Praising Derek Jeter for his leadership has become something of a baseball cliché over the years. There is, after all, a reason why some fans derogatorily call him Captain Intangibles. But in a recent Bob Klapisch piece, Jason Giambi praises Jeter’s leadership and sounds genuinely sincere in doing so. “I’ll thank Derek until the day I die,” Giambi said. “What he did for me, after what I’d been through, made it possible for me to keep playing in New York. The fans forgave me because of Derek. I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life.”
While I generally think that Klapisch painted an accurate picture of Giambi’s complex tenure in New York, I don’t like how he compared the situation to A-Rod’s. In comparing Giambi’s steroid problems to A-Rod’s he praises Jason and says the current Athletic is “unlike A-Rod, who’s had two chances to come clean (and still hasn’t).” This is a point blank attack that serves no purpose and is grounded in nothing more than unhealthy skepticism. It doesn’t help what is otherwise a solid example of a profile piece. · (25) ·
Early on Friday morning, Bryan Hoch tossed up a brief post on the Yanks’ early spring TV ratings. Usually, no one outside a few suits at YES would care much about those numbers, but take a look at what Hoch had to say:
Yesterday’s YES Network telecast of the Rays-Yankees Spring Training game (1:00 pm) generated a 1.19 average TV household rating (88,000 TV households), making it the highest-rated weekday daytime Spring Training telecast ever on YES. The previous high was YES’ telecast of the Yankees’ game against Virginia Tech on March 18, 2008, which drew a 1.17 average TV household rating (86,000 TV households).
Keep in mind that this record-setting draw was for a mid-afternoon game on a Thursday in February, 39 days before Opening Day. While Phil Hughes started, he threw just two innings, and for the most part, a bunch of no-names destined for AAA or worse fought it out against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Of course New Yorkers wanted their first on-screen exposure to A-Rod since this whole steroid fiasco. Of course they wanted a glimpse of Mark Teixeira in those slimming pinstripes. Beyond that, though, 88,000 viewers on Day 2 of Spring Training in the New York area just shows a team that is popular beyond our conceptions of it.
This year, the Yankees are opening a new stadium, and they have the weight of baseball expectations surrounding them. They signed three of the top free agents this winter and are primed to make a run at October after missing the playoffs for the first time since 1995.
People might hate the Yankees. They met resent the success and the spending. They might boo A-Rod. But while one game does not a trend make, it seems as though 2009 will be the Year of the Yankees in New York City. Everyone will watch; everyone will talk about it; and 53,000 fans a night will actually get to be there to see it all go down, obstructed view and all.
As the toast of the town, the Yanks will find it good to be top. I just hope they can fulfill the lofty expectations as people take the time now in February to turn on the Grapefruit League in record numbers.
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) ·