Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday For A Mooseburger Today
2008-09-19 05:10
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Your 2008 New York Yankees are, obviously, a major disappointment... but they’re not actually bad, either. Last night's 9-2 win was their 82nd of the season, which means they’ll finish at .500 even if they lose every single game remaining. And they’ll almost certainly finish with well over 83 wins, which is more than can be said for the 2006 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Okay, that's an extreme example, but still: in the AL Central the Yankees would be two games out of first with this record, and they’d actually be winning in the NL West. Now clearly wins do not translate so exactly across divisions, and you cannot aim for 80-odd wins if you’re playing in the AL East, and yes, the Yankees have lots of very real and significant problems, yes the offense was surprisingly mediocre, yes Sir Sidney Ponson started 14 games. Still, technically, this is not a bad team, not by general MLB standards. They’re just not good enough.

They were last night, though, and they thumped the White Sox. The first pitch was more memorable than much of the actual game; it was thrown out by Emilio Navarro, who at 102 years of age is now the oldest living pro baseball player in the world. Navarro is a tiny man, and came up to about the belly button of Jorge Posada, who caught Navarro's first pitch (tossed in from halfway to the plate, but with some zip on it). But he looks amazingly good for his age, walked without assistance, and took his time soaking in the applause on the field, grinning and leisurely tipping his cap to the fans and savoring the moment; he looked like he was having a ball.

Mike Mussina then started things off unpromisingly by loading the bases, twice. But he escaped with just one run allowed, and after that he went on cruise control: five more innings, smooth and easy. Old frenemy Javier Vazquez was pitching for the White Sox, and the Yankees came back off of him right away, with a Derek Jeter single and a Bobby Abreu homer in the bottom of the first – Abreu's first of two consecutive bombs.

The Yankees kept tacking on, one in the third inning and four in the fourth; Ozzie Guillen wisely removed Vazquez before he could face Abreu again, but Horacio Ramirez was not much of an improvement, and the Yankees got a little Conga line going around the bases. They added two more in the fifth, and the New York bullpen trio of Jose Veras, Humberto Sanchez, and Chris Britton finished things off with little incident. In other news, Juan Miranda made his major league debut tonight with two walks, and later in the game Francisco Cervelli stepped in behind the plate, apparently recovered from his controversial broken wrist.

I’d love to see Mike Mussina win 20, but I’ve been pessimistic about it for a while now and I think that’s partly because I still associate Moose with coming excruciatingly close to milestones rather than reaching them: like during that heartbreaking game at Fenway in 2001, where he was just one out away from a perfect game (I think even one strike away, though I may be mentally exaggerating there) when Carl Everett – CARL EVERETT! – ruined it with a single. Anyway, I generally enjoy Mussina's moments of snarky exasperation (at least when not directed at an umpire or errant infielder during a game), but he has some kinda touching moments of sincerity in this nice Bats post from Tyler Kepner.

Finally, apropos of nothing, Alex has requested that I share the below YouTube clip with all of you. (Actually, he asked if I could “work it in” to my recap...but stunningly enough, the  topic didn't come up directly in the course of last night's game). So I'll give it to you now with no additional editorial comment.

You're welcome.

2008-09-19 06:13:21
1.   vockins
Any youtube video with Tequila Sunrise Vistalites in it is bound to be good.
2008-09-19 06:29:10
2.   Sliced Bread
There they go again, stealing verses out of my head -- but I'm cool witit. Zap!
2008-09-19 06:34:45
3.   Alex Belth
2008-09-19 06:37:24
4.   Chyll Will
Re: YouTube clip: ACK! >;) Now have visions of Andy Kaufman and Weird Al in a duet, with the Mamas & The Papas as chorus. (imitating Charlie Brown after he tries kicking the football with Lucy holding it)...

Well, I agree with you in regards to the Yanks not being a bad team per se; compared to what the AL Central and the NL West have to offer. Yet I wonder about how we would define our team as being "good" under any circumstances; even when we win the WS. Were the 1999 and 2000 teams "good" teams to some of our more hypercritical brethren, were they ostensibly better teams than the ones in 2003-04, etc.

I don't want to devolve into horrible subjectivity in that regard, (but I suppose the conversation will on that point), and considering all the meowing and btchng that was going on about this year's team (mine included), on the wouldda-couldda-shouldda scale, I think this team is a shouldda, especially with the way Alex and Abreu are coming on now and with what Girardi did to Cano the other night.

Btw, I kinda hope that Cashman (or whomever) don't look at Abreu's recent surge (if you will) and decide that he's a keeper. His flaws were more evident than ever this season and that should be enough to be wary of what he has to offer over the next three seasons, which is what he wants. If it weren't for Damon and Matsui, I'd say keep him as a DH, but forget it. For some reason, I just can't get Danny Tartabull out of my head in regards to Abreu. (But then again, I can't get the visions I mentioned in the beginning out of my head, either >;)

2008-09-19 06:42:13
5.   horace-clarke-era
Alas, yes, no playoff race means quiet Banter. It only took me 5 minutes to scroll the game thread. Really happy to see Moose rolling ("A moose once bit my sister" ... someone source it, quick! Alex?)

OYF musingly wondered about Pettitte in the pen next year. No way no how ... Andy almost retired THIS year walking away from- what is it? - 16 million. He's very very likely gone, I'd be surprised (though not that unhappy) to see him back. Down the stretch he's been a 4th starter and he'd likely be that again ... but not at 16 million.

Yes, we'll have a TON of money to spend (I think I keep Abreu, myself, but he may want 3 years and that's too long) but there are younger pitchers. I think Sabathia has to be our main target, much more than Teix.

I see Santana's getting touted for 2nd and 3rd place votes now for NL Cy Young, over on rotoworld. Mets messed him up on quality starts as badly as Yanks hurt Moose. I think I said it here last week: when you go with the 'fun' of watching the kids, you risk the pain of watching the kids.

Having said that, I entirely agree with Emma's main point: this was not a BAD team, we have been amazingly spoiled for a long time and 'decent' reads as woeful.

I am genuinely in head-shake mode over the renewed A Rod booing. He is likely to top hrs after missing a month, an 11th 35/100 (though it is a fake stat, I agree).

2008-09-19 06:50:19
6.   rsmith51
Regarding Moose, there was 2001 World Series(so close), 2003 World Series, Cy Young(6 top 5 finishes, including 2nd), though he pitched much better than Rocket in 2001, 18+ wins six times.
2008-09-19 07:00:43
7.   Dimelo
That video is hilarious!!! I love it.
2008-09-19 07:01:59
8.   Bob B
I don't know what Alex was thinking but he certainly cheered up my day with the video. "ZAP", it kinda takes the sting today out of not making the playoffs. Thanks Emma. It's always great to get your input on the Banter.
2008-09-19 07:09:15
9.   Bama Yankee
Nice job, Emma. Thanks for posting the video. Now I'm going to have that song playing in my head all day...although, I guess if I'm going to have a song playing in my head it might as well be about Jesus.
2008-09-19 07:21:38
10.   Emma Span
5 Monty Python! Shoulda introduced the video with "now for something completely different"...

I've watched that thing at least five times now.

4 To me, the Yankees are a "shoulda" in that they at least should have been IN THE RACE a few weeks longer. As for actually winning the division, as presently constructed... I'm not sure.

2008-09-19 07:26:29
11.   rbj
"yes Sir Sidney Ponson started 14 games"

Wow, I didn't realize it was that bad.

And Emma, I am pretty sure it was down to one strike.

We still don't know if it is:
Yankee pitcher pitches perfect game = World Series win
Yankee pitcher with name starting with D pitches perfect game = World Series win.

2008-09-19 07:26:33
12.   Dimelo
0 I can't get that song out of my head!!!!
2008-09-19 07:30:41
13.   Emma Span
12 I know. I'm just sitting here at my desk humming the line "Jesus is a Mountie" over and over again. Thanks Alex!
2008-09-19 07:40:18
14.   ms october
12 13 i can't get those creepy background singers out of my head!

ideally to me (perhaps not them or maybe even the yanks) both moose and pettite accept arbitration or 1 year deals with some type of fair option.

but for now, go moose! the quest for 20 is alive and hopefully that is not the last moose in pinstripes game.

2008-09-19 07:43:53
15.   Just fair
Wasn't that the Rockies' Theme song last year. Sorry, couldn't resist.
2008-09-19 08:23:40
16.   pistolpete
4 >>Btw, I kinda hope that Cashman (or whomever) don't look at Abreu's recent surge (if you will) and decide that he's a keeper >>

Oh my gosh, I was thinking the exact same thing as I watched Bobby being interviewed by Kim Jones at the end of the game.

Like you, I prefer to judge him when the team wasn't doing well. Hopefully management will do the same.

2008-09-19 09:35:30
17.   williamnyy23
The song is so hysterical/ridiculous that even the most devout fundamentalist without a sense of humor would not begrudge someone from ridiculing it.

I also don't think this was/is a bad team. In fact, the word I used most often (too often for many) was mediocre, but in fact, the team was even a little better than that.

What was "bad" about this team is that they really never played particularly well. Sure they had two eight game win streaks, but one of those was fueled by the dregs of baseball. Still, putting those two streaks aside, this team basically played 2 steps forward, two steps behind. In fact, once you put those 16 wins in the bank, the rest of the season was pretty much a .500 campaign.

2008-09-19 09:38:56
18.   RCK
Wow. We can only hope that Montero has a long, productive career with the Yankees so that video will be relevant to many a game recap to come.
2008-09-19 10:17:02
19.   Raf
Car Everett... Got a single on a high and outside pitch, that was out of the zone.

Them's the breaks sometimes.

According to Michael Kay, he and the other reporters were rooting against Moose.

2008-09-19 10:23:04
20.   YankeeInMichigan
John and Suzyn were carrying on last night about how Moose really deserves to have 21 wins by this point. Baseball Prospectus disagrees, putting Mussina's expected wins at 12.4.

At least last night's performance propelled Moose from #35 to #29 in SNLVAR. Breaking the top 30 is significant, as it makes Moose an "ace" in the loosest sense of the term, a #1 pitcher on an average MLB pitching staff.

NIGHTMARE SCENARIO THAT I DREAD: Yanks become mathematically elimininated from playoff hunt as Andy Pettitte implodes in Sunday night's Stadium fanale.

THE ONLY THING THAT COULD BE WORSE: Yanks become mathematically eliminated from playoff hunt as Mariano Rivera blows save on Sunday night.

2008-09-19 10:26:42
21.   YankeeInMichigan
20 Oops. I was sorting by SNVAR by mistake. By SNLVAR, Moose is #31. Not an ace by any definition.
2008-09-19 10:31:13
22.   YankeeInMichigan
21 And that becomes #33 when you unify C.C. Sabathia's and Rich Harden's split results.
2008-09-19 11:07:20
23.   moismycopilot
0 Emma, I was at that near-perfect game, and Moose did have two strikes on Everett. Fenway was as quiet as a church until that moment. In my mind, it'd be less bad if a real Red Sock had gotten that hit, but no, it had to be Carl flipping Everett instead.
2008-09-19 12:47:12
24.   Chyll Will
23 I watched that whole game on TV. Boy I was mad, but dems de breaks. No one can take away the effort, that's for sure.

Nice screen name, btw >;)

2008-09-19 15:53:55
25.   moismycopilot
24 Thanks =)

That was the first baseball game that I went to, so I guess I've been pretty spoiled. Moose has been my favorite non-Mariano pitcher ever since then, so I'm really rooting for him to reach 20 wins this year.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.