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Read it and Sweep
2006-06-12 06:09
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

No soup for Moose, and none for Shawn Chacon, Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez or Kyle Farnsworth either as the Yankees dropped two more over the weekend to Oakland. Joe Torre held a player's only meeting before Sunday's game. Johnny Damon, who was critical of the team's play after Saturday's game, felt the effort was better yesterday, though the Yankees couldn't come away with the win.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-06-12 06:31:21
1.   Dimelo
I'm kind of happy I wasn't around this weekend to see this crap.
2006-06-12 06:38:12
2.   Bob B
I hate to say it but I'm starting to believe that the Yankees will not make the playoffs this year. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say they'll finish 3rd in the AL East. Too many injuries, too old a team. Dynasty over. TIme too start rebuilding.
2006-06-12 06:53:15
3.   Tarheel
Please, they are still only one game out. Half the team is hurt. The offense is in a funk. And they still had plenty of opportunities to win this series. Jeter will get better, Giambi will get better, Arod will get back to his pre-sick form, and Dotel will be here soon.

Relax.

2006-06-12 06:57:17
4.   Repoz
"only meeting before Sunday's game."

This is the extent of the Coliseum Book Store gig review?...:)

2006-06-12 07:00:51
5.   JohnnyC
How would Torre hold a "players only" meeting? Is he coming out of retirement?
2006-06-12 07:04:24
6.   Dimelo
2 I don't think the same as you. During the baseball season there are highs-and-lows. We seem to make too much of the lows, and discredit the highs as being an aberration. I don't know what to expect of the baby-bombers/old-skool-bombers but I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. Plus I didn't watch any of the games this weekend so I won't comment on the A's series. I just know that the Yanks are still quite alive and the Red Sox nor Blue Jays will be running away with anything. I see RJ sucked, ARod is still being booed, Proctor is on pace to pitch 752 1/3 innings, and Farnworth is garbage. I actually think not much has changed.
2006-06-12 07:13:57
7.   Ravenscar
I would like to take this moment to report on Alex's fine reading at Coliseum, which will be happier news that the sweep. He definitely wowed the crowd, yo. Neyer's first comment upon taking the stage was to express concern over having to follow such a great presentation. Now, of course that MIGHT BE part of the "headlining speaker" schtick, but with someone as outspoken as Neyer, you pretty much get the idea he wouldn't say it if he didn't mean it.

Alex was very well-spoken and attempted to answer my meandering questions and even not (rightfully, in my opinion, but I'm like that) interrupt people who's main purpose it was not to actually ask a question but simply tell their own stories. He was very clear on the vision and impact of Flood - the guys next to me who came to see Neyer were intrigued enough to borrow my copy and flip through it extensively. Maybe they bought one.

Then when I asked him for an inscription, he said "Bonds don't, so why should I?", took a swig from his flask, and starting talking up Shakespeare and Co. to the Coliseum staff.

OK, he didn't, but my recap was starting to sound kind of boring. Alex was basically about as nice as you can imagine.

2006-06-12 07:26:17
8.   C2Coke
7 Thanks for the little recap. I am not in NY now so couldn't be there but it sure is nice to hear about Alex's reading...than how the games that I didn't watch went.
2006-06-12 07:36:29
9.   Ravenscar
To clarify my mysterious syntax: Alex was more gracious than I would have been to non-question askers.
2006-06-12 08:24:15
10.   Alex Belth
hey Ravenscar,
It was nice getting to chat with you for a few minutes on Saturday. The book event with Rob Neyer went well. Talking has never been difficult for me, but speaking in front of an audience is another skill altogether. During the past few months, I've done many radio interviews, a few on TV, as well as four book store functions. One of the things that I've come to appreciate is just how how difficult it is to be articulate and clear. How not to say, "um," "you know," "like," etc every four seconds.

Well, that is easier said than done. But I feel as if I'm improving each time out. Plus, even if I slip up grammatically, I feel as if my enthusiasm for Curt Flood will ultimately make-up for whatever sloppiness I may convey at the same time.

I am really fortunate to have chosen a subject as compelling as Curt Flood for my first project. Three years after I started the book, I'm as juiced about Flood today as ever before. The more I talk about Flood, the more concise my feelings about him become. Plus, I still feel as if I'm learning more about him, his place in history, etc.

The other thing that was extremely helpful the other night was to look out at the audience and see so many familiar faces. My old man showed up, as did Steve Goldman, Jay Jaffe and his wife Andra, Alex Ciepley and his boyfriend Stef, Repoz, Jake Luft, Jon Voporian, and Mark Lamster (shoot, I hope I didn't forget anyone and if I did...that's my bad...oh, Rany J from "BP" was there too). To be able to make eye contact with people that you know is really helpful--at least it was for me.

I spoke for about 10-15 minutes and then opened up the floor for questions. One thing that I learned by watching Rob afterwards is that it is good to repeat any question you asked. We were using a microphone but if you were sitting in the audience it was often hard to hear what the questions were. Got to remember that for next time.

Anyhow, I had a good time. I missed the baseball bunch get together after the event due to previous plans, so I missed out on the Luft-Jaffe-Goldman-Rany/Neyer roundtable. I'm sure it was a bunch of fun.

2006-06-12 08:59:25
11.   singledd
Something I'm sure you will all enjoy:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/baseball/mlb/specials/all_star/2004/07/07/jeter.clutch/
2006-06-12 09:54:08
12.   Cliff Corcoran
11 Wait, Terrence long not only hit the double that lead to "the flip," but also the popup that lead to Jeter's flop into the stands later that series? Wacky.
2006-06-12 10:07:54
13.   Dimelo
I totally forgot the Yanks beat Beckett. I was under the impression that he won every game he pitched against the Yanks.
2006-06-12 10:16:41
14.   rsmith51
13 I blocked out most of that series, except for game 4. Jeff Weaver?!?!
2006-06-12 10:23:44
15.   Dimelo
14 One of the most frustrating things about that series was since the Yanks beat the Sawx, then people took that as some sort of consolation prize. It was great to beat the Sawx, but I don't think you take the loss to the Marlins as if it wasn't a serious blow to the Yanks. Some Yankee fans pissed me off about that, "at least the Sawx didn't win it all".
2006-06-12 10:40:41
16.   carl
After beating the sox and going into a weekend series at home with RJ and Moose you expect to win 2 of 3 games. This team just does not have ability to get in front of Boston and put some distance between them. This team does not have the ability to sieze the moment, they don't see an emergency until september. Coming off the wins against Boston they should have added a half game. Not sure they have the stuff.
2006-06-12 10:51:04
17.   Simone
Ravenscar, thanks for the report on Alex's book reading sounds like it was fun.

Last season, I was sure that the Yankees wouldn't make the playoffs and somehow they did so I'm not doubting them again. They are just one game back with a ton of injuries and bad pitching so good things can still happen with a couple months left in the season.

2006-06-12 11:04:44
18.   Count Zero
16 That's totally illogical. They are totally beat up and injured. They won what, 11 out of 14 including 3 out of 4 on the road against the team with the best record in MLB? Now they lost 4 in a row. So that would be...11 out of 18?...a .611 winning percentage while playing very badly hurt. And you're arguing that they're slacking? OK...

I would say the only thing being proven is that if you continually field an old team -- a team with the highest average age in MLB -- year after year, you will continue to have injury problems year after year. Which is all the more reason why we should NOT trade away prospects for aging veterans to tide us over.

2006-06-12 11:06:04
19.   unpopster
2 enough with the doom and gloom. As others have pointed out, the Yanks are only one game out with the meat of the lineup hobbled and hurt. It is actually amazing that the team is not 5-6 games behind the Sox and Jays considering the tough luck with injuries.

Like every other team out there, the Yanks have a few holes to fill, a) one #2 or #3 starter, b) another arm in the pen, c) a genuine corner outfielder/run producer.

Given the Yanks' financial luxury, I will wager that either Soriano, Burrel or Abreu will be manning one of the OF positions by July 31st.

As for the relief corp, the Yanks have finally jettisoned Erickson and have given Smith a chance. Dotel will be here in 2 weeks and if healthy/effective, he will supplant Proctor as the third option out of the pen. Maybe an effective Dotel will also push farnsworth lower on the totem pole. I'll also guess that Remiro Mendoza will be back in the Bigs soon.

Lastly, as for the starters, that will be more difficult. We must all hope and pray that Johnson becomes an above-average starter, at best. If not, say goodbye to Hughes and/or Duncan for Zito.

2006-06-12 11:08:37
20.   DarrenF
Alex, I enjoyed the book very much. I find it most intriguing that a seeming majority of players were against free agency, believing the owner's propaganda that the reserve clause was necessary to save baseball. "Propaganda" is my own value judgement, because perhaps the anti-FA crowd believed what it was saying. But look at the situation 30+ years later. Boy, were they wrong. Not only is baseball thriving with free agency, I believe it's thriving largely because of free agency.
2006-06-12 11:39:47
21.   Start Spreading the News
In case people are wondering, the US stunk it up in their opening match, losing 3-0.

After Scott Erikson was released, was he picked up by the soccer team? That would explain things...

2006-06-12 12:10:20
22.   Bama Yankee
Even with all the Yankee injuries, things could be worse. Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger had a serious motorcycle accident this morning. He was not wearing a helmet.
2006-06-12 12:15:23
23.   Rob Gee
22 Darwin Award.
2006-06-12 12:31:32
24.   Bama Yankee
21 Maybe Erickson was picked up by Roethlisberger....
2006-06-12 12:56:43
25.   Simone
What a horrible loss for the U.S.! To lose like that at the World Cup! Talk about freaking embarassing. I hope Freddie Adu is serious about going to Europe to play so he doesn't end up like Landon Donovan.

I don't know how these people ride motorcycles can ride without a helmet. I wear a helmet whenever I ride my bike and convince myself that I'm riding in the Tour de France so I won't feel like such a dork.

2006-06-12 12:57:52
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
I notice my main man Melky's been slumping of late, though his OBP remains high, which is extraordinary for such a young kid, imo.

But I don't get to see the games anymore, so I'd be grateful if someone could talk to me about what they're seeing these days in Melky's at-bats.

Thanks.

2006-06-12 13:17:05
27.   Bama Yankee
26 I wish I would tell you what he is doing differently now (if there is something) than when he was hot. Because if I could I would make millions as a major league hitting coach (or at least I could get a job like Harold Reynolds and John Kruk on Baseball Tonight). The one thing that I have noticed is that it seems like that when he was hot he was getting a lot of hits back through the box. I remember thinking how perfectly they seemed to cross the second base bag (because I wish I had that good of a golf shot). Now maybe the pitchers have figured out how to pitch to him so that he is having trouble getting those hits. Of course, how he adjusts to the pitcher's adjustments is what will prove if he can become an above average major leage hitter (see Robinson Cano from last year).
2006-06-12 13:31:52
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
27--thanks. I was thinking the same thing about him hitting back through the box. I was wondering if maybe he got pull happy for some reason and started hitting weak dribblers to second instead.
2006-06-12 13:38:50
29.   randym77
I was wondering how the book signing went. Thanks for the reports!
2006-06-12 13:53:58
30.   Start Spreading the News
25 Simone, don't feel like a dork for using a helmet with a bike. I ride to work on my bike in Manhattan. I have had 2 incidents where I was happy to have worn a helmet. People don't pay attention to bikes -- especially when making illegal turns!
2006-06-12 14:07:29
31.   Start Spreading the News
31 I should add that it was not me making the illegal turns.
2006-06-12 14:14:34
32.   Bama Yankee
30 Amen. I bet Big Ben wears a helmet from now on, even if he takes his Schwinn out for a spin. Not to mention the fact that 720 people died in bicycle vs. vehicle accidents last year.
2006-06-12 14:17:58
33.   randym77
If, as Paul O'Neill says, being a young player on the Yankees is like being a contestant on American Idol, Torre is being a real Simon Crowell.

He dissed Andy to the press yesterday:

=====

Andy Phillips, meanwhile, took Giambi's place at first and struggled in his first start since a 2-1 victory over Boston last Tuesday. Phillips was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"I can't fault anybody's quality of at-bats today, except Phillips, but he was just overanxious," Torre said.

=====

http://tinyurl.com/jg6e7

I mean, jeeze. Did he have to name names? He did something similar to Melky, when the kid failed to rob a homer and the next day, Torre said, "Bubba would have gotten that."

2006-06-12 14:33:33
34.   yankz
12 I think you mean "Wait, Terrence Long hit a double?"
2006-06-12 14:41:51
35.   Shaun P
33 To be fair, that really isn't too bad of a rip, though T-Ball did far worse and received nothing but praise/Torre-brand veteran coddling.

Perhaps he thinks he has to light a fire under the butts of the 'youngsters'?

2006-06-12 14:48:53
36.   Paul in Boston
I thought ARod deserved the MVP over Ortiz last year, but there is something missing, isn't there. Sherman captures it nicely here:

http://tinyurl.com/lo7bv

Meanwhile, Steve Goldman over at the Pinstriped Blog "smells" a trade coming ...

2006-06-12 14:49:33
37.   randym77
35 Well, in that case, maybe it's a good sign. If he's trying to improve them, it means he's planning to keep them around, right?
2006-06-12 14:49:50
38.   Bama Yankee
33 Can you blame Phillips for being "overanxious"? He was on a hot streak and Torre sits him in favor of Cairo (without even pinch hitting for Cairo with the bases loading). I am sure that Phillips is wondering what he has to do to remain in the lineup.
2006-06-12 15:09:05
39.   Schteeve
38 Simple, Andy needs to age 7 years overnight.
2006-06-12 15:13:18
40.   randym77
38 No, I can't blame him. And it's not easy to keep on track when you're not playing every day. Especially if you hit with some power, which Andy does.

Bubba is struggling with that down in Tampa. He's played the outfield flawlessly, but the hitting is not going so well. He went 1 for 8, with a single, a walk, a HBP, and three strikeouts. Torre says his timing is off. They were hoping he'd work it out yesterday, but the game was rained out. He might not be activated Tuesday as originally planned.

2006-06-12 16:45:36
41.   Jeteupthemiddle
Oh please. I know bashing Torre is tres chic, but after the hot streak, Phillips was benched because we needed a shortstop. That's all it was.
2006-06-12 16:59:41
42.   randym77
Well, they could have used A-Rod as a SS and Andy at 3B. In hindsight, it might have been worth it to keep Andy's bat in the lineup.
2006-06-12 17:04:18
43.   Jeteupthemiddle
Arod is having trouble at 3rd...I wouldn't move him for a few games.
2006-06-12 17:13:53
44.   Hank
In case you missed Alex's reading last week and want a little taste (okay, a big taste) of what he might've said, you can check out an interview I did with him a few weeks ago -- apparently our boy was too modest to post a link here. Anyway, here it is:

http://tinyurl.com/rkrf5

2006-06-12 17:21:52
45.   Zack
36 if IT is allowing the hype machine that is the Boston media turn every poitive at bat into the world's greatest while amazingly ignoring all the others, than yeah, Ortiz has IT. It doesn't matter how much the reporters/masses see the stats that show that Ortiz is no more "clutch" than anyone else, they buy into it based on one season. Funny, I remember seeing Ortiz strike out in "clutch" situations a lot this year against the Yanks, funny that.
2006-06-12 17:35:41
46.   randym77
Near as I can tell, he's defining IT as not caring what the fans think. Or at least, not being affected by it.

I think he's right. A-Rod cares way too much.

2006-06-12 17:49:33
47.   singledd
During an interview about his being 'clutch' in big situations, Ortiz says that at the plate, he gets 'quiet'. I think this is very telling. Quiet of the mind. Focus. I believe Ortiz does this. His results may vary, but I believe he is able to get quiet.

Is ARod 'quiet'?
Or is he thinking 'I really need a hit'...
Is he thinking 'I better not miss here'...
Is he thinking?

I think ARod needs to give himself a break, and as Sherman says, not think, just react, and let his talent to the talking.

I am a big fan of ARod. I think he is a decent, hard working guy who is a victim of his fame and contract. He may have 'IT', but 'IT' is not showing.

I agree with Big Papi. I think ARod needs to get 'quiet'.

2006-06-12 17:53:29
48.   Jeteupthemiddle
and how exactly do you know that Arod isn't "quiet" at the plate?

It's not like Ortiz has been the epitome of clutchness this year. Yes, he hit a HR yesterday, but he sucked the past 2 series against the Yankees...and yes, in clutch situations as well.

2006-06-12 18:00:19
49.   randym77
I wonder if it would help if the fans quit booing him and started cheering him instead.

Yeah, I know, not likely.

2006-06-12 18:03:22
50.   singledd
For one thing, ARod is a much better athlete and ball player then Ortiz. I don't know that he's not quiet, but even Torre says he pressing (pressing quiet). He's swinging at bad pitchers, a sign of over-anxious (over-anxious quiet).

Maybe ARod needs a Zen Master. Or Alfred E. Newman (What Me Worry?). Our eyes tell us that Jeter is cooler under pressure than ARod. Jeter does have 'IT'. He's not as talented as ARod, but he has 'IT'.

As I said, I'm an ARod fan. But Sherman says that even though we have statistics, we also have our own eyes. My eyes say ARod does not perform as well under pressure. I've been a a Yankee fan for 42 years, and I don't read Boston media. But I believe my eyes.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-06-12 18:13:57
51.   Jeteupthemiddle
eyes lie. That's why there are so many statistics to use.
2006-06-12 19:02:34
52.   Bama Yankee
23 Darwin award indeed.
Hey Big Ben,
Kellen Winslow, Jay Williams, Jeff Kent & Ron Gant called....
They want their Evel Knievel starter kit back.
2006-06-12 19:29:18
53.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Wow, don't you love it that there is a team in baseball that have fans thinking they are done and need to rebuild when they are 1 game back IN JUNE WITH TWO ALLSTAR SLUGGER OUT FOR MOST OF THE SEASON?

This team is just fine as long as whats left of the team gets healthy and stable again.

2006-06-12 19:53:01
54.   BklynBmr
Trying to detox after the weekend from Hell and I watch Jose Contreras tonight win his 15th straight decision (in 19 starts). Are we still paying him? Yeeesh! This is the Jose we plunked down $32M for. Too bad he was allergic to the interlocking N and Y on a uni...

A-Rod: I'm rootin' hard for him to bust out and start carrying this team. The booing at The Stadium is mindless. He gets that crap everywhere he goes on the road, mostly for all the wrong reasons. He'll be alright before it's all said and done, so Yanks fans should get off his ass.

Big (Dumb) Ben: Anyone catch Carlos Mencia's riff on riding without a helmet? Great stuff. It's currently airing on 'On Demand' if you have Comcast digital cable. The episode with Gene Simmons.

53 Exactly, Yu-Hsing. We're done, the run is over. Let's trade Jeter and A-Rod while we can still get something for them, and dump Matsui, Damon and Giambi while we're at it. Fire Cashman and hire the guy just canned from KC. He knows how to fill a roster with kids. What can you say? Some folks just don't get it...

2006-06-12 20:20:25
55.   Simone
Because I can't say it enough, I HATE when Yankee fans boo their own players. Why are they booing A-Rod anyway? Yeah, he is struggling, but it happens to all players during the season. It must mean that A-Rod is a true Yankee because these are the same losers who booed Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera a couple seasons ago. Who the hell boos Mariano Rivera?! Unfreakingbelievable! No wonder professional athletes are so cynical.

I find the Ortiz is sooo "clutch" propaganda to be really annoying. Where was all that clutchness his butt was making outs during "clutch" moments during all those games when he was struggling? Ugh, I'm in a bad mood now.

Start Spreading the News, I bike to work also. Sometimes I feel that I am invisible on the road. Wearing the helmet definitely makes me feel more secure, especially as the rate of hit bikers in my part of the country is high.

2006-06-12 20:41:38
56.   Zack
And besides, all the statistics tell you that if Jeter has IT, its doing exactly the same in the regular season as the postseason, which I suppose would mean he isn't clutch, ie: he doesn't step up his game at all...
2006-06-12 20:53:55
57.   randym77
I hope the Yankees win tomorrow, if only to quell the positively insane air of panic among the not-so-faithful.

Could be a challenge, though. Torre said he's not sure Jeter will be ready to play SS, and Giambi may not be able to play at all.

Torre may have to decide between DHing Jeter and DHing Giambi.

2006-06-12 21:00:20
58.   yankz
Remember how low we all felt after they got swept by KC last year? And they still made the playoffs. And this year's team is a lot better. Let's not panic.
2006-06-12 21:59:16
59.   BklynBmr
55 Well said, Simone. Anyone who could boo Mo or Jeter for a slump is not a Yankee fan. They're probably self-hating Mutts fans who hopped on the Bronx bandwagon for some sense of self-worth, or New York pride or something. I have more respect for Red Sox fans, at least they think they know why they're blasting somebody. These losers have no clue...

58 I'm hearin' ya, yankz — but this 1 game mountain we have to overcome looks pretty daunting right now. I mean, it's almost mid-June. Time is running out...

Tiger will be the stopper tomorrow and the bats will wake up. If not, it's all over. ;-)

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