Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Panky #62: Right On to Write Off?
2008-08-22 08:22
by Will Weiss
Monday's front page of Yahoo! Sports displayed a graphic that I believe summarizes what many of us who follow the Yankees are feeling: a midnight-blue coffin bearing the Yankees' top-hat-and-bat logo underneath a banner reading "RIP YANKEES AND PLAYOFFS.", a site that calculates each team's playoff chances by simulating the remainder of the season for all 30 MLB teams 1 million times every day, has the Yankees' playoff chances down to 6.6 percent.

With 35 games left—a third of those coming against Tampa and Boston—the now six-game Wild Card deficit is not insurmountable. The Yankees are still mathematically in it, but as the losses aggregate, it's growing difficult to be optimistic about giving Yankee Stadium a proper sendoff with October baseball.

Newsday's Mark Herrmann agreed with that position in his Sunday column, advising fans not to count on a happy ending this season.

Even certain circles of the blogosphere have soured on the team. This from NoMaas on Aug. 17:

Between us declaring that this team won't make the playoffs and the organization failing to sign their 1st-round draft pick, the Yankees aren't exactly holding our interest right now.

Compared to Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and some of the baffling Olympic commentary (Al Trautwig's descriptions of Nastia Liukin stretching were borderline pedophilic, and Andrea Kremer's interviews from the Water Cube have demonstrated that she's out of her element), I'll admit, the Yankees haven't exactly been holding my interest, either. Carl Pavano starting on Saturday has me interested in the team, but not for the right reasons. I'm ready to place the over/under at five innings before Pavano discovers another injury and removes himself from the game.

On the Desperation Meter, Pavano's start isn't close to having Kevin Brown start Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, but Joe Girardi could pencil in "Last Resort" as an alias for Pavano at Camden Yards and few would know the difference. Consider the following paragraphs from Mr. GAK III of the New York Post:

How desperate are the Yankees? Publicly, none of the players spoke despairingly of Pavano re-entering their universe.

"If anything we are excited," Jason Giambi said of Pavano, who has pitched in 19 games in three-plus years and hasn't worked a big league game since last May due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Pavano missed the entire 2006 season with assorted injuries that included a bruised buttock.

"We need a win and he is a guy who can help. I hope we get the real Carl Pavano."

It's fortunate that Pavano is making this start in Baltimore. That may not be enough of a break, however. Without the Olympic coverage that has pushed baseball to mid-section status on some editors' agendas, Pavano will be front and center and a surefire headliner for the Sunday papers. His anxiety level will be high. The stress might have killed him if he was making this start in the Bronx.



Keeping with the Pavano theme, there have been some gems over at NoMaas over the past few days. The pictures alone had me rolling. Having been around the team for some of Pav's early starts and having tracked his progress through the shoulder, buttocks, and car accident/breakup with the Maxim model fiascos, laughter is the most appropriate reaction.



Untitled Today's Daily News may have the best take of all. If you haven't had a chance to check out the sports section front online, I've taken the liberty of showing you all the poll they've posted. At last check, 52 percent of voters selected "All of the above."

In all seriousness, though, if this is the real Carl Pavano, he'll make the most of the last six or seven starts of his Yankee tenure and parlay that into a semi-meaningful contract with a mid-level major league team next year. Who knows, that may be enough to help put the Yankees over the hump.

Prior to Thursday, the Knight from Aruba had rattled off six quality starts since returning to the Yankees' major league roster on June 27th. On only one occasion—July 27th vs. Boston—did he not make it through five innings, though he has pitched himself into and out of numerous jams. In his last 10 innings—a timeframe covering his last two outings— Ponson has retired the leadoff man only twice. That precedent, combined with the offense's inability to solve Roy Halladay (they were hitting .197 against him this season prior to Thursday), led to a 14-3 debacle. It was another setback at a time when every game is a pressure-cooker.

The lackluster performance prompted Baseball Tonight's Eric Young to call the team out on a lack of intensity. Young said the Yankees were "flat" and that, "The Blue Jays wanted this game more." Personally, I've always had a problem with the "he wanted it more" opinion. But when a team is outplayed, it's natural to call into question its intensity level, or lack thereof. The Yankees certainly did not play like a team scrapping for a playoff spot.

Ah yes, the familiar caustic pen of Bob Raissman called to attention some of John Sterling's most recent on-air foibles. This is nothing new, but it's fun to check in and look at the latest jabs.

If you were to make a drinking game out of Sterling's miscues (you'd have to have the radio broadcast on while watching the game on TV to truly make this work), you'd be seeing double by the third inning. I just don't understand how people can listen to a Yankee game on the radio and believe there's a) a game going on; or b) entertainment value in the description of said game.

It's not looking good for the Yankees on a number of fronts. October gets closer with each passing day, but it's getting further away at the same time. From a media standpoint, that just means the aftermath will be covered one week earlier than it has been in each of the last three seasons.

Until next week …

2008-08-22 08:36:04
1.   vockins
Is it legal to broadcast your own call of the game on the web?

I think I already know the answer to that, but I would try anyone else out at this point.

2008-08-22 08:58:34
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 I've been tempted to do something like that on Banter. Like a Bronx Banter game of the week. Can any of the lawyers out there comment on the legality of such a thing?
2008-08-22 09:04:03
3.   thinkblue88

Oh man, that would be such and awesome thing to do! I would most definitely tune in.

2008-08-22 09:07:35
4.   standuptriple
2 Something about "the descriptions of this game are the property of MLB and..." blah, blah, blah..."expressed written consent...". Now, I'm no law-talkin' guy, but I do work in the field and know a bunch of Esq.'s. I'm pretty sure, IF Selig's brief-men found out, you'd get a cease and desist in a NY minute, at the very minimum.
0 I looked it up, Nastia Liukin is 18. No pedophelia (whew!). Carry on, gents.
2008-08-22 09:16:31
5.   Raf
There are tickets available to Saturday's game, I just may take a day trip to Baltimore to check the Yanks out.
2008-08-22 09:20:45
6.   Will Weiss
1 If we ever wanted to do it, I have play-by-play experience on baseball, going back to college and calling some local minor league games over the last couple of years.
2008-08-22 09:42:30
7.   riclaimbeer

i think unauthorized dissemination extends beyond mere broadcasting of the game and may include a second hand description. its all about the money to mlb. remember this article that shows how greedy they are?

2008-08-22 10:11:17
8.   Sliced Bread
I've been watching much more Olympics than Yanks Ow-limp-icks the past two weeks. Is there a single announcer who isn't annoying? Gymnastics and diving are the worst. Jim McKay's legacy is hardly being well honored, but the Games have been great TV.
2008-08-22 10:12:55
9.   pistolpete
6 Just make sure you throw in lots of awful jokes that only you're laughing at and a few old Broadway references every inning.
2008-08-22 10:13:05
10.   Cliff Corcoran
Didn't that suit ultimately come out against baseball and uphold the legality of liveblogs? Is there a line between liveblogging a game and, essentially, audio-liveblogging a game?
2008-08-22 10:22:18
11.   Sliced Bread
legality, schmegality, Cliff. Just do it.

[disclaimer: Sliced Bread IS NOT QUALIFIED TO provide any legal advice. Bronx Banterers should consult with their own lawyer for legal advice.]

2008-08-22 10:41:58
12.   Sliced Bread
as a special treat for Yankees fans, you know, like the cherry on top of this sweet season, could ESPN and FOX please join forces to cover Pavano's Saturday nighter?
Miller, Morgan, Buck, AND, McCarver. A Mount Rushmore of baseball broadcasting in one booth. One night only. Pavanotime.
Gosh, that would be, so... special.
2008-08-22 10:49:51
13.   Will Weiss
12 As McCarver said so memorably back in the mid-90s during a broadcast, "And remember ... the Yankees play in New York."
2008-08-22 10:50:08
14.   JL25and3
9 Careful, pistolpete, you're treading awfully close to libel there. It's completely and maliciously untrue to say that Sterling tells lots of awful jokes that only he laughs at.

Suzyn laughs at them, too. Every single last one of them.

2008-08-22 10:58:31
15.   rbj
"the descriptions of this game are the property of MLB" Gee, if read real close it could mean that you couldn't even stand around the water cooler and say "did you see that home run Jeter hit the other night".

10 Cliff, suppose there's someone who's blind and thus couldn't participate in a liveblog on the screen, but could for the audio part. I wonder if the Americans with Disabilities Act could come into play here.

(And while I do have a law degree, I've never practiced and am on inactive status so do not consider the above to be legal advice, but merely an avenue to explore.)

2008-08-22 11:06:11
16.   Shawn Clap
2 As your attorney, I advise you to rent a car with no top, and drive towards Yankee Stadium at top speed.
2008-08-22 11:16:39
17.   Sliced Bread
16 you represent Mr. Pavano as well I presume?
2008-08-22 11:21:38
18.   pistolpete
14 How about, instead of simply a straight-laced broadcast of a game, we go with a complete parody of Sterling & Waldman instead?

I'm not suggesting blatant impersonations, mind you, but more of a tangent-filled, cornball-ish cavalcade of over-the-top home run calls.

From what I gather, parody doesn't fall under the typical legal umbrella, although I'm not quite how it relates to professional sports broadcasts.

2008-08-22 11:59:23
19.   yankster
I posted this on a thread that turned into [crickets] but maybe that's because it's a lousy post. Either way, I'm tossing it out again:
The Yankees must be pitching Pavano for a better reason than simply filling innings.

Are they keeping the clock from starting for a minor leaguer?

Is he possibly a late season trade candidate?

Through one of the quirks of the free agent rating system, according to the Detroit Tigers Thoughts Blog, a free agent that goes on the DL seems to get his performance projected backward (or forward) at a pretty good rate.

Consequently, if he's good enough, Pavano could, though he'll only pitch five or six games at most, conceivably become a type A or B free agent.

The result of that is interesting too. It would lower even further his value to a team other than the Yankees (because they would have to give up a pick for him). Consequently, Pavano has an incentive to pitch well enough to seem capable to other teams, but needs to pitch poorly enough to not be a "top free agent."

My suspicion is that the Yankees want to seem him put his cards on the table rather than letting another team simply take a winger on him at low cost or with purely performance oriented contract next year. If that's the case, it's a minor satisfying revenge for the Yankees.

2008-08-22 12:06:59
20.   yankster
By the way, when I just searched ticketmaster, this Baltimore series was totally sold out, unlikely as that seems.
2008-08-22 12:09:13
21.   yankster
On the legal, MLB can write whatever it wants about what you can or can't do, that doesn't make it legally binding. They will harass you though, either way. For example, see MLB's loss to the fantasy baseball folks.
2008-08-22 12:12:36
22.   JL25and3
19 Pavano made two starts last year, and might make half a dozen this year. There may be an adjustment for DL time, but I doubt that they'd extrapolate that into two entire seasons.

Even if they're incredibly extravagant about it, I can't believe there's any chance it would make him a Type A free agent. That's the only thing that matters, because the signing team doesn't give up anything for a type B.

2008-08-22 12:26:07
23.   Cliff Corcoran
19 Actually, I don't think there's anything to it other than his last rehab start went better than Hughes' did. Aceves has not pitched well in Scranton. No one else is ready or available. Giese would be starting if he didn't get hurt. Hughes would be starting if his last rehab start had gone well. I see no conspiracy.
2008-08-22 12:31:55
24.   Raf
20 According to Baltimore's MLB site, they have tickets available to Saturday's game.
2008-08-22 13:12:42
25.   alsep73
I believe Mike and the Mad Dog got spanked at one point by MLB for essentially doing play by play of some Yankee games that were taking place during their show.
2008-08-22 14:57:27
26.   randym77
Chad Jennings said the Yankees didn't want to put Igawa back on the 40-man roster because they were afraid he'd choose free agency when it came time to remove him. You can only outright a player once without his consent.

He implied that if not for that, we might be looking at another Igawa start.

FWIW, some beat reporters are getting around the live-blogging thing by delaying their blog posts for short while. A few minutes or even seconds.

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