Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Ain't it the Truth
2006-10-20 10:00
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

If there are any Met fans you are trying to console today, you might want to point out the following quote:

"It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, you rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then, just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops."

-A. Bartlett Giamatti

I feel you, bro, I can relate.

Comments (64)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-10-20 10:08:33
1.   YankeeInMichigan
Giamatti was a Red Sox fan.
2006-10-20 10:26:36
2.   Sliced Bread
1 ... a poetic and eloquent one at that.
2006-10-20 10:31:15
3.   joejoejoe
I don't know.

The Endy Chavez catch had to feel better than a lot of wins I've seen. Having that moment in your stock of memories is pretty sweet. Doubling up the runner at first after making the circus catch to steal the home run? It's too crazy to imagine but it's real.

2006-10-20 10:57:26
4.   dianagramr
... often is the time I wonder what would have become of our national pastime had we not lost Bart so soon ...

... sigh ...

2006-10-20 11:16:46
5.   Mike T
Go Tigers, I guess.
2006-10-20 11:55:31
6.   Yankee Fan In Boston
3 speaking of endy chavez, did anyone else notice mccarver calling him eric chavez last night?
2006-10-20 12:10:49
7.   jonnystrongleg
3 I wish I could look at big plays in losing series that way. Over time, Brosius and Tino's brilliance in games 4 & 5 in 2001 has unfairly faded to me over time. I would trade those memories for the World Series win. And that's with 4 Series in 5 years preceding.

I think Mets fans can find joy in the memory of the catch, but would trade it for the win any day.

2006-10-20 12:46:42
8.   pistolpete
7 Mets fans seeing that catch must be like when I see the highlight of the Jeter 'flip'. I still marvel at it, but then I recall the ultimate end result of that year's W.S.
2006-10-20 13:11:59
9.   Cliff Corcoran
7 Now, see, I wouldn't trade those games for the title, but I would trade Endy's catch for a Met pennant.

6 Yes, and McCarver corrected himself moments later (likely after a producer told him what he'd done).

2006-10-20 13:30:05
10.   Chyll Will
2006-10-20 13:36:10
11.   Yankee Fan In Boston
9 i pictured joe buck hurredly scribbling a note and punching him in the arm.
2006-10-20 13:44:59
12.   unmoderated
if that's true, 11, mccarver must have one hell of a sore arm.
2006-10-20 14:05:07
13.   Shaun P
12 You would think Joe Buck would have just given up by now. How many times could he have punched McCarver's arm? It has to be triple digits.
2006-10-20 14:09:51
14.   randym77
What kind of a name is "Endy," anyway?

No baseball tonight. Friday night without baseball. It just ain't right.

2006-10-20 14:11:59
15.   jonnystrongleg
9 Mariano throwing it in the centerfield, the D-Backs jumping up and down, the whole country euphoric that the Yankees lost not even 2 months after 9/11...

I would gladly give up the dramatics of games 4 and 5 for Mariano being on target to 2nd base.

The only memory I'm not sure I would trade for a title lost in the same year is Game 7 2003 ALCS. I was lucky enough to be there, so maybe that has something to do with it. Would I rather beat the Marlins but win a pedestrian ALCS....? Maybe that's close.

Ah frak it. I want the titles.

2006-10-20 14:26:46
16.   Bama Yankee
Why couldn't they have put Pinella in the booth with Buck and McCarver. That way Sweet Lou could have just beat him into a bloody pulp...
2006-10-20 14:46:14
17.   weeping for brunnhilde
7 Your mentioning Tino reminds me of another observation about approach: when asked about that at-bat, Tino replied, with enthusiastic confidence, "I was thinking the first two swings were mine."

That is a plan.

I'm not trying to claim Beltran had no plan, just to give further perspective into what I look for in a good hitter, and that's a man with a plan.

2006-10-20 14:55:17
18.   kylepetterson
McCarver and Buck are seiously the worst tv/radio team I think I've ever heard. Most of the time you at least get one OK guy. It's like the dumb leading blind on Fox.
2006-10-20 15:05:13
19.   Bama Yankee
18 and everyone wonders why the ratings for the Serious are down...

Fox has the insane Saturday blackout rule and insists on giving people a game from their region. Then when the playoffs arrive they worry that no one will watch games outside of their region. Not to mention they continue to employ terrible announcers.

Remember the good ol' days of Bob Costas on NBC?

2006-10-20 16:07:38
20.   Marcus
17 I remember Tino's comments as well, and I agree his confidence in answering those questions really put the cherry on top of the HR.

I believe he said in those comments that he went to the plate looking for a fastball. Well he got one, and BANG over the fence. But why is that a plan, and not a guess? He guessed right, BH Kim served it up for him, no?

I'm still a little fuzzy on your idea of hitters having plans, and this example just confused me a little more. Does having a plan mean watching a lot of video and studying pitchers tendencies? Is a guess hitter a hitter who can't adjust quickly enough?

2006-10-20 16:49:11
21.   Paul in Boston
7 I immediately thought of Tino and Scott B's home runs when the Mets lost. SAME EXACT THING. Exciting memories, but ...

As for Mariano throwing the ball into center field, that for me was the defining, horrible, indelible moment of the 2001 9th inning. As soon as that happened, I knew we were toast. My heart sank, I just knew we'd lose. Still the for me nearly the worst loss in my Yankee fan-dom, exceeded only by the 1995 loss to Seattle in Game 5.

2006-10-20 16:59:10
22.   Stormer Sports
On a happy note, it appears that MLB and the MLBPA are near a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement. The new deal reportedly leaves the profit sharing as is and a new luxury tax tabled for the time being. Good news for the Yankees, as 2006 marked at least the second straight year baseball operations in Yankeeland operated in the red.

Here is to trimming some fat and cooking up some fresh young veal next season. Viva la Yankees!

2006-10-20 17:01:16
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
20 I consider that a plan because he said the first two swings were his, suggesting that was planning to change his approach thereafter.
2006-10-20 17:07:40
24.   weeping for brunnhilde
20 Maybe to give some more explanation, to me having a plan means going up with an idea of when to guess and when to react. When to look to go yard and when to look to go the other way.

Sure, studying video can help in the formulation of a plan, but it's more a question of deciding ahead of time whether you're going to zone in by location, or by pitch, etc. Making decisions ahead of time about whether you're going to try to hit the breaking pitch or not.

For instance, if Beltran had decided he wasn't even going to bother with the breaking pitch, he should have been swinging at that first pitch fastball.

If he'd decided he was going to try to hit the breaking pitch, he damn well should have been ready for that strike three.

All major league hitters should be able to react to one degree or other, so I guess having a plan is about knowing when to react and when to be aggressive.

2006-10-20 17:26:09
25.   Marcus
24 Thanks, I think I understand a bit better now.

So it sounds like Beltran had a bad plan.

2006-10-20 17:32:36
26.   weeping for brunnhilde
The other reason Tino's was a plan is because he was looking to hit the long ball in a situation where that was their best chance to tie the game.

Beltran, on the other hand, could have tied the game with a bloop and yet somehow managed not just to strike out, but to leave the bat on his shoulders. Since he's a major league hitter, I presume he's dextrous enough that if he had to make contact, he'd have been able to, most of the time, anyway.

So in that situation, I have to think he just wasn't prepared to execute because his approach to the at-bat was wrong.

That's what it looks like to me, anyway.

Maybe I'm wrong.

2006-10-20 17:40:27
27.   underdog
9 Tim McCarver also went on and on, and on several occasions, about how Guillermo Mota learned to throw at pitchers who are attempting a bunt while in the Dodgers minor league system, even though he came up in the Expos system, only appearing in a few games with the Dodgers minor leaguers before getting called up. No one corrected him on this one. Oh well.
2006-10-20 17:45:47
28.   weeping for brunnhilde
Idea for a team.

Perhaps some enterprising person could look at the stats and compile a team of all the .300 hitters with the lowest strikeout ratios.

Could we construct a winning team by looking for batting average and strikeout ratio guys rather than OPS guys?

Mattingly, in 1985, iirc, struck out 35 times all year, in 652 at-bats! I remember at the time, I was 12, this just seemed miraculous to me.

2006-10-20 21:22:05
29.   Stormer Sports

You are right on the button.

It looked pretty simple to me. Beltran had to know, if he had actually watched the preceding 4 at bats, that he wasn't going to get another fastball to hit. No fucking way was he getting another fastball strike down 0-2.

Now, it doesn't mean that anything would have changed, but Beltran made 2 mistakes.

1. Power hitter pig headedness: These guys just fight fundamentals at every turn. He, Bonds, Arod, Pujols et al. absolutely refuse to choke a bit and shorten their swing with 2 strikes, especially with two outs. Little League be damned. If Luis Gonzalez had had Beltran's aproach in 2001, the Yankees would have 27 World Series Championships.

2. Expect the curveball. Waynewright wasn't going to throw a hittable fastball up 0-2 to a power hitter. It just wasn't going to happen. The best approach would have been to shorten up and sit on the curve. With the short swing, he could at least foul off an outside fastball if he had to swing at it. By expecting a pitch the 4 previous at-bats clearly showed he wasn't going to get, he was doomed to failure. Waynewright wasn't going to get beat on his second best pitch. You can't win if you don't put the ball in play.

This may be harsh, and Beltran's post-season pedigree is fine. It was just a poor appraoch.

2006-10-20 21:49:56
30.   weeping for brunnhilde
29 Thanks. And I don't think harshness has anything to do with it, it's just an analysis of the at-bat.

I, for one, bear Beltran no ill-will, nor Rodriguez, for that matter. But I think criticizing their approach at the plate is fair.

You know what I wish? I wish more hitters would readily analyze their own at-bats in public so we wouldn't have to do it for them.

The media never get them to do this. They ask about approch in general, sometimes, but they never slow it down and ask someone to go through their own at-bat pitch-by-pitch.

I'd like to see more of that.

And in fact, it's this sort of analysis that to me makes the game most interesting and why I love Herndandez in the Mets' booth and Leiter in the Yankees; they both do an excellent job of really breaking down an at-bat, just as you did there Stormer.

Fuck! Six months with no at-bats to carve up!

I hate the winter.

2006-10-20 22:02:03
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
Plus, Beltan saw three pitches.

Two were hittable.

He swung once, at an eminently unhittable pitch--a nasty, nasty breaking ball while letting the next breaking ball, nasty, but hittable, fall safely in for strike three.

As he said, afterwards, he couldn't pull the trigger, which is fair enough--I'd just like to know why he couldn't, what he was thinking about.

2006-10-21 10:42:28
32.   steveb1234
"Bonds ... absolutely refuse to choke a bit and shorten their swing with 2 strikes, especially with two outs."

Bonds always chokes up; that's his natural position on the bat. Not sure where he'd go from there. (He also has a very short, compact swing.)

While I enjoy trashing McCarver as much as the next guy, pointing out every error like "Eric" Chavez sort of ignores the challenges of doing live TV. It's harder not to make errors, particularly when someone's name is a near-phonetic match to a much more common and popular player.

This is also what separates the run-of-the-mill broadcasters from the hall-of-famers, like Vin Scully. (I feel lucky getting to grow up listening to him in L.A.; he's what baseball sounds like to me. And Chick Hearn is how basketball sounds.)

2006-10-21 11:38:42
33.   OldYanksFan
On the ESPN site,
there is a story labeled: 'AN OLD FRIEND'
about plans for the old Tiger Stadium.
What a fantastic idea!
I don't know what the plans are for the 'OLD' Yankee Satdium (once the new one is built), but this sounds like it would really fly in NY.
Check it out!
2006-10-21 13:44:26
34.   randym77
33 Can you give us a summary? I can't get the video link to work.
2006-10-21 14:20:15
35.   RIYank
They're going to make it into a kind of community: condos in the upper deck, retail downstairs, you'll walk out of a sports bar onto the warning track. My impression was that the field itself would be a kind of courtyard.
2006-10-21 14:37:52
36.   randym77
35 Thanks. Sounds more interesting than the usual fate of old stadiums. (Demolished to make a parking lot for the new stadium.)
2006-10-21 15:58:27
37.   wsporter
30 The winter is wonderful. How could we appreciate the spring without it? Only 18 or so weeks till P's & C's report. We can have lots of great arguments till then!
2006-10-21 16:21:34
38.   Stormer Sports

Maybe Joe Toree shouldn't have been fired, but if UCLA doesn't see fit to terminate Head Coach Dorrell for the absolutely gutless play calling in the 4th Quarter today, then no one should ever be fired. It has been a long time since I have seen such clear fear on the part of a coach with a lead. You don't even try to make a first down your last two posessions, and then you "Thank" Notre Dame for the opportunity. That was abysmal. Now a team that should have 3 losses, has only 1, because they simply intimidated 2 Division 1-A Head Football Coaches. What a joke.

2006-10-21 16:40:32
39.   randym77
Oh, gawd. The Fox pre-game show is absolutely unbearable.
2006-10-21 16:40:33
40.   Eirias
Lets go Tigers. Show the Cards the meaning of "American League."
2006-10-21 16:42:25
41.   Eirias
39 Not a fan of "baseball fans" trying to impress Danika Patrick?
2006-10-21 16:49:00
42.   wsporter
38 The value of good old fashioned Roman Catholic intimidation should not be underestimated. I imagine everyone connected with UCLA will be going straight to heaven, even the cheer leaders. The Vatican just did away with Limbo you know.
2006-10-21 16:49:08
43.   randym77
41 And the sappy "what it means to Detroit" stuff was even worse.
2006-10-21 16:49:48
44.   BklynBmr
4:47pm PT — I guess the Serious is underway, but I couldn't stop watching 'Anatomy of a Murder' on Turner Classic Movies, the Otto Preminger 1959 gem with James Stewart, Eve Arden, etc.

World Series' without the Bronx Bombers are kinda like NFL Pro Bowl games to me. You get to see some great players, but it really doesn't matter...

2006-10-21 16:55:33
45.   Eirias
YEY! Joe Buck AND Tim McCarver!
2006-10-21 17:12:56
46.   rbj
Gee, why don't they throw in Joe Morgan too, for the anti-Trinity.
I think I'll stick in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, or maybe Phantom of the Opera. Lon Cheney was good.
2006-10-21 17:23:08
47.   BklynBmr
46 (FireJoe)Morgan and Miller are doing the radio. There's no escape...
2006-10-21 17:33:56
48.   randym77
Where's Endy Chavez when you need him?
2006-10-21 17:47:59
49.   OldYanksFan
34-35 I got the impression they were saving the field itself, and using it for the community and Little League.
Can-you-dig-it? Little Leaguers get to play in a professional stadium full of history.

Think about that in NY.
Think about watching your kid play CenterField in YANKEE STADIUM! Where Joe. D and the Mick roamed.

I imagine the condos might be bought by families with kids who are being groomed for pro-ball. How cool would it be to live in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium?

Just a really cool idea.

2006-10-21 17:50:41
50.   Start Spreading the News
Studying the impact on managers:

It says that LaRussa and Torre are pretty good. Torre's teams (even before the Yankees) consistently overperformed the Pythagorean.


Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-10-21 18:40:01
51.   OldYanksFan
50 Good article. Shows me that:
1) Its hard to really tell who's a good manager or not.
2) Verifies my feeling that Managers have very little effect on on-field performance
3) Half the players didn't think the manager had much bearing on a teams performance.

My feeling is that handling personalities, conflicts and media is a managers most improtant job, as these are things that could potentially effect a players performance.

Thats why I love Torre. He has taken the Bronx Zoo and the most explosive owner in MLB, and turned the Yankees into a classy and respected organization.

I don't think Torre had much to do with the PS wins in 1996-2000, nor do I think he had much to do with the PS loses post 2000.

He has taken a team from Class Clowns to Class Presidents.

2006-10-21 18:45:53
52.   Simone
I was wrong about the Cardinals getting crushed, at least in this first game.
2006-10-21 18:50:28
53.   randym77
Boy, that was a weird play.
2006-10-21 18:50:53
54.   Simone
Hee. What was that? Terrible defense. The Tigers must have forgotten that this is the World Series.
2006-10-21 18:56:19
55.   randym77
I thought there was a good chance the Tigers would win it in four. Maybe the Cards will surprise everyone.

Or maybe the Tigers are just a little rusty, having sat around so long...

2006-10-21 18:57:29
56.   OldYanksFan
Every sportswriter and pundit said the Tigers would KILL the Boids. One said the Tigers would 'win in 3'.

So, I guess the Tigers don't have to work too hard?
That the series is already theirs?

I think it's always best to be the underdog. Expectations of winning (think Yankees) always seem to have a negative impact.

Well, anyway, it won't be the Tigers in 4.

2006-10-21 19:13:14
57.   Stormer Sports
It looks like Leyland is trying to hand this one to his friend LaRussa.
2006-10-21 19:37:04
58.   Simone
The good thing about the Tigers losing is that we get a break from the media feeding us, their repetitive "everything Leyland does is magic" stories. Winning is the about the players' executing on the field not the manager.
2006-10-21 19:44:40
59.   Stormer Sports
They really look intimidated. They don't get frightened by the Yankees, but the 83 gane winning Cardinals and the WS scares them to death.

I thought befor the series, that given the age and inexperience of the starters, the best thing Leyland could have done was start Rogers in game 1, take a little pressure off the guys by sending out a veteran to set the tone. But what do I know, I would have started Wang in game 4.

One thing sports should teach the rest of us is that we are every bit as qualified as many that are running these clubs. If Joe Torre's pitching management and the fact that Steve Phillips once held the purse strings of the New York Mets tells me anything, it is that we are more than qualified to offer alternantives here and should never assume that just because someone works for one of these teams, or manages a team, that they are any good at it.

2006-10-21 20:04:48
60.   randym77
Kenny Rogers vs. Jeff Weaver. Something's gotta give...
2006-10-21 20:22:40
61.   BklynBmr
60 The way this season is going, brace for a perfect game — which one, I dunno...

soapbox/ — If MLB continues to reward teams that failed to win their division with a spot in the 'final four', at least they should change the title of the 'ALDS' — which is not accurate — to 'The Three Division Champions and The Team That Didn't Win Their Division Playoff Series'. TTDCTTTDWTDPS. Nice and snappy. Sponsors will eat it up. And if MLB insists on a 5-game series, the TTDWTD gets no home games in the first round. And only games 3 and 6 at home in the LCS.

Oh, yeah. And death penalty for parking tickets, too.


2006-10-21 21:44:39
62.   OldYanksFan
Cashman firm on A-Rod
Oct 19 - Yankees GM Brian Cashman says third baseman Alex Rodriguez is "not available," the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

"I have received no offers," Cashman told the newspaper. "I've had calls of teams having interest. He's not available. That's what I've said before. I guess I'll be saying it all winter, unless something changes, and I don't anticipate that."
2006-10-22 03:33:16
63.   randym77
62 Not available, unless something changes. That's laying it on the line. ;-)

I file this with "Bubba Crosby is our centerfielder" last winter, and "We're content with what we have" before the trading deadline this year.

2006-10-22 11:00:16
64.   3rd gen yankee fan
"Former Yankees to square off in Game 2"


"Yankee rejects face off in Game 2"

hahahahahaha! Way to keep the Yankees in the headlines!

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