The Yankees announced this afternoon that Spring Training tickets will go on sale on Friday morning at 10 a.m. The Yanks play just 17 home games during the Grapefruit League action, and as always, tickets are sure to go fast. I’m a veteran of the Florida Spring Training scene, and this year, the prices seem a bit steep. The most expensive tickets are $31 and even the cheap seats are going for $17. That’s not an insignificant chunk of change to watch Colin Curtis roam the outfield for five innings. Anyway, the official site has all of the details. If you have the chance to go to Tampa, grab some tickets. It’s always fun to watch camp in action.
Pitching for Double-A Trenton against Triple-A Scranton, Joba Chamberlain allowed two runs on two hits and a walk over five and a third innings earlier today. He struck out five, and after allowing the hits and walk to start he game, he retired the final sixteen batters he faced. He was removed after reaching his scheduled limit of 75 pitches. “It took me just a little bit to get going,” said Joba. “I wanted to work on fastball command and my changeup, and I think I did a great job with those two. I think it was one of my most productive days as far as consistency. It was good.” His first regular start is scheduled for Sunday at Kansas City.
What is our fascination with predictions? Why do sportswriters specifically feel the need to guess how a season will end on the day before it begins? The only three answer I can think of: 1) they want to sound smart, 2) their editors told them to, 3) everyone else is doing it. It’s still a fool’s game, so I’m going to refrain — though I will make a bold prediction, because no one expect that to happen.
The newspaper masses have assembled, and they’ve made their predictions for the 2009 AL East. Joy of Sox, one of the better Sox blogs, shares the Boston writers’ picks and the New York writers’ picks. You’ll never guess how each side picked.
Of the six writers from the Boston Globe, only two picked the Yankees to even make the playoffs, and none of them think the Yanks will take the division. Both of them, by the way, picked the Sox to win the World Series. On the New York end, we see that the Times loves the Yanks: both Jack Curry and Tyler Kepner picked them to win the division, though both had the Sox second and taking the Wild Card. Yet while every Red Sox writer had the Sox in the playoffs, one Yanks writer has excluded the hometown team. You can guess if you want, but I’m going to give it away: Bill Madden. He has the Rays winning 101 games. If there’s a 100-win team in the division, I certainly wouldn’t peg the Rays for the honor.
The lesson: don’t listen to the predictions. They mean nothing, and even that gives “nothing” a bad name. Just look at ESPN’s staff predictions. Ridiculous, right? Twins win the WC? Not that it can’t happen, but given what we know right now how could you possibly predict that?* Just stay away from what the “experts” say and enjoy the start of the season. It’s certainly one to get excited about.
* Answer: Matthew Berry knows that no one will remember his prediction when it doesn’t happen, but on the off-chance it does he’s going to reference it constantly in a reminder of just how smart he is.
The Yankees have selected their 25th man. Ramiro Peña, 23 and with no experience above AA, has earned the back-up infielder spot while Angel Berroa has been reassigned to the Minor League camp. To make room for Peña on the 40-man roster, the Yankees DFA’d Dan Giese. There’s a very good chance he will be claimed by the Padres. Peña will back up Cody Ransom, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano for the next few weeks while A-Rod is on the DL. While Peña has never been much of a hitter, he has flashed some serious leather throughout his career and will be used for this defense.
As I said on Thursday, this is a move that doesn’t really matter, but it is marginally interesting that the Yanks went with Peña. Had they opted for Berroa, they would have just DFA’d him when A-Rod is activated, but Peña will stick on the 40-man and thus limit the Yanks’ roster flexibility. Peña will wear 19 on his jersey even though that number should have been retired in honor of Luis Sojo years ago.
Ah finally, the last day of meaningless baseball. The only thing on the line today is the utility infielder job, but I think that’s already been decided and just hasn’t been announced. After the game the team will get ready for their season opener on Monday afternoon, when they’ll be in Camden to take on the improving Orioles.
The New Stadium looked amazing last night, now we get to see how she looks during the day. As Ben mentioned this morning, the two of us will be there to soak it all in. Well, hopefully the weather cooperates and we won’t have to soak anything in, literally. I’ll be wandering around beforehand, but I’ll settle in to my seat (Section 420B, Row 5, Seat 9) about a half-hour before first pitch. Stop by and say hi.
AJ Burnett is starting and will be relieved by Andy Pettitte. I’m guessing we’ll see Phil Coke and Damaso Marte if any extra arms are needed since they didn’t throw yesterday. Head on over to LoHud for the lineup. Enjoy the game folks.
Photo Credit: Eric Thayer, Reuters
Baseball in New York is finally back. It’s been six long months since the city last hosted a game featuring big leaguers, and even though tonight’s game is just an exhibition, who cares? It’s baseball in New York.
The star of the show will undoubtedly be the New Stadium, which will experience the tender lovin’ of a Major League game for the first time tonight, even though the game doesn’t count. The weatherman says to expect some showers throughout the evening, but the baseball gods have a way of taking care of these things. Remember, the final game at the Old Stadium was threatened by rain, but come first pitch there was nothing but blue skies and sunshine.
Lou Piniella and his Chicago Baby Bears will help christen the new place in what amounts to nothing more than a test run of all the services and neat little features. Between tonight and tomorrow the bigwigs will get an idea of what needs to be improved before the season starts, and then while the Yanks are on the road the next two weeks, that stuff will be taken care of. Beautiful, ain’t it?
Here’s the starting nine:
On the mound is number forty, Chien-Ming Wang.
Both YES and the MLB Network will be carrying the game; first pitch is scheduled for 7:15. Enjoy folks.
Note: Long-time RAB reader and commentor Arman Tamzarian asked us to pass this along (no, that’s not his real name):
I’m a Program Manager with Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco. I’m running a half marathon to raise money for the program, and am looking for sponsorship help. Larkin Street has been working with homeless youth for the past 25 years in San Francisco. Larkin Street not only works with youth ages 12-25 around housing, but has a whole division teaching resume building, interview skills, job retention, and getting youth jobs. Larkin Street works to move youth out of the system and into independence.
Photo Credit: Flickr user matt.hintsa
In what figures to be his final live game action of Spring Training, Joba Chamberlain looked like vintage Joba in Sarasota this aftenoon. He allowed two runs on five hits and three walks in five and a third innings, striking out six. Joba threw 86 pitches but tired towards the end of his outing, allowing two walks and two hits with one out in the sixth before being pulled.
“I’ve got to be more efficient,” said Chamberlain (via Bryan Hoch). “I had some good short innings, but there were other times when I got extended with two outs. I’ve got to shorten pitches and when things get out of whack, I’ve got to slow things down.” Becoming more efficient with your pitches is standard stuff for young starters, nothing out of the ordinary here.
The Great Joba Velocity Scare should be over, as scouts had the young righty in the mid-90’s all day according to Tyler Kepner. Oh, and Jorge Posada isn’t a B-Jobber anymore, according PeteAbe’s 3:38 update. Thank Mo.
Brian Bruney bailed Joba out in the sixth, stranding both inherited base runners thanks to a strikeout and fly out. Edwar Ramirez allowed a hit and an unearned run in an inning of work, while Phil Coke and Dan Giese posted identical 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K lines to close out the game. Coke was absolutely phenomenal this spring, putting up a 15-1 K/BB ratio with a 1.42 ERA and 11 hits allowed in 12.2 IP. Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Sean Henn, who followed up a strong Spring Training in 2007 with an ERA over seven in the regular season.
The center fielder battlers accounted for pretty much all of the team’s offense, as Brett Gardner went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot while Melky Cabrera went 1-for-2 with three RBI’s and a run scored from the six-hole. Mark Teixeira doubled and walked, while Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada combined to go 0-for-6 with two walks and three strikeouts. Angel Berroa went 2-for-5 and was picked off first, and his hitting .379-.390-.621 this spring. The 6-3 win is the team’s seventh straight, and sixteenth in their last eighteen games.
The Yanks finish up the Florida portion of their preseason schedule tomorrow afternoon against the Phillies, and then will head home to New York before taking on the Cubbies in a pair of exhibition games at the New Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Mo matters: Mariano Rivera pitched in a minor league game today, and was so dominant that he recorded five outs in just one inning of work. After serving up a homer to MVP05 legend Rich Thompson, Mo sat down the next three batters with ease, so the team stretched him out a bit and had him face two more hitters. He’s just that good.
Photo Credit: Pete Caldera