A little while ago this evening, RAB set a new single-month record for page views and unique views. We’ve now had over 256,000 page views in March, and we want to thank all of you, our readers, for making this site so successful. Since the Yankees were bounced from the ALDS in October, we’ve had well over 1.25 million page views, and since we started RAB, we’ve had 2,043 posts and 27,474 comments (and counting). With the season set to start on Monday — and a new RAB give-away contest coming on Sunday — we’re set for a great season here just as the Yanks are set on the field. So thank you to everyone.
Two articles of note on Joe Girardi today: Gerry Fraley in the Rocky Mountain News takes a look back at Joe Girardi’s career path. Girardi, the Rockies’ first catcher, gives credit to his Colorado years for his recent successes. Meanwhile, in Florida, as Joel Sherman writes in today’s Post, the players feel that Girardi got a bum rap from the Front Office and actually did a well with the young Marlins team. All eyes will be on Girardi this season, for better or worse. · (1) ·
This isn’t exactly Yankee-related, but it’s good stuff nonetheless. Former Major Leaguer and all-around smart guy Doug Glanville will be contributing on and off this season to The New York Times as the season unfolds. Glanville knows what he was: a very good baseball player who had the luck and fortune to play for a few years at the Major League level. He quit when he felt the time was right and is quite good as bringing non-players into the game. His first column went up earlier this week. Good stuff. · (1) ·
When the Yankees made their roster announcement last night, I breathed a sigh of relief. Up until the last minute, it looked as though the Yanks were going to take on a sub-par pitcher — Kei Igawa or Darrell Rasner — just to say they had a “long reliever.”
In my opinion, that’s an unnecessary cog. Why waste a roster spot on a pitcher just because? Considering the Yanks’ offensive potential this year, no deficit should be too big for the Bombers.
But, as Mike reported late last night, the bullpen came together nicely. For the first few days of the season, the Yanks will go with eight relievers; the four who were already inked in will be joined by Billy Traber, Ross Ohlendorf, Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaladejo. While Scott Patterson probably should have made it over Albaladejo, that spot will go to Andy Pettitte when he is activated from the DL on Sunday.
While Peter Abraham see this roster as an indication that things haven’t changed with Joe Torre out, I disagree. The Yanks went with the arms who impressed in Spring Training, and they went with the bats on the bench. They’ve put together a powerful team, but at the same time, this is a team — especially in the bullpen — on a short leash. With numerous pitchers in the minors who can throw strikes effectively, a player who struggesl will get shipped out pretty quickly.
And that’s where Brian Bruney comes in. Last year, we had pretty much written off Bruney. We couldn’t decide what was worse: his attitude or his control. And when he was banished to AAA after throwing walk after walk, he threw a fit about it.
This year, he came to camp ready to pitch. He’s in great shape, and his pitchers are showing life. In 9 Spring Training innings, he gave up 9 hits and 2 ER while striking out 12 and walking 3. He’s been throwing strikes in the mid- to upper-90s all spring, and it’s not an understatement when I say that an effective Brian Bruney could be a very valuable cog in the Yankees bullpen this year.
Bruney is one of the Kyle Farnsworth-type players who GMs cannot resist. He throws hard but has no idea where his pitchers are going. When they’re in the strike zone, they’re nearly unhittable, but oftentimes, their outings as disastrous.
The key to Bruney this year will be his walks. He’s walked 114 in 148 Major League innings for a K/9 IP of just a shade under 7. That’s awful. If he can keep that number around 3 or 4 per 9 IP, the Yanks will finally see Bruney realize his potential.
There’s no doubt that the Yanks are taking some calculated risks this year. Some key pieces on this team’s pitching staff are, by and large, unproven youngsters or veterans on the cusp of AAAA status. But the crazy thing is that this just might work.
While we know that Bob Sheppard won’t return to the Bronx until this summer, another long-time voice of the Yankees is out indefinitely as well. Bobby Murcer, The Daily News’ Bill Madden reports, will miss Opening Day. The side effects of his recent treatment for brain cancer has left him too weak to return to the broadcast booth. Murcer plans to return this year; he just doesn’t know when yet. We’re all hoping he gets well soon. · (3) ·
Jose Molina C
Shelley Duncan 1B-RF-LF
Morgan Ensberg 1B-3B
Wilson Betemit 1B-2B-3B-SS
PeteAbe says that’s the roster, and there’s not much to complain about (keep your head up Scotty P., you’ll be up soon enough). The Yanks retroactively placed Pettitte on the 15-day DL (he’s eligible to come off on Saturday, Sean Henn was also DL’ed), and they eschewed a long reliever in favor of a whole lotta short relievers. Humberto Sanchez was placed on the 60-day DL, opening up a 40-man roster spot for a guy like Darrell Rasner when the time comes. I’m assuming Albaladejo’s the garbage time reliever for now, and will go down to Triple-A Scranton once Pettitte’s ready.
Don’t get too attached, the roster come September and October will look quite different.
Brett Gardner hit a homerun today. But the fun doesn’t stop there: Alberto Gonzalez and Justin Christian also went deep. Granted, it was only a minor league Spring Training game, but these three guys have combined to hit exactly 50 homeruns in 1,218 career games. If my math is correct (and please correct me if it isn’t), the chances of these three each hitting a homer in the same game is one in 1,540,200. Great googley moogley. · (12) ·
The good folks at LoHud.com have unveiled a nifty salary database. You can find out how much your favorite players make and compare them across leagues, teams or positions. While salary data is available elsewhere online, the LoHud tool is the first searchable database and is pretty handy if you like that sort of stuff. · (1) ·
Derek prefers his shaken, not stirred.
Tired of the new Stadium yet? Me neither. Let’s jump in.
With season previews abounding in New York papers these days, there’s no shortage of stories about the new Yankee Stadium. Last week, we enjoyed learning about the martini bar and other luxurious offerings that will come with the new Yankee Stadium Experience. Today’s story comes to us from Sam Borden of The Journal-News, and it focuses on the more practical aspects of the new Yankee Stadium.
In it, we learn about the Yanks’ approach toward designing this new stadium. They wanted, according to team COO Lonn Trost, to restore aspects of the old Yankee Stadium that were abandoned during the renovations in the early 1970s and keep other long-time attributes. For example, the eagles that currently adorn the stadium entrance will fit right in on the new stadium and will appear more like the 1923 originals which were removed in the 1970s.
Beyond beyond the cosmetics, Trost and Borden talked field dimensions and seating bowl configurations as well:
Home plate will be moved 20 feet closer to the seats; the black seats in center field, which were unoccupied and served as the “batter’s eye,” will be replaced by a large sports bar with black-tinted windows; the numbering of the sections will be revamped, meaning that now section 201 actually will be next to section 202, as opposed to the odd-numbers-in-right-field, even-numbers-in-left setup that currently exists…
Monument Park? It’ll be moved, too, though it’s actually moving back closer to where it was in the original park, when it was literally in deep center field in fair territory (players ran among the monuments on deep fly balls). In the new Stadium, it’ll be in center field again, but this time behind the wall…
Instead of being walled-off from the field, the concourses will be open, so that everyone will always be able to see what’s happening during the game. There also will be approximately 500,000 square feet of amenities for fans to enjoy, Trost said, in a “great hall” between the stadium entrance and the field level.
Contrary to what I reported yesterday, Trost said that the dimensions would stay the same. “The dimensions of Yankee Stadium were not going to change. They just weren’t,” Trost said, sounding a bit enthusiastic about measurements that have been in place only since 1988.
Borden wraps up the piece with a kicker about the attendance. We finally have a figure: Attendance at the new Yankee Stadium will be 52,326, down around 4000 from the current stadium’s capacity.
This I do not like. While it’s much better than what the Mets are doing — who decided cutting a New York sports stadium down to 44,000 was a good idea? — the Yankees are selling out every game in the Bronx. So their solution is to cut the number of seats? That doesn’t fly.
“We could have added more seats, but they would have had to just been higher and further from the field,” Trost said to Borden. “We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make sure that each fan had a great view and could truly enjoy the new park as much as possible.”
And that, my friends, is selling a lie.
Chad Jennings is always thinking. He’s got a decent idea for the start of the season, wherein the Yanks would place Andy Pettitte on the DL. He’d be eligible to return on Saturday, so it wouldn’t hurt the Yanks rotation. They’d go Wang on Monday, Moost Wednesday, Hughes Thursday, IPK Friday, Pettitte Saturday. Of course, this doesn’t have the effect of splitting up Wang and Pettitte, which many think will be good for the bullpen. It does, however, open up another bullpen spot for a few days, which could be valuable in the season’s early going. · (21) ·