Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Dead On
2008-01-31 05:31
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

A few years ago, I was part of a three-man panel at the Y on the upper west side. The topic was blogging and the sports world. Matt Cerrone, whose Metsblog was picked up by SNY last year, and Will Leitch, the founder of Deadspin, and I spoke in front of a modest crowd. Allen Barra was the moderator. Will was charismatic, funny and exceedingly bright, and while I'm only an occasional reader of Deadspin, I'll not soon forget the impression he made on him that evening. (Here I was thinking that I was going to be the charismatic, charming one!) Mostly what I remember about Will is his stance regarding the traditional media. Essentially, Will said that in the modern age of the Internet and satalitte TV, the role of the traditional beat writer has become marginalized to the extent that fans don't really care what those reporters provide. While I wasn't completely sold on Will's theory, I sure found him convincing.

Leitch expands on his thinking in his new book, God Save the Fan: How Preening Sportscasters, Athletes Who Speak in the Third Person, and the Occasional Convicted Quarterback Have Taken the Fun Out of Sports. There is a serious-minded political agenda in this breezy volume which takes the mickey out of just about everyone, particularly the folks at the Worldwide Leader, ESPN. But the writing is not pedantic or boring because Leitch is too busy being funny--another tough trick to pull off for a couple of hundred pages. Somehow, he manages to find just the right tone, and the book is a gas. I found myself laughing out loud often--something that rarely happens to me--and was left with a similiar feeling than the one I had when I met Will at the Y--that of being duly impressed.

Worth checking out.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-31 06:12:27
1.   Orly Yarly NoWai
Close tag please! ^_^
2008-01-31 06:19:16
2.   Alex Belth
got it
2008-01-31 06:24:56
3.   ny2ca2dc
I'm pretty sure I heard an interview with Leitch on NPR a week or three ago. He had a really interesting perspective, putting into words the feelings we get and reactions we have while watching a Joe Morgan (et al) broadcast, or reading a typical beat report. After the radio piece I wanted to check out the book, but forget about it by the time I got to work. So thanks for the reminder Alexander!
2008-01-31 06:39:11
4.   Alex Belth
Yeah, I've got to say, so many of the people I've met through the web are exceedingly bright--Nate Silver, Jay Jaffe, Steve Goldman, Greg Prince, Emma Span, Tim Marchman, Cliff, Joe Sheehan, the list goes on. Will is right there with the smartest, but, again, also very charming too.

Hey, you called me Alexander. How cool. I love that name, it's my full name, but it's such a mouthful, I just go by Alex, even Al. LOL.

2008-01-31 06:47:13
5.   Elliot
I'm about a third through "God Save the Fan." Can't believe how easy a read it is. It's got that clever, breezy writing style from Deadspin, but it somehow doesn't get boring.

Man, Will, Alex and Cerrone together together on one panel, wish I'd caught that.

2008-01-31 08:18:03
6.   OldYanksFan
"the role of the traditional beat writer has become marginalized to the extent that fans don't really care what those reporters provide."

We are THERE, and I'm surprised how fast the Net became the far superior way to get one's baseball fix.

So what happens to ESPN, Fox, et al? Do they become the National Enquirer of Sports? Will basically all 'news' become ARod taking off his shirt, moralizing on DUI's and reporting made up trade info?

With all the money, access to 'professional' writers, and press passes that allow all kinds of inside info, traditional sports media still stinks compared to the Net, and I will guess will only get worse.

Did the Big Boys really drop the ball? Is this IBM and the Personal PC (no future, why build it) all over again?

Will Radio and TV be next? Will games be commentated (commentated?) by guys like Will and Alex and Cliff? Certainly very few would tune into ESPN if our best Bloggers were calling the game.

It will be very interesting to see how this all shakes out. There's billions of dollars involved. Will they be reallocated?

It would be interested to have a discussion of the future of Sports 'reporting', and what the Net's and traditional media's roles will end up being.

2008-01-31 09:00:42
7.   mehmattski
The one place that beat writers still have in the world of sports is access. There are thousands of bloggers, but not all of them should have access to clubhouses and have the cell phone numbers of star players.

Rather, I think what we're going to see happening is that slowly the professional writers will be shuttled onto the internet en masse. Newspapers are slow, and their content these days is typically obsolete by the time it gets to the reader. The internet is open 24 hours, and if we the readers want to stop by the diner of information for a late night waffle, it's there for us.

Pete Abraham showcases the future of beat writers: open access and immediate information.

As for game commentary, I know that I'd rather watch the game on mute and hang out at Bronx Banter than listen to any broadcast booth...

2008-01-31 09:12:47
8.   Rob Middletown CT
Dead on balls accurate. ;)
2008-01-31 09:27:32
9.   ms october
7 yeah, i also immediately thought of pete. i think someone like pete provides something unique. but what of columnists - i think they are more replacable by blog type outlets.

6 oyf, you raise an interesting point about all the money involved. it will be interesting to see how funding will now be allocated.

what i still don't get is how many people i encounter in various forums that despise many of the announcers, i think especially on national broadcasts (for all sports), yet these people are continually employed. how is that?

2008-01-31 09:33:12
10.   Emma Span
I remember that panel vividly! It was a great conversation, but Barra had to ask the panelists to explain to the audience what a blog was, and what "blogosphere" meant. Hard to believe, but that was just a year and a half ago. (It was also the first time I met Alex -- I had just started my blog a few weeks earlier, and was totally nervous about approaching him after the event.)

However, Alex: I really don't think you want to put me on the same list as those guys 4 . I spent 10 minutes last night trying to figure out how to split a $38 dinner check three ways.

2008-01-31 09:44:07
11.   JL25and3
8 That's an industry term, right?
2008-01-31 09:50:56
12.   mehmattski
10 No worries, that sort of thing happens all the time:


2008-01-31 09:55:23
13.   JL25and3
BP has put up its top 100 prospect list:

4. Joba Chamberlain
34. Ian Kennedy
47. Austin Jackson
48. Jose Tabata
67. Alan Horne

And just for shits and giggles:

2. Clay Buchholz
16. Jacoby Ellsbury
53. Justin Masterson
57. Jed Lowrie
60. Ryan Kalish
95. Michael Bowden
100. Lars Anderson

2008-01-31 10:09:28
14.   mehmattski
13 Also notice the placement of:

65. Carlos Gomez
79. Delois Guerra

2008-01-31 10:19:57
15.   Shaun P
13 KG must be reacting to Keith Law putting up his Top 100 list at ESPN:

3 Joba
21 Tabata
24 Jackson
45 Kennedy
100 Brackman

And to finish the loop:

4 Buccholz
19 Ellsbury
28 Anderson
55 Lowrie
58 Masterson

14 And

35 C Gomez
80 D Guerra

2008-01-31 10:54:12
16.   ny2ca2dc
To whet your appetites, PeteAbe is blogging that he'll be in Tampa in a week & a half (Feb 11) to start covering spring training. It's coming.
2008-01-31 11:08:33
17.   Adrian
Standard media outlets have the edge in dollars and access. The internet has the edge in transmission, audience and, in some circumstances, accuracy.

In many cases, access directly impacts accuracy. We've seen this in both political and sports coverage. Writers with access get inside information, but that inside info isn't necessarily accurate.


On the other hand, the internet gives the news consumer a real edge. When ESPN reports that the Twins have decided to deal Santana for 2 ham sandwiches lovingly prepared by Omar Minaya, it's much easier to surf around the web and discover that no, in fact it was 4 ham sandwiches and a pickle wedge. On a less specific level, on the internet it's much easier to assemble a variety of viewpoints and then decide which one convinces you.

I tend to think that we'll see the standard media outlets using their dollars to create internet beach heads that the blogger-on-the-virtual-street can only dream of. As is already happening already, ESPN etc. will initially keep their information behind a firewall, which will eventually crumble because (given the speed at which information is shot through the Yankee-Blogosphere) we can all get that information for free anyway.

16 -- it's coming! It's coming! It's coming!

2008-01-31 11:37:14
18.   markp
The mainstream sports media lost it when they all decided to be Howard Cosell and Rupert Murdoch all rolled into one. They all adore the Randy Moss/TO/Iverson types and piss all over the Arod types while ignoring the Marvin Harrison types.
Their idea of analysis is to repeat whatever management tells them and rip whatever unions are involved. Their take on the use of baseball stats is to use them only when it 'proves' their point and mock them otherwise.
There's very little to offer at places like ESPN outside of looking up the scores (and boxscores) of events you missed.
You play loose and fast with the facts like they do on a decent blog and you get called out for it. Mike Lupica would be the laughingstock of any sports blog worth its weight.
2008-01-31 11:50:32
19.   Chyll Will
7 Man, if I get a waffle that late, there'd better be some ice cream on that badboy >;)

6 I think this is where it might go, and soon: interactive media where a crawl will appear on the bottom or side of the screen showing blog comments. What would be awesome is if we could tune into our favorite blog (i.e. Banter, etc) and do our thing on-screen alongside the TV action. Of course, there'd have to be some massive moderation on such a venture, but if internet is where the action is, I trust that TV will find a way to incorporate that into their sports programming.

"Subscribe to the Bronx Banter Channel and banter on TV during the game!" I see something like this happening, only my vision allows you to pick the blog you tune into on-screen. So if you can't/won't chat on Banter, you can choose LoHud or some other running-commentary blog of choice. Whaddaya think?

10 You'll do... >;)

2008-01-31 12:11:39
20.   Bob B
Off topic, possibly, sports.espn is reporting that the Mutts are having difficulty signing Santana "if at all". Heard the same in the Barbershop. You can get your sporting news in a lot of ways. Best spot for Yankees news is right here (All applaud Alex). I think there will be a place for the beat reporters and newspapers for sometime to come if only as fishwrap (thinking of Lupica). Me, I like sitting down for my morning Java with the Star Ledger. It's the only way to get HS sports scores, anyway.
2008-01-31 12:33:52
21.   Shaun P
20 There is definitely still a place for the papers - local news is huge for them.

The other things to remember is that we are all hardcore fans. There are plenty of casual fans for whom the typical beat writer summary in the local paper is exactly what they want.

Case in point - my dad. He understands the more advanced analysis that we often discuss and debate here. He loves baseball. But on the rare occasions he misses part or all of a game, the summary in the paper, or the AP recap online, or the highlights on YES/ESPN, are all he needs. He knows enough to ignore crappy analysis, he avoids the columnists in the fish rags, and he's quite happy.

As long as the more casual fans outnumber the more hardcore fans, there will always be a large place for the News, the Post, and the ESPN/FoxSports of the world, too.

2008-01-31 12:44:14
22.   OldYanksFan
19 I think we are already almost there.
TV already has picture in picture.
Just imagine 1 'picture' is an internet access screen.
MLB owns the transmission rights to games and sells them to TV/radio stations, who provide the cameras and mics. Right now, via MLB TV, you can buy a month or a years worth of games. I sure theny will sell game packages soon. ie: 7 games for $5. All TVs and TV transmissions will be digital hi-def within 2 year (digital transmission by 2009 is mandated by the FCC). So, I think soon there will be very little difference between our TVs and computer monitors, and that the Net and our TV/Computer screens will be integrated. Voice to text software will soon be ferfected, so we can talk to the TV and have the TEXT of our speech posted on the blogs.

Of course, our interaction will be more like a conference call using IM, and we will be able to dynamically type/speak messages and post pictures (with the moderators approval). Alex will have a mic and will verbally announce the games for us. We will have guess announcers, with video cuts to alex during commercials.

Just like we have video and 'radio' blogs now, those blogs, like BB, will announce games.

I imagine you will be able to click 'live' on a player on the TV and have his stats posted, bio info, and other stuff. TV, phone and internet will continue to merge until they are one.

I'm pretty sure the technology is here already. I imagine we will be able to size the picture in picture screen sizes, and will have 3 or 4, long, narrow (for 3 lines of text) screens to participate in multiple blogs while watching a game.

Large Internet provides may buy rights to the game and broadcast directly to the consumer. Maybe 50 static cameras will be set up, and we can choose which camera we want to view on which of our P-in-P screens.

It's all coming, and 2009 is the magic year, as the FCC has mandated in digital transmissions by then.

P.S. Game ticket prices may actually come down at some time, because the TV experience will be soon good with 100" screens, multiple P-in-P screens, all kinds of dynamic onlive data access, conference calling, etc., they only diehards will actually schlep out to the Bronx.

2008-01-31 12:54:46
23.   Sliced Bread
Don't purchase that Phil Hughes jersey yet.
This is from his blog:

I know I mentioned in the Q&A that I wasn't planning on changing my number. Well that has changed. A number change is in the works. Not sure exactly what it is going to be yet, but I thought I would throw it out there.

2008-01-31 12:55:24
24.   OldYanksFan
21 That true Shawn, but there will also be blogs for the casual fan, they will feature a particular level of dialog and coverage. The will probably be blogs for all kinds of different 'groups' of people, including ethic and religious blogs.

As cool as all this is, we are still in the infancy of the internet. Soon, everove will have Hi-Speed, large screens and voice actuation.

Alex will get smart and charge $20/year for access, and with thousands, or tens of thousands of participants, will make it a fuller time job of it.

My guess is ISPs will soon sell all different size packages of games. Some will pay $50 month for full channel access, others will just pay a few bucks per game. The video and audio portions will be separate, and will will be able to mix and match, and choose Alex or any blogger for the audio.

I don't know how ESPN et al will be able to compete if they don't produce a better product.

2008-01-31 12:57:07
25.   OldYanksFan
23 Actually, might an original number Jersey have some real value once he makes the HOF? And this is still a Yankees jersey we are talking about, right?

(the Santana nightmare is not over yet)

2008-01-31 12:59:38
26.   OldYanksFan
"Santana's agents, Peter and Ed Greenberg, are believed to be looking for a six-year extension in the range of $150 million -- a figure that would include an upfront payment that would boost Santana's 2008 salary ($13.25 million) to beyond $20 million.

Indications are that the Mets want to limit the guaranteed portion of the extension to five years, not including Santana's current contract, which expires after 2008. So if Santana's side is adamant that the deal extend beyond 2013, it's believed the Mets would insist that the back end of the contract not be guaranteed, but could include at least one vesting option year."


2008-01-31 13:00:31
27.   Sliced Bread
25 Yeah, it's his Yanks jerz... and good point, the original number could be a collector's item someday.

Maybe he's requesting Santana's jersey number just to make sure the nightmare is over.

2008-01-31 13:00:56
28.   dianagramr
Yanks sign Morgan Ensberg

2008-01-31 13:10:57
29.   Shaun P
28 Woo hoo! A righty-bat who could get playing time at 1B and cover at 3B too if needed!


2008-01-31 13:20:38
30.   Peter
23 I seem to remember that Hughes likes the number 45. And it's not like the current #45 wears his jersey too often.
2008-01-31 13:22:23
31.   OldYanksFan
"Terms of the contract weren't immediately available. Ensberg signed a minor-league deal, with an invitation to major league camp." Minor league? This is just because our 40 man is full? This guy is still good, isn't he?
2008-01-31 13:23:04
32.   Sliced Bread
Ensberg has nice #s against lefties:

560 AB .937 OPS

2008-01-31 13:29:11
33.   dianagramr

He hasn't been healthy the last 2+ years ... but he walks a lot and has pop ...

2008-01-31 13:36:15
34.   ms october
fwiw, i just read the keith law chat transcript and he said he was told that when the twins made their last ditch call to the yanks they asked for kennedy, melky and wang
2008-01-31 13:42:23
35.   Schteeve
I like Ensberg, because unless I'm thoroughly confused, he is one of a group of ballplayers who were held hostage at gunpoint in a motel room when they were in the minor leagues.

He seems like a pretty grounded dude, and I figure him for a .365 OBP and pop guy, for the Yankees.

2008-01-31 13:43:32
36.   Chyll Will
34 Did the transcript describe the laughter?
2008-01-31 13:45:47
37.   ms october
36 we need weeping to do that
2008-01-31 13:47:52
38.   Chyll Will
37 Wow, good point!
2008-01-31 13:49:39
39.   ny2ca2dc
Finally; Ensburg should've been signed last year! I would like to see him platoon at 1B, and keep Shelly to platoon with Abreu in Right. Cliff pointed out last year that Abreu can't really hit lefties.
2008-01-31 13:52:55
40.   Shaun P
36 No, but I could imagine it. For one of his other responses, he said:

"I'd laugh long and hard directly into the phone before turning it down, though."

That's about what I imagine Cashman doing.

2008-01-31 13:54:27
41.   Chyll Will
39 He could've kept Scrabble company on the DL... (um, no, not the hip-hop metaphor)
2008-01-31 14:08:08
42.   Shaun P
41 Speaking of which . . . if Betemit is going to be part of a four-headed 1B/DH platoon, he can still serve as the BUIF, and that means Ensberg probably gets the one open 25-man spot, right? We'll call it the Minky memorial roster spot. Damon's the BUCF, Matsui the BULF, Duncan the BURF . . . can Ensberg play a corner OF slot?
2008-01-31 14:39:12
43.   Chyll Will
42 If those acronyms imply anything that might happen this year, should he then not be the Basic Ambulatory Right Fielder?
2008-01-31 16:34:23
44.   williamnyy23
24 ESPN's strategy seems to be hire everyone in sight and hope quality emerges from quantity. Considering its resources, that's not a horrible strategy. I know is still a must read for me because Law and Neyer are thought provoking, Olney is great at scouring the news and dishing rumors and Stark/Kurkijan display an unquestionable love of the game in their columns. Sure, there are a whole host of inane contributors as well, but I am willing to endure them.

Having said that, I agree that the mainstream media is becoming less relevant, not only to hardcore fans, but also mid-level fans, although its hold on the more casual masses is still pretty tight.

2008-01-31 16:38:35
45.   williamnyy23
28 Excellent signing!

33 I don't think health has been a problem as his manager hating that he wasted ABs doing things like walk (although, if Ausmus, Everett, et al. was batting behind you, walking might not be the best idea).

42 An Ensberg/Betemit platoon could really work nicely. I can't see why the Yankees wouldn't give that a try. At the very least, Ensberg beats having A.G. or Nick Green fill out that final spot.

2008-01-31 16:48:09
46.   JL25and3
A minor-league contract and spring training invite seems about right for Ensberg. He hasn't been the same hitter since he hurt his shoulder two years ago, and until he proves otherwise, I don't think you can have much confidence that he'll be better than last year. That means he's useful against lefties but positively Neifi!riffic against northpaws.

He's also not very versatile. His experience at 1b consists of 4 AAA appearances in 2002 and one game last year (with an error). He's never played outfield. Basically, what he can do is play 3b, which is really low on our list of priorities.

2008-01-31 16:59:58
47.   williamnyy23
46 If Ensberg simply serves in the role as a bat against lefties, then it still is a great signing, especially because the Yankees already have a natural platoon complement in Betemit. The Yankees have a full ST to see if Ensberg can play 1B. If not, I still like him as a bat off the bench (I can do without an AG or NG type, especially with Betemit able to cover every IF position).
2008-01-31 17:20:09
48.   Shaun P
46 47 Maybe he has little experience at 1B, but he can - presuming he's healthy - mash lefties, and that particular skill is high on the Yanks' wish list. (Or ought to be)

Yanks in '07 vs LHP: .284/.362/.427
Yanks in '07 vs RHP: .292/.367/.477

2008-01-31 17:24:15
49.   JL25and3
47 If he can't play 1b regularly against lefties, he's just a dedicated pinch-hitter - and only when the other team absolutely can't bring in a righty. That's not worth a roster spot.

Otherwise, I agree with you. The key is to have spring training to look at him, which is why this was the right contract.

2008-01-31 17:25:54
50.   JL25and3
Ensberg in '07 vs. LHP: .257/.345/.486

An improvement, but not light years better.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-31 17:28:01
51.   williamnyy23
49 I disagree...if Ensberg can mash lefties to the tune of his career rate, he is definitely worth a roster spot if he can pinch hit and play 20-30 games spotting Arod and mostly as a DH when Giambi misses his inevitable month. With Damon and Matsui being lefties, Ensberg can still play a role beyond 1B.
2008-01-31 17:28:10
52.   williamnyy23
49 I disagree...if Ensberg can mash lefties to the tune of his career rate, he is definitely worth a roster spot if he can pinch hit and play 20-30 games spotting Arod and mostly as a DH when Giambi misses his inevitable month. With Damon and Matsui being lefties, Ensberg can still play a role beyond 1B.
2008-01-31 17:29:05
53.   williamnyy23
50 But those might be his worst splits of his career.
2008-01-31 17:54:34
54.   Shaun P
53 And the key is the SLG. An ISO of .229 vs LHP is very good; only Duncan (.303 ISO vs LHP, but in 33 ABs) and A-Rod (.257 ISO vs LHP) and Giambi !? (.253 ISO vs LHP*) did better in '07. If he makes the other team use up their LOOGY - and almost every team has just one - that can be a significant tactical advantage to the Yanks LHB late in games.

*Giambi's numbers have got to be a fluke, don't they?, but I don't have time to check them right now.

2008-01-31 20:38:39
55.   JL25and3
Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing the signing. It's a nice little signing, with a little upside and no risk. Give him a look in spring training and see what he can do. But calling this a great signing is kind of like getting all upset about LaTroy Hawkins.

Basically you're talking about carrying a second, less useful Shelley Duncan. That's nice if there's an injury, I suppose, but until then it's dead space. (You don't need anyone to spell Rodriguez.)

On any given day, the bench will consist of Molina; two of Damon/Giambi/Duncan/Betemit; and one other guy. I'd rather not use that on a role as limited as the one you're describing for Ensberg. If you do, he'd better really mash the hell out of the ball and be able to play first base with some regularity.

As for killing the LOOGY: you're giving up an out in the process, which negates the advantage you might have gained. Also, Melky and Abreu are the ones you'd be most likely to pinch-hit for - and since Ensberg is so limited, you have to use another player or move people around. Let's say Damon is the DH - you can't PH for Melky at all then.

I really think that, in order to justify a roster spot, he'll have to beat Shelley Duncan out for a job. I also think it's worth having an alternative to Duncan in camp, because we still really have no idea how good he is. But carrying both of them would be a waste.

2008-02-01 03:49:23
56.   williamnyy23
55 I guess it's a matter of semantics, but I happen to think that Ensberg is such a perfect fit that it is a great signing, even if Ensberg clearly isn't a great player. I also disagree a bit with the Hawkins analogy. In the scheme of things, the Hawkins move is basically a lateral step from Viz, whereas Ensberg could wind up being a huge upgrade over a Nick Green-type.

When you consider that the bench you listed consists of 3 lefties and 1 righty (Molina excluded because he would never PH), then I think Ensberg definitely fits the bill. Even if he can't play 1B, I don't see what's so limiting about a well above average bat against LHP who can play 3B if needed. What more do they need? I guess you could argue a defensive whiz at SS would be more useful, but Jeter isn't coming out for defense, so what's the point.

I also don't agree that Duncan and Ensberg are mutually exclusive because one is an OF and the other is an IF (although Shelley, like Ensberg will likely pick up a 1B mitt quite a bit in ST). The bottom line is both have the potential to be useful bats occupying the 25th spot. If you could suggest a more useful player for that spot on the roster, maybe you'd have a stronger point.

Finally, I think the LOOGY point is you could potentially use Ensberg to face a nasty lefty immediately as he enters the game, in which case he'd be required to face a batter. Also, for very late in the game, you could use an Ensberg to hit for a lefty and, if he is countered with a RHP, Girardi could fire back with Matsui/Damon/Giambi/Betemit. Having Ensberg could allow the Yankees arsenal of lefties to hit in a more favorable match up.

I realize I am making too much of this signing, but as one who has advocated the Yankees pursuing Ensberg for a couple of years, I very happy that they finally took what is a riskless proposition. And, with Girardi at the helm, I am more confident he'll be given a real opportunity to contribute.

2008-02-01 04:15:11
57.   JL25and3
56 "Even if he can't play 1B, I don't see what's so limiting about a well above average bat against LHP who can play 3B if needed. "

His ability to play 3B is completely irrelevant to the Yankees. Rodriguez plays every day - without ill effect - and they've already got Betemit.

At minimum, I'd like to see one bench player who can pinch-run occasionally. I see that as a greater late-inning need, and one that no one else fills. Ensberg was a good fit before they had Duncan, but if he's not a 1b, he's not a good fit anymore.

2008-02-01 04:17:44
58.   JL25and3
Again, btw, we're not that far apart. I just think you overestimate the need for a very occasional bat-only off the bench, especially when there are only 4 bench players.
2008-02-01 05:20:25
59.   williamnyy23
57 It's not irrelevant because injuries that dramatically alter the landscape can happen. If Betemit solidifies himself as a 1B, then Ensberg's ability to play 3B would be useful if Arod was to miss a week or two with a nagging injury (unlikely, but still possible).

The Yankees have tried the PR route and it never seems to work (especially the way Torre would use it). Unless you have a guy who is a guarateed SB, I see that as being more of a waste. Regardless, the Yankees don't seem to have an ideal PR type anyway, so it's a moot point.

58 Perhaps, but I really believe Ensberg can be an impact bat against Lefties. I also think he'll adapt to 1B and that he and Betemit could form a very productive platoon.

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