Andy Sonnanstine … really?
The best thing the Yankees can do tonight is forget the past two games and just play. Sounds easy when it’s typed out like that, but it’s probably a bit tougher when you’re trying to get over losing two winnable games. The Yanks simply have to start stringing together hits. All these LOBs are bad for our collective blood pressure.
The Yanks get a second chance tonight against Andy Sonnanstine. In his start on April 15, Sonnanstine allowed just two runs over five innings. He’s been roughed up quite a few times this season, and his start against the Yankees stands out as one of the better ones. The Yanks will trot out A.J. Burnett. I think we all remember his performance last time against the Rays, back on April 14.
Before we get into the lineups, some updates:
- A-Rod went 1 for 5 with a walk today. He didn’t play the field, but he did successfully slide into second. He’s going to play again tomorrow, presumably in the field. Friday can’t get here quick enough.
- According to Ken Davidoff’s Twitter feed, Brian Bruney has experienced a setback. He posted this just an hour ago, so it seems different than the news we got yesterday. Hopefully this is nothing too serious. We’ll try to update, but I’m sure if there’s news the YES crew will have it.
- Finally, we bid farewell to Newsday beat writer Kat O’Brien. She covered her final game last night. She’s moving onto some school I’ve never heard of — University of Pennsylvania or something like that — to pursue an MBA/MA in International Affairs. Best of luck to Kat; she’s an RAB fave.
And on the mound, number thirty-four, A.J. Burnett
Renderings of a proposed plan to save Yankee Stadium’s Gate 2. (Via Save the Yankee Gate 2)
In a little over a year, Yankee Stadium, the original House that Ruth Built, will be just a memory in the Bronx. Already, fans can see the dismantling of the stadium as they head on up to the new park in the Bronx, and in 2011, Heritage Park will bring greenery to the Bronx.
While the Yankees and the City have not shed many tears over the impending destruction of a baseball icon, a good number of fans are upset that the team has been so willing to discard such an important part of its past. To that end, a group of fans and baseball buffs have started a grassroots movement to Save Gate 2 and use it as a symbolic entrance to Heritage Park.
Last week, I spoke with Mark Costello, one of the leaders of the movement, and he walked me through the plans. In essence, the Yankees and the City would be saving a piece of the old stadium as well as the original ticket booths along 161st St. as a nod to history. Gate 2 is the old entrance to the left field area, and as the group’s website shows, it would not take much work to restore a part of the old stadium to the grandeur it once had. “It’s probably the coolest thing left from the old Stadium,” Costello said.
The group is drawing its inspiration from successful preservation projects around the nation. In Detroit, advocates saved a good portion of old Tiger Stadium. In Pittsburgh, parts of the original wall of Forbes Field remain in place. With a new park planned for the space, Costello believes the old gate would make for an appropriate and magnificent entrance.
Recently, Costello presented his plan to the Bronx’s Community Board 4 and the Parks Department. He said that board members seemed favorable to the proposal but recognizes the uphill battle he faces. “Time is of the essence,” he said to me when I noted the ongoing destruction of the old stadium.
Despite the time crunch, Costello and his supporters feel that Gate 2 could be left up with relative ease. One of the supporting walls is still in place, and the other could be easily constructed. Furthermore, since construction crews have yet to reach that side of the stadium, it’s certainly not too late to begin a preservation campaign.
For now, the group is focusing on grassroots efforts. “We’re trying to get out the word as best we can,” Costello said, “and we’re hoping to get the attention of the city government.”
Costello has yet to approach the Yankees. He fears the team will view this effort as taking away from the new stadium but will try to get the team on board when the time is right. ‘We’re not trying to have something that will compete with what they built,” he said, “but will enhance the experience.”
In the end, the group of fans who want to remember the past fear for the future. In a city that does a bad job of retaining and remember its past, the Yankees should go down the same path. “Future fans,” Costello said, “will regret that they missed the opportunity to do something meaningful.”
Longtime RABer Giselle has a spare ticket to tonight’s Yanks-Sox Rays game that she’s trying to get rid of. The seat is in the front row of section 210, and will run you $25. She won’t bite, but she’ll probably drink you under the table. In all seriousness, she’s super cool and you’ll have a blast. Email me via the link on the far right and I’ll hook it up. First come first serve.
Update (4:21pm): Ticket’s taken. · (4) ·
When the Yankees placed Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day DL with hip weakness, most fans viewed it with a skeptical eye. He had been bombed in three straight outings, capped off by one of the most embarrassing performances in recent memory. Clearly the Yankees had to do something, but absent minor league options they were quite limited. In order to continue fielding a full 25-man roster, the Yankees placed him on the disabled list, which seemed like the only possible move which could accommodate the needs of all parties.
Yes, this was done on shaky conditions, but it’s not like the Yankees are the first team to fudge a DL placement. Teams have done it throughout history to free up roster spots. Sucka Got No Juice talked to one GM who think that “certain teams are manipulating the disabled list for a competitive advantage.” He supported this statement by pointing to Wang’s case, among a few others. So are the Yankees abusing the system by placing Wang on the DL?
I think it’s pretty clear that there is something physically wrong with Chien-Ming. His velocity was down from previous years, and his mechanics were all out of whack. While that doesn’t necessarily point to a physical issue, it certainly could. That possibility should give them the right to place the player on the disabled list. The only alternative is to keep him on the 25-man roster, and if he’s on the 25-man roster he’d probably be pitching. If his ineffectiveness was in fact because of an injury, keeping him on the 25-man and having him pitch would prove of further detriment.
Adding to the case is Wang’s current rehab plan. It’s not like they disabled him just so he could get work in the minors. Rather, they sent him to extended spring training to make a start, from which they determined that his issue was physical before placing him on the DL. And now he’s staying in extended spring training, undergoing physical therapy between starts. In other words, he’s going through the regular motions of a player on the disabled list.
This obviously comes from a biased perspective. No Yanks fan wants to see the team play a man short, or be forced to trot out a totally ineffective pitcher every five days. Still, I have a hard time taking these abuse claims seriously. Chien-Ming Wang is not in the physical shape to pitch in the majors. Isn’t that what the disabled list is for?
This doesn’t happen often, but I think that the Yankees should play copycat to a recently-enacted Mets policy. The other New York team no longer allows the Post or the Daily News in the clubhouse. In reporting this news, the Post 1) plays the typical bully role, doing a chicken dance to mock the Mets, and 2) refer to the Daily News as “the other New York tabloid” (how petty). Nevermind that players can just as easily access stories about them on this newfangled Internet thing. Yet, why should players give a crap what the media writes about them? If some writer prints something which might help the player, the coaching staff will surely pick up on it. Otherwise it’s nothing but a bunch of noise that players should probably avoid anyway (and yes, this includes RAB). h/t Shyster · (16) ·
In the annals of River Ave. Blues history, no post has garnered more page views than a June 2008 video of Pat Venditte facing off against a switch-hitter. The video is lives on via YouTube, and Venditte, a legitimate switch-pitcher, is still going strong. While his nearly 24 years of age make him a bit old for the Class A Sally league, in 11.2 innings this year, he hasn’t allowed an earned run and has 21 strike outs. Stunningly, he hasn’t walked a batter.
Today, Rick Reilly of ESPN The Magazine profiled the ambidextrous hurler. Who knows what the future holds for Venditte? The Yanks may push him out soon to find out what they have, but as a Minor League sideshow attraction of a potential MLB reliever, Venditte and his six-fingered glove certainly make for an interesting story. · (26) ·
Baseball’s amateur draft has quickly become a highly competitive marketplace for talent. Just a few seasons ago only a handful of teams really flexed their financial muscles to acquire top talent in the draft, but as young players have taken over the game clubs have revamped their focus on the annual talent drive. Case in point: The Royals spent $11.1M on the draft last year, a new record, while other traditional tightwads like the A’s ($6.5M), Brewers ($8.4M), and Pirates ($9.8M) also ramped up their spending from recent years. The Yankees are no longer the only team digging for late round bargains, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t uncover talent in the late rounds.
One thing Damon Oppenheimer has shown in recent years is that he’s willing to gamble on players with questionable medical dossiers. Both Andrew Brackman and Mark Melancon were drafted knowing that it was extremely likely they would need Tommy John surgery, Damon Sublett was selected after an injury riddled junior year, and Joba Chamberlain was taken despite concerns about his knee, triceps and weight. Perhaps the best example of a player being drafted while he was injured is the late Nick Adenhart, who was the top high school pitcher in 2004 before blowing out his elbow just days before the draft. The Angels gambled on his upside and TJ’s success rate, handing him a $710,000 bonus as a 14th rounder before watching him grow into one of the best young pitchers in the game.
Here’s some players that are either hurt, or have another negative mark on their resume that could cause them to fall into the later rounds, an avenue a team like the Yankees could explore to land extra talent. Fun starts after the jump.
In the mid-1950s, when Casey Stengel’s Yankees were doing a whole lot of winning, some bemused and frustrated baseball writer (or executive or player) coined a phrase: “Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel.” This year, as the Yankees are seemingly involved in more off-field controversies than ever before, I am reminded of that phrase but for all of the wrong reasons.
The big story yesterday concerning the Yankees and the way the organization treats its fans focused around confusing communication during Monday’s rain delay. As I reported yesterday, some fans were told by employees that the game was being canceled. When those fans attempted to return, security guards refused to let them in.
In truth, everyone was to blame for that debacle. The fans shouldn’t be leaving without official confirmation from the team, and the team’s employees at the stadium should not be spreading false information about the game. That’s the short of it though. There was an undercurrent to the events on Monday that really bothered me. It goes well beyond a story told in The Times today about a guard who refused to let one fan see someone he knew in another section. At the time of that incident, the only thing on the field was the tarp and some rain.
When a riot nearly erupted outside of Gate 6, a Daily News photographer happened to be nearby. As he started snapping pictures of the brewing dispute, Yankee Stadium security guards threatened him with a revocation of his press credential if he did not vacate the scene. That’s a pretty egregious abuse of power.
The rain delay melee overshadowed what, on any other day, would have been a fairly shocking column by Bob Raissman’s mustache. The Daily News columnist is known more for his facial hair and outrageous opinions than anything else, but his column on the Yankees’ heavy hand in the stadium is well worth our attention.
Basically, members of the media are pretty unhappy with the way the Yankees are treating the press at the new park. The team has jacked up the park-and-power fees and live broadcast fees by 300-400 percent. The Yankees are trying to charge networks $12,000 per game, up from $3000 at the old park, just to broadcast. The team is jamming internal communications frequencies and isn’t allowing off-duty broadcasters into media-only areas that go unused.
According to Raissman, even Paul O’Neill was hassled by security. The beloved ex-Yankee was watching the Yanks take BP when a security guard told him he couldn’t loiter by the indoor cages. What an odd turn of events.
Having read Jane Heller’s book the Yanks’ efforts to block her access to the team, having seen Yankee officials defend obscenely high ticket prices, exclusionary access to the Stadium and blatant abuses of political power, I feel like I am rooting for some evil version of U.S. Steel. I know some RAB readers will accuse of me of being overly sensitive to the Yanks and buying into some anti-corporate portrayal of the team’s leaders. Still, from stadium issues on down, the Yankee Front Office has been rubbing me the wrong way this year. They certainly know how to lose a PR battle.
For now, though, I’m going to take solace in the fact that I’m rooting for a baseball club. I don’t need to like what the Yankees media department is doing or how their security forces won’t let fans watch BP from the empty expensive seats three hours before first pitch. I’ll cheer on Joba and Derek, Mo and Mark and hope they do well. Maybe as the Yanks win, the Front Office will relax and just let baseball happen as it should. We all like control, but at some point, overbearing control and security just become too much.