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The Numbers Game
2008-09-15 05:41
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees beat the Rays 8-4 yesterday at the Stadium and won the season series against Tamps, 11-7. Carl Pavano left the game early with a hip injury and Robinson Cano was yanked in the middle of the game for not hustling after a ball. The Red Sox were in the unlikely position to be rooting for the Yanks this weekend, and both teams helped each other out: the Sox trail the Rays by just one game and the Yankees edge closer to the Blue Jays, who are currently in third place.

Mariano Rivera faced one batter, struck him out, and tied Lee Smith for second-place on the all-times save list with 478.

Alex Rodriguez hit a first-inning grand slam, the 17th of his career. He also had a bloop double in the eighth, his 33rd of the season, his best mark in pinstripes. Rodriguez scored his 101st run and knocked in his 100th RBI. He's scored 100 or more runs for 13 straight years and has driven in 100 or more runs in 11 consecutive seasons. How about this for consistency: Rodriguez has 1602 runs scored in his career, 1603 RBI.

Jason Giambi hit his 30th homer of the year. In five of his seven years as a Yankee, Giambi has hit 30 or more dingers.

As you may have heard, Derek Jeter passed Lou Gehrig's mark for hits at Yankee Stadium. Jeter had a wondeful weekend, smacking three hits in each game. He saved the best for yesterday, adding a home run to the bleachers in right-center field. With the season fading away, it's no surprise that the announcing crew on YES made a big deal about Jeter catching the Iron Horse. That's understanable and I can appreciate it, even if it was much at times. However, one thing they didn't provide us is context. I would like to know, for instance, how many games and at bats it took Gehrig to reach the mark and compare that with Jeter's figures. Moreover, I'd like to see how many home runs and doubles figure into the mix as well. It's no knock on Jeter if he's not nearly the hitter Gehrig was, Jeter is a great player and a future Hall of Famer. Still, I would have liked to see more context.

Let's face it, the Yankee announcers, some newspapermen, and a lot of fans are not rational when it comes to all things Jeter. Again, I find it annoying at times, but I get it. And I do love Jeter too. But he doesn't need to be puffed up constantly. When Jeter hit into a sharp 5-4-3 double play in his final at bat yesterday, Paul O'Neill mentioned that Jeter never hits into double plays. Well, actually, that was the 23rd double play Jeter hit into this season, a career-high (beating his previous career high of 21, set last year).

Oh, and one last number. The Yanks "tragic" number. It's down to 5.

Comments
2008-09-15 06:54:51
1.   ny2ca2dc
So did you like Burn After Reading? I thought it was pretty good, great characters.

Nice wrapup, also note Humberto has been called up. He and Melancon should be nice additions to an already solid (or at least deep) bullpen next year.

2008-09-15 06:58:50
2.   Dimelo
Gehrig-Jeter, Jeter-Gehrig. WOW!!! Nuff said.

There are two players I always wished I had seen play and they are Gehrig and Clemente.

Gehrig's humility, work ethic, dedication to all things Yankee, great teammate, struggles with a terrible disease and it cutting his life tragically short has always been a great story. At least to me.

If I had children and any of them picked Jeter or Gehrig as someone they would like their life to resemble, then I would be an extremely proud parent.

Congrats Jetes!!!

And ARod, thanks for coming when we need you most.

2008-09-15 06:58:51
3.   rsmith51
I don't think O'Neill does much preparation for games. He doesn't appear to know much about the young guys. I remember the first year where Girardi and O'Neill were doing games, Girardi seemed to know about all the players, while O'Neill just seemed to wing it.
2008-09-15 07:05:37
4.   Alex Belth
I didn't love "Burn After Reading." I'd put it squarely in the middle or lower part of the Coen's body of work. Some funny moments and performances, Malkovich especially, but overall, it left me...cold.
2008-09-15 07:11:11
5.   Alex Belth
I don't agree at all with Dimelo's take on Rodriguez and am not going to get into a debate about it cause we've been through this time and time again. However, what I think is interesting is this: D's feelings about Rodriguez are shared by a good many other Yankee fans, and it comes down to this, as fact---these fans, a sizable group I'd say, actively root against their team's best player.
2008-09-15 07:14:06
6.   pistolpete
3 Plus he works about what, 6-7 series' worth of games the entire course of the season? Paulie's entertaining to listen to for sure, but I want my color guys to know more about the team than I do...
2008-09-15 07:19:42
7.   Schteeve
Well, Jeter has fewer than 200 hits to go to pass Ol' Biscuit Pants in total. He's wrapping up his 14th season, Gherig played 17 seasons, so without looking up the splits, doesn't it stand to reason that Jete's got there faster? Which is ridiculous.
2008-09-15 07:21:49
8.   Alex Belth
I would guess Jeter got there in fewer games than Gehrig too, although Lou played in shorter seasons and walked 700 more times that Jeter did for their careers.
2008-09-15 07:45:29
9.   Peter
I'm not sure what the home/away splits are, but their career ABs are almost identical at this point: 7997 for Jeter and 8001 for Gehrig.
2008-09-15 07:49:44
10.   Sox Fan In NYC
technically Gehrig played in 17 seasons. However, there was a mere 31 games spread over 3 seasons that account for Gehrig's 17 seasons. In reality, he did it in 14 seasons..however, by comparison Jeter did it in less than 14 full seasons.

BR doesn't have Gehrig's splits..anyone have a link?

2008-09-15 07:50:35
11.   rbj
Hey, anyone else catch the Tiger - White Sox game last night? Karl Farnsworth comes in and gives up a grand slam! Who'da thunk that would happen.
2008-09-15 07:53:07
12.   Shaun P
7 And Gehrig's last game (and thus last hit) in Yankee Stadium must have been at some point during his last season. So yeah, Jeter got there "faster" (less years, less ABs), but given how many more walks and homers Gehrig had overall, I'll guess if we had Gehrig's splits, that would hold true.

Too bad the home/road splits for Lou's time aren't readily available.

2008-09-15 08:16:56
13.   ny2ca2dc
4 Yep, not exactly an all time classic, or particularly memorable for that matter, but ripe for cheeseballs like me to pluck lines for endless repetition. I'll be annoying the 'shit' out of my wife by imitating Pitt's lines about the secret CIA 'shit'. "We have your... shiiiiit". Clooney's character reminded me of his character in O Brother Where Art Thou - "I'm a Dapper Dan man!" Anyone else going to be saying "maybe I can get a run in" after doing the deed?

I know, I need some original material, but what can I say. Aren't the priceless lines why we love movies like The Big Lebowski and (especially) cult crap like Tommy Boy and Super Troopers.

2008-09-15 08:59:06
14.   Dimelo
5 I've never rooted for ARod to fail. Ultimately, ARod wears the Yankee uniform so that makes him someone I root because of the uniform.

Frustrated with ARod is a better way of looking at it. When I saw him hit the grand slam, was I ho-hum about it? Absolutely.

I guess I see stars like Pujols, Manny and other players who are at ARod's level and they've had a lot of success when their teams have needed them most. I just expect the same thing, not a grand slam against the Rays when the Yanks are out of it.

2008-09-15 09:10:50
15.   Start Spreading the News
Let's not forget also that Yankee Stadium was cavernous when Gehrig played. Hitting a homer out there was no mean feat. Quite a few of the long shot probably fell in for doubles and triples. Gehrig had 534 doubles and 163 triples with only 102 stole bases and 101 caught stealing. So he wasn't a speedster but still has all those triples. Jeter who has speed only has 411 doubles and 57 triples.
2008-09-15 09:16:30
16.   ColoYank
Dimelo -

When my son was in his teens, he expressed his admiration for how Lou Gehrig handled himself, and went on to say that he wanted to pattern himself after him. As a result many if his friends call him "Lou Dog" to this day.

Yes, I still bust my buttons over that.

2008-09-15 09:20:15
17.   ColoYank
Start Spreading ...

When they reconfigured The Stadium in 1974-5, the actually took the right field foul pole out by 18 feet - from 296 to 314. Many of Gehrig's homers went to other fields, obviously, and yes, as you say, the fence was quite a bit farther out to the other fields.

Jeter never aspired to Gehrig's power, but "only 411 doubles"?? How many Yanks have more?

2008-09-15 09:37:09
18.   The Hawk
14 Yeah in the ongoing A-Rod debate, this mischaracterization is all too common. Although there might be some out there, the vast majority of A-Rod critics aren't rooting against him in any way, shape or form. It's a bit of a straw man argument his supporters throw up there, intentionally or not.

Frustration is the name of the game. People get bitter but I think that's understandable, given the reputation and attention the guy gets.

2008-09-15 09:46:05
19.   JL25and3
17 The wall in right field was also much lower, less than 4 feet. It was a significantly more inviting porch.

Actually, the left-field foul line was a little shorter, too. The wall just shot out very quickly from there.

I wouldn't think the deeper dimensions would have had all that much effect on the number of hits. Yes, most of the home runs that are hit to left-center would have been outs then - but there aren't a whole lot of home runs hit out there even now, unless your name is Rodriguez. And aside from the home runs, I don't see why there would have been a big difference in the number of hits.

Also, the old dimensions must have turned a lot of doubles into triples.

2008-09-15 09:56:33
20.   Dimelo
16 Go Lou Dog!!!!
2008-09-15 10:22:00
21.   Alex Belth
Good points. Glad to be corrected on that.
2008-09-15 11:01:00
22.   jonnystrongleg
2 D, I don't want to argue with you, especially after Alex framed his response to you to discourage argument.

So I'll just say that, while I wholeheartedly agree with your heartfelt praise for Jeter's historic accomplishment, I wonder if you'll be as effusive if Arod breaks Bonds' record in stat-padding garbage time fashion some September when the Yanks are 10 games back and his sub-par performance all year is a key reason the Yanks are in 4th place.

2008-09-15 11:57:02
23.   Dimelo
22 If ARod's Yankee career means that the team has won at least one championship, then I will probably be really happy about him breaking Bonds' record.

If he ends up breaking the record and the Yankees just keep playing ho-hum baseball for the next 9 years, then I can't say I'll be all that happy for him. The record only means something to me if it has led to the ultimate team success, a championship.

It's like people getting all worked about the Yanks beating the Red Sox in '03. But they were OK with losing the WS because at least the Yanks beat the Sox. The ALCS was great, but it would only have been great (in my eyes) if the Yanks won it all.

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