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The Calm Before the Storm
2006-08-08 05:14
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

As the Yanks prepare to take on the defending World Champs tonight in Chicago--the start of a tough three-week stretch--the local papers cover two of the Bomber's newest players: Bobby Abreu and Craig Wilson. In addition, there are two stories on tonight's starter Chien-Ming Wang: one in the Bergan Record, the other by our pal Pete Abraham in The Journal News. Don Amore reports that Hideki Matsui will be re-examined by doctor's this Friday. And there is a good story on Yankee pitching prospect Phillip Hughes over at MLB.com.

Meanwhile, Mike Plugh takes an early look at the AL MVP race and compares Derek Jeter with David Ortiz.

Finally, tonight gives the return of second baseman Robinson Cano, who has been sidelined since June 25th with a hamstring pull. Welcome back, Robby, we missed ya.

Comments (89)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-08-08 06:13:47
1.   Dimelo
I was cursing at the MLB schedule makers for giving me another Monday w/o the Sawx, Yanks or Mets to watch.

In the next 3 weeks, I'll be begging for an off-day as will the players.

Is Ron Gardenhire the worse manager in baseball? How does he leave Liriano in there with a sore/hurting arm?

2006-08-08 06:16:45
2.   mikeplugh
1 I know what you mean, bro. I didn't know what to do without a truly meaningful game in my world. It did give me time to write a bit though.

Gardenhire and the doctors/trainers...they say it's muscular and not structural, so it's not serious. Even so, you can't play with the health and future of the best young pitcher in baseball.

Alex, I'm real excited about seeing Cano back. Even if he somehow doesn't hit a lick for a week or two, he is going to get hot and no one will beat us. Probably have him really cooking by the time either Matsui or Sheffield comes back. Then it'll be their turn.

Good stuff.

2006-08-08 06:35:43
3.   Dimelo
2 Mike, I just got through reading your MVP analysis. Good stuff, a lot of good detail there and objective analysis.
2006-08-08 06:42:49
4.   ChuckM
Got this from Gleeman's Twins blog today:

According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota's rookie All-Star, is out indefinitely with what appears to be a left elbow injury.

In a quiet postgame clubhouse, Liriano, 22, seemed on the verge of tears, and his voice crackled as he described the pain, pointing to the inside of the elbow this time, beneath the muscle and possibly in the joint.

"I couldn't even throw the fastball, slider, changeup anything," Liriano said. "It bothered me every pitch I threw."

And yes, Gardenhire is one of the worst managers in baseball. For all the griping done here about Torre's lineups, at least he doesn't take Gardenhire's approach and set it by POSITION (i.e. when Mauer sits, Redmond bats in the 3 hole). I'm not saying Torre is perfect, but it could be a LOT worse...

2006-08-08 06:59:22
5.   markp
Ralph Houk used to bat the 2B lead-off no matter who it was.

Running Liriano out with his arm already bothering him is unforgivable.

2006-08-08 07:01:21
6.   Dimelo
4 One thing about blogs and from reading various one's on the net from different fans of different teams, it definitely seems like NOBODY likes whoever is running their respetive teams'.

I'm a big Torre supporter and would never say a bad word about the guy. Too much analysis is done game-by-game, as opposed to looking at the entire body of work. Torre has his flaws, as does everyone, but I don't think there is a better man for the job.

Is anyone else salivating at the the pitching matchup on 08/10? I hope Javy gets rocked. I hope the Yanks beat on him like like the Indians did back in 2004. Now imagine what I would say if I actually didn't like Javy? I just hated the fact that he became such a bust and he was replaced with an even bigger pu**y named Carl Pavano. Javy left a bad taste in my mouth in 2004, but I also had a soft spot for him. Now I want the Yanks to club dinger-after-dinger. Wouldn't it be great to see Damon hit a grand slam off of him? I can't wait for that game.

2006-08-08 07:05:25
7.   yankaholic
6 i liked Javy.. i still believe he was shunted very early..

ofcourse, we donno whether he wud have recovered from the grand slam if he was here in 05..

but the first half of 04 he was decent.. he went to ASG for good measure..

but its all past.. just hoping we tread .550 over the next 21 games.. that wud b good for us.. for september..

2006-08-08 07:10:08
8.   KBT
6- I feel the same way about Contreras. I was at his last game as a Yankee..he was pounded by Baltimore and lost to, of all pitchers, Sydney Pontoon! So yeah, it made my gut turn when he had such a great season last year in Chicago. Ah well, we clipped him once already this year.

Tonight we get Freddie "Jimmy Smitts" Garcia. I think we scored 6 runs off him last time we faced him, so lets hope we can give Wang Dang Doodle the same run support.

2006-08-08 07:13:16
9.   yankaholic
Guys this from Bob Raissman of Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/441732p-372057c.html

i donno how bad it was, did any of u listen to Kay's show yest evening..

2006-08-08 07:17:08
10.   KBT
Umm, wow.
2006-08-08 07:23:10
11.   Peter
9 Deadspin has the audio of Kay's rant.
http://tinyurl.com/ppwwb
Not to get all conspiracy theory on you guys, but I wonder if that had anything to do Ken SIngleton's solo act in the booth the next day and if Paul O'Neill's "flight troubles" were just a cover.

1 I don't know if you get SNY (the Mets channel) but they aired yesterday's SI Yanks - Brooklyn Cyclones game. Not the same as the real thing, but we could be cheering on a few of those guys in a few years.

2006-08-08 07:26:14
12.   Dimelo
9 I got wind of that via Deadspin. People were assuming if that's why Singleton was alone on Friday because Kay got suspended.

http://tinyurl.com/ppwwb

2006-08-08 07:26:20
13.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
6 Yeah I'm looking forward to Thurs. game. Wish I was going actually, but couldn't swing it. Am going to Wed game instead.

Kinda irritated about it since when I bought the tickets last week Lidle was listed as the Yankee starter. I figured I could handle watching him go. Now I get the Big Enuch.

And my seats are nearly directly behind home plate, so I'll have a perfect view of his patented frisbee slider as it floats into the kill zone of Konerko and Dye. Ugh.

Speaking of pitching matchups, how bout this coming Sunday -- Wang vs Weaver (the one who doesn't suck).

2006-08-08 07:26:29
14.   profound
Was he suspended? I thought Singleton did an outstanding job by himslef. Thats not easy! I couldnt figure out at the time why he was alone.

I think Kay is one of the best announcers in baseball, it would be a travesty to lose him over something like this.

2006-08-08 07:28:04
15.   Dimelo
11 I just thought there was no baseball on, other than what ESPN had on. Thanks for the 411!
2006-08-08 07:54:06
16.   JL25and3
I thought Singleton was terrific on his own. He was smooth and professional; he never seemed at a loss for words, but didn't ramble or babble or repeat himself; and sometimes he (gasp) just kept quiet for a few seconds and let the game happen. I much preferred it to the rotating three-man tag team.
2006-08-08 08:13:06
17.   pistolpete
Wow, the term 'meltdown' seems very appropriate in this case...
2006-08-08 08:19:57
18.   standuptriple
So, they want them to be "edgy" and "controversial" but only to a certain degree. Press the line, but don't step on any toes and the line can change at will (for PR reasons). Stupid talk radio. They've created their own monsters. Good luck stuffing them back into Pandora's Box. Maybe I'm a throwback (@ 29), but a little class and composure gets credit IMO.
2006-08-08 08:45:50
19.   standuptriple
Um, how did Cliff Lee's agent let him sign a 3 year extension for $14mil??? With an $8 club option on the back end? Somehow I think Boras is invoved in this. The price for Zito (and every other FA SP) just went up. Somebody tell this guy about supply vs. demand.
2006-08-08 08:50:02
20.   DarrenF
14 "I think Kay is one of the best announcers in baseball, it would be a travesty to lose him over something like this."

Tim Marchman of the New York Sun recently wrote an article where he compared Mets and Yankees announcers.

He claimed Kay fans didn't exist. I guess there is at least one Kay fan.

2006-08-08 08:53:27
21.   tommyl
19 1.4 WHIP / 14 Mill = .1 WHIP/MIL

by my dumb math that equals a stupid price for a mediocre pitcher. The Yankees could be in real trouble next year. It almost looks like a good idea to exercise Moose's option (and Wright's).

4 Lirianio is indeed hurt and likely going on the DL in the next couple of days. We'll know more after he gets his elbow reexamined on Wednesday. On the one hand I'm really sorry to see this happen, he's a good kid and a phenomenal talent. On the other, its just more distance the Yankees can put between them and a very dangerous contender.

Lastly, it now appears that Houston was the team to claim Jones, but Atlanta has already pulled him back, both as anticipated. Relax, he's definitely not going to the Sox now.

2006-08-08 09:05:07
22.   profound
My wife loves when he thanks her for watching, lol. So I guess he's grown on me.
2006-08-08 09:09:27
23.   Javi Javi
12 Is that Alan Alda in the booth talking about baseball gods or some such nonsense? What a strange story. I am not a Kay fan, but I actually like his HR call "looking up . . see ya" It's a little more subdued than Sterling's on the radio.
2006-08-08 09:13:16
24.   standuptriple
21 I'm no mathemetician, but I've seen mediocre guys get in the $8mil/yr range. Throw in the fact that he's 27 and LH. It just seems so low that the PA would put their foot down on that one.
But I think you're right, the Yanks might have to use Moose's option.
2006-08-08 09:28:25
25.   ChuckM
Wow. Kay went off the deep end. Maybe this will open up a spot for Tony Kubek again. LOL. Always thought he was able to get his point across without being longwinded like McCarver. Of course, he was never afraid to hammer the Yanks/Big Stein, which prompted his exit...
2006-08-08 09:33:07
26.   bloodyank78
9 I hope anyone out there in Yankeeland that has any affinity for Michael Kay now realizes what a self-absorbed ass-hat that clown of human being is. What a douchebag; going from a baseball related debate and then bringing up slavery and the holocaust. Like I really needed another reason to dislike Michael Kay for F-sake.
2006-08-08 09:33:21
27.   DarrenF
23 I like Sterling for the most part (which often puts me in the position of defending him).

But the Big Bang was a little more subdued than his HR call.

2006-08-08 09:38:35
28.   ChrisS
"Stupid talk radio. They've created their own monsters."

Exactly. There isn't a single talk show that I can stand listening to for more than 30 seconds.

"I'm Brash! I'm in Your Face! I'm Extreme!" ... just like every other no-talent ass-clown.

2006-08-08 09:40:28
29.   Max
Fabulous analysis of the MVP candidates, Mike. Thanks for posting that.
2006-08-08 09:45:09
30.   ChuckM
Just give me some announcers that are more concerned with talking about what I tuned in to watch in the first place-the damn ballgame. Don't make excuses for the guys when they F up and stop with all the self-promotion for with the overstated homerun calls, etc...
2006-08-08 09:51:34
31.   standuptriple
30 You got it. There are times when I want Mystery Science Theater 3000, but not during baseball. Thank God for the mute button (extra special thanks when FOX is broadcasting).
2006-08-08 09:57:29
32.   Knuckles
I wish all broadcasters were like the Scooter. Congrats to old people celebrating another year, say Holy Cow a few times, then leave after the 6th or 7th to beat the traffic, and allow us to watch the rest of the damn game in peace. God bless you, Phil Rizzuto.
2006-08-08 09:57:50
33.   Bama Yankee
Does baseball need to ban greenies from broadcasters too? Kay needs to lay off the "Floyd Landis Water Bottle" or switch to de-caf.

Overall I like Michael Kay, especially when you compare him to the other announcers out there (McCarver, Hawk, Palmer, Pacoriek, Sutcliffe, Morgan, etc...). He's no Scully or Costas (but who is?).

Kay says some stupid stuff sometimes and probably should just remain silent more and let the pictures do the talking, but I have grown to like some of his calls (my two-year-old son has even started saying "There it goes" like Kay does).

I like the way the YES announcers are not "homers" and never say "we" when referring to the Yankees. I do wish they would not be so excited when the other team does something good (I guess I really hate that because I'm usually mad about what just happened).

I suppose you can put me down as a Kay fan and even though I agree with him that he should be able to tell the fans about a no-hitter or perfect game whenever he wants, going off on that caller was over the line in my book.

2006-08-08 10:12:52
34.   Dimelo
you can tell it's a boring day at the banter when we are all focused on Kay.

We have the toughest part of the Yankees schedule coming up and a lot of people are quite calm around these parts of the wood. Nobody calling for Torre or CASHman to be fired, nobody seems angry about the rotation, lack of key hits, the lineup, Cairo, GoB, Andy Phillips, Proctor's appearances, Farnsworth inability to work 2 days straight, Dotel coming/not-coming back, etc, etc.

Are we too confident? Anyone concerned?

-----
DING-DONG

Who's there?

It's the White Sox, Mother-F'ers, and you f'ers swept us the last time and you are now in our home turf and we want some revenge.

----

I think we pissed off the White Sox and they want Jeter's face on platter. I want to be concerned….but Wang has instilled in me this confidence that hasn't been there for a very long time - as far as a starting pitcher is concerned. Should we as Yankee fans be concerned?

2006-08-08 10:13:27
35.   BklynBmr
26 Last night the South Park episode bagging on TV psychic John Edward aired, where he wins the 'Biggest Douchebag in the Universe Award'. Yankees fans need to mobilize for a write-in campaign nominating Kay next year.

While his voice is forever linked to some of the greatest moments in team history (and maybe I give him too much slack for that), the act is wearing thin.

Wish I could have heard Kenny's one-man show the other night. He is a pleasure to listen to. He and John Flaherty could very well be the best two-man booth in the game.

2006-08-08 10:23:33
36.   BklynBmr
34 Our good friend over at WasWatching.com thinks if the Yanks go 13-8 over the next 21 games, it could be enough to wrap up the AL East.

That sounds a bit tight to me. If we play light outs and end up 16-5, I'd say we're getting close. A 1978-style 'Boston Massacre' sweep (or 4-1 result) in Fenway would definitely but the Sawx on the canvas, but you still couldn't count 'em out. I'm down with Yogi when it comes to them.

Also, completely agree with your take on Mr. Torre in post #6.

2006-08-08 10:28:46
37.   KBT
I think Harold Reynolds is looking for a job. Doubt he'd make slavery references.
2006-08-08 10:32:45
38.   Bama Yankee
37 Also, they probably wouldn't have to worry about HR wanting to hug Waldman (after all, that's Sterling's job, right Sliced?).
2006-08-08 10:34:32
39.   Shaun P
32 Amen to that, Knuckles! I would rather listen to White and Scooter than just about any other broadcast team out there today (except Vin Scully).

35 I was in NY visiting the folks and had the pleasure of hearing Singleton's one-man show Friday, and then the Kenny-O'Neill combo on Saturday. It was fantastic. I would like to see that pairing more often, or the Singleton-Flaherty combo.

2006-08-08 10:42:00
40.   BklynBmr
32 If Scooter was around in the bottom of the 9th, it would a tie game, bases loaded, 2 out and he'd be giving directions to find the best cannoli in Flatbush.
2006-08-08 10:46:30
41.   bloodyank78
34 I have to admit I'm a bit apprehensive about this upcoming series. The Chi-Sox were beat up by the Halos yesterday at home and I'm sure their players remember the trouncing they took in the Bronx. So there's the feeling that they may be in the "we have to make a stand" mindset. Looking at things rationally though, Wang's been great, Garcia's been struggling; the line-up will have Robbie in it for the first time in weeks; the line-up in general is as lethal as it has been in months; and Yanks are playing solid baseball. However baseball is a strange and unpredictable game so anything can happen; I just hope we come out on top after this 21 game slug-fest of a guantlet.
2006-08-08 10:50:26
42.   yankaholic
41 i would take a 13-8, and hopefully not more than 2 of those losses in the 5 game series..

we will be good if we can do that..

2006-08-08 10:52:01
43.   KBT
Bama, speaking of Morgan, he's on Dan Patrick's show right now. Listening to him makes me want to jab corncob forks into my ears repeatedly. He is the most predictable, unenlightening bore in baseball broadcasting.
2006-08-08 10:57:10
44.   yankaholic
43 ESPN.com chats have Morgan on tuesday's.. u can see chatters bugging him with stat qns and him relentlessly defending how stats are useless

and how the 70s team was not configured that way..

the funny thing is.. if he is scheduled to chat at 11am.. he only arrives at 11:30 am..

but oh he leave by 11:55am.. hes a busy man u see..

and the 4 qns he takes.. 2 will be abt the 77 reds team and the final qn on his back to back MVPs

2006-08-08 11:00:00
45.   RZG
33 You think the Yankee announcers aren't homers? I'm a Yankee fan and I think they're homers. Except for Kaat. I don't have enough experience with Flaherty and Leiter to pass judgement.

There's worse out there but they toe the company line in my opinion.

2006-08-08 11:01:49
46.   standuptriple
41 I watched a good chunk of that game and thought Buerhle was getting pinched. I think Ozzie is to blame for their being on pins and needles. Well, that and the fact that he loaded up on his players and couldn't predict an 18 inning affair right before the "break". Whoops. I'm all for taking advantage of them though. Plus I have Wang on my fantasy team. Yay me!
2006-08-08 11:04:20
47.   ChuckM
That's assuming there wasn't any thunderstorms in the forecast-otherwise Scooter would be gone by the 3rd. LOL
2006-08-08 11:04:37
48.   KBT
Morgan was making the case that Papi should be MVP despite being a DH. Part of his justification was that he is the leader in the clubhouse and "he's always smiling." He then says he wouldn't vote for a pitcher for MVP cuz they only play every 5th day. Which is completely different than only playing offense. Riiiiight. Way to be consistent, Joe.
2006-08-08 11:15:14
49.   ChuckM
He's always smiling?! There's a crazy guy in Central Park that's always smiling. Give him the MVP!!!
2006-08-08 11:18:01
50.   Bama Yankee
43 "corncob forks": good one, KBT.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-08-08 11:24:17
51.   yankaholic
In an apparent trend setting ballot, the BBWA have voted Kevin Millar as the AL MVP and Juan Pierre as the NL MVP..

the trend setting part has to do with the awards being announced well ahead of regular season so these talks dont distract the actual season

and also as chairman of awards Joe Morgan said " these 2 guys are great in the clubhouse, they help keep the clubhouse loose and often crack jokes.. they remind me of the 1970's team the way they play with their socks tucked in their shoes.. they also hit the occasional Home Run.. and not always.. to me they are the MVPs not because of their on-field excellence but because of their dugout humour and candor.. and their wives make great pancakes too.."

"what sets them apart is that they bring it to the table everyday.. u cant see those things in the numbers... actually this year the awards are a good example u dont have to have the numbers to win the awards.."

"we also were confident that they are not PED users as their smile and teeth color have remained intact even after MLB started the testing program..

ladies and gentlemen ur MVPs..

Video Asst: Joe..

Joe M: yes

Asst: I think ESPn switched over to WSOP when u startaed that second sentence..

2006-08-08 11:31:30
52.   monkeypants
48, 49, 51, etc. Look, the MVP has been pretty much a jooke for over half a century. Who cares who wins this popularity award? To win it means you've been validated by BBWAA--that is, by Peter Gammons and friends. Big deal.
2006-08-08 11:40:18
53.   tommyl
Gotta share my Scooter story. His grandaughter was in my highschool class. At my graduation, my uncle comes up to me. I assume he's going to say congratulations on graduating and going to college and all and he says:

"This is the greatest day of my life! I met Phil Rizzuto!"

Gotta love my family.

2006-08-08 11:42:43
54.   AbbyNormal821
26 Agreed 150% with you! That's exactly what I was thinking - baseball is one thing, but comparing it to historical travesties like those he mentioned is just plain ignorance on his part. You're right...BIG TIME D**CHEBAG!
2006-08-08 11:43:27
55.   Dimelo
53 At least they 'keeps it real'.
2006-08-08 11:47:07
56.   tommyl
55 Hey, my (other) uncle just offered me a ticket to the 9/15 Sox game and I was there with Tino hit is grandslam in '98. They can keep it as real as they want :)
2006-08-08 11:48:05
57.   Dimelo
Man...8:05 just can't come quick enough today.
2006-08-08 11:48:17
58.   Bama Yankee
45 I guess what I meant by "homers" was that they did not openly root for the Yankees during the broadcasts and they try to sound impartial by not using the "us" vs. "them" lingo that a lot of announcers use.

I realize that most of the announcers that we get on MLB.TV and Extra Innings during the opposing team broadcasts are from regional networks and that when the network is more of a national broadcast (YES, NESN, TBS and others with the exception of Hawk Harrelson on WGN) the announcers try to sound impartial. But now that these regional networks are being broadcast nationwide through MLB.TV and EI the announcers should at least try to seem more impartial IMO.

BTW, I agree that the YES crew "toes the company line" but can you blame them? Most of them probably like the job and would like to keep it.

2006-08-08 11:49:28
59.   profound
Is it so bad? He didnt say anything negative about anyone. Yes he made a terrible, completely uncalled for analogy that made no sense. But is that something to be fired for?

This is why the media stinks. We dont actually have freedom of speech in this country. He broke no rules, and did nothing wrong, you just "don't like" his analogy. Maybe hes a D**CHEBAG maybe hes not, but he shouldnt lose his job for saying what he did. Mel Gibson ostracized, im with ya. Kay was just bein less than smart, not a racist.

2006-08-08 11:50:09
60.   Alex Belth
I think that if the season ended today, Ortiz would run away with the MVP, whether he deserves it or not. He's been so terrific in the clutch and he plays for the media darling Sox. The interesting thing is Manny is right there with him numbers-wise. Somehow, I don't think that'll hurt Ortiz's case though. Hafner and Thome are very comperable with Ortiz too. But it'll come down to the game-winning hits....
2006-08-08 11:57:50
61.   bp1
60 I pretty much assume Papi will win this year because he didn't win last year, regardless of what happens between now and October. He's almost a sure bet. Too many people expressed outrage at last year's vote. I don't see any way Jeter wins over Papi, even if he is more deserving. No way they give it to a Yankee in back-to-back years. Not in this media environment.
2006-08-08 11:58:59
62.   unmoderated
I also think Ortiz will win the AL MVP in a landslide, and it won't matter if the Sox make the playoffs or not.

as much as i think ortiz is a lock, i can't even come up with nominees for the NL. wright seems to be the front runner, having a great season on a team running away with the division. pujols is putting up his usual numbers, but he really seems to be doing in relative anonymity. ryan howard? anyone?

2006-08-08 12:12:38
63.   standuptriple
I for one, would love to see writer's explain their selection of Ortiz as MVP if the Sox don't make the playoffs. Obviously, the writer's holier-than-thou attitude would never admit a mistake, but I'd give up the MVP to keep the Sox out of the postseason. Then watch them squirm as people try to justify it. Does that make me a bad person?
2006-08-08 12:13:59
64.   jkay
Poppi plays one game in the field in the last few months and he blows the game with an error. No thanks for mvp. Sox might not get in the playoffs-in that case, poppi is toast for mvp.
2006-08-08 12:16:11
65.   jkay
Kay is a Bronx native as well as a Bronx Science and Fordham grad. He is not the greatest announcer but he is a homeboy who has done well.
2006-08-08 12:16:32
66.   RZG
58 I'm in agreement with you here.

I remember back in the late '80s looking forward to Hawk Harrelson coming to the Yankee announcing team - boy was I wrong.

I know it's 18-20 years ago but I never see Yankee fans mention Harrelson's time with the team. I know I've tried to put it out of my memory.

2006-08-08 12:18:25
67.   rabid stan
Great headline on the Red Sox official website:

"Red Sox look to unseat Royals in set opener"

As near as I can tell, this means that after going 3-4 against Cleveland and Tampa Bay, the Sox just want to play up to the level of KC.

It's a start.

2006-08-08 12:24:37
68.   bloodyank78
62 Ryan Howard would get my vote for NL MVP. That dude is, and will be a slugging force in the Majors for years to come.
.294avg/ .379obp/ .627slg; 39 HR and 101 RBIS, those numbers are just sick!
2006-08-08 12:31:10
69.   monkeyball
It's gonna be tough to watch tonight. Even if the Yankess win, it helps the Red Sox.
2006-08-08 12:31:56
70.   Count Zero
59 You're right -- he shouldn't be fired because of what he used as an analogy -- he should be fired for being stupid. ;-)

a) Rationally, his argument makes perfect sense. But in the real world he lives in, most sports fans (especially BB fans) consider that sort of statement by an announcer to be a jinx. Like say Marbury is at the line, 0.1 seconds left in the game, shooting two, and the announcer says, "Stephon has made 30 consecutive FTs, so he should make these two and we'll win." Tell me you wouldn't groan as soon as he said that? The rational listener knows that it doesn't affect anything, but if I hear that and Marbury misses two, the announcer's a dead man. :-) Rational don't have anything to do with it, and if Kay knows anything about sports, he should realize that.

b) His analogies don't even make sense. Baseball Ettiquette = Slavery in America fails the standard analogy test, as does that rant about the Holocaust. A better analogy would be something along the lines of: "You can't wear white after Labor Day" or "Don't put your elbows on the table." That would be an ettiquette situation -- killing six million people because of their religious affiliation isn't contrary to ettiquette, it's effing genocide. That's like comparing setting off an M80 in your neighbor's yard to 9/11.

Let's face it -- Kay is an idiot. He knows very little about BB, and we now know he failed the analogies portion of the SAT. ;-P Personally, I would root for him to be fired except his replacement will likely be just as stupid as he is.

2006-08-08 12:39:25
71.   Shaun P
61 I would like to point out that in his chat today, Rob Neyer advocated Jeter for MVP over Papi, and said he himself would vote for Jeter as MVP (though of course he doesn't have a vote).

In related news, has anyone else realized that the Yanks are 2nd in the AL in Defensive Efficiency - and 3rd in all of MLB? Anyone else think that might have something to do with Wang's success, despite poor K numbers? Anyone else think it might have something to do with the pitching staff's overall success?

That is why defense matters, and a DH should win MVP ONLY if his offensive contributions outweigh everyone else's by a huge margin. Ortiz's counting stats (esp. HR and RBI) are superb. But his numbers aren't so great compared to everyone else's that you can overlook his lack of playing defense.

2006-08-08 12:41:50
72.   Dimelo
Did I just read that Marbury is at the foul line with a chance of giving the Knicks a win?

I bet Starbury misses the shot...no matter how many he's hit in a row. Starbury is the jinx, not no annoucer.

2006-08-08 12:41:51
73.   mehmattski
70 I really think every announcer should point out the no hitter/perfect game after the first inning, to get it over with. One of the few things I agree with Kay on is being proactive in eliminating this rather dumb tradition. Its especially dumb for people tuning in the middle of the game: if you tune in during the 7th inning and the announcer refuses to acknowledge the pressure, he's taken something away from the game.

That said, what Kay said on ESPN was very dumb, and you make a good point with alternative analogies. Luckily, students of the future won't be able to repeat Kay's SAT performance, as analogies have been removed from the test.

Finally, the reason is now clear why there hasn't been a no-hitter for over two years: Michael Kay.

2006-08-08 12:42:41
74.   mehmattski
70 I really think every announcer should point out the no hitter/perfect game after the first inning, to get it over with. One of the few things I agree with Kay on is being proactive in eliminating this rather dumb tradition. Its especially dumb for people tuning in the middle of the game: if you tune in during the 7th inning and the announcer refuses to acknowledge the pressure, he's taken something away from the game.

That said, what Kay said on ESPN was very dumb, and you make a good point with alternative analogies. Luckily, students of the future won't be able to repeat Kay's SAT performance, as analogies have been removed from the test.

Finally, the reason is now clear why there hasn't been a no-hitter for over two years: Michael Kay.

2006-08-08 12:42:43
75.   jkay
72 Outfield defense is light years ahead of last season. Bernie, Sheff and Matsui waved at a lot of balls last year.
2006-08-08 12:44:34
76.   Mick S
Great article about Wang. After spending 2 years in Korea during the Chan Ho Park mania, I really love how a whole country gets behind one of their own players. It was great seeing Dodger games on almost every TV as I walked down the street. Let's hope Wang never turns in Chan Ho Park though.
2006-08-08 12:46:48
77.   Alex Belth
I don't think D. Wright is on an MVP pace anymore. Just look at the rich crop of NL third basemen...he's got company. If the Phils make a serious charge, Howard will definitely be in the mix. Pujols is a given as a candidate. How about Beltran? I think he's making a good case for himself...provided he can maintain this pace. But a cf with 40 plus dingers? Yikes.
2006-08-08 12:51:27
78.   unmoderated
ah, Beltran... of course.
2006-08-08 13:04:52
79.   AbbyNormal821
70 Well, put - I think that's what I maybe 26 was trying to say, (but I can't speak for 26), but people making stupid comparisons (sports related or otherwise) regarding the Holocaust piss me off.
2006-08-08 13:05:23
80.   yankaholic
77 A Jones hit 50 last yr and lost to Pujols..

C Belt is not putting astronomical stuff.. he is putting good numbers..

i would go with Pujols tho..

BTW, who was the last switch hitter to win an MVP?? by exposing one of their weak sides for a few ABs do thry hurtt themselves??

2006-08-08 13:14:27
81.   Bama Yankee
80 Chipper Jones in the NL and Mickey Mantle in the AL (unless you count Vida Blue).
2006-08-08 13:16:19
82.   Dimelo
The Juice (link on the right hand side, where all the other baseballtoaster links are) has the following on Wang:

I read this blurb on benmaller.com, which was written by Ed Price of the Star-Ledger. (Put it in your bookmark section, as benmaller.com is the best sports link site on the web.)

Chien-Ming Wang's rate of 2.77 strikeouts per nine innings pitched is last among the 90 pitchers in the majors who qualify for the ERA title. Yet despite the lack of strikeouts, Wang -- scheduled to start tonight as the Yankees open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox -- is 13-4. With 48 strikeouts so far, Wang could become the first pitcher in 17 years to win 15 games but finish with fewer than 75 strikeouts.

I've been blasted here in the past for not valuing strkeout ratio, enough, but I really think it's an overvalued commodity for starting pitchers. The approach I would take in building a team would be to try to build my staff with starting pitchers who have great control. These pitchers are generally cheaper buys and hold up better, as they have lower pitch counts per inning. By having lower pitch counts, they generally go longer into a game, minimizing the importance of the bullpen. I know this isn't revolutionary thinking, but I still read too many people I have a lot of respect for in the sabermetrical world who rate strikeout ratio too highly.

2006-08-08 13:26:13
83.   Bama Yankee
65 I guess it makes sense that the "Voice of the Yankees" should be from the Bronx.

As I have said before, I always thought it was strange that my homeboy Mel Allen (from Birmingham, Alabama) was the "Voice of the Yankees" for all those years and that the current voice of the Alabama Crimson Tide football broadcasts (and the voice of NASCAR) is Brooklyn born Eli Gold...

Maybe Bama Yankee is not such a contradiction after all...

2006-08-08 13:29:23
84.   pistolpete
83 The strikeout is nice to have, but a soft ground ball to the infield is probably the next best thing - well, besides maybe a pop-up.

I'd also rather have a pitcher who doesn't give up the longball- you can keep your K's if it means every 10th or 11th batter jacks one out on me...

2006-08-08 13:37:43
85.   tommyl
82 My understanding of why the K stats are so valued is that they tend to be consistent from year to year and correlate well with on the field success. For the vast majority of pitchers, if they had a K rate as low as Wang they would be getting blasted because their BABIP would be high enough that they'd be giving up too many hits. Wang's is lower. The question you have to ask is whether this is a one season fluke or Wang is somehow an outlier that defies the normal statistics. My hunch is that he's an outlier since he's managed to do it all year (and its hard to keep luck going for an entire season), but we'll have to wait a bit longer to see.

A good counterexample to this is actually Chacon. For awhile, his BABIP was much lower than expected and he was winning a lot of games. Unfortunately, Chacon turned out to just be lucky and when the hits started falling in he was killed.

2006-08-08 13:39:31
86.   pistolpete
84 I meant to reference 82, obviously.
2006-08-08 13:43:08
87.   tommyl
82,84 Let me follow up a bit more. Lets assume Wang is for real and somehow he defies the normal statistical analysis. It would be nice to say we could try and build a staff out of pitchers like him, but precisely because he is an outlier there are no other pitchers like him. Even a control type pitcher will have much higher K rates than Wang does. For example, Maddux (the epitome of a finesse guy) has a K/9 of 6.21 for his career. Wang has 3.14 for his career. That's almost half as much!
2006-08-08 14:22:38
88.   standuptriple
I love watching Wang work. His pitch counts are so low. He's always around the zone. Batters have no choice but to go up hacking...and it's usually putting it into the IF. Efficiency is a thing of beauty and it keeps Yanks games from turning into 3 hours. It also allows the hitters to stay on their toes and be anxious to get in the box. I don't he's getting enough credit for setting the tone every fifth day. K's are nice, but W's are better.
2006-08-08 15:14:06
89.   rabid stan
I posted on this at the Juice blog.

Wang throws so few pitches per plate appearance (3.38) that he rarely gets the opportunity to strike batters out. That sinker is apparently so tempting that guys can't lay off it before they get into two strike counts.

He probably is capable of posting a better strikeout rate. Wang has great command with his sinker even with all the movement he gets on it, so he rarely has any difficulty throwing for strikes. Also, the 93-96 mph sinker translates into an excellent 4-seamer; he's hit 98 on the gun when he's been content to throw the ball straight. Mixing that with his slider could be very effective.

Frankly, since the sinker is that good, I'd rather see the long outings and low pitch counts. It would be nice to know for certain, though, that he could strike people out if he wanted to. All I'm doing is guessing that he could based on stuff.

I don't think he's as vulnerable as a "control" guy like Maddux. Yes, he relies on his defense, but that dip in his power sinker results in a lot of bad contact: foul balls, choppers and rollers, not much that gets hit hard on the ground. Consider that he's looked very good with some questionable defense already behind him. Robinson Cano is the only Yankee infielder with a good Rate this year.

That he's succeeded in front of those guys suggests that his balls in play may be rather easy to convert into outs.

This seems to be the case. PECOTA has him near the 75th percentile in balls in play, but his DERA is still very good this year at 3.66 (4.50 is average), which is very close to his NRA at 3.58 (4.50 is also average).

The higher DERA would suggest that he's playing in front of a decent defense, but our infielders' Rates put the lie to that:

Rate/Rate2
Giambi: 83/83
Andy: 90/90
Cano: 114/115
Jeter: 101/101
A-Rod: 90/88

Uninspiring, isn't it? And Wang actually makes them look good with the differential he has between his NRA and DERA. Maybe he is, as one headline put it, "a magic Wang".

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