay Rays - 97 wins 65 losses
Boston Red Sox - 95 wins 67 losses
New York Yankees - 89 wins 73 losses
Toronto Blue Jays - 86 wins 76 losses
Baltimore Orioles - 68 wins 93 losses
So in conclusion, Baltimore is precisely where you need to go Mark. It fits all your needs, both in baseball and in life. Go Boras clients!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
RJG: Bronny Cash, how are you broski?
BC: How do you keep getting this number?
RJG: Totally bro. So now that the Rays are going to the Series and A-Rod is dating Madonna, how do you plan to improve the team going forward?
BC: All options are open, we will do everything we can to improve our team and chase number 27.
RJG: You're willing to trade Hughes and IPK?
RJG: You're going to sign CC, Teixeira, and Burnett?
RJG: You're willing to fire Girardi?
RJG: So is "all options are open" kind of like "mission accomplished?" I mean, what does that even mean?
BC: I don't even know anymore.
RJG: It's not all about you Bronny.
[call dropped by DirecTV satellite service provider]
Phil Coke. Mr. Coke only threw 14.2 innings last year, and I know we've been burnt by our youth movement before, but Coke shows some signs that he could carry his success to 2009. Though a starter by trade, Coke was used a reliever, and was very efficient to that end. The question will be whether they want Coke to start, which he may be able to do. He's not a lefty specialist since he was better against righties than he was against lefties, and if he can get righties out as a lefty, why not let him start a few games? Whether he's vying for a spot in the rotation, or he's sitting in the bullpen Coke could prove to be a valuable asset to the Yankees.
Robinson Cano. After his absolute worst season in the majors some may have lost confidence in Cano, but I think he's primed for a huge comeback next season. A "Comeback Player of the Year" kind of comeback. In the midst of this awful season many may have overlooked that he finished the season with an 11 game hitting streak batting .450 in that stretch with 11 RBI's. The man can still hit.
Joe Girardi. Weren't we just criticizing him a week ago for losing the veteran clubhouse, and watching the youth movement decline under his watch? Yes, but this is exactly why I think he'll do better next season. He won't make the same mistakes that alienated his veterans, and he now knows that he needs to push these kids more.
Alex Rodriguez. Anyone whose watched A-Rod's tenure as a Yankee knows that he always wins an MVP in odd years. 2005, 2007, and now 2009. I expect him to hit 60 homeruns and with Madonna by his side, he could hit 80.
Alfredo Aceves. Aceves started against the Rays, Angels, White Sox, Orioles and Red Sox in September, 4 of which were post season contenders. His last start of the season against the Red Sox was not particularly impressive, but his other appearances more than make up for it. Will he be able to continue these performances into 2009? Usually, the reason rookie's digress is that they did not learn to pitch, they only learned to throw. The difference? They rely on their talent, and not on their smarts. They blew fastballs by hitters in the minors, and then had some success doing so in the majors, but eventually, big league hitters catch onto the trick and start knocking those fastballs out of the park. The rookie pitcher, knowing nothing else, continues to launch his fastball and continues to get rocked. Aceves is not a rookie in the traditional sense. He is a veteran of the Mexican league, and although the quality of hitters is much different, he has enough experience to know how to switch things up, and I suspect that is what allowed him to pitch excellently against 4 big league teams, 3 of them post season contenders.
Derek Jeter. Its hard to lose a season when your shortstop wins a batting title. You heard it here first.
Chamberlain and Hughes. Between the two of them, I suspect we'll get a full 30 starts, and not the Hughes of Spring, 2008 kind of starts. I'm talking about the Hughes of September, 2008. The best kind of Hughes there is.
Free Agent Player to be Named. There's no doubt about it, the Yankees are signing some big free agent. I don't know who it will be, but trust that the Yankees will have one of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, or AJ Burnett.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Joba Chamberlain formerly apologized to us the fans, and to the Yankee organization for his DUI. He had been arrested a few days back after he was pulled over for speeding and the officer smelled alcohol on him. I for one do not plan to accept his apology. He has wronged me for the last time. Nor do I plan on accepting the apologies of the Yankees for this 2008 season. I still feel hurt.
In other news, it would appear the Yankees are entering this off season looking for a starter. Apparently, the Yankees feel that their demise this season was caused by a lack of pitching depth. It is not clear whether they came to this realization before or after Sydney Ponson was pitching regularly in their rotation.
In the Arizona Fall League, Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes is tearing apart minor league hitters. Though he struggled mightily early in the season with the Yankees, Hughes' last two appearances featured a 4 inning 1 run effort against the White Sox, and a 8 inning 2 run effort against Toronto. Either he's ready for the majors, or September is a magical month for him. He'll likely have to earn a spot on the roster come spring training.
Of ginormous interest to Yankee fans, it seems Jose Molina's homerun ball failed to break the opening bid of $100,000, and was pulled from the auction. Apparently, not even Molina wanted it for that much. The "Respect Jeter's Gangster" bid of $122.49 was not accepted. That amount was what Roberto, Deron and I pooled together after we cashed out our retirement portfolios. For the Rays 9 may equal 8, but for "Respect Jeter's Gangster" $26,000 equals $122.49.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Will Joba made all 35 starts? Will he get hurt and miss a significant part of the season, then rehab in the minors, then relieve again? What do you think?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Meanwhile, do the Mets still feel the sting of trading Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano? I assume they do. Speaking of Kazmir, should Maddon have let him stay to pitch the 7th? He was at 111 pitches, but was throwing a 2-hit shutout through that point. Usually Balfour is pretty good, so I know why they went with him, but would the game have been different if they had let Kazmir start the 7th? I don't know...
I'm waiting for the movie about the Rays to come out. As I mentioned in the comments section, I expect Kazmir to be played by Samuel L. Jackson, and Maddon to be played by Robert Deniro. Last night's game would feature a dramatic argument between Deniro and Jackson when Deniro tries to pull Jackson for Balfour played by Russell Crowe. Jet Li would play Iwamura who has to break them up as the argument escalates. Jackson ends the scene by saying "I want these motherbleeping innings pitched by motherbleeping Scott Kazmir." Referring to himself in the third person. Robert Deniro yells "You're just one man Scott! The Red Sox are a Nation!" The twist in the movie comes when a paternity test reveals that Maddon is Kazmir's father, and the movie ends with them playing catch together at the Trop, after defeating the Phillies for their first World Series championship. If you're a movie producer reading this, I will write you the script.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
My predictions for tonight are a well played game where Scott Kazmir single handedly dominates Boston for 8 innings and then jumps into the batters box as a pinch hitter and hits a grandslam to push the game out of reach for Boston, but when he reaches home he quickly turns and runs towards the Red Sox dugout where he drop kicks an unsuspecting David Ortiz for no reason. Both benches clear, and the umpires struggle to maintain order until the fans at Fenway suddenly decide to make molotovs out of their beers, and start lighting each other on fire. They then rush out of the stadium where half of them stop traffic and flip cars over on Yawkey Way while the other half climbs onto the Mass Pike and start trying to flip cars over there too. Boston PD runs into the scene in riot gear, but then join in the rioting when they find out that theRed Sox are playing. Boston PD and Boston fans alike begin looting until Governor Patrick sends in the National Guard to regain order. After three weeks of rampant destruction, they accomplish just that. By then the Rays have already won the world series against the Phillies, and are vacationing in tropical climates, Kevin Long has fixed A-Rod and Cano's swings, and Cashman has signed Sabathia.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
So who would be this man? Everyone expected Don Mattingly to be the front runner for the position, while Tony Pena and Joe Girardi were strong candidates for the job. Mattingly never managed a team, and that was a knock against him, but the biggest knock against him was that he would be too much like Joe Torre. He did after all come up as a batting coach and bench coach for Torre, their temperaments were similar, and in the one game he managed, he managed similarly to Torre. Girardi had experience managing a mostly rookie team in the Marlins, and made them competitive. Girardi showed fire, as he would openly battle Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria during games, and managed several rookies into respectable big league players. That was exactly what the Yankees wanted with Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain preparing to start the season on the big league roster, Robinson Cano getting his first big league contract, and Melky Cabrera on the edge who could potentially get pushed to become a better hitter than his .273 average was showing.
Many Yankee fans agreed with the change. I for one was sad to see Torre go, but I felt like the change would be a good thing. I felt positive about Girardi, and repeated many of the selling points given by Cashman and the Yankee organization throughout the winter. Girardi was fiery, he could help our youth, he was a mentor to Posada, and a veteran when Jeter, Pettitte, and Mariano were coming up. They would all look up to him, and he would have the respect of the players. Plus, a relief in my mind was that Torre couldn't abuse the bullpen. This was my one issue with Torre, and I believe it was founded. Never mind that several of Girardi's rookies on the Marlins ended up with arm injuries after he mismanaged their inning limits. Girardi was going to give the Yankees the kick in the pants they needed. He managed in the National league, which of course meant he knew how to manufacture runs. The Yankees would likely steal more bases than ever before, bunt runners over instead of relying on the long ball like they did under Torre, and strong defense would be emphasized.
Come spring training and everything appeared to be delivered as promise. Girardi had taken away the candy and was having his team run more than they had in any spring training before. Laid back Torre would never make his players do this everyone thought, and it would help keep them healthy, and help them avoid the slow start they experienced in what seemed like every season under Torre.
Then came the beginning of the season. The Yankees got off to the slow start they always had. The rookie's were getting rocked, but they had their spaces solidified in the rotation. The offense was not hitting, and the lineup was not manufacturing runs like we thought they would. Everyone blamed it on the teams age, and on A-Rod who had reverted to his former ways in the clutch. Then, injuries came aplenty, Jeter and A-Rod snapped their quads, Posada's shoulder needed surgery, and a freak injury to Chien Ming Wang's foot took him out for the rest of the season. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy were diagnosed with mysterious injuries and taken out of the lineup. The Yankees got a short boost from Darrel Rasner, and Joba Chamberlain pitched well to cover the loss of Wang, but the Yankee offense was still stuck in the malaise they always seemed to start a season with. In the meantime, Mike Mussina and Mariano Rivera were pitching one of the best seasons in their careers. But it had little effect since the Yankee offense was not scoring enough runs to win games.
After the all-star break the Yankees made a run and everyone thought they were going to make their comeback as they always did. But then Pettitte struggled in the second half, the time he historically had thrived. The Yankee offense reverted to its malaise and once Joba went down with right shoulder tendinitis, many knew the season was done. The Yankees stumbled along through the rest of August and September, but each game became as meaningless as the one before. Cano and Jeter heated up over the last month, but it was too late for any kind of impact.
The Yankees ended the 2008 season in third place in the division and missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years, not including the strike shortened season of 1994.
Many of the Torre detractors and Girardi supporters point to the injuries and the hitting with RISP as the reason the Yankees did not make the playoffs, and they argue that these situations were outside of Girardi's control. And never mind the fact that Torre took an inferior team in the Dodgers to the playoffs for the 13th consecutive time in his career, and never mind that he took them to the championship series. He was in a weak division. If Torre was managing the Yankees they would have ended up dead last in the division right?
Well, for me, I need to take a look at the reasons I liked Girardi as a managerial candidate last winter and see how he did in those categories this season. Here are those categories:
Bringing up the Young Players
Well, Joba Chamberlain succeeded, but both Kennedy and Hughes faltered throughout the season. I don't fault him for this since this would have likely happened no matter who was managing. Where I do fault Girardi is in the decline of Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera. How these two players plummeted so quickly after at least a couple seasons performing on this stage is beyond me. Why no one, including Girardi could not motivate Cano the way Bowa did last season is also beyond me. Under Girardi, the youth failed.
This was the man who was going to get the Yankees performing at a higher level after all these years of tea drinking Torre pampering his players. Never mind that A-Rod and Posada had one of the best offensive seasons of their careers the previous season, and never mind that both Jeter and Cano battled for a batting title the year before. Girardi was going to finally get the offense performing the way it should. Instead, the Yankees experienced a sharp decline in hitting with RISP. Girardi had no answer for the lack of situational hitting, and his supposed small ball managing was not used anymore than it was with Torre. The Yankees scored the fewest runs they had since 1995, a year before Torre began to manage, and achieved this feat with nearly the same lineup that produced 929 runs the year before.
Gaining the Respect of a Veteran Clubhouse
Girardi did after all mentor Posada, and was a veteran guy that players like Jeter, Mariano, and Pettitte looked up to. Apparently this was not enough as it has most recently been revealed that all these players have expressed issues with their new manager including his constant lineup changes, the best of which was the use of career minor leaguer Justin Christian instead of the hottest bat in the lineup at the time in Johnny Damon, because the pitching match up was not favorable to lefties, and of course the issue with Girardi seeking the advice of "his" coaches over the well-liked, highly-respected, former big league manager Tony Pena. Girardi lost his clubhouse, something I never thought would happen with him.
Using not Abusing the Bullpen
This Girardi did well. He used his bullpen much more effectively than Torre did. He still favored the lefty matchups as much as Torre, but avoided the same attachment to certain relievers that Torre used to have. In doing so, Girardi spread the work load around better, and probably saved some arms in the process.
Many Girardi loyalists would like you to believe that Torre could never have pulled this team together after the loss of both Wang and Chamberlain. These people also have very short memories. This season was not nearly as severe as the impact of injuries our starting rotation suffered in 2005. I'll refresh your memories. This was the season where our rotation of Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, and Jaret Wright were going to take us to the next world series. Brown, Wright and Pavano all went down early in the season and would not return except for Wright who struggled when he did come back. In the meantime, we brought up this rookie sinkerballer named Chien Ming Wang, who filled in beautifully, not unlike Joba did this season, but Wang went down with, can you guess? Right shoulder tendinitis. The Yankees got unlikely contributions from Shawn Chacon who we traded for and Aaron Small who was a journeyman minor leaguer who ended up on our triple A team. Al Leiter, who we attained from the Marlins, won a few games for us as well, before a string of bad starts put him in the bullpen. To fill in starts in the meantime, the Yankees would use Tanyon Sturtze, Scott Proctor, Sean Henn, Darryl May, and Tim Redding none of which pitched particularly well. With this kind of crippling impact on our rotation, with 3 of our 5 starters going into the season gone, with our best rookie fill in down with an injury, and with journeyman starters, and converted relievers filling in our starts, the Yankees could not have done better than 3rd place could they? The Yankees won the division that season, continuing a trend that would later be taken for granted.
Many fans, myself included, thought that Torre was keeping us from getting past the ALDS every season. Now, we're seeing that Torre was what was getting us to the ALDS every season. We're seeing it now with the Dodgers.
Some may think its unfair to compare Girardi to Torre since Torre has so much more experience, but what else do you expect when you replace one of the best manager's in Yankee history with someone expected to do an even better job? Girardi is not better than Torre. Sure he manages the bullpen better, but that's about it.
But before I'm accused of being a Girardi hater, let me clarify my position. I like Girardi. I think that he can manage, and that he is one of those smart baseball people who get the game. He is very ambitious and sets his goals high, and I appreciate those qualities about him. I sincerely hope that Girardi leads this team to the 27th world series championship in 2009, but he has much work to do. He needs to win back his veterans, and find a way to motivate the youth. Most agree that Cano should have been benched months before he was, and many believe Hughes and Kennedy should have been in the minors quicker than they were. I have my doubts about Girardi, but I think he could overcome this disappointing season.
Although 2008 was a disappointment, we need to give Girardi 2009. Despite what we and the Yankee brass may have thought going into this season, replacing Joe Torre's success is not an easy task. The first year was bound to have its difficulties. For 2009, I'm completely open to seeing Girardi shine as a manager.
Now I know everyone's been waiting for my review of Joe Girardi for a week, and you need not worry because it is coming. I'm not a deadbeat blog writer no matter what the courts may tell you.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
In the AL, the Rays took it to the Red Sox 9-1 at Fenway. Lester struggled, while Matt Garza went on to pitch 6 innings of 1 run ball. Talk about building a solid team. The Rays traded Delmon Young and some other players to the Twins for Garza and Bartlett since they were stacked in the outfield. Now Garza's a vital part of their rotation. Today will be a big game since it will be a young team up against a knuckleball. Should be interesting.
Meanwhile, many Yankee players have been settling into their off season lives with varying degrees of success. Mariano Rivera jumped into his son's little league game and pitched a perfect 9th to secure their first championship in several years. These 11 year olds were flailing at his cutter, and two of them had their bats broken. Derek Jeter reported to Yankee stadium for the ALDS only to be dissapointed when security told him there was no ALDS in Yankee stadium. Andy Pettitte threw a bullpen session at home to get ready for his game 2 start only to remember there would be no game 2 start. Its a sad time for Yankee players. In the mean time, Kei Igawa is back in Japan walking around in his Yankee uniform, fanning himself with Yen, and asking everyone to refer to him as Mr. Steinbrenner. Its a difficult adjustment for all players.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
RJG: Bronny Cash! What's up man?
BC: Pretty good, just enjoying a short break before the organizational meetings.
RJG: Hey Bronny, how come Hank has refused to answer our call for an interview? Why is he so scared to answer the tough questions? America deserves to know!
BC: I'm not sure he's ever heard of you guys.
RJG: Brian Joseph Cashman! We both know that isn't true!
BC: Okay, look, maybe he's scared, maybe he's not sure how he'll perform under the pressure of the intense soviet style interrogation methods you guys use during your interviews. Can you blame him?
RJG: It's not all about you Bronny.
[click and audio and video silence]
Centerfielder Josh Hamilton
First Baseman Albert Pujols
Starting Pitcher Cliff Lee
Starting Pitcher Edinson Volquez
Plus it sends Roy Halladay and Daniel Cabrera out of the American League East effectively getting rid of the best opposing pitcher in our league, and the pitcher who does the most physical harm to our players.
Sounds too good to be true? Don't think it could ever happen? I have one name for you: Kei Igawa.
Many know Kei Igawa as the bumbling pitcher the Yankees paid millions of yen for only to watch pitch in Scranton. What you don't know is that Kei Igawa is the lynch pin to the best trade idea ever.
Here is how it works: We send Kei Igawa and Ian Kennedy to the Brewers for Manny Parra.
Once we have Parra we turn and trade Parra to the Nationals for offensively inclined Ryan Zimmerman coming off a down year and the oft-troubled Elijah Dukes.
Zimmerman and Dukes than get traded to the Reds for Edinson Volquez to help bolster their offense.
The plan gets a little hairy from there, but it ends with Lee, Pujols and Hamilton on the Yankees, the Kansas City Royals moving to Mexico, Hideki Matsui getting a robotic knee that then becomes self aware and tries to launch missiles at Canada, and Cashman dressing up like the Joker from Batman and intimidating GM's at the winter meetings to give in to his demands. It also includes Derek Jeter calling up Roy Halladay and telling him to leave the American League. The majority of the plan hinders on fear and intimidation, and on Steinbrenner holding the economy hostage threatening to make the Dow plunge daily until GM's run through the streets in fear, and Bud Selig and Donald Fehr give in to Yankee demands to allow us to hand pick players from other teams rosters and not have to give anything in return. Basically we keep everyone we want, and get everyone we want, and don't spend a dime. We also send Papelbon to Pawtucket until he "learns to grow up".
Okay, so I don't really have a trade idea, but neither does anyone else. All trades take something to get something, and that's exactly what fans want to avoid. So, I hope you were all as enlightened as I was writing this post. Happy Friday!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
“After A-Rod’s quad injury he wasn’t the same.” Explained a Yankee employee on condition of anonymity. “Rehabbing from that strain took its toll on him and he began over using the rehab. Once he was done rehabbing he was still using a lot of the treatments he received. He developed an addiction.”
Just like any addiction, A-Rod did not see it at first, but the signs were there for those around him. It became especially clear to one Yankee employee who walked into the club house gym at 5 AM.
“I had come in to work to get the clubhouse ready before the 1pm game that day. It needed to be clean before the first players would report. When I came in I saw that some of the lights in the gym were on, but the clubhouse was closed. I figured that the late night crew forgot to turn them off, but when I walked in I couldn’t believe what I saw. A-Rod was pumping out sets on the leg press, I just heard him counting ‘2,007, 2,008, 2,009’. I mean, he never even left the clubhouse. I then cleaned around him, and cleaned the lockers, and when I came back, he was like ‘3,018, 3,019, 3,020’.”
At first this employee did not report the incident, because A-Rod assured him he could stop whenever he wanted, but soon the problems would spill into the clubhouse.
“I was starting to feel my legs weaken up a bit, so I came in an hour early to get on the leg press.” Explained outfielder Bobby Abreu. “When I got there, A-Rod was on it. I left to take some early batting practice figuring he would be done when I came back, but when I returned he was still on it. I asked how many more sets he had left, and he told me to stop judging him. I didn’t know what to do.”
It was at that point that the Yankees felt the need to perform an intervention. With a group of players, as well as general manager Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi, and owner Hank Steinbrenner, they approached the star slugger while on the leg press. The Yankees hired a clinical psychologist to mediate the intervention. Everyone explained how his actions were affecting them. A transcript of the intervention was obtained by the “Respect Jeter’s Gangster” investigative team.
Robinson Cano: “I mean, sometimes, I feel like when you’re on the leg press, you’re not giving us an opportunity to strengthen our legs. And it really hurts.”
Jason Giambi: “It’s not that we don’t want you strengthening your quads, Alex. It’s that we can’t strengthen our quads, when you’re strengthening yours.”
Alex Rodriguez: “You don’t understand. I need this. You guys all hate me! You’re always trying to control me!”
Hank Steinbrenner: “Alex. Get off the (expletive deleted) leg press.”
Clinical Psychologist: “Mr. Steinbrenner, that’s not helpful.”
Hank Steinbrenner: “If you don’t get off the leg press, I’ll find a third baseman who will.”
Clinical Psychologist: “Okay, Mr. Steinbrenner, I think you need to leave.”
Hank Steinbrenner: “Oh no! You mean I can’t stay for this sissy party? I have enough problems getting called out by ‘Respect Jeter’s Gangster’ to be dealing with this crap. I’m out of here.”
Clinical Psychologist: “You’re not a sissy Alex.”
Brian Cashman: “Alex, look who we brought here. Its your good friend Lou Piniella.”
Lou Piniella: “Alex. Get off the (expletive deleted) leg press.”
As is clearly evident the intervention was impactful to Alex, but it did not completely solve the problem.
“Most of the time Alex is fine.” Explained Johnny Damon. “But every now and again, we’d all be in the clubhouse and he’d suddenly make a run for the leg press. Jeter had to tackle him one time before he could get on it.”
The situation is one the Yankees will monitor for the 2009 season, but they feel confident that with the help of his teammates, his manager, and friends, Alex will win an MVP in 2009.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Anyway, nothing has been more exciting than the playoffs this year. I've actually found myself interested in some of the other teams involved, namely the Rays and the Dodgers. Right now, I'm 1-4 in post season predictions, which is still higher than A-Rod's average with runners in scoring position. Zing! Watch, he'll have another great season next year. I'm going to be working on my review of Joe Girardi so I won't say much here about him, but it seems there are some doubts about his ability to lead a veteran clubhouse. Shocker. I was going to do a review of each player, but they would all pretty much read the same so I decided not to waist my time.
As of today, Hank has not agreed to our interview. I'm not sure what he's so frightened about. He may feel a little uncomfortable that we would make him respond to our inquiries by posing his answers in the form of a question, not unlike Jeopardy, but I still don't think that's reason enough to not interview with us. To that end, we have created the Hank Steinbrenner interview count down. On the right hand side we have the number of days that Hank has refused to interview with the RJG blog, which will not stop until he interviews with us or we forget that its there. I would also like to point out the many participants that have manned up and done great interviews with us, a list that includes New York Times best selling author Richard Bradley, Trenton Beat Writer Mike Ashmore, Journal News Journalist Peter Abraham, Daily News Journalist Mark Fiensand, Journal News Columnist Sam Borden, and of course former Yankee PR Director Marty Appel.
In any event, I'll be back blogging regularly tomorrow. Robbie Fingers, I thank you for holding the fort down in my absence, and while I do appreciate your contributions, don't expect to see any checks until those "Respect Jeter's Gangster" T-shirts start flying off the racks.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
RJG: Bronny Cash! How's it hangin?
BC: How do you keep getting this number? I changed it like six times already, not even Hank has it.
RJG: Definitely bro. So Bronny, like how come you haven't signed CC Sabbathia yet? Are the Yankees out of money or something? Did you lose it all betting against one of Torre's champion horses? Or against Torre himself?
BC: Sabbathia is still playing for the Brewers, we can't talk to him yet. Besides, we haven't even had our organizational meetings in Tampa, so we're not prepared to discuss who we are and aren't going after.
RJG: Have you been drinking?
RJG: It's not all about you Bronny.
[click and silence at other end]
There you have it folks. Brian Cashman answering your questions.
If you know Hank, and you're reading this, tell him to stop cowering in fear and set up an interview with the only blog trusted by both Raven and TribeGirl (not to mention Fred Trigger, Michael Kei, Derek Jeter, Bucky, Quinn, Anonymous 1 and 2, Pseudo Fernando for a while, Steve, Jane, Hal Steinbrenner, and a number of others I'm sure I'm forgetting). We can do the interview via email, via phone, via satellite video phone, or in person. If Hank isn't too busy brushing his ponies he can come down to New York and have lunch with me at my local deli, like a man. Ball's in your court Steinbrenner. Ball's in your court.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Congrats to Mr. Torre, he did a great job guiding this team this far. I know he doesn't deserve to be in the postseason and that it's all a fluke of the division system in baseball, but there he is. Good thing we canned him unceremoniously and then neglected to show any video of the guy during the last game at Yankee Stadium.
Okay, no more bitterness. I'm happy for Torre, and I'll be rooting for him against the Phillies. I'm thinking Rays over Boston in the ALCS, and Dodgers over the Phillies in the NLCS. That's what I'd like to see anyway, it's more of a wishlist then a prediction. Here's to October.
Manny's relaxed approach to hitting could be beneficial to A-Rod, if A-Rod can learn from it and let one at bat carry less into another. On the other hand, if Manny is hitting, and A-Rod is not, would that just crush A-Rod, rendering him even more ineffective? What do you guys think?
All those Yankee players are free to guest blog, just contact me directly, but if you're too busy, I understand.
I'll be watching the Dodgers game tonight and rooting for Torre, so I can continue my post season goal of blaming Girardi for all our woes. I also plan to do a follow up interview with friend of the blog Brian Cashman, aka Bronny Cash, over satellite video phone.
Friday, October 3, 2008
In conclusion, Joe Girardi blows, Joe Torre is great, and I blame Wang for what happened this year.
The Rays won their first game against the White Sox 6-3 with James Shields pitching. James Shields sounds like a secret agent name. The people he associates with should have names like Nick Fury, which would be an awesome name for a baseball player. Just imagine: Bases loaded, top of the ninth, 2 outs, Nick Fury coming up to bat, and oh, that ones hit hard, if its fair its out, and its fair! Homerun for Nick Fury, there he is getting high fived by James Shield. Looks like owner Tony Starks is joining the celebration on the field. But wait, what is this? Communist forces are flooding the field! Fury and Shields are mowing them down, but they're getting overwhelmed! Who will save them?! What's that? Over the horizon!? No, it can't be. It is! Derek Jeter swooping in, he's tearing up the communist forces with his mighty Derek Jeter bat. A-Rod has joined the fray, but his swings keep missing. Jeter just knocked a communist into the opposite field! The communists are retreating. Hurray! Derek Jeter has defeated communism!
Anyway, Phillies look poised to knock the Brewers out. I'm relieved, because that's less innings on his arm. The Angels need to win tonight, or actually, I don't really care who wins that series, the Rays are winning the ALCS.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The Yankees had some largely ineffective pitchers in their rotation, but this isn't a drastic change from any of our previous years. 2005 through 2007 we had just as many injuries in our rotation and still managed to make the playoffs every year. Is it just by chance that the first season Torre's gone that the Yankees can't figure out how to deal with injuries? Just to be clear, I support Girardi, and think this was a good learning season for him, but Torre had a bigger effect on this team than I think anyone really appreciated.
The Dodgers had their pitching problems as well. They had 11 different pitchers making starts for them including Chan Ho Park. The Yankees had 13 different pitchers make starts but really I only count 12 because Bruney's start wasn't necessary. Its a mystery to me why we even let Pavano pitch. Either way, the Dodgers made it to the playoffs with pitching problems and big injuries to major players. If the Yankees were to lose Abreu and A-Rod this season to major injuries, the Yankees would be dead last in the AL East. Torre loses his two best power hitters and wins the division.
Torre made it look easy, and now the Yankees are seeing how difficult it really is. Go Torre! I'm pulling for you even though I don't think you'll beat the Cubs.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Step 1: Sign CC Sabathia
Everyone already knows this one, but Sabathamania is just the beginning of the 2009 Yankee plans. He comes with a worn arm, so that's one thing we need to make sure to consider when adding zero's to his contract, but he immediately betters this team. He might end up missing stretches of seasons later in his career, but its the price you pay to win now.
Step 2: Trade For Francisco Liriano
I know, he just had the Tommy John not too long ago, and struggled when he came back to the Twins, but he posted a 1.23 ERA in 6 August starts. He had a couple rough games in September, but also had two 7 inning efforts where he gave up 1 and 2 runs respectively, and an 8 inning effort giving up just 2 runs. What do we trade for him? Who cares, give them whatever they want. If this fails, they should go for Grienke. He's risky, but could turn out to be a solid player.
Step 3: Sign Mark Teixeira
Give him the 20 year, $700 billion bailout plan money Boras is likely to ask for him. We could use his bat, and he has a good glove at first.
Step 4: Resign Abreu
I know we would rather watch Abreu walk and look to the next best options, but do you really want to go into the season with Matsui, Damon, and Nady as our outfield? Matsui will likely need to DH next season, and guys like Gardner may not be ready to fill in on a regular basis. Abreu's bat is still better than what's available via free agency right now, and the Yankees aren't likely to complete more than one big blockbuster trade (See step 2).
Step 5: If not Moose Then at Least Bring Back the Ice Cream.
If Moose wants to retire, fine, but Girardi needs to bring back the sweets. His all natural healthy food options led the Yankees to third place in the AL East. Losing leaves a bad enough taste in your mouth, just imagine coupling that with tofu granola bites and a glass of beet juice. Maybe the low sugar level had something to do with the lethargic nature of our offense.
Yay 2009 Yankees!