Two stories of note as the Jim Leyritz saga continues. None of the news is good for the former Yankee and one-time World Series hero.
Leo Standora at the Daily News notes that Leyritz’s BAC was twice the legal limit three hours after his fatal auto accident in December. The details are a bit chilling:
Fort Lauderdale cops said Wednesday a blood test taken nearly three hours after the 3:20 a.m. collision registered a .14 alcohol level. The legal limit in Florida is .08. The amount of alcohol in blood reaches its highest level about an hour after drinking.
A second blood test taken at 7:12 a.m., nearly four hours after the crash showed a .13 level…
Investigators who charged Leyritz with manslaughter said he was clearly drunk, citing his “red watery eyes, flushed face and the odor of an alcoholic beverage.” Leyritz stumbled, couldn’t follow instructions from cops, and missed three of six attempts to touch his nose with his finger, police said.
Still, his lawyer has said the case is “certainly not a slam dunk.” David Bogenschutz scoffed at the notion client had no defense.
I’m not a lawyer — yet, at least — but I have no idea what sort of defense Leyritz’s lawyers are going to conjure up here. It seems to me that they would be better off accepting a plea deal.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Fort Lauderdale police have said that Leyrtiz will face an additional manslaughter charge. Based on my reading of the Florida sentencing guidelines and the state’s definition of manslaughter as a felony of the second degree, Leyritz may be facing up to an additional 15 years in prison.
If Curt Schilling can blog, so can Phil Hughes. The Yanks’ young phenom seems to have joined the blogging masses. The title — My Weblog — needs some work, but hopefully, Phil will have some good things to say this season. PeteAbe says more is on the way. I’m excited. · (8) ·
You know the drill, folks. Vote, and we’ll listen to you. I think I know what’s going to win though.
- He’s only 23
- He’s already an above-average outfielder
- His stats compare well with Bernie’s
- We don’t need a 40-homer hitting center fielder
All of these points are valid, though they each have holes in them. Let’s go point-by-point.
Time to drop in on the construction in the Bronx. When last we saw the New Yankee Stadium, work on the Yanks’ future home was moving right along. Since the end of the season, the stadium had grown a second deck and an entry way. Today, we’ve got another update courtesy of the AP, the New York Post and Yankees.com, and now the stadium has a name.
The Post – and a hat tip on this one to Curbed – goes inside the construction, and the Yankees are definitely making progress. While they still may be behind schedule, the stadium is coming together. Bill Sanderson reports:
The words “Yankee Stadium,” solidly etched in gold-leafed stone, were hoisted by crane onto the team’s new South Bronx home this week. And now there’s rock-solid proof that unlike countless other sports teams that have given up stadium-naming rights to big corporations, Yankee tradition is not for sale. The words appear on the façade of the stadium’s 30,000- square-foot Gothic-style Grand Hall, which will be the main entranceway to the new ballpark and is expected to offer retail and restaurant space year-round.
“Yankee” went up Monday, and “Stadium” went up first thing yesterday morning, team officials said.
Sounds pretty nifty, right? But what does it look like? Well, MLB.com comes through with a new photo gallery on Yankees.com. For now, you can also see the images in the flickr set embedded below or on flickr in this set.
As Yankee Stadium nears its final season, progress on the new stadium is coming along apace, and I, one of the new stadium’s great detractors, will admit that the House that A-Rod Built sure does look pretty spectacular for now.
David Justice, according to Richard Sandomir, sports media beat writer for The Times, will see his role diminish at the YES Network. According to Justice and YES Network officials, Justice will no longer be an in-studio analyst but will contribute to YESNetwork.com.
Justice had a rough end to 2007: His house was destroyed during the California fires, and his name appeared in the Mitchell Report. All of the involved parties say this changing role has nothing to do with the Mitchell Report and more to do with Justice’s desire to be at home while his family rebuilds their house. I have one thing to say about that: Hal-le Ber-ry. Clap clap clap clap clap. · (12) ·
Steroids. Santana. The Bullpen. Melky. Pick one, and you’re bound to hit a topic that we — and countless other Yankee blogs — have hit upon with more regularity than any of us would like to admit. But we’re almost done with that. As the handy-dandy countdown on the right tells us, Spring Training starts in about four weeks, and it couldn’t come soon enough.
For now, as we slog through the last few weeks without baseball, we’ll spin that Wheel of Topics and land on steroids. As we all know, Congress got to be on TV today. Lucky them. Appearing in front of a few members of Congress were Senator George Mitchell, Commissioner Bud Selig and Executive Director of the MLBPA Donald Fehr. If you want to read the news coverage, The Times has article on the way Congress latched onto the stimulants issue, another article on the day’s events with a focus on the Congressional inquiry into Miguel Tejada and a George Vecsey Sports of the Times piece on the hearings.
For the purposes of this post, I don’t care about what happened at the hearings as much as what didn’t happen at the hearings. Missing from the hearings were much mention of the NFL, the NHL or the NBA. Missing from the hearings were talks of Michael Vick’s questionable moral decisions representing a league filled with many players who have faced legal troubles. Missing from the hearings were talks of steroid use in football, referee scandals in the NBA and general PED use across sports that aren’t baseball.
This double standard — baseball must hold itself to some unattainable, drug- and cheating-free standard that has never existed in the history of the game — just has to stop. As witnesses to Congress, Selig and Fehr were deferential toward Henry Waxman’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which somehow holds sway over baseball. But as the figureheads of baseball, it’s time for them to go something of an offensive. How can they sit there mostly passive while the NFL elects steroid users to the Pro Bowl and EA Sports awards them with video game covers?
Personally, I have stopped caring about steroids in baseball. Once upon a time, I cared about this scandal, but in the ensuing years since this scandal became more and more of a front-page issue, I grew less and less concerned. Does it matter what people did in the early 2000s? There is no Delorean. We can’t change the past.
Instead, Congress, baseball, whoever should focus on what the game can do to improve in the future. But beyond that, the powers that be, the grandstanding masses, should look beyond baseball. They should look at football and see what’s going on there. They should look at basketball and the Olympic athletes who will do just about anything to gain a competitive edge. It’s become an overplayed Internet meme, but leave baseball alone. Go fry some other fish for a change.
I can only laugh and wonder at the irony: Mark McGwire was right when he said he wasn’t there to talk about the past. Why talk about the past? It looks good for politicians and doesn’t solve the problem. Three years later, nothing accomplished.
In a piece available to non-Baseball Prospectus subscribers, Joe Sheehan talks about his break-out candidates for 2008. Making the list is none other than our own Melky Cabrera, and Sheehan likes what he sees:
Cabrera is listed at 5’11” and 200 pounds. He’s not Willy Taveras, but rather a player who should be developing power and learning how to drive the ball, rather than hitting the ball on the ground 60 percent of the time.
I’m reminded of Alex Rios, who doesn’t look a thing like Cabrera. Rios was largely disappointing in 2004 and 2005, hitting just 11 homers in more than 900 at-bats, with an isolated power of 117. The problem: Rios was hitting the ball on the ground too much, a 1.82 G/F in those two seasons. Starting in ’06, Rios put the ball in the air more than half the time, and became a star. When you look at Cabrera’s body, his established control of the strike zone, and his ability to hold his own at a young age, you recognize that all it’s going to take is for him to start elevating the ball. Cabrera may not get there in 2008, but he’s going to pop 80 extra-base hits and slug .500 in a season very, very soon.
Where to begin? Where to begin?
First off, if Melky is 5’11″ and 200 pounds, then I’m 6’3″, 220. And trust me; I’m more like 5’9″, 170 in real life. While Melky may be listed at a robust 5’11″ and 200, I’ve heard from people who have seen him that Melky Cabrera is not that tall. Now, usually, a player’s height doesn’t matter, but when Sheehan starts comparing Cabrera to the 6’5″ Alex Rios who has a fairly substantial wing span, something is not right.
But putting aside height, let’s look at the numbers. Melky Cabrera has a career slugging percentage of .388. His Minor League mark is .422, and for 135 plate appearances in AAA in 2006, Melky slugged .566. That’s the only time in his career his slugging percentage at any level of the game has topped .462. That is a far, far cry from .500.
Meanwhile, Baseball Prospectus’ own PECOTA doesn’t put Melky anywhere close to .500 “very, very soon.” At best, Melky looks to slug below .440 during his age 26 season. Those numbers will head south after his 2007 numbers are added to the equation. That too is a far, far cry from .500, and anything more than four years from now isn’t really “very, very soon.”
It’s no secret that we are skeptical of Melky Cabrera’s long-term outlook as a Major Leaguer. He’s never profiled to anything more than a 4th outfielder, and he has yet to show anything at any level to suggest otherwise. Feel free to point to Sheehan’s statement as an indication that we’re wrong about Melky, but when history is on our side, I bet our assessment is closer reality than the prediction that Melky will suddenly develop into one of the game’s best power hitters “very, very soon.”
Jerry Crasnick hosted an ESPN.com chat this afternoon in which he facilitated something of a discussion on the Joba vs. Buchholz debate. It’s your typical back-and-forth bluster with most folks coming down, rightly, on the side of Joba. But the fun is in the poll. Joba’s got over 60 percent of the vote right now. I like that. · (21) ·
The Yanks announced that they’ve invited a small army of non-roster players to Spring Training. The breakdown:
IF: Bernie Castro, Eric Duncan, Nick Green, Cody Ransom, Marcos Vechionacci
OF: Justin Christian, Colin Curtis, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Jason Lane, Greg Porter, Jose Tabata
C: Kyle Anson, Jason Brown, Jesus Montero, PJ Pilittere, Austin Romine
RHP: Dan Giese, Alan Horne, Steven Jackson, Dan McCutchen, Mark Melancon, Darrell Rasner, Scott Strickland
LHP: Heath Phillips, Billy Traber
Wow, you think the Yanks like Austin Romine just a bit? I can’t remember the last time they invited a HS draftee to ST the year after he was drafted; maybe Eric Duncan? I don’t think this is a case of simply needing some catcher to catch all these pitchers, the Yanks have a ton of guys older and more experienced than Romine at their disposal to do that. Hopefully he stations himself directly between Jorge and Tony Pena at all times.
Jon Albaledjo, Jeff Marquez, Scott Patterson, Steven White, Juan Miranda and Frankie Cervelli will also be with the big boys during ST, by virtue of holding down a 40-man roster spot. If I was Kevin Whelan, I’d feel a bit snubbed. Just about all of the pitchers listed – Mark Melancon being the exception – will compete with the likes of Edwar, Ohlendorf, Bruney, Britton, Henn, etc. for a big league bullpen spot. Whoever pitches the best will get it. My dark horse? Steven Jackson.