Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Not Bad
2005-04-19 05:18
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

If George hollars...well, as Joel Sherman suggests, playing the Devil Rays sure can help a slumping team too. As for the early-season slump, Mike Mussina tells Sherman:

"This team right now is the same as a veteran player starting slowly and people not sure if he is off to a slow start or he has lost his skills," Mussina said. "If a 38-year-old starts badly, the tendency is to think he is done. If a 28-year-old starts poorly, the tendency is to say he is off to a bad start. We are an older team, so there are doubts."

John Harper elaborates:

Usually the easiest way to dismiss a Steinbrenner rant about his team, especially an April rant, is to find an American League scout at the ballpark and listen to him tick off the reasons why the Yankees will win 100 games with their eyes closed.

Last night, however, one such scout didn't offer the usual roll of the eyes at the mention of Steinbrenner's headline-making criticism. Instead he raised his eyebrows and said he wonders if maybe, just maybe, the Yankees' sluggish play so far is not merely an early-season aberration.

The scout then listed those potential problems, in what he considered the order of priority, from the "geezer bullpen" to the offensive inconsistency, to the age and lack of depth in the starting rotation.

Last night was a good start. Let's hope Randy Johnson gets his ya ya's out tonight.

Crime and Punishment

Chris House, the fan who swiped Gary Sheffield last week, had his season tickets taken away by the club yesterday. According to the Boston Globe:

He will be reimbursed for his tickets once he returns them, and the club will consider reinstating his season-ticket account after this season, the team said.

..."It is ridiculous for anyone to even suggest that I punched him or even attempted to," House said, describing himself as a 12-year season ticket holder.

"I was shocked and disappointed by his (Sheffield's) reaction, and I thank Red Sox security and Boston Police for quickly coming to my assistance."

It's too bad House couldn't show some humility and admit that, even if it was an accident, he had no business putting any part of his body on the field, and that what he did was wrong. Another fan, who spilled beer on the Yankee right fielder, will not be allowed to buy tickets for the rest of the year either. Sheffield has yet to be fined or suspended.

2005-04-19 09:04:26
1.   Patrick
The Bill Simmons piece was pretty good:

2005-04-19 10:16:10
2.   Alvaro Espinoza
I thought Bill Simmons jumped the shark about 6 months ago - sometime in between shilling for the incredibly mediocre Jimmy Kimmel (which I see is still going strong) and having his own cartoon.
2005-04-19 11:21:34
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Simmons jumped when he moved to L.A., but he's still worth reading. From the post Patrick mentions, I found this particularly interesting:

"According to one of my editors, the Red Sox have plunked 68 Yankee batters since the start of the 2001 season (compared to just 36 Boston batters hit by Yankee pitchers), including a 5-2 advantage this season. Talking to my buddy last night, I joked how the way the Sox keep throwing at Jeter (intentional or unintentional) is vaguely reminscent of the way Cobra Kai kept going after Daniel-San, to the point I keep waiting for Mike Timlin to scream at him during batting practice, "What's the matter, Derek, Mommy not here to dress ya?"

"I'm so tired of taking the high road," Jack-O complained. "This team has no [euphemism for something that guys have that girls don't have]. We're a bunch of [euphemism for something that you could also call a group of cats]. Seriously, how many times does Jeter have to be hit? Even tonight, Ortiz is leaning right over the plate and the Unit doesn't even dust him off. I'm embarrassed to root for these guys."

"That raises a larger question: Where the hell is Steinbrenner during all of this? Twenty years ago, if Rivera didn't throw at someone after Jeter got nailed in the helmet, he would have questioned Rivera's manhood AND fired the pitching coach."

2005-04-19 11:48:33
4.   Knuckles
I feel a stream of (un)consciousness ramble coming on here...

Much as I'm tired of Simmons (he should stick to NBA and pop culture), he nailed that one, which I think gets right down to the differences between the Yanks and Sox the past few years. All my life I was brought up in the Barry Sanders 'act like you've been there before' mentality to winning, because if you dish it out, then when times are hard, you can expect to be dished back to in multiples. Yankee class is an invention- besides having the same uniform since forever, and winning with grace in the 90's, I hardly think you could put the Yankees on a pedestal as far as class is concerned. (Note, this is the opinion of a 27 year old kid- I only know the Yanks from about '84 onward, but what I've seen and heard about the Bronx Zoo, the 50's Yanks closing the house down at Toots Shor's, etc etc etc leads me to more and more think that Yankee class is another example of rewriting history after the fact to make it fit the present.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, I liked it in the 90's when the Yanks won the game and were all business- it projected to other teams a sense of inevitability. "Oh they beat us, and they knew they would." I was never one for gloating to fans of other teams, and (naively?)expected similar treatment back. But then the Sox go and win, and all the 'class' the Yankees showed and myself and hopefully some other fans have showed is worth jack sh1t when the sloppy drunk kid is the one running the schoolyard. Maybe it's time for the button downed businessman (Yankees) to remind everyone that yes, they used to be a decent amateur boxer back in the day, and start popping people in the mouth again.

If people are going to hate the Yanks, then they might as well make it for reasons other than just their fat wallet and 26 WS trophies...

PS- dunno if this makes any sense but I'ma post it anyway.

2005-04-19 16:49:51
5.   Alvaro Espinoza
But isn't Simmons stating the obvious? I know I'm not the only person complaining to friends about the Yanks lack of 'spunk', particularly when it comes to the Sox. I've read it here and elsewhere. You know it's gotten bad when Sox fans are pointing it out to us.

btw - The entire Spring Training A-rod bashfest was completely overblown. Anyone who claims there was something indicative of no Yanks coming to A-rod's defense clearly has no understanding of the Joe Torre Yankee teams. Point 1: they never talk sh*t. Point 2: since when does A-rod require defending from verbal jabs from anybody?

Having said that, I was screaming all off-season that Johnson's first pitch should have literally shaved Damon's chin. It didn't. Oh well. I'd like the Yanks to show some fire as much as anybody and it's been sorely lacking. I mean, if you don't have a chip on your shoulder after last October, you never will.

I know, it's April 19th...

2005-04-19 18:29:05
6.   JohnnyC
This team is in deep doo doo and Torre continues to give us reason to believe he's completely lost whatever "touch" he once had. For a man who "plays the percentages," he started the game by taking a completely unnecessary gamble, getting Jeter thrown out trying to steal. Later on, he put on a hit and run with Posada of all people on first and gave Martinez no choice but to offer at a pitch almost at his ankles...double play, of course. Finally, in the decision that makes fools of us all who had any faith in the man at all, he doesn't bunt Jeter with first and second, nobody out,the game on the line, lifetime 1 for 16 versus Travis Harper. Double play. All she wrote. Hopefully, the end comes swiftly for Torre. And well-deserved it will be. The emperor has no clothes! Let's all acknowledge this, for our own sakes.
2005-04-19 18:48:44
7.   JeremyM
Wasn't Jeter the guy who wouldn't stop bunting last year? I have to agree on a lot of your points johnny. We ran ourselves out of a couple innings tonight. And Johnson seems to have inherited Vazquez's tendency of giving up gopher balls. What an ugly game.
2005-04-19 20:05:21
8.   Simone
I don't think that Jeter should have bunted. He was the best hitter tonight. It was unfortunate that he hit into that DP, but it happens.

True, RJ gave up a couple home runs, but he looked solid otherwise. If Jeter had gotten to that ball, RJ would have been out of the 8th with the score still close.

2005-04-19 20:40:28
9.   JeremyM
Jeter not bunting is probably one of those "hindsight is 20/20" deals. Jeter has been hot, so it's tough, but personally I would've bunted. Oh well. Johnson has been dominant except for the longballs he's given up, which remind me of of Vazquez, unfortunately. Anyway, found this interesting:

"Andy Phillips, in his first game with the Columbus Clippers, went 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBIs in a 12-3 victory over the visiting Durham Bulls on Tuesday night at Cooper Stadium."

2005-04-19 20:59:04
10.   brockdc
And still nobody agrees with me about The Unit missing 4-6 mph on his fastball?

Did anyone else notice Gordon's fist-pumping after getting the last out of the eighth inning in which he gave up the biggest hit of the game? Strange dude.

2005-04-19 22:39:21
11.   Marcus
It seemed like Torre was letting the team be aggressive and it backfired tonight. Jeter's steal, the double play, Womack trying to score on the double...if those plays work, it's a whole different ball game. And if Jeter doesn't commit that error it changes things a bit as well.

I think the Unit is more troubling. His strikeout rate is still up there, and he didn't walk anyone tonight, but giving up all these HRs is down right depressing. And to who? Jay Payton? Eduardo Perez? 2 HRs to EDUARDO PEREZ?!?! The D-Rays back-up first baseman?!?!?! AGH!!!!

Ted Lilly tomorrow night, who the Yankees haven't done especially well against (.199 BAA). Let's turn this around, come on Pavano...

2005-04-20 07:45:42
12.   Dan M
brockdc: I noticed it too, and thought it was totally stupid.

Will be strange to see Lilly starting against the Yanks w/o El Duque pitching.

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