Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Maybe the Yankees and the Red Sox read my blog from yesterday. The rivalry heated up last night and it sure looked like a good old Yankees/Red Sox skirmish. Players fumed, benches emptied and coaches were ejected. Maybe MLB actually installed my idea, Wild Card teams do not get any home games.

From years past, Carlton Fisk, Lou Piniella, Thurman Munson, Bill Lee, Pedro Martinez and Alex Rodriquez all settled their differences with harsh words, bean balls and fists. You can now add Francisco Cirvelli and John Lackey to the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry.

The incident in the seventh inning never amounted to a full blown brawl but it was right up there with rivalry flare ups. After Cirvelli hit a homer in the fifth and as he crossed the plate, he demonstratively clapped his hands. This is just Cirvelli, the man seems to be on a constant caffeine high. Come the seventh inning, Lackey, who took offense to the gesture, plunked Cirvelli between the 1 and the 7. Don't care what Lackey says, he was throwing at him. So what, it's baseball and it's the Yankees/Red Sox. Cervelli taking offense to it, so what, it's baseball and it's the Yankees/Red Sox. They both were showing some passion and showing that they are in a fight and they really care.

The benches emptied and when the dust settled, Larry Rothschild, the Yankees pitching coach was tossed during the bru-ha-ha. Girardi hung around until the ninth when he was steamed that Saltalamacchia was awarded first base after he clearly was swinging at a pitch but was ruled that he was hit by the pitch. Earlier, Granderson was hit by a pitch but it was called a strike because it supposedly hit the knob of the bat.

All in all, there was a game and CC got a win against the Red Sox.

Now we got something to watch, the Yankees and Red Sox are actually having a passionate series and they are all playing like this means something.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yankees vs Red Sox: A Little Watered Down

It seems to me that everytime you look up the New York Yankees are playing the Red Sox. As a matter of fact they face each other 18 times during the regular season and possibly seven times in the post-season. There is no urgency in a Red Sox/Yankees game.

Right now the Red Sox have a 1.5 game lead on the Yankees in the American League East. If the Red Sox sweep this series, they go up 4.5 games but there are another three games left between them. If the Yankees sweep the last three than all of this is for nought.

Here is what I say they need to do. Limit the games between the two teams to possibly 12 games. Strategically place them on the schedule. Opening Day is a great place to have this rivalry and sprinkle them throughout the year. Have a three game series in late August and then have them play three on the last days of the season.

With this theory, there are more meaningful games between the two teams. This 18 game stuff becomes old because it gets to a point that no one cares. Those extra six games makes a huge difference in the fans interest. The games become more exciting and every game means something.

Which gets me to my next complaint, the Wild Card. Don't like it and never will. The Wild Card is an easy way to reward the first place winner of all the losers. Since baseball will never do away with the Wild Card, I have a proposal. If you are the Wild Card team, you get no home games, none. That will make playing for the Division Title that much more important.

If you have twelve games between the Red Sox and the Yankees and the Wild Card team gets no home games throughout the play-offs, every one of the Red Sox/Yankees games would be exciting and important.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Yesterday at Saratoga Racetrack, a three year old horse showed the racing world that his career started late in his third year.

The Travers Stakes was run yesterday and a horse who I have liked since the Kentucky Derby, Stay Thirsty, came out in front. This is a 1 million dollar Grade 1 Stakes race and with this win, moved him atop the three year old division.

This Travers was wide open with Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom sidelined. You still had Preakness winner Shackleford and the Belmont winner Ruler on Ice entered. Stay Thirsty won this race going away with two longshots rounding out the top three finishers. Ruler on Ice finished fourth and Shackleford finished a tired eighth.

There is no doubt Stay Thirsty has gotten better since the Kentucky Derby. By resting him for the Preakness, he came back and ran a real good race in the Belmont. He then won the Jim Dandy and now the Travers. His four year old season is going to be great.

Stay Thirsty's jockey, Javier Castellanos, compared Stay Thirsty to his father Bernardino. Castellanos has jockeyed both. Stay Thirsty gives Castellanos a hard time in the first half of races and eventually settles down. Bernardino, another Travers Stakes winner, would do the same thing.

Look for Stay Thirsty to be entered in the Breeder's Cup and look for him in the winner's circle after that race.

Friday, August 26, 2011


All season I have been comparing the 2011 Yankees to a recreational softball team and last night their three grand slams proved my point. Not taking away from a record breaking feat but I am talking about the big picture and that big picture is winning the World Series.

Let's review the differences between a baseball team and a softball team.

A baseball team usually has an ace and three other starters who can keep a team in a game, a softball team has a guy who can pitch the ball somewhere near the plate and someone is going to swing. Remember the old softball adage, "You paid your forty dollars, swing the bat!!"

Let's compare this to the 2011 Yankees. You have an ace in Sabathia and then you have to hold your breath when every other starter takes the mound. Last night, Hughes got the ball and he turned into the softball pitcher that he is. He lasted 2.2 innings, gave up 6 runs and 7 hits. When he exited, the Yankees were down 6-1. Let the softball game begin.

Another difference between a baseball team and a softball team: The baseball team that goes on to win with 22 runs usually will give up 1 or 2 runs. A softball team will score 22 runs and give up 9. Everyone is so excited about a 22-9 win but did anyone notice that the A's scored 9 runs. If that doesn't bother anyone in the Yankees dugout, then they are nuts.

The Yankees were down 7-2 and Cano hit the first of three grand slams in the fifth inning and then with the Yankees down 7-6 Russell Martin hit the second grand slam to make the score 10-7. Meanwhile with the Yankees putting runs on the board, they allowed the A's to still score 2 more runs.

The record breaking grand slam came off the bat of Granderson in the eighth inning. Perfect for a guy that has been hitting homer after homer this year.

I was approached the other day by someone at work and they asked me, "Why do you say the Yankees pitching staff is awful but they have the third best ERA in the American League?" My answer is simple, it is a long season and every team gets it's fair share of games against other teams that are not that good. The Yankees feast off of teams that also have softball pitchers and they score against these teams. When you put the Yankees up against a team that has a good pitching staff, the Yankees have to fight for everything. Don't get me wrong but the Yankees have a powerful line-up but it's pitching that wins World Series. I told this person that the Yankees chances are slim to none in a short series. You have one ace, Sabathia, and he has to win against the other teams ace. If the Yankees lose, 1-0, who you are you gonna pitch for game 2? Exactly, I couldn't think of an answer either.

And onto the last comparison of baseball teams and softball teams. A baseball team has position players and utility players. Everyone has a job and the manager plugs the right person in. A softball team has 10 guys, who if need be, can play any position. How many times have you heard this, "Hey, Fanuchy, I know you don't play short but I need you there today, Fineberg has a harpsichord lesson. Just get in front of it and knock it down. Don't worry we will score more runs than you make errors."

Yesterday the Yankees decided to make Posada, Fineberg. They put him at second base for the final innings. This isn't a championship Major League Baseball team but a championship caliber softball team.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Some may think that the addition of Plaxico Buress is a gamble. I think the addition of Plaxico Burress only makes the Jets passing game that much stronger. Any defensive coordinator will now have to figure out how to cover Buress and Holmes. You can't double team one and single coverage the other, just won't work. If you slide the safeties over in a zone formation, Dustin Kellar will kill you in the in-between zone.

With the receivers the Jets have, my cousin's son, Steven #9, could air it out too. Steven's football team got to play a scrimmage game at halftime of the Jets/Bengals game. How cool is that for a kid to be playing on the turf of the Meadowlands with the NY Jets watching.

And besides getting to play with the NY Jets watching, he got to meet Mark Sanchez (a little hard to see Steven) and also have Darrelle Revis walk right behind you.

This picture says it all as he walks off the field and Steven will remember this for the rest of his life.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The football season has started and our football team is coming along great. I am coaching a Pop Warner team. (Updates will be in a later post, we are still in scrimmage mode)

Yesterday at practice we were doing defensive drills. I was standing on the edge of the field since I coach the offensive line. As I am making my notes for my offensive lineman and I get a tap on my shoulder and a voice states, "Are you the Head Coach?" I turn around and I see a man who I never have seen before and I reply, "No, but how may I help you." He says, "I am here to pick up Henry (I will not use the kid's real name for this post), he is late for his tutoring." I ask him, "Who are you?" and he says very hesitantly, "I am a friend." This all sounded very suspicious considering that we are in the middle of a practice and this guy comes out of nowhere to pick up a kid. I tell this guy, "Hold on a second, let me check with the Head Coach." He then tells me, "If you can hurry it up, we are already 30 minutes late."

I go over to Henry and I say to him, "You see that guy in the white shirt? Do you know him?" and Henry said ,"No." I asked Henry if he had tutoring today and he said no.

I walked back over to this guy and I said to him, "Who sent you to pick up Henry?" and this guy said, "His mother." I advised this guy that I needed his mother to come get Henry before I will release him to an adult, that I have never seen before. He gets irritated with me and starts to tell me that I am making Henry even later to the tutoring session. I asked the guy where Henry's mom is and he said in the car. He was told to go get her and Henry can leave. The guy left in a huff and talking all sorts of smack to me as he walked away.

About five minutes later, I notice that Henry's mom is storming across the field at me. I figure I will meet her halfway. Before I can even get to her, she starts to yell at me about how they are late to the tutoring session and how Henry was lying to me because he didn't want to leave football practice. I tried to explain to her, that I am not releasing a child to a person that I don't know and one that is giving me answers that are vague. I told her that if she leaves the practice field, the kids are our responsibility and we take that responsibility serious. She was not happy with my answers and started to rant and rave. I said to her very politely, "Ma'am, Henry's over there and you can take him to where he needs to go." I turned around and walked away thinking to myself , "Lady, what are you thinking."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It appears that once Derek Jeter got his 3000th hit, the hits have started to rack up. Since number 3000 Jeter has been batting .331 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 1 home run. Not bad for a guy that started the season with a .260 batting average. On June 13, he went down with a calf injury that sidelined him for a while.

Jeter, who is 37, was being written off. On June 13, everyone was talking about his lack of production and the possibility that he didn't have it anymore. Jeter is one of those amazing athletes that seem to always take it to the next level when need be.

Since Jeter returned, the Yankees have been in a fight with Boston for first place. Even with the suspect starting pitchers, Jeter has been the most productive Yankee. As the Captain, he is leading by example and it appears that everyone is following his lead ie: Cano and Granderson.

I am not sure if the chase for 3000 was getting to Jeter. I do know that once 3000 was reached, it appeared that Jeter went back to his usual business, helping the Yankees win baseball games.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


We need to chip in and get Joe Paterno his own bubble. He needs better protection out there. This past incident on Sunday is not an isolated incident.

On Sunday, Paterno was run over by a player during a drill. Paterno was watching another drill when he got blindsided. Paterno suffered a hairline fracture to his pelvis. That is dangerous for an 84 year old. He conducted his coaches meeting by phone on Monday.

In 2008, he suffered a hip injury in a pre-season practice. He was demonstrating an onside kick and down he went. Who is protecting this guy?

In 2006, he suffered a broken leg and damaged knee ligaments when a player ran him over during a game at Wisconsin. Who is protecting this guy?

We protect Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies and senators and congressman. We protect actors and we protect buildings. I ask this question, "When are we going to protect this national treasure called Joe Paterno?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Last night was yet another joke and anyone who thinks that the Yankees are World Series bound are delusional. The Yankees do not have the pitching to compete in a seven game series, let alone a short five game series.

AJ Burnett is like a boxer who comes out strong. He throws a few jabs and lands a few solid rights but once he is countered, he becomes lost. AJ Burnett had that one inning again. Abreau connected with a counterpunch and AJ became wobbly. He then walked Trumbo, got a long fly out from Wells and then another brain surgeon, Girardi, has AJ walk Itzuris. When AJ is wobbly the last thing you want to do is put anyone on base. Since he walked Itzuris, he might as well walk Bourjos. Then, Jeff Mathis, the only other person who is batting a little above the Adam Dunn line, gets a double off of AJ. Can you believe that Girardi still wants to keep him in the rotation.

AJ has not won in August since 2008 and he has not won since June. He looks great one inning and the next he looks awful. He has been a very expensive .500 pitcher. He is great in the clubhouse and throws a great pie in the face but he is the guy you can't trust in a short playoff series.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Not sports related but 16 years ago today Jerry Garcia passed away.

Garcia was the lead guitarist and vocalist for the Grateful Dead. He was also one of the songwriters for the band. When on stage, he was the best guitarist to just open up and jam. Listening to the Grateful Dead live, allowed everyone to hear the ability that Garcia had in improvisational guitar playing. No two Grateful Dead concerts were ever the same.

The other band members have went out on their own or have collaborated on musical projects. The Grateful Dead can not go back on stage without Jerry Garcia. That would be like the Beatles going on stage as the Beatles without John Lennon.

Jerry Garcia is missed by every Grateful Dead fan but the music that Garcia and the Grateful Dead have produced lives on.

If you have never listened to the Grateful Dead or think that it is a bit to psychedelic and "out there", take a look at the video I posted. It is a song called "Ripple". 

Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 - August 9, 1995)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


And now Major League Baseball wants to investigate Alex Rodriquez for a poker game. I don't side with ARod on a lot of things but this is just ridiculous.

Major League Baseball is stating that they have already warned Alex about these poker games. They don't like the fact that he is in some high stakes games and that the people that attend them are not up to major league standards. MLB has tried to get some of the big time actors to snitch on Alex Rodriquez. The actors will not talk and Major League Baseball does not have subpoena power. Does Major League Baseball think that these poker games are going to ruin baseball?

This is like my company telling me that I can't go to the racetrack. It's legal and yes, there are some shady characters that hangout at the track. I am a big boy and I think I can make my own decision on whether I want to hang with those people. I think ARod is allowed to play in these high stakes poker games because of one reason, they are legal. If there are shady characters, I would hope that he would make the right decisions. Now if he screwed up and made the wrong decision then we have something to talk about.

Right now MLB has bigger issues to deal with than a legal poker game and if you are just like me, you just don't care what MLB thinks.

I was watching the beginning of the Yankees/Red Sox game and Curt Schilling was in the booth and I noticed something. Doesn't Schilling look like Jeff Garlin from Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Just a thought.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Did you know that after Friday's night game,  the Red Sox are leading the Yankees 96-95 in head to head games, including play-offs, in the last ten years.

And here it is, August, and the Yankees are tied for first place with the Red Sox going into Friday nights game. Hows that for a rivalry? The Yankees had already lost 7 of 8 games to the Red Sox this season.

The Yankees sent Christmas Miracle to the mound and the Red Sox were starting Jon Lester on Friday. As the game rolled on, Lester was in complete command through five innings. It appeared that his 2-0 lead was going to be enough of a cushion.

At one point Colon topped the radar gun at 97 MPH but the Red Sox were making him earn his money. Colon got himself into a jam in the fifth. He loaded the bases and with two outs and after 94 pitches, Girardi pulled him. The next batter was Adrian Gonzalez and Girardi brought in his only lefty Boone Logan to face the possible American League MVP. Logan struck him out with three pitches to keep the game close.

The Yankees were able to take a 3-2 lead on a run scored by Derek Jeter. This run moved Jeter past Honus Wagner for 21st place on the all-time runs list.

The bullpen is the Yankees forte and they held the one run lead. They went with Logan, Soriano, Robertson and then Mo.

Tomorrow Sabathia goes against Lackey and on Sunday Freddy Garcia is up against Josh Beckett.  Let's see how this part of the rotation looks against the competition. They pulled one off with two more to go.

And how could we go a month without hearing from Sean Avery. Can you believe that he shoved a Los Angeles Police Department Officer after they responded to his house in the Hollywood Hills to quiet down a party. Sean was eventually sent to the penalty box for more than two minutes. Word of advice Sean, pushing a police officer is not like pushing someone on the ice. There are no referees to save your behind, there is no third man-in penalty and no matter what, you are going directly to jail. Grow up Sean before the Rangers trade you to Siberia or the Islanders.

There is NOva Question

Ivan Nova took the mound yesterday for his audition.  I do believe that he passed the audition and the role should be his. He lasted seven and two thirds innings and gave up one run. He struck out 10 batters and raised his record to 10-4.

Girardi said that Phil Hughes will get another start next week. That will put Nova as the sixth man in the rotation. It appears that no matter what Nova does he is always going to be on the bubble.

Now that the Yankees are tied for first place, they face the Boston Red Sox this weekend. At least Sabathia is starting one game. This series is going to be a litmus test for the Yankees starting rotation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The Yankees showed why they are a complete softball team last night. They beat the White Sox 18-7. The Yankees line-up can definitely hit, even without Alex "Texas Hold 'Em" Rodriguez. To add to their softball mystique, AJ Burnett could not make it out of the fifth inning. He looked awful.

There are two pitchers that are fighting for a spot in the rotation. You might as well make that three. I know that I have said that AJ Burnett has been a bad luck pitcher and has had his moments but these one inning meltdowns are killing the team. How do you get a 12 run lead and have to be removed and not get a win? This is not play-off baseball, this has turned into recreational softball. The Yankees resemble a baseball team on only one day. That day is called Sabathia.

Let's really make this entertaining. Why not call up Kei Igawa from the minors. The Yankees signed him to a 5 year, 46 million contract. He is on his last year of his contract and has only pitched in 16 major league games. He has been pitching for the Trenton Thunder for at least three years. Bring him up and audition him before he goes back to Japan. Why not? He couldn't be anymore of a question mark than the cast of characters they are sending to the mound right now.

Even Alex Rodriguez would not try to bluff with a hand like this.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Yesterday Phil Hughes pitched for his spot in the Yankees pitching rotation. He knows that all eyes are on him and then all eyes will turn to Ivan Nova come Thursday.

Hughes allowed no runs and three hits over 6 innings. At one point Hughes fastball topped out at 95.  He was more aggressive than in any of his past starts this year. It also helps that the Yankees scored 6 runs for him.

Hughes has been unable to throw his fastball with any command in his any of his starts this year. He had to go with his off speed stuff that just wasn't working due to the lack of zip on the fastball. Yesterday, his fastball had some zip, which made the rest of his pitches that much better.

Although Hughes has a better overall record through the years, Nova is having a more consistent 2011. In my opinion he is the favorite. The ball is now tossed to Nova for Thursday. If Nova wants the spot he has to pitch his way into it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


It was 32 years ago today that I heard the news that Thurman Munson had died. I remember that I just got home from my summer job and I was in my grandmother's house. I turned on the television (no ESPN or 24 hour news services) and when the channel 4 news came on, the top story was that Thurman Munson had died in a plane crash. I was crushed, he was my favorite Yankee at the time. He was the reason that I wanted to catch in baseball. I did not know how the Yankees were going to continue without him. Believe me, it took awhile for the Yankees to right their ship after his passing. They didn't win another World Series until 1996.

Right now I am reading Munson's biography that Marty Appel had wrote in 2009. It is very interesting and an amazing insight into this baseball player who was very hard to understand.

Munson was the consumate Yankee. He played only for the Yankee organization. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1970 and was named American League MVP in 1976. He is the only Yankee to ever do that.  At the start of the 76 season, Munson was named Captain of the New York Yankees. He was the first Captain since Lou Gehrig.

He won 3 Gold Glove awards in his career and was an outstanding defensive catcher. During the 1977 season the Dodgers stole 114 bases and when they faced the Yankees in the 77 Series, Munson threw out 4 of 6 runners. He batted .320 in that series but was overshadowed by the 3 consecutive homers by Reggie Jackson.

During the 1976 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, which the Yankees lost 4 games to none, Munson batted .529. This accomplishment lead Sparky Anderson to classlessly state, "Munson is an outstanding ballplayer and he would hit .300 in the National League, but you don't ever compare anybody to Johnny Bench. Don't never embarass nobody by comparing them to Johnny Bench." This visibly hurt Munson especially after an outstanding performance in a losing effort.

Heading into the All-Star break in 1979, the Yankees were in fourth place, 11 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. Despite a .297 average, the wear and tear was taking its toll on Munson. He did not make the All-Star game in 1979 and he was thinking of retiring and/or being traded to the Indians so he could be closer to his family.

Munson was taking flying lessons so he could be home with his family more often. On August 2, 1979, he was practicing take-offs and landings. During these exercises he lost control of the plane and crashed. He perished in the burning plane.

The day after the crash, the Yankees began a four game homestand against the Orioles. The team paid tribute to their deceased Captain in a pre-game ceremony with all of the defensive players standing in their positions, except for the catcher's box, which remained empty. Cardinal Cooke said a prayer that was followed by a moment of silence and America the Beautiful was song by Robert Merrill. The fans then burst into an eight minute standing ovation. The man who would replace Munson on that night, Jerry Narron, stayed in the dugout and did not enter the field until Bob Sheppard (The Voice of God) said, "And now it is time to play baseball. Thank you ladies and gentleman for your co-operation."

I remember watching this and seeing Reggie Jackson standing in right field and crying like a baby. Bobby Murcer was sobbing. It was heart wrenching.

Munson's number 15 has been retired, he has a monument in Monument Park and his locker remains empty to this day. Derek Jeter has the locker next to the empty locker. There is a street in the Bronx named after him, Thurman Munson Way and a school was built on that street called, Henry Lou Gehrig Junior High School.

Thurman Munson (June 7, 1947-August 2, 1979)

Monday, August 1, 2011


The last time the Yankees did not make a trade at the deadline was in 1998. They did not make a move to strengthen their bench nor did they make a move to strengthen their starting rotation.

Brian Cashman has decided that the make shift pitching staff will do them just fine. With the way Sabathia is pitching, it is easy to overlook some of the shortcomings of the rest of the staff. Sabathia earned his 16th win yesterday in a 3-2 win over the White Sox. Sabathia didn't look great but he just knows how to win.

The Yankees have a six man rotation and that will not last long. The spot that is open is a fight between Hughes and Nova. Hughes will pitch tomorrow night for his audition. Ivan Nova goes Thursday for his audition. I know that Hughes had 18 wins last year but that was last year, this year he has had arm problems. Nova is young but he seems to pitch well when he takes the mound. The Yankees don't have many options and the only thing they can do is start the five pitchers that are doing the best. Too bad the Yankees can't start CC every night.

This is what the Yankees have decided to do and so be it. They are going to have to trust a youngster and two pitchers from the scrap heap. If they can give the Yankees 5 good innings then the bullpen can take over and they have a chance. We'll see, we definitely will see how this turns out.

As we take a look across the river, we see that once Nnamdi-mania had ended, the Jets still had their eyes set on going after a cornerback. Getting a bookend cornerback to pair with Revis was of the utmost importance. See a weakness and address it. The Jets went after Cromartie hard and they ended up signing him for four years. See a weakness and address it.

You can't win a Super Bowl without an outstanding defense and you can't win a World Series without pitching. Cashman has been dealt a hand that is playable but beatable and he has just gone all in and he hopes no one calls his bluff.