Earlier this morning, we talked about the commemorative patches set to adorn Yankee hats this year. Later day, frequent RAB commenter Ryan S. e-mailed us a link to his own site, Evil Empire 2.0. One of his co-writers is a graphics designer by day and opined on the new logo and the design process behind it. Good stuff. Check it out. · (8) ·
The Yanks dropped a close one to the Twins today after the bullpen couldn’t hold a slim lead. Ian Kennedy gave up a hit and a walk (no runs) while striking out three in two innings of work, and Andrew Brackman made his spring debut in the losing effort.
Brackman was part of the bullpen that couldn’t hold the game. He gave up a home run to Jason Kubel in one inning of work. George Kontos and Wilson De La Rosa gave up the other three runs as the Twins eked out a 5-4 win. The Yanks loaded the bases in the 9th but couldn’t push across the tying run.
Offensively, Brett Gardner went 2-for-2 with a double, two stolen bases and a run scored. Melky Cabrera went 0-for-3 and is hitless in five spring ABs. Gardner has a stranglehold on the center field job or as much of a stranglehold as you can have on a job three games into the exhibition season. Jorge Posada, DHing again, went 2-for-3, but then again we weren’t really concerned about his bat coming back from shoulder surgery. Nick Swisher picked up a pair of hits too.
To the links:
- Dave Cameron has a great take on the plunging newspaper industry.
- More Hardball put together the All Minor League Contract Team. Where’s Andruw? His defense alone makes him more valuable than Corey freaking Patterson. (h/t MLBTR)
- Joe Brescia takes a look at the players who’ve dropped some weight this offseason. Given the economy and how hard it’s been for some players to find jobs, I’m sure plenty of players will be trying to shed extra weight next offseason to impress potential employers.
- The great new site Minor League Notebook keeps tabs on how the game’s top prospects have been doing in camp each day. Here’s yesterday’s recap.
- ESPN has a fancy new MLB Draft Blog., but unfortunately it’s behind the iron curtain of Insider. KLaw and Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider will be providing updates all spring about the best amateurs in the country.
- Speaking of the draft, Stephen Strasburg’s already in midseason form.
- Drunk Jays Fans on their expectations for the team this year.
Here’s your open thread for the night. The only local team in action is the Knicks, who are hosting the Sixers. You know the deal, anything goes, just be nice.
Today is a watershed day for the media but not in a good way. In Colorado, in what is the surest sign of a very troubled industry, the 150-year-old Rocky Mountain News has closed its doors. Throughout the nation — from Philadelphia to San Francisco — newspapers are facing extinction.
In New York, the so-called media capital of the world, Newsday, the Cablevision-owned, Long Island-based daily, is in trouble. The paper’s parent company had to take a $404.2 million write-down on Newsday after the paper, according to the AP, “recorded an operating loss of $407.6 million on $107.1 million in revenue.”
In light of this dire financial situation, Newsday is planning to charge for all online access to the paper. Facing a highly competitive online world that hasn’t matured economically, this move could be the deathknell for Long Island’s own paper.
PaidContent.org, the industry site for online content, had more about Newsday’s decision and what it might mean for their business model:
While financial pubs like WSJ.com and FT.com have been able to get away with asking readers to cough up subscription fees because business professionals are more willing to pay for specialized business news, the thought of a general newspaper doing so when so much is free is largely considered dubious. Still, the challenges newspapers are dealing with leaves them little choice but to try to get money directly from users.
Newsosaur’s Alan D. Mutter, told me he believes Newsday has a shot, but within limits. “Yes, I think they can start charging for web content. More and more publishers will, because they can’t afford to produce content without doing so. You can’t charge for sports scores, stock prices or generic breaking news. The key will be providing content that is valuable and exclusive.”
Basically, Newsday is banking on more revenue through paid subscribers than they could generate through advertising money on a higher-trafficked but still free site. I think this could work if they keep their extensive blogs free.
On the baseball front, it’s hard to consider this good news, and while RAB has contributed content to the paper’s Yankee blog, it would be tough to see the paper hide its daily work behind a paid wall. Gone would be the words of Wallace Matthews, Ken Davidoff and Kat O’Brien. If the free blog posts live on though, Newsday can still drive daily visitors to its site for dynamic content, and it can maintain its place in the sports media world. No matter the outcome, though, it’s tough out there for a newspaper.
Just like last year, Joba Chamberlain will be bringing a hard working student and their family down from Nebraska to enjoy an all-expenses paid Disney vacation. This year’s lucky kid is 11-yr old Jazmine Meyer King, a student at Clinton Elementary in Lincoln, who will be joined by her parents and brother. The vacay starts this weekend, and it’s great to see any player, not just Joba, giving back like this. These stories are too few and far between. · (16) ·
We don’t need statistics to tell us that Mo’s cutter is one of the best pitches, if not the best pitch, in baseball history. Hitters know it’s coming. It consistently sits 92-94 mph, so they can time it. Yet they cannot make good contact. It has been this way for well over a decade now, and Mo willing it will continue for at least two more years.
The craziest part about Mo and his cutter is that it has seemingly gotten better with age. He might not have broken any saves records last year, but Mo posted one of the most dominant seasons of his career, registering a 0.67 WHIP and walking only six hitters in 70.2 innings. How does he do it? Thankfully, we have pitchf/x to help us answer, and iamawesomer at Beyond the Boxscore takes a look at the data.
I could probably just quote the entire article, because it’s pretty mind-blowing. The most important point I took from it is that we really shouldn’t refer to the pitch as “the cutter.” Rather, it should be “a cutter,” since he throws it with varying degrees of spin. This ranges mostly between 150 and 200 degrees, so he’s mixing up the pitches even though he’s not mixing up the pitches.
Mo overall threw the cutter 82 percent of the time, with the rest being four-seam fastballs. Yet against lefties he throws the cutter almost exclusively. Not only that, but his pitches to lefties tend to concentrate in one area: high and tight. This is even more amazing because of the speeds of his pitches:
Doesn’t need to mix it up speed wise, with the vast majority of both the cutter and fastball clocking in between 92 and 94 mph. By some quick rough calculations it comes out to about a hundredth of a second difference in time to reach home plate (.435 seconds for 92 mph and .446 for 94 mph.) The fact that hitters can more or less time themselves to within a hundredth of a second of when to swing and still can’t do anything about Rivera’s pitches speaks volumes of them.
You know what lefties hit against Mo last year? .147/.173/.194. So let’s get this straight. Lefties know the pitch type, speed, and location before they even step into the batter’s box, yet they can’t even come close to replacement level production. There’s a reason why we say praise be to Mo.
To close things out, here’s an animation of Mo against the Padres last year. Those chumps didn’t stand a chance. I could seriously watch this video all day long. (As to not slow down the main page you’ll have to click on read more to see it.)
When I have friends over and they peak inside my room, they’re always surprised by the number of Yankee hats I have. As you can see above — or here in a larger size — I have a hat for every occasion.
Since 1996, when MLB started the whole patch/marketing push, I’ve snapped up just about every non-Opening Day or All Star Game Yankee hat. I have World Series patches from 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003. I have the 100th season hat from 2003, the flag patch hat from 2001, and the All Star Game patch from last season.
So when the Yankees announced a new to go along with their new stadium sleeve patch, the collector in me got a bit excited. When I saw the new patch — at left, click to enlarge — I grew even more intrigued.
These new hats, you see, are something new from the marketing guys at Major League Baseball. Instead of sticking the patch on the left side of the hat, the patch is incorporated into the MLB logo and is on the back of the hat. The new commemorative logo is subtle and classy. It incorporates the Yankee Stadium frieze, the year and the MLB silhouetted batter. Plus, this guy looks pretty good in it. Who am I to complain?
The new hats go on sale on March 1. Admittedly, I’m a sucker for new hats, and I’ll have mine by Opening Day. Will you?
Ed. Note: The post originally scheduled for the overnight — about the new patch on the Yankee hats — will be back at 9:30 a.m. Since Manny’s rejection is timely, we wanted to toss this up as soon as we could.
I’m beginning to wonder if Manuel Aristides Ramirez actually wants to play baseball this year. For the fourth time this winter, Manny and Scott Boras have rejected an offer from the Dodgers. The latest one was a one-year offer for $25 million with a player option for 2010 at $20 million, and from the sound of it, Frank McCourt isn’t too keen to jump back to the table.
“We love Manny Ramirez,” the Dodgers owner said in a statement last night. “And we want Manny back, but we feel we are negotiating against ourselves. When his agent finds those ‘serious offers’ from other clubs, we’ll be happy to re-start the negotiations. Even with an economy that has substantially eroded since last November, out of respect for Manny and his talents, we actually improved our offer. So now, we start from scratch.”
While the Giants remain on the periphery of the Great Manny Chase, I’m beginning to wonder if Manny isn’t going to be somewhat forced to sit out. By rejecting the Dodgers again, Boras has made sure that he won’t get a comparable offer from any time. Maybe Manny should stay in top shape and wait until teams come a-knockin’ in June for that playoff drive push. Who knows which team might be able to use one of the game’s best right-handed sluggers ever by then? · (66) ·
On the day we first reported on the potential Bank of America sponsorship deal the Yanks were set to sign for the new stadium, the Dow closed at 11510.74. Tonight, the market sleeps at 7182.08, and the potential sponsorship deal is dead.
The AP reported on the demise of a deal that could have brought the Yanks upwards of $20 million a year for the next 20 years. Ronald Blum writes:
The New York Yankees and Bank of America ended months of negotiations on a long-term, high-profile sponsorship agreement, fallout from the financial industry’s decision to accept aid from the federal government.
While the sides never discussed naming rights to the team’s new $1.5 billion stadium, they had talked about the possibility of a 20-year deal that would have included signage, special events and tickets.
“With the downturn in the economy and the effect on financial institutions including government support of those institutions, we have determined that it is better to enter into a traditional business arrangement with a financial institution,” Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion said.
According to the AP, BoA had been the Yanks’ official bank since 1994. It’s unclear if they will continue to sponsor the team in a more limited capacity.
Meanwhile, it’s a bad sign for everyone that Bank of America backed out of a deal that is both lucrative for them and for the Yanks. According to the AP Joe Goode, a bank spokesperson, noted that a spending of $1 by the bank on the Yanks generated a 1000 percent revenue return and a 300 percent income return.
“We recognize that our decision not to pursue a long-term partnership with the Yankees reflects a lost revenue opportunity for our company, however these are unprecedented times that perhaps call for some very difficult decisions,” Goode said.
Let’s run the Open Thread with A-Rod news tonight. That way, if you, dear reader, don’t want to talk A-Rod, you can talk whatever else you want. Just play nice.
In The Times today, Marjorie Connelly breaks down a poll about Alex Rodriguez and his current popularity. The Times and CBS News surveyed 1112 people, 429 of whom are baseball fans, and they aren’t big A-Rod supporters.
Sixty percent of baseball fans are bothered by steroid use by players, and 44 percent say Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll…
The 60 percent of fans who said the use of performance-enhancing drugs mattered a lot to them was up from 53 percent last year…
Nearly half of those surveyed, 47 percent, said any major league record set by a steroid user should carry a note indicating the drug use, and 32 percent said the record should be eliminated altogether. Fewer than 20 percent favored keeping a steroids-tainted record on the books…
Thirty-seven percent of fans surveyed said they believed that at least half of major league players use steroids, and another 38 percent said a quarter use them. Nineteen percent said few players use drugs.
For A-Rod, those results are largely meaningless. All the poll shows is what we already knew: Alex Rodriguez will get a chilly reception as the Yanks hit the road this year. Hopefully, it won’t impact his play. A-Rod, after all, is used to a bad reception.
But on a larger level, baseball looks bad in the eyes of the public. When 74 percent of poll respondents think that at least a quarter of all baseball players are still juicing, the game has an image problem. In other A-Rod news, Yuri Sucart has been banned from the team this year.
Around NY Sports: Stephon Marbury is en route to Boston. I hope he kills the Celtics … The Knicks and Nets are off while the Devils, Rangers and Islanders all play home games at 7 p.m. … Johan Santana has tenderness in his throwing elbow.