The Biggest Ball

I just wanted to use this.

Congratulations! You’ve just caught Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit! It was a home run into the left field stands and despite your slightly drunken coordination and hysteria, you got your hands around it. You fought off that ugly chick next to you and the nerdy-looking guy typing on his smuggled iPad (he muttered something about a war…) to keep it. It’s got a shiny hologram and looks slightly used and everything. There’s no question that, for a Yankees fan, there are fewer greater souvenirs. And given Jeter’s reputation, that ball is worth quite a bit of money.
You’ve got Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. What do you do with it?

I guess you can break it down into two categories. You can either keep it, which I’ll get to in a bit, or give it back to the Yankees. Personally, I would give it back to the Yankees. It would be cool to have, but something like that – well, wouldn’t you want someone to give you back your 3000th hit? I’d be pretty annoyed if some jerk kept it in his bookcase. So, you’ve decided to give it back to the Yankees. What do you ask for? Are you as noble as Christian Lopez, the guy who actually caught the ball, and ask for nothing? Tickets? Signed memorabilia? Dinner with the captain himself? Tickets? Legends seats all year, or two or three years, would be pretty good. I don’t think asking for straight cash is a good idea. If you were looking for only money, you could probably get way more cash on eBay.

Maybe you don’t want to give it to the Yankees, or you have an entirely unreasonable demand. You demand that in order to give the ball back, the Yankees have to fire Girardi, release A.J. Burnett, and trade for Barry Zito. You refuse to give the ball to anyone else until you see Barry Zito out there on the mound in the Bronx in pinstripes. I’m pretty sure, at that point, they’ll just let you keep it. Do you keep the ball on your mantle forever? What do you do with it with you die? Donate it to Cooperstown? Your kid(s)? To Derek? Would it just mysteriously remain in your estate?

Do you sell it? Admittedly, I think if you sell Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit than you’re not the best fan you could be. An item like that baseball is worth more than money. That baseball is worth yours (or my) childhood. All those moments you that you watched TV under the covers and yelled at Brett Gardner for running like an idiot and threw your remote at the wall and put your foot through the TV – that’s what that baseball means. I suppose you could sell the ball (rumored to be worth approximately $140,000) and then use the money for tickets or a jersey or two or something, but I still think that’s a stretch. Do you sell it on eBay? Craigslist? Really?

Obviously, I don’t fall into most usual girl stereotypes, but I’m pretty sure this decision would basically tear me apart. And you have to make it during the game! While the game was going on! With Hal Steinbrenner on the phone near you! Maybe if you’ve been a Yankees fan for the past 50 years, this is a smaller moment and the baseball means less, but my first year of Yankee-dom was 1995, so Derek Jeter is pretty closely wound into my childhood. I think what would happen is that I would probably keep it for the game, but feel bad and call Yankee Stadium back and try to figure out what to get for it. Legends tickets and a whole bunch of memorabilia sounds cool.

Anyway. Go Derek Jeter. Yay.

Game 87: Flirting with 3,000

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Mr. Mystery via Creative Commons license)

Two hits away, that’s it. I was supposed to be in the stands last night but Mother Nature really screwed me over on that one. For shame. Here’s the lineup…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Russell Martin, C
Jorge Posada, DH
Andruw Jones, RF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B
Brett Gardner, LF

A.J. Burnett, SP

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 1pm ET, and you’ll be able to watch on YES. Enjoy.

Two losses and a lot of rain

D.J. Mitchell makes an appearance in the In The Team Photo section of this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. They say he “doesn’t get as much attention as some of his teammates, but his feel for pitching and changeup mean he’ll probably be a useful middle reliever someday.”

Double-A Trenton (6-1 loss to Reading)
Ray Kruml, LF 3 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B – threw a runner out at second … 16 for his last 40 (.400)
Corban Joseph, 2B: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K – 11 for his last 36 (.306) with three doubles and a homer
Austin Romine, C, Cody Johnson, DH & Rob Lyerly, 1B: all 1 for 4 – Romine and Johnson struck out once, Lyerly twice … Romine also allowed a passed ball
Bradley Suttle, 3B, Jose Pirela, SS & Melky Mesa, CF: all 0 for 4 – Pirela struck out once, Suttle twice … Suttle committed a fielding error, Pirela a throwing error
Damon Sublett, LF: 0 for 3, 1 K
Manny Banuelos, LHP: 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 2 HB, 5-3 GB/FB – control Manny! control! work on that control!
Cory Arbiso, RHP: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Josh Romanski, LHP: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0-3 GB/FB
Brad Halsey, LHP: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 3-0 GB/FB

Low-A Charleston (6-5 loss to Delmarva)
Jose Toussen, CF: 3 for 5, 1 R – four walks and just three strikeouts in his last nine games
Anderson Feliz, 2B: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K - just over the Mendoza line at .201
Kevin Mahoney, 3B: 0 for 5, 3 K
Gary Sanchez, C: 2 for 3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 PB – second straight day with a homer and his third in ten games
Ramon Flores, LF: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI – 16 for his last 43 (.372) with three doubles and the homer
Kelvin DeLeon, DH: 0 for 5
Jeff Farnham, 1B: 1 for 4, 1 R
Mike Ferraro, RF: 3 for 4, 1 2B – threw a runner out at first
Jose Mojica, SS: 0 for 4
Jose Ramirez, RHP: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 WP, 1 HB, 4-4 GB/FB, 1 E (missed catch) – disappointing
Nathan Forer, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1-0 GB/FB
Tommy Kahnle, RHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K – 68 strikeouts and 34 walks in 52 IP
Yobanny Reyes, LHP: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 3-2 GB/FB

Triple-A Scranton, High-A Tampa, and Short Season Staten Island were all rained out. The Rookie GCL Yankees had their game suspended due to rain in the third inning. Here’s that box score. All of these games will be made up a later date, some tomorrow, some at another point in the future.

Jeter, Grandy rake in All-Star Game bonuses

The All-Star Game is just a glorified exhibition for us fans, but to the players it’s quite a bit more. For some, it can be a cash cow. Take Derek Jeter for example. Despite having more money that he’ll ever be able to spend, the Cap’n received a $500,000 bonus from the Yankees for being named to the Midsummer Classic. He was the biggest breadwinner this year, but Curtis Granderson could end up making the most from his All-Star nomination. Grandy not only gets a $25,000 bonus, but his 2013 option increases from $13M to $13.5M as well. A total of 15 players received bonuses for their All-Star nods, and Maury Brown has the full list right here.

Open Thread: How the Yanks use their money

As the Yankees sign big-name free agents or their own players to seemingly larger-than-life contracts, we often bemoan the expenses. We shudder at the idea of paying 41-year-old A-Rod $21 million, 36-year-old Mark Teixeira $22.5 million or CC whatever exorbitant amount he will make after leveraging his opt-out clause this winter. We worry that the dollars will reward players for past performances and that the spending will handcuff the Yankees, but perhaps we shouldn’t.

In an interesting piece on the Baseball Reference blog yesterday, Neil Paine looked at the 100 players making the highest percentage of team payroll, and the Yankees are surprisingly not well represented. A-Rod’s $32 million salary is only 15.8 percent of the Yanks’ payroll this year, good for 19th in baseball. Carlos Lee, who makes 26.9 percent of the Astros’ total payroll leads the pack.

Behind A-Rod, only two other Yankees make the top 100: CC Sabathia‘s salary puts him at 49th overall. He makes 12 percent of the team payroll. Mark Teixeira’s salary represents 11.4 percent $202 million total, good for 62nd overall. For what it’s worth, the Red Sox have just two players on that list while the Mets have six.

For well-leveraged big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, the object would be to limit the number of players on the list. With many high-paid players, clubs become top-heavy, and that’s what has happened to the Mets. They’re paying Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, David Wright, Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Reyes a combined 81 percent of their payroll which leads to little wiggle room for the rest of the 25-man roster. The Yankees have better maximized their economic might and can cover for so the more ungainly contracts.

Anyway, food for thought for the night. As we know, tonight’s game has been rained out, and no doubleheader is scheduled for tomorrow. The teams will instead make up tonight’s game on Thursday, Sept. 22 because Tampa Bay refused to play two on Saturday. Them’s the breaks.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have said they will skip Freddy Garcia‘s spot in the rotation. A.J. Burnett will face David Price tomorrow, and CC Sabathia will close out the first half against James Shields on Sunday. In local action, the Mets and Giants play at 10:15 p.m. In New York, the MLB Network will carry the Seattle/Los Angeles game at the same time.