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The Gerbil Bites Back
2008-03-10 05:53
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Joe Girardi and Don Zimmer are close friends but they disagree about what went down the other day at the end of the Yankee-Rays exhibition game. Over the past three or four seasons, the Rays have occasionally been pesky against the Yanks, though there has never seemed to be any hard feelings between the two teams, not like the ones the Rays have developed with the Red Sox. But it is never too late to start. Who knows? This could be the year. I see that many experts expect the Rays to be much-improved. Maybe this'll keep Zimmer on-point, poised and ready to rustle up another serving of his inimitable brand of moral indignation.

Comments (124)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-03-10 06:44:03
1.   williamnyy23
I like Shelley Duncan's response:

"What it does is it opens another chapter of intensity in the spring training ballgames," Duncan said Sunday about the incident in Saturday's game between the Yankees and Rays. "They showed what is acceptable to them and how they're going to play the game, so we're going to go out there to match their intensity - or even exceed it."

I think we are already seeing a change in the Yankees attitude thanks to the transition from Torre to Girardi.

2008-03-10 06:49:45
2.   wsporter
Who is Don Zimmer?

Was he in the God Father?

2008-03-10 06:49:52
3.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Not really. Girardi doesn't approve of that attitude in spring training. Two wrongs don't make a right and getting someone else hurt won't fix Cervelli's arm.
2008-03-10 06:58:31
4.   williamnyy23
3 I disagree. The attitude change is evident by first Giradi and then one of his players speaking their mind using strong words. In the past, Torre would have brushed off the play and no one would have dared contradict him. Whether a Yankee puts Duncan's sentiments into action is another thing, but I love the fact that he came out and said it (and feels it).

As for two wrongs not making a right, well, if the Rays have no problem with homeplate collisions in the Spring, what's the problem? This isn't about turning the cheek. If an opponent changes the playing field, you have to change with them. This isn't Thomas Moore and the loyalty oath...principles can be twisted to meet the tactics of an adversary.

2008-03-10 07:12:17
5.   Cliff Corcoran
4 Taking the second part first: getting another player hurt isn't going to heal the first injury. Hell, plow into them every game during the regular season when the games count, but, per Girardi, don't risk it during spring training.

Regarding the first part: there has absolutely been a change in attitude on the team stemming from Girardi, you're right about that, but Duncan's statement is not representative of that because it contradicts what his manager has been saying about the same incident. Both think it was a horseshit play, but Duncan wants to retaliate and Girardi is smarter than that.

2008-03-10 07:14:02
6.   Sliced Bread
4] Since when do the words of Shelley Duncan represent a change in the club's attitude?
What, Jeter and Posada are going to suddenly start playing like the Hanson Brother goons, and Pettitte and Mo will start plunking guys avenging Yankee hitters left and right - because Shelley says so? No.

Girardi is speaking his mind, and trying to protect his players. Torre also would have questioned the play though he wouldn't have pushed it as far as his successor. This doesn't change who the Yankees are or how they play.

The Rays can try to make more of this than what it is, but if I'm a Yankee player I'm moving on without any hunger for revenge.

Get well soon, Cervelli.

2008-03-10 07:22:11
7.   wsporter
6 And that sir is one more example of why you carry my vote by proxy at all annual shareholder meetings of the Banter board!
2008-03-10 07:36:13
8.   Knuckles
1) I would not want to be on the business end of a Shelley Duncan collision. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail (esp during ST), but I have no problem with Duncanstein speaking his mind, and possibly floating that frightening visual into the D-Ray's heads. Dioner Navarro is not a very big dude. Just sayin'.

2) Awfully quiet on the Bonds front- smells like collusion to me. Sign him before someone else wises up.

2008-03-10 07:40:21
9.   williamnyy23
5 It's not a matter of trying to hurt another player for simple revenge. Rather, giving the Rays a taste of their own medicine might enlighten Maddon as to why playing recklessly in an exhibition isn't a smart thing. Sometimes, people don't recognize the ills of their ways until they get a taste of their own medicine.

I think you are missing my point on Duncan's statement. It doesn't really matter whether Duncan and Girardi agree on substance...what impresses me more is both expressed strong opinions. It's nice to see the Yankee manager not worry about being diplomatic, and even more refreshing to see a individual player not feeling like has to agree with him.

I also don't agree that Duncan's comment is at odds with Girardi. Joe G. has made it clear he thinks homeplate collisions in ST are bush, but I maybe he feels differently about Duncan sliding hard into 2B to break up a DP?

6 The mere fact that any player expressed a strong opinion represents an attitude change to me. More relevant, however, is what Girardi said. I think the Yankees will benefit from a less diplomatic general and look forward to a more "firey" bunch this season.

2008-03-10 07:54:43
10.   Sliced Bread
7 you have my confidence in your vote as well, wsporter.

8 Three weeks before Opening Day, Bonds is awfully tempting, isn't he?

9 I think Shelley would have been just as outspoken under Torre, but he wouldn't have scored as many points with the manager as he might under Girardi (not that I believe he was trying to score points with Joe G). And if you ask me, fire is not what the Yanks have lacked in recent years, it's the ability to get batters out. If more fire means more outs I'm all for it, but I don't think that's the case.

2008-03-10 08:03:01
11.   williamnyy23
10 I guess we disagree (which is ok). I think the Yankees have definitely lacked a little "fire" over the past few years, so I am happy to see it returning.
2008-03-10 08:07:48
12.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Gee, maybe with all this new attitude we'll bring back Chad Curtis.
2008-03-10 08:13:33
13.   Emma Span
At the risk of sounding callous, all I could think was, "thank God it wasn't Posada."
2008-03-10 08:13:40
14.   Rob Middletown CT
It's unfortunate, what happened to Cervelli. I hate the whole block the plate/tackle the catcher play.

Hopefully the Yankee scrubs decide to play the game that way against the Rays. You know, just trying to impress the ballclub. It's important to show you can lay a real good hit on the opposing catcher.

2008-03-10 08:18:16
15.   williamnyy23
13 I think that's what is so infuriating about the play. I think a lot of people are dismissing the seriousness because it happened to a relatively unknown, but if Posada was out for 2-3 months because Maddon is trying to make a silly point, people would be screaming for blood. The fact that Maddon and Zimmer defended the play makes it even worse.
2008-03-10 08:23:01
16.   Bama Yankee
Sorry to interupt this discussion with an off topic question, but here goes:

I need some advice. I'm trying to plan a trip to my first Yankee game this year.
1. Where is the best place to buy tickets?
2. Any advice on the best seats to watch a game ($100-150 range).
3. I'm looking at a day-game during the week (possibly KC on June 9th). Is this a bad choice?
4. Any other advice for planning my first trip to Yankee Stadium would be appreciated.

Sorry for the newbie-type questions, but I thought you guys would be the best source. Thanks in advance for any responses.

2008-03-10 08:28:51
17.   Shaun P
15 I find it more infuriating that Zimmer said:

"You block the plate. What happens if our man slides in with the plate being blocked and breaks his leg?"

Isn't that why you try to slide around the catcher? How often has what Zimmer described actually happened? I've got to believe the odds of the catcher getting hurt are significantly greater.

2008-03-10 08:38:08
18.   Sliced Bread
16 I've had good luck with Stub Hub. In that price range, you should be albe to score good seats. Anything overlooking the infield is optimum. Even the seats way up high behind the plate are good (unless you're prone to vertigo). See the Stadium map at the official site.
I think you targeted a good date for a matinee. Day games even early in the season are usually packed, but on that date the schools are mostly still in session, so you won't have to contend with camps and other big groups for seats.
Other than that, best advice I can offer is don't drive to the Stadium. Parking is an expensive nightmare. Take the subway.
Good luck, Bama!
2008-03-10 08:39:00
19.   williamnyy23
16 By the looks of things, you may need to check out Stub Hub for tickets if you want more than a single in a good location. I've always thought the best seat, dollar for dollar, was in the tier reserve behind home plate (sections 1-6). I usually try to avoid anthing down the lines regardless of level. I'd also avoid the Tier level in the outfield. Even the Loge can offer a bit of an obstructed view of the deeper parts of the OF.

I also really like the mid-week day games, so the Monday game against KC is a good choice. Also, if you stick around until Tuesday, you can take the full Stadium tour because the team heads out on a road trip.

2008-03-10 08:39:31
20.   wsporter
15 Cervelli is a valuable prospect, there is no doubt about the seriousness of his loss from an organizational point of view. Is he Posada? No. But his loss will cause problems at Trenton and potentially Tampa and SWB. This is a real pain in the ass. Additionally we won't know the extent of the damage done to Cervelli for sometime. There is enough damage done for us to be affected and pissed.

There are 2 points: First, who is a to blame for the action? I think it is clearly the Tampa 3b coach and manager and not the player. I watched the play when it happened; he was waived in. Second, How do we act in a way that facilitates winning at the ML level during the regular season? I think we should recognize that the Rays intend to play the game a certain way and we need to match that with a no quarter style of our own. We should slide hard. Bunt and tag-up with a big lead. Pitch inside. We should not barrel roll infielders and catchers, intentionally head hunt, slide spikes up. In short we should play hard and rough but do it within the rules. Our goal should be to sweep these SOB's; that would be the best revenge.

2008-03-10 08:44:33
21.   Bama Yankee
18 & 19 Thanks!
2008-03-10 08:49:05
22.   ms october
21 one more thing bama - i know you have a young child, and you'll probably need to bring a bag of sorts for his stuff - but really try to make it as small as possible - i have seen great variety in what security lets in
2008-03-10 08:56:38
23.   OldYanksFan
Historically, buying one year Bonds has almost always been a safe bet.

I see it as an insurance policy. If Mats, Giambi and everyobe else avoid major injury, he will be a tight squeeze, but as soon as one spot opens, he could be very valuable.

Bond was/is a juicer. Giambi was a juicer. God knows how many others there have been who are now still helping their teams to win. I really don't see Bonds that much differently, other then he has had tremendous success as a ballplayer.

I mean, I think Bonds would be proud to be a Yankee. I don't know if I can say that for RJ and some others who have at one time worn pinstripes.

2008-03-10 08:59:43
24.   wsporter
16 Bama I'm not sure how long you plan on being in town but if you plan to do other activities in and around the City on your trip then think about staying in town. If not and you're driving stay across the river (ie. Elizabeth) it's a short ride in even across the GW (40 min)to Stadium parking. Have a blast!
2008-03-10 09:00:55
25.   williamnyy23
20 I am not talking about how the organization or even more knowledgeable fans feel. The mainstream reaction has been rather tepid, and I imagine that's because Cervelli is relatively unknown.

22 You can pretty much bring in any food as long as it is in a clear plastic bag. Drinks are limited to plastic bottles and less than 20 oz. Definitely bring your own food...the prices and quality of YS concessions are high and low, respectively.

2008-03-10 09:02:03
26.   claybeez
16 21
For the last two seasons diaper bags have definitely been OK. We've brought one to each game we've attended with the little one.

I've sat downstairs down the line and have to agree that upstairs behind home plate is preferable. We're in Tier 3 and have a great window to all the action.

Enjoy!

2008-03-10 09:04:39
27.   Sliced Bread
They should give out diapers to fans of all ages on the days Farnswacker can pitch.
2008-03-10 09:06:47
28.   Chyll Will
16 Yeah, and when you take the subway, buy a fun-pass; unlimited rides on bus and subway which lasts for 24 hrs from first use. You don't wanna keep feeding a card you might want to use more than a few times (like for exploring NYC).

Also, remember that 3-7pm is rush hour traffic; even on the subway, where it will be sardine-packed. Don't know if your itinerary says come and go the same day, but if you can avoid traveling during rush hour, I would (fantasy talk, probably).

And just for the hell of it, go to the subway booths and get bus maps (not subway map unless you want to use it as a tablecloth or parachute or something); the bus maps list not only the bus routes, but the subway routes and streets with names as well. You can likely only get a Bronx map (and maybe a Manhattan map) in the Bronx, but you won't get lost with these. If nothing else, remember to leave us something for the Bronx Banter Hall of Fame >;)

Don't bring a backpack, btw. They'll turn you away or tell you to leave it at Stan's (for a price). Highly annoying, but it is what it is.

2008-03-10 09:11:51
29.   williamnyy23
28 Thank you, Mr. McNamee.
2008-03-10 09:18:54
30.   Chyll Will
29 Come now, you're not excited by the prospects of a Bama Yankee N Da Hood? >;)
2008-03-10 09:27:05
31.   williamnyy23
30 Of course...I was referring to your closing line..."it is what it is".
2008-03-10 09:33:32
32.   wsporter
32 I believe Chyll has been instructed by his counsel not to respond to questions or comments of that nature.
2008-03-10 09:36:33
33.   Chyll Will
31 Ah. I zoned out on that whole thing after a while, to be honest. Who knew backpacks, arbitrary security procedures and steroids had that much in common?
2008-03-10 09:38:38
34.   Chyll Will
32 Rusty, you're fired...
2008-03-10 09:44:20
35.   Shaun P
34 Wait a minute, who are you again? I'm so confused.
2008-03-10 09:46:15
36.   weeping for brunnhilde
9 Agreed, william.
2008-03-10 09:46:48
37.   Chyll Will
34 That would've saved taxpayers a helluva lot of money. We coulda gotten a higher tax rebate!
2008-03-10 09:49:07
38.   weeping for brunnhilde
9 Not agreed about the retaliation part, but as you say, I don't think that's the point.

It's the attitude that matters, Duncan's talk of "matching their intensity," whatever that means.

Under Joe, it always seemed to be about "doing our thing, playing our game, going out there and winning on the field, etc."

I like Duncan's embrace of the fiery, competitive element. Under Joe, that was always, always downplayed, at least for public consumption, in favor of an even-keel, steady-eddy ethos.

We'll see how deep it goes, but I definitely had the same response as you.

2008-03-10 09:50:47
39.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 You're a monster, Emma! You'll stoop to anything.
2008-03-10 09:50:48
40.   wsporter
32 Damn, I thought I was Earl. Well I guess it's back to the ambulance races for me, who ever the hell I am.
2008-03-10 09:53:06
41.   Chyll Will
35 I refuse to answer that, because doing so may violate my Fifth Amendment rights to self-incrimination blahblahblah...

(rinse, repeat)

2008-03-10 09:57:45
42.   weeping for brunnhilde
16 Back when I used to go to games a little more often, I'd buy the cheap ticket (so long as it's not bleacher) and then find a free seat behind the plate, upper level. (Lodge or higher is good.) Even when you're high up you feel very much connected to the action. There's a real intimacy that's surprising for the size of the stadium.

I once saw the Yanks play in Chicago and was amazed by how different the experience was, in terms of intimacy.

Back when I was a kid, I'd always move down to the seats behind the Yanks' dugout, but at some point they began posting sentinels there to prevent such behavior.

Dirty pool, if you ask me; if there are free seats, fans should be allowed to occupy them.

2008-03-10 09:59:46
43.   Chyll Will
42 We're not here to talk about the past...
2008-03-10 10:05:14
44.   weeping for brunnhilde
43 ha ha ah ha hah ah ah!!!!
2008-03-10 10:11:37
45.   Chyll Will
/scene >;)
2008-03-10 10:29:09
46.   Shaun P
42 weeping, have you ever seen a game at Fenway? My only experiences at the Stadium were years ago now, and neither in great seats (all the way up in the RF upper deck, and way back along the first base line), so I have a hard time comparing. But I do not recall the Stadium feeling nearly as intimate as Fenway. I'm told PNC park is also very intimate.
2008-03-10 10:29:09
47.   ChrisS
I loved Duncan's quote about slamming into the catcher: "... that will be determined between third and home."

And it's a bush-league play on the Rays' part. But I agree with Cliff that there's no reason to lose Shelly's bat because he tears something trying to prove how tough he is.

2008-03-10 10:33:37
48.   mehmattski
16 I too am trying to organize a trip to the stadium for my dad, my brother and I. His birthday is July 7 so I was thinking the game against the Rays on July 8.

Do you guys not recommend the bleachers? Stubhub has some nice tickets available in the third row of the Creatures section, for the same price as sections 1-6. Which would give a better experience?

2008-03-10 11:20:23
49.   wsporter
It's being widely reported that the last game to be played at the Stadium will be a Rangers hockey game (See Lohud). To begin with I think it's crap that MLB and the American League couldn't figure out a way for the last regular season game to played at the Stadium. I think there is something going on there that no one is talking about. How do you not make a big deal about closing the house that Ruth built after all that's happened there at the end of the season?

I usually couldn't give a rat's arse about this sort of thing but a hockey game and not a ball game? That just doesn't feel right.

2008-03-10 11:56:46
50.   Shaun P
49 MFD, this doesn't bother me. The Stadium has hosted many high-profile sporting events (the '58 NFL Championship Game, more boxing matches than I can count) - and high-profile events in general (the Masses said by Pope Paul and Pope John Paul II). So why not an outdoor professional hockey game, by a NYC team? When's the last time that happened?

And if that hockey game happens in 2009, and so extends the Stadium's life into one more year (even just a little bit), all the better.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-03-10 12:00:22
51.   weeping for brunnhilde
46 Alas, Shaun, I never have been to Fenway.

Nor to Wrigley.

I'd love to go to Fenway, but man, to do that I'd have to go to Boston.

Who wants to go to Boston?

2008-03-10 12:14:11
52.   rbj
51 At the moment, I think Eliot Spitzer would.
2008-03-10 12:21:41
53.   horace-clarke-era
This 'fiery competitive element' quest among some here reminds me of the thread last week about Bosox-Yankee 'hatred' and a few being disconcerted that Torre and Francona liked each other (or Ortiz and several Yanks).

At the risk of getting all philosophical and stuff, 'we play this game every day' is just about the truest mantra of the sport, the distinction between football and baseball, in a key fashion.

It MAY be that Torre's laid-back even keel that allowed last year's team to surge so brilliantly from a truly wretched injury-plagued start with the media (and fans) all OVER them, is ALSO the same set of traits that make it harder to crank up 'fiery competitiveness' (read: panic?) in short playoff series. That the formula for year-long success doesn't work in a 5 (or 7) game series. I can see it, I have even argued it myself ... but have never been entirely sure of my own arguments (I know william, it happens!).

I think the plate collision is MUCH more likely to be a youngster trying to make sure his manager knows he has 'the right stuff'. I mean, this is Elliot 'ThunderOnThePath' Johnson, guys. How many shots he get to be noticed this month? It was well received in the dugout not because he injured someone (really!) but because he hustled. Tampa has a LONG tradition of playing slack, 'we're gonna lose' baseball. I can easily see them having a vested interest in guys showing hustle. They just traded a flat-out stud because he was also a dogger (among other pretty features).

Me, I think Girardi's using this to send signals to the media as much as anything, and I don't actually mind, but until the rule is changed (and I wouldn't object at all if it was) I think the outrage is a bit of posturing. I mean, if someone throws inside in the next game and hits and injures someone ... is this good?

I am open to persuasion on one aspect of this (so far): the idea that spring training should be treated like an All-Star game in hockey or basketball ... no one tries too hard, even the rookies. This mean no breaking up double plays too? There seems to be some debate as to just what the unwritten rule is ... that always tells me it isn't actually agreed on.

Reminds me of (a pet topic) the idea that stealing signs from 2nd base is so expected that teams change signals, but if a batter glances back to see the catcher set up he's gonna be in the dirt next pitch. When and how did the one become 'sort of okay' and the other beyond forgiveness?

2008-03-10 12:42:01
54.   JL25and3
To play devil's advocate for a second: if the runner shouldn't be knocking into the catcher in ST, why is it OK for the catcher to be blocking the plate?
2008-03-10 12:42:03
55.   mehmattski
Hey guys... let me be more concrete about my game plans... here's what I'm looking at on Stub Hub:

July 8, 2008 7:05 PM vs Tampa Bay
Section 331, Row F (field level, fair territory right field)... $85 each.

Is this a fair price?

2008-03-10 12:44:02
56.   JL25and3
I wouldn't take those seats, period. See if you can get closer to home plate in the upper deck.
2008-03-10 12:45:01
57.   Shaun P
51 Ah, Beantown isn't so bad. It has its good parts, and bad parts, like everywhere. I'm telling you, Fenway is a hell of a good place to see a game - there's your reason for going! The atmosphere and closeness to the field more than make up for the cramped feeling you'll have in your legs if you're taller than 5'5" - and the crick in your neck if you sit in one of the sections that doesn't directly face the field! Its an experience.

Admittedly, it was more fun pre-2004 - because you could get good tickets at reasonable prices many times during the season, by walking up to the ticket window on gameday (obviously not when the Yanks were in town, but still). Now? HA!

I eagerly await a (couple of?) losing season(s) by the Sox, just so getting tickets to Fenway will be easier (and cheaper).

2008-03-10 12:47:41
58.   JL25and3
I went to Fenway for the first time 3 years ago, and absolutely loved it. I sat in center field so I had a great view of the grandstand - and a great view of the games. I had no problem with the fans, either; we were just baseball fans talking baseball.

And on top of everything else, it was the game where Schilling came out of the bullpen for the first time, and ARod beat him with a big HR.

2008-03-10 12:59:04
59.   mehmattski
56 Hmm. $59 in Section 616 (Tier Box MVP), or $99 in Section 602, same row (F). Is it worth the extra $40 a ticket to be right behind the plate?
2008-03-10 13:08:26
60.   JL25and3
59 There's no comparison between those seats and the field level one. Section 616 are very good seats, 602 are great. $99 is probably a pretty fair price for them, it mostly depends on whether you want to pay that for great seats.
2008-03-10 13:09:33
61.   Sliced Bread
59 yes. I'd do that instead of the 85 buckers you mentioned, but to answer your previous question:

55 It's a fair price ($15 more per ticket than gameday) for a foul pole view. Certainly good seats for batting practice, warmups, and Abreu fans.
Plus, you'd be well-situated to jump on the field if one of those classic (anticipated?) Yanks-Rays donnybrooks erupts. Kidding aside, I have friends who have seats out that way and love them. Binoculars would be helpful in each set of seats you're considering.

2008-03-10 13:09:45
62.   JL25and3
59 To be fair, Section 616 is probably better than very good, but 602 is awesome.
2008-03-10 13:15:36
63.   weeping for brunnhilde
52 No kidding! Crazy, huh?
2008-03-10 13:20:06
64.   mehmattski
62 Yeah I think I might buy the section 616 tickets. Especially because TicketMaster has section 615 tickets (further up the line on the other side) going for $65 each.

Thanks for all the help!

2008-03-10 13:23:10
65.   wsporter
50 MFD, I guess what bugs me about it is we don't end the season at our place and someone other than the Yankees closes out "The Yankee Stadium", the "House that Ruth Built". The fact that it's the Rangers, the team that broke my heart by trading Eddy Giacomin, and then Jean Ratelle and Brad Park to the F'n Bruins for Phill Espo and Carol f'n Vadnais is really pushing each of my buttons.
2008-03-10 13:25:15
66.   Sliced Bread
63 52 what a dope. Not that I'm an expert on these affairs, but wouldn't it have been easier, and cheapier to some extent to maintain a mistress or two?
2008-03-10 13:26:28
67.   Sliced Bread
63 52 what a dope. Not that I'm an expert on these affairs, but wouldn't it have been easier, and less expensive (at least career-wise) to maintain a mistress --or two?
2008-03-10 13:26:52
68.   Sliced Bread
so nice I said it twice
2008-03-10 13:28:43
69.   weeping for brunnhilde
67 One word: hubris.
2008-03-10 13:36:36
70.   wsporter
51 I love the town of Boston; It and Montreal were the two great party towns of my misspent youth. If you couldn't have fun in those two towns in the 70's you just weren't trying. I have never been inside Fenway and I wont unless my kids wheel me in when I'm senile (probably closer than I think). The belly of the beast and all that.
2008-03-10 13:54:19
71.   Mattpat11
67 If this rids us of that disaster of a governor, its a net positive.
2008-03-10 14:04:40
72.   RIYank
Oh, Fenway is awesome. I was actually present when Bucky Dent hit his most famous fly ball... and I got out alive, too.

But for god's sake, take the T. Don't drive and try to park there.

2008-03-10 14:05:55
73.   Knuckles
I don't find Yankee Stadium 'intimate' in the way that Fenway/Wrigley are, but hell, it's almost twice the size. You don't go for the coziness, you go for the energy, especially on those nights when the crowd gets fired up, and you feel like they'll rock the place off the foundations.

Best example I've ever witnessed personally was Justice's dinger in Game 6 ALCS against the Mariners. The Mets had clinched the NL a day prior, so we were 56,000 people watching the Subway Series actually come to fruition.

Regarding the Rangers game- doesn't bother me, as long as the last real baseball event there is a Yankee game, preferably ending with the Sinatra version in late October. What does bug me is the Yanks close out the regular season on the road, in Boston, a week after they finish at YS. It's not a huge deal, but it's crap and could have been avoided. When they finally tear down Fenway (and in the words of David Wells, "I'll push the button"), I hope the Sox play their last game there on September 10, and have a 3 week road trip to close out the season.

2008-03-10 14:18:14
74.   Sliced Bread
73 word. it's utter horseshit that they're ending the season on the road.

The closest I got to Fenway was the parking lot during the '86 Series. Treked over from Albany with a bunch of Mets fans in a rented cargo van, with a beer ball. As a college kid, I didn't have the money to go inside. As a Yankee fan, I didn't feel compelled to. I might check it out one of these years, but probably not.

2008-03-10 14:28:16
75.   Andre
Since I live in Boston, I get to see more games at Fenway than at the Stadium. Fenway is a great place to watch a game for the atmosphere but not necessarily the view (depends where you sit though). I generally sit all the way back under the roof behind home plate (under the 600 club or whatever they call it these days). You feel very close to the game but you have the damn columns blocking your view here and there. The Stadium seems to have great views no matter where you sit, although you're quite a bit farther away.

The food at Fenway kills the dog food at the Stadium.

2008-03-10 14:54:00
76.   monkeypants
54 It's not OK for the catcher to block the plate, unless he has the ball. Consider the parallel situation at any base: if A-Rod is running to first base and the !B or P has the ball, the fielder can certainly stand in the baseline and tag him out; and it is not legal for A-Rod to intentionally try to dislodge the ball by slapping at it, or by ramming the pitcher. If on the other hand Derek Jeter is running to 3B, and he has beaten the defender to the bag, it's not legal for the fielder to, say, jump on his bag and shove him off the bag.

So basically, if the throw beats the runner home, the catcher should be able to stand in the baseline and tag the runner out. If the throw has not arrived, he should concede the base path to the runner. Yes, occasionally there will be collisions as runner and ball arrive at the same time. But the practice now is for the runner, who is out by 20 feet, to lower his should and try to steamroll the catcher.

2008-03-10 15:04:14
77.   wsporter
76 That last paragraph doesn't apply to the Johnson/Cervelli case though does it? He wasn't out by 20 feet IIRC it was a bang bang situation all the way which is why I don't blame Johnson on this one. Again, I think this has to be hung on the 3rd base coach and manager. It would have been just as easy for Cervelli to come out 10 feet in front of the plate to give up the run as it would have been for Johnson to give himself up; that is there is no way either of them would have done it. It was up to the adults to make sure that crap didn't occur and they obviously failed miserably.
2008-03-10 15:20:05
78.   monkeypants
77 I didn't see the play, but the runner said the following:

Johnson had no remorse: "From my point of view, I'm trying to score a run. … His left foot was right there blocking the plate. My options were to hook around and slide and I thought that would take too much time and I would be out," he said.

This indicates that Johnson thought he would be out, so he knew the throw would beat him. Now, one could argue that the catcher had violated Rule 7.06b:

NOTE: The catcher, without the ball in his possession, has no right to block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The base line belongs to the runner and the catcher should be there only when he is fielding a ball or when he already has the ball in his hand.

That is a plausible explanation. Whatever the case, the "adults" (meaning the coaches) shouldn't have to worry about policing this type of play. The rules are explicit; the umpires simply need to call the game the way it is in the rule book. If Cervelli is blocking the plate without the ball, it's interference. If he has the ball, the runner is out and should not be allowed to plow him over. Instead, everyone has allowed this silly play to become part of "hard nose" baseball, meaning that it is subject to arcane, unwritten rules about when in the season (or preseason) it's ok to break someone's arm or give them a concussion.

2008-03-10 15:22:49
79.   horace-clarke-era
77 I just don't get it, sorry. If it is a close play the 3rd base coach is supposed to NOT send a guy whose speed he's learning to judge? The manager's supposed to give - what? - a generic instruction at start of spring 'Send no one home unless they will make it easily?' Why not same generic instruction to all catchers, 'Never block the plate in spring.' The way you've phrased it (Cervelli could have given up the run), this can as easily be 'on' Girardi.

This is simply bad luck on a close play, a play that is currently within the rules of the game -- though as I said before, maybe it shouldn't be. And the very debate about whether it is an unwritten spring rule NOT to go bang-bang suggests there's no agreement, and therefore no rule.

I'll ask it again: do we 'ban' breaking up double plays in spring, too? Maybe we should, I can see a case, but unless and until that's made clear (to Carl Crawford, too!) I remain puzzled by the outrage.

And why has no one mentioned Pete Rose here yet? Oh. I just did.

2008-03-10 15:28:46
80.   horace-clarke-era
78 "If he has the ball, the runner is out and should not be allowed to plow him over."

The problem, obviously, is that this is not a force play. Nothing has been 'allowed' to change the game, though I do agree the bang-bang play is an anomaly in baseball.

Nor am I clear on how the umpire calling it right affects a collision. The right call doesn't fix a fracture.

The 'change' you talk about would be a changed rule: a runner is tossed and suspended for doing more than a clever slide, for deliberately initiating contact. (And some slides will break legs or sprain ankles, anyhow.)

Hell, if the base coaches are wearing helmets now, the mood may be right for a change.

2008-03-10 15:29:52
81.   monkeypants
79 But it IS against the rules, spring or otherwise--that they don't call the rule is the problem. By the way, breaking up a double play is illegal too, in spring or the regular season (see rule 7.09f-g).
2008-03-10 15:37:38
82.   monkeypants
80 I'm not sure I follow your logic. At no base is it allowed to intentionally try to dislodge the ball from the fielder; certainly a runner would be called out if he was (for example) thrown out while stealing second on a blown hit-and-run, but instead leveled the second baseman or slapped the ball from his glove. So, it is illegal implicitly to obliterate the catcher if he has the ball, in an attempt to dislodge it.

The right call in this case would not affect the fracture. That's not the point. The whole "collision at home kill the catcher play" has developed because the proper rules are never enforced. If the umpires would simply call all of those runners out, the incentive for running over the catcher would disappear. Likewise, if the umps called fielder interference every time the catchers blocked home without the ball, they fielder would be less likely to do so. So, in my mind, if the umps just called the rules, there would not have been a collision to begin with (or at least such occurrences would be lessened), and hence no fracture.

there is no need for a rule change to impose a suspension--the league could do that already within the framework of the rules.

2008-03-10 15:44:14
83.   Sliced Bread
82 yeah, it would probably help if the umps reminded the managers, and the managers reminded the players of the rules of contact - especically before exhibition games.
2008-03-10 15:45:19
84.   wsporter
79 Yes given the analysis being tossed around this could just as easily be on JG as anyone. The 3b coach is supposed to send the guy or not. If he sends him under those circumstances he has to know a close play at the plate will occur and the result is a likely collision. Johnson was waived in, what's he supposed to do? Give himself up on a bang bang play? Not if he wants to preserve any chance he has of making the team. As I see it it was a baseball play that's been taken out of context and blown out of proportion because our guy got hurt. I'm not ready to crucify anyone over this least of all the players. In reading your post I think we agree I'm not sure why you led with "I just don't get it, sorry".

78 That quote indicates to me that Johnson felt if he used a hook slide that he would have been out and that if he was going to score the run he needed to go through the catcher. Take a look at the play regular speed you'll see how bang bang it was. Going through the catcher in that manner is a time honored tradition from back yard baseball to Ponce De Leon let alone the big leagues.

2008-03-10 15:47:32
85.   OldYanksFan
The kid on TB made a mistake trying to impress. Unfotunately, so did Cervelli. ST, 9th inning, down by 3. I'm sure if he had time to 'think about it', he would not have risked his body for that run.

We scored a run earlier on a play were our guy was out by 10 feet. But their catcher (smart) didn't get anywhere near the tag. The play looked dumb at the time, but whatdoyaknow....

2008-03-10 15:56:32
86.   monkeypants
84 "Going through the catcher in that manner is a time honored tradition from back yard baseball to Ponce De Leon let alone the big leagues."

Well, I guess this is where we have to agree to disagree. Just because it is a time honored tradition (though Rob Neyer did a piece on this a bunch of years back showing that it is NOT that old of a tradition) doesn't make it right or good or even within the rules.

In the end, this is all academic. The play will keep happening until someone is paralyzed, or a money-generating star player (maybe A-Rod, 12 HRs shy of the record) has his career cut short because of an injury.

2008-03-10 16:09:34
87.   horace-clarke-era
Guys, this is interesting. mp certainly sounds definitive on the rules but I confess if he's THAT solid, I'm puzzled by the sport. In other words, there's no upside to umps chronically NOT calling something that is as blatantly illegal as mp declares.

Is it compensation for illegal plate blocking? As in, the ump allows the C to be hammered if he illegally blocks the plate? Nah. Too many collisions are with a C who has GOT the ball and is waiting to tag. It doesn't make sense, even for umps!

I'd like to see the Neyer piece - is it archived anywhere that anyone knows? This perplexes me, I confess. I have always seen home plate as a defined exception to the non-contact nature of the sport. (2nd base dp breakups another, to a lesser degree). My understanding was that since the runner owned the path, if the C has the ball and blocks him the runner need not slow, deviate, do anything at all but run, assert his 'ownership' ... and the C has to risk a hit to make the tag.

On further reflection, wouldn't a catcher WITH the ball blocking the plate be violating the runner-owns-the-basepath rule?

2008-03-10 16:13:33
88.   wsporter
86 Yeah I guess we will have to. I do think the rules on a force play at the plate and the catchers equipment make this kind of contact almost inevitable (it's hard to make a sweep tag with that GD damn pie plate). And you are right, someone is going to get seriously if not life-threateningly hurt on one of those before the leagues takes a look at it to see if the rules are being followed on blocking the plate.
2008-03-10 16:17:42
89.   ny2ca2dc
Dudes, I'm about to watch my first ST game - just signed up to MLB.tv (third year in a row I've failed to ditch mlb.tv for a better solution whilst out of YES range). Bummer it's on FSN, commentators can't even pronounce "Joba" correctly. But I'm SO stoked! And there's the anthem!

Alright, I'll quit talking(writing) like a California boy now.

2008-03-10 16:25:57
90.   rbj
89 I got FSCN feed (living in Ohio). Great to see some baseball. And an error for A-Rod -- wide throw to first on the first batter.
2008-03-10 16:26:19
91.   rbj
Joba picks him off!
2008-03-10 16:27:10
92.   wsporter
Joba picks up AROD. Nice!
2008-03-10 16:28:40
93.   ny2ca2dc
Joba's doing his job, 2 grounders. Joba has a nice move, hadn't noticed it - sweet pickoff.
2008-03-10 16:30:09
94.   wsporter
Man Jr is still quick.
2008-03-10 16:31:12
95.   monkeypants
87 "On further reflection, wouldn't a catcher WITH the ball blocking the plate be violating the runner-owns-the-basepath rule?"

Again, use the parallel situation at another base. If a runner between 1st and 2nd is thrown out by a mile at second base, and the fielder is sort of standing there waiting for him, the runner can't punch the fielder in the throat or slap the ball out of his glove or run him over, right?

It's not quite accurate to say that the runner owns the base path. According to Rule 7.08 a 1:

"[A runner is out when] He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner's baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely."

So, the rule gives the runner the base path only if the fielder does not have the ball. If, however, the fielder has the ball and is going to make the tag the runner cannot run out of the base paths (or knock the ball out of his glove). Similarly, if the fielder is making a play on the batted ball, the runner must allow him to. In other words, in these two circumstances the fielder has the right to the base path.

2008-03-10 16:35:28
96.   OldYanksFan
By the by, the MLB 'premium' package now offers 1200k transmission, which is TV quality. Looks really good, and good even in full screen mode. I guess you can even use a PC to TV card. Seems like a very good option and CERTAINLY worth the extra dollars (over the 400k version)!
2008-03-10 16:40:02
97.   horace-clarke-era
95 Not sure that rule addresses the point. It covers LEAVING the basepath and defines the basepath for those purposes (ie, what leaving it means). It doesn't cover what we're talking about where the runner does NOT leave the path, merely (merely?) crashes through it!

I take your point about crashing into a baseman to try to disrupt a tag attempt - it never happens. But what rule makes it illegal? Because whatever makes it illegal SHOULD make ramming a C illegal too.

2008-03-10 16:45:46
98.   wsporter
He doesn't seem to be commanding the slider yet but that curve looks very unfair.
2008-03-10 16:48:33
99.   OldYanksFan
By the way... $5,000 for an hour of a pretty girl's time? Shouldn't there be some outrage? Should there be some regulation? Do these girls have a special exemption?
2008-03-10 16:49:44
100.   ny2ca2dc
96 Have they broadcast any of those 1200k streams during spring training? Not one available today. Sure would be nice if they really did get up to TV-ish quality. Of course if their bandwidth can't support all those streams, and if it keeps crapping out at pivotal times, I'll keep flipping out.

Man could this at bat get any longer. Just K ya bastad

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-03-10 16:50:06
101.   rbj
99 There needs to be an investigation. I will volunteer my services. I promise not to rest until I get to the bottom of the matter.
2008-03-10 16:52:55
102.   wsporter
100 No I think it's 400 bps till the season starts. I went looking for my 1200 stream when I read 96 but it's not offered tonight at that speed.
2008-03-10 16:53:15
103.   ny2ca2dc
The silverlight-powered MLB.TV seems to be worse, especially for frame rates, than the old version. What are your feelings?
2008-03-10 16:54:07
104.   OldYanksFan
100 No. The ST games all appear to be 400k, even for premium members. There is a demo of the 1200 mode. Even at full screen it's outstanding.
2008-03-10 16:54:41
105.   OldYanksFan
Joba's curveball looks like a plus putch to me.
2008-03-10 16:57:07
106.   monkeypants
97 Look at Rule 2.00, under Interference. That broad definition seems to cover what we are talking about: a batter/runner cannot interfere with a fielder trying to make a play.
2008-03-10 16:57:27
107.   ny2ca2dc
104 Cool, I'll look for the demo but I have a feeling that good as it may be it's not going to be near as good as a nice HD source when it's going thru my projector onto a 95" screen.

Nice hit by Godziller, weeping would be proud.

2008-03-10 17:03:46
108.   wsporter
Anyone think Gardner can't catch Matsui on a double?
2008-03-10 17:07:03
109.   ny2ca2dc
108 I think he could catch him at third on a single
2008-03-10 17:07:21
110.   wsporter
Hell I think Damon might catch Godzilla on a double. :-)
2008-03-10 17:08:25
111.   wsporter
109 I hope you're not looking for an argument cause I can't give you one on that! :-)
2008-03-10 17:09:45
112.   wsporter
It's nice to see Jr. looking good out there.
2008-03-10 17:33:53
113.   OldYanksFan
"a nice HD source when it's going thru my projector onto a 95" screen"
-------------------------------------------
Can you post a link with driving directions to your house?
2008-03-10 17:34:37
114.   rbj
Via Pete Abraham, the Yankees have signed Billy Crystal, who will play in Thursday's game. Yes, that Billy Crystal. He'll be 60 y.o.
2008-03-10 17:39:27
115.   Knuckles
114 What, Minnie Minoso wasn't available?
2008-03-10 17:42:05
116.   rbj
115 LOL. Maybe they'll sign Babe Ruth's daughter for the last game at the Stadium.
2008-03-10 17:56:10
117.   Chyll Will
115 ,116 Patience, they'll both be signed as soon as Halley's Comet finishes another circuit around the Solar System...
2008-03-10 17:59:25
118.   wsporter
117 Hell, maybe they'll sign Haley's Comet.
2008-03-10 18:09:19
119.   RIYank
Whoa. I'm not watching the game, but I just checked Gameday. What happened that inning -- IPK threw one pitch to each batter except for Janish, whom he walked on four pitches???
2008-03-10 18:11:23
120.   RIYank
And what is Volquez throwing? Are they sinkers?
2008-03-10 18:18:07
121.   wsporter
120 BB's.

Great fastball, sick change.

2008-03-10 19:51:09
122.   seamus
hi folks! how is our offseason going? or went. season is on! woo hoo!
2008-03-10 21:30:54
123.   weeping for brunnhilde
122 Whoo hoo, indeed!
2008-03-10 21:31:37
124.   Mattpat11
Billy Crystal is easily in the top five Yankee free agent signings of the last five years.

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