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Sundays with Murray
2008-04-05 20:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

I can never remember a time in my childhood when my family didn't get the New York Times on Sunday morning. One time, when I was about nine and my dad was still living with us he sent me on my bike to get the paper. I had a heavy-framed, second-hand dirt bike that Kevin O'Conner was kind enough to dump on me for $25. I peddled over a mile to the local grocery store and then struggled to balance the bulky paper on the handle bars of the bike as I wobbled back home. I was so pleased with myself when I made it back that I brought the paper straight into my parents' bedroom. My father was sleeping on his back. I carefully placed the paper on his swollen belly like Indiana Jones replacing a gold headstone in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I thought it would be the best way he could ever get the paper--just wake up and have it there waiting for him. He jolted up and yelled at me to get the damn paper off of him.

I always had to wait until dad was finished with a section--the sports section, in most cases--before I had a chance to read it. Or if I read a section before him, I had to make sure that I returned it to the state it was in when I found it. During those final years when my father lived with us not only did I read the stat leaders on Sunday (the one that was available just once a week) but I cut out the full-page movie ads in the Arts and Leisure section. I still remember the print ads for Altered States, The Competition, Fame, The Shinning, Times Square, Popeye, All Night Long, So Fine. I learned how to become sharp at finding the "Nina's" in Hirsfield's masterful drawings.

The oldest name I know in print is Murray Chass. The Yankees, Times and Chass. I never knew exactly how to pronounce his name but I always remember seeing it. My dad pronounced it CHHHUH'ass, with a thick Semetic, CHHUH. I always said Chase in my head even though I knew it was wrong.

I have a great deal of admiration for all that Chass has accomplished during the course of his career. He's one of the outstanding newspapermen of the free agency era, specializing in covering the business side of the sport. I haven't enjoyed his column for several years now but I still have a certain amount of affection for him because he's the baseball writer I associate with the Times of my childhood. Hey, Ray Negron told me that Chass was the best ball playing sportswriter of his day. Said that Chass really ripped it up in the annual sportswriter's game back in the seventies. I know that Chass has become a favorite whipping boy on-line these days, and why not? he's an easy target who is forever adding fuel to the fire. But I sometimes cringe when I see the abuse he takes. It's his own fault but it doesn't mean it's fun to watch.

Chass doesn't like blogs, though he doesn't seem to know much about them. He has simply dismissed the genre outright. That's fine, but I think he sounds foolish. Jon Weisman wrote a terrific post about Chass, the mainstream press and the blogosphere this past week:

My roots are in sports journalism. I had my first story published in the Los Angeles Times in 1986, covered my first major league baseball game in 1987 and was full-time in the profession by the end of 1989, nearly 13 years before I began blogging. I value how hard it is to be a sportswriter, and I emphasized to Steiner today how that many bloggers rely upon the work of mainstream sportswriters to launch their posts. For that matter, I understand job insecurity. I was the hot new prodigy on staff in '89 - by '92, there was a hotter, newer prodigy, and I was on my way to being marginalized at the ripe old age of 24.

But I expect reciprocity. If I've done a good job as an outsider looking in, I expect respect, not dismissal. First, some of the analysis done by bloggers is flat-out better than anything you'll see from a major paper - and it's done without the support system of a major paper, often without any renumeration whatsoever. In some ways, it's harder work.

Second, while there's value in interacting with the players and management of a baseball team, I can testify that there's often value in not interacting with them. It can give you a level of objectivity that is often missing from mainstream reporting. And at a minimum, many kinds of analysis don't require a locker-room presence, yet can be of tremendous value when done right.

...If there's one thing I could live without ever hearing again, it's that stereotype of bloggers working in their underwear from their parents' basements. I mean, I've had it. I'm not going to sit here and let mainstream baseball writers, who spend, God love 'em, 2,000 hours a year inside a ballpark, tell me that I or my blogger colleagues need to get a life. We have lives, thank you very much. Many of us have day jobs - many of us need day jobs - and many of us spend our weekends with our families and friends rather than with A-Rod and Jeter, and we see a world beyond the baseball field. Not saying that the mainstreamers don't - just that we do. Our passion for baseball drives us to write about the game, but hardly monopolizes our existence. If anything, we might have the perspective that insiders lack.

But don't let me dictate to you who's good and who isn't. Judge for yourself. Just judge after you've read an individual's work, not before.

It is overcast and flat-out cold today in New York. What to cook? A stew, a soup, shepherd's pie, a lasagna, a risotto? Mmmm. While I ponder what to make, let me repeat that I think the Yankees will score a bunch of runs this afternoon. Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees' stopper, is on the hill.

Let's Go Yan-Kees.

Comments (212)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-06 08:46:33
1.   Sliced Bread
Makin' a big mean lobster pot of chili today with all sorts of peppers, beans, and three meats: ground beef, ground turkey, and chopped chicken breast.
That'll feed the troops until mid-week, when we pour it over pasta.
I love chili week!

Be nice to see the bats bust out today. The Yanks offense is like an aircraft carrier. Takes a few minutes to get up to speed, but when she hits full throttle in open water, watch the eff out.

2008-04-06 08:57:33
2.   mehmattski
I, too, would love to see the blogger stereotype vanish into thin air. As the folks at FJM have pointed out numerous times, there's crap everywhere- crap on the blogs, crap in papers, crap in magazines. But each medium has its stars, and those should in no way be dismissed because they don't have that "insider access" that beat writers hold onto like precious jewels. It's been said many times in the comments here, but Peter Abraham is an exception. He "gets it," although when he tries to lapse into analysis, the quality of his work decreases immensely.

It's just like anything else, there needs to be a balance. If I want to see analysis of a player's performance, I never go to ESPN or really any mainstream media- I go to blogs. This is also true if I want a fan's perspective on the game, put together by folks like Alex in a much more eloquent way than I could ever effort. But the beat writer still does have his place, because only a limited number of people should have access to the locker room, and it's their job to understand whether the dip in performance noted by the bloggers' analysis is because the player tweaked his hammy or has soreness in his forearm. Balance.

As for what to cook: beef stroganoff.
http://tinyurl.com/43om29
mmmmm.

2008-04-06 08:57:57
3.   Sliced Bread
Alex, I don't think Chass is nearly as relevant as you, Cliff, and your fellow bloggers at this point.

I hope when I'm at his stage of my career, I'm still trying to stay fresh, sharp, and open to different perspectives.

He comes across as stale, and bitter these days: not at all an appealing combination. I don't dismiss old timer's like him easily, but I decided sometime last year that I don't have time for him, or Lupica anymore. Too many more interesting writers to read these days.

2008-04-06 09:06:05
4.   joe in boston
I think back to the old (single-usually hungover) days living in the Back Bay on cold Sundays like this one: I'd get 3 papers (Post, Daily News and the Globe), a big ol' Tuna Sub from Despinas (Mass Ave), bag of Doritos, a 2 liter of Diet Pepsi and a big Yankee cup filled with ice. Plant my butt in front of the tube and I'd be happy for hours....
2008-04-06 09:06:43
5.   Knuckles
Nice story Alex. We mostly just got the Star Ledger growing up, and I loved the big fat Sunday edition. My dad then started getting the weekend delivery of the Times at some point in HS or college. For all the talk about the death of newspapers, I will be sad to see the weekend print versions go, when they eventually disappear.

Gray and damp here in DC as well. I put a bling new fork on my bike yesterday and am looking for a weather window to take it out for a spin.

Dinner here is gonna be slow cooked short ribs, and potatoes roasted w/ duck fat. Can't wait.

2008-04-06 09:11:24
6.   Adrian
4 Man, Joe, you just described today. I live at Mass/Beacon and I was just wondering what I'd have for lunch. Despina's is awesome.

P.S. I'm going to the Sox home opener on Tuesday, w/seats behind (I think) if any of you catch the game or the evening news, I'll be "Yankee Fan Badly Beaten."

2008-04-06 09:23:18
7.   Sliced Bread
ah, wife just kaboshed Project Chili. I wasn't hip to her defrosting plan. So now it's hot sausages on the grill, with sauteed onions and peppers. Damn fine Plan B, but we need rolls, and more importantly propane, or charcoal. Yeah, I'll go ahead and brag. I'm a man who has grilling options.
2008-04-06 09:29:42
8.   Alex Belth
A grill? Dag, I AM envious. That just creates so many more options. Being a city guy, my experience with grills, while not limited, is not as frequent as I'd like.

I was thinking of a celery risotto when I remembered that I defrosted a package of pizza dough yesterday. I've got a pizza stone, so I'll make a sauce, and then throw together a couple of pies later on.

2008-04-06 09:34:32
9.   joe in boston
Yo Adrian -

Spent 13 years on Marlborough st between Mass Ave and Hereford. Everything I needed was literally within 1/2 a block -

Corner bar - check - Last Drop
convenience store - check - Marlb. Mkt
Subs - check - Despinas
Laundry - check etc etc

Even though I'm happily married, 2 kids, and in the suburbs north of Boston - man, I miss those days.....

2008-04-06 09:41:43
10.   Zack
Well, its overcast here in San Diego, and even chilly by our spoiled standards (65ish), but as its only 10:00AM, my Sunday routines in the years I have been here consist of sleeping in a bit, waking up and grabbing the Sunday Times off the front stoop, making some coffee, and then going back to bed with the paper until game time. Then, its coffee, paper, and game and by 1:00 I am ready to roll...
2008-04-06 09:46:19
11.   Sliced Bread
8 A pizza stone? Now, I'm the one saying Dag!
That was the about the only thing on our bridal registry that I really wanted. Almost 12 years later I still don't understand why we never got one.
Homemade pizza's the best, and we love when our friends, and my brother-in-law treat us to it.
Enjoy!
2008-04-06 09:53:19
12.   cult of basebaal
8 that's one of the joys of the left coast ... year-round grilling ... fact is, i'm gonna be searing a pork-shoulder on there later on ... getting a nice crust going before i slow cook it, "chile verde" style
2008-04-06 09:56:06
13.   Josh Wilker
When I was a kid we got always got the NY Times on Sunday, too, but sometimes we got the Boston Globe, too. The difference between Chass's leaden, joyless finance page "baseball" article and Gammons' weekly utterly enjoyable around-the-league scuttlebutt article was like the difference between a chunk of concrete and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Even as a kid I noticed that not only was Chass's writing completely spiritless, he also seemed prone to basing his articles on one phone call to some graying front office figure, while Gammons, by contrast, was talking to everyone, even forerunners of blogging types such as the stats-crazy fan Gammons referred to as The Maniacal One.
2008-04-06 10:01:48
14.   Zack
Flash looks positively tiny next to Kay and Singleton, which is weird. Says a lot about Kay's size I suppose...
2008-04-06 10:02:34
15.   ChrisS
Sometimes life is fair, sometimes it's just not. I'm in Missouri on business last week and this. Last year when I was out here I managed to catch both MO teams in the same week, a ChiSox/Royals game (a dandy by Gil Meche):
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/KCA/KCA200709180.shtml)

And a laugher of a 'Stros/Cards game:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN200709200.shtml)

This year? I leave Kansas City Tuesday morning, and the Yanks help the Royals with their home opener that afternoon. So close.

But as for today I'll have a leisurely late lunch at Arthur Bryant's feasting on pit smoked BBQ pork near the old KC Athletics Field after checking out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum/HoF.

2008-04-06 10:02:36
16.   Knuckles
I could not live without my grill. Our neighborhood is on the denser side of "suburban" and most townhouses and condos don't allow grills, so we had to look a little longer than most to score a 4'x15' deck.
2008-04-06 10:03:51
17.   Knuckles
15 I hit up Bryant's about a month ago- talk about comfort food...

Did you get the chance to check the Negro Leagues museum?

2008-04-06 10:06:04
18.   mehmattski
14 Kenny has a dapper looking trenchcoat, I must say.
2008-04-06 10:13:34
19.   Zack
I love when you can hear the umps strike call on TV/radio. One of those real low, long guttural calls that sounds like "HEEEEEeeeee" or some such...
2008-04-06 10:18:03
20.   mehmattski
Well, this game should be over in about an hour and a half...
2008-04-06 10:32:05
21.   Just fair
WTBS, home of the Braves, is showing Red Sox v. Blue Jays. Whaaaaattt?
2008-04-06 10:33:27
22.   mehmattski
Wow... even though he got a hit, Matsui looked lost and confused. He bailed out on an outside pitch and just managed to make contact. He has not looked good this year so far.
2008-04-06 10:35:37
23.   mehmattski
That also was a dumb swing by Cano. He kept asking for time... didn't get it, and swung at a pitch out of the strike zone. Ugh.
2008-04-06 10:37:31
24.   yankeemonkey
Gaaaaahh, this is so frustrating to watch. I shudder to think how they'll look against the likes of Beckett if they don't come around soon enough.
2008-04-06 10:40:05
25.   Zack
21 thanks for that heads up. I get TBSHD, and the game looks awesome! I forgot that TBS is doing Sunday afternoon games. Not that I really want to watch rolly-polly Beckett in HD...
2008-04-06 10:40:51
26.   Zack
Wanger showing some impressive breaking pitches thus far
2008-04-06 10:41:53
27.   yankeemonkey
Who is this strikeout pitcher wearing Wang's number?
2008-04-06 10:42:14
28.   Zack
I also love that Jorge wears the old school mask and backwards helmet, no hockey mask for a red-ass like Jorge!
2008-04-06 10:42:42
29.   mehmattski
Four strikeouts. Sweet. Nice slider today.
2008-04-06 10:45:15
30.   cult of basebaal
25 the regular TBS feed is awful, maybe the worst looking broadcast i've seen in years ... completely washed out, it's hard to pick the players out of the field ...

and of course, it's got buck martinez announcing, which isn't quite as bad as joe morgan, but it's close ... yeesh

meanwhile, 3ips 4ks for Nolan Wang

2008-04-06 10:46:10
31.   yankeemonkey
Nice bit of acting by Betemit.
2008-04-06 10:46:27
32.   Zack
I tune in to the Sox game just in time to see Ellsbury crush a HR of Halladay. If that freaking twerp can do it, why can't we?
2008-04-06 10:49:42
33.   yankeemonkey
Ugh.
2008-04-06 10:49:45
34.   Just fair
Brutal.
2008-04-06 10:49:48
35.   Zack
Oy, man, this team seems adverse to scoring runs at the moment
2008-04-06 10:50:15
36.   cult of basebaal
well, that's one way to get a guy to 2nd ...
2008-04-06 10:50:41
37.   Knuckles
Melky homered off Halladay too.
Maybe he has a weakness against young CF's?
2008-04-06 10:51:07
38.   cult of basebaal
for those of us on gameday, how bad of a decision was it by betemax?
2008-04-06 10:51:24
39.   mehmattski
Apparently Upton needed to be like 200 feet away from his target to be accurate. I watched him in AAA at shortstop when he had like 40 throwing errors in a season... the main reason he's now in the OF.
2008-04-06 10:53:02
40.   mehmattski
38 Upton needed to make a perfect play, and he did... caught up with the ball in left-center and fired a strike to third.
2008-04-06 10:55:30
41.   yankeemonkey
40 It wasn't even close, though. Betemit was like 40 feet away when the ball arrived. Awesome play.
2008-04-06 10:56:58
42.   mehmattski
Thanks for playing, Jete.
2008-04-06 10:57:14
43.   Zack
'nother wasted inning
2008-04-06 11:02:43
44.   Just fair
The SI vault is indeed a wonder. I read this yesterday and was reminded of just how good Donnie Baseball's first years were with the Yanks. I could not help but think how good Cano could still be. The first 5 games of this year notwithstanding.
http://tinyurl.com/4utfjv
2008-04-06 11:02:46
45.   OldYanksFan
Ellsbury is not going to be great, but I think he will be very good. He looks like a natural athlete and is VERY smooth to watch.

He is better then Melky is every aspect of the game EXCEPT power at the plate and arm strength. He will be fun for Sox fans to watch.

2008-04-06 11:05:27
46.   mehmattski
Freezing a guy on a strike-three changeup has to be right up there with blazing the high heat past him.

Uh-oh, why is Monahan at the mound? He was there for like three seconds. Wang looks like he planted wrong on the first pitch to Upton, he then shook his leg out like there was a small cramp.

2008-04-06 11:09:24
47.   cult of basebaal
another nice inning for Doodle ...
2008-04-06 11:12:33
48.   Zack
Wow this offense LOOKS pathetic. These guys are flailing on breaking pitches out of the zone
2008-04-06 11:14:07
49.   mehmattski
Meanwhile A-Rod gets fooled and hits a double to the wall...
2008-04-06 11:14:47
50.   Shaun P
45 True, but keep in mind that Ellsbury is a year older than Melky. And Melky was a big league regular at 21. At 21, Ellsbury had just finished college and was drafted. Makes for a potentially big difference.

Let's hope Wang keeps it up. It'd be nice to see a run come home here.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-06 11:16:23
51.   Zack
Finally!!
2008-04-06 11:16:37
52.   mehmattski
Hey, Matsui! That's what I'm talkin about!
2008-04-06 11:16:39
53.   yankeemonkey
Godzilla!!! 'bout damn time!
2008-04-06 11:16:53
54.   Zack
Love it, Hideki and Big Hurt go year with 2 run dingers at the same time!
2008-04-06 11:16:56
55.   Shaun P
Hey, a lead!
2008-04-06 11:17:20
56.   Knuckles
The O gets off the schneid.
2008-04-06 11:18:16
57.   Just fair
Hey, a lead. How's about that.
2008-04-06 11:18:17
58.   Zack
Ok, wait, I was wrong, no Thomas HR
2008-04-06 11:18:46
59.   Zack
Vernon Wells
2008-04-06 11:19:35
60.   cult of basebaal
wells homer off beckett, jays up 2-1 ... this must be the year of insufferable announcers getting to eat their words ... first brantley and encarnacion last week, and now martinez and wells ...

martinez spent the whole time during wells' first at-bat blathering on about how the jays couldn't try and wait for homeruns against beckett, how they had to scratch for runs ... like beckett's never had gopher-itis before

meanwhile .... GOJIRAAAAAAA!!!!!!

2008-04-06 11:20:57
61.   mehmattski
IT'S A TRAP!
2008-04-06 11:20:58
62.   Zack
That looked like a catch. But either way, a very encouraging AB by Cano.

Oh, def. not a catch!

2008-04-06 11:23:10
63.   cult of basebaal
cletus just miss one???
2008-04-06 11:23:58
64.   yankeemonkey
Jorgie almost juiced one. At least they seem to be taking better swings second time through the lineup.
2008-04-06 11:24:42
65.   Just fair
Roll on Cano. There was a trap more obvious last night during the Mets game that was ruled the third out. The defense left the field, the manager complained, umpires convened, changed the call, and the players came back onto the field.
2008-04-06 11:25:18
66.   OldYanksFan
Thanks to an error by Lugo, Beckett at 70 pitches through 4 innings. 2-1 Toronto.
2008-04-06 11:26:40
67.   Zack
66 Yes, but 70 Cy -Young worthy, incomparably "clutch" pitches, mind you...
2008-04-06 11:28:57
68.   Zack
It does seem like the Yanks are pitching inside a lot more this season already, doesn't it?
2008-04-06 11:32:39
69.   mehmattski
Aw, lame.
2008-04-06 11:34:09
70.   Zack
blarg
2008-04-06 11:34:25
71.   yankeemonkey
Lamer.
2008-04-06 11:34:28
72.   mehmattski
Ugh. May I repeat from yesterday- I think Jeter needs a day off...
2008-04-06 11:35:01
73.   Zack
Niiiice...
2008-04-06 11:35:23
74.   mehmattski
Worst. Suicide Squeeze. Ever.
2008-04-06 11:35:25
75.   yankeemonkey
Awesome!
2008-04-06 11:35:35
76.   Just fair
Yes guys blame Cano. I gotta give the error to Jeter there.
2008-04-06 11:35:35
77.   Zack
Very odd time to do a suicide. Safety I can see, i guess, but down two its odd, no?
2008-04-06 11:36:51
78.   mehmattski
76 Yeah, all those left-handed second basemen running around, Jeter got confused...
2008-04-06 11:37:22
79.   Zack
Well, I guess the Rays just wanted to give the yankees back for that error. New K-Wang takes care of the rest...
2008-04-06 11:39:51
80.   Just fair
My favorite Chien Ming-Wang anagram.
Changing Me Win
2008-04-06 11:40:02
81.   Shaun P
Who is this strikeout pitcher and what has he done with Chien-Ming Wang?

Impressive. A few more runs scored by the Yanks would make it more satisfying though.

2008-04-06 11:40:21
82.   ChrisS
Is he getting these Ks on his newly developed change or slider?
2008-04-06 11:41:10
83.   mehmattski
82 Both. He had a called strike three with the change and has gotten swinging strikeouts on both the sinker and the slider, all of them low.
2008-04-06 11:42:15
84.   yankeemonkey
Ooooh, another opportunity for a GIDP for the cap'n.
2008-04-06 11:42:36
85.   mehmattski
Does anyone know if the Texas League is indeed known for hits like that?
2008-04-06 11:43:16
86.   Shaun P
82 Gameday says 3 of the 6 Ks on the slider, one on a sinker, one on a fastball, and one on a splitter.

Wait a minute - Wang throws a splitter!? I wonder how that thing characterizes pitches . . .

2008-04-06 11:44:29
87.   yankeemonkey
84 I'm happy to be wrong.
2008-04-06 11:45:29
88.   mehmattski
86 It does it based on a database of pitches like the ones that have been analyzed by the folks at The Hardball Times for the last few months. Characterized by speed and movement I guess.

But yeah, that pitch was most assuredly a changeup, but it does have some movement down and to the right.

2008-04-06 11:45:42
89.   Zack
86 Well, considering it had Moose's FBs listed as changeups, I'd say a lot is done off velocity and break data. That splitter was prob. a sinker...B/c Wang throws hard but with tons of drop, it must look like a splitter to the computer
2008-04-06 11:47:06
90.   cult of basebaal
86 gameday is calling the change the splitter
2008-04-06 11:47:19
91.   Just fair
85 What did anyone ever do without google?

The Texas leaguer got it's name from my Great Grandfather, Ollie Pickering, who hit seven bloop hits in a row in his baseball debut in the Texas League.

The above is certainly one of the theories on the origin of the term 'Texas Leaguer'. Another is that three players had been traded up to the majors from the Texas League and beat a team with bloop singles in their first game. The synopsis of the game reported the hits as 'dinky Texas Leaguers'. Another theory is attributed to New York Giants second baseman Larry Doyle, who played in the majors between 1907-1920. He said he noticed the Gulf stream breezes had a major effect on fly balls in the Texas League cities. Balls that were seemingly hit hard enough to make it to an outfielder would be knocked down by the strong winds and fall between an infielder and outfielder.

2008-04-06 11:47:38
92.   mehmattski
Speaking of changeups, Bobby got straight embarrassed on that one from Shields.
2008-04-06 11:48:33
93.   yankeemonkey
Beckett is done after 4.2 innings, leaves w/bases loaded.
2008-04-06 11:48:50
94.   cult of basebaal
92 good googly moogly, i LOVE changeups ... favorite pitch in the game
2008-04-06 11:49:07
95.   ChrisS
I know he's fiddled with both a splitter and a change. He was throwing the split in spring training.

If he can start picking up 6 or so Ks a game in addition to inducing worm-burners, he's going to be a nightmare to face.

2008-04-06 11:49:24
96.   Shaun P
88 89 90 Thank you. I wonder if its getting Shields' changeup wrong as well. Most of the time, the pitch Gameday labels as his "changeup" is barely 5 MPH slower than the pitch it calls his fastball. Shouldn't there be a little more distance, if you will, between the speed of the fastball and the speed of the change? Or is ~5 MPH enough?
2008-04-06 11:49:33
97.   Just fair
Big Frank. Grand Slam.
2008-04-06 11:50:30
98.   Zack
Big Hurt crushes a grand salami, 3 of those runs going to Josh "IPTGTRW" Beckett
2008-04-06 11:50:46
99.   Shaun P
C'mon Godzilla . . .
2008-04-06 11:51:17
100.   cult of basebaal
96 don't know, shields is throwing a lot of changeups ... radargun on YES has them around 80 or so
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-04-06 11:51:38
101.   Zack
96 Shields' change is particularly nasty and seems to have a lot of downward break on it, so I wouldn't be surprised if it is only a few MPH slower, throwing the timing just off...
2008-04-06 11:52:18
102.   ChrisS
Big opp for the Yankees to put this game away.
2008-04-06 11:52:26
103.   mehmattski
96 In the Abreu at bat, I think you saw a slow fastball and a fast change. It was the movement on the latter that got Abreu, I think.

It was the fastball, however, that completely fooled Matsui there with the bases loaded...

2008-04-06 11:52:58
104.   Shaun P
WTF? Gameday had that third pitch in the right handed batter's box!
2008-04-06 11:53:23
105.   mehmattski
104 Yeah, pretty much.
2008-04-06 11:53:50
106.   OldYanksFan
The Red Sox losing: $32.52
The Yankees winnings: $103.44
The Sox losing, the Yanks winning, and Beckett with the loss and 5 ERs in 5 innings....

PRICELESS!

2008-04-06 11:54:48
107.   yankeemonkey
106 4.2 innings...even better!
2008-04-06 11:54:54
108.   Shaun P
100 101 103 Thanks again.

I think all the PitchFX stuff is really neat, but I wonder how much reliance we should place on analysis of its data. It seems to have a ways to go before its 'deadly' accurate.

2008-04-06 11:57:20
109.   Zack
Just watched Halladay make Ortiz look foolish...
2008-04-06 11:58:13
110.   cult of basebaal
104 be like that game in the 80's where pags turned around and batted right handed for one at-bat
2008-04-06 11:58:29
111.   mehmattski
108 I think the flaw is that the algorithm is taking data averaged over all pitchers to guess what the pitch was from a specific pitcher. It would be better to get a seasons' worth of data from each pitcher and extrapolate from that.
2008-04-06 12:02:48
112.   Just fair
Good play, Wanger. A few geico runs would be nice.
2008-04-06 12:02:53
113.   Zack
Nice fielding by Wanger!

Me, I'd go Joba for two, but that's because I want him stretched out a bit. But Wang for one more seems in order...

2008-04-06 12:03:38
114.   cult of basebaal
nice, doodle!
2008-04-06 12:06:05
115.   mehmattski
Atta boy, Canoe!
2008-04-06 12:13:44
116.   Zack
Ugh, this team is still incapable of getting runners on base home...
2008-04-06 12:14:32
117.   Just fair
Hey, Robbie. Here's some cold water to throw on your lead off double. 6 for 41 with RISP. Cripes.
2008-04-06 12:15:43
118.   cult of basebaal
another round of clutch hitting by the boys ... gah
2008-04-06 12:15:53
119.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hello, Team!

Game is going well, I see (Wanger!), but two runs isn't too many.

And it's unacceptable for Robby to be stranded at second after a leadoff double.

Unacceptable.

Oh well.

Joba for two, then?

2008-04-06 12:16:52
120.   weeping for brunnhilde
118 Jorgie (especially) has to do better than that.
2008-04-06 12:17:24
121.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ah, well Chien's back out.

Has he shown any signs of tiring?

2008-04-06 12:18:53
122.   Zack
121 Indeed he has...
2008-04-06 12:18:57
123.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ok, last batter, I hope.
2008-04-06 12:19:26
124.   Zack
Oh God, Fransworth is up!
2008-04-06 12:19:37
125.   mehmattski
Nooooo not Farnsworthless!
2008-04-06 12:19:40
126.   weeping for brunnhilde
122 Are you talking about the previous inning (which I didn't see) or Floyd's hit right there?
2008-04-06 12:20:13
127.   Shaun P
121 By Gameday's reading of his velocity, no; sinker and fb have been as fast as they've been all day.

But 94 pitches for a second start seems a bit much. I bet he goes until who's warming up now is ready.

2008-04-06 12:20:22
128.   weeping for brunnhilde
124 So's Joba, though, right? I swear I saw him.

Why let him allow two linedrives in a row?

2008-04-06 12:20:23
129.   yankeemonkey
Uh oh
2008-04-06 12:20:31
130.   Zack
126 Bit of both. Last few batters of the last inning Wanger was falling behind, and clearly this inning he's toast...Joba time I hope
2008-04-06 12:20:45
131.   weeping for brunnhilde
That's it.

Thank you, Chien.

Joba??

Please?

2008-04-06 12:22:10
132.   Zack
Solo HR for Drew, whos off to a hot start, 7-3 Jays
2008-04-06 12:22:11
133.   mehmattski
It's Joba according to Gameday.
2008-04-06 12:23:24
134.   weeping for brunnhilde
133 All right, this is old school. Putting out the fire and whatnot.

This is what "firemen" are supposed to do, so let's see him strike out the side.

2008-04-06 12:23:44
135.   Zack
Good, its Job. though he'll need to be on to wiggle out of this situation
2008-04-06 12:24:11
136.   yankeemonkey
Halladay's given up 3 solo jacks today, and another to Melk the other day. Is he usually HR-prone?
2008-04-06 12:24:29
137.   cult of basebaal
welcome weeping!

welcome joba!

2008-04-06 12:25:07
138.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ooooh, nice breaking ball for strike one.

Bodes well...

2008-04-06 12:25:30
139.   mehmattski
First pitch curveball for a strike. Curious, and I like it. Pops the mitt with a 97 mph fastball for strike two.
2008-04-06 12:26:00
140.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh my God.

There's one.

Made him look silly.

That's what I'm talking about!

2008-04-06 12:26:01
141.   Zack
The ol' Good morning, good afternoon, good night!
2008-04-06 12:26:27
142.   Just fair
That's 1. Curveball strike. 97 on the black. Tough slider for strike 3.
2008-04-06 12:26:58
143.   cult of basebaal
just plain fucking nasty set of pitches to aybar ... sweeet!
2008-04-06 12:28:23
144.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh my God.

High heat, just smoked by him.

All right, Joba, here we go, lay in that breaking pitch!

2008-04-06 12:28:39
145.   Zack
I forgot about Kay's orgasms over MPH
2008-04-06 12:29:11
146.   weeping for brunnhilde
Holy fuck.
2008-04-06 12:29:15
147.   Zack
Wow, GREAT play by Cano! Saved Joba's butt!
2008-04-06 12:29:15
148.   Just fair
SWEEEEEEEET
2008-04-06 12:29:18
149.   yankeemonkey
What a play!!
2008-04-06 12:29:46
150.   weeping for brunnhilde
Wow.

Robby Cano.

(Btw, Joba, I said breaking pitch!)

But it all worked out.

Pfew.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-04-06 12:29:52
151.   mehmattski
My emotional sequence:

Hard hit liner: Yikes!
Caught by Cano: Yes!
Wheels and fires to first: YES!

2008-04-06 12:30:14
152.   cult of basebaal
afternoon D-LITE!!!!
2008-04-06 12:31:43
153.   weeping for brunnhilde
137 Cheers, CoB. Looks like I arrived just as the fun began, eh?

Ok, insurance runs would be nice...

2008-04-06 12:31:54
154.   cult of basebaal
wait ... so MLB.tv makes me watch god bless america during the 7th inning stretch ... WTF???

ah, the sweet power of muting

2008-04-06 12:32:27
155.   weeping for brunnhilde
151 Yup.
2008-04-06 12:33:36
156.   cult of basebaal
153 good to see you back for another season ... totally off subject ... is that you posting over on Salon??? or is there another WfB floating around on the intertubes
2008-04-06 12:33:37
157.   Zack
Joba obviously needs to come out for the 8th. The more we can use him for two the better...
2008-04-06 12:34:19
158.   weeping for brunnhilde
How'd we score the two, btw?

Anything to write home about?

2008-04-06 12:34:43
159.   cult of basebaal
a-rod double, gojira jack
2008-04-06 12:34:53
160.   monkeypants
154 I'm not sure MLB.tv makes you watch anything. Turning the observation on its head, for the viewer who wants to see GBA instead of a blank screen might be happy that MLB.tv provides that opportunity. I'm glad to see that you have exercised your freedom to hit the mute button (or even change the game you are watching, or even leave the room).
2008-04-06 12:35:11
161.   mehmattski
158 Double to the right field gap by A-Rod, followed by a two-run jack to right by Matsui.
2008-04-06 12:35:13
162.   yankeemonkey
I thought I read somewhere that leadoff hitters were supposed to get on base fairly often. That's not accurate, is it.
2008-04-06 12:35:30
163.   weeping for brunnhilde
156 You too, CoB.

And yes, he and I are one and the same. :)

2008-04-06 12:38:28
164.   Zack
Scrappy McSlappy Pedroia really pissed at being called out on a great play by McDonald and pouts in the doubgout; McDonald who then collides with Wells on a YOukilis pop up and they're both still down. Youkilis, being the scrappy player he is, runs all the way to third and looks quite pleased with himself...
2008-04-06 12:39:15
165.   Zack
And they're up, but McDonald could have easily destroyed his shoulder and Wells got a nice shoulder to the face...
2008-04-06 12:40:28
166.   Zack
What the heck is the deal with thee players demanding that Joba is more valuable in the 8th? Singleton excellently points out that Wang was far more valuable today...
2008-04-06 12:41:21
167.   weeping for brunnhilde
Why is Joba shying away from his slider with two strikes?
2008-04-06 12:41:23
168.   monkeypants
164 I have the Sox-Jays game on here. It's interesting that they have red-white-and-blue bunting in the Rogers Centre for opening day. I wonder why not use red and white bunting, for Canada's colors. Is it because baseball is America's past time? Or are the American League colors RWB?
2008-04-06 12:42:23
169.   weeping for brunnhilde
Nice Job, Joba my man.

Nice job.

(Fucking locusts.)

2008-04-06 12:43:16
170.   cult of basebaal
way to go, joba
2008-04-06 12:43:56
171.   Shaun P
Since the K of Aybar, Joba has thrown one curveball, and every other pitch has been a fastball. Maybe I'm nitpicking, and maybe I'm being panicky, but shouldn't he be working on commanding his breaking pitches just a bit?

Or was the excellent K of Aybar enough work on them for today? =)

2008-04-06 12:44:12
172.   Just fair
So says Joba to Farsnworth and Hawkins.
"See, 1,2,3 innings are not an impossibility."
2008-04-06 12:45:29
173.   rbj
Just got in, it's a beautiful day here, temp's all the way up in the mid-50s with sunshine.

"While I ponder what to make, let me repeat that I think the Yankees will score a bunch of runs this afternoon."

Care to revise you remarks, Alex?

2008-04-06 12:45:42
174.   Shaun P
166 Singleton has it right. As you'd expect from a guy who played under Earl Weaver, and was (rightly) beloved by Weaver.
2008-04-06 12:45:46
175.   monkeypants
171 Not nitpicking at all--the greatest danger in using him as the eighth inning guy is that he will rely too heavily on his fastball and slider, without developing a #3 and/or #4 pitch. That's going to make the transition to starting harder, in addition to the additional innings/appearance.
2008-04-06 12:46:06
176.   weeping for brunnhilde
171 Agreed. He really lucked out with that dp, which came on the fastball I explicitly instructed him not to throw.

But no one listens to me. :(

2008-04-06 12:47:23
177.   Zack
Kay just said that Andy, if healthy, really wants to pitch in the new park. That's good news to keep hearing.
2008-04-06 12:47:56
178.   cult of basebaal
171 well, he did get a couple of grounders in the 2nd inning ... looked like he was going 2 seamer a bit, which would be another nice weapon in the arsenal
2008-04-06 12:48:37
179.   weeping for brunnhilde
That Matsui hit was just like CAno's double.
2008-04-06 12:50:48
180.   OldYanksFan
176 Absolutely agree. We dodged a bullet. I think you HAVE to talk to Posada about calling a FB, for a strike, when ahead in the count, after 2 previous FBs. I think it was a VERY bad call.

It should never happen again.
I can't think of a more appropriate time for the low slider.

2008-04-06 12:52:01
181.   monkeypants
Uh-oh...Jays announcers are comparing Papelbon and Joba, and going on about how foolish it is to move such a great late inning reliever into the starting rotation. I actually like listening to the Jays announcers--they are usually even handed and not too loud--but the smartest baseball minds they are not.
2008-04-06 12:52:18
182.   Shaun P
175 177 178 That's why I'm worried! I hope Eiland or Girardi says something to him. Though it was just an inning . . . and I suppose one must always work on command of one's fastball too. Especially if he's throwing a 2 seamer in addition to the 4-seamer.

173 Since Alex can't share whatever he's cooked today (darn; with the 2 little ones, my wife never has enough time to cook the really good stuff) - I'll take a nice, quick, painless 9th from Mo, please.

2008-04-06 12:52:19
183.   weeping for brunnhilde
Second straight ab Jorgie flails feebly at that breaking ball.

Sigh.

2008-04-06 12:52:52
184.   Zack
With the state of the Yanks' offense and the start by Wang, I seriously don't understand how anyone could argue that a dominant starter going 6 innings is not more valuable than a dominant reliever going 2. Shut out innings are shut out innings...
2008-04-06 12:54:16
185.   Zack
181 The sooner the Yanks just switch him the better. If, knock on wood, the young BP guys continue to be solid, it shouldn't be such an issue...
2008-04-06 12:54:16
186.   weeping for brunnhilde
184 Yeah, but these go to eleven.
2008-04-06 12:57:31
187.   Zack
Arod and Jeter collide and Jeter secretly kidney punches A-Rod as they steady themselves...
2008-04-06 12:57:33
188.   yankeemonkey
That had the potential to be very very ugly.
2008-04-06 12:57:34
189.   Just fair
Will those two ever get along? :)
2008-04-06 12:59:34
190.   mehmattski
Come on Mo, get this one over in less than 3 hours. You have six minutes.
2008-04-06 13:00:39
191.   weeping for brunnhilde
Man, that 1-1 to Floyd was Nas-ty.
2008-04-06 13:01:31
192.   Zack
Having Hideki, Wang, AND Mo on my fantasy team equals a good Sunday for me :)
2008-04-06 13:01:51
193.   Zack
Well, that last pitch was obviously not really what it was supposed to be, but I'll take it!
2008-04-06 13:01:57
194.   Just fair
This team should be pretty good once they start hitting. Your turn for a good start, Moose.
2008-04-06 13:02:00
195.   yankeemonkey
Just Mo bein' Mo.
2008-04-06 13:02:06
196.   weeping for brunnhilde
Some pitching, Team.

Some pitching.

2008-04-06 13:02:10
197.   Zack
Wang thus far has been the master of the short game...
2008-04-06 13:02:44
198.   cult of basebaal
190 ask and you shall receive ...
2008-04-06 13:02:45
199.   mehmattski
The final at bat, according to Gameday:

SPD BRK PFX PITCH
93 5" 6" Fastball
92 4" 7" Fastball
92 5" 6" Cutter
92 5" 5" Cutter
91 3" 10" Fastball

It's that subtle difference of 1 MPH that makes a cutter not a fastball, I guess...

2008-04-06 13:03:38
200.   mehmattski
Posada says that Wang was throwing a splitter. Interesting.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2008-04-06 13:03:54
201.   weeping for brunnhilde
Damn, sorry I missed Chien. Jorgie says his slider was the key.

I'd like to have seen that.

Next time...

2008-04-06 13:04:14
202.   Zack
199 Interesting, clearly pitches #1, 3 and 4 were cutters and #2 and #5 FBs...
2008-04-06 13:06:30
203.   Zack
And the Jays just complete the sweep :)
2008-04-06 13:08:45
204.   OldYanksFan
187 There goes the sleepover....
2008-04-06 13:13:47
205.   weeping for brunnhilde
204 Heh hehe heh heh.
2008-04-06 13:17:25
206.   yankeemonkey
I'm loving Girardi's bullpen management so far. Granted, most of the moves he's made have been no-brainers, but still...Great to see a manager go straight to his best reliever in a tough situation without mucking around.
2008-04-06 13:32:32
207.   weeping for brunnhilde
61 "Luke, Luke, don't it's a trap! [shootshoot] It's a TRAP!"
2008-04-06 13:54:37
208.   tommyl
You know what as great about todays game? Every situation where I was saying, "Oh, please do A" Girardi did. Examples:

1. Not bunting Melky.
2. Bringing in Joba in the 7th immediately. No dicking around because he's the "8th inning guy."
3. Leaving Joba out for the 8th.

There is no way that Joe Torre would have made those moves. Right now, we'd be complaining that we lost this game because Kyle Farnsworth had pitched at some point.

The offense will come around. They can't be that bad with the bases loaded all year. A few more hits in the right places and we'd have had 6 or 7 runs today.

2008-04-06 14:34:35
209.   tommyl
Posted on Dodger Thoughts:

No. No. No. No.

This Pierre situation will be the team's undoing. Seriously, does he have compromising pictures of Torre? This is unbelievable.

....

Ah, they've already discovered the blackmail pictures joke. Those Dodger fans are quick learners ;)

2008-04-06 14:39:26
210.   OldYanksFan
Now this is interesting!
(hey... the thread's over)
http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=12224
Hat tip to FJM.
2008-04-06 19:30:18
211.   weeping for brunnhilde
209 Ha ah aha hah ah aha ha hHA AH AHHA!!!

Oh, God, good luck, Joe!

Don't forget to write!

2008-04-10 07:44:30
212.   Ron Kaplan
A nice piece on Chass. Maybe it's my age, but I take umbrage at all these snipes at him because he's "old school." There's a tradition to baseball that seems lost on many younger fans. Jon Weisman has a point about bloggers wanting respect, but I would add a caveat: I think the majority of bloggers are not "serious," that is, having the credentials to have their work read and taken seriously and I think it is to THAT segment that Chass aims his antipathy.

Ron Kaplan
rkasbaseballbookshelf.wordpress.com

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