Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Joe Knows
2006-07-27 07:05
by Alex Belth

Pete Abraham, the Yankee beat reporter for The Journal News, has an interesting, insider's take on Yankee skipper Joe Torre today over at The Baseball Analysts. I was going to put up an excerpt but I couldn't trim it down sufficiently...instead, just head on over to Rich and Bryan's terrific site and check it out for yourself.

2006-07-27 07:13:16
1.   Shaun P
My favorite bit from the article -

"But Torre has no time for ESPN. He believes they hammered too much on Roger Clemens for throwing the piece of bat at Mike Piazza during the 2000 World Series. So he doesn't yuck it up with Chris Berman or pop up on SportsCenter. He growls a few words when one of their reporters asks a question, then invariably makes some kind of remark when they walk away."

I may disagree with Torre's bullpen management from time to time, but this, this I like!

2006-07-27 07:36:07
2.   Sliced Bread
Abraham is great.

He did a piece the other day on how the Yankee lineup is posted, and how the cards have become a coveted and authenticated souvenir.

He's obviously a professional writer, and one of the chosen few Yankeeland "insiders," but he often writes from an unjaded fan's perspective.

I love his work, and his take on Torre here.

Thanks for the link, Alex.

2006-07-27 07:51:25
3.   DarrenF
See, when I read an article like that, I run for the blogs even more.

I don't like "in the tent" reporting in the first place, but I also don't like endless stories about the process: "I drove up to the Stadium in my Honda Civic, ate a bagel lightly toasted with cream cheese, and sauntered up to Chuck Knoblauch's locker ..."

Torre told a story about a snake, so he's a swell guy, so Abraham will seldom question his on-field strategies.

If a reporter questions Torre's strategies, guess what? That reporter is shut out. No more snake stories for you.

The players who shmooze get gold gloves and MVPs and HOF votes. David Cone must have been a better interview than Randy Johnson. David Wright is apparently a better interview than Carlos Beltran.

I'm sure Torre is a nice guy and a great story teller. Now take off the kid gloves and ask him why T.J. Beam was pitching last night. When he sidesteps the answer, ask him again. No, Farnsworth's sudden injury is not a good enough answer.

2006-07-27 08:03:14
4.   Sliced Bread
3 You make several good points, but Abraham wrote that for a blog you might run to, not the newspapers you run from.

And don't you think baseball blogs are more credible when "insiders" like Abraham contribute?

Also, what if Abraham or another writer took Torre to task for pitching Beam? I mean, held him down, gun to his head. How would that change anything? Joe determines who pitches and plays, not the fans.

2006-07-27 08:23:14
5.   C2Coke
I think Abraham's writing is fun to read and always with interesting materials from a somewhat different perspective.

Here is what Peter Abraham said about his guest column on Baseball Analysts:

"Some other writers I respect -- guys like Bob Klapisch and Will Carroll -- have done guest columns for Rich along with baseball blogging Hall of Famers like Alex Belth and Jay Jaffe. I feel like Miguel Cairo in that lineup."

2006-07-27 08:24:48
6.   C2Coke
5 The link:

2006-07-27 08:27:40
7.   Dimelo
4 Good point, Sliced. Plus, don't you think that gets old during a 162 game season to be questioned about every little move you make? I guess Torre's problem, or any manager, is that why was my bullpen usage fine yesterday when we won and today it was horrible just because we lost. I think it's a sensitive situation. You don't want reporters alienating relationships either. These are human beings and they can hold grudges.

You think any reporter can do his/her job effectively if he becomes black listed because he/she is the only one that will ask the tough questions? No manager has to answer the question and simply ignore the reporter. That doesn't not make for a good working relationship. There is a certain amount of give-and-take and every beat writer has to handle that with care.

2006-07-27 08:34:34
8.   DarrenF
4 Yes, when I said blog vs. MSM, I was actually trying to say insider analysis vs. outsider analysis.

I think insiders can often provide good inside information. Maybe there's some interesting explanation why Stinnett was DFA'd that I don't know about. {I'm still wondering exactly what happened to Bubba Trammell -- somebody could make a movie of the week.)

But I also find, almost universally, that the game accounts (if you can actually find a game account in a NY tabloid) or player analyses simply don't correspond to what I'm seeing with my own eyes on the field. Abraham's article largely explains why this is the case.

Stick with Beam as an example:

Appropriate followup questions: If Farnsworth was injured, wouldn't the umpire grant his replacement unlimited warmup time? Was Villone already showered and in his street clothes and therefore unavailable? Were you simply trying to get Beam into a tough spot to see if he can be trusted in a tough spot?

Because Joe Torre probably wasn't "in a box" just because Farnsworth got hurt while warming up. Torre probably had many options.

It doesn't change anything, but the answers to these questions may provide some insight into Yankee baseball. (Even more insight than the snake story.)

However, I get the impression that Abraham would be exiled ESPN-style or Kim Jones-style if he pressed this issue.

2006-07-27 08:48:59
9.   markp
I like the anti-ESPN bit, but I agree with all of those who think objectivity is a bit more important than getting on Joe the Shmoozer's good side. The typical anti-SABR remark is pretty revealing. The writer doesn't think stats have as much bearing as Joe's "gut".
2006-07-27 09:33:04
10.   Sliced Bread
8 Again, good points.

For me, Joe's actions provide more insight into Yankee baseball than any answer he might come up with. That's why I don't think grilling him really accomplishes anything.

"However, I get the impression that Abraham would be exiled ESPN-style or Kim Jones-style if he pressed this issue."

Yup, and that impression is also an insight to how things work in Yankeeland.

2006-07-27 10:27:23
11.   Dimelo
Why does that only apply in Yankeeland? Look at Dusty Baker and the one play-by-play guy that was critical of Cub players a few years back. It's like that everywhere, not only in Yankeeland.

The last thing any organization wants is to make the people in charge look like idiots. That might not be true when a manager/gm is about to get fired and the powers at be could care less that their manager/gm is being ripped apart, but for the most part organizations are protective of the people that run their teams. It's a PR move because if the media is portraying the manager/coach/gm to look like an idiot then the fans will not want to go to the games and they'll lose confidence in their teams.

Case in point, look at how the Dolans are trying to make Zeek look like a genius, a great leader, etc, etc. Everyone knows he's a retard, but he gets away with blaming everything on Larry Brown. When the press started ripping apart Isiah and the Dolans, then they were put in a parking lot across the street from where the Knicks practice.

2006-07-27 10:48:40
12.   Sliced Bread
Right on, Dimelo. Yankeeland is a fountain of truth compared to that pack of weasels.
2006-07-27 11:16:29
13.   pistolpete
I wonder if Joe has the same distaste towards ESPN for exactly the same reasons as most of the Yankee fans do? My money says he's fully aware of the treatment that guys like A-Rod & Giambi have been getting from the ESPN flunkies in recent years - that kind of stuff has to be talked about in closed circles, you just know it.

Meanwhile, they don't exactly show the Clemens/Piazza clip much since Roger's been out of pinstripes, do they now?

It's been a regular Rocket Lovefest over in Bristol since he's been playing for the Astros... Now all of a sudden, Roger's labeled as the 'greatest pitcher of the modern era' - whereas his years in NY were classified as nothing more than some sort of 'mercenary' service for the Evil Empire...

Suck it, ESPN. Good for you Joe.

2006-07-27 11:35:30
14.   Dan M
I concur that ESPN is a total Roger lovefest these days. Did anyone watch Roger's first game back this year on ESPN? Gary Thorne stated that Roger's 2 years with the Jays "really put the Toronto Blue Jays on the map." I guess he missed the back-to-back world championships, and the most exciting conclusion to a World Series ever thing.
2006-07-27 12:01:41
15.   Javi Javi
ESPN's coverage is dictated entirely by what drives ratings, because ratings drive $$. It may come as a surprise to you all, but the Yankees are not generally well-liked outside the tri-state area. As a transplant from NY living out west, I get many an off-handed comment or look simply because I am wearing a NYY hat. ESPN has, and will always play to that market and will not hesitate to serve healthy helpings of schadenfreude when the Yanks aren't firing on all cylinders.

The Rocket lovefest is just more of that pattern of behavior--he's not a Yankee now, and he's an older guy that's still performing well. Plays well with the non-yankee fan, middle-aged male demographic.

2006-07-27 12:08:13
16.   pistolpete
15 Oh we understand the reasoning full well, but there's no reason on God's green earth we can't be disgusted by it.
2006-07-27 12:10:45
17.   pistolpete
15 And in quite a few neighborhoods, they're not well-liked INSIDE the tri-state area either. ;-)
2006-07-27 12:42:11
18.   DarrenF
15 Believe me, it's no surprise. Evil Empire, Ruining Baseball, Arrogant, $teinbrenner, Slappy McBlueLips. We get it, we get it.

I think MLB loves it because they cash in bigtime with Yankee haters. They probably make more money from Yankee haters than they do from Yankee fans.

When it's dumb:

-- When Hideki Irabu can't win the rookie of the year in 2003 because he's a Japanese veteran, but Ichiro can win it in 2001 and Sasaki can win it in 2000.

-- When the Yankeees win 114 games in 1998, but that success hampers their individual MVP candidacies because they "would have made the playoffs, anyway." Oddly, I haven't heard that logic applied to any other team (Mariners in '01, Mets in '06, Tiger ins '84).

-- When Alex Rodriguez makes three errors in a game and Steve Phillips concludes that the Yankees must trade him NOW. I direct your attention to Mets game of 4/19/2006, which I found easily by typing "David Wright" and "three errors" into a search engine.

Yankee Hating should not warp Basebal Reality.

2006-07-27 12:44:13
19.   DarrenF
Yeah, I kind meant Hideki Matsui ... not Hideki Irabu.
2006-07-27 12:48:49
20.   Bama Yankee
15 Yankees "not generally well-liked outside the tri-state area"? The Yankees are the most popular team in baseball for the 4th year in a row (according to a nationwide Harris Poll):
Of course, even though the Yankees are the most popular team they still only get less than 20% of the votes. Therefore, I do agree that there is also a lot of hatred for the Yankees outside (and inside per 17) the tri-state area.

The thing that ESPN exploits is the fact that they Yankees are at the same time the most popular and most hated team in baseball. They play to both sides. We tend to only mention the negative on this blog, but they Yankees get a lot of airtime on the ESPN as well (especially when playing the Red Sox).

2006-07-27 13:03:29
21.   pistolpete
20 "We tend to only mention the negative on this blog, but they Yankees get a lot of airtime on the ESPN as well"

Agreed that they get a lot of air time, but it's rarely air time dedicated to how amazing they've performed in spite of all the problems this season.

The A-Rod 'ballet' montage was it for me - no more ESPN unless I'm tuning in for highlights from a Yankees victory. Otherwise, I'm just begging to be nauseous.

2006-07-27 13:09:50
22.   Bama Yankee
18 What about A-Rod beating out Big Papi for the MVP last year?
2006-07-27 13:27:02
23.   Bama Yankee
21 I'm not trying to be an ESPN apologist (I despise all the A-Rod bashing like everyone else). I just think that they are playing to their audience. They play up the Yankee "problems" to appeal to the "haters" out there. While at the same time, they will feature a puff piece on how Jeter and they guys helped a boy for the Make-a-Wish series. They are no longer seem to care about reporting on sports, they are more about getting ratings. It happens to a lot of networks, remember when MTV used to play videos?
2006-07-27 13:37:19
24.   DarrenF
22 Well, when you look at the historical nature of ARod's '05 season and consider the resistance he encountered, even in New York, something seemed kind of fishy to me.

I didn't interpret this resistance as anti-Yankee sentiment, necessarily, but I had never heard of "close-and-late" in an MVP discussion before. Had you?

Anybody off the top of their head remember how IRod did in "close-and-late" in 1999?

I'm also not sure why Manny and Young got so little support last year. But that's just me. Probably like Mauer would get little support if you took a poll today. Or maybe he would. I would not bank on consistency in the logic of MVP voters.

Anyway, getting to the point of your question, I don't think ARods' candidacy was helped by putting on the Pinstripes, put it that way.

2006-07-27 13:50:24
25.   Shaun P
23 And that's why ESPN and MTV are both awful now. Its like Javi Javi said - its all about the ratings-driven Benjamins. The quality of the content is irrelevant, so long as the ratings are there.

Not that this isn't a good discussion, but I for one am starting to get as tired of discussing how awful ESPN is as I was tired of discussing A-Rod's negative portrayal by ESPN. Can we just all agree that ESPN was once great, but sucks big-time now, and leave it at that?

2006-07-27 14:04:40
26.   Bama Yankee
25 I'm with you Shaun P, I think we have beaten the ESPN horse to death...
2006-07-27 14:12:05
27.   Bama Yankee
24 You're right, if A-Rod had been playing for the Red Sox and Big Papi had been playing for the Yankees it would have been A-Rod in a landslide (due to Ortiz not playing the field and A-Rod's stellar D for the Sox).

BTW, a question for all the "trade A-Rod" advocates out there (seems to have been a few on here lately): Would you trade A-Rod for Big Papi straight up?

2006-07-27 17:22:49
28.   Start Spreading the News
If that means that Giambi has to play the field for the next 3-4 years, because Ortiz has to DH. Then no.

Whatever extra offense we get from Ortiz (assuming any), we would surely lose by not being able to eventually have Giambi DH and an average 1st basemen field the position. Last year, according to his rate of 89, he cost the Yanks 18 runs for the year -- so maybe two games. But I would imagine that rate gets worse over time.

This is assuming that Arod Fielding + Arod offense is not greater than Ortiz offense minus flexibility lost to lineup.

Having one of your top hitters as a DH really hampers your ability to rest players. How do the Red Sox rest Manny? by giving him the day off and replacing him with an average hitter.

How do the Yankees rest their players? Often by DH'ing them. Thus their bat is perserved while Giambi fields. In 2005, Giambi's glove costs the Yanks 2 wins (versus a replacement players) while Manny bat was 6.8 wins over a replacement player.

2006-07-27 22:11:55
29.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Philip Hughes tonight:

4ip, 1er, 1 bb, 8ks.

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