Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Misery Loves Company
2007-06-28 10:16
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Joe Torre's decision not to bring Mariano Rivera into Tuesday night's game was the straw that broke the camel's back for Jay Jaffe, who says the 2007 Yanks are toast:

...I'm officially now Beyond Caring. No more objects thrown at the TV, no more Tivoing their games so I can cling to a shred of hope. This season is done for the Yankees. Throw them on the pile of expensive toys that broke all too quickly. Go spend some time with your loved ones rather than tuning in for the daily rust and rot. You've got better things to do than to cheer on this trainwreck.

I like Joe Torre and have stuck up for him over the years despite his flaws, but I think Steven Goldman is on-point when he writes:

The Torre we're seeing this year increasingly looks like a refugee from a parallel universe, one in which the mediocre manager of the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals never gave way to the Hall of Famer of 1996–2001...From George Washington to Ronald Reagan, all great leaders decline as they age. This is no insult to Torre, but simply a fact of life. He has carved his place in history, and now he should be history. He knew what to do in 1996, but in an ironical twist, is now clueless in 2007. It's time for a change.

Cliff said it all. This is a Dead Team Walking. (Now, watch them go out and actually play well against the A's, Twins and Angels, just to tease us.)

Hey, speaking of Jay, check out the latest installment of our series about the 1977 World Series box set. At the very least it'll take your mind off the present-day Yanks.

2007-06-28 10:54:44
1.   JasonO
To those who have thrown in the towel: The door will always be open to jump back on the bandwagon.

Make up one game per every ten games, and they win the WC. Make up one game per every seven games and they win the division. It can be done.

Damn it, what kind of a fan are you? Hold fast!

2007-06-28 10:55:01
2.   weeping for brunnhilde
They may be toast, but what can you say?--it's still baseball, right?

Reasons to watch:

1) Andy's pitching.
2) Can Moose reinvent himself/adjust to reduced velocity?
3) Can Cano live up to his promise at the bat, or is what you see what you get with him?
4) What kind of future does Melky have? Is he developing, or has he to revealed all?
5) Derek.
6) Alex.
7) Jorgie.
8) Mo.
9) In general, what kind of continuity will we see between this team and next year's? What kind would we like to see?

If we give up on this year (which I presume is a sort of tongue-in-cheek expression of deep frustration), will the team's eventual resurgence be as cathartic?

Hang in there, Team!

2007-06-28 10:55:46
3.   pistolpete
I had to chuckle at Steve Lombardi's 'Natural' reference concerning the Yankees and their zombie-like play as of late. I've seen that movie so many times that I could hear Wilford Brimley's voice in my head as I read it...

Unfortunately, there's no Roy Hobbs walking through that clubhouse door.

Unless Shea Hillenbrand has a bat carved from a tree struck by lightning, perchance?

2007-06-28 11:11:20
4.   williamnyy23
2 They are toast, but being a fan requires that you keep watching, even if Alvaro Espinoza was playing SS.

Unfortunately, I was at Camden Yards the past two games, so I not only had the pleasure of 97 degree game time temps, but had to suffer without the Banter to vent. The details of Joe's misadventures seem to have been covered here in great detail, so I wont beat the fallen horse. Still, it now looks as if the Yankees loyalty to Joe is going to cost them what little chance they had to make the post season this year.

2007-06-28 11:11:23
5.   williamnyy23
2 They are toast, but being a fan requires that you keep watching, even if Alvaro Espinoza was playing SS.

Unfortunately, I was at Camden Yards the past two games, so I not only had the pleasure of 97 degree game time temps, but had to suffer without the Banter to vent. The details of Joe's misadventures seem to have been covered here in great detail, so I wont beat the fallen horse. Still, it now looks as if the Yankees loyalty to Joe is going to cost them what little chance they had to make the post season this year.

2007-06-28 11:13:47
6.   Shaun P
2 Another for your list - what does Hughes do when he comes back?
2007-06-28 11:17:56
7.   ny2ca2dc
I pretty much reached the same conclusion as Jay yesterday, when I decided against making the slog from Tyson's Corner to Bmore to see Clemens pitch. It took 3.5 hours of driving on Tuesday to get to see 3.5 hours of horrible baseball in 99% humidity amongst a bunch of rednecks (okok cheap shot). Andy laboring against a AA/AAA lineup (the O's, WITHOUT Tejada, are you kidding me!), crappy offense, and the Jeff Weaver Syndrome to the extreme (at least sometimes the JWS can be attributed to overuse of Mo, but bringing him in yesterday just makes it insulting). I don't think firing Torre now will do any good, but the search for his replacement should begin (Girardi here we come?), and the spare parts should be shed for the next wave.

I wonder if anyone has done a study into Torre's pitcher hooking with starters vs. relievers. He seems to have this tendency to want to punish relievers when it's clear they have nothing. Procter Tuesday, it was obvious even up in the nose bleeds that Scotty didn't have nuttin; remember that game Bean was put in, and could barely even find JORGIE, much less the strike zone, and was left in for like 3-4 batters, to allow the game to be broken open.

2007-06-28 11:22:41
8.   Alex Belth
You know another reason to keep watching? Clemens. I've actually really enjoyed watching him pitch for the past couple of years. I recall him saying that games like last night, where he doesn't have much stuff, can be the most satisfying performances for him. Even though it fell apart in the sixth, he was really pitching in the first five innings.

Also, Jay isn't really a Yankee fan, though he's rooted for them since he's lived in New York. I can excuse his abandonment of the team. As for the rest of us, like you guys say, we aren't going anywhere. And no matter what happens, it is still baseball. True, true and true.

2007-06-28 11:23:31
9.   Shaun P
4 I think Joe should be fired too, but I'm not sure if that will (or would have) turned things around.

The pitching staff was (and still is) fixable. A new manager, who makes decisions based on performance, not guts and a formula, and tries out the kids, could do wonders with the bullpen.

But there are too many guys under-performing on offense. Unlike the 'pen, there is no one on the farm to fix it. Shelley Duncan might help some. Best case scenario is that Duncan is called up, plays at 1B full time, and has a Spencer-in-1998 couple of months. But that still doesn't fix:

Cano's hacking
Matsui's missing power
Damon's inability to go on the DL to heal
whatever is wrong with Abreu
and the non-existent DH

and that's if Duncan wildly over-performs (small chance).

2007-06-28 11:52:44
10.   Bob B
Burnt toast, at that. Cashman should go along with Torre at years end. Let's not forget that the dynasty team (1996-2001) was not built by Cashman and the present configuration looks more and more like a typical George Steinbrenner 80's team that would finish second every season with a lot of high priced, over the hill talent bought through free-agency. Building from within is clearly working for a lot of teams and the Yankees need to remember that. That team had Bernie Williams, Jeter,Posada Pettite and surrounded them with some good and some great players. You have to have some young core of talent and fill in around it, not the other way around.
You all know I'm for dumping as much as possible so we can contend in a year or two.
2007-06-28 11:54:54
11.   ny2ca2dc
2,8 Indeed. There are still a lot of things to love, DJ, Arod, Po killin it, Pettitte doing so much better than could ever have been expected, Wang emerging as a blue-chip ace, maybe Cano will learn from all this and use it as a launching pad to more consistency down the road, maybe Melky will at kick it up a bit and stick with the team as a Bernie-lite, Clemens still chose to come back to NYC, not Beantown, Matsui for all his declining power still plays good fundamental ball... Oh, and some guy named HUGHES will be back to round out the year. At least we don't have to worry about dropping 220 innings on his arm this year...

Anyone else feel like A-Rod is really a bedrock part of the team now? I feel like, while the 'real Yankee' crap was overblown, he seems to have really, really settled in as a Yankee. Lets just forget about the clause-that-shall-not-be-mentioned for now.

Still a lot to love, but I for one am going to have to stop obsessing about the team, step back & not get caught up in every single loss. I don't think I'll be able to stop watching the games, but maybe only 1 or 2 games when they hit Bmore, instead of all of them, and maybe try to skip a game here and there, or just tune out early or in late... Cuz I'm losing sleep about it!

Also, lots of great analysis, the Banter chief among 'em.

2007-06-28 11:59:15
12.   pistolpete
8 IMO It certainly hasn't come easy for Clemens in most of his starts thus far - he's pitching his guts out for sure, but he really looks his age during games such as last nights'...

But how sad for guys like Igawa, who'll never be half the pitcher Roger is, even though he's nearly half his age...

2007-06-28 12:20:18
13.   mehmattski
Somehow, I have yet to actually see Clemens pitch. I was travelling/out of town each of his first two starts. Last Thursday was a day game and I was at work. Last night, I was blacked out because Durham, NC is in the Orioles' market. And I had turned off Sunday's game before Clemens came in. Odd, huh?
2007-06-28 12:41:42
14.   Benjamin Kabak
I gotta say, the final straw for me came last night. Torre wouldn't use Rivera in a tie game on Tuesday because, as he put in the post-game show, he was concerned because Rivera had pitched parts of two innings a few days ago. (That was, by the way, on Friday, and the only 1.2 innings Rivera had pitched from 6/16-6/26.) Then, he went and used Rivera in the 8th inning of a 4-0 deficit to get him some work! I lost all faith in Torre right there.
2007-06-28 12:50:44
15.   Xeifrank
Great teams hide flaws of every manager. Torre's team this year isn't great, and thus his mistakes/flaws are magnified. I don't think the Yankees are toast yet, it's not even July 1st. They can easily still become the wild-card and could even win the division. Stranger things have happened. I have to admit that I am enjoying the Yankees misery, but they are in no way out of it imho.
vr, Xei
2007-06-28 12:57:12
16.   OldYanksFan
I also gotta wonder if Mattingly is just a 'YES man' to Joe. I think Zim challenged Joe, and gave give feedback to reflect on.

When Joe is doing the insane (like Mo's usage over the last 2 nights), does Donny say anything? Is Donnie helping Joe with different thoughts and opinions? Is Donnie doing anything pro-active?

2007-06-28 12:58:18
17.   Jim Dean
4 With all those empty seats, did you sneak close?

15 "Great teams hide flaws of every manager. Torre's team this year isn't great, and thus his mistakes/flaws are magnified."

The more I've thought about it, the more I whoole-heartedly use that to explain Torre of 1996-2001 versus 2002-2007. That earlier team was great.

2007-06-28 13:02:40
18.   Start Spreading the News
2 Remove Mo from your list. We don't see him very often until it is a blow out.
2007-06-28 13:05:30
19.   pistolpete
16 Loved the player, but IMO he's more suited to coach or manage in the minors
2007-06-28 13:33:26
20.   Jim Dean
Gotta say - I heart Goldman. I've learned a ton reading him especially cause he says it so well:

"Throw in the weird obsession with first-base defense and you have a manager lost at sea. Think about this: say your super-glove at first base makes a great stop or scoop that your average or below average player would miss roughly every other game, all season long. That's 81 singles you've saved. Now, in truth the number isn't anywhere near that high, but let's just go with it here. On average, about a third of baserunners score, so you're talking about 27 runs saved over the course of a full season. Now say that you're defensively below-average first baseman hits 30 home runs... See where this is going?"

2007-06-28 13:35:12
21.   rbj
I'll still watch, but I don't believe they'll make the playoffs. The players need to step it up, especially the hitters. You score 0, 1, 2 runs a game you aren't going to win much.
2007-06-28 14:21:48
22.   cult of basebaal
i'll follow this season to the end, you drink the wine, you drink the lees.

but one thing i won't do is watch or follow one more game where miguel cairo starts at 1st base, because any game that he starts is a clear indicator that torre's not even trying; if joe can't be bothered to show up, why should i?

if he's startin', then i'm departin' ...

2007-06-28 14:27:47
23.   weeping for brunnhilde
6 Yes, Hughes, I forgot to include him, as well as Chien-Ming.

You know, the future's looking pretty bright, you must admit, provided management plays its cards properly.

Big proviso, I know...

2007-06-29 04:41:07
24.   KJC
Well, I'm glad that so many NY fans have given up. I know a lot of Sox fans (myself included) who won't count out the Yanks -- despite how things have been going -- until they're 10 games out with 9 left to play.

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