Archive for Administrative Stuff

Players can't come to our party. Sorry CC. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

Spring Training is an exciting time of year. Every team is in contention, everyone’s in the best shape of their life, and optimism is abound. When the Yankees held their first official workout this past Monday, a minor little detail flew under the radar because of all the excitement: it was RAB’s fifth birthday.

Five years and five days ago, Ben, Joe, and I launched this site never imagining it would become as popular as it is today. In one of my very first comments, I confidently proclaimed that “there’s a better chance the Yanks will draft Jesus Christ than have Brackman fall all the way to 30.” In the five years since that comment, Brackman did fall to the Yankees and the 30th overall pick, had Tommy John surgery, spent three unproductive years in the minors, and been released. The Yanks did add a Jesus to their system as well, just for good measure.

We can’t thank you folks enough for the support you’ve shown us through the years. Without you guys, RAB probably would have closed up shop a long time ago. Instead, we’ve managed to expand a bit, adding some great writers, hooking on with the YES Network, and infiltrating more popular sites like FanGraphs and MLB Trade Rumors. We even scored some time on Newsday a few years back. Our plan for baseball blogosphere domination is finally starting to come to fruition.

In all seriousness, thank you for helping make RAB what it is today. You guys keep us on our toes and force us to be better. The five years have gone by in the blink of an eye, but we’ve welcomed in a New Stadium, said goodbye to The Boss, and celebrated a World Championship during that time. Here’s to another amazing five years, and many more after that.

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Bumping up for those who missed it on Saturday: Got a new toy for you folks to play with: the Amateur Signing Bonuses page. It’s a list of signing bonuses the Yankees have paid out to amateur players (draftees and international free agents) in the recent and not-so-recent past. It is in no way complete and it never ever will be because some signing bonus information just isn’t available publicly. The page is under the resources tab in the nav bar above, just under “AVE BLUES” in the street sign. Enjoy.

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Over the weekend, Joe wrote a post highlighting some of the Yanks’ more alluring road trips for the 2012 season. I’ve seen games in all but two of the stadiums Joe profiled. Safeco Field in Seattle and Nationals Park are absent from my list. While I’m not likely to make it to Seattle this season, the Yankees travel down to D.C. this June, and we will be too.

As part of what promises to be a weekend of New Yorkers and Yankee fans from all over the East Coast zipping down to D.C., we’re gathering interest in a RAB-related weekend. Joe, Mike and I all plan to take the journey for the three-game set from Friday, June 15-Sunday, June 17, and if enough readers want to join us, we’ll look into securing some ticket blocks for the games. We may do a stadium tour on Friday, and of course, we’ll find a spot for some Saturday night brews as well.

To gauge interest in the event, I’ve put together a short survey. For those of you with serious interest in joining us for the weekend, please take a minute or two to fill out the form. We’ll collect responses and email those interested once we get a sense of the numbers involved. The cost of tickets and accommodations is to be determined, but if we have enough interest, I believe we can do a stadium tour for $12 a head. A word of warning: You will have to get yourself to and from D.C. (Those of you who already live in the area should definitely join us for the games.)

Leave any questions you have in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them tonight or tomorrow morning. This excursion south promises to be a fun one, and hopefully, we’ll meet some RAB fans along the way.

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Jan
09

New/Old Feature: Team Blogs Page

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When we got serious about our Series Previews last year, we included a link or two promoting blogs for whatever team the Yankees happened to be playing next. We kept a masterlist of these sites and it’s been available for everyone to see the whole time, but the problem is that it was hidden away and never promoted. That’s about to change, as you can now find our Team Blogs Page under the Resources tab above. Consider it the official list of RAB-endorsed blogs. We enjoy them all and suspect you will too.

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Just a heads up, we’ve done some behind-the-scenes reshuffling, and we now have a new “Resources” pull-down menu in the nav bar above. It’s directly under the “Ave Blues” in the street sign in the banner. This is where you’ll now find neat stuff like the 2012 Draft Order page, the Depth Chart, the Blogroll, and Joe’s ongoing Guide To Stats project. I plan on added some more stuff to it in the future as well, but I’ll let you know when that happens.

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Nov
07

Open Thread: Offseason Reminder

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I probably should have done this last Monday, when the offseason officially started, but I guess a one week delay won’t hurt anyone. If you’re new to RAB, first let me say welcome, and second, let’s talk about all the different ways you can use this site.

First and foremost, if you plan to comment, please review our commenting guidelines. Nothing outrageous there, we just ask you to help keep things orderly and on topic. We do have an Off-Topic Thread setup for you guys to share anything your heart desires, which you can find right under the street sign in the banner at all times. Easy enough, right?

RSS Feeds
Hopefully by now you’re taking advantage of the magic that is really simple syndication, or RSS. If not, that’s cool, but I recommend signing up for something like Google Reader (even though the new version sucks). This site will tell you everything you need to know about using RSS feeds, but in short, you can subscribe to the feed of your favorite sites, and instead of manually visiting each one multiple times a day, the information will be brought right to you as it’s posted, all in one convienent spot. Our main feed can be found here.

Subscribe via E-mail
If RSS feeds aren’t your cup of tea, you can get RAB sent right to your inbox. Just stick your email address in the appropriate box to the right (the one that says “Subscribe to RAB via email,” duh), and all of our content will be emailed to you as it’s posted.

Twitter
Has anything changed sports coverage in recent years as much as Twitter? I don’t think so. Almost all breaking news will be posted there first, in 140 characters or less. You can use a (free!) service like TweetDeck or Echofon to easily follow your friends, favorite sportswriters, celebrities, basically anyone with a Twitter account.

We have two separate Twitter feeds here. Our main feed is @RiverAveBlues, where the three of us will muse on various topics, post any breaking news, engage in discussions with readers, stuff like that. Our second feed is @RABfeed, which will automatically link to all of our posts as they go up. That’s pretty much all it’s there for, but it’s useful.

If you want, you can also follow the three of us on our personal accounts: @bkabak, @joepawl, and @mikeaxisa. I can’t promise everything we tweet about will be about the Yankees, or even baseball for that matter, but you won’t regret it. All of the recent additions to the site can be found here: @Larry_Koestler, @MosheRAB, @Matt_Warden, @sprotster (Stephen), @firtheart42 (Hannah), and @BronXoo (J.R. O’Grady).

Facebook
It’s probably our least utilized social media presence, but there’s still over 3,000 people that are fans of RAB’s Facebook page. I’m not much of a Facebook person myself, but I recommend hitting our page up to connect with fellow Yankee fans.

Contacting Us
If for any reason you want to contact us (to submit a mailbag question, or sent us a link to a cool story, etc.), the best way to do so is to use our little “Submit A Tip” box. You can’t miss it, it’s just to the right of the main column. If you want to tip us off to a trade rumor that we’ve missed or something like that, please make sure you send us a link. Otherwise it’ll only take us longer to get a thread up about it.

If you want to contact us individually, then just drop us a line. Our addresses are in the sidebar.

* * *

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can move on to the open thread. The Monday Night Football game is the Bears at the Eagles (8:30pm ET on ESPN), plus the Islanders are playing as well. You guys know what to do by now, so have at it.

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Oct
31

The bigger, badder RAB

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Today at 11:30 you’ll see something new on RAB. It’s a byline that you might find familiar, just not around these parts. In the next week or so you’ll notice a few more of these new bylines popping up. River Ave. Blues is expanding, and we’re excited to announce a pair of new writers, plus a new twist on a current one.

The first one you’ll see is Larry Koestler. Mike, Ben, and I have known Larry for a long, long time. You might have known him from Yankeeist and then The Yankee Analysts. We like his work all the way back in his Save Phil Hughes days — he even did a guest post for us a while ago. Now he’s part of the RAB team, and will bring his consistently well-researched articles to us on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays — and perhaps more if he has the itch. If you’re not doing so already, make sure to follow Larry on Twitter: @Larry_Koestler.

Next on the list is Larry’s partner in crime, TYA co-founder Moshe Mandel. We’ve followed Moshe from his days at the The Yankee U through TYA. In fact, he succeeded Ben and I on the now-defunct MVN Yankees blog, The Bronx Block. (In our day it was Off The Facade.) If you follow Moshe’s Twitter account — @MosheRAB — you might know that he’s a recent Harvard Law grad and is on his way to a fancy schmantz job in January. Because of that he’ll post a bit less frequently: Tuesdays and Sundays. He’s on vacation this week, though, so you’ll have to wait until next week for his debut.

With new contributors on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, we thought one final contributor for Thursdays made sense. Turns out the perfect candidate for the job was right under our noses. You might know Stephen Rhoads from his weekend posts. Now he’s sliding into Thursdays so we can more prominently feature his work. He actually got a head start this week, so his regular spot is already in place. You can find him on Twitter at @sprotster.

Please, folks, give a warm welcome to the new guys. Their voices will add variety to the RAB experience, expanding discussions and providing different angles on the subjects we cover every day.

Now that we have a more robust weekday staff, we decided to install some sense of order. With just Mike, Ben, and me previously on weekdays there wasn’t much need for a hierarchy. We all founded the site and we all took care of business. But with six contributors during the week we need a figurehead. It is with great pleasure that I introduce River Ave. Blues’s first Editor-In-Chief, Mike Axisa. He’s really grabbed the reigns of RAB in 2011, and now he’s the big boss.

While this announcement represents a significant change at RAB, we clearly believe that it will create a more enjoyable experience. Larry, Moshe, and Stephen all have distinct voices that will add variety to the site that we just couldn’t achieve with the three of us. It also takes a little of the load off Mike and me, though most notably Mike. That frees us up to take care of other RAB projects, which we also know you’ll enjoy. There are some exciting times ahead for all of us. We’re thankful that you’ve all come along for the ride.

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Just bumping this up top as a reminder. You can still attend the event if you’re under 21, you just have to check in when you get there. They’ll give you a bracelet so they know not to serve you alcohol, but that’s better than not attending.

Last July, we got together with the crew from FanGraphs (and various Mets bloggers) for the first ever FanGraphs Live Discussion. There were a total of four panels and ours basically discussed the state of the team and what not (recap here), and the only complaint seemed to be that it ended too early. We had to be out of Florence Gould Hall by I think noon, otherwise we could have talked for hours. A great time was had by all.

FanGraphs has done a number of Live Discussions since then, and they’ll be coming back to New York this Sunday. This one will be much more informal, no panels or anything. It’ll just be a bunch of us baseball nerds talking about baseball. All the details can be found here, but here’s the nuts and bolts…

Time: 1pm ET (until whenever)
Date: Sunday, Sept. 25th
Location: Amity Hall

Ben, Joe, and I will be there, as will a few FanGraphers, Mets bloggers, etc. Best of all? It’s free! The last event was something like $10 a person, right? No worries this time though, just show up (the entire downstairs is reserved) and enjoy the happy hour prices and baseball talk (and watching, of course the game will be on). Don’t worry, we’ll post a reminder later in the week, but I just wanted to get this on your radar.

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Aug
07

Be cool, fight cancer

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As you sip your coffee and read the Sunday paper this morning, thousands of runners, joggers and walkers will be making their way through a 5k course that will take them throughout Yankee Stadium. Participants will queue up on the 100 level and start their race by making two laps around. They’ll then run through the sub-zero level of the stadium, and exit between the bullpen and Monument Park onto the actual warning track on the field. After making two laps around the field, no doubt imagining the roars of the crowd from their diving catches in center field, participants will go through a complex route that will take them up the stadium stairs and around various concourses, back down ramps, back up the stairs, and back down ramps again. They’ll finish in the Great Hall, having run 3.1 miles and climbing over 260 stairs.

The whole point of this 5K, aside from running inside Yankee Stadium, aside from the lovely torture of stadium stair-running on an August morning, is to raise money for cancer research. The beneficiary is the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. This Foundation identifies young, promising scientists in the field of cancer research and provides financial support to allow them to pursue new and creative attempts to cure the disease. Since 1946, the Foundation has invested over $240 million in cancer research. As their website says, “Our alumni include 11 Nobel Laureates and leaders of major cancer centers across the United States.  Many of our 3,300 scientists have gone on to make breakthroughs in the way we prevent, diagnose and treat many forms of cancer.” You can read more about their most notable accomplishments here. As of late this week over $590,000 had been raised for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

It’s too late for readers to join in on the Yankee Stadium 5K, of course. As you read this, I’ll likely have completed my assault on the course and will be receiving oxygen and an IV in the back of an ambulance. It’s not too late to lend your support to the cause of cancer research. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. It’s a nasty, terrible disease. Thanks to the way this Foundation has been set up, 100% of any donation made to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation goes directly to cancer research. The overhead and operating expenses are paid out of the endowment and their Broadway Tickets program. Pretty cool, huh? It’s good to know that every dollar you give goes directly to stopping cancer.

I’ve paid some of my own money to the Foundation to enter this 5K, and I’ll be out there this morning doing my best in the race. If you’re interested in supporting the Foundation, you can donate via my personal page here. Thanks for considering it, and please wish me luck. I’ll update the post with my results when I’m done.

**UPDATE** By unofficial results I finished 14th overall with a time of 21:40. The winning time was a few seconds over 19 minutes. Thanks to everyone who supported the cause!

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Jun
22

The RAB Ottoneu Pick Six Group

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Wednesday: The group filled up rather quickly yesterday, but they upped it from 100 to 500 spots for us. So if you missed out yesterday, there’s plenty of openings now.

Tuesday: Just a heads up for all you fantasy baseball players out there, I created an official RAB Ottoneu Pick Six group for everyone to join. What the hell is Pick Six? It’s a daily fantasy game held a FanGraphs where you get $120 a day (fake money, in case it wasn’t obvious) to buy one catcher, one corner infielder, one middle infielder, one outfielder, one starting pitcher, and one reliever, and then whoever has the most points at the end of the day wins. It’s simple. The scoring is explained here, achievements here. There are no prizes, just daily bragging rights. It takes two minutes a day and is highly addictive, you are forewarned.

All you have to do to join the group is log in with your FanGraphs user id (create one here), click join groups, then look for River Ave. Blues. The password is simply: riveraveblues. There are 100 total spots in the group (that’s the max) and one is me, so 99 are up for grabs. It’s a lot of fun and the game itself is great, so I recommend playing even if you don’t join the RAB group. (thanks to former weekend site ruiner writer Steve H. for the idea)