Sunday, October 25, 2009

Let's Go Phillies

There are ten reasons any decent American, even Mets fans, should root for the Phillies:

1. Economics - At times like these, one should easily support a levelheaded, low-risk payroll like the Phillies that rewards good performance rather than the reckless spending of the Yankees. 1.1 billion (with a "b") dollars over the last six yeas, a slew of cheaters, and they finally get to go to the World Series. They should be so proud!

2. More Economics - The Angels have a payroll of $113 million, good for fourth in the AL. Still, the Yankees payroll is 78% larger. And don't give me cost of living bullshit, I grew up near Orange County: it ain't cheap to live there. Add to that, if you combine the Angels and Twins payroll, they still spend less, together, than the Yankees.

3. The Press - Despite the lies in the headlines, they know those free agents are playing for New York for money and not to fulfill a lifelong dream. Buster Olney, on ESPN, made the comment after the Boston/Los Angeles series that the Red Sox should have offered Merc Teixeira more money to get him to Boston. Wait, I thought his wife is the reason he went to New York? I will give Yankee fans that: I've yet to meet one naive enough to think he really went to the Yankees for anything but money money money.

4. Yankee Fans - But Yankee fans are naive about their past. They talk about tradition, pride, and pinstripes. They forget collusion, racism, reckless spending and shamelessly getting rid of such players as Babe Ruth, Phil Rizzuto, and Reggie Jackson because they weren't believed to be necessary for the team's future.

5. The Erin Andrews Videos - Mickey Mantle's "beaver shooting" expeditions with the Yankees during the 50s and 60s contributed to the misogynist culture that still exists in professional sports.

6. The Umps (Are Obviously Yankee Fans) - Terrible calls by the umpires: Joe Mauer's "Yankee Stadium Foul" or Game 4's obviously new rule that you can only tag one player if you find two off the base. And anyone who thinks Pettitte's strike zone wasn't at least "generous" needs to stop listening to the radio and watch the games. You'd think a payroll that obnoxious would give you all you need to succeed. Apparently, the umps are still needed to ensure Yankee victory. This is, of course, nothing new. Just ask Jeffrey Maier.

7. A-Rod - Went from a straight-arrow, wholesome family man who was himself a bit embarrassed by his obnoxious contract to a steroid-shooting, philandering, openly greedy mercenary. It says a lot about Yankee fans that they hated the former but absolutely adore the latter, simply because he hits now that the leaves have changed color.

8. Andy Pettitte - "Yeah, I cheated, but, now that I've been caught, I admit it!" For Yankees, that's considered the brave, honorable thing to do.

9. Pedro Martinez - Best pitcher of his era, against the Yankees. I'm starting a fund, right now, to pay Pedro's fines if he decides to drill A-Rod, Teixeira, or any of those other smug mercs.

10. Grahm: My nephew. I don't want him to think that hard work, fidelity, frugality, and challenging yourself are vices. He shouldn't grow up in a world thinking that money is how you value yourself. I don't want him to think that you solve problems by simply throwing capital at them.

That he has to learn this by rooting for the Phillies, a team whose fan base would, in the words of Bob Uecker, "boo cancer patients," should tell you how utterly evil the Yankees are.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Serious Question, Seriouser Inquiry

The Milwuakee Brewers traded four of the prospects for C.C. Sabathia, and then, once his three months service had ended, promptly watched as he accepted an absurd offer from the Yankees. If reports are to be believed, the Brewers front office did offer him a five year, $100 million contract, which, when you consider the size of Milwuakee (1.7 million people in the metropolitan area) and Sabathia (he's not 30 and already pushing 300 lbs) is a huge risk.

Of course, there was no way a medium market team like the Brewers could compete with a seven year, $161 million deal the Yankees threw at him.

But, what if, what if, there was a cap on free agency spending? Not contract extentions to current players, but a limit to how much money a team can throw at free agents in the offseason?

Not only would it prevent certain teams from monopolizing the market, but, ideally, encourage players to stay with the teams they came up with as they'll have an advantage the 29 other teams won't have in the amount they can offer.

It's not perfect, and there are some ideas to be ironed out, but that way, we'll know for sure who really wants to play for the Yankees and who just wants the money.

Bottom line: If the Yankees had only been able to offer Mark Teixeira less money than the Angels or Orioles, I doubt his wife's opinion on the issue would have mattered. At all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fun With Numbers (Economics)

Everyone knows the Yankees have far and away the highest payroll in baseball, but here's HOW high that payroll is:

The gap between the Yankees (1st) and the Mets (2nd) is greater than the gap between the Mets (2nd) and the Mariners (10th).

The Yankees pay their infield $81 million. Just the 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS. That's more than the entire payroll of 17 major league teams.

The Yankees have three of the top five highest paid players in baseball, and six in the top 25, twice as many as any other team.

The Yankees have the three highest paid pitchers in the American League.

The Yankees, in their defense, are actually spending 4% less money than they did last year, though there is still time for a trade.

So, next time someone talks about the Yankees and uses terms like "aura" and "mystique" and similar nonsense, please remind them they're forgetting the key ingredient: capital.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Prayer For The Angels

No words to use but tragic.

Tom Glavine refused to say his performance (and the Mets' loss) against the Marlins in the final game of '07 wasn't the type of event that you used the word "devastation" to describe.

He was right, this is devastating. Really puts it all in perspective.

I'm in San Diego now, on a mini-vacation before going to L.A. this weekend to see the Sox in Anaheim. I imagine it will (rightly) be a much more somber affair than the game I was planning on attending.

Say a prayer for the Adenhart, Angel and families of the other victims of the crash.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nomaas Needs Our Help rents the pages of Red Sox pitchers Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, and enjoys posting petty, jealous advetisements about their respective abilities.

After the 2006 campaign, they listed Beckett's stat line for the year along with the comment "Ace."

After Beckett had his breakout, ALCS MVP-winning 2007, the post changed, to "It's Not A Blister!"

Clearly, they needed help.

And now, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we can offer them assistence, from their website:

As some of you may be aware, we've been sponsoring pages on Baseball-Reference for several years. With the new baseball season right around the corner, we thought we'd do something a little bit different and let our loyal visitors write our sponsorship messages.

And, what two better players to help us with than Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. We're not sure if Josh Beckett knows how to use the internet, but you know Curt Schilling does. That means that insecure blob will surely see whatever we put up there.

So here's the deal. We will select our favorite entry for each player and submit them to Baseball-Reference for publish on those pages. To participate, simply post your entries on the wall of our Facebook page. Post as many as you'd like. But, we won't submit anything to B-R that contains words your mother would be disappointed to hear. Keep it clever, not vulgar. Good luck in your quest to become internet immortals.

I'm going to offer this one regarding Schilling:

"Watching the Yanks lose the '01 Series: Priceless

Watching the Yanks blow a 3-0 lead in '04: Priceless

The ability to post comments about the weight of the guy who helped make those memories: $X (annually)."

I'm still working on a Beckett version.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Spring Is Here, Don't Fear The Yankees (Fear The Cowbell)

My father's friend got out the Navy in the late 70s. He'd spent his time in communications, and was well-versed in the ins and out of electronics. When he got back home to New Britain, he got a job working for a 24/7 sports channel starting up in Bristol.

Yes, THAT 24/7 sports channel.

He's got some great stories, including but not limited to his work in Bristol, my favorite proving that 'Anchorman' isn't nearly as far-fetched as some might think. He told me, "There are some TV personalities like that; they'll read anything off the teleprompter and not even realize what they're saying. Frank Gifford, you always had to be careful with that guy, because he would say, 'Hi, I'm YOUR NAME, and we're in beautiful San Diego this week..."

Anyway, he's also been reading Bill James since the early 80s, and hyped up Theo back when they first hired him based on his reputation of being a guy who isn't afraid of the future, which, he insisted, correctly by the way, was what the Sox needed. He still insists Amos Otis was never as good as James claimed he was though, but otherwise likes his view of the game.

I'm not comfortable saying all former Navy personal can cuss a blue streak at the drop of a hat, and maybe it's the subject matter, but this weekend he offered that we shouldn't be scared of the !@#$% Yankees because we still have better pitching and it's doesn't matter how much those !@#$% spend on free agents with a bullpen that's made up of Rivera, who's !@#$% amazing, and a bunch of !@#%... And he kind of went on like that for a while.

I'm not willing to agree with every word, but I am excited about this season, and right now I'm far more concerned with the Rays than I am with the Yankees, so spring training is arriving at precisely the right moment.

For me anyway.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wow, Just, Wow

Now, the above shirt was the result of the 2004 ALCS, the one where the Yankees blew a 3 games to none lead in the postseason, losing the last two in the Bronx to their archrival.

It was in the papers, and I believe the Post had the greatest headline ever, "The Choke's On Us."

Granted, it's not entirely true, but "The Comeback's On Them" doesn't grab you the same way.

Not that you'd want to read what's written on it, but it basically offers that the Yankees have won 26 World Series, including 20 of them before most Yankee current fans were even born. So, yeah, what if they blew the biggest postseason lead in history? They won a slew of titles during the Truman administration!

When the Sox won again in '07, I thought the shirts were pretty funny, especially when they boasted that it wouldn't be 86 years until the Sox next title.

Well, it took a year and some months, but it appears that the Yankees now have a response to that '07 Series:

You'll note the new version has seven rings for the Sox.

In case you can't read the rest of it, and I assure you it's not worth your time, this shirt basically parrots what the previous one read except it now adds "It'll take the Sox 238 years just to match our current total."

So, what can we make of this, other than that Yankee fans believe that the Red Sox and Yankees future title hope lie not in their respective performances on the field but in how well Mickey Mantle played during the Cold War?

I'll tell you what we can make of this: We've finally gotten as deep under their skin as they used to think they'd gotten under ours.

Ha ha ha ha.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grahm Thomas: Red Sox Fan

My nephew turns five in 2012, the same year Fenway Park turns 100, so plans are already being made to have him spend his birthday there, weather and schedule permitting.

My father is a Red Sox fan, but far more pessimistic and suspicious in his devotion than my brother and I.

Maybe it was growing up 3000 miles from Fenway, or never having to concern ourselves with an actual winter, or just being young and naturally optimistic, but we could always wait until next year.

But my father, aside from being a typical New Englander in demeanor and outlook, and though things have changed for the Sox, old habits don’t die quietly, and he was busy last October teaching my nephew the stages of being a Sox fan so that he’ll be ready mentally and spiritually for his big day at Fenway.
Stage One: Fear And Trembling
Stage Two: Anger
Stage Three: Denial

Stage Four: Grief

Stage Five: Acceptance

For most Sox fans, those were the five stages of watching the team in October.

But Grahmy has an additional stage.

He won't grow up hearing about waiting til next year, or about Bob Gibson and Bucky Dent and Mookie Wilson.

No, Grahmy will hear about Daivd Ortiz and Josh Beckett, and he'll always be waiting for the final out, to take part in the sixth and latest phase of Red Sox fandom:


Monday, January 12, 2009

I Will Comment Further, Later

Hall Of Fame results are in:

Rickey Henderson - 94.8%

Jim Rice - 76.4%

Rickey's totals are a bit low, but otherwise it sounds right to me.

I've long been a supporter of Rice's case for the Hall, but by no means do I fancy him an upper-echelon member of Cooperstown. He's not on the same floor as Musial or Williams, but I see no problem placing his plaque next to Lou Brock or Joe Medwick.

Congrats to Rice and Rickey, who did spend some time (however briefly) playing for the Olde Towne Team.