Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankee Panky # 7: The Medium is the Message?
2007-05-01 06:01
by Will Weiss

By now, you’ve heard everything remotely possible breaking down the speculation of Joe Torre’s firing and George Steinbrenner’s statement, which added some slack to the leash on Torre and GM Brian Cashman.

The Yankees finished April losing eight of nine – including five of six to the Red Sox – a 9-14 overall record, a walking wounded list that an NFL team would envy, and numerous questions regarding the cause of their demise. The Yankees led in all five of those games. In four of the eight losses, the Yankees held leads in the seventh inning or later. They could easily be 15-8, 16-7 or 17-6; they’d still have the same flaws but because the victories would far outnumber the defeats, we wouldn’t be discussing the current state of affairs.

As we know, “losing is not acceptable.”

Torre is a convenient scapegoat. He is certainly part of the problem, but he’s not the sole reason for the poor start. He’s correct in that Torre didn’t re-sign a fragile Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, or bid way too much for Kei Igawa, who should probably be a situational reliever in the Hideki Okajima mold. Torre hasn’t gone 1-for his last 20 like Bob Abreu. He isn’t whining about cramps in his forearm or calling throwing 20 of 45 pitches off a mound “progress.” He didn’t catch too much of the plate with a pitch to Marco Scutaro in Oakland or to Coco Crisp at Fenway. He isn’t the LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) who is throwing up loogies.

Don Zimmer told the New York Post that Cashman is the problem, and that the Torre criticism is unjust. Because he served as Torre’s consiglieri for eight seasons, his words can be taken seriously on one level. Don’t discount Zimmer’s bitterness toward the Yankee organization, however. When Zimmer and Steinbrenner had their tiff during the 2003 season – YES was prohibited from showing Zimmer on camera during games, he was forbidden from appearing on any network programs, and he declined several interview requests for the – Torre was affected. He’s never outwardly said it, but do remember the frequent camera shots where it appeared Torre was sleeping during games? You don’t see them too much anymore. From 1996-2003, Torre managed the egos and media -- he still does -- but he lost a great tactician in Zimmer. It’s not a stretch to conclude that the results would be better if Torre still had his right-hand man. Torre is on his fourth bench coach in as many seasons, and while all were capable despite never having comparable experience, none was as good as Zimmer. It’s not a coincidence that Zimmer’s absence and three straight years of “Fire Joe” talk have paralleled each other.

Three years ago, the Yankee rotation’s mediocre performance was the foundation for 61 comeback victories. What happened over the past weekend is similar to two years ago, when the Yankees started the season 11-19 -- including losing six of seven to the Red Sox -- brought up Chien-Ming Wang in late April and Robinson Cano in early May in Tampa. The team went through growing pains before rattling off 10 straight wins on a West Coast trip (Cano batted close to .400 on that trip after starting is Major League career 0-for-22), and eking out the Division in Boston on the season’s final weekend. Injuries befell the team early last season as well. There were no revelations like Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon going 17-3 as in 2005, but the team bore down and got through its funk.

The Daily News’ Bob Raissman pointed out that Sterling and Waldman are blaming the media for “looking for stories” over the course of April; that seasons aren’t decided in the first month. Tell that to the 1988 Baltimore Orioles or any Tampa Bay Devil Rays team prior to this season.

Steinbrenner is not forcing hair-trigger moves like the Raul Mondesi trade of 2002 following the inexplicable placement of Enrique Wilson in right field against the Mets (correction: I mistakenly wrote Red Sox). But while he’s only speaking to the media through his publicist, Howard Rubinstein, and to a lesser degree team president Randy Levine and COO Lonn Trost, for as long as he’s alive, he is omnipresent in that front office.

The culture he has created, where pressure to win is so intense that any letdown is considered failure, is a double-edged sword. Are the media creating the state of emergency when Brian Cashman tells Anthony McCarron of the Daily News that he’s “never felt secure” in his job? Are they formulating fiction when Torre likens this aspect of the job to “dancing with the heat”?

When Jerome from Manhattan calls Steve Sommers’ show and says, “They won’t come out of this. Torre and Cashman need to be fired,” is that a media creation or an extension of the spoiled Yankee culture?

Starting last Friday, when the Torre/Cashman smoke billowed, the coverage on all accounts – from broadcast – except Sterling and Waldman on WCBS – the papers and the blogosphere has deftly mixed hard-news reporting, analysis, speculation, projection, and the columnists like Joel Sherman have offered provocative and practical solutions. Scribes like Bill Madden have pointed out the unfairness of bringing in Don Mattingly at this point and questioned other possibilities like Larry Bowa. 

Mike and the Mad Dog – more Russo than Francesa – claim that Torre has continued to return and put himself in the line of fire for the financial gain. I don’t know Torre beyond my reporter/manager dealings with him, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that was true. Prior success is also a motivating factor. He basked in the glory of four championships and was arguably the most popular manager the city has seen. Wouldn’t you want to go out on a high note and recapture that high?

“(Torre) will be the manager when the Yankees play Texas, but I think he’s one or two more bad series away from being fired,” Buster Olney told Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on ESPN Radio Monday morning.

Olney acknowledged George Steinbrenner’s desire to scapegoat Torre in previous years, noting – as did the NY Post’s George King on Monday– that Cashman talked him out of firing Torre. Two years ago, following Mel Stottlemyre’s resignation, the prevailing thought was that Torre would be gone. Cashman and Steve Swindal talked him into coming back.

Joe Girardi told Michael Kay Monday afternoon that the team still doesn’t have an identity. He said to see where things are on June 1. By then, Roger Clemens may be here, the Yankees could be in first place and for another year, we’ll be talking about the greatest managerial job Torre and Cashman have done.

The thing to remember while processing the “manager/GM job watch” story is this: the media haven’t created the environment, they are a product of it.

Comments (94)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-01 06:53:42
1.   Dan M
Hmm. Raul Mondesi arrived after Enrique Wilson started in right field against the Mets, not the Red Sox. Wang and Cano were not brought up three seasons ago (that would be 2004), but 2 season ago (2005) - which WAS the year of Chacon and Small.
2007-05-01 06:54:53
2.   Jim Dean
Thanks Will. Could you hyperlink the sotries you reference? I know it takes a bit extra time, but it saves each of us having to look them up.
2007-05-01 06:57:02
3.   rbj
It's a vicious cycle: there are legitimate stories; the media picks up on them & in the intense competition for eyeballs between tv, radio, newspapers, and blogs, fan the flames; then Yankee fans get more hyped up and look for more stories -- looking for subtleties that rival Cold War Kremlinologists.

It's all part of the experience of playing & working in New York.

Nice post, Will.

And yeah, I think Zim leaving was the big blow.

2007-05-01 07:20:41
4.   williamnyy23
There were several inaccuracies with this post. I also disagree with the statement that " Kei Igawa...should probably be a situational reliever in the Hideki Okajima mold". Nothing about there careers in Japan, or their style of pitching, suggests they are should be used in similar roles.

Still, the premise is sound...Joe Torre's tenture as Yankee manager is a vibrant issue (not a dead horse or a media creation).

2007-05-01 07:36:07
5.   mikeplugh
Always nice to have a Marshall McLuhan reference in the title of a post.

1. Igawa is hot and cold. He always has been. One awful stinker. One great start. That's what Yankee fans should expect. He can't come out of the pen long term. He may as well be traded or go back to Japan. It's not in him.

2. I'm not a huge Torre fan, but you can't fire him now. It accomplishes nothing. The Yankees made their bed with Joe when they decided to bring him back in for another year. If the team is looking out of contention in July, he may be fired, but as long as there's a glimmer of hope for a winning run at it, he's here.

3. Virtually all of sports in 2007 is a media creation. There are so many outlets, both mainstream and grassroots, that the stories about the games end up being the thing to follow. There is a huge number of fans nowadays that grab hold of the drama, personalities, and storylines surrounding sports that the game becomes a peripheral. It's the Fox-ification of sports. It's the SportCenter MTV-ification of the games. The tabloids are a dying breed of daily chronicles that can't possibly survive the blogosphere, except that you can't yet access blogs on your subway ride to work.

It's all very media-rrific.

2007-05-01 07:39:41
6.   Shaun P
Good post, Will. If anything, this is Steinbrenner's creation - he's the one who would fire managers on off days after bad streaks, like Murray Chass pointed out, or after a bad start to the season (Yogi Berra in '85 IIRC). Its happened before so it could happen again. Say Steinbrenner and the first 3 things that pop into most people's mind are:

-owner of the Yankees who always buys his teams
-"Da Boss"
-"he's the guy who fired all those managers"

and its not necessarily in that order.

3 Zimmer was a very good tactician. He had some flaws - too much wasted hitting and running comes to mind - but was quality.

Its a shame the Yanks can't find another master tactician, who Torre would listen to, to serve as bench coach.

This is something else I could see Mark Cuban doing if he owned the Pirates or the Cubs - hiring a guy to be "strategy coach" or something like that.

2007-05-01 07:43:47
7.   joejoejoe
Torre is a victim of chance. The Yankees were fortunate to win 2 of the 4 World Series early in Torre's stint as manager and they've been unlucky several times since. But 4 championships in 11 years is about what you could expect over the run. It's just that you'd expect to have rings for the 103-58 team and 101-61 team, not the 92-70 team and 87-74 team. If Torre gets fired it's not bad luck. Bad luck would have been having the stretch he had at the end of his run first - then he never would have stuck around long enough for things to balance out.
2007-05-01 07:46:16
8.   Jim Dean
6 I always liked Simmons' VP of Common Sense. He argues it for the NFL and NBA drats, but I think it could work in-game, as well:

- Never let Abreu bunt with 1st and 2nd and no outs

- Never let Joe pinch run for a DH

- Never let Cairo play 1b or OF

- Never let a pitcher throw three days in a row

2007-05-01 07:47:07
9.   Max Nomad
Article on Phil Hughes' pitching mechanics:

Rumors swirling of Sabathia and Zambrano being dealt if their teams are out of it. Yankees interested? I like Sabathia more, since he's proven in the AL and the Indians are cost-conscious (meaning just picking up the salary is big in a trade, a la Abreu). Also, Zambrano said he doesn't wanna play for the Yankees, just the Mets if it's NYC.

2007-05-01 07:48:01
10.   ChrisS
I don't think there's anything that Torre could have done to save the season up to this point. Granted, not all of us agree with some of his decisions and his tendency to stick with a poor-playing veteran over younger guys who perform as well or better. He's been abusing the bullpen, but when the starting pitchers are all on the DL - the 'pen is going to be abused.

I don't see firing him during the season making any kind of serious change of direction, but I do think that it's something that the FO should look at during this offseason.

Ride out the season with Torre and if the starting pitching doesn't start to fall into place by June, then start planning for some shake-ups.

Frickin' Pavano.

2007-05-01 07:55:13
11.   Jim Dean
9 Zambrano's been better longer, more often, and has been much more durable. He's a very solid #2 or #3.

If they can agree on a trade, and sign him for less than Zito money, you have to do it.

Sabathia - no thanks. Seems much closer to a LAIM (#4 or #5) and the Yanks already have a few of those in the system.

2007-05-01 08:00:33
12.   Jim Dean
One more note on Sabathia, look what the Yanks have done to him:

8 GS 1 W 7 L 41.2 IP 7.13 ERA 43 H 33 ER 30 BB 24 K

With that kind of record, I'd rather they continue to face him.

2007-05-01 08:08:01
13.   williamnyy23
I like Don Zimmer and think he and Torre made a very good team, but just for some perspective, Zim's career managerial record was 885-858 with one first place finish.

Now, it could be that like Sterling and Kay, Torre and Zim were great together, but mediocre apart. Regardless, let's not lionize Zimmer too much. I think the bigger concern is Torre having 4 different bench coaches over four seasons. If you want to criticize Cashman for anything, perhaps you can blame him for not realizing Torre needed a more stable right hand man.

2007-05-01 08:18:00
14.   Jim Dean
13 Whoa - not only can you criticize the GM for many more things, I actually don't think you can criticize him for the bench coaches. How can you blame him for hiring two guys that got manager positions in two years? And Mazzilli had just come from being a manager?

Sure, you could argue he could have gotten lifers a la Zim, but Randolph, Girardi, and Mazz weren't terrible choices.

2007-05-01 08:21:29
15.   JL25and3
13 I think it's a mistake to use the bench coach position as a managerial apprenticeship, which is what it's been recently. It didn't have to be Aimmer, but I think it's useful to have a nuts-and-bolts tactician sitting next to Torre on the bench.
2007-05-01 08:27:33
16.   standuptriple
12 On a personal level, I'd love to have CC as a Yank (I've known him since I was taller than him...and I'm 5'8").
2007-05-01 08:31:48
17.   williamnyy23
14 I you mentioned, he could have looked for a "lifer", someone whom Torre would respect and who would not have the ambition to manage. Is there anyone out there like that? I am not sure. I just think that Torre's "godfather" status easily overshadows young coaches hoping to get a managerial job. If you are married to Torre, you have to get him a loyal sidekick with experience.
2007-05-01 08:33:22
18.   Max Nomad
16 How do you know him?
2007-05-01 08:36:37
19.   yankz
Sabathia has never made less than 22 starts in a season. He's really becoming an elite pitcher lately (ERA+ of 139 last year, 132 so far this year). He's never been below average. He's a lefty. His splits vs. righties and lefties are identical. He averages between 190 and 200 IP a year. And he does it in the difficult AL Central.

Zambrano has had better career numbers to date, yes, but I'm not sure his BB rate would survive in the AL. That, plus, he spends all day on the computer and gets tennis elbow.

I'd take either. But I would definitely look into a Sabathia trade.

2007-05-01 08:37:02
20.   yankz
Er, "less than 28 starts in a season."
2007-05-01 08:37:37
21.   Jim Dean
17 But those were credible candidates at the time - so much so that got major league jobs the following year, in the case of Randolph and Girardi. Now they may not have felt as comfortable disagreeing with Tea, but I suspect any coach, even a lifer, would have been in the same situation in the first year. That's just where Tea is in his reputation/status.

Zimmer not only had all that experience. He also had many years to get comfortable expresssing it. That level of personal relationship, even intimacy, isn't so easily replaced.

Sorry, I just can't get with you on this one.

2007-05-01 08:38:09
22.   yankz
Plus, Zambrano will be a FA at the end of the year and has said he won't pitch for the Yanks. Anyone know Sabathia's contract status?
2007-05-01 08:41:13
23.   yankz
Plus, he's been OK vs. the Sox, but has absolutely dominated the rest of the East.
2007-05-01 08:46:49
24.   Max Nomad
22 He's under contract through '08. I wonder why the rumors have started given that the Indians can have him cheap through next year? Same with Johan.
2007-05-01 08:47:07
25.   Jim Dean
16 That's really cool.

19 He's also pitched 200 innings only once in his career, in 2002. For a supposed #1 of his team, that's not worth big money or big prospects.

His ERA+ looks like this:

That looks more like one career year than an outstanding pitcher.

By contrast Zambrano has a career ERA+ of 129.

2007-05-01 08:47:56
26.   Jim Dean
22 Money talks.
2007-05-01 08:50:28
27.   Zack
Did ZXimmer really blast Cashman? Anyone know that article?

I would really hate to see Cashman fired this season and I just don't see it happening. he has too much control right now and there isn't enough control anywhere else.

And I agree with the comments on Torre not getting fired until June or so; I am hardly a supporter, but I just don't see it making a difference on this team. Maybe a negative one, but this team this season will win or lose with Joe. The offseason was/is the time to make that kind of move for this team...

2007-05-01 08:55:44
28.   Max Nomad
25 I agree that I dont think Zam's walk totals survive the AL (East). And I think ERA+ serves only the division, not the entire league (look at Baseball Reference and see two pitchers in different DIVISIONS for the same league and year; they have different league ERAs).

The point I tried to make before was that more prospects would have to be given for Zambrano, since the Cubs aren't exactly cost-conscious, whereas the Indians need to save money. Besides, yes, Sabathia hasn't reached 200 IP more than once, but he has been between 188 and 197 otherwise since he's established himself.

2007-05-01 08:58:05
29.   yankz
25 You would obviously have to wait a few more months to see whether his 132 this year continues, but if it does, he's legit in my book. Look at the rest of the arguments. Plus, as you would probably agree, he would cost less with a greater chance of signing a longish term deal.

He doesn't have to be outstanding to be a massive, massive upgrade right now. For the price (relative to Zambrano's), I think that's worth it.

2007-05-01 08:59:27
30.   yankz
In other words, see 28.
2007-05-01 09:02:50
31.   williamnyy23
28 ERA+ is even more specific than that...league ERAs vary based not only by division, but also by team. It's as much an all things being equal analysis as you can expect, making it a handy tool.
2007-05-01 09:09:42
32.   williamnyy23
27 Apparently he's a quote:

"To me, Cashman is the problem," Zimmer said yesterday without going into detail. "Four or five years ago, we were in the coaches' room and talking about the club and he said, 'Anybody can manage this team.' Well, let him manage that team now with all those injuries."

2007-05-01 09:10:39
33.   williamnyy23
32 Zimmer needs to zip it...where's Pedro when you need him :)
2007-05-01 09:18:29
34.   Tarheel
It wasn't Zim, or any other non-player that was the key to the Yankee success from 96-01.

The key person in that incredible run was David Cone. He was the heart and soul of the dynasty.

2007-05-01 09:20:28
35.   Zack
32 Yeah, that doesn't seem to make any sense, and its not really applicable. Chashman went to bat FOR Torre, so clearly he does't think jsut anyone can manage the team. And he's being blasted for his personel moves, no?

Besides, Zimmer, much as I like the guy and his ugly mug, has shown to bear a grudge just a bit...

2007-05-01 09:22:02
36.   yankz
34 Wait, really?
2007-05-01 09:25:33
37.   Will Weiss
In response to JimDean's post (8) ... Torre said yesterday that Abreu bunted on his own because he so uncomfortable at the plate, he wasn't confident enough to drive in the run himself; he was passing the baton to A-Rod. Only with a few players, like Mientkiewicz or Melky, does Torre actually put call for a bunt.
2007-05-01 09:30:29
38.   williamnyy23
37 Still, as manager, not telling Abreu, "hey, don't bunt" is akin to telling him to do it. It's not like Joe didn't have warning...he tried several attempts. If I was Torre, I would have told Abreu to put his concern about hurting the team aside and SWING the bat.
2007-05-01 09:39:01
39.   standuptriple
18 He's best friends with my next door neighbor growing up (my parents still live there and so does the best friend) so I see him in the off season every once in a while. His wife is sweet and his parents were pleasant (and both over 6').
2007-05-01 09:39:44
40.   JL25and3
32 williamnyy23, TinyURL is your friend.

34 Well, not 2000, when he was dreadful, and not 2001, when he was a Red Sox. (Red Sock?)

There was no one person who was the "heart and soul" of those teams; that's why they were so good. They had a strong and balanced offense, some top starting pitchers, solid defense, a deep bullpen, and some genuinely useful role players. And the manager used them well.

2007-05-01 09:47:56
41.   Sliced Bread
"He basked in the glory of four championships and was arguably the most popular manager the city has seen."

I dunno about that, Will.

Even though I wasn't around, I'd say Stengel was the most popular baseball manager the world has ever seen.
He was as big as his players. Probably the only person in New York who didn't worship Stengel was DiMaggio. Nevermind that he won nearly twice as many championships as Torre, but he also played for/or managed the Mets, Dodgers, and Giants. Baseball-wise no New Yorker has had that kind of reach.

Ralph Houk was also a folk hero in New York. Probably the only person in NY who didn't care for him was Jim Bouton. Everybody loved Houk, especially the players.

Of course few Yankee characters are, or will ever be more beloved than Yogi. Jeter isn't as loved as Yogi. No way Joe is more popular than Yogi.

I think one could also argue that Billy Martin was more popular than Joe. Billy Martin was a New York rock star, every bit as big as his players.

Don't get me wrong. Joe was tremendously popular in his day, epecially when Frank went in for the heart transplant, and when he suffered his own health problems. New York loves a winner, especially a hometown kid that everybody thought couldn't cut it as the Yanks manager.

Still, I'd say there were other managers who captivated the city in a way that even good old Joe Torre has not.

2007-05-01 09:50:08
42.   Will Weiss
Sliced Bread, your post feeds into my exact reason for using the word "arguably."
2007-05-01 09:50:10
43.   Jim Dean
29 Even in the AL, CC has had exactly one legitimate above average season. No thanks - he eats innings at league average, but I just can't see him being more than that, though this season will tell alot. Still, I'm not sure if he's available (cause he's stil cheap) and when he becomes available he'll demand Zito money.

37 I knew that, but IMHO the manager should be telling his #3 hitter NOT to bunt, and especially not with runners on 1st and 2nd an nobody out.

2007-05-01 09:52:11
44.   Sliced Bread
42 And I guess what I'm saying is arguably you'd lose that argument!

Just joking with you.

2007-05-01 09:57:06
45.   Will Weiss
Sliced Bread, it's all good ... Your point is well-taken. Good post and good info all around.
2007-05-01 09:59:44
46.   Will Weiss
JimDean, when I saw Abreu continuing to square around, I had a serious "WTF?" moment also. If I was Bob Abreu in that situation, no matter how bad of a slump I was in, there's no way I'm bunting there. I want to drive in the run and try to get on base myself.
2007-05-01 10:00:41
47.   JL25and3
41 Stengel was certainly beloved by the press; I don't know if the masses really loved him until he was manager of the Mets. And add Phil Rizzuto to the list of people who despised him.

Houk? I remember him well, and I don't recall his ever being much of a fan favorite. His stint as GM was instrumental in tearing that team apart, and after that he just presided over bad teams. He spent a lot of time with his foot on the top step of the dugout, leaning on his knee, picking up pebbles and tossing them; other than that, I'm not sure what he did that was noteworthy.

Billy - well, Billy's in a class by himself. You could make the case that he was the most loved, and also that he was the most hated. I certainly wouldn't want him managing the team this year (or last year, for that matter).

2007-05-01 10:06:51
48.   Bama Yankee
43 & 46 If you are slumping and you see the 3B-man back and you have speed to beat it out... you still would never try to lay one down in that situation? I realize a lot of people are against bunting these days, but is it something that you would never let a guy do if you were the manager?
2007-05-01 10:10:11
49.   Jim Dean
46 You bet - same WTF moment.

Who do you think replaces Torre? Me, I'd rather have a totally different personality to shake things up (Pinella, Valentine) than a Torre protege. But I don't see that happening.

2007-05-01 10:12:20
50.   Sliced Bread
45 Thanks, Will. Backatcha. I look forward to your stuff.

47 I'd say the masses were crazy about Stengel when the Yanks won 5 in a row, and a few more to boot.
Didn't realize Scooter despised anyone!

Houk, as a "player's manager," was very popular with some fans, my dad being one of them. Winning a couple championships was noteworthy, no?

But where would you figure Joe fits in the pantheon of Yankees managers? Ranked below Stengel and Billy but above Houk? Also we're forgetting Huggins. He was dead before my dad was born so I don't have any anecdotal evidence to base an opinion on.
Three championships is certainly worth something, even if he was submitting lineups with the names Ruth and Gehrig on 'em.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-01 10:18:21
51.   OldYanksFan
Re: Will Opens Pandora's Box
When a team has injuries, we like to say "No Excuse". But Common! We have a good/great team because we have good/great players. When said players are injured and not playing... well...

Of our SP, we opened the year with injuries to our #1, #3, #4 and #6. It so happens, we now have a team ERA of just over 5. While we don't have a great staff, I think we will do much better then this as the year progresses. Wang and Moose will be better then Rasner/Wright/Karstens.

Our offense, lead by ARod, started out amazing. It has fallen off terribly in the last 10 games. Four impact batters (Abreu, Damon, Cano, Matsui) are doing crap. This won't last. Minky won't bat .150 all year. Melky wont have a Womackian OPS all year. Mo won't be blowing 2 of 3 saves all year. Our BP won't be as burnt out as they are now all year.

We at the Banter, have watched many games together. The suckitude has been obvious. But with all it's faults and holes, our team on paper, if we don't keep getting hit with injuries, is a first place team.

While it is possible, it is doubtful that all this 'suckitude' will continue.

If we dodge injuries, I think we will win 95+ games. Our biggest problem is that the Sox look like they have excellent pitching. If it continues, they will win over 100 games.

2007-05-01 10:28:03
52.   Will Weiss
Bama Yankee, I wouldn't be against bunting if, like I said, it was someone who wasn't a bona fide run producer or couldn't cut into a lead with one swing. Abreu bats third, which is a run producing spot. I would not have had him bunt, no, and I'd have been upset that he did it on his own.
2007-05-01 10:33:26
53.   Peter
50 We're also forgetting about Joe McCarthy.
2007-05-01 10:34:29
54.   rbj
52 Will, pull a reverse Billy - Reggie moment?

Seriously, I don't mind too much with Bobby bunting there. If he feels that he's that lost at the plate, maybe something like that will help him get his confidence back. At least it's not a Jeter bunting all the time thing.

2007-05-01 10:38:32
55.   williamnyy23
40 I actually don't like tinyurl because it disguises the destination, which is something I'd want to know if I am using a work computer.
2007-05-01 10:38:59
56.   SF Yanks
I don't know what it is but I get extremely excited to see Hughes pitch. I was amped when he started in spring training, when he started last week, and I can't freaking wait for his start tonight. He pitches so fluid, and it's just so fun to watch. My excitement level of watching him start is like watching a Sox-Yanks game in Sept. Am I alone on this?
2007-05-01 10:40:43
57.   Sliced Bread
53 I'm not sure how beloved McCarthy was.
Because he never played the game, he was heavily scrutinized.
I suspect "Yankees McCarthy era" bloggers would have had a field day with him.
2007-05-01 10:40:51
58.   jkay
Media coverage of the Yankees' woes has spread to late night comedy.

David Letterman had a few Yankee comments on last night's show:

"George Steinbrenner is putting the Yankees back on steroids."

"The Yankees are in last place. The good news is I am no longer the highest paid disapointment in New York."

2007-05-01 10:41:59
59.   williamnyy23
50 Actually, I thought Stengel was relatively unpopular with his players, mostly because of his penchant for platooning. I also know Whitey Ford hated that Stengel held him back from so many starts.
2007-05-01 10:42:24
60.   Sliced Bread
57 oh yeah, and he went to Boston which probably jeopardized his chances of getting on the Mount Rushmore of Yankees managers.
2007-05-01 10:44:34
61.   Sliced Bread
58 Good ones!
2007-05-01 10:45:07
62.   williamnyy23
51 I don't disagree...I don't anyone is suggesting the Yanks should be in 1st place with the team they've had healthy. Having said that, I also don't think they should be 9-14. Had Joe done a better job, I think they could at least be 11-12/12-11. That might seem insignificant, but those extra games could come in handy at the end of the year.
2007-05-01 10:46:44
63.   Bama Yankee
55 You could use the handy dandy Preview Feature to allow people to check where the link is headed before they actually go there.
2007-05-01 10:54:40
64.   randym77
55 Yeah, what Bama Yankee said. Use the preview feature, if it worries you that much. But don't post URLs so long they stretch the screen for everyone. Remember, some people have lower-res screens than you, and when you stretch the screen like that, you make the entire thread unreadable.
2007-05-01 10:54:53
65.   Sliced Bread
63 Pitching prospects should come with that handy dandy Preview Feature.

I know certain Bronx Banterers have that.

Check it out. Jim Dean is going to write in 87 "The Yanks need a damn backup catcher, and a new first baseman, pronto!"

2007-05-01 10:55:51
66.   yankz
Or people can be nice and write NSFW before any not safe for work links.
2007-05-01 10:56:59
67.   williamnyy23
64 Point noted...didn't realize a long url had that effect.
2007-05-01 10:58:08
68.   JL25and3
50 I think that by 1961-62, winning a championship wasn't seen as that much of a accomplishment by Houk. But I remember him from the second time around, when no one gave a crap about whether he was a players' manager - not when the players were that bad.

Casey had rather of a mean streak in him. He had his pets, but he still could ride them pretty hard. When the team decided to release Rizzuto, Stengel handled it in a really rotten way. Scooter never really forgave him.

Of course, he could also be damn funny about it - like the time he sidled up to Bob Cerv on the bench and told him, "One of us has just been traded to Kansas City."

2007-05-01 11:03:02
69.   Count Zero
51 Agree...with one big caveat:

For the past several years (not this year), the Yankees have continually fielded the oldest team in MLB. (I believe SF took the crown this year.) When you field the oldest team in MLB, you should expect injuries.

So while the Wang and Karstens injuries don't really fit the mold, the Moose and Damon injuries definitely do. Continue to expect many of the Yanks to miss at least a few games due to injury -- add Posada, Giambi, and Pettitte to the highly likely list. This is not improbable, but rather probable when you field an aging team.

I'm also not sure I agree that Mussina "will be better then Rasner/Wright/Karstens." I'm from Missouri on that one...

2007-05-01 11:07:38
70.   Sliced Bread
68 Whenever someone has to get rid of a player as beloved as Scooter they're going to take a hit in the popularity polls.

But anybody who can bust out a line like the one he dropped on poor Cerv is someone to be admired. That's exactly why Stengel is a folk hero around here.

2007-05-01 11:07:39
71.   williamnyy23
51 Also, I think the league is too good for the anyone to win 100 games. I also don't think 95 games is very realistic now either. Who knows, it might not even take that many to win the division. You simply can't show up and beat the D-Rays and Orioles anymore.
2007-05-01 11:30:47
72.   Robinson Cano
First, I would like to say that the Yanks are STILL going to win the division and I believe their present struggles will help them achieve Mission 27.

Robinson is a second cousin of mine and he tells me that the team is sticking together on a day to day basis. Thats all we can ask for. There is good chemistry in the clubhouse, and with the talent we have, it is only a matter of time before we are on top looking down as usual.

Red Sox suck

2007-05-01 11:40:33
73.   JL25and3
70 No, it was worse than just getting rid of a popular player. He called Rizzuto into his office and explained that they needed to get rid of someone, and would Scooter go over the roster with him to figure out what to do. Scooter genuinely thought that Casey was asking for his input, and suggested one player, then another. Casey had a reason to keep each player, Scooter kept making suggestions, until finally he realized what was going on.

That was a pretty crappy - and mean - way of handling it.

As for the quotes, well, Casey was great. There was his advice about chasing women: "You gotta learn that if you don't get it by midnight, chances are you ain't gonna get it, and if you do, it ain't worth it." Or his judgment of Greg Goosen: "Twenty years old, and in ten years he's got a good chance to be thirty."

Creamer's biography of Stengel is excellent.

2007-05-01 11:58:30
74.   Sliced Bread
73 Yeah, that was a lousy way to handle it, especially since Scooter is a sensitive fellow.

As much as I love Bernie, who is also sensitive, I sorta wish Joe or Cashman had done the same with him.

But then Bernie could have pointed to Myers or Minky, for example, and said he deserved to be on the team more than them, and I'm not sure if Joe or Cash could have argued with him about that.

2007-05-01 12:06:14
75.   yankz
72 Wait, really? Can you tell him I'm a huge fan?
2007-05-01 12:31:28
76.   DougP
72 Can you ask him if he's going to keep number 24 or go back to 22 if Clemens doesn't come to the Yankees? I want to buy a jersey but would like it to have the correct number on it.
2007-05-01 12:41:37
77.   Jim OBie
To correct some mis-information: Joe McCarthy played minor league baseball for 15 seasons. He might never have played in the majors, but he definately played organized professional ball.
2007-05-01 12:48:32
78.   Jim OBie
McCarthy also has a plaque on which is written'One of baseball's most beloved and respected leaders' in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park. Guess they forgave his Boston side trip.
2007-05-01 12:49:09
79.   Shaun P
73 74 Don't forget that Stengel and Scooter had past history as well. Scooter grew up a Dodgers fan in Brooklyn. Casey managed the Dodgers. During a tryout, Scooter showed up and allegedly Casey wouldn't even give him the time of day; Casey also made some comment about him being too small to play in the bigs.

IIRC, the exact details are in dispute, and depend on who you're reading. I think Steven Goldman tried to sort this out in "Forging Genius" - but I don't remember for sure and can't check my copy because I'm at work, and its at home.

Joe McCarthy might, or might not, have been beloved by the fans. He certainly doesn't live on in folklore like Stengel does. But McCarthy is the greatest manager in Yankee history, period. He's probably the second greatest manager of all-time behind John McGraw, and to me McGraw only gets an edge because he innovated so much. Of course McGraw was in a much better position to innovate, as he took over the Giants in 1902.

McGraw, of course, was also Stengel's mentor.

2007-05-01 12:51:58
80.   Sliced Bread
77 I stand corrected, OBie. I was vaguely aware of McCarthy's minor league career, though I was unaware that it lasted 15 years. Certainly those who questioned his credentials could not question his effort.

72 Can you ask him if it bothers him when Suzyn Waldman calls him Rawbie Cuh'no?

2007-05-01 12:54:15
81.   Sliced Bread
79 Good stuff, Shaun.
I've been meaning to pick up Goldman's book.

Hey, where's your fellow Dutchman these days? Haven't seen wsporter around. Or have I just missed him?

2007-05-01 12:56:54
82.   JL25and3
79 I'm not sure I agree that McCarthy was better than Stengel. Stengel's use of his roster was extremely fluid and flexible - platooning that went way beyond just lefty-righty switches - and it enabled him to get a tremendous amount out of good-not-great players.

Earl Weaver did the same thing. He was also the best manager I've ever seen, at least for more than one year. (For one year, and one year only, I'd take Billy.)

2007-05-01 12:57:39
83.   JL25and3
81 With all due respect to Goldman, try Creamer's book first.
2007-05-01 13:08:22
84.   yankz
72 Since he's all BFF with Melky, any idea on why they're both slumping? Partying all night and then sleeping over? Does The Boss have to do a Visa commercial with him?
2007-05-01 13:08:26
85.   Sliced Bread
83 What the heck, I'll hit 'em both at some point. I'm imagine Goldman covers different ground.
2007-05-01 13:10:29
86.   randym77
73 Reminds me of another funny Stengel quote:

"Being with a woman all night never hurt no professional baseball player. It's staying up all night looking for a woman that does him in."

2007-05-01 13:11:46
87.   yankz
Top 10 SportsCenter commercials...check out number 8!

2007-05-01 13:56:19
88.   Jim Dean
Exactly. The Yanks need a damn backup catcher, and a new first baseman, pronto!
2007-05-01 14:00:35
89.   Bama Yankee
65 Sliced, you need to get that handy dandy Preview Feature re-calibrated, you missed it by one... ;-)
2007-05-01 15:09:01
90.   Sliced Bread
89 Dang!
88 That's fuggin' hillarious, Jim Dean!
2007-05-01 15:22:44
91.   standuptriple
88 Well played Jim Dean. A for effort.
2007-05-01 15:25:06
92.   standuptriple
I'm looking forward to a lot of long faces in the DFW area tonight. Go Yankees! Go Phil! Go Warriors! Go Baron Davis' Beard!
2007-05-01 19:15:53
93.   williamnyy23
2007-05-01 19:17:56
94.   williamnyy23
Talk about bad luck.

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