Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Big Chill
2006-12-08 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Yo, dudes and dudettes: It is b-r-i-c-k in New York this morning. First stupid cold day of the winter. Good gosh. I spend the winter months bitching and moaning about the cold while Emily whines all summer about the heat. Everything evens out in the end, right?

So, according to Nick Cafardo, the bloom is off the rose for Theo Epstein up in Boston. Murray Chass reports that all may not be kosher with the way the Sox are doing business. There has been talk this week that the negotiations with D. Matsuzaka have hit some trouble, but I figure Boston will get their man when all is said and done. Our man out west, Rich Lederer likes what the Sox have done so far.

Meanwhile, closer to home, nothing to do but wait and see what'll happen with Andy P.

Comments (63)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-08 05:53:46
1.   mehmattski
Re: The second Newsday article (under Nothing)

If only everyone in this country were given as many second chances as Dwight Gooden. Does Steinbrenner just not remember the last three or four drug related arrests? Now all he has to do is be drug free for another two months and he will get a job with the biggest sports franchise in the world? I feel like I could rant on all that's wrong with this for hours...

2006-12-08 06:03:17
2.   RI Yankee
George has a long history of giving drug users/abusers 2nd chances:

Joe Pepetone
Steve Howe

I think it's admirable, but Doc has used up a lot of lives . . .

2006-12-08 06:03:59
3.   RI Yankee
And, btw . . .


2006-12-08 06:05:46
4.   Count Zero
1 Actually he also has to put in full-time community service hours until then.

But regardless, this hurts you how? The guy has an addiction problem...alcohol, drugs, you name it...just like millions of other people in this country. The way to help those people beat their problem is to not give them jobs? Because having them sit around all day with nothing to do will surely be helpful...

It's not like he held up a liquor store at gunpoint or something. The only people Doc has hurt through all of this has been himself, his family and his friends. Far as I can see, he's already paid whatever debt he owes to society. Further punishment at this time (presuming he stays clean -- big presumption!) is unhelpful.

2006-12-08 06:09:14
5.   sabernar
The NY Post says that "the Yankees expressed interest in Giants catcher Eliezer Alfonzo to be Jorge Posada's backup". Seems that the Giants have 3 or 4 catchers and they need to do something with them.
2006-12-08 06:17:55
6.   mehmattski
4 I have no problem with second chances. In general our criminal justice system seems more interested in punishment than rehabilitation, and most of the people in America seem okay with that. I am not, and I fully support any program that helps non-violent drug offenders get back to normal lives. However, the number of chances Gooden has gotten is a lot hitting the dog on the nose after he bites your hand, and then giving him a tasty treat. Whatever "rehabilitation" Gooden has gone through has clearly not worked-- and Steinbrenner seems fixated on denying there's a problem. I don't think Gooden should be forced to live on the streets or something, I just don't think he should get a job in a high-profile organization where he could be in a position to influence the behavior of other athletes or children. He does not seem like the type of guy who will give a positive image of "learn from my mistakes," because he has never learned.

There are plenty of Wal-Marts and Targets which have openings. Yeah, that may be harsh for someone who held NYC in his hands... but at some point, there need to be consequences for repeatedly making the same poor decisions. I think it's a poor example to other recovering addicts that you can lapse over and over and still be forgiven.

2006-12-08 06:31:31
7.   wsporter
4 Thank you and well said: "this hurts you how?"

As someone who spent years representing guys just like Doc in criminal courts I can't think of to many who didn't deserve and who wouldn't have profited from 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th chances. Not one of them was disposable as a human being. Just because they never got those chances doesn't mean Doc shouldn't get another nor does it mean it hurts us somehow if he does. A little kindness and charity isn't a bad thing, especially when we offer it to those we don't think deserve it; it means more that way.

End rant.

2006-12-08 06:54:27
8.   joejoejoe
I was thinking about the possibility of Bernie retiring and remembered John Kruk hitting a single for the White Sox, taking himself out of the game and retiring in the middle of the season. The Kruk retirement was a bit controversial for the White Sox at the time because he was a key player performing well - but Bernie is the 5th OF. His likely replacement can be in NY in 24 hours from AAA. His real replacement was Johnny Damon in CF in '06, not Kevin Thompson on the bench in '07.

If and when Bernie retires I'd rather he went out like that then in some kind of off-season announcement. Go to spring training and then the first double you hit at the Stadium call time, tip your cap, and walk off for good. If Bernie hits .330, he can play forever. If he hits .130, he can call time-out from first base and walk off into the sunset in May.

2006-12-08 06:55:24
9.   Simone
4 7 Huge word! I'm glad that George is giving Doc his 100th chance. I just wish society gave other addicts who aren't as famous or well off or well connected as many chances to recover and start over.

6 Because Gooden and other addicts can support their families on the low wages and lack of health insurance paid by Walmart and Target? The punishment for addiction is poverty? I think there is enough poverty in this country without adding the few people who can avoid it to the lower class.

Also, George isn't denying that Doc is an addict who has frequently relapsed. George is being kind and generous to someone that he obviously cares about with the hope that Doc can find a way out of his darkness.

2006-12-08 06:55:59
10.   Sliced Bread
It's so cold in NY... Jeter had to sleep with three supermodels last night... and two actresses.

It's so cold in NY... A-Rod could only go shirtles in Central Park for 6 minutes.

It's so cold in NY... Joe Torre only had Proctor pitch 3 innings today.

It's so cold in NY... when Mariano Rivera jogs out of the bullpen they play "Enter Snowman."

2006-12-08 07:01:03
11.   Cliff Corcoran
3 See the post before this one.

10 I like "Enter Snowman." "It's off to Winter Wonderland!"

2006-12-08 07:15:39
12.   RI Yankee
11 Thanks. Just read that and also Steven Goldman's blog. I think I prefer the versatility of Wilson, but Josh seems like a good alternative.

I just have an aversion to first basemen/dh's named Phelps.

2006-12-08 07:24:15
13.   Sliced Bread
It's so cold in NY... Cashman had to throw another Pavano on the fire.

It's so cold in NY... Sterling and Waldman decided to skip the ice skating and go straight to the hot cocoa.

It's so cold in NY... they've postponed the annual lighting of the Big Unit in Rockefeller Plaza.

2006-12-08 07:32:23
14.   Cliff Corcoran
11 I hear that (and am slightly amazed I avoided a reference to the previous Mr. Phelps in my post yesterday).

13 Serves me right for encouraging you. ;)

2006-12-08 07:33:20
15.   Sliced Bread
It's so cold in NY... Farnwacker's tongue froze to "The Big Bat." Don't ask.

It's so cold in NY... Carvel reports sales of "Fudgie The Ponson" cakes are down 27%.

2006-12-08 07:48:21
16.   Shaun P
10 13 15 I can't decide which one I like best, Sliced. I think throwing another Pavano on the fire - is that a Young Ones reference?

11 Watch the snow fall little one
Don't forget, my son
To have lots of outdoor fun

I dress you up, warm within
Keep you free from the wind
Till the snowman he comes

Play ball with your winter coat open
Gripping your scarf tight

Exit night
Enter white
Take my hand
We're off to a winter wonderland

2006-12-08 07:52:38
17.   mehmattski
7 9 Uncle. I guess Simone summed up my feeling better than I did: I'm angry that other non-violent drug offenders aren't given the same changes. I just didn't say it very well. If I had my way, there would be zero non-violent drug offenders clogging up jail space next to people who've committed really heinous crimes. But that's just me.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled quirky Banter.

16 Lars Ulrich will now sue you for $1.2 billion in damages.

It's so cold in NY that no one cares that the Mets re-signed a steroid user?

2006-12-08 08:06:17
18.   standuptriple
Man, it must be down to 52 in SF. Of course most of the heat is probably due to Bonds' cranium.
5 I think Alfonzo would fall into a top 5 backup. It sounds more and more like Mattheny is done though and I'm pretty sure the Giants don't have another backstop in the pipeline. If he comes back in Spring then yeah, absolutely go after him. The Giants do love aging OFers. I am not approving the offering of Bernie though.
2006-12-08 08:09:50
19.   Sliced Bread
16 Nice. and tip of the winter cap to Cliff {11] for the closing line.
2006-12-08 08:24:14
20.   thirtythr33
Here in cloudy South Florida, it's a delicious 65 degrees. Just sayin...

What are our feelings on Andy Pettitte (hopefully) returning to the Bronx? I admit I've fallen off of the Barry Zito bandwagon and have jumped onto Pettitte's whole-heartedly. Like many of you, I have fond memories of him kicking ass for us during the Yanx' latest Golden Years.

Ya want it! Ya love it! Ya need it!

2006-12-08 08:39:51
21.   Cliff Corcoran
16 The second stanza is the best.
2006-12-08 08:47:51
22.   Cliff Corcoran
Hush little baby, don't say a word
And never mind that noise you heard
It's just the bells on Santa's sled
On the rooftops, in your head!

Exit night! Enter white!
Sticks for hands
Here comes the winter wonderland


2006-12-08 08:49:37
23.   Yankee Fan In Boston

if only...

2006-12-08 08:50:51
24.   rbj
Ha, it's so cold in Toledo . . . Josh Phelps asked to be traded to NY just to warm up.

(upside is the dog does his business right quick to get back inside)

2006-12-08 08:57:59
25.   Shaun P
19 21 Thanks. And nice job taking it farther, Cliff!

17 I would imagine that Lars is a fan of parody, so hopefully not. =)

Its so cold outside of Boston, it snowed this morning. Seriously. First time its felt like December.

2006-12-08 09:05:53
26.   OldYanksFan
6 I don't know how old you are, but do you have any friends (or maybe even yourself) that smokes/smoked a little reefer? Maybe a little toot?

Each time you smoke a bone, you break the law, and could be sharing a cell with Doc.
Our country chooses to make criminals out of 'drug' users (hard for me to think of Pot as a drug), although the judges who throw them in jail probably had a drink or 3 at lunch.

Addiction is a disease that's treated as a crime. Hopefully, if our jail cells aren't too filled with addicts, we can find a little room in them for corporate criminals who steal millions from their employees.

Alcohol kills more people, destroys more lives, and costs this country more money, significantly more then all illegal drugs combined. But hey... it's legal.

Sometimes we need to differenciate morality from legality.

Maybe Steinbrenner, as he has a few drinks, understands this.


2006-12-08 09:08:42
27.   mehmattski
So I realized that I've found myself way more pissed off at the world than usual today. While it would take a lot for me to get in the festive spirit of 16 et al, I decided to seek therapy in the one way that always works for me: baseball statistics. I'd like to share with you the results of my session:

Bobby Abreu, a tale of split statistics... from 2004 to 2006

In three years, he has had 187 plate appearances during which the count has gone to 3-0. After this point, he has walked 145 times, and has gotten on base 161 times, for an on-base percentage of .847. In three years, he has not once put a ball in play on a 3-0 count.

Comparing this to some other Yankees:
Player 3-0 PA/BB/H/OBP
Rodriguez 127/98/8/.835
Jeter 94/54/17/.755
Posada 113/85/11/.756
Damon 113/65/10/.664

In fact, Abreu reached a 3 ball count in 33.7% of his plate appearances between 2004 and 2006. Compare this to Damon's 21.1%, Jeter's 21.8%, and A-Rod's 24.7%. Abreu is certainly the master of working the count.

Whew. I feel much better now. :-)

2006-12-08 09:12:42
28.   mehmattski
26 See my 17. In reality, you and I are in perfect agreement. I just expressed myself very very poorly in 6. Which is why I returned to my better expertise, statistics, in 27. Is that the record for most self-references in one post?
2006-12-08 09:15:24
29.   Cliff Corcoran
27 Your conclusion, that Abreu is a master of working the count, is correct. But your evidence doesn't do much to support that conclusion. Taking 3-0 is pretty much standard operating procedure. More telling is that Abreu has gotten to 3-0 almost 50% more often than Rodriguez, who is the Yankee on your list with the next most 3-0 opportunities.
2006-12-08 09:19:20
30.   vockins
29 Is there an interview somewhere where Abreu describes developing that skill?
2006-12-08 09:35:58
31.   mehmattski
29 It's true on the initial 3-0 count, the standard is to take all the way.... indeed the five players I listed, combined, put all of 15 balls into play on 3-0 counts over that three year span. Ten of those were Damon alone. However, there's still something interesting going on after the 3-0 count, something that leads Abreu and Rodriguez to base 20% more often than Jeter and Damon. I suppose this would require a separate conclusion than about ability to work the count. That ability was best supported by the data I gave on the percentage of plate appearances where a 3-ball count was reached.

Also, I guess I should have given the numbers from another OBP machine for better comparison:
Giambi reached a 3-0 count 124 times, walking 97 times with 7 hits (.839 OBP). He reached a 3-ball count 267 times in 1492 plate appearances, or 31.4%.

2006-12-08 09:42:00
32.   Cliff Corcoran
31 My mistake, I thought you were only dealing with results on the 3-0 pitch, not over the remainder of the at-bat. As for what leads Abreu and Rodriguez to base after a 3-0 count more often than Jeter and Damon: power. Pitchers are more willing to try to fight back against a guy who hits 15 homers a year than against one that hits 25-55.

That last stat is the best, though, percentage of PAs that reached a 3-ball count. Of course, # pitches per PA does a similar trick, and Abreu and Giambi are always at the top of those lists.

2006-12-08 10:30:53
33.   YankeeInMichigan just released their Top 50 Prospects list. Hughes is #4 and Tabata #23. Jonathan Mayo comments that Hughes and Sanchez could form a lethal 1-2 punch, so Sanchez must have just missed the cut.
2006-12-08 10:35:03
34.   YankeeInMichigan
I see from the sidebar that the Non-Tender date is right around the corner. Who do the Yankees have to make a choice on? Aaron Guiel? Are there any potential Non-Tenders that may fill one of the Yankees' spots? Omar Infante?
2006-12-08 10:55:50
35.   yankz
It should never be this cold.
2006-12-08 11:17:27
36.   mehmattski
35 It is a warm day in Siberia. (Say with cheesy Bond-like Russian accent.)
2006-12-08 11:20:27
37.   Bama Yankee
It was 14 degrees this morning down here in Alabama... so much for global warming ;-)
2006-12-08 11:22:08
38.   Chyll Will
The only thing I will say is I'm not going to play on the title of this post (big ups to my father by the way, RIP) but I wish everyone a safe and healthy weekend; what with the wind chyll and all >;)
2006-12-08 11:26:12
39.   Zack
I don't see how Homer Bailey is ranked ahead of Hughes, but I guess thats just my Yankee bias. And his #'s being better.
2006-12-08 11:47:07
40.   kylepetterson
Sorry to piss everybody off, but it's sunny and 68 here in Phoenix.

As far as the drug conversation goes, it's this simple: regardless of how you feel, illegal drugs are just that, illegal. Don't use 'em and you won't have to worry about whether or not our country is too strict with their punishment. Makes sense to me, but then again, I single-handedly brought sexy back. Bold, baby! Bold!

2006-12-08 11:56:23
41.   Copelius
Well its 6 above here in AK, but I kind of feel like it is balmy.
2006-12-08 11:57:58
42.   Chyll Will
40 Yep, thanks for the lift; I'd never had gotten back without that spare change >;)
2006-12-08 11:59:26
43.   RI Yankee
40 "Makes sense to me, but then again, I single-handedly brought sexy back. Bold, baby! Bold!"

. . . I thought that was Sal Fasano . . .

2006-12-08 12:08:03
44.   kylepetterson
43 Sal Fasano didn't bring sexy back, he brought the porn-stache back and that was just because he found it floating in the East River.
2006-12-08 12:11:23
45.   BklynBmr
Just caught this in The Post (George King):


"The Pirates and Yankees have talked about a trade that would bring lefty reliever Damaso Marte to the Yankees for outfielder Kevin Thompson. If Thompson is dealt, Bernie Williams could return as the fifth outfielder. Marte, 32 in February, is owed $4.7 million for 2007 and 2008. He could be protection against the Yankees losing Ron Villone and not signing Scott Schoeneweis."


Anyone familiar with Marte?

2006-12-08 12:31:04
46.   mehmattski
45 I remember him being an imposing lefty presence on the 2005 WS Sox team. His major league numbers have been impressive, hovering around 10 K/9 innings. I'm not the best guy to comment on "stuff," but I remember him having a pretty strong fastball. His splits, 2004-2006:

vs L .209 .309 .300
vs R .257 .358 .429
Total: .236 .337 .373

His $2.3 annual salary would make him the third highest paid reliever on the team, behind Mo and Farnstantinople.

On a personal note, he served as an effective closer for me in MVP 2005.

2006-12-08 12:39:19
47.   Simone
I just read the Boston newspapers whose writers seem in a conspiracy with the Red Sox's management to perpetrate fraud as well as pressure Boras and Matsuzaka with their inane opinions.

Why are the Boston sports writers so convinced that Roger Clemens will sign with the Red Sox if they don't sign Matsuzaka? I have the same question re: the New York media and Andy Pettitte. How do they know that Andy is actually considering the Yankees' potential offer? Have these pitchers actually expressed a desire to leave their cushy deals in their home town of Houston? If anyone knows anything that supports the possibility of Andy returning to the Yankees, please share the knowledge. I want a reason to optimistic that the Yankees' pitching situation has a realistic hope of improving.

2006-12-08 12:45:29
48.   Yankee Fan In Boston
eric gagne might be signing today. the sox might still need a closer.

2006-12-08 12:45:37
49.   JL25and3
45 Marte's a former Yankee farmhand. They trded him to Pittsburgh because they absolutely had to have Enrique Wilson.

Now that he's had his five good years, they're bringing him back.

2006-12-08 12:51:46
50.   RI Yankee
Marte was briefly in the Yankee organization. Was traded for Enrique Wilson.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-08 13:07:12
51.   yankee23
ESPNNews just reported that Pettitte is in fact a Yankee. 1 Year deal, unknown price.
2006-12-08 13:08:01
52.   Simone
ESPNews just reported that the Yankees signed Andy Pettitte. My question answered with an actually signing. Perfect, yeah!!! What a relief! Does this mean Clemens may follow?
2006-12-08 13:09:33
53.   yankee23
I can't find any links on it, but Buster Olney should be giving some info soon.
2006-12-08 13:20:33
54.   Yankee Fan In Boston
trust ca$hman.
2006-12-08 13:23:26
55.   Sliced Bread
Hey, what's not to like about a 1 year deal, other than the unannounced price?

Nothing, I guess.

Welcome home, Andy Pettitte.

2006-12-08 13:25:42
56.   Cliff Corcoran
$16 mil + player option for 2008. Perfect.
2006-12-08 13:27:21
57.   unmoderated
i'm liking this offseason more and more.
2006-12-08 13:28:34
58.   Cliff Corcoran
Pending a physical, of course . . .
2006-12-08 13:28:35
59.   Sliced Bread
56 That's a lot of bread, but what the heck. Yanks need the pitching, and in this inflated market it looks like a bargain.
Bravo, Mr. Cashman, bravo.
Sign Igawa and we're on our way!
2006-12-08 13:28:40
60.   Jim Dean
55 Indeed. Call me excited. Old rotation but plenty of backup. Any of the prospects not named Huge get traded?
2006-12-08 13:30:44
61.   Cliff Corcoran

With Igawa pending and Sanchez, Rasner, Karstens in AAA.

That should cover Randy's back and Hughes quickie warm-up in AAA and the injuries that are sure to pop up. Well done.

2006-12-08 13:33:15
62.   mehmattski
61 I think you're forgetting someone. Likes to drive porches and tailgate garbage trucks. The name is slipping my mind...
2006-12-08 13:34:51
63.   Cliff Corcoran
61 No, I'm not.

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