Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Cruise Control
2006-09-12 05:18
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"I can't expect to win a postseason game giving up five runs," Johnson said. "I got away with one tonight and I'm very grateful."
(Sam Borden, N.Y. Daily News)

Indeed, Johnson was far from terrific last night, allowing five runs in six innings, but the Yankees bailed him out with six runs in the top of the seventh and Johnson earned the win (the 280th of his fine career), matching his win/loss total from 2005 at 17-10. The final score: Yanks 9, O's 6. The critical play came when Fernando Tatis, a third baseman playing left field, misplayed Robinson Cano's fly ball, allowing three runs to score. The Yanks did not look back.

Derek Jeter had two more hits, extending his hitting streak to 21 straight, and is now batting .346. Jeter characteristically remained mum about his chances to win the MVP award, refusing to react to David Ortiz's recent kvetchfest. Alex Rodriguez returned from a nagging stomach virus and collected three hits of his own, including a home run. Rodriguez ended the night with 101 runs scored for the year, and has scored more than 100 runs in 11 consecutive seasons (oh, and he's now driven in 100 plus runs ten times in his career). As Emily said when Rodriguez was rounding the bases in the ninth inning, "Rock on, Pukearella."

The final word in the milestone dept: Joe Torre passed Miller Huggins on the all-time win list for Yankee managers last night. Only Casey and the great Joe McCarthy have won more games for the Bombers. Not bad for a boy from Brooklyn, eh?

The Yanks' return home tonight with their magic number down to ten. The Devil Rays are in for three, with the Red Sox following this weekend for a four-game set. I'm sure we'll hear more from the likes of Pete Abraham as the day moves on, but it's likely that Hideki Matsui will be in the line-up tonight.

Welcome back Godzilla!

Comments (92)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-09-12 06:08:46
1.   mikeplugh
RJ at 17 wins is amazing given his poor showings. That'll show you what being a Yankee pitcher can get you. If you are a stud and arrive young enough, there's a big 300 waiting for you down the line. (Attention: Phil Hughes)

It's hard to get up for the D-Rays and Orioles when you lead the division by 10.5 games. I'm really looking forward to hearing the reaction that NY fans give Ortiz when he shows up. It might make Pedro's "Daddy" stuff look tame by comparison.

2006-09-12 06:13:20
2.   joe in boston
Nice win. Is it me? I'm feeling a letdown on all of these games - almost a bit bored. Maybe it's because the Sawx are out of it. I know I'll get up for this weekend

1 I agree - now I have a reason to really dislike Ortiz. Never talk about yourself - look at Jeter's quotes over the years - always about the team and winning. Not about himself.

2006-09-12 06:15:19
3.   Jen
Mike, I hope they give it to Ortiz good. I'd be happy with a constant rain of boos throughout his at bats. I also expect that the MVP chants for Jeter will be louder than ever for the Boston series.

I have an extra ticket for tonight if anyone is interested. Email me by 4pm.

2006-09-12 06:16:45
4.   rbj
Good article about the Scooter, I hope he gets better.
2006-09-12 06:31:39
5.   Sliced Bread
Oy, Papi. If Jeter was hitting in his lineup (thank the Good Lord Jeter's a Yankee forever), Big Pouti would still be playing meaningful baseball. And if Damon was still around, no doubt about it.

Does Ortiz figure if Jeter was given half a day off all season, batted further down the order, and was asked to swing for the fences he couldn't triple his home run production? Stifle yourself, Big Pouti.

Unfortunately, Jeter sullied his fine self begrudgingly responding to Pouti's junior high taunt. This was one case I wish Jeter simply said, "No comment."

Ah, shrug it off as we might, Big Pouti's MVP hissy fit could be a sign that a violent tantrum could be brewing.

If the somewhat likeable Pouti of all Red Sox could stoop so low, (even as to criticize his own team) who's to say a less civilized, more desperate Sock won't try to start a little something against the Yanks this weekend? Maybe Hooligan Tavarez throws one in on Matsui's wrist, maybe Boston's captain (little c) cheapshot takes another catcher's mitt swipe at A-Rod just to remind everybody that he's still Boston's captain cheapshot (little c)?

Let's hope the sad-sack Sox frustration doesn't escalate into a violent tantrum in the Bronx this weekend. Because punching a Red Sock in the face, justified as it may be, could be as hurtful to the Yanks cause as punching a clubhouse wall Kevin Brown style.

2006-09-12 07:03:01
6.   rsmith51
I thought Jeter's response was fine. He basically said that Papi can have his opinion (however wrong) and he isn't concerned about individual awards.

Complaining about the writers is not the best way to get votes, Papi.

2006-09-12 07:06:16
7.   Count Zero
Personally, between the DH thing and the fact that the RedSux are totally out of contention, I don't think Papi has a snowball's chance in hell of winning.

BUT...much as I love Jetes...if you asked me to vote today, I would have to vote for Morneau. The Twinkies may end up winning the Central, and if they do, they will have done it primarily on his back (although some guy named Santana helped a little ^_^ )

Jeter .346/.419/.492 36 2B, 13 HR, 91 RBI, 99 R
Morneau .321/.377/.578 31 2B, 33 HR, 118 RBI, 84 R
Jeter .421/.439/.632 5 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 5 R in 38 ABs
Morneau .390/.457/.585 3 2B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 10 R in 41 ABs

Tough to call -- depends on what happens between now and the end of the season.

2006-09-12 07:06:19
8.   Sliced Bread
1 2 I'm not at all jazzed about the '06 Ghost Sox visiting the Yankees this weekend. The 'rivalry" is as dead to me as the Ghost Sox.
At this point, the Boston series is as meaningful as a Tampa Bay series, just another magic number to reduce.

Who needs the "rivalry" anyway to enjoy this season, or any Yanks season?
But sticking to this year: The '06 Yanks are more fun to watch, and easy to root for than they've been in a long time.
Matsui's back tonight. Bruney's a blast, and working his way onto the postseason roster. Farnswacker is building confidence, both within himself, and from his manager.
Home field advantage is still up for grabs.
There's so much to watch and appreciate about the '06 Yanks that has nothing to do with the '06 Ghost Sox. Forget about, and bury the most one-sided, over-hyped rivalry in sports.
The '06 Yanks have much more important business to attend to, and, as Jeter said, it has nothing to do with individual awards.

2006-09-12 07:14:50
9.   mehmattski
I'm actually more excited to see the Devil Rays than the Red Sox... partly because of Matsui's return... partly because I haven't watched a game in five days (Peter $#! Angelos)... partly because I really hope the D-Rays add like $25 million to their payroll this offseason and shock everyone by winning the 2007 wild card. They've got all the pieces, they just need pitching. I watched Upton, Young, Baldelli, and Gomes play in Durham- they're all the real deal.
2006-09-12 07:18:05
10.   JL25and3
8 I hadn't been particularly concerned about home field advantage until a couple of days ago. The Yankees will have HFA in the first round in any case, and I didn't think it would make that big a difference against the Tigers. (I think the Yankees can beat them either way.)

But the Twins - that's a different story.

2006-09-12 07:20:03
11.   Chyll Will
Ouch. I have a headache. Why o why can't the Red Sox just STFU? Here, use my cup; it runneth over...

Pukearella should feel better now that he's not the last or latest target/giver of cheapshots on a Yankee by a Ded Sock idiot. I see a home-run tear coming as he can finally do the atlas shrug.

Boo Green (Eyed) Monster! Hooray Jeter!

5 That's why the Yanks need Karim Garcia and Jeff Nelson back. You hurt one of ours, we'll kill your whole groundskeeping crew. And I wonder if Straw is still available for enforcement (Varitek's head to Straw's fist: "Oh, Hello!")

2006-09-12 07:22:41
12.   jonnystrongleg
7 Morneau's great and he hits a lot more homers than Jeter, but Jeter does EVERYTHING else in the game better than Morneau. Jeter plays a vastly more important defensive position, he gets on base a ton more, when on base his baserunning is among the best in the game, .399 avg w/ RISP, etc... I don't think there is an advanced metric that measures just total OFFENSE that doesn't put Jeter way ahead of Morneau. Once you add in defense, Morneau falls even further behind Jeter. I have him as the third most deserving Twin. I think Jeter's stiffest comp comes from Mauer.

But that doesn't mean the homer/RBI guy won't win the award, I just don't think they SHOULD this year. Jeter and Mauer's total games have statiscally outclassed the power guys this year.

2006-09-12 07:22:49
13.   kylepetterson
The more it looks like the Angels aren't going to make the playoffs, the more excited I get.
2006-09-12 07:27:19
14.   Chyll Will
14 Easy there, killah!
2006-09-12 07:36:31
15.   jonnystrongleg
8 Why are these Yanks "more fun to watch" and "easy to root for" than previous Yankee teams? I remember the EXACT SAME comments made during the amazing back breaking home-stretch that won the Yanks the division last year, and I didn't agree with them then either. The 2006 Yanks rock, but I loved the non-WS-winning 2001-2005 Yanks just as much. What do these guys have that other Yankee teams don't? And if the answer is simply "Melky" then I'm glad you've found a new favorite player.
2006-09-12 07:49:34
16.   mehmattski
10 Yeah, phear those Twins, with the lineup that got shut down by Corey Lidle, Jeff Karstens, and Darell Rasner on three consecutive days not long ago.

I'm tired of hearing from Yankees fans who are scared of the Twins in the playoffs. Santana and Liriano. Liriano and Santana. Well, assuming Liriano is healthy enough to pitch to an elite level (we'll see on Wednesday), the Yankees by then should have a lineup capable of scoring 1000 runs in 162 games. Besides, the Yankees against left handed pitching this year: .802 OPS (vs .824 OPS total). Its not like they've been shut down by the almighty left handers.

I don't fear those two any more than I feared Zito/Hudson/Mulder or Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz... you're going to face elite pitching in the postseason, no matter who you play. Anything can happen in a short series, but I'm confident the Yankees bats can handle the challenge.

2006-09-12 07:50:58
17.   Simone
Good to hear that Scooter is doing well. He has had a good long life with lots of love.

I'm glad to have Matsui back. He was definitely missed.

I am glad that Mo has the time to recover completely before the playoffs.

2006-09-12 07:56:33
18.   Chyll Will
15 For me, a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's a whole lot less interference from Tampa and the elimination of public factionalism, with Cashman finally stepping up into his own. Between 2001-05, there was so much sniping, back-room politics and hasty and ultimately poor choices that it seemed to undermine the Yankees' play and sense of comraderie. Who's to say that the stuff going on behind the scenes didn't have an effect on the team's senses in 2004? The collapse wasn't just one thing, but a series of things coming to a head.

With the front office politics minimized at least publically, the team seems to have responded much better to adversity this year more than others, and with Cashman making the decisions instead of being caught in a tug-o-war, we get to see more of what the Yanks have developed for themselves.

Add to that the impact players this year are mostly home-grown, and the impact players from outside have mostly improved team character, it's hard not to get excited about the Team, as opposed to the name New York Yankees. Hell, I'm all for anything that gets Sheff thinking outside the box when it comes to playing time.

I don't know about anyone else, but that's why I like them better this year than any other time since 2001.

2006-09-12 07:59:52
19.   Count Zero
12 All valid points...however, much as most NYY fans hate to hear it, it's a lot easier to do certain things when guys got your back in the lineup. (Papi's a whiner on this because without Manny behind him he wouldn't have anywhere near the numbers he has!)

Jeter has been followed by a combo of A-Rod, Giambi and now Abreu. Mauer has Cuddyer, then Morneau behind him. Morneau has...Torii...who I feel is way overrated...and then Ford or White. I would pitch around Morneau to get to Hunter and crew anytime. I would not pitch around Jeter to get to Abreu and Giambi...except maybe with two outs and first base open...maybe.

2006-09-12 08:04:37
20.   jonnystrongleg
18 & 8 I'll gladly buy any of your individual arguments on this. And the team's future should be much brighter with less Tampa influence. I hated that the Yanks got Wright & Pavano w/ Beltran's money, and that decision cost them the Angels series in a very tangible way, but it didn't make it my affection for the Yanks on the field any different. To me, to be several games behind Boston in September, storm back and win the division, the 2005 team was under as much adversity & pressure than the 2006 team. Facing horrible injuries and overcoming is admirable, and snatching the division away from the Red Sox last year was too.
2006-09-12 08:06:37
21.   rsmith51
I think this team is easier to root for among us sabermetric types is that the moves make much more sense then they did last year. We never wanted Womack, Wright, Sturtze, and Sierra on the team. Therefore cheering for guys we didn't really want on the team was not natural. Among guys who were signed or traded for this year, I can't think of any who I don't really want on this team or have trouble cheering for.
2006-09-12 08:07:32
22.   Chyll Will
19 Given that criteria, how many MVPs in the history of the award would you say benefitted from having good players around them that year, and what kind of pattern has been established because of that?

If I had access to that type of data, I'd definitely be on it with an analysis because that would at least give us an indication of where the vote is likely to go, (although not certainly to go.) How many teams and players have this in mind when they are either being considered or openly campaigning for MVP.

2006-09-12 08:11:58
23.   jonnystrongleg
21 I believe a "lineup protection factor" is incredibly hard to prove statistically. RBI's and runs scored can go up or down depending on your spot in the lineup and the hitters around you, but I have never seen any evidence that your other stats change significantly. And if I am understanding correctly, being in a lineup w/o "protection" will mean your RBI chances will fall and walks will rise? So his OBP is artificially high? Morneau is having a career year in every statistical category, including RBI and OBP. I just think the "protection" thing is a psychological construction more than anything else.
2006-09-12 08:12:07
24.   Sliced Bread
15 I think this '06 team has been more consistent, and easy-going than they've been in previous years.

If you disagree, that's fine.

But if you must press me for reason, while including a sarcastic remark out of, hey, left field, about Melky being my favorite player (actually, I have no idea where that comment came from) then, please, don't ask, johnnystrongleg.

2006-09-12 08:14:10
25.   Chyll Will
20 He makes a good point in 21 It seems that the Yanks won in 2005 in spite of the decisions, while this year they win because of them. It's always good to feel the people running the show are competent in doing so.
2006-09-12 08:20:46
26.   jonnystrongleg
21 Yeah, the team is better constructed, but Womack wasn't playing meaningful games for the yanks last year. I had a blast watching Giambi come back, AROD play like the MVP, Sheff and Matsui produce a ton and Jeter continue his HOF resume. Then Wang, Chacon, and Small saved the weary staff and Randy beat the Red Sox for the division. I'm just saying every year there is a different story line and the faces may or may not change, but I think the real reason people enjoy the 2006 Yanks more than the 2001-05 Yanks is that the 2006 Yanks have yet to be elimanated and yet to serve their fans with bitter disappointment. If the Yanks lose in the Postseason, this team will be viewed in the same tainted light and their character will again be unfairly maligned just like the previous teams. We're all waiting for the next World Series win to really get behind a team and w/ the Postseason as it is, I just don't think it's fair.
2006-09-12 08:22:29
27.   vockins
12 I love Jeter, etc., but SS is more important defensively than the catcher? That's the first time I've heard that one. How do you figure?
2006-09-12 08:24:20
28.   jonnystrongleg
24 I was being sincere w/ the Melky comment because he seems to be a favorite on this site and sometimes the addition of a new favorite player is all it takes to prefer one team to another. And if this team seems more easy going that's cool too, though I can't say I have enough evidence to agree. But apart from 2005, where they were terrible and then great, I think all these ass-kicking teams have been pretty consistent.
2006-09-12 08:24:54
29.   jonnystrongleg
27 Morneau, plays 1b, Mauer plays C. The comment was about Morneau.
2006-09-12 08:26:51
30.   bobtaco
I bet when Scott Boras was pitching Damon to the Yankees he must have said 100 times that batting him in front of Jeter would make Jeter an MVP candidate. While Boras is prone to exaggerate his clients potential, in this case it looks like he was right...
2006-09-12 08:27:26
31.   rsmith51
26 Don't get me wrong, I didn't cheer any less for the Yanks in 2005. I enjoyed the Yankees' comeback last year, thanks to some good decision, and a considerable amount of luck. Their bad decisions cost them home field advantage last year, which they could have certainly used.

They may be unfairly maligned by the press if they lose, but they certainly have a better chance of succeeding. I will feel more satisfaction than last year regardless of how the post-season turns out. Mainly because they have good prospects for the future as well as the present.

2006-09-12 08:28:28
32.   markp
Amen jonnystrongleg
It seems everyone likes that year's version until they don't win a WS. Then it's on to the next "easier team to root for."

Getting Matsui back is huge-it means Bernie's awful OPS vs. RH goes to the bench. It means the line-up has one more "grinder" to work over pitchers.

2006-09-12 08:30:04
33.   jonnystrongleg
25 I guess I separate the decisions that form the team from the team itself. I will rail against the process, but when it's done, it's done and a group of mf my favorite players go out there and try to win and I root for them just as hard and easily as any other.
2006-09-12 08:34:22
34.   jonnystrongleg
31 & 24
One Caveat. When George didn't resign Reggie after 1981, I no longer considered myself a Yankee fan. I was 6, but it hurt too much for me to take it. I don't know how I would have dealt with it if George had let Bernie, Jeter or Rivera walk away.
2006-09-12 08:37:55
35.   vockins
27 I've been making that mistake all year.

Although I think a case could be made that SS is more important than catcher. I'm just not the one to make it.

2006-09-12 08:43:31
36.   Matt B
I would vote for Jeter in a heartbeat. I don't think any of the AL sluggers have had an overwhelming season, and while Morneau has been fantastic, so has Mauer. Also, although I hate to use this sort of criteria, Jeter got screwed in 1999, when he finished 6th(!) with ONE first place vote, despite being the best player in the league that year. I would love to see him win it, and I think he does deserve it.
2006-09-12 08:45:15
37.   JL25and3
16 My comment wasn't so much about fearing the Twins, it was about the specific effect of the home-field advantage. The Metrodome is notoriously difficult for road teams in the playoffs. (Also, if you've ever been there, it's one of the weirdest places to see a game you've ever been.)

As far as the overall the Yankees do against lefties is irrelevant. What matters about Santana isn't that he's a lefty, it's that he's the best pitcher in the league. Maybe more important than the Santana-Liriano combo, though, is the Twins bullpen. The Yankee offense relies a lot on getting past the starter into the bullpen, and that doesn't help nearly as much against the Twins (cf. Angels).

Having said that, the Twins offense is awful. The Yankees should be able to beat them - as long as they hit Santana and Liriano better than they hit Adam Loewen and Luke Hudson.

2006-09-12 08:46:30
38.   jonnystrongleg
35 One idea I had for the C vs SS debate was that the C, because the position is so demanding, plays a lot less games than the SS. The starting C has less influence over the course of a 162 game season than the starting SS?
2006-09-12 08:51:17
39.   unpopster
Re: the MVP race, IMHO it's between Mourneau and Capt' Jete. Big Pouti may have just taken himself out of the race with his Big Mouth.

But, Jeter is now in the midst of a 21 game hitting streak. If he should finish off this month with a Jimmy Rollins-esque End Of The Year streak, the question will be moot and Derek Jeter would be the overwhelming choice for the 2006 AL MVP – no matter what Mourneau does down the stretch.

2006-09-12 08:55:03
40.   Sliced Bread
31 Right on.

33 It was as easy for you to root for Jeff Weaver, and Kevin Brown, for example, as it is to root for Wang, and, oh, let's say, Wright? Really? Not me. I always hated Weaver, and Brown. I hated the idea of those guys. I hated that they wore Yankees uniforms. I never warmed up to Clemens, either.
Believe me, I've rooted for certain Yankees because, as a fan, I had to. But there isn't a player on the '06 roster I feel forced to root for. That alone makes them more likeable to me overall.

2006-09-12 08:56:20
41.   jonnystrongleg
Sorry, comment 23 was meant to address 19.
2006-09-12 09:00:13
42.   jonnystrongleg
40 I hear you. I have often disliked individual Yankees, but when their on the field success leads directly to Yankee wins, yes, then it is easy for me to root for them. Brown and Weaver were not likable, but I didn't hate either one of them as much as I hated Johnny Damon. He was always one of the Red Sox saying ridiculous anti-Yankee stuff. And now I find it very easy to root for him. So I guess we just look at it differently.
2006-09-12 09:04:42
43.   Chyll Will
My allegiences don't follow the sports columns or programs. You have nutcases rooting against the team from Spring Training in some papers, so the fact that they lambast them when they don't win or reach the World Series has no bearing on whether I like the team more or less at the end of the season. Disappointment is a natural, human element despite whatever the frontrunners and sportwriters might tell you.

My disappointment if they don't make it this year will be markedly different than last year, yes. I was annoyed last year because the Yankees beat themselves more often last year. This year has been different in many ways, so depending on how they play in the playoffs, my annoyance will vary, but I suspect that this year they play their a%$es off, which makes it hard to dislike them for losing if that were to occur.

2006-09-12 09:06:29
44.   Sliced Bread
42 Yeah, we look at it differently, but both want the same conclusion.

Funny, I didn't hate Damon at all, I just didn't want him. Look at us now.

2006-09-12 09:07:03
45.   mehmattski
37 Good points, but I still say that the Tigers and Athletics are to be feared just as equally. The Yanks didn't have much problem disposing of the Twins in 2003 (winning both games at the Metrodome). As for the bullpen... while it is true that the Twins lead all of baseball with just 162 runs allowed by relievers, the Tigers and Athletics are right behind them with 163 runs apeice. In terms of OPS against, the Twins relievers lead the AL with a .666 (!!!) followed by the Tigers (.689), Texas (huh?) and Oakland (.697). The Yanks rank 7th in the AL with a .734 OPSA by relievers. Since the bullpen will be tightened up come the playoffs, I don't see much difference between Reyes/Romero/Nathan, Gaudin/Duchscherer/Street, Zumaya/Walker/Jones, and Villone/Proctor/Rivera. If anything, the Yanks are the weakest of the four, and facing any of the other bullpens is a challenge, but none more than the other.

I don't think the Yanks will be fortunate enough to grab the top seed AND have the White Sox grab the wild card. Even then, something funky could happen and the White Sox could knock out the Yanks in 5 games. I'm excited for the playoffs... can the season just end now? Life needs to be more like DVR, so I can just fast forward through the last 20 games or so.

2006-09-12 09:10:45
46.   standuptriple
37 I'm in the same boat of wishing to eliminate the Dome factor. Call me crazy, but I think that park is one of the toughest possible places to go into and win in the playoffs. And believe me, it will be rockin'. They will bring out the Kirby tribute and the fans will practically be foaming at the mouth. Not a place I want to see elite LHP.
I also have a selfish motive, because I'd love to see those Twinkies take down Le Tigres for the Central and having to face a tough Oakland team (even though they handled them last night, but Blanton is poop). If that happens I get the early Christmas present of a live ALCS.
/keeping fingers crossed
2006-09-12 09:10:56
47.   jonnystrongleg
43 I think the Yanks played their asses off last year too. But regardless, this team has better prospects for two huge reasons: they may have home field advantage throughout and they can rest their players in September. It will be easier to play full throttle in October if they don't have many meaningful September games.
2006-09-12 09:11:53
48.   pistolpete
2002-2004's teams felt a like complete Steinbrenner overreaction & a desperate attempt (of sorts) to hold onto that 'dynasty magic' from the previous 6 seasons.

Re: Any 'incidents' that may occur in the upcoming Sox series- didn't I see Sturtze on the bench recently?

2006-09-12 09:21:27
49.   Schteeve
I can't believe nobody has picked up on this in the ,"why are the 06 Yanks so likeable?" debate. Here's why, the Yankees were without both corner outfielders and their second baseman for a LONG time. It was natural to expect them to crumble like a fat man's lawn furniture, but they didnt. They retooled on the fly, they got contributions from guys named Melky, and Andy Phillips, and Nick Green and Miguel Cairo and Chien-Ming Wang, and Scott Proctor. I mean, before this season you would have traded me a used fungo bat for those guys, but they all contributed at certain times. Then there is Jeter being Jeter and continuing Giambi Redemption and it's easy to see why people like this team.

I'm not saying I didn't like other Yankee teams, but I have really taken special pleasure in watching this squads perserverance.

Just my sixteen cents on the matter.

2006-09-12 09:24:46
50.   Chyll Will
45 Of course you know they've been experimenting with that kind of technology recently...

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-09-12 09:26:37
51.   jonnystrongleg
49 The injuries were addressed briefly in 20. And I completely agree that overcoming the injuries is remarkable and admirable. But last year's Wang, Chacon and Small contributions were more improbable to me than this year's Melky & Proctor contribution. Green, Cairo and Phillips have not really had the same impact as the other two, but they have had some sweet moments.
2006-09-12 09:30:11
52.   mehmattski
50 No. Adam Sandler has been 'Dead to Me' since Spanglish.
2006-09-12 09:30:30
53.   joe in boston
[%] Never forget that Veritek didn't take his mask off during that fight at home plate ! Wuss !
2006-09-12 09:30:44
54.   joe in boston
Oops, I meant 5
2006-09-12 09:37:22
55.   Chyll Will
52 Ooh, can't blame you for that. Though I do give him partial props for Anger Management and The Waterboy.
2006-09-12 09:39:00
56.   Chyll Will
54 No, I think '%' was actually rather appropriate given the topic. I second that emotion.
2006-09-12 10:17:20
57.   RIYank
37 The Twins' offense isn't "awful". They score 5 runs/game, better than the Tigers, much better than Oakland.

They're the scariest team out there. But after all, the short series is a real crap shoot, when you come right down to it.

2006-09-12 10:25:30
58.   Max
49 I'm with Schteeve -- the story that will undoubtedly be written about this year's Yanks is how they were able to hold tight until Cashman made his deal for Abreu and Lidle, and then we rolled over everyone else. Less charitable media will spin this a different way by pointing out how the Yanks opened up their pocketbook again to buy players to replace their injured ones, and once again raced past those poor small market teams, as well as big market teams blighted by unfortunate injuries.

But to me, the story of the season is how a team with so many house money lineups, with guys like Cairo and Stinnett and Green and Melky and Andy Phillips, with Damon playing with a broken foot and playing first even, managed to stay within striking distance, and won 9 out of 10 series before even aquiring Abreu. And guys like Villone and Proctor even pitched beyond their abilities to give us a semi-decent bullpen.

It was frustrating watching our offense many evenings pre-Abreu, but I'm proud of what the team accomplished overall in keeping us in it after Mats and Sheff went down. That's as big a part of it as what we've done in the last few weeks to get to the best record.

2006-09-12 10:26:00
59.   rsmith51
57 Right, the Twins offense WAS awful earlier this season, but they corrected the issues and now are much better. Can't say I think much of Gardenhire, though.
2006-09-12 10:26:38
60.   LI yankee
Has anyone heard anything about Steinbrenner? He's been very quiet since May, and the only time I've seen him since is during the new stadium ceremony. I've been hearing rumors that he's sick, but shouldn't this get a bit more media coverage considering he's the most prolific owner in the game?
2006-09-12 10:33:57
61.   jonnystrongleg
58 No doubt the story of the year SHOULD be the injuries and staying close to the Sox with remarkable consistency despite many differeent and depleted lineups. And the last thing I want to do is to take anything away from the 2006 Yanks. They deserve tons of praise for their unique and admirable accomplishments. I'm just saying the same things can be and were said of last year's squad and I think the 2006 Yanks are another in a long line of praiseworthy Yankee AL East Champions.

There have been many great arguments here for why the 2006 team is more likable to an individual fan this season, I guess it's just a matter of different perspective. To me, all these Yankee teams have been easy to root for and equally fun to watch because they are THE YANKEES. I can see now how other people view it differently.

2006-09-12 10:47:29
62.   Max
61 jonny, no argument from me -- I loved the second half comeback we pulled off last year, and as you mentioned, the performances of Small and Chacon were damned near miraculous. I did find our glut of mediocre relievers, the early season underachievement, and the multiple beatings administered by Tampa Bay to be an endless source of frustration, but the team did come together in the end.

No one wants to mention 2004 because of how it ended (not least because of the prominent role head cases like Kevin Brown and Javier Vasquez played), but that was shaping up to be a very memorable season, full of late inning comebacks and herculean numbers and homers from Sheffield. Again, if Roberts had been caught stealing or if Gordon could have actually managed to get outs in just one game in the ALCS, we might look at that team a bit more charitably.

2006-09-12 10:53:04
63.   JL25and3
57, 59 Fair enough. You're right, the Twins' offense was terrible early on, but has improved. I think the major difference has been Morneau's turnaround - which helps make his MVP case.
2006-09-12 10:57:12
64.   jonnystrongleg
63 If his "turnaround" helped make the Twins a contender, then his crap play before that hurt the Twins, right? Are we only counting the time when he played well for the MVP award? Meanwhile Jeter has hit all year, never letting up despite the streaky Giambi and Arod and the injured OFs. To me, Jeter's case in this vein is stronger too.
2006-09-12 11:03:10
65.   jonnystrongleg
62 Yeah, loving the 2004 team is like trying to remember loving an ex-girlfriend with whom you had a really ugly breakup. All you can remember is how badly it ended and it's damn near impossible to access how much you actually loved her during the good times. I think time passed and moving on are the only way to overcome the hurt. Time is passing, winning the WS will be moving on.
2006-09-12 11:31:09
66.   Sliced Bread
Bronx Banterer Mike Plugh gives it to Big Pouti but good over on his Canyon of Heroes blog.

2006-09-12 11:35:13
67.   Alvaro Espinoza
7 Excellent point on Santana. He has to be in the MVP conversation. Leading all of baseball in wins, strikeouts and ERA (pitching triple crown, no?) has to count for something.
2006-09-12 11:42:49
68.   pistolpete
64 I agree with the logic, albeit twisted. ;-)
2006-09-12 11:46:37
69.   pistolpete
68 Sorry, I meant to reference 65
2006-09-12 11:47:35
70.   rbj
Apropos of nothing else in the comments, why in sam hill do you give a goalie a fifteen year contract:

And no, I'm not an Islanders fan.

2006-09-12 11:51:58
71.   David
I'm concerned about Mussina and Matsui. Moose was rusty in his previous start. He was given extra rest, which may or may not have allowed a full recovery. Matsui hasn't had very much time to get his batting eye and batting stroke in shape.

How well do you think they'll do tonight?

2006-09-12 11:57:23
72.   Sliced Bread links to this one about an improv actor pretending to be lost at Yankees Stadium last week when the Tigers were in town.

Guess you had to be there. Contrived ballpark shtick is generally far less interesting, or funny than the real characters at the games.

2006-09-12 11:58:13
73.   jonnystrongleg
71 good call. they'll have some kinks to iron out. for matsui, i think if it's just rust and timing, 20 games is enough time to get up to speed. if it's a weak wrist, i have no idea. mussina, i think, is just a health issue. he's had a full season, his timing and routine are there, it's just about fatigue in an old pitcher's body at this point for him.
2006-09-12 12:06:16
74.   Alvaro Espinoza
67 In '78, Guidry, who led all MLB starters in wins and ERA (2nd to J.R. Richard in strikeouts), finished 2nd to Jime Rice in the AL MVP voting. 20 1st place votes to Rice, 8 to Guidry.
2006-09-12 12:06:30
75.   standuptriple
71 I just hope Matsui hasn't been spending too many hours watching his "extensive movie collection". I've heard that doesn't help the eyes (or wrists for that matter) either.
2006-09-12 12:10:02
76.   Kered Retej
52 As bad as it was, I have to thank that movie for introducing me to Paz Vega. I love the scene where her dress is blowing in the wind.

On the MVP debate, part of the fun of it, at least IMNSHO, is that everyone has their own criteria for what makes an MVP. Some voters won't vote for a pitcher and/or a DH, some think you have to come from a division winner, some go strictly by their favorite sabermetric stat, some go by the triple crown stats. It's a bit of a crapshoot, and I like it that way. It's also always fun to blast the voters when you think they got it wrong.

I'm (obviously) a Jeter fan, and I think if Jeter wins the batting title and the Yanks come away with the best record in the AL he will get it (partly for his performance this year and partly to recognize his career of excellence).

2006-09-12 12:19:54
77.   jonnystrongleg
74 I would also definitely consider Santana and any other top pitchers for the award. Much easier to compare and contrast the hitters at this point - but when we get close, the pitchers have to get involved. This year, a pitcher winning is unlikely since there are a lot of big hitting seasons on contending teams, but that doesn't mean it's the right call.
2006-09-12 12:30:08
78.   Sliced Bread
75 Heh.
71 I can't wait to see Matsui step up, and hear the Stadium rock. Is he definitely in the lineup tonight?
Any reasonable fan will understand that it may take more than a few games, even weeks for Matsui to get his timing and stroke back, and it's certainly possible that he will not get hot in time to significantly help the Yanks this year. It will also be interesting to see how this proud outfielder adjusts to being primarily a DH. I'm not worried about him. He's a great player, his approach to the game is outstanding, but I'm not expecting too much from him.
It will be a bizarro 2006 Re-Opening Day for Matsui, but when he steps back into the box it's gonna be beautiful, and anything he does should be fine with the fans. Welcome back, Godzilla!

Moose? As long as he's not significantly injured, and there's no indication that he is, no worries for now. Cruise control, right?

2006-09-12 12:37:05
79.   Sliced Bread
Cairo's back tonight, too, correct?
2006-09-12 12:58:57
80.   Schteeve
I don't really expect much from Matsui for the rest of the season including the post-season. I expect him to be rusty and delicate, and the trick will be Joe realizing this and not giving him at bats just 'cuz.
2006-09-12 13:06:31
81.   Sliced Bread
Best way to wrap up the "likeability of the '06 Yanks" discussion. Here's Joe, Bernie, and Jeter in USA Today, er, yesterday:

"This is probably closest to the clubs I had in 1996-97," says Torre. "It was a thinking-small mentality then. This now is a more comfortable team to watch. Abreu only added to what we do because he's that type of player. He takes a lot of pitches, makes the pitcher work. He obviously gives us a deeper lineup."

Outfielder Bernie Williams, with the Yankees since 1991, also believes the style of play has changed.

"After we won all those championships, we weren't the same team," he says. "When (Alfonso) Soriano and some of the other guys came in, we were a team that relied heavily on home runs - big ball"...

Williams says the Yankees' approach in the wake of the Abreu trade has returned to those that won the four World Series titles.
Shortstop Derek Jeter, a leading candidate for AL MVP, sees the similarities as well.

"We've got a few guys who hit home runs, but we play a lot like we did with those teams," he says. "We hit-and-run a lot. We do a lot of the little things to win games."

2006-09-12 13:14:11
82.   Chyll Will
81 Second best way to wrap up the "likeability" discussion:

"Shaaadduppp! 30 games over .500, okay???"

75 Somehow when I read that, I don't think he's watching "Ferris Beuller's Day Off."

2006-09-12 13:19:42
83.   JL25and3
74 As my screen name suggests, I'm just a teeny bit of a Guidry fan. But to be fair, Rice had a hell of a year. Leading the league in home runs and triples? That's insane...

In the end, it was a close call. And when it's a close call, the hitter will win every time.

2006-09-12 13:21:25
84.   Sliced Bread
82 No, that's better than [81}
2006-09-12 13:29:59
85.   standuptriple
82 I think if you replace "Day" with "Gets" we're on exactly the same page. So much for subtlety.
2006-09-12 13:31:13
86.   jonnystrongleg
82 & 84 I though being 30 games over .500 IS the reason we can have today's debates instead of wondering what the hell Lidle is going to give us vs the Red Sox in a crucial September start?

And though I know you are joking in good fun, being told to shaaadduppp is never really appreciated.

2006-09-12 13:31:57
87.   Idaho Yankee
Great news about Matsui, any news out there on Sheff?
2006-09-12 13:33:24
88.   jonnystrongleg
82 & [85} Oh, I see we are on to more worthy topics. 30 games up has it's advantages.
2006-09-12 13:45:07
89.   standuptriple
88 I've been eagerly waiting for SheffSui as the monster derailed both mine and another YF in my college buddy fantasy league teams. I did not pout (Ortiz) but accepted the fate in hopes that they recovered quickly and fully. But yes, we;ve shared many a joke at their expense (well, I guess my expense too) and I'm glad it wasn't the season-altering situation pessimistic YF's envisioned. Call it cheap therapy, if you will. Winning is the ultimate cure. I'm just hoping my patience has paid off.
2006-09-12 13:52:24
90.   JL25and3
82, 85 Have to build those wrist muscles back up, you know.
2006-09-12 13:55:17
91.   YankeeInMichigan
There are two threads ("Why the 2006 Yankees are likeable" and "Jeter for MVP") going on. I think that we can tie them together. The Yankees survived 2 months without a "real" corner outfielder and more than a month without their all-star 2nd baseman. The two players who kept the team afloat by far exceeding expectations were Melky Cabrera and Derek Jeter.

With just about any other shortstop in Jeter's spot, the Yankees would no longer have been contenders by the trading deadline. This "intangible" fact should give Jeter the edge of Mauer and Dye (each of who is certainly deserving of MVP honors as well).

2006-09-28 13:02:14
92.   mehmattski
11 Who is Karim Garcia?

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