Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Finish What Ya Started
2008-09-25 22:39
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Blue Jays beat the Yankees 8-2 last night as Roy Halladay picked up his 20th win with his ninth complete game of the season. By doing so, Halladay tied CC Sabathia for the major league lead in complete games, though Sabathia could break the tie in his final start. Only one team other than the Blue Jays and Brewers has more than nine complete games.

Halladay needed just 96 pitches to finish off the Yankees' B-squad. Of the six hits he allowed, three were by Brett Gardner (one of them a double, one of them in infield hit on which Gardner beat out a nice play by Jays second baseman Joe Inglett on a hard grounder in the hole). Melky Cabrera (1 for 3) got one of the others, and Cody Ransom drew the only Yankee walk of the night.

It might have been a bit unfair for Joe Girardi to give catching prospect Francisco Cervelli (0-for-3) his first major league start against Halladay, but then Girardi didn't make Cervelli swing at the first pitch he saw in his first two at bats (both groundouts, the second a double play). Cervelli took two pitches in his final at-bat, but still struck out swinging on just four tosses. That said, Cervelli showed great form on the one stolen base attempt against him, firing a strike that would have nailed Alex Rios in the third had Rios not gotten a huge jump on Carl Pavano.

Speaking of Pavano, in his final act as a Yankee, he gave up five runs in just 3 2/3 innings. Don't let the door bruise your buttocks on the way out, Chuckles.

At least Pavano's short outing allowed Girardi to audition some relievers. Dan Giese stranded the two runners he inherited from Pavano in the fourth, but couldn't get the second out of the fifth inning, allowing two runs on three consecutive hits before David Robertson tidied up his mess. Edwar Ramirez struck out Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay in a scoreless sixth. Humberto Sanchez gave up a run in the seventh after walking two men on nine pitches, but got a double play to get out of his own mess. Finally, in the eighth Darrell Rasner retired the Jay's 4-5-6 hitters 1-2-3, getting ahead of each hitter before inducing each into a groundout.

Speaking of the bullpen, Mariano Rivera had an MRI on his shoulder yesterday and could need some minor arthroscopic surgery this winter. Meanwhile, Joe Girardi continues to display either a dangerous ignorance or an inexplicable need to snowball the media regarding his players' physical health. After listening to his post-game press conference, I think it's the former, which means he needs to work on his communication with his players and his training staff. A manager's primary job is distributing playing time to his players. If the manager is ill informed about his players' health for whatever reason, his ability to perform that essential task in the manner most beneficial to the team is compromised. That may not be an issue in Rivera's case, but may have been with regard to Jorge Posada's shoulder, Alex Rodriguez's quad, or any of a number of other early-season aches and pains that got worse before they got better.

2008-09-26 05:33:31
1.   Sliced Bread
I've never been in a fraternity but it seems to me that Girardi (to the detriment of his manager's cred) still adheres to some fraternal oath not to discuss a brother's injuries or secrets outside the family.

If this is the case -- and it's not that he's misinformed ,or out of the loop -- I have no problem with such nonsensical disinformation. The truth about injuries is revealed to all soon enough.

In the case of Posada's and ARod's injuries, who knows how truthful they were about their aches and pains before they got worse? I doubt they were the least bit forthcoming. With more experience, Girardi will learn to to read his players' bodies and minds, and recognize when they need rest or treatment.
Until that happens, the GM, coaches, and trainers will have to serve as Joe's eyes and ears, and be more vigilant.

2008-09-26 05:46:44
2.   Rob Middletown CT
Mo's shoulder is hurt? Gah!! Thanks, baseball gods, for this shit sandwich of a season.
2008-09-26 05:49:27
3.   bp1
1 Yeah, I agree, and as I was listening to the interview last night, I was thinking the Joe needs to learn how to say "Enough on this topic. Anyone have something else?" and steer the questions away from what he doesn't want to talk about. Instead, he answers a question, stares off into the distance waiting for the next one, and then when he hears someone talking gets this really strange look on his face.

One of Torre's skills was knowing when to pull the plug on a line of questioning, to the point of being snippy. I remember him cleaning out one reporter who asked him about using Rivera in a certain situation (tie game at home, or some such thing) and Joe let him have it. Nobody asked a followup.

New Joe needs to learn that skill over the winter if he's going to continue to be dodgy about these things. Last night he was not in control of the situation and it was not pleasant to watch.

2008-09-26 06:04:12
4.   Mattpat11
3 He could also, you know, tell the truth.
2008-09-26 06:16:39
5.   bp1
4 LOL - yeah - he could do that. But I was referencing what Sliced had to say. If Joe is taking a bullet for the player, he needs to control the situation.

But yeah - a little honesty goes a long way and I don't know if he's figured out where the "protect the players" and "look like an ass" line is yet.

2008-09-26 06:18:51
6.   vockins
You guys that watched the b-team Yankees with Carl Pavano on the mound vs. Roy Halladay over the Mets game, the Twins game, or the Brewers game should get plaques from the Steinbrenners for alligence to the club. Wow.
2008-09-26 06:19:33
7.   williamnyy23
1 I agree with that take. It really doesn't matter whether we find out about injuries immediately or a day or two later. I think this whole issues stems from the beat writers thinking they have to be the gate keepers of all information.

3 Joe's biggest asset was he was bigger than all the media members. No one wanted to get on his bad side for a variety reasons, not the least of which was to remain in most favored status and perhaps in the running as a ghost writer for one of Torre's lucrative book deals.

4 You mean like say Mo felt sore? That sounds truthful to me. It's not like Girardi said Rivera returned to NY to check on his steak house.

2008-09-26 06:20:29
8.   ms october
2 exactly - with mo one of the lone bright spots him being hurt would just cap this in a truly sickening manner.

my take on the whole girardi discussion of injuries with the beat writers is it naturally turned into this vicous cyle. girardi started off trying to be a bit secretive, probably thinking he was being strategic, the beat writers, especially the ones that did not really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, jumped on him, and then it just escalated to this nonsense, where both giradi and a good number of the beat writers acted like idiots.
obviously some of them are not girardi fans and they push that agenda every chance they get.
they wouldn't have tried this with torre and he certainly did know how to handle all of this much better.

now, my real concern. is girardi careless with handling injuries internally? is he one of those play through the pain types? was his stance downplaying some of these injuries to the press also done with the players? if the answers to these types of questions are yes, then i am really concerned going forward, not to mention if he is responsible in any way for some of the exacerbation of injuries like arod and posada this year.

2008-09-26 06:21:06
9.   williamnyy23
6 I had the Yankees on the TV and switched to the Mets during lulls. Then I set my PC up with the Brewers and the laptop with the Twins. It was actually a lot of fun.
2008-09-26 06:28:00
10.   JL25and3
7 Not revealing everything isn't the same as lying. If Girardi or the Yankees want to lie to the press, sure, that's their prerogative. It's also foolish, because the press also serves as a free publicity machine for the Yankees. The team needs the reporters just about as much as the reporters need the team. I think anything they might gain from lying is more than offset by the risks of pissing off that PR machine.

Tyler Kepner today:

"Girardi has misled reporters about injuries at various points all season, starting in April, when he insisted Brian Bruney had no structural damage to his foot, even though trainers knew he had a torn ligament. The next week, Girardi asserted that Phil Hughes had no physical problem when, in fact, Girardi knew he had a ribcage injury that ended up costing him months.

"Girardi has also been less than forthright about injuries to Jorge Posada, Chien-Ming Wang and Dan Giese. But claiming that he had not asked what specifically was wrong with Rivera was either negligent, considering Rivera's importance to the team, or a lie."

2008-09-26 06:38:58
11.   Knuckles
Arrivederci Glass Carl. I will pour out a bottle of cheap Chianti and Ragu for you one day. But not now.

Let's just sweep Boston and get to talking about next year's lineup and rotation, huh?

2008-09-26 06:40:39
12.   williamnyy23
10 50, 30 and maybe even 10 years ago, the Yankees need the press and as much as they needed them. Well, that simply is not the case anymore. By owning their own network, website, etc., the Yankees can do both jobs quite well (I learn more from YES than the beat writers). The newspapers, meanwhile, are dying on the vine. Sports is one of the few ways they can differentiate their product and provide some form of in-demand content. As a result, the reporters need the Yankees so much more.

I realize that beat writers want to feel like they are covering the White House, but the fact is that their roles are becoming increasingly marginalized. If Girardi wants to slow play injuries, so be it. If the media doesn't like it, find another source.

2008-09-26 06:41:32
13.   ny2ca2dc
11 My hope is that for Moose's game the Sawx will be resting regulars for the post season and will run out the B squad. I badly want Mikey to get 20 just to get that monkey (absurd as it is) off his back, finally.
2008-09-26 06:46:16
14.   Mattpat11
Lets move on to happier things. I'd say there's a somewhat better than average chance that we've seen the last of Pavano.
2008-09-26 06:48:06
15.   ny2ca2dc
12 PeteAbe writes what concerns me, "[Girardi's handling of injuries with the media] has become a problem in the clubhouse now as players have to explain that they are actually injured when the manager says something else. The "cranky body" story may sound good. But it puts Mariano Rivera in a tough spot, one he does not want to be in. If nothing else, the Yankees need to get their stories straight."

I think it would be fair enough to take PeteAbe's report with a grain of salt - maybe Pete is projecting awkwardness on the players/staff to suit his own conception. But if it's true, I would have to think it would hurt Girardi's credibility to the players. It also means the players are having to deal with a distraction/annoyance/heartache that the manager should be mitigating. "I have this damn injury, and now I also have to deal with my manager minimizing it, then I have to talk to the reporters about the damn injury, AND about the damn manager's fibbing" might go thru my mind if I'm JoPo.

2008-09-26 06:48:46
16.   ny2ca2dc
14 Dude, Farnsworth is also gone.
2008-09-26 06:49:40
17.   Mattpat11
16 For now.
2008-09-26 06:52:35
18.   Shaun P
17 For ever. That's something I feel safe in saying.

6 I didn't "watch" any of them, but Gameday lets you have multiple windows open (for me tabs in Firefox), so I just switched back and forth to whatever was most interesting at the time.

I think we spent as much time talking about the other games in the game thread as we did talking about the Yanks-Jays game.

2008-09-26 06:53:05
19.   williamnyy23
15 Mo was not even with the team, so I don't see how he was inconvienced by the situation. Also, as for Posada, it seemed to me as if every quote directly from him was minimizing the injury. Posada seemed to think he could stay behind the plate up until he went under the knife. If anything, Jorge seemed to bristle everytime Girardi broached the extent of his injury.

Plain and simple, I think this is an issue of the media trying to protect its dwindling turf. I don't really care how hard it is for PeteAbe, et al. to do their jobs, but what I really don't want is them pretending that they are going through all this effort for little old me, the fan.

2008-09-26 06:57:13
20.   Mattpat11
18 The Yankee manager and general manager love Kyle Farnsworth. I'd be floored if he doesn't show up again at some point.

As for Pavano, I give it a year and a half. He'll be on this team again before 2010 is over, if not as early as the beginning of next year.

2008-09-26 06:57:59
21.   JL25and3
12 Many, many, many more people in NY get their information from beat reporters than from YES or the Yankees website. The back pages of the newspapers make the in-house outlets look puny. There's no comparison.

Ask Willie Randolph if the press matters.

2008-09-26 06:58:13
22.   Knuckles
If Moose's shot at #20 gets rained out and they don't have to play the game for playoff reasons, I might cry.
2008-09-26 07:04:35
23.   Mattpat11
22 Mussina will kill someone. I suggest Pavano. It will prevent the team from re-signing him.
2008-09-26 07:08:09
24.   Knuckles
It comes down to the Sox' greediness vs. competitiveness/vindictiveness.

If Boston's locked into wherever they're gonna be by Sunday, and it's raining:

a) they play the game to squeeze every last dollar out of their "fans", hopefully sit the regulars and Moose gets his milestone, or

2) they cancel the game at the first sight of a sprinkle, to F the Yankees over and rest their entire roster for ALDS.

2008-09-26 07:08:44
25.   williamnyy23
21 How do you explain the rapidly declining newspaper circulations then? If every beat reporter stopped following the Yankees, YES ratings wouldn't skip a beat. In fact, it might drive more eyeballs to the channel. Between outlets like ESPN and the Yankees own media empire, I don't the back pages of the tabloids do much to promote the team. If anything, the teams drive people to read the tabloids.

I don't quite get your point about Randolph. If Minaya wasn't wavering on firing him, it wouldn't have been such a hot media story. The media didn't create the issue; the Mets front office did. If Minaya really let the tail wag the dog, that might explain why the Mets have had so many issues over the past two seasons.

2008-09-26 07:15:53
26.   Bronxer
24 I personally don't think the Sox care if Mussina gets win number 20 or not. It'll be more important to them to rest the players and ensure nobody gets hurt.

Sure, they want to squeeze every dollar from their fans (what team doesn't), but I doubt they care if Mussina gets a chance to pitch or not.

2008-09-26 07:17:43
27.   Mattpat11
25 Regardless of the state of the newspaper industry, I still have no idea what Girardi's cloak and dagger BS accomplishes.
2008-09-26 07:21:44
28.   Bama Yankee
"Don't let the door bruise your buttocks on the way out, Chuckles."

LOL. Good line, Cliff.

2008-09-26 07:26:11
29.   JL25and3
25 The top 20 papers in the country include the Times, the News, the Post, the Star-Ledger and Newsday. They have a combined circulation of over 4 million. That's not even counting the WFAN listeners, or the people who see the back cover of the tabloids.

YES doesn't come anywhere near that.

2008-09-26 07:42:02
30.   williamnyy23
27 Why does it have to accomplish anything more than not releasing information until it is confirmed? The only reason for Girardi to speculate about the extent of his players' injuries is to give a reporter a nice scoop.

29 Actually, those newspapers are probably down much closer to 3 million. Besides, that circulation includes a huge chunk of people who could care less about baseball. The difference is YES only cares about sports fans (and even more narrowly, Yankee fans). If you add up YES 400K daily viewers with ESPN's 3 million+, those two outlets alone trump the declining dailies.

2008-09-26 07:52:24
31.   OldYanksFan
1 7 100% agreed. As far as I'm concerned, Joe has absolutely zero need or responsibilty to tell reporters the exact (even if he KNEW the exact) nature of an injury the day it happens. Personally, I wish he were more tongue-in-cheek. More entertaining. Such as, his first answer should be (1) I think he broke a fingernail. Then (2), It might be jock itch, and finally, (3) Athletes Foot (they are after all athletes with feet). Then, he should simply rotate these 3 answers if he keeps getting injury questions questions.

The maybe the horribly, indignant media would get the point. Or maybe Joe could say "maybe you should just check with Cashman".

15 I like Pete, but he is constantly upset when he doesn't get an absolutely correct answer the moment a potential event occurs. You see, he is a reporter. He wants to write, or blog things before other reporters. Reporters like to be the first. It's their thing.

I however, am only concerned about the health of the team. Whatever is going to happen due to injury will be the SAME if the news is released by Cashman on Wednesday as it would be if Joe fesses up Tuesday night.

I personally believe ALL injury info should be released by the FO, so the timing and wording is to their liking. Who knows what may be effected (trades? strategy?), so I think it should be done by the FO.

Whatever the manner decided, I can't feel sorry for the press because they can't get their story before the day's deadline. I don't even like most sports reporters. They work purely in a self serving manner.

2008-09-26 07:53:22
32.   JL25and3
30 I rounded the circulation stats down by a quarter of a million, but you're right, they've declined since then. 25%? No.

ESPN's 3 million are national. I'm interested in NY viewers. And I'd bet that while many New Yorkers watch ESPN for general sports news, they rely much more on local outlets for Yankees news. And beat reporters also include sports radio - up go those numbers again.

In fact, beat reporters include YES as well. Michael Kay doesn't like being lied to, either.

I think it's utterly foolish to think that the Yankees can treat the press contemptuously and suffer no serious consequences.

2008-09-26 07:58:36
33.   Mattpat11
30 I'd like to think our manager does things for some kind of purpose other than being spiteful to the media.

Of course, watching him manage the team for six months, I should have know that Girardi's specialty is doing things for no discernible reason.

2008-09-26 08:15:16
34.   williamnyy23
32 The exact number as of April 2008 is 3,207,624 and trending down.

The beat writers with the chips on their shoulder are usually all print guys. Again, I think that's because they are trying to protect their turf from not only national outlets like ESPN and RSNs like YES, but also from radio guys, all of whom don't have to wait until the next morning to get their information print. One way the beat writers are dealing with this is throug blogs, but clearly the readership on those vehicles doesn't yet match print or the other outlets.

Whereas in the past, the Yankees probably needed every media member it could get, now I don't think that's the case. Does coverage have some marginal benefit...sure, but if the newspapers boycotted the Yankees the most serious repercussions would be on the newspaper end. Quite frankly, I don't think the Yankees ratings or attendance would miss a beat if the tabloids stopped covering the team.

2008-09-26 08:18:31
35.   williamnyy23
33 Girardi says Mo's body is sore; it turns out his shoulder is the only part that is sore. Again, I fail to see how that is spiteful or dishonest, but then again, a story about Melky returning to left field probably ins't as interesting as a Rhona Barret tantrum about the manager lying.

Hopefully, Girardi doesn't change his approach based on the whines of beat writers. He has so many more important things to improve upon than how easy he makes it for writers to put together stories that fewer and fewer people are reading.

2008-09-26 08:22:41
36.   Bronxer
35 Yawn ...
2008-09-26 08:29:07
37.   Shawn Clap
I don't think we've seen the last of Glass Jaw Pavano as a Yankee. Especially if Cashman comes back as GM, there's just too much money invested in the guy, what's the harm in just a little more?

As much as he's despised, in his few starts down the stretch, he proved that he can still pitch.

I don't feel that they would have treated him so gingerly (strict pitch-counts, etc.) if there weren't some thought of picking up his 1-year option. I hardly think they were just giving him an opportunity to showcase his stuff for other GMs.

Let's face it, I'd rather see Pavano than Ian Kennedy or Kei Igawa out there.

2008-09-26 08:34:48
38.   williamnyy23
37 He has an ERA+ of 75. All that has proven to me is he is terrible. I'd rather see IPK or Igawa than Pavano, but that's really a red herring. The Yankees would be foolish to count on any of those three in 2009.
2008-09-26 08:36:36
39.   Mattpat11
35 The leap from a "cranky body" to shoulder surgery is fairly significant to me.

If I thought Girardi's approach was some how beneficial to this team, I wouldn't care if he lied about the color of the sky. As is, we have a man that is, at best, unclear, and a team fighting for third place.

It feels like he's acting like this just for the sake of pissing off the media.

2008-09-26 08:37:35
40.   pistolpete
19 >> but what I really don't want is them pretending that they are going through all this effort for little old me, the fan. >>

Bingo. It's almost as if guys like Abraham are reporting for the fantasy owners out there.

"Crap, Mo's out? Looks like I'll have to pick up Jose Veras off the waiver wire now..."

These guys get one sniff of a story and they immediately descend on the manager for the answers. With the instant gratification of the sports blog, there's so much more of a frenzied nature to a reporter's job. When Torre first started and even as recently as 2001, the information being passed around the internet was never this voluminous.

So ultimately is it our fault for paying too much attention to those blogs and indirectly demanding this information...?

I think Girardi will be fine, but he's got to realize the nature of the beast. There should be some serious meetings over the offseason with the players and the executives on how to handle the media (ie injury news, etc.)

2008-09-26 08:42:35
41.   williamnyy23
39 Considering that Mo had the MRI after Girardi was interviewed before the game, how exactly did you want Joe to make that leap? I guess Girardi could have speculated wildly about shoulder surgery? Maybe he could have thrown out the injury being career threatening? What abotu life threatening? That would have made as good a story as the rumors that Mo had passed away a few years back.

Maybe choosing the a more vague, but responsible description doesn't sell newspapers, but that's not Girardi's job.

2008-09-26 08:45:45
42.   williamnyy23
40 I'd like to see the team establish a representative responsible for dispensing all medical information. Except for the injured players, all other employees would be required to offer a no comment when asked about injuries. Then, the media could be assured in their noble pursuit of the truth, and Girardi could concentrate on more immediate issues.
2008-09-26 08:51:17
43.   Bronxer
42 or the manager could do it.
2008-09-26 09:12:23
44.   williamnyy23
43 That would work well if the media didn't want the manager to play doctor and provide a diagnosis for a player who hasn't even had any tests done. In order to satisfy the media's quest for accuracy, the Yankees should simply create a health rep. who can then dispense completely accurate information after all tests are completed. Seems simple enough...of course, the media doesn't want accuracy. They want headlines.
2008-09-26 10:26:43
45.   Shaun P
44 Except that your proposal violates every HIPAA regulation on the books.

I want accurate information. I expect that media outlets provide me with accurate information. If they don't, I don't buy their paper/watch their program/go to their website. I go somewhere else (a competitor). That hurts the outlet I ignore.

I expect I am not the only person who does this.

If the reason that outlet gives inaccurate information is because their information source lies to them, or is disingenuous with them, then if I were the outlet, and I knew I was losing customers because of this, I'd be pretty ticked at my source too.

We can argue all we want about how beneficial it is for Girardi to lie or mislead about injury information for players, but the fact is - a couple hours later, someone talks to Cashman, Cashman gives the information with no bs, and the truth is out there. Given this, I fail to see what advantage Girardi thinks he's getting by not just being upfront in the first place.

And even if what he said this time was OK - and I think it was - he's made this bed for himself by outright lying in the past.

2008-09-26 12:52:07
46.   OldYanksFan
This is VERY well done. Pay attention to the very last line.

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