Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Panky # 54; Mo Better Treatment
2008-06-12 06:35
by Will Weiss
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Monday afternoon’s loss and the subsequent reaction from the press served as a reminder that Mariano Rivera has been so good for so long that analysts and writers alike seem to forget that he’s fallible and is, in fact, capable of giving up home runs. The unusual component was that this was the second home run Rivera allowed in the series against the Royals, only the fourth time, as the New York Times pointed out, Rivera had allowed two homers in a series in his career.

Rivera’s reaction, throwing down the rosin bag in disgust and grimacing at his mistake, made backpage headlines here in New York. Why? It’s a natural reaction for anyone who is accustomed to excellence. It wasn’t bratty. It was born out of frustration at making what he deemed to be a basic mistake.

“I got too much of the plate,” Rivera told reporters. “If I make my pitch, I’ll be OK.”

Rivera has blown saves before, and has given up game-costing home runs in the regular season before. (See Bill Mueller, Bill Selby, etc). He has even uttered those same words when explaining home runs he’s allowed.

Four years ago, after blowing two of his first three opportunities of the season, all you heard on talk radio and read in the papers was, “Is Mo done? And if so, who will replace him?” Rivera then rattled off 33 consecutive saves to prove he wasn’t done, and continues to take care of himself to ensure he’s healthy enough to honor the remainder of his contract. Mariano Rivera is many things and has been the Yankees MVP for many years. By reputation and numbers, he may still be the best closer in baseball. One thing he is not, is perfect. This should not be huge news or treated with the level of drama that resulted from the Guillen home run.

Readers of this blog and many other Yankee fan blogs recognize that. The general tone was that the team still is not hitting with runners in scoring position – a trend that has been consistent for four seasons now – and that the Yankees split a four game series against a Royals team that wins as many road games as the Washington Generals.

Thank you, Mark LaMonica, for bringing sanity to the discussion.

Darrell Rasner has turned into a pumpkin. Another result like what occurred in Oakland last night, and Joe Girardi will be pelted with questions on what he’ll do with the rotation when Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes return. We all know Joba Chamberlain will remain as a starter, unless Hank Steinbrenner blames the media for creating that theory.

Please sir, I want some more… The Yankees are requesting more public funding to complete the Stadium project. I wish you could buy stock in things like that.

Radio ga-ga… Driving home from upstate New York this past Sunday from my wife’s college reunion, we turned on CBS-880 to listen to the game (I’ll admit it, I’m caught up in the Joba stuff).  Not only did CBS cut out from the western tip of Jersey just after crossing the Delaware Water Gap, it was fuzzy from the George Washington Bridge all the way back to Long Island. Reception is usually pretty solid.

It was probably for the best. The more I listen to John Sterling, the more I want to either get satellite radio or just not listen to the Yankees when I can’t watch them.

Hanky Panky… Speaking of Hank, Big Stein The Younger will be a guest columnist for Sporting News Today, starting July 23. If nothing else, it’ll be entertaining. Imagine if the 24/7 news cycle existed 30 years ago when GMS III was in his prime. One thing to watch: if the tone of his column or the information therein is consistent with what he tells local reporters on the record.

We’ve heard this before… Tino Martinez is the latest entrant in what’s becoming the annual Yankees’ “can’t dig themselves too much more of a hole but you can’t ever count them out” parade.

T-minus four weeks until the All-Star break. Let’s see if Interleague turns the tide and gets everyone on a Yankees bandwagon the way it, and a 20-game win streak, did for the A’s in 2001.

Until next week …

2008-06-12 07:01:27
1.   joe in boston
Great write up. Good stuff. I think the Yanks will pull it together... just a hunch on my part, but I have faith. Will, Where upstate ? I'm from near Saratoga, went to Siena.
2008-06-12 07:02:12
2.   Sliced Bread
good stuff, Will.
I live out in NW NJ and the WCBS signal is terrible in my town. I catch the games on an FM country station out of Newburgh, or Port Jervis, someplace like that. It's weird. I get a better signal from WCBS driving up to Syracuse through Scranton, but 45 miles from the city I get nothing. Too high up, and too many trees I guess.
I'm a "should have satellite radio" poster boy, but I haven't pulled the trigger. I'm old school in the sense that for some reason I don't mind having to flip around terrestrial radio for better reception, or something better to listen to.
2008-06-12 07:12:39
3.   Travis08
There was something strange going on with the WCBS signal on Sunday. The broadcast came in fine for the first two innings, then didn't come in at all for the next five. All the other AM stations were coming in normally.
2008-06-12 07:19:54
4.   monkeypants
Driving back from a college reunion in Upstate last Sunday...hmmm...your wife didn't happen to go to Cornell, did she?

'Cuz we were driving back from our college reunion in Ithaca (Cornell) on the same day listening to the same game.

2008-06-12 07:34:48
5.   joe in boston
I have XM in my car, I like it.
Also bought a GE "Super Radio" a few years back. It's basically a high powered AM and FM portable radio - only cost $35-40 I think. I can get WFAN and all the NY City stations pretty good (we live 25-30 miles north of Boston)
2008-06-12 07:41:05
6.   dianagramr
Speaking of bad announcing, did anyone happen to listen to Rick Sutcliffe on ESPN last night?

He didn't sound drunk, but he sure made it seem like he was (and the U.S.S. Mariner blog noticed too):

2008-06-12 07:56:33
7.   rbj
Not sure if Rasner is now a pumpkin as much as he's a number 5 starter and shouldn't be throwing 118 pitches a game.
2008-06-12 08:06:12
8.   Shaun P
7 Agreed. Rasner has had 2 bad starts out of 6; that's not enough seeds to fill up a pumpkin.

Only 3 HR in 42 IP, 27 K, 6 BB (4.5 K:BB) - I'll take that kind of pumpkin any day.

2008-06-12 08:13:08
9.   Shaun P
Will, the baseball package makes XM worthwhile all by itself (though XM has a lot of other great programming too). There is nothing like being in the car and getting to hear Harry Kalas, or Vin Scully, or Bob Uecker . . . its wonderful. The perfect cure for Sterlingitis. (Sterling and Waldman aren't bad, but they are, at best, middle of the pack.)

Speaking of XM - Pete Abe will be on 175 today around 1:40ish. Should be interesting to hear.

2008-06-12 08:21:58
10.   joe in boston
I like XM very much. Planning on enjoying it as we tour the east coast this summer visiting family ... although with a 3 year old and a 5 year - i doubt that I will get to listen to what I want. Best thing about XM ... I was able to talk them down to $75 for the year !
2008-06-12 09:00:36
11.   Knuckles
I had XM for a year but let it lapse about 18 months ago when I stopped driving to work. Got a random email last week asking me to come back for $5/mo for 3/mo, so I dragged the old radio out of the closet, bought a home adapter for it off Craigslist for $3 (I remember not buying one back in the day b/c they were $50), and listened to the game last night. Good stuff- it'll be nice to have the Yanks games for the next few months, even as background noise.
2008-06-12 09:51:17
12.   williamnyy23
2 3 It wasn't a reception issue with CBS on was a signal outage for a period of about an hour.
2008-06-12 11:41:29
13.   RZG
880 had about 30 minutes of transmitter problems over the weekend during a game.
2008-06-12 13:12:18
14.   Will Weiss
4 You got me. 1 We were in Ithaca, Joe. My wife is the Ivy Leaguer, I'm the I-K grad.
2008-06-12 13:13:31
15.   Will Weiss
13 Thanks for the clarification.

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