According to an ESPN report, Bud Selig and the baseball owners are prepping for instant replay prior to the end of this season. This move — years int he making — comes after a few high-profile blown calls earlier this season and an increasing belief that it’s far better for the umpires to be right than to keep up some semblance of “baseball tradition.”

But, as with any major baseball decision, this one is not without controversy. Dan Graziano sums up the problems:

I spoke with somebody from the players’ union, and with a few players, a couple of months ago about this. The union’s position is that baseball should wait on instant replay and make sure to do it correctly, rather than rush it. The players are concerned about the idea of a season played under two different sets of rules (i.e., why should a home run be overturned in September when it couldn’t be in May?), and they’re very concerned about the logistics.

There are legitimate questions about how replay would work and how it would be administrated. Would it all work out of some central office in New York, the way hockey runs its replay calls out of Toronto? How much would depend on camera work by team-owned TV networks, and how can those be certain to be impartial? How would they reconcile the differences in the number and locations of cameras from park to park and game to game, given the differences between games that are televised nationally on ESPN, Fox and TBS and the games that are only televised locally? And what of games that aren’t televised at all?

In short, there are a lot of reasons to wait on this until all of the questions are answered. I’m with the players on this. It would be better to test this system out next year in the World Baseball Classic and spring training — games that don’t actually count for anything — and work out some of the bugs in time for the start of the 2009 regular season.

I have long been on the record in favor of instant replay, but I have to agree with Graziano on this one. In an effort to implement something that doesn’t really need to be put in place until next season, Major League Baseball is going to jump the gun on this one and create more problems for this proposal than they will solve. But that’s the way the Commissioner’s Office has long operated.

Categories : News
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  • Not enough $$$ for ’09?
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    The perpetually under-rated Tim Marchman of The NY Sun muses about how the Yanks will fill their roster next year without blowing the budget. He raises some excellent points, especially since the Yanks may have to replace their number 2 & 3 starters, as well as their number 3 & 5 hitters. Check it out. · (96) ·

  • The blame game
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    As the Yankees play out their last seven weeks of the season and the countdown to the destruction of Yankee Stadium continues, we’ll all start playing the blame game. First up is Pinstripe Alley, and they blame Bobby Meacham, the Yanks’ third base coach. Meacham, as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, doesn’t quite have that third base coach touch. He’s gotten a number of runners thrown out at the plate and seems to hold up guys who could easily score. He’ll probably be sent packing this fall, and that’s just one of the changes we’ll see among the men who make up Joe Girardi’s coaching staff. Someone, after all, has to take the fall. Meacham’s just the first domino to fall. · (120) ·

Looking to avenge their walk-off loss to Korea in the Olympic opener, the USA Baseball team turned to San Diego State sophomore Stephen Strasburg against the Netherlands last night, and boy did the kid deliver. Squaring off against Futures Gamer Shairon Martis, Strasburg fired 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 11 in the process. He took a perfect game into the 5th before issuing a walk, and kept the no-hitter in tact until allowing a Jeterian flare single to right with 2 outs in the 7th. The only thing that could stop him was the weather, as a rain delay forced him from the game. Strasburg is the early favorite to go first overall in the 2009 draft, and it’s easy to see why with performances like this one (and this one too). If you’re interested, you can read about his Olympic journey at his StrasBlog.

Matt Brown provided the team the only offense it would need, hitting a solo homer in the second. Matt LaPorta hit a monster 3-run homer in the 4th, a shot that cleared the left field fence by a good 30-35 feet. Dexter Fowler and Jason Donald tacked on some runs in garbage time, while Casey Weathers struck out two in a perfect 8th to close out the 7-0, rain shortened win. The Netherlands had two baserunners all night, and neither made it past first. The power arms were just too much.

Team USA is now 1-1 in the round robin style tournament, and will take on Cuba tonight at 11:30. For the third day in a row I’ll guess that either Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill takes to the mound, unless Davey Johnson elects to go with the more experienced Jake Arrieta against the Cubanos.

The video quality of the free online broadcast was ridiculously good, so I grabbed a couple screen caps of the stadium and Strasburg. Check ‘em out after the jump.

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Categories : Minors, USA Baseball
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Yesterday’s game between the Twins and the Yankees ended when Alex Rodriguez, on a 3-1 pitch, flied out to Carlos Gomez. A-Rod, 1 for 6 against Jesse Crain prior to that at bat, represented the last gasp for a dying team, and he didn’t come through. The three batters that had to face Joe Nathan were simply a formality, and the Yanks went down in defeat, 4-1, to the Twins.

In this game, the Yanks had their chances. Darrell Rasner, the Yanks’ sixth or even seventh starter, threw five effective innings. He allowed three runs — two earned — on four hits and a walk. With four strike outs, Rasner threw better than he had since the start of July. While he left on the wrong end of a 3-1 game, a Robinson Cano error prevented it from being 2-1 or even tied.

But again, the Yankees couldn’t get their offense going. They scored their two runs on a single and a wild pitch, and while A-Rod’s eighth inning out was the most egregious example of failure, no one came through. Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Xavier Nady, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera combined to go 0 for 16, and the Yanks just left four runners on base.

On the other side of the ball, the Yanks’ pitchers had another rough day, health-wise. Dan Giese, throwing three days after his last start, left with shoulder stiffness in the sixth. It was just another man day in a long season of injures.

Elsewhere in the AL, the Yanks saw Boston kill Chicago Texas. With the Boston win and the Yanks loss, the Bombers fell six games behind Boston for the Wild Card with 41 games left to play. The Yanks are 3.5 games behind Minnesota and are fading fast. While Phil Hughes and, eventually, Joba Chamberlain on the mend, the Yankees will offer their fans some excitement this season. But I’m going to start making plans for October that don’t, for the first time since 1994, involve the Yankees. Hopefully, I’ll have to cancel those plans, but right now, after a 3-7 road trip, I’m not too optimistic.

Categories : Game Stories
Comments (41)

Team USA is taking the Netherlands right now, you can watch it live (for free) here. San Diego State righty Steven Strasburg is on the mound for the red, white and blue; he’s the early favorite for the first overall pick in the ’09 draft. The video quality is top notch, and Mr. Strasburg is dealin’.

Triple-A Scranton (5-1 loss to Pawtucket)
Brett Gardner: 3 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB – threw a runner out at first from CF
Matt Carson, Eric Duncan & Chris Basak: all 1 for 4 – Carson & E-Dunc K’ed
Juan Miranda: 0 for 2, 2 BB
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 BB
Ben Broussard & Chad Moeller: both 1 for 3 – Broussard drove in a run … Moeller drew a walk & K’ed
Al Aceves: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 9-6 GB/FB – 59 of 98 pitches were strikes (60.2%) … The Mexican Gangster’s been kinda crappy homes (18 runs in his last 23.2 IP)
Chris Britton: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Scott Patterson: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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The Yankees suck. Or at least they do right now. They’re on pace for about 86 wins, which would be their lowest total since 1995, and the first time they’ve won fewer than 90 games since 2000. But enough of that, let’s forget about the Yanks for a night and talk some football.

So who’s going to throw more INT’s this year, Eli or Fav-ruh? Will D’Brickshaw break out this year? How much will the G-Men miss Shockey?

Whatever you guys wanna talk about, have at it here. J! E! T! S! Jets Jets Jets!!!

(h/t to Nady Nation for the topic)

Comments (39)
  • Gammons: Manny not on the radar, but CC is
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    In a chat with Boston Globe readers, Peter Gammons offered up his take on the Yankees off-season plans. According to Gammons’ sources, “as long as Brian Cashman is the GM and Hank Steinbrenner is owner, Manny will not be going to the Yankees. Their plan is to take the money they have stashed away and go after CC Sabathia.”

    This news is no surprise, but it does enable us to preview the Sabathia sweepstakes. Basically, this will all boil down to what CC wants to do. The Yanks are going to offer him, far and away, more money than any other team. If Sabathia wants to come to the Bronx and play for the Yankees, money will be no obstacle, and if Sabathia is at all hesitant, the Yanks’ offer will far outpace that of the Angels or any California-based team bound to be on Carsten Charles. How this all plays out will be entirely up to the big man himself, and it should make for an ever-entertaining November.
    · (40) ·

Let the Brian Cashman debates begin. According to Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, the Yankees plan to offer Brian Cashman an extension when the long-time GM’s contract runs out in the fall.

Writes Heyman:

Never mind the Yankees’ current standing in third place, or their recent struggles. Both Steinbrenner brothers are now said by people familiar with their thinking to be on board with Brian Cashman as their general manager, for now and long into the future. Even if the Yankees fail to play into October for the first full season since 1993, club insiders say that the Steinbrenners plan to offer Cashman a contract extension after this season.

At the start of the season, as we well know, Cashman’s long-term prospects in the New York seemed to hinge on this season. He had very publicly — and with an assist from Hal Steinbrenner — declined to give up prospects (and perhaps Chien-Ming Wang) in a trade for Johan Santana and was putting his chips in the development basket. Now, we sit in mid-August, and the Yanks are firmly ensconced in third place, a distant five games behind Boston in the Wild Card.

Yet, as Heyman notes, the Steinbrenners have reportedly latched onto the positives this year. The Yanks organization looks very strong with Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero leading the charge. Plus, Cashman gained major points for his seeming coup in acquiring Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte for nothing more than Jose Tabata and a bunch of mid-level prospects.

Meanwhile, if the Yanks are serious about a new approach involving smart investing in free agency and developing quality youngsters from within, it never made sense to hold Cashman’s feet to the fire based on just the 2008 season. The Yankees are going to have to ride out a plan that takes a few years to see through, and that means Brian Cashman should return. Hopefully, Heyman’s report contains the truth. Hopefully, Cashman doesn’t jump ship to Seattle. Hopefully, the Yanks’ new approach will work for years to come.

Categories : Front Office
Comments (61)

Nothing like a day game right after a four hour and 22 minute affair the night before. It’ll just make tomorrow’s day off feel sweeter. That is, if they can pull of a win and take the series from the Twins.

They’ll be without the captain, who will sit out the game after fouling a ball of his foot last night. It makes enough sense. Might as well give him a full two days to rest. They will miss has bat, though. He’s 15 for 47 in August, adding up to a .319/.370/.404 line. In his place is Wilson Betemit, who is having yet another ugly month, despite his slightly increased playing time. In 27 plate appearances, he hasn’t drawn a single walk.

Rasner takes the mound again, looking to redeem himself. Phil Hughes is getting closer, and could take Rasner’s spot in 10 days or so. Here’s to hoping Ras puts up a fight to keep his spot.

Your lineup:

1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Bobby Abreu. DH
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. Jason Giambi, 1B
5. Xavier Nady, RF
6. Robinson Cano, 2B
7. Ivan Rodriguez, C
8. Wilson Betemit, SS
9. Melky Cabrera, CF

And on the mound, number forty-three, Darrell Rasner.

Categories : Game Threads
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