Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Three is the Magic Number
2006-09-19 05:03
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

"We were dead," said Rodriguez, whose 34th homer made it 3-2. "This is as tired as I've seen this group in probably three years. A.J. Burnett was dominating us, about as much as we've been dominated all year."
(Don Amore, Hartford Courant)

Man, was anyone else fired-up watching that game last night? After the bullpen blew two games on Sunday, I was in rare form as A.J. Burnett dominated the Bombers through the first five innings--cursing, kvetching, and shouting loud enough to drive Emily from the couch. Burnett had his fastball and his breaking ball working and he simply overpowered the Yanks who didn't arrive in their hotel 'til the wee hours of the a.m. The team got a jolt of life when Johnny Damon was ejected for arguing balls and strikes after Hideki Matsui was called out on a check swing in the fifth.

The Jays held what seemed like a commanding 3-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth when Burnett could not finish off Bobby Abreu with two men out. Abreu worked a full count and then slapped a single up the middle. Then Alex Rodriguez planted a 1-0 fastball over the wall in left center field and the Bombers were on the board. Suddenly Burnett lost his groove. Jason Giambi walked on five pitches, Burnett balked him over to second and then walked Jorge Posada. However, he got Robinson Cano to pop a fastball up to shortstop to get out of the inning. As good as his stuff is, you have to wonder about Burnett's mental toughness. I was calling him everything in the book from where I was sitting.

Godzilla Matsui singled sharply to center to start the seventh but was retired when Melky Cabrera hit into a 6-4-3 double play. But Aaron Guiel--who replaced Damon in center and made a fine sliding catch to boot--dunked a 1-2 curve ball into left for a double. Burnett fell behind Derek Jeter 3-0 before the Yankee captain crushed a home run over the wall in left center field, putting the Yankees ahead for good. It was only the second time that Jeter has swung at a 3-0 pitch since 2002 (the other time came in his final at bat on Sunday night). Hot damn and go figure, right?

The Yanks added three in the ninth (with Bernie Williams doing his best Albert Belle routine) before Posada waved at ball four with the bases loaded to end the inning. As it turns out, they would need all the insurance they could get as Troy Glaus lined a three-run dinger off Octavio Dotel in the bottom of the ninth. More moaning in the Bronx. The only reason I wasn't more upset was that I had called Glaus' dinger two innings earlier. It took four Yankee relievers to seal the deal, but when all was said and done, the Yanks had a 7-6 victory, and saw their magic number for clinching the AL East cut to three games.

Gary Sheffield had a thorough tutorial at first base yesterday afternoon and it looks like we'll see him at first base, if not in Toronto, then later this week or this weekend down in Tampa. According to Tyler Kepner in the New York Times:

Sheffield has spoken recently with Fred McGriff, a former teammate who lives near him in Florida. McGriff reinforced the message that the position change would benefit Sheffield.

"This is a blessing in disguise for you, and you don't even know it yet," Sheffield said McGriff told him. "It just enhances your value."

Sheff will face Ron Guidry in a live bp session today. Yo, I'm just licking my chops to see that man hit again, aren't you?

Comments (108)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-09-19 05:41:20
1.   Dimelo
I definitely miss Sheff. I like what Dave Pinto posted and his recommendation that maybe the Yanks should platoon Matsui and Sheff so their defense isn't hurt w/o Melky.
2006-09-19 05:42:29
2.   Sliced Bread
That was, indeed, a fun game. Fortunately for me, I turned off the TV in the 9th, when I saw Villone coming in. I had a good feeling the Yanks would win, but I figured it would be a while, and decided to stop fighting the drowsiness side-effect of my night time cough syrup, and let my head hit the pillow.

I said this yesterday re: the bullpen, and it bears repeating: Mo, Proctor, Bruney. The rest will drive us looney.

Bring the mash, Sheff! Perfect timing, too. Giambi needs rest. With Halladay going tomorrow, tonight is Yanks best chance to reduce the magic # before Friday.

2006-09-19 05:44:07
3.   Alex Belth
I've heard this a lot lately, about how much better Melky is than Godzilla in left. I'm not saying that Cabrera isn't a superior fielder, he certainly has a stronger arm, but exactly how much better does everyone think he is than Matsui? The fact that Matsui has been hurt all year helps give an edge to Cabrera. I don't know the answer but is Melky really THAT much better than Godzilla out there? I'm asking...

Also, I didn't mention it, but another nice job by D. Rasner last night, man.

2006-09-19 05:44:11
4.   Murray
Most reports indicate that Gary Sheffield pavanoed his way through rehab. On more than one occasion this season Sheffield indicated that his health and his next contract were more important to him than helping the Yankees this season. And as my good friend Chris noted, what Sheffield's allegedly generous offer to play first base actually does is undermine Giambi--who can't seem to handle DHing--and Craig Wilson, who can actually play first base, while making Sheffield look like he's been a team player all season.

So I might be alone, but I wish Sheffield would disappear.

2006-09-19 05:47:58
5.   Sliced Bread
3 Better range, too.

Right re: Rasner. The guy has to be on the postseason roster. He's certainly better than Lidle at this point.

That Guiel catch certainly helped his Oct. campaign.

Sheff v. Guidry. Gator better wear some Posada gear on the mound.

2006-09-19 05:50:21
6.   Dimelo
Yeah Rasner really impressed me. Rasner BETTER be on the post season roster. Was Torre asked if Rasner was going to be on the post-season roster?
2006-09-19 05:51:17
7.   Alex Belth
Yo, I just heard about and then watched the highlights of the Dodgers-Padres game last night. Holy f-in Cow. Are you serious?
2006-09-19 05:56:53
8.   Sliced Bread
4 I think that's a matter of perception, Murph. Some portray Sheff as dogging rehab, others have described him as hungry.

I don't think his willingness to play first is a shot at undermining Giambi, he's just fighting to get back on the field. He's been replaced by Abreu, and still wants to play for a few more years. First base is an obvious move for him. I doubt Giambi takes it personally.

Even if Sheff proves he can handle first, you have to wonder if Joe will put him there in the playoffs, with about a week of experience at the position. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

2006-09-19 05:59:14
9.   Sliced Bread
7 The Padres stink, and the Dodgers are getting hot at the right time. Mets fans, who I've been congratulating all morning, should be most worried about the Dodgers, in my opinion.
2006-09-19 06:03:11
10.   Sliced Bread
8 Sorry about that Murray. Inadvertently typed Murphy.
2006-09-19 06:04:33
11.   JL25and3
4 Don't worry, you're not alone. I couldn't have said it better, even if I often say it longer.

But I promised not to rant for a while...

2006-09-19 06:18:46
12.   rbj
4 If Sheff can hit, I'd like him to be here for this season, but I don't see any room for him next year. I don't think he was necessarily dogging rehab; wrists are tricky things and with his swing he needs that to be at 100%. Plus, wasn't it last year when he was playing with a hurt shoulder most of the year?

Octavio Dotel must not be on the post season roster. Let's clinch sooner, so that Villone can get some rest. At least, I hope some rest will help him bounce back into form (this season form, not career form).

2006-09-19 06:23:59
13.   Sliced Bread
12 Dotel's done. He'll just get garbage time for the rest of the month.

Rasner seems to be the only one who's still auditioning for Oct., but who does he replace if Joe goes with 11 pitchers?

I prefer him to Lidle at this point.

2006-09-19 06:33:51
14.   Ben
Anyone else catch Jeter's baserunning gaff last night? Calls the double steal when A-rod has two balls, they end up walking A-rod to the empty base? It worked out fine, but when the telecast showed Jeter on Third, he seemed to know he made a boo-boo. Not a big deal, I only mention it because I turned to my wife and commented that that was the first baserunning error I can recal Jeter ever making, besides maybe his rookie year. He reminds me of the lore of Joe D. People say they never saw him misplay a ball in the field.


2006-09-19 06:37:55
15.   mehmattski
4 I suppose people will look at a given situation in any way they want, and use "evidence" to back themselves up. I, for one, can't see Mr. Sheffield in his underground lair, quietly plotting to undermine the success of the Yankees by taking their worst fielder off the field. If it were to mean that Giambi got to rest, and he's obviously looking very tired, then by all means put Sheff at first base for the rest of the season. Because right now, Giambi is by far the weak part of the lineup. I don't really think Sheff's going to be a terrible first baseman, but its a baptism by fire to play an infield position for the first time on the turfs of Toronto and Tampa. Eesh.

As for Craig Wilson, I will not cry any tears if he is left off the post season roster. The Chuck Knoblauch-esque non-tag of Crisp in the Boston series shows me that I don't want him playing first base in a meaningful game. His 28 K and just 4 walks in 92 Yankee at bats shows me that I don't want him at the plate either. I'd be happy with a postseason bench of Sheff, Bernie, Cairo, Fasano, and Guiel.

2006-09-19 06:44:05
16.   Sliced Bread
14 Yeah, those are the types of base running mistakes that don't get you in trouble, especially if you're Jeter.

What about Bernie's funky hip check breaking up the DP. He was really just defending himself. That was another strange base running moment that worked out for the Yanks.

2006-09-19 06:44:25
17.   rsmith51
14 I have seen Jeter make some baserunning mistakes. Very few, though. Can you believe his SB rate?

Podsednik has 5-6 more steals and has been caught 14 more times than Jeter. In the ChiSox/Oak game the other day, Podsednik got caught stealing. The ChiSox proceeded to load the bases after that(And they lost by 1 run). Why would you steal when you have Konerko/Thome/Dye coming up?

2006-09-19 06:53:11
18.   Sliced Bread
I'd always rather see a runner making a mistake being too aggressive than being caught sleeping.

My guess is Jeter saw an opportunity he wanted to exploit and lost track of A-Rod's at-bat.

You'd think since Jeter got badly hurt at 3rd base in Toronto a few years ago, he'd be more careful approaching that base. But that's another thing that separates Jeter from mere citizens.

2006-09-19 06:54:47
19.   Max
4 I really doubt Sheff's been dogging it...he wants the money and the glory in the coming years with his contract up( whether it's the Yanks or someone else), so he's not stupid enough to be eating candy bars in the clubhouse and rehabbing indifferently. Pavano's got the cash coming in...Sheff isn't guaranteed anything, so he's got to be hungrier.

On the other hand, he's been pretty transparent about his "it's all about me" attitude lately, so I view the stint at first base with some suspicion. However, given what Craig Wilson did the other day, I'd be just as happy not to see Wilson on the post season roster.

Oh, and since I started typing this (with a interruption from a phone call....client wants their photographs taken at Fenway...yuk), looks like mehmattski has said the same thing.

2006-09-19 06:59:02
20.   Paul in Boston
If Shef doesn't re-sign with the Yankees, good chance he ends up in Boston to play 1st base. I was listening to Gammons last week (nice to hear him back, by the way), and he mentioned this twice.

I would not like that.

2006-09-19 07:01:21
21.   Eric
12 Why does everyone think all Villone needs is rest? Didn't Torre recently give him 10 days off? Maybe he is reverting to his normal form of being a mediocre pitcher.
2006-09-19 07:05:22
22.   C2Coke
I bursted into the same laughter like last night when I saw the following line in Tyler Kepner's article.

"Rivera they were not."

I think that was a laugh of panic.

2006-09-19 07:05:22
23.   Sliced Bread
20 Mr. Gammons can forget about Sheff going to the Sox.

If Sheff can still hit, he'll be back next year, not only because the Yanks can afford him, but because Giambi, Damon, Matsui, Abreu, any of them could be injured at any time. The season is long. There's plenty of room on the roster for Sheff's bat.

Cashman might try to play hardball with him over the $13 mill, but Sheff is a Steinbrenner guy, and there is always room on the Yanks for a Steinbrenner guy who can mash.

2006-09-19 07:05:59
24.   Simone
I don't think that Sheffield dogged his rehab, but I do suspect that Abreu's arrival made Sheffield push his recovery faster. Unless he is completely cold, I can't see how having Sheffield's bat in the line up hurts the Yankees. Sheffield at 1st base is a disaster waiting to happen so I have to think that he only plays there in an emergency.
2006-09-19 07:19:26
25.   markp
I think a lot of people over-estimate the difficulty of playing 1B. Historically, it's where they put the guys that can't play defense at all (Steve Bilko, Dick Stuart) or move guys who get too fat or slow to play their original position (Thome leaps to mind, but there are many others) or guys go to finish their careers when injuries and age have taken away everything but their bats (Mantle, Musial, etc.)
Sheffield has already played IF at the major league level, and is still a very good athlete. He's probably already better there than Giambi.
2006-09-19 07:22:02
26.   rbj
21 It's called hope. Yanks are going to need a decent bullpen in the PS and last night was just plain indecent. This is the wrong time of the year for Villone to quit being good.
2006-09-19 07:26:25
27.   Sliced Bread
Best piece I've read today on Sheff to first base is in the NJ Star Ledger:

which includes this:

Torre has had a player move from outfield to first base before. In September 1979, as Mets manager, Torre asked Lee Mazzilli to go from center field to first.

"First base is very easy to play," said Mazzilli, now the Yankees bench coach, "but first base is hard to play if you want to be good at it."

2006-09-19 07:26:46
28.   unpopster
I think if Shef shows that he can still rake in the next week+, he has the DH all wrapped up. That would push Giambi back to 1B. With Wilson's play this weekend, it may have opened up a postseason roster spot for Andy Phillips as the late inning 1B defensive replacement.

Shef at DH, you ask? what about Godzilla? If I was a betting man -- and based on Torre's M.O. -- I see Matsui getting at least 5 games at LF for the remainder of the season as a test. I hate to say this, but if Matsui passes the test, then unfortunately it leaves our boy melky as the LF defensive replacement/pinch hitter-runner. We all know that Melky's been great, but Torre's a "trust" man who would rather stick to the "vets" that he has a history with. He may not want to open the postseason with a rookie in LF and would probably prefer a vet like Hideki starting in LF.

So that would mean:

Damon - CF
Jeter - SS
Abreu -- RF
Shef - DH
Arod - 3B
Giambino - 1B
Matsui - LF
Posada - C
Cano - 2B

Melky, Phillips, Bernie, Cairo, Guiel - Bench


2006-09-19 07:29:55
29.   C2Coke
24 Abreu and the fact that the Yankees are this much closer to a ring this year?

I am sorry for bringing this up again. But Giambi's season is really being played out in a pattern, isn't it? you know, that hot April, cold May, hot June thing...Someone mentioned this months prior, I never thought this pattern thing would actually come true.

2006-09-19 07:30:29
30.   Max
25 There's a certain MVP-caliber DH (you know...lots of HRs and RBIs), who, when he can be bothered to put on a glove, plays first base. I certainly think Sheffield could do it if Mr. God of Clutchiness can...though it may not always be pretty.
2006-09-19 07:30:39
31.   RIYank
14 That wasn't a gaff. It was a great choice, I think.

It's easy to think that runners on first and second with A-Rod batting is better than bases loaded with Andy Phillips batting, but if that were really true, then the Jays would just walk Alex even if Jeter and Abreu didn't steal. Bases loaded is better -- and the actual result shows one big reason why.

2006-09-19 07:33:27
32.   JL25and3
23 It will be an interesting test, because while Sheffield may be a Steinbrenner guy, he's not a Cashman guy. Cashman didn't want to sign Sheff, wanted to go aggressively after Guerrero.

I'd be very careful about signing Sheffield in the situation you envision - having him be one of 6 or 7 guys for 5 positions. If he thinks he's not being given enough at-bats, or if he doesn't like someone else starting ahead of him - if he feels he's not being treated with sufficient respect in any way - he won't be happy. And if he's not happy, you don't want him on your team.

2006-09-19 07:35:52
33.   unpopster
Alex, by the way, is the title to this post from De La Soul?
2006-09-19 07:38:01
34.   Sliced Bread
32 Worst case scenario, which you present, he'll be in last year of his deal with the Yanks, and he can go to the Red Sox, or wherever when he's 39.
It's a 1 year, $13 million dollar deal for the Yanks to retain his bat, a bargain in Yankees currency.
2006-09-19 07:38:58
35.   unpopster
28 oops, I forgot Fasano. So, I guess that means that Guiel will be left off the roster.
2006-09-19 07:39:07
36.   C2Coke
28 If Matsui can do it, then like Torre said, LF is his job. As much as I love Melky, the Yankees didn't pay him 52 million for 4 years to play LF. The issue is whether Sheff can come back like Matsui or not. If not, problem solved. If he can (that can only be a huge plus for the Yankees), who else besides Melky can they shift from the lineup?
2006-09-19 07:39:09
37.   JL25and3
33 Even better:

Thank goodness for Google.

2006-09-19 07:39:59
38.   YankeeInMichigan
3 The Yankees have improved their Defensive Efficiency from .698 in 2005 to .708 to date this year. Melky over Godzilla has been their only major replacement (of course, Cano over Cano helps too).
2006-09-19 07:41:05
39.   Sliced Bread
38 Damon over Bernie, too.
2006-09-19 07:41:26
40.   Javi Javi
This is unrelated, but thinking about the last night's wild Dodgers/Padres game, it's somewhat relevant. I just read a great article in the Wall Street Journal about the shot heard around the world--Bobby Thompson's game winner of Ralph Branca in 1951. This event was before my time, but I became very interested in it after reading Underworld, by Don Delillo (great book, by the way). The journal article is an excerpt from a recent book and talks about the fact that the Giants were stealing signs and that Thompson knew Branca was going to throw him a fastball. It's interesting to see how these two players, whow were bound after their playing careers ended, coped with this knowledge (Branca heard about the sign stealing a few years after).

There's also some great anectdotes about how different well-known figures reacted to Thopmson's home run.

Good stuff. Here is the link, but you need a WSJ subscription.

2006-09-19 07:41:50
41.   JL25and3
34 Without ranting: the worst-case scenario, an unhappy Sheffield, can make a year seems like a very long time. And the more you plan on having him share time, the more likely that scenario is.
2006-09-19 07:42:08
42.   pistolpete
7 You should have heard the Steiner call on the radio - heard it on the XM show this morning. He was absolutely frothing.
2006-09-19 07:43:36
43.   kylepetterson
3 I was reading an article the other day that stated that not only was Melky better than Matsui, but his range actually raises Damon from average to above average.
2006-09-19 07:45:43
44.   C2Coke
With all these discussions about Sheff, Matsui, and Melky, I can't help but think, are we witnessing the last two months of Bernie's career? And to be more precise, the last games of Bernie's career?
2006-09-19 07:46:41
45.   mehmattski
33 It's no Conjunction Junction, but you've gotten it stuck in my head nonetheless. Which is no better than the "Anamaniacs" theme that had been stuck in my head previously. Crap.

Um, baseball... I look forward to a lot of Andy Cannizaro and Kevin Thompson in the upcoming days. Only 14 days till the playoffs start!

2006-09-19 07:47:00
46.   YankeeInMichigan
With appologies to unpopster (#27 yesterday), I need to retract my assertion (in #35) that Detroit talk show hosts are not concerned about postseason opponents.

Yesterday, I heard a talk show host state that he was rooting for the White Sox to overtake the Twins, since they would have the best chance at beating the Yankees in the Divisional Series, thus protecting the Tigers from the Yankee jugernaut in the ALCS.

2006-09-19 07:50:45
47.   kylepetterson
3 6 9, 12 15 18, 21 24 27, 30
It's the magic number.
2006-09-19 07:51:15
48.   Sliced Bread
41 Without forcing your rant, Joe and Cashman get paid a lot of money to handle such situations. I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure if they decide to retain Sheffield, (without your blessings) the platoon picture (not the Oliver Stone Viet War flick) will be presented to Sheffield, and he'll make promises to stifle himself. Joe and Cashman can handle any such problem that might arise.
2006-09-19 07:56:36
49.   JL25and3
45 Oh, great. I googled the "Three" song, but I don't really know it well. I was a little old for Schoolhouse Rock, but I did turn on Saturday morning TV from time to time, which made "Conjunction Junction" unavoidable. Thanks to you, it's taken over my brain now...
2006-09-19 07:59:00
50.   jonnystrongleg
The Yanks shouldn't mess with the defense this year. I think their best shot at winning the World Series is with Melky playing the majority of the innings in left and Matsui and Sheffield DHing and pinch hitting.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-09-19 07:59:14
51.   JL25and3
44, 48 I'd rather have Bernie as a part-timer than Sheffield. And Sliced, I really wouldn't want to take that risk. Remember, he doesn't even see a signed contract as entirely binding.
2006-09-19 08:03:40
52.   Sliced Bread
51 re: Sheff and contracts: a lot of GM's would tend to agree with that statement.
2006-09-19 08:04:46
53.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
3 BP has Melky at a 104 RATE. That's above avg of course, but well down from the way he was fielding earlier in the season, when he had a rate well over 110 iirc.

Matsui for his career in NY has been well below avg as a LF tho improving each season believe it or not:

88 in 03, 93 in 04, and 99 in 05.

Altho he's only played 30 games in LF this season, he was fielding at a 114 RATE.

2006-09-19 08:09:50
54.   Alex Belth
33, actually I got it from the old Schoolhouse Rock tune which De La sampled for thier song.

But dude, you know I was lovin' that the Yanks magic number hit three for the sake of this

2006-09-19 08:22:07
55.   mehmattski
49 Maybe it will take your mind off of Sheffield for a bit ;-) I also like "I'm just a Bill." Man, I watched a lot of Schoolhouse Rock for someone born a generation too late.

46 Funny, lots of Yankees fans probably also want the White Sox to overtake the Twins, since they believe that the Yanks will find it easier to knock off the ChiSox. As established before, I am not one of those people who worries about hypotheticals. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. And sometimes it rains.

2006-09-19 08:43:52
56.   Sliced Bread
Peter Abraham has a fun piece over at breaking down how various Yanks kill time playing games in the dugout. Who plays video games, etc.

Here's a bit:

... Fasano, Lidle and Wilson, Miguel Cairo and Jose Veras are regulars at the chessboard.

When the Yankees were in Kansas City earlier this month, Lidle checkmated Alex Rodriguez. The third baseman was spotted at his locker the next day reading a book about chess strategy.

"I should bring in Monopoly," Fasano said. "The whole team would want to play. You get a bunch of athletes together and they'll find a way to compete at something."


If Sal brought in "Risk," the players would be at war with each other (perhaps literally).

2006-09-19 08:50:20
57.   LI yankee
55 I'd much rather have the Yanks face a weak hitting team with better pitching (Twins) than a strong hitting team with weak pitching (White Sox), especially with our bullpen. The Yanks have shown in the past they can get to good pitchers by working the count. As made blatantly clear last night, the middle relief could have problems against anyone.
2006-09-19 08:58:51
58.   rbilotta
I think a better question is do you want the Yankees to face the Tigers or the Twins?
2006-09-19 09:03:10
59.   LI yankee
58 The Tigers. They are the Twins minus Santana, Mauer and Morneau plus Neifi! Perez
2006-09-19 09:10:52
60.   mehmattski
59 I dunno, that's a lot of unnecessary punctuation to take on in a short series. Why don't the Yankees have anyone cool enough to go by just their first name with an exclamation point? Jason! Mike! Alex! just doesn't do it for me. Hmm..... ok, got it... we counter Neifi! with... Melky! all the punctuation with twice the OBP! Take that, Mr. Perez.
2006-09-19 09:11:36
61.   Benjamin Kabak
YES should broadcast the Sheff/Gator matchup. I'm almost more excited to see that instead of the real game tonight.
2006-09-19 09:13:40
62.   LI yankee
60 Hip-Hip Jorge! doesn't count?
2006-09-19 09:15:54
63.   murphy
why don't we let sheff go and teach matsui to play first base (this putting giambi at DH)? godzilla is far more agile than giambi and has played 3 seasons in LF in yankee stadium. keeping sheff around is counter to small youth movement (which i hope we see continue with hughes and rasner next season) we've witnessed over the last 1.5 seasons. we'll either sign sheffield to a deal that lasts until long after he's worth it or have to pay a premium to get him for one year while the red sox or tigers are willing to give him two or three. i would hate to see melky's development stunted by an aging superstar's bloated contract.

i feel so much different going into this year's post-season. rather than wonder how it will all come crumbling down, i am positive we can steamroll some of these teams - and still be in it next year. last october i was praying for "one last big win" beforethe yankee dynasty came crumbling down, but with the improved play of damon, the development and borderline-trust in young players, i really feel like this is yankee dynasty ver 1.5. 2001-2005 was a mere lull in an otherwise larger plan.

go melky!

2006-09-19 09:15:55
64.   Schteeve
I'm sorry but anyone who accuses Sheff of "dogging" it in coming back from the injury needs to see what happened with Derek Lee and STFU.

As for undermining Giambi or whatever...that's Joe Torre's problem to manage. Sheff doesn't fill out the lineup card.

2006-09-19 09:21:12
65.   LI yankee
63 We'll be competing as long as we have that guy in the back of the bullpen
2006-09-19 09:22:34
66.   mehmattski
65 Karim Garcia?
2006-09-19 09:30:15
67.   LI yankee
66 heh? I was talking about Tanyon Sturtze
2006-09-19 09:35:07
68.   Simone
7 The Dodgers' rally against the Padres hitting home runs was incredible. As they always say, you always see something new in baseball.
2006-09-19 09:51:37
69.   kylepetterson
60 "all the punctuation with twice the OBP!"

that's great.

67 way in the back of the bullpen.

2006-09-19 10:08:27
70.   markp
Once again: from 2003-2005, Gary Sheffield's OPS against LH pitchers was 1.067. Since Giambi 's OPS against lefties is 240 points lower (and he certainly doesn't need to play every day anymore) why not play Sheff at 1B against lefties?
I doubt that Sheff being on the postseason roster would cost Melky that many ABs unless Matsui sparkles in LF. If that happens, Melky's better suited for the 4th OF role, anyway.
2006-09-19 10:09:37
71.   yankz
66 I just LOL'd.
2006-09-19 10:17:13
72.   Ben
31. Good point. I gues more than it being a mistake was that it seemed unorthodox and when they showed Jeter he looked uncertain about what he'd just done. Maybe it was an ego thing with AROD. Who knows. What I really found interesting was how I'd never seen that kind of uncertainty in Jeter, ever. He's a phenomenal baserunner, always seems a little a head of the game.
2006-09-19 10:21:28
73.   Chyll Will
66 Funny! don't forget the J Nelson tag-team.

BTW, regarding the (!) in Neifi!'s name, it started as a joke on the Cub Town board (or maybe it was Bad Altitude) as a sign of exasperation with his consistently low-grade production and increasingly alarming fielding. It carried over through several boards on Toaster and when Griddle announced his pickup by the Tigers, Cub Town posted a title stating Cubs Reduce Surplus Exclamation Points. I mentioned it here on that same day, but no one reacted to it; perhaps thinking I actually wasn't being facetious. Apparently it's finally caught on and stuck.

I've actually considered bootlegging some Neifi! shirts because it does look cool, but only the cool people would know what it actually meant.

Not that you or anyone else here are not cool, heavens no >;) I think Bob Timmerman or Mark Donahue would know the real on the (!); a little help would be peace...

2006-09-19 10:34:47
74.   mehmattski
73 You know what's really weird? I have been calling him Neifi! for years. My brother and I used to play this card game made by Wizards of the Coast (of Magic: The Gathering Fame) called MLB Showdown. Basically, each player is given a list of attributes, and dice are rolled to determine the outcome of atbats. We had a 6 team league going before I left for college. Anyway, a staple of one of my brother's teams was Neifi Perez at shortstop, who was unstopable. Everytime he would get a hit, my brother would cry out "Neifi!"

Now what I want to know is what you, Bob Timmerman, and Derek Smart were doing spying on my brother and I so many years ago. Hmm?

2006-09-19 10:34:55
75.   Bama Yankee
66 "Who is Karim Garcia?"
2006-09-19 10:58:07
76.   Bob B
The relief staff has brought on a new bout of depression for me. Actually it would be best if the Twinkies overtook the Tigers for us. I'd rather face a team in free fall any day. As to Shef...........I hate to say it but unless he shows he can be outstanding at the plate, Giambi will probably do better playing and batting. I hope JOe doesn't rest us out of having home field for the ALCS. Don't forget that last season would have turned out differently if we had won one more game than the Angels.
2006-09-19 11:00:33
77.   Bama Yankee
Ron Guidry on the mound, Schoolhouse Rock on the TV and a Risk game on the kitchen table... man those were the good ole days.

BTW Sliced, do you think Bobby "Comedulce" Abreu would be playing Candy Land in the clubhouse?

2006-09-19 11:08:16
78.   Chyll Will
Quick research shows that Derek Smart was the point man, if you will (no pun intended, honest!) (almost like Kafka, which would be an off-the-chain screen name, "Kafkaesque" or "Kafka Dreams", just sayin'...)

74 Tee-hee, one of us has been experimenting with altering reality through surrealism and existensialistic literature in cyberspace, but I forget who, you have to guess... more likley your brother is either an empath or a gypsy fortune-teller with Cassandra's Curse.

2006-09-19 11:08:47
79.   LI yankee
There's a joke somewhere with Joe Torre playing Risk, I can't figure it out though.
2006-09-19 11:10:18
80.   Chyll Will
77 Better question, who do you think would be playing Sorry?
2006-09-19 11:12:26
81.   yankz
77 Sal Fasano already ate the game.
2006-09-19 11:20:12
82.   ny2
great article

2006-09-19 11:23:06
83.   Bama Yankee
79 Here's the best I could do:
There once was a manager named Torre,
Who was looking for someone to replace Cory.
Going with Pavano would be like a game of Risk,
Since Glass Carl would probably slip a disk,
and that would be the end of a sad, sad story.
2006-09-19 11:31:46
84.   Chyll Will
83 Would've been better if you could work "Nantucket" or "two tears in a bucket" in there somehow...
2006-09-19 11:37:21
85.   Chyll Will
81 Abreu: "Anybody wanna play Candy Land with... wait a minute, where the hell is it?"

Fasano: URPP! "Sorry..."

Answer to my own question 80!

2006-09-19 11:43:38
86.   RIYank
I have mixed feelings about that SI article on A-Rod (82), but I did like this line:
"October is the foundry of Yankees legend."
2006-09-19 11:45:51
87.   JL25and3
I've always assumed that Neifi! is an ironic tip of the hat to Ichiro! But Neifi! has given rise to other forms as well, such as the adjective Neifi!riffic.
2006-09-19 11:53:32
88.   pistolpete
79 I've heard that Torre likes to attack the Russian front on his first turn.

Nothing? Too inside?

2006-09-19 11:55:31
89.   rbj
82 Good article. Amazing that such a tight lipped organization like the Yankees would open up so much

And by the way, tonight's the inaugural "Bricktown Showdown" between the Tuscon Sidewinders (PCL champs) and the Toledo Mudhens (IL champs), on ESPN2. It is quite possible the Hens will strikeout 20 times tonight, they've already K'ed 17 times in a ten inning game this year that, IIRC, they won.

2006-09-19 12:01:09
90.   LI yankee
88 I was thinking of bullpen usage and risk. Maybe I'm just an idiot
2006-09-19 12:06:45
91.   LI yankee
89 Yeah I wonder why they gave Verducci so much.

"On whether he ever considered this summer that he might be better off being traded: 'Never.' (Rodriguez actually cut off the question before it could be finished.) 'Never. I'd rather retire than go somewhere else.... One of the things I'm proudest of is being able to play every day and be in the mix of a win every night.'"

That's great to hear from him

2006-09-19 12:19:30
92.   Bama Yankee
90 Oh, now I see where you were going... That would have been a lot easier than my limerick (I wanted to use: "There once was a man from Kamchatka", in tribute to the Risk game but what rhymes with Kamchatka?) ;-)
2006-09-19 12:20:59
93.   Simone
89 Yeah, I am really surprised by all those named and anonymous quotes in that article. Verducci must have some serious pull in the Yankees' organization.

Overall, I thought the article was informative and actually has something new. We get to see into the Yankee clubhouse in a way we don't usually. I liked reading what the players were thinking during A-Rod's dreadful stint. The players were clearly just as fustrated as some of the fans when A-Rod was stumbling and bumbling on the field. Of course, if Giambi had posted his comments to A-Rod about needed to get the big hit here, he would have been slammed for hating on A-Rod because of his salary or some other reason.

2006-09-19 12:26:13
94.   RIYank
There once was a man from Kamchatka
Who fastball turned taters to latkes...
2006-09-19 12:28:17
95.   LI yankee
93 What I find particularly intriguing in there is the Jeter-ARod relationship.

"Watching a Yankees-Angels game in Anaheim from a television booth, Jackson noticed Rodriguez (the number-two hitter that day) and Jeter (batting third) near the on-deck circle with their backs to each other. "Classic Ruth-and-Gehrig picture right there," said Jackson, referring to the legends and their frosty relationship."

2006-09-19 12:32:17
96.   Bama Yankee
84 How bout this one Chyll:
There once was a GM from Nantucket
Who kept his gorilla suit in a bucket.
But his rival, named Cash,
Turned the tables on him in a flash,
And as for the pennant, the Yanks-took-it.
2006-09-19 12:33:43
97.   LI yankee
From PeteAbe at Lohud:

"Facing Ron Guidry, whose motion doesn't appear to have changed a bit, Sheff faced 36 pitches. He hit three out, all to left field. Two of them went into the middle deck at the Rogers Centre. His swing doesn't appear to have left him because of the wrist surgery.

Guidry got him to swing and miss twice, getting some laughs.

Sheff also worked out at first base again, working on charging bunts. He has an accurate arm.

We won't know more until we talk to Sheff in a while and Torre later. But I suspect he will be activated today or tomorrow. He looks ready to go."

2006-09-19 12:42:29
98.   bp1
97 I hope they have some footage of that tonight, but to see a bit of Guidry on the mound and to see some good swings from Sheff. That sounds like it was a lot of fun.
2006-09-19 12:45:46
99.   Bama Yankee
97 "Guidry got him to swing and miss twice"

Maybe we should activate Gator as well...

2006-09-19 12:47:35
100.   JL25and3
92 "Who liked a good knish or a latke." After that, you're on your own.

I thought that article was entirely mean-spirited. I was surprised that Giambi said so much for attribution, but I was angry at the "Yankee veteran" who dissed him anonymously.

It really grates on me when people slam Rodriguez for not being the person they want him to be. It's "unsettling" that he is well-dressed for a business meeting? He didn't show enough emotion with Joe, because all he did was twirl his ring? Frankly, I don't show much emotion if I'm dressed down by my boss, and I don't think it makes me a worse person.

And come on, every player in the majors can rattle off his stats.

Finally, there's this whole idea that none of it matters until October. Somehow that's become part of Yankee mythology in recent years - nobody ever said it about Mel Stottlemyre or Don Mattingly.

To say that winning is the only thing that matters is disingenuous. In fact, all the focus is on Rodriguez's individual performance, and I don't think he's the one who put it there. If the Yankees win the championship, that won't be enough in many people's eyes; he'll only be redeemed if he dominates the series. Even then, if Jeter hits one big homer, then forget it.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-09-19 12:48:46
101.   Chyll Will
96 Good, good, but that last line should be truer to form:

"But his rival, named Cash,
Turned the tables on him in a flash,
RSN shed tears and yelled 'F$%! It!!!'

2006-09-19 12:55:29
102.   yankeemonkey
Abraham just reported that Sheff's been activated and will be available tonight. Let the fireworks begin!
2006-09-19 12:56:04
103.   LI yankee
100 Yeah some of the anonymous comments were very strange:

"I honestly think he might be afraid of the ball."


2006-09-19 13:05:28
104.   rbj
I don't know that it was all that mean spirited, in a "put up newspaper clippings of Pavano's latest injury" way. More like a "we're all frustrated by the slump" manner.

And I think the article illustrates Torre's strengths. Just imagine if Ozzie Guillen or John Gibbons or even Billy Martin managed the Yankees this year.

2006-09-19 13:05:39
105.   Shaun P
I don't know why, but I can't find that article at that Sliced mentioned in 56 about the games the Yanks play in the clubhouse. Does anyone have the link?


PS - When Bernie sits, the lowest OBP in the Yanks' lineup is Cano's at .362. .362, the lowest OBP? And now the Yanks are adding Sheff to that? Holy Mother of God . . .

2006-09-19 13:12:18
106.   Sliced Bread
105 Sorry bout that.
Here it is:

2006-09-19 13:50:20
107.   pistolpete
82 All I can say is 'wow' - I feel like I understand A-Rod a little better from that piece. Great job, Verducci.
2006-09-19 15:33:09
108.   singledd
Without playing psychologist and getting into mumbo jumbo, I can't help thinking about family of origin when comparing Arod and Jetes.

Everytime I see classic Jeter (like STILL calling his manager 'Mr. Torre'), I want to meet Mr.& Mrs. Jeter and shake their hands. Jetes is pure mensch. He exhibits those qualities every parent would like for their child... and somehow the Jeters got it right.

ARod was abandoned at a young age by his father. Abandonment for a child is a killer. It always leaves a trail of selfdoubt, wondering if he was the 'reason' for the abandonment.

Jetes is as firmly grounded as anyone I've every seen. While he is an excellent ballplayer, what I have always been amazed at is his character.

ARod, for all the 'best player in the game' and 'one of the greatest in history', is always in emotional turmoil. I believe his sensitiveness and difficulty dealing 'straight' with his situation comes from his childhood trama.

You can compare their numbers, but you can't compare their inner characters. Jetes has something that ARod (or few people for that matter) will never have.

I think ARod senses this, and it was the cause of his SI article trashing Jeter.

I am a big fan of ARods; like and respect the guy. But I think he will be battling demons for the rest of his life.

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