Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2007-05-18 05:14
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankee offense couldn't do much against some very good White Sox pitching yesterday in a 4-1 Chicago victory. The Bombers are 9 1/2 games behind the Red Sox who swept a double-header from the Tigers in Boston. Now, the slumping Yankees head into their first meeting with the Mets with a record of 18-21, by far the worst record they've had going into the subway serious since Interleague play began eleven years ago. The Yankees as underdogs? Go figure.

It is supposed to rain today and tomorrow. Anyone got anything encouraging to say? Hey, let's just hope the Yanks find a way to win two-of-three, right?

2007-05-18 05:44:21
1.   williamnyy23
Encouraging to say? Hmmm….the NWS is calling for over an inch of rain tonight. Does that count?

Seriously, the interesting thing about this series is that it contrasts two VERY different teams who have seemingly switched places. Usually, this series is about the Yankees not getting distracted from their annual playoff push, and the Mets using the match-up as both a barometer and launching pad for their season. Well, this year, the shoe is on the other foot.

Still, I don't the Yankees quite fit into the underdog role simply because the team and its fans really can't take solace from winning a series from the Mets. The reality is that the Yankees need to win for winnings sake. The Mets, meanwhile, are not in the damned if you do/damned if you don't position. New York is still a Yankee town, so a series win can still provide the team and its fans a big boost.

Perhaps the most interesting contrast of the teams, however, is in their collective personality. Over in Flushing, you have what appears to be a close knit, emotional group composed of both stars and role players. On the Yankees side, it seems as if you have individual superstars sleepwalking through a tough season. Can anyone see the Yankees all shaving their heads, for example? They tried the mustache thing lat year, and it died out pretty quickly. Of course, the Yankees have never been a rah-rah team, but this year they also seem to lack fire. If the bats continue to slumber, the team could suffer greatly in comparison to the seemingly abundant energy displayed by the Mets.

In many ways, this next stretch of nine games could be the Yankees last stand. They should have fattened up over the past 15 games or so and didn't. What's worse, they looked slightly disinterested in (not) doing so. Well, with the Mets, Red Sox and Angels all in row, there should be no reason for this team to continue to play uninspired baseball. If they can't rise to the occasion now, then I don't see why anyone should expect them to. Sure, Clemens will be with the team by early June, but I don't think even his presence will help make up for a double-digit deficit in both the wild card and division.

2007-05-18 05:58:26
2.   Shawn Clap
Encouraging to say? Well, the Yanks did finish in 2nd place in yesterday's game. That don't sound so bad now.
2007-05-18 06:03:18
3.   JasonO
William: The horizon is not 9 games, I believe that it's actually 6 games.

The Yankees will play at least 2 games of the Mets series...I live in Boston and I'll be shocked if the red sox play even one.

1) They must pick up at least one game in the AL E. standings this weekend.
2) They must sweep the Red Sox in the Bronx.

If not, forget about it. I agree that the tide must be turned now.

2007-05-18 06:10:18
4.   williamnyy23
3 I'm not even the least bit interested in the standings right now. I'm more concerned with the effort of the team. My point was that the Yankees will be playing their three most significant "rivals", so if they can't get up for these games, well, then, they probably aren't going to get up at all.
2007-05-18 06:10:54
5.   murphy
i have nothing nice to say.
2007-05-18 06:25:10
6.   Felix Heredia
Although this start is the most troubling in years, we see over and over again that there is no deadline (except the end of the regular season) by which teams have to be in a certain position in the standings. Weren't the Yankees down 14 games in July the year of the Bucky Dent home run?

The problem with this team is they still don't know who the heck is pitching from day to day. Add some slumping batters and rain outs and you have a recipe for underachievment. If the rotation can remain consistent the bats should come around and the team should be able to go on winning streaks. That plus Beckett blisters and Schilling spraining his stomach would make for a close race.

2007-05-18 06:32:00
7.   seamus
3 there is no mandate on when and how the Yankees make their move. If it was that predictable they wouldn't play the games.

In general, a hot Boston team and a cold Yankees team which distorts the gap between the two teams. Will we win? I have no idea. But I won't give up until we are eliminated.

2007-05-18 06:34:40
8.   vockins
My fantasy team is kicking ass. Perhaps I'll start blogging about them.
2007-05-18 06:38:39
9.   murphy
doing well, vockins? 8 perhaps i can draft you for my fantasy fantasy baseball team.
2007-05-18 06:50:57
10.   Mike from Hoboken
Encouraging? Um . . . Nobody got hurt yesterday? Yeah, that's pretty much the best I've got right now.
2007-05-18 06:58:41
11.   Shaun P
At least we aren't the Orioles!

And, as Mark TR Donahue points out over at Bad Altitude, we still have tons and tons of games left vs the injury-riddled Jays, the pathetic Orioles, and the pitching deprived D-Rays. Right now, the Yanks are 3-11 vs the East. No way that continues.

2007-05-18 06:59:33
12.   Shaun P
Oh! And we get to see Clemens pitch tonight, as well as Tabata, Cervelli, and some of the other Tampa kids play.

And it sure looks like Tyler Clippard will be making his major league debut on Sunday night. I can't wait to see that.

2007-05-18 06:59:50
13.   JasonO
William, not a bad point except we're at the time of the year where standings and team effort must be equally weighted.

How about those Vanderbilt Commodores? 2007 SEC Baseball Champions, beat LSU 4-1 via likely #1 draft pick David Price's 15 K's

2007-05-18 07:06:20
14.   williamnyy23
7 No one (I hope) is talking about giving up, which to me means you stop watching, blogging, caring, etc. I don't think being "realistic" (which I agree is different for everyone) qualifies as giving up.

13 The standings matter of course, but if the Yankees play well for an extended period of time, their position in the standings will improve. There is plenty of time left IF that Yankees starting playing very well RIGHT NOW. The time to fret over the standings will come later in the year. For now, all concern/worry/panic should be focused on the team's poor effort and outcomes.

2007-05-18 07:21:04
15.   Bama Yankee
I got nothing encouraging, but since it is time once again for the Subway Serious, I guess I could try to lighten the mood a little with a classic (true) story:

My brother-in-law (not a big baseball fan, as you will see) saw me wearing my 2000 Subway Series t-shirt and he asked seriously, "What's the train for?" I replied (thinking he was joking), "Hellooo, you think it might be for the subway, hence the term 'Subway Series'". His reply was a classic (he was dead serious) "I thought it might have been sponsored by the sandwich joint Subway, you know like the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl".

2007-05-18 07:26:12
16.   williamnyy23
15 I guess you could throw in the fact (at least I think) that the term "subway" isn't really universally used to describe an underground train system
2007-05-18 07:31:37
17.   Murray
4 Effort? The Yankees could be completely "up" for the Mets, Red Sox and Angels and still get squashed like a grape. Maybe the problem is ability and roster composition.
2007-05-18 07:34:51
18.   vockins
9 My meta fantasy team is horrible. I should have drafted myself.
2007-05-18 07:40:31
19.   JL25and3
One thing that works out well for the Red Sox series: Mussina, Wang and Pettttitttte.
2007-05-18 07:42:21
20.   Jim Dean
These are the times I love trolling through the MiLB reports to distract myself from the MLB team:

Alan Horne (24 yo RHP in AA) threw 6 IP and gave up 3 ER to take the Loss but had 9 K and 1 BB. On the season:

46.2 IP 43 H 15 ER 10 BB 59 K 1.77 GO

Joba (21 yo RHP in A+) gave up his first ER (3 ER in 5 IP) of the season last night. On the year:

14.0 IP 8 H 3 ER 5 BB 16 K 1.55 GO

In tonight's game, besides Rocket and Tabata, keep on eye on:
- Franscisco Cervelli (21 yo C): .344 .443 .458 (switch hitting)

- Reegie Corona (20 yo SS) might also be worth paying attention to. He hits for average but not much else. I know nothing about him.

- Steven Tollenson (son of Wayne! - not particularly good but plays middle IF for Fort Meyers)

2007-05-18 07:46:45
21.   Bama Yankee
13 Are you a Vanderbilt fan? It is good to see them win something in the SEC for a change (even if it is only the regular season baseball title). I usually try to catch the SEC baseball tourney (my father-in-law always get tickets). Since Alabama will probably not even be in the tourney by the time I get to a game next week, I had already planned to pull for Vandy (I just can't imagine rooting any of the other SEC teams).
2007-05-18 07:55:37
22.   rsmith51
I saw that Craig Wilson was just released. I say dump Minky in favor of him. Or course, I say dump Minky in favor of Andy P.
2007-05-18 08:07:46
23.   Schteeve
So far, there have only been two good things about this season.

1) Jeter and Hip Hop Jorge smacking the ball on the regular.

2) Matt DeSalvo doing his David Cone impression.

Other than that, this season is devoid of anything likable.

2007-05-18 08:13:50
24.   Shawn Clap
Man, Don Mattingly would have been a trillionaire had he launched this, say 15 years ago.

I would have mowed 50 lawns to get my grubby little hands on one of these!

2007-05-18 08:16:31
25.   Bama Yankee
16 I hadn't thought of that. Also, the closest underground train system is over a hundred miles away in Atlanta. So, I guess he has an excuse. Thanks for ruining my story, william... ;-)

Just kidding, actually it is even worse for my brother-in-law. He really should know better since he has been surrounded by baseball all of his life (his dad is a former high school baseball coach). Although, that might actually explain why he doesn't like baseball now.

It is funny to hear my wife now that she is hooked on watching the Yankees. She will correctly use terms like "we've got runners on the corners" and "he better tag up". When I give her that curious look that implies "where did you learn that?", she replies "You forget that my father was a baseball coach..."

Of course, the way the season is going I have been threatening to ban her from watching the games with me due to her being bad luck (she knows that I am only half kidding ;-)

2007-05-18 08:17:35
26.   Dimelo
Encouraging words....hmmm...lemme see. Any day above ground is a good day, those are some nice encouraging words. Right?

I'm actually praying for rain so the Yankees don't lose today.

2007-05-18 08:18:59
27.   yankz
Yeah, this team sucks, but it's because they can't match up good hitting with good pitching consistently. I find it hilarious when outsiders assume to know something about the team's "personality." We have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.
2007-05-18 08:30:18
28.   Raf
6 Regardless of who's pitching, or who gets the assignment, the objective remains the same; get hitters out.
2007-05-18 08:34:43
29.   yankz
The ONLY hope I can think of is that Boston went 8-21 last August. Even if you change that to 14-15, a great month by the Yankees makes it a race. Both those things seem extremely unlikely, but that's why baseball's a long season I guess.
2007-05-18 08:36:06
30.   williamnyy23
25 I am actually thinking of blocking the banter with my firewall...after all, the only thing different for me this season has been this blog! Sadly, I am just superstitious enough to impose an exile.
2007-05-18 08:41:16
31.   Jim Dean
29 That's exactly it - after 162 games, if the Yanks don't make the post-season then they weren't a good team. The record after the first month is excusable because of the injuries. Now? You have to start wondering if this is really what they got.

Since at least 2005, the critics have been calling this team old and flat. And the Yanks have pulled it out every year. The fun is in whether they can do it again. But sooner or later they won't - that's baseball.

2007-05-18 08:48:07
32.   jkay
I am encouraged about the pitching. It has been good to excellent of late. The bullpen has stabilized. Hughes and Clemens are on the way. Any pickup in the offense will result in more wins.

Meanwhile, Beckett and Drew are on the IR. It is only May 18th. Lets see what happens.

2007-05-18 08:48:58
33.   williamnyy23
31 In a weird way, it has been kind of fun to have the Yankees be counted out and come back. As someone who values the long season as much, if not more than the playoffs, the division titles in 2005 and 2006 were very satisfying. Having said that, what worries me about this team is for the first time in a while I can see a scenario in which they completely drop out of the race. While I've prepared myself for the eventual season when they don't make the playoffs, I don't think I ever expected the string to be snapped by a non-competitive season with an early exit from the pennant race.
2007-05-18 08:55:54
34.   Chyll Will
Encouraging...hmmm... well I dunno now (but you know I will eventually), but we can at least eliminate the possibility that anyone on the team drank any of this tea (although if you work for or attend school in NYC, I'd worry):

2007-05-18 09:06:44
35.   Chyll Will
(cricket, cricket...)
2007-05-18 09:27:16
36.   Jim Dean
33 True - but it is very early to be thinking that. And if nothing else, with Clemens and Hughes, it will be entertaining. But I don't think they'll fall completely out of the race, unless injuries hurt worse.
2007-05-18 09:30:39
37.   Dimelo
31Since at least 2005, the critics have been calling this team old and flat. And the Yanks have pulled it out every year. The fun is in whether they can do it again. But sooner or later they won't - that's baseball.

That actually makes me want to watch even more now, too. Great point.

2007-05-18 11:08:29
38.   Bob B
The only encouraging thing I can think of is I hope we don't get swept by either the Mets or the Sox.
2007-05-18 11:56:39
39.   Shaun P
Here's another encouraging point.

Imagine your favorite team wins the World Series. Now, imagine that 7 months later, the same team (more or less) has hit 18 homeruns. 7 guys on the team have homered, and one is a pitcher. Only two guys have more than 2 home runs. For the entire month of May, the team as a whole has hit 2 home runs - and it was one guy who did that.

I'm describing the Cardinals, BTW. That would suck.

2007-05-18 12:10:47
40.   williamnyy23
Here's something positive...because every current season eventually becomes history, the Yankees may be down 10 games in the standings, but no one is even close to their 26 world championships!
2007-05-18 12:17:56
41.   Chyll Will
40,41 Both of you guys are my heroes today >;)
2007-05-18 12:21:32
42.   Chyll Will
41 Umm, as much as I admire anyone with Will in their name, I meant William and Shaun P. (Don't let up, Shaun; you're fighting the good fight and I'll help you as soon as I get my second wind...)
2007-05-18 13:19:53
43.   ny2ca2dc
40 Atta boy William, so true - thanks for that!
2007-05-18 14:33:11
44.   weeping for brunnhilde
I have nothing positive to say other than to offer some nostalgia inspired by 31.

Remember that amazing sense of catharsis back in 2000 when we got past Oakland after having lost the last thirteen games of the season or whatever it was and then the first game of the Oakland series and then we had to fly across the country for the final game after Clemens got shelled in the Bronx the night before?

We won that game five by scoring all those runs in the first and then Andy nearly blew the game before we brought in Stanton in the fifth to restore order.

We hung on to win what was to me one of the most cathartic victories I've ever seen.

I'm sorry, but that was a special group to be able to do something like that.

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