Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2008-02-26 05:44
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Tyler Kepner has a piece on Phil Hughes' blog today in the Times (I'm quoted in the story). Hughes started the blog last month and has been posting every couple of days, sometimes a number of times in a single day. One of the keys to good blogging is to keep things short and sweet and to update often. Hughes is off to a promising start. I'm curious to see how he maintains the site as the season rolls along. I'm sure if he keeps it up, his readership will continue to grow, no matter how he perfoms on the field.

I think the trend of athletes' blogging is an interesting one. Fans have more access to information than ever before, yet emotionally, we often feel more detached from professional athletes than ever before too. Blogs provide an immediacy (the illusion of intimacy) that is hard to find, and certainly one that you are not likely to see in post-game interviews on TV. I believe it's a way for jocks like Hughes to feel connected to his fans in a way that is safe, controlled.

Funny, this isn't quite like Jim Brosnan or Jim Bouton exposing the secrets of the boys club. This is inviting us into the boys club. Sort of. It's a PG version of the ballplayer's life. It's not the down and dirty stuff. Then again, Hughes wouldn't be able to get away with exposing the secrets of the locker room, and I doubt that any active ballplayer would dare to be too candid in a blog, certainly not the way Bouton was in Ball Four. Now, when that happens, then we'll really have something to talk about, right?

Oh, by the way, last week, EJ Fagan, over at Pending Pinstripes posted a very useful reference guide to the Yankees' best prospects. Check it out when you can.

2008-02-26 07:15:26
1.   Sliced Bread
Good show, Alex!
Lisa Kennelly also writes about Phil's blog in the NJ Star Ledger today. Her piece lacks Belth, but has some interesting info about the club's policies regarding player blogs:


Currently, there are no regulations for Yankee players regarding blogging, MySpace, or Facebook use. But the Yankees media relations staff has included specific internet training in its players' seminars for two years now, cautioning players about the consequences of an active online habit.

Last season rookie pitcher Tyler Clippard learned that the hard way, when his MySpace page drew thousands of hits after he made his major-league debut. Yankees media relations staff had a quiet word with him, and his page was soon set to private.

"We warn them about putting their private lives in the public arena," GM Brian Cashman said, "because it comes back to haunt you, depending on what you put out there."

And it's entirely possible, said Yankees director of media relations Jason Zillo, that in the very near future blogs could be banned for Yankee players. All it takes is one bad incident.

"It's a way to relate to your fans," Zillo said, "but you need to be hyper sensitive to the type of information you're putting out there and understand there can be ramifications."

From afar, the Yankees keep tabs on Hughes' blog, though so far it's been pretty innocuous. The media relations staff say that Hughes' maturity and clear understanding of what's appropriate give him leeway with his blog that another young player might not have.

"I think I'm smart enough to know what crosses the line," Hughes said. "And I'm not even going to approach that line."

2008-02-26 07:53:26
2.   OldYanksFan
Food for thought: (maybe conversation?)
... Jeter is reported in good shape and is supposedly more 'laterally enhanced'. I assume his knee issues are now OK. Do we really expect significantly better defense from Derek or is this just Yankeespeak?

... I posted earlier (and erroniously) that I heard Marquez was a stud. I meant Melancon. I hear lots of good things. These days, we speak like every farmhand is DESTINED to make our MLB roster. Hard to sort through the homerism. Any poop on Melancon? Will this guy be a SP for us in 2009 or 2010?

... RHP Ross Ohlendorf is listed at #24. Considering he has seen MLB time and we had decent hopes for him at the RJ trade, the rating seems pretty bad... as in flop/extra baggage. Will he be able to help our MLB club? is he now trade bait?

... This sounds pretty distressing:
Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera all have 50% or better (worse?) of getting injured. Anyone know the goods on this report?

... I read somewhere that Dave Eiland said he though IPK had the biggest upside of the Big 3. Might my eyes and mind be deceiving me or has anyone else seen this? Considering his stuff, IPK would have to be Gregg Maddux for this to happen. It seems people rate IPK as a 'distant' #3 compared to Phil and Joba. I have seen IPK called a #3 or #4 MLB SP IF successful. Is this guy flying under the radar?

2008-02-26 08:11:40
3.   Shaun P
2 Melancon is a reliever, not a starter. He was supposed to have 1st/2nd round talent before he was hurt at Arizona, so I'd say the buzz on him is probably legit.

Re: Ohlendorf - that's just one ranking. Mike A at River Ave Blues and KG at BP (I tend to follow them, I've never read Pending Pinstripes) both have Ohlendorf much higher.

The health stuff is from Will Carroll at BP. He hasn't done the Yanks' team specific report yet, but Hughes and Chamberlain are young pitchers, and almost always, young pitchers get that 50/50 injury risk in Will's system. My guess is Will's system says Rivera is 50/50 too, but he'll probably consider him to be a little safer. FWIW, last year Mo was 50/50 too. I'm not concerned.

2008-02-26 08:56:24
4.   horace-clarke-era
2 Well, the guy at Pending Pinstripes, that Alex links here is VERY high on IPK. Not sure he'd put him above the other two, but he's irate about the "#3 starter" tag. Have a look.

Celebs blogging is an issue I've tracked in much wider contexts than this (I didn't expect it to surface here, and should have). I think it is wise of the Yankees (and all teams) to caution players and wise of us to note - as Alex says - that this is about 'the illusion of intimacy' which has all sorts of complex variables.*

* And that's before you get to Schilling!

2008-02-26 09:09:02
5.   Sonny Mooks
This blogging could get interesting.

You could see the day when players give each other exclusive interviews, and break news and report scoops.

How would the media handle it, if the people who are supposed to be the subjects of their articles and stories, started cutting them out....and becoming their competitors???

2008-02-26 09:23:46
6.   Schteeve
I think we're all insane if we don't realize that it's very likely that at least one of the three young studs (IPK, Joba, Phil) is going to be hampered by injuries in their career.

I think it's very unlikely that all three of them sail through next season with no meaningful injuries.

2008-02-26 09:31:39
7.   Raf
5 I don't see that happening; in the confines of the locker room, exclusive interviews, breaking news, and scoop reporting won't gain much traction in the online world. It's a reasonably safe assumption that more people will read the Times/News/Post than _________'s blog.

Don't think the print journalists will ever go away, they simply cater to a wider audience.

Also, I would also think that there aren't many players that would be interested in writing and maintaining a blog, even if they had the ability to.

2008-02-26 09:41:27
8.   Shaun P
6 After all, the three young studs* didn't all get through 2007 injury-free. The risk is there, and its high, but as long as the Yanks are smart about managing that risk, they should be fine. Unless one of them has injury-recovery genes like Nick Johnson's . . .

*Nice term for Joba, Phil, and IPK; I'm going to remember that one

2008-02-26 09:42:37
9.   wsporter
Dorf was converted to the pen last year and that explains some of the devaluation on a few of the boards. He should be ready to contribute this season and perhaps in high leverage situations.

One of the reasons "we speak like every farmhand is DESTINED to make our MLB roster" is that we have so many good ones who have advanced to the upper levels. We also have a wealth of good young talent in the Dominican and Short Season leagues. There is a log jam at a number of positions at A and A+ ball as well.

I've been a big fan of minor league ball for a long time. The amazing growth in value of our system over the last few years has suddenly made that kind of interest quite popular. The growth in the information made available about our system has been stunning and for a MiL geek like me really enjoyable. The information is so easy to find and usually pretty well delivered and thought out so as not a waste of time following it. The usual stat geek v. anecdotal observer arguments pop up and can be some fun especially at the lower levels where it's doubtful that individual stats mean too much given the educational and practice nature of the ball being played.

Some day it'll be nice to see a good old heated Banter argument here over the ceilings of guys like Kontos and Dunn. For those fans not paying attention to this stuff you're missing out; part of the fun of being a Yankees fan in the years to come will be following these guys. I think this phenomenon will also serve to deepen the fans relationship with the club when we feel that we really have followed these guys since they were kids and into adulthood. It's the dawn of a new age in Yankee land and we're here to see it. Amazing stuff.

2008-02-26 11:27:44
10.   JL25and3
Here's the prospect I'm especially excited about:

29. 2b Prilys Cuello, Rk, 18

That's truly a name to be reckoned with.

2008-02-26 12:05:53
11.   JL25and3
The comments over at Phil's blog are...well, let's just say that I don't expect a lot of comments during school hours. I did like this one:

Moose sounds like that cool uncle that all the kids wish was their dad.

Yikes! You must have some really creepy uncles...

2008-02-26 12:11:01
12.   ms october
11 who ever thought moose would be the cool uncle.
2008-02-26 12:15:59
13.   wsporter
11 Maybe it's cool to be cranky? Ah kids these days :-)

Now if we're gonna talk cool uncles let's stop the list at Giambi, HE'D be one cool uncle to have.

2008-02-26 13:25:21
14.   JL25and3
13 Great call. Giambi's the uncle you could smoke pot with.
2008-02-26 14:02:44
15.   wsporter
14 Uncle J, Booze, Broads and Bullets - the original family values. What a guy!
2008-02-26 17:17:50
16.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
If Jeter was your uncle and he brought Miss India back to the home BBQ he'd be the coolest by far..while A-Rod tried to be "hip" with the kids and woulf fail miserably...
Yahweh-Buddha-Allah be praised, can the games start soon please???? Still 5 weeks to go...
2008-02-26 17:40:55
17.   RIYank
16 Hm, I think Yahweh and Allah are the same dude.

Did I miss a mention of Baseball America's release of their Top 100 Prospects?

Joba is #3, and the top pitcher. Buchholz is #4. (Ha ha.) Tabata is #37, A-Jax close behind at 41. And IPK is #45.

2008-02-26 18:13:39
18.   Chyll Will
17 So that means Yaweh Allah and Buddha are tied for second?
2008-02-26 19:02:31
19.   JL25and3
18 Wow. If that's true, #1 must be one helluva prospect.
2008-02-26 21:13:57
20.   markp
Sweeney Murti's off to a good start on his video blog ith the interview of Abraham (I think just using his last name fits in the jumpin' Jehovah tack the thread has taken.)
2008-02-27 18:32:24
21.   Chyll Will
19 In case anyone is still reading this thread, money is always number one in baseball. Sorry...

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