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Wednesday's Game
2006-03-15 21:41
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees were exceedingly unkind to ol' pal Andy Pettitte and the Astros yesterday, whooping them 11-1 on their own field.

Lineup:

Bubba Crosby CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Jason Giambi DH
Jorge Posada C
Andy Phillips 1B
Mitch Jones RF
Russ Johnson 3B
Kevin Thompson LF
Miguel Cairo SS

Subs: Eric Duncan 1B, Felix Escalona 2B, Ramiro Pena SS, Omir Santos C, Kevin Reese CF, Kevin Howard DH

Pitchers: Mike Mussina, Ron Villone, Scott Erickson, Ramiro Mendoza, Frank Brooks

Big Hits: Mitch Jones (2 for 5) went deep twice for the second time in three days, Kevin Thompson cracked a pair of doubles in the process of going 4 for 5, Robinson Cano (3 for 4) and Miguel Cairo (1 for 3) also doubled, as did Russ Johnson (1 for 4), who's two-bagger was his first hit of the spring (though he's walked five times and scored four runs), Eric Duncan, who is now slugging .875 this spring, tripled in his only at-bat, Andy Phillips also had a big day going 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.

Who Pitched Well: Mike Mussina threw 77 percent of 78 pitches for strikes while allowing just one run on three hits and a walk and striking out eight over five innings. After the game he said, "I did everything I wanted to do, anything I wanted to do, in any count." Scott Erickson worked a perfect seventh. Ron Villone and Ramiro Mendoza each threw a hitless inning walking one each.

Ouchies:

The verdict on Johnny Damon's shoulder is tendinitis. The Yankees are taking that as good news and Damon will be limited to pinch-running and pinch-hitting duties for at least the next week be it in the WBC or Yankee camp. The main objective is to keep Damon from throwing, though I tend to wonder if a head-first slide or diving back to first on a pick-off attempt could do just as much damage.

Despite claiming to refuse comment on the fact that Damon's shoulder flare up happened in the WBC, Cashman did say that it was something "that sprung up because he pushed himself." With Korea's stirring 2-1 victory over Japan, the US can advance to the semifinals of the WBC with a victory tonight over Mexico. As WBC rosters can be altered between rounds, here's hoping the US sends Damon back to Tampa if that should happen. Regardless, the Yankees expect Damon to be ready for opening day.

Meanwhile, the big injury news from yesterday is that Aaron Small strained his right hamstring while doing his running on Tuesday and will likely start the season on the disabled list. With Small and Pavano, who threw 45 pitches in the bullpen yesterday, ticketed for the DL there are now two open roster spots for the season's first 15 days.

As I said before, I expect Pavano's spot to be filled by an extra position player much like Andy Phillips did for Kevin Brown last year. The favorite for that spot at the moment is Kevin Thompson, who is hitting .469/.514/.656 this spring, though by all rights Thompson should be given Bubba Crosby's spot on the roster with, say, Felix Escalona (.296/.321/.519) getting the extra spot. Of course, bearing in mind the uselessness of spring training stats, I'd rather see Kevin Reese take the outfield spot as there are still some doubts about Thompson that even his electric spring can't quiet. Either way, don't fret too much about the spot created by Pavano as the last man on the bench won't see a lick of action before the Yankees' need for a fifth starter boots him back to Columbus on April 15.

As for who will replace Small in the pen, you can scratch Colter Bean from your wishlist due to the fact that he's rehabbing from ACL surgery and still hasn't seen game action this spring. You can also cross off the three Columbus starters on deck, DeSalvo, Henn and Rasner (the last of whom has already been reassigned), as they'd be much better off starting in Columbus in preparation for the all-but-guaranteed injury-induced opening in the rotation than languishing in the major league pen. I'm wishcasting for Matt Smith, who despite giving up one monster solo homer has looked sharp to me. The problem there is he's only pitched 2 1/3 innings this spring. More likely we'll be subjected to watching "proven veterans" Ramiro Mendoza and, yes, Scott Erickson battle it out for Small's long relief spot.

Startlingly, Erickson has pitched more innings this spring than any Yankee hurler other than Johnson and Mussina. Gulp. Here are the spring lines of these two old hands:

Erickson: 8 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 3 BB, 8 K, 0-2, 2.16
Mendoza: 6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 7 K, 1-0, 2.84

If forced to chose between these two, I'd take Mendoza in a heartbeat. My reasons are these:

  • Save for the high walk total, Mendoza has outpitched Erickson this spring
  • Erickson last posted an ERA below 6.00 in 2004 in eight starts with triple-A Norfolk. His mark there was 4.50. Mendoza posted a 1.50 ERA in 11 appearances from Rookie ball through the majors while rehabbing last year, striking out 19 in 18 innings (most of those innings coming in triple-A) and walking just two. Mendoza also posted a 3.52 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2004. The last time Erickson had a single-season major league ERA that low was 1992 (though in fairness, Erickson is a starter and did post a 3.69 mark in 1997). Erickson's lowest single-season major league ERA this decade was 5.55 in 2002.
  • Mendoza is more than four years younger than Erickson.

Prodigal Son: With their 3-2 loss to Cuba, Puerto Rico has been eliminated from the WBC, which means Bernie Williams is on his way back to Yankee camp. Bernie was 2 for 4 with a walk and a lead-off home run in the loss and hit .250/.280/.542 with a double and two homers but just one walk in 25 plate appearances as PR's DH and lead-off man in all six games.

WBC: There are just four games left in the WBC, miraculously all will be shown live on ESPN (all times EST):

Thu 3/16: USA @ MEX (Angel Stadium) 7:30
Sat 3/18: CUB @ DR (Petco Park) 3:00 - semi-final 1
Sat 3/18: TBD @ KOR (Petco Park) 10:00 - semi-final 2
Mon 3/20: Winner 1 @ Winner 2 (Petco Park) 9:00 - Championship Game

Korea remains the only undefeated team in the tournament and looks to have the upper hand given their pitching strength and the fact that the final two rounds will take place at the pitching-friendly Petco Park. Indeed, if the US beats Mexico tonight and advances to face Korea in Saturday's second semi-final, I'd expect an easy win for Korea given the USA's inferior outfield defense (Ken Griffey Jr. in center is a nice thought, but an outdated one to say the least) and the fact that Korea already beat them once by a score of 7-3 in a game in which Korea was leading 7-1 after eight innings. Filtered back through Yankee glasses, this means the issue of Damon playing in any future WBC games is a minor one at worst and that Damon, Jeter and Rodriguez (but hopefully not Leiter) will all be back in camp by Monday.

Comments (85)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-03-16 04:30:52
1.   The Mick 536
Talk about ball speak! Damon twinged and Small strained. With the Janks, ya neva know what be the truth and what be the spin of a four-seemer. Concerned, yah. Especially after the Jaret tossing. Loved watching the kids. They run, hit, slide, stand-in-the box, catch, and walk with that pinstripe swagger. Could it be that the next generation will come from within. Nah. Georgie has done enough wrong to be back on probation or suspension or whatever he was on when the last youth movement occurred. And we cannot be sure that the heir apparent or $man have enough clout. But for me, an enemy of the WBC (and one at risk of being branded as anti-patriotic), the absence of Jete, Bernie, and A-Rod has been a blessing in disguise. Pardon my omissions.

Mooses post-throw interview with Harold. He claimed he threw too good. Working on a new pitch. Another Jank angle on the game.

Cano's. 3/4. Didn't know how to take the bait.

Erickson threw minimally. Will vomit if he and Leiter make the trip north. What is that about?

2006-03-16 04:32:32
2.   The Mick 536
Sorry. Proof reading error. He hasn't done enough wrong. And really, Bud ain't suspending anyone.
2006-03-16 04:48:45
3.   joejoejoe
When Moose is on like yesterday it's a beautiful thing to watch. Mussina at his best is like Greg Maddux with better stuff.
2006-03-16 04:59:33
4.   42YrOldRookie
Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Concise and informative.
2006-03-16 05:24:03
5.   murphy
can we talk about duncan again?

he has a helluva AFL season. he's sluggin .875. how do we find a place for this guy?
i am all for letting players mature, but sometimes people need to start young.

allow me to really stretch for a moment: players with a sense of destiny (records, hall of fame) generally have a bubble around them that helps foster the confidence it takes to stay great. that is: if a player thinks he is going to set some records or go down as "one of the greats", he is more likely to work his butt off (at least i'd like to think so). the only way a player can begin to amass the kind of numbers we'd be talking about (4,000 K's for pitchers, 500 HR, etc) is to start early. the future HOF'ers we talk about nowadays (jeter, griffey, clemens, bonds?, ARod) all saw action at the MLB level at a very young age. it seems doubtful that a guy who came in the league at 26 and piled up a few great seasons by 30 would be seen in the same light. we need to find a way to FIND a place for Duncan (and future Duncans) so they can have this chance. getting a coupld yougens on the field every day would also be a great PR move for the yankees. : )

when do we have giambi till?

2006-03-16 05:36:34
6.   singledd
We are all pessimistic about seeing the kids on the Yankess anytime soon. I am in the minority... I think we will see youth.
My reasoning:
1) Man-of-Cash: I think the trading youth for established (over-the-hill) Vets was more the Tampa (win-now-worry-later) contingent. I think Man-of-Cash is smarter then that.
2) While we WANT to win the WS, we have gone 5 years without one, and the world has not imploded. I think there is actually a little less pressure to always 'win-it-all'.
Hell, last year we were 'successful' because we barely managed to crawl into the PS.
3) Everytime a Vet (like RJ, Giambi, etc) gets hurt... everytime a 10 million$ Yankee (like Pavano, and soon Damon) underperforms, I think Cash cringes, and the need to rebuild from the Farm up comes into focus.
4) I don't think our kids are highly touted enough to be trade bait for anyone really worth having. I want M. Cabrera. Can we get him? Only if Florida will take $$. Unlike the Sux, who have MLB ready trade bait, I just don't think we do. I don't think we will trade 3 (maybe) kids for one maybe Vet.
5) Cano and Wang... and maybe Phillips.
6) The Taxes keep going up. After Big George, the FO might not be as 'pound foolish'.
7) We do have some talent 3 or 4 years away.
To me.... we have Jetes, ARod, Cano, Wang and Matsui with 3 years (or more) as a base. Add one REAL position player (M. Cabrera) to build the nucleus, and fill the gaps with the kids. We will need some trade bait to rebuild our pitching (Moose, RJ, Pavano and Wright are all gone after 2007).

We will always BUY/ADD Vets/Ringers to fill the gaps (as we did from 1996-2001), but the days of trying to buy the majority of our roster are over.

2006-03-16 05:54:42
7.   Sliced Bread
Great stuff today, Cliff. Thanks for cracking the mystery of the missing Bean. Did Blue Oyster Colter require the knee surgery before or after he kicked Torre's dog?

Mendoza or Erickson? Liver or tongue on pumpernickel? Unappealing choices galore.

I understand the concern about Thompson (his tendency to get promoted and go into a deep freeze), but it's hard to ignore how good he's looked wheeling around camp.

Bernie who? Bubba what?
Let the kids play!

No pinch running, no pinch hitting, no pinching anything. Damon's pre-season activities should be reduced to signing autographs, and NOT talking about the Red Sox.

2006-03-16 06:10:47
8.   cms
From today's NY Times:

"Told of Damon's setback in Puerto Rico, the Yankees' Bernie Williams said, 'I better get my arm ready.'"

Oh dear God, no.

2006-03-16 06:20:45
9.   Levy2020
6 Seems like everyone's saying 2008 - rather than never - is the year of the Minor Leaguer.

7 seems to make the point that Thompson should be brought out before he needs to produce, no? If he plays in this lineup this year and begins adapting to the pitching as opposed to a lineup where the catcher isn't hitting and Giambi, Matsui, Damon, and Sheffield are all a year older and hitting .235 for a year. . . .

2006-03-16 06:23:54
10.   Dimelo
I can't believe how much I've fallen in love with the WBC. I'm having difficulty concentrating on the NCAA Tourney and my picks. That never happens this time of year - even the Yanks take a backseat to the tourney.

Anyhow, I just read this piece on the WBC and I'd like to give Selig and his cohorts their due praise for truly bringing us a great event.

http://tinyurl.com/zonwn

BTW, why am I not worried about the Damon thing? If it were Jeter and/or ARod, then I'd be worried. We still have the BEST leadoff hitter in Jeter, so I have nothing to worry about. I would be comfortable with Thompson, Crosby or Reese starting in CF if Damon can't go. Damon or the Yanks don't seem too concerned. Neither should I. I mean...it would have been nice if the Yanks would have got Uncle Milton instead of Damon, but what can we do about that now?!?! (Let's see if that last statement gets a certain Uncle Milton fanatic going). :-)

2006-03-16 06:34:58
11.   Shaun P
Way to encourage RG, Dimelo. ;)

I am not too worried about the open spots on the roster. Remember, this is Joe Torre we're talking about. Unless there's a terrible injury, or a long extra-inning game, my guess is we won't see whoever they are. Phillips made all of 2 late-inning subs without getting an AB before Brown came off the DL last April.

That said, this is why its bad to have useless veteran crap like Scott Erickson around. You never know when Torre might need to get his veteran fix . . .

I'd bring Thompson and Mendoza north, but that's just me.

2006-03-16 07:02:04
12.   tocho
I know I'm in the minority here, but yesterday's WBC games were simply spectacular. For anybody who loves baseball, they were classics.

I thought the Yanks-BoSox rivalry was intense. The intensity of yesterday's games was unmatched by anything I have ever seen on a baseball field. The cubans and the puerto ricans wanted to eat each pitch thrown, and regardless of the fact that the Koreans didn't have anything on the line on yesterday's game, they played their hearts out.

it reminds me (watered-down a bit) of the collegiate rivalries that make college sports so enjoyable but with the main difference that this is done at a professional and much higher level.

It was a magical day of baseball.

2006-03-16 07:25:13
13.   rsmith51
Is there a reason that Vernon Wells is not playing CF?
2006-03-16 07:26:11
14.   Shaun P
BTW Alex, congrats on the book premiere! I look forward to receiving my copy soon. The Flood opinion was one I made sure to read after I started law school. Now I'm very curious to learn more about the backstory of it.
2006-03-16 07:41:56
15.   Levy2020
Also, with all this talk about Erickson and Mendoza, I have to ask "Where's Hideo Nomo?" I don't want to see him in the big leagues, but I'm surprised how quiet he's been.
2006-03-16 07:51:15
16.   Dimelo
Yeah Alex, I just read WasWatching and I'll be picking up a copy too.
2006-03-16 07:59:45
17.   unpopster
12 Tocho, the Koreans DID have something on the line yesterday -- national pride.
--
I read recently that there's been a verbal fued going on between the Japanese and Korean players -- and as an extension, between Japan and Korean.

I read that Ichiro, among others, claimed that Korea had never, not will ever, beat the Japanese team. I guess yesterday's game answered that question.

There is a huge amount of national pride on the line here and my guess is that it extends to the USA Team as well. Maybe not to the point of fanaticism that we are seeing on the part of the Latin fans, but something tells me that, given the overwhelming presence of Latin players in the average MLB clubhouse, the American players don't want to go back to their respective teams having LOST to a Latin team.

Should that happen, can't you just see Ozzie Guillen flapping his gums non-stop about his beloved Latin players?

2006-03-16 08:02:35
18.   Shaun P
15 I'm pretty sure Nomo is elsewhere - the ChiSox I believe. He signed a minor league contract with them not too long ago.
2006-03-16 08:20:57
19.   tocho
unpopster, that's exactly my point.

A reasonable manager/person would have played their B team out there, not their number 1 pitcher (see Yanks-BoSox with Wright on the mound on the last game at Fenway).

so many things are on the line on these games that go beyond sports. I was envious of the fire in the eyes of the cubans yesterday, they were passionate and in the same way professional. you could only hope to see that fire in the MLB, it simply does not exist. I know we have gamers and natural winners (Mo, Jetes, paulie), but their drive to win a game does not match what we saw yesterday.

the natural regional rivalry is multiplied in both cases (cuba v PR and Japan v. Korea) for historical and political reasons. The semifinal between Cuba and Dominican also looms that way. I wish we would have another Japan/Corea matchup for the other semifinal.

I'm sure that in the final game of the WBC unless the US in involved we will not see the fire and drive we saw yesterday.

2006-03-16 08:23:01
20.   unpopster
17 um, that should have read:

"...Korea had never, NOR will ever, beat the Japanese team..."

2006-03-16 08:26:32
21.   standuptriple
Man is it good to see the WBC getting everybody excited. In fact, the naysayers are awfully quite as of late. My how sentiments have changed. I'm glad I got my tickets early (the US better take care of business tonight). Yes gents, I'll be there representing Tha Bronx Banter (never got that Officially Licensed Bronx Banter T-shirt though) and will try to give a first hand account of the experience. When that will be will probably depend on how my bracket shakes out.
2006-03-16 08:36:24
22.   mikeplugh
It will be good to have Bernie back in Tampa, as much as I enjoyed the fact that he was such a star for his Puerto Rican team. Nice to see a Yankee get some love "on the road".

The Korea/Japan game was a perfect rivalry affair, and the Japanese are beside themselves right now, thinking about what could have been. They had the tying runner on 1st with only one out in the bottom of the ninth and the last two guys struck out. Ouch.

If the US can advance by beating Mexico, I will be writing a preview of the Korea/US rematch with a focus on the Korean player profiles and a look at the overly nasty Korean media bias against the US. It's something to behold how much they hate us at times. You'd think that Kim Jong Il had some say in what his South Korean neighbors wrote about the United States sometimes.

2006-03-16 08:45:08
23.   unpopster
mike,

um, right about now everyone, but maybe the Brits, hate us. But that's a topic for another forum and another time.

As I am assuming that the US will beat Mexico, I am looking forward to your preview of the Korean team.

2006-03-16 08:52:34
24.   Dimelo
unpopster, we as Yankee fans got it worse. We live in the U.S and they hate us all over the world. Then in the U.S we are Yankee fans and everyone who is not a Yankee fan hates a Yankee fan. Man, we live a tough life....but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Nas: You can hate me now, but I won't stop now...

2006-03-16 09:04:42
25.   standuptriple
Dimelo, well said. But that universal hatred only makes the Yankee faithful stronger. Bring on the hate! I'd much rather have that than indifference (Royals etc).
Dave Chappelle: Kiss the Rings, bitch!
2006-03-16 09:53:19
26.   rbj
I would just like to be able to see more of these WBC games. I only go to see one of the US games so far (and I'm busy tonight).

It was amazing to see the DR team celebrate after beating Venezuala.

2006-03-16 10:13:36
27.   Simone
Those WBC games yesterday were thrilling. The fans of these teams were the best ever. They were so invested in every pitch, every call, every play. I swear, the closest thing to this kind of intensity among fans is in the World Cup (football/soccer). The rivalry among the players were so intense. Afterwards, I thought the DR, Cuban and Korean players would explode from joy and that the Venezuelan, Puerto Rican and Japanese players would breakdown and weep. Selig and the MLBPA have totally sucked me in with the WBC. I love the drama, the excitement, and the competition. I never thought it would be this good, but damn this is some of the most fun baseball that I've ever watched.
2006-03-16 10:21:48
28.   Dimelo
Bud Selig must be creaming in his pants. He's finally managed to get something right. Bush can learn a thing or two about getting something right from Selig.
2006-03-16 11:57:11
29.   Rob Gee
Allow this naysayer to stand up proudly -

My problem is not with the WBC concept - it's with the WBC implementation. It could have been oh so much better with:

1) November airdate = more great players
2) All games abroad in one region (Santo Domingo or Tokyo)
3) True tourney (double-elimination) with seedings
4) No ties, tiebreakers, pitchers throwing four innings, Al Leiter or Brian Schneider - possible if in Novemeber

So, at least one person thinks the WBC is far from right 28. There's something there worth building on but I'll be very disappointed if the implementation is the same in 2009. It's typical Bud - good but far from great (see also Juice testing policy).

2006-03-16 12:12:19
30.   Cliff Corcoran
Let me counter 29:

1) I'm thinking that given what a huge success it's been and how much fun all the players seem to be having we'll see much higher participation in 2009 even if it remains in March. Also, I'm beginning to wonder if giving baseball hungry fans this level of competition isn't part of what is making it such a success. I for one am usually pretty burned out by November from eight months of baseball capped by the intensity of the playoffs and World Series.
2) They did have games in Tokyo and San Juan, and there's no saying they can't rotate the location like the World Cup.
3) One-and-out in baseball is sketchy at best but there's not time for a proper series of series. I think the format now works pretty well, though I'm concerned about the double elimination semis and finals.
4) I grant you this one, though on some level if you're going to make it single-elimination it almost seems more fair to force the teams to use more of their pitchers, otherwise one or two dominating pitchers could decide the whole shebang, which would be impressive to watch, but not much fun. I mean, imagine a team like the Koufax/Drysdale Dodgers or the '01 D-Backs in a single-elimination tournament. Is that any fun for anyone else?

Besides, I'm sure they'll tweak it somewhat for '09. They did eventually figure out that they needed to rotate divisions to keep interleague play interesting. There is some modest proof that the Selig crew can learn.

2006-03-16 12:43:35
31.   bp1
30

Your first point rings true, Cliff. Baseball hungry fans will be drawn to even semi-real baseball (which the WBC certainly is) this time of year. I find the grapefruit league games interesting but a bit boring after awhile, so the WBC is a pleasant diversion until the season starts.

No doubt my feelings would be more intense about the WBC if the players were not treated like little children, quickly whisked out of harms way at the first sign of difficultly.

For the WBC to be able to turn into the Ryder Cup of baseball, with players actively working to make the team, viewing audiences up the yazoo, and national pride at stake, the players need to be able to leave it all on the field. Pitch counts be damned. Roger pitches tonight until his arm falls off. This is Game #7. Everything is on the line.

Or it's just an exhibition and who wins really doesn't matter.

Can't have both, at least in my eyes.

BP

2006-03-16 12:49:14
32.   Dimelo
Via the Deadspin this was pretty funny.

http://tinyurl.com/gyff9

Derek should've been her first.

2006-03-16 12:54:32
33.   wsporter
The other external benefit of the WBC has been the extra game time the younger kids have gotten. It's been really interesting seeing them play in this context.

I was a real naysayer concerning the WBC. I think I've seen the light. It's been kind of neat. I must say however that I've enjoyed Simone's breathless excitement and her play by play reports almost as much as the games themselves. You go Simone.

My real problem must be with Uncle Bud. But I guess that's a rant for another day.

2006-03-16 12:56:09
34.   Sliced Bread
Sorry, not feeling any excitement whatsoever for Bud's Intergalactic Baseball Extravaganza.

Granted, the only WBC action I've witnessed was the US pulverizing South Africa, which was actually sickening, and a disgrace to the sport. It was like watching Mike Tyson punching Sasha Cohen around the ring.

Look, Russ Johnson just hit a home run in a split-squad game at Tampa to bring the Yanks within two runs. That, I'll watch.

2006-03-16 13:07:48
35.   jalexei
"Granted, the only WBC action I've witnessed was the US pulverizing South Africa..."

If that's all you've seen, you're hardly in a place to complain. I was a vocal naysayer about this whole circus, until I was rewarded with some incredible baseball. Still think the jury's out on a lot of the implementation, but most of the games have made it more than worthwhile.

2006-03-16 13:12:18
36.   Rob Gee
30

March rules out:

1) Other locations - players won't want to fly to Japan to then fly back two weeks later (recall Yanks/TB in 2004). On the other hand, I would love to fly to Tokyo in Novmember to watch the US play Japan and eat a ton of sushi while I'm at it. I can't think of a better way to end the baseball season.

2) Going off to Santo Domingo for two weeks in March won't be seen as a vacation by the players. In November it would. Once they're in shape - they can compete and have fun.

3) In November, it doesn't have to be one and out. I could imagine round 1 is pooled play. Round 2 could be double elimination. Six games in eight days - short and oh so sweet.

4) I want to see each country's best against another country's best. Would Japan have been beat by Korea if Godzilla played? Would Cuba have beat Panama if Mo played? Maybe more players will play in March next time, but my prediction is you'll get the most superstars if it's in a foreign locale in November - vacation and competitive baseball. March will never be a vacation, and so, some down-to-business players will stay home.

Sorry folks - I'm glad the WBC is off the ground. I just wish it could soar.

2006-03-16 13:21:44
37.   Sliced Bread
35 To me, pitching counts do not make for 'incredible baseball.'

Obviously, I can't criticize games I haven't seen, and I'm not. But just because a few of the games have been exciting, doesn't mean everybody has to care about them, right?

2006-03-16 13:23:45
38.   Cliff Corcoran
36 The problem with 2) and 4) is that in November the players can take vacation without having to play ball. You'll never get them to give up one of their four off months. And its not as if anyone earning even the major league minimum needs baseball to fly them to foreign locales. They gots the cash (unlike myself--you may want to fly to Japan to watch baseball, I'm just trying to find room in the budget to get to the Bronx 15-20 times a year).
2006-03-16 13:33:59
39.   Dimelo
Does anyone know how Wang Chung Tonight pitched today? I've just got over the shock after BC did everything in their power to lose today.
2006-03-16 13:40:49
40.   Sliced Bread
39 I saw Wang work the first and second innings. Groundballs aplenty. Cairo booted one which led to two runs. He left a few pitches over the plate that were stroked for line drives. Threw a few hard sinkers. Didn't seem to consistently have his best stuff from what I saw, probably would have looked better with Jeter and Rodriguez behind him.
2006-03-16 13:43:29
41.   Rob
hey, i'll be there at Petco on Saturday night. I can't wait, I think it'll be pretty exciting. At least more exciting than the team that usually plays there.

I'm excited to see any of the 4 teams honestly. I'd like to see Cuba play, or Korea. Those guys have played great baseball. If the US limps in, I'll be happy to cheer on Jete and A-Rod. I'll be wearing my Yanks hat for sure.

2006-03-16 13:44:06
42.   Shaun P
36 - Rob, I'm just not sure that having the WBC in November solves any of the issues you raised.

For the vast majority of teams, the season ends on October 1, not November 1. Guys have been on vacation for a month by the time November rolls around. So, who will actually be 'in shape'? The guys who played in the Serious are the most tired of all?

And because of that time off, down to business ballplayers are just as likely to stay away in November as they are in March, if not more so. They'll want to rest up for the next season. Take Mo for example - lately he's been resting his arm completely in the offseason. He's not going to want to keep his arm in shape for that month off. And how would he even do it? Why add the extra wear and tear? It'd be like having a second spring training, just in October.

Some good ideas and I hear where you're coming from, but I don't think November works. A lot of the problems that have been identified are just inherent in having such a tournament, and won't change whenever its held.

2006-03-16 13:56:45
43.   Cliff Corcoran
Excellent points Rob 42, the pitchers pitching in a March WBC are merely relocating their spring training innings, whereas pitchers in a November WBC would be adding extra innings, and more of them. Most guys are on their last wind come the end of the season (esp. postseason participants), I just think of the evidence in my Steve Karsay piece about how Mo's poor postseason performances have coincided with his heaviest regular season workloads. Do you want him, or say the already overworked Cubs starters, or injury candidates such as the Yanks starters, pitching all those extra innings at the end of the season? That very well could have a much worse effect on their performance the following year than would grinding it a bit harder in March.
2006-03-16 13:57:31
44.   Rob Gee
38 and 40

No time is ever ideal - I just think November is better. For eight days of baseball at that, not one month.

I agree that most players would be off for a bit at the end of October. I'm not sure what the solution there is but I still think it's better than the March WBC becuase more players will play and the games will be more competitive cause there's fewer risks.

As for the "they can afford the vacation" bit. This is true, but everybody loves freebies - I don't care how rich they are (see Oscar gift baskets). A free family vacation is added incentive. But the idea is that more players would commit when they're done with their employers. And maybe MLB could up the goodwill component by donating the proceeds to baseball academies in the host country? (and maybe I could hit a Unit fastball...)

Hopefully Cliffy, we can all click on enough of these ad links over the next few years that you can make a scouting trip to Japan. Maybe mikeplugh will let you sleep on his couch? Me, I would save for years to watch a week of international baseball while eating sushi non-stop.

2006-03-16 13:59:17
45.   Cliff Corcoran
D'oh, Shaun P in 42! My bad, you put Rob's name just below yours and my eyes decieved me.
2006-03-16 14:00:20
46.   Rob Gee
Oh, and one less catching prospect to be had:

http://tinyurl.com/mern2

Keep the prayers coming for Jorge. Otherwise, it's Kelly-time!

2006-03-16 14:13:59
47.   unpopster
Speaking of injuries, I haven't read any comments about Tom Gordon and his bum shoulder. Gordon's first spring training with Philly has been limited by an unjured shoulder.

NOW can we all agree that letting Flash go and picking up Farnsworth was a wise decision by Cashman and the FO? Everyone knew that Gordon's arm was going to fall off sooner or later. Looks like it'll be sooner...This spring training injury is only a bad omen for Flash and the Phils..

2006-03-16 14:28:36
48.   tocho
as far as the WBC is concerned, I wouldn't make any changes, I really dig the format now.

Next time around, many players will take it more seriously and start working out on February.

Now, I'm just hoping Oliver Perez, Cantu and the rest of the boys take care of my friends ARod and Jeter. This is the first time in my life I'm rooting v. Jeter.

I would love another Japan v. Korea matchup, and a Far East v. Latino final would be very contrasting and interesting.

2006-03-16 14:32:13
49.   Shaun P
45 - no problem, Cliff. That'll teach me to place names more wisely. ;)

I think letting Flash walk - and getting a draft pick out of it to boot - was a superb move on Cashman's part.

Speaking of relievers with suspect arms - I see Sturtze didn't pitch very well today. I hope Wright can do some good work in the pen.

2006-03-16 14:47:35
50.   Levy2020
47 I don't know anyone who stood up for keeping Gordon. He's old and on the Joe Torre reliever conditioning plan.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-03-16 15:30:14
51.   brockdc
Naysayer here.

Yep, still think the WBC's a crock, brought to you by a hoard of profiteering suits at MLB. Moreover, I could care less about nationalistic bragging rights, but do give quite a damn about Yankee stars who are not yet in baseball shape blowing out shoulders and tearing ACL's. Then again, I've also been a bit wrapped up lately in building my Kevin Thompson shrine in the den to pay attention to much else.

2006-03-16 16:58:04
52.   yankz
Whoa, De Salvo's spring ERA is 1.12. I know, I know, spring training...

Thompson has an 0-fer day, oh no!

2006-03-16 17:05:15
53.   Simone
It is just the 2nd inning and I feel like they are trying to kill me already. Why? Why? They better win this game handily.
2006-03-16 17:20:21
54.   tocho
clemens has looked good, but so has oliver. If Oliver keeps it together and doesn't start walking the stadium it will be a good game.

of course I'm rooting for my countrymen even though they are technically eliminated, they want to beat the US BAD.

2006-03-16 17:21:43
55.   Simone
Oh no... Evil Davidson making a call. Get it right!
2006-03-16 17:22:44
56.   Simone
Nooo... It is happening again. What a nightmare. The WBC must have instant replay.
2006-03-16 17:25:11
57.   Simone
Okay, I'm feeling a bit bad for Davidson. It isn't his fault that he sucks. It is Selig's fault. What were the other umpires looking at?
2006-03-16 17:26:13
58.   Simone
What does Bob Watson have to say for himself and MLB? Uh? Uh?
2006-03-16 17:30:50
59.   Simone
Okay, Mexico gets at least one of its runs.
2006-03-16 17:32:25
60.   Simone
LOL! Check out the Mexicans fans with their faces painted with the colors of their flag. The assortment of costumes and enthusiasm is just great. How can you not love that kind of devotion?
2006-03-16 17:43:14
61.   Simone
Game tied. I'm very happy. I'm now confident that the U.S. will win this game.
2006-03-16 18:05:38
62.   Simone
Francoeur is an idiot! Let's go, Jeter.
2006-03-16 18:10:13
63.   Simone
Okay, Jeter isn't having a good game.
2006-03-16 18:12:39
64.   tocho
I don't like rooting against Jeter! but that was a good at-bat won by Gonzalez.

vamos Mexico!

2006-03-16 18:30:33
65.   Simone
What the hell kind of inning was that? They are running out of innings! Come on, guys.

Let me just add that I'm dying of embarassment if they lose this game so they better not.

2006-03-16 19:16:10
66.   BklynBomber
Last licks: Jr., Chipper and A-Rod.

This should be interesting...

2006-03-16 19:19:08
67.   yankz
Oh my god, 66 (did i do that right?) A-Rod could potentially be the third out? I don't think the guy could handle it.
2006-03-16 19:21:03
68.   Simone
This is it! Chipper on. It is on you, A-Rod.
2006-03-16 19:22:10
69.   BklynBomber
He's gotta hit into a DP now, Jones just walked... I can't take it...

yankz, the post link works fine. How do you do that? I'm sure it's on here somewhere, have not found it yet...

2006-03-16 19:22:37
70.   tocho
vamos luis ignacio! DP, DP.
2006-03-16 19:22:52
71.   Simone
I'm afraid to look. I'm peeking through my fingers.
2006-03-16 19:25:50
72.   Simone
A-Rod off the hook. Wheww! It's on, Wells.
2006-03-16 19:26:30
73.   BklynBomber
An A-BOMB!!!! From AAAAAAAAA-ROD!!!.... OK, OK, just a walk, but I'll take it. Damon comes in to run for Jones...
2006-03-16 19:28:54
74.   BklynBomber
Sorry, Damon running for A-Rod...
2006-03-16 19:29:41
75.   BklynBomber
And that's that.
2006-03-16 19:31:12
76.   Simone
No! No! No! No! No! F'king embarassing! How is this possible? It is Mexico for goodness sake! I blame Buck Martinez. It is his fault. He is a terrible manager.
2006-03-16 19:31:13
77.   wsporter
I suppose there is some poetic justice about Japan getting in after all.
2006-03-16 19:31:56
78.   yankz
69 BklynBomber, you do this: [#], except instead of # you put the desired number (in this case, i put 69).
2006-03-16 19:31:59
79.   Simone
Yeah, there is karma at play for Japan for sure. I blame Davidson, the umpire, for setting the whole thing in motion.
2006-03-16 19:33:48
80.   Simone
The truth is that U.S. didn't deserve to move on. They got help all the way in ths WBC from umpires mainly. Buck Martinez needs to shut up because he just SUCKS! He managed horribly and deserves a pop in the mouth.
2006-03-16 19:48:40
81.   wsporter
Simone, there's no sense keeping your emotions bottled up, its not healthy. If you've got something to say maybe you should just say it. Do I sense you're not happy with Mr. Martinez?
2006-03-16 19:49:57
82.   BklynBomber
78 Thanks, yankz — much appreciated...

Simone: agreed, Japan had that coming. Good for them. And face it — Magic, Larry and Air was the last American 'dream team' we'll ever see.

The memories I'll take from the inaugural WBC is... well... er.... Miller's riveting interview tonight with Bud Selig, and, ummm, no Yankee getting seriously injured.

A decent concept, but I doubt it could have been planned more poorly. Kinda glad it's over, 'cause now I hope everyone can get focused on one thing:

#27

2006-03-16 20:04:23
83.   brockdc
Yeah, 82! It's all about one thing: Number 27!

(Oh, crap. I hope I didn't just jinx the whole season.)

2006-03-16 20:11:17
84.   Simone
wsporter, LOL! I might be a bit over top at the moment.

BklynBomber,the WBC isn't over. Now it is on to Japan/Korea and DR/Cuba. These will be some of the best baseball games. All the historical and regional tension and pride among these countries and their wild crazy fans. We may actually get some fistfights in the stands and on the field. Bring it on. I'm getting goosebumps already.

2006-03-16 23:20:52
85.   Cliff Corcoran
A Carribean Semi and an Asian Semi to result in a Carribean v Asian final. Very nice how that lined up! I'm almost glad the US team is out of it, the US fans just don't care and with Japan in and the US out it makes that bad call moot. Looking forward to Saturday!

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