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Don't Hate The Players, Hate The Lords Of The Game
2005-10-10 21:09
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

As a whole, the players that made up the New York Yankees overachieved this year. Hamstrung by the worst offseason in franchise history and besieged by injuries to their pitching staff, the Yankees dug themselves out of a 11-19 hole, building momentum as the season went on, finally breaking free of .500 as July began, posting a 56-28 (.667) record from July 2 through the end of the regular season. As the season drew to a close, they played their best baseball, winning 15 of 18 at one point in September and clinching their eighth-straight AL East title by defeating the Red Sox in the penultimate game of the season.

Ever since the Yankees won four of five World Series from 1996 to 2000, it has become common for those around the organization, both in and out of uniform, to say that any season that does not end in a World Championship is a failure. I disagree. That the Yankees were unable to win the American League Division Series, while certainly a tremendous disappointment to fans, players and front office alike, should not be seen as a failure, but as the inevitable outcome of a season that extended beyond it's rightful endpoint.

RECAP:

The Yankees got to Bartolo Colon in the first inning of Game One in Anaheim, giving Mike Mussina a three-run lead before he took the mound in the bottom of the first. Last night they looked to do the same after Derek Jeter lead off the game with a groundball single through the shortstop hole. Colon clearly wasn't himself. His location was way off and his first few fastballs topped out at 91 miles per hour.

Following Jeter, Alex Rodriguez swung at the first pitch he saw and hit a pop up to shallow center that Adam Kennedy pulled in with a nifty over-the-head catch. Jason Giambi then worked a full count, but flew out the warning track in left. Gary Sheffield followed by poking an 0-2 pitch off the outside corner into right field for a single that looked a lot like the one he picked up in the first-inning rally in Game One. Jeter took third on the hit, just beating a characteristically strong throw from Vladimir Guerrero, but Hideki Matsui struck out to strand both runners.

That was how it went all night for the Yankees. After Mussina, looking sharp, set down Figgins, Cabrera and Guerrero on seven pitches in the bottom of the first, the Yankees caught what appeared to be a huge break. Although Colon had struck Matsui out on a 93 mile-per-hour heater to end the top of the first, he was clearly struggling. After seemingly every pitch he would stretch his pitching arm above his head and grimace. After Colon's third pitch to Robinson Cano to start the second, Mike Scioscia, pitching coach Bud Black and Angels' trainer Ned Bergert paid a visit to the mound to see if Colon was alright. Colon at first walked off the back of the mound, seemingly refusing to talk to his manager. He then threw a couple of practice pitches and convinced them to leave him in the game. Colon then went to a full count on Cano, gritting his teath after ball three. Scioscia had seen enough and came out to get his clearly injured ace.

It was later revealed that Colon had an inflamed right shoulder. It was a surprising diagnosis, as it was known that Colon had been having back pain and most thought that was what drove him from the game. That the Angels' Game Five starter was out of the game after retiring just three Yankees was even more surprising.

Scioscia brought in rookie starter Ervin Santana to replace Colon. Santana threw a series of mid-90s fastballs to Cano, which the Yankee rookie fouled off, before completing Colon's lead-off walk to the Yankee second baseman. He then fell behind 3-1 on Bernie Williams, when the Yankee manager decided to put on a hit-and-run. A poor decision to begin with--forcing Bernie, who's last remaining skill is his ability to work a walk, to swing the bat--the hit and run blew up in Joe Torre's face when Bernie missed the sign, hanging Cano out to dry when the pitch he took was called strike two.

As luck would have it, Santana's next pitch was a ball, which Bernie, who never did swing in that at-bat, took for a one-out walk. Santana then walked Jorge Posada on four pitches and Bubba Crosby singled through the second base hole, scoring Bernie, who went from second to home on Guerrero's arm while Posada moved to third (Guerrero's throw was wild toward the Yankee dugout, though Bengie Molina made a strong effort to make it a close play at the plate).

Jeter then lifted a sac fly to right to plate Posada and, with a 1-2 count on Alex Rodriguez, Bubba Crosby swiped second, despite Scioscia calling a pitch out (poor Molina was again foiled by a pitch that was a little to far outside, though Bubba did get a fantastic jump). Still, despite the two runs and Crosby's steal, the rookie Santana did not rattle. He struck out Rodriguez on a full count with a 96 mile-per-hour heater up in the zone, the settled down to shutout the Yankees over the next four innings.

Meawhile, Mike Mussina, who had looked so sharp in the first, lost his grip on the game. After falling behind Garret Anderson 2-0 then 3-1 to start the bottom of the second, he threw a pitch low and in to the lefty, who launched it into the right field bleachers for a solo homer to cut the Yankee lead in half. Begnie Molina then cracked Mussina's next pitch in to center for a hard single. After striking out Darin Erstad and getting Juan Rivera to pop out, Mussina issued a full-count walk to Steve Finely, putting runners on first and second and setting up the key play in the game.

Adam Kennedy ripped the first pitch he saw from Mussina to the warning track in the gap in right center. As the runners rounded the bases, the Yankee center fielder, Bubba Crosby, and right fielder, Gary Sheffield, converged on the fly. Crosby was approaching the ball head-on, slowing up his pace as he set up beneath it to catch the ball with two hands at the wall. Sheffield was chasing the ball while watching it over his shoulder, eventually making a leaping backhanded stab. As Sheffield lept into the air, he cut in front of Crosby and the ball, as it approached Crosby's glove deflected off of the wrist of Sheffield's glove hand.

As the ball rolled away, the two outfielders collided. Fortunately the ball didn't roll that far away and Crosby, the first to his feet, was able to get the ball back in to hold Kennedy to what was generously ruled a triple, but the two runners had scored, giving the Angels a 3-2 lead they would never relinquish.

In the third, Cabrera and Guerrero lead-off with singles off Mussina, the later putting runners the corners with no outs. A Garret Anderson sac fly scored Cabrera and Bengie Molina's second single in as many at-bats moved Guerrero to third. Darin Erstad then hit a weak grounder to Jason Giambi that the Yankee first baseman charged. Rather than wheeling to start a double play with the volcanically slow Molina running from first, or taking the sure out at first, where Robinson Cano was covering, Giambi elected to throw home despite there not being a force in effect on Guerrero, who got a great jump off of third. All hands were safe and the Angels led 5-2.

After Mussina retired Juan Rivera on a hard-hit foul on which Hideki Matsui made a tremendous play, leaping to catch the ball two rows deep amid a sea of Angels' fans, Joe Torre decided to count his blessings and remove Mussina from the game. Showing the astute managerial acumen that he finally allowed to rise to the surface in the postseason (aside from the two unnecessary hit-and-runs he called for this game, that is), Torre called on his ace, Randy Johnson.

Johnson retired the first seven Angels he faced, then worked out of a no-outs, first-and-third (later one-out, second-and-third, and two-outs bases loaded) jam in the sixth. Meanwhile, the Yankees stranded lone singles in the third and fourth.

In the fifth, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and followed by a Jason Giambi single, bringing Gary Sheffield to the plate as the tying run. Sheffield took two called strikes and ball one then hit a weak pop-up to shallow left, holding the runners. That brought Hideki Mastui up, also representing the tying run. In his previous at-bat, Matsui came up with one out and Sheffield on first (via his second single of the night). With Matsui up 3-1 in the count, Torre put on the hit-and-run. Forced to swing, Matsui hit a weak pop-up to shallow left. This time he fouled himself into a 0-2 hole, then hit another pop up, this one to Erstad at first.

Robinson Cano followed by striking out on a pitch that dove in toward his shoetops. The ball rolled away from Molina and Cano took off for first. Molina collected the ball and fired to Erstad at first, but his throw was wild to the inside of the bag, where Kennedy backed it up. The Yankees appeared to have the bases loaded, but home plate umpire Joe West called Cano out for running inside the line instead of in the designated box in foul territory. On the replay Cano appeared to run directly down the foul line itself, but more significantly, Erstad was set up to catch the throw in foul territory and by shifting into fair territory as he touched the bag, Cano was actually attempting to avoid interfering with the play. West is the same umpire who failed to give Cano the out at second base when his foot came off the bag a split second before he received the ball on a force out in Game Three, a neighborhood play that goes to the fielder in the vast majority of cases.

The Yankees finally cut into the Angel lead in the seventh when Derek Jeter led off with his second solo homer of the series to make it 5-3. After retiring Alex Rodriguez on a groundout, Santana was relieved by Kelvim Escobar, who was greeted by a Jason Giambi double off the center field wall. That again brought Sheffield to the plate as the tying run and again Sheffield flied out, failing to even advance the runner. Hideki Matsui followed with his third consecutive pop out, this one to Molina half way up the third base line.

Escobar issued a two-out walk to Jorge Posada in the eighth, but Francisco Rodriguez came on to get pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra to groundout. After Tom Gordon worked a perfect eighth (with Sierra in left and Matsui in center) the Yankees sent the top of the order to the plate against the Angel closer, needing two runs to keep their season alive.

Capping off an excellent performance, Derek Jeter singled on a 1-1 pitch to start the Yankee ninth. Capping off an awful performance, Alex Rodriguez followed by swinging at a 1-0 pitch to erase Jeter via an around-the-horn double play. Francisco Rodriguez then got ahead of Jason Giambi 1-2, but with the Yankees down to their last strike, Giambi pulled a single through the shift and was followed by an infield single by Sheffield on a hopper to third base. With Mark Bellhorn and Tony Womack in to run for Giambi and Sheffield, respectively, it came down to Hideki Matsui, this time representing the go-ahead run. Matsui took strike one from Rodriguez, then fouled off strike two. After another foul, he pulled Rodriguez's third pitch hard down the first base line, but Darin Erstad, playing to prevent a game-tying double, snagged the ball and flipped to Rodriguez, beating Matsui to the bag by a single step for the final out.

HEROES AND GOATS:

Angels Heroes

Ervin Santana With his team's ace out of the game after a single inning due to injury, the rookie Santana made the first relief appearance of his professional career, pitching 5 1/3 innings, four of which were scoreless frames.

Garret Anderson A his solo homer started the Angel scoring. He later added a sac fly.

Adam Kennedy His "triple" should have been the final out of the second inning, but it turned out to be the game-winning hit.

Yankee Heroes

Derek Jeter 3 for 4 with a solo homer and a sac fly, facing one of the toughest closers in the majors with the season on the line, he lead-off the ninth with a single. He also made a nice play in the first on a hard bouncer in on the grass by Cabrera.

Randy Johnson pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief on two-days rest, working well with Jorge Posada, and giving his offense ample opportunity to come back from an early deficit.

Jason Giambi 3 for 5 with a double, down to his team's final strike, he singled to keep the season alive.

Yankee Goats

Mike Mussina did what I expected him to do in Game One, allowing all five Angels runs in 2 2/3 innings, though in all fairness his defense was responsible for three of those runs, even though the official scorer didn't see fit to issue any errors in the game.

Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield Bubba didn't call Sheffield off on Kennedy's "triple," but it was Sheffield that screwed up what would have been an easy out for Crosby. Either way, the resulting two runs were the difference in the game. Crosby went 2 for 3 at the plate with a bunt base hit and an RBI single that drove in the Yankee run. Sheffield went 3 for 5 with an infield single when representing the tying run with the Yankees down to their last out, but neither performance at the plate (and Sheffield's also included some key outs with runners on base) outweighed the harm caused by that one play.

Hideki Matsui Matsui went 0 for 5, left a whopping eight runners on base, and grounded into the final out of the season. That might have knocked a million or two off of his next contract.

Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 4, his ninth-inning double play being the crippling blow. Had Rodriguez merely struck out in that position, the Yankees would have had scored once and had the tying run on second base with one out when Matsui came to the plate (not that it would have ended differently necessarily).

Angels Goats

Bartolo Colon Pulled a David Wells, except that he did it in an elimination game.

HEROES AND GOATS: ALDS

Angels Heroes

Bengie Molina hit .444 with three homers, five RBIs and five runs scored, played the final two games despite being hit on the elbow by a Tom Gordon fastball in Game Three

Garret Anderson hit just .263 but hit a pair of homers and drove in seven runs

Juan Rivera hit .353 with a solo homer and three runs scored.

Vladimir Guerrero hit .333 and, despite not driving in a single run, scored five

Darin Erstad Al Leiter had his number, but he still hit .300 on the series and made numerous key plays at first base, including snagging the final out.

Chone Figgins was a dud at the plate (.143, 8 Ks) and on the bases (no steals in four times on base), but made game-saving catches in Games Two and Three at two different positions.

Kelvim Escobar allowed just one run in seven innings (a meaningless Jeter solo homer in Game One) and just two hits (though he walked five), appearing in four games.

Ervin Santana ignore the 5.06 series ERA, he saved the Angels' season by replacing Colon in Game Five and working 5 1/3 innings while his team took the lead.

Yankee Heroes

Derek Jeter hit .333 with two of the four Yankee homers, five RBIs and four runs scored, plus some fantastic defense.

Jason Giambi presented the Comeback Player of the Year award (by Pfizer, curiously enough) before Game Four, he hit .421 on the series with three doubles.

Robinson Cano hit just .263 but matched Jeter with five RBIs, including the game-winning double in Game One, tied Giambi with three doubles, also scored three runs. Yes, he made some poor plays on defense, but he made some fantastic ones as well.

Jorge Posada .474 on-base percentage, six walks, a homer, a double and three runs scored.

Shawn Chacon 6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K at Yankee Stadium in his first postseason start

Mariano Rivera retired six straight batters to nail down the Game Four win and keep the Yankee season alive. Saved both Yankee wins.

Scott Proctor pitched two scoreless innings, was the only pitcher on either team not to allow a run

Yankee Goats

Randy Johnson he tried to make up for it in relief in Game Five, but if he had done what he was expected to do in Game Three the Yankees would have won it in four

Alex Rodriguez .435 OBP due to six walks and a pair of HBPs, but just two hits and no RBIs wasn't enough, and his double play in the ninth inning of Game Five was the final nail in the Yankee coffin.

Hideki Matsui hit just .200 and his only RBI came on a solo homer.

Bernie Williams hit .211 with just one RBI and one walk. A sad end to a great career.

Tino Martinez 0 for 8 with a walk. An equally sad end for another beloved Yankee.

Angels Goats

Bartolo Colon lost Game One, then left Game Five in the second inning due to injury.

Paul Byrd given a five-run lead against an ineffective Randy Johnson, he couldn't make it out of the fourth inning in his only start

Brendan Donnelly coughed up the Game Three lead in his only appearance in the series.

Comments (109)
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2005-10-11 03:52:16
1.   Paul in Boston
Oh well. Why not be the first to chime in before my local friends/colleagues start razzing me?

1) Miracle they made it this far.
2) That doesn't stop the pain.
3) Baseball is sometimes a game of breaks -- an none went the Yankee's way last night. Oh well again.
4) The Crosby/Sheffield play will be the "what if" I play over and over in my head this year, a la last year's ground rule double from Tony Clark.
5) A-rod had a great season, a lousy post-season. The Media will have a field day, and I for one don't want to hear it.
6) Thank goodness for the Hot Stove.
7) Thank goodness for sites like this (great work Alex and Cliff).

2005-10-11 04:16:32
2.   debris
A couple of comments, first to Paul in Boston. Of all the breaks last night, by far the biggest one went to the Yankees. The Angels best pitcher and a legitimate Cy Young candidate had to leave the game in the hands of a rookie after one inning. You don't get a bigger break than that.

And to Alex. A great review except for one thing. To call Colon a goat is astonishingly unfair. The poor guy did not want to leave the game and appeared on the verge of tears. He was absolutely physically unable to perform and left after gutting it out as long as he could.

The most amazing thing about the game was the fact that the Yankees 1-2-4 hitters went 9-14 in the game, yet were able to score only one run between them. I have to think the millstone in the number 2 hole brought the Yankee ship down.

2005-10-11 05:03:00
3.   rbj
Nice analysis Cliff. I'd put Sheff down as a goat too. Only 2 rbis. Not enough from his spot in the lineup.
So, it's what, 127 days until pitchers and catchers?
2005-10-11 05:03:51
4.   Shaun P
Great recap, Cliff, as you and Alex have both done all season. Can't wait to see what you guys have to say when the offseason begins in earnest.

Sigh. What a time for Sheff and Godzilla (and A-Rod) to crash. I'm sure they all had bad five-game stretches throughout the season, and I guess this series just adds to it.

Like Paul said, I'm sure A-Rod (and Unit) will get much if not all of the blame in the MSM, and I for one will ignore it. There's plenty of 'fault' to go around, and the team shares it equally, IMHO.

The story of the series:

Angels: 5 walks, 25 RS, 20 RA, 26 Team LOB
Yanks: 24 walks, 20 RS, 25 RA, 43 Team LOB

Ouch. All those baserunners, and only 20 runs. I don't want to know what the RISP numbers were.

2005-10-11 05:17:07
5.   Simone
Like I said after last night's game, tough loss. Sometimes the other team is simply better and you have to give them props. This is one of those times. The Angels were the better team. They had the better pitching, better defense and were able to scratch out enough offense to get the job done against the Yankees who played as inconsistently as they did throughout the season.

By the All Star break, I thought the Yankees were done, yet they were able to find a way to make the playoffs and win the division despite 4 out of their 5 original starters being on the DL for significant periods of time. So I'm not beating up the Yankees for not winning the ALDS.

Despite the killing of Joe by people here, the Yankees were merely a poorly constructed team. Most of the off season moves that focused on improving the pitching failed miserably and the bullpen is a disaster besides Mariano Rivera.

I think that the Yankees' near future will be determined by what Cashman decides to do about his career. With the Phillies' job now open, he may just decide to leave which will shift the decision-making power balance to Tampa permanently.

Whoever ends up being the GM doesn't really need to do much just work on improving the middle relief (BJ Ryan?) and find a decent centerfielder. It would be nice to find a good utility player as well. However, I expect more and more bad Womack/Wright type decisions with no Cashman around to find a way to remedy the situation.

Well, it's been a long season. I'll miss baseball, but the NFL is on and preseason NBA has started. It's been fun around here, other the shrill constant bitching about Joe and the insults that followed.

Cliff and Alex, thanks for your hard work on Bronx Banter.

Peace

2005-10-11 05:26:15
6.   Knuckles
Popup city! All that poor situational hitting last night killed the Yanks and drove me nuts. Having A-Rod, Sheff, and Matsui all slump at the same time, with all those runners on base, was the difference. Aside from Friday night, every game was close and eminently winnable.

For the winter, I don't have real high hopes, unless the next GM comes in with a demand that Stein shut up and stay out of things. George can't find the CF that they're gonna need.

It was a fun season overall, too bad it had to end with a game in which the Yanks looked like Little Leaguers.

I'm rooting for a game 7 in the WS, El Duque vs the Rocket.

Alex and Cliff- great job this season, as always.

Go Giants, Go Irish, Go Devils, Go Nets.

I need a nap.

2005-10-11 05:37:47
7.   Paul in Boston
Debris, I guess it all depends on what you call a "break", right?

1) crosby/sheffield collision on a catchable ball
2) 2 runs off Mussina with nothing but bloops
3) cano out at first on the dropped 3rd strike, a judgment play that goes the other way 90% of the time
4) a-rod hits the balls hard, nothing to show for it but outs or dp's, esp that last inning

But "breaks" are in the eye of the beholder, aren't they?

2005-10-11 05:43:39
8.   randym77
I don't think Colon going out was a break. The Yankees have beat him before. Which can't be said of Santana. The Yankees are 2-1 against Colon this year, and 0-3 against Santana.

But I also don't think it's fair to say Colon pulled a David Wells. He was honest about the extent of his injury. There's a reason the Angels did not put him on the mound Sunday, with the chance to take the series. As early as Saturday, "inside sources" were saying that Colon was hurt worse than the Angels were letting on, and that it wasn't just his back. (Though the rumors said it was his elbow, and it turned out to be his shoulder.) Whatever the Angels said to the media, they knew they might have to play games 4 and 5 without Colon, and planned accordingly.

Have to agree about Sheff and Bubba, alas. That one play killed us. I mostly love Bubba's defense, and his offense was okay, too, all things considered, but he's got to learn to play nicely with others. I don't know if it's lack of playing time, if he fails to take note of where his teammates are, just doesn't trust anyone else to make the catch, or is too shy to call the others off, but he's a hazard to the other fielders out there. He crashed into Jeter near third base, too, causing him to miss a catch, and Matsui, Sierra, and Cano have had close encounters.

Fairly or not, this last game has probably cemented the old "Jeter is clutch, A-Rod isn't" mythos. I'm not ready to write A-Rod off yet, though. Maybe he just went into a slump at the wrong time. Maybe he just needs more postseason experience. If A-Rod was usual his MVP self, the Angels wouldn't have had a chance.

2005-10-11 05:48:59
9.   debris
Paul,

1) That's not a break. That's a failure to execute.
2) Bloops and bleeders dropping in are not a break. They're a fact of life. They balance out. Going back to game three of the Sox-Sox series, the Red ones hit at 'em balls all night while the White ones hit seeing eye shots one after the other. (Of course, the one that Konerko hit had eyes that saw the Mass Pike.)
3) Joe West is a fact of life. Strange call. It's a bad break for all of baseball that this man has a job. A bad break for the Yanks that he happened to show up at first last night. Of course, with Jeter, Sheffield, and Giambi getting 9 hits last night, a little production from A-rod could have made this call moot. The best way to overcome bad breaks is to put up a 10 spot early. A bad break for the Sox that Tony G. booted an easy ground ball, but Tony G. didn't hang that hook to Iguchi. The Angels got a bad break last night, but had the fortune in having a good arm fresh in the pen.
4) See comment 3.

2005-10-11 05:51:36
10.   debris
Randym,

Actually, when you think about it, losing Colon might have been a good break for the Angels.

The biggest break of the season was the injuries to Wright, Pavano and Brown. These guys don't get hurt, who knows if the Yanks ever see the production they saw from Wang, Small and Chacon.

2005-10-11 05:53:21
11.   Ben
Thanks to Alex and Cliff and all the regular posters to this site. I can't believe the hosts do all this writing for free!

I thought last night played out well. A-rod, Matsui and Bernie played out their slumps, but most of the other at-bats felt very strong. The Yanks discovered that when every third batter is slumping, it doesn't really matter what happens in between.

From the Angels perspective, this must have seemed like a very exciting game, the Yanks kept up the pressure, but couldn't pull it through. I thought I might be able to root for them afterwards, but fuck it, go White Sox.

Farewell Mr. Williams, it won't be the same without you.

2005-10-11 06:01:14
12.   Chucksax
All things considered, it could have been worse. The Yankees never should have made the postseason, considering how they played and how badly Tampa muffed up last offseason. (Anyone want to make a bet that they bring in what's-his-face from Florida for next season? ...or that Piazza is the everyday catcher next year?) This season was a wonderful emotional roller-coaster ride, with unexpected heroes & goats all along the way.

Great surprises? Giambi (although I had predicted .275-30-75), Small, Chacon, Wang, Cano. Pavano, Johnson, Torre's handling of the bullpen, Posada & Williams rapidly decling prodcution were surprises on the other side.

In March, I said to friends, "All I really want is an interesting season." That, my friends, is what we got.

2005-10-11 06:02:48
13.   randym77
Yes, perhaps part of A-Rod's problem was the lineup behind him. Of course they try to pitch around A-Rod. Sheff, Matsui, and Giambi didn't punish them enough for it. Maybe Joe should have tried flipping Jeter and A-Rod. :-P
2005-10-11 06:06:43
14.   Kevin
Ironically, had Bernie been playing CF last night, he never would have been able to cover that ground as fast as Bubba, and Sheffield would have made the play.
2005-10-11 06:10:28
15.   Paul in Boston
Debris, you are right about everything and I am wrong.

Signed,
Sad Yankee Fan
p.s. As you know well, any post-loss exegesis will include a certain amount of emotional judgments, always seen in much clearer light by the non-fans.

2005-10-11 06:14:55
16.   randym77
Yes, I think Sheff would have made the play if it were Bernie instead of Bubba. It would have been one of his patented crash against the wall catches.

The replay showed the ball bouncing off the bottom of his glove, but by then he was no doubt aware of Bubba barreling toward him, and distracted by it. Similarly, with the Jeter/Crosby collision earlier this season, replays showed the ball bouncing out of Jeter's glove before impact with Bubba, but does anyone think Jeter would have missed it if Bubba hadn't about to crash into him?

OTOH, Bubba made a couple of nice catches that Bernie probably wouldn't have. (I say "probably" because Bernie has really surprised me on occasion this year.)

2005-10-11 06:26:10
17.   debris
Paul,

This simple fact is that we both root for expensive old teams. The key differences between the current Yankees and Red Sox and the Yankees of 96-00 is that those dynasty Yankees, while featuring plenty of expensive free agents, primarily in the starting rotation, also featured a strong core of players developed at home in Posada, Jeter, Williams, Mendoza, Rivera, and Pettitte.

The problems both teams face is that they are both already heavily committed to old, broken down starters: Johnson and his bad back and inconsistency, Mussina and his elbow, the prematurely aged Wright and Pavano, Schilling and his ankle, Wells and his weight and back. Between these two teams, the only starters I would really want back next year are Wang, Chacon, Wakefield and Papelbon.

They both have huge jobs to do over the winter. One positive on the Sox side is that they have a ton coming through the system in Delcarmen, Pedroia, H. Ramirez, Sanchez, Papelbon, Hansen and Lester. The positive on the Yankee side is that with Brown, Karsay, Gordon, and Williams all coming off the payroll, they have a fortune to throw at the likes of Millwood and BJ Ryan.

The Yanks also need to address their commitment to the farm system and find a GM and, having found him, they need to leave him alone to do his job. Tampa needs to be gobbled up by the sea.

2005-10-11 06:30:35
18.   Dimelo
Excuses are a sign of weakness. The Yankees weaknesses were exposed this series, two especially: defense and hitting with RISP (lack thereof).

Paul from Boston's 1st post was great and right on. Let the media and the ARod haters bash him all they want, w/o ARod the Yankees aren't in the playoffs. The double play will stand out most because it seemed the Yankees weren't about to quit and were going to go down fighting. That play alone will make everyone who has criticized ARod feel better about themselves. Oh well....great job Alex and Cliff. Nothing makes me feel better than coming here after another post-season series lost. This is better than reading the NY papers.

2005-10-11 06:57:45
19.   Dan M
Carlos Beltran catches that ball.
2005-10-11 07:15:13
20.   Murray
Intellectually, I understand that Rodriguez is an asset, not a weakness, and that he is responsible for a substantial number of regular season wins.

But, come on, man, how about a hit at an important moment? Colon drills him in Game 1, and he's toast for the next four games? What is that? Get over yourself and do your job! Rodriguez is a great player, but as we know, with great power comes great responsibility.

I fear that a lot of what will be said about Rodriguez in the aftermath of this series will be unfair, and I hate to join the chorus, but you have to admit: it's a catchy tune.

2005-10-11 07:16:47
21.   Murray
Oh, and Joe West shouldn't even be allowed to buy tickets to playoff games.
2005-10-11 07:16:57
22.   ChrisS
Eh, this is what I expected. I predicted the Yankees would win 95-100 games and lose in the playoffs because they just didn't have that strong of a team. And Alex Rodriguez is the best garbage-time player in the game, unfortunately the playoffs aren't garbage time.

Now, I can enjoy the playoffs (go 'Stros), before the next disastrous offseason can begin. I hear Juan Gonzalez is available.

2005-10-11 07:24:23
23.   Dimelo
Murray, I agree with you but no one is making excuses for ARod. A team is only as good as the sum of its parts. You can't expect Matsui, Sheffield and ARod to go into a funk and not drive in any runs. That is just unacceptable, if two of the three hit then the Yankees win the series. If that would've happened then all we will be able to say is that ARod had a bad series and we move on to the ALCS. He gets a second chance to redeem himself, but that wasn't the case.

As far as ARod being a 'garbage-time player', I don't think in those terms but others do and that's their right.

2005-10-11 07:27:01
24.   Shawn Clap
Too bad there's only 2 tabloid rags in this town, because there's a dozen great trashy headlines, none the least of which are:

A-Fraud

DoublePlay-Rod

Mr.May-Rod

Maybe we need two 3rd basemen around here. Pay-Rod for the 1st 162 games and a scrubby Brosius/Boone type for when the games really count.

2005-10-11 07:35:52
25.   Upperdeck
Great season, despite last night's game. Cliff, Alex, and most of the posters thanks for the site.
2005-10-11 07:38:18
26.   carl
It is time to rethink how these teams are built. In a way because this team has so much money to throw around,they tend to do just that. I go back to comments made by debris " we root for an old expensive team". Instead of just throwing money we need to develop more talent. Where is our Ervin Santana or FRod? I love the fact they brought Cano up we need more of an apprach like that. Build the core like we did with Jeter, Posada, Rivera etc. Big money makes us lazy.
2005-10-11 07:54:52
27.   JCP22
Defense matters (as does home field advantage.) Stop structuring the team like the 70's Bosox and get back to pitching and defense. Sheff to DH please. Hideki, if you come back (as I hope you do), please plan on being rested occassionally.

Have to give the halos their due as the better team. They got down by 2-0 twice at home and twice first man up in the following inning smacked a dinger.

Sheffield just seems to come up small in playoffs somehow...think it happened on Dodgers and now here the last two years. One big blow from him or Arod or Matsui and we would have taken it in spite of ourselves (and our spotty defense.)

Still, it was a very enjoyable stretch run and Yanks took a very good team to the ninth inning of game five. I look forward to seeing Chacon and Wang in the rotation full time next year.

2005-10-11 07:57:47
28.   strangeluck
Everyone seems to be thinking that Crosby failed to call off Sheffield in the collision, but is it possible that he did and Sheffield just couldn't hear him? I don't have access to any videotape, so I can't watch it to check, but I seem to recall either McCarver or Buck saying that it may have been too loud for them to hear each other. Granted, those two aren't really the best source, but has anyone checked or have any other info?
2005-10-11 08:00:35
29.   uburoisc
The good news is that a lot of dead weight eating up payroll is now gone (and I will never have to see Kevin Brown again); the question is whether the FO will take the time to rebuild their farm system and secure some pitching. Wright's injury allows us to get rid of him, correct? Hopefully, there will be a lot of new faces in a few months. (I think Bengie Molina is a free agent.) Looking forward to next year, thanks for the great site, Alex and Cliff, and everyone who made me sound smarter than I am to all my friends. Now I have to go eat crow and deal with the Halo fans at the bar.
2005-10-11 08:04:18
30.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Please no Johnny Damon. I don't care how many other half-assed moves the morons in Tampa make in the off-season, but please don't sign Damon.

I think they should give Kevin Thompson a shot at center next year. Sure, he didn't light it up with the bat at Columbus, but he seems to be able to draw a walk and is supposed to be a strong defender (of course they said the latter about Melky . . . )

I mean, the Angels have one of our minor leaguers who never got a chance with the big club -- b/c he didn't put up monster numbers -- starting for them in the outfield/dh and they just beat us like a red-headed step child.

2005-10-11 08:05:46
31.   randym77
Strangeluck, looking at the replay, it doesn't look like Bubba ever called it. In his YES interview afterwards, he pretty much admitted that he didn't call it. He said he wasn't sure he could get it.

David Justice faulted Bubba, saying he should not only have called it, but kept on calling it, loudly.

2005-10-11 08:12:07
32.   Murray
It's not about excuses. It's venting frustration at the best player on the team for batting poorly during the playoff series. I'm not ripping his contract, I'm not questioning his attitude, his mental toughness, whether he's a clean player, or whether he's "clutch." I'm saying, "Jeez, Rodriguez, you're the best player on this team, and you disappeared." The .405 OBP doesn't impress me over a five game series. The argument that his teammates played poorly and that he was pitched around is silly because the whole idea of protection was discredited fifteen years ago in the 1984 Baseball Abstract. Pitchers were still trying to get Rodriguez out, and they did. Considering that some of his finest work this season occurred against the Angels, I think we could at least expect this player perform at the league average level.
2005-10-11 08:13:26
33.   Murray
Make that 21 years ago. Jeez, I feel old.
2005-10-11 08:16:20
34.   Alvaro Espinoza
Not down on Mussina. He hit his spots and a lot of bloops and bleeders found holes; that's baseball. Then his OF defense betrayed him, a pinstriped Achilles' heel all season long. Santana's performance was very interesting in that no other pitcher was hit as hard as he was last night. Yanks hit plenty of rockets that found leather (again, that's baseball). Though credit where credit is due - (no it wasn't the dropped flyball), Santana threw 6 of the nastiest pitches to 11 and 55 at the most critical point in the game. He was downright Koufaxian for 2 batters. He came up huge when the pressure was on overload. Conversely, too many Yanks came up small in similar situations and that's why they go home.

Yanks deserved to lose. There's no other way around it.

Here's looking forward to 2006 and all things in between. Special thanks to Alex and Cliff for showing the kind of reliable consistency that this team could not.

2005-10-11 08:20:52
35.   Tom C
Living in Pittsburgh, orig from NJ/NY area, nothing better than getting WFAN in last night on the drive home from work and listening to "Captain Midnight" shred A-Rod. As much as I loathe all NY teams (I really hate the Mets, I am a Cubs fan), I really admire Jeter. He said the season was a failure b/c they did not win the championship - that is the coming from the heart of a warrior. All-about-me-Rod? "I won't hang my head..." & "I am proud of the season I had...." Um, me-Rod! THERE IS NO 'I' IN 'TEAM!'

Someone mentioned no Damon, how about Corey Patterson (woulda caught that ball), Rich Hill and John Koronka for Cano?

2005-10-11 08:28:05
36.   3dsteve
Too bad Lou Pinella was not managing last night.
He would have cursed, kicked dirt, cut off that bum ump Joe West's head and spit in his neck.

He might have even got thrown out of the game and woke up the team by doing so.

Instead we got a response equivalent to a boring blob of oatmeal. Time to retire Number 6 to the left field wall.

PS Someone tell Cano that when the season is on the line you don't steal 2nd base at 50% of full speed!

2005-10-11 08:29:30
37.   weeping for brunnhilde
"Pitches that you have guys who try to hit homeruns swing and miss at, they put in play."

--Joe Torre giving all credit to the California hitters.

Does this quote serve as a not-so-thinly veiled expression of frustration with his own sluggers? Is this a poor analysis of why they managed to win?

Having watched the games it's really hard for me not to feel exactly the same, that this was ultimately the difference (or at least, one key difference) between the two teams.

But I'm aware that many don't agree with me, so maybe I'm just deluded. All I know is it certainly seems to be true.

Whenever they failed to get a big hit I was surprised. Whenever we failed to get a big hit I was disappointed, but not really surprised. (I did expect Matsui to perform, though, his failure surprised me.)

Anyway, I'm wondering what sort of team everyone thinks we need. Offensively speaking, I think we need less long ball and more fundamental ball to go all the way. It just seems really hazardous to rely on slugging over contact.

We shall see what we shall see.

2005-10-11 08:30:01
38.   mkanakos
Just my two cents...

All the posts here are great and right on the money. My thought is that, ultimately, the Yanks beat themselves.

Bad baserunning, less than stellar fielding, zero big time hits and leaving RISP. The series was theirs to take if they had done the little things.

With that being said, it was a great, if not gutwrenching, season. I loved it and am looking forward to next year.

Please, please - no more aging veterans at a premium price!!!

2005-10-11 08:44:04
39.   Kevin
3dsteve (36): "PS Someone tell Cano that when the season is on the line you don't steal 2nd base at 50% of full speed!"

No, but you do when it's a hit-and-run and you are looking into the plate to see what Bernie does with the pitch. Bernie missed the call. Kudos to McCarver for picking up on the apparent missed hit-and-run ten seconds after it happened.

Of course, someone please tell Torre that when the season is on the line you don't call a hit-and-run in the second inning with Bernie ".249" Williams at the plate.

2005-10-11 08:46:56
40.   randym77
Torre never calls the hit and run with Bernie at the plate. Maybe he wanted to surprise the Angels. Instead, it appears he surprised Bernie.
2005-10-11 08:47:38
41.   Zack
Cliff, Alex, thanks for providing the posts and a place for us to vent and celebrate that isn't ESPN or any similarly crappy, overcrowded and obnoxious forum. Keep the posts coming throughout the rest of the season and offseason.

And to move my comments from the last thread, when i say blow up the team, I mean to the best of our abilities. Obviously many many players will still be around, and I still like our infield very much. But Brown, Bernie, Womack, Gordon, Embree, (well hell, the whole bullpen save Mo, why list it), Bellhorn, and Sierra should all be gone without argument. I could see them bringing back Gordon and Bernie, but I think both are mistakes. Gordon's arm will fall off, and Bernie will only be a below mediocre stop-gap, sentiment or no. Once that is done, I would try to trade Pavano and Wright if possible, though no one will take Wright I am sure. Resign Chacon to give us Moose, Johnson, Wwang, Chacon, and Pavano/Small/Henn/Pavano/someone.

Obviously we will have to eat contracts, so be it, we are paying them to suck for us, why not pay them to suck for someone else or noone. This team needs to bring up some kids for the bullpen and mix in some cheap journeymen, ditto for the bench, and find a stop-gap centerfielder to allow the kids to get better in AAA.

We have all said it before, we all know its the case, but I can totally see us going the opposite way, and signing Damon or resigning Bernie, Signing a few more crappy bullpen guys, and keeping Ruben or a clone of his...

2005-10-11 08:52:09
42.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Tom: interesting trade.

How much would it help the Cubs tho?

I mean is Cano worth giving up two young lefty arms, one of which, Hill, looks damn good, just for Cano?

As for Patterson, I was hoping the Yanks would make a play for him mid-season. At least he can field and throw. And his offense might pick up -- tho his obp will always suck -- w/o the pressure to hit that he had at the top of the Cubs lineup.

2005-10-11 09:12:29
43.   Shaun P
The real problem with the team's performance in the ALDS is that many of the problems in the series weren't the problems from the season. Especially if Cashman leaves, I bet the FO will focus more on what went wrong in the DS and how to 'fix' it. I KNOW the MSM will. Fools.

They got a ton of guys on base. The pitching was fantastic - bullpen included - except for Friday. The defense was pretty good except for Wednesday. 3 of our 4 biggest mashers didn't hit. That happens in a five-game span sometimes.

So many things were done properly -
Brown, Wright, Pavano, Franklin, Embree - threw ZERO pitches combined.

Gordon and Rivera pitched all the high-leverage situations.

Leiter was (except for one AB) facing only lefties and a guy (Vlad G) he has a history of getting out.

Womack pinch-ran and did nothing else.

Bernie played only one game in CF - and it was probably justified. Bubba was there the rest of the time.

Posada caught Unit to very good results.

Sierra was a PH except for the 1 game where it was probably OK to DH him.

If you told me, before the ALDS, that all these things would happen, I would've been very very happy. Torre made very few mistakes. In a 5 game series, crap happens. We lost, but I can't complain.

2005-10-11 09:21:24
44.   Start Spreading the News
It is amazing the obssession the Red Sox fans have with A-Rod. Is it because he spurned them to come to the Yanks? I don't know.

But is it any surprise that a Sox fan like Debris says this:
"The most amazing thing about the game was the fact that the Yankees 1-2-4 hitters went 9-14 in the game, yet were able to score only one run between them. I have to think the millstone in the number 2 hole brought the Yankee ship down"

How is A-Rod supposed to knock in the batters that hit BEHIND him??? A-rod had 3 men left-on-base! How about Matsui with his 8 LOB? Eager to cast aspersions at A-Rod, Debris looks at the stats with Red Sox colored glasses.

IMHO, I would have to say that Matsui, great catch of the foul ball notwithstanding, is the goat of the day. But since Matsui has been clutch in the past and generally does a good job with RISP, he deservedly gets a pass.

All in all, the Yanks played worse than the Angels. They had more miscues. The play where Cano was thrown out on a hit and run is a classic example. Someone missed a signal. And it was a bad play, especially when Bernie drew the walk on the next pitch.

The Yanks played poorly. Our only consolation is that the only team we could have beaten in the playoffs was the Red Sox.

2005-10-11 09:24:13
45.   rbj
Couple of bright spots:
1) We beat Boston for the division title.
2) We won 2 more post season games than Boston.
Thin reeds to be sure, but I'll take anything.
And now I can get to bed at a decent hour.

It's always going to be disappointing if the Yankees don't win it all, stiil, there are some bright pointers for next year. The emergence of Wang and Cano (do. not. trade. either.), the shedding of some big contracts (and Brown should give a refund) A couple of good pickups for next year in Chacon and Small (long reliever/6th starter). The whole second half surge by the team, IIRC, Bill James showed that strong 2nd half teams do well the next year.

Oh, and Boston will look very different next year too. Maybe the whole Yankees-Red Sox thing will be downplayed a bit. I for one am tired of it.

Lastly, the Bernie Williams serenade. Very classy for a classy guy. I don't think he should be back next year though.

2005-10-11 10:01:03
46.   rsmith51
My two cents...

I thought the walk to Finley and the CS by Cano were the two turning points in the game. I didn't understand why Moose didn't go after Finley. I also don't understand why Torre is doing a hit and run with a guy who almost never does it against a pitcher they can work the count on.

I thought Torre managed with very few mistakes. I would have batted Posada higher in the lineup and not called the hit and runs and of course wouldn't have used Leiter at all.

I just thought it was bad luck for the Yankees not getting the breaks.

One question I had. Erstad was standing on the base when Cano was running instead of normal 1B position. It seems like Cano was trying to avoid Erstad and really didn't have anywhere to go. I thought maybe it was interference on Erstad, but I don't know the rules about that. The announcers didn't comment on it so I figured the umps knew what they were talking about.

2005-10-11 10:18:51
47.   Kevin
Why did Torre pinch-run Bellhorn for Giambi? That run didn't matter, and if the game went into extra innings, we all would have wanted Giambi in the lineup. Same question with Womack coming in to pinch-hit. Why does Torre wait until there's two strikes to make a substitution?

Maybe he's smarter than I am (in fact, I'm sure he is), but I couldn't figure those moves out.

2005-10-11 10:23:50
48.   Dan M
Interesting point in #46. Rule 7.09(l):
"If the catcher is fielding the ball and the first baseman or pitcher obstructs a runner going to first base 'obstruction' shall be called and the base runner awarded first base."
2005-10-11 10:25:45
49.   pmarcig
And to add to Shaun P #43, We completely shut down Figgins and Guerrero and still cam up short.

We'll re-hash it for a few more days, but it just comes down to not getting the key hit when we needed it. 11 hits and only two were very meaningful. And while you can't put all the blame on A-Rod, he has to shoulder it. Look we have two guys on this team (Unit and A-Rod) that were brought in for exactly this. And they accepted the challenge, specifically saying "We wanted to come here. This is where I put my stamp on the game, this is where I want to get it done." And when it matters the most, they didn't come through.

I don't know..maybe it's the curse of Moose. But we've now lost in 5 straight post-seasons. Three Game 7's, and one Game 5...losing these deciding games is getting old.

2005-10-11 10:32:11
50.   Dan M
We've also won a Game 5 and a Game 7 in that time span.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-10-11 10:45:07
51.   Bob B
A disappointing season with a disappointing ending. I agree the Alex that the Yankees overachieved considering the dysfunctional situation in Tampa and New York with the owner and GM, the string of injuries to the pitching staff and the overall age of this team. I said during the season, even as we took 2 out of 3 from the Halos, that the Angels looked to be the best team in the American League.

Nevertheless, this loss hurts because they looked so beatable, even in this crappy short series. One or two clutch hits and we're off to Chicago. One or two less rookie mistakes by Cano or Crosby and things turn out different. Unfortunately, Cano made a lot of Rookie errors in the regular season and the lineup was never really clutch. The playoffs were a microcosm of the early part of the regular season. Weak defense, poor middle relief, up and down starting pitching, no hitting from the big bashers.

Joe West didn't help us either, that fat pig. I'll remember to boo him every time he's announced after this series. See Mike Carminati's article in Baseball toaster......Joe West Advances To The ALCS................very funny.

I'm sorry Bernie didn't get back to the World Series.......he has been my favorite Yankee forever. But I know we'd have been better without him this season so I don't expect to see him back. And next year we won't have his salary or Browns, Womacks or Gordons, so trades can be made, free agents acquired. There is still a good but aging core on this team. However, time is running out. Next year may be the last good chance for a championship with this group.

Alex and Cliff, kudos all around for a great job. Next season we'll need a chat room for the playoffs.

2005-10-11 10:51:24
52.   debris
"The Yanks played poorly. Our only consolation is that the only team we could have beaten in the playoffs was the Red Sox."

Maybe so. We'll never know.

"rbj
Couple of bright spots:
1) We beat Boston for the division title.
2) We won 2 more post season games than Boston.
Thin reeds to be sure, but I'll take anything."

Nobody cares or remembers who wins division titles. The Royals beat the Cards in the '85 Series. Quick. Who did they beat in the ALCS and NLCS. No one remembers. No one cares.

What I don't see in the Boston papers or blogs are people beating up on the team for not winning every year. Hey, tons of injuries, a few players declined, the Theo-era farm system is just on the verge or producing. Still won 95 games and tied for the division lead, losing out only on a newly invented technicality.

I don't find anything in the Boston papers like John Heyman's article in Newsday this morning. "No ring. Total failure." I don't hear anything from the Boston clubhouse like the now familiar refrain from Derek Jeter to the effect that the year was a total washout.

Sure there's disappointment in not repeating, but we still won 95 games and survived the season. Personally, I want to see a different Red Sox, a team that doesn't play by "Yankee rules," overloaded with aging free agent acquisitions. I'm looking forward to a team headed up with names like Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Sanchez, Delcarmen, Papelbon, Hansen, and Lester.

I'm quite delighted to see the ALCS featuring teams that have been built from within and from shrewd trades. Sure the Angels have Guerrero and Colon, but they also have Molina, Erstad, Kennedy, Santana, K-Rod, Anderson, Figgins, Washburn, Lackey, Donnelly, and Shields. And while the White Sox have fewer players from within, the trades they made and the reclamation projects have put them where they are. More power to both these teams. They are where they are because they deserve to be there.

I'm going to enjoy this series and I hope it goes seven games and all are close. And then I hope the winner takes it to the National League.

2005-10-11 10:56:44
53.   e double trouble
Yo Alex and Cliff
Thanks for the sight
And the words to match what we've seen
The season wouldn't have been the same without you twos
On to the off-season!
You'll still be my homepage
Peace
E double
2005-10-11 10:59:34
54.   Marcus
Alex and Cliff, thank you for the great writing, constant updates, and forum for the rest of us to spout off on all things Yankee. You really enhanced the season for me, and hope it continues this offseason and into next year.

Joe West did make two stupid calls in the series, but if your hopes are riding on whether or not a player who just struck out takes first base on the passed ball, things probably aren't going that well in the first place. I'm more pissed that Cano swung at that pitch.

Did anyone catch Cashman's comments after the game where he got choked up and started crying? He was asked if the thought had run through his mind whether last night's game would be his last with the Yankees. I didn't catch it, but I read about it, and was wondering if anyone had seen it. It seems like Cashman may be on his way out, which is either a bad thing or may not matter (it's not a good thing in any case).

2005-10-11 10:59:41
55.   Popcult
Steinbrenner just issued one of his press releases: it begins "Congratulations to the Angels and their manager" according to WFAN. Mike and Mad Dog are saying this is a not-to-subtle slap at Torre. I, for one, don't want to see Torre fired, if only because that would be another 13 million bucks (that's how much they owe Torre the next 2 seasons) down the drain and there are better uses for that money.
2005-10-11 11:02:26
56.   rbj
Actually debris, lots of people comment on the Atlanta Braves winning 14 straight division titles.
And basically no one remembers who won the WS twenty years ago. 1987 was ? 1984 ?

Anyway, time to take a few days off from baseball.

2005-10-11 11:05:43
57.   Knuckles
Alex and Cliff,
A chat room might be good for next year. And if not, then maybe an 'ignore' button so we don't have to look at the incredibly myopic, repetitive, and irrelevant comments from some of the posters around here...
2005-10-11 11:12:05
58.   Dan M
Is the "Theo-era farm system" really is "just on the verge of producing"? I don't doubt that it's better than the Yankees' system, but I don't think it's in the same class of some other systems like Milwaukee or TB. You can roll off those names, but none of those guys come close to having the ceiling that the players in those orgs have.
2005-10-11 11:28:19
59.   BklynBomber
I'll be pulling for the ChiSox to take it all, but probably won't watch a game. I left everything on the table with Game 5. I'm spent. Drained from weeks of hopes rasied, dashed, then raised again. I have nothing left...

For some reason, this one didn't sting as much, even though it was in our grasp. Lower expectations, maybe... I dunno. I do know two things, however — 1) that football season has officially started and my New York Football Giants look pretty entertaining so far, and 2) this is going to be the most interesting off season we've seen in a long, long time.

Cheers to Alex and Cliff for providing not only a great place for us die-hards to hang out, but for consistently great writing, always filled with insight and passion. For me, the Banter has become part of Yankee baseball. Thank you!

Now let's get that stove heated up...

2005-10-11 11:42:46
60.   Four Train
I agree with Knuckles early comment about the situational hitting. The Yankees' biggest problem is that their top stars don't hit well together. Sheffield's Game 5 hit to right field was a refreshing moment in which the team's slugging cadre tried to mount a rally instead of trying to have their Yankeeography moment. They need another guy or two who will go the other way, lift a key fly ball or bunt, rather than swing out of his shoes. As for A-Rod, yikes. Clearly, his sports psychologist should be fired - or maybe, he's beyond help. With that kind of talent, he should get RBIs by accident. Never bat him second ever again in the postseason: instant rally killer.
I think there's real promise for next year in the likes of Chacon, Wang, Cano and maybe another youngster or two. Mussina should be sent packing while his value can still be overinflated. Now I will go away to mourn some more.
2005-10-11 11:43:15
61.   LeeDawg n VA
My Rant - Part I
I need to vent. You may want to skip this... I couldn't even see the game last night - just hung out in my office and caught the internet feed until the security system kicked me out at 11. At that point it was 3-5 after Jetes' bomb. I left and didn't have the good feeling I've had so many times during the season when we were down late in the game. I had hoped (but was surprised) that Johnson would come in for Moose (who just blew it). IMHO Small should have relieved, but the fates granted Randy a shot at redemption which he did in fact redeem. But he should have handled business Friday night and we would probably not have been in this fine mess.

Moose were you nervous or what? If anyone on this team should have been ready and primed it should have been Mussina. Got plenty of rest, no additional travel and he has been tremendous time and again when we needed him to be. I expected him to be equal to the task. 3 runs? Eh, purely sophomoric. 5 runs + 2 2/3 innings + light hitting A's offense = Choke. 'Nuff said on pitching. I love you Moose but you let me down big time.

2005-10-11 11:43:30
62.   randym77
A lot of people seem to think Cashman will be moving on to bigger and better things. He refused to talk about it, but the fact that he started crying when asked about it suggests that he knows his days with the Yankees are over.

Stottlemyre and Torre may be gone, too. Could be a very different Yankees next year.

2005-10-11 11:48:11
63.   Shaun P
One last thing on A-Rod.

And I quote, from Mr. Joe Sheehan:

"Derek Jeter hit a home run Friday with the Yankees down four runs. He hit one last night with the team down three. The one last night was pointed to, by the game broadcasters as well as the ones on "SportsCenter," as evidence of his "clutchness."

Not for nothing, but why is it if Alex Rodriguez hits a solo homer with the Yankees down by a bunch, it's evidence that he's a stat-padding loser, but when Jeter does it, it's clutch?

It's just another example of the double standard in place for the two players. Neither covered themsleves in glory in the series--the statistical difference between the two is those two Jeter home runs, whose value seems to be entirely in who hit them--yet Jeter comes out as Captain Intangible while Rodriguez, whose back is still a bit sore from carrying the team in the '04 Division Series, for which he got no credit, is the choke artist.

It ain't right."

Damn straight.

2005-10-11 11:49:48
64.   LeeDawg n VA
My Rant - Part II
Clutch hitting? Got plenty of it last night, thank you Jason, Jetes and the Shef's last at bat. I think the 9th has been rehashed enough. What people don't realize about A-Rod is that he has a superiority complex, but it's not in the traditional sense. He just believes he is that much better and that his performance will always bear that out (can you say 10 RBIs in one game?). The problem with that thinking is that he heaps so much pressure to perform on himself that he rarely does enough in his eyes. So when the pressure's on, he probably presses. Compare him to Ortiz, it's totally different. Papi feeds off of the positive he gets from the crowd. the absolutely lose their minds for him when he comes to the plate. It's the same for Mo when he comes into the game or gets an out. Those two guys don't think they are better physically, they just KNOW they will get the job done. They know it and are surprised when they don't come through. As with a lot of his quotes, A-Rod's words didn't seem to come out just right. But he was trying to say what anyone who doesn't want nightmares for the rest of his life would, tell yourself that you did your best.
2005-10-11 12:17:49
65.   debris
rbj,

Lots of people comment on the Braves winning 14 straight division titles, primarily when citing the frustration their fans feel at how rarely they go beyond that.

As for your questions, easy. 1984 Tigers rolled over Padres after an awesome season, behind Whitaker, Trammell and Willie Hernandez. 1987 - Twins over Cards in a series where the home team won every game. Who were the other division winners that year? Couldn't tell you. Don't care; no one cares. (Actually, not entirely true. Cubs were the other NL team in '84.)

2005-10-11 12:19:08
66.   debris
Dan M.,

Baseball America ranked the Red Sox, like the Yankees, in the bottom 10 of all MLB farm systems back in April. They were the only farm system so ranked that ranked in the top 10 at the end of the year.

2005-10-11 12:21:07
67.   debris
randym77,

I read somewhere this morning that Cashman has been making $2M per year. This is, frankly, hard to believe. If he leaves for Baltimore or Philly, he'll likely have to work for a small fraction of that.

2005-10-11 12:23:43
68.   randym77
Eh. I don't think there's a double standard for Jeter and A-Rod. It may not be "statistically significant," but human brains don't naturally think in those terms. If you're a human being, and not a calculator, the difference between two homers and none is huge. The difference between 3 for 4 with a sac fly and a homer vs. 0 for 4 including a fatal DP seems immense. If the numbers were reversed, it would be Jeter being trashed. Fairly or not.
2005-10-11 12:26:46
69.   LeeDawg n VA
My Rant - Part III
My biggest problem with last night was loading the bases with no outs - the table was set for Sheffield and Matsui - and coming up empty. That sums up this season - an opportunity squandered. How do you teach clutchness? I don't know. How many times has Jeter ended a game this season on a ground out on the 1st pitch or a strike out with RISP? All I know is that for some reason he doesn't do it in October. To me, it's as though game 3 of the ALCS from last year took everything from Shef/A-Rod/Matzilla. They're too focused on the stage and not the ball. If either of those 3 had 1 game like that since, the Sox are up to 87 or we're in the ALCS this year. And David Ortiz would have been just another 'good' player.

I think Derek Jeter and Randy Johnson are wrong about expecting to win it all. Apparently that mentality has got us zilch. I think the better attitude is "Hey can you believe it?! We made it! We better do our best this time because we may never get a chance again!" Instead our mentality is we are supposed to win it all. Wrong! Two dogs are in a fight. Who wins? The biggest, the fastest? No. The hungriest, plain and simple. And that sums up the difference betwen this team, last year's team, the '03 and '01 teams. We weren't the hungriest team on the diamond. And until we are, guess what - no more titles. I'm sorry but on paper we are far and away the best team - in spite of the Browns, Womacks, Wrights, Pavanos and age. We just think superiority means we'll it in for a win instead of everyone fighting, clawing and doing what ever it takes until it's over.

That said, I love the Yanks like no other team. It's going to be another long cold Winter for me. I'm done.

p.s. Thanx Cliff/Alex. Tampa Bay, Kevin Brown and Tony Womack aside, it was another great season!

2005-10-11 13:11:58
70.   JohnnyC
Joe Sheehan has an issue with Derek Jeter, randym77, enough of an issue to write a verging on hysteria paragraph like that. You're right, Joe would not be using "small sample size" as a rationale if the numbers were simply reversed for Jeter and ARod.
2005-10-11 13:22:31
71.   Dan M
The biggest problem with the Sox farm system is that they're loaded at SS, and Renteria is blocking them. And Hanley Ramirez's numbers just don't translate to being an outfielder.

I think Chris Kahrl at BPro summed it up best this spring: "I'm sort of suspicious of any Red Sox prospect; they seem to get more touts than even Yankee farmhands, and for less reason. Or do we need more updates on the fate of Andy Yount?"

I bet they trade youngsters for arms this off-season

2005-10-11 13:33:57
72.   mainmanmaitland
What I have read a lot of the guys at Baseball America saying is that the Yankees do have good prospects but most of them are in Rookie or Single A ball. Part of this comes from the fact that we traded the guys who were in the upper tiers of the farm system (Nick Johnson, Soriano, Claussen, etc) for other players and we have not drafted well for a few years (excluding this one).

The Sox prospects end up getting a lot of press because they are playing in AA and AAA.

2005-10-11 13:36:05
73.   randym77
Maybe the Yankees farm system is better than people think. A lot people seemed surprised that Wang and Cano did so well.

The scary thing is the Yankees offered Wang and Cano to Arizona as part of the Randy Johnson trade. The Dbacks didn't want them. I wonder if they're sorry now...

2005-10-11 13:43:22
74.   mainmanmaitland
The thing is that it has got to be a nightmare being a prospect on the Yankees.

Odds are one of three things will probably happen that will prevent you from ever seeing meaningful time with the team

- you get included in some trade to a team you don't want to play for

-you will get called up and given a very short leash/audition before you get sent back to the minors

-you will play well but have your position blocked by a free agent/veteran so you remain in the minors until you are an "old" prospect and end up being a utility player

2005-10-11 13:44:28
75.   scottys boy
Overachieving players? This just isn't a credible claim or an objective review even for a fan because:

- yes FA acquisitions were a bust (predicted by some)
- yes the pitching staff was decimated by injuries
- but Cano delievered more than a best case Tony Womack or any '03/04 2B - Rookie of the Year
- but Wang, Small and Chacon delivered even more than could have been hoped for from Pavano/Wrigh/Brown

For the season the mainstays were on average:

= expectation: Sheff/Matsui/Jeter
> expectaions: A-Rod/Giambi/Tino
< expectations: Mussina/RJ/Posada

It seems clear to me that this team had serious trouble finding a soul for the first 3 mos of the season, began to gel over the summer and played like a serious contender down the stretch. If you combine a slightly better start with a less spectacular finish you get the exact same results 90-95 wins - make the playoffs - lose in the playoffs. They did what they should have done and nothing more based upon personnel and well below reasonable expectations for $200M

2005-10-11 13:47:56
76.   debris
Dan M,

The Sox being loaded at SS equals exactly Hanley Ramirez, and no more. I will certainly agree that his hype is greater than his numbers.

The other top prospects are almost all pitchers: Papelbon, Sanchez, Lester (starters) Delcarmen, Hansen (relief.) Pedroia, a second baseman, was signed as a shortstop.

I really don't know just how well Epstein and Company did in the June draft, but, after skillfully playing the arbitration game, they had 6 of the first 60 picks in June. They took Hansen with the 23rd pick overall after Hansen, projected in the first five, was passed on by almost all due to his being a Boras client.

In the week leading up to the draft, while Epstein was busily preparing, Brian Cashman, who should have been focused on the draft, was being summoned to Tampa by his boss.

I haven't seen a post-season draft report card and I no longer subscribe to Baseball America, so I don't know how things turned out for either side, other than Hansen.

As for Chris Kahrl's comments, I have no idea what she's talking about. Prior to this crop, the Sox haven't had a prospect since Nomar.

2005-10-11 13:48:12
77.   Zack
debris,
I think you are off base on this one. Saying no one cares about the division winner is taking a very narrow view of the issue, especially considering that you are a Sox fan and the Sox have not won the division for a long time. I certianly cared that the yanks won the division this year, and you can damn well bet that the Sox cared that they didn't. True, with the wild card it matters less now, but that is only one spot out of 4, and if you found out your team was simply content to play for the wild card, I would bet you would be dissapointed in them. Sure looked to me like the Sox were playing to win the division. I would say that Yankees fans have come to care less about winning the division because they have so often, which is sad in the end. Obviously people remember who wins the World Series the most, but don't be so quick to slight winning the division, it smacks of bitterness.

And as for the Sox farm system vs. the Yanks, lets be honest, neither is producing a plethora of stars in the immediate future. the Sox have Papelbon, and Hanley, the Yanks have Wang and Cano, and both systems have a lot of AA level guys that may or may not make it at all. Ranking a farm is a very difficult and dodgy thing to do: case in point, the D-rays may have a great farm system, but where has it gotten them? Ditto for the Pirates. Its knowing how to use the farm system that makes all the difference...

2005-10-11 13:53:29
78.   Zack
And debris, the Yanks had a good draft, but just as judging a farm system is tough, judging a baseball draft is almost a rediculous proposition. More than any other sport, how the hell do you know if someone is going to make it or not? Especially with pitchers: case in point, before Wang, the last yankee starter to really make it with the team was Pettitte, and before him, who knows. Lilly was aquired in a trade and was already at the AAA level. The rest of their starters during the run were all trade/FA signings: Clemens, Cone, Key, Wells, Duque, etc...
2005-10-11 13:56:20
79.   mainmanmaitland
Also when we drafted Posada, Jeter, Rivera, Williams, etc we drafted a lot lower down than we have in years. The one downside of winning the division consistently and picking up lots of free agents is that it reduces the number and quality of your draft picks.
2005-10-11 13:59:31
80.   mainmanmaitland
Sorry about that. I meant higher (as in better draft picks)
2005-10-11 14:06:56
81.   debris
Zack,

Obviously, you try to win the division as simply competing for the wild card can wind up a fruitless endeavor, witness the Tribe. When I say no one cares about the division winner, I'm speaking from a historical perspective. I can tell you pretty near every World Champion and Series loser back to 1903 as could my 15 year old son. I could begin to name more than 15% of the division winners or wild cards who did not make it to the series.

As for what's on the farm, Baseball America would disagree. They rank the Sox in the upper echelons in terms of top tier talent approaching major league readiness. The team has focused on the farm since dismissing Duquette, and the reason the Sox were unable to do anything at the trading deadline was their unwillingness to part with Pedroia, Ramirez, Sanchez, Papelbon, and Lester, all of whom were highly coveted by other organizations.

2005-10-11 14:36:37
82.   Dan M
Actually, Zack, I think that TB is about to explode because of their farm system. They have a ton of hitting talent - both at the ML level and below. They might not have the pitching talent to contend for the postseason, but they could easily finish third next year. It all depends on Kazmir and how their new GM does (he can't be worse than Lamar, can he/she?)

I don't hold the most stock in BA's analysis, so I'm still not sold. The pitchers debris mentions could be good pieces, but none project to be stars (save Hansen who could be the next H. Street). That's what happens when you draft low. Sure, Boston had extra picks, but those picks came at the end of a round, not at the beginning. Plus, relying on young arms will kill you ("there's no such thing as a pitching prospect..."). Pedroia had a nice year at AA, but didn't exactly light up AAA. Ramirez had a much tougher year. Even though they didn't trade these guys in July for a guy they'd have for a few months doesn't mean they won't trade them in December for a guy they'll have for a year or two. I just don't see Boston relying on too many young players at one time; they'll fall into a "win now" mentality, just like New York. Too many tickets to sell.

2005-10-11 14:48:49
83.   Zack
Dan, could be, but I just don't see it happening. The pitching isn't there, save Kazmir, and while they have a good offense, its not great. Crawford, Cantu, Gomes and Huff. And Huff won't be around I imagine. Besides that, you have a lot more either old/mediocre guys or young, unproven guys like Gathright. I'm not saying its not a good offense, but they are not in any position to make a run at much besides getting out of the cellar. The bottom line is that they can't hold onto anyone with their salary cap where it is.
2005-10-11 14:52:04
84.   Harley
The Yankees won't get low draft picks, but their financial advantage gives them a shot at some of the Boros (and others) clients who are looking for big numbers. There's a risk there, sure. But it gives the team a chance for some of the better young talent. (I was hoping we'd get a shot at Weaver that way.)
2005-10-11 15:01:05
85.   debris
Dan,

The picks the Sox got were all in either the first round or the sandwich round between one and two. They had six of the first 60 selections.

Papelbon and Lester both project as top of rotation guys. Papelbon we've seen; Lester was Pitcher of the Year in the AA Eastern League. Given many teams penchant for stocking their AAA clubs with the Shane Spencers and Brian Daubachs of the world, there isn't a whole lot of difference between AA and AAA anymore and many players never even see AAA.

2005-10-11 15:15:21
86.   Zack
On a side note, its funny to see sites like Boston Dirt Dogs roasting A-Rod for his play, with no mention of Ortiz' stats: one RBI. True, he hit .333, but a closer look shows you that it was 4 hits in 12 ABS, hardly lighting it up. One HR, one RBI.
2005-10-11 15:33:21
87.   randym77
Yup. A-Rod still has a good chance of winning the MVP, despite his poor showing in the post-season, because Ortiz didn't do any better.
2005-10-11 15:39:26
88.   debris
Zack,

You can't drive 'em in if the bases are empty. What killed the Red Sox, ultimately, was not the pitching. It was the offense. By season's end, they had been reduced to Ortiz and Ramirez. Damon was banged up a stopped hitting. Renteria never started hitting. Varitek wore out and put up sub-Mendoza numbers after August 1. Nixon got hurt in late-July, missed a month, and never hit again. Millar stopped hitting in 2004. Mueller and Graffanino were just fine, but just fine for 8-9 hitters isn't going to deliver you to late October when 5 of the 7 guys in front of you aren't producing.

The Sox need to get younger and faster. I can't wait to see Damon, shined and shaven, in pinstripes for the next five years. You think the corpse of Bernie Williams was a sorry sight; wait until you see Johnny D. trying to patrol center in the big ballyard in 2009.

2005-10-11 15:42:48
89.   debris
re: 87. randym,

Actually, Papi did just find in the post-season. You can't drive them in if they aren't on base.

As far as the playoff affecting the MVP vote, the ballots were cast before the playoffs started.

2005-10-11 15:48:13
90.   randym77
The voting's done already? But they don't announce it until, like, November. And sports radio today was debating whether A-Rod could still get the MVP after his disappointing performance.
2005-10-11 15:54:09
91.   Kevin
Sports radio was debating something ridiculous and implausible? SAY IT AIN'T SO!

Good to see that the debate in the comment section has become a little more level-headed in the afternoon -- less of the reactionary A-ROD SUX! posters, which is always a good thing. I find the commenters on this blog to be among the smartest of any blog, and reading the comments is often just as interesting as reading Alex and Cliff's posts.

Here's to a productive off-season for the front-office and a lively off-season for Bronx Banter!

2005-10-11 16:29:16
92.   ChuckM
No one cares who wins the division? The Red Sox FO seems to think it's important...

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2005/10/06/costars_may_get_equal_billing/

2005-10-11 17:19:19
93.   rbs10025
>> No one cares who wins the division? The Red Sox FO seems to think it's important...

This same deal happened with the Astros and Cards a few years ago. They finished with equal records, but the Astos were dubbed the division champs and Cards the wild card.

Opening day the next season the Cards insisted on labelling themselves division co-champions. They may have even hung a banner saying so.

Astros fans (at least the sort of fine people you would encounter at www.orangewhoopass.com) spent that year calling their rivals the St. Louis Co-ards. Actually, more than the next year. I think it was still going a bit into this past season.

2005-10-11 17:28:01
94.   tocho
For anybody looking for an intelligent/reasonable comment, please disregard the following:

I just played MVP baseball on PSP, Yankees v. Angels and drilled each and every one of the Angels batters. Makes no sense at all but I feel much better. Thank you

2005-10-11 18:05:37
95.   Marcus
In the "consolation prize" department for the Yankees from the Arizone Fall League (from Rotoworld.com):

"Eric Duncan went 3-for-4 and hit two homers today for Grand Canyon of the Arizona Fall League.
The first homer came off Jered Weaver. Duncan has five home runs in five games."

Duncan's batting over .500 in 6 games.

But the Angels are STACKED in the minor leagues. That's who should be bragging about their minor league system.

2005-10-11 19:10:40
96.   JeremyM
Pretty good game tonight so far, I almost skipped it but what the hell, I love baseball. But where did this Jose Contreras guy come from? Kind of weird that he shares the same name as the guy who used to pitch for us, took 10 minutes between pitches, sweated gallons, and ruined many a good pair of pinstriped boxer shorts against the Red Sox.
2005-10-11 19:17:50
97.   randym77
I'm watching, but I was careful to turn it on late, so as to avoid any "highlights" from yesterday. :-P

It is a pretty good game. Contreras wasn't this good even at the beginning of the season.

So far, they seem evenly matched. Sigh. At least if the Angels were being thrashed, I could believe that the Yankees wouldn't have gone much further anyway. But if the Angels go on to win the World Series, I'll be wondering what might have been. I suddenly have the suspicion that the Angels were the toughest team we had to face. And we came so close to beating them.

2005-10-11 19:23:16
98.   JeremyM
Good move. The first few innings were constant references to the Yankees game. Not many highlights, but they kept discussing it and of course the Yankees lost because the Angels play small ball and the Yankees sit around and wait for the big home run. Well, I guess it's somewhat true in this case but Buck is so smug about it. He's an ass.

The White Sox have made it easy on the Angels. AJ running? Dye bunting? Lots of swings early in the count too. But it's been a good, fast game.

2005-10-11 19:58:27
99.   missouri2725
Did they really say the Angels won by playing small ball? Are they brain-damaged?

As I recall, the team that ran more usually lost the game. (At one point, the Angels were 1 for 6 in steals, I think.) In game 4, Posada threw two guys out at 2nd the same inning. In game 5, Torre's stupid hit-and-run call cost the Yankees at least one run in the 2nd, and could have given Santana just enough of a breather to allow him to wiggle out of a huge inning.

I think the Angels hit 6 HR in 5 games, and the White Sox hit 7 in 3 games -- what kind of small ball is that?

As long as we have NL'ers like McCarver and Joe Morgan calling games, we'll have to listen to the small ball nonsense. Joe Torre's major failing (besides his incomprehensible love for Ruben Sierra -- will he be back next year?) is his insistence on running and giving away outs instead of letting all the guys who walk and hit homers just do their thing.

BTW, the Fox announcers quoted Scioscia the other day as saying that the Angels went from 1st to 3rd this year three times as often as the A's. This seems unbelievable -- anybody have any idea if it could be true?

2005-10-11 20:16:43
100.   JohnnyC
this small ball nonsense by Sciosia is pretty funny coming from a guy whose mentor was Tommy Lasorda, the manager whose late '70s, early '80s teams were noted for brutal defensive infields featuring corner men with shoulders like stevedores hitting 30+ home runs annually. in fact, wasn't the '77 or '78 team the first NL team to ever have 4 30+ home run hitters?
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-10-11 22:40:15
101.   rsfaa
"True, he hit .333, but a closer look shows you that it was 4 hits in 12 ABS, hardly lighting it up. One HR, one RBI."

Closer look? Haha. What does that even mean? .333 is .333, no matter how you slice it.

"A-Rod still has a good chance of winning the MVP, despite his poor showing in the post-season, because Ortiz didn't do any better."

Some of the logic on this board is comical. Didn't do better? You might want to compare those averages again. And he only drove one in, but in his last at bat he came within a few feet of a three run homer. I'm sure if had two more games to play, like arod did, he'd have a few more rbis.

And let's not act like one rbi is meaningless. If arod could have knocked in jeter instead of grounding into a dp it would have been huge.

Ask arod if he wouldn't trade his numbers for ortiz. .133 vs. .333 and ortiz didn't do any better? On what planet?

2005-10-11 23:13:21
102.   pdh
Johnny C -

Yes, Lasorda's '77 Dodger team was actually the first MAJOR league team to have 4 guys hit 30+ homers: Steve Garvey (33), Reggie Smith (32), Ron Cey (30) and Dusty Baker (30), who got his 30th on this last at-bat of the season.

For all their power, Lasorda's Dodgers actually did subscribe to NL-style small ball, as opposed to Earl Weavers "wait for the three-run-homer" managing. Squeeze plays, sacrifices, hit-and-runs were a regular part of their offensive arsenal, including when Scioscia played for them through the '80s. Scioscia, as I recall, was a pretty decent bunter himself, a good batsmith with surprisingly little power.

By the way, I think 4 or 5 teams have gone on to have 4 guys hit 30+ or more homers, though curiously the Yanks are not one of them (I think it's like the Rockies, Braves, Blue Jays, the Dodgers again, and the Angels).

2005-10-11 23:36:31
103.   nick
The whole using Jeter as a stick to beat A-Rod routine is tired; Sheehan probably goes too far the other way....

A-Rod really did carry the Yanks against the Twins last year, though.....won game 2 practically singlehandedly and had two big late hits in game 4 with the score tied.

Remember when Barry Bonds was considered a choker? After something like six playoff series? And then he had a pretty decent World Series....

2005-10-12 04:28:42
104.   singledd
The yankees ability to hit HR's and have big innings is what got us to (near?) the top. Any manager would love this ability. However, our inability to score with man on 2nd and NO outs, and man of third ONE out is why we are now watching baseball instead of playing it.

People define off small-ball differently. For the Yankess, to me, it means having a mentality of 'I can't make an out' or 'I must move the runner over'. Our mentality is ALWAYS 'I have to hit the ball hard'.

Even Cano, at his young age, has this attitude. Too me, small ball means that each and every batter will do what's necessary to score that ONE run in scoring position.

In game 5, how many times did we have man on 2nd with no outs or man on 3rd with less then 2 outs?

Did we score any of those times?
Would we have won if we did?

Against Pedro, we were happy to scratch up a run. The 96-00 boys were happy to scratch up a run. A HR is always preferable, but not only available. Our 96-00 boys could do both. Big rally's and small scratches. Together, this means winning. It's not a question of one-or-the-other; for us, it's about doing both. and knowing which times which choice is available.

2005-10-12 04:38:39
105.   randym77
I think that's all A-Rod needs. One pretty decent World Series. Then maybe he'd relax a little.

If this were horseshoes, no one would be complaining about A-Rod. He hit a lot of "almost" homers. In fact, our whole team did.

2005-10-12 06:45:29
106.   weeping for brunnhilde
Singledd #104--

Very well said. Couldn't agree more. Long ball v. small ball is a false dichotomy. A good team should be able to do both and have the wisdom to recognize which situation calls for which approach.

2005-10-12 09:02:10
107.   Shaun P
tocho, what a fantastic idea in 94 - I'll have to do that when I get home tonight.

Re: my earlier post of Joe Sheehan's comments - maybe he does swing a little too far A-Rod's way, but I don't think its because of any dislike of Jeter. I think its his intense dislike of how the MSM treats Jeter (god-like) vs how they treat A-Rod (over-rated with a $252 million contract). Which is full of crap, as I think we all agree.

2005-10-12 10:58:52
108.   brockdc
There's all this talk about how the Yanks need to get younger and give the kids in the minors a chance, etc. I agree with this statement in principal and have complained, for some time, about Torre's notorious lack of patience for guys like Phillips, Bean, and Crosby.

Still, though this team is in dire need of an overhaul, getting younger just for the sake of getting younger is an ill conceived blueprint. More so than youthful - we need to be more athletic, more versatile, and better fundamentally. In other words, if a Vernon Wells becomes available, you go get 'em (though please do not sign him to an 8-year contract).

We also need arms like crazy. As was proven to be the case this year, too many is still not enough. Some pitchers will tank, some will go down and will be lost for extended periods of time. If the Yankees sign a starting pitcher this off-season, he should be an A.L. innings-eater horse rather than an A.J. Burnett-type who has high upside but is prone to injury.

In short, I'm not averse to the Yanks acquiring free agents to fill gaping holes in their roster. But these acquisitions need to be shrewd and made with exacting purpose.

2005-10-13 10:14:32
109.   Schteeve
If you told me that down 2 with the season on the line in the bottom of the ninth, with a man on first, noone out, and A-Rod, Giambi, Sheff, and Matsui coming to the plate, I'd feel pretty good about our chances. It just didn't happen.

Sad.

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