Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Here Comes Da Mums
2006-04-24 05:53
by Alex Belth

My mother was born in Belgium and then raised in the Belgian Congo. When she met my father and came to New York in 1966-67, she spoke English well enough, but though she's lived here in the States ever since, her high-pitched French accent remains. Once you meet her once, you'll never forget the way she talks. As kids, she'd sing us lullabys--mostly in French--but sometimes in English too. One that I remember with particular fondess was mom singing the chorus of George Harrison's sweet-natured record, "Here Comes the Sun." Ma didn't know any of the lyrics so she'd just sing the chorus and then add her own "Do-da-do-doo doos." But in her high-lilting voice, it sounded so charming, and for us as kids (my twin sister and younger brother), undoubtedly warming too.

This memory came to mind yesterday as I watched the Yankee game at home with Emily. I had spoken with my co-host Cliff earlier in the day and he expressed some concern about the rainy weather. Cliff's got a season ticket package for Sundays. Since he was on puppy-duty yesterday he offered his tickets to his mom--who is a bonafide Yankee fan--and a cheery one at that. But he was feeling guilty at the thought of his mom getting soaked out there in the bleachers all afternoon. I could relate to feeling guilty like that, so you can imagine how pleased I was for Cliff and his mom when the sun came out mid-way through the game, and remained for the rest of the afternoon.

When the sun poked through, I thought of Cliff and his mom as I heard my own mother singing "Here Comes the Sun."

Just a quick, personal memory during yesterday's 7-1 win at the Stadium. Randy Johnson pitched, Jorge Posada caught, while Jason Giambi supplied the pop.

Comments (51)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-04-24 06:20:52
1.   mikeplugh
Nice story Alex. My mom always used to sing to us too. Falls>......

Let's see if Moose can continue cleaning up hitters and get us on an actual winning streak.

In case people missed it...Phil Hughes went 7 strong innings yesterday, giving up 6 hits, no walks, and 3 runs. He added 6 strikeouts and evened his win/loss to 2-2, with an ERA of 1.57.

I wanted to check out more on the kid so I went to the Tampa Yankees homepage. Don't bother...unless you want to scratch your head. How does a team worth a billion dollars have a useless site like that, with utterly no redeeming design quality or information?

2006-04-24 06:49:51
2.   Knuckles
I've been keeping a rough spreadsheet of Yanks runs scored and against this year, and this is where they stand after about 10% of the season.

Record: 9-8

Avg runs scored in wins: 8.9
Avg runs against in wins: 2.7
Avg margin of victory: 6.2

Avg runs scored in losses: 3.4
Avg runs against in losses: 5.9
Avg margin of defeat: 2.5

They've lost 4 one-run games and a two-run game, and have won one 2-run game. Every other game has been decided by 4+ runs.

+ Leverage the bullpen better. Hopefully Dotel will come back and be effective, thus pushing one of "Torre's Guys" a notch deeper into the pen.
+ Start executing with runners on 2nd/3rd less than 2 outs. Sheff and A-Rod especially seems to have come up small in these spots fairly often. Professional hitters should be able to shorten their swings and tailor it to the situation at hand, and it seems the Yanks have yet to do so consistently yet.
+ Stop running themselves out of innings...yeesh.

On the positive side, they're on pace for 1020 runs, hitting over .300 as a team, and the starting pitching on the whole has been strong. If they can start to tilt the offense to 'consistent' and away from 'feast or famine' this team is gonna really start doing some damage.

Was Watching has a good post on proposals for the Bernie/Phillips/Giambi/(Pena) conundrum.

2006-04-24 07:18:19
3.   Sam DC
Amazon shipped my "stepping up" today. (Now, if only it could ship me 12 free hours in which to read it . . .)

Anyhow, in some ways its the little posts like that remind me why I'm so looking forward to the read.

2006-04-24 07:40:33
4.   Bob Timmermann
"Stepping Up" has made it into the catalog at work.

You can use this link:

To then link to the full Library of Congress record.
Alex now has what we call in the biz, a "name authority".

2006-04-24 08:18:49
5.   Levy2020
3 Has anyone else been excited by the development of Scott Proctor? I haven't seem him pitch and maybe he's getting lucky on BABIP (I wouldn't know) but his ERA and his innings are looking good. I only hope he's not on the Joe Torre arm exercise plan.
2006-04-24 08:27:31
6.   Dimelo
Levy, it's funny you mention that...I was a bit annoyed at some of the things being said about Proctor. I really think he's providing a valuable service to the Yanks, I'd rather see him as the 5th starter than Jaret Wrong.
2006-04-24 08:51:35
7.   tommyl
2, where is this post about the DH problem? I couldn't find it.
2006-04-24 09:05:35
8.   Knuckles
7 Tommy,
My bad, it was on RLYW:
2006-04-24 09:18:35
9.   Schteeve
Giambi is ridiculous. I love that guy.
2006-04-24 09:23:31
10.   Rich Lederer
Nice tie in, Alex.

On a separate note, congrats on making the Library of Congress Online Catalog (as Bob T. points out above). 'Twas fun to check it out and go from one link to another.

2006-04-24 09:29:53
11.   Shawn Clap
I don't get it. Why are people so Hot & Heavy for Andy Phillips? What is it about his few ABs that convince people he has a future in baseball?

Is it his total lack of confidence?

Is it his total lack of baseball IQ?

The fact that he's a short right-handed 1st Baseman?

Where do people get off saying he's an improvement over Bernie?

Is it just that he's a Great White Hope?Maybe someone can lay it out for me.

2006-04-24 09:48:35
12.   wsporter
11 Shawn, I watched him play for Columbus against both the Braves and Mets AAA clubs. Against very good pitching he demonstrated a quick bat, good hands and a great batting eye. He also has an ability to sting the ball to right field. All these things should translate well to the ML level. He is also a good glove at first base and can play around the infield if needed.

He has not gotten much of a consistent shot to perform at the ML level and when he has gotten chances he has looked lost. If he is given a consistent chance to play I am confident that he will demonstrate those attributes that he displayed amply at the AAA level and that many skeptical fans will become converted fans through witnessing his production. My fingers are crossed anyway.

It's not like the guy has never hit anywhere before. He hasn't done it at the big league level. I think that's more a function of ill use rather than a lack of skill. Shawn if you give him a chance you may like what you see. If he produces we are one hell of a lot better off.

2006-04-24 09:49:25
13.   Shaun P
11 I'm not sure how you've measured his confidence and baseball IQ, but his hitting is what does it for me:

Bernie Williams, aged 36. OPS last five years: .917, .908, .778, .795, .688 = clear downward trend. Not likely to be reversed, particularly given age.

Andy Phillips, aged 29. 2004, in AAA, hit .316/.386/.560, translated to majors, .282/.350/.481 = .831 OPS. 2005, in AAA, hit .300/.379/.573, translated to majors, .263/.337/.477 = .814 OPS.

Phillips can hit. Bernie can't. Simple as that.

2006-04-24 09:57:07
14.   Rob Gee
And so the Phillips thread begins anew...

11 Shawn - I was once where you are - Cliff made the case well. You can't make an accurate assessment on 40+ scattered AB's. Do your homework and check his minor league stats via the very handy links (BC for minors) provided on the right. He absolutely crushed the ball in 04 and 05 with power and discipline. The guy can mash if given a chance.

For more on the Andy front see today's Star-Ledger with good quote from Tea and Phillips:

2006-04-24 10:15:28
15.   brockdc
Good news: Giambi can hit as a DH!
2006-04-24 10:27:39
16.   unpopster
I'm not sure if I'm restating something that has been addressed before, but if anyone was listening to the Yankee game on WCBS yesterday, you would have heard that the 5th Inning Anthony McCarron Report was all about Phillips. Sterling mentioned that Torre had decided to give Phillips approximately 12 AB's this upcoming week to determine where he fits in on this club.

Both Sterling and McCarron agreed that this week is Phillips do-or-die moment, and that with Pena waiting in the wings, a sub-par week would all but buy Andy a one-way ticket back to Columbus.

I think Susan Waldman then chimed in that with guys like Nomar available in the offseason, she thought that the Yanks decided not to go outside the organization for the specific purpose of letting Phillips hold the DH/backup 1B job for the 2006 season.

So I ask, who has suddenly lost patience with Andy? Torre? Cashman? The Boss?

This sucks!

2006-04-24 10:28:28
17.   pistolpete
Someone probably mentioned this yesterday, but did anyone else hear the statistic about Yankees and day games? 8-0 to date, thank you very much...

Maybe someone should work on trying to alter the schedule for the rest of the year? ;-)

2006-04-24 10:30:30
18.   joejoejoe
Jorge Posada was on ESPN's Cold Pizza today promoting a children's book that he wrote called 'Play Ball!'. It looked pretty cool for those looking for a book for to read to the little ones.

Here is the book -

2006-04-24 10:31:43
19.   bp1
16 Funny how this rash of Andy Phillips "sh*t or get off the pot" talk in the dugout coincides with Derek's Lee's injury. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Andy or Pena moved to the Cubs in the near future. Could be if Andy hits well this week - he's outa here in a trade.

Question would then be - what do we get back?


2006-04-24 10:38:09
20.   rbj
I caught the Clippers at the Mudhens this weekend (missed the last 3 innings on Saturday due to rain & fair weather friends. Caught all of Sunday despite 6 innings of drizzle.) Clippers lost both games, 3-2 and 4-3. Both times they had late, 8th inning rallies to pull within one, but never got the big blow. I think they are just scuffling right now.
One thing to remember about the minor leagues this season is that the regular umps are on strike -- looking for enough pay to make it a full time job. The replacements are semi pros, college & high school umps so their strike zone is perhaps not up to snuff. To me, this is BS. If you want to prep your AAA players for the majors, then give them high quality umpires. Part timers do not work, just ask the NFL.

As to Rob Gee's questions:
Duncan had 3 walks in the first game, second game a K (swinging), pop out to 1st, and two 3-1 put outs. Good eye, but nothing out of the infield.
Melky only had one single, did have some hard hit ground outs. He definitely needs more time at AAA, at least offensively.
Rasner didn't get in either game.
Mitch Jones had 3 Ks, a walk and a 400' double. He also needs to develop more of an eye.
Colter Bean warmed up for the bottom of the ninth in game two, right in front of me, he looked good on the sidelines but sadly wasn't in the game.
Pena was at first for the first game, DHed the second. He probably only needs a couple more weeks at AAA. He would be a defensive upgrade over Giambi at first, but there were a couple of throwing errors to him by the secondbase man and shortstop. SS was wide and low, 2B's throw was real awkward, it wound up hitting Carlos in the chest. Clearly an E-4, but I kind of think a Mattingly would have had it.

Interestingly, our old friend Wil Nieves caught both games even though Sunday was a day game after a night game. The Hens did switch catchers. I don't know why Keith McDonald wasn't out there Sunday (David Parrish is on the DL)

Jeff Karstens wasn't consistently hitting the strike zone. He could get a quick 0-2 count, then his slider would be low & away for three straight balls. It was happening in his warm ups too. (That is one real nice thing about AAA, I got to sit in the second row, watch the guy warm up, all for $8.) And despite the Mudhens not hitting all that well this year, they got some really hard hits against Karstens and Pope.

All in all, they should keep Melky at AAA for the year (he is only 21), and Pena could be a decent back up for Jason, without sacrificing too much with the bat (though Philips deserves some more playing time to see if he can hit in the majors.)

2006-04-24 10:41:34
21.   Dimelo
If the Yanks trade Andy to the Cubs, they should ask for Felix Pie. It won't hurt the Yanks to ask - just to see how desperate the Cubs FO might actually be. I know...I know...they won't be that desperate, but they are the Cubs and you don't go that long w/o winning anything w/o a few stupid moves being made along the way. If they go along with the trade then that would just prove that they are consistent.
2006-04-24 10:44:23
22.   wsporter
16 UnPop, I don't get WCBS down here but the papers picked the story up today (See today's Post and the story by Morrissey). I didn't read the comments as suggesting that anyone had lost patience with Phillips but rather that Mr. Torre pointed out that the way they had been using Phillips to date was "unfair" and further that they were going to give him some more ab's this week to try and get him going. I didn't read it as a "produce or perish" ultimatum. Given he's had all of 16 ab's this season expecting him to validate his value in 12 more would be the height of poor judgment in this case.

rbj 20 Thanks for the Clips scouting report. How did Duncan look back at 3rd? Were Duncan's walks legit or a product of the little league umpires?

2006-04-24 11:04:18
23.   Rob Gee
20 cool thanks, rbj. If Melky does cool off, you can bet AAA is where he'll be all year. And Mitch Jones is back to his old self.

Call me crazy but short of the three catchers (so Jorge can DH when Stinnett starts), I think the three 1B's (Giambi, Phillips, and Pena) could work as a legit 1B/DH platoon. It would be an upgrade from Bernie in the lineup but the OF's get fewer days at DH.

2006-04-24 11:06:48
24.   unpopster
22 wsporter, Sterling did start off the McCarron interview with the same "Torre feels bad about the lack of playing time for Phillips, yadda yadda". But the discussion quickly changed to how this might be THE time for Andy. Pena's name was repeatedly mentioned as someone "waiting in the wings".
2006-04-24 11:45:52
25.   unpopster
Tony Woe-mack has been designated for assignment by the Reds:

2006-04-24 11:54:52
26.   rbj
22 wsporter. I brought my radio for Sunday's game, the announcers did not have a beef with the balls & strikes calls. There was only one pitch that should have been called strike three. Nieves had started for the dugout, he stood in front of the ump for a while, clearly unhappy. Duncan's walks were pretty legit, IMO. I was down the line for both games, so could only see if pitches were high or low. The umps did a decent job, but there is no substitute for professionals. I can olny imagine the quality of A ball umps, especially for teams out in the boondocks.

23 It was my pleasure. I think Colter could be called up, he's got decent numbers so far.

2006-04-24 12:27:07
27.   Cliff Corcoran
"I think Colter could be called up, he's got decent numbers so far." 26 Was this meant to be funny? Because knowing the way the Yankees have treated Bean over the last couple of years, it's hi-larious.

25 At last, a victory for logic and sanity! You know, seeing as the Yankees made the postseason despite Womack and flipped him for two minor leaguers, one of whom could be a useful back-up infielder soon, perhaps it worked out for the best that the Yankees didn't just release Womack last year, but this proves that they didn't deserve what they got. Meanwhile, I'll be interested to see if Brandon Phillips, after going from prospect to suspect with the Indians, a team that has had great success with their youngsters, is for real or just having a hot week.

2006-04-24 12:29:19
28.   standuptriple
19 Interesting to say the least. I'm not too familiar with the Cubbies catching pipeline, but you have to figure Barrett is going to be there for a couple years. Could be worth a gander.
2006-04-24 12:40:40
29.   Schteeve
The Cubs would send us Mark Prior's rotator cuff.
2006-04-24 12:53:48
30.   JeterChrist
Here's hoping that we continue to build a bullpen surplus, scary thought a few months ago, but realistically small sample size taken into consideration, Proctor, Bean, Veras, Smith, Myers, Villone, and Beam have all gotten off to good starts, if Farnsworth can start to make strides, we'll have a surplus of above average to good relievers. Would it be too much to hope that one or more of these could be spun into a legitimate catching prospect?
2006-04-24 12:55:22
31.   rbj
Cliff, I just couldn't resist.
His warm up tosses had some good movement on them.
2006-04-24 13:00:21
32.   Sliced Bread
"...sun, sun, sun, here it comes..."

Thanks, Alex. Can't get that tune out of my head now.

Might want to check out a disc called "Bedtime With The Beatles." It's instrumental arrangements of some of their greatest melodies, (Blackbird, Across The Universe, In My Life etc.) which make for some of the most enchanting lullabys I've ever heard. We'd spin that disc repeatedly for hours when our sons were sleepy little infants.

re: Giambi. Amazing what a different hitter he is from a year ago. The lineup is so much more imposing with him grooving again. He seems impossible to pitch around when he's locked in like this.

2006-04-24 13:20:16
33.   tommyl
25, Oh no, I can just picture the Yankees signing him to replace an injured Miguel Cairo down the stretch.
2006-04-24 13:32:41
34.   Dimelo
Does anyone else have a problem with the Yankees schedule so far? The off-days, the late start times, the early start times, the central start times (Min). Then they don't get another off-day till May 8th. Couldn't those off days have been more evenly distributed?

Then all the Sux games are set-up to be played on the weekdays - except for one away series in August and one @ home in September.

Looks like Halladay will not pitch against the Yanks in the weekend series. Before the Yanks play the Sux, they have 6 games at home vs. Tampa and Toronto. Anything less than a 4 - 2 record will be a big disappointment - for me at least. If they go 4 - 2, then that will leave them with a record of 13 - 10 heading into Boston.

2006-04-24 13:39:06
35.   Rob Gee
35 I'm hoping for 5-1. But it would be nice for the first showdown to be with 1st place at stake.
2006-04-24 13:44:13
36.   Cliff Corcoran
34 I'll second that. As someone with a Sunday ticket package I get robbed of three Sox games due to the mid-week series. And yes, this April schedule has been ridiculous. I stop short of blaming the time zone switches, random off days and day-night back and forth for the team's poor record, but considering their excellent pitching and hitting numbers, what if, just what if they haven't hit stride yet? Wow.
2006-04-24 13:55:42
37.   Dimelo
I'm trying to get in my usual rhythm: gym (if I get out of work late then I usually skip so I can watch the Yanks), rush home, watch Yanks, repeat same pattern M - F till October. I can't get into a rhythm, imagine them so like Cliff says...."what if, just what if they haven't hit stride yet? Wow."

I want to be WOWED!!!!!

BTW, I hate the's the biggest waste of my time. If it weren't for the fact that I like to go and excercise my eyes more than my body then I wouldn't even think about it.

2006-04-24 13:57:13
38.   Shaun P
34 I think this has been a weird schedule, too. I wonder if the switch in the company that makes the schedule has anything to do with it?

As for 'rivalry' games, I'm too cynical to believe that MLB specifically asked for FEWER weekend Sox-Yanks games. Must just be a quirk, right?

2006-04-24 14:01:10
39.   Cliff Corcoran
Funny, because I gave the new sched makers credit for having the Yanks and Sox finish against each other last year, now they finish up head-to-head two weeks before the season's end and they play two of three Bronx series mid-week. Booo!
2006-04-24 14:42:51
40.   rbj
I'm not as concerned about how the schedule finishes (Toronto might still be there at the end) as I am about the off days. I'd rather have one less off day in April, and have it in September instead. Or even in August.
2006-04-24 18:43:32
41.   Simone
Anyone watching the Marlins/Cubs game on ESPN? Damn, the Marlins can play some defense. If the Yankees could defense like this, the World Series would be theirs in a heartbeat.
2006-04-24 18:56:20
42.   Simone
I might have just jinxed the Marlins. LOL!
2006-04-24 19:52:43
43.   yankz
Anyone see what Nomar did? Yikes!
2006-04-24 21:27:12
44.   LarryF
i caught it. right after the color guy on the dodger telecast calls brad lidge the best closer in baseball.
2006-04-24 22:47:17
45.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
See Ozzie, with rhp on mound, intentionally walk lefty hitter sporting .231 ba (.267 vs rhp), and only 2 hits in last 16 abs.

See next batter, righty hitter, .286 avg (.283 vs rhp), 7 for last 18, single in game winning run in bottom of tenth inning.

Oh Ozzie, why, why, why.

Thus endeth the lesson.

2006-04-25 04:51:39
46.   mikeplugh
The Reds have designated Tony Womack for assignment. That's baseball talk for...

"The Reds just cut Womack's useless ass."

2006-04-25 05:03:29
47.   Sliced Bread
Here's Damon re: Moose in today's Journal News:

"I never liked to face Mussina because he's very creative," Johnny Damon said. "You don't know what you're going to expect. There are different arm angles, different pitches. You have to look at 15 different things. He was tough to hit.

"And now watching him from center field and seeing that Bugs Bunny-like changeup, it's definitely fun to watch."

2006-04-25 05:28:55
48.   nycfan
I know we would like to think Proctor has turned a corner or something, but the guy has 9 walks to 8 k's so far this year, and we all know you can't even be a decent major league pitcher with that kind of ratio. Considering his heavy flyball tendencies, he's not going to go much longer without giving up a homer either.
2006-04-25 05:55:21
49.   Sliced Bread
48 Proctor has been the recipient of a few tough calls for ball four, at least two or three that I've seen. The strike zone is a tighter for guys with his limited experience.

He seems to be aware of his flyball tendencies, and trying to hit the corners to avoid surrendering the home run ball.

Obviously, you'd rather see him issue a free pass being cautious than surrender a home run being more aggressive down the middle.

I trust him more than Sturtze at this point.

2006-04-25 06:39:49
50.   Dan M
"The strike zone is a tighter for guys with his limited experience"

Funny, it didn't work that way for Chris Ray.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-04-25 08:00:38
51.   JeremyM
I'm not sold on Proctor yet- he's let most of his inherited runners score and he seems to get a couple guys on every inning before getting out of trouble. However, I'd rather give him a shot at starting instead of Wright.

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