Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A Nice Tuesday
2006-02-28 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Quickly cruising around the local papers this morning, we've got Sam Borden's interview with Steve Swindal, Jim Baumbach on the budding relationship between Robinson Cano and Larry Bowa, Don Amore catches up with Andy Phillips, Mark Feinsand details Eric Duncan's fine spring thus far, an amusing piece on Jason Giambi's new workout partner, Bob Klap on Lee Maz, and finally, Tyler Kepner catches up with our boy Bernie:

"It's all in the way you look at it," Williams said Monday after lifting weights long after most of his teammates had left. "You can look at it and say, 'Oh, they're messing with me, they don't respect me, this and that.' But you've got to make your choice.

"I think if I look at it in a negative way, it would just put a bad taste in my mouth that I shouldn't have, because there's been so much positive and so much greatness that I've witnessed in the last 15 years. You want to remember the positives. At this point in my life, this is gravy, man. This is a great time of my life."

Bernie has always reminded me of the children's story Ferdinand the Bull. Nice to see that he continues to stop and smell the flowers.

2006-02-28 06:29:10
1.   Dimelo
Alex - There was another piece on Cano in the Post. It had to do with Jeter and whether he thought Cano's spot is pretty much guranteed now. I thought it was a harmless question and if Jeter said 'after last year's rookie season, he's proved he can play at this level and is worthy of being the Yankee 2nd baseman for years to come'. I thought that would be a decent answer from Jetes, then I read what Jeter said and it was so much better than I ever would have imagined and it's why I look up to him so much.

February 28, 2006 -- TAMPA — Derek Jeter chuckled when asked whether he considers double-play partner Robinson Cano an "established player" now that the second baseman is entering his sophomore season with an assured spot in the Yankees lineup, barring natural disaster.

"When you play in New York, you're never established, because if you don't do the job, they just go out and get somebody more established," Jeter said yesterday. "I'm not particularly talking about Robbie, I'm talking about anyone and everyone.

"And that's a good thing. It's always a good thing to be pushed."

Given Cano's mental lapses, it makes for an extremely intelligent answer. Jeter, the Captain of the Yankees, is telling him he did good but don't get complacent because we'll ship your ass outta here if you think every year you've got nothing to prove.

2006-02-28 06:39:30
2.   Alex Belth
Word to Jete's on that. Cano has the potential to be a slacker--hopefully, Jeter's ethic will rub off on him.
2006-02-28 06:44:53
3.   Rob Gee
D -

The Bowa piece gets right to the lapses bit. Cano says something to the effect that he took his hitting into the field, and he needs to work on keeping the two separate.

I was also thankful that Bowa is going to be the guy making sure he stays in check and they are now working together every other day (at Cano's request). He's exactly the type to stay on a young guy in a way I don't see Sojo doing. Fact is, Robby should not be focusing on the .295 16 and 60 - He should be focusing on the 17 errors, plate discipline, and base running. With Bowa on board, at least two of those seem covered. Hopefully Donnie gets to the third.

2006-02-28 06:56:08
4.   Sliced Bread
When Bernie was at his best he was a fighter on the field, not the type who throws punches, mind you, but the type of baseball fighter who plays with the hunger of a heavyweight contender.
Coming up, he had to fight the widely held perception that he didn't have any fire in him.
Eventually, he proved his critics wrong by winning the 1998 AL batting title.
Bernie was far from nonchalant in his pursuit of that honor.
If you remember watching Williams hit that year, and in the seasons that followed, you remember the urgency with which he approached the game, the burning intensity in his soulful eyes.
Old man Bernie's observation in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, that the team has been playing with a lack of 'killer instinct' in recent seasons, seemed to take even Derek Jeter by surprise.
"Bernie Williams, and 'killer instinct' in the same sentence?" Jeter seemed to shrug, having played 11 seasons with the gentleman center fielder.
Even to those who know him best, like Jeter, Bernie's gentle demeanor belies the fighter inside, the hungry heavyweight who has accumulated more October home runs, and RBI than anyone in the history of baseball.
Like the jazz he plays, the name of Bernie's game is 'quiet storm.'
2006-02-28 07:23:22
5.   Sliced Bread
It's nice that Damon is proud to represent the U-S, but I really wish he wasn't confusing this ill-timed exhibition tournament with the Olympics.

Aside from the pitchers and catchers, if anybody should be working out with the new coaches, and getting familiar with his new teammates, it is Johnny New-Kid-In-The-Cul-de-sac.

A-Rod, and Captain America are much more politically obligated to attend Bud's baseball marketing junket than Damon, who seems genuinely 'stoked' to take on the world.

Unpack your bags, and stay at camp awhile, Johnny Talk Show, we hardly know ya.

2006-02-28 08:46:56
6.   David
Last season Ruben Sierra would sit next to Cano on teh bench and talk to him. It was claimed that Sierra's advice was helpful to Cano's hitting. I tend to believe the story, because when Sierra was on the Disabled List, Cano slumped. When Sierra returned, Cano hit a ton.

Will someone replace Sierra's role this year? I wish Bernie would. He might teach Cano how to take more pitches.

2006-02-28 08:56:33
7.   Dimelo
Rob, I know the Bowa piece gets right to the lapses AND I agree he'll be a good instructor in that regards. My point was that nothing hits harder than what your peers say. Jeter wants to make it known that Cano can't ever believe he's an 'established' player because every year you have to prove yourself as a Yankee.

Those words resonate louder when one of my coworkers says something to that effect as opposed to a manager or an instructor. Your peers are the one's you have to look in the eye if you ever let them down. Management and managers are suppose to understand how to deal with failure and success. When all the players are working towards a common goal then it becomes extremely diffucult to look your teammates the eye because you didn't take your responsibilities seriously. A manager simply sits you down, fines you, talks to you or cuts you. To make a mistake is one thing, to fail because you weren't prepared is unacceptable - eventually they'll find someone who will rise to the challenge. To me, that's what Jetes was trying to say.

2006-02-28 09:37:58
8.   Sliced Bread
The best thing Jeter does in his role as captain is lead by example. He's not going to give a inspiring speech, or get in a player's face if they slack off. That's not his style of leadership. He leads by working hard, and executing.
With respect to Cano, or any 2nd baseman, Jeter's advice would be short and simple: "Be good, or be gone." In his 11 seasons at shortstop, Jeter's worked with about two dozen 2nd baseman who have not been able to get the job done consistently (Knoblauch by far the longest).
If anybody knows how disposable an ineffective 2nd baseman is, it's Jeter.
I'm with Rob Gee in hoping Cano focuses more on the fundamentals of the game (especially fielding his position) than meeting whatever mashing goals he has in his sophomore season, and, so far, it looks like he's taking a smart approach working with Bowa.
2006-02-28 09:43:20
9.   Rob Gee
D -

I'm with you, dawg. Hopefully Cano seeking out Bowa is a step in the right direction AND his teammates continue to call him out. If they do, Robby could make the leap from decent to superstar.

I'm looking to see if he gets down to 10-15 errors (in 150 games) and an .350 OBP. If so, I'll be mighty pleased (.800 OPS), assuming the power and avg stay about the same.

One last note: All of you that argue patience with Duncan are dead on. Finally compared his AFL numbers to the other kids that were there. Man, he crushed the ball and did it so much better than more "highly" rated prospects.

But, I'm still hoping we pick up a top catching prospect (Salty, Martin). And if we have to trade Duncan, so be it. It's so much easier to replace an above average 1B than C. I've been crying myself to sleep thinking about what happens if Jorge goes down this year.

2006-02-28 10:23:13
10.   Dimelo
Rob, you have too many negative thoughts. Think positive thoughts and good things will happen. When in bed you should be thinking of Vida and not Posada.

That ass will make you forget just about anything....

2006-02-28 10:31:43
11.   Start Spreading the News

Regarding 9, have you been crying yourself to sleep EVERY year about what if Jorge goes down?

If not, maybe this reflects on the state of the team that you are worried about Jorge this year and not about other things...

2006-02-28 10:40:52
12.   Rob Gee
No, SSN it's a new worry this year after seeing the debacle that was CF for the last three years. But also I sincerely believe we'll be that much better, today, next year, and for the future, if we get Jorge an apprentice NOW.

You're right - it does reflect well on the team that that is my big worry. Though I also realize there's very little to be done about our defense and frail starting pitching - it is what it is.

So I guess my tears are shed more for moves that would help over those that really aren't an option.

(And D thanks for the pic - I'll try tonight)

2006-02-28 10:41:11
13.   joejoejoe
Nice summary Alex. I wonder if you can do a review of the Yankee beat writers some day in spring training?

I grew up reading the Hartford Courant and they've always had a good baseball sports page - reading about rival teams in the same paper was a treat for me as a young fan. I can't think of any other paper that covers baseball that way because of geography. It's much different than reading about the Mets and Yankees in one of the NY dailies - where the rivalry is for attention. The Courant was covering the rivalry on the field with a split readership.

Don Amore does a nice job at the Courant and I like Tyler Kepner at the Times as well.

2006-02-28 10:51:21
14.   Rob Gee
jjj -

I used to deliver the Courant for three years starting when I was 13 and the treat at the end of the run was settling in for the Sports page. I agree with your assessment completely - the view of the rivalry is nice though I always thought they had a slight Sox bias. But that could have been since it was the late 80's and they were the better team. The pisser is I went to college in '95 - just as the going got good on our end.

2006-02-28 11:06:44
15.   bloodyank78
Just read Rob Neyer's chat on, he sucks.
2006-02-28 11:10:22
16.   Zack finally offered their service, just in time! I was getting desperate, I needed a true sign of spring for me, and now, on thursday, I can watch the Yanks in action! Well, at least something that resembles the Yanks!
2006-02-28 12:01:39
17.   Dimelo
bloodyyank, Can you tell us what Rob Neyer wrote on his chat? I don't have ESPN Insider so I can't read it. I refuse to give those douche bags at ESPN one penny of my money. I don't even go there anymore....they've turned an otherwise good sight into the of sports. F'em all over there....that is the executives running ESPN, as well as Rob 'Neddle Dick' Neyer and Old Man Gammons.
2006-02-28 12:14:47
18.   wsporter
Thanks for the update on Zack. I didn't realize they showed S.T. Games. That is a smile.
2006-02-28 12:17:21
19.   Start Spreading the News
Speaking of crazy, Eric Karabell talks about a rumor that has the Red Sox trying to get Soriano. Soriano was a 40-40 guy at pitcher friendly Yankee Stadium. I shudder to think what he could do at Fenway as a righty pull hitter with the wall.

That said, I don't think this trade happens.

2006-02-28 12:27:26
20.   The Mick 536
Have stopped looking at ESPN for the same reasons as Dimelo. Can't remember the last time Gammons, who is not in the Hall of Fame, had it right. And I still think that James and Neyer's unintelligible Guide to Pitchers was a spoof.

No one commented on the Boss-In-Waiting or the interview with Georgie in USA today! Quite a picture. Steve meeting Dad-in-Law in his office. Using Dad's seats, Steve goes to Rags no hitter, MJ's shot, and somthing else. Worked in family furniture business and then for Am Shipbuilding. Am Ship was virulently anti-union. Wonder how he felt about firing the workers or paying the unearned bonuses? The case involving the former went all the way to the Supreme Court; the case involving the latter went all the way to the oval office.

Seems like a nice enough guy. Says the right things politically. Would like to hear more from him and less from the PR spokesman who filled Georgie's balloons for the past few years.

Talk about marrying well. "We'll Steve, I am thinking of turning over my team to a member of the family...."

2006-02-28 12:34:20
21.   Nick from Washington Heights
I thought I should provide this public service announcement since I'm now living in the Bay area. I was easily able to buy tickets to the wednesday April 5th night game (the 3rd game of the season) between the A's and Yanks at the Coliseum. I'm guessing you can still probably get tickets for any of the first 3 games. Just a note to anyone living here or travelling out west in early April.

sorry to throw off the discussion. Resume. I'll continue reading...

2006-02-28 12:49:36
22.   wsporter
This was in today's Globe: "A team source categorized as ''completely untrue" a report out of Washington indicating that the Nationals had offered second baseman Alfonso Soriano to Boston."

Lil Sori in front of or behind Ortiz and Manny is nightmare making material. You would not be able to throw him anything on the inner half of the plate at the Fen. Could he play enough 2nd to make it worth while? That would be one hell of a gamble; if it went south it could be ugly.

2006-02-28 12:49:54
23.   Ravenscar
The hate for is warranted. For Gammons and Neyer? Not nearly so.

For some people, it seems to never be a nice Tuesday.

2006-02-28 12:53:05
24.   Ravenscar
Whoa - I would definitely pay to see that Surivivor/Apprentice Soriano soap opera happen in Fenway. For sheer insanity, I hope it happens.

From a fan standpoint, do Yankee fans fear such a thing? We know Sori's in a serious decline, but he seems to still make people wonder.

This rumor alone will probably set off the Mets board. If he's good enough for Theo, Omar.....

2006-02-28 12:57:12
25.   Marcus

I am from the Bay Area as well, and actually Opening Day is sold out, or at least online ticket sales have stopped. I'm assuming they'll have some minimal amount of tickets available at the gate. I have tickets for Game 2 on Tuesday. I'll probably get tickets for Wednesday soon too.

I've yet to see the Yankees lose at a game at the Coliseum. I saw the game two seasons ago when A-Rod launched one off of Arthur Rhodes to tie it up in the 9th, then Clark doubled home Posada to take the lead.

Last year I only caught one game in early September when Jeter lead off with a home run and Mark Bellhorn actually had a good game (home run, excellent grab going to his right, quick pivot for the out at second). I sat next to a guy from Sacramento who had watched Bellhorn come up with the River Cats and couldn't believe he was with the Yankees. I've seen some pretty obnoxious A's fans, but for the most part they are very pleasant even if you are wearing your Yankees cap. Of course I have only one friend who is a Yankees fan out here, so usually the group I go with is constantly giving me shit, although it always seems to work out well for me in the end:)

2006-02-28 13:01:07
26.   Dimelo
Mick, I find myself reading more blogs like this one, as well the other's listed on the right hand side. I love deadspin, mighthymjg, Sportshooligan, yaysports, etc. I still do read the local papers.

Speak of which, does anyone find the Knick situation hilarious? I'm a big Knick fan but there's nothing I want more then to see them lose every game by 50 points or more. I'm amazed how much I love watching them get beat, I'm actually more angry to see them win. I felt bad when the Giants sucked with Ray Handley at the helm, but for some reason this Knick team is causing me to root for them to lose....not only lose...but lose big. There's something sadistic about seeing Brown and Isiah suffer through this. I actually feel bad for the players, but for Brown and Knick executives...I actually love to know that they are suffering. Weird....I'm still afraid the Yanks will one day turn into the Knicks....last year I was really afraid, this year not so much. Especially with the reports about Cox, Hughes and Duncan...the future for the Yanks looks much better than it does for the Knicks.

2006-02-28 13:06:32
27.   Dimelo
This is straight up sick.
2006-02-28 13:11:28
28.   Dimelo
Here's a pic of Giambi looking for his ......
2006-02-28 13:55:32
29.   Andre
The rumor about Soriano has been all over Boston sports radio. The Nats need pitching desperately, and the SOX have Bronson Arroyo locked up for cheap, plus Matt Clement is moveable. The rumor up here is that the Nats have offered Sori, Nick Johnson, and/or someone else (although probably not all together). The problem for Boston is that they appear to already have a top notch second basemen in Loretta, so they really have nowhere to play Sori. Sori has been a huge thorn in the Nats side because he is refusing to play outfield (where they need him). Why they would pick him up, knowing that he was opposed to outfield, is beyond me.
2006-02-28 13:57:10
30.   bloodyank78
RE: 17

Neyer was asked by someone if the Fielding Bible would finally prove that Jeter's defense is subpar at best; Neyer said Jeter fans are too far gone to realize the truth and went on to praise how Bill James comparison of Jeter to Adam Everett shows this. Then someone defended Jeter and Neyer pretty much blew him off and told the guy to go watch his Yankeeography for the ninth time. Finally, some dude asks Neyer about Robbie Cano and how he might do this season, and all Neyer can say is that Cano is the worst defensive second baseman in the majors and that he has piss poor OBP. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he says if the Yankees go down this year its because they have old pitchers and horrible defense. Every Yankee question he answered reeked of negativity. That's why I think he sucks.

2006-02-28 14:00:35
31.   standuptriple
I'll be there for the Opener and will be accompanied by friendly Yankee fans in the LF/HR 2nd deck. I was at the Tino 2HR game last year when the two guys ran on the field. The second guy who for some reason looked like he was wearing a diaper actually toed the rubber and tossed a phantom pitch. The grounds crew had their full attention on the first guy [who was attempting to scale the RF fence before he was tackled by Byrnes(I think)]. It was one of the funnier "fan-on-the-field" moments and I wish more people could've seen it. Classic.
2006-02-28 14:04:40
32.   wsporter
Neyer who?
2006-02-28 14:20:19
33.   Shaun P
Given that Boston seems to have placed a premium on defense going into this season, and that Soriano would completely destroy that plan, I doubt we'll see him in red sox anytime soon. He's ten times worse with the glove than Renteria was - the fans would be all over him.

Methinks Theo & Co are trying to emulate the World Champs by having shutdown pitching throughout the staff and a solid defense helping the pitchers out. With Manny, Ortiz et al., the runs will come easily enough.

As for Neyer and Gammons, they are two of the only reasons I continue to read anything at Neyer is one of the best objective baseball analysts out there. He just has a sarcastic side, which tends to show up especially when he's discussing the Yanks in chats, FYI. And he tends to be very upfront about things, which I also like. (Cano did have a horrible OBP last year.) Gammons is a fantastic writer and knows more about the people in the game than anyone else alive. Sure he has an occasional Sox fan streak in him - but can you blame him? They're his team - his love of baseball came from growing up a Red Sox fan. Would any of us, if in his shoes, be able to entirely leave out our Yankee-love from everything we said/wrote? I think not.

2006-02-28 14:21:27
34.   standuptriple
Oh my goodness...

2006-02-28 15:21:09
35.   Dan M
Neyer lost me when he made he argued that Fenway was better than YS because "Yankee Stadium is too blue." Also, last week he complained - on one of the Toaster sites - "am I supposed to suddenly care, for two weeks every four years" about Winter Olympic sports? Actually, Rob, yes. Just like people get excited about swimming, gymnastics, and track & field for 2 weeks every 4 years. It's really not that much to ask, especially when there's no baseball on.
2006-02-28 19:07:38
36.   Alex Belth
Yo, standuptriple, those Barry Bonds photos are too much. Good for him. It sure brought a smile to my face...can't ever remember him cracking me up, especially with something as off the wall as this. Again, good for him.

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