Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Way it is
2005-10-17 06:26
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

I'm not saying nuthin, I'm just sayin: Pettitte, Clemens, Contreras, Duque. Maybe the White Sox are exorcising the spirit of the Black Sox cause they benefitted from every call--good and bad--in the ALCS. Four consecutive complete games? Wow, take a bow, that's impressive.

2005-10-17 06:43:09
1.   unpopster
The emergence of Contreras as a bonafide stud is reason enough for us to not shed a tear for the departure of Mel. As much as I liked the guy, his track record of inaffectiveness coaching non-veteran starters speaks for itself. (Chacon and Small seem more like flukes to me!)

As for my preference, I'm going to be rooting for the 'Stros, if only because in my mind, Clemens and Andy are still Yanks.

If the Astros make it into the WS (which I am pretty confident will be the case), we're going to see a very low scoring series. Neither team mashes and each has 3-4 starters that can shut down the other team's anemic offense.

Good Luck Andy and Roger!

2005-10-17 06:52:37
2.   joe in boston
Rooting for the Astros as well. Still love seeing the look in both Clemens and Pettites eyes ( I think I screwed up by grammer/possessive there !) Anyone else miss, I mean really miss, seeing the Yanks play now ? I sure do....

It's nice to get some sleep but, boy, I'd love to be getting ready each day for a game, munchies all set, Yankee gear on, ugggggggghhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!!!!

2005-10-17 07:03:14
3.   Felix Heredia
What's with all this anti-Mel crap? If he's directly responsible for the failings of peole like Vasquez, Pavano, Contreras and Weaver, then he's directly responsible for the success of people like Mo, Pettitte, Duque, Wells, Cone, Mendoza, Stanton, Nelson, Lieber, Wang, Halsey, Chacon, Small, etc, etc, etc.

It seems far more likely that many pitchers just can't handle New York and/or the AL. Heck, it even took Clemens a year to get his act together in the Bronx.

2005-10-17 07:57:02
4.   JohnnyC
Orlando Hernandez's advice to Contreras was succinct: forget everything they told you in New York. Duh, you make the inference.
2005-10-17 08:18:14
5.   tz1
Yankees have had every one of those players. Wish we kept Pettite...
2005-10-17 08:37:03
6.   jedi

Stop wishing that we hept him, because it wasn't up to us. The bum wanted to leave just like Clemens. I hate giving these guys credit when they knowingly left the yankees for shits.

Let's stop giving credit to the ones who left and give credit to the ones who stayed, Mo, Jetes, Bernie Posada, etc...

2005-10-17 08:43:07
7.   Felix Heredia
In NY, Duque drove his coaches and catcher crazy. Fortunately he drove batters crazy too.

But unless you're a pitcher who has nerves of steel and can accuaretly throw multiple pitches at multiple speeds from multiple arm angles, you're better off listening to your pitching coach than El Duque.

Clemens, Pettitte and Mo's take on Stottlemyre was very different than El Duque's.

2005-10-17 09:48:33
8.   Nick from Washington Heights
I guess El Duque suggested Contreras forget everything Billy Connor told him as well.
2005-10-17 10:03:13
9.   yankee23
I get the distinct feeling that Clemens & Mo didn't listen much to Mel (how often do you see Mo going for groundball outs?), and we all know Pettitte practically worshipped Roger. I don't want to take sides, but I'm anxious to see the results of a new pitching coach.

everyone see this already?

i can't decide how i feel about it.

2005-10-17 10:05:52
10.   dtrain
Pettitte didn't leave for more money, or because he disliked pitching for the Yanks. He left because the front office put him on the back burner while they pursued higher offseason priorities, such as signing Sheff. As one of the winningest pitchers in the majors during his Yankee tenure and an important contributor to 4 world championships, I can't be mad at the guy for feeling slighted and taking off. We did the same thing with Lieber, although that was at least a little more forgivable...
2005-10-17 10:12:23
11.   Shaun P
The problem with evaluating anyone based on what former/current players says about them is its subject to the personal biases of those players.

For example, maybe Pettitte didn't think much of Stott as a pitching coach, but thought he was a truly nice guy, so he said nice things about him. OTOH, El Duque clearly didn't get along with Stott, which may (or may not) cloud his judgment of Stott's abilities as a pitching coach.

For those who don't already know about it - JC Bradbury, in his blog at, has gone through and used data in a very interesting study that shows Leo Mazzone's effect on the Braves pitchers. He took a lot of things into account, and seemed to correct for all the variables that might have skewed the results. It seems pretty conclusive and reliable to me, and confirms what most people think. I wish someone would do something similar for Stott. It might settle this thing once and for all.

FYI, you can find his original article (and an excellent followup piece he did for at: and

2005-10-17 10:30:30
12.   DarrenF

The Yankees offered Pettitte 3 years and $39 million. This is more than the Astros offered him. Some of this difference is offset by the lack of an income tax in Texas, but the Yankees still can not be accused of lowballing him.

I'm also not sure why a player for the Yankees would be upset that the Yankees pursued Gary Sheffield. "George, congratulations on acquiring a right fielder who's better than John Vander Wal. Where do I sign up?"

Pettitte and Clemens bailed on NY and went to play for Houston. That was the plan all along. I don't begrudge them because it's a free country. But what I don't understand why they're both insistent on blaiming it on Steinbrenner and/or Cashman.

A $39 mill offer is sipmly not disrespectful. Consider the other extreme: George calls up Pettitte on his cell phone, invites him down to Tampa for a cheeseburger, tells him he loves him and appreciates him, and then offers him $12 mill. That would be disrespectful. Money talks.

2005-10-17 10:31:54
13.   Ben

I read that article about A-rod. It seems very believable. Seems like A-rod would not be the type of player to use that as an excuse, or even as a rallying point for his team. it also seemed very reasonable for his mother to be protective of him post-lost.

Whatever was going on for him during that series, I'll live with his performance. I mean, when you have a guy play for you, you get the whole enchilada, not just the successful parts. He still seems like a winner to me.

2005-10-17 10:40:36
14.   Max
>>I guess El Duque suggested Contreras forget everything Billy Connor told him as well. <<

Bingo. But of course, according to George, Mel screws up all the ones that Billy "fixed". I guess that must be why Billy boy's personal project Jaret Wright got hit by so many projectiles...Mel's voodoo just sent all those objects right at Jaret as if he were the ghost of Billy himself.

In all seriousness, it was probably time for Mel to go, more for political and personal reasons. I've read a lot of good, reasoned criticisms of Torre as a manager. However, a lot of the criticism I've read of Mel has been vague, knee-jerk and extremely polar -- supposedly, the veterans don't even listen to him, young pitchers don't respond at all, etc etc. Yet this year, Mel supposedly got "lucky" all of a sudden, or Billy and Joe Kerrigan were "fixing" Mel's mistakes behind the scenes. Not much analysis...just a lot of gossip of the Sherman/Heyman variety.

Sometimes, the pitchers that are bad/mediocre in NY are just...bad or mediocre. Or they're divas (RJ, Duque, Wells). I don't want Weaver or Vazquez back. I always felt Contreras was a good pitcher, and he's the unusual case of someone that really needed to be somewhere else. I think Mel has done more things right than wrong, and I haven't seen him outright alienate anyone the way Kerrigan has (ask Wakefield and Millwood what they think of Joe K).

If the next pitching coach can indeed develop more young pitchers, or bring a fresh approach to the existing staff, then hooray.

2005-10-17 11:13:32
15.   unpopster
re: Arod's play (or lack of) during the ALDS:

I don't want excuses nor do I blame the guy for the loss in the ALDS. Overall, the pitching held up (especially the pen) and they gave the Yanks a chance to win 4 of the 5 games (the Randy Johnson game the one exception).

What happened was that our big guns on the offense all hit the skids at the same time. It was inevitable considering how the team was firing on all cylinders in September and their tired bodies were due to give in.

What we saw in the ALDS was a middle of the order that hit a collective offense rut.

I truly believe that had the Yanks gotten past the Angels, the offensive pendulum for the Yanks would have swung upward and the Yanks could have gotten past the Pale Hose into the WS.

Forget Arod...if you want to see a true goat of this postseason, take a look at Vlad's numbers in both the ALDS and ALCS.

Vlad was.184/.244/.184 in both series. That's right, zero HRs and a total of one RBI. In last year's ALDS loss to the Red Sox, Vlad batted .167.

Ouch! Pretty ugly for a perenial All-Star and former MVP!

2005-10-17 12:14:10
16.   naki
Yes the Yanks big hitters did not come through in the clutch, but I was impressed(and depressed) by how poorly they played in the field. Forget clutch hitting, there were no good or even adequate fielding plays in the clutch. ARod, Matsui, Sheffield,Cano all came up short in this department. The one play in this poorly played series that is emblematic for me came in the 5th and final game when Sheffield, one inning after colliding with Crosby made no effort to snare a lazy fly to shallow right by Benjie Molina. I couldn't help thinking that Paul Oneill would have caught that ball or killed himself trying. Project number one for whoever fills Cashman's shoes; improve the outfield defense, especially centerfield.
2005-10-17 12:32:39
17.   Ben

I don't know very much about team strategies, but when the Yanks were playing the Angels, I kept hearing that Vlad was the only lethal bat in the lineup. Aside from the fact that he is a notorious bad-ball hitter, are his poor numbers at least in part evidence of the Yanks and ChiSox just not pitching to him?

2005-10-17 12:35:06
18.   susan mullen
It's too bad some people have to come to this
site and give false information. Whether you're
here on behalf of someone else, or just a per-
son of no honor. Mariano Rivera, if nothing else, is known as a groundball pitcher. I've
followed him for his entire career, but even a
novice would know this. As I've said, this team
can't win the World Series as long as George is
making baseball decisions. The team is being
managed from out of town (Tampa). Billy Connors
was supposedly the person who cured Contreras
of whatever was wrong with him, aside from
whatever Mel did or did not do. Anyone who
says Andy and Roger planned to leave all along is either writing from a mental facili-
ity or on behalf of the Tampa group. I can go
over the details and timeline if anyone is
interested. I'm not taking one person's side,
just the facts.
2005-10-17 13:11:56
19.   rilkefan
"A $39 mill offer is sipmly not disrespectful."

The timing was disrespectful. I suspect they only had to tell Andy at the end of the season that they would make him a fair offer to secure his services. When he's on the way out the door they call and say, Hey, let's make a deal - that's disrespect.

See for my view of the ARod news.

2005-10-17 13:47:09
20.   Alex Belth
I have to admit, I shook my head and laughed when I read the Rodriguez story. Not because he had a loss in his family. That's nothing to be happy about, of course. But the way the story broke. To me, it just looks bad, like his mom is alibing for him. My first reaction was, "Mommmm!?!" How mortifying.

In the sports world, it's never a good sign when your mom comes out and supports you like that, even if her heart is in the right place.

More ammo for Rodriguez's many critics.

On the pitching front, I'm not sorry that Duque, Contreras and especially Pettitte and Clemens are doing well for their respective teams. I liked Duque the most out of the crowd, but I was in favor of them trading Contreras, not-signing Pettitte, and lettting Clemens walk.

I think they could have re-signed Pettitte if they had really wanted to, they just didn't REALLY want to, in spite of their generous offer. Clemens, they didn't have much say in that, no hard feelings. Contreras? Man, it's just difficult to imagine him pitching like he has over the past two months for the Yankees, so be it.

I'm happy for all of them, though I have to admit, if the Astros make the World Serious, I'm pulling for the Cubans on the South Side of Chi-town.

1917 is a long time to wait. It's too bad the 'Stros are such a dull team. Really, it's hard for me to get too worked up over either team winning. At least one fan base will have a fantastic winter.

2005-10-17 14:17:13
21.   yankee23
First off, my apologies to susan. You're correct, I didn't look at the stats and I should have. I guess I just felt like more of Mo's outs come from flyballs (except the one off Gonzo's bat in '01) or something. And to add to your point, I have a feeling that Mel probably had something to do with developing Mo into the closer he is today. My main point is that I'm anxious to see what a new coach will bring.

Ben, when I wrote "i can't decide how i feel about it," I meant more that I wasn't sure if it is something we should know or, as Alex stated, perhaps that it's just going to hurt him. I know how I'd feel if one of my parents went in front of a massive audience to bail me out. Not to say I wouldn't appreciate it, but it wouldn't really help anything. So, in short, I agree with you.

It's too bad that Alex's Uncle died, but how it affected him isn't anything we can really measure.

2005-10-17 14:20:49
22.   Dimelo
Yeah, reading that Alex's mom has to come out and rescue him is really quite annoying. I can already see the shirts being printed in Boston, 'ARod needs mommy to fight his battles'.

I hate seeing Contreras do well, I've never been more annoyed with a free agent signing as I was with him. I don't recognize the pitcher anymore, he works fast, he's not sweating like a crackhead looking for a fix in the middle of August, he doesn't have the look of "I'd rather be hanging with Elian than pitching for the Yankees". I loved Duque, I loved how he would walk the bases loaded with 1 out and constantly out smart hitter-after-hitter to get out of the jams he would put himself in. I hated that Contreras had a better arm, but Duque had the head. I am happy that he got his family here, but I am not happy to see him do well. To see him suck in that game 5 of the 2003 World Series, when the Yankees needed him more than ever, and to see him turn into the 2nd coming of Mike Scott (circa 1986) is pretty disturbing as a Yankee fan.

If the Stros move to the next round, I'll be humming the tune of the Killer B's and rooting for Oswalt, Clemens and Pettite.

2005-10-17 14:26:48
23.   randym77
I was thinking the same thing. A-Rod probably cringed when he saw that article. But moms will be moms, I guess.

Joe in Boston - yes, I miss the Yankees. But then, I miss them whenever their season ends, even when it ends in a WS win.

2005-10-17 14:28:35
24.   yankee23
Alex, almost forgot, I've found one semi-exciting player on the Astros this year: Willy Taveras. He brings images of Rickey (and perhaps Coleman?) to mind.
2005-10-17 14:29:47
25.   DarrenF

The timing was par for the course. The Yankees made a token offer in the 2-week exclusive time period. This is standard operating procedure. I fail to see how it's disrespectful in any way.

susan mullen,

Pettitte suddenly felt all disrespected by Steinbrenner after nine yrs and tens of millions? It doesn't seem reasonable to you that, at the very least, his discontent was brewing for a long time? That he planned this with his Bestest Friend and workout partner, who both happen to live in Texas?

I mean, is that scenario satisfactorily anti-Steinbrenner? Steinbrenner is such a dick that, not only do they both want to stop playing for him, but they also want to embarrass him?

When Clemens predictably signed with Houston, I think it went from conspiracy theory to conspiracy fact. My only gripe is that Cashman didn't cover his butt and offer arbitration to Clemens so the Yankees could at least have received a draft pick in return. Cashman should know better -- those ballplayers can be sneaky.

That's not Pettitte's story, by the way. His story is that he was leaning towards NY the whole time, changed his mind ca. 12/9 and signed w/ Houston on 12/11. That's more or less his story. I mean, you sign on the dotted line or you do not. The rest is really just blah blah blah.

Hey, good for him. He has the right to do what he wants with his life. He even has the right to lie about it to Yankee fans, hoping to stay in their good favor. This is no crime, it's just PR spin and, as we all know, Steinbrenner is Bad and Evil.

That is my take on the situation.

Let's see what else:

-- He accepts Houston's inferior offer.

-- He refuses to allow NY to examine his elbow (a sign of disrespect), but allows Houston to examine his elbow. Oddly, his elbow gets injured shortly thereafter.

-- He accepts 3 yrs from Houston, but 3 yrs from NY is disrespectful.

-- McClane is a better Christian than Steinbrenner. No argument from me.

Given all these facts, would Pettitte have even accepted his 4-year $52 mill counter-offer which the Yankees rejected? Maybe, but I doubt it.

In other words, Pettitte rejected the Yankees, not the other way around.

Speaking of which,


The Yankees offered 3-year $39 and rejected 4-year $52. If 4-year $52 is what was necessary to demonstrate they really wanted Pettitte, then they didn't really want Pettitte. I think they really wanted Pettitte and my Exhibit A is $39 mill which George put on the table.

George likes his money, he likes it oh-so very much. George loves his money. George pours his money in a bathtub and rubs it all over himself.

As a final comment to this ridiculously lengthy post, I'd like to say that money talks and bs walks. These rules even apply to Andy Pettitte. If anybody else tried to tell you that $39 mill is disrespectful because of the timing or because George didn't call him on his cell phone, you'd tell that person to shove it.

My boss doesn't love me either. Boo hoo.

2005-10-17 14:31:54
26.   randym77
Speaking of player's moms...Clemens says his mom predicted before she died that it would be the White Sox vs. the Astros in the WS this year.

He said he's considering retiring, because of his mom's death. He pitched for her, and he's not sure he wants to keep doing it, now that she's gone.

2005-10-17 14:32:27
27.   Dimelo
I am sure ARod was hurt with losing his uncle, but I doubt that he was thinking of him when Lackey was throwing that nasty curve or when Ervin and Bartolo were busy drilling him with fastballs.

His mother is sweet and she's just looking out for him, but I don't buy the excuse and I HOPE ARod doesn't use that as an excuse. Again, I just HOPE he doesn't use that as an excuse. He will be buried alive, the best thing he can do is distance himself from his mother's comments. Don't dis your mom, but saying something to the effect of: "My mom is doing what any mother would do, she's looking out and trying to protect her son. Though my uncle's death was something I was concerned with off the field, on the field I was trying to do everything possible to get the New York Yankees to the next round. Obviously, the results weren't what I would expect of myself, I'll continue to work hard and use this experience to make me a better player."

2005-10-17 14:35:10
28.   rbj
I don't think ARod wanted his mom to say anything, she probably was just upset about the heat he's been taking. Unfairly, IMO.
I wished Pettitte would have stayed, but then Roger would've stayed retired. I heard during his last season in NY that Andy wanted to go to Houston to be with his family. A negotiating ploy? Perhaps. I don't know the full story. Still, I wish him good luck, he did bring four rings to NY. Can't decide whether I'd root for Clemens/Pettitte or El Duque/Contreras (whom I'm willing to give a pass to.) I'm jonesing for a Yankees game.
2005-10-17 14:37:25
29.   rilkefan
The man was more his dad than his uncle. If this was anybody but ARod people would be saying he was heroic for just showing up.

Of course he won't use it as an excuse - he must know people are idiots.

2005-10-17 14:40:57
30.   tz1
Either way, I still would want Pettite in pinstripes. I loved him in NY, he did great things for us, a true competitor. I know the Steinbrenner has to do what he has to do, and baseball is a business, but Pettite should have stayed with us.

I dislike Clemens, even though he is a great pitcher. It irks me when athletes say they're going to retire, then come back, then retire again, etc. I also didn't like that one incident with Mike Piazza, where Clemens threw the bat at him. Clemens looked like an utter moron, and his several explanations for the bizzare behavior did not seem feasible.

About Arod's uncle dying, I think it's quite admirable that he didn't let anyone know about the death. It speaks a lot about his character. He is a great man and ballplayer, and I hope that next year he will show his true form and carry us through the postseason to the series.

2005-10-17 15:06:01
31.   Shaun P
Will the MSM please make up its mind? If its good, except for the ratings (allegedly) that the Yanks aren't in the playoffs anymore, why do we get more stories about A-Rod every few days?

If the Series comes down to ChiSox vs 'Stros, I'm pulling for Houston. As long as ChiTown fans have waited, which player on that team has done any waiting, outside of the sadly hurt Big Hurt? The next longest-tenured Sox are on Konerko ('99), then Garland and Buerhle (2000).

Meanwhile, Biggio and Bagwell have been waiting for ages to play on the big stage. 'Bout time they got the chance to (presuming they can beat St. Louis, of course).

2005-10-17 15:59:17
32.   BklynBomber

The New York Yankees have received permission to speak with Atlanta Braves longtime pitching coach Leo Mazzone, reported Monday.

2005-10-17 16:03:02
33.   Shaun P
Bklyn, you beat me to it by five minutes! =)

Mazzone has a year left on his Braves contract, the article says. Hmmm . . .

2005-10-17 16:13:56
34.   BklynBomber
Hey Shaun!

Some interesting talk on the topic over at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog:

What caught my eye was the Washington Post article snippet about Baltimore being very interested in Mazzone as well. And the post about what then happens to Ray Miller? Hmmmm...

2005-10-17 18:20:35
35.   BklynBomber
Regarding Miller — the full WP article states:

// Perhaps the most intriguing situation exists with pitching coach Ray Miller, who last week had surgery for an aortic aneurysm. The team is proceeding cautiously with Miller, whose contract expires in November.//

.... which most likely takes care of the thought of Miller as a second choice.

2005-10-17 19:03:07
36.   JeremyM
I think if they do get Mazzone, for compensation they should send them Wayne Franklin. This way Atlanta can see if it was Mazzone that turned all of these crappy pitchers around, or if it was a Braves thing only.
2005-10-17 19:11:32
37.   singledd
Think ARod had a bad series (with a miserable .430 OBP)? With the Angels losing "Slugger Vladimir Guerrero was the main culprit, going 1-for-20".

Think fans in Anaheim want to 'get rid of' last years' MVP? You want to get rid of this years MVP?

2005-10-17 20:28:27
38.   randym77
Yikes. Aortic aneurysm? He's lucky to be alive.
2005-10-17 20:44:35
39.   JeremyM
I finally know what it's like to see Mantle hit live. Of course, it was Pujols doing the hitting but damn was that a blast.
2005-10-17 22:40:12
40.   BklynBomber
I've been tuning into both LCS in the 8th or 9th innings just because, and man-o-man, tonight was something... down to 1 strike! EPSN Radio's Dave Campbell summed it up with regard to any who bitch about 3 hour plus games: "There's no kneel down in baseball, no dribbling at half court to run out the clock — you gotta get all 27 of those outs."

Well, we kinda know all about that ;-( now, but this is why baseball is second to none.

I'm kinda rooting for the RedBirds to pull it out, mainly because I really don't want to watch our woulda-coulda-shoulda rotation face off in an Astros-White Sox showdown.

Did I just say "Astros vs White Sox showdown"??? No offense to their respective fans, but that does not even look right... and sounds like a spring training game.

PS: Yo, Rocket — when are we going to get our %#!#$@+ Hummer back?

2005-10-18 04:04:19
41.   randym77
Pujols was my pick for NL MVP. Great game.

I was hoping the Cards would win, if only to get more baseball. I did feel sorry for Andy, though. The two games the Astros lost, he pitched.

2005-10-18 05:14:33
42.   Dimelo
Pujols did what everyone would expect ARod to do in that situation. The difference being that ARod didn't do that in the 9th inning. Pujols hit a moon shot, it wasn't a ball that barely went over the wall, he crushed that pitch. It was nice to see. I love ARod, but the first thing that came to my mind when Pujols hit that pitch was - "why the fuck couldn't you do that, ARod?".

I agree with Torre, I think this loss bothered me more than last year's ALCS. Last year, the Yankees lost to a better team - despite being up 3 - 0, the Sox were the better team. I still don't think the Angels were the better team, the Yankees didn't lose to the better team. They simply allowed an inferior team to beat them. I can't stand watching baseball right now. I'm still seething about my beloved Yanks.

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