Tag Archives: Yankees

A Message to Umpires: Stop the Warnings

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Umpires this year have taken warnings too far.

Last week when Yankee Left-fielder Brett Gardner went hard into second base injuring Carlos Guillen, I was expecting some retaliation from Detroit. Two games later Gardner was hit leading off the game, rising suspicions that it was intentional. Honestly if it was on purpose then hats off to Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. He was protecting his teammate. The only thing that peeved me about it was he hit Brett in the leg. Hit the man in the back. Never aim to low or too high. That is what baseball is about. I know people hate to hear that, but I’m sorry that’s baseball. The players police themselves. Gardner hurts Guillen, he gets hit, end of discussion and we go on to playing baseball. But the umpires, by issuing all these warnings, take that aspect of the players policing themselves out of the game. I have no problem with umpires warning both benches to prevent a bean-ball war. But all I and fans ask is use common sense when issuing them. Surprisingly in that Yankee game Yankee pitcher Chad Gaudin hit Miguel Cabrera who had homered twice and a warning already issued, but Gaudin was not ejected.

As I write this, a warning in the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles game was issued after Alex Rios got hit with two outs and a runner on second. With the O’s still in the game, there is no intention of hitting Rios in that spot. But a warning was issued anyway. All umpires have to do is use common sense. They have been in baseball long enough to know when it is just a pitcher pitching inside or not. People get hit, that is baseball. Pitchers have to throw inside to command the plate. I have seen it too many times this year, umpires issuing warnings when they are not warranted. Once a warning is issued it cannot be rescinded and it makes the umpires job harder. If a batter gets hit or a pitch is inside they have to play mind-reader. Was it intentional or was it just a pitch that got away? So umpires, lets not always jump the gun and slow down with the warnings and lets just play baseball.

Now for some news around the Bigs:

I have one question for the Seattle Mariners: What were you thinking? They gave up Brendan Morrow for Brandon League and a pick. Now, League is having a pretty good year (63 IP, 2.84 ERA). But League is a reliever who doesn’t have the potential Morrow has nor does he have the stuff Morrow has. How do you give up on someone who has the stuff Morrow has. I watched him make professional, all-star quality players look horrible. In his last fifteen innings against the two best teams in baseball, the Yankees and the Rays, Morrow has given up two runs, five hits, and has a whopping twenty-nine strikeouts. His stuff is top quality and should factor into the Jay’s future for their rotation. I bet Seattle wants a do-over on that one.

This week two big name players, Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, were rumored to go on waivers. Damon has already hit waivers, while Manny is still waiting.  These two former all-stars can play a huge role in the pennant race. Damon can still hit and can be a productive player in the two hole in a lineup. He was claimed by his former team, the Red Sox on Tuesday, but he rejected the claim to stay in Detroit. Manny is the wildcard in this pennant race. If he is claimed by the White Sox or Rays for example, who knows what he can do. If he gets out of LA and into a race we could see a similar Manny that we saw when he went to LA after leaving the Red Sox. Just to jog your memory, Manny in 53 games in 2008 with LA hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI’s. Inject anything like that into a lineup like the Rays, White Sox, or Yankees and the whole pennant race is changed.

Quick notes on those Yankees. Without A-Rod this year the Yankees are 13-1. Now that is just a statistic , there really is nothing behind that. But what is not just a stat is Robby Cano is really stepping up in A-Rod’s absence. He is closing in on his first career 30 home run campaign. Someone is going to get a nice pay day in the off-season. In other news, Javy Vaszquez’s struggles have now led him to the bullpen. Rookie Ivan Nova will take his spot in the rotation. This is a scary thought for Yankee fans because after CC Sabathia, the Yankees have Phil Hughes who is on a inning limit, a struggling A.J Burnett, journeyman Dustin Mosely, and Nova in their rotation. Now with Andy Pettite’s return pushed back even further, it seems Mosely and Nova will pitch big innings in the Bronx this fall.

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10 things to watch for the upcoming MLB season

As I watch what actually has turned out to be an interesting season opener between the Yanks and the Sox (in the Michael Wilbon voice), I guess there’s no better time than the present to give you my 2010 MLB season preview. Here are 10 storylines to watch as America’s pastime opens 2010 in earnest tomorrow.

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Repeat?

It’s been another busy winter for the Yankees, though this time with a tighter grip on the purse strings. The 27-time World Champs signed former farmhand Nick Johnson as their DH and added journeyman Randy Winn to provide a capable outfielder off the bench. But the other additions came through trades. Curtis Granderson, fresh off a career-high 30 home runs with the Tigers (written as he takes Josh Beckett deep with two outs in the second inning), was brought in for pitchers Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, and top prospect Austin Jackson. The rotation was strengthened by the acquisition of Javier Vasquez (another former Yankee returning to the Bronx) for misfit Melky Cabrera. Vazquez and the reintroduction of Phil Hughes to the rotation stabilizes the back-end of one of the best starting fives in the AL, while Chan Ho Park and Joba Chamberlain’s return to the bullpen gives them depth there. Despite playing in baseball’s toughest division, the Yanks are still a front-runner to take home another World Series Title.

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Hot Reads: January 5th, 2010

A little bit of holiday hangover has the first edition of Hot Reads of the new year behind schedule, but it’ll be well worth the wait.

The sporting landscape is dominated by two major events this week, the first and most prominent being the BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and Texas on Thursday night. And while the coverage is far to ubiquitous for us to even begin to encapsulate, some of the most engrossing attention has focused, and deservedly so, on the Crimson Tide’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. His charisma has won over even the staunchest of Toby Gerhart supporters in the LA Times Bill Plaschke, and the relationship with his incarcerated father and former NFL-er Mark, Sr. gives Lenn Robbins of the New York Post a view of what’s going on inside the helmet.

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While Heisman finalists Ingram and Colt McCoy of Texas are dominating the hoopla, Ivan Maisel points out that Alabama’s quarterback Greg McElroy is not to be forgotten in the equation.

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Playoff Preview: Yankees vs. Twins

The Yankees have known for pretty much the last three months that they would be playing in the postseason, tallying 103 wins for the best record in the Bigs, and an eight-gameTwinsYankees margin in the AL East. The Twins have known about their inclusion in the playoffs for less than 24 hours by the time the series starts in the Bronx, as they squeaked in thanks to a thrilling 6-5 victory in 12 innings in a one-game playoff with Detroit. On paper, the Yankees have the distinct advantage, having swept all seven games in the season series.

The Yankees win if: They avoid the expectations they have succumbed to in the playoffs in the recent past. The end of Joe Torre’s tenure in New York was marked by teams that grossly underachieved come October. It’s been eight years since they lifted a banner in the Bronx, and the pressure is mounting by the day. And they could get caught looking past the Twins to the prospect of a meeting with either their arch-enemy Red Sox or their playoff albatross Angels in the ALCS. Across the board, the Yankees have the superior talent (lineup, bullpen, starters). But a defeat or two at the hands of the Twins could bring out the boo-birds and the thoughts of “here we go again,” both in and out of the clubhouse.

The Twins win if: Their starting pitching keeps things together just enough. Offensively, the Twins aren’t going to blow anyone away. Losing top RBI man Justin Morneau hasn’t helped, but it has made the team refocus its efforts on small ball and producing runs station to station. It may be too much to ask for a staff who’s most experienced postseason performer is Carl Pavano against the most prolific offense in the majors this season. But with a strong bullpen anchored by perennial All-Star Joe Nathan, young starters like Nick Blackburn, Brian Deunsing, and Scott Baker may not need to be exceptional, but merely solid to give them a chance.

The X-factor: The Twins’ momentum. The Twinkies finished the season with 17 wins in the final 21 games to win the Central, all since Mourneau went down to injury. They have a proven star and leader in Joe Mauer, good veterans in Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, and just enough offensive cover to sustain their small ball style. They’re a plucky, hard-nosed team that lives off solid defense. Sound like 2007 Rockies? Also, keep in mind that while the Yankees won all seven meetings this year, six were decided by two runs or less, and momentum in the postseason can be the great equalizer.

The verdict: I wish I had the courage to say the Twins would topple the odds and the Yankees, but the combination of a possible letdown, exhaustion, and the Yankees strong lineup make the ALDS another uphill battle for the Twins. Ultimately, Jeter, A-Rod, and Mo will survive and advance. Anything more than four games would be a distinct surprise.

-Matthew De George ’10

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