Monday, February 25, 2008

Lack of Spring Training Coverage

In a perfect world, the YES Network would cover the Bombers in an ESPN News fashion - including the preseason. Instead, we're stuck with Nets games, and reruns of Centerstage and Yankee Classics. I want preseason coverage, and I want it now!

Noted local Yankee hater and D&C sports columnist Bob Matthews made the prediction that the Yank's streak of making it to the post-season has ended. He thinks the Tigers and Red Sox will be the league's best, and that too many other teams have gotten better and have surpassed NY. Given that every season I expect a 1998 like level, I'm inclined to disagree with that position. I think most media dopes are used to seeing big name, hired guns in the rotation (Key, Hitchcock, Cone, Wells, Clemens, Wetland, Mussina, Johnson, etc. etc.) that they are uncomfortable with the youth movement and not ready to be sold on Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy and just can't help themselves in trying to be the first to report on the team's demise. As I've said before, I like what we got, and I like our chances.

Other MLB items you may have missed: Tampa is talking to Barry Bonds. Red Sox doing the biggest no brainer in the history of earth and giving Francona an extension. An ominous start for the Phillies as Brad Lidge goes down with a knee injury. And the latest odds that Willie will still be the manager of the Mets when June rolls around: 10 to 1.

On the Mets for a moment - I have added a link in the side bar for the Mets fan


old professor said...

Sporting News in their baseball magazine edition also predicts the Yankees will not make the playoffs. They predict the Indians will be the wildcard team. The analysis of the Yankees views two concerns for the Yankees: (a) the starting rotation may rely on three untested rookies, who may be successful over the long-term, but may breakdown under the pressure of NY during their first full season and (b) the bullpen. The analysis predicts the Yankees will have a patchwork bullpen again much like last year and will not be able to get the ball to Rivera.

The only positive part of the analysis is for the offense. The indication being the Yankees will bludgeon bad pitching enabling them to stay close to the race for the Wildcard.

I don't tend to totally agree with the analysis, though the bullpen still is a concern. The starting rotation, barring injury, should be sufficient to win 95 to 100 games. The bullpen will be an issue. However, I believe Girardi brings something to the table that Joe Torre never had and that is the ability to manage a pitching staff. He will use all the available arms in the pen and not rely on one person continually thus avoiding a physical breakdown by any member of the pen by July.

By the way, the same analysis points out Jeter being the worst defensive shortstop currently in the game ("his gold gloves are as much a joke in baseball as Bernie Williams' gold gloves")[Not my quote].

I don't believe the Yankees will stumble out of the gate like they did last season the pitchers will be healthy and some of the veterans will show up in a better state of mind (Abreu comes to mind) and I don't think the Red Sox will start this year like last year, though their pitching is still a level above everyone else.

Crash said...

I would like to see some spring training coverage as well, not just the pre-season games, but reports from Tampa, progress reports on prospects, etc.

If anyone says the Yankees are out of the playoffs they should be removed from sports writing all together.

I agree with you, that as a fan we always have lofty expectations. But I really think we get back this year as AL East Champs. Everyone seems to think that Boston is the favorite, not just for the division but for the pennant and World Series title. Yet they have the same question marks (if not more) than the Yankees.

It seems no one is questioning the offense of either club. But it comes to pitching, and this is where the anti-NY bias begins. Most of the media seems to be saying the Yankees are relying too heavily on kids to fill the rotation needs, and they're praising Boston's rotation. Last time I checked the Yankees have Hughes and Kennedy slotted in the rotation. Wang and Mussina are healthy. Pettitte is physically fine (mentally...check back later). The Sox also are relying on 2 kids, Bucholz and Lester. They lost their #3 guy in Schilling, and there's health concerns about Wakefield too. Red Sox are so worried about the rotation they're taking a chance on Bartolo Colon. Who got lit up in the Mexican League this year. He's in camp, but again out of shape and overweight.

The bullpen situation, both are question marks, though I honestly like the Yankees more with Joba back in the 8th inning slot. Word is Hawkins is throwing real well and could be in the 7th and/or 8th inning slot. Then you have some question marks with Farnsworth (due for a huge year) and some of the younger guys like Ohlendorf, Veras, etc. Who do the Red Sox have, some 45 year old named Timlin and Tavarez who has a career ERA in the mid 4's...those are their solid guys. Then you have questions marks with Okajima; either got tired down the stretch or hitters watched tape and caught up to him (or both), and Craig Hanson who was suppose to be their next closer but has dropped considerably off the radar.

Looking at the closer role...Papelbon has had a couple of good years, but last time I check 2 years doesn't make you the best ever. Ask Brad Lidge how that's worked out. He had a couple of good years and people were claiming him to be the next big closer...not so much. Bottom line is Mo is the best and will be until he hangs them up.

All this adds up to Yankees winning the East by about 2-3 games...probably about 93 wins.

Where's that Red Sox guy, I would be interested in hearing an honest opinion from one of the Nation's own. If he honestly thinks the Sox are going to run away and hide with the division this year, he loses all credibility.

One last note,individual game tickets go on sale Friday. Mid if we're definitely road tripping to Pittsburgh let me know ASAP. Let's get a bunch of us together for it.

old professor said...

Nice that I get left out of a possible road trip to Pittsburgh. If you go, stay out of the Hill District (not a real nice place to be especially after dark). Depending on how you get there, I can give you some great location on chili and dogs/with everything.

Nice that you slot Kennedy in the rotation instead of Chamberlain. The Yankee braintrust has indicated that Chamberlain will be in the rotation, with Kennedy probably starting the season in Triple A.

Mid said...

Hawkins throwing well, Bruney has slimmed down, Chamberlain in the 8th and Farnsworth is pissed off.

Real life sports always find a way to surprise the largest number of people - what are the odds that the bull pen actually turns out to the be the best in baseball?

Mid said...

I can't believe no one complimented me on the Mets site that I added!

old professor said...

If Farnsworth is pissed off, trade him to Philly - they will need a closer until Lidge comes back. And Farnsworth seemed to have more success in the National League. Speaking of Lidge- he throws one pitch in spring training and blows out his knee. Yikes, talk about being fragile.

Initial reports on Igwa are favorable.

Crash said...

I like the link. I think that accurate reflects the Mets standings in NYC. They may end being the 5th best team in MLB (obviously all AL teams that make the playoffs will be better than any NL team).

Old Prof you weren't being left out of Pittsburgh.

More importantly did you ditch Mrs. Prof in Cancun long enough to get the condo?

Mid said...

Farnsworth being pissed is an expression of playing with vinegar or something like that (generation gap). The point is, he's going to have a good year.

old professor said...


Regarding the Condo, Mrs. Prof. would not let me anywhere near the real estate people selling the condos. However, right next door to where we were staying and associated with the same beach is a new set of condos - asking price for the smallest unit -
$1,000,000. Maybe the three of us could split the cost. We are also trying to plan another outting to Cancun, which would be associated with a conference in Arizona. (Don't ask the connection).

By the way, Crash, Club Tullum has been completely demolished and they are in the process of rebuilding it to model the other resorts. Open by December.

Back to baseball - Mid - Sorry about the generational thing with Farnsworth. Hopefully Girardi can revitalize the guy. How could he have ever been a closer with such a fragile ego?

Crash said...

Mid should be happy, Karsten is starting today in an intra-squad game. Getting an early chance to show he belongs back with the big club. Mussina will be starting on the other side. Look for them to throw no more than 1 or 2 innings.

57 said...

I have four words for the author of this blog in relation to the Mets site......What a jack ass!!!

Crash said...

Not only did Karsten start and pitch decent (2ip, 1H, 0ER) but Rasner came in to relieve Mussina, and pitched well (1ip, 1H, 2Ks).

Mid you must be in your glory.

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