Fan Confidence Poll: February 6th, 2012

2011 Record: 97-65 (855 RS, 657 RA, 102-60 pythag. record), won AL East, lost to Tigers in ALDS

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
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Super Bowl XLVI Open Thread

Will Eli Manning's permanent dumb face save the day? (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

I’m a Jets fan, but I can’t imagine not rooting for the Giants today. I guess it helps that I’m not the biggest football fan in the world — so my allegiance isn’t ironclad — but ultimately it comes down to the New York thing. I mean, if the Mets and Red Sox were in the World Series, would you not be rooting for those fellas from Flushing? This isn’t any different. New York vs. Boston, Eli vs. Brady … doesn’t take much to back the G-Men today. Lets go Gi-Ants.

The New York Yankees Remix

Flawless combining of sports and music. (Used under a creative common license from flickr user vtooky)

Sports have a lot in common with music.

First off, it’s easy to get over-invested. You love a band? Suddenly, you’re seeing three of their shows in a row, driving up and down the state and maybe into (shudder) Massachusetts. You might be listening to the same album over and over again. Likewise, I’m sure plenty of Yankees fans are going to Boston, DC, Queens, and Baltimore to check out your team. Also, there’s the fact we end up watching these guys play the same game 162+ times. That’s a lot to watch the same damn thing. I think we’re all crazy.

Additionally, there is nothing more pointless than arguing either music or sports with your friends. Your friend is Mets fan? Get new friends, but first, try to convince them to be a Yankees fan. Sadly, futile. Meanwhile, your friend likes that band you hate? There is no way they will ever tell you it’s not the best thing they’ve ever listened to. Meanwhile, you will make an equal fool of yourself singing in your cubicle or talking avidly about your fantasy team. (Hint: No one cares about your fantasy team.)

With this, I present Yankees as songs from my iPod.

Derek Jeter as “The Lightning Strike,” by Snow Patrol

There are lots of great things that Jeter presents: as a baseball player, he’s really good, really consistent, determined, disciplined, and talented. As a front presented to the media, he’s calm, with no surprises and no big crises; he doesn’t get into trouble, and as a result he doesn’t ever have to wiggle out of it. Jeter’s the golden boy, as everyone knows.

“The Lightning Strike” off A Hundred Million Suns, gives the listener all these things. Not only does it match Jeter’s lengthy career (the song has four parts and combines for a whopping 16:18 in play time), but the song starts with an intriguing intro before being played with a dramatic flare through all four parts. It even comes with a part around 9:35 where you thought it was over, but then you realize there’s a lot more to go. Despite the dramatic notes, there’s no surprises – gravitas is the norm, like Jeter, and there’s no random cymbal banging or screaming guitar solos where you didn’t expect them. The song ends leaving the listening feeling fulfilled, like this whole story was written and told perfectly, and couldn’t have been any other way, and when Jeter’s career is over… well, how could it have been any better? Ain’t no one out there like El Capitan.

David Robertson as “Don’t Stop Me Now,” by Queen

In the Non-Mariano Rivera division of things that happen in baseball games, is there anything that made you feel more secure in 2011 than David Robertson? The man was flat-out amazing on the mound in relief, and as such I think he’s worthy of such a great song.

Quite frankly, no one could have stopped Robertson, both last year and ’11, and even with a little regression he’d still be a downright amazing reliever. He had a real good time. He felt alive. He was floating around in ecstasy.

You get the point.

While there was usually a tenseness that came with Robertson’s appearance, they almost always ended in the impossible-to-frown-at cheeriness that also accompanies this song. Both the song and his at-bats tended to follow an easy routine: he throws fastballs, and curveballs, and strike guys out. Meanwhile, the song, like the baseball season, becomes bigger both in terms of leverage and Freddie Mercury’s voice, and Robertson still has it in the bag. With his strikeout rate’s rocket ship already reached Mars, he’s going to make a supersonic man out of you. By that, I mean he’s going to embarrass you with his pitches and make you ashamed as you walk back to your dugout.

Whether you think 200 degrees means the heat on his fastball or the break of his offspeed pitches, it was all enough to earn him a pretty awesome nickname (sadly, not Mr. Fahrenheit).

(Shameless Plug: I did a Yankees year in review video to this song.)

Phil Hughes as “Vida La Vida” by Coldplay

Phil Hughes used to be everything. He was the future. He was brilliance. He was the next 6-year-100M contact. He was the Yankees’ pride and joy. He was the kind of guy you ran off to get the jersey of, the one you knew was gonna mean everything.

But that was when he ruled the world.

These days, Hughes is but a shadow of the flawless prospect we imagined him as. Injuries and ineffectiveness have kicked him down from the position, and he’s gone from being The Future to fighting for a rotation spot. Given as how entertaining the “Phil Hughes is Fat” jokes can sometimes be, there’s a good chance that even if he returns to form, they’ll persist, and that possibility is even greater if he doesn’t. Both Hughes and Coldplay tell stories about rising and falling from power, and how easy it can be. After all, baseball’s almost as difficult as ruling a country, I bet.

While the song ends on a morbid, depressing note, I’m hoping Phil can break the trend here and get himself together in 2012. It wouldn’t be legitimately awful for him to end up as a reliever, but it does seem a little a let-down when he was so good in the first half in 2010. That seems far away now, doesn’t it?

Anyway, because this is music, I’m sure there will be many differing opinions on song choice. And because this is sports, I’m sure lots of people will disagree with me. That’s what the comments are for.

(I shamelessly modified this idea from where Friend of the Blog Rebecca Glass discusses the Yankees as mythical creatures. Derek Jeter is a unicorn.)

RAB’s Super Bowl Sunday Trivia Contest

UPDATE: We have 4 winners, who have been contacted via email. Please feel free to keep playing for fun!

With the focus of the sports world on the NFL and the Yankees mostly done tinkering with their roster until pitchers and catchers report, RAB is running a Yankees trivia contest as a diversion to keep you folks busy before the Big Game.

The Prizes:

We have 4 prizes to give away.

1. The Last Boy by Jane Leavy
2. Donnie Baseball by Mike Shalin
3. 1961* by Phil Pepe
4. Yankees Classics by Les Krantz (with a DVD)

The winners will get to choose their prizes, in order of finish (first place chooses first, etc).

The Rules:

The game functions as a sort of treasure hunt. The first question is below, at the end of this post. The answer to that question should be put into your web browser’s url area, where you should follow it with .blogspot.com. This will lead you to a page with another question, where the same rules apply. On each page, specific instructions are included to make sure you enter the right words, so be careful. Here’s an example:

Q: Who was the last Yankee to reach 3000 hits? Provide his name followed by his uniform number.

A: The correct answer is Derek Jeter, and his uniform number is 2. Enter derekjeter2.blogspot.com into your web browser, and you would move on to the next question.

There are 46 questions of varying difficulty, corresponding to the 46 Super Bowls of varying degrees of awfulness. The winners must leave a comment on the final page (not on this post!), and also email me (mandel42 at gmail) the answers to all 46 questions, so keep a list as you go along. The first four people to reach the final page, comment, and email me are the winners (One entry per person. Any attempts at multiple entries will disqualify the offender entirely).

Some of you may have played this game before, but I made a few tweaks and added a few questions, so I hope you will give it another try. Good luck, and happy hunting.

Question # 1: Let’s start with an easy one. What were the Yankees called immediately before they were the Yankees? Give the full city and team name (ie newjerseydevils.blogspot.com).

Open Thread: Eric Chavez

The Yankees were busy trolling the “it would be a great move if it was 2003!” crowd at this time last offseason, and one year ago today they signed Eric Chavez to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. He went on to win the backup corner infielder’s job with a strong showing in camp, and had an up-and-down regular season that featured little power, some big hits, injury, and surprisingly excellent defense given his history of back and shoulder problems. The Yankees could still bring him back for that very same role in 2012, though I have to think it would be another minor league deal. They can’t guarantee him anything given his frailty.

* * *

Here is your open thread for the night. The Knicks and Nets are playing each other, and the Islanders are also in action. The Caribbean Series will be on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.com as well, in case you’re in serious need of a baseball fix. Mighty Matt DeSalvo and Randy Keisler were opposing starters in yesterday’s game, just to give you an idea of the talent pool (failed prospects, org. players, etc.). But still, it’s baseball. Use the thread to talk about whatever’s on your mind.

Mailbag & Poll: Darvish vs. Pineda

(REUTERS/Darrell Byers)

Jesse asks: What are your thoughts on the theory that the reason Cashman did not go all in for Darvish is not because he didn’t like the idea of an imported pitcher, but because there were already rumblings of Pineda in pinstripes?

I’m not sure I buy that. Both Brian Cashman and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik have acknowledged that talks about the Jesus MonteroMichael Pineda trade started at the winter meetings, which was just about a week before Yu Darvish was officially posted. We all knew he was going to posted so it wasn’t some big surprise, it was just a matter of when. The Yankees most likely had made up their mind about whether or not to pursue him well in advance of the meetings and submitting their $15M bid. I can’t imagine it was a spur of the moment thing.

I don’t think their half-hearted attempt to acquire Darvish had to do with anything more than their questions about his ability to succeed in MLB, with a new ball, a new mound, smaller stadiums, better hitters, a five-day rotation, etc. If they had truly wanted him, Pineda wouldn’t have stopped them. Trade talks were still in the early stages back then and weren’t guaranteed to work out, so they could have gone down both paths and determined which was the better fit at a later time. Passing on Darvish because of Pineda could have easily resulted in them getting neither pitcher.

I’d much rather have Darvish and Montero than Pineda and [insert random DH here], but these things don’t happen in a vacuum. It would have taken over $100M to land Darvish, who isn’t a sure thing. Pineda isn’t either, but he’s also making the league minimum and has an above-average MLB season under his belt. Nine-figure Darvish and dirt cheap Montero for the next six years, or dirt cheap Pineda and say a $5M DH for the next five years? I was a big proponent of pursuing Darvish (not my money!) and there’s a lot more upside in option #1, but also substantially more risk because of the money involved. I can understand why the team went with door #2 even if I don’t necessarily agree with it. This calls for a poll…

Which would you rather have?
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Joba continues rehab program, throwing off half-mound

Via the AP, Joba Chamberlain has started throwing off a half-mound as he continues his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He’s been throwing off flat ground for a few weeks, but now he’s starting to get elevated. He’s right on schedule based on Mike Dodd’s classic TJS article, and should begin throwing breaking balls pretty soon. Joba figures to return to the team in mid-June, a year out from surgery.