Mar
27

New Year’s Resolutions

By

There’s the Jewish New Year, the Chinese New Year, the fiscal new year and January 1st. Baseball has its own new year and it is now a mere four days away. With that in mind and in order to enjoy a more purposeful and ordered baseball life in 2011, I have prepared 5 of my Baseball New Year’s Resolutions. Please feel free to leave yours in the comments.

Resolved: to cultivate a deep hatred for the Tampa Bay Rays

I’ve hated the Boston Red Sox for as long as I can remember, and there is little about them for which I do not have disdain. There is the swath of unlikeable players, the smug ownership (“the MT curse?” indeed, John), the media cheerleading, the obnoxious fanbase, the whining about Yankee payroll, and, of course, Kevin Youkilis. When it comes to the Rays, though, there is little to hate. Yet they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. If I can’t ignore them, then it’s high time I figure out different ways to mock and loathe them.

The irreverent and hilarious NFL blog Kissing Suzy Kolber and sports blog Deadspin often publish what they term “Hater’s Guides”. Essentially these guides a compilation of all the things, fair and unfair, for which a team could be mocked. Last fall Drew Magary wrote one up for the MLB Playoffs, and this is what he had to say about the Rays:

I am so aggressively indifferent towards the Rays that I can’t even produce the vitriol needed for this preview. I think about the Rays, and all that comes to mind is a giant white void, free of any objects or even intangible thoughts. Just a wide expanse of nothingness that wipes out the color and soul of anything it comes into contact with.

Now, one could mock the the Rays’ low attendance figures or the fact that Yankee fans appear to outnumber Rays fans when the two teams face off at Tropicana, but this is low-hanging fruit. It’s also the hatred of absence, hating a team because of things that it can’t do. I’d like to discover specific things to hate them for.

It won’t be easy. The most distinguishing factor about that club right now is their intelligent management and the smart, likeable group of analysts like Jonah Keri and R.J. Anderson. For now the best target seems to be the way that people go out of their way to point out Extra 2 Percent-ness. The first entry in the book comes from Jayson Stark: listening is the new market inefficiency. Trust me, I’ll stay tuned.

Resolved: to enjoy a potentially dominant bullpen

Angst about the Soriano contract aside, the Yankee bullpen has the potential to be the best in baseball this year, and one of the best in recent memory. Without including their names, here are the relevant statistics for the Yankees’ four best relievers in 2010:

Reliever A - 62 innings, 2.81 FIP, 8.23 K/9, 2.02 BB/9.

Reliever B – 61 innings, 3.58 FIP, 10.42 K/9, 4.84 BB/9.

Reliever C – 60 innings, 2.81 FIP, 6.75 K/9, 1.65 BB/9.

Reliever D – 71 innings, 2.98 FIP, 9.67 K/9, 2.76 BB/9.

These relievers (Soriano, Robertson, Rivera and Chamberlain, for the record) will form a potent end of game corps and should lessen the burden on guys like Sabathia, Burnett and Hughes. Hopefully the fourth and fifth starters will be able to eat up innings, keeping the bullpen fresh and preventing burnout. If so, the final three or four innings of Yankee games will be very tough for opposing teams. It’s always fun to watch a dominant bullpen at work. It lends a sense of invincibility to late game leads. With Feliciano and Logan, Joe Girardi should have every tool necessary to lay down the hammer on opposing clubs. Use it well, Joe.

Resolved: to get overly excited about Derek Jeter‘s 3000th hit

There will be plenty of people this summer who will downplay Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. Some will do it out of earnest honesty, some will do it because they’re contrarian, and some will do it because they just don’t like the Yankees. Whatever the motive, and it can be hard to divine motive, I fully expect to hear a lot of reminders that the 3,000th hit doesn’t mean all that much per se and that it’s not nearly the best way to appreciate prodigious offensive production. Rob Neyer is the early odds-on favorite to do this, memorializing Jeter’s feat with something like, “Well, do 3,000 hits mean all that much? When I talked to Bill James, he wasn’t so sure. It’s hard to say. But it does seem that all this hubbub about Captain Captain is a bit overblown. Would we be paying that much attention if he was on the Pirates? It’s possible, but there’s no way of knowing.”

It’s true that hits aren’t the best barometer of offensive production. Yet just like reaching 300 wins the 3,000th hit is a rare feat, one that speaks to longevity, ability and consistency. The club is populated by only 27 players, some of them among the very best to ever play the game. Of these players, four spent time on the Yankees: Ricky Henderson, Dave Winfield, Wade Boggs and Paul Waner. There is, however, no player in the 3,000 hit club who spent his entire career with the Yankees. This is rather fascinating. Despite the illustrious history of the club and the sheer amount of time it has been around, Derek Jeter will become the first lifetime Yankee to join the 3,000 hit club.

Jeter is in the twilight of his career. There may be more World Series trophies, October heroics and Canyon parades in the cards for him, but the days of elite offensive production are likely behind him now. The 3,000th hit will be a time to reflect, a time in which the entire baseball world will stop and watch and recognize just how good Jeter has been. I’m going to count down to 3,000 like a little kid waiting for Christmas and go crazy when it arrives. It will be a moment to remember.

Resolved: to ignore media trolls

The New York media market is a tough media market. In fact, the members of the New York media market seem to delight in commenting on just how tough the New York media market is while simultaneously causing it. It’s a lovely self-referential trick.  Those responsible for covering the Yankees are no different. Unlike the coverage in Boston, which often leans towards excessively positive, the New York reporting crew has a combination of hostility towards certain players, the manager, ownership, the fans, and advanced statistics. There are exceptions, Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger being the most notable one.

This year, I will not let them get under my skin. If someone wants to make a tremendously unfunny joke about Joey Looseleafs, I will not pay attention. If someone wants to argue that single-season pitcher wins are a good barometer of pitching skill, I will plug my ears. Often times, the goal of making incendiary comments is simply to get attention. I can’t control what others do, but I won’t feed the fire. Eventually the market will sort this out and news organizations will realize that disdain for new ways of thinking, the consumer, or the object of the reporting isn’t what fans are looking for. Until then, I will go about my business in a state of happy ignorance.

Resolved: to say a proper goodbye to Jorge Posada

Jorge Posada’s contract expires after this season, and it’s very well possible that this could be his final season as a professional baseball player, or at least as a Yankee. I’ll miss him. I’ve always loved watching Posada hit, particularly from the left side of the plate. There’s something about that swingthat struck me as dangerously powerful. Posada’s never been the flashiest guy in the Yankee lineup, although he certainly put up some MVP caliber seasons in his time. He’s always been the guy you think of fourth or fifth when you’re running through a list of Yankee sluggers in your mind. He’s never had the pizzazz or the swagger of guys like Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield or Jason Giambi but he’s always been there, year after year, getting it done.

Jorge has had more than his fair share of major injuries. The torn rotator cuff/labrum and the brain injuries were particularly brutal, and he’s constantly getting beaten up behind the plate. Yet Jorge has always fought back, and it seems like he’s always been there when the team needed him. I will never forget the bloop double off Pedro in Game 7 of the ALCS and the way he pumped both of his fists and screamed at the top of his lungs as the Stadium rocked and rolled. I’m excited for the dawn of a new era of Yankee catching; Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are some seriously talented cats. But I’ll miss Jorge when he’s gone, and I’m going to cheer a little louder this year when he clubs his home runs and trots slowly around the bases. Who knows how many more he has left?

Categories : Musings

89 Comments»

  1. Stan says:

    What a dumb article. Looking for a reason to hate the Rays? Why? Are you really that petty that you can’t enjoy a game between your favorite team and another team without hate being involved? What a sad, pathetic point of view.

    Also, about hating the Sox, everything you hate about them applies to the Yanks as well. Replace Youkilis with A-Rod. In fact, your favorite team’s identity is revolved around the utter disdain everyone else has for you. Maybe that’s why you’re such a hater too.

    • RichYF says:

      Excellent input. I look forward to reading your comments in the future. Please feel free to add your insight to every article on RAB.

    • T-Dubs says:

      Yay! Everyone cares what Stan thinks!

    • Ori says:

      Oh Stan, you’re just plain awful. Stop drinking that hater-ade.

    • BigDavey88 says:

      What are YOU doing on a Yankee blog? Oh, that’s right, being an asshole.

      Silly me.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Utter disdain? Is that anything like the hate you’re against?

    • gs3369 says:

      Also, about hating the Sox, everything you hate about them applies to the Yanks as well. Replace Youkilis with A-Rod. In fact, your favorite team’s identity is revolved around the utter disdain everyone else has for you.

      Haha. It’s ironic all the hate you’re getting. This comment is dead on perfect, and true.

      The Red Sox and the Yankees are interchangeable. How anyone can deny this is beyond me. I’m guessing your comment hit a little too close to home, so instead of refuting your 100 percent correct statement, they attack you.

  2. pete says:

    Eh I don’t hate the Rays. Hell I’m not even indifferent to them. I actually kinda like them when they’re not playing the yankees. I’m still rooting for B.J. Upton to turn it around.

    • Yeah, I like Upton a lot. I hope he can, just so he can stick it to all the people that call him lazy.

      • Steve H says:

        I hope he turns it around the day he’s traded from the Rays.

      • Zack says:

        Or he could just hustle with the Rays now instead of “sticking it to” Longoria & Maddon later.

      • Slugger27 says:

        theres been like half a dozen instances in his career where his manager and/or teammates have called him out for not hustling. hes got the “lazy” tag for a reason.

        certainly he’s not the first guy to not hustle out a grounder, but the fact is hes got a reputation and its one that he earned. personally, im confused as to how anyone on this blog can like him and cheer for him to do well.

        • Zack says:

          Agreed. I get that we all point out the differences between “gritty” and “toolsy” when it’s a white and black prospect. But it seems people are using that to show that Upton’s “laziness” is made up or something.

          Maddon benched him twice for lazy plays before the game when Longoria confronted him in the dugout and Maddon called him out after the play. Watch the clip and even the announcers are shocked at what they were watching.
          http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play......k%3D264927

          • pete says:

            I don’t think that a few instances of perceived laziness on the part of a young, talented player is a reason to dislike him. I mean I get that it is for a lot of people, but it really isn’t for me. If a player doesn’t work hard to prepare himself and make himself the best player he can be, that’s one thing. But those players never make it anyway. I don’t much care about “hustle” in baseball.

    • Yeah, I agree with you. Ive had a lot of fun this winter reading Andersons work at the Process Report, I love the way their management thinks, and Im a big fan of Joyce, Jaso and Dan Johnson. Just a cool team. I wish they were in the NL Central so I could root for them more often. The entire “I’d like to hate them but I can’t find anything” is really just a tongue in cheek way of saying I respect their style.

      • RichYF says:

        Don’t try to pass off your clearly serious tone for satire. I’m not buying it. Seriously. Hate the Rays? For what? Putting together a good business model? Go look at your own team first before you criticize the Rays. Have you seen how little support they get? They should be applauded for their success. Meanwhile, the Yankees are rich, attractive, have the world’s best fans, put money back into the franchise, and somehow manage to win on a consistent basis. Talk about being petty. Why don’t you get a life?

      • Accent Shallow says:

        I don’t like Joyce (hit at least one big homer against the Yankees), Johnson (ditto), or Jaso (too many Js, don’t like hitters on opposing teams who take a lot of pitches)

        What do I win?

    • Slugger27 says:

      a lot of ppl here seem to really want bj upton to do well. ive been searching for reasons to like him, and for the life of me, i cant find one.

      why do so many ppl around here cheer for him? he’s been called out for not running out grounders, not chasing balls in the gap… where does it come from?

      • pete says:

        How much I like a player is based roughly on the following breakdown:

        50% whether or not he plays for the Yankees
        48% how good/talented he is
        2% how good a guy he is

  3. Knoblahhhhk says:

    I, too, will miss Jorge. He’s always been an under the radar star player. I do hope this is his last year in the bigs though, even if he had a decent season. It’s time. Also, I think you meant to say his bloop double was in the ALCS, not World Series.

  4. Rod says:

    Joe Maddon and his over-managing is enough reason to hate the Rays.

    • Mickey "BadaBling King" Scheister says:

      Or Maddens FACE! I like what the Rays have done as an organization BUT, they are one of the teams jockeying to knock off the Yanks, that’s more than enough reason to give em’ the big FU! Plus that ugly excuse for a ballpark, the cowbell…my blood boils thinking about it all.

      /punchesalittleperson

      • SteveD says:

        Agreed on the Madden face thing. The cowbell thing is so lame and BJ Upton is waaaaay too arrogant!!!!! As well as Madden.

    • Doug says:

      I like the thought of an old dude wearing fashion-forward glasses.

  5. Addaboy says:

    This is why I get annoyed when traditional stats guys and advanced metrics guys get in their hissy fits with one another. Its always made to seem that one side is just intolerant of the other like mentioning how they rip those metrics and then almost immediately that side rips one of their prized stats like they weren’t just saying all they want is respect for their believed important metrics, there is nothing preventing anyone from measuring performance however they see fit. I see enough petty, unimportant bickering between conservatives & liberals in the news so I’d like to keep it away from my sports.

    This is also a really silly argument at this point in time because the last two AL Cy Young award winners have won the award with less than amazing win totals against guys that did rack up impressive win totals with ERA’s that were respectable too. Clearly award voters are taking more than win totals into account, so can we stop crying about it until John Lackey wins it with a 23-5 record with a 4.34 ERA or something?

    • Jerome S. says:

      Yea, but any time someone less than the best wins the CY, it’s a reason to get upset.

      See Also:
      1996 MVP
      2006 MVP
      2008 MVP

      • Addaboy says:

        but what does it really matter? A season can’t be marred because the wrong guy received a personal award. That would be like enjoying a really good meal and then saying it was all for nothing because your preferred desert choice was not served.

        When the team that wins 4/7 in The World Series doesn’t get awarded the championship trophy, let me know and I’ll happily come join the riot.

        • I am not the droids you're looking for says:

          Well to be fair those Bold Font awards do have a long term cumulative effect – for better or worse – when it comes to HoF analysis/arguments. Hopefully most players who are incorrectly snubbed for such awards are not marginal enough for it to keep them out of the Hall. But I don’t think it has zero impact when it happens.

          • Addaboy says:

            Don Mattingly is no less a legend because he’ll never be a Hall of Famer. In fact there are players enshrined in Cooperstown that (if alive) could walk down the street in the city they played in and not get so much as a second look. If anything should have less importance than post season awards when thinking about how you’ll remember one of your favorite players its whether he’ll get a little extra upfront fee for being able to put “H.O.F.” after his signature on baseballs for Steiner.

            • Addaboy says:

              and to further clarify MY stance here, we’ve already established that there are plenty of years where the Cy Young or MVP award winner may not actually be the best player in that category for that season, but baseball writers will absolutely use whether they WON those award categories when measuring their Hall of Fame worthiness if they don’t have a mass of stats to slide them in without a thought. So they value WINNING the award, which as said is established may not actually mean they were the best player but they were in consideration. So they will value winning the award which is not an actual indicator of being the best but will not take into consideration if they were a runner-up or Top 5 which basically means the exact same thing. Why do we care so much what these pricks think about our favorite players? Why do we let them decide how we should remember the years of baseball we watched? All we’re doing is furthering their self righteous egotistical B.S. where they get to play gatekeepers to the legacies of the players. We’re free to determine on our own who were valuable players & great players. We DAMN sure get to decide who is a baseball “legend”. Which is why Don Mattingly gets his name chanted by a sold out house every time he comes back to Yankee Stadium. Its why Billy Crystal got a greenlight for “61″ even though Roger Maris never made the Hall of Fame. Crabby old baseball writers do not determine what these guys mean with metrics, awards or career honors. We do when we wear their jerseys, drive 100 miles to get pictures signed at a shopping mall and give them standing ovations when they come to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

              Sorry I just get irritated when people make it sound like Mattingly, Cone, Paulie, Straw, Tino and Andy’s careers were somehow less legendary because they didn’t have enough awards, won’t get in the Hall or didn’t have the proper “metrics”.

              • the Other Steve S. says:

                Thanks for this. I, too get fairly annoyed at this bickering. The new stat guys seem a little more touchy but arguing over new way-old way seems silly to me. There does seem to be abnormal hatred for pitcher wins here. Hughes was a prime example of that last year, but really, I get it, who cares?

            • Kiko Jones says:

              …there are players enshrined in Cooperstown that (if alive) could walk down the street in the city they played in and not get so much as a second look.

              Indeed. Which is why some of those folks won’t ring a bell but anyone interested in baseball knows, for instance, who Joe Carter is.

        • Dr. O says:

          In retrospect my dad was a failure as he never won Father of the Year or received a “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt from my brother & I.

  6. RichYF says:

    In all seriousness, I’m glad Jorge will have a chance to get a proper goodbye from the fans. One of the worst parts about Andy retiring is that the team never got to prepare something for his last home game with the fans. Jorge hasn’t said he wants to retire, but unless he hits the cover off the ball I can’t see him returning.

    The Rays have such a young team, it’s hard to dislike them. Other than Longoria (and maybe Upton), they don’t really keep anyone around to be the face of the franchise (e.g. Jeter, A-Rod, Ortiz, Beckett, etc.) so there isn’t really time to develop hatred for anyone other than Maddon. I don’t like the Rays, but I can’t bring myself to get angry with them. I’m sure if they knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs a few times I’d find room in my heart to hate them.

    • Louis says:

      It would be cool if, somehow, the Yankees secretly signed pettitte for a day and had him pitch in place of Garcia for 1 game. Like surprise pettitte appearance. Imagine the applause he’d get.

  7. Stephen, who specifically do you mean by “media trolls” and how do you define them? For instance, I’ve seen The Daily News’ John Harper tagged that way quite often, and yet he was the only one that I recently saw who had direct quotes from Cashman questioning Montero’s defensive progress. If he was on your “ignore” list, you would have missed some valuable info.

    If we as bloggers ignore those we disagree with, our analysis suffers. There’s nothing more boring than fan boy analysis, and if blogs become modern day churches where people of like minds come to congregate, then we’ve accomplished nothing. Personally, I think analysis is much more interesting, and much more mature when more voices are heard and considered, not less. Even the Murray Chasses of the world have something to contribute now and then, I don’t think were well served by “ignoring” anyone as a group.

    • When I refer to ignoring media trolls, I’m talking about not reacting to people acting out for attention. The two examples I gave (the pitcher win argument and the Joey Looseleafs joke) are what I’m referring to, and this stuff mostly occurs on Twitter. I’m just not going to respond in kind, either on Twitter or with an actual written post. I read tons of sources, advanced stats-friendly and mainstream. I’m not talking about only reading and listening to the people that agree with me. I dont want to become myopic.

      I will not, however, read or respond to Murray Chass. He’s a mean fellow.

      • I think this is the best way to deal with it. I don’t enjoy following Heyman. He’s overly critical of others and can’t handle criticism of himself. It’s a 12-year-old schoolyard mentality. But he brings information that others don’t. So the point is to take their information and ignore the blatant trolling. I don’t take it as much of an us-vs-them thing as a mental sanity hting.

        • I totally agree on Heyman. It’s 98% buffoonery, but you 3-4 times a week I get those bits of info that make it worth following where he had lunch and how old everyone in Florida is. I prefer not to quote him directly in a piece (it almost feels dirty) but if he has a scoop, I always give proper credit whether I personally like the source or not.

      • Gotcha. When you said “media” I thought you were referring to beat writers or columnists that you don’t like. We all have some we like more than others, but ignoring them is a mistake. I’m no fan of Bill Madden, but every so often he has a nugget I can’t find elsewhere.

      • gargoyle says:

        But Chass is a Hall of Famer?

    • Addaboy says:

      I agree completely. You can’t slam someone for not respecting or acknowledging your opinion and then slam those that don’t share yours. Especially for post season awards whose meaning now is pretty much only about who gets a contract bonus. You could say perhaps these awards will ultimately determine someone’s Hall of Fame worthiness, but this is the same Hall where writers will not vote in Jeff Bagwell because they SUSPECT he did steroids and the same Hall where Rickey Henderson is not a unanimous selection simply because voters feel NO ONE should be unanimous. Who really cares what metrics these a-holes use? It has no effect on our enjoyment of the seasons and the careers of the players we watch.

  8. Regis says:

    I loved this post!

  9. Beamish says:

    Love the last point. I too want to enjoy every swing of Posada’s bat this season.

  10. Ellis says:

    Wade Boggs has 3,000+ hits too.

  11. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I think Beelzebub was quite happy when a team named their franchise after one of his favorite sea creatures. But when Tampa’s ownership decided to take “Devil” out of their name, it enraged the Prince of Darkness and he cursed the team for eternity (or whenever they can break that lease….probably eternity). His curse was that that Rays will always be contenders, but never, EVER, win the World Series.
    *Remember, the 2% is the amount of goodness that franchise has in it (Zobrist’s Christian singing wife is not it) the rest is 98% evil.

  12. Jonathan says:

    Love it. However, the Rays have added some easy to hate players for me in Farnsworth and Manny. Now those guys aren’t Youkilis and Papelbon but they’re still some of my least favorite players in the game. Those two plus the way the media blows them constantly is enough for me. That and Longoria’s hair. Jesus Christ man…

  13. Xstar7 says:

    I agree with your last resolution especially. Jorge Posada is my favorite Yankee and I’m really going to miss him when he’s gone.

  14. Urban says:

    Rob Neyer, re: Jeter’s 3,000th. If a tree falls in a forest…

  15. I actually like the Rays, but there is one thing to hate the current group for (and not the stadium, which isn’t really their fault, and indoors is supposed to be pretty good now):

    Cowbells

    • pete says:

      that.

      I love Price and Longoria, I like Upton, I like Joyce, I like Hellickson, I like Zobrist, etc. etc.

      The only guy on that team I hate is James Shields.

      And I hate the cowbells.

  16. Howie says:

    I just can’t hate the Rays. They’re run the right way, and they aren’t like the Red Sox.

  17. NickP says:

    Have not read all the comments, so not sure if this has previous been mentioned. Anytime I try to hate the Rays all it takes is me thinking back to last game of the 09 season when the Rays kept intentionally walking Tex to ensure he could not pass Carlos Pena (broke hand from a Yankee pitch earlier in season)on the season’s home run list………. But then I remember Arod hit a home run each time and having 7 Ribbies to lock another 30-100 season and it all goes away.

  18. jaremy says:

    HIP HIP!

  19. bexarama says:

    I love all of this so much. I love the struggling to hate the Rays, the snarking on Rob Neyer’s weird anti-Yankee-ness (especially his constant and strange cynicism of Derek Jeter), the swearing to ignore media trolls (which, if you know me at all, I am terrible at doing), the Jorge, Derek, and bullpen appreciation. Great job.

  20. Stan the Man says:

    I am now convinced more than ever that you have actually had sex with Jorge Posada, that is the only way to explain the unnecessary man crush you have for a guy who has as many clutch hits and plays as I do in a Yankee uniform.

  21. paul says:

    What a great article. I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks.

  22. TRISKELION says:

    For all the reasons cited, I hate the red sox. But also for the weasley Dustin Pedroia and the unmentioned and despicable fact that the red sox ownership was renting out their team airplane to the CIA for illegal renditions, team logo in plane view.

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